Fight or Flight

My last article created a bit of a stir.
I think I understand why.
It came to light during a brief conversation with a consultant.
When I was asked my opinion about a well-known industry axiom.
I expressed ambivalence.
And was immediately met with aversion.
I tried to explain my contrasting view, but was cut off.
“I’m not interested,” he said dismissively.
And walked away.
I felt a visceral antipathy.
I found out later that he teaches and recommends said axiom.
An so he has attached his identity to it.
I felt bad for him.
I mean, what choice did he really have?
Fight or flight, right?
I’m not being flippant or dramatic.
The man experienced a strong physiological reaction to me.
As if I pointed a deadly weapon at his head.
Because his brain couldn’t differentiate between the annihilation of his body.
And the annihilation of his identity.
To his conditioned mind, both are the same “self.”
And so when it was threatened, it instinctively responded.
In this particular case with flight.
That same reaction is increasingly prevalent in today’s modern world.
Instead of calmly and intelligently dealing with cognitive dissonance.
People either rail like hell against whatever threatens their beliefs and identities.
Or they simply tune it out.
Fight or flight.
It’s a sad and dangerous scene.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
And Viktor Frankl wrote:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
First-rate intelligence (consciousness) and freedom.
They’re directly proportional.
Or fight and flight.
And so are they.
The choice is ours.
And so are the very real consequences.

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination.
— John Keats