“Passion is energy,” said Oprah Winfrey. “Feel the power from focusing on what excites you.” This quote not only epitomizes the West, but highlights the privilege that all Americans have experienced since the dollar has been the world reserve currency. I mean, we can afford to focus on our passion, but how much of the world can? With entertainment and leisure beaming on top of the global economy, it’s easy to fall into the false ideology that we have conquered and enslaved energy forever, that we can color it “sexy green” and use it freely for whatever and however we please. “Hail to King Tech!” we clamor in spirit, as we cling to our daily devices (and vices?) born from the womb of fossil fuels.
I just returned from Thailand where I spent a month detoxing from the West and practicing the “energy arts” of the East. I felt the passion that Oprah was talking about, and I did things that excite me…like hanging, swinging, swimming, and eating. While I spent most of my time practicing yoga, I learned some Chi Gong “using exercises to optimize energy within the body, mind, and spirit” and had a few Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massages to clear out some emotional Western trauma, “working the energy of the internal organs.” In the East, they understand energy better than we do in the West. Not only has the East mastered the art of moving energy in the body and mind, but they have moved it through the global economy too.
Bangkok is an incredible city, and I didn’t plan enough time there before coming home. Amazing how much stuff you can buy, for so much cheaper than in the West. How easy it is to get around with the sky train, metro, taxis and tuk-tuks. Amazing also is the rich tasty food! If you know me, you know how I love to eat good wholesome food, and how much of it I can devour. I have a cousin once removed who has been living in Thailand for more than 25 years, and had the awesome opportunity to meet him in Bangkok over a Mai Tai cocktail and Singapore Sling. I also made a friend who works for the UN, and that was extra cool. 🙂 I learned a lot from both of them.
Being in Bangkok showed me concretely just how much energy the East has moved over from the West (or how much the West has given it away). First of all, Europe doesn’t even have energy and the U.S. is operating on depleting money-guzzling shale. While we’ve been bathing in our paper money and digital tech nirvanas; the East has been producing real goods with real powerful energy they harvest from the earth and from their labor. It’s fascinating to see just how the production of nearly everything has magically moved to the other side of the world in a little over two decades. The East now maximizes its energy in the world, while the West (myself included) uses what the East makes to fund a grandiose appetite for leisure and passion.
One of the things that wasn’t so great about Thailand is all the old not-so-attractive Western men with young beautiful Thai women. Let’s be honest, Western men buy these Eastern women with their overvalued, under-energized dollars that they don’t really work hard to obtain. Meanwhile the Thai people work super hard and don’t bring in much money. I had some amazing massages by extremely skilled women who make very few dollars for their trade. I suppose this kind of thing has been going on for as long as human beings have walked the earth, but it’s still sad, unfair, and disheartening to see so blatantly in your face. It’s a form of indentured servitude we don’t talk about, where women trade their devotion for a better way of life, and men get sex and service with their easy money. Yes, it’s a choice that both make, so let’s leave it at that for now.
I found Thailand to be peaceful, safe, and easy to get around, and had no fear as a solo female traveler. I wore a friendship bracelet blessed by the monks, and saw a few temples along the way. Buddhists condemn violence in every form. Ahimsa, a term meaning ‘not to injure’, is a primary virtue in Buddhism. Aside from the trash everywhere (not hidden away from public view), and the language barriers, I might be happy living in Thailand with dollars (shamefully), integrating into the culture of smiles. Visiting this wonderful country helped me understand how rich the East is in quality and how poor the West has become, and still very expensive. It’s hard to explain, but I prefer the vibe of Asia, the food of Asia, the people of Asia. Not to say it’s perfect, but I felt humanity again, something I haven’t felt in America for a very long time. And I got to drink a lot of coconut water!
Energy drives everything, doesn’t it? Whether you believe in evolution or creation, it’s about energy. Implosion and explosion is about energy. Male and female is about energy. But we treat energy as a servant that we can change and modify at will—it has become our slave through technology, and we feel entitled to as much of it as our hearts desire. Moreover, we expect it to remain enslaved forever, at our service for eternity. We are energy blind because we have forgotten that in the past, 90% of society was devoted to producing energy. That’s right; an agricultural society without access to energy gain from fossil fuels could only devote 10% of its capacity to activities like innovation, education, training, entertainment, etc. No wonder slavery was sexy back then. We have enjoyed the orgy of fossil fuels, but are we really so much more evolved?
According to Joseph Tainter, a renown anthropologist, there have only been a few periods throughout human history when access to “energy gain” allowed people to morph into highly complex societies. Today’s society is by far the most complex in human history. In the past, complex societies never lasted because access to greater energy causes greater complexity, and more complexity requires ever more energy to sustain itself. The same thing is happening with dollars; it’s called inflation. We are living through a period now where our complex global economic system, built on a temporary “energy gain,” is on the verge of a massive “energy loss” in real terms. While we understand seasons and cycles, and we can predict the weather ahead of time; we seem to think that energy is linear and unlimited, forever abundant. Rather, a plethora of low cost energy is an anomaly, a blind spot that will be painfully revealed in time.
One of the complexities that came from the massive energy gain we received from fossil fuels was a pyramid-schemed financial system. Just look at the pyramid on the dollar bill. The super elite who contractually own everything in the dollar-based financial system are on top of the pyramid (scheme), as the all-seeing eye. It’s as clear as could be—this wealth pyramid is sustained by increasing complexity in credit, with increasing costs per capita and declining returns. In a podcast, Joseph Tainter recently pointed out that in 1940, we were extracting 100 barrels of petroleum with one barrel. Today, we are extracting 15 barrels of petroleum using one barrel. Yet somehow the cost of energy is still low relative to the value of the dollar.
What does this tell us? The financial system has gone rogue. It’s no longer connected to the global economy. The world doesn’t need to trade paper anymore, but it hasn’t become fully apparent yet through all the superimposed distractions. What the global economy needs is to trade energy, in something that can hold the energy’s value. This is just good business practice, necessary for healthy operations. Unfortunately, the dollar has been mismanaged and weaponized, and is a poor candidate for such a task. That’s why it was taken off the gold standard in 1971, and it’s why it’s now being removed from the petro-standard fifty years later. It is only supported by a highly expensive military and threat of mass destruction. While it no longer holds energy value, it still holds nominal value, fighting for its life though. People either believe in the military “power” US/NATO, under the spell of recency bias, or they believe in the power of energy via BRICS going forward. Newsflash: Ukraine is a proxy war…Putin is not the devil.
Resources are never scarce, they are just priced wrong, and in this case, the dollar is the mispricing tool that hurts energy-producing countries while it helps itself to their resources. The price of energy and natural resources has to go up for innovation and change to take place, but this will collapse the credit market and dollar-driven financial system, wiping out a plethora of illusory wealth. Perhaps the all-seeing eye at the top of the pyramid knows this factoid and is using debt-backed dollars to front run the wealth of the new system? Knowing how things work in a corrupt dying empire, you can bet that’s what’s happening. Watch what the central banks do, not what they say. And don’t expect them to forecast their activities before they’ve finished their front running, many times over.
I’ll admit, I like Oprah’s quote about passion. Passion is rare, wild, and fun. It brings things out of us that we didn’t know we had inside. It moves us to experience everything in our world differently, including ourselves. It is energy, divine and active, beckoning us to slip out of our comfort zones and journey. I came back from wild Thailand passionate about Asia, passionate about humanity, passionate about energy, yoga, and change. Change really excites me! Change is coming. Change is here. Heraclitus said it right: “There is nothing permanent except change.” Bring it on please—let’s go.