My wife and I recently visited a town in Eastern Arizona called Snowflake. It was a small Mormon settlement started in 1878. We went to a few of the landmarks and museums in Snowflake (which is few as it is only a town of about 3-5k people). We learned a lot of history of the place and how the people lived.
What interested me most is how much a prepper can learn from the pioneers. The pioneers were preppers and survivalists as a way of life to stay alive rather than just preparing for something to go wrong. There are some people who think what prepping is something so new and different, but really the way people live today is much more new and different than even in just the past 200 years. In this day and age people can do jobs that require them to have a very specific knowledge of something. In pioneer times the people were actually required to be better rounded, but not have as much of a specific training. Instead of a person who is a master at construction, the pioneer would have to know how to build a house, fix a wagon, farm, fish, hunt, and many other things. These were types of things that were natural for the pioneers and were taught to them as young children.
I feel that this type of do it all person really is few and far between in our society. If I had to really describe the pioneers, I would say they were problem solvers. Though they may not have been as educated as we are now they really had to make do and flourish with the limited tools and supplies they had. These days if we feel the tool we have doesn’t work right we just go to the store and buy the right one. Pioneers actually had to build all of their tools from planning and brainstorming to the manufacturing of the tool. It was amazing to look at some of the tools and inventions these people had made. Though some of the tools were rough they served the purpose they were made for.
I believe in today’s society there are definitely some benefits to specializing in an area of study. Some of the benefits are that you may make more money and that there may be less people fighting for a job as there are only a few trained people who can do it. The other thing that is good about specializing for a society in general is that the technology will increase at a much faster rate than having people who know some about a lot of things. Now if we were in a real TEOTWAWKI or SHTF scenario what do you think would be better? Personally I think knowing a bit on each subject will be much more beneficial than specializing. In these types of situations where there is not a society or a community you will have to be much more independent. You may need to know vehicle and engine maintenance as well as self defense and gardening.
Even as a society of people who specialize in different areas most of us have time to learn other skills. Prepping has really taught me how much I don’t know and how much I need to know. This is why I am trying to learn and take classes as often as possible. It may be a first aid class, a self defense class, or some type of cooking class, but they can all be beneficial in their own ways. I think as a prepper we really need to open our minds and be willing to learn from all different types of people. Unless the person is an all around prepper the person who teaches you garden is probably not going to be the same person who teaches you hand to hand combat.