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Fazor
2008-Sep-08, 08:47 PM
Well, I'll start a new thread on this but it was certianly interesting that they had this article on CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/08/survive/index.html)today, considering Paul Leek's earlier thread.

Very interesting article--I might have to check out a copy of the book. But I did find one part that I'm not sure I can agree with (or, more accurately, don't agree with the example given).


Survivors tend to be independent thinkers as well. When hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, hundreds of workers were trapped in the towers. Gonzales says security told many of them to stay put and wait for rescue.

Most of those who heeded the directions from security died, he says. Most of the survivors decided to ignore security protocol. They headed downstairs through a smoke-filled stairwell and didn't wait to be rescued.

"They were not rule followers, they thought for themselves and had an independent frame of mind," Gonzales says.


(yes it's also ironic that the subject of this example is 9/11 given another recent thread).

In the article, at the least, it doesn't talk about all the times that "experts" advised people to do something that actually did save their lives, nor does it talk about all the times people ignored what they were told, and died when they otherwise would not have. Simply put, I'm not convinced that the survivors in this example survived due to "independant thinking" because they could not have known what was going to happen, and I really doubt any believed that it would end like it did. They just ignored protocol based on a "flight response".

Moose
2008-Sep-08, 09:46 PM
Simply put, I'm not convinced that the survivors in this example survived due to "independant thinking" because they could not have known what was going to happen, and I really doubt any believed that it would end like it did. They just ignored protocol based on a "flight response".

Without getting into the 9/11 angle, I'd argue that independently-minded folks would have a higher chance of survival.

But I make a different distinction in the terms than you (or maybe CNN) seem to be making. Someone who compulsively obeys rules is just as dependent (for lack of a better nuance) as someone who compulsively rejects all rules.

Survival situations are often about judging when to follow established procedures, and when the procedure no longer applies. I would expect people with good situational judgment to have much better survival odds over those who can't or won't think for themselves.

chrissy
2008-Sep-08, 10:14 PM
I would have called it basic survival instincts! :)
It is a natural reaction for many.
Then some would listen to a "aurthoritative figure" in uniform, whom they rely on for their safety.
Like Moose said it is a call of judgement.
If you had a fire in your home, you would try any way you could to get out?

grant hutchison
2008-Sep-08, 10:27 PM
I only dropped in here because I thought it was going to be thread about the upcoming BBC remake of the classic 1970s TV series, Survivors. :)

But I have a comment about this:

They just ignored protocol based on a "flight response".In psych evaluation, survivors' behaviour is (often) much more complex than just a flight response. Many of those who survive by something other than dumb luck show a recurring complex of psychology and behaviour. They're extremely calm (and often find time to be surprised at how calm they are), they think clearly, and they're very, very focused indeed. Some sort of training or experience helps, but people who have never been in a survival situation before, and who have had no training at all, can also "drop into" this state.
I've read interviews with survivors from the Herald of Free Enterprise, who took advantage of the single minute during which the ship was strongly listing but had yet to capsize: they describe walking briskly through panicking, milling groups of people, looking for exits on the "uphill" side of the list. A couple of them remark on how the green exit lights seemed incredibly bright, while everything else seemed dim.
This sort of attentional focus makes them do stuff they often feel guilty about afterwards. There was an air-crash in the UK in which most casualties survived the landing, but were killed by fire aboard the plane before they could exit. One survivor describes moving across the seat-backs, in a sort of step-by-step crouch, in order to get to the exit, because he "couldn't see another way of getting there". Only afterwards did he realize that the obstruction he'd bypassed was the other passengers, queuing in the aisle, many of whom subsequently died.

Anyway, I have a bunch of these stories I won't gruel you with further. Whether these phenomena would come into play in the towers, immediately after the aircraft hit, I don't know. But there is a complex of "survivor behaviours" that I thought it would be interesting to mention.

Grant Hutchison

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-08, 10:47 PM
thanks for that fazor!!

survival is a matter of trying to keep things positive

I have done a lot of outdoor activities in NZ,when reason goes out the window,intuition kicks in...when you lose your compass you "sense" where your going..it isn't logical..it's a "dominant" feeling.

PL

grant hutchison
2008-Sep-08, 10:57 PM
I have done a lot of outdoor activities in NZ,when reason goes out the window,intuition kicks in...when you lose your compass you "sense" where your going..it isn't logical..it's a "dominant" feeling.I want to know the denominator.
We have Paul Leeks as an example of a survivor of this technique. For every Paul Leeks, how many people have wound up dead by "sensing" where they were going?

Grant Hutchison

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-08, 11:01 PM
I'm still alive!

grant hutchison
2008-Sep-08, 11:59 PM
I'm still alive!So I see. That's good, then.
I take it that was a response to my previous post, rather than just a general announcement to reassure us all?

Grant Hutchison

Bearded One
2008-Sep-09, 12:05 AM
The knowledge and ability of the ones giving orders/directions is important. 9/11 was an extreme event and that meant that there was a good chance the authorities and local security/staff were not properly prepared to handle it. A half way decent engineer, only vaguely familiar with the events, may have had a better chance, than some of the local staff, at understanding the danger.

Elenwen
2008-Sep-09, 01:39 AM
Anything to the extreme is never good. All in moderation. If someone is always solely an "independent thinker" then there are bound (in terms of probability) times where listening to authority can save his life just as if someone is solely a "dependent thinker" there are bound to be times when not listening to authority would be the optimal action.

Jens
2008-Sep-09, 02:30 AM
In the article, at the least, it doesn't talk about all the times that "experts" advised people to do something that actually did save their lives, nor does it talk about all the times people ignored what they were told, and died when they otherwise would not have.

