What is TEOTWAWKI ??

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What exactly is TEOTWAWKI ?

I've been thinking (yes it has been painful). The term "The World As We Know It" is a very subjective phrase.

For people my grandmother's age, it might not be too difficult to live without all the little niceties. They probably did so before. My Grandmother could get 9 cups of tea from one teabag. Not that she had to. But, she lived through the depression and only had "silver tea"(hot water with milk and a little sugar) for a decade. They knew how to do without. They lived through several wars, raised large families on modest incomes, had gardens and chickens in the back yard. They lived though gas and food rationing. They were survivors. The "world as they knew it" was ever changing and somewhat unsure.

For people born since the 1960's, the world has been somewhat surreal. Most have always had an unlimited supply of hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, supermarkets full of food, cable TV, and electricity. They have lived with relatively little civil disruption. And, barring a few recessions, have benefited from one of the most prosperous economies in history. The "world as they know it" has been pretty stable.

For people born since the 1980's, a world without MTV and 150 channels is unimaginable. War is carried out through remote control and it never has affected their lives. McDonalds has always been open.

In my discussions with friends, family and associates regarding the potential hazards of Y2K, the responses have been quite varied. My mother-in-law, who lived in Austria when the Third Reich came to power, and who lived through some of the social and economic depredations of that regime, has surprised me. She has listened intently and immediately began making preparations for her family. She has seen "wealthy" people fight over bread. She has lived without and she understands (GI).

Fear of the unknown will be the determining factor defining TEOTWAWKI. For many, the loss of electricity will be the end of their world as they know it. Throw in food, fuel, medical and services supply disruptions and their world will be ruled by fear.

TEOTWAWKI will come in many shapes and sizes. Most of us live quite "comfortable" lives. For those of us who are prepared, TEOTWAWKI may never come, because, we have allowed the possibilities into our consciousness. Y2K might just be a bump in the road for the prepared. For those who scoff or ignore the warning signs, TEOTWAWKI could be their reality.


-- WebRNot (webrnot@ncap13k.com), April 19, 1999


You got it, WebRNot

Rant-mode ON.

Hmmm, TEOTWAWKI - maybe I've got it all ass-backwards? :)

People very often bandy the term TEOTWAWKI around willy-nilly, without really seeming to know what it means. Maybe they DO know what it means but it suits their purpose to either scare people or discredit people by using the term.

I think it already has got out of control, so my little alert here will not really help, the acronym has already entered (sorta) common useage in certain circles and will be completely bastardised by the media as 1999 rolls to a climax. OK, denouement, OK anti-climax :) OK, logical conclusion :) :)

This is what it means to me:-

REM song... it's "The End Of The World As We Know It."

This does not mean, literally, the end of the world as in "On The Beach", or St. Johns' Revelation, or an Extinction Level Event, or Clinton telling the truth. Tell that to "The Media" and people who should know better.

This is my take:-

The last 4 words are the key.

"As we know it......."

That could mean, no cars/trucks running... (due to no oil imported because of refineries/shipping/ports/GPS/petrol tankers/banking going up the proverbial swannee big time - remember 1973???)

It could mean no electricity...

It could mean no JIT delivery of food...

It could mean anything that is *NOT* as we know it.......

Any of the above 3 examples would mean TEOTWAWKI - wouldn't they???

By that, I mean the end of OUR world as WE know it...

For you, Maria...

Two digits. One mechanism. The smallest mistake.

"The conveniences and comforts of humanity in general will be linked up by one mechanism, which will produce comforts and conveniences beyond human imagination. But the smallest mistake will bring the whole mechanism to a certain collapse. In this way the end of the world (yes I think he means TEOTWAWKI!) will be brought about."

Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, 1922 (Sufi Prophet)

Rant-mode OFF.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 19, 1999.

"IF" Y2K is only a bump in the road, it will be TEOTWAWKI for Y2K Pro! Because of his arrogance, he has failed to prepare!

-- smitty (smitty@sandiego.com), April 19, 1999.

The world as we know it includes more than electricity & nicely stocked stores. How many folks that you know are dependent on various medications/drugs/supplies for their day to day survival?

Fifty years ago (correct me if I have the wrong time-frame), if you came down with juvenile diabetes, you simply died. End of story. Likewise heart disease, cancer, & countless other maladies. These days such folks survive for years. You know such people. I certainly do.

Going back in time means a chunk of our population will die EVEN IF there's enough food, water & heat to go around.

-- Grim (Reepers@a.cummin), April 19, 1999.

It will be TEOTWAWKI for the doom & gloomers. Their world-view will be shattered.

