Rural Revolution: A Year of Testing

Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution talks about lessons learned and general preparedness over the course of the past year in A Year of Testing

…If the last year has done nothing else, it has tested a whole lot of people. That testing is still going on today, everything from the hundreds of thousands of small business either closed or struggling, to the current catastrophic situation in Texas (and to a lesser extent, Oregon).

As a result of the myriad issues America has faced in the last year, being prepared is more important than ever. I think we can all agree on that. What’s questionable is whether it’s possible, since so many people are struggling financially. (For those in compromised financial straits, Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper and its sister site The Frugalite writes a lot about this issue. Her material is well worth reviewing.)

So when I saw an article this morning on Natural News entitled “Fifteen HARD lessons I learned from the ‘Texageddon’ blackouts and collapse of critical infrastructure,” I read it with interest.

I often get impatient with Natural News because it tends toward the “We’re all gonna die!” mindset, but this one was fairly good. The bulk of the advice is in the form of a podcast I didn’t bother listening to, but here are the 15 points synopsized down. My comments are italicized and (in parentheses).

  • Survival is very physical. Expect to exert a lot of physical effort. (Agreed. We had a massive windstorm and subsequent power outage back in 2015, and it was very hard work indeed to maintain livestock, water, etc.)

    • Culture matters. Don’t end up in a community without morals or ethics when it all hits the fan. (Easy to say, not necessarily easy to do. Not everyone can afford to move.)

    • Convergence of two “black swan” disasters can wipe out your best plans, even if you have successfully prepped for any one (standalone) disaster. (Agreed. I’ve always maintained preparedness doesn’t make you immune to disaster; it just gives you a fighting chance.)

    • Some of your preps will FAIL. It’s difficult to consider all possible scenarios, so count on failures striking without warning. (Agreed.Three is two, two is one, etc.)

    • You need LAYERS of preparedness and “fall back” systems that are very low-tech and require nothing more than the laws of physics (gravity, chemistry, etc.). (That’s why I’ve always preferred low-tech options for preparedness.)

    • No one is coming to help you. In many situations, no one can get to you even if they wanted to.

    • Containers (buckets, barrels) are extremely important. Have lots of pre-stored water and fuel at all times.

    • Bitcoin and crypto were all completely valueless and useless during the collapse, since they all rely on electricity. Gold, silver and cash worked fine, on the other hand. (Yay, at last someone gets it! I’ve always thought tangible assets were the way to go. Personally I prefer the “stock” market such as cattle and chickens.)

    • You will likely experience injuries or mishaps due to new, unusual demands on your work activities. Practice safety and be prepared to deal with injuries yourself.

    • Having lots of spare parts for plumbing. Standardize your pipe sizes and accessories. I have standardized on 1″ PEX pipe and all its fittings because PEX is very easy to cut, shape and rework. Plus it’s far more resistant to bursting, compared to PVC. (I take exception to this. We should all have “lots of spare parts” for plumbing? Really? Why not just have an extra house you can keep in your back pocket for any spare parts you need? What happened in Texas was unprecedented, and the whole plumbing issue is vastly more complicated than just what’s under your sink. In other words, while spare plumbing parts are great, this is a “hindsight is 2020” recommendation that seems a little too pat and smacks of blaming the victim.)

    • Investment in food is always a good investment, as prices will continue to climb. No one ever said during an emergency, “Gee, I wish I had less food here.”

    • You can’t count on any government or institution or infrastructure to solve anything. Usually they just get in the way.

    • You MUST have good lights and many backup batteries, or you will be sitting in the dark. You’ll need a good headlamp (I use the PETZL Nao+) and some good 18650-battery flashlights such as Nitecore. (I’m also a big proponent of kerosene lamps.)

    • Guns and bullets are not needed in some survival scenarios, so balance your prepping. Don’t put all your money into ammo and fail to cover other important areas like emergency first aid. (Totally agree! There are too many “Rambo” preppers out there who think that because they have a bristling arsenal, that’s all they need to be prepared. What are they going to do – shoot their way into a closed convenience store to steal what they need whenever the power goes out?)

