March 13th, 2010


The Long Emergency

The circumstances of the Long Emergency will be the opposite of what we currently experience. There will be hunger instead of plenty, cold where there was once warmth, effort where there was once leisure, sickness where there was health, and violence where there was peace. We will have to adjust our attitudes, values, and ideas to accommodate these new circumstances and we may not recognize the people we will soon become or the people we once were. In a world where sheer survival dominates all other concerns, a tragic view of life is apt to reassert itself. This is another way of saying that we will become keenly aware of the limitations of human nature in general and its relation to ubiquitous mortality in particular. Life will get much more real. The dilettantish luxury of relativism will be forgotten in the boneyards of the future. Irony, hipness, cutting edge coolness will seem either quaint or utterly inexplicable to people struggling to produce enough food to get through the winter. In the Long Emergency, nobody will get anything for nothing.

from page 303 of the hardback, author: James Howard Kunstler