[ExI] The Avalanche Threat

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat Sep 15 08:41:13 UTC 2007

On 15/09/2007, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> I contend that they're rational in today's environment as well.
> Take another example:  you share a large cubical at work with
> a new co-worker.  About once every two days he creeps up
> behind you and lets you have it with a rubber band right on the
> back of your ear.
> Now rationally, taken literally, this does not constitute near so
> serious a threat to you as dying in an automobile accident. In
> fact, if you had the choice of putting up with this aberrant
> behavior instead of having to put up with the dangers of the
> highway, it would be highly rational to exchage road accident
> risk for the minor pain every couple of days from your coworker.
> But we were constructed to take threats from other human beings
> very, very seriously.  The following has not changed since the EEA:
> another human being can be an exceedingly dangerous organism to
> have around.  If one gets the drop on you, with his fists and hands
> along he could conceivably kill or seriously injure one;  even a 30
> kilo human being would be deadly with a baseball bat if, again, he
> takes you by surprise.
> The key factor is that another human being is a resourceful antagonist,
> unlike avalanches and car accidents. Any sign of instability or hostility
> from another human (or group of humans) has to be recognized as
> a very serious danger.  And this hasn't changed at all in the last
> 100,000 years.

Yes, but you still have to *rationally* assess the risk from your
co-worker versus other risks. If he has been doing his rubber band
trick for the last 30 years, with no other evidence of hostile or
dangerous behaviour, this is different to the case where the behaviour
is new and perhaps indicative of a developing psychotic episode.

Stathis Papaioannou

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