Why Money is a Terrible God

Why Money is a Terrible God

“Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.” - Alanis Obomsawin

Most of us are raised in cultures where we are taught to value currency at a very young age. It’s one of the early, formative lessons—money is important. We might see our parents struggle to make ends meet or, conversely, see the comfort they enjoy by having more than enough. These lessons run deep and inform our sense of security, even as adults. We also see what happens to people who don’t have money—they are usually homeless, or vagabonds, eking out a meager existence by begging, digging through trash, or dumpster diving.

Modern economies are driven by money. Tribal cultures had strong social bonds and took care of the weak and the helpless. People traded for whatever else they needed, and items of value were directly exchanged. Around 3000 BC, the Mesopotamians came up with the shekel—a standardized unit of weight to measure and trade grain. Silver and gold coins, emblazoned with a lion head, were first minted around 600 BC by King Alyattes of the Lydians (now Turkey). Moneys printed with silver and gold are commodity money, meaning—they are generally considered valuable in themselves. Paper money originated in China during the Song dynasty. Marco Polo incredulously recounted how this money was created from mulberry tree bark in The Travels of Marco Polo. The Khan had the money printed and stamped with royal seals and let everyone know it was good for trading for anything, including gold. Paper money is representative currency, meaning, it doesn’t have value, in itself, but represents either a small amount of something generally considered precious, such as the gold standard, or the word of a government or other official agency as to its value (fiat currency). Most modern currencies don’t have a physical existence at all, this includes the money generated by fractional banking and cryptocurrencies.

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A (Very) Short History of Earthbag Building

This video is an excerpt from the instructional video, "Dirt Simple: Earthbag Building Made Easy," that I'll finish at some point when I have time. Early next year, I'm going to publish my next book, "Building a Sustainable Life." It tells the story of our off-grid homesteading and natural building adventure and gives a step by step of the building methods we've developed over the past decade. For info on upcoming workshops and tours, please visit sustainablelifeschool.com.

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The Big Awkward

In the beginning was the void, and the void was indifferent. The void was characterized by serene nonexistence. In less than a billionth of a second, and for some reason apparently beyond mortal understanding, nothing spontaneously became everything. This was the instant that emptiness decided it wanted to be somebody. In doing so, it made possible the potential for the good (waffles) and the bad (reality TV). This was The Big Awkward, and it paved the way for everything in this really weird thing we call, "life." 

Many people spend their whole lives trying to appear normal and resorting to any means necessary to make things seem less awkward. They make small talk and try to convince themselves and others that they are sane. They try to project an image of having it all together and having it all figured out. Let me assure you--nobody has anything figured out. The only joy to be found in life, the only true path to happiness is, and listen closely--to embrace the awkwardness. I have recommended this course of action for a long time. I tell young people, who have yet to ruin their lives with a doomed effort to attempt normalcy, to LET GO and EMBRACE THE AWKWARDNESS. Don't even try to pretend that any of this shit is "normal." In embracing your own weirdness, you reconnect with that initial, cosmic WTF. You are in effect saying, "You know what? Life IS strange, and if I even TRY to seem normal, I'm going against the will (or lack thereof) of whatever odd thing or impulse created this Universe." 

It's good to join the ranks of the IDKSers, (the I Dont Know Shit-ers). Socrates was one. Everyone was going around pretending they knew shit and this hard-drinking, WEIRD, BEARDED DWARF says, "Dude, give that shit up. The ONLY thing I know is that I DON'T. Per-eee-ud." The pretenders, learned philosophers, religious leaders, and politicians, said, "We've got to get rid of this dude--he makes us look bad." Then they gave him a warm beverage and told him the bad news after he had drank it. 

One of my personal role models is THE Dude. When The Big Lebowski opens, he is at the grocery sniffing half and half in his bath robe and house slippers, and wearing it all with utter, innocent confidence. THE DUDE - indeed! A man far beyond giving a fuck. A hero for a time when people really need to learn how to "Take 'er easy." What does The Dude do? He ABIDES. He doesn't allow this particular time and place in the spacetime continuum to ruffle his dudely raiment. The Big Awkward? Sure, why not?

When scientists look to the outer edges of The Universe for proof of the Big Bang, they aren't seeing background radiation, but background awkwardness. This whirling dance of gasses and space dust is what coalesced into planets and moons and suns and galaxies and life-forms of all kinds. It also became you, reading these words now and wondering what the fuck I'm talking about. 
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Why You Should Buy Directly from Authors

The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, makes $2800.00 a second. Impressive, right? As you probably know, Amazon started out as an online discount bookstore and almost single-handedly, drove mom and pop book sellers to extinction. Now, you can buy just about anything on Amazon, and the vast majority is manufactured in China. Amazon has been so successful that even big-box store goliath Wal Mart has been forced to match their online prices and offer two-day shipping.

But, to go back a bit, as I said earlier, the foundation of Amazon was built on the backs of authors. Recently I uploaded my book, Ecological Awakening, to Amazon's kindle ebook store. At first I sold a decent amount of copies, good enough to make it the top-selling book in its category, but sales soon dropped off. I considered trying some advertising but, to do so, I would have to offer my book on kindle unlimited, which basically means you give it away for free. There is a monthly fund shared among kindle authors but it came to light that most of it is stolen by unscrupulous authors who engage in "stuffing," which means, artificially inflating their pages read count by publishing the same material under different names. By doing this, these individuals have made up to $100,000 in a month. This leaves honest authors, such as myself, not making a penny off of our work.

Other problems I have with the way they treat authors:

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