There is recognizably, a great amount of anxiety and angst among crash watchers on how to survive the coming collapse of civilization. The means to do so seems beyond most – they lack the skills, experience, money and resources deemed essential to simply “buy” themselves the comfort zone perceived as being necessary for their survival.
If you are like me, you may not have the means to buy your chance of survival when civilization collapses. It’s also a very real possibility that nobody can really buy their security no matter how much money they may have due to the nature of a full-blown collapse.
So cutting to the chase, here are steps you can take to help your chances.
Collapse survival will encompass several essential areas, which will overlap at all times. Your “job” as it were, is to do whatever you can to ensure this overlap. The absence of any given area, or it’s failure, weakness or oversight could be critical (and probably will be).
Your best defensive, offensive and preparatory response (read that slowly) will first be found in your own head. There you should find the skills, knowledge, experience and judgment that you are going to need.
No? Then here is the list again of what you must do.
a) Develop the skills required;
b) Gain the experience necessary;
c) Learn the knowledge needed;
d) Use good judgment in all things.
Since this is just a blog and not an instruction manual, I’m not going to attempt to cover everything (which I never do here, on purpose in any post, I expect everyone to think for themselves).
What knowledge and skills and experience are required?
Do you know how to make a fire? Gather wood? Skin a deer? Smoke meat? Raise vegetables? Can food? Build a root cellar? Sew clothes? Build a shelter from natural materials? Doctor a wound? Treat an infection? Avoid a police patrol? Hide in the woods? Shoot a gun? Defend your home? Dig a grave?
All these and more are life skills, once known and taught to generation after generation, but not any more. Collapse will mean a retraction, consolidation and reversal of the last 100 years of “progress”. Some areas will probably do just fine, and should you happen to live in one of those areas, these skills will still be usable. And you might even get to do what your doing now, carpentry, metal working, ceramics, accounting, banking, mechanics or pencil pushing, except under different conditions.
But don’t count on it. It is the lack of personal survival skills and experience that will probably kill most people and cause a significant portion of the coming die-off. Add to that the police state / imprisonment, war, civil unrest, climate change, starvation, plague, disease and injury that will come as part of the package.
Not everyone believes that these things can or will happen, but I do for the following reason: interdependency. Everything is connected and hooked together in our world today. There are many, many weak points and linchpins that could fail and probably will. All of them, and I mean all of them, are inextricably linked to oil and the climate. When the energy supplies run out, or diminish to the point they are unaffordable, these weak points and linchpins will start collapsing in earnest.
This will cause a domino effect, toppling and tumbling the entire system of interdependencies. At the very bottom of this interlocking system of dependencies, is global agriculture and fresh water supplies, both extremely affected by available energy supplies and their costs and climate change. Food and arable land will be one of the most prone areas of failure. Without food or water people starve. People relocate. People fight over resources. People start wars. This issue, all by itself, can create massive depopulation, disease, pandemic and death. Entire economies can collapse (look at Zimbabwe).
But it will be much, much more then this. Transportation will almost stop. Electricity will stop flowing in many locations. Water will stop being pumped. Businesses will collapse and economies will implode. Riots will result and desperation will set in. It’s all linked together and it all must work together or it doesn’t work at all.
A predictable response will be enacted, already covered on this blog. Martial law, nationalization of assets, microchip implants, rationing, work camps and a police state. War, draft and even the nuclear option. The world’s fight for survival will commence in earnest – how could it not?
Nations will pit themselves against each other and within. The plutocrats and wealthy plantation owners of the world will be facing the same set of limitations now affecting everyone else on Earth – finite resource limits, and they will fight (sending you to die) to stay on top of the heap as long as possible. And they will also enact their plans for global depopulation. They are not so stupid as to believe that the world can run like it is forever. The coming wars (which will be extremely profitable, like all wars) will enrich them and enable their plans for total control over the Earth and it’s people. At least, that’s their plan.
