The thread increasingly surrounded by darkness Riding out the winter (decline) of industrial civilization


Collapse with preparation is an eccentricity

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Collapse with preparation is an eccentricity

Collapse-avoidance is sham-avoidance

Collapse-proof personalities: indifferent, determined, self-reliant, unreasonable
self-reliance: the ability to persevere in spite of loneliness, lack of support from anyone else
collapse happens one person at a time, and is always mistaken for personal failure. Even if you get out of the collapsing system and thrive, you will be seen as an eccentric loser by people who are still in it.
A bit of a challenge to make collapse seem “non-threatening, inspiring and engaging” to the general public. [Rob Hopkins]
The profit motive is socially corrosive because the satisfaction of greed is very unlikely to be mutual.

In all, the profit motive fails to motive altruistic behavior, because it is not reciprocal. And it is altruistic behavior that increases the social capital of society. Within a gift-giving system, we can all be in everyone's debt, but going into debt makes us all richer, not poorer.


In the current economic scheme, we are forced to barter our freedom, in the form of the compulsory work-week, for something we don't particularly want, which is money. We have limited options for what to do with that money: pay taxes, bills, buy shoddy consumer goods, and, perhaps, a few weeks of "freedom" as tourists. But other options do exist.


      1. Conserve energy: get plenty of rest and sleep a lot. Sleeping burns ten times less energy than hard physical labor.
      2. Save time: avoid living by a schedule. Choose the best time to do each thing. Work with the weather and the seasons, not against them.


      3. Pick and choose: always have more to do than you ever plan to get done.

      4. Have plenty of options: You don’t know what the future holds, so (don’t) plan accordingly.

      5. Think for yourself: the popularity of a stupid idea doesn’t make it any less stupid.

      6. Laugh at the world: make sure to maintain a healthy sense of humor.


So what are we to do in the meantime, while we wait for collapse, followed by good things? It's no use wasting your energy, running yourself ragged and ageing prematurely, so get plenty of rest, and try to live a slow and measured life. One of the ways industrial society dominates us is through the use of the factory whistle: few of us work in factories, but we are still expected to work a shift. If you can avoid doing that, you will be ahead. Maintain your freedom to decide what to do at each moment, so that you can do each thing at the most opportune time. Specifically try to give yourself as many options as you can, so that if any one thing doesn't seem to be working out, you can switch to another. The future is unpredictable, so try to plan so as to be able to change your plans at any time. Learn to ignore all the people who earn their money by telling you lies. Thanks to them, the world is full of very bad ideas that are accepted as conventional wisdom, so watch out for them and come to your own conclusions. Lastly, people who lack a sense of humor are going to be in for a very hard time, and can drag down those around them. Plus, they are just not that funny. So avoid people who aren't funny, and look for those who can laugh at the world no matter what happens.
Controlled Demolition: Hope International University's Terrace Office Center

I watched this late-60s-era structure come down over several days with the help of an 8-ton wrecking ball and a handful of bulldozers. The exposed innards, fragments of concrete, and twisted rebar recalled the Okalahoma City bombing, highlighting the aesthetic similarities between controlled and un-controlled demolitions. It’s a strange thing having the chaos of a half-destroyed seven-story structure interrupting the order of the urban landscape. It becomes sculptural, quite beautiful actually, and I was sad to see the razing completed.

Demolitions like this one will be increasingly rare as financing for new building projects continues to be scarce. Instead, we’ll get to watch structures crumble much more gradually as plants, weather, and gravity pull them apart.
There’s debate taking place in several rust belt cities as to whether or not vacant properties should be demolished, the land returned to nature, so that municipal resources can be diverted elsewhere. Those against the “Shrink to Survive” plan seem to possess that black and white mentality insisting growth is always good while contraction is always bad.
For me, to-bulldoze or not-to-bulldoze depends largely on what type of structure we’re taking about. Wooden-frame clapboard and vinyl homes in the outer suburban asteroid belts are difficult to squat and of little aesthetic value to begin with. They’re cheaply made and, in most climates, their decompositions are quick and unimpressive. We might as well give nature a head start in reclaiming the land they occupy. Conversely, structures made of masonry and stone have many years in them, even when no maintenance is being performed. The influence of time on our larger, more durable constructions is likely to be rewarding to witness unfold.
The Orange County Register's report on the Fullerton demolition

An article from The Telegraph: US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive
On April:

What a strange relationship—so brief. What does it offer? First—the age gap. Immaturity means not knowing what one wants. What one wants from life and from a relationship. Immaturity means not recognizing when something is “good” and often results in the waste of great potential. You never know what you had until you’ve lost it. It means making a mistake and learning from it. You try and teach in positive [reinforcement]. There’s a chill in the air.

it’s the evening chill that follows perfect daytime temperatures in coastal towns. The blonde with the loafers and the fishing cap beams her look across the room. My mood shifs with each change of the music. fucK! Trying too hard with the writing again. Wait, where is this going. Probably better to have a gestination? Guesstination.

