By Denis Korn
As we enter the holiday season of 2015 I want to once again offer some observations and most of all encouragement to all those who have been led to this article. I am updating some points I made last year at this time and of course my holiday gift is the gift of encouragement at the end of this post. I truly feel that encouragement is essential for endurance. The endurance required to bear the burdens of these times.
The year of 2016 will be an important year for me in initiating and fulfilling goals and projects that I believe will be crucial given the current state of cultural, economic and political decay prevalent in contemporary society. This post will offer reflections, plans and end with an updated encouragement I post when I feel it will be of value. To help you gain some perspective on my background as I comment on the things I observe, I begin with a little history.
A little history
41 years ago I launched my retail Natural Foods store selling “natural whole foods” in bulk that included, among other unique food items, numerous basic commodities, in- house stone ground flours, herbs, my own recipes of just-add-water dried food meals and food reserves in #10 (7/8 gal) cans. This was the inauguration of what was to become my life calling – which I continue today under the auspices of PrepareDirect – our product website, and Learn To Prepare – my information only blog. In 1979 this humble beginning was to transform and become AlpineAire Foods, a major player and manufacturing innovator in the outdoor recreation and long term food reserves industry.
6 years ago in January of 2010 I began Learn To Prepare. My intention was to share my many years experience and insights as a retailer, innovative developer and manufacturer with those serious people needing help beginning and improving their preparedness experience. The blog is an evolving endeavor to focus on preparedness fundamentals with an emphasis on food related issues. I have been fortunate in the past 41 years to have not only have created many different preparedness products, but also to have read thousands of articles, talked to hundreds of industry professionals, made hundreds of presentations and studied a variety of related materials. Learn To Prepare is also unique in that I incorporate my graduate studies and college teaching experience in Philosophy into my articles to provide what I believe to be a critical perspective on a proper preparedness attitude in conjunction with action.
Key Concerns Enveloping the Current Preparedness and Survivalist Environment and Mindset
From the time I began providing preparedness products until very recently – ten years or so – the majority of interest was – to use a general term – family preparedness. Average folks concerned for themselves and family with the issues of the day, and with relatively easy to comprehend options and priorities. There has always been a survivalist element to disaster preparedness, however not to the extent we see today. Why? And what are some of the factors that have created a noticeable polarizing preparedness marketplace and atmosphere? Is this polarization motivating or discouraging our friends and family to be prepared for the fulfillment of numerous potential and impactful scenarios?
When I refer to a “survivalist” here is the meaning for me from Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:
survivalist: a person who advocates or practices survivalism; esp : one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.
survivalism: an attitude, policy, or practice based on the primacy of survival as a value.
It can be said that everyone is a survivalist because we all want to survive – it is an innate instinct. This is not however how the concept is applied in today’s media. The emphasis is on the second part of the definition – one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society. Here is the root of the polarization. This emphasis and fixation on the breakdown of our society with all its negative implications, has created a type of revulsion and resistance to properly evaluate and access the whole idea of emergency preparedness and survival during catastrophes and disasters – natural or man-made. Many of us can not be inundated with nonstop doom and gloom and preached to by those absolutely convinced that the world as we know it will be destroyed, and not finally say enough already. Add to the constant barrage of end of days hysteria, all the suggestions and appeals to action that any normal person would find extreme, infeasible or impossible.
I want to be clear – I am not a psychic nor privy to underground information. I have however read and listened to thousands of opinions and judgments on our current state of affairs. And yes, many of the difficult scenarios presented – natural and man-made – will probably come to pass, and yes, we need to be prepared, and yes, we are in for some challenging times, and yes, there are differing perceptions on potential scenarios. So what are some of the issues and problems surrounding the survivalist, prepper and disaster planner?
- We are overwhelmed by those who are exploiting the concerns of the times with fear, greed and conspicuous deception!
- So many deceitful and ignorant businesses and spokespersons are making it difficult for legitimate companies to succeed.
- An inability for many – including professionals and consumers – to discern the truth from the deceptive hype. So much information being put forward by so-called industry authorities and government agencies is simply incorrect.
- Educating and empowering consumers to have trust and confidence in their sources for reliable information is not taken seriously by so many ill-informed and inexperienced instant preparedness experts.
- A lack of critical thinking and communication skills from survivalist spokespersons.
- A lack of trustworthy leadership.
- A self-serving and corrupt media that promotes survivalist programming for profit that creates fear, confusion and anxiety.
- The internet – that has been both a blessing and curse. There is so much preparedness/survivalist information that is unreliable and inaccurate – and valuable and dependable – that many a sincere truth seeking individual finds it difficult or impossible to discern truth from fiction.
- The media, television programming and our educational system is agenda driven (and not an agenda for the best interests of our citizens and Republic), and with a constant barrage of negativity, distortions and out right fabrication, it becomes increasingly challenging to discern the truth and maintain an encouraging attitude.
- The problem once again is manipulation through fear.
The questions I ask those with the survivalist mindset – or anyone for that mater:
- There are real and significant challenges ahead – Is there a more effective and empowering way to communicate preparedness and survival concerns to everyone without fixating on the fear, terror and greed factor?
- Have you realistically and critically evaluated the advice being given by so many for actions to take during a serious emergency?
- Are you aware that the methods being utilized by numerous advertisers, talk show hosts, blog writers and others to stimulate action focuses on mindless reaction rather than critical evaluation?
I want to acknowledge the many sincerely conscientious and committed individuals, businesses and news sources who are devoted to providing truthful information and reliable products. I especially want to give my appreciation to committed Christian experts who realize the big preparedness picture and who offer prayer with their encouragement and advice. I encourage all readers of this article to seek and discover these faithful individuals, organizations and companies. I have written other articles available at Learn To Prepare – see the lists on the right column – that focus on the appropriate questions to ask yourself and others that will help in the preparedness planning process.
What’s Coming From Learn To Prepare
You will also notice a deepening emphasis on the spiritual and emotional attitudes and perspectives required regarding preparedness and survival. For me the proper attitude and one’s spiritual/religious faith is essential, and forms the foundation for any effective and successful preparedness program. Given the issues covered above regarding fear, and the emphasis on the accumulation of stuff and information (nothing wrong with stuff and information – if coupled with proper attitude and spiritual faith), I find a lack of encouragement that focuses on the most important aspects of the preparedness process – the aspects that provide true Peace of Mind.
My Be Encouraged post first appeared at the end of 2011 and I have received many encouraging comments about its value in these troubling times. I especially wanted to re-post this updated version. It is not meant to be an article about preparedness or outdoor adventure – it is here to be a brief rest from the apprehension of daily life and the anguish of the times. 2016 will be a year of significant challenges – may you be encouraged to endure with sustaining faith and hope!
I felt a personal calling to write and share this prayer of encouragement as a gift to those needing some uplifting words during distressing events and the constant perpetration by media and government of crisis, fear and hysteria.
It is difficult to stay positive, feel secure and be joyful when the world around us appears to be degenerating and transforming, and so many people – especially “leadership” – are egocentric and delusional.
We all need encouragement to help us cope.
- Be encouraged: to find tranquility, serenity, courage and contentment amid the uncertainty, anxiety and confusion of the times.
- Be encouraged: to trust GOD to replace fear and worry with peace and hope.
- Be encouraged: to avoid those who rob you of your passion.
- Be encouraged: to seek the company and counsel of those who encourage, understand and support you.
- Be encouraged: to seek the wisdom to be able to discern the truth from the lie.
- Be encouraged: to discover someone you can truly trust.
- Be encouraged: to focus your mind and heart on that which edifies, inspires and transforms.
- Be encouraged: to let go of the notion that you can do “it” all yourself.
- Be encouraged: to cast off the chains that bind you to discontentment.
- Be encouraged: to love one another in thought, heart and deed.
- Be encouraged: to be selfless not selfish.
- Be encouraged: to be honest with yourself – and others.
- Be encouraged: to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, open the eyes of your heart, meditate in silence and be thankful to GOD for the blessings that you have been given.
- Be encouraged: to deflect the negativity, fear and hatred that is thrust upon you daily.
- Be encouraged: to experience aliveness as much as possible.
- Be encouraged: to discern the beneficial actions you are called upon to pursue during these troubled times.
- Be encouraged: to be courageous while you walk among the weak and disheartened.
- Be encouraged: not to give up on loved ones who are in denial of the truth of the times and ridicule you for your faith and commitment to being prepared for the unforeseen.
- Be encouraged: to embody the right attitude that will carry you through all the trials and tribulations of your life.
- Be encouraged: to continually search for and discover meaning in all circumstances.
- Be encouraged: to embody forgiveness.
- Be encouraged: to realize and exemplify your GOD given purpose in life.
- Be encouraged: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think about (meditate on) these things … Phil 4:8
- Be encouraged: to pray to GOD with thanksgiving – believe and have faith – let go – follow GOD’s guidance and instruction with patience and perseverance.
- Be encouraged: to resist the temptations of the evil one.
- Be encouraged: to encourage others!
Blessings to those who are encouraged by these words
God is our refuge and strength.
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
Psalm 46: 1-3