The hope I retain squares up nicely with Morris Berman’s take on things in his books, “Dark Ages America” and “The Twilight of American Culture” (both books aging beautifully in the context of current events). For some people imagining the worst–the chronically underestimated worst–hope resides in a fantasy called “new monasticism,” which, boiled down, is the hope that enough people are able to preserve enough knowledge against the coming collapse that whatever people remain post-collapse will have a limping start toward restoring little things like, oh, you know, communication, medicine, sanitation, food cultivation, civic order, etc.
While I called it a fantasy a moment ago, it’s not so far-fetched. After all, the entire notion of a “post-fact” culture has arisen since Berman urged us to comprehensively preserve knowledge. Call me Casandra, but when fully-armed, post-fact cultures unleash nuclearized, post-fact militaries across broad swathes of the world during a global economic collapse precipitated by the sixth extinction event, I think it will be good if some folks devote themselves to hiding and preserving books; lots and lots of books (especially if our laptops are only good for cracking nuts). So, it’s not so much that I dispute the need for New Monastics, I just find it difficult to imagine organizing it. Broadly speaking, who will protect the collections in public libraries once the funding is gone, the value is disputed, and, worst of all, post-truthers (or evangelical never-truthers) decide all that brainy stuff is best destroyed?
Indeed, we saw the first broad example of emergency new monasticism when American government scientists felt compelled to dump massive loads of data (esp. climate data) to offshore, non-governmental storage sites before the Trump administration could delete it. So I cheer: “Go New Monastics!”
Sorry, I’m digressing. To your point: you’re right, people cannot function without hope, and certainly cannot face collapse without it. I have been in a few natural disasters, and I’ve seen people come together. I don’t have to hope they’ll do it again; I know they will. I just get twisted up when I’m offered what I can sniff out as false hope, like Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now.”
So, please, Memory Hole, insist on hope, and encourage me or rebuke me or cajole me when I’m too hopeless. It helps if you invoke my dear, departed mother: “Just go outside! NOW! And take the dog!”