2023: Reasons to be Pessimistic, Reasons to be Optimistic

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By the author of Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City and The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook

The new year has officially begun on a Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. The world is crazy right now, and there are reasons to believe that 2023 will be even harder and more challenging than 2022.

I make that statement in light of historical evidence and my observation of the fundamentals, not a wild assumption. The current crisis is profound and all-encompassing; it is not cyclical but secular. Every pillar of modern civilization is either being questioned, challenged, or outright demolished.

Those who haven’t already been obliterated by the quickly deteriorating situation (or in denial) keep alternating between gloomy despair and brilliant optimism. Given everything that has happened in Brazil since the presidential elections, I include myself in the latter group.

It’s impossible to completely avoid the emotional rollercoaster, but I try not to let that impact my judgment or mental state much. I acknowledge chance plays a significant role in surviving a crisis, but keep working and focused and this helps me staying sane and (hopefully) prepared.

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” — Marcus Aurelius

Nobody could have predicted the outcome of the election, but everyone can spot the trends—the rise of authoritarianism, political corruption, social polarization, moral decadence, and economic destruction—and realize it was coming one way or another. Whether by vote or a revolution (which is still in the cards), there’s no way to avoid the rising tide.

Concerning signs of where the recently elected leftist government and its supporters intend to lead the nation have already emerged. These people are incompetent, arrogant, and tyrannical – a more dangerous and detrimental combination than just being corrupt and evil. Which they are as well, evidently. Again, it’s not me saying but the facts.

It doesn’t really matter if the elections were rigged, steered, stolen, or whatever. It’s a done deal and I hate to break it but the ongoing protests won’t change that. I mean, it’s obvious what forces we’re up against, and this provides hints as to where we’re going.

The fact that a sizable percentage of the electorate voted for and support them demonstrates how fractured and misguided Brazilian society is. Additionally, voting seems to have little practical effect these days, and few believe that elections are legitimate and honest. Which is terrible enough on its own.

There is still time to prepare, because the repercussions of political decadence, financial irresponsibility, and treasury plundering are lagging. However, the consequences of political disorder, financial bounties and pervasive corruption can’t be avoided and will have negative effects in the real world. God help us, they will add to the impending global economic downturn to make things worse. But there’s more.

Brazil is becoming a “Judicial Tyranny.”

Freedom of speech is dying in Brazil. It’s already risky to voice some opinions. The prosecution, de-platforming, and incarceration of protesters can follow monocratic judgments without due process or the chance to appeal. Who would they appeal to anyway? The Supreme Court? Even elected leaders are being persecuted, something highly disturbing in any democratic nation.

I have already mentioned how the Electoral Court twisted the Constitution to meddle in and influence the elections. Beyond the immediate repercussions of their actions, the Supreme Court judges are now even more active, increasing political and institutional friction by openly overstepping the other powers.

To enable the next government’s budgetary and fiscal generosity beginning in 2023, laws are being overturned or disregarded. Those are the legislative and executive powers’ prerogatives. Or were, until a single magistrate suddenly acquired more authority than 594 elected lawmakers. The Congress is weak and discredited.

No wonder people are asking for military intervention. I can’t say this is a good idea, given what happened in the past. But it shows the level of desperation by a significant part of the population, who see no other way out of the growing authoritarianism and lack of representation.

A scandal after a huge scandal.

Then there’s the typical banana republic fare. Anti-corruption legislation put in place after the investigations and trials that resulted in the left-wing government’s downfall in 2016 is also being overturned by the Supreme Court, with the assistance of Congress.

“The former Rio de Janeiro governor accused of receiving huge bribes over construction work for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics will soon be free after six years in prison, following a ruling by Brazil’s highest court.” (click here if you want to feel disgusted).

This fellow received a 300+ year conviction and was forced to return hundreds of millions to the treasury after trials were concluded. Imagine that. It’s the final nail in the coffin of Operation Car Wash, the investigation that ended one of the biggest corruption schemes in history (and a déjà vu of Italy’s Operation Mani Pulite demise).

These are just a handful of the troubling incidents happening right now in my country. All of this is a massive controversy, but it will all be for naught. Crime does pay around here, now more than ever. It will take some time for these actions to take effect, but once they do, the cost will be tremendous.

