THE TYRANNY OF FEAR

Civil Society’s Response to Instinct Over Reason

We need to get honest about fear. I know from personal experience how deeply ingrained fear is. How difficult to combat. I have suffered from my own particular phobias for many years. These irrational fears are anxiety-inducing but not based in reality. The threats I feel as a result of my phobias are not real but the fear-response is. That kind of fear can feel all-powerful and disabling.

Fear is Conditioned

This fear, it’s ingrained through centuries of cultural, social and political conditioning. The indoctrination of fear is well-established. It’s in centuries-old political speech, governing legislation, films, music and literature. It’s embedded in the structures of neighborhoods, in the lexicon of poverty and in the representations of our bodies across the media landscape.

Reject Those Who Stoke Fear

And as we do that work, we need to reject those who call on us to live in fear. Those calls are loud and compelling and all-consuming. People screaming at you from across the vast media landscape telling you to live in fear of your neighbors, of outsiders, of the unknown; people preying on your already deeply-felt fears — they are keeping you in a prison and selling you the notion that your fear is making you stronger. Your fear is making them stronger, perhaps, but it is rendering you weak. Don’t succumb to fear. Acknowledge it. Accept the humility of its power. Then resolve it.

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