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Deep Survival

Deep Survival


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Published by angulilla
Who lives,who dies and why
Who lives,who dies and why

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Published by: angulilla on Nov 13, 2010
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-II to:l'aliU ''''I!ln D N(J SlIm,,,,, ~~It. '"0 b 111m 1fcaIUlIriI. to Iflllll i~ m.Iil~D!lIQ'lIlI. Gorumn Iltmlng I' iQfliOH~Ut an III nmptllllng. !!

nllIl~, II'U_cI!rcll 1$ mu~rau_ I un ill'ltiln.a • Illtur b!QOk ~1iI nifjl·~JI'II)IC .. " -SE IUln II~,IN J U NI e Ell. iii uUn r II r fHE ,PlfI.fEC I srtJ'.fI~





"Riveting aeeotmts ofruvrularncbes,mounffi:ru1i.n aeeidents, sailors lost ,rut sea.and theman-made beU of 9/:lli:ill,.'"

-Slep,nen Bo elHlo., Sp'orts JUusu',nted

"fA. feast of excitement and wonder, Mak.es complexity and chaos eo me ,ruJilVH, girdled ]lJ.y neuro.lo.gkrul processes, drenched witb fantastic aecoimts of dangerand derutb,. You vvi]] see the wodd ,differently.. ",

=Charles Perrow, author of JVo"['mulA(lci,d,ents and professor of so do.lo.gy emerittss.Yale University

"fGo.nzrules hasmasterfully woven lo.gether personal survival stcries "\litb the study of human p'emep,fio.n lo.reruch

kill M ',' 4!!-' 4!!-1[.., . ill .. 4!!- 1[...4!!- 111"'· 1"4!!-1[.. .' '" 'kl .. ,

roc-[jOl~'i!:orn Hm~.Il1Is anotn . .II.1Inw to lLllVe Wll1u.m ris ".,.n

-iIP'eter Stark, author of Last Breath: TIw Lim.its of Ad'vlentiu1'e

"This bonk wiU help, you should you ever find yourself pinned under a IO ck in a roaring while water river, But it

'v!,I'iU help you evenmore if ynu ever find yourself wondering why your brain works lithe way illt do es under lithe stress of everyday life, A fascinating look into why we are who we


.'fGreatllt stories of ,disaster and SlLUvJ[Vat] where nne lH'esisfib]y wonders, "Hnw W01Lddl do In lIthis cireumstanee?' combined vrilltb revHat]lng sc1lenceatb oullt lithe p,bysinlngymnd psycholngy of how we dea] willth crisis, [Gonzales's] science is. aocurate~ accessible, up-to-date and insigbHu1. . .An. extremely go od

b· ok ".

'00'.: ..

-Rnbm1 Sapolsky, author of T4rhy Zeb'1'us Don. 't: Get Ulcers Hind neurnbinlngisllt and p,dmattnlngisllt, Stmnfm'd University

"Deep Sw'vivlul providesa new lens for lookingat survival, fisk taking, and life itself, Gonzales takes lithe reader ona roller-coaster ride lith alit ends "villtb rules of surviva] we canall stand to' lemrn, Equally important, he answers lithe question: whallt is. lithe value of takingrisks? Llove lIthis book."

-Jed WiUimmson, editor nfAo~i,d,ents in J\101'th.A.me1'i,oun Nloun.tuin.ee1'ing

ententrulnlngadditinn tnru nature buffs

library=or for anyone-not tucked! safely aw.ay in a bunker .. ~~. =Kieku« ReV'ieW's

"Gonzales'e vivid! descriptions 'Of life in the balance 'Vii]] sffi;aty v"ith readers .. ,~,

"Professionalrescuers wi]] love Deep' Sm'V'iv:at U go es to the hemrilt 'Of the mstinets that dr][ve us to risk our 'OWl]! lives to save others, ~~,

-Jacki Golike,execuflve director, Nafiona] Asso dattion for Searehand Rescue

"Gonzales takes us 'On at fascinating, fast paced, and! ej{je;]ting adventure into SUTIv1ivatl~ (indudilng anexeellent survey 'Of the brain basis 'Of fear), His. 'Cat]lJ'flVatting storiea many from personal experiences, wi]] keep you turning the pages, Stop'p,ing 'Only to imatgine how you, and your brain, wotdd! read when faced! with at survival experience. ".

=Joseph Lelxmx, professor 'Of neural seieneeat NewYork University and author 'Of The Emotionallhnin. and Synap'tic Self

.Also by Laurence Gonzales

One Zero Charlie The sun P'ollnt The Hero's .Ap'p'renti,ee Jambeaux


Laurence Gonzales



A,~ ...::III f t'hl ," t'hl" '" " t'hl . ...::III hi '" hit,

l:llll!L[ you,my' ,alii IIHI, II tere on II IIH sac IIH]g II, I,

C' .' ,. b]I' " .' .' . . ~"t'hl ." fi"··' . t' ~

nrse,' HSS,me nnw Vi,1]11 I. your. terce learS,lI. pray;

=Dylan Thomas

~4.n nightsreSeTIVBdl

Parts of 1Ithis book. were previously published, in different form, 1iu Ha~'P\e1"S;; lV.len. 's .Jou~'rN]l.;; Penthouse, Notre Dame N.la!g,azine: an,dll\luticmnl. Geog~',[1p'hicAdv\entu1'e.. Some were subsequenHy,eoUec1ltedl, in diffsrent form, in The Stiil. Point andl The He~'o's.App'rentioe ..

AU Quiet on the it1le-ste~'n Front by EnichM.anirll Remarque .. "Irn vVesllten Niehts Neu8:S, ~~. eOjp'ynighl @' 192.8 by Ullstein A .. G.; COjp'ynigh1ltrenewBdl @ 1956 by EnichManirll Remarque ..

A.U Quiet on the it1le-ste~'n Front' eOjp'ynigh1lt © ]929 by JUHle, lBrovnJl. and Company; COjp'ynigh1ltrenewBdl © 1957, 1958, by E[]ichManirll Remarque ..

lUI Rights R8:S,eTIVBd. Used by pernrissicn ..

Touching UleVoid' b.y Joe Simpson, COjp'ynigh1lt @' 1989 by Jo e Simjpson,rejpminlltedl by permission of Harrjp,erCoUins lIP'ubIishers fine.

F~'om. U niamed Seas: One it11om.nn '5 True Story of Sllip'w~',eck and Sm'vivul. b.y Deb orah Sealmg Kiley and Meg Neenan. COjp'}'1igh1lt @' 1994 by Deborah SCrllHng Kiley.

Rejpmin1ltedl b,y permissicn of lHoughlltonMiffllin Cornpany.All

". ht ...JII

ng I .II!.cS I8:S,eTIVBl[.

from this book, 'Vvrilte to Permissions, W,. W,. Norton & Company.Jnc., 500 fifthAv8Ulli.l!e~ NewYork~ NY 10JlUIlO,.


Gonzales, Laurence, ~947-

Deep survival: who ]iVBS, who dies, and why: hue stories of :miracu1ous endurance and sudden deatth / Laurenee Gonzales, -]sted.


Includes bilb]iogr,atphicat] references.

1,. Wi]derness survival - Case studies, I. Title, GV200.5.G662003


illSEN: 978-0-393--07657-8

W,. W,. Norton & Company, Ine., 500 fifth .AV8UlUH, New York, N,.Y,. JIlOl10

'V'YV'YV,. 'V'Yv-umion,. com

W,. "V,. Norton & Company Ud.~ Castle House, 75/76 "Vens Street~ lLondon Wl1f3Q1f












"Look Out, Here Comes Rav Chades'~

Memmies of the Fuhue

A Map' of the Worldl

A GmiUa :lin Our :M:iOlsit

The .Anatomv of an Act of Godl

The Sandl P]]e Effect

The Rules of L]fe

Danger Zones


NillNE BeIldliIlg the :Mrup'

'fEN ~nsldle The Right Stuff

ELEVEN 'We~re AJ] GOiIlg to Fuckin~ [lie! l~

TIVELVE A V1iew of Heruven

'fHill RTEEN Th,e Srucredl Chrumber


A Cmiruin N obJiUtv The Oruv of the Fru]]

App,eIldl'nx: The Ru]es of Adlventure Se]ededl Bllb]iogrrup,hv Acknow]ed.gments

Author~s Note


:aIOST 'CHILOREN .ARE TOLO fantastic stories, whkh they gradumUy come torealize are not true .. As I grew up, the fantastic stories I'd healidas a young ebild turned! out lito

b· "'" . Th' . ',' ' .. '. '~']I' .' . ...::III "'hi. ..'. fa "'~: ....::111 '" ,"'hi

e HUe.. ... I emore .!Il .. emIneu~ III lie more . ,mUllLaslUCatnu Hue III Ie

stories seemed.

'[hey were unlike the stories nther ehi~dren heard. '[hey were grues,ome, improbable, and sad. I didn't rep'emt them because 1 thought no nne wnu~d! believeme, '[hey were the stories ofa yotmgmen falling nut of the sky. UnlikeIcarus, who had! fIl0'VVD lItoo high, he had! not flown higb enough .. AIIt 27,000 feet, his wing was b,lovv"ll. off bym Germen F1!aklu]taiion, whkb was filing 88-miUimellter .anfimiirerafilt shells nver the rmU yards outside nf[)'Uss,e]dod.~A..nd unUke Icarus, he:'s sfiUm]iveas 1 wJdllte this..

Federico Gnnzmles.,my father, was.a First lLieutenant near the end of Wodd! War n: .. He was p,ilofingm B-][7 for the Eigbth .Pdr Foree, when tbmt nrganizmfion bad! evolved intom malivelousmachine for tliJ[rning young men inllto nld! memories, He was on his hvenry-fiftb and! last mission, whkb he waseager to. complete, because he and his budd!y~

David SV\lift~ were gO'ing to sign U]lJ' to fly P'-51 Musffi;ang fighter planes, the knl1ghts of the sky; My father was ]l1ke that, des]lJdlllte having been shot down before, He'denlisted in the Jast eavalry OlJ]lfit before the war, He rode horses ata gaUO']lJ1 whUe emptying the elip of h1ls-45Model 1911-A, reloadilng while hUIJI.ing to come baekand hit the tltargets again, "VVben the war stltarffi:ed~ the cavalry wasmeehanized, and he began searching for the next best thing,. He discovered airplanes, He went out for fighters, but they needed bomber ]lJlilO'ts~ andes his eommanding officer lItO'ld me fmiy-five years lallter, "Your dad hada flair for flying on instruments. ~~,

'VVilen his lB-17 was hit on January 2,3,lli945~ he was the lead ]lJ11110't for one of those enormousair raids that the United Stltrulltes was eondneting at the time, The Commandant of the 398th Bomb GrOU]lJI, Colonel Frank Hunter, had asked my fruther~'sregular eO'-]lJUO't Io stand down so. that he ,cO'ul,d fly night seat in the lead p1laneamd see the acficn. The bombers had taken off in grerut waves of smoke before dawn, formed U]lJ', and ehurned out over the English Channel from Nuthampstead Base,

They~'dreach.ed the tltarget areru and were on the bomb run when ground fire from the Flakb,utaUon ,cut the left wing ofmy :fruther~'s lB- JIl7 in half just inboard of the number nne engine, It wasrotten luck. DUling the bomb run, you eouldnl take evasive action or the bombs would go. astray,

Mnreover, his was the first plane in the formation, and the hit was the veryfirst firing, n was rll mortal wound to the plane and 9 a percent fatal to the (';rew.. The b1rllst was deafening, andmyfather saw immed~rutely tbrut there was gOIng to lb 80 no fIlyilug nut of this.. He turned to his boss bes~de him and sru~d, '''"VVeU,ill guess this IS it. ~~.

Then the ]l)llaneroUed over, ignmJugmy father's .rllttem]l)ts. to right it, and began some sort of Invented flst spin, He (';ollddnl teU ]I),rec1[sely what sort, for the world had turned Into a nasty S01i1pl of u.nfamllUar colors, He gruve the ballI-out nrders through the intercom to the (';rew, unsure if the thing was even working or had been shnt to pieces by the flrllk.~AJll the Illghts, hcrns.and klaxons were goingrllt nncees the plane protested with a grerut crescendo of whines,groaLns, and the howling noise 'coming through eAjplloded wind sereens, :M yfather looked nver at Colonel Hunter and rerllUzed tbrut he was already dead, hit b,y flrllk or some bilt of flyingmetal from the fractlillTed plane,

Upside-down, spinning, he groped for the parachute beneath his seat .. They'd stantedrut :2 7,000 feet and he had no ~derll how high they were, but knew he bad to get out .. The fIlllers were supposed to wear their paraehutes atall times, but the salty nld dogs,3rsmy father was thenat .ruge nventy- three, 1e]l)It them under theIr seats, because the damned thIngs were so. uncomfortable to sit on for ten hours .. l\nd anyway, the choices they gruve you were,rllS the

fliers Iiked lito say, e~ceedlingly butt- ]lJluckmllng, mesnmebas ru plHollt descending beneetha 40-foollt eannpymadea grerullt target for sharpshccters .. Even lithe farmers carne out to lItny lItheir hand alit brugging an .Mnedcrun flier. The women and ehUdren woul,dl be g;rullthedng, too, lito eoUec1lt lithe bounty from ru shaHeredl E-][7: nylon, wool, p,lruslltk,meffi:rul ofal] sorts, and silk from pm·acbulltes and from lItheeslcruple and evasion mrup~s ..

He ,couldnlreacb his parachute willth lithe stnpid harness on, so herelerusedl it. The eentrifugal force slammed him ineo lithe Jinslltrumenl panel '\ivilltb sneb force lIth.rullt illt nearly knocked him out, n eut off his OAJlgen supply, whkb was fed Ihrongha lIthkk rubber tube running up, his chest lito his face mask Smashed against lithe instrument panel, losing rultilltude he knew not how fast, he reached up' willtbru hand lith alit seemedmade of lead now and puUedlllthe facemask off lito gelltru brerulltb of air .. He saw Hunter flop'p,edl over, hanging helplessly in his harness .. He lito ok at lEH·erullth. llDamn. Probably stiUru"hove 20,000 feet, he lIthnugbllt, and passed out from hypoxia,

'VVhile he was out, hisaireraft broke in two amidships ..

On lithe ground,an oldl woman. Mrs, Peiffer, saw sometbing amruziing: boys fruUing out of lithe sky .. Of lithe ten-men erew, only my frullther survived, and he was severely injuredl,rus might be anticipated inafive-naile fatU.

vVhen heruwoke, lithe motion had stopped, He was

crumpled and jammed beneatb lithe instrument panel down by lithe big nakedaluminum rudder pedals, He saw sky outside lithe shattered canopy, a placental overcast from

].."'1[.. 1[... :'·.,.J'I iLL,.... iLL,.. A·.·.· .' ' .. ··.,.J'I '" "'hi.. iLL,.' 11.·

Wu],cu.v:me 'u neen norn. .h. .matnatp'peareu rn I~ lie UrO'K.en

wilndO'w frame, standing on lithe stub of lithe lighllt wing, He pointed a pistolatmy fatllther:'s head. He was ,at local man, ,at German peasant .. The ideat of killingan American p,ilO'lIt was

'" .' .. "']1 .,. .' . '" "'hi.... . .-!I:- ·i':I!1i1 . f· the . '" hi .,.J'I

notan unpnpu ar nne m I~ I ose platll~S.~f1ILy . at IIHr W,aIil:C I eL[

willth dleffi:ached o(,;udosilltyats lithe man pulled the bigger,.

IN 1958, when 1 was ten years n],d,l workBdlln amed~cat] school ]abnr,rutmyallt lithe HoustonMedical Center, My fatllther wasa biO'p,hyskisllt lIthere.. 1 convinced him to' take rne to'

11. ''''''h'' 1[..'" .'. "'hi '" .~. ..' ]I.,.J'I f .,.J'I ." '" .]..'" hi . .,.J'I"'.,.J'I hi '" hi

worK Vlllll~ II .. .II.1Ilm s.o I~ I "al~ .11.. eO'n 'u T Inu OU.I~ w . .I.jL,al~ . I H 'u]'u, VIl. 11.1!:C II

he didn't seem able to' explain.Td 10 eenafter himabout illt sineeI was very little, and b,y lithe time 1 was five, 1 had

'" -!I:- .,.JII'" . think thst hi. '" hi", 1[... iLL, . '" . th ]

S'lLal,ll!:eL[ II!:O' Ii!. 1I.1nK, u lIa,~, iermg IIi!. . nave neen In u lie S nw· group

'" .. "', ~;~'" .. '. hi ·········]1 .~ 111]1 fh eoth '. ' .. f· "'hi '. ' ' ]I.,.J'I·· '. ··]1 ' '" ·h' '"

atl~ SC1leUl~lk:JI~ se 1100' ,. ,f-il I~ lie OI~ ,eI : at lIeIs con oUt exp am Vil, lIa,~

"'hi , .,.J'I '" .,.J'I 1I1'LTll.. ,,~, '" hi '" hi '" ,-!I:- .,.J'I '" 11·'" , . '" "'hi ]1 iLL,

I~ ley u1!:u. '~'!t' . .I.1Ien ,11., vilas Hl,g III~, ' lie S'!LaI.ll!:eU l!LaKlngme II!:O' I~ lie , au

vvillth himafter school and on week.ends and leffingme wash glassware and dO' othermenial jobs .. iBut graduaUy, he gave memoreresponsib,i]illty.. 1 learned to'matKemkros1cO'pe slides beforeLleerned how to' dance ..

