How do we prepare for a future that is very uncertain? What do we know of the future? What do we KNOW of the present, even? Everything I write and say might be wrong. There may be no old paradigm and no new paradigm. Everything that everyone else writes elsewhere about the impending collapse of our financial systems, our political systems, our civilisation, climate change, peak oil, over-population, may be misguided also. Humanity has a long and rich history of predictions of a doomed and disastrous future which failed to materialise. In all probability, some of us somewhere will be correct in some of our conclusions and pontifications, but realistically the only thing we really know about the future is that we cannot accurately predict what will happen.
Now, planning for the future requires that we have a clear vision of what the future will bring, or at least that we can see a limited set of alternative outcomes that are reasonably likely. When we don't know where we are heading, we cannot plan our journey. All we can do is prepare for whatever eventualities we can envisage, and then hope for the best.
I argue that the current state of play in human "civilisation" on planet Earth has become so volatile and so fragile and so uncertain, that the only safe conclusion we can reach, rationally, is that there are going to be big changes, and soon. We cannot, rationally, conclude with any statistical certainty, what exactly these changes are going to be. Among those of us who think about such things, some predict apocalyptic outcomes. Others believe we can find technological solutions to all of our problems. Others, using history as a guide, take a middle ground and see a slow and bumpy decline in our civilisations down to a new dark age, from which will arise in due course a new civilisation. Meanwhile, most of the population prefer not to think about such things, and confidently expect "business as usual" to resume any day now, in line with what the mass media keeps telling them. None of these predicted outcomes can be proved. I believe that any simple rational and scientific analysis will tell us that a resumption of "business as usual" is simply impossible - in other words that change is inevitable. But, beyond that, rational analysis only provides fodder for intellectual discussion and argument - it does not produce any certainty, or near certainty, or even substantial likelihood, of any one outcome over another.
We cannot plan meaningfully for such an uncertain future. All we have to go on are vague ideas of what a solution might be like. Success or failure can be known only in retrospect. Meanwhile, we can only prepare ourselves in such a way as to maximise our resilience to catastrophic change. Improvisation is the order of the day, and we should focus on the basics of survival - sustainable water, food and shelter. If those who predict apocalypse are right and the end is indeed nigh, then it really won't matter much what we do in the interim. On the other hand, if the dreams of the technologists are even valid, then where is the resource and political will going to come from to build these imaginary technologies in time to save us from ourselves? I don't see the magic wand. It is already far too late - we have passed the tipping point. We have sleepwalked our way through the last few decades and missed the train of "sustainable techno future". In the more distant future we may evolve an advanced lifestyle based on sustainable technologies, but our children and grandchildren will have lived their lives and died long before we get there - meanwhile we will have to somehow cope with the collapse of our existing way of life. So the technologist dream becomes just one of the possible outcomes of the middle way, whereby we are heading into a century or more of decline and disintegration of our "civilisation", out of the ashes of which a new civilisation, largely unimaginable to us, will eventually blossom.
No amount of planning and rationality can tell us the detail of how things will go. My own proclamations about the future and our way ahead, are based on the irrational - on visions and realisations attained through meditation. I put much more faith in feelings and intuition, than in judgement and rationality. I believe that we are transitioning, as a race, from rational thinkers who have deluded ourselves that we are in control of nature (old paradigm), to intuitive beings who know that we are at one with nature (new paradigm). I cannot back up what I say scientifically, not least because I have no interest in doing so. I may be completely wrong, but it feels very right! I see golden light where others see black smoke. You may read my writings and judge for yourself - hopefully I will touch a chord in some of you, or light a spark. Others will simply shake their heads and will move on to graze in more rational pastures and I wish them good luck - we all have different paths to tread.