A recent Richard Fernandez column ends brilliantly:
We often forget that the sacred texts of mankind began as practical documents. They were checklists. And we may well rediscover this fact before the end. One can imagine the last two postmoderns crawling towards each other in the ruins of a once great city to die, and while waiting to expire engage in conversation to pass the time.
“Waldo,” the first said, “do you remember that tablet displayed in front of the Texas Statehouse. You know, back when there was a Texas?”
“Yeah, didn’t it have a whole bunch of stuff scrawled on it? Tell me again what it said,” replied the other.
“Waldo, it said, ‘thou shalt not kill.’ And ‘thou shalt not lie’.”
“Yes it also said, ‘thou shalt not steal’. Plus somewhere in the middle said, ‘thou shalt not have sex with people you weren’t married to.’”
“Yeah, I remember it now,” the second post-modern said. “What a bunch of hooey. It’s a right wing, nutjob, racist document called the Ten Commandments. It’s a religious document.”
“No Waldo,” the first replied. “That’s where you’re wrong. It ain’t no religious document. I just figured out it was a survival manual.”
Almost anything can be made into a 'religion.' (I am using the term very loosely!) Survivalism, for example. See J. W. Rawles' SurvivalBlog.com for a taste. This post provides some insight into the mentality of a distaff survivalist. It is quite revealing, I think, of both the 'logic' and the propensity for extremism of the survivalist type. But extremism is everywhere, in the longevity fanatic, the muscular hypertrophy nut, and so on.
But don't get me wrong. A wise man, while hoping for the best, prepares for the worst. But the prepping is kept within reason, where part of being reasonable is maintaining a balanced perspective. A balanced approach, for me, does not extend to the homemade rain barrels that the linked-to survivalist lady mentions. But I do keep a lot of bottled water and other non-alcoholic potables on hand. Here are some questions you should ask yourself.
1. Are you prepared to repel a home invasion? 2. Do you have sufficient food and water to keep you and your family alive for say three weeks? 3. Do you have the battery-operated devices you will need to survive the collapse of the power grid, and enough fresh batteries? 4. Can you put out a fire on your own? 5. Do you have a sufficient supply of the medications you will need should there be no access to pharmacies?
These are just some of the questions to consider. But how far will you go with these preparations? Will you sacrifice the certain present preparing for a disastrous future that may not materialize? Wouldn't that be foolish? Wouldn't it be as foolish as the ostrich-like refusal to consider questions like the above?
And then there is the question of suicide, which you ought to confront head on. Do you want to live in the state of nature after the collapse of civil society? Under what conditions is life worth living? Civilization is thin ice, a crust easy to break through, beneath which is a hell of misery. (Yes, I know I'm mixing my metaphors.) When the going gets unbearable, can you see your way clear to shooting your spouse and then yourself? Are there good moral objections to such a course of action?
Think about these things now while you have time and enjoy peace of mind.