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Doom and Gloom? Technology to the Rescue?

I recorded an interview with a professor of public policy (not yet aired on C-Realm) who advanced a moderate version of "technology to the rescue." He seemed to take the position that a breakdown, contraction, and re-organization of our society at a lower level of complexity constitutes "doom," and that if anything can prevent that from happening, then that thing, whatever it might be, will have saved our civilization. What a lot of people don't seem to appreciate is that the indefinite extension of our current situation shouldn't necessarily be seen as a salvation or that getting on with the transition, scary though it may seem from this side, should count as the dark waters of doom closing in over our heads.

From a recent blog post by Jim Kunstler:
I reject the label "gloom-and-doomer" where these difficult transitions are concerned. There's a lot about the way we live now that is disgusting, degrading, demoralizing, and socially toxic -- from our suicidal diet of processed fat, salt, and corn syrup byproducts to the spiritually punishing everyday realm of the highway strip to the fantastic loneliness and alienation of a people made hostage to a TV-consumer nexus of corporate colonialism. We're done with that. We just don't know it yet. Mr. Obama may not know it, either, but he is a trustworthy soul to hold our hands as we enter this unknown territory.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
victoriapandora
Nov. 13th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
It could all happen gradualy. This is our lives, not some fast internet connection. We can ease into this change.
I am not even sure it has to be that difficult, course I stipped years ago. So maybe I am out of touch.

victoriapandora
Nov. 13th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)
OK, disregard that comment, never listen to anyone who hits send while attempting to close the page.
And FYI "stipped" is still not a word:)

I agree with Jim though, I am willing to try again.
katuah
Nov. 13th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
I've had a great deal of difficulty with Mr. Kunstler ever since I heard his opinions on those of us with tattoos. i don't think he's got nearly as deep a grasp as he thinks he does on the potential for positive social change embodied in the resurgence of neo-tribalist inclusive youth cultures like Burners and such. However, that said, I agree strongly with you and with him on this one. I don't like the label "doomer" because I don't think it has to feel like "doom" to change our way of life away from the exploitative and capital-centric toward the sustainable and community-engaged. contraction of economies? sure... but expansion of heart. cheesey, but hey.

Edited at 2008-11-13 04:40 am (UTC)
peristaltor
Nov. 13th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
I think they're both right. What's missing is for someone to actually define which tech should be considered "crucial" for survival, and which is expendable.

"Lower level of complexity?" Once one delves into what that means, parsing as one goes, it might just be easier to sustain that what we have, but without the assumed loss of functionality. For that reason I tend to discount anyone with blanket statements that lack specificity.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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