Yeah, I know, the obvious answer: the library and to a book, just like everyone used to do in the “old days” (or as some of us who don’t necessarily always trust the internet continue to do today).
The problem is that most libraries are located in urban centers. And you remember how poorly THEY fare should there be an apocalypse. If there was a bomb or other warfare, the library is toast – literally. If there are zombies, the library will be crawling with them – and (as much as I adore the library) if the apocalypse came around as a result of plague or other disease, well, the library is basically its own Petri-dish sometimes. So those books are out to get you (as if the zombies weren’t bad enough!!).
So, now what do you do? Don’t worry. I have the answer (or AN answer – you may determine its validity.)
- Make it up as you go. Perhaps you do this already, and/or post it on the internet for other folks, too (part of why the “information age” we live in doesn’t mean we have any more answers or correct information).
- Ask an old person. No, I’m not being facetious, really. For gardening tips, my grandpa – who’s plants and garden do things and grow in ways mine never will – is my go-to-guy. This could also be exceptionally important in a society bereft of a lot of technology, since someone who grew up without it could tell you how to do things “the old-fashioned way.”
- DIY and/or Trial and Error. Remember when you bought that new shiny gadget (ie: computer, car, whatever) and the warranty was very specific about you never attempting to fix or alter it? Well, now there is no one else to fix it, and it will stay broken and useless unless you figure out how to fix it, so what have you got to lose?
- Look it up in YOUR library. Yes, I know this seems to contravene the idea that libraries are extinct, but your personal library is probably still around (provided no one burned the books for fuel or something silly like that). Note: this will only work if, when selecting material to be used as fuel, you’re VERY careful about which books you save, and heat the house.
- Create a new library and/or center for learning and knowledge. Eventually, society will be rebuilt, and it will by handy to have a few books from the world that was around to help us do this, so amongst your new community, save and communally share books and past knowledge (provided there are no neighbors who think it’s okay to burn borrowed books, use them as toilet paper, or dog-ear the corners).
- Learn NOW what you might need to know later. Do you know the basics of how your car works? What about basic gardening? What’s edible in your local flora and fauna? Today the knowledge is readily available, so if you make use of it now, later you won’t have to look it up.
- Surround yourself with experts. Now, I should mention that these should not all be experts in exactly the same thing; a community of Jane Austen experts, say, might be able to quote Sense and Sensibility, but could they fix your car? Solve a garden pest problem? Maybe not. So, ensure you and your experts have compatible although different knowledge bases. If you’re the mechanic, you might want to find a medical expert, a gardener, a blacksmith, etc.
- Have a smart, useful family. Yes, I’m serious – but I’m not just saying marry someone who possesses a skill set that will be useful in a post-apocalyptic world (although this isn’t a terrible idea). What I’m saying, is each of us, as individuals have different interests, different skills – if these are cultivated and encouraged, we can become experts (or at least half-useful) in a variety of fields. If your kid likes bugs, they might be able to tell you if that bite you just received was toxic, and what might save your life.
- Gather knowledge from everyone, discount no one. Not everyone is a genius, and especially in our times we have a tendency to discount some opinions (and people). In a dangerous new future, this will be both foolish and possibly deadly. Just because the guy down the block has always creeped you out a bit, it may mean you want to avoid being alone with him, BUT he could have information or skills everyone could make use of.
- Be open to learning all your life. Whether in a post-apocalyptic era or not, this is important. If we close ourselves off to learning new things- to trying to make discoveries, even of things other people have explored before us – we’ll get stuck in a rut and petrify. Read a book, try new things, be unafraid of failure, these are all things which will help our lives now, and possibly, in a post-apocalyptic world.
Above all, be unafraid of failure, put the effort in, and you’ll have learned something new and be the source of knowledge for someone else. So, are you the go-to guy for knowledge in your neighborhood yet? Will you be? Have I missed any sources of knowledge in a post-apocalyptic world? Let me know, thanks for reading, and have a great week.