Op-Ed by Jeff Fitchett
Collapse has been garnering more attention since the 2008 financial crisis. In the 1970s many people feared that the United States of America was on the brink of collapse. Inflation was running extremely high and confidence in the US dollar was dissipating. Many people worried about the fate of society, which triggered a back-to-the-land movement. Publications such as Mother Earth News sprouted up and provided information on self-resiliency. Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve Chairman, raised interest rates to over 20% in an effort to combat inflation and regain confidence in the US dollar. Today, we are facing similar issues as many people are extremely concerned about the systemic issues that are plaguing our world.
It is often said that it’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job, but it’s a depression when you lose your job. A collapse is often considered to be when a large percentage of the population becomes unemployed, underemployed, banks fail, government entitlement benefits are cut or reduced, systems that we rely on fail, fiat currency loses value and environmental degradation results in a large percentage of the population becoming displaced and not surviving.
Many people are concerned with different aspects of collapse. For instance, our oceans are acidifying, fish stocks are collapsing and the carrying capacity of the ocean is degrading at an alarming pace. Debt and the broad-based global economy is unwinding at a scary rate. There is the real possibility in the near term that our entire global financial system could collapse. Geopolitical affairs are intensifying and there is a real risk of a new World War occurring. Our climate is changing and droughts are escalating. We are already seeing massive numbers of people starving because of the lack of food and water.
The issues that I have highlighted above are being talked about and debated each and every day. There is a growing community of alternative media websites that discuss current affairs, prepping & preparing, economic issues and so on. In this day in age we are lucky to be able to access information and see first hand what is transpiring in countries such as Venezuela that are currently experiencing collapse. We can learn from the Venezuelan population and make decisions today that will help us with our lives going forward. In Western nations, there are not many people who have experienced the seriousness of collapse.
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About 10 years ago a family member of mine, whom I am very close with, experienced what I would definitely classify as collapse. Witnessing it first hand impacted me beyond words and I feel emotional just thinking about it. The experience opened my eyes more than any article or documentary ever has. I remember like it was yesterday seeing his eyes. There was a darkness I had never seen before. His skin and hair changed color and looked a whitish grey color. The emotional damage he suffered was evident. I can only imagine the feeling of losing everything you have ever worked for.
He was living in his foreclosed home without electricity, running water or his oil furnace working. He had hung blankets in the two doorways leading into the small den to keep the heat in. He heated that room with a fireplace. Northern Ontario in the winter is extremely cold. He had sold off most of his possessions at fire sale prices to have enough money for food. Eventually he was forced out of his house and had to rely on the government and a bit of help from me. I was in my twenties at the time and lived 4 hours away. I wish I could have done more to help.
Now, he has bounced back and is happier than I have ever seen him. He told me not long ago that “when you have everything, you worry about losing it, but when you have nothing, you no longer have anything to worry about losing”. His life has been downsized considerably and his take on the world aligns with mine. He sees that our way of life is not sustainable and that the masses are in for a rude awakening.
There is a permanent imprint in my mind of how my family member looked. I prepare because I know what a depression/collapse does to a person psychologically. My mind is already positioned for a way of life that does not include relying on employment income or the government supporting me. I am downsizing my existence and living a life of austerity, so to speak, in an effort to minimize the change that I know is coming.
Interestingly, I feel more joy and happiness than one would think. I now pay attention, more than ever before, to the minute details in life. I notice a bee landing on a flower petal to collect pollen, the way snow collects on tree branches, the soil in my garden and the smiles on the faces of friends and family. Awakening has allowed me to see the world in a different light. I do not fear change or the unknown. I try to live my life to the fullest and I have the confidence to deal with whatever comes my way.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. – Dale Carnegie
You can read more from Jeff Fitchett at Trivium Analytics Canada.