Vagrant Story Episode 4: The $100 Panhandler.

The next few days were a furious blur of paint and dust and alcohol. Jeff, Romen, and Bryan worked more on the rehab property painting more of the house and laying down tile in what would later become the kitchen. Each day of labor Continue reading

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Last of the American Boys

He puts his rucksack on

Taking courage from the Dawn of the Sun

He straps his boots on tight

Like a soldier who is ready to March

He is self-assured

A cool man headed into Adventure

He won’t turn back now

He’s the Last of the American Boys

 

He wears his cuts n’ scrapes

Like a badge of Tested Mettle

He is hitchin’ a ride

Like a smilin’ thumb on the Road

He left his stuff behind

While givin’ the Dow Jones the finger

He makes enough to survive

As he’s movin’ from place to place

 

Like a Navigator at the

Heart of the Expedition

He is one of a kind

He’s the Last of the American Boys

 

He plays his ole’ six string

Singin’ songs of the open highway

He is a sucker for

All the mountains he has yet to climb

He will trim his sails

Catchin’ the Trade Winds out on the ocean

He’s a travelin’ man

A rebel needing no cause

 

Like an Indiana Jones

Off on another crazy Adventure

He just can’t stay home

He’s the last of the American Boys

 

He puts his rucksack on

Taking courage from the Dawn of the Sun

He straps his boots on tight

Like a soldier who is ready to March

He will trim his sails

Catchin’ the Trade Winds out on the ocean

He’s a travelin’ man

A rebel needing no cause

And we need him to Live

Cause, he’s the Last of the American Boys.

Categories: Blogging, Character Development, Fear, philosophy, Poetry, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality, Travel, Vagabonding, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vagrant Story Episode 3: Drinking, Painting, and Money. Can the Lawyer be trusted?

When Bryan awoke the following morning he had a slight hangover. Nothin’ he ain’t dealt with before, he was a sailor, so he knows how to drink. Making a quick breakfast of oatmeal and Earl Gray tea, Bryan thought back to a thought he had last night amidst the inebriated pool game. Get a tattoo, Bryan mused to himself. I think it’s time to get my Compass.

Bryan had long wanted to get a compass tattoo on his left forearm Continue reading

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Vagrant Story Episode 2: Preachers, Guns, and the Venomous Great Escape from Hell?

Leaving the Citgo station our favorite Nomad resumes walking on the southbound road. He decides that he really just wants to walk for a while. The weight of his rucksack starts digging into his hips, pressing thin, hard metal carabineers into his soft, squishy skin. Bryan knows that this is happening because he refuses to adjust his bags. You see, Einstein thought it might be a brilliant idea to wear a belt under a belt attached to a belt. Huh? Continue reading

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Vagrant Story Episode 1: Wanna play with a Mountain Lion?

In the words of Cowboy Beebop…

“I think it’s time to blow this scene.

Get everybody and the stuff together…

OK. 3. 2. 1. Let’s Jam.”

Ladies and Germs… it begins. (And is written in the narrative third person for fun.)

After being dropped off at a truck stop in Mortons Gap KY, Continue reading

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Makes you think about what you put in your body.

Bare 5

Check this picture out…

The ants had 3 options: margarine, low fat margarine and real butter. Guess which one they seem to like. I just hope they don’t keel over and die from all that saturated fat…

20120314-152924.jpg

I knew butter seemed like a more common sense choice all along…🙂

Thanks for reading, have a great real buttery week!

I came across this picture on Facebook and unfortunately don’t know the source but my thanks go out to whomever shared this with the world.

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Hammock Camping

Ladies and Germs, I am knee deep in preparations for a vagabonding journey to Ft. Lauderdale and beyond. The goal (if it can be said that I have one) is to hitch a ride on a sailboat to who knows where, and learn how to sail. I will start from Providence KY, taking a bus to Montegomery Alabama and from there, I’ll wing it (like I do.)

As a preface to the journey ahead, I’d like to take the time to talk about my newly Continue reading

Categories: Building, Camping, Character Development, cycling, Equipment, Fitness, Gear, Health, Primal, Self-improvement, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts about Technocracy

Let me be clear from the start: I am NOT anti-science or anti-intellectual. As you may well surmise, I think alot, I read alot, and I spend a great deal of time trying to ‘get to the bottom of things.’ I applaud science for many of the wonderful modern day technologies such as ovens, cars, computers which I love so much for there ability to bring me information that would else be very far out of reach and other such inventions without which life would be a hell of a lot harder.

But I also point my finger at science for such ‘abominations’ as nuclear weapons and waste, advancements in weaponry, Bioweapons, Chemical warfare, as well as processed foods, refined grains devoid of any nutritional value, the excess sugars pumped into dull and drab foods to make them sweet. And though this is not the place to go into it, I’ve got a thing against furniture that you wouldn’t believe. These are all scientific advances; their triggers and causes may have been economic, that could be true, but science is what brought them about.

My point is that some science, some technological advancement is good, but only if that tech is used in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration (A philosophy) which we as a human race have not, as yet been able to establish.  And if science was a bit more ‘philosophical,’ that is to say, if scientific baseball had on its team a few players who asked, “Should we?” Instead of always asking, “How can we?” then technology might evolve in a more hospitable spirit (ideology, mentality whatever literary symbol soothes your nerves.)
Technology would change, improve, and evolve at a much slower pace, that’s true (thank goodness), but its evolution would be conscious, focused, purposeful instead of what we have today which is, “Hey, let’s invent all this shit and wait to see its unintended consequences…. OHHHH! Nuclear technology… man that really came back to bite us in the ass hasn’t it?” Instead of waiting for yet another ‘miracle drug’ to be recalled from the market cause, ‘Hey its design was faulty after all… who knew?’ (that guy knew, and he tried to tell them) we could have a little ‘wisdom and compassion’ with our science.

(A side note, those three words feel weird together for me as though they don’t usually go together. Anyone else have that feeling?)

Philosophy is important. Its more important than anything else we’ve got going for us as humans (I would say that wouldn’t I), though the modern day academic attitude has all, but destroyed the art and science of philosophy. Hell, with what passes as philosophy these days, Universities might as well shut down there philosophy departments and move them all into Law or Mathematics.

All science, ALL OF IT comes from philosophy, the First Science, way back in the day (which was a Wednesday), before man had microscope and beaker; back when a rational man (gasp they existed back in those HEATHEN times) had naught but one tool at his disposal with which to explore his external (or so called external) world: His Mind.

And every technological tool invented since that is for acquiring information serves man as an ‘extension’ of one of his senses; it does not replace it. The microscope ‘amplifies’ his sight, it does not supersede it, mathematics ‘assists’ his logical mind to new heights. Mathematics IS logical philosophy. I think the philosophy that most people (and much of the empirical sciences) seem to disdain is the realm of metaphysics, and I won’t even go into the cognitive judo that explains that the rejection of metaphysics is itself a metaphysic.🙂

All the problems that we have are philosophical. The proposed solution for our worldy ills, ‘Technocracy,’ is itself a philosophy. It is the ‘idea’ that experts should be running the show. That only those with skill should make decisions regarding areas of life (which are apparently all technical though they know fuck all about any spiritual crisis of which man has many) with which they have experience. This is the set up for what is in philosophy called dualistic thinking and consequently, dualistic living, since human society is philosophy in action. We’ve been doing it for almost all of recorded human history and its how we got ourselves in this mess to begin with.

Right now, one of our most basic and self-destructive form of dualistic thinking is deeply embedded in our monetary system: Those that are Wealthy as opposed from those that are Not Wealthy. Those that are wealthy have all the power and make decisions (are the causers) and those that are not wealthy are the followers (the eventers, the ones who more strongly and directly experience the results of ‘their’ decisions and causes).

In this hypothetical ‘Technocracy’ the stage is set for a similar dualism: Those that have Skill and those that do Not have Skill (I wonder what will happen to ‘useless’ and ‘non-practical’ skills like music, poetry, art, drama) . Those that have skill will make all the rules and decisions, while those that have no skills (or don’t have enough skill to have a voice) will just have to trust they ‘they’ know what they’re doing. This set up is a disaster, because its what we’re doing right now (only not so thoroughly and completely as full blown Technocracy would have us do), and it ain’t working.

We’re already outsourcing our decisions to ‘experts.’ When someone gets a tummy ache, the first place they go is the doctor (who charges you an arm and a leg) instead of looking at diet and nutrition, amount and quality of sleep… etc. When your toilet leaks; call a plumber. No, no, no, don’t investigate it first to see if you might be able to fix it on your own (which is notoriously easy to do), call in ‘the experts,’ cause they know what should be done. Car trouble? Screw figuring it out for myself, I’ll call a mechanic.

