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2006-09-25 | Subject | Interview with Medicine Bear

Medicine Bear is the founder and steward of a community in Nevada that plans to be one of the first true, intentional, off-the-grid solar powered communities. The community is called the Sage Valley Community, and currently includes 14 - 40 acre lots. There are adjacent lots that can be included in the future, for a possible community of 50 or more homes. Central to the community is the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCR's). The CCR's cover more than the typical limitations of what kind of roofing material you can put on your house. Medicine Bear has included a philosophy for a relation to the earth and other people in the CCR's. The Peace Principles from Traditional Societies are the foundation of the community:

1) Always Work for Peace.
2) Always Work for Unity.
3) Always Carry a Good Message.

In addition to these principles, the CCR's include discussion of the"Heart Connection" between members of the community, the earth, and spirit. The general idea is that openness to the web of movement, thoughts, and actions between the members of the community and their relation to the earth is critical to a well functioning and beneficial community. Medicine Bear is trying to redefine the way society thinks of its relation to the earth, and Sage Valley Community is the result of his experience and thought towards that goal. Central to this thought is embodied in the writings of Daniel Quinn, Paul Shepard, Sobonfu Some, Martin Prechtel and others . We asked Medicine Bear some questions about Sage Valley, and have posted the questions and answers below. [Note that neither A. Codrust nor Mud Hut Club have any connection to Sage Valley. We do not endorse Sage Valley. Do your own research and consult with a lawyer before giving anybody money, especially if the exposure was via the Internet.]

Thanks for the juicy questions. I should start with a bit of my background philosophy so readers will have a sense of where I am coming from.

What are the two biggest drugs in America? Electricity and gasoline. We are all totally addicted to these substances and we will sell the future of all the coming generations down the drain to maintain our fix. Our culture has evolved to a place where everyone in this country has a very comfortable lifestyle based on cheap petroleum. Due to the lack of maturity, from a lack of connection to the Life Force of the Earth in our youth, most adults have an adolescent or even pre adolescent mind set. These adults have slowly over the last 5,000 years formed cultures whose values are those of pre adolescents. Every successive wave of young brains is brought up in a system that is more disconnected from Reality. This trend is accelerating as urbanization grows.

I also just saw the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore. This is essential viewing for anyone interested in the slightest connection with what is happening on Earth.

If everybody lived as you feel is best for the world, would the advanced technology needed for living in a small community off the grid in central Nevada even exist?

There is no one way for everyone to live that is best for the world. The more diverse cultures and ways of living there are, the more complete the human experience is.

The advanced technology for living in a small community off the grid anywhere in America was in place and functioning quite well until the year 1492. The concept that electricity, gasoline and the technology of the last 100 years is necessary to live a happy fulfilled life is a total misconception that leads us to think that this technology will save us when it is clear that our addiction to this stuff is only getting us deeper into trouble.

I have no idea what mix of technology and earth based living would be the answer for humanity. A culture-technology that can live on Earth and have every stream drinkable, with healthy oceans might be viable. The impending disaster from Global Warming may be a blessing in disguise as the effects of genetic altering, continued overpopulation, unabated pollution, over fishing etc. may be even more disastrous to the Living Earth. Do you really think that the corporate world can control genetic engineering?

How crucial do you think the army and police are to securing the land, property, and personal safety for your community? Do you see this changing over time as Sage Valley has more and more invested in independent power, agriculture, and water systems?

This is a difficult question. At the present time, the army and police systems are giving a certain amount of safety and security to the country. I think there is a quote from Gandhi to the effect: “A society who would give up their freedom for security deserves neither”. When we entered this earth plane in physical bodies, God did not give us any kind of insurance policy. There are many kinds of risks inherent in the process of incarnating on Earth. Our culture is obsessed with the idea that we can have cradle to grave comfort and security. There is no real learning in this attitude. The Mayan People and others have a philosophy that we give back to the Spirits our Death as a Thanksgiving for the privilege of having the Sacred opportunity to live on Earth. So the whole concept of safety and security needs to be thought about and put in the proper perspective.

Having just seen “An Inconvenient Truth”; my basic belief that humanity is headed for an absolute catastrophe has been reinforced. If the entire country seriously evaluates its cultural needs and engages in real long term planning we can take care of the Global Warming Issue. Reference the book “Collapse” by J. Diamond. I don’t have a lot of faith in the pre adolescent mind set that is running in most people’s brains, including my own, so I don’t know if we can accomplish a major cultural shift without enormous amounts of pain.

If we don't get this global warming thing under control, one of the results will be major desertification and the survivors will benefit from knowing how to live by the Peace Principles in a high desert environment without any technology at all. If there is a major cultural catastrophe in the future then all thoughts of the government providing safety and security will be out the window. They will be foraging for food with everyone else. It depends on how quickly the catastrophe unfolds and how it effects the food supply.

Let's say that there was an opportunity early in your career to work with a group of engineers that focused on creating alternatives to petroleum-based power generation that created low emissions and waste, like fusion reactors. If you could go back in time and choose, now, between being part of that group and the path that you took, would you make a different choice?

The entire human race was that group of engineers for the last 50,000 or so years. They developed a myriad of cultures that were closely connected with the Earth and gave the peoples of those times rich, meaningful and successful lives.


Everyone I talk to wants to put on enough solar panels to keep their present pretty and petty life styles afloat. NOBODY wants to think of ways to use less electricity.

Everyone thinks that they are going to solve global warming without us empowering them to do so at the expense of some of our core values.

Intelligent use of our resources and population control is more important than finding another source. Real conservation of energy would go a long way. We want endless free energy. With a group of pre adolescent voters and pre adolescent candidates in a pre adolescent culture the only result is a childish wasting of all of our toys expecting every day to be Christmas morning. This is not how the Universe operates and is not why the human experience was created on Earth.

If I could go back in time I would hang the first King and every one who tried to replace him until there was no desire for humans to align themselves in tyrannical pyramid power structures. I might also throw in the guy who invented the wheel and the one who thought up writing which has seriously depleted the ability of our minds to connect with Reality. I would also include the first conscious human who killed another conscious human. There are a few folks back there in time who seriously messed up the teachings Jesus and others like him. I think that around 400 AD the Christian Religion was brutalized by Rome, Rome was not saved by Christianity, i.e. Christianity became Roman, Rome did not become Christian. But of course the ‘kill them all’ mentality is part of the problem and the paradox, and is a pre adolescent thought pattern. And yes I have some pain and issues about the way the human experience has unfolded here on Earth.

What vision do you have for Sage Valley 100 years from now? How do you see Sage Valley interacting with other cities and communities? Do you see, for example, Sage Valley directly assisting sister communities in the same model? Do you expect to become more closely integrated with larger cities surrounding issues like sewage, water, law enforcement, and representation of the needs of small intentional communities?

In the first place if we don't address global warming this question will probably be irrelevant. The potential chaos is too great to try to plan for the outcome. Can you believe that we are rebuilding New Orleans? There are going to be more hurricanes and they are going to be more violent and we are putting more people at risk so we can spend more money saving them? Pre adolescent thought patterns at work.

ALSO IN THE FIRST PLACE IS: If the ideals of the Sage Valley Community or similar ideals are not proposed and adopted by the culture at large then the mentality that leads to global warming will only continue. So I would like very much to integrate these ideals with any sized community that is interested. Sage Valley has an open door policy and is willing to share any and all of our physical, mental and spiritual ideas.

The whole idea of Law Enforcement would be irrelevant in a truly connected group of people. This was dealt with very differently in traditional cultures. We are committed to the process of healing and remedy as a community. In a functioning Heart Centered culture the shadow side of being human is processed totally differently than in Western Non Civilization.

I am coming from the belief that only a group of people committed to the Peace Principles can live successfully on earth. Many forms of culture can emerge with these three principles as the basis. They can be interwoven with many religious backgrounds but they are fundamental.

Hopefully 100 years from now the ideals of the Sage Valley Community will have reached out and been incorporated in many ways, in many communities and cultures. It is an organic process. If I have been able to produce something that speaks to people and works because it is an attempt at formulating Truth, then it will self replicate.

Do you think that as water becomes a more contentious issue, that there is a threat to a community that is as small as Sage Valley? The political clout of LA or Las Vegas, even, will most likely trump the political clout of 50 houses in central Nevada. If LA wants all of your water in the future, they just might get it, even if laws need to be rewritten.

As the population of the Earth becomes more urban, the city political power will grow. The resulting laws will be less connected with the Reality of living on and connected to Earth. Eventually it will all implode as you can only live outside of Reality for so long.

Man has been repeating this pattern ever since the early city states in the Middle East. Cities grew until they exceeded the carrying capacity of the land and then collapsed. Mankind living in pre adolescent thought patterns has continued this idiocy for the last 5,000 years. From the collapse of cities to the collapse of empires and now with global warming and the possible collapse of the Global Economy which could take us back into a planetary ice age or something similar.

We can restart the process of evolution from single celled organisms. Cool. It is a great journey. It would be neat if we could leave a couple of sign posts for the next humanoids a millions years from now ---- Don't Trust Technology.

Here are a few quotes from Paul Shepard's book Nature and Madness.

"I shall .......... suggest that the only society more frightful than one run by children, as in Golding's "Lord of the Flies", might be one run by childish adults."

"Culture, in racing ahead of our biological evolution, does not replace it but is injured by its own folly".

"I felt that I had glimpsed a central figure of consciousness, whose expressions in intelligence and speech appeared to be bound in each individual human emergence, as well as in that of the whole species, to plants and animals."

"Child-rearing practices are not just one item in a list of cultural traits. They are the very condition for the transmission and development of all other cultural elements, and place definite limits on what can be achieved in all other spheres of history."

Maybe our 5,000 year detour into the abyss of pyramidal political models and uncontrolled technology and consumerism are a part of the lesson humanity has to learn about the Realties of Living in a dualistic physical world. We are on the edge of an unprecedented environmental event to the planet, caused by human folly, and our response will determine the course of history for thousands of years. Advanced technologies can only be handled by cultures with advanced thinking, real Truth and the ability to live in a Moral Balance with Nature. Our culture is nowhere near this place and we are going to get the resulting lessons.

The primary audience for Sage Valley, according to your website is retired people. Are you worried about hospital and medical access for your community members?

I'll have to massage the website a bit. I am attracting a broad spectrum of people. It is not only for the older generation. Being 1.5 hours from a hospital and modern medical attention is a miracle. Being in a healing supportive community is even more of a miracle.

What advice do you have for others that might want to create communities like Sage Valley? What problems have you run into with regulations and paperwork? Would you do things differently now?

Absolutely base your community on the Peace Principles. Be creative and open and get in touch with the Earth wherever you are located.

Regulations are a part of this culture at this time and we have to work within the system to get anywhere. Part of the challenge is to integrate passive solar principles with the building codes. It takes some time but we have to demonstrate the viability of passive solar techniques. As these ideas take root the codes will change if necessary.

The average American home is nothing but a massive heat sink. Burn a gallon of fuel for heat and within 12 hours it is gone forever and we have more CO2 in the atmosphere and the need for another gallon of fuel. Almost every home makes you a slave to the oil industry and the political process of protecting and extracting oil reserves from all over the world for our use. The house I am designing for myself at Sage Valley will not have any heating except from the sun and no air conditioning.

Did you know that the Chinese have two major oil fields that are going to be the last oil on earth?? Those guys know how to reason and they have the political clout to not let a bunch of consumers get to those oil fields. I think there is a line in a Dillon Song “What ya going to do when your army is out of gas?”

We need to have thermal R-20 shutters on every window in America. Close them at night in the winter. This will save amazing amounts of oil. Have you ever seriously thought about those huge glass covered sky scrappers??? (Don’t hurt yourself).

I may sound anti tech and I am guilty of over indulgence in the experience of living in a metals based society. We are trying to get happiness and fulfillment from consumerism and television. These are false Gods. The human experience is one of connecting with and learning from the Mysteries of Earth. Without having a cultural context to lead us into this Mystery, via Rites of Passage or similar Ceremony in our late teens, we spend the rest of our lives like ships without a rudder. We get blown around by the experiences of life but don’t have a way to control the direction our DNA is programmed to search. That direction is a True Unification with the Divine Aspects of Nature that surround us.

There has to be a balance between technology and nature. We must have the moral fiber to manage technology intelligently. The entire corporate structure is immoral. Things have evolved so it is almost impossible to live outside the “Global Economy”. People in Asia are basically slaves, keeping our unbalanced life style afloat, same as ancient Rome.

Civilizations must be able to control their population without waiting for catastrophes to intervene. Comfortable lifestyles for limited numbers of people (1 billion total world population?) can be achieved and maintained. This requires different core cultural values than the ones we now have worldwide.

Have you heard of the monkey traps where bait is placed in a jar with a small opening? The monkey reaches in and grabs the bait. Because of greed and an inability to undo certain fixed brain patterns; he will not let go of the bait and can not get his hand out of the jar. The next step is a dead monkey. That is exactly where we are at. If we don't let go of some of our core cultural and mental concepts we will be just like the dead monkey.

Do we have the emotional, mental and political will to start asking more questions and digging for the real answers??

Peace and Blessings on your Journey,
Medicine Bear

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