Thursday, February 16, 2012

TEOTWAWKI -- Mental And Physical Strength Edition

TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) is a recurring theme at my blog because I find the topic to be interesting and I do assign it a greater than 0% probability of it happening.  TEOTWAWKI: "The Ultimate Black Swan!"

Today I would like to address another aspect of being prepared (beyond having food & water and guns & ammo), namely that of being strong, both mentally and physically should a TEOTWAWKI (or lesser SHTF event).  I am inspired to write this one today by my friend Carlotta (in Italy, and her friend Giuliano) and a piece some three weeks ago by John H. Kunstler on how physical strength would make a BIG COMEBACK in the world he foresees (in his book, The Long Emergency).  See Kunstler in action at his website:


Mentally Strong

If things go south and become really bad, we each must be mentally ready and strong.  The first step in the process would be to recognize TEOTWAWKI as a real possibility and to decide to take some early steps in case such a calamity hits.  (In this piece today, I will not go into the various possible ways the SCouldHTF)  That's it!  The first step: recognizing and deciding to prepare.

The second step is kind of automatic.  As your preparation goes beyond baby steps (buying a gun or some gold or seeds or a water filter) you mind is getting stronger as you act.  At this point you are way ahead of almost everyone you likely know...  This can be done quietly too...  You do not have to tell the neighbors.  Your spouse should know at least a little bit (mine does, but I emphasize the "Hurricane Preparations" part more) about what you are up to.  Each time you buy something, learn something or whatever, you are making your mind a little stronger if there is a big storm ahead.  This is about where I am now, in this second stage of mental conditioning.

It gets a little harder now.  If the SHTF, there are likely to be MANY decisions that each of us will have to make.  Hard decisions.

"Thought Experiment" time.  Let's say that the system has crashed.  Food and water become hard to get.  But, clever you went and bought water filters and have a lot of food on hand.  So, who would you share with?   My wife and I would share what we have (our only child is grown and gone to another town).  Would we share with other nearby family?  No, we are lucky in that sense, no close family anywhere close to where we live.  But, perhaps most of you readers DO have family close at hand...  How about your hungry neighbors (who likely did nothing to prepare for anything)?  Would you turn in your gold if the US government told you to?  Would you give up your guns if they told you to?  Would you SHOOT (assuming you know how to) a looter breaking in to your place to steal?  These are questions that each of us should think about if we perceive the likelihood of a crash as a real possibility...

If it is really bad (recall that TEOTWAWKI for me is WORSE than the Great Depression v. 2 I have also discussed), then lots of bad things are going to happen.  There will be homeless & hungry people.  They may be desperate to save themselves and THEIR families even if that means taking YOUR family's stuff.

Mentally strong means other things as well.  Being addicted to anything is bad (a weakness for the drink in my own case).  Some of these kinds of addictions might be broken automatically though in a TEOTWAWKI (no distribution of booze for example).  But, how do you break an addiction to insulin if you are diabetic?  Erm...

KNOWING HOW to do stuff is part of this too.  Can any of us FIX anything (not really in my case)?  Sewing counts as fixing things...

Each of us will have to face the fact the the suffering on each of our part as well as our society as a whole would be enormous.  Think!  Imagine how much suffering there will be if it all goes bad...  Even if you are well prepared and ready to defend your family.  There will be incredible suffering on a scale never before seen in human history if one of the Bad Ones happens...  You will have to be strong to withstand this...

Physical Strength

Kuntsler's article discussed how certain old-time values could come back in style.  One of these is likely to be physical strength (both men and women).

It is perhaps in our lifetimes that we as a society lost a lot of respect and admiration for strong men (I am not strong).  In ancient times, the strong guys were really respected, even honored.  The ones who could hurl a spear the farthest.  The ones who could win in sword-fighting.  The ones who could lift heavy things ("do the heavy lifting").

Physical strength is almost derided now (except among bodybuilders and such).  A few years ago I first ran into the term "metrosexual", which basically means a sensitive guy, who is an urbane and thoughtful kind of guy to women.  They dress different than, well, sort of rednecks like me!  They are cool rather than strong.

Kuntsler writes that as we move back to a time more like the 1800s that physical strength will become much more important than it has been seen to be for the last generation or two.  Blacksmiths (metal-workers) and bricklayers for example will be in much demand.  Men who can chop down trees and cut them into firewood without electric or fuel powered devices (I did that kind of work one summer in Maine when I was young, it is VERY hard work!).  Men who can build things up and men who can tear things down.  All day long, in the heat or in the cold.

