Reset

Seems a life in the ivory tower is damned poor preparation for post-carbon living. But I’ve largely survived the blister phase, and calluses are forming on my soft, pink hands as I return to a life of labor at the mud hut. My fingers try to wrap around a shovel handle, even when there’s no shovel in sight.
The rewards are not evident yet, but I can feel them coming closer with each new dawn. Fortunately, I’m no longer addicted to academic success, as I once was, because I know there are greater rewards than meaningless paper in the bank and meaningless plaques on the wall.


The crisis has arrived for my generation, apparently just in time to save our species from itself. The world financial system was nearly vaporized last year at least four times, if we are to believe U.S. Congressional Representative Paul Kanjorski, Time magazine, or the U.S. Secretary of Treasury. Secretary Geithner correctly points out that the stimulus package is expensive, and will remain so for a long time (he didn’t mention forever, but we all know that’s what he means), but it is necessary if we are to delay (he said “prevent,” but at least he and I know he’s lying) an immediate economic collapse. Yes, he said economic collapse. And he was right: Without massive and frequent intervention, the industrial economy would have collapsed already, and it becomes increasingly likely to collapse with each passing day. It is becoming increasingly obvious, even to the typically oblivious, that another superpower can implode essentially overnight, less than 20 years after it happened the first time.
We’ve known this was coming for a long time. Every empire is built on a foundation of sand debt. The Ponzi scheme works for a while but, at some point, the debt we’ve passed along to future generations must be paid. The alternative is default, which can happen with extreme rapidity. The latter option is increasingly attractive because the current U.S. debt of $10.5 trillion far exceeds the value of all the currency in the world combined with all the gold ever mined from planet Earth. This seems like a problem to me.
Some people are screaming for the whole truth from President Obama. I don’t think we’ll get it, mostly because we don’t really want to know the suffering caused by the industrial economy to other species and cultures. In fact, I don’t think we can even comprehend the level of suffering we are causing. And then there’s the other side of the coin: This nation of overfed clowns, to steal a memorable and oft-repeated line from James Howard Kunstler, simply can’t handle the truth.
Here’s my question for you, dear reader: What happens when we push the “reset” button on the world’s economic system? What happens to you, your family, your friends, the town you occupy, the state you live in, and the indulgences we’ve all come to expect?

Comments 38

  • Yes,everything Professor Guy said above will come to pass,probably sooner than anyone can imagine.This is because the decline is not linear,but is instead exponential going into parabolic.Please forgive me repeating that,for I think it deserves repeating.These events never proceed in a steady,linear course–never.
    All of this is pre-determined,because human nature never changes,and cannot change.We are trapped in our basic,barbaric selves as the thin patina of civilization is peeled away to reveal the true,inate nature of our existence.Thas is as it should and must be.As Professor Guy understands so well this is not pessimism,but hope–hope for nature and our planet.
    This is a lot easier for me because,because of my age,and my absolute certainty that all is deterministic.I’ve had a full,good life.Perhaps an extra drop this eve is in order.
    So please don’t worry anyone.Just lay back and watch in amazement as it happens.You are seeing the most momentous event in history–or if you prefer–the end of history.

  • Guy,
    he is an article along the lines of what you have been
    describing here and in previous posts,
    this author always writes scathing critiques of the current
    economic situation and the ineptitude (sp?) of governmental responses
    (particularly the US government) –
    from the melbourne age newspaper.
    http://business.theage.com.au/business/a-reflated-bubble-still-bursts-20090211-84sf.html
    a journalist worth watching/reading
    what happens? god only knows…
    it is prudent to have a bet each way,
    just in case, I think we are all (peak oilers)
    doing that now, even the contrarian ones :).
    chris martensons ‘crash course’prevents a
    perfectly rational reason to be prepared
    both pyschologically and physically,
    ie the down side risk in doing nothing
    is much worse than doing something/being
    prepared and it (collapse) never comes to pass.
    start converting your spare cash into useful
    items – like tools, food, water storage etc,
    money may only be good for wiping your behind,
    (unfortunatley we only have plastic notes in Oz,
    dam its not even good for that!)
    if hyperinflation comes to pass – (read article above)
    from the argentinian experience (robocop’s link),
    if the author had his time again, ie if they
    knew prior, the storage of surplus food would have been
    a top priority.
    He also mentioned weapons, much to the turbsters delight
    no doubt.
    cheers

