Forum Replies Created
ao, I feel dumb enough for assuming you never massaged to apologize. I should have realized from how you kept talking about energy that you had been doing some kind of “energy work”. I quit because I didn’t want to be a service-provider anymore, I want to be a producer.
As for the rest, I just want to say a few things at present, influenced a lot by Daniel Quinn’s book Ishmael which I just reread:
-History did not begin at Sumer. Humans have been anatomically modern way, way longer than that, and almost the entire time was spent in small bands and tribes, and these were communal. In fact, humans were so successful at this living arrangement that humans came to occupy the whole earth, evolved to become conscious, and did all sorts of amazing things that Taker culture can’t explain or don’t even know about because it’s not in “our history”.
Further, whatever else you think about these humans, they were not pursuing infinite growth. While they expanded to fill their niche, like any other species, these humans were what Quinn calls Leavers. They did not possess the idea that humans should conquer nature and wipe out all species that compete with our food. They did not claim to possess, “knowledge of who should live and who should die.” So it is not that human nature is to pursue infinite growth, it has only been the nature of the Taker culture for say, 10,000 years. I don’t want to be a part of that culture!
-What a grotesque list of indigenous sins you listed for us. It reads like an apologist for European genocide, honestly. I have read whole books about Native American tortures, but probably wouldn’t bring the methods up in conversation because it’s nasty. The thing about Greenland is new to me though, so thanks for the tip. I wonder how many thousands lived there however, compared to everywhere Europeans colonized…
Finger-pointing at genocide victims aside, I never said we should live exactly like indigenous cultures, I said we have a lot to learn from them because their Leaver cultures, again, lasted a lot longer on this earth than this one has or appears able to.
I don’t think the house of history you have been studying has a firm foundation. To quote Graham Hancock, I think the house of history in general has a foundation of sand, and humans of the dominant culture today are like a species with amnesia. But without diving too deep there, I think you should be more aware of the bias inherent in reading the “victorious” Taker account of history. Maybe look more at some anthropology, like Graeber whom I mentioned earlier.
Regarding my plans, I think co-ops are great and am interested in that business model specifically, when it’s bigger than just myself. I think a major issue is the scale we live at now, again going back to 150 Strong. I am not saying that if I can’t live in a commune I won’t run a business. Mostly my point is that the dominant discussion of how we should live that I see on this site whines about the status quo, but aims to live completely within it still, paying only occasional lip-service to root causes, like when Daniel Quinn was on that super awkward podcast with us here shortly before he died.
Generally though like I pointed out, markets don’t need capitalism, or even money. Capitalism is an ideology, not a practice, and it does not follow that if we drop the ideology we can’t have commerce. I think a lot of this has to do with the intention of the ones running the business more than anything. I really mean no offense here, but I’m not getting the sense that you are the best person with whom to try and hash out my business plan, but rest-assured I am doing so.
Thanks again to any who read and thought about my ideas here.
Nick Adams, thanks for voicing your agreement! I need to look at that post about building a homestead myself, it seems germaine.
Dave, I really liked your above post! This is sort of the process that led me to up and quit massaging and leave Pittsburgh, and I will try to continue using as much of my consciousness as possible in the future to guide me.
vlierheimer, your question, does each generation have to have a higher standard of living than previous ones, is one I’ve grappled with and discussed with my parents. They appear to have always assumed the answer was yes (if you follow the middle class Plan), but my experiences disagree. Something else you said that struck me. You said we have to worry about all things finance to make room for the important things. I think this is another way of saying that our society has it totally backwards, forcing everyone to put the cart of finances and money before the horse of what humans actually consider important. Maybe other societies who focused on totally different things, such as the many that never used money for example, had a better idea here?
ao, I found your comments about massage therapy pretty condescending and unhelpful. I didn’t quit because it wasn’t paying enough, and in the clinic where I worked and managed I was constantly scrambling to employ more therapists to fill demand. I would suggest that you should not tell (former) professionals, in a field you never worked in, about their business, if you want them to take you seriously.
