Monday, December 01, 2008

How I Learned to Love the Crash (or Happy Holidays!)

These 'uncertain' times have triggered an interesting array of reactions from people - from depression, to fear, to hope. One only has to peruse the sites and blogs at right to know where my current anxieties lie about the future of Homo Sapiens on this particular planet; somewhere between 1984 and Soylent Green, but with a 2010: Space Odyssey hopefulness. I would say that I've moved beyond conspiracy theories, but only to an even more cynical place - after all, conspiracies presume that there are at least some group of plutocrats, however shadowy, that have a grand design for us and the tools to implement it. But a darker place, arguable a worse scenario, is where there is no plan, no single entity, no identifiable levers that control the machine that is human civilization - it really may be a motley collection of near-sighted, self-interested princes, armed thugs and dopey sheep looking to get what they can, when they can. Is the gong show too large and discordant for anyone to influence, no matter the resources they have or the influence the wield? Regardless, judging from the financial and economic information coming to light it looks like we're in for very interesting times. With any luck we'll just hit a unparalleled global recession with all the hunger, anguish and trauma associated with it, and not the inevitable global implosion of consumptive capitalism, environmental collapse, and declining oil-based civilization that some have predicted. Sometimes I think, in either case, will all the psychic and physical resources we'll have to put into keeping this culture running really be worth it? What will we have to do to keep the TV's from China coming? The oranges from California? The cross-country flights? What will we have say or do to keep the illusion intact? And hat happens when the illusion vanishes?

What would life be without an employer for a paycheque, without a landlord or bank for shelter, without a truck from Ontario for food, without electronic pulses for entertainment? I can't say for certian that I would, over time, be worse without them. But maybe just a few short years ago we wouldn't have bothered asking this, but maybe this year we do. And maybe next year we ask further, 'what would we have to do if we were to meet all our own needs?'. Maybe the year after we learn to do those things. The future is uncertain, but maybe our choices need not be.

In any event - shop 'til you drop!
(next year in Jerusalem!)

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