  • You know what I think? If the apocalypse is truly nigh, then no amount of planning will prepare you for it. It’s like living in New Orleans with Katrina on the way, only New Orleans is all the world, and Katrina is an asteroid and nuclear winter and planetary supervirus.
    All bets are off, is what I’m saying. Thinking about it overly much is an abyss, one unworthy of Nietzsche.

  • Truth be told, I hover between terror and glee about all of this. Trying to practice the wisdom of Shakyamuni Buddha, I make the effort to just let those things go and not live in fear. Also, for life, I am happy.
    But there is fear. Frank, I too have led a good life. But I am soft, and I don’t like suffering. More to the point, however, I don’t want to see my young children suffer. That is the true source of my fear. Letting go of my own selfish desire to not suffer is one thing. I don’t know how to let go of my desire to not have them suffer.
    Since learning about this, I have tried to take some precautions. I haven’t had much in the way of time nor resources, but I have an inkling of a plan. Should things collapse rapidly, I at least will be able to watch it from afar.
    May we all be happy. May we all be at peace. May we all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

  • Question for Court:
    Are you then the nattering nephew nabob of negativism ?
    Also,we see that you are indeed a writer.Where do you think you went wrong in your life?
    Frank

  • Actually Matt, the weapons part really had not much to do with it, I liked how he described what was hapening when they went through it because in some ways it is a “Future Mirror” that we can look into and see ourselves… sooner or later. When he talked about the difference between getting on a plane and going to war verses having it all around you all the time and having to remain nearly constantly vigilant.
    Right on Court! No matter what you do there’s just no way you’re going to have everything you might need.

  • Since you asked…
    Q: What happens when we push the “reset” button on the world’s economic system?
    A: Adapt or die trying.
    Q: What happens to you, your family, your friends, the town you occupy, the state you live in, and the indulgences we’ve all come to expect?
    A: Again, adapt or die trying. As for indulgences, perhaps we would be better off without them. There’s far too much bullshit floating around right now. And I’m as guilty as the rest of perpetuating bad behavior and bullshit.
    And, ironic though it may be, considering I’m disliked by the Catholic Church and tend to piss of chuch ladies more than any one person has a right to…I thought these verses were an appropriate response to the questions at hand:
    Matthew 6:34 So never worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    And from Luke: But he said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
    Something that always irked me. Funerals aren’t for the dead. They’re for the living to help them assuage their fears about the inevitable. The dead have already moved on to whatever they will (Nirvana, Heaven, Moksha, the 7th layer of Dante’s Inferno…nothingness).
    My grandfather once said, we’re all in Death’s waiting room. And we are, but I don’t see what good worrying will do.
    Death won’t let me jump the queue or flip to the back of the book, or try to get called out of waiting any sooner than the script allows. So, that’s that.
    At least the government makes for an entertaining sideshow while we wait.

  • I agree with Court and Charlene.
    Court’s last sentence is a beauty!
    ‘why poison today thinking about tomorrow’
    Sputtering, I have Kapleaus The Three
    Pillars of Zen on my bedside table,
    (along with Arne Naess, John Stuart Mill,
    Edward Said and how to grow fruit and vegetables!)
    already read it twice, you remind me
    that I must start meditating!
    The only place to find the ‘truth’.
    If the Shit really HTF (big time) then will it
    be a society worth living in?
    What is the point of having food
    and guns if the society around
    you is disengrating both physically,
    morally and spiritually.
    Do I want to inherit a landscape of misery?
    The mother in Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’
    took a piece of obsidian and stepped
    outside.
    I dont want to occupy place of degradation.
    This is no ‘sideshow’…
    To paraphrase Heinberg one person planting a
    vegetable garden will make no difference,
    a million people gardening will create a revolution
    Grab your pitch forks!
    Guy, I agree with you on your thoughts of success,
    after many years at Uni (7), all I am interested
    in now is making good coffee, baking bread and trying
    to grow my own fruit and veg. Oh yeah the compost
    heap gives me great pleasure.
    Reading too much gloomy schtick can leave you
    dispondent, particularly when your colleagues around
    you are talking about the football or whats worse the cricket!
    cheerio

