Doomsteads

Why you need to set up an off-grid Rural Homestead: Part 2

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 21, 2017

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Erratum from “Why you need to set up an off-grid Rural Homestead” part 1:

"Consider this carbon neutral scenario…The current atmospheric GHG concentrations today of more than 480ppm CO2 equivalent…will still commit us to around 4 degrees C global average temperature rise and around 25 metres sea level rise in the long term (perhaps 80 years)" should be corrected towill still commit us to around 4 degrees C global average temperature rise in the medium term (perhaps 80 years) and around 25 metres sea level rise in the longer term (the "locked in" ice melt which eventually raises sea level by 25 metres will take much longer than 80 years to complete).

 

Why you need to set up an off-grid Rural Homestead part 2

 

by Geoffrey Chia, January 2017

A minority of people in the rich countries, the semisapients, accept that we urgently need to radically transform our unsustainable profligate lifestyles, but still avoid taking any meaningful action. They prefer Dr Suzuki's message: if only we vote Green, get our country to transform to 100% renewable energy, then things (hopefully) may turn out fine. This will almost certainly not happen because the semisapient voters are a tiny minority nowhere near the critical mass needed to vote in transformative governments. The semisapients are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the clueless sheeple and the knuckle dragging rednecks with the “drill baby drill” mantra. More progressive nations such as Germany and France are far more conscious of environmental issues, but are now faced with huge, destabilising, unwelcome distractions, viz: the influx of hundreds of thousands of desperate MENA refugees who have fled their homelands which were destroyed by the failed attempts of the USA to bring about "regime change" and control the MENA fossil fuel resources3. The destruction of those MENA states has provoked hatred from many of that heritage and thus hugely aggravated blowback terrorism, for which there is no end in sight.

If, despite using irrefutable evidence-based arguments that our planetary future will be dire, we are still unable to persuade the semisapients to establish rural homesteads for themselves, how else can we encourage them to embark on this undeniably difficult task? Especially since their city lives may be quite comfortable at the moment? People will certainly resort to desperate and futile measures when their urban neighbourhoods collapse, but by then it will be too late for them. How else can we motivate the semisapients to act now so that they will be well prepared when the crunch comes?

Some thoughts:

The pursuit of a more satisfying lifestyle and of happiness

I confess I am addicted to one particular genre of reality television i.e. shows about people building or choosing a tiny house so they can embark on a new, more satisfying low consumption lifestyle. There are many good ideas about tiny house design to glean from those programs, but more than that, I always feel a warm glow when I watch the exuberant joy those folks radiate when they inspect their new tiny house for the first time. Some may be downsizing from McMansions, yet all seem genuinely happy to live according to their basic needs and not according to contrived desires borne of envy, fabricated by the mainstream media.

What are the ingredients of happiness? Let us exclude the views of psychopaths, who enjoy killing and bullying people, from this consideration. Sociologists tell us that for most ordinary people, these are the ingredients which comprise happiness:

  • Basic material needs and comfort (clean water, food, shelter, good sanitation, physical security) must be met, beyond which there is no evidence that greater wealth leads to more happiness. Living in a McMansion does not offer happiness, only larger spaces to clean.

  • Good health, for which good nutrition and regular physical activity are necessary.

  • Good relationships, not just with family and friends, but within a harmonious community, and making meaningful contributions to that community. The person who volunteers in a soup kitchen for the homeless invariably gains more happiness than the billionaire who makes yet another million from his newest corporate acquisition. In general we gain more happiness from giving (to appreciative and deserving people) than receiving. This explains why Bill Gates quit his role in Microsoft to spend all his time on philanthropy.

  • Interaction with Nature. We are biophilic creatures. This explains why urban families feel the need to bring their kids to the park or beach at least once per week. Children need to learn that food and water come from the land and from Nature, otherwise they will grow up to be delusional fantasists whose eyes are always glued to computer screens and thoughts are completely divorced from the real, natural world (and hence do not care about the destruction of the real, natural world – which is leading to their own destruction)

  • A sense of meaning or purpose, which varies among individuals according to their inclinations. This may take the form of social, intellectual, musical, artistic or other creative endeavour e.g. fine cooking. Unfortunately one type of person who may not be able to pursue their passion in life on a permaculture homestead is the elite sportsperson. They need urban facilities and services to attain and maintain such elite levels. Having said that, when all the urban facilities collapse, the city based elite sportsperson will die. Being an elite sportsperson will not help them die any later than the average person, although they will certainly die fitter than the average person.

  • I believe a carefully planned rural permaculture community can offer the above and thereby provide happiness for its inhabitants. A good internet connection (for as long as the system allows) means that even folks in the most remote areas need not be deprived of the best intellectual, musical or artistic resources in the world, including the ability to visit virtual museums and virtual zoos. They can also interact with people on the other side of the world who may have similar rare esoteric tastes e.g. ancient Sanskrit poetry. Networking by teleconference or skype is far, far preferable to burning jetfuel to attend meetings. Homesteaders will need to preserve their own archive of hard copy reference documents so that when the internet and their computers eventually go down, there will continue to exist disseminated repositories of valuable printed legacy information around the world. Important knowledge and skills can still be passed on.

Financial and Economic reasons

We were born into this growth dependent financial-economic system and it is all we know. We were told we must work within the system to earn fiat currency to purchase the goods and services we need to live well. We were brainwashed into believing that more is better and we should sign up to 30 year mortgages for capacious McMansions. We were bombarded with advertising telling us to "use money we don't have, to buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't like". When terror strikes, go shopping. This system appeared to function satisfactorily in decades gone by, when the world was on the upslope of the Hubbert curve. Now we are on the Hubbert downslope, real economic growth has stopped and contraction has started. With zero or negative interest on savings, but ongoing compound interest payable on loans, with flat or declining wages, it is now impossible for many people to pay off their debts. They are lifetime debt slaves4. This economy is a Ponzi scheme and like any Ponzi scheme, those canny enough to exit at the peak will benefit, the rest will lose their shirts. These are powerful arguments for the semisapients to sell their assets, get rid of debt, buy rural land with a good fresh water supply and establish their off-grid homestead where they can provide for themselves and participate in the local exchange economy. Those who lack sufficient individual financial resources can join with their peers to purchase or lease land-in-common. They can then park their mobile tiny houses or RVs on their jointly owned land and live in their own off-grid community. Those who lack the money to invest in a land owning partnership can acquire the skills to make themselves indispensable to such a community (horticulture, plumbing, electrical, welding, building, carpentry skills etc). They need to make themselves known to the landowners and land cooperatives now. How much does a good second hand RV fitted with composting toilet and 12V electrical system using solar panels cost? A damn sight less than a McMansion. Not to mention ongoing McMansion maintenance, utilities and fees. After TSHTF, life on the homesteads will be egalitarian. All residents in theory should be considered equal in dignity, but not everyone in practice will be equal in value. Even if you are not a partner in the land ownership, if you can offer the community skills to grow food or deliver good drinking water sustainably, you will be considered more valuable than the land owning rocket scientist or brain surgeon or cardiologist who no longer has the high tech infrastructure to practice their skills. Well before we reach that stage however, there are tremendous psychological benefits to getting rid of debt now: a sense of freedom, less mental stress and improved interpersonal relationships.

