Friday, August 26, 2011

Protection: First and Third Parties

Which is easier: to protect someone else or to protect only yourself?

That is, unfortunately, a simple question with a rather difficult answer, so I'm going to start with the easy part:

Protecting anyone, including just yourself and any third person, regardless of their relationship to you, in non-physical terms, is difficult. Mentally, socially, psychologically, spiritually, doesn't matter. I would be inclined to say that protecting yourself in these areas is easier, because the other person will likely come to resent you (if they don't, then they are probably far to dependent or trusting, which brings up a completely different sort of problems).

Providing physical protection is different, because the circumstances are far more easy to separate out, though a solution, a clean cut answer, is far more difficult.

Let's start with protecting yourself alone:

You know your capabilities, your strengths and weaknesses; you know when you're starting to falter, when it's time to stand and fight, when it's time to turn and run, and when you can no longer run and must hold your ground until your very last breath. There's very little to be said for misunderstanding the signals your body is sending you about how much longer you can last. That's the good side. The bad side is that you have no-one to stand over you when you fall, no-one to give you time to catch your breath while waiting to get your second, third, or nth wind; there's no-one to watch your back. There's also no-one to turn around and stab you in the back. Good: 2, Bad: 1.

Protecting someone else who is on your side is a game in communication. You can't always tell how well the other person is fairing, especially if they're over-exaggerating to throw off the enemy. That's a bad side. The good side is that you do have all the things that you didn't have in the previous scenario: another set of eyes, the potential for a break. Unfortunately, regardless how loyal to you they start out, if the situation is looking bad, they may switch sides. Good: 1, Bad: 2.

Protecting someone who doesn't want to be protected is just a bad idea. Take all the negatives from the first one and add them to the negatives to the second one. Good: 0, Bad: 3.

I know how those scores look, but unfortunately, life and reality don't work out that way. Depending on skill, having someone help you may be worth more than the judgments lost through false communication. If you're fairly good in your own right (or just downright devious), but any potential partner is more likely to get in the way than actually help, then having someone else helping you is a detriment.

When I asked myself this question the first time, I asked it about myself, personally. I don't know many people I'd want to stand beside me, so standing alone would be my best bet. However, if I could end up with one of those few people on the list, I'd rather have them with me.

I'd probably choose standing alone, but if somebody on my list found themselves in this situation, I would definitely step in to help them out.