I obviously put little detail in my post about exactly what is wrong with capitalism, and I’m not really the best one to write that book anyway. But in response to ao’s straw man, I never said capitalism caused all wars, or all human problems, although I would compare it to religion in many ways. But I think it’s pretty obvious that in the period since about 1492, give or take, our “Western” type societies, internalizing the ideas involved in capitalism – the extraction of wealth from the natural world and other people to build personal fortunes (using capital) – have done more damage to the earth than any other humans, to the point that I think many would agree that human societies can now truly pose a threat to our own existence. I’m not looking for “all good and no bad” as you said, but rather something not as demonstrably, awfully bad.
ao also asked, if I start a business and don’t want to follow a capitalist system, what would I do instead? While I don’t think he is really interested in my business plans, this is exactly the issue I was trying to raise – this is NOT a hypothetical, it is a real question that is being asked by many people. We need to talk about alternatives to the ideology, capitalism, that has such a grip on people like you, they can’t even imagine anything else working for people. One obvious alternative, that formed the basis of almost every human society that has ever existed, would be some form of communal living, at a much, much smaller scale than current societies. For a contemporary discussion of this topic I suggest Rob O’Grady’s book from Orlov Press, 150 Strong.
Second to last ao, (can you tell you got me a bit steamed?) that post by Curtis Stone is completely straw-manning permaculture, written by someone who is trying to get people to pay him to learn his methods of making big profits selling vegetables. Rather than listen to a self-described failed permaculturist like Curtis, I would suggest people who are actually interested learn from successful practitioners, of which there are many, including for example Richard Perkins. Here is is his response to Curtis:
Finally ao, you say that there is a reason indigenous cultures were supplanted by more modern systems. Pray tell, what is that reason? I would suggest it is mostly because they were unwilling and/or unable to utterly destroy their environment and their neighboring fellow humans for personal profit, among many more obvious historical factors including diseases and other topics discussed in books like Guns Germs and Steel. Here’s a hypothetical question for you ao: if humans were successful at wiping our own species off the planet, with nuclear war say, would you consider that to be an evolution over the lower tech indigenous cultures that endured for thousands of years longer than our own society?
I have read PP since 2011 because it is one of the few news sources along with John Michael Greer, Dmitry Orlov, and Jim Kunstler, that is not oblivious to three E’s.
I unsubscribed at some point because the constant harping on investment advice and focus on playing the game with money is so much of the content. I only recently rejoined premium to read Chris’s last alert, and when I saw his post about forming a community. Side note, please post more about the meeting at Chris’s house, and that topic generally!
I understand that people whose working lives began in say the 70s or even before have a lot of prior investment in this system, like retirement funds, houses in the suburbs, etc. and don’t want to lose that, but this has never been relevant to me as a now 30-year-old without them. Further, if the warnings of collapse that I have been hearing on this blog and the others for years now were going to come to pass, I saw no reason to even consider playing that game. What would be the point of putting my limited funds in a target fund for 2050, say, if the whole ship was portrayed as likely to go down at any moment since I started reading this blog in college, almost 10 years ago?
Instead I tried to focus on other forms of capital, which Chris and Adam are now on board with and have written about a lot. I especially focused on gaining knowledge and skills in massage therapy (this was great but I don’t recommend working at it as an employee) and now the plant nursery and orchard trades, as well as permaculture design, but because of this my standard of living and income have remained low to this point. In case anyone is interested, I’m currently an intern at a fairly unique plant nursery/farm, with plans to start my own nursery/homestead as soon as possible.
On a higher level, I think the pursuit of property (as per the original wording of the Declaration), and especially capitalism as an ideology, has created most of the problems that we are all concerned about avoiding (note, capitalism is not a synonym for market economies or trade generally). The underlying assumptions about the world that one internalizes when seeking a growing income from financial investing are, I think, deeply flawed and cause extreme human misery. On this topic David Graeber’s book Debt: The First 5000 years was very influential to me, and I recommend it.
I feel that common ideas about capital, and even private property “rights”, real estate laws as currently written, etc. are very problematic, and actually led us to the global predicaments of today. So on this level, it seems that most of the advice about how to play the financial investing game is basically trying to teach me how to contribute to these problems.
I am no Marxist (I identify most as a libertarian-socialist/anarchist) and I don’t want the current system to crash hard because of the suffering that would entail, but I do think capitalism has to be replaced with better ideas if human potential is to be realized meaningfully.
I am never going to be interested in trying to ”get mine” by winning at the games of the current, fundamentally flawed system. I think many millennials, like myself, are much more interested in what radically different arrangements of society might look like. This is where I think permaculture and the examples of numerous indigenous societies have a lot to offer.
I know the above ideas are probably pretty unpopular with many in this forum, even possibly the OP and site owners. I do agree with most of what Matt Holbert said and it seems like we’re thinking along the same lines. Anyhow, I felt compelled to join this thread, if only to crystallize my thoughts on this topic a little better. Thanks for reading and I welcome any feedback.