What Should I Do?

We Can Do It: J. Howard Miller

What Can I Do?

Evaluating and building skills
Saturday, July 6, 2013, 11:43 AM

During the course of preparation, you may find yourself asking yourself, What should I do? Peak Prosperity's excellent WSID series, devoted to developing a strategy for cultivating a more resilient lifestyle and drawing on the knowledge of dozens of subject matter experts, has become one of the most important contributions this site has to offer, in my opinion. The series gives readers great insights into how to influence their external world for their betterment; underlying it all is a subtle question that has remained unasked: What CAN I Do?

This is a question of pivotal importance. As preparedness-minded people, we continually audit our readiness in terms of supplies, wealth, ability, and skills to provide for ourselves, but we rarely stop and do a practical and comprehensive audit of what we can do, should necessity call upon our most base abilities. So, with that, let’s continue on and learn how to audit our abilities to provide the items we need for ourselves.

Framework

There is a longstanding tradition amongst survivalists and self-styled preppers that gives a curt nod to the “Heinlein” man (or woman), who is, in short, a jack of all trades and a true master of none. This approach is admirable and definitely something that we should strive for – not only for the useful skills it provides, but also for the self-satisfaction that comes from being ‘capable’ of taking on difficult tasks and prevailing. Being exposed to many different concepts and skills can help build upon others and enhance the ones you are more proficient at.

Even so, the concept is out of date and out of step with ten thousand years of post-agricultural revolution of humankind. The specialization that modern society has afforded us is, however, a byproduct of societies that are not in ‘need.’ Because of this, I believe that one of the most important skills is the ability to foster community and establish connections to other skilled people. As you continue on the path of honestly evaluating your skills, improving your capabilities, and making and maintaining contacts with others who are skilled, you'll find multifactorial benefits:

  • It affords us injuries or illness without removing the only member of a group who is “in the know” on a specific subject
     
  • It grants us the opportunity to develop our skills under the supervision of those more capable than us
     
  • It gives us the chance to solidify our knowledge base by teaching those who wish to learn

Truly, in every instance, sharing skill development is the epitome of community and the root of commerce. As we did with my prior article, Understanding Emergencies, we will view our pool of skills in metrics of Ability/Mastery and Immediate/Mid-/Long-Term.

It’s important to note that although none of us will achieve mastery of all these subjects in a paltry single lifetime, we can learn to be competent in a great many of them – all of which builds our net value to our communities and our personal satisfaction.

Meaningful Measurement?

One of the most difficult aspects of self-evaluation is that we often have no meaningful way of measuring our skills or our progress. We may assume or expect that we are making strides and improving, but without a way of measuring, it can be very difficult to parlay one's practical ability into a measure of overall skill. I don’t believe that a simple “strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree” is the best method for the individual to use to determine their skills. It’s a great diagnostic tool for others to get a view of you, but as an individual, you can afford yourself much more detail and honesty than these categories provide.

While it’s not possible for me to say what constitutes proficiency in all the areas of knowledge that I think should be pursued, we can set points on a continuum that should allow us a ‘rough gauge’ of where we are at, starting with the very most basic skill level and working towards mastery.

In each of the topics presented, consider your level of proficiency and how you would handle said situations. Make note of your level of confidence, and if you’re unsure in any way, ask and discuss with others who know more! Once you’ve developed an honest, cogent assessment of where you’re at, we can begin to share the necessary information to improve.

So, we can identify some skills and weigh our own sense of priority with our level of proficiency with the task. A high-necessity skill with no proficiency is an oversight in one's training and should be fixed, whereas a low necessity skill that you’re already proficient in is something that you can teach others as you advance other knowledge bases.

It should be noted that this process is not supposed to be easy – it’s supposed to be an honest audit of what you know and what you need to learn. It should be uncomfortable (like any form of change) and should make you feel vulnerable.

Find the time, print off the following questions, and answer them – then use the results to make an actionable plan to enhance your preparedness.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the skills in question, and why they’re of consequence.

Base Skills

Agriculture – Can you…

  • Identify the conditions that your plant needs to thrive?
  • Estimate the amount of food you can grow on your land? How long will it take? How long will it last?
  • Germinate and transfer seeds?
  • Maintain your plants with proper watering and sunlight?
  • Maintain your plants by preventing insect infestation?
  • Maintain your plants without using petrochemical fertilizers or insecticides?
  • Prevent tampering and theft from insects, critters, and people?
  • Recognize soil erosion and nutrient depletion potential in your growing area?
  • Maintain and use compost as fertilizer in your growing area?
  • Manage water resources without access to public infrastructure?
  • Reconstitute nutrient deprived soil?

Animal Husbandry – Can you…

  • Feed and take care of your animals? Provide sufficient water in times of need?
  • Identify potential threats to their health?
  • Identify the nutritional needs of your animals?
  • Understand and maintain a schedule for milking, shoeing, vaccinating, or otherwise treating your animals?
  • Relieve suffering when needed? (put an animal down)
  • Butcher/dress your animals if need be?
  • Preserve eggs, meat, or milk gained from your animals?
  • Secure competent care for your animals if/when you are away (planned or unexpectedly)?

Building/Construction – Can you…

  • Build a foundation? A simple structure?
  • Repair roofing? Manage simple plumbing problems? Replace or repair common electrical components?
  • Lay flooring?
  • Build a complex (multi-story, multi-angle) structure?
  • Do you have repairs for common fixes on hand? (Leaking pipes, broken windows, blown fuses, leaking roof, broken furniture?)
  • Do you have building materials and supplies on hand? How will you find building materials during an emergency?

Domestic Skills – Can you…

  • Cook without power? What will you use?
  • Store food without power? How will you react to a sudden outage that leaves your food thawing?
  • Where will you get fuel for fires? Where will you burn? How well ventilated is the area? How much heat is retained? How will this impact your family in your climate?
  • Where will you get water? How will you clean it?
  • How long could you survive off your pantry?
  • What staples do you have – flour, sugar, salt, pepper, grains, etc.?
  • How well do you know your neighbors? How prepared are they?

Environmental Knowledge – Can you…

  • Read a map? Navigate by compass? At night?
  • Create a compass or determine direction based on sun position?
  • Identify key terrain features? (Saddles, spurs, ridges, draws, hills, cliffs, and valleys?)
  • Use terrain to navigate?
  • Do you know the different types of trees in your area? Coniferous vs. deciduous?
  • Do you know how to relate terrain to vegetation to identify areas that have better water tables or running water?
  • Do you know how to assess these areas for hazards?
  • Are you in a region that has natural disasters? Are you in a local area that is commonly impacted by these disasters?
  • How do these disasters impact agriculture, game, and water cleanliness?

Martialism/Tactics – can you…

  • Establish personal space and maintain it in public?
  • Identify potential ruses, threatening situations, or unstable people, and avoid or react as necessary before physical conflict occurs?
  • Verbally diffuse unwanted contacts?
  • Stay conscious and mobile against an opponent who is attacking you? Two opponents? Three?
  • Strike a dummy for 1 continuous minute? 3 minutes? 5?
  • Deal with an opponent at close interval? Armed with a knife? A gun?
  • Do you own and maintain proficiency with firearms?
  • Do you understand the F.A.S.T. and “+1” principle?
  • Do you understand “use of light” principles and how they relate to tactics and security?
  • Integrate with other members of your family/circle to address threats?
  • Pass the Defoor Pistol/Carbine tests #1 and/or the FAA Air Marshal’s pistol test?

Trauma Medicine – can you…

  • Identify injuries by type? (Cuts, lacerations, abrasions, perforations, deformities, and burns?)
  • Identify the basic types of fractures? (Open, closed, compound)
  • Identify the types of bleeding?
  • Stop capillary or venous bleeding?
  • Perform closed heart massage/CPR?
  • Move a patient without putting them at risk?
  • Relieve an obstructed airway with a nasopharyngeal airway (NPA)?
  • Use an occlusive seal to stop tension pneumothorax?
  • Use a decompression stint to relieve tension pneumothorax?
  • Use a tourniquet to stop uncontrolled arterial bleeding?
  • Treat a sickness or infection?

