Where people live and what they do for a living will also color their perspective on certain words. Our culture, gender, age and “station” in life lends to different meanings to the same words. This list can go on and on, and on.
These multiple meanings are very easily seen when describing preparedness or preppers, homesteaders, survivalists and those seekers of self-reliance. For every person you ask to define these types of people, you will get a different answer.
In my book these terms are extensively interwoven and in some cases, interdependent – yet there are slight differences.
Time, history and media have altered and miss-used these words to the point of what was once considered a good common sense and prolific attribute, when these words were used, now has some kind of derogatory or hidden agenda associated to them. This is especially so when the “news” is about an extreme variant to one or more of these words. Much like the muddied meaning of militia today.
Hence, to all those who are stuck on the zealous and extreme “meanings” of these words, here are what I perceive as their true definitions:
- Relying on oneself or on one's own powers, resources, etc.
- Having confidence in and exercising one's own powers or judgment
Origin: 1840–50; First Known Use of SELF-RELIANT 1848
- A house and the farm/ranchland it is on; the home and adjoining land occupied by a family; an ancestral home
- A tract of land acquired from United States public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract (see Homestead Act)
- The owner or holder of a homestead
- ( US ), ( Canadian ) a person who acquires or possesses land under a homestead law
- A person taking part in a homesteading lifestyle see Self-reliant.
Origin: 1860–65, Americanism; homestead + -er
- The state of being prepared; readiness; the fact of being ready for something: the state of being prepared
- The quality or state of being prepared; especially: a state of adequate preparation in case of war
- A person being or striving to be prepared; readiness for something; expected or unexpected (hazard, emergency, disaster, etc.)
- A person focusing on being prepared for some hazard, emergency, disaster, etc.
- A person actively preparing or being prepared for situations that may affect the stability of home, life, or financial situation.
Variant: Doomsday Prepper (derogatory) A person preparing for the worst case scenario, near ELE (extinction level event) and the like.
First Known Use: The oldest use of this noun that TNT could find dates back to a 1971 article in Survival News on preparedness and survivalism.
- A wilderness guide/military person who has been taught to survive the worst situation while in the field/trail
- An individual with the goods, knowledge and skills to survive on their own in the worst case scenario
- A person who believes in ensuring his/her personal survival of a catastrophic event
- A person who is prepared or preparing for the worst possible scenario; generally thought of as some kind of social/economic collapse or war.
Variant: Doomsday Survivalist (derogatory) A person who believes in ensuring his/her personal survival of a catastrophic event, including the use of lethal force
Origin: 1965–70; survival + -ist
In closing I would like stress a few things;
First – Being prepared for the likely and unexpected crisis does not equal having a stock pile of stuff and gadgets. It is mostly about awareness, practiced plans and physical skills. Stuff and gadgets will do you no good if you don’t have the skills to utilize them and the time to learn is NOT while in the midst’s of the crisis itself. It also does not mean that you have to live in the here and now as you would in the SHTF environment. It merely means that you have the goods, knowledge and skills to do so when needed, without having to pull out a set of instructions in order to do so.
Second – There is no particular “right way” to be prepared. In fact there are only two ways a preparedness plan can be wrong:
a) You build a house straddling the San Andres fault and the only earthquake preparedness you do is meeting earthquake building codes.
b) You have an opportunity to gain a tool or skill and for whatever reason you do not, and then a crisis hits where you really need that tool, thing or skill (to avoid trials and tribulations or just to survive) AND as a result you become a danger to yourself or others around you because you don’t have this tool, thing or skill.
Thirdly – Defense, Safety and Security does not specifically equal lethal force or firearms! There are many ways to avoid lethal force. Really skilled individuals even know plenty of ways to avoid injury inducing force and still protect themselves. So don’t avoid defense, safety and security all together just because you oppose lethal force. Nor should anyone avoid the medical and fire precautions and safety. There will be good people, bad people, scared people and prepared people after a crisis. The criminals and psychopaths will be a deadly danger to everyone else and the unprepared can turn criminal and deadly if they are in a panicked survival mode. Reasoning, rationalizing or providing food and shelter alone, will not work with these people. If it did we would not need psychiatrists or prisons in the first place. Defense, safety and security are critical aspects of a self-reliant, homesteader, preparedness or survival mindset. This cannot be ignored. If you do, you are putting you and your loved ones at risk.
Fourth – A crisis can hit an individual, a household, an area, region, country or multiple countries. It does NOT care if you are law abiding or not, rich or poor, what your spiritual or political beliefs are, what gender or color you skin is, if you are entitled or not, if you are young or old, or from a different country or not. A crisis just IS. Most times there is no warning that the crisis is coming – it just HITS. Which means the people effected by the crisis are every possible type and classification you can think of and money won’t buy one’s way out of the line of fire, nor can any government be there in a timely fashion for everyone effected by the crisis. This means that first and foremost the responsibility of survival falls on each individual and not anyone or anything else!
Read on for a complete comparison list of the attributes to these words.
that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.”
St. Thomas Aquinas
1225-1274, Italian Scholastic Philosopher and Theologian