We’re already doing something a lot like that on a daily basis, such that no one even cooks anymore, they all figure that cooking’s too hard and it’s better to pick up fast food, or get something microwaveable from the store.

I admit I was initially excited about The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement and Technocracy, but upon delving deeper, I think these ideas stem from the same philosophies of perpetual frustration from which we already operate. In fact, at first glance I can see glaring and quite frightening similarities (from the point of view of one who studies ideas and where they come from) to Christian thought inlayed in the design of Technocracy.

I’m not sure how deeply you’ve thought about Christianity, but I’ve gone pretty far down the rabbit hole and the first and most important realization in rationally thinking about Christianity (as it is generally understood), is to understand how, in that mental construct one relates to Ultimate Reality. It’s an important question and in Christian baseball, man relates to Ultimate Reality as a subject to a King; and the King is the maker and shaper of the world; he’s a Cosmic Technician. In Christianity, God is an Autocratic Technocrat. That is to say, that God makes the world according to his own ideals and according to some kind of natural law; some kind of ‘higher order’ that he imposes upon a dumb and stupid world which He makes. And all his creations (subjects) are compelled by threat of punishment to comply with His law, which they may or not understand, but if they have concerns there is the Clergy and they know what should be done.

Now, I see the same gleam in the eye of Technocracy. Those who have Skill are going to be the movers and shakers of society. We hope that they’re unbiased in their ‘scientific’ (and not at all emotional) findings and therefore in the guidance in which they provide, but let’s be honest, humans are (after all) human. Who’s to say that the technological ‘experts’ calling the shots don’t have ulterior motives they’d like to push?

Even if you take money out of the equation and install a Resource Based Economy, getting rid of money, does not get rid of human desire or the whole host of problems that come with it, such as ambition, fuss over ones reputation, the attainment of and the desire to attain rewards and commendations… etc (Ha, ha, ha! Technological entendre… Install! As though society was a mere mechanistic ‘thing’ in which one could just swap certain parts, sigh, why does no one get that Life is organic and doesn’t work like machinery?)

Furthermore, who gets to decide which experts get to make which decisions? What ‘expert’ chooses other experts to inform society? And if the experts are informing society, then who is it that informs the informers? If these experts are to be the guardians of civilization, then who guards the guards?

Also, meditate on this: What about non-joiners? What if you have a selection of the population who decided that they don’t very much like the idea of Technocracy and that they’d like to do things their way and live in their backwater ancient ways and would really just like to be left alone? If it’s a small percentage I imagine Technocracy would be fine with it and could still function.

But supposing that the opposition is much larger say China, or a combination of Far Eastern cultures; what then? From what I understand RBE is an ‘all or nothing thing,’ the whole world has got to be on board or it won’t work. After all, resources must be allocated for the benefit of ALL people or else you get another dualism: those that have the benefit of RBE and those who do not. And those who do not have; have always wanted the treasure of those who have; thus we see the beginning of war.

Now, I should make it clear that my role, my Act in this Grand Drama we call Life, as a philosopher is just to put out ideas and get people thinking. I am not a Technocrat, nor am I a technician, nor am I really a huge fan of the empirical sciences as they exist today (mostly because they are based on the 19th century philosophies of Freud, Newton, Darwin… men who I would gladly strangle were they alive today, for convincing us that the Universe is dead, dumb and driven by blind brute force.)

I just want people to think about Technocracy before they cream their pants over it. If you think about it and it sounds like a worthwhile idea to you, then I wish you well in your endeavors; I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone what they should or should not do. I have my opinions of course, and when I write, I write with a voice of authority, but in the end I am never to be taken seriously; I’m not nearly that stuffy and full of myself. I also realize that my thoughts are taken sometimes to the extreme. I do that on purpose, I want to take my thoughts are far as seems to me reasonably ‘possible,’ though not necessarily probable. Again, the point is just to generate other thoughts and to stimulate contemplation.

So in closing, I am curious to know your thoughts? Those of you who really go to bat for Technocracy; let’s hear from you. I myself am curious as to how it would all work. I’m open to the idea that maybe its not as I imagine it to be.

