“You can also refer to it as a shadow government, or the Deep State, which is comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who actually call the shots behind the scenes.”

“Whatever term you use, the upshot remains the same: on the national level, we’re up against an immoveable, intractable, entrenched force that is greater than any one politician or party, whose tentacles reach deep into every sector imaginable, from Wall Street, the military and the courts to the technology giants, entertainment, healthcare and the media.”

“This is no Goliath to be felled by a simple stone. This is a Leviathan disguised as a political savior.”

“So, what is the solution to this blatant display of imperial elitism disguising itself as a populist exercise in representative government?”

Stop playing the game. Stop supporting the system. Stop defending the insanity. Just stop.”

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Making plans is a game. Life chooses for you.”

— Anita Diament

“Life’s a test, mistakes are lessons, but the gift of life is knowing that you have made a difference.”

— Tupac Shakur

”Life is a game of piquet played in a bramble bush in very bad weather.”

— Katherine Anne Porter

“Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.”

— Sholom Aleichem

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”

— Jawaharlal Nehru

“Human affairs are like a chess-game: only those who do not take it seriously can be called good players. Life is like an earthen pot: only when it is shattered, does it manifest its emptiness.”

— Seneca

“Life is not a game. Still, in this life, we choose the games we live to play.”

— J.R. Rim

The “Deep State”, however defined, is clearly running much if not all of our world today. Not our mostly-selected officials. That’s just how it is. There is nothing much we can do about it. Or is there? Stop playing the game? Good luck with that. This is the game we live in. There is no other game. Yet, anyway.

You may, like myself, have a serious interest in ideas on how to take the best advantage of our current reality. Unfortunately, this reality is so often hard to discern amidst the awful racket that life can be at times. Like today. Nevertheless, reality – life, or whatever-it-is – has to be dealt with at some point. Or else it will deal with us by default.

For each of us, our life rolls out largely on its own game board, and played mostly under its own rules. We are pretty much involuntary participants who have little or no power to affect either the current game board – our world environment – or the current set of rules – as set by the current powers-that-be-and-wannabe.

We can usually refuse to play, or instead to attempt a modification of the current system, players, and/or rules, but doing so can often lead to rather nasty consequences. Even non-survival, if you can imagine such a thing.

For the majority, however, refusing to play or trying to change the rules is impossible, impractical, or simply not worth the hassle or nasty outcomes. Such folks just play the game of life mostly as it is presented to them, hoping for a bit of luck in the process.

For those who can’t live a life of passiveness or acceptance

These inconvenient folks are usually a minority of the population, often a quite small minority. The majority plays the game as it is defined and controlled by the current powers-that-be-and-wannabe. They – the majority – are either true believers or people who go-along-to-get along.

How large might such a majority be? Based on recent theorizing by Belgian psychologist Mattias Desmet, who popularized the “mass formation psychosis/hypnosis” concept of large group behaviors, people in “crowds” behave differently from the constituent individuals. Those in mass formations can readily be made to believe and act similarly – to play the game as defined by strong leaders, and to comply and obey as required.

Desmet’s research indicated that up to roughly 70% of a population can be brought into a “mass formation” either as true believers, or as folks who go-along-to-get along. This makes the potentially uncooperative minority at best perhaps just 30% of a given population.

See here, here, and here for my take on this theorizing by Desmet and others.

Mattias Desmet, inventor of mass formations and their psychosis/hypnosis behavior.
Mattias Desmet, inventor of mass formations and their psychosis/hypnosis behavior.

This seems to be the “game of life” in which we are involuntarily embedded. The majority of human game players cooperate, often enthusiastically, with whatever the current crop of nasty leaders may require. Or they quietly comply and obey as the path of least resistance. Alternatives are typically quite awful or worse.

As for the minority? Well, speaking as one of its current members, I prefer an active life, not passive or involving some sort of going-along-to-get-along acceptance. And regarding compliance and/or obedience, doing so only where it makes sense – to me. Which, in practice I must admit, applies to most situations.