Threats and issues are global but the effects are local.

Back to the global stage, things are not exactly returning to normal, even with the pandemic seemingly in the rearview mirror (or not)? Whatever, we’re clearly stuck in this ongoing cycle of political destabilization, economic and social decline, and perpetual warfare.

Europe’s standard of living is plummeting thanks to energy costs and limitations, inflation, mass migration and others. The situation in UK is serious. Also, huge inequalities and mounting sovereign debts threaten the continuation of the EU.

Rape and violent crime are exploding in Sweden. Migration, social division, cultural and economical gaps are rising and these will be hot issues in Europe going forward.

For the second time since 2020, Finnish government has issued warnings for households to keep cash in case of disruptions.

Those are just a few examples of the Thirdworldization taking place everywhere. Not to mention the rise in sudden deaths everywhere, the ongoing war in Ukraine, climate terrorism, COVID outbreaks in China, and many other issues that are cooking in the background and will bring their consequences at one point.

Some perplexing initiatives and policies are being enacted in traditionally stable and democratic countries, showing no one is safe from the madness and tyranny of governments and bureaucrats. Again, whether that is a top-down elite plot or a bottom-up social movement doesn’t matter. It’s here, and it’s real.

No one’s coming to save anyone.

Personalities, organizations, journalists, and activists from all these places and others keep shouting “Why is no one paying attention to what’s happening here?” It’s a cry for help, but a naive question.

The answer is that everybody is facing the same (or worse) issues everywhere.

Every country and population is dealing with multiple internal and external threats and crises at the moment. The system is overburdened and exhausted everywhere. Governments, organizations, and individuals already have their hands full.

Besides, nobody gives two fucks for you and your problems – nor should they, for that matter.

To be more specific, top-down intervention and overreach are exactly the reasons why the world is currently in this condition. The idea that governments should handle both large and small issues and take care of everything and everyone resulted in enormous governments, which are the real issue. The more citizens demand, the worse it will get for them and everyone else.

Too many questions and very few answers

I don’t know whether or not a major global disaster will happen in 2023 or the years ahead, and no one does. There are some preppers with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers on social media announcing the end of times in one shape or another every single day. They keep claiming that some cataclysm is only a matter of days or weeks away.

Twitter will crash. Food will end. Russia will nuke the US. Fire will rain. Pure doom porn that primarily serves to terrify viewers and sell stuff no one needs. Despite the fact that the situation is deteriorating and critical things happen on a daily basis (of course), none of the catastrophes they keep predicting have occurred.

However, I see a lot of bad stuff like pedophilia, child manipulation and even cannibalism being normalized by the media and some sectors of the left. All of that is happening in movies, news, schools and other places near us, right now. That’s what we should be concerned with and acting on, instead of basking in gloom.

Anyway, it’s important to realize that none of that is new, either. In the 1980s, experts and doomsayers prophesied that the Amazon rainforest would turn into a desert, the polar ice cap would melt, coastal cities would be inundated by the sea, and pollution would wipe out half of all species on Earth. All of that nonsense was magnified by the media, and it still is. None of that happened.

When things are bad, people become more mystical and pessimistic. And once you realize how tainted and rotten the entire system has become, it’s difficult to avoid worrying that everything will end in hell anytime something unusual occurs (and many extraordinary things are happening lately). However, as we approach the end of the year, I want to demonstrate that everything has a flip side and, most likely, life will go on.

It will be hard. And you’ll be okay.

Don’t tell me it sucks to deal with uncertainty, rising crime, violence, inflation, loss of freedoms, and widespread injustice. I’ve lived my whole life around all that, and I know. I’m still here to tell you, yes, it’s hard, but you’ll be OK.

If my theory about Thirdworldization is correct, the world isn’t going to end, but things will be unstable and volatile everywhere for some time. The end of an era is always turbulent, and that turbulence can last for decades.

Life won’t be the same without the consumption or long-term planning typical of the last twenty-something years. But so what. It can still be happy and enjoyable all the same.

I’m grateful for still being able to go to work, purchase food at the grocery store, visit friends and family, and hit the wilderness every once in a while. I’ll keep doing all that and more while it’s possible. And if it doesn’t, well, then I’ll see about it.

There are reasons to be optimistic.

