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Thursday, May 19, 2016

running with a pack


RUNNING WITH A PACK

I was a bit short on brilliant article ideas today, so this is what you get.  I almost decided to get you all worked up with further proclamations against chainsaws but decided to let that one brew a little more so as to enhance the hatred effect.  Within a day of each other I saw a comedic episode on joining a dog pack ( Malcolm In The Middle-for those of you with Netflix it is S6E19 ) and then read a book on the joys of tribalism ( Becoming A Barbarian by Jack Donovan ).  So why not another article on tribes on a slow civilization collapse news day?  On the TV show, if you want a good five minute dissertation on the benefits of joining a pack, it was pretty well done, and funny.  Reese joins a pack of dogs ( if you’ve never seen the show, it was on Fox many years ago.  It has the main character from Breaking Bad as the dysfunctional family’s dad.  The second oldest son does these kinds of things, and running with dogs isn’t abnormal ) and glories in the freedom.  In so many words, there is nothing to hurt yourself thinking about since everyone has their place in the pack and only a few rules must be unquestionably obeyed.

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As for the book, I loved the authors earlier work “The Way Of Men”.  That decided me into buying “Barbarian” after it was recommended elsewhere.  All I can say is, that recommendation must have been motivated by a tribal feeling of identity because, frankly, the thing kind of sucked.  I’m glad I bought it, having a surplus in the book budget at the time, but I don’t recommend it at all.  The money into the authors pocket will hopefully inspire more books to be written.  But they had better be along the lines of his first rather than second, or he gets no more support from me.  I didn’t care so much that it was a short essay turned into a book.  I didn’t much mind it being overpriced ( I’m sorry, but way too many independent book publishers think their measly 100 page book is worth $12-$16.  I know the price of Publishing On Demand  is pretty darn low, and I expect less rapine than what I can get from New York publishers needing to pay Stephen King his millions ).  My issue was that 90%+ of the book was on the improvement of belonging to a tribe, over the international empire as a faceless number.  I friggin know this already!  And the HOW of it all got very short shift.  If he was publishing a blog, and he was writing about an ongoing effort learning how to join and lead a tribe, I can understand the dearth of information.  If this wasn’t a book, I could understand the very elementary instructions.  But it was a book, and highly priced, and I feel slightly used. 

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That said, it wasn’t terrible, and I do believe almost everyone should at least read his first effort, if that sort of thing interests you ( I read it with a bunch of anthropology and evolution books ).  The benefits of tribalism did make a good subject and if that is all you expect from “Barbarian” you can’t go wrong.  Tribalism is, after all, our natural evolved social structure.  Moving up from that creates a dysfunctional sickened society, even if it is militarily beneficial ( and hence gives us little choice about joining-this book focused on the issues with the global consumer PC government, but I would argue the nation state is just as screwed up compared to the actual 60-120 member tribe that is our norm ).  While a tribe gives males little choice but to be warriors, and a warriors life is invigorating but mostly short; and females the role of breeders and little else, which can also lead to a short life; we are still wired for this activity despite any perceived drawbacks.  You can deny your nature, and life outside it, pretending to be happy, but you know deep down it is all a lie.

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A cat can live to a ripe old age, staying indoors.  Or, she can be allowed to roam outside as her mood fits and sooner rather than later here comes a car or a dog or ( out here in the West ) a coyote and it is all over but the crying.  A much shorter but happier and more fulfilling life.  Is the cats life better for its longevity, or for freedom?  It is the same with tribes and citizens.  We might see advanced old age eked out in Florida or Arizona, but we never really lived.  Life was a series of indoctrinations and a search for meaning and pointless activities.  Admit it, what has any of us done, outside rearing children, that justifies the oxygen and resources we’ve consumed?  Not that I’m trying to be philosophical.  The meaning of life is an absurd question.  My point is, you’ve known the whole time there was something better for you besides consuming and working ( again, leaving the children out of the equation ).

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“Barbarian” is wonderful in this regard, pointing to the futility of our lives, not because we could have done more, but because we did it for the wrong people.  The shallowness of modern life.  We wasted the luxurious Oil Age by trying to belong to the tribe of consumers.  Which is no tribe at all.  The author also points out the appeal of survivalism, as a shortcut back to belonging to a tribe ( one of the better explanations I’ve found, if incomplete and a tad trite ). 

END

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20 comments:

  1. Regarding your upcoming chainsaw article. I think you are missing the point of the last round of comments. Chainsaws, hand saws, to no-fire-at-all is NOT what is important.

    One of the most important traits a survivalist can have is FLEXIBILITY. That is what has enabled humans to survive, thrive, and take over the world. We are adaptable to most climates and we can eat almost anything.

    Chainsaws have their place. In a pre-collapse up to during the collapse, they can be a time saver, letting you harvest a bunch of fuel in a short amount of time. Also, they allow you to use petrochemicals to do much of the labor thus saving calories. Post Collapse, they have many shortcomings.

    This "one size does NOT fit all" is what makes surviving the collapse challenging. And hence, where flexibility and adaptability becomes one of the main desirable traits for the survivalist.

    You need to free your mind from falling into a rut of thinking "A" is always good and "B" is always bad. "A" and "B" both have their place.

    This same principle can be applied to guns, food (freeze dried vs. wheat), where to live, bug-out vs. hunkering down, etc.

    The best thing a survivalist can do is try to learn many different skills, try new things, keep an open mind, be ready to embrace change as needed, accept the New Normal"s" as they occur, and have a Plan A, B, C, D, E and F.


    Observe. Plan. Execute. ADAPT!

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. I don't think I fall into the A/B trap too often. Even if I hate semi's due to logistical realities, I still acknowledge an AR is a great little mid range sniper rifle. While it is retarded to live in a big city, reality dictates you need a job so you'll need to live in a city anyway-so minimize the size. Far from perfect, but needed. I don't say "avoid cities at all costs" even though that makes more sense. Freeze dried is fine, you just need multiple years of wheat FIRST. Most folks want freeze dried first, which is retarded. As for the chainsaw, needing MORE wood is not being flexable or adoptable, it is being Business As Usual. Plus, with today's high medical cost, try surviving financially after a chainsaw accident, even if you do physically. All that said, I will joke, "have we found our new night vision device conflict?" :)

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    2. Chainsaw accidents are not all that common. We've been using chainsaws for over twenty years and have never had a problem. Most of our neighbors and almost everyone we know uses chainsaws and they still have all their limbs. In fact, I can't think of anyone I know who has had an issue. Of course, I've read the odd horror story about someone's nephew's uncle's roommate....but that is the exception not the rule.

      And a chainsaw is not about using more wood when you should be looking at minimizing wood use. It is about getting the most amount of wood in the least amount of time with less hassle. It really is the best tool for the job.

      Pioneers use to spend every spare minute trying to get wood. With a chainsaw, I can get a year's supply of wood in around 40 hours. That's enough wood for our house, a shop, and Mama's get-away cabin with some left over.(Usually, we will do an hour here and there throughout the summer and fall. It's more fun that way.)

      Regarding different food types, I agree that the basics should come first. However if you live in a small apartment in town and are planning to bug out, freeze dried food probably makes more sense than buckets and buckets of wheat.

      I wasn't a proponent of freeze dried food until a neighbor gave us all their old food storage from the 70's to feed our chickens. It was all stored in #10 cans. You'll be happy to know that all the wheat was in perfect shape and I gave it to a friend who was starting their food storage. And ALL of the Mountain House brand food storage was good. After opening a can, I tested it and then resealed it in Mylar bags. None of it was prepared meals. It was basics like peas, beans, apples, plums, pears, corn.

      Ultimately, I guess where I am going with this is that different tools and strategies are needed at different stages of the collapse. Be aware of what collapse stage you are at and prepare for the next stage so you'll be ready. Try to stay one to two steps ahead and you'll be the last one in the stew pot with a little luck.

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    3. Oops,

      Forgot to add my signature to the above post.

      Idaho Homesteader

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    4. Yes, different tools for different stages is helpful and needed. I of course am still going under the assumption that time is short as is money and so one jumps immediately to frugal worse case. As for freeze dried, please be advised I've seen about half and half of prepared type foods already bulging in the very old cans. Granted, they were older than 25 years, and that is the stated shelf life. But if you expect more, it is hit and miss on what items perform better. I've stored a years supply of wheat in a tiny apartment-stacked up behind the hung up clothes. I could have fit two or perhaps three in there.

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    5. I'm with you James, in that I would rather not have to be reliant on cords of firewood for winter heating. If you do feel the need to have a chainsaw though, make sure you get a real good one like a Husqvarna. Also make sure that you have enough spare carburetors based on their life expectancy compared to yours. Those little plastic primer bulbs are always the first thing to break on those in my experience, so have plenty of spares. And of course, lots of fuel and preservative. Without the preservative, you will ruin the carburetors even faster.

      I plan to concentrate my efforts on Earth sheltered. I have a thought that in extreme cold temps I will partition off a small sleeping section and heat with 3”x9” pillar candles (90 hour burn time). I'm thinking in terms of the Eskimo's (Or is it Inuit in these politically correct times?) heating their ice houses with small whale blubber lamps, but in my upgraded Anglo version. Only need to insure adequate ventilation and fire safety.

      Even the chainsaw folks will still wish to have on hand some high quality handsaws for after the chainsaws eventually quit. Won't do me much good either way in the high desert (Elko minion here) so I'll have a scythe or a machete for cutting sage to use in my coffee can stove when I'm not using my alcohol or solar stoves.

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    6. We got three truckloads of canned long term storage food from that neighbor. There were many different brand names. Some of the stuff was complete garbage. The "supposed" nitrogen packed heirloom seeds had been eaten by bugs in the unopened can?!?! Some of the dehydrated and freeze dried stuff was as black as coal. The honey (supposedly good forever) had eaten through the bulging can. A lot of this stuff I couldn't even feed to my chickens. But, ALL of the Mountain House stuff was in perfect shape. I guess that is why they are still in business.

      Idaho Homesteader

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    7. Yep, if you only have 20$ get a hand saw for your wood collection. If you have a couple hundred left over after the hand saw, get a chainsaw. If you have a couple of thousand left over get yourself a good masonry 'Russian' heater, other wise make yourself a rocket mass stove.
      Of course all the above presupposes an environment where you can find acres of trees or other renewable wood sources in the area (non-renewable sources are fine for short term, but do expect them to be used up by everyone).

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    8. 734: a machete is useless on sagebrush. The best performance is from a pair of pruners, and the longest lasting would be from a Maddock pick.
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      IH-hear that minions? Mountain House, for now, has yet to "be Maytag'ed". If you must have your freeze dried Yak testicles.
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      JJ-that is an argument I forgot about-everyone else is after the same wood you are, so minimize that need.

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  2. (While a tribe gives males little choice but to be warriors, and a warriors life is invigorating but mostly short; and females the role of breeders and little else, which can also lead to a short life; we are still wired for this activity despite any perceived drawbacks.)


    Sorry, but not any more, I jumped off the treadmill years ago.

    Can you say MGTOW?


    (You can deny your nature, and life outside it, pretending to be happy, but you know deep down it is all a lie.)

    WRONG, I’m a pretty happy guy, and a heck of a lot happier then any married guy I know. Deep down I know I’m much happier then they are.

    I’m not trying to be a Barbarian or make a political statement, I’m not trying to convert others to my way of life. I don’t care if others think I’m wrong (as far as lifestyle) as my self-worth comes from me, not them. I just want to enjoy life and doing what I want to do so far seems to be working out well.

    I work less hours then most people, have more time to enjoy life and have almost no stress like others that are on the treadmill.


    (We wasted the luxurious Oil Age by trying to belong to the tribe of consumers.)

    You got that right!



    As far as the chain saw being great till a post-fuel world. They make electric chainsaws (I have 3 of them) and while not quite as powerful as a gas saw, they will harvest a LOT of wood (a bit slower then a gas one, but then not that much slower) And in a post-fuel world they can be ran from a battery, solar panel and inverter. Even today I find electric saws handy. I have a 4,000 Watt inverter installed under the hood of the truck and run the saw from it. Anyplace I can drive the truck, I can use an electric saw.

    (try surviving financially after a chainsaw accident)

    Yep chainsaws are downright dangerous and need to be given a lot of respect. Chaps are a good thing to have. I know you don't like them, but I have been using them for 45-years and I still have all my fingers and both legs. My Dad made sure I learned to use them safely.


    Chuck Findlay

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    1. Not arguing with that long of a chainsaw safety record, but one assumes that if you do indeed face the bad luck of a collapse, which is statistically far more improbable than a tool accident, what is to say that your luck won't also run out with a freak accident while cutting?

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    2. Who's to say my luck with a chain saw will run out? It goes either way.

      Chuck Findlay

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    3. WOW! I'm smelling an optimists! :)

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    4. Optimists? Not really, an optimists (in this chain saw debate) would be someone that is riddled with overconfidence about their skill with a chain saw and never really used one before.

      I'm a realist (and one with 45-years of safe chain saw use to back it up) that understands how dangerous tools can be and uses them with caution and respect for the power they have.


      Chuck Findlay

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    5. I suppose I am different. When I get tired doing heavy work, I very quickly lose energy and start making mistakes and have the potential to injure myself. It is almost like a switch being thrown, type of quick. So, I'm hyper-aware of what tools are unsafe. For me. I suppose I'm projecting that out on others.

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  3. Folks, remember that Lord Bison is a minimalist survivalist. Hey I think I made a new term which I proudly offer to Lord James for his abuse. He preaches inexpensive prepping and living the the collapse is already here and affecting us totally. Ive been reading him longer than some of my marriages lasted. I have gas and electric chainsaws and access to a splitter. Great tools. But consider hand powered back ups of even primary. I live in South Mississippi and when I build my house hopefully I will need very little supplemental heat. Rock on James everyone has their own game plan that works for them.

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    1. Well, of course I'm partial to Frugal Survivalism, but that is just because of my flagship book I'm sure every one of you has rushed out and ordered. But I like your version and have no doubt I will in fact be stealing it soon.

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    2. (Folks, remember that Lord Bison is a minimalist survivalist.)

      That makes it even more important to buy quality things.

      You get better value for the dollars spent.

      You have limited space so when you buy things and have a place to store them, they should be worthy of taking up space by giving you value and long service life.

      When you buy a top quality item it generally last longer and is in fact over the long run less expensive then the item you bought because it had a low price.


      Chuck Findlay

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    3. I agree with the last part. And I'm all for it-the sticking point is companies "going Maytag". I've read too many reviews of supposedly quality products going cheap quality. Once I find a good company, I'll stick with them and pay the premium-it is finding new companies that is the issue

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    4. The strangest thing happened today. I cut a bunch of. dead limbs out of a tree in the yard. I used a chain saw to do it And here is the strange part, I didn’t chop off an arm, leg, finger or toe, In fact in the whole 2-hours I suffered not a single scratch.

      Want to hear another strange thing? Once the limbs fell to the ground I used a Jaw-Saw to chop them into fire sized pieces. And again not a single injury.

      As strange as it sounds, it’s all true.

      That’s 2 chain saws and no mishaps at all.


      As far as companies and products going Maytag, look up Amazon reviews on Kitchen Aid Mixers. Reviews of new ones show them to be junk. Another company that went plastic (with the gears in them) and lowered the quality to the point of being junk.


      Chuck Findlay

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