Notes from Rowe 2016 – and what's next?
Looking back at the Rowe Weekend
In April 2016, Peak Prosperity readers assembled at the Rowe Conference Center in western Massachusetts. I’m looking back on my notes, and would like to invite you, as a fellow attendee, to add your own reflections and comments on the Rowe 2016 Group in Peak Prosperity.com
Many of the people I spoke with agreed it was a rare experience to be in a room full of folks who are aware of all the topics discussed on Peak Prosperity, and shared their relief at being able to speak freely.
Chris started the weekend off by nothing that people at this and other Peak Prosperity events have questions about how to deal with the world situation spiritually and emotionally, not just financially.
As he said, many of us have crisis fatigue. It’s as if we’ve been driving through a bad neighborhood in Iraq in a Humvee in 2003, but nothing is happening. It often feels as if we’re living two separate lives. Some of us are at a fork in the road, wondering what to do next, and how to act on what we’ve become aware of.
– We have to reframe from being against something to being for something – reflected in the shift from the Crash Course to Peak Prosperity.
– The movie V for Vendetta recognizes the power of an idea.
– What’s the overlap between knowing, doing and being?
– Most people are mindlessly following the patterns in front of them but if we look consciously, we can find more options.
– The US government spies on everyone and manages financial markets.
– It’s all designed to make you feel powerless – but you’re not.
– When faced with government power and feeling powerless, look for where you can find freedom of action and take power.
– Responses include: take your money out of the banking system, take a lower profile so the government doesn’t notice you, use a VPN on your internet connection, control your attitude, and try to have fun.
– The US is marketing fear to itself all the time. People report being increasingly nervous and don’t know why.
– Rats stuck in a cage and repeatedly shocked will turn on each other.
– The crisis is already well underway – look at ocean acidification, the temporary propping up of the financial system. These developments are hushed up and disguised, so people’s responses to the crises are blunted.
– Sometimes the old guard just doesn’t know what to do. Japan’s crazy: despite their ongoing demographic avalanche, the population becoming increasingly old, the government keeps piling up debt. Old people are shoplifting to get themselves into prison.
– Lead with your actions. When the time is right things just happen. When it’s not, you labor fruitlessly for decades.
It’s more important to ask the right questions than get the right answers.
– What might a quiet rebellion look like?
– In a system that’s increasingly broken and destructive, how can one increasingly opt out or refuse to consent?
– Where and how can we each develop the 8 forms of capital: financial, living, material, knowledge, emotional, social, cultural and time.
– What is the most important thing for each of us to be doing?
– How do we not waste our time?
– How can we open our hearts, become Shambala warriors, and find our leadership?
Chris reviewed recent developments in the economy, energy and the environment.
– 2015 was the hottest year ever. Weather instability is on the rise, and CO2 levels keep going up.
– China used more cement in the last 3 years than the US used during the last 100 years.
– Fires in Indonesia are producing more daily emissions than the US economy – so they can clear forests that can raise palm oil, favored as a green biofuel in the US.
– While the US GDP is stalling we continue to pile on massive debt. The entire world is borrowing over 3X the rate of GDP.
– US oil production will start going down within a year. The oil industry is laying off massive numbers of jobs. When oil prices go up again efforts to re-start drilling will run into debt problems. It will quickly turn into a crisis.
– There will be massive deflation. There’s so much debt it won’t be paid back. The losses will be dumped onto the taxpayers.
It’s a very complex situation. The data continues to get worse. We don’t know when it will give way, like an earthquake fault line. Elites will do whatever they can to maintain control. The old guard will keep the old story going until they can’t do it anymore.
Becca suggested we each do the things that give us the most joy and that we feel most drawn to and passionate about. Look to the practices / networks that will be needed more after the reset.
– Even at this stage of the unwinding of the world we still have time.
– The 8 forms of capital are easily controlled by the individual – options for personal agency. Even if you don’t have much money you have other options, apply it in your own way.
– Where do I claim inner authority, the ultimate rebellion against the system? How do you apply the skills and gifts that are a unique expression of who you are? How do we respond in a way that creates a life of meaning and connection? How do we live the fullest life we can?
Changing ourselves, changing our culture
What’s our cultural story? As Gandhi said, beliefs lead to our thoughts, and in turn our words, actions, habits and values, determining our destiny. Look for the root belief of any thought. Many unconscious factors will be involved – from our individual biology, to our implicit cultural context.
