The web lately is full of all sorts of EOTW blather. For instance, some of the overly-imaginative sorts are all aflutter about a supposed Zombie Apocalypse originating in Florida. (Typical source: this link from Reddit.) Then there are the Serious People warning us that when Greece defaults and/or drops the Euro, the rest of the world economy will melt down. A few familiar voices have been discussing the role of spirituality in a post-peak-oil world.
My opinion? Of the above, taken in order: Silly; more likely; probably useful.
For somewhat more detail, I’ll take them in reverse order. “Spirituality” (more often thought of as religion) can serve a purpose in a post-crash world, particularly if it gets back to earlier function–namely, helping the “tribe” be a bit more coherent. I hope, probably in vain, that it doesn’t go full-on into the typical “us-vs-them” routine, and instead focuses on positively defining the “us” without excluding/ostracizing the “them.” But from probably as far back as our hunter-gatherer days, one of the binding social glues of small groups of people has been a common spirituality. Seems to me that we’re a bit fractured on this count, with dozens (hundreds? thousands?!) of spiritualities, all claiming exclusivity, and all “living” in close proximity to each other. Am I dreaming of a utopia? Probably–but if we all can agree that *your* beliefs shouldn’t be forced on *me*, either through forced conversion or through legislation, then society as a whole will probably have taken a step in a positive direction.
The European financial crisis seems to be headed toward a massive breakdown. I’m not an economist, so I certainly can’t claim to understand it all, beyond a growing sense that the folks “in charge” of these things don’t seem to know what they’re doing–and they don’t seem to want to listen to anyone who has an idea. I read a comment somewhere in the right-wing blogosphere claiming that the economic problems of the last few years “proved that Keynesian economics don’t work.” I must respectfully disagree–it seems to me that they’ve exactly proven Keynesian economics: governmental intervention (spending) can lead to a “more efficient economic policy than laissez-faire policy would” (definition from Wikipedia). Deregulation seems to lead to the excesses that caused the 2008 crisis, while government spending (even deficit spending) would seem to prop up the flagging economy until it can get going again…
As for the zombies, well… The recent “face-eating” attack seems to be being blamed on “bath salts,” the modern way (as I gather) of dosing on hallucinogenics/psychotropics. The rather impressive list of other “incidents” I would likewise attribute to use of some unconventional mind-altering substances; another explanation is that we’re societally suffering the effects of the stresses of the impending collapse–we sense that it’s coming, but can’t do anything about it–and that’s making the less “strong-willed” of us sort of snap. I suppose you can choose your explanation. (I’m as apt to call the hordes of smartphone-clutching, oblivious-to-their-surroundings, mindlessly shambling people out there “zombies” as any of the above–it seems more fitting, to me.)
Any zombies near you?