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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

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
calizen
Mar. 14th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
Ouch.

Let us hope that we find more ways to adapt than this.
liveonearth
Mar. 14th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
=-] Yes, I know it's a grim paragraph. The book is actually quite good. He manages to refrain to being overly emotional about what he sees in our collective future, and speaks to the ways that communities can begin to adapt NOW.
hausfrauatu
Mar. 14th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
I think all of this "We will never be happy again!" is stupid, ahistorical and hysterical. We will just be easier to please! As if people have be happier with the astounding amount of wealth we have. I don't disagree with Kunstler's facts, but I do disagree with his attitude.

Brian I talk often about how we feel BETTER since the economic slowdown, because the general mood is more reality based. Things have limits. Things don't only go up. After years of waiting for the bottom to fall out, it's a relief, in a way. Here it is. Let's start dealing with it. Rather than running around felling like screaming, "Are you all BLIND?!?!"
liveonearth
Mar. 14th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
I think Kunstler looks ahead and sees a future that really is tragic. But I think his view is longer than one generation. For your generation and mine, life will remain relatively easy. In the very long run no one can say for sure, but the picture that he paints is compelling and the major indicators point that way. There have been many generations on the building of this civilization, and there will be many generations in the destruction of it. Just because a way of life ends does not mean that all the people in it are miserable. But it is a lot more work trying to grow food than it is sitting on the couch and waiting for your disability check. If you know what I mean. I agree with him that we Americans are blind. Astoundingly so. Frightfully uninformed overall. And maintained that way intentionally, like pets, with notable exceptions who are largely found here on the internet.
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