I’m definitely not an activist or resister in any significant manner. Not a libertarian, nor a liberal, nor a conservative for that matter. Living my own way involves some aspects of each of these, usually with some degree of flexibility and willingness to compromise, to give and take. The closest I can come to a brief description is the Christian second commandment (Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12):

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This is commonly referred to as the “Golden Rule”, but it really encapsulates personal free will with an active kindness toward others. Each of us can do pretty much our own thing so long as it doesn’t harm other folks. In practice, however, things here can get quite complicated, as life teaches us so often.

Doing one’s own thing as protests is probably not going to be permitted for much longer. Enjoy while you can if that’s part of your thing.
Doing one’s own thing as protests is probably not going to be permitted for much longer. Enjoy while you can if that’s part of your thing.

Doing one’s own thing in practice

Reality – the real reality, assuming that it can somehow be described and understood – is so often a real beast. The best that we can do in most cases is to work within our own set of beliefs, trust, faith, and such “facts” or evidence about our local reality as we may have handy.

I tried to address this personal concept of reality in the prior post: “Believing the Unbelievable? We All Do. Why?”. Each of us has a somewhat different view of our current operating reality, which may or may not reflect the actual reality, hidden somewhere, inaccessibly.

Our personal beliefs about our operating reality, accurate or not, define the context of our own game of life. It may well be different from that of most others, but it is probably the only place where we can truly do our own thing. Otherwise, we may be doing what others allow – playing their game.

What exactly is “our own game” – doing our own thing?

This, as you surely will have suspected, is the tricky part. In practice, much of what we can do is effectively defined by others – the rulers-and-wannabes, and their population-majority followers. Much we cannot, and perhaps don’t even want to, change. This means that we have to get pretty well focused on what really matters most – to each of us. How might this work?

As a practical matter, our “own thing” or “game” will be largely defined by others. So much of it – call it the background game – will be of little concern to us, or not sufficiently objectionable (as yet) to motivate our action. What truly matters enough to us to warrant our attention and efforts?

To answer this question for myself, I had first to identify what I believe is the background game context today. Somewhere in that context will be a few things that matter enough to me to make them worth tackling and exposing myself to any attendant risks.

The current background game as I see it

In a recent post on coping – “Coping: Plan A: Ignore. Plan B: Denial. Plan C: Smart?”, I made an effort to identify my greatest concerns today. These reflect my best guess as to the current background reality or game. Somewhere within these are my likely “own thing” points of focus. From that post:

What’s on my worry-list (stress-generators) today?
Here are my top concerns, all arising from events and situations that I can do absolutely nothing about directly. So why am I even bothering with them? It is because I’m pretty sure that they will figure hugely in our relatively near-term and even immediate future. The only thing that I can do to cope with such bleak big-picture prospects is to develop a personal set of priorities and coping strategies.

#1. WW III

#2. The 2024 elections

#3. Disease-X

#4. Ukraine, Gaza, …

#5. Digital IDs and CBDCs

#6. Economic outlook

#7. Climate crisis

These are very roughly in order of their ability to cause stress for me. No doubt something will occur shortly to change these priorities, so one of my coping strategies has to be to remain agile, adaptable, and resilient …”

These can serve at least as a thinking list for purposes of this post. Pretty clearly, there is nothing that I can do directly about any of these. They are just happening. Each one seems driven by a collection of quite nasty rulers-and-wannabes. This is the reality that I believe we are all facing.

Given these, then, where do I see some reasonable opportunity to do my own thing, whatever that may turn out to be?

Lots of scary stuff going on out there today, some of which may even be real – if you can believe that. Reality at work.
Lots of scary stuff going on out there today, some of which may even be real – if you can believe that. Reality at work.

I have argued in an earlier post that WW III is presently underway, albeit in a non-big-nuke manner (so far anyway). Its scope is expanding, almost daily. The risk of a big-nuke war is getting greater with each provocation and misstep by nearly all of the major players. There are no good guys in this game.

Assuming that it doesn’t morph into a big-nuke, no winners, situation, what might I do to address the current situation more favorably for myself? Three things come quickly to mind:

  • Location
  • Resources
  • Community

These in fact seem to be focal points for addressing any of my seven top concerns listed above.

My location game plan

The default option, and likely that of the majority, is to stay where I am until something big forces me to relocate. This is a purely reactive game plan. For myself, what might my own proactive plan look like?

Avoid big cities.
Big cities in the U.S. are disintegrating for many reasons. They are a huge mess, technically speaking. The States that they are in seem also to be in terrible shape and moving rapidly downhill. So, I’d probably be smart to locate in a small city in a relatively sane State.

Probably not a great solution for a doing-one’s-own-thing location, yes?
Probably not a great solution for a doing-one’s-own-thing location, yes?

It just so happens I did just that two years ago after my still greatly-missed wife passed away. I moved from Cambridge MA, right next to Boston, to Nashua NH, a city of about 90,000. For maximum flexibility, I found a no-lease place so that I can relocate at very short notice, with minimal deposit loss.

NH seems to be a reasonably sane State, at least relatively. It has lots of rural towns that might offer even more sanity should this become important.

Is this necessary for any serious reason? Not yet, I believe, but possibly soon. The world situation continues to deteriorate at a pretty frightening rate.

I am very fortunate to have this great flexibility. Well, maybe “fortunate” is not the right word since my relocation was driven by the loss of my dear wife. Otherwise we’d probably still be in Cambridge with much less flexibility in relocation options and costs. Renting for sure, even if I’d have to be able to bear the loss of first/last/security deposits on a sudden relocation.

The underlying goal here is to improve my location flexibility. Why? Just makes me feel much better given my take on the current reality. Location flexibility is definitely part of my own thing.

You will almost certainly have a very different context and location game plan. It may for example, involve staying where you are and defending it to the death. Or you may be setting up a secondary location – a bug-out site [1] in the vernacular – where you might be able to relocate on short notice.

[1] “In the survivalist subculture or movement, a retreat is a place of refuge. Sometimes their retreats are called a bug-out location, a bunker, a bolt hole or a hide site. Survivalist retreats are intended to be self-sufficient and easily defended. Generally, they are located in sparsely populated outback rural areas.” — Wikipedia

Much that is going on today may well require relocation on short notice. The authorities of course want to corral us in 15-minute cities. They are making this part of the background game plan, and they are expecting the majority to acquiesce without protest. A location game plan should almost certainly be part of our personal life game plan.

15-minute cities eliminate the need for cars as personal transportation. You can walk anywhere you are allowed to go. Weather permitting.
15-minute cities eliminate the need for cars as personal transportation. You can walk anywhere you are allowed to go. Weather permitting.

My resources game plan

This is a huge concern, probably for all but a very few. Much more involved here than just money. We are surely headed for digital money – ruler-controlled – and its essential companion digital IDs. Some very not-friendly people are soon going to control money and its kin via digital IDs. Not a happy thought.

Digital money in the form of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) is virtually certain. These are being rolled out globally today. We are headed for a digital, controlled-money, world without question. So what to do in our hypothetical do-one’s-own-thing fantasy world?

Probably a great deal, it turns out. What is money? Money is fundamentally a transaction – exchange – facilitator. Humans lived for eons without money, but in an inefficient, slow, barter-based economy.  These mechanics are fundamental, and as you surely know, can be handled in many different ways.

Money for transactions

The key is to exchange using money substitutes. Locally. In hard to control and track manual mechanics. The best approach that I can see at the moment is scrip. Scrip issued by communities or even small groups may well be so hard to control that our rulers-and-wannabes will regard it as not worth the hassle. Small scale, huge variety, and so many potential uses, users, and issuers.

More details on scrip can be found below under Related Reading.

Meanwhile, we’ll all very soon have to deal with digital money issued and controlled by governments globally. This digital money will be mostly in the form of CBDCs, which are backed by nothing much apart from government promises. Just like our cash and bank deposits today.

