James Howard Kunslter's The Long Emergency is making itself more and more visible in my life as the days move on. I've been a student of this particular study for approximately three years now and I have read from authors encompassing the full spectrum made visible by this particular telescope into the future. You can see this future with binoculars now if you are paying attention. For many they need no assistance in seeing this future because it has become present for them. This is the way it looks from the American Hallucination, as Joe Bagaent would have put it. The fact that this is not the collective conversation amongst the masses right now is testament to the magnitude of delusional thinking of the masses just now. What the masses can't see because they are unwilling is the single fact that growth on Gaia is dead for now. In fact, not only is growth over with, but contraction is very much Gaia's meme for our time. This means that our way of providing sustenance within this civilization is changing. I covered many of the reasons for this in my last blog
Indeed, growth has been replaced with contraction. In other words we are living through the age that is the end of the "golden years" for our civilization. We're at the end of our retirement and many of us will die to make room for the new and young. We take with us our fossil fueled legacy of easy living. Michael Ruppert places those of us responsible at right around 30 years and older. I'm not sure I agree entirely with his quantifying on the matter as I am 31 and I don't feel too responsible for the mess the world is in. I'm not saying there's no blood on my hand, there most certainly is, but I was born into the cancerous growth stage of this death spiral. I was born into the paradigm that has died already, and I have lived my entire life from within it. It wasn't until Peak Oil came to my attention via The Long Emergency that I realized exactly how we had been duped and what to do about it. What to do about it is a damn good question worthy of much thought, and believe me I have put much thought into it. Most books on the topic have a chapter on what to do about it, and that's just biased opinions from the authors subjective perspective.
The spectrum explored by the PO authors ranges from the fast collapse, as epitomized by Michael Ruppert with around a 10 year timeline from now, to The Long Descent outlined by John Michael Greer with his "Catabolic Collapse" lasting nearly a century and happening in fits of collapse followed by new normals and more fits until the "Ecotechnic Future" is reached. Between these two authors rest many opinions, all of which are well informed and even empirical such as Dimitri Orlov's Reinventing Collapse. Trying to figure out what to do about all of this is a daunting task that requires a strong and vigilant psyche to navigate. I'm of the opinion that survival, in any situation, is mostly about psychological adaptability. I think a good place to start is to learn how to develop a stoic attitude towards the ownership society. This is the shining example of what I'm talking about:
and the more mature version of this young man:
This exemplifies what our future is going to require of us. A composting toilet, above ground cistern collecting rain water from the roof, some consumer grade solar/wind power (wind can be made with an old automobile alternator and bike parts), and small wood burning stove can all keep you independent, healthy, and happy with the right stoic attitude. These tiny dwellings can be built with recycled materials that create extremely insulated spaces. The pictures featured throughout this blog are from this website. Part of the New Paradigms requirement for survivable adaptability is the embrace and cultivation of salvage. The Buddhist/Stoic attitude addressing possessions is also an imperative. Owning things does not work in small spaces in an age of contraction. It will be required to replace ownership with earth stewardship and community resilience.
Waste is no longer viable in the New Paradigm. Waste will be seen as something to be avoided at all costs. Our waste is embodied perfectly in our cultures attitude towards our own bodily functions. There is a phobia and taboo associated with our bodies own form of waste removal. Our culture uses drinkable water to deal with this "disgusting" function of our own bodies. We urinate and defecate into a magic hole and we whisk away our own dirtiness with the elixir of life. Without water you will die in three days. We are 70% water and this is a resource that is growing more and more scarce. Humanure is a practice that man has used for thousands of years and yet society scoffs at it now. Advocates of utilizing human urine and feces as safe and composted fertilizer for growing food are seen as nut jobs by the popular culture of the old paradigm. The day is approaching where those of us who do not embrace salvage entirely and with open arms will remove themselves from the gene pool. In fact, that day has arrived already for many, and they are being removed because of their own ignorance and stubbornness.
The class of economic non-person is growing rapidly in America. This class is hiding in plain sight and we are all too happy to ignore them. Until we join them and join them we will. As in you, dear reader, will probably become one of them in the not too distant future. This is the genesis of this essay. I am seeing this reality emerge in my own life. The day where I will no longer be able to abide in what the system is requiring of me is approaching rapidly. As of now I'm hanging on to it by a gossamer thread that is seconds away from snapping. I'm strongly considering cutting that thread myself so as to buy myself what little bit of time I can for preparation. I am a husband and a father and because of this I am still hanging on, but only because of this. Yet this reason is one of fear at the precipice of embracing the Neoparadigm. It's also a stronghold of my stake in the collective denial perpetuated by wishful thinking. Most new economic non-person's think of their new status as a reflection of their own failures. This is not true. It is a reflection of a society that has overshot it's capacity. That is, it's a society that has out grown it's energy supply. It's not your fault. It's just the fact that the New Paradigm is insisting upon. I am beginning to believe that the best thing anybody can do at this juncture, indeed the moral thing, is to no longer contribute to the debt society. The ultimate in non-violent civil disobedience in protest to this dying paradigm is to quit the debt slavery system. Stop paying your credit cards and foreclose on your house. Our leaders are administering palliative care to their selves right now and they are throwing us overboard. An anecdote may help illustrate my point:
The American Healthcare Casino
I work for a for profit corporation that deals in the hospital business. My particular area of healthcare is EMS and my agency is owned and financed by this corporation, I'll call them the For Profit Corporation (FPC for short). I've been working for FPC for five years now as an EMT. Every year I have somehow managed to bring home less and while getting a 2 to 3% raise every year. Mostly this is due to insurance costs and newfangled scheduling practices. The last two years they have changed plans on us and this always equates to paying more for less. Every year the options for healthcare are fewer and more expensive. They are changing our plan again at the end of the year. We now have two options one of which costs around $400 a month for my family (my wife and 14 mo old child) with an $800 deductible. After the deductible is reached they cover 80% of the costs so long as it's in network. This can still result in crushing debt under the wrong circumstances.
