Pick Up Your Shovels and Let's Dig to the Promised Land

Once upon a time, while browsing the sorted contents of my Facebook feed, I came across the following post:

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.”

Nearly 75 years ago, (when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land.”

Today, the Government has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land… to China.

The origins of these passages are dubious at best, and there are a few variants floating around out there, but that's not the point.

Here's the point. The point is going forward. Here's my addition:

So, NOW must be the time to get off our asses, take back our shovels, kick the Camels and ARRIVE in the Promised Land.


Okay, what does that actually mean?

Let's break this down, metaphor isn't everyone's strong suit.

We must take personal responsbility for the situation we find ourselves in, even if we did not create the world that brought us here. We need to care enough about where we are headed to get off our asses and do something about the degrading conditions around us. As the old saying goes, “if you don't change direction, you will probably end up where you are going”. It can be extremely difficult to give a shit in today's world, but this is sort of a prerequisite. If you can't get off your ass, you're not much help to anyone including yourself. So, however we do it, in whatever way we are motivated, we must first get off our asses. If you can do it even just once, that is the start of a new pattern. Keep getting off your ass and you might even find you like it.

Shovels in hand, constructing a new world

Taking back our shovels means reclaiming or inventing any and all tools we require to build the lives we actually want and need, not on some superficial level but deep in our bones. This could be as simple as making your own meals, if you're used to eating fast food all the time. It can be anything that empowers the individual to do for themselves what they are now dependent on others to do for them. It is decentralizing your interdependencies rather than having central dependencies. It means digging in and digging deep and learning and changing, all of which are often hard, none of which are always fun, but are usually extremely rewarding at some point down the line- when you've saved the money, repaired the problem, built the solution, put the means of production back in your own hands rather than contracted away to unseen (and often suffering) others slaving away on your behalf.

Dig in

Since this is a column related to Cryptocurrency, taking back our shovels also dovetails nicely with the metaphor of Mining. For the first time in history, the power of the production of valued financial assets (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Primecoin, et al) has been put back into the reach of just about anyone with electricity and an internet connnection. This could take the form of harnessing a CPU, GPU, ASIC, or even cloud-based mining technology such as CEX.io. For those with the skill (and some luck), “day-trading” various cryptos on sites such as BTC-E, Cryptsy, and so forth can also be profitable. There are many stories that I hear involving someone starting with a very small starting sum- say .1 BTC or even less, and building it into larger and larger amounts through careful trading. It's not for everyone, but this wasn't even possible a few short years ago. And let's not forget Devcoin, and Devtome itself, where you can earn Devcoin for writing about whatever you like, another thing unheard of until very recently.

And if you can't or don't want to mine, or trade, or write, simply offer your goods and services, whatever they may be, for Bitcoin. If a ten-year-old can do it, just about anyone can. Bitcoin transcends all borders, so it also can be done from anywhere.


Get the Monkey off your back

So what about “kicking the Camels?” By this I mean any addiction, any compulsive habit that does not serve your own greatest health and wealth. The most obvious to me are the endless hours of television, the fascination with pop and tabloid culture, all these many distractions from reality- they are seductive, and many fall prey. Tobacco, Marijuana, Alchohol, Caffeine, Junk Food, Sex, Videogames- pretty much any drug you'd care to name. This isn't a moral commentary. All can be used, but too often they are abused. It takes a point-blank and honest evaluation of one's self to see through our own rationalizations, psychic scar tissue, and protective beliefs.

Kicking the habit is nearly required at a certain level to effectively move forward- at some point you must release the crutches so you can walk on your own again- but this brings up an interesting paradox. It turns out the most effective way to “kick” or “drop” a habit is actually to simply involve yourself, your energy and time and focus, in something else, something that DOES serve your health and wealth, something that you want or (dare I say it), are actually passionate about. When you walk towards where you want to go, you automatically walk away from where you were. Don't get me wrong, some amount of will power is absolutely required, but then it is required for just about any conscious change. Make yourself busy with realizing whatever potential you can see within yourself, the old patterns will drop away a whole lot more easily, and the possibilies will grow.

George Carlin said, “Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town”. So you might also have to leave town, or at least steer away from the circus. Surround yourself with people you respect and want to be more like- it rubs off. Self-empowerment is easier when it's not in a vaccuum. If you are really serious, it ends up changing your life as you realize the people you associate with now may have to be left behind as you go forward. Then again, perhaps some of them will be inspired and follow your lead…

Finding the Promised Land

So just what or where, exactly, is this Promised Land that we'll find as we become more self-aware, empowered and integrated individuals, working toward our own best and greatest dreams for a more free and beautiful tommorrow?

It's different for everyone. Your specific idea of paradise, or even merely the Good Life, is going to be different from mine. But it's easy enough to give a general scope to the direction that most people would like to move in, if they've thought about it more than a little, and aren't sociopaths. Everyone needs clean air, food, and water, so it's safe to say taking care of the environment a hell of a lot better than currently happens is a good bet, for one. You know, we could stop poisoning it, for a start.

Also, almost no one likes oppressive regimes, and this includes world financial oppression as meted out by the banking cartels and the powerful few. Oops, we inflated your currency to nothing! Bail out! Bail in! Bail overboard! Sorry about that, we're confiscating everything. Dance, monkey. We're not happy until we have everything and everyone else has nothing…


This is the most relevant point for the emergence of Cryptocurrency. With Bitcoin and it's successors, we have tools now to “dissasemble the master's house”, to let the antiquated and twisted illusion of command-and-control-fiat fall flat on it's face while we participate in building a much better and saner world. In leveraging the revolutionary peer to peer decentralized nature of Bitcoin, and following it's lead in building as many Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACs) as is possible, we can not merely “fight” the corrupt institutions of today, but simply replace them. Buckminster Fuller would be so proud.

This loops back to the addiction topic- walking toward what you want is easier than fighting what you don't. The scope of possibility is grand: 6.5 billion people now have a much greater chance of participating in the world economy, just to start with. The ultimate power of blockchain-based protocols and tools is just beginning to be glimpsed, with projects such as Bitmessage, Keyhotee, OpenTransactions, and more. Entire (corrupt) industries can be replaced by a few dozen lines of code.

Not everyone will see the extreme potential for world change here, and that's fine. Some will. Early adopters will inspire curiosity in those less quick to adapt to these changes and their far-reaching implications. The possibility of overwriting the errors and terrors of history has never been greater than it is now. The possibility becomes real with our participation.

May we all stay vigilant on these paths to the liberation of Humanity. As anyone who has used Bitcoin and then gone back to legacy banking could tell you, once the shackles are off, they don't go back on easily, and in our own minds, they never really do.

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