Keep Things In Perspective

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edchase1's picture
edchase1
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Keep Things In Perspective

I watched the entire Crash Course and have followed a number of posts on this forum and several others.  What I find striking is the number of people that seem to be so confident in the predictions of a disastrous future being right around the corner.  I agree that:

  • oil production will peak in the future
  • the future of all fiat currencies is eventual worthlessness
  • the failure to properly address the scarcity of food, energy, and water will lead to civil unrest and wars
  • air and sea pollution will have long-lasting repercussions on all life on Earth

However, what I don't agree with and think is ludicrous is that Chris or anyone else can predict with any accuracy when this will occur. I know the Crash Course did not specifically indicate an exact time frame, but it seems like a lot of people are taking rather drastic actions as if it did.

What if national economies collapse in 3 weeks and wars break out 2 days after that?  That would mean everyone currently planning to relocate themselves and their families will have waited too long and failed.  What if things don't begin to deteriorate for 10 or 15 years?  Then many of the people currently implementing their plans should be ready to weather the storm and may be ok.  How about if it happens in 60 years?  In that case, many of the people on this forum will have long since passed away and all the money and time they spent planning will have been for nothing.

My point is that no one can say with any certainty which of these scenarios is statistically more likely.  That is because you simply cannot gather enough data to determine how billions of individual human beings will react to future events.  For all we know you are planning to protect yourself against the wrong disaster.  What if it turns out the real problem in the future is that an asteroid hits the earth and the only survivors are those that built homes in deep caves that survived off electricity from geothermal energy, water from aquifers, and grew plants in underground greenhouses?  You have no way of knowing whether this is the right disaster to prepare for or not.  You simple cannot prepare for every eventuality.

Before buying a farm in the middle of nowhere and reverting to agrarian subsistence living conditions, it seems like it would be prudent to take a step back and evaluate the situation in the grand scheme of things.

All empires come and go, as do ice ages, fiat currencies, and energy sources.  History shows us that these cycles occur over and over again throughout time.  To try and predict when these things will occur and then drastically change your lifestyle to suit your predictions could be considered good planning by some.  However, in the final analysis the question is what you did for the good of your family, your community, and humanity.  If you will be happy changing everything in your life to fit these predictions then that is the right thing to do.  However, if you are doing it just because you think this is the best way to survive you may be very unhappy with your life, especially if it turns out you were still ill-prepared or were too early.

I have already lived through an oppressive dictator who regularly killed any outspoken opponents, had friends assassinated while simply driving down the street, watched thousands of military troops invade my country, had rockets land less than 100 feet from my home, and saw riots destroy the capital city. I'm sure others on this forum have probably seen far worse.  My point is that we survived, made it through the tough times, and thrived in the aftermath.

People have been predicting the same disastrous outcomes of U.S. monetary policy for 40 years now, and it still hasn't happened.  The reasons that they cited in those books from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s were no less valid than the points being made today.  I'm not saying it isn't almost guaranteed to happen in the future, but you just don't know when.

Look at all the Y2K people that went into hiding with their guns and canned food.  It is quite possible that if a small army of programmers hadn't spent years updating all the government and banking software that a disaster could have occurred, but it didn't.  Maybe those people stayed in their holes predicting the next disaster or 2012 from the supposed luminary Nostradamus and Mayans.  Eventually, over a long enough time frame, they will be proven right, but they might just as easily waste their entire lives waiting for impending doom.

I would urge everyone to time several hours to research past predictions of disaster that have been published over the past 100 years. It may help you realize that life is never certain and re-evaluate what steps you are taking.  Paying down your debt, learning how to fix things, using less energy, savings more money, diversifying your money in various asset classes and countries, and other suggestions would be wise regardless of what the future holds.  I think Chris' advice to evaluate your life is very important, as long as you don't overreact.

The next twenty years will be unlike the last twenty years.  The 1950s and 60s were unlike the 30s and 40s.  The 1850s and 60s were unlike the 1830s and 40s.  And so on...

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Keep Things In Perspective
[quote=edchase1]

I watched the entire Crash Course and have followed a number of posts on this forum and several others. What I find striking is the number of people that seem to be so confident in the predictions of a disastrous future being right around the corner. I agree that:

  • oil production will peak in the future
  • the future of all fiat currencies is eventual worthlessness
  • the failure to properly address the scarcity of food, energy, and water will lead to civil unrest and wars
  • air and sea pollution will have long-lasting repercussions on all life on Earth

Conventional oil production ALREADY has peaked.  May 2005 by most observations.  The timing of the peak is immaterial really, the real elephant in the room is the collapsing NETT ENERGY. 

However, what I don't agree with and think is ludicrous is that Chris or anyone else can predict with any accuracy when this will occur. I know the Crash Course did not specifically indicate an exact time frame, but it seems like a lot of people are taking rather drastic actions as if it did.

We're ready.  Are you?  We saw this coming 15 years ago, well before Chris even I would think. 

What if national economies collapse in 3 weeks and wars break out 2 days after that? That would mean everyone currently planning to relocate themselves and their families will have waited too long and failed.

EXACTLY! 