O f Ii "," iLL, '" th 11 iLL, '" '" 11· th '" hi '"

, ne 0 .myear lesl~Jnus In I~ Ie,. at~) was II!:O' l!LaKe I~ I e Has, II, II!:O'

lithe inelneratoa, The 1Itn'atsh often ccnsisted of cut-upmiee

.,.JI 1[.. fh '" ., ... '.' ' .. '. '" af ,iLL,"']I· '" ,]1 . '" .. 11 iLL, S

ann SUCu I~ nngsas come nUI~ 0 ,a ulO' nglcat sciences " an, .00

rd lug the b"rllsh bags do'VVUI the vast tiled corridor ~ whieh was dimly ]iilt from eiilther side by theglass vitrmes in whkh the demonstration specimens floated in their baths of formalin. There WrllSrll human head sU,ced into half-inch ilthick. slabs, neatas you p,lerllSH. There were many fetusesat various Strllges of develop'menl.PuJtd ilthere was one Iady; headless, armless, her torso euilt in half from ilthe tOP' of her Sternum ilto her erotch. She floated in formalin ]ikerll nighiltmare of ]Boi!ttice]li:'s Venus about to be born on an neeanwave,

I P'[O ceeded to ilthe furnace and cranked ilthe steel handle until ilthe heruvy rusted door opened toreverul a roaring orange inferno wiilthin.l was just about to toss in the brush bags whenI saw a human arm stickilmg up' out of the flames, Ailtfirsiltl was she eked, ilthen fnightened,. ThenLreelized ilthruilt~ of <course, ilthat's where Ven:us:'anns nmst have gone long rllgo, along wiilthru Iot of oilther spare pm1s..~A . .nd 1 thought:

V\Th,ruilt ilthe heckaml doing here? 1 eonldn't answer ilthe question then, built 1 can nowiI was chasingmy frllilther, trying to geilt some of that righteous stuff he had, VVh,ruilt else doesa son do built by to learn from his fruilther?

Since he wasa scientisilt,l grew up, believing in science.

ThatmeantI had, before 1 even knew iilt,rlllready embarked ona search for some universal lrllws-ilthe Rules of Life,

and learned whrutmy fruther hru,d dO'ne in the war .. That he had lived while so many others had died seemed tome to have so muchmeaning .. l heard the storiesover and over and {,;oul,d never seem Io p']lJ.Jmb the1[rmysiltery .. Mils survival made me lb eHeve that he had so me special, ineffruble ,qurulity.l felt urgently that 1 ought to have ilt, too ..

GraduaUy, 1 developed the ideru that to survive, you must first be annealed in the fires of peril, Even hiseveryday life seemeda peril.All arO'und him were the dead, yet he lived on, lruughing .. EventuruUy,l went loO'king formy OW"11I brand of p'eIil.l deliber.rniltely Io okrisks so thatlmight survive them .. We lived ona bruycm in southeast Texas,and from about the firneI was seven, ilt was my pmiv.rnilte '\-vilderness, '\-vith .ruUigruiltO'n-sand snapping turtles, rattlesnakes and wailter moccasins, and strange ,disp,laced eheracters. My Irish Catholic Germanmother had so many brulb&es.-whn could keep' track of them .rnU?l p,reHymuch Ian w]]d ..

'VVilen 1 was iu the foudh grade.I began writmgabout the risks 1 took .. By the time 1 was in my twenfies, 1 was dO'ing itasa joumalist .. iUler thidy yean-s,l Iernlizedrd been w]1iting about surviva] all along without knowing ill. But rd .rulw.ays eo me home frorna story wondering: Dol hruve it now? Amla sunv1[vO'r? Or is there more?

I becameru p,illol. 1 lb egan wJlitingrubO'ut bilgruvilrution accidents, that boundary lb etween life and deruth where my father had made his bones ..

Wlthmy llnterest lln seienee, then.T thought there must be some researeh that could helprrse to tmderstand the mysteriesof survival Tdencountered. 1 found othervvise rafional p'eop']e dlollng inexplicable things to get thems,elves killed -.rugruinst aU adviee, .rugruinst aUreruson. .A perfectly sensibleman ona snowmobile is warned not to go upa hill because it wiU p'robrubly produeea fatally ]rurge avalanche .. He goes up' an}"vruy and ,dlles .. A. :firefilghterandeAjp1edenced olJ1tdoorsrnan knows he is gollng in the wrong direction but persists anyway and winds up, profoundly lost lln the '\1\1ilderl1less ... A number of sr:ubru divers are found dead 'with air in their tanks, They pulled the regulators from their mouths and ,died. If you hadmagieally transported them to the surface a moment before they removed theirregulrutors andasked themabout their impulse, they w-uuld have told you that itmade no. sense: The regulator was necessary for thellr survival, If you were able to ask them afterward, they would teU you that they didn't intend to trukH lt out, They intended to 11lvH..

After reruding hundreds of aoddentrepods and writing scores of mikles, 1 began to wonder if there wasn't some mysterious force hidden viilthin us that produces suehmad behruvior..Mnst people find it hard to believe tbrutreruson doesn't control our actions .. We believe in frHe 'wi]] and rafional behavior, The dllffir:ulty '\lith those assumptions comes when we see rational people doing: irrrutionrul things..

Those who survive are justms baffllllng..l knew, for example, that an eil.'JH3nienced hunteImight ]pmish while lost in the woo ds form single night, whereasm four-year-old might survive. "VV"bHn five people are set adnift .mt sea and only h!in come back, wh.mtmmkHs the difference? VVlln survived Nazi prison camps? "VV"by did Scott's erHW perish in ~4.nltan=:ticm wnilH, against .m]] odds, Shackleton's ,crHW survived and even fhrived in the same circumstances? "Vhy was.a seventeen- year-nl,d gllrlmb.le to walk nut of tbH Peruvian.jimgle, whilH the adtdts. who. were lost with her sat dow-nand died? U wasmmdden:ilng to find survival so. unpredictable, b.ecausHmftHI all, seienee seeks ]p'll·edictmb.iHlty.. Butas 1 raked thaashes of emltastro]phH,ill began to SHH the ouUines of an ezplanation.

Most of what 1 dllscovered through tbH years ofreseareh and IH]ponfing was not new .. 1 aoq_umintedmyseU 'v!lithrecent researeb on the w.ay thH brain funetinns, but also. with fundamental principles that have been around for centuries-eiu some 'caSHS, thousands of years-vas well ns with the psychology of risk ltmkllng and survivm1. ThH principles .m]p']p']Y to "I>vilderness survival, but theyalso .mp']p']Y to any stressful, demanding sitliJJation, suchms gHlling tbrough a divoree, losinga job, surviving iUness,recovening from an injury, or IliJJ.nningm business inm rapidly changing world,

involve equipment, training, and experience. n lIturns out lIthallt,atllt themomentof bullth, thosenright be good lIthings lito have but they aren't decisive, Those of us who go inllto lithe vfil~derness or seek our HniUs in contact willth lithe forees of nature soon ]earn~ in fact, lItbrullt experience, training, and modern equillJlmenllt can belltr.ruy you .. The maddening thing for someone ,,,,illthat Weslltern scientific lIturn of mind is lith alit ifs not what's in your plack that separates lithe IqlJ.llfCK from lithe deatd. It's not even whrufs in your mind. Corny as illt sounds, ifs whrufs in your berud ..

The fartherone goes The Iess one knows,

-}':a.O' re Ching

How didI gellt inffi:o this and tbisand how do ill gellt out of illt again, how do es illtendl?

- Saren Kierkegaard

Ofeach partieular tning,ask:

,~r"VVhat is it in itself, in itsown eonstmetion?"



IlF¥OU (~OULn see adrenaline, then you:'d see .at greatt green greasy liver of it oozing off the beacb .att San Diego tonigbt .. ¥ou:'d see it flowing one hundred miles. out toward the stern of the boatt -thafs what the p,ilots call it, at boatt, despite the fad that it displaces 95,000 tons of water, has at minimu:m of six thousand people ]ivingon boardat all times, and is as long as the Empire Sltatte ]Bunding is tatU.

I'm standing '\>iiltb halfa dozen SWHatty guys on the LSD p,1attform, wh.1i:r:batt 8 b,y 8 feet seems very crowded just now .. We:'re steaming into the prevailing windat "around .:)0 knots" (theexact speed being classified), andI'm trying not to bejostled toward the 7o.-foot gulp, dnwn to the w.ater .. The steel blade of tbis. boatt bas lip'p,ed up, the beUy of the seat, and 1 watcb for a moment as its cmling intestines. glisten v!litb moonlight and roll .rnw.ay behind us ..

On my left is Milke Yankovleh, the landing signal officer

(LSD), in his goggJes and crania], his gaze fixed mtently about 15 degreesrubove the horison, He's g;otru heavy-looking telephone handset pressed to his leftear, p,llck.le s'Vvillbch held high in his light barnd..illfs eruUed the p,llck.le s'VvitdilJ because iit ]0 oks Uk.H a large BrukHUffi:e kosher pkk.le 'Vvithru silverring enclosinga black. bigger .. Yankovich has his index finger and thumb poised to press the cut ]ight or wave-off ]ight s'Vvikhes in case he needs ffi:o teU the p,ilot to add power or not Io land. The men inadvmienUy nudge me toward the edge in their enthusiesm togeta ]0 ok rut the F-l8 Hornet thafs beadng down on us at 150 miles an hour ..

A mile out, it doesn't look ]ikemuch yet, justa black daIi,ru drurker darkness inru sky fuU of buzz-bomb slltars..l know thosemonster GlEengines are burning kerosene faster than a V-2. rocket, butI can't hear them yet .. There's just that silent insect shape, unfolding UkHanmigarmi .ruirp,lrune,at black. batt in the hat black. night ..

ill ]0 ok rut the faces around me, lEach man haso lump' in his cheek from the Tootsie Ron Popsa Marine passed oata few minutes ago, Their whiffi:eeyes stare inffi:ent]yrut the b]oBsoming shape thafs ehmving up, the stars, But they~'re not staring the wayI'rn starlng, They're ,different.. They're ]illm kids w.rullt]ng their turn on the roner coaster .. Andas the plane, 56 feet Jong, 40 feet wide, heads str.rnight for us.Trn thinking: it1le'~·e ,aU going to' die ..

'fhe place where that hugemach:ilne ismeant to' land stretches .rllw.ay onlya few feet from us .. I ean see the dashed white foul Hue shining against the b]rll,ck nonskid deck efourmearn1i.ng: you stepover it, you die) .. Wearre standing beside thearrival end ofa very shod IU:n'\ov;ay !Diuilt onto the deekof the bOrllt.. It stretchesaway toward the bowstan angle to' the keel The arresting cables, grrlly and greasy, slitheraway toward the starboard side, The theory is that the pilot "riU eo me in just light and the hook dangling from his trll]] '\oriU erlltch one of the four wires, which wiU stop him ..

The rest of the deck ism ehaos of actionas planes refuel and taxiand Iauneh, the .A.- 6fS and F-l8s and! the sexy old! Tomcats (last of the sHck.-arnd-Iudder a1i.l])]arues), lumbering

l·'·ll~ II ill-.. t· t· t·h' .. ~; msof t·h' 1111 hi"."*" .. .::111 t·h'

]Ke 8 0'\01{ ID easts 10 II "e .mOI!JOIns 0 . II ,e ye 0'\0\18 rmsano II ,e

grapes (purple shirts) lln their gOiggle-sand eranials, who. rotrute their gauntlet-gIOlved! hands lln cryptic signalsas the airplanes taxi and ,queue up, for the cat, In the wnd! deck lights, with the eacephonouemetallicrrnssie, it has the air of anatavistic litual '\orithmighty flanring totenss ..

illfl turn arOlund, 1 can just see the sho OIter peering out of his !D,ruthyscrllp,h bubble in the deck p']rlltes lln an eeIie sulp,hur light .. There goes. another one now-kd-.rhunk-·whoo:.sh!-in rll sleet storm ofmeta] particles and this amazing hissing scream like someone's tearing n hole in hen. Then twO' angryatterburner eyes seem to' hang motionless in the darkness.es the brut shape shinnles upa p,igtrllil of smoke

and is gOU8..

ill hear Yankovich through the head]lJlhnnes inside my cranial and turn back to the F-18 bearing down on us, He's speakingover the telephone handset.

'[he ]pdl1ofs ,quaking voice responds, "Tbree-one-four Hornet bb-ball, three-]point-nvo,. ::'

"Roger baU, "\lind nvanty knots ffit"\.ial. ::'

He's ,at a 'qumiermil~e,a ,chUd ina glass bubb~e,alone in the night, with the dying yeUow starsof deek Ughts below, the cold v!lind whitt1ing curls of cloud off the eheesymoon, the whist1ing thunder ,at hils back, as he hmfles toward the heaving sea, sb"addHng nvo giganfie flamethrowers.

At last we feel the concussion through our feet, '[he two-wire, that great fat eable, is turned into a singing Uquid instrument by the shock, Ravi Shankar meets the Terminator. n catches the plane lilkea fish, ]pllaying it out 2.0 0 feet. '[he plane shudders aU over ,as the ]pIHot (Del Rio by name-ill had seen it ]plainted on hils eockjp,it rail) hangs in hils harness in tota1 G-shock for a moment before he can reach up wlltha hand that seems to weigh 40 pounds and piuU the throttle b,ack to idle,. Now the yeUow:shids wave him toward the huffar eart where the grapes wiUrefuel hhn,

So that he can go H]p' and do it again.

There he was, safe on the deck ofa big bomilt.. He dimbedl inlltOi m machine fUUOif explosive fuel and had himself shot off inlltOi the nighilt "I>viilthm nuelear steam eat, Then, using only his skill and hils superior emofienal control, he brOiughiit hnnself back ]b,y iltheremrurllcrnb~e performance of emllbchingm wire that he ecmldlnOiilt see "I>viilthm hook ilthailt he ,couldl not see, using eues ilthailtmade no natural sense, whi~e going 150 milesan hour in the ]b,]ack-ass nighilt ..

Mosilt of us wiU never geilt inlltOi quite ilthe same jam as Ue1 RiO', built Hvery survival situatinn is ilthe same in its essence, and so ilthere are ~essons Io be learned litO' night. The first lesson is Ioremain calm, not to panic, Because emotions are emUedl '''boilt eOignifiOins, ", ilthis is knownas "being co Oil. ", ,''CO Oil" as a slang expression goes back to the 1800s, built its contemporary sense originated wiilth~M[krun American j8lZZ musicians in the 1940S .. Jazz was "cool" compared wiilth the hot, emotiona] bebop iilt hadl begun to overshadow, Some researchers suggesilt iltn.milt~Mdcmn American jazzrmssieians refused to leilt themselves geilt hot (geilt angry) in ilthe face of racism, Instead, ilthey remained oUhv.rurdly emlmmnd channeled emotion inlltOi musk as 8l survival shmlltegy ine hostile environment, They ilturnedl fear and anger inlltOi focus, and "focus" is justametaphorieal way of saying ilthailt ilthey werem]b,le to concentrate their aHenfion on the matter milt hand,

f fh . exh "'ill"'4:- ill ... ' .. it h ...J'I ill .' ll..4:-hl "'. hi . '.' '. '"

seen my . atl~ ier ex I .]U]I~, necause ]I~. I ,au uroug.llilll~. 11m. Ilome m

nne piece, (Wen~ ,at Inllt of pieces, aduruUy~ but lIthey~'d knitted back. together, moreor less, by lithe lime 1 was born.)

Only ][0 to. 2.0 percent of people can stay calm and lIthink

'" . 4:-hl . .. '" ...J'I 4:- ·f· .' . '. .. '" . II ." '.' . . .."f'l--I.. .. ' . 4:-hl . . .. .. L

In I~ lie mmsto .a smvrva emergency. j.ney are I~ Ie ones WHO.

can perceive their s:illtuatfft]nn dearly; lIthey can plan and take eorreetacfion, allof wnior,;h are key elements of survival, Confronted ,,¥illth a changingenviromnera, lIthey :r,atp,jdly adapt, Those are lithe kmd of pilots who. are supposed to. be flying off lithe deck of lithe Cu~·iVii'1;5'·()n tnn1ighllt.. Gelling back

4:- 4:-hl . ...J'I· . ki 4:-hl . fi" I

onm I~ lie 'uec ' .. 18 I~ lie' rna exam,

1"0 SE,E1N Del lRi.nearlier when he carne in ,at bit Iate for lithe ]LSO 0 bdefing in Ready Nlne,at steel room where we wererull slouehsd in comfortablemamon Naugath.yde chairs, trying to. look lik.e we werenl scared out of our ,,¥its,. Every few minutes lithe eattrupulllt shook lithe who.le boatllt-ka-,ehunkwhoosh! -atS if we were tat]kllng iExocelltmissile fire, Nobody even flinched. Yanlknvich had just begun lithe bdefing for these, his students, when Del Rio. walked in, having obviously gotten up' from ,at nap, The side of his, face still bore lithe imprint of lithe pillow,

"Hey, gnlltru little rack burn lIthere~ ~~, Yanknvichremark.ed.

"Practicing for lithe luge run?" They call illt lithe luge rtm because when you're hying to. sleep' in those tiny racks and lithe boatllt is ehurning ,rulnng lIthrough lithe waves and planes

are eAjpkading off the deck over your head, it feels like the Winffi:er Olympiesmeets Wodd W.arr lilli.

