The Practice of Survival

I think it’s very interesting that within 24 hours of kicking off this blog my main computer decided to go belly up. Of course, it decided to do this during the holidays and a tight financial time. No chance of buying a replacement. Funny thing to happen to a guy who is trying to talk about the natural world around us by writing on an internet blog. The comedy is there. You just gotta look for it.

The whole week has been an exercise in frustration and, more importantly, how to deal with that frustration. I know just enough about the inner workings of a computer to be dangerous. I’ve spent more than 12+ hours trying to jury rig other parts from other systems to no avail. I tried option after option and nothing worked. And then, a deeper frustration set in.

It arose from the fact that I had no idea how connected to my personal computer I had become. Not just the internet and it’s myriad diversions but the whole kit and kaboodle; writing, photography, visual art, communication, and all sorts of other personal projects were located on one machine. My creative content, except for the last few days, had all been backed up and was not the subject of my frustration. It came from the fact that I didn’t feel like I could do ANYTHING. It was not necessarily the truth but it FELT like the truth.

And, briefly, I will ask you to think about the same thing. How connected to it are you? How prevalent is it in your life, your work, your daily interactions?

It was maddening. I felt a deep urge to throw my hands up and I gave into that urge for two days. I cleaned off my desk of all tech, took it downstairs, and, in depressed disgust, gave up and walked away. It was during a short walk that something hit me. I was doing the number one no-no, the big bad thing, the top of the list in stupid moves which gets people killed in survival situations. I was giving up.

Didn’t I just post about my respect for a coyote to survive in any situation, and not only survive but thrive? Wow. Talk about a lesson! It wasn’t about giving up. It was about adapting. Here was a survival lesson couched, very covertly, in my very safe and warm everyday life.

I didn’t have to go into some remote wilderness setting to practice survival. Nope. Survival walked right into my living room, kicked in the door, stole my computer, and waltzed right back out. It could be the equivalant of someone’s car going dead in the middle of a blizzard on a mountain road and it comes down to the simple theme in all survival situations. You think you have something and now, you don’t.

How do you survive the transition?

Every expert, book, and webpage will tell you that in order to survive that transition you have to stay calm and you cannot ever, ever, ever give up. When trouble hits it will be your mindset that gets you through to the clear. A little luck will always come into play but you cannot rely on luck.

You have to rely on attitude.

It might be said that comparing the relative minscule loss of a personal computer to fighting for your life against the elements in a real survival situation is ridiculous. I want to be clear about something. I’m comparing the mindset carried within these situations. In turn, I’m also asking you to think about how this similiar mindset plays itself out in your everyday life? How often do you get the chance to practice this mindset in the safety of your everyday life? Perhaps take a moment and think back. When did a simliar situation offer itself for you to handle? I think, if you look at it, you’ll be surprised to see it comes up more often than you may realize.

So, I’ll apologize in advance for a small delay in posting and the lack of images. I’ve adapted and am currently writing this in notepad on a much older shared computer. I’m not sure when things will change back up. It could be tomorrow. It could be next summer. But, like someone in a survival situation, I will just have to wait it out and adapt to the surroundings.

I’ll just think of it as daily practice.


Posted on December 20, 2008, in Survival. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Scott Hippensteel

    Hot Damn! You really ARE coyote!!! I think your analogy hits the bull’s eye dead center when you suggest that these sort of “survival” moments are more common than we realize… they happen all the time. It is the willpower attitude that says ‘where there is a will there is a way’ that can conquer ANYTHING! Power to ya brother! Have a joyous and thriving holiday 🙂

    Good roads…. Bond

  2. good meditation. i think about this a lot too. there are very few ‘things’ that i’m really dependent on. (it’s my tyler durden peeking out). but, i think especially since i joined facebook, my computer has become infinitely more important, and something which i’d really suffer without. good on ya for finding the meaning in this madness. and good luck with getting your monkeybox fixed/replaced.

  3. A friend of mine says there are two kinds of people in the world, those with the religion of backup and those without. Glad to hear your frustration was not one of a heathen or an apostate.

    Something come to mind after reading your post. When your work demands you use a machine – and let’s face it you never can put your faith in a mere machine no matter how glossy and instantaneous its satisfaction though you might trust one more than a man at times – what you need to do is make a contact – and I mean a local contact here someone you can lay your hands on in a time of need – that builds these infernal boxes for fun and sometimes short turn profit – in brief, hobbyists that always have spare parts and plenty of them.

    These are animals of another breed, the kind of man who does put his trust in the machine because he built it from his god damn hands, and besides, what is a machine but the mind of man made flesh – all aluminum and plastic, solder and brute will made to do his bidding or at least make it easier for him to do an others.

    Akin to the born mechanic who can’t stand to watch that Grand Marque rot in the back yard without at least first pushing his fists into the beast’s ancient and grimy maw, fingers twisting about where no hand was meant to go, putting his shoulders into it until by some twist , some knowing tweak, the thing will live for another 1000 miles purring like bobcat crewing well-rolled PadrĂłn- these box builders are going to save your ass until you can roll something shiny under that garage.

    when you don’t have it, call in the obsessives, they’d get the g-d thing fixed and in a jiffy pete. If you don’t have obsessives, or hobbyists as i like to call ’em , on your speed dial , than you *are* on an episode of Survival Man.

  4. Good read.

    I have managed to go on a few overseas trips the last few years where computers and the internet were… not there! It was very strange at first but after about a week I start rambling about the “good ole days”. My wife says I’m not old enough to talk like that but I just explain it as “pre-computer days”. Man, do I ever like it although when I get home I’m glued to the computer once more, partly to view the photographs that I shot and partly because without computers I no longer have an income.

    One month a year is good, two is better but I think computers are here to stay!

  5. Would have to agree with you on that one, Kevin. I used to shoot for a small newspaper back during those days as well. Even then, we were still doing page layouy with the early versions of Photoshop. Coming from a family of photographers, it’s been interesting watching the evolution of it all and seeing just how huge the impact has been across the entire industry.

    Yhup, computers are the new tools of the next several centuries. Sort of like the arrowhead, the hammer, and others. Except with more wires and fiddly bits.

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