Thursday, September 19, 2013

Voluntary Simplicity

[Approximate Reading Time: 5 minutes]
[Mood: Grateful]

I live in a small apartment that overlooks a beautiful park in a quiet suburb. In the 12 years that I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the place where I have lived the longest. It's close to the major freeways and I'm within an hour of anywhere in the Bay Area I would ever want to visit: from San Francisco in the North to San Jose and Santa Cruz in the South to the cities of Berkeley and Oakland and the bedroom communities of Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton in the East Bay. They're all between a half hour and an hour from where I live.

As I write this, I have a majestic view of the park where I hear the bark of dogs and the screams and shouts of kids and adults playing soccer. I look out my door and I see a bunch of dog-loving neighbors who meet regularly on the grassy knoll with an assortment of furry pets. I see people of all ages and races taking walks, jogging, running and biking. I see tall green trees that are a treat to the eyes.




Just outside my window, a humming bird sips nectar from the vine that's taking over the railing. The vine wasn't always there but it came as part of the recent renovations and along with it came the birds. Again, a treat to the eyes. And to the soul. These are the kinds of things that make living here worthwhile. A few simple pleasures. I could use a yard though. :)

It's a simple lifestyle and yet, it could be simpler. Voluntary Simplicity is the new game in town. People everywhere are stressed out and they are asking the important question, "what for?" As the individual anarchist writer, Wendy McElroy, says in her recent article:
Voluntary simplicity (sometimes mislabeled as frugality) is spreading as a new 'ethos' throughout the Western world. It is a natural reaction to the politically-created economic disaster that has gutted the stability of so many individuals and families. Given the circumstances, it is easy to view voluntary simplicity as a bitter pill that you are forced to swallow, which you would much rather spit out. I believe the contrary is true. Voluntary simplicity is a strategy that has freed and enriched my life. It has no connection to 'doing without' or depriving myself of any 'thing' I value enough to trade my time to acquire. It means that I purchase something only what I value it more than the time and other expense required to do so.
I especially like how she ascribes "value" to her time which is different from how an employer would value her time:
Several years ago, my lifestyle changed dramatically because of a realization that should have been obvious to me all along. Things cost money; money is time; time is -- in the most literal sense -- life. I had never looked at my possessions as hours or days of time taken from my life. If X cost $100 and I made $100-an-hour, then X cost me an irreplaceable one hour of life. Or, rather, it cost an hour plus whatever time was consumed by the transaction costs of making money, such as commuting. It cost an hour plus any intangible involved, such as the possible loss of self-esteem due to unethical or soul-numbing methods of making the money. The true cost of my possessions was the amount of my life and myself it took to earn them.
As I look around my apartment which is a bit cramped, I pat myself on the back for living more or less simply. I could simplify more and I plan on donating the things I don't use in the near future. I gave away my microwave oven last year. Wendy continues:
I started wandering the house, looking at possessions. Fully half of them were 'things' I did not use and I would never miss. And, yet, I had traded a substantial chunk of my life to acquire them. Without a hint of morbidity, I wondered: When I confront death, how much would I give to gain back the time I squandered on these extraneous possessions? I applied marginal utility to the time allotted to my life. Right now, the hours I have seem boundless, and it is tempting to value each unit as though it was part of an infinite supply. But  I only have X number of hours to live and no time to squander any of them. 
I want the hours of my life to be filled with the touch of my husband, talks with friends, reading and writing, playing with my treat-sneaking dog, and working in a garden. I love to cook. I want to see the expression on my husband's face when he bites into the meal that has been seasoned and simmered to perfection. I want to use my life and all that is in it. Which means I should not live on a farm so big that there are acres I've not walked in ten years or in a house where rooms are used to store boxes I haven't opened in as long.
Voluntary simplicity doesn't mean depriving yourself of pleasure. Quite the opposite. I long to travel the world and to feel the places that made my mind tingle as a child. Some day I will know what the stars look like in the night sky of Africa and how a jungle smells. I never regret my books or DVDs, the live theatre that gives me a jolt of pleasure each time the curtain rises, our dog, my sporty car that makes me feel 18-years-old, drive-in movies, the expensive ingredients for a superb meal. I don't regret retirement savings or emergency funds. But I will never again buy clothing I do not wear or order an expensive meal that I could cook better. These useless or disappointing things are not purchased with money; they are purchased with my life.
Except for the husband and the dog, those could be my words! Voluntary Simplicity is here and here to stay. Whether we like it or not, we will soon have to make do with less, individually and collectively. But we would be happier if we take it not as much as an imposition as an opportunity to reconnect with nature and life itself. And the time that makes up life.
Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury - to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind” ― Albert Einstein
"Live simply so that others may simply live" ― Gandhi

45 comments:

  1. cannot believe u've gotten zero comments, satish. i'm with u all the way. as for me, i have too many toys that occupy my time , and I have soooo much junk that piles up year after year - not that I'm wealthy by any stretch, it's just that I was born WHITE in a middle class family (still a brat) in the us. (no caps) shep

    i used anon because I did not know what else to do?

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  2. Back in the day when I wrote this, I was mostly writing for myself and just a handful of friends. It's only recently that I started promoting my blog here and there hence all the comments.

