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Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:34 am
by jennypenny
@Vexed--I think it's helpful to work through your grief as a first step towards deep adaptation, but not all grief is the same. A lot of what I read from the Bendell types is anticipatory grief. Most people have experienced that with a terminally ill relative at some point. The outcome in that situation is assured so the pre-grieving is expected and usually helpful. With situations that aren't conclusive, you have to be careful about the object and scope of your grieving.

There are lots of examples of anticipatory grieving that don't relate to impending death. Parents who have children with disabilities are a group who commonly experience this. Those parents have to be very careful not to grieve for the child unless death is imminent because it has been shown to harm the relationship and the health of the parents and other family members. What the parents are actually grieving is the future that they imagined for their child that won't come to pass. Most don't know exactly how things will play out or how severe their child's issues will be, and most hold out hope that some medical intervention will be developed to significantly improve their child's life, yet they must learn to accept that the initial hopes of a 'normal' life for their child are lost regardless.

I think there is a lot of similarity between that situation and this one. Climate outcomes don't look good but nothing is for certain ... it's all just possibilities at this point. It also applies to others (like most of my prepper friends) who fear another possible form of apocalyptic future, not climate change. There are lots of candidates for the role of destructor, but until we know for certain, all we can do is grieve for what we know is lost and prepare as best we can for the most likely possible futures.

There are lots of resources on the web for dealing with this kind of grief. It's important to work through it to get to the point where you can face the uncertainty of future events with resolve and learn to appreciate and enjoy the micro events in your life regardless of the macro ones (most of our life is spent in the micro anyway).

Another related type of grief is disenfranchised grief. This is a kind of unacknowledged grief that people feel. (If you've ever been heartbroken over the loss of a pet and close friends/family acted surprised by your grief and told you to just get another one, you've experienced this.) It can be more painful than regular grief because the feelings not only go unrecognized by others but the normal grief support structure is not there to help you through it. Some people in your circle might openly show disapproval for your grief if they find it misplaced. I suspect this is partly what Bendell is feeling since he is reaching out to try to develop a group of like-minded people. Forumites tend to express the same feelings about finding like-minded EREs.

My advice is to look into these types of grief to find coping strategies. Look into therapeutic rituals in particular. Funerals aren't the only types of rituals. There are well-developed therapeutic rituals for coping with divorce, disabilities, even corporate takeovers where employees grieve the loss of their old culture and fear the new one. Finding and/or developing fictive kinships and tribes helps to avoid feeling disenfranchised. Simply labeling your grief accurately can bring some comfort. (i.e. some who suffer find comfort in discovering terms like ennui or imposter syndrome exist, even before learning how to deal with their emotions)

Sorry if this seems OT or impractical, but IMO it's step one. The other steps will be easier once you can let go of your resistance and temptation to continually circle back to the origin of your grief.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:45 pm
by chenda
@jennypenny - thank you for that post Jenny, I hadn't thought of grieving in that broader sense before.

Perhaps spirituality or religion can help deal with the slow sink into the abyss, both at a personal level and world level. My spiritual searching so far has led me to a conflict in my mind as to whether to adopt a more positive belief (without denying the seriousness of the situation) hoping one day we will have Frashokereti vs adopting a more detached view of life, trying to be less troubled by the world of maya. Or perhaps this is a false dilemma, and detachment and renouncement of life could help lead us to Frashokereti.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:10 pm
by chenda
@vexed87 - I would interested to hear if you are considering any particular strategies yourself, especially from a UK perspective. Are you looking to relocate to a rural area, or a career shift perhaps ? Apologises if you have already discussed this elsewhere.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:09 pm
by jennypenny
@chenda -- I find the discussion of optimism perplexing. Bendell is saying there is social pressure to make sure all public discussions of climate science are imbued with some measure of optimism. The IPCC report seems to bear that out. It doesn’t really surprise me. In religion, faith is seen as virtuous and despair is considered a sin. I don’t believe the current trend that Bendell is criticizing stems from religion; rather I think that those common interpretations of faith and despair one finds in modern religion reflect strong underlying human tendencies, which are now evident in the scientific community as well.

The definition of optimism has narrowed, though, to mean--in the case of climate change--a belief that problems will be solved and tragedy will be averted. Optimism can mean something other than 'everything will work out in the end'. Why does optimism now require blind faith and absolutes? IMO, a healthier and more achievable optimism is a belief that your life will be filled with happy moments, that you will be prepared for whatever future trials you face, that you will do your best to prepare yourself and your family for the future, and that you'll still have an enriching life, however you define that.

