How Do We Fix Our Broken Systems? with Chris Ward

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Chris Ward joins me to talk about fixing our broken systems. This convo is a tad different from ones I’ve released thus far and I’m super excited to share it with you. 

Chris tells me about his time spent in human intelligence collection and what his experience in the military taught him about systems. We then have a convo about how to have hope when there’s so much despair. The last part of the conversation is an insight into Chris’ genius—envisioning a new way forward. Through our conversation, Chris paints a picture of how we can do things differently. 

Sometimes we have to go further than we can comprehend to be able to make bold changes in the moment. This conversation helps us do just that. 

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Hello, Hello. And welcome back to another episode of naked mentionable. I’m your host, Alyssa Patmos and today, I am here with Chris Ward, who is a friend of mine. And I feel like I get to say that line so many times, but I have super interesting friends. And I love getting to record our conversations and share them because they have such rich stories. And Chris definitely falls into that bucket. So I’m excited for you to hear more from him. Chris, thank you for being here today.

Chris Ward 1:20
It’s an honor. Listen, thank you very much.

Alyssa Patmos 1:23
And we’re going to talk about systems and broken systems and the future in different ways. So stick around for this conversation because Chris weaves together a very interesting military history and activist perspective and a huge dreamer, futurist perspective that has blown my mind many times, and I can’t wait to dive into it. So aside from me describing you in that way, Chris, what else do people need to know? Tell us a little bit about you?

Chris Ward 1:57
Well, I’m about as typical Midwestern boys, they come I was born in a small town in Iowa, raised in Missouri, two parents who divorced when I was very young. And there was very little as far as inspiration from the Midwest. But for some reason, I knew that I was always different. I, you know, having been raised on the farm, I remember back when they would go and harvest the corn, and we’d have these clear fields. And I really love that time of the year, because it was still kind of warm out late fall, where I could go out, lay down on the field and have a complete, open peripheral vision of the night sky and stare at the stars. And I even remember some of my earliest childhood memories laying there on the ground, and imagining a child laying on some other planet looking back at me. And this was before I understood that there were even planets in the solar system. And I always kind of knew, growing up that the systems that we lived in, just didn’t feel right. You know, there was never a city that I lived in. And I was like, Oh, this is home, I feel like, you know, this is where I belong. Still, today, I’ve been in Denver for eight or nine years, and still kind of feel like, this isn’t right. And, you know, growing up in the mill, or growing up in the small town, there is very little there for opportunity. So my one way ticket out of dodge was to join the army. And I just really needed a buffer because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life. So my senior year in high school, I joined the Army. And my first duty station was Korea, which was completely polar opposite of the life that I lived up to that point. But I did 11 years in the Army, and still found myself upset with the the United States as a whole, but especially their military presence in countries around the world. And so I decided to get out. But I was naive, because I thought that my military background and experience would walk me into some six figure position somewhere. And so I started applying for jobs here, there. And everywhere that last year I was in the service and found out that the only people actually called me to for an interview were the local British pub in Monterey, California to check IDs at the door for $11 an hour. Like, like, not that there’s anything wrong with that job. But I’m like, I think my experience lends itself to a little bit more than that. So I got it. I was forced into entrepreneurialship started back in 2007 with a video production company and jazz record label. Not too long after that introduced to ppls psi, the company I’ve been with now for 14 years. And yeah, as you had mentioned, my military experience and just community activism rose out of leaving the military. And now I recognize that you know, a lot of the problems that I saw Throughout my time overseas, that we actually had solutions for for decades, we just have never implemented them. And so now, as a part of my activism and my, my business kind of pursuits, I’ve decided to incorporate some of those systems into to impact our communities. brings us up to today,

Alyssa Patmos 5:23
I love it. So we’re, we live in a world rife with systems, because systems put boxes around the way that we think. And then it becomes, okay, when we don’t have to think about this, then things are certain we have control, everything is fine, except for when the system is not fine. And that’s what we’re seeing over and over and over again, whether it be health care or health care system is massively broken certain things with housing and the amount of people who are on the streets and what’s available. Things are broken and our mental health care system, and then I don’t have as much knowledge on the military system. But you do. And I’ve heard, I’ve been in conversations with you around how broken that is. And so there is so much power in a system, except for when the system is no longer willing to experience new ways of thinking. And that’s one of my favorite things about you as a human and the way that you think about the systems. And it’s not even purely from this like idealistic perspective, it’s it’s rife with experience. And so for people tuning in, what are some of the problems you noticed? I think it’s good to ground it in? What are the things that you saw that led to how you’ve started shaping and what’s to come, which we’ll talk about in a second. But first, what is what what are some of the problems that you saw?

Chris Ward 6:59
Well, I think the the big glaring one was the first one I recognized in the military was whenever I transition. So my first eight years in military service in the army were in Combat Arms, that was cavalry Scout, and my experience in Bosnia led me to decide to transition over into human intelligence collection. So cumin, as the acronym. And what I discovered working in the intelligence community was that the United States was actually financing international terrorism, and participating in weapons sales, not only to our friends, but globally to people that would use our very weapons against us. And I was kind of sickened by that, that we were so you know, the United States for the better part of more, I mean, basically, 90 plus percent of American history, we’ve been involved in some sort of conflict. But to find out that we’re perpetuating conflict, really disgust to me, because we’re so quick to send young men and women to go off and fight for their country, under the illusion that we’re fighting for democracy and freedom and peace, when that’s, that was never their intentions to begin with. And that’s why I left military service because I did not want to be involved in an organization that’s going to send men and women off to die for bullshit, for lack of a better word. And so that was a lot of it was looking at the Defense Military, or the industrial military complex. And the fact that we’re selling these weapons and the bullets and bombs and so on and so forth, and that this is just to to hike up shareholders investments was more so than we were never our whole time in Afghanistan was never to stop the Taliban it was to to maintain the the insecurity of the place so that we can maintain our military presence and, and justify going back to Congress every year to ask for more money.

Alyssa Patmos 9:08
So I want to dive into what what connections you started making there. But first, I want to address this point of, of course, we’re gonna have people tuning in who are who are skeptical, and they’re like, wait, no way. This isn’t what I was told about any of this. And I, I love when people get to claim their experience, I think all of us should do more of that and like, not give a shit what other people think. And at the same time, critical thinking, I don’t think we should just accept what one person says and take that as as the Bible truth all the time. So for anyone who is listening, who is like, Okay, that’s interesting, because you were there firsthand. And yet, this totally doesn’t perfectly align with what I’ve been told or my belief system or round this, where would you tell them to start looking if they were curious?

Chris Ward 10:05
Well, open source. The CIA has come out even as early as Vietnam talking about the Gulf of Tonkin incident How was absolutely a, a fraudulent event that was that was created by the State Department in order to garner us support for our involvement in Vietnam. And the CIA, former general McNamara who joined the CIA said this in the 90s, that this was an actual event that we that they made up entirely, that the, the Vietnamese warships attacked us naval ships. And it was caught over signals intercept and it was complete. False. I mean, that event never took place. But we put that in the news and the United States supported the conflict, because prior to we did not want to get involved in Vietnam, because we’d saw what what had happened to the French over there, but you know, and it led to the death of over 58,000 us servicemembers, which should have never had to happen, because at the time, the whole chairman was actually even though he was a communist leader, he was, he was pro United States, like he had no ill con, you know, will towards us. But we, we had to make sure that we put an end to communism, which will always be the red devil that we use as an excuse for, for conflict because of what had happened in Korea, against the Chinese. And then again, you know, to lose, basically, we, a lot of us, you know, a lot of people made the comparison between our withdrawal from Afghanistan, not too much. Unlike our withdrawal from Vietnam, it’s like, listen, we’ve been here for so many years. And we didn’t really win, you know, if anything, we lost because of the the casualties, the human casualties, and not just the United States, but the the Afghan people. The destruction and the fact that this enemy is supposed to we’ve been fighting for over 20 years gain control within minutes of us of our departure. So

Alyssa Patmos 12:23
so when you were thank you for for clarifying some of that, because I always want if someone is unsure, I want to give them path to know like, okay, where where do I go look next. And this is also your experience and your story and and your background. And so I want to know, then, so you you’re in the military, you start making these connections, you decide to leave, and really can’t repeat for me one more time, what was really the catalyst for you to decide to exit?

