The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future
by William H. Kotke
AVAILABILITY: Readily available
Publication Date: November 2007
Binding: Paperback, 652pp
Condition: Special Sale
Description: 'The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future' is considered an underground classic.
Author William H. Kötke is widely traveled and published. His most recent book is 'Planet Garden', also available here. He has been a journalist, a radio script writer, a pamphleteer, a novelist, an essayist, and has had many articles published in periodicals.
From the Introduction:
The crisis of the planet Earth is so profound that all of our lives will be caught up in it. Our lives will change because of it. Our lives will change because of the apocalyptic events happening now and the even greater dislocations to come. We cannot avoid these great trends of history but we can exercise awareness and skill in action in dealing with them. The tumult will be environmental and it will also be within the social body of civilization.
Book One begins with a straight-forward examination of our ecological situation on the planet. This is not pleasant knowledge but it is imperative that we understand the full dimensions of the problem before we invest our lives in a solution. Book One also includes an explanation of how we humans have arrived at such a point of personal and planetary suicide. In this section the cultural dynamics, the psychology and the history of our culture is examined in order to gain insight for the future.
Book Two is a plan of action for us to regain paradise. This section answers the question of how to live in balance with nature. This is not a theoretical answer. It involves an actual watershed, what its ecology is and what the food sources are. This section takes those much abused words, “sustainable” and “balance with nature,” and puts them on the ground. We will be urged to immediately create a new ecologically sustainable land based culture that will take us through the future times. Those who can respond will be accepting an initiatory challenge such as has seldom happened to our kind. The challenge is to bring out of the greatest wave of death and destruction the earth has ever known, a new world of wholeness and relationship of all of the tribes that live in ecological sustainability. This era is the first time in two million years that all of the tribes can connect as a planetary whole in a geographical and material sense.
When our great, great, great grandchildren look back at the crisis that their ancestors had lived through they will understand why we changed ourselves, our culture, our relationship with our mother the earth and our relationship with the creative spirit of the cosmos.
Review(s): "In spite of its tough message, there is much compassion and humanity in The Final Empire. Right away as you begin to read this work, you sense increasingly the grand perspective in Kötke's words. He is not speaking of anarchy. He is offering vital common sense. It's just that his meaning is so unavoidably political. And so much against what we have been taught all our lives:
The materialistic values of civilization teach us that the accumulation of wealth is progress. The material wealth of the civilization is derived from the death of the earth, the soils, the forests, the fish stocks, the 'free resources' of flora and fauna. The ultimate end of this is for all human species to live in giant parasitical cities of cement and metal while surrounded by deserts of exhausted soils. The simple polar opposites are: the richness and wealth of the natural life of earth versus the material wealth of people living out their lives in artificial environments.
This amounts to a direct challenge to humankind. A demand for radical change. A re-envisioning of our part in the community of life and the precepts of individuality. And Mr. Kötke provides a strong argument for this case. He traces the environmental scars of civilization through the ages. Empire after empire, desertification of the top soil winds its way around the globe in an erosive helix from China to India to Mesopotamia to Italy to North America.
As radical as it may seem at first glance, The Final Empire is a necessary and sensible primer for the recovery of the planet. It blends a critical statistical analysis of our deteriorating environment with a positivism of hope for a post-empire age and a newwhole-human relation to the living community of Earth." - Dan Armstrong, author of the novels, 'Prairie Fire' and 'Taming the Dragon'