In the face of apparently escalating tensions both domestically and internationally, it is now important to spend some time understanding what escalation is and how it operates at both the individual and societal levels. What is escalation? When should we escalate? When should we avoid escalation? How can we tell in practical terms what the various potential outcomes will be? How is escalation connected with identity and worldview? Why should we care? How can a more complete understanding of this issue allow us to ask better questions and make better decisions in our own lives?