I have a tradeoff I’ve come to accept. In life, everybody gets one. I suppose in the end; it’s what a person chooses to do with the balance between the two that counts. Mine is interesting. In exchange for family comforts, a kind father, a walk down the aisle, children, a consistent career with accolades and accomplishments and the watch to go with it, my life has meandered the boundaries of human existence and geographies, kept company by constant anxiety and a lifelong thirst for knowledge. My portable tool kit consists of a brain capable of amassing and retaining a vast amount of sensory data, that can be recalled at will, no matter how much time has passed.

As you all know; we don’t watch TV or surf the internet for purposes of self-soothing distraction. Very often I select movies to watch when some part of the subconscious brain wants to connect, what seems at first, randomly disconnected events or topics. I know it’s Hollywood, but in context – that doesn’t make the ideas imparted any less relevant. After all it was a giggling Nathan Rothschild, who, in 1999, invited Aaron Russo the director of Trading Places with Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy (meant to be a double entendre of Wall Street Trading and classicism), into the inner sanctum of finance. Rothschild invited Russo to be a part of “a really big event that will change the course of history and start a 30 year war with a bogey man called terrorism” – but I digress.

Two conversations precipitated this blog. The one with a family member; the fact that Phoenix AZ has very low unemployment, is ‘growing’ once again, along with a rise in storage facilities, and a key observation by a friend in Greenville South Carolina that condo-like storage facilities are being slammed up in record numbers at record pace – because Greenville has been ‘discovered’ and thus is also ‘growing’ at record pace. She said the new storage facilities are being built to look like condos, which I found bizarre and began to google high-end storage facilities as we talked.

It made me think of the Ikea scene in Fight Club, and my brain took it from there.

Let’s start with an extremely relevant fact. A Culture and a Civilization are two different and separate entities. Cultures devolve when they are absorbed by a Civilization. In general, every civilization sees itself as the pinnacle of human potential and ours is no different. As Civilizations move through their four seasons of development (spring, summer, autumn, winter) they eventually (and always) end in rot. The rigor that flavors this particular phase has its own special taste depending upon the Civilization. Now there’s a hitch here; citizens within the civilization live perceptively shorter life spans than the civilization within which they find themselves. For the Historically illiterate, this becomes a deficit – and if your life goes along relatively comfortable – who cares? It’s when more and more citizens’ lives are not going well that a person may want to investigate the broader structure, and thus get a bearing as to ‘where we’re at’ regarding the season. As civilizations go; the Western Industrial Civilization is finding itself at the very beginning of Winter.

Humans are a highly evolved form of monkey. They’ve managed, with the help of an opposing thumb, and advanced brain, to overcome many ecological resource constraints and limits over the millennia. Problem is, the very ancient parts of the brain continue to operate in the exact same way they did when Homo Sapiens started out. Deluding ourselves with a specious belief that we are destiny’s darlings is easy enough to do, and also very self-destructive.

I wrote this blog Fight Club because markers fascinate me. Four have already happened to indicate the turnover from Autumn to Winter; 911, 2008 financial meltdown, the Brexit and the 2016 US elections. The storage articles took me completely by surprise. Only one really pissed me off; The whiny boomer one: because the boomers, now having skimmed the cream from the top of all cheap oil’s bountiful results; social programs, cheap education, feminism, suburban sprawl, excessively wasteful comfortable life styles,  are now throwing out the very ‘crap’ (they are so burdened by) that their depression era parents kept, and their succeeding generations will very much need to use, repair, barter, sell, restore as the Winter of this Civilization gets under way.

With no discernment.

A tool made in the 1920’s is far superior to the Chinese made crap now. A sewing machine made in 1890 is not an antique, it will replace all the plastic crap electric driven sewing machines of the present, rayon polyester and all the other synthetic cloths are no match for wool, cotton, or leather materials in their usefulness, and so on.

In life; historical and ecological context matter if we’re to make any sense out of the tweet by tweet moments around us.

So here we go.

The Western Industrial Civilization has its very own unique brand of how the rot is evidencing itself; storage facilities.

Drum roll please…

Headlines

Storage Units now with space to cook, relax, and entertain

Storage Units help your home feel high-end

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

High-end Storage Unlocks Unique Experiences

Turning unfettered excess, and rising mental illness into the latest kitsch trend is quite a feat, especially in a Civilization that is experiencing rising homelessness and foreclosures, while hedge funds capture & operate the growing share of  multi-residential units in dozens of cities (REITs).

You can’t make this stuff up, or can you? A Civilization that already prides itself in the delusional and instead of a course correction (at any point over a five hundred year period) simply doubles down, then doubles down again. The last time this Civilization found itself in hot water five hundred years ago, two events stood the test of time – as far as kicking the can down the road – finding a whole new Hemisphere, and finding that black stuff in the ground.

