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Back in the Village   (Chris Sullins, July 24, 2008)

Three articles by Charles Hugh Smith this year have garnered my attention. The first was When Belief in the System Fades which struck a harmonized note for me as a former officer in the military reserve who had served in Iraq and recently resigned my commission.

The next two were The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States and Where the Rubber Meets the Road. I had really liked the Survival + theme in both articles with the emphasis on building human relationships within a small community and strengthening personal skills over the retreat to the isolated bunker filled with gadgets and guns.

Over the past 20 years Iíve seen a great number of gun show survivalists, mall ninjas, and other wannabes who had far too many crates of ammo, too few crates of ramen noodles, and little knowledge on how to use their single box of band-aids. Their survival plan consisted mainly of holing up for 72 hours after TEOTWAWKI began and waiting for a frontal assault. Even well-organized groups with members from professional backgrounds often viewed their neighbors as little more than competitors for a dwindling supply of backwoods natural resources which they felt could only be managed from within their own familyís private FOB ( All of their hypothetical scenarios did not involve a larger power coming in later to re-establish order nor a coalescing of local groups. They failed to take human history into account.

I understand where these feelings of fear about the future come from and Iím not trying to be pejorative to those who consider themselves ďsurvivalistsĒ. The so-called leaders in both government and business are just as incompetent with their long-term management of resources and strategic planning and their screw-ups affect the lives of millions. Rugged individualism certainly has its place as well as when the sole Ďdeciderí is needed on the public stage during crucial times in history.

But itís past time for a return to a level of personal responsibility and generational foresight in which everyone develops a sustainable long term plan for living on this planet.

This needs to start with individuals and families and then move to towns and nations. Otherwise, quite frankly the oversupply of weapons and the undersupply of food and fuel will turn many human beings into the proverbial zombies of bad movies. Again look at history and whether it is 28 days or 28 weeks after SHTF humans will begin to re-organize in some way. Even when global empires collapse there are many scattered pockets of both calm and chaos leading to the formation of tribes and states. This can lead all over again to empire-building, large-scale warfare, and economic slavery where one group steals from another, or to a new way of thinking about how weíre all going to live together during our short lives.

Many of us who read the oftwominds blog understand that there is something deeply wrong with the emerging human global civilization and how it is both interacting within itself and using this planet. Weíve seen that the social interactions have gone from indifferent to exploitative in the name of hedonism and the stripping of the planet itself has become nothing less than abusive. We see through the daily propaganda charade as a fake dichotomy of the right versus the left which does nothing more than add to the background noise. The minds and spirits of the masses are numbed and distracted.

We feel it first at the subconscious level and later the fear creeps in when we realize that there may be little we can do to change whatís going on. The horror fully sets in when we understand just how deep in the beastís belly we are ourselves. Something within us make us want to run away, hide, and isolate ourselves. As we watch current events unfold it becomes quite easy to feel like our future or that of our children may involve role choices between the aggressive rat, the victim rat, or the few ďbeautiful onesĒ in Dr John B Calhounís overpopulation study (

I would like to emphasize to all readers not to be overcome with fear. The first step is accepting itís there and we can manage our own response to it. Weíre going to hit another IED ( in the road of human history. Itís inevitable and will happen again. I donít know when since I donít pretend to be a prophet. Iím just of student of history and have watched it unfold firsthand at the micro-level. You donít have to see the crumbling infrastructure of a former world-class city to know our complicated man-made system will groan and break under the weight of outside forces which will create their own spin-off catastrophes. Whether initiated or exacerbated by natural disasters, we canít prevent it.

Cumulative events over a relatively short period combined with global resource depletion could lead to a future human population bottle-neck like the past one theorized by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose (

How could you, your children or grandchildren survive something of that magnitude? The answer is easy: Cooperation with other people. We need other people. Call it genetic programming due to evolution or part of a divine plan, but from time immemorial people looked for other people and built lives and made families with them. During the tough times in the past love, hope, and compassion took center stage. These were the times when the humble ones tapped into the better nature within us all and displayed the true meaning of strength. Afterwards they were called heroes.

There will be positive islands of human gathering after whatever string of events causes a die-off in human population. In these places there will be words of encouragement combined with gentle patience and the willingness to get hands dirty doing mundane daily tasks. The knowledge, wisdom, and general life experience of elders will be valued far more than any specialized gadget dependent upon technology. The old-timer who told the young ones scavenging for wood during their first winter which tree was the hardwood and which would bear fruit in the spring and helped ensure their survival the following year will be revered. His opinion will matter. Loyalty, honor, and respect will be more than just words and ideals Ėthey will be reciprocated in person.

The survivors of a bottle-neck event who raid neighbors, denude farm and forest, pollute their potable water, burn up natural resources, favor brute strength over rational thought, and drive away individuals who hold critical skill-sets from a mong other survivors within their oasis will most likely die within a generation or two. Geography and lack of long range mobility will limit their destructive locust-like behavior to specific regions. Barring that they will be met by temporary coalitions who will permanently retire their bloodlines. Either way their environment ultimately defeats them. Mankind as the animal finally back in balance with his natural world or the enlightened remnant under the direction of divine intervention will be the epilogue to the human story.

People will have to maintain balance and live within not only their social means, but more importantly their natural environment. They will have to think about the impact of their decisions on the next seven generations (

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