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I think we could all benefit from a conversation focusing on what a post-capitalist society should be. Less consumption. Less environmental degradation. Less competition. More collaboration. More energy for love, compassion and empathy to be passed around.

From my own experience, I have observed the rise in narcissistic traits within my own social group. Or, they may have always been there and I wasn’t well equipped to identify it back then. Regardless, narcissism has been the media talking point for a long while now. The tendency itself is purely driven by envy. You mix that in with greed and the ever-growing gap in inequality and bam! late stage capitalism in full swing.

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Good Morning Sarah,

I watched Elon Musk talk to Ben Shapiro last night, while watching Pornhub on my phone, while waiting for my poly friend to arrive for our 8:30 session 😅

Just kidding 😆

I did watch Elon and Ben have a “chat” or rather watched Ben talk to Elon and steer the conversation precisely where Ben wanted it to go.

These guys are amazing at getting insecure billionaires , or brains to sit under their 15 minutes of fame spotlights. And throw gasoline on the end of the world.

Elon wants X to be THE BEST source of truth on the planet 🙃

I believe Elon has a good heart , underneath that big brain of his. It is scary to watch people who have the ability and means to steer the crash being co opted into fucked up cabals.

And yes Poly is just a distraction, fun for a bit, but always ends in tears. I had a discussion once with a potential lover, she wanted to keep things open. I was, you can do as you wish, enjoy your life, but just keep us safe.

She asked what I wanted, my reply was I only have enough time and energy, for me, my daughter and you. The guilt of that scenario and imbalance in sexual gratification or who knows what, blew it out of the water instantly 😅.

It is amazing when people foresee or rather observe human behaviour in the now but only makes sense when seen in the future. This wholesale distraction goes far into activism, sport, politics or online rants like this one

Back to work

OBS sorry for discussing suicide, and Tim in the same discussion. I did not know that was the choice that he made.

I get it though

This comes back to new age distractions, and distractions in general

To live with an open heart , burst open naturally, via spiritual technology and techniques, or more likely by grief, is a blessing and a curse.

Distractions are needed, in order to manage life, and our nervous systems, they are as important as deep presence.

A lover, a song, a walk, a glass of wine, a line of coke. Brilliant, as long as we are able to put them down and get back to engagement just as easily as we picked up bliss.

Have a sweet day everyone

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Jan 25Liked by Sarah Wilson

It's interesting reading everyone's thoughts about whether or not folks are becoming more aware of the systems that shape our experiences. I'm seeing that come through, especially with some of the niches on TikTok, following in the steps of earlier platforms like Tumblr, LiveJournal, some pockets of Reddit etc. I do social research about how young adults engage with therapy culture (seeing therapists or counsellors, mental health memes online, listening to podcasts about therapy or psych ideas or wellness etc.) and so many of them can tease out the messiness of self-help, therapy, wellness, wellbeing - how it is shaped and pushed by capitalism (plus the blurriness between psych, therapy, wellness, spirituality, corporate wellbeing etc), Western ideas about brains and bodies, if it is narcissistic or not, the dominance of psychology to make sense of our lives, if we're shifting from collectivist to individualist cultures, etc etc etc. We can see the "is Western/Global North psychology a narcissistic tradition that promotes individualism" debates on TikToks and other platforms.

There's a sense of picking up something like therapy or some other self-care strategy for a while might be useful, but also a bit of ambivalence too about whether it addresses the bigger picture - capitalism, racism, gender inequities etc. Some go to therapy because of problems at work that ultimately are about a constant push to productivity and optimising and want to find a way to work through it, yet can see that therapy is a way to get through life at the moment, while they can't change things that feel all consuming (cost of living, generational stresses, climate collaspe etc). I wonder about this in-between-ness: complaining say about women's dating standards vs recognising gender inequity. What happens in between? What happens between noticing patterns and seeing the system awareness memes?

(And I have to admit that polycules remind me of going to uni in the early 2000s and making maps of who had been with who - wayyyy before the sex map on the new version of Heartbreak High. And yes we had time! And doing double degrees, student radio, activism, two jobs, seeing bands, cooking, cleaning, gossiping)

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More than half the world is set to vote in elections in 2024?! Oh my.

This weekend a friend and I were discussing the topic of collapse and she mentioned the World Economic Forum's Global Risk Report for 2024, more importantly, she commented on how different the identified risks are in this 2024 report. (Reference: Global Risks Report 19th Edition).