The Moral Imperative

Living on an off-grid permaculture homestead can reduce your resource consumption and waste production by more than 90% compared with the average fossil fuel addict in the industrial world. More people going off-grid will ease demand on an already overstressed central grid. Gandhi put it most succinctly, "be the change you want to see in the World". Nuff said.

Timing is everything

Some people claim that positive, inspirational arguments are more effective than negative, fear based arguments to motivate people. That opinion is not based on any evidence whatsoever, only a warm fuzzy mindset. Humans evolved to react towards real or perceived immediate threats with "fight or flight" responses. That trait promoted survival in our hunter-gatherer past. Apart from immediate threats, most humans tend to be lazy, complacent, passive and inert. We tend to choose the easy options for short term gratification. Few choose to expend blood, sweat and tears pursuing lofty long term goals. Negative messages about real or perceived threats can and do work to galvanise the public. They are the most effective propaganda tool of governments. Like any tool, negative messages can be used ethically (when based on truth to save lives e.g. public health anti-tobacco campaigns) or criminally (when based on deceit to rob and kill innocent people e.g. Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda). The chickenshit warmongering US Neoconartists were very effective in promoting the invasion of Iraq by brandishing the fearsome bogeyman of WMDs, even though it was utterly bogus. However, that unjustifiable invasion could not have been sold to the US public if 9/11 had not occurred beforehand. Hence timing is everything. The Neoconartists used the psychological trauma of 9/11 to promote the invasion of Iraq, even though the two were completely unrelated.

I suspect the events that will eventually motivate the semisapients to act will indeed be negative factors. When adverse events start to affect them personally, they will realise that the limits to growth have come knocking at their door. Some people need a short, sharp, shock to get them off their butts. Different people have different "road to Damascus" moments. For some it is when they see a piano above their head suspended by a fraying cable. For others it is when the piano falls on their head5.

Survival of the species

Many Extinction pundits, including Guy McPherson himself, frequently conflate the question "will humans go extinct?" with the question "should humans go extinct?" despite the two being very different questions, the latter being heavily value laden. The fanatical NBL hangers-on in particular, the “true believers”, are so infused with their loathing of humanity and so fixated with their rabidly held view that humans should go extinct, that they vehemently insist that humans will go extinct in the near term, in order to spread dismay and hopelessness far and wide (hence they troll every “collapsitarian” blog). If they can demoralise and demotivate others from attempting to save themselves, such failure to prepare for the coming collapse will indeed cause those dismayed to perish, thus creating a self fulfilling prophecy. Those toxic NBL ideologues are so hell bent on perpetrating their agenda of schadenfreude, because that is the only way they can feel any sense of power or influence in the world, being useless no-hopers themselves. I strongly oppose such malevolent nihilism, which I consider downright mischievous, even evil. Whereas I have a dim view of humanity in general, I know some people who are strongly ethical, honest, honourable, reliable, hardworking, kind, generous and decent and who must be saved and must be encouraged. Readers of this article will know similar people. They are the best seed for future human survival. Sentience is rare in this Universe, wisdom even rarer and in my view must be preserved. That is my value judgement. Humanity's only hope is that a small number of sapients may emerge on the other side of this near-extinction bottleneck to create truly sustainable and wise human societies that live in harmony with the environment. I agree it is possible there may be no survivors in the Northern hemisphere before the end of this century. None. Complete human extinction is also possible and I have no problem with someone expressing a personal view that NTHE may be 99.9% likely based on the environmental devastation facing this planet. But nobody is entitled to promote a message that human extinction is guaranteed unless they can prove they are clairvoyant. Our extinction is not a forgone conclusion, it is not a certainty, so long as you can demonstrate there is just one feasible scenario in which human survival may be possible. Just because McPherson could not imagine such a feasible scenario, does not mean that human extinction is guaranteed. It just means that McPherson has a limited imagination. I previously described such a feasible scenario, which does not require complex technology, in which humans may migrate to a thawing Antarctica and survive an 8 or even 10 degree C global average temperature rise, a scenario which McPherson could not logically flaw, and hence chose to disregard. He then portrayed me as a nasty villain who had upset the delicate sensibilities of his emotionally fragile Extinctionist disciples on NBL by contradicting and ridiculing their stupid ideology of utter nihilism. If human beings are forced to migrate to the Southern tip of South America as global warming spirals out of control, they will. If human beings are forced to make the sea crossing to a thawing Antarctica, bringing along the necessary seeds, saplings and livestock required to settle there, they will. The survival imperative is strong.

Two Metaphors:

Some say that setting up a remote homestead and giving up on mainstream society is a selfish act. However, if you have been sounding the alarm for ages that our house is on fire, but have utterly failed to persuade the Establishment to quell the flames which now rage out of control, surely the only remaining option is to advise people to leave the collapsing house and for yourself to do the same? What conceivable purpose does it serve for you to burn to death in "solidarity" with the clueless sheeple who scorn you, especially if you are fortunate enough to be near an exit? Furthermore, action speaks louder than words and your action may encourage a few semisapients to follow you out to safety.

Here is another metaphor. You can sound the alert about the sinking Titanic, but you cannot force other passengers onto the lifeboats. The evidence that our ship is sinking is irrefutable: it is listing at an alarming angle, the meatballs have rolled off the dinner plates and water is lapping at our ankles. The people at the high, dry, end of the ship remain comfortable and reject the idea of moving onto a small, cold, dark, bouncy lifeboat which lacks a live orchestra (the orchestra continues to play on the high end of the main deck). They believe the denialists, who confidently declare there is no hole in the hull and insist that present troubles are only a temporary phenomenon ("economists say that current difficulties are just part of a normal cycle and it is merely a matter of time before global growth is restored"). The optimists say a huge hole in the hull does indeed exist but it can be repaired if we just vote for leaders who will fix it with sticky tape and chewing gum ("elect a government that will transform your society to 100% renewable energy"). The fantasists say that aliens will descend from outer space and teleport us to a techno-utopia just before the Titanic goes under ("science fictiony technology will save us"). The supernaturalists say that Jesus will descend from outer space and teleport us to heaven just before the Titanic goes under ("the second coming is nigh"). The nihilists assert with clairvoyant certainty that all the lifeboats, every single one, will sink or fail to reach any shore, therefore it is futile to board any lifeboat and everyone must passively wait to drown or perhaps kill themselves beforehand (but nevertheless should "live lives of excellence" – whatever that means).

Very few passengers are boarding the lifeboats, hence you will not be depriving anyone of a space if you are lucky enough to have access to one.

So review your options and make your choice. Not every rural homestead will succeed in the long term, but some will. Not trying will guarantee failure.

G. Chia, January 2017

PS: If you live in South Eastern Australia (or plan to move here soon), have similar views and values, are physically fit with a cooperative personality and have practical skills to offer, please send your details to RE who can forward them to me.

PPS: footnotes to the red reference numbers will appear as part 3 of this essay triptych

 

 

 

Islands of Freedom III: Polynesian Survival Demographics

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner

Build it and they will come. -Field of Dreams

I have been involved on  daily basis now with the Collapse Blogospere for about 5 years.  I began as  fairly Clueless reader, evolved to a slightly less clueless Commenter, morphed into Collapse Troll on Steroids getting my ass Banned from several Boards and Blogs, and eventually Graduated to become yet another Collapse Blogger on the net.

