9 Meals to Crazy: The Real World Strikes Back
I live in the wonderful bubble of Silicon Valley where we focus on the future enabled by the technology that surrounds us. The problem is this bubble has hidden us to the real world. Yes, technology is amazing. I love the possibilities of a decentralized world through Crypto, or the new virtual World of the Metaverse. Or how amazing that Software is eating the world.
All really good stuff. But let’s use the First principles that everyone in SilIcon Valley talks about. What about the energy or electricity that enables this? If there is no power, there is no technology.
And let’s also not ignore something as basic as food? Not that crap like Soylent or crickets (okay I admit the ground up crickets actually are pretty good in cookies). But real food. The chicken, beef, bread, fruits, vegetables. People need to eat. And most groceries have less than 3 days of supply, reliant on a “Just in Time” system to get food from thousands of miles away. Do people remember the empty shelves of pasta back in March 2020 during the start of the pandemic?
In both of these key elements reliant on a cascading chain of dependencies and failure. highlighted by recent supply chain issues and freak weather occurrences. The winter storm in Texas that led to black outs in february 2021 for example. For food breakdowns, you can point to either shipping & insurance issues, bad crops from weather, rising costs of feed and fertilizer and geopolitical issues stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine of whom supplies food stuffs for a large portion of the world. (It is a top producer and exporter of Sunflower oil, 4th largest exporter of barley, corn and potatoes)
We, in the USA and Silicon Valley particularly, have taken both cheap food and energy for granted. It’s amazing to me that in their insularity, many technologists think that the rising inequality and increasing fuel and food prices will not affect them. Or they don’t consider this at all, which is strange to me. Especially when these folks fit the stereotype of techies being the least physically fit or capable people in a food riot, let alone societal breakdown.
This is a gross generalization of course as I know some very physically fit and well trained prepper type techies (and not so rich as they claim here) as per this New Yorker article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich but the point still stands. And for the record for the folks who laughed at preppers back then, who is laughing now?! :)
The questions I ask people:
How are you going to order grocery delivery when you have no power?
Heck, do you think there will be any internet or telephone connection in this situation?
There will certainly not be any Doordashers or Uber Eats bringing you food.
This brings me to Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse”, where he covers how civilizations rise but over time become so specialized and overly complex. They become so fragile that when there is a big massive external change like weather or invasion or such, the society is unable to adapt and collapses. As per complexity theory, there is always a tipping point beyond the point of no recovery.
Yes, I believe in a bright, technology driven future of prosperity like that of Star Trek. But even in that timeline, Earth had to go through some awful challenges like their own version of World War 3: aka The Eugenics Wars featuring Khan Noonien Singh for those who loved “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan”.
This is also why it’s incredibly important to have a prepper mindset. Be like the Mormons, who maintain community and store months of extra food. Canned, dry foods that keep & circulate. You save money by buying in bulk too. And in times of need, you can also help less prepared neighbors. Water stores are also quite invaluable for access to some via nature. Rain storage tanks are also good. I should add that you can survive for 7 days without food but no more than 3 without water.
This is also why I stress the importance of self defense skills and weapons. Guns in the case of the USA. If everyone else has a weapon, which sort of feels that way here having moved to America from Canada, it’s probably not a good idea to not have one. If only to defend yourself, your family and your goods. Learn how to use it properly. Training is key.
My point is we cannot ignore the real world in the long run. It has a way of biting us in the butt when we can least afford it. Building some level of slack in your system through a bit of self sufficiency will be important to weather any of the incoming and literal storms coming our way. It’s another form of insurance.