Nobody knows if they will succeed and it’s beyond the scope of this post to discuss it. Our job will be to figure out how to survive all of this, if we can. Some of us will, most of us won’t. Those the prepare now will already be light years ahead of those that refuse. They will need to be generalists that can employ those skills above and those I’ve included below.
Specialists in select fields will be in high demand, but generalists with well rounded skill sets will be more likely to survive due to their self-reliant nature and experience. Specialists require a lot of support, generalists are capable of providing their own support. But generalists are not always going to be sufficient by themselves, there will be many situations that will require specialized, advanced skills.
Example: advanced medical skills are held by specialists, but I’ve known some doctors who couldn’t fix a flat tire on a bicycle, or knew how to raise vegetables. Generalists will be widely skilled in life skills that deal in self-sufficiency and self-reliance and will be able to provide the things that they and others need, while specialists will be much more focused in providing a specialized ‘service’. They will probably do better for themselves in larger population groups that will require their services and who in turn can provide them with the things they also need.
Here are some practical, generalists skills you will need (redacted from the Sustainable Living & Common Sense forum):
Water: Know many drinkable water springs in order to go to another if you cannot rely on the one you currently use. Learn how to identify a drinkable water spring without having to taste it at your own risk. Learn several ways of purifying water in case you cannot find any pure water springs. Learn how to swim in order to reduce the risk of drowning. Learn how to keep ice in order to keep certain food fresh. Know how to build an ice-house. Learn how to find water in desolated areas. Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.
Food: Learn how to recognize poisonous plants, herbs, fruits/berries, seeds/nuts and mushrooms from edible ones in order to prevent poisoning. Learn how to prepare insects in order to make them safely edible. Learn how to prepare fish and small animals in order to make them safely edible. Learn how to prepare large animals in order to make them safely edible. Learn how to breed livestock. Learn how to feed and raise livestock. Learn how to keep livestock healthy. Learn how to milk dairy animals. Learn how to use all parts of an animal when slaughtered. Try to leave out as little waste as possible. Learn how to slaughter livestock.
Learn how to grow vegetables, herbs and other edible plants. Learn how to grow grains such as wheat, oat and rye. Learn how to grow, find and prepare basic ingredients such as yeast. Learn how to grow and/or maintain fruit trees and fruit bushes. Learn how to forage fruits and nuts in order to prevent waste and destruction of fruit tree or bush. Learn the basic needs of each plant you intend to grow or take care of.
Learn how to use farm tools in order to prevent accidents of misuse. Learn efficient farming and cultivating techniques. Learn how to fish. Learn how to hunt insects, small animals and large animals. Learn how to make bread and other basic recipes. Learn how to make sugar from saps and juices. Learn how to make vinegar and wines. (Note: Wine was a great element of barter trading in the past, it will certain be of great trade value once more in the future.)
Keep one quarter (or more) of your crops for seeds in order to harvest again the next year. Learn how to prevent your soil from exhausting itself. Learn how to make compost. Learn how to conserve your harvested vegetables, fruits and grains throughout the non-harvest seasons. Learn how to build a root cellar. Keep a plan B in case one harvest fails. Keep a positive attitude and be grateful and respectful towards the Earth for her gifts. Do not abuse her. Learn to control yourself and prevent gluttony; practice simplicity towards your food. Eat food only to survive, find emotional shelter elsewhere.
Shelter: Learn how to build a strong and efficient shelter. Learn several efficient building techniques. Build a shelter that will be safe and comfortable to live in. Learn how to make shelter in inclement weather. Learn how to use building tools in order to prevent accidents or misuse. Learn how to make fundamental home objects such as a bed, chairs, table and so on in order to make your home comfortable. Learn how to build a fireplace and chimney in order to keep your shelter warm. Learn how to make locks. Learn how to use and identify building clays and mud. Learn how to maintain your shelter for as long as possible; learn how to make it permanent if necessary. Learn how to build efficient caches to safely store and hide your supplies. Learn how to build efficient storage. Learn how to build miscellaneous structures for multiple purposes.
