The Long, Hot Summer of 2011: Time to Get Your Doom On

Long-time readers of this blog are aware that it has gone through several phases — or rather, I have personally gone through several phases — of intense doomerism. Leading up to the global financial crash/panic/mini-apocalypse of 2008, I was fully caught up in the doom meme, with a special emphasis on peak fossil fuels and impending economic annihilation. Oddly, once the financial part began in earnest, my personal intensity for it ramped down of its own accord. My feeling was kind of like, “Well, here it is, or at least the opening stages of it. Nothing much to say now.”

Then came 2011. And while I don’t have any designs to resume my former life as a mad prophet of the webwaves, notwithstanding a comment to that effect that I tossed off at Facebook a few minutes ago, if ever the time was ripe for a re-blossoming doomerism, it’s now. What I find so utterly, purely, exquisitely fascinating about the present moment is that the mainstreaming of the doomer worldview and mindset that had already begun in earnest by the time we hit the iceberg in 2008 has only continued to advance, so that by this point in time, when we’re facing (already experiencing?) what may be a truly galactic explosion of unprecedented ugliness all around us — politically, economically, ecologically, socially, culturally, spiritually — everybody in the U.S. has already thrown in the towel and accepted that we’re truly, deeply, irrevocably, and by any and all sane and reasonable measures, completely fucked.

And may I just say: It’s about time. Our collective life has been so bloated, so over-the-top, so fake, so frenetic, so exploitative, so ugly, so greedy, so soulless, for so very long, that nothing short of a total implosion can even begin to clear away the exoskeleton of corruption. We’re just like the dwarf banana trees that my wife and I planted in our yard last year: we have to be hacked down to the ground, to a blunt stump, before we can see new growth. (Wait, am I sounding like John the Baptist? “The axe is already at the foot of the tree…”)

So here it is. Apocalyptic heat and drought. Apocalyptic flooding. Apocalyptic storms. Apocalyptic crop failures. Increasing energy squeeze. Riots. Financial panics. Epic failure of entire governments, including the holy U.S. of A. Culture rot. Social decay. (You should see/feel/experience the seedy, violent crime-ridden condition of Waco, Texas these days. Then again, no, you shouldn’t.) To invoke biblical language: It all sucketh. But only from one point of view, and a short-sighted one at that. In actual fact, this is necessary medicine, an integral stage in a holistic process.

I guess it was today’s disaster in global financial markets that knocked me back into this thought world. Here are a few headlines to set the tone. Obviously, they don’t even approach comprehensiveness in terms of recent events. No mention of S&P’s downgrade of the U.S., or the debt-ceiling debacle, or Europe’s economic catastrophe, or ongoing nuclear contamination problems in Japan, or recent indications that the Gulf isn’t really cleaned up at all, etc., etc., etc. These are just the ones that came to hand via an easy Google search. I’ve thrown in one about paranormal matters to spice things up, since the breakdown in our human society is apparently being paced step-for-step by an upsurge in UFO sightings and such. I feel like I’m living in a Robert Anton Wilson novel.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on August 8, 2011, in Environment & Ecology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Johan Herrenberg

    We may see the rise of false prophets, but also of real ones. ‘The best of the times and the worst of times’, indeed.

  2. Thanks for the links, Autumn and Des, and the thought, Johan. I figured some of you were resonating with the apocalyptic wavelength like me.

    To add to the mix, here’s a story from Time today:

    “Shock market”: The 13 Best Headlines about Monday’s Massive Stock Slide

    It includes snapshots of 13 newspapers whose headlines made it look as if the editors were trying to make people lose bowel control.

  3. Matt, I have been watching the arts for some time now and it seems there’s something spiritual going on there, some sort of transformation, I don’t know if you notice. There’s one thing I honestly believe, if you want to know the psychology of the day, look to the arts.

    There’s an interesting point that comes to mind about this crash of the US you mention. A good many countries follow the US slavishly, I wonder what will happen to them when the US crashes. Will they go down with the ship or will the captain honorably do that rather?

  4. In fact, I’m sure you notice that spiritual phenomenon I mentioned. What’s even more interesting is that it’s reaching remarkable levels.

    • Yes, artists certainly are serving their function as spiritual alert systems lately, aren’t they? Always a more-than-interesting phenomenon.

      I’m not sure what will happen to other countries relative to the U.S. economic crash. Relative to our *cultural* collapse, I think lots of other places (not all of them, but many of them) will remain better places to live than here. We’ve got some serious social-moral-intellectual rot setting in.

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