Saturday, October 28, 2017

die-off training sir


Yesterday I asked you what you were training for, the die-off or the apocalypse.  I know all of you answered “die-off”, if you were honest.  The industrialized food, the mass production ammunition, the specialized training.  All are to get you to the spot beyond the die-off.  After that?  We are all pretty much figuring on winging it.  At the most, our Post-Die Off plans are taken care of by equipment ( our stockpiled grain and ammunition ).  But proficient shooters and fitness buffs?  Die-Off only skills.  Those that think they have trained for the apocalypse, the permaculture organic farmers?  Again, too specialized.  One skill gets you through one time frame.  They don’t overlap.


You THINK specialization will save your ass, and it will.  But it is training for one event.  Not multiples.  Look, I understand specialization has worked for millennia.  Even Hunter-Gatherers were specialized to a certain extent ( you hunted, or gathered.  But hunters were also fighters and gatherers were also Domestic Engineers.  And you were multi-faceted rather than highly specialized in one subset of a skill ).  You were specialized all through the Agricultural Age.  It is the new natural.  But specialization had a specialized application, in an imperial hierarchal organization that was functioning properly.  AFTER that organization failed?  Specialization meant dingus, because the infrastructure supporting that skill was no longer in place.

Even farming was too specialized, as it needed the hierarchy in place for protection AND, very important here, infrastructure.  All those mythical yeoman farmers in the fever dreams of Jefferson?  Even the frontiersmen had an infrastructure supporting them.  Not just the initial equipment.  That you can duplicated with your prepping stockpile.  The continued resupply was the key.  Both in more population to replace casualties and more industrial equipment or even supplemental food supplies.  Come the apocalypse, you don’t have resupply!


Now, since we are talking about infrastructure collapse and decentralization of political control, specialization becomes dangerous.  At least for a time.  One thing human groups hate more than anything is change.  Change is bad ( the quest for any change now, currently, is predicated on food surplus and energy abundance-if only perceived-and is NOT a historical norm.  The norm was Change Is Bad Because Change Is Gambling With Our Limited Supply ).  We want to have tomorrow be just like yesterday.  You want to stay specialized.  That is what worked then and what you expect to work later.


Yes, AFTER the die-off and the jockeying for power and the then settling down of upheaval, specialization will once again have the infrastructure established to thrive.  But until then, specialization does you little good.  There are no other specialists around for you to trade with.  As infrastructure collapses, so does trade, and your horizons shrink down to the local level.  You must provide everything yourself.  A generalist will be much better suited for this event than a specialist.  This goes against your paradigm.  Specialization is what provides your livelihood.  And I know what you are thinking.  If I specialize and am super-duper, and stockpile for my specialty, I’ll be King Swinging Dingus and I’ll be loved and worshipped.


The guy training to be a super ninja thinks that with enough ammunition stocked he’ll be the soldier supported by the community.  He has few other skills, so he HAS to be, right?  Did we already forget the premise agriculture is structured on?  You need a energy surplus to support the specialists, which includes the soldiers guarding your farm.  What happens without this surplus?  Everyone must be a jack of all trades.  They need to feed themselves AND protect themselves.  Nothing is done optimally, but at a home crafts level, including defense.  Your highly specialized training is wasted.  IF you even still survive without all the other skills you needed besides fighting, like growing food AND sustaining the food growing infrastructure.


The argument specialists use is that their advanced training makes them so good that they MUST be valued.  And they are. In a energy surplus.  In an energy contraction, specialists CANNOT be supported.  You’d have had to be a minion for some time, but do you remember our discussion on the collapse of the pottery industry in Britain after Rome fell?  Everything in Rome was specialized and centralized.  Britain had a huge pottery industry and shipped their output all over the empire.  Come collapse, pottery reverted to homemade pieces, primitive to the extreme compared to what had been made.  Without the infrastructure, quality and quantity both disappeared.


Now extrapolate that across all fields, including maximum output farming and modern soldierly skills.  Tradesmen will revert to cottage industry practitioners.  Generalists rather than specialists.  This is what happens when trade and transportation collapse.  And it WILL collapse.  Even a sailboat or a mule, if not allowed passage across multiple political jurisdictions, cannot transport.  It isn’t a question of desire or goods, but of opportunity.  Without centralized force monopoly, trade doesn’t happen.  No one is saying being a specialist is bad.  We all strive to be good at our trade, and then the best at it.  The point here is that soon it will be counterproductive. 


So, by all means continue to be a crack shot, or a crackerjack wood or leather worker.  If every group has at least one expert in all different crafts, it is easy to train everyone up from a less than novice level.  But recognize that if you aren’t surviving on at least a village level, all that specialized knowledge doesn’t help you do everything else you need to do for yourself.  If you are hyper specialized and have no infrastructure you do one thing great and everything else terribly.  If you can learn above book level on many different skills-but just above abstract, no need to be anywhere close to an expert-you should be better off over all.  This is just food for thought.  I don’t expect anyone to wean themselves from specialization.  This is merely to get you thinking to perhaps hedge your bets away from that specialized field.

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  1. Has anyone else heard anything about this? Seems kind of coincidental that such a drill (if indeed it’s real) would be staged at the same time as a scheduled antifa protest? Real or not, it has lit a fire under me to get going on my solar set up.

