The Normalization of Perpetual Disaster

In case you missed it…

A hole the size of the Netherlands has opened in the middle of the Antarctic ice sheet. 40,000 penguins just perished of starvation on the same continent. And earlier this summer an iceberg weighing one trillion tons broke away adding more momentum to inevitable global sea level rise.
Floods have killed thousands and displaced many more over the summer and into autumn from China to India and Nepal to Southeast Asia to West Africa. Scores of people were killed and many still missing from fires that have scorched Northern California, Spain and Portugal. Three and a half million people in Puerto Rico are still in survival mode without drinking water or electricity weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall. Parts of the Gulf Coast are a toxic soup of chemicals. The Amazon rain forest, the lungs of the planet, are belching out smoke as it reels from 208,278 fires this year alone. And Ophelia, the bizarre tenth hurricane turned mega storm of this record breaking season is battering Ireland.

In geopolitical developments, the most powerful empire on the planet is being led by a narcissistic megalomaniac surrounded by war mongers, religious fanatics and disaster capitalists. He has been madly jostling the fragile chords that stabilize nations by threatening to annihilate 25 million people in a bath of fire and countless other souls in the region and around the world, while demanding a 10-fold increase to one of the most powerfully lethal nuclear arsenals on the planet.
There is no reason to think Trump would not carry out his threats. After all, he dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan and launched military strikes on Syria over dessert garnishing high praise from many in the corporate media and politicians from both sides of the aisle. And he will get little objection from establishment Democrats who are enthusiastic cheerleaders for US militarism and voted for the 700 billion dollar increase to the already bloated US military industrial complex.
Despite all of this an eerily bizarre normalization of this descent into global chaos continues apace. The media seems to move on seamlessly from one disaster or scandal to the next. Politicians shift focus and manufacture new outrage. Meanwhile, the real existential crises drifting us ever closer to the collapse of human civilization within this century go largely unreported and vastly underestimated. We are living in an age of convergence where the consequences of decades of excess, greed, willful ignorance and dithering are finally reaching a climax. Where the chips fall in the coming years is anyone’s guess, but if we are honest we can get a pretty good picture of our current trajectory.
Looking honestly at our situation within a profoundly sick culture can often feel alienating. If we look around we may think we are seeing thousands of people simply going about their days as if nothing is wrong. This may be due in part to the normalcy bias which is defined as “a belief people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster and its possible effects, because it causes people to have a bias to believe that things will always function the way things normally function.”  But this is also reinforced by a corporate culture in which distraction and denial are encouraged and celebrated as virtues.
Conspicuous consumption is peddled as a remedy to all that ails our society. Some self medicate, some absorb themselves in the shallow, or the spectacle, or the salacious, or the vainglorious.  But still many more are simply too busy for long reflection, caring for children or sick or elderly loved ones at a time when social safety nets are being mercilessly slashed, or working 100 hours a week for a pittance just to make ends meet and struggle to pay off debts for simply living.
But on some deep level I believe we all understand our dire predicament and that it will not simply get better or go away.
Each day the unraveling of the biosphere becomes more and more apparent. The illusion that we are separate from the natural world is beginning to shatter as the human generated Sixth Mass Extinction unfurls before our eyes in real time. But in this era of late stage capitalism and the prevalence of inverted totalitarianism the last thing we should expect is for the powers that be to make the bold changes necessary to stop the descent of civilization or even provide meaningful solutions or mitigation of the current and looming catastrophes.

Given the graveness of the situation it is easy to feel a deep sense of powerlessness or even paralyzed. And it may not be exactly comforting, but we should not look at our unease as an unhealthy response to the existential crises of our times. Contrary to the prevailing mantra depression and anxiety should be expected as normal responses to what we face collectively, because our very DNA is threaded with this world’s rhythm. And without a doubt, that collective pulse appears to be quickening.

 

Kenn Orphan  2017
 

22 thoughts on “The Normalization of Perpetual Disaster

  1. Hi, Kenn! Seeing this long list of bad things happening (along with an already long list I have), I’d just like to ask the group: does anyone see anything positive coming out of the future of industrial society?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written, important, and terribly sad…
    But we have a “President” who doesn’t allow his staff to utter the words ‘climate change’ so what are we to do?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this article, but in many respects I think that if all of the disastrous weather events that take place around the world every day aren’t reported enough. I follow a Youtube channel called “Understanding climate change”, which has climate and extreme weather reports, and so I know from this how many there are around the globe on a daily basis, and how very few are reported unless they occur in Europe or America. I live in the UK incidentally. When they are reported, it’s generally briefly with little or no mention of climate change. I think that if they were all reported daily, that maybe people would wake up to the reality of climate change, and our desperate need to change our lifestyles. Instead the news feeds us with salacious gossip, trivia, the share prices of Marks and Spencers and Tesco, and the importance of keeping car manufacturing alive, and so feeds and perpetuates the malaise, and so our own demise and all else that lives on earth!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great article.
    Unfortunately we’re far too preoccupied with whether or not people are fucking correctly or standing and kneeling at the appropriate times to actually have a discussion about it, to collectively consider possible changes of course, or even just to batten down the damn hatches.

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  5. I love this optimism . May it be true! I had said that these are the last gasps of white privilege hanging on to life, but the rise of neo Nazism in the West is making me very concerned.

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  6. Hi Kenn Thank You! Excellent article that everyone needs to read. Normalize is the word of our times but the problems go deeper. My belief is that the whole psychology of Humans minds are broken down. We are numb and unable to cope so we don’t think. Unable to rationalize actions. I’m still trying to process how Puerto Rico has no drinking water. Where is the compassion of other countries? Afraid ? I wish us all good luck.

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  7. All true. But this is merely the Phase Transition, a time of chaos that precedes perfect order. It coincides with the laws of thermodynamics. Krishna predicted it for our time 5,000 years ago. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said it would come 2020 to 2025, that the exact time all depends on world consciousness. He added that there would be “mass destruction” for a few years just before it happens. This will be a 10,000-year Sattyug in the midst of Kaliyug.

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  8. All true. But this is a Phase Transition which comes just before a state of perfect order. Maharishi, in his last year of life, gave the dates 2020 to 2025 for Sattyug amidst Kaliyug. An age lasting 10,000 years where we will experience what he called “All good everywhere and non-good nowhere.”

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  9. It’s hard to click LIke given the content, but this blog is stellar – brutally honest, succinct, comprehensive. Sharing. I’d love to be your proofreader to catch subtle confusions such as desert versus dessert and eluded versus alluded; otherwise, your writing style is comfortably intelligent and nicely embellished with images. Keep it up, Kenn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback Susan. I do have an editor who usually catches grammatical errors and such. In the case of desert vs. dessert I was referring to Trump making the decision to bomb Syria while enjoying a piece of cake with the Chinese president at a State dinner at Mar-a-Lago. In reference to eluded vs alluded I think that was in one of the comments so I have gone back and corrected it. Thanks again! Kenn

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    1. Because many progressives like to portray the Democrats as less hawkish on foreign policy and voting for military expenditures or war than their counterparts, when history tells a different story.

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  10. Hate to be the one to break it to ya Ken but both the Dems & the Repubs are fiddling while Rome burns. Neither party has objected to the military complex build up.

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    1. I agree and I thought I alluded to that in the article when I said: “After all, he dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan and launched military strikes on Syria over dessert garnishing high praise from many in the corporate media and politicians from both sides of the aisle. And he will get little objection from establishment Democrats who are enthusiastic cheerleaders for US militarism and voted for the 700 billion dollar increase to the already bloated US military industrial complex.”

      Like

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