Tuesday, January 20, 2015

good and evil in the garden


Good and evil shouldn’t be a complex subject, and if you ask anyone they will tell you the same thing.  Yet, ask every single person to give examples of both and if they don’t belong to the same tribe than answers will vary widely.  Mainly, due to the fact that tribal allegiance requires making outsiders evil for the only reason that they are not of the tribe.  Again, not a hard concept to grasp.  We evolved to be such and only artificial unity into multi-tribal nation states has clouded the issue of what used to be common sense.  Yet, you must not just grasp the underlying principle but also the nuances involved as we enter the more interesting stages of the collapse.  If the Druid Dude and minions ( tens of thousands strong ) are correct then you can go back to relaxing because the collapse has only started in the 1970’s when global per capita energy use hit peak so we have two hundred years to go until our cities are ruins molding into forest floors ( the Olduvai Theorists which gave us this date of oil age peak only gave its lifespan as 100 years so according to them 2030 is that forest floor date give or take a mere handful of years because 1930 and 2030 are identical in global petroleum output with a huge difference in population numbers ).  If, on the other hand, you are an honorary Bison Redneck Irregular ( mere hundreds strong ) and believe in the waterfall collapse, centuries of gentle, tolerable, adaptable decline are a cruel irrational joke.  In the case of true collapse taking a mere few years ( as opposed to Collapse Lite which is just a decrease in the increase of petroleum production rather than a total lack thereof ), you must recognize now human behavior will change as it goes into survival mode.


In a situation where food supply no longer is sufficient, a famine which is such a common occurrence across history that it has never ceased to be an annual event, more often than not malnourishment kills almost everybody on the casualty list.  Not starvation per se.  Starvation was getting them into the grave but before that happened a weakened immune system killed them from something else like a disease.  Or, Hell, just a flu or bad cold.  In this case, human society by and large stayed coherent.  There were huge global shaking events.  The Mongols being driven from their traditional steppe grasslands.  The Protestant overthrow of Papist control after farms went from under to over supply after the Black Death.  But as huge as these events were, they involved cohesive societies expanding or expiring.  Mostly, in that the exceptions proved the rule.  Now, why do you think we will repeat these historical norms?


We are no longer farming or herding, but merely manning electronic controls.  90+% no longer work the land but merely squat atop infertile soil in urban areas consuming petroleum deprived calories.  How can a collapse last centuries on a foundation such as this?  When we fall, globally, it is going to be hard and fast and in toto.  And this is when good and evil become a problematic concept.  Because at this point, NOBODY is either one.  Oh, you can point to an evil criminal motorcycle gang and be correct their behavior is bad.  Or a Amish community that feeds all comers is good.  But that is behavior that is in addition to the basic human response.  We are, all of us at that point, just hungry.  How we resolve that problem isn’t inherently good or evil, as black and white hero/nemesis fiction stories lazily portray, it is merely opportunistic.  We all respond how we must, morality aside.  The criminal biker gang must be mobile locusts,  the raping and torture and killing really having nothing to do with how they must procure food.  Even if they gently administered a painless chemical to kill all their theft victims, minimizing pain rather than maximizing it, in the end they must steal food and hence kill its former owner.  The Amish, being in a position of surplus primarily because their pacifism allowed surplus energy to be devoted to farming rather than paying a tax of defense preparedness, are not sharing out of good over evil but have no choice in the matter.  If you find yourself in a position of slaughtering innocents, women and children, as an expedient to helping a smaller group of innocents to survive,  are you evil?  Or are you just responding to hunger?  If gifting a church to feed refugees makes you feel god rather than evil, and then when your own tribe starts to starve because you gave away too much surplus, are you still good in their eyes?  You endangered them because of your stupidity in regards to the concept of good and evil.  When a father goes out to kill neighbors to feed his family, is he evil?  Or would he be so if he didn’t do such a thing?  You can all hold hands and die together, not having engaged in evil.  I’ll take my chances in the afterlife, because I’d gladly resort to “evil” to help my tribe.  In a localized famine, social unity only frays at the edges in the end, after which it is too late.  In a global famine, you can only “win” if you throw out the larger societies welfare and immediately resort to “evil” behavior.  When you are looking at a 90-95% die-off, only the fast and ruthless win.  Nice guys die.  As do their dependents.


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  1. Well, the entire reason to prep is to store up from the fat times (that are starting to end now) for the lean times (in the foreseeable future). I think we will be on a 'white water' cross between your waterfall, and druid dudes slow decline model. Myriad localized disasters without real adequate support from the larger civilization will do in many places. But not all at once. The more independent and sustainable a place is, the more likely it is to handle the disasters that are coming. Iceland for example shares a single contiguous culture has significant energy independence *geo thermal woot!* and if they are smarter than their Viking ancestors, should be able to find a way to feed as much as half their population (hello sardines for breakfast lunch and dinner, feast day when they slaughter one of the sheep).
    I expect Iceland will be able to survive with only 50% or so losses.
    Las Vegas on the other hand does NOT have the hoover dam, or any source of water in its full control, and all the near by farms have been paved over (for the most part) There isn't enough cattle in the desert ranches to feed Vegas's masses, and so they will start traveling the interstates (one of which goes to LA, another to Salt Lake City and then the high ways (look out Jim). I would be surprised if Las Vegas sees 2075 with even 1% of its population.

    1. If I were Iceland I'd be worried about the fishing stocks declining from ocean warming.