We all have vulnerabilities; even the best of us have weaknesses. Some physical, and some psychological. Our degree of vulnerability changes with time and circumstances. What we must be aware of, is our critical vulnerabilities; these are where the true danger lies.
Think back to the 1200’s and the armor that knights would wear. What was the purpose? To protect and defend against weapon strikes. Would a large sheet or box of iron not have done the same thing? Well, sure it would have, however, the Knight wearing the “armor” or box or whatever, would have been worthless in battle and not capable of any movement. However, if he wore nothing then any weapon could have easily caused serious injury or death. This left the knight, and subsequently the armorers, in a tough spot, They had to develop something that could and would stop a weapon, yet still allow some range of motion.
Enter the world of critical vulnerability. In order to function, there must be “weak spots” in the armor. The neck, groin, joints, and face/eyes were often left un-guarded. This is were the combatant would aim; the points in the armor that must be left open in order to be effective. This is practically the definition of critical vulnerability.
We will define critical vulnerability as: “A function, mechanism, or action that is required for combat performance, made vulnerable by its inherent presence”. Ok, I know that is a little complicated, but look back to our previous example of the armor. The face, or at least the eyes, had to be left open for the knight to do anything. The eyes’ inherent criticality made them be present, yet, by their presence they were vulnerable. Make sense?
So, how does knights’ eyes being open apply to us? Well, like countless other concepts, the direct application may not be present, but, the concept and principles therein apply quite well.
Today, we do not walk around in a suit of armor. This is more of a social obligation than anything else, but it does leave us vulnerable to a point. In order to operate in today’s society, we must lose the armor. Not to mention, body armor is incredibly uncomfortable and inconvenient.
Another physical critical vulnerability we face today is our home. We have to have a place to lay our head, and shelter us from the elements. This central place of residence leaves us vulnerable to some degree. All of our possessions are there, we return there everyday, we sleep there, we eat there, and our family is there. However, we are not always there, we work, we visit friends, family, we take vacations and all that. So, if one wanted to harm us, or take our things, they would have one guaranteed location to do such a thing.
Are you catching on? The things we need to operate and survive may leave us vulnerable. Now before we go on, let me make one thing abundantly clear: Do not freak out! vulnerabilities are far different from a threat. Getting in your car makes you vulnerable, but you make it back and forth from work safely each day don’t you. There is a very small chance that you will be in an auto accident, yet that is a risk we all take all the time.
How about a psychological critical vulnerability? This is not so much how are minds are vulnerable, but the way we think and operate make us vulnerable. The first thing that comes to mind is ignorance. This is two fold. One, we cannot know everything, sometimes that lack of knowledge can leave us vulnerable. Two, willful ignorance. Choosing not to engage in our environment leaves us vulnerable.
Wilful ignorance is more of a choice than a critical function, however, the sad reality of our current society is just that. We tend to encourage ignorance, so I have included by way of societal convention. The first fold, regular old ignorance is indeed critical. There is no way we can know everything, there just isn’t. This lack of knowledge leaves us vulnerable. Learn about situational awareness here.
If you really start peeling back layers and analyzing your life, actions, functions, ideology, and every other facet, you will find vulnerabilities in all kinds of genres. Do not get hung up of the vulnerability, but focus instead on addressing it. Sometimes all you can do is be aware of it, sometimes you can change a habit or function, sometimes you can address it and even remove it. It is up to you to decide and prioritize.
What can we learn?
We are all vulnerable to some degree. We must recognize vulnerability and address it as be we can.
We cannot remove all vulnerability. Critical vulnerability is just that; vulnerability that must be present in order to function effectively.
Train and equip yourself to prepare and address critical vulnerability. Some training, reading, tools and devices, among numerous other venues can help reduce vulnerability.
Give us a shout or comment below if you would like to learn more or have us help you address some vulnerability.