Monday, September 18, 2017

Coins of Worth - Again

I discussed the various attributes that were valued by earlier cultures, and which are valued now, in The Gold Coin of Worth. It later occurred to me that the ability to keep a clear head under stress, or even in an emergency is also highly valued in our culture. I imagine it has been valued at least somewhat in all cultures, yet I think it has elevated higher in ours, because of our fast pace and time-awareness. That would place its ascent from one of the many virtues to one of the top virtues at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, say 1700. It was certainly recognised in Kipling's time
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

It is a quality that is mentioned often among people who are actually doing a particular job, but I don't think it is much in the national conversation of what we should teach children or "what skills employers are looking for."  It is as if we forget about it when discussing abilities in theory, but have face-palm moments when we suddenly need it in practice. We very much admire it in others.

I have heard that it is a military saying that "You will not rise to the occasion; you will revert to the level of your training."  That is very much true in dealing with acute psychiatric crises. While it is true that some people seemed to be better wired for calm and others for panic, training, rehearsal, and forethought are not optional.

As our pace increases, I expect the importance of this quality will likewise grow.

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