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    Old Books and New Discoveries

    “If you want a new idea, read an old book.” ~origin unknown

    It’s incredible the amount of history, biography, knowledge, and wisdom packed into all of the books in the world. Most of this wisdom is lost in the simple fact that many of these books may rarely ever be opened again. With the increased sourcing of information from internet, electronic and digital platforms an inevitable regurgitation loop begins to form. Cultural hegemony and contemporary trends drive the flow and direction of available news and information. Search engines put artificial limits on the expanses of where you can gather new ideas because their algorithms are built for returning popular or paid results. We’re limited and bound by this digital archive design. At some point the only way to seek out a new idea is to look for them where you would least expect – in the dusty pages of time.

    Book collecting can be a rewarding and profitable hobby. It’s a hobby that I’ve just recently begun to slowly enjoy. Though many collectors obsess over spine conditions and first editions, I prefer to carefully open the books and read them. There is something enchanting about reading the same original words on a page that someone else read generations ago. Old books have that antiquated smell and feel, and the illustrations are often intricately detailed with careful design.

    I love to set aside a few quiet hours, carefully flip through the pages and find myself intrigued by the thoughts of an author from another century. What surprises me is the timeless qualities of humanity, the things that never seem to change. The aspects of wisdom that hold true today as much as they did when they were first written down. The poems that touch your heart and stories that thrill your mind. You find that their commentary on the days that they lived in are often still relevant to the challenges and struggles of today. Truly we could learn a lot from the authors of old. There have been brilliant solutions forgotten and generations of wisdom lost hidden in these old dusty books.

    Personally, I prefer non-fiction. Most of the fiction classics are still being published today; however, non-fiction publications more often expire leaving only the aged and limited copies. In my small but growing collection I have old books on sociology, philosophy, economics, recipes, traditions, and war stories. Sometimes I just pick one up, thumb through random pages, and see what interesting concepts and stories I find.

    Where do you find these faded & ragged books? You can begin your journey seeking out these treasures of time in Used Book Stores, Antique Stores, Thrift Stores, and Garage Sales. If you want to find something more specific, I highly recommend which connects your search to independent book sellers around the world. I have found rare books on specific subjects very successfully using this website.

    Why not seek out a new idea for something you’ve been searching for? Get off the search engines, and start browsing the dusty bookshelves for a change. You may be pleasantly rewarded with a completely new thought for your musings.

    What is a Neighbor?

    Is a neighbor simply a person that lives within a close proximity to where you live? Certainly the term “neighborhood” describes proximity as it refers to a geographically localized community. However, the term “neighbor” has historically been used to describe a fellow man with some level of acquaintance or interaction. The Bible describes a neighbor in Matthew 19:19 when it sums up the law as, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Throughout the Bible the word “neighbor” is used in a context based around some type of interaction and dealings with other people that are in your life. There is always a level of involvement with neighbors and an emphasis on our relationship to them in matters of everyday life. Historically, a neighbor has been more of a complex concept than the way we often refer to it today, neighbors being the people that we see briefly when we walk from the home to the car.CONTINUE READING

    Solitude for the Mind

    “…by silent solitary reflection we exercise and strengthen all the powers of the mind. The many obstacles which render it difficult to pursue our path disperse and retire, and we return to a busy social life with more cheerfulness and content. The sphere of our understanding becomes enlarged by reflection ; we have learned to survey more objects, and to bind them intellectually together; we carry a clearer sight, a juster judgment, and firmer principles, with us into the world in which we arc to live and act ; and are then more able, even in the midst of all its distractions, to preserve our attention, to think with accuracy, to determine with judgment, in a degree proportioned to the preparations we have made in the hour of retirement.” – from Solitude by J.G. Zimmerman

    There exists a deficit in the bustling cities among the constant noise of entertainment, information, and interactions streaming into our lives. In the middle of the richness of our technological age that connects people together, it has become increasingly difficult to find quiet places of self reflection. In the early 19th century, J.G. Zimmerman referred to this as simply “Solitude.” Solitude doesn’t imply the necessity of going to a remote location hundreds of miles away from society. It can simply be the moments and places where we’re able to disconnect from distractions enough to meditate on our thoughts.CONTINUE READING