    You can use the Name/URL option in the Comment as: dropdown. You can just leave the URL blank and fill in the name and then it won't appear as Anonymous.

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  3. Hi Artleads & anyone other that might like this chat.

    #1 Big Thanks to SATISH. He made a comment on Sven's blog about water issues that resolved my concern on his thoughts about having some "agency" toward making things better. I keep finding that SATISH has already said everything I would say to him. Other than appreciating & reminding myself "Satish already knows" my agency is getting to busy for me to comment much. However, trust me I try to read everyone here rather than other social sites during my social media time.

    ARTLEADS we are making progress. 5pm at the Dept of Energy radiation consequence management plan has a new team member. (At least the interview we just completed went great.) She was in the Army core of Engineers & has been with NOAA & EPA since 1989.

    The Green notebook is entirely delegated to her. Land use in the radius of every plant. Comprehensive networking of all existing Medical centers, schools, local governments & community facilities. She will seek funding from the Dept of Interior for new land care incentives in each region. Also the second level ring of security systems to encircle each plant. Upgrading the grid & backup systems was already approved, however we need to put that budget to actual contracts as soon as we can complete the paper work. Research stage will move toward actual ground work by this fall in region 3. Mistakes will be made and there will be waste, because that is a fact I can not yet fix with the realities of government progress. Therefore I will focus only on region 3 before we expand 1.

    All of this is moving forward due to connections with STEVEN BENNER at Applied Molecular Evolution. Like it or not the only thing that oils the wheels of safety projects is developing a new radiation reducing formula. Steve is a star in the world of synthetic Biology. I also conducted an agreement with ELLEN STOFAN at Cape Caneveral last Wed. Stofan is the leading astrobiologist at NASA. We will need to test hybrid spliced compounds of thermophiles in the space station! This will receive coverage in science magazines with any success by 2017.

    Who ever is the next President will have leverage on our progress in 2017. But most Presidents will probably agree to advancing nuclear safety measures. I'm reasonably confident I can keep the ball rolling into the next term.

    Potassium Iodine is avail on-line. (I have a supply) The CDC has about 10million bottles in stock for emergency distribution. I will request doubling the fresh dated amount on supply.

    Projects under the umbrella of Homeland Security usually get fairly good cooperation between all Depts. Hopefully in 2 years this will unfold to things & programs you will see in the public. Time again to remind everyone of Nuclear emergency ' hazard awareness.

    BTW: my personal feelings are very nature conservative. But the only way to make progress & get approvals is to stimulate economy. New jobs & contracts all over the field. From scholarships for future Energy safety physics to what some will call media "growth" propagenda. Before I take one more step I fully adnit there is no way I we can do anything with current civilization by circumventing their need to tie everything to funding. I know all of this is a form of sales. But my wish that not one more thing was ever built or bulldozed is a matter of fact non-reality in this current Earth reality. This is like "selling" a safety net to remind kids the dangers of high speed traffic. In a better world instant common sense would demand decommissioning everything starts tomorrow. Or better yet everything man-made evaporates into a rainbow mist. Leaving the Indians & Buffalo to roam....the way a healthy Earth was once their free home. For now I promise to reduce harm in a rampant stampede of IC that will not leave anything alone.

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  4. Wonderful! I understand everything you're saying (MOL). Been there in miniature scale with my community plan work of the past. (BTW, the historic preservation people must be linked to as well. All fields, really.) I understand the feel of the meetings, what your Dept of Energy radiation consequence management plan new team member might be like. I've worked with such people. The salt of the earth. I will keep her in my thoughts.

    I suppose 20 million doses of potassium iodine would go a long way within radii. You would know. I should get a personal supply too, but I'm terrible about such things. All my interest is in the broader world. You, of course, need it most.

    "But my wish that not one more thing was ever built or bulldozed is a matter of fact non-reality in this current Earth reality."

    I guess that's work for folks like me. I believe in it more than I believe in anything. The land is sacred. It belongs to itself. . You know this too. I want the consciousness about it to change. That will take care of the actions which follow.

    I was drawn to Gail Tverberg's blog on the oil economy. (She's considered a major expert on the subject, recently returned from a lecture tour in China.) She characterizes the economy as a dome made from Leonardo sticks. Remove one stick and the entire thing collapses.

    The priority for me is to transfer the building economy to the cities. Almost nobody understand the importance, efficacy and methodology re doing this. That must take quite a while to lift off, and it would need to have lifted off before one could stop sprawl development. (If we don't stop sprawl development, what hope is there for wildlife, which has halved in the last 40 years while "human" population doubled.? It won't be radiation that kills them.)

    But back to Tverberg. She says the economy can't be stopped. It must continue to grow, which depends on endless debt. But she thinks that oil (on which the entire system depends) will end soon. Too expensive to find to be economic for oil companies, where jobs are being lost to close downs. Without those jobs, buying power is curtailed, leading to a positive feedback loop that brings down the entire economy. Every thing I suggest about transferring the growth in more eco-friendly directions falls on deaf ears. Sometimes I think it's mostly that she doesn't understand what I'm saying, has no vision of a radically different way to grow IC. Or maybe I just don't understand the issues. But why is it economically necessary to discharge pollution into the oceans? Why pave over something that cuts off migration paths, when you could build it and still preserve migration paths? Why can't food be grown in cities? The answers to these are my life's work, and I pay little attention to why they're impossible. I ONLY do impossible things.

