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ships collides with bridge

Planes falling out the sky and ships crashing are not anomalies. These are signs of the times. This is the new normalcy.

It's not just Boeing or Baltimore, the Panama Canal is running dry and the Red Sea is off-limits cause western genocide. Almost every choke-point is choking, and these are just the signs. The planet itself is calling time.

Global flying and shipping as we know it simply will not exist in the near future. Such mass, massive, machines are not long for this world. Soon they will be strange skeletons, like the giant dinosaurs. The fossil-fuelled will become fossils themselves. Some smaller form may survive the cataclysm (shout out birds), but not these beasts. That's why all these 'accidents' aren't isolated events. They're part of the collapse of everything.

Let's start with the fact that we can't keep going in these beasts because we're headed straight for the bridges connecting us to the rest of the natural world. We've long since lost power to the artificial beasts, so the natural world will just be a casualty. This is a problem because the natural is what the artificial eats. Thus this economy will starve to death while choking on its own waste products. As the saying goes, you are what you eat, and this is the time to eat shit. The fossil-eaters will become fossils, inexorably.

There is no 'renewable' transition out of this. 'We' simply have no like-for-like replacement for heavy fuel (mainly diesel). The entire economy runs on heavy fuel and we are A) running out of economical supply and B) the emissions are killing us. We are both running out of drugs and dying of an overdose at the same time. Oil has gone from a net energy return (EROEI) of 100:1 to to 10:1 to 3:1 for last veins like tar sands. You used to be able to poke a hole in the ground and get a gusher, and now you have to frack your water supply to get less and lesser. And it's not like we're producing more of this stuff, nobody's laying down forests and compressing them over millions of years. This was a one-time inheritance and we blew it on dumb shit like Dubai.

The illusion that you can switch your car for a Tesla has led to the delusion that this is possible to do this for industrial society as a whole. People have no idea how big these machines are, and how heavy fuel (mainly diesel) is required to even produce renewables. We can certainly have a different civilization, but we can't have this one. Once you run out of drugs you can still have a party, just not an epic fucking bender like we've been on for centuries. There is simply a finite amount of cocaine at the planetary party and it made us assholes anyways. Of course, billionaires will continue to jet until we guillotine them, but billions will be shit out of luck in the next few decades.

When I say 'we' have no 'like-for-like' replacement, I mean we do not have another energy source capable of moving hundreds of people thousands of kilometers (like jet planes) and hundreds of thousands of tons across the open seas (like container ships). We could still move stuff and people by sail or zeppelin, but that's not what we're talking about, is it? It's not that such 'like-for-like' technology exists and is just hard to scale up. Such technology doesn't exist at all. It's not even theoretically possible, and even if it was, we'd need the same fossil fuels to build this mythical replacement! We would have to basically stop flying and shipping (not to mention trucking) for years to build out a new, shittier, fleet that moves less people and stuff for more money. There is simply no way for the algorithm called the economy to process this. Stop growing? Make less money? Forever? Does not compute! What we have is an irresistible force (economics) meeting an immovable object (the planet) and—like a ship pile-driving a bridge—this just ends in the total collapse of both.

Let me walk you through how, precisely, we're fucked, using the math of Dr. Tom Murphy. An electric Boeing 737 with equivalent range would require a 300 ton battery, nearly 10x the weight of the rest of the plane, which is literally a non-starter. Such a plane could reduce its range to 200 km to get off the ground, at which point you're better off staying there and taking the train. Meanwhile, an electric shipping container would need a 65,000 ton battery, displacing two-thirds of the cargo capacity. It would take three electric ships to move the same cargo as one fuel ship, using nearly 200,000 tons of batteries to move about 100,000 tons of goods. Needless to say, this is all more expensive than the magic bean juice we found in the ground. The fuel-to-weight ratio is 20x worse! Meanwhile, making those batteries would require tearing (mining) the Earth a new asshole, which it cannot take.

You can do the math on this yourself, it's a good substitute for hopeful thinking. Indeed, the modern era is based on being hopeful and not thinking. All future economic policy is based on 'something' working out, and not even praying on it. We're literally winging it into oblivion. Because we lived in an age of ever-improving technology we have missed the fact that A) science and technology have stopped fundamentally improving in the 60s/70s (we're still flying the 737!limit) and B) this was a historical anomaly. Fossil fuels were a one-time inheritance, a solar battery charged over millions of years, and charging takes a million years. When the juice runs out, it's just out, and—worst of all—we used that energy to chew up every other natural resource we could find. We're going to be out of a lot of stuff, including food, water, and most of all luck.

We are simply reaching the physical limits of physics. This entire period of history is some weird interregnum where we hit the snooze button and pretending that the end of the fossil fuel era is a bad dream. But it's not. This is the new reality and you've got to wake up and get schooled at some point. I think you know this already. There are signs a plenty.

Ever since COVID people have been waiting for some return to normal and it's just not happening. Because it won't. Entire generations are growing up that will know only 'abnormal', and generations will come up that know this life only as something dead and gone. Things will keep breaking and breaking and we'll keep hitting new lows that we think are the bottom, but no, there's another one. As the Club Of Rome predicted in the 1970s, the 2020s/30s are when resources run out, food supplies and population drop, ad we're right on schedule. People keep asking 'what do we do?' which is not really the relevant question. The question is 'when?' and the answer is last century. That was the time to implement global climate communism, but it didn't happen, did it? Instead we got the coke-fuelled 80s and the actual end of history.

Thus the crash of the Dali into the Francis Scott Key Bridge is not some absurd anomaly. It's a sign of the times, telling us that the American anthem is ending. As Francis Scott Key wrote about the War of 1812:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Key was talking about how no one (in this case, the British) could free their slaves, and how America would keep reigning. Well, not anymore, is it? A container ship has just crashed through Key's namesake. As the Chinese would say, the mandate of heaven is withdrawn. The gods themselves are angry, or at least not putting up with this shit anymore. The whole anthropological era is sinking in front of us and these events are not anomalies, they're the new normal. Parts of Boeing planes falling out of the sky is not just a sign of bad financial engineering. It's a sign of the times and the times, as Bob Dylan said, are a'changing.

And so it ends. As Mobb Deep said“party's over, tell the rest of the crew.” We're at the end of what Bill Burroughs called 'naked lunch,' the moment when you can see what's on the end of every fork. We've been eating natural gas and drinking oil and smoking coal and there's nothing left, plus we made a godawful mess of the place. We're just forked now. The fossil-fuel era is going the way of the dinosaurs and this, my friends, is the time of asteroids.


Indrajit Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan geopolitical analyst. The themes he generally writes about are collapse, because, in his own words: "I can both observe it and my country is generally ahead of the dismal curve), climate change (which I realize now is a symptom of the more general collapse), White Empire (what I call the American empire which has all the old colonizers as vassals), philosophy, politics, parenting, and whatever goes through my head." He can be reached at  . 

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