Back in the early 70’s, when our generation felt like we were on the cusp of a wonderful transition and our parents felt like The End Was Near, a great little book was printed entitled, “What to Do Until the Messiah Comes.” It was all about massage. Touching, actually. It extolled the virtues and benefits of touching each other. If we look at primates and other animals, they do it all the time. Preening, and cleaning, and cuddling together when it gets cold or scary. That’s what we do to comfort and to nurture and take care of each other. Back in “the day” friends used to smoke a bowl, listen to tunes, dance, and give each other back rubs all the time. It was free and it felt really good.
Since then, our culture has turned to more materialistic and expensive pursuits that require great investments in gas guzzling toys and gear and such, all of which are put on credit cards to enrich the rich. But, I have a feeling that, with any luck, we are going to be returning to those things that we can do for little or no money, and that feel better anyway. To that end, I would advise to put some attention into your sense of touch. Notice if your awareness extends through your fingertips. Don’t be one of those people whose touch seems to suck the energy out of you, rather than enhance it. Touching should not be a mechanical exercise of just moving muscles around. It is best when you have a sense that energy is flowing from you and through you, and the point of contact is where the energies meld together and healing and affection are transferred. In these anxious times, this is a good thing to do. It’s always been a good thing to do, and the practice is fun.
We can look to traditional cultures for things that help to sustain us that don’t rely on money. Music. A good music collection is nice. But, what if the electricity goes out? Are you going to sit there in silence in the dark? No good. Acoustic and percussion instruments, like drums, guitars, tambourines, pianos, violins, and such are wonderful ways to entertain each other and bond with others. Or, just plain singing in a choir together. Or making your own didgeridoo, and playing it for a group (THAT takes some practice because you have to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth at the same time to keep a sustained tone going.) Anyway, the point is that in addition to stocking up on rice and beans and batteries, cook stoves, bottled water, etc. etc. some effort should be made to prepare for alternative things to do that don’t require electricity or money, and also enhance friendships and cultivate community. Doing this around a campfire or in front of a fireplace or wood stove is very pleasurable.
Skills that are going to be needed to get back to localized production of food and goods are going to have to be geared up in a hurry. UPS just delivered a nifty solar re-chargeable lantern to beat back the dark, so I can read at night during electrical outages. We should be stocking up on “how to” books on everything from animal husbandry to vegetable storing and water treatment and all points in between. No one person can do it all. But, we can organize groups for teach-ins of different subjects and then form collectives to get things done. Some can organize a bakery, some make cheese, some re-load ammo, do metal work, carpentry, ceramics, sew clothing or make shoes. If or when the dollar dies, we can use those things that we produce to barter and trade with each other. We can look back to the pre-industrial skills that kept a small town going for a start. When the school buses don’t have the gas to transport hundreds of children over great areas, neighborhood schools are going to have to be developed. Stand-in grandmas and grandpas will be needed to take care of young ones whose biological grandparents are far away. Trading posts and farmer’s markets will need to be organized, along with firewood collection centers, and community tool banks, greenhouses and gardens.
Then, we can look towards those more modern innovations that hopefully, will make things easier - like windmills, futuristic water wheels, and all sorts of creative energy-generating innovations. Most of these things, when done on a grand or massive scale, will not be sustainable. They will be a huge waste of resources and provide very little benefit because they’ll use up so much oil and other components to build and maintain and infrastructure for them. But, smaller, less expensive units for individual households or clusters of neighborhoods will probably be able to be built that could provide very efficient and sustainable energy-generating alternatives, depending on the resources in their area.
All this is going to take co-operation. To survive you need food and water. But, to live and be safe, you need community. Those social exercises of touch, dance, music, and group activities are just as or maybe even more crucial to your well-being than a cache of food or guns and ammo.
The time to get going on all this is, of course, yesterday. The Time Monks, cliff and igor, from Half-past Human (quoted extensively on George Ure’s Urban Survival) are reporting that the linguistics on the internet project a large collapse event next week – October 7, to be exact. They say that this may be our last “normal” week. There are dire predictions from all corners for the rest of this year through all of next year – and unto 2012. Whether we are looking at extinction or transformation, whatever it is, it’s not going to be dull. From eathquakes and a massive tsunami in the
All of this makes a massage sound even better right now, doesn’t it? Or, baking a nice pie, singing a song, knitting a pair of slippers, quilting a baby blanket.… the point is, I guess, that we need to unhook from the television zombie matrix and get real and get going. Roll it around in your mind for awhile. Figure out what feels best to you, then do it. One step at a time. But, at least it will be your step, not a step that someone else dictated or frightened you into.
As always, this post is just to get the conversation going. We need to hear your ideas on what to do while the collapse comes…and whatever else you've got on your mind.