    “DoD Plans Solar-Storm-Based National Blackout Drill During Antifa Protests In November
    According to The National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL), elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will simulate a  “communications interoperability” training exercise across the United States on November 04-06. The announcement released on October 24 has not been widely distributed to the media, because the drill is simulating a total grid collapse and could spark public fear.”

    1. I could be way off, but it just reminds me of the dud with the drill in Texas not too long ago. That said, a fire lit under your ass is always a good thing.

    2. Yes I too have read of this. Some thought is that it may come along with a black flag op. Blaming the Norks.
      Dunno, but my generator, charge controllers, inverters, SW radios and ham transceivers along with a Kindle are kept in a Faraday container at all times.
      May be paranoid but hey...

    3. All my old stuff I must have is in cages. Got a little lazy on the new stuff-must rectify soonest. Even tinfoil over the cardboard box is BTN.

  2. In the post die-off phase this is true, but anyone over 24 years of age is already heavily specialized in something. Which is good, I guess a doctor will never have to dig dirt if he doesn't want to, his skills are non-renewable after a collapse.

    Hence, the transitory period is about people who are not specialized for this (not even soldiers who have been in troubled countries are), but those who are familiar with hardship (rural poor) should cope better, provided they are not hypnotized by funny religions (, superstition, loss of logic) or destroyed by Meth.

    Even if your speciality doesn't exist anymore but you're still young, you can learn another advanced one.

    Everybody will have *some* level of repairing, shooting, gardening, teaching. Some will be better at some things than at others, some will suck nevertheless.

    The soldier super stud is uselfull in that he carries experience with him. His "soldier powers" or RPG character sheet is not as critical as he might think, given the high loss rate, and also the fact that he's only as good as his squad is. Here, a squad made up from normal people, with high cohesion (if they survived this far) but low on tactics. The super soldier is also NOT the leader, who is usually the family leader. A group will be centered around a family, or a makeshift one. So, critical decisions are nto going to be made by the soldier, although his opinion will be highly considered.

    The soldier himself will have to relearn his trade, because he has been trained for covering fire with automatic weapons. Or using mortars...

    From my experience a NCO leads naturally, also when he returns to civilian life he works in some kind of hierarchy. A grunt is either young (less authority) or dumb or both. COs are trained to suck cock (perhaps even in the first sense) because they chose a career and this is how you get promoted (or even accepted). Outside of a hierarchy they didn't set up by themselves, they're worthless or even worse (giving delusional orders).

    Really competent officers will be employed by whatever meta-organized group still prevails, or be the nucleus of their group if they can afford to turn their back on the army / meta-organized group.

    In an efficient group there is a throrough selection process, so there are few dumbasses (and then, it's the good variety of dumbasses)(in my book a guy with Down Syndrome is a better element, if only for loyalty, than the agressively dumb guy). An efficient group has "lesser" people as clients or in their periphery, somehow dependend on them. Living in a village or small town is formative in that regard.

    1. I like your summation on squads and leaders. The worse thing soldiers are taught is obiediance to incompetence.

  3. There is also the question of specilaization of output, not specialization of skills.

    Peasants owned (more often rented) only dirt, and thus the excess they could make was in agricultural produce.
    If you have a sewing machine (and lots of consumables : thread, buttons, cloth) but can't sew, you can learn on it and thus can create value that few people can.

    In fact, just to own the aforemnetionned sewing consumables is having an advantage over somebody who does know to sew but can't do it. As a form of accumulating a stockpile of these goods, I buy good quality clothes, then repair them (less often than cheap ones because of their durability) and hoard them once I can't wear them again until past doom time.

    It's the mathematical expected value ( ) : how much are you going to earn and with what probability.

    You can spend all your money on lottery tickets, if you win you're the man, or you can invest in a trade or skill that will bring you a modest income every day.

    People buy weapons because it's an all-or-nothing economic value (the one time I'm using it, it will bring me riches, or at least I stay alive), but if you invest in a sewing machine, it will bring you value no matter what, people use up their trousers no matter what, whereas the chances of shooting somebody else are slim.

    (adding insult to injury : those who invest a lot int heir weapons actually think that buying a nice ticket will increase their chances at the lottery).

    Don't get me wrong, a firearm is necessary, but it's not what you're to use, or trade with, most of the time.

    1. Don't forget the American cultural aspect of firearms. We get so attached and emotional and invested as it is both a near historical and a modern everyday talisman against death ( historical-barely a century past pacifying the West. Modern, race unrest and high crime ).

    2. Good point Ave on the consumables necessary for different crafts/professions. I think of this in my own situation and stockpile materials when able: tanned hides, sewing notions, nails, hinges, fasteners.
      A mechanic with no tools, a modern emergency room doctor without the multi-million dollar diagnostic equipment and medical supplies, a barber without scissors. Skill remains but ability to function definitely handicapped.
      Read The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival. About a Transylvanian Jewish woman who was an expert dressmaker. Sent to the deathcamps, she was able to steal a single sewing needle early on. By unraveling edges of clothing to get thread, her skill gave her something to trade and contributed to saving her life.
      S. In Fla.