The hardest-core Preppers are those preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) – a complete societal collapse.
But what exactly do they think would trigger such a cataclysm? Which horse will Doom be riding when he comes to America?
- An EMP burst wiping out all electronics?
- A nuclear war?
- The collapse of the global financial system?
- A Magnetic Pole Shift?
- Naughty asteroid smashing into Earth?
You’ll find these and other doomsday scenarios touted with avidity on Prepper blogs.
Let’s talk about the nexus of ideology and psychology, because there is an interesting question here: do Preppers prep because they believe these scenarios are likely, or do they believe these scenarios are likely because they prep?
In the first scenario, the psychological reasoning is clear. Having made a rational assessment of the risks of various doomsday scenarios, the individual figures the costs of prepping now are outweighed by the potential costs of not prepping, and acts accordingly.
In the second formulation, the motivation runs the other direction. Having already committed to the Prepper lifestyle (perhaps being first drawn in by their peer group), the individual has a powerful psychological motivation to protect their choice.
If you have invested significant resources in preparing for the end, what do you NOT want to see more than anything else? Sunlight the Day After Doomsday. You don’t want to be the Y2K survivalist on January 2, 2000. The mind then becomes a pliable sponge for soaking up doomsday scenarios and giving credence to each, because each provides a nice psychological “you’re on the right track” boost.
The truth? Like everything human: probably a mix of both formulations, in different ways, for different individuals. Humans are boring that way.