Note: Greatly edited in 2017 to remove details, some personal, most just pointless and boring. Also, I was very naive.
[…] Now, on to my main topic, here. Since I got back from camp, I’ve been more interested in honing my primitive skills. I think camp acted as a catalyst in that respect. It got me to think, “I could live outside.” So now my next step is figuring out the skills I need in order to do that. To that end, I’m going to seriously start beefing up my outdoor knowledge. I’ll be reading books about edible plants and shelter and trapping and such, possibly finding back episodes of Survivorman, and trying to find someone more skilled who can mentor me on these things. Of course, all of this is just book learning if I don’t put it into practice, so I’ll also be spending a lot of time outside, finding these plants that I read about, constructing lean-tos, trying to train information out of animal tracks, and whatever else I need to do. I expect I’ll spend many nights outside, especially once it gets a little cooler out. (However, on several occasions, the house has been hotter than the outdoors, so I don’t really need to wait much.) Presumably, with the practice I put in and the learning I find, I’ll be pretty proficient within not too long. I’m going to set goals for myself; the first one is to have killed and eaten my own small game by the end of the school year next year. I hope to have that one completed well ahead of schedule, so I can keep going pretty quick. After a long time of talking primitivist talk, I’m starting to put my words into action.
What will this lead to? My hope is that I’ll be good enough within a year, or at most two, to start living outside full-time. I don’t pretend I’ll have mastered everything within that timespan, but I should be able to survive. Once I accomplish that, I’ll see what the college thinks about it if I live outside instead of in a dorm. You laugh, but I have to get good somehow, and it’s not going to be through thinking about the outdoors while sitting on a dorm bed. I have no idea what Housing’s reaction would be to such a proposal, though I was chatting with Ilan (memory jog) and he said that they would “definitely” let me do it senior year. I want to start junior year, and hone everything down. Then, for senior year, I’ll see if I can get a group of other people who’d like to come out and try it too. That would make the experience at least twice as awesome, assuming some people actually decided to do it. If I name this endeavor, I’m thinking of GO, for Grinnell Outside. I have yet to come up with a location to stay, but there are a few parks. I’d have to get the permission of the park board.
To you, I probably sound a bit crazy. That’s all right with me, because I know I’m going to seem crazy to a lot of people when I embark on this plan. But, if I become knowledgeable and experienced enough, why not? If I don’t, my skills will either never develop, or atrophy. Now here comes the fun part of this entry where I look even crazier. If I get a GO contingent with me, they would make great people to band together with if this Jason Godesky happens to be right.
Yeah, I’m bringing back that old name. Now, I’ve gotten a little more discerning since I first read his Theses, and I’ve gotten more well-read. In fact, I read one of his major sources that he often cut and pasted from, Jared Diamond’s Collapse. So, until I read his ideas again with a more critical eye than my reckless primito-optimism allowed me last time, I don’t really know what I think are the odds of civilization collapsing. Jared Diamond thinks we’ll probably pull through. But if the opposite is true, the handwriting certainly does seem to be on the wall. Our economy, basically, is slowing down. The sub-prime mortgage bubble already burst; now major banking corporations are starting to run into definite trouble, viz. Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. The government’s response seems to be much as Godesky predicted. The price of food has started to rise in an attention-getting way, and so has the price of gas. Parallel to that, the American dollar has been getting slowly more and more worthless. This happened once before at the beginning of the Depression, but at that point there was still plenty of oil left, all of it easy for the taking. We’re now very much getting into Peak Oil. The Depression era also didn’t have to contend with climate change wiping out the occasional city and making crops harder to grow. These things already happening are another contributor to my determination to learn soon and quickly. Civilization may figure out a way to keep going, though it’ll have to collaborate better with the planet in order to stay in business much longer (one of the central findings of Collapse). Or, it might implode. Whatever happens, I plan to be ready for it. And maybe even have a group of friends ready with me.