For a long time people referred to me as a pessimist. My replies traditionally varied from "so you hope" to "no, I'm a realist and the world sucks." But today I was wondering about the people who were considered optimists. People who always see things as bright and good. That's not optimism, that's self-deception. Sometimes things are bad, that's the way it is. If you can only see things as good, then you simply aren't paying attention. The true optimist can look the bad thing in the eye and see an advantage. An optimist sees the silver lining, only a blind man doesn't see the cloud.
When people find out about the crash they can view it in many different ways. That blind man refuses to acknowledge it. The pessimist sees that civilization will end and everyone will die. The realist sees that civilization is doomed, but that random humans will survive. The optimist sees that civilization is doomed, and that this is a wonderful opportunity.
So long as civilization stands nothing outside of it can exist for long, because civilization must always expand. This is intrinsic to it's nature. If you don't believe me ask anyone in finance what would happen if the economy didn't grow for six months…at all. This idea will likely be fairly alien to them, so stand strong until they understand.
But, once civilization begins to collapse in earnest, it leaves cultural space in it's wake. (This is in addition to the death and destruction, of course. Remember this is the view of the optimist.) And in this wake, new things can and will grow. It's not really tabula rasa, but it is best opportunity we've had for 10,000 years. It is a chance to live without oppression from individuals. Without hunger or class rankings. With universal education and cradle to grave health care. All that it takes is the will to seize the opportunity. The only question is: will we take the opportunity to seize our only chance to achieve what 10,000 years of philosophers and theologians and politicians have dreamed of offering?
I kind of like the optimist view.