Friday, February 17, 2012

There's No Tomorrow

Here is an excellent new animated short that ties resource depletion, environmental destruction and the end of growth into a single tidy package. For those of you already versed in this subject matter, this might still be good review; for those of you who don't, PLEASE DON'T PANIC! And when introducing this to people, please remind them that they will need a couple of years to come to terms with this, and should try to not panic in the meantime.




[The following comment has been promoted from the comments due to its excellence.]
 
parkslopegigilo said...
Thank you for that link DO, this film had the oddest effect of making me laugh out loud at the cartoon antics while simultaneously feeling very scared and alone. I want to send it to some friends of mine but it would scare them shitless.

I walked through Times Square today, the Digital Canyon, the High Altar of Waste, and remembered something I had said to a friend years ago while in school. We were both tripping out minds out on LSD and watching CNN. An image of an African man who had been crushed by a tank flashed on the screen and I spent the rest of the night with that image burning like a nugget of molten iron in my mind. Burning, mind you. His legs and lower torso were all that remained, the rest had been neatly cut off and ground to a white speckled bloody paste by the tank's treads.

(Note to all: NEVER do LSD and watch the international news...)

At one point in my very real agony, I turned to my old friend, a lefty like myself and a newshound and a reader of books about US atrocities in South America and Africa etc. and I said

"Do you know how much fucking pain we are letting ourselves in for?"

My point was that the more we learned about the world, the worse it was going to be for us because we would never be able to escape that knowledge. Look at a shiny new gift and you see the starving kids who made it in Taiwan. Thrill at the latest action adventure flick and you come away with a sour aftertaste of militarism, sexism, and racism. Buy a bag of cookies and you buy a bag of pesticides, GMOS, and corn syrup. Nothing can escape your critical eye, including yourself.

The constant whittling away of all illusions, or at least the attempt to do so, changes a person incrementally, so slowly you don't notice but suddenly you are outside of it all. Your critical eye has reached critical mass: now you see all things inside out and upside down that are supposedly right side right.

"Through the veil!" as one old history professor used to say. You no longer get elated at the latest iPhone commercials with your friends or marvel at the magic that is Disney or worship the Kennedy brothers in a secret crypt under the stairs. People begin to suspect something is wrong with you, you openly mock the SuperDuperBowl, you make cracks about Baby Jesus helping you to find your car keys, you refuse to Buy Now!at your local Toyota Deal-Athon dealer. Curmudgeon, Crackpot, Grumpy, the accolades pile up at your feet....

This came back to me as I watched the crowds watching the enormous digital monitors and billboards in the Square. The pain of not being able to slip into the biggest lie of all, the lie that everyone else around you has allowed to flow into and through themselves, that this is somehow an ok situation, that this waste and constant jabber of lies and hucksterism, this smear of harsh light and consumption, body counts and scenic views with advertising, disposable people and trash mountains represents some kind of healthy beating heart of something. I felt a twinge of that old pain, the alienation, the sense of not being plugged into the coolest Kool-Aid around. But then I said "Who fucking cares?" These people are lost, not their fault, they aren't all idiots but rather lost in an illusion, a maze of lies and pictures and warped mirrors. They can't see the man behind the curtain and they sure as fuck cannot see that the machine he is operating is nearing it's breaking point.

But when I watched that damned cartoon tonight it hit again. It's good to know these things because I like to know whats up, I'm a bad news first kind of guy. It's just hard to be the bearer of such knowledge, in a sea of indifference and fantasy. Gaze into the abyss and the abyss gazes into you, right?

28 comments:

nolan voyd said...

Thanks for yet another fine post. I have been following you for a few years now.

latheChuck said...

I know it's just a cartoon, but the idea of using a wax candle for "post-petroleum" or even "transitional" lighting is naive. Wax comes from oil, and little bits of warm carbon in the flame are inefficient. On the other hand, a strip of white LEDs draws just 5 Watts and provides enough light for reading, cooking, washing dishes, etc. If you rate human labor at 1 kWh per day (100W for 10 hours), with 50% conversion efficiency you can generate an hour of 5W LED light with six minutes on the treadmill.

Nate Mullikin said...

Yeah right. Don't panic.

Unknown said...

Hi Dmitri!

Thanks for the link! Amazingly, some reviews of the film criticised it for being too upbeat (given that it shows the death of 9 billion people, I'm flabbergasted by the bloodlust!)

