Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is the Beginning of the End in Sight?

I'm composing this post while sitting in My McVansion parked in the Deming, New Mexico Walmart Supercenter parking lot. I'll be spending the night here and heading into Arizona tomorrow morning heading for the Quartzite area by the end of the day. My ultimate destination for this leg of the trek is Clovis, California to spend the holidays with my son, his mother (my former wife - the original family unit will be together for this holiday for the first time in about 25 years) and some of my outlaws (my former in-laws). I'm expecting to arrive in Clovis by early evening on Tuesday, December 23rd or mid day on Wednesday, December 24th.

As I've been traveling across the United States and the North American continent, as always, I have been meeting all kinds of interesting people, seeing all kinds of interesting places and terrains and observing Americana. For those who are familiar with me and this blog, you know that My McVansion is my personally customized tiny house on wheels and I prefer to travel on the Blue Highways to observe and experience what is left of the U.S. that existed before the interstate highway system was established and built out.

You also know that I'm sort of a digital, techy nomad. That means I have lots of electronics onboard. I usually have at least two GPS systems operating. I have my smart phone which is Bluetooth enabled with a speaker phone. I also installed a Sirius satellite radio receiver to eliminate the problem of listening to local or regional radio stations and running out of their signal coverage area.

Getting Serious With Sirius

The nice thing about Sirius satellite radio is that most of the programming has no or limited commercials. Also, I can select specific channels I elected to have on my receiver to match my specific tastes. So, I have all the cable news channels, old time radio, classical music, classic to contemporary country music, music from the 40's, 50's 60's and 70's (others, too, if I want to listen to them), public radio, political talk, well you get the idea. The service I chose only costs me $8.00/month and worth every cent.

So, as I cross the country I have constant entertainment. I also have constant news and information in numerous forms. This is the serious side of Sirius. In today's connected world (I'm also connected to the Internet almost constantly wherever I go, wirelessly) we get information and breaking news virtually as it happens. I am an information nut. I like keeping up on what's happening in our country and our world. So, though I may be in some remote location, with that little satellite antenna, I'm always connected to the outside world. This has its pros and cons. The pros are obvious, knowing what's happening constantly. The cons are actually, the same thing. There is so much going on that it can stress a person out, in this case, that person is me.

That's why I have the other channels to provide diversions. For example, as I'm composing this post I'm listening to classic country music. Many of the artists have passed away. This is the music I recall listening to in my pre-adolescent days, my teenage years and my 20's and 30's. There is something soothing and anchoring about this kind of music. The same is true for music from the 40's through 70's and old time radio shows.

Is The Beginning Of The End In Sight?

How many times have people asked this question over the centuries and millennia? I'm sure the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians and other societies have asked the same question. Am I talking about the end of the world? Possibly! With our exponentially advancing technology, we are able to track asteroids and comets better than ever and we're now realizing that some of them are coming fairly close to our little rock floating around in space. We know this planet, the moon and the other planets in our solar system have been struck by these objects numerous times each. One such strike is the reason dinosaurs and other forms of life no longer exist on this planet.

Yes! This is a real possibility. But, I believe there is something far more dangerous and menacing to the survival of life on this planet than being struck by some wayward heavenly body. That menace is human beings. The human has certain traits that have caused the rise and fall of societies and civilizations throughout history. Most humans are benign. They seek only to enjoy, at some reasonable level, the limited time each will inhabit this planet. Like many people, during my earlier years, I sought to make some giant impact on society and leave behind a legacy that would be my immortality.

For most of my life I believed this required me to be financially successful (wealthy), powerful and famous. After all, look at Charlemagne, Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to mention a few. And let's not forget the drafters of the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. All of these people and those who collaborated in creating documents that changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people have impacted the world and, generally, have created their own legacy and immortality. Virtually all of them became financially successful, powerful and famous.

But, in the grand scheme of things, there are many others who will make significant impacts on all facets of life as we know it, yet, will come and go from this Earth and eventually just disappear. But, most of us will simply live, do what we have to in order to provide food, shelter, clothing and some minimal luxuries. When we pass, we'll be gone from mind not long after our bodies have returned to the dust they came from. I know, that's a rather cynical way of looking at life, but if you are honest with yourself, you know this to be true. The reality is that we only exist to be and perpetuate the species. Contributing to whatever society you belong to is expected only because we are social animals.

