America in Collapse, Mile Marker 3: Sudden Free Fall
by Donald Croft Brickner
On paper, what strongly appears to be headed our way -- and it's likely to occur in our not-too-distant future -- will surely be perceived as nothing short of catastrophic apocalypse:
As in, End Times, and all of that sort of thing -- sans anything remotely including The Rapture. When we go splat, at long last, it's almost sure to include the overwhelming majority of us.
Those who do escape the overpowering first wave will get gobbled up by the second or third.
And then it'll be, like … does anybody really know what time it is?
First will come a death-like silence, as a response … followed by a lot of choked, wailing sobs.
Then will come the first trickles of laughter.
Not because it's funny -- but because it's actually real.
* * * * *
What is coming our way will be a first-time/last-time, once-only event. And when our culture does hit bottom -- and, my goodness, I can't think of anything more deserving! -- a peculiar (and probably unexpected) realization will come to, oh, say, several thousand of us: nothing beyond the actual tragic event serving as the trigger of our collapse will have changed all that much. It won't have!
Our televisions and computers will probably remain up-and-running, the mail will still be delivered to our homes, and someone's going to have to go shopping for tonight's dinner.
The Event itself -- the actual trigger event leading to some kind of infrastructural (and likely economic) demise in America -- is apt to begin, and end, in a less than a week. And as with 9/11, if you are out and about and not near a TV, radio or computer, you won't even know something unbelievably dramatic has occurred. This is, after all, not to be an extinction event.
The real long-standing dramas won't begin until after The Event has happened and been fully diagnosed -- which may add a few weeks to what will already be an in-your-face devastation.
The focus of those dramas will largely center around the question, What now? There will be very little precedent(s) for anyone to fall back on. For a time, anarchy will rise ... and then fall.
The same should be said for reactive violence.
The real issues will be ontological. There will be very little “business as usual.” Philosophy is likely to make something of a comeback, although the Classics will provide almost no solace.
Psychologists and psychiatrists will, for a time, be overrun with clients. So will small clinics.
Our government may be officially bankrupt, major corporations may shut their doors within days of The Event -- which could be a natural disaster, an abrupt nose-dive on Wall Street or, who knows, the bankruptcy of Los Angeles and/or all of California (there are so-o many probable causalities just sitting around out there, and they're all primed and loaded for Big Bear, so to speak) -- but beyond anything related to any of that, life will go on here in America.
As for what becomes of the rest of the world, well -- ...how can everybody not be impacted?
So much for Earth's rampant, widespread copy-catting of American culture; which, yes, will be toast.
I adore the likes of a blooming cultural icon like Chelsea Handler -- but on The Event Day, she will be (most likely only temporarily) unemployed.
* * * * *
Now, this all could go much worse than I'm at present envisioning it. Long emergency lines of people needing mere loaves of bread and bottled water from food pantries, and outbreaks of disease, violence and various forms of death may very well follow The Event -- which, essentially, would function as the antecedent to The Great Depression II.
But I don't think that's how this is all going to go down -- although there's sure to be some kind of need for all manner of human (and pet) assistance at the outset. There are degrees of gray involved here ... and these tragic probable futures aren't yet even fully formed. But, make no mistake -- the basics of The Event are pretty much locked in now, even at this stage.
Does any American not living a severely insulated life believe anything otherwise these days?
A word or two about “the insulated” in America is in order here:
With a few notable exceptions, it has already -- and recently -- been my experience that those whose spending budgets remain in tact today -- which may make up at least half of America's citizens (including all of those employed by its major news reporting sources!!) -- may believe that the words and concepts proposed in this essay are irresponsibly out-of-bounds.
To such a criticism I would say simply this: if one wants to know what it's really like living in America these days, turn off your televisions, radios and computers, and step out into your closest metropolitan area, and just slowly drive (or walk) around. What you are sure to find out is that the vitality you've always associated with your greater metropolitan area is missing.
Then, casually glance overhead and see if there's not one or more “chemtrails” high in your skies. The damned things are just about everywhere in America … and no one, outside The Loop, really knows what they are, or why they're there. Either that, or they're not answering.
Me, I think that stuff's up there as a federally-approved protection against dire global warming effects. (I certainly may be wrong about that, of course. [Or not.])
I can go on and on here about what's “wrong” “out there” -- but it's not my way or my intention. My countrymen and women simply need to exhibit some semblance of curiosity -- as opposed to the non-existent curiosity of America's insulated. Denial is as thick in our quickstreams here as it is in the chemical muck and goo of Chinese smokestacks.
