Getting Ready... but for What?

I have mentioned before that I think hard times are ahead. I've been making this prediction based upon the political and economic events of late, along with what I know of human history. There is no way to predict when or how it will go down, but if we accept that it could be in our lifetime, then we are faced with a unique problem.

We must go on, preparing for the future as we originally concieved of it - build a career, buy a house, raise a family, etc. Simultaneously, we should be preparing for the collapse of those dreams, and making ourselves ready to live in a harder, more dangerous world. I'm not talking about a bomb shelter approach (if I understand that illustration correctly, bomb shelters look kind of small...), but rather a program of personal preparation; a mental and physical readiness. Quite a departure from the way most Americans live, in the belief that our bloated way of life will continue forever.

What we will be facing depends on the nature of the final straw - economic collapse, nuclear winter, global ice melt, alien invasion, zombie appocalypse, Republican revolt, whatever - but it's safe to say that you are more likely to survive if you are fit and accustomed to hard physical toil.

I originally started working out again out of simple vanity and fear of death. Heart disease and diabetes run in my family, and I'm chubby. Less so now, and I'm pleased with that, but my reasons for pushing myself harder have changed recently. I'm still quite vain, but function is rapidly beginning to take precedence over form. This may sound corny, but I have friends and family who will need aid when the shit hits the fan, and I don't want to have to say "sorry, too weak and out of shape to help you." Also, being prepared physically has the fringe benfit of making it possible for me to play harder and enjoy this way of life more fully while it persists.

This ultimately becomes a form of Pascal's wager - if I'm right and rough times are ahead, then I'm more ready for them. If I'm wrong, then I'm more fit and will probably live a longer life. If, however, I choose to be fat and lazy like many Americans and a collapse does occur, I'm even more screwed in the aftermath, and if there is no catastrophe, I shorten my life and enjoyment by being a tub o' goo. Being physically prepared is a win-win proposition (I understand that Pascal's Wager is a much more complex argument about certainty, and that there are numerous arguments against it. Please don't quote Richard Dawkins to me...).

So, I am advocating a certain hardness of body, and toughness of mind. Not just for the young, not just for the athletic, and not just for males, either. Take a look at yourself and ask if you can run, lift and carry, fight, etc. for any length of time. If you can, great - keep it up. If not, think seriously about your place in a harder future.

8 comments:

Teh Dr. said...

Do you think an intimate knowledge of how to make things melt, go boom, become caustic fumes, ignite, grow at exponential rates, and make penicillin will be useful in the dystopia you predict?

His Sinfulness said...

Yes - and you're on MY team.

Ducky said...

I swear you're the voice at the back of my head telling me to learn the lost arts - fighting, hunting, and basic survival skills. Sometimes I feel like a paranoid, but mostly I figure it can't hurt me any. It's the only exercise I have interest in anyway. Incidentally, my already qualified list of skills are spinning, knitting, and minor sewing skills. You know, just to keep in mind for the apocalypse.

His Sinfulness said...

Ducky - your sewing skills will be handy, and the knitting as well. You can knit a cover for my gauss rifle...

Mayren said...

i wanna know how your "Big Sit" meditations are going ....

His Sinfulness said...

Thanks for the reminder, Mayren. I started that post, but never finished it... :)

the only bagel in france said...

I like this post, and I think you're smart for readying yourself for this. I'm currently in the "learning to be hungry all the time" stage. And seriously, if (when) we face serious food shortages, Americans are going to be completely turned around and wondering what happened to their endless supplies of chips, candy, and biscuits.

And thanks for introducing me to Pascal's Wager.

His Sinfulness said...

Bagel,
I'm glad to help out, even if it is a bit grim. Pascal's Wager is a fascinating little mental experiment. Numerous philosophers have responded to it, with some very clever arguments. My favorite is the argument that the time you lose in prayer and worship is time that could be spent living a fuller life. They also ask how you can know if you are believing in the right god, or how you can be certain that god won't punish feigned faith based on this sort of "wager" and not on true belief.
It's good exercise for the brain... :)

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