Among the Top Trends we had forecast for 2010 was u201CNeo-Survivalism.u201D
With so many once-dependable u201CSystemsu201D taking a battering and breaking down and with the certainty that there will never be a return to u201Cnormalu201D we foresaw the need for new types of survivalist thinking designed to cope with future emergencies.
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on February 27th put those theoretical guidelines and strategies to an acid test.
Institute Director Gerald Celente and colleague Gary Abatelli, on the last leg of a South American fact-finding mission, arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Thursday, February 25th. Shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday, though in a 14th-floor room with all windows closed, they were awakened by the wild howling of the innumerable dogs that roam Santiago’s streets.
In retrospect, it was a wake-up-call … a harbinger of the mega-quake that would strike minutes later. The 5-star Crown Plaza Hotel lurched and rocked. Within the room the TV toppled, lamps crashed, drawers shot out of their bureaus.
Both close-combat black belts, Celente and Abatelli’s decades of physical and psychological training would serve them well.
Aware of Chile’s long history of quakes, at the first tremor, Celente bolted from bed, put on his pants, slipped on his shoes, grabbed his jacket and ran for the stairwell.
The two had just one thought in mind: get out of the hotel before it collapsed. Nothing else counted. Personal possessions (passports, wallets, money, watches) became instant nonessentials. When it comes to life and death, the only things to leave behind are everything.
During 90 seconds of violent quakes, they put into practice years of u201Cwobble boardu201D training: the art of maintaining balance while continuing to move forward no matter what is being thrown at you. Flying down 14 stories of convulsing, pitching stairs, in just minutes (Celente reckons no more than three), they were first to reach the bottom.
Astonishingly, except for the hysterical cries of Madre de Dios coming from an escapee from a few floors above them, the stairwell was totally empty! They would later learn, from interviews with hotel guests, that the majority froze in panic. Some called the front desk for instructions, others waited for tour guides to direct them, a few huddled under desks, found refuge in bathtubs, or sought shelter in doorways.
We put our motto, u201CThink for yourself,u201D into action. Luckily, though seriously damaged, the hotel stood. Had it collapsed, those within it who were waiting to follow orders from tour guides or hotel personnel would have perished. When survival is at stake physical, fiscal or psychological the only leader to follow is yourself.
Prepare for the worst. If the worst doesn’t happen, nothing is lost. But if the worst happens and no preparations have been made … everything is lost.
The life-threatening element of the quake was past, but not the threat to life. In the few minutes it took Celente and Abatelli to make it downstairs, out into the street and back to the hotel lobby entrance, wolf-packs of screaming young men materialized, seemingly out of nowhere, even though it was 4 AM.
Rampaging through the streets, they bowled over and mugged anyone unlucky enough to get in their path. Police were nowhere to be seen.
Out of harm’s way for the moment, the next priority for Celente and Abatelli was finding a way out of Chile. The devastation was vast and the airport shut down. It was obvious that any sort of cleanup, to say nothing of repair and a restoration of services, would be slow to come.
u201CCommunal spirit intelligently deployed is the core value of ‘Neo-Survivalism.’u201D Abatelli’s laptop was working and an email was fired off to John Perkins, their close-combat mentor back in NY. Immediately, Perkins sent out an SOS to his worldwide list of martial arts practitioners. Within hours, advice was streaming in through a far-flung web of primary … then secondary and tertiary sources.
There were names and phone numbers of high-level Embassy officials; personal contacts in Chile and Argentina ready to help with funds and lodging. Among the dozens of suggestions, one held the promise of immediate escape: hire a car and driver to take them to Mendoza, Argentina, a ten hour drive from Santiago. From there they could fly to Buenos Aires and in fact were actually able despite other unforeseen complications to catch their scheduled flight back to New York.
The u201CNeo-Survivalismu201D principles carefully developed by The Trends Research Institute had been put into action and passed a crucial test. While the odds of being caught up in another major earthquake may be remote, analogous crises are not only possible, but probable in the near future.
We foresaw u201CNeo-Survivalismu201D as a Top Trend for 2010, because in these critical times a range of socioeconomic calamities and geopolitical upheavals will require individual and collective responses beyond any government’s ability to address. Terror attacks, economic meltdowns, crime waves, food shortages, infrastructure-disrupting cyber attacks, extended power outages and wars are all possibilities that the u201Con-trendu201D should be preparing for.
Gerald Celente is founder and director of The Trends Research Institute, author of Trends 2000 and Trend Tracking (Warner Books), and publisher of The Trends Journal. He has been forecasting trends since 1980, and recently called “The Collapse of ’09.”