  • Apparently I haven’t been clear about my position, despite my many attempts at clarity and clarification, here and elsewhere. Let me try this again.
    A typical response to a deafening fleet of jets, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force’s nearby base, goes something like this: “That’s the sound of freedom.”
    My response does not vary: “Sounds like oppression to me.”
    I hope for a future free of fossil fuels. Such a future brings down the empire, thereby freeing species and cultures from unrelenting oppression from civilized humans. In addition, this dream of a future allows us to live close to each other and close to the planet that sustains us. The longer we keep the current, oppressive game going, the worse the overshoot … and, therefore, the greater the resulting death and suffering. Let’s bring down the empire before we destroy the final remnants of Earth.
    And don’t even get me started about leaving the world habitable for our own species. Apparently, even though I’m childless by choice, I’m one of about three people in this country who care about that.
    More personal to the task at hand, though, is how we get through the difficult days ahead. First and foremost, we must make the psychological leap. That’s the biggest one of all. Once you commit to an ambiguous future, quite unlike the recent past, you can commit to flexibility. And perhaps even to humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself, and you can’t laugh at the apocalypse, you’ve got dark days ahead. On the other hand, if you can laugh at yourself, and you can laugh at the apocalypse, you’ll never run out of material. If you can’t make the requisite psychological commitment, you’re in the category of most of my civilized friends, saving the last bullet for yourself. Personally, I don’t care to live like that.
    If you’ve made the psychological step, you need only worry about the three things necessary for human survival: clean air, potable water, and edible food. That’s all we need to survive. A few minutes without air, a few days without water, a few weeks without food, and human life ceases. If you’re interested in the further luxuries of shelter, community, and health care, with a distinct focus on the southwestern United States, the report prepared by a few of my students might prove useful. You can find it at http://www.personalsurvivalskills.com
    There is no paradise, no place to escape the shitstorm of our base response to human overshoot. We’ve destroyed paradise, and the Overman has left the planetary building. But survival will be far more difficult in some places than others. For example, there is a reason the central portion of North America was lightly populated before the advent of fossil fuels: food and water were (and are) tough to come by, and adverse weather can kill the most hardy of folk. Once you’ve decided on a place to settle, regardless where it is, there is plenty you can do to prepare. Most notably, you can secure reliable supplies of water and food while contributing to the development of your community.
    There’s nothing new here. I’ve talked and written about these issues for several years. I’ll admit it’s getting late in the (industrial) game to relocate, work out the details of securing water and feeding yourself while also making friends with your neighbors. That’s why I began sounding the alarm several years ago, and also why I started my own process of relocation quite a while ago. I doubt it’s too late to make your future more secure than it would be without any preparation at all. Check out Dmitry Orlov’s book, Reinventing Collapse, and also the resources at Matt Savinar’s website for more details:
    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Prepare.html
    http://www.doomers.us/forum2/index.php/topic,1681.0.html

  • Potable water might be the biggest challenge of all.The main problem with not being able to turn on the tap and have water come out,is that you also cannot flush the toilet.Everyone takes it for granted that you will always be able to do that,but when you cannot, Cholera,Dysentery and Typhus,all caused by fecal contamination of the water supply results.These will devastate the human population,especially in the large cities where the pile up of human waste will make large population centers uninhabitable–not to mention the smell and mess.
    I’m certain that Professor Guy has put the latrine a long way away from the well at the Mud Hut.

