Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption at Seattle Town Hall

I was finally able to get this video uploaded from Pirate TV onto vimeo (couldn’t get it to work on youtube). Anyway, I know it’s been a while, but I was really impressed with Paul’s talk (and him as a person) – not to mention I was privileged to introduce him for it! (not in the video).

Anyway, check it out:

Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption at Town Hall Seattle on Vimeo.

3 thoughts on “Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption at Seattle Town Hall”

  1. Thanks for posting this, in some ways, refreshing—in its relative lack of denial—talk with its Q&A. For ‘civil’ society to survive our journey into klimakatastrophe, the post-peak oil slide down into (relative) energy poverty, and a post oil-based credit economy, grief is a first step. Wanting to grow into adulthood is another. For that desire to take root, a death-of-God experience is a prerequisite.

    Capitalism has been as seductive as it has been because it promises that with success in its meme, you do not have to grow up. Just as Paul observes regarding denial being easier to do than what was needed to be done, it is easier to have a child-like affect than engage in the hard work and sacrifice of maturation.

    My purpose for commenting is to add to the post-growth work you are engaged in. Briefly:

    If there is to be a civil society that survives the—and an understatement—”messy” period ahead, its currency will be coined carbon credits. Such a currency will align greed with need. Being greedy—an iteration of fear—is hardwired, along with our ‘better’ traits, into us. For a post-growth economy to be other than a delusion, given that we are fully indoctrinated by the delusions of infinite-growth capitalism, our greed/fear must be civilized; matured. And for that you need religious institutions in the society that will hold maturation as a prerequisite for feeling moral. Whoops, we don’t have that either—at least in the Annex I countries. By this I mean that post-growth economics includes a religious transformation of society as well, starting with figuring out that our unconscious religion in Annex I countries is, and has been, the economy. And that we have been stupidly infantile in its practice.

    1. Greg,

      I think you’re very right in the fact that we do have to “grow up” as a society in order to, or in the process of dealing with these coming changes. I really resonated with Paul’s discussion about grieving. The realization that growth can’t go on, the loss of the “growth dream,” is a hard pill to swallow – one that we don’t want to because it strikes at the core ideas around invincibility and immortality. It is a harsh awakening to mortality, something that changes a person from an child-like perspective of the world to an adult one.

      We definitely need this as a society – and I have a feeling it will come. But along those lines, it is something that needs to be renewed each generation.

      For me, it was a bad motorcycle accident that gave me a deep sense of mortality. While recovering there was a lot of grief, knowledge that I could never be the same person I once was, I could never approach anything in my life with the same perspective ever again.

      That is, in part, what the Great Disruption will bring. But, as Paul points out in his talk (and in his book) it is powerfully transformative and powerfully dangerous. Too easily can it suck us into depths of depression and futility – it is normal, healthy to grieve, but we must then move on and create a life on the other side of that transition. There’s no where to go but up (well, figuratively speaking, of course!).


  2. Since what I felt was the substance of my comment—a carbon credit currency, and the economy as a defacto religion—was not interacted with in the reply, I am not sure where to go with this as a thread. If I stick with what you responded to, I disagree that we have to grow up. Whether it would be good for this to happen is rather beside the point. The right to be irresponsible is afforded our citizenry by our form of government and rule of law. We can much more easily have a temper-tantrum—as would be developmentally appropriate. And the one thing we have invested in—and are prepared for—is the means to have a heck of one. Also, to mature, it is helpful to know what such looks like. I feel examples are kind of like hens teeth these days. (And I am influenced in my perception by Robert Bly’s book, _The Sibling Society_.)

    After watching this talk of Paul’s I did a search on the book title and turned up a Climate Progress interview with Paul regarding his book. The comments associated with it are worth a read: One of those comments said that Paul predicts the loss of about two billion people—and I am assuming that is if we muddle through the “messy” period and runaway climate change is not tipped/has not already been tipped. I figure the species will be lucky to have 2 billion survive the “disruption”. Either way, I think the title is a euphemism. For me it panders to an optimism and sense of what is positive that are symptoms of the problem—i.e. the thinking that creates a problem cannot be used to solve it.

    I observe that we lack the neural circuitry—thanks to the economy being our defacto religion—to mature. And I define what is religious as that which tends to trigger motivated reasoning. To protect our meme’s motivated reasoning, history demonstrates that we do stupid infantile things—because such feels right (reference to the Tweet I sent you yesterday).

    Anyway, your accident and brush with death would make you a bit of an odd duck in our culture. And odd ducks can see things others can’t . . . until things change and they can! =)

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