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Fear Works

Updated on August 27, 2019

Humans are built to act first and think later for survival because nature puts a price on boldness that leads to a shorter life span. The automatic and unconscious fear response proves that fear is instinctive in all of us.

In the 1960's Eleanor Gibson and Richard Walk did experiments by placing a baby on a transparent top with a checkerboard design that was dropped from the baby's level to the same pattern a few feet below the glass. The babies would stop at the visual cliff and would not crawl past the 'edge'.

Nomophobia—the fear of losing one's phone is one of the top fears ahead of losing a wallet, purse or a passport. Although not purely instinctively as the fear of pain or heights, being unable to call for help is the fear of having no social support.

My phobia is the fear of miserable poverty. A female computer programmer who went into a diabetic coma and lost the power of speech became a homeless street bag lady for two years because she was living alone and nobody looked for her.

Fear of being rejected and unemployed with people ridiculing you for being lazy is a real fear of social ostracization because after six months without a job most companies won't consider you for an interview after that long.

A working person loses everything and ends up sleeping on a sidewalk. Being laughed at by passing strangers, looking like a fool, feels awfully bad. Living on the street, there is a very real danger of getting hurt, mugged or killed while in the dumps with the cockroaches, rotten food and urine. A homeless person alone sleeps at the bus stop for protection - and when two or more homeless are gathered at least one stays awake as guard and then sleeps most of the day. Sleeping all day is 'proof' that the homeless are worthless bums to those with enough security for sound sleep.

What is worst of all is people calling you crazy - which is the top fear according to the poll by Rehana Stormme on her hub, "Why Should You Fear? How to Overcome Fear Once and For All", topping death, divorce, getting fired or bankruptcy. I had a nightmare where I was trying to warn the town about some impending danger and nobody listened to me and everybody thought I was crazy. My nightmare was like the ending of the B&W movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956).

I also have asthenophobia- fear of fainting or weakness. I was afraid of being afraid and fainting when I climbed Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine. The iron bars were into the rock and I went up very slowly. but once on top and I knew I could do it, I went back down without fear. Overcoming fears give a person a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

But fear works - both for and against yourself. In the book by Bary Glassner, "The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Crime, Drugs, Minorities, Teen Moms, Killer Kids, Mutant Microbes, Plane Crashes, Road Rage, & So Much More", the author describes how the political uses of generating fear to motivate people into a state of confusion and free floating anxiety. A culture of fear that catastrophizes with worst case slippery slope scenarios with powerfully emotional images coupled with fear mongering journalism creates a constant under siege mentality on the human body that can literally make a person sick with fear.


Psychological monographs, Volume 11 By American Psychological Association Page 75 F.Kuhlmann Chapter 'development of instincts in young birds" 1909)

Jeffery Klaehn, Filtering the news: essays on Herman and Chomsky's propaganda model, Black Rose Books Ltd., 2005, p.23-24

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Fear Studies: Human Research

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