35. A situation when a bigger problem
a smaller one, but we are incapable of noticing it
There is a Russian proverb, “trouble does not come alone”. The American version is “When it rains, it pours”. Global catastrophe could occur as a result of a chain of progressively worse events, however we might get distracted by the first disasters in the chain and fail to prepare for the larger ones. The reasons may be:
• Our attention at the first moment of failure is distracted and we make a critical error. For instance, a driver almost rear-ends the driver in front of him, then decides to quickly go around him without thinking, causing him to get hit by a car in the other lane. Or, a man carrying out a robbery decides to shoot at a policeman who comes to arrest him, and is gunned down in return. Or, something falls off a cliff, a person goes to look for it, and ends up falling off himself. The possibilities here are quite expansive.
• Misunderstanding that the first failure creates a complex chain of causes and effects which causes the person or civilization under threat to inadequately respond to subsequent threats. The first disaster weakens the organism and it becomes susceptible to further disasters or maladies. For example, flu can lead to pneumonia, or nuclear war could lead to nuclear winter.
Euphoria from overcoming the first catastrophe causes the group to lose prudence. For instance, someone who suffers an accident and is in the hospital begins to recover somewhat, and decides to leave the hospital prematurely, leading to inadequate healing and permanent injury.