The Long Night : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Folks, I got an email from a correspondent yesterday that bothered me a bit. Why? The phrase that he used, "The Long Night".....

Think about that a minute. What could it mean? The loss of knowledge, the loss of our culture, the loss of specialization, the loss of literacy?

We bandy around our projections. We amass our preps. We hope and we pray that we are wrong.

In the long run, what are YOU doing to keep knowledge and culture alive if we are about to enter a "Long Night"?

Are you going to be a Viking, or an Irish monastery?

Will our children end up as peasants, telling old tales of the semi-mythical Golden Age?

Sorry, gloomy weather, gloomy mood. Too much to do, too little time, and still trying to enjoy the last few golden weeks and months we have left.

What are YOUR thoughts on "The Long Night"?

-- Jon Williamson (, September 28, 1999


Read How The Irish Saved Civilization.


-- EC (, September 28, 1999.

Just finished reading "The Postman". Can't stop thinking about it. (BTW, forget the movie-read the book.)

The premise is that it took a few sequential large-scale events (exacerbated by a "Survivalist" insurrection. I think Koskinen read this book.) to really knock the US into the Dark Ages.

Probable? who knows, but I doubt it. The probability is <>0, however, if war is unleashed due to political instability in hard-hit countries.

I need coffee.

-- Lewis (, September 28, 1999.

Y2k can't, by itself, destroy civilization. Nukes could. If no nukes then there will be rebuilding. For me the long night will be if the rebuilding is under a world government and the resulting loss of freedom for us.

-- Mr. Pinochle (, September 28, 1999.

Sorry, but I believe that there is a finite (small, but there) possibility that this mess COULD bring down Western Civilization.

Erosion of the knowledge base, lack of easily accessible resources (even our landfills are full of what would once have been "exotic" alloys, although there is plenty of aluminum, which is easier to melt and cast than iron/steel), lack of TIME if a population is trying to eke out a subsistence living in small scale agriculture.

Steve Heller has touched on this several times. What if the answer to your problem is known to someone 500 miles away, but you have no way to contact them or to even know they exist? Our current Information Age glut turned on it's head.....

Anyway, I still hope to get by with nothing worse than a prolonged depression.

-- Jon Williamson (, September 28, 1999.

I am redesigning my life and my corner of the world based on the idea that there is another way, a better way, one very different from the incessant cultural song that says: "There is no other way than the one we're doing, and bygod, if it doesn't work we just have to do it harder." Among many things this means to me living lightly upon the earth, stewarding my resource use consciously, and treating other people as if my life depended on it.

At the end of a long human night I envision something better; something old, something new. But don't take my word for it...research, read, get out there and do it.

Further reading: The Human Future, by Daniel Quinn

-- Donna (, September 28, 1999.

Sooner or later "The Long Night" will be an eventuality. Nothing goes on forever not people or the societies they build.

As to weather this is the beginning of the long night, I don't know. It takes awhile for a society to collapse, more than just one life time or even two. We are the products of our society, it doesn't die until we do.

If these are end times, I hope the best from our culture is past on in those old tales of the semi-mythical Golden Age.

Out of those tales will be the seeds of a new society, a chance for future generations to build something better than what we have.

Maybe this is just natural evolution for society.

-- Mabel Dodge (, September 28, 1999.

At least, so far, *after* every night, there's a day. (Something about the eternal nature of... Yin => Yang => Yin... and "life" cycles).

Get ready for "change." It could be an adventure. (For some... not all).


(Lewis... mumm.... a caffe latte DOES sound good 'bout now!)

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 28, 1999.


Very true, and thank you for throwing that in. [G]

Coffee hasn't helped this morning yet, and it's afternoon now here.

-- Jon Williamson (, September 28, 1999.

Jon, Take two advil, I just did. And don't forget to buy bottles of the stuff for your preps.

The universe is evolving/expanding whether the species Man is or not. Luckily, we are not our small animal identities.

-- Mara Wayne (, September 28, 1999.


Try these ideas on for size:

1) LINK UP NOW with Steve Heller's project to establish a shortwave network. BTW you don't have to be a Licensed Amateur Radio Operator to buy and own a Ham rig today. The license is required ONLY to tune a transmitter final output and then to transmit. If there is a 'meltdown', you could probably find Hams around who would put you through novice training and prepare you for transmitting. The rules would probably be changed to adapt to a changed operating environment anyway. You can buy a good used ham transceiver today for a very reasonable price and begin learning basic electronics, etc. - a fun hobby anyway and besides good equipment has a known use and value.



Now, not later, establish a plan for specific gathering points. Make plans for geographical gathering points in case of serious meltdown conditions. Choose locations which are central to logical sources of natural resources.

For example: If there are G.I.s in Mason County, in the Texas Hill Country, with considerable land available, who would like to host a large group of 'meltdown survivors'. Then establish that location as a place of refuge and protection. Or if there is known public land that would suit the purpose, select it.