Categories: Ancient Classics, Building, Character Development, Economics, Government, Leadership, philosophy, Politics, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality, Technocracy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My views on Astrology

Astrology: One of many advanced ideas from ancient times.

I find astrology to be an interesting idea. Many have refuted the idea and benefits of astrology because their daily horoscope in the Sunday paper was wrong, or because they have very ‘logical’ mind sets and think it’s bogus that the arbitrary positions of the planets can have any bearing on one’s personality.

With these people I most heartily agree. Your Sunday horoscope means nothing. I can’t stand the idea of Prophecy to begin with and it irritates me to no end that everything that Astrology contains has been watered down to a few sentences about your day based on your sun sign.

The idea that the planets themselves influence one’s personality is also stupid. But, if we look at this idea from a different point of view we find that perhaps the relationship between planets and personality is different that we imagine. You see most people have that idea in mind; the idea that the planets themselves create or fashion the personality, they think this is stupid so they write it off. But, what if the planets don’t ‘do’ anything? What if they are merely ‘indicators?’

Most people reject the idea that external planets ‘create’ an internal personality, in very much the same way that most people reject the idea of an external ‘Creator God’ having anything to do with the shaping of the physical Universe and internal psyche. People don’t really believe in God, not like they used to. After the bombshell that Newton, Freud, and Darwin dropped on us in the 19th century, people have begun to hope that there’s a god; to really, truly, and sincerely wish that there was one, and feel they should believe, but they don’t.

I shall have much more to say about that in other essays. But the astrological point is this: play with the idea long enough and you get the notion that the planets indicatethings in an individual rather than do anything to them.

In THIS post I write about my view of the Universe and human consciousness.

Now, if you understand that, if you feel this fact, then the idea of astrology makes perfect sense. It really seems very forward thinking of our ancestors of many different cultures to come up with some system of Consciousness interpretation. Back to oceanic examples. A wave is the ocean and it’s all the same energy, it is all the same water. So it may be said that the state of the wave is reflected in the state of the ocean; that is to say that if one could devise some way of interpreting or analyzing the state of the ocean, and then you could have a way of analyzing and interpreting the state of any individual wave.

That’s what astrology is. It is a method devised a really long time ago and by many different people, to interpret the state of our particular pool of Universal Consciousness, namely our Solar System. The ancient cultures had some kind of idea that the state of an individual could be reflected in the state of the visible ‘heavenly’ Universe and thus certain interpretations could then be made about the state of the individual; the ‘wave.’

Whether they put it into words or not, the ancient cultures openly thought that ‘who you are’ goes well beyond the confines of your skin, to such degree that the position of visible ‘heavenly’ bodies at the exact moment of your birth; in the exact location in which you were born, could be read to give insight as to the state and personality of the individual. It’s really quite an advanced concept when one thinks about it. Assuming a method like astrology can reliably make certain claims about one’s personality based on planetary ‘indications,’ one could almost take it as a verification of a living, intelligent, self-aware Universe.

Here is a segment of my Natal Horoscope that I pulled off café-astrology. I agree that it is important to take any computer generated Natal with a good dose of salt, however I never the less find this interpretation staggeringly accurate as to my personality.

[Begin Natal Horoscope]

Sun in Aries

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and Aries natives are the first to start–and the first to finish–whatever they set out to do. Aries is an active, energetic sign. People with Sun in Aries are direct, straightforward, and uncomplicated. They expect the same from others, and are baffled when they don’t always get it.

The body comes first with Aries. Sun in Aries people are natural athletes. At the very least, their natural inclination is to use their bodies to get things done. They’re not given to long, drawn-out emotional moments; nor are they big on planning ahead. Instead, they live their lives simply. What is happening right now is most important to Aries. Impatience is a definite vice, and innovation is a huge strength. Aries loves to start anything new, and they have trouble sitting still. They are pioneers in whatever they do, and there is a very basic quality of bravery in these people that is unmistakable! Aries generally knows what they want, and they know the quickest route to getting it. They take shortcuts if they must, but generally everything is aboveboard. Underhanded just isn’t their style. Some Aries people are bold, but even the quieter ones are brave and even plucky in their own way. Independence is their birthright. Nothing gets them going more than a fresh slate, the promise of a new day, and a brand new start.

