*Making the case for "primitive" survivalist methods*
By: Ajax
15 November 2004

Some folks may not agree with what I am going to talk about. But as reasonable survivalists, there is room to discuss things which we may not agree upon and walk away at the end of the day with at least another perspective.

So I ask you to hear me out as I make a case for learning primitve skills before concentrating on learning more advanced skills. Anything mechanical or battery operated WILL FAIL at some point.

Science as a body of knowledge accumulates like building blocks build a structure. You start at the foundation and work your way up, with each part building on some other part. Try and shortchange the process and you wind up with a house of cards that falls. Survivalist knowledge is no different.

Real world examples abound. Look at other cultures around the world that donít understand the basics of science, economics, and basic freedoms. Ofetn, such societies can build large buildings, buy fancy cars and electronics, and purchase modern weaponry but as long as they lack the basic understanding of how it all works, one little problems brings things to a standstill. Itís kind of like using a calculator before you can do the basic math - a technique which breeds failure.

A good example of this is Iran. When they went to way with Iraq in 1980, Iran had some very sophisticated weaponry provided courtesy of the US when the Shaw was in power before the fundamentalist revolution. Once the Ayatolla booted the US out, their high tech weapons quickly degraded over time and before the end of the war, thousands of Iranians were to die because the basics of warfare had not been learned.

Even modern powers fall into such situations. During the Vietnam, especially in the beginning, the US Airforces (Airforce, Navy and Marines) found their radar and missile equipped supersonic jets getting bested in aerial combat by older, fundamentally sound jets with rapid firing cannons. Most western forces, until that point, thought that in the age of guided missiles, guns were extraneous. It was a bitter lession. A similar situation occurred in the Falkland Island Conflict - the Royal Navy wholeheartedly embraced missile equipped ships. When the Argies came in low and fast, the RN found itself in serious trouble - worse than in 1945 at the end of WW2 - because the ships did not have sufficient guns to thwart low level attacks. It was a bitter experience with the RN losing many ships and hundereds of men because the fundamentals had been ignored.

All well and good you might say, but how does this apply to survival?

Letís use making fire as another example. The easiest way to make a fire real quickly is to use an accelerant and apply a match. BOOM! You have fire. Many of us do this when we barbecue. Fast, Simple. Effective. Almost anyone can do it. Now letís fast forward to a situation where there may not be matches or accelerants. What are you doing to do? It is far better to have a basic understanding of combustion and how to achieve it than to simply rely on matches and naptha.

Another example I like to use is navigation. Nearly everyone at least knows about the benefits of the new Global Positioning System (GPS) units with memory, maps, routes and veritable host of other features. I do not have to be sold on the value of a GPS because this value is self-evident. However, to be fully effective using a GPS, one has to be somewhat proficient in using a regular old map and compass.

Another is germ theory. Is it better to have a good supply of antibiotics for when you contract a nasty infection from an impoperly treated wound or to prevent that wound in the beginning from proper personal hygeine and public health? Yes you still need the big guns to blast away at that strep throat infection or the staph infection threatening your leg, but you also need to understand germs and how they work to case infections so you can prevent them.

There are many such examples and I have only listed a few of them. Basically, my contention is that by understanding underlying processes, we can make better use of our high tech gear. By doing so we also have an automatic, built-in fall back position when these devices fail.

What I am not saying is for people to ditch high tech - which I believe should be fully embraced by all those who can embrace it. But with a deeper understanding, we can get the most out our high tech stuff. If we donít embrace technology, we run into trouble. To be viable in the future, we are all going to have to understand how night vision, perimeter alarms, electronic surveilance and other high tech marvels work. However, if we embrace technology without a firm understanding of the basics, we will fall into the same trap as the French in the Franco Prussian War and World Wars I and II - trying to use modern technology which we donít fully comprehend in a crisis while facing an enemy who already understands it. The result - epochal defeat.

Learn the basics AND get the most modern gear you can afford.

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