Interesting, isn't it, that mainstream economists need a so-called economic guru like Alan Greenspan to confirm that the U.S. economy is in recession? If the maestro says it is so, then it is. If he doesn't, then the "downturn" has a silver lining. And now we have the Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, stating what the American public has known all too well during the past year: "The economy has taken a sharp downturn." Gee, Mr. Paulson, you get the understatement of the year award because what Americans have also discovered is that the middle class is now almost extinct after only a few decades of having one-thanks to you and your friends at Goldman Sachs.
No one walking away from a foreclosed home, no one declaring bankruptcy, no uninsured person staring in the face tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills needs a maestro or any other member of the ruling elite to tell them that not only are we in a recession, but we are on a fast-track to a depression that is going to make 1929 look like living in the lap of luxury. It's called the collapse of Western civilization, and it is well underway.
Oh, you don't like my use of the word "collapse"? Then please listen up.
One of the most inspiring but also heart-wrenching stories I've seen this past week when Truth To Power was in the midst of its spring fundraiser and was not reporting much news was the CBS report on Tennessee-based Remote Area Medical's efforts to bring health and dental care to the uninsured or underinsured not only throughout the world, but now more than ever, in the U.S. As I watched this must-see video clip, my heart soared, even as I wept. What was confirmed in every cell of my body was that the American healthcare system has already collapsed, and that every other institution in this nation is rapidly succumbing to the domino effect of empire's unequivocal unraveling. Watch the CBS report for yourself, and I'm certain you will agree.
In looking honestly at these realities, it is impossible not to feel fearful, and some may once again accuse me of fear-mongering. However, I argue that fear is not necessarily a negative emotion or an unproductive waste of energy. I'm not talking about fear for the sake of fear, but rather, fear as a motivator-fear as a force that compels us to act.
Gavin De Becker's 1997 book The Gift Of Fear was written to assist readers in detecting violent behavior in the workplace, in the street, or in the home, for the purpose of protecting themselves. In contemplating collapse we are not dealing up close and personal with violence-at least not in this stage of collapse, as much as we are attempting to read the signals it is sending so that we may wisely prepare ourselves for navigating it. Among the author's suggestions are:
- Recognizing the survival signals that warn us of impending danger
- Relying on our intuition
- Separating real from imagined danger
- Moving beyond denial so that one can tune in to one's intuition
As we witness collapse and experience its impact on our lives, the fundamental concept of De Becker's book may serve us well. He argues that fear is an evolutionary gift imbedded in our DNA for the purpose of assisting our survival. Becoming overwhelmed with it or wallowing in it is indeed not useful, but neither is attempting to hermetically seal ourselves off from it. In fact, as De Becker argues, fear helps us move out of denial so that we can really tune into our intuition which facilitates our becoming proactive on our own behalf. What we need is not exemption from fear but a way of integrating it into our current reality in balance with other emotions.
What I want the reader to understand is that collapse is already happening. Your resentment of the word doesn't change the fact that it is occurring. Like Greenspan and Paulson, we all have the option of masking the realities of meltdown and continuing to wait for someone or something to "prove" to us that the world as we have known it is over.