Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fear Causes Death

In my previous post, I talked about the power of The Will to Live as a survival tool. The will to live is a "power of positive thinking" sort of thing that can keep you alive in some circumstances, beyond all logic and reasoning. But there is also a "power of negative thinking" that we ought to examine and understand, because it is very real and very deadly.

An example of this can be seen from an incident report of the recent 7.6 earthquake in Costa Rica, where, remarkably, only 1 death was reported.

Even though 7.6 is a fairly powerful quake, there was limited structural damage reported throughout the country. That's because Costa Rica adheres to strict building codes. Olman Vargas, president of the national College of Architecture and Engineering said, "…we comply with all global standards — the same as California and Japan, places well known for their high tectonic activity."

But even though the buildings came through the quake in pretty good shape, the emergency rooms were quickly packed with people who had minor injuries or were suffering from shock. Douglas Salgado, a geographer with the country's National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention, reported that a landslide covered part of a highway, and some hotels and other structures suffered cracked walls.

Hojancha city official Kenia Campos reported that the temblor "knocked down some houses, and landslides blocked several roads. People were really scared."

Being really scared can have terrible consequences. And in fact, the single death caused by this earthquake was attributed, not to blood loss or broken bones, but to fear. Red Cross worker Carlos Miranda reported that the death was confirmed to be a man who "died of a heart attack caused by fright."

So, fear can have bad consequences. Even if the fear doesn't get so extreme that it causes you to die immediately, it can kill you slowly. I'm not talking about the long-term physiological effects of stress (although that is also a valid point), but the fact that fear can paralyze an individual and cause him to fail to take the proper action to save his life. Think of a deer in the headlights.

Survival is all about making the right choices and taking the right actions at the right time. You have to be able to figure out what is highest on the survival priority list at the moment, and then do whatever it takes to handle that priority. If you're stuck in a fear-induced rut, you aren't going to make it.

Equipment is convenient, if you know how to use it correctly. But knowledge is even better than equipment.

Knowledge is power, so learn all the stuff you can. You know what they say, "The more you know, the less you need."

Experience is even better than mere knowledge, because it convinces you that you can actually put into action the things that you know.

Gain more experience, and fear fades away.

1 comment:

  1. I was in the great Alaska quake in 64, it was interesting.