Digital money will not be anything we own, but will be used mostly to control our behavior. It will prevent unapproved uses. It will limit amounts that can be spent based on one’s social credit score. It will be issued as allowed by our social credit score. There truly is no practical way to deal with CBDCs in any manner other than that built into the social credit score system. Scrips are the most likely solution.

BerkShares – a community-issued scrip in use today. See Related Reading below for details.
BerkShares – a community-issued scrip in use today. See Related Reading below for details.
Money value storage

We also need, in addition to transaction money substitutes, some resources that can provide money value storage. In the good old days, now long gone, one could store resources in cash (fiat money and coins), precious stones and metals (gold particularly), stocks and bonds, land, productive enterprises, … long list. These are for the most part being taken away, often stealthily.

What they can’t take away are skills, knowledge, connections, and some amount of easily-concealed raw materials and tools. I cannot imagine working in a job where I can get paid only in CBDCs and digital bank credits and where usage is fully tracked and controlled.

My doing-my-own thing solution is to focus on a few skills and know-how that can be turned into something tradeable, like scrip, or consumable, like food and medicines. I need to be very clear on exactly what I have to sell in this respect and how best it might be done.

This will require some serious thought since it cannot in general involve the controlled money world. It would in effect be a return to barter of skills and labor for goods or for the skills and labor of others.

Do you know what you may have today in the way of such personal resources? My honest answer for myself would have to be no. I have some ideas, but nothing that I could roll out on short notice, like tomorrow. I definitely have some urgent work to do here. Already thinking …

My community game plan

People in most of human history gathered in tribes of various flavors for survival. Outside of tribes, life could be nasty, brutish, and short – or worse. Tribes are …

“… a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” — Oxford Dictionary

This manner of living sounds on the surface like anything but doing one’s own thing. It involved doing the tribal leader’s thing for the most part, but typically involved substantial participation by elders, great warriors, and healers/spiritual leaders. Doing one’s own thing was almost certainly discouraged forcefully.

This being the case, why would I see “community” as an important component of my personal game of life plan? Quite simple: it helps ensure survival, which seems of importance to most of us.

But I have a very different concept of community in mind. It would not be tribal and held together by forceful leaders. Instead, it would be formed and operated as a community of shared interests and goals. The internet kind of community that can unite people anywhere on earth.

What might I look for in such a community? Creative, resourceful, open-minded, positive people. And smart. Smart to me is far more important than intelligence, although these are a great combination. Most of our leaders, ruler-and-wannabes are intelligent but not smart. They will ultimately cause their own failure.

How to create a community of such great smart people? Probably need to reflect on what the philosopher Groucho Marx observed:

“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
— Groucho Marx

Some such communities I think will form naturally, without much external effort. Others are likely to have to be created by an individual or small group around a common need or interest.

The enforcement of digital IDs to “participate in society” is happening, probably much faster than we might imagine. Data on virtually every aspect of our lives is being captured, stored, and analyzed. We all use digital IDs like driver licenses and social security IDs routinely to do almost anything – well, except of course, voting.

Bottom line:

The “Deep State”, variously defined, is clearly running much if not all of our world today, and controlling our game of life to a large degree. It is a game that we can neither stop playing nor change. The best we can do is comply and obey as minimally as possible while doing our own thing, playing our own game, where opportunities and interest permit. Peripherally, quietly, purposefully.

Of major and specific concern today seems to be adjusting our location and flexibility, keeping some personal resources out of the money system, and building community interactions with like-minded people anywhere.

It seems especially important to stay as invisible as possible in the next few years. There will be many others who relish challenging authorities, and who will serve to distract attention from people like myself playing our own game as best we can.

As I struggled to put together this post, I got to thinking seriously about just what I might actually be able to do – in my own way. So far at least, there is not a lot of wiggle-room in the world as it is shaping up. This means that I probably can’t decide now on what I might be able to do and want to do in our uncertain future.

Here are three examples of where my early thinking has led …

Example A: Transition to CBDCs and elimination of cash

This happening seems extremely likely, and in the relatively short term. Cash and equivalents are anonymous and impossible to track. Our rulers-and-wannabes can’t control us as they plan without full control over our money, income, and spending. Digital money, likely in the form of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), is rapidly being introduced. See here and here.

Barter: Definitely works and has been used at least forever. Downside is that it is time-consuming and difficult to use for routine transactions. It also does not provide any means of storing value.

Gold: They confiscated gold in the 1930s so there seems to be no reason why the government couldn’t do so again. Despite the huge numbers of gold sellers out there these days, they offer no protection against government confiscations.

Scrip: There are several kinds of “scrip” currencies, but the one most applicable here is “community-issued scrip”. Two current examples are described below. My guess is that authorities would not try to mess with these since there could be thousands of scrips across the U.S. used to facilitate local transactions.

“The use of locally issued scrip accepted by multiple businesses within a community increased during the late-2000s recession. Community-wide scrip usage has begun or is on the rise in Ithaca, New York; Detroit; The Berkshires; Pittsboro, North Carolina; Traverse City, Michigan; Lamar, Colorado; Calgary, Canada; Bristol, UK; and Hagen, Germany.” — Wikipedia

Calgary Dollars

“Calgary Dollars is a local currency in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. While functioning as a limited form of currency within Calgary, it is not legal tender nor is it backed by a national government. Instead, the currency is intended as a tool for community economic development as well as a focus for community building and local resiliency.”

“In 2018 Calgary Dollars launched a digital component with a new online listings platform, app for iOS and android and a new website. It comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 Calgary Dollars. The bills are printed on a plastic material in the same dimensions as the Canadian dollar. In print, the currency is commonly abbreviated as ‘C$’.”

“The currency was founded in 1995 as a project of The Arusha Centre in Calgary. The project was originally called the ‘Bow Chinook Barter Community (BCBC)’, and the currency was named the ‘Bow Chinook Hour’. In 2002, the ‘Bow Chinook Hour’ currency was replaced with ‘Calgary Dollars’ (which was also adopted as the new name of the project).”

“The Calgary Dollars organization considers its local currency to be implicitly sanctioned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) based on a CRA publication which discusses the taxation of “credit units possessing a notional monetary unit value” used as a medium of exchange by local barter groups. ‘Calgary Dollars’ rebranded with a new logo in March 2018 with the slogan: ‘Get Local. Make Money.’”

Incidentally, Calgary AB is my home town.

BerkShares

“BerkShares is a local currency that circulates in The Berkshires region of Massachusetts. It was launched on September 29, 2006 by BerkShares Inc., with research and development assistance from the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. The BerkShares website lists around 400 businesses in Berkshire County that accept the currency. Since launch, over 10 million BerkShares have been issued from participating branch offices of local banks (as of February 2020, nine branches of three different banks). The bills were designed by John Isaacs and were printed by Excelsior Printing on special paper with incorporated security features from Crane & Co. BerkShares are pegged with an exchange rate to the US dollar, but the Schumacher Center has discussed the possibility of pegging its value to a basket of local goods in order to insulate the local economy against volatility in the US economy.”

“BerkShares are a local currency designed and issued for the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. According to the BerkShares website, residents purchase BerkShares at 95 cents (USD) per BerkShare from one of sixteen branches of four local participating banks. Businesses then accept BerkShares at full dollar value, differentiating the business as one supporting the BerkShares values of local economy, ecology, sustainability, and community, and creating a five percent discount incentive for those using the currency. BerkShares can then be used by accepting businesses to purchase goods and services from other participating businesses, make change, pay salaries, or support local non-profits, increasing the local economic multiplier effect and keeping value recirculating in the region. If businesses have an excess of BerkShares, they may also be returned to a participating bank at the equivalent rate of 95 cents per BerkShare (i.e., charging no exchange fee).”

“Over 400 locally-owned businesses currently accept BerkShares for donations. Four participating banks provide BerkShares with 16 brick-and-mortar offices where residents can exchange dollars for BerkShares and receive more information on the project.”

Incidentally also, I lived for nearly 20 years in the Berkshires.

My Approach?

As CBDCs are introduced and cash currencies are eliminated, I’d probably concentrate on getting fully up to speed on the mechanics of community-issued scrips. Manually-managed and -used scrips would be most appropriate since virtually all digital machinery would be under control of the powers-that-be-and-wannabe.

In pursuing the use of these, the goal would be to keep them highly local – community-based – so as to make them completely different from official money.

Example B: Tracking everything using digital IDs

We are of course almost in this situation today. My guess is that the vast majority of our interactions are already being tracked and assembled. At some point, probably quite soon, this data will be used widely to control what we do and say. Current censoring of opposing views and voices is just the beginning. It will become pervasive rather quickly.

The Lives of Others

East Germany had a system of this nature relatively recently. It was mostly paper-based and used videotapes and sound recordings. The 2006 German drama film “Lives of Others”, which I highly recommend, describes a society in which great care was required in all social interactions. Failure here was often fatal or worse.

Amazon.
Amazon.

In our almost completely digitized world, avoiding digital interactions will not be easy. The film illustrates many situations where interactions can be dangerous. Our world makes this hugely more difficult because so much is captured electronically. We are not likely to become another East Germany, but something equivalent and significantly different.

My Approach?

About all I can think of here is to be carefully compliant and obedient in as many ways as possible while employing non-digital means of interactions for vital matters. I would also try to avoid getting involved in anything that might be regarded by the rulers-and-wannabes as directly threatening to them or their machinations.

Example C: Selections (formerly known as elections)

I can’t see a world where the populations are not allowed to participate in some manner in their governance. George Orwell’s 1984 novel seemed quite extreme in this regard. Such extremes tend to create strong resistance, which would be counter-productive to most regimes. In much of the world today, we are pretty far along toward just this kind of government-by-selection.

Orwell’s 1984, along with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, describe what seems to me to be a worst case situation. It seems unlikely that our rulers-and-wannabes will want to create a mess of this nature. At least intentionally – it may well emerge anyway on its own as inevitable mistakes and egos do their thing.

Even Soviet Russia had selections. From its 1936 Constitution (Wikipedia):

“ARTICLE 139. Elections of deputies are direct: all Soviets of Working People’s Deputies from rural and city Soviets of Working People’s Deputies to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., inclusive, are elected by the citizens by direct vote.”

“ARTICLE 140. Voting at elections of deputies is secret.” 

Of course, who you chose to vote for was probably carefully managed.

My Approach?

With the 2024 selection season now in full swing, this becomes a rather immediate concern in many cases. So many positions seem to be owned by incumbents or by candidates hugely backed by the usual suspects. Biden? Trump? Who would rationally vote for either of these candidates? Yet one or other seems almost certain to be selected. Nothing much will change either way, however.

What to do? Especially, what can any individual do? Probably nothing much individually, but possibly something constructive via groups and infiltration. Exactly how this might work would depend on specific situations and opportunities.

Schools are one of my major concerns at the moment. Even formerly great institutions like Harvard are self-destructing. Public schools in so many places are a complete mess from what I read regularly. But options are emerging.

In NH where I am currently located, I readily found helpful resources such as this one:

“Is New Hampshire good for homeschooling? New Hampshire is abundant with homeschool groups and co-ops. Members of these groups have access to a wide variety of support and guidance. Aside from the socialization benefits these groups provide, co-ops help add enrichment to your homeschool program through group classes, group field trips and more.”

It may be possible for me to get supportively involved with one of these. Definitely worth trying regardless of whatever else may be going on in the local world.

I wonder if this is real. If it is, elephants are very special critters, and they may know something that we don’t – yet. Source: Here.
I wonder if this is real. If it is, elephants are very special critters, and they may know something that we don’t – yet. Source: Here.