I simply call it "being." The purpose of life is simply being in the moment and enjoying the time we have on Earth. Once one can accept that and simplify life, shedding all the complexities societies and governments have impressed (and oppressed) upon us, happiness is easy to find and enjoy. In many ways, especially due to advances in all forms of technology like communications, transportation, medicine, environment, etc. our lives can be better than ever before.

However, this all comes with a cost. The cost is complicated lives, increased materialism that can enslave, addictions of various kinds, bigger and bigger government resulting in more and more laws, ordinances, codes, regulations, rules, etc. with the larger impact of loss of freedom and liberty. And this is where I see the beginning of the end.

I follow a blog titled "The Serenity Game" written by a woman in her mid 50's from Texas. She is, what I term, a rational thinker, something I have been accused of being, by other rational thinkers, of course. She goes by the name of Trinity Rivers. Real name or nom de plume, I know not. I just enjoy her diversity of thoughts and ideas. She sees the world through a woman's lens that is often interestingly different than mine, but she often broadens my perspective. Too many of us view the world with tunnel vision. A little jog from a different point of view is good for everyone.

In her post today, titled "Something Wicked This Way Comes," Trinity made some interesting points that resonated with me. One thing that resonated was, "Every day the news casters gleefully share the latest disaster, murder, insanely unwise new legislation, etc. Then the talking heads analyze it 8 ways from Sunday. But, in the end I’m expected to believe that everything is not only just peachy keen finer than fine, but getting better every day."

Okay, I have to admit, being an information and news junkie, I can really relate to her thought. Today, I have heard too much information about the two New York City police officers assassinated in cold blood by a man I can only consider a crazed maniac. He used a gun he obtained by questionable means. He first shot his girlfriend in Baltimore then drove to New York and murdered the two police officers. Then when almost apprehended by the police, he turned the gun on himself and (thankfully) saved the taxpayers a fortune in the cost of an ongoing investigation, incarceration, trial, etc. The story is going in all directions. The NY Mayor, a controversial figure already, was snubbed by the entire police force. There have been several press conferences. And, of course, the Rev. Al Sharpton's name was brought into the issue. The anti-gun activists will be on this like flies on . . . you know what I mean.

Trinity's thought came home for me when I read it as related to this latest news issue that will be drawn out for who knows how long. Oh, I know, until the next sensationalism breaking news occurs. Don't worry, that will be pretty soon. It always is.

She goes on to say, "If I beg to disagree I am labeled as paranoid, a nervous Nelly, glum, a wannabe prepper nut, depressed, or a glass half empty kind of person. And this labeling even comes from other people who are feeling the same feelings, and talking about it all the damned time. Talk is cheap and so they just want to whine about latest news sound bite. However, they do not want to really get down and dirty and talk about what might be coming. Forget doing anything about it."

I definitely relate to these thoughts. There are only a limited number of people who want to "get down and dirty" and want to really talk about the REAL issues and where these things are leading. Most people just accept losing our freedoms and liberties in exchange for a false sense of security. Only people who value and love true freedom and have the ability to be free, rational thinkers. If you're reading this blog, I have a feeling you are one of those free, (hopefully) rational thinkers. But, you need to engage in open and honest discussions about these issues since they all relate to the beginning of the end.

"All civilizations rise and fall. It usually doesn’t happen overnight. Most start a slow slide to oblivion rather than the fall of Pompeii where the mountain belched and destroyed every living thing in less than a day. Here in the U.S. our rights as private citizens are taking that slow slide to oblivion. The scary part is that much of this legislation chips away at our right and more important our DUTY to be self-reliant."

You nailed it, Trinity. It's not that I'm anti-American or would ever want to see our society fall. But, this is the history of the world. There is not one country in the world that hasn't risen and fallen, typically numerous times. The U.S. is a very young society. However, our own history is checkered. We may be (or believe we are) the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world. But, we really didn't become a super power, as such, until about 73 years ago. Our economy exists on a huge defense/war machine and a material consumerism economy. The problem is, as we improve technology in the workplace and find cheaper ways to manufacture offshore, we can't keep sustaining either jobs or salaries.

Ultimately, at some point, consumerism will begin to falter and so will our economy. With a national debt approaching $18 trillion, there is the possibility that the country will eventually default and we'll find ourselves in situations like several countries in Europe and even tiny Iceland. Is it the beginning of the end?

One final thought from Trinity, "Did you know that in some states it is illegal to collect rain water? How disturbing is that? The rationale behind this is that rain falling out of the sky is public property. Therefore if we collect it we are “hoarding” the rain water. Well the earth can be considered public property also. Does this mean that I can’t own my home and the ground it stands on? Am I hoarding my little piece of the earth?"

