Honesty – The Cornerstone of Preparedness and the 6 Essential Questions

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By Denis Korn                      honesty

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It is time once again to call attention to a previous post regarding a most essential factor in preparing for emergencies or disasters – HONESTY!  This subject is not to be overlooked nor ignored.  When you ask yourself the proper and crucial questions and sincerely seek, evaluate and take responsibility for your answers, then you can justifiably celebrate peace of mind.

I have written a great deal on preparedness planning on this blog.  I have given both general and specific information on the preparedness process – tips – guidelines – action steps – and numerous crucial questions I feel are essential for proper planning.  There is still an area I believe that should be emphasized and pointed out as one plans for the unexpected.  As the current political, social, economic, spiritual, and natural earth changes concerns intensify, I see more folks taking emergency preparedness more seriously.  While this is a very good state of affairs, it also brings into focus the question of personal honesty – being honest with yourself.

What you may ask do I mean by personal honesty as it relates to preparedness planning?  It is simply this: Are you being honest with yourself when you assess the impacts of the scenarios you are preparing for on your daily life and yourself and your families emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health and well being? Are you avoiding or glossing over a critical concern?

Many people may be preparing for a relatively minor emergency such as the loss of electricity, flooding, bridge outage, or other local inconveniences.  Other scenarios run the gamut from short term to very long term.  Long term scenarios mean serious life style changes and potentially dangerous unknown situations.  Honesty hits home when your anticipated circumstances become serious and difficult to articulate, visualize, or embrace.  The importance of an honest answer to the first six essential questions of my article The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning cannot be over emphasized.

  1. What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?  What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?  (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough).  Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?  Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?  Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies?  How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine?  Work or livelihood? How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm? The grid is essential to most homes and businesses – if it is down, how long could you function? What would society look like without the grid, and a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services? Do you have back up power?
  2. How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing? This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question.  Needless to say, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.

3.  What attitude are you willing to embody during the uncertainty and stress of the emergency scenarios you have determined may exist? An appropriate attitude is essential to survival and effective functioning during a serious emergency. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint are the foundational components of surviving any emergency circumstance. The longer the emergency the greater degree of stress, which will affect your well-being. Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning? Do you have a biblical worldview regarding trials and tribulations? Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength and hope? Where is your faith?

4.  What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing? How about the knowledge of family or friends?  What informational resources and references – books and other tangible items – do you personally have or have access to?

5.  During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends? This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies.  What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination?  What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?

6.  Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur? Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also?  Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation?  Do you have a community support network available?  What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute?  How many people are you planning to provide with emergency provisions?  Extended family?  Friends?  Church members?  Community?


I have talked to many people who have a sincere desire to be prudent and prepared, and who have failed to do their due diligence and honestly assess whether their plans and provisions adequately match their anticipated scenarios.  Jumping on the bandwagon and settling for what appears to be OK supplies, kits, food, medical, etc. just because a few friends have done it, or the popular radio talk show host advertises it, or the salesman sure seemed like he knew what he was talking about, or the website looked pretty slick – and those prices – it looks as if they’re just giving those products away — this is not being honest with yourself!  You are REACTING not EVALUATING! (For a more in depth look at this topic see my post Barriers to Critical Thinking).  I am well aware of the difficulty of having to look at what life would be like during a prolonged or serious disaster.  While it is often not easy – it should be self-evident that reflection on the realities during an emergency is a necessity.

I want to encourage you to be honest in the answering of the above questions and in answering all the questions in The 12 Crucial Questions article.  Sincere honesty brings sincere peace of mind.

Another recommended and important article is: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning.

 

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10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning – Revisited

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By Denis Korn

Let us pray that 2017 will be a year of right living, right thinking, right planning, discernment and an attitude of true hope and faith.  May the Truth be with you and may you discover who you can truly trust!

These 10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning – AND RESILIENCY – and the suggested links are in my opinion an essential component to beginning, improving and solidifying an effective, successful and beneficial preparedness and disaster survival plan.  You are encouraged to conscientiously evaluate and embrace the information given and the guidance provided by the questions contained in the linked articles.

The wise and foolish builders

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

MATT 7:24 – 27 (NIV)                                                                                                                                 

1 – Attitude

The importance of a proper and confident attitude is essential and key to not only planning for an emergency, but also surviving an emergency.  The right attitude is the cornerstone and foundation of the preparedness process.  The 3 aspects of an appropriate attitude include: the pragmatic and realistic; the emotions and thoughts: the religious and spiritual.

An appropriate attitude is essential not only to survival, but also to effective functioning during a serious emergency. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint are the sustaining components of enduring any emergency circumstance. The longer the emergency the greater degree of stress and anxiety, which will affect your health and well-being.

How serious are you?  Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning?  Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength and hope? Where is your faith?

Without a thoughtful, reasoned, sincere and discerning attitude regarding potential emergencies with potentially devastating circumstances, conditions and outcomes, or the possible detrimental effects on family, friends, groups and community – this article or any presentation or investigation into preparedness planning and resiliency is an exercise in futility.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

— Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps  

“Frankl’s wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes toward life’s challenges and opportunities, both large and small.  A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction.  A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments…”     William Winslade in the Afterword to Man’s Search for Meaning (2006 printing)

READ: Your Attitude is Your Decision – Own it!

2 – Critical Thinking and Discernment

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are in fact vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking are essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships and making effective and appropriate decisions.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

READ: Barriers to Critical Thinking

3 – Overcoming the Normalcy Bias – The attachment to inaction

The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.  Denial is the operative state of mind. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made by many in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred to them then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the perceived danger.

READ: Normalcy Bias – Why People are Attached to Inaction

4 – Scenarios

What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? 

What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?  (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough).  Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?  Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?  Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies?  How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine?  Work or livelihood? How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm? The grid is essential to most homes and businesses – if it is down, how long could you function? What would society look like without the grid, and a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services? Do you have back up power?

How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?

This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question.  Needless to say, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

The #1 Preparedness Question – What’s Your Scenario? (Why?)

5 – Knowledge and Skills

What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing?

How about the knowledge of family or friends?  What informational resources and references – books and other tangible items – do you personally have or have access to?  How confident are you that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to be responsible and effective for yourself and family during an emergency?

The realization that you have the appropriate knowledge and have adequately prepared for unforeseen emergencies is an essential factor in discovering and embodying peace of mind.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

6 – Preparation and Action

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unexpected circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

This process is basically undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

7 – Supplies

For most people planning for emergencies is similar to planning for a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure where the normal conveniences of home are not available. The biggest difference is determining whether to plan for being away from home or being in your own residence – or perhaps both. The equipment to include in your emergency kit or camping supplies list will be very comparable. Differences and variations will generally depend upon the severity and length of time you anticipate for your emergency scenario. Long term emergencies and outdoor explorations will require more extensive planning and provisioning.

Important questions to answer as you do your planning:

Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how cheap they are, or on the quality, value, and reliability of the product?  What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that are made?  Who is affected?  What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?  What will the climate be during the emergency or adventure?  What is the probable availability of essential goods and services where you are going for your adventure or during your anticipated emergency?

Be clear about the time factors, persons involved, and situations that you anticipate will occur in an emergency or an outdoor experience. Knowing this information is crucial to stocking the appropriate items in the appropriate quantities. Many of these items will be essential for bartering if supplies are exhausted and the emergency you are preparing for is long term.  Proper provisioning is about safety, health, protection, comfort, and peace of mind – for not only you but also your family and friends.  Don’t forget the special needs – medical, food or otherwise – of you or your family.

Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?

Is it prioritized?  Do you have a list of the essential categories your supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now?

During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?

This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies.  What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination?  What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?

READ: Checklist of Essentials for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

8 – Considering Others

Many conscientious preparedness planners are realizing that individuals, groups and churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in time of emergency.  They feel it is the groups’, churches’ or an individual’s responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members or others.  There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.

As far as churches are concerned, some feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is of course primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities.  There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.

Family and neighbors often do not take responsibility to provide for themselves during emergencies.  Considering others while one engages in the preparedness process is a very personal and important factor to consider.  Whether it is provisions, education or a desire to teach and motivate, all planners need to contemplate whether or not they will address the essential needs of others.

READ: Why Are So Many Christians Being Called to Prepare?

9 – Communication

What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?

This includes both two-way communication with others, including family, friends and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations, emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave. Do you have a cell phone? Will towers be functioning? Land lines? Internet? Hand held walkie-talkies? Satellite phone? Short wave radios? Citizens band radios? Emergency radios and/or ham radios with two-way communication capability? During a serious emergency accurate information and updates are essential for survival. What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless? How will this affect the equipment you are relying upon?

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

10 – Networking

Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?

Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also?  Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation?  Do you have a community support network available?  What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute?

During a serious and/or prolonged emergency it will be vital to have available to you and your family the support and expertise of others in your neighborhood and community.  Everyone has a skill that they can share during challenging times.  The sooner you discover those who are compassionate and sympathetic enough to network with others, the better it will be if an emergency occurs.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

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The Times Require Critical Thinking Skills

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By Denis Korn                          

The stakes have never been higher.  As we prepare to experience, what I believe to be, the most critical presidential election in our countries history, I am sharing once again what has been one of the most read of all my posts – Barriers to Critical Thinking.  It continues to be even more timely given the issues that we face as a country and as a civilization today.  I re-post and update this article periodically and I continually receive comments on how relevant and important it is for not only students, but for adults.  This post – The Times Require Critical Thinking Skills is a call to action for the sake of our country.

The question I hear asked often is: Is it too late for the future of our country to excel, prosper and heal or will this election truly make a difference?  Judging from the “polls,” news reports – both main stream and alternative, actions of the people both locally and nationally, governmental policies and decrees, the atmosphere and reactions of our so called institutions of higher learning, and the events occurring before our eyes, it appears we have reached a critical mass of widespread and pervasive ignorance and delusion.

My questions:  Are there enough people left in our society and culture that developing essential critical thinking skills will make a difference?  Are forces behind the scene so in control that whatever the outcome of this election – if it is held – that they are now in a position to manipulate events and fulfill their agenda?  When all the major areas and institutions that influence and affect knowledge, information and cultural values – such as government, media, local and state primary and secondary government education, universities, entertainment, and apostate religion – have been corrupted by evil, greed, ignorance, deception, perversion, dishonesty, power and fraud, then the possibility of a positive and hopeful transformation appears unattainable.

However, with earnest prayer, sincere focus on positively affecting and preparing our families and neighbors, divine intervention, and the truth, we may still be a force for the better.  Therefore, this post is for those motivated leaders who are still left who can make a difference by revitalizing their thinking process!

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This is a blog site that primarily focuses on the process of emergency preparedness planning, and it is essential that one develops an effective foundation and skill set for critical evaluation and assessment of facts and circumstances that lead to actions that are effectual, appropriate and beneficial.   My philosophical background can’t help but guide me to the two core aspects of the critical thinking process: freedom and choice.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

— Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”    

–Viktor Frankl

As an expanded Cherokee Proverb states so well:  

There Is A Battle Of Two Wolves Inside Us All

One is evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, greed, sorrow, regret, self-pity, guilt, false pride, resentment, lies, inferiority, elitist superiority and ego.

The other is good.  It is joy, peace, serenity, generosity, compassion, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, faith and truth.

The one who wins?  The one you feed.

What we cultivate and nurture will determine our result and experience.  This applies to building a preparedness program and to all aspects of our encounter with life and our perception of reality.  Do we choose freedom and being responsible for our choices and the rewards that follow, or are we going to thoughtlessly and recklessly react without engaging in a critical thinking process?

As an observer of the current events in our society, it is blatantly obvious that those in positions of leadership and influence – government, commerce, media and education – are suffering from “serious delusion and self-interest syndrome.”  The polarization, manipulation and deterioration of our society is so insidious and pervasive that I continue to pray and yearn for our citizens, educators and leaders to embrace and embody the skills of critical thinking, truthful evaluation, selflessness and discernment.  The lying and deception being imposed upon the people by the government, media and the self-serving has reached epidemic proportions – so many folks are reacting not thinking – fear, selfishness and confusion has robed our populace of the basic fundamentals of thoughtful reasoning.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”

— H. L. Mencken

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” 

— George Orwell

Has decades of incompetent, agenda driven and indoctrinating education finally taken its toll on common sense and judicious thinking?

The following list of the barriers to critical thinking, common sense and rational judgment is overwhelming and intimidating to many – so in your quest to be a skilled thinker you are encouraged to overcome obstacles that will appear in your path.  Be dedicated, competent and persistent – and be willing to help others to be successful and effective thinkers.

Here are the Seven Essential Questions that must be reflected upon and honestly answered to begin the process of developing critical thinking skills:

  1. What is the truth?  Can you differentiate the difference between truth and opinion? (hint: truth is discovered – it is what is — opinion is created by people – it is opinion that is relative not truth)
  2. Who do you trust? Why?
  3. From where do you obtain the information that forms your worldview?  Why?
  4. Can you discern the truth from the lie – the real from the false?  How do you discern? – Try logic, reason, rational evaluation, reliable intuition, common sense, anecdotal evidence, nonjudgmental observation and selfless reflection.
  5. Can you recognize “what really is” from what you believe “ought to be?” – It has been said that strife and discord in life arise from the struggle between “what is” and “what ought to be.”  What do you do when you discover this conflict? 
  6. Can you formulate conclusions and judgments based upon the ability to access, evaluate and determine the relevancy and reliability of facts and evidence?
  7. Which barriers are the most prevalent in your critical thinking process, and which ones do you experience most prevalent in others?

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June 2011

I have decided to post this article on the barriers to critical thinking, which I use in teaching, as the 3rd in a series of posts dealing with the psychological, emotional and spiritual components of emergency and disaster preparedness planning.

Normalcy Bias – Why People are attached to Inaction

The Emotional and Spiritual Components of Preparedness

As I have stated before, there is more to preparing for emergencies than the physical “stuff” you surround yourself with.  Evaluating, understanding and acknowledging all aspects of the planning process is essential for a proper and complete preparedness program.

This article, which I wrote, was an important part of the college course I taught on Critical Thinking – a class I believe to be an essential part of a college experience.  I have not changed it for this post – this is what the students read, reflected upon and discussed in class.  Most struggle with its implications and accuracy.  It not only applies to preparedness planning – but to all aspects of human deliberation.

BARRIERS TO CRITICAL THINKING – from my college course on Critical Thinking

Your responsibility as a critical thinker is to be aware of the barriers, acknowledge the challenges they present, and overcome them to the best of your ability.

“If critical thinking is so important, why is it that uncritical thinking is so common?  Why is it that so many people – including many highly educated and intelligent people – find critical thinking so difficult?”[1] And I [Denis] might add – impossible!

Discovering the answers to these questions is crucial to the understanding of what is required to be a true critical thinker, and the reasons you will encounter from those who resist embodying critical thinking skills are often quite complex, and can be both subtle and blatant.  The following list of barriers to critical thinking will help guide you to recognizing the challenges that await you and was compiled from Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, our text Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, and personal observation.

  • pride
  • greed
  • egocentrism (self-centered thinking)
  • sociocentrism or ethnocentrism (group/society/cultural-centered thinking)
  • an over-reliance on feelings
  • self-deception
  • the erroneous belief of personal infallible intuition
  • unconscious reaction
  • reacting in self-defense – fear of personal attack – believing one’s ideas and beliefs are an extension of one’s self and must be defended at all costs
  • fear of change or an unwillingness to change
  • a pathological inability to evaluate, recognize, or accept an idea or point of view that differs from one’s own
  • a less than honorable agenda
  • lack of relevant background information or ignorance
  • inappropriate bias
  • prejudice
  • unwarranted assumptions
  • overpowering or addictive emotions
  • fear of being wrong or face-saving
  • selective perception and selective memory
  • peer pressure
  • conformism (mindless conformity)
  • indoctrination initiated by uncritical thinkers with malicious and selfish intent
  • provincialism (restricted and unsophisticated thinking)
  • narrow-mindedness or close-mindedness
  • lack of discernment
  • distrust in reason
  • relativism (relativistic thinking)
  • absolutism (there are no exceptions)
  • stereotyping
  • scapegoating (blaming others)
  • denial
  • wishful thinking
  • short-term thinking
  • political correctness
  • superstition
  • being influenced by drugs
  • excessive anger, hate, or bitterness
  • disturbing one’s comfort
  • lack of personal honesty
  • apathy
  • poor reading and comprehension skills
  • poor or dysfunctional communication skills
  • excessive addiction
  • a mental disorder
  • cognitive dissonance (psychological conflict resulting from incompatible beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously)
  • lack of humility
  • the effects of radiation and man-made atmospheric chemicals
  • debilitating fear and uncertainty
  • reliance on main stream television, newspapers and other media for information
  • the effects of television and electronic media on memory, cognition and brain function

In general – the older one becomes the more well-established and rooted these barriers are in the thought process, and the harder it is to overcome them – they become part of you like a scar.  It is suggested to triumph over them as soon as possible.

Questions for reflection:

– What is the purpose and value in gaining critical thinking skills?  – Is it really necessary?

– What are the rewards?  – What are the challenges?

– Am I willing to do what it takes?  – How important is it for me?  – Can I do it?

– Do I realize that demonstrating, sharing, and embodying wisdom and discernment requires exemplifying critical thinking skills and overcoming its barriers?  –  Are all these barriers overwhelming?

– Do I realize this is a lifelong process?  – What is the difference between intelligence and wisdom?

– What are the steps required for developing critical thinking skills?

– How do I communicate with others who are not critical thinkers and have embodied these barriers to such an extent that they are unwilling to engage in a meaningful dialogue or acknowledge any responsibility in the communication breakdown?  – Or do I bother at all?

– How am I to react or respond when I experience a lack of critical thinking in the media, among friends and family, at the work place, and in my academic courses and studies?

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are in fact vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking listed above is essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships – developing leadership skills for both family and vocational choices – fulfilling the goals and missions of businesses and organizations – and discovering and achieving purpose and fulfillment in all aspects of one’s life.  Many of the barriers to critical thinking are barriers to joyfulness, selflessness, and contentment.

Do not be discouraged by the enormity of the task of reflecting upon, acknowledging, and overcoming these barriers.  Have confidence that you will recognize the hold these barriers have on your thought process, and I encourage you to be committed to achieving the obtainable rewards awaiting you when you have accomplished the goal of prevailing over these barriers one by one.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

Evaluating and embracing an idea, information, knowledge, guideline, doctrine or theology is a mental exercise and is just the beginning of the process – embodiment is the goal and requires diligent and persistent action for true fulfillment and success.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein, in a letter to his son Eduard, February 5, 1930

The Problem of Egocentric Thinking[2]

Egocentric thinking results from the unfortunate fact that humans do not naturally consider the rights and needs of others.  We do not naturally appreciate the point of view of others nor the limitations in our own point of view.  We become explicitly aware or our egocentric thinking only if trained to do so.  We do not naturally recognize our egocentric assumptions, the egocentric way we use information, the egocentric way we interpret data, the source of our egocentric concepts and ideas, the implications of our egocentric thought.  We do not naturally recognize our self-serving perspective.

