Jacob Wissman interviewing Brian Fey, 2017

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Jacob Wissman : Brian Fey

Jacob Wissman interviewing Brian Fey, 2017. Full version. Long

  • This is the full hour long interview.
    Jacob Wissman interviewing Brian Fey, 2017. Full version. Long
  • Subtitle transcription in progress. Got to: "to spend time with people are interested"

video clips by topic

These are sections of the longer interview by topic.

What is Bosque Village

What is the Bosque Village?

What is permaculture?

What is permaculture?

Our roles in creating a better world

See: Quora answers about waste materials

Our roles in creating a new and better world

Going of the grid

See: Quora answers about going off the grid

A few thoughts about going off the grid


See: Quora answers about technology

Talking technology with Jacob Wissman

Energy conservation

See: Composting toilets : The sauna : *Water Conservation

Saving water with composting toilets and saunas

Funding the Bosque

See: Funding : Patreon : MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award

New ways of funding Bosque Village
Brian's emotions on accepting donations

Brian's thoughts

Brian's experience of being a rebel

See: What are some ways to deal with fear of missing out (FOMO)? : Need to add the text of the video to the answer

FOMO: Does Brian Fey have a fear of missing out?
How can you solve the world problems?
Thoughts on food security, community, and agriculture with Brian Fey and Jacob Wissman
A few thoughts about going off the grid with Jacob Wissman and Brian Fey
What is the role of Bosque Village to prepare for civilization collapse?
Brian Fey's thoughts about refrigeration, 2017
The lonely years building Bosque Village

Extra clips

These clips were mostly not included in the interview because source was missing from the main camera.

Jacob Wissman -Brian Fey interview extras number one
Jacob Wissman -Brian Fey interview extras number two

