It’s Debt, Silly

Some are shouting “We must raise taxes, especially those on the wealthy!”

Others proclaim “We need to spend less, and tax less, that is the only way for us to continue growth!”

But most are meekly stating “Maybe we should look somewhere in the middle for the answer?”

A lot of people you talk to these days will tell you that one of these three solutions is the answer to our continued economic woes. But all three of these have one problem, they operate under the idea that our current failing structure can be repaired when the real issue we are facing cuts not just to the bone, but completely through it.

The world as a whole is a debt based society. Almost every relevant culture today has accepted that taking on debt is the best way to grow faster than everyone else, and the focus is put almost entirely on this idea of economic growth. At some point in history we collectively adopted this idea that growth is what we need to strive for, and we should achieve this by any means possible. Any period of time that does not have growth is considered a “recession” and we are taught early on to fear that word. This means that we must always continue to grow towards infinity, which of course is impossible in a finite world with finite resources. At some point we must decide the we have had enough. The point where we would have been forced to make this decision would have come a long time ago if we hadn’t come up with the ultra-handy invention called debt with interest.

Do you want to go to school? Buy a house or a car? Start a business? Try doing any one of those things without taking on a single penny of debt. I have, and I have failed. Like most people in our modern culture I was duped in to the idea of accepting a debt burden over my head. Granted my failure is not anywhere near as heavy as the failures of many others, but it is still an amount of money that is much, much larger than my income.

You might be wondering, is debt really that bad? Is something that allows me to get a nice shelter and transportation really one of the roots of our problems?

Imagine something for me for just one second. I want you to think of a world in which no one can get even a single dollar of debt. Where you only can buy things that you have the money for right now. Would you spend $20,000 for a new car when you only ha$5,000 saved up? How could you? How could anyone? If only a few can get the money to pay the high price of $20,000 there would be no market for cars of that price, but there would be a great market for cars that cost $5,000. Of course that would mean sacrificing some features that most people think add quality to their purchase. But it turns out that most car companies are just adding more flash such as heated seats, dvd players, and computerized control rather than improving the core functions of the vehicle itself. This is most apparent by the fact that we still use an engine technology that is over 100 years old, and fuel efficiency has hardly improved at all. So this extra money we have created for ouselves through debt has only allowed us to buy toys that are slightly more fancy rather than things that are more useful, but this is an entirely different rabbit hole to get sucked in to.

Under a debt based society we can get that fancy car with the touch screen computer in the dash. We can get that large house that uses electricity in an extravagant, inefficient way. All we have to do is dedicate the next 30 years or so to servicing that debt, and assuming all things work out and no more debt is needed, we can finally own those shiny things.You see, debt lets us seem like we are more wealthy than we actually are, but this is only an illusion. This is an illusion that has been engrained in to every last one of us since we were small children. We saw our parents get that nice house, have two or three cars, and plenty of toys to fill our home with. This is what many call the “American Dream,” but of course a dream can never be reality. It will always be just out of reach and it is not the road to happiness, because happiness itself is the road we should be on. Being happy is not a destination, it is a choice that you either choose or don’t every waking moment of your life.

This debt-ridden road has been long, and the illusion it created is so tangible it is incredibly hard not to fall for. We have spent generations trying to get to the destination this road leads to, but we are discovering slowly that the destination does not exist. Debt has always and will always be a burden, and until we get rid of this burden we can never be free.


Bound by need to viscious villainy.

I borrowed this title from one of my favorite musicians, The Dear Hunter.

Oh how awesome it is to live in a society where I can get almost anything I want as long as I promise to pay the seller back over time in the future. I can take months to pay off a fancy TV, years to pay off and shiny, brand-new car, and decades to pay for a house before I actually own it, and it seems most of today’s people agree with me on the idea of taking on debt in order to build personal “wealth” for the future. Of course, our wealth is often measured entirely by the amount of money we are worth, but I digress.

I as well as most of the people reading this blog have been tricked at least once in to thinking that taking on debt right now will make us more valuable in the future. I mean, how can we not be? Almost every single person you have ever met (at least in the US) has taken on debt at some point, and for many of those people things seems to have worked out well for them.We all have lived in an environment that allows us to do so because chances are things won’t change much over the next 15 to 30 years. This allows us to be bound to a pool of money that is larger than ours for the extent of our debt, turning us in to slaves to that loan.

In the words of a very wise man: “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”

See how we have been tricked? We have been fooled in to believing that it is good, and sometimes necessary to enslave ourselves to another all in the name of “wealth.” We no longer have to contribute something to the world around us before we can get something in return. Instead, we are given something and then asked to do whatever is necessary in order to repay it.

For many of us, that means we will work 40 hours a week (or more) at a job we don’t particularly enjoy but is bearable for now. For others, that means they will work as hard as they can, only to have everything taken away because of an unforeseen change in their financial system.