As humans we live with the unrealistic but confident sense that we have fundamentally figured out the way things actually are, and that we have done this objectively.  We naturally believe in our intuitive perceptions – however inaccurate [Denis – I personally believe that intuitive perceptions are vital to critical thinking – providing one possesses the required discernment skills].  Instead of using intellectual standards in thinking, we often use self-centered psychological standards to determine what to believe and what to reject.  Here are the most commonly used psychological standards in human thinking.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT.”  Innate egocentrism: I assume that what I believe is true even though I have never questioned the basis for many of my beliefs.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT.”  Innate sociocentrism: I assume that the dominant beliefs of the groups to which I belong are true even though I have never questioned the basis for those beliefs.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I WANT TO BELIEVE IT.”  Innate wish fulfillment: I belief in whatever puts me (or the groups to which I belong) in a positive light.  I believe what “feels good,” what does not require me to change my thinking in any significant way, what does not require me to admit I have been wrong.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IT.”  Innate self-validation: I have a strong desire to maintain beliefs I have long held, even though I have not seriously considered the extent to which those beliefs are justified by the evidence.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE IT IS IN MY SELFISH INTEREST TO BELIEVE IT.”  Innate selfishness: I believe whatever justifies my getting more power, money, or personal advantage even though those beliefs are not grounded in sound reasoning or evidence.

Seriously reflect on this post!

Seriously reflect on this post!


[1] Gregory Bassham, Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, 3rded., (New York, McGraw-Hill, 2008), p. 11

[2] Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder

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Tipping Points and Triggering Events for Action

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By Denis Korn

I have posted articles on the subject of tipping points and triggering events 3 times since I started Learn To Prepare.  Each time it has been very timely and the information shared has been important.  This time it is essential.  In my 41 years in the preparedness industry and as a lecturer and consultant, I have not seen so many significant scenarios being considered by those called to prepare – and with justification.  The political, economic and social climate is decimating and destroying our culture, safety and fundamental institutions.  I am not going to mince words – evil is in your face, has penetrated our nation and is attempting to extinguish hope, goodness and truth.

I receive calls daily from those who are concerned that friends and loved ones are not willing to acknowledge and realize that we are under spiritual and physical attack.  This is spiritual warfare, and many do not have the discernment skills nor the desire to see the reality confronting them.  How serious does it have to get before the majority of our population wakes up?

So what can be done at a time such as this to motivate those in denial?  These posts offer a multitude of observations that may begin to stimulate reflection on the seriousness of these times. A simple way to begin a dialog is to develop a list of tipping points and triggering events that might occur that will encourage your dissenting friends and relatives into action.  What has to happen that will finally motivate the entrenched skeptic?  From the list, develop a chronology of action steps to embrace and implement.  Remember, preparedness is physical, emotional/attitude, and spiritual.

vigilance3

Here are the previous posts which deal with tipping points and events that I urge you to seriously consider.

The political, social, judicial and international events of the last few days are, in my opinion, unprecedented in my lifetime as to the long term implications for our country, society and culture.  And the implications are not for the betterment of our nation and civilization.  The future is now going to bring significant challenges, struggles, pain, and uncertainty – add to this the possibility of tyranny, suppression and persecution; with some commentators saying its the end of America as we know it, others saying it is the beginning of the end.  I hope it is the catalyst for a major upward shift in awareness, positive transformation and nonviolent revolution.

I am not going to get into detail concerning each event and their historic consequences, however for those reading this article in the future, including my children and grandchildren, this is a glimpse into these transformative times and suggestions on actions to take.  Here is a brief list of some of current significant rulings and events that are truly changing the course of our country and civilization.

  • Gay marriage is now the national law of the land – nullifying 6,000 years of accepted religious and cultural norms and blatantly contradicting the Bible.
  • Obamacare continues to be approved by the Supreme Court – the specific words of the act, or any law or act for that matter, do not mean what they state, words are relative and intention is presumed.
  • ID can not be required by any state for the purpose of voting – the flood gates are opened for illegal and fraudulent voting across the whole country.
  • The push for allowing illegal immigration and highly questionable immigration from Islamic countries is in full force by politicians and special interest groups and corporations – this will change the face and culture of our country forever.
  • The President, who has demonstrated his loathing and aversion for our country, now has “Fast Track” authority to determine and implement trade agreements without congressional oversight – our national sovereignty has been given away to a globalist control agenda.
  • In my state, the California legislature and Governor have instigated mandatory vaccinations for school children with no exemptions for religious or personal beliefs – parental rights are gone and we have forced injections of poisonous chemicals and compounds.
  • Special interest groups, organizations, banks, mainstream media, mainstream universities and corporations now control and dictate the course of human events – we the people have been neutered – politicians and educational leaders have been bought off and logic, reason, common sense are just obstacles to the agenda of societal control – we live in an era of persistent and all-encompassing lying, deception and manipulation of the population.
  • The Global Warming hysteria being forced upon an ignorant population will go down in history as one of the greatest deceptions and frauds ever promoted by the same politicians, groups and organizations mentioned above – opposition science and educated skeptics have been demonized, harassed and not allowed to present facts that contradict the Global Warming agenda.
  • There is religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, especially in the Middle-east, and growing in this country, against Christians and Jews – intolerance, especially by left-wing groups, colleges and individuals, is extraordinary and pervasive.
  • ISIS the ultra-radical and evil Islamic group in Syria and Iraq continues to grow, conquer, kill and persecute in the name of an Islamic caliphate – radical Islam worldwide is exerting a more and more irrational and immoral influence and attempting to initiate Sharia law – the President, media and the delusional among us have embraced this madness.
  • The President and the current administration is doing all they can during so called negotiations with Iran, to capitulate, appease and allow the Iranians to have nukes.
  • National and worldwide financial institutions and systems are on the brick of collapse and great transition – this will impact all of us in a very significant way – beware of global financial control in the hands of the few.
  • Events involving police using force has polarized different racial factions in our country, with riots, violent protests, race baiting agitators and agenda driven media creating a charged racial climate that could lead to continuing violence and division – paid operatives have been sent to selected cities to create an atmosphere of hatred and rebellion.
  • The President and many left-wing groups would like nothing more than to eliminate and abolish the second amendment and confiscate everyone’s weapons – every shooting incident sparks irrational justifications for assaulting the constitution – every totalitarian regime in modern history has made disarming the population an essential act.
  • Operation “Jade Helm 15” – an unprecedented military “training exercise” – is being conducted from July to September in the Southwest billed as a domestic urban terrorist training drill.  Enormous amounts of equipment have been sent to the region in what appears as a significant event.  It’s true purpose?
  • The 2016 election is not only the most important in modern history, it will set the course of our country from now on.  The dark forces are doing all they can to enslave our nation and implement total control.  The implications of a continuation of the current policies, administration and ideology are devastating.

I realize the realities of our times can be depressing, frightening and incomprehensible.  It seems as if we are living in a government controls all science fiction movie about the Brave New World and 1984 future.  Here are two suggestions to evaluate and consider.

First, let these times move us to the security of spiritual faith and not reaction due to fear.  Pray, be encouraged and act effectively.  These times are an opportunity to earnestly assess where our trust truly abides, and an opportunity to develop the proper attitude and a God-Reliance.

Second, be vigilant and continually aware of the negativity, manipulation, indoctrination and deception being presented by the government and the media.  This vigilance should stimulate a fitting lifestyle and worldview and a call to action to create an appropriate preparedness plan.

It is also essential to be very cognizant and mindful of attempting a dialog with those who have been conditioned and indoctrinated into believing a deceitful, fallacious and counterfeit worldview.  Reason, logic, facts and the truth are ineffectual, irrelevant and counterproductive to the delusional and agenda driven ideologue.  I know these are strong words and I also believe these are serious times.  When a person’s innate instinct of self-preservation attaches to one’s ideology and opinion, then truth, common sense and reality are futile.

No wonder so many describe these times as a “zombie apocalypse.”  I pray for a great awakening for our country and the whole world!

This introduction leads me to emphasize and re-post once again, especially for those who have hesitated to carefully consider the need to develop a preparedness program, the idea of triggering events and actions that should be taken.  Awareness of triggering events is useful for everyone at all stages of their preparedness process.  Given the list of current events above, any number of scenarios are possible.  We live in turbulent and volatile times, and while we hope for best, we must be prepared for the worst.  I hope this post Vigilance, Transformation and Triggering Events has stimulated discussion and serious evaluation.

The important question for today is:  How many triggering events have just occurred in the last few weeks?

vigilance4

   vigilance6~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are the previous articles from 2013 and 2012

As more and more bizarre and disturbing worldwide incidents unfold before our eyes, the focus on a triggering event that will shake the complacent and apathetic into action becomes profoundly real!

As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action. – Share your insights with those who will listen, family, friends and co-workers.

Being able to discern reality from fantasy –  hopeful thinking from critical thinking – prudent planning from no planning – wise counsel from foolish counsel – the truth from the lie – a slick sales pitch from the facts – can be the difference between distress and peace of mind or even life and death during an unforeseen emergency.

You don’t have to believe in catastrophic events to be prepared.  Being prepared for the unexpected is simply a good idea.  Whatever your perspective, being aware of world events during these critical times and the their potential effect upon you and your family and friends is the responsible attitude to embrace.

It is time to be specific!  Whether an emergency can be short term and have only a minimal disruption in your daily routine, or catastrophic requiring a significant change in life style, apathy and ignorance will not be bliss.  While I’m not a prophet or psychic, I do have the discernment skills to realize that we live in very precarious and uncertain times.  Between acts of God or geophysical events and man-made devastating incidents, there are so many potential scenarios that could come to pass, that being continually vigilant is essential.

Based on the potential scenarios listed at the bottom of this post, here are some of my specific tipping points and triggering events:

  • Declaration of an imminent weather event
  • A pattern of major and/or catastrophic weather events
  • Significant indication of, or actual occurrence of, a major physical event or multiple events
  • Prolonged drought leading to possible food and water shortages
  • Potential loss of job, income or bank accounts due to government or corporate actions
  • Serious personal illness
  • Substantial instability in national and global financial markets
  • The elimination of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency
  • Bank holiday’s
  • An indication of a major financial restructuring
  • Economic collapse
  • Shortages of critical foods, medications and provisions
  • Curious and strange activity of government officials, corporate executives and the very wealthy
  • Social unrest and civil disobedience leading to severe government and police action
  • Indications martial law will be declared
  • The suspension of the 1st and/or 2nd amendments – freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. and the right to bear arms
  • Strict control over the internet
  • Major cyber attack
  • Suspension of elections
  • Terrorist attack, act of war or preparation for war
  • Disruption of oil supplies
  • National medical or biological emergency – real or contrived
  • Activation of emergency presidential powers that will control everyone’s normal activities
  • An extraordinary governmental or media deception
  • Severe solar activity that could lead to CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejection) and major disruption of the electrical and communication grid
  • A profound and extraordinary religious, spiritual or cosmological event
  • Signs of an imminent pole shift or major geophysical event
  • An announcement by the government – widespread or to a confidential group – to relocate, leave coastal areas and to seek secure surroundings

Be encouraged – I hope none of these events or circumstances ever happen – And if they do God help us – as we help ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbors!

Be Prepared to Be Prepared

Has anything occurred in your life or in the life of family, friends or community that would have been mitigated or eased if one was prepared ahead of time?

January 2012 post:  As timely today as it was then

2012 has arrived and with it a growing number of people believe serious physical, political and economic events could be occurring worldwide, it is once again essential to direct your attention to what I have identified as a “triggering event.”

Simply put, if you are still hesitating to prepare for emergencies or disasters, I urge you to identify and assign significance to a triggering  event that will finally motivate you to provide for yourself and family during a significant emergency.

I have written on this subject before – it is even more timely today than it was then.  Folks that have followed my posts know that I do not subscribe to the doom-and-gloom end-of-the world mindset.  One’s proper attitude regarding disaster planning is essential in maintaining the environment for critical thinking and effective results.  You are not only what you eat – you are what you think and what you focus your attention on.

Many folks are reluctant to plan ahead, or they assume that the government or others will take care of them, or they are just too busy, or they just don’t think it is necessary.  As an option to doing nothing or to enhance some other method of emergency preparedness planning you have chosen, consider the following.   As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action.  This is especially important if you have considered scenarios that will have a long term impact on the supply of goods and services that are required to sustain your basic needs.

If there are items that are essential to your well-being such as medical products, devices, children’s products, or special nutritional foods, then being alert to a potential disruption of vital needs is crucial. While it is always desirable to plan ahead and have provisions in place, it is better to react at the last minute than not at all.  Know exactly what you need, how much will be adequate, where you have to go to supply your needs, how you will get there, and how you will pay for your supplies.  Obviously some scenarios may offer some prior indications, such as hurricanes, storms, or economic/political issues; while others can occur without warning.  You are responsible – you must choose to act or not – unfortunately non action can have severe consequences for yourself and your family!

If you have been hesitant to act or even reflect about preparedness planning you are encouraged to seriously consider this post.

Scenarios

Acts of God Man Made Earth Changes
Local – Regional National National/Worldwide
Earthquake Government regulation/control Catastrophic Weather
Flood Martial Law Asteroid/Comet
Fire Food Shortages Pole Shift
Hurricane Societal Breakdown Solar Flare – CME – No grid
Storm/Ice/Snow Civil Disobedience/Riots Tribulation/Religious
Tornado Medical Emergency Severe Earth Changes
Drought Economic Emergency/Collapse
Power Outage Major Accident
Mud Slide Terrorism Attack
Tsunami Biological/Chemical/Radiological Attack
EMP – Electrical Magnetic Pulse Attack – No electrical grid
PERSONAL ISSUES Bombing
Job Loss War
Illness Cyber Attack – No internet
Emergencies
Financial Loss

Time Frames

3 Days to 2 Weeks

Minor to moderate inconvenience and disruption of the daily routine.  Basic supplies in the first 3 days would be valuable for comfort but not essential.  An adequate amount of basic supplies after 3 days are important.

3 Weeks to 2 Months

The inconvenience is very noticeable and the routine disruption can be significant.  Supplies required are usually on hand, and stockpiling some supplies will be very important.

3 Months to 6 Months

Preparedness planning is very important and a serious disruption to the daily routine is inevitable.  Mobility and location to wait out the emergency is important in your planning.  Proper supplies will be critical.  Medical and other special needs must be planned for in advance.

6 Months to 1 Year

Unless you are very prepared and are committed to self-reliance, in this time frame your lifestyle will definitely be impacted.  Serious attention to your preparedness planning is required.  The questions covered in the foundational articles must be answered and a realistic plan created.  Action and provisions are essential.  You will be dealing with serious issues during this time period, and you must be prepared.

1 Year or More

Scenarios actualized in this time frame are this most serious and catastrophic, and will require a serious commitment to lifestyle changes.  You will be dealing with national and worldwide calamity.  The extent of the impact on everyone’s life can not be over emphasized.  Significant and detailed planning is required, and even with this an emergency situation of this duration will be wrought with uncertainty.  This will be a time for community togetherness, sharing, and mutual support.  Skills not normally possessed by folks will be required.  Gardening and other self-reliant skills will be essential.  Books, tools, and other valuable resources will be vital.

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Reflections in Prepping

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Reflections in Prepping Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Tonight’s episode has no general topic other than a reflection on my past prepping and prepping as whole in the future. I will just generalize what all I have experienced, what I have learned, and what I have planned for the future. I have found my lifestyle … Continue reading Reflections in Prepping

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End Times Perspectives – Eschatology – Premillennialism – Apocalypticism

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Are we at the End, the Beginning, the Beginning of the End – or somewhere in-between?

By Denis Korn

Once again I will share what I believe to be a very thought provoking and timely article.  Many of the points raised are an excellent starting place to help stimulant discussion and contemplation.

I realize that some of this material may be a bit “academic” and some of the terminology may be unfamiliar, however there is much here for serious reflection and study.  Posts such as this one relate to preparedness by pointing out some of the philosophical and historical background to the contemporary cultural and religious  influences that many people have as they prepare for a variety of potential challenging scenarios.

This post is the conclusion for a Masters Thesis I wrote 12 years ago at California State University Sacramento – with the rather academic title of Christian Eschatology, Premillennialism, and Apocalypticism in Contemporary American Culture. Essentially it is a study of end times perspectives both religious and secular and its influence on our current culture.

Contemporary events have stimulated a great deal of speculation as to where our culture is in the context of history and prophesy.  I believe this conclusion to be very relevant today – so I am pleased to share it with you.  It is a bit lengthy, so I have begun with a few excerpts to pique your interest.

~ From the standpoint of the present, the allure and hope of the future is never static.  As events unfold throughout one’s life both inwardly and on the world’s stage, the yearnings and details of a fulfilling future move in and out of focus like a photographer preparing to take a picture of an object in the distance.

~ As much as some Christians strive for a distinctiveness, consistency, and certainty in their explanation of millennial events, it has not come to pass.

~ Thought has dominion over behavior, and apocalyptic thoughts can produce apocalyptic actions.  At the same time utopian and hopeful thinking can result in encouraging and useful conduct.

~ Although Christian, secular interests, and other religious perspectives are often opposed to each other on many differing fronts, there is a mutual bonding in certain present-day apocalyptic conclusions.

~ It appears the long hoped for reformations in the affairs of men have still eluded our civilization.

~ Some contend that the signs are pointing to imminent apocalypse and vindication of the premillennial view in the short term, while others contend that the able communicators of premillennial doctrine can manipulate the meanings of signs or any geopolitical crisis to justify whatever interpretation is desired and appropriate.

~ It is possible that for many standing so close to the edge of the apocalypse for so long has taken its toll.

~ The question arises—is this just another opportunity to investigate a historical-cultural phenomenon brought about through scenarios of disaster and unrest, or are the events and conditions on the planet today satisfying the circumstances required for a truly significant transformation in the course of human affairs?

~ Scholars both Christian and secular with years of study, with mastery and fluency of all relevant languages, and with the resources of great institutions of learning, and colleagues with extraordinary minds at their disposal continue to disagree.

~ What is the common man with limited knowledge and resources to conclude?  With so many options how can one truly discern a cosmology that is relevant and true?

First of all you must understand this,

That in the last days scoffers will come,

scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying,

“Where is the promise of his coming?

For ever since our ancestors died,

All things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!”

2 Peter 3: 3, 4 (NRSV)

Thesis Conclusion

From the standpoint of the present, the allure and hope of the future is never static.  As events unfold throughout one’s life both inwardly and on the world’s stage, the yearnings and details of a fulfilling future move in and out of focus like a photographer preparing to take a picture of an object in the distance.  So it is with the Christian who hopes for and anticipates the millennium, and the secularist, Native American, New Age believer, and the devotees of other religions who contemplate the world’s destiny.  All look to the future with only the past and present as a guide and with a perception dependent upon each one’s unique experience.

Eschatology and apocalypticism are areas of study filled with variation and subjectivity.  As much as some Christians strive for a distinctiveness, consistency, and certainty in their explanation of millennial events, it has not come to pass.  The differing viewpoints are far apart as to the specifics on timing, human involvement in outcomes, and the condition of society as a whole.  While there is agreement on an ending to earthly events and the eventual judgment and reign of Christ, everything occurring until then is open to diversity of interpretation.  Even though there is not a consensus on the specifics, the conclusions that one reaches concerning the impact of future events on humanity and culture have a very definite and profound influence on individuals and society as a whole.

This influence ranges from the decisions made by powerful leaders in government, education, and business, to the attitudes taken into daily life by individuals who are parents, friends, and co-workers.  Thought has dominion over behavior, and apocalyptic thoughts can produce apocalyptic actions.  At the same time utopian and hopeful thinking can result in encouraging and useful conduct.

As one surveys the events occurring in the world today from an eschatological and apocalyptic perspective, there are essential choices to be made.  Whatever might have occurred in the past and no matter how many generations have stood on similar ground, humanity once again finds itself at a significant crossroad to the future.  The attention given today to millennial, apocalyptic, and humanitarian issues attest to the importance of these themes.

Is civilization degenerating at an apocalyptic rate with or without demonic assistance, or is civilization just going through the valley ready to climb up a new mountain to a glorious horizon?

Although Christian, secular interests, and other religious perspectives are often opposed to each other on many differing fronts, there is a mutual bonding in certain present-day apocalyptic conclusions.  For the Christian premillennialist, Catholic apocalypticist, Native American, New Age believer, and secular apocalypticist, that communal ground exists within contemporary prophetic expression, which contains common strands of interpretation that tread through shared predictions.  The conditions extant throughout the world that for many Christians are the source of anxiety and fear stimulate a response that births apocalyptic and premillennial prophecy.  And with that fear comes the need for hope, which is provided in the premillennial system.

For many, human effort and time will produce fruit and an opportunity for a peaceful and harmonious world community.  Technology, science, global communication, education, and mutual beneficial interests will bring about transformation and universal charity.  For the Christian postmillennialist or secular utopianist it is time to get to work and not be so negative and defeatist.  The postmillennialist and amillennialist does not look upon the worldly influences as having more power than the sovereignty of God.

Given the state of political and social debate in our contemporary culture, the optimism expressed in the late eighteenth-century by Richard Price and Joseph Priestley seems sentimentally hopeful yet to many, unfortunately naive.  Asserted over two hundred years ago during cataclysmic political and societal events, it provides a stimulus for reflection while surveying the conditions of our own times.  “The virtuous would achieve God’s will on earth by combating and ultimately defeating the forces of corruption and evil.  Progressive changes in government would accomplish this task, because government controlled so many aspects of human life.”[1] It appears the long hoped for reformations in the affairs of men have still eluded our civilization.

The pessimist looks at the short term and the optimist at the long.  For the last three decades dispensational premillennialism has had the advantage of dominant cooperating media that emphasizes the negative and disastrous, and sympathetic premillennialist Christian leaders focusing on the crises and catastrophes of modern times to spread an apocalyptic message, which the premillennialist has felt was supported by the signs of the times.  Some contend that the signs are pointing to imminent apocalypse and vindication of the premillennial view in the short term, while others contend that the able communicators of premillennial doctrine can manipulate the meanings of signs or any geopolitical crisis to justify whatever interpretation is desired and appropriate.  They look to the long term for a turn around of events and a more positive outcome and are tiring of a barrage of fatalism and despair.  The secular, Native American, and New Age community likewise has those on both sides of the apocalyptic fence.

It is possible that for many standing so close to the edge of the apocalypse for so long has taken its toll.  Postmillennialism and amillennialism have been experiencing a revival in the last few years.  The demands placed on the average citizen just to maintain a comfortable and secure standard of living have not allowed for the option of apocalyptic scenarios.  Denial of the significance of prophesied apocalyptic events, and signs whether religious or secular, is the choice for many.  To entertain properly and evaluate a potentially cataclysmic situation one must imagine and formulate the personal reactions and emotions inherent in the predicament.  For many with families, businesses, commitments, debt, and plans for a peaceful future this is inconceivable.  For others denial is a flagrant avoidance of responsibility and dangerous to the individual and society.  Eugen Weber, in Apocalypses, suggests that we would do well to bear in mind Montaigne’s admonition: “It is a dangerous and consequential rashness, beside the absurd temerity that it entails, to despise that which we cannot conceive.”[2]

The question arises—is this just another opportunity to investigate a historical-cultural phenomenon brought about through scenarios of disaster and unrest, or are the events and conditions on the planet today satisfying the circumstances required for a truly significant transformation in the course of human affairs?

Not everyone can be right since so many predictions and interpretations do not correlate with each other.  Scholars both Christian and secular with years of study, with mastery and fluency of all relevant languages, and with the resources of great institutions of learning, and colleagues with extraordinary minds at their disposal continue to disagree.  Combine this with years of detailed analysis of every complementary subject and the wisdom of the historians of the ages, and still no consensus of eschatological principles.

What is the common man with limited knowledge and resources to conclude?  With so many options how can one truly discern a cosmology that is relevant and true?  For the Christian, perhaps the words of Blake apply to these enduring questions:  “The Beauty of the Bible is that the most Ignorant and Simple Minds Understand it Best.”[3]

Here we go round the prickly pear

Prickly pear prickly pear

Here we go round the prickly pear

At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is

Life is

For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men V, 1925[4]


[1] Fruchtman, The Apocalyptic Politics of Richard Price and Joseph Priestley, 45.

[2] E. Weber, Apocalypses, 233.

[3] Harrison, The Second Coming, 230.

[4] T. S. Eliot, Selected Poems (New York: Harcourt, 1936) 79, 80.

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Wisdom – Discernment – Truth – Deceit and Delusion

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By Denis Korn                          

Update June 2016:
I last shared this post in 2014 and it becomes more and more important as significant and troubling events unfold before our very eyes.  In my 47 years of studying prophecies, philosophy and cultural phenomenon, and in my 41 years of being in the emergency preparedness business, I have not experienced such a societal and cultural unraveling and deterioration.  It is essential that we embrace the thoughts and suggestions expressed in this post.  It appears self-evident that our country and society will be tested and subjected to events of great consequence and magnitude.  We must be equipped spiritually, emotionally and physically to prevail during the months ahead.  I implore all those reading this post to earnestly pray and prepare for the critical challenges ahead.  I feel a great chastisement and tribulation is soon to be upon us as a nation.
I yearn that those reading this post will develop the wisdom to discern the truth from opinion, deceit and delusion.
August 2014:

I am sharing once again what has been one of the most read of all my posts – Barriers to Critical Thinking – (See below).  It continues to be even more timely given the issues that we face as a country and as a civilization today.  I re-post and update this article periodically and I continually receive comments on how relevant and important it is for not only students, but for adults.

This is a blog site that primarily focuses on the process of emergency preparedness planning, and it is essential that one develops an effective foundation and skill set for critical evaluation and assessment of facts and circumstances that lead to actions that are effectual, appropriate and beneficial.   My philosophical background can’t help but guide me to the two core aspects of the critical thinking process: freedom and choice.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

— Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”    

–Viktor Frankl

As an expanded Cherokee Proverb states so well:  

There Is A Battle Of Two Wolves Inside Us All

One is evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, greed, sorrow, regret, self-pity, guilt, false pride, resentment, lies, inferiority, elitist superiority and ego.

The other is good.  It is joy, peace, serenity, generosity, compassion, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, faith and truth.

The one who wins?  The one you feed.

What we cultivate and nurture will determine our result and experience.  This applies to building a preparedness program and to all aspects of our encounter with life and our perception of reality.  Do we choose freedom and being responsible for our choices and the rewards that follow, or are we going to thoughtlessly and recklessly react without engaging in a critical thinking process?

As an observer of the current events in our society, it is blatantly obvious that those in positions of leadership and influence – government, commerce, media and education – are suffering from “serious delusion and self-interest syndrome.”  The polarization, manipulation and deterioration of our society is so insidious and pervasive that I continue to pray and yearn for our citizens, educators and leaders to embrace and embody the skills of critical thinking, truthful evaluation, selflessness and discernment.  The lying and deception being imposed upon the people by the government, media and the self-serving has reached epidemic proportions – so many folks are reacting not thinking – fear, selfishness and confusion has robed our populace of the basic fundamentals of thoughtful reasoning.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”

— H. L. Mencken

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” 

— George Orwell

Has decades of incompetent, agenda driven and indoctrinating education finally taken its toll on common sense and judicious thinking?

The following list of the barriers to critical thinking, common sense and rational judgment is overwhelming and intimidating to many – so in your quest to be a skilled thinker you are encouraged to overcome obstacles that will appear in your path.  Be dedicated, competent and persistent – and be willing to help others to be successful and effective thinkers.

Here are the Seven Essential Questions that must be reflected upon and honestly answered to begin the process of developing critical thinking skills:

  1. What is the truth?  Can you differentiate the difference between truth and opinion? (hint: truth is discovered – it is what is — opinion is created by people – it is opinion that is relative not truth)
  2. Who do you trust? Why?
  3. From where do you obtain the information that forms your worldview?  Why?
  4. Can you discern the truth from the lie – the real from the false?  How do you discern? – Try logic, reason, rational evaluation, reliable intuition, common sense, anecdotal evidence, nonjudgmental observation and selfless reflection.
  5. Can you recognize “what really is” from what you believe “ought to be?” – It has been said that strife and discord in life arise from the struggle between “what is” and “what ought to be.”  What do you do when you discover this conflict? 
  6. Can you formulate conclusions and judgments based upon the ability to access, evaluate and determine the relevancy and reliability of facts and evidence?
  7. Which barriers are the most prevalent in your critical thinking process, and which ones do you experience most prevalent in others?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 2011

I have decided to post this article on the barriers to critical thinking, which I use in teaching, as the 3rd in a series of posts dealing with the psychological, emotional and spiritual components of emergency and disaster preparedness planning.

Normalcy Bias – Why People are attached to Inaction

The Emotional and Spiritual Components of Preparedness

As I have stated before, there is more to preparing for emergencies than the physical “stuff” you surround yourself with.  Evaluating, understanding and acknowledging all aspects of the planning process is essential for a proper and complete preparedness program.

This article, which I wrote, was an important part of the college course I taught on Critical Thinking – a class I believe to be an essential part of a college experience.  I have not changed it for this post – this is what the students read, reflected upon and discussed in class.  Most struggle with its implications and accuracy.  It not only applies to preparedness planning – but to all aspects of human deliberation.

BARRIERS TO CRITICAL THINKING – from my college course on Critical Thinking

Your responsibility as a critical thinker is to be aware of the barriers, acknowledge the challenges they present, and overcome them to the best of your ability.

“If critical thinking is so important, why is it that uncritical thinking is so common?  Why is it that so many people – including many highly educated and intelligent people – find critical thinking so difficult?”[1] And I [Denis] might add – impossible!

Discovering the answers to these questions is crucial to the understanding of what is required to be a true critical thinker, and the reasons you will encounter from those who resist embodying critical thinking skills are often quite complex, and can be both subtle and blatant.  The following list of barriers to critical thinking will help guide you to recognizing the challenges that await you and was compiled from Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, our text Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, and personal observation.

  • pride
  • greed
  • egocentrism (self-centered thinking)
  • sociocentrism or ethnocentrism (group/society/cultural-centered thinking)
  • an over-reliance on feelings
  • self-deception
  • the erroneous belief of personal infallible intuition
  • unconscious reaction
  • reacting in self-defense – fear of personal attack – believing one’s ideas and beliefs are an extension of one’s self and must be defended at all costs
  • fear of change or an unwillingness to change
  • a pathological inability to evaluate, recognize, or accept an idea or point of view that differs from one’s own
  • a less than honorable agenda
  • lack of relevant background information or ignorance
  • inappropriate bias
  • prejudice
  • unwarranted assumptions
  • overpowering or addictive emotions
  • fear of being wrong or face-saving
  • selective perception and selective memory
  • peer pressure
  • conformism (mindless conformity)
  • indoctrination initiated by uncritical thinkers with malicious and selfish intent
  • provincialism (restricted and unsophisticated thinking)
  • narrow-mindedness or close-mindedness
  • lack of discernment
  • distrust in reason
  • relativism (relativistic thinking)
  • absolutism (there are no exceptions)
  • stereotyping
  • scapegoating (blaming others)
  • denial
  • wishful thinking
  • short-term thinking
  • political correctness
  • superstition
  • being influenced by drugs
  • excessive anger, hate, or bitterness
  • disturbing one’s comfort
  • lack of personal honesty
  • apathy
  • poor reading and comprehension skills
  • poor or dysfunctional communication skills
  • excessive addiction
  • a mental disorder
  • cognitive dissonance (psychological conflict resulting from incompatible beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously)
  • lack of humility
  • the effects of radiation and man-made atmospheric chemicals
  • debilitating fear and uncertainty
  • reliance on main stream television, newspapers and other media for information
  • the effects of television and electronic media on memory, cognition and brain function

In general – the older one becomes the more well-established and rooted these barriers are in the thought process, and the harder it is to overcome them – they become part of you like a scar.  It is suggested to triumph over them as soon as possible.

Questions for reflection:

– What is the purpose and value in gaining critical thinking skills?  – Is it really necessary?

– What are the rewards?  – What are the challenges?

– Am I willing to do what it takes?  – How important is it for me?  – Can I do it?

– Do I realize that demonstrating, sharing, and embodying wisdom and discernment requires exemplifying critical thinking skills and overcoming its barriers?  –  Are all these barriers overwhelming?

– Do I realize this is a lifelong process?  – What is the difference between intelligence and wisdom?

– What are the steps required for developing critical thinking skills?

– How do I communicate with others who are not critical thinkers and have embodied these barriers to such an extent that they are unwilling to engage in a meaningful dialogue or acknowledge any responsibility in the communication breakdown?  – Or do I bother at all?

– How am I to react or respond when I experience a lack of critical thinking in the media, among friends and family, at the work place, and in my academic courses and studies?

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are in fact vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking listed above is essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships – developing leadership skills for both family and vocational choices – fulfilling the goals and missions of businesses and organizations – and discovering and achieving purpose and fulfillment in all aspects of one’s life.  Many of the barriers to critical thinking are barriers to joyfulness, selflessness, and contentment.

Do not be discouraged by the enormity of the task of reflecting upon, acknowledging, and overcoming these barriers.  Have confidence that you will recognize the hold these barriers have on your thought process, and I encourage you to be committed to achieving the obtainable rewards awaiting you when you have accomplished the goal of prevailing over these barriers one by one.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

Evaluating and embracing an idea, information, knowledge, guideline, doctrine or theology is a mental exercise and is just the beginning of the process – embodiment is the goal and requires diligent and persistent action for true fulfillment and success.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein, in a letter to his son Eduard, February 5, 1930

The Problem of Egocentric Thinking[2]

Egocentric thinking results from the unfortunate fact that humans do not naturally consider the rights and needs of others.  We do not naturally appreciate the point of view of others nor the limitations in our own point of view.  We become explicitly aware or our egocentric thinking only if trained to do so.  We do not naturally recognize our egocentric assumptions, the egocentric way we use information, the egocentric way we interpret data, the source of our egocentric concepts and ideas, the implications of our egocentric thought.  We do not naturally recognize our self-serving perspective.

As humans we live with the unrealistic but confident sense that we have fundamentally figured out the way things actually are, and that we have done this objectively.  We naturally believe in our intuitive perceptions – however inaccurate [Denis – I personally believe that intuitive perceptions are vital to critical thinking – providing one possesses the required discernment skills].  Instead of using intellectual standards in thinking, we often use self-centered psychological standards to determine what to believe and what to reject.  Here are the most commonly used psychological standards in human thinking.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT.”  Innate egocentrism: I assume that what I believe is true even though I have never questioned the basis for many of my beliefs.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT.”  Innate sociocentrism: I assume that the dominant beliefs of the groups to which I belong are true even though I have never questioned the basis for those beliefs.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I WANT TO BELIEVE IT.”  Innate wish fulfillment: I belief in whatever puts me (or the groups to which I belong) in a positive light.  I believe what “feels good,” what does not require me to change my thinking in any significant way, what does not require me to admit I have been wrong.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IT.”  Innate self-validation: I have a strong desire to maintain beliefs I have long held, even though I have not seriously considered the extent to which those beliefs are justified by the evidence.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE IT IS IN MY SELFISH INTEREST TO BELIEVE IT.”  Innate selfishness: I believe whatever justifies my getting more power, money, or personal advantage even though those beliefs are not grounded in sound reasoning or evidence.

Seriously reflect on this post!

Seriously reflect on this post!


[1] Gregory Bassham, Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, 3rded., (New York, McGraw-Hill, 2008), p. 11

[2] Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder

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The Essential Elements of Preparedness

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By Denis Korn

There is an extraordinary fixation in our current culture with all the trappings of physical survival – given the perception of imminent collapse, chaos and oppression.  The degree of hysteria and response to this phenomena is unprecedented in the 41 years I have been in the preparedness industry.  I am not a prophet – just an experienced observer of the times and peoples reaction to the radical shifts taking place in our society.  The events that will unfold in the very near future may be catastrophic as many believe or just extremely uncomfortable – we shall soon find out.  It is my belief that the most essential and foundational elements of preparedness are attitude, critical thinking, knowledge, trust in God, appropriate emotion and spiritual awareness.

The heightened sensitivity to the uncertainty of these times has obviously motivated many to a preparedness/survival mindset.  While so many folks writing articles and blogs are focusing on the myriad of aspects of physical readiness, and a boatload of preparedness/survival websites and advertisers are intensely promoting all the stuff required to survive, I feel the most important elements of preparedness/survival are often overlooked.  This brings our attention to the spiritual and emotional components of preparedness.

In a previous post I talked about Normalcy Bias – the mental state by which people cling to perceptions that are familiar and comfortable – and because of this state they can be in denial of the reality of the circumstances around them.  In some situations and contexts Normalcy Bias may be appropriate; however, in planning for emergencies denying the truth can be disastrous and often deadly.

In the 7 years of posting articles on this site, one of the most popular posts has been Barriers to Critical Thinking & The 7 Essential Questions for Reflection.  While I believe that developing critical thinking skills is essential in all aspects of our life, it is especially important when you are evaluating and determining sources and provisions for emergency and disaster preparedness.  Your comfort, health and survival depend on appropriate, sensible and accurate decisions.  The correct and proper decision making process relies on essential critical thinking skills.  Knowledge and discernment competency are vital to the emergency preparedness process.

What is Critical Thinking?

“Critical thinking is the careful, deliberate determination of whether we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim – and of the degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it.  The ability to think critically is vitally important; in fact, our lives depend on it.  The way we conduct our lives depends on what we believe to be true – on what claims we accept  The more carefully we evaluate a claim and the more fully we separate issues that are relevant to it from those that are not, the more critical is our thinking.”

“We do not do our critical thinking in a vacuum, of course.  When we are confronted with a claim, usually we already have a certain amount of information relevant to the topic, and we can generally figure out where to find more if we need it.  Having both the desire and the ability to bring such information to bear on our decisions is part of the critical-thinking process.  Critical thinking involves a lot of skills, including the abilities to listen and read carefully, to evaluate arguments, to look for and find hidden assumptions, and to trace consequences of a claim.” (From Critical Thinking, Sixth Edition – Brooke Noel Moore, PhD & Richard Parker, PhD)

After acknowledging that there are mental states and attitudes (see Attitude is a Decision) that are necessary to properly plan for emergencies and catastrophes, I want to address the emotional and spiritual aspects of emergency and disaster planning.  Most of the information, guidelines, lists and resources for preparedness focus exclusively on the physical “stuff” required to be adequately prepared for an emergency.  While this is obviously important, it is only one component in the preparedness process when looked at from a holistic perspective.

