Guest Post: The Sixth Stage Of Collapse

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov via Club Orlov blog,

I admit it: in my last book, The Five Stages of Collapse, I viewed collapse through rose-colored glasses. But I feel that I should be forgiven for this; it is human nature to try to be optimistic no matter what. Also, as an engineer, I am always looking for solutions to problems. And so I almost subconsciously crafted a scenario where industrial civilization fades away quickly enough to save what's left of the natural realm, allowing some remnant of humanity to make a fresh start.
Ideally, it would start of with a global financial collapse triggered by a catastrophic loss of confidence in the tools of globalized finance. That would swiftly morph into commercial collapse, caused by global supply chain disruption and cross-contagion. As business activity grinds to a halt and tax revenues dwindle to zero, political collapse wipes most large-scale political entities off the map, allowing small groups of people to revert to various forms of anarchic, autonomous self-governance. Those groups that have sufficient social cohesion, direct access to natural resources, and enough cultural wealth (in the form of face-to-face relationships and oral traditions) would survive while the rest swiftly perish.
Of course, there are problems even with this scenario. Take, for instance, the problem of Global Dimming. The phenomenon is well understood: sunlight reflected back into space by the atmospheric aerosols and particulates generated by burning fossil fuels reduces the average global temperature by well over a degree Celsius. (The cessation of all air traffic over the continental US in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 has allowed climate scientists to measure this effect.) If industrial activity were to suddenly cease, average global temperatures would be jolted upward toward the two degree Celsius mark which is widely considered to be very, very bad indeed. Secondly, even if all industrial activity were to cease tomorrow, global warming, 95% of which is attributed to human activity in the latest (rather conservative and cautious) IPCC report, would continue apace for the better part of the next millennium, eventually putting the Earth's climate in a mode unprecedented during all of human existence as a species.
On such a planet, where the equatorial ocean is hotter than a hot tub and alligators thrive in the high Arctic, our survival as a species is far from assured. Still, let's look at things optimistically. We are an adaptable lot. Yes, the seas will rise and inundate the coastal areas which over half of us currently inhabit. Yes, farmland further inland will become parched and blow away, or be washed away by the periodic torrential rains. Yes, the tropics, followed by the temperate latitudes, become so hot that everyone living there will succumb of heat stroke. But if this process takes a few centuries, then some of the surviving bands and tribes might find a way to migrate further north and learn to survive there by eking out some sort of existence in balance with what remains of the ecosystem.
We can catch glimpses of what such survival might look like by reading history. When Captain James Cook landed on the shore of Western Australia, he was the first white man to encounter aboriginal Australians, who had up to that point persisted in perfect isolation for something like 40.000 years. (They arrived in Australia at about the same time as the Cromagnons displaced the Neanderthals in Europe.) They spoke a myriad different languages and dialects, having no opportunity and no use for any sort of unity. They wore no clothes and used tiny makeshift huts for shelter. They had few tools beyond a digging stick for finding edible roots and a gig for catching fish. They had no hoards or stockpiles, and did not keep even the most basic supplies from one day to the next. They had little regard for material objects of any sort, were not interested in trade, and while they accepted clothes and other items they were given as presents, they threw them away as soon as Cook and his crew were out of sight.
They were, Cook noted in his journal, entirely inoffensive. But a few actions of Cook's men did enrage them. They were scandalized by the sight of birds being caught and placed in cages, and demanded their immediate release. Imprisoning anyone, animal or person, was to them taboo. They were even more incensed when they saw Cook's men catch not just one, but several turtles. Turtles are slow-breeding, and it is easy to wipe out their local population by indiscriminate poaching, which is why they only allowed the turtles to be taken one at a time, and only by a specially designated person who bore responsibility for the turtles' welfare.
Cook thought them primitive, but he was ignorant of their situation. Knowing what we know, they seem quite advanced. Living on a huge but arid and mostly barren island with few native agriculturally useful plants and no domesticable animals, they understood that their survival was strictly by the grace of the surrounding natural realm. To them, the birds and the turtles were more important than they were, because these animals could survive without them, but they could not survive without these animals.
Speaking of being primitive, here is an example of cultural primitivism writ large. At the Age of Limits conference earlier this year, at one point the discussion turned to the question of why the natural realm is worth preserving even at the cost of human life. (For instance, is it OK to go around shooting poachers in national parks even if it means that their families starve to death?) One fellow, who rather self-importantly reclined in a chaise lounge directly in front of the podium, stated his opinion roughly as follows: “It is worth sacrificing every single animal out there in order to save even a single human life!” It took my breath away. This thought is so primitive that my brain spontaneously shut down every time I tried to formulate a response to it. After struggling with it for a bit, here is what I came up with.
Is it worth destroying the whole car for the sake of saving the steering wheel? What use is a steering wheel without a car? Well, I suppose, if you are particularly daft or juvenile, you can use it to pretend that you still have a car, running around with it and making “vroom-vroom!” noises... Let's look at this question from an economic perspective, which is skewed by the fact that economists tend view the natural realm in terms of its economic value. This is similar to you looking at your own body in terms of its nutritional content, and whether it would make good eating. Even when viewed from this rather bizarre perspective that treats our one and only living planet as a storehouse of commodities to be plundered, it turns out that most of our economic “wealth” is made possible by “ecosystem services” which are provided free of charge.
These include water clean enough to drink, air clean enough to breathe, a temperature-controlled environment that is neither too cold nor too hot for human survival across much of the planet, forests that purify and humidify the air and moderate surface temperatures, ocean currents that moderate climate extremes making it possible to practice agriculture, oceans (formerly) full of fish, predators that keep pest populations from exploding and so on. If we were forced to provide these same services on a commercial basis, we'd be instantly bankrupt, and then, in short order, extinct. The big problem with us living on other planets is not that it's physically impossible—though it may be—it's that there is no way we could afford it. If we take natural wealth into account when looking at economic activity, it turns out that we consistently destroy much more wealth than we create: the economy is mostly a negative-sum game. Next, it turns out that we don't really understand how these “ecosystem services” are maintained, beyond realizing that it's all very complicated and highly interconnected in surprising and unexpected ways. Thus, the good fellow at the conference who was willing to sacrifice all other species for the sake of his own could never be quite sure that the species he is willing to sacrifice doesn't include his own.
In addition, it bears remembering that we are, in fact, sacrificing our species, and have been for centuries, for the sake of something we call “progress.” Aforementioned Captain Cook sailed around the Pacific “discovering” islands that the Polynesians had discovered many centuries earlier, his randy, drunken, greedy sailors spreading venereal disease, alcoholism and corruption, and leaving ruin in their wake wherever they went. After the plague of sailors came the plague of missionaries, who made topless Tahitian women wear “Mother Hubbards” and tried to outlaw fornication. The Tahitians, being a sexually advanced culture, had a few dozen different terms for fornication, relating to a variety of sex acts. Thus the missionaries had a problem: banning any one sex act wouldn't have made much of a dent, while a ban that enumerated them all would read like the Kama Sutra. Instead the missionaries chose to promote their own brand of sex: the “missionary position,” which is best analyzed as two positions—top and bottom. The bottom position can enhance the experience by taking a cold shower, applying blue lipstick and not breathing. I doubt that it caught on much on Tahiti.
The Tahitians seem to have persevered, but many other tribes and cultures simply perished, or continue to exist in greatly diminished numbers, so depressed by their circumstances that they are not interested in doing much beyond drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and watching television. And which group is doing the best? That's the one that's been causing the most damage. Thus, the rhetoric about “saving our species from extinction” seems rather misplaced: we have been doing everything we can to drive it to extinction as efficiently as possible for a few centuries now, and we aren't about to stop because that would be uncivilized.
Because, you see, that's who we are: we are educated, literate, civilized persons. The readers of this blog especially are economically and environmentally enlightened types, their progressivism resting on the three pillars of pointing out financial Ponzi schemes, averting environmental devastation and eating delicious, organic, locally grown food. We do wish to survive collapse, provided the survival strategy includes such items as gender equality, multiculturalism, LGBT-friendiness and nonviolence. We do not wish to take off all of our clothes and wander the outback with a digging stick looking for edible tubers. We'd rather sit around discussing green technology over a glass of craft-brewed beer (local, of course) perhaps digressing once in a while to consider the obscure yet erudite opinions of one Pederasmus of Ülm on the endless, glorious ebb and flow of human history.
We don't want to change who we are in order to live in harmony with nature; we want nature to live in harmony with us while we remain who we are. In the meantime, we are continuing to wage war on the sorry remnants of the tribes that had once lived in balance with nature, offering them “education,” “economic development” and a chance to play a minor role in our ruinous, negative-sum economic games. Given such options, their oft-observed propensity to do nothing and stay drunk seems like a perfectly rational choice. It minimizes the damage. But the damage may already have been done. I will present just two examples of it, but if you don't like them, there are plenty of others.
