On Avoiding “Existence Failure”


I saw this term “existence failure” recently somewhere and liked the bland understated way it expresses the untimely end of an organism, organization, or individual.

We’re seeing existence failure in the news every day. Longstanding organizations go belly up. Corporations thought solid and unshakable collapse overnight like a deck of cards in a sudden wind. Nations go bankrupt.

Existence failure is a distinct possibility in our times.

But then too, so is existence perpetuation and vitality. But for that prospect, even the most short sighted and tradition-blinded CEO, governor and general can now see, it’s going to mean NOT doing things the way we’ve become comfortably used to.

Existence perpetuation of communities and towns, infrastructure and commerce, neighborhoods, churches, schools and stores into the turbulent future will mean growth amidst decline, success measured more in the realm of acquired resilience and adaptability than by the amount of physical expansion, units produced, investments spent or power acquired.

Whether we plan for it or not, change will come in a rush–by some estimates, a greater magnitude of change in perhaps as little as 20 years as has been seen in the past 100. And this change will be more in the realm of retraction than expansion. We are on the descending slope (watch What is Peak Oil?) of petro-power and have not made plans for what comes next.

Existence failure (or existence decay) is far more possible if we wait than if we plan. We can help nurture fundamental change or be overwhelmed by it. It’s a choice we’re making now, whether we are actively aware of it or not. Actively aware is better.

The Transition Towns core understanding of what is the problem and what is the solution seems a good place to begin to become aware and to make our plans just barely ahead of need.

So I’m distracted from blogging for the moment by trying to get my head around this matter of urgent self-education. I’d like to go from there to some wider education, perhaps at Earth Day, and maybe this is a great first opportunity to use Keynote to cobble something together. Stay tuned.

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