Establish in advance frequencies to broadcast the announcement that a gathering is beginning. As a part of this plan, knowledge of these locations should be made available now, but not after the 'meltdown'. The locations could be clearly identified in the form of a list; which could later be used for broadcast, using only some identifying number. If there has been a total 'meltdown', you could use a series of predetermined Citizens Band channels to broadcast the information. If you used a thousand watts, who could possibly complain about an infringement of rules; which at that point would have ceased to serve the public good.

Just some ideas.

-- no talking please (, September 28, 1999.

"If these are end times, I hope the best from our culture is past on in those old tales of the semi-mythical Golden Age."

Mabel, just out of curiosity...exactly what would you choose as the best? Others?

-- Mumsie (, September 28, 1999.

Are you going to be a Viking, or an Irish monastery?

Whooaaa...I'm of Irish and Norweigian about a tough choice(G)!

I hope that the stories that survive, are the things that we did out of compassion and hope, and not the things done out of avarice or madness.

The times that we fought, either with steel or with our brains to help others, and not the times we just kicked the s--t out of someone, because we wanted their land and felt ourselves better than them.

The times we sacrificed to make a better tomorrow, and not the times we sacrificed, so we could buy the latest beanie baby.

The times we put our brains to the task of creating something to improve life, and not the times we used our intelligence to create the latest technological nightmare.

The times we stood defiant, because we knew the cause was just, and not the times we wouldn't back down, simply because we were too bullheaded to do so.

And most of all, the times we reached out, when it was risky to do so, and not just the times when reaching out was the safe thing to do.

-- Bokonon (, September 28, 1999.

Good question Mumsie,

I would choose the American spirit as one of the best things to come out of our time period. I'm surprising myself as I type this, I'm not particularly patriotic. I've been very critical of America, since my teens. Vietnam and Watergate made me feel ashamed of our country and afraid of our leadership.

But stepping back and really looking at who we are, I've got to say America is the best our time has to offer. What a bold concept to create one society from many.

We American's are certainly "hell on wheels". We have impacted our world like no other culture in our time, building, creating and giving. We are a people of great energy and great heart, and I do believe the world was made better because of us.

I hope the story of America is the inspiration for future generations to build an even better world.

-- Mabel Dodge (, September 28, 1999.


Nicely done. That's a keeper.

-- RUOK (, September 28, 1999.

Bokonon...bro...Norwegian and Irish here too! (and a couple more to boot, so a typical American mutt)

Thanks Mabel and Bokonon, I enjoyed reading your answers. Imperfect as it is, America is as easy and irresistible to love as a rowdy passionate child that makes messes, hugs you with sticky fingers and leaves peanut butter and jelly on your face after a smooch. There has been a certain unique and idealistic innocence to the American people in general. We believe in our Republic, evidenced by our confidence in the ability to criticize it. It reminds me of how you can rail at a loved one in anger, but woe to anyone else who dares do the same! If she falls, I hope that the taste of Freedom is never forgotten, and the quest to drink of it never forsaken.

-- Mumsie (, September 29, 1999.


Fine thoughts, sir.

Are any of you SF readers? Poul Anderson, in his Dominic Flandry series, touched on this extensively. Dominic could see the Long Night settling in, but yet strived to hold things together for another year, another month..........

I'm not so sure that a collapse this time around would require generations.

I've got reference books (the ones that are 6" thick) on chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering. I don't understand these darn formulas and constants and stuff, but someday, if it goes down hard, they could help jumpstart a culture.

-- Jon Williamson (, September 29, 1999.


LOL! The "peanut butter and jelly" image was priceless. I agree, as long as we are free to speak our minds, whether pro or con, I don't see it as having gone completely to hell. There may times that are better or worse than others, but as I see it, we're still standing.

I'm Irish/Norweigan, on my father's side. On my mother's side, I'm Norman French. The Normans were Viking settlers, along the northern coast of France. There's also a lot of Viking blood, in the Irish. Just call me "Bokonon The Red"!

It makes Mabes as nervous as all get out, that I actually own a sword. I think she's expecting to see me out in the front yard this January, in a horned helmet waving my "pig-sticker" around to scare off potential looters(G).


Do I read Sci-Fi? Sheesh, I have to work hard to force myself to read anything but, lol. Haven't read that particular series though. I am, however, fixing to reread "A Canticle For Liebowitz", which is also appropo to this thread.

I wonder, sometimes, just how many G.I.s regularly read speculative fiction? Does the exposure to apocalyptic scenarios, that are so common in Sci-Fi make it easier to conceive of a drastically changed world?. Just a thought.

-- Bokonon (, September 29, 1999.

"And most of all, the times we reached out, when it was risky to do so, and not just the times when reaching out was the safe thing to do."

Hear. Hear.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 29, 1999.

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