6 ways to become more miserable about climate change and peak oil

It’s bad enough that most middle-class people still have to struggle to keep their jobs and homes in today’s Second Great Depression.

But if you’re even a little bit awake, then you also have to worry about longer-term threats: climate change, Fukushima, peak oil and the impending collapse of industrial civilization.

There’s plenty of reason for anyone to be depressed these days. Yet, somehow, some people still manage to keep calm and carry on.

So, for the ordinary person who thinks that happiness is for dopes and who needs a little help finding their way to the bottom, therapist Cloe Madanes offers “14 Habits of Highly Miserable People.”

Here, for those who are energy- and climate-aware, I offer my own adaptation of Madanes’s six top points to succeed at self-sabotage:

  1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. If you know that fiat currency is about to collapse and take the global financial system down with it, then you certainly won’t bother changing jobs, trying to start a new business or helping make your community more resilient. Just buy some gold and wait for the inevitable. Meanwhile, keep showing up at that soul-sucking cubicle job.
  2. Practice sustained boredom. Convince yourself that your city is full of mainstream fools too stupid to dodge the can of whoop-ass that’s about to hit them in the head. And don’t forget that people are utterly predictable and will always let you down.
  3. Give yourself a negative identity. Why not start telling others that you’re a Depressed Person, or at least a dissenter against everything that Western Civilization, patriarchy and capitalism stand for?
  4. Attribute bad intentions. If you disagree with someone on climate change or energy, it must mean they’re a greedy bastard or just a dupe of the system. No need to listen to anything they say — except to mock it later on.
  5. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. The ultimate doomer-prepper stance. Be like Noah and make your home an ark. You don’t want to be caught napping when the whole house of cards comes down.
  6. Glorify or vilify the past. It really doesn’t matter whether you think humanity made a wrong turn at the Industrial Revolution, in the Fertile Crescent or with the election of Ted Cruz. Maybe the time in which you were cursed to be born is the ultimate dark age. Or it could be that today’s world, whose ecological awareness and freedom from ancient superstitions gives us so much promise, is the victim of the flawed Weltanschaung of previous generations. Either way, the fix is in and you’re screwed!

In the Dark Ages, the benighted peasant worried that Satan was always at his back.

In today’s scientific era, the eco-doomer is way past that. She knows that an industrial-strength climate disaster, energy crisis or financial panic is just around the corner. Society has got to collapse by the end of the first quarter of next year at the very latest.

So if there’s only a little time left, we might as well make it as miserable as possible. There’s a lot of suffering to squeeze in!

OK, let’s get serious folks.

Nobody can say how much time humanity, industrial society or any one of us has left. Even without world-threatening catastrophes, you or I could get hit by a bus while crossing the street to work tomorrow morning. We’re all under sentence of death. And if we can deal with that, it can set us free.

So it makes good sense to follow the advice of religious teachers and secular sages alike, including our own Guy McPherson and Carolyn Baker. That is, to live each day as if it were our last. And then, to make the most of that day. Part of that is being grateful for the pleasures and even the pain of just living.

As John Keats said, “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”

– Erik Curren, Transition Voice

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  1. says

    I love this quaint notion that every peakist and everyone who believes that climate change is happening must be some kind of anxious and fearful grumpy depressive.

    Since when are we not enjoying life?

    • says

      Maybe I’m the only one who sinks into a climate or peak oil funk on occasion? For my part, I can certainly use a reminder that there’s a better way to deal with such huge problems.

  2. W. R. Flynn says

    Great food for thought, Erik. Thanks for the timely reminder.

    There has never been a human culture that didn’t face harsh limits. None have enjoyed a state of permanence. The only difference this time is that mass overconsumption and wholesale disregard for the environment encompasses the entire globe.

    With the concept of impermanence in mind, there is no reason for us to live our lives in a state of funk or depression simply because we’re acutely aware that natural resources and human constructs are, and always have been, finite. It’s a natural condition. With the incredible body of human knowledge that’s just plain inexcusable. However, to live our lives unaware of the potential catastrophic consequences of the many looming depletion-related dangers is equally inexcusable.

    So seek out and fully embrace each and every opportunity for laughter and joy, but also be fully aware that all things must pass.

  3. James R. Martin says

    I’m all for living life in the now (moment), so long as we are also contributing, somehow, to the Great Shift from the fossily fueled economy and lifeway. We can do both, no?

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