page-loading-spinner

Interregnum

user profile picture Chris Martenson Mar 06, 2024

Today, we’re revisiting an article that’s as relevant today as when it was first published in Nov 21, 2020. The piece, entitled “Welcome to the Interregnum,” was a pivotal exploration of the shifting paradigm we are experiencing as we move away from an era of external growth and into an as-yet undefined future.

As we look around us, we see that the old narrative is in its death throes, while the new one hasn’t fully crystallized yet. This in-between period, or interregnum, as we’ve titled it, is a time of remarkable uncertainty and disarray. It is fraught with turbulence and can be extraordinarily uncomfortable. But it’s also a time of enormous potential and evolution. In this state of flux, there lies a rare opportunity to redefine our path forward. So, let’s dive back in and unravel these ideas together.

Part I

We’re between things.  It’s an uncomfortable place.

We are transitioning from an old story into a new one and that has folks feeling anxious.   By “we” I mean everyone on the planet.  If you find yourself with a deep sense of unease, yet unable to quite pin it down, you will find this article extremely helpful.

The old story of endless growth on a finite planet is winding down.  Whatever replaces it won’t be a continuation of the past.  Things are going to have to change, whether we like it or not.

Put more bluntly: the easy times are over, and a period of disruption has begun.

It may be many years or even decades before thing truly settle into a new equilibrium (of sorts – there really isn’t any such thing in this ever-changing universe).  The old will fall away even before the new has arrived. That process has already begun, hence the nervousness, anger, and fear.

My day job is serving as an information scout, an ambassador of the unknown, and because of that I’m acutely aware of the degree to which people are already worn down, burnt out, and unable to process any more.

Folks are so exhausted by the trials and tribulations dished up by the crazy-making machine fondly referred to as “2020,” that many are paralyzed.  Unable to take new actions because they are overwhelmed.

Yet, as I wrote recently, no choice IS a choice.  When so much is changing and so much is on the line, remaining frozen with anxiety is as much a determinant of your future prospects as taking swift action – each sets one down different paths promising different outcomes.

Truthfully, there is much that can be done that will contribute to a more resilient future for yourself and for the world.  But first we have to know where we are.  We have to sketch out the map as best we can, even if the edges remain blanks with little more than “there be monsters” scribed at the borders.

To orient properly, you must be aware of the idea that the Age of Growth is over.  We are now entering a Post-Growth era. Our task now is to settle into a very different existence – one with fewer ‘things’ and less ‘stuff’, but also offering more meaning and worthy challenges.

Like any good adventure, a little danger is involved.  But nothing quite so dangerous to your soul’s journey as wasting your life on trivial pursuits.

The Interregnum

The gap between reigns when the old king has died but the new successor has yet to be decided is called an interregnum.  It can also refer to the gap between first learning of something and then finally understanding its deeper significance:

in·ter·reg·num, noun

a period when normal government is suspended, especially between successive reigns or regimes.

– an interval or pause between two periods of office or other things. “the interregnum between the discovery of radioactivity and its detailed understanding”

I love this word because it perfectly matches our current state.

One feature of an interregnum, where power hangs in the balance, is that it’s a very uncertain time.  Anxiety rules the day because nobody knows how things might land.  It could be good for them personally, or very bad.  The old king was good.  His successor son is an already hated petty tyrant.  Perhaps a different, better successor will somehow manage to claim the throne instead…

This sort of uncertainty is a potent source of anxiety. Which is why an interregnum is the cradle of people’s most deep-seated fears.

The old king is gone.  Nobody knows who or what is in charge right now.  Is it humanity’s deep technological prowess or is it Mother Nature herself?

Does our destiny lie in our own hands or have the die already been cast and we’re simply awaiting to see how unfortunate of a roll it’s going to be?

Is there still time to sort out a decent solution to our many predicaments and problems, or have those moments already been wasted?

Nobody knows at this moment.  But the uncertainty is hanging thick.  Corrosive.  Emotional.  Explosive.

Welcome to the interregnum.  May the odds ever be in your favor.

Demoralization

Now while the above may sound depressing, as I’ve written before the better term is demoralizing, and there’s a very important distinction between the two terms.

Depression is a reaction to current circumstances. It can be treated with talk therapy to resolve an inner conflict, or temporary chemical rebalancing.

