Consumerism is unsustainable. Competition is unsustainable. Imperialism is unsustainable.
Our species is standing on the brink of an extinction-level event due to ecosystemic collapse or nuclear war, and it is because of the way that we have lived on this planet up until this point. If we keep moving in this direction, we will go the way of the dinosaur in the not too distant future and take most terrestrial life with us. Maybe even all of it.
The imperfect and immature nature of our newly evolved capacity for language and abstract thought, combined with our social nature as primates, has caused our species to consistently organize according to the will of the very worst of us—the most sociopathic, the most foolish, the most irresponsible of humans. The one who is the most willing and capable of doing and saying whatever it takes in order to exert control over other humans has throughout our history been the one who ascended to leadership.
So now we find ourselves in a society that has been built from the ground up almost entirely at the direction of sociopaths, for the benefit of sociopaths. Nations point Armageddon weapons at one another as a vast globe-spanning empire works toward total planetary domination. Mass-scale human behavior is driven predominantly by the pursuit of profit, and all the most profitable behaviors involve inflicting trauma of some sort: war, militarism, monopolism, usury, strip mining, fossil fuels, factory farming, ads convincing us we’re deficient, etc.
And we’re on track to traumatize ourselves right out of existence very soon.
What this means is that, while on paper we are a successful organism in terms of population and domination of the food chain, we are actually as spectacular a failure as any life form can possibly be. The only species which could arguably rival our failure might be the prehistoric cyanobacteria, which, like homo sapiens, became too populous too quickly for the ecosystem to sustain and caused a mass extinction.
We are not going to consume our way out of this mess. We are not going to compete our way out of this mess. And we are most certainly not going to imperialism our way out of this mess. Those who think we will are delusional. Our old way of doing things has failed.
The path out of this mess can only lie in the exact opposite direction of the path which led us into it. This doesn’t mean ripping apart the earth searching for magical forms of renewable energy and sending rocket ships into space to warehouse all the excess humans so we can keep doing what we’ve been doing. It means turning around and moving into a collaborative relationship with each other and with our ecosystem. That is the only way.
What this means for you, personally, is that you have no responsibility toward any of the old mechanisms which have led us to the brink of extinction, because those mechanisms have failed. Utterly and indisputably.
As a human being, you may safely flush your loyalties to any system which has been a part of humanity’s march to extinction right down the toilet. The political systems, the mindsets, the religions, the culture. It has all failed, so you owe none of it any loyalty.
In fact, you may feel free to reject anything that your society regards as “normal,” because your society is as sick and insane as a society can possibly be. “Normal” has led to a world that is dying and a society that is insane. So be happy with your weirdness.
A wild divergence from our current trajectory is the only hope our species has for survival, so as a member of our species it is your duty to participate in that divergence in any way that looks healthy to you. Our civilization as it exists today is a dead man walking. Do not dance with dead men.
Reject the norms. Let the zombies think you are weird. The values they are criticizing you for diverging from are the values that are choking us all to death.
Leave your crappy marriage. Leave your crappy religion. Change your career. Change your entire lifestyle. Change your name. Change your gender. Change whatever you want. Change things just for the hell of it. If drastic change is what we need, then baby, be the change.
Wherever you see light, move there. Don’t let any inhibitions hold you back, because those inhibitions are imposed by a culture that is an omnicidal maniac. Dismiss all its arguments, because it is insane.
Be you, and don’t let any part of the dead man walking tell you it’s wrong. Your own best guess is better than the “normal” of a society that has signed off on its own obliteration.
Step off from the old patterns.
Caitlin Johnstone is a Melbourne-based journalist who specialises in American politics, finance and foreign affairs. Her articles have been published in Inquisitr, Zero Hedge, New York Observer, MintPress News, The Real News, International Policy Digest and more. Caitlin is the author of Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers, an illustrated poetical guide to reclaiming the earth from the forces of death and destruction.