Monday, July 08, 2013

Dave Pollard's Review of The Five Stages of Collapse

I've just finished reading Dmitry Orlov’s new book The Five Stages of Collapse. It made me realize that I have probably been making two fundamental errors in my thinking about how our civilization/culture will collapse, and what we should do to become more resilient in the face of that collapse (taking steps like learning new personal and collective capacities, and re-learning how to create communities).


k-dog said...

Yes stopping collapse at stage three is essential. House cleaning of the political systems from basement to attic is essential. We don't want revolutions. We want the train to stop at stage three.

I have a small dystopian collection at the end of a bookshelf.

It Can't Happen Here - Sinclair Lewis
We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Iron Heel - Jack London
Surveillance - Jonathan Raban
1984 - George Orwell
Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell
The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad

Homage to Catalonia is in the collection but could be elsewhere on my bookshelf. The only non-fiction book is there, it makes a point that political movements are often taken over and pre-empted when the trouble, collapse and social structure meter pegs out.

We actually need collapse, but only the right kind. The kind of collapse we call reform. Collapse needs to stop before social chaos makes survival of any tribe impossible.

Let the political systems be revamped by impeachments. Let revamped governments serve society and not themselves. Take government away from the corporations which until the people demand it back, they own.

"Will the Collapse of Civilization Begin With Global Corporatist Totalitarianism?"

It already has.

NickelthroweR said...


Homage to Catalonia is my favorite Orwell book. It isn't really possible to understand Animal Farm without first reading Homage to Catalonia.

It can be a difficult book to find but I would recommend it to anyone interested in why Orwell wrote the way he did.

kleymo said...


If you like "We" you might also like the book that inspired it - "Petersburg" by Andrey Bely.

The Elsworth translation is the most complete, but the Maguire/Malmstad translation is by two of the early giants of Russian literary studies in the U.S.

The legacy of Petersburg : Zamiatin's We / Robert Maguire and John Malmstad. In: The silver age in Russian literature : selected papers from the Fourth World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies, Harrogate, 1990

I believe there is also an influence on Gladkov's "Cement," a work of literature that Kollapsnik has surely read many times.

k-dog said...


Thanks for the Petersburg suggestion. I read a description, found a good price and ordered it up.

'We' was a creeper of a book. It seemed like simple good science fiction in the beginning. Then as the book wound up it answered some pretty deep questions on what we are all here for.

The transparent glass concept from We goes back to the first century AD. 'Satyricon' by Gaius Petronius. The roots of dystopia go all the way back to Roman times. A courtier in Nero's court.



Thomas Reis said...

Dear Kollapsnik have you considered about a german translation, my english is not so good, but I understand the meaning and humor. Maybe distributing it via a crowdfunding site? maybe you can contact mee via google..

k-dog said...

I want to correct a mistake:

When I typed Transparent Glass in my last comment I should have typed Transparent Gold. I was thinking of dog treats.

In 'We'Transparent Gold has the properties of steel with the transparency of glass and is very lightweight.

Lexan plastic perhaps?

It is the perfect material from which to build glass houses which is why it is in 'We'. What little privacy is in 'We' is carefully managed.

In 'Satyricon' a man discovers how to make transparent gold. The man makes a transparent gold crown and takes it to the emperor. The emperor immediately sees that transparent gold is worth more than real gold and will make his vast fortune of gold bullion worthless.

The emperor has the man killed on the spot and the transparent gold crown is flung into the sea.

I think making the transparent gold into a crown was added by me, not sure. I don't have a copy.

Thomas Reis said...

The book five stages of collapse inspired me for a old mediterean idea of how a clan can live in a narrow and protected niche on the seaside. with no fear to be robbed or get a competitor soon in a declining and sea level rising world. so if we argue that sea level is rising and a vast majority of cities on the sea side will be partly flooded, then most of the power production and canalisation build near the sea will soon come to an end. the city is in danger. a broken sanitation has numerous negative side effects like smell and diseases. So my fiction "Sea Bugs" Clan comes to action: they are collecting the human and animal organic waste and ferment it to methane and humus. methane is energy insentive and can be used for cooking in a can or directly on sea for processing the heat into beer or other processed food. this fermentation can be low tech digesters (popular in india or medium scale more advanced with compressing the methane into cooking cans. I made a sketch here for a better understanding how this seaside culture of collecting, fermenting and bartering can work for some smell immune people. Or simply providing know how like: