Guilt and blame

I’ve been watching and reading various attempts at analysis of the concept of responsibility. One side advocates for “extreme ownership”: basically, everything is your fault and your responsibility to fix, because you are the only part of the world you can actually influence and change, and radiate change outwards from the center of self. The other side does the complete opposite and blames the external conditions for everything, stating that an individual is merely a product of the environment and can hardly be blamed for his actions, being little more than a deterministic automaton.

As you can imagine, my understanding of those things is more layered and nuanced.

First of all, I have to state that I don’t necessarily disagree with either side, but find them both lacking. Yes, you are the only thing over which you have full authority, and self is the necessary starting point of any change, be it positive or otherwise. And yes, the environment has an overwhelming influence that cannot be simply dismissed. As a saying goes, it’s easy to be a saint in heaven.

Truly, most people will be mere products of their environment. If they are born in a Muslim country they will be Muslim, if they are raised by atheists they will be atheists, they will adopt beliefs that make sense to them due to their experience and will act in ways that are usually a facsimile of their environment. One medieval serf is very similar to another; one medieval lord is very similar to another. People who are really different and stand out from their peers are very rare, probably in the order of one in a million. People who are able to really effect change and revolutionize the world are in the order of one in a billion.

However, that’s not important. What you are judged by are not the big and revolutionary things, such as inventing electricity or a social media platform. It’s the little things: how you addressed someone when you had the choice of kindness, cruelty or indifference. It’s not whether you were traumatized or not, but how you chose to react to your suffering: did it make you more compassionate to the suffering of others, or did you just propagate it in a form of black body radiation: you suffer, you release it by making others suffer. If you choose the latter, you can hardly call it choice, or manifestation of free will and personal sovereignty. If you do what everybody else does, does it make your actions justified, or are you just condemned as a non-entity, a NPC that executes a script? Sometimes a NPC script is to go to office, do work, go home, eat dinner. Sometimes it’s spy on enemies of the state, inform the authorities, watch them tortured and executed, eat dinner. And sometimes it’s round up people of wrong nationality or ideology, shoot them in the head, bury them in a ditch, go home, eat dinner. If there is no point at which you say “fuck this shit”, the point where you wake up from the routine of conformity and choose to be crushed rather than to comply, how the hell are you an incarnation of your soul in the first place? How can a NPC automaton incarnate a spiritual entity of a higher order? What the fuck are you, anyway?

I once had a dream where I was a thief running from the police, and I just followed the logic of the situation: run away, and when cornered, take the gun and… wait a fucking minute, am I following the logic of the situation and automatically defending myself and choosing to shoot someone just because I found myself in this position? The dream became lucid at the point where I refused the automatism of sin, and then I understood that it’s more than a dream, it was a karmic lesson. The things you choose when you don’t realize it’s a test are the most indicative of your character. The fact that you’re a peasant means you’re going to have a hard life. But choosing whether to take it out on your wife and children because you had a rough day, that’s on you.

This world is a shithole, but it’s a shithole for two reasons. First is the inherent design. The second is people.

The inherent design of the world makes you vulnerable to cold, hunger, injury, sickness, old age, and other forms of humiliation. But it’s the beings that incarnate here that can make it either much better, or much worse. If you’re a woman working alone in a field, thirst, exhaustion, heat and cold are bad enough, but whether that man passing by chooses to bring you some water and chat with you politely, and then blesses you and bids you farewell, or chooses to rape and murder you, can make all the difference. Prisons aren’t bad because of the walls, but because of the scum that lives there. Take a prison building, put saints inside and you’ll have a monastery.

So, basically, there’s plenty of blame and guilt to go around. Satan is not just a person; it’s also a state of consciousness and a type of choice. Sure, Satan designed this shithole, but I don’t think it’s possible to be here against your will. Everybody came here by choice, and the reasons for that choice vary. Some thought they could improve it. Some thought to test themselves against great hardship, to prove they have what it takes to overcome. Some, however, saw it as an opportunity to spite God and torture and destroy others in vicious hatred.

Some of the best things in this world are created by humans: arts, literature, science, spiritual literature, music, acts of love and kindness. Also, some of the worst things in this world are created by humans: torture, humiliation, subjugation of others, brutality, rape, murder, genocide, indifference and cruelty, filth and cynicism. As bad as this world is, you can choose to make it worse, or oppose it by being better. That one is up to you, and if you choose to be an asshole, or just do NPC things, you can’t use the world as a justification, because the world didn’t force you to be a cunt. It just caused you pain and humiliation, and reacting to that by being a cunt, and not by praising God because He is different and better than this world, that’s on you.