Fire: Learn several ways of building a fire. Learn how to maintain a fire throughout the night while you rest or when you are not at home. All the while keeping it safe. Learn several fire prevention methods in order to keep reduce the fire hazard in the surroundings. Learn how to prepare and maintain firewood.
Defense: Prepare for barbarians, mobs and hordes. Prepare for dangerous beasts, two legged and otherwise. Prepare for wild dogs. Learn how to use a gun or rifle. Learn how to make and use a weapon. Learn how to maintain your weapon in order for it not to fail when you need it most. Keep it ready at all times. Learn how to make traps. Kill if and only if necessary, be wise. Learn how to setup a defense plan. Learn how to really hide. Learn how to setup an offensive plan. Learn how to observe. Learn situational awareness. Learn silent methods of communication.
If you must kill a human, don’t hate him afterwards, he won’t do you any harm now. He’s like a cloud in the sky to you now. His body is in your hands now so is the possessions he has with him.
Physical Preparations: Prepare to walk great distances. Prepare to work for at least 14 hours per day. Prepare to experience hunger. Learn to conserve vital energy; don’t spend too much energy on a secondary chore and know your priorities. While you have the chance, enhance your physical condition. Train yourself to increase your stamina.
Mental Preparations: Prepare to live on reptilian/survival instincts. Prepare for great losses ahead. Prepare to experience a certain degree of despair depending on your situation. Learn how to control and master your mind and emotions. Learn how to see optimistic dimensions in your life. Learn how to keep yourself intellectually, morally, aesthetically and spiritually satisfied. (Note: Being spiritually satisfied does not mean religion, it means unity. Unity with something greater. Thus, you can find unity with nature by working with it).
Smile: Learn to laugh and be kind with yourself and others. Learn how to wisely analyze situations. Learn how to meditate in order to enhance your concentration and awareness. (Note: Being aware and concentrated will be a great asset, not being concentrated enough causes accidents and wrong choices in the first place. Apply wisdom, respect and compassion to your mind.
Medicine: Learn herbal medicine. Learn how to make serums, oils and infusions for medicinal purposes. Learn basic first-aid maneuvers. Learn how to treat minor illnesses. Learn how to treat dental problems. Learn how to treat accidents. Learn how to treat intoxication and poisonings. Learn many “grand-mother recipes”. Learn all medicinal properties of herbs and plants around your community. Learn how to get a woman through labor.
Hygiene: Learn how make soaps and oils. Know a few safe bathing waterways. Learn how keep yourself dentally clean. Learn how to treat your wastes efficiently. Learn how to ‘toilet’ without polluting the water supply.
Utilities: Learn how to make rope. Learn how make fabrics. Learn how to shear a sheep and process wool. Learn how to dye wool. Learn how makes furs and leather. Learn how make underwear, outerwear, footwear and others. Learn how to recycle rags and fibers. Learn how to make various kinds of knots. Learn how to repair, maintain and make tools. Learn how to make wax and candles. Learn how to make mirrors and glass. Learn how to make several kinds of containers. Learn how to make paper, inks and pens. Learn how to make wooden needles. Learn how to make metal or wooden nails. Learn how to process clay. Learn how to process metals. Learn how to do blacksmithing.
All in all, this makes a lot of things to learn and to do. Of course, remember that there are many things listed above that might not be necessary for you and your community or group. However, you would be better be prepared for the worst. Learn these things as soon as you can, find books and instructors that can help you learn these things.
I have tried to give a expanded list of things someone should know for the collapse. The amount of knowledge you know will “send” you to the age you are technically equal to. Realize you may no longer be able to rely on a world of experts to keep you alive or at a given technological level.
