Yesterday’s comments by siliconshaman made me think a little on what’s needed to preserve society during a dark age period and I think I’ve come up with a simple plan that should help preserve some of what we have learned up to now. And maybe give people a little edge on climbing back into the light.
The first problem is preserving the knowledge we have currently. Despite my technical nature to me that means preserving old fashioned books. They require only light to read and learn from and properly cared for they last a long time.
I would separate the books into categories:
Self sufficiency and survival. (Food growing, water usage, conservation, home building, cooking, medical care, etc.)
Repair of technology. (Everything from welding to circuit repair.)
Art. (Painting, sculpture, writing, music, etc.)
Fiction. (No separations.)
This is important: Do NOT limit yourself to books you “agree” should be in there or exclude books you don’t think “deserve” to survive. Even a bad book is good as an example of what not to do.
Next I would take each book and wrap it in butcher’s paper with carefully tied butcher’s twine around it. Store the wrapped books in boxes made of oak or maple (pine has too much tar and oil in it) in a dry place sorted by the above categories.
Store the boxes somewhere so that they are protected and out of sight. Because if it all goes to hell in a handbasket they _will_ be valuable and they _will_ be hunted. Possibly by the governments in their last grasps in the crumbling halls of power.
The next part is re-distributing that knowledge among people so they can work their way up out of the darkness.
Tell no one you have these books. But use their knowledge to help those around you. Use their knowledge to survive. In time you’ll probably notice others that are helping people in the same way you are - they probably have books as well. In time you can learn their knowledge and they can learn yours.
Teach people using the knowledge in those books. Teach them to think and teach them to learn. You might not be a good teacher but at least you can pass on what you already know how to do.
If only a handful of people do this then at least there’s a chance of coming out of this. The more knowledge stored and the more knowledge shared the less knowledge is lost.
If this sound eerily familiar then you must be an Asimov fan. His Foundation series proposed similar things but since we don’t have “psychohistory” to guide us we must just do the basics and hope for the best.
I’ve read a lot of different novels of different futures and the one thing that most of them have in common is the same thing we’re dealing with now. It’s too late to stop the slide into darkness but if we’re really really careful we can shorten the amount of time in the darkness itself before we come out the other side.
I want my family to have the basics of self-sufficiency in two years at most. I may not have that much time and if I can do it faster I will but that is my drop-dead date for having good rain collection, a greenhouse around the garden, and solar power.
As a closing note I would call on all musicians to start composing teaching songs. Other than basic children’s songs I know of very few current teaching songs. We need those by the TON. Anything you know about and can teach using music even if it’s just music related itself is a good thing! (For once I wish I could compose music from scratch - I have no knowledge on how to do so.)
Compose them, record them if you can, give them to people, sing them where you can. They won’t be popular with people in general but those that have a mind and are thirsty to learn will remember them and learn. And they in turn will pass them on and spread the knowledge we have and protect it.
And that’s what this whole proposal is about. Not letting what we’ve learned be lost by our current mistakes.