What if things don't begin to deteriorate for 10 or 15 years? Then many of the people currently implementing their plans should be ready to weather the storm and may be ok. How about if it happens in 60 years? In that case, many of the people on this forum will have long since passed away and all the money and time they spent planning will have been for nothing.

SO WHAT?  Our children now have a sustainable plot of land to live on, DEBT FREE. 

My point is that no one can say with any certainty which of these scenarios is statistically more likely. That is because you simply cannot gather enough data to determine how billions of individual human beings will react to future events. For all we know you are planning to protect yourself against the wrong disaster. What if it turns out the real problem in the future is that an asteroid hits the earth

GIVE ME A BREAK.... should that look like occuring, I'd open all the wine we're storing and kiss my ass goodbye!!  SOME things you cannot do anything about... 

Before buying a farm in the middle of nowhere and reverting to agrarian subsistence living conditions, it seems like it would be prudent to take a step back and evaluate the situation in the grand scheme of things.

TICK.  Like I said, we're ready.  Are you? 

All empires come and go, as do ice ages, fiat currencies, and energy sources. History shows us that these cycles occur over and over again throughout time. To try and predict when these things will occur and then drastically change your lifestyle to suit your predictions could be considered good planning by some. However, in the final analysis the question is what you did for the good of your family, your community, and humanity. If you will be happy changing everything in your life to fit these predictions then that is the right thing to do. However, if you are doing it just because you think this is the best way to survive you may be very unhappy with your life, especially if it turns out you were still ill-prepared or were too early.

We now live sustainably.  We are so much happier and healthier than before we changed, there is NO WAY we would go back to living in the Matrix... 

People have been predicting the same disastrous outcomes of U.S. monetary policy for 40 years now, and it still hasn't happened. The reasons that they cited in those books from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s were no less valid than the points being made today. I'm not saying it isn't almost guaranteed to happen in the future, but you just don't know when.

Are you thinking of "Limits to Growth"?  BECAUSE what the Club of Rome predicted was NOT the collapse happening in 2000 like some people think, what they DID predict was the collapse of society within a time frame of ~100 years from the writing of their report.  Here we are 35% into this time frame, and EVERYTHING they predicted is bang on target....

Look at all the Y2K people that went into hiding with their guns and canned food.

Well bully for THOSE fools....  anyone with half a brain could see THAT was a hoax, to sell lots of new computers!  I didn't fall for it... 

I would urge everyone to time several hours to research past predictions of disaster that have been published over the past 100 years.

WHY? The past has no bearing on the future... 

[/quote]

Mike. 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3124
Re: Keep Things In Perspective

Edchase

I already have my plot in the country, and my family has been gradually adapting to a more sustainable lifestyle for a long time.  Our quality of life is as good as it's ever been, and we still live in the rest of the world.  My kids go to public high school and will go to college, barring some sort of catastrophe.  We aren't hunkered down in bunkers waiting for the apocalypse, we're living our lives.  I still coach baseball and go to see my kids in whatever activities they participate in (there are many) and take the time for vacations.

The bottom line for me is that I want to be prepared if things go south.  The convergence of many economic, environmental and energy warning signs at this time in history suggest to me that preparation is a good idea.  This is based on real phenomena, not Nostradamus or whackdoodle religions.

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capesurvivor
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Joined: Sep 12 2008
Posts: 963
Re: Keep Things In Perspective
I appreciate your perspective, ed. Even though I've been reading everything I can find in the fulminating disaster topics you've mentioned, as well as taken the Crash Course, I think perspective is important. Significant life change is not undertaken lightly; we will all determine our own path in coping with potential unpleasant and converging disasters. The timeline...that's the killer, isn't it? Your personal story, as well as your perspective, is highly valued by me and adds a counterpoint to discussion here. Any thoughts you have about surviving chaos based on your personal experience would be appreciated. Perhaps you have read "The Black Swan." SG
Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
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Re: Keep Things In Perspective

What anyone wishing to make a change needs to understand is that it takes about five years to organise a sustainable lifestyle.  That's how long it's taken us, and we're still not finished!

Mike 

James Wandler's picture
James Wandler
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Joined: Aug 11 2008
Posts: 219
Re: Keep Things In Perspective

Ed,

These are good thoughts and it is very helpful to have a counterpoint perspective otherwise we fall into groupthink. 

One of the hard things with the Crash Course is that it hits so hard.  See the six steps that Chris has outlined for subscribers.  It takes time to process all of the information both intellectually and emotionally.  I'm still reeling from Chris' message, but early on I did some evaluations as fast as I could, made a lot of changes, and am continuing to make changes.

The next point is that the future, and Chris' knowledge, is constantly evolving.  So the Crash Course is the beginning but the other material that Chris produces keeps us up to date on current circumstances.

For example, the current battle in the economy right now is between deflation of the money supply, which I believe is hurtling backwards through the financial system leading to debt paydowns and partial or complete defaults, against the efforts of the central banks to try and ineffectively reverse the process but which eventually may lead to hyperinflation as the debt is monetized and there is a race to purchase assets.  However, let's not worry about the hyperinflation scenario because the current issue is that this deflation is leading to an ever deepening depression. 

