Returning to the 'Real'

Feralhen, we're out here sister and we're listening.
  Yesterday I built and mounted the cyclone filter for my gasifier, Chaired the Public Services Committee of the village were I live (we're going to have to raise our water and sewer rates to replace our lift stations and paint our primary water tower) and fitted tritium sights to my WASR 10 (yeah, I know, but it's what I could afford).

I work in a rather surreal place were we routinley save the lives of people on a daily basis with something as simple as suplimental oxygen.  Not a shift goes by that I don't have someone who would have died within hours even a hundred years ago admited for "routine" treatment of this or that.

I look around at the glass and metal and plastic that we take so completly for granted that we bury it in land fills my the mega ton.

I stumble on other threads on this site and find people happily chatting back and forth about buying this and that  and realize that they are in New York or Los Angeles playing the markets and having a grand old time apparently oblivious to the purpose of this site and the comming storm.

I look at my clothing and try to calculate what a pair of blue jeans that I can by for less then an hours wage today would cost if somone had to sow, cultivate, harvest, card, spin, weave and sew by hand.  Hundreds, thousands of "dollars"?  How many people today are even aware of were there clothing comes from other then "the store"?

It would be facinating to meet the children and grand children of the people who survive the crunch, crash, culling, correction, bottleneck, reset, apocolypse.  I imagine them to be highly intelligent, self motivated and emotionally resilient and extrordanarily dangerous people, Apache 2.0.

With gentle respect I have to say that I don't think that there is going to be much opportunity for cultural refinement in the comming years, more likly a distillation, the cultural kumbiya momment probibly passed in the 50's and 60's. 

Personally, I think that Kunsler is an optimist. 

Thanks for letting me rant,

John G

We're so with you that we were living like FeralHen when she was 35yrs old! (insert a smile emotion)
the Robinsons

ferralhen,I hear you with your challenge/rant. At first I took offense a bit as it seemed like you were casting aspersions on us. Maybe you are - hard to read tone and inflection with the written word. You have been held up as an inspiration, with good reason. But don't make the mistake of thinking that you have a monopoly on hard work and actioning plans. Also do not overlook the fact that talking or wiriting about things also goes to emotional resilience - it can be cathartic and a coping mechanism, especially for those who may not have the mental toughness that you seem to portray.
Not all of us are in the circumstances you are in, but are actually doing things to move in the direction of resilience and self-sufficiency - they just might not be herculean. I personally would love to be in a position to have to haul a few thousand pounds of rock by myself to build something that was meaningful to me on my own property… maybe someday.
Until then, this is what this lesser mortal did on Labour Day weekend: I started by revisiting my financial plan and budget to see if I was on track; inventoried my deep pantry and supplies and re-plenished those things getting low, spent another 350 bucks on gluten free flours and other GF cooking supplies as I am switching off of wheat, dried in my dehydrator 5 large bags of kale and lots of tomatoes from my garden, put down a flat of strawberries for the freezer, re-planted winter crops after removing spent crops, gave some veggies to the neighbors, enjoyed some laughs and giggles with the neighbors over a glass of wine, read half of Dimitri Orlov's Five Stages of Collapse, went fishing in the hope of adding some trout to the freezer (got skunked but had a marvellous day just "being" out on the lake with a blue heron and two river otters for company), visited my best friends ailing 100 year old mother in the hospital, made a batch of super salad from my garden ingredients for my best friend who is getting run down from her life stresses, cooked 3 dishes to have ready for suppers this week, and oh ya, managed to clean the bathroom too [always seems to be at the end of the list :wink: ]
I guess this is my rant back… While many of us like to chat on this site, we are in fact doing lots of meaningful things aside from just talking. Some perhaps more than others. Could we do more? probably, but I think most of us are doing the best we can given our own personal circumstances.
Peace sister

I am saddened to see the demise of the OilDrum.  However, the bright spot pertinent to this thread and the concept of doing rather than discussing is a thread entitled "So, what are you doing".  I found some food for thought there and wanted to share it with this community.



