Putting Fear Into Perspective
I want you to meet someone. The name of this someone is fear. I can’t seem to know whether he is a male or a female. I could call it a male because of the dominance that it has in the people’s mind, but then, I would have to have to risk women calling me disrespectful to women, given the fact that females are also dominant in our today’s society.
Before we continue with discussing this guy, I think I need to tell you who the hell this guy is. Like his birthday and stuff like that. Right?
Origin of Fear
Fear as an emotion has a long theoretical history. Today, medical and psychological science agree that fear is emotional state accompanied by very specific bodily sensations. Ancient philosophers had many ideas and explanations for the origins, mechanisms and outcomes of fear.
1. Theories Describing Fear
Aristotle felt that fear was the opposite of confidence. To him, the world was reducible to pairs of opposites (i.e.: hot v/s cold, wet v/s dry). Aristotle did not advocate for pursuit of fearlessness. He believed that fear worked in the body via body heat and blood. An angry person’s blood, for instance, was said to radiate away from their heart and cause their angry behaviors and thoughts. Fear was the opposite: blood contracted toward the heart, making the body cold and leading to the many physical symptoms (trembling, sweating, urinating) that very fearful people experience.
Epicurus was another great fear thinker and according to him, he believed that it was best to avoid and predict fear. According to his view, life was composed of tiny particles (atoms) and that the configurations of these atoms in a person’s body led to unbalanced irreducible like fear.
Galen another Greek thinker agreed with the Aristotelean idea of balances of opposite elements controlling thoughts and feelings.
[See source: A brief history of fear]
2. Science on Fear
According to science, fear is as a result of the presence of a very specific gene in the human body. This specific gene goes by the name stathmin gene.
Mice without this gene behave very differently as compared to mice with this gene when both are place in the same situations that could easily induce fear to mice.
This stathmin gene works in the brain area called the amygdala, which processes emotions including fear. Lacking this gene therefore leads to the lack of processing of emotions such as fear.
[See source: Unlocking the origin of Fear]
3. Psychology On Fear
According to psychology, fear is a survival tactic that is built into our species.
In the early days of mankind, the human’s body fight or flight system was ingrained into the human’s body in order to protect human beings from the dangers of the environment. Nowadays, there is no real reason for fear, what people experience is an emotion.
When you get afraid, your body which does not know to distinguish between physical threat and emotions acts defensively. The fight or flight system will kick in to prepare your body to either fight or flee.
When you are afraid, you’re the stress hormone cortisol, as well as your adrenaline start pumping so that you can react quickly to danger.
[See source: the psychology of fear]
Is Fear Still a Worthy Thing Nowadays?
If you have to ask me, I would understand why people back in the old years needed fear in them.
I would understand why my great great great grandfather would have required fear in his life. Oh, and my grandmother too.
The world they were living back then was so dangerous.
You couldn’t walk for a few meters alone outside the community’s village without getting mauled by man eater lions and if you were lucky such that these lions missed you, you got an arrow through your chest from a neighboring community claiming that you had trespassed through their holy lands.
What happens thousands of years later when human beings got civilized and they actually started living the life?
They build cities, establish agriculture to offer a non-dwindling supply for food, build airplanes so that they could fly across the Pacific Ocean without getting drowned and eaten up by huge ass hungry sharks, build the internet and watch porn, build mobile phones and then build apps like Facebook and angry birds to help people waste their time more easily.
They are still harboring the thought of fear even though no lion is waiting to maul them when they come out their condo.
Why is this?
The fact remains, our bodies do not know how to distinguish between physical dangers and emotions.
Why else a 100-kg muscled dude would fear a fifty-kilogram five feet woman?
What harm does she actually represent?
None at all.
Fear is a necessary thing to human beings but not all of it is necessary.
What we experience nowadays is just an emotion that keeps us from not moving forward in our lives and achieving what we want to achieve with our lives.
Things to know About Fear as a 21st Century Human Being
1. Fear is Healthy
Taking down fear would be like taking down your whole damn alarm system because it makes noise sometimes.
That would solve the problem with the noise irritation but not with consequences. Like thieves breaking in to your home and stealing all your stuff without you getting to notice anything.
Fear serves as a warning system that tries to alert us of the possible dangers that may surround the endeavors that we are just about to engage in. The ability to feel fear is not a sign of weakness nor is it abnormal in any way. In fact, lack of fear is considered as brain damage.