I hate to keep using this kind of example, but look at Stephen Hawking. His entire adult life could be seen as a life in decline, yet who would argue it wasn't a life worth living?

As far as religion and spirituality, I've never been one to pray for miracles or intercession. I've only prayed for guidance and grace,* and felt that the act of praying itself, and not having others intercede for me, was the key to finding what I needed. Any spiritual pursuit can include a focus on guidance and grace; neither is the sole purview of the Church.

I'm personally not a fan of detachment or a nihilistic approach ('we're all gonna die anyway'). I prefer to view it as accepting that I might still fail despite my best efforts. Viewing it that way doesn't lead to giving up as easily as the former might. Others might see it differently.

* "defined as the divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, and to impart strength to endure trial and resist temptation" wiki

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:23 pm
by black_son_of_gray
Some time ago I read an essay online (can't find it now, unfortunately), that started with the story of Pandora's box, in which all manner of evils were unleashed on humanity, followed at the end by "hope". They then proceeded to argue that "hope" wasn't a merciful reprieve from the evil's released, but in fact was also a curse - that hope can in fact be a scourge of humanity, specifically because when people are hopeful or optimistic in the face of big challenges, they tend to become complacent. That is, it is important to adopt a pessimistic ("a pessimist is just a realistic optimist") view for some crises because the acceptance of the horrible thing can provide a platform from which to build action. E.g. "climate change is GOING to happen, and it is GOING to be really bad, so what can we do now to make the best of a bad situation?", or "Realistically, no one is going to save me from this deserted island, so maybe I should stop laying around on the beach and build a shelter and find some food".

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:57 am
by J_
A important subject this: Deep Adaptation, where these times of stagnation are combined with projections of the consequences of ( not changed) human behavior so well anounced in 1960 (Club of Rome). Thanks @ jacob for his (visual) descriptions of what will happen in the near and further future, thanks @ jennypenny for her thoughts which are at the same time realistic and consoling. I say to myself : yes these are times of stagnation, but that is a description of economics, our environment and society. It does not mean that I am in a state of stagnation. I live joyful while adapting my way of living.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:03 am
by vexed87
@jennypenny, thanks for taking the time to write that up. You have given me a great deal to mull over this evening. :lol:

So much needs to change at the community scale, and we all know there is only so much that any one individual can achieve on their own. Alluding to my other thread on the ladder of awareness, my own method of dealing with the predicament is to focus on the inner path, I think the majority of folk here are set on that same path. To outsiders it looks like prepping, homesteading, reskilling, shifting perspective etc, but I suspect its actually it’s not about going it alone (path of least resistance?) it’s about being the seed for something new. A new way of doing things. Ironic really that it’s not new at all, it’s the way people always were before we as a society became so energy intensive and wasteful.

Realising that, at this point my activities are restricted to damage limitation until such a time that the rest of the world wakes up to the challenge of living in a new way with hard limits. Plans of homesteading in the meantime, whilst they might help me establish skills in horticulture, wood coppicing, food preservation etc, are all essentially pointless if the rest of society can’t get their shit together. They will be at the gates, begging or stealing, so I think a successful deep adaption strategy needs to focus on community, alongside these inner changes. I'm not sure how to put this into practice. I'm not part of any transition groups. Nor am I aware of any locally, despite looking, I suspect they don't exist, outside tiny clusters of like minded people. I've only met one person, at work, who thinks along similar lines to me.

I am eagerly awaiting my opportunity to take part in a transition town movement, but the world doesn't seem ready for it yet. David Fleming’s Lean Logic is giving me much hope of the kind of things that can be done once the carbon economy’s position becomes untenable and others begin to wake up.

I wouldn't say being a father has changed my perspective on collapse much, but it's created a new dynamic. DW has a medical condition that makes her prone to bacterial infections, if supply of antibiotics cease, DW will not fare well. To put it bluntly, I will be DDs sole carer. DW hasn't gone >8 months without a bacterial infection requiring medical intervention, so I accept that when our healthcare systems and supply chains unravel I will lose my partner shortly after them. That's hard to think about and type out, but I have accepted it for the most part. We all die eventually. I just have to hold on to hope that the UK remains a wealthy and stable nation well into DWs advanced years, or pray that we can avert any occurrence of fast collapse. I suppose I pay more attention to the possibility of fast collapse because of the real risks to DW. Stockpiling controlled medications for every possible scenario is practically impossible, even if I have enough understanding as a biology graduate to administer them, but it's something I need to consider, or my hands will be tied if such a scenario unfolds. Yet, I'm only half fooling myself that this would make a difference should such a fast collapse play out as our world would be burning anyway. Fingers crossed for the slower, human paced and therefore manageable collapse it is then!

