With the apparent imminent collapse that I have focused upon in my years of preparedness, I was worrying. My focus became a frantic effort. I made plans. Yet, wisdom came with P.M.C.T.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”-Proverbs 16:9
“Man plans and God laughs…” -old Yiddish adage
The Tenth Man Theory
In the 2013 zombie apocalypse movie World War Z the hero has a conversation with an Israeli Mossad agent about the Tenth Man Theory. It states (and I paraphrase) that in the midst of military planning, if nine people agree on a particular strategy or belief, the tenth man is duty-bound to disagree. The rationale behind this is to bring to light problems or other factors that sometimes the majority does not want to acknowledge or is blinded to due to a group-think/herd mentality. I have become my own 10th man, questioning and rethinking my entire strategy of preparedness.
I found it necessary to become my own “devil’s advocate” to prevent my emotional commitment to preparing from completely blinding me to what may become inconvenient realities. There were three realities I needed to see. First, what I was preparing for may happen completely different from what I had envisioned; second, I had to be more mentally prepared, no matter the circumstances; third, what I was preparing for may not happen at all.
What Led to Self-Examination
I have been prepping for nearly a decade and have made a substantial commitment, both financially and psychologically, to the preparedness lifestyle. After years of living and working within eight miles of my retreat property in the foothills of the Eastern Tennessee Mountains, the need to care for elderly parents and the conclusion of a seven year employment contract expedited a return to the suburbs of central Virginia. My retreat property and the majority of my preps are now eight hours and a 500 mile drive away. I was forced to make a very uncomfortable, yet revealing self-examination of my survival plans and future.
The Rookie Mistakes
Prepping demands a degree of secrecy, which by default creates a situation that prohibits any sort of meaningful mental support structure. Other than my wife, (God bless her for limitless understanding and tolerance) who watched over my finances and listened to me ramble about the New World Order, I had no one in my early days of prepping who I could trust with the secret of my new passion. Unlike most passions, hobbies, or professions, prepping had no formal training apparatus or mentorship program that I was aware of to guide you down a slow but steady path to mastery and success.
You were left mostly to your own devices and personality quirks to figure it out on your own. I did as many do and rushed in head first, knowing that at any moment the world around me and my family could collapse into chaos. Time was crucial and sacrifices had to be made.
One of the Biggest Mistakes
Trips to the store became treasure hunts for canned meat with the longest shelf life. “Canned salmon? Heck, I’ve never even tried it, but give me three cases!!! Spam? I hate Spam, but I’ll eat anything when the collapse comes! Give me four cases!” I had it all– guns, ammo, storable food, gardening supplies, solar panels, batteries, inverters, medical supplies, canning jars, propane, rice, beans, honey, salt, sugar, toilet paper, non-GMO/non-hybrid seeds. I purchased land to serve as a retreat property and set about building a cabin, starting a garden, setting up the solar panels, collecting rain water, raising chickens, burying caches. And so it went, every day for years.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had made the biggest of rookie mistakes— concentrating solely on accumulating stuff. Not only was this the wrong approach, but I had become trapped in a vicious cycle of self-reinforcing delusion.
Deconstructing the Delusion
As humans, we tend to gravitate toward things that confirm or affirm our beliefs. This is clinically known as confirmation bias. I am no exception. Early in my prepping journey, I fell into what I now call the “Prepper Trap”. I didn’t exactly fall; it was probably more accurate that I jumped in. With an enthusiasm that only comes with newly discovered enlightenment, I devoured every scrap of “doom porn” available. I spent hours on the Internet and YouTube discovering the dark secrets of The Federal Reserve, the Rothschild’s, the Rockefeller’s, false flags, EMP’s, and the New World Order.
Sandy Hook, Ebola, Jade Helm, Shemitah, Martial Law, Stock Market collapse were all subjects of interest. I was that guy telling everyone that would listen, “Doom and gloom is just around the corner and you had better be prepared or suffer a horrible death because I saw it on the Internet and it had to be true!” I refused to entertain any other point of view because, in my eyes, I was rational, informed, and armed with special “red pill” vision that granted me secret access into the hidden world of the elite and their evil plans for society. The unenlightened were the “sheeple”, existing only to be loathed and scorned for their ignorant consumerism and denial of how the world actually works.
An Unhealthy Perspective
It became unhealthy for me, both mentally and physically. I withdrew from friends and family, stopped attending events that took me too far from my preps, and generally became a cynical old man. I found myself almost wishing for some sort of calamity to justify my prepping. Life during this time for me was a blur. I only focused on the date of the next event that was supposedly going to hail the beginning of TEOTWAWKI, all while I continued to build upon my mountain of supplies.
Finally, I had had enough. If the collapse wasn’t coming to me, I would go to the collapse. Starting on January 2nd, 2017, I went to my retreat property cabin and remained there for 84 days. If you have ever entertained the idea of moving off-grid, clear from your mind any thoughts that it will resemble some sort of Thoreau-esque spiritual journey or be some kind of a back-to-nature experience where you spend all day watching squirrels frolic in the trees while writing in your journal. Not that those things aren’t possible, it just is not realistic.
My roosters, born without a sense of time or tradition, became my alarm clock at 0 dark thirty every day, and I went to bed every night not long after they did, exhausted from daily tasks. I ate from my supplies, lived on solar power, tended to my chickens, prepared my garden fencing for the spring, and tested almost every piece of gear that I had accumulated over the past seven years. There was no television or Internet, and I only had enough cell phone reception to let my wife know I was alive and well.
I traded eggs with neighbors for crappie fillets and venison tenderloin for my dinners. It was unusually cold this winter in Tennessee, which forced me to become a slave to my wood stove. (Note: When you think you have enough wood stored, double it.) Chopping wood for kindling was a daily chore. During one week, it never climbed out of the 20’s. I used a propane heater and tarps to keep the water in my rain collection tanks thawed for use. This task was one that often took 4-6 hours to accomplish.
On the 83rd day, I declared a truce with my psyche and packed for home. I came out of the woods the next day with a different understanding of myself and the world around me. There is no doubt that this excursion saved my sanity to some degree. I had matured from “Doom Prepper” to someone with a greater appreciation for life and nature. I had freed my mind from the constant bombardment of negativity and reemerged a changed person.
Flash forward to today and here I sit, smack dab in the middle of College-Town USA. Are the stock markets rigged and will they eventually collapse? Yep. Is our nation’s debt unsustainable and are we hopelessly enslaved to Central Banks? Yep. Is there a global cabal seeking to make us mindless minions and strip away all of our rights? Probably. Have I done everything within my power to prepare for these inevitable failures? Yep.
But for now, I have to live in the present. My 13-year old daughter wants to go to the movies, hang out with friends, and live a normal teenage life. My wife wants to go to dinner and do day hikes. I have found peace in being the silent warrior, ever vigilant and ready for the struggle. How did I come to this place of contentment while living in what I would have considered several years ago to be a certain death trap if the collapse happens? The answer is P.M.C.T.
Tomorrow, I will explain what P.M.C.T. is and share more.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.