Cultural Breakdown

By admin

1) WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  The slowest of all the apocalypses, the cultural breakdown deals its distinctive fatal blow to civilisation itself, rather than the population. In times past, societies and regions have existed in peaks and valleys of cultural sophistication. Witness the Dark Ages in Europe, the end of the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean, or the Intermediate Periods in Egypt. Today, however, we face a situation where our society has insufficient resources to be rebuilt after a destructive collapse.  In a cultural breakdown scenario, the world’s governments and states gradually collapse due to a multitude of factors: economic instability; internal and external military conflicts; rapidly worsening fuel shortage; social unrest; religious fanaticism; corruption; overpopulation; inequality – the list is long and unhappy.

Throughout the 1960s and in other peaks of the Cold War, it seemed as though the most likely apocalypse scenario facing Earth was the nuclear winter.  Today, however, the prime candidates are climate change and cultural breakdown.  It is a sobering fact that of the three doomsday scenarios which have come close to being realised (that we know of), all of them are cases of mutual annihilation.  Whether part of nuclear war or not, nuclear winter would be a consequence of the human notion of mutual deterrence, leading to the development of nuclear missile arsenals.  Climate change has been brought increasingly closer by selfish human exploitation of planetary resources.  And cultural breakdown involves the entire human world imploding in upon itself.

2) WHAT ARE THE THREATS?  The most predictable hazard which a post-apocalyptic population will face in the cultural breakdown scenario is the fuel shortage.  This crisis of a finite resource is happening now and will continue to happen as long as human society is dependant upon combustible materials for fuel.  When society is busy collapsing and the people no longer have access to solutions offered by their caring governments, a fuel shortage will be felt instantly.  Most human vehicles are not remarkably economical, and a shortage will soon become a complete absence of fuel.  Such a situation will render impossible the use of cars, trucks, trains, large boats, planes, construction equipment and military vehicles.

Beyond private and government vehicles, an absence of fuel will render generators throughout the world nonfunctional.  Not every single plant will suffer this impotence, since a comparatively small number of nuclear, hydro, wind and solar plants have been constructed in recent decades.  But those plants will feel the sting as much as any, when the rabble, suddenly bereft of power, clamber for what is now more precious to them than gold.

3) WHAT ARE SOME DEFENSES AND PRECAUTIONS?  When society breaks down by itself, there has been no external enemy.  Indeed, there is no enemy in this scenario except ones which you create for yourselves.  Ideally, neither you nor any of the other survivors in your area will have a hostile mentality, and will be able to co-operate in post-apocalyptic times.  More realistically, you will have to engage in defensive manoeuvres against those who regard your assets with envious eyes.  For the sake of your species:  maintain a defensive stance.  Do not go on raiding parties to nearby settlements.  You have an obligation to help your species through these dark times, and wiping each other out due to bickering and selfishness won’t help that cause one bit.