Image credit: Peak Moment TV
When Roberta Cruger explored the eco-dystopian cinematic visions emerging from the Toronto International Film Fest, she featured Collapse—a portrait of former cop turned peak oil futurist Michael C. Ruppert. As founder of CollapseNet, it's fair to say that Ruppert is not one of the techno-optimists among us. Rather, he is a firm believer that the only thing that can possibly save humanity is a shift of consciousness that is so profound, it marks the birth of an entirely new species. Here he sits down with Janaia Donaldson of Peak Moment TV to explain why. (Ironically enough, there's also a cameo appearance from a passing Chevy Volt too...)
The Diagnosis is Correct
Given my previous lament about disasterbation turning you blind, it's probably no surprise that I am not entirely convinced by either Ruppert's thesis nor his method of delivering it. I have no qualms with the argument that infinite economic growth is neither possible nor desirable, and I think he is spot on when he claims that no government anywhere is even close to taking the steps necessary to tackle the challenges we face. (Even the IEA's Chief Economist says no government is prepared for peak oil.)
Conscious Evolution of a New Species?
Where I remain confused is why an apparent shift in consciousness marks a the evolution of a new species "by scientific definition" any more than the discovery that the Earth was round meant the end of "flat Earth man". And where I take issue is the idea that this message is a helpful way of spreading the word or changing behavior—as opposed to a means to make the "enlightened few" feel self righteous about their preparedness for what they see as inevitable collapse.
It is true that peak oil, climate change, resource depletion and early signs of a sixth mass extinction mean that we face challenges like we have never faced before. But I can't help but doubt whether Michael C. Ruppert knows what comes next any more than I do.
Collapse And Survive or Innovate and Thrive?
We may indeed be facing catastrophic collapse, or we may be facing tough times and a challenging period of societal, cultural and technological innovation. Whether the future lies with community-focused Transition movements; corporate-friendly systems innovation; no growth economics; conscious "uncivilization"; or a solar-powered world, or a combination of all of the above and more, is not something I am qualified to predict. But then neither is Ruppert. What I can say is that I doubt any of us will recognize the next phase of human evolution until long, long after it has happened.
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