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The Values That Shape Peak Prosperity

At the heart of Peak Prosperity lies a commitment to intellectual integrity and curiosity. It’s where thought-leaders and truth-seekers converge, challenging the unsustainable status quo through facts and empathetic discourse, cultivating a resilient and inclusive community.

user profile picture Chris Martenson Nov 03, 2023
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I want to address this question: What is Peak Prosperity?

While the skeleton of Peak Prosperity is a framework of ideas that help us all make sense of the world, the beating heart of Peak Prosperity is the community of people who have been drawn to both the messages and the values of the site.

As the world struggles to adapt to the reality that its default mode of endless growth on a finite planet is on its last legs, having a trusted community becomes incredibly important.

I’m reminded in this moment of the incredible journey we’ve embarked upon together since we began this journey many years ago. It fills me with immense gratitude to see how our community, teeming with diverse minds from across the globe, has grown and flourished.

Every conversation, and every interaction has been an opportunity for all of us to learn, challenge ourselves, and further our understanding of the world.

But now we face many threats as individuals and as a community, not least of which is a hostile ruling class that wants us divided and angry at each other, like rats in a cage, presumably to take the heat off of them.

At times like these, communities based on agreements fall apart.  Those founded on values survive and can even flourish.

For example, we can all click a box agreeing to terms & conditions that say we’re going to be civil and back up our assertions with data and context, but when our own buttons get pushed, we always default to our values.

So what are the Peak Prosperity values?  What are we building and modeling here?

Open-Mindedness

The #1 value of Peak Prosperity is Open-Mindedness. According to several personality tests I’ve taken, this is my own top-most value.  So it’s not surprising that this value figures prominently at the website and community I founded and oversee.  If we want to be prosperous in an ever-changing world, it’s vital that we remain receptive to new ideas, different perspectives, and challenging viewpoints, so that we can foster an environment where individuals are willing to change their minds based on evidence and reasoned arguments.

As many who have gone through the awakening process can attest, what you thought was true,  what you were taught by your culture and prior generations, often ranged from being slightly wrong to entirely wrong.

What I learned about health from our medical system.  Wrong.  What the CDC still promotes as the optimal nutritional pyramid with grains on the bottom.  Wrong.  What I was taught about Darwinian evolution.  Wrong enough to warrant a complete review.  The idea that the Federal Reserve seeks full employment and stable prices….an entirely false myth.

Integrity

The next value is  Integrity.  If the post-Covid period was about anything, it was finding out who out there in the world of ideas and leadership was operating from a place of integrity and who was not.  I certainly learned who the intellectual frauds and moral cowards were.

The difference, mainly, came down to a specific definition of integrity.

 

The definition of integrity I like best is, “The willingness to be completely reeducated at any given moment.”

That’s why ‘ideological rigidity’ is its opposite in the above diagram.  Integrity in this context means one is so solid with their inner integrity that they are free from attachment to any particular idea.  I know most people think of integrity as some sort of a steel beam, or inner solidity, but I’m reframing it here from an intellectual standpoint as being wide open to changing and growing, as seeking truth before defending ego.

This does not mean wishy-washy or uncertain.  Far from it.  It means building up one’s knowing to the point where you know what you know, and you know what you don’t know. It requires quite a bit of wisdom and experience.

“The older I get, the less I know for sure.”

This also explains why I don’t do identity politics or take sides in the various wars that my dominant culture keeps trying to ram down my throat.  The drug war is a complete and abject failure.  The war on poverty and the gender culture wars are all misguided and delivering the exact opposite of what they claim as objectives.

The problem is they are fighting along the wrong axis.  They aren’t rooted in Open-Mindedness and therefore they lack integrity.

Curiosity

A closely related value to the above values is Curiosity. At Peak Prosperity, we are always free to be curious and to explore any and all topics in depth, to ask questions, and to engage in meaningful discussions that lead to deeper understanding.

A corollary is that sometimes members who come in with a trigger point, who want to shut down a conversion by shaming or shouting or over-emoting, are asked to leave.  There is no greater crime against achieving understanding than making certain lines of questioning off-limits.

Peak Prosperity stands for a commitment to continual learning.

When asked why he still practiced daily at the age of 90, acclaimed cellist Pablo Casals remarked, “Because I think I am finally starting to notice some improvement.”

Intellectual Integrity

Going deeper, the above values are strengthened by Intellectual Integrity.  We ask for and practice honesty and intellectual rigor in discussions. We ask everyone to present well-researched, fact-based arguments and to admit when they are wrong.

This is the core of the “how” we go about having conversations at Peak Prosperity.  We back up our opinions with data, and when the data changes, so do our minds.  This is always a process, not an event, and often it requires us to have a very high emotional quotient or EQ (to go along with our IQ).

To the extent we can, everyone should be transparent about their affiliations, biases, and motivations when engaging in discussions, which can help others evaluate their arguments more effectively.  This is where we all need help, because our own biases and lack of objectivity are usually hidden from us, but not from others.

Our partners can see things about us that we cannot.  To foster the necessary levels of trust to be vulnerable with each other is difficult enough in person, but an order of magnitude more difficult when online.

Written words do not carry nearly enough subtle information for us to always get what the other person really means.

Respect & Empathy

So we ask that all members be treated with respect, regardless of their backgrounds, beliefs, or opinions. Our aim is civil and constructive discourse, free from personal attacks or insults.

