The starting point for The Knowledge is a global catastrophe that destroys our technological civilisation and forces survivors to start again from scratch. Such a possible eventuality offers a superb scenario for exploring the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how our modern world actually works, and how it progressed and developed over centuries and millennia of history. Whilst researching for the book, and continuing still on the web Discussion board after its publication, I’ve had many fascinating and informative conversations with people who’ve been thinking about similar topics for far longer that I have.
There is a large community around the world making active preparations for disaster; people who identify as preppers or survivalists. Of course, aspects of this movement cover a wide spectrum.
On one hand are everyday people living in regions vulnerable to natural disasters, such as the earthquakes near San Francisco, taking precautions like keeping a few days-worth of canned food, bottled water and battery-powered lights to wait-out at home a blackout or temporary disruption of other public utilities, or else preparing a bug-out bag to escape the city at the early warning signs.
On the other extreme are those who anticipate global catastrophe within their lifetimes; some moving to isolated, fortified compounds and devoting their life savings to stockpiling consumables and weapons to protect their families from looters after societal collapse. Unsurprisingly, it is this tail of the distribution that TV shows like Doomsday Preppers tend to focus on, but preppers in fact include an enormous range of people with different lifestyles and motivations.
And the movement has been going for a long time, building in waves in response to world events, as this guest post from Chris Ruiz charts.
The Rise and Rise Of Prepping
Interest in prepping has been on a steady rise over the past few years. This is not to say that the idea of preparedness never existed before. People have been actively preparing for emergencies, including possibly life-threatening disruptions, since the first nomadic clan decided to raise crops instead of hunt and gather. In this article we will look at 3 major waves of interest in preparedness from recent history. This will give us context for where we are today and show that being prepared is a well-worn road, not just some new fad based on some questionable reality shows on television.