Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Playing with Fear

Fear is a natural instrinct that we have developed over the millennia to protect ourselves from predators in the wild. To be afraid of the unknown is the most natural reaction, it keeps you and yours away from harm and ensures the propagation of the species, any species. With human beings and our “higher” intelligence fear is also linked to knowledge and a wider awareness.  So what happens when you are the top predator and the only thing you have to fear is yourself and your own? The answer to that is simple, look around, this is what happens. We fear sharks, tornadoes, floods and other such acts of God because they are known to cause harm and devastation. But we also fear more abstract things that we have little knowledge of.

Fear is no longer just an instinct that protects us, it is now a tool used by people, predominantly politicians and people in influential positions, to control society. Society is no longer build on the simple rule of survival of the fittest, we do not live in an agrarian economy so food is not just out there in the garden or in the field. Today our lived are built on abstract concepts which are retained and controlled within plastic and metal boxes with 1 & 0s quietly ticking away creating value out of thin air.  Our education system is so advanced that it ensures a build in ignorance of socioeconomic structures that keep us subdued and fearful enough to be perfectly controllable. Deep down we know something isn’t quite right and every now and again that feeling is brought out of us by a dissident voice out in the wilderness that reminds us we are not a herd of sheep, and then the fear mongers do their job and we are behind our desks again working quietly away making money for the super-rich and super powerful. 


Fear is everywhere these days, we turn on the TV and the news covers violence, economic disaster, political instability, job cuts, social unrest mainly caused by poor political decision. We are too afraid to show people who we are because we may be judged if we are slightly different. Since when is it ok for an individual to be afraid to be themselves? And this fear is no longer spreading just through regular TV and newspapers, we now have new and ingenious ways of picking on the different, the weak and the unusually natured. Social media shows humanity in its’ two most extreme forms. We cannot control social media, we cannot fully censor it – although we try – it moves too quickly for us to be able to protect ourselves and our children from the trolls on the internet waiting to exploit our fears for their own personal gain and entertainment. At the same time social media allows us to see the astronomical capacity humanity has for empathy. It connects us in a way that has never been possible, it makes the feared unknown accessible through a protective filter and that in turn lets us learn and therefore fear less.

The point I guess to this impressive rant is that people play with our fear, they use it against us but at the end of the day you are always and forever in control of your own life and if you think otherwise then you are wrong. Do not ever allow fear to stop you in your tracks. Risks are a part of life and the fear of failure, pain and the unknown can be paralyzing, but only if you let them. Life regardless of the hardships, the heartache and the general messiness is beautiful and should not be wasted. Go ahead play chicken with your fear! Bet you you’d win!  

I want to leave you with this beautiful video because I think it perfectly shows the beauty of being human, the grace, elegance and boundless eloquence we are capable of: Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter..."