I don't believe that the deflation of the money supply can be corrected because the US housing bubble will structurally continue to run its course, at the same pace it has been running, through 2010 (I base this on work done by Mr. Mortgage http://mrmortgage.ml-implode.com/).  Past this point it will likely overshoot on the downside - especially since the depression itself hasn't really begun factoring into the downturn in housing.  This could be corrected but we haven't seen any action on a massive scale to restructure mortgages to keep people in their homes - at least for those that continue to have income in the depression.

[At this point, I'm just giving you the highlights but you'll have to research further to satisfy yourself about this message - and there is much more here on the site that fleshes this out - the forums themselves are just part of our own evolution of thought]

A quote I've seen somewhere recently on this site from the depression in the 1930s was that it was so surreal - that it came on so gradually that one wasn't aware that it was going on - and yet it just continued and continued.  This isn't the frog jumping into boiling water and jumping out - this is the frog in the pot of water where the heat is constantly turned up so that the frog doesn't notice how things are getting hotter and hotter.  This is part of the explanation of why you can finish the Crash Course and look around and not realize JUST HOW BAD THINGS HAVE GOTTEN.  Here's a point of comparison - imagine you jumped in a time machine from the height of the real estate bubble in 2005 and then moments later you got out and looked at recent and ongoing headlines (for this thought experiment I'm going to skip Obama).  WOULD YOU THEN THINK ANYTHING ELSE BUT THAT WE ARE IN A DEPRESSION?  This isn't a story about 20 years from now.  It is playing out right now - but we've become acclimatized to it - and the media keeps everyone (including themselves) from the truth - otherwise panic would ensue.  Working through Chris' material is the best way to wake up to the Matrix we didn't know we were in.

I can only speak for my own personal motivations about why I'm making radical changes that you speak of.  My interest is to spread the grassroots message as quickly as possible so that of the many I touch a few seeds are planted that they may wake up later when they are ready but more importantly to reach the few that are already ready to make change and to work with these people, and those that are making change for independent reasons like global warming or an innate understanding that our current world isn't working anyways, and to accelerate their pace of change.  My focus must move quickly from myself to my community and on to other communities in an accelerating feedback of change. 

Since you are one of the few that have been reached and persevered through the material and have bothered to write a full discourse on your beliefs in a short period of time I think that you may come to similar conclusions as others on the site, especially given your past experiences - but this is a path that takes time.

As for personal choices, Chris is not advocating a particular path.  The path you see many others proceeding down on this site is the path that each of us feel is right for ourselves under our own personal circumstances.  For the majority of people just continuing to keep their jobs, cut their expenses, pay down their debt, deal with their investment portfolios are laudable accomplishments in the face of a media that has conditioned us to extrapolate a successful past into a successful future.  However, there will soon be a large number of unemployed people that will be scrambling to cope without the benefit of Chris' message.  Their actions should be to act swiftly to pare living expenses to the bone and consider repairing relationships with family members so that they can start living together in closer quarters and sharing the load by finding part-time work, being entrepreneurial, working in Community Supported Agriculture, or their own back gardens.

Another question you mention is how swiftly will all of this play out.  My immediate concern was that it would indeed become cataclysmic in a short period of time.  However the book The Black Swan points that that from a given time period there are thousands of possible future scenarios to cope with.  Chris has put together facts that have shaped his beliefs about the future - an ever changing future - an everchanging landscape of potential outcomes for the future. 

Chris is just trying to ease the blow.  I'm doing my bit to support his task.

All the best,

James

switters's picture
switters
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Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 744
Re: Keep Things In Perspective

[quote=James705ca]

For the majority of people just continuing to keep their jobs, cut their expenses, pay down their debt, deal with their investment portfolios are laudable accomplishments in the face of a media that has conditioned us to extrapolate a successful past into a successful future.  However, there will soon be a large number of unemployed people that will be scrambling to cope without the benefit of Chris' message.  Their actions should be to act swiftly to pare living expenses to the bone and consider repairing relationships with family members so that they can start living together in closer quarters and sharing the load by finding part-time work, being entrepreneurial, working in Community Supported Agriculture, or their own back gardens.

[/quote]

I think James brings up a salient point.  The reality is that only a very small minority of people will learn about the "Three Es" and actually accept the consequences of the challenges we're facing in time to implement even the most basic mitigation efforts.  But what isn't often discussed is that even amongst this group, the number of people who will be able to actually move to a new place, buy a piece of land and start serious, long-term adaptation is even smaller.

The fact is that it's expensive to move, and many people can't afford to do it.  What will they do for money once they get there?  Self-sufficiency takes years to achieve (if it ever happens, which it doesn't for many people) and in the meantime families will have to have a source of income.  For those that don't have a couple hundred grand saved up, it's going to be pretty difficult to simply pick up and move.

The reality is that many of us will be stuck where we are and forced to adapt in place.

If you haven't already read them, I'd highly recommend checking out two posts by Sharon Astyk on this subject:

City, Country, Suburb: It's Not Where You Live, But How You Live There

Stuck: Why Most of Us Really Will Be Adapting in Place

 

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