• Sim

Atrophy of the social contract: violent confrontation.

Updated: Aug 23, 2018



Picture by: @Romeo_rioverde


The Probability of a very violent confrontation is actually quite low. Of course depending on any involvement in shady dealings, environments or regions. My dad, 74 years on this earth, not a single violent confrontation. The majority of the western population will go their entire life without one. Despite what the news is telling you violence (globally) has decreases drastically. The world is a much safer place then ten years ago. Let alone 20 years ago. Things are actually getting better.

Although I mainly speak about the western nations. The majority of the worlds population wants to live in peace. That's how our species is wired. It really is a small minority that has the knack and desire to try to fuck everything up. Because our general tendency is to promote tribe cohesion by enforcing the social contracts. Failure to do so is always punished by the greater population seeking to keep coherence to the established rules and social contracts. Without this hardwired behavior our species wouldn't have gotten very far and things would've much certainly been way worse. Way way worse.

The thing we want to keep in mind is that our interactions are based on social contracts. You don't need to be overly suspicious of everyone, you do however need to be aware that adherence to the social contract can change at any time. It's our duty to a certain degree to be capable and alert so that in the unlikely event of something happening, you will be able to deal with it in varying degrees of success.

There's always a possibility of getting in a violent confrontation, that doesn't mean there is a high probability to it though. I emphasize again that that's region dependent. According to Daniel Kahneman's book: Thinking fast and slow, the emotional weight we put on a minor probability is four times the factor of that probability. Meaning if there was a 5% chance you think it's an 13.2% chance. On top of that once an unlikely event of a very violent confrontation does emerge we're more prone to overstate it's likeliness because of our experience with it.

We clearly are generally not great statisticians. I'm by no means saying that learning on how to fight and defend yourself isn't important. I'm only trying to convey that there isn't any real need for paranoia or the highest state of alertness at all times. That's not what we are wired for to begin with.

If you're insecure because you think you run a higher risk/chance of getting involved with a violent confrontation, you are probably giving it far more emotional weight than the actual realistic percentual probability. That however is a hard one to get around intellectually. From experience that one thing that doesn't seem to fail is to be secure in your basics under duress. To be able to kick,punch, move, control and run. Once your confident in your ability to fight and have effective use of your weapons, your nervous system will automatically relax more because of the increased confidence to handle a situation.

I always like to work from 3 levels. The cognitive,emotional and physical. The cognitive one: understanding probability. The emotional: decreasing arousal by having better breathing mechanics and (general and applied) emotional stability. With that I mean things you could do at home to be in better charge of the stress response and things you can do in training to navigate the stress response better. Like the flooding of adrenaline in the system. Third, last but not least: working on the physical level. Learning on how to fight, having proper control of basics and attending training on how to deescalate and handle conflict.

There's a lot of different factors that come into play for all of these levels. It looks like the level of proficiency on how to handle violent conflict (outside of training itself) is awareness and sidestepping your ego. If you are aware early in changes of demeanor or environmental behavior (what other people are doing) the likelihood of you getting pulled into a bad situation is lower. It allows for a departure of the situation or premises. The other significant factor is if you are able to let your ego stay quiet so you can deescalate and walk away.

The last part seems to be quite the challenge for a lot of men. Seeing are masculinity gets pulled into question even though in most cases walking away is the smarter option. Hardly ever feels like it. Which is why arousal control is such a big factor. If you can remain calm and realize that your entire image of masculinity is not tied into a single event in your life, you will be able to let it go and walk away. This is of course presuming no personal boundaries have been crossed. Your ego has a lot to say about how any confrontation, violent or otherwise, turns out. It's your duty to wield it responsibly.

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