2015 July

Sliding down the candy rock

“I just received the following note from one of our Inner Circle members.  Below the note is my response.”

Here’s a remarkable interview with Nicole Foss (Automatic Earth) where she elaborates on the same topics as Martenson does in a very lucid and female manner. It’s well worth watching. A friend of mine shared it with me with the comment below.


„I enjoyed her expose! Nicole has been a harbinger for accurate analyses of the real issues for decades together with her husband (their platform is automatic earth) and struck me for the powerful contextual thinking that reaches into the depth of issues and as such way back and before the turn of the century when good analyses on system fragility were scarce if not absent in the public space.

After introducing the main parameters of the current predicaments she gets to the issue of the serial boom and bust cycles in the 21st century (beginning 1:08). There she explains the fragility of what has come off 35 years of ponzi schemes in production and finances! Payday is just around the bend. She goes into the foundations  what in reality were the drivers of the decay in all areas of globalized schemes of deceit, manipulations, meaningless rituals, hollowed out structures, outright destruction aso. The associations that we make spontaneously with terms from the macro space are mostly wide off the mark and have little bearing with their current functionality be that economy, democracy, liberalism, markets, retirement arrangement, higher education, healthcare,  – you name it. Any trust in the current power plays and their brokers is completely misplaced. Nothing of what we have build with cheap energy and financial ponzi schemes since 1980 is in the least sustainable, no question asked!

We are not facing problems really, we have arrived at a cliff and must think about how are we going to bolster a steep fall OFF the cliff, i.e. we are in presence of predicaments. If we have no choice a parachute may become a very useful tool, as it were.

Quite methodically she takes us through a number of key areas of what is currently shaping the world as we know it and that has not the slightest chance to function as we move forward. More importantly, she opens up a debate upon those very crucial issues that increase our resilience as individuals and as local communities that CAN work. For doing so she really comes up with a large number of suggestions that should be considered and used as base case for improving our resilience to the kind of collapse of highly leveraged, centralized and energized structures that can only function by sucking in ever larger areas of peripheral providers and dedicating ever more energies in pretend and extend damage control.

Our current ponzi structures are hugely wasteful and the weakest link in their working is for obvious reasons the financial area that maintains the daisy chain of self-serving, totally idiotic arrangements built on maximizing shortest term yields at the cost of staying in harmony with the real boundaries set by limits of all sorts and nature. The virtual character of all money arrangements leverages up the speed of collapse of that space and in seconds, minutes and days the whole damned thing just dissolves into NOTHINGNESS, think of US$ 700 trillions of bets on interest rate alterations by the global financial casinos (i.e. banks), i.e. such amount represents the effective counter party risk and is subject to mind blowing domino and melt-down risks…”

Mike’s response:

“…we are not as rational as we are rationalizing…”

I haven’t listened to all yet but this is one smart lady…

I don’t agree with all the assumptions BUT this paints a very broad picture of likely structural failure that is entirely consistent with Armstrong’s ECM…

IF you do not have a plan to live simpler in your future, you will suffer greatly…!

All of us are going to have to take apart the structure of your life and see how much socio-economic complexity is wired in and ur going to have to unwire, then rewire your life much less complex.

I feel wonderful that I have written a book @F-L-O-W about to do exactly this process;)

And happy that it’s being validated from structural design people from around the world;)



18 replies on “Sliding down the candy rock”

Thanks for this Mark. I believe it was you who sent the recommendation for “A Brief History of Money” which I loved (or hated, in terms of the discouraging messaging).

One of the outcomes of moving from a god-directed existence, to one where we at least think we have choices about life…is that we worry. The word worry, never existed before the Enlightenment.

Mark, both the book and the video by Nicole, has got me to worrying. J

Thanks for activating my tendency to worry.


TPOV: Leveraging Fear

Bye the way, when we worry, are anxious or feel future loss…

These are great times to do work @F-L-O-W!

It’s in these moments where a lot of the veneer is stripped away and you can view deeper motives at the root of intrinsic needs.

When things are good and the base levels of core motives are being met, we have energy for other non-core motives that “actually” allow us to drift on (away from) the core path and its periods of when the elevator (hon) is ONLY going down…and we “experience” the drift…

Like waking up and realizing you weren’t where you thought u were and realizing how much fear is contained in being so far from the core.

BS is built on this mechanism where the elevator goes up and calls for additional optimism to reach “lofty–most often BS–goals.


But these need to go to the tpov site and get properly indexed? was just a temporary storage


I have just started to look at this Mark, but given the increasing of the cost of energy to the complexity of society ratio, I guess Mike is right, that we have to begin to think about organizing in simpler units once again. In the hey day of cheap fossil fuels, she maintains that the ratio of energy input to complexity output was 1:100. When the cost of energy (as it has) goes up by 10 fold, you can no longer sustain the complexity of society.

The ratio will go back up due to technological strides, however the gap/transition will get us in the meantime…


YES, a truly remarkable interview where I feel I got a better education on what is going on in the world, in an 2 hours, than I have from many books and conversations….and she is a Canuck, to boot. Thanks so much Mark, and so consistent with many of Mikes hunches on the

· importance of simplifying our lives, to make them less dependent on energy consumption (energy decent)

·smaller communities to identify with and build trust with.

The basic simple argument…we have built complexity because we could with such cheap energy for so long, and now the energy is much more costly, and we can no longer afford the complexity, and as Mike has said, nobody is smart enough to get their arms around it anyway.

Thanks, Brian, for sharing your feed-back. I also found it very insightful and in many ways consistent with Mikes hunches as you say. Next to her thoughts on energy and peak oil, I found her explanation of what is happening in the financial world also very clear. I feel comforted that I am not a complete freak with this view. I sent it off to some folks I found it could interest of which some reacted as if i had lost a screw in my head. “Who wants to listen to this?” The immune reactions can be strong – I was surprised.

Cheers Mark

I am not surprised at all by the reaction you get. The problem is that so many of the deliverers of these messages come across as angry fanatical zealots, with their home made 4 minute videos, spitting and shouting at us. I have accused others of being conspiracy theorists, and I am afraid I am becoming one. However, she delivers the message in a way that I trust the source enough to be listed to.

This is an important point! But the people I take the information from (like Dennis Meadows, Richard Heinberg, Chris Martenson and many others) take great pains not to shout and spit but to convey their message serenely and rationally as it is expected from reasonable and academically schooled people. And some of them have been swimming against the stream for more than 40 years without losing their tempers. I think it also has to do with what we can and want to believe. I have this conflict within myself and actually walk my talk. Being an avoidant person (high acceptance), i care and am sensitive as to what people think and feel. And I often anticipate negative reactions that I don’t like. So going against „mainstream“ goes against my nature. I don’t like „making a fool of myself“. So I have a conflict between „truth“ (high curiosity) and „acceptance“ to put it schematically. Trust, which you mention, is a key element for me to overcome this conflict and not get stuck.


Interesting comments Mark. I share your dilemma. I am relatively high acceptance but am high curiosity and high vengeance (like to stir the pot), so I like to put the contrary view out, both to provoke a reaction, but also to refine my thinking if I get a reasonable response.….as long as people don’t just think I am an idiotic conspiracy theorist. J

vengeance also means that you learn (with curiosity) through confrontation, through “mismatching” which you have a talent for brian…;)

so the antagonism is indirect learning (shit stirring) driven through various shades of vindication;) which trips your trigger and winds your spring;)

I resemble that, as there are others here with similar afflictions;)

For me I struggled to get beyond the first 20 min as I don’t necessarily agree with hers or martensons peak energy thesis…

We have so much latent mental energy on the planet now…small shifts in thinking and distribution will cause far more than what energy from fossil fuel ever could people fail to be able to conceptualize that notion…

But after the 20, the next 20 most should hear;)


“BS is built on this mechanism where the elevator goes up and calls for additional optimism to reach “lofty–most often BS—goals.“(MJ)

To me peak oil makes perfect sense (I liked her comparing fracking with sucking beer out of the carpet – yack). We cannot go on ripping up the earth, wasting and destroying arable land and whole living systems just so we can produce stuff (more cars etc) that we then throw away (plastic islands). In that sense their are limits to the availability and use of physical energy. I think it makes sense to counterdict the „fracking has solved our problems“ narrative (but even if technology solved the energy and pollution issue (e.g. solar), we could still go on exploiting the rest of our resources if we don’t rethink how we live).
But it seems to me you are not talking about the same thing. I understand your contention being the peak oil assumption that the prevailing economic and behavioral patterns will hold up (as the mechanism built into BS implies) and can be influenced/changed through rational action. The „mental energy” latent on our planet, I see to be of a different quality, a quality that leads to going about differently with our resources and our being. The extrapolating assumption in peak oil is that if we go on like this (as implied in BS optimism) things will end in doom. However given the density of the latent mental energy, so I take to be your belief, the system and with it the paradigms will shift so as to cause a more viable habitat.It will happen.
Did I manage to conceptualize this notion that you have been evoking for some time through this contention? 😉


TPOV: The New Energy

[mypal, assemble what you need from this thread and grab the reference to the video below]

In general is neither created nor destroyed so when peak oil flows into peak energy conclusions…they lose me…energy is being transmutated into other forms which they choose to ignore because it doesn’t fit their assumptional model…

While their will be transitional periods between these forms that could be devastating…look at what happened to all the energy transmitted by the asteroids hitting the earth…

In order to understand all of this we need holistic understandings of less ego involved and short term models.

We are going to have issues as we stay within particular paradigms and those assumptions…yet when we release the free energy available in the system, we are not in entropy, just recognizing that each system maybe in entropy and another system may be uphilling…

The more we push fossil fuels and bring those into use, the greater levels of energy are available in other systems…

Now it behooves everyone of us to understand what’s happening @F-L-O-W as I’ve tried to set down a path for transition and use of this precious form of energy in a way that assures more time to become familiar with and adopt/apply the new forms but trust me the latent energy available in the entropy of fossil fuels is cleaner, more abundant and potent than anyone realizes now.

Depending on which of your feet are in which system, exposes you to risk/rewards of those systems and like all transitions, this will happen symmetrically, at best.


On this you lose me. That sounds like some pretty nutty gobbledygook, sorry to say. Good luck, mypals, in assembling this TPOV:)


I read it again and it’s as clear as I can make it without resorting to specifying at every abstraction that e.g. A + B = C.

So clear as mud I suppose.


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