Demoralization, on the other hand, is what you experience when your cognitive map no longer aligns with the actual circumstances of life:

Rather than a depressive disorder, demoralization is a type of existential disorder associated with the breakdown of a person’s ‘cognitive map’. It is an overarching psycho-spiritual crisis in which victims feel generally disoriented and unable to locate meaning, purpose or sources of need fulfilment.

The world loses its credibility, and former beliefs and convictions dissolve into doubt, uncertainty and loss of direction.

Frustration, anger and bitterness are usual accompaniments, as well as an underlying sense of being part of a lost cause or losing battle. The label ‘existential depression’ is not appropriate since, unlike most forms of depression, demoralization is a realistic response to the circumstances impinging on the person’s life.

(Source)

Did you catch that? Demoralization is actually a realistic response under certain conditions.

Those conditions are manifesting themselves now. Which means that the waves of dispiriting statistics we’re seeing are not ‘bad’; they are telling us something important.

People are right to be deeply disturbed by the ways in which the main narrative of their culture no longer maps to reality.  Worse, the Endless Growth narrative is killing life on this planet and therefore harming each of us in ways both overt and subtle.

More and more people are detecting that, and that’s a good thing. Because that’s the necessary first step in crafting a new narrative and adopting a different model that hopefully serves us better.

We often say here at Peak Prosperity that if you’re feeling anxiety (or demoralization), it means that there’s a gap between what you know and what you’re doing.  Since you can’t unlearn something, your best course of action is to change your behavior.

To take action to better align what you know with what you do.

I totally get the frustration, anger and bitterness on display in politics all across the West right now, but these are almost universally misdirected at the wrong targets.  Whether by intent or accident, this is usually the case and heavily supported by a media system that actually promotes divisiveness over unity, and isolation over connection.

(Source – PeakProsperity – The End of Growth)

Bottom line: If you are demoralized there’s nothing wrong with you.  But there is definitely something wrong with the larger situation.

If you know someone who is demoralized, don’t try to ‘fix’ them by helping them fit back into their old lives better.  The problem isn’t with their ability to adapt.  The problem is they are already adapting to what is coming.  They’re ahead of the curve, not behind it.  They just see the new curve before you do.

With that critical framing for the word demoralization, we can now go a bit deeper.  But first, I want to introduce an important term relating to demoralization: Zozobra.  It describes a potent sensation one might experience during an interregnum, especially if demoralization is in play.

Zozobra

I came across this article very recently and have now read it a few times. It’s pitch-perfect.

It neatly captures the context of demoralization.  By naming it we can begin to understand it, know its presence, and reduce its unconscious hold on us:

There’s a word for your overwhelming anxiety, and it’s “zozobra”

Nov 3rd, 2020

Ever had the feeling that you can’t make sense of what’s happening? One moment everything seems normal, then suddenly the frame shifts to reveal a world on fire, struggling with pandemic, recession, climate change, and political upheaval.

That’s “zozobra,” the peculiar form of anxiety that comes from being unable to settle into a single point of view, leaving you with questions like: Is it a lovely autumn day, or an alarming moment of converging historical catastrophes?

The word “zozobra” is an ordinary Spanish term for “anxiety” but with connotations that call to mind the wobbling of a ship about to capsize. The term emerged as a key concept among Mexican intellectuals in the early 20th century to describe the sense of having no stable ground and feeling out of place in the world.

This feeling of zozobra is commonly experienced by people who visit or immigrate to a foreign country: the rhythms of life, the way people interact, everything just seems “off” – unfamiliar, disorienting and vaguely alienating.

According to the philosopher Emilio Uranga (1921-1988), the telltale sign of zozobra is wobbling and toggling between perspectives, being unable to relax into a single framework to make sense of things. As Uranga describes it in his 1952 book “Analysis of Mexican Being”:

“Zozobra refers to a mode of being that incessantly oscillates between two possibilities, between two affects, without knowing which one of those to depend on … indiscriminately dismissing one extreme in favor of the other. In this to and fro the soul suffers, it feels torn and wounded.”

What makes zozobra so difficult to address is that its source is intangible. It is a soul-sickness not caused by any personal failing, nor by any of the particular events that we can point to.

