Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heavy Thoughts - Why I Live Out Here

Earlier this morning, on a prepping forum where I spend too much leisure time, somebody posted a poll titled "Do you actually want SHTF?" I read through the answers, some of which were quite thoughtful. Then I added my own Deep Thoughts.

I voted "none of the above."

When I was an angry young man I dreamed of it. Fantasized about it; it was in all my plans. Would have done anything I could to bring it about, and if I didn't survive the doing I'd still have believed I'd left the world ultimately a better place. Angry young men can be stupid that way. Having studied a bit of history since then, and acquired more than a few gray whiskers, I realize that at best it wouldn't bring an improvement. A real, catastrophic breakdown might or might not toss out the Czar, but if it did it would bring the Bolsheviks and they're way worse.

No, the things I hate and fear in this world will be with me till I die. The best I can do is learn how not to fear them.

I can't make the world a better place; it's not in my power. But I'm still free to work on myself. And another thread of my youth was a sense of deep inadequacy whenever I thought of my ancestors, and how they, unlike myself, were not dependent for every tiny thing on the grocery store and the centralized infrastructure. The thought of dying of cold or hunger because the trucks and the electrons stopped moving always used to disgust me. I wasn't disgusted with the trucks or the electrons, which were out of my power. I was disgusted with myself, for being so dependent on masters I hated and forces I couldn't control.

When I got a little older I put all that out of my mind for decades. It seemed, at the time, the path of maturity. I became Mr. Suburban Man, but it never brought me peace. And older still, I decided that one part of that stupid, angry young man was right all along. I no longer give a damn whether this system endures or not, or what form its theoretical breakdown might take. I no longer debate calderas or asteroids vs. hyperinflation or civil breakdown. Instead I wrestle with balky solar batteries and help like-minded neighbors build their houses in the desert. I don't worry about the world outside me, because I can't do anything about it and wouldn't know what to do if I could. I work on myself.

So now, for me, prepping isn't about some end-of-the-world fantasy. It's about the way I've chosen to live now.


Cliff (Red Dog) said...

First and foremost thanks for a great blog and a thought provoking post. I find myself nodding along as I read. I would like to suggest that you do in fact make the world a "better place." As one man the scope of change and maybe the duration of that change might be limited, but through the simple act of helping a neighbor, finding some peace with yourself, or befriending a dog, you have improved the world on a human scale.

There seems to a feeling in this day and age, that to matter our actions and choices must "help" all of mankind. I know that personally I don't want the help. I like to struggle with my failures, qualified successes, and managed retreats from the messes I find my way into. I usually learn something either concrete or about myself, and if I'm lucky both. When these trials become more than I can handle alone, I want to be able to choose to whom I turn for help. After I've struggled through with the aid of another and we as a team have won, lost, or agreed to lie about it and say we overcame the challenge, there is no greater feeling than standing side by side with a friend. For a brief moment and on a very human scale, I really do feel like my little corner of the world is a better place, and if I was lucky enough to be the friend helping out maybe both of our worlds are a little better.

I've lurked and read your blog for months, and I believe that you are making your corner of the world a better place, for yourself and those like minded neighbors. Even if all you're doing is leaving well enough alone, in my book thats better than "fixing" it for everyone else. Thanks again for writing the blog, and listening to my late night ramblings.

C.M. said...

Apparently your late night ramblings are worth while reading red dog.

Seems some folks are more at peace with their lives then others. Please tell me this wisdom shows up shortly after the Grey hairs.