Archive for the ‘FB Note Archive’ Category

The Solution IS Collapse

Posted: June 14, 2012 in FB Note Archive


So the root problem is the system, human nature, blah blah blah. There are no “solutions” that can fix those defaults. Thus the “solution” is collapse.

Policies create incentives and disincentives. Some are intended, some fall into the category of unintended consequences. Regardless of their intention, policies that create windfalls (“easy money”) or open spigots of “free money” (or what is perceived as free money by the recipient) quickly gather the allegiance of everyone reaping the windfall or collecting the free money.

This allegiance is soon tempered into political steel by self-justification: humans excel at rationalizing their self-interest. Thus my share of the swag is soon “absolutely essential.”

Humans don’t need much incentive to pursue windfalls or free money–seeking windfalls in the here and now is our default setting. Taking the pulpit to denounce humanity’s innate greed, avarice and selfishness doesn’t change this, as seeking short-term windfalls has offered enormous selective advantages for hundreds of thousands of years.

That which is painful to those collecting free money will be avoided, and that which is easy will be pursued until it’s painful. Borrowing $1.5 trillion a year from toddlers and the unborn taxpayers of the future is easy and painless, as toddlers have no political power. So we will borrow from the powerless to fund our free money spigots until it becomes painful.

It won’t become painful to borrow from our grandkids for quite some time, and it will probably not become progressively painful, either, because we will suppress the pain with superlow interest rates and other trickery. The pain will more likely be of the sudden, unexpected, “this can’t be happening to me” heart-attack sort: the free-money machine will unexpectedly grind to a halt in some sort of easily predictable but always-in-the-future crisis.

“Solutions” that turn off the free money spigots are non-starters, not just from self-interest but from ideology. Any attempt to tighten the spigots steps on ideological toes, as each spigot is ideologically sacred to one political camp or another.

Liberals don’t want to hear about scamming of their sacred “we must help everyone in need” welfare programs, and conservatives don’t want to hear about cartel looting of their sacred “free enterprise” system.

And so we have gridlock, what I call profound political disunity. Everybody at each trough of free money fights tooth and nail to keep their spigot wide open, and so the “solution” is to borrow 10% of the nation’s output in “free money” every year until the free-money machine breaks down.

Each ideology worships their own version of cargo-cult economics: if we wave the dead chicken over the enchanted rocks while dancing the humba-humba, prosperity and abundance will magically return and we can “grow our way out of debt.”

We’re like a sprawling family bickering over the inheritance: we’ll keep arguing over who deserves what until the inheritance is gone. That will trigger one final outburst of finger-pointing, resentment and betrayal, and then we’ll go do something else to get by.

The “solution” is thus collapse. This model has been very effectively explored in The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilizationby Thomas Homer-Dixon.



The basic idea is that when the carrying costs of the society exceed its output, the whole contraption collapses.

The political adjunct to this systemic implosion is that the productive people just stop supporting the Status Quo because it’s become too burdensome. The calculus of self-interest shifts from supporting the bloated, marginal-return Status Quo to abandoning it.

So the root problem is the system, human nature, blah blah blah.

There are no “solutions” that can fix those defaults.

The “solution” is collapse, as only collapse will force everyone to go do something more sustainable to get by.

Until then, arguing about “solutions” is a sport to be enjoyed sparingly.


Courtesy of John Rolls and Before Its News



There are structural problems with trying to look into the future.


First of all, we all walk into the room with only the baggage that we are carrying. For most people, that baggage is the sum total of their experiences. It is what they think they know from what has happened to them in the past. It is only as broad as their explorations and as narrow as their interests.


Almost all of us are also necessarily specialists. We have been educated in specific disciplines. We focus on particular professions. We have limited time for hobbies. We are not generalists, ranging widely and knowing something about most everything. We are not system thinkers, naturally visualizing all of the big contributing components of the network under consideration.


Economists, for example, don’t usually spend a lot of time thinking about rapid climate change . . . even though a big, accelerated shift in the world’s weather would drive their econometric models over the nearest cliff. Energy analysts are probably not closely tracking social value shifts and the relative confidence that the public has in their government . . . even though consumer buying and traveling behavior are directly related to these factors.


It is bad enough that one’s experiences are necessarily constrained – offering a perspective of only a slight sliver of the total available knowledge – but for some reason, most of us think that our necessarily myopic, highly-colored view represents, in some significant way, absolute reality. We believe that our personal experiences are more absolute than relative and we imagine that what we, in fact, believe, we really know.


The essence of being “sane” is to have a relatively coherent concept about what is going on around one’s self. To the extent that there are holes in that concept – things that we don’t understand – we fill those holes in with ideas that we either come up with ourselves or have been given to us by friends, authorities and institutions (like government and religion). We take those notions and believe them and deem them to be true . . . because it helps us make sense of our human experience. But most of us don’t know where what we know ends and what we believe begins.


