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Living With Integrity

Living With Integrity

It’s time to choose a new direction.

Every so often, our work in the premium side of PeakProsperity.com is deemed so important that our paying subscribers request we share it with the general public. Last week’s ‘Off The Cuff’ podcast received so many of these requests that we are releasing it to all here.

In last week’s Off The Cuff podcast, Chris delivered a very personal message about how we each decide to live our lives.

A growing number of people are watching the “prosperity” around them — record high asset prices, record-low unemployment, new technologies, etc — and yet feeling that we’re making the wrong trade-offs as a society. All that wealth is flowing into fewer and fewer pockets, ecosystems are faltering and an alarming number of species are dying off, depression rates (especially among the youth) are skyrocketing.

In short: there’s more money flowing around than ever, and yet we and the planet are becoming sicker and unhappier.

Why?

From Chris’ point of view, it comes down integrity. The modern human way of life lacks integrity as a guiding principle. For those of us who desire a better future, brining our actions into better alignment with our integrity is the path to true prosperity.

My ultimate diagnosis of what’s going on in the United States culture and a lot of Europe culture — probably in other cultures, but I can’t speak to them as well – it’s that they lack integrity. Now, integrity isn’t simply “Oh, I don’t lie”. Integrity means that your actions are for the greater good. Sometimes there are acts of integrity which actually are not optimal for you; they’re optimal for the larger society around you.

Integrity is thinking out seven generations. Integrity is saying that beauty matters in our life, and that when we take out a species, we’re taking away something extraordinarily beautiful.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On Finding Our Authentic Selves: or, the True and the False in the Age of Rousseau


On Finding Our Authentic Selves: or, the True and the False in the Age of Rousseau

Being Part 3 of: Why Liberals Should be Conservative: Climate Change, Excellence, and the Practice of Happiness

It may be urged that every individual man carries, within himself, at least in his adaptation and destination, a purely ideal man. The great problem of his existence is to bring all the incessant changes of his outer life into conformity with the unchanging unity of this ideal. –Friedrich von Schiller

Communism as the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement, and therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for itself; communism therefore as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e. human) being  . . . . This communism, as fully developed naturalism, equals humanism, and as fully developed humanism equals naturalism; it is the genuine resolution of the conflict between man and nature and between man and man—the true resolution of the strife between existence and essence, between objectification and self-confirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and the species.–Karl Marx

As in every kind of radicalism the moment comes when any critique of the present must choose its bearings, between past and future.  And if the past is chose, as now so often and so deeply, we must push the argument through to the roots that are being defended; push attention, human attention, back to the natural economy, the moral economy, the organic society, from which the critical values are drawn.–Raymond Williams[i]

First, a recap: I have proposed in Part 1 and Part 2 that Liberalism (which, recall, encompasses mainstream liberals and “conservatives”) does not have the conceptual resources to enforce or even encourage limits to consumption. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Five dollars is not enough for five a day

Five dollars is not enough for five a day

In discussions about food, environment and health, a resource perspective is often lacking. For more than half of the global population what ends up on their plate is mostly a function of their economic and energetic circumstances. If one want to change what people eat it is necessary to understand the realities of the global food system. Without that, all well-intended advice for a diet better for health or for the environment are falling on barren rock instead of in fertile ground. 

The WHO says that 3.9 million deaths could be avoided if people ate more fruit and vegetables. The recent report of the EAT Lancet Commission recommends that people should eat at least 500 gram fruit and vegetables per day. Many countries have similar recommendations of a certain quantity in weight or in number of servings or portions. But in almost no country are people doing what they are told.  In Sweden only 1 percent of the men in rural Arjeplog eat their half a kilo per day while 19 percent of the women in wealthy, urban Täby does it. Are people stupid or what? 

In order to understand fruit and vegetables consumption it is essential to realize some pertinent facts. Fruits and vegetables are mostly luxury plants in comparison with grains, pulses, root crops. Very few traditional farming systems have had a high share of fruits and vegetables unless you include starchy crops like plantains, potatoes, cassava or yams in your definition. The reason for it is that they are fairly demanding to grow and their content of the most essential food components, energy and protein, is low. Even today, fruits and vegetables are expensive to buy. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Power Grid Failure in NY Causes Panic Highlights the Importance of Prepping

POWER GRID FAILURE IN NY CAUSES PANIC HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPPING

A recent power grid failure in New York caused panic and even stocked the fear of an alien invasion.  With so many dependent on the electrical power grid, it is important to be prepared for the worst.

