What Do You Do When Time is Running Out?
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Try out these thought exercises: There's only a limited amount of time left for modern civilisation as we know it. It's impossible to know exactly how long — but if something is unsustainable then, by definition, it has only a limited amount of time left before it's over.
As an exercise for today, really try to think far outside the box that we're kept inside when we spend most (or all) of our lives participating in modern society, and mainstream media. Which tell us that the meaning of life lies mostly in having an ever-increasing material standard of living and of entertainment. For this to be possible, modern culture must also tell us that we can keep on continuing to increase our material standard of living.
Therefore the message of impending collapse that's carried by people (such as preppers) with a less-artificially-enhanced outlook is hidden from our sight about as much as the mainstream media can possibly manage to hide. Yet once you step outside the bounds of what we're shown on the mainstream channels, a very different picture emerges...
The Doomsday Clock
Try these out as "thought experiments". Don't discount the value of thought experiments. Einstein used them as a crucial aid that enabled him to invent many of his most ground-breaking scientific achievements.
First of all, imagine that time has run out. There's a sudden and final end to modern civilisation. All the power goes off. The water in the taps stops running. It's never coming back. The local shops will empty out completely from looting over the next few days, so if you need anything you'd better get onto it fast — if you can get there at all (since your car doesn't go anymore, nor do the trains and buses and Uber vehicles). And there's no power in the shops either (for EFT, or to unlock/open the drawer of the cash registers) so there's no way you could legally buy anything that was still left anyway. Frozen and refrigerated food starts to warm to room temperature, and then begins to rot. There's no more phones or internet. You can't call or message anyone. Ever. Again. The screen you're watching right now goes black, and will never light up again. Neither will your ceiling lights, or fridge, or any of the other modern inventions that we rely on. The sewerage system is no longer useable, since without electrical power to pump out the system it will quickly backfill. And there's no water in the taps (unless you have gravity-fed tank water, or something) to flush it with anyway. Most modern electrical devices will never work again (in many cases even if you have "alternative" power available). Even your battery-powered modern LED torches may be permanently dead.
What do you do next?
This is a completely realistically possible scenario that could (and most likely would) happen from a nuclear EMP. Which James Woolsey, ex-head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), says is the greatest threat that faces modern Western society.
Without getting too stressed about it, try to imagine what that would really be like, and what you would really do. It's only a thought experiment, so don't worry too much about what the "correct answers" are. Or if you have no idea what to do — or even if you can't imagine ever having any idea what to do in this scenario.
Once you've done that, remember that this has not happened yet, or you wouldn't be reading these words (unless you printed them perhaps). There's still plenty of time left to do things that are useful. Perhaps a decade or more. Perhaps much less than that — we don't know — but there's still a lot of time left right now compared to the instant-collapse scenario above.
One Day Left
Now imagine that somehow you know for sure that there's exactly one day left before the end of civilisation.
What would you do now?
Especially if you did the exercise above, and thought about it in good detail, you'll probably be able to think of a huge number of things you could do in this one last day left of modern civilisation. Most likely, unless you're a completely well established prepper already, and already at the location you wish to be in when it "all goes down" — high on the list of priorities would be to go to the shops and buy a lot of things.... like food.... like water perhaps.... like basic essential items, soap, toiletries, batteries, etc.
Quite likely (especially since you're already reading this prepping website right now) you'd "Google" a few prepping websites and YouTube videos and get some ideas. Quickly. Perhaps you have relatives who live on a farm you'd plan to stay with, and drive to, bringing supplies with you. While you can still contact them, and drive, and buy supplies.
You can think about this for a while. Try to imagine it really happening, even though it's very unlikely we'll know that precisely how much time there is left (like exactly one day left). This is optional but you could perhaps even allow a whole day to think about it (as if that was your last day of civilisation).
One thing this exercise is meant to highlight is how much you could really do in just one day — one day that could make an absolutely, totally, completely, utterly, massive difference compared to if you knew nothing and did nothing.
And that's just one day.
One Week Left
Now imagine that there's exactly one week left. And repeat the exercise. This time you've got seven whole days to get ready. That's a lot more than one. If you're doing this thoroughly enough, about now you should ideally feel at least some sense that there is a lot of time left (I mean in real life, not so much in the one-week thought experiment), and there is a lot you can do in that time.
I'll fill in some more of the blanks in here when I update this page soon...
One Month Left
Now imagine that there's exactly one month left. And repeat the exercise. I'll fill in some more of the blanks in here when I update this page soon...
One Year Left
Now imagine that there's exactly one year left. And repeat the exercise. I'll fill in some more of the blanks in here when I update this page soon...
Five Years Left
Now imagine that there's exactly five years left. And repeat the exercise. I'll fill in some more of the blanks in here when I update this page soon...
Cover image by Alexandre Dulaunoy. This device looks intimidating, but it's actually a harmless toy you can legally build for yourself (if you know how to solder). You can read more about it on the nootropic design website.
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