Yanknvkh~ru squarre-jruwed,ruth.1efic- 10 nling youth with brown hair, green eyes, anda big grin, knew he eOlLdd tease Del R]n~ because in sucha place of hypervigilaneeas this, where nothing, nnmrutter how subtle, went unnoticed, everyone knew, ",vitholJ]l even having to stop and consider it, tbrut to be ruble to drop off to sleep' two hours before your first night earrier Ianding was to. di.s.p,lruyru lighffi:eous and masterful slltruffi:e of coolness ..

I'dgone ffi:n stay on the Car! Vinson as part ofmy lifelong faseinetion with that boimdary region b etween life and death, that place where, to stayalive, you have to remain ealrn andalert .. Thereascn it'sa boundaryregion is that not everyone can dO' it. Some frui1. SO' me ,dlle.

Shortly beforeI arrived, nne of the p,ilnts was onfinal, heading toward the deck.. He let his descent rate get .ruw.ruy from him and got lnw and slow, and well, .. some would use the term "panic, ~~. but tbrut do esn't ffi:ell usnmeh, There were p,lenty of sensory signals screaming .rut him that he'd better get on the power .. (His hand was already on the tbrntt1e..~AJll he had to do wasmove itru few inches .. ) The LSO had bit the pickle swikh, activ.ruting those .glardngred lights thatmean You ,n~·.e not cleared to' lflnd'! The b,rull, an obvious light inru big Fresnel lens, was night in front of him, telling him he was lnw ... And, of course, the LSD was also. yelling in hisear ..

Somehow none of it got through ..

'[he Imp1act 1rith the tat]] of the boat ,cut the plane In two, leatvJlng his. WSO (the guy In the rear seat) squashed like at bug on a 1vindsbileldand sending the pHot skittering across the deck In a shower of sparks, stiU strapped intO' his Mmtin- Baker ejection seaf, '[he p,]]ot Hved~ and although I'm not sure begot to by that tnick agam.Trn reasonably eeniatin that he got to have Iuneb 1rith the captain,

But the most mystifying thing was how be em.dd have kept on eonring toward the 10 oat in the face of so much information telling him not to .. That was thereal boundary ill was.efter: What was be thinking? He was smart, weU pm:ep,atred~and highly b:atined.. Someth:ilng powerful had blocked it .atU, and something had fomed him to reach for the deck despite aU the mformatinn he had that it wasa bad idea. U reminded me ofa lot of aoddents in the v!lilderness and m risky outdoor sports (river running, for example), where people ignore the obvious and do the inexplicable .. '(h,att was the mystery I'd been trying to unravel.

'¥HAT THEPlLOTS on the 0;]1'1 Vinson know is this:

Shit does just happen sometimescas the bumper sticker says, '[here are things you can't control, so. youl',d[ better know how you're going to react to them .. Yankovich explained it tome: "The launch bar breatks .. '[he shuttle goes supersonieand hits the water brake .. The water brake

turns instantly to' steam from all thrllt energy and explcdes .. neck plates come flyingup, and you fIlyright through the deck, p,lattesats you takeoff, SO' you, eject and land em the deck .. ,:. That's whar's known in fighter pilot parlanceas "Not your day, ::' But there arealso the thin.gcs you earn control, and yon'd better be ,cnntrnUilng them aU the time ..

SO' this is hnwYarnknvich began the rsoo briefing in Ready Nine on the Carl Vinson. that night: "It will seare the living shit out of you. If you taxi to' the eat and you don't have at knot in your stomach, there:'s somethdng w1.·ong.illf,g like w.rlll]king intO' .rll closet .. ¥cm:'re gning to' go light off intO' at black hnle..Y:ou:'re sitting there suckingoxygen, you'd better have a p,larn. Because if yuu don't, you're serewed, and then you're fneked. ::'

We:',d[aU seen the hvo hel~cnp'ters,nrbiting out there On ease someone went intO' the w.ater) and the big yeUnw crane to' p,kk up, planes that g,nt stuck halfwayover the side.And those were for the lud(y guys, The first rule is: facereatliiy .. Good SlJ.!J!TviVOIS aren't immune to' fear. They know wh.rnfs happening, and it does "scare the living shit out of" them .. It's all at question of wh.rnt you dO' next ..

The briefing was notatlD out impmting technical knowledge, If those guys didn't know thrnt stuff already, they wouldnl be sitting here '!!>\lith their names stendled on the backs of their chairs (nicknames, actuaUy: HrnirlD\rnU~ Eel, Cracker, Sewdrnwg, StulDby) .. Part of the brllefing was to'

remind them of stuff they knew .mheady, the waya hymn does in (::hu.r<c;h~ but nothing too complex, because in what psychologists would call their "high state of arousal, ~~, nothing too complex was going to get through .anyvv.ay..

No, the briefing was more about how Yankomch said things, and how he seid them was 'with a dark, dark humor .. n was a liHle ritual, in wbi<c,heveryone was reminded how to ]0 ok death in the face and sn]] eome up' with.m "VI)' smile .. In m true survival slltuation, you are lb,y definition Jooking demth in the face, and if you can't find something droll and even something wondrous and insp,idng in it~ you are already in a wodd of hurt ..

,~A.1 Sdlebert~ a psychologist and author of TIle. S'W'V'iV',01' p,'e1'sona1ity, writes that survivors "1augh at thremts.,., .. p,]mying and ]augh:ilng go together.. Playing keeps the person in contact "\lith wh.at is happening around [him] .. ~~, To deml with reality you must first recognize it as such ..

In k,eep,ing "vith that view, the p,ilots on the Ca1'lVinson. r.arely tmlked earnestlymbout the risk this dOSH to flight time, They jok.edmbout it instead. Because if you let

Yourself get too serious vou win get too scared and once

.', , .J .' ,

that dlev11.1 is out of the bottle, you~'re ona runaw.ay horse ..

Fear is good .. Too much fear is not ..

Yankovieb ,continued his bdefing: "The steam curtain comes up, and you ]01813 the y.eUowsh:ilrt for .mminute.. Yon'll bern heroreal ,quick if you have the fold h.amdle in the wrong

position, so eheek ilthruilt,. Spread :'em,five potato es, and you're ,ruU set, Okay, wip'eouilt~ theengines eo me up, see ilthailt theymatch. The safety guys jump' up' andmake sure the beer cans are down. Tension signrul Hands you off to' ilthe shonilter~and ilthen: head back and four C's, Grrub ilthe towel rack. Touch ilthe ejectinn seruilt handle andmake sure you~'re not simng on iilt.. If you lose an engine on ilthe cat, stroke ilthe blnwers, twelve-to- fourteen-not-to-exceed-sixteen. Red ~AJiIt: You see you're descending, ilthe wiserman wiU gr,rub ilthe handle, ::,

'\Nll,ruilt ilthe hen did hejust say, ,.,.?

The first time ill hearda briefing like ilthailt, 1 was Iost, But that's part of the point: only those who. get iilt get iilt .. A. no ol is as go 0 dase wink toa bUnOl horse. Just for iltherecnrd, whailt Yankovieb said was that iilt wOll_dOl be a very !b,aOl ideru to' by to' depart "I>viilth your wings fnldedl up',as ilthey are for itaJA'iing around on ilthe deck. lilt takes five seconds for ilthem to' lock down intO' plaee after youmove the handle, so you count off as follows: one-potato, two-potato, three-potato.i.Then, rufter all the teelmical bits of the launch process have been eheeked (the wipeout wi.ilth the stick. to make sure your eomrols aremoving freely, eheckllng to' see ilthailt the engines are botb producing the same amount of power ,and so on), you~'re gning to' hold ontoametal bar knownas ilthe towel rack (because ilthat's whailt iilt looks lik,e) to' keep yourself from !being slammed back by the foree of the eruitrupu]iIt,. l\nd

jusilt in case ilthatilt isn't complicated enough, remember ilthatilt nne 'Of yourengines eOlLdd quit, in whic:b case ynu have to puilt theotherengine into afterburner (knownas the ]I),lnwer because iilt blnws) toget enough power litO' keep gning up, (built don't oversp,eed ililt, thoseengmes are expensive) .. And since noilthJlng ever works outas planned, ebeck iltbe radar .atltimellter, whicb 'VriU lIteU you if yon're sinking, in whicb ease wisdom would diciatllte ilthailt you depart ilthHatireraft 'Vriiltb some

h !I:aste.

Of eourse, iilt would be uniltbinkruble to tafk like ilthailt because, for nne thing, anybo dy ,could understand you. For another, iilt would be lItenifying ..

. ~A.:ndafteraU ilth.ruilt, there is stiU the ]ittlernruHe:r of landing theaireraft, because, as my fatilther used to say, takecff is np,finnat] built landing ismandatlltmy .. Yankovieh explamed ilthe most sruHeniit points: '~{You~'reatilta (]uarter mile and someone asks you who yourmother is: you. don't know .. That's how focused you are .. Okay, call the batU. Nnw ifs a knife fight in at phone boniltb .. Andxemember: full power in the wire, Your illQ rolls back to ilthat of anape, ~~.

lilt soundsas if he~'s beJlng a smart-ass (he is), but deep' lessonsalso are there to be teased nut ]ik.e some obscure Talmudic sc[ilp,t.. Lessons about 8u.n,rilvatl,rubout whrut you need litO' know and whrut you don't need to' know .. Abouilt the surface of the brainand its deeprecesses ... ~Albouilt whrut you know that you don't know you know andabout what you

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'Uon'll .. no'Vv II I"rull you."t[ "e IlleLnol1 II IllnyOu.no'Vv.

Call ilt anrup,e, call iltru horse, as Plato did, P'lruto understo 0 d that emotions could trumpreascn and that to suoceed we have to use the reins of reason on the horse of emotion. '(h,rut Iums nut to b e remarksbly close to what modern research has begun to' show us, and ilt works bnth ways: The intellect without the emotions is. Iike the jo ekey without the horse,

My fruther didn't flyafter the war, and he hardly ever talked about iltas such, but when he did, 1 listened. He used to say, ''''VVhen you walk across the ramp' to your airplane, you Iose half yourillQ.. ~~'ill always wondered what hemeant, but instinctively 1 felt ilt,. VVhen 1 was a new plil]ot~ I'd get So' e~c1lted b eforoa flight thatrd get tunnel vision.Td 10 ok ata checklist and be unable to read beyond the first iltem: Check Master S,'Vvillbch-Off.. SometimesI'd just silt there in the left seat, hyp,enventnruting,.~A.fter years of working ,rut ilt, flying upside down, flying jets and heliecpters.und havinge few "confidence builders, ~~, 1 got to' the point where nearly every flight was ulmost pure jny.ill say almost because,even to day; there is the :residual anxiety b eforeeach :flight, the knot in the stomach, that tellsmeI'n» nota fo 01, thtlltill know I'm takingo etlllr;u.lruted risk in pittingmy skill and control ,rugtllinsttll complex, fightly coupled, unstable system 'Vvithtll lot of energy in ilt,. [U ,rulw,ays be the tiny jo ckey ona half-ton of hair-triggermusele, fear puts, me in my plaee, It

gives me the blill.mili1!ty to see tbings(ts theyarre..ill get the same fee]ing beforeI go rock dimlbing or surfing or before ill slap on. my snowb oard an,d! p,lunge off intoa baekeountry 'vfil~de[ness that could swruUowme up, and not spitme nut .rugmrn ..

S.oYrunko'vkb was telling; his p,Hots something thrut was not only very fmportant to their survival but that is sdenfificruUy sound: Beawate that yon're notall there .. You are ina pmnfound!lyaltered state when it comes to p,ereep,tion, eognitioIIL,memory,arnd! emotion. He was trying to ksep them calm wh.He lelling them faeereality .. He~d seen people dile.. He knew the pu\ov-:er of the horse, and these were his preeiousjetjoekeys ..

'\!\lIIATYOU really need! to know for survival purp os,es-wnether if's ina jet or in the ,v]~deIness-]s that the system we callemotion (from the latin verb emov:ere, "tomoveaway") works powerfully and (]_u]ckly to motivate behruvior.. EdcbM.arda Remarque described it perfectly in AU Quiet on the jI4t:"e.stern F~'ont, in wni,cb hefietionalised his experiencesat the front in Wndd! War ill:

At the sound of the first droning of the shells we rush back, in one part of our being,a thousand years .. By the .arnirnrul instind that isawakened in us we are led! and proteeted, U ]so not eonseious; it is far qnieker ,much

more sure, Iess frllUibXe, fhan consciousness .. One cannot explain i1it. .A.man is w.aUring along r.,iilllthoullt thought or heedl-suddenly he lIth:rows himself dO'VVT1iJ. on lithe ground anda storm of fragments flies harmlessly over him-yellt he eannot uemernher eillther tlto have heard lithe shell coming or tlto have lIthoughl of flinging himself down .. BU.lIt had he notabandoned himself tlto lithe impulse he wouldl nnw bea heap ofmangled flesh, U is lIthis other, lIthis second sighllt in us, lith alit has lIth:rov!Tn us to lithe ground and 8.rllvedl us, r.,iilllthnullt OUT knowing how.. If illt were not SO~ there wouldl not be one man alive from Flanders to lithe Vosges ...

Now we can eA"P,lrllin illt~rllllt lerllsllt better lIthan we eouldl when Rernarque VITl.oote his novel Emotion is an instinctive responseaimed alit self- preservation .. U involves. numerous bodily changes lIthrullt are preparations for action. The nervous system fires more energeticrllUy~ lithe blood changes its chemistry so lIthrllllt illt can coagulatemore r.rllp,idlly,musde tone .rlllters, ,dliges.tion stltopfs,and various chemdeals flo 0 dl lithe body lito. pi1l.d illt ina state of high readiness for whatltever needs tlto be done.All of lith alit hap'p,ens outside of eonscious control, Reason is. tentative, slow, and fallible, whUe emotion is SHIl·e, 'quklk:, and unhesitating ..

The oldestmedical and philosophicelmodel, going back to lithe Greeks, was ofa unified organism in whleh mind was pm1 ofand inlegr.rul tlto lithe bo dly. Plato, on lithe ollther hand,

thoughtnfmlnd and hndyas separate, 'Vrith the soul gning onafter deatth .. kistntle b,rought them back tngether again .. But it seems that people have been struggling 'Vrith the sp,lit fora vmy long time indeed, pm·obatbly 10 aeause they innately feelas if they haveminds that are somehow distinct from their bodies, Mer the Renalssanceo a Cariltesianmodel emerged, in which the mind eA'lsted.at]nne, had no Ioeation, and was completely independent of the body.. To the neuroscientist, the brain is no Ionger seenas separate but is nnw considered an integr.atl part of the bo dy, no less so fhan heart, lungs,and liver .. Morenver, many researchers nnw regard what we experience as mind and conseiousness asa side effect (albeita useful nne lin evolutionary terms) of the brain's synaptic funetioning, Certamly theyatll .atgree that the brain is. as affected by the body as the 10 ody is by the bratin. In fad, the brain is. created in part by the 10 0 dy (the othermeiu influence being the en virrmment) in the sense that what the brain does or is capable of doing comes from its synaptic eonneetions, and those connections are forged through whrnt the bram comes to' know of the body and the environment, Thinlk1lng is at bodily functinn,as are emotionsand feelings ..

As . Antonio R. Damasio points out in his best-selling bonk. on the brain, Descartes' E1'~'01', "I think, thereforeI am" has beeome '''] am, therefnrel think,. ::' The brain is the only organ that has no dear funetion, ltmatk,es you breatthe,

bullt if's not part of lithe tespiratory system .. U controls blo od pressure and ,dreulrlltiO'n~ but if's not jpmi of lithe ,dreulrlllltmy systemeither, The concept of body has no meaning willthoullt lithe brain nnd illts eA'iltensivH network of p,rojections lith alit reach lito nearly evmy ee1l1. .As an eminent neuroseientlst, Damasio isrus fllUaHfiedrlls anyone lito define lithe brain, and he calls ]]1 an ,'r'organ~' of informrlltion and governmenl. ~~, He piul lithe word "organ" in quotes 10 eeause if's not exactlyan organ eillther ..

The information he \vllilltes.rubou1 is of lIthree kinds: information.ebout lithe environment, inforrnetion about lithe bo dy, and mformationabout lithe go 0 d or bad consequenees of inllteractions benv-:een lithe nvu .. The Ierrn "government" refers. lito lithe faet lIthrullt lithe brain's functions are Iargely regulrlllltmy in nature, The brain provides n continuously changing krllleidosicojp,e of images eoneerning lithe state of lithe envirnnment and lithe strullte of lithe body. Ureceives images from recejp'lItors in lithe bo dy and from lithe sense organs lIthrullt trllk.e in lithe outside wor1ld. (The images ean be smells, sights, sounds, or feelings) .. AIIt lithe same time, lithe brain providesa stream of outputs lith alit shape lithe 100 dy's reactions litO' lithe environment and lito itself, from .adjusting blo 0 d pressure lItornruting .. SO' lithe brain reads lithe state of lithe body andmakes fine adjustmems, even while illt reads lithe environment and directs lithe body in reacting lito it. In .addition, lith alit pro cess continuallyreshapes lithe brain by

making new connections ... AJl] of this is aimed att 011113 thing

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on y: at~atP'llLatIILJlOn~ w. 1,.1fC ,'.1SatnOIIL ,er wor,u ror SlJJ1V1Va ,.

'fhe brain does that jobmostly through uneonseious learning. n Iearns, or adapts, by strengthening the eleetro chemkat] transmissions among netrronsend creating new sites at which neurons can comnnmieste "vith each other, ... Axons (the fibers that send signals) growand form new branches and synapses, :Memory is the result.

