Are collapsitarians socially inadequate?

by | Jul 5, 2010


Poor old collapsitarians. It’s bad enough spending your days convinced that you’re one among a small band of Cassandras burdened with the foresight to see civilisation’s imminent collapse looming ever closer. (Like those cheerful fellow over at the Dark Mountain Project, whose manifesto proclaims such perky sentiments as:

That civilisations fall, sooner or later, is as much a law of history as gravity is a law of physics. What remains after the fall is a wild mixture of cultural debris, confused and angry people whose certainties have betrayed them, and those forces which were always there, deeper than the foundations of the city walls: the desire to survive and the desire for meaning.

It is, it seems, our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming.)

But the burden does not end there.  Turns out that their grim tidings turn out to be less than fertile soil for relationships, too, as the New York Times reports:

Mr Angelantoni said his concern with peak oil had strained his relationship with his spouse, creating an “unbridgeable” distance between them.

Ooh! That’s gotta hurt! And now, just to really add insult to injury, Mickey Foley argues (h/t Futurepundit) that Doomers are Doomers because… they’re socially inadequate!

The Doomer is motivated by much more than a perverse sense of altruism. He mainly desires to see everyone brought down to his level. His fondest wish is for everyone to be as emotionally crippled as he is, and, if they could also be paralyzed fiscally, that would be great too. The argument for the necessity of disaster is merely an excuse for his vindictive fantasies.

This is the Doomer’s Curse: to wallow in despair, to sneer at the happiness of others, to revel in schadenfreude and to believe that he has humanity’s best interests at heart. The Doomer honestly thinks that a universal depression (in the emotional sense) would lay the foundation for a better world, but this belief is rooted in his own selfishness, not in a rational socioeconomic analysis.

Tee hee hee … “light blue touchpaper and retire to a safe distance”, as I believe the phrase goes.  I’m with Foley all the way. Could all you Doomers just shut up about collapse, find some better narratives, and generally just man up a bit?

Author

  • Alex Evans

    Alex Evans is founder of the Collective Psychology Project, which explores how we can use psychology to reduce political tribalism and polarisation, a senior fellow at New York University, and author of The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough? (Penguin, 2017). He is a former Campaign Director of the 50 million member global citizen’s movement Avaaz, special adviser to two UK Cabinet Ministers, climate expert in the UN Secretary-General’s office, and was Research Director for the Business Commission on Sustainable Development. He was part of Ethiopia’s delegation to the Paris climate summit and has consulted for Oxfam, WWF UK, the UK Cabinet Office and US State Department. Alex lives with his wife and two children in Yorkshire.


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