Friday, April 20, 2012

Darwin? Not So Much....

by muroh

Hot Springs Wizard, in the last post, put up a link to Survivalacres blog with a posting on his view of “bugging out” when the SHTF. I have been advocating much the same thoughts on this for a long time now and have occasionally mentioned some of my thoughts on the subject at the campfire. However, I have a few disagreements concerning his conclusions and the scenarios he offered.

He starts off with the idea that a family man decides to abandon wife and kids and hit the wilderness with a backpack when things turn absolutely sour and lists in detail what he is leaving behind and the consequences. No problem with that scenario but personally I don’t know any men that would be willing to abandon their family like that. Granted, some might be so inclined, but most would try and make it with the family I think, maybe even with a few others at the same time. Safety in numbers and all that implies. The problem with this is that very few people from modern society are actually knowledgeable enough to even try and pull it off. That is, the death rate for such attempts would be quite high, probably around the 90% mark.

Let’s take a look at some things he didn’t mention.

Depending on your locality and what kind of environment you are escaping into, food, water and environmental protection are the primary concerns. In a desert environment heat, water and food would be very hard to overcome. In the northern environments, cold weather is a real problem. None of these problems are impossible to overcome, but so few would be prepared to deal with it as to be a nonsensical try. Remember the Apaches from the early history in America? They did it.

Some time ago, I had a young fellow (20 something) tell me that if things got real bad, he would head off into the wilderness and be self sufficient as he knew how to hunt and fish and build rough shelters. I asked him if he knew how to make his own clothes, how to make gunpowder, how to replace his supplies as they broke or were used up and how he would make the time to do so if he did know how. I got a silent stare. I then asked him just how much game he figured was available and how many other folks would be trying the same thing. I suggested that there would be so many folks so desperate for food that the game would rapidly disappear or become very wary and very difficult to get to. We aren’t living in the 16th century any more, with abundant game and wildlife to sustain humans to any large degree. They would soon be gone. Then what? Plus, I would think there would be a whole lot of folks out there trying to find whatever was edible and willing to take whatever you had.

If you read the diaries and what information there is available concerning the folks that did this kind of living back in the very early days of this countries settlement, it was a very tough way to live in comparison to today. Our modern way of living does not prepare us for this, even close.

What Survival Acres did not mention is the idea that living in a SHTF scenario will demand a much lower standard of living and a much greater demand on an individuals or families ability to adapt, to become much more sustainable by their own efforts. Living in a large urban center doesn’t make that very possible. You will have to supply much, if not all, of your own food and water right off the top. Until the human population is vastly reduced and game recovers (if that will even be possible due to environmental degradation) people are going to have to figure out how to grow their own food wherever they are. If you are living where this is flat out impossible you will need to get somewhere where it is possible. Then, you will have to deal with those folks that figure looting and stealing is the best way to go.

This has little to do with temporary dislocation due to some kind of disaster like volcanoes, or flooding or even radiological dangers. Human populations running away from immediate dangers are common enough. I am not going to even try and deal with cosmological disasters like pole reversals, meteor impacts, continental shifts, rising oceans, or extreme sun activity.

If we look at recorded human history and speculate on unrecorded human history, we can see that small bands of humans survived very well over fairly large land areas in all kinds of environments. But, survival of individuals without the support of some amount of other humans was very rare indeed. The survival needs were broken down into fairly specialized skills that contributed to all of the group; those that learned to make clothing, tools, shelter, hunting, finding water, and, yes, fighting.

One of the more specific thinkers of the early 1900’s was Peter Kropotkin on biology and politics. He maintained that the concept of Darwin’s survival of species by the fittest was off base. He maintained it was cooperation that insured species survival, particularly humans. The survival of individuals by the fittest worked ok, but not for a species. After all, over 90% of all the species that have ever inhabited this planet are now gone, become extinct. Without cataclysmic interruption, it appears that humans are the best suited to for survival as long as they cooperate with each other in that endeavor. It sure appears to me that humans have ceased to really be cooperative to survive, and, instead have become entranced with individual survival; the whole social Darwinism concept that seems to be predominating today.

