I mentioned the other day about how much of America’s potential is being squandered because we have not been able to articulate a new – and worthy for all – American Dream.
One of our long-term readers, William, was part of the “last big dream.” You know the one? About putting a man on the moon.
His personal experience here, but notice the ‘vibe’ and now much is lost today:
Those were brave days, they were. They were exciting. Anything was not only possible, but we figured we’d surely do those Anythings one day before too long.
I wore the short-sleeve white shirt with the narrow tie and the engineer’s pocket pack which had several flavors of writing sticks, and a small Keiffel & Esser slide rule.
From the mid-1960s to the mid to late 1970s those days burned brightly, and we were all IN it, and we were all DOING it.
On a road trip for my job, I was at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo, California, and I met a cleaning lady tidying up the men’s room, who said enthusiastically, “We’re going to the Moon!” — and she naturally included herself in the “we.” And she was dead serious.
I was firmly in that “we” as well.
It was exciting, thrilling, purposeful, and important. This wasn’t a frill, this was necessary for humans to do. It was really, really, The Final Frontier, and we were all there, building it, developing it.
I grew up with “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger,” “Captain Video,” “Flash Gordon,” and so many others. The utopian “Star Trek” came a bit later when we were all young adults, and by now, we were all working on Rocky Jones’ hardware — and it looked good.
It was Rev 1.0 — America, chasing The Dream.
…and look at all the marvels that spun off it, like white-hot magnesium sparks as a side effect of chasing the core of The Dream — moving outward, taking first steps on the pathway to all the stars, for all Mankind.
If children and societies do not dream, they begin to die from lack of spark, of vigor. In time, such unimaginative societies pass away from irrelevance.
And so it is today. Sure, there are movies, but there are extremely few actual going corporate concerns Doing It Now. And the thought-police of education do not feed The Dream. Instead, they focus the children’s minds on the mundane and the marginal. They fuss over their calories at lunch, but aren’t taught what a main sequence G-type star is. They worry about carbon dioxide, but don’t think about building a Great Wheel Space Station, the necessary gateway port to the Big Outer Black. They don’t work the equations or develop the materials for The Tower Of Kalidasa.
Bigelow and SpaceX — that’s all there is, and thank God for them! But it’s very small compared to Those Brave Days when everything was possible if not inevitable, and ladies cleaning men’s rooms truly felt a full and important part of the effort.
I suggest we better start Dreaming again, as an act of National Security, if not for total human race security and evolution.
Countries are a lot like the human body, seems to me: When they are fed and exercises regularly by moving in some “great direction with purpose” they are as fit as you’ll ever see them.
But when the dream, the motivation, the vision is lost, they run out of this spiritual food and they turn inward and begin ‘eating themselves’ if that’s not too gross a way of putting it? That is, in truth, what dieting it: getting your body to ‘eat itself’ which is how a body loses weight.
A little bit of eating self may be good, or even necessary from time to time, but in the end, we need to feed the country and get back on the training schedule and start working out for that next ‘moonathalon.’
Gang wars, drug abuse (beyond the odd self-meds for music and insights) mass shooting, lack of purpose, and the erosion of the social contract – ALL these can be traced to this lack of dream.
People will either hear a dream and sign on for it, or, as is the case of the “World’s Toughest Mudder” this November, they will create and participate in grass roots challenges simply because instinctively, there’s some portion of the population that strives toward excellence, even if it is slogging through mud and hell to get there.
The appalling part of the corporate duopoly is the inability to articulate a worthwhile dream, and I think until (and unless) we can do that, our descent into the chaos becomes nearly inevitable.
Unless we get our national shit together, all our enemies have to do is watch the clock and continue basting us now and then. We’ll be done far too soon.
I’d call it rare already, and the “medium well” we’re being told about as being just ahead on the road to recovery will be anything BUT well.
Beware Misthought Headlines
One of the more well-followed financial headline sites recently posted a story claiming that major gasoline retailers were experiencing plummeting sales. I suggested that this had northing (or minimally little) to do with gasoline consumption. Instead, I suggested that what’s really going on is the major refiners are getting out of the (evermore regulated) retail end of the business. Reader Douglas concurs after doing his homework:
You are correct. See e.g. Citgo, which had to be abandoned due to Chavez. Plus many name brand companies use what an industry insider told me they call “cheap Mexican gas” pipelined in, with additives to at least insure most cars will still start on a cold morning. Only Texaco uses their own gasoline and pipeline in Austin, last I heard.
It is interesting that so many of the formerly informative klaxon banging writers, today are so obviously or subtly wrong, where stuff they wrote 5 years ago was prescient. Perhaps once you are seen as a prophet, you must try to be prophetic always, absent a rebranding?
It’s good to see that you are avoiding that trap, George.
LOL. I’ve been writing common-sense economics and lifestyle since 1997 and about all I have to show for it a growing belief that we’re all screwed.
The good news (such as it is) is that we can all “opt out” of the mindset to develop and chart our own course into the future. But it’s like driving: Seems many people need to be shown and not everyone is as foolish or reckless to be off trying it on their own.
Still, the under-discussed joy of being human is to remember that all adventures are “between the ears” when you get right down to it.
