Saturday, May 19, 2007

Are You Competent for What May Come?

Because, personally, I seriously doubt that you are--if you are a typical psychologically neotenised, academically lobotomised, child of the western world.

You might try the "Jericho Test." If you have not seen the episodes of the doomed television show Jericho, go here and watch at least the first few episodes. Imagine yourself in such a circumstance. Would you be useful. How?

I recall sitting in an insurance office in a new town, transferring my policy to my new location. My young, attractive female agent was processing my paperwork and chatting with two co-workers who had gathered around the desk out of boredom. Somehow they were discussing a collapse of civilisation and what they could do to survive. My agent made the offhand comment, "at least I could work as a whore."

But there is only so much need for whores, and some of the male survivors of a holocaust would not treat their whores very kindly. So the rest of you might start thinking about other possibilities, while you have a little time. Particularly the college professors among you, who--if you pardon me for saying so--are almost certainly particularly useless in an emergency (unless your training is in applied engineering, technology, or biomedical sciences).

Your politics, religion, and ideology will probably be irrelevant, as long as you are not a psychopath. It is your useful skills that will count.

People always assume that things will continue as they are, in a straight line extrapolation of current trends. People are always wrong about that. Most people need shock therapy to acknowledge things that might go wrong, and to be motivated to prepare.

No matter how busy you are, you still have time to take steps to make you and your family more survivable.

Everyone needs a stockpile of clean water, food, and basic hygienic and first aid supplies. If you depend on a medicine such as insulin, you should have extra medication on hand, and rotate it to maintain the expiration date. If your vital medicines require refrigeration, you should have a way to power a small refrigerator off the electrical grid. (generator with fuel, solar panels with batteries, etc.)

There are many important things to think about, in connection with surviving a massive natural or man-made disaster. The Al Fin blog sidebar has an entire section of links dealing with these issues, about three fourths of the way down. As an added one-time-only bonus, here is an online book on surviving a nuclear war.

Watch the first few episodes of Jericho. Think about it.


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