    Thanks Mark. May the wind be at your back.


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    1. FYI:

      Small buildings (if the zoning restrictions that often prohibit them can be lifted) are possibly a way to create more building sanely for more people (more affordable, more eco-friendly), meaning, I suspect, that the economy could grow while doing less damage and serving more people. Just a thought.

      Tiny House Nation:

      http://www.fyi.tv/shows/tiny-house-nation/videos/264-sq-ft-honeymoon-suite?mkwid=sCpdcPtX1|dc_pcrid_47561792602_pkw_tiny%20house%20nation_pmt_e&utm_source=%5Bchannel%5D&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=tiny%20house%20nation&utm_campaign=G_Tiny+House+Nation&paidlink=1&cmpid=PaidSearch_%5Bchannel%5D_G_Tiny+House+Nation_tiny%20house%20nation&gclid=COXkhefZ9MQCFQqEaQod7aAA5Q

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    2. 5pm in D.C. I always appreciate your notes by next year you will see some of your specific ideas in action on our NCR web site. Thank you for "asking not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." I struck me that I may never know your real name but you will be an unknown OGF hero. If the USA can follow Germany maybe the rest of the world will prevent disaster by reducing all sorts of nukes. Oh a friend in CANADA has a tiny house. Inside my boat cabin might be even smaller. A future of cabins & boat people !!

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    3. Just now watching 2011 "Beyond the Light Switch" on PBS--considerable attention to the nuclear energy infrastructure as well. So far, nobody talks about conservation (or even a different industrial paradigm). I'm wondering if it wouldn't work economically to rework the cities (without tearing them down, just adding on to what's there). I wonder if that wouldn't keep the system going but in a better way. Making it so that people could walk to work cuts down the need for energy when/if nuclear plants are decommissioned. So is a passive-solar retrofitting industry feasible to make up for the lost jobs from big energy? Anyway, these types of questions are what underlie how I see decommissioning/security and politics/economy possibly coming together. I'm a hero already. Not looking for more kudos. :-)

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    4. Edo Japan? A way to be very civilized without the use of fossil fuels (including that needed to build so called green energy infrastructure). I'm not seeing a better kind of future scenario. But we're talking immediate and near-term transition right now. The focus on cities near term also seems to apply to the longer term. Not sure if any of this computes. :-)

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    5. 5pm I've just pulled you up as Katherine starts tomorrow with the Green note book. No need to mention about stuff not computing. When Disney imagineers do the same sort of thing it all helps to get the ball rolling. Every idea has some value. Even if we don't respond to everyone it all counts in a larger picture. Some volunteers at Greenpeace & Clamshell are also helping with the think tank stage. Mainly I have to focus on the (your) radius idea for action by 2016 & improved FEMA regional emergency systems. Can't "rebuild" or "in-build" overlay structures until we have it all safer from meltdown. I pulled up Edo Japan on another monitor as we speak. Thanks

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    6. Wishing You and Katherine the best, Mark. Your work is the best thing to come across so far.

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    7. Chilling (from NBL):

      for any of you who aren’t depressed enough, here are some of the latest headlines from ENENEWS…for those who haven’t heard of ENENEWS, it’s a fukushima/rad news aggregator. you should go to the site for the links…I thought the headlines were depressing enough. I’m no physicist, but if all that mox fuel,strontium,iodine 131,plutonium and hundreds of other nuclides,are not contributing to the heating of the planet, i’ll be a monkeys descendent…so without further adieu………………….. Japan Scientist: “I’ve never seen this before” — White lungs found in dolphins that died during mass stranding near Fukushima — Interruption of blood supply leading to death of tissue — Disease has been linked to radiation exposure
      VIDEO: Extremely rare whale washes up in Northeast Japan — Just one sighting of species in history — Similar creature found dead nearby
      ‘Major blow’ at Fukushima as robot loses control inside reactor — Moved 10 meters before failing — Max radiation readings more than doubled since 2012 — ‘Eerie footage’ shows orange glow in area with highest levels (VIDEO)
      Top US Nuclear Physicist: “Iodine-131 will be lethal after ingestion of 30 billionths of a gram” — Main worry is not a Chernobyl-type accident, rather it’s a melt-through of containment vessel — “Not possible to disprove China Syndrome”
      Japan Times: Over 150 dolphins wash ashore at multiple locations — 50 miles from Fukushima border — Could be largest mass stranding ever reported in nation’s history — Govt’ Expert: “The dolphins may have had psychological problems… We don’t see any immediate signs of cancer” (VIDEO)
      Officials: “Such a bizarre thing” off California coast — “We’re seeing multiple aborted fetuses every day” — 100,000s of seabirds that nest in area now missing… “Huge, unprecedented die-off like we’ve never seen” — Many baby seals dying after mothers led them to a cliff edge… “Brutal to watch” (AUDIO)
      shiva has been busy.

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    8. I subscribe to ENENEWS.COM and it's been pretty bad news lately. Both on the Pacific Ocean front and Fukushima. Of course, they are related but each seems dangerous on its own without help from the other - the species die-off and the nuclear danger.

