Episode 088 - Straddling the line & escaping our dystopian future

There’s a fine line between wholesale embracement of a failing system, and the extreme decision to escape it. Much like mainstream thinking vs. conspiracy, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In this (and the next few episodes) I’m going to talk about trying to find balance between two systems – the current Western banker backed economic system, and what could become a new and somewhat better system for us all.

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Show Notes

Over the course of history, man has been a migratory animal.  We conquer far off lands, as we did 500 years ago when European regimes sent their ships far & wide.  Our ability to be toolmakers and use technology to build those ships allowed us to pursue our natural instinctive need for travel and conquer of lands.

The same is true today in 2021.  Again, our ability to build technology and deploy it in (again) ships, but in this case ships designed for travel beyond our atmosphere, means we are doomed to repeat history yet again.  But this time on a much grander scale.

Like some science fiction story, our home (planet earth), could become the haven of enlightenment while we send our emissaries to far away planets and possibly to other solar systems, to see out other life forms and opportunities.  We already embrace this with the appeal of watching SpaceX launches, or the popularity of movies like “The Martian”.  

Meanwhile back here at home, on planet earth, a different kind of change is going on.

The western world, particularly the post-European migration world of the 1500s, is showing signs of its demise.  Countries have not embraced the simple principal that we all understand in simple home economics – you cannot consume more than you produce.  We find every excuse under the sun to justify impulse purchases or debt therapy, as our governors repeat the same lack of individual discipline across the lands that they govern.  They force the well-learned to find ways to try and justify this poor behavior with economic illusionist tricks like MMT, or simply devaluing the basic currency that we all use and rely on its stability for our day to day commerce.

The concept of producing more than one consumes that results in abundance is frowned upon by those who profit from us doing the polar opposite.  Savers are punished, debt enslaved borrowers are rewarded with low interest rates.  Need a home you can’t afford, or is too big for you to live in?  No problem.  Here’s a low interest mortgage that your next 30 years of life can afford as you continue working in the job you hate, for the cause you no longer believe in.  Need a car to impress everyone but is a poor fit for your use case?  No problem.  Here’s a 0% car loan that enslaves you to 72 months of payment hell, while the car devalues in 50% of that timeline.  Need to get some money to get over the bills?  No problem.  Here’s a credit card with 27% interest on it, but don’t worry – you can roll it over into another credit card and defer the interest for years.  It doesn’t matter that the bills you are paying for are not only unused things or for subscriptions to things you never should have signed up for in the first place, but then again… that’s life, right?  Need to feel that you are part of this dysfunction, and avoid the exclusion from the insanity, by getting a degree in college that 2/3rd of us won’t use directly in our chosen occupation?  No problem – here’s a student loan debt contract.  Just sign on the dotted line.

Meanwhile we breed at levels never seen before in our history.  The day I was born, the world population was literally 50% of what it is today.  And my lifetime is far from over.  By the time I die, the world population would have tripled from what it was the day I was born.  Think about that.  We are over populating, and over consuming at a rate that this planet cannot sustain itself at.  It won’t be that we will want to explore the cosmos in search of other planets, but based on our behavior we won’t have a choice.  Pollution is rarely talked about, yet our oceans are filled with the invention of plastic that will outlast the human body by about 5x.   Where do we put all of this?  Bury it?  I know – shoot it out into the cosmos with our explorers.  We can export our dysfunction and jettison our poor behavior.  And notice, I haven’t even used the term “Climate Change” here.

So then there is you.

The individual.  The sovereign free citizen, born into this dysfunction.  You didn’t do anything to deserve this.  At least not when you were a child.  You were taught basic human tenets that are core to universally embraced philosophies – don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, and be loyal to your parents.  Yet as time marched forward, little by little, those basic tenets have been diluted, avoided, justified.  They are in the back of our minds but we find ways to explain away our actions if they don’t conform.  

Yet we are all “good people”.  We have it in us to reject this.  We have it in us to seek out a better solution for all of this.  No one wants to do bad things, or subscribe to others that do bad things.  We just want to be left alone to make the world a better place, right?  We want to be free and unconstrained.

That leads me to the core of the next few episodes of our podcast.  How can we pursue what we all know to be good, right and meaningful, without restriction, and yet somehow still exist in this dysfunctional world?  Is it at all possible?  

I don’t know about you, but once I left the traps of a job – where an employer wanted my undivided attention, my mind was allowed to wander.  All of those underlying gut feelings that had existed in me since childhood – what is right, but what wasn’t performed – just started to coagulate into themes.  Themes that forced me to read, study, talk to others.  To learn.  To see if maybe they found an answer in this quest because they got a head start at it.  When I saw something that I admired, I wanted to know more.  When someone said something that was a glimmer of an answer, or even a small piece of evidence towards discovering the answer, I latched onto it.  Having a lot of spare time gives you the luxury of doing that.  Thank god I respect time, because it can be used to seek out answers to really complicated problems – both inward and outward, but problems that 99% of society prefer to avoid or sweep under the rug.

Psychologists and philosophers in history tell us this.  They tell us that if we don’t at least try and seek out solutions to better the human experience, we are doomed to repeat the problems.  Thankfully they codified that in writings from back to Ancient Greece, so that their knowledge and learning could act as a steps that we can climb upon.  But if we choose to never want to try to climb the stairs, we are doomed to live in the basement of the human experience forever.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in the basement.

I’ve learned that the protocol of commerce is often the best and most direct form of communication between people that we have.  I have something you want – you have something I want.  Let’s share.  That’s the basic concept of a transaction.  We must respect and start from that.  No theft, no counterfeiting, no bait & switch.  Just the simple concept of a transaction between two parties.

It is easy to understand.  Yet we live in a world where even that is abused.  No one wants to sell anything on the 2nd hand market, unless it is hidden behind the walls of eBay or some other online seller.  The concept of putting an ad on Craigslist has become some scary thing where you have to do the transaction in secret – often at some undisclosed location, because god forbid you can’t have the unknown human being come to your home.  They might rob you, kill you, etc.

The simplest concept of a community market, like a farmer’s market, is spat upon by the supermarket chains that control the supply chain of food.  We’ve forgotten the beauty of “farm to table” here, by using counterparties to buy and store the food, then more counterparties to move the goods, often over national borders, to us.  So that when we get the food it is rotten.  But despite that, and that we live in a world where 50% of the food goes to waste and is destroyed, yet 1 in 5 families don’t have enough food to eat.  To help this out, we invent chemical additives that are used to add life to the food products – the very same additives that often we have no idea the long term impact to the quality of our lives or the longevity of our lives.  High fructose corn syrups that bolster food and are fundamental to the low priced offerings reduce our immune system’s ability to fight viruses, generated obesity and makes us less likely to survive any viral pandemic that is thrown at us.

It is like being forced to only buy low grade products at some “super center”.  If all you can afford is that, then all you get is low grade quality that you need to buy 5x as much to get the same efficacy.  It is no surprise that taste is lost due to poor ingredients when you have to dilute the raw materials and add chemicals to it, so that by the time it gets to your supermarket, it is just a potion of chemistry rather than a decent rib-eye steak or a quality stalk of celery.

Then there is that simple transaction thing.  You want to buy that rib-eye steak.  After you navigate through the maze of distraction – preying on your “shiny object syndrome” like expert psyops, you get to the meat aisle.  You pick out the choice cut you want, and you put it into the cart and back to the check-out process.  After winding through the stacks and stacks of magazines openly and proudly teling you up is down, right is left and Elvis is a Space Alien, you get to the human (if you are not dealing with some robot autonomous check out machine), and you scan a barcode to get the identity of what you are buying, then are told the price + some government surcharge (sales tax) that you didn’t vote for, never signed up for, yet you just accept.

How now do you pay for your goods?  Do you give them some currency form of IOUs that the government issued to you?  The very same government that wants more of it for their own purposes by way of that sales tax?  No, because they make it next to impossible to automate this dysfunction by using computers and AI, so they want a credit card. Remember that?  The credit card that is charging you 27% interest on the unpaid balance.  You could avoid that and going into debt entirely if they would just take cash, but you know that the value of the cash is being eroded at a rate that you can’t keep up with.  The $1 of cash from 1920 is now worth $0.03 today, so you don’t want to be holding that hot potato if you can avoid it.  Better to pull out the sliver of plastic and tacitly agree to signing away your freedom to pay for that purchase later.  Or else.

The month comes by with the unexpected cost – the car breaks down, the landlord wants the back rent, the store credit bill for the furnitute you bought is due and the collectors are at the door for the money, or they will tarnish your reputation, take away your stuff, etc.   All with the blessing of the government and the courts to pass their power of force to them.  Yes, the only party here who has the right to steal from you is the very same government that you voted into power.  You are expected to respect the transaction – they have no responsibility in the matter.

