The Great Extropian Fire Drill

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 19:36:10 MDT


Civilization has its golden ages and its dark ages. I'm not saying
that the present conflict marks the beginning of a spiral into the
next Dark Ages. We might even be lucky and manage to escape the planet
and/or the constraints of our current biology without any intervening
Dark Ages at all. However, in case we're not lucky, perhaps we should
work out a contingency plan ahead of time. Some way to jump-start
civilization if it stalls out on us, a la Canticle for Leibowitz and
the Foundation series.

Let's develop an 'Extropian Fire Drill' where each of us knows "If my
Dark Ages alarm is triggered, I will get into my car and drive to
Nowheresville where I will meet up with Joe, Mary, and Bob to the
extent that their respective Dark Ages alarms are triggered."

The Extropian Fire Drill needs to be developed with the following
principles in mind:

1. Most of us are not full-time hardcore survivalists. We have jobs,
families, school, etc. The evacuation plans must be simple and present
minimal disruption to the participants' lifestyles and finances.

2. The evacuation plans must be distributed, decentralized, and
diverse. Multiple autonomous groups, multiple philosophies and
organizing principles, as decided upon by the participants of each
individual group. No messianic leader to tell you where *the* promised
land is. You just go to *a* promising-looking land you've agreed upon
with your friends ahead of time.

3. We're not talking about all-out nuclear winter here! Far more
likely is the collapse of the global economy, communications
infrastructure, and rational, secular, civil society. That is easier
to prepare for, since you can assume able-bodied adults living in an
area with sufficient resources will be able to fulfill their basic
needs. That means more attention can be devoted to preservation of
memes and rebuilding of society (perhaps in a more Extropic image this
time around ;-).

4. That being said, locations should be chosen such that they are in
fact in areas with adequate farmland and a local supply of drinking
water, a day's or so drive from where most of the participants
live. They also need to be far from potential military and economic
targets and have low populations.

5. The effort should be capable of scaling to an arbitrary number of
participants, but should have a fair chance of succeeding with only a
dozen or so.

6. The planning and practice should be pleasure as much as it is
business. What if the next Extro or Foresight Gathering were to be
held in some little town in the middle of farm country, and some of
the side activities amounted to a dry run of the Extropian Fire Drill?

So, does anybody have any refinements of the above principles or
additional principles they'd like to add? Any specific logistical
ideas (locations, packing lists)? Anybody interested in starting an
Extropian Fire Drill Club in Texas?

Another issue that needs to be discussed is what constitutes a good
trigger event for a Dark Ages alarm. It should be sensitive enough
that you have a few days lead time to get out before everybody else
sees the CNN headlines and chokes up the roads. Yet it should not be
so sensitive that it is either at risk for false or premature
positives. Don't want to waste your sickleave days for nothing, after
all! Obviously it would be up to each participant to decide what their
triggering events are, and I'm asking this so I can get some ideas on
what to use as my own triggering events. Perhaps an Idea Futures claim
that bases its values on a collection of political and socioeconomic
FX claims?

Look forward to your opinions. I hope this turns into something we are
capable of doing at any moment, and never have to actually do.

- --
* I believe that the majority of the world's Muslims are good, *
* honorable people. If you are a Muslim and want to reassure me and *
* others that you are part of this good, honorable majority, all *
* you need to say are nine simple words: "I OPPOSE the Wahhabi cult *
* and its Jihad." *

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