Chris Hedges: The Final Collapse

The more insurmountable the crisis becomes, the more we, like our prehistoric ancestors, will retreat into self-defeating responses, violence, magical thinking and denial.

“Doomsday Selfie” by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges
in Cahokia Mounds, Illinois

I am standing atop a 100-foot-high temple mound, the largest known earthwork in the Americas built by prehistoric peoples. The temperatures, in the high 80s, along with the oppressive humidity, have emptied the park of all but a handful of visitors. My shirt is matted with sweat.

I look out from the structure — known as Monks Mound — at the flatlands below, with smaller mounds dotting the distance. These earthen mounds, built at a confluence of the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri rivers, are all that remain of one of the largest pre-Columbian settlements north of Mexico, occupied from around 800 to 1,400 AD by perhaps as many as 20,000 people.

This great city, perhaps the greatest in North America at the time, rose, flourished, fell into decline and was ultimately abandoned. Civilizations die in familiar patterns. They exhaust natural resources. They spawn parasitic elites who plunder and loot the institutions and systems that make a complex society possible. They engage in futile and self-defeating wars. And then the rot sets in.

The great urban centers die first, falling into irreversible decay. Central authority unravels. Artistic expression and intellectual inquiry are replaced by a new dark age, the triumph of tawdry spectacle and the celebration of crowd-pleasing imbecility.

“Collapse occurs, and can only occur, in a power vacuum,” anthropologist Joseph Tainter writes in The Collapse of Complex Societies. “Collapse is possible only where there is no competitor strong enough to fill the political vacuum of disintegration.”

Several centuries ago, the rulers of this vast city complex, which covered some 4,000 acres, including a 40-acre central plaza, stood where I stood. They no doubt saw below in the teeming settlements an unassailable power, with at least 120 temple mounds used as residences, sacred ceremonial sites, tombs, meeting centers and ball courts.

Cahokia warriors dominated a vast territory from which they exacted tribute to enrich the ruling class of this highly stratified society. Reading the heavens, these mound builders constructed several circular astronomical observatories — wooden versions of Stonehenge. 

Monk’s Mound at the Cahokia site near Collinsville, Illinois. (Skubasteve834, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The city’s hereditary rulers were venerated in life and death. A half mile from Monks Mound is the seven-foot-high Mound 72, in which archeologists found the remains of a man on a platform covered with 20,000 conch-shell disc beads from the Gulf of Mexico.

The beads were arranged in the shape of a falcon, with the  falcon’s head beneath and beside the man’s head. Its wings and tail were placed  underneath the man’s arms and legs. Below this layer of shells was the body of another man, buried face downward. Around these two men were six more human remains, possibly retainers, who may have been put to death to accompany the entombed man in the afterlife.

Nearby were buried the remains of 53 girls and women ranging in age from 15 to 30, laid out in rows in two layers separated by matting. They appeared to have been strangled to death.

The poet Paul Valéry noted, “a civilization has the same fragility as a life.”

Across the Mississippi River from Monks Mound, the city skyline of St. Louis is visible. It is hard not to see our own collapse in that of Cahokia. In 1950, St. Louis was the eighth-largest city in the United States, with a population of 856,796. Today, that number has fallen to below 300,000, a drop of some 65 percent. Major employers — Anheuser-Busch, McDonnell-Douglas, TWA, Southwestern Bell and Ralston Purina — have dramatically reduced their presence or left altogether. St. Louis is consistently ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the country. One in five people live in poverty.

St. Louis skyline from Monks Mound, 2017. (Persephone on Bart Everson’s Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has the highest rate of police killings per capita, of the 100 largest police departments in the nation, according to a 2021 report. Prisoners in the city’s squalid jails, where  47 people died in custody between 2009 and 2019, complain of water being shut off from their cells for hours and guards routinely pepper spraying inmates, including those on suicide watch.

