Axel Heyst's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:29 am
I submit that the number of people who are ahead of the curve will always be [too] small.
Agreed.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Interesting points raised. I admit my focus on community could be due to my ENFP personality. Community building, leadership skills, etc come fairly naturally to me and so I have a natural focus on those things. That said, I do think some form of mutual aid will be important in the coming years.

@jacob I've heard of Lovelock, but not Randers, Meadows, Vogt, or Leopold. Could you provide some context or a link?

Interesting point about intentional communities and Westerners too. This is something I've been wanting to look into more - from what I've read they tend to have a high failure rate, but the ones that succeeded in the 60s are still running and just sort of quietly faded into the background.

I've experienced a couple situations similar to communal living - I spent a couple nights in a squat in the Netherlands, where a bunch of artists started squatting in an abandoned factory. It was a fascinating place, but one of the problems they suffered from was the lack of any real enforcement apparatus for the decisions the community made. People would move in as a last-ditch effort to escape homelessness, addiction, etc, then not care about any of the rules the community set for itself. So AxelHeyst's point about people seeing "community" as a quick solution for all their problems is definitely a realistic one.

The other place I've experienced that is when I volunteered at a meditation center for a month last year. This place ran much more smoothly, and definitely felt like a functional commune. To volunteer there you had to have attended a 10 day silent meditation course, which was very emotionally and psychologically challenging, so there was a sort of vetting process built in to avoid the problems above. Additionally, we had 3 hours of meditation scheduled per day, which I felt was important for maintaining social harmony.

I read that utopian communities that had an explicitly religious focus (e.g. the Shakers) tended to outlast secular ones. Although the center was not explicitly religious, perhaps a sense of shared spirituality is useful in stabilizing things.

jacob
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by jacob »

@RF - Try this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/0813586518/ ... it's not really about what it says in the description but more about the intentional communities that worked (survivor bias?). IMHO, not worth the $100+ price tag but if you can get it at the lib... For the others, just google or wiki them.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

RoamingFrancis wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:45 pm
@jacob I've heard of Lovelock, but not Randers, Meadows, Vogt, or Leopold. Could you provide some context or a link?
William Vogt. Read "The Wizard and the Prophet" for context. He was arguing about carrying capacity in the early 20th century. Here's a link:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... -interview

Meadows: Read "Limits to Growth", or about it, and about Meadow's changing tune over the years from initial publication.

Aldous Leopold, most famous for "A Sand County Almanac".

Randers, co-author of Limits to Growth.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

RoamingFrancis wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:45 pm
That said, I do think some form of mutual aid will be important in the coming years.
I completely agree. I just think the vast majority of, I'll keep it to my country, Americans, are going to massively screw it up, for years and years, until they (we) figure it out. I don't feel compelled to hurl my own body in to that particular meat grinder of a learning curve. Finding a community of people who are at your same level of competence, and know how to keep out the flailers who are still whining about the good ol days of xbox and netflix, will be a neat trick. (That came out kinda elitist, didn't it? I've been reading too many of Jacob's posts :D )

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Thanks for the recommendations and yeah, I doubt we'll have a functional mutual aid system for a long time.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Everyone's individual personality will lend them towards different templates for solutions to problems. I do not think the "community" solution as whole should be completely discarded. I think the reason intentional communities fail is because of the way they are structured. Ie, mainly small scale socialist in nature. This is probably because those on the outer edge of the "green" curve tend to think in those terms. On the other end there is the "prepper", on the outer edge of individualistic curve. These people tend to go too far the other way, thinking all of the coming problems can be solved internally. Let the foolish masses suffer.

ERE 1.0 provided a solution space for both of these. Independence and interdependence can effectively work as web for resilience, when structured properly. I think @axelhysts description of it solving for problems most people don't see is brilliantly accurate. This is why ERE is mostly limited to the aforementioned types of people. It was sold by @jacob as "early retirement", perhaps too effectively? This is why it morphed into FIRE.... Overton window, discounting future problems, yada, yada, yada, all been discussed before. So while I think the ERE wheaton scale very accurately provides guidance to someone like me, coming from FIRE to ERE, it doesn't necessarily do a very good job for people coming from the fringes of "prepper" and "green". Which are a huge percentage of the higher Wheaton level people on this forum.
AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:12 am
Also, some folks dream about independence from the system they see as so destructive, and some people have such a strong vision of it, but aren't able to connect the dots, they have a pleasure-seeking motivation to change. I mean, most people have a combination of both pain-avoidance and pleasure-seeking motivations to drive change.
This very much describes why I began attempting to move beyond Wheaton level 5 thinking. I want my cake and want to eat it. Why can't I live a better, more pleasurable life, while simultaneously removing myself as much as possible from a broken system?

Anyway, my overall point is that if you plant your flag in the world, you'll very likely find some people with similar ideas and concepts to work with. However, each group will have their own problems to sort out. You can't have a socialist green community while still allowing complete social freedom. Edit: Sometimes it's best to work with people who have planted a different flag.

Personally, I see small town US as a potentially successful template for future problems. A group of relatively independent individuals who work together to overcome common adversities. Each doing their own part. This template, however, comes with some pretty strong social norms that need to be adhered to, no baggage allowed, so this is likely not what the "green" people want and requires too much sharing for the "preppers".

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:54 pm
...
I agree, well said, and I appreciate the comment about flag planting. That's an important dynamic to consider.

To be clear, I'm not discarding community at all, rather, I'm situating my approach to it in an intentional and specific point in time. Right now, I need to focus on leveling myself up so I could show up to a community as a useful person. From personal experience, it's kinda embarrassing to show your face at a permaculture-inspired community and not know the first thing about growing stuff in the dirt.

Also, I suspect that too many communities don't consider time and transition in their visions. By that I mean, they only consider where they want to be, and they try to build that. What they skip is observing where they are, and figuring out a plan *through time* to get to where they want to be. If their ideals are greenie/socialistic, they might try to start with income sharing, all meals are group, abolish property ownership, and we all sleep in the bunkhouse together while om'ing. They skip the observation that "Oh hey, we all actually are coming straight from the suburbs, and that guy makes $200k and that guy makes $20k, implementing our ultimate vision tomorrow might be too fast, so let's start incrementally."

In The Ecotechnic Future, John Michael Greer talks about his idea for how civilization is going to go through several (four?) phases following industrial society. Industrial > Scarcity Industrialism > Salvage Society > Ecotechnic Society. What I like about that is the notion that we're not all of a sudden going to pick up the skills *as a society* to transition straight in to being ecotechnic badasses. I think there's a parallel to consider when it comes to community design. Yes, the ultimate vision might be, for a particular group of people, complete decoupling from industrial society. But right now, becoming adept at culling inputs from waste streams of industrial society to grow and build the community, granting it time to work out the skills of becoming fully decoupled, might be a decent enough plan.

Also, it's easy to criticize communities and monday-morning quarterback them. Building community is difficult on so many dimensions (physical, financial, emotional, spiritual, social, political...) Their failures (and occasional successes) are an invaluable resource to learn from.

And, after reading a stack of books on community, and having a small toe-dip in to that world last year, I've concluded I'm not ready for it, and I have some of my own stuff to sort out first. Like getting to Wheaton 7 and "completely internalizing ERE" (Jacob), decoupling my individual life from industrial society a bit. My thoughts on community might be completely different at that point.

Although I did initiate "house meetings" here at the shelter-in-place homestead last week :D.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Some of what I've been up to during lockdown
I finally built a compost pile.
Image

I improved the water system in my rig. Previously I just had the inlet hose going from the foot pump in to the top of the fusti tnk I use as a fresh water tank. That exposed the inside of the pipe to wet/dry conditions, allowing for mold growth. Not great. So I finally installed the spigot, got the fittings I needed to go from spigot size to pump inlet size, and got it all squared away. I can keep the lid on my tank mostly closed now, and it should be much harder for mold to grow in there. As a bonus, the smaller diameter hose and spigot serves as a flow limiter - before, the water would kinda goosh/splash out of my faucet.
Image


I finally built my outside air inlet heater, that I got the parts for last fall.
Image

I started with a hole in my wall (with a vent cap on the outside). A vent fan on top pulls air in through this sidewall hole, through my living space, and out the top.

If I close the top vent, the CO2 levels build up to well above recommended levels. If I run my propane heater, CO levels build. It's a tiny space (5.5'x12.5', 1.8m x 4m).

So I need to run that fan for ventilation. Sometimes, though, it's really cold outside. Pulling 5F (I dunno, -15C?) air in turns it in to an icebox.

So I gathered the following parts:
  • A liquid cooling radiator for computer nerds. It's just a coil and a little CPU fan.
  • A tea heater (300w). It's just an electric resistance immersion heater.
  • Some tubing.
  • A cardboard box.
  • An ammo can.
  • some scrap insulation.
  • Some duct tape.
  • A temp controller thingy. You can set the target temp and deadband for cooling and heating modes, and then plug in you heating equipment to the one plug nad your cooling equipment in to the other plug. (I only have heating equipment, the tea heater).
The box the coil came in happened to be the perfect size to function as on Outdoor Air intake plenum. I cut some holes in in and taped the cooling coil in to it, then taped it to my wall covering the inlet hole.

This draws my batteries down pretty quick, but as long as days are sunny, I'm good. If days aren't sunny... I don't run it, and it gets cold in there. Such is vanlife. I spend most of my time in places where its sunny AF even in winter, and my batteries and panels are "oversized" for the size of my rig.

theanimal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by theanimal »

What a beautiful area. Nice pictures!

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

theanimal wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:23 pm
What a beautiful area. Nice pictures!
Thanks! Yeah, not a bad view for an actual pile of shit. I've got a pretty cushy lockdown situation.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

I think small-town America could be a good model, depending on the prevailing social norms. I certainly would not want religious fundamentalism or homophobia to be commonplace attitudes. Maybe that's just an unfair stereotype of rural America though.

Beautiful land out there.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I've been tinkering with my own version of the Wheaton Levels Chart for the past two months, as re-creating and re-synthesizing material is one way I learn. I re-created the original chart, as well as adding bits and pieces of discussion from across the forum I came across. I also recently added a column (SHTF) that's relevant to coronavirus. I thought I'd post it here as potentially interesting, and as a record of part of my process for "fully internalizing ERE".

Let's see if it's still readable with the image size constraints....
Image

Edit: Okay so the image above isn't readable, I'll leave it as a thumbnail preview, but if you click this link [images.squarespace-cdn.com] you can view it at a readable resolution.

Final edit for now: It just occurred to me I should probably put another moat in between 7 and 8 to reflect recent discussions...

black_son_of_gray
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by black_son_of_gray »

I've been enjoying the last couple pages of discussion!

With respect to ERE 2.0/Wheaton Level 8+, this has been bouncing around in my head for a while (from a discussion a few months back in my journal):
jacob wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:12 pm
Maybe consider that Wheaton levels also parallel Maslow's pyramid. While the top takes different forms, it's predicated on an existing foundation.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/fulfillment.html
jacob wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:01 am
In terms of Maslow, I put the philosophical framework at the top. This also means that to me, it's comprehensive. ERE is me---or the best description I have of me in the same way that INTJ is the best description of some of you guys. Being as the "art" is "living" and "aesthetics" is "efficient lifestyle design", this also happens to take care of the lower levels. However, I don't think one gets to the top level before having dealt with the lower levels of Maslow.
I've started to think of Level 7 as being "self-actualized" in an economic/ecological sense, meaning that there is no discord or dissonance between your economic/ecological values and how you live your life and participate in society. To that extent, "achieving" Level 7 requires personal, inward growth and harmonizing your own values and lifestyle with the systems outside of you.

