“When all the while, a pontiff smile…”



In response to my prior post, Leap of A Beta wrote:


“Yup. There’s a reason I changed professions to a skilled trade. Personal satisfaction is a real one, but so is a desire to be a valuable asset if shit hits the fan. Society can accept the first, but would disdain me for mentioning that I think the world is going to go to chaos quicker and more drastically than most think it will. So, I’m gaining a skill and getting out of Chicago with it as quickly as I can. I hope in a year to be further South, away from all the stupid pension reforms needed by over unionized north that drains their economic life blood.

I always wonder who will make a feudal warlord that says they will, and who will rise up completely unexpected from the masses.

Times may not be fun in the future, but they certainly will be interesting as a trainwreck.”


To which I say:

“Times may not be fun in the future”


That’s my whole point:

There is no “future”.

There is, as the Taoists say, only “one continuous moment”.

What most expect is not “collapse” but “disaster”.

There is a tremendous, if subtle, difference.

Empires and civilizations do not fall like stones.

They fall like dominoes, neatly arrayed.

It’s called “the cascade effect”.

And you’re simply in the center of cascade.

You, as they say, “can’t see the forest through the trees”.

Which is the entire point of my work here.



Kingdoms fall, the earth revolves
the rain will come this spring
and nothing he could say would change a thing



30 Responses to ““When all the while, a pontiff smile…””

  1. The Lucky Lothario Says:

    People (read: me) always have this assumption that the person they are tomorrow is somehow different to the person they are right now, more disciplined, more ambitious, more capable and more happy with their life. It’s a comfortable thought…

    I may be months behind on this, but when did you get the new top banner?

    • It is a comfortable thought, yes.

      A trap I fall into more than most, even.

      As for my banner, it’s been the same since I began here.

      • The Lucky Lothario Says:

        Ha, then I have no idea what caused me to think that yesterday. Maybe I’ve never scrolled up before.

      • YouSoWould Says:

        Any many will console themselves with such thoughts, excusing their lack of action today with promises of action in the future.

        That said, there is a balance to be struck. Some level of self-acceptance and tolerance is also required, lest we browbeat ourselves into a malaise of self-loathing.

    • Marcus Aurelius said “you would rather become good tomorrow than be good today” – certainly true in my own case.

  2. I guess I simply disagree that society and institutions have already fallen. I believe that they have failed, and are beginning the process of falling. I say this because while the measurements you cite are dying, they’re not dead yet, and they protest so loudly while the cart of corpses wheels around to haul them away.

    Of course, you address this with your allusions to dominoes.

    Sounds like we may be in agreement and merely have a difference of definition

    • Now I can’t get the image of uncle sam standing in on the Monty python skit out of my head

      • He definitely objected to being a corpse, but it didn’t prevent the inevitable, or even delay it for very long.

        Here’s a link for “bring out your dead”:

        Bonus Round: Identify the real villain in the sketch. I had to think about it for a minute.

      • Great thought!

    • Maybe it’s the terminology. Then again, maybe it’s more than that.

      If you’re simply waiting for the lights to dim and the spigot to dry up, you might be correct; but don’t confuse tangible infrastructure with cultural institutions and social order.

      Decay is haphazzard, at any rate, as natural deterioration follows its own capricious schedule:
      *** Concrete structures and machinery are relatively durable and can last for quite a while before collapsing. I’ve designed and built many systems that will run for a hundred years with minimal intervention. I expect it to continue operating, long after I’m gone. We are surrounded by legacy systems that were installed before our time, and they keep humming along.
      *** Cultural institutions exist primarily to perpetuate their own existence, whether they provide any real benefit or not. Whether conceptual or organizational, they merely fight for a slice of the ever-shrinking pie. Marriage and birth rates are sliding rapidly. Divorce rates are climbing. Church attendance is abysmal. Large scale charities are in a panic, gripped by mismanagement and shrinking budgets.
      *** Society has already ceased to impose any real restrictions on behavior; if anything it is accelerating downward in a perverse race to the bottom. I know that a lot of people want to rely on these old safeguards, but they have already switched their allegiance. Our current paradigm is, “If you can’t be good, try to be careful. And whatever you do, don’t get caught.” We set the bar pretty low.

      In any discussion of western civilization, people lie at the heart of our decline and have already surrendered. What is our unifying ideal? If we aren’t fighting a common geopolitical enemy, I don’t know what binds us together, anymore.

      Within our weakening culture, we see a lot of small-scale skirmishes and tactical retreats. There is no great push forward. No one is expecting a better life for the next generation. Once upon a time, we stood on the shoulders of giants. Now, I feel nothing but quicksand beneath my feet.

      Before I yield the soapbox, let me ask one last telling question: Upon whom or what do you rely? Seriously, I want to know.

      • I would consider the fall complete when institutions close up shop or decay to such a point where it is expected (by the general populace) that no institution is trustworthy; and that all will only act in their own interest.