For the first, you can do your own research. Buy yourself an airline ticket to a tropical paradise of your choice and check into an oceanside resort. Wake up early in the morning and go look at the beach. You will see lots of dark-skinned people with wheelbarrows, buckets, shovels and rakes scraping up the debris that the surf deposited during the night, to make the beach look clean, safe and presentable for the tourists. Now walk along the beach and beyond the cluster of resorts and hotels, where it isn't being continuously raked clean. You will find that it is so smothered with debris as to make it nearly impassable. There will be some material of natural origin—driftwood and seaweed—but the majority of the debris will be composed of plastic. If you try to sort through it, you will find that a lot of it is composed of polypropylene and nylon mesh and rope and styrofoam floats from the fishing industry. Another large category will consist of single-use containers: suntan lotion and shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, water bottles, fast food containers and so on. Typhoons and hurricanes have an interesting organizing effect on plastic debris, and you will find piles of motor oil jugs next to piles of plastic utensils next to piles of water bottles, as if someone actually bothered to sort them. On a beach near Tulum in México I once found an entire collection of plastic baby sandals, all of different colors, styles and vintages.
Left on the beach, the plastic trash photo-degrades over time, becoming discolored and brittle, and breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. The final result of this process is a microscopic plastic scum, which can persist in the environment for centuries. It plays havoc with the ecosystem, because a wide variety of animals mistake the plastic particles for food and swallow them. They then clog their digestive tracts, causing them to starve. This devastation will persist for many centuries, but it has started already: the ocean is dying. Over large areas of it, plastic particles outnumber plankton, which forms the basis of the oceanic food chain.
The ravages of the plastics plague also affect land. Scraped together by sanitation crews, plastic debris is usually burned, because recycling it would be far too expensive. Plastic can be incinerated relatively safely and cleanly, but this requires extremely high temperatures, and can only be done at specialized facilities. Power plants can burn plastic as fuel, but plastic trash is a diffuse energy source, takes up a lot of space and the energy and labor costs of transporting it to power plants may render it energy-negative. And so a lot of plastic trash is burned in open pits, at low temperatures, releasing into the atmosphere a wide assortment of toxic chemicals, including ones that affect the hormonal systems of animals. Effects include genital abnormalities, sterility and obesity. Obesity has now reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the world, affecting not just the humans but other species as well. Here, then, is our future: chemical plants continue to churn out synthetic materials, most of these find their way into the environment and slowly break down, releasing their payload of toxins. As this happens, people and animals alike turn into obese, sexless blobs. First they find that they are unable to give birth to fertile male offspring. This is already happening: human sperm counts are dropping throughout the developed world. Next, they will be unable to give birth to normal male babies—ones without genital abnormalities. Next, they will be unable to produce male offspring at all, as has already happened to a number of marine species. Then they go extinct.
Note that no disaster or accident is required in order for this scenario to unfold, just more business as usual. Every time you buy a bottle of shampoo or a bottle of water, or a sandwich that comes wrapped in plastic or sealed in a vinyl box, you help it unfold a little bit further. All it takes is for the petrochemical industry (which provides the feedstocks—oil and natural gas, mostly) and the chemical plants that process them into plastics, to continue functioning normally. We don't know whether the amount of plastics, and associated toxins, now present in the environment, is already sufficient to bring about our eventual extinction.
But we certainly don't want to give up on synthetic chemistry and go back to a pre-1950s materials science, because that, you see, would be bad for business. Now, you probably don't want to go extinct, but if you decided that you will anyway, you would probably want to remain comfortable and civilized down to the very end. And life without modern synthetics would be uncomfortable. We want those plastic-lined diapers, for the young and the old!
This leaves those of us who are survival-minded, on an abstract, impersonal level, wishing for the global financial, commercial and political collapse to occur sooner rather than later. Our best case scenario would go something like this: a massive loss of confidence and panic in the financial markets grips the planet over the course of a single day, pancaking all the debt pyramids and halting credit creation. Commerce stops abruptly because cargos cannot be financed. In a matter of weeks, global supply chains break down. In a matter of months, commercial activity grinds to a halt and tax revenues dwindle to zero, rendering governments everywhere irrelevant. In a matter of years, the remaining few survivors become as Captain Cook saw the aboriginal Australians: almost entirely inoffensive.