Uoingatlmost anything generates new Iinks among netrrons, The process of Iearning something and the essence of memory has been observed by neuroeeientists in the ]at]b: Cenesunake new proteins in order to store information, and! theymake new pr.oteins in nrder to bring that information beekasamemory, This process is ealled "reconsolidaticn, ~~, becrulJJse,as Joseph LeDoux, a neurosdenfistrund! author of The. Sy.ndp'u,c Self, put llt, ,'rthe brain that does theremembeling is not the brain that formed! the initial memory, In order for the oldmemory to make sense in the 'current brain, the memory has to be up druted. ~~, This is nne reason why memory is notoriously fruu]ty,.

'fh.e[e ]S a new sp,]llt, to 0, benvBen cognition and emotion. ,'rCognition~~'meruns[eruson and conscious thought, mediated by language, imruges, and logicat] processes, "Emofion'trefers to at specific set of bodily changes in reaction to the environment, the body, or to irnages

produeed by memory, Cognition is capable ofmaking fine calculations and abstract distincfions .. Emotion is capable of producing powerful physieal actions ..

'fh.e human organism, then, 1ls l1ikerll jockey nnrll thnroughbred in thegate, He'sa smallmen and ifSrll big horse, and if it deddes Io get exeited in th.rllt smallmetal eatge, the jockey is going to getmangled, possibly killed, So. he truk.es grerut eere to be genHe .. The jockey is reason and the horse is. emotion.a complex of systems bred evereons of evnlution and sheped by experience, whi:cb e}.'i,s.t for your smvival, Theyare So' powerful, th.ey can.make ynu do things you~d never think to do, and tbey canallow you to do things you~d never believe yourself eruplrllb~e of doing, The jo ekey een't win witbout the horse, and the horse een't raeealone .. In the grute~ theyare two, and ifs dangerous .. But when they run, they are one, and ifs positively godly.

'fh.e horse can be amazingly strong, OnMother's n.aty 1999~ Saint John Eberle and his pminer~Man=: Beverly, were dimbing In New Meil..'ico?s Sandia Mountrllin Wilderness whena rock weighing more than 500 pounds feU on Eberle, pinning him .. Beverly wrutcbedrus Eberle lifted tbero ek off of hnnself, Of course, no. nne can Ufi!trll 50 a-pound rock, Then agruin, Eberle did 1[t. When 1 was repomfing onairline aoddents in tbe 1980s, an investigrlltor toldme of finding demd p,ilots who. hadr]p'p'ed the buge control columns nut of jumbo jets while trying to puU up,

the nose of .rll crippled plane,

'fh,rllt horse can eilther work for us or .rllgrullnst us, U can win the raeeor eAjp,lo de in the galte. So ilt is Iearning when to soothe andgenfle ilt and when to let ilt run thatmmrks the winningjcekey, the true survivor .. l\nd that 1ls wh.rllt the dlmrk humor of various subcJ!]!]tures iSrllUrubout:lfsrllbout genfling the beast, keeping it cookand when it's time to run, ifsabout letting ilt flow~about havingemotion and reason In p,edect balance, That's what eharactenizes eUte performers, from Tiger W.oods to NeU Armstrong ..

Thererure primary emotions and secondary emotions ..

Primary emotions are the ones you~'re born with~ such as the dnive to obtain food or the reaction of reaehing nut to gr.rllb snmething if you feel yourself falling. But the emotional system of bo dilly responses ean be hooked up, to anything .. Rernarque's soldiers lemrned to conneeta dleep,ly instinctive emotional response to the whistling ofa shell. There were no high-explosive shells when emotion evolved, but lit is handilyreerudted into the W:rllsk 'Of .rllvoil,ding them rllfter only a few experiences tomake the connection. The connection, oneemade, is so. ]lJil:ofound that taking the necessary action requires. no thought 'Or "viU;: ilt works automatieally. The pro of th.at ilfs a seeondaryand notrll primaryemotion is that the newreeruits didn't h.alve the samereection, and they died by the scoreasarestslt ..

Remarque's observation, and the neuroseienee that has

confirmed it, can iUuminate the w.ayaoddents happen, If an expetieneed liver runner is p,ikhed mto the water~ he 'VriU

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riding on the buoyancy of his life vest, .i\.n. inexperieneed nne, Ulkea dn-o'Vming swimmer, 'VriUreruch UP' to' wave or try to' grab sometbing .. Raising his arms causes his feet to' sink,

Forty-tom-year-old P'eterDuffy died on Juneni, 1996, while r.ailing on the Hudson River, and his aoddent iUustr.rntes how important it is not only to' control emntions but to' develnpl thernpP'rnpmilate seeondory emoticns, "He [Duffy] feU intO' the liver, ~~, ,,,,rote Charlie W.albmidge, who

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.rnttemplted to' stand, eaught his light font between two rocks, and was pushed under .. His life jacket was s.tnip'p'ed off, and he was trapped under three feet of wrnter.,.,.... Font entrrnpiment rescues are very diffieult. You might as weU step' in front ofa sp,eeding earas get your font eaught ina fast movfng liver.. The victim was warned, but faUed to' follow instructions.. ~~, Duffy knew, intellectually, what he

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sunn 'iU. I "rnve 'unne .. DUll . Iilo'V¥lng w,as, noma Ie II.· or emounn.

lFEAR.. :IS but oneemotion. The instinct to' reproduce is another; and it initiates a remarkably similar set of visceral responses, though 'Vrith striking differences, involvmg the sex organs and glands .. Anyone who has ever fallen ln Iove, fallen hard, knows what Yanknvichmeans when he says,

"~YourillQrO'Us back to thatof an ape, ~~, Emotion takes over from the thinking part of the brain, the neo cortex, to effect an instinctive set of responses necessary for survival, in this case reproduetirm.

[)udngru ferurreactiO'n, the amygdala (as ",vithmost structures in the brruin~ there are two of them, nne in each hemisphere) ~ in eoneert ",vith numerous ntber strnetures in the brain and body, help to triggera sffi:ruggening~y complex sequence of evenls,aUalmed at P'IO dneiuga !D ehavior to pmnmO'lIte strrvival; freezing in p,lace, for example, fO'UO'wBd by running ,away. 'VV"h.en thereactiO'n begins, neural networks are activrutBd~ and numerous chemical compounds are released andmoved around in the brain and bo dy, The most well-known among them is the so-ealledadrenaline Iush,.~AcdrenaHn isa bade name for epinephrine, and adrenaline isa synonym for it, but neither is used much in seientifie eirelcs, Ep,inephdne and norepinephrine, wnl[.c':h come from tbeadrenru~ glarnds, are in a class of compounds called eatecholamines, whkh have ru ",vide range of effects, including eonstrieting b100d vessels and eXjdting or inhibiting the firing of nerve cells and the eonfraetion of smooth muscle fibers, But it is norepinephrine (not adrenaline or epinephrine) that is larrgely respcnsible for the jolt you feel in the heard when startled, Cmiisol (a slltern~d), wnkh isrelerused from the adrenal eO'rtex,rulso amps up, fear, among its nther effects,

The net result of all the chemicals that eo me streaming through your systerrr mtee the amygdala has detected danger is tbrut the heart rate rises, !b;reatth.ing speeds UP', more sugar 1ls. dump,ed into themeiat!b olie system, and the distribution of OA)lgen and nutrients shifts so tbrut you have the strength to runorfight..Yrm:·reonatfterbu[ner.. The knot in the stomachYankovichmenfioned resnlts from that redistribution (as WB]] as from confraetions of the smoothmuscle in the stomach), in whkh the flow of blo od to the digestive system is reduced so that it ean be used elsewhere to meet the emergency, (lEx,ce]]ent deseriptione of this very complex system ean be found in Joseph LeDoux:'s books, The Emotionoi B1'U,in. and The Synap'tic Self. He refers to the amygdat]atas .,rthe centerpiece of the defense system .. W)

lEvoh~.fion took, minions of years to come up' with emofiona]respons.es. U has not yet had time to come up, with anatp'p'ropmiatte su:n.rilv.at]respons.e for Natvyfighter ll:)i]ots on f_[umter-mi]e final, trying to land a 50,000.- pound stovepipe on the heaving deck of at ship".

Peter Duffy's lack of control over hlsemotional response allowed him to drown himself in the Hudson lRlver.. The fighter pUot who. slammed into. the back of the Car/IVins,on was the victim of at similar effect. ,A secondary emoticn got the best of him on the .atp'p'roach to the boat, for whatever reason, he was not exercising the necessary control, and he

let the plane get lItCDO low .. Lknow how it works .. I've done it myself.Most pilots have .. Fear in the 'co ckp,it,as Yankovich put it, 1S a knifefight in a phone bo oth .. You lllllter.aUy have lito fight lito move your frozen hand lito eorree[ them]alttake that you see develnping before your Hyes .. You are sp,Ut.

Many times lb efore, the p,ilotmust have had the sensation of mm-buckle hvisting terrer, followed lb,y the cool flood of relief upon 1anding .. Even as the hormones pm·oduced under stress ,disrUlp,t pm·,cep,tion, think1lng, and the formation and rotrfeval ofmemories, they seta potentially dangerous trap by Hj(jdting the amygdala. They help, lito dampen HA]P,lidt (eonscious) memory Hven while creating and reealling imp,lll,dt (uneonseiousjmemories with greallter efficiency .. As the fear rises, you lb eeomemore unable lito deal 'Vrith llt because you~·re not evenaware of the learning that's pirop,eUing you. LeDo1!Jx refers lito this as a "hostile lttak.eover 'Of ecnsciousness by emotion~~'a8 the ,~r.amyg:dala comes lito dominallte work1lngmemory .. ~~, The body knows where safetyis, and when you'rea rookie and really afraid, any successful 1anding carries 'IIvith llt an HA1)10sive,almo,st orgasmic sense 'OfreleasH.. The p,ilot had develop'eda powerful secondary emotion, which lItold him that safety and evenecstasy ,could be found on the ground (or the deck) and that if he em.dd just get the hen down, he'd beall light .. He had a true and p,hyskalmemory of that sensation, whkh wasa powerful motivator of behavior developed by

eoull:)]ing that experience witha primary emotional strute.. He also had an intellectual knowledge thrut if you Iand when you'realready lowand slow, youmigbt die. Unfortunately, he had no seeondary emntinn for tbrut, since he had no experieneeof it,. n was anabstraet ideru, forebrain stuff It ecmld not competeasamotivatorof beh.avinr,.

'VVh.enru p,ilnt hits the "roimd down, "as they,cruU the back of the boat, ifs called a "ramp strike, ~~, ,As one p,ilnt who flew in the waron lraq said, "Those are bad and deadly.. ,~, He explahred the way it happens, The pilot fo enses to 0' much on the thing that he feels isunost fmportant ,rut that moment: the deck. Home.Tf's eaUed "fspotfing the deck," because it breaks up, the natural flnw of his scan, whieh ought to' melude his meatball, line-up" airspeed, altimeter, and angle ofatlack.. Onee he fixes on his ]anding area, he's done:foL

The p,ilofs nising etnve of fear went off the ehants in one directinn, while the nising curve of hisrnofivation tnward the deck went off the eharts in the other, The jockey Iost

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Experienced travelers in the 'Vrildlerness and p,enp,]e who engruge in riskyactivities understand. In 1910, two Ihitish explorers, Ap,s]ey Cherry-Garrard and Robed Falcon Scntt, set off for the Soutb Pole, S cntt died on thrut expedition, In praising his tr,ruve]ing companions, Cherry-Gallon-and Vfn-ote that they "displayed that 'qlLWality wh.kb is perhaps the only

one whkbrnaty be said 'v!I'illtb emtatinllty tomeke for success, self-eontrol, ". How wen you exercise lith alit ,conb'o.loften deeides lithe outcome of survival situations, VVllellthe:r illt meansrnatlkingat split-second decision while scuba-or skydhiilng or lkeep,ing your head while stranded in lithe vv-ilderness, illt is themost hnportant skHl lito. tltatke along .. ~A.nd vvilltbmore andmore novices going ineo lithe 'Vrilderness for fun, lithe severe penalties lith alit eo me willth a fatlHure of control are becoming evident in lithe increasing number of search andrescue operations lIthrllllt are launched to save lIthem or recover their bo dle-s ..

ST.RESSRELEA.SlES cortisol mto lithe blood. n invades lithe hip'poc:ampus and Interferes willtb its work" (Long-term stress can kill hippocampal eells.) The amygdala bas p'Owerful connections to lithe sensory eortiees, lithe rbinal cortex, lithe anterior eingulate, and lithe venb:atl prefrontal cortex, whic:bmeans lIthatllt lithe entirememory system, bollth inpiul and output, areatffec1lted .. Asa result.most people are ineapable 'Of pm:forming any but lithe simplest tasks 'Under stress, They eanlremember lIthemosllt basic lIthings.. In .additi'On, stress (or any strong emotion) ern des lithe .atbilillty to perceive, Cortisol and other hormonesreleased 'Under stress inffi:erfere willtb lithe working 'Of lithe p'refrontltatl cortex, That is where perceptions are processed and decisions are made,,¥ou see less, hear less,missmore cues from lithe

environment, and make mistakes. Under extreme stress, lithe visual field .arc1ltuaUy narrows, (Police officers who have been shot report tunnel vision.) Stress causesmost people lito focus narrowly on lithe lIth.ilng lith alit lIthey eonsider rnost important, and illtmrllY be lithe wrong lIthing.. So. while lithe fighler jp,ilollt was fixed on landing, he vm)' weUmlgh.lIt not have seen lithe 11gh.ts or even heard lithe LSD 's voiee lIteUilng him lito. go around. The organism was doing wh.rllllt :illt knew how lito do bestceseape danger and gellt lito safetyas fastas possible, There-slit of lithe ilnjpullt became hrelevanllt noise, effidenlltly screened out by lithe brain .. So. he hit lithe boat,

ill: did something very 11k.8 that when ill wasa new jp,il01lt.ill was on .rnjp'JP'li"Oarch lito. landingatmy horne airport when lithe controller lItoldme ill was ona collision course willth. another plane .. ButI was so foeused, so feadul~ lIthalltl 11llter.rllUy didnl hem: himJ heard nollth.ilng,arndl didn,leven see lithe plane, He ,crnUedme on lithe r.ardio lIth.ree limes, and fcrtunately.my friend Jonas, who was sitting besideme, toklme lith alit lithe controller wanted an Imrnediate Kigh.lIt turn, The task of jus lit geffing lithe hell down hard become so important -so. emotionally motivated-lhrnllt illt oeeupied whallt nemnscientists ,crllll .'rworkingmemory~~· (whl«';h. lin effect means consciousness or attention) lito lithe exelusion of other stimuli Only because Jonas was so (';108,e lito me and could commandmyattenticn by punehingme in lithe arm was he rllble lito brerllK lithe lOCK ill had put on working memory ..

Emotions are sunrnvat1mecn,an1lsill.S, but they don't always work for the ind1lv]duatl. They work acrcssa 1arge number of trials lito. keep the speciesalive, The ind1lv]duatl may live or die, but over at fewm1lUion yeruIs,mo.re mammals Jived than died by lemng emotion take over, and so emotion was selected, For people who are raised in modern (ivill1lzrutio.n, the 'Yiillde[ness. is novel and f1!IU of unfamfliar hazards .. To survive in it, the body must learn and adapt.

~AJlthougb strong emotion can inllterfere witb the .atbility lito. reason, emotion isatlsn neeessary for bothreesoning and learning .. Emotion is the souree of both success and fat1l]ure att selecting correct action at the erudru1moment. To survive, you must develo.p, secondary emetions that function in a str.rutegic balance witbreasoUl..

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EVERYPU.RSU.IT has its O\VTIJ. subc1!Ilture, from bang gHdersand steep ereek b caters lito. eatvers andmomrtein bJik.er8.. ill lo.ve their dark and private humor, those ritual moments of homage lito. the organism, whkbretu[n us lito. at pm"OlItective state of eo Oil U unequivocally separates the living from the deatd.

'Vifhen 1 wasfighfing fires with the Chkatgo. Fire Department, trying lito. learn somethingebout how to. be cool

while going up' in flames, Lasked oneof the men why he beeamea firefighter .. "I like to. "I>Vl18ck things~ ". he said. As we smashed 'Vvilndo.wsrllfte:r puffing outa house :fire~ill believed him, ton. We had an nld-fimerrllt the firehnuseill was wnrking nut of, Bernie was his name, who. wouldlnl even pil!Jt on his Kevlar turnout coat. He'd {ruU asleep in the truck on the w.ay toa fire.urrd when nne of us commenredcn it~ Bernie said~ Hill ,could sleep' 'lliilthmy ,dkk slammed ina door. ".

Bernie wasn't the only nne, either.. The guys ealled the big beer cooler in the kitchen .~rthe baby eoffin, ". They had dozens of names for diifferent 1)1)es of eo.rps,es-:~r,cdsp'y eritters, ". ,~r stinkers, ", "floaters, ", "dunkers, ", and "YHeadless

Horsemen, "just to' narnea few ..

