Archive for August, 2010

“What we call human nature in actuality is human habit.”

Something that has always bugged me in my continuing preparedness efforts is the way that modern survivalists seem geared towards weathering any catastrophe, but with the end goal of ‘rebuilding society’ or ‘rebuilding the nation’; this usually turns into a discussion of the code of law in postapocalyptic bartertowns.

My problem with this?  Excluding unforeseen natural disasters, I would argue that any event which could seriously threaten our society would probably be due to 10,000 years of civilized life finally catching up to bite us in the ass.*  Any effort to rebuild would just be attempts to return to the only world the survivors had ever known—which is likely the same world that created whatever disaster caused the S to HTF.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to see a real eco approach to preparedness/postapocalyptic survival.  The closest thing I’ve found is the book “The Urban Homestead”, in which the authors use tongue-in-cheek quips like “shitting in a five-gallon-bucket [composting toilet] will be the logical choice in the postapocalyptic world when there’s no water for flushing and the zombies are scratching at the door” to demonstrate their awareness of the simple fact that eco living=self-sufficient=long-term survivability.  Meanwhile, survival forums are full of gung-ho red-blooded Merkans who view composting toilets as hippie junk, and who plan on fighting zombies for their God-given right to waste valuable resources down the commode.

My interest in survivalism/disaster readiness stems from the hope that when shit does go down, I’d like to be around to help steer the rebuilding in a different direction, one which will hopefully prevent similar bad stuff from happening again in the future.  However, it seems that shifting the cultural mindset towards that different direction would involve moving away from norms that have been business-as-usual for the last few thousand years—patriarchy, stratification, large-scale agriculture, militarism, etc.

*Max Brooks’ World War Z is a great example of this—the Zed virus is introduced into the First World as a result of globalization, allowed to persist by Big Pharma, and spreads exponentially as a result of dense populations.

**^ title quote from Jewel Kilcher.