Skip to main content

How will you fare with less civilization?

Modern civilization is dependent on the consistent presence of a large number of conditions that are opposite of human nature.

With the majority of people openly choosing against these conditions, it is abundantly obvious to all who consider it that modern civilization has been infected by a terminal cancer which has metastasized. 

That modern civilization will not survive is not a question. The only questions are: how long do we have and what will the decline look like?

If you haven't done so already, it is expedient to ask yourself how you will fare as the pillars of civilization crumble. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

When you can no longer rely on norms of civil behavior from your neighbors, how will you fare? 

What would you do if you lost access to drugs (recreational or prescribed) that you use regularly?

What would you do if you lost the ability to instantly order anything you wanted off of Amazon?

What would you do if you lost your job? What would you do if many people in your field lost their job?

What would you do if food became only intermittently available? What percentage of your family's food intake can you grow? Is that based on guesswork, or have you actually tried? In extreme cases (where no food is available) that will require protecting your crops from other people who will certainly try to take them while they are growing. Have you prepared for that?

What would you do if electricity was no longer reliable? How would you store and preserve food? How would you obtain water? How would you dispose of waste (your plumbing won't work if the power is out--sewers will back up).

Some will say "well, if it gets that bad, I'll die anyway." No, but you might wish you were dead. You see, human beings are really bad at a number of things. For example, we are pretty bad at understanding gradual change. We think in terms of light switch events. We are really bad at envisioning and planning for gradual changes. Gradual changes do not mean that the effects are not severe. For example, cancer is a gradual disease, but it is awful, can kill you, and can make you wish you were dead already. There are certainly conditions under which things are so bad that your planning won't matter anymore. For instance, if you live in a suburb, having food storage will only help you in a very narrow range of conditions. In most cases, if you ever needed it there, you can bet there would be a large number of people trying to kill you because they need it, too. However, a great many conditions exist where your pre-planning will, in fact, make an enormous difference. In the previous example, a wisely-stocked hiking backpack and experience using it will help you far more than 10 years' supply of wheat. But even better, in many conditions, will be moving to a better place while it is still possible to do so at so low a cost.

People are bad at noticing and planning for gradual change. Yesterday I was on a plane out of Seattle where several loud passengers were discussing moving out of Seattle. They complained primarily of the housing costs. There are many more people moving out of Seattle than into Seattle. 

Here's something no one seems to understand: God gives people as many reasons as he can at whatever level they are on to make the best decisions they are willing to. That's a principle. It's always true. It's part of his love for us. You will almost never understand the magnitude of the decisions you make, because doing so would require you to have knowledge you probably won't obtain until after the experience. However, God will always give you everything you need to make the right decision, even in your limited awareness. The clues are sufficient.

The folks on the plane seemed to be decent enough people. They were wise enough to understand that the housing costs in Seattle are unsustainable, even for a doctor (which he was). They are getting out, and they will be spared of what comes to Seattle, just because they were smart enough to react reasonably to what every person can clearly see. Maybe the next step in their learning is to realize it isn't good to shout random details about your life to total strangers on a plane.

Some will dismiss my words as alarmist. Take some time and research how life was for almost everyone in this country 100 years ago. Now, imagine how things would look if everyone today were subjected to those conditions. If you've done it right, you should end up with mass starvation, endemic disease, and house-to-house violence resulting in the death of a majority of Americans in short order. It's not just a question of logistics. While everyone back then grew almost everything they ate, today we are not geographically dispersed to do so, we do not have the skills to do so, and there isn't near enough low-tech arable land to do so. More importantly, perhaps, while almost everyone back then possessed the ability and willingness to work a full day and a mental toughness and problem solving ability far beyond what most have today, people today would probably melt into a useless pile or at worst become a savage maniac inflicting mass casualties at far lesser conditions than those we are discussing. For most Americans there was no electricity, no phone, no internet, no computers, no fast food, no refrigeration, no plumbing, no air conditioning, no thermostat heat, no vacuum cleaners, no dishwashers, and no microwaves.