Many of my early concepts have evolved and changed, and I sure as hell haven’t been Spot On  with Timing issues in many areas, but on a broad level the Collapse has played itself out exactly as I thought it would when I was writing on Peak Oil in 2008.

Besides the Graduation to Blogger though when we launched the Doomstead Diner in February 2012, the most recent evolution for me has been to go from Theoretician to Practical Application of the Principals I write on, of Tribal Formation and preparing not as an Individual, but as a GROUP for the oncoming Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

This series is one I started on my Yahoo Group Reverse Engineering with a few Collapse Friends, and in the Final Chapter I took a look through the Time Window at what the parameters were for Polynesians who took those INCREDIBLE Voyages in search of new Islands to Populate, and to live out their lives in FREEDOM.  What is astonishing here is how accurately it represents what is now occuring here on the Diner with the Foxstead Project:

Polynesian Suvival Demographics

In considering the Demographics of who is likely to survive and how, I have to return back here to the example of the Polynesians. Who do you think was actually ABOARD that first Ocean Going Catamaran rigged set of canoes that MADE IT THROUGH to the Big Island of Hawaii?

Was there an Old and Wizened Navigator aboard who had many years of sailing about the local island under his belt? Almost certainly there was. NOBODY accumulates enough knowledge to guide a sailing vessel across that vast expanse of ocean and recognize all the signs of wave patterns signifying some land mass a thousand miles distant without being on the water for decades, with the aid of virtually no navigation instruments of any kind, save some Coconut Shells with star patterns drilled into them. These dudes didn’t even have a Magnetic Compass to use, for crying out loud. It’s almost beyond belief they were able to do this.

Were MOST of the crew in their teens and 20s? Almost certainly so also, these were the OWSers of their time. These were kids growing up in a time where most of the island they lived on was spoken for and there was no OPPORTUNITY for them other than to go somewhere ELSE. The demographic would have been younger than the 20-30 Something’s of today because the average lifespan was so much shorter then. The “oldster” Navigator was also likely younger than a 50-something of today, more like 30 something, but the same principles apply.

Would the crew have had many established Families with Children? Unlikely they would risk the voyage, and if they were flush enough to be having children, they were part of the “haves” group of that Island, they did not NEED to risk such a voyage outward into the Unknown.

So it’s clear here why the Polynesian OWSers went a-Voyaging in the Oceans Going Catamarans, what is not quite so clear is why at least One Oldster Navigator would go with them to Guide the Canoe? Said Navigator was probably pretty safe himself in the home island, knowing all the best fishing spots and so forth. The answer to that one is the ADVENTURE and opportunity to LEAD. He also is probably tired of the Inbred Monarchs who are running the island. He’s done it all, seen it all as far as his little island is concerned, he’s most of the way through his life already here and just more of the same old thing isn’t all that appealing anymore. So, when a bunch of hopeless young members of his tribe come to him and say “We have built a Canoe. Will you Guide Us?” what else would there be for that Navigator to say to them but “YES! I will Guide the Canoe.”?

Of course you take a risk here in making such a choice, but what of it after you have already lived most of your life and all you have to look forward to is more of the same old shit?

For the 50+ something’s here in the group, this is your CHOICE now, either be complacent and live with the same old shit, or to take this opportunity now to use what you have learned and try to FIND the Big Island of Hawaii with a bunch of 20 something OWSers. Unfortunately, unlike the Polynesian Navigator of 1000AD, you yourself may not have the necessary skills right now to lead such an adventure, but you do have a greater depth of knowledge from which to work and the ability to gather together the information you need here if you are so predisposed as to do so.

If you follow this path, you may or may not make it through to the Big Island of FREEDOM, but so long as you can get your crew of 20 something’s close enough that they can see in the distance the fiery light of a distant Volcano, you will have done your job.

You cannot make this trip on your own, and really you cannot even be the instigator for the trip, the Crew has to come to you and ask you to help guide the Canoe. You can however teach yourself enough now to be ready for the day they DO come and ask you, and if you have an answer they can believe in and they believe in you, they will follow.

So to answer the Question what is the Best Demographic here? Based on how I recreate the Polynesian Model of dispersal across the Pacific Islands, it would be one or two well versed Oldsters who no longer wish to participate in the society they were born into, along with a crew of young OWSers who have no opportunity and nothing left to lose.

RE

I wrote that article on November 6, 2011, before the Diner was even a twinkle in the eye of the crew aboard the Good Ship Reverse Engineering.  At the time,  around a year and a half ago, I did not know of the EXISTENCE of William Hunter Duncan, nor of Roamer, nor of Lucid Dreams or his wife Gypsy Mama.  One by one, these folks became known to me once the Diner was born, as I cruised the Web PLUGGING THE LIVING SHIT out of the Doomstead Diner on any Doom Board that would still let me Post and Link.

The Diner is like a Canoe sailing in the waters of Collapse here on the net.  It’s not a REAL LIFEBOAT though, in the sense that it can support you and feed you and your family.  It only affords emotional support, a place to meet with others who see the same things as you do, who in this sense are DIFFERENT from your IRL Friends and Family who just don’t SEE IT, or don’t BELIEVE it.

Building a REAL LIFEBOAT takes REAL PEOPLE, in a REAL PLACE, doing REAL THINGS to create an Island of Freedom, a haven from the collapsing Industrial Civilization surrounding them.  Not really something an old guy like me is capable of anymore, nor do I really need it either for myself, I had my days of Adventure as a Child of the Age of Oil.

Those days are quite soon to be quite GONE, and NEW ADVENTURES beckon those who grasp what is coming down the pipe here.

What is tuly remarkable to me in this adventure is how closely what I wrote about Polynesian Survival Demographics MATCHES the Demographics of the folks now involved in the Foxstead Project in North Carolina, myself included in this of course.  Is that the result of Predictive ability based on what occurred before, or is it a case of BELIEVING so strongly in a DREAM, that you can pull others into the Dream with you?  Honestly I do not know the answer to that, all I know is that the Crew and the Navigator here all match almost precisely what I wrote in November of 2011.

Build it, and THEY WILL COME, indeed.

This adventure is quite different than the one undertaken by the Polynesians so long ago, beginning with an exodus from Tonga to New Zealand, from there to the Society Islands, from there to Rapa Nui, from there finally to the LAST STOP of Human Migrations in the aftermath of the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption 75,000 years ago, the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was the very LAST place Homo Sapiens migrated to where no others of their species had ever set foot before, approximately 1 Millenia ago now.

The Diners don’t have the option of Freedom Seeking this way, seeking a pristine Wilderness teeming wih Life,  the only possibility is to CREATE an Island of Freedom in a Global Sea of Tyranny.  The challenges are enormous, and the Dangers at least as great as those faced by the Crew and Navigator who pushed their Cat Rigged Sailing Canoe off from Rapa Nui, where they had spent GENERATIONS building Monolithic WATCHERS to look after that Island.   Probably they thought they would die on the Voyage, and so also they left those Watchers as Testimony to their brief existence on the Earth.  Brief so it is for all of us.

They did NOT die though.  They FOUND the Big Island of Hawaii.  So I hope is true for the Diners, as we make our way to FREEDOM.

