Fatal Fixation

Fatal Fixation

Sunday, June 19, 2005
| Romans 6:1b-11

Perseveration (perSEVeration) is a brain condition that causes us to persist in fatally destructive behaviors.


It’s a brain condition that causes people to get stuck in a particular pattern of behavior.

Perseveration (per-SEV-er-a-tion) is what led a German pilot named Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary World War I ace known as The Red Baron, to pursue a British pilot far beyond the limits of safe flying and prudent dogfighting. On April 21, 1918, he flew his red Fokker triplane straight into enemy airspace, allowing aircraft and ground fire to shred his plane to ribbons and kill him with a bullet to the chest.

“He had target fixation and a mental rigidity,” says clinical psychologist Daniel Orme. The Red Baron “flew into a shooting gallery, violating all kinds of rules of flying — rules from the manual that he himself wrote.”

Perseveration is a brain dysfunction that causes people to persist in a task — to carry on in a completely illogical way, even when the chosen strategy is doomed and could lead to death. The Red Baron wasn’t...

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