Monday, April 26, 2010

Collapse. (2010) Chris Smith

We usually consider the ideas of social and economic collapse in films of fiction. Blood saturated zombie flicks are the first that spring to mind. Films like 28 Days Later or the more recent Carriers reveal at least the dramatic side of the world's upheaval when people take capitalism to its extreme and literally have one another for dinner. Other apocalyptic films like 2012 bring us the end of modern or post-modern civilization, whichever the case may be, but outside of natural disasters or slimy-green aliens from beyond, they rarely make a case for a real-life end-time scenario.

Michael Ruppert seems to have a thing for the end of the world -- if not the end of the world then certainly an end to social order. He's a self-made think-tank, a math wizard for ongoing and progressive social studies. He forecasts the cultural climate and events like a guru, sometimes even like a prophet. Lately quite a few of his economic predictions are even leading naysayers to begin to believe.

In March 2009 director Smith sat Ruppert down and just let him get it all out like a sit-and-spew, spilling all of his guts in one sitting.
A venting of Michael Ruppert is like taking the Book of Revelation, weeding out the Pink Floyd-like poetry and any hope of a savior on the scene, and making the events very current, very scary and very real.

Ruppert first became known as a whistle blower regarding a CIA drug smuggling operation in the mid-sixties. His background is that of a child insider raised in US intelligence: his mother worked as an NSA cryptanalyst reporting directly to Roosevelt in WWII; his father an Airforce aviator involved in the creation of a well-known CIA spy satellite. Ruppert attended UCLA as a republican against Viet Nam, at that time firmly believing that the system was that which could be changed from the inside-out.

He became an LA policeman for a number of years before the CIA nudged him toward recruitment in their operations. He had no interest in drug smuggling or involvement in their operations and after declining the offer was soon betrayed by his fiancée (was she an operative on the inside?). As she disappeared completely from his life he quickly found himself a target, dodging bullets and doing anything to stay alive. He found that it was best to publically take his experience to the world, writing letters to newspapers and congress and going on public record whenever and wherever he could.

Due to all the dirt-digging he did in simply trying to understand all he went through, his tale is now that of thirty years of investigative journalism which leads to constant trails of government inconsistency, corruption and scandal. He's uncovered and written about countless scandals in papers for many years, searching out illegality by those in power who are claiming higher principles.

The way he tells it now, the tools he acquired in trying to get truths made public in that initial investigation are the same tools he uses today in his "map making" of world events. He paints a picture of imminent collapse that is teetering on the horizon. Recently, as much of what he's forecasted has come to fruition, a lot of people are looking more seriously at his thoughts.

Ruppert weights in most heavily when discussing energy issues, and of course the bulk of that conversation will involve oil. But the points he's making about oil and how it's used, even in forms of oil the commoner doesn't typically consider (plastic, tires, toothbrushes and toothpaste), and the evidences of government agencies responding to the reality of "Peak Oil" -- that the world has been explored for well over 100 years and all its reserves fully tapped -- make the notion that his "conspiracy theory" feels far too weighted with sound logic to simply shrug your shoulders and pass off as environmentally leftist. His premise that the reserves are already nearly sucked dry couples with the fact that it's now costing as much in energy to obtain the energy we get from oil, resulting in a negative cash flow for the first time in oil's history. He also categorizes countless other alternative energies with the conclusion that nothing can replace fossil fuels, that a global economy still depending on it for forward progress is headed for utter and complete collapse.

The problem doesn't stop with oil, though. From there, Ruppert takes us on a journey that begins in Saudi Arabia and Iraq and explains our relations with those countries and how they really work... and then we're off to the arctic to check out the polar ice caps, and to Canada for the tar sands... and then through ethanol ("a joke")...  And hydrogen and electric issues, where again, more energy is invested to create the energy than is possible to make a profit.

One of the clearest and easiest examples for the failure of alternative energy is in Ruppert's definition of electricity: it's not a source of energy at all. It is energy that has to be derived from an outside force.

Then there are food resources, soil nutrients, crop rotation issues, the unnecessary economics of distribution in general, fresh water, gold, and on and on as geopolitical topics mount up and bleed together. But it always comes back to the industrial revolution, the population growth that came along with it, oil, and the other side, which is the downside, of the oil bell curve.

Many of Ruppert's conclusions have led him to anger and resentment at the powers that be. He's been ignored for years by a mainstream who pass him off. But as many of his predictions have come true even in the current economic crisis, he feels a sense of relief that he's no longer simply a lone voice in the wilderness. It touches his heart to the point of tears that people are starting to wake up and listen -- that the film might even be taken very seriously by more than a select few. It's obvious he doesn't really want this coming apocalypse, that masked below all the numbers and figures is a cynic humanitarian with a genuine concern for mankind.

One of the things I loved about Ruppert is his desire for humankind to reconnect to the earth -- to have daily contact with its functions, its feel, the nature of its seasons and its timing. He also insists that the rugged individual won't have an advantage -- there won't be a Road Warrior figure in the age of collapse. Salvation and survival in the coming transition period will be local and communal, where people are not only daily digging into their neighborhood dirt, but digging in with their neighbors, practicing localized tribal community once again.

I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but the ideas here are profound. Resources don't replenish themselves. Oil is the key to a great many world issues. If anything, the theories here make me want to make certain my loved ones know how dear they are to me, and find me saving up seeds for future planting.

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