Jul 142012
 July 14, 2012  Posted by at 9:43 pm Earth

Ilargi: I recently picked a comment out of the TAE comments section and turned it into an article , because it struck me as something more people should read than just those that read that section (everyone should, of course, but some are slow to catch on…). That article was our friend Skip's Cuckoo in the Coal Mine. In a somewhat Escherian chain of events, there was another comment to that article that caught my eye just like Skip's had done.

So I asked the guy who wrote it if I could turn his piece into an article as well. And asked him for pictures, which in my view could improve his tale even more. From growing up in Zimbabwe, passing through Zambia, moving to Greece to witness that crisis, and ending up – for now – in Montana, looking for some normalcy; it's not exactly an everyday life story.

He wrote back to say that was fine on all counts, and moreover he'd be proud if I did, since he's a big TAE fan. So there goes. To get a good flow going in this, I’ll start out with his, Alexander Aston's, response by email to my question if I could run his piece. Alexander points to a Spiegel article that I’ll include a few lines from. After that mail, the original comment. It’ll all make sense in the end.

Alexander Aston:

Hello Ilargi,

Firstly I just wanted to say thank you, to all at The Automatic Earth. It is far and away my favorite singular place for information and commentary on the web. As for the veracity of my story, I assure you that everything is true to the best of my knowledge, though I do not have much in the way of documentation. There is an article from 2004 in Der Spiegel that talks about my father a bit after he moved to Zambia to start farming again.

Zimbabwe's Displaced Farmers Find a New Home

As white farmers leave Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa in droves, they are being welcomed with open arms north of the Zambezi River, in Zambia. Many who have moved here to start a new life have managed to achieve record-breaking harvests in their adopted country.


Banana harvest at the Aston farm near Livingstone, Zambia Photo: Alexander Aston

Business is booming for Chris Aston. He's already planted 100 acres in Virginia tobacco and another 320 acres in wheat. He also grows hot chili peppers for US spice conglomerate Tabasco. Even during the dry season, when the unforgiving Zambian sun scorches the earth, wreaking havoc on other farmers' crops, Aston's green wheat fields sway in the breeze.

He gets his water from the nearby, bluish-green Zambezi River, which flows tranquilly past his land before crashing down Victoria Falls about 12 miles downstream.

Because Aston emigrated to Zambia only two years ago, he isn't exactly a made man yet, but he's well on his way to striking it rich. His farm already boasts 200 employees.

The world he left behind is now virtually at his doorstep, a mere 500 feet across the Zambezi River, in Zimbabwe. It was where he spent his entire childhood, where he married and fathered children, where he became a tobacco farmer — a country that was still called Rhodesia when Aston was born. But now he has vowed never to return to his former home, because it was in Zimbabwe where he lost everything.


Okavango Delta rivermen, Zambia

The Zimbabwean government seized and expropriated Aston's farm without paying him a single Zimbabwe dollar in compensation. Most of his friends left the country, some were arrested and beaten, and others were even lynched by agitated mobs. The upshot of these state-sanctioned policies has been widespread hunger in Zimbabwe.

The country has been transformed into a wasteland by its racist, socialist leader Robert Mugabe, who proudly sports a Hitler mustache, holds sham elections and censors the press. Mugabe brags of having "an academic degree in violence" and of being the "Hitler of our times." His country has become a nightmare, even by Africa standards. In light of what's happened in Zimbabwe, Aston is relieved that he managed to get out in time. "They treated us like the children of Satan over there," he says.

Like Aston, many white Africans find themselves on the move once again, and tensions are no longer confined to Zimbabwe. In Namibia, racist agitators have been stirring up hatred against white farmers among black farm workers, while "Blankes" in South Africa are also beginning to face increasing violence. More than 1,500 white farmers have been murdered in South Africa since the end of apartheid.