But as a whole, this mentality has led to a world society where a few get to reap the benefits of living above their means by sucking most of it away from the unfortunate majority. We hold at least part of the responsibility for this situation. We have asked for this material wealth and  it has been given to us in all of its slave-educing glory. I believe this road is reaching it’s climax, and what lies on the other side is anyone’s guess.

We could use this bad situation as a learning experience, and look for ways to live our lives without a fascination on debt. Or we could continue down this path borrowing more and more, until we have completely sold ourselves out the the people we rely on. Each and everyone one of us have control over this situation for ourselves, and if enough of us decide to make the first steps towards a life non-reliant on debt, the road will only become clearer.


Machines that Divide Us.

I want to start by getting something out in the open. I am a true child of the 21st century, and I love to watch the progression of technological development. I have a smart phone, a laptop, fast desktop computer, and a few other gadgets, and I believe these technologies give me opportunities to improve myself every day.  I also own a car, though you may not know it because I hardly drive the thing. I live in a medium size city that provides me with ample opportunity to ride my bike to most of my destinations.

This entirely changes the meaning of my daily commute to work. Instead of my trip being a transition to whatever my destination, it is an actual event itself. Since I am traveling about half the speed of most cars, I have plenty of time to observe the areas that I pass through. I see every house, every person, all of the other commuters in their cars, and I have plenty of time to absorb what is happening around me.

When I drive my car, I get none of those things. A car is nothing more than your very own little environment in a box that passes by the world faster than one can take in the sights. Everything about a car separates the passengers from the world around them. The windows keep out the outside environment and the AC/heat assure the operate that they will have optimal air quality. The radio cuts out the noises of everything and means that you will only hear what you want to. The high speeds mean that you will never get to see everything that you are passing by.

Not only do these things cut you off from the world, but they also cut everyone else off from you. When another driver sees you coming down the road they see your car, and will probably never see you.

They see only the machine, and not the person.

This becomes most apparent in road rage. If you are walking down the sidewalk and someone accidentally bumps in to you, the other person will probably look at you and offer some words of apology. This simple apology can completely diffuse the situation and show you that this other person is human just like you and is prone to accidents.

If that same person were to cut you off on the road you would see a machine that inhibits your commute. This machine would not apologize to you, it would not show any remorse, and in fact, it would not even recognize that you exist. You would never see the human part of the equation.

The automobile is a perfect example of technology that we use to separate ourselves from each other. Yes, it does give us the chance to visit people that live further away from us, but without the technology we probably wouldn’t move very far away anyways.

When I ride my bike to work, I can interact with the world around me. I can say hello to the crossing guard that I pass by, see the people that live in my area, and experience the beauty of the weather of that particular day. In my car I get none of that.

This is just one of many examples of technology dividing us. How often are you texting someone when you could be talking face to face with a stranger next to you? Maybe you visit someone’s facebook page instead of visiting them in person, or get lost in cyberspace while someone next to you in physical space desires your attention. I will tell you that I am just as guilty as the next person.

These technologies have unlimited potential to draw us closer and closer together, but the same things that can do that can also push us further and further away. We exist in a world of duality with everything consisting of good and bad, and it is up to each and every one of us to find the right balance.


On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everything drops to zero

I borrowed this title from one of my personal favorite websites, Zero Hedge. I want to use this post to elaborate on a point that I made in my previous post where I mentioned that our current societal system is not capable of addressing the problems we face, only the symptoms of these problems. We first have to identify the problem that we are facing.

Our entire society operates around the value of one imaginary commodity, the almighty dollar. We are conditioned from birth to believe that our society can only operate through the use of money, and every one of us must earn our “living.” This commodity has no value other than the value that we give it, making its value completely faith based. Once we lose this faith everything stops working.

Many of us believe that money is the only motivation that people need in order to improve the world around them, despite the fact that information is appearing that shows otherwise. It turns out that the only motivation people need is the idea of improving their life and the lives of others. So what does our obsession with the dollar create?

One word… profitability.

A money-centric society focuses firstly on being profitable. This completely factors out things like human well-being and it only encourages that when it is profitable. Currently in our world it is most profitable to make and sell weapons. One only has to look at the budget of the largest economy in the world to know this is true. If we spend more money on things of destruction how are we going to improve our existence?

One does not have to look far to find stories of corporations hurting the public in the name of profits. I won’t go in to those things here, there are plenty of sources out there that explain this very well. This is exactly where our problem lies. So how do we fix it?

The first option is governmental regulation. This is a completely natural reaction to the idea of a free, capitalistic market, and it will always occur in an attempt to balance the problems capitalism creates. I cannot stress this point enough, regulation will always occur in capitalistic societies because there must be something to keep any corporation from selling destructive weapons to whomever has the money. This regulation usually dampens the problem, but it will never stop these problems completely.