Some of these skills may not all be learned by one person, if you aren’t alone, explore the field you are best at, although it is better to get a basic understanding of all fields, just in case. I am well aware that these things cannot be learned in just in one book, nor can it be learned in a few days. I believe that learning all these skills through books, the Internet, historical societies and farmers and the all-important hands on experience would take at least several years of intensive knowledge absorption.
This is not an all-inclusive list. Everything listed above are valuable skills, knowledge and experience to have. Experience that demonstrates practical / mechanical skill, gardening, carpentry, military, medical, herbalist, outdoorsmen, and the ability to cope with varying conditions and needs.
The most important skill of all is attitude. There is an unbelievable level of abject “failure” in peoples minds when they consider the collapse of civilization. By failure, I mean defeat. If they can’t have this present world, they don’t want any world and they want you and everyone else to simply give up.
What they’re really saying is “I quit” and “I’m pampered and I refuse to try if I have to work at living.” Many people seem to think that a free ride is owed to them. The harsh reality is this – those who have remained soft all of their lives will be fodder. Those that believe that the world will be “too harsh” to handle have already defeated themselves. Those that quit are already dead. Those that refuse to see these changes as opportunities are setting themselves up for failure.
What opportunity am I referring to here? A new way of living is being forged. We will have the “old” technological world and we will also have the harsh reality of depletion and climate change at the same time. The challenge and opportunity is whether or not we can learn to live in this existence. It certainly won’t be the same as it is today, and it will be fraught with danger and death. But it will also be a chance to forge new relationships with each other on a level heretofore unseen in this present world. And will also be an opportunity to live within our means on the Earth.
We need this chance to change our lives. If we don’t take it, if we don’t adjust our minds to this opportunity, we will blow it and humankind will die out.
I’m optimistic enough to hope that some indigenous tribes will survive, like the Kogi and Hadzabe, but modern man is another story. Can modern man successfully revert back to a pre-industrial level? We will find out. The whole surviving world will know in less then 100 years from now. It’s what we do, right now, that will dictate or destroy what the next generation will know how to do. If we do not teach them, by learning these things ourselves, who will?
It isn’t defeat the world is facing and frankly, I’m already sick to death of hearing such comments, because it reveals an attitude that has already given up. We have an opportunity and a challenge in the midst of all the destruction to choose a better way to live. And frankly, that is the very best we can hope for, both now and forever.
Learn to think for yourself for starters. Too many people are simply trained parrots. It’s not always easy to discern the truth of a matter, or even the importance of an issue, but it is a skill you can learn and develop. And it won’t cost you anything either. You can do this in your sleep, standing on your head or taking a shower.
Think. Contemplate and reason. Don’t just “accept” and parrot a programmed, canned response given to you by someone else. What are your thoughts?
Developing mental discipline is actually a life skill and taught by various institutions and schools of learning. However, not all of them will teach you how to actually think. Judgment is the same way, you can be taught how to judge, but it’s highly dependent upon your personal frame of reference.
For example, those that worship money, power, control, property and ownership have a really difficult time understanding the reasoning and even judgment of someone who has no interest in those things. Their frames of reference don’t match.
Unless you understand your own frame of reference, then your judgment is questionable. Personally, I reject such notions of “judgment” from people, institutions and governments that do not understand their own frame of reference, or the consequences of that frame of reference. It’s one of the reasons why I reject modern civilization as being “better”. The concept of “better” implies several things – a fair comparison, a “value” judgment, and an objective decision.
In reality, almost none of these characteristics exist in most decisions and judgments practiced by people or governments. Governments are supposed to embody “impartial” judgment and decision making processes on the behalf of the people and for their benefit, but this isn’t even remotely true. Every entity has a vested interest in its own “best interest” and preservation, almost all decisions and judgments come forth from such interest. In other words, self-interest. This is found in all human relationships and institutions.
A world that is built upon money, power, control, ownership, and covetousness; pride, greed, arrogance, indifference and apathy cannot possibly make sound judgments outside of their paradigm. Any judgments such a world or entity would make would be in the interest of self-interest (perpetuating the status quo).
