Remember the Y2K mania? Plenty of folks would like to forget it, since they embarrassed themselves mightily by loudly (and profitably) proclaiming doom and gloom in the years and months leading up to January 1, 2000. Me, I always wanted to celebrate it after the fact, since it woke me up to the unnecessarily complex and fragile nature of modern society. So what if the potential disaster never became actual? Just because we dodged a bullet didn’t mean they weren’t shooting at us.
The other thing I learned from Y2K is that ideology makes wisdom inaccessible. There was (and still is) an awful lot of good stuff that could be learned by taking a close, skeptical look at the nature of modern living. But once an ideology was attached, it went from being a matter of thinking deeply to one of choosing sides, with people on each side now motivated to automatically despise whatever the other side had to say, wise or not, simply because they were on the other side. In the Y2K debacle the preppers overreached and then lost the argument—spectacularly so—rendering themselves an object of easy ridicule. Anyone re-raising any of their qualms about modern living is now easily dismissed, simply because the preppers were exposed as fools one January morning.
I followed the Y2K discussions closely, and learned a lot. I didn’t buy into it to the point of making preparations, but we did spend New Year’s Eve in 1999 at our remote vacation home in Colorado, and I was, uh, open-minded about what I would find when I tried logging onto the internet the next morning. Perhaps because I wasn’t invested to the point of embarrassment I wasn’t deterred from looking deeply into modern life, and since then I’ve concluded that the preppers are basically right about the deep flaws of modern society, regardless of how accurate they’ve been in making practical predictions. And I think it’s a shame that their joy in making dire predictions has obscured the wisdom they’ve managed to uncover/recover.
Which is why I was really pleased to come across this article about Lisa Bedford, the Survival Mom. I haven’t studied Bedford’s site yet, but I will. The article makes it clear that she has found a niche by cleverly opening up the world of prepperdom to average people with average concerns, rescuing wisdom about preparedness from those who tend to bundle it up in ever-more-extreme ideology. Here’s a bit of common sense at its finest from Bedford:
When did being completely unprepated for everything become a virtue?
Bedford’s approach is inspired, and (to me) inspiring—I’m already thinking of ways I might adapt it to grant access to some of the wisdom I’ve found tightly embedded in different ideologies I’ve studied.