Ok so this is the boring but necessary chapter where I point out the self evident unpalatable but critically important truth and outline some basic broad brush options.
Also bear in mind this writing is a constructive attempt at a coping mechanism for me as a powerless individual rather than a delusive ego based Kanye West type bipolar episode.
I am in broad sociological strokes refashioning the basic needs of a society as an exercise and because societies celebration of itself, which will be the last element I include, has been my lifes study.
Our species is self annihilating and taking a majority of evolved lifeforms on the planet down with it.
Sorry the time for argument has passed. The only luxuries that remain are the weakest form of non critical denialism and an affront to the dignity of man quite frankly.
The time for useful idiots has past and saying that we’ll exclude Humpty Trumpty and Pee Wee Goebbels and the Blonde British windsock and put the rise of conservative painfully self evident corporate facist vassels aside for a moment.[So disappointed in you Australia]
So lets put a few unpalatable truths front and centre because without that collectively we cannot untether ourselves from the barrage of distractive blither that inflates the post rational envelope the world is currently engaged in with media pimping for short cash the saddest and most cynical global pantomime ever produced.
The world as we know it is convulsing and expiring.
American crops this year were delayed via flooding then cut short by further climatic instability.
Australias food production is also down this year.
The scientific consensus is that once reliable rhythms of climate are becoming increasingly unstable.
Food production is becoming unstable globally. Terms and concepts like 'Multiple breadbasket failure' are being discussed seriously.
Nobody knows the pace of this change, this increase in instability, but the consensus is it’s accelerating.
And again I’m not interested in argument. There are only two possibilities.
One is that our inertia as a species leaves us reacting to a systematic collapse of global and probably terminal proportions.
All hope is lost and morphine, magic mushrooms and weapons grade Kush become our most sought after commodities. Whatever adhesive traditionally binds nation states devolves and our civilisation dissolves into a terminal puddle of mayhem.
If we don't act before some social tipping point is reached, wherein the future shortens to a week or fortnight at a time then we will have given up all agency to think beyond immediate survival and at that point with cohesion lost so is any viable future.
The second possibility is we recognise this impending radical change in our environment and do something about it while we still have the structures of our critically ill and expiring system in place in order to effect some deft triage.
This gives rise to a further set of potential outcomes.
- It's too late but we try anyway and achieve a collective death with a comparative collective dignity achieving the equivalence of a decent party at the end of the universe before our demise.
- It's not too late and we salvage some collective political bedrock with which to fashion a workable sustainable social model.
I’ve looked at our predicament and imagined a future in which smaller countries, Potentially nimble political entities, more tugboat than oil tanker, might set an example for others to find hope in an otherwise increasingly hopeless situation and world. Bhutan, Iceland and New Zealand are countries that have at least broached the possibility, that a 'wellbeing' quotient for the population should surpass the GDP as a metric.
Because it certainly appears that there are hugely disruptive times on the horizon and preemptive defensive reconfiguration of every facet of society, the ability to adapt swiftly and with collective vigor in the face of cascading multifaceted challenges including food production and distribution, climate based infrastructural disruptions, potential global refugee migrations, in my mind inevitable large scale economic instability with attendant mass mega-innue.
“Imagination is an essential quality of a flexible, adaptable mind.”
I'm using New Zealand as my test tube for this thought experiment. We are small and adaptive and isolated from the usual mass migration scenarios.
[although I see a lot of upper middle class blue water catamarans with families attached heading semi-permanently our way in the not too distant future and more seriously some pacific intake from drowning communities]
We need to secure food production independent of climatic vagaries.
The production and distribution of food is any societies primary function.
Intensive indoor farming needs to become the first priority of any society that wishes to future proof itself. It is a field in it's infancy and has huge economic and employment and commercially intellectual potential.
Further; NZ has two universities ranked in the top 100 for agriculture and forestry in the QS World University Rankings.
Lincoln specializes in improving New Zealand's land-based knowledge, wealth and productivity, and is ranked among the global top 50 for agriculture & forestry and Massey is also a world renowned agricultural university. Agriculture and innovation in agriculture has a strong foundation already throughout many NZ educational institutions
The more we can grow food indoors and at increasingly optimal productivity the more stable we will be in an otherwise increasingly unstable world.
Not my area of expertise but to my mind a fairly self evident market given the disruptive conditions at hand. Commercial viability would seem to be straightforward. It would also appear to be self evident that if we do not construct systems which feed communities via close proximity then the idea of communities themselves will perish.
Our current state of indoor growlighting efficiency seems to be this mass produced programable panel that covers a 5 ft squared growing area.
Cheaper perhaps to compile inhouse from imported components.
Not my balliwick.
Some of the largest indoor growing facilities are associated with the accelerating legal cannabis market and serve as an example of how quickly growing infrastructure can be constructed given the right incentives.
Obviously nothing beats cannabis as a cash crop given cash being available however cash itself is less important overall than the biological insurance indoor cropping could lend any population prepared to invest in it and I bring this up too just to point out that it's not like anyones being asked to reinvent the wheel in terms of available applied technology.
Creating a meaningful new industry would also dovetail into areas of a social 'wellbeing' quotient, employment, empowerment on several scales.
At present average housing cost in NZ has crossed the $700 000 rubicon.
Under the present status quo I can't begin to fathom the mental capsule needed to presume 20 years of stability required for a classic mortgage.
We [and the world] need a flexible, scalable foundation of a building/habitat manufacturing base to provide housing that reflects the robustness and energy efficiency necessary to withstand climatic extremes and resource sharing as well as surges in demand from our present population and influxes in our population caused by inevitable global migration.
Not qualified at all in this regard but in any society shelter is mandatory and primary and both shelter and food being foundational I'm focusing on it on principle.
I'd presume a focus on cheap viable building materials research. Rendering, compiling, building techniques, an entire new approach to shelter in an adaptive state would be the challenge given the status quo is presently unsustainable and will only grow more so.
The Auckland Uni Architectural school is a brains trust that could be brought to bear.
Also personally I'd guess that financial services, which are a large part of real estates cost at present in the near future will either die gibbering of old age or be smothered in it's bed by it's children.
As you can tell this topic illustrates why I shouldn't talk on matters I'm ignorant about but housing and shelter is an important critical collective need that will need to be addressed.
However again, the development of alternative systems of housing and accommodation has within it a progressive quality wherein the 'hope' at it's foundation lends itself to a larger interwoven social/cultural dynamic that is essentially inoculative to paralyzing despair in the face of radical change.
As you can probably see I'm just working, in primitive sociological terms through your primitive hierarchy of needs for any functioning community/society/state
Sometimes called FabLabs, TechShops or Hackerspaces are communal spaces with shared tools and shared skills where individuals and groups can improvisation-ally engineer solutions, inexpensive adaptations, improvements, group and individual projects, creating communities with mentors and teachers and skill-sharers empowering various grades of raw curiousity and providing opportunities for collective and individual problem solving and education.
Driven by specific, usually project driven educational factors, the ambition to compile a cheap and powerful personal computer, a need to set up an indoor garden, exploring 3D printing to obtain some open source do-dad or a reason to get out of the house and just explore for it's own sake.
The differences between these community based centers and other learning institutions such as Universities and poly techs would be shorter, more informal and less certification driven participation. Short cycle makes them more adaptive, more informal makes them more elastic and less formal certification makes them more about self actualisation than top down industry driven.
They also promote a robust, improvisational, socially cohesive problem solving component into a local culture.
They would have the potential of being practical incubators in a period when innovation on a local scale becomes increasingly relevant.
They would provide a social facility that was constructive by definition.
They would be open to all and that inclusiveness would be a social asset to combat a host of isolative mentally unhealthy issues that are growing concerns.
Empowerment and self realisation being key foundations of general wellbeing.
A network of these maker-spaces would require planning and not inconsiderable investment in funds and management however their efficiency in providing social stability, potential innovation, community resilience and adhesion ideally might have successes that alleviate stresses on other budgets contained within, unemployment, health and Justice systems.
And also, as with all the above stated, the inference is that investment in alternatives to our present systems that are showing the beginnings of terminal failure are far more achievable the earlier in the curve of increasing systematic pressure they are made.
Because hiding in a well off hole in the ground waiting for the new refeudalization is a foolish alternative.
It's said that societies exist via the cultivation of dependency and the monopolization of violence.
That's quite a terse description.I think there's terse times ahead.
