I was thinking about disaster preparedness – prepping, in short – considering I’ve noticed a strong increase in the instinctual-level warning signal, probably broadcast through the global astral field. It communicates immediate and urgent need to stock up on supplies and prepare for a disaster, because when it begins it will be too late, the supplies will become inaccessible. I’ve heard of many instances where people, always the older ones, prepared for the war by stocking up on food and other supplies in their basements, before the 1990s war in Yugoslavia. Obviously, people can sense that shit is about to hit the fan, but only the older ones, who already have had personal experience with war, actually act upon it.
The instinct itself is very similar to that of a squirrel who feels a strong urge to collect acorns and nuts and store them in a hole in a tree where it will hibernate. It’s a very basic, animal urge directly connected to survival. For something like a limited war, this instinct is extremely useful. Stocking up on non-perishable supplies will not get you through the crisis entirely, but will give you a very comfortable margin of time which allows you to avoid desperate options later, and the ability to plot a course of action which doesn’t include extreme risk is what will actually help you survive. For instance, you don’t have to try and rob someone’s food cache, or to go out and risk sniper and mortar fire in order to attempt something. The priorities are clean water, medications (for people with chronic conditions), food, fuel and weapons. Essentially, water is the biggest issue. If you don’t have access to pure drinking water, death from water-borne pathogens is the bigger threat than sniper fire. However, the problem can be solved if you stock up on bleach; two drops per liter of water, stir and leave for 30 minutes to kill the pathogens and you have drinkable water. As for food, stock up on carbs and fats; protein is easy. You can hunt for protein (which includes collecting the earthworms and eating the pets), but carbs and fats are freakishly hard to get from nature, outside of modern agriculture. Stock up on whatever you would otherwise eat, just have a bigger quantity in store and rotate the supplies so that they are always fresh enough. If you think it’s silly, think about Aleppo, Syria. Imagine being trapped there after the war had started. Your options are basically eat whatever you have in your apartment, or go out under sniper fire and try to get something to eat, in a situation where nobody really has much, whatever they have is guarded with guns, and distribution of humanitarian aid is an excellent opportunity for mortar fire by the enemy. Fuel is a big problem, especially in cold weather. Without fuel, you can’t prepare food, or get warm. It increases the chance of people getting sick and dying because of nonexistent health care in those conditions. Also, the cheapest non-perishable foods, like flour, beans and barley, will require cooking. Also, if the electricity runs out, the perishable foods in the refrigerator will need to be eaten quickly. Having your own solar power generator, strong enough to power the fridge and the oven is a great asset, but almost nobody has access to that, so it’s not really worth mentioning. The problem with having supplies is that people who don’t have supplies will be tempted to take yours, especially if they have a gun and you don’t. So, having a gun with plentiful munitions is an absolute life-saver in those situations. In a civil-war situation, people can be divided into active and passive elements of a situation depending on whether they are armed or not. Translate “passive” as “victim”. Also, people who can rely on other people and have plentiful social contacts with the neighbors are more likely to be able to trade for whatever they need. Expect “grid” to fail – gas, water, electricity, phone, Internet. Those who use gas in bottles for cooking will fare much better than those who use gas supplies from the grid, for instance. The more “off grid” your installation is, the less modern and convenient it is in the normal circumstances, the more resilient it is in the case of outages and infrastructural collapse. You can get gas in bottles from somewhere, but if you’re connected to the city’s supply, you will probably need to rework/replace your kitchen stove in order to be able to cook food. Also, if your central heating system uses gas or electricity from the grid, expect it to stop working. For this kind of outages, think Vukovar, Sarajevo, Mostar, Aleppo or Donetsk. We’re not talking nuclear war or a Chicxulub-level asteroid strike, we’re talking things like a civil war, where a city is expected to be split into segments based on the communities, with riots, armed gangs and all sorts of shit taking place, which makes it very dangerous to go out. Even in case of a natural disaster, such as a flood or an earthquake, there might be infrastructural collapse, widespread looting and violence, and you want to have some level of isolation from that until it blows itself out and order is restored. The worst possible scenario of this kind is the siege of Leningrad in WW2. I know more about it than I would like. Millions died. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a picnic compared to what happened there. In early 1942 some 100000 people died every month, mostly from starvation. Not fun. I interpret all the atrocities committed by the Soviets in Germany, later, as a reaction to that. You see, shit like that actually happens, it’s not some far-fetched conspiracy theory. At almost every single moment there’s a place in the world where you have a natural disaster or a civil war or a siege. Being able to endure for two weeks without exposing yourself to danger or starving is very useful.
