Survey Arno's life

Posted on wo 30 mei 2018 in surveys

This survey is part of Arno's design for his life.

About me

I am a 40+ male of the species Homo sapiens sapiens.

Vision and mission

I created the vision and mission using a dreaming circle.


I am an elder in a community of people. I live a content, simple life in harmony with nature.


I study to deepen my knowledge of the natural world. I teach by example. I ask questions to encourage thinking. I demonstrate living simply, contently and in harmony with nature.


Currently based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Living in a 90 m² house with my partner Ina and Linky, a cat. More details can be found in the site information for the garden.

Short personal history

  • born in the Netherlands
  • grew up in Belgium (Flanders)
  • moved back to the Netherlands
  • started indoor climbing
  • got M.Sc. in electrical engineering
  • started working
  • started dancing ballroom and latin
  • got married
  • stopped climbing
  • bought a house
  • started dancing Lindy hop
  • stopped standard dancing
  • got Linky (Felis silvestris catus)
  • started a business
  • got divorced
  • discovered Early Retirement Extreme
  • met Ina
  • discovered Limits to Growth and understood its implications
  • discovered permaculture

Psychological stats

  • DISC personality: Cd
  • Myers-Briggs personality: ISFJ-a (defender)
  • Cognitive function stack: Si-Fe
  • Dragon Dreaming mentalities: evaluater > planner > doer > dreamer
  • IPIP-NEO scores: Scores are reported as percentile estimates. For example, a score of "60" means that your level on that trait is estimated to be higher than 60% of persons of your sex and age.
    • Extraversion: 15
    • Agreeableness: 25
    • Conscientiousness: 65
    • Neuroticism: 35
    • Openness: 35
  • VIA Survey of Character Strengths:
    • Your Top Strength - Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
    • Your Second Strength - Gratitude
    • Strength #3 - Self-control and self-regulation
    • Strength #4 - Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
    • Strength #5 - Industry, diligence, and perseverance

Miscellaneous observation

Roles - past, present or future

  • baker / cook / brewer / winemaker
  • cleaner / house keeper / clothers mender
  • warehouse keeper / grocery shopper
  • carpenter / electrician / builder / repair man
  • gardener / horticulturist / tree surgeon
  • seller / buyer / trader
  • pet owner / zookeeper / medical assistant
  • collegue / team member / team leader
  • secretary / chairman / treasurer
  • dancer / writer / singer / performer / audience member
  • lecturer / artist / craftsman
  • designer of permaculture projects / computer programs
  • teacher of permaculture / lindy hop / programming / spirituality
  • friend / acquaintance / stranger / enemy
  • husband / significant other
  • bookkeeper / accountant / tax consultant / investor / banker
  • neighbor / citizen / foreigner / tourist
  • brother / son / baby sitter / uncle / godfather
  • meditator

First impressions

Information comes from a game played as follows: a group gets together. What is the first impression you give off? Get a sheet of stickers and a pen for every participant. Have the group mingle and let everyone write down on a sticker a word that comes to mind when seeing someone. Have them place the sticker on the back of this person. In the end, everyone looks at the stickers that have accumulated on their back.

My stickers read:

  • expressief (expressive)
  • gezellig (sociable)
  • open (open)
  • timide / lief (timid / sweet)
  • integer (ethical)
  • vrolijk (cheerful)
  • avontuurlijk (adventurous)

9 ways of observing

  • I wonder...
    • what is to come?
    • how bad will it be?
    • is the anything I can do to soften the blow?
    • what part I will play?
  • Observe communities
    • Ina and Linky
    • family (mine and Ina's)
    • friends
    • Lindy hop
    • proeftuin Meerhoven
    • voedselbos Weverkeshof
    • Roots'n'Permaculture school
    • work collegues
    • neighbors
  • Observe edge
    • analytical mind
    • extensive, mostly technical knowledge
    • no-nonsense approach
    • dependable
    • international experience
    • multilingual
    • tenacious
    • introverted
  • Observe energy
    • life energy is low at times, never very high
    • aiming to align life energy with interests
    • good food provides good energy
    • regular sleep and schedule help
    • regular exercise outside help
    • dancing gives me energy
    • daily usage in 2019 at 25 kWh (= 1040 W) includes use of natural gas, electricity, petrol and public transport for 2 people and 1 cat
    • money = promise of future energy
    • global energy supply contracting
    • Ina and Linky influence my energy as I influence theirs
    • temperatures below 15°C and above 25°C lead to reduced energy expenditure: either hibernating or siesta
  • Observe flow
    • dancing, in particular Lindy hop
    • working on challenging problems
    • removing obstacles
    • without edge no flow
    • activities of Ina and Linky
    • can be found in the sequence of activities during the day
    • natural cycles have a flow to them
  • Observe from stillness
    • still somewhat restless, monkey mind
    • I am thankful for every day
    • I live a great life
    • I am in good health
    • I am grateful for having a loving partner and friend on my journey
  • Observe limits
    • we only get one life (unless you believe in reincarnation)
    • difficult to change the big 5 personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism)
    • I can only change my thoughts and my actions (cf. Stoicism and Buddhism)
    • we are the stories we tell about ourselves
    • How I found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne
    • Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows et al.
  • Observe past & future
  • Observe patterns

Thinking in Patterns

  • Branching / fractal
    • using knowledge and experience already learned to branch out into related fields
    • can start a chain reaction using appropriate leverage points
  • Burdock / hook
    • permaculture shows a way to live a good life with low impact
    • treat everything as an experiment to learn from
  • Dome / lobe
    • my house is the base of operations
  • Gradient
    • start with a small experiments and intensify appropriately
    • partial success is already good enough
  • Net / web (influences)
  • Scatter
    • throw bits of information around to interest / entice people to find out more
    • put plants in different spots around the garden to increase likelihood of finding a suitable spot for this type of plant - some specimen will not survive, others will thrive
  • Sheet
    • “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” - Hemingway
    • It is impossible to think outside the box. Someone else has drawn a box on our papers. It shapes our thoughts. Culture is constantly (though invisibly) doodling on our blank pages. (From A Blank Sheet of Paper)
  • Sphere / circle / ring / torus
    • keep friends close and reconnect with them regularly
    • form a close knit circle of friends to share the journey with
    • intersect circles of influence
    • create a strong inner circle with partner
  • Spiral
    • aim for spirals of abundance
    • work in iterations, trying new variations from time to time to learn from
    • revisit earlier writings to observe how thoughts and thought patterns change
  • Streamline
    • focus on the essentials
    • eliminate unnecessary work
    • eliminate waste
    • Do Nothing
  • Succession
    • eldest sibling - feels most responsible
    • absorbing new knowledge and learning to apply it
    • growing as a person
    • passing on knowledge from master to apprentice
    • use sociocratic role elections when necessary
  • Tetrahedron / triangle
    • break the iron triangle (coined by writer Dmitry Orlov)
      • The iron triangle of House-Car-Job: you need a car to go to work and make money so you can live in a house to drive to the job and to the shops in order to spend the money you made to keep yourself fed, to keep a roof over your head and to keep your car running.
  • Tube / barrel
    • first-in first-out (FIFO) buffer: keep pantry full, stock from the back, take from the front
    • use simple 20 liter plastic buckets for storing wholemeal flour, brewing wine, making bokashi
  • Wave
    • align to the rhythms of nature
      • spring - summer - autumn - winter
      • sun rise - sun set
      • dream - plan - do - celebrate
      • Kondratiev wave (period of 45-60 years)
    • Meander
      • using daily Morning Pages to let my mind wander and to tease out what is important to me.
      • going in a straight line costs more energy when going through rough terrain - this also applies to life in general.
      • “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” - Bruce Lee
    • Seneca curve (Roman philosopher Seneca noted that when things start going bad, they go bad fast)
      • my working model for the future
      • "Collapse now and avoid the rush" - John Michael Greer
      • Deep Adaptation from Jem Bendell (four ‘R’s)
        • Resilience is ‘how do we keep what we really want to keep?’,
        • Relinquishment is ‘what do we need to let go of?’ and
        • Restoration is ‘what can we bring back to help us through this?’
        • Reconciliation is 'what could I make peace with to lessen suffering?'
    • Logistic curve
      • this is the basis for learning: slow as a beginner, fast in the intermediate, slow again to mastery. Aim for the 80% mark.

Life Weeks

Following an idea from Tim Urban Your Life in Weeks.

Three "Happy" Lives

From: The new era of positive psychology - Martin Seligman

  • The Pleasant Life (Hedonist)
    • This type of life has never held much appeal with me
  • The Good Life (Engagement)
    • I have attained flow in programming and dancing
  • The Meaningful Life (Meaning)
    • I find a higher purpose in learning about and applying permaculture


The journey: reaching for ikigai

From Wikipedia:

The word ikigai usually is used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It's not linked to one's financial status. Even if a person feels that the present is dark, but they have a goal in mind, they may feel ikigai. Behaviours that make one feel ikigai are not actions one is forced to take—these are natural and spontaneous actions.

Do what you love

This one is a difficult one. I feel that in the past I mostly did what other people expected of me (parents, teachers, partners, friends, random people in the street) or I did things I was / had become good at.

I have a difficult time identifying things that excite me. I found an exercise to help me. It's called a Get-A-Life Tree.

  • mind map 'What would you like to do?'
    • past self
    • present self
    • future self
  • add as extra
    • some stuff other people want you to do
    • be active / exercise
    • a few activities that make you squeamish or uncomfortable

Do what the world needs

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive

—Howard Thurman

What the world needs is less pressure from humans. Because there is no incentive to change behavior, this will most likely happen due to disease, war, famine and death (i.e. old age). These are well known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

How far down the population numbers will go is anybody's guess. Some say human extinction. I don't exclude that possibility. I think it will depend upon how much of the web of life is left standing after our gorging on cheap energy has ended. After the last mass extinction there was no animal life left weighing more than 25kg. Humans did not exist back then, this time around they are not exempt from this.

An article that resonated with me was Introducing the Cultural Psychopomp by Paul Chefurka.

A psychopomp is a guide, whose primary function is to escort souls to the afterlife, but they can also serve as guides through the various transitions of life. The term originates from the Greek words pompos (conductor or guide) and psyche (breath, life, soul, or mind). Stories of psychopomps are widespread throughout the mythological tales, religious texts, sacred narratives, and real-life stories of people around the world.

What is a Psychopomp?

Do what you are good at

See my gifts hands and gifts head.

Do what you can be paid for

Another way to state this: Do something that can sustain you, i.e. provides a way to supply, shelter and secure yourself (see Individual resilience: 6 ways to die). Payment can be in any of the forms of capital.

Simple Critical Infrastructure Maps

Simple Critical Infrastructure Maps (SCIM) is a Creative Commons licenced mapping and analysis tool for evaluating personal and social resilience. It is intended to be used for planning, and is simple enough to learn during a crisis to facilitate cooperation and effective response. SCIM was originally developed by Vinay Gupta and others.

Individual resilience: 6 ways to die

Shelter (clothes, roof) protects from

  • Too hot
  • Too cold

Supply (nutrients, water, O₂) protects from

  • Hunger
  • Thirst

Safety (community, police, hospital) protects from

  • Illness
  • Injury

Not mentioned in the original list, but worth considering are:

  • Suffocation
    • insufficient supply of O₂ (drowning)
    • lack of safety (fire, CO poisoning)
  • Sleep deprivation
    • lack of safety

All categories have been met, with some caveats:

  • Shelter
    • payed off house
    • roof is a weak point: needs costly replacement within the next few years
    • people heating is insufficiently resilient: depends on availability of both electricity and natural gas from mains
  • Supply
    • pantry with rotating supply, may need to increase
    • water supply insufficiently resilient
    • cooking heat is insufficiently resilient: depends on availability of natural gas from mains
  • Security
    • dependent on functioning state
    • could use more community support

Group resilience: Arno and Ina

  • communications
    • voice, touch, SMS, internet
  • space
    • our house
    • our allotment
  • transportation
    • walking, cycling, driving, public transport, flying
  • resource control
    • material resources: contents of house / garden / pantry / shed, car, bicycles, tools
    • financial resources: functioning bank accounts
    • spiritual resources: stoicism, mystic teachings, buddhism, Jezus' teachings
    • see also forms of capital

Organization resilience: Arno and Ina's homestead

  • shared map
    • Ina and I have a vision
  • shared plan
    • Ina and I have a mission
  • shared succession model
    • use sociocratic role election if need arises

Nation state resilience: the Netherlands

  • jurisdiction
  • citizens
  • territory
  • effective organizations
  • international recognition

Effective organizations will be put under stress when flooding of coastal areas force people to evacuate or migrate west.

Coastal defences use pumps to remove water from lower areas. Pumping stations are run on electric motors. A extended disruption to the power grid will mean flooding. Once started, flooding will cause damage to infrastructure that will likely lead to even greater flooding.

Also, since most flooding measures have never been put to the test, there will be some nasty surprises to contend with.

Integrated Needs Analysis Matrix

example INAM

Example INAM for a typical developed world nation. From Vinay Gupta's talk Dealing in Security July 2010 page 11.

Note the dependence of energy on all aspects of 6 ways to die and the functioning of specialized organizations. Diesel fuel is required for any kind of transportation. Electricity is needed to run the water mains, the sewer treatment facility and communication (cell towers, internet).

Limited communication automatically limits deployment and coordination of police, ambulances and firefighters.

Forms of capital

I have extended 8 forms of capital to also include energy capital. Energy, or more precise, an energy gradient is essential to all life. Every living organism needs an energy surplus to maintain itself. Animals similar in size to humans require 100W to live. In addition, humans use about 200W for cooking. This is energy for pre-digesting food. All power consumption above that is mostly for comfort and to sustain our economic organism.

  • energy capital
    • thermal energy
      • stored in a hay box (initial heat provided by other energy)
      • hot-water bottle (initial heat provided by other energy)
      • stored in central heating (initial heat provided by other energy, improved by insulation)
      • heat from compost or other decomposition (unused other than to encourage growth of other micro-organisms)
      • body heat from humans and other warm-blooded animals
    • radiant energy
      • sunshine on 60 m² garden
        • mostly used in summer
        • mostly unused in winter
      • surface area of the house
        • mostly unused
      • radiated body heat
        • cuddling in winter
        • thermal insulation via multiple layers of clothing
    • mechanical energy
      • wind (unused)
      • sound waves from neighbors (sometimes leads to angry energy!)
      • bicycle pedal power
    • gravitational energy
      • collected rainwater in rain barrel
      • rainwater in gutter
    • chemical energy
      • edible food in pantry, refrigerator and backyard
      • wood from trees and shrubs / from pallets
      • natural gas from mains
      • petrol in car / lubricating oil / cooking oil
      • alcohol in pantry
      • battery in car
      • small number of AA, AAA and D batteries in storage
    • electromagnetic energy
      • electricity via mains
      • few batteries
      • bicycle dynamo
      • alternator and battery in car
      • incandescent and LED lights
      • compass (via earth magnetic field)
      • flow of sunlight on gardens, house etc.
    • ionization energy (binds electrons to atom)
      • microwave
      • fluorescent lighting
    • nuclear energy (binds nuclei together)
      • no direct applications
    • chromodynamic energy (binds nuclei components)
      • no direct applications
  • living capital
    • living soil in the front yard and backyard teeming with bacteria and fungi
    • insects, bugs, worms, etc.
    • animals: myself, Ina, Linky, birds, mice, etc.
    • plants and trees
  • material capital
    • house and shed
    • tools for gardening and carpentry
    • car, bicycles and related repair tools
    • home furnishings
    • computers (in various stages of disrepair)
    • clothes and related mending tools
  • financial capital
    • bank accounts
    • stocks
    • cash
  • cultural capital
    • Lindy hop (practicing and teaching)
    • Balfolk (practicing)
    • singing (badly)
    • technical drawings and sketches
    • permaculture designs
    • software programs written
  • intellectual capital
    • creative problem solving
    • identify plants
    • teach
      • Lindy hop
      • permaculture
    • computers
      • programming
      • build systems
      • Linux server administration
      • create websites
      • plumbing functionality with Open Source software
      • create and query databases
    • design, create, teach
      • design control systems (electrical engineering) - bit rusty
      • designing permaculture systems
      • designing urban permaculture systems
      • designing food forests
    • working in teams
      • organize and facilitate meetings
      • keep logbooks
      • manage projects
      • write articles / status updates
  • experiential capital
    • prepare food / cook
    • preserve food
    • do bookkeeping and accounting
    • do Dutch taxes
    • manage pantry stock levels
    • make electrical installations
    • make water harvesting systems / do plumbing
    • repair bicycles
    • repair and adjust clothes / make clothes
    • do simple carpentry
    • plant trees / garden
    • forage for food
    • do composting
    • create maps
  • social capital
    • help a neighbor
    • volunteer in community garden
    • volunteer at city farm
    • volunteer at allotment society
    • volunteer at food forest
    • help with dance class
    • invite friends for food, drinks or an activity
    • share in a sangha
  • spiritual / emotional captial
    • familiar with Christian teachings
    • familiar with stoicism
    • familiar with vedanta
    • familiar with Buddhism
    • somewhat familiar with druidry
    • regular meditator