“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
– Marcus Aurelius
I recently watched Donnie Darko for the second time. It made me think about fear. It’s such a powerful force. Can you imagine being afraid of absolutely nothing. New things, foreign things, safety hazards, anything at all. It’s all good. Nothing scares you.
You would probably die very early and you probably didn’t make it to 2012 with the rest of us. Fear is around for a reason. Fear is not necessarily a negative force. It keeps us in survivor mode. It makes us think twice before walking out across a six lane highway at 5pm. If you weren’t afraid of being hit by a vehicle or getting run over or thrown through the air, then you’d do it if you wanted to. Whatever you wanted to do, you would. No consequences would sweep you into the cloak of fear.
The current scare tactics the world uses would collapse. The incentive of fear would be rendered useless. Imagine the entire world not afraid. Simply not afraid. It would be a strange place to live. The news would be changed from a soap opera to actual news. Money and jail would lose their hold on people. There would be no fear of leaders anymore. Their power would be based upon how much people like them. There wouldn’t be any wars unless people genuinely found them to be pleasurable. The fear of another nation or group of people would be a foreign concept.
There would be no fear of death. Most people are afraid of death. I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of pain and torture, but that might not be how I die, and I’ve accepted the fact that one day I will die. I’ve accepted the likelihood that I will get cancer, diabetes, an addiction, and suffer from allergies and asthma for the rest of my life. I don’t mind my personal struggles with life.
I fear life threatening situations. I fear quitting my job, not being able to get a new one, and starving to death. I fear telling someone off and they beat me into oblivion, putting me into a coma for the remainder of my existence. I fear natural disasters. I fear situations that will spiral my tip-toe depression into suicide. I fear having children someday and not adequately nurturing them.
I think fear is used for positive and negative things equally. Hitler wanted to kill the Jews, homosexuals, and all the other Holocaust victims. He used fear to win over his followers and to rob the victims of their lives. He used fear to try to reach his goal of creating his ideal world. Not the most popular world, but his intentions were positive. Your parents do a similar thing, hopefully not as extreme. They use fear to teach you how to protect yourself from strangers and threatening situations. Even something as simple as striking fear in you of slipping and falling in the shower, that is a negative fear used to positively impact your well-being.
Religion would be fucked. That’s pretty much all I can say about that.
Fear seems to be something people associate with negative things. Fear is bad. Fear is a product of the devil! Well, if it is, thank you devil. Thank you for putting fear of poison food, carnivorous animals, and falling ill into my ancestors. Without it, I wouldn’t be here sitting on my bed typing this up on my laptop. The human race would be nonexistent.