August 31, 2021

The Society Made Mad by Fear

The Man Made Mad by Fear

Gustave Courbet 1844

We have become a society made mad by fear. 

That is dangerous because no human does their best work whilst under the influence of fear. 

It brings out the worst in us, and in our thinking processes. Then bad things happen that wouldn't happen otherwise.

That is why I have always tried to live according to a basic rule, and that is:

"The best and most enjoyable way to navigate through life is to move without fear
Live as if there is nothing to fear."

That, and my other basic rule, have enabled me to enjoy life feeling as free and unrestrained as I can possibly be.

My second basic rule is:

"Live like the world is beautiful, the people in it are beautiful, and everything is beautiful."

When viewing the world this way, one can think more clearly, see more clearly, and realize the best in each and every moment.

If we look at the world as a fearful place that is all bad, it eventually will be that kind of place.

If, on the other hand, we live fearlessly and expecting nothing but one beautiful moment after another, that is what we tend to get. 

In my experience, anyway. 

Your results may vary, but I still recommend trying it to see what happens for yourself.

Fear has been used for eons as a way for the power-seeking to manipulate and exploit those that buy into it. 

More recently, the fear factory has been weaponized, making it all the more insidious and soul-destroying.

I am more dedicated than ever to not let myself be made mad by the fear I see in the society around me. 

It is an illusion "masking" the control hidden behind it, and it makes the world look dark and dangerous.

But I know in my heart that the world is still as beautiful as it ever was, as are the people in it. 

That is how I am choosing to see things. 

I am moving forward in beauty and without fear.

August 30, 2021

Happiest People On The Planet

Hunza Valley, Pakistan.

Who are the happiest people on Earth?

The gazillionaires?


Those that have the shiniest, fastest cars, latest cell phone, and the biggest houses?


The endless traveller?


The ones with the highest paying jobs?


The isolated, simple living Hanza people of the Himalayan highlands in Pakistan are reported to be among the healthiest, happiest, and longest living people on Earth.

This is a group of people with a much better life outcome than the populations of richer, more "advanced" areas that have been sold the story of "progress". 

And they do it without the billions and trillions of dollars sloshing around in rich nations.

By modern consumer standards one would consider them to be poor, and a conventional thinker might wonder how people living in such meagre conditions could be happy let alone live to an average age of 100 years.

Some Hunza live to be 145, and at least one researcher that lived with the Hunza for several years, said he had never heard of one of these traditional simple living people to get sick with any diseases that are common in capitalist consumer countries. 

Like cancer. 

No cancer, unlike in, say, an advanced country like my own.

"Researchers estimated that there would be 225,800 new cancer cases and 83,300 cancer deaths in Canada in 2020. (The number of estimated new cases does not include non-melanoma skin cancer cases.)"

It gives one the feeling that everything we have been told is a lie. 

Perhaps working and shopping ourselves to death is not the way to go?

I'm with the Hunza. I must admit, though, that it is hard for this consumer-raised westerner to think that at almost 60, if I were a Hunza, I might not be even half way through my lifespan yet. 

Capitalist consumerism kills. I think we can say that with total certainty. 

All of the working, shopping, endless weary travelling, and general material excess is for naught if all it does is create unhappiness and hasten an early death.

What if we all lived as simply and happily as the Hunza? 

Could we, in a more natural, simple state, also live extra long happy lives? 

I'm have been trying, and it has been working out for me so far. We will see how it all works out over the next 60 or 70 years.

My goal is to be as happy as the Hunza, regardless of how long I am around.

August 29, 2021

If Linda Can't Go To The Garden

Our garden is not far from our house. But it is still difficult for me to get Linda to it. 

The rough ground makes for a bumpy ride in a wheelchair, and it is a challenge for me to push her there and back. 

Plus, there are ticks out there. That's all she needs, another neurological disease (Lyme).

This year I thought, "if Linda can't go to the garden, bring the garden to Linda."

So instead of planting exclusively in our raised bed, I expanded our growing space by amending bits of soil next to the house.

Along the front porch where we like to sit and enjoy shade early on a hot day, or a summer sunset in the evening, I planted peas and kale. 

Some of the kale was from second year plants that I wanted out of the raised bed, and they have been flowering all summer. Their profuse and dainty yellow flowers attract both bumble bees and hummingbirds.

There is a small triangle of soil in front of our kitchen window in which I planted purple pole beans and trailing nasturtiums. 

These have climbed the stick structure I built for them, so while in the house we have watched them flourish, along with the big bumble bees that love the purple pole bean flowers.

The dream is to have a huge, fully accessible garden at some point in the future. In the meantime, bringing the garden to Linda is the way to go.

August 26, 2021

Happiness Under Your Feet

Where is happiness to be found? That is the bazillion dollar question.

