Today, I wanted to explore a common analogy that's used to talk about the preparedness lifestyle.
This analogy sounds simple, but there's a lot more to it than meets the eye.
It has to do with sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Sound familiar?
There are Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs
Either way, this analogy can give us all some perspective on why and how we prepare.
Our goal is to go above and beyond as your preparedness advisers, so we'll be telling you something the rest of the preparedness community won't about this little analogy.
A PATRIOT'S THOUGHTS ON SHEEPDOG PREPAREDNESS
There's a philosophy that gets talked about a lot in the preparedness community called the "sheepdog approach." It comes from an analogy that describes humans as either sheep, wolves or sheepdogs.
To give you a brief overview, I've broken down the analogy into its parts.
Most are Sheep
Sheep make up the vast majority of society. Peaceful, kind, gentle. Collectively, they are productive and make up the "greater good" of our world.
This is not to say that the sheep, in this analogy, are by nature weak, fearful, blind or any other negative attributes.
Yet, the sheep are vulnerable to the wolves. The reason sheep are vulnerable is not because wolves are more powerful and cunning. No, the real reason is because sheep deny the existence of the wolves.
Let me explain. Many people understand danger and have a desire to feel safe. For instance, almost everyone knows that a seatbelt can save your life. Yet, these same people often complain about taking their shoes off at the airport.
See the difference? It has to do with denial. Most people are more comfortable with accepting the fact that a dangerous accident can happen versus a violent person carrying out a willful act to injure, maim and kill. We'll explore why this is a little later.
The Wolves are out there!
Wolves are characterized by two things among humans: a lack of care for the rest of society and a capacity for violence.
Many people visualize home invaders, terrorists or enemy combatants as the wolves of this world. Indeed, these are wolves. They are threats to the Sheep of this world.
However, we can't deny that there are often wolves among us. They may be wearing sheep's clothing. They may not carry out violence themselves, but put others in harm's way to achieve their ends by violent means. They may swindle sheep out of their peaceful way of living to selfishly make a better life for themselves.
In my mind, these are the most threatening wolves we face. It's easy to see the wolves as those political and financial elites pulling the strings, cornering the sheep in their quarry.
That's why the world needs sheepdogs.
The sheepdog protects the sheep from wolves. It alerts the flock to the wolf, and if necessary, defends against the wolf with equal violence. The sheepdog is capable of violence, but only out of love for people.
Servicemen are our Sheepdogs
In our society, the most identifiable sheepdogs are our servicemen and women and law enforcement. They put themselves in harm's way to protect the greater good. They neutralize the wolves, even if a wolf in sheep's clothing sent them to do so.
Here's where I deviate from a lot of folks in the preparedness community. I don't think that all sheepdogs have to be capable of violence in order to stave off the wolves.
Our armed forces and police make effective sheepdogs because they know how and when to use violence. A lot of people think they are born this way, as natural sheepdogs. But the truth is, no one becomes a warrior or a hero overnight.
Today's sheepdogs are constantly training, constantly learning. As the world changes, so do they. They are sniffing out new threats, becoming better equipped to handle them and so on.
This is why I think many "sheep" tend to deny the threat of violence - at this moment, they are not prepared to handle it. It's much more comfortable to deny it.
The bottom line is that being a sheepdog is more about mentality than your current abilities or capacity to take down the bad guys.
This means that everyone is capable of becoming more sheepdog-like in their everyday lives.
Even if you're not prepared, right this second, to take down a bad guy with force, you can prepare. You can:
While you're at it, learning self-defense is never a bad idea, either. The point being, there are dozens of actions you can take to protect the people you care about. You can never deny the threats we face and you must take decisive action. That is truly what being a sheepdog is all about.
There's one last thought I want to leave you with that is often overlooked.
What about the Shepherd?
The Shepherd leads them all
One character that is left out in this analogy is the shepherd. Humans are either sheep, sheepdogs or wolves. Now maybe, just as in the biblical version of the analogy, a higher power is the shepherd. This makes sense, since the shepherd is ultimately responsible for the fate of the sheep, wolves and sheepdogs.
Yet, if we consider the shepherd as an enlightened being of sorts in the analogy, we notice some important qualities we can apply to our preparedness journey.
Ultimately, the shepherd is a leader who can see the whole picture. They train the sheepdog. They care for both the sheep and sheepdog's needs. And they are careful not to lead either into a place where wolves can prey easily.
When some other preparedness experts say that the sheep would rather the sheepdog paint himself white and baa rather than bark, the point is that the sheep would prefer to deny the danger of violence.
But let's face it, no human likes to be barked at, good reason or not.
That's why thinking like a shepherd can be valuable as well. We need to lead as best we can in our circles of influence. Care for the sheep and sheepdogs, keep the wolves at bay.
We can do this by passing down the preparedness and self-reliance lessons we've learned to the younger generations. We can help the sheep of our flock act more like sheepdogs. We do this with grace and kindness. We're never certain that we'll succeed, but we know we've done our best to lead our world into a better, safer place.
To wrap up, I want to point out again that none of us are destined to be one archetype or another. All of us are part sheep, sheepdog, shepherd and even wolf. Inside us, there is a battle going on to determine who we will become. Who will win inside you? Well, that all depends who you feed.
Have a great weekend and stay safe out there, friends!
Read last week's Survival Scout: DISRUPTING YOUR FOOD SUPPLY - IT'S EASIER THAN MOST THINK