survival preschool: no man is an island

A replica of one of the original covered wagon...
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One of the major “disconnects” I see amongst the “preparedness types” is the belief that survival means stocking up on weapons and ammo and defending what is YOURS. While that may in fact be a concern depending on your location and situation, the reality is that true “survival” through major incidents really depends on the help of other people…and you helping them.

Our American pioneer ancestors knew that they had to be “self-reliant” to survive out on the frontier where help was not guaranteed or readily available, but they also knew that “living” for the long term required the help of others. Those “others” may have simply been numerous family members who were required to divide the labor (and hence LARGE family’s) to neighbors who lived a few miles away that you could trade goods with (lessening both your work loads) and get help from in times of need. “Self-Sufficiency” means not being a burden on others and being able to live for a period on your own, it doesn’t mean preparing to be the “last man on earth”.

The fact of the matter is that “lone wolf” survival…while possible for the short term…is a losing proposition for the long term. The “mountain man” of frontier myth had a dirty little secret, they were not known to have had long lifespans. The successful ones only “lived off of the land” long enough to make their fortunes in trapping and business exploration before returning to society. Besides the known difficulties of weather, scarcity of food and medical care, the fact of the matter is that the workload of having to “live off of the land” is staggering.

From the family, to the tribe, to the village, to State…Country, the ultimate purpose of them all is economy of effort. We have farmers to supply food so others of us can provide medical care. We have construction workers build our homes so that others of us can make clothing. In an emergency, while you better be able to provide for yourself for a significant period of time; if things look like they may go on for a long time, you will need to help others and you will need their help as well. Like it or not, any life worth living will depend on the good will of others.

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3 thoughts on “survival preschool: no man is an island”

  1. Dear tgace,
    Wow, I am loving this series so far. It is showing me gaps that I hadn’t fully considered.

    I spent some time studying the Wild West. According to the diaries from wagon trains, groups would frequently split up on the trail. Sometimes the arguments were about freeloaders. Sometimes personality clashes. The wagon that took off alone rarely was heard from again.

    So, part of your load is to carry your own, but as you say, that’s just the beginning.

    Thanks for the reminder,
    Ann T.

  2. Good stuff, and almost always forgotten in the “preparedness” community. Doesn’t meet the romantic ideal of survival… But in every real disaster (Katrina, LA Riots, etc) people band together to survive. Basic fact of life: You can’t watch your own back.

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