Butch Farabee, nationa] emergency services ecordinetor for the Nationa] Park Service, tnld of truk.llng his friend, Wrult Dabney, on his first bodyrecovery in Yos,emllte (there area lot of them)" They found the man they were 100.kllng for, Rkk,rllfter he'd been dead a week. "It was just terrible, ", Farabee sruid. "His body was quivering 'IIvithmrllggnts .. He wasas sfiffase b,rusted turkey, too; we had to. breruk his, arms to. get him into. the body bag, When we Iowered the body brllg overa diff, we dropped him, Wrlllt and I had to. spend the night nut there 'llrith the body. 1 started trlllking to. it, saying,'Hey, ruck, how's it go.ing todlruy? SnrrYrllbout dropping you." Wrlllt thought ill was either tenibly disrespectful or out of my gourd. The fad Is you have to.

deal 'vllith these things to. the bestof your ,rllbiliiy,. If you don't wo.rk vrith it~ if]] get you,. A demJl body is not something YDU get used to. ~~,

Some high-angle rescue workers call body bags "long-term bi\l'V)' sacks, ~~, U sounds cruel, but survivors laugh and p,lrllY, and even In the most ho.rrible siturlltio.ns-pm·hap,sesp'edrllUy in those siturlltions-tbey continue to. laugh and p,lrlly,. 1'0 deal '!!>vith rerllliiy you must first recognize it as sueh.aodes Siebert and others have pointed out, p,lrllY Pil!JtSrll person in touch with his environment, while laughtermruk.es the feeHng of being threrutenedmanrllgerllble..

1'hegrotes(AUe humor of the fighter pilots, then, that secret langurllge, contains truths we don't even know we kno.w,.Mo odsarre eontaginus, and the emo.tio.nrlll states involved vvith smiling, humor, and laughter are among the most contagious of'all, laughter doesnl trllk.e conscious thought, illfsauto.mrlltic, and one person laughing or smiling induces, the samereaction in others, laughter stimulrlltes, the left prefrontal ,cortex,anarerll in the brain that helps us to. feel go 0 Oland to. be motivated. That stimulrlltionrllUevirlltes anxietyand frustration. There is evidence that laughter can send ehemicrlll signals to. ,activ.ely inhiibilt thefirilng of nerves in the ,amyg;drlllrll, thereby dampening fear, laughter, then, can help, to. temper negative emctionscAnd whilerllU this might seem of purely academic interest, iit (';ould prove

helpful when your partner breaks his legatllt 19~OOO feellt in at blizzm-d on at Peruvianmotmtain.

It is nota lack of fear lIthatllt separates elillte performers from the rest of us .. They're afraid, lito 0, but lIthey~'re not ovenvhelmed by illt .. Theymanage fear .. They use illt lito focus on W;atking 'correct action. Mike Tyson's trainer; Cus D'Amato, said, "Fear is Iike fire, U can cook for ynu .. U can heatllt your house, Dr illt can burn. you down ... :: .. ~AillJd Tyson himself said fhat fear was "1ik.eat snap', a liDle snap of Ughlltill gellt when lfight.llove lith alit :fee]ing .. Itmakesme feel secure and confident, illt suddenlymatkes everyth.ing e}"jj),losive..illfs lik.e:'Here illt comes .rugruin .. Here'smy buddy lItodaty.:'~:'illfsat dangeroue plaee litO' be, lito 0 .. Control can easily slip, .atw.ay,tts Tyson's unusual behruvior 'YviUatttest.

I've spent lithe better part ofmy ]ife wnrking around p'eop,le whndsk dying at horrible deatllth of lItheir ownmaking .. They see it. They're near it. They aU have friends whO' have gone lIthatllt w.ay..~A.nd lItheyatU have .at slltr.rulltegy for .ruvniding illt -at strange amatlgmm of superstition, knowledge, iUus10n,amd confidence .. But everyone begins willth lithe same machinery, lithe same basic organism, and when irs lIth:reatlltened~ whellther in pursuit of pleasure, for du1ltymnd honor, or by aecident, lithe .organis.mreac1ts in ll:)redidatb,le ways, U is only bymanaging and working 'Yvillth those p'redktatble, inb orn reactions lIthatllt you're going lito survive.You can't fight lIthem, because lItheyare who. you are,

RIGHT HEFORE lithe planes 1aunched!off lithe Carl Vinson, following lithe 1:800 ]b,[ilefing in Ready Nine, 1 went lito ,d!inner willtb Mike Yankovicb and ,at group of fliers in lithe o:fficers~'mess,ensu[ilng lItbatllt we'd have lith alit knot in OUI stcmachs. After we~'d finilsbed! Hatfing,at wa1illter in a whillte eoat carne to lithe table, and every officer simng around me said! one word lito him: "Dog, ~~,

'VVh.en lIthey~'d finished, lithe waillter bJ[ned! tome and asked, "Dog, sir?"

"Sure, ~~, 1 said, Theruas lithe waillter left, 1 asked Mike, "rVYh,atf's dog?~~'

"Auto-dog, ~~, he said. "flf's soft-serve ice cream. lLilke Dairy Queen."

Lasked why illt was eatUed! dog,.

"Co over and wallbcb ]illt eome oullt of lIthemat,cbine, ~~, he said. Surviva], then, isatboullt being eo 01 It'sebout Ianghing

willtb anatffilltude of bold! humilillty in lithe face of sumething terrifying, If'sat]b,oullt knowing lithe deepest processes of lithe bram, even 1if,as nonscientists, we ean eAjpl1atin lIthem only lIthrougb lithe darkest humor hnaginable,

So here lIthey are, lIthese IF-1:8 ]lJ,ilollts,at]b,oullt lito go U]lJ' and possibly die doing something honibly risky in lithe unholy

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coarse jestsabout :ilt, when at man dies, then we say he has nlip'p'edl off his hud~ and so we speak of everything; that keeps us from goingmad; as Iongas we take lit that way we maintainonrownresistance, ",

AN HOUR after dinner ,l sterid em the LSD platform and

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pdmnt come wobbling lu.l haven'levenmenfionedl the remarkatble skin andl p,emep,finn lit takes for Yankovieh to' know.b '. . b ]1]1 ]1" . ... "'hi. . ·h' ]1"" ... hi '" hi . "'hi '. . .... . '"

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the black bmt we see unfolding before us isgning to' h:ilt the correct wire .. iBut this p,lilnfs ap'pm·orucb Iooksreally brudl .. Even I can tell,

Thrnugbmy headphones 1 hear Yankovich say, "Lo .ok

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~AB. he releases the pickle s'Vvitcb trigger to' send the p,]1nt around foranother try, Yankovich does at few dance steps, his herudllnUing around llikeat blindman"s~ reeling there on the tiny LSD p,]attfnrm seven stories above the heatving of themeterless sea.

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.other end of the boat.enginesroaring .. TIm plane dipsa b:ilt~ and we wuitunli] :ilfs securely back in theatir.. Then Yankovilcb says to' me, "Boy, d1ldl you see him settle? He'll be p,]1ddng the seat cushion nut of hisasshcleeb out nnw .. ".

A GROUPOlF n"i.ENTY snowmobilers had just completeda seareb and rescue rmssion to bring out three others, who?,d[ bad engine trouble and lD eeome stranded overnigbtatMlldd~e Ko otenay Pass in Alberta, Canada. ~A.fter sueeessfully locating the three, ellgbt of the rescuers sped off to return them to eivilization, whll~e the remaining dozen.muekedabout in the snow 1v1tb the brokenmaebine .. On the way back, an.additional fragmentation of that group' oceurred, because ellgbt of the dozen had been seized by the need for speed and just raced on ahead.

'fhey eventually stopped to w.allt for their slower companions, They were .att an old we]] site, sllmng on their snowmaehines on .a broad, flatarea beneetha h1l11 The hill was we]] knownas .a great one for hill dimbing, wh.icb lls also called hammer-heading or high-marking .. The idea is to aC!ce~er.rnte across the flat terrrnin and race up, the hillas fast as you can until gravity StOpS you or until you turn back

dnw-nhiU.illfs .rll eompetitive .game Io see who can .1;:0' lithe highest.

'fhe offidrll]repo,riIt wou~d! eventually zemmd us lith alit "~'fhey hadall been specifically lItn~d! lith alit lIthere was a high avalanche danger and lith alit high-markilngnr'hammerheading' was oullt of lithe question lIthrllllt day, ,:.

But siffing lIthere in lithe ehiUrllir wifh lithe view and! lithe spieyjuniper smellof themountains was inlltn)..icrllfing .. The big wide clearing ]ed! up, litO' tremendous vm!_dllted! peaks, whkh seemed! to leap lIthrough lithe gently falling snow and ineo lithe ]nw deckof douds likea ramp' litO' heaven, The desire litO' ridea fast, openmachine such asamotoreyele ora snowmobile Isevidenee ofe certam propensity toward sensation seeking,as lithe psyc:hn]ngists eall it. In addition, lith alit pmfic:u]ar group' had! demonsb·rllllted! poor impuls,e control (b n]dness, ora '\iviUingness lito lItrllkedsks, if you like) by racingahead of lithe others, Nnw lIthere lIthey WHre, with their lIthrnHles. in lItheir fistsandal] lith alit p,hys1r;rll] power ready rlllltru lItouch .. There wasmore sensory inpullt to urge them on: lithe lIthrorll1lty animal roar of lithe engines, The horsepower lIth:robbing between lItheir lIthighs. .~A.:nd there was Mollther Nature rising into lithe gauzy,c:ultrllins offruUing snow, whieh both concealed andreveruled her grerullt~ ccncupiseent

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Suddenly, something clicked in one of lItheir brains, The others watched, slltariltled!~rlls he <cullt ]00813, flst out, across lithe

open ground. He {';nuld! feel lithe spinning cleats ,d!ig incas lithe G's loaded! up' in his center ofmass. lilt was at familiar solid feeling of power.as he was p'l:np,elled! upand up' and up' lithe slope, across lithe 5 mchesof new snow lIthrullt had! fallen in lithe last two dsys, wh~ch Jay on top of 2, inchesn:f rain-saturated snow paek, whkh in turn sat on annllther 2, feellt of snow lith alit had! aceumulated in lithe past twomonthaAll of lIthrullt was batlarnced! precariously on Iopofa weruk layer of faceted wellt grains, whkh are peculiar formations in nature with roughly lithe frietion coefficient of tiny !b,ruU bearings, The whnle system was angled! dnw"IlI.wardatlltruboul35 degrees, whi,ch happens to be lithe eritical .arngle alit whkhmocsllt avalanches OOCUL On steeper slopes, lithe snnw tends to slide off before illt earn consolidate intoe sblb .. On shallower ones" itremains fatirly s1itruble ..

Th.e snowmobiler hadn't 'Cliu1l1lte reached lithe top of lithe hill when he became bogged down in deep' snow; The ollthers belnw eould! see him up, there ]]lke a batUisfic nylon !bug .atgatinst the erearmy whi1lte flank of fhemotmtain and! eould! hear the faint buzzing of his engineas he struggled! 1Itn get free ..

The thliU of the hunt, ]]ke so' rnarnymo ods, was eentagious ... A. second snowmobflergoosed his engine, too, and went hen-bent for high ground, light up, the crack in Mother Natme'sfine whi1lte fanny.

lilt wasabout nventyminn1ltes to noon, and some of the

othersmust have been wondering: 1.1t1l!!!1t U.1',e the.y: thinking?

'fhe second snowmobiler had nearlyreached his buddy willth lIthis Vrllgue, half- formed iderll in his head of whallt he was doing and lIthis 1iH~e voice, wayoff, saying, "1Thllgnrllvrlllanche danger" and "hammer- heading is nullt of lithe question .. ". It seemedalmostas if he had two brains and lIthey were having an argument over his body,

Now those who were still waiting below ,colddread lithe tally Hlkerll .grerllllt natural seorehoard, lithe first streak going sb"aighllt up and ending ma kind of b,lob,rll hole, and lithe second nne growing Jongerand Iongeras lithe rnar of lithe engine dwind~ed toa faint buzzing, and lithe black bug grew small against lithe whillte slope, Then they heard lithe liflle-shnllt crack lith alit 1ityp,icrlllly accompanies therelease ofa big slabavalanche,

~4.ocording lito lithe nffidrlllreporilt:: '''Allt about :ill][ :40, Snowmobiler aalso sped up' lithe slopeand when he was about two lIth.irds of lithe w.ay upa size 3 avalanche released, Snowmobiler 2. was ruble lito fide out lito. lithe side of lithe avalanehe andeseape .. At lithe bottom of lithe slope lithe nllther six had seen thoavalanche startand five of themmanaged lItodde out of ilthe plrlliltn of ilthe slide, ", Built ilthere was nne guy down ilthere whojust froze ..

Theavalanehe releaseda 450-foollt-wide sw.ailth. of snow,

32. inches iltnick,rllll ilthe way from ilthe top of iltheddge .. Once iilt slltalited, iilt rushed down 400 yards, cascading on those

batU-lb earing grains like .eight lanes of concrete Interstate highw.ay s~oughingO'ff in auold-fashioned San Francisco eadbquatk.e ..

The firstman, the nne who beeame lb ogged dO'vl,rI1l~ was sweptall the w.ay down the hiflend eO'vered over by 9 feet of snow .. But the poor guy down below, the one who froze, he watehed, probablymystified.as thrut w.aU of snow inundated him in 6 feet of snow 1ik.e wet concrete .. Freezing is at classic emO'tionalresp'Onse ofallmanrmals .. ,A, bystander happened to' be v1ldeO'tatp,iing the crowd when at lb omb went off .att the Olympic games in Atlantat in 1996~and the freezing (and ernuching)resp'Onse of th.e p'eO'p'~e is at dramatic iUustrattinn ofa primary emotion,

'fhe snowmobilers wereatU wemllng transeeivers (radio dev11cesmeant for lceatmg victims buried by avalanches), so they obviously had some knO'wledge of the phenomenon, evenapart from the warning they~drece]vEd .. Theymay, for example, have known that to be buried under evena few inches of snow is at do dgy proposition. Snow is very heavy and sets up' in seconds after theavalanche stopsmoving .. The faceted grains refraetnreas the snow slides and then intedo de tightly when they come torsst .. The slcpe in this ease dump>ed 2.mllUiO'n pounds of snow inco a terrruin hatp' ..

Because they h.ad transeeivers, those who. were not buried wereable to' Iocete the victims rmmediately, whkh is at go 0 d first step' fnavalanehe rescue .. In addlltion~ help from

the nearby skiaree arrived vnthllnminutesatt H:55 AJvl.. Most victims don't getatttention thatt 'qulfckly.. But dllgging 6. t09 feetof wet snowout of an avalanche deposit.even ,""'ith evmyone there andal] the erntecho]amines pumping, ],g. IBm dllgging up a ,dly sidew:~dk.. n to ok twenty-flve mlnutes to imeover Sno,"\I-mobner3~ the nne whn?d been sitting there flat-footedat the bottom of the hllU,gatjp'lng upin wonder as the wholemounlatin carneapart before his eyes .. He was, of course, blue and not breathing, Snowmobiler 1 wasnl dug out for fmiyminutes.. By then at doctor had arrived to pronounce the two offieially deadrnt two o'elock in the afternoon on the day before Valentine's Day 1994.

The report added: "One of themig]nal search jpmiy atterwards 'qnestioned,'VVhy did they do it? \rVe were told not tn. :.::.

VVhy~ indeed.

As WiUiam farulkner WJl'Ote In Light in August, "Man knows so 11lttleatbout his fellows .. In, his eyes all menor women aet upon what he believes would motivate him if he were mad enough to. do wh.rnt tbrnt ofherman or woman ],g. doing .. ::·

But In the 11lght of reeent researeh, neuroscience can proposea better answer to. the question that is asked so. often after such aocindents: il4t1N'Jt we~'e they thinking?'

You have to. begin b,y .rnskllng why anyone would want to

ride a snowmobile In the first plaee.Jt's notas if they had somewhere to go .. (They dll,d~ but llt wasn't up' that hill.) You have tOrllsk. wbrut em.dd possibly motivate rll rational, wen-informed person toddle upa slope when he knew that ruU he ,could do was eo me strallght back d01VlJ1~ having burned through some expensive fossil fuel.

Theanswer W01Ldd seem self-evident: It's fun. But then you need to know what makes.e completely pointless activity fun. If,as the research teUs us,rnU behruvior can be traced to surviva] str.rutegies., you must ask where the surviva] vrlllue is In that aet, We know, for example, why sex is fun: It keeps the species going .. If llt werenl1lrresistible, no nne would bernard enough to. do llt ..

Butmodern neuroscience would e}.1J,lrllin llt annther w.ay..

Lilk.e Remarque's soldiers throwing themselves dow-n 1vithnut thlnkllng .rut the faintest wh~stHng of an incoming shell, the snowmobilers who went up, the hill were acting outru secondary emotion, They had develop'ed it by experieneing it, by synaptic learning. Perhaps it was am emotion thrutmotivrntes. running dow-n p'reY,rn thrilUing bodily response tbrut requires sp,eed and swiftaction to pursue, erlltch,rund 1']]1 Perhaps it was an emotion involved wJlthrnrllting.. Perhaps several emotionrlll states were pulled together Intoru new eombination,ru heady elixir of chemdeals that pour forth when oneridesa snowmobile .. (SInce young, br.rllin-deard,rnru~emotor,cye~e riders sup'p,ly

many of the heads transplanfed in the United S1itrutes, we know that the same is likely tmeof fhatexperience.) .As generie as emotions tend to b 13 rut some levels, the important point is the feeling thrutreslLdtedland the fruct that it was ins1itantlyruvai1ruble, '!I>vithout conscious thought.

