With your host, Category5
(This was originally written as one article. Peer reviewers have asked me to break it down into 4 parts. The 5th part will be the complete article presented as one)
The second Major Defining Principal is…
Triage is where we circle back around. The connection back to Acceptance. The snake grasping its tail. The Yin-Yang symbol being revealed as a whole. The lion laying down with the lamb. All esoteric symbols without my intention to make any of this esoteric. A simple completion of the circle.
Triage is a term usually used by disaster first responders. Paramedics, Fire fighters and Doctors.
Wikipedia has this to say about Triage. The term comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate, sift or select. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated. Those responsible for the removal of the wounded from a battlefield or their care afterwards would divide the victims into three categories:
Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
Those who are unlikely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.
I simplify Triage in this context as to determining what can be saved and what can not… and must be abandoned. What parts of society, civilization… and people, can be saved and what can not and must be abandoned.
I find myself coming back, again and again to two fiction books. The most unlikely of Survivalist Fiction, based around impossible scenarios that could never happen in the real world. World War Z, by Max Brooks. Do not confuse this with the movie. They have nothing in common. The other book is Dies The Fire, by S.M.Stirling but we will set that aside for now. I find the other prepper fiction out there as lightweight and simply ideology driven excuses for adventure stories, lacking any deep insight.
World War Z is a bunch of mini stories spread out over the planet. I will be mentally drawing from it, with “The Redeker Report” story in mind, as I get into the Triage Principal.
Principles of the Redeker Plan:
Step 1: you can’t save everyone; don’t try. Instead, create a safe zone, preferably one where natural obstacles like mountains and rivers work to your advantage.
Step 2, evacuate the civilians. Not all — Just enough to keep the safe zone supplied with a labor force and to rebuild after the war.
Step 3, throw everyone else into isolated zones. Their mission is to act as human bait, drawing off the zombies away from the safe zone. These people are to be resupplied as needed. After all, the longer they fight the zombies and the more they kill, the less the safe zone will have to deal with later.
Spoiler Alert. I recommend reading both books as a homework assignment (most doomers will have already) but I cant get around revealing the shockers of the short story.
In this story, those who first view his plan respond with revulsion. “God, Help you man”. “God, help us all”. The shock changes when the fictionalized Neslon Mandela steps in and says, “This plan will save our people… This man will save our people.” “Then he embraced the White Afrikaner”. The story ends with the realization that the result of the implementation of Redeker’s plan has cost an emotionally detached Redeker, his detachment. He dissociates mentally and becomes a different personality to cope, a reviled man hidden away in a mental institution.
Hopefully we can avoid this fate by the implementation of Grow It And They Will Come and Build Social Capital Principals. PTSD can be managed or repaired by being part of a group in the same way that addicts draw strength from group in AA or NA.
There is really no need to put any effort into Redekers shocking third plan. That is outside of personal Adaptation and perhaps outside of a fiction story.
It has been common in my writings to quote the more Morally minded preppers creed, “Save as many as you can”. It is borrowed from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” and it is also a moral stopgap against some of the extremes of survivalist thought that could lead to what returning soldiers and psychologists refer to as “Moral Damage”. This moral damage is a large contributor to Veteran Suicide.
In this story, A line is drawn, about half way through the U.S. with those below the line evacuated and those above abandoned. You might look at it as Trump’s wall but in a more reasonable place that wasn’t clearly based on avarice and racism.
Of course the direction is reversed. You abandon those south of the line, saving those in moderate northern climates with some chance of agriculture by precipitation.
If that sounds insane, I repeat the other line from that movie. “You didn’t listen to the science when it could have made a difference”. We are all responsible and these are the options left to us.
There is simply no scenario I can envision on our present course that does not leave large swaths of the planet as uninhabitable, what is left struggling to provide crops and a death toll that would leave the 4 horsemen going, “That’s harsh man. Chill out”.
“Save as many as you can” can not become an abdication from making tough choices. Life and death choices.
