Forward Thinking – The Coming Tipping Point

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When I first wrote about the burden of truth and knowledge, I was referring to the weight that we, as preppers, carry on our shoulders as we attempt to make sense of the world around us. Since then, time has marched forward and not much has changed.

There is a sense of uneasiness among the informed masses that take the time to open their eyes and view the truth about our global economy, world hunger, Wall Street corruption, corporate shenanigans and the ever-growing threat of a world wide Armageddon.  The question is still asked: What are we preparing for? And the answer, in truth, is “we don’t know exactly”.  There is a coming tipping point but its shape and form is a bit vague.

Today on Backdoor Survival, I am pleased to bring back Richard Earl Broom, with another thought-provoking “think piece”.  He and I have some thoughts on how to carry this concept forward to the next level but first, grab a cup of coffee and read his timely muse on “Building A Culture of Preparedness”.


Often on the prepper blogs there is a pressing question by contributors, when will we know… this is it? In other words, to borrow from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, when will we recognize that we have finally hit the “tipping point” with an event that could really bring things down?

This is the fundamental question many preppers must ponder at some point. It has no determinate answer, but rather sits in your gut as an uneasy feeling. Is this it? Am I prepared? What do I do now?

My belief is that this moment will be hard to recognize and most likely come from a direction most of us are not looking. I think it will be what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls in his books a “black swan event,” an event that comes as a surprise to us, as something we had not anticipated, and then we rationalize about why we missed it and its significance.

I believe massive catastrophic events (e.g. a nuclear attack, a global pandemic) are the least likely black swan candidates. We are looking in that direction all of the time and doing all we can to prevent them. If they ever occur, we will most certainly know we are “there” right away and act. Rather, I think the most likely black swan, the cause of a tipping point, will be an unexpected collapse caused by a cascading event that starts in an innocuous way and then slowly undoes us. This will be much harder to recognize.

The mathematician Edward Lorenz considered one of the primary theoreticians about a concept called Chaos Theory, demonstrated by his research that small changes, cascading over time in very large and very complex systems, could ultimately result in a much greater effect.

He coined the term, “The Butterfly Effect”. The common example used to explain The Butterfly Effect is the mathematical ability to show how the effect of a butterfly flapping its wings in some remote part of the world could, over time, be the origin of a hurricane.

As we stock and store, as we figure the how and the what of prepping, I feel we must also spend more time thinking through the “what if?” We should not just prepare for what we expect could happen, but also what we don’t expect to happen. We need to learn to be able to look around the next corner while we are still walking down the street.

What could a malware attack on bank’s international information systems and databases potentially, ultimately result in? Think of this in terms of a chain of events:

Initial Event  –>  Immediate Impact  –>  Cascading Impacts  –>  Ultimate Possibility

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