(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)
I’m sure all SurvivalBlog readers can come up with a list of things they value and believe, often handed down from their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. With the continual onslaught of controversial ideologies, it might behoove one to pick up a book and turn off the digital world. It might give your soul solace. It might remind you of the things you knew to be true as a child. It might be a reference for discussions with family members. Don’t be afraid to review your own version of your cultural heritage that was handed down to you, and decide things for yourself. Don’t be afraid to fully reject the rewriting of your own family’s history. Thoughtfully, intentionally, go over those things, keeping what is good and tossing what is bad, for yourself.
THE DIGITAL WORLD
I believe that part of the success of those who are bent on looting and destroying our own cultural heritage is due to the “digital world”. They remove a word here, a paragraph there, add in ideological “context”, and shift the “narrative” until the text is nothing recognizable. The “changers of society” consider themselves to be morally superior and it is commonplace to hear people state that they “identify” with, or as, this or that. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t seek to force your “identity” on others, and more specifically, on children that are not your own. I personally identify as a human being who really does want to buy the world a coke and have peace on earth.
I hate conflict and am a lover of Peace. However, my love of peace does not mean that I am willing to compromise on what I consider to be “true truth”. And I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me or badger me into compliance. Therefore, I read really good books. Books that are not just rants about some ideological belief, but books that offer various points of view about various things. Well-reasoned books – Books filled with well-referenced ideas from others – Books based on personal experiences that were impactful – Books that seek to teach a lost art or skill – Books filled with art and beauty and poetry, as well as books on the practical How To. So much to learn, enjoy, and so little time!
It feels like we’ve lost the art of reading altogether. If it’s not a quick few paragraphs that will fit on the screen of an iPhone, then forget about it – takes too long – we’re too busy! Over two years ago I made a conscious decision to remove the television sets and not replace them. Yep, there aren’t any of them in my home. It was too easy to kick back in the easy chair and let the dang thing drone on and on, filling my head with empty ideas, and creating “background noise”. It’s too easy to click on the boob tube and let it “entertain” the children, filling their little heads with strange ideas. The subconscious mind is easily manipulated, as Advertisers know full well.
I’m not judging you parents who’ve used the television during lockdowns as a method of managing your children while you worked from home – but I’d sure be selective! I’m not judging the working parents who collapse on the couch after dinner in the evenings to watch their favorite show. I am only offering the idea that without our commitment to books, real books, our cultural history could be lost forever. Knowledge, the kind that matters, will slip away. Reasoning our way out of a difficult time could become foreign to us. Reading (and writing) takes a bit of concentration without interruptions. Our world is frenetic – we need to turn that off and let the mind rest for our own mental health. May our minds rest in a good book, or at least rest in an interesting topic.
HOW TO GET BACK INTO GOOD BOOKS
If any of this resonates with you and you realize you’ve gotten out of the habit of reading good books, or never have, start slow. I say this because our society has programmed us to connect quickly, then disconnect, in short spurts on a hundred topics, never taking a deep dive, just headlines and snippets is all we get. Our attention spans have shortened and we’ve become superficial in our thinking. We parrot what we’ve heard, like little drones. When I hear people begin to use certain phrases, or even use certain words, like the word “rhetoric”, I have an immediate negative reaction (in my mind, of course). I wait for an original or personal thought or experience to come forth from their mouths, and if it doesn’t, I think of that person as shallow because they’re just repeating what they’ve heard others say. It feels so fake to me.
Learning to read again, or if you never have, requires a little time and a good topic. I was in a habit of suddenly being interested in a deep subject, ordering ten books on the topic, and never reading them. Don’t do that. Or, I’d read for hours every day and completely ignore other obligations. Don’t do that either. We want to read for success and pleasure – food for the mind – it can’t become a chore. Pick one book on something that fascinates you and set aside time, maybe just a half an hour a day. Block out that time without distractions. Set a timer if you need to. Get comfy and read. As often happens, the time will fly and you’ll suddenly have read for a couple of hours. If you can do that, good for you. If you don’t have that kind of time, stick to the half hour each day.
There’s nothing wrong with audiobooks to listen to while you work or drive. Discipline is the key. Over time you will find that the actual reading, comprehension, and concentration becomes easier. It sounds like I’m talking down to you, but that is not my intention. My intention is to encourage you to build a library of good books, and not rely on the Internet for your knowledge base, to get into the habit of reading substantively, of thinking deeply, of disciplining your mind, to increase the depth and breadth of what you know a good bit about or to learn something new. I want to encourage you to preserve what you know about your cultural heritage and intentionally do your own analysis. Do not rely on others to interpret for you.
In closing, I will tell you a little story: I was once a Doctoral candidate for three years and did not finish that degree. I became very critical of the quality of education I was paying handsomely for. I realized I was paying for a Title rather than an education, and my ego was bound up in that. One of the phrases that all the teaching professors used was “stand on the shoulders of those who went before you”. The only problem with that “philosophy” was that the particular shoulders we were directed to stand on, meaning learn from, had substantially flawed theories and presuppositions. We were told that we could not form our own original ideas, but that we *must* draw on the “works” of those who had gone before us. Sadly, the “works” produced in the past number of decades by my fellow scholars were less than stellar work, and leaned heavily on unproven, if you will, ideologies. Yes, even in “Science”.
I came to the conclusion that even the Sciences had been perverted. You can take any mathematical model you want and apply it to the problem, but if your data is bunk, it’s all bunk. There are very few PhDs today that even deserve that designation, as the “work” is the kind of work we used to do in high school, and highly flawed. And that makes sense as I look at our political landscape today, where Science has become a political tool. However, if you can READ, you can learn anything you want. You can explore any topic! You can learn far more than a “formal education” will give you and at far less cost. I realize some still think they need the degrees in order to land a great paying job, but I would argue that knowledge and experience are far, far, more valuable, and will last forever. And truthfully, the more things you understand, and know how to do, will be invaluable at TEOTWAWKI. Degrees will mean nothing.
I am a faithful reader of SurvivalBlog and at this blog site, you will find the SurvivalBlog Bookshelf. I have many of the suggested books. JWR has also encouraged us to “starve the beast” and avoid Amazon by frequenting local used booksellers, or a couple of online booksellers ( Books-A-Million (BAM) or Powell’s). I’ve tried several online used booksellers when hunting for a particular book. A great way to find books on a similar topic, is to look at the Reference section of a book you found valuable to see what other books the author read and referenced. Another source might be asking if Gramma or Grandpa, or Great Aunts and Uncles, have any books they could give you – treasures have been found in libraries, garages, and attics. Often you’ll find old books at garage sales, and some thrift stores. You could have fun with the kids – call it a treasure hunt and spend a day visiting used book stores together.
I personally get very excited about books and if I could lollygag my days away reading and writing, I would, but I also enjoy many other things. I hope this will encourage you to seek out old books, maybe store them up for next winter – reading by the fire is one of my favorite things to do. Reading by the fire, sipping on a hot cider or hot chocolate, is even better. And when spring comes again, be ready to put your new learning to good use. Enjoy!