De-petroleumization: The art of “Collapse”

Posted by on Jun 16, 2010 in Economics, politics

This is my latest conspiracy theory, which predicts a pattern of dis-disinformation conducted by government officials, who, unable to officially and explicitly inform the public of facts concerning the current economic collapse, are resorting to individual acts of rebellion–through dramatic feats, curious phrases, and off-the-script performances–in order to align themselves more truthfully with the masses.

Consider this article, excerpted below, in connection with the example of David Petraeus‘s collapse in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday:

“The issue is not one of ‘running out’ so much as it is not having enough to keep our economy running. In this regard, the ramifications of Peak Oil for our civilization are similar to the ramifications of dehydration for the human body. The human body is 70 percent water. The body of a 200 pound man thus holds 140 pounds of water. Because water is so crucial to everything the human body does, the man doesn’t need to lose all 140 pounds of water weight before collapsing due to dehydration. A loss of as little as 10-15 pounds of water may be enough to kill him.

“In a similar sense, an oil based economy such as ours doesn’t need to deplete its entire reserve of oil before it begins to collapse. A shortfall between demand and supply as little as 10 to 15 percent is enough to wholly shatter an oil-dependent economy and reduce its citizenry to poverty.”

And, just for the hell of it, check out the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas.

Enter Petraeus:

and then:

Why does a well-educated man, who has endured the physical rigors of military training, and is well known as a long-distance runner, collapse suddenly on the job, in front of dozens of cameras, while discussing the war in the Middle East and the prospect of bringing home thousands of American troops? Dehydration?

Nice one, General.  Applause all around.


By the way, I invite you to speculate on the subtext of this exchange between John McCain and Gen. Petraeus prior to the general’s collapse.  Of course, there’s probably no way to know for sure whether there is any subtext or if there is, what it is.  But it’s important, in my opinion, to privately speculate.  Also, what’s up with the guy near the end of the video who talks about someone being “assassinated”?  That seemed to get a rise out of at least a couple of spectators.



  1. globatron
    June 17, 2010

    had a doozy of a comment and i lost it.

    Poor General. There goes McCain with his war. if I get time I’ll concoct a similar comment. interesting read. Maybe fainting is a defense mechanism taught at West Point?

  2. Akbar Lightning
    June 17, 2010

    this is an interesting and very informative post, it really brings one very close to the ‘incident.’ what i found the most disturbing were the camera men who were in his face in seconds, inhumanely capturing his moment of collapse…very odd…what i found encouraging was the detachment of military loyalty from the republican party, and his loyalty to obama…

    as far as the conspiratorial aspect. i could only really engage in such a discussion if some legitimizing speculation as to its nature was presented. i find the event, taken at face value, profound enough as it is…without the addition of conspiratorial aspects, that i’m not sure i see any evidence of…

    i would imagine, somebody in petraeus’ position has to work very long hours and must push the limits of focus and concentration, and like all men of action, sometimes overestimate those limits…

    i agree with mckenna, that i do not believe that human beings can successfully manipulate the public on that level…i think the level of conspiratorial effort is localized, and as such, impossible to eradicate…like weeds, we can sit in our garden, and contemplate the nature of weeds, and how to eliminate them for all time, thus allowing them to gain a foothold, or we can occasionally pull them up…it’s a stretched metaphor, but i think group self-interest is occasionally at work in private black ops procedures, to attain some short term business or political goal…but the larger picture, is as much a mystery to these men, in my mind, as it is to us…

  3. Logocentric
    June 17, 2010

    Yeah, you’re probably right, Akbar. I’ve been interested lately in the idea of using entertainment as information, or using the news as entertainment–the ways in which the lines can blur and often even disappear. Nothing terribly original, but fun nonetheless. By coincidence, I came across the dehydration analogy for peak oil, and i thought i’d try and do something with it. This isn’t a conclusion I’ve drawn or anything that I’m holding up to be scrutinized in terms of its accuracy. Mostly, I’m using this combination of items to represent the welter of information available to the average American. And I’m asking whether our powers of discernment are enhanced by it–or perhaps degraded. Of course, there’s no way to know what’s going on in Petraeus’s mind, and your explanation of being overstressed is the more likely one. But the messenger is important, isn’t it? I’m your crackpot friend who dabbles in conspiracy theory, so you ought to scrutinize what I come up with. However, imagine how easy it is for information experts to make up their own truths and sell them to the public as reality. How much of that has actually occurred in our lives and become part of the mental landscape of many, many people? Anyway, thanks for the comments, yo.

  4. Logocentric
    June 17, 2010

    that’s an idea, globatron. when faced with a tough interrogator, faint! well, i’d bet john mccain could appreciate that.

  5. Greg
    June 17, 2010

    I don’t believe we are on the verge of collaspe, simply because too many in the country will not allow it to happen. The general is an older man so I have no doubt he is under extreme stress currently. If it came to it we would use our reserves of oil here before allowing the country to “collaspe”.

    I really would like to know where you guys think this is possible. The images I get are some post apocolyptic wasteland where the US is a third world nation at best and we are all stuggling to survive, am I making the wrong interpretation of you statements? I mean you have kids, how the hell could you even think that if this could happen it is an okay thing? It is not about oil, it is about leadership and getting people into office that are not in the pockets of major business interest and also are willing to follow the Constitution in the spectrum of what authority they have.

    If the country is that fragile I am sure someone would have found a way to make it fall by now.

  6. globatron
    June 17, 2010

    that’s the hard part Greg. I think this is going to happen and I do have kids. I have to tell them everything is going to be fine each night. And as far as getting leaders into office, etc. I don’t believe that will change a thing.

    The country is that fragile. The Roman Empire was that fragile. We are closer to the edge than we have ever been.

    I can look at this all and laugh now though. I feel like I’m watching one big comedy. Surely this is not real.

  7. Akbar Lightning
    June 17, 2010

    first of all, logos…i loved the explanation of dehydration and i apologize for neglecting to mention that…and i think i see where you are trying to get to with this post…and i encourage you to keep pushing it…i have an ardent faith in the energy that drives you…

    to greg – firstly, i agree with what you said in another post to globatron, that we ought not be so upset about the world situation that we collapse under the weight of negativity…i absolutely agree with you that serenity is the key…in that light i see the world as a place full of adventure, and that adventure does in fact contain real dangers…

    as far as our country’s collapse..history tells us it is best to be prudent about running a society, because society’s that engage in rampant corruption often fall…so yes, america, can fail…do i think it will? i don’t know…is that the real issue? no, not for me…for me the issue has more to do with the fact, that america happens to be the country within which i live, so i am worried about all the people that depend upon social functioning…we are all interdependent…and thus, it is wise for us to use our resources for the benefit of everybody…

    lately, and i am going to do a post about this soon, when i hear people talking about the ‘profitability’ or the ‘costs’ associated with sustainable energy, or coal, or growing the economy, or the rise and fall of european markets…i just keep thinking to myself ‘IT’S A CLOSED SYSTEM’….it is a closed freakin system…

    no energy can be created or destroyed…we are stuck within an atmospheric bubble that reflects the life balance within…i am no gaianist…i don’t literally believe that the earth is alive…i believe that we do however live in and around systems, and that our education about those systems and an informed discussion driven by ethical compassion for the least among us, is the universal key to moving out of chaos and into civilized existence…..



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