Prophylaxis is a term I became familiar with through chess; in that context it refers to taking time to make one or more moves with the primary purpose of strengthening your position, or weakening the attacking chances of your opponent. Offensive moves are eschewed in favor of defensive maneuvers and moves that restrict the mobility of the opponents pieces. This style of play can be very frustrating to play against, as it is not often possible to make much progress against an opponent who has “dug in” and taken proper prophylactic measures. Some players make careers out of this style of play, grinding their way to a victory. It’s not my style of chess .. at all .. but the philosophy of phophylaxis is a very powerful one, and one that should be applied to areas other than chess.
In life, practicers of prophylaxis are people who prepare for a rainy day, who keep their houses in order, such that when life dumps it on end, it can be quickly put back together. Theoretically ideal practitioners of this philosophy would be unflappable in any way, prepared for anything; perfectly healthy, emotionally stable, wise, full of common sense, economically secure, and, of course, always evolving, always improving things such that they are ready for the perplexing challenges of tomorrow.
By its very nature, homesteading is prophylaxis for the modern world. Self sufficiency is always a good guard against external failings and this is very apparent when you look at the significant benefits of homesteading. Some of the primary, obvious benefits include:
- Increased food security – both availability and cost. You don’t need to worry as much about food inflation, or GMO labeling, or radiation infused rice, or any of that other fun stuff, if you are the one growing your food. NO ONE can devote the level of care and attention that you can. How better to guard against shoddy food (and shoddy food governance) than to grow it yourself?
- Less taxation. More and more, Canadian Governments are failing to deliver a good service for a fair price. Taxes keep going up but big picture, everything keeps getting worse. Homesteading insulates you from this, to an extent: you’ll end up giving a lot less tax to the Government and keep your equity where it belongs: with you.
- Skills development (need a handy person? ask a longtime homesteader.) I could write pages about the skills one develops as a homesteader. They are legion.
- Less disease (no regular contact with crowds.)
- Less exposure to municipal politics (because you’re just not there.)
- Less exposure to crime (home much of the time, rural locale, dogs, firearm ownership, good neighbors.)
- Cost Savings (too much to list.) Initial investment can be costly but once you have the equipment and tools, you’re “set up” to save in almost every area if life.
- Reduced urge to buy stuff you don’t really need. Homesteading has a way of making you see what a waste of time it is to pursue endless “stuff.”
In chess and in life, a little defense can go a long way. And in today’s world, where reality is unreal, where uncertainty is certain, homesteading is a stodgy old defense that Nimzowitsch himself, the champion of chess prophylaxis, would approve. Take his advice – make a defensive move or two. Limit the damage your opponents can do to your position.