Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beyond Fuels 11: Where The Paths Converge

The four paths I've just described (aka the four books I've just reviewed) have a lot in common. First of all, they all are clear that we can't continue on as we are, using fossil fuels like they're endless, because they're not. On the other hand, no one is predicting sudden collapse, the destruction of everything we've known, and plundering hordes of barbarians. Although John Michael Greer is the clearest on this (see also his book The Long Descent for another take on this), all four of these authors talk about a long, slow pathway toward a future beyond fuels.

In essence, I think each of these books focus on a different element of that pathway. Muddling toward Frugality emphasizes the slow, indirect route we will need to take. Plan C emphasizes what we will need to do (curtail consumption and create community). The Great Turning emphasizes the opportunity here to use this unavoidable decline to move toward the society many of us want. The Ecotechnic Future emphasizes the probable stages ahead.

Where they disagree (and there are plenty of these places), they illuminate one another and push us toward examining our own values and biases. None of them suggest their view is what's going to happen (Korten: "The Great Turning is not a prophecy; it is a possibility." Greer: "...the logic of dissensus applies to my own ideas just as much as much as anyone else's..."); all of these paths are really just hypothetical routes. And what JMG refers to as "the logic of dissensus" makes all of these paths valuable because each author has sketched pieces of the potential terrain ahead--the greater the diversity of options available to us, the more likely some of these routes will prove useful.

Which is why I've read and reviewed all of them, as well as why I've been writing this series. I think that, year by year, we will be dealing more and more with less and less fuel sources available to us. All of these authors would agree that beginning to prepare for this now will help us tremendously as we move beyond fuels.

Quote of the Day: "The goal of foreseeing the future exactly and preparing for it perfectly is unrealizable. ...
"The future can't be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. ... We can't surge forward into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them." - Donella Meadows

No comments: