In this time of crisis where everything is falling apart it is worth considering what is enough. What is that right amount of life that is optimal. How much wealth should we have? Should we embrace less wealth to achieve more value? These days wealth is a trap just as much as poverty. Is there a middle path?
We are in a society that is incapable of knowing limits. The best society can do is financial limits. How much money you have available is not a good “limit” metric in a time of excesses. Time of excess heading into a crisis is a bad time to be in a wealth trap. Poverty in these times is precarious too because safety nets will be failing. We again get back to a middle road.
In some ways we are stuck in our lives as they are. Economically all will be under stress to maintain the comforts and security which we have grown up with. Increasingly it will be essentials we focus on. Discretionary enjoyments will be in decline. This will not only be because there is not enough money to indulge but also because increasingly, discretionaries won’t be available. In economics this is called stagflation.
Components of this stalling are the degree of delocalization and transhumanism in our lives. These are structural dependencies. How many of us could give up our cars or our digital devices? How many of us can remain in a 30 mi local area? These conditions of affluence prevent maneuver. This is both internal and external. These basics of modern life contribute to a feeling of affluence that is scary to consider doing without.
Progressive investments in this delocalized and transhuman life of machines has been unstoppable. It is set to undergo a deceleration as prosperity takes a haircut. Numbers I have seen show that a gradual decline of 40% is ahead over a decade. This is systematic but net energy decline is the most important aspect. This kind of gradual decline leads to sudden decline in localized situations. Unfortunately, such breakdowns can have little to do with how strong people or places are.
This is the nature of chaotic breakdown. Abandonment, dysfunction, and the irrational infect systems. It is best to plan and implement efforts at mitigation to the gradual decline that is easier to identify. The threat of the unknown of sudden collapses requires fortitude. Fortitude requires a physical defense of being strong. It is also important to have a spiritual strength that comes with finding meaning.
These are the primary starting points for preparation for the coming storm. Downsizing with dignity is a good strategy. Downsize now and beat the rush. Dignity comes with being honest with the science and thereby finding the truth. It also requires a wisdom of what knowledge and tech to keep and what to reject. In these times of a knowledge and tech prosperity hitting a brick wall of limits, this means making an effort at less most of the time.
What is “enough” of less. This is going to be an individual effort. Society will not get there until a crisis and once in crisis it is too late. The myth of progress is too strong for a society to voluntarily decline. It does not have a common and accepted spiritual theme for it. In the late stages of prosperity corruption is rampant so the rule of law, fairness, and proper principals of value are lost in the noise of affluence.
The reflection on having less and being less relevant is difficult. It goes against the grain. We are told to reach our potential. This is influenced by our peer group too making it that much harder to resist. In some ways it is so easy it is hard. Yet, for those who embrace this strategy of aligning with the times it will likely pay off.
I say likely because there are no refuges in a storm like what is ahead. There is just good judgment and hard work. Luck will play a part in this process. Yet, it would be unwise to trust in luck only. The best starting policy, if you do choose to believe this is a time of breakdown is a spiritual embrace of humility and acceptance. This will give you the courage to make tough physical choices needed for defense.
A significant amount of the population is not even capable of addressing this thought process. They are too young, old, uneducated, overeducated, and ideological. I would say this leaves 10% of the population that can be potential leaders or critical staff so to speak. Of this 10% only a portion will buy into the idea. This might be only around 2% at least in the begging of the process.
I am speaking to those ready for this journey. Have clear vision and see that prosperity is ending. No amount of tech will save this. In fact, this is the problem now. The law of diminishing returns is now being manifested. The more we embrace powerful tech and knowledge-based abilities the less value there is. In many ways there is negative value. Important strengths are being squandered in the name of progress.
The idea of enough is spiritual and physical. It is for a few who are honest and capable. For these it is a trait of leadership. These people will have the courage to lead their significant others to places of safety. These days enough is almost always less but there is an important caveat. Often times less requires more. Degrowth requires growth.
When complex systems breakdown it frees up opportunity for niches. We are mostly in the gradual part of this complex system breaking down so there is time to grow into degrowth. Time is running out and at this point, time is the most important variable. This means get started now because the ability to change will quickly decline.
There are places with no future. There are careers with no use in a world forced out of prosperity. There are people and communities that are dead ends. Honestly evaluate your situation. If you need to move then do it. If you can’t then hunker down. Having a good location to build up your fortress to decline is one of the top variables to safety just like in warfare.
A spirituality is needed that is generally lacking today. Religions are corrupted by affluence. The secular world is becoming a religion of lies. When science becomes a religion like it is today very dangerous outcomes occur. Artificial intelligence, automation, and efficiencies are a highway to hell.
Spiritually adapt your existing higher power. Many people are religious and that religion needs to be adapted to this coming storm. Religions are community-based spirituality. This means community will limit your spiritual efforts. Show quiet strength and people will follow when SHTF.
In your trap start your journey to strength and value. Be more stoic and practice ascetic living but relative and realistic to your people and place. Remember you are trapped so knowing your limitations is very important. Practice a wisdom of less. Be ready to triage out baggage. Be ready to salvage the good from the age of affluence. Merge this with the old ways when life was more simple and less affluent.
This is a hybridization. This hybridization is with science and the spiritual because it is the science in our life that has encroached on the spiritual by offering those values that can only be found spiritually. If you can scale properly in a life of enough which is almost always about having less then you can find a balance of science and spirit in your life.
4 thoughts on “enough”
Good piece. Enjoy the now.
Thanks sister, stock up on bear meat and fish!
Thank you for this piece! I can see the approaching breakdown, and also fortunately live in a rural area that could sustain itself (albeit with much “suffering” for those who refuse to see the writing on the wall.) My challenge is helping my family and close friends to see what’s ahead. I’m hoping it will gradually sink in before utter chaos occurs and we can band together and weather the changes. I’ve been resonating with your writings for awhile, perhaps a future installment will elaborate on how one can discern a ”dead end” situation from one that has potential. Thanks again for being a small, sane voice in this quickly building storm .
I appreciate your feedback. My writings are for people like you who are awakened. The task in front of us is huge. This is why I stress spirituality. I am not pushing religion nor my spirituality. I ask those who are awakened to find individual and local meaning in this process. Now more than ever requires a higher power feeling. This process is most of all a spiritual undertaking in a time of low meaning.
The physical and material efforts that relate to our lives of producing and consuming are straight forward if you are honest about the science of decline. Less of what has been done and more of what was done by our forefathers. This systematic and net energy decline situation will not be solved by more tech, knowledge, and economic production.
Unfortunately, our maneuver room is small with the physical and material effort but it is important to realize small efforts now will be big efforts later as modern civilization downsizes. The combination of being awakened with courage and seeking small solutions physically and materially is the way forward.
Your idea on what has potential and what is a dead end is a good topic for future writing. I will consider that. I would say attitudes at this point are most important. Get your attitude right and all situations will become more workable. I also believe with the right attitude dead end occupations and lifestyles will reveal themselves through common sense and honest science.
You are doing vital work for your family but I caution you to be relative and realistic in your efforts. Many are just not capable of the awakening. Sometimes it is best to disguise your efforts to avoid fear and morale crushing news. If you can get some basics established then as the crisis of crisis build your efforts will naturally assume importance.