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216: Got Status?


Are fears of a peak oil-fueled, civilization-wide collapse rational, or do Doomers crave a big crash to excuse their own failures? Does the very success of our global civilization breed resentment and stress that stems from our basic psychological needs as primates shaped by evolution to obsess over our rank in the status hierarchy? KMO discusses these concerns with bloggers Mickey Foley and Randall Parker. Later, a C-Realm listener who spent a week at the Ecovillage Training Center shares his experience of unplugging from the media mainline, and Gregory Landua discusses an upcoming Financial Permaculture event to be held on the Farm in September of 2010.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
Festival of logical fallacies?
I think the blogger you quote in the introduction (Mickey Foley) might need to review a few of the logical fallacies sometimes mistakenly used in debates. Certainly straw man arguments and some kind of weird ad hominem (against oneself?) arguments feature prominently. Might even be able to work in red herrings, begging the question, sweeping generalizations, and slippery slope arguments as well. A potpourri of logical fallacies!

Perhaps this is meant as an introduction to philosophy primer? Might be a bit much to cover during a podcast!
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
I would LOVE to be wrong!
I, myself, am a dropout because I'm a doomerist, not a doomerist becuase I'm a dropout (or a "failure" in terms of dominant culture standards). I would LOVE to be wrong in my analysis of where we're headed. It wouldn't threaten my ego or self-esteem one bit.
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Re: I would LOVE to be wrong!
...not because I'd then be a "drop-in," but because my kids would have some kind of a future, etc.
Aug. 1st, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Re: I would LOVE to be wrong!
So far the comments don't seem to reflect an understanding that Mickey Foley never once said in his essay that peak oil doomers are WRONG in their assessment of the likely catastrophic consequences of peak oil. He only said that people who are losers according to the standards of the prevailing narrative are the ones who are attracted to the doomer position.
Aug. 10th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: I would LOVE to be wrong!
Well if that's the case then...
since more people are losing in the standards game then more will accept the doomer position and therefore focus on the crash, therefore lessening the crash and/or working on sustainable alternatives, etc. No?

If anything this lessens my "uncomfortable, squirmy feelings." Or am I still misunderstanding? Thanks.

Aug. 10th, 2010 05:12 am (UTC)
Re: I would LOVE to be wrong!
Yes, I think as more and more people find themselves in diminished circumstances more and more people will become receptive to the collapse narrative.
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
NY State Permaculture place
I noticed in this podcast that Randall Parker mentioned he was away from the ETC at present, and was visiting a permaculture community upstate NY. I would love to know what, and where, that community is, as I'll be moving upstate next month, and would love to learn about, and perhaps visit and contribute to, that community as well.

If anyone has an idea of the name and location of this permaculture community, I would love to know!

Aug. 10th, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: NY State Permaculture place
To the best of my knowledge, Randall Parker has never been to the ETC. You're probably thinking of Gregory Landua, and I don't think he's living in an intentional community. I think he's just plugged into an informal network of informed folk.
Aug. 12th, 2010 06:45 am (UTC)
a meandering comment
I enjoyed the application of a symbolic anthropological analysis of Doomer psychology and seeking an explanation in personal insecurities and relationships concerning status and hierarchy.

This is one of your shows that really made me uncomfortable as I reflected on what you read and what was being said by the bloggers. But, I'm not sure that I agree with the overall assessment, and I find it too reductionist to apply to the general Doomer mindset.

Although many of your listeners certainly cringed with some self-recognition at the example of seeing some disaster and saying "I told you so," or "Well, there you go. We're all teetering on the edge," not to mention the identification of desiring for a collapse, there is more to the Doomer/Prepper/Survivalist mindset than identifying a modified version of the Thanatos Death-Wish.

I'm glad that your conversation showed that there was an optimistic approach to confronting a collapse, but I like to think that many Prepper types and those forecasting Doom are more sophisticated than those in love with Post-Apocalyptic fantasies of finally being in control and appreciated.

And, then again...

Coinciding with the identification of a deep seated evolutionary programing expressed in cultural institutions, there is the cultural programming many of us received concerning a Judeo-Christian eschatology. Won't the Meek eventually inherit the Earth? Won't the sinful (re: those nasty anti-environment captains of industry!) be judged, and some Kingdom of Heaven finally be revealed all around us? How many people that grew up with these ideas (and may have discarded their beliefs) are still influenced by these hopes?

Aug. 12th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
Re: a meandering comment
Hi B,

Great observations. Thank you for posting them.

I did cringe with self-recognition when I first read Mickey Folley's "The Doomer's Curse," and so I decided I really needed to look that position straight in the eye. Mickey, unlike the second guest, Randall Parker, did not say that the Doomers are wrong (and he doesn't really seem to be a Prepper), only that they are attracted to the Doomer position because it vindicates their position as meek losers in this society based on cut-throat competitiveness.

Concerning the Judeo-Christian eschatology angle, you might check out my conversation with John Michael Greer in episode 120 of the C-Realm Podcast:


Thanks again for listening and providing feedback.

Live long and prosper.

Aug. 13th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
A Doomer's Confession
I bristled slightly when I heard "the Doomer's Curse" mainly from having an aspect of the Doomer position laid bare in front of us. But also from a personally felt identification with the narrative. Growing up as a sensitive, imaginative, non-competitive kid surrounded by ballistic dickheads in a world that does not value my talents made me very susceptible to the Doomer script. There were times when I prayed for things to go down in flames. When the 911 bombings happened, I was giddy, feeling some sort of vindication through that tragedy. As I grew older, I slowly began to realize that this mentality was crippling me. That it was bringing me to a cognitive impasse that made me unable to pursue any endeavors. I now realize that there is a difference between predicting destruction and wishing for it. Hoping for destruction is a litmus test for insecurity, and everyone in this community should be vigilant of this red flag in their emotional health. I have children now and I am working to create a world for them, rather than wallowing in the destruction of the current one.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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