I think it boils down to “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.
The question that begs to be answered is “what is the the worst?”. What is the worst case situation that we should prepare for?
For some people “the worst” might be losing their job. For others it might be a wildfire, for others it might be a hurricane or flood. Then there are the people that plan for a complete collapse of society.
Does being a survivalist mean you have to prep for a complete collapse? No, it does not.
To understand survivalism, we need to understand what drives a survivalist. One of the highest levels of human thought is to think about what we think about. Why do we do the things we do, why do we think about what we do, why do we act a certain way, why do we make certain decisions.
Nobody is born a survivalist. Joining the survival community is a conscious decision we make. As with everything else in life, our decisions are influenced by the way we were raised, culture, society, events in our life,,,.
Why do people get into coin collecting? Why do people get into stamp collecting? Why do people get into the hobbies they do? Do they find the hobbies challenging, maybe a way to occupy their free time?
Survivalism is a practical hobby. Grow your own food, preserve and store your own food, just like people used to do decades ago. Maybe survivalism should be considered as a return to basics?
There was once a time when people grew their food during the spring and summer. Then preserved the food to last the family through the winter.
Today, families keep just a few days of food on hand.