RE

Churning Butter

Off the keyboard of Gypsy Mama

Published on The Butterchurn on February 23, 2013

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

 

The Homesteading Ebb and Flow

Today I took a walk through the center of 150 acres of Upstate NC property. I’ve often blogged, typed, thought about how my perspective of what is important has changed slowly in the past few years. I went from an egomaniac photographer to a stay at home mom who reads Mother Earth News articles and is actually losing interest in keeping up with Facebookland.

I read articles about homesteading and self-sufficiency and crave information about how to live “off the grid.” The decision to begin learning about these things was not my own doing. Anyone who knows my husband can tell you that. He has been learning and studying techniques in all of the above mentioned areas for the past few years. I have always had the drive to learn, but not the ambition. This has all changed in the past few months, especially.

The property that we walked around on today may be a grand opportunity for my family and for other like minded folks. I won’t go into details about it in fear that I might karmically disrupt the good things that have been appearing to my family and I surrounding this property and the idea behind it. I will say that there is a chance that this property will allow me to go as deep as I am willing to go into being an actual homesteader. Not just dreaming about it.

We have slowly began to set foot into the homesteading scene over the past few years. We planted a garden. We have chickens. Aaron took a class in Permaculture. I began baking our own bread.

Lately, I have had dreams of grandeur surrounding homesteading in general. I want to keep bees and use their honey in my baking recipes. I want to make candles from their beeswax. I want to grow my own vegetables, plant my own herbs and have a stockpile of healthy, homegrown canned goods stocked in our pantry. I want to see our sons grow up learning skills that are quickly becoming lost. I want to be in the world but not of it.

I feel that just skimming through Facebook posts can really show you where most people’s brains rest in our society. Exclamations of excitement over something that happened on their favorite television show.
The always humorous drunken posts.
Cell Phone captured photographs of strangers doing something they think is funny or do not approve of.

Granted, social media can be a great way to keep up with friends, family and loved ones. I do enjoy reading posts about what is going on in the lives of people that I don’t get to see on a regular basis. Sadly, however, I long for the old way of communication. Letters, phone calls, and *GASP* —actual human interaction.

I find myself on Facebook in particular, because I actually get paid to run a few business Facebook sites. I post statuses six days a week, keep up with any correspondence or messages that come through the site. Contact the site owner if any important information crosses the page…and stay in touch with the page owner through email regarding the important things they’d like to make sure I mention on their FB site that are important to make the business grow and continue to be successful.

When I’m on Facebook as me, I find myself skimming random, droning comments and often end up the most interested in the homestead, crafty, bakey sites. Seems fitting.

I guess we all ebb and flow with interest in changing topics throughout our life. I am writing about this change in my flow of topic because I feel that my interest in homesteading and self sufficiency is not going to change. I’m ready to grasp it and take hold. I feel it is what I’m meant to do. Now…back to those Mother Earth News magazines. Hey, I’m still learning.

Sit and Rock vs. Stand and Explore

Skimming through the contents of this blog has definitely shown a transition in thinking on my part. A slow shift of consciousness, I might say. I’ve done a lot of searching within my mind, within my self to truly feel more authentic in my beliefs. I’ve strived to be aware of the ego, to stand firm in my beliefs and non religious convictions. It has been a slow and painful process. I am buy no means finished with the project. I’ve been told that self-discovery is a process that most people are never willing to attempt. Obviously, it took becoming a mother for me to delve into such a project.

Ayden Zen makes life far more interesting and beautiful than I could ever have imagined. He feeds off of the energy of the world around him. He learns, questions and grows…and looks to myself and his father for answers and support. This is a huge responsibility. After a few years of parenting, I began to ponder, “How can I guide him through this life and answer the big questions for him if I do not know the answer to them myself? How can I help groom him toward the right path if I haven’t walked the path myself?” These questions began the journey of extreme self discovery for me. It was not easy.

Once again, I have not made it to the end of the yellow brick path to collect my lifetime self-discovery achievement prize. I feel good about my progress so far, however.

In my journey, I have seen what the consequences of NOT exploring yourself can produce. I have complained about my family before, and you may think that I sound like an ungrateful, snobbish “better-than-thou” as I continue to complain about the people in my life who helped to make sure I made it to adulthood…but it is obvious that the root of my problems comes from my family, or lack there-of. I have watched my Mother hold in any and all thoughts she might have. Living off of tradition and in cliche’ and believing everything she hears without forming her own opinion. I have cried over the loss of my diagnosed manic depressive father who left us in death via suicide. I have watched my sister cling to friends because she has no family. I have watched my aunt turn her brain to mush with high powered, psychotropic medications. None of them could deal. I have made a conscious decision to refuse to follow their lead. I may have said it before, but this destructive cycle ends here.

follow your bliss

We moved from our mortgage rented house to live with my Aunt and try to build a better life for ourselves and our children last February. It has been just over a year since we made that decision. This past year has been one of the most bittersweet, trialing experiences of my adult life. It has been exhausting, really. But then again, aren’t most important transitions filled with tribulation? We have fought and fought to keep on track…to remember why we are here…to not go running off across the country…to not give up. Each and every time, as soon as we allowed ourselves to feel content and full of bliss, a pothole in the path would present itself. If we weren’t paying attention to it, we would trip in it. We fell victim to these potholes a few times. Fell right in. Luckily, once we realized we were sinking into them, we regained composure and pulled ourselves out of them…cleaned ourselves off and knew that from then on, we should be prepared for potholes and might want to make sure we looked down while we trotted along.

Not dealing with your problems, not dealing with who you are, not changing who you are for who you want to be are all irresponsible. Especially when you are a parent. We’re making it. Slowly.

“Follow your bliss”, we always say. “Our bliss is back!” we exclaim after it was once hidden and lost. I am digging in deep and making sure that we stay as focused as ever now. We have extreme opportunity in front of us.

From my perspective of my own journey, I am beginning to see that the less time I spend out in society or in social networking, the more the lessons that I have learned and the beliefs I have gathered along the way seem to STICK. They stay in place. They aren’t easily shifted. It started with a break away from TV, then from being a business woman, then from people who aren’t of like mind…and so on. It is continuing on now, with more power. The positive end of the magnetic force that surrounds us is sticking…the negative is being repelled away. I’m losing a bit of my corniness…my need to make others giggle and laugh so that I can have self gratification that I am liked and loved. Just enough of all of my good aspects of personality are remaining (including a touch of the corn). The bad are (I’d like to think) slowly being strained out.

13026_553493268017457_703783054_n

Here’s what I have learned. Sit and Rock and become heavily medicated with what the world wants you to be (one of the herd) or Stand and Explore and become who you were meant to be.

I’m in a very good place these days, mentally. My hands are a bit itchy physically…but that is the least of my worries. I just hope that I can look back on this post and remember how I felt at this point in time and be able to say, “I made it past the hump. I never lost track of my bliss.”

In the year 2038

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on February 4, 2013

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

So today I sat in an empty room with white walls across the desk from a man in a grey suit. The only things between those four walls were a desk, a laptop computer with a small flashing light on the side of it, a miniature printer and two men sitting on plastic office chairs, one of which was me.

The man was visiting from one of Denmark’s largest banks and he was trying to get me to increase the amount of money I put into the private pension fund I am compelled to have by law. Lying between us on the desk was a piece of paper with my details on. At the top, just under my name, it said Retirement due date: October 2038.