I have been meaning to write an article with the provocative title “C5 Explains Why Preppers Are Such Dicks- The Lifeboat Principal”. Perhaps it is best if I do a short, summed up version here. Preppers can seem sociopathic from an outsiders point of view. From the inside, you realize it is a Deep Morality. Those that can not handle that level of deep morality, judge it. It’s one of the stumbling blocks for some that may have Adaptation tendencies… but think they are better than that and thus refuse to go there. For others, it becomes the cop-out clause, allowing them to mentally abdicate responsibility for their future survival and that of others. An Immorality that springs from a false sense of morality.
So, This is the lifeboat principal in a nutshell. The Titanic is going down. You find yourself in the water. There is an empty lifeboat. You swim towards it and climb on board. You then begin pulling others on board. With others on board, you can now row towards others and help them onboard. You have now filled up the boat but the mass of people are still in the water and they are swimming towards you as the only floating object around. Arms are grabbing at the boat. You come to realize that if you take on even one more person, the boat will sink and everyone on board will die as well. So what is the moral or ethical solution? You can not force someone out of their seat. That would be murder. You can give up your seat to someone else and re enter the water to die. Very noble? Not really. You have abdicated responsibility and abandoned those on board to be overwhelmed by those in the water and all die. Once again, your noble, pacifist action is an act of murder. There is only one truly ethical or moral option left to you. You must all pick up the oars and begin smashing the people trying to get on board, lest everyone die. Then you must paddle away from the masses still in the water and leave them to die. Then you all have to learn to live with the painful choice you have made, and perhaps help the others on board as well that have to live with the same choice. The Survivors.
If you can not make that deep ethical decision, please stay out of the boat as you put the others in grave danger. This is why I quoted Orlov in my blog introduction, “collapse is the worst possible time to suffer a nervous breakdown, so please get your blubbering over with ahead of time.” A bit of humor softens the blow.
But please be honest. Some off you have abdicated your ethical responsibility to others by actively choosing not to Adapt. It puts those around you in danger. It’s an ethical or moral FAIL.
Let’s give an example. Food Storage. The first F in C5’s F5’s of Adaptation.
I have been open in sharing with you that we keep on hand at least a year of food. This seems outrageous to those that live hand to mouth or those that rely on consistent re-supply chains like a grocery store. For other experienced preppers, that amount seems laughably lightweight. For Farmgal who has experience hunger and deprivation before, even in Canada with a semi-functioning social safety net, she doesn’t feel comfortable allowing her stores to dip below two and a half years. Other readers have a decades worth of easily storable wheat berries.
In spite of what I said about the survival necessity of sharing food and actively growing enough food to cover many for the sheer security necessity, here is the math reality.
For easy math, we will say MrsC5 and myself have exactly one year of food. If we take in one other couple, this means the four of us can last six months. If we take in three couples, we can only last three months. But it was already untenable the moment we brought in the first couple. We don’t have enough to get us through to the next harvest. That is assuming climate chaos allows the next harvest to even happen. Everyone would die slow instead of MrsC5 and myself surviving and the second couple not.
Here is the associated problems though, that helps to explain why their are so many “Dicks” in the prepper and survivalist worlds. This hard edge is attractive to people that were sociopathic Dicks to start with.
They found a home in the Survivalist/Prepper fantasy world and are now entrenched like ticks. Hard to dig out. They have now overwhelmed the host. The poisonous virus has spread through the body like Lyme Disease. Thus, a few experienced people declaring that Prepping and Survivalism is dead.
So, this gets to our first minor sub principal under the Triage Principle.
DON’T BE A DICK
Sure, I understand that is a bit of the Pot calling the Kettle black. I’ve developed an online personality that mirrors Dick behavior back at Dicks. It’s very intentional. It’s meant to shock dicks back into ethical behavior… and if not, to teach them to be very afraid of the consequences of their behavior. Do not think for one moment that I will not S.S.S. a survivalist Dick that is a threat to others during a collapse. That is, Shoot, Shovel and keep my mouth Shut. I have an ethical responsibility to do so. It is well within my skill set.