The other option costs almost nothing per month with a $2400 deductible that comes with a convenient "healthcare savings account" that is the brainchild of our altruistic government. This plan is called the "healthcare savings plan" in perfect Orwellian notes. Here's how it works. I pay the $2400 deductible and get coverage for any major detrimental healthcare issue at around 80% coverage. I'm still on the hook for 20% after the deductible which can result in crushing debt. The healthcare savings account allows me to place money into it tax free. Every year my employer will contribute $1900 to the account which I can draw from to pay the entire costs of doctor visits for any of my family. This means I have to add an additional $500 to meet my deductible. This all sounds pretty good, but it's not. Basically FPC has bought me off for $1900. Where before, as in now, they are paying around $8000 dollars per year on my families behalf for the insurance. They are saving a lot of money for themselves. Here is the catch. That money that they contribute into the healthcare savings account, and the tax free money I contribute is managed by Fidelity. That money resides in the hallucinated market that is Wall St. FPC is giving me some chips to take to their casino so that I can gamble for my families healthcare. This is what it has come to.
The Decrease In Hourly Wages Raise
Now factor into this mess the second blow to this years one two punch. We were informed that we were getting "raises" along with our new schedule change. A 3% raise no less!! At the end of the year we will net 3% more. Let me explain. They are lowering our base hourly rate and working us two more hours per week. The 3% comes from the fact that we are working more hours during the week. The end result of this is that they lowered our hourly rate and called it a raise!! While at the same time essentially removing our full coverage (while pretty expensive at $600 a month for my family of three) healthcare and replacing it with a cheaper and almost non-existent form. This is the worse year I have seen for evaporation of benefits and wages. I work for a hospital and essentially I have no insurance, not for the day to day practical coverage at least. I will have insurance that will pretty much require me to pay full price for doctor visits. Luckily, if I go to the hospital I work for, they will comp any care. As long as I don't go anywhere, I don't have to worry about being financially ruined due to a health issue. If I leave the county I reside in, however....I enter into the American Healthcare Casino where the wager is my credit. This is still pretty much the best America has to offer for it's still viable employee.
By law the ER has to "stabilize" you. The class of people who use the ER for their primary (and only) source of healthcare is growing by the year. Every week now I have a patient that actually needs to be seen at the ER who refuses ambulance transport because they have no insurance and cannot afford it. These are people with life threatening issues who refuse treatment because they don't want the $8000 bill that the hospital will send them for an ambulance transport and a bag of saline. You see, the hospital has to administer a battery of test because American Healthcare operates under the lawyer mandated and government approved CYA (cover your ass) principal. The healthcare system has to make sure that they insulate themselves from being sued all while adhering to the federal governments every tightening purse. Medicare requirements are getting more and more impossible by the year. Indeed, our society is contracting. What more proof do you need than to realize that our healthcare workers are being pushed out of healthcare insurance. Healthcare is refusing to take care of it's own.
I'm at the point where I'm ready to forgo paying into the American Healthcare Casino all together. That $600 a month extra that I'll bring home will do more for me in my bank account than it will in the hands of Fidelity. How do I know if they are too big to fail? The fact of the matter is that I'm already $100,000 in debt due to the mortgage on my residence. If something major happens to one of my family members they will have to be treated at the ER. So what if I have another $30,000 in debt piled onto my credit. As long as I pay $5 a month they can't do anything except harass me by phone. Hell, they're already doing that over the failed business debt hovering over us. A failed attempt at the end of the great American Dream by the last generation that even had half a chance to begin with. What does all of this debt mean anyway? It's all a hallucinated illusion perpetuated by the Corporatocracy to extract as much work and wealth from the world as they can. It's just a fantasy of the elite that we all agreed to take seriously. They are shackles that we collectively agree are real, but they are not, they are fantasy. Mortgage, credit card, car payment, housing upkeep, home depot credit, insurance, and finally illusory healthcare all designed to keep us convinced that we need to sacrifice our lives at the alter of false security for the FPC's own profit. Quite frankly sir, I'm with Thoreau and Bartleby the Scribner..."I prefer not to." This has become ridiculous and I've just about had enough of your bull shit false promises and fictitious shackles. I told you many blogs ago that I will find a way out. I haven't quit looking and I'm hot on the trail. Soon I will find the exit from your rigged game...and if you look around you will see that I am not alone. In fact, I am growing. I am the reproducing member embracing the Neoparadigm.