The issue is primarily one of behavior and attitudes. It really is important to differentiate doom and denial. In fact, it is of the highest concern and the reason being this condition is a journey to acceptance like the Kubler Roth of grief. If the journey is one of an optimistic end this is quite different than a journey in acceptance to and end game of physical and spiritual mortality. The other issue is the definition of doom and collpase. This is a process with localized realities. Not all places or systems will necessarily collpase the same or even maybe at all. Maybe all will collpase or not. There might be the Byzantium after Rome. This is not ours to know this is the sacred.
A journey in acceptance will embrace palliative care. There will be triage of behaviors that hinder acceptance and damage the journey. It is highly important acceptance is achieved because humans are in a carbon trap but more importantly path dependent by existing structures and behavior. If triage and creative destruction is going to occur with a higher level of adapted behavior achieving more valuable mitigation than acceptance is vital. Morale is of the highest concern here. This is a journey into the unknow but with pessimistic end. We can make this an optimistic pessimism with proper morale of acceptance. Necessary sacrifices can be made when proper orientation is achieved. Trap dynamics take proper strategy or the trap becomes deeper. Good behaviors are diminished if a wrong orientation is taken.
Those who fight now thinking they can affect change are still bargaining. They are angry and they are prone to depression and isolation. This is a bad combination of the negatives of denial driven action for a positive end. The other issue is the planet and the web of life. If the journey is going to be supported then we need the assistance of the planet and the web of life. This occurs by following and emulating them in their journey of succession. There must not be a separation from the planetary way or power is lost. They are in succession and there is an ongoing extinction event. They will support the journey by showing the way. There is connectivity to a planetary process not the alternative of an engineer trying to force a change that is not possible. Fighting a current is much different than harnessing a current. The final issue is the spiritual dimension. The journey to doom accepting a collapse process is one of pain, suffering in increasing poverty. This is physical and mental and includes people and place in decline. Spiritually there can be increased satisfaction in finding meaning in this. The spiritual dimension can make up significantly the doom deficit that is a necessary outcome of this journey.
Now comes the surreal part. The journey I speak about is for the awakened. Not all humans can be awakened. Not all systems and networks can be managed for a doom journey. This points to a spiritual bifurcation. The awakened should outfit the ark and build the monasteries. Those in denial can continue to create the things needed to outfit the ark and build the monasteries. Growth is needed to outfit degrowth. The awakened must follow a tight rope of living in growth to leave it. They must embrace paradoxes and incongruous juxtapositions. They will become the seeds that will offer the wisdom that will be needed for the new world this journey of doom is sailing for. They will be the elders to advise the next generation on what needs to be done. They will have collected the goods needed. They will have sorted, organized and means tested the tools for this new world. This is why the journey is so critical. A journey of denial to a positive end will not affect the same change as the journey of doom. So, this is also a human acceptance that some can journey to doom and others can’t. There is not either or but a bee hive of activity with some being the workers. The planet choses who is who. This then is also the acceptance of those choosing denial. It is inevitable and in fact vital some choose denial. They will be the workers building things those who embrace reality will need.
This then points to two different worlds and this can only be achieved locally and in small groups. The reason for this is the cultural narrative for so many people to survive in the here and now cannot be maintained with doom. There must be a reason to slug on with sometimes vile and painful activity. There is going to inevitably be physical and spiritual inequality and some are fated to die in this process. This is a life boat situation and also needs hospice care. We can’t save all and all can’t be allowed to make the journey. There must be a situation where some chosen to harness growth and the majority trapped in the denial of doom. This is so the chosen can transport the Grail of Wisdom to the new world. This is not transcendence but instead a spiritual transformation only a few can attain. This then requires humility of the chosen that they are following the way. They are the Jedi who embrace the force. They are leading the way in the shadows. They are heroic in sacrifice and humble in the power they attain from following the way of the planet.
“Doom or denial: Is there another path?”
“The nub of the controversy is this: some folks involved in Extinction Rebellion think that Bendell is being too fatalistic, thereby discouraging his followers from taking actions that might still save civilization and global ecosystems. Bendell, in his response, accuses his critics of ignoring evidence and misrepresenting his views… My conclusion, after years of studying environmental research literature, is that some form of societal collapse is indeed highly probable this century, depending on how we define “collapse.” Quite a few environmental scientists with whom I’m acquainted agree with this assessment. With regard to climate change, the problem is not that global warming has already proceeded too far to be reined in (on that point I am agnostic: I agree with the XR authors that the science is not yet settled, and they make some good points in this regard); rather, it’s that the things we would have to do to minimize climate change would undermine industrial societies by other means. That last statement requires some substantiation. The only realistic way to minimize climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels; and, in my judgment, there is no way to do that without shrinking energy usage and therefore economic activity… So, one way or another, we must accept economic degrowth. However, we don’t know how to degrow our economy controllably, particularly in the context of a massive global debt bubble. Moreover, the structures of representative democracy which respond to the short-term concerns of the electorate, make planning for degrowth even harder… In sum, we have created a fundamentally unsustainable way of living. In recent decades, as more problems have arisen, we have learned to rely on fossil-fueled economic growth to solve them, but now growth is just making those problems worse, and we have no other plan… One way of responding is to redefine collapse. Past civilizations have collapsed, and usually the process took two or three centuries and eventually led to some sort of renaissance. We see similar cycles of buildup and release in ecosystems (resilience scientists describe this universal tendency in terms of the adaptive cycle.)… Collapse needn’t imply that nearly everybody dies at once, or that the survivors become wandering cannibals. Rather, it means our current institutions will fail to one degree or another and we will have to find alternative ways to meet basic human needs—ways that are slower, smaller in scale, and more local. Even if we can’t altogether avert the release phase of the adaptive cycle we’re in, it may be within our power to modify how release and reorganization occur. Perhaps, if we think of collapse in these terms, accepting its near-inevitability won’t be so debilitating… Can we mentally accept that the odds are stacked against us, yet still act sanely and vigorously? That’s a question that has dogged me for some time. I believe clues leading to an answer may come from a realm of psychology known as Terror Management Theory—which Bendell discusses in Deep Adaptation’s founding document, “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy.”… Knowledge of death creates a psychological conflict between our self-preservation instinct and our knowledge of our own eventual demise, and we as a species have gone to great lengths to overcome that conflict. This, according to Terror Management Theory, explains a wide array of cultural beliefs and institutions that explicitly or implicitly promise immortality—including, but not limited to, religious teachings and rituals… Meanwhile, here’s a bit of advice to the XR critics of DA: go easy. Despite its questionable tendency toward worst-case fixation, DA nevertheless provides a support system within which people can undertake the inner work entailed in facing the reality of the great unraveling that is upon us. While that inner work shouldn’t become an end in itself, thereby subverting effort toward minimizing harm to ecosystems and human communities, it is nevertheless a necessary stage in moving beyond denial… warrior obligation, but to act without thought of self or attachment to outcome. Similarly, those of us with awareness of the crises ahead must understand that action will have largely unknowable consequences. We find ourselves drawn to a role simply by the fact of our awareness; however, our awareness is incomplete. Despite that limitation, it’s up to us to play our role in the defense of nature and humanity as cleanly and selflessly—and as effectively—as possible.”