The collapse of western civilization is the dramatic event of our time, but just as the stock market never crashes in free-fall from an all-time high, so too is the collapse stair-stepping down to its Minsky Moment, punctuated with blips of optimism. A parallel perception accompanies this stealthy downward drift, one of recognition and anticipation by the observant—among them preparationalists and survivalists—whose sensibility slowly seeps into the population at large and augments such awareness as it finds. When recognition and anticipation become general, any event confirming the accumulated fear stresses the system to failure, a panic if you will.
A general outline of the catastrophe can be made by tracing existing fractures, their depth and length and how they intersect. This is the meat 'n potatoes of doom bloggers and sellers of precious metals, often the same person, but it's not the collapse itself, no matter how violent and astonishing. The collapse will take decades, perhaps more, to work out all its forms and details until, exhausted and inert, it finally comes to a standstill. This is the bottom we can not imagine. Many alive today will not see that bottom.
There's no long term without the short term, so think of the coming panic as the "knot in the bow tie". Nothing very fragile will make it through, and much of what we loathe and fear is fragile, but so is most of what we need. When streets are spattered with blood, when commerce freezes and founders, when government agencies are arresting each other, when the currency is iffy and hunger is at every elbow, when looters are stripping anything of value and mobs roam unopposed, how many will show up to keep the power plants or hospitals running?
The coming crackup will be nonlinear, an epic panic played on the grandest stage, a storied thunderclap echoing through the ages, the stuff of legend. But the collapse itself will be a long, bewildered era of local and personal tragedies, anonymous, dreary and unremarked, an implacable descent lazily plumbing depths not seen for a thousand years, until gently bumping bottom for a long, torpid rest. Those who imagine a collapse to be a time of adventure and opportunity will have time and reason to rethink the notion. Stay away from crowds.THE WOODPILE REPORT