I belong to an Urbit group called “AntiFragile”. During one chat session, one member brought up having a “trusted community”, which caused a most interesting conversation. For better or worse, ~witnux-winsec texted to a few of us that (and I quote here) “…It’d be awesome if you could actually write some pointers and tips in a notebook entry on what you find essential prep for emergencies, if you’d like of course 🙂…” aaaaannnddd here we are. I gave it a thought, a second thought and kept coming up with “You know, that would be an interesting project, quite frankly.” I spent several evenings trying to start a post on my thoughts of being AntiFragile and to my surprise, found the subject matter much harder than at first blush. I mean…how…could I…not…bang out a post on a subject I’m very comfortable with?? I used my WordPress Editor to put the post together so I am going to go ahead and share it here as well.
Because here’s the thing, pay attention this:
AntiFragile cannot be boiled down to a pat, pithy paragraph. For me, and I hope you’re able to see this as well, being AntiFragile is not an item action list where you do #1, move onto #2 and so forth. Being AntiFragile is a Venn Diagram. It’s this, it’s that, it’s the other thing and oh, yeah something else. The different things don’t necessarily lead from one to the other, they overlap.
Let me say right up front, I am not an expert, I’m not a prepping guru, I have gaps in my prepping life I need to harden up. Prepping is ongoing OJT and I’m out here in the interwebs learning as much as sharing.
Although I struggled mightily, I failed to find a way to boil being AntiFragile down to an easy to remember bumper sticker that made me look as tho I was floating breezily thru an actual prepping situation with nary a care in the world~(:whispers: I’m not, actually). And thank heaven I failed in making it a crisp, curt slogan. Anyone trying to dumb down being AntiFragile is doing you a disinformation. Being AntiFragile is serious stuff and comes thru good old fashion elbow grease, using your noggin logically, perseverance, constantly learning and discipline. In other words, it’s a way of life not a passing fancy. To try and get my brain to focus down on the subject, I started researching the Prepper Movement and found this aritcle: The History Of The Prepper Movement https://tinyurl.com/23zt2ekm I’ll hit the highlights here but do go read the whole thing, it’s an interesting read. Matter of fact, Prepping in and of itself is interesting work.
The first recorded usage of the word “prepper” occurred in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 1904, with two definitions. The first definition was straight forward, as in “food prepper” and “hair prepper”. The second definition is exactly the one we know today. “Use it in a sentence, please” example straight from Merriam-Webster:
I consider myself something of a prepper. I don’t necessarily believe there is an apocalypse coming anytime soon. However, there are certain items I always keep on hand just in case. — Jennifer Wyatt Emory 1904
“Just in case.” You may not be consciously aware of this until I point it out to you, but deep down in your gut, you know this to be true: “Just in case” defines Americans. It’s who we are. Is this true of other nationalities? I’m pretty sure, but I can’t speak to their experiences. (Would LOVE to hear from our foreign Ur-bubbas and Ur-bubbettes from our Urbit group on this!!) It would be interesting to find this is just part of the human condition, which I strongly suspect to be the case. Especially during these trying times.
It’s too bad the historical documents are long gone, but just imagine what went into the Mayflower Pilgrims’ prepping and how that evolved year over year as they learned the land and seasons. Or the Pioneers during the Western Expansion, they took the advice of the ones who went before sure but still had to learn their own way as they went. Prepping was all what they did. Their only job was prepping. They did nothing but prep! America eased out of their prepping ways somewhat up to and thru the Industrial Revolution but did an immediate about face during the Great Depression. However, the major push to return to prepping came after WWII during the late 1950s as the Cold War Nuclear Bomb scare developed, where we not only stocked up, we damn well built bomb shelters. Cold War Prepping became a lucrative cottage industry that lasted until the wall came down. To some extent, Americans have prepping in their blood. Growing up, we lived comfortably well but my people lived the Great Depression experience up close & personal, so prepping were the only lessons the elders had to pass on to the next generation. That next generation passed prepping onto us. Our pantry was never apocalypse ready, but it was always full, and we were taught to understand the value of a dollar. Myself even now, two generations removed from the Great Depression, I always have “Just in case” caches. (:whispers: of everything. Looking at you, 6 months supply of toothpaste.)
Americans woke up and prepped again during Y2K. 9/11 was the alarm clock that rolled us out of bed with a hard thud. Since then, Katrina, & the market crash of 2008. Americans were prepping to the point that in 2010, it went mainstream complete with it’s own reality shows. By the time of the Covid Lockdown, the AntiFragile/Prepping Movement has been kicked into high gear and one was drafted whether you wanted to be a part of this movement or not. Today, there are FaceBook groups, indeed, you’ll find them on all social media platforms, countless YouTube videos on the subject…and now, even an Urbit Group.
The more things change, the more things stay the same, amirite? In the 1950s, Cold War Prepping eventually splintered off into two main groups, the ”Retreaters” who wanted to melt into the countryside and become invisible, we call them Off Grid-ers today, and Suvivalists, armed, trained and ready to meet with a fight whatever comes when the SHTF, or what we think of as more Militia with MREs. I’m curious to see where the Urbit AntiFragile group falls on this. I’m sure we’re all over the map. Traditionally, Survivalists/Militia tended to lean to the conservative right, but I’m reading more and more online articles that say the liberal left leaning people are shifting the other way. I’m ok with this it won’t cause me to lose any sleep at night. War and SHTF situations make for strange bedfellows and when times are hard, an ally is an ally.
I laughed at the end of the article I shared above, the author writes that Preppers today are trying to distinguish themselves from Preppers of the past by learning to grow home gardens, canning the harvest, learning to DIY, harvesting rainwater and using alternative sources of energy. Congrats, Millennials. You’ve just invented 1776.
If this is interesting to you, follow along and add your own. As I said when I started this, I could not condense being AntiFragile down to a short post. It’s a complicated subject, like a tapestry with many threads, different but all are needed to construct a pattern. I thought it would be interesting to start out with the history and then move onto another part of the Venn Diagram. For anyone who feels they are behind the power curve on prepping, just know Americans have been prepping since they stepped off the Mayflower. It’s doable and gets easier over time. Welcome your mistakes. Mistakes teach.
The first Venn Diagram part I’d like to write about is the need for a tribe and alliances.
Thanks for reading and God bless~