Let’s face it hardly anyone talks about it, I suppose it’s not so exciting as fire, or shelter, not as dramatic as stalking or setting a trap line for food. It does not generally involve fun gear, so a person can’t become a gearhead collecting a new knife each week. There is not shown the passion exhibited by those who practice the medical side of things. The Social Element has been one of Six Pillars in my mind that are essential to survival for a long, long time now.
Some of these sentiments were expressed by Dude McLean, of Dirttime, in a blog post last year, where he mentioned that many people’s game plan for the day everything goes haywire is not realistic, he mentions things such as, it’s not likely a person is really going to bug out and leave family and friends behind. (link at bottom)
For as long as I can remember I have read and collected survival stories from books, movies, newspapers, and various articles and stories. From these alone it becomes apparent the value of “Social” or society. There are very few accounts from survivors, those who nearly tasted death, but what the thought of family or friends was not the turning point in having the determination to press on at all costs and live.
We are in fact social creatures, and there are not many of us that can last long in solitude. In my treks and much of my camping I go solo. It is time to think to try new things, a time to train myself, but many are the thoughts during these experiences, “I can’t wait to tell so and so about this.” Although I do learn much when I’m out, I’m always excited to get back to tell others what I learned or about some interesting experience.
What value is whatever we do unless we can share it with someone? Certainly it is good for us to know many things and to have good skills, but where is the significance of anything that is kept within ourselves? Happiness comes when we interact with each other. There is no greater satisfaction than when we can help someone else.
Of what value is it to press forward through inexpressible pain or impossible odds just to go sit on a rock by ourselves? When a person arrives at that point that they have exhausted all energy, and dealt with injury to the farthest degree, and to fully understand that it is not likely that they will live. How does this person summon strength when all has been used? Typically the only way that person is able to dig any deeper is the connection with a loved one, this is where the drive to go on when there is no other hope comes from. I have observed stories of many whose body temperature was too low to be alive and yet they are, of those emaciated souls who look like the walking dead, yet they are still alive, of those whose sudden strength enabled them to do that which they could never dream of, of those who endured not just days, but weeks, months, even years of excruciating torment and difficulty, for what? For the hope of reuniting with those they are close to.
Why carry a whistle, a signal mirror, a GPS, a compass, or a phone if you do not care about ever entering back into society?
Other important parts of the Social Element are the synergy of the group, accomplishing with two or more that which one could never do alone. Society allows for specialization where skills and knowledge of the members can be drawn upon to improve life for all. My grandfather grew up in the Western desert regions, his family among others who combined efforts to establish communities. Digging canals and building dams for crop irrigation. They would organize community activities that would help bring them closer together and to lift each other’s spirits.
Most of us when we are away due to whatever circumstance, look forward to the day when we can return to our homes, our neighborhoods, to our families and our friends. Social desires are the driving force that compel us to do the impossible, to survive, to live, to help others.
Until next time this is Perry Peacock, “Simplifying Survival”