Behind the lines view of the ebb and flow of protesting in Syntagma square, Athens, June 29 2011. Like a tennis match, the protestors would lob into a space screaming, carrying sticks and stones. A few seconds later the tear gas would fire and in would rush police and mill about. Rinse and repeat. Photo: Alexander Aston

Alexander Aston: I also have a number of photos I took during the large austerity riots in Athens at the beginning of last July, as well as images from a few projects that were going on in Greece that I felt really showed an alternative. As you can gather from my post I have been dealing with these issues in one way or another for a long time. My desires are simple, I want a relatively safe life, in a beautiful place with people I love without fear of extreme deprivation or violence.

The only solution I have ever been able to come up with that seems feasible is to pay attention to what works (by the way, there is a large group here working hard to start a Montana State Bank modeled on the North Dakotans and it is starting to gain traction), try and develop models as organically as possible and hope like hell that others will adapt. My dream, and I believe it is a rational possibility if not assured, is that as the ecology of our situation increases to exert pressure on us, that there will be a rapid emergent adaptation of behaviours effecting an "ecocultural" revolution in our socio-economic structures.


Peaceful Parko Navarinou in the anarchist district of Exarchia while there’s fighting in the streets in nearby Syntagma , Athens, June 29 2011 Photo: Alexander Aston

Anyway I would be honoured if you wanted to run my story at TAE, as I said I respect the site immensely. I am not sure what more I would add… That we need to develop utterly new moral, ethical and social philosophies that recognize human consciousness as embedded in a process of evolutionary ecology which is in turn embedded in a thermodynamic process. That unless our systems, both intellectual and material, recognize and reflect those truths they will be doomed to failure.

Yet even more simply than that, we need to love, celebrate and respect with all our being the vast and beautiful mystery that we are caught up in (If you have not seen the film Agora I believe it is one of the great pieces of art in our times and one I showed all my students). Well I have gone on quite a bit and I will leave off only by saying that we cannot claim authority over the future but only the responsibility to participate in its creation.

Ilargi: Okay, that sets the tone for Alexander's remarkable story. It's where you want to ask: you think you had it hard, or you think you've seen things in the world? Well, try this one on for size. Here's someone who's seen a deep deep crisis play out around the world he lived in as a child, and then moved on.


Alexander Aston and his dad, near Karoi, Zimbabwe, circa 1985

Alexander Aston: I grew up in an Irish farming family in Zimbabwe Africa. When I was 16 the country's economy began to collapse in earnest when the government took over the farms. Friends (black and white) were beaten and killed, homes were destroyed. On my uncles farm 400 fully grown citrus trees were cut down by the "war vets" because he refused to hand over the years tobacco crop to them.

Over the course of a few months the main support structures of the economy were essentially wiped out. There was 30% unemployment virtually overnight and that was just getting started, it was still years before it got really bad. Since the beginning of the millenium my home has suffered a 7 septillion percent inflation rate, 95% unemployment, and a drop in life expectancy from 65 to 32. The infrastructure and resources necessary to support communities were either wiped out or monopolized by elites, solidifying their hegemony over the country.

While half the population requires food aid to survive you can see multi million dollar (U.S.) homes going up around Harare in gated communities with expensive shopping centers peddling fine imported foods and goods. Zimbabwe has been sold off for pennies on the dollar, but when you concentrate that into a small elite it is still a massive amount of wealth for individuals.

What was once a truly beautiful place, full of vibrant people, has been horribly disfigured by the corruption, greed, nepotism and outright psychopathy of the Zanu-PF. In essence Zimbabwe is a corpse of a country kept on life support by the Chinese now as they haul off any raw materials of value.

Needless to say something like this has a huge impact on the psyche of a teenager. It pretty much wiped out any normalcy bias about what to expect from our political or economic systems. It also seeded a deep philosophical and practical anarchism within me.

I graduated from University in Athens, Greece with a degree in philosophy in 2006. I wrote my thesis on the philosophy of history with the central argument that Industrial Civilization would collapse and either be replaced by a new emergent socio-economic revolution an order of magnitude higher than industrialization and agriculture combined, or we would go back to the stone age or extinct.

