Thursday, April 19, 2018

Turn Fear Into Anger, Spite, Hate in Order to Turn Flight Into Fight

After submitting my manuscript, The Science Behind Fighting Techniques, to a publisher, I have been working on book #2, Fear and Fight: Understanding Our Natural and Learned Responses to a Threat. For the past few days I've been working on the chapter looking at an article about the strategic use of emotion to counter fear in war.

The five strategies in the paper are:

Changing terror back to fear through rational discourse.
The creation of anger.
The creation of spite.
Threat of shame.
Inculcation of hope.

The first strategy is not strictly a strategic use of emotion to counter fear in war. It is a distraction strategy to take your mind of the threat stimuli.

The other four strategies are about turning fear into another emotion that promotes fight behaviour rather than fight behaviour.

Emotion is not just a feeling state. It is a process whereby an appraisal elicits a subjective feeling that motivates an instinctive behaviour that an automatic physiological reaction prepares the body to enact. The output of the process is the effect on the stimulus in order to return to an equilibrium state.

Each of the four strategic uses of emotion to counter fear in war target the appraisal component of the emotion (survival) process. They are interventions in the appraisal component of the emotion (survival) process.

Turning fear into anger is taken straight from nature's playbook. Many people who refer to the fight-or-flight concept, including the authors of the paper under review, associate both fight and flight with fear. Why would you need to counter fear in war if fight is an instinctive behaviour associated with fear? The founder of the fight-or-flight concept associated flight with fear but fight with anger. It has been found that the first impulse when threatened is to flee and fight is only engaged in when flight has been obstructed. That is, in fact, what Sun Tzu and a general from the 30 year war suggested to do in order to get your soldiers to fight. Cut off all means of retreat. Burn bridges, boats, etc.

Lazarus and Lazarus refer to spite as being part of the 'anger family.' It is similar to anger in motivating fight behaviour but it is different in that is a different type of fight behaviour. Solomon warns against using spite as a strategic use of emotion to counter fear in war and to turn flight into fight because it is a 'malicious envy with a wicked twist.'

Plutchik's psychoevolutionary theory of emotion contains eight primary emotions and by combining them they produce different emotions. Fear and Anger are among the eight primary emotions.

Spite (contempt) = disgust + anger
Envy = sadness + anger
Outrage = surprise + anger
Aggression = anticipation + anger
Pride = joy + anger
Dominance = trust + anger

Welcome to the anger family. They all have a common parent, anger, and its action tendency of fight. What makes them different, and what makes the fight behaviour different with different goals is anger's 'mate.'

There is more to this, however, this is the insight I gained last night. By writing about it on this blog I am also delving deeper into the theory I am creating.

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