Many of us are already experiencing it. Our civilization, predicated as it is on cheap abundant fossil fuels is starting to contract. Our ever outwardly expanding economy is finally and predictably encountering the limits to growth. As these implacable outer forces come into play we face some important personal choices. Some of us may have garnered enough financial resources that we are seemingly at the present unaffected by the change. Many of us are already sliding with a certain velocity toward the brink of collapse. As the old system continues to make demands on us the price in terms of stress and life energy gets higher and higher. What do we do?
First off we should be apprised of the fact that ours is not a civilization of happy, contented people. Despite two centuries of an industrial revolution that has created unprecedented affluence for many the level of joy in most people's daily lives has seriously declined. What at first was met with wonder and amazement as one technological marvel after another was unveiled has now become an object of suspicion. Every new advancement in technology that has promised to solve a problem has only created a new one. And now those accumulated problems are starting to mass on the horizon preparing an onslaught that threatens life as we know it.
But that's a good thing! For if the current arrangement isn't working why should we hold onto it? For some of us it's the devil we know versus the devil we don't know. Change, big radical, devastating change, can truly be a fearful thing. So we continue to try to placate the gods by shouldering more responsibilities, enduring more stress, looking for more money, and becoming less and less happy about it.
But as those larger forces come into play our efforts are becoming more like the flailing of a drowning person. We need a release. We need a dream. We need a new society.
That new society is a local one. It's composed of neighbor helping neighbor, local farmers, local business, walkable communities, apprentice programs, public transportation, and an acknowledgment of our inter- connectedness. We're going to live without a lot of "stuff". We're not going to be nearly as mobile as we've been accustomed to being. Our spendthrift days will largely and for most of us come to an end. For some of us this has already happened. And we are entering a new world, a world that replaces affluence with gratitude, stress with the security of living with other people that care about us, and forces on us a constrained materialism that moves over to make room for a spiritual awakening.