My philosophy department dismissed me as a futurist and the economists dismissed me as a philosopher (A little vindication: I have since had a few individuals contact me and apologize for dismissing me and in review they have found my premises and argumentation sound even if they still do not necessarily agree with my conclusions).

Upon leaving university I travelled around the world, back to Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North America. For a few years I travelled to various communities to see how they functioned, permaculture farms, indigenous peoples, artist collectives, anarcho comunes. I was trying to assemble real world knowledge of what actually worked.

If there is one thing that should be obvious to us it is that we must create the infrastructure and institutions at the ground level that will provide the stability and resources for communities and individuals to realign their behaviour around as the old systems increasingly breakdown.

In 2008 I moved to Denver to start a collective with one of my best mates from University ( www.kindacollective.org ). We started small, we opened a little space and the first activity we ran was a documentary and discussion evening and branched out from there. We did things like help to run volunteer art classes in a low income elementary school that had had its funding cut.


Kinda Collective Space 2008

Currently we have a large permaculture garden with free internet access and a building we can teach hay bail construction with. We now have 150 students from the local elementary school that run classes in the garden. Last year we organized a large block party in Denvers Art District on Santa Fe street called Here is How. The event was based on collaborative practice and educational outreach. We invited a host of community groups, organizations and local businesses to the event.

Their only obligations were to handle the nature of their presence at the street party i.e. info booth, entertainment, crafts etc. plus they provided at least 200 printouts of a How-to page that we gave them the template for. This could be things like "Here is how to Build a Garden, DJ a party, Protect Local Pollinators or Fold an Origami Crane".


Kinda Collective Community Garden 2009

The collective took care of logistics, outreach and media. At the actual block party we had a book binding table where people brought all their "Here is How" pages they had collected and we showed them how to bind their own books so they could create their own community DIY manual to take home. Ultimately something like Here is How is very small, but the idea is that it helps to foster a culture of collaboration and mutual aid.

In 2011 I was asked to teach a University class in Greece to American students. We discussed the philosophy of history as Egyptians knelt in prayer before water cannons and as the fires set in the Ministry of Finance in Athens flickered light across the marble of the Acropolis. It was the perfect classroom and it allowed us to have extensive dialogue about the role of history in our lives and our responsibility in that context.

The point for me was never to tell my student that things were “fcuked”, but to provide the framework and information to form their own perspectives and ideas on what they were learning and to form a dialogue about the issues. For me the key goal is to plant the seeds, whether they are intellectual or infrastructural and recognize that the unfolding of history (or whatever term you like for the fast complexity of events we are immersed in.) will do the fertilizing.

I have since moved to Bozeman Montana (where my other best mate from University lives) having been offered a graduate teaching position which will pay for me to work on another degree (a little insulation). My small but close community here is working hard to develop what we can to provide alternatives. We are putting on Here is How Bozeman this summer and at the beginning of August we are opening a small community space. It is an extremely flexible, if not large, space that we can reorganize for a number of uses.

We will have a small merchandise section with books and goods made by local artists and craftworkers to try and supplement some of the cost of running the space. Beyond that it will mostly be composed of a library with internet access and sitting area. We will be running free tutoring and presentation/discussions out of it, small events such as movie showings, as well as providing free meeting space for anyone that wants to use it. We also have a good friend who works in early childhood development who is interested in setting up a small enrichment program for families.

We are also located a block over from the bar scene near the campus. Last year there was a string of serial rapes and we are speaking with some of the local advocacy groups and developing a plan to keep the space open and staffed Friday and Saturday nights until an hour after the bars close so that if there is anyone feeling uncomfortable or threatened by a situation can come and use the space as a safe haven and have the option of being walked home at the end of the evening. From there we will expand in whatever ways we can.

Now I am not writing all this to toot my own horn so to speak, the gains of my communities have been modest but tangible. What is of key importance is to me is surmounting the isolation that we feel when we are confronted with the apathy, ignorance and aggression of those unwilling to look at the issues that confront us with real intellectual honesty.

