By Cecilio Andrade
How much information is an average person able to consciously absorb per second? If I say that about 2000 bits per second is normal, most will say that it is fine. But let’s start with the hated comparisons. This document that you read has little more than 181,000 bits. Some eyebrows begin to rise, let’s continue. Those 2000 bits are only 0.0000005% of the total, which our subconscious works with. More wrinkles on the forehead, yes? And with how much does the subconscious works with then? Well with the amount of 400,000,000,000 bits. Impressive right? And if we move to a more “cool” measurement, the gigabytes, the so repeated “gigs” of phones, tablets and hard drives, we have the amount of more than 46 gigs. But remember, we talk about processing all that in a second, not just storing it, so if you think about it, we actually outperform the best of computers.
But how does that affect survival and tactical response? Simple, our brain already has all the external data necessary to process an adequate response to the survival of the individual, if the individual has the capacity and means, of course. All this with a “small” problem, it has done so subconsciously, and that, by our culture and education, makes it enter the world that most consider assumptions and conjectures, when not pure superstitions and fears.
We hear talk, according to the beliefs of each person, of instinct, intuition, sixth sense, guardian angel, protective spirit, gods, all that is supposed to warn us and make our hair on the neck or arms erect. “I felt that something was wrong”, “something alerted me”, “I did not trust him despite his smile and education”, “I notice the bad vibes”. How many times have you heard these and other similar phrases? Infinite surely.
The human being tends to seek outside, spiritually or physically, the response of the facts that he/she does not understand. But we have within us the tools that evolution, thanks to nature, hard and neutral with living beings, has provided and perfected us to the smallest detail. Our subconscious is that tool. The primitive Neanderthal or CroMagnon had no difficulty in relying on these subconscious notices, and thanks to this perhaps you are now reading this text. But in today’s society all that we do not process consciously, direct and clear sounds to superstition and magic. Of course, magic is, after all, nothing more than misunderstood science.
When, as armed professionals, we approach a given situation, or that situation approaches us, before we blink our subconscious has been able to scan and interpret in detail the environment in which we find ourselves. The problem is that its only way to communicate that something is wrong is through sensations. Sensations that our conscience usually discards for not giving an image of paranoid, fearful or simply impolite.
How many drivers when arriving at that crossing that always pass without looking, today stop and look, avoiding that truck that did not stop? How many mothers taking their children to school suddenly today decide to change sidewalks, when they always use the same one? How many victims could later say, “Something told me it was not right”? How many policemen when approaching a group “intuited” that the situation was bigger than the environment appeared? How many soldiers have noticed the hairs on the back of the neck as they enter an ambushed area? How many close protection officers have felt the same when approaching with their VIP’s at a routine traffic light?
Do not raise your hands all at once please.
It is neither magic nor superhuman powers, unless we consider the capacity of our brain as superhuman, and then we all have that power. Believe in your sixth sense, your intuition, your instinct, your angel or guardian spirit, call it what you want, but listen to it, thanks to it human beings have survived to this day.