Here are a few more questions I have.

Is happiness to be found within ourselves, or is it somewhere outside?

Is it free, or do you have to buy it?

Is there enough for everyone, or is it a rare commodity available only to those that can afford it?

And finally I ask, "Do we have to look for happiness far away, or can we find it under our very feet?"


I took all the pictures in this post. 

They are all either in and around our home, or within a short bike ride from where we have lived in southwest Nova Scotia since 2014.

August 23, 2021

We Are Accumulation-Averse

Linda and I are accumulation averse. We are perpetually wary of letting anything into our personal space, whether it was bought or free.

In a system that pushes us to accumulate ceaselessly and a rapid rate, we must be suspicious gatekeepers at the doorway to our homes, the sacred space of simplicity. 

Halt! What goes there?

This goes doubly, Linda points out, if we are talking about any products that have anything to do with body maintenance, or body image, including duds like processed/fast foods, cheap, throw-away clothing, and pretty much anything that has to do with grooming.

Nothing gets past our front door until we have conducted a thorough grilling of the product (and the company that makes it).

Will the thing make our life better? How? For how long? How much maintenance is needed? How often will we use it? How much space will it take up?

Is the manufacturer engaged in a sustainable, value-added environment in which workers rights are respected? Are its source materials ethically and sustainably harvested?

In the end, the question has to be for every little thing that crosses our threshold, 

"Will this product/thing/object enhance or detract from our life force and that of our planet?"

Very, very few things make the cut, and successfully gain access to our simple, sparse home. 

As it should be. 

A person needs remarkably little to live a happy, contented life. 

Everything else is a lie and should be strongly opposed.

August 20, 2021

The Book That Changed Our Lives

Linda and I have read many books over the years. Many have had a profound effect on us, whether the books were fiction or non-fiction. However, one book in particular stands out.

It was a tiny little book that fit in the palm of the hand. But its diminutive size hid the massive quantity of wisdom held within.

The book I refer to is Shakti Gawain's "Reflection in the Light - Daily Thoughts and Affirmations". 

We picked it up from a used book store many (many) years ago when we lived in Edmonton, Alberta, a city of about one million people.

Within the pages of the book we found the stimulus to change our lives in order to live more simply, authentically, creatively, and in the moment. 

We read it daily, meditating on each and every one of the 365 thoughts and affirmations one at a time, and could feel it assisting us on our path forward towards the life we wanted to live. 

It was wonderful and inspirational support from a compassionate and wise teacher, and it changed the way we thought and lived.

Shakti's book helped us to see the world for what it was, and tap into the power of positive affirmations.

It changed our lives in unexpected ways, and we were able many years later to thank the person that made it available to us.

At the time Linda and I were looking for someone to sublet our housing coop unit for a year as we adventured during a year off work.

A woman was introduced to us by one of our coop neighbours. When the woman told us her name, Linda recognized it. 

I went and retrieved the book, opened it up, and looked at the name on the sticky label applied inside the front cover.

The name in the book? Laurie F. 

The name of the person at our door interested in subletting our coop unit? 

Yes, the very same Laurie F. 

"That was my book!" she said excitedly, and marvelled that somehow, many years after taking it to the used book store, she was now looking at it again in our hands.

In a city of 1 million people, that book brought us together. 

Laurie and her family sublet our unit, and since during our year off we found a new place to live outside of Victoria, BC, we never moved back to the coop. 

As far as we know Laurie, her husband and son are still living there.

The Universe works in mysterious ways. And after reading Shakti, we were not too suprised at the outcome. It made sense.

It was all meant to be. 

Note: We rediscovered this tiny tome this week while doing a whirlwind declutter on a closet, and have started reading it daily once again to remind us of the wisdom inside.

It worked once before. Who knows what  will happen this time?

August 19, 2021

Digital Detox

I started a digital detox this week. My head feels better already.

Most digital detoxes are temporary breaks from screen time. For this one I wanted to permanently transform how I use the internet. 

It has been straight forward and easy.

We have never had a dumb phone, so there was nothing to do there. What I needed to do was dramatically change how I was using our computer.

If no news is good news, then lots of news is bad news, and I have been reading a lot of news since March 2020.

Worse than the news, are the comments associated with the news. Depending on where you are, comments can get pretty toxic.

When it comes to a digital detox, temporary or permanent, the best think to do is make everything you would like to avoid harder to get to.

My computer is too big to put in a container, fill with water, and put in the freezer. 

Hold on, that's credit cards. It would make using my computer a little too hard. On the other hand, if this doesn't work, perhaps I will try it.

There are other less drastic ways of making mind destroying content more difficult to link into.

Everything runs counter to this idea. The entire internet makes it as easy as possible to connect. 

Of course it does. There is important propaganda and advertising they want us to see.