One of the first victims of collapse would be the energy companies, which are among some of the most capital-intensive enterprises. Next in line are the chemical companies that manufacture plastics and other synthetic organic chemicals and materials: as their petrochemical feedstocks become unavailable, they are forced to halt production. If we are lucky, the amount of plastic that is in the environment already turns out to be insufficient to drive us all to extinction. Human population can dwindle to as few as a dozen breeding females (the number that survived one of the ice ages, as suggested by the analysis of mitochondrial DNA) but in a dozen or so millennia the climate will probably stabilize, the Earth's ecology recover, and with it will the human population. We may never again achieve a complex technological civilization, but at least we'll be able to sing and dance, have children and, if we are lucky, even grow old in peace.
So far so good, but our next example makes the desirability of a swift and thorough collapse questionable. Prime exhibit is the melted-down nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Contrary to what the Japanese government would want everyone to believe, the situation there is not under any kind of control. Nobody knows what happened to the nuclear fuel from the reactors that melted down. Did they go to China, à la China Syndrome? Then there is the spent nuclear fuel pool, which is full, and leaking. If the water in that pool boils away, the fuel rods burst into flames and melt down and/or explode and then, according to some nuclear experts, it would be time to evacuate the entire northern hemisphere. The site at Fukushima is so radioactive that workers cannot go anywhere near it for any length of time, making it rather fanciful to think that they'll be able to get the situation there under control, now or ever. But we can be sure that eventually the already badly damaged building housing the spent nuclear fuel will topple, spilling its load and initiating phase two of the disaster. After that there will be no point in anyone going to Fukushima, except to die of radiation sickness.
You might think that Fukushima is an especially bad case, but plants just like Fukushima dot the landscape throughout much of the developed world. Typically, they are built near a source of water, which they use as coolant and to run the steam turbines. Many of the ones built on rivers run the risk of the rivers drying up. Many of the ones built on the ocean are at risk of inundation from rising ocean levels, storm surges and tsunamis. Typically, they have spent fuel pools that are full of hot nuclear waste, because nobody has figured out a way to dispose of it. All of them have to be supplied with energy for many decades, or they all melt just like Fukushima. If enough of them melt and blow up, then it's curtains for animals such as ourselves, because most of us will die of cancer before reaching sexual maturity, and the ones that do will be unable to produce healthy offspring.
I once flew through the airport in Minsk, where I crossed paths with a large group of “Chernobyl children” who were on their way to Germany for medical treatment. I took a good look at them, and that picture has stayed with me forever. What shocked me was the sheer variety of developmental abnormalities that were on display.
It seems like letting global industrial civilization collapse and all the nuclear power plants cook off is not such a good option, because it will seal our fate. But the alternative is to “extend and pretend” and “kick the can down the road” while resorting to a variety of environmentally destructive, increasingly desperate means to keep industry running: hydraulic fracturing, mining tar sands, drilling in the Arctic and so on. And this isn't such a good option either because it will seal our fate in other ways.
And so it seems that there may not be a happy end to my story of The Five Stages of Collapse, the first three of which (financial, commercial, political) are inevitable, while the last two (social, cultural) are entirely optional but have, alas, already run their course in many parts of the world. Because, you see, there is also the sixth stage which I have previously neglected to mention—environmental collapse—at the end of which we are left without a home, having rendered Earth (our home planet) uninhabitable.
This tragic outcome may not be unavoidable. And if it is not unavoidable, then that's about the only problem left that's worth solving. The solution can be almost arbitrarily expensive in both life and treasure. I would humbly suggest that it's worth all the money in the world, plus a few billion lives, because if a solution isn't found, then that treasure and those lives are forfeit anyway.
A solution for avoiding the sixth stage must be found, but I don't know what that solution would look like. I do find it unsafe to blithely assume that collapse will simply take care of the problem for us. Some people may find this subject matter so depressing that it makes them want to lie down (in a comfortable position, on something warm and soft) and die. But there may be others, who still have some fight left in them, and who do wish to leave a survivable planet to their children and grandchildren. Let's not expect them to use conventional, orthodox methods, to work and play well with others, or to be polite and reasonable in dealing with the rest of us. Let's just hope that they have a plan, and that they get on with it.

