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Eric's; The Heat of the Moment

Updated on June 23, 2020
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Political Science, Philosophy, Business were majors and minors in undergrad. Post areas in Law, Security, Insurance and Theology.

Well This is Temperature of the Moment

Wouldn't wear a hat like that at 32 degrees.
Wouldn't wear a hat like that at 32 degrees. | Source

Just What Is It?

Man does some things in the heat of the moment. It is as if what was done was out of your hands. Youth brings action in the heat of the moment. Age brings a wisdom that dissipates the heat of the moment. It is understood that the term “heat of the moment” refers to action taken or not taken in the midst of hot circumstances. Can the heat of the moment bring good actions or inactions? Can the heat of the moment be good?

There is an interesting term that floats around criminal law circles and it is called the “criminal milieu”. Milieu generally is about social environment and the criminal part makes it clear we are talking about an environment in which crime is being committed. But think of an emergency room. Let us call it the emergency medical milieu. The doctor who wins battles is not caught up in it. Her judgment is with equanimity and constancy. She survives from one crisis to another – an ultimate in heat of the moment. Let us say 2 dramatic episodes every hour of an 8 hours shift. Could mistakes be just assumed in such an environment? Of course, so for every 8 hours there are smaller episodes to correct matters. We can see how the heat of the moment would be barely livable.

Heat of battle. Friendly fire. Soldiers on two sides shooting at each other to try and kill each other. We skip heat of the moment here and go right to “heat of battle”. Perhaps that applies in a certain way to negotiating a freeway at rush hour. Obviously not the same but it shows us some perspective on what it is to be in the heat of the moment. Very often it is just a matter of perception. So in the heat of battle mistakes are made. That is just a natural fact. In the heat of battle soldiers often do heroic acts of bravery and sadly sometimes make mistakes that end up killing comrades.

Heat of the moment does not excuse conduct it simply explains the milieu and offers insight as to what causes behavior in such circumstances. One would not run into a burning building, unless in the heat of the moment it is clear there is a child inside.

Story Line

Growing in the Heat

A walk.
A walk. | Source


There are so many instances of social environment effecting the actions of people. I like love and passion. Not the brotherly love type but that spark between two that creates the heat of the moment. Oh how many regrettable “decisions” are made at such times? And oh how many wonderful relations start as such and remain as such. The beauty of love at first sight is a resplendent example of such a social environment that allows for such. Maybe just a waiter who meets eye to eye with a lovely patron.

It would seem that there is agreement that that is good heat of the moment. On the other hand it may be a horrible situation for a dad. This reminds us that people looking in 20/20 hindsight may be bad judges of actions taken in the heat of the moment. We harken back to the heat of battle. Bad decisions are easy to call from a headquarters.

Sports are a perfect place to see heat of the moment from both the player’s part and the fan participants part. “How could he have passed that interception?” How did she hook that drive so badly? We realize that what we call out for perfection is really unrealistic in the circumstances. I understand that many a great performer got jitters so bad before performing that they would vomit prior to going on stage or before the cameras. Perhaps someone who is “bad at taking tests” shines some light on the issue.

Parents, siblings and spouses. They say you cannot take back words spoken even in a heat of the moment. Somethings just cut too deeply to be healed with apologies and explanations. But that reminds us that the victim of something done in the heat of the moment needs to see things from both sides. Snap judgments in return for things done in the heat of the battle are almost always bad. Our person judging may just be acting in their own heat of the moment and things fall to pieces and resentments created.

The Path That Gets Us Where We Are

One of my favorites somewhere near Saigon.
One of my favorites somewhere near Saigon. | Source

The Story

Easy Does It!

We speak of this and that and pass judgments on folks living in that criminal milieu. I suggest that in maturity we seldom leave out the circumstances of actions and if we do not we need to grow up a bit. It hits the news but I wonder how many people have actually been resuscitated and brought back to life. Someone acted in a heat of the moment and saved that soul. And perhaps the resuscitated put themselves in that condition in the heat of the moment.

TV shows and movies are cool because the main goal is to put the viewer in the milieu. A good book or poem puts you right there into the heat of the moment. The heroin forges through and acts the part even though all hell is breaking loose around her. The saved victim plays there part. I love horror movie scenes where you just have to yell, runaway and go back. What talent those writers have.

I wonder sometimes about published “news” or the fad of late; can video capture that heat of the moment. I doubt it or movies would be about 20 minutes long. Books could be written is 40 pages. The backdrop must be developed before the short scene makes sense. Tension and apprehension and anticipation must be shown first. The cops in our movies with a complicated shooting need prior and current situations or milieu for us to decide if the cop acted as a hero or a bloodthirsty crazed vigilante with a badge. The cop, and murder mysteries that last the longest in popularity and succeed are not about the climax but about building the personalities and twists and foibles.

I suggest that the art reflects a closer view of reality than a 2 minute viral video. Why did the hero risk his life? And let us also see the mundane day to day that helps us understand the character.

In a film production or book the best ones leave us with some questioning of the lead character. Was his action in taking down that villain justified or should he have been able to bring him in for trial? Without the lead up and development of the personalities based on the past and what the future may possibly bring we are at a loss on the judgment of the lead actress.

The heat of the moment is not black and white. The situation of the human condition makes us make snap judgments all the time. But a problem occurs when we feel obliged to make a snap judgment on those who are in that moment. Armchair quarterbacks and news folks who have to be first to report make serious errors that need not be taken if the momentary occurrence is not viewed with maturity and understanding of the milieu. I saw a clip where a protestor, seemingly peaceful took up a bottle and through it at the police. I did not have to judge him, not my call. But I knew the backdrop. Not justified violence but understandable from the fragile human condition perspective.

Let us not jump to a conclusion in the first scene/seen of play. Perhaps the hero or villain just appear that way to trap us into our own preconceived notions.

Judge others as you would be judged. Not on 40 seconds of attention but on the heat of the moment.


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