        Right now they already do that, but society’s expectations haven’t changed to match that quiet yet. I don’t think it’s far off though. Once institutions, especially the government, realize they can’t appeal to people without the use of force is when it’ll really hit the fan.

        The villain in the skit is a hard one. I think the most solid case would be made for Arthur himself to be the villain for imposing such standards upon the other characters, but you could also argue that they’re just as bad for going along with it without any indication they do anything other than act like sheeple within it. I don’t really have much pity for people that will take a beating and ask for more.

      • You won’t see a “complete” fall. It’s much too obvious. Pieces of the old will be integrated into the new. The better it’s done, the less you’ll notice the transition. There is already upheaval and suffering, but it is explained away as we move toward the “new normal.”

        You’re right that expectations (perception) aren’t in line with reality. This is not a surprise. We’re in the middle of a confidence game, after all. Like a bank trying to avoid a run on its reserves.

        All parties want to believe that everything will be fine. Don’t buy it. The ruin of the American Dream(TM) is already accomplished.

        You skipped the last (most important) question. Who will you follow into danger? It’s already upon us.

      • Outstanding job, Alan.

        It seems I’m not cryptic at all, to you.

        I’m so glad I chose this style, long ago.

        It wins me few allies, but the one’s it garners are True.

      • I’m not sure if you’re asking for an individual, an idea, a religion, or something else.

        Right now I’m in the middle of converting to Catholicism, and in the midst of transitioning to becoming an electrician with some guidance by Dr Illusion. I would say that he, and those that frequent his site, are the ones in the ‘sphere I identify most with, but I wouldn’t say that I’d follow any of them as a leader. Mostly because I haven’t seen any prove they can lead in multiple areas of life outside of the specific subset they display online.

      • Leap:

        “I’m not sure if you’re asking for an individual, an idea, a religion, or something else.”

        Exactly. When everything goes sideways, where do you turn? There are countless possibilities, but which one is indispensable to you? Think about it…

        For instance, if you say, “I trust in myself,” I’ll just laugh, because that’s a politically correct delusion, without any actual meaning. It boils down to, “Feelings, nothing more than feelings…”

        Personally, I rely upon the unvarnished Truth, wherever I happen to find it. I’m not very picky about the source, because it all leads to the same place.

        As more and more institutions abandoned objective fact in favor of convenient lies, I went looking for ever smaller groups of people and eventually single individuals who were willing to stand on sound principle at all cost. It is a rare treat to find them.

        If you or Ace or anyone else can punch holes in what I say, that’s good for me. It means that I’ll be smarter in the future.

      • Alan,

        You’re effectively saying what I said here:


        So, once more, we’re in agreement.

        Also, you share the same reasons I have for writing the way I do.

        Which I believe I mentioned, recently.

      • Hows this then

        I’m looking for who I trust in an active process. In doing so I believe I’ve foundthe spiritual leader in my new religious convictions. I currently have no other leaders. While doing this search I am picking up skills that I hope would make me an appealing choice as either a leader if necessary or a damn good second in command

        I say if necessary only because I usually assess a situation to see if there’s someone more qualified than I, but have no hesitation if I find it lacking. I also can’t stand inept leaders, so I’ll either avoid such groups or go for power within them depending on circumstances

      • Excellent.

        Your words bring to mind a man that was a very close friend of mine not long ago.

        He’s the very reason I believe [in agreement with Dalrock, if memory serves] that Greater Betas are actually the most desired men by women.

        I wrote about it, briefly, in my private blog.

        Perhaps I should repost it here.

      • Sounds good, Leap. That kind of wisdom will serve you well, whatever happens. Prove all things; hold fast to the good.

        If you’re prepared to lead, a need will appear. Count on it.

    • “Of course, you address this with your allusions to dominoes.”


      “Sounds like we may be in agreement and merely have a difference of definition”

      Very possible.

      Dr. Illusion and I often have that stumbling block.

  3. This post, and the one before it, is simply great. I’ve been thinking about this subject for a while, and now I have an idea on where to start.

    • Many thanks, Donal.

      A nod for the nudge, if you’d be so kind when you do so.

      Side note: I was a bit perplexed that I was considered a “commentator” in the taxonomy.

      Though not ungrateful of the mention.

      All the best to you, regardless.

      • Oh, you will be prominently mentioned, I assure you. I feel kind of bad, because you are one of the handful of bloggers whom I seem to constantly re-discover. Only recently have I had the sense to follow your blog for the gems which always show up.

      • Many thanks for the compliment, Donal.

        And no worries regarding the “constant rediscovery”.

        I take it as a good thing.

        I’d rather repeated encounters bring folks here than a sudden whim.

  4. […] The collapse has already come. Collapse and disaster are different. […]

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  6. […] his next post, “When all the while, a pontiff smiles” Ace provides a metaphor for the […]

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