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TEOTWAWKI

Is the Deadly Crash of Our Civilization Inevitable?



By Terrence McNally,

link: http://www.alternet.org/story/47963/

An interview with Thomas Homer-Dixon about our choice of crises and collapses.

Excerpt:
TMN: It's going take playing the film backwards to save ourselves.

People have heard about the litany of crises in your book, but what's unique I think is the stance you're willing to take about what's going to happen. Jared Diamond says that there are two main factors that define whether societies succeed or collapse. Societies that survive practice long-term thinking and are willing and flexible enough to change their values when they no longer serve them.

What do you feel will save us from ourselves? What is The Upside of Down?

THD: My difference with Diamond is that I don't think we're going to really begin those conversations in a proper way until we face some crises or breakdowns. In other words, my impression of his argument is that collapse is something we have to avoid, in all cases and in all forms. On the other hand, I believe there is a spectrum of forms of collapse. At one end is the ideal, optimistic future where we solve all our problems and we live happily every after. At the other end is catastrophic collapse. We have tended not to fill in all the spaces in between, but that's actually where things might be very interesting. There may be some forms of disruption and crisis that will actually stimulate us to be really creative. Most importantly, they may allow us to get the deep vested interests that are blocking change out of the way.

(...)

There will be times of frustration and fear and anger on the part of many people when fundamental verities and patterns of life are suddenly challenged. They'll be scared. And in those moments, extremists can take advantage of the situation and push our societies in directions that are very bad. Those of us who are nonextremists need to be prepared to push in other directions and create something that's good.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
malabar
Feb. 16th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Good stuff! Thanks for the pointer.
tragemorph
Feb. 17th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC)
> There will be times of frustration and fear and anger on the part of many people when fundamental verities and patterns of life are suddenly challenged. They'll be scared. And in those moments, extremists can take advantage of the situation and push our societies in directions that are very bad. Those of us who are nonextremists need to be prepared to push in other directions and create something that's good.

Amen to that. We'll succeed not by constricting or stepping back in time, but by moving forward, continuing to evolve, and becoming ourselves more thoroughly.

P.S. Life in Japan is downright swell, I would say.
kmo
Feb. 17th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
Life in Japan
P.S. Life in Japan is downright swell, I would say.

I'm genuinely pleased to hear that. Would you be interested in hooking up via Skype and talking about your experience there for the podcast?
tragemorph
Feb. 18th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Life in Japan
First of all, I'm honored that you would ask!

In general that's something I would be quite interested in, particularly in light of your podcast's unique subject matter, as well as the various interests and traditions of thought which we share.

However, I'm not sure exactly what I could talk about- I've only been here three weeks, and as fast as things are going, I have just barely scratched the surface! Since my experience here is still in its embryonic phase I don't know what I could offer at this point.

I'd be happy to discuss it further, though- if you'd like to reach me, send an email to chris at sublimeparadigm dot com.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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