This is a tale about entropy.
One occult principle is that change comes with chaos, and out of chaos arises order. Much of the philosophy relies on a hierarchy of principles which give meaning to the terms chaos and order, both relative to the individual human subject contemplating the nature of either. The ultimate reality is that there are 6 billion stories on this naked planet. Each individual, even unto the most demanding inculcation toward a group mind, has within and about themself a highly developed individual mind as well as a seasoned connection to the community mind. An organization called Heartmath has documented awareness existing within the heart chakra. Our connectivity of consciousness is through the heart area of our chest. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has further documented evidence for the group mind, or community mind being connected through the heart.
To change a house, to remodel, the old has to be stripped away. This is creative destruction, and while it has a link to chaos, the nature of controlling the demolition is for me quite a bit different than chaos. Chaos is truly an order. The mathematical term relates to attractor points and randomness. Much of what science comes up with as explanation relates to individualistic single minded purpose, something well outside the societal concepts of violent upheaval usually associated with chaos.
“Mathematically, chaos means deterministic behaviour which is very sensitive to its initial conditions. In other words, infinitesimal perturbations of initial conditions for a chaotic dynamic system lead to large variations in behaviour.
Chaotic systems consequently look random. However, they are actually deterministic systems governed by physical or mathematical laws (predictable in principle, if you have exact information) that are impossible to predict in practice beyond a certain point. A commonly used example is weather forecasting, which is only possible up to about a week ahead.“
Taking the phrase “very sensitive to its initial conditions,” I ask you to consider the collapse of the real estate market as the prelude to the greater financial crisis as a “very sensitive to its initial conditions.” My experience evolved from living and working in Western Massachusetts to transplanting myself to San Francisco California mid year 2003. I moved to join one of my children in a construction endeavor as a consultant. I worked as a project manager for a small but stable company primarily focused on one neighborhood. When I left Western Massachusetts in August 2003, the economic situation was still in mild recovery from the earlier shock of the dot com bust out. San Francisco offered an immediate upgrade in my lifestyle. Things were going very well there. It took me about a year to settle in and have a good focus. Then I took on the study for a contractor’s license. That was easy enough to pass, I walked out of the testing center after an hour and a half, still having two and a half hours left to contemplate the questions. From there, the maneuvers proceded such that by Labor Day 2005, my associate contractor and I had come to a mutual parting of the paths. By 2005, I was tracking real estate in San Francisco which had increased in value by 40% in the two years since I had arrived. In April 2006, a slight drop in sales rate scared the home owners who were flipping, and things seemed fine again when sales and values kept climbing in the fall. Having previously been in real estate investing I began to see that the housing market was “very sensitive to its initial conditions.”
One item actually scared me. I was standing with a client and my laborer when the client, a mortgage broker, told my laborer he could get a house with no income verification. That was during the summer of 2007. Bear Sterns then marked the fall. My client eventually changed his job. My laborer, a naturalized Nicarauguan, went on to take a subprime mortgage and being Hispanic, made it work out by moving a whole extended family into the place.
In March of 2007, a former friend came to visit me. I was experiencing complicated difficulties with one $300,000 remodel job, seeking just to come out with a wage. One day I was in a particularly pensive mood because I couldn’t make payroll for the first time in the history of my businesses. My friend wanted to push me into doing something i didn’t want to do and subsequently she decided I was abusive because I resisted her model of the world at the moment. The dischord grew from there, eventually she saying she didn’t want to be friends anymore. The reality is she took things personally that were not directed at her, apparent now, we have a different way of communicating and since she is steadfast in holding to her view of reality as the only viable view, she put things on herself that were not communicated by me. The exercise was very useful for me because it alerted me that there was this situation “very sensitive to its initial conditions.” Everyone we know has a different world view than you or I. Governments, churches, and schools, work feverishly to have us adopt the same mentality of consciousness and to not color outside their lines. My former friend was operating on a cognitive dissonance somewhere between her own abberrant behavior and what she believed to be true.
We are a world of iron. We have magnetics of iron, we build rails of iron for transport, iron machinery packs macadem into highways. Nails are the primary building instrument. Screws are the second fastener of wide use. Iron is used as a metaphor, like men of iron, or iron will. My former friend used her iron will to completely dismiss anything I might discuss about her visit. We couldn’t nail the connection. America’s biggest mistake was letting go of the production of nails. It would be kind of like letting go of the production of corn. First the nails were made in Poland, now everything is made in China. My friend was arrogant in attitude that it was her world model that could fix my life. When I didn’t take the offering, she went sour, and in the end, attacked me after I hosted her tourism in San Francisco for six days. Her follow-up letter to me was angry, vindictive, written to rile the anger in me, I suppose, however, I saw very sensitive conditions and avoided antagonistic contact. Have you ever felt like no matter what you do the thing you are perplexed with has no solution? For a person used to nailing things together, I realized there was no substance to nail with, her mind was made up, her truth was her truth and unrelated to my process.
I feel this way about the production of nails for the industry of construction. there is nothing I can do about it. Big huge forces have deconstructed the nail business in America and sold it to someone else. American nails were stronger, full weight, and worth any extra pennies it might cost for production because that money stays here. Trillions of nails will be needed in the future. Values of real estate are still falling, as too are the nails rusting. Housing, a cost item in anyone’s ledger, should never be thought of as a cash ATM. Equity is for transferring or for inheritors. If you are going to make a living flipping houses now, you’re going to have to become intimate with nails.
The City of San Francisco has so much knob and tube electrical service, the place needs to be rewired. The same situation exists in Turner’s Falls Massachusetts, so I would guess the existence of knob and tube wiring is ubiquitous from sea to shining sea. Copper is perfectly recyclible. Iron and copper are in short supply. Both made a run up just before the Bear Sterns crash. You can actually predict the coming months construction increase by following the price of #12 wire. Since it doesn’t tend to fall back as much, it doesn’t mark the downside quite the same. There was no lack of remodelling for San Francisco or all other cities, just a lack of willing bankers to finance it. This leads to the concept of banker manipulation. With the ship loads of copper it will take to rewire a place like San Francisco, there is a pressing need to upgrade the systems for energy savings alone. As the old wire degrades, electrical fires become more prevalent. American wires are a mess. There is no reason to stop fixing the problem when it solves more than one problem; electrical resistence and loss; electrical fires; electrical malfunctions. Chaos doesn’t apply, but entropy does.
Right after the crash, or crumble as I call it–seeing as how it’s a long way from over– James Kunstler and Carolyn Baker began ranking on granite countertops. I have worked around granite countertops flown in from Saudi Arabia. My friend knows of a pile of Cambodian granite up at their temple. Granite is mined and cut in America, is most durable as a countertop, being able to last forever. I could be like my friend and take ranking on granite countertops personally, it being a part of my business practice to install what the client wants. Granite countertops are not a problem because as we cut and install American granite, we are doing Green work. The oil cuts the stone and polishes it. Once it is installed it will out last any chinese cabinets put under it. Hot pots don’t make it bubble up in a foul smelling plasticity. With plastic countertops, we get countertops, but the oil producers overseas get the money. With American countertops made of stone–slate, granite, marble–we get the countertops and the money. When we capture all parts of a social exchange as a people, we become free from the demands of others whose oil makes our countertops, nails, and wires. Chaos was not a factor but a marker. When our housing construction became “very sensitive to its initial conditions,’ that is our sending the money overseas, it opened the door for entropy to come in.
Each connection of copper wire leaves behind a small part of copper on the screws or wire nuts. Every nail we use eventually rusts to dust, even galvanized nails. Every stick of lumber meets the worm and fungus down the board. Every house we live in demands constant vigilant maintenance. Entropy is what makes a steady state so difficult to achieve. The process of seeking profit is to attempt to use metabolic energy to overcome entropy through reorganizing the photosynthesis energy. a steady state economy will require new inputs to remain steady, thereby revealing itself as not so steady. Better we think in terms of slowing the pendulum’s swings. My ex-friend’s story above revealed to me how her increase, her escalation of surity of her rightness, blinded her to the real issue, and since I was “very sensitive to its initial conditions,” I formulated a guesstimate that her son’s struggles with alcoholism immediately prior to her trip was an underlying current to her discontent. I was outside the family and as such, I assume that meant it was okay to be angry with me and get away with it. That I further called her out on her insensitivity toward another person for health reasons didn’t sooth the savage beast. Entropy had worked its force and wrecked communication by making rock on one side. No amount of further communication has reopened the door so I have let it go as anything other than a story with academic potentiality.
Just when you think you’ve got it nailed, US Steel runs out of nails. Just because you think you’re wired in, might ignore the knob and tube in your path. If you want something to last forever, carve it in granite.
“Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.” Ibid
Iron, copper, and granite work has slowed down. That must mean less furniture being made, fewer draperies, less newly painted rooms. Entropy precludes a steady state, the eaten field needs more shit. Communication is like that. Invest wisely with people who’s unconditional love draws you forward and avert those who cannot let go of their ego based world views.
For investment advice, invest in nails– they always track and respond to inflation; invest in copper–especially in brass as in cartidges, or in wire for your house; invest in granite if you want to make a solid message out of your countertop for your guests and heirs, or mount some stones in your yard, it will be there a long time.