Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seven cent cotton; perspective

In case you haven't noticed, the "doomer" point of view has gone global, and is taking over the mainstream headlines.  Even La Crinchy has gone doomer today.

It's depressing.  :-)

Delighted as I am to have more people taking the future seriously, and actually doing some worrying about it- I also see some danger in burgeoning hopelessness.

I'm not without hope; and I've been seeing, talking about, and working on - exactly this horrifying future- for decades.  And living as if it all actually mattered.

Hopelessness is just not useful, though.  And pointless.  You dead, yet?  Well, then.

Something to keep firmly in mind - your ancestors survived bad times- yes, as bad as any coming.  Keep your wits about you- and your chances are fine.

A little example here- a song of hopelessness, which I first heard from Pete Seeger.  I like this version, a lot.  But notice- it's a song.  Hopeless - but still singing about it.  Hm.

Lew Dite with his "The Gibson" metal head banjo uke. A song Pete Seeger taught me to love. copyrighted by Bob Miller and Emma Dermer in 1929. Song was on Seeger's "American Industrial Ballads" album.

Much of the stuff in this song is exactly what folks are fearing for their future right now.  It was the reality for your grandparents and great grandparents- they lived it.  Suffered it.

And survived it; and sang about it- and raised their children, which is why you're here today.

So.  Take it all with that critical grain of salt.


Crunchy Chicken said...

Unfortunately, I think there's really no comparison with the Depression or even the Dust Bowl to what potentially might happen in the next 50 - 100 years. These events are merely just a hangnail.

Greenpa said...

Crunch- sigh. On the societal level, you're right. On the personal level though- some of the human experiences during the 30's were as bad as it ever gets.

And then- hey, your ancestors, and mine- HAVE survived massive climate change before. The last Ice Age, ya know?

You've got survivor genes. :-)

Farmer's Daughter said...

I agree with so much of what you say about survival. As individuals, I think we may have to endure times as hard as our ancestors did, as our grandparents remember living through. The key word is endure. We can endure, I am very hopeful.

Again, like our ancestors enduring the Ice Age, I'm hopeful we'll endure the coming hard times. I've heard theories that we're so intelligent because we HAD to figure out how to survive the Ice Age. Who knows what kind of wonderful things can come out of the coming struggle? (Now, that's optimism!)

Besides, some of the biggest jerks I know have had VERY easy lives. Hard times build character, strength, dependability, and I think we may be the better for it. Getting rid of this spoiled society may be just what we need.

PocketsoftheFuture said...

While I am also sure that what will come is worse than what has passed in the last hundred years here in America (keeping in mind that there is a whole world out there that has gone through more than we have), the principle is still the same. Hopelessness is not useful. There is a lesson to be discovered in everything. Flexibility on our part and a willingness to cooperate with Nature rather than have our way yields positive results ALWAYS.

A larger perspective is so important, isn't it? It is the lack of perspective that has played a large role in getting us to where we are. We have grown soft and weak, on the whole, and need to be reminded that the requisite strength is within. We just need environmental encouragement to tap that inner grit and endurance. Yes?

I loved the video and song. Thank you. My children came running when they heard it. Perhaps we should learn it together as one more move towards preparation.

May I please ask something on another topic? A while back we tried going fridgeless, as you say, and didn't quite make it. I just posted about our efforts and some of the lessons I learned from our effort. I would be so grateful for your promised summary post about the whole topic whenever you get the chance. Or perhaps you might like to read my post and give me some suggestions? ( Again if and when you have the time. I am really keen on going fridgeless permanently and need a little boost, I guess.

Hope you all feel tiptop soon.

Thank you,

EJ said...

But lots and lots of people, and other creatures didn't survive. Many that survived were crippled physically or emotionally.
The hardest beatings have always been taken by the weakest - elderly, children, women, disabled.

Are we ready as individuals and society to go back to this kind of life? Or through this kind of change to come out the other side?

Zabetha said...

Thank you, Greenpa.

I like your line about hopelessness, "Are you dead yet? Well then."

Telling us how bad it is going to be is not really motivational for doing something to prevent or prepare for it. Just the opposite for a lot of us.

Recently I read something on another blog that was so depressing that it left me feeling like, "Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" Seriously. Right then and there I decided to toss my principles and go out in my gas guzzler and buy that Walmart bargain of a frivolous luxury item (out of lingering principled embarrassment, I refuse to name it). Why bother? We're done!

Anonymous said...


have you read LaoZi lately? or ever?

Anonymous said...

Ich- there are some of us who suspect Greenpa IS Lao Tse (the spelling I grew up with).

Amber said...

"Living as if it all actually mattered."

I go through periods of despair and hopelessness and moments of, "Oh man, we are all so royally screwed", but mostly, as the realisation of coming hard times grows, everything and everyone that I have now becomes more and more precious to me. I no longer take anything for granted. I waste nothing. I try and take no more than I absolutely need. I have everything I need. Water, food, heat, autonomy, companionship, my god, what blessings! What richness and abundance!
Things that would cause me frustration, disappointment, existential angst before, it all seems so petty and trivial to me now.
Life matters to me, it actually matters, in a way I don't think it really did before, and right now, in this moment, it is beautiful. It is enough.
And step by step, I do what I can and I prepare.

Thanks for the post Greenpa.

Anonymous said...

Greenpa -
thanks for putting the little link on the blog - My kids heard me playing it whild I was reading and came to see what the ruckus was....
now they want tiny banjos....
If I thought I could find them and teach them the song for the school talent show - I would!

I'm going back to planning my garden on paper since I have 11 inches of snow still....

Anonymous said...

Isn't hope a bitch at times?

Leila Abu-Saba said...

Hey I have better reason than most of you (except CC, my love) to feel hopeless for my personal future. Read my manifesto for hope written last fall. Covers metastatic cancer, total societal collapse, and living through it all: