As I get further into outlining the second book on the collapse of the Internet (Broken Web came out in 2012), the folly of Man’s waste of resources becomes ever-more apparent.
We live in a society that – presented with the great promise of advancement based on “mind amplifiers” – has not only turned its back on factual investigations and seeking of more subtle relationships on Earth – but has now gone so far as to see a complete bastardization of education and human enterprise.
To the astute observer (go ahead, play the role for us), we have see four major personal information consumption paradigm shifts in the last 100 years.
The first epoch was when tramp steamers were still traversing the globe. Famous writers like Louis L’Amour were working their way around the world – the greatest adventure of all. L’Amour read to his shipmates in the foc’sul of many such ships, we he wasn’t “on the beach” at San Pedro with other stranded seamen looking to pick up a ship.
“Everyman’s Library was conceived in 1905 by London publisher Joseph Malaby Dent, whose goal was to create a 1,000-volume library of world literature that was affordable for, and that appealed to, every kind of person, from students to the working classes to the cultural elite. Dent followed the design principles and to a certain extent the style established by William Morris in his Kelmscott Press. This style was later replaced in 1935 by Eric Ravilious‘s designs. Everyman’s Library books were pocket-sized hardcovers that sold initially for what was then the remarkably low price of a shilling apiece. The original U.S. distribution rights were granted to New York City publishers, E. P. Dutton. “
When I interview L’Amour years ago, his recounting the heat of a summer night in the tropics under a weak oil lamp before a dozen men from all walks of life, lit a certain fire in his eye. He was truly a person who walked the wagon ruts in the books he wrote. His “prepper mindset” book being “Last of the Breed” which remains my undisputed winner for evolving the prepper mind-set. Because when push comes to shove, the harder you are between the ears, the better your chances of survival.
Back to Point: The second major change in personal information absorption was the increasingly important evolution of technology. Virtually any of the technology books in mechanics, electric motors, air conditioning, radio communications, engineering, and medicine from 1925 through 1960 are worth having.
For about $14 on the used market, the basics in “Combined Volume: (1) Hildebrand & Powell Principles of Chemistry, 6th Ed.; (2) Latimer & Hildebrand Reference Book of Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd Ed.” is a dandy foundation from which to grow.
To really beef up your prepping library, I’ve found the only thing missing in James F. Lincoln’s Metals and How To Weld Them (yes, of Lincoln Welder fame) extremely useful. A gift from a friend, Ehor, it seldom goes more than a month without being opened on some point, or other.
Later, as technologies evolved, the compendiums of “formulas and portions” became a whole sub-genre. Among these, best of the lot is Glover and Young’s “Desk Ref” which at $147 a whack hardback is easier to explain to the missus as a paperback for $24.
When Manufacturing Left….
A huge change beset America’s reading habits because, in case you missed my bias, I believe people will “read to their environment.”
By 1990, the destruction of “production America” was coming into focus. The same titanic forces of telecommunication that had “taken down the Soviets” were also at work on America’s technical foundations. As factories were boxed up and shipped to China, aided and abetted by Bill Clinton’s sellout of American computer tech to the Mainland, America went into fantasy land.
The first Harry Potter book, for example, was published on June 26, 1997. But, the genre of American escapism into reading had its root in pseudo-classics like Allan Quatermain (our Old Librarian, if awake at this hour, would emphasize it’s Quater not Quarter, lol) collection of stories came out a hundred years earlier.
The but escapism was invading the American mindset: Indian Jones, seems to if if you read the Wiki entry:
“The character first appeared in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, to be followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles from 1992 to 1996, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008.“
Which leads us? From The Classics to the Tech to the Escape?
Well, now we’re virtualizing. “Made-up Money” (Bitcoin or what passes for “money” in SecondLife.)
This transition is a bit difficult to fully comprehend because of online media consumption habits. For example, the Stanford “Lit-Lab” found in 2017 that although fiction accounts for 8.2 percent of books published that year, it accounted for 23 percent of sales. (I need to focus on fiction more, lol…)
Scarier? Here’s the quote that explains why idiots get elected to and hold officer with such ease: “…just 47% of Americans buy books of any kind in any format, and a huge number of them were adult coloring books last year.)”
Which means what?
According to the Pew Research Center
Around two-thirds (68%) of U.S. adults use Facebook.
Which Means WHAT for Preppers?
Close your eyes for a moment and pretend the Internet is gone. Finis. Kaput.
No routers, no DNS, no satellite sigs – big ol’ nuthin.
Now, how do you “start over?”
Beyond the basics of guns, gold, grub, and God (and Glock) what do you need?
Looked at in one way, we are standing high on a pyramid of past mistakes. But what exactly were those? Remember how to do fractions in your head?
When times come, the real prepping – the kind that will get you through a period of heavy fallout or almost any other catastrophe – will not necessarily be a “supply” crisis so much as it will be an informational crisis.
If you are fortunate enough to have a suitable landing zone (LZ) when it happens, your next task series will be “adapting, improvising, and overcoming” the obstacles before you.
Another water purifier might be nice…but do you know the secrets of cutting and splitting a few cords of wood? Own an axe? Splitting wedges? Books and a slide rule?
This is the “real” stuff of prepping.
Which gets us to the simple question: What actual prepping books do you have? What at the 12 books you might be willing to carry?
No ebooks, no solar panels..just real by-God books. The one’s you can’t carry need to be learned quickly as time grows short. Desk Ref is great. Which 11 others? Foraging in your part of the country? Medicine without a doctor?
At the top of Babel it’s hard to imagine societal collapse. But other high civilizations have beaten us to it, so it really won’t be anything new.
Write when you get rich,