Isn’t it scary to think how simply being afraid can drive people to extremes that could ultimately lead to acts of violence? Just as evident it is that fear resides in our country as a main pillar of support, it is also evident that people are in denial of the fact that they are living in fear. Today’s society has paid more homage to fear than ever before. Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Social anxiety, PTSD, and Major Depressive disorder are some of the most prevalent mental illnesses today. This particularly interests me because- whether we are conscious of the damage done or not, it proves that we have little control over the damaging effects of fear.
GAD: “People with the disorder experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worse, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues…… They don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants…. People with anxiety disorders are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety.”
Depression: “a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general.”
One minute a person will tell you America is the greatest country in the world and we have nothing to be worried about. The next, America is corrupt and we have everything to worry about. Why is it that these are the two most common thought processes? Well, today we tend to cultivate fear rather than trying to eradicate it, leading to this two sided view of our country.
Years ago, FDR stood in front of his people and said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He built his people up, rather than tearing them down. So why has this dialect taken such a drastic change? Now our presidents, with the help of mass media passively tell us the only thing we should be doing is remaining fearful of all the darkness in the world and everything that could go wrong. Instead of giving us that pep talk on how to remain strong, and to not be afraid- because of the damaging effects fear will bring; we are overstimulated with the words and visuals that scream fear and we unconsciously accept this fate which, in my opinion, is a major contribution to the most common mental illnesses we have today. Even by telling someone our country could be in danger, and that they could become a hero by taking the lives of anyone who threatens our country, the vulnerable civilian lets the fear build up, constantly worrying and preparing for the worst, anticipating the disaster, all the whilst thinking of ways they can control this worry cycle. Suddenly our military becomes bigger and stronger. After some serious training, they are prepared to take the lives of those who threaten our country, even if it means taking innocent lives too, all under the orders of their authority. No questions asked.
Longreads recently posted a blog containing the interview between Eula Biss and Salon regarding vaccinations and fear. When the interviewer asked “what kind of anti-fear language does our culture have now,” I was intrigued by Biss’s answer. Her response first addresses the way we culturally celebrate fear in many ways. She gave an example using the movie “Taken,” where the father- who is the hero in the movie, goes around blowing up multiple buildings in France, killing many people- which is justified by the fear for his daughter’s life, and we are willing to accept this by forgetting our morals because of the situation. “It’s a situation where fear is celebrated and used as a justification for all types of violent actions.” It is important to realize the way we let fear control our actions, and ultimately control our lives.
Link to full interview.
Anytime there is a fearful situation here in America, take ISIS for example, our response is: kill them first.. or “act” first. We are presented with new, discomforting information, and without even questioning what we are told, we immediately let the fear take over, and we turn into barbarians with no moral values. We start to use hateful words toward each other, we begin to assimilate this one incident, or this one group of people with the rest of their people, we generalize, and we begin to spread hate. We support the idea of violence as an answer by justifying our hatred out of plain fear. Or worse, we simply ignore the unpleasant realities we are confronted with and say it’s out of our hands, leaving all the decision making to one person, whom may not always make the best decisions. We are told we should be afraid of terrorists, and we listen. We are bombarded with propaganda in order to gain our support, and we eat it up without even looking at the ingredients.
Do you ever wonder why the news will take one topic, and beat it to death by talking about it over and over and over. Is it because they have no other news to report? Of course not, there are infinite newsworthy stories, but they choose to stick to one topic in particular, repeating the same things with a twist to make it seem like they have new information. Things that shouldn’t even be in the news may end up there, while being blown out of proportion just to get a rise out of people and see how they will react.
So our government controls 90% of the media. One particular group of people control the news stations and the sources we get our information from. It’s blatantly obvious that the information put out there, is only the information they are willing to share. Hence, they put a story out there and hit the “repeat” button, so the only thing we are thinking about or talking about is what’s going on in the news today. Even worse, avoiding the little information we are given and talking about another distraction- Hollywood. Even if you don’t care about the situation of the day, or week.. you will. Because it has been the only thing being talked about for so long, you will be forced to have an opinion eventually. And your opinion will most likely become dissuaded in the process of retaining the limited amt. of information given. Once you’re manipulated.. I mean, well informed.. they move on to the next big headline, and the cycle repeats.
I know it’s hard to imagine that the people we should be trusting, the ones in power, would act against our best interest. But, how many “good people” do you know out there that still lie, or over exaggerate by twisting the plot of a story a little to make it sound more exciting, or more concerning than the original story? People who have a powerful influence in this country- advertising agents, journalists, news anchors, political figures, psychologists, and so on.. are specifically taught how to manipulate. They learn psychology, and the brainwashing begins. There are good people, and there are bad people here in America. So, isn’t it safe to assume that not every single authoritative figure is the good guy just looking out for their people? That they might have an agenda of their own in which they will do anything, play any charade, to gain control and enforce their plans? They may use the media to put the information they want out there, they may pay people an unbelievable amount of money to twist a story around while keeping their mouth shut. They may even threaten the lives of loved ones, make a person drop off the grid by taking everything they have, throw a person in prison, or even go to the extreme of murder making it look like a suicide, when their puppets are insubordinate.
The sad part about this is, it’s very common for the ordinary individual to realize that what they’re doing is wrong. But to them, the benefits outweigh the risks, and they will continue to sell themselves just to make an extra dollar. Even more sad is, some people may be totally against the idea from the start.. but they do it anyway because in reality, it is a constant struggle here in America, and they will do anything to make ends meet for, not only themselves, but their loved ones. Even if it means telling a little white lie every now and then while putting on a show that everything is okay, and there’s nothing to worry about. And that’s how the puppet-masters control the show.. while the audience trusts that every action is being made for their safety and satisfaction.
“We demand from others only what we fail to give ourselves. If we have insufficient self-love or self-prestige, our need expresses itself unconsciously by coercive tactics toward others. And often the coercion occurs under the guise of virtue, love, or altruism. Such unconscious selfishness is ineffectual and destructive to oneself and others. It fails to achieve its purpose because it is blind, without awareness of itself” -Edward Edinger. After reading this, you may acknowledge that fear is very well a vindictive tactic used by many, but you may still think it’s not really a big deal. It is a big deal though. It is extremely damaging to our very being. While we are constantly being reminded of all the hate and terror, reinforcing and solidifying our negative mindsets, we are simultaneously breaking down in every aspect– emotional, physical, and spiritual.. mind, body, and soul..
So tell me! What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
(I have no affiliation with the “lean in” organization, I just stumbled upon these great pics)!