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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

Survivalists Are the Worst of Us

Choose to Thrive

There’s a trend among billionaires--elaborate, sprawling survivalist bunkers. I don’t know if it’s being in a high-voltage haze 24/7, or the weird culture bubble we call Silicon Valley, but Open AI CEO Sam Altman is a dedicated bunker boy.

“I try not to think about it too much, but I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israeli Defense Force, and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to."

Then there’s the founder of Facebook, the ubiquitous and intrusive social wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg. The Guardian notes “Zuckerberg has spent almost a decade buying up land in Hawaii for the construction – now well under way – of a sprawling, 1,400-acre compound of mansions, treehouses and tunnels. The crown jewel of the $270m project is a 5,000-sq-ft underground shelter with its own energy and food supplies and what appears to be a blast-resistant door.”

Whether it’s lab-created viral bugs, or war, or alien visitors, these billionaires are determined to survive it.

in a report on CNN, the network examined the global trend of luxury bunkering. “If you prefer to spend the end of days solo, or at least with hand-selected family and friends, you may prefer to consider The Oppidum in the Czech Republic, which is being billed as “the largest billionaire bunker in the world.”

“The top-secret facility, once a joint project between the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), was built over 10 years beginning in 1984.

“The site now includes both an above-ground estate and a 77,000-square-foot underground component. While the final product will be built out to the owner’s specifications, the initial renderings include an underground garden, swimming pool, spa, cinema and wine vault.”

In the Black Hills of South Dakota hundreds of munition depots have been converted into super-luxury survivalists condos. The 1% can purchase survival condos with  several different layouts, from a 900-square-foot half-floor residence to a two-level, 3,600-square-foot penthouse that starts at $4.5 million.

End of Days homes are all the rage, but why? What is life going to be like post-Apocalypse? Life on Earth after a lab-created viral bug has wiped out humanity doesn’t strike me as the sort of 1% lifestyle this elite-set desires. Wealth has no meaning in a wasteland. Life in this scenario will be brutal and short. People will survive to suffer.

According to the Swedish Global Challenges Report there is currently a 1 in 10 chance in the next 100-years the end of humanity will be caused by Artificial Intelligence (AI.)

AI represents a massive gold-rush among the Silicon Elite. Huge amounts of wealth is being poured into its development. Last week I read one tech bros hyperventilating AI was the most important event in human history since the discovery of fire.

On one end of the AI field we have the marketing and distribution of AI, and on the other end is the CEO of OpenAI building a massive bunker in Northern California. The merchants of our demise are intent on surviving the end times they nurtured. Karma is real, so I’m not convinced it’s a great idea to strive to survive the hell you created.

There is an entrenched pessimism in the survivalist cult, a hopelessness, an embrace of a dark and unavoidable fate. I believe you create the world you fear. Many billionaires in our modern world, this powerful class of leaders in our society are working toward the Apocalypse. They invent and build with  industry and purpose not to thrive, not to lift humanity, but to drive us to a nightmare destiny. There’s an insanity here, like they can’t help themselves, like our technology has become this uncontrollable Frankenstein we created that will now destroy us. They feed on their fear and flee to the hills and seal themselves away to rot slowly in their concrete coffins.

The future is unknowable. Survivalists are making a sucker’s bet. There is nothing to survive. Life is not about survival. There’s beauty in accepting your fate. There’s also beauty in building a world bigger than your personal dreams. You build that world with art, family, love, kindness, caring, health, peace, acceptance, surrender. These are the real tools of survival.

We live in this odd time of breathless futurism. We have this nervous pulse of galloping change. But what we need we’ve always had. There’s nothing new, and nothing missing. Our destiny is simply accepting where we are and living our fullest days. What we have is enough. We need to use our gifts each day to leave behind a better tomorrow, a tomorrows that will be without us, but with our spirit. That is our survival.

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