Thursday, 6 September 2012

Who is crazier, survivalists or the unprepared?

Could Darwin have been wrong? If survival of the fittest applied to human evolution, more of us would be consciously living lives of personal preparedness and self-sufficiency. But, for the most part, we don’t.

This quirk of human nature can be observed in the fact that only after an earthquake, hurricane, or other disaster, do most people suddenly discover a renewed interest in making preparations for the unknown. It takes a disaster of biblical proportions to shift us out of our preferred mindset that all-is-well so long as there’s something in the fridge and our cell phone is working.

Thankfully, more and more families and individuals are finally becoming reacquainted with the concept of survivalism as a viable and wise lifestyle.

For many, the very word “survivalist” tends to conjure up images of wild-eyed, camo-clad individuals grimly waiting out the end of the world in a bunker filled with beans, bullets and Band-Aids. But a more accurate, and timely, representation of survivalists could be seen in those whose preparations are blended into their lives in a way that improves their lifestyle—even if a disaster never comes.

Jack Spirko is a modern survival guru whose philosophy bears a greater resemblance to the common sense of our forebears than to a plot line from Stephen King’s “The Stand.” Spirko advocates the minimizing or elimination of debt; the value of being capable of producing and storing one’s own food supply; having renewable energy sources to mitigate dependence upon the power grid; and acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to solve as many of one’s problems as possible.

In short, Spirko’s main tenet of survival is that “Everything you do should improve your position in life even if nothing goes wrong.”

It’s interesting that some people attempt to read sinister motives into the proactive approach to life. This is more of an indictment of our progressive indoctrination into the mindset of dependency than a reasonable objection to the survivalist way of thinking. We cannot allow their shortsightedness to become our own.

Whether in good times or bad, living debt-free relieves one from a tremendous amount of stress. Stocking up on readily available items that we use regularly allows us to spend less money in the long run by beating inflation.

Knowing how to garden, hunt, fish and forage can provide a person with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, to exercise and to eat healthier. The prospect of having a renewable power supply that is not tied to the grid adds value to one’s property and can supply power through minor outages or major disasters.

Finally, developing skills such as first aid, firearms training, use of medicinal herbs, etc., and having the tools to go along with them allows us to live our lives with confidence instead of fear by knowing that we can deal with the unexpected.

The key to this philosophy is that our preparations must be in place before trouble comes. The alternative to being prepared is to hope that the kindness of strangers, or the benevolence of government bureaucrats will be sufficient to see us through tough times. But that’s a gamble at best.

Those who have lived long enough will attest to the fact that the unexpected can and will happen eventually. Survival expert Jim Phillips has observed that, “When you’re prepared, it’s less of an ordeal and more of an adventure.”

Everything in life pretty much falls into one of two categories, those things we can control and those that we can’t. Our lifetimes are far too short to be wasted agonizing about those things over which we have no control. Fortunately, because we possess the ability to think ahead, we can mitigate the impact of many unforeseen challenges through developing the habit of personal preparedness.

The painful truth that few will admit is that survivalists aren’t as half as crazy as those who could have prepared, but chose not to.


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