Physical strength also includes many things.  Brute strength (how much you can bench press, say).  Endurance (can you run 5 miles?).  Resistance to heat and cold.  Resistance to infections.  Resistance to parasites (eg, mosquitoes).

But, for the purposes of this article, I also include the idea of self-defense (in my case Tai Chi).  If  your gun is not handy, you must be stronger (in the wider sense of the word) than the "other guy" who is after you or your family!  If not, you and your family will perish...

An example from our own family.  Our daughter's boyfriend is strong, he played high school football, but is not big enough for college ball.  But, he IS strong.  He also is in a city where physical strength is NOT admired at all...  He also knows how to fix stuff...  Our daughter is going with a pretty capable young man.  Another example would be my three nephews, two of them played college football and the youngest is on track to.  Trust me, you do not want to mess with any of the three of them...  Or their younger sisters...


Almost anyone can get stronger than they are today.  Eat better.  Exercise more.  Learn stuff, even if it is NOT survival related (in my case learning Italian), as the act of learning also makes the mind stronger.  Cut back or eliminate the bad habits (yeah, sure...).

And increasing your mental and physical strength will improve almost every aspect of your life, even if nothing BAD ever happens!  You will live longer and better.  You will be able to live a better life.

So get on it!  Become stronger every day!

Live from Australia in 1979:



  1. And if you are going to do live from oz, then this is aussie!

  2. Interesting article, although not especially fun.

    Presuming most reader's interest in precious metals I would advise acquiring the skills and tools of a pawnbroker, such as: learning about gemstones and hallmarks on jewellery, how to spot forgeries, obtaining a gold tester, diamond tester, a loupe, some weighing scales etc etc.

    Why? Because if it came down to a TEOTWAWKI scenario - or even a TSHTF scenario where ATM's are out of cash for a prolonged period - then people could very well resort to trading their precious items for things they need.

    Whilst there is a wide variety of things people could trade it is most likely that jewellery would be a primary choice as it is widespread, easily portable and obviously valuable.

    Yet it seems to me that many people have little idea what things are worth or even what 14kt, 18kt or 22kt actually means in terms of gold content.

    Possessing a sound knowledge of such things could present an opportunity to profit from others and could even become a valued skill where people would come to you for your opinion on items prior to trade.

    Just a thought.

  3. Bro Robt,

    Here is an easy way to gain the upper hand, or at least save your bacon possibly.

    There are video's on You Tube on just about any self defense topic going.

    I HIGHLY suggest our gang check out the KRAV MAGA vids.(used and taught by the Mossad), the tactics there can be simply debilitating, or deadly,using your bare hands, or feet.(against opponents larger, stronger, and with a weapon,but you do not).

    You will learn some easy tactics, and you do not have to be a strong person to take advantage of them.(but it would increases your chances to at least be fit enough to carry out these simple moves.)

    As a somewhat older male, I am in not good condition for the LONG haul encounters physically.I would however at 6'3"-235#'s, be able to GO at it with most anyone short term,even at my age.

    Using these moves, and tactics need just be watched several times to KNOW what to do if and when (God forbid) they happened to us.

    Thanks for bringing this issue up,like you I do not rule them out the EVENT completely,but the things shown on these vids are a NOW thing.

    Everyone should watch them, their FREE,and would take very little training (at home) to get the basic moves down.

    Thanks for your time, and efforts, and hard work.



  4. dr j, thanks for the link, I will go check it out!

    Jonny, GREAT idea re learning the trade of pawnbroking and learning how to value jewelry. "Just a thought." Bah! That is a GREAT idea, thanks for sending this our way!

    Terry, I will stick with Tai Chi for now (fighting "unfair" is certainly accepted in Tai Chi, some NICE moves in Tai Chi). Tai Chi is easy on the almost 56 year old joints... But, I do know a guy who does Krav Maga, too bad he is in a nasty divorce from my wife's friend! A real easy move: fake like your gonna kick 'em in the nads, and when they curl to block they are wide open...

    THANKS for commenting guys!

  5. First aid is all about common sense and once you start thinking about 'what would a doctor probably do next?', you're on your way. Get hold of a book or two -- there are many out there that are good -- and like all the rest of the various aspects, preparation is key.

    There are people who have a will to survive and people who just accept their apparent fate. I don't plan to be one of the latter and neither does my husband. If I see you out there, I'll give you a careful wink if TPTB aren't looking.


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