Culture Shock

Becoming disoriented after experiencing drastic changes in life is expected and natural. Because of this, culture shock was something we openly discussed at length with our teenager before, during and after the move to our secluded mountain top. I suspect Cog also gently included me in the realm of those who needed to mentally prepare to experience life in, at times, a very different world.

Actually I think my saving grace was that I wanted to do this. Two years earlier my ego was eviscerated when I realized I wasn’t able to do much of anything to take care of myself. Water, food, clothing, medical care, transportation, even just to grow a vegetable; these things and more were always provided by an external source who accepted my money in return. Because both the money and what I needed were always available, I never considered the concept that I wasn't actually providing them myself. Because of this mindset there didn't seem to be a need to question much of anything.

In the threads of Two Ice Floes and Zero Hedge we all talk frequently about those who don't appear to question why things are the way they are, who seem to be asleep. Who amongst us doesn't have a few stories about people we’ve tried to engage in serious discussion so that we may explain the reason for, and the magnitude of, the changes already here and those still to come? These people are our neighbors, friends, children and parents. Previously when I would think about their plight I’d get, and sometime still do get, a sense of panic in my gut. You know what I’m talking about, the way it feels when one of our kids is in danger or we’re caught off guard with terrible news. I think in this day and age it is not unusual for us to project all kinds of scenarios about unprepared loved ones and the hardship they might bring to all involved.

As we have been programmed to do, we tend to label them in order to cope with the emotion we experience when we believe others possess poor levels of awareness. And isn't this just another type of fear on our part, the fear that unfortunate circumstances will crash into them? Fear that their unfortunate circumstances will crash into us? Fear of suffering, be it theirs or ours?

Aside from me giving in to the situation and reacting with negative emotions, I think perhaps I have done myself an even greater disservice here. Intellectually I know by assigning labels to people that I set myself up for a polarization of my mind. Awake versus asleep, good versus evil, them versus us and so on. By discounting those who I don't see as one with me, I have dismissed all that is good about that person. I have denied myself the possibility of sharing and connecting with others because I think I am better than they are, or their lack of specific knowledge will put me at a distinct disadvantage.


So let’s say I encounter someone who has little to no understanding that central banks, along with too big to fail international banks and multinational corporations, are looting and pillaging the country. And that these entities, working together, seriously influence, if not outright control, essentially all global governments. Is this person actually ‘asleep’ in the context we frequently mention? And if they are, does that put them in the category of a liability to me? Should they worry me or cause me to distance myself from them because I fear one day they might become a physical or emotional zombie?

Lately I have found myself with the proverbial cream pie on my face as I examine my own cognitive dissonance. The people whom I have so readily dismissed for their lack of understanding can run circles around me in so many ways. They know how to grow things and cook what they grow. These people can make, build and repair things that I have been an oblivious, and quite frankly ungrateful, end-user of. And these aren't just working class people or those who belong to a particular age group or ethnic demographic that I have previously categorized as "other than mine."

Often the very same people whom I have tagged as "asleep" are kind and compassionate individuals, possessing in my opinion a far more valuable trait than simply being able to, or desiring to, understand the nature of the banking Ponzi. The derogatory term “Sheeple” is just the latest inflammatory label to ignite my righteous indignation against this group. When did I become so cold that such a label invalidated the worth of another person?

I don't think evil is something that lurks out there like a monster behind a veil. Darkness and light are things that coexist within us; we all have inner demons to battle. By ignoring the light in each person I encounter, whether they pass the so called sheeple test or not, I am encouraging the darkness. Indeed, if all evil needs to grow is for good (wo)men to do nothing, then could it be that by each act of dismissal we are doing just that?

And exactly who are these people we see as being asleep? I suspect they are people just like you and me, and their only crime is that they appear to be in denial. It is as if everyone who has been hiding under a rock doesn't know times have changed. Seems to me that this denial is actually a form of culture shock. It might be their reaction to being disoriented when confronting the potential for extremely different societal rules and living conditions now and/or in the near future.

I may not be able to prevent ‘something wicked this way comes’, but that doesn't mean I must choose to proceed without compassion in order to buffer myself. There are ways to help ease the culture shock others might be experiencing. A quick smile, a small kindness extended, and a helping hand offered is such a windfall to both the recipient and giver alike. While doing so may not erase the pain they are currently experiencing while walking their own path, I still wish to encourage the light and not the darkness of their perception. I think it may be the only way we have to find our way through this mess with an acceptable outcome.


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7 thoughts on “Culture Shock”

  1. That’s how I’m trying look at things , trying to be a ray of light in the darkness to friends , family and strangers. My goal is self sufficiently but to a degree that I can also be a safe harbor for others. I live on twenty acres that up until 3 years ago I did nothing with , just wanted peace and quiet for my family. Now I raise pigs ,chickens and grow and can my own veggies. I’ve started researching aquaculture/aquaponics so I will be able to produce plenty of veggies and fish year around . I try and plant the seeds of self sufficiency in people by talking about things they see with their own eyes everyday ( gas prices , electric bills and food prices) , if that peaks their interest I may mention that ” I heard it’s something to do with central banks , fiat currency etc ) and leave it at that . Hoping they will look for themselves , I was able to do this with my sister and brother and it worked pretty well. They are now semi awake and are at least curious enough to be seeking their own answers , that’s all I can really hope for. My days of ranting at people are over , I believe it does more harm than good.

  2. You sure can make a person think or re-think!
    Just sat here for the last hour reading what you said and applying it to my life and world. It seems that we share a “Fear-of-Suffering”, but I seemed to get there from a whole different direction.
    I was raised where we did everything our selves that we possibly could. We did have a big garden, took care of the yard, fixed the house and anything else that broke. I would take the tubes from the TV up to the store, test them and bring back the new ones and fix the thing. I am now going thru a period where I am finding out what it is that I can no longer do for myself, like fix the TV. lol
    My Dad also taught me to treat everybody with respect and as an equal. There were three “Blacks” that were a part of my childhood (it was the 9th Grade for me before segregation was ended) My Mom and Dad worked beside them, laughed and talked as equals and they were thought of as family. Addie would baby sit on Fridays when they went to town to Square Dance, Geneva would help my Mom once or twice a month to get caught up around the house, and Levi would help my Dad at his sign shop on big projects. Since they were my elders, we addressed them with Sir & Mam. (This was not the norm in the deep south late 50’s) We did call Addie, “Colored Addie” because my Grandmother was also Addie, to distinguish which one we were talking about. He also pointed out that just because someone had money didn’t mean that they didn’t have to put their pants on one leg at a
    When I use the label of “sheeple”, I don’t think about it in a derogatory manner, I use it to specify a group of people that are functioning/responding to the actions of the “Powers-that-Be” in an “asleep” kind of way. For me, not much different than calling people who live in Italy, Italians. Now, on the other hand, when I refer to the label, “TPTB” there can be venom dripping off every word. They are the ones who have set the trap that created the circumstances for there to be human sheeple in the world. Yes I get frustrated when they won’t wake up, but that doesn’t make them less human. If any group has lost their humanity, it is TPTB. {and of coarse we have heard the rumors that they never were}
    There are alot of people that do alot of things & say alot of things that I really don’t agree with, but that doesn’t make them less human. And as humans, we are all in this together, and none of us are going to get out
    What I think for myself that needs the most work is my negativity. When I look at a field of flowers, I don’t say, “God they sure are Gorgeous!” I say, “Look at that dead one over there, somebody ought to get that”. Being able to zoom in on whats wrong or broken or out of place helps me in my work, but it can drive the people around me nuts!
    You are so very right about what happens when you look someone in the eyes and smile.
    I try to be grateful every day that there is someone that is willing to work at the sanitation department, come fix my plumbing, work on power lines in ice storms, and a host of other things regardless of how “asleep” they may be!
    My Dad also said “The world has alot more good people in it than bad people, they just don’t sell newspapers”

  3. The Amish are a fascinating people. I became involved in business with the Amish in 1998 and immediately realized at the time that I did not know how to do anything! I had a fancy advanced degree and a high paying job, but I was dumber than a bag of rocks! I started down the path of personal self sustainability way back then, because I found it put me much closer to God. In these times, I realize that personal self sufficiency may shortly become a survival mechanism!

    A really excellent book is “Surviving the Economic Collapse” by Fernando Ferfal Aquirre. This book is really thought provoking. Ferfal describes all sorts of skills I would not have thought of.

    And I love what you say about finding the light in others. Here are 2 great quotes from the Book of Matthew.

    “You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ” Let me take the speck out of your eye”, when all of the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

    Keep shining your light, Mrs. Cog!

  4. I must admit I am guilty of taking part in labeling people that I believe to be “asleep”. I am sure there are people that are more knowledgeable than I am about central banking, federal reserve, fiat currency, etc., that might see me as still asleep. It is common sense but this article has made me re-think twice about labeling people before getting to know them. My parents for example, are clueless about how our monetary system works but my dad knows the ins and outs of farming. My mother is a whiz with natural medicines (plants, oils, teas, you name it). I can only hope to learn as much as possible from my parents to be able to grow my own food and not resort to pills for every minor headache and overall be a better person.

    I live in Chicago IL. The culture shock in the city is immense. The thought of walking outside the box and not having the commodities such as hospitals, restaurants, groceries store, and entertainment, is frightening. I myself have not been able to break free from the chains. I am 26 years old with a bachelor degree I am in debt for and not using in my present job. Being self-sufficient and living in the mountains (or simply far away from the city) is a goal that I have not started working towards due to my own fears. I constantly ask myself what if I move and my parents need medical attention and the car breaks down and I have no phone reception…and I can’t find a job…..and on and on. I understand that I built these ideas in my head simply to justice my action of staying in my comfort zone. Very few people in the city support the idea of being self sufficient. It can be difficult to exchange thoughts with city folks and not get “why would you want to do that” (along with a you’re crazy look) as answer.

    I am working on breaking free from the invisible chains. Moving out of Chicago is first on the list. I have my wonderful fiance to support all my crazy ideas. I am sure we will slowly but surely find our right path.

    Thank you Mrs. Cog (& Mr. Cog) for helping me re-think about how I think, look, or label other people. Especially for helping me take a second look at myself.

    “Do not look for the faults of your friend. Do not repeat the shortcomings of your neighbors in your talk. You are not the judge of creation. You do not have dominion over the earth. If you love righteousness, admonish your soul and yourself. Be the judge of your own sins, and chastise your own transgressions. ”
    –St. Ephrem the Syrian

  5. Labels are tools, like any tool, it is your intent that matters, I can not imagine functioning/communicating without labels. I am sure it can be done, but think of the time this “Tool-the-Label” saves. All I have to do is say “asleep” and 99% {there is that 1% again} of the people that has ever been to this sight knows exactly who I am referring to with only minor contextual clues.{There is that one percent again}. Now when I say asleep…do I have compassion or venom in my voice? That is why I live and die on anything important with a face-to-face. I woke this morning realizing that I left out a sentence in a reply yesterday that would have made the point that I was after…wasted effort?
    We may or may not have time, but take your time anyway. It is the “Journey-not-the-Destination”. I’ll hit 60 in a few months and still do not know what I’m going to be when I grow up! {Old as hell I hope} I am also second generation “Trying-to-get-to-the-Mountains”. I have a Daughter that made it…in 3 months, I will make my annual pilgrimage.

    1. Thank you for the kind words/advice dynosaur. I really appreciate it.

      As for what you’ll be when you grow up, don’t worry you have lots of time to think about it :)
      (Happy way early birthday!!)

  6. What an excellent piece. My first culture shock was moving from a big city to a small town, big city people vs. small town people. Fortunately I was still unaware (“asleep”) back then otherwise I probably would have imploded. It would have been too much. The labels were flying all around. I now see the futility in being upset when someone says “you need to stop doing such a good job, you’re making us look bad”, or “you need to stop dressing so nice, you’re making us look bad”, you get the idea. I have been changing my awareness and putting away that formerly arrogant (I can say that now) self. I know now that there is no time to waste on the negative energy of others . No more labels or name calling. Every day is another day to make a positive difference – in my life or the life of another. Every day is another day to make a comment that will hopefully make someone think, someone who doesn’t understand the world as it really is.

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