There'sa eommon confuaion.ab out the words "emotion" and "feeling, ::, WJ1.Uiam James, thefather of psyehology, was the first to point nut that we do not run because we:'rerufrruidl of bears, we:'re afraidl of bears because we run,. The emotion comesfirst -if's the bodilyresponse (freezing, flight, sexual arousal) ,. The feeling follows (fear, anger, love) ,. The fear russo eiated witb being in an ean1bquruk.emruy pro duee some ehemicrulreructions that are similar to those pro dueed during sexualarousel, But the hvo experiences are quite different, "Theearthmoved" can have different meanings in different eiremnstanees. That's whynis']ky behavior can be fun, fear can be fun, n can make you feelmorerulive, because it is an integr,8[l part of saving your own Iife.And if the context is one that you ]p'emeiveas safe, then if's easy to make the deeision to 1itruk.e the risk.Your bodly eanmake it for you.

But kilUing yourself is no fun, and so you stiU have to rusk why, when the snowmobilers knew how higb the chance of anavalanehe was, they deddedl to take the fisk anyway, Even thougb it is now possible to understand why going up, the hill woul,dlbe fun, if's stiU not dear how tbOSH hvo who

ran U]!J' the hillmade that decisiO'n when they knew it was likeJy to' kiU them ..

Thinkof chessmasters and how theY]!J,]ay.. Let's Imrngine that Iife ]sa boanJl gam-e. Some people like litO' ]!J,]ay checkers, some ]!J'8O']!J'le like to ]!J,]rny chess . .A.nd those of us who. gO' InlltO' the 'Vrildlerness and engage In dangeroue sports are ]!J']rnjl1ing chess witbMother Nature,

A computer uses pure logic litO' ]!J,]ay, by1lugmiUiO'ns of coneeivablemoves, not everymeve, but known pattems of moves, ]!Jut In by ehess- ]!J,]rnying programmers, People not only don't do thrut, they can't, Infact, neither ]!J'8O']!J'le nor eompufers can play chess by logicalone, There are only a

few simple rules. to the game but aneslimrnlltedl 10120 possiblemoves In any game of chess, Th,rnt number is so large that itmight us well be infinite, .~A.s James Gleick pointed nut in his bonk Chaos, there are neither that many elementary particles in the universe nor have there been that many microseeonds of time since its creation perhaps

ill:] billkm (l .. :] x 109) years .agn. LO'gic doesn't work well for such nonlinear systemsas chess and life,

So there theyare, in the lb oard game of life, witb billions of b,its of infcrmation storedand new ones eonring in fast and furioue, and thetreata deeisicn point, HO'w dO' tbey decide wh.rut to do?

'[he act of ridinga snowmobile upa steep hill hadl come

to eHdlltmn emotional response, Those riders had done illt before and had been.rewarded 'vrillthrll good feeling .. U wasa physieal feeling, and lithe bo dy liked it, so illt was bookrnarked, so to speak, Note to' self: T1'yhumme1'hef.uding ,ng,ain... The brain creates such bookmarks (lec::hnkrllUy known-as ,~r someticrnarkers, "'rll term coined by Anfonio Damasio) because logic and reason aremuch lItOO' SlO'W if we are to' getarmmd in this big ol,d go O'fy world ..

Consider wh.rullt erllting would be Ulk.e if you useda purely d.eductiv.e pro eess, S ruy your brain suddenly lIturned lnlO'rll computer and had nnly lO'gic:: lito. work 'II\lillth..illfs Sunday aftemoon. You're siffingrullt your ,desk in your stndyat horne, erllkhing up, on some p1rllpenvork.¥ou feel hunger .. (Here's why eompufers are so frustrating lito. people.) First you hyerllting lithe lItelepbO'ne .. That doesnl taste good, so you lItny lithe paperweight. Bad l1dea. Then you gnaw on lithe k.eyb omrd fora while.. Kind of b,Imnd. Chew lithe edge of lithe desk, lithe chair, Iiek lithe floor. .. Eventually, perhapsa week Iruter, you have gone lIthrough lithe house ln search of food, using lithe system of purererllSOU, and youreac::h lithe ref[1iger.rulltO'L~A.fter chewing on lithe handle fore time, you open lithe door and find lith alit lIthere"s some leftover p'izza"",.~A.h, success!

It soundsddkulous.. Youmighllt say, "Of .r;Hume,ill wouldnllltry litO' erllllt lithe lItelepbO'ne..ill know where lithe food is .. ", But chimpanzees lith alit have hrll,d certain emotional

componenfsof lItheir brains xemoved do sometbing not

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jump-cntassistanee cfemotion is viriltumUy ineepacitating, as many neuroscientists have shown ,,\lillth p,mfienllts who have suffered! brain damage, Those p,mfients can performall sortsof logkml functions; lIthey have normalmemory; and yellt lIthey are incapahle of scheduling anmp'p'oinlltmenllt because their pure reasonmakes illt impossible for lIthem to decide, '[hey can't bookmark feelings, '[hey have no intuition, no gut feelings. They've been 'cut off from their bodies inm sense, The onost remarkable discovery of

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Mosllt decisions are notmade using logic, whkh we all reeognizeat leaslltmllt an unconscious level. LeDolJ]x writes,

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than lithe ex,cep,fion lIthroughoullt lithe evo]ufionmy history of lithe anima] k.iingdom~~'and! ,~rindude almost everyth:ilng lithe brain does .. ~~, In :find!ing foo d!, you have bookmarkeda p,]ace where lithe goo d! feeling of satisfying hunger comes out of opening lItherefligerator door and! gr,mb,lbing snmething inside, You remember lith alit the refrigerator is there to hold! food, but you don'tneed to lIthinkllth.rough illt,. You ean be on automatic pilot, reading something us you mosey over to lithe kitehen, open lithe door, and only then look up, to do lithe censeious pm1-gr,rllbm sliee of pizza instead! of leftover Thai

barbecue. 'fhe search for fo 0 d occurs '\-villthuullt anyilthing you~d call ()ngnldltilnn, dedJ!]!;c.tinn~ or legie, Your hunger, your body, leads you there,

"VV"h.enat decisinn lito. actmust be made instanfly, illt is made lIthroughat system of emofional bookmarks, The emotional system reacts lito. eireumstanees.finds bookmarks lith alit fIlatg similar experiences in your pastand your response lito. them, and allows you to recall lithe feelings, goodor bad, nf lithe outeomes of your ac.tinns,. Those gullt feelings give you an instanlltreading on how to. behave,. If at previous sxperience was b,ad~ youatvoid that option, 'VVhen illt was good~ "it becomesa beacon of incentive," lito. use Damasio's words, Ina similar fashion, lithe smell of roses ean transport me lito. my grandmother Rosa's house in San Antonio in iIl958. You don't have lito. have sensory mput to. bigger lithe effect, You can have an idea om: amemory instead.

n,rullt mstant p,hysicrul feedback, those feelings lith alit are located lIthrough emotional b ookmarks, wiUmnre or ~ess forcea decision unless cheeked by higher consciousness, It explains why lithe Navyfighler p,ilnllt who. was low and slow wound up, hllffing lithe stern of theaireraft eerrier. He bad no. ideat why he kHp,lIt ,cnming in lithe face of dear infnrmattion lIteUing him not to,

Damasio wJloollte, ":"VV"hen lithe bad ouknme connected with at givenresponsec.eomes inlltnmind~ however fleetingly, you experiencean unpleasant gUllt feeling, ~~, Using that system,

you can choose VBIy 'qukkly andmay be unable to eAjp,lru1in your choice afterward. The best and worst decisions are made lith alit w,ruy. You don't have to lIth:ilnK.rulb out it.Ujusllt feels light.

The good feeling ofdding snowmobiles had lb eeome bookmarked for ins1ltanlltreference by lithe emotiona] system, '[h,rullt activ1l1ity, while Irrelevant to survival, became as p,leasuI,rulb,leas lItheexl!?,el]enCe of lithe primaryemotion, because illt harnessed lIthererul lIthing,. There are no fruk.e emctinns,

Because the system is designed Io work '\>villthoullt lIth.e assistanee of Iogie orreason, lIthere~'s nnw an answer to lIth.e question: il4nN:J.t we1'e #ley thin.king? They weren't .. The whnle point of lithe system is lith alit you don't have to' lIthink.

A. ,CLASSI:C experiment was performed in Swilltzerland in 191][ byru psycholng1lsllt named Edoum'd Clrupm·ed.e.. Clrupm'ede~'s forty-seven-year-old patient had no short-term memory. One day, Clrupm:ede wenllt in and shook hands vvillth her, as he had always done, Only lIthis time, he had a pin in his hand, wh.~ch stuck heL~A.lllthnu.gh she had no memory of itafte f'· .. '" . "".. .t., '.' lid I· . . '.' ·hlkl. hi nds . ith na .ller a. H"," rmnures, sue wou, never s 1"ru,H . I,an s VV]I~ II

Clapm'sde ,ruga1in,. Sh.e had no idea why.. She justgot a bad

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residne of her painfu] experience lith alit had connected illtself "" ""hi . '" ll.."" . 'f' 'C'II . '-dl .~: . kl '" ..."" ll.. '" . hi . nd . ·dl u.. hi d

to I~ 11.13 S]gU.I~ 0' ' apare: 13 Sluc.]ng O'UI~ rns ,an ,an sne I a

what~ ina norma] person, we {';nuld! callen intuitinn,m gut feeling, A normal woman couldn'texplain those feelings either, buta fewmilliseeonde lmter she'd remember ..

'fh:ilnking IngicmUyeould! notassist the plmtient in decid!ing whether or not to' shake ClmpHrede~'s hand. But somewhere in her brain, her experienee had! eeused her to' bookmark the bad! feelingof an emotion .. She'd involtsntarily jerked! her barnd! black when she felt the pain, The feelings that fnllnwed! the emotional response of jerkrng her hand back were powerful and! unpleasant =shock, smprise, fear. Cmtminly her heantbeat and bremthing sped up'. Perhaps her face flushed! .. She-may have cried out .. A..n.d .although she had! no consciousreeolleetion of the events 0.1' feelings, she was foreverafter compelled by that emotional bookmark to' select the same response, U wasamomentoue ,d!is,cnvery on Clmpm:edle~'s part: his patient eould learn 'Vvithoutmemorym: thought.. It wasas if her bod!y could learru. It h:ilnted! .mtm whnle hidden system 'Vvithin her .. The very system by which the two snowmobilers decided! to' rush up, the hiU .mgminstmU remson .

.on, the nther hand, while the patient's learned response was eorreet lin one eirenmstanee, her lack ofmemory had! robbed! her of themb,uilty to' admp,t the response for other ciretmastanees .. "V'ifhHn there was no danger, she sfill jerked! her hand back. ,A, normal person would! have Ianghed and smidt, "Now, Doc, you don't bavea pin in your hand this

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ume, ng IIIU'" HIJI~ s Ile',U J!:OSI~ I~ lie'. Hil.llu] ]Iq I~ iarmaaes '.' 'omo

sflpiensullique in theanirnal wodd.

Vnlun1ltary actionson lithe lighl side of lithe body begin in lIthemnlltnr cortex in lithe left hemisphere of lithe brainandgo lIthrough lithe pyramidal 1itrad,ru great blill.n(,;h ofaxons lith alit issues from lillt,. If you havea stroke lIthrullt destroys themotor cortex, you~U be paralyzed on lithe right side of your bcdy; Everything "vi]] stop working, indu,d!lng your fadrulmlillsdes,. U someone lItens you lito. smile, you~U produeea gro.lltes'que, lopsided grImace.. But if you hear somellthing funny lIthrullt causes you lito. Xaugh involun1ltaliily, you~U producea normal, symmetrical srrrile, The reason is that emnfinntlllreactions are controlled lIthrough lithe anterior eingulate, lIthemed!llrul tempora] lobe, and lithe basal gangHrn, which were not destroyed lb,y lithe hypo.lltheticrul stroke, Thateffect can be repro dueed in patients with brain damage, There areat 1eas,lIt two separate brain systems lith alit can generrullte behmlilo.r,. The w,ay lIthey work, lithe w,ay you erup'lIture eil.jpmiences, and! lIturn lIthem inlltn learning (memories), can influence your ,rnb1l11lllty lito. survive.

M,. EphimllruMm:p'hew~ru psyehologist and! founder of lithe Sociellty for Human Performance in Extrerne Environments, lItn1,d!me of a series of aceidents she'd been studying in whll.r:h sr:ubru dllvers were found! dead! "villthruir in lItheir trunks and perfectly functional regulators, "Only lIthey had! pulled the regulators out of lItheir moufhs and drowned, U to nkru

long time for researchers to figure out what was going on .. ". Iteppears that certain people suffer an intense feeling of suffocation when their moufhs are covered, That ledl toan over]!Jowedng impulse to uncover themoutharndl nose,

The victims had followed an emotional response that was in general a good one for the organism, to getruir .. But it was the 'Y\i'100ng response under the special, non-natural, cireumstanees of scuba diving, Jt's possible that the impulse, the fee11lng of suffocation, was formedlasarn implleltmeraory by some previous experience that was not available to conseinus (e}.1J,Hcit)memory..~A..nd the divers had no w.ay of knowing that the one thing that wouldl keep them .ru]iVH, covering the nOSH and mouth, was the one thing the organism wUlddl not tolerate ... At the eritical moment of decision.jreason was not enough to overcome emotion, For no one wouldl say that those divers believed they could breathe under w.ater withoutruregulrutor ..

Morphew and the otherresearn::hers wanted to know what the divers were thinking when theyremovedl their regulators and tried to b,reath without them .. The answer is: you don't need to think. That's whatemotions and imp'l~dt memories areallabout. By tradlition,reruson 1lsregarrdedlas the highest funetion. P'eop,le are named after 1lt: Homo sapiens (from the latin sdpie1'e, to truste,as in "to taste the worldl"). nut from the point of view of an organism in desperate trouble, an organism thrut evolved byrelying on

emotionsas the first line of defense, cegnition is irrelevant and gets set aside .. It's slow and ('Junky .. As Remarque satid~ there's no lime for it ..

Most of themystit)ing aoddents that happen in the course of risky reereation, the seemingly iUog1lcatl decisions, actions, and outcomes, can bees .. jp,latined by the same interplay of emotions and cegnition thatt Sh,atPHS all hU.man behavior. VVhat the sc:ub,at divers did made perfect sense from the point of v1lew of the organism's survival: The impulse to getatir is autorreaticand ean be nver]powmi.ng]y strong .. Those who. can control that impulse lito survive, live .. Those who. ean't, die..~A..nd thafs the simplest way lito explain smvival, whether the venue is night carrier landings or being lost in the jungle ..

'Vifhenill was lIteaching my daughter~A.meUat hnw lito snowboard, she caught her edge exactly "\lice and never did it again, "V\I"hen you eat1itch the ,do'!l>v-nhiU edge of your snowboard, it slams you lito the ground with such force you feelas if somebody just droppeda safe on you. U hurts everywhere ..... 4.fter the first lime you do it~ you have lito think eonselouslyabout tensing themuscles 1111. your legs to keep' your edge upas you ride, Then you get fired, Iazy; 0.1' distraeted, you eateh your edge .algruin, and "it IU'acficruUy knocks you out. GenerruUy,alfter that second experience, you have developedal deep,ly lngr.alined emotional] bookmerk, Then, whenever you start lItorelrllX those

muscles, you get areally bad feeling, like somebody's going lito dropa safeon you, andl thosemuscles tighllten[ight up'. You never have to thinkabout it agam ..

'fh.e e]egantand seamless assistance of those bookmarked feelings isessenfia] in using the more Hnear tools of logicand reason, ]But in certain circumstances, usuruUy ones where we are exposed lito unfami]llar or extreme hazards, it canalso bea trap ..


'¥HEN (,.vAS .at teenager and my fatllther ,could see how brn:dill was trying to be eo 0'], he tookmeaside and gavemea ]]lItUe 1Itatnt about lithe difference behveen being eool, which he elerudy was (ilthnugh he didn't say that) , and acting eo 0'], whl[.r;h 1 ,derudy was .. I was already doingrisky lIthings~ and he remarked lith alit to ,die at needless deatllth of your ownmaking was not cool.man, not cool,

One summer, some years latter, 1 was gO'ing out on nllghllt assaultrraaneuvers '\-villth lithe Army's 82nd~ljIlb orne Division atllt Fort lBr.atgg in at ]llvefire exercise, 1 was wO'rking '\-\lillth~ru·my Rangers, who. were some iltO'ughmO'lIthers .. We spenta few dsys hO'p'p1lng In and nullt of helicopters, sho O'ting off rockets, and blO''\-\ling up' tanks .. Oh, illt was greallt fun.

Bull wasmost 1lnilteresilt.ed in hearing from lithe Rangers about lIthelr lItr.atining.. lilt was hard .cO're.. '[he training Iasted eight weeks, starting .att Fort Benning In GeO'rg1lat and '\-vinding up, sometimesas farawayas Utah, lilt was themost

intense, demanding, and exhausting rllllturul lItheU.S..~ru·my had.

We:d just eo me ons nllgbllt drop Inllto sand dunes .. They dlidnl ]elltme jump', sol wason lithe ground when lithe planes carne nV8L 1 ecm]dl hear lithe distant ehatteringof automatic weapons fire somewhere in lithe fore-slit andl then lithe faint droning hammer 'Of lithe C-130 engines, The moon had not yellt lisen, but lithe Big Dipper was up' in lithe weslltern. sky, and ru b,ig 'Orange p,lanellt burst halfway up, beyond lithe soufhern lItreeHneasl walkHdl out onto w"h.rullt seemed IBm desert bullt had been, lomlllHon years before, ocean floor .. The darkness was so complete lith alit ill eouIdl see nothing before me asI sb"uggledlllthrougb lithe sand. Then nne of lithe stars In lithe southern sky resolved lllltself Inlo an m11lf:ifc]rul 11lghllt, and I walkedl toward illt, knowing lith alit illt wasa lIturn-ln point for parachutes and lith alit people wou]dl be there ..

