If there is one predominant lesson that being alive has taught me is that I need to be afraid. We are bombarded every day with a million things that we need to fear. Things we need to be cognizant of so they don’t sneak up on us and author our demise.
We need to fear the flu season, dropping real estate prices, climate change, a higher dollar, a lower dollar, an oil shortage, losing our job, cellphone radiation, Ebola, and even the 100 days of happy challenge!?
In many cases it appears that fear is the currency used in attempt to promote support. Support for change that is in line with the beliefs of whomever is promoting the fear.
For instance with climate change, environmentalists will often speak as if we are on the edge of a cliff, if not already falling, when talking of how much we have already negatively affected the environment around us. On the other hand the senior economists will tell us how many jobs will be lost if we spend money on clean energy and implement carbon taxes.
In other cases it seems that fear is primarily used to gain attention, as it is with the evening news. A news story with potentially much more dire consequences will obviously gain more viewership than a good news story.
There is implied urgency with fear based information. It keeps us on our toes, promotes anxiety, keeps us perpetually in a state of flight or fight. Fear is very effective at gaining attention, and EVERYBODY knows it. That’s the problem.
Our fears are constantly tugged in every direction as people chase our money, or our vote, to support their cause. The progress of change is thus driven by fear.
As we evolve technologically, exponentially increasing amounts of information are available to anyone with a wi-fi connection, and thus our society becomes more and more burdened with a directly proportional amount of fear.
Taking a moment to look inwards, I have from my own experiences learned that fear is one of the primary sources of any suffering that I have gone through. It has created anger, misperceptions, anxiety, stress, and depression. It is an emotion built to address immediate and real danger, but has been tapped into as a tool of manipulation due to its extreme effectiveness.
Fear emerges from an idea of what may happen, not what is happening. It is a concept that carry’s no actual danger. It is an illusion infused into reality through our own reactions. Any action based on fear, is thus based on an illusion.
The wonderful takeaway from all of this is that you can actually choose not to be afraid. More accurately, once you realize that fear isn’t real, you begin to create a world in which fear doesn’t exist. I can feel the change happening within myself now. I have also become much more aware of how often I create fear with my own thoughts, and they are losing their influence dramatically. I write this post as a call for the abandoment of fear. To dissolve the illusion of ever present immediate danger. To realize that if you truly want to change the world you must first exist in it.