Cultivating Fear
By Bart Vogelzang
© 2012 All Rights Reserved

As far as I’m aware, there is not a single human baby that is born afraid. It may experience pain, uncomfortable distress, and upsetting hunger, but their reactions to situations of all kinds indicates that they don’t have fear.

Indeed, one of the more difficult aspects of raising a child is that they get into all sorts of trouble simply because they have no fear and therefore no warning system to provide caution. Parents work hard to instill caution in their kids, and they’ve found that instilling a fear of pain, distress, or hunger is a workable tactic.

“Don’t do that, or you’ll get burned,” “If you run on the stairs, you’ll fall and get hurt.” “Don’t play with that knife or you’ll cut yourself,” and the list goes on. Fear, in the guise of caution, is what is used to control the child’s more risky actions, to prevent them from getting in harm’s way, at least initially. However, a more ominous side soon develops.

Before very long, that same fear tactic starts to be used to control the child in situations where they are not at risk at all, but purely as a convenience to the parent. “Don’t interrupt me when I’m on the phone, or you’ll go to bed hungry,” “If you don’t do your chores you’ll get a lickin’,” “If you don’t get good grades you’re going to be a very sorry kid…” It usually works, and if it doesn’t the parent will sometimes resort to actually following through with their threat, thereby reinforcing the lessons of fear. Sadly, it doesn’t stop there.

Before you know it, and admittedly, almost simultaneously, there is a push to control the child’s thinking. It is not good enough to just prevent harm to the child, or prevent inconvenience to the parent, but now it becomes purely a mechanism to control the mind. “If you don’t get a better attitude, you’re going to suffer,” “When you don’t think pure and devout thoughts, God will punish you with everlasting pain and suffering,” “If you feel love for another boy (or girl) you will burn in Hell forever…” At this point we have come full circle, and are now actively using fear in a way that is not preventing harm, but is actually creating harm.

The lessons learned, that fear works, is only too effectively incorporated into our whole society; intruding into the management of corporations, the doctrine of almost all religions, the machinations of politicians, the dire warnings from the medical community…indeed, almost every organization in this world uses fear for behavioural control of people.

It’s not an accident; they know full well that it works. And it works because we’ve been trained from just after birth to accept that fear, acquiesce to the fear, to fear the fear. We will do just about anything to avoid our fear, except actually confront it.

And yet for some of us we must. We have absolutely no choice but to stop, gather our resolve, and denounce the fear; not doing so simply causes us to effectively stop being alive. Maybe literally for those who cannot cope and kill themselves, or figuratively, and nearly as devastatingly, for those who bury their inner psyches to live their lives in futile depression, often resorting to chemical dependencies and other destructive behaviours.

When you are confronted with a fear of yourself, or a fear of taking an action that is crucial to your very existence, you really don’t have much choice. You confront the fear, or you submit to it…fail to remain alive, or fail to remain a vital and loving human being. Ironically, the fear itself, once confronted, shows as the bigger danger, not nearly the threat that the fear would have had you believe was the danger. The biggest danger though, is those who continually wield this mighty weapon upon us.

We must be constantly vigilant, and fight against those who seek to strike us, and our neighbours, with fear. There is only one reason for them to use this powerful weapon, and that is to control us, make us do exactly what they want, and enslave us to their every whim.