@chenda, I think I may have written in my own journal a few times about specific actions I have taken/plan to take. Though I have neglected that lately, and things have changed a lot in my ways of thinking over the last year alone, most of written is not particularly insightful or relevant to who I am today. As I have learned more I have noticed my focus shifting from saving in pursuit of FI for the sake of FI and getting out of a job I didn't particularly like, to living a more meaningful life here and now. Soon I will be dropping down to 4 days a week at work rather than the 5 I do today so I can spend more time with my daughter. My focus now is on quality of life. Even if it means spending a bit more and earning a bit less. I'm ok with that as I have become more open to the possibility that FI will become impossible without a functioning market economy, I think that's going to fall away much faster than most here anticipate. Those with long term plans of depending on the market economy for their every need are probably failing to take account of their permanency bias.

At this point my pursuit of FI is a hedging strategy, just in case my gut is wrong about the collapse of the market economy! Either way, I don't expect my career will be useful in a post-carbon economy, whilst it crossed my mind in the past, I don't plan on re-specialising anymore, I'm definitely convinced the renaissance man approach is the best way to go. So my focus is on relying less on money to address my wants and needs. I'll ride out my current career in life sciences so long as it's viable, or until I don't need the money anymore, I'll make the call on what I do to obtain money when circumstance forces my hand. What that looks like depends very much on the economy of the day, impossible to predict, so I don’t waste much time thinking about it anymore.

As for where we choose to live, I currently live in the suburbs of a large city in the north of England, but we are surrounded by arable farmland and happens to be on top of coal deposits. I can be in the city in 25 minutes by bicycle (it’s a steep decline, it takes much cycle back up it!). We would like an acre to call our own but despite having dabbled in growing vegetables in the past, since moving home last year, I haven’t so much as spent a full day in the garden cultivating it. I really need to pick up my permaculture books again before I entertain the idea of moving somewhere rural and seriously homesteading. So long as the rain keeps coming, there’s no pressing need to move in my lifetime as a result of CC, but it is feasible DD will need to migrate north in her lifetime if projections are accurate. I think about that a lot.

I have put considerable effort into learning about my energy consumption habits and reducing them as much as possible, short of unplugging everything electrical and giving it away. I have mentally mapped out all the essential activities and pure conveniences. I ready to abandon them, or either have alternatives in place already or backups for living without grid energy long term, or plans on how I would achieve similar standards of living in the future. The biggest issue would be sourcing fuel for heating and cooking, to which I have no answers.

That makes me feel very unsettled. Without electricity or natural gas we would be forced to source wood fuel from nearby, unless coal mines reopen, but given the scale of development in the surrounding areas and the lack of well managed woodland, wood for fuel is not a long term solution, all the trees left standing are on private land and there would be none left standing nearby after a couple cold winters. The UK is massively overpopulated at this point, it will take a die-off event or mass emigration to bring numbers down to sustainable levels any time soon. So all attempts to live sustainable are subject to the turmoil that any kind of unravelling might bring about. The best we can hope for is well managed slow decline.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:57 pm
by enigmaT120
black_son_of_gray wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:23 pm
Some time ago I read an essay online (can't find it now, unfortunately), that started with the story of Pandora's box, in which all manner of evils were unleashed on humanity, followed at the end by "hope". They then proceeded to argue that "hope" wasn't a merciful reprieve from the evil's released, but in fact was also a curse - that hope can in fact be a scourge of humanity, specifically because when people are hopeful or optimistic in the face of big challenges, they tend to become complacent.
That's not an essay it's a short story by Roger Zelazny. I can't remember the name though. A good story, I always have it in the back of my head when I think or talk about hope.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:20 pm
by chenda
@jennypenny, thanks that make a lot of sense wrt prayer.

@vexed87 thank you for sharing all that, lots to think about. There are certainly worse places to be than northern Europe, but my main concern over the next few years will be serious political instability. Doubtless you have already started to stockpile drugs for next year. Sometimes I wish I had adopted a career which would likely be more useful in a period of decline, but its something I will want to push by 3 year old niece into doing.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:39 am
by Jin+Guice
I'm in agreement with the rest of y'all that we have bought this ticket and are taking the ride, though I do hold out some hope for techno optimism or just some weird solution that no one thought of. But let's not argue that here.

Let's assume that shit is going to hit the fan with global warming.

