Monday, September 6, 2010

"It's all coming down"

I watched Defiance last week, finally, and it was awesome.

I've written before about my obsession with the fall of civilization [here and here] and this movie dredged more of this conviction to the surface. During the start of their forest society, a man is helping build a roof and smacks his fingers with a hammer. When the other laugh at him and asked him what he did before the war, he smiles sheepishly and says that he was an intellectual, more handy with books than with tools.

And this is the root of my fear. That when society falls apart I will have no useful skills to help rebuild it.

In My Side of the Mountain, Sam figured out how to train a hawk to hunt for him. In Hatchet, Paul was a Boy Scout. In LOST, they just happened to have a surgeon, a wilderness expert, and a techie on the island with them. In Alas, Babylon they had an artesian well handy in the backyard and at least a small heads up on the whole debacle. In Defiance society hadn't really collapsed, they just stole from the people who still had a footing in it.

Liberal arts kind of people are so supremely useless. Which is not to say community and culture are unimportant, only that, society cannot subsist on these things alone.

What kind of resources do I have handy? Our family has a pantry that we still slip into calling the Y2K closet. In terms of my skill set though, I don't really know how to do anything useful. I know nothing about herbal remedies, I lack a green thumb, I have no command of the basics of construction or agriculture or mechanics, I pale at the description of medical ailments.

I can shoot a gun, which is good. I'm reasonably healthy, which is also an asset. I can read, so whatever books survive this societal collapse, I'll at least be able to teach myself to be useful, theoretically. Still, I struggle with being a well-rounded individual. Though my passions lie with more intellectual pursuits, I don't want to get wrapped up in a world that will become irrelevant. I want to be a whole person, who understands the importance of both the ability to do as well as the ability to think.

In other news, spending the week in a computer store has made me super paranoid about the health of my own computing machine, ergo prompting me to image and format the thing. Just because, it's already three years old, and it needs to last me as long as possible. So I've been backing up some things online, and it makes me feel like a major dork. I hate Google. But I need it. So.

What I mean to say is, when technology is crippled at the fall of civilization, I won't be very sad.


Art said...

I smirked at the Google thing.

by the way, I do enjoy hearing your thoughts.

you can cook? food's important.

Michael said...

I am at once amused and frightened by this post. Because I'm kind of the same boat as you, except I have no concern about it, which just makes me less aware than you.

Google sucks. *sigh* I think I could live with it being gone, I'd just find different ways to communicate with people. I'm gonna miss the post office. I'm gonna start training a carrier pigeon.

Ditto with Rebecca.

Micah E. said...

I feel reasonably confident about my ability to contribute to post-society reconstruction. Except for anything medical related. I need a doctor. (except I'm hardly ever sick, so...)

I believe you infected me with your fascination with the collapse of civilization by telling me to read Alas, Babylon.