The decline and end (and beginning) of an age. An interview with Liam Scheff and Kayemmo KMO O’Khan.
For the record or the road: an interview on many to most of the things that I think, write and talk about: official stories, belief versus reality, and the deepest reality of all (the one we are talked out of by both church AND state)…
That we are an animal species on earth with predictable patterns: We are a story-telling, myth-making, narrative-believing and driven mammal.
• Religion tells us we’re made in the image of a god who is generally angry with us; this confuses us into thinking we’re not a mammal – with qualities and needs like all the other animals on the planet.
• States tell us that we’re citizens, we’re free, we’re democratic, independent, aware and logical; this confuses us into thinking that we are not what we are.
So, what are we?
We are a resource dependent mammal.
Say it again, because no one seems to know this: We Are A Resource Dependent Mammal.
As resources decline, so does quality of life. We’re a humonkey, a tribal mammal on the surface of a planet which requires plentiful and abundant resources to thrive, sufficient resources to live with a measure of civility, or limited resources to eek out basic survival.
Below a threshold, human life becomes very difficult. As our resources decline, our world, our stories, our customs, totems and taboos all metamorphose to describe and confine our ever shrinking world. We’re not used to thinking this way – our culture’s stories have grown from a society that was expanding, year by year, decade by decade – all on the back of our expanding allotment of resources.
But there’s a trick in this scheme.
Our primary resource has become petroleum. Petroleum grows our food, sprays our fields, plucks, grinds and processes it; and ships it to us from around the world. It gives us leisure time by automating back-bending labor that used to fill human societies with serfs and slaves. It fills our leisure time with digital images of worlds that have nothing to do with reality; we’re living our mental lives in Star Wars and Avengers-land; we think that Star Trek is scientific, we pulsate to zombie apocalypse narratives… but we won’t talk about resources. We certainly don’t talk about oil.
If our oil supply dips beneath that ‘survival’ threshold, what will we become? What will our narratives become? How will we describe ourselves in a more local, tribal, challenging future?
These are questions I’ve asked for years, along with many, many other questions about the nature of existence, belief, and story-telling…
On a personal note, it’s necessary to say that my health is declining, a bit rapidly at this point. The stroke or neurological event that I suffered during invasive long dentistry has moved from place to place in my body.
I’ve fought very very hard to regain use of a weakening left side and limbs, and had some success. My ears though have not been so lucky, and have been a victim of the damage in the form of very very high pitched, near 15,000 hertz tinnitus in one ear, and lower but very loud tinnitus in the other.
It was hard to get myself into talking shape for this interview; I’m feeling like I may not have many left in me. So, this one’s for the record or the road…
Be well, love each other, be kind, farm, garden, watch the horizon, never stop learning, and remember, the truth won’t set you free. We’re not here to be free; we’re here to work, to struggle, to love, to fight, to surrender, to fight again, to laugh, cry, and again, and always… and you can never say it enough or live it enough: to love and keep your heart full of the lives of others.
You can explore the depths all day long – which is a joy for philosophers (and I must be one, because the depths are my favorite places – asking questions: “Sure, I can see the surface, but what’s underneath? And what’s underneath that? What makes it work? What makes the thing that makes that work..work??” And on we go).
But at a certain point, we are a mammal that eats and drinks and must find protection from the night and nature’s barbs, and a tribe to belong to.
And then… someday, we all must let it go, and give into the thing that we cannot name, that I’ll simply call mystery.
Thank you for traveling with me, friends, enemies, dear loves, hard critics….members of this tribe of human beings, while we’re here, before we are bathed again in the glow of the cosmic mystery.
My book: Official Stories
The Oil Alarm: CLICK, Watch and Download To Show Where You Live