It seems like an bizarre statement to make that we are all survivalists. However, unless you woke up today and decided to eat a bullet or jump from a tall building, most of us would fight like hell to stay alive should our life be threatened. I myself have been presented with the opportunity to call it quits and expire a couple of times, following some serious injuries that gave me a stay in an ICU. I can guarantee one thing, you become a wild animal clawing at your fleeting existence when presented with the option.
The term “survivalist” was coined by the famous survivalist and author Kurt Saxon, when he decided the 1950’s term “retreater”1 was too wimpy. Since then it has become synonymous with bearded, back-woods living, crazy people. And while there are certainly “those people” among the ranks, it’s not the whole.
Being a survivalist does not mean you have to dig a bunker, become paranoid, and subscribe to every conspiracy theory under the moon and stars. Admittedly, there are definitely some folks who refer to themselves as survivalists, and who take things to the extreme; but those people exist in EVERY walk of life. Whether it be wealth and status, religion, PUA, academia, you name it – we all have our freaks, geeks, and weirdos. Typically, it is these colorful birds that capture public attention and become the stereotype.
There have always been people who identify with survivalists, but not necessarily the media-hyped “survivalist.” Recently, a large group of people that don’t fit the common perception has come out of the woodwork. This is in large part due to people like Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast, who coined the phrase “Modern Survivalist.” Jack and others, such as myself, work through blogs and podcasts to spread a message of non-paranoia and rational preparedness.
When I tell people that I am a survivalist, I get a mixture of reactions all at once; those people are scary, but you live in the heart of a very large city, you don’t own any camo, and you’re preppy. Being a survivalist isn’t just about one political belief, style of dress, or affinity for conspiracy theories. It does mean that you take daily active measures to improve your life and ensure that, barring the truly dramatic, you will continue breathing through bad times.
Survivalist, in less hyped terms, is just a word to describe someone who takes a more active role in their well being than the mainstream does. They think about it regularly. They work to brace against catastrophes whether they be personal, local, regional, national, or global. It’s not just about being concerned with the bad, though.
Rational preparedness is about doing things that improve your life in good times too. Food storage is a capital deferment – you were going to eat it anyway. Storage of consumables is exactly the same. By storing, you are also in a position to take advantage of opportunity buying. The added benefit, though not often talked about, is that for whatever length of time you store, you will stay ahead of inflation – which always exists.
Taking things up a notch by producing your own food is a way to reconnect with your roots (our families all did it at some point), and gives you a firm understanding of where your food comes from. It also takes you further from being just a consumer and closer to being a producer. Are you thinking this will make you a target in a full-blown SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) situation? Yes, but then again being upright and alive makes you a target just as well, after a true SHTF. Well-founded OPSEC (Operations Security) that you should be practicing regardless is the best way to combat scenarios like that, should they ever take place.
Taking more active measures to ensure your life and the quality thereof, can seem like a strange and scary journey. You risk ridicule from those around you, or you worry about ending up on some “list”. However, it can and should be a very positive force in your life – just like PUA, or any other journey.
More often than not, I have found people to be rather intrigued once I start explaining why and how I am a survivalist. After explaining how it makes my life better today, and ensures the quality of my life tomorrow – whether things are good or bad – people typically say, “Huh, never thought of it that way.” (More to come on this subject later.)
While many people do decide for themselves personally that being a survivalist means moving to a more isolated location and seeking a life of living off the land as much as possible; it isn’t required. For a growing number of people, it means working within the confines of an urban setting – like I do.
Being a survivalist is about accepting that bad things do happen sometimes, and that no one will take as active a role in preserving your life as you will. I don’t know about you, but I am rather fond of my life and I aim to keep it by nearly all means necessary. This also extends to the well-being of my friends and family – most of whom do not consider themselves survivalists. So, while I’m no paranoid conspiracy theorist, I do proudly wear my survivalist role and will continue to share my commitment to people taking an active role in their own survival.
1 retreater – Life After Terrorism