I've decided that I'm not a survivalist. I probably don't fit the definition of a prepper, either, although of the two, I identify more closely with the prepper mindset.
The thing that's markedly missing from my ideology is the notion that we should be stockpiling.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am a strong believer in storing - food, water (if one lives in a drought-prone or flood prone areas), tools, region/weather specific clothes, blankets, tea/coffee ... sugar! For some things, it just makes good sense to have extra.
Plus, I live in New England, where we have winter, which means we have only four to six months to grow all of the food we need for a year, which means, if we want to eat, we have to store food.
I do realize that I can go to the grocery store and get food, even oranges, which don't grow in Maine, but, while I'm not a survivalist or a prepper, I am a "doomer", which means I believe that life as we know it has come to an end. I believe there is going to be less in the very near future. I don't think the grocery store model is sustainable, and I think we'll all need to eat food that grows where we live, and we should start now, because as we slide further into a world where oranges don't arrive daily at my Hannaford distribution center on trucks that run on diesel fuel, we'll need to know that we can get Vitamin C from rose hips, from strawberries, and from tomatoes. We'll need to know where to get all of the vitamins and minerals that we've been getting from imported food.
As such, I believe that we need to learn food preservation techniques, we need to have tools, and we need to make ourselve ready for a future where we can't just head over to the convenience store when we need something. We'll either have it, we'll make it, or we'll do without it.
I don't think we can stockpile everything we'll ever need ... forever.
I do believe that we can manufacture most of the things that we will need in our daily lives. We just don't know how.
And that's where the real difference between my philosophy and a survivalist mentality comes into play. I think instead of stockpiling guns and ammo, we should be learning to repair the guns we have, and to, in a worst case scenario, make our own ammo.
Last year, I advocated getting magnesium firestarters, instead of stockpiling matches, and my rationalization was that without matches, we'd be stuck for fire-building. I was informed that matches were easy to make. I was told that salt peter, the incendiary component in matches, can be made with ordinary human urine.
I was intrigued.
And, then, I found this.
If the concern is marauding hordes and the desire is to have an arsenal befitting a small army, then knowing that one can make gunpowder with urine, charcoal (a wood-based product) and sulphur, probably isn't much use.
But if the desire is to have bullets for hunting or for personal protection from the one or two crazies that will inevitably end up in the yard, then the knowledge will be incredibly valuable.
In the end, my philosophy remains "knowledge is power", and rather than spending all of my extra cash on guns, ammo and wheat berries (at 50# stored per person), and spending my extra time building a bomb shelter, I'm spending extra cash on books that will teach me to find or build what I need, and I'm spending my extra time learning some new skills.
My long-term goal is that neither Deus Ex Machina nor I be forced to have a "job" - that we be self-sufficient, satisfying most of our needs with what we can make, grow, or produce ourselves, and that earning a livelihood becomes secondary to living our lives.
My goal is that someday, instead of answering "He makes money," when asked what Dad does at work, Big Little Sister will give the inquirer a blank stare, because Dad will "make" so many things that she won't know where to begin, but mostly because Dad won't have a "work" that's separate from our daily lives.
And that's what completes the definition. I'm not a survivalist, because I have no desire to survive. I want to live.