- The importance of continuous learning and clarifying your Why?
- Why personal integrity is your most valuable asset
- Why our current challenges are actually a call to greatness
- The key question is: How will you choose to answer it?
If you have not yet read Part 1: The Lab Rat That Survives Is The One Who Escapes Its Cage, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.
There’s a generational breakdown occurring with increasing numbers of young people — let’s define them as the under-30 crowd — falling into despair, dismay and even outright demoralization over the state of the world. Put bluntly, many of them see nothing to gain by preserving the status quo.
Conversely, the over 50 crowd has already paid into the system and desperately wants to preserve the status quo. That’s where their retirement dreams exist. With their finger now on the brass ring, it’s simply unthinkable to ponder that it could slip out of their grasp.
This demographic divide, between those with nothing to gain and those with everything to lose, grows wider every day.
Here’s a very typical comment from a Millennial that I ran across just this morning (4/5/19). It’s a very common refrain these days:
There’s not much I can add to that besides to say, “You’re right!” And, “Sorry.”
The very worst of it all is that the system into which the young are born ask them to perpetuate that same system by getting good grades, going into college student debt, and then working extra hard as tax donkeys and debt slaves for the rest of their lives.
As the above Millennial pointed out, it’s working in those (often pointless) jobs that is destroying the planet. Might as well inject oneself daily with a cumulatively fatal poison.
The promises of the generations before them ring hollow. The pensions have all been raided and hollowed out. Forced payments into Medicare and Social Security are never going to be returned in kind and are merely last-ditch payments to provide some measure of cover for the boomers relying on them. Embarrassingly poor infrastructure and massive piles of debt and underfunded liabilities are the true economic bequeathments of the prior generations to the next.
From Stephen Jenkinson we learned that every older person needs to be ready for the day when a younger person walks up to them and asks them two questions. “When did you know?” and “What did you do about it?”
For a disturbingly large number of olders (not elders) their response will be “Know about what?” because they are too deeply stuck in the current narrative to even notice the damage being done, let alone mount an intelligent, thoughtful response to it all.
For the rest of us, we have to begin plotting our own path to breaking free from a self-destructive paradigm.
Learn, Learn, Learn!
It all begins with educating ourselves properly. I’m not talking about schooling here, I am talking about learning. Sometimes those overlap, and sometimes they do not.
At a recent event I was asked by a 22-year-old what he might do to work towards having a career of power and influence. He wanted to know the path to success, which is a useful pursuit at that age. I didn’t give him any tips in that regard, but asked him the most important question I could.
Why did he want to be successful? If he didn’t know the Why? right now, that was okay being so young. But that question should be lurking there, always being asked. The Why? might well change over time, it usually does. But without a Why?, ‘success’ becomes its own thing, never really attained because there’s always more success to be had. A destination without a spot.
I’ve known many people who finally achieved great success in their chosen pursuits only to stand there like a dog with a chrome bumper in their mouth unsure of what to do now that the life-long chase was over. They become lost, many opting to simply chase more success because it’s what they knew how to do.
The reason is because they never asked themselves the Why? question. Why am I doing this? What’s the purpose?
I also told this eager young man that he should be educating himself daily. Always be learning. Educating oneself about the true nature of things is a never-ending, life-long process.
Grow, change, remain mentally flexible, and never think that he now knew any particular thing to the extent that there was no more learning to be gained from it.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
~ Marcus Aurelius
There’s always another deeper layer to explore. Freeing oneself from the social conditioning and constructs, especially of a culture that has lost its way and that lacks integrity, is the most important work one can undertake.
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
~ Marcus Aurelius
Part I of this report brought to your attention important information about how we are wired and how that’s been exploited and used against us for a wide variety of purposes, none of them particularly inspiring or helpful.
It’s pretty much considered by the masses to be insane to question the way things are. The more you research, the more you learn, the crazier you sound to your ignorant friends. Not stupid, I said ignorant, which is a condition of ‘not knowing’ rather than intelligence.
But who is actually more insane? The person who shrugs their shoulders and accepts a $85,000 hospital bill for a simple procedure, or the person who understands the many layers of deceitful decisions and financial control that made that possible?
Is the person who brightly points out how cool the latest technology is more well-adjusted than the person who notices that there are no insects on their windshield or around the nighttime porch light anymore?
The one thing that everyone needs to bring into their lives is an open and outrageous dedication to learning. Education involves two vital parts: learning new things and unlearning that which is plainly wrong.
I read constantly. It’s a big part of my job, and I am very fortunate to have the time and curiosity to follow things where they may lead. I like to figure out why things are the way they are, and I like knowing how things work.
In fact, I often can’t really grasp a concept until I understand the mechanism. For instance, until I understood the mechanism by which money is created during the creation of a bank loan, I didn’t really understand either banking or why becoming trapped as a debt slave was both deeply unfair and something I’d prefer to avoid being.
