A lengthy and wide-ranging interview
during which Ken asked good questions and lent a sympathetic ear. Ken is right that what I have to say is difficult, unsettling and disturbing; so, to offset that, here's a crazy picture of our cat Zoë eating Baby's Breath.
Thank you for continuing to reach out to people. I think talking about it as much as possible helps to shake people off the fence and off their butts. The only additional question I would have liked for you to field would be time. How much time do the sleepers have.
I don't make my own predictions as to timing, since relatively small, randomly distributed events can have a disproportionately large effect on unstable systems. But I can pass something along. Recently I had a long conversation with a better-than-average moneyman who saw what would be happening a while ago and shifted out of government paper and equities and into buy-and-hold positions in things like gold and silver. He has done quite well (no surprise there) and is now in the midst of serious collapse planning (which is proving to be a bit more challenging then just making lots of money). His timeline is between 18 months and 3 years.
I prefer listening to people talk as opposed to reading blogs. Would you ever consider doing a radio show or podcast?
Zoe is beautiful!
Good interview. We are tribal aren't we?
The quote you reference in the interview is by Hemingway.
"How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways, gradually then suddenly." from the Sun Also Rises.
Here is another quote from Papa:
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
- - - A Farewell to Arms
That was the most bemused interview I have ever heard. I actually laughed hysterically at his behavior. Kollapsnik did fine, though.
I like your cat.
That ended nicely. The whole thing gets very scary until you remind people that everything will slow down to a crawl and their mental picture of oncoming looters, gangsters and taxmen gets reduced to someone having to move around your neighbourhood on their own two feet and only really being able to take what they can carry. That's the thing to remind people of, that for a lot of unhappy people NOW there's the chance of vast improvement because the things that make them unhappy are unsustainable.
Great photo! It definitely lightened my mood.
I was struck by your impression of the United States as "dead," because empty of the people whose land it once was.
A few years ago, before I became aware of the impending collapse, a guy at a Burning Man party offered to teach me welding. Foolishly I declined, being afraid of fire. Would that the offer could be renewed! That skill would likely come in handy for building wood burning stoves with thermal mass such as you mention working on.
I'm with Kellen: I like podcasts, and hope you'll do more of them.
I thought the most striking thing Dmitry said was to compare dealing with the coming transition to being an immigrant; moving from one familiar place to a very different one. How insecure and bewildering that must feel. I felt that way moving across town from one house to another! For most of our ancestors who came before telephone, email, and skype, leaving home and crossing an ocean would have felt like a funeral.
The coming time will also likely be without such magical conveniences to keep "in touch" with far-flung friend and family.
Dmitry, here’s my current take on this whole subject:
One the one hand, we have many highly intelligent people such as yourself suggesting that our civilization is headed for collapse and almost everyone is asleep to this imminent catastrophe. Listening to your arguments, I become very concerned, even panicked, and feel compelled to start learning to grow my own food, weld my own tools and defend myself from starving hordes.
On the other hand, we have many highly intelligent people, such as all those brilliant physicists and technologists I like to watch at TED talks, discussing the incredible techno-future ahead with little or no concern for the possibility of collapse. David Deutsch says there is no upper bound on what we can understand, control and achieve; Steven Wolfram says we are going to be able to literally do anything we want; the Singularitarians speak of an "intelligence explosion" and the end of scarcity. These are some really smart people, and they seem to inhabit a completely different intellectual universe from the likes of yourself, Mike Ruppert or John Michael Greer.
So I am left in a position where I have to decide between one of the following possibilities:
a) The “doomers” are delusional crackpots or are vastly overstating their case
b) The genius scientists and technologists are delusional crackpots or are asleep at the wheel
This puts me in a difficult position, because I am a great respecter of the creative intellects in category b), yet I have a nagging fear that maybe the people in category a) are correct. Post-2008, the credibility of many in group b) has been seriously damaged, yet it seems absurd to think that they could all be ignoring such enormous pachyderms in the room. I try to find a rational means to decide the issue, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful, so I just choose the group that still has the most intellectual weight, and end up in the techno-optimist crowd almost by default.