    • Think about what are stores of energy: Wood, diesel, gasoline, propane, water elevation, etc. Survival is a lot about energy management. (Agreed. To a minor extent, we’re facing that now in our new home. We’re still without the backups we need to stay comfortable during a grid-down situation.)

Anyway, that’s about all the rambling musings I have at the moment. Sorry to sound so incoherent…

Rural Revolution: Were Stoics on to Something?

Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution writes about finding happiness in virtue and rejecting unhealthy passions in Were Stoics on to Something?

After a lifetime of hearing virtually nothing about the philosophy of stoicism, suddenly I’m seeing articles about it everywhere.

Stoicism, as you may know, is a school of philosophy founded in ancient Greece in the 3rd century B.C. by Zeno of Citium. Famous adherents include Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

According to the Daily Stoic, “The philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness, and judgment should be based on behavior rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses. … Stoicism doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but with helping us overcome destructive emotions and act on what can be acted upon. It’s built for action, not endless debate.” (This website also offers nine exercises for developing stoicism.)

The philosophy is a lot more complicated than that, but you get the gist.

So why, after a lifetime of barely hearing a peep about this philosophy, am I seeing stoicism get so much coverage? I’m sure the timing — coming as the globe shuts down over the coronavirus pandemic — is no coincidence. Now that life has suddenly become very complicated, I suppose stoicism may offer ways to handle those complications.

The concept of “It’s not how you feel, it’s how you behave” is a new and possibly difficult philosophy for many people to abide by. Our modern society teaches us emotions and feeeeelings are paramount. Every little perceived microaggression must be treated as earth shattering and personal. We are literally enshrining emotions (hurt feeeeeelings) into law.

But with so much now out of our control, maybe the stoics are onto something.

This article, for example, recommends stoicism for anger management: “Seneca thought that anger is a temporary madness, and that even when justified, we should never act on the basis of it because, though ‘other vices affect our judgment, anger affects our sanity: others come in mild attacks and grow unnoticed, but men’s minds plunge abruptly into anger. … Its intensity is in no way regulated by its origin: for it rises to the greatest heights from the most trivial beginnings.'”

Or, as Marcus Aurelius put it, “Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” (In other words, anger is a choice.)

The author recommends behaving like a rock when insulted. “Stand by a rock and insult it, and what have you accomplished? If someone responds to insult like a rock, what has the abuser gained with his invective?” This way, the insulter can be “livid with rage” while the insultee can retain his serenity. (This author also offers tips on how to keep from getting angry.)

In another article, the writer points out two foundational principles of stoicism: “The first is that some things are within our control and some are not, and that much of our unhappiness is caused by thinking that we can control things that, in fact, we can’t. What can we control? Epictetus argues that we actually control very little. We don’t control what happens to us, we can’t control what the people around us say or do, and we can’t even fully control our own bodies, which get damaged and sick and ultimately die without regard for our preferences. The only thing that we really control is how we think about things, the judgements we make about things.”

The second principle is: “It’s not things that upset us, but how we think about things. Stuff happens. We then make judgements about what happens. If we judge that something really bad has happened, then we might get upset, sad, or angry, depending on what it is. If we judge that something bad is likely to happen then we might get scared or fearful. All these emotions are the product of the judgements we make. Things in themselves are value neutral, for what might seem terrible to us might be a matter of indifference to someone else, or even welcomed by others. It’s the judgements we make that introduce value into the picture, and it’s those value judgements that generate our emotional responses. … Another Stoic strategy is to remind ourselves of our relative unimportance. The world does not revolve around us.” …(continues)

Click here to continue reading at Rural Revolution.

2019 NW Preparedness Expo, Apr. 13 & 14

http://nwpreparednessexpo.us

Speakers include:

  • Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution
  • John Jacob Schmidt of AmRRON and Radio Free Redoubt
  • Glen Tate, author of the 299 Days book series
  • Shelby Gallagher, author of the A Great State book series
  • Rep. Matt Shea from WA district 4 and the Liberty state movement
  • K from Combat Studies Group
  • Brian Domke from Strategic Landscape Design
  • Ranger Rick
  • Dennis Walters from Dana Engineering
  • Kaery Dudenhofer of Kaery Concealed

as well as other ham radio operators, herbalists, survivors, precious metal investors, beekeepers, and government emergency management planners.