Great Comment - "Reacting to an emotional event with blatant disregard for said training is similar to not having had training at all"
I'm not shy to stay this - this site has already been blessed with some of the smartest comments and people I've seen online.
The internet is powerful, but much of it is a vast space of short term distraction and time wasting. Even most of the stuff that tries to be serious is poorly thought emotional suckage. For instance, one of the most prolific people writing on "economics" online is a partisan hack who solely uses emotional language and doesn't actually do any real economics, experimenting, modeling, math, or statistics ever. Or at least, hasn't in two decades.
I built this site partially to rebel against the vast sea of distraction and emotional-based suckage. Where do strong, smart, ambitious, virtuous, pragmatic people hang out online? There aren't too many places. So I wanted to build one.
And there have been fruits to this! Already, there's been a number of smart comments. Some hundreds of people come and read each day, a number in the low thousands if you include RSS. And when excellent comments are made, I'm really honored to feature them as their own posts so they get the attention they deserve.
This comment on "A Realization About Japanese and American Superheroes" is brilliant -
I agree that in times of extreme emotional imbalance, relying on (quality) training is the best, if not only, way to go.
As you mentioned earlier, many professionals rely on frequent and standardized training to garner successful results in extreme/dangerous/emotional environments. Aboard the vessel I work on, we hold fire, man overboard, abandon ship and security drills weekly. In the maritime industry, it has been proven time and again that frequent, standardized, and quality training diminishes the detrimental effects of emotions, primarily fear and panic, when faced with extreme survival conditions at sea. Many people have died at sea and been found by search and rescue teams holding on to the lifesaving equipment that could have saved them- had they known how to use it. Imagine the feeling of holding on to a life raft but not knowing how to deploy it, while succumbing to hypothermia or drowning. Certainly an example of poor, or nonexistent training.
Assuming that the training is from a quality source, and accepted as such, then reacting to an emotional event with blatant disregard for said training is similar to not having had training at all. There is room for improvisation in many situations, so saying that training and creativity are critical to one another makes a lot of sense.
A simplified realistic scenario to consider: No two fires are the same, but scientifically, you know that certain combinations of flammable materials will burn with known characteristics, and must be extinguished with a recognized extinguishing agent. How exactly you apply the extinguishing agent can change, but knowing when/where/why/how to use it allows for creativity to be successful. Without the training, you could use the wrong type of extinguishing agent and actually spread the fire. Creativity is useless in that scenario. For example, using water on an oil fire, is just not going to work and will probably splash oil around and set more things on fire. However, using training + creativity, you can use water to cool down the surrounding areas and allow access to the fire's location in order to distribute the proper extinguishing agent and put out the fire. Without using creativity, you may not have been able to access the fire, and your training would have been useless.
I'm sure that situations exist when training is not superior, and other options are better such as if the quality of training is poor, or new information renders the old methods outdated.
As well, one need not apply complete disregard for the 'old' method. Even if its all you have, I still believe that much can be learned from it- even if you learn how NOT to do something. Regardless, doing so rationally with a clear mind is superior to emotional instability. A random emotional response will likely result in similarly poor outcomes as poor training would, and is the exact same as having no training.
Perhaps this adage is relevant here: "You have to learn the rules before you can break them". Without fully understanding why something is being done a certain way, how can you improve on it? Surely not with wild emotional guesswork.
Jess was also kind enough to let me feature her "Letter From a Merchant Marine." Personally, I think she has an extraordinary talent for making complex systems and ideas very easy to think through and gets clear, important messages across. I hope she starts keeping her own blog, or writing publicly in some capacity! The work is brilliant, and I feel very lucky that she comes and hangs out here with us and shares her wisdom.