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Peter Lamborn Wilson – Back to 1911 Movement Manifesto: Energy

ACME, you remember, was the company that made all those safes for Coyote to drop on the Roadrunner. If only it were that simple.

Everyone simply can’t go “back to 1911″ – there wouldn’t be enough energy there to support our wasteful habits. The last viable population density must’ve occurred, in fact, around 1911. After that – the crowd. The utopian reversionism I’m proposing, I guess, is only possible for a self-chosen elite.

Petroleum was a rare commodity in 1911 – like whale oil today. Stoves burned wood – a renewable resource. Plant an acorn, reap a cord of fixed sunlight. I’m not saying everyone should to it now. I’m saying that we – carefree luddites – will burned wood in our ornate victorian stoves, while everyone else poisons themselves with petrol & electricity.

The alchemists tell us that not all forms of heat are simply the same calories delivered by different tech. The heat of a brooding hen, heat of a manure pile, heat of a woodstove – & the heat of a nuclear reactor disaster – are qualitatively different, not just quantitatively.

Woodfire has been used since the cave people discovered fire. It comes from heaven (as lightning) – it warms the Zoroastrian temple in Persia, the Vedic sacrifice in India, the Celtic bonfire on May Day, the outdoor barbecue invented by buccaneers on Hispaniola. Woodfire is basic everyday magic. It transforms food alchemically. It alchemizes the domestic hearth. It engenders visions. It is the body of the djinn.

Frankly we no longer care very deeply about the end of the world. It’s too late for “everyone” to go on gulping down oil & shitting out pollution. The only solution to the energy crisis is voluntary poverty, as Ivan Illich used to say – so the secret is to learn to enjoy it.

Frenchfry oil, wind power, solar panels, nuclear power plants – none of them will allow the whole world to go on sucking up oil & other forms of dead energy like us Americans in 2011 – like it’s “going out of style” (which it is) – so let’s just do without it, & revert to 1911, comrades. Abandon the suckers to their doomsday scenarios (Rapture, Global Warming, Peak Oil, band, whimper), & stoke up your ACME woodstove with aromatic pine, & sit around it all winter with the complete works of Balzac, Scott, Dumas, Stevenson, Proust. Roast some apples. Simmer your poppy-head tea. Dream on.