What is Spiral Survival?

What is Spiral Survival? It’s a different way of looking at life.

One common saying among survivalists is the Rule of Threes, stating how long you can live without certain things:

3 minutes without oxygen
3 hours without shelter (in extreme weather)
3 days without water
3 weeks without food

Of course, those numbers aren’t exact, and they leave a lot of things out (which I will be expanding upon), but it is a simple way to put priorities in order, which is important in a survival situation. For longer term living, there are many other priorities which become important once basic needs are met, as Abraham Maslow put together in his Hierarchy of Needs. As sophisticated as his theory is, it is still focused on the individual.

I picture survival needs in a different way, as a kind of a three dimensional spiral. As you go around, you keep coming back to the same needs. But as you go up, you stop focusing so much on yourself and focus more on others. While at the higher levels this may be driven by altruism, initially it comes from a realization that no one person can do everything, certainly not forever, so we need to include others interdependently. However, this process takes energy, and sometimes as life spirals down on us we do need to bring our focus more on ourselves.

The other dimension of in and out is based on time. As we pull in our focus becomes more immediate, which usually happens when danger is more imminent. When we have the time and energy, we can spend it moving outwards to focus on longer term survival strategies. And since time and energy are limited, sometimes we can make combination moves to improve our situation, going up and in or down and out on the Survival Spiral.