What is emotion? The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary gives us this definition:

2 a : the effective aspect of consciousness  : FEELING  b : a state of feeling  c : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.

This is very pertinent as you engage in planning for emergencies.  The relevant point here is that the preparedness planner experiences a conscious mental reaction experienced as a strong feeling that is accompanied by a behavioral change.  While this appears rather self-evident, it must be pointed out that the emergency planner must be aware of their feelings and behavior and its impact on the decisions made on the physical component of the process.

What are the effects of one’s emotional condition and the correctness of their actions? I have talked with many folks about this issue and have seen and heard of the unfortunate results of decisions made that were a result of not being conscience of the influence of their emotional state.  Understanding the power of one’s emotions and acting responsibly can have a positive impact on taking correct action – losing control of one’s emotions and behavior can be destructive.

As I have discussed so often while teaching Critical Thinking in the college classroom, people habitually react to a challenging situation rather than critically evaluate and reflect appropriately.  The quality and effectiveness of their decisions is often significantly compromised.  Essential attributes in the preparedness planning process are DISCERNMENT AND INFORMED JUDGMENT!

What is the spiritual component? The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary gives us this definition of spiritual:

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit  : INCORPOREAL  [spiritual needs]   2 a : of or relating to sacred matters  [spiritual songs]  b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal  [spiritual authority]  [lords spiritual]   3 : concerned with religious values  4 : related or joined in spirit  [our spiritual home]  [his spiritual heir]   5 a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena  b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism

For many the spiritual factor is the most important facet of preparedness and the point from which one begins the preparedness process.  One’s spiritual faith and belief forms the foundation for action.  Reliance on God in the decision making process is primary – trust in God’s guidance in making one’s decisions is fundamental and essential.

So why is Self-Reliance idolatry?

It is the worship of the “stuff” of self-reliance and the worship of “self” as the primary focus of the actions taken. We have placed our stuff and ourselves as the object of primary worship and reliance. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the ultimate reliance is on God. While we have a duty to be prepared, we are commanded not to idolize and exalt our provisions and personal position in the preparedness process above absolute reliance on God. During a serious disaster when emotions are intense and fear rules one’s reactions, it is a challenge to rely on a higher power for the supreme guidance and insight on the actions to take.  It is not only a challenge, it is a necessity to rely on the greatest ally you can have – Divine guidance.  Where does your faith reside – in the Divine or in the human condition?

While I recommend and encourage taking effective physical action to provide the essential provisions, I have been explicit in my teachings that one’s attitude is essential in overcoming and surviving a serious catastrophe. This requires embodying the attitude of God-Reliance first – follow His instructions, assurance and power before we rely only on our self.  Self-reliance without God-reliance is what I refer to as “The Idolatry of Self-Reliance.”

I am well aware of the difficulty and struggle involved in understanding, expressing and putting into action the balance between reliance on God and reliance on ourselves – both are essential! This requires prayer, serious reflection, critical thinking and common sense – as does all aspects of effective emergency planning.

I believe the spiritual component encompasses the following aspects:

  • The ultimate outcome of the emergency scenario is in God’s hands
  • In a mysterious way God directs the process
  • We often focus our most important priorities in the wrong direction
  • The purpose of the disaster or catastrophe is of a spiritual nature
  • The difficulties and suffering in a disaster affords one the opportunity to choose to come closer to and rely upon God
  • One’s faith and trust in God is tested, and gives one a chance to assess their relationship with the Divine
  • We are not to rely on our own understanding
  • We are not to cling to the notion that our material possessions are the most important factors in our lives
  • The importance of earnest prayer is profoundly evident
  • Catastrophic events are a result of spiritual warfare of which we have no control
  • We are to love, support, assist, provide for, console, teach and inspire our family, neighbors, friends and strangers during the most trying of times
  • We are being required to ask – and answer: What are the fundamental truths I must learn, and who do I  truly trust during trials and tribulation?
  • Why are you being called to prepare and for what purpose?

To believe that being prepared is just a matter of having all the right provisions safely stored away is, in my opinion, overlooking the most important factors in survival, resiliency and effective preparedness.  We must not get caught up in the perverting media frenzy of perpetuating fear and anxiety to such an extent that clear thinking is obliterated.  Successful preparedness – and daily living for that matter – is a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual elements.

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Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Sensible Preparedness Planning

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By Denis Korn

THE MODERN DAY CAVE!

THE MODERN DAY CAVE!

WE ARE A NATION OF CAVE DWELLERS!

As I assess the current state of our society, which is overflowing with delusion, deception and insanity, and as I read and hear so much material related to emergency/disaster/apocalyptic preparedness that is also filled with chaos and confusion, I am constantly reminded of a segment of the Critical Thinking class I taught at our local college.  Many of you at some point in your education have been introduced and studied Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.  This is in my opinion one of the finest – if not the best – allegory, metaphor or parable ever written in western philosophy, that is a brilliant and timeless illustration of the perverse and distorted reality confronting our civilization today – and throughout history.

If you are not familiar with this legendary allegory or would like a refresher with some additional insights, welcome to this article.  It is not my intent to offer a detailed analysis of this masterful work, only to stimulate you to do further research and reflection on its profound message.

I believe we have a choice as to how we perceive and discern the reality and authenticity of the world that surrounds us.  This has significant implications not only for determining the physical actions we take, but also for our attitudes and spiritual understanding.  If you have read other posts I have written, you know that I believe the foundation of any preparedness planning action and experience is one’s attitude, and the importance of an appropriate and life-enhancing mindset.  Also, as Plato points out, the greater truth – should you choose to discover it – is what I would call a spiritual or Divine validity.

If historians or philosophers were asked to name the greatest philosopher of all times, most if not just about all would name Plato.  His impact on western culture and thinking is so all pervasive that it is difficult to find individuals or schools of thought that have significantly contributed to our culture that have not been substantially influenced by Plato.  May you join the club!

How does this post relate to the preparedness process?  Know where you stand.  I hope that we can all function from a position of clear thinking, honest research and evaluation, reality, and appropriate action.  I encourage sensible preparedness planning, not an approach of mindless reaction, fear and an unreliable decision making process leading to wasteful and ineffective provisions .

PLATO’S ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE

This allegory is perhaps the most widely recognized feature of his entire written corpus or body of work.  Commentary on this document is extensive and far-reaching, and Plato’s grasp of the human condition and psyche is remarkably comprehensive.

The description of the cave is given to us in Book VII of the Republic (514a – 521b).  The opening sentence of the allegory invites us to compare the state of things in and above the cave to our natural condition as far as education and ignorance are concerned.  The cave is a complete symbolic system that is essentially political, yet is descriptive of the general human condition.  The “real” world to the masses of mankind is the cave, where the reality of life is but the shadows on the cave wall.

In the Republic Plato describes his version of the ideal society.  The role of education and the function of the philosopher within this society are defined in an elaborate metaphor, the Allegory of the Cave.  We are to imagine a group of people who live, as it were, chained to the ground in an underground cave in such a way that they can see only shadows of reality projected onto the inner wall of the cave by firelight behind them as objects are moved around by those in “control” who know that this is the only reality known to the “prisoners” and it’s what determines their worldview.  The prisoners must sit still and look forward and cannot turn around (representative of the normal and unfortunate state of mankind with respect to education and knowledge and is the only reality).

Since they have been accustomed to seeing nothing but shadows all their lives, they have no way of comprehending the real world outside the cave.  It is therefore the task of the philosopher who is already free from the chains of misconception and sees the truth of the cave process, to liberate the others and educate them in such a way as to set them free from the imprisonment of their falsely indoctrinated senses.  The freed one in the process of being unchained and seeing the truth of the cave and experiencing the journey to the reality of the light outside and the source of this reality, undergoes a profound conversion and transformation leading to understanding and knowledge.  The responsibility of returning to the cave to liberate his fellow prisoners is a painful and dangerous process.

SOME THEMES FROM THE ALLEGORY FOR REFLECTION

  • How education or lack thereof affects our nature.
  • The prison and the prisoners within.
  • Know thyself.
  • What is reality?
  • Can you discern the truth from the lie?  How?  Why?
  • No context to discern new reality as the philosopher grows and ascends – it is painful and lonely.
  • The ascent to the truth is not easy – one fights it the whole way – he wants to go back to the comfortable, familiar and secure.
  • There is an ultimate “cause” that allows you to “see” the truth.
  • Those left behind will not want to tolerate a new radical explanation of truth and reality – they are so attached to their worldview that they will eliminate a person who challenges their reality rather than change.
  • The value of wisdom and critical thinking.
  • The essential value of true education from birth in the contemplation of real things.
  • Men lacking education experience in truth cannot adequately preside over a city or nation.
  • The philosopher governs the city – he must go down into the cave to govern and teach after being educated in the light above.
  • Once you have experienced the good – truth – reality, the philosopher has a responsibility and duty to lead the society and others to the light for the good of all.
  • The Truth can be frightening and painful yet liberating and joyful.
  • We have an innate ability and desire to gain the truth.
  • Plato goes from “being all about you” to sharing, educating and directing one’s wisdom for the benefit of others.  This is true wisdom and selflessness.
  • Knowledge and truth – see it with your own eyes and heart and discern it with your own mind.
  • How does the seemingly impossible or extremely difficult task of leading others to discover the truth or the “real” equate with the difficulty of creating a society of critical thinkers?

IN CONCLUSION

You are encouraged to obtain a copy of the Allegory by getting Plato’s Republic, or finding it on the internet.  This is a transformational masterful work.  The issues of ignorance, depravity and delusion that plague our society today have been with us for thousands of years.  Plato is describing the fictions of today from the perspective of a society of the distant past – it has always amazed and disheartened me how little has changed over time.  Let us focus on being liberated from the chains of our own cave so that we may help our families, neighbors and community reach the light that is above the darkness.  We can accomplish this by setting an example – in the way we live, think and speak.  One person cannot make another see, he can only provide the stimulation that helps the other see for himself. 

Are we being manipulated by the Wizard!

Are we being manipulated by the Wizard!

 

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Critical Thinking is Not Conducted in a Vacuum

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By Denis Korn

Seriously reflect on this post!

Seriously reflect on this post!

I consider this to be one of the most important posts I have made, because of the seriousness condition of the current state of our nation.  This will be a significant year in defining the direction of our society and the foundations created for our children and grandchildren.  Before we examine the issues relating to the title of this article, I would like to share an observation that makes the importance of the critical thinking process even more crucial as each day unfolds.

I believe that the polarization and the schism of our society is complete.  The indoctrination, manipulation and dumbing down of the population is an intentional process that began decades ago by those who do not have the best intentions for our country.  The signs of this acute and agonizing polarization and discord are everywhere and in your face – politics, education, media, health, race relations, philosophy/ideology, military, immigration, constitutional rights, sexual/gender behavior, finance and in many other facets of our culture.  This not a time of simple disagreements, opinions and perspectives.  It is the blatant manifestation of what is referred to in Ephesians 6:10-12 as spiritual warfare.  The dark side has control of the major sources of communication, education and political influence and is fighting for the soul of our nation.

First stated in the Gospels by Jesus himself and later during a critical time in our nation’s history by Abraham Lincoln (see the comments at the end of this article regarding his House Divided speech)  – “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24,25)  This is why it is essential that the discerning and thinking remnant in our land be vigilant and active in combating the evil in our midst.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Attitude – Critical Thinking – Knowledge – Trust – are the most essential attributes of the preparedness planning process – and are required for acting appropriately in the times confronting us today!

In the 6 years of posting articles on this site, one of the most popular posts has been Barriers to Critical Thinking & The 7 Essential Questions for Reflection.  While I believe that developing critical thinking skills is essential in all aspects of our life, it is especially important when you are evaluating and determining sources and provisions for emergency and disaster preparedness.  Your comfort, health and survival depend on appropriate, sensible and accurate decisions.  The correct and proper decision making process relies on essential critical thinking skills.  Knowledge and discernment competency are vital to the emergency preparedness process.

Because of the importance of applying critical thinking, especially during these times of great confusion, uncertainty and deception, I am offering some observations that I hope will help in motivating you to look closely at the critical thinking process.  There are numerous books and resources available to help you in developing critical thinking skills.  The purpose of this article is to offer some helpful insights into the critical thing process that will hopefully motivate you to seek further understanding.

It is obvious that those with political and economic power do not want a thinking and accessing population.  The deception and manipulation of facts and events have reached epic proportions.  All sectors of daily life have been compromised to achieve a massive dumbing down and indoctrination of the masses – media, government, schools, science, academia and entertainment.  The urgency and importance to our society, families and nation for an informed, thinking, rational and discerning populace could not be understated.

What is Critical Thinking?

“Critical thinking is the careful, deliberate determination of whether we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim – and of the degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it.  The ability to think critically is vitally important; in fact, our lives depend on it.  The way we conduct our lives depends on what we believe to be true – on what claims we accept  The more carefully we evaluate a claim and the more fully we separate issues that are relevant to it from those that are not, the more critical is our thinking.”

“We do not do our critical thinking in a vacuum, of course.  When we are confronted with a claim, usually we already have a certain amount of information relevant to the topic, and we can generally figure out where to find more if we need it.  Having both the desire and the ability to bring such information to bear on our decisions is part of the critical-thinking process.  Critical thinking involves a lot of skills, including the abilities to listen and read carefully, to evaluate arguments, to look for and find hidden assumptions, and to trace consequences of a claim.” (From Critical Thinking, Sixth Edition – Brooke Noel Moore, PhD & Richard Parker, PhD)

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively;
  • comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems. (From Critical Thinking – Concepts & Tools, Seventh Edition – Richard Paul, PhD & Linda Elder, PhD)

It is important to realize that everyone resides at a different level in the process of developing critical thinking skills.  Be encouraged to continue to pursue your thinking skills development, and to put into practice what your have learned.

Here are some thoughts from a paper I wrote titled “Critical Thinking is not Conducted in a Vacuum” that I distributed to the Critical Thinking class I taught at our local college a few years back.  I know it might be a bit “academic,” however I feel it offers some valuable food for thought.

Vital components:

  • Critical thinking skills are developed and refined by: habits, discernment, learning tools, knowledge, practice, principles, motivation, and an effective educational process.
  • The foundation for thinking is based upon: personal core beliefs, perceptions, presuppositions, and one’s worldview.
  • Critical thinking takes place in a philosophical, societal, and cultural context and is basically oriented from two standpoints:

~ Practical and pragmatic – essential for daily life situations centered around personal – social – political – religious circumstances.

~ Theoretical and academic – consisting of inquiry into the theological (the study of religious faith and God’s relation to the world), metaphysical (of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses), cosmological (the nature of the universe), ontological (the nature and relations of being), and epistemological (the nature and grounds of knowledge).

The entire study of, and search for truth (that which is – not an opinion) begins with one’s personal worldview – it is not an exact science, it is not something you can expect to pick up after a few class assignments, memorize, and reiterate on a multiple choice exam (which you know a do not give) – it is a process, an attitude, a relationship, an adventure, and a journey of discovery – it is filled with twists and turns, exaltation and distress – the rewards regardless of the obstacles, uncertainty, and confusion are as Socrates would say, “the way we ought to live.”

To discover truth and the Truth is an innate human need for many, if not most, of us.  It will validate and strengthen worldviews that are proper, and change worldviews that are flawed – if we don’t let the barriers to critical thinking get the better of us.  This process is also an essential component of the development of critical thinking skills.  Each one of us are responsible for discerning the variances and nuances in the identification of truth.

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Here are the comments regarding Abraham Lincoln’s speech.  They come from www.abrahamlincolnonline.org.  Abraham Lincoln’s insights then have profound implications for our nations current struggles.  I pray it is not too late for our country!

Lecturn in Representatives Hall, Old State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois
Representatives Hall Lecturn
© Abraham Lincoln Online

House Divided Speech

Springfield, Illinois
June 16, 1858

On June 16, 1858 more than 1,000 delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. At 5:00 p.m. they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. At 8:00 p.m. Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. The title reflects part of the speech’s introduction, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” a concept familiar to Lincoln’s audience as a statement by Jesus recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).

Even Lincoln’s friends regarded the speech as too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, considered Lincoln as morally courageous but politically incorrect. Lincoln read the speech to him before delivering it, referring to the “house divided” language this way: “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”

The speech created many repercussions, giving Lincoln’s political opponent fresh ammunition. Herndon remarked, “when I saw Senator Douglas making such headway against Mr. Lincoln’s house divided speech I was nettled & irritable, and said to Mr. Lincoln one day this — ‘Mr. Lincoln — why in the world do you not say to Mr. Douglas, when he is making capitol out of your speech, — ‘Douglas why whine and complain to me because of that speech. I am not the author of it. God is. Go and whine and complain to Him for its revelation, and utterance.’ Mr. Lincoln looked at me one short quizzical moment, and replied ‘I can’t.’”

Reflecting on it several years later, Herndon said the speech did awaken the people, and despite Lincoln’s defeat, he thought the speech made him President. “Through logic inductively seen,” he said, “Lincoln as a statesman, and political philosopher, announced an eternal truth — not only as broad as America, but covers the world.”

Another colleague, Leonard Swett, said the speech defeated Lincoln in the Senate campaign. In 1866 he wrote to Herndon complaining, “Nothing could have been more unfortunate or inappropriate; it was saying first the wrong thing, yet he saw it was an abstract truth, but standing by the speech would ultimately find him in the right place.”

 

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Encouragement – Essential For Endurance

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By Denis Korn

As we enter the holiday season of 2016 I want to once again offer some observations and most of all encouragement to all those who have been led to this article.  I am updating some points I made last year at this time and of course my holiday gift is the gift of encouragement at the end of this post.  I truly feel that encouragement is essential for endurance.  The endurance required to bear the burdens of these times.

The year of 2016 will be an important year for me in initiating and fulfilling goals and projects that I believe will be crucial given the current state of cultural, economic and political decay prevalent in contemporary society.  This post will offer reflections, plans and end with an updated encouragement I post when I feel it will be of value.  To help you gain some perspective on my background as I comment on the things I observe, I begin with a little history.

A little history

41 years ago I launched my retail Natural Foods store selling “natural whole foods” in bulk that included, among other unique food items, numerous basic commodities, in- house stone ground flours, herbs, my own recipes of just-add-water dried food meals and food reserves in #10 (7/8 gal) cans.  This was the inauguration of what was to become my life calling – which I continue today under the auspices of PrepareDirect – our product website, and Learn To Prepare – my information only blog.  In 1979 this humble beginning was to transform and become AlpineAire Foods, a major player and manufacturing innovator in the outdoor recreation and long term food reserves industry.

6 years ago in January of 2010 I began Learn To Prepare.  My intention was to share my many years experience and insights as a retailer, innovative developer and manufacturer with those serious people needing help beginning and improving their preparedness experience.  The blog is an evolving endeavor to focus on preparedness fundamentals with an emphasis on food related issues.  I have been fortunate in the past 41 years to have not only have created many different preparedness products, but also to have read thousands of articles, talked to hundreds of industry professionals, made hundreds of presentations and studied a variety of related materials.  Learn To Prepare is also unique in that I incorporate my graduate studies and college teaching experience in Philosophy into my articles to provide what I believe to be a critical perspective on a proper preparedness attitude in conjunction with action.

Key Concerns Enveloping the Current Preparedness and Survivalist Environment and Mindset

From the time I began providing preparedness products until very recently – ten years or so – the majority of interest was – to use a general term – family preparedness.  Average folks concerned for themselves and family with the issues of the day, and with relatively easy to comprehend options and priorities.  There has always been a survivalist element to disaster preparedness, however not to the extent we see today.  Why? And what are some of the factors that have created a noticeable polarizing preparedness marketplace and atmosphere?  Is this polarization motivating or discouraging our friends and family to be prepared for the fulfillment of numerous potential and impactful scenarios?

When I refer to a “survivalist” here is the meaning for me from Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:

survivalist: a person who advocates or practices survivalism; esp : one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.

survivalism: an attitude, policy, or practice based on the primacy of survival as a value.

It can be said that everyone is a survivalist because we all want to survive – it is an innate instinct.  This is not however how the concept is applied in today’s media.  The emphasis is on the second part of the definition – one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.  Here is the root of the polarization.  This emphasis and fixation on the breakdown of our society with all its negative implications, has created a type of revulsion and resistance to properly evaluate and access the whole idea of emergency preparedness and survival during catastrophes and disasters – natural or man-made.  Many of us can not be inundated with nonstop doom and gloom and preached to by those absolutely convinced that the world as we know it will be destroyed, and not finally say enough already.  Add to the constant barrage of end of days hysteria, all the suggestions and appeals to action that any normal person would find extreme, infeasible or impossible.

I want to be clear – I am not a psychic nor privy to underground information. I have however read and listened to thousands of opinions and judgments on our current state of affairs.  And yes, many of the difficult scenarios presented – natural and man-made – will probably come to pass, and yes, we need to be prepared, and yes, we are in for some challenging times, and yes, there are differing perceptions on potential scenarios.  So what are some of the issues and problems surrounding the survivalist, prepper and disaster planner?

  • We are overwhelmed by those who are exploiting the concerns of the times with fear, greed and conspicuous deception!
  • So many deceitful and ignorant businesses and spokespersons are making it difficult for legitimate companies to succeed.
  • An inability for many – including professionals and consumers – to discern the truth from the deceptive hype.  So much information being put forward by so-called industry authorities and government agencies is simply incorrect.
  • Educating and empowering consumers to have trust and confidence in their sources for reliable information is not taken seriously by so many ill-informed and inexperienced instant preparedness experts.
  • A lack of critical thinking and communication skills from survivalist spokespersons.
  • A lack of trustworthy leadership.
  • A self-serving and corrupt media that promotes survivalist programming for profit that creates fear, confusion and anxiety.
  • The internet – that has been both a blessing and curse.  There is so much preparedness/survivalist information that is unreliable and inaccurate – and valuable and dependable – that many a sincere truth seeking individual finds it difficult or impossible to discern truth from fiction.
  • The media, television programming and our educational system is agenda driven (and not an agenda for the best interests of our citizens and Republic), and with a constant barrage of negativity, distortions and out right fabrication, it becomes increasingly challenging to discern the truth and maintain an encouraging attitude.
  • The problem once again is manipulation through fear.

The questions I ask those with the survivalist mindset – or anyone for that mater:

  • There are real and significant challenges ahead – Is there a more effective and empowering way to communicate preparedness and survival concerns to everyone without fixating on the fear, terror and greed factor?
  • Have you realistically and critically evaluated the advice being given by so many for actions to take during a serious emergency?
  • Are you aware that the methods being utilized by numerous advertisers, talk show hosts, blog writers and others to stimulate action focuses on mindless reaction rather than critical evaluation?

I want to acknowledge the many sincerely conscientious and committed individuals, businesses and news sources who are devoted to providing truthful information and reliable products.  I especially want to give my appreciation to committed Christian experts who realize the big preparedness picture and who offer prayer with their encouragement and advice.  I encourage all readers of this article to seek and discover these faithful individuals, organizations and companies.  I have written other articles available at Learn To Prepare – see the lists on the right column – that focus on the appropriate questions to ask yourself and others that will help in the preparedness planning process.

What’s Coming From Learn To Prepare

You will also notice a deepening emphasis on the spiritual and emotional attitudes and perspectives required regarding preparedness and survival.  For me the proper attitude and one’s spiritual/religious faith is essential, and forms the foundation for any effective and successful preparedness program.  Given the issues covered above regarding fear, and the emphasis on the accumulation of stuff and information (nothing wrong with stuff and information – if coupled with proper attitude and spiritual faith), I find a lack of encouragement that focuses on the most important aspects of the preparedness process – the aspects that provide true Peace of Mind.

We live in stressful and transformative times!

My Be Encouraged post first appeared at the end of 2011 and I have received many encouraging comments about its value in these troubling times.  I especially wanted to re-post this updated version.  It is not meant to be an article about preparedness or outdoor adventure – it is here to be a brief rest from the apprehension of daily life and the anguish of the times.  2016 will be a year of significant challenges – may you be encouraged to endure with sustaining faith and hope!

I felt a personal calling to write and share this prayer of encouragement as a gift to those needing some uplifting words during distressing events and the constant perpetration by media and government of crisis, fear and hysteria.

It is difficult to stay positive, feel secure and be joyful when the world around us appears to be degenerating and transforming, and so many people – especially “leadership” – are egocentric and delusional. 

We all need encouragement to help us cope.

 

  • Be encouraged: to find tranquility, serenity, courage and contentment amid the uncertainty, anxiety and confusion of the times.
  • Be encouraged: to trust GOD to replace fear and worry with peace and hope.
  • Be encouraged: to avoid those who rob you of your passion.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the company and counsel of those who encourage, understand and support you.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the wisdom to be able to discern the truth from the lie.
  • Be encouraged: to discover someone you can truly trust.
  • Be encouraged: to focus your mind and heart on that which edifies, inspires and transforms.
  • Be encouraged: to let go of the notion that you can do “it” all yourself.
  • Be encouraged: to cast off the chains that bind you to discontentment.
  • Be encouraged: to love one another in thought, heart and deed.
  • Be encouraged: to be selfless not selfish.
  • Be encouraged: to be honest with yourself – and others.
  • Be encouraged: to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, open the eyes of your heart, meditate in silence and be thankful to GOD for the blessings that you have been given.
  • Be encouraged: to deflect the negativity, fear and hatred that is thrust upon you daily.
  • Be encouraged: to experience aliveness as much as possible.
  • Be encouraged: to discern the beneficial actions you are called upon to pursue during these troubled times.
  • Be encouraged: to be courageous while you walk among the weak and disheartened.
  • Be encouraged: not to give up on loved ones who are in denial of the truth of the times and ridicule you for your faith and commitment to being prepared for the unforeseen.
  • Be encouraged: to embody the right attitude that will carry you through all the trials and tribulations of your life.
  • Be encouraged: to continually search for and discover meaning in all circumstances.
  • Be encouraged: to embody forgiveness.
  • Be encouraged: to realize and exemplify your GOD given purpose in life.
  • Be encouraged: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think about (meditate on) these things … Phil 4:8
  • Be encouraged: to pray to GOD with thanksgiving – believe and have faith – let go – follow GOD’s guidance and instruction with patience and perseverance.
  • Be encouraged: to resist the temptations of the evil one.
  • Be encouraged: to encourage others!

Blessings to those who are encouraged by these words

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Vigilance, Transformation and Triggering Events

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By Denis Korn       vigilance3

The political, social, judicial and international events of the last few days are, in my opinion, unprecedented in my lifetime as to the long term implications for our country, society and culture.  And the implications are not for the betterment of our nation and civilization.  The future is now going to bring significant challenges, struggles, pain, and uncertainty – add to this the possibility of tyranny, suppression and persecution; with some commentators saying its the end of America as we know it, others saying it is the beginning of the end.  I hope it is the catalyst for a major upward shift in awareness, positive transformation and nonviolent revolution.

I am not going to get into detail concerning each event and their historic consequences, however for those reading this article in the future, including my children and grandchildren, this is a glimpse into these transformative times and suggestions on actions to take.  Here is a brief list of some of current significant rulings and events that are truly changing the course of our country and civilization.

  • Gay marriage is now the national law of the land – nullifying 6,000 years of accepted religious and cultural norms and blatantly contradicting the Bible.
  • Obamacare continues to be approved by the Supreme Court – the specific words of the act, or any law or act for that matter, do not mean what they state, words are relative and intention is presumed.
  • ID can not be required by any state for the purpose of voting – the flood gates are opened for illegal and fraudulent voting across the whole country.
  • The push for allowing illegal immigration and highly questionable immigration from Islamic countries is in full force by politicians and special interest groups and corporations – this will change the face and culture of our country forever.
  • The President, who has demonstrated his loathing and aversion for our country, now has “Fast Track” authority to determine and implement trade agreements without congressional oversight – our national sovereignty has been given away to a globalist control agenda.
  • In my state, the California legislature and Governor have instigated mandatory vaccinations for school children with no exemptions for religious or personal beliefs – parental rights are gone and we have forced injections of poisonous chemicals and compounds.
  • Special interest groups, organizations, banks, mainstream media, mainstream universities and corporations now control and dictate the course of human events – we the people have been neutered – politicians and educational leaders have been bought off and logic, reason, common sense are just obstacles to the agenda of societal control – we live in an era of persistent and all-encompassing lying, deception and manipulation of the population.
  • The Global Warming hysteria being forced upon an ignorant population will go down in history as one of the greatest deceptions and frauds ever promoted by the same politicians, groups and organizations mentioned above – opposition science and educated skeptics have been demonized, harassed and not allowed to present facts that contradict the Global Warming agenda.
  • There is religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, especially in the Middle-east, and growing in this country, against Christians and Jews – intolerance, especially by left-wing groups, colleges and individuals, is extraordinary and pervasive.
  • ISIS the ultra-radical and evil Islamic group in Syria and Iraq continues to grow, conquer, kill and persecute in the name of an Islamic caliphate – radical Islam worldwide is exerting a more and more irrational and immoral influence and attempting to initiate Sharia law – the President, media and the delusional among us have embraced this madness.
  • The President and the current administration is doing all they can during so called negotiations with Iran, to capitulate, appease and allow the Iranians to have nukes.
  • National and worldwide financial institutions and systems are on the brick of collapse and great transition – this will impact all of us in a very significant way – beware of global financial control in the hands of the few.
  • Events involving police using force has polarized different racial factions in our country, with riots, violent protests, race baiting agitators and agenda driven media creating a charged racial climate that could lead to continuing violence and division – paid operatives have been sent to selected cities to create an atmosphere of hatred and rebellion.
  • The President and many left-wing groups would like nothing more than to eliminate and abolish the second amendment and confiscate everyone’s weapons – every shooting incident sparks irrational justifications for assaulting the constitution – every totalitarian regime in modern history has made disarming the population an essential act.
  • Operation “Jade Helm 15” – an unprecedented military “training exercise” – is being conducted from July to September in the Southwest billed as a domestic urban terrorist training drill.  Enormous amounts of equipment have been sent to the region in what appears as a significant event.  It’s true purpose?

I realize the realities of our times can be depressing, frightening and incomprehensible.  It seems as if we are living in a government controls all science fiction movie about the Brave New World and 1984 future.  Here are two suggestions to evaluate and consider.

First, let these times move us to the security of spiritual faith and not reaction due to fear.  Pray, be encouraged and act effectively.  These times are an opportunity to earnestly assess where our trust truly abides, and an opportunity to develop the proper attitude and a God-Reliance.

Second, be vigilant and continually aware of the negativity, manipulation, indoctrination and deception being presented by the government and the media.  This vigilance should stimulate a fitting lifestyle and worldview and a call to action to create an appropriate preparedness plan.

It is also essential to be very cognizant and mindful of attempting a dialog with those who have been conditioned and indoctrinated into believing a deceitful, fallacious and counterfeit worldview.  Reason, logic, facts and the truth are ineffectual, irrelevant and counterproductive to the delusional and agenda driven ideologue.  I know these are strong words and I also believe these are serious times.  When a person’s innate instinct of self-preservation attaches to one’s ideology and opinion, then truth, common sense and reality are futile.

No wonder so many describe these times as a “zombie apocalypse.”  I pray for a great awakening for our country and the whole world!

This introduction leads me to emphasize and re-post once again, especially for those who have hesitated to carefully consider the need to develop a preparedness program, the idea of triggering events and actions that should be taken.  Awareness of triggering events is useful for everyone at all stages of their preparedness process.  Given the list of current events above, any number of scenarios are possible.  We live in turbulent and volatile times, and while we hope for best, we must be prepared for the worst.  I hope this post Vigilance, Transformation and Triggering Events has stimulated discussion and serious evaluation.

The important question for today is:  How many triggering events have just occurred in the last few weeks?

vigilance4

   vigilance6~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are the previous articles from 2013 and 2012

As more and more bizarre and disturbing worldwide incidents unfold before our eyes, the focus on a triggering event that will shake the complacent and apathetic into action becomes profoundly real!

As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action. – Share your insights with those who will listen, family, friends and co-workers.

Being able to discern reality from fantasy –  hopeful thinking from critical thinking – prudent planning from no planning – wise counsel from foolish counsel – the truth from the lie – a slick sales pitch from the facts – can be the difference between distress and peace of mind or even life and death during an unforeseen emergency.

You don’t have to believe in catastrophic events to be prepared.  Being prepared for the unexpected is simply a good idea.  Whatever your perspective, being aware of world events during these critical times and the their potential effect upon you and your family and friends is the responsible attitude to embrace.

It is time to be specific!  Whether an emergency can be short term and have only a minimal disruption in your daily routine, or catastrophic requiring a significant change in life style, apathy and ignorance will not be bliss.  While I’m not a prophet or psychic, I do have the discernment skills to realize that we live in very precarious and uncertain times.  Between acts of God or geophysical events and man-made devastating incidents, there are so many potential scenarios that could come to pass, that being continually vigilant is essential.

Based on the potential scenarios listed at the bottom of this post, here are some of my specific triggering events:

  • Declaration of an imminent weather event
  • A pattern of major and/or catastrophic weather events
  • Significant indication of, or actual occurrence of, a major physical event or multiple events
  • Prolonged drought leading to possible food and water shortages
  • Potential loss of job, income or bank accounts due to government or corporate actions
  • Serious personal illness
  • Substantial instability in national and global financial markets
  • The elimination of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency
  • Bank holiday’s
  • An indication of a major financial restructuring
  • Economic collapse
  • Shortages of critical foods, medications and provisions
  • Curious and strange activity of government officials, corporate executives and the very wealthy
  • Social unrest and civil disobedience leading to severe government and police action
  • Indications martial law will be declared
  • The suspension of the 1st and/or 2nd amendments – freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. and the right to bear arms
  • Strict control over the internet
  • Major cyber attack
  • Suspension of elections
  • Terrorist attack, act of war or preparation for war
  • Disruption of oil supplies
  • National medical or biological emergency – real or contrived
  • Activation of emergency presidential powers that will control everyone’s normal activities
  • An extraordinary governmental or media deception
  • Severe solar activity that could lead to CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejection) and major disruption of the electrical and communication grid
  • A profound and extraordinary religious, spiritual or cosmological event
  • Signs of an imminent pole shift or major geophysical event
  • An announcement by the government – widespread or to a confidential group – to relocate, leave coastal areas and to seek secure surroundings

 

Be encouraged – I hope none of these events or circumstances ever happen – And if they do God help us – as we help ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbors!

 

 

Be Prepared to Be Prepared

Has anything occurred in your life or in the life of family, friends or community that would have been mitigated or eased if one was prepared ahead of time?

January 2012 post:  As timely today as it was then

2012 has arrived and with it a growing number of people believe serious physical, political and economic events could be occurring worldwide, it is once again essential to direct your attention to what I have identified as a “triggering event.”

Simply put, if you are still hesitating to prepare for emergencies or disasters, I urge you to identify and assign significance to a triggering  event that will finally motivate you to provide for yourself and family during a significant emergency.

I have written on this subject before – it is even more timely today than it was then.  Folks that have followed my posts know that I do not subscribe to the doom-and-gloom end-of-the world mindset.  One’s proper attitude regarding disaster planning is essential in maintaining the environment for critical thinking and effective results.  You are not only what you eat – you are what you think and what you focus your attention on.

Many folks are reluctant to plan ahead, or they assume that the government or others will take care of them, or they are just too busy, or they just don’t think it is necessary.  As an option to doing nothing or to enhance some other method of emergency preparedness planning you have chosen, consider the following.   As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action.  This is especially important if you have considered scenarios that will have a long term impact on the supply of goods and services that are required to sustain your basic needs.

If there are items that are essential to your well-being such as medical products, devices, children’s products, or special nutritional foods, then being alert to a potential disruption of vital needs is crucial. While it is always desirable to plan ahead and have provisions in place, it is better to react at the last minute than not at all.  Know exactly what you need, how much will be adequate, where you have to go to supply your needs, how you will get there, and how you will pay for your supplies.  Obviously some scenarios may offer some prior indications, such as hurricanes, storms, or economic/political issues; while others can occur without warning.  You are responsible – you must choose to act or not – unfortunately non action can have severe consequences for yourself and your family!

If you have been hesitant to act or even reflect about preparedness planning you are encouraged to seriously consider this post.

Scenarios

Acts of God Man Made Earth Changes
Local – Regional National National/Worldwide
Earthquake Government regulation/control Catastrophic Weather
Flood Martial Law Asteroid/Comet
Fire Food Shortages Pole Shift
Hurricane Societal Breakdown Solar Flare – CME – No grid
Storm/Ice/Snow Civil Disobedience/Riots Tribulation/Religious
Tornado Medical Emergency Severe Earth Changes
Drought Economic Emergency/Collapse
Power Outage Major Accident
Mud Slide Terrorism Attack
Tsunami Biological/Chemical/Radiological Attack
EMP – Electrical Magnetic Pulse Attack – No electrical grid
PERSONAL ISSUES Bombing
Job Loss War
Illness Cyber Attack – No internet
Emergencies
Financial Loss

Time Frames

3 Days to 2 Weeks

Minor to moderate inconvenience and disruption of the daily routine.  Basic supplies in the first 3 days would be valuable for comfort but not essential.  An adequate amount of basic supplies after 3 days are important.

3 Weeks to 2 Months

The inconvenience is very noticeable and the routine disruption can be significant.  Supplies required are usually on hand, and stockpiling some supplies will be very important.

3 Months to 6 Months

Preparedness planning is very important and a serious disruption to the daily routine is inevitable.  Mobility and location to wait out the emergency is important in your planning.  Proper supplies will be critical.  Medical and other special needs must be planned for in advance.

6 Months to 1 Year

Unless you are very prepared and are committed to self-reliance, in this time frame your lifestyle will definitely be impacted.  Serious attention to your preparedness planning is required.  The questions covered in the foundational articles must be answered and a realistic plan created.  Action and provisions are essential.  You will be dealing with serious issues during this time period, and you must be prepared.

1 Year or More

Scenarios actualized in this time frame are this most serious and catastrophic, and will require a serious commitment to lifestyle changes.  You will be dealing with national and worldwide calamity.  The extent of the impact on everyone’s life can not be over emphasized.  Significant and detailed planning is required, and even with this an emergency situation of this duration will be wrought with uncertainty.  This will be a time for community togetherness, sharing, and mutual support.  Skills not normally possessed by folks will be required.  Gardening and other self-reliant skills will be essential.  Books, tools, and other valuable resources will be vital.

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The Idolatry of Self-Reliance

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By Denis Korn                                                                   God reliance c-s-lewis-quote

While the title of this article The Idolatry of Self-Reliance may seem counter-intuitive and paradoxical, since I am in an educator for emergency and disaster preparedness and survival, I am confident that by the time you finish reading you will understand what I am professing. You are encouraged to read the entire article. As an introduction, I believe it is important to know a little about my background and perspective so you’ll understand the basis for my insights.

  • 50 years ago – in 1965 – I began my military service in the Army. I was a combat arms Artillery officer. I spent my first year of service in intensive training.
  • My first introduction to prophesy, religious beliefs, esoteric opinion, logic and critical thinking was in 1969 while majoring in philosophy at San Diego State.
  • In 1975 was the beginning of my involvement with emergency preparedness and the development of these skills, both personally and as a retail business.
  • I have a Master’s Degree and the rather academic title of my thesis is Christian Eschatology, Premillennialism and Apocalypticism in Contemporary American Culture that was written in 2004.
  • I have taught Critical Thinking and Ethics at our local college.
  • I have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
  • I was raised Jewish, had a Bar Mitzvah at 13 and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1984 – this means I am a Messianic Jew, who has studied the old and new Testaments carefully and with reverence.
  • I feel spiritually lead to be engaged during these transformative and volatile times in the process of educating, encouraging and motivating all who are serious and responsive to be prepared for the potential scenarios of these unstable periods. I feel a personal – for my family, and a social – for our community, responsibility to share my 40 years’ experience and educate all who are receptive.

I presented this brief outline so you will better understand where I am coming from when I discuss this critical subject. As important as I believe this issue is, I don’t see the topic of reliance and attitude presented quite like you will discover in this article.

Let me be clear about the importance of being prepared in an emergency. I completely support and encourage everyone to be ready and prepared in the event of a disaster, emergency, catastrophe, or any situation that threatens one’s safety and security to survive with the least amount of trauma and injury possible. We must take responsibility for ourselves and loved ones to be a leader and provider during troubling events. We cannot presume that the government, agencies or others will be available during emergencies, and it might be the government itself that causes the very disaster we may experience. I have written many articles on this blog that emphasizes these points.

So why is Self-Reliance idolatry?

It is the worship of the “stuff” of self-reliance and the worship of “self” as the primary focus of the actions taken. We have placed our stuff and ourselves as the object of primary worship and reliance. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the ultimate reliance is on God. While we have a duty to be prepared, we are commanded not to idolize and exalt our provisions and personal position in the preparedness process above absolute reliance on God. During a serious disaster when emotions are intense and fear rules one’s reactions, it is a challenge to rely on a higher power for the supreme guidance and insight on the actions to take.  It is not only a challenge, it is a necessity to rely on the greatest ally you can have – Divine guidance.  Where does your faith reside – in the Divine or in the human condition?

While I recommend and encourage taking effective physical action to provide the essential provisions, I have been explicit in my teachings that one’s attitude is essential in overcoming and surviving a serious catastrophe. This requires embodying the attitude of God-Reliance first – follow His instructions, assurance and power before we rely only on our self.  Self-reliance without God-reliance is what I refer to as “The Idolatry of Self-Reliance.”

I am well aware of the difficulty and struggle involved in understanding, expressing and putting into action the balance between reliance on God and reliance on ourselves – both are essential! This requires prayer, serious reflection, critical thinking and common sense – as does all aspects of effective emergency planning.

Our whole upbringing in our current society and culture has conditioned us to what is known as “ego-centrism.” When our worldview is always filtered through our own self-centered interests, conditioning and survival, then for many letting go and trusting unseen Divinity becomes incomprehensible. For those who have a committed spiritual or religious worldview it is still difficult to truly recognize and realize the vise grip that our ego-centric thinking has on our perceptions, evaluations and actions. Here is the first paragraph of a quote from, Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder, that I included in my article Barriers to Critical Thinking:

The Problem of Egocentric Thinking

Egocentric thinking results from the unfortunate fact that humans do not naturally consider the rights and needs of others.  We do not naturally appreciate the point of view of others nor the limitations in our own point of view.  We become explicitly aware or our egocentric thinking only if trained to do so.  We do not naturally recognize our egocentric assumptions, the egocentric way we use information, the egocentric way we interpret data, the source of our egocentric concepts and ideas, the implications of our egocentric thought.  We do not naturally recognize our self-serving perspective.

Reflections on Contemporary Preparedness Issues

When I first became involved in the preparedness industry my focus was directed in what we called “family preparedness.” The scenarios basically involved natural disasters, personal emergencies or perhaps financial events. Those drawn to preparedness were primarily main stream individuals and families. Many had a religious foundation from which to draw. With the advent of the internet, 9/11, the need for sensationalist media reporting and movies, terrorism, fear, government agendas, the zombie apocalypse, talk of revolution and dozens of horrific and catastrophic potential scenarios, the preparedness industry and the “prepper” community has morphed into a different animal.

The preparedness environment is now polarized between family/household and survivalist, with both groups aware of the serious issues of the day, and the survivalist reaction much more radical, passionate, militaristic and fear based – the survivalist community has plenty of probable scenarios from which to choose. I make no right or wrong judgment regarding this situation, I am just sharing what I observe. It is for my readers to evaluate.

Also consider that the cable and main stream news programs and certain internet news sites need ratings and/or are part of an insidious government agenda to keep crisis and fear constantly on your mind for some possible future shenanigans.  Which programs, sites and their celebrity status hosts are sincerely sharing important factual information, suggestions and encouragement, and which are part of the deception and insidious agenda?  How many news and product websites do you think that are promoting the fear-provoking aspects of preparedness and emphasize the doomsday scenarios are primarily driven by the profit motive?  Oh the necessity for critical thinking and discernment skills!

There are now hundreds probably thousands of preparedness/survival websites, blogs and newsletters. Virtually every conservative talk show host promotes survival foods and products. Most talk show hosts have no idea what they are promoting and are justifying themselves for the advertising dollars, doomsday TV shows make big advertising money by instilling fear and mindless buying, and most of the websites and blogs are run by instant experts with little or no knowledge and experience with the information and products they sell. Of course there are many legitimate product and information sources – how can a customer or researcher discern the truth from the deception?

The preparedness/survival atmosphere of fear, chaos, anarchy and confusion is unprecedented in my 40 years in this marketplace. Because of the total lack of government, media, big corporations and educational leadership, the self-serving delusions and the insanity of those in control, there is plenty of evidence to support the serious problems facing our society. As I examine various websites I am disturbed by the excessive emphasis and focus on military, hard core survival, end of the world as we know it, suffering, potential death, preparing for bondage, war, pandemics and the list goes on and on. Of course virtually all of this sites emphasize the “stuff” you need to survive and the extreme practices you should master to fend off the enemy. This stuff is sometimes valuable and appropriate, however – be it food or other supplies – much of the stuff is junk, cheap and ineffective. I ask again – how can a customer or researcher discern the truth from the deception?

I have viewed and evaluated thousands of articles, videos and presentations in the last 40 years – I am not naïve about the serious potential scenarios that may very well come to pass – and be advised I am not a psychic or do I channel some spirit from the other side. All of the predictions, concerns and theories about what may soon occur could very well happen, and maybe you will need some of the stuff that appears radical and maybe you should prepare for a dramatically altered lifestyle and mindless zombies coming after you.

For those with discernment skills, a desire for the truth, an accurate perception of reality and an attitude of true Godly reliance for guidance, the coming times will place you in a position of leadership and service. My concern however, is with the effects on our population of a constant barrage of negative, fearful, mindless nonsense – from media, “progressive” colleges, government and special interest groups. These people are our neighbors, family, those who we all have to come into contact with daily and those who vote.

My advice and counsel to all that read this post, and why I presented the material I did, relates directly to the title of this article. If severe and life-threatening events do occur, where will your ultimate trust and reliance rest?

So What Do I Think is Happening and Going to Happen?

  • The underlying reasons for many events of our time cannot be understood by reason and logic, because what we are engaged in is “spiritual” warfare.  And spiritual warfare requires spiritual/Biblical solutions and responses.  Read Ephesians 6 in the New Testament.
  • We live in an unprecedented time of lying, deception and self-serving by those who are in positions of authority and control.
  • The domestic and global condition of negativity, confusion, evil, delusion cannot continue without serious implications and the creation of a world of great repression, suffering and loss of freedom. For those of our population who have been programmed and indoctrinated and unfortunately are delusional, no degree of reason, common sense, facts or intelligence will change their worldview and perception of current events.
  • We have entered a time of great transition. This is my assessment and that of many diverse spiritual, religious, Native American, intuitives, prophets, interpreters of ancient prophesy and others – and I as they, believe good will triumph over evil, however we must first go through a very difficult and challenging period of incomprehensible trials, adversity and tribulation.  The length of this transition is to be determined – keep tuned in.  I do not believe what is referred to as “The Rapture” will occur at this point in history – it’s for the future.
  • We have the choice to find meaning and purpose, positively contribute and encourage others during these times by adopting an attitude of faith, hope and love in the midst of darkness and uncertainty.

From Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl was a doctor, teacher and philosopher who lost his entire family, and was the survivor of four Nazi concentration camps.

Will to Meaning: Our inherent capacity to continually search for meaning under all circumstances.

Self-Transcendence and the Will to Meaning: I can see beyond the misery of the situation to the potential for discovering a meaning behind it, and thus turn an apparently meaningless suffering into a genuine human achievement. I am convinced that, in the final analysis, there is no situation that does not contain within it the seed of a meaning.

God-Reliance

God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

Even though the earth be removed,

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though its waters roar and be troubled,

Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV

 

God-Is-My-Reliance-on-the-Path-of-Tribulation-Almighty-God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vital Preparedness Planning Questions

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By Denis Korn                                                                            why

If you have read many of the articles I have posted on this site, you will know that I am a fan of Socrates and his method of teaching and dialog, where utilizing and formulating effective questions guide a student through the process of discovery, embodiment and hopefully action.  Here are a series of questions – some taken from previous articles – and some that are new for this post.  They represent a wide spectrum of questions that will help those who honestly and earnestly respond and reflect on the answers determine their position in the emergency preparedness process.

I encourage those reading these vital preparedness planning questions to use them for personal reflection, family planning, business resiliency, small group discussion, lecturing and sharing with serious preparedness planners.

To be answered individually or in a discussion group and for grabbing attention and stimulating interest – for yourself and others.

  • What is the #1 question to answer before you start the preparedness process?
  • What are the 3 most important questions you must answer before you start emergency preparedness planning?
  • The most important factor in surviving a disaster is …
  • What are the 10 essential provisions to always have on hand during an emergency?
  • The first 3 things to do when an emergency occurs (is announced) are …
  • What are the 3 absolutely critical factors that will determine how and if you will survive a disaster?
  • What are the 3 absolutely critical factors that you should know about to effectively function during a disaster?
  • What are 5 things to tell your children during a disaster?
  • The 5 most important foods to have on hand during an emergency are …- The 10…?
  • What are the top 5 reasons you should prepare for emergencies?
  • What 10 things must your family know if you are away from home during an emergency?
  • What are the 10 most important questions to answer when developing or improving an emergency preparedness plan?
  • Who do you trust? – Why?
  • Who do you rely on and where do you get the information and expertise from that determines your personal, spiritual, cultural, and political worldview? – Where will you go for reliable information during a serious emergency?
  • Do you possess the critical thinking skills, common sense, reasoning competency and discernment aptitude to effectively research and evaluate the information presented to you, and those presenting it? –   How necessary are these skills?
  • Do you have a Biblical or religious perspective relating to current events and your responsibility if an emergency occurs?
  • Why do you think you should be prepared for the unexpected? – Or should you not?
  • Do you believe the government, local – state – national, will provide for you or rescue you during an emergency? – Do you really trust the government and others to take care of you during an emergency?
  • If the head-of-household, or you, are away from home, is your family prepared to cope and survive during an emergency? – Who will train and educate them?
  • An eminent emergency is announced – What do you do? – Are you prepared?
  • The grid just went down – Now what do you do?
  • A disaster has just occurred – What do you do? – Where do you go? – Do you stay or leave?
  • Have you prepared a list of provisions to always have on hand? – How many of those items do you have? – What condition are they in? – Are you willing to be responsible enough to take action and stock up? – What about a written preparedness plan? – What are the most important provisions you should always have on hand? – Can you take them with you if you have to evacuate?
  • What is your excuse for doing nothing and not taking any action to prepare for the unforeseen?
  • Are you willing to prepare a list of triggering events that would finally motivate you into action? – What triggering event must occur to motivate you to take preparedness seriously?
  • Can you go camping in your house for a week? – Are you willing to give it a try – before an emergency?
  • Who can help you develop an effective emergency preparedness plan? – Will you involve the whole family?
  • From 1 to 10 – 10 being the highest – What is your current level of security and preparedness?
  • When you plan for the unexpected – do you critically think and evaluate – or do you mindlessly and unconsciously react to whatever you hear or read?
  • What is your #1 emergency scenario? #2 – #3 – Are you prepared for it?
  • Are you convinced that disasters will never happen to you?
  • Your wife’s – husband’s – daughter’s – son’s car breaks down on a remote country road (or anywhere for that matter) – its night – winter – a deserted area – Are they prepared to cope? – Do they have the necessary provisions?
  • Who is relying on you for guidance, reassurance and security during an emergency? – Are you up to the responsibility?
  • Are you spiritually and emotionally prepared to endure during a disaster?
  • When you research, evaluate, and explore during your preparedness planning process, can you discern the difference between reliable and dependable, and erroneous and untrustworthy information? – Where will you go and who will you seek out for truthful knowledge and trustworthy guidance?
  • What are the absolutely critical factors you feel you must address when developing your preparedness plan?
  • What would cause grocery shelves to be emptied?
  • What common and crucial items would be the first to disappear and become unavailable during an emergency?
  • Are you able to be honest with yourself when you answer these questions?
  • What are the potential emergency scenarios for 2015 and beyond?
  • From 1 to 10 – 10 being the highest – What is your belief that a major disaster requiring an effective preparedness plan – either man-made or an Act of God, will occur this year? – 2 years? – 5 years?
  • What are the most impacting government actions that could occur that will require reliance on emergency preparedness provisions?

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10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning

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By Denis Korn

These 10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning – AND RESILIENCY – and the suggested links are in my opinion an essential component to beginning, improving and solidifying an effective, successful and beneficial preparedness and disaster survival plan.  You are encouraged to conscientiously evaluate and embrace the information given and the guidance provided by the questions contained in the linked articles.

The wise and foolish builders

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

MATT 7:24 – 27 (NIV)                                                                                                                                 

1 – Attitude

The importance of a proper and confident attitude is essential and key to not only planning for an emergency, but also surviving an emergency.  The right attitude is the cornerstone and foundation of the preparedness process.  The 3 aspects of an appropriate attitude include: the pragmatic and realistic; the emotions and thoughts: the religious and spiritual.

An appropriate attitude is essential not only to survival, but also to effective functioning during a serious emergency. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint are the sustaining components of enduring any emergency circumstance. The longer the emergency the greater degree of stress and anxiety, which will affect your health and well-being.

How serious are you?  Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning?  Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength and hope? Where is your faith?

Without a thoughtful, reasoned, sincere and discerning attitude regarding potential emergencies with potentially devastating circumstances, conditions and outcomes, or the possible detrimental effects on family, friends, groups and community – this article or any presentation or investigation into preparedness planning and resiliency is an exercise in futility.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

— Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps  

“Frankl’s wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes toward life’s challenges and opportunities, both large and small.  A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction.  A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments…”     William Winslade in the Afterword to Man’s Search for Meaning (2006 printing)

READ: Your Attitude is Your Decision – Own it!

2 – Critical Thinking and Discernment

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are in fact vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking are essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships and making effective and appropriate decisions.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

READ: Barriers to Critical Thinking

3 – Overcoming the Normalcy Bias – The attachment to inaction

The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.  Denial is the operative state of mind. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made by many in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred to them then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the perceived danger.

READ: Normalcy Bias – Why People are Attached to Inaction

4 – Scenarios

What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? 

What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?  (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough).  Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?  Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?  Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies?  How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine?  Work or livelihood? How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm? The grid is essential to most homes and businesses – if it is down, how long could you function? What would society look like without the grid, and a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services? Do you have back up power?

How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?

This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question.  Needless to say, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

The #1 Preparedness Question – What’s Your Scenario? (Why?)

5 – Knowledge and Skills

What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing?

How about the knowledge of family or friends?  What informational resources and references – books and other tangible items – do you personally have or have access to?  How confident are you that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to be responsible and effective for yourself and family during an emergency?

The realization that you have the appropriate knowledge and have adequately prepared for unforeseen emergencies is an essential factor in discovering and embodying peace of mind.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

6 – Preparation and Action

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unexpected circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

This process is basically undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

7 – Supplies

For most people planning for emergencies is similar to planning for a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure where the normal conveniences of home are not available. The biggest difference is determining whether to plan for being away from home or being in your own residence – or perhaps both. The equipment to include in your emergency kit or camping supplies list will be very comparable. Differences and variations will generally depend upon the severity and length of time you anticipate for your emergency scenario. Long term emergencies and outdoor explorations will require more extensive planning and provisioning.

Important questions to answer as you do your planning:

Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how cheap they are, or on the quality, value, and reliability of the product?  What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that are made?  Who is affected?  What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?  What will the climate be during the emergency or adventure?  What is the probable availability of essential goods and services where you are going for your adventure or during your anticipated emergency?

Be clear about the time factors, persons involved, and situations that you anticipate will occur in an emergency or an outdoor experience. Knowing this information is crucial to stocking the appropriate items in the appropriate quantities. Many of these items will be essential for bartering if supplies are exhausted and the emergency you are preparing for is long term.  Proper provisioning is about safety, health, protection, comfort, and peace of mind – for not only you but also your family and friends.  Don’t forget the special needs – medical, food or otherwise – of you or your family.

Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?

Is it prioritized?  Do you have a list of the essential categories your supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now?

During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?

This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies.  What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination?  What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?

READ: Checklist of Essentials for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

8 – Considering Others

Many conscientious preparedness planners are realizing that individuals, groups and churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in time of emergency.  They feel it is the groups’, churches’ or an individual’s responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members or others.  There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.

As far as churches are concerned, some feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is of course primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities.  There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.

Family and neighbors often do not take responsibility to provide for themselves during emergencies.  Considering others while one engages in the preparedness process is a very personal and important factor to consider.  Whether it is provisions, education or a desire to teach and motivate, all planners need to contemplate whether or not they will address the essential needs of others.

READ: Why Are So Many Christians Being Called to Prepare?

9 – Communication

What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?

This includes both two-way communication with others, including family, friends and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations, emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave. Do you have a cell phone? Will towers be functioning? Land lines? Internet? Hand held walkie-talkies? Satellite phone? Short wave radios? Citizens band radios? Emergency radios and/or ham radios with two-way communication capability? During a serious emergency accurate information and updates are essential for survival. What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless? How will this affect the equipment you are relying upon?

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

10 – Networking

Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?

Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also?  Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation?  Do you have a community support network available?  What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute?

