Saturday, August 19, 2006

Self-Righteous or Pre-Destined

I got a letter from my best friend Laura. She says: “I know how you feel about most things, but I can’t help but feeling that with the gas crisis you have become extremely focused on doom and even more self-righteous than usual.”

Even more self-righteous than usual.

Well now. Ah, but that is what best friends are for.

No, really, I mean it. I used to say that I didn’t consider anyone a friend until they’d told me I was an a** at least once.

She’s right of course. Although I don’t consider it a “gas crisis” but the beginning of the peak oil down slope. It feels to me like the whole world is on a rollercoaster that is poised at the top of the big hill, just about to go over. I’m strapped in. Most people are not. There is already a die off in Africa. More grain is being consumed than grown. Cutting back your driving a little just isn’t going to get it at this point.

Just so those of you who haven’t known me forever know, I wasn’t a Y2K person -- husband was in computers and we knew there was nothing but hype and profit behind Y2K. I’m not a second coming person either. I have in fact sat happily through the foreseen time of several second comings. I’ve always said, hey, everyone since Paul thought Jesus was coming back next day. Personally I think the “second coming” is not what Christians think it is anyway.

I think it is undeniable that something big is happening and happening right now. But I don’t think of it as doom. In fact, I get a little impatient for it sometimes. I’m glad for it. What is there of this culture worth saving? It is better that it go, and homesteads will be the monasteries, the Edens, the places where skill and learning and craft and art and life can continue, and all will not be lost. I get a little impatient and I try to foresee the paths it will take. People will not change their behavior much, not in any meaningful ways.

When do you think oil & gas will become like aviation fuel or nuclear fuel rods and people just won’t normally have access to it? At that point, it will be reserved for some agricultural and transportation uses. What isn’t taken by the military that is. I actually think base food, grains and beans unprocessed, will remain affordable, at least to those of us who know what to do with them, for those of us with some skill to trade for money. People will accumulate in cities and go to gruel kitchens for a meal a day and the country dwellers, the pagani, will likely remain unmolested. Unless the government molests us like it did in the Soviet Union. I just hope the government is otherwise distracted with everything else going on so as not to much notice us.

I suppose it is self-righteous of me to look at people and wonder or ask them, How do you plan to survive, to help your children survive? It is self-righteous of me because mostly they have no plans. Their heads are in the sand, distracted, wars, terrorists, Angelina, Prudhoe Bay, $4 gas and a $6 burger & a shake. Of course, I talked with one person who said she didn’t mind dying, or her children dying, so long as they could be Jesus in this world while they are here. I got nothing’ against Jesus, but I ain’t going with you there. “It isn’t this world that is important, but the next,” she said. I’ll be born again one incarnation at a time, thanks.

It is food, shelter and clothing folks. And it is as simple as how do you provide this (food, shelter & clothing) for yourself without exploiting someone else? I think that would be a good challenge anyway, and a good and meaningful and righteous life to be lived, but if the peak oil down slope is here, being able to do that may mean that you (and your children) don’t die.

I guess I can get self-righteous about life and death coming to a neighborhood near you. But more, I guess it seems self-righteous that I don’t see it as a tragedy. Or even as an inconvenience. I see it as destiny.

Q: What is the single greatest survival skill (according to me)?
A: Joy, practiced like meditation, chosen like desert, danced amidst the obligations and toils and sorrows that simply are

And just to make a note of it, I milked in the rain for the first time in a long time. Rain is good. But I should have put that new tarp on that milking shelter before now.

I also note that I actually wrote and sat on this post for awhile. I guess it sounded too self-righteous or something.


The Pagan Temple said...

You seem like a hope for the best but prepare for the worse kind of person to me. Not self righteous at all. I think it's quite healthy.

madcapmum said...

That's a very either/or title, ma'am. (wink, wink, ... I know you don't like the little winking symbol so I won't torment you with it on your blog.)

It's a little hard for those of us who are still working at "getting there" to swallow your joy at being set up and ready. Sometimes it comes across as being a bit callous.

However, when I take it with the plentiful grains of salt you provide (your willingness to share information and "play"), I can take it as a spur to action rather than as delight in the prospect of our imminent doom.

the Contrary Goddess said...

I will never for the life of me "get" why people will interpret "do A, get results of A, do B, get results of B" as arrogant, self-righteous, and delighting in the prospect of your (not personally) doom.

But hey, that's just me :->

Anonymous said...

Here's a funny thing though, CG: Just guessing, but what if you'd been, say, a Soap Opera addict (guessing that you are not) and told your friend that she should watch soaps too? Would she have told you that you were self-righteous? I'd wager not. And why not?

People only schwing out the 'self righteous' thing when you've hit a nerve, when they know you are right. If someone didn't on some level know that they were shuffling toward the brink of the abyss, how you live wouldn't bother them, now, would it?