Here's how I see things: Jan's cochlear implant is a good example of positive technology used to help. Someone invented it to give those with hearing loss a chance to experience what we hearing folks take for granted. I don't see that as a bad thing and I imagine Jan doesn't either! The intent behind technology that harms is quite different from the intent behind something that heals. Both arise from human thought, human consciousness. A knife can be used as a tool or a weapon; it is the person weilding it who decides which action to take. We are creative beings with the power to choose to do good or evil. Has our technology gotten away from us? I would say yes and it sounds like you agree with that. No question. And it sounds like we also agree that it is our disconnection from Nature that causes so much trouble.
The solar panels powering your frig and providing your internet hookup are technology that serves you. Yet fossil fuels were used to mine, manufacture and transport them. We all make our choices on the role technology still plays in our lives. At least until the time comes when industrial society breaks down and we will be without it. The sad part to me is that the good things will go along with the bad. Things like John mentioned, oxygen that saves lives. Personally, I'm attached to indoor plumbing! I love a good shower and not having to use an outhouse!

It sounds like your life experiences taught you to rely on yourself and to be as self-sufficient as possible in your day to day life. You do a great job. Others of us are in different circumstances. For example, there is no way I could lift tons of stone. I have a chronic neurological illness called Dystonia which is a type of movement disorder. (Symptoms began when I was 14 and I'm 62 now.) I wear a cervical collar except when sitting in a high backed chair or sleeping. My brain overactivates certain of my neck muscles causing a constant turning, twisting movement to my left and up. I also have degenerative disc disease which kicks in when I lift anything too heavy. So I admire your physical strength in being able to do such hard manual labor. I'd love to be able to do that. I've had to focus on other types of prepping that don't require physical strength. But we share the same intent here which is to prepare for uncertainty, now and in the future. We see that something big is happening. Fortunately, my husband is coming on board more and more as world events intensify. I'm hoping that we can accomplish that much more together.

Being able to converse with others who see the same thing is helpful for me. As Jan said, emotional reslience is important also. I find comfort in knowing that I'm not alone, in connection.

I'm not sure what precipitated your rant - maybe the exhaustion of lifting tons of stone on your own! smiley I'd be cranky too!

With great admiration,


…but water the fading flowers, had a huge breakfast and have not moved from my chair as I am studying Navy tactics and tactical weapons deployment that may be used when Assads regime gets the crap kicked out of it. Having said that we have no control if the powers that be want this to happen. I figured I may as well learn something. I am making dinner for my Lady though, spaghetti, fresh Italian bread and ice tea.
Licking my wounds a bit from Gillbillies Red Sox putting a whopping on my boys, the Tigers. No matter, playoffs is all that matters and Boston will get their payback and bragging rights will be mine.

Have a great day.


and the blow back was well received here.thank you all who responded. this feels like more of a family than i have ever known. let me try to clean things up a bit.(as we sometimes must do because it is right to do so) since 2003-5 i realized things had turned downward…so i would have to say i wasn't the first to the party. i started to homestead in 1978 but life gets in the way sometimes. i was overjoyed to return to a life that made sense to me in 2006. and to the robinsons, it gives joy to me that someone got there way back when.and still carries on. don't be silent.roar should you feel the urge, the forest is too quiet. i put all of my few resources into homesteading and left a life that was suppose to just cruise on into the sunset(don't we all know that story no longer exists). for one of a hell of alot of hard work- life-here. that condo on the beach is looking g ood to me right now, until i pop back in reality.poof --my parents generation got that but it's lost now for me.i'm ok with that if i stop and be grateful to be alive and fed and's the whatever turning.
i guess my whole theme is: we have lived in the best of times and now we are still living, but at a time when the best of times leaves… i no longer live in the best of times…lots of technology still lingers but it's availability is swiftly leaving my grasp and the ability to sustain this level of technology is also least for my income level and soon only the "1%" will once again live like kings. i've tried to build a small castle for myself to age in, before age stopped me…which is this year. and to secretly go unnoticed and live as a queen.which of course sometimes is subject to our interpretation. if i dcan smile, i'm a queen.

