Sometime in late 2010 I rented the documentary Collapse and my view of the world changed almost overnight. I began researching the claims made by Michael Ruppert and found that the arguments he made to be sound and extremely disconcerting. As I delved deeper and deeper into the rabbit’s hole I discovered, I found myself becoming more and more concerned about numerous issues. One of the root concerns was regarding the mathematics of exponential growth and our lack of understanding about how this growth pattern was leading us to eventual collapse on numerous fronts: population, economics, and resource depletion (see this by University of Colorado’s Albert Bartlett). I continued exploring ideas and concepts, introducing myself to economics and systems thinking, then suddenly found myself back in my graduate studies of anthropology and archaeology. Reading Jarid Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies it became more and more obvious that we, as a species, were on a slow-moving train wreck towards eventual social, political, and economic collapse on a global scale. Two other books that have shaped my thoughts are Richard Heinberg’s The End of Growth and Chris Martenson’s The Crash Course.
As an educator (ten years as a classroom teacher and thirteen so far as a vice principal in kindergarten to grade eight schools), I felt the need to share and educate my family and friends about my ‘discoveries’. I initially encountered a lot of resistance and denial, being told I was overreacting and focusing on the negative. This may have been due to an initial overzealousness on my part, but I also believe it was a ‘normal’ reaction by people whose fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the world were being challenged; they needed to reduce the cognitive dissonance that was created by the narrative I was suggesting. (I think it’s important to note here that our understanding of the world is based on many things, not least of which are the stories we tell ourselves about how and why world events are occurring. It is formed through personal experiences but also through the tales weaved through our education system, and by our leaders and media who may not always have our best interests in mind.)
In the summer of 2011, as I relaxed with my family and friends at a rented cottage just outside Haliburton, Ontario, I began forming the idea of writing a fictional story about a group of Ontarians experiencing the collapse of their world. As I sat on the deck in that beautiful summer sunshine and watched our four teenage daughters (two from each family) enjoying their time away from school, I wrote the draft of a chapter in which a young man was hiking through an abandoned countryside on his way to his brother’s, who had been predicting such an event for some time. My goal, at that point, was simply to get some thoughts on paper. Before I knew it the summer was over and I was back at work, too busy to put a lot of time into the story. I continued reading voraciously and would occasionally put ‘pen to paper’ but the story was not evolving quickly.
Suddenly, I found myself on medical leave for a few months and the opportunity to write more was presented. I shared several chapters with my wife one weekend and her positive response prompted me to explore the possibility of publishing a book, something I have wanted to do for years (ever since I shifted my university studies from biology/physiology (hated organic chemistry) to biological psychology (where I was exposed to Stephen Jay Gould’s Ever Since Darwin), and then to anthropology/archaeology (keen interest in hominid evolution), I have loved doing research and writing; in fact, I shared with my wife early in our relationship and before I entered education that I would love to write for a living.
The result is Olduvai. I have no delusions about this ever being a ‘bestseller,’ my tongue-in-cheek goal is to sell 422 copies! Why? For those that have seen the apocalyptic, John Cusack movie, 2012, you may recall that Cusack’s character, Jackson Curits, is a writer who sells 421 copies of his book, Farewell Atlantis. As his novel managed to become a part of humanity’s decimated cultural heritage (the world’s tectonic plates shift due to neutrinos from a solar flare boiling the earth’s interior and he and his book escape in one of a handful of ‘arks’), I thought if I sold one additional copy, I had a higher probability than him-theoretically. An additional benefit, however, would be that I’d about break even from that costs of self-publishing this book.
As I begin to record ideas and passage for Olduvai II: Exodus, I am exploring various concepts: the violence that might ensue during ‘collapse,’ death and associated rituals, moves towards a ‘police state’, survival skills, permaculture, geopolitical tensions, political malfeasance, increasing environmental concerns, conspiracy ‘theories’ and conspiracy ‘facts’, and what concentrated power and wealth may due to our social fabric; there is much more sex and violence as well (I began watching Game of Thrones and Revolution in the past year).
Anyways, I blather… you can follow the Olduvai (d)evolution in one of various ways. I initially constructed a website and upon advice of FriesenPress have expanded my means of communication to include a Facebook Page, Twitter account, and this Blog.
Live long and prosper!
March 30, 2013
For those interested in my educational background, I offer it below, but it’s important to understand that I am still a student:
B.Ed. 1989, Brock University
Master of Arts, Anthropology, 1988, McMaster University
Honours Diploma, 1987, Western University
Bachelor of Arts, 1985, Western University