Survivalists or Survivors?

            The other day I read an article entitled “No Electricity And It’s 5000 BC” which you can read by clicking on its title.  It portrays rather graphically how horrible things could get in the absence of electricity.  As you may already know, that’s a possibility we dare not overlook because a giant solar storm or atmospheric nuclear attack could cause an electromagnetic pulse that would wipe out power grids.  The result would be an end to life as we know it.


            After reading the article, I was preparing to mention it to you and promote Lehman’s as a resource for supplies and books to help you live a lifestyle without electricity.  And indeed it’s true.  A large share of Lehman’s customers are the Amish, who seem to do pretty well without electricity, so Lehman’s doesn’t merely dabble in survivalist what if’s.  Naturally, you’re invited to click on their logo on this page any time to see what they’re all about.


            Then a friend made a couple of points that stopped me short.  He noted that, as real as the horrors of life without electricity may be, the focus of the article is on the inconveniences to all of us.  However, civilization doesn’t depend on electricity.  Mankind got along quite well for centuries before the widespread availability of electrical power. 


What’s more, the quality of people from the past was better.  I can’t disagree.


            A woman I’m acquainted with believes she and her family are gifted, and I don’t doubt it.  She’s aware, too, that if they had lived 150 years ago, they might not stand out as extraordinary.  Perhaps you’ve heard of the eighth grade school test in 1895 that asks questions you might see on a college prep test today.


            But it’s not all about our level of education or lack of it.  Once upon a time there was a greater sensibility combined with intelligence.  Families weren’t nearly as broken and dysfunctional.  There was a sense of community we’ve lost for the most part.  Rural people helped each other build barns or dig wells.  Places in big cities could still have a small town atmosphere.  This has all changed for a host of reasons too complex to delve into here, but awareness of the commonality of life’s adversities once bonded people.


            Gone are the people who built giant pyramids, enduring Roman roads, and ships that sailed to lands unknown.  Governments functioned and everyday people made their livings without electricity.  Where has the character of our ancestors gone?  Has it been bred out of us?  Today we’re preoccupied with sports, Wal-Mart Superstores and Twittering.


            Before you decide I’m idealizing too much here, I’m fully aware the past had its share of evils like slavery, class divisions and political corruption, to name a few.  Life expectancy was shorter, and illness and death were ever present.  We have many modern comforts for which to be thankful.  Nonetheless, people in centuries past made do with what they had in their station in life.


            If “the big one” happens and worst case scenarios play out, to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll make it, in spite of my best efforts.  Will you?  There are no guarantees for any of us.  I think we’ll be surprised by who will survive and who won’t.  Will we somehow exhibit innate or latent personality traits that will see us through?


            The point is, while I do this blog with the hopes you and I will get what we need to survive crises of all kinds, your greatest survival tool may very well be who you are—what’s in your heart and between your ears.  Are you preparing now to be a survivalist or a survivor?


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

2 thoughts on “Survivalists or Survivors?”

  1. Well, that was an uplifting article. :>(

    No, not really – scary and depressing, moreso than “One Second After” which I read a couple weeks ago and got depressed about.

    The worrisome thing is that if we get hit with a well-planned EMP attack, most everything electrical will cease to work – even solar panels…so forget recharging ANYthing with the Sun’s power. At least with a Solar storm most things with surge protectors will be protected (at least one hopes). The only hope appears to be:

    1) Key spares of solar cells and rechargeable batteries protected by Faraday Cages. Ditto rechargeable radios to be able to get what little news there might be.

    2) Living rural, like the article said – only relative isolation will protect one and one’s family/group/small tribe from the violence, starvation and disease that will come from big cities and all of the problems such an event would cause.

    3) Lots of hand-powered tools (saws, hammers, drills, pulleys, etc.) and spares (no replacement parts available); ditto for consumables like nails (which will run out).

    4) Organized defense against intruders and garden-invading critters (the latter with cats & dogs for the most part, sometimes with armed people). This means guns (and spare parts), plenty of ammo of a variety of types and crossbows or bows with lots of bolts or arrows.

    5) Lots of food, enough to survive until a harvest comes in.

    6) Lots of non-hybrid seed, of a wide variety. Fruit/nut bearing trees (the latter is a VERY long-term plan-ahead item, as they won’t bear anything edible for a couple of years.

    7) Lots of medical supplies.

    It won’t be easy, and even whole towns that prepare together (and how many of those will there be?) may not survive much beyond a few months, depending on the breaks. A smart and forward-looking government (and when is the last time we had one of those, the 1950’s or early ’60s?) would store enormous quantities of all of these items in dozens or hundreds of bunkers around the country, along with detailed instruction manuals.

    It could literally be lights out for the human race…but I will continue to prepare in the hopes that it won’t be so, and that my family and I would be part of the solution, should some uber-crisis like this occur.

  2. Great points. Thanks for commenting. The one thing I didn’t understand about the article I linked to in the post is the mention of 5000 BC. Seems to me like we could get knocked backward by about 150 years by an EMP and be in major trouble. Plus, we’ve got advantages they didn’t have even then, such as the chargers and radios you mention.

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