Even president Donald Trump has taken it upon himself to sign an executive order declaring an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) could be “debilitating” to the United States’ power grid.  Far too many Americans won’t know what to do when the inevitable finally happens. And things will get dire should we have to live without power for more than one week.

“It is the policy of the United States to prepare for the effects of EMPs through targeted approaches that coordinate whole-of-government activities and encourage private-sector engagement,” said the executive order released by the White House.

A congressional report warned that an EMP attack on the East Coast would kill 90 percent of those in the area over the course of ONE year due to the lack of food, money, fuel, electricity, and medical care.

The infrastructure is crumbling, and while the government claims they intend to secure the power grid, most of us know much better.  The best the rest of us can do is make sure we are armed with knowledge and the survivalist mentality.

Americans, largely, have put their survival in the hands of the government, but if you’re reading this, you probably want to become more self-sufficient. And beginning by preparing for a lengthy power grid failure (regardless of whether it was an EMP attack or an infrastructure failure) is a great start and an excellent first step when fueling your “prepper’s mindset.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Using manure for fertilizer in the future – it won’t be easy

Using manure for fertilizer in the future – it won’t be easy

Animals produce 44 times more manure than humans in the U.S.

Preface. At John Jeavons Biointensive workshop back in 2003, I learned that phosphorous is limited and mostly being lost to oceans and other waterways after exiting sewage treatment plants.  He said it can be dangerous to use human manure without proper handling, and wasn’t going to cover this at the workshop, but to keep it in mind for the future.

Modern fertilizers made with the Nobel-prizing winning method of using natural gas as feedstock and energy source can increase crop production up to 5 times, but at a tremendous cost of poor soil health and pollution (see Peak soil).  Fossil fuels will inevitably decline some day, and force us back to organic agriculture and using crop wastes, animal and human manure again.

Below are excerpts from three sources.

The first is about North Korea. Despite tremendous efforts to use all manure, this country is a barren, destroyed landscape that can grow little food, which McKenna describes here: Inside North Korea’s Environmental Collapse.

The second section describes what it was like to live over a century ago when human and animal manure was routinely collected.

The third Below is a NewScientist book review of The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the planet, one flush at a time by Mark Nelson.

Park, Y. 2015. In order to live: A North Korean girl’s journey to freedom. Penguin.

“One of the big problems in North Korea was a fertilizer shortage. When the economy collapsed in the 1990s, the Soviet Union stopped sending fertilizer to us and our own factories stopped producing it. Whatever was donated from other countries couldn’t get to the farms because the transportation system had also broken down. this led to crop failures that made the famine even worse.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Empires Fall: Moral Decay

How Empires Fall: Moral Decay

There is a name for this institutionalized, commoditized fraud: moral decay. 

Moral decay is an interesting phenomenon: we spot it easily in our partisan-politics opponents and BAU (business as usual) government/private-sector dealings (are those $3,000 Pentagon hammers now $5,000 each or $10,000 each? It’s hard to keep current…), and we’re suitably indignant when non-partisan corruption is discovered in supposed meritocracies such as the college admissions process.

But we’re less adept, it seems, at discerning systemic moral decay, which infects the very foundations of the economy and society.

Consider America’s favorite pastime, corrosive partisan politics. This distemper is often traced back to (surprise!) extreme partisans, but as the chart below shows, political partisanship has risen in near-perfect correlation with wealth-income inequality, which it itself the hallmark of deeply systemic corruption, as the system is rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many. (Chart courtesy of Slope of Hope.)

There’s a phrase that describes a socio-economic system becoming the means for personal aggrandizement at the expense of civil society itself: moral decay.How else can we describe a system whose inputs and processes are rigged so the output is the vast majority of all income gains flow to the top 0.1%? (See chart below.)