Most people seem not to have ever given a thought to the idea that everything we experience is transmitted to our brains in some way through physical transducers (eyes, ears, skin) that fundamentally shape and constrain the external signal, essentially making our reality subjective. If you’re color blind, you are aware of this – but only because someone else, with a broader perspective, has demonstrated it to you. If you’re married, you know that the same event can really look and mean different things to different people.


Furthermore, we presume what has happened in the past will necessarily repeat itself – always in some familiar form. Our radar is locked pointing backward – not forward. That is why most forecasts and predictions are based upon extrapolations of historical behavior . . . and are wrong. As the university analysts found when they did a study of the predictions and forecasts of well-known economists over the years on where the economy was going; rates of economic growth, etc. : if one had trained a parrot to say, “Same as last quarter” whenever you asked it a question, it would have been more accurate than all of the economists.


We have no innate provision for either anticipating or dealing with very disruptive change that produces a future that hasn’t already been considered. Science tells us we make sense using stored patterns in our brains collected from former experiences. If something new shows up that isn’t congruent with an existing pattern, we can’t make sense out of the situation. If we haven’t thought about it – it isn’t there. This is where we plug the hole with something that seems to make sense.


All of this suggests that there’s no place for big, rapid, revolutionary change in the cognitive set of most of the members of our species. We have a set of capabilities that are adapted to the past, not the future.


This is all important because we now appear to be running headlong into a major evolutionary shift that encompasses not only the planet (and perhaps the solar system and galaxy) but also humanity. The distinct patterns of these kinds of transitions are quite clear from history. They come at generally predictable times (each era is one-tenth of the size of the previous ones), are quicker (state changes are now measured in years, or maybe months, rather than centuries), and are more violent (8-9 times the amount of knowledge and complexity is quickly inserted into the system, both in seemingly positive and negative terms).


In every previous case, there emerged a new level of intelligence, capabilities, and self awareness in the dominant species . . . and the previous social structures collapsed. It’s one thing to live through a small segment of a shift of this type that takes, say, 200 years – it is quite another to navigate oneself through the rapids of a five or ten year transition that might be violent as well as rapid. But that is what we must do. That is why we are here.


There’s a problem with this model that I’ve just described, and that is that it is derived from the shortcomings that I’ve just enumerated. It’s hard, if not impossible, to describe from the position of an earlier era how life might transition to a new reality which doesn’t at all work like the current, familiar paradigm. What that means is the new world – and the transition from here to there – might very well be much stranger than we can generally imagine. That’s the essential nature of a paradigm shift. How you make sense of reality dramatically changes.


All of this begs the question: So, what do you do if you’re on the edge of what could be the greatest transition in the history of the planet?


I’d suggest that there are four things that would find themselves in any good list of the most important things to do in preparing for planetary shift. You need to learn from the past, anticipate what might be inbound from the future, innovate with new ideas about how to live, and become highly adaptive and able to adjust to the new reality. All of these things could be summed up in the base characteristic of agility, I suppose – the ability to easily dance to whatever new song the universal band plays.


Now that’s easy to say. Just get agile. Well, I’ll tell you that as daunting as it may seem, it’s quite possible. But there are two prerequisites. The first and most important is that you must commit yourself – you must intend – to actively engage in this transition.


You must engage in order to transcend.


I can assure you that if you seriously put that intention into place, your world will change. New people will show up, you’ll hear things that are important in ways that never seemed to happen before . . . and you’ll find books like this one. Your universe will reconfigure itself to make that intention your reality.


The second prerequisite is one of the things I mentioned above: anticipation. Anticipation is more important than all of the other characteristics mentioned. If you can’t anticipate – have foresight – how do you know what to innovate for? If you don’t have an idea of what might be inbound, how do you build an adaptive life or organization? What are you going to adapt to or for? And, if you don’t have an idea of what might be in the future, where do you go in the past to learn how others have previously responded to big change?


So, anticipation, or foresight, laced with all of the human shortcomings I’ve mentioned earlier, is what we must embrace.


Foresight is about building coherent ideas in your mind about likely or plausible futures and understanding what might happen between now and then that could make those futures manifest. These are mental pictures. In my business we talk about them as scenarios, but that is a somewhat formal characterization – they’re really stories that make sense, and the more they make sense, the more powerful they are in providing you with a framework, an architecture, for action.


Conceptually, it’s the same, and almost as simple, as gathering up enough information to come to the conclusion that there might be a very large hurricane coming your way in the next six months (got that mental picture?), and thinking through what you might have to do to prepare yourself for such an event.