As ill wrulkedl lItoward illt, 1 sawa p,lanellt suddenly lise half oullt of lithe eastern sky, and 1 wrukhedl illt for ru moment before Lrealized that 1 was ]0 okingat n flare, .A.momenllt lrullter automatic weapons rllp'p'edl .ruw.ay, and lIthen lithe heavy w.hoos.h-thud ofa howitzer peeled baek lithe pretense 'Of soUlItude foramomenllt before nllgbllt closed 'Once more around me, There is nothmg quite Hk.e lithe sound ofa howilltzer-an enormous, galv.anllzedl sllteel door being slammed, jamming lithe air up, ineo lithe v.aUeys 'Of these hills .. lllk.ea sud, lithe waves of air eome lhack when they've spent

all their energy out tbere ..

Then tbe planes carne, and ill saw their green and rsd navigation lilgbtsmoving toward us .atkmgat line jpm·.atUel vritb the drop zone .. I Ian to get under themas theycame on and on, :illreacbedl themiddle of the DZ justas tbey drew overhead. lEveqibing seemed to grow' slllentas tbe StI6:-SS of themoment narrowedmy perceptions .. The sky was ligbt compared wifh the land, and against tbatt shimnaermg, eold, feather-gray serimI saw tbe dark lev1latthan shapes of tbe ships ernssing to tbe south. Wllthnut warning, a blossorrrmg profusion .of jeUyfisb sprayed out across the sky. S]]ently and swiftly tbey grew from black points in tbe sky to tbe sweUing, rcimd, living atoms of darkness, fiUing in tbe spaces between the stars,

Now tbe planes were gone, and truly there was no. sound atallexeeptmy head hammering. AsI stumbled on tbe ocean flo or, w.rntcbing scores of tbe creatures eo me downall aroundme.T knew that nne must surely drift down on top of me andl engulf me in the trembling petals of llts mushrooru flesh, I eouldl see, as tbey descended in the fluidl of the air, thatmen were dangling from them .. Wllth.lln 100 feet of tbe ground,eacbmatu pulled tbereleatse that dropped his IucKs,ack to dangle ona :illS-foot lanyard, andall around me nnw I beard tbe snap-elatter-swisbing of tbe packsas tbey hit and themen prepared to land ..

Just beside me, the firstman Ianded hard, and 1 beard

hils "Oof ,:' and saw the grayjellyfishabove him balloon and invert, dumping ilts bubll),~e ofair, then drift and fnld and He dnwT1JJ. 'quieHy on the sand, "Oh, Go d.Tve gnt to. piss! ::, the man groaned, and 1 heard the eXan]kilng of his gear as he tded to' free hnnself of haspsand clips and webbing,.

His face carne U]lJ' and 1 eould see him just weU enough in the dim ]ight to reeognize him, U wasru guy they were calling Buddy. vVh:en we were gem:ilng U]lJ' for the drop, zipp,ing sp,eed loaders intnM-][6 clips, spacing them "\lith red phosphoaous tr,acerrounds, and un]lJm.:::]kingmmtar rounds to' stuff ilntn butt ]lJlacks~rd seen Buddy down on his knees cradlinga Claymoremine .. 14.. Claymore isamo dern version of the stand of grap'eshnt~rn fib erglass shell filled "\lith plastic explcsivemixed "\lith seven hundred steel bruU

bearings. It's reetangular, about 6. lb,y ][0 inches, ][1f.2 inches thick, duU silver colored, .cull/ed from side to' side, with pointedmetal Iegs that :fnld down from underneruth so. that it can be stuck intO' the ground ]ikeruminiruture drive-in movie screen. vv:hen if's fired, thrut load of grapeshot sprays out, supersonic andmolten, and anyone wilthinru ,:)2s-font swajfur;h isreduced,as the Rangers ]iked to. say, to' Hamburger He]p,er,.

I'd been ]lJ,]ruying with the swillbch on.a mortarxound, fIlip']lJ,ing it from proxinrity to' impact, whenI Iooked nver and saw Huddy w"ith his faee ,rugruinst the CXruymnre,ru .cigarette in his mouth, smeUing it,. 1 went over to' see what madness

motivated him ilto do lIthrullt, and he Iooked up, smiledatme dreamilyand said, "fMmm, 1 love lithe smell ofa Claymore, ~~, ill got do'Vm . and cradled illt tomy faee and smelled illt, too, :n smelled Ifke cherries,

Now on lIthe[)Z, as all lithe men landed around us=first lithe rucksack's crunch, then theman, hilling: and rollingas best he eOldd, encumbered as he was willth live rounds, rockets, highexplosives, Claymores, grenades, fllares~and then lithe grerullt weighllt of lithe parachute itself, lithe sea ereahue that esrried him here, dying in lithe dead air on lithe ancient shore, 1 heard nne man sayas he dnifted down towardme, "Lo ok out, son.Pm gonna 'splo de on im]plack. ~~,

Then 1 was humping lIth:rough lithe forest in themiddle of lithe nighllt willtha 40.- pound paek, tltalking 'V\lillth Colonel Robed Lossins, whn?d gnne lIthrough it. He was a Ranger, This nighllt, for him, was justa picnic, He toldme lIthrulltrufterru week or hvo in Ranger training, he'd begun to hallucinate, an experience often re]poded by smvivors, The Colonel's ration had been h!foM REs (meals ready litO' eat) every lIthree days, whkh is Io say he was slowly starving, He los lit ,:)0 pounds in fitly'-eighllt days, nere was sleep de]p'lilv.rution and anesealatmg smiles of trials=frereedmarches, free-d1i.mbing sheer cliffs willthoullt TI'O]p'es"and being lItnro'Vm inilto lithe snake-and ,ruUilgruiltor- infesilted swamps in Florida tofind his way out on his own, Fear of derullth, fear of height, fear of drun'k, fear of dn'Ov?ning:,ruU combined tomake him descend

deeper and deeper ineo himselfand find whmt was there, lito change it~ lito build it.. Some say lito put it lito sleep .. Others say lito wmlke it up, 1 left Fort Bragg thfnking that ofall the people rd known, eertainlya Ranger would be the most Ulke]y lito survive the hasards of nature, But the training is onlyas goo das the environment ..

ON SEPT,E,l\IBER 6, 1Il.997, Cm]lJ'tmin James Gmbbm~an Army Ranger, was takinga guided commercial n:.mfting trip down the U]lJ']lJHr Gauley R]ver in West Virg1nim when the raft hita rock." Gmt,bm, thilnty-siix, was thr01VTI! from the :raft,and his gu~de, trying lito save him, feU in lito 0 .. The gu~de tried lito rescue Gabbm, but Captain Gmbbtll .'fjust laughed and pushed him .mw.my" ". Gmbbtll floated em]mly downstream, and if he was anyth.ing like the RangersI'd kIl01V"TI, hemust have felt th.mt he was in noreal danger because of aU the training he'd had under much worse <conditions .. Henmst have felt go od, too, masterful, <confident. He'd emllten, he'd slept -heU, he <could do this until the wheels eame off, Then he arrived .mtm ]lJ,lace wherea big rock blocked them~ddle of the current, Gmbbm was sucked under, pinned, and dr01VTI!:ed. The offidml report sa~d, "The guest dearly d~d not take the sitnation seriously." But thafs not true. He to ok it very seriously.

It's emsy lito see hubris in Gabba's behmiilor, but ifsmore subHe th.an th.tllt" Everyone carries aroundm necessary measure 'Of his environment and of the self. From

conception onward, the organism defines what is selfand what is not. The limmune system examinesmeterials from theenvircnmerst toassess whether they arerll threet om: harmless, Cells '!I>vilth:iln that system hold up, p'l:oilteins in an almost rttualistle way so that T-,ee11ls. eanread them and see if they are self or foreign .. H a T-eeU recognizes the pmniltelin as self, it commits suicide, H the protein is tmfamiliar ~ the T-eeU gives the Ei-,eeU permission to create anuntihody; whif:h helps mobilize anrlltirur;k ilto destroy the inv.rudling protein.

In thrlltand other w.ays~ the immune system continuouslyrearranges the organism's Ielrlltionshllp' to llts environment, That's ealled adrllp,ffi;rlltion. A ]llfetime of experienee bu1l1ds the system, buta subUe change lin the environment canmean that the system no longer has the correct responser Jf's suddenly out of .adjustment.. For example, when Europeans brought unfamiliar diseases west '!!>vith them in the 150 os, the previously healthy and thriving Native Americans were rapidly '!!>vipedl out. But some creatures are amazingly adrllp,ffi;rllble ... AIIt the beginning of summer, 1 usedl to have hundreds 'Of crows eirelingmy houseat dawn, barking noisily, Then onernorndng they were .rllU gone, They'd been tbreatened by the West Nile virus, They wentrllway for months .. Now' they're brlld;;: .. Crows are SUIV1vm:s ..

The emotions are anothermeehanisna for defining self

(aduaUy creating the self) during the ~n"CD cess of proteeting what is within from what is 1rithout, both by avoidingor fighting wbrut 1S bad and by seeking out what is go od. ,As Joseph LeDolillX put it, "People don't come preassembled, but are glued to'gether by ]]fe,. ", Like the immune system, the emofional system evO'lves continuously, tatking eAjp'edences, and situatiO'ns and attaching emofiona] value to' them in snbtle gradattions of risk andreward,

Children begin Iearnmg even before birth, and near the end of pm·egnancy their brainsmay be formmgasmanyas 2,50,000 new nerve eeUs at mmute, (Sdentistsestimatte that themature bratin has lOO biUiO'n neuronsand tniUions of eonnections.) Onee infants beginmovingatbout in the world, they engage in at pro cess of trialand error by whieh they find out hownmehrisk they can take to' reapa given amount of reward. Everyexperience adds tothe body of knO'wledge and shapes future hehavior, ChHdren constamly test and sample their envlronrnentand themselves, truking risks that giv.e b,igrewErrds without too much eAjposure.illi"s at delkrute, often beautiful, balancing act, ill watched my newborn son, Jonas, Jearn to' ery on purpose. In animal terms, you can view 'cryingasru risk, because itruth"ads attention, and there"s no w,ay for the Infant to' know if that attention is going to' be good or bad. ,At first, he'd only cry when something bothered him=diseomfort, paln, hunger-and you eould ten by the sound of the eny that it

was genuine (and loud), Each time be cried, bowever, his mother beld him and most times she fed him, too, or changed his diaper, Soon Jonas ~earned that if be wanted some sort of .atlenfion, he could cry, and it was a ,different cry "Iovith none of theurgent~ shrieking ,quaUfies it had before, U was more a wh:ilmpm·, and be used it effective]y lito get wh.at be needed or wanted.

Mode:rallte stress enhances learning .. v'Vh.en two ne1!.]!IOnS fire together, they become 'Vriredlltogether .. VVllena strong and weak. neuron-(,;aU thernAl and Belltilty-stimulallte a third neuron-(,;aU it CharHe-at the same time, the weak one, Betty, gains tbe .abilillty lito stimulallte CharHe lito fire, That's why the ringing ofa bell eould eaUSH lIP'av~o,i·s dog lito s.alivallte even when there was 1110 food present, Scientists, 'Vvith their ever playful juggling; of three or four languages. at once, call that Iong- term polltentiation (LI'P) .. Sorisk is an integral part of ]ife and ~earning ... A !blaby who doesn't walk, for example, wiU neverriskfalling, But in exchange for 1ItaKilng that risk, be gains the much greallter surviva] advantage of being bip'edal and having his hands free, That's another reason ll:)lay becomes important lito most people, That's why we go out there and do the things we do in the'Vvilde:rness..i\melia e01!.]!]d haverefueed to snowb oard after her first painfu] faU. But inexehange for the risk, she gets lito have theemotional r1!.]!sh of .zinging downamcuntainand eatehmg some phat air wifh the .oldman.. Sbealsn gets to wear eo 0]

snnwboarrding clothes lItnmHrad boys, so perhaps there is surviva] vmIue in it, too, at least for the species,

'[he knnwledge invnlved in that risk-reward Ioop does not involverems,oning.. lit comes to' the ehHd eoded in feelings, wnll<C':h represent emotional experiences inm jpmti<C':ularr environment, If the environment changes, if it has imfamiliar nr subUy different hazards, those adaptationsmay turn nut to be inappropriate ..

Logie simply takes too Jong, 'Often impossibly Jong, and ina ehild Iogie is not well develnjpHd enough .mt any rate .. Instead, he r.mjp<1fdly andunconseiously jplmges through his .mtlms 'Of emotional bookmorks (probablyan Instanee 'Of LTP,).. Numerous neural nehvorks,mssodations that ccnnect the slltumtinn he's in with similar sllturutinns 'Or eil.jpeIienr;es. from the past, fIlielk.er "\lith eledro ehemieml energy, llUuminruting memories and feelings of (:ir,eumstarnr;es.arnd actions that led to go 0 d and bad outcomes, projecting fnrward to future paths 'Of aetionand feeling, Jonas lls formmga dynamic map 'Of himself, his wurld,arnd his. experiences in llt,arnd lis sending projectinns th:rough time in the form 'Of irnages of the fnture. Ina sense, he ean see down his 'O'W-u jp1mth by the light 'Of that ein.::ulltny .. '[he emotlonalrrsap 'Of the world, with him in llt, is doing its workmU the time,essenfimlmsm hearriltbemt litO' his smvival,

His work. had 'Only just begun ... Years later, henright be

sitting 'quieUy at hornecand thrllt system 'vlliU be dning another kind! of work, perhaps helping him to' decide whether to' rerll,d! ~lal' and p,'ea!oen:rerllt ice cream. If he ever falls intO' rll fast-moving liver, that system "viU be dningrll

h '.. .,'., '. . snt ., '1' af ,,11· A~ ...lll if hi., hi ...lll t'h'·, ' .. '" hit'

muc ,mnre urgenll so,n, II 0' , wo,rK,. ,~I:iUU 1" Ile>s , Ilat[ II lie ng 11,1

e).jpmien.r;es, it "vi]] instanfly direct enrrect actinn,.

IF YOU eOlLW]d! see the brain working, if it grllve off lighlas it wnrlk.ed!, theu ata dedsion point, different areas wnu~d! begin glnwingruU over Ulk.e the Ughtsnf ,dties going onat dusk as seen from the space shuttle,. The ]lJlrlltterns contained In those networks, fnrmed! from unique e).jp'enien,ees of life, mform deeisicnsat a Irute of speed that can never be ach:ileved! b,y Iogie.Andall of this takes plaee in the shadowlandjuet beyond! conscious thought,.

Most people whnfrllU inco switt water wnu~d! welcnme reseue, But Captain Grllbbrll, the~ru·my Ranger.may have set himself UP' for ,d!isaster through extreme e).jpHniences in extreme environments, ii.Erll Ranger, Grllbbrll hrll,d! had! experiences thrllt seemedmere hostile thanrll guided! liver tour, He'd not only taken care of himself, but if the stories toldme by nthe:r Rangers are any indicatinn, he cameaway feeHngmnreaUve than hel',d[ ever felt, WnTI"Se~ 1n Ranger <culture, having to' be rescued! is ignnminiom;". n is associated ""'ithrll bad! oureome: shame, failme, In Ranger training, if you have to. bere:s,clLWsd!, you are out of the

program, The emotional bookmarks lIthrullt Grubbru deveJo]lJ'edl had 1rub eled reseue as bad and self-sufficiency andeven painasgo 0 dl, nomatter how threatening theenvironment, His training and experience lItaughl him lith alit illlt was better to die for his country lIthan lito fail, Uerullth before ,dlishonor. Rangers ]ead lithe wruy, lIthey don't follow, The training work.ed.

Th.e Canadian snowmobilers suffered a similar consequence stemming from emofiona] bookmarks, The first snowmobiler who wentup lithe hfll hadl lItherubsb"ad concept of anavalanche ~dl]llngaround in lithe front part of lithe brain, ]ookllng for sometbing ]lJ,bys1fc:ru] (i.e, ~ emotional) toaftach itself to, Unfortunately; illlt found nothing in lithe ,ruUrus of experience, His emotional imap of lithe woddl contained no feelingsabout avalanches because his bodly had hadl noexperienee of them,

On lithe ollther hand, he had dear ]lJ'er,e:e]lJ,tions to he]]lJ' find an emotional bookmark: themountein andl environs, lithe noisy snowmobile, for example, hemay have smelled lithe pine forest and illlt was lithe same smell he~d notieed lithe last time he tried hammer- heading, and when he did, he got lith is. boss feeling. He hadl lithe bodilymemory of pleastrre from previous runs, One was anabstracfion, lithe olltherru p,bys1fc:ru] certainty; deady ilUumllnrut.edl 'Vvillthin his. emotional mrup' and signaling deep']y llnstindilve behaviors eH you don't hunt, you don't eat," for example),

Certainly, there were nther factors .. Themasterful fee]ing nf being the reseuer an,d! the speed of riding ahead! to' that beautiful spot in the woods, not tnmentinn, perhaps, fatigue, dehydratinn, an eadier bout 'Vvith anxietyahout their ]OlSt friends, the relief of finding them (the "{V'ihew Factor, ,~. lin whkh you Iet dnV!lIII ynur gum-d onee you :feel safe) .. .A.Jll of those influences, ton,must have conspired to' derail theefforts of reason to' consfrain action ..

