Monday, January 05, 2009

The Trouble with Fear

The Trouble with Fear

Although it can be said that on a very limited and basic level, fear is helpful for survival (fear instinct), it is also shown to be highly detrimental to our survival when demonstrated to be irrational.  How do you know the difference?  The subject of many different studies, the basic distinction is instinctual fear and learned fear.  What we are born with, the fear of predators is hard wired into our genetic code, for survival purposes.  Fear we learn as we are growing, these are fears designed to control the mind, and produce no usable results except to keep the individual from living a free and joyful existence.  There is something inside this society that says one must not have to much joy, that only through the puritan values of hard labor and suffering can one produce equitable results.  This long held belief has been used so effectively that at this point it may have become wired into our genetic code, almost as much as our fear of predators.

We are a weak species, barely able to feed ourselves, barely able to survive except that we have adapted to our environment, and used our strong capability to reason to bring ourselves to a point where we can control to some extent the environment in which we live.  How have we obtained this sense of safety in a dangerous and threatening world.  Mostly through fear.  We exist in close quarters, with high density of populations that squeeze out other threatening species, and regulates them through programs of fear and loathing.  We are as a species a social creature, needing social interaction, and social communities to survive and thrive.  Although this is relatively true, in that even in our most ancient past we as a species did live in tribes or clans to ensure our survival, as we are generally a weak species, the art has taken us perhaps to far without actual progression.  We have not evolved all that much from our cave dwelling cousins.  We have learned to use new tools and materials to create better caves and weapons than they might have had, but what is the price that was paid for such innovation, when actual evolution might have brought us further along the chain.  We are not the top of the food chain, we are far from the top predator, and without our tools (weapons) we would still be a frightened and fugitive society of prey animals, scampering for our survival scavenging from the top predators left overs.

The most distinct evidence of this is religion.  Who would have invented this fear mechanism if there was not a need for learned behaviors.  If we did not need to have the hierarchy of control that exist today, would we have a need for the control mechanism of religion.  There is no organized religion that does not exheart control over their converts.  In one way or another all organized religion is designed to provide guidance to its practitioner.   Least there be a level of confusion here, religion and spirituality are not considered the same thing.  Religion is a mechanism of control, spirituality is a wonder or curiosity of something other than self.

Not being a specialist of any kind in the behavioral sciences as it were, I have to rely on my study of other peoples study and my intuition.  I have to study the work of others and balance their results against my internal thoughts, and from this devise a thoughtful and relevant result, if this is possible.  My own irrational fear of not being able to do this with any sense of authority steams from the learned fear that without the pedigree of a university sanction I am somehow a less of a thinker than those who do have the ivory tower paperwork.  Although I know that I am valid in thought, and perhaps as thoughtful as they, because of this learned fear, I am unable to put forth the confidence needed to lead with the conviction that I am absolutely right in my beliefs and convictions.  That said I continue heedlessly in the same direction, hoping that others will find validation in my work rather than I finding validation in it completion.

So again I present this article in its raw form, without any conclusion, as to finish it would leave me without foundation of my fears.

This is then the trouble with fear.