When a socio-economic system institutionalizes the extralegal privileges of wealth and power, that is moral decay. When government only responds in ways that first serve the interests of entrenched insiders, that is moral decay. When the financial system is rigged to sluice income and wealth to the top of the wealth-power pyramid while stripmining the productive class below via inflation and taxes, that’s moral decay. (See chart below of workers’ share of the national income.)

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Falter”: In New Book, Bill McKibben Asks If the Human Game Has Begun to Play Itself Out

“Falter”: In New Book, Bill McKibben Asks If the Human Game Has Begun to Play Itself Out

Thousands are taking to the streets in London today to demand radical action to combat the climate crisis. Protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion have set up encampments and roadblocks across Central London and say they’ll stay in the streets for at least a week. It’s just the beginning of a series of global actions that will unfold in the coming days, as activists around the world raise the alarm about government inaction in the face of the growing climate catastrophe. The London protests come just days after schoolchildren around the globe left school again on Friday for the weekly “strike for climate” and as the push for the Green New Deal continues to build momentum in the United States. The deal—backed by Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey—seeks to transform the U.S. economy through funding renewable energy while ending U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. We speak with climate activist and journalist Bill McKibben, who has been on the front lines of the fight to save the planet for decades. Thirty years ago, he wrote “The End of Nature,” the first book about climate change for a general audience. He’s just published a new book titled “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”


Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Thousands are taking to the streets in London today to demand radical action to combat the climate crisis. Protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion have set up encampments and roadblocks across Central London and say they’ll stay in the streets for at least a week.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tools, Equipment, and Tips for an Ideal Prepper’s Workshop

Tools, Equipment, and Tips for an Ideal Prepper’s Workshop

The intention of this article is to provide a valid approach to some special considerations we may have for long term use of our gear that arose when I was advising someone about using power tools.

We are going to be in deep need of tools and knowledge for some maintenance and repairmen work in our equipment. Therefore, special care must be addressed before setting up a workshop for the long term. Meaning with this a post-apocalypse stage, as long as you believe it could be, just remember how we prepared and the collapse was so large that we had to leave the country. Miscalculations are on you.

Assess what equipment you have already to figure out what you need.

This said, we should already have a general idea about the direction we want/need our homestead or compound must be directed in the future, regardless if we are there or not.

We should already have an inventory of all of our equipment and the more used spare parts, repairmen and maintenance manuals, and a workshop as small or as big as you need it, able to accomplish most of such tasks, with a proper set of tools that would last a lifetime.

If you decided to build a biodiesel small scale facility, complete with an alcohol distillery, you should be ready to maintain it without too much hassle. Or if you have a wood gas genset (something that I like a LOT by the way) running with a small, simple, reliable and efficient engine with a huge flywheel to minimize the wasted kinetic energy, everything should be in place to service that setup.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Garden Rebels: 10 Ways to Sow Revolution in Your Back Yard

Garden Rebels: 10 Ways to Sow Revolution in Your Back Yard

Sometimes I think that the next Revolutionary War will take place in a vegetable garden.

Instead of bullets, there will be seeds.  Instead of chemical warfare, there will be rainwater, carefully collected from the gutters of the house. Instead of soldiers in body armor and helmets, there will be back yard rebels, with bare feet, cut-off jean shorts, and wide-brimmed hats.  Instead of death, there will be life, sustained by a harvest of home-grown produce.  Children will be witness to these battles, but instead of being traumatized, they will be happy, grimy, and healthy, as they learn about the miracles that take place in a little plot of land or pot of dirt.

Every day, the big industries that run our nation take steps towards food totalitarianism.  They do so flying a standard of “sustainability” but what they are actually trying to sustain is NOT our natural resources, but their control.

One of the most inspiring, beautifully written articles that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time is by  Julian Rose, a farmer, actor, activist, and writer. He wrote an article called Civil Disobedience or Death by Design and it is a “must read” for anyone who believes in the importance of natural food sources:

“From now on, unless we cut free of obeisance to the centralised, totalitarian regimes whose takeover of our planet is almost complete, we will have only ourselves to blame. For we are complicit in allowing ourselves to become slaves of the Corporate State and its cyborg enforcement army. That is, if we continue to remain hypnotized by their antics instead of taking our destinies into our own hands and blocking or refusing to comply with their death warrants.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

State of Apocalyptic Nature: A Contract with Gaia

State of Apocalyptic Nature: A Contract with Gaia

As for the individual, every one is a son of his time; so philosophy also is its time apprehended in thoughts. It is just as foolish to fancy that any philosophy can transcend its present world, as that an individual could leap out of his time or jump over Rhodes.

