Monday, March 21, 2011

First post: Why this blog?

Late yesterday local time (but still today according to the time setting I have on this blog), I wrote the following on my Dreamwidth and LiveJournal accounts:
There are times when I feel like we're all Moties, the aliens in Pournelle and Niven's The Mote in God's Eye. Here's what one of them looks like:

And here's what Wikipedia says about how their civilizations end and begin again:

Each war typically ends in the complete destruction of the current civilization on Mote Prime. However, due to their high birth rates, enough Moties always survive to eventually repopulate the planet. A faster rise to civilization leads to a longer period between Collapses, since productivity increases more quickly than the population. The museums exist to accelerate this process after a collapse. They are located in unpopulated areas to avoid their destruction during the inevitable wars. Once the surviving population is advanced enough to solve the puzzle at the door, they have access to a literal catalogue of civilizations, and the weapons to put them into effect. Population is controlled by disease and injury between collapses and reconstructions, but the cycles have thus far never been stopped completely.

The Cycles of civilization, war, and collapse have apparently been repeating for hundreds of thousands of years. In some cases, Mote Prime was completely sterilized and then repopulated by those living in hollowed-out asteroids within the system. The current asymmetrical form is probably a mutation resulting from nuclear weaponry prior to a collapse.

Presumably, each civilization arises, unlocks the museums, and discovers that unless they can solve a problem that had plagued countless others, they are doomed. Thus, the Moties have become fatalistically resigned to the never-ending Cycles.
When I think of Moties being a metaphor for humans, then I think of myself as a Crazy Eddie. As the passage above concludes, "Only a mythical character called "Crazy Eddie" believes there is a way to change this, and any Motie who comes to believe a solution is possible is labeled as a "Crazy Eddie" and deemed insane." The term is also "a translation of the term the Moties use for any exercise in futility, or any attempt to do, or even think about doing, anything to try to stop the inevitable collapse of their current civilization which is war driven by overpopulation."

Consequently, all my environmental and political activism seems like an exercise in being a "Crazy Eddie." I'm half tempted to start a blog about civilizational collapse (as if there aren't enough of them already) and how to try to stave it off or at least survive it (not enough of those, IMHO), then name it "Crazy Eddie's Motie News." A Google search shows no uses of this term. The field's wide open for me.
Thus, this blog.

The feedback, such as it was, was quite positive. On my Facebook page (no, I'm not linking to it; I don't want to make life any easier for my stalkers than it already is), one of my treehugger friends wrote, "Do it. I have a feeling this would be a good thing for you." On my Livejournal, one person said that as long as I didn't monetize my blog, I'd be OK. I have no intention of doing such a thing, as Niven and Pournelle's lawyers would probably crush me for copyright infringement. Another gave some suggestions.

"First thing is to eat the clowns who spend money on bombs not books, with organic BBQ sauce of course.

Saving civilization is about preventing libraries falling into ruin while we build sports arenas and military bases.

Oh, and using climate change deniers as building material for flood prevention levies."
Actually, saving the libraries might strike some people as frivolous, but remember that the way the humans in the book discovered the truth about moties was by stumbling into a museum designed to speed the rise of Motie civilization after the next collapse.  Another example involves Canticle for Leibowitz, the plot of which revolves around a monastery that includes a library the mission of which is to help revive civilization after its collapse.  So, it's not as stupid an idea as it seems.  Thanks to that suggestion, you can expect posts on saving cultural institutions during collapse, not just for how to keep yourself fed and safe.

You should also expect to read posts about politics.  One of the common themes of this blog will be explaining how global, national, and local events and politics are about various factions fighting to maintain their shares of a shrinking pie--one they openly deny is shrinking.  Once you recognize that's what's going on, a lot of mystifying events become much more understandable.

I'll also post reviews of other blogs about societal collapse and what to do about it.  There are plenty of them out there, and they all deserve a good meta look.  The ones who receive favorable reviews, or that demonstrate that they are worth paying attention to even if they are bad, will end up on my blogroll.  The first one up is likely to be Clusterfuck Nation.  I have lots of opinions about James Howard Kunstler, and I now have a forum to post them.  Besides, he updates in a few hours.  How convenient! /Church Lady

Finally, expect digressions about post-apocalyptic science fiction.  After all, this is a blog named after a legendary character from a legendary science fiction novel!


  1. *snork*

    It's only because you're who you are that I don't delete your comment. *First* indeed!

    That said, welcome to Crazy Eddie's Motie News!

  2. I think it wise that us Crazy Eddies stick together and try to save this country from itself...

  3. I agree, Paul. Stick around. I'm sure I'll learn more from you as you'll learn from me.

  4. My country seems to be learning from the wrong people in your country :-( I will have to find time to dust off my Niven books - it's been too long.

  5. I think you've got it wrong. We're not the Crazy Eddie types. Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, the U.S. Congress, Wall Street are the ones who've gone Crazy Eddie because they refuse to plan for a future that has realistic energy sources and accelerating Climate Change in it.

  6. Lora,

    No kidding. At least your country has an opportunity to throw them out now that Parliament has been dissolved and there will be elections. We'll have to wait nearly two years here for that.


    There are two kinds of Crazy Eddies, those who are in denial (these are the ones that tell the Moties who are stampeding out of their doomed cities to go back to their jobs) and those who recognize the problem and think they have a solution (the ones who devised the Crazy Eddie Probe and Crazy Eddie Drive). The people you describe are the generally the former, especially Palin, but Obama is not. He's a cornucopian, which means he recognizes the problem, but has a technocratic solution to maintain some semblance of business as usual. I would like to think that I'm one of the latter. I know we're in real trouble, but I'd like to think there's a solution other than waiting out collapse.

  7. one of my treehugger friends wrote, "Do it. I have a feeling this would be a good thing for you."

    I'd say he or she was right.