March 26th, 2005

(no subject)

Got my sleep a little late last night; in bed by about 2:30, up about half an hour ago. The waking nephew has been conquered by a computer game and no one else is up yet, so I have time to babble.

lilimom referred me to the Rolling Stone article on Peak Oil (, which struck me as unduly optimistic. Why exactly does the author think the current American administration has been working so hard to build a fascist dictatorship? So that when the inevitable rebellion occurs, they'll be in the right position to make sure it's everyone *else* who suffers! And Americans aren't tempermentally suitable for revolt; we have fifty years of training to be gutless wonders. And equal training in living in fantasyland.

The article author refers to the upcoming period as the Long Emergency. I suspect the Long Tantrum would be a better term for it. I have some ideas about how to plan for it, but I doubt the interest or ability of an audience willing to listen. Sneak it in under the radar as an entertaining fantasy, possibly.

But to do that I'll have to improve my *own* attention span. Which is a good idea, and not something to bother *you* about.

Ah, adults awaken. Back to you shortly.

Brigandage or Civilization?

My brain is full.

Start with: Why aren't I a brigand? It makes sense, on a narcissist basis; take what I want by force; if I find a bigger force, appease it, join it, or run away from it. Simple, enjoyable, easy life.

Except for two things: The first *might* be called Caesar's Law; it has certainly been around long enough. Simply stated, no matter how big and tough you think you are, Somebody Bigger Always Exists. You may not have *found* them yet, but they're out there somewhere. Another stating of the same law is Nobody Lasts Forever. Maybe you're the biggest *this* week; just wait. I don't like the idea of being King of the Hill, with nothing else going on in life but waiting to be assasinated by someone else who wants to be king for a while. Kinging went out of style in the mid-eighteenth century, it was called progress then, and I still think it's a good idea. If I want to play King for a while, I can go play a weekend fantasy game.

The second is that looting and pillaging is destructive. If we assume for discussion that a lot of other people do the same, soon there's not much left. No motive to produce, so people don't; just a *lot* of looting and pillaging. One anthro text I read believed strongly that this was the cause of the collapse of the Mayan civilization; his evidence looked good to me. Further, what if an earlier generation went brigand: What civilization would there be left now to pillage?

I identify as a Builder, not a Brigand. If we want to develop civilization, we have to build it. It *can't* be stolen, any more than if I want to become a great singer I could become so by stealing someone else's voice. Being civil is an art form, and like any art, even if you have a natural talent you still have to learn how to practice it.

There's more, but let's take it one bit at a time.