Present Govt's cannot simply ship themselves off to holes in the ground via private metal eggs, all of their eggs are in one basket and so it is up to us to egg them on and suggest that they act like good eggs or as is traditional during social revolutions, we'll probably kill them all and either eat them or not.
When [or if] the state cannot provide security, in food, in shelter, in peace, then communities reform themselves based on quite unforgiving primitive models.
I see foundations being implemented now to combat the most challenging fallout of inevitable systemic disruption being the wisest investments to be made. By wealthy individuals who enjoy loyal servants, from Govts who want to continue being viable and to all of us others those who look with increasing despair and powerlessness into the future and lack structure.
Even if it's just for the sake of laughing at the gibbering hedge managers sentenced to each others company an indefinite period finally emerging waving their guns from some hole in Otago.
So we have bustling intensive farming setups working with the maker space wing while the modulated prefab structure industry tries to keep roofs over everything.
All under the auspices of a new civil defense future proofing dept.
Suicidal youth and the generally disaffected are offered invitations to save the world initially in discussion forums, real time meetups and makerspaces.
Metrics, goals, achievable outcomes defined and initiated.
Meanwhile, the only people left that retain the ability to encompass the potential doom of our species and still contemplate celebration need to be given shelter and support to create outbursts of whimsy that defy despair.
Because all work and no play makes humanity a dull boy.
Which brings me to act three, the upcoming third installment in this little thought exercise that I'll finish and post and then also additionally amalgamate into one long read because the separations are simply ways of me providing myself writing targets and conceptionally it probably doesn't suit being broken up although to motivate myself it had to be segmented or this waffle might never have come to pass.
Allow me to introduce myself, technically I'm a clown.
I inhabit the 'dark' real estate of clowns definition. I have specialized for over 30 years as an international clown soloist in making despair comic.
I did quite well, I worked for myself around the world as well as being a corporate mercenary clown in many countries for Coca Cola and Suntory and Mitsubishi and Chrysler and many others, in technical clown terms I am at a level where once invited, I passed a two day cirque du soleil audition in New York. Finishing as the only clown in the final eight selected out of an initial fifty eight prospects.
I've also done a variety of big budget private parties. A host of International Arts festivals and have networked extensively with others in my field from a multitude of countries.
All whilst being demonstratively unhappy.
I returned to NZ from my base of ten years in Hawaii just over a year ago weighing very little and without having eaten solids for 10 months due to cancer of the esophagus, I was not expected to live more than a couple of months by the US medical advice I'd been given.
But via the reduction of 2/3rds of my stomach and some of my esophagus and thirty six lymph nodes in an eight and a half hour operation by NZ health services followed by a year of self imposed solitude as I fed myself via machine then without I am now a 55 year old able bodied unemployed clown.
It's hard to be a cynically unhappy clown when the rest of the world shares that state as a growing hopeless baseline. Thanks for catching up people!
I have a small reputation for getting dark things done. One example is I danced in China to a mixed audience of retired military and their families, using context and non english comprehension to my advantage to a song by Nine inch nails called 'closer' . I succeeded in getting cheerful elderly Chinese to smile and clap along to a chorus of, 'I want to fuck you like an animal-I want to feel you from the inside out.'
It's petty but I'm proud.
A less petty but proud dark function of mine was for two years I was a 'death Sherpa' to a friend of mine who died of cancer. He was also what could be called a dark clown and very successful. He was a challenge both as a vocation and a friend but I could make him laugh. I got the last chuckle from him 48 hours before he died.
I've spent the last year having had my life unexpectedly saved, alone and looking for ways to meaningfully reinsert myself back into the world.
I may have gone mad, it wouldn't surprise me.
I would like to leverage NZ and also my network of international contacts with performers and festival managements to nurture a studied whimsical response to our potential demise as a species.
It's sufficiently dark enough to challenge and experience has taught me that one of only things that makes tragedy palatable is comedy of a sufficient quality.
So in my third installment I'll be outlining how NZ can further position itself as a defiant, quirky antithesis to general despair and powerlessness by promoting whimsy not as a distraction but as an inclusive reward for the multitude of sacrifices that will come with adapting and accepting an uncertain future.
A 'Tearoom at the end of our species.' type deal.