So, no direct links to anything. No single click set-ups. Nothing automatic or easy.

I can still access everything I want, but only via the harder way.

It is amazing how just adding one or two steps has the ability to make things you are trying to avoid easier to stay away from.

Now I must really want to get somewhere, rather than automatically finding myself there.

One thing I am particularly happy about was deleting my Twitter account. 


It was surprisingly easy to do. 

They do, however, automatically give you a 30 day window in case you have a change of heart and wish to re-activate your account. 

That is not going to happen. Now I am counting the days to the happy outcome of denying them my attention forever.

Next I unsubscribed from everything that sends notices to my email account. 


I even quit my Google alert for "simple living" that sends links to my account on a daily basis. 

Information overload is information overload, even if it is good information.

The hard one was emptying out my Blogger Reading List. 

Over the years it has made accessing sites I enjoy very easy. Too easy. 

I thought I might keep some, but when it came right down to it I decided to let them all go.

Again, I can still visit all the sites I had on my Reading List, but it will just take a couple of extra steps. 

Having done the above, I immediately experienced the result I was looking for.

All of a sudden my relationship with my computer changed for the better. I immediately started spending less time on sites I want to avoid.

It is amazing how much other, more positive stuff I have done since.

Closets are getting decluttered, our garden is in fine form, and I find I have more time to do other things that I enjoy and are good for my mental health.

In this day of extreme toxicity, it is important to limit one's exposure to the whole mess. 

A digital detox is a great way to do it, and I highly recommend doing one as soon as possible.

August 17, 2021

Resisting Advertising Mind Manipulation

Advertising - what it looks like.

Walter Dill Scott, the original American applied psychologist, published the first book on the psychology of advertising in 1903. The world hasn't been the same since.

Scott outlined what he saw as desirable traits in a population that could be exploited by advertisers.

In his book Advertising, he suggested people were "highly suggestible and obedient", then recommended ways this could be exploited to the benefit of advertisers. 

He believed that consumers were irrational, and therefore easily influenced, and I guess he has been proven right.

Scott spent his career researching methods of social control and human motivation, and showed how people with something to sell could use these to influence consumer behaviour. 

He advised advertisers to use Direct Demand Commands in their campaigns. Such advertising will always tell you directly what to do

"Use Our Product!" 

"Don't Wait" 

"Buy Now!"

"Click here"

"Act Now"

And we all know how much fun it is to be told what to do. 

Marketing specialists help advertisers guide the consumer into and through what they call the "marketing funnel". 

Yes, that is a thing.

“A direct response ad should always demand an immediate response with a clear call-to-action that compels the prospect to take action now.” 
- Stephanie Mialki

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be manipulated and funnelled by anyone. 

The concept brings about images of cattle gates funnelling animals into an abattoir. Or children being funnelled in orderly single files into the educational meat grinder.

The Funnel is a trap. Best to run, fast, in the opposite direction.

Back to the pioneering mind controller, Scott. 

He tells early marketers that, “a human has been called the reasoning animal, but they could with greater truthfulness be called the creature of suggestion.” 

Thus begins the "funnelling" of the beauty and complexity of what it means to be human down to docile creatures plopping out of the skinny end of restricted ways of thinking.

Harry Holingworth, another early applied psychologist, also worked for the dark side. 

When advertising was in its infancy he explained that good advertising had to do four main things:

1. Grab the readers attention.
2. Focus their attention on The Message.
3. Induce the consumer internalize The Message.
4. Cause the consumer to take action and buy, buy, buy.

Advertising - what it means.

Mostly what they want to create is our obedience and compliance to them and their self-serving system.

“For me," poet Charles Bukowski said, "obedience to another is the decay of self."

Allowing ourselves to be suggestible and obedient to the consumer model of exploitation is to give up the very things that makes us who we are. 

It is inhuman to its very core. It is anti-human, and anti-life.

A human needs very little to get by, and anyone that tells us differently has dangerous, selfish motives. 

They care nothing for our happiness or the health of the planet.

We should not wait -  the only answer to the rank manipulation of our minds and wallets is to resist now, and resist hard.

August 15, 2021

Living Simply Won't Save The Planet

Hold on. Did I just hear Professor Guy McPherson say that he believes humanity may go extinct by 2030?

Holy shit, people! 

But I guess I felt something like this would happen when I began to question whether I would die of capitalist ecocide before I could die of old age.

I always knew it was bad, and presently the planet is simultaneously burning, baking, and flooding at the same time, so it really does look like my concerns were real.

McPherson is of the opinion that we have waited way too long to respond to a crisis that Casandras have been warning us of for over a century.

But people don't want to hear bad news, so all those well-meaning warning signals were discredited, banned, shunned, and humiliated into silence and obscurity. 

For decade after decade after decade. 