Party on dude.

With renewed enthusiasm and irrational exuberance we plunged head long into raping & pillaging and entire Western Hemisphere, and extracting millions of years of hard working sunlight & photosynthesis from the ground for the singular shared purpose of comparing what we picked up at IKEA over the weekend.

Yesterday’s IKEA or today’s Amazon – it matters not

But, but, I care about the environment, I really do…see? The lovingly tended hand caressed bamboo flooring, the Himalayan salt lamps, and ……they all make me feel so close to Nature.

I have an idea. Why don’t you go the fuck outside and sit your ass on the ground if you want to be truly close to nature? Buying more crap, to store more crap, knowing (or not) the true cost of externalities; pollution, habitat loss, species extinction, & cultural dislocation is stupid. I have another idea. Sit on the couch and punch yourself in the face for half an hour. That kind of self-destruction is at least more honest.

Which was the point of Fight Club

Which will it be? Accepting consumerism as the pinnacle of Civilization, or an eruptive subconscious urging to purge a numb emotionally vacuous life defined only by the stuff we buy and the stuff we store?

Market to me baby, I love it when you do the thing you do.

Storage Units, Now With Space to Cook, Relax and Entertain

Traditional industrial park-style storage facilities are giving way to customized spaces with kitchens, reclaimed wood and stylish seating areas: Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/storage-units-now-with-space-to-cook-relax-and-entertain-1457026958

By

Candace Jackson

March 3, 2016 12:42 p.m. ET

“Gourmet kitchens. Indoor basketball courts. The newest place for luxury amenities isn’t at your home: It is in your storage unit. As the top end of the real-estate market boomed in many cities, a parallel market for high-end storage appeared as well. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s RoboVault, which offers a biometric fingerprint-access security system and an automated robotic parking section, says revenues are up 80% since 2013”.

In the winter of any particular Civilization, the delusion gets piled high and deep just before it goes down. The smarmy pseudo liberal hypocritical feel good marketing – that we’ve all had to endure for several decades now – caused this person to coin the famous phrase.

Nuke the Gay Baby Whales

And the Repubtards are no different. It’s all been the same board game, just with different moving pieces and colors (Red or Blue anyone?). Please.

The rot of excess is so all pervasive in this Civilization and the delusion so deep (what we ‘have’ now will forever be moar and better forever amen) that whiny articles like this one are written to help soothe the emotionally stressed boomers grapple with…

Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff – Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms: https://www.nextavenue.org/nobody-wants-parents-stuff/

My heart weeps for their luxury problems and their oblivious understanding of the future we didn’t order.

Because God Knows none of this readership of Next Avenue zine ‘where grown-ups keep growing’ wants to make do with less, curtail an over-the-top energy dense life style, or break out of Chrono centrism to face the facts that this ‘Civilized’ addiction is going down Dorothy, it’s only a matter of time. And let’s face it Time’s got a lot of Time to complete the cycle inherent in ALL civilizations.

Put that in your boomer self-growth pipe and smoke it.

Last time I checked grown-ups set limits, and understand limits so what the hell happened here? What happened to; no, nope, nada, nein, when it comes to having our earth and eating it too?

Don’t expect the generations that follow yours to do any better. They’re too busy living in a two dimensional internet world of ‘possibilities’ and too busy coming up with catchy acronyms and pumping demand positivism as hard as the generation that proceeded them. Most of them are idealists in search of a fact.

Hand wringing “she’s said a lot of negative stuff and used potty mouth” hand wringing, geeze, oh geeze what can we do. I KNOW! THIS:

“Have you ever looked at a celebrity’s home on television or noticed a stunning room in a magazine and wished you could achieve that look? You don’t have to invest in crown moulding, a marble countertop, or the latest unlacquered brass hardware to start turning your home into a dream home. One thing all of those vignettes and rooms have in common is their lack of clutter. I guarantee you that not one of those picture-perfect spaces had piles of stuff stacked up on the counters or crammed built-in bookshelves. You don’t have to get rid of all of your treasures that aren’t used every day (that take up valuable space in your home and can cause an eye sore); simply put all of that into a self storage unit.” *

Fuck. Me. This civilization has lost its mind.

The article goes on to say ”

Also, creating a luxurious sanctuary in your bedroom begins with putting your extra clothes, shoes, coats, and whatnot into storage and out of your relaxation space. Odds are you’ll sleep much better and feel more relaxed when your dresser drawers can be nicely closed and your closest isn’t overflowing. Switching out your things seasonally by putting things into a mini storage unit will yield you great returns on your room’s style and function (as well as your sanity).
Think about those magazine-quality rooms and imagine your home looking as clean, pretty, and uncluttered as they do. It is easier than you think to start giving your home a makeover. Start by putting your extra items into a self storage unit near your home.

