There is no honor among thieves. But, thankfully, most people aren’t thieves. Even in a SHTF scenario, with some exception (e.g. Katrina), most people do behave well. For the most part.
Living in or near a big city it can be hard to understand that a persons’ word still holds value for a large number of people. When the false facades of modern life come crashing down in an emergency, all a person has left to trade on is their word.
In a SHTF or WROL scenario your word (promise) has to be as secure as gold. That’s the only thing you have to your credibility and reputation in your community. If you make a promise to some you better go to all humanly possible lengths to keep it. A reputation is easy to damage and take s a long long time to repair, if at all.
Even before an SHTF event if you promise to be a shelter for someone, to collect supplies for them, etc. then you better do it. If something happens after you make your promise such that you can’t keep the promise (things happen, that’s life) then it’s your obligation to tell the people as soon as possible that you can’t fulfill your promise. Even if it hurts your ego. Otherwise you do more than lie to someone, you give them false security. They come over after an emergency and you say “You know those supplies I was supposed to be collecting over the years, well I couldn’t do that and didn’t have the heart to tell you”?! That’s just plain low.
In my older age I have come to learn the value of a persons’ word. As such I am very careful about giving my word. I rarely do. I will make promises but my word is a level I rarely go to any more unless I am sure as humanly possible to keep.
In a post disaster community your word becomes your own credit. Do what your promised, when you promised to do it. Maybe even do a bit more just because it’s the right thing to do. People will notice. They probably won’t say anything but they do notice. Some won’t care but enough will.
When the mirage of false pretenses that modern people feel is oh sooooo important falls away in the face of hard reality people come back down to mortal Earth and the real values of honor and promises restore their true meaning.
Your promise is your SHTF currency.
ST, Great post. I absolutely agree that your word is your bond, no matter what the situation. I have no doubt, and this is not from experience, that when under any type of ‘survival stress’ that people would depend on your word more than ever; especially if they lack the basic services they need to survive. Thanks for the conscious reminder.
Very True. Your integrity is your record or keeping commitments that you’ve made. I’ve done 6‑figure deals on a handshake with people that understand this principle. Neither party even worried about putting our career on the line because we both had a history of making and keeping commitments. (And remember that a commitment to yourself is at least as important as a commitment to someone else. Because if you don’t have integrity with self, how can you have it with others?)
Very thought provoking piece!
I’m curious about this statement, though- “I will make promises but my word is a level I rarely go to any more”
What distinction do you make between “a promise” and “your word”? I think I know what you mean, but I doubt a 20 something would, for instance.