The second option is to create a program or institution that encourages a constructive behavior. This sometimes is a great success, such as with public libraries and the postal system. But these programs fail just as often such as in the case of the food pyramid campaign.

These two options are the only options that our government has at its disposal. When ANY decision is made one thing must always be factored in to the equation. MONEY

A government can not give us energy independence if it would cause us to go “broke.” They can not choose to end the production of weapons if it would cause millions to lose their jobs, especially in today’s political environment.

The problem is that we are beginning to be forced to choose between our concept of money, or the future of humanity. It will not be profitable to create cheap, efficient solar technology that could allow people to provide their own energy rather than buying it from a corporation. It will not be profitable to bring manufacturing institutions back to our home to provide jobs, and avoid wasteful worldwide trading. It will not be profitable to end our worldwide military campaigns.

We have worshiped our almighty dollar until it has brought us to end of the road. It is time to face our demons and to find a way to work for the benefit of all rather than the profitability of the few.


Waves Descending

We are in the age of novelty where everything is complexifying. This includes all issues that we are facing from global hunger to warfare, national debt to education, and everything in between. The powers that never were* will try to tell you that the answer to these problems lie in some large centralized organization.

The people on the right side of the spectrum argue that free market capitalism and its miraculous invisible hand will guide us to prosperity. They say competition is the answer and allowing our corporations free reign to do as they please is the only way to cure what ails us.

On the opposite side of the spectrum you have people who tout the strength of a large, powerful, central government. One that can send us to war at a moments notice in order to keep us “safe.” A government that can also control the evil corporations (while subversively doing the exact opposite) and create the institutions and infrastructure that we need in order to be successful.

According to these groups these are the only two possible solutions to everything, and only ONE is correct. Why is it that when our world is becoming more complex at an accelerating rate that we look for fewer and fewer solutions? Why aren’t we using this as an opportunity to search deeper for the complex solutions to these complex problems?

The problem is that these solutions will not come from the institutions we have created.  Our institutions are only capable of addressing the symptoms of the problems, not the problems themselves. When a man murders another person our solution is to put them in jail, despite the fact that this does nothing to improve the well being of that man or his victims. Yes, it keeps him from murdering again while he is imprisoned, but it does not fix the reason as to why he did it in the first place. In fact, if he is released he is much more likely to commit a crime again.

So if these institutions can not do the one thing they were designed for, who can? If your problems are coming from more and more places, why not look for the solutions in more and more places as well? Who would be better for fixing a problem that we face, one of us? Or all of us?

The internet is probably the single most important invention we have in order to accomplish this. It allows us to exchange ideas across the globe instantly. On top of that it gives each and every single one of us an equal voice, this is Democracy in its truest form. It already allows us to come together for production needs, media creation, news, and education. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and the truth is that we are only in the infancy of the internet age.

What we are seeing is all a part of a much larger wave of decentralization that is occurring around the world, and this wave cannot be stopped by any of our proclaimed “leaders.” This wave will bring much chaos as our corporations and centralized governments fade in to irrelevancy while they simultaneously fight against it.

This is putting the power over our lives back in to our hands, and giving us more power to shape the world around us. The emphasis will be put on self-sufficiency instead of reliance on the things that hold the illusion of power. We will be forced to to educate ourselves more as we must learn to provide for ourselves, and this, in turn, will lead to a new age of human understanding. We will decide how this world operates, not some person in a far off land that dictates how our lives will be lived.

This, my friends, is what freedom looks like.

 

 

* I refer to the people in “power” this way because I believe that an institution created by man is never in control. The only thing these institutions can do is create the illusion of power when in all truth they, as well as everything else, are ruled by things much, much greater than we all can perceive.


Student of the World

Here I am almost two months after starting this blog, and what do I have to show? Not much to share yet, but it is coming……eventually.

I have discovered that my role right now is not that of a teacher, but of a student.I have too much to learn and not enough to teach yet, and I have been taking this time to read….alot….. as I am sure many of you do. I have been sharing the new knowledge I acquire every day with the people around me, and the results have been better than I could have ever expected. I have been presented with with event after event that has allowed me to grow my understanding of the world more and more.

But big changes are coming for me.

In a short amount of time I will be going through something that will completely change the dynamic of my life. I am eagerly awaiting this event, and I hope it can allow me to alter my role in the world.

Time will tell…..


The Path is Long

Yes, I am still here.

It seems the information I am looking for will take a while to compile. There are as many dots to connect as there are stars in the sky, and I believe that I am slowly nearing to an idea for my first real post.

But with that said, updates will be sporadic, mostly just as the ideas come to me.

Peaceful searching.