October 26th, 2008

Reposted from 2002 SynEARTH Archives. …

Comments on “What Can Be Done?”

Thursday, Arthur Noll, contributing editor wrote:

As someone with no power except my voice, I am aware that our human society must change and change radically if we are to survive. It is from this perspective that I ask, what can be done?

There are things we could do, no matter who we are, to get changes rolling. I’ve posted a set of principles for society, and a plan for getting there. …  

Here are some responses and Arthur’s answers:

Scott Meredith writes:

Actually this is true. Arthur has at least proposed something, thus he’s done more than most of the rest of us have. I guess we all remain silent in the teeth of our understanding the degree of inertia that would need to be overcome to make the changes he has outlined?

Thanks for the positive comment, Scott. Yes, there is a lot of inertia to overcome, but the only way to deal with it is to get started. Just that small step of answering these questions. From there we can move on. One small step at a time. Once the decision is made to start, things can often start moving much faster. Look at the whole thing to begin, and you might lose hope, never start. But one small thing at a time, and it is remarkable how much can be done.

Tom Woodsworth writes:

I suppose the biggest problem is the nature and rational behind this list (AlasBabylon).

What many may (or not) be thinking is, “mmm…. Arthur’s ideas of co-operation in small survivalist communities banded together with a common vision of suistainability etc SOUND great…. BUT after I’ve read the Spirit of the Gene, enough Jay Hanson, etc., it doesn’t seem plausible.” That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, or that you should stop pushing for it, but rather that most of us on AB [not all of course!] are rather cynically stubborn. I know my idealistic youthful side has taken an incredible beating since running into dieoff.org, ROE, and now AB. I used to be a blindly optimistic, now I’m probably blinded with the disappointment that I won’t be able to do all the things I wanted to do a couple of years ago [see the world, get a couple of degrees, AND prepare myself for the coming chaos].

I haven’t yet read an agruement coming from you that refutes the genetic tendancy for humans to seek, consume resources and/or destroy the resource base. You make the plausible claim that given the dieoff conditions, those that DO cooperate in sustainable living will be the ones to pass on their genes– OK– but it’s something that’s pretty hard to prove using historial precedent [as Paul likes to remind us]. SO…. some of us refuse to even show off the tint of optimism. It doesn’t,however, mean we disagree with you completly .

On the other hand, other lists certainly DO exist with discussing your type of proposal, and more importantly putting it into action. One in particularly well suited is Sustainable Community.

Lately, the chatter has been hopelessly feel good and new agey… but there’s always room for improvement of course. Other groups also exist.

Alas Babylon, however (in my view) is better suited for information sharing as compared to community/ideologue forming (Dann describes it well as a type of weird, post-modern “family”– damn I would like to see all of us AB’ers at a family picnic, I’d bring the shui jiao [Chinese dumplings]!

Jack Dingler writes:

If humans were rational, then I’d agree with you. As it is, humans are not rational. Humans in general do not think, do not exercise logic and have a great deal of difficulty understanding ethics. If humans in general do not have these skills, then you must first teach them these things, before they’ll even be able to understand that there is a problem.

I used to worry about posting on these groups. Then I started having conversations about these topics with people I know. Almost all of them dismissed the idea that things could ever turn for the worst, under any circumstances. None of them understand why things have turned even now. They all know the complicated rhetoric spewed out by the news media, but beyond arguing over different points, they really know nothing about the issues. None have delved beyond the news curtain, none care to, and none believe things can get any worse. After all, we’re hearing in the news now that the economy is recovering and will be back to normal in six months. Isn’t that the truth? Now I know I can say anything I want and few will listen, they’ll instead put their hands of their ears and chant, “La la la la I can’t hear you!” So who really cares what I write or say? When things get rough, officials will be busy enough going after those encouraging protests, riots and other demonstrations.

If you’re here, and you understand the connection between energy and civilization, the myth of self referential economics and other issues that require the capacity for independant thought, then pull up a chair and watch society wind down. You’re officially a member of the Cassandra Club.

I wish I could agree with your arguments Arthur, but I do not believe that our species has the ability, to do anything that will avert the upcoming decline.

Jack, Over and over I say, I know very well I’m not going to reach everyone, though I’d like to try. I’ve said I think 99% are likely to evade, deny, opt out of dealing head on with these questions. But out of a population of 6 billion, that is enough. What I’m asking, is for each individual to say, yes or no. When people give the excuse that no one else is going to be reasonable, I feel the standard reply of mothers and fathers for years forming in my mind – just because others are acting crazy, doing stupid things, you have to act crazy and do stupid things? My question to each person is not about how everyone else is going to act. My question is, how are you going to act?

Jack Dingler responds:


I’m doing all I can do at the moment. I’m helping a friend turn his hobby farm into something that can produce food. Trying to prepare my wife for the inevitable, and attempting to keep a job. I’m also attempting to learn some skills that are difficult to come by in the modern age. I may be joining the SCA soon.

I’m working, writing code again. I’m thankful that I’m once again making a living in my chosen career, but I’m well aware that I may be back to earning low wages at any time.

I don’t see much else that I can do at the moment.

Ron Resnick writes:

I used to participate more in this group (Alas Babyon).

Months ago the overwhelming reality of the coming die-off hit me. It hit me hard enough that I am bored by speculation on how it MIGHT now or ever could be…prevented.

Recent political events in America just re-enforce the die-off agenda. Many have been expecting the overt Fascist actions now being put in place in OECD countries…most notably the US & UK.

I find my peace and joy through living in this remote corner of world (New Zealand) and through the appreciation of our high quality of life (for the moment).

I want to thank Arthur Noll for his challenge to thinking humanity. It is time we started answering some simple questions YES or NO. Our human future does not depend on big government, big business, or big religion. It depends on humanity as individuals, and whether those individuals will choose to organize themselves as community.

Read More on Ortegrity and on Sociocracy  Read a  Synergic Version of Robert’s Rules of Order

Read the Synergic Future Series: 1) Beyond Property 2) Redefining Wealth 3) Synergic Wealth 4) Synergic Wealth II: Deepening Our Understanding 5) Trustegrities — Protecting the Future and 6) Synergic Guardians — Protecting the Future.

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