Against Defeatism: The Apocaloptimist Manifesto

Winning the War Against the Cruelites

“Never accept an inferior position to anyone. It is the strongest spirit that wins, not the most expensive sword.”
—Miyamoto Musashi

The Courage to Survive

“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”
—Winston Churchill

Port Elizabeth, South Africa. December 18, 1994. LBJ: From Mastermind t... Nelson, Phillip F. Buy New $14.49 (as of 05:15 UTC - Details)

“Do you think she’s dead?” a man asked, speaking in Afrikaans.

“No one can survive that,” said his companion.

Later dubbed the Ripper Rapists, the two climbed into their victim’s car, one tossing a denim shirt onto the motionless body.

Once the thrum of the car engine faded into silence, twenty-seven-year-old Alison Botha scratched the names of her assailants in the sand followed by the note, “I love Mom.”

She thought those would be her last words. She lay on the ground, listening to her breaths whooshing through the stab wound in her trachea.

Suddenly, she found herself looking down at her body. She remembers being given “a choice whether to give up and be at peace or to carry on and fight to survive,” YouTuber Disturban reports.

She decided to fight.

“There was so much I still wanted to do, so much that I still wanted to live for,” Alison says.

Disemboweled, Alison used the denim shirt to hold her intestines inside her abdomen and stood up.

That’s when her head almost fell off.

Her throat had been severed so deeply, she was nearly decapitated. Her vision went black after her head fell backward.

“I pulled my head forward with my free hand, and my vision returned,” Alison recalls. “As I struggled forward, my sight faded in and out and I fell many times but managed to get up again until I finally reached the road.”

Tiaan Eilerd, a veterinary student on holiday from Johannesburg, hit the brakes when he spotted a woman collapsed in the road.

Drawing on his vet training, Tiaan nudged Alison’s thyroid back into her throat before calling for an ambulance.

The doctors couldn’t believe she was still alive. They didn’t expect her to last.

Alison not only survived, but she identified her attackers from her hospital bed, leading to their rapid apprehension. They would later plead guilty to eight charges in 1995, resulting in life sentences—although they were released on parole in 2023.

In Alison, the 2017 documentary about her experience, she says:

“I was abducted at knifepoint, taken to the bushes in the outskirts of the city, raped by two men, strangled, stabbed in my stomach in excess of thirty-six times, disemboweled, and had my throat cut seventeen times.

“It was horrific and scary and wrong.

“And I survived. And I think that’s where the journey started.

“We actually are capable of a lot more than we allow ourselves to think.”

Alison, whose story was also told in the 2016 book I Have Life: Alison’s Journey, now works as a motivational speaker, inspiring others to overcome trauma, depression, and other challenges.

“Life can sometimes make us feel like the victim,” she says. “Problems and hardships and traumas are dished out to all of us and sometimes they can be divided very unfairly.”

Although she was victimized, Alison is far from a victim—she is a survivor.

“I realized my life was too valuable to let go of, and that gave me the courage to survive,” she remembers.

The wisdom she gleaned from her suffering is evocative of the Stoic focus on managing our response to adversity rather than dwelling on the adversity itself. She says, “We may not always control the circumstances that we find ourselves in, but we can always control what we do within them.”

She later gave birth to two boys, widely considered miraculous given how ravaged her abdomen had been.

When her oldest was five, he asked about the scar on Alison’s neck. “Mommy was hurt, and sometimes when you get hurt, you get a scar afterwards,” she told him.

Scars remind us of our wounds, but they also serve as enduring emblems of our resilience. They teach us we can weather circumstances that may feel unbearable, inescapable, irreparable, or hopeless in the moment—as long as we don’t allow despair to win.

“If I had not in 1927 committed ‘egocide,’ I would probably have yielded long ago to convention and therewith suicide of my ‘only-for-all-others’ initiative.”
—R. Buckminster Fuller, Guinea Pig B: The 56 Year Experiment

In 1927, thirty-two-year-old R. Buckminster Fuller perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Michigan. Destitute and unemployed, he decided his life insurance would be worth more to his wife and daughter than his life.

Just as he was preparing to jump, Bucky suddenly felt himself floating, enveloped in light. He heard a voice say:

“From now on you need never await temporal attestation to your thought. You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”

Instead of choosing the cowardly escape from responsibility and vulnerability, Bucky determined to undertake “an experiment, to find what a single individual could contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”

In Guinea Pig B, he shares the vow he made that was to guide the rest of his life:

“If I take oath never again to work for my own advantaging and to work only for all others for whom my experience-gained knowledge may be of benefit, I may be justified in not throwing myself away. This will, of course, mean that I will not be able to escape the pain and mortification of being an absolute failure in playing the game of life as it has been taught to me.”

Having faced the prospect of annihilation, Bucky embraced his mission as if he had nothing left to lose, and in fearlessly giving life his all, Universe gave back everything he needed just at the moment it was needed.

He writes in Guinea Pig B:

“So we—my wife and family—have for 56 years realized a series of miracles that occur just when I need something, but not until the absolutely last second.”

The polymath genius would go on to live another fifty-six years, dying in 1983 eleven days before his eighty-eighth birthday. He had authored twenty-eight books, filed twenty-eight patents, garnered forty-seven honorary degrees, earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom, birthed the concept of design science, and revolutionized architecture.

Bucky recognized that what he calls the “revenooers” in Critical Path stand between humanity and bountiful energy resources, projecting artificial scarcity and thwarting individual autonomy to guard their profits and power:

“A vast overabundance of this Earthian cosmic energy income is now technically impoundable and distributable to humanity by presently proven technology. We are not allowed to enjoy this primarily because taxhungry government bureaucracies and moneydrunk big business can’t figure a way of putting meters between these cosmic energy sources and the Earthian passengers, so nothing is done about it.”

He even exposed the fallacious Malthusian-Darwinian hybrid model that has led the cruelites to impoverish, subjugate, and depopulate the masses for their own self-preservation: The Double Dangerous B... Iggulden, Conn Best Price: $6.96 Buy New $15.68 (as of 04:43 UTC - Details)

“The money-makers assume that there is nowhere nearly enough life support for all. Malthus said the majority of humans are designed to suffer and die far short of their potential life-span. Darwin’s ‘survival only of the fittest’ dictum has combined with that of Malthus to persuade the ‘haves’ to be intelligently selfish and to legally fortify their ‘haveness’ position against the ‘have-nots.’

“With legal planning of their lawyer-advised banking leaders, the ‘haves’ have now succeeded in cornering all the world’s monetary gold as well as the preponderance of the world’s petroleum sources—along with their refineries and world-around petro-delivery systems together also with acquisitions of all the atomic power-generating plants, originally paid for by the U.S. taxpayers—and thereafter in severing the monetary system from the wealth system while marking up the negotiable equity value of gold and petroleum tenfold. They also have contrived their own game of international monetary banking of international balances of trade and credit accounting.”

Bucky understood that literacy—and by extension, direct access to information via the Internet today—empowers individuals to liberate themselves from the authorities who presume to dictate their thoughts:

“When humanity is primarily illiterate, it needs leaders to understand and get the information and deal with it. When we are at the point where the majority of humans themselves are literate, able to get the information, we’re in an entirely new relationship to Universe. We are at the point where the integrity of the individual counts and not what the political leadership or the religious leadership says to do.”

Bucky’s wisdom speaks to this moment in history, charting the critical path toward our exit from tyranny:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

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