German, speaking in German: This kombucha is good.

American, speaking in Portuguese and then in French: I speak Portuguese and English. I’m sorry. My name is Mr. Cheese. Haha.

German, speaking in French: I like to curse in French, but prefer German or English for ideas. I just read a book by Jordan Peterson called Twelve Laws to Live By. I read it in English. The German translation is terrible.

American, speaking in English: I understood the words Jordan Peterson, but nothing else.

German: Oh, good, you speak English.

American: Yes, English: the language of the barbarian hordes and-or the language of the marketplace.

German: The necessary evil of our times: the marketplace.

American: I thought the internet was the necessary evil of our times.

German: Social media, perhaps. I can’t think of a quicker way to destroy goodwill among humans than through monetizing a social network.

American: I thought the same, which is why I can’t endorse the American dream. There appears to be no dream, no ideals. There is just money. For example, I know young boys whose fathers praise them for twisting social interactions about such that some money can exchange hands. After which, of course, there is no society any longer. There is only an individual and an insurance company.

German: How sad.

American: Well, these American boys had better monetize everything. There are only three options in America: earn a lot of money to buy necessities, live off the state, or die. The state isn’t really a good option in America. Maybe there are only the two options: earn big or die.

German: When you express it like that, I can see why a father would encourage his son to monetize everything. And, I admit, I am enjoying living here in Portugal. I don’t work here. If I did, I would become a tourist guide—tourism is 95% of the Portuguese economy—or I might work in a café.

American: And earn five-hundred euros a month; you would pay your rent, pay for an old car, and live out your days.

German: Eating great cakes at the café, though.

American: The best in the world.

German: Of course, as a hypothetical employee of this café, I would have few other expenses. I would have public health care.

American: But no money to buy major surgeries or even braces. There is a program for pregnant women to have free dental care, so you see many mothers who have braces. In American, the parents have to buy braces during the ugly duckling stage of youth so that the kid can have a great time at sixteen and seventeen.

German: Money isn’t everything, and I assume I love Portugal so much because it feels old, used, and a little backward. Perhaps the failure to monetize every social interaction is the charm. Like, they don’t know what capitalism is, yet, so one can find great deals here.

American: Until all the Americans arrive and teach them.

German: Yes, the disease of the marketplace; there must be a way to strengthen society so that disease disappears; I believe that monetizing every social interaction is a disease although realistic in our society. The boys you describe are being realistic, but they are diseased. You know, something can exist and be bad for us. Being realistic isn’t the ideal; being healthy should be the ideal. For example, the covid nineteen virus: it exists, and I believe it is a man-made problem, but I assume we could all live in such a way that the disease disappears.

American: We just have to vaccinate everyone and wait to die of blood clots in our brains.

German: Haha, true! I read an article about that very topic yesterday: the particular vaccine studied for the article raises blood coagulation by thirty percent. I’m not aware of what that would do to other parts of the body, but I assume that some brain cells might object. Imagine receiving the vaccine and having a thirty percent higher likelihood of blood clots.

American: I like what you said about disease disappearing; I read a book called One Straw Revolution in which a Japanese disease specialist becomes a farmer and argues that when we stop pruning a tree, for example, the tree grows to allow water, air, and light into its canopy—and disease disappears. A human touches the tree with a tool, imbalances nature, and disease appears. The Japanese farmer argues that humans should work with nature to allow trees and other plants to grow without disease. The farmer argues that the height of our science would be to understand what nature is doing and come along side and work with nature to promote growth.

German: One can’t monetize what is free, though. I assume the height of our science today interrupts nature and puts a gateway across a forest path, or a meter on a flowing stream. The art of pruning a tree is symbolic of that deeper commitment to interrupting a natural process to force payment for use.

American: Hm, well, isn’t the the deeper problem is our belief in fuel. Many people will argue that we must chage for use because there are limited resources: that is, limited fuel. I believe that the concept of fuel is the deeper error in our thinking.

German: How so?

American: We have been taught that all systems obey the cascade effect in which the system begins with lots of energy—a waterfall for example—and that energy is lost slowly downstream in pools, eddies, and rivulets. Not many people pay attention that the opposite is also true: there is a reverse cascade effect governing the universe too: thunderstorms are an example. A thunderstorm will whip itself together and endure long after the condition of the possibility of the thunderstorm. Mathematically, we can show how the rivulets, eddies, and pools of air in the atmosphere create the violence of the storm. Why not the same in a garden or in human society? Why no the same in our galaxy? Perhaps our Milky Way is building energy rather than dissipating?

German: What is the connection to fuel?

American: Fuel is how we describe cost; fuel is the meter, the gateway, or the cost of excitation. You want a thunderstorm? Great, buy the fuel for one.

German: So, how should we behave so that disease disappears?

American: I assume that is answered in ancient religious texts; I am not religious, but I assume that humans have been attempting to answer that question for thousands of years: how to be healthy? What to do with our poo? Should we wash our hands after pooing? Can I bathe in a cesspool, or will that be bad and-or sinful? Can I poo in the water?

German: I am not religious either, but I enjoy picking up a concept and laying it down as needed. I hope to escape the Fascism of ideology but benefit from ancient ideas. One, for example, that I’ve been thinking about is this: souls are reincarnated into troubling times like ours because they hope to make great advances towards enlightenment. A soul will not develop far towards enlightenment in a tranquil time, so souls select a turbulent time—like ours—to return and contribute to the human narrative.

American: That is a fascinating concept. Certainly, a turbulent time is creative. For example, this past weekend, I’ve seen more Portuguese families in caravans than I’ve ever seen before. The virus has pushed many Portuguese towards alternative ideas and lifestyles. I see them more willing to break away from the status quo and do something weird. Perhaps caravaning will become a new normal for the Portuguese.

German: It is hard to be weird, though. I’ve been a part of these alternative, hippie communities and they are difficult if not impossible.

American: I have never joined one because I see how impossible they are already. From outside, I see how difficult it is to communicate with anyone about anything.

German: Yes, it is difficult. And not just to communicate, but to do the mental and spiritual practice needed to understand ourselves and contribute to a project—or express our own needs.

American: I was listening to the TV recently and heard some marketing language being used and I thought that marketing must damage all our abilities to communicate with one another because we see and hear people say how great things are when we all know they are not that great. Lie after lie.

German: Marketing is lying. The whole point is to offer something that will be better for me than for you. It is extortion.

American: Yes, so a deep cynicism sets in and we have more trouble talking to one another: we don’t have agreed-to concepts in our minds and our language is one of extortion—as you said, getting from you that’s good for me.

German: I would love to know how to heal society from the disease. To strengthen it. Politically, it is essential: to have an European Union, we need strong countries. If the countries are strong, they can join together in a union, but to express this idea is called backward—or Nationalistic and Fascist. So, we are immediately handicapped to be extreme Left or extreme Right.

American: Pro-vaccine or Anti-vaccine.

German: Years ago, when a child became sick, the villagers would put all the kids together so that all the kids would experience the disease together and become stronger. Afterward, the disease would effect no one. They would all defeat it together. I wonder why we don’t remove our masks and all take the virus into our bodies together and allow our bodies to become balanced? Allow nature to balance herself again after humans have done such a stupid thing.

American: Instead, we do the opposite: masks and quarantine and separation.

German: And variants immediately emerge.

American: I enjoyed reading the news yesterday and learning that, yes, the West did finance Wuhan laboratories in creating monstrous viruses. There is no need for anyone to blame a particular nation when all of them are tied together by the economy.

German: You know, this conversation reminds me of a research project I have been undergoing these past few months concerning compost vis-a-vis fermentation. Traditionally, compost uses heat and oxygen to slowly burn food and waste. Burning breaks down and destroys information, so the finished compost pile has less information—vitamins, minerals, bacteria, etc—than the start. If you ferment a compost pile, though, you add information. The Japanese have created a—

American: Isn’t there something special about the Japanese?

German: Yes, their farmers have learned to create a clay that includes anaerobic and aerobic bacterias—not and easy balance to find—and this clay rejuvenates toxic soil. You can put the clay into water and have an immediate improvement in the water’s purity. One creates the clay by fermentation where we are able to add knowledge to the clay and build up different bacterias together.

American: If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that we ferment society and improve it—add knowledge to it—by fermenting.

German: Yes, that’s right.

American: Isn’t fermentation a closed system?

German: No, there are many fermentation processes that are open. Kombucha for example, which I am sure you know about.

American: Yes.

German: This kombucha is good.

The end.