And now it may be too late - we may be past the tipping point.

The predicting prof. thinks we have passed the point of no return, and that it will be almost impossible to do anything about the climate crises before it runs away and destroys all life.

Going to net zero carbon will not save us. Electric cars will not save us. Shifting to renewable will not save us. Small scale nuclear will definitely not save us. 

Too late. Too late. Too late. Too late.

Extrapolating from that, it can be said that reducing our consumption will also not be effective enough to make any difference.

So, in a nutshell, voluntarily living simply won't save the planet, regardless how honourable and earnest our intentions.

But, choosing a simpler lifestyle may save us personally, and what little time we have left. 

It certainly will not hurt anything, and the simple living folks can perish with the satisfaction of knowing they at least tried to be less toxic to our life support system.

I don't know if humanity has less than a decade left, or a hundred thousand years. No one can say with any certainty.

But what if humanity's remaining years were in the single digits?

Do we really want to spend the final days  on this earthly paradise shopping and needlessly accumulating things we do not need?

Do we really want to spend our last days before extinction padding our bank accounts for purchases and recreational travel that will never happen?

At this late point in human history we live simply because that is the way to maximize on the enjoyment of life, and of the people around us. 

It is the way to make the most of the time we have left, whether that is one decade, or several.

I still hope to die peacefully in my sleep of old age.

But it is not looking good. 

It is looking like the capitalist ecocide may kill me, and everyone else, before that happens.

Whatever occurs, I am going to make the most of what years I have remaining by living simply, intentionally, and passionately.

I implore you to do the same.

August 9, 2021

Once We Were Workers

Workers vs bosses. More of us than of them.

No one says, "Consumers of the world unite". 

However, most of us know who should be coming together in a show of strength. You know, the people that make all that money for the gazillionaires.

The workers.

Economist Richard Wolf has added to my ideas about how we all became "consumers" over everything else, and it makes a lot of sense.

The label of consumer did not just replace the idea of the people as citizens, as I previously thought.

More importantly, Wolf says, it replaced the identity of the "worker". 

This is how pre-consumerist era people thought of themselves, in contrast to the others - the bosses.

"If you think of yourself as a "worker" you right away understand that you're a worker and somebody else is a boss. 
It's an identity that explains and contains in it the differences amongst us. 
"Consumer" doesn't work like that, because the boss consumes and the employee consumes. And this is an attempt to say we're all in it together... 
So "worker" is an identity in our society that leads you right to understanding our differences. 
"Consumer" tries to erase all of that." 
Richard D. Wolff

The worker designation lets us know about our capacity as important producers. It shows that we are the most important part of the capitalist enterprise. 

No workers - no profit. 

But we are all consumers. Or, we are all citizens. We are all the same, in other words.


Once we were workers, which is very different from being a boss. An owner.

We are not all the same, and we are not all on the same side.

Labelling us consumers, or even citizens, hides all of that.

August 6, 2021

Every Day Is A Good Day To Fight The System

One thing I am happy about during these turbulent times is the re-emergence of protest songs, although they have never really gone away.

However, I have noticed an increasing number of protest songs in recent years. 

That should tell us something. 

One that we have been enjoying lately is by Shungudzo, a Zimbabwean-American artist that knows about being oppressed by the system. 

She wrote her protest song during the Floydian summer of troubles, one reason she sings, "La-la-la-la, fuck the police". 

I didn't know this lyric until I looked it up because conventional radio scrubs the reality out with a dismissive bleep, so I had never heard it.

It is a strong statement, but if the police are treating ordinary people like the enemy (and increasingly they are everywhere it seems), what do they expect?

Having said that, the song has a dreamy gentle sound that shouldn't fool you, it is all protest all the time. 

"I love a harsh lyric enveloped in beautiful melodies", the artist says.


"I try to use sounds that either evoke the emotions I want to express or sounds that are so contrasting in emotion, that the words stand out more. 

For example, my song “It’s a Good Day (to fight the system)” is meant to make people feel happy, but also to empower them to fight the systems that oppress them."

It’s a Good Day (To Fight The System)

 By: Shungudzo

I woke up feelin’ great
The birds are in the trees
They’re singin’ me a melody
La-la-la-la, fuck the police
My head is on straight
My heart is in peace
My soul is incredibly
Ready to change history

It’s a good day
To fight the system
(To fight the system)
It’s a good, good, good day
Yes, a good, good, good day

When the system becomes corrupted, and corrosive to all life, fighting it and finding better alternatives becomes the duty of all Earthlings. 

That is why every day

 is a good day

 to fight the system.

And who says we can't be happy and have a bit of fun along the way? 

This revolution has music, dancing, and joy. 

"La, la, la, la, together we are fighting and changing The System. 

Together we are moving forward to a new, brighter world."

 It's a good, good, good, day.