For years I was ridiculed and dismissed by family, friends, professors and co-workers. I learned a very careful, humble and diplomatic pedagogy for eliciting others to think on their own terms and come to their own conclusion while always being honest (but not aggressive) about my own views. In the consistency of my argumentation I have won over many once intractable individuals closer to my way of viewing what is happening. Again this is more about the fertility of history than any specific capacity of mine.

I have remained consistent and articulate, but intellectually honest when I have been wrong, for many years now. When 2008 rolled around and then the European crisis started to properly kick off suddenly my arguments were not so outlandish and I was increasingly validated by events. Above all we must have compassion for the cultural and historical perspectives in which our fellow humans are embedded.

The relationships of industrialization have so deeply purveyed our cultures and psyches. Indeed it is as unimaginable for many of us to perceive the world without our industrial economies and nation states at the nexus as it must have been for medieval peasants to contemplate a world without the Church of Rome.

However I think it is also important to recognize that a little shock (if given with humour and kindness) can go a long way to breaking down ingrained dialogues. For example a person asked me the other day what it was like in Greece this past year and I responded, “You know the scene in Titanic when the band is playing and all the people are running around screaming and throwing deck chairs over the side…” They laughed but it expressed the true intensity of the situation and subverted a lot of the propaganda fairly quickly.


Syntagma square, Athens, June 29 2011 Photo: Alexander Aston

We then had a fairly extensive and honest discussion about the real implications of what is happening. The other thing that I would say is that we need to stand our ground, again with humility and compassion but conviction none the less. I have a few years of food stored up, and the first thing that I will do when distribution breaks down is to start providing it to the community. I will readily admit this to anyone, and if they act like I am out of my mind I will humbly state that I hope I am wrong and that nothing would make me happier, but I then gently inform them that they never have experienced anything like what I am describing and I have seen it twice now.


The marble steps of the Grand Britagne chopped up for ammo, Athens, June 29 2011 Photo: Alexander Aston

It is not some misanthropic preoccupation but a visceral awareness of the implications of what I describe. This is not the providence of fiction but actual historical phenomenon. It is easy to dismiss something you have not experienced but that is a position of unexamined assumption and bias that must be exposed for what it is. It is not about making someone agree with you but to at least intellectually recognize the validity of the claim and to earn respect for your position. This again is at least a seed. I often summarize my goals as radical intention coupled with diplomatic action.

I will leave off with a short story. After the war that liberated Zimbabwe from Rhodesia in 1980 my parents and a friend renovated a Land Rover in order to go Safari through central Africa. They cut off the roof over the front seats, welded down the back cover and installed a stereo system. However, it being post independence Zim they could not find any speakers so they installed three headphone jacks and proceeded to cruise through the bush open air with their headphones on.

Everything was brilliant until they got to the border checkpoint with Malawi. This was Africa in the 80’s, the Afrikaaner government in South Africa was doing everything it could to hold onto power and destabilize Black Africa, so needless to say there was a lot of suspicion and fear. The checkpoint was your typical third world military post. Dusty concrete, topped with concertina wire, the windows broken in the guardhouse and a large picture Hasting Banda glaring down from the wall.

The Guards rushed out screaming in a language my parents did not understand, waving and pointing their A.K.’s they forced them out of the vehicle. Shouting the guards alternated from shoving the A.K.’s into their chests and pointing them at the Land Rover. It was extremely tense and terrifying and then my mother realized they were pointing at the headphones and it occurred to her that the guards were thinking they were South African Spies.

Very gently my mother took the headphones and placed them over the head guards ears. They were playing Bob Marley. The look of anger suspicion melted away, replaced by a massive grin as he started to bob his head and move his body. The guards proceeded to pass around the headphones smiling and laughing. They invited my parents for tea and then let them continue on their way.

Music alone bridged not only the divide of language but also the massive divide of black and white Africa. Courage and dignity demands that we must relentlessly seek the common ground of our humanity, from there I believe that anything is possible.