Now you, of all the “doomers”, I find very credible, but there are so many with well known mental problems, affinity for the occult and other forms of irrationality that your side doesn’t quite persuade me. There are signs that more are defecting to your camp, as when mathematical physicist John Baez recently changed career paths and began talking about environmental and resource problems. When more of these intellectual masters of the universe begin talking about collapse maybe I will jump on the doom bandwagon, but at this point I’m still enjoying my fantasy that this universe has no built-in limits on human wealth, knowledge and power, and that our civilization is at worst experiencing a minor bump in the road on the way to unimaginable future glories!
It sure would be nice if war, scarcity and poverty in general wasn't methodically planned and implemented by a highly intelligent and organized cabal of people with a wealth of actual occult knowledge and philosophy. They are the manipulators of order and they understand their place, but in the end the wicker man still burns...
The Cosmist's position is understandable. However, you have to take into consideration the intellectual culture of these "masters of the universe". In order to achieve that status, they have to be highly focused and without distraction. They can have no intellectual interests outside their specialty. Polymaths just don't get the grants and are often viewed with suspicion by colleagues as not being sufficiently serious or dedicated. Many of them have hobbies (backpacking seems to be a popular choice) but their serious brain-time is devoted to their specialty. If these geniuses haven't noticed the world beginning to crumble around them, it's because they've been trained not to.
Just remember that group (b) brought you both Chernobyl and the recent and dangerous for decades or much longer catastrophe in Japan.
Lets see now thats 18 months to 3 years give or take half a decade right? All joking aside thank you again.
As Capaneus and Windover suggest, people can be clever, in fact brilliant, yet not wise; and living in their brilliant heads may not even pay attention to their own breathing. It's important for each of us to be aware and to think for ourselves rather than letting experts think for us. In some cases people can behave like AI machines, lacking a full range of inputs and awareness. Phil
True, we naturally don't care enough about the mass of humanity, yet if humans could live like they did, we would all be better off and have a more pleasant civilization. A generous attitude can grow on us when we care about the unfortunate stranger. In short, what goes around comes around. I had to express this opposing view because there is a logical argument for social generosity that I find missing so often. A cooperative humanity has so much more potential than a lot of competitive groups knocking each other backwards.
I've been reading your blog for years and always imagined your voice to have a thick Russian accent! I'm shocked. To hear you on the radio with a plain old American accent just undermines your credibility. I think people will listen to you much more attentively, heed your warnings, and perhaps pay you more if you adopt a nice Russian brogue. That's my free advice to you. You're welcome.
I loved the way you said, (pardon my paraphrasing) "Most people today are locked into the Iron Triangle of Job/Car/House lifestyle: “the American Way of Life”. If you lose any one of those three things, you will have serious difficulty in our culture. What we need to do in the collapse is to let go of all three – holding onto any one of those things may just drag you under."
Thanks, Dmitry, for assuring me that it's not just me - many people don't want to hear about collapse. It's more or less freeing, so I am now able to just go ahead and do some things and I care much less about how it looks to others. I tell myself things like, hey, if I don't have clean water to drink because I let what others think intimidate me, it's my own fault. I don't think there is such a thing as being completely prepared for any eventuality. I am also experimenting with small stoves that use sticks for fuel. Fun project! I appreciate your willingness to give us all a heads-up. And I think your cat is precious. This interview, for some reason, really clicked with me. I feel better about feeling bad (c; ... pardon the emoticon .... and I may be one of those who actually is happier in a way without all the 21st century American trappings. I'll miss some things. But I may be too busy managing to thing about it much. Pax et lux.
seems pretty obvious that after the wood stove installation is complete one of the early on projects would be a small greenhouse on the poop deck so Zoe will have some flowers to eat while at sea.
Thank you Mr. Orlov. I wish I would have found you long ago. You comment on the dead America land. That really hit home. I grew up on the Texas plains. lots of farms there. all nice and neat rows. I still gaze at the horizon and wonder what it would have been like to see the vast herds of buffalo come over the hill. No rivers there. Now i live in Idaho. Lots of water.:) Thank you for your podcasts and videos
I have been a big "fan" of Dmitri for years, read his book, read his blog, and listened to most if not all of his mp3 and video interviews. That said, I thought that this was the worst interview ever. Like sanding a rough board with your bare ass. Ken Rose was so terrified by what Dmitri had to say, that he became a deer in the headlights and could barely ask questions and chew gum. He made a half hearted attempt to paint Dmitri in the light of a sociopath with no warmth for his fellow humans, simply because Dmitri has the courage to look the bear, Russian or otherwise, straight in the eye. He was offended by Dmitri suggesting that people who professed love for humanity were basically phonies, as the human animal is incapable of feeling real love for more than individuals and smallish groups. He reminds me of how much I miss Joe Bageant. I guess Ken is one of the guys who makes his living by mouthing generalities, wouldn't know what end of a hammer to grab, and is terrified that his skill set will be essentially useless in the New World Order. As Frank Herbert use to profess in the Dune books, "Fear is the great mind killer."
