We live in interesting times. Speaking from experience of previous interesting times (a bit more local than the current dose) – it’s usually something best looked back on, or happening to someone else. Someone safe inside the pages of a book (and that book used to prop up a wonky table leg, of a good heavy table).
Still, we’re here now, with everything from job-losses to hurricanes and flooding, to say nothing of uncertainty and potential violence.
So: what to do? People are a bit like sheep, I’m afraid. Not just in the following other sheep (and the goat who leads them onto the slaughter truck) but in other areas. Sheep are the classic herding animal in some ways. When something goes wrong, their instinct is to bunch. Bunch with other familiar animals, preferably sheep just like them, just like them. Which is a bit rough if you’re the odd sheep, or bunching in the wrong place (I’ve seen a thousand or more die – because they chose the wrong side of a field) or bunching up against the cows would be a better idea – or staying away from them (angry or scared cattle are dangerous critters.)
The other thing scared sheep do (and oh boy, do I have experience of this one) is run around in circles. Herding them toward pastures new, or even a water-trough when theirs is empty and they need that water… well, let’s just say it is an exercise in patience… or sheepdogs. If you don’t have either, well, no matter how dire the need, or good the reward on the other side of that gate you want them through for their own benefit, the flock of panicky animals will run around in circles until (if you keep chasing them) they start dying (they might well not stop then, but any sensible human will stop trying well before then. At the moment a lot of the sheep/humans seem to be running around and around the same tired old paddock full of millions of dead sheep who tried it before, of ‘this-time-we’ll-do-socialism/communism-right.’
Of course, in tough times the state is the answer! Governments are always going to look after you better than you can. The people elected are always models of intellect and probity. And they have infinite sources of money to provide pie in the sky. I mean hasn’t that always been the case?
Don’t be a sheep. You can be a sheep, if you choose, when things are fat and easy. Interesting times call for at the very least being a goat. And, at best: for being a smart thinking human, with all the best that humans can bring, and most animals can’t. Foresight, preparation, common sense and the ability (and contacts who trust you and you trust) to band together with a few others who can co-operate (not follow, unthinking) and whose combined skills and knowledge are more than the sum of their parts.
I’ve always been something of a ‘prepper’ largely because we’ve lived rural and often with fairly low incomes (and seizing opportunities for bulk stock-ups is a money saver, long run. It also means you’ve always got things like flour cooking oil and some precious metals like lead (for making fishing sinkers, of course). It’s a way of life, rather than ‘prepping’ per se. But we’ve got anything from six months to three years of food and essentials at any time. We can (and do) farm, hunt, and forage.
And if the world fell apart completely, with runaway inflation, civil wars, and hell-in-handbasket generally…
I would not survive.
Not on my own, anyway. (and, trust me on this, I am better prepared and more capable and knowledgeable than most, and live in a place where resources are plentiful and competition for them is not great. I can catch prey, prep it, cook it, preserve it, with nothing more than my hands if need be, enough to feed a good number of people, year in, year out.)
But I know humans will always face stobor. And often the storbor will be other humans. Certainly at first they’d be easy targets for a hunter used to stalking, but mobs can still destroy what you have built and stored up. And they’ll learn, or at least the ones who live will. And even long-hunters must sleep.
Or that slip that breaks my leg…. I’ll be fine and able to feed (and teach others) thirty… in two months. Not bad months if your group values your skills and knowledge. Tough alone.
Even Robinson Crusoe was better off with Man Friday (and one assumes that Man Friday was better off with Robinson Crusoe).
So: if you’re worried about interesting times, one of the things you can do is plan your bug out – or staying put… around a few solid neighbors or friends. No: you can’t be a parasite. No they are not the government who will claim to be your nanny. But as long as bring something of value too, and work together… this is why humans have been able to overcome harsh environments or marauding prides of lions. Not because they’re tough (some are, but only relatively) but because they think and plan ahead, and co-operate when they need to.
It’s what I write about, a lot of the time.