OK

I believe, fervently and passionately, that survival is important. If I didn't believe this, I wouldn't write for this group.

Survivalism takes many forms.  The most common form is the day-to-day survival in which we all engage, consciously or not. We set our homes and cars and offices up to maximize our comfort and survival. We carry tissues, keys, money, paper clips, lip balm, flash drives, cell phones, and other items we feel we might need. Those are pretty obvious.  What's not so obvious are the social skills we develop to survive.

We learn at a young age to say the social lubricating phrases of "please" and "thank you" and "you're welcome" or "my pleasure" and "sir" or "ma'am".  We learn to pay attention to other people's expressions to learn when they are displeased or unhappy or happy or satisfied. We learn to ask, "How are you?"and to listen to the response. We learn to offer minor assistance to others (holding doors open without blocking the doorway, picking up dropped items, offering a seat, and so on). Consideration of the other person is a very important survival skill.  Observing what they need, what they like and adapting even as they observe what you need and what you like and adapting is what survival is about.

Our society has kind of dropped the ball on some of these social lubricants, and it seems to anger some people when you are nice to them, but those people are few and far between.  I've found that kindness and courtesy go a very long way in surviving comfortably and happily among groups of people. The "squeaky wheel" may get the lubricant - reluctantly, but the polite person gets the better portions given gladly.

That's survivalism. That is, indeed, my best survivalist strategy, to be aware of my surroundings and to be polite to others.  In exchange, people are kind to me, and give me far more than I would otherwise expect to receive (except for the office staff for plumbers - I have no clue why they are so difficult). I am an old, frail woman with disabilities.  I can't exactly compete in the physical arena for survivalism, so I must use my charm, skills, and wits.

Most people disregard this form of social interaction as survivalism, but it is very important.  These social skills are what encourage civilized driving, civilized behavior in crowded venues like theaters, concert halls, shopping malls, and workplaces.

Survivalism isn't a gun-ho, go-it-alone activity. We need others in order to truly survive and thrive.  No one person can Rambo it - remember Rambo had script writers and prop makers and special sets and an entire crew of people making him look good.  Without those other people doing all the the out-of-sight work, there would be no Rambo being the heroic survivalist. Nowhere in any Rambo movie did you see him making toilet paper, crafting his weapons, sewing clothes, cobbling shoes, or doing any of the real work of survival. He was a shoot-em-up pretty boy, and pretty useless except in very specific survival scenarios - ones we aren't likely to encounter anywhere near as often as we encounter traffic accidents, clogged plumbing, blown transformers, floods, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, missed deadlines at work, flu, falls, and so on.

Survivalism is about learning how to care for yourself not just in your home but among your neighbors and co-workers and the people you encounter on a regular basis.

I am a survivalist. I prepare for the disasters I am likely to encounter: tornadoes, ice storms, snow, flat line winds, plumbing, wiring, auto emergencies (and flat tires, usually...), interactions with others as I drive and go about my daily business as well as family and friends. We help one another because we know we can depend on one another. Those are the critical activities that allow me to survive in comfort, with lots of fun and joy.  

To equate true survivalism with Rambo-esque gamesmanship is a disservice to the real survivalists.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.