The same government that don’t respect the “produce more than you consume” model that we are expected to behave with.  So they can run up $30T of debt with no responsibility to us, yet we all know that this same debt will roll down the hill and land on our front lawn and now it is our problem.  Or our kids.

God this sounds depressing.  It is.  These are the struggles we are saddled with.

I find myself in the company of hundreds of other independent podcasts that want to try and share success stories of how we meet those challenges and get past it.  Some talk about “Financial Independence” or “Retirement” as an escape from this.  But they spend 99% of their time talking about finance and 1% talking about independence.  They never want to discuss just what we are escaping to.   By just constantly battling with the day to day fight against dysfunctional bankers, debt, saving a bit of money here and there, etc. we get distracted.  Distracted from the entire reason that we are struggling.

Few wish to have the hard conversations, thinking that they won’t get the YouTube algorithm to put them in the “You should also watch….” list.   They want to measure their popularity based on how many people watch them – not based on how they can positively impact lives.  It is the impact that is the goal – an impact that realizes that no one person has the answer, but by respecting a community the very same community might just have a solution.  After all, wasn’t it the human race that sent a man to the moon, invented the ships that allowed the Spaniards, French, Portuguese and British, to sail the ocean blue in search of new worlds?   

Our media has become a world of static.  Rarely does a message emerge that has traction.  When a message “goes viral” like that, it is often not because the message will serve humanity.  It is because it just happens to rise above the static for some stupid reason – not because of the payload it delivers.  Hell, we have divulged into a world where Memes have more power than words and learning.  No one has a bigger attention span than a fly these days.

It is understandable.  They are all rushing off to work, to put food on the table, run errands, deal with the depression of debt and enslavement, try and avoid the armed government agents (ie. Police) and not be in line of their glare.  They don’t want to be doing or saying anything that the rest of the hypnotized herd disagree with at the time.  Don’t be racist, don’t be a bad person, etc.  Meanwhile they are all off to do bad things to each other passively because, well “its just business”.

No it isn’t.  We are grown adults and we should be given the respect of that status.  But respect is earned – you don’t just get it like a participation trophy.  And earned respect comes from one’s actions – not one’s thoughts and prayers.

So here’s the choice, it would seem.

You can completely detach from this dysfunction.  Yes, it is hard but it is possible.  Go and buy some land in the woods and build your own utopia.  Move to a community that might embrace these things – like the New Hampshire “Free state project”, or something like that.  Try living on an island if you can find one.  You will likely find peace, but on the other hand everything will be more difficult.

You won’t be communicating with the rest of the world like you did.  The Internet sucks or when your car breaks down, good luck finding someone to repair it.  Food?  Sure you can grown your own, but now you have the obligation to spend hours and hours to tend to your crops and protect them from the natural elements of weather and animals that also want a free lunch.  

The truth is that we humans are social animals and we rely on each other to support the things that we are not naturally skilled at.  I do not have the patience or desire to repair my car so I pay a mechanic for that.  I cannot grow food at scale, so I need to use others to fill that void.  Where I can, I try and be independent and self-sufficient.  I probably do that more than most of my friends.  I mean rather than just using third parties, I host my own servers in my own data center.  I generate my own income from my assets and I live a pretty frugal existence compared to most.  I get to keep what I earn.  I save it, but I know that where I put it has some counterparty risk.  So I diversify and spread the risk around.  Domestic and international investments.  I hold crypto-currency, I hold gold.  I have no debt, I paid my cars off years ago and was wise to buy high end cars with a goal to get 20 years out of them.  I generate my own travel rewards by hacking the credit card system, so that I can maintain a freedom of movement right that isn’t restricted by some high ticket entry cost.

These things are done by design.  They all represent my investing in myself first.  They serve me.  I don’t serve them.  When something comes along that forces me to serve it, I will run with abandon from it.  But I’m also not naïve to understand the powers that prevail.  I would never survive attempting to pick fights with adversaries that could destroy me.  So I negotiate – I duck & weave and I try to be off the radar of such adversaries.

That said, I recognize them.  Because 99 times out of 100, they are the parties that have architected the dysfunctional system that I know will destroy humanity.  The system I have spoken about on this episode prior.

It is a tightrope.  We straddle it, hoping not to fall.  

This is where I have to ask you the questions:

1.    Do you recognize the same dysfunction that I do?

If the answer to this is NO, then you should stop listening and unsubscribe to The Unconstrained Podcast.  All it will do is upset you.  All it will do is further cement your own belief that everything is perfect and we should continue to perpetuate it.  I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.  Plenty of other mainstream financial or social commentaries would be better suited to your belief system.  This isn’t it.

