Fear is a mechanism that causes us to act in different ways to prevent pain, discomfort and so on. Throughout life we find ways of navigating this fear circuit and optimizing its utility to keep us safe. Fear does not have the prerequisite of being rational or reasonable; those feelings come after to justify our actions and behaviors.
I recently have been given the opportunity to find light in a syntactical smoke screen I created around my insecurities and fears. Slowly, without my awareness, I built a labyrinth around wounds left deep within. This light of awareness peering through the dark clouds is currently cauterizing the trauma’s left on my heart. I have become a philosophical surgeon, suturing pains of the past with perceptual stitches of hope and optimism.
Optimism is a mechanism, as is fear. The difference in the two is the prerequisite that optimism holds; hope. Fear will protect one from loss and pain but has little power to grow and evolve. Hope overrides fear and has lead our species from the caves to the stars.
My goal is to find the optimum utility of each mechanism that comes standard in these biological space suits. I try and face mortality head on. Fear has its purpose and place, but it is an antiquated circuit that was trumped by the neocortex generations ago.
An example of this is from when I was on 8 mile in Detroit, and I was mugged with a gun to my head. It was not fear that kept me safe, it was the knowledge of my place, the danger present, and how best to react in the moment. Fear would have had me in fight or flight and would have ended with me shot or stabbed. Historically, we needed fear to keep us primed for what lurked in the brush. Yet we quickly evolved and acquired knowledge that allowed us to predict and plan for what was beyond the horizon. This has created a technological safety net that has made the fear circuit obsolete.
“Optimism inspires, energizes, and brings out our best. It points the mind toward possibilities and helps us think creatively past problems.” -PRICE PRITCHETT
Hope, articulated with optimism, is not naive and wishful thinking. It is a pragmatic understanding of knowing our place and choosing to not experience life from the darkness of our caves. Regardless of the circuits and emotional mechanisms built into this world, we are afforded the opportunity to modulate and program which circuit of perception we view reality from.
I have been recently experiencing an emotionally induced psychedelic. It has allowed me see how toxic and corrosive fears have been in my life. It’s my hope that my continued optimism will inoculate my personality from the irrationality and insecurities once used to justify my actions and behaviors.
Fear is reflexive, like when the doctor knocks below your knee and your leg lifts without your awareness. Reason allows you to keep your reflexes in check. To reason over reflex; this is my one of my continued life goals.
Keep your thoughts positive,because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.
–MAHATMA GANDHI, Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Book of Eastern Wisdom