    Individualism is the True American Way

    The United States was built on a foundation that has defined our identity. That foundation expresses itself in our Constitution – most specifically individual liberty. The structural design of our union was carefully planned to decentralize power. The States’ powers are intended to be the decentralization of Federal powers so that the people’s interests are more evenly represented across the nation at the State levels, and provide representation in closer proximity to the people. By the same structural design, individual rights are the decentralization of social special-interest power. Our Constitution recognizes rights as being owned by the individual, not as group divisions of interests. If individual rights are clearly outlined and fully protected, it will be the foundation for protecting ALL American citizens. Not only is doing so fundamental to our liberty, but also recognizes the Individual as the fullest expression of respect toward humanity.CONTINUE READING

    Unite Locally and Abandon National Factions

    Chances are you’ve seen or heard calls for the need to unite America again. With the political and faction divisions at the national level, there is an increase in violent and divisive events happening in the United States. However, the assumption the solution must come at the national level is misguided. Yes, the goal is to stop the wedge that’s driving through our country but the means to achieve that requires focusing at the local level.CONTINUE READING

    5 Ideas for Taking a Break from the Distractions

    Technology has become less of a subordinate tool and more of an engulfing presence in our world. It has remolded not only the structure of our world as a medium for information and sharing, but has also influenced our individual lives and changed the way we live. However, at what point do the technological tools that we use to improve our lives actually begin to start directing our lives by their very presence? When do we become subordinate to technology rather than the other way around?

    There has been such an increasing push to implement digitization everywhere but not an equal push against it to step back and assess what value it’s actually bringing to our lives. It’s becoming more rare to have a moment of silence and reflection because we’re constantly glued to our phones and distracted from deeper thoughts. Multitasking between social networks, texts, e-mails, and browsing provides a sense that we’re in this zone of connection to the world and not missing anything. Were human beings so antiquated in the days that we were left to our own thoughts? Was it such a depraved life in generations past?CONTINUE READING

    Organize a Swap Meet

    Local food producers of every kind often run into the problem of having excess food that goes to waste. Gardeners often end up with extra vegetables that will spoil if not sold or given away. Beekeepers often gather much more honey than they can possibly consume themselves. Not everyone has the extra time to rent out a booth at a marketplace and spend their weekends setting it up and selling it all, plus starting a marketplace can be daunting. Sometimes you just need a place for people in your neighborhood to meet together and trade their excess produce in a barter fashion.

    A swap meet is the ultimate barter gathering that solves this problem, and you can organize one in your own neighborhood.


    The Folkway Chasm

    Throughout all of history, mankind has encountered pivotal epochs which have defined generations not simply by the breakdown of age groups, but instead by the drastic events and changes that shifted the overall culture of a society. In today’s world we understand our generations as X,Y, and Z – a.k.a. “Millennials.” Unfortunately this simple method of dividing generations, by ranges of birth years, doesn’t give us a very in-depth understanding of the fundamental changes and differences that we witness from generation to generation.CONTINUE READING

    Etiquette – It’s Personal

    We’ve all encountered uncomfortable moments and been in places where we don’t quite know the social expectations of us and acceptable behavior. There are old formal traditions of manners and unspoken rules floating around in society as well as new more casual views on etiquette. This diverse mix of generational viewpoints and upbringings only manages to blur the lines of these social rules and adds confusion. The problem isn’t so much that we don’t all know the “rules,” it’s that we’ve forgotten the core meaning, purpose, and value of etiquette. As a society we see it as just a behavioral expectation being placed on us, but we have forgotten the purpose it ultimately serves.CONTINUE READING

    Rusted Compass Podcast – Episode 2 – Idalia Road Pt. 1

    In 2015, I interviewed Marc Calderwood of Idalia Road Marketplace in Rio Rancho, NM to learn some insight from a marketplace owner. The next episode is an interview with his wife, Phyllis from her perspective.


    The Two Frames of Perception

    In previous articles I have described and explained why community begins first with the individual. When individuals are empowered it will enable them to get involved and contribute through voluntary action as well as find a personal sense of belonging. Empowering individuals doesn’t favor a faction, bias, or collective interest of one group over another. It doesn’t group people and pick one side over the other. It benefits the greatest number of people in a society because we are all individuals. If we are to repair the divisions in our nation it must begin with heralding the individual above factions and extending basic respect toward one another. This can only happen at the individual level, and it begins with personal choice.

    I would like to invite you to perceive society through two very different frames:

    1. The Collectivist Frame.

    2. The Individualist Frame.


    Miniature Free Libraries

    As I was strolling on a walk in a Colorado neighborhood, I came across a decorative wooden cabinet on a neighborhood street corner. It was painted colorfully and speckled with unique trinkets, and the sign above it read “Book and Idea Exchange.”

    I had never before seen one of these. My curiosity led me to investigating it further and I opened the cabinet to see what was inside. It was filled with a variety of pamphlets, pages, and books that residents in the area had placed inside. I later learned that the idea behind these cabinets is that they offer locals their own free miniaturized library. You can take a book that others have left and donate one of your own so that you essentially have a miniature free neighborhood library.

    After looking into it further I found that you can create and register your own free library through a website called “Little Free Library” at Check out their website if you want to discover if one of these libraries have been registered in your area. If there are none, you could always start your own – either registered online for anyone to find or unregistered for your own city block, apartment building, or neighborhood to utilize. Use your creativity and inspiration to design and decorate your own miniature library cabinet to put on display. It’s a great way to make new reading material available to others and to find new and interesting books without having to make a trip to the library. The variety of books that people provide also gives you a general sense of the what subjects and interests your neighbors enjoy.

    Before proceeding with creating a new library respect the rights of your neighbors, your landlord, and city zoning laws. Always get permission first before spending the time it takes to put one of these together. The Little Free Library website has some excellent tips and information for beginners.

    Miniature free libraries are a simple and creative way to add something unique to your neighborhood!

    The Corkboard Bulletin

    When it comes to creating an opportunity for locals to advertise and notify others, it’s amazing what a simple corkboard can provide.

    Corkboards are and efficient and inexpensive way to make a small space for posting local events, news, and services. They can be installed in businesses, public spaces, apartments, visitor centers, venues, and other places where people frequent. They’re an inexpensive way to encourage people to connect, since corkboards usually run as low as the $20 range for 36×24 inch boards, to higher prices for larger sizes.

    Are you a struggling artist with an upcoming gig? Or maybe you just started your own business that offers a service? Posting flyers and business cards on local corkboards are a great way to get some local visibility.


    Rusted Compass Podcast – Episode 1 – Collaborative Learning Opportunities

    In this short first episode of the Rusted Compass Podcast I briefly discuss the value of collaborative local learning opportunities and provide a few outlines for this method of learning to give you an idea of the many different examples out there. Be inspired by new ways to connect and learn with others your community. For more Community Exploration, visit us at


    The Role of the Iconoclast

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But Conscience asks the question ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    We exist in a world of constant influence. Whatever we set our minds on, that idea slowly becomes our reality. You can read a book that’s so fascinating and intriguing to you that even when we put the book down it continues to resonate in your mind and shape your worldview throughout the day. Because you set your mind on it for a long period of time, it becomes the forefront of your reality. This happens when we individually choose to focus on something, but it also happens socially. People think, act, and conform to the hegemonic cultures and views. Ideas come to us through our daily interactions in the world primarily from other people.

    The most effective influences on us are through our social connections. Not just any social connections, but the ones we’ve allowed to become a part of our lives. The social spheres that influences us the most are the ones we already have accepted and find belonging in. The social connections that are most entrusted by us have the greatest ability to open up our perspectives and worldviews. We naturally guard against those with opposing views or from social influences that we don’t relate to. Suffice it to say that our closest friends and relationships can change our worldview much more effectively than not-so-close acquaintances and complete strangers trying to change our worldview. Keep in mind that if you try to persuade others to see the world from your perspective, if you aren’t taking the time to first build their trust and respect you’re probably wasting your time. People will always default to the views they’ve already developed over time and put up a guard against unfamiliar and effortful consideration of new ones. CONTINUE READING