Survivalism and Personal Progress: Seeking Synergy in a Paranoid Paradox

The inexorable acceleration of global warming and geopolitical instability contribute to a climate in which a relatively significant investment in disaster management preparation appears to be reasonable, if not required. So just how much “Doomsday” prepping is too much, and how much is simply part of a rational strategy of diversification? Phriends, if you are looking to me for an authoritative answer, I’m sorry to report that you’re barking up the wrong tree. As a guy who has long had an instinctive aesthetic attraction to the apocalyptic, the idea of prepping has appealed to me for several years, but until recently I had only dabbled. After reading Emergency by Neil Straus in approximately 2010, I started storing a bit of food and bottled water, but I soon became concerned that for me, this sort of thing might become a slippery slope of paranoia, potentially leading to a state of perpetual negativity, a Mad Prophet of Doom, bunkered in, waiting for the apocalypse that never comes. A few years later, a little older, and if not wiser, at least a bit less crazy, I find myself able to approach the concept in a more balanced way. Borrowing ideas from the seemingly paradoxical camps of Zen and finance, I have become more comfortable with the reality of uncertainty, and the need for diversification in one’s approach to the future. The experience of becoming a father has caused me to realize that preparing for the future, whether it be apocalyptic or not, is no longer an optional endeavor, and needs to be approached in as rational and strategic a manner as possible. The apparent paradox between living in The Now and taking reasonable actions to increase the probability of a safe and enjoyable future is perhaps a topic for another day, but unless some sort of transcendental collective enlightenment is achieved, the future remains a universal human concern. I make no claim to foresee the future, and while I remain perhaps irrationally optimistic about the potential for human development, there are clearly myriad significant short and medium term large-scale risks which seem only logical to incorporate into one’s assessment of and preparation for the wide array of disparate and unknowable possible future scenarios. Clearly, it is impossible to prepare for everything, and there are certainly innumerable conceivable situations in which there is no possibility of survival, regardless of one’s level of preparation. Even so, a combination of recent history and imagination can serve to inform us of certain broad categories of disaster, many of which can be rendered significantly more survivable given even a moderate amount of sensible preparation. Interestingly, as I begin to take disaster preparation more seriously, I find that I am also approaching other matters of personal, artistic, and professional development in a more effective manner. This subjective and anecdotal experience suggests a thread of speculation that taking matters of fundamental physical survival more consciously into account might create a sort of biologically driven cognitive enhancement, with the potential to be applied to many different areas of life. Progress in these other areas, such as healthcare, community involvement,  sustainable living, economic development, quasi-political organization, interdisciplinary scientifically informed next wave industrial innovation, re-imagination of social contracts and constructs, newly evolutionary art forms, and generalized myth-making might in turn contribute to synergies with one’s disaster preparedness methodology, creating a sort of virtuous spiral, theoretically serving to mitigate violent and disruptive external forces, ultimately clearing and illuminating a path toward a brighter tomorrow.  As a relative newcomer to the Wide World of Prepping, I currently consider myself to be prepared at about a 3 out of 10 (generously), with 1 being a completely pedestrian civilian, and 10 being a fully sustainably bunkered commando. I’d like to get closer to a 7 out of 10 within the next couple of years, taking small incremental steps, without compromising the other priorities in my life, and plans for more favorable possible futures. With this goal in mind, I intend to dedicate an intentionally uncertain percentage of my future posts to exploring a variety of survivalist related topics. Again, to be clear, I am not claiming expertise in the field, but am happy to pass on potentially useful knowledge as I acquire it, and will credit my sources when appropriate. I invite comments with additional ideas or constructive criticism. When I find items that I personally own and find useful, I’ll post Amazon links. Phoenix and I make about a 2% commission if you buy something through our links, and it doesn’t cost you any extra, so we appreciate your consideration. I promise not to promote anything that I don’t actually believe in. It is important to me that prepping not become an isolated and paranoid endeavor, and thus discussing it in a public forum might prove psychologically beneficial. If the Walking Dead has taught us anything, it’s the seemingly paradoxical truth that people are the real threat, but that we all need other people to survive. 

Byron H Diel
AKA Subcommander Dada

Copyright 2017, Byron H Diel, DBA EyeDiel Enterprises