Physical Fitness & Health - can you…

  • Perform a pull-up? 5? 10?
  • Run 1 mile? 3 miles? 5?
  • Swim 50 meters? 100 meters? 500? In clothes?
  • Lift your body weight?
  • Wear a backpack all day while walking? For how many miles? With how much weight?
  • Split firewood, tend garden, or prune trees for ~4-8 hours?
  • How many calories do you need to perform this work over long periods of time?
  • What’s your resting heart rate? VO2 Max? BMI? Ideal weight and current weight?
  • How dependent are you on caffeine? Cigarettes? Prescription drugs? Alcohol? Illicit drugs? How do these affect you when you do not have them? How reliant on these are you?

Physical Security - can you…

  • Identify potential weak points in your home’s security?
  • Identify most likely avenues of approach for potential criminals?
  • Identify danger areas within your home (hallways, doorways, staircases, etc.)
  • Secure your valuables by concealment or physical security measures such as fire-safes or vault safes?
  • Use security measures (such as alarms, door sensors, and home security systems) to gain “initiative” in case of a break-in while you’re home?
  • Rely on a friend or family to house-sit if you’re away?
  • Secure your home if you have to evacuate it in an emergency?
  • Understand locks and how they work? Know how they’re defeated and how to make them harder to defeat?

Piloting – Can you…

  • Use defensive driving to avoid collisions and altercations?
  • Identify and repair common problems in and around your vehicle? (Flat tire, eroded battery terminals, overheated vehicle, etc.?)
  • Do you have the necessary equipment to jump-start or repair your vehicle if needed?
  • Quickly dismount your vehicle in an emergency? (Vehicle trapped under wreckage, submerged vehicle, blocked or disabled vehicle)
  • Use your vehicle off-road if need be? Do you recognize pitfalls and hazards of driving off road?
  • Apply these same principles to a boat? An airplane?

Pioneer Skills – Can you…

  • Identify the “rule of 3’s”? (3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food)
  • Build a shelter from native flora?
  • Insulate shelter with native flora?
  • Waterproof the shelter?
  • Gather water using sources, solar stills, or capturing water from vegetation or rainfall?
  • Filter and purify water without using chemicals?
  • Build a fire in any weather conditions? (Rain, snow, extreme heat)
  • Build a fish net? A trot line? Jig for fish using minimal man-made resources and relying on natural implements?
  • Identify edible plants, roots, and berries in your area? Identify poisonous flora and fauna?
  • Identify, trap, and process game in your area? Prepare it with only a fire you’ve built?

Power Production

The ability to transfer the unlimited amounts of energy provided by the sun, wind, and water to our families gives us an opportunity to maintain some of the comfort and luxury provided by modern technology.  Can you…

  • Identify the best resources for your area, home-site, and living situation?
  • Install and utilize a small setup that can be used for backup lighting and emergency communications?
  • Install a grid-tie system with supplied parts?
  • Fabricate solar cells, a hydroelectric alternator, or wind turbine from available materials?

Water Procurement/Purification – Can you…

  • Identify water sources, cachement options, and storage methods?
  • Identify your water needs and estimate volume required for your family in an emergency?
  • Purify water through sand/charcoal filtration method?
  • Purify water using other filtration methods and/or distillation?
  • Store and maintain water supply in your home or shelter?
  • Identify potential hazards and contaminants to your water supply?
  • Are you prepared to neutralize these contaminants along with parasites that could cause illness?

This list of tasks is by no means comprehensive – and I’ll admit that many of these are built from my own knowledge or known deficiencies. Please feel free to share the results of your assessments, people who’ve instructed you, or the experiences you’ve gained from them or your own experience, and/or elaborate on other tasks and topics that I’ve overlooked.

Cheers,

~ Aaron Moyer

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21 Comments

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2373
Waste Management

Can you...
- Manage food waste without infrastructure?
- Manage biological waste without infrastructure? For how long? How far are you from a water source? How many people live near it?
- Manage "trash" without a garbage collection? For how long?
- Wash and dry clothing without electricity? For how long? How will you sanitize clothing without a washer and dryer?
- If you have children, how you manage their accidents? Clothing? Bedding?
- Care for the elderly, sick or infirm? How will you tend to their health and hygiene without infrastructure? How long could you do this?

Cheers,

Aaron

 

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
Diapers Are Bulky...

I'm really hoping my kids are fully potty-trained in the next few months... Diapers take up a lot of space in a bug-out bag...

Poet

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
Please delete.

My bad. Wrong location to post.

 

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 575
Aaron thank you for this!

