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Longwalkhome

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I am cynical but not to the point of psychotic. I look at the worlds changes in the last 69 years and have no hope a crash can be avoided. I don't want it, I have seen the ugly in men and really wish it won't happen but I am really sure there is no stopping a rough future.

Having gone hungry when my father died and later in life seeing the Iraq war close up as a contractor I can assure you I don't want it to happen here.
 

ilikegunspdx

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So, on a bit of a lark, I read a book that discusses the contemporary cultural aspects of the zombie craze that was or is common here in the States. It is entitled The Zombies are Coming: The Realities of the Zombie Apocalypse in American Culture, by Kelly J. Baker (Blue Crow Books, 2020):


It was, frankly, a mixed bag and left more questions than answers. Be that as it may, it did tackle a topic that has been common in the preparedness community for some time now: those that seem to or come right out and state an actual desire to experience the end of human civilization as we know it. One such entry from the aforementioned texts covers this phenomenon:

Before we can get to the reality of zombies and their doomsdays, we have to consider the American fascination and attachment to the apocalypses more generally. The continuing desire for the world to end, both past and present, is not going away any time soon. It's time to consider the apocalypse, the people who want it to happen, and the stakes for all of us in the hope for doomsday of any kind.​
Now, obviously, part of her befuddlement is due to the zombie scenario being completely within the realm of fiction. (Curiously, though a religious studies Phd, the author only made passing references to apocalyptic literature and tradition in history. A deeper comparison could have been fascinating, but I digress.) There are, however, real events that could be civilization destroying or even the end our species' existence altogether. Such examples are a large impact event, a nuclear exchange between two or more major powers, a large scale ecological disaster, an unstoppable contagion, et al.

Queries:

  • Have you encountered individuals holding to such views?
  • If so, what conclusions did you come to with respect to reasons for their curious outlook?
  • More broadly what does it say, if anything, about our culture at large?
  • Do you see this phenomenon having any impact on your preparations? And, closely related, how it could affect the likely outcomes of a major disaster?
  • Other thoughts?
Thanks for sharing.
I know very little about this topic but I have noticed the HUGE attraction of "it's the end of the world" or "the end of the world is coming" for some people. Take cults like Jonestown, heavens gate, branch divisions, they lure ppl with the end of the world is coming and then when it doesn't come they have to actually bring it about for therir members or the whole thing is exposed as a fraud.

Similarly Pat Robertson predicted the end of the world twice (1982 and 2007). Jerry Falwell once I think. It has a huge attraction for some people. There is probably some specific psychological reason for it that I'm not familiar with.
 

DSAPT9

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I am cynical but not to the point of psychotic. I look at the worlds changes in the last 69 years and have no hope a crash can be avoided. I don't want it, I have seen the ugly in men and really wish it won't happen but I am really sure there is no stopping a rough future.

Having gone hungry when my father died and later in life seeing the Iraq war close up as a contractor I can assure you I don't want it to happen here.
I am with you all the way as so may things in my opinion have gone south especially in the last 5 to 7 years to make me go from this could never happen, to O MY GOD is this really happening.

I am just hopping the pendulum is at the end of its swing and will be heading back down to center and normal (if there is such a thing) here real soon for my kids and grandsons’ sake.

My life is heading towards its end, theirs is just starting and I do not want them to have to go through the things I had to to get this far.

So we take one day at a time and plan for the worst, hope for the best and if you can land on your feet running, then life is good.
 
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Have you encountered individuals holding to such views?
Yes, several.

If so, what conclusions did you come to with respect to reasons for their curious outlook?
The ones I have encountered are young males, seem to have come from sheltered upbringings, and lacked good adult role models during said upbringings. They also don't fully grasp reality as we see it. For example, they may know that [INSERT TRAUMATIC HISTORICAL EVENT] happened, but they don't know what that actually means from the context of human experience - they don't comprehend the pain, fear, trauma, and impact that the event had on those who lived through it.

