Sunday, August 14, 2011
“May you live in interesting times’ is how a supposedly ancient Chinese proverb (or curse) goes. It means that the most interesting period of history are often those we’d least like to live through. But many of the ‘dreamers’ in survival and preparedness think that the interesting times are those that they yearn for, an opportunity to be the person of their dreams, a rugged survivor, a pioneer, maybe even a leader of a new society.
They are damned fools. Periods of unrest and upheaval are certainly interesting to read about, but can be damned hard to live through. Disease, crop failure, war, and civil unrest can be all too random in operation. You might be the best prepared person on the planet, but it does not mean you will survive the guy that sneezes in the elevator. You may be the best armed family on the block, but a pilot dumping a bomb on you to keep his damaged plane flying doesn’t care what a cool MBR you have. You might be the best martial artist in the city, but a cinder block dropped off of a roof in a riot will fracture your skull as easily as the next person’s.
It is an old Clausewitzian truism that no plan survives contact with the enemy. Clausewitz understood that once the action starts that the fog of war, the random factors that are unforeseen and unforeseeable will start creating situations and results unanticipated by the best of planners. It may sound like I’m saying that it’s all too random, so why plan at all?
In fact, planning and preparing is all you can do. Unless you can foresee the future, there is a good chance that if the world falls into crisis, it will not happen as you or I expected it to occur. The likelihood that your plan will play out as you expect will be very small indeed. But the fact that you do have a plan will make it possible for you to assess the situation, decide on changes in your plan, and then to analyze the results to see if further changes are necessary.
The important thing is to be flexible in your thinking, in your preparations, and in your plans. There is no guarantee that you will survive a particular crisis, no matter what you do. The point is that prepping will make the odds of you coming through the best they can be. Personally, while I believe in Lady Luck, I’m not willing to leave it in her hands entirely.