Anyone not living in one of the many places where things have been hitting the fan for real (such as Ukraine) has reasons to be grateful, too. Never forget that some people would love to have your bad days.

I am aware that some of the following may seem like oversimplified self-help clichés. Even still, whenever I can, I want to end my articles on a good note and provide something practical based on my experience and knowledge, in the hopes that it will be useful to someone. So there it goes.

  • Pay attention to the Big Picture and the fundamentals of the underlying trend, but focus your practical and mental efforts on your situation and surroundings.
  • Keep your emotions in check, and don’t lash out. Don’t overreact, but don’t ignore what is happening, either. Don’t create your own SHTF.
  • Your victories won’t feel as good as you had hoped.
  •  Your failures won’t hurt as much as you fear.
  • To avoid depression, do something for your body (a sport or other physical activity), for your mind (reading, meditation), for your soul (enjoy nature), and for someone else (voluntary work, direct support, etc.).
  • Mental toughness is often portrayed as determination and persistence. But it can also be flexibility and adaptability. You are tough when your mood is not dependent on your conditions. You can be happy anywhere and work with what you have. You can have a good day with anyone or with little.
  • “The victim mentality leads to a victim reality” (David Icke).
  • Stay on course and keep preparing.

What are your thoughts about the upcoming year?

Do you lean more toward optimism or pessimism this year? What do you think the biggest challenge will be? Are there any wild card events not mentioned here? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City , is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. He’s also the author of The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook.

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

Picture of Fabian Ommar

Fabian Ommar

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  • I’ll be honest, the older I get the more pessimistic I become! I used to wonder why ‘old’ people are so crabby! These sites aren’t helping :). But I do feel more prepared for what is to come. I do struggle a bit stepping outside my comfort zone to ‘get busy living instead of getting busy dying’. I know that white knuckling the steering wheel of life will not help control it one bit. I find it difficult sometimes finding that right balance. Am I alone?

    I just don’t know how we can come back from all of the blatant corruption & twisting of the foundation of our great country.

      • We must adapt. We must be as strong as possible. We can think young even though we are older. We are smarter than some of the younger ones “think” they are lol. We need to persevere and always keep watch of the signs of the times. We are stronger than we think we are. GOD bless those who are struggling alone. Can I join that group? Is there any room left in that boat? Jennifo, I am with you!!!

        • Aww thanks! I’m sure it helps if both partners are in agreement with the urgency of plans & events to do for SHTF. I feel like I am dragging my husband into this new agenda on the borderline of being doomsday, proactive & ‘crazy’. 🙁

  • My philosophy has always been “what can I do today to help mitigate potential disaster?” I can’t do everything at once, but I can do something even if it is just a small step. Perhaps it’s buying canned corn for 30 cents from the scratch and dent bin at the grocery store. Perhaps sprouting grains. Perhaps it’s giving my garbage to my chickens so that they don’t need to eat so much expensive storebought grain. Perhaps it’s just watching a youtube video about how to improve garden production. Lately, I have been working with a friend on a project called Ozark Grannies’ Secrets, a book series about how our grannies used to do things. There is so much wisdom that gets lost when the previous generation dies off and we hope to recover as much of that as possible.

    So I put that question to everyone else to ask themselves every day: What are you doing to mitigate disaster in your area?

    • Please, please give us updates about how the granny book is going! The generations are long on both sides of my family and all my grandparents had passed on before I was born. Since my parents were older, I got some of that from them, but I still love reading about it.

  • Optimistic, or pessimistic? I can’t diagnose my/ our future on either of these 2 metrics.
    I simply operate on a cause and effect basis.
    The electric grid is old, overburdened, under-mantained and turning to shit. Have BOTH a good gas AND solar generators on hand with plenty of treated gasoline stored away for the former.
    Droughts and heat are destroying crops and livestock. Stock up on foods of all kinds to mitigate the impact.
    Political and socio-economic douchebaggery and the “I’m a victim” mentality are extremely pervasive in society today and getting worse by the day. The entitled class try to take what they have not earned. So? Conceal carry to defend yourself and others and be able to defend your home and family from the unscrupulous.
    Medical supply chains are collapsing. Get your hands on as many over the counter and prescription medications that you and your family need.
    SEE what is occurring and/or being implemented, and think 3 steps ahead about possible outcomes or results, and mitigate accordingly.