I don't think this will play out on a local level in western countries in our lifetime. The rich and powerful like to stay rich and powerful and they have never been opposed to extracting that wealth and power from weaker people by force. They are also hugely benefitting from the global economic system and need to keep it intact to ensure resource extraction from the rest of the world (this method of resource extraction predates industrialization by several hundred years, just not at the same scale). Remember we are all in the global 1%. Like it or not we are on the side that their armies protect, and at least in the short run, keeping us happy will keep them in power and wealth. The oil wars have already begun, but that's not what we call them. Why will the food wars be any different? Think of the colonization, slavery, genocide and oppression that got industrialized nations to where they are now. It's only relatively recently that these thing have even begun to be thought of as bad. Historically we're very comfortable with other people suffering for our gain, especially when direct ties to that suffering are obscured and the people aren't directly visible to us. Locally I think this will look like dealing with refugees from 5 hurricane Katrina's and food and oil shortages doubling prices. The other options are a massive global war between major powers jockeying for scarcer resources and/ or a 1930s style global economic depression. Barring this I doubt we'll see people stop driving SUVs in Western countries in our lifetime, even if it means more famines in the poorest countries.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:14 pm
by daylen
Depends on what you mean by "shit is going to hit the fan" and "play out". From my perspective, it already is playing out and is likely to progressively get worse for the next seventy years or so of my life. By worse I mean a combination of increased socio-political-economic volatility and increased resource dispute frequency. It is dangerous to put too much weight on some single, transitional event in the future. The "event" is happening now, everywhere, and this is how the historians of the future will interpret it. Localization is an illusion.

Plenty of people have critiqued higher-order social structures, but the philosopher-kings do not really grab the spotlight in the history books like real "kings" do.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:01 pm
by jennypenny
Anyone see this on Bendell's site? The Deep Adaptation Retreat – June in Greece

It looks lovely and I could probably attend, but I feel uneasy about it. It's similar to how I usually feel about those FI retreats in exotic locales. I get the appeal of building social bonds with like-minded people -- I just don't understand why something consumptive is required to talk about being less consumptive. This one seems worse because of the subject matter since (I assume) most attendees will fly to the conference.

Maybe it's just me and I'm being a little harsh.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:25 pm
by jacob
Nah, me too.

It used to bother me about academia too. Why do we have to fly to some resort on the other side of the world to talk about stars?

I have four answers and the right answer is probably a combination of these:
1) It's a free vacation using OPM (other people's money).
2) These places are the only ones that have the capacity to host such meetups.
3) Such environments might spur conversations and ideas that would not occur in a traditional setting.
4) ???

When I see such entry-fees (520EUR for 5 days if you bring your own tent) or locations, I see it as a signal that we're probably not "like-minded". In comparison, the tickets to the Dark Mountain Project events are 20 pounds. Attending ERE meetups is FREE. Going to FinCon is around 400 bucks. I've yet to go to FinCon.

Money can also be used to sort out those who aren't serious (this is why the ERE book is priced where it is and not at $0.00). However, there are other ways of putting up a moat if that's the purpose. Writing an essay, going by invitation only, ... and otherwise making it hard to get in (like the ERE forums require you to resolve arcane acronyms as the security question).

OTOH, making something expensive and presenting it in an exotic location also sends a signal of value (to certain like-minded individuals). People like to think they're getting something for their money and if they pay more then they tend to think they're getting more. I forget what this human fallacy is called.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:27 am
by jennypenny
New post ... Hope and Vision in the Face of Collapse – The 4th R of Deep Adaptation

side note: If we retreat from an excessive lifestyle to one more in line with a sustainable human existence, do we define the decline in lifestyle as 'suffering'? We don't consider the lifestyle adjustments we make wrt ERE as sacrifices. On the contrary, we fervently deny that we suffer in any way or sacrifice anything important to achieve ERE. How is this different that people feel such despair and dread over what is to come? (I'm asking, not arguing a position.)

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:50 am
by jennypenny
I don't think I'm explaining myself well. I'm not talking about the grief we feel for the loss of ecosystems or abundance, or even the displacements and burdens that might be placed on poorer communities. That kind of grief is always in the ether for those who choose to take such things to heart (poverty, war crimes, etc).

What I'm talking about is despair -- the personal kind of grief felt for oneself or one's family. It's palpable in an increasing number of writings. Yet we (EREs) know that anyone can be happy on much less. I know it. Even when thinking of my children and the challenges they might face, I would have taught them to live an ERE lifestyle regardless because I believe it to be the best combination of robust and fulfilling. So I guess I question the assumption that we'll all be overcome with sadness/grief/stress. If one doesn't prepare then that person might face some real challenges, but again, that's always been true.

