Pastoral: Social Chaos and Mythology
Tribulation is here, and will worsen. Most people have expectations from video media which is wholly unrealistic. Let’s do some deprogramming. Throw out all the images from TV and movies, insofar as you are able.
We aim here at pulling down broad understandings so as to eliminate mythology and indicate something of a realistic portrait of the daily grind. Since the vast majority of what you encounter in a tribulation setting does not involve self-conscious large group identity issues, we can skip that for now. Most of what you face is individual and small group dynamics within the cultural matrix, plus a certain amount of mob response (large groups without a self-conscious identity).
Western Civilization places a moral necessity on planning for the long term. So even when you embrace the moment of opportunism, you’re still thinking of long term welfare. This defines the targets of your opportunism, the sorts of opportunities which catch your attention. Human weaknesses will throw in a variety of foolish impulses and miscalculations, but we generally know what to expect from the mainstream. It’s what we don’t expect that causes the most misery.
Because of our cultural bias in what constitutes heroism, we should expect a portion of the mainstream to be risk-takers, even if only within selected areas of risk. Some are more ready to face one kind of risk than another. In the main, in a relatively small group selected at random, at least half are likely willing to take risks of some kind. Very few will be wild and crazy, but that will vary with context. Gangs are a concentration of risk-takers, yet their greatest advantage is not in their inherent wildness, but innovation in executing their crimes, actions others don’t expect.
Gangs constitute a quasi-tribal family group whose main business is crime. The pattern of loyalty reaches back to primitive human instincts, holding virtually zero loyalty with any wider humanity, even as they are fully aware of mainstream loyalties. They only appear to be short-sighted to outsiders, as a great many today manifest a very advanced business acumen paired to a rejection of mainstream ethics. Gangs are an alternate governing institution, with all the same advantages and weaknesses as any well organized government agency. Their only advantage is less bureaucracy.
New gangs will suddenly arise, though their level of criminality will vary with context. Some will be simply vigilante groups, acting the same as any good government, but without official legitimacy. Our biggest problem here is not legitimacy, though, but information. Police routinely lie to themselves about gang problems in their jurisdiction, and the media lies make it worse. The inherent fluidity of gang activity makes it somewhat confusing to the gangs themselves. For all intents and purposes, you’ll have a very hard time distinguishing between gangs and cops in terms of how you are treated.
Government agencies are shot through with self-deception, but at some upper level, the plutocrats are managing the propaganda. The deception serves primarily to enhance the one thing which is everyone’s primary tactic: their preparation against your surprise.
The main event we should expect is some sort of banking system collapse. The essence of this is the flow of numbers from one computer to another stops. That is, cash flow becomes impossible because there is not enough extra stored value to lead demand for various uses. That’s value, not mere currency count. The current financial crisis is rather inflationary because all the various things people use to exchange value, mostly glorified IOUs, are suddenly dropping in value.
Think of it as various sizes of boats running along canals. The water is not simply like a big lake, but an ocean with a random and erratic tide. When the water level drops too low, the biggest boats stop wherever they are, and this blocks everyone else. The people who control the locks in the canal only imagine they know what they’re doing. They’ve committed way too much water to drilling what they thought were new wells, but were sink holes. It won’t matter how many and what size water bottles (currencies) you throw in the canal, the actual water (value) has been lost and the boats of our global economy won’t float any more.
On the one hand, if banks close and nobody can get their hands on electronic fund accounts, there will be panic. If some level of local government has planned for this, life may remain fairly sane. If not, keep in mind the people with guns and equipment will simply come out in force and rally around whatever their leaders consider the essential last stand. You’ve got to embrace one critical fact: Government and people are not the same thing, never were, and there is only a casual relationship between them. Bureaucrats are people, but intentionally schizophrenic. Precious few will suffer an attack of conscience while on the job. Yet they are retain standard human limitations.
General population response to bank closure depends entirely upon local cultural mix. We expect cities to become more dangerous from both government and private threats, and rural areas more peaceful. Yet in some cities there will be relative order, and some rural patches will be utterly chaotic. You’ll have to estimate for yourself what it will be like where you live, or where you might try to go.
None of this has any bearing on the various heads and limbs of the plutocrat Beast. That is, they will demand their customary flow of resources not slow in the slightest. The system will move to force that flow. But while information travels at Internet speeds, human response does not. The only way to stop the Beast in its tracks is for the human cogs to realize they won’t get paid, fed or supported in any fashion. If they believe their world has stopped, their functioning stops. Thus, the central nervous system of the Beast has to convince the feet and hands to keep going. The better armed portions of the Beast will quit last; that’s the nature of things.
This demand for continuity will simply not be met in some parts of the system, and attempts at applying force will vary. It will require some very deep wisdom and accurate information to guess what really matters enough for the heads of the Beast to actually turn their gaze on you. In general, truly harsh demands which come very quickly signals the Beast’s belief you sit on something critical. Most likely you’ll be left with trying to estimate the response from lesser bureaucrats where you live. This includes the certainty of confusion from internal commands and countermands and other ways to expose poor planning and coordination.
In other words, it will be chaotic enough mob actions will be hard to build. They will come, but not until the agitators have a chance to get their own act together. Some are already planning and you’ll see some very entertaining stuff. Effectiveness will vary wildly. We cannot forget a significant factor is counter-planning by government and the wide variation in their competence, plus the sheer certainty of various levels of infiltration in almost every existing non-government group.
So while certain institutional actions will come suddenly, and in quick succession, the broader human response will be ponderous. Your biggest threat immediately is from local enforcement suffering confused and chaotic management. On the heels of that is the threat from freebooters. My perception is opportunist property crime is your biggest short-term concern once things start to break, with a sudden upsurge in violence in the commission of those crimes. Whatever is the base rate of crime in your area will jump exponentially. Oddly, those who commit those crimes will be the easiest targets for other criminals. Crooks are seldom unionized, and moving targets are easier to spot.
Instead of running around like a fool, exposed to a volatile threat environment, I recommend you stay home and pray. Meanwhile, you should have already begun getting closer to your immediate neighbors where you live.
Your worst enemy is panic. Today is the day you need to decide some things. Sure, invest a bit in protecting your resources, but the most important resource is your own internal sense of peace and calm in the midst of a storm of uncertainty. You need to look for certainty inside. A sense of mission will help you prioritize, and keep you sane when things go crazy. A commitment to mission is roughly equivalent to a sense of moral purpose. A morality informed by God’s Laws is more accurate, and better accounts for all the ways God does things in this world. A better moral stand mitigates chaos and disaster. It most certainly requires you have confidence the things you can’t control don’t matter.
Panic comes from embracing our cultural mythology. Understand it; don’t surrender to it.
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