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  5. Already my schedule is getting bumped around. 'best laid plans" but surprise Katherine is friends with ALICE HILL. who is reading you and talking about this site with us. (Satish change the name to going sane) Google Alice Hill - she's a big deal to us. We all like to think about better Watershed & land (non-use) ideas. Oh yeah, I now understand your point about the commercialization of national parks. Conservation & preservation is or ideal .... but this decade it all keeps returning to the stupidity of jobs. Public use & access = economics. They gotta like the parks on Facebook or Dept of Interior reduces park funding !!!!! If the world was not in jeopardy I certainly wouldn't need a "job" ... sail away Friday...return to the wild blue. Dying Pacific = Fukishima but a half billion dollars from Japan (yen actually) buys hush funds. Not talking about things is a form of propaganda. Trillions in Japanese Corp shares traded on wall street. New info for you as first comment on Satish new article.

    Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST)

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    1. Hi Mark,

      I got this link for Alice Hill:

      http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/obama-adviser-rising-sea-levels-threaten-military-bases-where-will-we-move

      So I think the potential is all there. Great people trying to change the system from within.

      FWIW, here are some broad criticism relating to what you are sharing. There is a bewildering plethora of organizations and organizational titles. I can't get into it at all (and don't wish to). Way too heavy and hard and masculine. You are not like that, thank god.

      Unwarranted complexity is why we are in this spot. We must simplify. This storage facility at this site on the map, using this road to get there. These organizations--point to their locations on the map. These schools. These hospitals--see them here in red. Of course, it doesn't work quite that way; I'm only reaching for an example. The map, not these thousands of departments, strikes me as the best organizing means. Organizing around real places and real (existing) groups who will be doing much of the work. I suppose this is why we see the large maps on the walls in the WWII war movies. Churchill had nothing but wall maps around him. And organizational diagrams and push pins and stickers are imposed onto the map. It's all about place. All about territory. That is simple. Any community can understand it.

      I wonder if the First Lady would see it this way too?

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    2. This (from comment on Gail Tverberg's blog) helped me to see the relevance of land use to some of your work: the drought along with the extravagant water use = subsidence and instability for managing dangerous materials?

      "I’ve heard Cali can only sustain a population of 10 million not the 40 million ravishers currently sucking up resources. Then we have big Ag sucking up vast quantities of above and ancient below ground waters with no one keeping tabs on the drawdown with respect to those holes in the ground. Basically it’s a black hole and worse, in some parts of Cali the ground is actually dropping by a whopping 1ft per year, they’re sucking so fast, how long can that continue?"

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    3. Thoughts on "Masculine" vs "Feminine":

      Masculine is detached and abstract, tending toward force...

      Feminine is connected, tending toward nurture--making things last, making something out of nothing, etc...

      Thus my comment about "too masculine" above. I sense that well intentioned people in "the system" tend to believe that solutions can be devised to looming extinction by using the same structures that caused the looming extinction in the first place. By definition, the system does not promote outside-the-box thinking. Can this limitation be overcome?

      The feminine, as I use the term, is organic and opportunistic (in the best sense of the term). It uses what's there already. IMO, a feminist approach to collapse is to imagine how to survive with nothing. It has to imagine ways to manage even if the government collapses through economic catastrophe (which isn't all that far fetched a scenario). A volunteer system of management seems to merit a gradual push in that direction. Nuclear catastrophe, for instance, can't be held only to money-based solutions. The entire population has to be awakened to a self-sufficient way to manage. A wise government would promote such local self-sufficiency and independence while there is time to do so. It's a pretty long haul. So why not begin now?

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    4. Artleads - Thoughts on "Masculine" vs "Feminine"

      this is a great, succinct way of putting it, and this is going to be exactly what's needed. whatever manages to survive, with humans, is going to have to take this kind of path.

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    5. Hi Mo,

      I don't know where to look for your comment on watersheds. I'm very slow, I know, but what you said has just now kicked in. So it would seem obvious. Land planning around nuclear security would center on watershed planning!!!!!

      - Using the blessed but vulnerable governmental "resources" (Mark in charge) toward self sufficient watersheds

      - Build volunteer program/capacity within watersheds to manage nuclear emergency. Incentivize nuclear technicians to live within watersheds

      - National guard and emergency military capacity based within watersheds

      So there would be safety, food production, targeted (relevant) education, triage, conservation, etc. all coexisting in watersheds. Does his fit with your vision, Mo?, Mark?

      BTW, Los Alamos is at the top of a ridge system (pardon my ignorance) at 7, 320 ft elevation. At the valley floor beneath that system is Pojoaque at 5, 833 ft.

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    6. "...whatever manages to survive, with humans, is going to have to take this kind of path."

      But I think Mark is of necessity working within a "pro American" paradigm. I'm rather pro American to the extent that I have a most unreasonable expectation of what the nation is capable of. Maybe it can even disappear and still remain. Sort of like the invisibility shield in Star Trek movies. I'm talking the miraculous here. But to my point: By making the almost unimaginable shift to low or non-fossil fuel (auxiliary) technology, America would be in a leading position post collapse. Economic decline, adversarial politics, shredded budgets actually enable such a transition. It's like finding a way for good government programs to hang on by a shoestring or with no money at all, rather than close down because budgets are cut.

