restless peasant: life, changing :

Resigned

At the life stage called Adolescence (defined as a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood), the sometimes moody, awkward, depressive and even suicidal behaviour of young individuals is routinely blamed on hormones and/or the somewhat euphemistic growing pains.

But it seems strange that at time in your life when the world is your oyster and you are able to finally be in charge of your movements and actions, you would slip out of happiness and into the black hole of depression.

The word legal, in the above description of Adolescence might explain away some of this, as it alludes to a version of said coming of age that is acceptable to the system, rather than to the individual in question.

But I think there is a bigger story here and it has been described by some psychologists as Resignation, the point in a young person’s life where they become resigned to the Human Condition. By that I mean the imposed Human Condition that instead of setting one free, locks you up in the chains of duality, where you realise that you can’t really just be yourself. Instead you have to conform to a set of rules and regulations not of your making.

It’s a bit like the feeling a budding entrepreneur gets when she realises that instead of setting her free from the ties that bind the wage slave, she soon has to conform to laws, rules and a form of discipline that seems a long way from the freedom she expected to feel when she started her own business.

Resignation can lead to a kind of beaten acceptance of the way things are, and for the majority of people, this is where the excitement in life ends.

Oh yeh, life goes on

long after the thrill of living is gone

Jack and Diane, John Cougar Mellencamp

In an interview, the late Stuart Adamson explained poetically how this can look for many of us:

“My mum and dad [also] had some great friends who played folk and country music (my mum does a mean Patsy Cline) and they would come to our house after the bars were closed and people would sing through the night. This made me aware of the power of the song and how music was interwoven with the lives of the working class Scots I grew up amongst. I would watch these big rough, hard men declare their love of family and the land — emotions they would be embarrassed to admit to in conversation — in songs old and new. I realised a lot of my schooling was solely aimed at my learning to accept my place in the British class system and railed against it. I believe the measure of a man is in his actions and not his social background (maybe this is why I like the US…another disenfranchised Celt)… A lot of the darkness of the Steeltown album comes from remembering my first experiences of the prejudice of class and nationality and the obvious truths that little had changed in my adulthood. The desire to write initially grew out of just wanting to be a “real” band and then I found I was driven to communicate some of the joy and frustration of the human experience…

finally the dream has gone
I’ve nothing left to hang upon
I came here with all my friends
Leaving behind the wait of years
Leaving alone in a flood of tears

Steeltown, Big Country

…Those are the people I grew up amongst and I could see the beauty in such simplicity as well as the anger and beaten acceptance. I think that frustration and learned apathy is the daily bread of the great majority of people in the world and as such represents the greater part of life experience, certainly in the western world and is to me a fertile source of inspiration.”

Resigning from Resignation.

The book FREEDOM: the end of the Human Condition by Jeremy Griffith offers a deep insight into and a way to understand Resignation in Adolescence that can quite possibly change or even save lives. It’s a long and intense read, but it promises a new way to look at and embrace the duality of human existence. A way, it is claimed can save the human race and the planet from catastrophe.


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global positioning system

The linear/spectrum model doesn’t explain autism and the fact that there are probably as many types/grades of it as there are sufferers (we’re not suffering by the way, we’re just being treated differently for not being average). Our tangental leaps away from the accepted line of average, or from the  supposed spectrum result in us not being accepted due to our distance from the mean.

The world meantime, well, the West with its consumerist, materialist capitalist and puritanical world view can’t deal with anyone or anything above or below this imaginary line. If most people were autistic, then this would be the accepted average and the world would be built around that line.

This obsession with average has been driven by the need to standardise everything in order to minimise financial burdens and maximise profits from the industrial revolution right up to today. But, we are supposedly in the information age now, so why is it so difficult to treat everyone as an individual?

The truth is that only those that conform to the average, and this can apply to everything from apples to people can be graded and sorted profitably.

