I love Ran Prieur’s blog. I’ve been following it faithfully since 2005. I had it set as my browser homepage for a few months once. I’m not sure of all the exact details, but he is “semi” retiring from blogging and apparently no longer believes in what is commonly referred to as the “Crash” or “the Shit Hitting the Fan” or “The end of Civilization as We know it.” He will still occasionally make posts but his section entitled “Crash Watch” is officially retired
January 1, 2013. This page is retired. Ten years ago it really seemed like the whole system was about to come apart. People who saw a crash coming were seeing things that were being ignored by people who expected business as usual. Yet we were still wrong. After seeing how little daily life has changed after the 2008 financial collapse, seven years with global oil production on a plateau, and two catastrophic hurricanes, I think the big mistake of doomers was assuming that failures would have positive feedback like a house of cards. At this point, anyone still using the “house of cards” metaphor is not a serious analyst but an entertainer. It’s clear that the interconnectedness of modern complex systems makes them stronger, not weaker.
I have to say that the fact that he can change his mind about things is what makes him so refreshing and honest. I mean isn’t that what a thinking person does? Change their opinion in light of careful consideration of new information? He’s a homeowner in Suburban Spokane now, and not really a drop out from society. It might be tempting to say that he simply grew up and outgrew his romantic ideals, but I’ve followed his thoughts gradually and incrementally. In the way that he has handled this change in viewpoint his personal integrity has shown through.
Prieur is a very approachable person and seems to spends a lot of time answering e-mails. I sense that it has been stressful for him to have so much information out there written from a perspective that he no longer really holds. He has been updating a lot of his essays in light of his current understanding. In a way I feel that maybe he should just leave them as stand alone works of art, honestly reflecting his point of view at the time they were written. Fortunately he does seem to be preserving the originals alongside the updated versions.
My perspective has also evolved along similar lines. I found Ran Prieur probably through my interest in Peak Oil and Green Anarchy. I’m sure his blog came up on some type of Google search involving those topics. In 2005 or so I was voraciously reading everything I could by John Zerzan, Jared Diamond, and Derrick Jensen. I was preparing for the Oil Crash and looking forward to donning a loin cloth and returning to the wilds to live as a hunter gatherer.
I feel like this was an enriching period of my life. I did develop some survival skills. I spent some time “rewilding” and attempting to throw off the psychological shackles of human domestication. Like Ran, I tried my hand at homesteading and growing my own food and, like Ran, my results were mixed. He has some excellent, honest insights about how hard it is and that a sense of community is crucial. You can’t go it alone. Its’ a popular myth that an individual can return to the wild to live off the land, but it’s just that: a myth.
Through my exploration of these topics - living closer to the Earth, having a smaller carbon footprint, withdrawing from the rat rat race in exchange for more free time - I concluded that even if they won’t suddenly change the world are worth doing for their own sake.
Wishing you the best, Ran, for whatever the future holds for you.