Something has really shifted during my lifetime and we’ve passed from a world where integrity had a meaningful toehold and fundamentals mattered. Context and education were once valued but now quite often missing from really important conversations. Without context Trump just appeared and shocked many of the people who lacked insight into or experience with the ways in which the lives of the majority of the people in the US had been hollowed out.
Ditto for Brexit. Same goes for the Yellow Vests, which the press either completely ignores or smears as an anti-Semitic, conspiracy fueled movement, when it is nothing of the sort.
There are a lot of moving pieces to the story as exponentials bear down and hyper-complicate everything for everyone. Resources are being consumed exponentially, and technology is progressing exponentially. Complexity is building higher and higher and people are increasingly seeking refuge in simplicity, drinking, video games and other distractions.
Throughout all of this, I am being asked to participate in a system that utterly lacks integrity. It does not offer the best outcomes for all, but concentrates resources and opportunities into the realm of the very few.
Our system supports and elevates profits and death above personal freedom and life. Monsanto gets a free pass from the system because it makes money and is a system of control over farming and life itself. It is a merchant of poison and death. Meanwhile, if you dare to care, and become involved in pointing out that black lives matter, or that Monsanto is doing horrible things, the FBI will track you.
The only proper response to any and all of this is to develop our personal integrity. My word is my bond. I say what I mean, and I do what I say. I have dedicated myself to serving others, indeed to serving all of life, and my inner compass is rarely confused about how to behave or what to believe.
We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.
~ Marcus Aurelius
Your integrity is your most valuable asset, as it is mine. I can only break your trust once, and then it is gone. I cannot lie to you even once, or intentionally hurt you without irretrievably diminishing or connection.
It took me a long time to understand this, but the person I would be hurting the most by acting out of integrity was myself. With this knowledge, my integrity is finally secure, and unshakable.
That I happen to live in a culture that makes a sport out of lying, and endlessly “forgives” liars and cheats is irrelevant. My integrity is not swayed by what others are or are not doing around me. As with a moral position, it’s not situational.
True positions of high integrity are always in play. They do not bend or depend. They are not stridently on display over here, but missing in action over there. They exist independently from the present circumstances.
If you have achieved significance in life, then you are operating from a position of consciously held integrity. To have one, you have to have the other.
The Road Not Worth Taking
The grand experiment underway only has two paths. It either works or it doesn’t. This first, the dominant path, is promoting the current trends of globalization, concentration of wealth, increasing technology penetration in our lives, the loss of privacy (for the little people), and loss of non-human life on the planet. With luck this path finds a way to persist but most likely it ends in collapse and the loss of everything we hold dear.
The second path requires us to bravely reject the many “truths” and creature comforts of the other path and chart a new direction entirely. One that has room in its heart for all of life, lives in deep relationship with each other, and values love over hate and war. It is a more balance path, one that re-elevates feminine attributes to an equal position alongside the masculine traits that now dominate in an unhealthy, unbalanced way.
For those unfamiliar with this line of thinking, I am not saying anything about gender (males and females) nor am I saying that masculine traits are toxic or unwanted. What I am saying is that our culture has too much of one and not enough of the other. Balance is key, and we lack that.
As I wrote in The End of Empire Approaches:
One missing element from today? Reverence for the goddess, for the feminine. I cannot think of a single western homage paid to the feminine. No temples to the goddesses and no elevation of feminine attributes.
This is important to note, not because we wish to bash the masculine, but because anything out of balance requires rebalancing. In fact, re-elevating the feminine will actually bring honor and meaning back to the masculine.
Our world is caught up entirely in money, and power, and wars, and force. We revere power over rather than power within.
So the questions I’d like to leave you with are these.
- Where do you have beauty in your life? Do you consciously manifest it?
- What do you revere?
- How honorable are you?
- Do you instill a sense of loyalty in those around you? Who would rob your grave and how quickly after you passed?
- Who do you honor, and how? Also, why?
- How important is it for you to be surrounded by people you can trust, and whose opinions you trust?
- Where and how do you respect, honor and encourage the feminine in yourself (whether you are male or female), in others, and especially in nature?
The masculine is outer directed, the feminine is that which is inner directed. The masculine penetrates, measures, weighs, reasons, explores, conquers, has insight, and initiates. The feminine looks inwards towards feeling, senses, is directed towards relationships, nurtures, fosters coming together, has intuition and is helpful.
Doing and being. Masculine and feminine. Both important, and always best when equally balanced.
My assessment is that our current culture is almost entirely focused on the doing, the masculine, but really needs to pause and reflect on the being.
