Having survived some of the most horrific events of the 20th century, for most of my life I considered myself a survivor and after passing age 90 I even had the gall to call myself a professional survivor. I laid out the rules of survival and wrote about it, made speeches about it. It all made a logical sense and many people I hope will benefit from my experience.
The Rules of Survival I have advocated are quite simple: Rule #1: Understand the Circumstances. #2. Adjust to the Circumstances. #3. Set aside your Feelings. # 4. Do what has to be done.
The biggest problem with these rules is that understanding the circumstances is very difficult. It is a fact that the less you know the easier it is to make decisions. Conversely the more you know; the more you realize how little you know and decisions are much harder to make.
History shows us that mankind had some periods of great leaps forward of learning and understanding of circumstances, but much longer periods of stagnation and oppression of learning. In the 21st century the world is divided into groups of billions of human beings with little or limited education and understanding of the world we live in. They are separated by unfathomable chasms to the rest of the educated world.
It is also obvious by now, that they are malevolent forces that want to keep the masses uneducated so they remain ignorant and uneducated and thus less able to understand their circumstances. We are also aware that similar sinister forces are trying to dumb down our children and try to prevent them for achieving educational levels previously reached by their predecessor society. Why are these stealthy forces trying to maintain, and in the case of the USA, create ignorance? The reason is quite simple. It is easier to manipulate ignorance than to manipulate an educated populace.
But why do they need to manipulate the ignorant? What do these Machiavellian forces fear that an educated people, understanding the circumstances would do? If all they wanted to do is to survive, there is no reason to be afraid of them and they will stay in ignorance voluntarily. After all people survive even in concentration camps, in prisons and in chain gangs as long as they adjust to circumstances and follow the survival rules.
The fundamental reason people want to survive because they have a purpose, or goal to accomplish.
If there is no purpose for survival then there is no reason for the struggle that survival requires. Evolutionary theory itself declares the concept of “survival of the fittest” has a definite purpose: “preservation of favoured species in the struggle for life.”
So what should be the purpose of survival? Freedom. Inmates of death camps, prisons, and chain gangs adjust to circumstances, but try to survive for a single purpose. To be set free.
Freedom is the ultimate purpose of life. Freedom has many meanings. The pursuit of happiness requires freedom. To live without coercion and constraint. To marry and have children and watch them grow. To love and be loved. To live without fear of injustice. To be able to serve and help those in need. To enjoy freedom of choice, freedom to vote, freedom to worship, freedom of expression – social, cultural and economic freedom- freedom to participate in culture, freedom to receive an education.
As the vagaries of old age engulf you, the purposes for survival you seek may gradually change. You now seek freedom to enjoy your remaining days in peace and without pain. Freedom to pass on the lessons of a lifetime. And the ultimate purpose of survival: to observe and realize that your life had a meaning as reflected in the character and strength of those who follow your footsteps.