Top: Nikkis and Metropoleos just next to syntagma and the ministry of finance Photo: Alexander Aston


Home Forums From Crisis to Crisis: Zimbabwe to Greece to Montana

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    Ilargi: I recently picked a comment out of the TAE comments section and turned it into an article , because it struck me as something more people shou
    [See the full post at: From Crisis to Crisis: Zimbabwe to Greece to Montana]


    I’ll see your Zimbabwean, and raise you a Kenyan. I met this fellow at a global warming conference, he was there as a scientist from Australia. We got along well, swapped stories- and eventually, on day 3 of the conference, we got around to the fact that his parents had been white coffee planters in Kenya; and he was 12 years old when the Mau Mau came for them. They fought back. At 12, he killed grown men.

    He looked like a spectacular survivor to me; no sign of racism I could see; still working for the world. Yeah- there’s very bad stuff out there.



    It is worth remembering that the Mau Mau were not the only killers. One can say what one likes, but they were not occupying some foreign country and imprisoning the local intelligentsia to stop them from leading the rebellion.



    Nassim- of course. Colonialism is one one of the very ugly and evil things out there; with extremely evil consequences. Just trying to see it from the personal perspective of a 12 year old boy, who’d grown up helping his parents plant and harvest coffee. Decades later, he seemed to have no blind anger. Not that I did a lot of prying.

    Ken Barrows

    No disagreement on Mugabe. But, if memory serves, whites in Rhodesia declared independence from the UK in November 1965 (the month of my birth so I think I am correct). Zimbabwe because black ruled in 1980. My uncle worked as an agronomist there for a UK company until 1993.

    Seems to me there was time for some whites and blacks to take leadership (like DeKlerk and Mandela) to transition to a Zimbabwe where skilled white farmers would help the country prosper. It’s a shame that didn’t happen.


    Truly insightful, inspiring story and words.

    It is not some misanthropic preoccupation but a visceral awareness of the implications of what I describe. This is not the providence of fiction but actual historical phenomenon. It is easy to dismiss something you have not experienced but that is a position of unexamined assumption and bias that must be exposed for what it is. It is not about making someone agree with you but to at least intellectually recognize the validity of the claim and to earn respect for your position. This again is at least a seed. I often summarize my goals as radical intention coupled with diplomatic action.

    We must now engage others in whatever ways we know how. It seems that many people think of “tolerance and respect” for others as just letting them go about their business without bothering them, or finding a way to accommodate everyone’s perspectives and beliefs without diminishing them or offending anyone. I fail to see how that will be anything but counter-productive now. If anything, it shows a deep lack of respect for the other.

    Instead, we must have “radical intention coupled with diplomatic action” as Alexander so eloquently puts it. Speak honestly and listen carefully. Treat with respect and stand firm with your convictions. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t. This type of mutual engagement is much easier said than done, especially in bitter climates, but I think sometimes we will find that doing it turns out to be much easier than we thought it would be. If it can be done in the most politically, socially, ethnically and spiritually fractured environments, then it can be done anywhere.


    Ken, You are absolutely correct. Mugabe and the Zanu-PF were monsters born of Rhodesian parents. Ian Smith and the intractable and reactionary Rhodesian Front created the militant backlash that resulted in the Bush War by not working with the moderates to create a more inclusive and democratic system which they had ample opportunity to do so. On the other hand though it should be noted that the lions share of white owned farms were purchased after the war and the majority of whites that stayed in Zimbabwe were of a different mindset than the hardline Rhodies. Mostly the old guard went to South Africa, while those that stayed like my family truly identified Zim as home and worked to create something new. Even during the war my family was generally left alone. My Grandfathers Irish upbringing gave him a deep empathy for the colonized which was instilled in us. When he died hundreds of the locals came to his funeral and played the drums well in to the night. We all learned Shona growing up, my father even taught me to sing Ishe Komberera (God Bless Africa) formerly the Zim national Anthem (replaced by something more militant these days). My father started one of the first organic farms in Zim as well as a successful furniture factory training and employing highly skilled carpenters. Our family helped to start schools in the local communities as well as provide farm land. And when the Move For Democratice Change started gaining traction many whites and blacks from all walks of life organized together. My father was even abducted and disappeared for nearly two weeks for organizing with them. Things were not perfect, there was a lot of imbalance to be sure (a large part of which was simply access to the credit markets provided to Europeans) and I have abundant criticism of White Africa. However most of those that stayed in Zim truly believed in a new society and worked hard to make a new country. Ultimately what it comes down to in my view is a cynical power play by the Zanu-PF. They had a cultural wound they knew they could exploit for power and the economic instability produced from exploiting simply acted to concentrate economic power in there hands by eliminating any alternatives.