  • you have been clear,
    unfortunately your hopes are a fiction,
    ie ‘let’s bring the empire down’
    The current energy depletion scenario will
    accelerate the destruction of the biosphere
    as we try to chase the elusive illusion
    of growth at all costs.
    As you have suggested we cannot see
    any alternative to the growth regime.

  • Matt — If there’s no water coming out the taps, no food at the grocery store, and no fuel for the vehicles, how are we going to rape the planet? I think a fast crash saves cultures, species, and Homo sapiens. How could it be otherwise?

  • Easy: We’re going to burn all the trees, eat all the animals, and crap on everything that doesn’t burn or is edible.
    Look at how we’re, right now, wrecking the economic promise of tomorrow (Stimulus package debt!) for growth today! You’re going to get your wish, guy, but you might not like it as much as you think you will.

  • Most of the hyper-indulgent sheeple will die within a few days, waiting for the government to save them.
    The remaining few will die a week later because they have no idea how secure potable water.
    Again, if there’s no water coming out the taps, no food at the grocery store, and no fuel for the vehicles, how are we going to rape the planet? And how could that rape be worse than what we’re doing today? I think a fast crash saves cultures, species, and Homo sapiens.
    Again, how could it be otherwise?

  • Avoiding the further rape of the planet is only possible if there is no possibility of anything but a fast and total crash. Despite the dogma around here that this is the only possibility, I’m not convinced. Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re in for a lot of pain. I’m just not convinced that there’s only one way down.

  • I’m sitting here in rural Arizona thinking of my neighbors one by one, and of how or how not willing/able each would be to actually kill an animal to eat, whether a rat, a rat snake, a cat or a rabbit. Not many of the 100 or so individuals living within 10 miles of me, and these folks are a lot more comfortable with the wild world outside their door than are city folks. Many are elderly too, and I would guess only 50% own a weapon capable of the job… and if they do, they’d be trading off between ammo for food and for self-protection. Most of my neighbors could probably start a fire (on purpose that is), but only the Mexican folks would know about ocote and how to make it.
    The neighbors of mine who would be ok post-collapse (at least for a while) are either the LDS/Mormon crowd, the self-sufficient vegetarian crowd, or folks within a generation or two of having moved here from Mexico and who grow a small patch of corn, know how to make lye for turning corn into masa, and how to make an olla and bake on a comal as well as how to butcher and cook something currently walking around with a pulse.
    As to the issue of fecal contamination and certain death by cholera, latrines in the country work fine for keeping that separated from the groundwater and the garden. An up-to-code septic system takes all that caca and de-toxifies it in a big tank before letting the watery part flow back into the subsoil after all. A friend was just in India and was blown away by the sheer number of urban-dwelling humans and by the constant presence of piles of human fecal matter on every street and sidewalk that required stepping over. The population there may be sicker than we are, but they’re sure not 100% dying off from lack of sanitation.

  • I think we humans would do better to “taper off” rather than go zooming back to the stone age.
    Turboguy is hitting the nail on the head with his comments. People will eat, burn, or poo upon whatever the need to eat, burn, or poo upon to survive. This includes, respectively, endangered species, forests and plastics alike, and the water supply.
    I’m sure dysentery would be the biggest single killer, along with respiratory illnesses from inhaling the toxins released by the burning plastics, et al, but I don’t have any doubts about the ugliness of it.
    People would die, en masse, in a “fast crash” scenario, but I’m sure we humans would go kicking and screaming and taking as much of nature out with us as possible. By which I mean to say that we are creatures of habit–after all.
    It isn’t to say I don’t understand your general irritation or frustration with the whole mess–I promise you, you’re not alone on that point. The only thing which appears clear or certain at the moment is that there is no easy way out to the problem at hand. And that’s true whether the solution comes as a fast crash, greener technology, or anything else (short of the most literal interpretation of the Second Coming).
    Psychologically, I view life as both a real gift and a bad joke of the most darkly comedic variety. The cognitive dissonance is staggering.
    In the end, the ants may plan for winter, the grasshoppers may play, but the cockroaches are the only ones that will survive the nuclear blast…if you know what I mean.
    Now THAT is what I call irony.

