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#258070 - 03/26/13 09:28 AM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: sybert777]
Phaedrus Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2723
Loc: Big Sky Country
I have no real problem with religion provided it doesn't get in the way of spirituality...if that makes sense. Normally I don't discuss religion unless someone else brings it up. It often upsets people. If someone specifically asks me then I'll explain why I have a rational, naturalistic worldview.

Overall I think you're right- two hands working gets more done than two hands clasped in prayer. Even religious people allude to that in sayings like "the Lord helps those who help themselves." Faith could be a comfort during a survival ordeal, but then so could your knowledge of survival. In either case, fortune favors the prepared.
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#258075 - 03/26/13 11:29 AM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
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Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I do think positive thinking and a fierce will to survive is crucial, but these things come from within, not without (IMOHO).


A lot of "authorities" have stated that the will to survive is the most important determinant of a survival situation - more significant than gear or even skills and there are lots of examples to support that opinion. I think particularly of one survivor in the Arizona desert who lost 25% of his body weight to dehydration (10% is usually fatal) and still pulled through.
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#258076 - 03/26/13 11:50 AM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: hikermor]
bacpacjac Offline
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Originally Posted By: hikermor
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I do think positive thinking and a fierce will to survive is crucial, but these things come from within, not without (IMOHO).


A lot of "authorities" have stated that the will to survive is the most important determinant of a survival situation - more significant than gear or even skills and there are lots of examples to support that opinion. I think particularly of one survivor in the Arizona desert who lost 25% of his body weight to dehydration (10% is usually fatal) and still pulled through.


I wonder if that's the guy I heard Myke Hawks talking about on Discovery yesterday. (An analysis of an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive") Apparently he did absolutely everything wrong, shouldn't have survived, but did. Why? Because he was in the middle of a divorce and didn't want her to get all his stuff.
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#258078 - 03/26/13 12:16 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: sybert777]
ILBob Offline
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Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
One can believe in the supernatural or one can believe that something inside one's self gives people special strength in times of need. I am not sure it makes much difference where it comes from.
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#258080 - 03/26/13 01:11 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: sybert777]
gonewiththewind Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Read "Deep Survival". The author addresses this issue directly, and has actually found that people with religious faith do tend to have a higher chance of survival. He believes that it is a motivating factor to not give up trying. People who take charge and care for others also tend to not give up.

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#258083 - 03/26/13 01:33 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: bacpacjac]
hikermor Offline
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Different incident, dating from 1905. Here are the gory details:

In August of 1905, a wandering prospector named Pablo Valencia departed Wellton and headed south into the desert in pursuit of a lost gold mine. He was about forty years old, 155 pounds, rode a good horse, and carried along with him two two-gallon and two one-gallon canteens, for a total of six gallons of water, along with plenty of bread and sugar and cheese and coffee and tobacco and a sort of wheat meal called pinole. The first day he rode thirty-four miles and reached the spot near the southern tip of the Gila Mountains where the trail from Wellton intersected with the Camino del Diablo. Just to the west, a steep slope led up to a place known as Tinajas Altas, or High Tanks, where eroded stone basins usually contain pools of rainwater runoff. Tinajas Altas is the only semireliable water source along the Camino, and Valencia refilled his canteens there. As it happened, a self-taught geologist named WJ McGee had set up a camp nearby, working on a summer long project to monitor the heat and humidity of the surrounding desert. The two men dined together on jerked mountain-sheep meat before Valencia saddled up again and rode east.
Eight days later, just as dawn broke, McGee heard an inhuman sound, like the roaring of a lion, near his camp, and followed it to its source. He later described what he found in a paper called "Desert Thirst as Disease," which ran in a 1906 issue of the Interstate Medical Journal.
Valencia, who just the week before had been "of remarkably fine and vigorous physique — indeed, one of the best built Mexicans known to me," was now "stark naked; his formerly full-muscled legs and arms were shrunken and scrawny; his ribs ridged out like those of a starveling horse; his habitually plethoric abdomen was drawn in almost against his vertebral column; his lips had disappeared as if amputated, leaving low edges of blackened tissue; his teeth and gums projected like those of a skinned animal, but the flesh was black and dry as a hank of jerky; his nose was withered and shrunken to half its length; the nostril-lining showing black; his eyes were set in a winkless stare, with surrounding skin so contracted as to expose the conjunctiva, itself black as the gums; his face was dark as a negro ... his lower legs and feet, with forearms and hands, were torn and scratched by contact with thorns and sharp rocks, yet even the freshest cuts were as so many scratches in dry leather, without trace of blood or serum; his joints and bones stood out like those of a wasted sickling, though the skin clung to them in a way suggesting shrunken rawhide used in repairing a broken wheel. From inspection and handling, I estimated his weight at 115 to 120 pounds ... The mucus membrane lining mouth and throat was shriveled, cracked, and blackened, and his tongue shrunken to a mere bunch of black integument."
In the long history of people running out of water on the Camino del Diablo, there are two things that make the case of Pablo Valencia unusual.
First is the fact that WJ McGee, such a meticulous observer, was there to chronicle it.
Second is the fact that Valencia survived and eventually recovered.

