Coping: Seven Teaching Billion (7TB)

Want an idea that has a lot more value than zero-value/z-val social media?

This hit me as Elaine and I were having the afternoon toddy this week.  I’d just read the first few pages of a book she’s writing loosely based on the personal experience of growing up in the wild west of upland/mountain Arizona country – a rough & tumble place –  60-odd years ago.

Totally off grid in the Mormon Mogollon country… Show Low, Winslow, Heber if you know the area.

Not just a little bit backward then compared to now… I mean no indoor plumbing, limited water, no central heating kind of place.  Out house in the winter, anyone?  Being a “down winder” to boot.

As we were talking about the book, three points gelled for me:

1. Everyone has a great story but damn few get to have it recorded for posterity..

We hear in lots of religions and even from people who’ve had NDE -near death experiences and some of the out of body – OBE experiencers – that life reviews are common,  How many times have we heard of the life review process?  “My life flashed before my eyes?”

It’s as though the life review might be part of what Robert Monroe (Monroe Institute) referred to in his “harvesting of loosh” concept, laid out in a Nexus Magazine article here.

That end point process aside, it seems a tragic waste that billions die with nothing but a useless stone marker.  As a culture, we make virtually no general effort to find what billions might have learned.  Surely, there must be some great insights, right?  The sheer numbers speak tdo that.

There is no organized effort at harvesting everyone’s ;learning points and experience highlights before they die.  How many young people of today will predictably repeat the same damn errors of past peoples?

It is within our grasp to change that.  Budget?  A few thousand per year.  A website with big storage, minimal staff, curriculum development for schools and interfacing with nursing homes, hospices, retirement communities.  Places people check-in before they, well, check out.

We don’t collectively have time for such a mind-expanding approach.  Instead, we engage in the phony Likes and what not.  Little deep and life changing information.  Highly supefficial shoot-the-shit that doesn’t matter after a minute.

A person’s whole life story is another deal.  It was lived – all 70-years of it typically…years when schools were attended, quirks of people observed, seasons, trades, skills…all that and more.

Thing is EVERYONE has a massive storehouse of learning and BEING that could be shared.  Even capturing one percent of the of meaningful stories about life would transform the world.  A few pages of Elaine’s book made that abundantly clear. I had no idea.

2. Social Media has turned us into an “Output” culture.  We could be an “Input” culture.

This has terrible implications, especially when we look at patterned behavior of humans.  We simply don’t listen enough.  Spew and screw…pretty well sums up the world.  Not much of a place for pursuit of a higher humanity, is it?

Could we change it?


Ideas and a database…that’s about it.

I’m haunted for nearly 40-years by what Louis L’ Amour told me over a beer, or two, at the Westin in Seattle.  He explained in the interview that you don’t actually learn a period of history by reading the history books.  You actualize the learning by walking the wagon ruts, getting out and talking to the old timers and asking them to recount an adventure of the about what it was like  “back in the day.”

With the “wagon tracks gone” there’s nowhere for great adventures like L’ Amour’s Sackett series to spring from.  A few fanciful writers will read a history book, maybe scan some newspaper clippings from the time.  Almost none will be able to find the old family letters.

Family letters have failed.  They have been replaced with a phone call, a note on the back of a photograph.  Yes, even the photos are drying up and blowing away – just as the wagon ruts did.  The evidence – good or bad – of our passing is becoming even more disposable less fertilizing of the next generation to come.

We lie to ourselves as a culture about “Output” all day long on social media.   Fact is, the real core lessons of life – and the values that meant something worth living and dying for – are quicly in nursing homes across America every day.  In hospices.  In senior house and homes. No one is listening…They are so…OLD… after all.

A tragedy of lost opportunity counted in the billions, already.  Yet, invisible to all but the few who do serious dream-work and visit The Realms where an occasional touch can happen.

That journey isn’t widely possible.  Most folks, when you tell them you live two lives, will write you off as a nut.  Yet, the shaman way, the ka huna way, the mystic’s way…it will outlive our tech.

There is a deep inner knowing that such reals are real. It calls to our souls.  It’s the legend of Shangri-La, the lost halls in Tibet of the Akashic Records.  Too far removed, it seems…well…unreal.

The deepening path requires time, quiet, love, sharing, reflection, and communion with your many selves and Nature itself.  Who has time?  Soccer at 3 PM and don’t be late!  “Call the folks this weekend if you remember!”:  “Uh…sure….:”

3. Technology provides effective tools to collect and access Life Stories from people in all nations, of all religions, creeds and colors.  We – as a world – just don’t think it’s important.

