"There Is A Dark Side To Our Species" This Is What People Fear The Most In A Societal Collapse...

Authored by Joshua Krause via ReadyNutrition.com,

There are a lot of reasons why people prep for disasters, but there’s one reason that’s far more popular than the others. What people fear most when they think about what would happen if society collapsed, isn’t hunger, disease, or exposure. They fear what other people might do to them when the chips are down. They worry that members of their community might hurt or kill them to survive.

And though most preppers won’t admit it, I think most of us fear what we might be capable of in a bad situation. We don’t have to find out if we have enough food stocked up in our pantries.

However, it should be noted that there is an alternate view on what most people will do if society collapses. For historians who study disasters and social collapse, there is hope that people won’t automatically turn into savages if the grid goes down. A writer for Slate recently interviewed several experts on this topic, and here’s what they had to say:

Can this ray of sunshine be trusted? I’d love to believe it can be. I asked Scott Knowles, a historian of disaster, what historians and sociologists who study collapses and disasters have to say. His answer: It depends. “We help, and also we don’t,” Knowles said in an email to me.


Over the years, academic researchers have gone back and forth on the question. “This whole area of work really got going in the Cold War when defense planners wanted to model post-[nuclear] attack scenarios,” Knowles wrote. The Disaster Research Center at Ohio State University (which has since moved to the University of Delaware) “did the work over years to model community response, and they pushed back strongly on the idea of social collapse—they found instead too much of the opposite—people converge on a disaster scene!”

And there are countless examples of people being altruistic and coming together during disasters; perhaps even more so than examples of people turning on each other.

In a 1961 paper (unpublished until 1996), sociologist Charles Fritz laid out the case for this “contrary perspective” that disasters and other majorly stressful events don’t necessarily result in social breakdown and trauma.


Fritz, who had begun his observations of disasters while stationed in Britain during the Blitz, reported that during that time he saw “a nation of gloriously happy people, enjoying life to the fullest, exhibiting a sense of gaiety and love of life that was truly remarkable,” with Britons reaching beyond class distinctions, sharing supplies, and talking to people they had never spoken with before.


Marshaling sociological and historical evidence, Fritz recounts example after example of people pulling together in the middle of tragedy: black and white police and militia members uniting to maintain order during the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1878; enemies forgetting old quarrels during the German bombing of Krakow in World War II; community members reporting strengthened personal relationships with neighbors after the White County, Arkansas, tornado of 1952.


In general, researchers agree that people will try to form alliances and help each other.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If humans didn’t have an inclination towards supporting each other, then we wouldn’t have a sophisticated society to begin with.

However, I think we all know that there is a dark side to our species as well, and many of the examples provided by the author don’t reflect that. It is true that we are a social species whose members would rather work together to build a society, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t disasters which could easily bring out the worst in us.

The best example that comes to my mind, is the Siege of Leningrad during World War Two. For more than two years, the city was encircled by German forces who cut off all supplies to the city. This led to the deaths of more than a million civilians, mainly due to starvation. And during that time there were thousands of people who were arrested for murdering others for their ration cards, or killing strangers and family members before cannibalizing them. And in most cases, these people were found to have no criminal records when they were caught.

Point being, there are disasters that will drive ordinary people to commit heinous crimes, and there’s a big difference between those incidents, and the disasters that don’t lead to massive crime waves. In most cases, a destructive event only leads to temporary disruptions to the supply of food, medicine and fuel. People are happy to work together, knowing that everything will return to normal in short order.

But on the rare occasion that a disaster disrupts the flow of goods and energy for months or years at a time, a significant percentage of the population will turn on their neighbors to survive. There’s a direct relationship between how desperate people are, and how far they’re willing to abandon their morality to keep themselves and their family fed, and that’s something that preppers should never forget.



All Risk No Reward Dame Ednas Possum Tue, 07/11/2017 - 02:32 Permalink

>>This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If humans didn’t have an inclination towards supporting each other, then we wouldn’t have a sophisticated society to begin with.<<

I have a different take on history.

People didn't work together very well until two things occurred...

1. Money became a necessity.

2. The control of money was in the hands of a central actor (mostly governmental in the past, mostly private special interests in the present, with government money controllers being bombed or scheduled to be bombed).

I don't think Western Civilization best describes what it claims to describe.

I think we are a Money Power Civilization or, if you will, UzBanksterstan Civilization.

