This Is Who I Am, Now

This is my updated bio. I try to make it a little more useful, a little clearer and more revealing, a little more me every year. It does not talk about the love, or the pain, in my current life; I’m still not ready to write about that.


This blog has evolved, since I began it in early 2003, to become the journal of my learning about how the world really works, and my search for a better way to live and make a living. In recent years, it has also become a chronicle of civilization’s collapse, and of my struggle to find what I should do in response to that collapse. When I began writing it, I was a believer in our collective capacity to ‘save’ the world from that collapse. I now believe that our global industrial growth culture is unsustainable and is very quickly desolating our planet, and its collapse is natural and inevitable. While I continue to support radical ‘deep green’ activists, I am no longer one myself. I believe that our attempts to significantly change or reform complex systems are ultimately futile (due to Jevons Paradox etc.) and I believe that while the collapse now underway will be gradual, lasting the rest of this century, and punctuated, it will ultimately be total. What will be left, besides a devastated and exhausted planet, will be a much smaller (and thereafter declining) human population, struggling to relearn how to live healthy, sustainable, resilient lives in local self-sufficient communities. The rest of life on Earth will recover and do just fine without us.

I have also been exploring, in parallel, who we human ‘individuals’ really are, in the belief that self-knowledge and self-awareness are essential elements of a healthy and useful life. I have concluded that our concept of self is illusory, a figment of reality, and that ‘we’ are really just collectives of the cells and organs that make up our bodies, now fighting for control of our ‘minds’ (which our organs evolved for their benefit to better coordinate information and mobility) with our civilization culture, a culture which is desperate to perpetuate itself despite its fatal and tragic failures and its utter unsustainability. Our futile attempts to control and manage our ‘selves’ amidst this conflict, and the endless stress and violence we face in our horrifically overpopulated, overcrowded civilization have combined to make us all mentally and physically ill, further increasing the destructiveness and dysfunction of our culture.

So in 2010, after 40 years trying to work within the industrial growth society, I resigned from it. During that 40 years I advised entrepreneurs about starting and running a business, innovation, research, sustainability, coping with complexity, and the effective use of knowledge and social media, and in 2007 authored my first book, Finding the Sweet Spot: A Natural Entrepreneur’s Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work. In retrospect, that 40 years was mostly wasted time.

I was born in 1951, have lived most of my life in various parts of Canada, was married for 27 years to a woman I remain on good terms with, and have two wonderful step-children and four grandchildren I am very proud of. Since quitting paid work and moving to Bowen Island BC in 2010, I’ve become involved with the local Intentional Community and Transition movements, the Dark Mountain collective of artists writing about and portraying the final years of our civilization, and an international group developing novel tools and games to help groups improve their collaborative and communication processes. My writing is shifting from expository blog posts (what else is there to say?) to creative writing, including music, poetry, theatre, film and game creation. These are forms of play. Once I gave up the hubristic belief we could ‘save the world’ I realized the real implication of Darwin’s theory and of Gaia theory: Our purpose on this planet is to play, responsibly, sustainably, lovingly, joyfully, with each other, as part of all-life-on-Earth. To have fun. Now, at last, that is what I do.

I am a hedonist, poly and vegan. I am deschooled, unspiritual, and comfortably retired (from paid work). I have evolved two ‘laws’ to capture the most important things I have learned about our species and our world:

Pollard’s Law of Human Behaviour: We do what we must (our personal, unavoidable imperatives of the moment), then we do what’s easy, and then we do what’s fun. There is never time left for things that are merely important.

Pollard’s Law of Complexity: Things are the way they are for a reason. If you want to change something, it helps to know that reason. If that reason is complex, success at changing it is unlikely, and adapting to it is probably a better strategy.

I believe the key to resilience in the coming decades will be our ability, in the moment, to imagine ways around the crises we cannot prevent, predict or plan for. Practicing that capacity is a form of play, too.

This is who I am, now.

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6 Responses to This Is Who I Am, Now

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Thank you, Dave. It’s not just your opinions or conclusions I enjoy (though I agree almost completely); I am sustained and heartened by your honesty and willingness to self-(whatever in the hell that is)-reveal. I hope we both enjoy the coming years as directly and playfully as possible.

  2. Enjoyed this unveiling, Dave. As usual, you’ve put words to what is merely bubbling up in me, so your ‘laws’ are spot-on.

  3. Gwen says:

    Dave – I haven’t checked your blog for a long time. When I did so tonight (because I always loved what you wrote and thought about) this posting came as a shock. But I understand. Somehow it was freeing to read your current assessment of the situation. Could be exactly that. But it’s not over yet – and you have more insightful years to live and write. Hope you continue to post.

  4. Bonjour Dave,

    I like your two laws, but would like to ‘circumvent’ them if possible. Pollard’s Law of Human Behaviour might have an exception with regard to work activities, in which we may choose to do what’s important rather than what’s fun or easy or compulsory. As to Pollard’s Law of Complexity, it has an exception also in that what I would like to save the world from is not something that anyone would want to adapt to: the existence of too much suffering has complex causes, and changing those causes is unlikely indeed, but we ought to try and change them anyway, by all means.

    We exchanged a few emails in 2005 about world saving and suffering. I’m gonna send them to you, just to let you revisit them in light of your updated bio.



  5. Kevin says:

    Thanks. I’ve been wondering for a few years now about more details. I was not wondering about your hair, but maybe I should have been ;P If you don’t mind my saying, your current photo looks much younger and happier than previous profile photos.

    As you may or may not remember, your blog was a huge influence on me back in 2004 or thereabouts. You influenced me to, and even helped me (gave feedback on my entrance essay) to get into a Masters program about saving the world through Sustainability consulting. I finished the program, had a great time, learned a lot but eventually came to the same conclusion you have. That I / we can not save the world. Since then I have stopped in to read bits and pieces in the past five years, but haven’t been as avid of a follower as back when I had hope. Not your fault or your writing’s fault, simply cut back on blog-reading time and focused on life, fun, and other responsibilities.

    One thing that jumped out at me from this post was that you used the words ” I have concluded that “. I kinda doubt that. “concluded” sounds so final. I look forward to five years later when your ideas have changed on our concept of self. :)

  6. Jon Husband says:

    I believe the key to resilience in the coming decades will be our ability, in the moment, to imagine ways around the crises we cannot prevent, predict or plan for. Practicing that capacity is a form of play, too.

    Like this, think it is correct. We’ve all been trying to ‘fix’ the wrong things, need to be less productive and re-define what living and working are all about. And, we in the western world are so very privileged to be able to even imagine or consider this.

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