The Monthly Salon: September
On preparing for winter
I’ve returned from a five-day pilgrimage to Mount Athos to re-enter the world as it turns towards autumn. I must say that re-entering the world after a stint in the Monastic Republic, in which time appears not to function as it does elsewhere, is particularly hard work. After a few days in a place like this, you bring another reality back with you:
The architecture is beautiful and ancient, of course, but that’s not really the point. The point is what happens to you while you’re amongst it. I’ll probably write something about this soon. Before that, I’m preparing for an event tomorrow up at Benburb Priory, in which I’ll be in conversation with Paul Vander Klay and Calvin Robinson. After that, the next essay in my series for subscribers will be arriving in the next week or so, once I am fully back into the swing of The World. Though it’s possible that may never quite happen.
Anyway: for now, it’s time for the monthly discussion forum in which I hand over the reins to my readers. As ever, please use the space to talk about any subject that relates to my writing here. As a prompt, you might be interested in the film at the top of this post, which I watched before I went away, in which number-crunching economist type Peter Zeihan explains why he thinks everything is about to come crashing down. Amongst his predictions, delivered with an excitable zeal which belies their context, are the coming disintegration of the economies of Germany and China, global demographic collapse, a rise in famines and a collapse in global supply chains, and the ongoing disappearance of the workforce across all industries.
What’s interesting to me about this kind of presentation is often what is missing. In this case I heard nothing at all, for example, about the future of Africa and nothing of any seriousness about climate change or ecological degradation. More to the point, it’s very much an economist’s worldview, which means it is hemmed in by the usual limitations. It’s possible that what constitutes a good human life may amount to more than growth in material wealth, but you won’t come across that notion here. It’s a machinist’s analysis of the failures of the Machine.
Still, it’s a usefully sobering and strangely bracing watch, and it makes me wonder about how others are preparing for what will be a coming hard winter - especially in Europe - but also clearly a very tough immediate future. It’s wasn’t so long ago that ‘prepping’ for such a time, either materially or psychologically, was sneered at at best. Now the sneering seems to have abated. The collapse I began writing about in 2009, and which others had been writing about for decades before that, is now upon us. Where does that take you - and how are you readying for it?
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