Exercise it, Renew it, or Watch if Fade Away

Some kind and considerate person asked me a tough question on one of my YouTube channels today. “If I were the top dog, what would I do to usher in a “resource-based” economy?” (I’m paraphrasing.) We are talking about ideas that Peter Josephs, the founder of The Zeitgeist Movement espouses in his work. I won’t go into that in this post but you can rest assured that there will be a lot more on that in later posts.

Friends are your best resource.

Friends are your best resource.

The question has me thinking and I’ll address the core of it later in another post. I need to think about it a bit more. But the first thing that came to mind is – how would I get “buy in” from 5% of the global population? That’s just to start.

And then, three questions popped into my mind:

  • What do you want?

  • Why do you want it?

  • How are you going to get there?

These are three core questions all of use have to wrestle with. The first one seems easy but how many people do you know who really understand what they really want? Let me ask another question. What motivates you? What motivates your reasoning? Is it a combination of emotional responses and learned behaviors, plus a parroting of certain language and ideas that you picked up somehow subconsciously? I mean, your way of thinking didn’t come from somewhere deep down inside you, did it. And yet, you take it for granted that your thoughts are your own. Why is that? Deep. Oh no, not another tough question.

How do we manufacture consent? How did we get into this set of living arrangements? You’d have to do a lot of reading across domains of interest just to start to understand those two questions. Then, you’d have to train yourself to understand complex systems because this set of living arrangements is highly complex. You’d have to buff up your understanding of some pretty complex theories as well, like, for instance, complexity theory. What? Don’t go there? I hear you. Let’s take a deep breath.

That was good. OK, back to those first three questions.

The first step to understanding the first question is to admit that you don’t know why you want what you want. You want a truck, and you think you know why you want a truck, but you really don’t know why you want a truck. I know, you think I’m nuts. Of course, you know why you want a truck, your truck is your corporate utilitarian vehicle and you need it to survive. Or do you?

You see, one of the problems is that you simply can’t imagine a world in which you don’t need a truck to survive. You don’t need it to signal your manhood to your tribe, you don’t need it to do donuts at a famous intersection in your city, and you don’t need it to get from point “a” to point “b”. You don’t need to borrow money to buy it. You don’t need to buy insurance for it. You don’t need to pay to park the damn thing somewhere. Hell, you don’t need to maintain it or sell it or die in it. There are lots of other ways to get around.

Walking is healthy, riding a bike is healthy, taking public transportation in a community of people that have been brought up to be polite, considerate and helpful is much healthier than listing to a shock jock in a traffic jam. No, not now, I won’t bore you with the studies, the evidence, the science, the physiological and psychological accrued benefits of living as Homo Sapiens lived for tens of thousands of years.

What do I want? Well, I don’t want a lot of baggage weighing me down. I don’t want layers of identity confusing me. I don’t want to feel outrage or to feel oppressed. I don’t want to be stressed out all the time, that’s for sure. I don’t want a lot of truly useless, cheap shit clogging up my life and spilling out of my closets and into landfills. And I don’t want to worry about MONEY all the time.

I want a few inspiring relationships. I want to feel vital and strong. I want the freedom to dream and do what I want. I want a pat on the back and a sincere smile when I do a good job. I want to wake up every morning and go to bed every night feeling like I made a difference while having an overwhelming feeling of loving life. I want to feel that beautiful wave of gratitude wash over me every day.

Why do you want that, Mr? WOW! That’s a much harder question. Again, I’d need to be intellectually curious and willing to do some reading across domains to answer that question. I’d need solid relationships with some mentors. I’d have to figure out how human desires work. Where do desires come from? Did I just wake up in the morning one day with this ingenious realization that I had to start smoking because ________________________. Fill in the blank. Oh, I do remember Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. NO! I need to start vaping, everyone is doing that these days. I just want to FIT IN. I’m not an American psycho, I’m just human.

The first step to answering the why questions is to admit that you really don’t know why. Then you can start doing some mind and soul searching, you can do some research, and then, only then, you might figure it out.

I know, you thought the “How” question was the toughest but it’s not. In a community we have all the tools and expertise at the ready to sort anything out: That’s a plain and simple fact. You are not just an individual, your body, mind, and life are all about community. If you didn’t have a hell of a lot of gut bacteria living inside your intestines you’d be dead in a split second of a heartbeat. If you didn’t live in a community the water would stop flowing and if you didn’t know where to get drinkable water you’d be dead in a few days. Think of all the busy people around you going about their “business” and what it really means to you. Now think of a problem. If you had access to those human resources, to that social capital, to that intellectual capital, to that aggregate of human caloric energy and power, there is nothing you couldn’t accomplish. And I mean “you” as in you all because you are nothing without a community.

We can expand on all of this, of course, but the main point is that if you can’t answer these questions, you can’t even begin to imagine how to start building a resource-based economy. There are material resources having to do with the “carrying capacity of the Earth”, and there are the emergent and just as tangible resources having to do with human spirit, imagination, creativity, motivational power and force of action. If we understand how those things really work, then you can bet that some generation in the future will boldly go where no human has gone before.

Be curious. Study primary sources. What do I mean by that? Read the works of people who have done the work and stay the hell away from pop culture, shock jocks and circus acts that are paid for by you, the taxpayer, the consumer. You need to focus on things that have been well thought through. You have to become addicted to "the work". Go ahead, tomorrow, when you get up, do some breathing exercises and some push-ups and take an hour long walk. Then read a good book for a half hour, take a cold shower, have a cup of coffee, and get busy. Eat your first meal of the day at one o’clock. Make sure you’re eating whole foods, hopefully from a market where you know the vendors personally. Do something like that for a month and tell me how you feel.

This is human life, people. Exercise it and renew it or watch it fade away. You, my friend, are a creator, not just a robotic consumer.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.