Chris Ward 12:56
Well, it was so part of my job just to kind of break it down. So I was in Bosnia working for I was augmented to NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization as part of their human intelligence collection asset out of NATO headquarters in Sarajevo. And so a few of my responsibilities were to gather collect information about the former Mujahideen fighters. So during the Balkan War, the United States was involved in the transportation of an estimated 8000 Mujahideen fighters from the Middle Eastern states over in to offset the war in Yugoslavia against the Serbs who had overpowered the Yugoslav area just because 80% of the time the Yugoslavian army was comprised of Serbians. So to kind of offset that war and kind of make it more fair, they decided to ship in all these Mujahideen fighters who we know is the Taliban, you know, the al Qaeda, you know, and a few other organizations. But whenever we whenever they sign the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995, and the war ended, part of the Dayton Peace Accords was that these Mujahideen fighters would return back to their home of origin. But there was no exit strategy for him. So we essentially just left them in Central Europe. And it’s a direct contribution to the rise of Islamic extremism in Central Europe in the mid 90s. So we started seeing this and in London and in Paris and Barcelona and a few other cities, direct contrast contribution to that. So but when I was working with so there was a several of these fighters, these Mujahideen fighters that is stuck behind. My job was to find out, you know, who they are and what they’re doing, and if they’re a direct threat to, you know, the people in Bosnia at the time, so I worked with several of these former Mujahideen fighters and I talked to them about their origin and what they were doing and to discover that that They were working under US payroll, you know, and it wasn’t directly like what the direct, you know, the defense industry, just paying them a check. But we created these corporations, these shell companies that would pay these Mujahideen fighters. But these were US companies that were paying these for not just Mujahideen, this is after the war, these are when they went on to continue to cause terrorist acts around the world that were on us payroll, to help, basically, shift America’s mindset to now we have this global war on terror. And this kicked off, this was 2001. But we had to have an enemy, and but we needed to be an enemy that would never go away. And so we kind of created Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic extremism as this new enemy. Because if you have one bad guy, Saddam Hussein is an example. When you take that bad guy out of the equation, the United States is like, hey, we won, the war is over. So they knew they had to have an enemy that didn’t have that we already had one face, we have, of course, Osama bin Laden, but we needed an entire enemy country that we couldn’t really attack a country and it had to be global. And as Islam ended up being that enemy, but the fighters that I talked to, were under US payroll. And I was like, so we’re perpetuating this international war on terror, so that we have an enemy that we can justify going to war in these countries, and dropping bombs and dropping, you know, and shooting bullets. So

Alyssa Patmos 16:41
and So what Yeah, yeah. So and thank you for sharing. So. So what did that do to you, then? What did that what did that spark in you? Or what did that make you want to, to either do differently for your own life? Or from your activism perspective? What did what did that kick off for you? Well, it

Chris Ward 17:05
compromises your belief in right and wrong, compromises your, your trust in your own governments in in the way that things are going in the world theater right now. You know, I liken it to any other belief system that we had growing up, I mean, I hate to sound immature, but when you think about being told by your parents, that there’s a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy, and they hold out until it is ridiculous to even lead you on this path any further than they tell you and you’re like, Well, what else is not true? You know, well, this is where the institution of religions fall apart. They, they, they convince you that this is the truth, up until the past the point of insanity, and either adults like myself get off the train, because they’re like, Okay, that’s ridiculous. I’m not subscribing to that anymore. Or people just, they, you know, kind of strap in and they’re just take it as you know, this is this is the truth, which all of us should know that there is no such thing as that truth. But this is where when I looked at America, and I was like, you know, we’re trying to spread democracy. And I was like, I think we use that as a, as a kind of a word to that it’s not even we’ve never been a democracy. And that any any historian will tell you, we’ve always been a representative, a republic. We’ve never been a democracy. But we throw that word around so much as if we’re going to defend this, even though there’s really, almost there’s only a handful of countries that don’t have a democracy right now. And they’re and we’ve never been at war with them. So it’s just like Russia. You know, we’ve we’ve always made them the, again, the Red Scare that of communism. But we’ve never been at war with Russia ever in human history. Except for the Cold War, but that was more of a that was more of a propaganda war than it was anything else.

Alyssa Patmos 19:12
Right. So you have so you have this perspective where you’ve won lived in other places more than most Americans, and and seen firsthand how, what we’re told doesn’t match up with your personal experience. And then you mentioned it compromising your belief, because ultimately, like it’s convenient to go along with things that we’re told and till something shakes us. But if we’re not looking, or we don’t question that from the beginning, then it’s not guaranteed that something is ever going to shake us. And so this question, I’m assuming, then from there, this questioning mentality was born.

Chris Ward 20:00
It was always there. Like I said, growing up, I always kind of felt like, we weren’t living the way we were supposed to be living. I, you know, our we grew up, you know, my parents saying that, you know, as most they, you know, they fought over money, that there was always there was always financial problems. I saw people that that went bankrupt because of the health care system. You know, I’ve seen people that faced homelessness, you know, good friends of mine, that that lived in their cars. And there was just so many situations in people’s lives. I’m like, why is this? You know, it wasn’t until years ago, and this is probably been about 15 years ago, I was driving behind a car. And I saw on a bumper sticker, it said, humans are the only species on Earth to pay to live here. And my mind just blew up. And I was like, that is so right. I mean, it’s, it’s very simple logic, but I was like, why is it that you know, we fight to live on a planet where everything else gets to live for free and, and our quality of life is wholly dependent on our income, you know, the, the amount of money is in direct relationship to the amount of options that we have. And that comes from, from where we live, what kind of education we get, what kind of food we I mean, I’m talking about health, you know, health and wellness, we could, but there’s, we can see that the more poverty is a family is, the worse their diet is because they don’t have access to healthy food, they’re eating all processed foods from their local grocery store, if they have a local grocery store, it may be just a 711. You know? But yeah, you go to the wealthier side, they’re eating very fresh foods, you know, and, and locally resourced meats from farms, you know, and the list goes on. I mean, you can take that into everything, like I said, public education, to private education, the safety and security of where you live your homes, so

Alyssa Patmos 22:11
well. And then there’s the entire system of the American dream, where it’s supposed to be you can be in any situation and rise to the top. And yet, that’s not that’s not the case. That’s not how how it goes, it’s not a matter of sheer willpower.

Chris Ward 22:28
No, everybody gets started off at a different place. I mean, we’ve already seen the statistics on if if a child’s uneducated or has on an educated parents or poor parents, they’re more than likely to follow suit, I don’t even know what the statistic is, it’s like 85% more likely to to be uneducated and poor themselves. And it does, we’re down to about 1%, I think it was an old talk that I heard from Earl Nightingale, where he said that the majority of us are dead or dead broke by the age of 65. And that less than 10% of us actually even reach a level of financial stability, where we can fend for ourselves and are in our later years, where the majority are either dependent on Social Security or family for financial support, and the fact that, that people spend their entire lives working for you know, a company or the government or whatever it is, to live, check to check and not get to enjoy their golden years, to me, I think is a great tragedy of the human experience. Where I believe because I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower half a dozen times, I think everybody should be able to afford to go to Paris and run up the Eiffel Tower if they want to. You know, I think that everybody should get an opportunity to crawl through the pyramids, you know, and experience that kind of amazing history. But the fact that even travel is cost prohibitive for most people, most people don’t even get to see iconic buildings in their own state. So yeah, all the systems

Alyssa Patmos 24:07
all the systems and they’re all interconnected. And money and money is the foundation of it because money and currency because it is what connects like the the global system. And big tech has fostered that even more because Never before have we been able to communicate so synchronously with people of other countries and have corporate operations run so smoothly. So So with this, I’m always fascinated by when we make things the enemy because it then positions it as a right way and a wrong way. And it positions it as okay well you have to choose a side but so very few things are that black and white, and if nothing else, I mish I’m assuming your experiences has taught you that, um, and so so with this, you they really miss. So if capitalism is propped up as like this heroic thing where this is the best system? And then what would we say is the enemy of that? Are we saying it’s socialism? And then?

Chris Ward 25:22
No. To me, I think that there’s the there’s not an enemy. Like you just said, to me, there’s the the problem is not that, that capitalism is bad. I love capitalism. And the more money I make, the more interest I have in making more money so that I can help more people with it. Right? I think that the challenges of capitalism are in it’s in the in the crevices that we don’t necessarily pay attention to, because we understood under capitalism, that everybody had the exact same right to win or lose. So if I decide to start a business, I’m taking on the risk that’s inherent in starting a business. And I understand that if I don’t, if I don’t succeed, that that business will fail. And the challenges that we’ve seen large industries, like the pharmaceutical industry, like the defense industry, automotive industries, airline, I mean, I can go down the list of large corporations that have either received a bailout or have legislation passed in order for a few people to be able to take advantage of these situations. As, as an example, direct correlation between the, the our war and Afghanistan, because whenever we moved into Afghanistan, back in 2001 2002, I think it was, we had a 900% increase in the production of opium. Because Afghanistan at the time was the largest producer of opium in the world, when we took over Afghanistan that infinitely raised and I talked to soldiers whose jobs it was to sit in hum B’s and protect opium fields, just to sit around and control that nobody would set them on fire. At the exact same time, you see this epic rise in the opioid epidemic in the United States, because pharmaceutical companies had more affordable access to opiates, and we’re prescribing them for things that shouldn’t have been prescribed, and then over prescribing them, you know, my mother, when she was going through cancer, had to turn around and fight opioid addiction as a part of that process. And not only she going through chemo and radiation, now she’s got to come up come off a drug addiction at the same time. And so this was one of those systems where the pharmaceutical industry was propped up by the defense industry as well. In order to do that, was that was that a byproduct of our of our in, you know, being in Afghanistan? Or was that part of the plan from the get go? I have no idea. Because I don’t have access to that kind of information. But to see that just like, when we there was a when we were going to bomb Syria, the first time under Brock Obama, they had threatened that we were going to use the Tomahawk missiles, well, the corporation’s just under the threat of us going to war with Syria, the stock market for the companies that make Tomahawk missiles, the stock skyrocketed those days. And so we see that with these companies that are poised to benefit massively because of situations going on in the world theater. However, the small businessman that doesn’t have that kind of ability to, to basically, you know, they call the pay to play there was a whole special about a documentary about the campaign finance rules, a way that special interests in large corporations were able to donate to get politicians who are indirectly turn around and writing and creating or signing legislation probably not creating and somebody is giving it to them legislation that directly benefits now, and it’s called pay to play and it’s something that we’ve practiced in throughout all of American history. We know it happens but the the same politicians we have today won’t fight it because that’s how they got an office in the first place. So there’s very few on board even though they’ll say we need to reform campaign finance laws, they’re not going to do it because that’s that’s how they got there in the first place. And they’re not gonna they’re not gonna sever the you know, or they’re not gonna whether the what’s the where the they’re not gonna sever the hand that

Alyssa Patmos 29:47
feeds them. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So okay, so we have we have these systems that are abundantly broken, and regardless of which one it is, I can guarantee you that every person has experienced the brokenness of one of them in some form or fashion. And so it’s always interesting because then that’s where that’s where things start to get a little hazy, because there are some people who want to go down the rabbit hole of why is this happening? And so they can look at it. And it’s like, well, everything’s a conspiracy. And then that gives comfort in, okay, well, we just blame the people at the top. And then other people are like, okay, that’s not as important and they go down another rabbit hole and find something else to blame. And we end up with these divisive perspectives, then all trying to figure out the root and why it’s happening. And one of the things that I enjoy about you as a person is, even through the despair of this, even through having, you know, your mom going through cancer and and then also being at the effect of, of what are opioids do even having gone through living in certain areas and seeing the destruction that was caused by something you thought was supposed to be good, you maintain this level of hope, in humanity. And I think at times, especially with the fear that’s propagated around many different outlets, and that we’re just naturally prone to buy into as, as a human, it can be so easy to devolve into that and to kind of spiral down rather than choosing to have the hope and be like, Okay, wait, yes, all of this is broken. And yet, what can we think about differently? And so then I go back to who you were, as a child, and I love this, because like, this creative genius was in you, from the time you were young, where it was like, Wait, these systems, these systems are weird. How can I dream bigger than this? And I think those are the stories we don’t hear as often as, yes, we hear all the time, how the things are broken, and and who did what and who’s doing what and how it’s continued to be broken. And it’s really, it can be very depressing. And so the flip side of it, are these stories of well, how do we think about this differently, because I hold out hope that when enough people step into their true gifts, and you know, choose to face the challenge and experience that gift, then we’re here to serve other people. We’re not just here to serve ourselves. And I think you embody that in a lot of the work that you do. So to turn this around into a more hopeful conversation, what are some of the things that you see, or that you think about and ponder as different as alternatives?

Chris Ward 32:50
And I’m glad that we made that shift, because oftentimes, it sounds like I’m a fatalist asking some of those topics, but the reality is, is that, again, we have solutions for every social ill that exists today. And so I was I, I saw this post, just the other day, there was a gentleman that was complaining about Amazon. And he had said that he had ordered a product from Amazon, and it missed its delivery date. And, you know, that there was, of course, you know, supply chain issues. There’s, there’s employee issues. And he’s, he was, you know, complaining about Amazon that he had ordered something that didn’t show up in the timeframe that he had, that he had wanted, and was just kind of complaining about Amazon and somebody said, he’s like, What can we do about this, and somebody just responded, don’t shop at Amazon. And I was like, that’s as simple as it gets. I was like, we all have an individual commitment that if we see something that we don’t like about our society, or something that’s going on is is that we have to be the model to say that it’s like, you know, we have to go out and choose to be able to generate more revenue for ourselves, you know, if it’s like, hey, my job’s not paying me enough. Well, we understand multiple streams of income if your jobs not paying you enough, and you can’t abandon your job yet, find another way to generate additional revenue until that builds up past the point where you can leave your job. We know that that’s not and yet some people aren’t willing to take that on health and wellness. You know, you don’t have to be able to afford a health coach. When all access to all information is available to us online. I can take a yoga class through YouTube for free every morning, if I want to. It’s free. I’m still paying for the internet. But food food items, you know, I can go out and make sure that I choose healthy produce that’s affordable. And about you know, making sure that all the food in the house that I’m feeding my family with is all nutritious. You Food. And I’m not just stockpiling processed foods and, and all the garbage that they have available for us in the stores. So it’s our personal responsibilities to do that. So that’s what we looked at in the construction industry was It was after Hurricane Maria. And I saw that 80% of Puerto Rico had got cut off from public utility, I mean, all public utility, electricity, water the whole nine yards. And I said, Well, why was that because the storm didn’t hit the island, you know, just hitting one portion of it, when I come to find out is there’s only one company that runs all public utility in Puerto Rico, which we know right out the gate is a monopoly. It happens here in the continental United States as well, but we just don’t, we don’t call it a monopoly. But all these companies have agreed to cover certain areas. But you don’t get to choose which electrical company when you move into your place, you’re just going to get billed by Excel or whatever. They’ve all come to that agreement. Right. So it is a monopoly, but it’s not because they kind of agreed to come. So. So what I said was, well, okay, that that happened first, and then why the homes were devastated. I mean, they were completely destroyed by of course, and it was a hurricane. But I knew that we already had building strong enough to withstand hurricanes, like that technology already existed. So that’s why over the years, I’ve been talking about it, one of the better part of was 2017. So yeah, almost a little over an hour. 2021. So was that four years, five years, and I said, You know what I’m I’m not going to wait around because I know the fact that we have a technology in place where we can build very affordable homes, for individuals and families that can withstand Category Five hurricanes, and are also self sufficient, meaning they’re still plugged in to public utility if they need to be. But if they’re cut off from public utility, they will not lose electricity and water.

And so when I said these technologies exist, and I went out into the marketplace and started talking to people about it, they didn’t even know like, they had never heard of 3d printer technology that we can now 3d print to house, the research and development on that’s over 10 years old. You know, and solar, people still say, well, solar is too expensive, you know, it’s cheaper, just have natural gas, it hasn’t been more expensive. In years, we reached cost parity between gas and solar 567 years ago, as such. Now, not every home is built for solar. That isn’t that is a true story. But the fact that solar costs more is, is an absurdity now. And we’ve gotten to the point where anytime you have to burn anything for energy, or that’d be coal, wood, natural gas, oil, anything like that. That is an antiquated technology, you might as well be a caveman. Because we’re past all of those. We never have to burn anything ever again for energy. And we continue to do so because the companies that built our country, steel, oil and gas on so forth, they created a system that we just built, told ourselves that we can’t do anything without oil. And the fact that people still believe that and it will fight the Hammond I’ve had very difficult discussions with people in oil and gas, about the future of their industry. Some of them realize that the writing’s on the wall, that it’s a dying industry, and the fact that they’re still trying to save coal companies coal, I’m like, I’m amazed when the last administration told states out in the on the East Coast that we were going to bring coal back. I was mortified. Yeah, that’d be like telling someone I’m gonna bring back the eight track player. One, what’s an eight track player and two, I’m playing that back when we have Spotify. It doesn’t make sense to the natural to the normal consumer. But some people that was just that was one of those systems that they cannot let go.

Alyssa Patmos 39:24
So part of the thing was systems though, is that they provide their intention is to provide a direct benefit. We don’t have to think about certain things and we can go off and be creative in other areas. And so there’s a level of convenience that is accepted and then wanted within any sort of system and people end up making sacrifices for that. And so, to evolve a system requires enough people to be interested in changing it, but change and convenience are sometimes at odds. And so having seen In your work with terrorism in your work in activism, you’ve seen the extremes of human behavior. And so where where are you at, in your thought process around what it actually takes to get enough people to change a system?

Chris Ward 40:21
Well, I don’t think we’re going to get I hear Christian fundamentalists talk about the concern of a global monetary system, because that’s a sign of the apocalypse, which I absolutely do not believe in. But that gives a good light to an understanding is that the whole world will never subscribe to a universal monetary system the same way, we can’t get the whole world to subscribe to democracy, or, you know, or religion, you know, we have some countries out there that are 100%, well, close to 100%. Islamic, we have other countries that are like the United States, or like America, I think is 70%, Christian, so on and so forth. So this idea that we’re going to have a global economy or global religion, anything like that is just complete, nonsense. to even engage in discussion, when I looked at, what we could do is, is that in order for a system to be fixed, we really have to let it die and replace it with something that’s, that is, I think, more sustainable. So I can I live in the city of Denver, I look at the infrastructure for the city of Denver, this the road systems, the energy systems that we have here, we’re never supposed to sustain the number of people, we now have two and a half million people living in the Denver Metro area is never built to hold that many people. So we build these massive apartment complexes to try to put more and more people in a smaller space. But now we’re just taxing the infrastructure more so than it was ever had in its history. It doesn’t work. So my, what I’m doing is, is that creating a new city. So I want to build a new city, where the infrastructure was built with the end in mind. So it’s only going to sustain my plan is 20,000 people. So the roads, the energy, the water, everything will only be there for over 20,000 people. And once of course, I’m not going to like cut it off exactly 20,000, but roughly 20,000 people, and then we can move on to another city if if that, you know, because we don’t want to overtax that, you know, automated transportation, we know that automated transportation systems are infinitely more sufficient, more energy sufficient more time sufficient, the whole nine yards. And yet, we can’t implement them in traditional cities, because we still have the majority of drivers are, you know, fallible or fallible drivers there either. We know that accidents are caused by they’re not paying attention, they may be in the under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they may be tired. And the problem with everybody driving their own cars is that we don’t know what is going on in everybody else’s minds. When we have an automated transportation system, I can tell inside the city, every vehicle knows what every other vehicle is doing. So in the event that I need to move an emergency vehicle down the road, I can get all the cars to pull over unanimously, while emergency vehicles pass by, you can’t do that. Here. Because I’ve looked around and I have no idea where the noise is coming from, I can hear the sirens, hey, looking around, I’m like, I don’t see any lights. I don’t even know where that car, you know where the emergency vehicles coming from. So that’s why we don’t have automated transportation. The technology already exists, we just can’t put them I talked to engineers who said we already have flying cars. But we’re never going to put a human behind a flying car to operate that vehicle independent. They said once we have full automation, now we can talk about automated cars. And I was like that’s interesting. Like the prom I grew up on the Jetsons. So we should already we should have already been flying, you know, been in flying cars, but they will never put us as an individual driver behind a flying car. No, it’s automated.

Alyssa Patmos 44:22
And I think this demonstrates the power of I’m going to go with creativity because I have never pondered these questions in my life. I’m not like oh, let me go seek out who has created a flying car. Because I need that in my life. Like I’m obsessed with the social sciences and human behavior and like I want to dive into the psychology of it and that is the path it’s taken me. Um, so there is a piece of how you talk about things and I want to move we’re shifting there and And I want to continue that we talked about talked about pain, we talked about the depressing stuff, bringing awareness to yet again, what is broken, and then kind of orienting like, we can have hope, because the solutions are here, the solutions are not absent, it’s not impossible, it’s not an insurmountable challenge. And then painting the picture of the future, because I think that holds so much power sometimes when you can even go beyond the practical to like, really, if we were really dreaming, what is this huge picture of the future, it’s enough to spark something to start shifting. And so I can hear you starting to go there. And but first, I just want to address like, for anyone listening, this is the value of individual interest. Like I focus on relationships, because I believe that when we get our individual needs met, we are way more likely to go out and help others. Unfortunately, I think sometimes we try to jump ahead, and we just want to serve others without actually addressing what we need. And so resentment just grows, and it gets conflict oriented and troublesome. But I firmly believe that someone who is having their needs met does not want to just exist in isolation, we are meant we are a collective species, we’re meant to be in connection with each other, our brain patterns need co regulation. And so when we can get to the point where we’re getting our needs met, we’re in touch with our guests, I firmly believe that we go out there and use them in creative ways. And so my piece of this is like, how do we make relationships better, because that makes you more stable as a person and then we all benefit from that. So for you, I just freakin love hearing your passion for things like this that my mind doesn’t normally think about. And, and I and and that’s the beauty of it, we all don’t have to have the same thing. We don’t all have to be an activist in every single area. But I do want to support you and your vision of it. And I want to know more about it. And I think this is where this is where painting the picture for people who haven’t thought about it to start just being like, Oh, do things have to be the way that they always are. And that to me is like the the greatest thing like when it can just be a small shift into, huh. I guess it doesn’t need to be like that. So can you start painting a picture for us of what a more sustainable future is? I have heard, I have heard you talk more local and smaller communities, which seems to be the antithesis of what we’ve been doing for the past. I don’t know four decades, which is just trying to go bigger and more global, I’m almost hearing you going back to going more local, and smaller and focus. So what does it look like?

Chris Ward 48:06
Well, I mean, I’d like to start just where you talked about as far as relationships, and mental health and wellness first, because I believe that a lot of the social ills we see today with depression, drug addicts, any addictions, as a matter of fact, homelessness, it stems from the fact that our system does not allow people to pursue their passions. And we have not had those conversations, as far as honesty is concerned, because we’ve created this artificial way of being. And we’ve all tried to and we’ve seen this from I remember back in the 80s when they had lifestyles of the rich and famous. So you had people who had this vision of what success look like and it was always the sports cars with the mansion, and the, the good looking man or woman on your arm. And we created this artificial look at what success was. And a lot of people in pursuit of that fell short and started being you know, you know, they had a American Greed, you know, couples, or individuals that were actually you know, breaking the law in order to facilitate the facade, that they were successful as if that’s true happiness was what that was. And so in their lives, the challenge is, is that if we were to get back to well, look, let’s look at societies around the world where happiness does persist and what what are their qualities of life like? You know, and you see a lot more agrarian areas where people are spending time in their fields, not because they need to make $1 but because their connection with Mother Earth which is something that we have severed ourselves from, for so long, that even mentioning to people about going out and playing in the woods would make their skin Call, they’d be like, I don’t like the cold. I don’t like bugs. I don’t like wind. I don’t like the sun. You know. And I think that when we talk about moving forward we got to look back at that is what is going to make us happier. And we’ll see a shift in the economy where, and there’s already some people talk about getting more people to pursue their passions, but they’re like, Well, I don’t know how to monetize the passion. And this has been really difficult for a lot of people, because they’re really passionate about some, they’re like, how do I monetize that they’re scared of taking the risk of starting their own business. And some people even quit their jobs way too soon, because they’re like, Screw this, I’m not gonna live this way anymore. I’m gonna go start my business doing this, I’m like, but you don’t know how to do that, you know, they’re not gonna quit my job and become a jazz band, trumpet player, because I was like, I don’t know, I didn’t know jazz, but I would never get paid to play jazz. Well, and

Alyssa Patmos 50:54
not every passion has to be monetized. I do think that’s an interesting point. Because we do, we are looking for a way out of the corporate system. In some regards, there are elements of the corporate system, I’ve said this over and over, I hate demonizing the corporate system, its safety and security is great. And it’s needed for so many people. And most organizations do not foster people being used at their highest potential. So that piece of it, we end up in this place where people aren’t being used for their creativity, and their their true inner essence and purpose. And so then to get out of that, because it looks like the only solution is oh, I have to go start something on my own, and I have to monetize it. And then that adds a whole other pressure to the purpose. But for me, I’ve intentionally I love cooking, you know, this, you’ve had my food. Um, and for me, I’ve intentionally been like, I’m not monetizing this, like it is a passion, I want to nourish people with it. I love having people over. But I don’t want to monetize it, because they don’t want that added pressure there. So I just think that that’s an important distinction. But I want you to keep going with what this looks like, and the importance of people pursuing their passion. So people have started talking about that. And then what else?

Chris Ward 52:13
Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. Is is getting people, you know, to figure out what they’re passionate about. Because I think that even just lends itself to people living longer and living healthier is if they have a sense of purpose, and a sense of contribution. And we’re seeing this shift now in a monetary economic systems. So we we’ve dealt from a centralized banking system, where we go out and make money and then use that for the exchange of goods and services. Well, now we’re moving into and it’s often demonized as a decentralized banking system, where you look at your cryptocurrencies, which I believe wholeheartedly that because we’ve all agreed, that’s like you said, the system presents itself, because all of us come to an agreement that this is the system we’re gonna operate, we all use US dollars, because we all agree that is worth fill in the blank, it’s kind of worthless. But we’ve agreed that if I give you $1, it’s worth one US dollar, we’ve come to agreement. However, the valuation of that currency has nothing to do with us, it has to do with outside factors were in a decentralized banking system. Now the currency is valuated by the value by its users. So we put x amount of currency into population, you know, there’s only X amount of bitcoin and won’t be any more than that. So depending on how people are using Bitcoin and trading, it creates that value. And we see it rise and fall so aggressively, because we haven’t put the systems in place to control it, like we have with the united with the US dollar. We have the US the Securities and Exchange Commission, you know, so on so forth. So we’re still really volatile, it’s still kind of the Wild West, even though it’s been around for close to two or almost two decades now. It’s still very volatile, and we can see Rise and Falls in the value of currency and fortunes have been won and lost, just as we’ve seen in the last two months. But we’re going to go further than that. And this is what scares people is is that now we’re going to move from eventually this is what I call Star Trek economics, where we’re going to transition from decentralized banking system to a Resource Based Economy. And to me that will be the the the best that I can force the evolution of our society, because now we’re talking about an equitable distribution of resources and it’s not socialism. It’s not communism. It’s a whole other system outside because socialism and communism besides the fact that people think that they’re evil words are still economic systems. You know, and they fit well in the place they do as much as people demonize it. And Vietnam 90% agrarian society, what happens when a farmer’s crops are destroyed, they don’t eat. So in a communist state, though, regardless of way of farmers yield turns out, they’re still taking care of, they don’t have to worry about it. Now, they’re not living, you know, a very luxurious lifestyle that is promised through capitalism. However, people are protected. We’re in the United States, you can, you can lose your fortune in a heartbeat. And typically, people that already had a fortune can are well enough trained to be able to regain a fortune in short order. But

Alyssa Patmos 55:49
I think I want to ask one point because I know where you’re going with in the Star Trek economy, and every time we talk about this, I get a little bit more of my head wrapped around it. And I want I want people to hear what you think that is. But from my own experience, in hearing about it, I think it might be helpful to talk about materialism first. Because it’s really hard to talk about capitalism without talking about materialism, if you truly look at what’s going on, and how the system operates in our country, I mean, you have a craft store that has candy bars all along the edge of it. And it is a perpetuation of, you need this, you need that we’re bombarded with ads everywhere we look content creators, like you and I post on social media, and make the social media companies money because people like the stuff we’ve created. And we become, we give them data sets. Tara McMillan made an Instagram post brilliantly about that recently, explaining the invisible labor that is then making big tech money. And so we live in this world where it’s constantly perpetuated where we need more, and that will bring more happiness. And so I think one of the fundamental shifts, and I see this starting to die away, because it’s completely unsustainable to think that more things equal more happiness. And so you mentioned, you know, you got to wait for the old system semi to die away. And we see ripples of that, thank goodness, because it’s not more things make you more happy. Not at all. And so, so for you, how do you start to reframe thoughts around materialism and meeting more, because I think that will help bridge to Resource Based Economy, like he talked about?

Chris Ward 57:45
Well, we have to go back to the the end of I would say, after World War Two, where, you know, we had the nuclear family where everybody, this was when we were as as common folk as humanly possible, where there was one of the members of the household was fully employed, while the other one was stay at home. For the most part, it was the woman. At that time, they had two, maybe three children, everybody’s house almost looked identical, it was so cookie cutter, everybody had the same cars. And it didn’t cost you more than a month’s you know, maybe a couple months salary to go and buy a brand new car. Nowadays, it could cost you a month’s salary to replace your bumper. So, the when we’ve looked at this now, and I saw this, what happened when they decided what was luxury and what was not. So dubbers is one of those organizations that we can blame for what happened in the diamond industry, because they were the ones that made diamonds are not rare. If anything, it’s one of the most abundant minerals on the planet, we use it for drill heads, I mean, we use it for tools, diamonds are so abundant. But we made the consumer base believe that this was a rare gem. And we made it so costly, that it’s ridiculous. Look at the markup on perfume, as an example, the name on a perfume bottle will infinitely change the cost of the perfume. There is nothing in that bottle that’s rare, nothing. But we will pay hundreds of dollars to have access because somebody told us that this is a luxury item the same way with cars. You know, they’re made of the same materials that every other car is made out of. It’s not like this car is made out of gold. And this one’s made out of coal. You know, they’re all the cars are basically made of the same materials now but the name on the car. Now granted, some cars are do look more aesthetically pleasing than others. But the reality is the cost of production really is the exact same for any automobile. And we’ve even seen Car companies like Lincoln and Ford that now are making each other’s car parts and so on so forth. But the I’m losing my train of thought we materialism. Okay? Well, you believe the part of what we believe is happiness. And our pursuit of success was that in order for me to feel that I have reached a certain place in my life, is that I have that home in that community, where the rich live, know that I am driving that sports car, you know that my car was $150,000 Tesla, as an example, I love Tesla, there’s nothing wrong with Tesla, but my clothes, you know that, that I’m getting them, you know, that I’m not just going down to the store buying a suit, I there has to be hand tailored by this particular company. So that I, you know, I’m wearing 1000s of dollars in a suit, as an example, and I have hand tailored suits. So I mean, it’s hypocrisy, but that’s a part of that. material, like you said that, that the me feeling better about myself as is tied into the things that I own. The problem is, is that we are such consumers that that sense of pride or success, and that joy that it gives us is so temporary, that we have to run right back out and do it again. This is why the people you see that are just shopping on Amazon like it’s going out of style. I have friends of mine, that there’s not a day I don’t show up that they don’t have a new Amazon package. I’m like, what do you need? That you have that many Amazon packages coming to your door? Like I can’t possibly comprehend what that’s about. I’ve had people buy furniture for houses that don’t even exist yet.

Alyssa Patmos 1:01:51
Yeah, that’s where they at least on sale, was their sale being right?

Chris Ward 1:01:56
No, no, they wanted to pay top price because they wanted when people come over to their house that they see they have that brand of furniture in their house.

Alyssa Patmos 1:02:04
See, I understand the perspective, like if you’re going to go to a hand tailored suit, and this to get a hand tailored to or a bespoke suit. There are pieces of that that makes sense to me. Because if that is truly someone’s purpose, and they love working with fabric, and they love crafting and creating something, I will pay more money for that. It’s but it’s not about the label, then it’s about am I spending money? am I choosing to exchange energy with someone who is doing something that they truly like? And I’m supporting that person? Or am I supporting this brand that is going to make billions of dollars, whether I give them another 10 of mine or not? And to me there’s a distinction there in the connection to the goods that we’re purchasing. And so in your picture of the future, how does our relationship with things change? Because I think sometimes people get worried, like, we’re so conditioned to think that we need things and we need the nice things, that people have a resistance to new ways of being in the future because they feel like they have to give that up, which is what we’ve been conditioned to work for our entire lives. So how do we bridge that? What are what do you envision around these things?

Chris Ward 1:03:24
I think that transition into a new community gives us the opportunity to educate people on what it is exactly the difference between wants and needs. And now we can say listen, whenever in this new community, the way I envision it, is that when you go into the grocery store, your produce is grown in the grocery store. All of the food that’s produced that’s sold in the grocery store comes from the community, we’re not shipping it in from anywhere else. It’s all provided there locally, including your meats and vegetables and fruits and everything else. But now what I’ve done is I’m truly creating a Consumer Protection Act, because I’m only providing things that are healthy and nutritious for the people in my community. So I think that’s what the true Consumer Protection Act should it actually be about. I can’t tell you not to drive a car. That is your that is your privilege to be able to drive a car, you still have to go out and get licensed and get insured and all that on yours. What I’m saying is in my community, you will not be able to drive your own personally own vehicle, I will not take it away from you. You can leave it in our storage facility outside of the city limits. So if you feel inclined to go jump in your car and go drive to the mountains, do it. I love driving myself but in this community, we don’t need that because we’re trying to cut down on fatalities. We’re trying to increase energy efficiency and time efficiency because Denver is horrible when you sit on the highway but look at cities like Mumbai, where it’s bumper to bumper traffic and the geographical plane of which those people sit 50 million people live in, in Mumbai, the human capital that’s wasted of people just sitting on the highway waiting to get from point A to point B, which is only a few miles anyway, I’ll never forget, I was down in southern Denver one day going to a meeting. And I was driving all of maybe five miles, and it took me 45 minutes to get there 45 minutes to drive five miles. So look at what I was unable to accomplish, because I had to be attentive in my vehicle, you know, in an automated vehicle, I can sit in traffic, because I could just sit in the car and work on other things, I can be productive. There’s not the waste of human capital, unless my job is like construction, or I’m a doctor where my hands physically have to be on something or someone else. And so I think educating people in this process that that there’s not going to be, they’re not losing anything, that we’re just changing the way that they, they live their lives, that I think long term will see a massive increase in happiness, and their sense of contribution, and so on and so forth. So that’s, that’s where I see these smaller communities, because they’re easier to manage.

Alyssa Patmos 1:06:18
And, and then they’re living, and then that’s operating within the bigger systems that are that are currently broken, but

Chris Ward 1:06:29
it’s still a monitor economic system, there’s still there’s still gonna be traveling to and fro. Everyone’s want to bring it out. People think it’s like a hippie commune or, or some religious cult that. I’m like, No, there’s no,

Alyssa Patmos 1:06:43
I think that systems, I think that’s the hardest part is because the alternative ways that we’ve seen thus far are so extreme in terms of like, okay, I’m gonna wear white flowing robes, and I am going to have long hair, and I have to, like, want to sing Kumbaya all the time. Like, that’s not what that’s not everyone’s version of success, just like having the car doesn’t need to be everyone’s version of success. But so far, that’s the only picture that has truly been painted for us at a at a large scale of what alternatives can be. And so that’s why I love having this conversation to hear a different one. So are you

Chris Ward 1:07:30
Gonna be subtle, because we can’t, people are not going to start growing their own gardens from home, because we think that that’s a great idea that everybody should have their own home garden, we have to look at what is what are people’s normal inclinations. But there’s other things that we need to have normalized, like pre preventative medicine, you know, in both both the physical body and in the mental, you know, and making sure that people is like, listen, we need to be talking to counselors, you know, in therapists, long before the, it becomes a serious issue. And once once you get in the accustomed to having honest conversations with a therapist, or some or whatever, anybody, now you can normalize having those honest conversations with each and everybody, or each and every person. I think that’s a lot of the challenges that we that, like you just said, in relationships, you know, there’s so much miscommunication, you know, because people don’t want to talk about what’s really going on inside of them, because they’re afraid of what the other person may think of them, or they don’t want to be offensive or fill in the blank, you know, and I’m like, if you can have an honest conversation with somebody about a problem going on in your life. Now you can, you know, without judgment, you can go and talk about, you know, how can we, you know, what can we do to make things better?

Alyssa Patmos 1:08:51
Yeah, I mean, talk about systems, the way that we paint pictures of relationships are terrible. So similarly, I’m constantly having to paint pictures of what a relationship can be, because we’ve been given so many messages of what it should be, or what it is for most people. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept that doesn’t mean that’s how that’s how it has to be. So the two things that I want to ask you based on, on what you’ve said in the past few minutes. So the first is, how long do you think it would take for someone to experience the benefits of a type of community like this? And the reason I ask is because I’m wondering, like, I’m almost like, does there need to be some sort of like, I don’t know almost like a not I don’t want to say resort because that paints the luxury perspective. I’m not trying to do that. So more like this, like experiential version, where before it’s like, Hey, I’m going to commit to this and this is now my lifestyle. Can people go and experience it? Because I feel like sometimes they’re not going to get it until it’s until it’s it’s there. And so how long would they need to be there? Do you think,

Chris Ward 1:09:57
you know, and that’s gonna depend and how ingrained a person’s belief systems are. And then if someone’s willing, I mean, we’ve seen this time and time again, where even short exposure to other ideas where somebody just say, you know, we’re just asking to be open to to certain ideas. And they’re not revolutionary, nothing that I’m creating doesn’t already exist. That’s, you know, some of my investors that I’ve spoke with, they’re like, well, where’s the intellectual property rights on this? I’m like, Well, none of that. There are no intellectual property, because nothing I’m bringing out is new technology. These are all existing systems. But if I were to bring somebody in this is like in Oroville as an example, in India, you’re allowed to go there. So they have a visitor center, and inside the community of Oroville. They don’t use money. They have no monetary system inside of Oroville, except for guests. So the people that live in Oroville can make clothes, they make jewelry, they make art, they make everything, then they can sell that to the outside world who comes to visit for money that’s used to benefit the community, whatever? Or are they put in a bank account? Depending on whichever one they want to do. But that allows me as somebody is like, Okay, let me come in. And let me talk to some of the the citizens about how this has adversely impact them. Like, are they miserable, or the hating life? You know? Or are they truly happy? You know, and being in Oroville and talking to engineers and architects who have abandoned the traditional life to live in a Resource Based Economy. And they’re like, they’ve never been happier. Because now they can, they can fulfill their artistic visions. They’re not limited by HOA and such that they can do. So I think you’re right. So people will need to be able to have the opportunity to, to feel these systems. You know, I was, you know, we want to build a model house just so people could stay in the house, just to feel what that feels like to live in a technologically a smart home. And when people hear smart homes, they think of like, traditionally, what we have now is like

Alyssa Patmos 1:12:12
a Alexa everywhere.

Chris Ward 1:12:14
Alexa, play, play, play soft jazz. That’s not a smart home, a smart home is actually just measuring the amount of water and an energy that’s being consumed inside the household and saying, hey, you know, where can we make this more sustainable? Where are we? Where are we losing energy? Where are we losing water that we shouldn’t be? And being able to tell you specifically, where in the house, there’s waste, that way we can stop that, you know, close off those leaks, because right now, most houses with no h back as being the number one and because we don’t have a good system control, heating and cooling, and places and people. We’re weird creatures, we want to cool in our house during the summer. And we want to hot in the house during the winter. So cuz we’re just weird creatures as it is. But that’s a lot of energy that’s wasted because of H back and we’ll leave it I’ve seen people, you know, they don’t turn it off. They leave all day long and the heater still running for nobody.

Alyssa Patmos 1:13:16
So So is it in the vision of this is it? I got to figure out which direction I’m gonna go because I have to I have to. Okay, here. So is it almost like then there can be different versions of these communities? So you said the one you’re envisioning as, like the prototype of it. Patient Zero of communities is 20,000 people. So is the goal then that there can be different communities where the same goal is on sustainability? But maybe there are some that have different thought principles? Or, or you know, is it you can get along better with people over there is it is the goal to where it’s almost not I don’t want to say tribal because the principles aren’t tribal, but in the sense that you’re then engaging in trade with other communities where it’s like the other community becomes the guest that then has some sort of currency or energy exchange that you trade with?

Chris Ward 1:14:19
Absolutely, because every so this is all about marrying the community with its environment. Every environments going to have different energy needs, they’re going to have different access to resources, you’re gonna have some communities that are abundant in water, and then you’re gonna have others that are very arid and are going to are going to require more water, you know, then you’re going to get into a place that are more deciduous, then you have places that are more jungle. And so the communities are going to need to be married to the environment. they’re in. But the cities are also built by their inhabitants, you know, the community and the culture of that community is going to be based on the people inside that. So you can’t be rigid to say, we’re going to cookie cutter, this city here. And we’re going to do it in Florida. And we’re going to do it in Japan. And we’re going to do it in Australia, because every place is going to be different. And their, their needs are going to be different. And the culture is going to be different, and the fact that and but trade will exist, because we can say, hey, we’re abundant in this resource here, we need what you have. Let’s now let’s now trade. And we create that system of trade. That was the vision of Jack fresco, who was the founder of The Venus Project. And he passed away a number of years ago at the age of 101. But he had that idea of the resource distribution being equitable amongst all communities. But again, he saw this as a global social change. And my challenge is, is that there’s no way we can get that global social change, because we can’t get people to agree on anything.

Alyssa Patmos 1:16:07
Right. That was that was my other question is like, so this has to operate within our larger systems, which could imply that regulation comes down on what that city is able to do and not do. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So –

Chris Ward 1:16:22
Those are the land you’re looking at federal laws will still apply. There are systems that you put, you know, just like, what’s the word I’m looking for?

Alyssa Patmos 1:16:33
Like, almost like, are you? Are you going in the vein of like, certain religious protections? But there’s like,

Chris Ward 1:16:40
no, well, I mean, it’s, it’s religious protections always gonna be there. And the United States, your religious protection falls into your first amendment. So we still have to,

Alyssa Patmos 1:16:51
you can ignore me, what What were you gonna say around? So federal law still apply? And then you were gonna say, but we can?

Chris Ward 1:16:58
Yeah, so the communities can be structured in ways that are unconventional. So the way that we’re looking at and particularly this project Canvas to do in Colorado, if it happens in Colorado, is that the there’s no mayoral office. So there’s no city council as a matter of fact that the city administration is run on artificial intelligence. And so because the systems in most cities right now, honestly, are run by computers. We don’t think of it because we have a mayor’s office, we have city council, but they’re not the ones that are monitoring the emergency systems and the water and the electricity and everything else. That’s all run by computers. And that’s what this artificial intelligence system that’s already been created, am I creating anything new, the system’s already created to run the cities, and you will still have a democratic process, but you’ll have access through your home. Because I know that Alyssa, you live in your house. And here’s something that we’re going to vote on as a community, we’d love to hear your your thoughts and boom, you vote. And then we make a judgement. So that’s, that’s better democracy, because now we’re giving everybody access to be able to vote, it’s not, you know, typically, as we see, now, there’s a lot of voter suppression acts that are that are implemented to, you know, to keep certain people from voting, you know, we’ve talked about I mean, and that’s a whole cabinet, that’s a whole direction. So these systems that we can implement, so that it’s better for everybody.

Alyssa Patmos 1:18:28
So that leads me to another question, I wanted to ask you, because I feel like this is something that comes up in a lot of ways, the alternate models of the future or alternate models of living that we see now, it’s almost like it’s a privilege. Like it’s something where once you make enough money, it’s like, okay, go off by an island, you can create whatever culture you want, you know, so in this model, is it something that that is a privilege? Or, or is it open to anyone?

Chris Ward 1:18:56
It’s open anyone? Yeah, there’s no privilege, essentially, living in the city, you just have to agree to living in this type of a community that you’re not going to drive your car down the street, you know, but there’s going to be other things that we’re going to have access towards is like, education, you know, the best education that we have available for to every level, you know, that that it won’t matter what how much money you make, that your children will have access to the same education that everybody else will, which we do now, we just don’t implement it.