The affect of this is widespread if you are unlucky enough to have to rely on healthcare, schooling, the justice system etc, because all of that is built on a spectral linear model that doesn’t allow for things or beings that stand off to the side somewhere.

Maybe it’s time to adopt a new model to explain and accommodate difference, so that we can truly become an inclusive society that benefits from all of our little tricks and skills.

I propose a gps system that recognises that every part of the 3D jigsaw is as important and as critical as all the others. The precedent is already set with our atomic model and the actual global positioning system we use everyday to get around and decide where things are.

Moving to an atomic or universal model, much like our accepted visualisation of electrons orbiting nuclei/earth and the other planets orbiting the sun explains it more readily.

Way beyond autism, I think this can become a universal ecological model for understanding everything?

Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.


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168 revisited

168 (hours in a week) X 52 (weeks in a year) = 8736 hours

365 (1 hour a day for a year) = 4% of 8736.

4% of your time is all you need to create a life of freedom, one action at a time.


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Final resting place

You might be a Marie Kondo convert by now; everyone else seems to be. Marie is the women behind the best seller decluttering sensation that is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. In the book Marie lays out her system for decluttering any physical space.  The only problem is that early on in the book, Marie explains that she is a kind of tidying junkie and has been since she was a child.

She explains the psychological connections we have with stuff and the damage that can be done by clutter.

We instinctively know that those pots and pans should be cleaned after use and put away out of sight, but somehow they stay there on the worktop and the dirty clothes remain on the bedroom floor with the dog sleeping on them.

So we have lots of stuff lying around in the wrong place in almost every room. Some of this is junk that can be identified easily and put in the bin.

Some of it is stuff we’re not sure if we want to keep or not.

Some of it is stuff we think we will get around to fixing or up-cycling someday, but we never do.

Some of it is weird psychological shit that we don’t know how to deal with at all; I like to call this what it most likely is…comfort blankets.

Comfort blankets come in all shapes and sizes just as the physical comforters of our childhood did. You might even be holding on to an actual childhood comfort blanket for all I know, but for most adults they will take the form of little rituals they perform or ideas they hold in their heads that have a comforting (yet stifling) effect. Possibly taking you back to a time you think was better than now.

If like many others you feel that now, the beginning of the year is the right time to de-clutter your place and/or your head, I can offer no better measure than to give everything you pick up a final resting place. Simply forcing yourself to decide where you can put down an item or idea so that it doesn’t need to be shifted again until it’s needed can be hugely releasing and relieving.

Otherwise you run the risk of moving clutter from one place to another cluttered place and never feeling the release from its hold over you.

Use the Desktop Folder Technique

Decide where every single item should live in your kitchen, living room, bathroom, computer hard drive, phone, head etc, but do it purposefully and slowly. The stuff that doesn’t immediately suggest it’s own place, might be superfluous. Get ideas out of your head and onto paper in a journal of ideas…add drawings and images to see how enthusiastic you really are about each idea and how well developed they are. Imagine that these ideas are cluttering up your computer desktop and use the journal/sketch book as a kind of hold all folder. Revisit your journal in quiet moments and be instantly and vividly reminded of your brilliant and not so brilliant ideas. If they will fly…try to take a small daily step towards fulfilling them…try this method to find an extra 9 weeks in the year to work on these thoughts/ideas/projects.

Speaking of which…

If there is actually a lot of junk files on your computer desktop…clear it immediately by creating a new folder named Desktop Clear up Jan2019 or similar and drag everything else into it. Each time thereafter that you find yourself needing a file that is in there, make sure to re-file it where it should be afterwards. After 6 months, it’s probably safe to delete that folder with its remaining contents.

Decide where pots and pans are going to live and where the lids will be so you can keep your kitchen spaces clear and organised. You will have pans and gadgets that you never use…create a folder for them on your desktop i.e. get a big box and put them all in it. Each time in the next 6 months you find yourself needing one of them…use it and then create a final resting place just for that thing. After 6 months you can dump or give away whatever remains in the box (desktop folder)…or take it to its real final resting place.

