Nothing seems right anymore.
In whichever direction we choose to look, things are unraveling at a quickening pace.
Welcome to the Fourth Turning; and with it, a profound loss of trust in institutions and government.
Such lack of social cohesion is a hallmark of a Fourth Turning. Sadly, it’s happening at a time when society desperately needs to pull together, set aside our differences, and make some really big decisions.
Dirty Hands Everywhere
For my own part, my loss of trust in what is termed the ‘mainstream media’ (MSM) is nearly complete. Its sins of omission and commission have piled up too high to forgive – the bank of trust I once had in it has lost every penny and is now in deep overdraft.
In my opinion its gravest sin is the willful and deliberate fracturing of society into many disparate warring camps. The MSM has a lot to answer for in that regard.
Similarly guilty is our political system. The core power players are unable to hold each other accountable, revealing that we don’t have two parties after all, but rather a uniparty organized around power and money.
The rules are increasingly re-written to benefit a smaller and smaller group of elites at the expense of everyone else — and that’s now becoming increasingly crystal clear to the 99.9% who are getting screwed. The corrosive effects of that are going to take decades to resolve.
As a result, the social fabric is rending apart. Stress is epidemic with more people than ever reporting being unhappy, unfulfilled, isolated and alone. Suicide is the second leading cause of death. It’s worse than just depression, it’s something far more insidious — it’s demoralization. There’s no hope left any more for too many of us.
A Dying Ecosphere
Even more alarming to me is that the world’s ecosystems are no longer stable.
I started off my professional career as a biological scientist and the current apocalyptic fires in Australia are too brutal for even this hardened information scout to digest. The reported loss of animal life there (at least a billion!) a punch to my gut, my heart grieves for the loss of beauty and life, so I turn away in horror at the unfolding death and destruction there.
More locally, here in New England in January 2020, my bird feeders are mostly devoid of the usual (once) common species. A few chickadees, half the usual blue jays, and a small smattering of juncos. Some sort of bird apocalypse has occurred, almost certainly connected directly to the great insect apocalypse that has roared across the landscape over the past ten years. Turns out, wiping out the bottom of the food pyramid is bad for life. Who knew?
The insects and everything above them on the food chain are now victims of neonicotinoid (“neonics”) pesticides. Apparently, the need for Bayer and Syngenta to make a few bucks on neonics, and the desire of lazy and careless famers to apply these persistent biocides, exceeds any and all other considerations.
Nobody has a good answer for how we managed to feed ourselves without using neonicotinoids for thousands of years prior to their invention. Now, we’re told, they are utterly essential. Again, mainly by the lazy, the careless, or the economically greedy. I’m sure to receive some angry letters from farmers explaining how they couldn’t survive without them and I’m being insensitive to their plight. But I’ll predict that none of these angry emails will explain how the world’s food production system managed to survive prior to 2008 when the neonics came into common use.
If we can’t even get this simple part of the story right – not using something 10x worse than DDT – how are we possibly going to get the far more complex and complicated stuff right?
If we can’t even protect the bottom of the food chain (stupid easy to grasp why this is relevant and important), how are we going to manage to peacefully share the remaining dregs of oil without launching missiles at one another?
How are we going to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, which is going to happen with or without our willing consent, when doing so will require upending our current living arrangements, enormously complex supply chains, and re-directing a vast portion of our economy away from consumption and towards energy infrastructure?
Spoiler alert: We’re not.
That’s what people are beginning to register in their deep animal bones. It’s part of the anxiety we all feel but maybe can’t articulate. The prime narrative by which we live is false, and if that’s not being registered by the cortex, it will be felt in the gut.
To put it visually:
Welcome To The Club
Meanwhile “the economy” has been replaced by stock worshiping; which itself is propped up by wave after massive wave of central bank money printing.
Each day for the past 3 weeks I’ve awoken to discover that the Federal Reserve has poured into the “markets” anywhere from $45 billion to $120 billion overnight.
