Letter Re: The Psychology of Denial in the Information Age

I was interested in your response to Bill H. who wrote about the Psychology of Denial. Your suggestions were excellent, and Bill’s ideas were good also, but I fear those suggestions will convince very
few people.

I just turned 60 and have been a “prepper” since about age 10. I grew up in the Cold War and my folks were scared silly about a nuke attack (we lived in the Sand Francisco Bay Area). We had a rudimentary bugout bag…in 1956!
We always maintained about a month’s worth of food and bottled water. While our preps were very inadequate by contemporary standards, being prepared left an indelible impression on me and I have been an avid prepper/survivalist ever since. After decades of trying to persuade folks to even just think about dire possibilities I have come to one conclusion:

Most folks cannot bring themselves to think about any change in their comfortable life style. Heck, we have trouble even getting most folks to think about improving their educations to get out of an unpleasant job. They have to be fired or laid off to get to that point (I teach at University of Phoenix in addition to my regular job so am involved in adult education). To ask them to consider such a complete transformation of their lives is beyond what they are prepared to do. It is beyond what they are able to do.

Also, history teaches them a different lesson. I have been through a couple of great waves of negative outlook plus a couple of significant financial downturns. “Everything has always turned out okay” and there is no reason to think things won’t continue to do so. And they are right, everything has always sort of worked out okay. (Never mind the Vikings and the Goths and the Huns and a few other assorted miscreants, they are just interesting notes in history.)

In short, I have never achieved a complete conversion of someone fully invested in the current world deciding that preparations are useful. I do not know what personality trait it is that allows someone to consider the future in such a way as to prepare but I believe many people completely lack that trait and cannot acquire it. The folks who agree with me and do prepare always indicate that different personality in some noticeable way.

Now I can hear your response already, those keys pounding on the keyboard. “They just have to understand. We have to convince them. Can’t they see?” No, I don’t think thy can and don’t think they ever will be able to. TEOTWAWKI is too much of a long-shot for these folks. – Bruce C.