Mostly monolithic macro-agendas expressed through the issuance of money best describes the manifestation of society we see around us.

Including the propaganda that conceals this FACT from the minds of the masses.

The Wizard of Oz erected a curtain for a reason. So do your true Debt-Money Supremacist rulers.

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

OverTheHedge All Risk No Reward Tue, 07/11/2017 - 03:31 Permalink

All humans are Hunter-gatherers. You can not (unless very lucky with resources) feed yourself, if all alone. Not enough time to find resources. However, a group of people can feed themselves, and raise children, and keep useful knowledge alive by feeding old people.The disaster examples are all short-term, with the exception of Stalingrad,and I think that might be the key. Frogs, or rather tadpoles might be a good analogy: most tadpoles are herbivores, but a small percentage of each clutch of eggs are aggressive,  cannibalistic carnivores. The carnivores grow much faster, in case there is insufficient food or the puddle dries up. In the same way, most humans are cooperating herbivores, but there will always be a percentage of cannibals, as a survival strategy. Darwin would be proud.

In reply to by All Risk No Reward

lucitanian OverTheHedge Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:23 Permalink

Your big frogs and little frogs make sense.My personal experience is that most people come together and help each other in times of disaster and need, putting to one side superficial conflicts and differences in order to survive. But I guess a lot has to do with degrees of socialization of people relative to the communities they live in and the length of time the stress abides.Interestingly enough one of the most effective methods of assuaging stress is through the practice of compassion, (see by Maureen Cooper : the Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress.) Nevertheless, getting back to your big frogs, such stresses may well bring out the best and the worst in people, and it seems to be empirically shown that crime rates can be predicted to increase relative to economic stress. UNODC Impact of Economic Crisis on Crime.The real question is; do we steal or not steal from each other because there is an authority with a threat of coercion, violence or punishment if we are caught, or because we know it is wrong. I believe that it is the morality and socialization that holds society together. The society that falls apart first is the one that lives in fear and externalizes responsibilities, i.e. it's the job of the schools to teach the kids, it's the job of the police to maintain law and order, it's the job of the courts to apply justice, it's the job of government to make the laws, etc.. So if anything goes wrong in such a complex society it is always someone else to be blamed. In this respect there is a very enlightening video : The myth of Authority.As Western society is dumbed-down and their sense of responsibility externalized to authorities perhaps they give away more power to the big frogs who are there only to eat them and in fact in many cases deliberately create the crisis in the first place to do so. (Disaster Capitalism?)P.S. (Edit afterthought and conclusion) Complexity creates a higher degree of interdependence, while the benefits of complex interdependence reduces awareness of personal responsibility and increases the scope for the minority of sociopaths (about 2%).

In reply to by OverTheHedge

All Risk No Reward OverTheHedge Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:05 Permalink

OTH, actually, that was the point I was trying to make, but did so poorly.

Yes, people tended to work together on a small scale out of various necesseties and desire.

But the large scale organization of people, especially the super large scale organization of people, required 1. money and 2. monolithic control over that money.

I think that is occulted from Western Civilization.

Nothing was more important to the success of Western Civilization that the centralized control of m-o-n-e-y.

Yes, that came with tyranny as well.

What Have The Romans... - Monty Python's Life of Brian

While I despise the Debt-Money Monopolist psycho/sociopaths, I also acknowledge their contribution to engineering, financing, and manifesting the society in which we live today.

I think this is what Carrol Quuigley meant when he wrote:

"Pg. 950: There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the ... Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known."
~Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope

I would only argue that this system doesn't go back a generation, rather, it is the system that had evolved over Western Civilizations thousands of years of development.

In reply to by OverTheHedge

lucitanian All Risk No Reward Tue, 07/11/2017 - 16:13 Permalink

Interesting comment, but I think you would enjoy to read the history of even earlier times going back about 4,000 years in Mesopotamia to understand, money, taxation, usury, and the mechanisms of tyranny and its relief in terms of the real meaning of "freedom". Here is a starting point:The Lost Tradition of Biblical Debt Cancellation Certainly it doesn't need algorithms and super-computers to realize that an unworkable system must collapse and a new system must replace it. The question is will this happen top down or bottom up. Top down seems unlikely, especially since I listened to the drivel of Central bankers last week in Sintra as they discussed their plight (but don't actually discuss it).