American economy collapse

What I need to point out is that the primary factor in all my assessments about gold, silver and so on is the state of the American economy. Let me put it in very clear terms. American economy is clinically dead and on life support, and we’re waiting for something to happen that will make it apparent to all, and then all hell will break loose.

What’s currently going on there is the endgame of the fallacious thinking that stock market is the true indicator of the state of the economy. It is not, because this indicator has been gamed for decades. Basically, it’s all smoke and mirrors, or to be exact, an artifact produced by firing competent people who “cost company money” because they are doing research and development, and taking huge low-interest loans (after using up cash reserves) to buy back own stock, which of course raises the stock price into the sky, but the actual value of the company decreases because it has less cash reserves, more debt and less competent people to do the actual work. This policy became the best way for companies to quickly enrich the shareholders and is the reason why the managers who do it receive such stellar bonuses. Unfortunately, as a result of this practice the whole American economy now consists of pencil pushers and “financial experts”, while the actual work is done elsewhere.

So, everybody who points out their stock market to prove that American economy is doing great is selling you bullshit. All of that money basically enriches a very thin layer of people while the actual companies are empoverished at an exponential rate, and it’s contageous because when one company starts doing it the others have to follow in order to stay competitive. And since the stock market valuation is used as one of the legs of the currency backing (along with the mortgages and gold reserves), this means that all those huge amounts of money printed have no actual backing, because the stock prices were inflated by financial trickery and not an actual rise in fundamentals.

Boeing is a good example: it achieved great stock prices by firing thousands of engineers, to the point where it is now in serious shit because, guess what, its plane was engineered poorly. Also, its liabilities are several billions greater than its assets. Will it be the bankruptcy of Boeing or some other fortune 500 company that starts the avalanche, doesn’t really matter, because they are all profoundly fucked and it’s only a matter of time before this bubble pops, and when it pops, it’s the end for America, because there can be no recovery from this, because it’s the entire structure that’s rotten: the society, the economy, the politics, and the young people who should pull this off are snowflakes who spend their time trying to figure out their gender.

Metal buying strategy

Gold and silver are getting out of the slump again, so that’s good.

I’ve been buying silver like crazy for the last, what, six months or so, and I think I’m at the point where I’m good if the prices suddenly explode; I have enough of an amplifier to actually matter. When I felt I don’t have enough silver, I went for it full throttle, but now I’m slowing down and adding physical gold to my monthly purchase strategy. Still buying silver, just not as heavily.

So far, gold proved to be a better investment than silver, but that’s expected. My predictions were always that gold is going to outperform silver up to the point where it reaches peak price and almost zero availability. Then, silver is going to rise to match and stop somewhere around scarcity equillibrium. That means I had to buy silver while it’s cheap, because it would not create enough of an amplifier if I went for it after the price had already climbed; also, there is so little metal actually available on the market, I might find myself in a situation where I want to buy, only to find myself facing empty shelves, and nobody selling. That’s the trick with this game: you must anticipate and buy when nobody thinks it’s a good idea, because when everybody thinks it’s a good idea, that train had already left the station. And when everybody goes completely crazy about it going vertical forever and people on the street start talking about silver being a no-brainer, it is probably a good time to start carefully heading toward the exit. Which brings us to the current state of the stock market. I’ve seen all this before, somewhere around 2007.

Electric cars

In the recent years we’ve been bombarded by propaganda trying to shove electric cars down our throat, regardless of the fact that nobody really wants them, so I’ll write some things about that.

First of all, I have to say that I actually like electric cars as a concept. The electric motor is much more reliable and easy to maintain than the internal combustion engine. It also has excellent performance curve. My problem is with other things: first, the Li-ion battery is simply unfit for purpose. It decays after a few years, which is a problem since it’s the most expensive part of the car. It uses up Lithium, which is a very rare element that has to be mined and transported across huge distances, it’s a much more limited finite resource than petroleum, the batteries pose an inherent fire hazard which increases with age, use and mechanical damage, in order to power a car a battery needs to have huge capacity, and in order to charge such a huge battery you need either lots of time, or you need to shove an incredible amount of amps into the battery in a very short period of time, in your garage during the night, and this makes me uneasy, because if something goes wrong you have an incredibly deadly mixture of high current, dangerous chemistry and fire. Some of the battery issues can be resolved in the future, but we are not there yet. Right now the towing companies outright refuse to deal with wrecked electric cars because they are such a hazard.

