Collapse Is Contagious

The Curse Of Kali, collage by Prasad Aluthwattha

My country is fucked right now, and it’s tempting to think of that as some distant item on the news. Ukraine is under siege, and it’s tempting to think of that as distant too. But we need to resist temptation. Collapse is coming for you too.

The Four Horseman Of Collapse

Right now the four horsemen of collapse are galloping roughshod over the world, jumping over borders like brambles and hedges, rounding up the weak at the edge of the herd first, but encircling everyone in due course.

  1. Disease: COVID was the first disaster that cut through our illusion of separation like butter. Even when borders were closed, it ran right through them. We’re just one bowl of human soup to microbes, and soup’s on.
  2. Climate: In the same way, the macro climate doesn’t care about the imaginary lines we’ve drawn on the ground. Climate collapse is coming through the air, through the water, everywhere, all at once. We’re all in the same planetary soup, and that soup is getting hot.
  3. War: Then there’s war, where blood flows across borders easily too. Not just through bombs and invasions, but through food and fuel prices too. This laces the soup we’re in with blood, making it clear what’s really being consumed.
  4. Market Crash: Then we have the final horseman of the collapse, bringing us the bill. While reality is crashing the stock market is still cashing out, but a big correction is coming due. Then the whole bubble will pop and we’ll have hot, unhygienic blood soup all over everyone.

It’s already on me in the third world kitchen, but don’t get too comfortable. The third world from the sun is the Earth, and you live here too.

The Connections Of Collapse

I say that this collapse is contagious because a disease in one part of the world has become a pandemic. Emissions in the rich north have choked the poor south. War in Ukraine is leading to shortages somewhere else. And in a globalized world, a market crash will spread everywhere too.

We have taken countries to be protective and real, but COVID should have shown us that’s not true. Countries are just a category, and one that’s almost completely irrelevant to microbes, macrobiology, militaries, and money. The nature of collapse is that it’s happening in these areas, which may appear in certain countries first, but eventually they’ll get to you.

So we are all at war. We are all collapsing. We are all sick. We’re all overheating. As Dr. Tedros of the WHO said about COVID, ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe.’ And everyone is not safe right now. So no one is. Like COVID, the numerous contagions we labor under will not stay contained. They will spread across the world.

They’ll gallop over borders, shudder through supply chains, be released in violence, and eventually be accounted for by markets too. What we’re seeing are the symptoms of a collapse of human civilization—and while it shows varied symptoms across the world—it is ultimately a disease affecting the human species as a whole. Collapse is wildly contagious and believe me, it’s not the flu.