Knowledge itself is powerVintage still life with old spectacles on desk set against books

In the consideration of the ability to survive, I divide the whole into the following triad; Knowledge, Skills, and Gear.
Defining the Terms
  1. Knowledge is a suitable foundation to begin, for without it, can anything else be accomplished?
  2. Skills are the action part of things, primarily being motor skills and the ability to create what is imagined based on knowledge
  3. Gear is considered to be both items that are purposely carried or designated to be tools supporting survival and are not limited to commercially produced products, but also that which can be made of native materials
One of my favorite movies is “The Edge” a tale of a wealthy man who was a lover of books and learning who was sought to be taken advantage of by others. In a survival situation he would seem to be an unlikely survivor, but his positive nature and extensive knowledge came to his aid.
The brain is an incredible organ, so complex and powerful that we scarcely understand it. One thing that is known is that with certain stimulus events decades old can be recalled with remarkable clarity. We should fill our minds with good information, some of which may come to mind when needed at a critical time. Information stored in the brain can be accessed any time, whereas a book or video may not always be available. Scientists are aware that the more we use our minds in learning the better able we are to learn and remember those things. If a habit of reading, of good study on the subjects related to survival and being prepared is followed we will certainly be much better equipped to call on that stored knowledge to assist in many difficult circumstances.
Knowledge comes before Skills since the mind must know the subject or action before we can start training the body to perform the task. I should point out that just knowing something does not indicate that we can do something at will with efficient skill. There is much to be said at some other time about skill development.
In the oft mentioned acronym “STOP” meaning Stop, Think, Observe, Plan, knowledge plays a key role. When conditions are assessed assets are determined and it is determined what safeguards should be placed and a plan made to extricate oneself from the situation at hand. Knowledge is the window on the world of possibilities, and comes into play in calculating what types of shelter to construct, where to encamp, how to obtain rescue, etc. When executing the STOP procedure the mind is called upon to sort through all the information stored that matches the needs and resources demanded by current circumstances. A person who has studied extensively is suddenly overwhelmed with possibilities, which are then weighed and the best solutions selected.
Where does knowledge come from?
  • Reading, study (active)
  • Video, visual (passive)
  • Classes, schooling, training (interactive)
  • Experience (e gives the test first, the lesson afterward)
  • Innate sense (part of a being, perhaps inherited)
  • The Senses (sight, smell, sound, touch, conversation)
Stories to illustrate use of knowledge (books listed in Perry’s Bookshelf)
  • Island of the Lost, Joan Druett – shows past knowledge as indispensible in adapting available resources to current conditions
  • Perry starting fire in the dark – having used the FSK hundreds of times visual ability was not absolutely necessary
  • Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea – knowing sea currents, how equipment works, fish, medical, handyman, navigation and sea charts
  • Jim Bridger, J Cecil Alder – Bridger had an amazing ability to navigate, remembering with incredible detail, features, trails, etc. He was so good that he could even construct what certain areas he had never been to were like, based on his knowledge of the surrounding areas.
  • Rowing to Latitude, Jill Fredston – Jill had the ultimate knowledge of rowing in all conditions, her studying of the areas she went into for climate, features, bears, etc. saved her life many times.
  • Endurance, Frank Worsley – Shackelton not only used information known about Antarctica and it’s surroundings, the weather, navigation, features, animal life, etc. but during the 18 month odyssey, made a point of keeping books, journals and even musical instruments when they had to scale back on items to take on the journey across the ice after the ship was crushed in the ice.
  • Emergency Deer Hunt camp, Perry – stranded by a surprise storm, past learning of shelter and a knowledge of the principals of fire starting helped to save lives.
  • Hey I’m Alive, Helen Klayben – These poor survivors had little knowledge, but they knew a few basic things. They survived for 46 days in the winter in the Yukon with temperatures down to -40F

Many more details are in our Audio Program – Knowledge is Power

Until next time this is Perry Peacock, “Simplifying Survival”


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