The very fact that something is determined as a limitation implies that the limitation is already transcended. – Hegel

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and most recently Rawls have all been exemplary practitioners of contract theory.

As is well known, all four of these political theorists began with a particular conception of the state of nature or put into other words man’s original existential situation prior to all forms of government or social contract.

In each case, the state of nature is pre-historical because pre-political.

How each thinker viewed man’s primary condition dictated the course of their further arguments concerning humanity’s fundamental political decisions and actions.

This profound intellectual tradition led most famously to the political beliefs and institutions that founded the United States (at least in theory if not in future practice) and later supplied the world, in part through the consequences of the French Revolution, with today’s democratic principles and ideals especially as they relate to Universal Human Rights.

Although, practically speaking, the fruits of contract theory have by no means been fully applied they nonetheless have provided and arguably still provide the intellectual and spiritual resources for critical projects of reform and even revolution.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Empire of Lies: How we are collapsing in the same way as the Roman Empire did.

The Empire of Lies: How we are collapsing in the same way as the Roman Empire did. 

(Image source: Wikipedia) The Devil is sometimes said to be “The Father of Lies.” It is an apt definition for a creature that does not even exist except as a figment of human imagination. Satan is an evil egregore that we ourselves created, a creature that seems to loom larger and larger behind the current chronicles. The recent arrest of Julian Assange is just the last deed of an Empire that seems bent on truly creating its own reality, a deed that, in itself, would not necessarily be evil but that becomes so when it implies destroying all other realities, including the only true one. 

Like our modern empire, the ancient Roman Empire found itself in a spiral of lies out of which it could never emerge: the Romans never could find a way to reconcile their views with reality and this was their doom. Today, the situation seems to be the same but, in our case, our hubris seems to be way larger than it was in Roman times. And that is the origin of what we are seeing. Eventually, the Globalized Empire will collapse under the weight of the lies it created. 
Initially, I thought to comment the recent news by reproducing a post “The Empire of Lies” that I published here about one year ago, where I described how the transition from the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages was mainly an epistemological transition, where it was left to Christianity to rebuild the trust that the old empire had squandered – the Middle Ages were far from being “Dark Ages.”  But, eventually, I thought to publish something I had in mind about how the Roman Empire and the modern Western Empire are following parallel trajectories in their movement toward their respective Seneca Cliffs

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Signs Ambitious EMP Preparedness Executive Order

Trump Signs Ambitious EMP Preparedness Executive Order

After years of the government blowing off concerns about an electromagnetic pulse, President Trump has signed an executive order that will put EMP preparedness in the hands of the White House.

What’s in the executive order?

The Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses is a first step toward learning more about how an EMP would affect us and how to protect critical infrastructure.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems.  Human-made or naturally occurring EMPs can affect large geographic areas, disrupting elements critical to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could adversely affect global commerce and stability.  The Federal Government must foster sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective approaches to improving the Nation’s resilience to the effects of EMPs. (source)

The Order outlines the responsibilities of specific offices to help get the country ready for a threat to the grid and sets up a 4-year plan.

It is the policy of the United States to prepare for the effects of EMPs through targeted approaches that coordinate whole-of-government activities and encourage private-sector engagement.  The Federal Government must provide warning of an impending EMP; protect against, respond to, and recover from the effects of an EMP through public and private engagement, planning, and investment; and prevent adversarial events through deterrence, defense, and nuclear nonproliferation efforts.  To achieve these goals, the Federal Government shall engage in risk-informed planning, prioritize research and development (R&D) to address the needs of critical infrastructure stakeholders, and, for adversarial threats, consult Intelligence Community assessments.

In 2017, those in the know were aghast when the EMP Commission was defunded by Congress.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fitness without the Long, Grueling Workout

Fitness without the Long, Grueling Workout 

Pondering what Nature selected as advantageous in our long existence as hunter-gatherers helps us understand why walking and occasional short bursts of intensive exercise together yield the vast majority of the benefits of exercise/fitness.

What if there was a way to get rich by merely investing a modest amount of money weekly? Who wouldn’t want to join the program? Our health is our only real wealth, and fitness is like the modest investment that yields multiples of the investment made.

Since our culture is based on commerce and marketing, extreme sports are front and center: professional athletes, daredevils performing insanely dangerous stunts, oldsters running marathons, and so on.

The subtext of this media coverage implies that athletics and fitness are unattainable by us average people who have neither the time nor inclination to pursue extreme training.

This media glorification leaves a lot of decidedly unglorious reality out of the picture. Extreme training often leads to extreme injuries–but you won’t see any injuries except in carefully edited stories in which an extreme athlete recovers from a horrendous accident by sheer willpower and arduous training.

Left out are those who don’t recover despite their willpower and arduous training.

Scientific research is giving us a much more realistic, practical and attainable understanding of increasing and maintaining a level of fitness that yields tremendous health benefits with relatively modest effort.

As discussed in a previous blog post (The “Miracle Cure”: Walking), we’re selected/engineered to walk, and so the simple inclusion of walking in our lives yields enormous benefits in everything from mental health, lowering our risk of dementia, strenghening our immune response and so on.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Weakening Of Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Greatly Accelerated, And That Could Have Apocalyptic Implications For All Of Us

The Weakening Of Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Greatly Accelerated, And That Could Have Apocalyptic Implications For All Of Us

Earth’s magnetic field is getting significantly weaker, the magnetic north pole is shifting at an accelerating pace, and scientists readily admit that a sudden pole shift could potentially cause “trillions of dollars” in damage.  Today, most of us take the protection provided by Earth’s magnetic field completely for granted.  It is essentially a colossal force field which surrounds our planet and makes life possible.  And even with such protection, a giant solar storm could still potentially hit our planet and completely fry our power grid.  But as our magnetic field continues to get weaker and weaker, even much smaller solar storms will have the potential to be cataclysmic.  And once the magnetic field gets weak enough, we will be facing much bigger problems.  As you will see below, if enough solar radiation starts reaching our planet none of us will survive.

Previously, scientists had told us that the magnetic field was weakening by about 5 percent every 100 years.

But now we are being told that data collected from the SWARM satellite indicate that the rate of decay is now 5 percent per decade

It’s well established that in modern times, the axial dipole component of Earth’s main magnetic field is decreasing by approximately 5% per century. Recently, scientists using the SWARM satellite announced that their data indicate a decay rate ten times faster, or 5% per decade.

In case you didn’t quite get that, 5 percent per decade is 10 times faster than 5 percent per century.

If the rate of decay continues at this pace, or if it speeds up even more, we could be looking at a mass extinction event that is beyond what most people would dare to imagine.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Power Grid Failure Will Totally Disrupt Your Life: Lessons From Venezuela

A Power Grid Failure Will Totally Disrupt Your Life: Lessons From Venezuela

You must be already aware of the terrible water situation that people in most of the cities in Venezuela is facing. This is the product of the combination of several factors that I will try to explain. But please! Understand that we suffered the consequences of a weirdo military chief that NEVER had any clue about governing like a civilian, but giving orders and commands, and he ordered to seize all the companies and put them under control of the “State” because everyone should have access to water. Indeed our laws say that water is free; I mentioned this in a previous article. Companies therefore quickly found a turnaround to capitalize the right to ADDRESS, extract, and direct the water to the customers who did not pay for the water, but the work of having it “transported”. This is quite important for the reader to accept this. I have that feeling that sometimes people just refuse to believe this sort of things happen in some place in the world, much less in the same American continent. And yes, it happens. It happened to us, and it was about to happen to people in Chile, too, back in the 70s with Allende.

Things that were once easy to get in Venezuela are now impossible to find.

This said I hope you can have a more complete view of what happens when instead of motivated employees, highly trained and well paid, you have underpaid, sad, ill-mannered government employees wearing a T-shirt with Hugo´s face. Well, that happened in lots of companies, originating the disaster we are facing now.

Olduvai IV: Courage
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