When the Rooster Crows at the Break of Dawn

By: Peter Goodchild

Getting readers to grasp one point per article is all I can hope for. If I try to make two points, I’m arrested for disturbing the peace. In the meantime, the original “one point” gets lost in all the fluster.

I seem to spend every morning from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. saying, “Thank you for your comment, but I’ve already explained all that in my book manuscript, which I sent to you earlier. I guess you didn’t read it.”

It’s almost impossible to get anyone to read anything I write if it’s more than about one page in length. But then of course all the various things I’m saying end up as a bunch of disconnected “sound bites.”

I’ve also sent countless lists of books and articles that are readily available in a public library, and I’ve sent a great many hyperlinks for articles that are available on the Internet (for the lazier among us) and require no more than a click of the mouse. In 20 years of writing, I can’t think (off-hand) of one case where somebody actually followed up on any reference material I provided. Or followed up much serious reference material from anywhere, as far as I can tell. (But who needs reference material? Modern epistemology: if you say “Well, I believe . . .” loud enough, then it becomes true.)

If people can think and talk only in small, disconnected fragments, then a further problem arises: How would it ever be possible to get beyond the ABCs and discuss any of the further and more-important aspects of our post-collapse future?

I’m amazed that it’s the year 2012 and I’m still getting email from people telling me about an amazing new discovery called “solar power” or whatever.

Where does all this dumbing-down come from? We’re not allowed to blame the Communists any more, and Ruth Montgomery’s “Aliens among Us” doesn’t quite seem to answer the question. So who can I blame?

“The Limits to Growth” was published in 1972. That was 40 years ago

Please, let’s get on to something that hasn’t been thoroughly belabored in those last 40 years. I’m happy to discuss facts and figures on almost any topic, but I get tired of recycling the discoveries of the 1970s.

They say we always get the politics we deserve. Well, that’s true — take a look at Obama. But I’d say that the principle applies to more than politics. It applies to our entire future as a species. Maybe Prince Charles and his pals have some plans for the future, but the average middle-class westerner is just plain screwed, and he has no one to blame but himself.

The great blessing of getting older is that the coming apocalypse is for me somewhat of a theoretical matter. Except for the odd mortar shell landing too close, I can remain fairly stoical or cosmological about it all. McCarthy’s “Road” will have too much traffic for my liking anyway.

The great general Scipio Africanus had a dream in which he was whisked up into space. One of the gods asked him where he came from, and he pointed. “You mean that little dot, way off in the distance?” he was asked.

About the author: Peter Goodchild is the author of ‘Survival Skills of the North American Indians’ (Chicago Review Press). Click here to mail him.