Anyway, I'm glad for the recommendation - I've been an admirer of yours for many years, and it means a lot.

Dermot.

parkslopegigilo said...

Thank you for that link DO, it had the oddest effect of making me laugh out loud at the cartoon antics while simultaneously feeling very scared and alone. I want to send it to some friends of mine but it would scare them sh&#less.

I walked through Times Square today, the Digital Canyon, the High Altar of Waste, and remembered something I had said to a friend years ago while in school. We were both tripping out minds out on LSD and watching CNN. An image of an African man who had been crushed by a tank flashed on the screen and I spent the rest of the night with that image burning like a nugget of molten iron in my mind. Burning, mind you. His legs and lower torso were all that remained, the rest had been neatly cut off and ground to a white speckled bloody paste by the tank's treads.

(Note to all: NEVER do LSD and watch the international news...)

At one point in my very real agony, I turned to my old friend, a lefty like myself and a newshound and a reader of books about US atrocities in South America and Africa etc. and I said

"Do you know how much fucking pain we are letting ourselves in for?"

My point was that the more we learned about the world, the worse it was going to be for us because we would never be able to escape that knowledge. Look at a shiny new gift and you see the starving kids who made it in Taiwan. Thrill at the latest action adventure flick and you come away with a sour aftertaste of militarism, sexism, and racism. Buy a bag of cookies and you buy a bag of pesticides, GMOS, and corn syrup. Nothing can escape your critical eye, including yourself.

The constant whittling away of all illusions, or at least the attempt to do so, changes a person incrementally, so slowly you don't notice but suddenly you are outside of it all. Your critical eye has reached critical mass: now you see all things inside out and upside down that are supposedly right side right.

"Through the veil!" as one old history professor used to say. You no longer get elated at the latest iPhone commercials with your friends or marvel at the magic that is Disney or worship the Kennedy brothers in a secret crypt under the stairs. People begin to suspect something is wrong with you, you openly mock the SuperDuperBowl, you make cracks about Baby Jesus helping you to find your car keys, you refuse to Buy Now!at your local Toyota Deal-Athon dealer. Curmudgeon, Crackpot, Grumpy, the accolades pile up at your feet....

This came back to me as I watched the crowds watching the enormous digital monitors and billboards in the Square. The pain of not being able to slip into the biggest lie of all, the lie that everyone else around you has allowed to flow into and through themselves, that this is somehow an ok situation, that this waste and constant jabber of lies and hucksterism, this smear of harsh light and consumption, body counts and scenic views with advertising, disposable people and trash mountains represents some kind of healthy beating heart of something. I felt a twinge of that old pain, the alienation, the sense of not being plugged into the coolest Kool-Aid around. But then I said "Who fucking cares?" These people are lost, not their fault, they aren't all idiots but rather lost in an illusion, a maze of lies and pictures and warped mirrors. They can't see the man behind the curtain and they sure as fuck cannot see that the machine he is operating is nearing it's breaking point.

But when I watched that damned cartoon tonight it hit again. It's good to know these things because I like to know whats up, I'm a bad news first kind of guy. It's just hard to be the bearer of such knowledge, in a sea of indifference and fantasy. Gaze into the abyss and the abyss gazes into you, right?

WENDY BANDURSKI-MILLER said...

One of the things about showing the factual story in animation form is it explains very dramatically and somehow non threateningly the real situation that people perhaps do not think about. I think it is a very useful and well put together animation that get's to the heart of energy depletion and continuous growth model of current western industrialized civilization. A good primer....

Tom Crowl said...

Thanks for this video... and also a thumbs up to the comment by parkslopegigilo... great insights and great writing

Jeff Snyder said...

Parkslope,
Thanks for that comment, it is always good to know there is some small community of people out there who see and feel as you do. You really captured the feeling of Being Among, But Not Of Them, and the pain of looking through the veil.

Lidia17 said...

Wax is made by bees. Candles can also be made using animal fats.

Moo Moo said...

This is a great video, brought to you by Richard Heinberg, so no wonder. A person I like and follow.

Nothing I already didn't know. But, I know a lot of folks who need to watch this. And will they, nope. It's going to be too late for them, when they finally wake up.

Urban Roman said...

I think the nine billion figure was arrived at by placing a ruler on a semilog plot of population, and making a straight line to 2050.

It is doubtful that number will reached. As with the other peak indicia, I would say peak population is about now.

Ozymandius said...

