When we get caught up in the emotions of a moment, a situation, or a conflict, we call it “the fog of war.”
Sometimes we say things like “I just lost my head” or “I couldn’t think straight.”
And the research is clear that certain core functions of the brain shut down when offered the option to fight, flee, or freeze.
But the evidence is less clear (as a matter of a fact, the jury is still out) on what happens when we know all the logical information, we have all the data, and we either fail to act, act the way that we always have acted in the past, or act wrongly.
When we have all the data and we fail to act, we call that a catastrophe–or a tragedy.
When we have all the data, and we act the way that we have always acted, we expect grace to be granted to us for our obstinacy, but we refuse to grant the same grace to others.
When we have all the data, and we act wrongly, we rarely call this a tragedy. Very often we say (or think, or write) that “Mistakes were made. But by someone else, not me.”
Knowing what we do is not the same as knowing why we do it in a conflict scenario, where emotions run hot and the “fog of war” descends upon us.
Knowing what we do is not the same as knowing how to stop doing it to get more logical outcomes, based on data and reason.
But one thing we can be sure of, as more and more human beings begin to value the intersection of collaboration, cooperation, and connection, more than the data that gets us there, the more human beings will have to work on the “how” of lessening the impact of our baser motivations.
The stakes could not be higher.