Comments on: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the End of Times http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Tue, 13 Jan 2009 18:49:47 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Kate http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16320 Kate Mon, 12 Jan 2009 15:50:32 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16320 This is the first time I have browsed your blog. Great job. I recently listened to some very nice musings on the idea of an empire voluntarily declining and doing so with grace, humor and creativity... not leading to the end of the world just the end of a world view. Both it and your article are very refreshing perspectives. Thank you. This is the first time I have browsed your blog. Great job. I recently listened to some very nice musings on the idea of an empire voluntarily declining and doing so with grace, humor and creativity… not leading to the end of the world just the end of a world view. Both it and your article are very refreshing perspectives. Thank you.

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By: Michelle http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16297 Michelle Sat, 10 Jan 2009 17:53:53 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16297 Don, don't worry too much about the "Dark Ages" as that's a misnomer. They are dark to US because the Germanic tribes who overran the Roman empire were not literate and did not leave written records. They were not "dark" to the inhabitants! Cheers, Michelle BA, Medieval History Masters student, Medieval Literature Don, don’t worry too much about the “Dark Ages” as that’s a misnomer. They are dark to US because the Germanic tribes who overran the Roman empire were not literate and did not leave written records. They were not “dark” to the inhabitants!

Cheers,
Michelle
BA, Medieval History
Masters student, Medieval Literature

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By: Colleen http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16284 Colleen Sat, 10 Jan 2009 07:25:31 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16284 Oops..CTOL was meant to be TOL. The C was the start of Crunchy Chicken's blog. Time for bed. Oops..CTOL was meant to be TOL. The C was the start of Crunchy Chicken’s blog.

Time for bed.

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By: Colleen http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16283 Colleen Sat, 10 Jan 2009 07:20:17 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16283 Yeah, Sharon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm looking forward to the book's release. I'm also looking forward to you sharing your ideas, thoughts, tips, enthusiasums and encouragements with us here at the blog (and the wider low-energy community -Hen & Harvest, Riot for Austerity, CTOL, etc.) as you embark on new adventures And discoveries away from your intense book writing jag. : ) Enjoy!!! Yeah, Sharon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m looking forward to the book’s release.

I’m also looking forward to you sharing your ideas, thoughts, tips, enthusiasums and encouragements with us here at the blog (and the wider low-energy community -Hen & Harvest, Riot for Austerity, CTOL, etc.) as you embark on new adventures And discoveries away from your intense book writing jag. : )

Enjoy!!!

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By: Don in Maine http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16281 Don in Maine Sat, 10 Jan 2009 06:20:52 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16281 Great post Sharon, upbeat at the end of the empire. Brings to mind the piles of Roman coins that are still being found, I think a pile were just found in Scotland. The hoard the original owner buried for hard times and never made it back to. Many of the more wealthy Romans headed out and set up small self-sufficient fiefdoms. The image of plowing the Roman roads is just total brain food. There is really no way to tell how much knowledge was lost, the classic example is the formula for roman concrete, it lasts longer than anything we have come up with since, what else did we lose? Nobody can really say. My ancestors were some that headed for the woods and ended up in Scotland. The only thing that worries me, while life does go on, the period after the fall of Rome is known as "The Dark Ages". 450 AD to 1000 Ad. "The beauty of the Greek and Roman Empires is long gone! The ruling system has collapsed and taken with it stable government, schools, libraries, a uniform currency, and a common language. Barter now replaces money as the major purchasing system. Cities and towns have been destroyed and transportation between them is extremely difficult, if not impossible." So do we face a new 'Dark Age"? Great post Sharon, upbeat at the end of the empire. Brings to mind the piles of Roman coins that are still being found, I think a pile were just found in Scotland.
The hoard the original owner buried for hard times and never made it back to. Many of the more wealthy Romans headed out and set up small self-sufficient fiefdoms. The image of plowing the Roman roads is just total brain food.

There is really no way to tell how much knowledge was lost, the classic example is the formula for roman concrete, it lasts longer than anything we have come up with since, what else did we lose? Nobody can really say. My ancestors were some that headed for the woods and ended up in Scotland.

The only thing that worries me, while life does go on, the period after the fall of Rome is known as “The Dark Ages”. 450 AD to 1000 Ad.

“The beauty of the Greek and Roman Empires is long gone! The ruling system has collapsed and taken with it stable government, schools, libraries, a uniform currency, and a common language. Barter now replaces money as the major purchasing system. Cities and towns have been destroyed and transportation between them is extremely difficult, if not impossible.”

So do we face a new ‘Dark Age”?