During a serious and/or prolonged emergency it will be vital to have available to you and your family the support and expertise of others in your neighborhood and community.  Everyone has a skill that they can share during challenging times.  The sooner you discover those who are compassionate and sympathetic enough to network with others, the better it will be if an emergency occurs.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

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Reflections, Goals and Encouragement for 2015

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By Denis Korn

The year of 2015 will be an important year for me in initiating and fulfilling goals and projects that I believe will be crucial given the current state of cultural, economic and political decay prevalent in contemporary society.  This post will offer reflections, plans and end with an updated encouragement I post when I feel it will be of value.  To help you gain some perspective on my background as I comment on the things I observe, I begin with a little history.

A little history

January 2015 is a landmark year for me.  40 years ago I launched my retail Natural Foods store selling “natural whole foods” in bulk that included, among other unique food items, numerous basic commodities, in- house stone ground flours, herbs, my own recipes of just-add-water dried food meals and food reserves in #10 (7/8 gal) cans.  This was the inauguration of what was to become my life calling – which I continue today under the auspices of PrepareDirect – our product website, and Learn To Prepare – my information only blog.  In 1979 this humble beginning was to transform and become AlpineAire Foods, a major player and manufacturing innovator in the outdoor recreation and long term food reserves industry.

5 years ago in January of 2010 I began Learn To Prepare.  My intention was to share my many years experience and insights as a retailer, innovative developer and manufacturer with those serious people needing help beginning and improving their preparedness experience.  The blog is an evolving endeavor to focus on preparedness fundamentals with an emphasis on food related issues.  I have been fortunate is the past 40 years to have not only have created many different preparedness products, but also to have read thousands of articles, talked to hundreds of industry professionals, made hundreds of presentations and studied a variety of related materials.  Learn To Prepare is also unique in that I incorporate my graduate studies and college teaching experience in Philosophy into my articles to provide what I believe to be a critical perspective on a proper preparedness attitude in conjunction with action.

Key Concerns Enveloping the Current Preparedness and Survivalist Environment and Mindset

From the time I began providing preparedness products until very recently – ten years or so – the majority of interest was – to use a general term – family preparedness.  Average folks concerned for themselves and family with the issues of the day, and with relatively easy to comprehend options and priorities.  There has always been a survivalist element to disaster preparedness, however not to the extent we see today.  Why? And what are some of the factors that have created a noticeable polarizing preparedness marketplace and atmosphere?  Is this polarization motivating or discouraging our friends and family to be prepared for the fulfillment of numerous potential and impactful scenarios?

When I refer to a “survivalist” here is the meaning for me from Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:

survivalist: a person who advocates or practices survivalism; esp : one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.

survivalism: an attitude, policy, or practice based on the primacy of survival as a value.

It can be said that everyone is a survivalist because we all want to survive – it is an innate instinct.  This is not however how the concept is applied in today’s media.  The emphasis is on the second part of the definition – one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.  Here is the root of the polarization.  This emphasis and fixation on the breakdown of our society with all its negative implications, has created a type of revulsion and resistance to properly evaluate and access the whole idea of emergency preparedness and survival during catastrophes and disasters – natural or man-made.  Many of us can not be inundated with nonstop doom and gloom and preached to by those absolutely convinced that the world as we know it will be destroyed, and not finally say enough already.  Add to the constant barrage of end of days hysteria, all the suggestions and appeals to action that any normal person would find extreme, infeasible or impossible.

I want to be clear – I am not a psychic nor privy to underground information. I have however read and listened to thousands of opinions and judgments on our current state of affairs.  And yes, many of the difficult scenarios presented – natural and man-made – will probably come to pass, and yes, we need to be prepared, and yes, we are in for some challenging times, and yes, there are differing perceptions on potential scenarios.  So what are some of the issues and problems surrounding the survivalist, prepper and disaster planner?

  • Those who are exploiting the concerns of the times with fear, greed and conspicuous deception!
  • So many deceitful and ignorant businesses and spokespersons are making it difficult for legitimate companies to succeed.
  • An inability for many – including professionals and consumers – to discern the truth from the deceptive hype.  So much information being put forward by so-called industry authorities is simply incorrect.
  • Educating and empowering consumers to have trust and confidence in their sources for reliable information is not taken seriously by so many ill-informed and inexperienced instant preparedness experts.
  • A lack of critical thinking and communication skills from survivalist spokespersons.
  • A lack of trustworthy leadership.
  • A self-serving and corrupt media that promotes survivalist programming for profit that creates fear, confusion and anxiety.
  • The internet – that has been both a blessing and curse.  There is so much preparedness/survivalist information that is unreliable and inaccurate – and valuable and dependable – that many a sincere truth seeking individual finds it difficult or impossible to discern truth from fiction.
  • The problem once again is manipulation through fear.

The questions I ask those with the survivalist mindset – or anyone for that mater:

  • There are real and significant challenges ahead – Is there a more effective and empowering way to communicate preparedness and survival concerns to everyone without fixating on the fear and greed factor?
  • Have you realistically and critically evaluated the advice being given by so many for actions to take during a serious emergency?
  • Are you aware that the methods being utilized by numerous advertisers, talk show hosts, blog writers and others to stimulate action focuses on mindless reaction rather than critical evaluation?

I want to acknowledge the many sincerely conscientious and committed individuals, businesses and news sources who are devoted to providing truthful information and reliable products.  I especially want to give my appreciation to committed Christian experts who realize the big preparedness picture and offer prayer with their encouragement and advice.  I encourage all readers of this article to seek and discover these faithful individuals, organizations and companies.  I have written other articles available at Learn To Prepare – see the lists on the right column – that focus on the appropriate questions to ask yourself and others that will help in the preparedness planning process.

What’s Coming From Learn To Prepare

I feel personally called to spend more time this year focusing on education and information sharing.  I receive numerous calls from people who want trustworthy advice and guidance.  I hope to create a series of videos on specific topics that will be a visual help in the planning process.  I will also be updating and adding to my Foundational Articles list, Personal Favorites list and Recommended Books list.  These articles truly form the foundation of information available at Learn To Prepare.  It has not been my desire to add numerous posts every month – one maybe two at most.

You will also notice a deepening emphasis on the spiritual and emotional attitudes and perspectives required regarding preparedness and survival.  For me the proper attitude and one’s spiritual/religious faith is essential, and forms the foundation for any effective and successful preparedness program.  Given the issues covered above regarding fear, and the emphasis on the accumulation of stuff and information (nothing wrong with stuff and information – if coupled with proper attitude and spiritual faith), I find a lack of encouragement that focuses on the most important aspects of the preparedness process – the aspects that provide true Peace of Mind.

 

 

We live in stressful and transformative times!

My Be Encouraged post first appeared at the end of 2011 and I have received many encouraging comments about its value in these troubling times.  I especially wanted to re-post this updated version.  It is not meant to be an article about preparedness or outdoor adventure – it is here to be a brief rest from the apprehension of daily life and the anguish of the times.  2015 will be a year of significant challenges – may you be encouraged to endure with sustaining hope!

I felt a personal calling to write and share this prayer of encouragement as a gift to those needing some uplifting words during distressing events and the constant perpetration by media and government of crisis, fear and hysteria.

It is difficult to stay positive, feel secure and be joyful when the world around us appears to be degenerating and transforming, and so many people – especially “leadership” – are egocentric and delusional. 

We all need encouragement to help us cope.

 

  • Be encouraged: to find tranquility, serenity, courage and contentment amid the uncertainty, anxiety and confusion of the times.
  • Be encouraged: to trust GOD to replace fear and worry with peace and hope.
  • Be encouraged: to avoid those who rob you of your passion.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the company and counsel of those who encourage, understand and support you.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the wisdom to be able to discern the truth from the lie.
  • Be encouraged: to discover someone you can truly trust.
  • Be encouraged: to focus your mind and heart on that which edifies, inspires and transforms.
  • Be encouraged: to let go of the notion that you can do “it” all yourself.
  • Be encouraged: to cast off the chains that bind you to discontentment.
  • Be encouraged: to love one another in thought, heart and deed.
  • Be encouraged: to be selfless not selfish.
  • Be encouraged: to be honest with yourself – and others.
  • Be encouraged: to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, open the eyes of your heart, meditate in silence and be thankful to GOD for the blessings that you have been given.
  • Be encouraged: to deflect the negativity, fear and hatred that is thrust upon you daily.
  • Be encouraged: to experience aliveness as much as possible.
  • Be encouraged: to discern the beneficial actions you are called upon to pursue during these troubled times.
  • Be encouraged: to be courageous while you walk among the weak and disheartened.
  • Be encouraged: not to give up on loved ones who are in denial of the truth of the times and ridicule you for your faith and commitment to being prepared for the unforeseen.
  • Be encouraged: to embody the right attitude that will carry you through all the trials and tribulations of your life.
  • Be encouraged: to continually search for and discover meaning in all circumstances.
  • Be encouraged: to embody forgiveness.
  • Be encouraged: to realize and exemplify your GOD given purpose in life.
  • Be encouraged: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think about (meditate on) these things … Phil 4:8
  • Be encouraged: to pray to GOD with thanksgiving – believe and have faith – let go – follow GOD’s guidance and instruction with patience and perseverance.
  • Be encouraged: to encourage others!

 

Blessings to those who are encouraged by these words

The post Reflections, Goals and Encouragement for 2015 appeared first on Learn To Prepare – Expert Emergency Preparedness Information.

Essential Emergency Kit Information & Advice

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By Denis Korn                                                                                                    Franklin quote

This post – Essential Emergency Kit Information & Advice – is a valuable companion to the previous post Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning – Including Vehicle Preparedness – Latest Update.  You are encouraged to share this post and its vital information with family, friends, business associates, church and temple congregations and other members of any organizations to which you belong.  May this post help you in your serious preparedness planning.  Celebrate Peace of Mind!

Here are the crucial questions to answer when assembling your emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag – which is vital if you must leave your home or business quickly.

  • If an evacuation has been declared, a severe weather event is imminent or a significant disaster has occurred, how will I know?
  • If I have to evacuate, will I be in a cozy government evacuation center with food, water, blankets and a bed, or will I be on my own in the elements, a crude shelter or a friend’s/relatives house?
  • If specific government, church, community and friend’s sheltering options are not available, where do I go? How far? How do I get there?
  • What conditions can I expect to encounter – best scenario – worst scenario?
  • What are the weather conditions I am likely to encounter? What is the season?
  • Will I be alone, or are others depending on me? Family – children – elderly – pets?
  • Am I dependent on others? Who? Why? Do I expect the government to take care of me?
  • What kind of support is likely to be available?
  • How long should I prepare for?
  • What if there is nothing left when I return?
  • Are my essentials, heirlooms, personal treasures, irreplaceable photographs, documents and financial assets secure if I leave with only my grab-and-go bag?
  • Do I have a reliable communication plan to contact family, friends and business associates at a moment’s notice?
  • What is the potential severity of the emergency I might experience?
  • Will I have transportation, or will I be on foot?
  • Do I have enough money on hand to pay for possible shelter, food or supplies if I am suddenly evacuated and away from home or business?
  • Am I truly prepared for the unexpected, a procrastinator or am I in denial?

To have a truly adequate emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag the above questions must be answered. Your personal preparedness bag contents will vary depending on numerous factors such as time, number of persons, locations involved, mobility, support available, season, comfort level desired and the degree of peace of mind you want.

Here is a list of the basic essentials for every kit. Each category will have multiple options depending on how you answer the above crucial questions. Cheap, inadequate and poorly made provisions don’t belong in a quality kit. Prepare your kit as if your and your family’s life and comfort depended on it – because it does!

  1. Water – bottled/filters/purifiers/tablets/containers
  2. Food – ready-to-eat/bars/trail mix/freeze dried/shelf stable/food preparation equipment
  3. Medical – quality medical kit with instructions/prescriptions/glasses/essential medications/sunscreen/dental medic/foot care/safety pins/dust mask/gas mask
  4. Special Needs – food/medical/children/elderly/disabled/pets
  5. Tools – multi-tool/knife/wire/cable ties/duct tape/rope/paracord/gloves/small axe/repair tools/super glue/aluminum foil/ /manual can opener (often on multi-tool)/bungee cords/foldable or wire saw
  6. Communication – radio/hand crank – solar – battery/two-way radios/cell phone
  7. Fire – fire starter/lighter/matches/tinder/flint starter/magnifying glass
  8. Signaling & Orienting – whistle/signal mirror/compass/maps/GPS device
  9. Lighting – Hand crank – solar – battery/headlamp/flashlight/lantern/candles/lightsticks
  10. Power & Energy – batteries – regular and rechargeable/power-pack for batteries & cell phone recharged by solar and/or hand crank/solar and/or hand crank that charges devices directly
  11. Shelter – tarp/tent – tube or larger/plastic sheeting/insect protection
  12. Emergency Blankets/sleeping bags – emergency or larger or bivy sack
  13. Personal Hygiene/sanitary supplies/disinfectant
  14. Plastic Bags/ties
  15. Personal Security – weapon & ammo if appropriate/pepper spray/bear repellant/mace or other options
  16. Appropriate Clothing and Footwear – protection from the elements/apparel for warmth/heat packs – hand and body warmers
  17. Identification and Essential Documents – Bible/compact survival handbook/personal ID/insurance and other key documents/entertainment
  18. Spare Keys
  19. Phone Numbers and Addresses – friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
  20. Instructions on meeting and/or communicating with family and/or friends during or after an emergency
  21. Cash/credit cards
  22. Pen/markers/paper
  23. Configured Compact Emergency Kit with Essential Items
  24. Carrying Device – carry bag/backpack/suitcase/sturdy container/Food & Supply Brick™/duffel Bag (very durable and if you anticipate carrying your bag any distance shoulder straps should be available with your carry bag or duffel)

If time permits, take irreplaceable items such as heirlooms, heirloom jewelry, photographs, military/marriage/birth/deed records, computers, tablets, and personal contact information and documents not included in your grab-and-go device.

Water
An obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category.

Determine whether or not you want to purify water for viruses.  Not all water filters are designed for this purpose – look for water purifiers that specifically state that they will kill viruses.

Food
Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully and the quality and quantity of foods chosen should be appropriate to the anticipated length of time of the emergency or outing, and severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur.  For shorter term scenarios foods in most situations should be nutritious and ready-to-eat; however you might want to consider some foods requiring only the addition of cold or hot water.  If you do need hot water you must plan for the appropriate means and equipment to heat your water.  Options listed have a longer shelf life and are suitably packaged for kits or backpacks.

Medical
When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions.  If your pre-assembled kit doesn’t include one, make sure you get a good book on medical emergencies.

Shelter/warmth
Protection from the elements and insects is essential, especially in a harsh climate.

Tools
Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with the proper quality tool.

Communication/Signaling
It is important to keep informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies.  If you get lost or are separated from your group signaling can be crucial.  Since electronic items are included in this category, you may want to consider a small solar power device.

Lighting
This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Not only for a sense of security and comfort, but to be able to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies occur in the dark.

Personal protection
For some this may not be an essential basic category.  Each individual must decide the extent to which they will or will not provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals.

This article provides a very basic list of suggested items we believe are essential for emergency preparedness and outdoor recreation; especially if space, weight, and mobility are important.  For an expanded list of suggestions read our article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

dilbertDisasterPlan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barriers to Critical Thinking & The 7 Essential Questions for Reflection

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By Denis Korn                          

I am sharing once again what has been one of the most read of all my posts – Barriers to Critical Thinking.  It continues to be even more timely given the issues that we face as a country and as a civilization today.  I re-post and update this article periodically and I continually receive comments on how relevant and important it is for not only students, but for adults.

This is a blog site that primarily focuses on the process of emergency preparedness planning, and it is essential that one develops an effective foundation and skill set for critical evaluation and assessment of facts and circumstances that lead to actions that are effectual, appropriate and beneficial.   My philosophical background can’t help but guide me to the two core aspects of the critical thinking process: freedom and choice.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

— Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”    

–Viktor Frankl

As an expanded Cherokee Proverb states so well:  

There Is A Battle Of Two Wolves Inside Us All

One is evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, greed, sorrow, regret, self-pity, guilt, false pride, resentment, lies, inferiority, elitist superiority and ego.

The other is good.  It is joy, peace, serenity, generosity, compassion, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, faith and truth.

The one who wins?  The one you feed.

What we cultivate and nurture will determine our result and experience.  This applies to building a preparedness program and to all aspects of our encounter with life and our perception of reality.  Do we choose freedom and being responsible for our choices and the rewards that follow, or are we going to thoughtlessly and recklessly react without engaging in a critical thinking process?

As an observer of the current events in our society, it is blatantly obvious that those in positions of leadership and influence – government, commerce, media and education – are suffering from “serious delusion and self-interest syndrome.”  The polarization, manipulation and deterioration of our society is so insidious and pervasive that I continue to pray and yearn for our citizens, educators and leaders to embrace and embody the skills of critical thinking, truthful evaluation, selflessness and discernment.  The lying and deception being imposed upon the people by the government, media and the self-serving has reached epidemic proportions – so many folks are reacting not thinking – fear, selfishness and confusion has robed our populace of the basic fundamentals of thoughtful reasoning.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”

— H. L. Mencken

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” 

— George Orwell

Has decades of incompetent, agenda driven and indoctrinating education finally taken its toll on common sense and judicious thinking?

The following list of the barriers to critical thinking, common sense and rational judgment is overwhelming and intimidating to many – so in your quest to be a skilled thinker you are encouraged to overcome obstacles that will appear in your path.  Be dedicated, competent and persistent – and be willing to help others to be successful and effective thinkers.

Here are the Seven Essential Questions that must be reflected upon and honestly answered to begin the process of developing critical thinking skills:

  1. What is the truth?  Can you differentiate the difference between truth and opinion? (hint: truth is discovered – it is what is — opinion is created by people – it is opinion that is relative not truth)
  2. Who do you trust? Why?
  3. From where do you obtain the information that forms your worldview?  Why?
  4. Can you discern the truth from the lie – the real from the false?  How do you discern? – Try logic, reason, rational evaluation, reliable intuition, common sense, anecdotal evidence, nonjudgmental observation and selfless reflection.
  5. Can you recognize “what really is” from what you believe “ought to be?” – It has been said that strife and discord in life arise from the struggle between “what is” and “what ought to be.”  What do you do when you discover this conflict? 
  6. Can you formulate conclusions and judgments based upon the ability to access, evaluate and determine the relevancy and reliability of facts and evidence?
  7. Which barriers are the most prevalent in your critical thinking process, and which ones do you experience most prevalent in others?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 2011

I have decided to post this article on the barriers to critical thinking, which I use in teaching, as the 3rd in a series of posts dealing with the psychological, emotional and spiritual components of emergency and disaster preparedness planning.

Normalcy Bias – Why People are attached to Inaction

The Emotional and Spiritual Components of Preparedness

As I have stated before, there is more to preparing for emergencies than the physical “stuff” you surround yourself with.  Evaluating, understanding and acknowledging all aspects of the planning process is essential for a proper and complete preparedness program.

This article, which I wrote, was an important part of the college course I taught on Critical Thinking – a class I believe to be an essential part of a college experience.  I have not changed it for this post – this is what the students read, reflected upon and discussed in class.  Most struggle with its implications and accuracy.  It not only applies to preparedness planning – but to all aspects of human deliberation.

BARRIERS TO CRITICAL THINKING – from my college course on Critical Thinking

Your responsibility as a critical thinker is to be aware of the barriers, acknowledge the challenges they present, and overcome them to the best of your ability.