Create a final resting place for everything you really need and want to keep, then get rid of everything else slowly and methodically using the 6 month Desktop Folder Technique.


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Spend

A key theme running through this blog over the years has been the need for peasants and freedom seekers like us to create and utilise Assets. This pattern of living copies the cleverest of the strategies of the landed gentry, hopefully without aping their sometimes less than caring attitudes towards others.

Without formal education in the ways of money, it can be difficult for a peasant to know how to deal with it, indeed how to get it is a big enough challenge for most of us. The result of that is that most of us can’t afford to wait around and end up with an all consuming job or jobs and we know from some of the money making gurus that JOB stands for Just Over Broke!

The problem that most of us have is related to the lack of knowledge of how money can be put to work for us once we have some, so that we can continue to enjoy it for the long term. Otherwise it’s boom or bust all of the time, with bust being the more common of the two positions.

Assets and Liabilities

Assets are things you can create or invest in that generate money, such as a rental property, a small business or even intellectual property like a book you’ve written. Assets are created once and generate money many times over without you having to do much in the way of further work. This means of course that you need to spend a little bit of time and effort maintaining the asset, but largely you can leave it to work away generating cash while you think up and create some more.

Liabilities on the other hand are things that swallow cash, such as a monthly car payment, a mortgage on your house or credit card debt. Liabilities are doubly troublesome for the waged among us, as the money needed to pay for these cash drains has already been taxed before we get it. This explains the money trap that many peasants like us find ourselves in. There’s no use in moaning about it, the answer lies hidden in plain sight and is being used to great financial effect by the toffs while we complain.

The Trouble with Windfall Assets

So if assets are so great why is it that people who suddenly get lucky and are handed substantial assets such as a lottery win seem to end up miserable and penniless again in a very short time?

The problem for these people is that they fail to grasp or even get advice on the first two points above…the difference between an asset and a liability. Therefore they spend a great deal of their windfall on liabilities such as fancy holidays, cars and other luxuries. The cache of cash (the Capital) they had dwindles as these liabilities have to be paid for every month. These purchases are also for things that lose value overnight; a new car drops its value like a hot potato as soon as it is driven off the garage forecourt, because a great deal of its initial cost was tied up in profit for the dealer and the manufacturer and not a true representation of its material value. In this way, the second owner gets a better deal always. The rich never buy cars, by the way!

How to Spend

All of this means that a big part of financial self education should be to learn how to spend, because as you will have seen, rich people don’t seem to skimp on the luxuries. The main difference is that they spend pre-tax money that has already been generated by an asset i.e. profits. They never spend down the capital.

How to spend
The wealthy buy luxuries (liabilities) out of profits before tax. The Capital reserve grows and is never tapped into for spending on non money making items and the tax bill is minimised

The Myth of Ownership

When you grow up with nothing much to speak of, when your parents are frequently overheard worrying about money and there’s never anything leftover for holidays or Christmas presents, the lack of a feeling of security is palpable. Due to this, it is common for peasants like us to feel like we need to own stuff when we reach adulthood and to strive to never be in those same situations with our own kids.

This leads a lot of peasants down the garden path to debt and deeper and deeper insecurity, driven by the myth of ownership. But what do I mean by that? Forgive me for being so blunt…see that Range Rover the rich guy just turned up in? He doesn’t own it and what’s more, he doesn’t even have any desire to own it, because it is a tax deductible business expense that he pays a lease for every month from pre-tax profits, but still a liability. To own a luxury car like that, he’d need to dig deep into his Capital reserves and as soon as he drove it home, it would be worth 20% less than he paid for it. So in effect his company rents it for him to use and the money used to pay for it and run it and put fuel in it, is all tax deductible. In other words the money is never taxed!….think about that for a moment.

Next, see that 5 year old Ford your neighbour just drove up in?…he only thinks he owns it, because he pays a monthly car payment for it. By the time he’s paid it up, it will be knackered and he’ll need a new one…he never owns a car either and the payment comes from wages that have already been taxed!