How we hold this information is the biggest part of sharing it with others. Speak about building resilience through building the 8 forms of capital, rather than triggering fear. Find out what is important to whoever you’re speaking with, and tailor the message to that. At the same time, be present with your own feelings of fear and anger.
The deeper truth is that the fundamental beliefs of our culture have to be shifted. We have different courses of action we can take individually. There are the new approaches to farming. There’s the concept of opting out of the system. How can those, and many other threads, coalesce and become a movement? How can we be coalescing agents?
Trimtabs are small additions to a rudder that steer a ship or direct a plane, having a disproportionate impact on the course of the ship. Buckminster Fuller used the trimtab as a metaphor for social change and leadership.
– What social innovations can have a multiplier effect?
– What ideas can have that power, and be compatible with the concept of open source so they can be widely taken up, used, innovated, spread?
– Are there ways to build a community of practice?
– How can we each help build this community beyond our neighborhood?
– How can this serve as an underground railroad?
The word apocalypse comes from the Greek word for revelation – revealing what has always been there. There will be other strategies, and many other movements to network with. A political party isn’t fluid enough for this task, and isn’t necessary, although political parties may arise or be influenced by these ideas.
– What are the precipitating crystals in the solution?
– A reset is needed to enable a change of course while it’s still possible.
– Key phrases include: deep withdrawal of consent; taking power back to yourself; dreaming what you want to achieve.
– Many among the millennial generation, as well as older people, are less willing to consent, and may be receptive to alternative pathways.
– To get this message out to the potentially receptive, some new marketing upgrades may be needed.
– A simple and clear brand
– A five minute teaser video, a tagline, a call to action, a summary?
– How do we cope with denial?
Pondering what the quiet rebellion would look like for each of us, people got into groups to discuss how they are going to be, and what they are going to do. Chris told the story of how he got involved as an investor in the Pure7 chocolate company. People should follow the threads of possibility that are before them.
Building psychological resilience is very important. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people lost their psychological and emotional stability. A change in narrative can help people feel better about economic collapse.
Becca provided a review of individual psychology. Each of us was born whole but because we are completely dependent on our family members, we learn quickly what is approved / disapproved in each family’s culture. The early family training becomes our mask and stays with us, leading to our beliefs and thoughts. As Charles Eisenstein wrote, sometimes withdrawal is the only sane response. While the mind can lie, the body always tells the truth.
How do you just let these emotions flow and let them go? Be present with them, without judgement. Dalai Lama: “Life is joyful participation in a world of sorrows.” A lesson from Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning is that the purpose of life is not happiness but meaning.
David Deida asks how big can we be if we allow ourselves to do everything we are capable of? How can we be in our full agency to know ourselves?
– “There’s something I’m seeing here…can you look at this and let me know what you think? If you see the same thing, it has implications…”
– Don’t introduce the information in a charged or emotional way.
– Don’t ask anyone to join you in any particular emotional state.
– Not everyone is built to be an early adaptor.
– You are planting a seed, not growing the whole plant overnight.
– The less attached you are to the person agreeing, the more successful you will be in sharing the message
– People need to hear the message from a trusted source – which may not be you.
– Use the carrot, not the stick. Suggest the possibility of a better life, not fearful futures. Hold out a new model of thinking.
– Have compassion for where the person you’re speaking to is.
– Understand the power of beliefs.
– Instead of trying to convince, share what you’re doing.
– Social capital: from hyper-individualism to isolation to community. Build social capital through generosity. Also practice receiving. Pay it forward.
On Friday night, Rebecca led an exercise in which participants shared and named outcomes of which they were most afraid, followed by things for which they were hopeful . On Saturday morning, the group reflected on the value of sharing and verbalizing the fears, because we can rarely do that. Hopes are easier to share with others.
We know we live in a system that has problems about which we can do nothing. But we’re going to have to start doing things very differently.
– What things can I stop doing?
– What new things can I start doing?
– What do we keep doing?
– If you have a bad narrative it leads to bad outcomes.
– “The hundredth monkey effect is a purported phenomenon in which a new behavior or idea is claimed to spread rapidly by unexplained means from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group exhibit the new behavior or acknowledge the new idea…”
– The war on cash: a form of financial repression that combines low interest rates, no outlets for capital, constraints on moving cash, global currency wars, risk of bail-ins.
– The ka-poom theory: the markets are so overstretched by debt they naturally want to deflate, which has been held off by central bank cash infusions. A deflationary crunch is likely to overwhelm central banks, after which they’ll be desperate to do something, and will print cash like crazy, leading to hyperinflation. Exactly how this will work is unknown.
