• Mike Erkkinen

Prosperity in the Time of Pandemic

Creating the architecture for Humanity, 2020 and beyond.

Linda and I have been crafting a model of “next chapter” living for the past 5 years, as we’ve been predicting the collapse of many “hallowed institutions.” We see this collapse as generally good news, though not without temporary hardship and challenge. We have been actively teaching the “inner” portion of this model for a few years now, with amazing results. As an architect/builder, the next phase is particularly juicy and compelling for me, as I love moving stuff around and turning existing stuff into other stuff. The next phase is about changing and guiding the change for the stuff that we actually perceive with our 5+ senses, our local analog environment, our lifestyle, our community involvement, the way we manage the flow of money through our lives, the ways we feed our bodies, the ways we parent our children and our parents, the ways that we fill the hours of our days.

Let’s start with the stuff that will change quicker during and post pandemic than it was originally going to:

1- As a culture we’ve long blurred the lines between “education,” the self-managed process of bringing forth genius from an individual, and “schooling,” the industrial age process of indoctrinating the masses into a society that serves the current social status quo. Now that the whole world is effectively “home schooling,” we believe that the genie is out of the bottle and a large portion of the educational status quo will shift quickly, starting with the progressive folks who have been troubles by this current system for a long time, but not ready for the pain of changing it. After the entire world spends months with their schooling “online,” we believe that it will be very difficult to resume the old expensive and ineffective model. This will provide a huge opportunity for both creative, internet based entrepreneurs to design compelling and relevant online curriculum, and for adventurous and self-directed educators to design and deliver experiential curriculum of all kinds – from wilderness, outward bound type models, to practical trade programs and apprenticeships. Liberal Arts colleges will begin to die out even faster than they already are. Students will realize that paying 50-75K a year to have someone else tell them what books to read isn’t necessarily their best option. We see the next wave as moving toward “birth to death” students, as opposed to artificial blocks of school times.

2- National Politics have been a source of conflict for a long time, serving mostly the greed of the few, while keeping our country in a state of “us and them” animosity. This pandemic is showing us just how incompetent the federal government is, and has been, in providing leadership. Any real political leadership is showing up at the state or more local levels. We believe that as people realize that the most effective levels of leadership happen at the most local levels, this will cause a deep shift in many, in the direction of taking personal responsibility and not waiting for an authority figure to give direction. We imagine a new political norm developing – based equally on personal liberty and compassion, and not funded by the richest corporations.

3- After the workforce has many months to adapt to working from home, instead of in a central office or facility, we believe that many businesses with stay that way. Businesses see the advantages of a mobile workforce that doesn’t have to schlep to a work place every day. This will cause traffic to ease on roads, and life to find an easier and more efficient pace. Now that a central workplace is becoming less necessary, living in or near a city will become less attractive. Many will opt for fresh air and small communities that are attractive on many levels, including economic. Since much of the political strife comes from the difference in values and needs from city dwellers and rural dwellers, as the populace spreads out, the political arguing has a chance to quiet down.

4- During this pandemic, most of the hand wringing and valid concern has been about providing hospital care for the huge number of people with pre-existing health challenges. Many will realize that hospital care is what we are left with after the other systems have failed: all of the systems that go into a healthy body with a thriving and vital immune system: wholesome fresh food, a physically dynamic lifestyle, a sense of purpose, a treasured community and family, nurturing relationships, fresh air and sunshine. Many will realize that the AMA/HMO run “disease management system” is not a valid replacement for the elements of “real health.”

5- Entertainment spectacles might never fully recover, as folks find quieter and more personal ways to enjoy their lives. Sporting events, cruise ships, anything that happens in an arena…. Will probably be largely replaced by more activities where folks are active participants, as opposed to passive spectators. This virus will go away, and there will always be a next one, and doing life in smaller groups will always be an effective way to manage the spread. As folks realize that this way of being – more personal, more intimate, more specific to individual needs and preferences…. The culture will shift.

6- We see a culture where beauty in all its forms starts taking the place of obsession with wealth, where artistry arises organically in most individuals, in all of its forms. We see creating beauty as a natural avenue to pursue as old avenues of entertainment and conformity cease to exist.

7- We see the tiny house movement as a harbinger of times to come. We see many folks deciding to downsize and live closer to the natural environment, emphasizing beauty and quality over size and hoarding stuff. We see elegant little cottages dotting the landscape in a pleasing manner, with enough room between them to feel spacious and close enough together to feel an active sense of community. To this end, we plan to play actively in this arena. We have been creating virtual communities that we liken to “medieval villages,” groups of folks with harmonious values, and diverse talents and abilities, living in community to support themselves and each other. We own a “factory” of sorts that is specifically designed to facilitate and produce the components of actual “micro villages” in the brick and mortar world – not just virtual communities, but micro villages in beautiful and spacious parts of the world where folks can live in alignment with their highest values.

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