This is the Ownership Myth in action and it applies not only to cars, but also houses, boats, buildings, clothes, fishing tackle and books too…Let me be even blunter here:

Ownership of anything is a Myth…we are all going to die very soon and you know the old saying about taking it with you!

As peasants, if we can get over the Myth of Ownership we can start to make real progress towards a life of freedom.

The poor buy liabilities like Mortgages, cars and holidays from after tax wages. They typically have no Capital reserves and in many cases are only financially solvent if the next pay cheque turns up on time as promised…one day it won’t!

Financial Education

So the most important thing in gaining freedom while still living in the real world, as opposed to foraging in the woods, is to educate yourself about money and how it really works. I’ve pointed to some resources you can use for this purpose at the end of this post and I highly recommend you get hold of them and start reading.

You and Money

Keep in mind that the rich and the poor have a fundamentally different relationship with money. It’s nothing to do with being clever, just about knowing one simple rule:

The poor work for money, while money works for the rich.

 


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Our Human Condition

Happy New Year!

A somewhat vacuous statement that we’ll hear for a day or so this week. But how can we ensure that this year will indeed be a happy one?

Well, we can continue our search for true freedom, the freedom to choose what we do every day instead of dancing to someone else’s tune. That way lies true freedom for the individual at least.

However, the freedom of choice for each of us doesn’t necessarily equate with good. My personal choice might be to fuck up someone else’s life through revenge or malice…it doesn’t, but you can see where this is going.

Yes, this year I want to aspire to greater heights alongside each of our individual quests and what could be a better or more worthy quest than an end to conflict, poverty, hunger and war? While we’re at it, why don’t we do something about Climate Change? Lofty aspirations by any measure, but easily within our grasp if we could only get to grips with the differences between cause and effect. The very essence of this lies in an understanding of the Human Condition.

It’s a massive and far reaching subject to tackle in a Happy New Year Blog Post, so this year I’m dedicating myself to exploring this idea as far as my little brain will allow and I would love to have some help.

Gonna have a war to keep us on our knees

At a time when it seems like the world has split into a few dangerous tribes, the danger in the comparative brevity of the individual human lifespan installing a common forgetfulness about the relatively recent past, has us staring down the barrel of a new wave of right wing fascism, hatred, bigotry and an apparent complete disregard for each other’s welfare and happiness. The powerful are taking advantage of the social media bubble to further the lining of their pockets by stirring up hate and accentuating difference, at a time when we should be consolidating our previously hard won unities and peaceful enterprises.

They want to have a war to keep us on our knees,

They want to have a war to keep their factories,

They want to have a war to stop us buying Japanese,

They want to have a war to stop Industrial Disease

Industrial Disease, Dire Straits

Brexit in the UK is one such fuck up in my mind. In almost every argument for this idiotic scheme the subject of greatest importance is the Economy, as if that was even a real thing, and a close second comes racism…“how can we stop people who talk different and eat slightly different food from us coming to live here in our place?”

This is exactly how almost every war in history has started and we all know how futile that is. The European Union has reigned over the longest period of peace in mainland Europe in many centuries, but now the Tory party want to fuck that up. At a time when Britain has the tiniest armed force ever, the English are beating their dumb chests and singing Britannia Rules the Waves. Just yesterday we were subjected to all of the stupid anointments of medals and honourable memberships of the great British Empire being bestowed on those with social clout (celebrities)…and the uber vacuous of this parish obediently puffed up their chests with pride, failing to see that they are being used in a game that started with and will continue to support the oppression and in some cases extinction of those who aren’t like us.

Anyway, I probably didn’t need to point all of that out to you, but you can see what’s happening here. The powerful find it most easy to conquer when they first divide us and pit us against one another…2019 UK, smells a lot like 1939 Germany to me!

After Brexit, unless some very well intentioned people with true knowledge of the Human Condition arise to take the reins, I predict another war in Europe in our lifetime. Although we might have no desire to become politicians or indeed one of the powerful, We are those people.

