Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Jul 23, 2012

End Of The World Party

For the past several months I've been thinking about the potential of a near future collapse of human civilization in an almost obsessive way. I'm not talking about the Mayans or anything esoteric, but a real and logical situation. Are we humans digging our own graves, or are we going to become our own saviors? Thinking about this is useless, duh, especially when the reach of this blog is just the two of you. I doubt I'll get any answers, if there are any, or raise awareness, if that even helps the situation.

What the hell are you talking about, Cesar, tell us! Alright, I'll do my best to explain what I mean, but please take in mind that I'm not an expert on the matter, and there is a very good chance that you'll read inaccurate babble, just because I'm petty much pulling all of this out of my ass. On the other hand, I think all I say here is reasonable and follows logic.

I believe there are 3 main factors present in our current civilization that we should keep an eye on because our survival might depend on them. These factors are:

1. Energy, or lack of thereof. This is directly related to oil, or current extreme human dependence on it. You may have already noticed we are surrounded by oil based products, and that our every day life would probably be very different if oil suddenly disappeared. Many countries economies depend almost exclusively on oil. As far as I know, and this is debatable, we should be close to peak oil, if we haven't already reached it. It's hard to be accurate regarding that, because it seems that oil producing countries tend to exaggerate when talking about the amount of oil in their reserves for political purposes.  As oil reserves get depleted, the price of oil increases, probably very quickly, and if alternative energy sources are not discovered, we are what they call on the streets, fucked. Without the energy that oil provides and has provided for the past 100 years the possibility of growth is almost nonexistent, almost everything we do depends on oil, from transportation (of humans and goods), fertilizers, most of our electricity, and many products that are vital today, like computers and cellphones. In fact, once the oil industry can't satisfy the world demand of oil, a world economic collapse is imminent, with the increasing possibility of war, perhaps a 3rd world war, and internal chaos in the US and many other countries around the world as well. I only hope Mad Max is not Mel Gibson this time. The world will regress several decades, perhaps centuries, in a violent jump.  We face complete chaos because we'll be unable to supply basic needs to a great number of humans. Once the survival instinct of the most unfortunate sets in, things are going to get out of anyone's control, since the most unfortunate will probably be the majority of the world. No electricity, internet, cars, recorded music, microwaves, cellphones, TV, radio, computers, etc, etc, etc.

Alternative energy sources are not an, ahem, alternative at the moment. Even when the amount of solar energy the earth receives every day is many times more than the energy we consume from oil, solar energy and all the other alternative energy sources combined only make up for 1% of the total energy consumed, and don't seem to be a solution, since most of them depend on oil, or are extremely hard and expensive to harvest.

Rex Weyler ended his article "Peak oil is real and will stunt any economic recovery" with a paragraph that describes very well the situation humanity faces:

"During the last century, society burned the best half of recoverable hydrocarbons that represented 500 million years of captured sunlight; a one-time storehouse of high quality, concentrated energy. We squandered it on drag races, traffic jams, private jets and overheated office buildings. We burned this valuable asset and called it "income." If you did that in your home, you would go bankrupt. Peak oil is real. The consequences – at best – will be a slowly scaled-down industrial civilization. If we continue to ignore these facts, the consequences will be far worse. Nature just is not sentimental."

2. Population. We're just too many. It's very simple, we can't properly sustain 7 billion people on earth. There's not enough water, there's not enough food, and more importantly, there's not enough oil. Just the presence of 7 billion people on earth disrupts the natural balance of things, driving thousands of other species to extinction and reaching a very unstable natural state that could go to shit at any minute. Many recent studies, like this one, predict imminent irreversible planetary collapse due to the fact that we're just too many and that we consume more than we have. It's possible we're already fucked and what we're living is the last efforts to present the illusion that everything is OK, but this illusion can't be sustained indefinitely. If shit hits the fan, which seems almost unavoidable since 7 billion people produce a lot of poop, I predict that population reduction will stop being voluntary and will have to be imposed. What is now considered the right to raise 15 kids, if you are crazy enough to want that, will have to be criminalized. This might look insane from the individual's point of view, but from the collective's point of view makes perfect sense. Things can get really ugly if we don't do anything about it now. People need to understand that their kids have no future at the moment.

Speaking of no future, this 30 minute video explains the oil and population issues very well, and in a easy way to understand it.

I understand that there are different points of view, for example, my dad, who I consider a very smart guy and who has direct experience in the oil industry tells me that we will not be alive by the time peak oil affects us considerably. My dad is usually right about these things, but that doesn't mean he can't be wrong. I hope he's right, I just don't think he is.

3. Climate change. It's getting harder and harder to deny the obvious, so deniers simply shift to the following rationalization "well, this happens all the time by natural causes and it won't be a big deal, we can't waste resources on this, fuck it, I want my big house and my big car and my big burger and my big smile". These people are free to be that naive and to believe what their political party says, regardless whether it makes sense or not, but they're not only fucking themselves, they're fucking everyone else with their arrogance. If anything, climate change should be monitored very carefully. It should be feared. It's happening and we can feel it. Our ecosystem is actually very strong and adaptable, but it's taken a really good beat from our own hands. We could be on the verge of a sudden avalanche of "rainy days" caused by nature's re-organization of things to gain balance once again, and it could get very weird. It makes no sense whatsoever not doing anything about it because this might affect our sweet economy, when we face a much worse scenario if the climate change predictions become true and we don't act promptly.

