Nathanael Bonnell and Greg Moffitt discuss techno-industrial society and potential trajectories for its future. Nathanael is editor of New Maps, a quarterly journal of de-industrial fiction.
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As the world faces the oncoming reality of declining energy, fraying infrastructure, and other consequences promised to us by the profligacy of the fossil fuel age, we’re left to look into a future that at first appears a trackless wilderness. The monolith of globalized industrial civilization offers few frameworks to comprehend life in an age of less. It has dealt with its impending implosion with procrastination and denial.
And yet if we’re to survive and even thrive in the future, we must have stories, for narrative is how we make sense of our world. But popular fantasies of Star Trek-type utopia or Mad Max-style Armageddon bear very little resemblance to the futures we’re actually likely to get: neither paradise nor apocalypse, and certainly not an easy continuation of the business-as-usual of the last few decades. Instead, we and our descendants will do what people always do: figure out creative ways to keep doing all those things that make up life, the loving and hating and laughing and crying and all the rest, in the times we’ve been given.