Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The 5 Steps of Survival and Prepper Maturity

2/22/2012 - 4th Day - Morning.  1.5 days until the The Last Pilgrims Book Bomb – Greetings friends.  Today is my 20th wedding anniversary... congratulations Danielle!  Ok, what follows is an outline for tonight's Michael Bunker Radio Show.  Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. for a long monologue on this topic...

The 5 Steps of Survival and Prepper Maturity

You may have heard about the 5 Steps of Grief and Mourning.  They go like this:

1.  Denial and Isolation
2.  Anger
3.  Bargaining
4.  Depression
5.  Acceptance

In like manner, many (but certainly not all, and probably not even most) intelligent and engaged people will pass through a similar process -- beginning after they first get an inkling that things are not right in the world, that they are in a perilous situation, and that their loved ones are in danger if something (anything) bad were to happen.  The 5 Steps of Survival and Prepper Maturity are easily identifiable, and most people can readily see where they are in the process.  Like in the 5 Steps of Grief, you only very rarely will be able to skip steps, and you will almost always deny that you need to move on to the next step.  One basic maxim of this truism is that people generally feel comfortable where they are and will think that everyone further down the maturity chart is "extreme" or "unbalanced".  This is the nature of vision and perception of reality.  Everyone, on whatever level they find themselves, thinks that those behind them are deceived and foolish, and that everyone ahead of them is extreme.  There is one other very important fact that we need to identify before we go into the list.  All of these are actually levels on the scale that stretches from FULL-ON CONSUMER to PRODUCER.  The first step in beginning the road to maturity, is to admit that you are a consumer.  I'll talk about this more particularly on the radio show tonight (DV), but unless you are in the .001%, then you are a consumer.  Admit it now, and let's move on.  Consumption as a maxim is the bedrock of slavery.  "Your consumption percentage" is also your slavery index number.  More about that on the radio... 

Stage 1:  Buy it up and Store it up stage.  Generally this is the stage when you refer to yourself (or consider yourself) a "Prepper".  After this stage, you would very rarely ever consider yourself a "Prepper".  In this stage, you have become moderately aware of the tenuous nature of the world, culture, society, economy, etc.  You have begun to recognize your condition, and you realize it is not good.  Since you have been raised a consumer, and have lived your life as a consumer, you automatically will default to consumer solutions.  Result?  GO BUY STUFF!  This is the stage when you read everything you can find, and you make endless trips to the store to buy stuff that you think you will need.  You make lists, inventories, etc.  There is a broad spectrum of Stage Oners from the people who grab some extra beans and band-aids and some candles, to people who add storage rooms to their houses, dig bomb shelters, and order in semi loads of wheat and rice.  In this stage, you throw money at the problem.  It is all you know, and it seems like a good idea.  You convince yourself that you are better off than your neighbor, and that is mostly true.  But you are X better than your neighbor.  X stands for the number of real days (not imaginary numbers provided by powdered butter suppliers, but a more actual number) you are better off than your neighbor.  You are a consumer like him, so you will die like him... only you will die X days later.  In this stage, your main goal is to increase X.  This is also the stage for Go Bags, Get Out Of Dodge plans, etc.

Stage 2:  Dipping a toe into Off-Grid stage.  Usually people in this stage don't really go off-grid, but they start thinking about it, and they make some rudimentary steps towards off-grid living.  In this stage an inkling you have turns into a realization.  IF THE POWER GOES OUT, AND FOR LONG ENOUGH... I'M SCREWED.  So you realize that store bought candles are not the solution.  You need some alternative power, alternative light, alternative heating, etc.  Perhaps in this stage you get a propane stove, a kerosene heater, some lanterns, etc.  Maybe you even go all-in and get solar power, wind power, etc.  Those on the extreme end will look into wood gasifiers for their vehicles, and generators... HAVE to have generators.  In this stage you look back on your Stage One days and you go... what a fool I was.  Now, I'm better off.  I can provide heat and light for my family after a collapse.  The overall angst and stress lessens a bit.   You read the news without as much fear or excitement.  You feel better, because you feel prepared.  At this stage, you do not like being called a "Prepper" as much.  You say, "Preparedness is a lifestyle I've adopted."  In this phase, a light has come on... just a faint one, but it lets you see in to areas that were once in darkness.  You think, If things last long enough, I'll need to grow some food.  I'll need to learn some skills.  Maybe you take a class.  Maybe you plant tomatoes, etc.  At this stage, you LOVE talking about stuff.  You make prepper friends, and you spend a lot of time on the Internet reading news, and sharing ideas.

Stage 3:  Plan for Some Alternate Future stage.  In this stage, some Get Out Of Dodge scenarios really start to get serious.  You have actually started gardening in your back yard, or perhaps you've started taking it more seriously.  You are learning some basic skills.  You probably get some chickens, and stock up on animal feed.  Then you start looking "out there".  Maybe you'll start a survival retreat, or even look into moving into the country.  Farming life starts to be attractive to you, and if not attractive, maybe necessary.  Your interests now are more into old skills and old tools and you begin to ask yourselves how people did things 200 years ago.  You begin to start recognizing that everything that is new is not great, and that people have become cripples to Industrialism, machines, and comfort.  You actually begin to sit in judgment on who you used to be, and how you used to think.  You start to think that even if nothing happens catastrophically, perhaps being unsustainable, unviable, and subject to perilous and idiotic systems is not a good idea.  Though you may have always hated government, and though you may always have thought that everyone else is an idiot, you finally start to see that it isn't government that is the problem.  It is everything.  The whole system built on consumption, where people push buttons and turn wheels at meaningless jobs in order to make money so that they can buy products produced by less than 1% of people, stops making sense to you.

Stage 4:  The Off-Grid or "Able to Go Off-Grid" stage.  In this stage you have begun to build and install back-up plans to your earlier consumption solutions.  You actually buy hand tools and maybe learn to use them.  You are canning food and learning about other ways of food preservation.  You realize you cannot rely on the store, and that things may never get back to what you used to consider "normal", so you start growing your own food and preserving it.  You like the idea of "living off the land" and you learn techniques and tactics to make the land produce for you.  You don't make the big leap, because everyone more off-grid than you is "extreme", but you make sure that you have fall-backs for all of your prepper plans and ideas.  Now you've got goats, perhaps some pigs.  You start to think of yourself as a farmer.  You don't just have solar panels, but you have actually studied how to provide light and heat without electricity.  In this stage is usually when a small portion of maturing survivalists will move out to the country.  Leaving the "grid" is no longer crazy.  Some of you actually start a farm.  Although you probably still buy all your animal feed and food for your family from a store, you are thinking that producing more if it is a great idea.  This stage is expensive.  You have a foot in both worlds.  You don't have to time to work full-time at your "job" anymore, so maybe your wife/husband works and you work part-time.  You have to do everything the expensive way, because your entanglements in the world give you no time to do things the ancient way.  You rationalize and start noting how expensive everything is.  You still don't want to quit your job or separate more, because everyone more separate than you is "extreme", so you straddle the fence.  Many will stay in this stage until they fail, and then they'll go back down the stages... maybe even all the way back.  I call this stage the "dream-killer", since the love of modern stuff, and the double-mindedness make this stage untenable for very long.  It's just too expensive.  You must move on to Stage 5, or quit.  Only those who have some extraordinary outside income, or who find a way to make an income from their farming that is sufficient to pay for the consumer stuff can continue in this stage.

Stage 5:  Off Off-Grid Living.  In this stage, things have become crystal clear.  You must produce to be free.  The old system made a slave out of you, and you realize that the only way you can afford to be free, is to produce more than you consume.  This takes a lot of work, but the very, very few believe that it is worth it.  In this stage you don't worry about power outages, work stoppages, or such things.  You produce most of what you consume.  You are no longer waiting for things to "come back online" or "get back to normal".  Normal no longer means "the last 120 years of industrial/consumer living".  Normal now means, "all the millennia BEFORE the last 120 years.  You certainly are not living perfectly sustainably, but you are definitely on your way.  You find joy in the food you eat, and the work of your hands. You pity those that cannot see, but you recognize that you were once them, and without going through the process, they will NEVER see.  You don't sweat simple people who rationalize their dependence.  You don't blink when someone who is fully dependent on the store and the government tells you "Oh well, people with more guns and stuff will just come kill you and take your stuff, so we're all the same".  You smile when people call you extreme, or argue that they are only further down the stages list because they are EVANGELISTS, and accuse you of eschewing evangelism.  You chuckle when people say that since you have a computer and get on the Internet, that you are just as dependent as they are... plus you are a hypocrite!  Your children don't undertand why anyone would ever eat the crap that people buy at the store.  In this stage, you are amazed at how little it actually costs to live and be free.

So, these are the 5 Steps of Prepper and Survival Maturity.  They can also be called The Steps that Lead to Freedom.  You can skip steps, but most people will not.

I'll be talking about this more in-depth on tonight's Michael Bunker Radio Show.  Tune in at 7 PM Central Time for the live show:

Y'all have a great day,

Michael Bunker


Ryan and Kara Powers said...

In the practical aspect of things I am still a stage Fourer, but mentally I am a Fiver. Hopefuly the two will become one, soon.

isurvivalskills said...

This is well written article, I can tell it is written from experience. Will RT from @isurvivalskills

Michael Bunker said...

Thank you, I appreciate it.


Brittany said...

This was a wonderful post! It really gives me a good idea of how to continue on the journey to freedom. Thank you!

Philoponus said...

How would you counter the argument of someone who says "Oh well, people with more guns and stuff will just come kill you and take your stuff, so we're all the same"?

I mean this seriously, I am genuinely interested to know what the rational answer is to that kind of thinking.

Michael Bunker said...


That argument fails the logic test on many levels. First, my article makes no mention of how prepared anyone is by way of defense. Someone in any of the stages can be a wilted lilly or a well-armed former Navy SEAL. So logically, that argument is fallacious. Second, that argument (if the one who makes it believes in God) is founded on the false premise that God's grace and mercy are arbitrary, and that He is powerless to defend those who are obedient. Third, the argument is founded on the premise that those with the most military might are the most likely to last the longest. Historically, this is not true. During the history of the Amish and "plain people" sects, the Kingdoms of France, the empire of England, the empire of Japan, the empire of Russia, etc. have all ceased to exist... but the Amish are still here and multiplying at 20 times the rate of modern Americans. So, that would be my argument. I hope it helps.

Philoponus said...

Thank you for your response.


Stephanie said...

I am currently in stage 3. Thank you for letting me know what lies ahead. I hope I can make it past stage 4. I must because to me, there really is no other way...

Anonymous said...

Good Day Michael,

Your book Off, a great book and most likely is the best of all of the prepper publications that I have ran across. One of my relatives was a suvivalist from 1973 until his death in 2003. For many years I was his technical advisor while he spent millions on projects all of which have went to waste since his death.

By far the Off, Off strategy is the most logical and only effective long term option.

Additionally, have you considered the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiques, and rare rabbits and pigeons. Note that most rare breeds are production breeds that have proven themselves over time. You mention this in your book on Longhorns.

For the freezing of ice maybe we will try 0.5 inch stainless steel tubing that is several feet long or food grade flex tubing.

Thanks for the Rocket Stove photos. We plan on building one soon. First saw those in Oregon in 1988 at a permaculture program just outside Eugene.

May God give you the desires of your heart & keep you safe!

By the way, write a sequel to your Off, Off book.

Melissa said...

I laughed and laughed when I found this. I see myself so much in each step. I was surprised to see my family is in stage 4 - and "moving to the country to be farmers". LOL!
Your writings continue to be a light on this crazy path YHWH has me on:)