Most of humanity comprises people who are incorrigible optimists.
And that is a wonderful quality. We believe ardently in the concept of a better tomorrow, a better life, a bigger car, a house in the country with picket fences and a dog running around the yard. We believe problems happen to other people. When we think of communities and cultures, we tend to think that they are confined to the children of a lesser God, to a community of people living in some strange far-off land. Come to think of it, even death is something that is not in the immediate cognitive thought.
If we had our way, we would not only cheat death but cock a snook at it when the grim reaper came visiting.
Most of these are excellent qualities to possess, particularly when we brush away the negative influences that tend to surround us and replace them with positivity all around in our lives. I love eternal optimists over eternal pessimists any day of the week and twice on Sundays. These people cannot find a problem in their lives with two hands and a flashlight! I wish all of them Godspeed.
It is time for me to play the spoilsport.
Given a choice would I rather surround myself with optimists or realists? That is a question I have often asked myself. (Pessimists are truly out.) But which group of people would have a better influence on me? Before I try and answer that, let us look at a subset of people who call themselves realists – the cynics. The cynics call themselves realists but really, as it is said about them, they know the price of everything but the value of nothing. It is the age-old analogy of the glass and whether it is full or empty. It is the choice between investing in something or looking at it as a cost head. The cynic is a realist and yet he teeters towards the side of the pessimists by always looking at the gloomy side of things. Life is a continuum, I agree and I suspect that the cynics lie somewhere between the realists and the pessimists.
Let us take the space that occupies this website – survival. I have heard of and read about a million people who are prejudiced against preppers. Doomsday soothsayers, they call the preppers. Scaremongers is another often used phrase. Crazy, stupid, people-with-nothing-better-to-do, et, etc, etc. I agree ... sometimes. There are many people who are obsessed with prepping. They build nuclear bunkers in the basements. They stock up on every possible freeze dried food, buying it almost as soon as it hits the market. They have their solar panels on the ready. The lawns and gardens are dug up and large barrels buried full of fuel, gasoline, water and anything else they fancy. Guns are bought for self defence, windows papered up. Faraday cages are built to guard against EMP attacks (from the aliens?) and HAM radios are bought. These guys are the extreme end of the prepper community.
Will an asteroid break through the stratosphere and crash into Earth, putting an end to the species we call homo sapiens? Yes, it well might happen ... ask the dinosaurs. Will it happen anytime soon? Probably not.
But what WILL happen are things that have happened before – earthquakes, floods, landslides, sandstorms, cloudbursts, economic collapse, wars, terrorist attacks, grid down situations, and so many other scenarios in our daily, every day, urban existence. That is where the true realist comes into his or her own. Simple preparations and precautions can help overcome these scenarios if only one is prepared to accept the possibility of such situations happening. I lesser developed regions of the world a child dies every few minutes due to drinking contaminated water.
This cannot, does not and will not happen in the developed world, can it? IT CAN.
It took FIVE DAYS for drinking water to reach the “refugees” taking shelter at the stadium in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. People were killing for water. If it can happen in the most powerful country in the world, what are the chances of hell breaking loose when the chips are down? Money will not be able to buy a glass of water. Money will not buy food for your kids. Money will not be able to procure medicines. For those few days, weeks (or God forbid, months), life will wind back a few hundred years and revert to the barter system – you have extra water, I have extra food, let’s barter. Professional people will be in greatest demand – doctors, police, even farmers in extreme cases. If my daughter is sick and you have the medicines, I will either get it from you by asking nicely or take it from you by force. That is when the rule of law breaks down and there is complete anarchy.
And it does not take an asteroid hitting Earth to bring it on.
All it takes is a few hours for chaos to reign. Are you prepared to face such eventualities? What have you stocked to tide over a rainy day. And I mean that literally. A rainy day that results in floods, railway tracks and highways washed away, crops destroyed, price of commodities reaching untouchable levels and with ATMs and Banks flooded, no cash at home to pay whatever the hoarders are asking for. Do you have food and water stored in your basement?
It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.
Get up and take that swimming lesson well before it starts to rain. If you wait for that fateful day, it just might be too late. Remember that bearded man from the Old Testament? He built the arc long before there was any hint of the impending rain. He was prepared for the rainy day and managed to save himself and his family and the families of all the species that walked, flew, swam, slithered or wriggled on this Earth. Or so says the legend.
You must know the story of the mountain and the prophet who roamed the desert and the debate about who should come to whom. DO not believe that just because you live far away from a river, the river will not swell and come pay you a visit right at your front door. It has happened before and it will happen again.