One reason this is vital, beyond the limitations of being an online community, is because we know that changing how we see the world is not a matter of finally seeing the right information (although that’s often a necessary first step) but because we know that it is a matter of shifting beliefs.  That, my friends, is an emotional process, not an intellectual event.

It’s simply how we humans are wired.  Nature, in her infinite wisdom, decided that human brains should mostly be wired up to believe a set of things, and that any re-wiring projects should only be undertaken rarely and only if absolutely necessary.

So, changing our beliefs is “hard.” We experience the process as uncomfortable, emotional, or even terrifying.  This is why people often don’t change until they receive a real scare in life, or hit absolute rock bottom.

Because we know this, we ask for members to consider the feelings and experiences of others, especially when discussing sensitive or controversial topics. Empathy can lead to more constructive conversations.

Inclusivity

If we do all of these things, people will feel comfortable sharing more of their own unique wisdom and life experiences as they develop a sense of belonging to an inclusive and civil community that is dedicated to seeking truth.

In a world that’s going crazy, you can’t put a price on the value of belonging to a group of people who have their wits about them.

All challenges are welcome, as long as they are respectful and backed by facts and data.  I welcome being challenged and know that my best work has been sharpened by others, even if the ‘challenge’ is no more than “I didn’t quite get that.”

On “staying in my lane”

From time to time, someone will come along and admonish me to “stay in my lane” or accuse me of not knowing what I am talking about.  While this is always a distinct possibility, and I will always defer to someone with greater authority who has a more complete explanation, I also know that sometimes the people with the greatest depth are also those who have the largest blinders on.

This happened recently with virologists on the subject of the origin of Covid.  My initial analysis, which hasn’t changed, pointed to a lab origin as being far and away the most likely.  I figured this out by early May of 2020 by listening to people who weren’t world-acclaimed virologists, but who made a lot of sense and came armed with facts.

In 2007 I got in a lot of ‘trouble’ with real estate professionals who took strong exception to my analysis that there was a housing bubble. Now virtually everybody claims to have known that there was a housing bubble at the time, but I can tell you that there were only 5 other people I knew about who were publicly saying that at the time.  I was among them, again simply by virtue of deciding for myself what was what.

In 2011 when Fukushima was unfolding, within 36 hours I had determined that three out of the four cores had melted down and escaped their containment vessels.  At the time I had a nuclear sub engineer telling the Peak community that I was nuts, had no expertise, and didn’t know what I was talking about.  Almost 2 years later the eventual truth was revealed and, yes, three cores had escaped their containment vessels.

In that case, I had paid for a satellite photo to be taken, and discovered a few frames in a Japanese helicopter flyby that they had forgotten to scrub showing what I called the “crack of doom” glowing white-hot beneath the rubble.  Logic said that the only source of heat that could cause such a heat signature underground was nuclear.

I followed the same process for Covid treatments.  Some data made sense, and some didn’t, but I was up against an entire system that was determined to yell me down for being out of my lane, not an expert, and unqualified to step into the medical arena.  Guess what?  Together this community managed to pull together, parse the data, read studies, and separate the BS from the truth.

Ditto for figuring out that Russia wasn’t losing and that Ukraine wasn’t winning.  That was easily determined by a dogged and daily review of battlefield videos, which also instructed me that warfare has changed forever.  Precision drone attacks and super and even hypersonic missiles have yet to be fully factored into the West’s military thinking and, once again, I find myself being told that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Then there is the topic of high finance and the apparent safety of derivatives I’ve been told by experts in the business that I don’t know what I’m talking about.  We’ll see about that.

The point here is to invite everyone to follow the same methods that I do, which center on the idea of trusting yourself.  If something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t.  Which means it’s time to go digging for answers.

To do so is to take risks.  You will get things wrong from time to time, but we often learn the most when we’re wrong.  So resisting the demands to ‘stay in your lane’ is important because, as Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  The “expert” gatekeepers aren’t there to protect or to help you nearly as often as they are there to protect their own sense of importance and identity.

If 2020 to 2023 was anything, it was a long warning against trusting experts.

My role is ‘information scout’ and I can only do that when I have the freedom to ask any question, challenge any belief, and gore any sacred ox.

Freedom of speech means nothing without freedom of thought.

The latter precedes the former.

Mission: Resilience

The mission of this site, and the reason I get out of bed every day excited to keep doing what I do, is to help as many people as possible become resilient.  Hard times are coming, possibly catastrophically hard times.

The path to becoming more resilient is often less about doing or buying things, but about letting go of the past and releasing the models that no longer serve us.  Again, that’s a delicate process guarded by various illusions and emotional walls.

The best we can do online to facilitate this mission is to have a community of high integrity and exceptional people.  The good news is that we have that.  In spades.  The volunteer moderators are a vital part of maintaining this site.  So too are the efforts of every member who contributes thoughtfully, or flags posts or spam for review.  The Peak team is comprised of people who are so dedicated to the project that I get teary with gratitude just thinking about their dedication and how lucky we all are to have them.

Together, we are building a durable community that is one of the very best to be found anywhere online, and I’m proud of that.  We’re doing something special – we’re growing stronger together and learning from each other even though the whole world seems to be demanding that we fracture, divide, and shut down.

In Closing

So, I urge you to join the discussion.  Come with integrity and curiosity, bring what facts you can and an open mind, respect the diverse backgrounds and knowledge of our community, and let’s seek truth together.  If do this, we have a shot at creating a world worth inheriting.

Thank you.

Your faithful information scout,
Chris Martenson

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