THE IDES OF OCTOBER 2018
Fear is a fundamental and healthy emotion which helps living beings navigate their existence on this persistently physical world. Once a person experiences pain, or trauma, or any negative event, it will likely be remembered. And held as a reference for things to avoid in the future.
If an experience is sufficiently unpleasant, the thought of a re-occurrence of that event can generate fear. If and when a person witnesses a traumatic event experienced by another, the image will probably be retained. Then the chance they could suffer the same fate can cause fear as well.
However, fear is always a personal experience, which must first be addressed on a personal level. Only after one has managed their fear in some way, can they properly consider other issues.
There was a time when a fear of common threats united all human beings within a given group, or society. The world held many forces which were beyond human control, or understanding. If one wanted to live, the best chance for doing so often meant cooperation toward a common goal with other like-minded people.
They did this to improve their odds of successfully meeting these threats. Be they unmanageable dangers, like fire, and flood. Or face hungry predators, with their superior strength, speed, size, or numbers. Or survive times of famine and drought. The combined creativity and will worked to their mutual benefit as they struggled to survive.
Fear was mainly a concrete reality which was often measured by one’s level of hunger, or exposure to the elements, or being stalked by carnivores. And the one asset a person could rely on, other than themselves, was the other people in their family, clan, or tribe.
Today, we have managed our local environments so successfully; that for many in this society, universally perceived threats no longer exist. Different groups of people each have their agreed upon understanding of what to fear, and in turn, what they need not fear.
While we may no longer all share the same fears, it is clear there are no shortage of fears entangling our current endeavors as we strive to coexist peacefully with one another. And because we have also learned how to fear things which have no bearing on reality – such as a Martian invasion – our universe of fears grows. Fears and their attendant mistrust call for some measure of resolution. Or the society will lack harmony.
Unfortunately fear can make people vulnerable to thoughts and imaginings that are not real, but which still affect their behavior; even though what they are reacting to does not impact reality. Sometimes these fears are of a one’s own making.
Often however, things to fear come from others. They are then spread within a society which is susceptible to that concern. The need to orchestrate, manipulate, and control the behavior of other people is enough of a reason for some to broadcast fear, for their own singular purposes.
But a fear’s power is only at its’ greatest when it goes unchallenged. When people succumb to their fears instead of facing them, they are easier to direct; easier to influence, and easier to subdue. For when fear is strong enough is bypasses reflection, and values action over reason.
And when reason stops, ideas such as ethnic cleansing, mob rule, purges, or inquisitions seem more reasonable. This alone can allow them to become more likely. On the other hand fear is often reduced as information about, and understanding of one’s fears grows. If that is true, knowledge is not only power, it is also armor against our fears.
J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc