Panic - when visceral dominates rational


When visceral dominates rational, it looks like shock, but it is more like panic.

Before the event it makes things worse, and it's where we are today.


Stress famously prompts fight, flight, freeze. 

Staring into headlights and freezing "makes sense" to a deer when there is no fight option, no guide to mimic and no means to interpret the threat

 – so they die !  

This could be seen as an extreme case of a management decision failure.


It arises simply because cars do not belong in the world-view of a deer. We are are responsible, but that's another story.

Climate change is a case of management decision failure.  It arises simply because enlightened self-interest appears not to belong in the world-view of humanity. And we are are responsible, and that's this story...

Large, unclassified threats bring about freezing. Freezing is appropriate when either camouflage hiding is possible, when the opponent is weak or uncertain, or when escape possibilities are volatile (bored cat - immobile mouse), or no course of action is currently obvious.

Inaction is a disaster if you are in the inevitable path of a significant threat, if you are vulnerable, and if there are  zero-risk beneficial actions to take. 


Sounds like Climate change doesn't it.


So inaction would be really stupid - how can we explain it ?

Battle-field medics abdicate moral decision making responsibility by leaning on triage. It allows independent intelligent action! Bloody and efficient, in extreme circumstances it determines who must be left to die. Harsh, but effective, it reduces waste, and preserves operator sanity by reducing emotional “exposure”.

Triage is “predetermined response based on classification by need and likely benefit”, it manages limited resource systems that are sensitive to decision burden. Think of it as reasoned imperatives – Hotel on Fire – get out ! - Riots on Streets – get indoors ! It is imperfect - so there are exceptions - rioters are burning the town - “Run”

Our politicians are frozen in the headlights of climate change. We are vulnerable. Our leaders, have no experience or understanding of the threat. An outcome is inevitable (though not pre-determined). 

So first the indisputable : One billion or so buildings would benefit from efficient operation and we cannot do, all, now” - this implies value in prioritization - perhaps we we need “response based on classification by need and likely benefit”.

Absent global, national, corporate, or even household level clarity we are frozen. If it is  uncool to admit “we have no clue”, it appears to be politic to get “busy doing nothing” and hope the threat passes us by. 

Maybe “we should put a windmill up somewhere” - or hold another summit !

In one area there is a glimmer of hope. We have data. Behind the closed doors of energy companies and property portfolios these knowledge and information vacuums are being discussed – and data is starting to flow. They quietly admit - “the devil is in the detail” - and so they acknowledge the problem. Motives differ from climate change to commercial benefit – it matters little.

The whisper can become a roar – we must triage the planet!

Determining action requires recognition of processes, capabilities and patterns of building usage, and experience to recommend given circumstance

  1. We must put these tools in the hands of those who have access to data regarding buildings.  
  2. We must encourage the characterization of tough decisions (What is "warm enough" ? )
  3. And we must allow building operators to make sometimes unpopular decisions in our collective interest.
We must also spread the word - please feel free to comment on, dispute or refer to this page - even a tweet or a like is welcome !


Enhanced by Zemanta