This is an excellent point, Tyler.
Something I've noticed in the doomer world is that hard times always come to the other guy (in this case the guy with the BMW) before they come to the doomer
Dave Forrest wrote:My own main feeling about prepping and survivalism is that any approach to a situation that is fear-based usually turns out to be pretty uninteresting. In the end, it’s less powerful and prone to its own Achilles' heels because fear puts your blinders on. It is not compatible with looking at a situation in a balanced way and playing with the possibilities, looking for all the good that can be gotten out of it.
So maybe "survivalism" as a culture on those terms seems a bit wacked out. I don't really know as I am just watching like others from the other side of the Atlantic at what seems to be a media-hype-induced, country-specific cultural phenomenon... You're focusing on the demon-like instigators and the earth-shattering events which are just about to transpire, right NOW, no.... NOW... oops, not quite yet, wait... NOW! You know the drill. And that is extremely likely to keep you in a perpetual state of running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Not inconsequentially, because of that fear and all the cortisol racing through your blood and that iron will to survive... you work yourself up into an extremely manipulable state and are likely to make many and very costly mistakes. That is because this mindset narrows your focus so severely you literally don't know what you're dealing with. Living in fear is, to put it in Permaculture terms, a Type 1 error.
Preppers and prepping seem to run the gamut as we've seen here on this thread. No harm in being prepared, in fact, it’s a good idea, like having insurance. From splitting your seed library into three locations in case of fire/flood/whatever, to having several different ways to keep warm in the winter... etc., etc. Like all of nature, in diversity there is strengh and resiliency, and that is great. So being prepared, as most human groups have tried to be and have had to be throughout history, has proved itself to very very useful and makes you much less vulnerable to whatever might come your way. I'm not sure it really needs a label or a culture attached to it, and to the extent it does, perhaps we're slipping into a bit of the Type 1 error again... Prepared for what? All the terrible disasters that are inexorably coming our way, of course: peak oil, economic collapse, marauding hordes of starving bandits... Once we start thinking that way, our focus narrows again and our IQs drop dramatically. It is when we are in relaxed, playful-yet-focused conversation with friends that we are at our best and can really deal well with challenges. Some "preppers" no doubt live their lives this way, and in that case I'd say, right on. The fear-based end of the spectrum, however, combined with perhaps a touch of OCD, can produce jittery basketcases in terms of really dealing with what life hands you. So I'd say you have to dig a bit beyond the label "prepper" to see how people actually live their lives. Certainly here on permies.com and on the internet, there are lots of self-identified "preppers" who very generously make available all sorts of fantastically useful information for anyone interested in living a self-sufficient lifestyle. Bravo to those generous folks, however they self-identify.
Don't think I'm poo-pooing the challenges on the horizon that all these groups see. Really, Silent Spring came out in the early 60s and the Club of Rome report and Limits to Growth in the early 70s. And since then, tons of studies that remind us that the modern global consumer capitalist system is destroying the natural capital (ironically) of the earth at a rate that is rapidly undermining the planet's carrying capacity, i.e. how many people living how well that the planet can support. Other studies show (and day-to-day consumer life makes abundantly clear) that the western-style consumer lifestyle depends on sucking up “resources” from around the world, low-paid labor in poor countries, oil and derivatives from the mideast, a series of crucial inputs for industry scattered throughout the third world. And often to safeguard what they tell us are "our resources" that "our allies" provide to us to further "our interests" around the world, well, we have to do whatever we have to do, Type 1 error again. So send the Marines, support that brutal dictatorship, finance an endless series of deadly conflicts, just keep the stuff flowing from those nameless places and faceless people to back over here, please. Yes, the world economy seems to be in the hands of another brand of Type 1 error, fear-based nutcases that really, truly believe that in order for them to live well, everyone else can/should/must suffer.
The thing that I love about Permaculture is that I think it shows all these fear-based, Type-1-error points of view to be unnecessary and counter-productive, and offers a great alternative. Finally! Or at least it is starting to. We know we can vastly increase the capacity of the Earth to support us and all living beings. Pretty quickly even. Just give us a plot of land and we'll start at it, acre by acre. Even stabilizing the world climate seems perfectly possible -- we just need enough people doing enough acres. We can create lushness, beauty, and all we need to survive, mostly with resources that we can find nearly anywhere. We share knowledge with each other and support each other's projects, just like good neighbors. Sure, some industrial inputs are immensely helpful. But in a pinch we can live a great life, better than the alternatives, with a minimum of this stuff if we develop our self-sufficiency skills. And also COMMUNITY and intelligent trade with like-minded people so we can share resources, machinery, work or whatever, so we do not each have to do absolutely everything. We need to design and build up our human guilds just like our food forests. So this weaning ourselves off of consumer culture thing is as important as affirming: regenerative human life on this planet is possible, beauty is possible, it's possible to work with and value nature rather than destroying it, and in my name you do not need to invade any countries, make another strip mine, support any dictators, chop down any forests, steal elections or anything else from anyone, exploit any poor people, fund any wars, dry any valleys, behead any dissidents, etc. It's doing our part to show how great, and peaceful, and beautiful, and strong and resilient, living together on earth can be.