Now, relatively speaking, that’s rather easy to do if you’re talking about the weather – but if you presume that the giant meteorological storm, though larger, is pretty much like other hurricanes, then the analogy to the present situation starts to come apart. In this case, it’s a little like you thought the highest velocity the winds might build to were 120 mph and they turned out to be 250 mph, unlike anything ever before seen in history!


We’re on the edge of bigger change than ever before experienced by anyone on this planet in this lifetime. There are no historical records that even begin to describe these potentialities. There is no “standard operating procedure” for responding to what is bearing down on us within clear sight.




Courtesy of John L. Peterson



Initially written as an intro for Kiara Windrider’s marvelous book ‘Year Zero!’

Let me first point you to an early warning piece compiled by Michael Snyder: George Soros, IMF & The World Bank: Warnings Of An Impending Economic Collapse.* In my DVD, 2012: The Year of Great Transition, I talk about the multiple indicators that propose that the global economic system will suffer a great implosion starting late next month. I certainly have thoughtful friends who don’t believe this is going to happen and I have other friends who have questioned both the value and motivations associated with highlighting these potential discontinuities. They generate fear, they say. And furthermore, those things might not happen.

This got me thinking a bit more about this whole transition and our preparation/response to it all.

I guess it’s becoming clearer to me that each of us has only ourselves to assess in determining what we need to do going forward. I remember the response of one of our friends here in Berkeley Springs when he began to read my 2012 book: “I read the first couple of chapters the first night and wanted to go get my gun and shoot myself,” he announced to a party we were attending. My response was, “No, no! You’ve got to read it all, don’t stop as soon as you find things uncomfortable!” I guess, in general, I’d suggest the same thing in terms of these kinds of messages that harbinger destruction and upheaval. Don’t stop at the bad stuff, the really exciting stuff comes where the larger context is explained.

E. Dee Conrad’s book, A New Dawn Awaits, which I’ve mentioned here and many of your now have, is like this-you can’t stop in the first chapters that talk about all of the disruption-you have to read it all. You need to understand where this all is going. I’ve had many people tell me that they were seriously moved and appreciative of my making her book available to them, so I know that it works for those people for whom it works.

I guess that is the point. Each of us enters this transition from a different perspective and a different set of needs and therefore each person’s appropriate engagement with the shift must necessarily be unique.

That being said (and I really do appreciate that each of us must approach this personally and that none of us is in a position to judge others), let me loft out a couple of ideas. I think one of the most fundamental (practical) objectives of this life experience is learning to live without fear-finding comfort in the “eternal now”-as Paul Tillich called it. The ability to live without fear of the future fundamentally changes one’s approach to life and opens up significant options that fear and anxiety preclude. There are a number of ways to find this space-Echardt Tolle has famously written about some of them-but what I, at least, have found is that fear seems to coexist with a sense of uncertainty. In other words, the more uncertain someone is about a potential situation, the more open the person becomes to unleashing a gnawing apprehension about what might happen . . . and, of course, how bad it could become.

For me, the two general approaches to dealing with this uncertainty revolve around ignorance and information, the pursuit of which, in turn quickly becomes a bit of a logical labyrinth. On one hand, you can purposely stay uninformed of what is developing around yourself and, in not knowing about what might be inbound, neither think nor worry about the future. That works. That is what Wayne Dyer advertises that he does. I have no doubt that that is the best approach for some, if not most, people.

The problem for me is that this approach revolves around the notion of surprises. When something big happens that you haven’t considered-and therefore don’t understand and can’t contextualize- uncertainty is generated. If the event is really abrupt and strange, it engenders a great deal of very rapid uncertainty and therefore fear. Having not considered the possibility before the fact (when time was available to make some sense of not only what such a thing could mean but also what might be done about it), you very quickly finds yourself out of time, money and options . . . and that’s usually not fun.

The alternative is to try to stay knowledgeable about what might be on the horizon, therefore engendering a picture of what you might encounter and having the opportunity to prepare yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually for the coming changes.

But that only works if you don’t become stressed by what you see. If the incoming change is scary, you internalize all of the potential ways in which the future might turn on you and that compounds your insecurity. You’re fearful again. So that won’t work either.

The challenge, therefore, is to be informed but not to become emotionally involved in what you learn and consider-to maintain an arm’s length, “observer” perspective of all that might happen that has any aspect of what might be considered negative personal implications. It’s a process of looking at the future with your head, not your heart. The underlying principle, of course, is that the future almost never shows up as you thought it would . . . and it seldom is a bad as anticipated. Worrying does absolutely no good whatsoever and embellishing those “negative” images with stressful emotions which literally increases the likelihood that something unsavory will, in fact, be manifest. Your consciousness is causal and when your emotions are supercharged, it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. It really gets going.