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zorba THE GREEK's picture

AR15...check, AR10...check, several 12 gauge shotguns....check, 357 & 44 mag revolvers...check

silver...check, gold...check...6 months food supply...check.  Bring on stage 6.

johnQpublic's picture

i wanna be there when zorba the greek is shooting at, then bribing the storage pools at fukushima in an effort to keep them from falling over


anyone looked at that building lately?

no way it goes five more years

only bullets you'll need zorba will be for friends and family

nc551's picture

I can't take this guy seriously, he plugs the IPCC report and calls it "conservative and cautious."

johnQpublic's picture

i appreciate your sentiment on the climate nonsense

but the nuke storage pools terrify me

and i think he and others are spot on in this regard

the pacific is ruined

too late for that

multiply it by a million and there is reason for concern

Supernova Born's picture

"We do wish to survive collapse, provided the survival strategy includes such items as gender equality, multiculturalism, LGBT-friendiness and nonviolence."

Sounds like the space hippies Captain Kirk and the Enterprise come across in the original series.

Dr. Destructo's picture

Nope. It's most certainly going to be chaos, with various tribes absorbing/killing each other outside of the feudal aristocratic city-states.

The good news is that we'll have Thunderdome.

CoonT's picture

Had to be said. That one line, stopped me in my tracks. Next-

Ying-Yang's picture

Can't wait for his 7th Stage of Collapse /s

SeanJKerrigan's picture

Heat death of the universe?

BTW: If you're looking for more to read on the subject of financial/industrial collapse, there's this


Also, here are some more Quotes for Times of Financial Instability:

“The only gods left are the gods of war.” — Eldridge Cleaver

“Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people.” — Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

“I dream about fighting fascism and, if it’s a deep sleep, a woman loves me for it.” — Mort Sahl, comedian

“It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” — William James Durant

“Everything’s already been said, but since nobody was listening, we have to start again.” — André Gide

“Exploitation and manipulation produce boredom and triviality; they cripple man, and all factors that make a man into a psychic cripple turn him also into a sadist and a destroyer.” — Erich Fromm

“The historical record is that no empire that has entered its twilight phase stops, takes stock of what it is doing, and then attempts to reverse its trajectory. In fact, as students of civilization such as Arnold Toynbee have pointed out, the usual pattern is to pursue precisely those actions that will accelerate the decline. In this regard, the U.S. has been depressingly exemplary.” — Morris Berman

Oh regional Indian's picture

My sentiments exactly. Orlov is brilliant...but the ipcc report??? That said thoigh,  the rest is spot on. Living/working conxitions in most of the industrialized/ developed world and the portions of countries like India that are thisly cursed, are abysmal. Deeply offensive, polluted, dirty beyond belief and people living/freated like animals.