The report explores the most severe risks we face over the next 2 to 10 years . I can't post a photo so here they are:

Top 10 Risks over next 2 years:

1) Misinformation and disinformation

2) Extreme weather events

3) Societal polarisation

4) Cyber insecurity

5) Interstate Armed Conflict

6) Lack of economic opportunity

7) Inflation

8) Involuntary migration

9) Economic downturn

10) pollution

Over the next 10 years:

1) Extreme weather events

2) Critical change to Earth Systems

3) Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse

4) Natural resource shortage

5) Misinformation and disinformation

6) Adverse outcomes of AI Technologies

7) Involuntary migration

8)Cyber insecurity

9) Societal polarisation

10) Pollution

The report's contribution towards mitigation is beyond my knowledge, but even if it is just government word salad, the ingredients for collapse are all there. It's a dense read, but it may be of interest to some here. They speak to a world being stretched beyond its limit and that a multiplicity of futures over the next 10 years are conceivable, if you make it to Chapter 3.

x

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Jan 24Liked by Sarah Wilson

Sarah - wow! This 100% got me hard:

The other marker he identifies: when a society spends its free time in “philosophies of digestion, nutrition and hygiene. Alcohol questions and vegetarianism are treated with religious earnestness—such being the gravest problems.” The guy was a visionary.

Spengler’s point is that societies crumble when its people have become that distracted by narcissism and cringey indulgence. I am all for pushing gender and sexual norms, but an over self-conscious, self-important obsession with anything right now is striking me as, well, perfectly collaps-y.

He argues that inequality and polarisation “produces too many superrich and ultra-educated people, and not enough elite positions to satisfy their ambitions." and that this is what tips societies. Turchin identifies “the problem of an excess of educated men” who feel locked out of socially-accepted positions of success and who then stir up conflict.

I don’t have a ‘comment’ except to say this reflects what I have been feeling/sensing/observing but couldn’t put words to it.

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Jan 24Liked by Sarah Wilson

I think the inequality issue is interesting. Especially because the media keeps reporting it like that:

“The world's five richest men have more than doubled their fortunes — while nearly five billion people have been made poorer.”

Those two things are not correlated. Five people got richer but that is not what caused 5 billion people to become poorer. That was the pandemic (which cut people off from jobs worldwide!).

(In their footnote Oxfam points out that that number is since 2019. If they were to look at since 2023 they would see that number is already rebounding).

We can see the proof of that by Oxfams next sentence: “If current trends continue, the world will have its first trillionaire within a decade but poverty won’t be eradicated for another 229 years.”

So the trends are showing that poverty is on its way to being fully eradicated in only two centuries? How could that be if people are getting poorer?

(And wow, what remarkable progress if something that has been around for thousands of years is that close to ending!)

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Well this felt accurate. All of it. Collaps-y-ness and all.

It's been feeling like we're living on the edge of a precipice for a while now - perhaps since the start of the pandemic, give or take a bit. Social media is perhaps helping push us along quicker towards this inevitable collapse.

My recent musings have been centered around:

a) what are we doing to survive (thrive?) in the midst of this collapse and how can we support each other -- some of those 5 billion people who've become poorer in the past 3 years (I'm one of them, even if I do speak from a place of relative privilege!) -- through this?

b) what will all of this look like on the other side and is there even going to be another side to be on or are we doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs and if so, how can we do that with dignity and care for one another instead of simply ripping each other to shreds.

Brilliant, thank you for sharing!

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And yes, spot on with the observations re educated men with too much time in their hands and no where to put their energy.

I can feel all of those pressures and outlets that they talk about in that article within me. Both for egoic, but also just practical I want to provide reasons. This is a broader widespread issue though. For women and men.

Do I start a family, a career? Is it even worth it, I will not find a decent man, I will not be able to afford a home, or have enough spare money to pay for raising a child. The world is ending anyway. Etc etc.

This level of nihilism and despair is going to be difficult to deal with as a society. Fuck it’s and suicide will rise exponentially, YOLO will have a glorious resurgence.

The having a baby analogy is a perfect example, I have experienced bringing a child into this world as a distraction.

And also what it feels like to have the whole universe desire you to , almost demand, that you create a child with your lover.

Others need to bring offspring into the world in order to survive in their old age, and to build a family legacy and life, so that there are enough of us to provide for each other.

The answer? My two cents is.

Discover your sweet spot, discover how to keep yourself there with gentle discipline, and stay open to beautiful distractions, and dance with it all.

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Jan 25Liked by Sarah Wilson

Within 10 years keeps going around and around in my head. And it definitely feels like 2024 will be a tipping point.

For what it's worth in an obvious art imitates life sort of way, the mammoth that is Hollywood, and European cinema, is increasingly becoming more collapse aware.

Every second movie or series seems to be about the apocalypse now. And in the last few years there's been a shift, it's not the blockbuster, bombastic "the world ends in a couple of days" type fare of the 90s and earlier 2000s. It's more subtle - there's so many of them but the adaptation of the Handmaid's Tale comes to mind. Midnight Sky, Don't Look Up, and the recent Leave the World Behind (which I thought was excellent and brought to you by Obama's production company no less). This summer right before the actual election, Civil War is due out, based on a modern U.S. at war with itself scenario. I.S.S with its premise about a Russia/US nuclear war, and the British the End we Start From due out soon is about a woman and her newborn trying to survive after extreme flooding in London.