The man began to warm up his sales pitch, saying that these were ‘uncertain times’ and that I needed to ‘secure my future’. There were insurance products he could offer me, as well as golden nest eggs and money trees that needed planting right away. I held up one hand for him to stop.

“Wait a minite,” I said, “before you go any further you should know that I’m leaving your country in less than a month and never coming back.”

He looked at me, one eyebrow slightly arched. Leaving the country? Why would anyone want to do that?

“So you have a new job then – a new career?”

“Kind of,” I said. “It’s a bit complicated. I doubt you’d understand.”

“Try me,” he said.

I told him about the forest. About coppicing and making things, and about growing a forest garden and practicing permaculture and making charcoal. I said my wife would be restoring furniture, upholstering things, sewing clothes and looking after needy old people.

“I’ll also be a doing a bit of writing,” I added, superfluously.

My words hung in the air like a stale smell at a vicar’s tea party. It didn’t sound like much of a business plan in that white office with only a desk in it.

But he had heard of charcoal. “So you will be doing a lot of barbequing?”

“Maybe,” I said. “Mostly squirrels and fish, I imagine.” It was supposed to be a joke, but it died the moment it left my lips. The man in the suit didn’t know it was supposed to be a joke.

It wasn’t really a joke.

There was quite a pause. “But you will still need to contribute to your pension for when you retire.”

“I’m retiring now,” I said. “This is my retirement.”

Did that sound pompous? Maybe a bit arrogant? If so, I didn’t mean it to.

“What, did you win the lottery or something?” he asked. His expression looked somewhat eager, like he was onto something.

“Nope.” I said

I tried to explain further but he had a wait till I tell this to the other guys smirk on his face so I didn’t press on. He asked how I would pay the bills, the mortgage, put the kids through university, pay off the car and all the other things that are deemed necessary for a modern fulfilling life.

I told him I wanted to reduce my expenditures first and that the kids would be okay and he shouldn’t worry about them not going to university. “They’ll survive,” I said.

Not convinced, he went on to explain that his company’s pension plan was expected to grow at a rate of around 4.7% per year into perpetuity – or at least until 2050, which was where his graph went up to.

I had expected this. “I don’t think it is going to do as well as you say it will,” I ventured, a little weakly for my liking. I had a whole load of words in my arsenal if need be; words like catastrophic deleveraging, financial supply chain contagion, ponzi scheme and equity meltdown – but I was only going to get them out if I was backed into a corner.

“It’s guaranteed to grow,” he said. “Here, read this,” he said, pushing forward a suave brochure with a picture of two young-looking old people walking barefoot along a beach and wearing white clothes and smiling.

“But what would I do if I waited until 2038 to retire?” I asked. “I might die in the meantime. I’m not really into gambling.”

“What would you do?” he asked in mock astonishment. “You could do whatever you wanted. Play golf. Go on a cruise. Spend time with your grand kids. Your call.”

“But I’m retiring next month,” I said. “And I don’t like golf. Or cruises.”

He cracked his knuckles, sighed and then leaned a bit closer. “What you’re saying you want to do isn’t retiring,” he said, “it’s a recipe for having to work hard until you drop dead.”

“I know,” I said.

“Perhaps,” he added “you should consider continuing your pension plan for a few more years until you can be sure that your, er, business plan is working out.”

“I don’t think so,” I said.

He frowned at me. His frown said I am a realist and you are not a realist. I looked at him. I guessed he was about five or six years younger than me, although he was going a bit bald around the edges whereas all I have is a grey streak.

“I know,” I said. “But at least I’ll be doing something I like.”

He leaned back in his chair, sighed and looked at the ceiling.

“Is it possible to just get the cash payout now?” I asked.

He thrummed his fingers. “If you want,” he said, resigned to the fact that I was a no-hoper. “It’s your right to do so – but you know you have to pay a 60% punishment tax.”

“I know,” I said. “I looked into it when I was first made to take the policy out.”

The printer took at least five minutes to chug out all the forms I had to sign. We both pretended to look at different spots on the white wall as we waited for it.

“What about a mortgage?” he said. “You can’t buy a house without a steady income.”

“I know,” I said. “In the long term I’m planning to build a house in my forest.”

“A house in a forest.” he repeated distractedly.

“Yes. More of a hobbit hole actually, like in Lord of the Rings. I’ve already designed it on paper, I reckon it will take less than a year to build.”

The financial adviser looked at me soberly. He didn’t seem to have heard what I’d said. Perhaps he chose not to hear it. Perhaps he thought I had gone too far. I signed the papers and pushed them across the desk.

“Thank you Mr Heppenstall.”

We both stood up and shook hands.

“Good luck,” he said, handing me a business card. “Email me if you change your mind and I can get it all reinstated. Talk it over with your wife.”

“Thanks,” I replied.

Outside the office the next employee was waiting in line to be processed. I went for a walk in the park and looked at the icicles hanging from the trees

1999 All Over Again…

Off the keyboard of Old Horseman

Published on Old Horseman Livejournal on September 29, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

  •   Mood:  grumpy
    …Or “I’m Okay, You’re All Boned!”
                              

   Remember Y2k?  The big “END OF THE WORLD IS COMING!” thing from the late ’90s?  The Government was supposed to go into chaos. Planes were supposed to fall out of the sky.  Buildings were supposed to crumble.  Wars and rumors of wars.  Police state.  American cities in 3rd World ruins.  Economic collapse…

   You’d think that, as 12/31/99 approached, folks would have been getting more and more into it.  But it really peaked sometime in ’98.  By ’99, it was pretty much just a tired joke.  Nobody wanted to be seen getting all Y2k prepped, then look silly when nothing happened.

   Then 1/1/00 came… And nothing much happened.

   Until later in the year, when the political system deadlocked and the country was thrown into a Red vs Blue State cold civil war.

   Then, some months later, planes fell out of the sky…

   And buildings crumbled…

   Precipitating the longest (and still ongoing), multifront war in US history…

   And justifying a Police State…

   Even as American cities were plunged into 3rd World ruins…

   And the economy disintegrated with the press announcing “recovery” even as the mega-banks and corporations line-up for massive hand-outs, “industries” are propped-up with the Government giving people “free money” to buy certain crap, and unemployment and inflation run rampant, even with Washington cooking the numbers.

    But, hey…  It didn’t all happen at exactly the stroke of midnight on 12/31/99, so it doesn’t count, right?

   So, here we are again.  After years of seeing the collapse of petro-enabled Cornucopia on the horizon, we’re coming-up on the big Doomsday Date that Hollyweird has been telling us about.  12/21/12.  And, as in ’99, the proximity of the date corresponds to most people losing interest in the whole notion.  Changing the subject to protest movements, moot political philosophies, and anything else that doesn’t involve actually doing something meaningful to prepare for what’s coming.

   And it probably is a good bet that 12/21/12 will be just another Friday (aside from going into the big holiday weekend)…  We’ll wake-up. The lights will work. Won’t be any mushroom clouds on the horizon, or zombies pounding the door.  Well… At least the Solstice will seem pretty-much like the day before and after it.  Who knows how much the ‘normal’ will shift before we get there?

   So the DOOM is just a joke now. Like Y2k, right?  The various online forums which carried-on after the original LATOC Forum shut-down are now virtual ghost-towns.  What activity there is in them is mostly political or half-hearted, pseudo-prepping chat.

