Archive for April 29th, 2009

Fear Overload

The Mind Ponders


What we fear comes to pass more speedily than what we hope.
—- Publilius Syrus – Moral Sayings (1st C B.C.)


I don’t think I have to tell anyone that we’re living in a world that right now is full of fear.  Everywhere you turn there is news of some sort bordering on the apocalyptic.  We have the swine flu scare which I still call the swine flu– no offense meant to my porcine friends.  There is financial ruin and a new Great Depression with every newscast.  There is the ongoing conflicts between religious factions in the Middle East and elsewhere leading straight to Armageddon.  Armed druglords with thousands of violent foot soldiers from Mexico.  Asteroids plummeting towards our planet.  Global warming raising ocean levels until our coastal cities are engulfed in water.  Hybrid werewolf/vampires roaming in packs through the streets of our cities, seeking brains for their zombie overlords.  Okay, maybe that one is a little beyond the pale– I think I saw it on Glenn Beck.

And yesterday we happened to sit down with a cup of tea to watch Oprah and we were faced with flesh-eating viruses.  MRSA and strep infections that eat away at the tissue of the body with such speed that in some that the doctors can barely stay ahead of the spread of the bacteria as they hack away body parts.  There was a lady on the show who was a chef and cut her finger while slicing celery.  No big deal, right?  Within  60 hours she had lost her right arm, shoulder and breast all the way to her sternum before they were able to stop the spread.  She now lives with her ribs and lungs covered by a thin layer of skin.  It was an amazing thing to see.  

It was just another ingredient in our recipe of fear.  There are points when I take the time and list all these things that I no longer wonder at the wingnuts who claim we are at the end of days.  But I can’t quite buy in all the way.  I like looking at history and throughout history people of every age believed they were at the  end of time, that civilization had decayed to a point where it could no longer stagger forward.  And yet, here we are.  

Maybe it’s some form of narcissism that makes us believe that ours is the generation that ends our continuum on this planet.  Maybe it’s just plain old fear and the ignorance that usually accompanies it, the ignorance that blinds us to the fact that we are adaptable beings and through the adversities of our times we will somehow stagger onward.  The future may not be as we hope for or envision but remember, we live in a world that is much different than earlier generations imagined for us when they were having these same thoughts.  But the fact remains, we are, for better or worse, still here.

The point of this is that we must not focus on our fears but must look at them as mere obstacles to overcome.  Fear makes us less rational and more reactionary and if we continue to believe the fear that this is some sort of end time, then we will create the conditions to make it so.  To paraphrase Publilius Syrus: If we let fears rule our lives, our greatest fears will come to bear…

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