The Demise of Empire
For those folks going about their business with no regard for history, or for sensible sustainable development, or discernment in choosing leaders, the wheel of fortune could soon grind finely.
For the many who have gone through their lives with blinders on seeking out the expedient, trivial and foolish, susceptible to the purveyors of popular culture and politics, denial will be the first response to unexpected change. Following this will be desperation, fear and outrage. Roving bands of disenfranchised youth are a prelude to more ominous scourges that lay in wait.
I was concerned until now that I wouldn't live to see the changes that I hoped would occur. Kind of like seeing politicians who you know should be charged with war crimes getting away with impunity. But the times they are a changing. Sadly though, it is too late to see widespread progress towards an enlightened sustainable approach to community and world development I had earlier envisioned. Now it will be gut wrenching dislocation for the unmindful as they flounder.
When vigilance for truth, honesty and fairness is abandoned, the anything goes hawkers of twisted virtue, fame and riches rush in. Gullible hopefuls looking for easy advantage become easy victums. Fortunately, there will always be positive people, places and accomplishments, and it is among these that the astute and mindful will find comradery and solace.
For about a decade, I had the audacity to promote renewable energy and sustainable communities by creating and living the lifestyle myself. Not as a hippy in a hovel but as a suit and tie professional. I understood common sense and embraced the emerging appreciation for recycling, solar energy, wind power, energy efficiency and the idea of generally walking lightly on the land. But on a macro state and national level such earth saving graces were not to be.
I designed and built a totally energy self sufficient home relying on wind, solar and wood for all the comforts even in a cold climate. My hat is off to those few who followed through or have now positioned themselves wisely utilizing some of these techniques along with developing new ones. Like with most progressive ideas that come along, once proved viable and the old paradigm milked for all its worth, the corporate mentality rushes in to reduce the more noble aspects to obscurity in tribute to the bottom line. Witness the haphazard placement of giant wind farms with little regard for scenescape. Now past peak oil prices escalate from lack of alternative foresight.
Unfortunately, there will always be sanctimonious greed waiting with unbridled zeal to exploit, capitalize on, or corner any market, and like the mafia, go to church on Sundays. There too seems to be an endless supply of the weak minded and gullible. People get what they deserve.
Some of my most inspirational moments were years ago listening to Mozart on my stereo which was powered by a turning propeller on my windgenerator out in the yard. Nowadays I am on about electric bicycles, such an obvious means of local transport, offering high utility with low environmental impact. I will try not to smirk when the SUV crowd get their comeuppance.
There are some moments of grandeur that I will miss. As an American living in the US for a period of time, I have the memory of driving big luxury cars along super highways through beautiful wide open spaces taking in the majesty of a country full of promise.
This was before the turning point in the fortunes of nationhood which I place around the time of the Kennedy assassination. Although Dwight Eisenhower warned of the Military Industrial Complex earlier, there still may have been time and opportunity to change things, but the orchestrated death of Camelot showed who was boss. It's been downhill for the Empire since.
Since that date Americans have made one foolish and disastrous choice after another in leaders (if in fact they really had a choice) with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter. That process is now blatantly corrupt at all levels. It is incredible to me that people tolerate the present regime.
Now it is to late. I don't see a way off the slippery slope of economic decline of the next dozen or so years, particularly for the US as it enters the final degenerative stages of Empire. For the lucky ones (with foresight or gold coins), there will be pockets of relative calm and prosperity throughout the world, but for the heedless masses there will be the wrenching dislocations.
Let's hope at least there isn't a resurgence in obnoxious religious proselytizing by ignorant and reactionary lost souls, as witnessed in the Muslim world. Religious fervor or political aggrandizement are two sides of the same coin. Zealots insist on 'sharing' their faith, and there never seems to be any shortage of adulating adherents. Bread and circuses for the morons.
This is not to say that morality doesn't have a role to play in the affairs of men. The ten commandments provide a good basis from which to live with one another without murderous intent. For western culture, it is hard to beat the words of Jesus for insight, if taken in an unbiased context, and studied alongside other sages of wisdom. But who studies wisdom?
We are at the cusp of a world wide economic dislocation only partially attributable to rising fossil fuel prices as commodity prices surge and the value of fiat paper money declines. Following this will be the vanishing profits of millions of speculators in the stock, bond and derivative markets. For far too long we allowed foolish people to make unwise decisions for us, or had no choice.
Perhaps most ominous of all is the fact that homeowners in many countries are about to get a rude awakening as the paper equity they assumed was real turns out to be ephemeral. It won't be pretty. I do not even wish to contemplate what will occur down on the streets when the dislodged meet the disenfranchised. People did have a choice, they just chose wrong.
I find it fascinating that history continually repeats itself yet people fail to learn. Most social control models employed by so called leaders are based on instilling fear, rewarding greed and suborning vengefulness towards dissenters. The financial markets, governments and most business models are based on this competition, which by its very nature, makes for a few winners and lots of losers. Just not enough glitter and fanfare in synergy apparently.
It requires mindfulness, but as long as we are here and fortunate enough to sidestep the true believers and the pretenders, it is still possible to form sustainable communities. Imagine conducting honest and usefulness based commerce, creating appropriate technologies, enjoying artistic creativity in harmony with man made and natural beauty, and sharing with gratitude the bounty provided by the Great Creator.