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I've been trying to communicate something for years.

"another, much worse, world is possible."

"collapse means living in the same conditions as the people who grow your coffee."

the future we fear is much like the present for the people that work to keep us rich.

A simple concern for the well-being of the poor would have protected all of us: economy stalls out? That's OK, we've got socialized medicine and basic income already.

That's just inside of countries. What about between them? What do we really owe the people who grow our coffee?
What we *should* have done is focussed on taking care of everybody with the absurd global prosperity we had after WW2.

Instead, all the resources went into war. And I mean *all* - the working capital of an entire civilization was turned into defense spending. A trillion a year.
I think there's a chance for an international treaty approach for coordinated global cuts on defense spending to bail out the world's economy.

We did this kind of thing for nuclear weapons reduction.

We could do it for rescuing our societies. At least most of us could.
To get here, we have to refocus *what society is for*.

If it's for building a death machine to destroy the world, we can continue with business as usual: eat the forests, exhale millions of years of CO2, dump everything into the oceans, let the people starve.

Business as usual.
Really, for each action, it's pretty simple: "does this promote life or death?"

A lot of our best things are mixed: computers are amazing. Christ they are toxic to make, environmentally and socially.

Ok, we can work on that: less death for each unit of life generated. A view.
Right now, we are producing more death than life: we are degrading the ecosystem that provides all of our food and water *extremely* fast - so fast that when the "death bill" is due, there will be an *enormous* die off. Billions dead from warming and agriculture failures. 2050?
Now, in this context, think very carefully.

Most people with power in this world were raised with the Bible. It tells them, very clearly, that the purpose of human life is Apocalypse, Day of Judgement, etc.

The embedded purpose is wrong, but they're making it come true anyway.
Now, this unconscious death instinct is a pretty multidimensional beast, but once you can see it, you can see it everywhere.

Why did we build nuclear weapons, but not nuclear rocket ships?

What went wrong there?

Did ET come and say no?

I find that hard to believe. Make ships!
The hippies are back with their "collective evolution" thing, some kind of inward facing construction of group minds.

I say no. I say "monkey eats the peach"

We need the ancestral plan back: "do not die. expand human range."

That's the old software.…
There is territory.

There is infinite territory.

Houses are expensive because zoning and building codes are a century out of date.

Green belts herd humans into cities: if you let them build, property prices will collapse.

This rent situation is largely artificially created.
And that's just the cities. About 50% of everything is wasted: the economy is too sclerotic to use the resources in front of us wisely.

Over-regulation, sure. But also, a fundamental question of purpose: what is the economy *meant to do*?

What is its objective? What does it do?
You can produce sustainable abundance.

You cannot do it while honoring the land and patent claims of generations of feudal lords.

What is it that keeps housing expensive?

Laws that say you can't build housing.

This pattern repeats on all fronts: the war on abundance.
You can produce sustainable abundance.

You cannot do it while honoring the land and patent claims of generations of feudal lords.

What is it that keeps housing expensive? Laws that say you can't build housing, mostly.

This pattern repeats on all fronts: the war on abundance.
Now, "sustainable abundance" gets a bad rep, because most of the people talking about it are brain damaged. I think the drugs they used to see other futures also removed their common sense.

This is, of course, the Buckminster Fuller message. Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science. "To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone."

But we got distracted.
What is the purpose of society?

It is NOT personal spiritual evolution, while there are kids starving in gutters. You can have that as your hobby, but it's not what the world is for.

It's not even about care.

1) don't fuck up what you have
2) get more

We forgot rule 1.
This approach is about *intelligent greed*.

Why? Because we are fucking monkeys.

I'm not saying greed is good, but "don't fuck up what you have" is *seriously ancient ape programming* and really seriously should be respected.

After that, expansion is fine. No issue there.
Now, what does this expansion look like: well, first up, we're gonna fix housing. Mass produced, cheap, good, sustainable. Aluminium over polystyrene, steel frame, something like that. Not for people used to living in brick castles, but for the people moving up from thatched huts
Food security. Jesus fucking christ, why are we doing that to the farmland? The topsoil erosion, aquifers, the whole bit. Ditto the animals, jesus fucking christ.

Again, what is the purpose of society: to run invisible death camps for pigs?

Food: we can do something about it.
It has to be led by "what is the purpose of society?"

You, individually, you do your thing.

But the government, the thing we pay our taxes to?

What is it *for*?

This is not the Libertarian stances. Many governments seem to be *for* quite good stuff. Lot of places doing well!
But the western powers are doing a lot of work setting tone for the entire world (hello, colonialism) and the tone they are setting is simply beyond dumb

"What is the purpose of society?"

Well, in America, it's nuclear weapons, invasions, and homeless people dying in the street
What I'm trying to frame is this: we have gigantic military R&D budgets.

We don't seem to have equivalent civilian R&D budgets, and where we do, it's not going into solving problems like "why is housing expensive?" and "why don't shoes fit?"

We've gotten totally lost, from life
Another example: building codes don't mandate good soundproofing. It's not expensive to do in new build construction. Quality of life goes *way* up.

No human has ever said "I wish I could hear more through my walls."

We're just failing to solve these basic problems all over.
Women: clothes never fit, because the sizing is not standardized. Why do you put up with this?

Same thing: basic every day quality of life stuff is getting no attention. It's just needless suffering.

What is the purpose of society?

If you're going to regulate, get it right.
Now, let me make the point. We seem to be habitually and continually unable to focus clearly on the problems in the material world, and solving them.

Let me repeat: we seem to be habitually unable to clearly focus on the problems of the material world, and fixing them.
This is an attentional defect. Like most cultures have a really sophisticated sense of smell, but in the west we can barely smell fresh paint.

That old class war in the UK made paying attention to physical processes "working class" but made culture and law "upper class" concerns
And that split means virtually no STEM professionals in politics. Angela Merkel stands out like a thousand foot beacon because she's a politician that can do math.

The people running the west are basically Christian Lawyers.

Surely that should be a contradiction in terms.
Now, let me drill this home: *quality* of life is _very_ closely linked to *quantity* of life. A society which got all these quality of life things right *would not also permit global warming*.

It's the total inattention to quality of life that is poisoning us. We just don't see
Why is that? "What is the purpose of society?"


If we treat this place like it matters, and it's meant to work, it soon will.

Attentional gap: we can't seem to take quality of life seriously. Why not?
Life was shit for a really really long time.

People that paid too much attention to quality of life got weeded out of the gene pool: we learned not to care, or rather, we evolved to have never cared.

Meditation improves on our stock attentional capabilities.

We can change.
And this is my point: if we pay close attention to what we are doing, and how it makes us feel, and when things feel bad, we ask questions like "why do we do it this way?" pretty quickly you will have a map of the root causes of your suffering.

Some of these things can be fixed.
Some things are horrible collective action problems. Hard to fix. Moloch country.

Other things are just licenses to print money by exterminating waste: measured clothing sizes for women, standardized file formats, USB C everywhere.

See what I'm saying? We've done a lot of this.
This pattern of pervasive inattention can be remedied.

Here's an example: I wrote about these guys in my book, "The Future Of Stuff" very briefly.

Very precise attention to the material world. Color calibration and frequency spectra.

Correct decisions!
It is everywhere: the bad smell and taste of putting gasoline in a car, the little moment of horror as blood pours from the corner of a plastic container of raw meat. These are all the little ignored warning indicators that we are living wrong

It pricks us a thousand times a day
We wound up in this mess because as a culture *we obsess about the rules about things, but largely ignore the things themselves*.

They say we are materialistic: I say we are not materialistic enough. We are getting the material world wrong because we do not pay attention to it.
This "inattention to the material" leaves us abstracted and miserable, with low quality of life, because the material world is where we live, and it is in a very degraded and damaged form now.

From Marie Kondo to Ansel Adams, the message is the same: pay attention to the world
I've been trying to articulate this thesis for some years. But it has taken the interruption of the quarantine to reflect deeply enough to see it clearly

This pattern of pervasive inattention to the material world is the key to so many of our real problems

See first, then solve
This is where "collapse means living in the same conditions as the people who grow your coffee" comes from
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