Consider this, optimists. All the societies in the world can collapse simultaneously. It has happened before.
In the 12th century BCE the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean—all of them—suddenly fell apart. Their empires evaporated, their cities emptied out, their technologies disappeared, and famine ruled. Mycenae, Minos, Assyria, Hittites, Canaan, Cyprus—all gone. Even Egypt fell into a steep decline. The Bronze Age was over.
The event should live in history as one of the great cautionary tales, but it hasn’t because its causes were considered a mystery. How can we know what to be cautious of? Eric Cline has taken on on the mystery. An archaeologist-historian at George Washington University, he is the author of “1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.” The failure, he suggests, was systemic. The highly complex, richly interconnected system of the world tipped all at once into chaos.
“1177 B.C.: When Civilization Collapsed” was given on January 11, 02016 as part of Long Now’s Seminar series. The series was started in 02003 to build a compelling body of ideas about long-term thinking from some of the world’s leading thinkers. The Seminars take place in San Francisco and are curated and hosted by Stewart Brand. To follow the talks, you can:
Rupert Read, Environmental Philosopher and Chair of Green House Think Tank.
The Paris Agreement explicitly commits us to use non-existent, utterly reckless, unaffordable and ineffective ‘Negative Emissions Technologies’ which will almost certainly fail to be realised. Barring a multifaceted miracle, within a generation, we will be facing an exponentially rising tide of climate disasters that will bring this civilization down. We, therefore, need to engage with climate realism. This means an epic struggle to mitigate and adapt, an epic struggle to take on the climate-criminals and, notably, to start planning seriously for civilizational collapse.
Dr Rupert Read is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. Rupert is a specialist in Wittgenstein, environmental philosophy, critiques of Rawlsian liberalism, and philosophy of film. His research in environmental ethics and economics has included publications on problems of ‘natural capital’ valuations of nature, as well as pioneering work on the Precautionary Principle. Recently, his work was cited by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in their landmark decision to ban the cultivation of GM aubergine. Rupert is also chair of the UK-based post-growth think tank, Green House, and is a former Green Party of England & Wales councillor, spokesperson, European parliamentary candidate and national parliamentary candidate. He stood as the Green Party MP-candidate for Cambridge in 2015.
About the series
Shed A Light is a series of talks that seek to present alternative framings of future human-nature interactions and the pragmatic solution pathways that we could take to get there.
By recognising the interlinkages between struggles for ecological, social and economic justice in addition to the desperate need for immediate societal transformation, Shed A Light aims to engage everyone with the green agenda and prompt broad-based discussions on sustainability issues.
Court documents claim that a confidential informant who helped bring down Atomwaffen Division is also a publisher of white supremacist literature.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has paid a man involved in a publishing house specializing in occult neo-Nazi books more than $100,000 since 2003, according to court filings.
The publishing house is Martinet Press, fine purveyors of Atomwaffen Division-approved books such as Iron Gates and Liber 333. The former is a book about a Satanic cult roaming a post-apocalyptic America, which opens with a scene of a child being murdered.The apparent informant is Joshua Caleb Sutter, a man with longstanding ties to white supremacist organizations. Sutter’s father was a Pentacostal preacher who ran racist memorabilia stores in the area around the South Carolina capital of Columbia; Sutter and his father would take turns running the counter.
The court documents implicating Sutter are from the federal government’s case against Kaleb Cole, whom prosecutors say was a leader of the neo-Nazi terror group Atomwaffen Division. Obtained by investigative journalist Ali Winston, the documents are a motion to suppress evidence related to a search warrant used to search Cole’s house.
What qualities help assure that a community can survive the threat of disaster? The population density of cities leads to inherent vulnerabilities to mass climate disasters: such as single point of failure transit systems and utilities built prior to today’s environmental realities. At the same time the resources of cities offer tremendous potential for preparation and innovation.
As a sociologist, Klinenberg brings insights on how neighborhood dynamics (what he calls “social infrastructure”) can help individuals & communities prepare for extreme weather including flooding and heat waves. He discusses how cities can be wiser and think more long-term by planning traditional infrastructure projects which also enable such social infrastructure in their design.
“Climate Change and the Future of Cities” was given on March 07, 02017 as part of The Long Now Foundation’s “Conversations at The Interval” Salon Talks. These hour long talks are recorded live at The Interval, our bar, cafe, & museum in San Francisco. Since 02014 this series has presented artists, authors, entrepreneurs, scientists (and more) taking a long-term perspective on subjects like art, design, history, nature, technology, and time. To follow the talks, you can:
Netflix’s The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness re-examines the infamous New York serial killer through the eyes of one man’s obsession with the case
The Sons of Sam, a four-part series which jumps off from the panic of summer 1977, argues that Berkowitz probably did not act alone, based primarily on the work of the late investigator Maury Terry, whose zeal for solving the case spiraled from grounded skepticism to manic obsession over the course of several decades. Terry, who died at 69 in 2015, was initially skeptical of the NYPD’s explanation for the case, not least because the department was under enormous public pressure to capture the killer and lock up the investigation. Although Berkowitz eventually claimed, from prison for six consecutive life sentences, that he acted in concert with others as part of a satanic cult, the official narrative remained that Berkowitz was the sole culprit.
Sheldon Solomon is one of the co-developers of Terror Management Theory, and a co-author of the book The Worm at the Core: On the role of Death in Life, in this episode we discuss mortality, death anxiety and the meaning of life in relation to death.