Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do we have so many fears?

13 August 2016

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My recent “Am I worth it” blog triggered a slowly emerging question inside me: Why do humans have so many fears? At times, it seems that our human complexity brings out the worst in us. Just take a look at random Facebook comments. These comments make you wonder why we don’t refer to anti-social media. Fear seems to be the main driver of these comments.

I am not the first with this question. A Google search revealed an interesting article that I recommend reading. The article focuses on the why aspect of the question and how to deal with fears. The article recommends recognising our fears, identifying them, and using them to our advantage. Unfortunately, recognising, understanding and treating our fears without professional help, requires the courage to self-analyse. However, we fear even our fears.

When I’m puzzled with a certain human dilemma, I usually make a comparison with the animal kingdom, our relatives according Nature’s Tree of Life. My 17 May 2016 blog on the classification of human emotions reveals a large number of fear related emotions. Only our closest animal relatives (ie, chimpanzees) mirror some of these complex emotions. See my 24 May 2016 blog on Evil.

The most complex structure of the universe – the human brain – is the likely root cause of this large number of fear related emotions. Today, the evolutionary response to fear – fight or flight – is often no longer relevant. The article I noticed above provides quite an interesting hypothesis:

“Unfortunately most fears experienced fall in the unreal fear category, as they aren’t ensuing from any real danger. They are rather the consequence of our human imagination not being used properly. The brain can’t differentiate between a real fear and an unreal one. [] However, because there is no real threat in case of an unreal fear, the adrenaline [] becomes a sort of poison that flows through the entire system because no amount of physical effort is exerted to consume it.” (article)

The anger we see today stems from a familiar sequence: fear => frustration => irritation => anger. The evolutionary fight or flight response is no longer available – or tolerated – and so the adrenaline becomes some kind of toxic poison in our minds.

The most worrisome part is that political and religious fear mongers are increasingly exploiting human fears by actively converting these fears into anger. The result is that human fears are increasingly causing global, regional, national and territorial human frictions.

A common solution against (ie, unification) fear requires a common enemy which/who is causing a threat. A recent example is Donald Trump who is rapidly becoming a common enemy and who is uniting people against him in view of the ancient proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Looking back at my classification of human emotions in my 17 May 2016 blog, I realise that the one and only permanent solution for Fear is Love.

Tears For Fears – Sowing the Seeds of Love (1989) – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Feel the pain

Talk about it

If you’re a worried man – then shout about it

Open hearts – feel about it

Open minds – think about it

Everyone – read about it

Everyone – scream about it !

Everyone

Everyone – read about it, read about it

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