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How are you doing Sarah?

How are you coping, reframing and accepting that the journey you were on to find a way to steer this ship to safety is at an end?

Are you okay?

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Jan 24Liked by Sarah Wilson

I think Frank Green water bottles are the equivalent to the Stanley cups here- my 11 year old says half the class has them and they have a special club.

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Jan 25Liked by Sarah Wilson

I had the same thought re: the people in the polycule article - that they seemed to have an enormous amount of free time. And that their particular version of polyamory, at least, would be hard to do if you had children.

Re: this quote though... “When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard having children as a question of pro's and con's, the great turning point has come” - I disagree! I am childed myself, but I think it is good that people are asking questions before they have children rather than jumping into it by default. Not a sign of mass selfishness or the downfall of society.

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Jan 28Liked by Sarah Wilson

Hi, on this topic I saw and read this article in the New York Times - it is behind a firewall but for those that subscribe it’s relevant and provocative: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/26/opinion/polycrisis-doom-extinction-humanity.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare I scanned the comments and I found it interesting that a lot of people thought the author was asking us to be reassured that the climate crisis/multi-crisis was survivable based on a reading of history. I didn’t quite agree - his last comments were actually (my view) warning us not to give into doom mongering and dystopian gloom, but rather to fight, collectively to avoid such a fate. The authors in fact asks us to not give in because those that came before us and fought, managed to find a way to win. The message for me, was not that things are not bad, they of course are very bad. It was simply to say that the anxiety many of us collectively feel appears to repeat itself at times of change. That anxiety is broadcast, perhaps even amplified by the media and popular culture and exploited by politicians seeking a constituency. On first reading, I am not sure entirely why, I took some hope from the insights on offer. I am interested in what the rest of you read?

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Always great ‘system-aware’ memes here:

https://www.instagram.com/humans_of_capitalism?igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Also plenty of inspo for that list in your book of things we will be happy to lose when capitalism goes away 😂 (eg ott gender reveals, sea of iPhone screens at concerts etc)

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This is a really fascinating topic. America turning away from democracy really worries me given how much their culture affects ours and the rest of the world so much. The Guardian Full Story recently did a brilliant podcast on Trump winning in Idaho and how concerning his rhetoric is. Alarmingly, there's a whole master plan to boot out literally thousands of public servants around the country, the people who do the actual day to day business of running the country, and chucking in Trump loyalists.

To answer your question, I think awareness of this system simplification is unfortunately not mainstream. Only very few of us seem to be engaging and thinking about this big picture. Everyone else just seems uninterested or in denial or they don't care about anything or anyone outside of their own lives. Or maybe people are but don't know how to talk about it in our communities because they don't want to be seen as 'too full-on.' I hope I am wrong. This is why this community gives me hope!

I absolutely love how you do these collections of materials and whip them into a coherent, intriguing theme for our consideration. Thanks Sarah.

PS - I'd love to hear a guest on your podcast talking about a 'wild' idea to end native forest logging in Australia, in particular Tasmania. I went there for the first time this month, to see the old growth, giant trees. I was inspired by the Bob Brown doco THE GIANTS. (Bob Brown! Have him! What a wild guy!). Before I went down, I think I was quite naive as to the scale of the problem. We spent a whole week going all around the forests of Tasmania and there was only a very small portion not surrounded by logging. It was so immensely appalling. It made me so sad to have to drive for hours past destroyed forests to get to one little untouched part. Some of the bases and stumps of these felled giants were as tall as me. I have a list of letters to write to my MP's, Tasmanian MP's and also the local Tassie papers and I spoke to locals about this to try to understand how this can be business as usual in 2023. Some of the most incredibly special and magnificent giant trees and forests I've ever seen in my life are only standing because activists convinced them to temporarily pause logging. I feel this issue is urgent, pertinent to the climate crisis and our overall view of our relationship to land.

PS - the Helen Lewis quote really made me laugh.

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Jan 25·edited Jan 25

I laughed heartily at the polycule profile and definition. Brilliant!!

Can't say it's my thing but each to their own. When I date women I ask that they keep their dating app profiles active because I know I can't provide anything they might need long-term from a partner. I turn mine off, though, but only because I'm absolutely shit at multitasking!! 😁 (To appear less like an insensitive prick, I should add that I'm not emotionally unavailable to females, it's more that I want to pursue selfish interests - writing, travel ... avoiding humans - after being married with kids for almost two decades).

As for the great simplification... I dunno. I do agree but I'm not 100% certain a backlash against consumerism et al would last long. It's a different era to past ones due to the technology revolution. Society is far less homogeneous than it ever has been, despite our complete and utter connectedness. Which in itself is an interesting paradox of our times.

Of course, this statement of mine should come with the disclaimer that I really don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. 😁

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