Balance over Acquisition

In 2007 I woke up. I remember the exact moment. I was driving to work on a 100 mile commute and was stuck in traffic. The weight of mortgage debt and a crashing real estate market is what shook me from a deep sleep induced by a version of The American Dream.

Since then I’ve been processing, like an old CPU on limited RAM, but I think I’ve come up with a few answers. Not surprisingly the tiny house movement has been a strong force in shifting my thinking.

The American Dream is a convoluted thing, kind of like Christmas. At one time Christmas was about celebrating the birth of Christ, and for some people it might still be that. But for most Americans it’s about celebrating consumerism. The American Dream used to be about earning the freedom to make your own way and succeed – but now many people seem to think they are entitled to a lavish lifestyle built on debt.

The source of the transmutation stems from our prioritization of acquisition over all other things, especially balance. When people make acquisition their top priority they may become rich or terribly indebted, but they miss out on many more important things in life.

They also put themselves and their community at risk. Imagine if everyone busied themselves with acquiring all they could, and few focused on finding a true balance between themselves, the people around them, and the natural environment. Wouldn’t that society as a whole eventually fail?

Native Americans have many stories about greed and how it destroys. The wisdom in stories like these should not be overlooked because they are some of the only windows into our past that teaches what it truly means to live sustainably. Balance, giving, generosity, fairness are values these ancient and long-lived cultures held dear.

Other teachers of the harsh reality of greed can be in historic accounts of civilization collapse. The pattern seems to be that a civilization collapses when people collectively exceed their support system. Collapse also seems to come suddenly due to an environmental or human-made calamity.

Today we live in such a situation, and I think that’s the key motivator for war. It’s clear as day that the U.S. Government wants a global war to protect American National Security. In other words, they know our civilization is overextended and loosing its support system. Evidence of this is everywhere.

  • Economic Stimulus – The Federal Reserve’s economic policies of low interest rates and quantitative easing show that the U.S. Dollar needs propping up.
  • The constant drums for war from Washington D.C. and the funding of destabilization around the world create more wars.
  • The division forming between East & West.
  • The drive to centralize power, as opposed to decentralizing, shows a tightening fist of control.
  • Estimates that 1/3 of Americans are on some sort of financial assistance.

While many people focus on the symptoms, but I’ve learned to target the cause, which is how I landed on this whole Balance over Acquisition thing.

If we value balance over acquisition we still can find ways of making a living and making dreams come true, but we carefully maintain an equilibrium so as not to get too reliant on one thing. In other words, we adopt a diverse set of top priorities that we work to maintain in balance.

These could be things like family, work, education, travel/exploring, health, community participation, and so on. Many people already do this, although I’d argue to make things work in our society we all have to put the acquisition of money ahead of other things more often than we’d like.

If we extend this kind of thinking to our natural environment, resources, and consumption we then become a more stable part of our larger community. If the majority of people adopt balance over acquisition we build a stronger more lasting society.

But it would not be built to grow as fast as a society build on acquisition – which is what we’ve all become so accustomed to. Fossil fuels and technology have turned a little bit of greed into an enormous war machine capable of consuming vast resources. But it’s not built to last. It’s built to grow exponentially.

So when it runs low of fuel, like we are at this very moment, those best at acquiring pull out all the stops to avoid seeing all they have built disappear. This is the real reason for this coming war.

What to Do?

I’ve just described the problem, a solution, but no bridge to get there. Unfortunately I don’t think Americans want to wake-up, and can’t imagine the world moving at a slower pace. So attempting to wake people up is a bit of a challenge. A war would wake them up, but would refocus their attention on the need to acquire more to save their acquisition paradigm.

When this happens, it’s going to be a huge mess, and probably a dangerous time to be alive. If you are awake and open minded enough to consider that our civilization is overextended and fragile, consider building a bridge.

If some sort of collapse occurs many people will succumb to the torrent simply due to their unwillingness to see what is before their eyes. Others will react violently and grab what they can. Or maybe the current paradigm will continue through successful war after successful war.

In any event, your open mind and ability to adapt will be your guide through all challenges that come.


Oil & The Economy Collide

“There are too many ugly balance sheets,” warns one energy industry analyst, adding simply that “the group is not positioned for this downturn.” While the mainstream media continues to chant the happy-clappy side of lower oil prices, spewing various statistics about how the down-side of low oil prices is contained and the huge colossal massive tax cut means everything is awesome for America, the data – and now actions – do not bear this out.” – Zero Hedge

We all knew oil was an Achilles Hell. We all knew the economy was an Achilles Heel. Funny how we now see the two colliding. The currency war is really starting to come out of the shadows now.