Our environment has warmed up, but is still wet and cold. We have begun to plant some early starts for the garden in the greenhouse and the cold cases. I’ve got some small engine repairs and clean up to do and a whole bunch of clean up on the property to get done. Finally the wintered over garlic, onions and rhubarb are poking up. It’s still so cool that nothing else is showing signs yet of interest to do much. Warm enough though that the chickens are perking up on the egg laying. Still have to determine what hens to cull out for not being productive at all. I’ve got about 60 rabbit hides drying to get to the tanning when I have the time. I’m really missing Brie.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Dragon Tattoo?

On a brighter note, Rockpicker's Seeds of Peace. Nice.

Rockpicker's Wintered-over spinach


We watched a remarkable movie a few nights ago. It was the original "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo," produced in Sweden. Soon, we'll be getting the American version which won Academy Awards in February. This film is haunting to me, and I can hardly wait to see the different versions and sequels. The leading character, Lisbeth, seems almost feral. Unfortunately, I have not read the books, so my understanding may be a bit limited. But, despite that, I find the character compelling. Apparently, she was molested as a child by her father, and her depressed mother was not able to help. She got revenge on her father by throwing gasoline in his face and setting him on fire when she was nine. She grew up in a mental hospital and is out now, but still under supervision. Turns out she is a computer whiz with a photographic memory, and it delves into a strong story line about an investigation on which she collaborates with a journalist. Anyway, I can't seem to get it out of my head.

I wonder if she is a prototype of the generation to come. Born into an abusive dysfunctional family, institutionalized and under surveillance for the majority of her adolescence, probably drugged, bitter, and distrusting of most everyone and everything, the girl is unswerving in her antipathy towards the greater culture, disdainful of social interaction, and determined to look out for herself. With her piercings and dark clothing, she looks goth and is almost mute. I wonder - with cell phones and the internet and possible rfid chips made mandatory, what effect will it have on the ones raised with this onerous burden of no privacy? She has been damaged, it shows, and it's not going away anytime soon.

What happens to us when every person and authority whom we have been taught is there to help us, betrays our trust? What happens to our children (and ourselves) when it is demonstrated that our government is a fascist, authoritarian state, our churches are run by pedophiles and and hypocrites, our news if full of lies, our police are thugs, our bankers and business leaders are global elitists with no loyalties to country or to people, and the local government is loaded with corrupt, self-serving miscreants?

Classic examples of betrayal include Judas selling out the location of Jesus to the Philistines for thirty pieces of silver; Brutus turning against Julius Caesar and stabbing him; William Wallace betrayed on the battlefield by the nobles and his army left to perish.

On a more personal note, betrayal is so hurtful because it usually involves someone or something that is very significant to you who goes back on their word and leaves you twisting in the wind. Often the betrayal leads one to suspect that a core belief may not be true, and it can shake up one's world view or self-concept. It is worse when the person who betrays you is someone or something that you love. You feel that you have been played for a sucker. One wonders how long this has been going on. Did the person ever love you or was it always just a maneuver to get what they wanted? If it happens enough, one can become jaded, unable to trust, or to allow one's self to fall in love.

In the movie, Lisbeth's determination to protect herself, and her rage when she cannot do so, turns ruthless and cold with her violent revenge and calculating retribution. I have to admit that I found it to be most satisfying. That is not an easy confession for one like me who has been a card-carrying New Ager, quasi Buddhist, who believes in forgiveness, One Love, etc. If a wave of enlightenment is headed our way that leads to a transforming dimensional shift, I suppose that I will be left behind.

Well, we may not have much time before we find out. The Earth is ringing like a bell at almost all of the live seismic monitoring sites:
The West coast and inland US is experiencing multiple earthquakes in areas both known and not known for activity: The Sun and the earth's electro-magnetic shields seem to be affected by the approach of a dark, dwarf star just beyond Pluto, discovered recently by Spanish astronomers: And, radiation from Fukushima is an on-going environmental nightmare.

All this might be considered a good thing, compared to what disasters are manifesting in the financial and political idiocracy fronts. At least, it would level the playing field.

Maybe it's time to get a dragon tattoo.