A little ariel view of Bosque Village

Arial view of the forest of Bosque Village

Video subtitles

Jacob Wissman interviewing Brian Fey, 2017. Full version

Jacob: All right, here I am in the highlands of Mexico, the Bosque Village with Brian Fey, a Seattle transplant you say, who has created his own world? So, how does a guy from Seattle end up in the middle of nowhere Mexico? Brian: It’s been a long journey. "And ultimately, it started with how I was raised and what I was looking for in life and my own situation in the world. But how then did I decide here, I guess? How did I end up in this place? I actually, as I was wondering, where in the world – took a world map, and I started crossing places off. Initially, I was looking for places closer to where I lived and the culture I come from, you know, where I could speak English and I understand how things work. But as I really thought about the whole world, I thought you know, where is a place with good climate, where it’s not too obscurely far away, where I can still have connection with civilization a little bit, where the language is not too difficult, and where I would be welcome. So, I started thinking that I liked Mexico, Argentina potentially. As a way to invest in different society and also have some criticisms of U.S. society where I come from. So, in all, it made me kind of curious that there’s got to be a good place around here. And I remembered hiking through the area. So, I came down, spent a few months, and this is after years of searching for a place. Came to this forest, and it was for sale from a botanist, [Agria] in the United States. And it just felt magical. So, I was here and seeing it and feeling it." Jacob: But at the time, you didn’t speak Spanish? Brian: I did not speak Spanish. Jacob: You came down here, I mean essentially like myself, and it was hard for me to navigate. And then to purchase land and move on in. Brian: Now, I’ll tell you – that is very difficult. But I was 37 years old at the time. And fairly successful in my life. And so, I was actually looking for something to shake me up because I think at that point in your life, there’s a danger of becoming complacent. There’s a danger of getting too adjusted, too comfortable, and accepting the world as it is. So, I wanted a shop. Now, the truth is, I had no idea how hard this would be. I had no clue. But I’m so glad I did it and it’s been a challenge every year that’s gone by. I’ve been surprised by things and – yeah. Jacob: All right. So, let’s talk a little bit about – so, the original reason you came down here, you were saying, is just to kind of shake up your world. But you’ve created this. And now since I’ve been here the last few days, you’ve talked about your vision. So, what is Bosque Village to you? Brian: On a personal level, like we talked about shaking things up. But for me, it is a way to create a world that I want to live in. I am not comfortable in the world as it is, on a personal level. It also doesn’t fit with my values. I don’t even think that civilization as it is is sustainable. What we’re building, we can’t continue doing. Jacob: No. Brian: And so, for me, it’s hope. It’s an opportunity for me to, with my own hands, my own energy, every single day, get out there and say, I’m going to take a personal responsibility for what’s going to happen next in the word. I’m going to try and reduce the damage I’m doing, and make a positive impact on the land I live on, and everybody I have contact with. Jacob: So, in the long-term goals, I know you’ve spoken about expanding and getting people that share similar values with you. You know, to form some sort of a community. But just the people that aren’t moving here, are you hoping to maybe impart some knowledge on them about how this process works and benefits? Brian: Definitely. This is not kind of a survivalist project where I want to go off, create my own world and hide out. The point is to be experimenting all the time and then sharing those designs with the rest of the world. And that includes people who can’t come here. Now, for the first years I was here alone a lot. And then I slowly had more and more people coming through and some of theme staying for longer periods of time. By now, I’ve had several thousand people come through. And for each one of them, they’ve seen a vision of a different way of living that’s affected them individually. They leave and implement whatever they like in their own culture. And they see things here that they agree with or don’t agree with. It doesn’t matter. They’re part of a process we’re in where we’re creating a different culture. Now, that connection with the outside world is very important. We want to publish the designs that we do as opensource. We want to publish the art we create as creative commons. And so, it’s very much about serving the whole world. And that process goes both ways. Where I mean I’ve studied all my life about ways to do things. I’ve read a lot. I’ve talked with people. But I’m also very open to people’s feedback and ideas and support about what we can do here. So, this is not an isolated project. This is an exciting project. I know of none other like it. And it’s interactive with anybody who wants to take the attention and time to be involved. Jacob: So, what would you say your day-to-day is here? I mean you’ve been here now 13 years? Brian: Yeah. Jacob: 13 years. Brian: Yeah. Since 2004. Jacob: So, lots changed. Yeah, what do you do in a day? Brian: I get asked that and I know a lot of people have visions of how living off the grid is or living in the forest. It’s hard to answer because it varies widely. Today, I’ve got a drain that’s clogged that I need to unclog. I might ignore that for a few days because I don’t really want to do it. Dogs get injured or bitten by rattlesnakes. Trees fall over roads. Roofs blow in storms. The electrical system goes out. So, it used to be, years ago, that I was always just chasing the next emergency. I was trying to have anything work at all. Those years are mostly over. The systems are more stable and mature. So, now I actually have a lot more time in the last couple years to write, to communicate more, to make videos, spend time with people who are interested. So, my days still are not very stable as far as what I do, but I like that. I get up really early, often at 3:00 AM, which is a little too early sometimes. Ideally, I would get up with the sun. And that’s a function of living with very little electrical power. I have 340 watts of solar panels. That is less than what many RV’s have. So, we’re living with just almost no electrical power. So, what we want to do is live in the light. I want to live during the day. Jacob: Which seems like an obvious – Brian: It seems obvious. That is what we evolved to do. But we’ve lost touch with that because we have too much energy. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: Too much electrical energy. Jacob: And having been here the last few days, you know, it’s been a huge shock to my system to be living with, you know, no real running water or electricity. So, yeah, so you have solar panels. And you were saying the first, what, few years you were here? Brian: First two years I didn’t have any solar panels. Jacob: Which is insane because it’s so dark here at nighttime. But yeah, so now you have one solar panel that attaches to – Brian: Well, I’ve got four solar panels. Three of which are 75 watt, one which is 40 watt. That gives me 300 watts total. Sorry, there’s four 75-watt ones. But that’s still just a tiny system. So, that’s enough for me to run a laptop or two during the day. And then at night, have enough electricity for LED lightbulbs. But this gets to the point of the project, is while a lot of people are trying to get us more energy, they’re trying to create more energy, we’re going the other direction. We’re trying to figure out how can we use less energy? And that’s our 100% gain. If we figure out how to make more energy, then there is externalized costs. We might need to use more rare earth metals to make more solar panels more efficient. We have all these alternative energy solutions that aren’t really perfect solutions. The perfect solution is to use less and develop a lifestyle where we’re actually getting what we want. And we talked about this a little bit the other night. Where a lot of people are just chasing consumption all the time. And that doesn’t mean they’re more fulfilled. Jacob: And they often, I don't think, realize that they’re doing it because it’s so, you know, it’s part of our culture. Brian: Yeah. And what really fulfills us? What really fulfills us is being accepted by other people. You know, and I could buy a different brand shirt, and maybe you’d accept me more. But I’d rathe we have a cool conversation. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: You know? And what people like is feeling understood. And that means we’re going to have to talk to each other face-to-face. And then, you know, I don’t need you to just like my text and my Facebook posts. Although, people should like the Facebook posts and share the videos, of course. Jacob: Of course. Brian: Great way to help. But what’s really fulfilling us then is the healthy food, you know. The using our body physically to produce something we can see, using our minds and developing a learning, knowing that we’re serving other people, that we have a value to the world. I mean people write about this online. So, you know, I don’t feel like I have any value. My life is meaningless. And I think there’s a temptation to say, “Oh, no, you’re meaningful. It’s all good.” And go to psychologist and have them tell you that you have value and that you have, you know, self-esteem and all this. It’s like maybe the problem is your life doesn’t have very much value. Maybe you’re so disconnected from the physical reality we come from and we’re involved with, that you feel this hole in your life that it’s real. So, people do realize that – some of them. And I think, “Well, how can we have community?” And boy, there’s a difficult topic. Jacob: [Laughs] Yeah, because I mean I feel myself included, it’s been a real struggle with that. Because you wake up every day and you check your Facebook page. Jacob: And ads are just everywhere and it – you really lose track about what it is that you even want. Your head is full of what you should be or what you should think or – but really, it’s – yeah. It’s about finding you. And a lot of times, like being this disconnected, I know for me, it’s like you don’t really think about anything else other than the leaves you’re stepping on, or the breeze between the leaves on the trees. It’s really quite lovely. Brian: Yeah, that is one thing I have appreciated is just being more connected to nature and the birds, you know. Sometimes nature gets annoying. It’s wildlife coming into your building, you know. But it is more natural. I go to the city, you know, agitated. I feel dirty. I don’t feel like I can just be someone. You have to pay to go anywhere or do anything. So, I really do appreciate the opportunity I have to live more natural. Jacob: So, let’s talk about toilets. I think that’s a lot of – a lot of people kind of wonder about that because we’re so used to our pristine porcelain bowls that [whish] things away. Out of site out of mind. So, here you use composting toilets. And is this something that you came up with? Brian: Well, in a sense. I mean I’ve changed the design some. But composting toilets are actually not a new idea. They used to do this in China. It’s just controlling your shit in a controlled place so it can compost. And then you can use it as night soil, or fertilizer, to put back into the soil and grow plants again. Now, a lot of ways that people used to deal with human waste were very bad. And we didn’t understand microbiology. You know, you think of the Dark Ages in Europe and you think of sewers in the streets and stuff and it sounds terrible. So, the water toilet was this innovation that got us away from that. I understand why people like it. The problem is, is that we’re wasting all this fresh water that we need. Flushing it down the toilet, going through tubes to other places where it’s expensive to process it. That’s really a flawed system. So, in a sense, what we’ve done is we’ve taken the knowledge we have now about microbiology and how diseases transmit everything. And what I’ve designed is chambered toilets. I’m not the first person to do this. That you use for a while. And there’s a big composting process going on while you’re using one side with thermophilic bacteria. And then you shut that down and you use the other side for a while. And then after six months or whatever your schedule is, you now have fertilizer. And there’s no disease risk. There’s no smell. In fact, my toilet smells less than many toilets in the city. Jacob: I was shocked at how sanitary it feels. Like there literally isn’t a smell. Like you think of port-a-potties at the fair. Brian: Oh, disgusting. Jacob: And you’re like – your nose and you want to vomit. And like just regular latrines that I’ve used in the past. And this – yeah. I mean it’s kind of shocking how sanitary it seems. And the fact that you end up with a product when you’re done with it, that you can then use is like mind-blowing. Brian: Yeah. What shocks me is it’s so simple. It’s so cheap. It’s usable in all parts of the world. And hardly anyone is doing it. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: And I think it’s because we’re afraid of change and that. Now, and I understand this, there are composting toilets that I’ve seen personally and pictures of, that were built by somebody who was very alternative and didn’t do a good design. Those toilets are advertisements against composting toilets. I think they’re terrible. My composting toilets are pretty dang good. And they work great. I’ve been using them for years. I do, however, want to go the next step, and I want to build some toilets that look just like regular toilets. Like in a fancy hotel. I want it to have white tile. I want it to be well lit. I want it to just be all perfect. And the only difference is that there’s no water in the toilet part. And that’s going to sell the idea to more people. Jacob: Sure. Yeah. Because I mean if – that’s the only thing that takes you out of your regular bathroom experience. Is that it’s wood. It’s made of natural materials. But yeah, I mean if you were sitting on a porcelain toilet and tiled, well lit room, you wouldn’t smell anything. You wouldn’t even notice. Brian: Yeah. Jacob: I mean I don’t know how you go about installing that in an entire city. Brian: Well, I think have you to prove it works. Jacob: Sure. Brian: So, one of the projects that I would like to get funded here is to build a toilet like that in town. Now, in Mexico, people pay to use the toilet in many places. And so, I actually want to make a commercial toilet where the business owner can be making money off of it. And then all these people are going to get this exposure to this toilet. They’re going to say, “Oh wow, this works.” And in this culture, a lot of people are using latrines because water is a very limited resource here. And so, this is a step up for what a lot of people have already. That’s what we can start proving. It’s healthier. It’s simpler, cheaper. And we can start to make this change. The thing that’s important here, also, is that many people around the world do not have water. And so, often you’ll find programs that are trying to help these people bring themselves up to the industrial world standard, of wasting water. So, in an industrial home, oftentimes people are wasting 40% of the household’s water just on the toilet. Jacob: That’s crazy. Brian: Yeah. Losing 40% right there. So, that’s one technology combined also with something I call the, “Pee Garden,” which works for some places, can save huge amounts of water for everybody. Jacob: Which is just crazy. And I know here instead of a shower – we did take a shower, but used a sauna to get clean. And I admit, I’m terrible. I take two showers a day. And I tried to do the math on the Internet yesterday and it’s something like 17 gallons of water for an eight-minute shower. And then I think about how much water I saved being here for four days. And I’m like, “That’s depressing.” So, to be conscious of that, like – yeah. Brian: Yeah. It is fun to do the math on all these systems because I don’t want to have this be a place where we kind of make up a pseudo-spiritual solution, being in tune with everything. No. Let’s crunch the numbers. Let’s do the math. So, when we talk about showers, let’s calculate in our own lives how much we’re using. And I don’t get judgmental about this. Like I don’t go and bug people and say, “You’re taking too many showers.” I hate those eco-assholes. We’re all where we’re at doing what we can do. Becoming conscious of what energy we’re using. So, in this case, we use the sauna, which is also not a new technology. I mean you go back to sweat lodges and indigenous people, and they’re doing that. And so, what we do is we sit in the sauna for, you know, 30, 40 minutes, whatever you’re comfortable with. And you actually are sweating, and your skin can start to ball up on you. And then you rinse off, using very little water. Especially, if I would provide cold water. People don’t waste that at all. Now, this time of year, I happen to have enough hot water, so we have hot showers at the end of the day. But think about the shower, really. You’re just dumping some water and putting some soap on you. You’re still kind of – you’re pretty dirty, actually. Jacob: Sure. Brian: But if you get in that sauna and you sweat and maybe it’s social. Maybe it’s just individual. And you can even scrape your skin with some sodium bicarbonate or salt or whatever works for you. You are really getting clean. Jacob: And I can attest to that. Because I was, at first, a little skeptical. And yeah, I mean its kind of amazing. Brian: Yeah. Jacob: It does feel a lot better than just letting water just run all over you and down the drain. Brian: Yeah. It’s like a spa. And it’s also [unintelligible]. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: And then especially, living in a place like this, I mean do we really get that dirty here? Jacob: Not really. Brian: I mean there’s dust. Jacob: There’s definitely dust. This is also the dry time of year, so I imagine when it’s raining the dust is not – Brian: Not much dust. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: But it’s clean dirt. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: If I go to the city, what’s hitting me? Car fumes, you know, everything I touch has germs of people on it. Jacob: Yeah. Everyone else’s dead skin cells. Brian: Yeah. The place is just a chemical wasteland. And so, here, I often take a shower or a sauna once a week and I feel clean enough. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: Now, I think twice a week is a good thing to try and get people to be comfy with. And then, of course, I’m working on having more water storage and having more hot water available. I’d like to make a saltwater pool. So, there a lot of options on making things more complex. But in general, with this project, what I’ve done is removed myself from these systems as much as possible. Break away. So, like the first two years without electricity. Yeah, it was sitting in the dark. A lot. I put myself in an energy-less jail, in a sense. And that was breaking the addiction to these systems. And now, I’m very carefully adding them back in, considering each stage. Jacob: Yeah, so that’s been something that I noticed is really interesting, is you’ve definitely gone back to basics. Because it’s, you know, there’s lots of no-frills, really simple, but lovely things you’re doing. But at the same time, you’re very focused on the best and the newest technologies. So, it’s this neat kind of Mad Max like – not dystopian, but like, you know, this kind of future which I could see – which I think should be happening. Because it’s the best of the best and the most basic combined. Brian: I think you got it. That’s exactly it. Yeah. And so, it’s not that I’m anti-technology. In fact, I love technology. I love science. I come from a tech background. But after breaking away from it, I went this conscious choice. And one group that does that is the Amish. Now, I don’t want to live like the Amish. I like colours on my clothes. I like partying more than that. And so, but I respect the fact that they make very conscious choices about what technology to use or not. Jacob: Sure. Brian: In different Amish groups, actually, are independent in making those decisions. So, an Amish society – community – might decide, “Okay, we don’t want to have everyone on the telephone all the time. But we’ll have one telephone in one shared building that we can go use.” Or they might say, “We don’t think cars and vehicles are morally wrong. But we’re not going to own any of them. And we’re not going to have driver’s licenses. We’ll hire someone with a car when we want to move stuff.” So, it’s not a moral decision, is the point. And that’s true here as well. It’s not like a particular technology is necessarily bad. But at least in this experimental space we can think about which technologies affect us how. So, for example, this is a really good simple example. We’re going to use heat. Preferably wood-fired or solar to heat up something and make some tea or a soup or a bread or something. Well, if that cools down and we want it hot again, we’re going to have to use energy again. If we have a thermos, a piece of technology that’s pretty simple, we can put that tea in the thermos. It stays hot longer. We didn’t have to use energy to reheat it. So, we decide, “Okay, maybe thermoses are okay.” I know we have to decide what’s the best thermos. So, you know. Jacob: Yeah. Because you mentioned that. You don’t think about things like that. Like, so you have your plastic thermos or your stainless-steel thermos. You know, your plastic thermos could break and then there’s garbage. It’s no longer worth anything. But like, you know, finding the best something that’s going to get you the most out of it and produce the least amount of trash. Brian: And that’s something we’re doing more and more. There’s product reviews, product testing. And as for me, that’s really fun. And that’s not like a total rejection of society as it is. That’s saying what society do we want to have? What serves us instead of us always having to buy another piece of whatever. And another area which we’re very pro-technology, is communications end. Because we want to be attached to the whole world. This is a worldwide groupthink process of how are we going to build this new world. So, we want to have the computers and the webcams and the cameras like we’re using now. We’re communicating with thousands of people. And hopefully then we inspire some of them to think, “Okay, well I’m stuck in some ways in society as it is.” But this is an area I can change in. Do I want to eat meat? What meat do I want to eat? Should I eat less meat? How big of a refrigerator do I need? Could I have a smaller refrigerator or a more efficient refrigerator? Jacob: And you don’t even have a refrigerator. Brian: I don’t even have a refrigerator. That’s a case where I’ve decided we shouldn’t be using any electricity for heating or cooling. Because in a house they’re using over 80% of electricity just for those two things. So, I have no air conditioner. No refrigerator. People will say to me – what are you going to say to me about the refrigerator? Jacob: What? Brian: How do you live without a refrigerator? Jacob: Yeah. And I’ve kind of – I mean I’ve been here for what, four days? And I’ve been eating every meal. And then yeah, you think about it. Like none of this food is refrigerated. Brian: How does that work? Jacob: Still okay, like I don’t want to jinx myself. But yeah, I mean there are obviously other methods. Brian: Lots of methods. We don’t have a root cellar yet. We should build one. That’s a way to keep food cooler. Because cooler food does make it last longer. So that’s on the agenda. Another thing we have to remember is 100 years ago nobody had a refrigerator. So, we know we can do it. We can survive and even have awesome food without refrigeration. Jacob: So, I did notice you don’t have a refrigerator here. Brian: I don’t. And it’s a very conscious decision. You figure that in a household, about 80% of the electricity in the house is being used for cooling or heating. And so, I’m against doing either of those. Now, that gets into architecture in terms of the air conditioning and things. But let’s talk about the refrigerator issues since almost everyone has a refrigerator. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: What I noticed was that people generally have a bigger refrigerator than they need. Jacob: Yeah. The stuff that sits in there forever. Brian: Exactly. How much of it are you really going to eat? People also refrigerate things they don’t need to refrigerate. For example, the whole reason we made cheese was to preserve milk. Jacob: Right. Brian: There’s also other ways to keep things cool. We can build a root cellar – which I do need to build. Every degree you go down in temperature, your food is going to last longer. So, there’s a lot of alternatives. In this culture, for example, we don’t refrigerate eggs because our eggs aren’t washed. They come from the chickens. Now, in an industrial system people wash the eggs and that makes them more at risk of going bad, so it makes you need to put them in the refrigerator. So, for people in a normal society, they can think about scaling down the refrigerator, wondering why the food needs a refrigerator. Now, in my case, I decided no refrigeration at all. People say to me, “How could you live without a refrigerator?” Well, everybody 100 years ago used to live without a refrigerator. Jacob: It’s true. Brian: So, we can do it. Jacob: Yeah. And I mean since I’ve been here, we’ve – I’ve done it. It’s kind of blown my mind, you know? I mean I’ve been here for what, four days and I’ve been eating every meal. And then, yeah, you think about it. Like none of this food is refrigerated. Brian: How does that work? And I will add to that that as we stop refrigerating, there’s a lot of old technologies we can rediscover. Like fermentation is a way to preserve food. So, if we make something like kimchi or sauerkraut, now I’ve got something that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Also, has all these probiotics and organisms in it that are really good for us. So, rediscovering these old ways is better for our health, uses less energy, and gives us all these new flavors. Jacob: That’s true. All right, let’s ask this. So, I feel like there are a lot of people now, especially – not that we’re going to talk about politics, but with the state of the nation as is. We have considered running off into the middle of nowhere. And I mean I feel like you could be seen as, you know, some people’s hero. Like here you are living off the grid. How easy would it be for somebody to do this? I mean you have a huge complex here. But maybe if even someone wanted something smaller. I mean - Brian: Sure. A lot of people have the dream of going off the grid. It’s kind of that pioneer spirit. It’s having control over your own life and breaking away from a lot of the oppressive systems. It’s a great goal and I think people should consider it. They should consider what it would take for them. They’re also going to have consider whether they really want to do it. So, I think they should start, you know, go camping. They can visit people who are doing it. It certainly has become easier than it used to be because technology has improved. So, now we have better inverters. Solar panels are cheaper and cheaper. We have LED lights. So, technology has made it easier to break away from technology, if that makes sense. As far as it being realistic for most people, I think most people don’t really want to do it. It’s difficult if you’re going to do a pure way. There are people who do it in a fake way, in a greenwashing way. They, you know, those are the people who have their cabin out in the woods with 20 solar panels. And they’ve got all the normal tools they would normally use. And they’ve got their generator. And so, they can’t really say they’re off the grid. And they can’t even really say that they’re living a simpler life. Jacob: They just have more technology. Brian: Yeah. They’ve bought themselves some fake green. Which I still appreciate the concept a little bit. But if you want to really do it and you want to go out and do the Thoreau thing and live in your cabin very simply, I think everybody should do that for at least a while. And it is not difficult. In this project, that’s not totally the goal because we actually want to develop a culture to replace industrial civilization. It’s not good enough for us to just as individuals, or for me anyway, to just break away from it and live a simple life. I want to develop an entire culture where people who come here like it better than the fancy energy intensive world that they are coming from. Jacob: For sure. And I know, myself, like I considered this for a really long time. And, you know, you can romanticize, I think, the concept of it. And definitely, me being here, like I am not like a super camper. I haven’t really lived with this much – like with this little. And I’ll admit the first night I was here, I was kind of overwhelmed. To put it politely. But now that I’ve been here a few days, like it’s definitely something you grow into actually appreciate. Not like tolerate, but like – yeah. Like I feel like – I don't know. More aware of, like – and it seems more within reach. Brian: And I want to be open to that. That’s the point. I want people to come here – and they’re all coming from very different perspectives. Some of them, they’re coming here with hardcore ideas of rejecting civilization as it is. Others are coming here because it’s a fun artistic environment and they know there’s dynamic people working on culture. Other people are coming here as a way to experience Mexico. This is almost not in Mexico in some sense because we’re out in the woods. But we go on trips to town. Also, I like to have here a mix of really smart cool Mexicans and mix them with foreigners. So, that’s a culture experience a lot of people are looking for. So, they don’t all come with the same goal, but hopefully, all of them leave with what you’re experiencing. Realizing that they don’t need as much stuff, and that they like the quiet, you know? It’s just so nice here. I mean the noises here are like coyotes at night. Owls, whippoorwills, the wind in the trees, dogs barking. So, wherever they’re coming from, I love to have people come and take from the space. So that then they go back to their own life and can pick and choose what they want to do, and what world they want to create around them. Jacob: Definitely. So, you’re out here disconnected, but what is your relations with the local community? Brian: "That’s been really surprising and interesting. For me moving here, I was moving from the city to a very rural place out in the woods. But into a culture that I couldn’t really connect with well because of language issues and culture differences. Over the years, I have had increasing relations with the communities. I’m part of a community more than I ever have been in my life. And that’s the little town of Yotatiro. And so, as I was thinking, “Oh, I’ll go off and create this intentional community. Invite people from around the world who are like me.” I find my real community is a bunch of people in the tiny town who I don’t completely share a language with all the time. But they’re awesome people. They’re honest. They accept me, even though I’m very different. So, that’s been a surprise community to me, and really thrilling. I also lucked out because the next nearest town is very dynamic. It’s had foreigners for a long time. So, I’m accepted more. There are other towns where I would not be accepted. So, I just got lucky with that. That’s the town of Erongaricuaro. And I’ve really become good friends with these folks and learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot about people who live with less resources. And that’s made more and more motivated to bring in resources from outside, from other people through participants paying to be here. Or from grants and donations, so that we can offer these people employment in the projects we’re working on. A lot of these people live with really no resources. There are no jobs here. The only way they can make money is by leaving Mexico, going to the United States to work. And that divides families. It’s still a good option for them, but I’m trying to build a local economy. The other thing I can do here is because they’re not online, they don’t have access to information, is I can investigate tools and products and ways of doing things. And then with some caution, since I’m not here to tell them what to do, but I can introduce those concepts to my friends. And if they like that tool, they’ll say, “Oh, okay, I like that.” For example, if I show somebody a solar oven, I mean for them, propane is very expensive or going out to the woods and getting wood for their stoves is expensive and a lot of work. And so, they’re often very excited about that. They get it real quick. The energy comes from the sun and now my food is cooking. So, they’re like, “Well, how much does that cost?” I mean they’re clued in real quick. These people are very smart. And so, that’s my role here is to bring in these ideas and also the resources to help this whole area become better off economically and culturally. Jacob: So, Mexico. So, when I – you probably have to get some reactions out of people. I know when I told people I was coming here – my mom would say, you know, they are terrified. And I personally was like, “Well, I’d rather die doing something I love than with a hand dryer fire in a Starbucks bathroom or something. Like what did your family think? What did your friends think? Have they come to see you? Brian: Well, luckily, my friends and family know that I’m a freak, and they’ve known that for a long time. So, nobody really tried to tell me what to do. For me, I believe there’s good people everywhere and that there’s conflicts and problems everywhere. And the country I come from has some serious violence problems within the country, with mass incarceration and oppression inside the country. And they also export violence all around the world. So, I don’t see the country I come from as that peaceful or safe. Now, I had visited Mexico, so a lot of my stereotypes I would have if I had watched the news went away. I found that Mexico varies widely, of course, just like the U.S. does. And the place I live is very peaceful. The people are honest. They care about you know, kid’s birthday parties and weddings and, you know. Plants and culture and dancing traditional dances in masks. And so, I just don’t see it – the violence problem in Mexico as being real at the level other people see it. Now, I don’t have some kind of rose-coloured glasses about it. Bad shit happens. Jacob: Sure. Brian: There is violence in Mexico and there’s violence everywhere else. But you also get choices about what you get involved with. So, my primary advice to somebody who doesn’t want to experience violence in Mexico is don’t be a narco trafficker. Jacob: That’s simple. Brian: Now, Mexico has some dangers. And for example, one of the most dangerous things is that if you’re walking down the sidewalk, there might be a big hole there. Don’t fall into it. Okay, there’s not going to be ribbons around it warning you. Jacob: Very dangerous potholes. Brian: Yeah. There’s dangers of – if you’re tall, like we are, of stuff low hanging, and you’ll hit your head on it. And I’m actually kind of joking because it’s funny, but I’m kind of not. I mean I’ve watched people come here and they’re not used to having stuff on the street hit you in the head, and it hits them on the head. There’s low doorways. There’s – you have to adjust to that. Jacob: Without the caution tape of the United States. Brian: Exactly. Additionally, if you’re driving, there’s some additional challenges there. But the short answer is, essentially, Mexico is super safe and really awesome. As anywhere, it depends on where you go and what you do. Jacob: And now, for what you’re doing down here, we had spoke previously, there are advantages to going off grid in Mexico. Because if you’re trying to do this in the United States, you couldn’t do your composting toilet or your rainwater system, correct? Brian: That is a whole another reason to be in Mexico, is in a lot of ways it’s a much freer country. Since people here are already using latrines and things, composting toilets is a step up from that. There’s no law against making a composting toilet here. So, experiments that I want to do here, there’s just no problem. And in addition, I’m out in the woods. So, I feel much freer here. Now, you know, I looked in Washington, and Oregon, and Northern California for where to go, but I wouldn’t be as free. Jacob: So, your goal is to get a big mix of people here, locals and people from all over the world. How does that work? Brian: Well, for me, I’d to have a real diversity of people. I like to have new ideas and bounce ideas around wherever I am. So, that does make things culturally a little more difficult because normally, if you were going to create a community or a space or even have a party, most people looking for people like them. They want to close to people like them. And they’re judgmental of people who are different. I want to break that down. I want to get rid of that. I want to destroy our prejudices. So, I love having people from all over the world. And of course, a lot of Mexicans here. And I want those stereotypes of the differences to really disintegrate, and to just see each other as individuals rather than labels. Jacob: Sure. Brian: And in practice, it works out usually really well. You get Mexicans being in this space where they’re freer than they have been culturally, where they’re away from their family, where they’re being told, “Hey, this is a participatory environment and you can also create things here.” Now, that’s also true for people from other countries. If they go to music festivals or they go to concerts, they’re often in a consumer relationship with everything. And here, they’re invited to participate and create. So, we’ve got these different people from different cultures mixing it up, bouncing ideas off each other, and all learning. A big downside, a big difficulty I have is language barriers. Because if you get a bunch of foreigners who speak primarily English and a bunch of Mexicans who primarily speak Spanish, they have a very hard time meshing. They just can’t do it. So, I can have activities where they can work on things together. But at the lunch table, they’re separate. So, my goal with that is to have about 80% people be bilingual so that even if not everybody is bilingual, that’s okay. But if 80% are bilingual we can get that meshing happening. The other thing that is really fun is that a lot of Mexicans haven’t traveled. And so, for them, the foreign world is what they see in movies. And they have – I mean this – it’s amusing a lot of times because some of them actually think that that’s the world that exists, and it doesn’t. Just like if you were to watch movies about Mexico, that’s not an accurate depiction of what it is in Mexico. Jacob: Sure. All right, so you’ve been here for 13 years. A lot has changed. I was surprised – I guess not surprised, but how much you’ve stayed on top of technology. But I know there’s probably a lot culturally that you’ve missed out on, which I don’t think is really missing out on. Like for instance, you didn’t know who the Real Housewives were, which I wish that that was – that I could say the same. [Laughs] And so, anyway, so with social media, now we have this fear of missing out. Which is called FOMO. And it’s actually a real issue that causes people distress. Do you feel like being out here, do you feel like you’re missing out on anything? Brian: Well, yes. And really, I guess, it’s opportunity cost. Anything you do in life, you’re not doing the other stuff. Opportunity cost being an economics term. We just can’t do it all. So, I made decisions like that in my life. In my old life, you know, like I decided not to have children. I’m not against the idea of having children. I think they’re cool, and I would have enjoyed it. But I made the choice not to do it and I’m happy with that choice. Doing this, a lot of people think I’ve cut myself away from so much. But also, realize I’ve gained a lot. So, some of the things I’ve lost. I’ve lost having to pay bills. I pay my Internet bill. That’s my only bill. Jacob: Not a bad thing to lose. Brian: I lose out on spending my time in a lot of commercial establishments because they’re real goal is to take my money. Jacob: Sure. Brian: I lose out on a lot of false friends, which hopefully I never had that many. And then, of course, I am still connected on the computer. So, I’m not totally unaware of what’s going on in the world. I still follow the news. And really, if I look at where I want to focus my life, I feel like I’m actually on the forefront of developing the future of the world. Because we’re not going to have this free energy forever. Jacob: No. Brian: We’re not going to be able to continue the way we are. And so, I’m ahead of the game, really. Even though in some ways I’m going back in time and using old technologies, the future is learning how to live with less resources in a more enriched way, if we can survive at all. Jacob: Right. Yeah. And we were discussing that in the sauna. Just at the rate that we – and I say we, meaning the United States, but at the rate we consume, it’s – I mean it’s impossible. It just can’t work. So, you know, that’s where I think this is so amazing. Is that it is that combination of new technology and basics. And really conserving energy and water. Because ultimately, it’s our only choice. I mean it’s going to be real. Brian: Yeah. And I try not to talk too much about that because it is negative. Jacob: Sure. Brian: But people do have to look at the reality of the situation. They need to look at the graphs of how energies are being used, and what resources we have. And even though we can be optimistic and think, “Oh, we’re really fancy monkeys and scientists and stuff,” you know, “We’re going to get free energy somehow.” If you actually just realistically look at it and drop your delusional optimism, we have some serious problems with basic survival as a civilization. Civilizations have collapsed before. They often fall to 10% of the population they were before. So, we have examples in history where this has already happened. Now, we’ve got this massively built up civilization built on free energy over the last 100 years. Jacob: Which is so – such a short amount of time. Brian: Yeah. That is a moment. And we’re draining the aquifers. We’re poisoning the oceans that used to be completely full of fish and wildlife. We’ve destroyed too much forest. We’re burning oil now, so some forests are recovering. But as soon as the oil gets more expensive, we’re going to be more wood again. We’re just in a really awful situation. And once one system collapses, another system will be stressed and collapse, another system will be stressed and collapse. And so, in the process of that we will not have the rational power or even the physical ability to say, “Oh, we get it now. We’re going to magically fix it.” Jacob: Sure. Brian: Now, one optimistic vision is that we have more warning signs. And that we can be smart quickly and do what’s called like a graceful descent, energy descent. And use the last of our cheap energy to build these alternatives. What we’re doing here is we’re building those, experimenting with and building those alternatives now. So that when we finally realize, “Oh, we got to do this,” we have those designs ready. Jacob: Right. They’ve been tested. They work. And you’re welcome. Brian: Yeah. You’re welcome. Jacob: Which is pretty crazy because I know sometimes I get bogged down by just how much energy we consume. That every culture around the world, that we’re just driving ourselves like into the ground. But like we’ve talked about before. I mean once you’ve recognized that these are real issues, and then you can work towards something, then you can have a positive attitude about it, because you’re now helping. You’re not part of the problem. Brian: And I like that because I don’t just want to be despondent. I don’t want to focus on the problems. I want to focus on solutions. And what’s cool, is there are more and more people. And I have them kind of online who see it and they want in. And those are the people who are saying, “Brian, that’s really interesting. I may or may not agree with everything you do or say. That’s totally cool. But what you’re doing is exciting and I want to support it.” And that’s why we’re getting donations or grants and people can directly fund their own optimism so that there’s a chance for a better future. Jacob: Which makes me happy. Brian: I’m happy too. Most days. And on the other days, maybe I’ll pour a tequila and try to forget about the problems of the world. That’s actually fun good shit, man. I think that’s watchable. I would watch that. Jacob: Yeah. And I think – Brian: And I saw a couple saying online now they want to do what they’re going to do. I’m already fucking doing it. I’m a proven entity, you know? Jacob: I’m not talk – Brian: Yeah. Jacob: Okay. Brian: We want to be very conscious here of our food decisions. And we’re good with that, but we affect everybody else around us. Jacob: Sure. Brian: And so, I actually want to make sure that the communities near here also have food security. So, while I’m planting things that don’t need any care and grow with the natural rain cycle, I want to make sure that all the towns around me are doing the same, so that they are prepared if there’s a disruption. I would like to also encourage food storage locally. That’s not at all part of the culture here. Everybody buys stuff for a day or two. If there’s any disruption, there’s immediate problems. And that’s a case where, you know, I’m not going to go tell other people what to do. But if I can even encourage that there’s a place that buys in bulk and sells in bulk, we’ll just have more food closer to people. But really, the planting of the food is the best way to go. Agriculture without irrigation and fertilizer. Nopales are a great example. They’re not my favourite food, but they’re really nutritious. They grow here everywhere with no work at all. And so, if we have enough nopales we’re at least not going to starve to death. Jacob: Sure. And as we’ve kind of walked around, like you showed me examples of some of the things you’re trying out. And like if this succeeds with this little bit of water, then you can then – how do you say it? Brian: Reproduce. Jacob: Reproduce them. And then you know these things are going to survive and continue to grow. So, it’s like this constant experiment, yeah, with things you don’t even have to touch. Brian: Right. And that’s the huge win here. The agriculture experiments are one of my favourite things. Unfortunately, they take a huge amount of time. Each plant is a puzzle. We have to try planting it earlier, doing the start earlier, trying microclimates. See how far we can extend the growing season. See how can we preserve that food. And so, there’s so many factors. But when we do get a good win, it’s a real win. So, for example something like daikon radish. Again, not my favourite food. But I know have all the daikon radish I want. And for the first time when I went into the market, somebody was selling a daikon radish. Jacob: Really? Brian: Yeah. So, I’ve been here for 13 years. I’ve never seen a daikon radish for sell. And two years ago, I started giving away daikon radish seeds. So, I think I’ve introduced a new food in the culture – a little bit. Jacob: Interesting. Brian: Yeah. And so, I’m always looking for what we can grow and what we can grow grows nearby, perhaps, and we can move it here. What we can introduce from other cultures, with some caution. Jacob: So, this is like a lot to think about, for like your lay person. Is that derogatory? I don't know. Brian: No. It’s not derogatory. Jacob: Just so much to think about. It’s like how – do you think the average person could just come out here and do this? Brian: No. The average person has no interest in doing this and they don’t have the background. And they don’t – they won’t be able to do it. I am made to do this project because of a variety of odd things in my background, my own intellectual curiosity, my willingness to destroy my own beliefs constantly in looking for something that more resembles truth. And my experimental attitude for things. My communications background. I’m actually, as I think about it, I’m happy about this, that I’ve found my place in life. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: You know, so many of us wonder how are we going to fit in with the world? What are you supposed to doing? I know what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s this. I’m the only person crazy enough to do it. I was lucky enough to be able to work in places that let me get the resources to then do it. So, for whatever set of chance circumstances and my own work as well, this is what I have to do. This is my mission. Jacob: And it’s super fascinating. I mean like you’ve literally covered, for me, at least, what I think is all of it. I mean, you know, from every aspect of living, you have an experiment somewhere here. And it’s so fascinating. Brian: And for me, the part that’s interesting about that is dealing with other people, increasingly. I have had so many people come through, but a lot of them have been coming through with different motivations. Some of them as tourists. I’m getting much more focused now in helping other people’s best aspects of their interest when they enter here, to piggy-back off our own energies. So, that’s my new challenge, is working with other people here on site and elsewhere around the world. I’m starting to partner. I would say if I have a flaw, it’s that I’m too individualistic. I’ve been too much of a loner. And that’s been great, because it’s allowed me to break away from things and focus. But the time is now for me to change that a lot, and be actively linking with other organizations and people, so that we’re getting a net positive impact. Jacob: Yeah. And for being a loner for as long as you have, and the stories you were saying about being here by yourself for so long, you’re quite together, you know? Like you’d expect like hermit status at some point. I don't know, you’re a very – you’ve stayed on top of it. I think it takes a very smart, in-tune individual to accomplish something like that. Brian: Thank you. That’s nice to hear. And you’re exactly the kind of person I want here. Because in our discussions – and don’t publish everything we talk about. You know, sometimes we talk about personal things. But the path you’re on and looking at where you’re at in your life, and how you can have impact. And how you can create the world around, and why you do what you’re doing. You know, what are your ethics? What relationships do you have with people? That’s exactly the kind of person that should be coming here and using the space to then develop themselves. Jacob: Yeah. Like what you said about tearing apart – or down your beliefs. I mean I think everyone – even though it may be uncomfortable, needs to just really strip themselves down to the basics because you can find out a lot about yourself. Brian: To bring us to one other point, because you hear a lot of people, very angry about the world as it is. And I understands their anger. And they’re not sure what to do, but I think a lot of times they’re spending a lot of time attacking the system as it is. Jacob: Sure. Oh yeah. Brian: Or just sometimes whining. And I really think that that is an important thing, what you’re saying, is we’ve got to look in the mirror and start with us. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: And that’s not a new concept. People have been saying that for thousands of years. Jacob: Sure. But yeah, there’s that difference of really like knowing that you’re supposed to do that and then actually following through with it. But yeah, I know it’s like Facebook is just littered with negative comments and – yeah, just, you know, looking inward and pulling it apart. Because yeah, I mean you’re fulling capable of producing change if you wanted. Brian: And that’s one thing I want to do as well. Even though I like to hear that I’m doing a great job and I’m awesome, it’s very important that I realize my flaws and that I’m a person like anybody else. I don’t want to be one of these many kind of arrogant teacher people that says, “I’ve got this answered.” You know, and then be all full of myself. Jacob: Right. Brian: Yeah. I hate that shit. That’s its own form of authoritarianism. Jacob: Sure. Brian: I don’t like when other people – and I become very uncomfortable when people look at me like that. So, I want to be respected as a person as a peer, as a person trying to do things. I think it’s very important we do not create new authoritarian systems that end up keeping us in systems of oppression anyway. So, we will humbly go forward. Keep working. And hopefully have some fun along the way. Jacob: Definitely. Brian: Yeah. Jacob: So, what is permaculture? Brian: Permaculture is a designed system. It’s a way of thinking holistically about how different elements of culture work together, and fit together to make us have a society that is – respects the Earth better and takes care of people, and is sustainable over time. Now, almost always, permaculture is focused on agriculture. So, permaculture training programs talk about how we use water and the land, how we combine plants and make food forest farms. We do permaculture training here so people can come here and get certified to do permaculture design, and that’s great. But when you take permaculture with a little bit more expansive view, so even though agriculture, food, and energy are super important. Jacob: Sure. Brian: Even if we solve those problems, we’d still have a bunch of problems in the world. So, that’s why we’re focused on permaculture as permanent culture, not just permanent agriculture. So, we’re going to look holistically at all the ways we deal with each other in all the systems, like we’ve been talking about. And that kind of training is much more difficult, much more controversial, and much more painful for us to learn, than just learning how to reproduce plants and save seeds and all those other good things. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: So, this place as far as permaculture training goes has a much more expanded vision than the permaculture training courses that are just 70 hours long. And people get their permaculture design certificate, which is really just an introduction to permaculture, and focused on primarily agriculture. Right. Well, for somebody who just wanted to go off the grid and live simply, that can be done very cheaply. You can even have your tiny house, you know, it could be mobile even, and you travel around as a nomad. There’s so many great options. This place is a lot more ambitious than that. So, there’s a lot more costs. For me, I worked for years living very cheaply to get the resources to do this. It’s been very costly. And I spent a lot of years financing. At this point, I get financing from outside resources because I can’t do it myself anymore. So, that means that many of the participants to come pay for their experience here. And then other ones have been crowdfunded from their own social circles. And then we get donations from people excited about the project. We’re looking for more contacts with sponsors and we’re also looking for more grants. So, it isn’t that we can’t do it cheaper. That is a goal. All the time, I’m looking for how to do things cheaper and simpler. Jacob: Sure. Brian: But in order to do more, and that would be an interesting space, we need the resources to have more tools. Like we don’t have a microscope. That’s a basic tool for understanding microbiology. And if we’re going to be fermenting things and worrying about, you know, health issues and doing things very different ways, we need a microscope. So, that’s an example of a basic tool we don’t currently have. So, at this point I’ve gone as far as away from civilized society as I can. I’ve lived as simply as I can. My goal now is to reconnect