  • Guy,
    I think we all agree that the fast crash
    scenario will be better a outcome for the biosphere,
    as painful as it would be (mother of all understatements),
    just cant see it happening.
    Not to diminish the meaning of the word rape,
    but it is the right word to decribe economic
    growth. Growth is both violent, destructive,
    and invariably leaves a scar. Back 2000 I said
    this to a neighbour ie that economic growth is rape,
    it is an outrageous statement then as it is now to make to the common man.
    (he was a share trader – the idea of exponential growth on a finite planet
    being a mathematical impossiblity never entered his mind, he is not alone)
    Even your new pres doesnt get it.
    Jensen uses the abuse he received as a child as an analogy to describe
    the abuse we heap on the planet. You wouldnt think so but strangley enough
    it works as a piece of non fiction.
    Fundamentally why are we so destructive? Why dont we get it?
    Besides the obvious short term thinking, greed etc.
    Every where you look it is all wrong. Every time we grow a part
    of the biosphere dies. For example nitorgen fluoride is used in the manufacture
    of flat screen TVs and PV cells, it is 14,000 times more destructive a
    green house gas than co2 – now thats ironic!
    Jared Diamond was on your PBS the other day. He was asked whether
    the USA could avoid a collapse scenario – he said you guys had a
    50 50 chance. He cited what happened in New Orleans as an example that
    does not bode well for your future. When the elite/wealthy show no
    empathy for the poor, the society is trouble. The wealthy in New
    Orleans lived on the higher ground, there was no drive by the
    decision makers (the elite) to spend the $300 million required
    to fix the dyke. He cited the Netherlands as a country that would fare
    better going forward. A third of the nation is below sea water, they
    have the most sophisticated dyke systems in the world.
    In The Long Emergency Kunstler mentions race as a likely issue in the future,
    Diamond suggests that current profound inequities may precipitate or be the
    catalyst for your collapse.
    The only one brave enough to discuss race was turboguy and he received a
    public bollocking for his views. Spike Lee recently said its BS to question
    whether Obama was black enough. He suggested that he has moved on.
    anyway

  • Charelene,
    do you know a quote from the bible about
    improvidence? – ie wasting the bounty in the time
    of plenty etc, if so could you post it,
    it is quite a relevant description of our times,
    I have not read a single page from the bible,
    I was brought up in a strict athiest household. 🙂
    thanks
    Matt

  • You should give it a read, Matt! It really is a good book! [get it? HA!]
    Seriously though, you really should give it a read. You might find yourself agreeing more than not. It happened to me.
    In Luke 22:35-38 Jesus told his followers to be armed for protection. I happened to agree.

  • There are quite a few. Off hand, Proverbs has a lot of good advice. The name of the book is probably kind of a good indication. Off hand, I tend to think of the parable about the talents related in Matthew 25:14-30 (the first book in the New Testament). Servants were given talents (a type of money) and basically told to take care of it for their master while he went away. The ones who were wise, invested it wisely, and had something to show for their efforts while the master was away. One, however, didn’t bother to do anything with it. He just held onto it, assuming that simply holding onto his one talent would keep him from getting into trouble (in other words he was both fearful, and lazy). Of course, it didn’t, because he had wasted time and not made an effort.
    Different translations say things differently, unfortunately. I think that’s why seminaries spend time going over the older languages and how things changed as the language changed and the Bible changed hands–so to speak. Thinking of the name Adam and the word “sin” in particular is an interesting adventure in language and misunderstanding.
    I have a bad habit of “going through” Bibles. I was raised with King James–don’t like that for a variety of reasons.
    Long story short, let me think about it and get back to you. There’s certainly a lot of material there.
    Just because the Bible mentions not worrying (because worrying in itself can be a waste of time) doesn’t mean it skips over ways to use the time wisely. There are many verses which spell out in big, bold letters, that we need to be using our ephemeral existence to the best of our abilities. Don’t waste time/resources/relationships, be charitable, work hard, take it as it comes, etc.
    To me, if you take it as authoritative, rather than getting bogged down in literal interpretations (talking snakes, etc), I think it can provide some good advice–even coming from an atheistic perspective.
    Certainly, being an idiot isn’t advisable. Some of the “Holy Roller” types might seem to be saying that it’s okay to be an idiot, so long as you’re God’s own idiot, but I think that’s because they don’t bother to pay much attention past being told they’re “saved”.
    (P.S. I don’t doubt God loves the idiots, but I don’t think they’re the best representatives. Then again, I’m probably not either, because of the cardinal virtures, prudence-in terms of speech/temper-is my favorite one to ignore.)
    Hope that helps. I’ll look for a more succinct quote, though.