Our Gazes brushed delicately over each other’s features. The French countryside schoolgirl look is fucking too adorable—really—like we should be filming a French new wave in this café. The blue raincoat dress, the dark brown loafers, the cap you see actresses wearing in the rain during films made in the 40s. With slightly off teeth, and full lips on an otherwise small featured face. Eyes that sparkle with innocence.

Good progress today though—a light conversation, typical of the beginning of a good stable [sexually charged] friendship. Some solid laughs. I bit over her head but a good enough match.

You just can’t stay away? The serious barista/security with the moustache.


You should shoot the passage again—recreate each shot as close as possible.

Also, find the time to do something in ND.


Seriously, you have to respect what can even sort of be read as linear and unbroken when you know the guy gas one camera. That means solid editing.
Books to read:

Small is beautiful

The long decline—greer

Limits to growth

Hemingway’s “A movable feast—restored version” about living cheap in Paris

Released July 14, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009: Fargo, SD
Karla,
The following reminiscence details a dream that came to me last Monday in Fargo, North Dakota. I was there for the funeral of my grandmother who died peacefully in her sleep at age ninety. You’re the dream’s central figure and I thought you might be into it.

London: a few days before Christmas. The atmosphere is modern-day Dickens: crowds of shoppers in scarves and dark wool coats. You and I are walking side by side (you on the right) through some high-end department store. Maybe Saks 5th Ave. Our strides are long and assured—we’re only passing through. You wear tall boots, black stockings, a skirt, a modish light-grey coat, and a red/blue plaid scarf. Adorable. Your hair is well past shoulder-length and flutters along behind you like we’re shooting a shampoo advert. I wear a long wool coat: tiny black and white hound’s tooth so it looks grey from beyond a few feet.

Just before reaching the exit we pass a pair of well-dressed couples. Defining the ‘young urban professional’ type, the women try on fur coats while the suit-and-tied men watch from a distance. [I’ve traced the fur coat image back to a 1939 film called The Women. My sister and I briefly had it on in the hotel room the night before. In one scene, an actress adorns an enormous white fur coat that I remarked probably cost the lives of several polar bears. For some reason clothing, and fabrics in particular, were significant in the dream.] As we move beyond the wealthy foursome, we exchange knowing glances of disapproval.
We plunge through the main doors into a bright sunny square bustling with Londoners. A blast of cold air awakens the skin of our faces. The department store’s large front windows line one side of the outdoor space and display a Gap-esque photographic image: models in wintry garb lined-up in a white void. The image’s central feature is a pair of enlarged male hands, bound in handcuffs. [Although clearly out of place in retrospect, this somewhat brutal and highly symbolic focal point embedded in an otherwise unremarkable image arouses no skepticism within the context of the dream.]
You spring into action. Within moments you’ve recruited half a dozen young people from the crowd and equipped them each with a blunt orange crayon. Following your lead, we begin writing directly on the windowpanes, referencing the advertising beneath the glass. Some write words and phrases, others simply doodle. I’m preoccupied with my own marks but glace up long enough to see your focus is on the oversized hands. Without getting a good look, I simply know whatever alterations your crayon brings forth will change the meaning of the original with some biting stroke of social criticism.

Then, as abruptly as we began, we turn and disband: disappearing into the crowd. You and I are separated for several minutes. For me, this period is characterized by an overwhelming feeling of joy, welling up from deep inside. The euphoria is tinted with a sense of pride in you and what you’ve accomplished. I resolve to tell you I love you when we’re reunited.

