The Matrix: an Allegory

I think just about everyone has seen this movie and it has some very interesting allegories in it. Perhaps it’s ‘The Wizard of OZ of our time’.

Our protagonist has the feeling things are quite as they seem, and begins searching for answers. After a while he is given the option of finding out the truth or giving up his quest forever.

This is the red pill or blue pill scene.

Neo decides between the red and blue pills. The Matrix 1999

After deciding to take the red pill to discover the truth, he wakes up to quite a surprise. He is naked hard wired into in a personalized vat of refined oil having been asleep all his life. There are countless thousands all around him asleep in  dark, mechanical, sterile world in similar vats. Enormous quantities of energy are being extracted from them as they slumber unaware that they are being treated as slaves, little batteries in a giant machine which functions primarily to create an illusion they will accept.

Sound familiar anyone?

I’ll go through it a piece at a time.

red pill/blue pill

Neo decides to take the red pill. The Matrix 1999.

Would you take an unknown pill offered to you by people you barely knew? Probably not, it requires a great deal of trust. You have to trust a person, for them to tell you a truth that you are willing to believe. You must have trust to join a community or travel on a great journey. Sometimes you just have to show you are serious, and willing to take risks to prove it. You will eventually reach a point of no return ,where you have to decide whether you are going to continue or turn back and give up. Every now and then in life you will reach one of these fork in the road moments and they can be monumental.

Neo wakes up realizing he’s been bathing in oil oblivious to the fact he’s been exploited and imprisoned his whole life. The Matrix 1999.

Wakes up covered in refined Oil. look around you look at how many thing you can see could never have existed without oil, cheap oil no less, you food your clothes the device you are reading this from or the paper its printed on. its all Oil you are literally bathed in it, yet you have never seen it. Well until now.

Wakes up naked wired into a personalized vat. we are all living in our own exceptionally individualistic worlds. We are wired into a machine, the Internet, the electric grid, the food networks, laws, society, jobs. We are naked because we have nothing to protect us because we are so vulnerable without the matrix are wired into.Slaves own no possessions, not even clothes.

Wakes up having been asleep all his life. The dream is over and reality sets in, it has all been an illusion nothing prior to this moment was real. Life actually starts at this moment. the change in surrounds is as profound as night and day, sleep and awake.

Countless thousands are around him asleep. The sleep he has woken from is a spell not many have broken so far. So many are still living in a an illusionary word enjoying their matrix. theres seems no obvious way to awaken them.

Enormous quantities of energy are being extracted. People working for  debt based fiat currency don’t realize they are slaves. Everything of value is being extracted from them and they just don’t seem to realize they are the only thing of value in the world. The world they live in could not function without them. If they just woke up, they could be free.

Neo having awoken turns to see many other people still locked in the matrix. The Matrix 1999

Neo having awoken turns to see many other people still locked in the matrix. The Matrix 1999

This scene from the movie was part of the inspiration for me naming this blog ‘Drenched In Oil’. You are drenched in oil, wake up, it’s not the real world you have been living in.

Easy to learn useful skills: Repair

In a world economy based on continuous economic expansion, continuous consumption is required to keep the economy operating. This facilitates the cyclical consumption, products have very short  useful lives. Some are made prematurely obsolete by design. Some are just designed to break.

In a world where things are designed to break, facing the world wide shut down of production, we will have a vast legacy of fragile products and a collapse of the system of mass production.

We will need to learn to repair things when previously we would have thrown them out.

Here a listed some skills that are quite simple to learn an allow you to repair things that might otherwise be useless.

Sewing,: this will allow you to repair things as small as a shirt to something as large as a sail. I even once read theory that packs of needles could become valuable like a currency. Hard to believe? Try to make a good needle out of anything any you see why this may be the case. Needles a very small thing to have and very useful.

Soldering: even without a vast knowledge of electronics, its pretty obvious a broken wire will mean the difference between a device working and not working. Learning the basics of soldering only takes a few hours to learn and get good at. Imagine the value it could be to you being able to turn a bunch of electronic scrap into something useful, perhaps even trade able.

