I won't begin the promised "Diagonal Economy" series quite yet. The main reason is that I don't want to start down that path without putting full effort into it. So, in the interim, I've wanted to write a bit about lifestyle design and philosophy. While this may seem like a major departure from my general themes, I think it's actually complementary: by approaching our individual and community patterns as something to be consciously designed, rather than merely followed, we have the opportunity to make our lives more resilient, more energy efficient, more environmentally sustainable, and more pleasurable. That can't be all bad?
First, two blog recommendations on this topic:
Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week. This has been on my sidebar for some time. Superficially, his book is about figuring out how to make quick money off the internet and then take long vacations. At its core, however, he is working to design a set of tools and principles for living that can be used to adapt to rapid change, build a more resilient lifestyle, become healthier, solve problems--a host of useful things.
Leo Babauta, and his blog Zen Habits. Leo has build a very successful career for himself by applying one simple principle: examine and simplify everything you do. Will be added to my sidebar soon (along with several other blogs I've been meaning to add for some time).
While it's relatively easy to dismiss these two as self-help gurus, I think they offer something more. More than the actual tips they offer, they serve as examples of the kind of lifestyle and process design that I think will be increasingly important (at least if individuals or communities want to succeed) in a post-peak oil, post-Nation-State, post-caretaker-economy world.
The notion that we should look at everything we do, deconstruct it, and design it to better meet our needs, is one that will become increasingly important as old assumptions no longer remain valid. A complement to this is the notion that we should simplify as much as possible. While it's not exactly sexy advice, the continuous application of these two principles will serve us well in the coming years--no matter what they hold.
Personally, my life is far from simple. I'm not sure my life is really any more complex than most people--kid(s), demanding job, interests and hobbies, etc.--but I know these principles have been useful to me. I'm healthier, fitter, better informed, more successful, and happier as a result, and I still have a long, long ways to go.
So, take a moment and check out the two links above if you're so inclined. But, if they don't immediately appeal to you, perhaps because you initially find them irrelevant to the reason you read this blog, as an exercise try to figure out how they offer tools that ARE helpful to the reasons you are reading this right now. Perhaps in future posts I'll get into the details ("diagonal lifestyle design"?), but I think readers will find these ideas readily applicable to issues of energy, geopolitics, and societal transition.