Baron Samoyed messaged me the other day with this question: “Do you really judge people by their Post Apocalyptic Value?” I answered that, while I wrote that mostly for it’s humor value, I do indeed silently judge people based on how useful they would be after Armageddon. If society collapsed, it would be important to surround yourself in people that could survive, and contribute to your group of survivors. Anyone that can adequately contribute to the new micro-societies, who has a high Post Apocalyptic Value, would be the building blocks of all society in this dystopia. While it is true that we don’t live in Post Apocalyptia, the world has not self destructed, I still think that a person’s Post Apocalyptic Value is a fair matrix by which to judge someone. There are lots of qualities to look for when chosing a party to survive with in the zombie infested future (or nuclear wasteland, 1984esque regime, etc) and those qualities translate over to life as we know it in the now. It’s not just about firing a gun or knowing which plants are edible. The small group has to be able to interact with itself, so you need to chose people that have high social intelligence. You also need people that know the area well, people who can pass on knowledge and people who have a high nutritional value in case you have to eat them. Everyone has a Post Apocalyptic Value, and I’ve developed five categories by which to calculate it: Having Manual Skills,Having Social Skills, Posessing Knowledge, Being Physically Fit, And Having Some Randomly Useful Skill. Assign points to them and you too can silently judge people on whether or not the zombies will get them.
Manual Skills are pretty self explanatory. If you can build a fire, that raises your Post Apocalyptic Value (Henceforth known as PAV.) If you can catch a fish, fire and maintain a rifle, build shelter or fight off a bear, these are all useful skills to have in dystopia and therefore raise your PAV. This category is the one that the average person has the most control over in their day to day. You can at any time learn to build a fire, thus changing your value, and it is also the category that will be the most important immediately after the first signs of the apocalypse. After the bombs rain down, you will need to be able to obtain the necessary items for survival. You will need water quickly, it is the most important thing to have. Therfore you must know, or have someone with you who knows, how to obtain clean water. But this value decreases over time. Soon you will have a surplus of water, or more people will have learned to obtain water. In modern society, this is also the case. When your faucet explodes, you need a plumber now. The plumbers value is very high. But once the problem is solved, his value goes down. But the value, even as it decreases, can never reach zero. There will always be need for manual skills, whether it’s repairing your water gathering still or suddenly needing to build a wall to defend against zombie badgers. Having high points in this category might save you from having low points in the next category. Because if someone needs water badly, they will put up with even the rudest person.
The second category, of course, is Social Skills. People will have to interact with each other. A high point value in this category can come from a variety of things. A natural leader, or someone that can organize a group, has a high value. If you know a few people that have a high manual skill set, and can bring them together to accomplish things, that is a great skill to have. If you can mediate between two people who are not getting along (and arguing instead of gathering wood for a fire) then you improve the efficiency of the group, thus having a high value. This is one of two categories that having a low value in will hinder a person. Someone who refuses to get along with people, or who is highly arrogant, will erode the efficiency of the group. Someone who tries to pick fights, or who you can’t help but want to punch in the face, is downright destructive to the survival. Therefore, after manual skills have begun to fall in value, social skills begin to rise in value. You may put up with a rude plumber until he fixes your faucet, but then you want him gone. This is probably the hardest category to improve upon, but it is not impossible. Just remember that everyone is a person, and no one deserves to be treated poorly. If you treat the plumber rudely, he won’t do the work, then no one advances.
Knowledge is an interesting variable. It’s value doesn’t change as time goes on. In the beginning, people will need to know things like which plants are edible, which ones will poison you and why it isn’t a good idea to go near those weird looking mushrooms. As time goes on people will need to know where good places to seek shelter are, where they can find certain items, and different materials that might be better to use for certain things. A highly knowledgeable person can work alongside a highly skilled person to increase the efficiency, and to use their knowledge to watch over the group in order to observe and catalog events. Down the line, once society has reestablished, it will be up to those with knowledge to pass on the knowledge and continue to make sure people survive and pursue science, and teach nutrition and fitness. Because….
Physical Fitness is really important. If someone is not physically fit enough to apply a skill, or can’t survive a few days of walking, then they aren’t very useful at all. In the beginning people may have to be nomadic, searching for environments which are not hostile. People will have to be fit enough to keep up with the group, otherwise they won’t be very good at contributing to the group. Being able to lay bricks doesn’t mean much if you can’t lift the bricks more than a few times. This is one of the harder categories to increase, but it is one of the categories than anyone can work on. It’s also the category that is most obvious to other people, making it one of the easiest to judge people by. And so they do, especially in modern society. However, refer to category two. Don’t insult people, we are all people trying to survive. The value in this category, like manual skills, decreases as time after the catastrophe passes. As society reestablishes itself, people can afford to stop eating as little as possible, or can go longer periods of time without having the fend off evil robots, and can therefore afford to get fat and lazy again. Where you needed to be fighting fit to hold you own against the robot, as society produces walls and people specialize in defending the village, people will be able to afford to lose fitness levels. Though it probably will never be a good idea to intentionally become physically stagnant, because the robots are learning robots and they might breach the perimeter. Of course you might just be the guy that has the magic touch with electronics. Yknow, if your like me, every computer you touch breaks, making you much better at dealing with evil robots. Which brings us to the final category.
Many people have some random trait that makes them more useful in certain situations. Maybe you have perfect pitch and can distinguish between the howl of a radioactive super coyote and a normal coyote. Maybe you can sprint really well, and can scout ahead for trouble. Maybe your an exceptional singer, and can work to keep morale up when it seems like the end again. This is the only value that is almost impossible to increase over the course of a scenario. You would have to spend valuable time practicing something to get good enough at it, if it’s even something you can obtain at all. There are people all around in society as we know it that have some skill or trait that they are extra good at. Maybe they have the rare ability to throw really well, so they become a baseball star. Or they have extraordinary programming skills, the way they are wired makes them better at speaking computer language. This is a random variable, and hard to place value on. However it is undeniably present, because a person can have a low score in everything else, yet still be a productive member of society. An obese angry man, who has spent his entire life playing video games and insulting people, might suddenly find himself in the position to be used for medical experiments because of the unique health problems he incurred from lcd radiation, thus making him useful. A random trait he didn’t work for, but is non the less a value. The value can change though, so it’s never good to rely on the random variable. If they develop a cure for the lcd rad sickness, then he’s useless again.
So there you have it. The five categories for judging people based on their Post Apocalyptic Value. Remember that everyone has a value, and a low value doesn’t mean that they arn’t worthy of being around. You can raise your own value by protecting and teaching those with lower values. It’s not about singling people out, it’s about using this matrix to improve the average, ensuring the human race prevails. Being able to do things for yourself, not being an awful person, reading up on history, obtaining a better level of fitness and keeping up with something your good at. I think these are things that everyone can strive for, in order to better society as a whole. And, yknow, survive when cats evolve opposable thumbs and try to enslave us.
PS, I added some Amazon widgets to my site. I’m never going to put anything on my site that I would find irritating, but I use amazon a lot. If you happen to search for something using this site, or see something you like on the lower bar and buy it, I get a little money, which means that I can feel a little more justified in devoting so much time to writing. That is, if you enjoy reading the things on the site, I s’pose if you don’t like the site you could just use the search and sidebar just because it’s convenient.
Thank y’all kindly.