With a little introspection we might ask why we are so intent on hauling the last oil out of the deep shales right now. Why do we need to develop new genetic organisms right now? Why do we need more money for wars and conquest right now? Why is everything in such a rush that it has to be undertaken right now before more thoughtful reflection can be brought to bear. After all, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
A thoughtful, reflective culture would weigh its own immediate needs and gratifications against the unknown needs of future generations and probably come to the conclusion that making more money today is not quite as important as leaving the future some seed corn.
All this urgent doing without much being means it is pretty close to random in its effects and all the data suggests it has not given us a better society, richer lives, or more meaning and purpose. It’s given about as much as it has taken, which fits the definition of random.
It’s given us a lot of stuff, and a lot that very distracting and ultimately unhealthy to the planet and ourselves, which is precisely what you’d expect and predict if you set monkeys loose inside a Wal-Mart super center to craft a living from the contents. The first week would make for some hilarious Youtube videos. The second month after the food ran out would be sad and tragic.
All doing and no context or meaningful reflection is a bad combo. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.
The odd part is that the list of masculine attributes includes logic and reason but the current path we are on depends on certain things continuing that simply cannot.
For example, oil and soil are depleting while population is growing and because we eat oil after cycling it through some grains first, that’s a math equation that eventually leads to starvation and a population decline. One could argue that’s a long way off and maybe we’ll figure something out ‘by then’ but there’s nothing beyond that thin, increasingly tenuous hope. No plans, no logic, no reason on display.
The probability between choosing the successful path collapse and is no longer balanced between the two but tilted ever more towards collapse.
How do I know this is the case? Because every trend I track is on an unsustainable trajectory. In many cases the collapse is already underway. Collapse is a process, not an event.
The young people across the globe have started to figure that out and are protesting and rising up feeling into the futility of participating in a system that has no place for them and offers no reasonable solutions.
The authorities have figured it out too and are working quickly to chip, track, and invade the privacy of every person on the planet. They have plans to monitor everything, and to eventually move to a cashless society where every purchase can be monitored and, if necessary, any particular individual cut off and shut out of all commerce.
The purpose is control, the driver is fear. The powerful are as aware of the trends and their significance as anyone at Peak Prosperity. They can add up the remaining resources and divide by use and extrapolate. The results are not difficult to interpret. Plans have been made.
Our call here is to educate yourself as to the true nature of the world and then use your inner guidance to navigate in the ways that feel the best to you, comport with your integrity, and offer meaning and purpose.
In my case, this means living as lightly as I can and using my intellect to grow as much abundance as possible for myself, my neighbors and as many critters as I can bear (sorry woodchucks, not you. Not here. You are greedy and destructive and have no mind for the future. Your afternoon snack of bean seedlings is an entire set of meals for dozens a few weeks later on).
I’ve begun to wean myself off of my attachment to screens, banishing them from my bedroom of late.
I’m exploring ways to generally avoid the rigged system of money and stocks by working to build assets that provide value. Real estate, especially productive land, and forging relationships with younger people who need help finding ways to craft a meaningful life without fully participating in the job, tax donkey, debt slave cage that was built for them.
The everything bubble is being re-inflated even as I type this. In disappointment after disappointment the central banks have panicked at every slight downward wiggle in the stock market. Now Trump is openly calling for rate cuts, and end to the Fed’s tightening program, and a resumption of QE4.
And he might get it.
Never mind that financial conditions are the easiest they’ve been since 1994, never mind that stocks are already near their all-time highs, and never mind that the main “product” of all the prior money printing (QE) was the largest and most deeply unfair wealth gap in all of human history.
The longer this path is followed, the darker the outcomes. Bubbles are never easy to burst, and it takes guts for a central banker to do that, but there are no brave central bankers left anywhere in the world. They know the score. They know what lurks on the other side of this monster bubble that was blown beginning back in the early 1980’s.
That’s when the world embarked on a journey of growing debts at 2x the rate of underlying economic growth. We now have well over a decade of ~2% growth but debt growth that is now ~ 10%.
We are very confident that’s a very bad idea and that it will crash rather spectacularly someday. When, we have no idea.
All we can be sure of is that “leaders” devoid of integrity will publicly proclaim all is well even as they work furiously behind the scenes to lock the doors and grab as much of the loot as they can for themselves and their friends.
Your only hope to play the game is to not fall for the distracting diversions of things like Instagram and instead spend your time building your eight forms of capital and investing in your education and inner development.
Build assets but keep an eye on what ‘they’ are up to because the rules will get changed and it’s always best if you can be on the right side of those rule changes. One example; the most recent tax overhaul was very beneficial to real estate investors (such as Trump). I know, what a surprise, right?
Most of all, find ways to build connections with your tribe. The main point of many of the changes of the past 40 years was to cause people to become isolated, feel powerless, and to accept (but not shape) the changes that the corporate/state power structure had in mind.
Let’s reject that out of principle, and because doing the opposite of what ‘they’ want is probably in our best interests.