Comments on Rob Hopkins article

This is a reply to Rob Hopkins article: , original with comments at

Some most interesting thoughts from Rob here, much wisdom, but also some not-so-wisdom.
I come from a position of finding some fundamental flaws in the TT concept, which aren't addressed above. My article (below here) makes a start at presenting some of them. To that I'll add the following extra thoughts evoked by the above.

Firstly, I'm inclined to invent a new phrase parallel to "Political Correctness". Perhaps this phrase should be "Transitional Correctness", though I should make clear there's no insult or fascistic imputation intended against Rob who certainly isn't of an intolerant or domineering mindset.

I should make clear that this transitional correctness is not confined to TTers, and not necessarily all TTers will endorse it, as TT is not some exclusive centrally-enforced dogma anyway.

The key taboo of Transitional Correctness is the ruling out of the idea that the transition is going to be so difficult that many, or indeed, most people are not going to survive to see it through. Also the idea that "the community" is not going to pull together but instead is going to tear apart. It's difficult to take seriously an Energy Descent Action Plan if like myself one has negligible confidence in those implied articles of faith.

So reading Rob's latest from my "transitionally-INcorrect" perspective, here goes.

Good to see Rob's very wise points about needing for testing/validation in permaculture with which I fully agree (with relief that I won't need to work at persuading him myself anymore).

As for getting accepted into the mainstream, that's seriously unhinged I'm afraid. Does anyone remember when the mainstream was called Naziism, with the collective genius of the community concurring in a project of showing their superiority over the 'subhuman' Slavs to the east? It is seriously doubtful whether the mainstream is that vastly more sensible nowadays. The mainstream suffers not merely from Transitional Correctness, but for the most part a more serious ailment we could call Transitional Denial. They're still trying to build larger airports and cities, for hell's sake. Getting accepted into the company of doomed dinosaurs is not my idea of worthwhile progress. They only accept you as much as they do because you tell the transitionally-correct nice story of how it can be fantasised to work out without saying anything politically-unacceptable (i.e. in violation of TC).

Only show in town. Not true. There are others who are pursuing the relocation strategy which I myself endorse at my just starting up. Not T-C of course, but that's life.

"If we think that we are going to weather the Long Emergency without any form of supporting each other emotionally, without any kind of ability to share the distress it is causing, if we think that the work of the next 10-20 years will be purely external, we are deluding ourselves."
But many people aren't going to weather it, full stop. They are going to be rushed off their feet with far too much physical work, far too much learning and re-skilling, too many practical problems to be solved all at once, too little preparation. They aren't going to have time or mental space for the luxury of inner work. Only the "hard" people are going to pull through, sadly.

Huge horrible things do happen in history. Stalingrad is just one example. Preparing for the reality is the best we can do. We can't help everyone so there's little point in trying. I myself have given up as lost causes my mother and four brothers, my whole family. That's life.


  1. ...and the point of trying to survive - or trying to do anything at all ever again would be precisely what? (if one really thought we dont stand a cat in hell's chance - to the extent of having mentally given up on one's own family even already). If I personally thought "thats it - we're all doomed - even to the extent of my own family" - then I wouldnt bother to hang around and even try to survive in a society full of "harder" people. Why would one want to even try to live in a society of "hard" people? A lot of the problems we have now stem from "hard" people - doing what they do best - ie being "hard" and not caring for others...

    - ceridwen

  2. Thanks for your thoughts ceridwen, but by "hard" people I most definitely did not mean those who do not care for others. That is a false generalisation there. I just meant those who have the capacities abovementioned such as to not have a breakdown if their friends all die, "to keep your head while all around are losing theirs" (if that's the right quote from the "If" poem). Sure, a future of only nasty peope would not be very appealing, but then surely all the more reason for one's nice self to remain in it.

    I've never said we're all doomed. My own family appears doomed but that's just life. There are millions of other people including myself out there, whom I see no reason to abandon. Living in the most interesting of times is a great privilege and I see no reason to pre-emptively jump out the window just because I might later be forced to death by starvation, hypothermia or violence. People survived a previous Dark Ages, and this one could well be less dark and take less ages to live through!

  3. Further clarification of the meaning of a "hard" rather than "soft" person. This first example would be a person who is not hard: A youth is upset that his girlfriend has dumped him and so he shoots twenty of his classmates before killing himself.
    A second example, of someone who is hard, would be Captain Oates of the Antarctic expedition, who said "I am just going outside and may be some time".
    Note that it is the soft person who kills, while the hard person kills no-one. And it is the soft person who is a burden on the group while the hard person is (potentially) an asset to the group.