Where is the solution Chris
Excellent questions [looking for direction as turtle1663 is]. I have been reading “Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered” by E.F. Schumacher looking for answers to those questions. Schumacher is very eloquent in deconstructing economics and providing appropriate guidance for turning the corner on civilization. It is amazing how he wrote this book in 1973 and how we have continued on this path of destruction for another 37 years even though he clearly laid out the insanity of our “way of life”.
For those that have read this book they will be familiar with Keynes’ comment about the depression in 1930 where: “he felt moved to speculate on the ‘economic possibilities for our grandchildren’ and concluded that the day might not be all that far off when everybody would be rich. We shall then, he said, ‘once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful’
‘But beware!’ he continued ‘The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful [growth economy] and fair is not [meaningful existence]. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.’ “
Schumacher was right to be critical of Keynes since so much destruction has followed in the wake of civilization since 1930, at an exponentially accelerating pace. However, ultimately Keynes’ words are now prophetic – only now in a time of worldwide crisis but with emerging social technologies, (such as the internet, the proliferation of excellent books that deconstruct civilization that have only come out in the last few years, technology that enabled the Crash Course to be created and disseminated, World Cafe, etc.) do we have the opportunity to transform our civilization to the next level.
I’ve temporarily put down “Small is Beautiful” and picked up Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” which follows along Schumacher’s spiritual insights but in a much more readable style than Schumacher’s other excellent book “A Guide for the Perplexed”.
The fascinating thing for me is the Collective Consciousness that is now emerging across humanity. Every time we read something relevant we lift the fog of our lack of understanding in a particular direction and add to humanity’s collective consciousness. When we read something more that is relevant we lift the fog in a new direction but looking back to the first place where we lifted fog we find that the fog there has lifted further. Another way of saying this is that you can read about ” A ” but when you read about ” B ” you find that you better understand ” A “.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was “going down the rabbit hole”. Well, I’m now in “Wonderland” and looking around in amazement. This is because the elephant that Chris describes is so large that you literally have to go from ” A ” straight through to ” Z ” and find out that you better understand ” A ” (and ” B ” , etc.) at every step of the way. (Of course, I use Z but I’m sure this just continues as AA and so on…there is no end which is why Chris says he can’t begin to conceive of all the things we need to do).
I would describe “Wonderland” as showing the possibilities that we can take our civilization. Lifting the fog just unveils the possibilities. The reason that in the process of going from ” A ” towards ” Z ” (and letters are obviously arbitrary – you can examine the elephant like a blind man in any particular order) that it feels like you are going “down the rabbit hole” is because at first you aren’t aware of the fog at all – you think you understand everything in the world because we define the world up to the edge of the fog – but you uncover things that disconnect with your understanding and you feel disoriented – and on and on this process continues. I passed through the rabbit hole into “Wonderland” once I’d gone far enough from ” A ” towards ” Z ” and became aware of the fog.
As Chris says in the Crash Course (paraphrasing): “I’m excited to be alive at this moment in history and fascinated to find out how everything turns out”. As we lift the fog we become aware of the possibilities, good and bad, that may unfold. Our collective power is to lift the fog and help others, gently, to lift their fog as we take micro actions in a positive direction that send out ripples across humanity’s collective consciousness.
I like to read Chris’ material for interpretation of how things are unfolding and to provide direction for these actions we can take that are micro compared to all of humanity. However, it is the actions (reading, communicating, what we buy, preparations we make, what we do for a living) that will provide the direction to the unfolding of events. If we sit back as passengers and watch the freight train crash in slow motion – well, we are on that freight train so we might not be too happy we the result of inaction, or action in the wrong direction if we don’t deepen our understanding.
Perhaps you should stop asking for somebody to answer a question which is answered in the very first paragraph of this website’s “Mission statement.” The simple answer to your question is: it is not the primary educational focus of either Chris or this site at this point in time.
[quote=Mission Statement] Many people have asked us, “Where are the large-scale solutions to all the problems you have described?” and “What should we do as a nation to avoid the seemingly inevitable consequences of this fiat money system?”
We believe that we must reach a critical mass of individuals and ensure that they have an understanding of the ideas presented in the Crash Course, before any national or global solutions will even be possible.
Because we are still quite far from this tipping point of understanding, we must first focus on educating. Many people have already reached a place of understanding and assumed responsibility for their futures, but most have not. Once we have achieved a critical mass of people who understand the issues and have taken responsible actions as a result, solutions will find more fertile ground in which to take root. [/quote]
Chris often comments on the kind of actions which can be taken on a personal level, and often comments on what conventional actions the federal government would be best advised to take. But, as he has explained, he has made a strategic decision to defer publically aligning either himself or this website with any large-scale solution until the task of education has been done.
I think that this is a reasonable strategy. People cannot judge proposed solutions in the correct context until they understand the nature of the problem. If this website advocated a particular solution, before general awareness of the problems existed, then the effectiveness of the Crash Course as an educational tool would be diminished. People’s receptiveness to the message of the Crash Couse would be limited by their opinion of the specific solution offered, which is not the point of the Crash Course.
Chris would probably be quick to point out that the best solutions may not exist yet, and that he doesn’t have them. I have never seen him claim to have a monopoly on “the solution.” If anybody believes that there is a single magic solution out there which — once adopted — will make the future an unending stream of 1950’s barbeques, then they probably do not appreciate the complexity of the range of problems which face us. Each field of human endeavor (engineering, agriculture, construction, transportation) needs thousands of small solutions to adapt to a world of less. Many of these solutions must come from experts in those fields. By advocating a pre-packaged solution, you relieve others of the burden of thinking of new and better solutions themselves. As Chris has speculated, the best path to the future will be about more people taking personal responsibility for new solutuions.
So why don’t you do that? If you believe now is the time for solutions, then start your own website. Give a public speech. Get involved! Reach out!
Or you can just sit cross-legged on the floor, complaining that somebody else is not feeding you solutions on demand.
In the mid-1980s, our family set out to do the seemingly impossible: To create what we dubbed an urban homestead and live a self-sufficient, low-impact life in the heart of the city. For years we worked steadily to transform our ordinary urban lot in Pasadena, California, into an organic permaculture garden that supplies us with food year-round.
Having found food security in our own backyard, we were emboldened to take further steps. We began powering our home with alternative energies and fueling our car with home-brewed bio-diesel. Along with new technologies, we also embraced the simple living of past generations. We kept farm animals for egg production and manure, used secondhand goods to decrease our consumption of earth’s nonrenewable resources, and taught ourselves a variety of back-to-basics skills. Through much hard work, and no small amount of blessing, our “urban homestead” now enjoys a dramatic degree of independence, with ever-decreasing environmental impact.
The journey is ongoing—and we are by no means finished—but we are grateful to have come this far. In 2001, we named our homegrown venture “Path to Freedom” and created this website —the first ever devoted to urban homesteading. We hoped that by documenting our personal experiences we could offer encouragement to those striving to live a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle. Eight years later, PathtoFreedom.com is now the largest and most comprehensive urban homesteading website, with more than five million hits per month. We believe that our family’s real-life experience is what makes the site unique: We aren”t just writing about the latest eco-practices and products; for more than two decades, we have been living the revolution. At our daily blog, “Little Homestead in the City,” you can witness first-hand our struggles and joys, defeats and successes on this pioneering journey.