Hence this morning’s column.

Should there be a place to “capture the best that human’s have found” – about themselves, about others, politics, law, justice, heath and nutrition, poetry, song, wind, rain, and God?

Gee….I don’t know.

(Of course I do!  But why don’t we have such a place?)

Ever wonder what it would it be like to have lived the life of an average (but happy) plumber in the 1990’s, for example?

I mean super especially if you were looking at plumbing as a career choice, or you wanted to think like a plumber around your own house?

See, I’ve got the darn-fool idea in my head that holiness is something we can all do.  Honoring those who have gone before us, learning from then, and using their teachings to  live a more excellent life in the here-and-now.

Since Everything is a Business Model, one reason we don’t have a “life capture system” is that no one really has time for it.  No interest.  Except, of course, we do.

The idea has been skirted in major films.  The best of the lot is probably the late Robin Williams’ The Final Cut.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s the video version of what we’re talking about here.

Let’s Talk Mechanics and Structure

We use the high productivity tools (Skype, Dragon, and such) and readily available web resource to coordinate an all-volunteer group that would begin “collecting people’s lives.”


You may not be aware of the numbers on how many young people today are products of broken homes…  As of 2014 (and they’ve probably gone higher since) it was reported that 55% of 15-17 year-olds are living in broken homes.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but wouldn’t a collection of good humans – simply and directly telling their stories  – be useful to the young?

Just a guess here, but if we’re going to change the future of this troubled cohort, the way to do so is not turning them lose on FB to become a digital lynch mob or new barricade anarchists.  Instead, how about getting them “hooked up” with a useful social task. Learn about other people – their lives and what mattered to them.  How they got somewhere with it.  Hints they might offer..

My sense is, if it were required to “read a few lives” as part of educational curriculum, it would add tremendous context and values awareness for today’s young.  What were previously unknow people’s life stories, would add important adult perspective.

So there you have it. Since and simple.  We are wasting a Life every time someone dies.

Every time someone passes that we don’t capture in some searchable digital form, that person is condemned to hiding under a tombstone with little lasting legacy.

Sure, 2 percent will achieve fame and fortune – and some small percentage of that may write a book.  But, so what?  What about the real people – the people that served lunch, fixed plumbing, built homes, patched pot holes, picked up the garbage – yet still had a ready smile and a warm heart?

Do you have the first clue how those people were wired?  (Hint’ They may not have a FB page.)

I see this as one  of those ideas where everyone wins.

Young people get to look critically at another person’s life, lessons, ups, downs and hopefully gain for themselves a new personal benchmarking reference.  How would Joe the Plumber have fixed this?  Frank the Carpenter4?  Billy the welder?  Jimmy the Truck Driver…

The older people – especially those with no offspring – could thus pass on to following generations some of what they’ve learned.  My sense is you can’t live 25,550 days (70 years) and not learn a few unique things.  Where’s the effort to capture it?

We have taken the “conventional approach” to knowledge collection far too long.  Part of the Information Revolution is the democratization of information.  We’ve seen what Top Down  knowledge preservation has done:  It’s led to a class of global billionaires who profit on the other 99 percent. Bullshit.  We need to change that.

The people we idolize don’t have the keenest minds, the purest hearts, the most sacred of exchanges.  Rather, they tend to rob ideas, stress ego-satisfaction, screw whoever they can and take as much money from others as they can.  That’s who leads us.  Look at the media.  Look at Hollywood.  Look at politicians.

No, we need to be learning from the middle.  The middle when it has time to be reflective and thoughtful.  Nursing and rest homes have something new to do besides sitting around and preparing to die.  They can become future incubators – and incredibly useful as they evolve and perfect knowledge to pass on so that others don’t take so long to fail and restart life on the right track.

There would be some work in structuring the stories – got to be searchable, of course.  That means demographic and personal details but not necessarily use of a last name.  No, it wouldn’t be a place to scream about someone who wronged you in 7th grade.  But it would be the place to remember standing outside Asa Mercer Junior High when Kennedy was shot.  I remember it was a cold and cloudy day, flag waving in the wind.  And a younger me wondering “Why?”

Maybe, a portion of each life story about be those “Why?” questions.  We’ve got a ton of work to do there as a planet.