    For those who hadn’t got it yet, ZuluBuddha is Alexander’s nom de plume.


    A “club” of financial criminals have captured most western governments and financial systems and installed Debt Money Tyranny – a fraudulent, debt based monetary system that systematically transfers the monetary wealth from the productive class to the parasitic financial crime club class.

    This fraud operates within a veneer of “free market” so that this club of criminal internationals financiers can then use their fraudulently obtained “debt receipt” (society’s debt, which is unpayable since their criminal club holds the debt receipt “money” required to pay it back) to secure control of the establishment organizations within society.

    This further entrenches their control over the collective mind and all establishment interests.

    States another way, it is a sophisticated financial tyranny is engineered to hurt the citizen badly by the time the whole process has run its course.

    A graph of money flows in this fraudulent system:


    Piled on top of the fraudulent foundation illustrated in the above money flow graph is the criminal bubble / bust operation being run by Big Finance Capital (a descriptive name of the criminal class running this operation – the wealthiest, most politically connected people on the planet Earth):


    It’s all illegal – and they lie about a nonexistent “dual mandate” in order to cover the tracks from the people not educated in how to perform intellectual self defense via the Trivium.

    “The Ultimate History Lesson” with John Taylor Gatto (free on Youtube) explains the rational why this small groupd of criminal [D]elites feels they can commit unlimited crime against the rest of us AND THAT THIS IS DOING US A FAVOR!

    Netflix “the Empire in Africa” to see how this “club” of criminals oppresses and divides indigenous populations in order to asset strip nations.

    Then Netflix “A Film Unfinished” about raw footage Hitler took of the Warsaw Ghetto a few weeks before he shipped these people to the concentration camps.

    Your assignment – tell us all the fundamental difference between the current crop of [D]elites that rig fraudulent societal asset stripping monetary systems and deny resource opportunities so that 25 million people die of malnutrition every year and Hitler’s Warsaw Ghetto model other than size of real estate and lack of walls.

    Oh, and the fact this current crop of psychopaths are 1) much better marketers and 2) kill people in numbers Hitler could never imagine… 250 MILLION in a decade, all under the radar of the average citizen intellectual self defense capabilities.

    One might argue, as one retired physics professor did to me, that this is the result of the impoverished being “backwards” in some fashion.

    My retort is that sub Saharan Africa would look like the pinnacle of civilization relative to an America where the power and resources were cut off for a year.

    Vote “Yes” and get the word out on California Prop 37 – Label Untested GMO Pesticide “Food”


    “I have seen it twice now.”

    This line impacted me the most. The fact that it has happened elsewhere does not mean that it will happen where I am now? Ignorance in the face of a line like that is downright stupid. Running off to the worst possible conclusion is scary. Yet aiming for the middle ground may also turn out to be ignorance.


