We are in a collapse. Yea. There really isn’t a great deal that I can do about it, I made my bets long ago and they sure as hell didn’t come in the way that I wanted them. Doesn’t prevent me from moving on and getting things done day to day.
I think the collapse is going to be a long, drawn out affair. since I am pushing 60, I doubt seriously that I will see the end of it. Some of my longer-lived contemporaries might see it start to get some real traction, but my ge-ge-generation will be in the ground before the fewmets well and truly hit the fan. That this is more than somewhat unfair in the long-term is a bit of an understatement.
That leaves my generation the conundrum of what to do in our waning days? We caused the problem with our greed and shortsightedness, but we don’t have the time to execute any serious change to the system in order to forestall the collapse. We sit here stagnant, starting to receive unwelcome junk mail from the AARP and being offered senior citizens discounts at restaurants. We are all trying very hard to figure out how to retire to our comfortable dreams of golf and sloth. But the worldview and dreams that led us to this impasse is proving rather fragile in light of the chickens currently coming home to roost.
What we can do to help stave of the length and severity of the coming reformation is considered anathema to the way we have spent our lives. We have built our lives around profligacy and waste. We eat microwavable meals off of plastic dishes which we throw away. We measure our affluence with disposable cars which mark us as “trash” in five years. We have no concrete grounding other than the subtly whispered and subliminal idea that if we have more, we can be more.
What the boomers need to do is start becoming an example of where the world needs to go. But I really can’t see this happening as I remember clearly the choices that the same boomers made in the 1980’s. I remember back in the early eighties, I read a book named “Voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin. Fairly good book, printed back in the day before the Boomer’s turned traitor and became even more despicable copies of the men in the grey flannel suit who were their fathers. I used to try and get folks to read it, but the ideas of enough and living simply were rejected then and now by an entire generation along with the teaching of Ehlich and Carson. We went for the gusto and created a culture that strip-mined everything that it could lay it’s hands on.
So, now the boomers, if they want to be remembered by the future as anything other than the self-absorbed children that destroyed a world, will have to make a complete change in their lives. They will have to take a lead role in the destruction of the monumental temple of the self-indulgent material that is their current legacy. They will have to take their place in a world of sustainability instead of retreating to well-defended islands of excess and calling it their due.
The reason that I don’t think that sacrifice and maturity will ever color the boomer’s legacy is simply that they don’t know any better. They have been force fed a false life by Madison avenue and their social betters for so long that they have no remaining dreams of their own, just a distant longing caused by a materialist culture that has told them they don’t have enough. Martha Stewart is their high priestess, passing off transient fashion as culture. Mitt Romney is their Archbishop, telling them that wealth made from destruction is the same as wealth built from creation. They have created a tawdry little world, built of tackiness and self-importance, all dusted with a light coating of fraud.
What I think that I am saying is the the generation that spawned the hippies and watched the last great movements of the civil rights period are probably not up to the task of changing enough to teach the world a new way. They want to claim responsibility for the efforts that came to fruit in the sixties, but in truth they were bystanders only. The anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, and the environmental movement were all the last gasp efforts of the generation that came to age during the great depression. The boomers just made a lot of noise and grabbed credit for anything that they took on as that week’s fashion. None of the movements took hold, none of the changes lasted.
Now is the time for these movements to come back to the fore. But it isn’t going to be the boomers that will take the lead. Oh, I think that there will be a lot of boomers who will try to run out in front of the movement and claim it to be their, but it just won’t work this time. The generations who will be doing the change will see the “leaders” that the boomers try to put in place as the Quislings that they are. No one is going to pay any attention to the tired ravings of a egomaniac defending his summer homes.
So keep an eye out. We are moving slowly into a storm. The rain will be coming stronger in the coming years. The youngling will start taking charge soon and the boomers will weep when they see the remainder of their greedy “dreams” taken from them in their dotage.