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By: Survivalist News » Casaubon’s Book: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the End of Times http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16276 Survivalist News » Casaubon’s Book: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the End of Times Sat, 10 Jan 2009 02:23:06 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16276 [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » It Was the Best of Times, It Was the End of Times Growing up in the past half century, most of us spent a lot of time exposed to imagined visions of our future. We encountered them in science fiction novels, comic books, or on TV, and we’ve spent much of the past hundred years with our necks craned as far as possible, trying to see into the future. And the future, as portrayed in almost every one of these visions, is progressive, moving forward, solving problems and making things better. Think about it-from the Jetsons (where’s my flying car?) to Star Trek, where all problems except the Klingons have essentially been conquered. Medical and technological journals made projections that describe how magic technologies will fix everything, and economists and their reporters saw us moving toward a perfect, globalized world, united in capitalism. All the visions of the future with which we are familiar entail going forward as we are but becoming better through advancements that make us more homogenized, more technologically advanced, to the logical culmination of our perfection. [...] […] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » It Was the Best of Times, It Was the End of Times Growing up in the past half century, most of us spent a lot of time exposed to imagined visions of our future. We encountered them in science fiction novels, comic books, or on TV, and we’ve spent much of the past hundred years with our necks craned as far as possible, trying to see into the future. And the future, as portrayed in almost every one of these visions, is progressive, moving forward, solving problems and making things better. Think about it-from the Jetsons (where’s my flying car?) to Star Trek, where all problems except the Klingons have essentially been conquered. Medical and technological journals made projections that describe how magic technologies will fix everything, and economists and their reporters saw us moving toward a perfect, globalized world, united in capitalism. All the visions of the future with which we are familiar entail going forward as we are but becoming better through advancements that make us more homogenized, more technologically advanced, to the logical culmination of our perfection. […]

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By: Kati http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16271 Kati Sat, 10 Jan 2009 00:37:58 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16271 *Grin* I recall just reading this story a couple of weeks back in your _Depletion and Abundance_. I'm looking forward to getting the next one, probably this summer. (Have to ration myself on book purchases to keep my hubby from throwing a fit over me buying books faster than I can read them.) Congrats on finishing the 3rd!!!! FWIW, I got a chuckle out of your chapter on kids not calling food yucky, and adults retraining their own taste-buds. I made the choice about a year ago, that as much as I dislike mushrooms, it's rather ironic that my daughter will eat just about anything and everything, but my hubby and I are reasonably picky eaters. (Myself, less so than the hubby, actually.) I determined that while I'm still not ready to tackle the challenge of liver, I've liked onions for a long time (that was my trio: liver with mushrooms and onions, Dad loved it, I hated it), but maybe I could get past the dislike of mushrooms. After all, mushrooms mix so well with so many of the other earthy flavors that I love (sauerkraut, apples, meat, onions, potatoes, etc) that it seems strange to me that I could like THOSE earthy flavors but dislike mushrooms. I determined to try them 15 times, before I write them off again. I've now tried them 9 times, and while I cannot yet say I look forward to the thought of mushrooms on the table, I AM to the point where I'll take a whole serving, instead of just one bite. The last couple of bites are still a stretch, but I'm actually EATING mushrooms now. The last time, I purposefully bought a bunch of button mushrooms and sauteed them up with butter and onions and they weren't intollerable. (I always have in the back of my mind that they grow on decay in a very prominent sense, a thought ingrained in my head well before I ever grasped the concept of compost.) FWIW, I still get somewhat queasy at the thought of canned mushrooms. Worst comes to worst, I think I'll do without rather than go without a 2 Tbsp serving of slimy commercially canned mushrooms. Maybe I'll have to find a recipe for home-preserving extra mushrooms, though they're kinda cost prohibitive around here, except for special occasions. But, now my daughter doesn't get all the mushrooms on my plate, when I find them in a dish. I eat some of them myself. (My 11 year old daughter's list of what she won't eat is tiny: brusselsprouts. And she has yet to try liver, though. My hubby and I dislike the stuff intensely enough that we've never introduced our child to this "delicacy".) Baby steps. *Grin* I recall just reading this story a couple of weeks back in your _Depletion and Abundance_. I’m looking forward to getting the next one, probably this summer. (Have to ration myself on book purchases to keep my hubby from throwing a fit over me buying books faster than I can read them.) Congrats on finishing the 3rd!!!!

