By Charles Hugh Smith
Source: Of Two Minds
The good news is there is a way to avoid failure and stagnation: avoid the mainstream like the plague.
The mainstream became mainstream because it worked: the mainstream advice to “go to college and you’ll get a good job” worked, the mainstream financial plan of buying a house to build equity to pass on to your children worked, the mainstream of government regulation worked to the public’s advantage at modest cost to taxpayers and the mainstream media, despite being cozy with government agencies such as the C.I.A. and operating as a profit machine for the families that owned the newspapers, radio stations, etc., functioned as a basically honest broker of information and reporting.
Now, the mainstream has failed. Mainstream career advice now leads to crushing debts and career stagnation, mainstream financial planning generates high risks, mainstream government regulations are costly and burdensome, and the mainstream media is little more than a corporate-owned mouthpiece of propaganda and distributor of infotainment that is sold as “news.”
Does anyone actually believe the mainstream political process isn’t broken? Those who claim it isn’t broken are either well-paid shills just doing their job or they’re delusional.
The mainstream American diet now leads to chronic disease and early death.Supersized portions, large amounts of sugar and/or salt in virtually every packaged food item, heavy doses of low-quality fats in almost all mainstream fast foods–these have become mainstream at a very high cost in diminished health and reduced years of life free of chronic disease and pain.
The mainstream level of fitness contributes to chronic disease and early death.The mainstream lifestyle is one in which people passively watch a few daredevils pursue extreme sports on a variety of digital screens, passively “consume” music rather than learning to play music themselves, passively consume “news” rather than being engaged in community activities that make news, and so on.
The mainstream healthcare system is structured so it is incapable of promoting health. As my longtime friend GFB recently asked, “Who is happy with the current healthcare system?” Certainly not the doctors and nurses or the patients. Perhaps Big Pharma is happy as a result of their enormous profits (more of which is spent on marketing the latest marginally useful and often dangerous drug than on R&D), but even Big Pharma has legitimate complaints about the cost and time required to get a potentially life-changing drug (such as immunotherapy drugs) through the pipeline.
But the real problem is the soaring costs of the system will eventually collapse the entire economy. The same can be said of the soaring costs of increasingly marginal higher education, the soaring costs of increasingly marginal weapons systems, and so on.
The mainstream healthcare system is incapable of promoting health or restraining costs:
The other problem with the mainstream is that any attempt to structurally reform these broken systems will trigger collapse. The mainstream systems are now so fragile that any significant change will cause them to implode. I explain why in my book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform.
The good news is there is a way to avoid failure and stagnation: avoid the mainstream like the plague. Stop eating packaged and fast foods, eat restaurant meals only occasionally, prepare 90% of your meals at home with real ingredients, including lots of fresh vegetables. Walk at least one mile/2 kilometers a day, start bicycling instead of driving (where possible), start doing yoga, tai chi, etc. every day, turn any 6-foot square floor area into your home gym–get lean.
Stop watching sports and start doing sports (appropriate to your age and climate, of course).
As for fashioning a sustainable career–don’t count on a college degree to work some sort of magic. I describe a more proactive approach to forging a sustainable career in my book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.
Don’t accept “standards of care” that include addictive pain-killers and powerful meds that require another six meds with their own side-effects to counter the side-effects of the first med. Do you own research, get a second opinion. Discover what you can do to help heal yourself first.
Stop “consuming” mainstream media except in small, limited portions and consume even these portions with a skeptical eye and ear for propaganda and rigged numbers that supports failed mainstream narratives.
We are what we do every day. Step out of the mainstream and stay out of the mainstream and opportunities that are unavailable to those who passively accept the mainstream as “all there is” will emerge.
As Douglas MacArthur observed, “There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.”
If you’re interested in avoiding the mainstream of failure and stagnation, please consider these quotes drawn from my extensive list of Aphorisms:
“We are what we repeatedly do.” (Aristotle)
“Do the thing and you shall have the power.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” (E.F. Schumacher)
“He who will not risk cannot win.” (John Paul Jones)