Friday, November 28, 2014

reactive and analytic


Before, when we talked about my short lived law enforcement career, I mentioned that after a time I came to realize I was a danger to myself and others due to the fact that I was in no way reactive to situations.  My brain was wired to analyze, not react swiftly.  I’m sure many folks are.  The question is, does the military realize this?  They sure made no effort to distinguish in my case, merely matching warm bodies to paper quotas.  One imagines there is a slightly better vetting mechanism for infantry, but only because of the nature of the volunteer military and the fact that more purely physical types are attracted to this type of endeavor ( I’m certainly not claiming any kind of metal superiority here.  Today’s infantry are no Neanderthals carrying clubs looking for heads to bash in but by the nature of their equipment must have a good head on their own shoulders to use it.  I’m merely talking about brain wiring ).  One imagines, given the history of over two centuries of performance of the Army, the typical thinking is that the peasant cannon fodder is fed into the grinder and the correct type able to thrive in combat will emerge.  Superior social classes making up the military officer corps certainly can’t be bothered with such mundane matters as fitting the lower ranks into slots they would perform better in.


As a survivalist, it does behoove you to realize what type you are.  In stressful situations, you don’t act as you’d wish to but rather as your brain chemistry instructs you ( please don’t open the can of worms AGAIN about how by virtue of your manliness and studliness you will be able to shrug off brain chemistry as a mere irritating girly-man inconvenience.   Just refer back to the article on it and reread it and don’t bother me in the comments about how you are special and immune ).  The only way to overcome this is through training and muscle memory and for those of you who can’t afford $50 a week in ammunition for training yourself to be super ninja plastic carbine commandoes, it is better to realize your limitations and plan accordingly.  Don’t buy into your own hype as to how great you are and hence are able to live in the middle of a ten million population metro-mega-urban area because at the end you shall jump into your armored RV and plow through all the masses and shoot them all up to escape to your condo on the mountain.  Realize how frightening it is to be surrounded by future cannibals, and friggin move prior to collapse.  But, sorry, off track slightly.  If you are a analytic and hence not a natural at fighting, you need to take some shortcuts to tilt the odds back in your favor.  The first was reducing the danger to yourself to increase the odds by having far fewer hostiles directed at you.  The second is to reduce as many future questions involved in conflict as you can.


By being analytical by nature, you usually can’t turn off your brain.  You over think EVERYTHING, from procuring the coffee you drink in the morning to the many and varied ramifications involved in a potential attack from a criminal during your commute home, from the response of the law enforcement team responding to the sexual satisfaction of the prosecuting attorney if you are taken to trial for defending yourself ( was he laid last night?  Or will he be a prick and hang me out to dry because he has blue balls? ).  What you must do is short circuit that tendency in instances of future conflict.  By moving to a less crime ridden area, you can usually remove a great deal of stress as far as analyzing how you will handle an attack, and by reducing post-collapse conflict to black and white, yes/no situations you can help to reduce your tendency at hesitation for a few critical seconds.  Think about conflicts and decide, NOW, how they will be handled.  This is why I try to reduce future problems to brute simple answers.  Not because I can’t think out all the ramifications of different responses.  I can, and I do.  By taking a problem and making the solution easy, I am turning off the analysis machine.  Because being analytical is a great problem solving mechanism, but not in the heat of battle.  When should you flee the city?  Before things get worse.  When should I kill others?  Every time, regardless of gender or age, IF they don’t belong to your tribe.  How bad will things get?  You don’t know, so you always assume the worse and NEVER get your hopes up, such as those with small food reserves have done.  Simplistic answers don’t leave room for creeping doubts.  Creeping doubts are what freeze up an analytical mind.  If you don’t stop analyzing data, you never respond.  Simplistic answers aren’t necessarily the product of a simple mind.  They are a prod to action for the over thinker.
( a third trick might be post-apocalypse fiction.  By encountering new situations you hadn’t thought of already, you are not caught unawares when truth mirrors fiction in the future and can think on solutions now while you have the luxury of time ).

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  1. Good post a and very true. In a combat situation you are limited in time to react. If it is full combat then you know he is going to shoot so you shoot first.

    I did not see combat in my military career but as a 20 year leo I saw alot. I had several occasions where I had to decide in a split second if I should shoot or not. I never did because I didn't have to. It was a difference of a subject raising his weapon or I had good cover. It may be a situation where a subject won't obey your commands, say a stranger at your gate. Give them an opportunity to comply but you or someone else better have your sights on him and finger on trigger.

    And on the Remington 700 post. They are decent rifles and the comment about ammo cost to wear it out was great. I have a Spanish FR8 mauser in 308. Just wish I could scope it effectively. I would still buy one or a good Ruger or savage model 10. Not as durable as surplus but will serve. The problem Remingtons are the 700 series that are cheaper, 770 and a couple others that escape me. A long range rife will not be your primary lead sprayer.

  2. i'm lucky to one of those people who never freeze up in a crisis. Very good at snap decisions. However, I do my best to not put myself in those situations. Eventually the odds catch up to a person, no matter how good their reactions.

  3. There are four responses to a sudden crisis situation:
    1) "Oh CRAP!, OH CRAP!" etc, on infinite loop.
    2) "Oh Crap! huh, it looks like AB and C thus DE and F should be, yep over there I should probably do something, lets see the best thing is..." over analysis until the crises passes
    3) "Oh Crap! I had better do something - yeah THIS!" Respond with first instinct
    4) "Oh, Crud this is real! good thing I know to do THAT!" Respond with pre-planned response.

    #4 is the best response to any crisis #3 is second best- #4 requires that you at least have thought about the crisis previously, analyzed it, gamed through variations, and chosen the proper responses. Do that repeatedly for the crisis and you will respond properly and promptly to any crisis.
    #3 is an intuitive response. Since any response is *almost* always better than no response it scores second place. Maybe your instincts or subconscious have been doing #4 without your awareness.
    #2 at least sets you up for being able to deal with the crisis again in the future like #4.
    #1 is the most common response for a total surprise crisis. Say the bowl of noodles you were about to eat coming to life and declaring that you look delicious. Sure, it is probably a hallucination, but if it is real, how do you react? #1 most likely, and since it is most likely a hallucination it is probably the best response- but if it _isn't_ you have just allowed the pastafarian creatures there first taste of human flesh....

  4. Perfect example, James, of why you should never give up writing – if even it’s just one essay a week. You always seem to come up with things that the other guys miss.

    Yeah, I’m an analyzer, and I’ve also sometimes wondered how I’d do in a “must-decide-now” crisis. I really do need to work on some automatic yes/no responses.

    1. It started just trying to be different for its own sake, but now that the nightscape is nigh I think more important than ever.