It's a good point you make. The way I see it is this: if "independent thinking" was always the best course, then those individuals would have survived and we would all be that way. If "following instructions" were always better, then we would all be followers, by natural selection. But the fact that we (as a species) are a mixture of the two seems to me to indicate that which is better for survival depends on the circumstances.

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-09, 02:48 AM
I think for myself..what logic,positive thinking and experience has taught me thats why I am a survivor!

life gets > & > B & W as 1 gets older!!

Paul

Fazor
2008-Sep-09, 02:53 AM
All I was really saying was I don't think this particular example was the greatest for "independant thinking". Honestly, with that many people involved, survival was based on a lot of factors. I'm sure half the people that evacuated did so because they saw other people evacuating.

I don't know, the more I think about it, the more I think I just was looking at it the wrong way. It's just that, in this particular example, a lot of the people that stayed behind also made that decision independantly; they didn't all stay because they were told to. They stayed because they chose to.

I think you could scrap "independant thinking" as a trait of survival, and replace it with "Ability to maintain good judgement under stress.". You should never do something just because you are told to--but just because you make your own decisions doesn't make you better at survival--particularly if you make bad decisions.

Jens
2008-Sep-09, 02:53 AM
life gets > & > B & W as 1 gets older!!


Huh? Life gets black and white? Could you write in plain English please?

Whirlpool
2008-Sep-09, 04:47 AM
life gets > & > B & W as 1 gets older!!

Maybe he means as 1 get older the number of White Hairs is greater than the number of Black Hairs.

:doh:

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-09, 04:51 AM
sorry I stuffed it up!!

life gets < & < B & W as 1 gets older!

Life gets less and less black and white as one gets older!almost anything can happen

thats better

PL

Whirlpool
2008-Sep-09, 04:53 AM
ohh. you mixed up the Sign ...

:doh:

farmerjumperdon
2008-Sep-09, 01:04 PM
They're extremely calm (and often find time to be surprised at how calm they are), they think clearly, and they're very, very focused indeed.

As the good book says "DON'T PANIC!"

Maybe it should be "DON'T PANIC."

But yes, I'd say the ability to maintain your wits and excercize good judgement despite imminent and possibly deadly threats is the number one factor. Most simply are not very good at that; probably related to at least the simple majority of people being more emotional than logical (IMO).

HenrikOlsen
2008-Sep-10, 04:55 AM
In the article, at the least, it doesn't talk about all the times that "experts" advised people to do something that actually did save their lives, nor does it talk about all the times people ignored what they were told, and died when they otherwise would not have.


Many of those who survive by something other than dumb luck show a recurring complex of psychology and behaviour. They're extremely calm (and often find time to be surprised at how calm they are), they think clearly, and they're very, very focused indeed.
The start of this thread reminded about the subway fire in London, where several of the people killed had calmly and focusedly ignored the subway officials who were trying to stop them from getting down into the burning station.

SpecialEd
2008-Sep-10, 08:30 PM
I remember the 1st time I watched Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" how disturbed I was with the scene where they're all waiting for the ferry to cross the Hudson, the Martians appear, & the crowd stampedes to try to get aboard the ferry. My 1st thought, even before I saw how it turned out, was "that boat's a deathtrap." I think my reaction would have been to run at a right angle to the direction the crowd was running-not toward the Martians, but not directly away from them either. Thereby turning the whole crowd into a diversion for my own escape. Coldblooded perhaps, but it's less about me surviving than about the fact that I hate the thought of dying while being herded like a sheep.

grant hutchison
2008-Sep-11, 06:37 PM
The start of this thread reminded about the subway fire in London, where several of the people killed had calmly and focusedly ignored the subway officials who were trying to stop them from getting down into the burning station.That's interesting.
It was widely reported that trains continued to deposit passengers on the platform below the fire, where they were directed by officials to use an escalator that was emitting smoke and fumes. Many seem to have followed these instructions, but I wasn't aware that the opposite had also been occurring at the top of the escalator.

Of course it's easier to be calm and focused when you feel inappropriately unthreatened, rather than when you are feeling appropriately very threatened. :)

Grant Hutchison

Argos
2008-Sep-11, 07:16 PM
This sort of attentional focus makes them do stuff they often feel guilty about afterwards. There was an air-crash in the UK in which most casualties survived the landing, but were killed by fire aboard the plane before they could exit. One survivor describes moving across the seat-backs, in a sort of step-by-step crouch, in order to get to the exit, because he "couldn't see another way of getting there". Only afterwards did he realize that the obstruction he'd bypassed was the other passengers, queuing in the aisle, many of whom subsequently died.

Well, I guess it requires a good physical complexion to achieve these feats. The 'survival of the strongest' literally applies.

closetgeek
2008-Sep-11, 07:27 PM
Anything to the extreme is never good. All in moderation. If someone is always solely an "independent thinker" then there are bound (in terms of probability) times where listening to authority can save his life just as if someone is solely a "dependent thinker" there are bound to be times when not listening to authority would be the optimal action.

I think of Samuel Jackson, in Deep Blue Sea, or Viggo Mortenson in Daylight.


I remember the 1st time I watched Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" how disturbed I was with the scene where they're all waiting for the ferry to cross the Hudson, the Martians appear, & the crowd stampedes to try to get aboard the ferry. My 1st thought, even before I saw how it turned out, was "that boat's a deathtrap." I think my reaction would have been to run at a right angle to the direction the crowd was running-not toward the Martians, but not directly away from them either. Thereby turning the whole crowd into a diversion for my own escape. Coldblooded perhaps, but it's less about me surviving than about the fact that I hate the thought of dying while being herded like a sheep.

Special Ed I don't think it is cold hearted at all, that's survival and I thought the same exact thing when I saw the movie. It's the same reason why, when I go swimming at the beach, whether there are shark warnings or not, I always try and use other people to make a parimeter, swim inside a crowd.