“If critical thinking is so important, why is it that uncritical thinking is so common?  Why is it that so many people – including many highly educated and intelligent people – find critical thinking so difficult?”[1] And I [Denis] might add – impossible!

Discovering the answers to these questions is crucial to the understanding of what is required to be a true critical thinker, and the reasons you will encounter from those who resist embodying critical thinking skills are often quite complex, and can be both subtle and blatant.  The following list of barriers to critical thinking will help guide you to recognizing the challenges that await you and was compiled from Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, our text Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, and personal observation.

  • pride
  • greed
  • egocentrism (self-centered thinking)
  • sociocentrism or ethnocentrism (group/society/cultural-centered thinking)
  • an over-reliance on feelings
  • self-deception
  • the erroneous belief of personal infallible intuition
  • unconscious reaction
  • reacting in self-defense – fear of personal attack – believing one’s ideas and beliefs are an extension of one’s self and must be defended at all costs
  • fear of change or an unwillingness to change
  • a pathological inability to evaluate, recognize, or accept an idea or point of view that differs from one’s own
  • a less than honorable agenda
  • lack of relevant background information or ignorance
  • inappropriate bias
  • prejudice
  • unwarranted assumptions
  • overpowering or addictive emotions
  • fear of being wrong or face-saving
  • selective perception and selective memory
  • peer pressure
  • conformism (mindless conformity)
  • indoctrination initiated by uncritical thinkers with malicious and selfish intent
  • provincialism (restricted and unsophisticated thinking)
  • narrow-mindedness or close-mindedness
  • lack of discernment
  • distrust in reason
  • relativism (relativistic thinking)
  • absolutism (there are no exceptions)
  • stereotyping
  • scapegoating (blaming others)
  • denial
  • wishful thinking
  • short-term thinking
  • political correctness
  • superstition
  • being influenced by drugs
  • excessive anger, hate, or bitterness
  • disturbing one’s comfort
  • lack of personal honesty
  • apathy
  • poor reading and comprehension skills
  • poor or dysfunctional communication skills
  • excessive addiction
  • a mental disorder
  • cognitive dissonance (psychological conflict resulting from incompatible beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously)
  • lack of humility
  • the effects of radiation and man-made atmospheric chemicals
  • debilitating fear and uncertainty
  • reliance on main stream television, newspapers and other media for information
  • the effects of television and electronic media on memory, cognition and brain function

In general – the older one becomes the more well-established and rooted these barriers are in the thought process, and the harder it is to overcome them – they become part of you like a scar.  It is suggested to triumph over them as soon as possible.

Questions for reflection:

 

– What is the purpose and value in gaining critical thinking skills?  – Is it really necessary?

– What are the rewards?  – What are the challenges?

– Am I willing to do what it takes?  – How important is it for me?  – Can I do it?

– Do I realize that demonstrating, sharing, and embodying wisdom and discernment requires exemplifying critical thinking skills and overcoming its barriers?  –  Are all these barriers overwhelming?

– Do I realize this is a lifelong process?  – What is the difference between intelligence and wisdom?

– What are the steps required for developing critical thinking skills?

– How do I communicate with others who are not critical thinkers and have embodied these barriers to such an extent that they are unwilling to engage in a meaningful dialogue or acknowledge any responsibility in the communication breakdown?  – Or do I bother at all?

– How am I to react or respond when I experience a lack of critical thinking in the media, among friends and family, at the work place, and in my academic courses and studies?

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are in fact vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking listed above is essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships – developing leadership skills for both family and vocational choices – fulfilling the goals and missions of businesses and organizations – and discovering and achieving purpose and fulfillment in all aspects of one’s life.  Many of the barriers to critical thinking are barriers to joyfulness, selflessness, and contentment.

Do not be discouraged by the enormity of the task of reflecting upon, acknowledging, and overcoming these barriers.  Have confidence that you will recognize the hold these barriers have on your thought process, and I encourage you to be committed to achieving the obtainable rewards awaiting you when you have accomplished the goal of prevailing over these barriers one by one.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

Evaluating and embracing an idea, information, knowledge, guideline, doctrine or theology is a mental exercise and is the just the beginning of the process – embodiment is the goal and requires diligent and persistent action for true fulfillment and success.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein, in a letter to his son Eduard, February 5, 1930

The Problem of Egocentric Thinking[2]

Egocentric thinking results from the unfortunate fact that humans do not naturally consider the rights and needs of others.  We do not naturally appreciate the point of view of others nor the limitations in our own point of view.  We become explicitly aware or our egocentric thinking only if trained to do so.  We do not naturally recognize our egocentric assumptions, the egocentric way we use information, the egocentric way we interpret data, the source of our egocentric concepts and ideas, the implications of our egocentric thought.  We do not naturally recognize our self-serving perspective.

As humans we live with the unrealistic but confident sense that we have fundamentally figured out the way things actually are, and that we have done this objectively.  We naturally believe in our intuitive perceptions – however inaccurate [Denis – I personally believe that intuitive perceptions are vital to critical thinking – providing one possesses the required discernment skills].  Instead of using intellectual standards in thinking, we often use self-centered psychological standards to determine what to believe and what to reject.  Here are the most commonly used psychological standards in human thinking.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT.”  Innate egocentrism: I assume that what I believe is true even though I have never questioned the basis for many of my beliefs.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT.”  Innate sociocentrism: I assume that the dominant beliefs of the groups to which I belong are true even though I have never questioned the basis for those beliefs.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I WANT TO BELIEVE IT.”  Innate wish fulfillment: I belief in whatever puts me (or the groups to which I belong) in a positive light.  I believe what “feels good,” what does not require me to change my thinking in any significant way, what does not require me to admit I have been wrong.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IT.”  Innate self-validation: I have a strong desire to maintain beliefs I have long held, even though I have not seriously considered the extent to which those beliefs are justified by the evidence.

“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE IT IS IN MY SELFISH INTEREST TO BELIEVE IT.”  Innate selfishness: I believe whatever justifies my getting more power, money, or personal advantage even though those beliefs are not grounded in sound reasoning or evidence.

Seriously reflect on this post!

Seriously reflect on this post!


[1] Gregory Bassham, Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, 3rded., (New York, McGraw-Hill, 2008), p. 11

[2] Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder

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The Gift of Encouragement

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By Denis Korn

We live in stressful and transformative times!

My Be Encouraged post first appeared at the end of 2011 and I have received many encouraging comments about its value in these troubling times.  I especially wanted to re-post this updated version.  It is not meant to be an article about preparedness or outdoor adventure – it is here to be a brief rest from the apprehension of daily life and the anguish of the times.

I felt a personal calling to write and share this prayer of encouragement as a gift to those needing some uplifting words during distressing events and the constant perpetration by media and government of crisis, fear and hysteria.

It is difficult to stay positive, feel secure and be joyful when the world around us appears to be dissolving and transforming, and so many people – especially “leadership” – are egocentric and delusional. 

We all need encouragement to help us cope.

 

  • Be encouraged: to find tranquility, serenity, courage and contentment amid the uncertainty, anxiety and confusion of the times.
  • Be encouraged: to trust GOD to replace fear and worry with peace and hope.
  • Be encouraged: to avoid those who rob you of your passion.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the company and counsel of those who encourage, understand and support you.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the wisdom to be able to discern the truth from the lie.
  • Be encouraged: to discover someone you can truly trust.
  • Be encouraged: to focus your mind and heart on that which edifies, inspires and transforms.
  • Be encouraged: to let go of the notion that you can do “it” all yourself.
  • Be encouraged: to cast off the chains that bind you to discontentment.
  • Be encouraged: to love one another in thought, heart and deed.
  • Be encouraged: to be selfless not selfish.
  • Be encouraged: to be honest with yourself – and others.
  • Be encouraged: to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, open the eyes of your heart, meditate in silence and be thankful to GOD for the blessings that you have been given.
  • Be encouraged: to deflect the negativity, fear and hatred that is thrust upon you daily.
  • Be encouraged: to experience aliveness as much as possible.
  • Be encouraged: to discern the beneficial actions you are called upon to pursue during these troubled times.
  • Be encouraged: to be courageous while you walk among the weak and disheartened.
  • Be encouraged: to continually search for and discover meaning in all circumstances.
  • Be encouraged: to embody forgiveness.
  • Be encouraged: to realize and exemplify your GOD given purpose in life.
  • Be encouraged: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think about (meditate on) these things … Phil 4:8
  • Be encouraged: to pray to GOD with thanksgiving – believe and have faith – let go – follow GOD’s guidance and instruction with patience and perseverance.
  • Be encouraged: to encourage others!

 

Blessings to those who are encouraged by these words

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Why Are So Many Christians Being Called To Prepare?

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By Denis Korn

The time is appropriate to share an article written prior to Y2K.  The title was the original title – Today it could be expanded to ask: Why Are So Many People of Diverse Communities Being Called to Prepare? While this was written 13 years ago to a Christian audience, it is as applicable today to any church, group, organization, web forum or family, as it was to Christians when I wrote it right before Y2K.

Most scenarios are the same, the issues surrounding preparedness are the same and the events and potential events are real and impending.  I foresaw then that it wasn’t just about Y2K, but any unforeseen occurrence – and I knew then that Y2K was just a wake up call for more serious potential events yet to come years into the future – that future is with us now.

What follows is the original article except for current comments in brackets [ ]:

I have been aware of the desire of large numbers of born-again Christians to be spiritually and physically prepared for emergency situations, especially catastrophic ones, for 24 years now [39 years as of 2014] – and the numbers are growing as we reach the new millennium.  Is this some kind of “millennium madness,” as some would suggest, or is something else happening?

It is my observation that basically 4 things are occurring:

First, many Christians are realizing that individual churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in time of emergency.  They feel it is the churches’ responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members.  There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.

They feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is of course primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities.  There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.

Second, there is an overwhelming sense of impending trials and tribulations – whether it is the last days, Godly rebuke or some intense period of transition or wake up call to The Church and the world.

Potential problems can be triggered by a number of possible events: Y2K, war – and the rumors of war, scientific experimentation gone wrong, terrorism, earthquakes and other natural disasters, famine, pestilence, economic and technical instability, political upheaval, martial law, The New World Order – and the list goes on. [This short list was written in 1999 – except for the uncertainties of Y2K it appears the same scenarios are still with us, and with even more intensity and probability.] Any one event, let alone multiple events all at once can cause a dramatic and profound change in our society and our lifestyle.

It is self-evident that most of our population today in America is not prepared for nor accustomed to serious hardships.  We have become comfortable and dependent rather than self-reliant and responsible.  The availability of goods and services are dependant on so many interrelated factors, that a breakdown in just one area can have a significant impact on our daily life and the ability to provide for those depending upon us.

The Word instructs Christians to be wise, prudent and responsible and provide for their families.  While spiritual trust in God is first and foremost, many are realizing the need for physical preparation is also essential in preparedness planning.  There is a spiritual awakening and discernment of the realities and vulnerability of the times in which we live.  Many are interpreting Biblical teaching as a call to action.

A classic example is the Old Testament account of Joseph [Gen 41: 34-36, 48-49] who stored provisions in the abundant times for the time of famine and great need.  [When you continue reading in Genesis 47: 13-26 what occurred during the famine to the citizens of that time and the consequences of relying entirely upon the government is sobering – although they did not starve – you will be shaken by the implications of the loss of freedoms and the total dependency upon the government that are possible today.]  Are we so naïve or arrogant as to believe that it could not happen in our country in our time?

Third, Christians feel a need to create community and associate with like-minded Christians who share a common perspective on the times and what actions to take.  I am both amazed and dismayed at the polarization that is occurring in the church over the issue of Y2K and preparedness in general.  [During Y2K this was also the case among many secular groups. With today’s current events and concerns, the same polarization is occurring in and out of The Church.]

Within churches and within families, people are branding those who are planning for emergencies – especially Y2K – as “wackos,” “nuts,” “extremists,” “suckers,” “stupid,” and those who supply emergency provisions as “opportunists,” “money hungry,” and “snake oil salesman.”  The often harsh judgment on those preparing and supplying makes me wonder what is really going on here, and what are the greater implications of the whole matter.  What can be wrong with rational Christians – or anyone for that matter – wanting to be prepared for any number of potential emergency scenarios?

Many Christians feel a “coming together and fellowship” with others who have prayed earnestly, studied the Bible, felt called and have concluded that being prepared is the action to take.  There is mutual support, a deepening bond and a sense of security and peace of mind.  There is the opportunity to contribute in the time of need, and the acknowledgement from one’s brothers and sisters that what you are doing is okay…and even proper.

Fourth, many Christians have informed themselves and evaluated the facts, read books, gone to conferences, watched videos, talked to friends, gone to church presentations, asked lots of questions, attended community meetings, been on the internet and concluded that Y2K and other potential problems have a real possibility of occurring.  It can be as simple and logical as assessing the potential risks and taking appropriate action, compatible with one’s personal situation.

We can hope there are no problems or consequences and carry on, or we can study the vast amount of knowledgeable information from true experts and form educated opinions.  We can weigh the reliability of news sources and use our common sense and rational judgment to come to reasonable conclusions.  [While we are fortunate that nothing serious developed from Y2K and that the technical issues were addressed and resolved, it was very clear to many experts at the beginning of the fixing process that there was a real potential for a serious impact on the very interdependent network of delivering vital goods and services.]

This article was not written to convince anyone to run out and start planning.  It was written to share and comment on what I have observed and feel is happening as it relates to preparing Christians.  It remains, however, that a key question must be asked: What chance are you willing to take that any emergency or disaster will be so insignificant in your life that no action is required on your part?

I personally encourage everyone to pray, learn what the Word has to say to you personally about preparedness planning, and conscientiously study the events of the day, the times and the facts relating to Y2K and other potential emergency scenarios.  Consider not only January 1, 2000, but the months and years to come.

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Relevant Scripture:

These Scriptures very slightly among the different translations, however the core meaning is relevant to being prepared, being watchful, being responsible, sharing, service and trusting in the Lord.

  • Genesis 41: 29-31, 34-36, 48-49, 53-57
  • Consequences of Genesis 41 – Gen 47: 13-26
  • Proverbs 22:3; 6:6-8; 3:5-6; 16:9
  • Ecclesiastes 8:6-7
  • 1 Timothy 5:8
  • Luke 21: 34-36
  • Isaiah 62:6; 32:6
  • Jeremiah 6:17-19; 17:7-8
  • Philippians 4: 6-8; 2: 3-4
  • Ephesians 6:10-18; 5:15-17
  • Matthew 24; 25: 1-4, 6-9, 13; 7:24-25
  • Hosea 4:6a
  • Acts 2: 44-47
  • James 2: 14-17

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What Are The Most Important Elements of Preparedness?

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By Denis Korn

There is an extraordinary fixation in our current culture with all the trappings of physical survival – given the perception of imminent collapse, chaos and oppression.  The degree of hysteria and response to this phenomena is unprecedented in the 39 years I have been in the preparedness industry, and I will soon post an article with my take on what is happening.  I am not a prophet – just an experienced observer of the times and peoples reaction to the radical shifts taking place in our society.  The events that will unfold in the very near future may be catastrophic as many believe or just extremely uncomfortable – we shall soon find out.

The heightened sensitivity to the uncertainty of these times has obviously motivated many to a preparedness/survival mindset.  While so many folks writing articles and blogs are focusing on the myriad of aspects of physical readiness, and a boatload of preparedness/survival websites and advertisers are intensely promoting all the stuff required to survive, I feel the most important elements of preparedness/survival are often overlooked.  This brings our attention to the spiritual and emotional components of preparedness.

In a previous post I talked about Normalcy Bias – the mental state by which people cling to perceptions that are familiar and comfortable – and because of this state they can be in denial of the reality of the circumstances around them.  In some situations and contexts Normalcy Bias may be appropriate; however, in planning for emergencies denying the truth can be disastrous and often deadly.

After acknowledging that there are mental states and attitudes (see Attitude is a Decision) that are necessary to properly plan for emergencies and catastrophes, I want to address the emotional and spiritual aspects of emergency and disaster planning.  Most of the information, guidelines, lists and resources for preparedness focus exclusively on the physical “stuff” required to be adequately prepared for an emergency.  While this is obviously important, it is only one component in the preparedness process when looked at from a holistic perspective.

What is emotion? The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary gives us this definition:

2 a : the affective aspect of consciousness  : FEELING  b : a state of feeling  c : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.

This is very pertinent as you engage in planning for emergencies.  The relevant point here is that the preparedness planner experiences a conscious mental reaction experienced as a strong feeling that is accompanied by a behavioral change.  While this appears rather self-evident, it must be pointed out that the emergency planner must be aware of their feelings and behavior and its impact on the decisions made on the physical component of the process.

What are the effects of one’s emotional condition and the correctness of their actions? I have talked with many folks about this issue and have seen and heard of the unfortunate results of decisions made that were a result of not being conscience of the influence of their emotional state.  Understanding the power of one’s emotions and acting responsibly can have a positive impact on taking correct action – losing control of one’s emotions and behavior can be destructive.

As I have discussed so often while teaching Critical Thinking in the college classroom, people habituallyreact to a challenging situation rather than critically evaluate and reflect appropriately.  The quality and effectiveness of their decisions is often significantly compromised.  Essential attributes in the preparedness planning process are DISCERNMENT AND INFORMED JUDGMENT!

What is the spiritual component? The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary gives us this definition of spiritual:

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit  : INCORPOREAL  [spiritual needs]   2 a : of or relating to sacred matters  [spiritual songs]  b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal  [spiritual authority]  [lords spiritual]   3 : concerned with religious values  4 : related or joined in spirit  [our spiritual home]  [his spiritual heir]   5 a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena  b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism  : SPIRITUALISTIC

For many the spiritual factor is the most important facet of preparedness and the point from which one begins the preparedness process.  One’s spiritual faith and belief forms the foundation for action.  Reliance on God in the decision making process is primary – trust in God’s guidance in making one’s decisions is fundamental and essential.

I believe the spiritual component encompasses the following aspects:

  • The ultimate outcome of the emergency scenario is in God’s hands
  • In a mysterious way God directs the process
  • We often focus our most important priorities in the wrong direction
  • The purpose of the disaster or catastrophe is of a spiritual nature
  • The difficulties and suffering in a disaster affords one the opportunity to choose to come closer to and rely upon God
  • One’s faith and trust in God is tested, and gives one a chance to assess their relationship with the Divine
  • We are not to rely on our own understanding
  • We are not to cling to the notion that our material possessions are the most important factors in our lives
  • The importance of earnest prayer is profoundly evident
  • Catastrophic events are a result of spiritual warfare of which we have no control
  • We are to love, support, assist, provide for, console, teach and inspire our family, neighbors, friends and strangers during the most trying of times
  • We are being required to ask – and answer: What are the fundamental truths I must learn, and who do I  truly trust during trials and tribulation?
  • Why are you being called to prepare and for what purpose?

To believe that being prepared is just a matter of having all the right provisions safely stored away is, in my opinion, overlooking the most important factors in survival, resiliency and effective preparedness.  We must not get caught up in the perverting media frenzy of perpetuating fear and anxiety to such an extent that clear thinking is obliterated.  Successful preparedness – and daily living for that matter – is a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual elements.

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