Instead, it comes from cracks in the frameworks of meaning that we rely on to make sense of our world — the shared understanding of what is real and who is trustworthy, what risks we face and how to meet them, what basic decency requires of us and what ideals our nation aspires to.

(Source)

What ‘cracks in the framework of meaning’ could be more profound than facing the collapse of – well – everything?  Our many predicaments exist at all levels from top to bottom.  There’s no safe level on which to ride out the coming storm.  There’s nowhere to run.  There’s only right where you are.

When everything seems “off” – unfamiliar, disorienting and vaguely alienating, then you’re in some sort of foreign land.  You are out of bounds, off all of your known maps.  There’s no sense of place, nowhere to settle down. Zozobra.

When everything is wobbling and up for grabs, you wouldn’t be entirely human if you weren’t experiencing some sort of emotional unease.  As with the adjustment reaction, an emotional arc is simply a part of the process.  Both unavoidable and necessary.

Those who navigate uncertainty best are those who process the quickest.  As always, having a good mental map, and the right terms, is helpful to that process.

Part I Conclusion

If you are feeling nervous, angry, or fearful – congratulations! – there’s nothing at all wrong with you.  In fact, your senses are operating normally, and your cognition is on the mark.  You are having an adjustment reaction, your cognitive map has a better grasp on reality than your culture, and Zozobra is par for the course.

The most valuable part of naming and understanding these things is that they lose their ability to paralyze you with dread.

Our emotions are not “the truth”, but rather uncomfortable sensations that serve as an early warning system.  They are like a quantum processor able to parse through massively complex systems and situations way before our cortex can offer any guidance.

There’s also a comfort – a relief – that comes from understanding that our reactions are both perfectly normal and perfectly healthy.

There’s nothing that requires treatment. Nothing that requires medication. Nothing at all to be done about any of it.  Except knowing what it is, getting past whatever paralysis might exist as rapidly as possible, and then taking action.

Because you alone can’t alter the larger trends of ecological destruction, monetary printing, insane political responses, etc. and so forth, all that truly remains is for you to align your actions with what you know to be true.

And there’s so much to be done.  Soils need to be rebuilt.  Waste streams reformed into nutrient loops.  Energy efficiency to be built into the next generation of – everything.

The lists are as endless as they are exciting. And you can play a role, both at the individual level as well as contributing positively at the collective one.

Yes, there’s a “great reset” coming.  Whether it will be controlled and precise or a nature-driven chaotic mess remains to be seen.

But right now, you need to make a choice: You can either actively shape your future or wait to be shaped by it.

I’m all about controlling what I can and leaving the rest behind.  Maybe you are, too.

If so, then you’re part of our tribe here at Peak Prosperity.  We’re busy preparing for what is increasingly likely to consist of more macro chaos than control.

You know, to avoid being demoralized with an overwhelming sense of Zozobra during this interregnum.

In Part II below we provide further essential grounding for persevering through the coming change, and I share the latest steps that I’m taking in my own personal life to dive head-first into the interregnum with positive and enthusiastic intent.

I plan to meet the future on my terms.  Will you?

Part II

As I’ve mentioned, it’s difficult to hold a sensible position in today’s world.  The keepers of the (anti)Social Media artificial intelligence (AI) reins are making it so.

Various groups of people today hold entirely different truths in their heads.  Their senses of reality are shaped by unique and specialized diets of information served up uniquely to them by increasingly sophisticated AI algorithms.

There’s no common ground because various factions are holding entirely different bits of information.  This is nothing new to the human experience.  Here’s one of the oldest known parables.

A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, “is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.

This quite ancient parable leads us to the idea of individual differences in perception.  The trick, as always, is to understand that your own perception is as limited as any of the blind men.

We each live within a cave of shadows in Plato’s allegory.

However, during this interregnum people have become quite frightened and confused and so, predictably, many default into certainty.  “These aren’t shadows, they are the truth!”  “It’s a goddamned wall, why can’t you perceive it that way!!”

When Even Science Breaks Down

It’s gotten so bad that scientists – trained in the rational arts (presumably) – have become, in some cases, completely illogical.

This is certainly been exposed thoroughly by many, including myself in my Covid coverage.  How can it be possible that a health scientist, responsible (presumably) for public health, would not be aware of Vitamin D and the urgent necessity of assuring that every citizen has a minimum serum level?