I would love to hear more conversations along those lines. And sure, we have some big challenges. And we're dealing with them in a beautiful and inspiring way. Running towards what inspires you, and building it up, over the long haul, gives you a lot more options and a much more creative and fulfilling life than trying to wall out the stuff you fear.
I like that you are rephrasing this, but we come from the same place. I have no intention or focus whatsoever on storing up things that I will only use during extreme events, or long term eventualities. I can't afford to, nor do I want to, buy my way out of all of the unforeseen apocalyptic events of the possible futures that may unfold if... whatever happens. I went mental with that crap for a very short time, and then just dropped it.
One of the posters mentioned his motto being about planning for the worst, but hoping for the best. I prefer to plan for the best, but make sure it also works for the worst. An example is a pallet of MREs. During a zombie apocalypse that would be a great thing to have. But what about during an economic golden age? I don't eat MREs, I don't want to eat MREs, so this would be useless to me.
Me too. The difference is that I go the permaculture route, way more than the grocery store route. I might have a bunch of pasta, but I have a lot more potatoes... and carrots... and beets... and sunchokes... and parsnips... and squash. I also go for the deep bushcrafting/wildcrafting route instead of the well stocked arsenal/bullet proof everything route. I know where the blueberries, the chaga, the cranberries, the stinging nettles, the deer trails, and moose habitat are. I gathered wild tea today and have a cup beside the lap top. I keep myself in shape and live as healthy as I can, not in an obsessive way, but because I want to thrive into the future. I've grown market crops of many vegetables and have confidence in my abilities in many ways that encompass for me what is 'planning for the worst', but also amount to living the amazing life that I desire.
I don't do anything that would only work if society collapsed, but is useless to me when times are good.
Awesome, great for you and those you love. I salute you and I really appreciate your post! I just wanted to clarify where I am at.
How prepared am I?. Hopefully more prepared than I was last year. And by next year I hope to be more prepared than I was this year.
Steve Oh wrote:Although the buzz words are new, there is nothing new about food security and preparing for tough times ahead. That was the norm for everyone before the industrialized era and many people currently. What do I think about doing the same thing today? I think it's a wise, sane, and intelligent idea. For my family it's really not much effort at all, because we already live that way.
Norma Guy wrote:
For myself, I wonder if it's a genetic memory that makes me think I mustn't be caught off guard. Imagining my grandmother and her family fleeing their home in the middle of the night to sleep in the woods because the neighbours were coming to kill them (yay war), and then escaping the country the next day, having to build a makeshift bridge to get their cart across a river, and her grandfather dying on this journey to get relative safety across the border. My grandfather escaping a slave camp while being bombed, then sleeping in haystacks during the day to avoid capture, begging for food at farms and taking what they would feed their pigs, as he made his way cross country before ending up in a capitulation camp, for over a year.
People act like this can't happen to us, it can't happen here, as though no one here could ever starve or lose everything. Forgetting it is happening, right now, to less-lucky and geopolitically well-situated people. And people act like being self-sufficient is a crazy ideology forgetting that a few generations ago that was real life, and what society considers "normal" now is absolutely unsustainable. By my terms, people who DON'T think they should prep are a little nuts. Again, not my main reason for the lifestyle change, just a benefit of it. This is me running toward something, not running away.
Excerpt from the article:
Pretend you’re someone with your eyes on the horizon. What would you be looking for, exactly? Increasing partisanship. Civil disorder. Coup rhetoric. A widening wealth gap. A further entrenching oligarchy. Dysfunctional governance. The rise of violent extremist ideologies such as Nazism and Communism. Violent street protests. People marching with masks and dressing like the Italian Blackshirts. Attempts at large scale political assassination. Any one of those might not necessarily be the canary in the coal mine, but all of them in aggregate might be alarming to someone with their eyes on the horizon.
Germany’s Focus magazine has reported that some 200 far-right special operations forces (KSK) soldiers and vets had conspired to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and former President Joachim Gauck, as well as the leaders of asylum groups.
Their final goal was to unleash Day-X, thus ending any semblance of law and order in the country. The plotters regarded this as an imminent development. Weapons, ammunition, and fuel had been secretly stockpiled. Training camps had been established near the Austrian and Swiss borders.
John Wolfram wrote:For permaculture, my overall impression would be that the prepper/survivalist culture provides a nice counter-balance to the Earth-Mother Moon-Spirit culture. A group with both dread-locked hippies and AR-15 toting preppers is a lot more interesting than either segment by itself.
Mike Gilmore wrote:I love that about permaculture. It can be lived and practiced by both John Galt types and Friends of Marx.