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|The Debt Black Hole: Dissected|
|Debt Black Hole - Concept|
|Written by Dave Hilton|
If you're new here, then you're probably wondering what in the world the Debt Black Hole is, right? Don't worry- I had to explain it several times to my wife, kids and friends before they figured out what I was rambling on about. I consider myself to be a bit of an "Armchair Scientist" because I really enjoy reading about the latest scientific discoveries and theories, watching shows with my kids on the Science Channel, Discovery Channel and the History Channel about physics, space, time and other similar subjects and WOWING friends and family with random facts (it would probably be more accurate if I replaced *wowing* with *annoying* ).
One of my scientific interests are Black Holes. To understand my Debt Black Hole concept, you have to have a basic understanding of these elusive phenomena. Although we've never actually SEEN one with our eyes, the evidence that they exist is overwhelming. The gravitational pull of these invisible monsters eventually destroys everything unfortunate enough to get too close. Physicists believe some Black Holes rotate- one of these theories describes what is known as a Kerr Black Hole. As you can see from the crude diagram I made of a Kerr Black Hole below, a rotating Black Hole is made up of an area known as the Static Limit, the Outer Event Horizon, the Ergosphere, the Inner Event Horizon and, hiding in the center, the Singularity.
The Static Limit of a Kerr Black Hole is the area just outside the Ergosphere where it is believed that objects or light still have the ability to escape or, at the very least, safely orbit around the Black Hole. Once an object passes the Outer Event Horizon into the Ergosphere, space-time is flowing at the speed of light in the same direction the Black Hole is rotating. Nothing in this area can remain motionless unless it is traveling faster than the speed of light (which was, until recently, considered impossible). It is impossible for light or matter to escape the gravitational forces once it passes the boundary of the Inner Event Horizon. At this point all that remains for an object is to enter the Singularity- an area of infinite density- at the center of the Black Hole. No one is sure what happens to matter once it reaches the Singularity. One theory is that it could be a bridge to another universe and another theory is that matter simply becomes one with the Singularity.
Now that you've had a Black Holes 101 science lesson for today, I can share with you how I came up with the Debt Black Hole concept and how the *pseudo-science* behind it works. In 2007, my wife & I made our FINAL payment to our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee. It was the most frustrating, humbling and painful five year experience I've ever encountered. A couple of days later I decided to watch a couple episodes of Stargate SG-1 on DVD (we didn't have cable or satellite during our bankruptcy). One of the episodes I watched was "A Matter Of Time". In that episode, one of the SG teams (SG-10) end up on a planet in a solar system where a Black Hole forms. The Black Hole traps the team on the planet and starts causing problems- including gravitational time dilation- for Stargate Command on earth. As I watched this episode for probably the 50th time I realized my wife and I had just experienced something similar during our bankruptcy. For the rest of the world, time had passed normally during those five years but, from our perspective, we felt like we were behind. It was like we were frozen and had somehow lost all that time.
That's when it hit me...we had actually survived a trip through some kind of Debt Black Hole. It was also around this time that I had read an article (can't seem to find it now) about Biomimicry and Biomimetics- how scientists and researchers were using nature to solve problems and also how some experts believed that humans, unknowingly, create systems that mimic how nature works. I now believe that we have created and implemented a financial system that does, in fact, have many similarities to the Black Holes I described above. In the conceptual diagram below, you can see the Debt Black Hole is comprised of a Debt-Free Zone, an Outer Debt Barrier, the Purchasphere, the Debt Accelerator and, in the center of the beast, Bankruptcy.
Imagine for a moment that you're in a space ship. Everyone you know has their own space ship (even your parents) and you're all hanging out in the same area of space- the area around the Debt Black Hole. Like the Static Limit of a Kerr Black Hole, the Debt-Free Zone is the area where you can safely orbit the Debt Black Hole because you have no debt. Most people start in this area. In this region of space you tend to find young adults who are just getting out on their own for the first time (or are smart and still live with their parents) and individuals who have a clear picture of the potential danger that lies ahead if you pass the Outer Debt Barrier.
The Outer Debt Barrier is usually passed without notice. It's the store credit card you get while you're out shopping because they offered you a 20% discount on your purchase, the car loan you get because you're tired of your old (but perfectly reliable) car or the student loan you had to have because you didn't work hard enough to get scholarships (I'm completely guilty of all of these- so don't feel bad). These decisions, which may seem harmless at first, pull you right into the Purchasphere.
When you're in the Purchasphere, you can continue to buy stuff and orbit the Debt Black Hole as long as you are able to make your minimum monthly payments and pay all your bills. For many people, this is the area where they spend most of their adult lives. Where people get into real trouble is when something unexpected happens- like a job loss, identity theft or illness- or when your spending gets out of control. Once this malfunction occurs, your space ship is no longer capable of maintaining a safe orbit around the Debt Black Hole. You quickly pass into the Debt Accelerator and, without a brilliant financial backup plan, you find yourself being pulled closer and closer to the center- Bankruptcy!
My galactically stupid financial decisions resulted in my whole family being sucked into the Debt Black Hole in 2002. In 2007 we managed to come out the other side scarred, but not broken. As I mentioned earlier, it was a frustrating, humbling and painful experience. I don't want to see anyone have to go through what we did. That's why I've created this site- to keep other Geeks from being sucked into the Debt Black Hole. I want the information on this site to be an EMERGENCY FINANCIAL BEACON that alerts you to the dangers ahead before it's too late!
Still have questions about the Debt Black Hole? Ask me on Twitter or send me an email- info [at] debtblackhole [dot] com.
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