John Michael Greer discusses his latest book After Progress: Reason and Religion at the End of the Industrial Age. Progress is not just a goal in the West – it’s a religion. Most people believe in its inherent value as enthusiastically and uncritically as medieval peasants believed in heaven and hell. Our faith in progress drives the popular insistence that peak oil and climate change don’t actually matter. After all, our lab-coated high priests will surely bring forth yet another miracle to save us all. Unfortunately, progress as we’ve known it has been entirely dependent on the breakneck exploitation of half a billion years of stored sunlight in the form of fossil fuels.
As the age of cheap, abundant energy draws to a close, progress is grinding to a halt. Unforgiving planetary limits are teaching us that our blind faith in endless exponential growth is a dangerous myth. After Progress addresses this looming paradigm shift, exploring the shape of history from a perspective on the far side of the coming crisis. Greer’s startling examination of the role our belief systems play in the evolution of our collective consciousness is required reading for anyone concerned about making sense of the future at a time when we must seek new sources of meaning, value, and hope for the era ahead.
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