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Twenty Eighty-Four

To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone — to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!
-Winston Smith, Nineteen Eighty-Four

In some ways, my blog is like Winston's diary. I'm not sure if I'm writing to the world I knew as a child, or the to world my daughter will inherit.

Certainly, it's for the reader, a way of connecting with strangers across the globe, who hopefully find in my words a solidarity of thought or experience. It's a way to clarify my own thinking and test drive ideas: kick some philosophical tires, as it were.

Today, I wax introspective. Why?, it's Sunday, and my Sunday musings usually stray far afield. colleagues Clif High, over at HalfPasHuman, his faithful henchman Igor (EYE-gor) and George over at UrbanSurvival have jointly been predicting and speculating about some Earth-shaking event(s) that will commence at roughly 6pm Jakarta time and will reverberate through January, with particular attention on the date of January 7th.

What is it? Heck, I don't know. I'm not qualified to speculate on the nature of future events, but I have a pretty clear bead on the past. I do know, from about ten years' worth of experience that Clif's webbots have been spectacularly right about many things. From 9/11 to large-scale blackouts, from the Columbia shuttle explosion to Banda Aceh, from Katrina to Chinese wedding quakes, the bots have been eerily right again and again.

Whatever the event(s) turn out to be, the effects will appear in history books in the year 2084. Our progeny will read with the dispassion of those long separated from horrific events about whatever IT is that the bots have been harping on for better than two years now.

What can we do to prepare? Well, like any normal, red-blooded Texan, I armed myself, bought some farm land up in the mountains, loaded in water and food, seeds, gold and a generator. The salient point that I take away from all this, though, is it is NOT what you do to prepare, but how you react after the fact. As Douglas Adams might have said, DON"T PANIC!

We know from experience that fascists always use crisis to advance their control structures. That's a given. They will put up Judas goats who will make pseudo-logical and impassioned pleas to follow the Party line. They will point the panicked sheep to Onkel's waiting breast, where he will suckle us and nurture us through this difficult time -- for a price, of course: your immortal soul.

I hear so many folks talk big. "I'll never go down quiet," they boast. "I'll give up my gun when they pry my cold, dead fingers off the trigger," they growl. Fact is, most people don't know how they'll react under severe stress. When something so horrible presents itself to your eyes, most people shut down reason and start acting on pure instinct. I've seen it dozens of times. They talk big, but they don't look deep inside and find the trigger of their panic, and corral that sucker.

Furthermore, we have all been trained and conditioned by mass media to turn to "authorities." We can't trust ourselves to make good decisions, we must seek out the proverbial gurus at the tops of corporate/government mountains to give us sage advice and thoughtful direction.


There is only one authority that I trust with my life and the lives of my family: me. My mother will tell you, when there was a crisis, I was the one you could count on not to panic. Even as a kid. Maybe I have my great-aunt Tish's genes. In 1910, during the Halley's comet panic, she was 12 years old. Her mother told her to get on her knees and plea to the God of Our Fathers to spare the Earth from the comet's deadly effects. Tish's answer? "If we're all going to die, why do we need to pray?" (She arrived in Texas in 1899 in a covered wagon...I loved that woman)

At the tender age of 13, I gashed my forearm down to the artery. Sure, I cried, but I calmly wrapped my arm while my dad nearly went into orbit, not to mention damn near killed all of us on the way to the hospital. A 18, I saw a Canadian man have a heart-attack in the Gare-de-Nord in Paris. His wife was, well...hysterical and there were about 50 gawkers all standing around watching him die. I doffed my pack and applied CPR and kept him alive until the ambulance arrived. Several years ago, the neighbor's kid broke both his radius and ulna, so that his forearm had a new elbow. I set the bones and slung the arm while his mother looked like a loose balloon. In Guatemala a while back, I was on a bus when a woman went into labor. Half the bus was stunned into statue-like indecision, while the other half were in complete panic. Since I had done a video on childbirth, I had a pretty good idea what to expect, and so delivered the baby somewhere near San Isidro. I wasn't prepared to go blind, but when it happened, I began to make a mental list of things I could still do, rather than focus on what I couldn't do. It all boils down to one thing:


Self-reliance and self-trust is a lost art. The media have been used for decades now to implant deep in our minds the profound distrust of our own abilities and to seek the all-knowing, all-seeing counsel of "experts" and "authorities." I mean, just watch the news. How many reporters do you see anymore that give you thoughtful analysis of their own. Most are incapable of such mental legerdomain. Instead, they act nervous, concerned and near-panicked, and immediately turn to some "authority" to give us an idea what is happening and what to do about it.

Us? HA! We're just little helpless babes that can't make an informed decision without the guidance of our "betters." You watch. IF this 'thing' happens today, what will be your first reaction. Pay close attention to your thoughts the second you hear about it. Do you panic and start trying to figure out which "authority" will give you the best instrustions? Will you run for the SuperDome and beg your maters for deliverance? Or will you take immediate steps to protect your own first. Will you gather you bug-out pag by the door, arm yourself and get into a defensive posture before turning to media for more information on the situation (not instruction, mind you...big difference).

The key to Life, the Universe and Everything is how you react. That is closely related to how you prepare, and preparation is 90% mental. Think about how the military, police and other "authorities" are trained. They are given repeated preparation to act and react in a particular fashion so that under stress, it becomes automatic. They don't have to think (which shows). You job is to prepare your mind so that in a stess situation, you react automatically, but the trick is, don't turn off your mind. Always think and always listen to your gut. Your gut will tell you the right thing, if you've been careful to filter out the subliminal training you've been getting lo these 60 years of TeeVee.

Remember that telegraph from the future, called "Nineteen Eighty-Four?" The US is at war with Russia. The US has always been at war with Russia. No, wait! The US is at war with China. The US has always been at war with China. Oceania, EurAsia, East Asia...we live in the tri-lateral world of Winston Smith. You are now, and have been trained for your whole life to love Big Brother. The question now is can you uninstall the buttons before 'whatever-it-is' happens today?

What if the bots are wrong? Good! Can't wait to think that. I don't seek out disaster, I just don't panic when it comes. Do I believe the bots? No. Not one bit. They are just like all other predictors: you make enough predictions, some are bound to be right. So what good are they? They are thought experiments. They present scenarios which I use to mull around possible reacts, so that if a situation presents itself, I'm not surprised or panicked, but simply begin to execute the plan.

So why have I prepared for 'whatever-it-is?' Simple, being armed is a natual state for a Texan. I'd feel naked without tools of defense. Farmland is useful for generating income, building a retirement palace and having a weekend escape from the big city. Extra food and water? Well, there's earthquakes, storms and volcanoes here, not to mention utilities in Indonesia are, well...unreliable. A bug-out bag? Ever since I started living on my own at the tender age of 17, I've had a bag of necessities within easy reach. Just plain prudent, and has come in handy on more than one occasion. I haven't done anything to prepare that I wouldn't do on a warm, sunny day in the Texas hill country. It's just a case of ant and grasshopper.

And so I send this out to the people of the past, or the people of the future. The message from this time is, "DON"T PANIC!"

In the end, you're either Ford Prefect or Winston Smint. I'll take Ford any day. Have towel, will travel.

Clif, George, one has any idea what thing is coming at us tonight/tomorrow. I certainly don't. Reading the bot output, to me, is like reading Revelations in the Bible. Makes no sense but has some cool images. I'm watching the news to spot when the moment arrives, though according to Clif, the show-shine boy up the alley will be talking about it. I'm curious though...what is this thing that has been sitting like a dead elephant in the middle of the predictive output for better than two years, and is bigger than 9/11 in orders of magnitude? All Clif and George can come up with, besides a dozen scenarios, is that the world will change profoundly next week.

Well, shucks! That happened when my daughter was born.


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