Looking at today's headlines, whether mainstream press or alternatives such as zerohedge and the other terrific independent blogs, instantly creates an imminent sensation that the world is in turmoil, to say the least. No one can rationally debate that point. I write this following Robin Williams' death by suicide, and I want to try to have a conversation about some things that we just do not address too much here in this space. No, it is not a sappy piece, or a political piece, ala Rush Limbaugh. Nothing of the sort. Let's look at it from a different angle.
But, let's drill down and do what I love to do: let's compare things for perspective.
On one side of the globe, we have the traditional Western Civilization. It is beyond dispute that such civilization is governed by central powers, ostensibly selected through independent and legitimate voting of the citizenry, resulting in policy debates between the titans and their ilk, whether government or banking, each clashing for dominance. At its core, banking, through fiat paper currency, is the critical institution. Without it, power disperses to the people. Control of the banking has resulted in control of the masses. Again, this point cannot reasonably be debated.
Now, let us contrast this with the rest of the globe.
In the developing world, which many will agree is generally comprised of those places other than Europe and North America, perhaps parts of Asia, such as Latin America, Africa, and as well, parts of Asia, and the Middle East in particular and eastward in general, those parts of the world are just not at the same stage of progress as is found in Western Civilization. This point is what defines the difference for our comparison purposes in this thought exercise.
Now having these two conceptually different societies in mind, let us ask some questions. One comes readily to mind: which society is more dangerous to an individual from the perspective of shortened life expectancy?
That necessarily requires a definition of dangerous. Dangerous as I use it means anything that unnaturally shortens one's lifespan, whether physically, mentally, or otherwise.
There are tons of statistics and data. Go on a quest and read if one wants to fall asleep. Here is one source:
What is the number one killer?
- Heart disease: 596,577 [data from 2010], sourced here: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
Here are the others:
- Cancer: 576,691
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
- Alzheimer's disease: 84,974
- Diabetes: 73,831
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518
But, I noticed some things were missing. What are the number of deaths from war or war related mental distress? What about drug overdoses, or drug abuse (from illegal drugs or otherwise)? What about homelessness and death caused from abusing one's body as a result of being homeless?
Looking at the list, physical trauma (accidents and intentional self harm) accounts for ten percent of the deaths, on a rough estimate, while diseases of the body and mind are the overwhelming causes of death.
So we have advanced in the Western Civilization to the point that we don't die off as rapidly as our predecessors did, or from the same physical trauma-related reasons, but is our modern lifestyle equally dangerous to our longevity as the physical trauma-related causes of death were to our ancestors?
What about the third world countries, or the developing countries? Is it better to have a functioning electric grid, only to die from cancer from the PCB's used in generating the power? Is the fast-paced nature of modern civilization overstressing the capability of the body to handle stress to the point that disease and mental instability result? Where is the balancing point?
I write this post as we are approaching the end of the Keynesian experiment. Clearly, the world is becoming more hostile. People are dying, from atrocious, unspeakable horrors, and the world is now witnessing the onset of a new global pandemic, that does not discriminate, Ebola. How can the health care providers fall ill at an ever-increasing hyperbolic rate and yet those in charge say all is contained? Is this the same "containment" that Bernanke referenced when he said that subprime home loans were contained?
It is time to ask piercing questions, and not accept the trite, status quo responses from those in charge.
We see first hand news accounts of the militarization of the police forces, ironically in Ferguson, MO, of all places. We need only look and listen, and realize that this that we see and hear could be our very own communities when there is a spark of anger that flashes into community outrage.
Things are not "contained." Western Civilization is not "recovering." We are only completing the trajectory set into motion in 1914. Pay attention.
Things are converging rapidly. The spread of untreatable disease. War. Initiation of hostilities in formerly, supposedly, "mission accomplished" former theaters of war. Radical, violent extremists, openly antagonistic, without shame or fear, taunting those in the west. How could this be if all was contained?
So, back to the initial question: which society is more dangerous?
In classic lawyer-speak, well, "it depends."
I am so glad that Chris Martenson wrote his fantastic piece. Thanks to Mr. TF for letting us all share it. He lays it out pretty well. There is the hegemon, and there is everyone else. Those that have resources, are at risk, meaning those people in places where the hegemon seeks to take resources, best be wary. The hegemon will not invade, no, far from it. They will come bearing gifts, IMF, loans, US multinational corporations, all there to take resources. Understand that, and do not stand in their way, for they have drones and other implements of danger. Those that have energy, they can exist peacefully, so long as they never, ever, not once, threaten to turn away from the US dollar. Keeping that in mind, the people of those energy-rich countries are just pawns, and have no real choices. For them, stay out of the way, and live a simple, long life.
For everyone else, in the western civilization, well, about the only thing one can do is be vigilant. Mental challenges will overtake even the best of us. Physical ailments, whether heart disease, or diet-based problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., will all take their toll, too. So, get ahead of the problems, and try to avoid them. Study, learn, ask questions, be a contrarian, politely, and, in keeping with our mindset of being prepared for the end of the Keynesian experiment, under no circumstances draw attention.
For anyone I see, I tell them the following things, in no particular order, but in a manner in which I believe they are receptive to understanding, without scaring them:
(1) Get healthy. Eat better foods, eliminate fake foods, at all costs. Go Paleo. I did, for the past two years, and have never felt better.
(2) Eliminate big pharma. I take NOTHING. Not even Advil. Nothing. At. All. Nada. How can that be? Well, I do not drink alcohol. That for me was a major life choice, and one I HAD to make out of sincere moment of honesty. For me, it was an EASY choice, one I made repeatedly for many years but finally just had enough to say enough. I don't smoke, and I find no use for intoxicants at all. Since I eat Paleo, I need NO drugs of any kind for heart condition, high blood pressure, etc. I have reset all my genes, and am back to the normal, natural way of life. Good, healthy food choices are essential. It all starts there.
(3) Seek balance, in all areas: physical, mental, and spiritual. Enough said there, I hope.
(4) Seek financial security, not financial wealth. Chasing wealth to chase wealth, is deadly. Seek financial security in the form of food, shelter, family, and let the rest take care of itself. Keeping up with the Jones' only leads to shortened life expectancy.
(5) Share. I mean both physical goods, and knowledge. Develop a network, and grow the network into a group of like-minded, healthy friends and associates.
(6) Eliminate negativity. Lose the bad friends who are dragging the situation down. Stop spending time with that loser family member who is a mess. Find new friends to replace the losers. Seriously. Stop watching television. For real. One's mental health improves dramatically, almost instantly.
(7) Find an outlet for stress of modern living. Exercise, read, sit and contemplate, heck, shoot targets or steel. It matters not. Find a hobby, and dive in. An outlet is essential in this modern age. Prepping is both and outlet and a cause of stress. Find some thing else besides prepping. The more outlets one has, the less one needs to be plugged in all the time, and the less one ends up worrying. Stress decreases exponentially at first, when one finds the proper outlet. I run ultramarathons. It is very relaxing for me, but that sort of physical undertaking is not for everyone. Duh.
(8) Give back. This is different than sharing. Giving back means one does it anonymously. That is enormously enjoying, and destressing all at the same time.
(9) Stop worrying. Human beings adapted. We will continue to adapt. If shit hits the fan, we will adapt. Relax. Heck, come to my place. I will hook you up with some chores, and we will see how much energy you have left with which to worry!
(10) Find a purpose. Stop working, and instead conduct ones' self with purpose. Paying bills to support a family is purposeful. That is to be commended. But, working on a Saturday, and missing one's kid's ball game to generate a report for the boss on Monday is wasteful. Either get it done during the week, or get a new job. Work with a purpose.
Stay under the radar, acquire useful skills and materiel, and prepare accordingly.