on to the themes: we can overcome way more than we think we can. physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. i don't think of myself as a superwoman and i have done and learned this.(i know i'm not the yardstick to measure by…trust me i know i'm not a yardstick of any sort., i'm sharing my experience as a human) i'm trying to say i tried this or that and voila it worked.wendy can elaborate on this can jdye51, and jan. part two of my theme is we will be in a position to have to do theme one. tough times are a comin. well tougher than we've been used to. this is what chris says so well. so again times tell us we can do more than what we think. and theme three is not to wait for part two to occur before i act. and learn that i can do way more than i thought. which is where my frustration comes in. we see, and don't act. i probably should have just written this instead of what i did.

back ground material: i have scoliosis and fused lower vertebrae and have know lower back pain just about every day that i can remember. and you know of other issues, which inflicted pain. i've known pain…i will say that. but i don't succumb to it. it's still pain tho, and i live with it daily. i expect more pain to follow but it doesn't persuade me to back down. i recently had an mri that shows a torn menicus in my right knee…so i hauled all those brick with that going on. the situation was that i don't have much money, and i prayed for and received an opportunity to purchase $1200 of these stones for $150. i know so well how the tide can turn and i was motivated and willed myself to get them before the guy changed his mind. and so i trucked. i forcast that this is what i will need in the future…not the stones…the attitude that wills me past my pain and whinings. i am not telling my story so that you applaude me, rather so that you find that in yourself also. i need a michael jordon effort everyday , in this cushy life we still have…and i know it will help me as things unfold. i'm wanting to pass that on to you. i'm still learning how to do that. re my rant, i think sometimes so quick i leave out the links. my rant was my frustration with: a large part of the population just doesn't get or see the precarious times. another part of the population, large but not as large, suspects but doesn't want to see. 3 e people see it but just talk about it.and talk about the future but then retract that they don't know when yada yada. i reached this point a few years back and decided, i could not predict the future, but i knew enough of it's direction. therefore, it made sense for me to think of what i needed as an organism to live, and focus on getting that in place for myself. even if i get relocated, as a soldier sometimes does, i will know what to look for. i'm trying to share…you dont have to be raped by your father to learn resilence. i'm hoping that if i talk about it you can gleen from it…sometimes a rant occurs which is the brains beginings of making sense of what doesn't make sense. if this doesn't help clarify, write me. i'll do my best to connect. beth

something on the computer formated my response as it is
i don't type that crazy

Ferralhen - thanks for the apology but it was not necessary. We are all entitled to rants here and there. We've seen worse… you have conducted yourself with integrity and that is the most important part as far as I am concerned. This site is indeed like a family for some of us; a refuge where we can find like-minded people to share our thoughts, concerns, plans, failures and successes. One of the pluses I think is that people will call you out if warranted (hello Jan… ), unlike many other sites that have literally free-for-all, profanity laced comments. Not that I am above letting loose a good profanity, however, I do not have the time of day to wade through lots of crap to find the gems that I want. There are lots of priceless gems right here, so this is my go to place to help me retain my sanity in this crazy world.Your insights are keen, and sharing your experiences invaluable, in the same way as others who share their experiences. That is how we learn. Once again, you have our admiration. I know though that that is not what you want to hear - you want to hear that we are getting off our duffs and putting our words into action. We are, at varying levels. I personally want so badly to do more; I know I should do more as I feel the importance of being able to hold my own is critically important. But I cannot seem to find a way around some of the financial constraints that hold me back from making the move I want to make. At the age of 54, I cannot afford to make a big financial mistake. It would be too hard to recover from - especially given how the economy is headed. Until I can do what I have planned, I will listen and learn from people like you, and hope that my path is a little easier for all the knowledge I have gleaned here, once I get my own place.  When that happens, you will be the first I invite over for a well earned beer!
In speaking of your pain and life experiences, and how you have pushed on in spite of them, you have given us a glimpse of what true perseverance looks like. The word hero is bandied about a lot these days, rather loosely I might say. In my mind heroes are down to earth people such as yourself, who, in spite of the s**t that life throws at them, the hurt and the pain, they not only keep on going, but put many others to shame with how they manage to prosper. You are more wealthy than you realize.
Thanks for continuing to post and share. Priceless stuff.