    • Not just the electrical grid – sewer, water, and telecommunication systems are old and under maintained. I gnashed my teeth when greenspin said surpluses are bad. The US had (and still has) debt – one does not have a surplus when one owes money. We the actual people (corporations are not people despite SCOTUS) don’t have that luxury. But the rich got yet another tax cut out of the “surplus”.
      I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about things over which I have no control. I have minimal debt (taxes of any sort cannot be avoided – sales, income, property, excise) but I do have control over what/where/how/why/when I spend my monies. I don’t take my job for granted nor that the comfortable salary I earn will never end – it will at some point in time. May be my call or it may not be.
      I don’t think 2023 is as doom and gloom as some say. Some sayers have an agenda, some are looking to make money. The generational shift of voters has started and isn’t going to slow down.

  • Thank you Fabian for your words of wisdom and encouragement! I agree with everything you said, especially: “No one’s coming to save anyone” and “Life will go on”.

    I am a 59 year old woman (yes I can define what a woman is) and I live alone. I have no delusions of becoming the next Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, or Katniss Everdeen. I have to live in reality so here are my goals for 2023:

    1. To become more physically fit. I am not significantly overweight or have any major physical limitations, but could lose a few pounds, improve my cardio, and tone up.

    2. To continue to prepare the best that I can by putting away extra supplies (e.g., food, water, medical preps, etc).

    3. To become stronger in my faith. To “fear not” but prepare (physically, mentally, spiritually).

    4. To continually give thanks to God for all I have and for the many blessings in this life.

    I don’t know what 2023 will bring but I do know what I will be doing.

  • I realize that you were referring to Brazil in your opening paragraphs but I inserted America in the story and got the same conclusions. I suppose one could put any country in and come out with the same conclusions.
    I am glad to see your comments about acting local. The big picture is important but not as critical as the local picture. If we all focused on our communities, election stealing (in the US) would be almost impossible as there would be constitutionally focused election commissioners everywhere. Same with Attorney’s General, DA’s and judges.
    Stay safe everyone and prepare accordingly. God Bless you all.

  • The globalists have milked dry the current monetary order, and that means they are about to turn the table over and start again.

    So, a short sharp crisis that they use to usher in their Great Reset.

    Accept their digital ID and universal basic income and all the other technogulag initiatives they have planned, or live your life increasingly on the edge of society.

    The plot of Demolition Man, basically.

  • Excellent article. I love the final points, which are such great advice, now and always.
    I definitely swing between pessimism and optimism (apparently). My family think I am pessimistic for seeing the potential for the SHTF and always considering that possibility, but I see that as cautious realism, and actually consider myself pretty optimistic. Why would anyone prep otherwise? We could just succumb to stupid distractions and do nothing like the majority of people. Would it be optimistic to assume someone will come and save you? (I think it would be pretty stupid and unrealistic rather than optimistic!) Planning to survive, and doing all you can to increase those odds, is definitely optimistic in my eyes. I think (for me) the very act of prepping is an act of optimism in the face of cautious realism (or pessimism for those doomsday types).

  • “Èist ri gaoth na beann gus an traogh na

    Scottish Gaelic Proverb translated means:

    “Keep a low profile ’til trouble passes.”

    Seems appropriate for our current troubles.

    • Agree. This reminds me of that sparrow’s short story:

      Once upon a time, there was a nonconforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter. However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started southward. In a short time, ice began to form on his wings and he fell to earth in a barnyard, almost frozen. A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow. The sparrow thought it was the end. But then the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy, able to breathe, he started to sing. Just then a large cat came by and hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds. The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping sparrow and promptly ate him.

      Now, it may seem that there are no lessons here, but there are. In fact, there are three:

      1. Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.
      2. Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend.
      3. If you’re warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

      Source: “The Advantage in Your Disadvantage,” from The Healing Power of Humor, by Allen Klein

  • 2023 will be a year unlike any other year. Predictions about the coming year usually are built off the current paradigm. 2023 will break this pattern. We will see events that are not even within the realm of conspiricy theories.