I remember years ago advocating the absenance from tobacco and for that being called Self-Righteous. After all, you've never smoked so you don't know how hard it is to quit! Have some pity on the rest of us who are trying to quit, well, want to quit,.... well think about quitting sometimes ...once in a while.

Where are they now? Mostly dead.

In a lifetime some people manage to make their way through the fog of hype, the Babylonian brainwashing, and drop the obsession with who's right and who's not. When you're not concerned with who's right, you are no longer concerned with who's righteous.

Some people, no doubt you among them, have found their way out of that fog to the place of seeing the natural consequence of things. If you do A, you will get the results of A. If you do B, you will get the results of B. If you continue to do A, you will continue to get the results of A.

And to those that recoil to the utterly useless notion of self-righteousness, I say if you are content with your results, keep on doing what you are doing. Right and wrong don't enter into it.

madcapmum said...

It's not the "Do A get A" sequence, it's the "How invigorating!" response to the prospect of societal collapse that seems a bit hard.

Just me! You need to say what you need to say.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Ok, I wrote it, I've read it over, after comments, many times. I still don't see glee or delight in doom. I can probably give you the "how invigorating" in the Klingon way however. But that isn't at societal collapse but at the ride through it.

Anonymous said...

That mystified me a bit too. Now I can't account for the CG, she may well be there with her holler echoing with "Bwah-ha-ha-ha" at the prospects of societal collapse for all I know.

But like she said, it's the ride through it. When a great blizzard hits this area, as it sometimes does, and downs all the power lines and blocks the roads, there's a feeling of exhileration at facing that challange and faring well. Just because my household stands firm and says "Bring it on, by God!" doesn't mean that we are pleased that other people are in very dire straights because of it.

Our culture needs to change, and it seems quite disinclined to do so volunarily. Let it face the consquences of it's own decisions and actions, bring it on, by God!

I've thought a bit about this. There is a common scam going on if you advertise anything for sale on the internet. You get an email asking the price and your personal infromation and the buyer agrees to so arrange shipping by sending you a certified money order for the purchase price plus the shipping. You are to cash the money order and give his agent the difference between the price of the item and the amount of the check to cover the shipping. Of course, the scam is that you give his "agent" the cash for shipping adn the money order ends up being bogus and you are out the cash. It's amazing how many people are falling for this.

Now suppose you have a dear friend who's convinced that it's on the up and up and is about to be bilked. You try to warn them but they lose the money anyway.

By pointing out to them that they have been foolish and have been bilked is the type of thing CG is talking about. What the "you are being too harsh" types want is for us to rail against the scammer and how they shouldn't be scamming and should be rally buying our friends goods and paying for them legitimately. If that's not the approach taken, then we are being harsh and unsympathetic.

Well the scammers ARE bilking people and they aren't going to change.

In the history of the enconomy of the modern world, the wolf is at the window. No amount of coddling, sympathy, or empathy is going to alter it.

So go ahead, cash the scammer's check and give the money to his "agent".

madcapmum said...

Thank you, no. I'll keep struggling to get onto the land myself, because I think it's the right way to go for all kinds of reasons, and I have you two to thank for much of my motivation.

CG seemed to be exploring the reaction her writings recieve in this post, at least that's how it seemed to me. Often when I read a new post here, I have to go away and read it again later because my first reaction is to recoil at the vehemence. That's simply what is. I'm not saying that you should say your piece any differently, CG. What also is, is that I tend to seek out vehement people and enjoy dealing with them because there aren't any headgames happening. I like that. I know where I stand with someone who's speaking his/her mind, even if it takes me a while to process it all, and even if I don't entirely agree.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Well, someone some years ago expressed the same sort of thing about the vehemence. He said something to the effect that I say stuff as though IT IS (and isn't going to change), and that it took him awhile to realize that I stated plainly the way I saw things at that moment, but that I changed/was capable of change/sought out information to facilitate change. I can use qualifiers as well as anyone when I try really really hard though.

Thanks for all your comments and feedback . . . and also for being out there trying and saying your piece too, MadCap. Not going to say anything nice to Eleu as his head might swell. We'll just let him deal with the scammers, eh?

madcapmum said...

Yes, it would be a shame if he had to find a whole new wardrobe of hats on our account!

It looks as though "saying my piece" will soon be less about unrequited longings and more about "What do I do about all these thistles!?" The bank phoned yesterday to tell us that everything's set to go based on their appraisal, and even if it comes in low, they'll still be able to swing it. I'll be a chickeneer!

Deb said...

I don't have anyone I care enough about that isn't living under my roof, to be affected by a "self-righteous" comment. Maybe that means I don't have any friends, or close relatives, but so be it. I like my life, imperfect and striving-towards-better though it may be. There ain't no denying that something big's coming down, and my brother with his hi-tech job and house in the ideal suburb better watch out.