Underlying each authors angst hides the same unspoken theme. Are we now, finally, over the brink and in freefall? Is the entire stability and strength of the Empire of Distopia just a hollowed out phantom, like all the empires before it, because a few self-serving and inept individuals are lavished with treasure? Is this how Empires collapse?
Sir John Glubb, a British author and lecturer, argued that most empires generally don’t last longer than 250 years. Greek Empire? 231 years. Roman Empire? 207 years. Ottoman Empire? 250 years. Romanov Russian Empire? 234 years. British Empire? 250 years. Well, we’re sitting at a ripe old age of 237 and deep in the midst of what Glubb called the Age of Decadence.
Freefall? Maybe you can't see it out the window yet but how does your gut feel? Queezy or easy?
Phantom? As Judy Garland found out, behind the big curtains, they're all phantoms, phantoms who use our fears to control us.
The good news is that almost all of the problems the living planet faces, including the entire environmental catastrophe, is a byproduct of consumer driven extractive capitalism, an idea, a worldview that can and will change, be it by design or Gaian response. As Sun Tzu says in 'The Art of War', "Know your enemy is the first rule."
Our greatest enemy is ourselves, our mind's ability to justify our actions. as J M Greer says, "...people [will] make quite a show of boycotting anything environmentally destructive on loudly proclaimed moral grounds, just so long as they can replace it without any actual change in their lifestyle or decrease in their comfort level.” The truth is that these crisises, political, environmental, financial or ?, can't be solved by improving the efficiency of capitalism, they are caused by over-consumption and only by reducing the amount of material stuff we produce and consume can we 'be the change we wish to see in the world'
The good news goes on to explain that there are solutions, time tested, totally safe ways for humans to live by following different laws, laws like 'The Law of Return' - of giving back - which Vandana Shiva explains in 'We Are the Soil', has "ensured that societies create and maintain fertile soil and can be supported by living soil over thousands of years". Whereas consumer capitalism follows The Law of Exploitation - of taking without giving back - which has led to the collapse of civilisations since long before the dawn of witten history.
It may appear that past empires existed because they managed to funnel the resources of a far wider region than they live within back to the 'mothership' by military might and/or the use of the fear of that region's particular boogeyman. The Empire of Distopia is global, it's military muscle the most powerful ever, but its most effective weapon is still fear, still the boogeyman.
"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell said. The truth is it's impossible to consume the way out of over-consumption. All empires collapse from within soon after the boogeyman is discovered to be a phantom. The next couple of Mud Reports will focus on how to be part of ending the phantom boogeyman's reign.