Can a Family Reunion Teach Us How People Survive?

What in the world can a family reunion teach us about survival? I’ve survived plenty myself and can tell you it takes some doing. But that’s not what I have in mind today.

Bear with me as I attempt to tie some seemingly unrelated thoughts together. Or maybe I’ll only raise more questions.

First, this may seem off the topic, but let me make an observation about what we’re bombarded with by the mainstream news media. The vast majority of what we’re over exposed to is irrelevant to our everyday lives.

Here’s an example. One morning NPR’s newscast started by saying, “There’s been another high profile assassination in Afghanistan.”

So what? Big fat, hairy deal.

What does that have to do with whether I’ll get fewer green beans from my garden due to hot, dry weather?

I have to admire NPR, though grudgingly, for their professionalism. Such a lead is much more dignified than truthfully saying, “There’s no news today. The next five minutes is total B.S. designed to fill our designated time slot.”

Can you imagine how quiet talk radio and TV news channels would be if they weren’t just filling time?

More and more people are getting their news from online sources, partly because the analysis is more in depth. Even so, how much of it really affects our daily lives? And when it comes to the few things that do matter, who can you discuss them with?

That brings me around to family reunions.

I remember one weekend when in 2011 I was at a fairly large gathering on my wife’s side of the family. Not once did I hear anyone mention the current events of the day. A mass shooting and the death of a celebrity were making headlines.

Instead, I heard how one cousin’s home flooded while they were on vacation. Another cousin talked about plans for traveling to Australia to see an elderly uncle. Another showed photos of their family’s 400 pound pet pig which lived with them in their bedroom.

And on it went.

I kept quiet and observed. I didn’t bring up prepping or give out business cards promoting DestinySurvival. Maybe I should have been bolder. But when I told one inquirer how I spend my time, his interest sagged quickly.

Let’s face it. Family reunions aren’t noted for their intellectual stimulation. They’re also not a good atmosphere for talking up survival and prepping. At least not unless you want to be the proverbial turd in the punch bowl.

Been there, done that. The results aren’t pretty.

If the family members at gatherings represent a small slice of average Americans, why the disconnectedness from the rest of the world? Is it ignorance? Apathy? Preoccupation with everyday affairs?

Could it be that they agree with the idea that what we’re being told by the media is irrelevant? Or is there something else in play here?

It could be any of the above, but here’s another possible theory. See what you think.

I read an article called Dissociated State of Mind is Social Necessity, by Kevin D. Annett. He suggests that a dissociated state of mind is a survival mechanism for most of us.

As Annett puts it, “A dissociated person cannot relate and integrate a normal feeling, observation or occurrence with the rest of her being.” In other words, there’s a disconnectedness with what’s happening around us. The mind is in park.

That which isn’t routine can cause confusion and paralysis. It’s as if something traumatic had happened.

I suspect our modern technology has something to do with this. We’re texted, Twittered, Facebooked, phone apped and blogged into insensibility. We engage with electronics and think we’re achieving something. Meanwhile, we’re overloaded and can’t handle anything deeper than superficial interactions.

This dissociation works out well for the Power Elites. As Annett observes, “…any large organization, let alone a compartmentalized, consumptionist society like ours, structurally requires such a mentality in its workers for the system to function efficiently.”

After all, for you and me to be rational might mean being a threat to the well oiled machine of our society. We might do something unpredictable. And heaven forbid we should do anything that doesn’t follow the intended script.

What if most people shut out the rest of the world as a coping mechanism? They’re doing all they can to carry on with life’s everyday burdens. Ordinary life demands so much.

Unfortunately, that makes it harder to get through to them. Trying to talk about survival and prepping is disturbing to the person on the receiving end.

Does that mean we shouldn’t do it? It depends. Some rare individuals are open to new ideas and challenges. For me, recognizing who they are is tricky.

I assume you’re one of the curious people who isn’t possessed by dissociation. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this, would you?

What do you think? Is disconnectedness a coping mechanism? Or are people smarter than Annett and I give them credit for? Do they realize what’s important and what’s not?

Do you have a way to spot someone who’s open to prepping? When you’re at a family reunion do you try to engage family members about prepping?


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.