How Can We (The People) Stop This New War?

I’m at a loss. Our government seems hell bent on destroying the Middle East. Logic tells us that they know this will inevitably cause a backlash on U.S. Soil. So does that mean they want war on U.S. soil?

The pessimist in me tells me that the events unfolding today are more like dominos falling at this point. In other words shear momentum is carrying this forward and there is probably not much that can be done to stop it from toppling that last domino.

The optimist in me hopes that the people of the world, who mostly don’t want war at any time, will raise their voices loud enough to stop this chain reaction.

Update: Seems the video I linked to has been made private.


China Continues to Cut U.S. Treasury Holdings

So the spin is… other foreigners are buying our paper, as China dumps it. This story is also not exactly front page news, probably because most Americans don’t follow the currency war.

“China, the largest foreign U.S. creditor, reduced holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in December by the most in two years as the Federal Reserve announced plans to slow asset purchases.The nation pared its position in U.S. government bonds by $47.8 billion, or 3.6 percent, to $1.27 trillion, the largest decline since December 2011, according to U.S. Treasury Department data released yesterday. At the same time, international investors increased holdings by 1.4 percent, or by $78 billion, in December, pushing foreign holdings to a record $5.79 trillion.” – via China Cuts Treasury Holdings Most Since 2011 Amid Taper – Bloomberg.

The short version, in my humble opinion, is that the world is dividing between nations standing behind The West and The East, and the prize will be reserve currency status.

At the very least recognize that it’s on the table that The West will loose – or at least be willing to start a shooting war in an attempt to win; then… prepare.


Nice Going Congress – Now They Want To Hold America Accountable

I’m sure these words have been uttered before but now they might actually have the gonads to back their words up. Nice going congress… way to stick a big fat bulls eye on the back of the American flag.

“The crisis in Gaza and the genocide of defenseless Palestinians is being carried out with the approval and assistance of world powers.” – Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki (read article here)

This of course comes on heals of the UN Security Council passing a resolution Thursday calling for an “immediate and durable” ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the region. (see article) A vote mind you that the US abstained from voting on. Oh yeah and don’t forget that the US Congress passed a resolution the other day, 390 to 5, that said:

“Recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;

Whereas Hamas has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization;”

oh yeah there’s more…

OK maybe Hamas is a terrorist organization… and maybe Iranian government is filled with extremists… but that’s not exactly the point. A peace process only works if you push for peace. Killing large numbers of people only creates martyrs and make their battle cry louder. Why in the world would anyone in our congress vote for backing more war? Haven’t we had enough of that? Don’t they remember what a few guys with automatic weapons and backpacks full of ammo can do in a public place? Who are these people we elected!!!???

P.S. I searched high and low for more in the media on the story in the Iranian news network and could find almost nothing. I found it as a top story in Google World News. At first I wondered if this story was true and then it occurred to me that it didn’t matter if terrorism is our concern. The people Iran wants to hear this message are the terrorists they are trying to rally. Yikes. No wonder the main stream media isn’t mentioning it. Is that paranoid? :-)

Why Is Conress Inviting More Trouble!?

OK… I really don’t understand this… why does congress need to ‘pass a resolution‘ on the whole mess in Gaza? I assume that’s how they officially take a position on an issue. Ok fine I get it. I also wasn’t surprised that they voted to support Israel, our long time friend and ally, but why in the world did they have to say it like this!?

Recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;

Whereas Hamas has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization;

Whereas Hamas has refused to comply with the Quartet’s (the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations) requirements that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;


I’m no foreign affairs expert by it sounds like the US Congress just voted 390 to 5 to support Israel stomping out Hamas by any force necessary… OK OK maybe it doesn’t say that exactly but I’ll bet you anything the people getting stomped out are now even more pissed off and now they are pissed at you and me too.

So… couldn’t they have said something more like they wanted to see and end to fighting and return to diplomatic talks? Peace man peace! Come on from the point of view from most Palestinians the treatment they’ve been getting for the last many decades has not been ideal. Showing soem compassion for both sides would still show support for Israel and really promote “the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.” This resolution sounds like approval for all out war against Hamas and probably anyone who sides with the Palestinians.

Does congress want to invite trouble on US soil? To me it sure sounds like Congress just put a giant bulls-eye on the back of the American flag. Thanks again you $#@&ing boneheads! Remind me to vote for someone new next time. Oh wait… no reminding needed. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on me again, fool me three times, call me a $#@&ing bonehead too.