Anyway, I thought it was just a damn fine idea….as good as any I’ve ever had, I think.  Well, except that crazy software over radio idea back in 1982…

Maybe something like or simply

Post comments – let me know what you think of it…and if you want to volunteer?  Sure, that’d be great, too… Curriculum, story formats and indexing ideas all welcome.

If we’re going to grow up as humans we need to hit the books.  But not the books that got us into the world of shit we’re in, locked in resource depletion and where that leads.  We need to hit the books from the middle.  And they’re out there just waiting to be transcribed.

Are you in?

Write when you get rich and before you get dead,

30 thoughts on “Coping: Seven Teaching Billion (7TB)”

  1. Unfortunately, our memories are not always accurate, especially as we age. See Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

    One aid would be to keep a life journal, but unfortunately, one’s private thoughts are not protected when it comes to litigation-ask Bob Packwood.

    The young ignore the lessons of the old because they find them irrelevant or an obstacle to what they want to achieve, which is sometimes a good thing (think racism). But the core lessons, such as how people acted, reacted and interacted
    in earlier times, is always relevant and useful because the essence of the human animal does not change.


    • “the essence of the human animal does not change”.

      Which is why teaching the classics still matters.

  2. “Best Practices”, “Tribal Knowledge” , all business terms used to improve. But not done much on everyday life.
    Used to be the parents conveyed this information to the children. This no longer happens. I still rely on things I read in “Little House on the Prairie”, many useful ideas in there, and the “Firefox Books”, which is exactly what you are talking about.

  3. One does not expect Great Zen Wisdom from a High School “shop” teacher. (Wood & metal — back when schools had such things.)

    Now the blindingly obvious nature of this bit of High Wisdom will not shock, amaze, or seem beyond you. It will seem all to simple.

    The scene:
    I was a kid in woodshop, making that same damnfool birdhouse or spice rack, as we all did. I was plane-ing off on edge of a small, flat board in the woodvise. (Spell correct won’t let me do that word right!)

    I was having a hard time, sweating bullets, the hand plane balking and fighting me on every stroke.

    My teacher, Mister Woodway (honest, no kidding) saw my distress from afar and came over to my bench to help. He gently took the plane from my hands, and dialed the “bite” down from too-thick to much less — and the work became an easy dream. I simply had the thing set to take a too-heavy slice.

    Then, he said The Great Thing. This wisdom has carried forward in my entire life for over sixty years since, and has applied as True Insight many, many times. It has applied with laser-sharpness a thousand times in every field of thought and work.

    He said, “When you’re working too hard, something’s wrong.”

    Yeah. I know. Obvious. Too simple. Trivial.

    Fine. “Let the who has ears, hear.”

    I heard. I’ve kept and used this wisdom nearly daily since.

    Keep the idea close (if you have ears) and you’ll see.

  4. I like your thinking. IMO what you are suggesting is a digital, Earthly version of the Akashic Records. It might require computing capacity like the spook farm in Utah has.

    I had interest as a child in hearing about the lives of my older family members and it was fascinating. Fortunately, my parents lived through the Great Depression on a farm as a newly married couple. They transferred as much of their practical knowledge to me as I could absorb. I learned many basic skills.

    As far as life lessons are concerned, mine were gained the hard way by observation of my family and just living it. I don’t know how having access to the proposed database would change much because the whole point of being alive on this planet to experience and learn from life. A lot of this simply can’t be absorbed by reading IMO.

  5. Hi, G –

    “Social Media has turned us into an “Output” culture. We could be an “Input” culture.”

    The thought I noticed with that statement is while it could be true, you go on to explain and justify creating more output. :)


    A wise use of the web.
    Training for the young to actually listen.

    Thoughts on structure: Provide guideline questions for the respondent to think about for a few days. Otherwise I think you will get too much top of mind emotional regret, cautionary tales, and culturally expected pablum.

    Or, do both. Do an initial general query and then ask questions for the person to think about. Come back and get the second round of thinking.

    Thoughts on this knowledge actually affecting the young: So much attention is paid to appearances and conformation to socially expected standards in the young, even before social media, that it is hard for the young to pay attention to old, ugly people. They are not ‘valid’. They have ‘failed’. The young find them embarrassing and want to stay away from them.

    Could you have listened when you were young? Your stories of very dangerous antics you got into and survived unscathed with your buddy make me cringe. I personally know a story of a couple of boys who 30 years ago, got into mischief that caused major damage, that cost one father a small fortune, and the other father lost his family business. And it isn’t hard to find stories on the web of boys dying, or disabled for life, by stupid stunts.