It’s not. So we have to make sense of that action some other way.

The kindest I can be is to observe that you have to live is a deeply corrupted system for such a bureaucrat to exist and retain their position.

To wit, here’s an email I received just this morning from a kind gentleman in the UK:

Chris,

After watching your YT video on Vitamin D, I emailed NICE over here in the UK, sending them a link to your video and asking what they were playing at – with all the resources at their disposal and light of blindingly obvious published evidence. Their response is below. 500 people a day are dying from Covid at the moment in the UK (within 28 days of a positive test – lots more outside of that). And, they ‘expect’ to make a recommendation to the Minister ‘by the end of the year’! Which the Minister (Mr. Hand on Cock) can no doubt sit on for a while longer. What thinking do they need to do! I really can’t understand how there can be such incompetence when thousands are losing their lives.

Thanks for all your work Chris – very grateful.

Kind regards,

Steve

++++++++++++++

Dear Sirs,

Please pass this to the person responsible for making recommendations as to supplements that might assist in fighting Covid.

Please watch the video below (if time is tight from 12m 13s as it refers to NICE – though this will omit reference to the relevant published research) and consider why your organisation, with all its resources and access to the latest research, is not recommending that people take a vit D3 supplement to drastically increase the chances of reducing Covid symptoms and quite possibly surviving Covid in the UK.

Surely, surely it makes sense to advise that taking this cheap daily supplement, in light of the very clear recent published medical evidence, has a positive effect that would benefit and offer some degree of protection to many. You’re not the only such national body to be quiet on this, by the way. But, be one that takes the plunge and saves lives and please remove the out of date advice on your site.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIb_wX3Y1AE

++++++++++++++

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for contacting NICE.

NICE and Public Health England received a formal request to produce recommendations on vitamin D for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, on October 29, 2020. We expect to publish our recommendations by the end of the year.

I hope this information is helpful. Please tell us how we did by completing our short survey. It will only take you a couple of minutes.

Kind regards,

Janet

Communications Executive

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Level 1A | City Tower | Piccadilly Plaza | Manchester M1 4BD | United Kingdom

Tel: 0300 323 0141

++++++++++++++

There you have it.

Vitamin D, which is as safe as can be, and which is cheap as can be, and which has a proven track record of fighting Covid-19, cannot be recommended at this time.  A report has to be generated first, you see.

It’s completely nuts.  Indefensibly nuts.

If so-called scientists cannot even bring themselves to rally around a completely safe and highly beneficial vitamin during a pandemic, then realistically what hope can we hold that other scientists will undertake the sort of bold, career-risking actions necessary to shake up the status quo?

It’s somewhere between nil and none.  That’s the range.  Maybe I’m feeling the wrong part of the elephant, but that’s my perception at present.

Essential Grounding

I would highly recommend that everyone take the time to read and listen (or re-read and re-listen) to these two pieces:

Each holds an important part of ‘what comes next.’

Our Responses

Because we feel properly oriented in this story, and because we’re pretty sure we know what comes next (e.g. The Great Reset), my fiancée Evie and myself are very sure of our responses to it all.  There’s no time to waste.

So, we’re completely busy here at Honey Badger Farms on a dozen different projects.  Thankfully we’ve had a lot of great assistance along the way.

As you know, my own response has been to work with Evie to establish a working farm and learning center.  A place where what we know to be true can be put into action.

We’re beginning with soil.  We’ve introduced cows and chickens and are amending soil.  The pigs are in the freezer along with one cow.  Another steer is yet to join them (this weekend, weather permitting).

We’re learning by doing.  We’re learning by failing.  It’s exhausting.  It’s invigorating.

During a recent work weekend, a number of people showed up, three of them long time Peak Prosperity members seen below operating the Norwood sawmill after a delightfully brief introduction to it by yours truly.

They did great and cut a lot of wood for use on various projects around here.

Here’s one small part of it, and this pile is being put to use building an addition to the pole barn so we can finally keep our hay properly dry and hold enough to get our 2.5 cows fed through the winter.

The 0.5 reflects the fact that one of them is pregnant.  No, we don’t know anything about the cow birthing process.  Yes, we’re about to learn.

