Game of Consequences

There are very good reasons for you to not get into a fight with a Royal Bengal Tiger. The tiger has a set of distinct advantages when it comes to a fight scenario – advantages that you, as a human being, lack.

Having said that, there may be at least one good reason for the tiger to not mess with you either. While he may have teeth and claws, what you have is no less dangerous.

You have other humans.

If a tiger enters a human settlement, it may very well get away with injuring or killing or eating you, but it will probably hesitate because there might be consequences. Members of the society that you are part of will do everything in their power to find and kill the tiger. If they do not do so out of a sense of revenge, they will do it to avoid the possibility of future attacks.

People watch out for their own. And by “their own”, I mean people they identify with on a family or clan level. This game of consequences is played between human beings on a regular basis as well. Weapons become “deterrents” between nations and attacks on individuals become flash points that start world wars.

The reason I find this phenomenon fascinating is that consequences, despite not actually having any kind of physical existence, are as real, as dangerous, and as effective at starting or ending conflicts as weapons or physical advantages. I was reminded of this while watching Game of Thrones earlier this week an also some Star Trek TNG episodes dealing with the interactions between Starfleet and the Romulan empire.

The promise of future consequences acts as a shield as well as a motivator. And all it takes is imagination.

#consequence, #culture, #human-behaviour