Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's Obvious III: Some Transformations Will Be Positive

February 19, 2009

With so many downtrends in place and anxiety understandably rising, we should recall that most feedback loops are self-correcting. Broken systems will be transformed, not neatly, but messily, via multiple feedbacks; trends reverse and much of the change, however wrenching, will be positive.

It is extremely easy to extend any trendline indefinitely into the future. Thus just as the bogus "prosperity" of the past decade was expected to last forever, now the trends toward dissolution and crisis seem irreversible.

But "the Way of the Tao is reversal," and we can expect the meltdown/Depression to usher in necessary reforms and transformations.

I recently received missives from two correspondents on just this subject. Longtime contributor Harun I. made these observations:

"Currently, the U.S. government and its population en masse is experiencing cognitive dissonance which is causing cognitive distortions. Either we undergo a voluntary cognitive reconstruction that leads to more productive behavior or it will be forced upon us.

This period is much more important than 1929. Peak utilization? Actually, we have overshot. Maintaining a growing population amid declining resources is irreconcilable.

Make no mistake, this is not doom and gloom. If you travel to the slopes of Mt. St. Helens today you will find a lush and flourishing ecology. Growth requires destruction.

Changes that pose survival challenges cause man to raise his mental level to match the task. Literally, we are alway one thought away from answering every question. The answer is already here, has been since the beginning, it is just waiting to be received."

Correspondent Richard Metzger foresees very positive outcomes from the wreckage of failed insitutions and policies:

"I so totally see the upside to this mess. I see it to the point where I feel utter and total *revolutionary* joy and excitement. I'm not depressed or even that apprehensive, I feel energized. Like I am about to join a street parade. True euphoria. The feeling of certainty, that I was born the right year!

"It' is about to erupt in the culture. Here, in Europe, in Japan, maybe China and Russia even. I think it'll start in the UK and spread.

I believe that it is inevitable that the species will come out ahead THIS TIME and that the excesses of capitalism will be shunned and even outlawed. This will be another French Revolution, less violent, but as far-reaching in the ultimate outcome.

I was mentioning that I was quite surprised to see the peace punks/anarcho punk slash squatters movement taken so seriously by UK academia and even BBC television via a GREAT series called "Lefties" --which you must see, it shows you how far these folks really got.

I'm also struck by the fact that many of the young fans of this music and philosophy (pacifism, veganism, anti-vivisection were all strong elements of the movement) who are now in their 40s are starting to re-meet each other on various online forums. Also that these people are instilling their children with this ethos of thinking for yourself and that NOT engaging in the system might be a damned smart way to go. And that there are options.

Within the 45-year old bodies of the late 70s/early 80s anarcho punks and "New Age Travelers" (as they were later called) lie hearts still beating to the ideals of their youth. It would appear that they are being "reactivated" as activists again and it's a development that is astonishing for me to witness in 2009.

This is why I say it will happen in the UK first, because the ideological underpinnings of true revolutionary politics once had a very strong foothold in England's green and pleasant land. It lives on in these people and they're going to be very influential, I feel.

Incidentally, have you ever read about the "Stop The City" (which is what the UK "Wall St." is called, "The City") demonstration of 1984 organized by London Greenpeace?

I was in THE CENTER of those riots and I had a camera, too. It was insane. I didn't realize this until a few days ago, but that protest is considered the very first anti-globalist demo, the granddaddy of the riots in Seattle and elsewhere. People were there to SMASH THE STATE and it was an amazing thing to see.

The BBC reported that 10,000 people had shown up (what I saw) but by day's end they'd cut the number to 2500, which was very typical for the time.

Thank you, Harun and Richard, for these insightful commentaries.

If asked for a concrete example, I would turn to the failed "healthcare" system in the U.S. When 40 million mostly poor, politically inactive people lack any coherent healthcare coverage, then the political effect is essentially zero. But when 10-20 million formerly middle-class people join the ranks of the uninsured as the economy declines, then the political pressure to transform the current dysfunctional snarl will rise to the point that fiddling while Rome burns-- the preferred option of all players--is no longer a political option.

The cries of various sacred cows being gored will be deafening.

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