Saturday, 16 April 2016

Reflections on "Sacred Demise" by Carolyn Baker

I'm in the middle of reading Sacred Demise by Carolyn Baker, which talks about the emotional and spiritual preparation we must do in anticipation of the collapse of industrial civilization. A lot of "preppers" focus on the physical aspects -- food storage, survival skills -- and don't adequately reinforce their emotional strength.

I think there's something to be said for emotional courage and adaptability and having your soul grounded in something greater than yourself. I'm a religious person and know that my faith is a large element in my own preparation for whatever life throws at me. I think, though, that civilization's collapse isn't the greatest challenge; it's the stuff leading up to it that is most daunting. I think if the worst imaginable were to happen and life as we know it descended into political and social chaos, many of us would figure out a way to survive and eventually thrive. But it's the path leading to that scenario that will defeat us -- the little daily inconveniences, the shortages, the stresses. Not having what we're used to, or less of it. Trying to carry on with a "normal" life and an ordinary routine under greater and greater constraint.

If I were told "Abandon your job and your home and head for the hills," I could do it. But if I'm told "Keep doing your daily nine-to-five and your piano lessons and act as if all is well in spite of rising disaster" -- that's what I'd find frustrating and frightening.  At what point do we realize the daily nine-to-five has to be abandoned? Who decides that? And who is going to notify my boss of that? At what point are we given permission to cut loose and go into survival mode? Or are we in survival mode already?

Being expected to act as if life is running along as usual, when you know deep down it's on a collision course, is what's going to drive us bonkers. Far easier to admit that life as we know it has fundamentally changed and we can't go on behaving as if it hasn't. At some point we have to give ourselves permission to announce we've reached our limits and we're opting out.

It isn't death that unnerves me; it's all the stuff that comes before it. I've often said that if the prophet asked us to drop everything and walk to Utah, we could all do it without flinching. But it's when he asks us to do our visiting teaching, to clean the chapel, to take casseroles to the ill, we find it difficult. It isn't the big stuff that will defeat us; it's the little things.

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