Indeed, Trinity, this is all disturbing. And, as you pointed out, our "supposed" elected representatives have created their own form of aristocracy at our (the taxpayers') expense. I have often half-heartedly joked that one of these days we'll all be wearing meters that will measure the consumption of oxygen we consume and carbon dioxide we expel and we'll be charged or taxed for it. The reality is that the "little piece of earth" you spoke of doesn't belong to you now. It belongs to the government and they have the right to take it from you, by law, under a number of circumstances.

There are places in Maryland where land owners are taxed for any rainwater or snow melt that comes off their land and flows into the Potomac River or any other creeks or rivers (even 100 or more miles away) that ultimately flow into the Chesapeake Bay. The water running off their land is bringing sediment, fertilizer, etc. into the bay and that is taxable. But, you can't stop that water from flowing either since that's against the law without a specific permit. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

When will the "end" be? I don't know the answer to that. But, I do know that the beginning of the end began upon the signing of the U.S. Constitution and is progressing exponentially faster today than ever before in our history. Our grandchildren and great grandchildren may only read of the freedom and liberty we once had, limited as it was, in history books, IF the government allows that history to be in those books in the future.

Any thoughts on any of this? I'd love to hear from you free thinkers. By the way, you can check out Trinity Rivers' blog by clicking on the title of the blog in the context above. Thanks for the inspiration Trinity. 


  1. Interesting post. I used to be an information nut until I read some of Rolf Dobelli's writing (e.g. - ironically in a newspaper - Take a look at the idea of circles of concern and control as well:

    1. Whew! I'm just getting caught up, so, excuse my tardiness in responding Henry. Thanks for the references to check out. I shall. We are an "information overload" society. I say that and what have I spent my career doing? Creating information. Sometimes a do feel a bit hypocritical, but I hope the information I produce is useful to the small niche intended to see it.


    2. Thanks for getting back to me - I only noticed your comment now. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your inspiration.

      I'm British (living in Austria), 35, and married with three young kids (10, 8 and 6). We have no mortgage - we rent - and no debt. My Austrian wife and I have never been particularly interested in accumulating stuff either - we’re more interested in personal development, family and experience. We'll be 47 when our youngest is 18 and after that we'd like to follow in your footsteps and hit the road, possibly even in North America rather than Europe if bureaucracy allows it.

      I just watched the Ed and the Aberts YouTube video and wanted to ask you something. You said we all have a choice. If we’re unhappy we can up and leave. No doubt this is true, but I feel an overwhelming responsibility to provide my kids with a stable childhood. My job does provide me with the freedom to set my own schedule (I’m a university lecturer), but there is the usual bullshit, meaningless meetings and incompetent bosses/colleagues to navigate. Frankly, I’d be ready to hit the road now if I were single.

      Do you have any advice on how to get a more positive mindset towards the reality of 12 more years of work? I do feel a little trapped from time to time - not by my family, but by the reality of needing to jump through other people’s hoops in search of a paycheque.

      Many thanks for your time and writing, it’s much appreciated.

    3. Hello, my friend,

      Your situation is not unlike that of most families. There is no pat, boiler plate answer. Each individual has to weigh their own life, goals, objectives, desires, skills, capabilities, etc. There's no doubt as a good parent you want to provide your family with a stable childhood. The question you have to address is how you define a "stable childhood?" By whose standards are you defining it. Most people will say children need to be brought up in a fixed location and attend prescribed schools and have (though you said you are not into accumulating stuff) what is necessary to fit in with locally accepted standards of similar families. It doesn't mean that is the ONLY acceptable way to provide a stable childhood.

      There are many people who travel part and full-time, home schooling their children wherever they may be. I refer you to the site - I'm sure they will inspire you. But, look under their "Links" button. You'll find a list of other families living similar lives.

      I'm not suggesting their lifestyles should be yours. I'm suggesting you read about them, contact the ones you relate with. Ask questions. Then go to my main site - and click the "12 Steps for Living Free" button. Take your time going through the 12 steps. They should help you get a clearer picture of what you want your and your family's lives to be.