   As long as the collapse comes on the installment plan, most folks, including the ‘preppers’ and neo-LATOC members don’t seem to realize that they are on the scenic route to the Fedghettos.

    And no… Your little, suburban victory gardens are not going to save you.  I lived on a vegetable-intensive diet for over a year.  Not only did my health not improve, I also learned some things about vegetables.  Like they’re mostly just water.  If you’re even moderately active, you have to eat truckloads of the damned things to keep going.  Way more than you’ll ever grow with your spade and garden weasel. (And, if you think you’re already feeding your family from your garden, you’re probably deluding yourself by not counting the bulk of the calories in your meals provided by the flour and sugar you add to your casseroles.)  Also, most veggies don’t keep worth a flip.  Unless you burn-up a bazillion calories in fuel energy to can them, which detracts from what little nutritional value they had to begin-with.

   Neither will you be saved by ‘community’ or even family…  Because communities and families are made-up of people, and the sad fact is that most people kinda’ suck.  If anything, you can count on them to try and drag you down with ’em.  If you think a bunch of TV and video-game addicted, prescription drug dependent, Nanny-state worshipers are going to coalesce into any sort of mutually-beneficial support society, you’re in for a rude awakening.

   Of course, the Bunker Bad-ass survivalists aren’t any better.  A tacti-cool AR-15 with all the bells and whistles, a stockpile of ammo, some barrels of water, and a couple trunks of MREs might get you through a passing natural disaster and power outage…  But collapse isn’t a temporary thing.

  
   I lived through the Energy Crisis and chronic recessions of the ’70s, which were really the political/economic repercussions of the US hitting peak oil at the dawn of the decade…  I didn’t expect Y2k to be TEOTWAWKI, but it did get me thinking about what a vulnerable, tangled mess Western ‘Civilization’ had devolved into.  So I got serious about prepping for it anyway, and considered every year thereafter to be a stay of execution to be devoted to getting even better prepared…  I was one of the first members on old LATOC, and was the most prolific participant for some time…

   Then the zeitgeist started to move into this denial phase…  Anything to keep from facing-up to the fact that Business As Usual is eroding away, and that we’re all going to have to make real changes in our lives if we want to have any sort of existence as free people much longer.  And I don’t mean planting some zucchini, voting for the right candidate, or driving a goddamned Prius…  So I’ve been participating less and less in the doomy corners of cyberspace as I don’t have time or energy to blow on academic hippie pipe-dream or Rambo zombie-fighter discussions.  I’m a nuts & bolts kind of practical prepper.

   It’s kind of a shame for anyone who is serious about dealing with the future though, because I’ve accumulated quite a bit of know-how and hands-on experience over the years.  From Amish-type stuff like turning equine pasture-ornaments into field-plowing, wagon-pulling assets, to setting-up free-standing alternative power and communications systems, to handloading ammunition, to milking cows and making cheese…  If anyone wants to get real and talk about that sort of stuff, give me a virtual tap on the shoulder.

   I haven’t abandoned the wide world of doom… Just don’t give a whit about endless discussions about things that are far out of our control.

Doomstead Shelter-in-Place vs. Bugout and Rewilding: The Debate Continues

     vs    

 

Below follows a debate currently ongoing in the Rentier Debt and the Collapse of Debt-Based Finance on Gail Tverberg’s Our Finite World blog.  Gail’s original article is also reposted here on the Diner directly before this one.

The debate pits the concepts of Shelter in Place on a Doomstead vs. Planned Bugouts/Rewilding in remote areas.  This is always a source of lively discussion inside the Diner here as well.  You can visit one of our many threads on this subject at the Doomsteading Buffet inside the Diner.   Whichever paradigm you consider best or are currently pursuing, you will find information of interest at this buffet.

RE
  • reverseengineerre says:

     

     

    Homo Sapiens is a part of nature and follows the same general set of rules as well.  the main recent difference is that as top of the food chain predators, we became SOOO successful that all checks and balances on total population were rendered moot.

    As Gail has noted, once Homo Sapiens learned to control Fire, there was a large expansion in numbers, but it levelled out.  Simple control of fire was not enough to overcome the rest of the checks on total population.  Only once Agriculture came on the scene did the relentless Exponential growth begin in earnest.

    The problem of course has been vastly exacerbated accessing the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels, which vastly increased food supply and also enabled moder medicines that combat diseases.  So we are in vast overshoot now in the absence of the energy inputs, which means a substantial Die Off of Human Population is imminent.

    The main questions now revolve around timelines, which few Pundits are willing to commit to.  Dmitri Orlov for instance will define 5 Stages of Collapse, but he won’t predict how long it will take to get to Stage 5.  Gail will present many charts and graphs, but she won;t make a prediction how long the whole game takes to collapse either.  We all KNOW by now its going to collapse (with the exception of a few Cornucopians who think Cold Fusion or Zero Point Energy is just around the corner), but in the absence of knowledge how long it will take just defining the parameters for the Collapse does not provide the individual with a great tool to handle it.

    The problem is this:  If it is going to take 50 years or more for the Collapse to completely manifest itself, you may be better off continuing BAU in your life if you are one of the ones lucky enough to still be eployed or have Investments you live off of still paying off.  On the other hand, if a Sudden Stop is imminent with complete collapse of the Banking System, hanging on to BAU is not a good plan.  In this case, you need to GTFO of Dodge NOW, before the Lights go Out in your Big Shity and before JIT delivery of Food stops.

    You can try to Straddle the Two Worlds, as I do.  Live in a low population zone but continue to work inside the system as it functions now.  It still remains unpredictable though how a rapid collapse would affect even low population zones like where I live.  In any event, you must in some way if you expect to SURVIVE what is to come here to make some decent PLANS for it.  This is what we engage in Daily on the Doomstead Diner.

    For those of you interested, today I posted up a Grand Unified Theory of Collapse on the Diner Blog.

    http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/06/09/grand-unified-theory-of-collapse-gutoc/

    We also have an interesting thread in progress inside the Diner Forum on the Social, Philosophical and Religious implications of Collapse.

    http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php?topic=468.0

    New inputs are always welcome in trying to figure out how to negotiate what is coming down the pipe here.

    RE (Note to Gail:  Very comprehensive piece overall, I will repost it on the Diner Blog)

     

     

    •  

       

      It is very hard to find a place far enough outside of Dodge to go to. Most people have to make a living now, as well. So for many people, the answer is clear–they cannot do things too different than what they have been trained for, and are doing already. Even people who have their choice (for example, retired people) often want to be near family members, and this limits what they can do as well.

      So I think adapting (a little) in place is probably all most people can do. It is not clear this approach will really “work” if changes come quickly, but as a practical matter, for most people, it is all they can do.

      One thing everyone can do is be more appreciative of the things we have now–heated and air conditioned homes, vehicles, ability to travel, grocery stories, and many other modern conveniences.

       

       

      •  

         

        Gail, I think this is a common delusion that isn’t very helpful.

        I can buy the “near to loved ones” argument, and I can understand the “need to support my family” argument, but I know LOTS of people who have a family and still manage to live very lightly, very directly, very healthily, and very happily, making their living directly on the earth.

        Indeed, it is those who think they don’t have a choice who are most unhappy.