2. Most of the Fear You Feel Doesn’t Represent a Real Threat
This is the kind of fear that is supposed to keep you from moving forward in life.
The fear of public speaking for example.
Is there any real threat in there?
Will you get attacked by a lion while you are speaking in the public?
Will you die when you are speaking in the public?
Another example, remember that time you saw that cute girl for the first time?
Why did you fear her?
What threat did she represent?
See what I am talking about.
Millions of years of having fear ingrained into our DNA by our great grandfathers who had more than enough reason to have fear in them has fucked us.
We can even recognize the difference between real fear and emotion.
That is why I encourage my readers to face their fear. Do what you know is right the despite fear trying to make you lose direction and stay where you don’t want to be.
3. You Cannot Defeat Fear By Avoiding It, Hiding From It or Disregarding it
If you have fear a certain thing, you have to face that thing if you want to ever get to rid of that fear.
Going around the thing that your fear in order to avoid that fear will not serve you right.
Face the fear head on.
You must teach your body that there is nothing dangerous and life threatening about that thing that you have been fearing all your life.
4. Fear Dictates the Actions That You Take
The actions that are motivated by fear fall into four types:
Freeze: Means that you stop what you are doing and focus on the fearful stimulus to decide what to do next.
Next after you freeze it’s you decide whether to fight or flight (run the heck out of the situation).
When the fear is overwhelming, you experience fright: you neither fight nor run.
You do nothing. You complain, obsess about whatever situation caused fear in the first place but don’t take any action. Fright mode is often always linked to depression and hopelessness.
5. People With a Lot of Fear Think That the World Outside Them is in Control and not Them
Fear most comes to a lot of people when they start thinking themselves as an object and the world outside them is in control and not them.
In Jean-Paul Sartre’s book: “Being and Nothingness”:
Whenever you believe that the things around you are in control and you are not. You view yourself as an object and no longer as a free will being in control. This brings out the fear.
Let me give you a simple enough situation:
Let’s say you are graduating from college next year. The economy is tough. All your friends who graduated ahead of you have told you that the chances for you landing a job are next to zero. The environment for starting your own business is real bad and your chances of making it as an entrepreneur are next to zero, furthermore, you ain’t got no cash to help you with the start up capital. Your parents already think that you are mature enough and they are already kicking you out from the house into the basement.
Now look at the above situation, this person thinks that he has no control over anything. The outside world is in control of everything. You have no idea on how to control anything that is happening all around you. Fear is inevitable in such a situation.
Fears that arise from the lack of control can actually be controlled through the use of knowledge.
In the above situation, this person is afraid because they lack information on how to deal with the financial situation that they are facing.
Knowledge on how to face this financial situation and thrive in it will allow this person to avert all the fears that he is having.
A man without knowledge sees the world and thinks:
“This is the way that things are and I have got no fucking idea on how to change anything.”
A strong man with knowledge looks at the world and thinks:
“This may be the way things are now, but I, with the proper knowledge can overcome any obstacle.”
6. Fear is Caused By Your In-Ability to Stay in the Now
Most of the psychological fears that I have experienced and therefore know off, always arise from me thinking about something that might or may happening in the future. Not something that is really happening in the here and right now.
I mean, I am here right now but I am not thinking about what is happening right now, rather I am actually thinking about what will happen in the future. This always happens to people who have lost touch with the power of simplicity and the power of now.
People can cope with what is happening right now, but they can’t cope with something that is just a projection of their mind. That is the future.
7. Fear is Abundant in People Who Have Fear Running Their Lives
The ego is a very vulnerable and insecure son of a bitch. Excuse my harsh language. The ego constantly sees itself as if under attack all the time. Every minute is a threat to ego.
This means that people who are ego run will always be in fight or flight mode which is what can be called in another name as fear.
The body is continuously receiving the message from the ego that there is danger. That it is under threat.
Threat from who or what? Fuck you ego!
People need to realize that they should resist the idea of them being run by ego. This will keep their fears to the minimum and more rational.
This was a long ass post about fear.
I tried to pin point things that I thought that would be really helpful to you and me (I am learning as well on how to not let irrational fear control me).
I am sure I wrote of stuff in this blog post. But it is what it is and I know I didn’t cover everything. Do you think that I left something out? Tell me about that thing in the comments down below.
Don’t forget to share this post on your social media. It will save a life I assure you.