In this time of dramatic change with much of it destructive it is paramount to review what affluence actually is. I will relate this to growth because there are many similarities. We have productive growth and unproductive growth that is more apparent these days than ever before. This is because rates are repressed and liquidity managed. Debt is monetized and this has allowed an explosion of debt levels and unfunded liabilities that represent a way of life detached form reality.
This results in investments in growth that are claimed to be productive when they do not pass a traditional rate of return test. If you lower the cost of money and supply money to speculative parts of the economy then investments will reflect this privileged access. Less real value is realized because the growth signal is distorted. Firms that should not be in business are left in business. There is construction of physical infrastructure that does not bring a positive return when compared to the claim of an actual investment.
This creates a hollow economy. Spending is made by privileged parts of the economy in a parasitic way. The key point here is ROI type analysis needs to be applied to affluence. Affluence is a reality testing that is similar to calculating ROI on investments. It is either productive or not. All the marketing in the world will not change this. This is why facing reality is so important when it’s our lives. If the social narrative is like our economy, it is in trouble. I feel it is a flection and this is why you should at least entertain what I am telling you about what our lives have become. Art reflects reality and this is my painting.
Affluence is comforts and power multiplication. This comes from energy and networking creating efficiency. Food calories, space heating, transport, and production all have an energy components. Networking is a human power multiplier producing a proper application of energy and technology with equipment. Efficiency is from the networking of energy. Technological capability is then built up over time.
Efficiency impacts a life system on fundamental ways. It is important to understand there is sweet spot where more or less efficiency degrades. Not enough and you starve but too much delocalizes and mechanizes which destroys the capability. It is this sweet spot that needs to be defined and a wisdom applied. The reason I mention this is these days energy is more powerful than it should be for balance. Networking and technology are too dense with complexity and complicated parts. This means efficiency is lowering real affluence similar to growth being nonproductive when its value is skewed from productive to parasitic.
This is vitally important today as humans move into an era of extreme transhumanism. I define transhumanism different from today’s version which defines it as the merger of man and machine with the digital. This digital is artificial intelligence and automation. In my definition transhumanism is with man and machines at a much more basic level. This is key because it is the transhumanism I am defining that goes to the basics of human overshoot.
The basic level of transhumanism is the car culture. This ability of individual transport allowed an explosion in capability that all other methods and results of transhumanism are based on. Delocalized is my benchmark for discussions in regards to meaning. Delocalization drew man away from true meaning of the ecosystem. Man had a place that had meaning. It may have been brutal and short at times but man had a raw and powerful meaning.
Transhumanism is where man loses meaning but gains capability. This process began when man left his seminomadic hunter gather lives of an oral culture and took up civilization. It is at the basic level of car culture when this decline in meaning went nonlinear towards meaningless. The human power multiplier of civilization made modern transhumanism possible. This modern transhumanism is now mostly human noise. It has no future because industrial man is now fully in decline in an end game of consequences. This mechanized complexity will have a short half-life.
Delocalization is the basics behind our current globalism. Rapid transport with high energy and networked systems has force multiplied the human ecosystem. This allows economies of scale specializing with comparative advantage and lean systems. This is the physical elements of today’s value chains. Delocalization requires this and will not survive being localized. This means transhumanism will not survive decline. Decline will bifurcate our transhuman civilization into a salvage civilization and some breakpoint ahead.
Humans have automated systems with less human participation but also fewer goods as backups. Our manufacture of goods just-in-time is robustly capable but very unstable in decline. Lean manufacturing is a dangerous journey in uncharted water for civilization in overshoot of population and consumption. Lean manufacturing is seen as efficient. This modern system has transhumanize affluence. Mechanizing human life by reducing humans from the value chains actually devalues human meaning. The deception of affluence masks this. Meaningless is the result. The narrative today is noise not the signal. The signal is the pulse of life. The signal is the heartbeat of this planet that is full of life.
We can say that too much or too little affluence is not good. We don’t want to be fat and lazy in sloth. Destructive happiness leads to lower resilience and sustainability. No pain no gain has to be respected. Hard work and taking risk are the hallmark of success. These days human agency is fat and lazy. Look at affluence today like an investment. The view of affluence today is like price discovery. The price of something today is more about price than reality. Price signals are noisy the richer you get. The deadly sins are a great description of the symptoms of the age. Pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth represent the arrogance of humanism damaging the heart beat of this planet.