If the answer is YES, then we have two choices – either we can just sit around complaining about it, or we can try and share our knowledge and learning about how we can meander and survive.  How we can find the opportunities and exploit them, but also not fall prey to the system that attempts to enslave humanity.

My experience in this realm is that most people that answer YES to my question, don’t have the energy, focus or clarity of mind to be able to succeed.  They just live in a “it is what it is” mindset and succumb to it.

2.    At what level are you willing to fight the system?

Now there’s a lot of “talkers” out there.  Talkers that often have independent media outlets like podcasts, YouTube channels, etc. that will love to trigger you.  They will tell you that they are not going to take it.  That the world is bad and we must grab our guns and rise up against it.

They are fools.  Let’s face facts here.  The media outlets that trigger most people into living in a fictional delusion that the USA is a Right vs Left world, and either you are with us or you are with the terrorists, are just hypnotized by the media psyop outlets that want them to believe that.  After all, the longer they stay rialed up and on whatever channel, the more pharmaceutical ads they can cram down their throats every 5 minutes or so.  Media is a capitalistic weapon of the media owners – they don’t honestly believe the trash that their editorical content and so-called journalists are spewing.  That’s only there to fill the gaps between the pharmaceutical advertising.

Imagine the TV didn’t exist.  Imagine the Internet feeds that you subscribe to shut down.  You would be forced to return to your local community, shop at the local supermarket, buy Chick-Fil-A or some other food alternative laced with chemicals for a positive taste experience, and visit your doctor for your diabetes medication.  You still are scared of getting older, you are worried that your kids will be ok and won’t fall prey to the bad things in the world.  You are worried about how you pay your bills, etc. and that you can meet the boss’ deadlines at the office.

Burdened by all of this, you are far from an effective fighting force.  You might want to “rise up to the man”, but you are not prepared.  Nor when faced with the difficult decision of doing it, 99% would back down from the fight.  Life is not some WWE match on TV, unfortunately.

And look, I don’t blame you.  You know deep in your heart that something is wrong.  You know this can’t go on.  But if you just parrot the media journalists story that it is Biden’s fault, or Trump’s fault, etc. then you are nothing more than watching another WWE match based on a fight that is pure acting just to get you in the seat at the arena, paying your entrance fee to be there, while you watch the pharmaceutical ads that feature between the events.

The truth is that few of us will fight this system actively.  Some do.  There are some unsung heroes out there that do.  But I am 99% sure, it isn’t you.  And it isn’t me either.

What we likely will do is to find a way to straddle the line.  The line between reluctantly existing in this dystopia, while we passively look for the utopia.  We wait for the great disruption to come along and lead us out of chaos.  The problem is that the disruptors are often flawed humans that have been infected by the traditional system because they, too, must live in it to survive.  When you get a truly heroic person that feels they can poke the bear of the old traditional system, well…. That typically doesn’t end well.  Look at Julian Assange or Ross Ulbricht if you need recent examples.

The traditional system – the one that isn’t serving you – has the unfortunately power of force to compel you to accept it and do its bidding.  They have the power of the gun and the power of incarceration.  They have the power of military and domestic guards.  They have the power to influence all those that you live with, communicate with, do business with, and can compel them to reject you as well.  And they have the power of psyops to control the hearts & minds of society.

So NO, you won’t win that battle.

What if you could exist in two worlds?  That you had some form of parallel society that you could somehow find solace in, yet still appear to be a happy little participant of the old ways?  Would that not be the answer?  Have your cake and eat it to?

And that is my question that I want to explore.  I’m going to do something unusual for this show, and I’m going to invite on some people who understand this reality as I do.  Probably most that understand it far better than I.  Many have been branded as conspiracy theorists or freaks by the same traditional systems and its media.  But many you may never have heard of before.  They are often the wise that found ways decades ago to live between two worlds – the word of traditional society and a world outside of it.

I’m wanting to explore the question, “Is there hope outside of this dystopia?”  and if you have that same question, then ride with me on this journey.

At the same time, I want you to spend the uncomfortable time looking in the mirror.  Ask yourself if it gets better than where you are now, on the trajectory that you are currently on?  If the answer is YES, then this isn’t for you.  The fact you made it this far through this episode tells me that you have a lot of time on your hands to waste because I have given you so many signals prior that this might not be for you, but you are still here.  Why is that?  Is it that you are not dismissing outright the concept that the world you are in is not optimal?