Your article has given me some great tips for things to do to further add to my preparations. As always, true success lies in the details, and this list is a great help for taking things one step further. In a way it embraces a balanced scorecard approach to help us identify goals and what measures we might use to review how we will meet those goals. There are some excellent things pointed out, which I overlooked, and I would like to thank you for taking the time to put this all together for us. Learn something new everyday here at PP!

Jan

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Diapers

Look into old-fashioned "flats" -- big, thin diapers (often used by backpackers) -- that can be line-dried very quickly.  You have to fold them a million times before putting them on a baby, but they're perfect for low-technology washing situations.  My favorites are birds-eye weave cotton, but I"m not sure if they're available anymore.  It's been awhile.

Also, nylon taffeta "plastic pants" are IMO the most lightweight "diaper cover" option available.  There are other more convenient options (with velcro, etc), but they would be heavier to carry.  Nylon taffeta pull-on covers are also very quick-drying.

Mine are all out of diapers now, but you bet I gave this some thought...I had four in nighttime diapers at one point and two in daytime diapers at the same time for years.  Felted wool covers are also a good option, esp. for heavy nighttime wetters, though they do need to be periodically re-lanolized (not such an issue in a short-term bug-out situation).  A regular tube of lanolin (Lansinoh) will last for years for this purpose.  Wool covers are somewhat antimicrobial, so they can be dried and reused multiple times before they stink.  They do take a loooong time to dry, though.

"Elimination communication" is not a bad sort of 'prep' to consider, though I think it works best if started from birth.

Good luck with the potty training!

Poet wrote:

I'm really hoping my kids are fully potty-trained in the next few months... Diapers take up a lot of space in a bug-out bag...

Poet

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2373
Gratitude

Thanks Jan!

I really appreciate that you've found this useful, and thank you to all who shared the article. 
Please, feel free to add tasks or ideas you may have, and/or ask for elaboration on tasks here. 

My aim is for this to be a place where readers in all phases of preparedness can come and audit their level of readiness, then find resources, knowledge and expertise to help direct them to more advanced knowledge. Additionally, I hope that this is something that enriches lives through greater skill and understanding - regardless of the future being radically different, or relatively similar.

Cheers,

Aaron

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 3210
A lot of helpful & specific prods here

Aaron -

As someone who's been working over the past several years to become more resilient, this helps me realize I still have much to work on - but in a constructive way that helps me better focus my skill development plans (or my community outreach).

Many thanks for this list. 

cheers,
A

 

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 878
Nothing Like a Good Book

Aaron,

Great topic! Thanks for starting the thread.

Wouldn't it be great to have an expert there when you need one? Well, of course. The next best thing is a book written by an expert - a real book with pictures and words on paper pages, the kind that work without electricity. Books transfer knowledge across time and space. They are remarkable (pun intended.)

Every once in a while, I go shopping for "how to" books at the local second hand store. These folks buy leftovers from estate sales for next to nothing and add a little markup to make a living. I stay out of any store with "antique" in the name. Those places are catering to snooty snobs with more money than brains.

People get rid of books because they are so old fashioned. I bought a complete set of Time-Life "Fix It Yourself" Series (21 books) for $29. I felt like I was stealing them. Talk about an investment that works. I've got books on gardening, brewing, canning, cheese making, butchering, Veterinarian books, on and on.

I generally look through them to see what is needed to ply the trade. You can't have everything, but you can boil it down to the basics and get some of those tools, especially hand tools that will do in a pinch. People prefer power tools today, so the hand tools sell for slightly more than scrap value (except antiques.) If you have a choice, get a tool that is sturdy and will work for a long time.

Grover

yogiismyhero's picture
yogiismyhero
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 28 2013
Posts: 173
Great stuff...

...can I carry a backpack all day? Well, my golf clubs I carry, 4 hours most every day, and I have no issues from a physical standpoint. All day? I think I can. Everything else you listed are just great planning information. I have printed them and this list will be my point of reference. Again, thank you.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 30 2009
Posts: 811
Where is community

Reading your list, put me in mind of a TV or movie character who is capable of anything the situation requires, no matter how dire or challenging.  I smile at the CSI tech who can solve the most difficult case with little or no evidence in an hour, even with 15 minutes of commercials, or the government trained special or black opps agent who can go up against any number of people regardless of how they are armed with little more than a penknife and pervail.  It's often entertaining, but I've never met anyone like that in real life?  Even if you have, what percentage of the people alive today do you believe capable of attaining that level of expertiese.

At a younger age, I too would have wanted to be the man capable of everything.  But at 61, I see things differently.  I am handier than most and in better shape than most people my age.  I've spent well over a dozen weeks in various wildernesses, relying on my knowledge, preparation and what I can carry on my back or in my canoe.  I'm also a life long introvert and would rather rely on doing things myself vs asking for help or cooperation.  

But I've come to realize over the years that community is critical, and yet most of the preparation I have done so far has been entirely personal.  The most important area I have ignored so far is community.

Questions you should add to the list is, 'What do I need to do to improve the resiliancy of my community?" and 'Am I building relationships with resiliancy minded people to enhance my ability to survive and enjoy life and their ablity to do likewise?'

Regards,

   Les Phelps

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 23 2011
Posts: 209
I printed that list.

A lot of material to assimilate.  Thanks Aaron ! It also shows that no one individual has all the capablities and know how to be able to do all of this. Importance of community.  Everybody has an important role. People used to be the books that passed the knowledge down to the next generation. We didn't have a choice to interact. The intellects with  real know how have always been well paid and protected for the survival of the community. Find your niche ....who are you and what can you contribute.

As for good books I've found some real interesting and cheap ones in garage sales. A whole hardcover popular mechanics encyclopedia for $5.00. What a deal!

NN

 

 

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2373
The Hero Fallacy

Hey Les, 

Thank you for your comment - I've been thinking on the best way to respond, because at a glance, you're right. Very, very few people could expect to become subject matter experts on everything on this list, but that's not necessarily the point. 

My experience is that the limits are in your mind. You can learn, achieve, and build skill endlessly throughout your life. The problem becomes:
1. Do I have the time?
2. How hard to I need to work to reach my goals?
3. Is the sum of "1" and "2" worth the resultant skills/abilities learned.

Community was left out only because we cannot really audit our friends and neighbors. Many of us are stuck in situations where we live in areas with richly cultivated apathy and very have little in the way of social sustainability. But, that's not to say it's not important to me. 
Perhaps my favorite quote is:
"The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf."

This audit is one of the individual wolf. Anything you bring to whatever pack you end up with will be a strength to the larger group. 

With that said, this list is not exceptionally difficult skills to pick up. Leaving out things like "language", advanced medicines, legal awareness, and engineering was part of the overall goal, as these skills take years to cultivate, and are out of the realms of reasonability for all but a few, very gifted individuals. The ones presented here can be learned (and the associated questions answered) by a combination of learning, practical application, and purchase of goods, and are staples of "primitive" living.

It's my opinion that these skills represent the challenges that confronted early settlers in foreign territories, and are very likely the problems that will face an "austere" America, should we devolve into that state. A person living in these conditions should at least be familiar with the topics.

I hope this helps!
Cheers,

Aaron

maxwellbach's picture
maxwellbach
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2009
Posts: 29
A different kind of preparation

Aron,

Your list of skills is pretty comprehensive but it seems to be predicated on the assumption that we'll all have the space and freedom to pursue an outdoor survivalist living in a post peak wilderness. To me it sounds like an American frontier dream reprised. 

I'm not sure any of us will ever get the chance to play Daniel Boon again. All the evidence points to the contrary situation where we may be short on resources but there’ll be plenty of authority and concomitant fear to contend with. The real future is more like one where people will be locked into an urban cage, where each person's identity pass won't let them move out of their defined urban zone into another one, much less into the wilds. We won't have an absence of law & order but an excess of it. People isolated and afraid will rat on each other at the first opportunity. Fear and division will be rife. Even obedient conservative folk will be at constant risk of being “taken in for questioning” – never to be heard from again. Each of the skills you've identified may well be heavily regulated and policed with severe punishments applying to any unauthorised person engaging in the practice of them. Think of Bahrain only recently. In such an environment a wholly different set of skills would be required - at least initially. 

I know your post is well intended and I’ve no desire to destructively criticise you. Nor do I wish to be an armchair theorist. I have read and considered many blogs with this sort of advice and have gone some way down this path myself, but these days I fear it’s a trap. Why do the mainstream media promote prepping shows on TV and prepper heroes and values in movies? It’s because prepping for a wild frontier is a fantasy. This type of prepping distracts people from the real problem which is growing like Pinocchio’s nose right on their face – the creeping authoritarianism that is taking over every aspect of our physical and spiritual lives and our enervating subservience to it.

On another level, I’ve come to see survivalist prepping as the very embodiment of disease that’s killing the world and us along with it. It contains within it the same value set that a Goldman Sachs banker would have and, as such, it actually empowers those very people while disempowering the rest of us. The criminal elite that is presently raping & pillaging the globe also work from a survivalist paradigm, only they use a different tool set to the one you propose. Their preparations include an ability to control or at least influence the money supply, the political process, the media, the police and the military. With these skills mastered, they’re in good shape, whatever happens. The values that drive them, including their values around community, would align almost perfectly with those of a frontier prepper.

So much more than practical, physical survival skills, we need to develop the mental spiritual and emotional faculties necessary to overcome the externalised manifestations of our own fear which are writ large across the world in every dimension of our experience: a corrupt and dysfunctional economy (and our near total dependance upon it), the police state and the military industrial complex, to name a few.

As a practitioner of my own advice I can attest that it's a harrowing road to tread. My successes so far are small & pitifull. I judge no one, especially not you Aron as your post was admirable and most well intended.

All the Best Max Bach

maxwellbach's picture
maxwellbach
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2009
Posts: 29
A different kind of preparation

Aron,

Your list of skills is pretty comprehensive but it seems to be predicated on the assumption that we'll all have the space and freedom to pursue an outdoor survivalist living in a post peak wilderness. To me it sounds like an American frontier dream reprised. 

I'm not sure any of us will ever get the chance to play Daniel Boon again. All the evidence points to the contrary situation where we may be short on resources but there’ll be plenty of authority and concomitant fear to contend with. The real future is more like one where people will be locked into an urban cage, where each person's identity pass won't let them move out of their defined urban zone into another one, much less into the wilds. We won't have an absence of law & order but an excess of it. People isolated and afraid will rat on each other at the first opportunity. Fear and division will be rife. Even obedient conservative folk will be at constant risk of being “taken in for questioning” – never to be heard from again. Each of the skills you've identified may well be heavily regulated and policed with severe punishments applying to any unauthorised person engaging in the practice of them. Think of Bahrain only recently. In such an environment a wholly different set of skills would be required - at least initially. 

I know your post is well intended and I’ve no desire to destructively criticise you. Nor do I wish to be an armchair theorist. I have read and considered many blogs with this sort of advice and have gone some way down this path myself, but these days I fear it’s a trap. Why do the mainstream media promote prepping shows on TV and prepper heroes and values in movies? It’s because prepping for a wild frontier is a fantasy. This type of prepping distracts people from the real problem which is growing like Pinocchio’s nose right on their face – the creeping authoritarianism that is taking over every aspect of our physical and spiritual lives and our enervating subservience to it.

On another level, I’ve come to see survivalist prepping as the very embodiment of disease that’s killing the world and us along with it. It contains within it the same value set that a Goldman Sachs banker would have and, as such, it actually empowers those very people while disempowering the rest of us. The criminal elite that is presently raping & pillaging the globe also work from a survivalist paradigm, only they use a different tool set to the one you propose. Their preparations include an ability to control or at least influence the money supply, the political process, the media, the police and the military. With these skills mastered, they’re in good shape, whatever happens. The values that drive them, including their values around community, would align almost perfectly with those of a frontier prepper.

So much more than practical, physical survival skills, we need to develop the mental spiritual and emotional faculties necessary to overcome the externalised manifestations of our own fear which are writ large across the world in every dimension of our experience: a corrupt and dysfunctional economy (and our near total dependance upon it), the police state and the military industrial complex, to name a few.

As a practitioner of my own advice I can attest that it's a harrowing road to tread. My successes so far are small & pitifull. I judge no one, especially not you Aron as your post was admirable and most well intended.

All the Best Max Bach

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2012
Posts: 523
I remember

a statement from the msm during the aftermath of 9/11, and It had a profound effect upon me as I remember it like it was yesterday, and in light of your succinct post, I think I now understand the true meaning of what the statement entailed.