Also, the electric cars are incredibly uneconomical. They cost more and do less. Apparently, most people agree with me since adoption of electric cars was not widespread, outside the circle of rich hipsters at least. You see, there’s a much more ecological and economical option: get a diesel with a modern particle filter and you get something that goes fast, sips fuel, is so low emission it actually beats most sources of electricity and certainly beats the environmental impact of Li-ion batteries, and is comparatively a bargain. Which is why the eco-nutcases are now working to badmouth and eventually ban diesel. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually in favour of outlawing the old diesel shitboxes that leave black clouds of suffocation behind them, but we are talking about cars that don’t have particle filters. Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesels are not only not a problem, they are actually the best solution available. Everybody should drive those and the ecological impact of cars would drop to the point of background noise. Also, natural gas makes great sense as fuel, since it’s abundant and cheap, and you can easily convert gasoline engines to run on it and reduce their environmental impact, not on the combustion side, but on the oil refinery side of the equation.

But when we get to the energy supply side of things, it’s not like electricity is actually an abundant resource. In fact, I don’t see additional nuclear power plants being built to offset the expected increase in power consumption caused by the electric cars. Everybody talks about those stupid windmills that are the most useless and dirty power source of all time, and solar panels which are basically toxic waste, don’t work in most places for the majority of time, and work only at the time of day when people don’t charge their electric cars; the peak expected consumption would be over night. And oh yeah, neither the windmills nor the solar panels are recyclable. It’s just terrible landfill fodder, which makes “ecological” electricity sources terrible for the environment.

Which is why I expect the following to take place.

Now it’s “diesel is nasty, has to be banned, electric cars are pure and clean and wonderful”. Let’s say everybody switches to electric cars. Then it will be “electric cars consume more power in a day than a normal household consumes in a year, how dare you drive those pigs!”, “electric cars use components sourced from poor countries/using child labour/consuming finite resources, you should all feel guilty and kill yourselves for driving them”, and so on, ad nauseam. The next step would obviously be to restrict private vehicle ownership and push us to public transportation, which would of course be as crowded as those Japanese bullet trains where people are packed as sardines in a can. Which brings us to the next step, where the eco-freaks will simply kill us all because that solves all problems.

Intermittent freakouts

Whenever there’s a political/military crisis, like that current one with Iran, YouTube starts recommending survival, prepping, EDC and similar videos, as if the level of freaking out in the general population had temporarily exceeded the background noise level at which it resides in normal circumstances. And it’s actually funny, because if your response to a potential world war is to buy a “survival knife” or something else “tactical” (more accurately, “tacticool”), or if you think you’ll survive a SHTF event by getting a “bug-out bag” and going to the woods, you really do have a problem.

But the EDC (every day carry) videos did make me think; what is it that I carry with me every day, and, as a corollary, what objects do I need so much that I would replace them immediately if lost or destroyed. And, as a further corollary, what is a dependency list of things one would run out of in a collapse scenario; things you would need to stock up on, or go hunting for if you ran out.

So let me go through the process slowly, because I’m usually quick to jump to conclusions and my thought processes remain unclear.

I recently had a nasty little situation. I have a habit of going for long walks in the nearby hills, on trekking roads, and there isn’t really any mobile network coverage, since the terrain is basically canyons and hills. A few kilometers in, on a steep climb, I renewed a poorly healed ankle injury. It was surprisingly nasty, because it felt as if I had a nail driven up my tibia, instead of having a foot; I couldn’t even stand on that leg. Since I couldn’t walk properly, I thought of making a crutch out of a branch or something, and then I saw that I left my Swiss army knife in another jacket. So I was few kilometers in, on steep terrain, injured, no cell coverage, and the temperature was barely above freezing. It’s a very unlikely combination of things, but that’s exactly how you get fucked, and it’s also how we get to the concept of EDC – I didn’t have my pocket knife with me at the only time in years that I actually needed it. It didn’t take a global apocalyptic event for me to possibly need to improvise a crutch, or even make a fire in the forest if I couldn’t walk and I got cold. In a few hours it would get unpleasant. I would also need water, but fortunately I always carry a water bottle with me into the woods. It never came to really being an emergency; I rested my ankle for a few minutes, discovered that it was a specific motion that aggravated the injury and learned to limp in a way that didn’t hurt, and I slowly got to the car. During that slow walk home, I decided I’ll buy enough pocket knives that I always have one with me because they’ll be in every jacket I own. That damn thing would easily solve a problem that almost happened. So, yes, my normal EDC/survival gear is very simple. A water bottle, paper handkerchiefs, a Victorinox Huntsman pocket knife, a butane lighter, an iPhone and a can of pepper spray (because of dogs and wild boars). This combination gives me tools to work with wood in an emergency, it gives me light (iPhone), fire and defense against possibly rabid wildlife; I know the normal animals are unlikely to bother me. Yes, the boars are extremely common, and I’ve seen tracks everywhere, and they actually harass people in the nearby villages, so it’s not just a theoretical danger. They roam around in large packs and the hunters don’t seem to be doing anything about it because they are protected by some law. I actually photographed a dead boar in a creek at one point.

Also, I occasionally pass by some very weird specimens of human wildlife. Nothing threatening so far, but the idea of stumbling upon a drug deal in progress with a camera in hand is very unpleasant. They might think I took a picture. You can imagine the problem. I would feel safer if I could carry a gun, but this is Croatia, and gun ownership is so regulated I actually feel safer without one, because owning it would place me on a state-maintained list I would rather not be on, if I can help it. That’s one thing where America has a big advantage; there, I wouldn’t have to explain why I’m carrying a gun in a forest full of boars and, potentially, dangerous criminals. Although, things seem to be changing there, and not in a good way.

As you can see, considering what I do almost on a daily basis, my approach to safety equipment is rather minimalistic, because my assumption is that it will always be easier to walk home or call for help than to create a shelter and make fire in an emergency; the distances are simply not that great. Also, I did encounter wildlife (foxes and deer, mostly), even at very close proximity, but nothing bothered me and was actually very happy to get away in a hurry. In theory, I could justify carrying all kinds of survival gear for unlikely emergencies, but in reality, a water bottle, pepper spray, pocket knife, lighter, lip balm, paper handkerchiefs and a phone are what I actually have with me.

What I find interesting is that some people will find my choice of things to carry excessive, while others will find it extremely insufficient. There seem to be two main schools of thought: the first is that noting bad will happen if you have pink thoughts throughout life, and the second is that Murphy was an optimist and all kinds of shit will eventually happen if you’re here long enough. I’m somewhere in the middle: there’s a matter of probability. I prepare for probable events. It’s very probable that I’ll have to blow my nose, be thirsty, have to pee, pick mushrooms or chestnuts in season, and change clothes because I’m sweaty in the summer. It’s improbable, but possible that I’ll at one point have to deal with hostile wildlife, or cut off a branch and shape it to fit my needs. It is very unlikely, but still in the realm of possibility, that I will have to light a fire and camp in the woods because I’m too injured to walk to the car, or drive, and there’s no cellphone coverage, so I’ll basically have to wait until someone stumbles upon me and walks to the point where he can call the mountain rescue service. That last one looks incredibly improbable, because I’ve been walking in those woods for literally decades, in all kinds of weather, and I never got even close to being hurt, until that situation a few days ago, when I suddenly couldn’t walk, kilometers into the woods, and with no signal on the phone, because canyon. So, basically, things never happen, until they do, and then you’re suddenly ten percent away from the worst case scenario and things were perfectly fine and routine minutes ago.

I don’t prepare for unrealistic or unsurvivable scenarios. Yes, there’s a scenario where I stumble upon a crime in progress, deep in the woods, and yes, bodies were disposed of in several cases, very close to the places where I walk, and the criminals in question might simply decide not to risk a witness and shoot me. That’s one of those “shit happens” scenarios where not even a gun would be likely to save me, and there’s no point in preparing for something that’s both very unlikely and very unsurvivable. It’s like preparing for a meteor strike directly on your house; pointless. If that happens, it means it’s your time to die and that’s it. But there’s a grey area between not preparing for extreme scenarios, and not preparing for anything. There are unlikely scenarios that can be solved with very small additions to the content of my pockets, and that’s what I’m quite willing to do. That little can of pepper spray is actually very comforting when you hear something big moving through the woods close to you. Sure, it usually turns out to be a deer in a hurry, very much minding its own business, but it could be a rabid fox going straight for my throat. I’ve seen a video of a rabid fox attack, and that was fucking scary. It doesn’t go away, it doesn’t get afraid, it isn’t deterred when you hit it, it just attacks, again and again, until it’s dead. I don’t know what a rabid boar would do, and I don’t really care to find out.

I don’t care if someone thinks I’m underprepared, or taking excessive risks. That’s fine; everybody has his own threshold of risk tolerance; some wouldn’t dare to ever go into the woods, some wouldn’t even carry water or a phone. To each his own. However, I must admit I am disturbed by those people who think that no preparations of any kind could ever be valid. Every fucking year the mountain rescue service (which BTW is excellent here in Croatia) has to get people out of trouble because they went hiking into dangerous mountain terrain with flip-flops, no water and in bad weather. Yes, they actually do that, especially the tourists of the hipster or hippie variety, who think nature is that wonderful thing that would never harm you if you only think positive.


I encountered venomous snakes of the vipera ammodytes variety on the forest path very close to where I live; they were minding their own business, as snakes do, but if I wasn’t careful and I stepped on one, it would probably have bitten me and I’d be having a serious medical emergency in a hurry. It’s unlikely to be bitten by a venomous snake here, but it still happens to someone every year. To make absolutely no preparations, for instance go into the woods without a phone or a radio of some kind, without water, poorly dressed, and alone, you are basically setting yourself up to be fucked. And there are people who do exactly that, every single year, and the rescuers have to waste money, time, effort and other resources getting those stupid urban hipsters out of trouble. Honestly, I would prefer not to be that guy. Sure, if a snake bites me I’ll call for help because walking out would actually circulate the venom faster and worsen the situation, but if I can whittle a crutch and limp myself out with a broken leg, immobilised with a splint I made on the spot with my knife, some wood and pieces of my shirt, I’m going to do it.

OK, let’s return to the original point I was trying to make. There’s no point in preparing for unsurvivable scenarios, such as a full nuclear exchange between superpowers, or a KT-type extinction event. If that happens, oh well. However, before the last regional war there were old people who had the second world war in living memory, and they prepared for a possible war by having well stocked and protected basements, and young people made fun of them, because “everybody knows” there’s not going to be a war. When the war actually broke out, and there was no food and heavy metal was falling down from the sky, those same young people were very happy that grandpa had canned food and a well built basement to use as shelter when shit hit the fan. So, yes, there’s a very thick grey zone between “nothing happens” and “there’s a nuclear war and everybody dies”, and some reasonable preparations can greatly mitigate the worst outcomes. For instance, if there’s a regional war and you have gold bullion stored, you can take it and run, and you didn’t lose everything, you don’t have to start anew from zero. If there’s an earthquake and water is contaminated by raw sewage, if you have water purification equipment and chemicals, and if you have containers for storing water, you’re in a much better position than everybody who doesn’t. If there’s a fire and you have a fire extinguisher handy, you might be able to solve the problem yourself and with minimal damage, instead of losing your home and possibly your family members.

But then there are those people who think that, if shit hits the fan, they’ll take a “bug-out bag” full of “survival gear” and head into the woods and “live off the land”. That kind of thinking is actually more dangerous than not preparing for anything at all, because they are actually increasing the probability of a bad outcome with their “prepping”. In an emergency scenario, the woods are the place where you go to die. Your greatest probability of success lies in pooling resources with neighbours and organizing something on a community level, not in collecting “tacticool” knives and fire rods from Amazon. What you need to do is stay put, stay informed, and organize or join a community effort. That’s where reasonable preparations pay off: someone will have means of purifying water. Another will have canned food in store. Someone else will have antibiotics and bandages. Another will have insulin injections. And some will have weapons. Pooled together, this creates something that is actually likely to get you through the initial wave of shit, and to the point where the outside help starts coming. But if there is no outside help, if everything is affected or destroyed, you must realize that your chances are slim to none. Still, you must realize that “tacticool” equipment is most likely a waste of money and a psychological crutch. It’s a substitute for actual preparedness. Get out of immediate danger. Shelter. Water. Food. Medical equipment. Defense. Those are the priorities. It’s completely unlikely that you’ll be able to make it through on your own, so pooling resources with others is your best chance; however well equipped you think you are, you will have to sleep, you might get sick, you might lack some critically needed resource, and you will lose control and die. But if you share your stack of food and other resources with others, it is true that it will last shorter, but it’s also true that you will thus gain others who will stand guard while you sleep instead of waiting for you to fall asleep so that they can kill and rob you, and if there’s something you need, someone will probably find it somewhere.