-- Parrot (pollyw@nna.cracker), April 19, 1999.


Great post, excellent examples of past reality for the old folks.


Also a good reminder of what we are really talking about. The term TEOTWAWKI has unfortunetly become confused in the minds of many. The Pollys cut it short in their mind, and it becomes TEOTW. But there is that qualifying tail ending, isn't there? For most of us here, I think the proper way to state this is: TEOTW.AWKI/

I too have spoken with a number of senior citizens that remember going through the great depression in the 1930s. Almost without exception, they do listen to the data, catch on to the danger immediately, and being thinking about preparation. I'm willing to wager that not one single Polly poster is old enough to have personally been faced with trying to survive that 1930s period. For them it is only past history. For the really old folks, it is living memory. Once burned, twice shy.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), April 19, 1999.

Interesting comments on folks who lived through the depression of the '30's. My parents were teens during that time and both of them lived on farms. The parallel is strong here. Most who lived on farms hardly noticed the depression because they were basically poor to begin with so no stocks to lose and no job to lose. They simply kept growing food. Mom remembers more bartering going on - trade you 5 chickens if you'll grind my wheat and corn. Dad remembers Grandpa trading a gallon of Grandma's raspberries for 2 cans of Prince Albert in a can and she wasn't too happy about it! I think bartering may be a way of life for a while for those who live in the country again.

My biggest ?? for this period is will the city folks "behave". With the increase in violence that we have all seen going on in the cities expand out to the countryside or will the troops and police be able to hold the line in the cities? Seems to me that even the anti war demonstrators of the '60's were less violent (in most cases) than the gangs of today.

Guess it all comes down to working together or all hell breaking loose. You all hit the nail on the head on TEOTWAWKI - it is the "as we know it". We KNOW power and lights and running water and grocery stores - younger people and especially inner cities people will not know how to survive civilly and that will be hard.

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.net), April 19, 1999.

WebRNot - excellent post, and something we all need to be thinking about...especially when one includes Grim's comments as well.

Grim - you've made an important point, and one not brought up in any of the mainstream media - even if the intense problems last only two or three weeks, say through January 21st (and that's an hysterically optimistic assumption, btw) how many folks who are dependent on everything from electronic ventilators, to kidney dialysis, to the heating systems in seniors' assisted living complexes, to premature babies in incubators will simply not be able to hang on until services are restored? There are a large number of folks who have survived and are surviving primarily due to the technological sophistication of the current system.


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), April 19, 1999.

T.W.A.W.K.I a world of the ascendancy of political liberty, a world that is slowly abandoning statist-collectivist ideals, a world that just might succeed, is coming up on an event that might lead to general war,societal chaos, and you name it, I don`t belive human progress is automatic. So..... P.T.E.O.P. (Possibly the End of Progress)

-- bud (bud@computers edge.com), April 19, 1999.

WebRNot, very good post. Will you ask your mother what kind of preps she is doing? People who have been through it before have insights that we, who are so spoiled, do not think of.

-- winna (??@??.com), April 19, 1999.

In preparing for y2k possibilities, I have assessed my family's risk of TEOTWAWKI. Our exposure is high. I live in a very remote area, my job is with a non-profit quite distant from my home and we are very far from affluent. For us, the risk is acute because of the vulnerability of distance (remoteness), technological disruption and economics. My preparedness efforts take this into account in decreasing those areas of vulnerability by becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent upon accoustomed services that might be disrupted due to physical or economic factors. I am fortunate in that I have many of the elements of self-sufficiency at hand (land, water, etc.) that just need to be developed. The economic aspect means that the "development" of these resources is largely dependent upon my own labor.

Right now I am trying to run on parallel systems. Each new area of "independence" I add is a time consuming alternative - both in setting it up and in use and maintenance. Canning, gardening, chopping wood, etc. consumes a great deal of time. Checking batteries, watering, feeding animals. learning new skills takes a great deal of time. Running parallel has been exhausting. I feel like a juggler trying to keep the plates spinning. It was so much easier to stop at the store on the way home, turn up the thermostat and plug in the appliance. I live with a world of daily checklists.

My point is that self-sufficiency, for me, is growing into a full-time job. I can see that I cannot live in both worlds without extreme stress. TEOTWAWKI may mean that I have to commit entirely to self-sufficiency to attain assurance that we will continue to function and have our basic needs of shelter, water and food met. (Not to mention clothing.)

TEOTOWAKI may mean that the severity of potential disruptions will have a "non-systems" chain reaction. As technicians and service providers re-orient to more self-sufficient activities to mitigate their risks or replace disrupted services upon which they depend with their own efforts, the time expended on "work" will have to be adjusted. This reorientation could impact everyone as a whole as the service/product economy slowly degrades. It is akin to civilization disassembling as the divisions of labor, the specialization that makes our modern world possible, dismantles. The secondary impact will be on those who are largely dependent upon these goods and services and haven't the resources to re-orient to means of self-sufficiency.

If y2k disruptions are short or phased in such a way that remediation can be gradual, if supply lines disruptions can be worked around, people may continue to go to their jobs and fix the problem. However, as soon as a certain threshold of disruption in time or severity is reached or a perception that this will happen becomes widespread, people will re-orient to survival and work will be abandoned. It may take some time to reinstate the division of labor that we have "enjoyed" for half a century. I see personal TEOTWAWKI ahead. I can do it by choice or face the potential of having it forced upon me suddenly when I am unprepared. I have had the fortune of a bit of time to attempt to phase in changes as a backup plan. I am greatful for that.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 19, 1999.

TEOTWAWKI -- it almost came for us last week. Our son needed emergency surgery or he would have died. I was fully aware as it was happening that we needed every technology short of space travel to keep that boy alive. We were so lucky it happened now and not a year from now. Go to your local cemetery and look at the old graves. See how many children and young adults are there.

-- shy ann (shy@really.shy), April 19, 1999.


I agree 100% with your findings about the ready acceptance of rocky times ahead by those that are 70 +.today.All the elderly in my family are GI's even if they don't have computers.They didn't take alot of persuading either.On the otherhand my 21 yr student son whose life revolves around computers,does not comprehend that life could change significantly.Luckily he is going to spend the New Year with us at home just so we will not worry.

Marsh, Self-sufficiency is time-consuming but there is a seasonality to the work.If its any consolation,after you have been going a couple of years it will all be much easier!

-- Chris (griffen@globalnet.co.uk), April 19, 1999.

Marsh's post was very thought-provoking, especially post-Y2K "devolution" possibilities.

This is not original for this forum, but Arlin's point about first few weeks of January may be very germane about core resources, not just high-tech. If water systems collapse early and widely (think: Southern California), we could have full-blown TEOTWAWKI a lot earlier than we might be imagining .....

Likewise, if desalination plants fall in Middle East in January. We'll have an int'l crisis the likes of which we've never seen. If you think oil and water don't mix, imagine TEOTWAWKI there EARLY on post-Y2K before the world has adjusted to the overall shocks.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), April 19, 1999.

Good post IMO. You're right that many seem to harp on "the end of the world" part- not on "as we know it"- the last part is likely more true if it is more than a bump in the road.

Re: technological advances keeping people alive- I have mixed feelings about it. Yes- look at an old cemetery and it's shocking how many young people died then. Our land was settled by a family whose husband/father died in his thirties. the son-in law did the same. On the other hand, my father has been kept "alive" for quite a few years now- competely dependent on tubes and o2 and medication and hospitalizations. He hasn't been able to eat or speak or walk or even communicate in years. This is medical progress?

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), April 19, 1999.

I agree WebRNot, I have often thought myself that any ONE of the situations which are probable would actually end things as we know it, let alone many of them. But maybe it's phrasing that confuses people: It's not the end of the world as we know it, it's the end of our LIFESTYLE as we know it. TEOTWAWKI is only possible; TEOOLAWKI, I guess, is getting close to certain.

A year ago this time, my beautiful little daughter had an ear infection. I took her to the hospital who assured me she didn't and gave me a mild antibiotic. A month later I took her back and told them she STILL had one. They assured me she didn't really and sent me home. Two weeks later the most revolting thing I have ever seen or smelled in my life was pouring from her head. I took her back to the hospital and they said, "Golly gee. She has an ear infection." And gave me more antibiotic. A week later, when I finally got a vehicle of my own (having recently moved to this state), I took her to the local doctor first thing. He grew pale when I told him this had gone on for nearly 7 weeks. He sent me immediately to a different, children's hospital. By that night, the doctor told me there was a good chance that she would be dead within a couple days, or potentially retarded or blind. They felt it had almost certainly reached the brain stem by then. I spent nearly 2 days expecting her to die any minute. A CAT scan and then a surgery saved her, with no damage except minor bone loss in the mastoid area. She has tubes in her ears we definitely plan to get taken out before this year is over. We owe $14,000 in medical bills now, on top of everything else.

Without appropriate drugs, surgical intervention, she would be dead.

This is a reality of a major problem with the supply line and business operation. One day your beautiful child is giggling and tickling you and the next day they may be dead. That may not add up to much on the official government report. But I assure you it would be the end of MY world as I know it.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 21, 1999.

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