Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Things First: What’s This TEOTWAWKI I’ve Heard About?

Posted in Getting Prepared, Survival Culture by Rob Taylor on August 20th, 2007

TEOTWAWKI is an acronym which stands for The End Of The World As We Know It. Most folks agree it was coined in the 1990’s by a guy named Mike Medintz on a survival forum. That’s the short answer.

The long answer is that TEOTWAWKI is both a concept and a bit of an ideology. TEOTWAWKI is literally a society changing, and likely world changing, apocalypse. When a survivalist talks about TEOTWAWKI he or she is talking about a scenario where there is total break down of civil order, where society ceases to exist and anarchy reigns. They may believe that TEOTWAWKI will happen in the context of massive natural disasters, World War III (or really the aftermath of it) or some believe that the world is slowly, inexorably sliding into a new dark ages. No matter how it’s envisioned, from a massive meteor strike to a suicidal conflict between nuclear armed opponents, TEOTWAWKI scenarios imagine the total destruction of our civilized world and the birth of a savage post-apocalyptic wasteland.

As a concept, it is actually quite useful even if you have faith that society can rebound from any disaster, natural or otherwise, because it gives you a standard of preparedness to shoot for that will take you through almost any disaster you can imagine. If you’re prepared to live through the absolute end of the world, a bad hurricane should be a breeze. When you put together a disaster plan, don’t just think about what you’d do in a blackout after a storm, don’t just plan on spending two or three days indoors after a blizzard. Instead imagine a world where you can’t buy groceries or gas, where there is no electric grid and no police force to protect you. Imagine that feeding, clothing, sheltering and protecting yourself and your family was up to you and you alone for an indefinite period of time.

Suddenly a few candles and some canned beets doesn’t seem like such good preparation, huh? That’s why TEOTWAWKI is such a useful concept for anyone wanting to be prepared for whatever life throws at them, because it sets the bar high enough that once you’ve gotten all your gear and plans together, you will literally be ready for anything.

As an ideology, I have mixed feeling about it. The idea of TEOTWAWKI has taken on an almost religious tone amongst some survivalists, and similar to the Y2K panic of the 90’s it’s easy to believe while reading some of the survivalist websites out there that people are not so much preparing for TEOTWAWKI as wishing for it. TEOTWAWKI is the survivalist version of the rapture in some extreme cases, the ultimate punishment met out by the survival gods on those who didn’t prepare for the worst.

But more importantly the TEOTWAWKI scenario envisions a very different kind of America than I do. I have seen community after community pull together after a disaster to help each other, from 9-11 to the big blackout a couple of summers ago, and I don’t see a time when barbarity will rule over us all. Anarchy in the legal sense may take place after some great disaster, but your neighbors and friends will still be your neighbors and friends, and those relationships are the foundation for civilization, and the keys to its survival.

I however am an optimist. I expect the best, but prepare for the worst.


No comments:

Post a Comment