There wasanothermore fundamental difficulty that the snowmobilers faced . Our sense ofamournain, the earth, is ru sense of something snli,d!, and! our experience confirms that.. Nothing in our learning tens us that a mountain is going to' comeapart before oureyes .. Itmakes no sense .. It hasn't happened, therefnre it cannot happen, The mountain certainly didn't look fr.agile .. 'fhe snnwmobilers lilter.aUy ,cnuldnl 10 eHeve it.. We think we beHeve wh.at we know, but we only truly believe what we feel.

ON.LY IN recent years has neuroscience begun. to' understand! the detaUed! pbysln]ngy of emotional states such as fear .. The neocortex isresponsible for yourillQ, your eenseious decisions, your analytkal abilities, But the amygdala standsasa son of w.atchdng for the organism ..

A~. Iia . hi .' ". t'hl. .... . . ·f··· h ...JII·· hit,· hi

l:i.llUe la, w. lin 18 I lie younger o .. my 1i!.\,VO luaug IIIHIS, . I as a

cho eolate Lab, Luey. Lucy sometimesreminds me of the amygdala: V'ihen anyone comes to' the door, she barks

b, f" " ,ilr, ,ll.., ' it e ore ,~, evennear ]11,.

P'ereep,finns from the wnrld around us (sigbt, for examp,}e)reacb the thalamus first, In the ease of vision, axons from the retina go. to the visual thalamus (there m·e two, nne lin each side of the br,atin,receiving infnrrnatucm from each side of the body), From there~ the sigbt signals travel by wayofaxons from the visual thalamus to. the mllddle latyer of the nee cortex and from there are sent out to. the other five Iayers for processing. VVh,rut emerges llSat p,emep,tinn of sllght. But bsforeal] tbrut can be eompleted;u rougb form of the same sensory mformationreaches the amygdala by at fatster p,attbw,ay. The amygdala screens that information for signs of danger. Like Lucy, the ,amygdatlat isn't very b'liight, but if it detedsat hazard, or an)ibing remotelyresembling one, before you~'re even conscious of the stinmlus, it lnllt]rutesa series of emergency reactions, The ap'p'looacb is: Better safe than sorry, (UnUk.e Lucy, the amygdrulatatlsn is eatplatb,le of llgnminga Iot of mformaticnas irrelevant.) lit is at p,dmlluve but effective survival system that causes the rrubbllt that visits our backyard every morning to. freezearrd then run when she seesAmelia let Lucy out, Like Lucy, the amygdala is 'Yvlcnngat Iot of the time: There is no. danger, But in the Inng course of evolution, it has b eena successful strategy,

So. information from the senses latkes a neural route that splits, nne pmireacbing the amygdala first, the other

arrivingat the neo corfexmdlliseeonds Iater, Rational (or conseious) thougbt .rulw.ays lrugs behind the emotional reaction. Anyone can demonstrate this rut borne: Everyone has lD een startled by someone, lfs a powerful response, marked by the familiar rocket rush 'Of adrenaline (actually cateeholamines), increased head rate, flushing, and panting .. Then, as soon as yourealiz,e the person is someone you know, theresponse deesealates .. But it ffi:a.kesa while ffi:omeffi:rubolize .ruU those chemicals, lfsa. powerful emergency reaction and completely iUogir;al, lD eeause you know the person and are not in any danger, lEut the reason you {';anl tbink 'Of that logically before reacting is because the visual signalsrear;b the arnyg;drula first.lfs a !D.:ilg shadowy form: U ,could bea spouse, it eould h ea bear -you don't know, .only lruffi:er (irimilliseeonds) do es the visual cortex pieee together an aocuIrute jprlfdure that lets you in 'On who. it is .. Only laffi:er can youreason: No bears in tbis house,

'Vifhile the jplrutbw.ays from the .arnygdala to' the neocortex are strongerand faster than the ones going the 'Other way, so me .rubllIiltymay remain for the neocortex Io do the following: first, to recognize that there is an emotional response underway, Second, toread reality and perceive cireumstanees ,r;orrecUy. Third, ffi:o override ormodulate the automatic reaetion if it is an mappropriate one ;:and fourth, to seleet a enrreet course 'Of action.

Since emotionsare designed to elicit behaviors ina sll:)lit

second, clearly; lIthrullt :isru truUOirder, and some ]p'80i]p11e are much better alit illt thanothers, InrudditiOin, there is 1ride vmirutionlln individual reactions, Some people starilt1eerusi]y. . .olIthers tend not toreact atall, Some people function better under stress, suehas prcfessionalgclfers, fighter pilots, e]itemounlrulln dllmlD ers,mOitOli',cyde racers, and brrulln stsrgeonaAnd so me emotionalresponses are more ,erusi]y ecmb'nUedllthanOillthers..

E]]te ]pm:fOirmers,as lIthefre sometimes called, seek out lithe el!..itreme sillturuticms lIthalltmruk.e lIthem perform WH]] and fee] more alive .. ,At lithe nllther endof lithe scru].e are ]pleOi]p11.e who. don't want any exeitementatall. n takesall kinds, But ifs easy to' demonstrate lith alit many people (estimatesrnnas highrns 90 percent), when put under stress, are unable to' lIthllnk elearlyor SOi]VH sllm]p11e problems, They gellt rattled, They panic, They :freez.e,.Mudd]ed thmking is conrmon lln outdo Oirreereruticm when people gellt los lit 0.1' injured 0.1' are Oillthenvise lIthrerutened1villth harm.

But even e]illte performers are not imnnme to' lithe effects of stress .. Gr.eg Norman ,cOim]p,1ellte]y blew lithe 1996 Masters golf tournamenlltruft.er d.eveJOilP,llngru crushing six-stroke lead nver Niek Faldo .. Hernisseda lIthree-and-ru-haU-foOillt ]puH, kno ekeda bruU inco lithe water -hrice-ho oked balls, missed anOillther jpuH,,,jllt was brutrul At lithe end, Norman and Faldo eould only ho.lderuch otherand WHelP'.

vVllen you learn somethdng complex, such as flying,

snowboarrding,or ]p']rllyi[ng tennis or ,goU,rlllltfirsllt youmust lIthink lIthrough each mOVH. That is called eA'}J.,]jcillt Iearning, and ifs stored inex"p,HcilltmemOlry, lithe kind you earn talk about, lithe kind! that allows you ffi:o remember rll reeipe for lasagna, Butas you grllinmOire experienee, you begin to do lithe task less consciously. You develo]p' flow, toueh, timing -rll feel for it. U becomes second! nrlllltu.re,rll lIthing of beauty, That's knO'vVlJlrlls im]p,lkillt learning. The hvo neuro]og1l<C;rlll systems of eX"p,]jcillt and im]p,]jcillt learning are ,quiffi:e separate.Jmplieitmemories are uneonecious.Tmplieit learning is lik,erll natura] smile: n comes by w,ay ofe differenllt neura] pathway from lithe nne lith alit carries eA.'}J.Ucillt

L D· 1'· "'"hi "'" 1'1' "'. '·"'"h'· ,. 1'1' .' ll..

memory, eloux Ie]pOliIIS II!. ,Ia,l!. ,11,1S mot IleI, w, lin ,.II.1I,rns

Alzheimer's disease, cannotremember nrdinary events but

~:llli . 1'1 ' "'"hi. , .. " ...lll'" .. ' beea .. '·ll"'"h'··' ll.. ll..

earn Su. ]P'lLrllY II!. lie aocnI,ulOH,'>6CrllUSHrll II!. iougn ner

hippo campus is likely damaged b,y lithe disease, lithe memory of how ffi:o ]p']rllyaocordilon comes froman as yet undamaged part of lithe brrllin..illm]p,]jcilltmemmies are not slltnred! in or neeessarilyevenavailable to lithe analytieal, reasoning part

f"'"h'" b ,'"

01 II!. lie tram,

Ine norma] person and under just lithe right conditions of stress=perhaps you're tired!, perhaps you're geffingrll cold, perhaps you're going lIthroughrll divome-llthallt imp,l1icillt system earn break dO'YVT!iJ". Then you're left with lithe eA.'}J.,l1idllt system, lIthinlk1lng lIthrough eachmotian lik.erll rank beginner,. Mrlllcolm G]rll,d!well, writing in lithe Neus YO~'ke~', put illt

succinctly: ,~rChnking isatbout thinking too much. Panic is about thinking too ]itt]e,. ",

ltlewruerobatt]c:s for a number nf yemrsmnd competed vrith the lnternationalAerobattics Club". One datymy instruetotandgncd friend Randy Gagne crashed 1rith a student on board. They went into the ground going perhaps 2,5omi]es an hour, Until then.T thought 1 had some special dispensation to fly upside down, 1rith impunity, After that aoddent lreaUzedill was notan elite performer.Most p,eop,]e aren't, They'rejust nut there to hmlHa good tnne, And when things go wrong, they have no idea what's happening to them,. Itmay seem as if WH live and die by dumb luck~ but it is much more subUearnd complex than that,.

Everything was stacked ,against those snowmobilers, induding the w,ay their brains were orgarrized and shaped by eontinunus adaptation to' theirenv1irnnmenl. Those were not stup,id people, nor were they ignorant, nor even neeessarilyreekless.

At the decision point, 1rith aU those neuronal netwnrks lighting up. fixlng their focus, and arrrring the mechanism of phYSlcat1 action, the nne clearand eertain thing was that riding up, the hi]1 would produce a goo d feelingand nne that, to the organism, seemed necessary, for it moose from emotionatimed at ensuring survival, Since they were already ,atU pump'edup'~ the concept of ~d]enessatsat haven of safety eouldn't compete with the feeling of motion as

smvival, 1'0 lithe organrsm, the decision was «,;]1.3[0".. fie emotional bo okmark, lith alit "beacon of incentive, ". burned bnlghUy, and the decision was made in an mstant, outside lIthereat]m of conscious lIthought.

~AB. Captain Grnbbatlmugbedmnd pushed hisrescuer aw.ay~ he loomusllt have had at good feelingabout whallt he was doing, just before he was pinned and drowned.


THE lLILINOISRIV.ER in southwestern Oregon has thhty-fivemiles of class lH toIv rapids with a class V, muss-covered gO'rge in them~ddl~e.. That section is knownas the Green WaU. Gmy Hough,aminisffi:er on holidsy, knew that the Illinois eOlddl only be rtrn .rut flows behveen 900 and 3: ~ 0 0 0 cubic feet per second, Healso knew that halfan inch of rain 'Wolddl be sufficient to bring the flowebove 4,000 cubic feet per second.at whlfch volume the Jllinois wOlddl be ffi:oO'rough foreven the most prodigions ]p\rnddl~er ..

Conditions looked nlghl, if just bare]y, that Saturday morning when his group began the trip, Th-e flnw was 2,000 enbie feet ]PHI' seeondAlthougha storm was ~n·edlktedl for lrute Sunday, Hough estimated that they:',d[ have enough time for the three ]pmtiesatiem]p'ting the run ffi:0' get th:rough.. He was willing to. aecepte certain ~evel ofrisk for the reward nf the bl]p',. He h.mdla clear ~dea of the dynamic forees involved in the environment he was about to' enter .. He hadl

Shortly after Hough~'s party setoutonMareb 22~ 1998, it

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pulled nullt and had his groupmake camp, U wasn'fmueh like lithe kind of fun lIthey had plarmed, But then again, lithe water wasrising SoO fast lIthey had to' move lItheir eraft seve:rru] times to' keep' them from w,rushing away, CO'ndilfions in lithe real wndd, lithe nbjective hazard ]eve], had e~eeeded therisk Hough was wiUilng to' aoeep'1it.. TIm environment had changed, and he adrup,ted,. Using hisreason tomansge emoticnand emotion to' infO'[mreaSnn, he survived.

lI3ehveenMareh 2,1 and 2,3, ,3 inches of rain feU,me]fing snow in lithe Sis]k:llyouMnunlttruins, adding evenmnre water to' lithe flow, The liver :rOSH 15 feellt and lithe fIlowreached 13,.500 cubic fset pHr seeO'nd.A,.acO'rding to' CharHe

W ·]Ib· '''dl .. '. R'· . S' ,F, :;ru R·· . t "fh '" .' ". . . . ·dl hi

ru ".TIl!: ge's.w1el\" ,ajeL,~ep'o~', III 1I11S surge cause .1"ruVOC

among weekend liver runners, ~~,

"Anybo dy whd's plru~d attention toa Ilo 0 ding liver ",riU know illt, ~~, Hough Xruter said of lithe sound lIth.rullt wnlke him lithe

'* .. .' . '" "There' 4:-h'· .... ." ·f· 4:-h' . f' ]1]1 4:-h' ... ·4:-d·1 '"

nextmornmg ..... I ere's III lie roar or III lie . tui-t IIrorull!:e nver,

bullt on to'p' of lIth.rullt,rus if if's a Xruyer you eou]d p,ick up, and

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your distance, ~,,~, That's a p'reHy subtle eue.] SUp'pOSH. But to' lithe su:rviv(H:~'smind,ruU cues ere important, They carry

informafion. Som survivor expects lithe world! to keep' changing and keeps his senses .mhv.ays tuned fo: J;."V1Nafs up?

..ll ~;. That hi

acaptmg, .1 .. 'I.al~ .1l.1lSS was

The smvivor is. eontimiously enougb for Hough.

for those who. were not soattuned, there were other cues: Dawnrevealed lithe p')ihnn lIthmllt had! eome in lithe nigbllt to swaUnw the Illinois whnle.. '''VYben lithe river has been

coming upa footan hourall nigbllt, when it's gone from elear to ehceolatemilk, when lIthere .are no more eddiesand lIthereare lS-incb diamellter trees gning downat 15mUesan hour, it's just neta lItougb decision," Hougb said, Butas John f. Kennedy once remarked, "There's always some son ofa bikb who. doesn't gellt lithe word,"

Hougbl's party, lIthen, wa1ltched! from lithe refuge of campas m pmiy of filve ona shredder (a 1Ityp.e of raft) and! lIthree kayaks carne shooting pastat around! 10 A".M.,.Aboullt halfan hnur lmllter, lIthey were followed b.ym second! pmiy of five, inelndingat lemsllt one kayak, The first group' was eaten by lithe lS-foollt standing waveafter portaging lithe Green W.mU. The second group'manag.ed!lIto portage lithe Green W.rnU, but two paddlers wereeaten near lithe lU1Hle Green W.mU, anollther hellacious section. They were sftU operating onamodel of lithe old! environment. The results were frnlltml: One member ofeacb party drowned, and lithe ollthers los lit mIl lItheir equipment and! had! to be rescued, One smvivor was carried fivemiles downstream before she wasable lito gellt oullt ..

W.albdOlge wrote, cr Coast Guard res,cne heUcop'ters pdl<c':k.eOl up, ten people, six of whom hed fIlllp'p>eOl boatsand 10 eeome stranded ina sheer-walled section of the canyon," The first man killed, Jeff Alexander, thidy-seven~ was an experienced river gUllde.. The second, Wlll]b;ur Byars, sixty-two, was also a well- known river guide who hadmany years of experience .. n is unl1ik.ely that professional guides wOldOl Intentionally take sucha :rllsky run, In faet, they spent some time at the put-in discussing thedsks, and everyone .agreedl that the liver eou]Ol be run. They hada lot of eil.jp'eIi:ence .at running the liver ,andl lit had .ahv.ays been okay. Bllg WElter, said their emotional systems, equals bllg fun.

AS eOi\I:Pl.EXas the bram is, the world ismore so .. The bram cannot precess andorganfze aU the data that arrive, It cannot eo me up, wllthareasonab,le course of action if everything is given equal wellght and perceived .at equal intensity .. Thrut Is the ,Ol1iffi,culty wllth logic:illfs step-by-step, linear .. The woddl is not ..

P'emep,ficms come .at you ]]k.e the 6rnllUicm hits you get when you do an Internet search, Wllthout a p'owedul search engine, ycm:'re pm·.alyzed. One search engine involves emotional bookmarks, in whkh feelings help, direct logic and rem son toa p,lace where they can do useful work, .A second strategy the brain uses for handling complicated

problems IS lito {,;rerlllltemenlrlllmodels~ stripped-down sehematics of the wodd .. A.menlrlllmo delmay lite]] you the rules by whleh anenvironment behaves or the color and shape ofa farrriliar O'bject.

Suppose you're searehing the house for your ,cop'y of lVloby-Diek~and yourememb er it being a red paperhack book but you don't know where you left it. 'VVh.en you seareh, you don't examine every iteru in the house lito see if irs lVloby-Diek,. That wotdd be 10g1icrlll,rll sbicilt use of the faculty of reason. But it wouldalsc be tedious and would lrllke too long, That's howa computer would do it. TIm :fad that you haverll mental model of the red p1rllp'erback eop'y of lVloby-DiekrllUows you lito screen out neerlyeverything you see until, at last, a red bo ok blossoms in your field of vision. But if you're wrong and it'sa blue hardbrll,ck edition of Nloby-Diek, chances are that you won't find it even if the title comes inllto view,.

Everyone is familiar vllith finding something '''light under my nose, ,~, .A. :faulty mental model is part of the eAjp,lanrlltion. mrs thereason that you ean get off anelevator on the ""Vll·ong flo or.Tt's the reason thatmany card tricks and magie acts work: 'You see whrut you eA]p,ecilt lito see. You see whatrnruk.es sense, and whrlltmrllkes. sense is whatrnrllllbches themenlrlll model. If you do succeed in finding your eop'y of lVloby-Diek, your pupils vllill dilruterllt the moment you recognize wh.rllt you're looking for~rus they do when you

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