Doom And Bloom

The West is in drought, and is burning. The banks are too big to fail, again. The intersection of Asia, Europe, and Africa is in turmoil, as usual. Tonight’s attempt at chili became something else. Okay, that last one isn’t traumatic, but it does point to something a friend has labeled The Trimbath Sanguinity. Great title, and I had to look up sanguine’s definition to be sure. My sanguinity in the midst of my financial turmoil is akin to another new word I’m glad someone invented, Apocaloptimist. Go ahead and feel sorry for Spell Check. The basic concept is simple and counter-intuitive; the world is headed to at least one apocalypse, and everything will somehow turn out fine.

How many apocalypse scenarios do you want? Turn on the news. They’ll deliver a dozen. Climate change went from a warning, to a debate, to reality for coasties, to consequences now playing themselves out inland. And, it’s only just begun. Skip talking about glaciers melting. Now it entire continents and the polar ice cap. The banks just had their report cards marked Incomplete and sent back to do more homework. It turns out that they haven’t reformed themselves as the law requires, and the regulators saw a wide enough gap that they couldn’t look the other way. I’m not going to dive into the travesties of the wars in the birthplaces of civilization. None of them seem to be in good shape, or safe. Purely for brevity I’ll put aside overfishing, fracking, pandemics, and the rest of the list that my brain balks at recalling. Those bomb shelter bunkers from 1950 start to look appealing.

Two sayings come to mind:
There is chaos under heaven and the situation is excellent.
Relax. Nothing is under control.

Believing there will be solutions can be considered polyannic, or counter-productive. A few years ago I began developing a vehicle that would begin pulling plastics back out of the ocean. I was surprised to see how many people were against it. Their argument was that by reducing the problem we’d be reducing the urgency people felt about it. They didn’t want solutions. They wanted heightened urgency, even if the situation had to be worsened to increase the urgency. Their rebukes were public and what private support I had dramatically diminished. Someday, I’ll get around to updating the online version of the design, but work occupies my time for now.

I believe we are witnessing the early stages of scenarios that will impact billions of people. On an individual basis there will be suffering. Sorry, but that’s the case. I’ve already witnessed some, which is implicit in many of my posts. The apocalypse part of Apocaloptimist is probably unavoidable.

I am also an optimist. My optimism is based on that strange occupation called studying history. Every turmoil the human race has encountered resulted in innovation, shifted paradigms, and a more capable civilization. According to DNA regression, the human species almost died out about 195,000 years ago. Some estimates place the total planetary population at 2,000-3,000 people. Prior to that, humans didn’t move around much. After that, we began expanding across the planet.

Each challenge is an opportunity for an advance, and every advance has its benefits and detriments. We’re currently working through the first truly global detriments in almost 200,000 years, and it may be our fault. And we may be the solution.

We witness what’s going on around us, prudently extrapolate in a search for warning signs, and gradually shift the will of a populace to make the right changes. But, simply extrapolating is assuming that everything will continue as it has. The use of extrapolation is a measure of trying to understand, and therefore control the situation. I think we have more than enough evidence that we are not very good terrible at controlling the planet or the entire population or anything besides ourselves – and even personal control has problems in the vicinity of chocolate.

There is chaos under heaven and the situation is excellent.
Relax. Nothing is under control.

I keep apocalypses in mind because I do make some attempts at control in my life. I have such a wealth of Backup Plans because I’m aware of so many scenarios and contingencies. I have a lot less urgency than others expect, though; because, I also know that very little of it is in my control. I am optimistic about the future because so many people are quietly changing their way of life. Without any plan or celebration the other day, those of us at the Langley Coworks noticed that everyone except one rode their bicycles to work or to shop because it simply made sense. (Occupy Your Bike!) Personal finance plans are most useful when they are aware of apocalypse and optimism.

The wildfires in Washington State are incredible. Hundreds of thousands of acres in flame. Fires so large that entire metropolitan areas would fit inside. Six years ago I drove through that area, a year or so after another section had burned through. The hikes I took were through recovering forests. Charred trunks and fresh growth. The color contrasts were magnificent, and the young foliage was exuberant.
My business schedule now means that Sunday can be my busiest day; so, I decided to make lazy man chili. Lazy Man Chili: one big pot plus stock, leftovers, sausage, onions, tomatoes, beans (welcome to my finances), spices, herbs, garlic, and heat. Simmer forever while getting lots of work done. It was a chaotic mess. And it didn’t become a chili. But, what it did become is something I don’t have a name for that turned out to be very tasty with just the right amount of heat.
The day has hit 9pm. It has been a chaotic mix of building fences, helping repair a lawn mower, bicycling for my commute, cooking, working on a museum, a frugality organization, an aerospace blog, considering becoming a member of the community council, and after I post this blog, washing the dishes.

There is chaos under heaven and the situation is excellent.
Relax. Nothing is under control.

And, whether doom is headed this way or not, I suspect a bloom is on its way.
My friend who labeled the Trimbath Sanguinity suggested I give talks about it. If you’re interested, send me a note. Let’s relax and see what the situation becomes.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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