        It is really quite possible to quit your job, sell most of what you have, and take up with an organic farm somewhere. For the most part, they’ll be happy to feed and house you in exchange for your work — work that is really a free education in future living. This is the “underground railroad” out of the mess we’re in.

        It may not be possible for 300 million Americans to do so, but it is certainly possible for those who wish to do so, precisely because so many people are either ignorant or in denial.

        So, let’s say one is neither ignorant nor in denial, but they just can’t bring themselves to “jump off the cliff” of civilization. Grow food. Or at least get started learning how to do so. You can trellis beans on an apartment balcony. You can plant corn in the front yard of a suburban house. You can go work an allotment on the weekend.

        Each day, with each choice, ask yourself, “Is this taking me closer to a sustainable future?” You won’t be able to say “yes” every time, but if you at least ask the question, you’re on the right path.

        “One thing everyone can do is be more appreciative of the things we have now…”

        While I understand the sentiment — and even indulge in it from time to time — I prefer to be disdainful of what we have now, while seeking a more direct form of happiness.

        My appreciation of civilization is at a lower, more basic level. I appreciate dimensional lumber for free at the landfill. I appreciate being able to order seed from across my bioregion — even while refusing to buy it from across the continent. I appreciate books, and grudgingly, the Internet. I appreciate living off the fat of civilization, even while knowing that as more are forced to do the same, it will get more difficult to do so.

        I preach an unpopular gospel that does not jibe with appreciating the finer points of civilization:

        learn to appreciate the simplest gifts of life, and you’ll lose your taste for the complicated ones.

         

         

        • Justin Nigh says:

           

           

          Amen.  I’ve never understood the statement “I’m bored” because, how could anyone be bored when there’s so much on display in nature at all times?

           

           

      • reverseengineerre says:

         

         

        “It is very hard to find a place far enough outside of Dodge to go to. Most people have to make a living now, as well. So for many people, the answer is clear–they cannot do things too different than what they have been trained for, and are doing already. Even people who have their choice (for example, retired people) often want to be near family members, and this limits what they can do as well.”-Gail

        When you have Significant Others in the mix as most do, removing yourself from civilization (at least to the extent that is possible at all right now) can be very problematic.  chances are all your SOs do not agree with you collapse is imminent, and they may be right..  Evenif they do agree it is coming down the pipe, they don’t want to give up the Air Conditioning and the SUV just YET.

        If you currently are one of the Lucky Ones who still HAS a job, QUITTING it seems to most people COMPLETELY psychotic.  How many Actuaries do you suspect would give up their 6 figure job with an Insurance Company to go dig up Beets on an Organic Farm, even if they KNEW collapse was just around the corner from their own actuarial analysis?  Not many of course, so they will stay with it just one day or one hour too long, and the hese out  thWindow will shut on them..

        Anyhow, for those who do try to straddle the Two worlds as I do, there is a 3rd Option, the Planned Bugout.  In a PB, you pre-identify places you can get to with better long term survival potential than the probably quite densely populated place you currently live. You prepare yourself with the right skills and you prepare by making connections in the way places.  They exist all over the lower 48, I hiked almost all of them in my youth.  In Appalachia, in the Smokey Mountains, there are places to run and hide when TSHTF.  In the Rocky Mountains there are also, and in the Bayous of Lousiana as well.

        Are any of these perfect retreats?  No they are not, and they will have their own sets of problems also when TSHTF, but they are way better than the Big Shities will be.  Becaue in fact most of the population looiving in those places will never leave them, not on this side of the Great Divide anyhow.  They will wait one day too long to get out, and then like with Katrina, they all will not be able to exit fast enough before the Cat 5 hits.

        Anyhow, IMHO anyone who does not prep for a Bugout if/when it becomes necessary is a fool, or simply one who doesn’t even want to try to survive the aftermath of this Civilization Collapse.

        No more A/C?  No more Jet Skis?  No more Hawaiian vacations?  No more Facebook? No more Lindsay Lohan?  Who wants to live in that world, right?

        RE http://www.doomsteaddiner.net

         

         

        •  

           

          You are very right about the significant other issue. If you are single, you can do as you choose. But if you have a significant other, it makes a difference. It is pretty much necessary to find a solution that “works” for both of you.

          There are also very real differences in options available to people living in different countries. In the USA, we have quite a bit of farmland, and a tradition of “picking up and moving to another place”. But in much of the rest of the world, this is not the situation. A person in, say, Japan, will probably not find any organic gardening communities nearby, even if they want one.

           

           

        •  

           

          Reverse Engineer, I respect your approach, but disagree with it. But I’m glad you’re doing something, which is more than 99% of the sheeple are doing! And who knows; you may be right.

          I think your “bug out” approach works well in the face of a crash. But what happens if there is no discernible crash? What happens if, day by day, week by week, year by year, things continue to get worse and worse, but not bad enough to trigger the “bug out” reflex?

          The “bug out” approach works well if the water is boiling when you’re dumped into it. But in the “boiling frogs” scenario, there’s going to be a lot of skeletons next to bug-out bags, surrounded by piles of freeze-dried food wrappers, taken by surprise by the surprise ending that never came.

          This is not an event, folks — it’s a process.

          But none of us has a perfect crystal ball. If civilization’s demise is event-like, then the “bug out” people will do quite well afterward, surviving on dead people’s stuff. And, grasshopper-like, they get to “enjoy” civilization while it lasts, while the “ants” who undergo voluntary privation in preparation simply end up deprived. Am I somewhat close to your point-of-view here?

          Although the “transition in-situ” approach may carry some additional risk in a sudden crash, but it has vastly better potential in a “boiling frogs” scenario.

          Also I’m taking a karmic approach. Two of us have been living on a thousand a month for fifteen years. Before that, I was making mid-six-figures. I suppose I could have continued that way, while preparing for a “bug out.” But in those fifteen years, I have not involuntarily supported oil wars through my taxes, my carbon footprint has been minuscule, and I’ve bought a sum total of perhaps 20 gallons of gasoline. (Haven’t found a biodiesel chain saw yet…)

          And you know what? I don’t feel deprived at all! I milk goats every morning. I plant lots of trees and seeds. And I only see a TV once or twice a year, while visiting relatives. Life after the crash (that is yet to come) is good!

          One final thought: there is going to be a heck of a culture shock for the bug-out crowd, no matter how prepared they feel with one foot still in the Unreal World. Those who embrace the real world of physical limitations today will simply shrug and carry on.

          Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. I will miss the Internet, though… :-)

           

           

      • wildcatter says:

         

         

        I agree that trying to operate with one foot in each world is the best solution while trying to keep your job as long as possible. However the very real problem that is happening now regardless of say financial system collapse is that people are already losing their employment. This is what i call getting kicked off the train. Since central banks around the world are currently just managing contraction the day that you personally get swept up in it via job loss all of the sudden you are thrown into the new world of needing to provide for yourself in a very untraditional manner.

        From my experience there are very few jobs today for the unemployed and it crosses ALL industries now short of maybe federal government jobs. Once you get kicked off the train you are lucky to get an interview much less a job that pays anywhere near what you used to make even if you land one. Also many peoples extended families are finding themselves unable to help out much cause they are getting squeezed too. So really forget about financial system collapse, what people need to be preparing for is extremely long term unemployment. In almost every case this is all that will matter in our personal situations. I believe many of us will find ourselves without work before the dollar or the U.S. banking system collapses. If you do make it until that point that is great but for a large majority of us I see unemployment as the single greatest threat to our existence in the BAU world in the near to medium term.

