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The Crater:
Impulse vs. Logic – Instinct vs. Rationality

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D. 

As a young paratrooper in the midst of a war, I have a vivid memory of being deep in a sandy desert in the midst of an intense lethal downpour of enemy artillery shells. Each exploding shell created a crater in the sand. I was standing at the edge of one of these craters, covered with dust from the latest explosion. Obviously, my instinct urged me to run for my life; to run as fast as I could away from that crater before the next shell struck, but my military training repeatedly ran through my head, telling me that “bombs never strike the same spot twice”. Accepting that premise, meant that this new crater was the safest place around and therefore I should jump into it, against all my instincts. In that moment, with the stakes so high, where the wrong choice could mean the difference between life and death, there was a fight in my mind between instinct and rationality, between intuition and thoughtfulness. I jumped into the crater, which probably saved my life. I have, since that day, often wondered how many times in life we stand at the edge of craters wondering how to proceed, needing to weigh our instinct against our rational inclination; our impulse against the logical choice. Indeed, life presents all of us with situations where we face a crater, that if we jump in may save us or sink us deeper into the earth where the seeds of creativity may flourish – or death may be waiting.