Let’s explore how applied game theory and the courses and coaching available on this site can change your life in so many positive way
I have ways had an interest in the concepts of self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. In recent years other terms and descriptions have come into to describe various elements, and perspectives concerning these concepts. Among the most common have been lifehacker, prepper, and survivalist.
Being all of these, I am not quite clear about the rigid distinction between a person who is self-reliant, self-sufficient, a lifehacker, a doomsday prepper, and a survivalist.
All of these words and terms somewhat overlap and so I will use the blogs on this site to explore each.
Let me add, that not just talking, or actually blogging out of my butt here. I have some experience in all of these areas for a number of reasons.
1. I am a wildcrafting herbalist, meaning that I can recognize wild edible and medicine plants. In fact, I am mentioned in the acknowledgements to the book Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by Steven Brill a former student of mine.
2. I am the author of the book Lifehacks, a compendium of tools, techniques and strategies in this subject.
3. My best friend lived in the in the jungles of South East Asia for a number of years (for reason to complex to go into here) and told me much about how they survived.
I actually never thought myself as a prepper, but when the Corona-19 Pandemic hit on 2020, it hd little effect on my life. We had already stored most of what we might need, and there we were watching everyone else freaking out. I am not gloating about this in anyway. The point is that there really no downside to a self-aware, emotionally and mentally grounded person being prepared for a worst case scenario.
Let’s begin with some general definitions
Prepper definition: What is a prepper? This is a person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies. “There’s no agreement among preppers about what exactly a disaster is, and when one is most imminent.” I thought about this as I watched people stand in line for 2 hours outside of a supermarket in Toronto waiting to buy toilet paper. I assume most of these folks have never watched “Survivor” or “Bear Grylls” on the TV, or on their Iphone. Clearly in a bad situation they would not be a sensible prepper.
Survivalism definition: A person who is skilled at, and has an array of strategies, tips, techniques, and tools (generally made by them) which would enable them to fairly confidently (and occasionally comfortably) survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.
Lifehacker definition: An individual who has accumulated an array of tricks, shortcuts, skills, or novelty methods that increase efficiency, efficiency, precision, and productivity, in all walks of life. The term was originally used by computer experts with a playful curiosity in the ways they can accelerate their workflow in ways other than programming. The term has become a general description for an individual who can apply special problem-solving shortcuts in both the analogy and digital worlds.
First of all there is no standard definition for what the distinctions are between self-sustainability and self-sufficiency and they are actually overlapping states of being in which a person or organization needs little or no help from, or interaction with, others. Self-sufficiency entails the self being enough, and a self-sustaining entity can maintain self-sufficiency indefinitely. Still, there are plenty of free pepper books floating around, and there is a prepper forum you can land on of you look.
“So where,” you may ask does game theory fit into all this? Well, no matter how skilled a survivalist, prepper, or lifehacker may be, they will not survive and prosper if they cannot make wise decisions, and there are few wise decision-makers who do not have a fundamental understanding of game theory.
One of the great constraints for many preppers, and survivalists is that though they are skilled at developing winning survival strategies they are not very skilled at avoiding errors in judgment. One cannot be a master strategist and problem solver unless one has a hold on both skill-sets.
In order to develop this skill one must have a profound understanding of numerous concepts drawn from game theory and design thinking including; collaborative intelligence, critical mass, tipping points, ripple effects, Black Swans, the Butterfly effect, Support Triangles, Cognitive Bias, Trembling Hand and other elements. Simple explanations of all of these concepts can be found through the internet. Just Google it.
The prepper and survivalist gametheorist tend to be progressive thinking and avid alternative realities that do not meet the standards of critical thinking and evidence based facts Still they have seen the failure of the government to protect the water supply in Flint Michigan, the levees in New Orleans, or prevent unneccessary death in Puerto Rico. Any skilled game theorist understands that the more brilliant, knowledgeable and expert a specialist may be, the more likely they are to make some error, often a small one, that can have a major impact on any system. The most skilled Lifehacking game theorists can isolate just the type of thinking errors certain types of specialists are likely to make.
There a number of reasons why skilled individuals make mistakes that have major ripple effects that can cost millions of dollars, and lead to death and destruction. These include:
Failing to see that information received from other experts on their own team or project was false.
Pay attention mainly to what they were asked to pay attention to, thus missing some bigger picture.
Failing to notice what they were not directly asked to notice.
Addressing a small problem without realizing that the problem is an indication of a much larger problem.
This are mistakes skilled preppers, survivalists, and lifehackers don’t make!
A basic principle in game theory based troubleshooting is to start from the
simplest and most probable possible problems first. This is illustrated by the saying “When you see hoof prints, look for horses, not zebras”. Use the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid!). This principle results in the common complaint about help desks or manuals, that they sometimes first ask: “Is it plugged in and does that receptacle have power?”. This should not be taken as an affront but should serve as a reminder to always check the simple things first before calling for help. A skilled game thinker can check each element in a system one-by-one, substituting known good components or approaches for each potentially suspect one. This process of “serial substitution” can be error prone when components are substituted without regard to how their failure could result in specific problems arising.
If one is interested in exploring these ideas there are a number of place to start. Of course one can read a prepper magazine to help you put your prepper checklist together. Prepper storage should include; food storage, soap, alcohol and bleach.
If you consider yourself a lifehacking survivalist prepper learn more about a system that can draw water out of air, so in a really worst case scenario you will never be short of the basics.