Do you see now how the frame of reference really makes a difference? If your paradigm is the present status quo – stop reading right now and go do something else, nothing here will make any sense to you at all.
If your paradigm is failing, or if you have made that step to a transitional reality, then you’ve already come much farther then most. Your judgment will be based on an entirely different set of self-interests then those who have not made that journey. And this is a critical point – the self-interest that will see you through collapse will be unlike anything you’ve probably ever known. You will finally be faced with the physical reality and demands of your own existence.
When that happens, if it happens, the pride, arrogance, power, control and ownership issues constantly coveted by everyone else will fall away like the dross they are. They become meaningless because they are meaningless, and you are no longer governed in your own mind by such worthless judgments, or those who practice them.
Your world becomes much simpler and easier to comprehend. It isn’t intellect that you’ve rejected, it’s valueless judgment. What “they” value and what you value, and the decisions you each respectively reach based on those values, are worlds apart. As they should be, because they inhabit a world that is no longer your own. It is an alien reality, a artificial construct created and woven into a widows web of deceit and deception. No human should be required to live like that, and yet all are.
At the center of this liars web lies death and destruction, but no one is truly free from it’s insidious grasp. Not even you. You can free your mind, but freeing your body is going to be much harder as long as our present day civilization and paradigm continues exist. It’s possible the collapse will destroy this old world and usher in a new one, but don’t count on it entirely. I’d rather be pleasantly surprised instead of deeply disappointed.
Now I said all that to say this – the whole issue of value, judgment and personal perception needs to change. Bearing in mind that our existing world is failing because of those things and their wrong judgments, so learning how to judge rightly and wrongly based upon a better value system is essential. It is what you will teach to the next generation.
This is perhaps one of the hardest things to teach and express. There are undoubtedly many other people who can articulate this better then I, so I’ll make it very simple. The standards, values, morals and priorities as used by the present world are lacking in ‘self-worth’. By themselves, they are nothing and have little to none intrinsic value. They are built upon an entire house of cards that contain nothing but empty promises and worthless substance.
What this world values is not what should be valued, and it is the reason why this modern world is imploding. It will be up to the survivors of this modern collapse to develop a new value system and a new understanding of what is truly important and meaningful. For certain, material possessions and their abundance are not it. But in order for us to truly learn that and to be able to embrace that, we are going to have to suffer their loss, if so only that we can learn to do without them and discover again, that they are not necessary for our survival – or our happiness.
Happiness doesn’t come from ‘things’, which are easily obtained and easily discarded. Happiness is a state of ‘being’, contentment with who you are and your existence.
All of this ties in with judgment because we are already ‘guilty’ of judging the loss of this present world as being a negative thing. It will be a good thing in the end, because what this world values (especially from an American perspective) and what should be valued are quite literally, “world apart”.
The only reason we are going to suffer is because we already made the wrong choices. We’ve been living on the gravy train too long, abusing and refusing to believe that our actions would ever catch up to us. We were wrong.
We will suffer because of what many others have done too, who also made the wrong decisions, affecting billions of people. They chose greed and profits, but we are not without our share of the blame. We kept these people in positions of power and prestige from the sheer act of buying their useless crap (and refusing to tear down their edifices they created). Instead of learning self-sufficiency and self-reliance, we remained helpless dependents upon these corporations. We traded our individual liberty for prized pots of porridge, and we are all the poorer for it.
We had a choice, but we didn’t take it. And unfortunately, nobody taught us how to make the right choice. Our own value system was as badly skewed as our plantation owners. But now we know, and now we must choose to live and to escape from their clutches and control.
Collapse survival is going to primarily be about attitude. A healthy attitude towards collapse and how to cope with it will go a long, long ways towards your survival. And best of all, it won’t cost you anything except some time and study and awareness.
More to come in future ‘budget’ posts.