March 02, 2006
|Denial, Despair — Or Activism?||Activism Environment|
One of the more poignant points that Al Gore made in [February 22nd's] powerful speech about global warming was that a lot of people move directly from a state of denial about this issue to one of despair. People in the first state don't go out and try to change things because they don’t see a problem. People in the second state are often no more inclined to act because they think the situation is hopeless. The fact that these are the two most stable cognitive states on this issue probably explains why a lot of people do, in fact, remain in denial. It's human to avoid pain, and therefore perhaps natural to subconsciously choose a state of denial over the daily trauma of despairing for the future of humanity. [Emphasis added]
My guess is that most of you who read PastPeak are too smart and too well-informed to choose denial: you already know better. Despair's not much of an option, either: it's not only self-defeating and pointless, it's no fun. That leaves activism. Activists are lucky. They get to interact with some of the brightest, most ethical and compassionate people on the planet. They get to look themselves in the mirror — and look their children in the eye — and know they're working on the side of the angels. And history is full of examples of movements that had miniscule beginnings against what seemed like overwhelming odds, only to triumph in the end. Forget denial. Forget despair. Activism is the only stance worth taking, if not for yourself, then for your children and the generations yet to come. It's part of the good life.
Once someone helped me get my head fully around Peak Oil, I understand I entered a period of bereavement for the imagined future of continued material wealth and progress.
Like any bereavement, it takes time to work through, and it's a very good thing to have it happen while the soft life is happening around you. We're lucky. We get to 'deal' with the end of cheap oil *and* have grid-connected heating.
As Heinberg pointed out in the Party's Over, there won't be a redistribution of wealth, just an attrition of it, so any response that doesn't involve trying to change things for others too will be self-defeating.
Posted by: Robert at March 3, 2006 06:49 AM
I'm NOT in denial! I'm not, I'm not, I'm not!
Posted by: Bob at March 3, 2006 08:05 AM