Being able to retire and do what you want when you want is a goal these days. Working less and doing more. Eating well with plenty of quality foods is what all cultures want. Pretty places to live in with happy stable human relationships with less effort and more freedoms. Finding a sweet spot with these basic human desires is now more than ever deviating from reality.
What is lacking is the wisdom of a proper humanism. Too much affluence destroys this. Today we have an arrogance of humanism that has gone out of control. Humility and respect for the rigors of the learning process that comes from respecting and embracing failure is being massaged out of people’s lives. The religion of Woke expresses this very well with safe spaces and mediocrity. This sort of thing is a luxury of affluence. There are no heroes in such places. The result is dumbed down populations of fat and lazy participants increasingly living in arrangements that on the surface may appear efficient but the reality is this efficiency is brittle and corrosive. The all-important human element is mechanized with extreme prejudice because human nature can’t be trusted and human effort lacking.
This has not only affected humanism but also the planet that allowed it. This is now more than ever about our relationship to the rest of the planet and its systems. An indicator of all of the earths systems is the life system. This life system serves as a command system for the other planetary systems. It helps modulate nonlife systems with reactions to the geologic and climate. Only by fitting humans back into this command structure can the system be made whole again. This extreme species growth is now destroying natural complexity. Our complexity will not survive this.
The heartbeat of life is dance. It is a wave with frequency. The point here is you must look honestly at the life system and its health to tell the health of the planet. The planet acquiesces stability for a beneficial life system. The life system will react to its environment to mitigate change. Our system will react to changes in the life system even though we think wee have safe spaces and can be fat and lazy with machines and networks. This is just hubris and a fatal flaw of modern humanism.
Today’s life system is not healthy with general decline of the overall ecosystem and this includes localized ecosystem failures. Ecosystems are a summation of planetary wide ecosystem. An indicator species is a telltale sign of ecosystem health so in the big picture the fact that we have many ecosystem failures in our great ecosystem tells us there is trouble ahead. Normally there would be a response from the life system to mitigate this. This is what succession does by freeing up niches where new constructive change. This change pushes the greater ecosystem back to stability. Complexity is modulated short term and longer term with life activity. longer-term this is evolution. Devolution is part of this too with and without extinction.
We can reasonably say human forcing is degrading the planetary life system. This life system is now less able to modulate. This lack of respect for this life system’s natural modulation function means more human forcing. Modern humans are now adapting in ways causing a vicious circle of more forcing.
A new wisdom must be applied in these times of overall macro decline with localized collpase. Man is forcing more to maintain an affluence that is of lower value. This is commonly call by many as digging a hole deeper when the attempt is to get out of the hole. The catch 22 of this is man has opened doors of affluence that can’t be walk back through. There are doors that now can’t be closed. This condition presents new doors to open through the carbon trap and path dependencies. The result is a maze that leads nowhere. The more we know the less we know is the resulting deception.
This is the nature of affluence today with transhumanism and delocalization. This is the forcing nature of tech and power. This gets more problematic when you get into the human networking with social narratives leading people. The leaders themselves are leading us further into the maze meaningless. Life is now being forced as the house of cards is built higher and higher on a crumbling foundation. Elites have done this in all civilizations so this should point to this as a human condition. Civilization has this fatal flaw.
Civilization is a Ponzi scheme of false affluence. There is a return but it is a parasitic return because it is extractive and a destructive waste stream. We are eroding true affluence with forcing more. There is a sweet spot that has been departed from. The consequence of this is overshoot of population, consumption, with a corresponding ecosystem decline. The localized failures should be a sobering warning. The human response is more of the same.
This is why I say modern man is far more superstitious today than the primitive men we look down upon. The Kogi of South America are actually the most advance human type but most would laugh at that as absurd. This is absurd because they are seen as superstitious when they actually are less superstitious than we are in our deception of affluence. This is just the doors of perception that deceive. The doors that continually get opened without wisdom but instead the lust for knowledge.
Primitive man lived enmeshed in ecosystems that modulated the planet. Now man is modulating ecosystems and degrading them. This means primitive man had superstitions that mainly served the purpose of limiting his effects of the environment with taboos and requirements. Today’s human narrative has only one motive and that is increased affluence with transhumanism and delocalization. This has risen to the religion of Scientism with ever increasing transhumanism. These psychological forces outcompete humility and respect that come from proper human wisdom that is in its deepest form an existential decision. Modern man does not make decisions anymore he is now completely mechanized. Civilization is a runaway train.