The Adaptive skillset to avoid being a Dick and attracting the consequence, is to develop a heightened sense of MANNERS. Excess oil wealth has allowed us to discard this. We have allowed police and government and distance to shield us from the consequence of rudeness to others. Most people will understand that what has happened on social media has gotten out of hand and is damaging society. We have created a monster we can not get back in the genii bottle. “Free Speech” mixed with anonymity… has revealed just how evil humans truly are. Full disclosure. I have certainly lost control and let loose with lethal bile before and suspect it will happen again.
But I have presented this question before. “Do you think a collapse will give you less consequences for your actions… or more?”. I think many Dicks long for collapse and fantasize about it so they can walk away from consequence, or worse, release their inner beast. Their inner Viking. This will get you and those around you killed. Its that simple.
We see this historical Adaptation in truly exaggerated ways in both the English and Japanese cultures. Deeply ritualized Manners and codes of conduct. These evolved because those that hadn’t evolved this Adaptation technique were already dead because someone offended put a sword through them or removed their head and maybe those of their family members or village members as well. You see this in European Court behavior and in more modern times you might see it among Texans. Southerners brag about it. Canadians are known for this behavior, especially by Americans, but we are also known for “dropping the hockey gloves”when it is not recipricated. Organized Crime, Biker or street Gang violence breaks out because someone “Dissed” or Disrespected them. Proper Etiquette in these circles is to say “Respect”, a shortening of, I am not disrespecting you and your ability to bring lethal violence into play if not respected. There would be no greater insult.
So, start developing an exaggerated sense of etiquette as if you life and those of your family depends on it… because it does.
Please. Thank you. Can I give you a hand. Let me get that for you. I apologize. I was in the wrong. Oh, no, You go first. I insist. Respect.
It sounds silly to even point this out but these are all conflict de-escalation techniques and build social inclusion or cohesion.
Hold the door for a stranger. Let someone into traffic.
This is how we avoid the “Make Me First Again” attitude that communicates to others that you can not be trusted and are a threat.
This gets us to our final, Minor Sub Principle.
DON’T BLAME ANYONE BUT YOURSELF FOR NOT ADAPTING
Yes, there are forces plotting against you that hold you down, rob you and unequally distribute your efforts to those at the top… But focusing on that is not going to get you where you need to go. You need to be smarter and more focused to work your way around these obstacles.
It’s a trap.
There is a danger in any declining culture to find scapegoats. Someone to blame for what went wrong in our life. More so, during times of stress or fear, it has been scientifically documented that the human mind has a tendency to see patterns and connections that are NOT THERE. This is the mind trying to bring order back or find meaning in a chaotic time or after a catastrophic life event.
From Nazi Germany after Hyper inflation to Rwandas aftermath of colonization dividing the genetically same people into Hutu and Tutsi, to Alex Jones calling for armed insurrection against anyone that doesn’t believe his bipolar conspiracy insanity.
I hadn’t intended to but I might as well throw in an example. There is a stubbornly persistent conspiracy theory called Agenda 21 where a secret world government is depopulating the world by chem trails, spraying chemicals out of every commercial aircraft in the world and the like. (This is a more PC version of the Jewish Conspiracy theory where it first started floating around). All of this is to make Strong White Americans week so they can be rounded up into FEMA camps to be given the number of the beast. Somehow the believers of this miss the very obvious conclusion that if this secret world government Illuminati exists, then they are the most incompetent people in the world as world population continues to increase exponentially, as are increased world life expectancies. If this conspiracy was real, with the technology we have today, it could have been accomplished over a couple of weeks.
It’s a TRAP.
I see it over and over. There is a lot of people wasting a lot of time on this type of thinking and a lot of collapse commentators that are just regurgitating stuff to others that already believe….. instead of fundamentally ADAPTING there lives to those beliefs.
It all starts by putting some of the principals mentioned above into concrete action.
It starts by putting a shovel in the ground and turning soil. It starts by picking up a hammer or saw to build shelving. It starts by Moving to a location where Adaptation is possible. You are the one responsible for Adapting and you are the one responsible for not.
