Not Being Frightened Is An Option 2017-11-05
In more recent years I have become pretty anticonsumerist. I don't do much, I don't buy much, and I think a lot of people would call my life boring (though I don't think it is). Once a person starts down the anticonsumerist path, they quickly start to see just how many purchases are really worthless junk. They see just how ridiculous it is to want a fallout shelter, a giant gun safe with numerous guns, an expensive vehicle, clothing with cool brand names or funny pictures, a giant home, electronic gadgets that need constant attention, and a plethora of other items that are generally thought of as commonplace.
Something that seems to have been born out of consumerism is the prepper movement. Many preppers seem to think that they can buy their way out of any emergency. A parachute or apartment repeling cable will save you from an emergency in a tall building, a mini stove will save you from starvation when grocery stores run out of food, a filter bottle will save you from disease when your water supply runs out, an extra toilet seat will save you from getting a bucket shaped ring on your ass when dumping in the woods, and a gas mask will save you from terrorists with chemical weapons or something like that. There is an absolutely incredible amount of junk being sold to people to save them from shit that will very, very likely never happen. Let's try throwing a little math at the situation to see if we can inject some sense in to it:
Let's say you are 35 years old and you have a spouse, but no children. You are buying freeze dried meals to supply your family with food in case there is a massive econimic collapse and all grocery stores close down. You probably eat three meals a day, but you figure you're tough, and can survive on two. I'll give you that one, but your spouse is a pussy and needs three. That is five meals per day for the pair of you. Let's say you plan to live to the ripe old age of 75. Now, 75 years minus the 35 you have already lived is 40 years which is 14600 days which is a mere 73000 meals you and your spouse will need between now and your death. Now of course you figure you'll be able to barter, steal, or otherwise locate some meals, so you won't need to buy all 73000 meals... but really, how many meals do you figure you'll be able to barter for in the event of actual economic collapse?
Okay, there's no point in picking on just the preppers... because the real point is that almost everything you have (if you are living a luxurious enough life to be reading my crap) is completely unnecessary. You really don't need that cell phone plan, or your pile of shoes, or satellite TV, or fancy wine, or a massively loud car stereo, or Reindeer Dust. A lot of people would say "Oh well it's okay because I have the disposable income and I can afford it and I like the luxury of it.", but I think that is bullshit. I think they like the competition of it. I think they like they fact that they can generally say they have shit that someone else doesn't have. The reason this is a problem is because every stupid little thing that people buy without needing is opulence that comes at some cost. Not the cheap dollar value they paid to get the item, but in the lungs of children who will later burn it to separate the metals or the people who were paid less than a penny to make it.
Okay, everyone knows they buy shit they don't need, with money they don't have, to impress people they don't like... so why do they do it? They do it because they are afraid. Afraid of terrorists, fires, being trapped, being hungry, acting stupid, being poor, being ugly, falling down, getting raped, and ultimately, just not being as awesome as the next guy. Well the bad news is that you will die. It is extremely unlikely that you'll die at the hands of a terrorist, apartment fire, rapist, or meteor. If you're entitled enough to be reading this web page, you'll probably die of heart disease, cancer, or stroke... and what have you done about those things eh? Sadly, almost nobody will see this, fewer will think about it, and I'm willing to bet that zero people will actually decide to stop being frightened of shit that is not going to happen to them.
Having said all that, if anyone gets this far in to the rant, I offer an opinion on what I think will happen that will affect a lot of people. If you haven't seen it yet, you should go look at a graph of human population levels over time. While you're at it, look up a graph of oil production over time. What these things should clue you in to is that the current population of humans is simply not possible without oil. Oil is used to provide pretty well everything in the developed world, from gasoline for your car to toothbrushes, to your heart medication, to the device you are reading this on. It is generally thought that we have used up more than half the oil available on the planet and we have done [almost all of] it in a little over 100 years. Anyone who thinks that means we have another hundred years of oil is having a hard time grasping the difference in oil demand today versus the oil demand that existed at the beginning of the 20th century. This is important because as oil supply dwindles, the products made of oil will also dwindle, and so will the ability to transport goods long distances, and so will the ability to feed more than seven billion people. Now if you want something to fear, then fear the fact that a lot of people in the next couple of generations may not have much access to food (or fancy oil based products).
Want to prepare for the possibility this may happen in your lifetime? Learn to grow, raise, and hunt food. Learn to build shelter that is appropriate for the climate you live in. Learn to make and repair products that you currently buy from far away such as clothing. Learn to locate or collect water that isn't full of poison. Lastly, learn to live without the crap that won't save you from anything.