Minimalism: Living in Smaller Spaces
Ultra-0long-term readers will remember that I lived on my 40-foot sailboat (The Magic Elf) for more than 10-years and I’ve written a bit (on the www.peoplenomics.com site) about the joys of living in small spaces. (One of which is that there is only so much housekeeping to do in a boat which has a total interior floor space on the order on 200 square feet (more if you follow the flare of the hull, so arguably 300 square fees)
So it’s with some interest that I see how real estate tracking outfit Zillow has a dandy article on small space (and therefore cheaper living) tilted: “Meet Dee Williams: She Lives in 84 Square Feet.”
You know it is easy to pick up raw land in foreclosure deals, or in tax auctions. And it means that there are still some “ways to skin the housing cat” that haven’t been driven into stupid/crazy prices.
Thought I’d mention it in the even you’re yearning for a little more freedom, a lot less expense, and a way to both think outside the box…and move into a smaller one.
Dreams and Futuring
A note to Chris over at the www.nationaldreamcenter.com project, which strikes me as one hell of a cool research question. It’s all sparked by this note from reader Bobby who reports that lucid dreaming may be related to sleep apnea, of all things!
Good morning George,
I have a long history of being able to remember my dreams. Many have been “movie epics” that seemed to last hours. Others have been short snip-its of seemingly unrelated events. All are brought to me in vivid techni-color! Oh, I seem to have a penchant for dreaming about famous folks and interacting with them.
Recently, I underwent a sleep study to determine if I had sleep apnea. According to my dear wife, I snore badly and stop breathing on occasion. After the sleep study, I met with the doctor to go over the results. One question she asked was if I remember my dreams. I proudly remarked that yes I did. She then proceeded to tell me that the reason I remember my dreams is because I was being abruptly awakened from my dream state because I had stopped breathing, as evidenced by the sleep study results. She said the if I were experiencing normal REM sleep, I would rarely remember my dreams.
Hmmm. Thought I would pass this along to you to see if any other readers of your fine site have been told the same thing.
There’s actually a very savvy angle to this, medically speaking (the whole sleep apnea-triggers-dream recall idea.
The mechanics of it go like this: The research shows that when a person is in process of dying, the brain releases a flood of a molecule called DMT.or Dimethyltryptamine.
Like anything that doesn’t have a toll gate attached to it, government doesn’t permit unlicensed messing around with this stuff and says Wikipedia:
In December 2004, the Supreme Court lifted a stay, thereby allowing the Brazil-based União do Vegetal (UDV) church to use a decoction containing DMT in their Christmas services that year. This decoction is a tea made from boiled leaves and vines, known as hoasca within the UDV, and ayahuasca in different cultures. In Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, the Supreme Court heard arguments on November 1, 2005, and unanimously ruled in February 2006 that the U.S. federal government must allow the UDV to import and consume the tea for religious ceremonies under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Still, regulatory issues, or not, DMT experiments are extraordinarily interesting, especially as recounted in DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences…great book.
OK, here seems to be the sequence: When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing. I know technically, when you do that long enough, you’re dead. But all (*living) apnea sufferers wake up (choking, or snorking) and in the process, because their blood O2 levels get exceptionally low, they may begin to “play the exit card” which is DMT’s release into the bloodstream.
How far that release goes may have something to do with the commonality of near death experience. If you read books, starting with the classic Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death, and keeping up with latest literature in the field, you may come to appreciate how Life—>Dying–>DMT has been allegorically passed on to almost everyone since childhood. and yet few realize the inculcation of metaphysical reality framing taking place.
I’m too lazy to write this up myself, so here is the fairytale from Childhood that allegocially explains the path, courtesy Wikipedia: Jack and the Bean Stalk…
Jack is a young boy living with his widowed mother and a milk cow who is their only source of income. When the cow stops giving milk, Jack’s mother has him take her to market for sale. On the way, he meets an old man who offers “magic beans” in exchange for the cow and Jack makes the trade. When he arrives home without any money, his mom becomes furious, throws the beans to the ground, and sends Jack to bed.
A gigantic beanstalk grows overnight which Jack climbs to a land high in the sky. There he comes to a house (or in some cases, a castle) that is the home of a giant. He asks at the door for food and the giant’s wife takes him in. When the giant returns, he senses that a human is nearby:
Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman, Be he alive, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.
Georgeterpretation? We all go through life planting our beans (lives) and at the end, a pathway emerges. Up, up, and into the hereafter we climb (on the DMT gate to life after life) only to be confronted with a Giant (God, Creator, or whoever it is that runs the Bardo) and at that point there will come a judgment or “eating”.
As the story continues, Jake goes up the beanstalk more than once, suggesting several near death experiences (NDEs).
Jack returns up the beanstalk twice more. Each time he is helped by the wife, learns of another treasure, and steals it when the giant sleeps: first a goose that lays golden eggs (the most common variant is a hen; compare the idiom “to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.”), then a harp that plays by itself. He is almost caught with the harp, however. The giant follows him down the beanstalk and Jack calls to his mother for an axe. Jack chops down the beanstalk, killing the giant, and they live happily ever after with their riches.
Allegorically, going into the afterlife a few times may let you “bring home” some treasures (as universally reported by those who have come back from both NDEs and the majority of ayahuasca adventurers. But, if you return too many times, bad things can follow you back into this Realm, and they we’re off on a discussion of how demonics and possessions work.
Since it’s Friday, I’ll spare you that. But it should suffice to quietly admit yes, I know Jack.
Ya’ll come on back Monday….the more the merrier and be sure to tell your friends. Write when you break-even. (or this being the weekend, “bake even”)…arghhh!