"One of the illusions of life is
that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
No man has learned anything rightly, until he knows that every day is Doomsday." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Being an Existential Prepper
It may seem that an analysis of the prepper cultural phenomena is a trite
endeavor, but if you delve into the philosophical underpinnings of human instincts for survival, a worthy lesson can be the
result. Since life is a gift, the conditions upon which it ends or voluntarily forfeited, are not necessarily dependent upon
the will of the individual. A calculated act of placing your life at risk is not equivalent with a deliberate suicide. The
functions and purpose of the prepper community is in direct conflict with those individuals that languish in hopeless despair
and desperation. The response of the prepper to social turmoil is to prepare for contingencies. Yet that defensive posture
avoids the essential question, what is the point of surviving if the communal environment is a hopeless wasteland.
A novel plot for a pilot reality show entitled Preppers vs. Self-Sufficientists gives a comparison.
"Picture a quiet street in a small suburban town, Somewhere,
U.S.A. On the left side of the street live the Self-Sufficientists, community-minded folks who believe that being self-reliant
in the event of whatever disaster or hardship may come is good for everyone. The right side of the street is reserved for
the Preppers, people who mind their own business, look after themselves, and are armed and ready to defend the freedoms they
What accounts for this different approach
towards survival, largely depends upon the peril level and perceived type of social dislocation and political unrest that
might follow. The populace dismisses both viewpoints, discounted by the vast majority of urban inhabitants that are entirely
dependent upon the interdependent public services and just in time distribution systems that sustain their lifestyle.
Whether a natural disaster, a social unrest upheaval, a financial bubble or a breakdown
of infrastructure or services; the expectation is that the government will respond. Meeting the needs of the dispossessed
is now seen as a civil right, no matter what the circumstance.
For the dependent dwellers, they never assume the personal responsibility to take even the
most modest precautions. The remediation of dire consequences falls upon first responders, FEMA facilities and government subsidies. Prepping for an unknown catastrophic
disaster would interfere with texting and surfing.
"A prudent person foresees the
danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."
Reliance upon a fragile technological communication cloud, when a storm is on the horizon,
is foolish to the prudent person. However, common sense and practical skills are distinctly on the decline, even when found
in the postmodern artificial intelligence matrix.
Therefore, when the prepper enthusiast emerges as a counter weight
to urban apathy, the slackers lash out against the rural refuge mindset that promotes independence and self-reliance.
The Precepts of Rawlesian
Survivalist Philosophy, found on the popular site, SurvivalBlog.com presents a balanced and detailed approach to prudent preparedness. Jim Rawles
presents an argument that the cause of the breakdown in traditional civic order and the accelerated social engineering practiced
in public policy of the last fifty years, is reason enough to take measures to protect yourself and family.
"Ponder what socialism does: In essence, in redistributes wealth, by
force. Even if that force has a friendly American face, under the color of law, with a neat and orderly system of taxation,
it is nonetheless still force. The
bottom line is that under the socialist model, without my consent, some of my earnings are forcibly extracted from me and
eventually put into the hands of another citizen that did not earn them. If I refuse to pay my taxes, then I pay huge fines
and/or I will be sent to prison. Period."
Now you do not have to adopt a Libertarian patron or mentor to acknowledge that government coercion is the operative
principle of the state. Quite to the contrary, many of the most ardent supporters of expanded public services are the most
vocal defenders of greater imposition of force as an instrument of compliance.
The prepper by definition is not willing to turn over to the authorities the responsibility for their well-being.
How much more dangerous can you get, when hoarding becomes an acceptable behavior.
Think of it in this manner. The entire justification of any insurance coverage is to hedge the risk of an unpleasant
unknown. Such contracts might pay a monetary relief, while other agreements would provide emergency service. Few challenge
the basic concept behind the theory. Many often dispute the way the business of insurance is administered, because it usually
is an abstract guarantee of trust for satisfaction.
there be any resistance in gathering and storing acorns for winter, chipmunks do. So should sensible humans apply not the
Facing doomsday is not required to interject
an existential element into the equation. Apocalypse scenarios set aside, the task of living in a socially dependent environment
that is rapidly becoming a privilege for those who adopt the "Great Society" model, means that the prepper; god
forbid, might actually become a survivalist.
observation from a Canadian prepper advises.
"Most people simply believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them. That is the mindset of the perpetually
unprepared, don't even waste your time with those. Trust me, I've tried.
There are two primary groups of potential converts to the "prepper" lifestyle:
A) Unacquainted | This is the largest group of potential preppers, people who have
the capability and capacity for prepping but have yet to be introduced to the mindset (that's where YOU come in!).
B) Misinformed | These ones are difficult, as they associate prepping with the
survivalist movement of the cold war and post cold war period (the tin foil hat wearing, bunker building obsessive’s).
References to the impending zombie apocalypse will only reaffirm this negative association and works against our cause - avoid
it when you can, as non-preppers do not view discourse on "zombies" as an analogy for the all-inclusive prepping
some of us partake in.
If you want
to bring even a modest proportion of composure about sustainable needs, continuing a lifestyle of perpetually unpreparedness
is problematic. Preparing for potential or probable contingencies as opposed to being obsessed with universal cocoon protection
is a positive and rational enterprise.
Only a small remnant
of activists deems it their mission to recruit others into the ranks of preppers. Each individual has their own responsibility
to confront and provide for their own sustenance. Likewise, each person must confront his or her demise.
Philosophy as a preparation
for death, published on Just Thomism, by James Chastek provides an introspective account.
"Plato famously called philosophy a preparation for death. We can see the
goal of this preparation in the dialogue Phaedo, which depicts Socrates at the day and hour of his execution. This approaching
death, therefore, is the most significant and formidable of Socrates’ interlocutors, and the one he has been preparing
to meet for his entire life: Plato, after all, did not call philosophy a "preparation for Callicles" or even a preparation
for sophistical arguments", but a preparation for death. Socrates meets death - which he compares to meeting the Minataur
in the Labyrinth- and using argument, he prevails.
As soon as
we take Plato’s definition of philosophy seriously, much of what styles itself philosophy becomes vain and worthless,
for it could no more prepare us for death than some other body of knowledge chosen as random. When we judge philosophies in
light of Plato’s definition (or even when we decide to read Plato himself in light of his definition!) philosophy takes
on a new urgency and a greater focus, for so many of our arguments, complaints, papers, seminars, pet theories and conferences
prove themselves as so much wasted time, and we don’t have much time. Sooner or later we will turn a corner and the
Minataur will be upon us, voiceless, real, and promising to take away everything."
Prepper’s are practicing a proactive response to survive in a continuing deteriorating world. Their preparations
may not even be used, but they are necessary to maintain a positive attitude towards fulfilling the responsibilities of a
The hopeless despair and desperation that
the sheeple endure daily may not be seen in their normal routine. Most do not understand the reasons for their unrealized
souls. Nonetheless, the march of time does not halt for the fleeting pleasures of the unready. Their rebuff of the existential
reality from where there is no escape, places their destiny in the most vulnerable of all circumstances.
The eugenic propensity of governments towards their own citizens is one of the
most tragic ills of society. The prepper will eventually succumb to death. The difference is that their human dignity is sustained.
Not so, for the unready, their fate rests upon the whims of their dependency dispensers.
Is it worth the effort to survive under these absurd conditions? For those who make preparations to endure, they
will confront the Minataur with courage and nobility.
– October 28, 2013