Doom, gloom and the end of the world as a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 5, 2020
Doom, gloom and the end of the world as a self-fulfilling prophecy?

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heartYou read the news. You watch the talking heads on TV. You subscribe to a number of survival blogs. And you spend a great deal of your spare time and money preparing for the worst, or, what is commonly called, “the end of the world as we know it”.

Now don’t get me wrong. I too believe we should prepare and further, that the world has changed. And changed in some unexpected and drastic ways: housing deflation, extreme weather conditions, endless wars, out of control unemployment and, of course, terrorist threats. Who saw it coming during the boom times of the 80s and 90s? Darn it, things are really a mess.

And so our lives are filled with doom and gloom and a sense of urgency to get it done now.  Store some food, grow a garden, stash away water, learn to fire a gun, buy some gold, compile and emergency plan. Jeesh…the list goes on and on.

Today I would like to pause and say let us catch our collective breaths.  Let me encourage you to hold on with as much gumption and heart as you can.  Yes, we are in for a bumpy ride.  But that does not mean we have to put joy and happiness aside.  Instead, we need to put having fun at the top of our daily task list right next to sharing some hugs and telling someone you love them.

Because truth be told, humans are quite resilient.  We have courage, we have conscience and we have the capacity to imagine.  And perhaps most striking, we have an innate ability to find goodness in the depth of tragedy.

A few weeks ago I read an article titled “Why Disasters Make the Vast Majority of Us Better People”. Unfortunately it’s now offline, but here is an excerpt:

Let’s debunk the myth of the panicking disaster victim since the evidence proves that most people behave in the aftermath of disaster as altruists.

The evidence gathered over centuries of disasters, natural and man-made, is overwhelming. The vast majority of people, when a disaster hits, behave in the aftermath as altruists. They organize spontaneously to save their fellow human beings, to share what they have, and to show kindness. They reveal themselves to be better people than they ever expected.

Recent events in Haiti, Japan, and the US South bear witness to the overwhelming kindness and compassion inherent in the human species.  In addition, we have seen over and over again how victims have risen from the loss of their homes, their possessions, and their loved ones with a strong spirit and the will to go on.

As a community, I hope my readers will take a moment and remember that all is not doom and gloom.  There is a lot of life left in this rocky old planet and we need to continue to live with the spirit and enthusiasm that has brought us to this point.  And, as we feverishly prepare for a what-if scenario, take a moment to remember that your fellow man is ready to walk beside you no matter what happens.  If the S*** really does hit the fan, you will not walk alone.

I want to remind you of the last scene in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The young boy was surrounded by the love of strangers and we sensed that teensy bit of optimism that would carry him and his new family to a better life in a rebuilt world.

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!

Backdoor Survival Tip of the Day:  George Ure over at Urban Survival has been thinking similar thoughts lately.  Yesterday, he wrote about Coping: Is the World Really Ending? If you haven’t been reading his daily economic dish, you should. To quote George on current economic doom and gloom:

“the odds of a muddle-through seem at least as good as the complete collapse of the US into total – and unrecoverable – anarchy.”

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4 Responses to “Doom, gloom and the end of the world as a self-fulfilling prophecy?”

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this doom and gloom business. It’s interesting that you use the term “self-fulfilling prophecy. At any rate, I’m close to concluding that it’s something other than a self-fulfilling prophecy but rather more something like “mirror” behavior. By “mirror” behavior, I mean that I sense the preparedness movement springs forth from a sub-conscious response to the daily images and information absorbed by the human mind which causes many of us to respond almost reflexively to “opposite” the conclusions drawn from the daily input of information.

    What are our minds registering? Change and the rate of change has gone parabolic. But worse, change against a backdrop of dwindling resources and change which appears to ever limit personal choice. The fabric of society has been stretched to the point that the thin veneer of civilization is now so thin as to more resemble the bottom of a glass-bottomed boat; we can see through it to all the dangers that lurk beneath the heights at which we operate on a daily basis. We appear to be reaching many major tipping points. Gasoline is at prices that force people to choose between trips to work and less expensive meals; real estate seems to be in endless free-fall; government spending is out of control as is the government borrowing which forces constant elevations of the debt ceiling all the while the value of the dollar continues to decline. This all comes at a time when we’re bombarded with stories of natural disasters occurring round the world at an unprecedented rate and magnitude. And all this against a back-drop of a seemingly failed Media model coupled with a highly visible lack of talent at all levels of government.

    In the midst of all this we are confronted with two dominant themes. One is the tenuous nature of our infrastructure and the other being the all too obvious limits of government to effectively respond to emergency situations. And as if all this weren’t enough, we have become all too aware of the realities of extremes of poverty and social dislocation evident in overcrowded, bankrupt cities and states with populations seething with ethnic, racial and political hostility.

    In this population, I’ve become all too aware of the ineffectual coping mechanisms displayed by the general population and I’m confounded by the lack of coping skills held by most of these people. Their myriad reality-avoidance techniques are all too obvious and self-destructive, and most aren’t capable of changing a tire if one goes flat. These are a people who are not only a danger to themselves in a crisis situation, but would quite obviously be a danger to others when confronted with any real emergency. Oddly enough, while they daily immerse themselves in their electronic gadgetry to avoid dwelling on the fact that they are only one pay check distant from becoming homeless street people looking for the Salvation Army kitchen, they do seem dimly aware of their limitations. Thus, when confronted with a hurricane or natural disaster nearing their city scape, they “run for the hills”, in total panic mode, fearful of the horror of a day without electricity or fuel sufficient to make the trip to the McDonalds drive thru. But of course, relying on their ill prepared escape plans and doing so en masse, we find situations where more perish in the act of fleeing than would have done if they’d simply sheltered in place.

    Thus, I would say that while it is important to enjoy what life we have while we have it, the need for emergency preparedness and the ability to live off the grid as far away from the metro areas as possible isn’t an idle hobby craft; it has become a very real necessity.

  2. I agree that we do act altruistic in the event of a disaster, however it doesn’t last long. Think of September 9th, 2001, how we all pulled together as a nation and held each other tight. We banded together to fight this menace and stood proud like “Rosie the Riveter”. How long did that last? Two days? A week at most and then we were back to the backbiting and fighting that was going on before. I do expect we will help each other in the event of a “major meltdown” but it won’t last very long.

  3. This is nothing new for some of us – we grew up with bomb shelters and airplanes flying overhead in the Cuban missile crisis, hurricanes, floods, electric going off and wells running dry, and that colored the rest of our lives. Some of us have always had, as you say, “a sense of urgency to get it done now. Store some food, grow a garden, stash away water, learn to fire a gun, buy some gold, compile and emergency plan.”….

    We’ve done it for 50 years now – it’s nothing new – it’s a way of life that we are comfortable with 🙂 Once it becomes “normal”, the doom and gloom is gone 🙂

  4. Well put Gaye, I think sometimes we get so worked up about making sure we have all that we need to survive that we just forget to live. After all isn’t life about living and not just surviving? As the saying goes: Live, Laugh, Love, these are the true meaning of life.

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