hand pumps!


Jan Slakov

Dear Renaissance Network list,   Aug. 4

Two people have so far sent in comments/replies about "collapse scenario"
posting I sent yesterday and I want to share them with you.

Date: Mon, 03 Aug 1998 13:58:03 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: Hans Sinn <•••@••.•••>
Subject: hand pump 

Hi Jan,

Yes we are thinking of getting a hand pump, but not because we believe that
we will be reduced to pre-industrial levels after a collapse of the present
socio/economic system. Marian brought the hand pump subject up a few days
ago, after a talk with a girl friend. They reflected on the ice storm in
January, when we were for ten days without hydro. Also after many years, I
am still dreaming about getting a small steam powered generator. We have a
lot of wood (but no gasoline) on our 300 acres.

I agree, sooner or later we may have to reduce our rate and level of
consumption significantly, if only as a matter of good house keeping and
better use of our energy and resources. But unless there is something like
a nuclear holocaust, our present level of technology and technological
know-how is not going to go away and will continue to provide basic, modern
services.  Even if we assume a significant degree of social chaos, we are
not likely to lose our theoretical and practical skills. So, I believe the
collapse scenarios to be overdrawn in their potential significance.

Of greater significance and closer to the mark, seem to me the works of
people who are cautiously considering dramatic changes in the context of
classic Judeo/Christian expectation and prophesies. To name a few there is
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin "The Phenomenon of Man" and Peter L. Berger "The
Social Construction of Reality" "The Divine Canopy", "A Rumor of Angels"
and "A Far Glory".

My guess is, that the notions of imminent total social collapse are
associated and mixed with the classic Judeo/Christian expectations of "the
end of days" the coming of the Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ.
Granted, these kinds of metaphysically based expectations are much more
difficult to credit than the standard social, material collapse beliefs.
Even a nuclear war seems more believable and we are better prepared for it
than for something totally unbelievable as Kingdom of God. Still, while
approaching these classic religious notions with great caution, I like them
better than the total social collapse scenarios.

In this context, Paul Tillich and some of his Christian and Jewish friends
founded after the first world war the "Kairos Circle" and promoted the
Christian expectation of the Kingdom of God as alternative vision to
Hitler's vision of a 1000 Year German Empire. Today's "Liberation Theology"
also entertains the "Kairos" (the time is ripe) idea and is in many
respects identical with the "Prophetic Socialists" movement to which Martin
Buber, Paul Tillich, Karl Barth and Leonard Ragaz belonged. Clara, wife of
Leonard Ragaz, was one of the main movers of the " Civilian Service "
founded in Switzerland in 1919,which is a forerunner of today's "Civilian
Peace Service" concept.

So much for the hand pump.

Take care


Hans Sinn
687 Brooke Valley Rd.
RR#4 Perth ON
K7H 3C6

Phone: (613) 264 8833    Fax:  (613) 264 8605

Civilian Peace Service homepage:  <http://www.superaje.com/~marsin/cps.htm>

Jan's comment: Kind of nice to see I am not the only nut out there going on
about hand pumps :-)!

Actually, I am not really comfortable preparing for this "collapse scenario"
myself. It is much easier and more "healthy" feeling to set about living
more simply because this makes sense from an environmental and social
justice perspective.... But also a "security" perspective too. In Canada we
had the ice storm last winter, to remind us of how incredibly dependent we
have become on electricity. In New Zealand and Brazil there have been power
outages which many people are blaming at least partly on the privatization
of local power companies. (Actually, privatization has been blamed in Canada
too, and with good cause, I think.)

And now, this thoughtful reply from Frank Scott:

Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 17:43:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: Frank Scott <•••@••.•••>
To: Jan Slakov <•••@••.•••>
cc: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: Preparing for the "collapse scenario"

The only problem with this scenario is that it has been around for quite a
while and yet has failed to galvanize more than small minorities...and
those, usually, from among the well read, educated and socially
concerned.Those of us old enough to remember the sixties may recall
widespread notions that "it" was all coming to an end, soon, with chaos in
the cities and a need to go "back to the land" etc etc...

The result was a few communes-mostly on land paid for by parents of
relatively affluent student drop-outs - and all too often, major culture
clashes between rural people and newly rural movement activists. This is not
to say the situation is not grave, since most of the columns I write
repeatedly stress that fact. But the idea of developing
small-farm-back-to-nature skills, again!, will not do much, I fear, to solve
our problems.

The need is for greater organization of people, democratically, of course,
but while focused on locales-where people are-this organizing must also take
massive, global and universal steps which, I think, can not be found in a
kind of small group-the world is coming to an end scenario.

I do not wish to seem critical, again, of statements as to the gravity of
what we face, as a race, but merely to point out that our viewpoint must
extend far, far beyond a grow-your-own mentality to affect the kind of
changes that will mean something to more than still another small group of
folks dropping out of a mad society to avoid the coming holocaust,famine,
inversion, race war, you name it, it's all possible...

By the way, being in denial - almost a cliche, in the present psycho-babble
world, but all too true - is an aspect of not fully understanding, as well
as not facing a problem. We need to be careful that we don;t make the
solution of the problem something only available to special, small groups of
the knowledgeable, the turned on or the holy - whichever fits, they are all
the same from the perspective of the billions who are left out.More of us,
far more, need to understand the problems in order to affect the solutions,
and we cannot reach more people by proposing solutions to be created by less

I fear that these end of the world scenarios, no matter how un-religiously
stated, will sound the way such have always sounded to most people.
Far-fetched, unreal...meanwhile, more people are becoming aware that much is
wrong with the world and that serious change is necessary...let's not leave
them to the forces of reaction and denial, because we are not equal to the
task of clearly communicating what we know-or think we know- to them.


frank scott
Jan: I think frank's comments fit in well with this part of the "call to
action" from Sviatoslav Zabelin (which I posted yesterday):

"On the other hand - the developed countries - because they are
>still rich, educated, powerful, etc have the chance to meet the crisis
>with appropriate means."

On the one hand, there is indeed real danger in our situation. But if we
focus too much on that, we can become paralysed with fear. Let's not forget
to look at the opportunity we have: IF we could mobilize for good ends the
fantastic resources available to humankind, we could do some marvellous
things. This is our challenge and our hope.

 all the best, Jan