In such circumstances, probably the best thing you can do is wait out the first period of randomness and chaotic bloodshed, and when you figure out what’s going on, make an assessment on whether to get the fuck out or to wait it out. Each option has strengths and weaknesses. However, there are possible scenarios in which getting out isn’t an option, because there’s nowhere for you to go. There are people who have romantic notions of taking a backpack with supplies and going into the woods to “live off the land”. Be absolutely certain that if you do that, you will die. Every shelter you make, every fire you light, is a beacon attracting all kinds of criminals to your camping site, and be assured that there will be criminals in the woods. They will rob you of your resources, and if you resist, they will kill you with impunity, and possibly even eat you. Your home, in most circumstances, will be much more easy to defend from attack. If you don’t already live off the land now, don’t even think about attempting it later. It stopped being possible for humans to live off the land in great numbers in late Pleistocene, and it forced them to invent agriculture, not because it’s fun but because it was the alternative to starvation. I walk through the forests all the time, and it’s true there’s wildlife there – boars and deer, for the most part. I’ve seen pig tracks, and I’ve seen deer occasionally. However, to attempt to survive by hunting the woods for pigs and deer, let’s say that this couldn’t even feed a small village, even if they hunted the animals to extinction. There’s simply too many people for this to work. In order to calculate the number of people who would die in case of a great disaster that would restrict food production, just have in mind that throughout history, human population was as big as the food supply allowed. So, if food production drops to pre-industrial levels, human population will drop to a pre-industrial level. Numerically, this means a sustainable population of around one billion people, which means six billions would die. This, of course, is an optimistic assessment, because the ensuing chaos and conflict would mean that those who are sentenced to death from starvation will commonly resort to banditry of all sorts, and the expectation that one billion people will be able to grow food on pre-industrial level while surrounded by hungry mobs of crazed people is naive. Some isolated, inaccessible areas might continue to function normally, but for the most part, in the rest of the world literally everybody would die before there would be any kind of peace again, because the most realistic and effective survival tactics in those times would not be agriculture, but armed robbery. However, this will not be the universal outcome. In some parts of the world, people are very disciplined and would be much more effective in surviving great hardships. In America, however, I would expect the worst kinds of nightmare.
So, to summarize. Being prepared for a limited disaster scenario is a good idea. Those things happen with such frequency, it’s very likely for a person to experience at least one such scenario during his or her lifetime. Some experience several. However, trying to survive a civilization-ending cataclysm such as a nuclear war or an asteroid strike is naive and pointless. Even if there were survivors, the factors leading to survival would probably be too random to be able to prepare. Most likely, the low-tech, off-the-grid, already living off the land, secluded closely-knit communities separated from the rest of the world by some natural barrier that is very difficult to overcome without modern technology, would have the greatest probability of survival. In urban communities, I’m afraid that there can be no long term survival. I personally know how much food I have to buy for my family every week, and it’s very easy for me to extrapolate the probability of our survival if the urban food supply were to be disrupted. Also, we are completely dependent on the grid – gas, water, electricity, everything. In those circumstances, survival is an illusion.
So, preparedness. By all means, be prepared for low-level extraordinary events, such as an earthquake, a flood or a civil war. Pay your bills, wash your dishes, have some excess of non-perishable food stored, have a bottle of bleach for disinfecting water, have battery lamps and power packs for charging your phone when there’s no electricity for five days. But above all, be prepared to leave this world, because all humans must die. Be prepared for war, but above all, be prepared to meet God. If you are, everything is easy.