I’m not trying to taunt you.  I’m not trying to call you out or make you uncomfortable.  I’m trying to wake you up.  Trust in all you see around you with your own eyes.  Not your eyes glued to your smart phone, but what you see when you put your phone in your pocket.  What you see when you gaze into the eyes of your loved ones, or when you see dysfunction all about you.  When you stand in line at the check out in the supermarket and watch the groceries of the person in front of you go through.  Whether what is in their shopping cart serves them from a health and welfare perspective.  How much of their purchase is nutrition vs. substitution.  And how do they pay for it? Is it with cash, or someone else’s money?  Some credit card debt instrument?  Will they be able to pay the balance of that card at the end of the month, or are they part of the 78% pay check to pay check crowd that can’t get through the monthly bills?

Do they have the respect of anonymity of their transaction, or are they identifying themselves so that the very store that they trust to shop at won’t target them with ads based on their past buying experience?  That their store respects their privacy enough to not feel they have the right to tell them what to buy, rather respects their right of choice.  And does their credit card company do the same?  Is their transaction at that store leaked out to marketing companies that are profiling them so that they can target them with their massive AI technologies at times when they are least equipped to fight against it – further enslaving them to the debt and the job and the lack of hope?

Let me finish with a quick comment regarding this.

This quest and challenge has been something on my mind for the past 30 years.  The very industry that I have made a good living at, is the industry that empowered the evil to use the technology as a weapon against humanity, so that they win and we lose.  I’m not saying that all technology is bad, but most of it is a double-edged sword.  You get a lot but you give up a lot and trust that it won’t be abused.  And despite the hundreds of times I’ve had arguments with people in the technology space in the past, almost everytime that I have predicted that things won’t end well, I was right.

I never get them coming back admitting it though.  I just live in the solace that I was right, but the world is still screwed.  

When I discovered the need for electronic commerce of non-tangible things, which came out of my experiences in virtual worlds – mainly in MMORPG video games, I realized that those virtual worlds were not yet scarred with the same human dysfunction of our own.  Maybe that is one of the reasons I spent so much time in those games.  They had to be better than the society I was seeing out of my very window.  But they were not pure either.  However the concept of economics in those worlds was new and immature.  The way they would solve those problems might just work in the more entrenched physical world.  That led me to Bitcoin, and my own use of it as a way to pay cross border, but also a way to escape the bankster controlled social system.

My motives were pure.  I never wanted to get rich by it.  Rich was not of interest to me.  Free was the interest.  Back in the 2011 or so period, there were many that thought like I did.  I would go to conferences and hear them speak.  I would have conversations after their presentations with them in the hallways.  Then the conferences had 100 or so people.  Nothing like it became.  Those people went on to create incredible technologies and solutions.

But as the conferences go bigger and bigger over the years, most of the people going to them changed from wide eyed ideological hopefuls looking for freedom in T-Shirts & jeans, to Armani suit wearing investor class.  The purists never held their currencies – they wanted to use it as originally designed.  To transact outside of the banking system.  They never go rich.  Hell I even remember when Andreas Antonopoulous was almost broke at the height of the Bitcoin frenzy of 2017, even though he was the very same person who wrote the book on Bitcoin.  If it wasn’t for the community rising to the occasion and gifting him a ton of Bitcoin, which then made him instantly wealthy, he probably would have been pushed back into the shadows.  When the community did that, I felt warmth in my heart.  

That was short-lived because the lure of greed and HODL mentality turned what could have been a future for humanity into a greed based enslavement.  No one since will spend their Bitcoin, never allowing it to fulfill its original mandate.  I’ve spoken about this many times since – I sold most of my holdings when I saw the human reaction to it.  I’ll probably regret that in the future, but to be rich in a dysfunctional world to me is not RICH.  That’s enslaved.  And that’s not what I believe being unconstrained is about.

Maybe the theme of this and the odd future episode is more of a form of me wanting to find my center again.  To return to the WHY rather than the WHAT question.  To try and re-capture that sense of desire to find a way out of this mess.   It isn’t that saving a dime here or there is not wise.  Or discovering and discussing smart income opportunities, etc. are not worthy of consideration.  It is the fact that once one does get to escape traditional employment, it is what you are escaping to that becomes the most important question to answer and you might want to have that answer firmly in sight before you decide to defer gratitude today.  Just leaping from one enslavement into another doesn’t mean you are escaping enslavement.

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