Thursday, March 10, 2011
The Long Descent
Gasoline is $3.50 per gallon. State governments are turning unions into eunuchs. Oil-supplying countries are erupting in social chaos.
We are experiencing the beginning of the downward slide of Hubbert's curve.
It will be a long and bumpy ride. But...it can be interesting...
According to John Michael Greer, this ride won't end for a couple of centuries. We are on a Long Descent.
Greer in his book points out that we generally live by two myths, both of which are misleading: the myth of apocalypse and the myth of progress. We are not necessarily headed either for a huge collapse next month on one hand or for a Jetsons future (onward and upward forever) on the other.
Civilizations rise and fall. The industrial age took a long time to rise. It will take a long time to fall. Greer says that we need more stories to frame our reality other than apocalypse or progress. We need some better myths, some better stories to help us cope with this long descent.
I think Peak Oil is a spiritual problem. Since I became aware of it, I have been trying to find metaphors, symbols, and narratives that can help me make sense of it. I think that is my job. I don't think I have been very successful at it. But I keep trying.
I am grateful for Greer's book. I would hope that my religious colleagues might take up this interesting challenge. After all we are all about myths and stories and yet we (that is clergy) seem to be avoiding reality.
We need an Ash Wednesday service for civilization. We are dust and to dust we shall return. But in the meantime, we live life.
We have a little book group that meets Thursday mornings and we are going to read this book beginning in April. It is an open group and anyone is welcome to join us. Whether you can be with us or not, I think you will appreciate this book.
Janaia Donaldson found John Michael Greer and talked with him for Peak Moment.
This interview was recorded in December 2008. It is your midnight movie.