When I spot you again, you’re standing at a street vendor’s table lackadaisically turning over the handmade knit goods. I come up behind you and, sensing my presence, you turn to face me. You’re smiling. No… You’re beaming. You grab my hand as you pass, and lead me toward the center of the busy square. Neither of us speaks. I glance in the direction of the storefront windows, now thoroughly marred with orange. Someone official-looking is inspecting our work, shaking his head in frustration. We navigate the shifting sea of anonymous woolen figures and arrive at a small clearing that’s opened for us. Holding both my hands now you look into my eyes and say, “I love you.”
I’m pierced by a twinge of regret for having failed to say the words first but it’s quickly swept away by a flood of perfect happiness. You’re extraordinarily beautiful. I feel warm and lightheaded. The joy finally bubbles over and I’m overcome: dropping to my knees. I gaze up at you through a blur of tears.

[I woke with salty rivulets running down both sides of my face. A shaft of grayish pre-dawn light spilled in from the far edge of the hotel room’s curtained window. The joy was gone, replaced by the starkness of morning in an unfamiliar place. I closed my eyes and saw us standing in the square, but from high above. We were infinitely small, surrounded by a vast space. Feeling completely drained; I dressed and headed downstairs to write these words.]
I hope you’re well.
Love,

B
It was joy beyond anything I’ve ever felt.

—the kind that one only experiences a few times in one’s life.

I’d like to know if she cried when she read this—if she showed any emotion at all.
Remember the color of life, the details are always vulgar
The ice machine that sounds like that radiohead song.

Learning to navigate the seasons—to survive in a new town until the conditions are right to move on—this is its own skill and ties in with being able to live extremely frugally—and to ingratiate myself into peoples lives and homes.

Living a crash-proof life, disentangled from the money economy—learning to satisfy my needs in other ways.
We’ve proven we can take over the planet, dominate nature, change the climate—live in a million different ways—in this drive, this push to do more, build more, grow and expand—we’ve failed to ask ourselves if this is how we want to live. It’s time to ask that question. I’m providing one model—one possibility in an infinite number of others. It’s how I see us living more rich and fulfilling lives filled with moments of exquisite pain and joy.
Are you just passing the time?
On talking about one’s goals:

people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.
Ran on production vs. consumption in curbing emissions:

they always talk about reducing consumption, and never about reducing production. Economists assume that demand drives production: if we burn less, the fields will pump less. This is exactly backwards. In reality, production drives consumption: whatever the fields can pump out, someone will burn.

ME: Other ways (besides political) of curbing production—direct action
To do:

call Sameer about overshoot book and mix CD


The GPS ride could be a tour of your favorite architecture in Chicago
One of several approaches to getting people excited about collapse—including the aesthetics angle—the human creativity/ingenuity angle—the resurgence of nature angle—etc.
More to do in SB

Buy drugs

Email Karla



Get a tan

See Julia

On call for Kyle

Good emails to Eric and co.

At least one new entry

At least one proposal cover letter

Drop in at the Hostel

Drop in at the delivery service

Drop in at the bike shop

Complete your brutalist architecture tour of Chicago image collection

Begin website for Geller!
To add to ‘living poor’ skills post

Best looking homeless guy in all of Southern California

The only homeless guy that rides his bicycle around with a flat iron in his paineers

About the jealous gay dude—wish I had someone that would take me in and let me stay for free.

Sell all your possessions, ride your bike 4000 miles, and eat fruit, yoghurt, and granola for every other meal and I guarantee someone will.

Also, being a good live-in friend is a full time job.

Actually intentionally dropping my weight to consume fewer resources—less need for food. A hyper-efficient body type—like the fishermen on lake Victoria—only consuming enough to support your current level of physical activity (eat when you’re hungry, eat according to your activity level)

Sleeping a lot is another option approach

(Covered a bit in email to Katie)

plus, if you’ve got very little money, it’s unlikely you’re getting in anyone’s way.

Coffee as an unusually large percentage of my personal budget.
Your own potential clients might include Julia’s crowd, Kendall’s crowd, the Fullerton house, etc.
Record your court date audio.

Aerial images of crowds

Profeta or tea place for exhibition spaces
Lofty work trying to steer the direction of humanity.
It like for people to stay interested because they’re anticipating what’s coming next whether It be an incredible shot in one of the vids, or a piece of writing, or a visit to a site they knew something about.
Chasing the neon blue toilet dragon

On taking lots of drugs


On Facebook becoming a monster raging out of control—a tool for a bunch of self-focused exhibitionists to post pictures of themselves that most of the time don’t look anything like them. Plus, because it’s never been cool to just post pictures of yourself all over the Internet. How fucking self-congratulatory is that? It’s like a big popularity contest.
How to travel in an age of global contraction”

Pitch to travel magazine—budget adventure travel, or maybe a really heady publication. “How to see the world on $10,000 a year (and we do mean the world.”
To add to camping skills post: unusual places—what’s unusual about the images is that they’re both taken from high above.
Google trends—search terms throughout the year
She’s super hot over there in the corner. All stretching and shit—no bra, nice haircut—good glasses. Eating a banana. Pretty eyes—all seductive like—pouty lips. Good height.
Writing a book about a girl that meets a photographer and begins to take on the idealized characteristics he’s projecting upon her through his photography.