I want to bring Farmgal back in her before we hit the final Principle. She writes,..
“I have been mulling it around myself.. Talking it out with hubby and a few close friends. I came to understand that one of the biggest issues to me about prepping is that you are always buying/hoarding now in fear of what the future could bring and that the more you have, the more you fall down the prepper hole that says, I will do this and this and own that, so MY family will be able to live a life that is still comfortable when SHTF happens.”
“Adapting in place(to me) is all about living in the moment, understanding that its about your mental head space that is dealing with what is here and now.. right in front of you! Can you find the balance right now to understand what is happening, to make the choice to see it, to make the choice to deal with it in a positive way that will leave you settled. Learning how to function during a slow eating away of our living conditions, or dealing with the here and now when life is ripped out from under your feet.”
“I was listening to CBC the other day and they were talking about the fact that new comers to Canada do not like to camp. They had a refugee come on and talk about that there are no safety nets in the woods, no witnesses… but they had someone who came from a third world country and they said, when you lose your home and you have to leave with what you can carry, you are housed in a tent. To live in a tent is the very proof in front of you that you have lost your home. No one would choose to go live in a tent in the woods, after you have lived in a tent because you had no choice.”
“Hubby asked me what the biggest difference between the two are, and I said.. it does not matter where you live… that is the biggest one to me… if you want to be a effective prepper, you MUST have land to grow food, you must have water and you need, at least in Canada, enough fuel to not freeze to death.. I think the reason preppers love their BUG OUT is because they know.. that when they look at it even just slightly hard that they are humped if they try and live a major crash in the cities.. they will never be able to keep up that “cover” of.. MY family, MY group will do better then yours.”
“However Adapting in place applies to everyone. It means the little grandmother who babysits the little ones so the mothers can work, has value. It means that hippy chick that has turned every space or bit of land into food production has value.”
The last Major Action Principle…
COLLAPSE NOW AND AVOID THE RUSH
Time and time again, those I asked for advice on the subject, kept bringing up the statement by “That Crazy Arch Druid Guy” John Michael Greer. Their words. Not mine. The person that came up with that particular pop statement. Before I stumbled onto him, I had been using a similar meme, “Mutate Now and Avoid the Post Apocalyptic Rush” which I had stole from an 80s comic cover I passed, which was stolen from street graffiti in England which was adapted from the Great Depression/Dust bowl era as “Get Poor Now. Avoid The Rush”
You have to get out in front of it.
If there is one thing you take away from the concept of “The Adapters Movement” and this article, This Is It.
Live TODAY as if the apocalypse is at hand… because it is. It’s actually now being seen in the rear view mirror. WE ARE HERE. It’s not a future event to “Prep” for. And if you haven’t Already started Adapting, you have a long learning curve ahead of you to get through. You are going to have to make a lot of costly mistakes and you want to do this NOW while there is still a semi functional society to make up for your mistakes. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.
My favorite statement of all time by John Michael Greer is that, in the future, people will get used to finding empty, garden in a box kits next to overgrown garden plots and the skeletal remains of preppers, where the learning curve lasted just a little bit longer than they did. Funny but profound.
You are going to need a plan and then, Get To It. Now is a good time to start. 20 years ago would be better.
So, What does this look like in practical actions? I want to bring in Nicole Alderman. She writes…
“Adaption is for me:
Using what resources I have available NOW (gas, electricity, TIME) to set up systems that are more easily sustainable/ For example:
Building garden beds NOW. Those things take time to become productive, and they’re a big pain to make in a rush. If you sheet mulch and start the bed now, it doesn’t take nearly as much time, and you get a better product
Scrounging for fencing and investing in galvanized fencing now. Durable, predator-proof fencing is hard to make in a hurry!..Figuring out how/where/why/what to scrounge
Getting all those plants that multiply now, so that in 5 years my place is taken over by sorrel and strawberries and chives and other edible things.
Insulating the house/adding more mass to the house, etc.
