Posted on January 24 2019
Guess the percent of your prepper buddies who will lose it. Multiply that number by six. Take the odds of YOU losing it during a collapse and do the same.
For thousands of years, humanity lived under horrid conditions and dealt with immense suffering. The “medical practitioner” who treated mental problems and depression has been around as long as mankind: the priest.
If you don’t believe suffering can bring you and your family down, watch ReadyMan Challenge 3 or the History Channel show Alone and be honest with yourself: under what circumstances would your will to live, or your combat effectiveness, take a nose dive? It’s one hundred percent certain that there is a threshold beyond which your emotional self will fall out from underneath you. The only question is: will post-collapse circumstances pass your point of mental failure?
Yet, you can add a professional to your survival group who is adept at giving purpose and who can help even depressed people get “back in the fight.” In modern times, we use psychologists. For eons, we’ve used priests and pastors. You decide which would make the most sense in an apocalypse.
A good pastor can provide similar counseling to a psychologist along with a heavy dose of meaning and purpose, regardless of what people believe going into a collapse. It’s no accident that the military uses both: therapists and pastors.
Jeff Kirkham recently posted a scenario from the Conflicted Survival Card Game to the ReadyMen closed group on Facebook (click here to join for free.) It was about as vexing a scenario as you can imagine, and the question arose: what survival compromises would you make to honor your conscience?
We began to discuss how faith and compassion might survive the collapse, and how our groups would mentally manage if we engaged in questionable, brutal behavior. Tim Evancich, longtime ReadyMan, quoted Nietzsche who said, "He who has a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW.”
Here’s the Conflicted Games scenario Jeff posted on the ReadyMen group:
“You were told by your scouts that a gang in a large caravan is headed your way and your community leaders identify a choke point where you could easily kill them all. It is well known that the gang travels with women and children and to ambush them would mean the death of innocents for sure. Your camp will be overwhelmed if you let them through due to their large numbers. Would you sacrifice their innocents in order to save yours? What would you do in this situation and why?”
The easy answer was: “I would sacrifice anyone’s innocents to save my own.”
The real answer was: “If we sacrifice innocents, under any circumstances, our group will lose cohesion.”
And that’s only one of a hundred ways a survival community might emotionally implode. A mental health insurance policy could be the difference between making it and being destroyed.
Enter the pastor. Typically, people returned to their faith roots when confronted with personal suffering and tragedy. Regardless of your faith tradition, a pastor provides one of Maslow’s critical needs: belonging (otherwise known as “meaning.”) Once safety, water, food and homeostasis (shelter) are handled, the next need to arise is a reason to live. Pastors and priests can provide that. Psychologists…maybe.
It’s a common imaginative failing among preppers: to fail to account for the mental breakdown that would undoubtedly occur in a collapse of society. Anyone who has experienced that kind of sudden mayhem will attest—our emotions are often the weakest link, even for those who swear up-and-down they’re mentally bulletproof. (Especially those who swear they’re mentally bulletproof.) If you doubt it, dig into Black Autumn, the fictional tale of a well-prepared survival group that hangs by a psychological thread. Then decide if mental instability in the fall of our culture could be a real thing.
Luckily, pastors and priests are easy to find; and if they’re Christian, they often have a faith basis for believing in the possibility of a collapse: the Book of Revelations. If your pastor also leads a flock, you could explore providing emergency preparedness help to that flock, which could expand your preparedness community with good folks.
For lots of reasons, consider adding a pastor or priest to your list of “skilled survival practicioners.” They might patch up more people than your doctor.