Kendall—Another fucking K!!—what the hell. At least it’s a new K. Late for class she makes herself. Says call if you, “need anything” I say. “What would I need?”

Oh you should totally do a more formal post on retarded sperm:


I heard cyclists who cover more than 186 miles a week on their bikes have less than 4% normal sperm. The remaining 96% go retarded from being bounced around all day. This side effect should be viewed as desirable. Since retarded sperm are unlikely to fertilize anything, a serious cyclist is less likely to get you pregnant. A lot less. Upon receiving this information I resolved to increase my weekly mileage.

Link.
Trains and their stations are some of the most romantic places around A.K.A. A Contemporary Romantic Railroad Encounter
One might make a lovely setting for a scene in a post collapse romance set in a crumbling post-industrial world of exceptional beauty. That is if the trains can believably still be running. [I’m also thinking of one of my favorite cinematic moments where the man and woman (strangers) briefly join hands while descending a stairway in a crowd—then part ways.]
So the ride to the station is made that much more lovely because you’re following a wonderfully scented girl with lacy black underwear. She stops at a light and turns to face the direction she’s come from—the afternoon sun hits her face and she’s this gorgeous European looking blonde.
Then there’s a bunch of girls already waiting at the station. There’s pretty bicycle girl, and slightly confused blue sweatpants girl, and white shirt girl who you orbit slowly with the clicks of those noisy shoes. Oh, and who could forget the pack of Japanese girls with the black thigh-high stockings and the sparkly Michael Jackson shirts and the perfect doll hair and makeup. Mine god.

Then there was the discovery of the SB bike crew with their genuinely awesome vintage frames. Gathering at the train station on a lovely summer evening—a Wednesday at 6:30. A critical mass perhaps?

And this after a great day of deliveries, cafes, and meeting girls. Kendall at Java Jones (yes, another “K”), French-country sighting (with boyfriend) at Peat’s. Perfect weather.
The late train is where all the romance is concentrated. The sunset is the key to this as riders watch it unfold over the pacific. Everyone is winding down form a frenzied summer day.
So where you going pretty bicycle girl? Want a blackberry? [who doesn’t want a blackberry?]
Then there was meeting Jessica on the train—waiting for the sunset to complete itself before asking to join her. It’s all about waiting to approach at the apex of romance—the ideal moment, when the sun has reached that ideal distance from the horizon—after having written down all the great moments of the day—clearing them from a burdened mind. She says, “you’re the first person I’ve met who’s doing exactly what I want to be doing.”—an incredible compliment. She’s into the inserting one’s self into tourist photos project and agreed that technology is improving the viability of such a venture. She’s just back from china where she painted tiny watercolors of a massive elevated freeway as seen from her studio window. (this is totally the direction she should take with her work.) Described being under the structure as “like being in a cathedral”—I was like, “you’re totally speaking my language right now.” [and who ever speaks your language?] Glass island. She’s into the vids which you’ve exported for her in their full glory.

Then you fail to get her phone number. You’ve even said, “I think were going to be good friends.” All you know is that she lives in Brea. [It’s already incredible that you’re both traveling between the same two stops.] absolutely meant to be—or meant to be a sign that she’s as close as it gets and you should take it or leave it.

Someone should make SPD shoes with some real style for all the pretty fixie-hipsters.
SB with its midget town drunk.
When what is essentially a business operated by one individual grows to a certain point where it’s beginning to be difficult for the single to handle all the responsibilities, then it’s showing signs of needing to add a partner. But for the business at that level to support two individuals instead of one, the original must take a temporary quality of life hit while the newcomer must barely scrape by for a time.
One more flush of ugly MJ monster faces in the checkout line before we never have to look at him again.
Good trends, resolutions to keep:


  • Eat slower—chew each bite completely

  • Don’t push too hard for anything—gentle nudges at strategic points is all that should be required to maintain momentum

  • Emails of quality: revealing and well written

  • Always be reading a book

  • Try and commit to one post a day to catch up—you’ll feel better once you can write about current things.