– Whether it looks more like the Depression or the Weimar Republic, you’ll want to have some of your assets in primary and secondary wealth, not just tertiary, the paper or digital wealth most people assume is wealth these days. There will be advance warnings of bail-ins. Get out of debt unless it has an income stream attached to it.
– Prepare to lever up – to take on more productive debt – as inflation takes off.
– Get pre-approved. Start to look for investments. Keep your investments local if possible. Circle up: find local companies via crowdsourcing.
– One model that PP is looking into is Farmland LLP
– Look for investments with positive cash flow.
– Make yourself rich by wanting less, at the same time
– Go to Bankrate.com to see the ratings of credit unions
– See the article “Prepping on a Shoestring”. Think of preparations as investments, not spending.
– Go to the “What should I do?” guides.
– Buy the best items you can, but see what you can do without.
Control what you can.
Can control Can’t control
Act Mastery – get shit done Ceaseless striving
Don’t act Giving up – it’s in your Letting go (good)
control but you choose
not to progress. (bad)
– How do we get our heads around infinite sets of possibilities?
– The military has planned for many climate change scenarios (Glen Dire, “Climate Wars”)
– Embrace continuous learning. Start with a hypothesis, follow by testing, experience, and reflective observation. Apply learning to real life.
– Many folks on the Martenson site are INTJs.
– Cultivate curiousity. See things as they really are. See opportunities that others don’t. Curiousity boosts your mastery, and makes you more valuable.
– Share what you know.
– Adam gave a presentation on the 8 forms of capital, and proposed follow up events, inviting local experts to speak on the forms they know best.
– The Johnson O’Connor Foundation offers a battery of tests that measure individual aptitudes, offering very reliable career guidance.
Many people experience a lack of social and knowledge connections in their communities, but don’t underestimate the power of one individual to make changes. A few ways to create connection locally:
– join neighborhood civic organizations
– find a group through which you can organize a block party or other event
– join your local CERT program or the Red Cross
– organize a screening of the 1 hour Peak Prosperity video
= = = = =
So what were your takeaways from the weekend? Do you have any reflections or comments on any of the material recalled here? Please add your comments. Thanks!
Rob Hopkins, Transition's most well-known writer, suggested: "…The thought I want to seed in your brain today is whether a more skilful way to inspire a response to climate change, and a more skilful way to achieve all the things we want to achieve in the Transition movement, is to spend less time talking about the issues that drive why we do what we want to do, the problems, that challenges. Like climate change. Stay with me…" He suggests a shift from:
"There are some huge problems out there. But don't panic. We can respond. Here's how you can be part of it. "
"A movement is building. Here are the things all the different people are doing in their communities. It’s rooted in caring for ourselves, each other and the living world. This shows a different future is possible when we come together. (Optional: This is why it’s needed) Here’s how you can be part of it…"
That was an awesome summary, Dan. I had forgotten lots of it and appreciate your pulling it all together in one place.
Great summary – thank you so much for the investment of time and energy to share!
I attended the Rowe conference this year. It was truly a wonderful, relaxing experience.
I read this website almost every day, and I need to ask this question.
I am in a home in between Annapolis, Md. and Wash. DC. My home is owned free and clear by me and sits on 1/4 acre. I am 65 and live here alone. The home is becoming too much for me to care for and I keep spending money to maintain it. I feel my home is primary wealth since I own it and we are coming into a time where you want primary wealth. However, my thought process is that I should sell it and keep the cash until housing prices fall, then I can purchase something smaller. I currently have to put away $400/month for taxes and $150 for insurance. I have no debt. Opinions on what to do please…keep the house, or sell, rent somewhere and buy later.
I retire next year and my monthly retirement will be approx. $3,000/month.
One option would be to use the house to generate some income.. income that could be used to maintain the house.
We have started to use AirBnB when we visit other towns and it works quite well… If you have a guest room and a second bathroom that you could dedicate to the, "renter" then that would be optimal. By using AirBnB, you get to decide what dates you make available – as much or as little as you like. As a landlord, you get to decide who you rent to based on email exchange.. or a phone call if necessary. Both landlords and renters get feedback in the system – building a reputation of sorts. I have not been a landlord but I find the service quite useful from the standpoint of a renter.
