Thousands of years ago, humans would step out of their shelters every morning, walk to the river or lake and gather their water. Humans were not apex predators at the time, because they did not have adequate weaponry and had not yet learned to control the environment around them. Early humans had not developed a model yet. Early humans were learning on the job so to speak, and what they had learned soon became what many call instinct today.
The trip to the river was fraught with danger, but the people needed the water. The four-legged predators did have a model that they had been honing for thousands if not millions of years and they knew that all animals (their food source) needed water.
The Ability to Reason and Solve Problems Is Looking Into the Future Because We Can Predict to Some Extent What Will Happen If We Perform a Certain Action
One day one of our ancestors discovered they could see into the future. Whether this happened because humans could now communicate with each other or whether it was through evolution that the skills and instinct (ability to reason) to survive gradually found their way into the human brain. Nevertheless, humans began to plan. Soon people of the small village took different routes to the water every day to try to prevent or thwart an attack by hungry carnivores.
Once enough humans had been dragged off into the brush as a meal others began to look for ways to prevent this from happening, they developed ways to safeguard themselves and others. Early humans were shaping the behavior of future generations. Once humans had conquered the predators through their ability to think and plan and though their aptitude for making weapons behavior changed again and humans started on their way to becoming apex predators.
Now instead of animals dragging humans off into the woods, humans hunted those same predators for a food and clothing source.
Early humans had to solve the problem of large predators dragging off their friends and family or humans would not exist much longer. They did solve the problem, which created other problems because after a few generations humans feared less and thus failed to take precautions. They relied on the safeguards put in place.
Predators did not change their behavior however, only humans. The human population grew because of more food and fewer dangers. Humanity needed to change again, and change it did. Humans were taught to drop their defenses because others had put certain safeguards in place.
Once safeguards are put into place they cannot be lessened they can only increase, in other words people, humans are trying to make life “safer” when in fact we are learning to depend on safeguards and things beyond our control, which can make life even more dangerous.
Smart People Do Really Dumb Things
Your first thoughts are not usually rational thoughts at all but an automated response, that may or may not be out of habit. To survive you must have second thoughts. Keeping your head down and not observing what is around you is dangerous. You have to stop and think about what you are doing.
You do have the ability to reason and solve problems but you have been conditioned to let others do your thinking for you because of safeguards that have been put in place. In certain situations, there are no safeguards and it is up to you to think through the problem to save your life.
An example of people being conditioned to act a certain way is shown in a report from a park ranger stationed at Mount Hood.
Five hikers/climbers were on their way to Mount Hood and stopped by the rangers’ station to pick up some locator beacons provided by the park service. The beacons were only to be used in an emergency. The beacons are routinely provided to people hiking in areas prone to avalanches and in areas where hikers and campers tend to get lost.
The ranger stated that the hikers had adequate survival gear to include maps of the area, GPS systems, cell phones and an altimeter and compasses. Not long after beginning their adventures the hikers activated their beacons, and dialed 911, they need help or so they claimed.
Once the rangers had established a communications line with the hikers the rangers discovered the hikers thought they might have become lost because they had wandered off the trail. The rangers asked them about their maps, compass, and was the GPS system operational, yes the GPS system was working.
The hikers had the means to survive, they had all the equipment, tools and materials needed, and they had the means to find their own way back. However, they had been conditioned to call for help if things did not seem right. The hikers refused to work through the problem, either they did not know how to operate the equipment they had or simply found it easier to call someone to come and get them. The park rangers determined they were simply lazy (Gonzales, 2007).
No one else is responsible for you once you find yourself in certain situations but we as humans are conditioned to rely on too many other factors to keep us alive, we have lost a certain amount of instinct.
The question is would the hikers have survived if they did not have the means to call 911. Would they have panicked and run in circles, never giving a thought to all of the gear they had packed. There was no mention of food or water in the report but the hikers where not gone long enough for lack of food or water to have been an issue.
What if you had been one of those hikers, would you be able to take control of the situation and work through the problem.
People rely on things not of their making to survive, which means once in a survival situation some do not have the skills, the reasoning skills to think through the problem because help has always been just a phone call away. Highways have guardrails to keep us from rolling our vehicles down steep embankments. Snow blowers have warnings on them not to use on your roof.
Humans now can walk paths without the fear of wild predators snatching us up and dragging us off. It has been hundreds of years since we have walked in fear, and because of that, we have lost the ability to look for and to plan for danger.
Learn to walk as if there were no guardrails along the high mountain passes. Learn to ignore the trail markers that say safety is in this direction. Learn how to survive all over again and find your own way back from the wilderness or whatever other predicament in which you find yourself.
Gonzales, L. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/survival/skills/3.html