Part 2 – We The Unwilling

By Stanley Ravi, POI member

As I said last time, my exposure to Peak Oil made me realise a few things:
– We are approaching the ‘Limits to Growth’
– Growth is dead
– Oil will be gone
– The world is going to come to a grinding halt.

None of this happened, I repeatedly made a fool of myself, I couldn’t fit in to work, and so the home front suffered. Imagine walking into your employer’s office and saying, “There is no more space to grow. Oil production has passed its half life span, extracting the first half was easy, extracting the second half is self-defeating.”

So, I took to speaking a different language of Environmental Costs, Happiness Index, natural wealth, conservation, forests, re-ruralization, de-urbanization, traditional skills, organic farming, pesticide-free food… but, the fact was, I was “talking shit.” In the meantime, someone else was also talking shit, but we hadn’t met yet. They were talking about ‘humanure‘, but more about that later.

I took on Maslow’s Pyramid – “Food, Clothing and Shelter.” Even today, we can see how flawed this food, clothing and shelter business is, but it’s been accepted as gospel and translated into every language in the world. But the fact is that food, clothing and shelter are not as basic as we are told: I won’t die if I skip a meal, I won’t die when I am naked, I won’t die if I’m not under shelter, particularly in the tropical climates.

But there are other things without which I’m certain of dying in seconds, and if even one of them isn’t there – and those are the Five Elements of the Universe: Water, Fire, Wind, Earth and Ether (electro-magnetic energy). Consider the facts:

-60 to 70% of my body is made of Water, I’ll die the second I lose that water.

– I’ll die the second my body temperature drops from the 36.1°C – 36.8°C

-I’ll die the second I lose the oxygen in my brain

-I’ll die in seconds when I loose the matter in my body,

-I’ll die in seconds if I lose the electrical charge of my body.

Such thoughts eventually turned me into a preacher of sorts, advocating water conservation and water consciousness. The result? My wife asked for a divorce. My relatives thought I had lost it. My friends shied away from me. No one could tell what had happened to me, or why I was talking like this, except one close friend, who listened and argued with me about Peak Oil.But armed with this “knowledge,” I managed to sell myself as a ‘soft skills trainer’, because I went around telling the world that you just need the five elements to live, and not money! I was probably the cheapest soft skills trainer on the planet, fearing nothing and no one, coming for almost free with a range enviable of skill sets. I was the best find for any employer.

I taught management students, the skill I had was a prerequisite of sorts for entrepreneurship. I was afflicted with a sort of psychological disorder, but at that time it wasn’t even known. I used to read  the peak oil primer, like it was a holy book. It took more time before I found Peak Oil Blues, and realised that there were others too afflicted by the same ‘disorder’.

I moved out of Bangalore to Dubai again for a job with Emirate Airlines. This time, I lasted on the job only for 45 days and came back to teach English in rural Andhra Pradesh, in Narsipatnam, 100 kms off Vizag. I was comfortable despite having no salary. The organisation provided Maslow’s essentials: food, clothing and shelter. It was the year 2007, and soon after, when the global recession hit our shores, one of the few people who was not shocked was me. Something else I had read from a book, Graffiti III by Nigel Rees was now showing up on the horizon:

We, the unwilling,

Led by the unknowing,

Are doing the impossible

For the ungrateful.

We have done so much,

For so long,

With so little,

We are now qualified

To do anything

With Nothing.
Konstantin Jireček

(To be continued… )