with a lot of civilized things. And also, I’m not all against getting a lot of money coming into the system so we can take this to extremely complex levels of cultural development. Jacob: And that’s pretty crazy. I mean going into this, you didn’t have an idea of that coming out of it? Brian: Well, the thing is, that it isn’t just I wanted to escape society or something. It isn’t just that I wanted to live simply. A long time ago, for much of my life, I’ve wanted to make these kind of cultural changes. This is not a new idea for me. Now, the way it works out year by year, of course, I’m following opportunities, I’m reacting to emergencies. But overall, I’m still actually following a lot of my goals that I’ve developed when I was an adolescent. Jacob: That’s pretty crazy. Brian: I’m a pretty crazy guy. Yeah. It’s actually been a different transition for me moving from funding the whole thing with my own resources, to then now being able to accept donations from other people. At first, I felt like, you know, that’s kind of like asking for help. And I’m a very proud, very independent guy. But my best friends have told me, “Look, you know, people are excited by this. We support you. We love you. We want to help you.” And I’m going to cry in this. But for me, that’s just hearing like, “Wow, I have value. This thing has value.” Jacob: Well, you know, it’s like – and it’s knowing your self-worth. And like I said before, you’re a super smart guy. Or you’re doing all of this stuff. It’s like why should people not fund – I mean this is like a tangible thing that produces real results. Brian: Yeah. Jacob: So, yeah. I mean take all the money. Brian: I’m going to do it. I’m going to say, “Hey, you’re on the team. Help me out. Let’s do it.” And we’re going to take it to a new level. Jacob: Yeah. I think we might. I think that’s fantastic. Brian: Awesome. Jacob: So, I mean like you’re a good-looking dude. Nice beard. You’re all by yourself. Like how do you have relationships, whether that’s friends, sexual relationships? Like I feel like you could be kind of isolated up here. Brian: In the extreme. Jacob: Yeah. Brian: I’ll tell you, honestly, there have been times. And this has been the most painful experience of my life. I did not move down here wanting to be a hermit. I was imagining I was building this place for my friends, and the people I love. And it’s just too far out. And so, even though some people have visited, I have been alone a lot. And it has felt like a jail. It’s felt like solitary confinement. But at least it’s my own jail. At least I’m the warden. So, I can take the happiness and take the satisfaction that at least I know I’ve done this myself. But still, I tell you, it is deep pain. We are social creatures. We are not made to do this alone. But I know I sucked it up and deal with it. And what I’m doing now is hosting more people and changing how my relationship with them is. Because even when I’ve had a lot of people coming through, I am sometimes in a teacher role. Jacob: Sure. Brian: And so, I don’t actually have a personal interaction with them. I have this strange thing where I’m answering the same questions over and over. And they’re criticizing me, potentially, because that’s what we do as we think. So, I, to be honest, have not had a lot of social fulfillment in this project. That will change as people are here for longer times. That will change as I alter how I deal with people. And in some ways, I’m just going to have to suck it up. You know, I’ve chosen this path. And to be a person like me, or a lot of unusual people, reading their biography, it’s a lonely thing. But I’ll have the interactions I can, when I can. And to be honest, when Quora started – the site – even though it’s an online thing, I was able to share my thoughts and read other people’s thoughts. And that actually helped me greatly with my loneliness because I had this intellectual contact. Because even in the local town, I have friends. But they don’t have books. They can’t talk about a lot of the ideas I’m interested in. Jacob: Sure. Brian: So, I’m intellectually alone. So, in that sense, I can have – Jacob: I’m about there. Brian: I can have my – your drinking buddy is in town, and that’s cool. And we can talk about, you know, grafting things and plants and the weather and things. And then I can have my intellectual friends online. And then I can have guys like you coming through, where if I use a strange term, you’ve already heard of it. And that’s awesome. And I’ll collect more of those people. And some of them stick around. And I’m hoping that over the next ten years, I’m not lonely at all. I’ll be a socially wealthy man. Jacob: Awesome. Brian: So, as I think about my role in this and my decision is to do this, and my own experience, I realize that most people wouldn’t ever try this. And they shouldn’t. It’s painful. Expensive. Lonely. And difficult. I have spent my life in rebellion to the oppressive systems I grew up which was very isolated. And then I spent a lot of years investigating what rules set in society I agreed with or didn’t. What are the real ethics of how things work, whether it’s the governmental level or personal level, and experimenting with that? Constantly breaking my own rules and then trying to put myself in situations that were very different. I went to war to see what it was like. Because if we’re paying for it, I want to see it. That was a painful awakening. I was 19 when I went to war as a photojournalist. I experimented with having different kinds of friends and different kinds of relationships. Different kinds of cultural arrangements and agreements with people. I hosted a lot of parties that were alternative parties in different ways. And so, I’ve given myself the freedom to break away from the culture as it is. Now, if you do that, you will be punished. People are not going to like you. You’ll say the wrong thing. I’ve been extremely lucky that I’m fairly cautious in my rebellion. I do not directly wish to attract punishment. So, I don’t want to go out and mess other people up because I don’t need enemies. But I do want to be free, you know, just as I want to support other people in their freedom. And so, that kind of process is something I can recommend to people as individuals, but it’s dangerous. And you have to look at your risks. I’ve managed to not bring any important laws and I have a very clean record. I’m apparently invisible to the authorities on occasion. And I think it matters that my heart is in the right place, you know. I’m not try to just take for me. My ultimate goal is altruistic. And even the oppressive structures I come from they think that they’re altruistic. They think they’re helping the world. And I think the same. And that’s a process of self-destruction and creation. And then turning that into service for other people. Because perhaps, that’s our highest goal, really. And there’s religions and philosophies all around the comes to this conclusion. It’s not us that really matters. And that doesn’t mean we have to say, you know, I don’t exist. Or that I’m not important. You know, I think having an ego is good. I think that enjoying yourself is good. But ultimately, what matters is that we’re helping other people and that that’s where values come from. So, I made a list of all the world problems. I don’t think I’ve resolved them actually. My list got pretty long. And obviously, there’s ones that are more critical for us and threaten our means of survival. And I’m not directly trying to solve all of those because I don’t have power over them. Jacob: Sure. Brian: So, that’s one reason I’m focused on what I can do here. And I still have the context of those bigger problems, of world population and contaminating the earth. And philosophical strife among people with different religions and things or political ideas. But I really just have to keep coming back down to what are we doing here now? And as we publish things, as we collect ourselves here and have our activities, I want to make sure we don’t get distracted by these conflicts that are far away and get into debates about them and arguing about things we have no control over and putting labels on each other. You know, I want to get down to, okay, how do we pump water in? What are we eating? Are we being nice to each other? Like really keep our world here. Jacob: Yeah. And I think that’s kind of the struggle too because it’s like – I mean either you have to acknowledge that these other thins are happening, but you have to live presently without letting that consume you and push you off course. For sure. Brian: Dude. It has been a total pleasure having you here in the Bosque. It’s a total pleasure talking to you. Jacob: Thank you. This has been a fantastic journey for me. My week here is not over yet, but it’s been amazing. Brian: Yeah. And I love you have this special skill and interest and recording. Jacob: Thanks. Brian: Because there have been times – we have lots of people doing cool stuff here, and I’m the only one running around with a camera trying to capture it all. And I’m tired. And so, if we end up with this vision coming to fruition of having lots of people here all the time and we’re recording and publishing it every day, then I think you’d be great as part of that. I think we could build your career off of it. Jacob: Well, thanks. Brian: And we’ll be hanging out with cool people and building the skills and you’d be awesome on the team. Jacob: Well, thanks. I would love it. Brian: Yeah.