Using the Apocalypse as an Advisor (thoughts inspired by a debate at Dream’s End forum)
First point: regarding what DE called “apocalypse fetish”: though I admit to having a certain tendency in this direction, my intent behind sharing these ideas is not to present a rationale for population reduction but rather to reach a clearer understanding of why it may be on the cards at all.
My quandary is this (and it appears to be the same as Strieber’s): since I am convinced a massive “dieback” is about to occur, it is nigh impossible for me not to dwell upon it and seek ways to understand and prepare for it. Now it may be that WS and other folk have a covert agenda that I am not aware of, and that they are, in fact, helping to justify and thence bring about a dieback through human means. I do not know. All I know is that I don't have such an agenda myself, and that my feeling that there are too many people on this planet has less to do with any ecological facts or numbers than it does with simply looking around and listening to my instincts.
DE’s argument was that it is not the number of humans that is creating intolerable pressure upon the Earth biosystem but the system which we currently depend upon. My response was that you cannot separate the two. The greater the number of people on this planet, the more confusion and disorder prevails, and the more expedient some sort of external system of control such as capitalism, tyranny, elite manipulation, etc. But there is also a deeper factor to consider, and it is this: consciousness is proportionally lowered according to the size of a group.
Jung put it fairly well: “Don’t you know that if you choose one hundred of the most intelligent people in the world and get them all together, they are a stupid mob? Ten thousand of them together would have the collective intelligence of an alligator. Haven’t you noticed that at a dinner party the more people you invite the more stupid the conversation? In a crowd, the qualities which everybody possesses multiply, pile up, and become the dominant characteristics of the whole crowd. Not everybody has virtues, but everybody has the low animal instincts, the basic caveman suggestibility, the suspicions and vicious traits of the savage. The result is that when you get a nation of many millions of people, it is not even human. It is a lizard or a crocodile or a wolf. . .
(C. G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, editor: William McGuire and R.F.C. Hull. London: Pan Books, 1980, pg. 139)
There is an exception to this rule, but it is an extremely rare one; it entails the forging of a "group mind" whereby individuals in a given collective are no longer independent but act as a single organism, a "hive." It's feasible that the Earth could support ten billion humans, but ONLY if they all partook of such a group mind - which would in effect be the consciousness of the Earth herself. I don't see any way that six billion humans will ever get sufficiently "enlightened" to fuse at such a profound level as this. As I see it, the only way is for humanity to be reduced drastically in numbers and then to come together and form a new arrangement, at which point a new race could be birthed directly into this enlightened state or group mind. I know how unpalatable such ideas are to many people. But despite this I find myself going out on a limb to convey them.
What I am saying is that I really can't see any way for humans to organize themselves along more "magikal" (for lack of a better word) or holistic lines in their current numbers. This is evidenced (to my isolate mind) by the fact that, even as ecological awareness apparently increases, individual humans become not more but less responsible, more and more hooked into their cell phones and their computers, more driven by consumer madness, and less and less connected to the living Earth; and so of course, government policies become more and more brazen and destructive despite all the lip service to environment. Just as the cause of peace is the most effective rationale for a war engine to continue shredding bodies and decimating terrain, so the cause of ecology is now being used to justify all manner of natural destruction.
This is not human nature, but it is the human condition: because humanity currently exists and functions not as individuals but as a mass; and the mass, like the dinosaur, is doomed by its very nature to extinction.
There is one final point I want to make and it is that, so far as I can see it, the only way that the current system of mass control and elitist plundering is ever going to change is through collapse. Such a collapse would force us as individuals to draw on our inner ("spiritual") resources, and from this chaos a new balance would eventually emerge. But how many people today would survive such a collapse?
Perhaps I am wrong about all of this but I really don't think so. Since I was twenty years old I have felt in my bones that a huge catastrophe was coming and that, on the other side of it, very little of what we have come to take for granted as our way of life, or indeed our sense of reality, would remain. In the decades since then, I have modified just about everything I believe in one way or another, but this one deep, deep certainty remains unchanged. I suspect the reason has less to do with a neurotic desire to see the world destroyed than the fact that this awareness is in my bones, and not merely my head. It is akin to what the snake feels when the earthquake is due.
None of this means that spreading fear of an Apocalypse is a good thing. If I am right, there is nothing that anyone can "do" about this anyway save to prepare for possible annihilation and make the most of our time while we are here. So the kind thing, perhaps, would be to leave the average folk to enjoy their complacent illusions of sustainability, and let them carry on shopping.
I'm not sounding the trumpet blast here – I have done far too much of that already - but I suggest there is a middle way, and that no matter how much "apocalypse fetishism" or covert disinfo gets exposed, it doesn't necessarily change the fact that we are on the edge of extinction. If this is the case, it is up to the bolder and more imaginative souls among us to face this fact head on, and to deal with it in a sober and compassionate fashion.
This post may be more about myself than anything. No one knows what is going to happen, or what has to happen, or what "should" happen. We can only go by what our guts and hearts tell us. I am not trying to set myself up as an outside authority. Knowing that a catastrophe is coming doesn't make me special. Thousands are aware of it. I am just one of those who is trying to make sense of it in the "before" period, rather than waiting until "after."
My gut tells me that the death of billions of humans at this point in time is OUR BEST-CASE SCENARIO, and that we may as well get used to it. And that the alternative is something I personally don't even want to contemplate.
William Irwin Thompson pretty much summed up my viewpoint in Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness (New York: 1998, St. Martin’s Press):
"From this cosmic point of view, the catastrophe in which billions die and enter bardo all at once may not actually be a catastrophe at all, but a galactic opportunity for accelerated evolution. If humanity goes on as usual, we may simply slide down into a Bosnia that lasts for an aeon. For those who require an optimistic outlook on life to get out of bed in the morning, consider the fate of the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs died in the last great collective death of the Cretaceous extinction, but they came back as the birds that we see all around us.” (pg. 153)
The main thing to grok in all this is that there is a LOT more at stake here than mere survival, either of the individual or of species.
Finally, I would say that whether or not the species is about to go extinct, it may be useful to use this idea as a means to drive us to change. Every individual needs more than the simple desire to change, he/she needs to be goaded or pushed to make the necessary changes, and this pushing invariably entails an external factor. "Using death as an advisor" is not merely optional but essential for a warrior, in order to have this necessary context in which our actions and decisions are imbued with power and urgency. We have now taken it to a collective level. It is time to use the Apocalypse—species extinction—as an advisor.