Fight or flight or… / by kevin murray

There are all sorts of false dichotomies put out there that purport to be true and profound, of which, some of them most definitely are not.  When it comes to the fear factor, in regards to confrontation of all sorts, we are told that our two most basic choices, perhaps, our only choices are to either fight the threat or to take flight from it.  But the reality of it is life itself, and the experiences that most people have had, indicate that this isn't close to being the whole truth.  For instance, many people have stood around to watch a school fight of which, a significant amount of those "fights" often involve a lot of talking, boasting, posturing, feinting, but no actually fighting that ever takes place.  This, in a nutshell, proves the point that confrontations are not just limited to fighting or fleeing.  In fact, confrontations can call upon a multitude of responses, including negotiation with the other party, so as to prevent a fight, or to appease the other party and so on.


The real reason why there are so many other options besides fighting or fleeing is because, for instance, fighting involves real risk to all parties involved and hence isn't ideal because of that risk; whereas fleeing while perhaps remaining true to the proverb of "living to fight another day," doesn't actually resolve the problem, but merely postpones it until another day.  So too, people are prone to all sorts of posturing, in regards to their body language or their voice, not so much because they are trying to "psych" themselves up to actually fight, but rather it is often the very opposite of that, which is to take on the aura of someone that is willing to do battle, so as to get the other person to take notice that there may well be real and legitimate reasons that have provoked such a response, that need to be dealt with.


To really believe that life only has "either, or" consequences is to simplify way too much what human life is all about.  In actuality, human confrontations, often present a myriad of options, of which mankind would not have evolved as far as it has, it those choices merely came down to fighting or fleeing, for if that was the case, there would be a heck of a lot more fighting in this world, than there already is.  We should be grateful for all the posturing that is done instead of fighting or fleeing, which allows each party to thereby maintain their honor and dignity, while also allowing cooler heads to prevail over a period of time, for many things that generate fearful situations, dissipate if no fuel is added to that fire.


It can be said that the more that people fight, the more fights that there will be, for might does not make right.  So too, the more fleeing that people do, the greater the delay in getting to the issues at hand, for running away from something that must be faced, only serves to delay that which must be faced.  On the other hand, those that posture and negotiate understand that it is these dances, so to speak, that help to make a better and more accommodating civilization.