Archive for March, 2008



March 23, 2008

I thought I’d done quite well in abandoning the materialist mindset, I don’t want for flash cars, electronic goods or plush lounge suites, nor do I desire nick nacks and concrete ornaments for the garden. However I still have one weakness in this area and it pretty much cancels out the gains I have made everywhere else.

It’s very relevant at the moment too. We’d like to buy some land but the desire to own a beautiful piece of land or one with an awesome view is kind of overwhelming. I do want to feel excited or inspired by the place we eventually buy but like everyone else I keep wanting what is out of my grasp.

Anyway, Ran has pointed out the Moneyless World blog and whileI was checking out an old post I found this paragraph which really hit the nail on the head for me.

I find that beauty is overwhelming & disheartening if I am in the wrong mind – the mind that wants to possess. Then my new Mind realizes beauty is neither created nor destroyed, but eternally goes from one form to another, and only beauty’s forms vanish, like flowers! This is when I realize that Heaven is ever at hand. But the greed mind, the mind that wants to possess & capture in picture frames, thinks that the forms are it. So the greed mind grieves when the forms pass.

The degree to which this guy has abandoned our culture makes my own attempts feel decidedly amatuerish. It’s true that we have our own path to follow but the perspective he has on our culture really shows through in the philosophy he produces. It reminds me of a quote I posted recently from Bill Mollison

I can easily teach people to be gardeners, and from them, once they know how to garden, you’ll get a philosopher. But I could never teach people to be philosophers – and if I did, you could never make a gardener out of them.

I’ve never been in danger of paying much attention to a university-taught philospher but this really does ram home how much we can learn from people who feed their mind with real-life experiences.


Peak Burn-out

March 20, 2008

It’s common among the crash watching and crash blogging fraternity to come across comments to the effect that; “yes, we’re providing all this information about how to prepare for the crash but only a small percentage of readers actually seem to be acting on it”.

My own experience of this is that a constant diet of crash-horror-news seems to wear away at me and steal my energy and my initiative. Clearly I’m not alone, here’s a recent article by Richard Heinberg addressing the issue of burn out amongst the peak oil community, and here’s the best bit:

I suspect that the burden of dire knowledge is exacerbated by the psychophysical impact of too much time on the computer and not enough outdoors. It’s an occupational hazard: those of us who are aware of the impending collision of resource depletion with population growth and climate instability have acquired whatever understanding we have through countless hours tracking trends, peering at graphs, and noting news items on glowing screens. Assuming you’re reading my words on-line right now, you might want to bookmark this page and jump for a moment to, the site of an on ongoing research project of Carnegie Mellon University that has concluded that “Greater use of the Internet is associated with increases in loneliness and symptoms of depression.”

I’ve written before about the emotional toll the internet seems to take on me so I’ll definitely be checking out that link when I get time.

Richard Heinberg’s article is good but I always find being told what I should do is not nearly so energising (which is the issue here) as being told what someone else has done,  so here’s a comment from Dan that I got a lot out of:

A year or two back, whenever I set out to do something, I always had”the crash” in the back of my head. Whenever I embarked on something that would take time, I wondered, do I have the time? Shouldn’t I be buying food or land?

In the end, it became a self-destructive habit. It just slowed me down and made me unhappy. I was telling myself everything was urgent, and then burning myself out before I started. like a dieter trying to avoid everything and then going on big chocolate binges.

I’m not doubting the possibility of a crash, but a personal development focus without worrying about global economic meltdown works better for me. I get more done, I’m happier, and I’m still aware of potential trouble up ahead. The stronger, smarter and happier I become, the more of an asset and a beacon I can be if a crash does get messy. My thinking has become much more individual-focused over the last year–it’s individuals who bring on revolutions and change lives. And it doesn’t take that many! Apparently the Enlightenment was the work of only 1000 or so people. They worked hard, shared, taught and spread their message and society quickly hit a tipping point and jumped to a social context unimaginable 10 years before.

The more I change and free me, the more potential I see in the world. Not just for avoiding a horrible crash, but for achieving so much more in all areas. I’ve started exploring this kind of potential in ch11 [of my book] and will continue to in ch12 (coming soon) of the first drafts.

Clearly my emphasis needs to be on making things right for my family life – certainly if I can get that right we’ll all be a lot stronger.



March 8, 2008

Over the last three months I’ve been working for a friend of mine at his hardware store in Raglan. The store is a lot smaller than the big boxes found in larger towns and cities so there’s plenty of variety in the work but all the same I’m amazed at how much I’m enjoying it.

I guessed in advance that I would enjoy parts of it because a large part of the job involves chatting to people but I’ve also discovered a few other things that make this type of work far superior to working in an office.

As I said, chatting to customers is part of the job, but (and this seems really obvious in hindsight) if you’re doing physical work you can actually have a conversation while you do the work – who knew?

The work I used to do in an office used the same part of the brain that you need for holding a conversation which meant that any chatting was done on stolen time. That this has been a revelatory experience for me is a sign of how effective the propaganda pointing me to ‘professional work’ was.

Something I was sure would happen (and it has) is that I’d sleep better. When you do physical work, you get tired and rest but when you do mental work you get tired and lie awake all night trying to make your brain slow down. Also when you do physical work, you get fit whereas when you do mental work you just get tired and lie awake all night trying to…

So I’m sleeping better, I’m having more fun, I’m interacting with people which I enjoy, I’m out in the fresh air and I’m getting fit. These are all things the professional classes pay to do outside of work – usually at gyms, nightclubs and shopping centres – hell I can even go shopping at this job too!

This last week I’ve had a cold but I thought I’d go to work and see how I coped – again I was amazed. If I’d gone to work in an office I would have begun to feel worse and worse until my head was ready to implode but in a job where you get plenty of fresh air and your body is moving you hardly notice a mild illness. All I did was have some benign tablets to help keep my nose clear (which never used to make any difference when I was sitting at a desk) and avoided really tiring physical work. I’d always met a lot of builders who kept working when they had colds and I thought they were real hard-men but now I know their secret – it’s easy when you’re on the move and getting fresh air.

To be fair the pay is crap and this creates other pressures that we’re really struggling with, plus the kids don’t like me being out of the house for so long during the day and it takes a lot of work to collect them again when I get home but for the moment it’s nice to have a job that I actually enjoy. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

And I know some of you are thinking ‘well duh! That’s obvious’ but just remember I was subjected to some pretty powerful propaganda for most of my childhood. Mind you even I’m amazed at just how ignorant I was of these simple facts of life.