Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!

To the organizers of Paganicon - this totally rocked! I very much enjoyed this weekend, and John Michael Greer was a fabulous guest speaker. Never has my brain been so fed by so many after such a long, dry summer. I don't think I have ever enjoyed the people at a convention this much.

Honestly, as a 28-year-old late X-gen, almost early Y-gen gal, having someone speak from the center, not the far left or the far right, was mind-blowing in itself. That Greer did it intelligently without making me feel like an idiot was like sipping ambrosia from Cinderella's slipper. There was no happy "if we all hold hands and pray, the world will be wishes and fairydust, don't worry about the future," and no catastrophic "oh my God, oh my God, buy everything you can, screw everything you can, eat everything you can, we're all going to die, consume, consume, CONSUME!" When Greer talked about the energy crisis, he talked about it the way I wish people would talk about it: it's coming, there's things we can do, life won't cease to be fun, there will be life after TiVo.

I seriously had some kind of braingasm. My thought, since the first time I visited Guatemala (a thought which only deepened after living there a year), has always been that people don't change until they're forced to. Not only do I believe, I expect that we will not do anything about the energy crisis until we are clawing each other over the last drop of oil pumped from the last well they drill. It's just the way of people not to change something until it's broken. And not just a little broken. Well and truly smashed to pieces, which is exactly where our CONSUME, CONSUME, CONSUME culture is going.

Now, ask me if I am afraid?

Not the tiniest, slightest, most miniscule bit.

The Mayan civilization fell. The Roman Empire fell. When they say that in history books, it makes it sound like the people spontaneously combusted or something. Like they dried up and blew away or were all killed in some terrible sickness. Go to Italy. Go to Guatemala. I assure you, there are still people there. The people didn't die out because they weren't top dog anymore. They just found a way of living that served them better, that was more suited to their time and circumstances. And I encourage you to spend time, and lots of it, in the poorer regions of Guatemala. Tell me you've seen one SUV-driving, 6 TVs in every room, house the size of a small palace American that happy. I say it, but so many people just kind of stare at me like I'm nuts because they haven't seen it. We consume more than anybody, more than any other people on this planet, and by and large we are some of the most depressed, disillusioned, dissatisfied, and downright unhappy people you will ever run into. Anywhere.

So if suddenly getting off the oil teat is going to do for us what losing the Empire did for the Italians, I say I can't wait.

To Greer, thank you so much for the inspiring information you shared simply by speaking plainly without spin. I seriously wanted to get up on my chair and shout, "Oh Captain, My Captain!"


  1. Truly delivered with the fervor received with!

  2. Melanie - thank you so much for the compliment!

    We were hoping Paganicon would do just that: delight people into amazing new conversations and thoughts and ideas, and we agree that John Michael Greer was awesome.

    (We'll be getting his keynote address up online in the very near future, so people can read and think it over more too!)