On another note, I am in my mid-sixties and people my age and older have special difficulties in the coming collapse, especially if they do not have strong bonds to younger family. I don't find the idea of following a mule or turning over 5 hectares of land with a shovel and a torn rotator cuff that refuses to heal to be particularly enchanting. OTOH, I am a reincarnationalist, and bailing out of the physical universe doesn't fill me with dread, though unlike Dylan Thomas, I would like to go gently into the night.
My cat has been missing for days. Where did he end up at your house? Great interview, by the way, and thanks for all you wisdom.
Dmirty, I find your writing to be thoughtful and insightful.
After living away from NYC, in Japan for 10 years, I am moving back to a changed and frightening country. (In some ways more frightening than the largest nuclear disaster in history). In coming home and starting over I fortunately have a great deal of freedom to choose a direction off the beaten path. I have found your articles on sailing to be particularly interesting, and inspiring to the degree that I have begun to research sailing and wooden boat building. So if nothing else, you have given me a new fun hobby to learn and enjoy.
Up until now I have put my energy into dissent and labor activism, imagining that this would be the best contribution I could make to a country obviously headed towards a cliff. I wonder if you could point me towards your writing regarding social activism and how it either supports or detracts from our ability to prepare for a collapsed society.
Many on the left believe that its important to continue to build a movement against oppression and exploitation, and that with collapse this will be more difficult. Or do you believe that such a movement is a waste of valuable time and resources?
good blog, cute cat!
I knew Dmitry was a cat lover. We are suckers, we took in 3 strays and rescued 1 from the animal shelter.
Before I read the 5 stages of collapse and then Reinventing Collapse, say 30 years ago when I was young and had a waist line, when old people used to lecture me about how us young people have no respect, how when they were young they were so poor they had to eat lint off the carpet, etc I used to laugh at them. Now when they tell me of the First Great Depression, I stop dead in my tracks and they get my undivided attention.
"Watch your pets", one elderly patient of mine told me. Cats and dogs disappeared if left out. Her father used to go out from sunrise to sunset and could not put enough food on the table. At night, he sat up with his shotgun to protect their garden plot.
I hate to seem morbid or wish to detract from this moment, but has anyone thought of the possibility of having the euthanize their pets rather than watch them starve? Pets, even children are being abandoned NOW, and the shit hasn't completely hit the fan, but appears to be speeding up. Imagine what they will tell you at the FEMA breadlines when anyone claims they can't feed their pets? Such a comment may be ridiculed or even be fatal. Having well fed pets in your window could be an invitation for a break in or violent confrontation. That was one of the first things that went through my mind when I thought of a post collapse future
My mini-collapse happened four days ago when an EF-3 tornado smashed my street and house. I am now learning firsthand about living without power, water, refrigeration, etc. This is my opportunity to get out of suburban life and I won't look back. Bon chance all.
A world where I cannot enjoy the company of cats is a world in which I have no wish to live. I think I may have seriously to consider taking to the seas, where a ship cat and its pet human can live well on fresh caught fish.
Being able to just toss a line with a hook in it into the sea and have endless food is a great illusion, but imagine what will happen when everyone starts to fish and hunt small game in an effort to obtail protein given levels of mercury and other toxins, as pollution and overfishing will render 90% of marine life extinct in a mere 20 years, according to marine biologists and environmentalits.
I did not view Ken Rose as being in denial or disagreeing with Dmitry, but rather similar to so many people who are told they have a poor prognosis from terminal cancer or some other fatal affliction. I can hear fear emanating from his voice as the interview progressed, I felt the same sympathy that I feel almost everyday when people are told the truth, that their days are numbered.
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