Here is the scenario: You wake up stranded on an island. Civilization has never been her, and as far as you can there is no evidence explaining how you got there. You are naked, and there is no wreckage nearby either to explain things or to assist you. What do you do?
Some of you may already understand the exercise (and it would not surprise me to find a few people have gone through this – or worse), and a few of you may already have your minds made up. Some (like myself) will have obvious questions: What happened, how did I get there, why am I naked, etc. Other people will have extreme reactions, some in a definite direction of death, others towards a more positive end. Some people will have an external motivator they can focus on.
I have a few theories on what would happen for most of us. However, let’s get a few details out of the way:
- I stripped you of any explainable evidence of how you got there, as well as your cloths to strip you of every conceivable object you could think or hope to have at immediate access. Your resources should all be on that island, and the most important resource you should have – above weapons and tools, and even above cloths and expected resources – should be your mind.
- The past should provide you with knowledge and wisdom. However, knowing how or why you are there should not be important. Yes, part of is that some of you would have another valuable resource, but the other part is that some people would focus on the negative(s) of how they ended up there and not enough on surviving or leaving the desolate rock.
And my theories?
- Everyone, at some point or another, will get emotional. Some people will do so early and cry a lot, possible balled up for a day or so. Some will spend their time not cooking, hunting, gathering, or doing something to either survive or get off the rock, getting emotional. A few souls may very well keep their emotions in check until they return home or die, and only emote after getting on the other side of the situation. Whatever the case, the situation will hit you in one way or another.
- When faced with this situation, it will change you. Realistically, the only ones I don’t see changing are the ones who’ve been through this and similar situations like it. You come to realize what is and is not important, you see what you really are or are not capable of, and you learn and adapt. The last part you’d have to do if you wanted to live, which would not be a guarantee.
- Many more of you will survive than you yourself believe. Let’s get the big ugly goose out of the way: some of you will die either on the island or in transit back home. Accidents will happens, people will make mistakes, and mother nature and father time can be persnickety at times. I can’t guarantee your safety in this exercise. What I am certain of, however, that the majority will not die by simply “giving up.” I think people, by either biological instinct or actual reasoning (realistic or otherwise), will fight when faced against an extreme situation like this.
- I could toss anything t this situation to make it worse, and the end results would be the same. Tossing a threat such as a family of wolves may keep you from curling into a ball immediately, but I bet as soon as you find safety and shelter you’d still crawl into that ball until you found the strength to continue. Rain would also send some of you running a little faster than you’d like, just as restraining you would cause you to fight the restraints until you were free. Like the “how you got there,” they’d still be secondary details to what you would do.
Apply this to the real world now. Many of us are faced with mini-“island” scenarios, some with more extreme outcomes, others with minimal harm. Many of us take for granted the items we own, the gifts we think we possess, the things we put into importance or value. An object or being takes the place of ourselves and makes us forget who we are. We lose hope, become disenfranchised, and in many cases, cynical. The value we have in ourselves and each other diminishes.
What we’re losing the most is our value of self. We’re forgetting that there was a time without computers, without TV, without POWER. We’re forgetting that there’s more to life than the alcohol we drink, the fast food we eat, or the smokes – legal and not – we smoke. We’re forgetting that at one time this was how people lived, long before there were societies and cities, long before we tamed animals either for pets or as tools.
We need to start looking at these situations, however unrealistic they may be, especially when the chips are down and things are not going our way, to remind ourselves that, no matter how bad things get, no matter how much we think we need something, we’ll be fine without it. We need to remember: as long as we’re alive, as this situation starts with, we may not always be able to guarantee our outcome, but we can choose how that outcome may be.
As long as you remember that, no matter what you lose, whatever hell you go through, if you survive, you will be okay. Things may change and you may lose and miss some things, but things can get better.