    • Probably another Great Depression followed by a new WEIMAR REPUBLIC………..yeah, it’s going to get UGLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Good article and excellent philosophy, Fabian. I am a gloomy pessimist, but that motivates me to prep and learn new skills. I can’t change the future, but I want my little family to survive, and that is worth all my effort and commitment.

  • I like the “cautious realism” term. I also have adopted the circles mindset often mentioned here. I am part of a “we” community that has been talking/planning/doing community prep for years. Everyone has assigned duties in the event of SHTF and we practice the skills at every opportunity. Duties are based on individual and community strengths. We cannot possibly plan for every circumstance but we are going to give it our best effort and pray it’s enough. We have all adopted the grayman philosophy, we do not go looking for trouble and try to just blend in. We are all conceal carrying even in our own backyard. At the end of the day, I know what is happening at the national/global level is out of my hands so I focus on local events that could impact our small community. Again, circles of awareness.

  • “and there are reasons to believe that 2023 will be even harder and more challenging than 2022.”….. as I see it an impending hard recession followed by a run on the markets and banks and into a depression we go….people will still wish it was 2022 when this all happens in 2023…….yes, I think it’s going to be real bad……..

  • Various reasons to be pessimistic about this year is there are a number of things going on that are either counter productive or unprecedented.
    Take the Netherlands. The government is forcing some 3,000 farms to be closed or their crop volume to be scaled back to limit the amount of fertilizer used. The Netherlands is the largest EU exporter of agriculture products. What happens when you reduce a product on the open market: Supply goes down, demand remains the same, prices go up.
    Fun fact: Without fertilizer, half of the worlds population would starve.
    And it is not just some third world country, but people here in America are facing food insecurity.

    In Biden’s push for going green, his Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) imposes taxes on the fossil fuel industry and by no small means either.
    Sounds good right? Stick it to those big fossil fuel companies, yay!
    Except those taxes are going to get passed onto the end consumer. That is why the BLS said the IRA will actually increase inflation in the near term and might lower inflation somewhere around 2025-2026 or as late as 2030. That is if everything were to remain the same . . .
    . . . unfortunately, everything is pointing to a recession. As some chowderheads on MSM cheer, “Nothing slays inflation like a recession!”
    Great. Nothing like lowering inflation by a few million losing their jobs.
    Of course the government will do something craptacular like another round of firing up the printing press, strap a turbo charger on it, and cranking out billions of dollars out of thin air to send out “stimulus” checks to all those now unemployed.
    Anyone recall what happened the last time they did that?
    One thing the Fed cannot do, is print food out of thin air. Last year harvests were not good. Food inflation is expected to remain elevated and some say if this season is not good, it will be even worse than 2022.
    Lot of people out there hoping this year is better.
    As we said in the Marines, “Hope is not a course of action.”

  • Great advice at the end. Happiness is a decision. Sometimes you have to put a little effort into it. It’s also very contagious!

  • Am I an optimist or pessimist? The long planned for attack by Russia and China may happen this year with tens of millions dead in this country = pessimist. I prep doing what I can to survive = optimist. I expect my income to dry up = pessimist. Those who survive will have to be productive, even now I look for products that may be in demand after SHTF that I could make to barter for other things that I need = optimist. Other than a war zone like what Selco went through, I expect that at least some raw materials will be available after SHTF = optimist. For me, even empty tin cans can be raw materials. I have products either as drawings or even as prototypes that I could make and barter for long-term survival. So even though I expect that 2023 may be very difficult, I expect that my long-term outlook has me comfortable.

  • What will you do when the C entral B anks D igital C urrency is forced down your throats? You will be a slave as everything you buy-what you read where you go your friends will be used against YOU as per the Social Credit in China! Wake up fools! PS_they will turn off the money–it’s NOT yours anymore AND it even will have an expiration date to spend by! 7 major banks are already getting ready inc Wells Fargo!

    • This is why you need to produce, so that you have something with which to barter. What are your skills? What tools do you have? With the breakdown of the supply chain, cheap imports from Asia will largely disappear, what can you make to replace some of those imports? PaulRevereDeux, if money disappears, can you survive?

      • R.O.
        I think we would see the increase of trade and barter system.
        Or using digital currency, buy a hard, tradable asset for something else that cannot be tracked.
        Last year I traded a physical asset with a neighbor for another physical asset.
        No money involved.

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