Vigilance versus Responsibility

Responsibility is the capacity and inclination to respond to problems in a way that addresses the fundamental forces and magnitudes straight-forwardly. Vigilance is a heightened state of arousal and doing in order to prevent problems.

It is a truism that it is sometimes easier to prevent a problem than to fix one. Therefore responsibility also means taking reasonable measures to prevent easily foreseeable problems. Vigilance, however, is a continuous alert for evidence of problems. Vigilance is expected where the stakes are very high, for instance NASA flight controllers are understandable vigilant from take-off to landing. Vigilance is also expected where problems are 'attracted,' for instance bank tellers are exxpected to be vigilant about all transactions. An important concern is young children hurting themselves. The key is a safe environmentl so that children do not feel constant fear and dissaproval from their caregivers. But, in everyday life vigilance can work against pleasure and flexibility.

Much vigilance is self-imposed. Say one plans a vacation. Planning usually is unrealistic to begin with. The person becomes vigilant for threats to the plan, but the biology of vigilance destroys without doubt not only the extra pleasure from any bit of timely activity that the vigilance salvages, but destroys most of the pleasure from the entire vacation.

Vigilance is really an attempt to avoid or bypass surprises large and small, and so eliminate responsibility. Vigilance is realistic in a dangerous environment, but as a lifestyle it leads to survivalism, sympathetic shift, controlling tendencies, high arousal and pleasurelessness

Loss Aversion and Risk Intolerance

It is clear that risk cannot evaluated without understanding benefit. Our culture seems to have some understanding about benefit in regards to 1)increase in material goods, 3) increase in power, and 3) increase in survival. It has a very poor understanding of benefits of health, because of no consensus or conceptuion of a healthy society or a healthy individual. There is a trend toward elaborate expenditures in money time and attention to reduce known risks, without considering the opportunity costs of diverting resources away from enriching activities