It was one of Bin Ladens (but as I now believe faked CIA videos) cave productions stating that he would turn our everyday lives into a "choking hell" with his brand of terrorism.

I think the producers of that video knew exactly what they were talking about, hence the fully fledged police state in Amerika brought about by our very own establishment and the war of, not on terror.

Good post Max Bach.

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Aaron M
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2373
Max Bach,I think tending

Max Bach,
I think tending animals is hardly a survivalist fantasy. Most survivalists dream of double tapping U.N troops as they wave an American flag and scream like William Wallace. Most of the ones I've met, anyway, and little or no real thought is given to the remedial actions that individuals (the cells of a societies systems) can take to strengthen their communities. Not one dystopian society has lasted longer than a natural human lifespan, to my knowledge, and the fallout that occurs after their collapse is well-documented and chronicled.

These skills are literally the backbone of human society from the dawn of the agricultural revolution until ~1940.
That's several thousand years of social continuity im drawing upon. If you think that the west is going to surrender passive controls, such as media domination, and monetary control for some sort of Stalinist dystopia, I think you may want to rethink how our social management thinks...

They're not stupid, and they won't risk a revolution to garner control they already have. There would literally be no gain in this course of action. We do not have a centrally planned economy, we don't need terrifying gulags when we can throw people in state prisons for almost anything. We don't need to scare people to seize total dominion. Isn't that clear by now?

For those reasons, I'd suggest your supposition is at least as much fantasy as your misinterpretation of my article, which is not a "survivalist" missive, but rather a list of skills which WILL be necessary when our unique and unprecedented system of social control fails. Knowing where you'll get clean water, and how much you'll need is a thing best thought of •before• you're thirsty.

No matter what you reference, from WWII Austria to 2001 Argentina, people need to know how to secure safety, provide food, medical treatment, clean water, hygienic measures and some mechanical savvy.

Perhaps the most fundamental point I hope to to make is that no one can take skills from you. They are yours, once you build them, and once you can look at a list like this and say "I got this", you can look at the future with a confidence that nearly any situation that unfolds will not cripple your ability to prosper.

Thank you for your comment, I hope this clarifies my intent.
Aaron

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2373
Survival and Predation

Max,

Upon reading this the first time, it seemed so esoteric that i didn't want to get into it... You said:

Quote:

On another level, I’ve come to see survivalist prepping as the very embodiment of disease that’s killing the world and us along with it. It contains within it the same value set that a Goldman Sachs banker would have and, as such, it actually empowers those very people while disempowering the rest of us. The criminal elite that is presently raping & pillaging the globe also work from a survivalist paradigm, only they use a different tool set to the one you propose.

Are you suggesting that working hard and being skilled victimizes those who are not?
If so, is it the responsibility of the skilled, and parenthetically, the right of the unskilled, to share or receive the bounty of labor respectively?
If your answer is yes, is then the unwillingness of the skilled to share the fruits of their labor without compensation the same as predatory monetary controls in which the drastic majority of wealth in capitol is concentrated in the hands of a fraction of the population?

Finally, if "yes" is your answer here, would you mind indulging me on how you justify relating the labors of production of tangible goods to the institution of money?

Personally, i agree with you in some small way - a prepared individual who does not offer freely their resources is removing a net asset from a system, and giving it to another, just as is the monetary institution.

However, wealth control is a game of fiat, in which no work is done to accomplish the predatory lending that takes wealth from one pool and gives it to another. Labor, is without a doubt, entirely different. If you do not work or contribute to the production of goods, you have no claim to their distribution.

I believe thus because i abhor socialism, and refuse to believe charity is an obligation.
Interested in your perspective.

Aaron

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maxwellbach
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2009
Posts: 29
Agree Aaron

Hi Aaron,

Appreciate your comments and I have no disagreement with them. If any offence was caused by my comment I apologise. Please be assured none was intended. I'm pretty confident I didn't articulate my point very clearly so I'll make one more attempt at doing so. I'd be delighted to read any further response you may have but none is required as I don't want to detract from your worthy post. 