America's insulated behave as if it's still 1995. What little wrong they do view can be corrected at our political polls, or by our existing social service agencies, they're pretty darned sure.
Part of the problem, now, is world view. The insulated choose to be happy and, too, to live on a happy planet. And that's their right -- if not their constitutionally-sanctioned mandate.
Trouble is: denial and ignorance, at the hands of insulation, will snatch that happiness away, and stomp it to smithereens. When one is insulated, it should go without saying one is blind.
The Event will be but a trigger for the apparent awfulness schlepping our way now. We're all responsible for the rest of it. We lie to ourselves nowadays far more often than we opt for the truth. It's gotten so bad, we're no longer even curious about what is or isn't true! We just fake it when it comes to making “accuracy” decisions. Usually the one who yells the loudest wins.
We can all still end up happy for the most part. It just has to be a different kind of happy: one that doesn't survive or expire based all-but-solely on acquiring some new iPad or Lexus.
* * * * *
Banging together a substantive, meaningful new human philosophy will finally be in order. For example: were we born into this world/universe with the sole goal of becoming “happy?” And, in fact, define “happy.” What is happy, say, to a serial killer? Or, to some manipulative Wall Street profiteering baron? Or, to anyone who's convinced of their own financial entitlement?
Oh, what -- we all could use some preventative psychological health? Well, tap, tap, tap... It's kind of late in the game to desire that -- isn't it?
Besides -- more than half of all individuals I encounter would far prefer competitively “hurting” their neighbors rather than helping (...or loving!) them. “Love” is just a concept practiced and promoted at Disney World -- and for a profit. It's all a crock, these folks tend to (silently) posit.
What is coming is coming, regardless.
Over the last year, I've usually diagnosed this process -- and getting clobbered universally is a process -- as being a roller coaster, one annoyingly foot-dragging, in nature. But my instincts have taken a turn, and only just very recently: the airy, downward spiral (of the second half of our financial meltdown) was going to kick in the very moment the Dow Jones fell down, back under 10,000, and couldn't get back up again. That's how I've long thought “it” would happen.
But these folks who clearly, from behind the scenes, artificially prop up the DJIA, are as determined to keep a delusional recovery going as ever. And, frankly, my expectation has been this last year that the movers-and-shakers knew they were elevating a limp Noodle, per se, and the very moment Wall Street came crashing down they'd grab all their chips and dash off for that Pacific island they'd bought as a cushion two or three quarters ago.
Only, no -- now I just see too many bubble-popping Events lying in wait to claim our artificial big bucks.
Did I mention that the concept of any board of directors, as a recipient of gobs of free money, is quickly coming to an abrupt end?
Did I? There's other stuff just like that that's also about to waft away into the Nether-Ethers of Ridiculousdom.
* * * * *
Please, I don't mean to poo-poo the emotional pains and physical loss that'll be unavoidable in the months and years ahead. These will be tough times, for sure. But: if we opt to work together...
It seems pretty reasonable to project that the U.S. federal government is going to find itself in a position where it must declare bankruptcy -- not just because of its economic insolvency, or because other nations are apt to start calling in their chips, but to help keep Americans afloat financially. What's going to disappear are numbers. Dollar bills will remain in circulation -- as will all of those dreaded pennies. What they're truthfully worth -- which, of course, is nothing, and never was -- will be decided shortly after The Event manifests in all its gut-wrenching glory.
That it's “mostly” going to be a gut-wrenching Event is a good thing: No car bombs. Few guns will be fired (contrary to what I believed six months ago -- whose probabilities might well have manifested; only they appear unlikely to now, except in limited frays). No dismantling of state capitol buildings.
Though a lot -- a lot -- of people are going to find themselves suddenly broke, the reality is there's an entire generation of young people with other plans who've heard these songs and dances all of their relatively young lives, and they're sick of it: I've actually heard it stated that baby boomers are close enough to dying (and, therefore, finally, going away), that young adults can actually see the nice, clean clearing just beyond the (icky greed-riddled) forest. (Yay!)
Until then, we're all rather stuck with one another -- and we'll have little choice but to agree to work together. (...And kids, you need to check your own selves out: in your own mirrors, btw.)
No matter, the post-Event Clean Up is going to be the muther to end all muthers.
C'mon, guys. You know the drill here (even if CNN, et al, doesn't).
It's almost showtime.
As in: time to show up.
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Tags: Economy , Collapse , Philosophy , U.S. , Change , The Great Leveling
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