Here’s a corner of the pole barn addition and 100% of the wood you see was cut right here with our sawmill from trees on the property:

It’s an amazingly good feeling to be able to do this.  One of the best I’ve ever had.  This is a pretty crude effort as the various members are held in with steel fasteners of one sort or another.

I am saving up scraps and chunks to practice making actual mortice and tenon joints this winter.  My next project in the spring will be a small cabin framed entirely without nails or screws of any sort.  You know, super old school.  Amish style.

After I make a ton of mistakes on that small cabin, I’m going to build a fairly large barn.  Say 40×40 or larger.  Again, using post and beam, mortice and tenon methods.

After I gain the experience of that, I plan to build a beautiful temple somewhere up in the woods.

Also fun was thinking ”we need a wood crib” and only hours later having this:

By not having to square off the log (see the rough or “live” edges?) the cuts couldn’t be quicker.  Slap a tree on the mill and just make passes.

Again, what an amazing feeling to go from idea to done using trees from our own property.  In just a few hours.

Somehow that feels in strong alignment with the direction of things.

Next here’s Evie and myself after our cow slaughter day having brought the carcass up to a butcher.  This is a front quarter hanging before it goes into the butcher’s cooler for a couple of weeks for ageing.

What a learning! Neither of us had ever slaughtered anything so large a cow before.  With our assembled team of Jason, James, Chris, Evie and Jayde (Evie’s daughter) we did fantastically well.  One measure of that was how smoothly it went.  Another measure was hearing from our butcher that there was no mold or other sign of contamination after hanging for two weeks – a sign that we’d been very clean.

Our laying flock is looking healthy…

…and that’s in part because Evie and Jayde committed to feeding them fermented chicken food (in the red bucket, Jayde in the pic).  The theory being that fermenting does good things to assist in the digestion and absorption processes for the chickens:

Whether that’s true or not they loved it, grew well and have been healthy.  Ditto for the pigs who also mostly were fed fermented food.  They grew from under 100# each to around 350# fully dressed after slaughter (hanging weight).

The field is showing very positive signs that our cow/amendment/rotation grazing processes all worked well.  The field is going to be in far better shape next year than this year.  And that will be true each year going forward.

This winter is dedicated to plotting next year’s activities and improvements, with an edible forest being a huge part of that.  Various nut trees have to be researched and ordered.  A plan for each section of land needs to be devised.

Of course, we don’t plan on doing all of that or even very much of it ourselves.  We’re in the process of finding a dedicated farm manger (or couple) who have the energy and vision to create abundance, be entrepreneurial, and love learning new things.

Conclusion

Sensemaking is at an all time low.  You certainly know people who you cannot communicate with over certain subjects.  Their perception of the elephant is entirely different from yours.

Tensions are heightened in no small part because people are scared and cannot make sense of the world around them.  And of course they can’t.

It’s complete nonsense to shut down entire economies while not taking the first step of passing out sufficient vitamin D to everyone.

It doesn’t make sense to have entirely insecure voting machines and then berate the losing side for not trusting the results.  As Brad Freidman, the voting integrity expert told me, “Trust doesn’t have anything to do with it.  Election results need to be verifiable.”  Both parties are up to their eyeballs in this mess, so please don’t interpret that as a partisan statement.  It’s not, and I’m not.

The hardest part about all this, especially because we’re wired as social animals, is daring to do things nobody else even seems all that worried about or interested in.

But that’s also why this area is rich with opportunity.  By the time everyone has it figured out your chances to acquire property, buy gold or silver, or plant a garden will go down.  Lots of competition for limited resources.

While it’s entirely possible that even our best efforts at creating resilience will fail to secure a peaceful, prosperous future, they cannot fail in the most important area of all; allowing our actions to match our soul’s desires.

That’s the grand prize for any person living at any moment of history.  To be complete in their lifetime and to learn and grow and love as expansively and deeply as they can.

But first, you have to shed the mantle of intellectual noise and emotional discomfort that defines the times.  Zozobra will steal your motivation.  The interregnum will confuse even the best.  Demoralization will claim many more.

Through it all, there will be those who keep moving.  Who keep building. Who keep learning.  Who maintain their compassion, grace, and wisdom.

That is the tribe, and you shall know them by their deeds.

But if you’re in a pinch for time, just check the quality of the soil in their garden.

Foundational Learning

0% Complete