  • awesome response,
    a financial risk adviser here quoted the bible
    after he was being interviewed on the box
    about the financial downturn,
    his name is Satyajit Das,
    a very sharp and clear analyst,
    dont search too hard, just off hand
    I thought you might know it,
    I think I would find myself blushing
    if I read the bible, such is the
    depth of my strict upbringing,
    atheism was a religion in my household!
    The Origin of Species was always in clear
    view in the dining room.
    thanks
    matt

  • No problem. No worries, I understand atheism can be just as dogmatic as any other doctrine. It is an ism afterall. Atheism, in my life, came more in the form of the Arian heresy taken to the logical extreme at first…later in life I just got so sick of fundies that I threw the baby Jesus out with the proverbial bath water. So, it’s all familiar territory. 🙂
    Just FYI, I’m one of those people who like both Darwin and Christianity. I’ve gone rounds with the local moms who got their bustles in a bunch over evolution being taught to their impressionable young children. Gahhhhhhhh….
    I’ve been doing some digging and I’m off to join the Episcopalians it looks like…
    I’m deeply impressed by their current head bishop. We’ll see how long this lasts, but it does look like they’ve got something going for them.
    http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_105049_ENG_HTM.htm
    A little bit of background on the woman and her start as a biologist. Still looking for the quote. I’m a geek. Love books. I get done reading to the kids and then go looking for more to read. The saddest thing for me about the fall of civilization would be the loss of libraries and the internet.

  • Charlene
    the thing about atheism,
    is that you become somewhat
    intrigued/obsessed by religion and philosophy
    my wife is a catholic, she says the
    problem with me is that I have no ‘hope’!
    funny eh?
    ‘hope’ – she believes comes from having
    some degree of religiosity in ones upbringing,
    hence my search for meaning in ecosophy etc
    thats one of the unique things about this blog,
    its not scientific,
    (the ‘oil drum’ makes me yawn, when they mention
    BTUs and sunk costs I fall off the chair),
    it is philosophical and somewhat conversational.
    anyway, I have spent some time searching for that quote,
    S.Das is noted for his unique quotes about the unfolding
    financial crisis.
    cheers
    excuse all typos for all future posts, my editing is atrocious (sp?)

  • A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.
    Fortify thyself with contentment: that is an impregnable stronghold.
    Epictetus

  • found it!
    SATYAJIT DAS, RISK ANALYST: I think the future is going to look very different to what we actually have seen. I think there’s a lovely line in the Bible, “The years of plenty have ended, the improvident have wasted the bounty and live in want in the years of dearth”.