My thought is that basic self reliance is essential in all contexts as it has been at all times in history. A society composed of self-reliant individuals is likely an industrious and prosperous society. In a collapsing society/economy basic self-reliance at an individual level is invaluable but herein lies the conundrum: the better prepared/capable I am, the less I need to rely on others who are not, but so long as I'm surrounded or controlled by people who are not self-reliant, the chances of me exercising my skills are attenuated in direct proportion to the dependency I'm surrounded by.   

The most industrious and capable individual on Easter Island was probably murdered by resentful relatives long before James Cook stumbled across the starving dregs of that society. Stopping the madness early would have been his/her best survival strategy. Failing that, there was really no viable alternative. I firmly believe that we're all in this together and that there will be little we can do to help ourselves individually once things get really tight. As I read your initial post I was thinking; "where are the tips on resisting/surviving authoritarian rule, martial violence, a corrupted legal system and a permanent state of emergency?". Of course such things are not appropriate here and don't let such thinking get in the way of your sound advice; but that's the essence of what I was thinking. The Living Two Lives seminar offered elsewhere on this site is something I would surely benefit from. It's a great pity I live on another continent.

Thanks for your contribution. All the best - Max.

A1B2C3D4's picture
A1B2C3D4
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 24 2009
Posts: 24
www.studentsforliberty.org enables me to sleep at night!

While we are all preparing to survive the collapse of the dollar please keep in mind that some college kids are using their ingenuity to lay the foundation for a restoration of our limited constitutional republic.

SFL started in 2008 with twelve students each from a different college. Now there are over 930 colleges which have chapters and they are not just in the States but all over the world! They are not simply growing but also learning from the books about our history, Austrian free market economics, the fact that our Founders granted just certain powers to their creation, the central government, by limiting the powers listed in Article 1 Section 8. SFL has allied themselves with the Atlas Society as well.

Imagine this will keep growing over time to the point where they will represent a significant percentage of the electorate and will influence dialog and candidates for office. These individuals are aware of the direction this country is heading in and want to change its course before its too late. It is a race against time but given that ideas move the world and the wonders of the internet and individual initiative this movement promises to grow rapidly among those the world over who value their own freedom and liberty.

I support them with a modest contribution and follow their growth at their website.

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Cherihuka
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Joined: Jun 18 2012
Posts: 41
social media & tech reliant groups

I hadn't heard of that group - it could be something that grows, something that is passionate like the anti-war university riots of the 60's - but easily contained but when one considers the current regime of overt spying and info gathering, and the overt lack of rule of law now... I kind of think such movements would /could be squelched by simply shutting down transmission lines and internet. 

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2373
America or Afrika - How much longer will there be a difference?

Hey Max,

Sorry for the long delay, it's been a busy summer. 
Absolutely no offense taken - and I agree, the topics you bring up *are* important - whether in an increasingly authoritarian government in the first world, or living under Mugabe in Zimbabwe. 

I don't want my views of the world to be constrained by the Amero-centric view that so many people in the states suffer from... the sociological developments we could be looking at are similar across the spectrum, and you're right - it does matter of you're dealing with a statist government running surveillance on its citizens, and covering it up with sensationalist banter, or a facist dictator driven by race, who's hell bent to purge an ethnicity from his land by violence... 

Being dismissive of your point would be a disservice to the members here and elsewhere, who are looking for legitimate comment on how to prepare. It's great to know how to provide for yourself, but as you can see in the second link (Mugabe and the White African) - it doesn't matter if you're providing for yourself. The Government can hire thugs to harass, beat, and terrify you off your land in a relentless campaign for redistribution. 

How do you fight that? It can't all be done politically, but I'm very reluctant to give it full audience because of the implications... having been involved in a country's civil war, I'm not eager to invite solutions that promote violence. The battle right now is for ignorance, and the statists are absolutely sweeping the board in the Western world. When we allow ourselves to give in to such forces, the next and most logical step is creating a caste in which the minority group is intimidated and battered by those who stand to gain from the promises of statism. 

Mike Campbell is a hero of mine, for taking a non-violent stand against a racist dictator, and I hope that people here will watch MATWA (Netflix has it available to stream) to see that Maxwell is, beyond a doubt, correct. It will take much more than self-reliance to weave through the net being cast by the power hungry, and their relentless pursuit of those who'd reject their authority for freedom and independance from over-reaching governing. 

Cheers,

Aaron

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