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What’s the plan?

user profile picture Chris Martenson Dec 31, 2008
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A Summary

Many people have asked us, "Where are the large-scale solutions to all these problems you have described?" and  "What should we do as a nation to avoid the seemingly inevitable consequences of this fiat money system?"

The lack of promotion of a large-scale solution set reflects a deliberate act of strategy rather than negligence. We believe we must reach a critical mass of individuals who have an understanding of the ideas presented in the Crash Course, before any national or global solutions will even be possible.

Because we are still quite far from this tipping point of understanding, this website continues to focus primarily on educating people and helping them move from denial, to awareness, to understanding, and then towards actions rooted in a sense of personal responsibility.

Once we have achieved a critical mass of people who understand the issues and have taken responsible actions as a result, solutions will find more fertile ground in which to take root.  Many people have already reached this place of understanding and assumed personal responsibility for their futures, but this site is organized around the principle that most have not.

The Theory of Action

My position on actions is that solutions should come from a position of understanding. I believe it is premature to discuss specific solutions until and unless true understanding has been achieved. Preceding understanding is awareness, and the prerequisite of awareness is a lack of denial.

Said in reverse, the stages are:  denial >> awareness >> understanding >> solutions

Let me create an example around a medical condition. Imagine a patient finally passes out of the denial stage, decides that their chest pains might not be heartburn after all, and goes to the ER. Prior to coming out of denial and showing up at the ER, no solutions could be entertained, because the patient was not yet even willing to admit they were a patient.

Now that they are at the ER, imagine that there is a choice between two attending physicians.

One is young, bright, right out of school, and has studied the condition and treatment of heart attacks but has never actually treated one before. We could say that this doctor is aware of the condition of heart failure and how to treat it.

The other physician has extensive experience treating such victims and is so familiar with the condition and all the possible variables that they understand, in a deep way, the nuances of choreographing the actions that will be taken over the next few hours.

I hope we can agree that we’d prefer, given the choice, to have this patient treated by the second physician, whose deep familiarity with heart attacks has led to an understanding of the condition that goes well beyond simple awareness.

Similarly, it is not enough for people to be aware that inflation exists, or that our monetary system has flaws, or that resources are depleting. That is insufficient. If they are to take effective actions and formulate solutions, then they need to understand what these terms and conditions really mean.

At this stage, I am not convinced that I even know what the right solutions are, and I’ve been studying this for a long time.

Solutions should come from a position of understanding.

That’s Part One of the theory of action.

Little steps before big steps

Part Two of the theory of action is even simpler, and it goes like this: There’s not much point in having people talk about big solutions if they haven’t taken any small steps. Large solutions require large commitments. Is it realistic to expect success at something large if even small commitments are lacking?

This is why I focus on personal actions, such as not taking on consumptive debt and maybe putting a little food aside, perhaps taking some cash out of the bank, or any number of other easy actions. I know these seem to be wholly insufficient actions, even if defensively prudent, but they are actually a critically important psychological step towards aligning our internal beliefs with our actions. Taking any actions on one’s own behalf implies taking responsibility for one’s future.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a brilliant article outlining all the grand steps that could and should be taken, I feel disconnected from the responsibility for making it happen. Call it the bystander’s syndrome – in the back of my mind I suppose that plenty of others much be reading and acting on this excellent call to action and so I’m off the hook. Or something like that.

True commitment and personal responsibility are measured by the actions people take.

The Plan

Build understanding, encourage small actions, then align with solutions.

The goal of this site is to help build awareness and understanding until the right 8% – 10% of the population is on board. It is only then that a realistic solution set will find fertile ground in which to take root.

The first stage of the plan is to get as many people as possible to watch the Crash Course  in 2009. Our target is 5 million.

The Crash Course is going out to more and more people every day. The Brigade is spreading the word. 17,500 DVDs are out there, hopefully being viewed.  Even more copies have been downloaded and burned.  People are holding house parties and viewings all across the globe.

We are using your donations and subscriptions to operate and maintain the site, develop new Crash Course materials such as study guides and presenter packs, and produce the next version of the DVD. We are giving interviews, working on getting a book out, doing a PBS special, developing podcasts, and writing material for the site every day.

We have lots of strategies and tactics for how we are going to spread the word, but we are counting, in large measure, on your help in spreading the word.

As I mentioned on Bill Sharon’s podcast, all significant social movements representing real change began as grassroots campaigns before moving inward to Washington DC. The movement towards living within our natural and economic budgets will find itself up against the status quo, which never gives in willingly, only grudgingly (if we’re lucky).

Along the way, we will encourage people, in ways both large and small, to take meaningful actions within their own lives, both as a means of mitigating risks and for encouraging a greater sense of commitment and personal responsibility.

Aligning with solutions

The time will come to actively promote large solutions, and we are already scanning the landscape for appropriate solutions and organizations with which to align in the not-too-distant future. We read everything you post and are sifting through all the excellent ideas and organizations that are already out there.  Later in 2009, it is entirely probable that this site will be promoting solutions and aligned with existing, solutions-based organizations.

But for now? Right now it makes more sense to direct all of our collective energies towards spreading awareness and building understanding. 

That alone is a worthy and challenging task.


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