  • I don’t think it is a direct quote. It sounds like a reference to the story of Joseph and the famine that came about in Canaan and in Egypt–at least, “the whole world” in Genesis is mentioned, but that could mean a lot of different things.
    Joseph, because of his ability to interpret dreams/the future, had made sure the Egyptians stored grain during the “seven years of plenty” for the problem he knew was coming.
    Joseph was the only one who had seen the disaster coming and taken advantage of prosperity while it lasted. The rest just used and wasted. They didn’t make any provision for the future. So, everyone had to buy grain from Egypt or starve.
    This is the old testament Joseph not St. Joseph. This is the Joseph that was sold into slavery by jealous brothers. Joseph ends up in Egypt, but because he’s good at interpreting dreams and anticipating the future he ends up friends with the Pharoah. The famine causes his brothers, many years later, to come from Canaan to Egypt in search of food.
    Long story short, eventually, he forgives them and the whole bunch moves into Egypt. Of course, this was during the time frame when Egypt was friendly toward the Jews pre-Moses, Exodus, etc.
    🙂
    For what it’s worth, I think it is possible to be pretty hopeless even **with** formal religion. People who pin all their hopes on being raptured out of this life, or similar, lack hope and purpose just as much as any suicidal atheist.
    There are many ways to define the word hope. The most popular of which is the one most synonymous with the words wish, dream, or longing.
    The older understanding was one of confidence or trust. The distinctly Christian version of hope is defined: “The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God’s help.”
    To me, pining for death is not a good example of the theological virtue known as hope. Nor is wishing things will get better without taking the actions necessary to attain the desired outcome (e.g. Hope and Change we can believe in).
    An semi-agnostic unitarian woman I met at a UU discussion group recently, in describing her thoughts on life after death, expressed a very hopeful outlook. She said it was really a matter of trust and confidence. Resting assured in the knowledge that whether life went on post-mortem in heaven or left her as worm food that it was OKAY and part of the overall plan.
    So, if you’re searching for a future good and think it is not impossible for there to be a good worth searching for: I’d say you’re hopeful.
    Focusing on eternity in Christianity isn’t, to me, about being hopeful that heaven will be WAY better than life was. When I start thinking death is a better option than life, in general, heaven included or not, it is a really wrong-headed place to be mentally and spiritually.
    To me, focusing on eternity, eyes on the prize, isn’t necessarily eyes on heaven. It’s eyes on a relationship with God aka what made me, where I came from, what is most essential or important about life beyond my own existence.
    Everything else, to me, is just looking for celestial fire insurance and trying to avoid punishment in the hereafter–a very superstitious way of living.
    Anyhow, I’m just thinking out loud.
    Long story short: It’s possible to be hopeful without being suicidal, foolish, or even Christian. And the search for truth and a relationship with the most essential force of life–whether you call it God, Oneness, or just nature–is actually a more “Christian” way of looking at things (in terms of postmodern Christianity, especially) than running into church every Sunday hoping you won’t get burnt by an angry God.
    I hope that helps. 🙂
    I enjoy Guy’s blog, too. And the Archdruid Report. John Michael Greer does a lot of heavy lifting in terms of digging up philosophers and putting peak oil/collapse/whatever you want to call it in perspective. His recent post on the pornoghraphic nature of political fear was brilliant. It’s definitely worth a look if you like that sort of stuff.

  • If you look for Bible verses that cover gluttony and sloth, you’ll probably come up with a lot of relevant passages.
    Proverbs deals with sloth–a lot. Sleeping too much and not doing the work that needs to be done.
    Here is a list you might be interested in:
    Proverbs 6:9-11, Proverbs 19:15, Proverbs 20:4-13, Proverbs 21:25, Proverbs 22:13, Proverbs 24:30-34
    Also, Proverbs 23:21 … for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
    Philippians 3:19 also seems pretty fitting:
    Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
    …..
    And from 1 Corinthians 3:8
    The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
    (Admittedly, this is talking about divisions in the early church, but the overall message is one of seeking what is really valuable and avoiding what isn’t. Also, pointing out that preachers and parishoners were on equal footing and employed by the same “master” to do the same work. If I’m reading/understanding correctly.)