@Moo Moo

Can you elaborate please: the link between Heinberg and the video?
And to Parkslopegigelo - thanks for putting your thoughts about our awful predicament into a form approaching lyricism.

SunsonPeakfun said...

Moo Moo, I'm sure you watched one such video / read one such article first to get started on your journey to discovering about resource depletion / overshoot. Perhaps, this video could be the first for a few others.

So cut them some slack - its good to see such videos (as opposed to very pretty faces manipulating our primitive ape descendant brains into buying and trashing more and more Stuff).

Patrick said...

I started watching this on the blog "The Downward Spiral" and then got interrupted and had to stop about 1/3 of the way through. I remember thinking, "It's too bad it's titled "There's No Tomorrow," because it will cause people to shy away or dismiss it as "just doom & gloom" and not watch it.

Well, when I saw it posted here, I finished watching it. It really refutes in a powerful, succinct way all the common rosy scenarios that are offered up. Man, we are so screwed! But, still, I think the title is not the best one they could have chosen.

I think an important issue is how, in even our closest relationships, the willingness to accept the logical conclusions of the situation (or the psychological ability to do so) might negatively impact those relationships.

weedananda said...

Thank you for this link Dmitri, and for everything you do to help people WAKE UP! I've followed your work closely since 2006 and it's been integral to my own process of connecting the dots. I think the film is superb for people with open minds and the courage to look squarely at reality. But, as parkslopegigilo so eloquently points out, most people are inextricably embedded in the matrix. Nevertheless, I'll still forward the link to my "Concerned Citizens" file...you never know until the time is right for your next wake up/shake up call.

parkslopegigilo said...

Thank you all for your very kind comments and as always thanks to DO our gracious host. I turn to this forum as a safety valve of sorts, to remind myself that I'm not crazy and or alone behind the veil. Thank you all for that.

I would like to point out as well that I don't think being "behind the veil" means that we are super smart or special. I would guess we all came along somewhat different paths, although I can tell you that I have always been a kind of an outsider. There are probably many folks out there who suspect or know something is wrong but cant or wont look at the matters further for their own reasons. Along with some who are just totally clueless...

Matt said...

Add my voice to those thanking parkslopegigilo for your post. I just returned 'here' to read it a couple more times.

Lance Michael Foster said...

I watched "Gasland" yesterday and was horrified at what frakking is doing to our water. What Chief Seattle said is coming true: we are defecating in our own beds and will one night suffocate in our own waste.

By the way, there are five sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance:

(1) Wilful murder - the blood of Abel, [Gen. 4:10]

(2) The sin of the Sodomites, [Gen. 18:20; 19:13]

(3) The cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, [Ex. 3:7-10]

(4) The cry of the foreigner, the widow and the orphan, [Ex. 20:20-22] and

(5) Injustice to the wage earner. [Deut. 24:14-5; Jas. 5:4]

Seems like the candidates who claim to be true to Christianity haven't made their positions clear on any of these, except for #2 of course.

But, since it is one of the sins that cries out to Heaven for vengeance, it is worth learning what Jewish tradition teaches about the sin of Sodom: http://www.iwgonline.org/docs/sodom.html

‎"This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it." (Ezekiel 16:46-50 ). Sound familiar?

DavidEBCN said...

I totally agree @Patrick.

My wife is not ready for this knowledge, and it makes any plan B alternative quite complicated.

This was actually affecting my relationship, so i had to "forget" about it in public...

Mendur said...

Thank you for adding the "please don't panic" warning at the beginning. I get very pessimistic whenever someone clearly explains just how deep the excrement is, even if they're also explaining that it might actually be fertilizer.
*sigh* I need to go find some cute puppy pictures to stare at for a while.

Notmy Realname said...

Having swallowed my share of acid (and then some!) back in the day, I also found myself humming along to the cosmic vibe comin' off of parkslopegigilo's post. I feel like exclaiming "Far-out, man!", but it sounds so Tommy Chong these days. Nevertheless, nicely put.

As several others have mentioned I frequent D.O's blog mostly to remind myself I'm not the only one. Have completely given up on evangelizing any of this though. The pay sucked, ha-ha. --I do still talk about it all to a very few from time to time. But seriously, like DavidEBCN said in regards to his wife, it was/is affecting all of my relationships both at home & out in the world & the EROEI on "waking up" the people is negative by a long shot. I have concluded like Dr. James Lovelock that it is already too late, we have already passed all of the tipping points that are going to matter in the long run, and even if we were to collectively decide to fix it all tomorrow, we're collectively too stupid to ever figure out what really needs to be done. It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value
—Arthur C. Clarke

gwizard43 said...