I dunno. I guess I wonder if -- as a race -- we'll be happier in the end. As I said, I know we're crushing the planet and it breaks my heart (as it should). But the personal grief expressed by many seems misplaced to me.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:17 pm
by tonyedgecombe
You need to look back to WW2 to see how a country can be mobilised and quickly turned around. The big difference this time is we don't have to send young men off to die in trenches. It just needs to be framed correctly, as a war on climate change, dig for victory, etc. The fact that 60m people voted for that orange guy tells me people are desperate for change.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:03 pm
by daylen
@JP Seems to me that negative emotion is correlated with a perception of future uncertainty and this is closely related to death. I like to think of our ecology as a hierarchy of patterns where some patterns are comprised of smaller (in space) patterns. Patterns are identifiable order where a small amount of information can describe a relatively large section of space. The patterns we tend to call living are self-sustaining across time. Disorder tends to increase in isolated systems; the position of disorder is not easily identifiable, so it appears that ordered systems/locations/objects are 'consumed' by the surrounding 'sea' of disorder. Death(*) is what happens when this process is particularly quick (to humans). Ordered systems survive by consuming smaller ordered systems and using the potential energy to maintain the self-patterns required to sustain this process. 'Successful' ordered systems replicate themselves before being consumed.

Ordered systems act in the environment to avoid death (and replicate), and some successful systems have evolved a mechanism that models their environment and predicts how future change could lead to their intimate death. The details of the prediction are hard to compute, but the uncertainty of this computation is more feasible. Computing that the future is likely to be more volatile than 'usual'(**) is likely to provoke negative emotion that deters an individual from certain actions. For humans this could mean changing location, social relations, goals, and so forth.

From this perspective, it seems that the potential for things to be different is what triggers despair (or the rate at which this is changing). It is possible that humans are directing their despair towards the systems in their immediate awareness (availability bias). It seems that few humans actually know what the source of their despair is, because knowing the source of future uncertainty is less important for self-replication than knowing it exist.

I can see how life after oil would be more enjoyable for organisms. The emergence of large cities across the globe absorbing surrounding resources is not sustainable, but perhaps companies/cities have a form of consciousness and this is their time to thrive. Maybe consciousness is somehow connected to the repetitive collapse of the wave function for different forms of quantum computers. The universe could be a giant calculation where we are just parts computing some aspect of it in parallel.

(*) ..of organisms, companies, cities, empires, and so forth.

(**) ..usual is dependent on how that particular entity evolved into the present; negative emotion is path-dependent. Perhaps humans are like computers designed to estimate the degree of change in future uncertainty (as opposed to the degree of uncertainty itself). Maybe it is useful to think of the hierarchy of patterns as a hierarchy of computers where each computer is optimized for different solution spaces.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:58 pm
by jennypenny
@daylen--I think maybe it's as simple as people believing that less = bad, or change = bad, whether or not both are good in the end, and even when the people in question are like Bendell and know that change is necessary. The whole mindset is based on holding on to as much as possible and learning to deal with the 'loss' vs. embracing what comes next and how that might be as good if not better (given that it won't come with the same imposing footprint and guilt).

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:08 pm
by daylen
jennypenny wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:58 pm
change = bad
I think my whole post was essentially a long-winded way of saying the same thing. This can be extended into the preference dimension for different system levels. I have been working on a generalization of the big-5 to more visual measures that can be applied to wide range of systems.

Re: Deep Adaptation

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:16 pm
by Campitor
I just finished reading 1491 and there are sections that describe the terraforming done by the Native Americans in order to sustain life in some very inhospitable regions.

The ancient Quechua Indians in South America buried broken pottery mixed with biochar to make the land fertile in raised areas in the rainforest. The broken pottery greatly slows the leaching of nutrients that would otherwise be stripped away by the voluminous rainfall. And the biochar supplies nutrients while capturing new nutrients washed in from neighboring organic matter. The slash and burn currently practiced in the Amazon only yields about 2 years worth of fertility as the rain washes away the topsoil too quickly to keep exposed ground farmable; the ancient method keeps the soil healthy for decades.

In the desert regions of South America, the ancient indians either survived on food from the ocean or by creating terraces and building irrigation canals to bring water from the mountains. North American Indians did similar things. I imagine that modern technology could incorporate these ancient solutions but on a larger scale and with greater success.

At the very least these ancient techniques could be practiced at the local level to help sustain small populations.