What is it that keeps people going when their back is against the wall?

Science tells us that it's in our genes, in our glands- that fight or flight response. What is this thing? What keeps the soldier, who is dead on his feet, alive in a fire fight with the enemy that has lasted for hours and hours? Could it be an emotive response this? He wants to see his family again no matter the cost in sweat, pain, and blood.

Is it like an Antelope on the sun bleached Serengeti, her guts hanging from her body, bathing her hind quarters and legs as she stumbles and falls then gets up again? The lion or Tiger would most likely be trotting nonchalantly behind, knowing that he's got his quarry, but still hanging back in an almost cruel way. In this he gives the hope that she could maybe get across that stream or inside that copse of tree scrub that still manages to hug the hot, dusty land.

But, no-

Her only option left is to tell her brood, the fruit of her now dieing womb, in the only way she can, braying madly, that they must get away; they must run to escape. It doesn't matter where, just any way away.

It is like this and more made deadly manifest to the highly conscious mind of man. I think the worst part of it all is dealing with that full bore fear that gets your heart up in your chest and freezes it solid. It is a choking feeling that throws you sense of self away, but it still stays firmly attached to your feet, like a flag attached to its pole, whipping itself to pieces in a strong gale.

That soldier, that animal on the plains of Africa know what they have to do,- whether or not consciousness comes into play- it's something that can't be predicted, but must be dealt with in its own time and place. When your back is against that wall anything that can happen will happen.

Those that survive can only live with the consequences.

S. I. Mette

Summer 2009 C. E.