In reply to by All Risk No Reward

The Gun Is Good Dame Ednas Possum Tue, 07/11/2017 - 19:05 Permalink

On that note, get a legit meat grinder. A commercial one; not some pussy-ass home-chef crap. You'll need at least 1/2 a HP.Pork tastes very much like human flesh, according to the descendants of early Mesoamerican (ie: Aztec) peoples, whose ancestors originally made their ritual sacrifical dish, Pozole, from the meat of their enemies.Just sayin'. (If ya hafta go there.....)

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

Keyser cheka Tue, 07/11/2017 - 00:38 Permalink

Thanks for the op-ed, Captain Obvious... There will be those that are altruistic and will attempt help their fellow man, until they are killed for their efforts and their possessions stolen... Some things never change, human nature being one of these things... 

In reply to by cheka

HRClinton MonsterSchmuck Tue, 07/11/2017 - 02:15 Permalink

"Seems the point of the story is this- Don't get caught in a disaster in Russia."On the contrary, you ignoramus. The safest places are those, where life is simple, where societal bonds still exist, and are basic and strong.It is the energy-intensive, resource-intensive, complex and impersonal life (hey, everything for the company and 'shareholder value') of post-industrialism that makes you so vulnerable. And disposable. In the US.You reap as you sow.

In reply to by MonsterSchmuck

PitBullsRule Tue, 07/11/2017 - 00:29 Permalink

There's not going to be any disaster.  The US will survive Trump, he's just a hemorrhoid on the asshole of the US that we call D.C. We have way too much infrastructure, too many natural resources, too many creative people, too many weapons, and way too much money for one corrupt dipshit like Trump to bring us down.

Bombshelter PitBullsRule Tue, 07/11/2017 - 02:52 Permalink

I guess, PitBull, 'disaster' is defined by the loss of electricity and liquid fuels to the disaster zone, hence prompt collapse of this much lauded but then useless infrastructure.  Creativity can be found in the ghettos of Chicago, with a revolver in its hand.  Money is useless when there is nothing you want to buy.  I've been in food- and water-short situations with a bunch of perfectly amiable people.  In 3 hours it turns into Lord of the Flies - very scary, and most revealing of human nature.

In reply to by PitBullsRule

pparalegal Tue, 07/11/2017 - 00:34 Permalink

in 1878; enemies forgetting old quarrels during the German bombing of Krakow in World War II; community members reporting strengthened personal relationships with neighbors after the White County, Arkansas, tornado of 1952.Ya, but that was before the dependent social justice Iphone welfare state. When the battery goes dead they will suddenly embrace the second amendment and act like Argentina has for the last 10 years. Those that survive the first 30 days that is.

HelloSpencer Tue, 07/11/2017 - 00:36 Permalink

'I think most of us fear what we might be capable of in a bad situation' Is this moron joking? Does it have to get any more obvious? Is it not clear what we are capable of even in good times? 

blargg Lost in translation Tue, 07/11/2017 - 01:01 Permalink

I often lapse into purse scorn for the USA nuking Japan, but then remind myself that they were fucking savages not too long ago.

The massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting on December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants who numbered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000,[7][8] and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.[9][10]

In reply to by Lost in translation

Caught_Fish blargg Tue, 07/11/2017 - 04:08 Permalink

On Friday my wife and I entertained a young lady from China, 12 month trip around Australia, very intelligent. It took me a while to realise her hometown of Nanjing is the place where this atrocity occured. Her parents and grandparents hold extreme views against the Japanese, surprisingly her generation, not so much.Ignorance, forgiveness, don't know. Maybe time heals, maybe the pain is not still raw.She is however still looking for a property in Australia, like half of China, it seems.

In reply to by blargg

HRClinton spag Tue, 07/11/2017 - 02:23 Permalink

Long longpork.What do you think is the real reason why the ME religions forbid pork?It's not just because of 'health' concerns. Its because it's an omnivore, like humans. And it tastes almost the same as humans. You therefore ban pork, to prevent people getting killed for meat. This is the real health risk and societal risk: human flesh (longpork).

In reply to by spag

A_Huxley Tue, 07/11/2017 - 00:50 Permalink

Live on what? That car or truck that needs gas?  To drive to a job that does not exist in service economy anymore?No power to pump gas, no funds to pay for gas with a card if a generator is working.Just in time products and food not in shops?Streets full of strangers that want your food to be shared with the community.Get to a charity hospital in time for emergency care?