      It's not necessary to say anything about it. The high tech madness can be left to its own devices, and even be useful to a point. But a quiet, under-the-radar no-tech/volunteer sector can be building meanwhile, ready to fill in where it can when things fall apart.

      Just picture this: Government runs out of money. No jobs. No taxes. Government workers are allowed to live on the premises for free and grow their on food while doing whatever is feasible to keep a few skeleton programs going. In other cases, furniture is covered with cloth, everything is mothballed. Nothing is destroyed. Preservation America. Everyone calms down. Relaxation reigns. The microfiche is revived (where all the machines haven't been squandered). Old, moveable type technology is revived (again, where the machinery still exists). Museums become functional. Nothing is thrown away. Museum America.

      Of course, this all insane. Its purview is very small. It begins with two or three people. It's aimed at government. My contention is that if even one percent of the population could pull this off, we'd already be living in a new universe.

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    7. the nuke issue is actually somewhat separate from the WS issue. a nuke in meltdown (core melt, or storage rod fire, or any other catastrophe) would certainly have a huge impact on its WS, but it also will spread its toxicity via the air - which can move across WS boundaries easily.

      mostly my thought about WS has to do with protecting the WS from all kinds of *other* non-nuclear toxicity - stuff that isn't airborne the way nuke contamination so easily is.

      if the nuclear reactors cannot be safely shut down (not necessarily talking full decommission) and the rod storage cannot be made safe, then WS issues, for a long time, are going to be somewhat secondary.

      but, if by some process the reactors can be made safe, then a world of work has to go into managing WS quality. however much or little rainfall happens to fall with various climate change scenarios, it is always going to run off in the same way based on geography - through the local WS, whatever is it, and whatever scale you want to look at it.

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    8. "My contention is that if even one percent of the population could pull this off, we'd already be living in a new universe."

      it is going to be interesting. we are hyper connected now. data about all kinds of things is everywhere. the coming changes with AGW are going to be undeniably obvious soon. and the projections are going to be just as undeniable.

      what happens at that point is key. if the evil in the world is not seen for what it truly is, then yes, there will be all kinds of things like "YES! the can-do American capitalist spirit can save the day with geo-engineering!"

      that is one possible choice.

      there is another reality that I think is truly possible. the weight of all the insanity finally becomes undeniable to the majority. it is seen for what it is. insane. evil. wrong. utterly misguided. a total delusion.

      and a large chunk of people actually, truly, wake up to this reality.

      if the second scenario takes hold, all bets are off. we really would be living in a new universe. what happens then? who knows.

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    9. Thanks for the sobering perspective, Mo. In my volunteer community work, I try to be in sync with the ideas for post-(ish) collapse I listed. Zero attention to nuclear. I suspect that Mark's work has the exact opposite emphasis. The nuclear emphasis is far more of an emergency. But if its compelling determinism (word) can't pull some of those deep-but-lower-level issues along with it, then reasonable assumption is that we get your first scenario anyhow. Without changing the community and land dynamic, we get alienated technical (possibly brutal), "masculine" fixes. Thus my interest in seeing a profound integration of the issues. :-)

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    10. Artleads -

      "Thus my interest in seeing a profound integration of the issues."

      it is great to know you are out there in the community, with your awareness and perspectives on this. in a way, we are all sort of "undercover operators" right now, walking and working our ways through the world, and waiting... waiting for the real awakenings to kick in. the events that may spark a sudden rush towards more mass awareness.

      when those events start to unfold, then the "profound integration" that you are seeking now will suddenly be very in demand. hopefully!! :)

      this is where that crazy crossroads will be happening. which way will the cookie crumble? how quickly? how will things take off from there? it could very well be the critical time that the very small percentage of us who are "profoundly integrated" will be able to have an inordinate amount of leverage, as to which way things break.

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    11. MO

      "we are all sort of 'undercover operators' right now, walking and working our ways through the world, and waiting... waiting for the real awakenings to kick in. the events that may spark a sudden rush towards more mass awareness."

      Yes! I feel like a visitor from the future. But the present also seems perfect in its own way. Time has a funny way with it. I find that being myself, with no ulterior motives, passionately advocating in the now, leads to
      being elevated. Small example: My words and involvement at the community level seem to have impressed the old guard, who see this newbie as one of their own. Tonight they elected me to membership on the Water Coop board of directors! I did not expect or desire anything of the sort. But I accepted.

      SABINE

      Thanks for your thoughts! I see you as a wise and protective mother, and your involvement makes me feel reassured. In you, the feminine is at work above and beneath the surface.

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  6. Dear ARTLEADS the web links are so that you can see your own contributions. When ever you like. Maybe in the future you would like to see your part on our gvt. websites. Nothing you have to do. I just wanted to be kind & responsible about taking the time to share info on progress. For other reasons I have done my best to Verify who I am & openly share the exact truth of my life at this time.

    "Masculine" vs "Feminine" Sometimes I have to wear a hardhat during the construction, political physical process. I am an outdoors man. I have a great love & respect for the land...by hiking, camping, surfing.

    On the feminine side I have a soft heart. tending toward nurture--making things last, making something out of nothing. Nothing more simple than living off the grid. A non-electric ranger cabin --- or sailboat with one solar panel. My life partner is a former police officer. (Jim is now a communications supervisor with the FBI) We both live in a very manly world of "Don't ask, Don't Tell." Even his daughter still tries to keep us secret. Funny how the actual female is still concerned about social programing this day in age. Hillary certainly is "Masculine" . Seems many women here in D.C. are that way by day. My dear friend Dr. Leslie Ford who is the Deputy Director General of the NIH is pretty tough dealing with a huge staff...but she's like a little girl home alone with her dogs.

    I wonder if MO FLOW or OGF will find this conversation? This is a really good topic to be open about. Everything you said above is exactly how this world needs to change but it is not going to change if we don't start by being the change we want to see. That is why I am daring to be so open. Completely honest. I've even gotten ISIS death threats but I am not afraid to die trying to show everyone to come out of all sorts of closets. All the other processes might change if we start with our own open hearts. Come out, come out, whoever & whatever you are. Common sense is the true shining star. "Nuclear catastrophe, for instance, can't be held only to money-based solutions. (Exactly why I am pointing out the exact crazy truth of the process I am working with right now.) The entire population has to be awakened to a self-sufficient way to manage. A wise government would promote such local self-sufficiency and independence

    Way too much focus on MONEY. Masculine. Maybe you could ask Sabine to come over to this "Voluntaity Simplicity" I'd love some more female insight on this excellent topic. TGIF

    Note for Mo Flow in our chamber of "Silly" Civil Disobedience. Time to let the hair down with a laugh. Pet the kitty by the cozy fireplace. Watch out Tippi Hedren flying jaguars are for the birds !!!! LOL !! beyond words.

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    1. Marco - got your note, and I will leave the tomatoes ashore (but we gotta have something for the vitamins! ya scurvy bilge rats! aaaarrrr!

      "Way too much focus on MONEY. Masculine."

      the money Machine has to die. the idea of the big corps out there making mega-$$ off of geoengineering contracts and anything else like this... this is just not going to fly. the jaguars will see to it, if collapse doesn't see to it first. :)

      for the idea of the Mega Biz Machine getting rich off of this stuff: it is an absolutely sickening abhorrence in the face of every decent spark of truth and light in the Universe. and that is my milder assessment of the prospect.

      seriously, if everything else is dying and capitalism is still hanging on, we truly do not deserve to live.

      I've been watching this thread from the start of the new comments, and I will be keeping an eye on things in Civil Diss and everywhere else.

      I loved the new turn that Artleads took above. have a great weekend in Florida, dear Marco. I really don't want any of my heaviness or anger to get you down, but I had to say something at this moment.

      have joy! and sing to the dolphins for me!

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    2. Dear Mark,

      Wow!, as they say. It is such a PRIVILEGE to learn more about you. *I* never come across "high up" people like you and Jim, and so to have you enter my abode is an honor.

      My first guardian was a monstrously dominant aunt. Age around 47 at the time of my birth, I suspect she was close to menopausal. I suspect also--since no one ever told me, but based on my personality and drives--that I was an energetic and curious toddler who knocked things over and got in the way. The result was a barrage of terrorism from my aunt. I'm not even sure why I start with her. The long and short of it is that, till age 10 or so, I grew up in a woman's world. Entirely restrained and inhibited. No rough and tumble outdoor experience a all. Despite my second, ultimate guardian's valiant effort to make me manly, I've held on to my womanly proclivities. Based on the fiends I had in art school, one insightful person called me a "lesbian"--a woman who was attracted to women. Whatever. I once shared with a shrink my visionary conclusion that I was either the last man or the first woman. Mostly, however, I'm a nowhere man. I seem dominant-culture enough, but I'm neither "there" nor elsewhere. My spiritual home is where we are as a planet. Where ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING pales to insignificance in the light of looming extinction. For roughly the last 50 years, my passion has been tilting against the trends that bring us to the present. For reasons I don't "understand," I was born to this particular cause. I'm not grounded in dominant-culture values, but I'm not obviously not grounded in it either. Man, woman, all nebulous. I say to the world, your either for or against the land. That is all that matters to me.

      I'll say a word to Sabine and OGF on the latest thread. Have a great weekend, my friend. :-)

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  7. Everybody,

    Masculine/feminine, male/female.
    Many people have said such much on this, so what can I add? I agree with Satish that a lot of what we're talking about here is really about gender. But how much of it? That's mainly opinion. So here's mine:

    First, I think there is a difference between male/female and masculine/feminine. The first refers to the biological differences and can therefore be applied to all life that reproduces sexually.
    So we're talking here about the 2nd which depends very much on culture and time (in history). One good example in my mind is the colour pink now so associated with (faux) femininity. Why?? Western custom started to put new- born babies into pink or light blue outfits so people could tell them apart immediately. I don't know exactly when that started. In Germany, when I grew up, thise colours only applied to tiny babies. Toddlers always wore brighter colours, though boys never pink. I only came across this craze for pink when I came to England. You have it in the US, so, originally, it was probably only prevalent in English-speaking countries. Now it's another plague infecting the whole world, even gays have adopted it. Why??
    Okay, that was a very personal rant.

    Mark, you said something about "the actual female still being concerning about social programming in this day and age" (your partner's daughters reaction).
    I sorry about that but let me say that this is probably now, in this day and age, "American programming". Here in Europe this would be very unlikely to happen now. She would be ridiculed. Truly!
    People everywhere like to fit in, be conventional, it's true, so that's what she needs to be. When things are still controversial, this is the easy way out. You still have a great problem with abortion too. We Europeans often can't believe how these things can still be problems. We tend to laugh at it. Sorry.

    Anyway, being conventional is not only female. I'll tell you about my only sister who's now nearly 64 and has been gay ever since she became aware that there was such a thing. She never came out officially until a few years ago. Her partner threatened to kill herself if she did (she's extremely manipulative, and my sister is extremely protective. That's love for you, try figure it). But my sister was concerned about our father whose reaction she didn't want to contemplate. He died nearly 20 years ago. So, in this case it was my father, she was right there, who would not have wanted to cope with her being gay in front of family and friends. Can you see? It's society, not the male or female, that wants to keep up "appearances". But our father really knew because it was so obvious. Everybody knew. People always do. Lesbians could, of course, always hide in plain sight, before they could come out. Women in all cultures are allowed, and always have been, to be affectionate in public. They can touch, and they do so without desiring each other sexually. The rule in the patriarchal cultures that men must not show real affection for each other, is a rule made by men in the first place. Is that male, masculine or just gender/culture? Will we ever know?

    (There's more but no space, so next time)

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    1. We didn't have the thing about pink in India. I hadn't heard of it until I came to the US. Of course, there were other stereotypes and customs that were equally strange.

      I saw a pink Hummer the other day. I was curious if it was a man or a woman driving it. I couldn't quite tell because of the height difference between vehicles but I believe I saw pigtails. I concluded it was a woman. And she was making a statement.

      There are so many things that are culturally taboo in India that are not so in the West and vice versa. Apparently, there is a culture somewhere in Central Asia where women with mustaches are considered more attractive than women without. Men there have a different taste than virtually anywhere else. Just goes to show how many things we think are innate, inherent or "natural" are actually just cultural. But then, this was never an issue when people lived in decentralized societies, sticking to their own age-old customs and traditions. But when the mixing of the people started, we started running into trouble. What's supposed to be normal has become a political issue, not a personal or tribal or familial issue, to be resolved and worked out at the local level. Now, we have mainstream media featuring debates between so-called experts who pontificate on the naturalness of this practice or that. And we vote in elections on whether gays and lesbians should marry or not. Aren't there other things to worry about? But then, these things are not accidental either. It makes for good TV and sells more papers and page views. And keeps people distracted and entertained while the planet burns. Ironic times. Hardly natural. If it's natural, it's as natural as cancer is.

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    2. We didn't have the thing about pink in India. I hadn't heard of it until I came to the US. Of course, there were other stereotypes and customs that were equally strange.

      I saw a pink Hummer the other day. I was curious if it was a man or a woman driving it. I couldn't quite tell because of the height difference between vehicles but I believe I saw pigtails. I concluded it was a woman. And she was making a statement.

      There are so many things that are culturally taboo in India that are not so in the West and vice versa. Apparently, there is a culture somewhere in Central Asia where women with mustaches are considered more attractive than women without. Men there have a different taste than virtually anywhere else. Just goes to show how many things we think are innate, inherent or "natural" are actually just cultural. But then, this was never an issue when people lived in decentralized societies, sticking to their own age-old customs and traditions. But when the mixing of the people started, we started running into trouble. What's supposed to be normal has become a political issue, not a personal or tribal or familial issue, to be resolved and worked out at the local level. Now, we have mainstream media featuring debates between so-called experts who pontificate on the naturalness of this practice or that. And we vote in elections on whether gays and lesbians should marry or not. Aren't there other things to worry about? But then, these things are not accidental either. It makes for good TV and sells more papers and page views. And keeps people distracted and entertained while the planet burns. Ironic times. Hardly natural. If it's natural, it's as natural as cancer is.

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  8. Mo,

    Your little bit of rage is necessary. Thanks for sharing it. It is indeed true that all that is driving us to extinction was mostly envisioned and made by men.
    But please, please don't let it get you down. Even though we know that everything is totally connected, that there is no separation in reality, in this case you must think of yourself as completely separate, not like these men at all. The same goes for men here.
    When I was young, I used to rage against being German, feeling responsible for the Nazi crimes. It found it impossible not to be. After that, embracing feminism was a relief. Here, at last, I could feel as a victim. That's what you're like when you're young. Now I know better.

    I'm not responsible for Nazi crimes because I'm German. You're not responsible for being a man or a citizen of the American empire. We were both born into our environment, into our time, we didn't choose it.This is where you and I are allowed to feel separate. We just have to accept this reality here on this plain, like so many other things.
    One of the quotes on Richard Posner's blog talks about the responsible ones having names and addresses. And it's not yours.

    The good thing is that we have this space to talk about it without feeling that someone will attack us.

    Artleads, thanks for sharing the things about your childhood, and you're so right: Absolutely everything. pales into insignificance in the light of looming extinction. Yes, yes! But it's really good to talk.

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    1. thanks, Sabine. I appreciate your perspective hugely. it is very helpful, as you have a way of writing that really grounds me. your own perspective, with your German heritage, is great to know about. it's hard to get across in words just how much words can actually help! but they really do. :)

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  9. I haven't been editing, again!!!

