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Unlearning Fear Of The Literal And Symbolically Dark!

Updated on January 18, 2016

Fear of The Dark

© 2016 El Veasey Publishing

This hub is about unlearning the fear of the literal dark, (as when I was a kid) and the symbolically dark (the unknown, the strange, the bizarre, the different, black people, etc.)

This was my response to members of a philosophical group I attend, who stated that they could understand how, one could learn not to be afraid of something; but not how one could unlearn being afraid of the something.

The following is my response. Hopefully you find it interesting and/or helpful, if not enlightening.

Sinister Man Walking In The Dark


Since I started this whole thing about "unlearning", which to me was a simple concept to understand, but, judging by their responses, not for some group participants. So I’m going to do a little more comment on the topic.

Any positive statement: Learning, automatically implies its negative (opposite) unlearning, and its neutral (not positive or negative): non learning, or there would be no need to posit the concept Learning.

So if you can learn: walk forward. You can unlearn: walk backwards. Or you can, not learn: not walk. Learning and unlearning occur by the same process.

Kid Afraid Of The Dark

Real Life Example

Let's look at my real life example of “unlearning" being afraid of the dark when I was a kid.

I learned to be afraid of the, dark, by watching scary movies where bad things happened the dark, and hearing adults, sharing ghost stories and talking about being afraid of the dark.

So those, impressions, were made on my mind and emotions and "stored in my memory". Repeated, experiences, of similar fear impressions were store in my memory. Until, whenever I “just” thought about those experiences or the dark: I automatically felt fear. That’s the simple version.

Unlearning to be afraid occurs by a similar process.

Unlearning Being Afraid

I decided I wasn’t going to turn the light on when I went into a dark room in my house. If there was ghost in the dark I wanted to see it!

The first time I did this, of course, I felt scared! But I decided I wasn’t going to run out of the dark room. So I stayed a little longer in the dark room, than I normally would, then I walked out of the dark room, rather than run out of the room.

This recorded, a counter experience, with being afraid of the dark into my memory.

After repeated experiences, like this, of surviving being in the dark, and nothing bad happening to me. My automatic feelings of fear became less and less. Finally, I got to the point, where I didn’t feel fear thinking about being in the dark, or actually being in the dark.

So whether your fear is literal or symbolical: that’s how, in simple terms, you “unlearn” it.

It’s called desensitization. You desensitize yourself to the fear experience.


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    • vveasey profile imageAUTHOR

      The Medicine Man 

      2 years ago from Detroit,MI

      Thanks for commenting Eric!

      I wouldn't have ever, thought, you'd think you were "not good enough" You always write so confidently!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Interesting good stuff. I got a few areas where unlearning would be a good idea. Unlearning that I am "not good enough" seems like a good place to start.


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