A Dialogue on Surplus

Moraline: I feel a restless in the city. I have rested for long enough and must return to training and writing. The city imprisons me while far away, in some frozen north, I feel there is what I am looking for.
Maximin: But anything is better than the West. I just wonder if the bike has any place anymore. I now think it may be the backpack and the hiking boots to explore the wilderness.
Moraline: Got to go and get your wilderness skills up first with some small trips.
Maximin: Right, perhaps a base camp of some sort, then exploration in well organized efforts to gain the skills.
Moraline: I'm more unsure of myself and my next move than ever before. Acquisition of skills makes sense.
Maximin: Indeed, you have moved beyond boundaries. Perhaps the gods are now wondering your next move.
Moraline: I looked into learning Inupiat but there are less than 2500 speakers left now in Alaska, and the young Eskimos have no interest in it.
Maximin: You have travelled so far from the system that you are in an ether few men know.
Moraline: In Canada the Inuit are stronger, but Canada will stop me from staying. I shall have all the visa issues I have in other places there. I feel that the governments and surplus life is ruining everything I am looking to discover. It is simply a race to see it before it is wiped out. And then to have seen it before it is gone, what the hell will it matter?
Maximin: Are there open borders in Canada? Could you somehow use your fishing work to get in and out of the borders without worry?
Moraline: I could perhaps gain entry into Canada under the skilled worker program. But I need more boat experience before that is possible. I could also try to gain entry under some academic cover. Perhaps present my ideas on surplus and economics and anthropology to a university that will sponsor me to go and stay somewhere. But I loathe the academics and universities.
Maximin: It is happening general. They are destroying the Carretera Austral at this moment. They are damming the rivers there and they are also destroying the Estrada Real. All of it. They even destroyed the hidden pockets of Austin that I knew. They killed the last forest in Northbrook. They killed the last rawness in Bloomington. They are killing it all. The surplus and its nest, the matrix. The universities kill me the most, because I thought I had rest and peace there. But now I see them as part of the problem. Christ, at the least the university towns tend to be cheaper places to sit and write if a man wishes to do so.
Moraline: I too am sickened. The surplus and its associated matrix cannot be stopped. One can only hope that it implodes. But even then they will simply reset it and restart it again. They do not know how to live other than to pillage and wound the earth and to eradicate gods and animals. And the university towns are now very expensive. Government loans to students have caused a bubble in all related parts to the universities. The universities are centers of surplus as much as anywhere else.
Maximin: You are correct. I forgot about this. It has been some time since I have lived in Bloomington. Eugene was very expensive.
Moraline: Yes, the university is part of the problem. There is no resistance there. They challenge nothing of the surplus world, but look to earn from it.
Maximin: They roll on their backs and give their stomachs to the master. Then they get up, pretend to walk in a dignified manner to give the lecture, but they are bitches to the state or to the oligarchs. Cowards.
Moraline: The cowardice is what sickens most. I cannot again live in the lower 48. The cost of living is too high and the lifestyle awful. At least in Alaska there is the frontier, a place where gods and animals dwell. I am close to it but still unprepared for it. I would only get myself killed and remembered as another McCandless--a fella with big ideas and small skills.
Maximin: I can't go back there for any reason or circumstance. It is too dangerous for me. Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Brasil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador.
Moraline: The best thing about South America is the people have been denied the surplus. Thus the families are intact, the women are still good mothers.
Maximin: I wonder if the intermediate term solution is to find a small farm somewhere. For you it would be Colombia. For me it would be Minas Gerais. Brasil and Sao Paulo has not been denied the surplus.
Moraline: Brazil is in the midst of surplus as a country. But haven't most people been denied the surplus? That was the reason for the rioting, right? Farming is too labor intensive as well as the first human expression of the surplus. I would rather be a fisherman for 3 months out of the year, then have leisure time for exploration and skill acquisition. Farming is a tough, tough job. Dusk till dawn. Then you pray prices for your corn don't collapse.
Maximin: But I wonder about a farm for just one's family. Fruits and vegetables and animals.
Moraline: Even that is difficult. You must constantly fight to domesticate nature, stop the animals from eating your food, keep out the weeds. And you must also lay claim to the land and fight for it. This last part is most troubling. Do you want to fight for a piece of land the government will tax you for and relieve you of if you do not pay? Or do you wish to disappear from the government and live with nothing more than your skills?
Maximin: Indeed, indeed. It is a battle one feels. No wilderness.
Moraline: To be able to live in cities, to live cheaply, have language skills to pass across borders, understand other cultures, this is one way of living without them tying you down. Then there are wonderful little villages to live in as well. But I cannot but help thinking it is a sickness to constantly move, to be unsettled, to ramble on and on. But to make a family and have a woman, the surplus world has made very expensive. They have bid up the healthcare, bid up the insurance, the education, etc. etc. Through debt and inflation they bid up all goods and services and rents, etc. and they force a man to take as his supreme value the making of surplus. They have made it so the family unit enslaves a man and a woman, and makes a misery of them. I fear this greatly.
Maximin: But the small villages--Christ-- it isn't like you can just rent from small villages. To live there you make friends, you earn trust, you become part of the village. A man can't pick up and leave then. It would be an offense against the gods.
Moraline: Yes. The small village requires a commitment. All i can think of is I have something special now and must protect it, must not let it be defiled. I live with a woman who brings the small village life to me, the powerful culture of La Guajira. She is untouchable and desires not the surplus. But to make a child with her will mean the surplus will have a claim upon us, mostly upon me. This frightens me.
Maximin: This is a very important observation. Very important. All the essential things enslave a man. Never again will I have a car or an apartment.
Moraline: Have nothing that they will force you to pay for yearly, and to threaten you with for the breaking of laws. I hate how they have infiltrated the family. They have torn it apart with their surplus values. The debt creation, the inflations of the central banks, all doom the family.
Maximin: The cities are places of violence, and they all think of themselves as more civilized. This is not accurate. In the rural wild areas men have rifles and pistols. They kill animals in the wild and animals on the farm. The family is natural and unthreatened. The city people think they are less violent. No, their laws are overbearing and voluminous. there is nothing more violent and tyrannical than the city and its laws.
Moraline: The city is a place where there is no more wildnerness to pillage for surplus. It is an awful place where men in search of surplus pillage one another. I want only to be left alone and not interfered with, to live gently upon the earth and interfere with neither men nor animals nor gods.
Maximin: It is the only way to live, general. The question a man faces is how to bring a woman with him without great harm being brought upon her.
Moraline: It is the women who are easier tricked by the surplus. Coercive laws and the reach of the bankers continue to drive up prices, so that governments and oligarchs may grow their personal surpluses. Perhaps a good woman who does not wish to consume and desire the life of surplus, but rather to make a simple home for her man and child, perhaps she can undermine the surplus. I believe I have such a woman now, but I fear deeply that they will use her against me somehow. Should we have a child they will make every effort to use him against me. They want only to find a way to put me to work for them, to draw me into indebtedness and legal obligations and all the social engineering that one must submit himself to, the matrix as you call it.
Maximin: Christ, Christ. The great hope of the libertarians is that a man could use the surplus system to get away from it all. Ah, Christ.
Moraline: Libertarians were all of them academics. Not one of them ever demonstrated any of their ideas practically. To use the surplus system to gain a surplus to get away from the surplus system. It seems senseless. I once thought to trade my way to freedom, but became more ensnared than ever by surplus.
Maximin: They will all have it taken away from them in the end, either by financial confiscation or by violence. I almost wonder if all a man can do at this point is to learn the spontaneous skills. Christ.
Moraline: Yes. Learn the skills. That will bring joy, joy in knowing you did not need to work for someone. Because they want you to work. They say there is pride in working for them. To take on overhead and expenses and to work, to be taxed, to be regulated and to be surveiled. Still, few have the courage to reject this life. I must acknowledge too that for most people it has never been a better time to be a slave. They have interesting diversions: internet pornography, video games, drugs to make themselves disappear. Slaves of the past had none of this. It is a gentle slavery today, but no less violent. 
Maximin: The matrix has made all if it for them, all of it. The entire language and education, the neuro-linguistic programming, all the food, the values, the art, the friendships. A man had to be insane to leave all of this. He creates a great violence against a society when he leaves all of this. The great, great loneliness.
Moraline: If you simply refuse to accept making greater surplus as your primary value, then you have dropped out. The problem is people are unable to realize an other way to live than by amassing surplus or aspiring to it. You have also pointed out on a few occasions the idea of "having" which is related.
Maximin: It may be that the only moments left are to explore the mountains, perhaps the tundra. A few more trips. Whether I use a city or a village as a base is not so important. But a man can't die in the city. A man must die alone in the mountains. The gods must take his soul, tear it from his body, and show it to the stars. He is then released.
Moraline: Anything a fiat currency has touched is spoiled. The places where the fiat currency is useless is where a man must go. That could be the tundra, but we have both of us seen that in Patagonia the fiat currency was refused, despite its usefulness. People there were not intimidated by the surplus, did not hold it as their primary value. Their humanity remained intact. They did not want to hoard. That is why South America is still good.
Maximin: Christ lad, I remember how a man, totally anonymous, a man who lives on a fucking island, who invited carlos and I to live with him on this island. He had fruit trees and sheep. Christ. I was trying to get out of Chile, the Carretera Austral had just ended that day, and I was worrying about the lack of water and the wind I would suddenly encounter in Argentina. The great opportunity was there. Christ, I don't think many men ever see that. When they do, how can the matrix ever again take them? The people in the city know they are immoral and unclean and wrong. They know it . They cannot sleep. They take the pills. They are weak, weak dangerous creatures. Great violences.
Moraline: There are ways to live still. But the government is coming for these men, coming to stamp out this way of life. They will come to the South of Chile, they will find this man and his island. The land can be farmed and they will build roads and make bridges. If there are rivers they will dam them. The mountains will be dynamited for their ore. But, yes, the men of surplus are now sickened. They have domesticated themselves. I read of a Dunne-za Indian who said he cannot understand domesticated animals such as horses or cows. They are unpredictable, he said. Moose in the wild, deer and elk, wolves, all he can understand. All animals of the wild make sense. But the domesticated and enslaved animal reacts in uncertain ways and can be dangerous. Domesticated man is no less uncertain, unpredictable and dangerous.
Maximin: I weep greatly. I have no capital to help such men. There was a man who had much money who bought some of this land but I know not if he is good or evil. Douglas Tompkins. They will kill all the last good men.
Moraline: The first problem a man has is in buying a piece of land. That is his death wish if he hopes to live upon it with his other values. The government will now know where he is and make demands upon him, demands he cannot resist. A man who buys land is fucked. All my capital i want to conserve for organic foods, shelter that is only temporary that my name is unattached to, and travel. To burden yourself with assets you feel you must fight for is to allow them into your life to end your life.
Maximin: This is true. The buying of the land is the emblem of the surplus man. However, the oligarchs do have ways of buying land with trusts and entities. But you were speaking of the man who buys the land and is then bullied by the mafia, the State verdad, verdad.
Moraline: Buy no land, no apartments, nothing that is a taxable asset. To fully reject the surplus life is to own nothing. They will have nothing on you then.
Maximin: I am ready even to give up the bike and the bags. They are too much for me.
Moraline: Do you know that free land from the government is offered in Alaska. But it is just to sucker men in, to make them a tool in their plan for "development" and road building and city building and taxation. What the Quallunaat call "progress". Quallunaat is the Inuit word for white men.
Maximin: It would be terrible. Better to live in the Alaskan villages or cities that have already wrecked the land and do a few voyages to get ideas, learn skills as you suggest. As you point out, it is perhaps not the best idea to pull a full Chris McCandless, as such a desperate act won't be respected by the wilderness.
Moraline: Thing is people tried to help McCandless in Alaska. He refused the help. I plan to apprentice myself, whether it be as a fisherman of black cod and halibut, or as a caribou hunter with an old Inuit Eskimo.
Maximin: Excellent, as they are good people, some of the last good people left out there. It is important to spend time with the last good people on earth. There were good people who changed me greatly, cleansed the soul of the venom of the city.
Moraline: So few are good when all the occupations have been exploited by surplus. Fisherman now fish to catch more than they and their families and neighbors can eat. I accept this aspect of the profession, though I do not like it. Fishing is pure, certainly purer than trading futures electronically.
Maximin: It is more pure than futures trading, and when the surplus dies, you will have the skills to live on a boat, sail the boat, and to find the fish. It is an excellent, excellent thing.
Moraline: I do not imagine the surplus can ever die. Any breakdown will just mean a replacement of the oligarchs by new ones. The surplus has taken hold. We are lucky to be born before the earth has been completely exhausted. There is still some untouched land remaining, where gods and animals and a few good men live. But they will be rooted out soon enough.


  1. I found this interesting: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/how-chris-mccandless-died.html

  2. In the comments it is mentioned that his book on edible Alaskan plants says the roots are to be eaten, and says nothing of eating the seeds, which is the part he consumed. McCandless was perhaps as educated as a young man can be who has no experience and takes off into the wilderness with a few books as his guide. He certainly was not a fool, but his belief in books and refusal to accept the help and advice of Alaskans was foolish.

    Regardless, I like McCandless and see a lot of my young self in him. I might very well have died a number of times for even stupider things than eating toxic seeds. The point for a certain type of young man is to survive his youth. McCandless didn't and is celebrated for it. Proenneke did survive his youth, developed his skills over many years, and then in his 50s went further than McCandless ever did, but they young would rather visit McCandless' bus than Proenneke's cabin. .


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