344: Reframing the Sucky Collapse


C-Realm_344KMO welcomes Kathy McMahon, the Peak Shrink of PeakOilBlues.com, back to the C-Realm to talk about the psychology of predictions. We gravitate to flashy predictions over nuanced forecasts and don’t hold poor track records against those prophets whose predictions promise to vindicate us for holding the right beliefs. Unfortunately for Doomers who hope for a rapid collapse that will vindicate them for being early adopters of the Peak Oil collapse narrative, we seem to be in the midst of a slow degeneration that eats away at our security and wealth but never proves us right in the eyes of our doubters and critics. You may be braced for a sudden, sexy collapse, but do you have the gumption to endure the sucky collapse? KMO and Kathy last spoke at the beginning of the current economic malaise, and now, 3.5 years later, Kathy describes how the prolonged downturn has effected her family, her career, and her outlook.

Music by Mandrake.

Join KMO and Nicole Foss for a Full Circle talk on Saturday, January 19th.

  • peakchoicedotorg

    Great discussion, thanks.

    I hope we reach Peak Denial, but I think it is an endlessly renewable resource. I hope to be proved wrong.

    Living under the threat of nuclear omnicide is the root of why our society is so crazy.


    The actual use of the weapons on the two Japanese cities gave substance to the image [of extinction] and disseminated it everywhere, making it the dubious psychic property of the common man and woman. Moreover, other events have contributed to imagery of extinction … [including] Nazi genocide during World War II; various nuclear accidents involving weapons or energy; the idea of destroying the environment or its outer supports (the ozone layer); or of the depletion of the world’s resources. Nuclear weapons are simply the destructive edge of our technology gone wild in its distorted blend with science–or what [sociologist] Lewis Mumford calls the final apotheosis of the contemporary megamachine. But the weapons remain at the heart of our fear as the most extreme expression of that aberration.
    – Robert Jay Lifton and Richard Falk, “Indefensible Weapons: The Political and Psychological Case Against Nuclearism,” New York: Basic Books, Inc. (1982), pp. 60-61


    Chris was also getting to know better the CIA residents at the plant and some of the agency’s employees who worked in the West Coast Office. With few exceptions, he was frightened of them. “When they talked about nuclear war,” he would recall years later, “they didn’t think in terms of if there will be a war, but when there will be a war.” Their casualness about a nuclear holocaust horrified him. ….

    How insane the world had become, he reflected; he thought of ancient Greece and Rome, about the great cities man had built, his great works of art, and then he thought of the cities smoldering in the darkness of a civilization that had snuffed itself out in atomic warfare. What madness man had created!

    His mind focused on the silos that pocked Siberia and the base of the Urals and other areas of the Soviet Union; he thought of identical silos dug into the plains of Wyoming, North Dakota and Arizona and other stretches of the prairie, where, less than a century before, American Indians had fought for survival with bows and arrows. Each silo on both sides of the world had a missile with enough energy to destroy several cities. These were not abstract illusions, he thought, but reality. They were there. In each silo was a missile with a nuclear warhead; each missile was alive, with the gyrocompass in its guidance system spinning relentlessly twenty-four hours a day, awaiting a signal to carry the warhead to a target that had already been chosen by men and their computers.

    How had man come to this brink? Civilization was so close to annihilation. Why weren’t other people as panicked as he was? The missiles were in the silos, ready to be launched at an instant, ready to extinguish in minutes what man had taken thousands of years to build. Didn’t people know that?

    Robert Lindsey, “The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage,” Simon and Schuster (1979), pp. 113, 210-211

    “In two years with TRW I never met a person employed by Central Intelligence who did not believe that an all-out nuclear World War III is not only a possibility but a certainty. We and the Soviets and all the other great powers prepare for it each day.”
    – Christopher Boyce, quoted in Robert Lindsay, “The Falcon and the Snowman”

  • tejanojim

    KMO- I thought your voice was fine, we just got some strange heavy breathing noises in the background, which I assume was you. Peak Shrink is awesome, will check out her blog. Thanks!

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