Scientism is pure superstition far worse than primitive man. Primitive man actually lived truth. Today truth is optional. This superstition is the only thing we can really know is found in science. What this means is science is now a religion that is usurping the spirtual. The spirtual requires humility of giving oneself over to a higher power. Instead, we have the hyper ego driven focus to know and control everything. Nothing is sacred anymore even the building blocks of life are manipulated like a young kid tearing things apart. Uncontrolled science is about breaking down life into packets that can be digested with no respect or control.
It is this drive to know and command that is now the greatest superstation man has ever engaged in. The superstition is we have to know more to get closer to what is divine. The secrets of the universe are where divinity is. What this now has done has elevated knowledge and tech to god like stature. This is the false god often talked about in religion as the golden calf. Most human institutions including traditional religions have been infected with this modern superstition.
Traditional religions have compromised their deeper spirtual meaning because they have no choice. If they don’t submit to science, they’re rejected. The result of this is a homogenization of humanism in the revolutionary drive of affluence found in tech and knowledge accumulation. This is called adaptation but at some point, adaptation becomes maladaptation. Humanism is now completely compromised by tech and it is because of this it will destroy itself.
This will be a rebirth but not before a collpase. To be reborn a sweet spot must be found where real affluence dwells. That affluence is not delocalized and not transhuman although until the bottleneck is passed through this faux affluence is all we have to work with to rebuild a proper human wisdom. Wisdom is now about less. Not less with more or even less will create more. It is the less of collpase.
This means we are in the end times that can be signified by death. This is the iron age of tech. This death is a drive into destructive change by a malignancy of technological affluence. Human networking is now a trap. This trap is more with less has morphed into a problem with no solution. What is really needed is less but this is no longer a seamless option. This is destructive degrowth with a human narrative of self-deception.
This less can be obtained by the individual, family, and tribe but only with the spirtual component of meaning. It is only from dignity that comes from proper wisdom that less can be embraced to modulate the extremes of human superstition found in scientism with transhumanism and delocalization. Remember delocalization is a human footprint out of balance with the rest of life and this forces the planet that forces life. The keystone on which this age rests is the recognition of failure of this modern humanism. This can only be found at the grass roots. At the top there is a self-organizing snowball of billions of decisions carbon trapped and path dependent.
Remember doors have been gone through that can’t be gone back through. Doors have been opened that can’t be closed. This is a maze of madness that is taking the very last aspect of affluence down with it and that is the meaning of it all. If we are self-destructive that is one thing but if we are doing this without meaning then all is lost. This points to complete destruction. It is this process that must now be reflected upon with a wisdom of less but also a wisdom of insecurity. Failure can only be throttled down It can’t be fixed.
The key aspect to human survival is how quick and with how much force we wreck this train. It is the degree and the duration of shocks that influence species survival. It is in this regards that man must reject the current religion of transhumanism and delocalization that is the basic of scientism. Man must turn to the spirtual which requires humility and the embrace of total failure. Spirituality is faith based.
Proper faith is not blind faith but faith in knowing the more you know the less that is known. It is acknowledging the circularity of life in contrast to the vicious circle of unknowing modern man is lost in. This is the existential lie man is now locked into. We have not learned lessons of previous civilizations and their hubris and instead doubled down on it. We consider their failure a failure of science. We will succeed because of science. We are learning the secrets of all and this will save us so the story goes.
This becomes even more difficult because a big part of the population can’t handle the truth. There are those in the community that need noble lies now that the system is so far into failure. If some are told the truth but can’t understand the truth then chaos is assured. This is where spirtual leadership is needed but unavailable.
It is the respect for science and the spirtual that must be recognize. They inhabit different human spheres. They must be in balance and today they are not. So today what we have is science usurping the spirtual. What is needed is less science and knowledge. The truth is too dangerous for the masses but too deceptive for the leaders who are the elites. What there is today is one great lie that is the arrogance of humanism.
This is why for real leadership going forward we need priests who can manage science and human spirituality. This human spirituality must be planetary. It can be traditional as long as the planetary element is included. The reason I say this is many traditional religions are little more than the worship of a higher power who has a human expression. This human expression gets bastardized by science and arrogance of the ego and becomes dysfunctional. These human fantasies are easily corrupted by the affluence of transhumanism and delocalizations. Increased affluence becomes the real spirituality. The blessing of this false higher power is affluence. Where the planetary element comes in is with the indicator species of life.
It is for this reason that modern priests are little more than more of the same deception. They are preaching fantasies because civilization is now based on fantasy. We have the bottom who can’t handle the truth living a narrative that is a noble lie but also the leadership that is deceiving themselves with the lies of affluence of transhumism and delocalization. Human networking that competitively cooperates for more affluence is just digging the hole deeper.
A spirituality of less is not possible at the level of the human narrative until the modulation of the planet and her systems forces the human system back to the reality of what life does and doesn’t do. Regardless of the human interpretation of this what we have is a force of change beyond human control. This means to get to the dignity of meaning at the civilizational level means collpase. It will only be by collpase that man will return to a proper sweet spot of affluence.
Collpase is pure pessimism. This can become optimistic pessimism at the local level of proper place with a proper footprint of family and tribe. The only place this new spirituality of less gives more is with meaning. This can be lived. It is local with smaller groups in proper places. This really can only be realized with a permaculture of place and people and this is a spirtual permaculture that reconnects man to nature. In this time of a destructive affluence of transhumanism and delocalization this becomes a surreal task that is dualistic.
You can’t just descend into less to get more meaning. This is more like embracing sanity because life is insane. Modern human civilization is destroying everything irrationally to be rational. This human deception is just a poverty of mind and body. A Ponzi scheme of fantasy. Remember there is a sweet spot of affluence. Not too much or too little. You will have to use what you have to maneuver closer to that spot that is increasingly difficult if not impossible to find. Remember doors can’t be gone back through and doors remain open. New doors are seductively ahead that just dig the hole deeper.
This is not a new religion. This wisdom is common sense of our ancestors as old as homo sapiens themselves. Take your existing religion you hold near and dear and apply the narrative of failure. This must be done at the local level because the top is hopeless caught in the circular effort of more affluence. This destructive circularity is a systematic diminish returns of making problem solving the problem.
The level where small groups can properly embrace a correct footprint is limited. The world is now a human forced world of destructive affluence with efforts at more transhumanism and delocalization. This then requires feed off this system to leave it. It is only here a proper foot print can be found. Localism and permaculture in the humility of failure is the adaptation your current spirituality requires.
This new way is an old way we are returning to. It is a respect for the dominant force of the planet in abrupt change from human forcing. It is adapting to a new epoch of macro life in decline. It is then people and place adapting to less to get more with this reality in mind. Decline is the new beacon not growth. It means playing the game of the arrogance of humanism but in acceptance this is what is killing us. This is getting out of the codependency of maladaptive behavior. This acceptance is then the hospice that will apply palliative care of mitigating and adapting to the mortality this modern system is pushing life into.
Optimism comes from the understanding there are still niches of constructive change left where productive affluence can be found. Constructive growth can be found and it can give meaning. It must be found in a wisdom of insecurity respecting human failure. This is a required humility. It is requisite and nonnegotiable. This power is power the planet will bestow on you because this is the truth. It is a reflection of life itself. It is not your power it is only yours to harness for the planet. If you use it for personal gain, it will be lost. It is only through humility this power is found. This power is low level but pervades all. This is why it takes an adaption element to your existing spirituality for a true spirituality to be transformed. The sacred will give you grace. Grace is naturalness.
It must recognize that dignity is found in downsizing not expansion. The new force of change is destructive but this will free up niches where constructive change can relatively and realistically flourish. Constructive change is only possible where people and place has a proper foot print of an affluence of less. This is always more local and with less transhuman power. It is inevitable this spirtual effort will be delocalized because the human system is as far into delocalization as it can go. It is now tipping over and you must embrace this wave of change to find meaning. We can’t just depopulate cities without rural places to go to with food, water and shelter systems. These will have to be built so delocalization will have to be lived with like a terminal illness.
This is why a modern sweet spot is needed and this sweet spot needs a new humanism of less with the humility of failure. This spiritualism calls for a new planetary component that strips out the excessive self-deception of human exceptionalism. Exceptionalism is a false power created by the deception of human affluence. What is instead needed is a recognition that in a sense knowledge and tech is an evolutionary dead end. At a point it self-destructs. This is why humans today would be far more secure in a world where technology and knowledge are recognized as a revolutionary force of eventual self-destruction. The problem is this is too much to handle at the top. It can only be found locally.
