Monday, September 5, 2011

Culture of Fear

In my last post I used an anecdotal example from my time spent in the USA to establish the foreground which would eventually become this post. So consider this new entry a Part 2. If you need a link to the Part 1 you can find it here: 

As I eluded to in my previous posting, American culture is dominated by ideas of fear and it is that fear that spawns many of its more ridiculous factions. Doomsday Enthusiasts being the absolutely most moronic of the lot. Do I even have to mention those waiting for the biblical Armageddon or some other end times religious prophecy? Well I think I mentioned that enough in the last bit. If you're oh so concerned that I didn't pound out a 10 page rant about why I didn't elaborate complain in the comments. 

What was I talking about? Oh! Fear. So, fear is a compelling component of human nature. Its influence can be attributed to some of the most compelling and disastrous moments in our short history. Its evolved to be something quite dissimilar from what fear is attributed in the wild, and has lead to an obscene amount of behaviours and belief systems. 

The unknown factor is probably the awe inspiring factor which religious affiliation was born from, a way to explain which we did not have the complexity to understand. However its longevity even in our most enlightened years can be a direct result of the fears the mythology have taken hole on the psyche. But like I said I'm not here to bash religion; this time.

Although religion is a factor of all this, its foothold is the unknown and mankind has made monopoly on considering the unknown. This new wave of survivalism which is springing up across North America is just one example of this. Individuals who believe that some traumatic event at some unknown time and place is going to occur and either put humanity on its knees, or take us out completely. I think the history channel has probably broke the bank on producing television shows which show case fear in such a way that makes mankind want to consider the opinions. 

A common argument to all this nonsense is "Well, given the state of the world... its best to be prepared", and that's a sentiment I can get behind. The problem lies in peoples definition of prepared there are those individuals out there who horde supplies... in some cases enough to feed any random province of Africa, and others who stockpile so much guns and ammunition it would make the head of the NRA blush.

Ultimately to consider something traumatic going to occur is likely, we're just a little rock in space after all. There are lots of sudden dangers which could completely devastate us. We're all going to succumb to the sun ultimately, if we don't find away to get this pretty blue space marble.

To live in constant fear to prepare oneself for some ultimate struggle or death based on mythology or stories no science will stand behind with a straight face is quite laughable. However many would choose to do so, and the way that our society is arranged completely undermines any chance of living fear free. Media loves fear, in fact I'd say fear is a best seller everywhere. I can understand why its so hard for some to not live in fear when it completely envelopes our culture and pretty much every other culture on the planet.

Perhaps the evolution of fear is both a hope and hazard for our species. Something to consider.


nothing profound said...

I think it's a good rule never to succumb to fear except in the face of some immediate danger-someone pointing a gun at you, your house suddenly bursting into flames. And even then, the fear should quickly give way to action and the seeking of some solution. It's senseless and a complete waste of life to prepare for all these possibilities which in fact will probably never happen, or if they do will happen in a way you couldn't possibly predict. Practically all the fears people have are the product of their own lurid imaginations, and should be nipped in the bud as soon as they arise. But to understand this and do this takes awareness of how our minds work, and how we make ourselves afraid.

Anonymous said...

Fear is traditional. We fear the things that can be taken away from us and religion or people in power take advantage of that. I believe without fear there cannot be power or control. The problem is living in hypothetical fear. You're very correct on the hypothetical state of fear we live in.

People of faith and the uneducated do fall victims to fear tactics and it can be seen in the Southern states a lot more. I've traveled through some states and the ignorance is very steadfast and true.

I'd like to believe that fear propaganda doesn't control the majority. I don't know. Maybe I'm just being naive.