Time to get un-civilized.


Anusocracy's picture

"Imprisoning anyone, animal or person, was to them taboo."

Didn't they break one leg of a kangaroo to keep it crawling around in a circle as a form of 'imprisoning it' before slaughter?

Cruelty towards the roo but it stayed fresh longer.

Diogenes's picture

Orlov is a moron. Typical of the "intellectuals" who ran England into the ground between the end of WW1 and Margaret Thatcher. Thick as two planks and wet as a monsoon.

ISEEIT's picture

Almost lost me at that idiocy also.

I finished the (thankfully) short article though.

I'm grateful that ZH allows a diversity of thought and opinion. All I can agree with this guy on is that mankind collectively is absolutely moronic and by any measure of demonstrable merit not worth the air being breathed.

As individuals though we tend to be decent enough. I'm all for rational environmental stewardship.

The author clearly is not.

IridiumRebel's picture

It's good to know that in a hyper-collapse(TM), Zerohedge and its readers would mostly survive....for a while. We would have to write notes and meet in person, but it is comforting to think that the shithead culling would move swiftly, unabated. 

Totentänzerlied's picture

So you're planning on offing yourself after 6 months. I see.

The alternative interpretation is that you have the reading comprehension skills of a newt.

What part of "near-extinction level event"* don't you understand? What are you gonna do, shoot the nuclear fallout/drought/pestilence/famine/war/dictatorship(s)? Buy them all off with your Krugerrands? Be sure to laugh right in your kids' faces as you do it, telling them all about the non-future you won't be around to suffer in.

*Not to imply that agree or disagree with Orlov, who thinks he can survive indefinitely on his sailboat by hugging the continental shores.

cougar_w's picture

Cognitive dissonance. That, and nobody gets how these things play out at scale. They can talk about "collapse of the global fiat monetary system" and "I've got 5,000 rounds of ammo!" in the same comment. What the actual fuck.

Cabreado's picture

As an engineer, maybe you use too many words because you can't contain the problem in your mind.

What you are looking for is "Control" and in your prognostications omit it altogether.

(And this is, and will be, about Control that does not care about "living in harmony with nature.")


DeadFred's picture

He uses the aboringinal population of Australia as an example of living in harmony with nature. When humans entered that continent 40,000 years ago they quickly drove the vast majority of species to extinction, somewhere closes to 90% of all large animals. There were no species that were domesticatable when Cook arrived because they were DEAD. This is a apt group to use as an example for scratching out survival after we've destroyed the planet but not for how to live in harmony. If those days are not foreshortened none will survive.

LFMayor's picture

Now Fred, don't you up and go pee'n on the Noble Savage campfire.  That's not very considerate of other's feelings.

Element's picture

Er, the only continent where the largest species didn't almost completely die out was in Africa.

How are those plains buffalo going?

I disagree with anyone who's position seems to presuppose that humans are not animals, but must be considered or treated as different and not a part of earth's natural biota. The truth is humans are doing what evolution has always done, our brain is natural, our technology is natural, physics are natural, our metallurgy is natural, out chemical synthesis is natural, our energy use is all natural.

None of it is 'synthetic', none of it is 'artificial' (whatever that word is supposed to mean, or to signify or impart to us), we have been told it is somehow all wrong, bad, alien and irresponsible, but it is not.

Quite the reverse.

None of this is foreign to the planet, and we don't know how the natural systems will deal with it, and respond over time, maybe we should wait and see before we assume we're done for, eh?

This planet and this infinity produced all of it, and I'm quite ok with it and with our pending sooner or later extinction.

We don't have anything to apologize for, or feel guilty about, anymore than a wolf should for eating a 3-day old bambi, and feels zero guilt for tearing apart a still kicking fawn.

We did not produce us, we developed into what we are, from what we started with, and could make the most of, and we have done and mind-blowingly spectacular job of that.