It's true that us humans are also part of nature, and that perhaps we'll find a way to co-exist with all the other species in harmony eventually. This is true, but since it's not something we're looking for necessarily, it may will be presented to us as the only chance we have of survival in the future, the only door left unlocked to allow our survival and to continue moving forward. Life, nature, will take care of the problem we have created in a much more practical, non-sentimental, and effective way, than us. A much more drastic and violent way. It's not nature what we're actually dealing with, it's life. Life is something really powerful and hard to get rid of completely once it happens. Its basic code, specifically the survival part of it, makes life an entity you don't want to ever have to deal with. Nature just follows the rules physics, chemistry, etc, life is a bit more tricky, and ironically, it could easily kill us all if it needed to. I don't think this will be the case, but I think we might get a good spank on the butt that will take the lives of many of us if we don't do anything about it. I know all this sounds very new agey and weird, but it's not, it's a very simple concept. We have been arrogant to believe we're more important than the other creatures and that live on earth and than nature's balance. We think that because we have thoughts, and we're aware, and supposedly have more freedom, we're entitled to do whatever we like. We express our freedom by doing what we're not supposed to do, and forget that life's terms, bacteria and humans are equally important. Life doesn't care about who's smarter, but who brings the most benefits or causes the least damage.

. . .

So, is there anything we can do? 

I don't know, I'm not an expert, why do I ask this to myself? I could give you my personal useless opinion based on little knowledge I have (which is probably not less than the amount of knowledge you have).

I made this Civilization Survival Escape Velocity vs Time Chart to illustrate our current situation:

Civilization Survival Escape Velocity vs Time Chart
 I can only think about two or three steps we can follow to avoid colliding with the Bad Future, or rather, the ideas behind these steps, because I wouldn't know how to implement them:

1. Drastic population reduction. I'm not talking about killing anyone, but about stop procreating. I believe (without any real data or anything, just mere intuition) that there should be half the amount of people we have today, around 4.5 billion.

2. Concentrate most of our efforts in finding alternative energy sources, meaning using a lot of the oil that's left in finding a good alternative or a way of multiply the energy that oil currently provides. We need a replacement that's renewable. Solar energy seems to me like the way to go.

3. Getting rid of capitalism. This is a thought I had recently that surprised me, because I'd never thought capitalism was all that bad, I just thought that it just needed to be regulated a bit. II think now that capitalism is not a sustainable model unless there are unlimited resources. I'm sure someone has already talked about this, given it a name and put it on a book, but I'm ignorant regarding that, so I'll just talk about it as a new concept, and self-proclaim myself as a pioneer. I mean, only the two of you read this and probably never read this far, so who cares? Anyway, I propose replacing of capitalism with something I'm gonna call Collectivism. We need to see ourselves as a collective, not as individuals. What we do should benefit us all, not only us. We are good as a group but terrible as individuals, and I've started to notice this more and more with the arrival of the internet and social media. I understand what I say here sounds crazy and perhaps even anti-American, but my point is not to fuck with America at all, but to provide a better future for all of us. Not a grey, colorless and miserable experience, but a rich and wonderful one. I don't think that the me-me-me bigger-bigger-bigger more-more-more mentality of the American individual is sustainable long term. I think we should stop thinking about money or accumulation of wealth, but as a rich and positive experience, where we're really free, free to roam the earth, free to have a good education, free to work doing only what you love, free to do whatever we want, as long as are influencing us all, the world, nature, the universe in a positive way. Hey, you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. 

I know it's possible everything I talk about here never happens, and I haven't even mentioned other possible solutions that we humans could eventually make use of to avoid this dark and grim future. I'm talking about things like the arrival of the Technological Singularity, or some other type of unexpected technological advance in the near future, but it's impossible to predict when any of those things will happen or if they will happen at all. It's not too crazy to think things like these will be what saves our asses, but I don't think we can currently count on them. Also, even if these things don't happen and our civilization doesn't collapse in the fashion I'm present, I think all the issues I mentioned in this blog are still problems that affect us greatly and should be dealt with anyways.

If you are reading this and think my reasoning is wrong, or if you have data or evidence of some kind that my ideas are wrong, let me know. I'm a searcher of truth, not a defender of a side. I'll fight alongside truth regardless of where it comes from. I'd have no problem accepting something I oppose and consider ridiculous (like Scientology, for example), as true, if I was presented with undeniable evidence that was not the result of trickery.

One thing I know, is that if there are other more advanced civilizations the one thing that makes them different from us, is that they are able to factor the consequences they might face tomorrow because of their actions today.

As always, I haven't proof read any of this crap, and I'm sure there are 1 million mistakes and bits of awesome unintelligible broken English, I apologize for that. I'll take care of that tomorrow when I re-read what I wrote here and the embarrassment starts making me feel very uncomfortable

You may play the following video now (thanks Booger!).


Reese Darby said...

I hear Water is going to be an extremely precious commodity in the not-so-distant future, which I think is connected both to Population and Climate change. Without it, or enough of it, entire cities and states etc. could collapse...

And, when you are referring to your Collectivism, would it be much different than socialism? how would income be accumulated?

CE54R said...

You know, I haven't really formulated specific details about Collectivism, it's just a basic concept or idea. It may have things in common with the original concept behind Communism/Socialism. However, even communism and socialism are theoretically democratic systems, and I think democracy or even elected leaders may not be part of what I'm thinking. I know it sounds like crazy stuff, and people may imagine it as some type of lawless wild west. I'm thinking about something super organized. What will be done will be the best for our all species. We might have to reach a certain level of technological level to be able to introduce this. And there won't be any income, or money, it won't be necessary.