They have never seen atrocities, human suffering, or social upheaval first-hand, and have never experienced war or violent social unrest. Most Americans (myself fortunately included) never have either, but still empathize with those who lived through those situations. We try to place ourselves in their shoes, imagine what it was like, and hope it never happens to us. Conversely, they remain psychologically distant from the raw humanity of the event. They see themselves as different from everyone else, as the protagonist in their Hollywood-inspired interpretation of the crisis.

They don't realize just how bloody, awful, and horrible apocalyptic events would truly be, so no matter what gear they might have acquired or plans they might have, they are mentally not equipped to deal with any sort of realistic crisis, apocalyptic or otherwise. They equate preparedness with physical objects instead of mindset, and generally overestimate their own capabilities from a survival standpoint. They think "I could do X" and might even look up how, but reading about it on the internet and doing it are two very different things.

In day-to-day life they are immature, self-centered, and avoid ownership or taking responsibility for their actions. Because of their lack of empathy and inability to accept responsibility, they struggle to build lasting social bonds with mature adults. I suspect that as their peers grow into productive members of society, they recognize the widening social divide, and it most likely contributes to their perception of the "me vs the world" mentality. They gravitate toward the internet for social interactions, seeking out other people who share their fantasy, and spend their days hoping something will happen while failing to recognize that it would utterly destroy them should it actually come to pass.

In other words, they need therapy... and potentially other mental help.

More broadly what does it say, if anything, about our culture at large?
Sheltered upbringings are more the norm than the exception in America, and that's a double-edged sword. Widespread strife and hardship in a society are terrible things, and those who go through it hope that their children don't have to do the same. It's why the Great Depression and World War II left such a lasting impact on the psyche of entire generations of Americans - just about everyone learned the hard way about scarcity, struggle, violence, and loss.

However, lack of adversity breeds complacency. Challenges are what shape a person's life, help them grow and evolve to become productive members of society. I'm not advocating that everyone should experience war or famine; there are plenty of challenges to experience in life without resorting to extremes. When someone is not forced to improvise, adapt, and overcome obstacles in life, they will not experience their limitations or learn what they are truly capable of. They will always wonder if they can, but never test the theory.

Unfortunately, in our effort as a culture to shelter our children from the hardships of life, we (society at large, not us specifically) have also sheltered them from reality. War has become a primary topic of entertainment, and is rarely ever showed in its true context. Films like Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line are exceptions to the rule - more often than not we see watered-down versions of violence, and because that's all they know, that's what generations of Americans have subconsciously equated with reality, even if they intellectually know otherwise.

Some of the top-grossing video games ever created are about war, violence, death, and destruction. Often they feature apocalyptic / EOTWAWAKI scenarios where the hero saves the day in the end. Because the player is actually controlling the actions of the "hero" and not simply watching it unfold, they personally experience the rush of adrenaline from the simulated challenge, and the hit of dopamine that rewards winning it. In my opinion those two factors - not understanding the realities of violence, and the widespread usage of simulated warfare as entertainment - are contributing factors to this kind of outlook, though certainly not the only ones.

To clarify, I am saying they may promote delusions and fantasies (like wanting to experience the zombie apocalypse first-hand) in persons who lack empathy, maturity, etc. I'm also saying that media in general - movies, video games, etc. - fail to provide context, depth, and realism when depicting the taking of life or experiencing of trauma; in my opinion, an emotionally immature person who has never experienced such things before may assume that's what violence is really like, and underestimate or entirely fail to account for the emotional or psychological impact that traumatic events can have on the human psyche.

Do you see this phenomenon having any impact on your preparations? And, closely related, how it could affect the likely outcomes of a major disaster?
My preparations will not change. However, I do think any disasters going forward will have far more "well prepared" fools than they may have before. "Well-prepared" could mean they have lots of crap that they don't know how to use, or they are armed and able to use deadly force but don't have the knowledge, understanding, or skills necessary to do so judiciously.

Other thoughts?
There have been historical events that are analogous to the concept of a zombie apocalypse. Mass consumption (either intentional or accidental) of various substances have at times placed large numbers of people in altered mental states at the same time. Widespread drug or alcohol abuse within small communities, naturally occurring hallucinogenic molds contaminating food supplies, and consumption of mind-altering substances as part of community-wide ritual are all examples that have happened in the past and evoke that same mental image of a shuffling, zombie-like population.

For the more extreme behaviors that characterize this style of entertainment, we don't have to look far to see similar activity in real life - rabies, abuse of hard drugs, and serious mental illnesses come to mind. We've all seen the footage of cops intervening against bad guys hopped up on PCP or bath salts, and having to shoot them dozens of times in order to stop them from terrorizing people - it really isn't all that different from the concept of a Hollywood-style zombie attack.

Of course, when someone is just seeing images of such a "zombie attack" on a screen, it's too easy for them to dehumanize the participants. The video cannot convey to the viewer the person behind the bath salts - that was a human being, someone's son, someone's father, someone's friend or sibling. And the cop that had to shoot them was also a human being - one forced to take life to protect others, and who has to live with that emotional and psychological burden. Those are the realities, and the more those realities are shared, the easier it is to combat this mentality.

In my opinion, it's a disconcertingly short hop to go from "zombie" to a real group of people. Applying a label to a group dehumanizes that group, and removes key psychological barriers that would prevent people from committing atrocities against them. That's happened countless times in recorded history, and is happening again today. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche:

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."
 
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I am cynical but not to the point of psychotic. I look at the worlds changes in the last 69 years and have no hope a crash can be avoided. I don't want it, I have seen the ugly in men and really wish it won't happen but I am really sure there is no stopping a rough future.

Having gone hungry when my father died and later in life seeing the Iraq war close up as a contractor I can assure you I don't want it to happen here.
I have a crusty old Marine Vet buddy who served in the VN, and 'one of' his favorite saying was "it all sounds cool until you step onto the two way range". He has holes in his body from AK rounds, so I assume he knows what he's talking about.
 
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Earlier post edited. According to Dave Grossman in his book "On Killing", there is a very clear link between violence in youth and consumption of violent media content. He states that it is not the only factor, but can lead to aggressive attitudes, values, and behavior in children, and prolonged viewing can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life.

He does call out that the effect is magnified if the child is from a broken home and searching for a role model, so looks like I wasn't entirely off base.
 
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99.99% of the people who talk about they can't wait till we have a complete breakdown just have zero clue what they are asking for and would not last any time at all. Most would freeze up with fear when the fighting started and just be killed. Any who survive even days would soon be wondering where their next meal was coming from and have never gone even a day without food. It would lead to a MASS extermination very fast. None of them would think it was fun after even the first day.
 
  • Have you encountered individuals holding to such views?
Yes, many - though none in Zombies. I know of at least three friends who think we have entered into "the beginning of sorrows." Dozens believed firmly that the rapture would happen around the turn of the millennium. A few friends think the zombie invasion has already happened in the dumbing-down of American education, the willingness of Gen-Z to not think for themselves or question that authority dictates, and the elimination of the attention span of most people. I also know of two who are so enraged by what they see, they *wish* there could be an zombie apocalypse so they could go on a genocidal killing spree on humanity.
  • If so, what conclusions did you come to with respect to reasons for their curious outlook?
The spiritually inclined, because they see mankind invested in the temptations of the devil. Read The Screwtape Letters.
The intellectual ones, watch the news, take a gander at Facebook, Tik-Tok, Twitter, etc, read CNN, and observe people in public. It's pretty obvious.
The genocidal ones? Their own unhappiness at their predicament.
  • More broadly what does it say, if anything, about our culture at large?
Escapism.
Two colleagues were born and raised in western Africa, one from Ethiopia, and one from Niger. I value their perspective on Western Culture. I was with two of them when there were Halloween posters touting some zombie crap. I pointed to the poster and asked, "do you guys get this rubbish?" One said, "first world problem." The second said, "people who probably never had to worry about food, sleep or staying alive, and certainly need to f*ck more -- that's what's *really* important!" We roared with laughter.
  • Do you see this phenomenon having any impact on your preparations? And, closely related, how it could affect the likely outcomes of a major disaster?
H-e-l-l NO !! Though, I do believe they are dangerously treading on creating zombies (not the rabid, brains seeking type, but brain dead ones) by using viruses to fight cancer and other viral treatments.
  • Other thoughts?
Burrpp - er - whut wush da queshun? ;)
 

Longwalkhome

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"Those of us who discuss collapse are generally dismissed as doom-and-gloomers, the equivalent of people who watch dash-cam videos of vehicle crashes all day, reveling in disaster. Why would we spend so much effort discussing collapse if we didn't long for it?
Those dismissing us all as doom-and-gloomers hoping for collapse have it backward: yes, some long for collapse as a real-life disaster movie, but those discussing collapse in systems terms are trying to avoid it, not revel in it.
If the system is vulnerable beneath a surface stability, then the only way to avoid negative consequences is to understand those vulnerabilities / fragilities and work out systemic changes that reduce those risks.
It's not the analysis of vulnerabilities that causes collapse, it's refusing to look at vulnerabilities because to do so is considered negative. Why not be optimistic and just go with the consensus that the status quo is impervious to serious disruption? Can-do optimism is all that's needed to overcome any spot of bother."

Folks believe what they are manipulated to believe for the most part. Like guns, there are fools out there that say we buy our guns because we look forward to useing them on other people. People jump onto any band wagon they want to ride, thinking first is a lost art.
 

ma96782

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easy-button.png

SEX sells and
ZOMBIES sells.

The duality of Man.....Huh?
Not really.

So then.....
If you can't beat them, join them?

Well, more like.....
At least YOU or I, could use the craze, to make some money!!!

Ka Ching!!!!

Aloha, Mark
 
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3MTA3

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All I have to say on the subject:
  • Avoid it like hell, because it literally will be. You can talk tough all you want but the reality is that it won't be over in a couple of hours, more like a lifetime which could be a lot sooner.

  • Be as prepared as you can, but all it will likely do is to prolong your demise.

  • Almost all scenarios estimate a 90% die off in first world countries in the first year. This includes the simple loss of the electrical grid if you don't already realize how weak we have become. It's almost certain that die off will include you and everyone you love.

  • To stay alive you will need to be able to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. If you think you can survive alone you have read too much fiction. Spend a week this summer living like an 18th
    Century farmer to get a feel. It will be far tougher than you think. When it's over think about how it was only a week and not every day for the rest of your life and that it was during the easy time of the year. Also, you didn't have to deal with injury or sickness.

  • Even if you have the skills and mentality to stay alive there will be others who will be happy to kill you to take what little you have.
 
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I know very little about this topic but I have noticed the HUGE attraction of "it's the end of the world" or "the end of the world is coming" for some people. Take cults like Jonestown, heavens gate, branch divisions, they lure ppl with the end of the world is coming and then when it doesn't come they have to actually bring it about for therir members or the whole thing is exposed as a fraud.

Similarly Pat Robertson predicted the end of the world twice (1982 and 2007). Jerry Falwell once I think. It has a huge attraction for some people. There is probably some specific psychological reason for it that I'm not familiar with.
IMO televangelists are salesmen, not preachers. That goes back to my original point about people using apocalypse-porn to sell tickets, sell books or sell a lifestyle. That can also be said about fear-porn, or any other psychological manipulation that marries fear with greed. Yes, even gun-porn/tactical-porn/prepper-porn. Let's be honest, how many of us buy more guns and ammo as soon as there is talk about bans? How many of us bought a 15-year supply of toilet paper because of a virus? How many fundraising emails have we received from our favorite organizations that have used fear-based headlines to solicit donations in order to stop impending doom? The message is that the only thing that can save you is money. Maybe that speaks to society's messed up belief that safety and salvation can be bought. Money is like fertilizer. Fertilizer used properly makes things grow. Fertilizer used improperly is nothing but sewage.
 
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