Alyssa Patmos 1:19:31
Right? So the thing was change. Always the thing with people who think outside the box is that it’s a threat to the current system. And that’s what we’ve seen over and over again, anytime someone comes out to try and change the way of thinking even if you go back to ancient astronomers, like connecting back to the stars, like Galileo being on the fringe of what was going on, and, and and being demonized for it. In a lot of ways, so So how do you think about addressing the fact that in many ways this poses a threat to the people in power in our traditional current system?

Chris Ward 1:20:15
Well, it absolutely does. Because people that have garnered power through wealth. The challenge is, is that when you disrupt that system, you know, if let’s just say complete monetary economic collapse, then they’re all their money’s not, you know, it’s not worth anything. So they essentially lost their power. So they do challenge and we saw stories like Nikola Tesla, whose promise of free energy for all directly resulted in the fact that he died penniless and alone, because the electric companies, you know, in the oil and gas industry could not envision a future where energy was free, because where are they going to get their profits from, if they don’t control our energy source. And we know that inherently, I don’t think it’s inherent, I think that if people understood the fact that access to free energy completely destroys almost every system. And that’s how, that’s how much they’re going to the heavenly defend the existing systems. Because just like luxury items, it’s not a luxury item, if everybody has access to it. It’s only luxury, if it’s allocated to the very few and the privileged. That’s what makes it a luxury item. If everybody was drunk, driving a Ferrari, it would no longer it would cease to be a luxury automobile. And that goes the same with everybody, with with everything. And so now the profit margins, because if something is no longer a luxury item, and everybody has access to it, that means that everybody has the can afford it. So everybody has the same is able to pay the same price for the same product or service. Well, now your profit margin has been diminished. And you can’t live the lifestyle that you wanted to because you can’t afford your $100,000 a year golf membership. You know, and, you know, your private jets, you know, and the list goes on. And I don’t demonize that at all. If somebody said, Hey, Chris, you want a private jet? I’ll pay for it. I would accept it tomorrow. I’d be like, yeah, when can we feel the jet? Yeah, I’ll be I’ll be there. It’s not to demonize all that. But we also as a part of when you study economics, you also realize that we also had a moral obligation at the beginning of that process is that there would never be people wouldn’t be taken advantage of that it would not destroy flora and fauna, you know, and that, that it would be fair, and just, you know, and the problem is, is that we implemented so many systems, there are apps that have that, you know, we we’ve sold products and services that destroy our health. You know, I can show you a million different cases of that, that the FDA approved, you know, or

Alyssa Patmos 1:23:10
in the pantry of most Americans. Yeah,

Chris Ward 1:23:13
absolutely. How many, how many kitchens still have Teflon pans in? Yeah, we’ve known for decades that, you know, what Teflon does, you know, as an example, you know, and of course, tobacco industries, they finally came clean. But people came so accustomed to smoking cigarettes, that that was just something that they’re like, alright, well, people want cigarettes. Yeah. It’s an addictive chemical, you know, of course, they want cigarettes.

Alyssa Patmos 1:23:46
So I want to leave people tuning in with two things. And one, I think, is the distinction because there’s this bridge requires thinking about things in a new way. It’s why we’re talking about and probably calling this like envisioning a new future. Because in order to change something, we have to have a vision of like, where we’re going if to some degree, it doesn’t mean that’s exactly how it’s going to unfold, but we got it, we got to be willing to think outside the box for something to change, otherwise, it’s never going to change. And, and so one of the things that came up, as you were talking in the in the past few minutes, you said something about people gaining power through wealth. And so one of the things that I help that I think helps bridge these concepts is his questioning. So allowing yourself to question like, is it truly power that you want, because we’ve been sold that power is what gets you happiness and everything you want, but I actually believe that its influence and so when you live in this type of place where you get to express your gifts where you’re being used at your potential, your influence increases, and that is worth far more than power in the end, and so power Consider contemplating the relationship between power and influence because I would choose influence every day, if even if it was local it like this conversation potentially influencing one person means more to me than having whatever proverbial power it is. And then go ahead.

Chris Ward 1:25:18
You say you nailed it, the nail right on the head. And we’re seeing this in terms of social media influencers, because we’ve been able to monetize some of these influence. And I think that we have a moral obligation. And this is where we’ve suspended our faculties in that we’ve created we’ve used artificiality for a lot of these social media influencers, to garner a large audience. Companies are leveraging that influence to peddle their products and services, some beneficial, some are not right. And this has created a conundrum. Because now people who are we’re not a privilege. Individuals who don’t have any special skill sets or education, are now social media influencers and are making incredible incomes, which has now told the rest of kids I mean, you remember this with athletes growing up, you know, in our youth, we looked at who made the most money. And it was celebrities and athlete athletes. So people, you know, if you ask kids, they’d be like, well, I want to, you know, I want to be a basketball player, I want to be a football player, I want to be an actor, you know, I want to be a model, depending on you know, but now people are saying, well, this person didn’t have to go to acting school, they never had that all they did was use their cell phone. And they’re now making just as much money as a celebrity. You know, they never had to run. They never had to play football in high school or college. You know, we just saw this in the rise of what’s his name, Paul, John Paul, think his name was the boxer, there was the YouTube sensation, organizing fights with professional boxers. And, of course, these ridicule because they’re like, hey, you know, this is a person for which, you know, never went, you know, he just personally learned how to box never had to get in the ring never had to compete, going up through the ranks, just went from zero to professional boxer, because he called himself that. And he’s arranging fights. And Mike Tyson defended him. He’s like, listen, at the end of the day, we’re all just entertainers. And that’s all he’s doing. And he’s being paid to entertain. So whether it’s right or wrong, is really up to the individual. But we all have to look at that too. As far as the our social media influencers, if we’re going to feed that machine, we have to decide, you know,

Alyssa Patmos 1:27:52
who are we giving influence to? Who do we want to give influence to because I almost I hate I hate that social media influencers are called influencers, because to me, it perverts the definition of influence and what influence is supposed to be. But the end, it’s because it’s this alternate version of how you can go from nothing to something and have more, and then they just turn around, and they’re selling you things that at in, in some cases are completely unethical, and that they don’t believe in. And so it’s almost a perversion of influence. And that drives me nuts. And so I think, as with anything, there’s nuance in what that means, but the ethics behind? How do we use our influence? Um, I feel like that should be a primary question that I think we skip over quite a few times. So the second thing that I wanted to say, and what I wanted to end with is, is you play a role in anyone tuning in, plays a role in how an alternate future plays out. And that’s a really empowering place to be requires taking some responsibility for taking full responsibility for what is going on in your life. But it also is a huge opportunity to be like Chris, who is the ground version of a boy who looked up at the stars and was thinking outside the box. What if those stars had someone on it looking down back at me? And so tapping into your purpose is is such a powerful thing because it highlights how you play a role in how this unfolds and going from the place of doom and gloom in the beginning and things that we absolutely can’t control. This is something that you absolutely can control your life. You can take full responsibility for it and start to ask yourself the tough questions around where do you want to give your money? In the meantime, where do you want to to Use your purchasing power, and how do you want to use your skills in the world? And in order to get there I think sometimes we have to decondition and and remember what our skills are. So what did you like doing as a kid? I love that Chris started this conversation with what he loved doing as a kid because it’s clearly led to how you view the world now, which I love. So what did you like doing as a kid? What was enjoyable to you? What did you find yourself loving and there may be insights there into how you can tap into more of your gifts now. Chris, thank you so much for being here and talking, envisioning alternate futures with me as a journey, but I loved it.

Chris Ward 1:30:44
No, thank you. I know, we covered a lot of ground and it was kind of all over the place. But yeah, I really hope that everybody, you know, continues to listen to your show and Garner’s more interest in just a better future for themselves.

Alyssa Patmos 1:30:57
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being here. And for those of you listening, thank you for tuning in. And I will see you next week.

You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

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