Don’t Try Surviving Alone

cast-away-movie-volleyballPerhaps you’re a bit like me; confident in your survival skills and ability to make it on your own. If you actually know that much, congratulations; I think you’ve achieved a level that we all need to strive for. But even so, unless absolutely necessary, I’m not convinced that you should try and make it on your own.

I’ve got to confess, I’ve been there. I’ve thought of heading off on my own and just disappearing into the mountains. But in the end, I haven’t done it. Nor do I really think I ever will, as attractive and tempting as that idea sounds. There are just too many risks associated with trying to survive alone.

Granted, there are risks in surviving in a group as well, but at least in a group, you share those risks. If you fall down, there’s somebody to help pick you up. If you’re alone, you’d better be able to pick yourself up, or you’re going to die right there where you fell.

That’s the biggest problem with solo survival; not having anyone there to take care of you, if something happens to you. The wilderness is a dangerous place and you can easily break a leg, sprain a muscle or otherwise hurt yourself. There are chances for sickness all around. When (not if) that happens, you’re suddenly much more vulnerable to anything else that can go wrong. A simple injury can lead to infection, which can weaken your body to sickness, or lead to death all on its own.

But there’s more to survival than avoiding injury. For anyone who finds themselves in that situation, survival is an all-encompassing game. When you get into survival mode, it takes all your time and energy. Having someone to share those chores with makes things a whole lot easier, as the extra work they do will far outweigh the extra work of taking care of two people, rather than one.

With two or more, you can not only split up tasks, but you can split up knowledge. Maybe you really are a survival expert. But that doesn’t mean that you’re an expert on everything. Are you a fully-trained medic? Do you know how to repair all kinds of equipment? How are you as a gardener? Working with a survival team means that others can be experts in these other areas, and more, while you concentrate on being an expert in your area. Ultimately, that gives more expertise to the team as a whole.

A survival team also helps in the all-important area of defense. There are a lot of people talking about hungry gangs roaming the countryside, stealing, looting and killing. That’s a very real possibility, as both coyotes and wolves tend to hunt in packs. Fighting one of these human packs alone would be extremely hard; and while fighting it as a team will be hard also, it increases your chances of survival.

You’ve got to sleep sometime; and unless you have others with you, you’re vulnerable when you’re asleep. Everyone knows it, so attacking while people are asleep is an age-old tactic. At least with a group, you can station guards to stand watch while everyone else sleeps.

But I’d like to propose another reason for being part of a survival team. That’s the need for continuity of the race and our culture. People are talking about cataclysmic events, which will end life as we know it. While some of this is nothing more than fear-mongering; there has to be some truth behind the mongering for it to work. There are many risks around us, some of which are grave enough that they could bring down our modern society.

Should that happen, there will be a need for much more than just survival; there will be a need to rebuild society. If everyone concentrates on just surviving; then mankind just might die out in a generation. No, there’s a need for much more. Those of us who do survive will need to come together and rebuild; making a new nation out of the ashes of this one.

Mankind is a social creature. We were never intended to live alone. We can do so, if necessary. But many who try to be alone for prolonged periods of time end up going insane. Why is that? Because they don’t have the touchstone of other people in their lives.

It will be hard enough making it through any major disaster that befalls us, and will cause us an enormous amount of mental stress. Without others to share the experience with, whom we can talk to and reason things out with, it may be too much for any of us to bear. Gathering together and forming a society meets that need, helping us to spread the mental anguish around and giving us the security of knowing that we are not the only one experiencing it.

Forming a survival team is as important a part of preparing for disaster as anything else we do. Finding like-minded people whom we can count on to work together with us, surviving together, needs to be an integral part of our plans. Otherwise, the only plan we have it to go it on our own, and that’s a rather risky plan to depend on.

So, start looking for your team. In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival equipment close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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