an article in which I defined the five stages of collapse, defined as inflection points at which faith in key aspects of the status quo is shattered and a new reality takes hold.
It is useful to have a taxonomy of collapse, even if it’s a tentative one. Treating collapse as one big ball of wax is likely to cause us to believe that everything will melt down all at once, and, barring certain doomsday scenarios, which are probably not even useful to consider, this is probably not a realistic or a helpful approach.
Also, one big ball of wax is not what we have been observing in the years since I wrote that article. By now, the Earth is a petri dish populated with various strains of collapse—or a collapse soup, if you will. It is an open-air collapse laboratory running many uncontrolled collapse-related experiments at the same time. Perhaps, if we observe carefully, we can learn to discern the various stages and to determine how they interact.
In this update on my February 2008 article, I tackle the issue of collapse mitigation: What can we do to avoid the various worst-case scenarios?
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