The city’s crumbling infrastructure, hundreds of gutted and abandoned buildings, empty factories, vacant warehouses and impoverished neighborhoods replicate the ruins of other post-industrial American cities, the classic signposts of a civilization in terminal decline.

“Just as in the past, countries that are environmentally stressed, overpopulated, or both, become at risk of getting politically stressed, and of their governments collapsing,” Jared Diamond argues in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. 

“When people are desperate, undernourished and without hope, they blame their governments, which they see as responsible for or unable to solve their problems. They try to emigrate at any cost. They fight each other over land. They kill each other. They start civil wars. They figure that they have nothing to lose, so they become terrorists, or they support or tolerate terrorism.”

Pre-industrial civilizations were dependent on the limits of solar energy and constrained by roads and waterways, impediments that were obliterated when fossil fuel became an energy source. As industrial empires became global, their increase in size meant an increase in complexity. Ironically, this complexity makes us more vulnerable to catastrophic collapse, not less.

Soaring temperatures (Iraq is enduring 120 degree heat that has fried the country’s electrical grid), the depletion of natural resources, flooding, droughts, (the worst drought in 500 years is devastating Western, Central and Southern Europe and is expected to see a decline in crop yields of 8 or 9 percent), power outages, wars, pandemics, a rise in zoonotic diseases and breakdowns in supply chains combine to shake the foundations of industrial society.

The Arctic has been heating up four times faster than the global average, resulting in an accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet and freakish weather patterns. The Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia are warming up to seven times faster. Climate scientists did not expect this extreme weather until 2050.

“Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up,” the anthropologist Ronald Wright warns, calling industrial society “a suicide machine.”

In A Short History of Progresshe writes

“Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn’t easily moved. This human inability to foresee — or to watch out for — long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer.”

Wright also reflects upon what will be left behind:

“The archaeologists who dig us up will need to wear hazmat suits. Humankind will leave a telltale layer in the fossil record composed of everything we produce, from mounds of chicken bones, wet-wipes, tires, mattresses and other household waste to metals, concrete, plastics, industrial chemicals, and the nuclear residue of power plants and weaponry. We are cheating our children, handing them tawdry luxuries and addictive gadgets while we take away what’s left of the wealth, wonder and possibility of the pristine Earth.

Calculations of humanity’s footprint suggest we have been in ‘ecological deficit,’ taking more than Earth’s biological systems can withstand, for at least 30 years. Topsoil is being lost far faster than nature can replenish it; 30 percent of arable land has been exhausted since the mid-20th century.

We have financed this monstrous debt by colonizing both past and future, drawing energy, chemical fertilizer and pesticides from the planet’s fossil carbon, and throwing the consequences onto coming generations of our species and all others. Some of those species have already been bankrupted: they are extinct. Others will follow.”

As Cahokia declined, violence dramatically increased. Surrounding towns were burned to the ground. Groups, numbering in the hundreds, were slaughtered and buried in mass graves. At the end, “the enemy killed all people indiscriminately. The intent was not merely prestige, but an early form of ethnic cleansing” writes anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat, in Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians. 

He notes that, in one 15th-century cemetery in central Illinois, one-third of all adults had been killed by blows to the head, arrow wounds or scalping. Many showed evidence of fractures on their arms from vain attempts to fight off their attackers. 

Looking over the Cahokia Mounds site in Illinois from the top of Monks Mound. (Skubasteve834, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Such descent into internecine violence is compounded by a weakened and discredited central authority. In the later stages of Cahokia, the ruling class surrounded themselves with fortified wooden stockades, including a two-mile long wall that enclosed Monks Mound. Similar fortifications dotted the vast territory the Cahokia controlled, segregating gated communities where the wealthy and powerful, protected by armed guards, sought safety from the increasing lawlessness and hoarded dwindling food supplies and resources.

Overcrowding inside these stockades saw the spread of tuberculosis and blastomycosis, caused by a soil-borne fungus, along with iron deficiency anemia. Infant mortality rates rose, and life spans declined, a result of social disintegration, poor diet and disease.

By the 1400s Cahokia had been abandoned. In 1541, when Hernando de Soto’s invading army descended on what is today Missouri,  looking for gold, nothing but the great mounds remained, relics of a forgotten past.

This time the collapse will be global. It will not be possible, as in ancient societies, to migrate to new ecosystems rich in natural resources. The steady rise in heat will devastate crop yields and make much of the planet uninhabitable. Climate scientists warn that once temperatures rise by 4C, the earth, at best, will be able to sustain a billion people.

The more insurmountable the crisis becomes, the more we, like our prehistoric ancestors, will retreat into self-defeating responses, violence, magical thinking and denial

The historian Arnold Toynbee, who singled out unchecked militarism as the fatal blow to past empires, argued that civilizations are not murdered, but commit suicide. They fail to adapt to a crisis, ensuring their own obliteration.

Our civilization’s collapse will be unique in size, magnified by the destructive force of our fossil fuel-driven industrial society. But it will replicate the familiar patterns of collapse that toppled civilizations of the past. The difference will be in scale, and  this time there will be no exit.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

This column is from Scheerpost, for which Chris Hedges writes a regular columnClick here to sign up for email alerts.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

24 comments for “Chris Hedges: The Final Collapse

  1. Elly
    August 17, 2022 at 00:20

    Bad conditions don’t just happen. They are made. And there is one particular group, over the ages, that is the cause of it. The majority of people are good. You know who means you well and also those who doesn’t. Can’t you see that there are very divisive, arbitrary, made -up ideologies being pushed off on the public? Who do you think is actually responsible for this? The divisiveness used to be targeted at Jews in WWII as the Aryan race was supposedly superior. Now they’ve just flipped it. Remember, 2/3rds of Hitler’s henchmen were “doctors.” Where is this racism originating from?
    Who is supposed to be making our society better with their chicanery for decades now? Do you see it getting better? What groups have been put in place to help society and individuals which is yet but a huge betrayal? I mean, if someone is in trouble, who are they supposed to go to? Get it? I’m not talking about politicians – they are mere puppets as are all the insane ranting voices we are hearing. They are victims of this group I am talking about.
    What group does the government subsidize to the tune of millions every year? All in the name of “help.” Every time something bad happens, the government answer is to subsidize them more. What group is in every institution, governmental offices, health ministry including the CDC and WHO, in the military (soaring suicide rate), in our schools (SAT scores started failing in the 60s upon these guys’ installation as well as, yes, when the mass shootings started). Who is drugging the US population and our kids? What group started “let’s be kind to criminals” by protecting them in the courts, saying they are not responsible for what they do; so they get back on the street asap. Sound like what we see today?
    Brock Chisholm, psychiatrist, co-founder of the World Federation for Mental Health and first director of WHO, quote:
    “To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men, their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism and religious dogmas.” — Critical Race Theory anyone?
    Here’s another one:
    3. “Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future”
    Dr. Chester M. Pierce, Psychiatrist, address to the Childhood International Education Seminar, 1973
    Anyway, that’s where these concepts destroying our society originated and you can find it all yourself just as I did.

  2. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    August 16, 2022 at 21:35

    Washington est constitutionnellement et institutionnellement un gang criminel mafieux meurrtrier.

  3. R. Billie
    August 16, 2022 at 14:48

    Hey maybe we could pay people not to have religion?

  4. Constant Walker
    August 16, 2022 at 12:29

    “Civilization” presents, here in Earth’s Living Arrangement, as a wasting disease. Its “industrialized” iteration is easily its most virulent expression. So here-and-now we’re seeing the inevitable consequences of all the “modern”institutional and electro-mechanical enhancements and accelerators applied to the wasting disease process now gone insanely and irreversibly “global.”

    Mass “civil disobedience” will not arrest the “progress” of the disease….which in-any-case is already deep into its own terminal throes. There isn’t going to be any “divine” or “extraterrestrial” intervention, either, to halt the devastation short of whatever its natural outcome will be, this time around.

    Us surviving Free Wild Natural Peoples, of all Kinds, have been through many outbreaks of the “civilization” disease here, going back many thousands of our generations. Knowing the disease process for what it actually is, not being taken-in by its p.r. and propaganda, we know also the utter futility of trying to respond to its depredations using its own conceits and methodologies.

    Further, knowing that Humanity as-such is a component of Earth’s natural immune system, we are not lost in the contrived confusion presently afflicting our “civilized” Sisters and Brothers. We just keep on fulfilling our given Organic Function as best we can in the circumstances.

    Our domesticated Human relations, on-the-other-hand, having been cut-off from and turned against Earth and Her Living Arrangement by the operation of the disease’s immune-suppression regime, with its organically crippling “self” sickness, are active “agents” of the disease process as it rages and races toward its immanent DEAD END. Meanwhile they search desperately, among the false “remedies” made available to them within the construct, for something to “save” their “self” and their “civilization.”

    So what’s a poor befuddled member of the muddled masses to do? Maybe all that’s left to them, at this late stage of things, is the cynical option of bending over and kissing their asses goodbye. Odds are many will do just that, maybe trying vainly to force others to accompany them in the misery of their ignominious demise. Besides, there is no “guarantee” whatsoever that any of us will be around to tell the tale of all this to our Great Grandchildren.

    So here’s what all our lived experience counsels us to pass-on to those kept captive within the general population of the “global” gulag. First, get over the organically crippling sickness that is their own too-precious “self.” That will free whoever does it from the paralyzing fear that keeps them from loving and taking care of each other. Then, together with their newly-emancipated fella and gal Humans, they can begin fulfilling our given Organic Function within Earth’s Living Arrangement, right where they’re living and breathing every Day.

    What will that look like? The Way to know is to go and see.

    • J Anthony
      August 17, 2022 at 08:30

      I understand exactly what you’re saying here. Which is why I agree with conservation-biologist Guy McPherson’s concept of a “Planetary Hospice”….for if there is zero-chance of righting this ship-of-state we call “civilization”, all that’s left to do is live, love, and manage the inevitable the very best we can. I think most people would rather go out like that, rather than in a frenzy of dog-eat-dog dystopian struggle (which is already happening anyways). That said, I wonder if our billions of fellow humans would even consider subscribing to an assessment such as McPherson’s. The elixirs of “hope” and “prayer” still hold a powerful sway on the majority of our species, and most will refuse to accept that it is too late to save our “way of life”, regardless of facts/reality.

  5. Newton Finn
    August 16, 2022 at 10:11

    Ever again, Rev. Hedges delivers a powerful sermon on the topic of crucifixion without resurrection. One begins to wonder about the point of it all, the purpose of such passionate prophets of inevitable doom. If we’re already cooked, why talk about it? Is it only to make us feel worse, or to be able to utter the final words before all human voices cease: “I told you so?”

    If instead it is to change hearts and minds, half the gospel ain’t gonna cut it. Where, I wonder, is the WILL to believe in the unexpected, the impossible, the transcendent, the miraculous?

    Is not this the beating heart of the faith tradition Rev. Hedges claims as his own–this crazy hope, or better yet, this blind yet bedrock trust in something far greater than ourselves, something that can save us, no matter how far we’ve fallen, if we turn to it?

  6. J Anthony
    August 16, 2022 at 08:46

    Ah nothing like a Chris Hedges article to get you going in the morning! So full of hope and optimism!
    Seriously though, Hedges is a realist, and I’ve appreciated his consistent and unwavering message over the last 20 years as he chronicles the details of our trajectory. Yes some see him as a tired doom-and-gloom pessimist with no productive ideas. Not so. He has always insisted, rightfully, that the only actual hope there is, is mass civil disobedience and protest on a national scale….the working classes (professional,trade,laymen, doesn’t matter) must come together to create a new system that works more for them rather than against them. This would be most productive, however difficult. Sounds impossible, but is it? Whatever the case, how else does anyone expect the changes needed to actually happen?
    It’s the great paradox of our time: how do we overthrow the system while at the same time having to function within it? Again, sounds impossible, but what are the options?

    • Skip Edwards
      August 16, 2022 at 15:16

      Find the book, “Limits to Growth”, and read it. Written in the 1970’s, it gives us this exact picture in a book length format which is well worth the time to find it and read it. But, as the old song warns, “When will we ever learn. When will we ever learn.”

  7. mgr
    August 16, 2022 at 04:58

    A society of just, transparent and unbiased laws is the best formula for keeping people hopeful and society safe and prosperous. On the other hand, people who have nothing to lose are likely to do anything. And they do.

    Societies strive for stability. They must. The task of society is to raise and educate children. This is the life of a society and its future. Stable societies are the natural bulwark against any kind of terrorism. A stable society does not tolerate terrorism. In contrast, unstable societies filled with desperate, ill-governed people are like an open wound and an invitation to disruptive elements and terrorism.

    America’s war on terror has created more terrorism than the world has ever seen. This is because neocons are ideologically stupid. Their thinking is stupid. Their goals are stupid. Their actions are self-serving. They move like a cancer in the human body and ultimately destroy their host. It doesn’t matter whether they are Republican neocons or Democratic neolibs. They are identical in their stupidity and capacity for destruction. Look around at what they have wrought. No society can long endure where “neos” are running loose.

    Wealth concentration, environmental destruction and war. These are the pillars of the neocon and wealthy elite alliance. Greed, for money or power, is their game and everything they do is funneled into this. Until there is nothing left…

  8. Realist
    August 16, 2022 at 02:12

    I remind all of the lesson of the bacterial growth curve which I recounted at most a couple of weeks ago. It described the rise and fall of all living things that can initially adapt to optimally exploit a new environment. When once perfected, said adaptation allows logarithmic growth to set in ensuring the complete depletion of all resources and the lethal buildup of toxic end products which ushers in a temporary respite called the stationary phase which represents another adaptive response invoking so-called secondary metabolism, a collection of metabolic pathways wherein life and death are balanced and the population temporarily remains at a steady state. But eventually even these emergency systems fail due to resource depletion and toxic end product accumulation which finally and necessarily brings about the death phase, which is another logarithmic race to the end, this time to see which cell might be the last survivor of its bacterial culture, or human member of its society. Google the term. The kinetics of a time course of bacterial growth, or of any organism with access to limited resources and the adaptive abilities to use them up without restraint, always show the same pattern. The only way to avoid the dilemma is to grow the microbes in a so-called chemostat, which slow feeds nutrients to the cells, rather than making them all available without restraint. The bugs grow slowly, and at the brink of starvation. This keeps their steady state population way down, but the show (life) will go on indefinitely as long as some food is delivered and toxic wastes are removed by constant dilution with the slowly introduced growth medium. Is there a lesson there for human kind? Gunther Stent used to think so. You might Google him too, as there are probably few molecular biologists and microbial geneticists of a certain age still alive who remember him, though he was rather famous in his day. He was a UC Berkeley professor who studied bacteriophage (viruses that eat bacteria) to elucidate the mechanisms of gene expression in all living things on planet Earth. He most notably authored “The Coming of the Golden Age: A View of the End of Progress” (1969). We’ve seen this coming for a long time. It’s not like we weren’t given warnings.

    • eg
      August 17, 2022 at 10:09

      This is basically Malthus’ premise, Realist, though he wasn’t thinking about it at the cellular level as articulated here.

      • Realist
        August 17, 2022 at 16:43

        By all means. Everything in what we perceive as reality seems to be underwritten by a system of mathematics that can describe, if not explain, all of the phenomena occurring within it. The foremost physicists of our day are naturally fixated on discovering what Michio Kaku calls or Stephan Hawking called that one equation variously termed the Grand Unified Theory, the Theory of Everything, the God Equation and sundry other names. In the last analysis, it may not really make any difference to us whether we are actually “real” or “merely” a simulation, as Elon Musk insists we are, as the mathematical essence of our existence need not necessarily differ at all. What does it really mean to say that the entire universe is “just” one huge, perhaps infinite and eternal “fractal” that seems to be described quite consistently by the Fibonacci sequence? Real or imagined, deterministic or stochastic, quantum particle or waveform, whether the math is precise or fuzzy, we will still be unwittingly thrust into this existence from seemingly out of nowhere, with no set of instructions or formal rules to be followed (other than what we or our fellow passengers can cook up ourselves). Our mothers receive no warrantees or address to send back or exchange defective products no matter how poorly constructed. Yet there will be consequences and suffering attached to anything we ever do in this place. It’s a puzzle meant to last a lifetime. Alan Watts used to say that this is all an invention by one omniscient and omnipotent being to cure the boredom of eternity and infinity. The Buddha said much the same with his “universal truths” which to me seem to have much in common with the laws of thermodynamics. Stuff happens which we cannot avoid because we are not simply observers but an intrinsic part of all that stuff. Moreover, this universe is crafted such that entropy (disorder) increases over time, i.e., the chaos and suffering (such as we may perceive) actually defines the arrow of time. Besides, Lagertha, my favorite Viking protagonist and philosopher on the television series of the same name, nailed it when asked what is the purpose of life? She didn’t say to accrue great power or wealth, or even to ascend to Valhalla upon death. She said it was to suffer. We humans certainly make sure that this destiny of ours is fulfilled. We can exacerbate anything.

  9. WillD
    August 16, 2022 at 00:17

    ‘…..and this time there will be no exit.’

    This article confirms that humanity hasn’t evolved, hasn’t learned anything, and is still not ‘civilised’ enough to live in harmony with its host planet. Clearly the host has had enough and is going to evict us. We’ve been a terrible guest.

  10. August 15, 2022 at 21:14

    Degrowth and Robert Malthus are preached today as if it were high morality. The Free Press is dead. The multitude of independent presses in cities and towns across the land is gone. Enough time and TV virtual reality and corporate Kleptocrats can convince the middle class and poor to turn on each other and then cut off their own heads to “save the planet.”
    –Note how Nuclear Power is also evil by the ministers of misinformation. Media preached Renewables are magical thinking, the grid storage requirements are gargantuan to impossible, but ignored altogether or made trivial. When Renewables inevitably deliver a small fraction of their lies the elderly, infirm, and poor will fry to death in the heat, freeze to death in the cold. With electricity driven to stratospheric prices, a luxury good, there will be no middle class residential power equipment. The poor and middle class will be “saved” by an era of scarcity, a final solution.

    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    Today Scrooge is made prescient, even a fine but misunderstood in his time fellow, by media morality.

    Nuclear Power Version 1 LWRs/PWRs, Ver 2 MSRs, Ver 3 LENR But the Ultra-Rich radical Malthusians won’t allow the lower classes abundant power because how then will they seize their rightful place as Autocrats? How will they legalize slavery if they can’t plunge the masses back to muscle power?

  11. Ed Wilson
    August 15, 2022 at 20:09

    Thanks Chris for your thoughtful article. The Industrial Age was indeed a suicidal moment in Human history. Then we added to this master folly by taking a “sugar hit” on Fossil Fuel and released upon the entire Planet massive amounts of poison.Also in this short period of time we became addicted to a unsustainable economic system dependant on this absurdity.
    We now face the consequences of our actions as this economic system collapses and we meet the environmental consequences of our short sightedness
    How could so called rational beings release ancient & dangerous forces that were safely stored within the earth upon the entire Planet ? Then build a civilisation upon it………and then expect this to last any length of time ?
    We are now seeing the greatest extinction moment since the dinosaurs. Congratulations. JOIN THE QUE.

  12. August 15, 2022 at 18:05

    I grew up in St. Louis and remember going to the Mounds. A blast from the past but now draped in disaster. At the time, they were the biggest hills I’d seen. One mild disagreement. Having just read Christopher Ryan’s Civilized to Death, our earliest ancestors, the hunter-gatherers-were not brutal; rather they lived in small communities, no power grabbing, women as equal as men. Only agriculture later brought about the change that we’re seeing today with the ultimate consequences.

    • Litchfield
      August 16, 2022 at 09:08

      “women as equal as men”

      I think this is wishful thinking. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

      It doesn’t help to idealize the past.

      Such as the common existence of slavery in prehistoric societies.

      There is no perfect society, and never was.

      This has zero bearing on the assessment of the disaster to Earth that is industrial society.

      It is terrifying to me that our “leaders” plan to use a huge portion of the earth’s remaining mineral assets to build bigger military machines.

      One way or another the Earth will take care of itself. The hugest hubris is the idea of “controlling climate change,”an effort doomed to fail and probably to exacerbate the situation.

      • Skip Edwards
        August 16, 2022 at 15:29

        Too many mice in a cage with all the food and water they need to survive will eventually kill each other for the required space they need to remain sane. I have watched that occur. It turns very vicious!

  13. c
    August 15, 2022 at 16:47

    David Pimentel’s research team concluded that up to 2 billion people could enjoy a sustainable, first world living standard. It’s too late now, but population reduction policies might improve survival odds for humans and animals. For example, why not pay people not to have children?

    • August 15, 2022 at 19:00

      Population is struggling toward gentle decline. That is partially why capitalists stoke christian mobs to hate and tell other people how to live.

    • Stephen Sivonda
      August 16, 2022 at 01:48

      To your last sentence… in the US our SCOTUS has relegated abortions to be basically outlawed. What to me is a personal choice is not anymore… a huge setback I believe. It really is a womans perogative , for reasons known to her only to make that choice. In the background..the so called Religous Right have pushed their beliefs on others. I have to wonder how receptive the Religious Right would be to paying people “Not to have children”?

  14. Mark Stanley
    August 15, 2022 at 14:26

    Yes, the analogy is unsettling—when decadence, cruelty and corruption precede the collapse of a society.
    The ruling class of Cahokia were also obsessed with the games (Chunkey) and gambling, and the maintenance of their own power. Methinks we can see that today, as they act with increased vehemence because their ship is steadily sinking, the tepid water already covering their patent-leather shoes.
    I have been studying the American mound-builder societies for a fiction story. Over 100,000 mounds, mostly east of the Mississippi graced the landscape 1000 years ago. So few are left, as is our knowledge of those societies. Apparently, on the other side of the river from where Chris is standing on (951 ft.) Monks Mound, hundreds of more mounds used to be, but they were used as fill in the building of St. Louis.
    Climactic changes may also have played a part in the dissolution of the mound cities (plural), as they all de-populated in the same era all across the continent.

    • Litchfield
      August 16, 2022 at 09:10

      What was their food supply?

      Who raised the crops?

      Where was this done?

      How was the food stored?

      We need nitty-gritty info on these societies to wrest any useful lessons from them.

    • DMCP
      August 16, 2022 at 09:53

      Yes, climate change often triggers collapse, and I came across an article that specifically references Cahokia, in reports:

      “Severe Little Ice Age drought in the midcontinental United States during the Mississippian abandonment of Cahokia”

      Here’s the link: hxxps://

Comments are closed.