    Hello…great article….I was thinking that I needed to stop reading sites such as this because it is sometimes too much information and a bit overwhelming. I was happy to see a positive note…I too live in Bozeman; I have a degree from the U of Ms….Mississippi….in economics but I now am a journeyman electrician…I do all types of electrical but am trying to branch into solar as much as possible.as I am also a big reader of the Oil Drum..I have done about 20 solar hookups..anyway If I can be of service let me know; I will offer all my services for free…my email is [email protected] I live on south sixth ave….we must all work together ….keep up the good work!…Daniel…



    I sympathise with your experiences. I had to leave Egypt in ’62 because the government confiscated most businesses and farmland including my family’s factory, farmland and even home – it is now the HQ of their Social Security Organisation, which is rather funny when you think about it. 🙂

    However, there is one common factor between these two countries besides the obvious ones like foreign meddling, the corrupt military and so on. In both these countries the population was exploding. Egypt had 20 million when I was born in 1950 and now has around 80 million. In Zimbabwe, 42% of the population is 14 or less. Of course, the early deaths tend to skew the distribution, but it is not unusual for a woman to have 8+ children in places that part of the world. Also, let’s not forget that a huge number left the place.


    Peak oil.com has a very good article today: “Trade-Off”: A Study In Global Systemic Collapse

    Below is an executive summary and comments about the paper. Also I have included the URL to the complete paper (PDF warning)

    Page 40 had a very lead in:

    IV. Converging Crises in the Financial, Banking & Monetary System

    In this section the context in which an unprecedented and catastrophic shock could occur sometime within this decade is presented.
    The first sub-section considers the implications of massive credit expansion and global imbalances over decades. At the heart of this is too much debt relative to GDP.




    Alexander Ac

    BI has and excellent article on “catastrophic China deleveraging”:




    Its interesting to listen to one who has been in a collapse,or two…and lived to tell the tale.This post reminds me of ferfal from Argentina,but his take is much more security-oriented. Building community is the key,as far as I can see,but that take time we all might not have.Things appear to be cracking around the edges as we speak .

    Bee good,or
    Bee careful



    One of the things that really jumped out at me was the following:
    “Needless to say something like this has a huge impact on the psyche of a teenager. It pretty much wiped out any normalcy bias about what to expect from our political or economic systems. It also seeded a deep philosophical and practical anarchism within me.”
    Late in my teens I experienced a medical condition/situation that left me with some pretty big scars and a mild case of PTSD- a tumor the size of a tennis ball in my nasal cavity. 19 years later everything is fine, but contemplating a potentially life threatening diagnosis (for a period of a few months until after the surgery, it could not be determined whether the tumor was cancerous or not) certainly did a number on my normalcy bias. I’ve often wondered to what degree this formative experience has fostered in me a willingness to contemplate, discuss and accept unpleasant realities.
    As an avid consumer of news and information from a variety of sources I am increasingly dismayed at what seems to me to be a pattern of “reaction formation,” a determined and willful self-deception in the face of facts that present clear challenges to conventional thinking about the nature of the reality and our relationship to it. Even among people who have in the past openly expressed support for or understanding of concepts of resource limits; damage to ecosystems through pollution/degradation; the ponzi-nature of the global economy; etc- I am seeing among even these people a desperateness to cling to the status quo, to the extent that they are engaging in mental contortions to find ways to explain how everything is going to work out fine because of … fill in the blank.
    I really find myself feeling more discouraged than ever, when at a time that I might expect to see more people waking up, I see them going even more determinately to sleep. I expect this sort of thing from those in the mainstream media, politics, academia, and the like- but from where I stand even people who seemed to know which way the wind is blowing, even some of these people are beginning to engage in magical thinking. To paraphrase JHK, if we can’t come up with even a basic, general consensus about the reality we face, we are well and truly fucked. Of course I don’t expect people who think the world is 6000 years old and that any day Jesus will be coming back to rain hellfire upon the likes of us sinners to come together with us to build a consensus about the nature of reality. But what is it going to take to shake people out of the Normalcy Bias that they cling to ever more desperately with each passing day?



    I can think of a number of things that will ‘get the attention’of those who are living a “Normality Bias”…but most of them occur at the same time their world is crashing down around their ears…starvation,lawless thugs[besides the police],fuel shortages…all of these “experiences”will educate anyone with 2 brain cells working in tandem,regardless of religious conviction,that all is not well with their happy world.

    But it takes a hellava shock to wake some folks…

    Bee good,or
    Bee careful


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