So, you can stand on the sidelines and hope everything works out, or engage in the process, but only if can do so without internalizing the emotionally negative things you see emerging. It’s one thing to be surprised when the events are small but it’s quite another when the unanticipated is large and fast moving. Like the difference between a thunderstorm and a hurricane: the net effects are magnified when things are unfamiliar. They don’t make sense. You can only make sense out of anything by understanding its context. Pick any single event or concept by itself-star, storm, change, or my wife Diane-and unless you understand the context, you have no idea what it means. We all know that you also need some history-some distance-from an experience to fully appreciate what its real meaning was. Everyone has had what at the time seemed to be a bad experience, that, in retrospect made a lot of good sense and contributed positively to their lives. That is the value of context-you begin to see how the short-term disruption contributes to the longer term stability and expansion.

I mention this because many substantive indicators suggest we are entering a period of very significant, abrupt, unprecedented events. Like the article mentioned above, the channeled material from E. Dee, the clear picture coming out of the webot process, and a host of other credible sources, very good source material suggests that our world is about to change dramatically. My friend Kevin Blackwell (and many others) make the point that the planet needs to change in order for the new world to emerge. It’s all part of the process.

The bigger context is the key. It is all good, because the short term change, like childbirth, might be painful in the present but it is an integral part of something quite wonderful and beautiful being born. If you can hold that larger picture in your mind-and the fact that the universe is benign and loving and will care for you-then you can look at big change without any negative charge and be excited about participating in what appears to be the grandest event in the history of our species. The context is rather extraordinary and shifts how you look at everything.

An important distinction must be made between reasonable, supportable attempts to inform, and those kinds of transmissions that have words like “apocalypse” in their title-which, wittingly or not, are designed to prospect for and mine fear and other negative emotional responses. I would clearly put E. Dee’s book in the former category. It is coherent, unimpassioned reporting from a source that is very consistent with many other sources. As a number of people have said to me: “There’s nothing new here, but this presentation is so coherent, comprehensive and clear.”

Now, we all respond how we respond, so it would be foolish to feed one’s fear while knowing that that would be the effect. That’s why I think that many, if not most people probably can’t effectively handle the full truth of what appears to be heading this way. They will neither see nor fully appreciate the much larger context of what is transpiring and therefore slip into fear; but in this case, being uninformed risks being unprepared.

This is why I think we need balance. We have a mind for a reason and we should use it. The human mind’s capacity for logic has been one of the central tools in the evolution of our species. We have reached this place of being about to be catapulted into an extraordinary new world in good part because of the increasingly effective use of our minds. Now we need to expand-and balance-the way we operate to include logic and analysis as well as the softer, non-linear intuitive resource that many of us have essentially ignored. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater as we move in this larger, expanded direction. That’s my guess.

But, all of the above is conventional analysis. Let me be quick to say that we can jettison all of this kind of thinking in a heartbeat if some indicators of the character and magnitude of the incoming change turn out to be true. There is the possibility that with DNA change, expanded operation in fourth and fifth dimensional reality and a bunch of other radically unconventional ideas, all the rules about how to live on this planet could change. It would be a different game on a different playing field with very different rules. Should this emerge, much of what is capturing our attention on a day-to-day basis (in the short term, at least) would be unlikely to illuminate the magnitude of what we are really experiencing. In that case, it might turn out that effectively insulating oneself from all that is going on around would be the best policy. Maybe not cluttering up one’s mind with trying to understand and anticipate in a linear way would be the best approach. I honestly don’t know. But I do think that we each must do the best that we know how to do at each stage of this transition and that, if we do that, there isn’t anything else that we really can do.

The Revolution is Love

As I mentioned in the last issue of FE, there is a practical example of how one can think about these things. It’s not the endpoint, but you can start to see the possibility of a different paradigm. Here’s a short YouTube video featuring Charles Eisenstein called The Revolution is Love. ** There’s an almost angular difference to the conventional analytical orientation. Eisenstein is working from a different operating plane-he’s using a radically different set of metrics to assess and make sense of what is happening.

That’s what is interesting to me about this big shift, “they” are changing not only the rules . . . but also the playing field. This is really a different game that we’re in.

Anticipating 2012

As I mentioned above, we’ve got a new DVD out on what 2012 looks like to me. I gathered the information from eight or nine credible sources together in a synthetic picture. It was interesting because it became clear that there were multiple indicators that were very specifically forecasting the rapid collapse of significant pieces of the existing system in the coming 12 months-some of the big pieces start coming down in the next 90 days! ***

For example, one can make a pretty compelling case that there will be an extraordinary cosmic happening in the third quarter . . . to say nothing about two other major earth-shaking events that appear to be on the schedule for June and September.

2012 is gearing up to literally become one of the most important years in the history of humanity.

Very strange things seem programmed for the third quarter-events for which we don’t yet have descriptive language. It is interesting that the input from both conventional and unconventional reporters has pointed consistently toward the uniqueness of this period.


Courtesy of John L. Peterson and the Arlington Institute:


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