Best I can figure, moving beyond that (Level 8 or ERE 2.0??) requires a shift in perspective away from the self and towards others, but with some important, if not subtle points:
  • When it comes to community, it's not about exerting control. It's about catalyzing.
  • It's one hierarchical level higher than yourself and your own systems. It's how you and your systems interact with other people and their systems (ideally with catalytic reactions between them). (Bateson?)
  • The Wheaton 8 operators that I'm aware of (Greenfield, Boyle) all seem to have this catalytic community relationship, where there is a level of participation and inspiration directed at the community level, but no controlling directives or mandates.
  • This seems to parallel Kegan levels. Wheaton 7 roughly equal to Kegan 4 = self-authoring, while Wheaton 8 equal to Kegan 5 = self-transforming. The shift moves from "I am" my Level 7 system (subject focus) to "I have" my Level 7 system, but it is just an object interacting with other people's systems in some higher-order meta-system. So then how do I navigate that higher-order meta-system (society being a system of systems) to achieve broader goals?
  • You've left Plato's cave and come to terms with the existence of the cave. Now, how do you choose to interact with those still stuck in the cave? How do you choose to interact with those that have also left the cave? (Again, look at how Greenfield and Boyle live their lives and interact with others.)
Anyway, that's a thought purge from me on the topic. I'm sure I'm wrong on interpretation/references somewhere in there, so feel free to set me straight. :)

jacob
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by jacob »

I still don't see "community" as the underlying framework or the goal to strive for in a meta-framework that includes it. I just think of community as one component or one kind of capital for lack of a much better word. Focusing on community as a solution is equally wrong to focusing on money/financial independence as the end goal or vector. Why the desired jump in the direction of "people" from W7 to W8?

I consider the ERE forums my de facto community. I'd like to think that I'm guiding its direction more so than I'm enforcing it. Admittedly, it's one thing to be admin of a forum and quite another thing to be the leader (whether direct or indirect) of a small town. Nevertheless, ERE has a specific role in the greater sphere of things (such as FIRE) and I'm playing that role. Anyway, I think I'm running a pretty smooth operation here [on the forum]. IRL, while I think I have a similar understanding of dealing with different and sometimes difficult people in groups, I'm far from being as able to handle it on a tactical/verbal level compared to the strategic/written approach taken here.

However, in terms of being part of the whole, it's necessary to acknowledge that there's more to life/living than being in complete harmony with other humans---socially enlightened if you will. There's also living in concordance with natural limits, meaning (whatever that means), ...

This is what I mean by "moral knowledge". There's more to life than striving for Kegan5 for example. In the sense that I do not consider myself Wheaton8, it's because I have not been willing to go all the way in terms of moral knowledge. It's unlikely you'll see me cut all ties to industrial civilization (e.g. no money, no bank account, no health insurance, no computer, ...) even if that is the morality that what I know implores.

black_son_of_gray
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by black_son_of_gray »

Indeed, human society is just another system and certainly not the only system in consideration.

ETA: hard to find the right words to characterize the "otherness" that I've got in my mind.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:41 pm
Why the desired jump in the direction of "people" from W7 to W8?
Earlier...
AxelHeyst wrote:I'm putting down a guess here that social, community, and leadership skills play a larger role in ERE2.0/Wheaton 8+ than they do in ERE1.0/Wheaton<=7.
Well I got a faster answer to my guess than I was expecting. :lol:

I'm so far from W7 I don't think any of my thoughts on the last few posts are worth posting. I'm happy to lurk in my own journal. For what it's worth, I think "community", understood and belongingness, is a hole in a lot of modern's souls these days. Perhaps those of us who have recognized that hole in ourselves (*raises hand*) are overeager to seek the fulfillment of it from places that aren't appropriate vectors of it.

That said, I think the intersection between community and ERE is extremely interesting.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

jacob wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:41 pm
Focusing on community as a solution is equally wrong to focusing on money/financial independence as the end goal or vector. Why the desired jump in the direction of "people" from W7 to W8?
My thought on this is that "people" or "community" solves for the human problem. Humans have individual cultures, viewpoints, preferences, and talents.

Today, most folks (ie wheaton 0-3) solve for our human factors through the specialized petroleum based economy. Because it's the "cheapest" way to do so from a financial standpoint. ie, I don't like to garden, or learn about gardening, or don't have a green thumb. So instead I can buy my vegetables at Walmart. A Wheaton 4-5 can do this much more efficiently by only buying local, in season produce for much lower cost and adapting meals based on price and availability. They fill in the gap with their preference for learning cooking skills. However, they still dependent on the "broken" economy.

Wheaton 6-7, in the same circumstances (ie can not, or not willing to garden), can see the complex system behind their costco vegetables and realize how fragile it is. They realize it's part of a broken system. These folks can still use financial means to purchase their vegetables but only from local, organic sources that are more resilient, or they can bypass financial completely and trade services/items that are in surplus in their system. Maybe someone enjoys, has the talent, and proclivity to work on manual farm equipment and trades for local produce. IOW, these folks design alternative ways to garner what they need and fill perceived weak points in their system due to their preferences, talents, etc. They have multiple ways to get what they need. Other "people" are not the only way to do this, but it's an extremely effective way. Perhaps more effective than forcing oneself to do things they dislike, or can not do effectively due to lack of talent, preferences, or individual human resources.

Maybe a Wheaton 8 person looks at other peoples system's and view the "community" as a giant puzzle that can be put together. Taking into account the human condition of individual talents and preferences. They can also help identify the weak parts of others systems and help them fill the gaps, either with individual measures that particular human is capable of (ie knowledge or skill) or by connecting them with a different localized puzzle piece that fits their particular human situation.

Edit:tl;dr
Maybe Wheaton 8 uses not only DIY, but also DIFO (Do it for others). As they realize this inherently strengthens their personal system.

Wheaton 0-3: Increasing efficiency in working through current economy.

Wheaton 4-5: Minimizes waste stream from current economy as much as possible with DIY preferences, and skill diversification.

Wheaton 6-7: Uses the now minimized waste stream as inputs to for more DIY, utilizes waste from current economy, limits need for inputs from current economy.

Wheaton 8: Realizes surplus and waste from their system can be more effectively used by others (because humans). Works to find and strengthen "community" systems so that waste and surplus from other systems are used as efficiently as possible for new inputs into their, and other "community" systems. This would also "flow" in wheaton levels. For a 6-7 to reach an 8, they have to change thinking from DIY independance, to DIFO interdependence. The next step is directly linked with the thinking of the prior.

bigato
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by bigato »

If people don't gather in "communities" in densely-packed places like cities and still want to keep their boundaries to other people very well defined, that should give a clue about how much this hippie notion of communities is utter bullshit. It's just an eufemism for people wanting other people to do stuff for them, but not wanting to work to achieve that, nor willing to follow rules and contribute back.

What does work though, is living in small cities and villages. That does not entail any of the community living bullshit but rather requires basically being a good neighboor, making friends with whom you congregate eventually for dinner or for help, with whom you share time and work every now and then. Everyone takes care of their own shit and shared properties are kept to a minimum like roads and fences. If you don't need much, you don't need much people to work for you, you produce most of it yourself.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

@bigato
The second paragraph is the same as the small town US model I highlighted upthread. I agree completely. It's like returning to tribe based specialization. Most people are generalized producers, some better than others (or some have certain preferences) at certain things. Producers trade when it's in the best interest of both individuals. Waste or surplus from one goes to the benefit of another and visa versa to improve overall community efficiency. Any drag on the system (ie freeloaders), are quickly removed through social means. The side effect of this is that there are more social controls, some people cringe at this.

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