    I have often thought about “writing the book I wanted to read as a teen” about how life REALLY works out, and that school is a lousy predictor of success. Especially now that Dean Radin indicates that time is not as linear as we believe it is, it sounds like a good project. And yet, as I think about how to write something that the teenaged me could actually have heard and used, I’m stumped. And I was a voracious reader who also listened far, far better than my peers.

    What you are calling for transcends a mere transcription of the details, stories and lessons of a life. It could change how we relate to one another. Or at least give AI another database to use to make its decisions about us.

  7. george, I love your column but the intrusion of six or nine ads complete with text and PICTURES right in the middle of your columm annoys and befuddles me more than I can say. It has frankly taken the joy out of reading your column. I have been following you for years, but the INTRUSIVE visuals and copy in the MIDDLE of your thoughts is just well revolting. I will check back from time to time, but the joy has gone out of it with this heavy handed approach. Why not get someone you trust to take a look and give you an unbiased opinion. In mine, it reeks, totally ruins the flow of your thoughts ( and mine!). have a nice day, e.

    • Fair comment! I turned down the number of ads – it will take several days to see if it makes any difference in readability…Google only gives us so much tweaking we can do in their program…

    • I’m seeing this format on more websites. Not only that, but high coverage pop-ups that won’t go away and .gif animations that stay put just in range of your field of view. Very intrusive. I know people are just trying to monetize their time and input with their website, but I’m training myself to ignore it all. It effectively cheapens the whole website and makes it feel like clickbait — like the whole PURPOSE of the website is the ads.

      And I agree with Ellen, it makes it more much difficult to follow the author’s train of thought.

      • But it also makes it easier for the author to eat. mmm… Life is full of tradeoffs – but I did dial it back

    • The ads don’t bother me the writing is so good I just flow right through each add right onto the next riding George Runner, however you see fit

    • A while ago George taught us about Ghostry ( ad blocker ). I have seen almost no ads since.

  8. Thank you George & Urban Survival community,

    ‘7 Billion Club’ provides a unique platform to share common ground as humans, to educate & inspire. To that end my iChing mailbox sent a reminder that MIT is challenging thought leaders, such as yourself to “if you have a solution, apply before it’s too late!”

    “Solve’s four Global Challenges on Coastal Communities, Frontlines of Health, Teachers & Educators, and Work of the Future are closing for new submissions on July 1, 2018. If you have a solution, apply before it’s too late!”

      • Happy Fathers Day George,

        There are some interesting submissions there. Thank you for sharing yours, here’s to successful solutions indeed.

  9. Life should have been that Easy ;-( but it’s not! We do not fully comprehend what makes a person a person. Yes, there are theories, but don’t ignore the individual’s personal “Wu-Wu” that may have a large influence on him/her. Example, why are certain people lucky while others are not, using the same due diligence/effort?

  10. I think it’s a great and worthwhile idea. BTW I grew up in a rustic environment, no running water, no hvac. As my Mom used to put it “Four rooms and a path”. We five siblings and Mom & Dad lived just fine w/o all the “comforts”, although we did have electric and a “party line” phone.
    Problem as I see it is getting the elder folks to open up. Lots of them would rather not dredge up the past because it’s too painful.
    Also, watch out for the “big G” in monetizing your site; make sure you have a backup plan. If they disagree with your politics they’ll cut you off and not pay up what they owe. Just ask Jim Quinn over at theburningplatform .

  11. Even now, the history that is available, is rarely accessed by most people, whether for lack of interest, or because of a deliberate action making the teaching of said history not understandable.

    People must be taught (or guided) in their pursuit of knowledge.

  12. At the risk of being viewed as “negative Nancy”…. I wonder how many of the youth actually think they can learn anything from my generation. I know there are exceptions and I guess if 1% take away anything it would be worth the effort.

    • Experience says people are very interested in education if they can figure a way to use it to their own benefit.

      Don’t know if you read my posting, but clarifies a bit more than I put in the column.

  13. Have spent considerable time with a couple fortune 500 CEOs and lots of people with many titles and letters behind their name over the years. The person I’d most like to talk to again was the janitor at my school half a century ago. He was the grandson of slaves, WW2 vet, living in the south. He was also a true sage. I had no idea until recently when recalling the things he would say. Get misty just thinking about him and realizing the glow he had.

    There are precious few who manage to separate the diamonds from the dung.

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