Duality and the Human Obsession with Symptoms

One aspect of being human that must be overcome is our obsession with Symptoms. This arises from our inherent split personalities as described by Jung, Plato and even alluded to within the Bible and probably all of the Good Books of the major world religions. It is certainly the key tenet of the peace driven thought system that is Buddhism.

You can observe Symptoms Thinking in almost every corner of every day life. In fact it is hard to observe anything else if we’re honest. Some examples:

Symptom

Headache

Depression

Weeds

Climate Change

Crime

Hunger

Poverty

Cure

Painkillers

Anti-Depressants

Herbicides

Renewables/Waste Reduction

Punishment

Food Aid

Welfare

This obsession with dealing with Symptoms rather than digging deeper to find the root cause of the problems we face is a very human one. In fact it isn’t that we don’t know we are just tickling the surface, it’s that we actually prefer it that way, otherwise we would have to face down our arch nemesis once and for all…Our Self.

Add to this equation a relatively un-illuminated Illuminati and you have the perfect recipe for perpetual suffering as described by the Buddha himself 2500 years ago and expounded later by Jesus Christ and all of the other wise religious teachers. In fact this is the source of the Heaven and Hell stories in those great books. Unfortunately the meanings of these texts are so deeply hidden in out-dated metaphor that we dismiss them as fairy stories. The are actually telling us about our own nature…The Human Condition.

So, regardless of how well intentioned and deeply qualified David Attenborough and Al Gore are in urging us to take action on Climate Change to save the planet, they are unfortunately barking up the wrong tree if they expect actions that will achieve that goal. And that is because Man Driven Climate Change is merely a symptom of Man’s greater trouble that is the underlying Duality of human existence.

At the root this is a conflict in every human individual between Instinct and Rationality. Our Instinct says “don’t touch that fire”, but our Rational brain says “I’ll just touch it to make sure my instinct is right, anyway, Ouch!

The Spiral of Disappointment

The trouble with this internal battle between our relatively new rational brain and our ancient instinctive brain, is that the conflict is born into us now as we are so many generations on from that first meeting of the minds.

But our continued focus on Symptoms will always result in more suffering. here’s an example from direct experience:

 

Symptom

Fungal Disease of Agricultural Crops

Cure

Spray Chemical Fungicide to kill disease

Result

More Fungal Disease of Crops

The reason for routine use of chemical fungicides resulting in more fungal disease in crops is that it doesn’t take heed of the underlying ecology of the field the crops are growing in. Factory farming is leading us down a spiral of doom that will one day result in there not being enough food to go around. Meantime, though it is resulting in a human population explosion due to the relative abundance of factory farmed food. The techniques employed to achieve this are depleting the world’s soils and reducing overall human health.

Soil Fungi form huge underground networks that are vital to the on-going health of soils and plants that has been described as the Wood Wide Web. Mycorrhizal Fungi play a fundamental role in a perennial plant’s ability to extract enough nutrients and water from the soil and in general soil health:

Chemical Fungicides are broad spectrum, i.e. they kill any fungus they come into contact with. Combined with other factory farming methods, this gradually depletes the soil of beneficial fungi species, leaving plants exposed to only the pathogens, therefore requiring more fungicide.

The Wood Wide Web Explained Beautifully by Chris Packham

This kind of Symptoms thinking abounds in almost every sphere of human existence now including Climate Science, Agriculture, Medicine, Education, Law Enforcement and ultimately Government and Politics. This in and of itself is also a Symptom of one thing…The Human Condition. The duality of rational versus Instinct. Both can serve us well if we can only recognise and reconcile the conflict within.

Symptoms Thinking leads to downward spirals of more and more symptoms

I’ll expand on these ideas as the year progresses and would love to hear from you on this subject. Meantime…I wish you a very happy and meaningful 2019 and will leave you with some reading suggestions to help you take this further:


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