* I left the typos in the above article stay.  This person presumably writes for a living (or at least money) and can’t bother to spell check. Maybe they’re too busy wishing to “achieve that look”.  If your ‘treasures’ are giving you an ‘eye sore’ what the fuck are you doing? Running through the house with your favorite tea set, falling and poking your eye out? “Think about those magazine-quality rooms”. OK I did. My conclusion? The domestication of the HerdTard is complete. This kind of marketing language and BS flash words are inherent in a desperately empty schizophrenic Civilization. And BTW the Sanity thing is a no go.

In 2013 the DSM included hoarding as a mental illness https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/mental-health/dsm-v-hoarding-new-mental-disorder-diagnoses/

 

Tyler Durden

One sure sign of a Civilization cracking under pressure is the schizophrenic projections of the same illness crafted for different class systems. If you’re on the low socioeconomic scale you’re simply labeled as a hoarder and they make TV shows out of you – for the benefit of everyone else on the higher socioeconomic scale. They can point to, and laugh at you. If you’re on the high end of the economic scale it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. You’re different; unique, tasteful, organized, cultured,  and your shit doesn’t stink.

Because you’ve got the big bucks to buy the climate controlled techno-goodies, where you can display your “stuff” and even entertain guests to look at your crap while drinking wine and munching tapas.

Headline Story

Imagine a storage facility where a robotic mechanism will retrieve a renter’s belongings upon request and place them in a room, ready to go. Or picture a storage facility that allows someone to store several cars, but also furnish a loft in the same space where their family and friends can meet for dinner. These are just a few examples of what high-end storage options look like.
Companies like RoboVault in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Iron Gate Motor Condos in Naperville, Ill., offer the security, convenience, and luxurious atmosphere wealthy customers are willing to pay for.
Since 2009, RoboVault has offered its clients high levels of security and “museum-quality services.” It’s a one-of-a-kind facility that’s rated for Category 5 hurricanes and can withstand wind gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. However, renters’ belongings aren’t just safe from weather, but also nearly any threat of theft.”

Most homes in the Western Civilization cannot withstand a Cat 5 hurricane. The theft comment? Presumably in reference to the rest of the riff raff out there…

This breadth of chasm between classes could not have been dreamt of in Gatsby’s days. Millions are still without power on Puerto Rico and other islands, include the cluster fuck of Houston, and Europe is crushing itself under the weight of debt and refugees fleeing Western bombing of Oil Rich Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan (rare minerals), Yemen, Syria and the band plays on…because we have climate controlled storage facilities where family and friends can meet to look at their excesses.

At least the Phoenix AZ article is attempting to discuss the obvious;

“Perhaps we should have expected a self-storage boom. To state the obvious, we live in a country that’s split between a sliver of people at the top enriching themselves while other people struggle to get by. Squeezed by rising housing costs and an insecure gig economy, self-storage can be helpful if you’re bouncing around in search of a new job, or crammed into a too-small apartment that already eats up too much of your paycheck. At CubeSmart and Garfield Storage in Phoenix, some renters are experiencing homelessness and need a place to store their possessions while they get back on their feet. (“As long as they’re good customers and follow the rules, we’re not going to turn anybody away,” Giordano said.)

Let’s play interpret this paragraph!

“Large self-storage chains operate as real estate investment trusts, or REITs. These companies often will buy independently owned storage centers once the local operator has built a facility and obtained the required permits. CubeSmart and Life Storage are among the largest self-storage REITs. Both are publicly traded companies that operate more than 700 self-storage facilities across the U.S.”

Civilizations collapse when the amount of available resources is outstripped by the carrying capacity (resources per capita) and during the course of the steep decline the top dominant minority begin to secure a greater concentration of the wealth (land/real estate) for themselves at the expense of everyone beneath them. Big fish eat little fishes, wealth is concentrated to the top, and excesses of the top become more apparent. REITs are the poster children.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…

“Southeast Valley cities like Gilbert and Chandler saw the most new construction, with 10 self-storage centers, followed by five new centers in Phoenix.
Last year’s construction added more than 3,300 units to greater Phoenix. It adds up to 2.4 million square feet of storage — the most of any metro area after Dallas, according to the firm. Boyle can’t think of a time in the last decade when the Phoenix market saw more self-storage construction. Even crazier is that at the end of the year, 18 new metro Phoenix locations were under construction and 51 were in the planning phase.”

Honey, get me a samich, this is gonna be a good one.

But why the boom?” the article asks.
“The reason why self-storage is a recession-resistant market is because people need self-storage when things are good and bad,” said Anne Mari DeCoster, the executive director of the Arizona Self-Storage Association. “When things are bad, they need it because they’re moving in with their parents. When things are good, they’re using it because they’re moving into a new house”. Factor in the steady population growth of Maricopa County, and there’s evidently enough demand to encourage self-storage construction here. Businesses use about 20 percent of the typical storage facility’s units, but the vast majority of tenants are individuals and families in a period of transition, DeCoster said.”

Oh, I see.

So essentially, the dreams of Western Industrial Civilization and their purported Religion of Progress has promised more than it can deliver and it has a catchy new name; Recession-resistant. Decline and failure would be too harsh a wording – and potentially more truthful than the public could handle.

The ones who are doing well are storing their boats,” DeCoster said. “The ones who are not doing well are storing their furniture because they moved in with Mom.” And in the Valley, where it seems like everyone is a transplant who moved here within the last two years, self-storage is useful for people on the move.”

You mean like one of our family members who just moved from Phoenix to Seattle (which BTW now sucks) last year only to find out his future, even while gainfully employed, would consist of living with three other adult men in an overpriced rental dump for the rest of his life? The same person who asked his company to find him a position in Phoenix where he moved back to last week? Hundreds of thousands of persons here in the US are in a position of forced mobility as they chase the jobs around the country from one boom town turned bust town after the other or find employment only to fork over more than 40% of that income to the top rentier class. In 2005 we had the housing appreciation shell game going on; sell one outrageously appreciated property and hustle to dump the profit into the next (equal or greater priced) housing in some other location somewhere else with expectations that house would appreciate. The duck duck goose housing game of the century…until it wasn’t.

Well that makes for stable communities doesn’t it? Wagon ho.

“At the end of the day, we’re a consumer society,” McLoone said. “And people like to have stuff, and they seem to like to hang onto it.”

Well yes they do. And in the Western Industrial world we’re drowning in it.

As the gap widens between the property haves and have nots the shared illness remains equal. Stuff. Moar Stuff. Stored Stuff. The following stats blew my mind and I’ve combined them from two separate articles.

  1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
  2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
  3. 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
  4. While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
  5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation.             Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total             canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).
  6. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.
  7. 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally.
  8. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine.
  9. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
  10. While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
  11. Some reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago.
  12. Nearly half of American households don’t save any money (Business Insider).
  1. But our homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day—eight hours, 14 minutes (USA Today).
  2. Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
  3. Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
  4. Currently, the 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North America and Western Europe account for 60 percent of private consumption spending  (Worldwatch Institute).
  5. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education.
  6. Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list (The Daily Mail).
  7. Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods—in other words, items they do not need.

Relying on a Savior is entirely appropriate in matters of faith. Believing that technology will save us in the face of hard geological limits is suicidal. It simply isn’t going to happen. No matter how much crap we accumulate.

  • 1400’s Western Civilization overcomes some constraints, but not all, begins to falter because of overshoot of carrying capacity (more people than resources to support population).
  • 1450 New hemisphere discovered awash in massive load of resources.
  • 1779 Highest, densest form of fungible energy ever discovered for humanity with emerging sciences to unlock, extract, and use. Welcome to the Western Industrial Civilization
  • 1779 – 2005 Fastest, most massive extraction of resources in shortest amount of time in human history.
  • 1880 – 2018 Resources: FF dependency ( in the WIC) replaces human & animal power.
  • 1990 – Complete de-coupling from localized resource base as globalization moves goods & services.
  • 2001 Complete de-coupling of finances (present economy) from tangible & available real resources.
  • 2001 – collapse Government spending; military, administrative, taxation, regulation and financial sector become 90% of the GDP

The delusional construct that is our present ‘reality’ has many underbelly murmurings, and without Historical or Ecological frameworks, many of us will be caught by surprise. We won’t understand. We will miss the markers for what they represent.

For those of us willing to have a mature acceptance of limits, and a better understanding of how to use the ‘crap’ around us in a discerning way; with reverence, multiple use (stacking functions), and coupling that understanding with a profound humility that it was all just a flash in the pan; there are no more new hemisphere’s to conquer (nope not space), or densely packed energy  sources to ‘discover’, we’ll be in a slightly better position to enjoy the lives we have now.

Because Dorothy, everything in this Universe moves in cycles, not linear Progress. Consumerism, hording, Ikea, Amazon, and high end storage facilities are the markers on the trail of this Civilizations’ journey.

 

 

sheila

The Fight Club was made in 1999, one year before the planning got underway for the planned demolition of some NYC buildings in 2001. Planes don’t kill buildings, declining governments do.