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Worried about 2022? Apply some Sun Tzu.
Millions of people around the world are faced with a seemingly binary choice: either bend the knee to an Orwellian, dystopian, digital ID gulag, or escape their cities, join off-grid communities, grow their own food, and hope for the best.
As it turns out, this is a false choice, and purposefully so for that matter.
Truth is, Westerners can’t flip a switch and embark on an off-grid life, or communal life for that matter. All those romantic ideas of “like-minded” communities with shared values and shared gardens are at best naive. Westerners are not Amish; we don’t know how to share our lives and property with others. Most attempts at Western communal living are mired by freeloaders, egos, drama, and even violence. Those social experiments end up creating the very things their members are trying to run away from.
But there’s more to it.
The theory of pooling physical resources in a communal setting is not very practical. What happens when local authorities discover and start harassing them? What happens if their property is seized? But most importantly, what happens if things get comparatively better elsewhere? Do they abandon their lot and move, or do they stay and hold on to their sunk costs?
I don’t believe in communities. I believe in dispersed networks of responsible individuals (and families). Networks are inherently self-correcting and growth-driven. Their participants are always looking for something better; always looking for higher ground in locations, relationships, and quality of life. It’s not about skirting commitment or responsibility; it’s about thriving in difficult times.
And if you want to get philosophical, one could argue that the fall of humanity started when humans settled down (at the onset of the Agricultural Age) and allowed their communities to swell beyond the Dunbar's number. That’s when the “sedentary” epoch began, spawning zero-skin-in-the-game bureaucrats, fake narratives, and mass-f0rmat1on zombies. But that’s a story for a different day.
For the next few years, the best strategy is nomadism: invest in relationships and partnerships, not lettuce leaves and canned food.
Again, off-grid living doesn’t play to the Westerner’s strengths. I don’t know about you but I’ve spent my entire life plugged in the grid. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Any hope that I can somehow tear myself away from it, is romantic and naive.
Why live off the grid when I can interface with it on my own terms?
I’ve come to realize that the best way to navigate big-tech and government tyranny is by using the Judo principle. Why waste my finite energy trying to overpower (or run away from) a multi-Trillion digital monster? Instead, I can ride the monster’s waves; I can use its momentum to further my own agenda and that of those I care about.
Legendary investor Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s partner) is known to have said: “The best way to be smart is to not be stupid.” Here is how to not be stupid during those times:
Do not join communities: Communities are visible and vulnerable. Dispersed individuals, on the other hand, are inherently decentralized and inconspicuous. Case in point: Peer-to-peer file sharing company, Napster, was shut-down because it was centralized and visible. Torrents, on the other hand, cannot be shut-down because they are decentralized and invisible.
Do not fight back, do not complain, do not protest: “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu suggests as much. You do not confront a stronger opponent. By engaging them, you play their game. Opt out instead.
Examples of opting out:
Don’t like keeping your money at the bank? Opt out. If you are stationary, take delivery of some physical gold. If you’re on the move, consider Bitcoin. Find out about Monero. And don’t think for a minute that any of those options are perfect. Gold can be confiscated, Bitcoin can be compromised, Monero can be outlawed. Don’t look for zero-risk solutions. Educate yourself about risk but keep moving forward.
Don’t like what’s happening in your country? Opt out. Vote with your feet. Look into second citizenship, second passports, and overseas bank accounts. And if you can’t leave your country, escaping your city is a good start. Buy an old car, learn basic repairs, stock spare parts.
The same insights apply to our digital life.
A year ago, I was looking for binary solutions. Now I know better. Case in point: I’m no longer maximizing for digital privacy because I’ve learned how unrealistic of a goal it is. Instead I’m focused on compartmentalization, a strategy that allows you to interface with, and make the most of, the Matrix infrastructure (banking, travel, officialdom, and so on). Stay tuned for detailed guides on the why and how, coming out in the next few weeks.
Okay, time for some housekeeping.
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