      There is no "one size fits all." I would never recommend anyone trying to fit in my shoes. Everyone needs to find their own shoes. I would always recommend you do your research, homework and try short excursions during breaks, to see what works. It may take a few years to find your own path. When you're ready, you'll know it. It will be scary taking the leap of faith, but if you've done the homework and have a plan, it will likely be the most exciting, fulfilling lifestyle you could imagine. You may find ways to be a traveling lecturer, Web instructor (there are many colleges and universities offering virtual courses).

      As a lifelong entrepreneur, I was always self-employed. My son attended traditional U.S. schools. But, from the time he was an infant, he traveled with us. I'd take him out of school to travel with me on business trips. He work with us on the road at age 8. He decided college wasn't for him. He taught himself to be a graphic artist and Web designer. Today, he's 36 years old, he's trekked a major part of the world and has friends around the globe. He's worked on contract for companies like Microsoft, Amazon, etc. Still with no college degree, he's now an Associate Technology Consultant with one of the five largest consulting firms in the world. He makes a very handsome salary - along with his MBA colleagues and enjoys his life in Southern California (which is where I am as I reply to you). He's done and learned things most of his friends he went to school with never even dreamed. Was his childhood stable? Not in the traditional manner defined by most people. But, look where he is today.

      12 years is a LONG time. Many people won't live to reach that 12 year mark. Some make it and then get some disease, have an accident, a spouse becomes incapacitated or dies, etc. As the old saying goes, yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note (that may not be collected), today is the only cash you have in the bank.

      Patience is a virtue. If you have it, you can hold out for 12 years. But, think of the great fun of planning to be free and on the road, say, in the next three years. You'll educate your kids in ways most will never experience. Make it a great adventure doing the planning, setting goals, etc. Get the kids involved. It will be their lives, too. Imagine who they will become with such an exciting, adventurous life. And, think who you and your wife will be 12 years from now.

      I don't know if this helps, but keep me posted on your progress.


    4. Thanks for the links and the thoughtful advice. I really appreciate your time. I have a lot to ponder and think about. Seems like my quarter-life crisis may blend seamlessly into a mid-life crisis.

      Keep writing, keep doing your thing. Know that there are internet strangers out there who really appreciate it. Thank you.

    5. Thank you, Henry. Positive feedback like yours is what motivates me to keep writing. Good luck with your ----live crisis! We all go through them and they usually help us refocus our lives and find new meaning that never presented itself before.

      I write because I have things in my mind and heart I want to get out and share. I'm not out to save or change the world. But, if some things I say impact others in a positive way and help them find new meaning and direction for their lives, then I've served a purpose.


  2. Purpose of being given life

    I’ll address your comment on “the purpose of life” Ed. My view adds a cosmic dimension. This spiritual framework has enabled me to live realistically, devoid of culture induced burdens that complicate our lives as you have so rightly pointed out.

    Each of us is a unique child of our spiritual Father. What this means is that he has bestowed a unique portion of himself to each of us.

    His purpose? To give us opportunity to unite the distinctive person we each are with the individualized essence of infinity residing within. The Indwelling Spirit assigned to each of us gains color from the union, meaning the experience of our personalities. He gains personality; we gain divinity. No formal contract necessary for this partnership; just a life lived in cooperation with him.

    Our assigned fragment of infinity is lent to us for the probationary period of this human lifetime. Then it’s up to us: do we want to be inspired and led by divinity? Or will it be me first and the divine second? Or even get out of my life; no one’s going to tell me what to do? How’s that for a choice! And for a purpose to life.

    As this lifespan is as that of a child preparing for adulthood, so shall we emerge into the true adulthood beyond the brass doors of this life. We are under a loving and wise watchcare. Each of us is provided guidance and tutelage from our guardian angels and those charged with our wellbeing. We are not alone; how comforting I find it.

    As your life demonstrates Ed, we each have a choice, whether or not to throw off the unneeded cares and burdens of a supposedly civilized culture. Without these weights, we can stand high to better discern the purpose of our being and what’s important.

    1. Interesting and well stated, Richard. Probably the greatest mystery of life is the odyssey some of us elect to seek out either a deeper meaning to life and the gift it is or to seek out the simplicity that life can be (and in my opinion) and probably should be. Regardless of each individual's belief system, we're all in this together, so we can learn and share from and with one another to live the most fulfilling life possible during the short span we have to do so. I guess my current approach and lifestyle is to live as simply and minimal as possible. Even that has become pretty difficult in a world that has become complicated beyond what most of us in our age bracket felt our lives would be like at this stage.

      Thanks as always for your spiritually based insights. They are helpful in this time of high-tech chaos.