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  10. Hi Mark

    This silence isn't like you. Are you OK?

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  11. THANK YOU to each of you. What you each say means a lot to me. We can read articles & find similar views in other comments...but here it feels personal & well developed. You are a world of insights. Perspectives that are already in my mind but so good to hear it from the cozy campfire share. Sadly it does not look all cozy flying thru big airports wired end to end with commercial propaganda. SATISH started this whole web site wondering if he was goingkuku.... but anchored out under the stars this past Saturday night Jim & I said this wonderful spot 30 miles away from Miami is SANE. Natural, calm season - floating connected to the cosmos. No wonder we wish we could save it....it's not an American thing...it's a love of Earth spirit thing, yet of course we are products of all sorts of ideals & social programing. We have been brainwashed a bit with being macho & military. We rarely talk about Gay marriage or anything like that. All week long the focus is on horribly serious world problems, where we are supposed to work on solving them. Just like doctors believing they can cure cancer....why in soul-spirit do we have any faith that we can fix anything? (then I went and fixed the tangled mast line)

    "please don't let it get you down. Even though we know that everything is totally connected, that there is no separation in reality, in this case you must think of yourself as completely separate"

    it's hard to get across in words just how much words can actually help! but they really do.

    Just goes to show how many things we think are innate, inherent or "natural" are actually just cultural. But then, this was never an issue when people lived in decentralized societies

    The rule in the patriarchal cultures that men must not show real affection for each other, is a rule made by men in the first place.

    "Mostly, however, I'm a nowhere man. I seem dominant-culture enough, but I'm neither "there" nor elsewhere. My spiritual home is where we are as a planet....pray pray pray I'm the one who just went too KuKu looking at the doomsday clock. Except for NBL & the Pentagon who are alarmed enough to admit there could be global chain-reactions, I am surrounded by family & friends who insist that technology is the answer to everything. Lunch time is over. Back to work for safety for the majority...9 more months for a truly safe answer, or my contract here may be done. Thanks again for staying connected with comments as I try to keep balance during this crisis of consciousness which "pales into insignificance in the light of looming extinction" - What a journey we share!

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    1. "I am surrounded by family & friends who insist that technology is the answer to everything." - that's been my experience too (with friends and co-workers, not so much family). I have been emphatically told, "WE CAN'T GO BACK". We have a dark notion of our own past, a muddled and confused history of ourselves. We think we're bound to improve our condition, always have and always will, no matter the cost, and no matter what it even means to "improve" our "condition".

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    2. Good to see you back, Mark. This is the best of times. This is the worst of times. For the first time in human history the excuse for any kind of prejudice has evaporated. So the people who can't grasp how imperiled we are maintain their distracting, hurtful and suicidal prejudices. Whether we can save the planet is not for me to say. But "accepting" NTE seems like the worst, most distasteful folly to me. Robin Data linked to some Buddhist teachings, among which was a teaching on "hopelessness," the difference between hopelessness and despair. Hopelessness is energetic and vigorous, a beauteous quest to ever throw out the useless and seek the useful. Homophobia, sexism, racism are totally useless within the paradigm of healthy hopelessness.

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    3. Marco~ "Saturday night Jim & I said this wonderful spot 30 miles away from Miami is SANE. Natural, calm season - floating connected to the cosmos."

      wow. so beautiful. so connected we are...

      "it's a love of Earth spirit thing"

      so much yes. that's all it can be from here on out.

      why in soul-spirit do we have any faith that we can fix anything? (then I went and fixed the tangled mast line)

      why, in soul-spirit? because in soul-spirit, anything is possible. and then we fix the tangled mast lines... :)

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  12. Build volunteer program/capacity within watersheds to manage nuclear emergency. Incentivize nuclear technicians to live within watersheds - will discuss this with delegation to Katherine tomorrow at work.

    It's society, not the male or female, that wants to keep up "appearances"
    What's supposed to be normal has become a political issue, not a personal or tribal or familial issue, to be resolved and worked out at the local level....it could very well be the critical time that the very small percentage of us who are "profoundly integrated" will be able to have an inordinate amount of leverage, as to which way things break.

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    1. Artleads - YES! big yes on the WS emphasis above.

      "will discuss this with delegation to Katherine tomorrow at work."

      great to hear! congrats on your election to the Water Coop board of directors as well. knowing that informed, intelligent and KIND people like you and Mark are out there in the community/govt, doing your thing, makes me really really happy. :)

      hugs!

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    2. oh - and though I got the Katherine/Coop stuff mashed up together there, I know who is who (Mark/Artleads).

      all so totally cool.

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    3. oops! Actually, no I didn't have that all straight!

      got to slow down and read but I had seen Anonymous as Artleads... :) of course I know who Anon is. '-)

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  13. Jim and Mark sound like a sane and loving couple. And that's a good thing. :-)

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  14. ARTLEADS - Congratulation on your elect. Water Coop board of directors will probably make good progress because community gvt is better than Federal level. Per your request I have posted specific research to help with your New Mexico state legal question last week. Info in reply under your comment in "Battle of World Views" All my best.

    because in soul-spirit, anything is possible. You keep us flowing Mo!!!

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    1. better believe it, baby.

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