Go on the website… hone in on your area and look at what people are renting rooms for… you might be surprised! Good luck, Jim
Really good question. I hear that many of your financial nest eggs are in one basket–home equity. A paid off home is an awesome element of financial stability.
It sounds like you have already concluded that you need to sell your house (or start an AirBnB.)
Do you like living in the location where you are? How much do your neighbors, streets and parks feel like "home" to you psychologically? Family nearby? Do you like being on the edge of the big city? Do you have a social center there like a church, bowling alley, VFW hall or donut shop where you meet your buddies?
Is there someplace else you would prefer to live? Near a good friend or family member in a small town perhaps? Do you have a central hobby that could be a starting point for looking for another community.
The two options that would sound best to me are:
1. a small town with small homes where I could walk places easily. As I get older this sounds better to me personally.
2. a farmette, more isolated but better for major gardening, chicken raising or getting yourself a fine hog or two (like Adam Taggart did!!) (if I were younger, this would be more attractive). But with few close neighbors. Could be pretty isolated.
Us older folks will be needing assistance in the next decades–single floor layout, not too remote, help with gardening and house cleaning/minor repairs, snow shoveling and splitting firewood. Any teenagers on the street who could help for spending money?
And I, being ever pessimistic and blessed with a vivid imagination, envision the potential for a major SHTF.
Is your little town surrounded by farmland, do you have a river or abundant rainfall, how close is the nearest nuclear target? How many human beings without ability to produce their own food live within 5 miles of you?
How many of your relatives might suddenly find that they need to live with you?
Just some of my thoughts.
I have thought about this same question in the last couple of years. One thing we did to utilize the space in our home was to put in an apartment. There was some upfront costs but now we have another steady income or around $1,000 a month. I like the Airbnb idea as well and I might do that as well, if I can get my wife to consider it. Just some of my thoughts.
I have toyed with the apt. idea as well. I am in a 2 story colonial. Did you put in a second a/c and heat so they pay their own and can control the temperature, or do you decide on the temp and they have to be happy with it? It sounds like you are happy with it, correct?
This was my first Rowe experience. I was grateful for the opportunity to interact with an eclectic group of participants unified by a common concern for their future and the future of the world. The other highlight was being able to have conversations with Chris, ‘Becca and Adam. It was interesting in talking to participants that had been attending the retreat for almost a decade, noticing a shift from the singular focus on protecting their finances to now involving other forms of wealth or capital. The greatest challenge of most of the participants was the lack of social capital i.e. finding people in their immediate community that share similar concerns. A common experience in sharing concerns of an economic, energetic and environmental collapse with friends and loved ones, who have much to lose with the breakdown of the status quo, has been of denial or renunciation. What has also been so disconcerting is the ability of the globalists to continue perpetuating the illusion from a more truthful narrative. Admittedly at times, I begin to question my own paradigm, “Am I the crazy one?”
Why should I care what other people do? I’ll just take care of myself. The problem is during times of transition or crisis, people either act out of inspiration or desperation. Bad things happen when people act out of desperation, “every man for himself.” People just have to be made aware that there is an alternative.
How can the message be disseminated? In preparing for a presentation, I came across Steve Job’s 10 rules for success. One of the rules was to build around the customer i.e. not to expect the customer to go to where you are, but to go to where the customer is to reach them through their needs and desires. It is very difficult to dissuade someone that their paradigm is wrong when it is working for them. However, the ones that can be reached are those that for whom the paradigm no longer works. People have an inner knowing of the truth. Many deny it and rationalize continuing down the same path out of fear or ignorance. Reaching out to others starts with developing trust and compassion in the relationship. Messages from the heart, in addition, to facts from the intellect, reaches a far greater audience.
Another of Steve Job’s rules is to market around values. Nike is great at that; “Attitude is everything” or “Just do it.” Instead of a primal message of fear, a message of inspiration engages a higher level of consciousness that can motivate in action. As “elders” of greater awareness, what are the values and mission that we, as Peak Prosperity members wish to impart to others?
Finally, a Steve Jobs’ rule is to build a great team. I would like to thank Dan Miner in his work to organize and harness the momentum of the Rowe Retreat. I was impressed with the innovative and interesting people at Rowe that have a lot to offer to others. Some of the participants started from very little, but were able to reach a state of self-sufficiency. How do you impart that knowledge to others? There were others with great expertise in renewable energy, finance or permaculture. No one can be an expert at everything. Instead of living in worry, by giving of ourselves, working together, and supporting each other, we can take action in “create a world worth inheriting.”