Taking the time NOW to meet my neighbors and become friends and form bonds. Time is at a premium when life gets hard. Use it now while you have it!
Changing my perspective. Thinking about what I NEED and getting in the habit of not wanting so much. Big, forced changes are HARD.
Start eating what you can grow, and figure out what foods you like to eat and how to grow them. If you plant tons of daikon radishes, and they grow great and are pest resistant, but you can’t stand to eat them, then you really shouldn’t plan on surviving on them.
Get used to driving less. Get used to waiting longer before you can buy something
Learn to work hard now. Get used to spending all day working your tail off and not having time to watch netflicks.
Start living without your wants. You may want to sleep in but don’t need to. You may want to buy your kids lots of toys, but you don’t need to. You might want to eat out or go for drives, but you don’t need to. At some point, you might not be able to do those things–if you’re used to going without them by choice, it’ll be easier when you DON’T have the choice.
Everything takes MORE time when life gets hard. The end of the world isn’t playing boardgames inside to pass the time because there’s no electricity. It’s more like all your worst days put together: you get sick, you have less money, more bills, the weather is worse and more crops fail, your kids are screaming, you can and you have NO time to juggle all the balls you NEED to juggle, let alone time to learn those skills you hoarded books for. Get good at things now, because you’re not going to have time to do so when life goes nuts.
See my thread (The reality of homesteading has dissolved my “prepper”/homesteading fantasies, where I learned that if I can’t do something now, like eat a ton of radishes, or maintain my tools , or form a community, or chop fodder for my ducks), I sure wouldn’t be able to do so when life gets nuts!
Learn skills and get good at them now, so they are second nature and you get most of the kinks out before your life really depends on it. Figure out gardening, figure out raising lifestock, figure out mending and building, etc. Get past the worst of those learning curves–those can be steep!
Use less. Reuse more. Our world is so wasteful. It’s ingrained in us to use more reseouces than our world can sustain. Make your life more “closed system” where you don’t need as many outputs and can reuse more of what you do have
Help as many people move up the “Eco-scale” and be less wasteful, grow more food, and gain more skills. Why do you think I write?”
Nicole also adds about the importance of teaching Adaptation techniques to children, as they will be the ones inheriting this new world, and much of what we will be building is multi-generational in nature. We don’t plant an Oak Tree for ourselves. We do it so the survivors have acorns.
One last thought from Nicole,
“One way I like to think about it is: ‘Live like it’s the end of the world, because in many ways it kind of is almost there!’ For me, this is a really helpful mentality. I always liked dystopian novels. Now I can just think of myself as a character in one of those novels, and it’s suddenly more epic to be maintaining my tools or eating squash I grew!”
With that in mind, do you remember the 70s piece of music I started this article with? If you are going to be the hero of your own apocalyptic novel, I thought you might like an epic version for your personal soundtrack to get you motivated and remind you of optimism in the face of overwhelming odds.
So, lets revisit the Adaption principles to help commit them to memory.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
SELF SUFFICIENCY IS A MYTH
ADAPTING WILL NOT CURE YOUR EXISTENTIAL ANGST
MAKE FOOD FIRST AGAIN
GROW IT AND THEY WILL COME
OPENNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
BUILD SOCIAL CAPITAL
DON’T BE A DICK
DON’T BLAME ANYONE BUT YOURSELF FOR NOT ADAPTING
COLLAPSE NOW AND AVOID THE RUSH
Before I bring this to an end and open the door to the peer reviewers, I wanted to bring in one more commentor from when I first floated this idea. They wrote,
“An ‘Adapters Movement’? That’s just another label for Permaculture.
“According to Mollison and Holmgren: Permaculture is an ‘… integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.’ ”
“Integration and evolution = adaptation.”
This post is not meant to be the Be All and End All of the Adapters Movement. This is simply the sum up of a life’s work in the survivalist world, wrestling with what works and what does not. My life. This is the best of my life experience to offer to the world to help. I find that I am still mentally held back by my old school survivalist thinking. Where the real work begins is when the next generation, unsullied by old survivalism, take up these principles… and begin to expand on them, evolving creative Adaptive solutions and implimentation. This movement is theirs. Not mine. I simply gave it a name. They are the ones that will have to live in this new world.
