"We have nothing to fear but fear itself". Well, duh. Franklin could've done a
little better than that. I guess you have to take it in context to the whole
speech. It does reflect however, that fear is one of the primary basic
instincts in all life forms, along with the instinct to feed and reproduce.
This is not necessarily a bad thing though. Without fear we would constantly
put ourselves in potentially dangerous situations and consequently reduce our
life span considerably. From experience we learn what's "safe" and what's not.
So fear and wisdom are the same in a sense, but how we react to it defines what
we are. And using fear as a tool is not exclusive to humans. Cats are
especially good at "faking out" their attackers with their evil hiss and
ability to make themselves look bigger and meaner by fluffing their fur. Human
manipulation of fear goes a little deeper though, because we fear more than just pain or death.
We fear losing something just as much as dying, whether it be
losing a loved one, losing all we own, or losing our dignity. Fear has become
more than just a "warning mechanism honed by experience", but has integrated
itself into our desires as well. And so the word
comes into our vocabulary. The fear of losing what we desire can be used by
someone to obtain what he desires. Just as a merchant pays "protection" for
fear of losing his business, we conform to the laws of a government for fear of
incarceration, we behave according to moral guidelines for fear of going to
Hell, we interact with one another in accordance to accepted social behaviors
for fear of being an "outcast", and so on. Don't get me wrong, this is what
keeps order in our lives. And although I may be a bit of an anarchist, I
readily admit that anarchy would create a whole new set of fears that none of
us want to see. Point being, it's how we
to these fears that balance us between those who are "too dumb to be afraid"
and those who live in a state of mental and emotional ransom until they
have no spark or passion left and take comfort only in their "comfort" (more
?). By this analogy "fearless" is merely "reckless" and the implementation of
fear becomes submissive melancholy.
So how is this "balance" achieved? Only by how we react to our fears, and every fear is unique since every situation is different and every individual has something different to lose. For the most part, fear needs a willing partner. Physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual extortion only work well if you allow it to do so . Since fear and wisdom go hand in hand, we can evaluate the magnitude of a given threat and the consequences of any actions created by it, and react accordingly. Then the real hard part comes, living with the results of your actions (or lack of action). It sure was a lot simpler when all there was to worry about was whether you're going to eat today or are you going to be eaten today. Maybe that's what we're missing today, a little old fashioned "primal fear". We no longer have to fear starving, or freezing to death, or being hunted for food, so we indulge in what could be called long term intangibles , where the few "big fears" are replaced by lots of "little worries" ranging from "how am I going to pay this bill" to "gee, I hope a comet doesn't hit the Earth". Granted, there are many people in the world who live with those "big fears" every day, but for most of us in the "civilized" world, it's the intangibles that cannot be directly addressed that make us susceptible to all manner of behavior control manifested through our subconscious desire for answers and solutions. And through psychological manipulation and the "mental extortion" mentioned earlier we see rise to whacked out religions, satanic cults, and entire armies that follow madmen. Through fear comes discipline, and through discipline the fear magically "disappears", and so confirms that any way is the right and true way. The ego-vangelist Jim Jones could've talked about Armageddon till the cows come home (when are them cows comin' home anyway?), but it was the aforementioned "subliminal propaganda" that caused most of his flock to willingly take their lives. Young minds seem to be especially vulnerable to this, evident by the large number of youthful Allah-chanting terrorist groups, street gangs and occult wanna-be teens sacrificing the neighbor's cat by a full moon. As I stated before, I believe all things are fragmentations of the ONE, perceiving itself through every possible manifestation. But even though these freaks and groups of freaks may be considered just another curious manifestation, they are counter-evolutionary because their separation from the ONE is exactly OPPOSITE the natural process of re-integration to the ONE. In my mind this is much closer to the definition of EVIL than any of the usual dogma that defines it in supernatural terms. Sting states in his song The River Flowed , "men go crazy in congregations - they only get better one by one". You know, the old boy might be on to something (or he might just be on something). Suffice it to say, we don't do well in large groups. And it's not all our fault I suppose, as there is an inherent universal tendency to embrace mob mentality. A single solitary ant is a wondrous and magnificent creation, simple and efficient in design, yet infinitely complex in structure. A living testament of graceful adaptation that nears perfection within the intents and purpose of its existence. A million ants, however, is an infestation that needs to be eradicated before it completely destroys everything around it. Are we that different?
In summary, it would seem through fear comes domination, through domination comes submission, through submission comes purpose, through purpose comes everything from the Crusades to the Nazis to the Manson family, their sense of purpose making them the most single-minded and dangerous people in the world.
I guess maybe Mr. Roosevelt was right after all. Weapons can't hurt you unless someone's there to pull the trigger, and so long as there are aggressors driven by purpose through fear, there will be those who are forced to defend themselves and their families.
and so the wheel turns.