  • More stretching and meditation—maintain the evening workout routine.

Hi Brett,

That was quite a vivid dream, I don't really know how to reply. It is always strange when you don't hear from someone in a long time and then you catch a glimpse into something quite personal. It seems almost bold that you sent me this, although coming from you, I am never quite sure. This made me think of an alternate reality- one that could have been had you and I chosen different paths. Seems like a middle ground- we are both dressed quite well, perhaps signifying well paid jobs. On the other hand, we engage in some social activism, staying true to our beliefs as they were in Claremont.

The reality is- neither of us are anywhere near that middle ground. In fact, we have diverged completley. I am the person in massive debt who works hard to work even harder. I sometimes feel trapped, so I buy into and buy more of what I once deemed unnecessary. I am about to start crazy work in the hospital on Monday and anticipate no time to myself for the next year.


You, on the other hand, appear to be living more freely than ever. Stark opposite, aren't you still roaming the country, documenting? Free from many modern life pressures, but perhaps you live a lifestyle that is not so conducive to relationships, or other attachments. Hard to say based on your website.

 

I guess I can only reiterate that we are not those people at all, but that was an interesting dream. 



 

Stay safe B,


Karla!

One actual question embedded in an email doesn’t exactly beg a response but I figured I’d write one anyway.


Yes, I’m still roaming the country (and ultimately the world), but on a multi-year timescale. I see the current project lasting well into my thirties and likely evolving into something else instead of ever officially ending.
I’m glad you thought the dream was interesting but I hope you can see it as a gift as well.
“It was joy beyond anything I’ve ever felt.

—the kind that one only experiences a few times in one’s life.”

At least at some level it can be said that you (or your image) embody the feeling of joy for me.
On being paid in mushroom chocolates
“I hope you do not reach a stable state—a stable state is death.”

“Seeing one’s life in perspective and having a clear sense of purpose.”


Date with Kendall—leaning on the bike—a sort of channeled energy. Hemingway passage
On why dating younger girls is great!—purity of mind—less emotional baggage—more open to radical thinking—a less locked-in outlook for the future—which makes them great to talk to about big changes.

Also, they tend to have fewer STDs.

I like how this turned into “why dating young girls is a terrible idea”—incredibly flaky (insert speculative analysis here)—unfamiliar with their own desires. (I can deal with casual—in fact I prefer it at the moment—but I won’t tolerate flaky.


Strange that the young girls will date sleazy older guys but are afraid of the genuinely good ones. (If that’s indeed what you are)
On the thinks you carry with you—tie in supermarket cards [plus, maybe it’s being paranoid, but I kinda don’t want my Albertsons purchases being tracked.]/coffee cards, every object being special and something you like having with you—on being organized and not letting your stuff occupy too many corners. On carrying everything you need on the bicycle.
Phone down the toilet—on not doing well with small electronic devices—key tie in
On meeting Jessica on the train—not getting her number and never seeing her again.
Put “build Drug Empire” on list of things to do.
On Hemingway: There’s even some bicycle racing in it.
Delivering ecstasy to the couple in the rose garden— her on top—pink underwear (18)—clearly enjoying the afternoon, the garden, each other’s bodies, and their youth.
And this is where we cross over into the realm of fiction.
An artist whose life (organization/structure) is entirely “the piece”—but this isn’t allowed—why? What are the precedents?
You will make money in a different way each time you run out. You will create a new niche from scratch—this is extremely difficult. (that doesn’t necessarily mean a new product or service, it means a new way to meet your (economic) needs by being a valuable asset to those around you—by being able to offer something. Ideally each niche would be one designed for the age of contractions. For example, the illegal drug trade has incredible prospects moving forward. Get used to making new friends and quickly gaining the trust of others—a really valuable skill to have.

The project is you setting an example, demonstrating a certain mode of living—how to use a surplus of free time to build a new society through the cracks in the old. That’s why it sucks when people treat the search for a job as a job in itself—(they leave no time for other, perhaps more beneficial activities)
You have a head start—all those people that will loose their jobs—their incomes—will have to learn. You intentionally let all your economic capital drain away. But the difference is that you did it on your own terms. Those that loose their jobs will be forced into the position. They might do well to look to you and others for guidance on where to go from here. You, unlike them, do not derive your sense of purpose and importance from somewhere else (a job/others). It comes form within you and can’t be taken away.

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