Sun in IX (House)

You have a deep need to understand the world around you. You have high ideals and you have your eye on what’s on the horizon. You are looking ahead, and at times can seem quite restless. You are proud of your knowledge and of your morals. Be sure to avoid self-righteousness in your enthusiasm to share your knowledge. When used correctly, you are a tolerant, adventurous, and curious person, and you want to see the best in people and in life.

65 Trine Sun – Uranus

It is natural for you to question tradition. You are, above all things, an individualist. You naturally rebel against that which is established. It doesn’t mean that you consistently break all the rules, but you definitely do question some of the rules, especially those that simply don’t make much sense. You possess much self-integrity.

You easily embrace new ways of doing things, you stick up for the underdog, and you express yourself in unique and inspiring ways. You value honesty and truth, and you avoid putting on airs. You believe in the equality of people, and easily relate to people from all walks of life. You possess an unmistakable enthusiasm about life, and generally your life is interesting because you invite unusual or adventurous experiences into your life. You are generally appreciated by others because you are open-minded, fair, and not judgmental.

Moon in IX (House)

Highly imaginative. Prolonged studies, is intuitive. Professionally successful abroad, or in import-export or as a diplomat. Contact with foreigners. Long journeys. Ability to learn foreign languages.

You are a philosophical sort, interested and curious about the world, other people, and perhaps different cultures. You can be extremely restless and discontented if you don’t have a definite goal in mind.

31 Trine Moon – Ascendant

He has a good influence on the family, which loves and helps the person. He likes travelling, movement, change. He likes contact and is open to other people.

Mercury in IX

His thirst for knowledge is never satisfied. He is full of mental activity. He undertakes exhaustive studies, always studying for pleasure. Likes journeys to faraway places, and can go to live abroad.

You are eternally curious and hunger for knowledge. You enjoy studying and learning, and do it not because you have to, but because you want to. You enjoy exchanging ideas and personal philosophies with others. You can be especially buoyant, enthusiastic, and even inspiring in your communications. While you may not pay enough attention to details, you are skilled at finding a quick solution to problems. You readily see the bigger picture and enjoy sharing your opinions and ideas. You get off on how information affects people’s lives, and you take great pleasure in learning that something you have shared or taught has inspired others to take action, experience something new, or make changes in their lives. Some of you might be too quick to offer advice, however, that might be lacking in thoroughness and practicality, or that you yourself don’t follow.

[End Natal Horoscope]

Personally, I find this to be incredibly accurate as far as indicating (not determining) my personality. Given that I travel a lot and am the philosophical sort… as you might have guessed… I’d say these are fairly accurate statements.

I have used astrology to help shed light on certain areas of my life during times of personal confusion. I have used my Natal Horoscope to identify facets of my personality that are strong and merit continued dedication and focus. Astrology has been an invaluable tool in helping me to decide what was worth investing effort into and what was just an idle fancy. For instance, I tend to be a Jack of all Trades, and I’m usually good at anything I really set my mind to do, from teaching English, to miltary service, to studying philosophy, to the healing arts, to installing a new toilet tank this morning. Because I adapt so quickly and learn so fast I have a really hard time choosing ‘what to do’ (as though I could only choose one thing.)

I believe this difficulty has been brought about by my experience with our education system which pressures children (and consequently the adults they will become) to ‘specialize’ that is to pick one thing they are good at and do more or less only that. For most kids this was an easy pick, it was fairly obvious what they were good at and what they were total failures at, so given the slightest bit of psychological validation from an important figure in their lives, they ran full speed towards whatever made important figure happy.

I was not like this. I was always good at many things, I still am; and I always rejected the thoughts and opinions of others about me; choosing instead to trust myself as my own moral compass. This produced a lot of confusion in me as I waivered constantly between this and that; never able to pick just one skill to invest in or one track to follow. You will often see me refer to myself as a ‘Joker;’ a societal ‘Wild Card’ and most people have always found my natural flip flop ability to be very disconcerting.

Astrology helped clear my head a bit by allowing me to contrast my chart with the charts of friends and family members and gave me what I call ‘Astro Eyes.’ I learned to see just how different my personality ‘blueprint’ was from most of the people that I read and I began to slowly understand that I wasn’t ‘wired’ like most of my friends and family and that this was a very good thing.

