http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=682We read around the world, sifting through various perceptions and finding things that our people may need to consider, especially those of us who prepare for an eventual reclamation of our world from negativity.The above link has insights of a day that many of us haven't considered: Will be be ready with our thing if their thing disappears?read on...[If the subprime mortgage massacre had occurred in a vacuum, the dirty little secret might have been kept a bit longer, but juxtaposing it with Peak Oil, skyrocketing food prices, wacky weather and debilitating droughts, not to mention proliferating pink slips, it daily becomes embarrassingly obvious that Jim Kunstler was spot-on when he uttered his infamous declaration in the documentary, “The End Of Suburbia” that “the entire suburban project is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.”]By Carolyn BakerSimulposted with Speaking Truth to Power4/24/08“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”~George Santayana~The appearance of springtime in North America may be more welcome this year than at anytime in recent history. The winter has been long, cold, and dreary-particularly in the Rust Belt where the devastations of housing foreclosures, unemployment, and the resultant blight have left a trail of human misery and degradation not seen since the Great Depression. Ten percent of the population of Ohio now relies on food stamps while hordes of domestic animals abandoned in foreclosed homes endure long and grotesque deaths from starvation.For countless Americans across the nation, this winter has brought with it something far more distressing than brutal, bone-chilling temperatures-horrific, traumatic revelations that the American dream, neatly packaged and sold for decades, has become their worst possible nightmare. Should they happen to see on TV the guy from the Countrywide commercial greeting them with “Homeowners…”, they are probably wondering why he hasn’t been assassinated and at the very least wondering why Countrywide is still in business.Something is festering in the psyches of the formerly middle class of this nation-something far more ominous than burgeoning public assistance and food stamp applications or mushrooming meth labs. If the subprime mortgage massacre had occurred in a vacuum, the dirty little secret might have been kept a bit longer, but juxtaposing it with Peak Oil, skyrocketing food prices, wacky weather and debilitating droughts, not to mention proliferating pink slips, it daily becomes embarrassingly obvious that Jim Kunstler was spot-on when he uttered his infamous declaration in the documentary, “The End Of Suburbia” that “the entire suburban project is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.”And yet during this “winter of disconnect” we have heard delusional economists and the President himself describe the current horrors in terms of “a soft patch” or the need to “ride this one out until things bounce back.” And overall, the human race is virtually ignoring climate change and perseverating in the madness of the ethanol panacea.And speaking of insanity, Europe is rapidly returning to coal-fired power plants, while in China, coal “remains the major source of fuel for two billion people”-nightmare scenarios with respect to global warming and climate change. Meanwhile, Monsanto and other genocidal monsters of food and population control, tout ethanol as an energy panacea–the only tangible result of their hype being mass starvation and astronomical food prices. Or as a friend recently commented: Ethanol is a fabulous solution to our energy dilemma because it will provide more fuel for us to drive around and look for food.The Four Seasons Of CivilizationDuane Elgin, author of numerous books including Voluntary Simplicity, postulated fifteen years ago that civilizations evolve through specific stages which ironically follow the shape of a bell curve, similar to the Peak Oil curve, in their development and to which Elgin refers as the “four seasons” of growth. This was long before the bell curve of Peak Oil was familiar to many other individuals besides M. King Hubbert, father of the Peak Oil theory, who died four years before Elgin’s book was published.According to Elgin, Stage I of the development of a civilization, “Springtime” is characterized by high growth and an era of faith in future potential. During springtime, there is little bureaucratic complexity, and activities are largely self-regulating. Stage II or “Summer”, is an era of reason where social consensus begins to weaken and bureaucratic complexity increases with less self-regulation and more external regulation. “Autumn” follows, ushering in an era of cynicism where consensus weakens considerably, special interest groups surpass the power of a shared social purpose, and bureaucratic complexity mounts faster than the ability to effectively regulate. An era of despair characterizes Stage IV, “Winter”, and the collapse of consensus is supplanted by conflicting social purposes. Bureaucratic mechanisms and their complexity become overwhelming, and society begins to break down.Elgin believes that three possible outcomes are likely to emerge from the breakdown of the system. One outcome is collapse as the biosphere is pushed beyond its limits and can no longer support the burden of humanity. Stagnation is another option, in which members of the system expend energy on simply maintaining the status quo. Revitalization is the most desirable option which results from a “period of intense communication and reconciliation that builds a working consensus around a sustainable pathway into the future.”The author notes that we get collapse by “perpetuating the status quo and running the biosphere into ruin. We get stagnation when citizens are passive and rely on remote bureaucracies and technological solutions to handle a deteriorating local-to-global situation. We get revitalization only when we directly engage our predicament as individuals, families, communities, and nations.”Although Elgin has presented the three options in this particular order, it is clear to me that the current civilization has long since passed through stagnation and is rapidly collapsing. In my opinion, while revitalization may have been possible decades ago when society’s elite first learned of Peak Oil, climate change, and numerous renewable energy options, it is now possible only as a consequence of collapse for the simple reason that the progression of collapse has rendered voluntary revitalization extraordinarily problematic, if not impossible.Richard Heinberg’s Peak Everything reveals unequivocally that virtually every resource on earth has reached or passed its peak of availability to the human race. Elgin’s 1993 theory, however, offers a larger picture in which the likelihood that civilization itself has peaked and is on the downward side of the bell curve is logically plausible.The immediate “winter of our disconnect” (and discontent), described above, has been characterized by an astonishingly rapid unraveling of civilization which appears to accelerate with every passing day. The larger winter is not about specific events such as foreclosures, bankruptcies, food rationing in America, or melting glaciers, but rather the final evolutionary stage of civilization and its eventualities in which we now find ourselves embroiled. In other words, particular occurrences of unraveling indicate irrefutably that we have entered Peak Civilization.