Tying knots: sometimes the only way to hold something together is by tying knots. You’d be surprised how many there are and the different specific purposes they have. There are few basics that cover a lot of situations, learn them. Rope for a very long time was made from plant fibers, hemp being one of the favorites.Long after the last nylon ropes have crumbled in the sun ropes from plant fibers will be around, best that you know how to use them.

Basic mechanics: I’m not talking about cars here, I’m talking about pulleys, levers, cogs, chains, belts, pistons, pumps. fins out what these things do and the basic physics around them. learn how to take apart a small device  (like an exploded diagram) and see how it is supposed to work and put back together so that it does still work. Find an old computer CD/DVD player and take it apart see if you can figure out how it opens the door and moves the disc in and out, its not magic.See if you can find out which part is the laser beam. There are book that describe how things work, read these book and find out how things work, it may mean you are able to repair  and use things that would have other wise been useless.

Basic hand tools: Learn all about the hammer, the drill, the saw, the screwdriver and shifter and spanner. you probably have a rough idea but find out from someone who really knows like a mechanic, a carpenter… you’ll probably learn some of the subtleties about the techniques and the tools themselves, what makes a tool good quality and why. You’ll probably find out what tools can’t be used for and what slightly different tools can be.



Oil And GDP

Really stunned when I found this, I have suspected this for some time but there it is.

Analysis and explanation:

the world GDP: a measure of the total value of economic activity. The solid line is showing the percentage increase in world GDP. Remember that the current economy depends on perpetual growth to survive.

Oil production growth: the increase in supply of oil.

this chart draws a strong relationship between these to indicators. th implication is world GDP growth can only be sustained with continual increases to OIL supply. Still having oil or producing the same amount as last year is not enough to support the current economic system.

If we are right in our belief that peak oil has happened or will happen very soon, this will mean the world GDP will decrease and nothing can be done to stop this decline. Frightening really, it seems not matter where i look I’m seeing the same fact manifest in slightly different forms but none the less the same facts.

Gold and Oil:

Gold to oil ratio. How may barrels of Oil (159 L) can be traded for 1 ounce (31.01g) of Gold.

<add a chart of  ounce of gold vs barrel of oil ratio for a similar time period an back to 1960’s if possible>

Gold has been used to measure the value of oil for some time. Gold is used because unlike fiat currency it can’t be created out of thin air and requires significant human effort to acquire. Gold has much history as a currency and has a relatively stable value over time against many other humanly desirable things. Using Gold as a measure of the value of oil allows use to see the price of oil without the price distorting effects of fiat currency. If we used a currency that went into hyperinflation to measure the price of oil we would see more the effects of a worthless currency that of an expensive oil. This chart seems to back up the other chart we are living in a time of expensive oil. There seems to be along tern trend (from about 1986) that Oil is becoming progressively more expensive.

For those into politics you might note that Bush (I) and Clinton were in the time of cheap Oil, whereas Bush(II) and Obama were in the era of expensive Oil.

Community living

Community is such a hard thing to define as it take into account so many things.

Community is shared values and shared interest. If there are not these two things there is no community, at best there is a community about to fracture. In the heirarchical world many community values are decided for us in the forms of laws and regulations. If heirarchical systems collapse there will no longer be these standards in place or enforced. This raises  interesting questions.

If society shattered into thousands of small groups, what are the most likely rules will they choose for them selves to live by?

Even more interestingly which of these sets of self imposed rules will be the communities to survive the longest?

Is there a best practice or strategy for the rules a community should follow?

Are there specific rules a community might decide on that are destructive to a community?

What rules would communities use in dealing with each other?

The first real issue a community faces is the tragedy of the commons. there must be strong rules in place to protect community owned resources from exploitation, destruction of even theft by an individual in the community. How will a community create in the attitudes of their members that the commons are very valuable? Because they often have faced destruction in the past.