  • I hope the “reset button” is pushed so a new economic system can be put in place. I think many of us want a system that helps the planet, species and other cultures instead of only worrying about our own advancement. Unfortunately, this seems very un-American.
    As we continue to only think about ourselves, my parents will work much longer than they hoped they would. My friends and I will try to graduate quickly (tuition is going up, budget cuts increasing), look for the dream job and never find it because no one is hiring. We’ll work terrible jobs to pay off student loans for the rest of our lives, or maybe we won’t have to worry about student loans! That may be the bright side :).

  • thanks,
    I think I need a lie down,
    I did not realize there could be so
    much ‘gold’ in the bible,
    you have a good understanding of the
    poetic nuances,
    I read JMG too, we are all tuning
    in to the messages,
    (all 50 of us)
    cheers

  • matt,
    I prefer the King James version of the bible,not from a religious perspective,but for
    style,literary grace and tradition.As literature the King James version is best.I believe all other “translations” are dumbed down for the lowest,least intelligent,and brutish humans.
    .Style is more important than substance.The great quotes from the bible all come from the King James version.It’s a great work of literature.
    Read the Song of Solomon in the King James,then ask yourself if you could be satisfied with any other version.

  • matt:
    Especially Song of Solomon,Chapter 2,Verses 10-12.But ONLY in the King James version.I
    believe this example will make my point clear.
    Frank

  • Frank,
    On what do you base your judgement that other translations are more dumbed down than the King James? Have you read the Bible from ancient documents?

  • Mr Roboto:
    No need to go back to ancient documents.Just follow my advise in my last suggestion to matt.
    Now read exactly the same in any other version of the Bible,and compare.Style is more important than substance,especially today when mass substance is garbage.
    If anyone has access to a Short Wave radio,tune in 9335 or 11710 KZh at 1500,1600 or 1700 UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) and listen to what is perhaps the most beautiful National Anthem,and the most stirring martial music you have ever heard.This is The Voice of Korea,broadcasting in order in English,French,and Korean starting at 1500 UTC to 1700 UTC.This from the DPRK (North Korea).Need I say more.
    I have 50 year old 33 1/3 recordings of Nazi Germany’s martial music.This also is some of the most beautiful,stirring, and inspirational music you have ever heard.
    I get my morning wake up,get going,inspiration from North Korea in the morning.The fact that it comes from the DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea).How’s that for a name !!! ,is unimportant.Again in today’s world style=perception=reality.
    Frank

  • For those of you without shortwave but wanting to hear the Voice of Korea, track down this CD: http://www.sublimefrequencies.com/item.asp?Item_id=26&cd=Radio-Pyongyang:-Commie-Funk-and-Agit-Pop-from-the-Hermit-Kingdom

  • Mr.Roboto:
    How do you know about the DPRK ?
    Frank

  • The Nightly News, same as everyone else

  • I won’t argue about the stylish prose found in the KJV. Afterall, it was the time frame, directly following Elizabeth I, which saw firsthand the likes of Shakespeare. If anyone was going to bother writing (or reading) the Bible, it would have to match up to some pretty high standards, I imagine.
    When it comes to faith, etc., I’m not that worried about style. I would like to know what I’m reading, where it came from ,and how accurately it is interpreted from earlier works.
    It is my understanding that the KJV translation was based on Greek versions which were ancient, but not as ancient as others which have been collected/reviewed in modern times. Therefore, more modern translations have the benefit of earlier texts (closer to the origins of the early church). Reading different Bibles, in combination with commentary from Biblical and/or historical scholars probably leads to the richest understanding of the text–and hopefully the meaning.
    To be fair, I haven’t gone back to the ancient languages. I would very much like to, though. I’m trying to learn Latin at the moment. I would love to learn Hebrew and Greek. I have a very honest interest in exegesis.
    I like pretty prose as much as the next person, but I like understanding the language even better.
    🙂
    Frank, as you point out, style=reality is exactly the problem. It is perfectly possible for something to be stylish and wrong at the same time. Hitler’s Germany definitely had a flair for style and rhetoric. Clearly, good theater does not make good policy.