Life starts as an assortment of circumstances, followed by choices and consequences. Please forgive me if I get a bit philosophical, I have been spending a lot of time thinking lately, trying to figure out what I need to do.
You cannot pick your parents, you cannot choose which social class, race, or gender you are born into. Until you are old enough to think for yourself, you are a prisoner of your circumstances. I could not choose to be gay, or black, or a woman. I couldn’t choose to have rich or poor parents, and I could not guide my parent’s decisions while an infant. For example, my father did not hold me until I was over six months old, and he never changed a diaper on me or my brother.
(I understand that in some circles there is controversy surrounding homosexuality, and whether it is a choice or not. I know many gay men and women and except for the one exception, there was no choice in the matter. Maybe I’ll do a post about this another time. )
Once you are able to make decisions then then circumstances wane in importance to consequences. If you shoplifted candy and got caught, then whether you are white or black, rich or poor is not as important as the decision to steal. Now, I’m not talking about stealing to survive, I’m talking about pocketing a candy bar.
There comes a point in someone’s life when they have the opportunity to break free from your circumstances. If your father beat you as a youth, you can choose not to beat your child. If your parents are good-for-nothing mooches, you can choose to work rather than mooch from the system. This is one of the most pivotal points in a person’s life. Writers try to capture this in a novel or on the big screen as it a naturally climatic point. Although sometimes you don’t realize how important it was until years later.
Let’s take one of my favorite movies, Pulp Fiction. Samuel Jackson’s character, Jules, decides to give up his life of crime and “walk the earth.” John Travolta’s character, Vincent, decides not to sleep with Mia, Uma Thurman’s character. Butch, played by Bruce Willis, makes the choice to turn around and rescue Marsellus, even though Marsellus was trying to kill him a hour or so ago.
Pulp fiction is a great movie, and these strings of choices and their consequences are what makes the movie along with great and memorable characters. Your life is a movie, although the dramatic moments aren’t captured for others to enjoy.
Not making a choice is a choice in itself. If you are browbeaten by your spouse and find it easier to say “Yes, dear” instead of standing up for yourself – then that is a choice. If you stay together with this spouse “for the children” then that’s a choice.
I find many people I know tangentially who are afraid of change. They suffer cruelty from those who once loved them, suffer through a soul-sucking job, and waste time watching sports or searching for the end of the Internet instead of doing something productive with their lives. Watch Joe Versus the Volcano, it’s a good movie and illustrates my point.
Change is good. Even dire change like the collapse of our civilization and the starvation and death of millions can be a good thing. This collapse will happen no matter what you do. You could put all your money into the right bank, or take it out, buy bonds with your life savings and nothing will be different at the national level. It is like watching a car crash from a quarter-mile away, there is nothing you can do to change it.
But, and this is an important but, you can affect the survivors. Pull over and administer first aid. Or in the case of the collapse, retain your humanity and compassion. Give someone three meals and a cot for a fair days labor.
This collapse will happen, I’m thinking that it can be the MOARB (Mother Of All Reset Buttons) for many people. The collapse is a circumstance, partially mitigated by choice, but we cannot say for certain that even the most established prepper will survive and thrive afterwards.
Change is the fertilizer for growth. Do not fear it, but embrace it.