I now open the floor.
Farmgal adds, “I am so very pleased and excited that C5 has taken on the very heavy job of working though this and has taken the time to create this project as the jumping off point for those that agree. I will be bringing a version of it to my own blog and sharing it
Adapt in place.. Focus on the here and now..”
Nicole Alderman adds- Today I was driving with my husband though a rapidly-growing suburbia and city, and I turned to him and said, “I don’t know which is worse to live in, a slow collapse that takes over 100 years, with the continual expansion of suburbia destroying our environment and society crumbling though social media and more invasive technology…or a quicker collapse that happens in our lifetime with more forest fires and extreme weather and lots of starvation. Both are ugly dystopias…” He responded, “We’re living in it right now.” He’s right.
When I read Category5’s writings, his ideas makes sense. C5’s principles for adaption are good principles for living even if there isn’t a collapse, but are vital if there is one. But, honestly, I think “collapse” isn’t some distant event; it’s right now, and we’ve done it to ourselves, and the longer it goes on, the worse it will become. I hope and I pray that we can halt it before it becomes a total nightmare. I try to teach people how to use less resources and grow more food. To be better stewards of the resources we have. To adapt today. I try to, as Paul Wheaton says, “Build a Better World.” Will we succeed? I don’t know, but I sure will try–for my children, for everyone around the world, and for future generations.
Michael Jensen adds- There’s a bunch of great in these four posts. Rational realism meets hardnosed futurism. Pragmatic practicality. And a recognition of the community as key to the survival of any individual associated with it.
I just got back from work-related travels in southern India. I visited as many rural small villages as I could. There, thousand-year-old cultures of localized survival demonstrate many of these themes. And there, I saw how unlikely a “recovery” scenario is — they will have their scooters, and motorcycles, and transport, no matter what. I paid closest attention to the smallest villages, where self-sustainability might actually be possible, if there’s still water over the next decade….
I think my favorite Principle is ‘Don’t be a Dick.’ Being a not-Dick goes a very long way towards being an Asset to Your Community. If you can become an AYC (Asset to Your Community), then your chances of success in the new Adapter economy are dramatically increased.
Crazy times we’re living in — yet we may be able to pull a sane civilization out of this insanity. May that be so.
De Nob, Administrator of the Canadian Preppers Network and the International Preppers Network adds- “Let’s just say that I’ve been frustrated lately with the established “prepper leadership” in general.
Way too much product promotion, dishonest product reviews, useless political posturing, and don’t even get me started on all the idiots comparing survival knives like frat boys laying their junk out on the table to see whos is bigger.
It’s long past time to shake that tree.”
Irv Mills adds “Category 5 has put forth some serious good ideas here on the subject of adapting. Ignore them at your own peril.”
Bonus read- To be edited out later. Major storms are hitting most of North America as I post. Enough said. I thought I would put this out in case we lose internet and people need more to keep their minds occupied. Guard your mind. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting
This is where I usually pass the hat… but stick around for a bit and continue reading.
This took my all… and it did mentally burn me out some. I really reached deep. I did consider putting it behind a pay wall… for about 15 seconds. This is meant for the world. The most valuable “Tip” you can offer me here is for you to share this post. Re post it. Spread it around. Talk about it with people. If not, this has been a big ol’ waist. It dies in the dustbin of the internet.
I should also mention Farmgal gave me an ear full. She wrote, “STOP IT! LOL.. you are allowed to find a way to charge for your work! Yes, I fully agree that the principles and the overall needs to be free (with a request for give the tip) but this was a shit load of work and you have the right to value your time, your knowledge and your words.”
So, there you go. The paypal link is at top of the page where it says, “Giving Just the Tip”.
In the future, once I am over the shock of wrestling this piece into existence and am willing to look at it again, then I can go back and make an expanded version of this post as a short E-Book and charge for that one. I can live with that. It’s just not high on my priority list.