If it kills us, that's too bad, but that's a part of it too, there is absolutely no reason why we have to be here, or to continue, and in time, we definitely won't. ... and? What do people expect? You got to live, stop effing whining about eventually going away.

Why kick the shit out of yourself about this? Do what humans do. And if it is a 'failure', whatever. Life will now try something completely different, elsewhere in the cosmos. So what.

There are infinite possibilities and if we do what we do, gee, you never know, we may surprise ourselves and crack the big time in unforeseen ways.

Let me remind you, 110 years ago humans got about in horse and buggies, adn the streets were covered in horse crap, and the very first airplane was flown.

Since then our early 1970s tech has flown right out of the solar system! We have moved on another 40 years, now you're readig this on a PC, written on the other side of the planet.

Now if you don't think we have potential to go further here, you are not paying attention to how far we have come, and how fast we have done it.

It remains to be seen if the 'problems' discussed above are terminal, or the price of human existence, and being what we are.

Every animal changes its environment in numerous ways to better suit its own needs, and it can change it for worse as well.

We are not doing any different, except we're so much better and faster at doing it.

We definitely have our shit together as a critter, and we should be very proud that we are the most astonishing thing that this big ball of silicate rock has ever produced, and probably ever will.

If the earth can be said to 'blossom', then we are its ultimate spring-flower, what we are doing, right now.

But flowers do not last. and that is how it must be for flowers.

Enjoy your bloom, you are extremely lucky to be able to enjoy it, just like the wolf enjoys a very full stomach on a beautiful night. Bambi was mighty yummy though, so cute and innocent.

What I do know is I love the English countryside, and others like it, and it's because generations of humans shaped it, to what humans wanted and needed. And they did a really good job of that. And I get this same sense in Australia, being in the bush, where it's clearly not optimal or ammenable for humans, so it's a real relief and a joy to get back to a rural setting that has been deliberately optimized for human beings and our needs. It is beautiful and enjoyable most of the time, the bush is just different, but both settings are extremely beautiful.

I would add however that many cities do not produce these same feelings. We have gone too far and made big urban mistakes, and what we've got now is Detroit today, and many other cities such as smogville(s) China.

But I know we can do better, and we do now know how to do that, so we should maybe get over the self imposed guilt of Bambi being lunch, and manage our human needs better as well, if we want to make a go of this 'life' thing.

Or, we could admit we're goners, and to blame for everything that's 'bad', and give up and become dinner. What to do? what to do? ...


No thanks ... really, ... no thanks.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Saw a guy in my office building today who looked like one of the Chernobyl children.  He's a financial advisor so I didn't feel too sorry for him.   And I'm guessing he had fun last night.  I was just glad I was walking out of the bathroom as he was walking in because I had a few last night too (probably equivalent to what he drank this morning to get up) and couldn't have taken the smell.

g'kar's picture

Was it the lizard skin or the third arm that gave it away?

LetThemEatRand's picture

Could have stacked an 18 pack in each of the bags under his eyes.

IridiumRebel's picture

Send him to 

They'll dispatch him real quick. 

Mike in GA's picture

This guy is a unicorn breeder.

lieto's picture

Japan is showing us the way to the future in so many ways.

We are so screwed.

Poor Grogman's picture

Stopped reading at the climate change crap!

Cue crapmeister to step in with more buffoonery

Errol's picture

Grogman, it must be nice to have such certainty regarding such a complex subject.  You must be an outstanding climate scientist.

"It ain't what we don't know that gets us in trouble, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so"   Mark Twain

cougar_w's picture

Certainty by another name is called fear.

Totentänzerlied's picture

I'd say it's despair.

"Despair is for people who know, beyond any doubt, what the future is going to bring."

- Patrick Curry (Defending Middle-Earth Tolkien: Myth and Modernity)

He continues:

"Nobody is in that position. So despair is not only a kind of sin, theologically, but also a simple mistake, because nobody actually knows. In that sense there always is hope."

Poor Grogman's picture

"It ain't what we don't know that gets us in trouble, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so" Mark Twain

Very true words from MT well worth remembering for the high priests of
" climate science" doom ism.

Now give me some more Benny Bux so that I can save you all with my vital research, or you will all die...

acetinker's picture

Orlov's a windbag.  OTOH, Samuel Langhorne Clemens has proven himself to be a wit beyond compare for over a century. Hope he, Carlin et, al; are havin a knee slappin' good time somewhere...?

WillyGroper's picture

From Jesse's.

3rd paragraph from the bottom.

Engdahl's the man.

Totentänzerlied's picture

"This tragic outcome may not be unavoidable. And if it is not unavoidable, then that's about the only problem left that's worth solving."

Not many people understand this at all, and most of those who do are firmly in the "unavoidable" camp... I'd love to know if they have family, "because if a solution isn't found, [...] those lives are forfeit anyway."


lewy14's picture

The peasants are cluttering up the park, to be sure. We're all just the homeless and the street kids leaving our detritus around the river walks, creeping out the vibe for the "nice" families...

So, if you were the global elite, what would you do? Especially now that "the world economy" has done its job and invented means of production which don't require slaves or workers? How do you shut down the rest of humanity "gracefully"?

I know what I'd do. Surveillance, propaganda, terror, unification, other hatred, self hatred, debt, distraction, dissipation, death. Every cycle consolidates more power in fewer hands.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Sound familiar?

What if this elite wasn't the savior from collapse, but the cause of it? Destroying the human village in order to save it.

Which side is this Orlov guy on, anyway?

Seer's picture

What TPTB do is, at this time, irrelevant.  The "damage" has already been done.  Further, and I'd hoped that you'd gotten the point about Fukishima et al, is that NO ONE can control these things.

I've always struggled with the concept of chem trails, of their existence as some sort of population(?) control.  It's not very precise AND, I'd think, should I be one of the persons responsible for it, I would find it hard to segregate myself from the intended crowds (maybe it's only a northern hemisphere thing?)  My point here is that you really have to ask how TPTB can have any sort of game plan for their own survival with all the complexities that enter in to all of this.

Perhaps the terror IS real? (though it's not the REAL terror, such as Orlov puts forth)

And lastly, it's the MESSAGE not the messenger: whose "side" are YOU on?

lewy14's picture

Whose side am I on?

Call me an anthrophile. 

Orlov vibes "misanthrope" to me.

Systems would be a lot less complex with a lot less people. TPTB would like a lot less resistance to a great "simplification" which would impoverish and kill billions. They need lots of "useless idiots" to help them.

The last scapegoat is all of humanity and he sounds like he's inciting - or justifying - a pogrom.

cougar_w's picture

I would have to say that Orlov gets it. I keep saying here, there is no way out. There really is no way out.

Even if you don't believe me, try it on for size some time. As an intellectual exercise if you like. Let yourself think about no way out. How that feels, what it sounds and looks like on the ground, what it means in real terms.

No way out.

It is probably like they say, about suicide jumpers. Most of them change their mind half way down, or so the survivors relate. But by then there is no way out.

samsara's picture

It gives me the same feeling I got watching the movie "On The Beach" at the time I was something like 12.

All the nuc reactors worry me like Dmitri. Who is going to gracefully power them down when we need to?

Seer's picture

I'd had this argument with this staunch anti-war/anti-MIC guy many years ago.  I like(d) the guy, he walked his talk: divested everything.  Anyway, I'd argued that THE primary task should be disarmament because there wouldn't be enough available energy to take things apart before entropy fully set in: in the future energy would be too scarce to "waste" it on something like this.  He thought that I was silly.

Human hubris is able to create some amazingly powerful blinders to the real world.  We refuse to acknowledge that ALL systems fail (and BIG systems fail in BIG ways).

There is only ONE way for nature to balance things out, as there are no predators: we do it to ourselves.

mccoyspace's picture

Good to know that Existentialism never goes out of style:


Jean-Paul Sartre - "No Exit"


Martin Heidegger's 'Being-towards-Death'


Friedrich Nietzsche "Eternal Return of the Same"