I’ve asked the question, what is survival. Mostly, up to this point, I’ve talked about providing long-term resources for food when the stores are no longer an option. We’ve talked about gardening, foraging for plants, and hunting or trapping. This was just part of my journey in developing a means for survival.
Feeling Depressed, Looking Through Digital Window
As I had previously mentioned, during my time out in the woods learning skills and testing my gear, I was also reading anything and everything I could that related to the state of the world and ways to protect my family. After several years of this, I began feeling depressed.
Every day the news was saying something bad was happening in the world and this created a lot of fear. Then, with time, I started to question that, when I was looking through this digital window that is the Internet, the majority of what I saw was an ugly world. According to that, the world was almost entirely focusing on sexuality, aggression, and fear. I would then go outside and notice that my immediate environment was peaceful and green, neighbors would wave, and animals were running around. Then, when I went back inside to look through the digital window, to my surprise there was more violence, fear, and sexuality.
News About Survival
These observations, along with some of the books I was reading at the time, led to the idea that the news itself is entirely about survival. What I mean is, the news frames stories in ways to where other people died and we, the reader, survived. The news shapes how we see and understand the world. But what world are we talking about here? Could this view of the news relate to legibility? My immediate world was completely different from what the news was telling me.
The global world does have issues; I am not debating that. But, many of those issues only reach most of us through the news, along with potential stories about how any disconnection in the supply lines will impact us. Such stories range from civil unrest, EMP’s, economic collapse, climate change, nuclear war, and peak oil. Then, when natural disasters happen, the news focuses on how people strip the stores bare, which is a real concern.
People Are the Problem
But, the way in which the news frames these situations of supply scarcity also suggests that people are the problem. In doing so, the news completely disregards how business operates on the probability of normal consumption habits. To which it becomes useful to question, is it the people who are inherently violent, or is it the pattern of business efficiency that controls and defines our access to resources that is the problem? Maybe it is a little of both?
Society’s Dependence Upon Oil
Let me be clear, the story of peak oil only became a problem when technology emerges with the way society grew increasingly dependent upon oil. In the most basic sense, oil became useful for motors and transportation. Oil then quickly spread to agriculture for not only the machines that are used in agriculture but also the fertilizers that are used to grow food. This process then translates into the oil that we eat.
Then add on the supply lines through which the average meal we consume when purchased at the grocery store travels 1,500 miles to reach our plates. During this process of increased dependency upon oil, rural life and the towns that supported that life decayed. This in turn increased the distance and amount and reduced the quality of the food locally available.
Corn Not Even Edible
The effect of oil on the food supply production and transportation process has led to corn becoming such a huge commodity crop that corn produced in the way it’s done today not even being edible without processing. What this means is that the traditional corn farmer no longer produces a crop that they can consume.
The entire process then increases our dependency upon some other distant process and place that when things run normal, there is no problem. However, when there is any sort of disconnect, it becomes a crisis, and crises are a common theme for how legislation in this country works.
I often question that legislation becomes a priority in response to a crisis. But, let us not forget the ways in which high fructose corn syrup contributes to diabetes and other health care related issues. This type of sugar is in everything, and while the health impacts of eating too much high fructose corn syrup is not an immediate survival situation, continued consumption of this type of sugar certainly impacts our long-term survival during normal times.
What Survival TV Shows Are Really Showing Us
How does this simplified example relate to survival as we know it? When we watch TV shows such as the survival shows, the narrative frames survival as so hard and difficult that we should all be thankful for this system that continuously promotes and creates dependency, fear, violence, and sexuality. (Think of the TV show “Naked and Afraid”.) But, are we aware of what these survival TV shows are really showing us?
Many of the people on these TV shows do not really know what they are doing. (Some do, and most don’t.) We must remind ourselves that these TV shows are entertainment programs in the modern era that demonstrate how easy we all have it and how thankful we need to be for technology. However, if you’re like me, being thankful for technology is subjective. I despise what social media has done to society, and I think a lot of products made at an earlier time are far superior and last longer than modern-made products.
Reasons Some People Fail
I question one of the reasons some people fail on these TV shows. It seems to me it’s because, as a made up example, Rebecca from Kentucky may have real skills in Kentucky but her knowledge of the tropics is going to be a real problem that sets her up for failure almost immediately. It does not mean she cannot learn the how-to survive in the tropics. It means the TV show sets a window and geography that limits her knowledge of the environment and sets her up for failure. Such TV shows should not be an example to reference for a real life survival situation.
Let us look at it like this. What kind of TV show would it be and how could it contribute to modern society, if they filmed someone who has real skills in their environment and they tell this person there are no laws or rules, no human predators, and you can do what you want with what you have. The TV show then updates sometime later. At that later time, the person has a log home, an abundance of food, and an outhouse. They are distilling alcohol for medicine and enjoying recreation with a big smile on their face saying, “This is heaven!” Yeah, that’s probably not going to fit the narrative well.
Many of you that live rural lives probably know just what I am talking about. And if you’re still not convinced, let us not forget the story of Dick Proenneke. If I remember correctly, Dick was 50 years old with real wilderness skills and set out to live in the Alaska wilderness for a year. He fared so well and enjoyed the experience so much, he stayed for 30 years. (Youtube it, if you don’t know the name.) The takeaway here is, life absent of the modern supply line can be done, it has been done, and your skills and knowledge are the primary tools that measure how difficult or easy that wilderness life will be.
The Human Predator
Now, let us talk about the human predator. Because when we really get down to it, the human predator is the other concern about survival. Mad Max is often one of the many fictional accounts of the worst case scenarios that are referenced so often in survival discussions. But, let’s break down some of the images of Mad Max. It is a wasteland that is dry, resources are scarce, and the people are violent.
To start, if the global supply lined collapsed right now, nature is still going to be green. There are and will be, as I have discussed, resources available that we think of as game and weeds. We may not have bananas in our region during the winter, but nature will still be here. Secondly, people are violent now. People experience food shortages now. These are not problems that are off in the distance. They take place every day.
But, in the Mad Max story and other stories like it, it’s the amount of people that become the problem. We then point to examples throughout history that provide evidence for these fictions. But, I have yet to find a long-term situation in history that describes Mad Max, other than fiction stories. As a recent example that is often pointed to, would we consider the situation in Syria as a short-term or long-term situation? Has the rule of law collapsed?
Tomorrow, we will discuss this issue of Syria and violence toward humanity, as we continue the topic of “the human predator”.
- 1 – What is Survival?- Part 1, by MuddyKid
- 2 – What is Survival?- Part 2, by MuddyKid
- 3 – What is Survival?- Part 3, by MuddyKid
- 5 – What is Survival?- Part 5, by MuddyKid (Active on 7/21/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 77 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 $1,095 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),
- 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), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- 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 Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- 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, and
- 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).
Round 77 ends on July 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.