Y2K and the grieving process

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I posted this on the "useful idiots" thread then decided it deserved it's own thread for discussion:

It is my belief that anyone who takes the time to be a contrarian on this forum takes Y2K seriously enough not to think it will be "no big problem" or "bump in the road" despite their verbage to the contrary. Because the "contray denialists" vigorously and passionately persist, and voice their position again and again, IMHO, they "protest to loudly"; thus appearing to be in the serious stage of grieving Y2K called denial, often partnered with the stage of anger inorder to bargain with the Yordonites and somehow "manage" Y2K. By the same token, IMHO, many Yordonites appear perhaps to have progressed out of denial but be stuck in the anger and bargaining stage, with an equal passionate persistence,also to somehow "manage" Y2K.

Since people grieving a situation or person are NORMALLY in different stages, the passion, debate, persistance, high emotion and raw conflict keep folks from hitting the depression stage when reality sets in and the distraction of argument can't push the reality of Y2K away any longer.

IMHO, an understanding of the grieving process and the profound grief that Y2K represents, might provide some perspective and perhaps compassion for all the different stages of grief represented on a forum with the Yordonite view of Y2k. Very few of us have worked through to face the depression stage that leads to acceptance. Thus, IMHO, all the effort and contribution to this forum has value. We're all facing uncertainty with ambiguous information. As long as we are here, no matter what our contribution, we are together and not facing Y2K alone. It's a process....

-- leslie (***@***.net), May 22, 1999.

-- leslie (***@***.net), May 22, 1999


Leslie, I read somewhere about the stages of Y2K grieving: stage 1- denial stage 2- anger stage 3- denial stage 4- bargaining stage 5- denial stage 6- depression stage 7- denial stage 8- acceptance

I think that I went through all of them except for #5 (or am I just in denial?).

-- A.P. (grim2k@hotmail.com), May 22, 1999.

If there are stages of acceptance for the long lingering demise of our consensus reality then I would love to know what they are. It doesn't matter how many times we slog through depression to get to acceptance. We still don't know what we have to accept. Even though I use TEOTWAWKI as my preparation scenario I still can't possibly predict what the world will be like once it ends as we know it. So what the heck is it I'm supposed to be accepting? Beans and ammo? Chickens and potatoes? Martial law? Anarchy? Organic farming cooperatives? Chocolate withdrawal? Do I focus on basic survival skills (like how to start a fire with no matches)or on earning enough money today to stock up on food?

We can talk all we want about the stages of grief but we are not even close to being able to really process. We can't get a handle on how much we are losing or how long it will take. This is why I find myself increasingly wishing we were finally at 01/01/00. While at the same time I value every 24 hours that gives me one more day to prepare. Just one more case of Y2k schitzoid reality.

-- R (riversoma@aol.com), May 23, 1999.

LESLIE: You make an excellent point. The person of Reason that harbored in their mind, a premise or series of premises that would make the very idea of "Y2K" as causal agent for any sort of significant economic disruption, IMPOSSIBLE, would simply dismiss this forum and move on to something else - something of "merit." That they stay and denounce those with whom they disagree, seems odd, unless their motivation is not what it seems.

Whenever I become puzzled by someone's apparently inconsistent, surprising, or otherwise inexplicable behavior, I try to search for the mistaken assumption (premise) that I have made. As I have learned through many such experiences, the mistake is almost always mine, not theirs. I have assumed that their purpose was the same as mine, only to discover that was not necessarily the case.

Those that truly believe, in their "heart of hearts" so to speak, that the Y2K "hoopla" is simply the fantasy of fools, charlatans, or dolts, they would not be found wasting their time trying to share "their" insight and wisdom with such as those very fools, charlatans, and dolts.

It is much like the philosophy teacher who teaches that Man cannot "KNOW" anything, as he reapeatedly and passionately trys to convince his/her students that he KNOWS this to be true....

Whether it is to be a "Bump" or a "Blowout," preparing is a prudent insurance policy against, not only whatever Y2K may bring, but also the unprepared as well.

-- Dave Walden (wprop@concentric.net), May 23, 1999.

"R": That for which you are preparing, can and must only be answered by you. It is your life, made real and joyous, for your benefit or bane, by the values that you act to gain or preserve.

Whenever there is great uncertainty, each of us tries to "manage" the discernable possibilities, though only within certain personal, reasonable, (perhaps acceptable is a better term) parameters. While we engage our Reason and our imagination in such tasks, we tend not to lose sight of "who we are."

Who we are must invariably translate in logic to those values that we constantly, in an ever-evolving hierarchy, act to unfailingly gain or preserve. A logical precondition for acting to gain or preserve ones values is trying to assure that one does not put, or knowingly allow oneself to be put, into a position or situation whereby one is forced to choose between two great and sacred values. It is these values, uniquely personal in their particulars - though generally similar at a more fundamental level, that serve to determine in great measure, who we each are. The irony of finding oneself in such an uncomfortable and ultimately untenable situation is that the choice or choices in such an instance significantly refines or perhaps even redefines "who we in fact are." Hopefully this situation results in "making us better." If you think about it, the great (great by my definition - by my values) Romantic novels put their heroes and heroines into just such situations - situations in which they ultimately prevail.

Y2K has the potential, leaving none of us immune, to both refine and perhaps to redefine whom each of us in fact "are." It therefore follows then, that what each of us must plan for is to take those steps that in the face of that which we determine to be reasonably likely, will enable each of us to remain "who we are." For the reflective it will no doubt also include, taking into account not only the "reasonable" but the "possible" as well. In so doing we will not only be contemplating who we each are, but in the face of the "great uncertainty" that Y2K represents, who we each would like to be.

"R", this has been an admittedly abstract answer to your insightful question(s). Perhaps some of the other more articulate "down to earth" respondents on this forum can better answer you.

With respect,

-- Dave Walden (wprop@concentric.net), May 23, 1999.


Chaos and mystery are what makes life an adventure rather than a routine. In any given situation there is a certain amount of perceived predictability and a certain amount of mystery. The more mystery involved then the greater uncertainty in how to prepare. However there is also the greatest potential for growth.

The most mysterious process of my life was childbirth. It was similar to Y2k in many ways.

I knew aproximately when it was going to happen.

There were many "experts" with competing opinions that all felt compelled to tell me what to do.

I had no idea what my baby was going to look like or how it was going to behave.

I knew that my life would be forever changed after its arrival.

I knew I could die in the process or at the very least need medical intervention.

I knew I would very likely experience some pain.

I knew that my life and that of my child could be in the hands of strangers.

I knew that once the child was here there were many things I would have to give up for a long time. Probably years.

Finally, I knew that regardless of what all those experts and well- meaning friends said it was still me who had to decide how to prepare for the birth and where I wanted to be when it happened.

This is what we are facing in Y2k. Not a death. A birth. Birth in all its scariest most primal ramifications. This is not a happy Hallmark stork and bunting birth. This is an old fashioned rag chewing, gut screaming, no pain killers birth. Here in America the mother has had problems all through the pregnancy. She is out of shape and has been living on a diet of junk food, nicotine, alcohol and Tee Vee. The baby is breach and has the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck three times. The mother has appeared to go into premature labor several times. She may yet. She has ambivalent feelings about breast feeding and is more concerned with her own appearance and bank balance than she is about the baby's health. If the little tyke makes it and the mother survives you have to wonder what the baby will eat since the mother doesn't know how to grow a garden or prepare healthy food.

The father? Off diddling interns and bombing babies.

Next prenatal check-up is June 30th. We hope for good news but hey - its only a physical. Its not like the Dr. can guarantee the birth will go well just because the pre-natal seems OK.

So here I sit like a nervous aunt. If the mother comes to me for help do I feed her? Do I let her starve? She has made some heinous life decisions and she and her string of Presidential hubbies have squandered my hard-earned tax dollars in a bewildering variety of wasteful and (IMHO)often immoral ways. She could turn on me in a heartbeat.

I could leave the country. I could hide. I could lie about how much food I have. I could run whenever I see her or shoot her if she comes for my beans. No matter what I do she will always be there. Her child may be sweet and resourceful or it may be demon spawn. With parents like that its hard to be too optimistic.

Just like every other basic human survival skill - farming, self defense, shelter construction - birth has become something done by experts in protective clothes. Most people have never experienced a real birth so they have no way of recognizing the Y2k process for what it is. They recognize it as a major life passage but our culture is so obsessed with death that that is the only metaphor it can come up with.

Time to roll up the sleeves, chop some wood and boil some water. Theres a baby coming.

-- R (riversoma@aol.com), May 23, 1999.


That was the most brilliant analogy I've seen yet. Thank you.

-- Doug (douglasjohnson@prodigy.net), May 23, 1999.

R, excellent analogy!

Perhaps many of us are Y2K midwives... locally.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), May 23, 1999.

Thanks both of you for your kind comments.

I have thought about the midwifery concept. How does Midwives of the New Millenium sound?

Seriously, there is some merit in going into Y2k thinking as a midwife about to facilitate a very risky home birth rather than as a soldier about to do battle or as a surgeon about to perform triage.

Midwives act independently, they have no rigid hierarchy. They are concerned with the welfare of all present. They guide the parents in preparation the best they can. They do not bother to warn everyone of everything that might go wrong they just know what to tell people to do if complications arise.

When looking at Y2k as a birth - rather than a death - it is ludicrous to not prepare. Idiotic to not try to be in the safest place under optimum conditions. Deadly to not have adequate food, warmth, water and medical supplies. Community support is essential. The closeness of loved ones vital.

-- R (riversoma@aol.com), May 23, 1999.

Good thoughts. I think that this thought process is just as valuable as making lists and stocking up tuna and TP. Ultimately, we don't know what will happen, or if we'll be prepared or not in a physical sense. But accepting the unknown and resolving to face it is part of preparation as well. Ultimately, I think that how a person faces adversity has much to do with how they fare. Some people fall apart when faced with minor setbacks, and others, who have lived thru the most horrible tragedies possible, manage to overcome it and go on to have a succesfull life.

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), May 23, 1999.

I knew there was a reason I was saving that old slide rule.

-- nothere nothere (nothere@nothere.com), May 24, 1999.

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