I have visited the Tinajas Altas and the climb up to the water is a fairly gentle incline up which one can stroll with hands in one's pockets - when one is well hydrated on a nice day, that is.....


Edited by hikermor (03/26/13 01:37 PM)
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#258086 - 03/26/13 03:37 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
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Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1197
Loc: Alaska
Hmmm...."Camino del Diablo"....my Spanish is rusty but does that mean Devil's Road?

While I've had a few interesting trips to desert regions, I think I will continue to devote most of my efforts to more northern climes. Hypothermia seems like a better way to go.

Regarding the OP, in a survival situation anything that helps one to keep trying, and to not give up will help keep you alive. There have been countless stories of people who have done everything wrong, had little or no proper gear, yet still managed to pull through. Conversely, there are lots of cases of people who had plenty of gear and other resources yet who perished.

The difference is often just some combination of determination, positive attitude, etc, which end up being what we call "the will to survive". This can come from any number of things. This can come from religious faith, self confidence, not wanting to leave one's kids without a parent, sheer cussedness, or any number of things. Whatever works for you is a good thing.

Being lucky helps too!
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#258090 - 03/26/13 03:56 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: sybert777]
gonewiththewind Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Never underestimate the power of luck, and don't quit because you just might get lucky!

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#258091 - 03/26/13 04:12 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
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Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
Hmmm...."Camino del Diablo"....my Spanish is rusty but does that mean Devil's Road?
Si..verdad! You comprende Spanish very well for an Alaskan...The Devil's Road was named early, but really earned its title during the California gold Rush of 1849, when the way was marked by fresh graves and abandoned goods. Conditions vary drastically with the seasons. Stay away during the hotter months and visit during the winter, when the climate is truly delightful. On one of our trips, we had to deal with rainfall, finding out that the roadway was also the streambed over long stretches. These days, be wary of unexploded ordnance since it is a target range for military jets.
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#258092 - 03/26/13 05:36 PM Re: Invisible help in Survival Situations? [Re: sybert777]
Pete Offline
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Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
I think that spiritual faith can be an important factor - but the question could be ... is your faith strong enough to be relevant - even when you are in dire circumstances. Practically, if your faith can cause you to become mentally stronger, and perhaps also calmer, it might improve your survival chances a lot. This was just discussed on another thread ... that when people are lost it's a really good idea for them to STOP, calm down, and re-think what's going on. Faith can be a very helpful factor in that process - but human behavior is what "it is" and it's diffcult for people to think spiritually when they feel directly threatened.

In addition, you may feel that faith is relevant in summoning "Help from the Outside" or "Help from Above". That's very much a personal point of view.

Pete2


Edited by Pete (03/26/13 05:38 PM)

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