FWIW, I got a chuckle out of your chapter on kids not calling food yucky, and adults retraining their own taste-buds. I made the choice about a year ago, that as much as I dislike mushrooms, it’s rather ironic that my daughter will eat just about anything and everything, but my hubby and I are reasonably picky eaters. (Myself, less so than the hubby, actually.) I determined that while I’m still not ready to tackle the challenge of liver, I’ve liked onions for a long time (that was my trio: liver with mushrooms and onions, Dad loved it, I hated it), but maybe I could get past the dislike of mushrooms. After all, mushrooms mix so well with so many of the other earthy flavors that I love (sauerkraut, apples, meat, onions, potatoes, etc) that it seems strange to me that I could like THOSE earthy flavors but dislike mushrooms. I determined to try them 15 times, before I write them off again. I’ve now tried them 9 times, and while I cannot yet say I look forward to the thought of mushrooms on the table, I AM to the point where I’ll take a whole serving, instead of just one bite. The last couple of bites are still a stretch, but I’m actually EATING mushrooms now. The last time, I purposefully bought a bunch of button mushrooms and sauteed them up with butter and onions and they weren’t intollerable. (I always have in the back of my mind that they grow on decay in a very prominent sense, a thought ingrained in my head well before I ever grasped the concept of compost.) FWIW, I still get somewhat queasy at the thought of canned mushrooms. Worst comes to worst, I think I’ll do without rather than go without a 2 Tbsp serving of slimy commercially canned mushrooms. Maybe I’ll have to find a recipe for home-preserving extra mushrooms, though they’re kinda cost prohibitive around here, except for special occasions.

But, now my daughter doesn’t get all the mushrooms on my plate, when I find them in a dish. I eat some of them myself. (My 11 year old daughter’s list of what she won’t eat is tiny: brusselsprouts. And she has yet to try liver, though. My hubby and I dislike the stuff intensely enough that we’ve never introduced our child to this “delicacy”.) Baby steps.

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By: KatJ http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16263 KatJ Fri, 09 Jan 2009 22:49:50 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16263 Loved the poem, MEA! And of course we are not at the end of history. I kind of feel like Mother Earth puts up with our nonsense for a while, and then, when we just get too out of hand, she puts us into time out until we've regained our senses (anyone out there with kids knows that sometimes that is what a good and responsible parent does, out of love for the child. And also because they will make you crazy if you don't.) Life isn't linear - we circle 'round and circle 'round and circle 'round again. Everything in nature tells us that - the moon cycles, day and night, the seasons - it's all around us! And that's a good thing, not a scary one, zombies notwithstanding. We just stepped outside of the dance for a while, and now we are being urged to join back in again. Loved the poem, MEA! And of course we are not at the end of history. I kind of feel like Mother Earth puts up with our nonsense for a while, and then, when we just get too out of hand, she puts us into time out until we’ve regained our senses (anyone out there with kids knows that sometimes that is what a good and responsible parent does, out of love for the child. And also because they will make you crazy if you don’t.) Life isn’t linear - we circle ’round and circle ’round and circle ’round again. Everything in nature tells us that - the moon cycles, day and night, the seasons - it’s all around us! And that’s a good thing, not a scary one, zombies notwithstanding. We just stepped outside of the dance for a while, and now we are being urged to join back in again.

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By: ceridwen http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16252 ceridwen Fri, 09 Jan 2009 20:41:31 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16252 But then - why would we be at the end of history? Life on this Planet is not some sorta constant upward trajectory - either for Society as a whole or for ourselves personally. It goes more in circles - not a straight line. Society goes through particularly bad times (and maybe to the extent that its the end of another Empire) and then the circle goes round a bit further and we continue. Right now - we are in a downward swing part of this Circle - but (as long as we can avoid the climate Tipping Point!!!) then the Circle will continue going round again.... But then - why would we be at the end of history? Life on this Planet is not some sorta constant upward trajectory - either for Society as a whole or for ourselves personally. It goes more in circles - not a straight line. Society goes through particularly bad times (and maybe to the extent that its the end of another Empire) and then the circle goes round a bit further and we continue. Right now - we are in a downward swing part of this Circle - but (as long as we can avoid the climate Tipping Point!!!) then the Circle will continue going round again….

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By: MEA http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16251 MEA Fri, 09 Jan 2009 20:27:12 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/09/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-end-of-times/#comment-16251 Glad to hear the book's off, off, off! On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves; The gale, it plies the saplings double, And thick on Severn snow the leaves. 'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger When Uricon the city stood: 'Tis the old wind in the old anger, But then it threshed another wood. Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman At yonder heaving hill would stare: The blood that warms an English yeoman, The thoughts that hurt him, they were there. There, like the wind through woods in riot, Through him the gale of life blew high; The tree of man was never quiet: Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I. The gale, it plies the saplings double, It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone: To-day the Roman and his trouble Are ashes under Uricon. A. E. Housman Glad to hear the book’s off, off, off!

On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

‘Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood:
‘Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then, ’twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
Then ’twas the Roman, now ’tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
It blows so hard, ’twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.

A. E. Housman

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