Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Archdruid Report

John Michael Greer (the Archdruid) is a very interesting person. He really is a Druid, the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and thinks of himself as a magician as well. I talked about his thoughts on magic and liberation in my last post.

However, he has a blog that doesn't focus on magic or liberation. What quickly becomes apparent from reading his weekly Report, is that his real interest is in saving Western civilization--and when I say 'saving', I don't mean preventing destruction (he doesn't think that's possible or worthwhile) but keeping to be used later, the way you might save a scrap of paper.

The Archdruid Report is an ongoing forum for his ideas on how to preserve what is worth saving of our present culture. He talks a lot about what he calls 'cultural conservers' who will save important bits of what we have for the future. Part of why he is doing this is that his vision of the future (elaborated in a series of essay--The Coming of Deindustrial Society and The Long Road Down--that he wrote for oilcrisis.com) involves neither us continuing on our present path nor any sort of abrupt apocalypse, but a long, slow decline from here, the way that other civilizations (he's fond of pointing to historical records--Rome, the Mayans, etc) deteriorated. Since he expects a gradual fading of what we have now, he is puzzling out preservation methods so that everything we've built or discovered won't be lost.

His essays are long and erudite. What's more, the comments on the blog tend to be thoughtful and thought-provoking, and, at various points, John Michael Greer inserts his own comments which generally includes brief responses to everyone who has commented. The back and forth of comments is civil and informative, which is more than I can say of other comment sections that I've read.

One of his posts last month (July 2nd) was about getting his amateur radio license. It sounds off-topic at first but then he explains that he doesn't expect the internet (which is a major energy user) to be around much longer, and the internet can be fairly easily controlled by the government, whereas homemade radios can be made simply from scrap, use little energy, and are difficult to control. Ham radio is not something I'd given a lot of thought to before reading this post.

Of all the blogs I've perused so far (which is probably not that many, as far as the blogosphere goes), this is by far the most fascinating and satisfying. I may soon add it to my list of social change websites. In any case, I'd highly recommend checking it out--that is, if you are interested in saving Western civilization.

Quote of the day: "In a world lurching through economic crisis and the first wave of impacts from peak oil, it's easy to dismiss the continuing implosion of American culture as a minor issue, but such a dismissal is as much a symptom of cultural collapse as anything I've cited already. Again, culture is memory, and among the things it holds in store are the tools, insights, and lifeways that served people well in the days before our civilization started chasing the suicidally addictive rush of empire." - John Michael Greer
Word (or phrase) of the day: Subsidarity
Hero(es) of the day: Wangari Maathai

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