To Fight, To Flight, or To Freeze?
In this submission, Avi Amerta invites us to pause for a moment as we collectively process the torrent of events happening all around.
Words by Whiteboard Journal
It’s a weird year and we’re not even halfway in.
Skimming through news outlets and social media platforms have not been the easiest in the past few months. Every headline I read just leads to yet another disappointment. From floodings, global pandemic, sport league cancellations, deaths, to riots — every piece I read online is difficult to consume.
Personally, up until this point of me writing this column piece, I have chosen to stay silent on all the matters I’ve read. Not because I do not care enough to support my causes, but this period has led me to do a lot of self-reflection going towards how we, as a society, respond to issues in this complex world.
In the midst of all things happening online, I have recently came across a game called VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. A friend had recommended its light gameplay, but he did not really warn me that conversation lines from the game were going to be so significant to the world we are facing and living in today.
Trying to reflect on this time has also brought me back to my university notes, where I had George Herbert Mead’s “Mind, Self, and Society” as one of my required readings. One highlight I had noted from the text was that our selves — as members of a society, are indeed the reflection of a society, through languages, gestures, and symbols that we learn over time.
Our mind, according to Mead, is formed by the way we communicate in conversations or through gestures in our social processes. We take parts in being the subject, but are also a result of a greater role-taking in this world. Organically for us humans, we take self-cues on what to do and what our roles are from the perspective of others, and we respond to others’ cues that also reflect their own thought process on problem solving.
But our minds work in such a beautiful way, that we actually do have the capacity to process our own responses to the stimuli around us —the news headlines we read every day or some tweet that comes across our timelines— and contemplate on what action we want to take next.
What we see online in the news headlines or across our social platforms can also trigger the “fight or flight” response within us. In these tough situations around the globe, perhaps we see others opting to stand strong and fight, while some others prefer to just rather not read or listen to anything and flee. For me, the past couple of months I have resorted to a third option, that is to freeze.
While I have the urgent desire to express my anger towards my government for not having a solid plan in handling this pandemic, or to speak up on topics of racism around social media, I look at this time more as a reflective period so that I can see where my role can fit in this world. Again, does not mean that I don’t care about the issues happening right now. Just perhaps this is also the time for us to together pause, and see how our actions or the way we communicate to each other can impact our society, while of course, we fulfil our different roles to search for a cure for this awfully disrupted world.
So, what’s your take — to fight, to flight, or to freeze?