Hey Beth, please call me Joyce. Good to know your name! Glad you could get it out of your system. We've all been there. What's the phrase: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? I too have learned I can do more than I thought and possess a will and inner strength that is hard earned. On the other hand, I am a product of my generation which grew up accustomed to all the benefits of cheap oil. I wonder if I have what it takes when the shit hits the fan. Maybe my challenges in life have prepared me in certain ways to overcome the relatively pampered life I've been lucky to experience. We shall see.
I welcome your prepping experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. Here at PP we each are like instruments in a orchestra playing the same tune. Each one different but adding to the beauty of the whole. How great that we can help each other. No one person can do it all.

I guess we qualify as elders now given our age. I sure don't feel it but there you are! As for those who don't have a clue or even want to know, God bless them. Just let go. I've struggled with this and finally realized that we each are on our own journey in life. I can only control what I do and need to respect other's decisions for themselves. At least here, we've found other souls who are alert and aware even if how we go about doing things may differ. But I feel your frustration at times when you just want to grab people and shake them awake.

Glad you're here,


A hammer, blackhawk helicopter and native american peace pipe are all forms of technology, the catagory is so broad as to make the term meaningless.  Some simpler than others, granted, but each culture creates technologies in accordnace with its values, resources, and world view.  Native americans would no more have invented a plow than stick a knife in their own mothers breast (paraphrasing).  Their world view prevented them from innovating along the lines of modern farming because of the kind of relationship they had to the natural world.  This is not to pass a judgement, one way or another, but to discuss technology without a discussion of the cultural context in which it arises becomes meaningless.
Our particular approach to technology is a result of our world view, which tends to be power centric rather than meaning centric, which has had its own series of consequences.  I am generally not connected to the broader culture any more, I find the more I stay away from it, the harder it becomes to bear it.  I saw a short add clip in front of a internet video I wanted to watch.  It was an ad for the latest cadilac sedan.  The words "seak and destroy" were spoken on top visual of the car cruising down a desert highway.  When is a car not a car but something else?

With a lof of interest in gardening we are seeing a renewed interest in new hand tools. Eliot Coleman has invented a series of new tools out of his own market gardening experience that we can now buy, he encourages all of us to follow his inventive example by creating our own tools.  Is this what we mean by technological progress?  Or is it waiting for the latest round up ready plant species genetically engineered by monsanto?

Why is it that we as a culture create what we do whether it be economic, political, social, artistic or technological?  Is it possible to peal the technological piece out its milieu and answer the question is technology good or bad?  Perhaps we need to ask a different kind of question?

Is this technology that we are discussing something that we as citizens intend to create oursleves, or is it something that we as consumers will use that is going to be created on mount high by somebody else?  Is technology something that happens to us or are we going participate in the world that is unfolding before us?  Where is our own sense of personal power in all this?


Treebeard, Nice post. The questions you ask are a long leap for many to make, but they are right on in my opinion. I try to ask these questions to those around me, but I'm almost always dismissed. I find now that I have to limit my connections to the bigger picture by moving stepwise, like my first post on this thread…education to marketplace.   I've posted on this site many times over the past year that the most pivotal and comprehensive book for me that opened my eyes to these questions was Jacques Ellul's Technological Society (1954).  He rigorously examines technology in relation to society, and in particular, the "mass" society. Some of the book is outdated, but the majority of it still rings true today. Ellul, for those who don't know, was a French sociologist during the last century who wrote many books on technology, propaganda, western culture, and christianity. He also was the person who coined the phrase "think globally, act locally."
Have you or has anyone here read the book? You use the word milieu (which he used) which makes me think you might have. I would be interested to hear your or anyone else's opinion on the book. It's a tough and long read, but it completely changed the way I look at society… I think Arthur would appreciate that I have yet to find a left brain thinker who has started and finished the book.


thanks and i liked and agree with treebeard on the natural tech post.relativity and perspective.
i'm equally left and right brain  so i'm thinkin this sounds like a good book to read. i'm moving now to amazon.

my main focus tho , still remains to focus on what i need and how to get that vs just what exactly went wrong.

i think it's too late to change the momentum of things.

