According to author and activist Chris Hedges, most people have no concept about how fragile our environment really is. He believes there’s an emotional incapacity to understand collapse even when it’s facing us. Having had the privilege of living outside the US as a foreign correspondent, he know how totalitarian systems work, the dark feelings they evoke, and what is done to quiet opposition.
As soon as somebody questions the direction in which things are going, he or she is accused of being a pessimist. People insist on maintaining cheerful optimism in the face of absolute catastrophe, even though the optimism is no longer rooted in reality. This civilization has replicated the patterns that ancient civilizations had and collapsed from. They also retreated to illusion. The difference is that this time, the entire planet will go down along with the civilization.
The failure to think critically creates a frightening historical amnesia. People no longer know how they got here and problems are interpreted as being personal instead of being political.
In moments of breakdown, society clamors for its own enslavement. Unbridled and unregulated capitalism exploits everything including humans and nature. That’s why the environmental crisis is intimately intertwined with the financial crisis.
Totalitarian societies are hyper-masculine cultures. They ridicule and persecute the vulnerable and the weak. Empathy is seen as weakness.
There are forces cannibalizing the state. A poor person of color walking freely on the street is of no value to the state. But once this person is put behind bars, then he becomes worth 40 to 50 thousand dollars per year to prison contractors and their providers. This fact is not known or understood by the victims themselves.
A totalitarian society seeks to funnel intellectual and emotional energy into shows and spectacles. That’s why the Nazi party made sure every single household had a radio. Once people are entertained, they stop paying attention to the really important issues.