By Dan and Sheila Gendron, Contributors
Tell me what actual benefit you receive from living the “normal” lifestyle – a 2 hour commute to work each day, spending 8 hours in a corporate cubicle that removes your individuality and creativity, to receive a paycheck from which the government has taken its huge and undeserved bite leaving almost enough to cover your bills and expenses – just so that you can live in the kind of house and drive the kind of car that your friends and relatives think you should live in and be driving.
We all must admit that for some strange reason that we don’t really understand, we feel a profound sense of accomplishment when we get approved for a mortgage, get a new credit card, or get the “big promotion” at work. There is a scene in the movie Brazil, (a version of 1984), in which Michael Palin lifts his mask as he is about to begin torturing Jonathan Pryce and says glibly, “Confess quick – you don’t want to ruin your credit rating!” We strive, we sacrifice health, family, and well-being for the opportunity to be a better slave.
The undisputed truth is that you have been conditioned to need your pain. But when you come right down to it, all the aforementioned conditions involve your humble, pleading, acquiescent and compliant servitude. Huxley said that the ideal circumstance would be for the slave to be contented with his slavery (paraphrased) – and here you are.
I understand that there are those of you who truly love the system and would hate to see it go. It’s not my intention to say you are wrong in your pursuit of happiness. But if you find that you are not fulfilled by spending money you make from being employed by working in a cubicle (or any job you hate), then, really, what are you hanging onto – and why?
The system to which you are clinging is about to betray you. One legal precedent the federal government uses to impose income taxes upon an individual is the concept known as “implied benefit”. What this means is that even though you may have never used any of the plethora of benefits the local, state and federal governments offer you, they are there for you should you need it. And whether you use them or not, there is the implied benefit that you could do so. That concept is about to come crashing down on your head. You need only look at hurricane Sandy (not to mention Katrina) to see what chaos it caused. How many thousands of people are still suffering without power (because non-union workers are being turned away) and still without shelter, food or water (because the FEMA office is “closed due to weather”). Where’s your implied benefit now???
Many people have chosen to leave the system behind and try to achieve the self-sufficient lifestyle. Even amongst them, there are “varying levels of commitment”. It seems that those called “preppers” anticipate the need to be prepared for unforeseen catastrophes – war, earthquakes, bad weather, economic collapse, pole shift, planet X, et al – in the belief that somehow at the end of the tunnel everything will return to the way it was back in the 1950s, in an idyllic, red-white-and-blue America.
Personally, we are getting ready to shut everything down very soon, so I won’t mince words – in our opinion, there is virtually no hope for civilization as we know it today to recover from a total collapse in the span of a few years. A few generations would be more like it.
A survivalist is preparing now to be self-sufficient as a permanent lifestyle, whereas a preppper tries to buy enough supplies to carry him or her over the hump, most of whom we have spoken with assuming 6 to 24 months will do it. We don’t have to go back as far as Egypt and Typhon 3500 years ago to see how long it takes to recover from a collapse. There is plenty of history to show us, including a thousand year period after the fall of the Roman Empire (commonly known as the Dark Ages) before the Renaissance came along and people were ready to learn new habits (like hygiene, reading and science). Look up the collapse of the Argentine Peso in 1999 – still in chaos 13 years later with no real relief in sight. So, in our view, if in the recent past we can document what a complete collapse looks like, then the belief that any American collapse scenario would involve getting back to “normal” any time soon after it, is not based on solid ground.
We strongly suggest, whether you are considering being a prepper, a survivalist or not sure what you want at this point, that at an absolute minimum you begin as a dedicated prepper. Good preppers always have storage foods, supplies, a bug out bag and such. That is a good place for anyone to start. But look beyond that for your survival. Social Security payments, welfare, food stamps, disability entitlements, pensions, etc., etc., can be swept out from under you in the blink of an eye, and you will find that you have been holding on to thin air, like that from which our current monetary system itself is created.
The only things you can truly hang on to are your own abilities, your own intuition, your own physical labor and enough self-love to know that you deserve to live a fulfilling, comfortable and secure life of your own choosing without harm to anyone else. If you think that not everyone can do that, you’re right. Only those who choose to do so, can.
Dan and Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock and hosts of the free podcast, Still Surviving with Dan and Sheila, both available at http://survivingsurvivalism.com. For information about their survival community, or for other questions, they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .