The Opinion Engine 2.0:
Why do you think the common discourse in our society, at political, technical and cultural levels, generally ignores the likely impending collapse of our civilisation? Answer can include things like: What are the consequences of this ignorance? How does it make you feel? What does it remind you of? What could alter it? Bonus: Avoid making assumptions about the exact nature and timing of the collapse - there are lots of possible ones, and nobody knows the future. It's probabilistic.

Soylent green sign

Question from Francis Irving.

Let's begin.  Prestissimo, please.

Civilisation is going to collapse. We won’t know how, we won’t know when, but at some point, civilisation is going to collapse. In order to answer the question we have to work from that assumption outwards. If the question was, “Will civilisation collapse?” my answer would more likely be “maybe” (illustrated by a picture of me shrugging) because to continue in the first person, even though I’m inherently pessimistic about myself, I’m optimistic that civilisation will survive. But the question is the question and so we must proceed from the assumption that civilisation will collapse.

If society is wilfully ignoring that impending collapse then it’s for the same reason that I doesn’t think it will happen. It’s because society itself is inherently optimistic and to work, to carry on, it has to assume that civilisation has a future. What’s the point of trying to accumulate wealth if you can’t spend it? What’s the point in having a car if you can’t drive it? But society is constantly as war with itself on these issues, because it knows collectively, not always subliminally that the consequences of such optimism and ignorance could itself bring about the collapse of society. But it can’t help itself. It has an addictive personality.

To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. We should be aware of all potentialities for collapse and making plans. But there are enough clever stupid people and ignorant stupid people willing to listen to stop that from happening. It’s become an ideological fight between whether bringers of truth or lies can have the upper hand and too often, because this is a petulant, self-perpetuating machine, the latter takes precedence, largely because it’s cunning enough to offer the version of the truth which best suits their purposes. That’s how apathy develops. Why bother arguing against someone who isn’t willing to be rational in the first place?

It’s like this column/piece/essay/blogpost/blog post which could and probably should have been well researched and planned out pointing to useful articles like this one from The Guardian about how the population will increase to such an extent the film Soylent Green will look like a documentary. But the bonus section wilfully disallows me from coming to any conclusions about what the nature of the collapse will be, forces me to ignore the specifics and work in generalisations leading to woolly thinking. Which is society’s other approach to the collapse.  There are so many potentialities it chooses to ignore them all.

Which means that in the end, because society is fixed in a reactive rather than proactive cycle, the only way the situation can alter is the actual collapse of our civilisation, because then, and only then, will society, or what’s left of it, know what hit it and have some ideas on how to deal with it. But of course, we’ll probably spend so much time analysing what happened, having arguments about who was to blame, with the people who were to blame pointing to other about causes and wanting to see how they can profit from it, that it’ll stay collapsed. Which is why I have to be optimistic, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

No comments: