I originally posted this on wordpress.com before I decided to serve this blog on my own site.
I’ve read and highly recommend the book “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein. It is available free from his website. Now I’ve taken the Crash Course (CC) (also free) by Chris Martenson. This post will reflect on the intersection and differences between these two important “era change” resources.
In Crash Course chapter (CCC) 12 “Debt”, Martenson states that debt that generates additional prosperity is “okay” or good debt, as compared to debt that pays for consumables like bombs. This is an important difference from Eisenstein, who states that there is no such thing as a socially conscious interest gaining investment. The problem with any expansion of money, is that it all engenders taking “something” that we have been doing or getting for “free” via our community interactions, and creating products / services that cost money to take their place. The easy example is music for entertainment. Before the pressure of exponential money growth helped to inspire the invention of the phonograph, people had to entertain themselves and their communities with live music. Just about everyone sang and many played musical instruments of some kind in the process. Now that we can easily obtain and listen to recordings of the best musicians in the world, only a small percentage of our modern culture considers themselves a “singer.” The cost of these recordings has become very low in terms of the money we have to spend. In terms of the loss to the health of our communities, it is very high!
Given this view, Martenson’s Key Concept #6: “Debt is a claim on future human labor” becomes “Debt is a claim on future human labor and destruction of our communities.” The phrase “our communities” in this concept includes our natural environment.
“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics” Greek philosopher Plutarch. A quote from the CCC 13 “A National Failure to Save” worth remembering, even though I know next to nothing about the author!
In CCC 14 “Assets & Demographics”, an asset is defined in terms of money. Items convertible into cash. Eisenstein discusses other, more important kinds of assets which we have lost as we have grown our money economies. It is these non-monetary assets that we must strengthen for civilization to survive the coming decades. For me, watching the CC is reinforcing this belief!
In CCC 15 “Bubbles” Martenson states that people have not changed and implies that they will not going forward. Eisenstein’s optimism rests on the view that we are changing our fundamental view of who we are from separate individuals (that caused and burst past economic bubbles) to parts of a unified whole. “Human nature” itself is a moving target, thank God!
At the end of CCC 15, Martenson states that conventional investments of stocks, low grade bonds and real estate are all likely to go down in value in the coming years.
CCC 16 “Fuzzy Numbers” is most illuminating. The economic indicators published by the US government have become stilted enough to be seen as propaganda! “The measure of inflation (used by the Federal Government) no longer measures the cost of living, but the cost of survival!” Hedonics is one of three mechanisms used to calculate inflation. It decreases the cost of a product used in the inflation calculation, whenever the features have been enhanced as compared to the previous model. Evidently the time saving features will save us money as well somehow. I guess that is true, if you use the time saved to take another part time job, which many people have done.! Hedonics are used to adjust prices on 46% of the consumer price index (CPI)! These calculations are based on the old value system, which we must change in the transition to the new era. Another example fact: 35% of the government reported gross domestic product (GDP) figures do not represent actual money exchanges.
At this point, if I was to recommend you watch just one of the CC chapters, it would be 16. I had heard bits and pieces of this information before but it is important to understand the magnitude of the propaganda coming out of Washington and when each major mechanism of deception was adopted shows that this is a bi-partisan tendency!
In CCC 17b “Energy Budgeting”, he introduces key concept #14: Social complexity is built upon surplus energy. The examples he uses of this complexity are highly specialized jobs and a myriad of products. When taken with Eisenstein’s emphasis of modern “progress” destroying our social and communal capital, the reduction or elimination of surplus energy could actually start a trend to celebrate! Chris assumes the technological complexity of the modern era is desirable, whereas Charles does not. Martenson has no charts or discussion about the social costs associated with the “Ascent of Humanity.” (another of Eisenstein’s books)
All true “progress” reflects a raise in the collective consciousness of humanity. To the extent that comfortable modern lifestyles provide opportunities for spiritual practices, the social complexity of our society has had “true” value. I don’t know how to estimate or measure that extent.
A recurring theme in Eisenstein’s books has humanity making the identity shift from separate to unified beings. He believes that we will renounce the old identifications of separation as the economic and social structures that they engender fail. I don’t know how he comes to this belief. Will more of us make the shift to identification as all because of said failures? Or is he just reporting a trend he sees happening in spite of the physical and culture shift challenges that we are starting to feel as the multiple measures of exponential change run up against their respective limits?
For my part, I think the economic, environmental and energy crises we face could, at least for some people, make it more challenging to raise their consciousness and start to identify with unity. This could add a negative growth factor to the naturally reinforcing system of collective consciousness. On the other hand, the physical hardships caused by these crises will provide huge opportunities for compassionate, selfless people to inspire the less fortunate with their service! They will show by their actions the power of their faith. Will demonstrate the grace and joy that faith provides in their lives. This could in turn allow the crises of our transition to propel us into the new era all the more rapidly! Maybe this is at least part of Eisenstein’s vision.
In summary, the crash course is a valuable resource for analyzing and understanding the magnitude of our crises, in mainstream terms and paradigms. Martenson’s world and self views as represented in the course are consistent with those that got us into this situation in the first place: “We are a collection of separate humans who rightly view and use the rest of the world as natural resources for our consumption.” In other words, from the perspective that Eisenstein calls the “program of control” that started with the age of agriculture. This course is a good place for mainstream people to get a serious dose of our out-of-control economic and natural resource realities. It is not a good resource for inspiring a change in your definition of self /world view. The actions he suggests largely stem from this old world view that created the problems in the first place. The idea of strengthening your communities and the possibility of the end of credit based money are mentioned as footnotes.
I think both the Crash Course and Sacred Economics are important sources of information and ideas for our time. But even when taken together the story is incomplete.
I believe that the world is the physical manifestation of our collective consciousness (spiritual energy levels) and karma. Thus everything in creation, which is a continuous process that is happening in every moment, results from our collective spiritual progress. This spiritual progress is the systemically reinforcing, exponential growth trend that is not addressed in either Martenson or Eisenstein’s work. Thus I feel some important questions are:
- How do people make the paradigm shift of self from separateness to unity? Can they simply come to believe this on faith, or must they also feel it as a result of their own practices and experiences? If both are needed at some level, how helpful to era change is a largely un-felt, faith based belief in unity?
- How will the physically traumatic events that are likely in the near future impact the collective consciousness of humanity?
- What factors will deter some people from to starting or continuing spiritual practices, when the physical challenges posed by era change manifest?
- What factors will enable some people to start or enhance their spiritual practices in response to these challenges?
- How can we each prepare ourselves to see physically traumatic events as opportunities to accelerate our own and others level of consciousness?
- How can we inspire more people to pursue (or enhance their) spiritual practices?
Of the two resources cited here, Eisenstein’s work provides more ideas and information to find possible answers to these questions. I hope to find more helpful resources and explore some of these questions in future posts.
Please ask questions and comment on this material. If you have not already, check out the course and the book!
David Gaia Kano