I have not read him.  I did just browsed/read most of his Wikipedia page, and I must say that the description of his posstion and thoughts on almost everything that I read was in alignment with my own mind.  I am surprised that I have not run across his written works earlier, he has written 58 titles!
I can relate to your feelling of being dismissed when bringing up such a topic. I get more of a "what they hell are you talking about" reaction and why are you passionate about this, I don't even understand what you are going on about.

A culture bent on creating ease and convenience creates technologies and a society that at first appear inwardly gracious and civil, but rapidly become externally exploitive and violent.  Eventually they become psychotically disconnected from reality necessarily leading to the kind of events like the Newtown shooting which seem to shock everyone.  The economic shenanigans discussed so often on this site are to my mind a result of a philosophical and ontological discontinuities that need to be addressed first. Outward actions that oroginate from you when you are off your center will always be out of kilter and cannot be fixed by outward action, the converse is of cousre also true.

I would argue the same is true of society as a whole, we are collectively out of center so all external actions are distorted.  I must admit to have given up on any fruitful discussions at this level, occasional posts at this site is the one outlet that I do allow myself.  I have instead committed to living my philosophy and keeping my mouth shut.

For what its worth, treebeard - I greatly appreciate your posts and perspective on this site. I find that your outlook helps me find balance within the variety of opinions here and elsewhere. Please keep posting as you see fit.
I agree with your point that outward actions stem from inner state of "being". I believe that the only real way to change our outward reality is to first effect change within - both on an individual level and a then societal level. Each of us needs to give careful thought as to what kind of a world we want to be a part of. Then we need to do some deep soul-searching and self-reflection to determine if our core values are aligned with our view/vision of the world. And finally, we need to be diligent to ensure that our actions are aligned with our values and world view. Repeat often.  

I second you. I find him absolutely predictable and tiresome. You can't influence people by writing about your fellow citizens with such withering scorn.

I find that even as an atheist it is the religious folks who always seem to be the ones offering help.  Katrina, Ethiopia and Haiti are classic examples with religious groups cutting through the regulatory BS to directly aid people - not government officials, rich landowners or political favorites.  in MS, the Red Cross told a group of us that their work would be impossible without the vast outpouring of religious aid.  Christianity is hopefully becoming less supernatural and more directed to extending a hand.

What is it that makes us welcome and abhor technolgical change?  It's so predictable  - we accept what we use and like - AC, heaters, medical advancements, smart materials, ease of global communication, online help for problems, lights, sewage, etc.  Yet virtually all of these has encountered fierce opposition.  Whether anaesthesia, alternative energy, machine-made clothes, radio, tv, computers - it's all been denounced as dangers for the immortal soul or (now) our community.  After all, we are constantly told that suffering, starving, freezing, pain and toil are a "natural" part of the human experience.
Peak Prosperity readers are diverse - not all have farms (like myself).  My life is infinitely richer and easier than that of my parents.  Using animals vs machines for transport, plowing, picking and preparing food, unremitting heat and cold, spending Fridays washing & drying, endless pain from cavities, early needless deaths, inability to get instant help - these are the "good old days"? Technology should enrich - not control - our lives. Like the long list above, when the allure wears off and it becomes ubiquitous, concerns diminish or vanish.  I firmly believe that almost all global problems (except debt) - climate change, bad water, fossil fuels, lack of food or access to knowledge - are at heart technological problems.  

All I can say right now is, I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you.