Let’s take ball throwing. Someone throws a ball at you…
Do you stop and think about it?
Well, yes, but no.
You don’t stop and consider your options at this point – I mean, no-one likes a ball square on the nose, right?
But you do think this… How fast it is moving?
What’s it weight (based on previous knowledge) – is it a tennis ball, a cricket ball, a ping pong ball?
What’s it trajectory (will it actually hit me in the face) based on previously mentioned weight and speed… You think back to when something hit you before and decide “yeah, this is not a good thing”.
Unless you are actually playing cricket and then you think “yep, this is a good thing – I’ll stay where I am”
You decide to move.
But which way?
There’s a wall to the left and forwards is moving into the path of the ball.
Down? Right? Back?
You decide easiest and quickest and safest.
Now, stay with me here…
Whilst you are doing all this, in the background your brain fires up a hormone called corticotropin (don’t write this down – let’s call it CRH) to ignite your pituitary gland to stimulate your adrenal glands to fire off adrenaline to spark the system of energy in your body, so that cortisol is released in case of further projectiles so you’re in a ready state, and to confuddle your critical thought processes and arouse your ‘emotional brain’ honing senses further into a hyper-vigilant mode – your vision may also become ‘tunnel like’ with the increase of adrenaline as you become more focused on the incoming missile (and so you don’t get distracted by the circus clown who just cartwheeled through the background) and breeeaaaathhee…
Twitch twitch twitch and you’re out of the way.
The thoughts, the chemicals, physical changes – all in under half a second.
And who told you to perform all these intricate processes? Well, you did. Or rather, your subconscious. That vast array of resources and learning gained (some painfully), along the way. Those skills, abilities, capabilities, drawn upon and assembled into one swift evasive manoeuvre.
Your subconscious really is your best friend, stitched into you wherever you go, isn’t it! (Unless of course you decided that thinking consciously about those options was a better bet for you.
If you did, I’m sure the swelling will go down soon. Maybe. Hopefully.)