Technology, knowledge, and it resulting efficiency that creates so much affluence for so many is eventually a destructive force. Sustainable development is a lie because it cannot be controlled with wisdom. This rejection of our human excesses seems like commons sense but that is the problem. It is common sense that gets coopeted by the relative and realistic of living in a delocalized world in decline.
It is here that those of you who crave meaning should reflect pessimistically on the inevitability of the collpase of civilization. You will find optimism in this because you will recognize and reflect on the truth. This truth will give you meaning and meaning is the ultimate expression of the bright light of optimism. This will not be a transcendence as in being set free like an angle. It is more allowing the demons to becomes angles. It will only be transformational. It is this transformation that will allow you to seek out niches where constructive growth is possible but only in the wisdom of insecurity.
This wisdom of insecurity requires the humility of failure. It requires the embrace of mortality of all. It is not just the mortality of the body but also that part of the spirt that craves the immortality of the ego. When you die you die but there is something more. So, this is about giving yourself over to the higher power completely. Once you do this in this mystic loss of all then you can go forth on the higher power’s behalf back into the process that is the dance of life of coming to know and then getting lost.
This is so simple it is almost impossible and this is why it is only rarely we can visit these places. This is why shamans lived on the edge of the tribe. It is there they can help avoid the drawing into the spirt the natural arrogance of humanism that leads to destructive affluence. This is why we need modern shaman to return. We need superstition that is like superstition of old. We need to return to oral cultures and the true localization of our ancestors.
The first step is permaculture. This is small permaculture farms orbiting permaculture towns like was once on the American frontier. This is the preliminary path of return. The real path will come post collpase. Post collpase the path to return is the way of life of the Native Americans precontact. This is likely the sweet spot of return. Keep in mind this place may be extinction. At some point we will be consumed by our star when it becomes a red giant. So the inevitable journey is to an endgame regardless.
What is required now is brave souls to start the journey to a localism of less but living with an affluence of more meaning. This will help bridge the gap of fewer basics of affluence commonly called poverty. Constructive niches can be found but it requires voluntary simplicity. This voluntary simplicity is threading the needle of meaning. It requires a wisdom of less to find productive niches. It requires a wisdom of insecurity to find the meaning in less which is the humility of failure.
I describe this as green prepping. What is green is more prepped for collpase. Green prepping is the journey home to the true humanism of balance. It is properly locating with the life system that is properly located with the geologic and climate.
Remember nature enjoys nature and only nature can overcome. This is told to us in the Hall of Matt but also in multiple other ancient civilizations. Keep in mind what is better than this grand revelation is those primitives that through superstition and natural balance never embraced civilizations. We never self-destructed until recently when we embraced civilization. The evolutionary dead end of knowledge and tech is self-destructive. The primitive is innocence. We lost our innocence or naturalness when we embraced knowledge for knowledge’s sake.
This then points to real humanism of the seminomadic hunter gather living in a world of spirts that are animated and all around. These spirits are revealed and give revelations on how to live. These spirits were about limiting the destructive impulse to affluence. This is the self-regulation of nature. Man is part of nature not separate. This proves it.
At this time, we need to move back to our true nature and recognize the failure of knowledge and tech in civilization. Triage is about removing deadwood. Civilization is littered with deadwood. This return is about salvage which is the hybridization of old and new. It is about most importantly the wisdom found in the humility of insecurity that all this becomes possible. The age of the decline of all is here. Yet, mortality has always been here. This is where the truth is. Truth and judgment are within nature’s nature. This is a power that is not ours but only ours to use on the planet’s behalf.
Like the old Indian said “the dogs go to sleep now” I am tired.
4 thoughts on “Hall of Ma’at”
You might be tired, Shoal, but you write exceedingly well … really enjoyed this one too!
Coming from you that says a lot! Thanks JJ
Dear R1, I might be commenting out of turn (probably and for that I apologize to Shoal) , but in my view the idea that humans are a ‘virus’ on the face of the planet and therefore needs to be ‘eradicated’ is a science fiction fantasy induced by exactly that – science fiction … No offense intended, but the planet is only over-populated insofar as humans are not currently prepared to seriously look at solutions for their predicament which they have created themselves – and … that global predicament (i.e globalization, meaning the moving away from localization) has been exported and created by first world nations., so now the entire globe is less resilient in the face of dwindling resources, whereas if everyone were left over to their own devices they would all have retained their own resilience.