This afternoon a friend called. He was catching me up on local happenings of note. One of which was that some of the local gas stations are upgrading their pumps and signs to handle double digit gas prices. That would be two digits to the left of the decimal point.
So it begins.
Only 15 years ago I became aware of the energy situation. At first I was alarmed and expected things to play out rather quickly. Yes, that was rather naive. Eventually, though it was bound to happen and we would see the peak year of oil production in the rear-view mirror. At this point I think the odds are pretty high we can look back at 2018 and call it the likely peak of all liquids production globally.
If you want to get up to speed there is plenty of material online. If you go to the Oil Drum which is now archived you will find all the background you could want to get up to speed. Just shift expectations for peak to 2018.
I won’t go into why I don’t have any confidence in renewable energy to make up the difference. Basically, density of energy and being in liquid form are what make petroleum really handy. And we are beginning to feel the consequences of wasting that resource.
What to do, what to do?
Our civilization continues to barrel headlong towards the abyss. On this edge is the fantasy of endless progress and ability to find another energy source to replace oil. On the other side of the chasm is living within our energy budget. Meaning low density, inconvenient to transport energy sources.
Getting from here to there. The process will certainly take longer than one lifetime. At the same time the grind deceleration starts now and we are already feeling it with more to come very soon.
Kind of like the 1800s and before.
What is one of the characteristics of the environment we are beginning to find ourselves culturally and psychologically? A few words come to mind. Uncertainty. Instability. Unsettled. Stressful. I am sure you may have a few of your own as you probably are beginning to feel the squeeze.
In this uncertain environment, where we are learning we can’t trust politicians, business leaders, and the institutions we used to rely on, what do we turn to instead?
Technology as old as humanity. On the physical side of things we used to know and can probably figure out again how to grow food locally. Stay warm in smaller houses. Make do, fix, and scavenge as needed. Seeing as we are not likely to just revert back to the stone age what might we see of modern life come with us into the future? A number of things I am sure.
What will become more prominent though is what I am much more interested in focusing my attention for now. Which is what I was referring to a few paragraphs up. Not really ever having gone away but certainly popularity rising and falling in popularity over the centuries it is still here.
What am I talking about?
Magick, divination, and various other occult tools. How humans have been helping themselves survive for thousands of years at the very least. As we have to start depending on ourselves and our local communities these ancient tools will grow fast in popularity.
Now is a good time to collect the books, learn the skills, and share what you learn with others who are interested. There is so much to choose from out there. The list of what one might study would fill a book easily. Astrology, tarot, runes, geomancy, various styles of meditation, palm reading, and systems of magic are waiting to be brought back into circulation.
We need these tools. While the scientific method is wonderful it is only one paradigm to peer at an unimaginably varied and vast reality. Those other tools are also important for our survival toolkit. At a minimum, learning to tap the subconscious to solve vexing problems is enough reason to begin learning other ways to perceive and interact with reality.
When we get to the other side of the abyss our civilization faces these other ways, ancient ways, are going to be as important to day to day life as fixing an old windmill or shoeing a horse.
If we don’t begin to collect, learn, and pass on what took humanity untold generations to figure out we leave our descendants in the unenviable position of having to start over. They will start over if needed. Using magick is as much a part of being human as walking upright.
We can give them a head start. So along with figuring out how to work with the ecology of our physical landscape again it is time to get back to working with the ecology of the non-physical. The alternative is to discover for ourselves what is at the bottom of the abyss. And how hard it is to climb up the other side.