         

         

        • donsailorman says:

           

           

          You are quite right: Unemployment is going to become the biggest personal trouble and social problem of the next twenty years. To keep unemployment rates down, real GDP growth of at least 3% (and perhaps more) is an absolute necessity. I think there will be little if any real GDP growth in the future, and as oil and other fossil fuels become more and more expensive, I expect real GDP growth to turn negative.

          Much of current U.S. unemployment is structural, i.e. due to people living in the wrong place or lacking the right skills to get a job. Currently there are about two million job openings in the U.S., and businesses would very much like to hire people to fill these jobs. But they cannot get the skilled workers that they need, even with very high salaries and good packages of benefits. IMO, the binding constraint on oil production is now the limited number of petroleum engineers and chemical engineers. Also, there are not enough highly skilled welders in the U.S. (or the world) to make the critical welds on oil and gas pipelines that are being built and that are being planned.

           

           

          • wildcatter says:

             

             

            Honestly i believe the structural argument is a MSM and wall street narrative that was manufactured to explain what they dont understand. That is there is not enough economic growth to accompdate hiring these so called jobs that cant be filled. After WWII there were many unskilled workers that found work simply cause there was so much demand for labor and economic growth to accomodate hiring at any cost.

            We saw the same thing in the 90′s where people that had no background in computers were trained as programmers or re-tooled as network admins etc. remember the old saying if you had a pulse you could get a job? This was the reality in corporate america back then. The truth today is companies are finding they dont actually need to hire people because again we are simply managing contractioin at all levels even in the private sector. So they post these jobs in anticipation of a “return to growth” someday but it doesnt come so they go unfilled. Add this to the fact that people currently with good jobs are no longer incentivized to take risk and leave their jobs even for slightly more money due to the extreme uncertainty.

             

             

          • donsailorman says:

             

             

            You raise some good points: Most of today’s unemployment is “cyclical” rather than structural in nature. Exceptionally strong aggregate demand can shrink the number of structurally unemployed. By the way, there were a great many unemployed vets in the U.S. in 1946, 1947, and 1948; they used to come as tramps to our household, where my mother always gave them ham and eggs and all the toast they could eat. For the economy as a whole, 1949 was the first really prosperous year after the end of World War II.

            There is an “iron law” in economics that says real GDP growth is prerequisite to lowering unemployment rates and that vigorous growth (say more than 4% per year) is needed to get unemployment down to frictional rates. (There are three main kinds of unemployment–frictional, from people changing jobs, cyclical due to lack of GDP growth, and structural, due to a mismatch between worker location or skills and jobs that are open.) Much structural unemployment is due to people being stuck in the wrong place. For example, the Iron Range of Minnesota has a high rate of structural unemployment because a lot of people live there in cheap houses and get by on welfare, minimum wage jobs, disability payments, etc. They cannot afford to move to, for example, the Twin Cities or to North Dakota, where the jobs are.

             

             

    • reverseengineerre says:

       

       

      “Reverse Engineer, I respect your approach, but disagree with it. But I’m glad you’re doing something, which is more than 99% of the sheeple are doing! And who knows; you may be right.

      “I think your “bug out” approach works well in the face of a crash. But what happens if there is no discernible crash? What happens if, day by day, week by week, year by year, things continue to get worse and worse, but not bad enough to trigger the “bug out” reflex?”-JS

      I disagree with your approach as well JS, which of course is what makes the whole process of noodling out just what to do here for a given individual or family group an interesting problem to work out.

      First off, as WC mentions,the moment you lose your job and your McMansion is in foreclosure and creditors are hounding you for a student loan that never will be wiped off the books is the moment the Crash has come for you.  You probably are eligible for your 99 weeks on the Dole, and if you really are serious about staying inside the system you might blow your foot off “accidentally” with a shotgun and collect SSDI.

      On the other hand, the day you lose that job can be your Day of Liberation as well.  That is the day you are given license to go Walkabout, as the Aussies put it.  The day you get to walk into the Mountains one last time and kiss Industrial Civilization goodbye for yourself, forever more.  No cell phone, your creditors are NOT going to track you down out there.  Long as you have not Gone Postal before leaving, they won;t be sending the Dogs after you.

      Insofar as the SO issue is concerned, this is obviously easier for the Solitary Man, but families can do it also.  Recently on recommendation from Ben in discussion at the Diner, I visited a website of a family living the Nomadic Life in a Teepee.  2 year old and 5 year old children in tow.  You should be hooked up with someone of similar mindset to pull this off of course, but isn’t that who you should be married to anyhow?  When you lose your job also, your family is just as off the cliff as you are.  What do you do as alternative here?  Drop your kids off at Child Protective Services for a life in the Foster Homes meat grinder because you can’t afford to care for them anymore?

      In looking at your own choice of a shelter in place Doomstead, the problems with this are myriad once the social collapse reaches a critical mass.  As in Argentina, Doomsteads are subject to regular Home Invasions.  It is unlikely that if many people are off the financial cliff that you will safely be able to Milk your Goats.

      Besides this is the problem of Property Taxation, which is the minimum form of Goobermint Confiscation you will face as things get worse.  You may currently have income enough to pay your taxes, but what happens when the taxes go Up and the Investments you have from your 6 Figure years disappear in an MF Global theft?  What happens when the bigger Goobermint structures break down and the local Sherriff and his cronies or a band of ex-national guard decides to make your neighborhood their fiefdom?  You only truly own what you can Protect and Defend yourself, and unless you have a small army, you cannot protect a Doomstead.

      Finally, the reality for more than 50% of the population is that they can’t afford to buy a Doomstead with Goats and Chickens and a permaculture garden.  They are in debt up to their eyeballs and can’t unload the McMansion except in a short sale which nets them nothing.  They probably have only a couple of months worth of Savings and little to nothing saved in an IRA.  The choice you made 15 years ago in truth is not available to them at all.  Perhaps they can go to work as a Serf on somebody else’s Doomstead, but who wants to be beholden to a petty Landlord in this version of neo-Feudalism?

      While such a choice is not generally available to most people with limited eans, the Planned Bugout is avaialble to nearly all who are healthy and willing to commit to learning how to live the primitive life.  In the Diner, we discuss the myriad ways in which you can prep up for this and not have to instantaneously depend on knapping Stone Tools and so forth, though that is worthwhile to learn.

      During WWII, the French Resistance to the Nazis began with one man who left for the woods the day the Nazis rolled their tanks into his little town.  He was just one man, and his neighbors considered him nuts.  In time, their were 20,000 members of the French Resistance living in those woods.  In the face of Fascism, you cannot protect your property and you are subjugated to the whim of the State.  If you do  not smell the stink of Fascism here already, you must have a bad sinus infection.  It has only just begun as well.

      You want some CHANCE at Freedom?  When the Big Show comes to a Theatre Near You, run away.  Run away far and run away FAST.  Run into the deep Bayou where no Tanks can roll.  Or like the Swiss and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan, run into the Mountains.  Preferably really BIG Mountains.  The Great Wall that God built to protect the Independent souls of the world.

      RE

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