the Cognitive Dissonance of the Middle Class – will it matter

I’ve got friends. surprise, yes, I know. They are largely of the mid-to-upper income bracket, established, and comfortable. By and large, they were not the greedy or the gamblers, by and large they are still in income, and still in the cafe-latte mode. They, en masse, are not interested in listening to my tale, and that goes for folk like Murray Kirkness (editor of the ODT, and a host of others in the media. Why do otherwise entirely intelligent people, just go blank, switch off, when anything threatening their way of life is raised?

I think it may have to do with the fact that they are largely mid-to-later aged, and have ‘invested’ much of their lives getting to where they are. To be told it was all of dubious use, is to acknowledge that the time spent (we in the western world call it ‘working’) was perhaps a waste, is probably unwelcome news.

For those of us who sussed things in our formative years – I could have discussed the end of growth, peak oil, population overshoot, and imbalance in the carbon cycle, with you any time from 1975 on – we perhaps didn’t put our energies (and our time) into it in perhaps the same amounts. The odd thing, is that I’ve (we’ve) had more experiences than most, have a large chunk of land, new house, good kids and health, and I can’t see where the difference is in result terms. We’ve also done it in a non-impactive way, low key, less consumerist.

Perhaps it’s just a straight out denial. Maybe there are types of people who question, and look ahead, and I’m just one of those. Perhaps the majority don’t. Jonathan Livingston Seagull had his Breakfast Flock, maybe the majority are always that way. Bob Lloyd, Energy Studies Prof at Otago Uni, gets into talking about ‘cognitive dissonance’, when he gives the ‘limits to growth/peak oil lecture. Points out that he is out of his sphere of expertise, but that there has to be some explanation for the mass non-comprende.

Will it matter. Probably not. The ‘tragedy of the commons’ says that if we don’t use it up, someone else will. Meaning, it will all be used up. If that is the case, global population crash by 2050. Bigtime. Which means that we can only optimise from that scenario, and every effort will be a foward step. Which is why I urge, and get frustrated.

I’m absolutely sure that the good people will come to the party. I’m also sure it will be too late.


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