If Band-Aids could cure cancer, I’d be 100% in favor of what the central banks are doing. But since ‘symptom masking’ serves only to make things eventually worse, I am very much not in favor of the Fed’s actions.
Geopolitically, the tensions in the Mideast are almost certain to lead to calculation error, some sort of mistake that boils over into something even more tragic than has already occurred (and that’s saying a lot).
If all of this sums up to a fair bit of worry on your part, well… welcome to the club. You’re not alone.
Though you might feel as if you are. Especially after the ‘cheerful’ holidays, when there’s pressure to put on a happy face. Maybe even a family member gave you an advance warning not to bring up any of your ‘doomer’ talk at the holiday table.
It may be that you find that the most important things in your mind are not up for discussion among your friends and family, no matter which season we’re in. Again, you are not alone.
In fact, if you want to experience the amazing catharsis that comes with being surrounded by folks who very much value discussing these topics — of finding out just how “not-alone” you really are — come to the Peak Prosperity annual seminar in Sebastopol CA this May 1– 3, 2020.
We have an amazing roster of expert faculty lined up, too. These are great minds to learn from and have a beer with. The roster includes NYT best-selling authors Peter Boghossian and Bruce Buena de Mesquita, and experts like Mike Maloney, Charles Hugh Smith, Wolf Richter, Axel Merk, John Rubino, Richard Heinberg, Jeff Clark, the farmers from Singing Frogs Farm and Joe Stumpf.
Spending the weekend your ‘tribe’, with conscientious like-minded truth-seekers of goodwill like you, is one of the most restorative and invigorating cures for those feeling trapped and isolated in a world gone mad. We hope you can join us in May.
The Hope In This Story
We can’t choose when we’re born.
Here we are. Here we all are, facing this particular wave, and we need to choose whether to stand up and surf it or lie down and be pummeled.
For those choosing to stand up and surf, we must focus on controlling what we can while releasing the rest.
I cannot control the Fed’s printing sprees. But I can buy gold, silver, and land to preserve and grow the purchasing power of my wealth.
I cannot prevent industrial agriculture from ruining the vast bulk of the soils. But I can build the soils of my garden sustainably, as well as buy from local farmers who do the same.
I can either choose to be aggravated and demoralized by the daily nonsense I see. Or I can choose to serve as a model who inspires others by boldly doing what needs to be done.
The hope I have in this story comes from the vast awakening I see (finally!) beginning to emerge among the masses.
People are starting to rebel against the insanity and inanity of the consumer culture. People are approaching me all the time seeking to get involved in something, anything, that can offer a sense of meaning and purpose.
We all want to do good and to do better. To start, we must first bring our actions into alignment with our beliefs.
The good news is that this is often just a matter of putting things into practice. All over the world, people are exploring and sharing their incredible hard work building sustainable systems and engaging in regenerative practices.
The technology is already there. We don’t have to wait for some magical breakthrough to emerge from a lab next week.
We just have to apply what’s already available.
The one thing I’d like to leave you with is this: if you want a future worth having, get busy. Take that first step. Don’t wait.
Why? Because the next 8 – 10 years are going to completely reshape everything we think we know about ‘how things work.’
Once the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet really sinks in, vast new opportunities will open up and just as vast avenues of standard operating procedure will close down.
Broadly speaking, anything dependent on squandering cheap energy will be out. And anything offering more efficient ways to produce and distribute goods and services will be in.
Sorry malls. Goodbye McMansions. Sayonara to endless debt-fueled growth. The future will be all about living within our means.
Each of these and countless other changes will rock the very firmament of how people live, work and play. The new opportunities will be nearly endless, while many things you now see about you will be decommissioned and dismantled.
In Part 2: Taking The Leap Into The Unknown, we explain why the strategies for success in the coming years will look extremely different from the ones we’re familiar with today. The entire playbook is being re-written, and those who learn and adapt to it now, before the next crisis, will have a tremendous advantage.
The wave of change is finally here. Are you ready?
It’s time to surf.