My self-esteem didn’t hinge upon the praise and blame of others and this allowed me the freedom to do things my own wrong way, make my own mistakes and learn from them. I began to read about astrology and take the knowledge and use it in ‘cold reading’ people. It’s most important use was to show me that the reason I am good at so many things is because everything revolves around ideas and that’s my astrological area of expertise: ideas. Basically, I ‘get it.’ I start doing things and I begin to intuitively understand the pattern of what I’m doing. Before I know it, I understand what I’m doing and without the mystery it becomes boring and I lose interest.

Astrology has also helped me identify areas of challenge, areas of my life that if I would willingly take the time to develop would assist me in evolving as a conscious being. For me, my greatest challenge is in self-control and self-discipline. I tend to be a very ‘on the go’ kind of guy and my challenge is to be stable enough to accomplish something. I generally give way to my impulses and a lesson that would serve me well is a lesson in self-discipline.

It seems odd that the Navy wasn’t my bag as one would think that the military would be great for self-discipline, but it can’t be a discipline that is forced on me. The Navy was much too…’ do this or else.’ If you back me into a corner I fight (Aries), but if I back myself into a corner, fully knowing and understanding why I am submitting myself to this rule, tradition, practice, or structure , then the healing and growth can begin; because it will be a discipline that I have chosen for myself.

In this way I can hold myself accountable and discipline myself to engage in certain beneficial practices like my nightly meditation, my conscious awareness of bodily nutrition and body posture. But the most important aspect about self-discipline is being able to treat myself fairly. I know myself, I know what encourages me, what motivates me, what repels me, what discourages me. I’m only human and sometimes I can’t always live up to my own expectations or hold myself to higher standards all the time. Being my own mentor, I can handle myself tactfully taking care not to discourage myself in the future.

Sometimes I act out of spite. I may know that an authority is right, but if the world won’t live or die in the decision, I may make the logically wrong decision just to show that I can exert my free will and to feel victorious in the sense that even if I’m wrong or fail, at least I wasn’t controlled. I freely admit that this makes me very easy to manipulate if you can manage to trick me with well played reverse psychology, though I can usually see that shit coming a mile away.

This long ass diatribe of myself; all this self-knowledge has come about as a result of my astrological studies. I did not know these things about me when I was in the Navy and much of my childish attitude and standoffish nature could have been understood and then worked through had I this knowledge. I wasn’t a very self-aware individual then, but my foray into astrology changed all that and now I know why I feel ‘right’ when I hitchhike and cycle across the country, why foreign languages interest me, and why I can read Plato’s Republic like a bedtime story.

For those who are curious about astrology and would like a place to get a pretty detailed free natal chart, I direct you here. Mind you, it is a computer generated chart, so take some things with a grain of salt, but its a great starting point. I found mine through this site to be amazing ‘accurate,’ if such a word can be used, and I hope it will be of benefit to you. If you’d like to get into my head, HERE is my Natal Chart.

Categories: Astrology, Character Development, Emotion, Health, Leadership, philosophy, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counterfeit FiveFingers and Business Practices

I think it is interesting that people often get angry with counterfeiters. The only reason to counterfeit anything is if there’s profit to be gained from doing it. In the case of FiveFingers, I think Vibram is really ‘shooting itself in the foot,’ pun INTENDED. Vibram’s are so expensive. So they’re worth counterfeiting. And people who can’t afford to buy the ‘real deal’ are the ones who are more than willing to buy knock offs, based on the idea, that ‘maybe they’re kinda the same?’

I myself am at a crossroads. I want Vibrams, I really do, BUT I can’t afford to drop 85 bucks for a pair o shoes, especially when they’re supposed to ‘mimic’ being barefoot. (why not just be barefoot?) I walk barefoot all the time, and I’ve read the literature on how unnatural shoes are and how they cause most of our ankle, knee, and spinal pains and issues. The only issue that I have is that in our insane culture we have to obey certain social conventions and wearing shoes is irritatingly one of these rules.

I can’t go to that consult barefoot. Resturaunts will not seat me without the proper attire, I.E. shoes. So my main concern in buuying a pair of Vibrams would really be more for cosmetic reasons than anything else. And this is what brings me to my dilemma. Why should I spend 85-150 bucks on a pair of shoes that claims to be ‘minimalist?’ Theres nothing minimalist about those prices. These ‘counterfeiters,’ these ‘bastards’ that make ‘fake’ Vibrams seem to be providing me with a public service.

What they do is only illegal according to the very confusing rules of our paticular social games. The fact is ‘these assholes’ are bringing fire to the people. They’re making these great products affordable for the common man. I can get knock off FiveFingers for about 20-30 bucks. That’s a 75% discount. That brings glove like, heelless foot wear into my financial realm of possibility, complete with all the podiatric health boons that come with it.

Now, why should I be against this? If I drop 30 bucks for a pair of knock offs and they’re half as good as the ‘real thing’ (as though these weren’t essentially the same damn thing) and they last me 6 months, I might spend $60 a year in FiverFinger(ish) footwear. If I compare that to the $100 pair of ‘authentic’ Vibrams that might last a year or even a year and a half at most, then it is far better for my wallet to buy the knock offs.

And as for the business practices of these ‘evil counterfeiters,’ it looks to me like they’ve just found another way to win the game. It is a very thin and very blurry line between ‘skill’ and ‘cheating,’ and the inferior intelligence will always accuse the superior intelligence of cheating the moment they use their brains. Vibram’s assault on these counterfeiters is essentially a philosophical pissing and whining. Vibram is saying, “We were having a business contest to see who could build the best shoe (and make the most money from it) and then you made shoes that are alot like ‘mine’ and sold them for less money (attracting more customers), and you’re not playing fair!”

Playing fair? What did you think Vibram? That you were the only one that could possibly concieve of a glove-like shoe for the feet? Did you really expect to have a monopoly on the intelligence and the tools that make ‘toe shoes’ possible? Of course you did. You did think you would have a monopoly, thats why you patented them; so that you could have that monopoly.

Using one of the very absurd (and progressively obstructive) maneuvers possible (patenting) in our complicated social game (litigation) you basically announced to the world that you have this great idea that could help everbody. You told us you had an amazing product that was going to be more natural, strengthen the human body, put us back in touch with the Earth and make use of the 200,000 nerve endings in the soles of our feet; a product that would ease and prevent joint pain and make us healthier and happier.

You told us all this and then what did you do? What did you do Vibram? Rather than share the idea that it may be collaboratively improved upon and bring about good health and a podiatric revolution, you instead decided to exclude the idea itelf from the common good and sell the product for an exorbitant price; forbidding and condemning anybody from attempting to make their own glove-like footwear and vilifying anyone who dares to sell a cheaper version of your product.

You have cheated the people.

Instead of bringing happiness to all (or even most) people, you like all the other greedy businesses of your ilk, have created a financial barrier to something good. You have engineered a social situation in which the only people who can have the kind of health benefits your footwear might bring are the kind of people who have enough money (or who want the product so bad that they manage to gather enough money) to drop 150 bucks on footwear.

So I say, good on the counterfeiters. Hooray, cheating counterfeiters, making a product that is very close to the original for a mere fraction of the price, thus begining to destroy the financial barrier to this type of product.

Vibram, the only way to stop the counterfeiters is to make your products affordable so that most people won’t have to seek out your competiton. Be content with lower profit margins, change your prices to match this acceptance of lower profit per unit, and watch your competition be snuffed out over night. As a consequence you’ll make more money than ever before as new customers flock to your doors choosing to buy ‘the real thing’ because it won’t break their wallet in half.

Your competition won’t be able to hold out, because at your new lower prices ‘the best deal they can offer’ will be about 10-20 bucks lower than your price, and people WILL pay slightly more money for the original, authentic design. But what they will most definitely NOT pay, is a price that is 60%, 70%, 80% higher than what they can get somewhere else, even if they’re not, ‘the real deal.’

So, you think about this Vibram and any company that operates under a similar methodology. Your greed is going to choke out your own business. Yes, you may be successful for a time, but it will not last, especially if this global economy continues to take a nose dive. People are going to start saving their pennies.

…It suddenly occurs to me that the failure of the business may actually be taken into account already. Perhaps thats the point, to start a business, sell a product with the intention to profiteer at the expense of the customer and even at the expen and eventual demise of the business itself (including all the employees counting on the business to stay open). Maybe the goal is to push product based on greed and when the profit dries up and the business’s failure is inevitable, the owners simply let the business die, take their money and move on; setting up a different business, selling a different product, but using the same formula.

And yet I wonder… Reader, your thoughts?

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