Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Being Cassandra

In Greek mythology, Cassandra had the power to foretell the future, but she was cursed by the god Apollo to never be believed. I don't know anyone who is seriously engaged in the study of the end of industrial civilization who hasn't personally experienced the curse of Cassandra, oftentimes through their own families and friends.

The inspiration for this post was a post on The Economic Collapse blog titled If You Don't Warn the People, Their Blood Could be on Your Hands. Although I think the title is a bit overdramatic, the point is valid. So what should one do when one has bad news that nobody else wants to listen to?

One consideration is that families have splintered over disagreement over about what the future holds. (I am not exaggerating here, many other people who have engaged with Peak Oil and similar subjects can cite examples.) When one's spouse or children, or siblings or parents, refuses to heed the warnings that you bring, and more to the point, refuses to accept lifestyle changes that would make your family's future more survivable, what should you do?

Even more than many questions, the answer to this one has to be intensely personal. There is no map that I have ever heard of for navigating this particular wilderness. So, what follows is simply my response, and not intended as advice. Food for thought, perhaps, but not advice.

For me, I have concluded that maintaining strong relationships with my family and close friends is more important for increasing the chance of my family and community surviving and prospering than worrying about whether we have selected the optimum lifestyle. Also for me, my current income derives mostly from being a real estate agent, and in that line of work, having a public persona that is wildly out of step with popular culture is not a profitable route to success. This issue of a public persona is also why this blog is published under a pen name.

To summarize, when cast uncomfortably in the role of Cassandra, I stay mute much of the time. I do a little that I can to improve the resilience of my lifestyle, I keep track of what's going on, I write this blog, and I try to prepare psychologically at least for the future that seems likely. And, most importantly, I continue to try and maintain strong relationships with those around me. The future, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is highly uncertain; it may be that many of our preparations are for naught and that having many people around us who we know well and trust implicitly might make up for some of the lack of preparation.

No comments:

Post a Comment