@parkslopegigilo

Thanks so much for articulating so lucidly exactly how I feel.

"It's just hard to be the bearer of such knowledge, in a sea of indifference and fantasy."

Yeah. That's exactly it...

- Oz

RebelFarmer said...

I wonder if there is a 10 step/anonymous program for news junkies? I am one and I need help. I can't seem to break the addiction. Can't back away from the computer monitor even when it is causing me depression and distress. But then I come here and realize, not only am I not alone, but that I can actually find humor in our current situation. And I love D.O. for that.

This well done video neither caused me distress, much less panic. And like many here, I believe that we are probably passed many of the tipping points. Like D.O., I think the best approach is to build a boat/life raft and learn what needs to be learned to adapt to a future that is probably inevitable. Start living that life NOW so that the transition will be almost seamless. And even if we aren't around when the SHTF, those that knew us will remember our example and maybe follow in our footsteps.

One thing I know for sure is that you cannot open the eyes of people who do not want to see. Or get people to plant a garden who do not believe that the grocery shelves will ever be empty. All I can do is get know my neighbors and build community where I am. To keep my sanity, I seek out people who have awakened and are actively trying to prepare. To increase those connections, I have become an active occupier on my small town so that I can be there among those who are awakening and want to know how we got into this mess. I'm on an Occupy Outreach Committee, and we are showing a series of films/discussions to inform the new seekers of reality. I'm going to add this video for an April event/discussion.

vera said...

Panic?! I panic thinking they will invent fusion in time. Oil has been disastrous for the planet and humans. Just think... without oil, we would have roughly the slow life of the 18th century, only 2 billion people, along with local electricity and quite a few of the scientific inventions that came along but are not dependent on massive power coming from oil. Even plastics can be made without crude...

Yeah, I would keep LEDs for reading. Can the Amish make them in the shop? They are making their own batteries already...

AllGood4All said...

The website http://www.peakoilblues.org/blog/ has been really useful and supportive in dealing with the emotional/mental turmoil/depression, etc. that can come up when facing global economic/environmental collapse.

They combine humor with insight with community support. For example, there's a funny list of what constitutes "Peak Oil Denial Syndrome", and how to deal with relatives that have it. There's a chat for connecting with others. There's support for people who are feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and depressed when facing the possibility or collapse.

Highly recommended.

Bicicleta Bandito said...

hey everyone - in case anyone still bothers to read the later posts, i'd like to offer the following thoughts:

- the cartoon's portrayal of a less energy-intensive post-peak oil life (i.e. the farming family) is nice and relatively optimistic but it forgets one key thing - how many folks still know how to construct things like ice-boxes and wine barrels by hand?

My point is - a lot of know how and the equipment necessary to manufacture less electrically dependent household/farm items has been lost or more accurately, made obsolete. Read, "Rebels Against the Future" to get an idea of the transition from the handmade wool industry in England circa 1790 and then try it in reverse. Sound easy?

- The last three minutes of the video dedicated to a "Happy Ending" strikes me more as an American cultural projection than anything else. I mean, what's wrong w/ a little apocalyptic pessimism? I thought Russians were the owners of the sad ending.

This is all to say - Previous dead empires had plenty of "industries" prior to the exploitation of fossil fuels. It just involved slave labor. : )

Without Wax said...

Someone just sent me a cartoon, where it said:

'It's not denial. I'm just very selective about the reality I accept'.

FWIW, I have the same problem of talking to many people around me, so gave up and now just try to lead by example.

Keep up the good work, Dmitri - you're one of my heroes!

izzit said...

I also thought the ending was kind of tacked on... if all the fish will be gone, and most of the land wildlife is extinct, and most of the farmland has been converted to monoculture or excessive housing, then "being self-reliant like our forefathers" will be a lot more challenging than it was then. Not to mention the lost skills - oh, and the fact that no man was an island back then. (All the talk of manpower & overpopulation - well, who do you think farm families were so large?)
I also think it's ridiculous to dismiss any non-"comprehensive' solution. Just because the sun doesn't shine every day is no reason to not have windows. Use the wind, insulate your house, turn out the lightbulb, conserve resources, come up with inventive efficient solutions - THAT's what MY forefathers did!