Our media is inundating us with fear! If you doubt the reality of that simple truth, you are probably someone who does not watch the evening news…..or read the thousands of emails that promote “fear” of just about anything you can name.
Fear is powerful. It shuts down the rational thinking mind. It creates panic. But most of all, when you give in to fear it allows you to be manipulated. In fact, if you are fearful, there is a very high likelihood someone wants you to act like sheep; to adopt a frightened herd mentality. Why? We need to ask ourselves if they can create a nation that’s fearful….what’s in it for them? What don’t they want us to see? What don’t they want us to pay attention to? And even more importantly…..who are “them” or “they”? The 1%? The bankers? Wall Street? Multinational corporations?
The Irrational Fear of “Other” is Rampant in Our Nation
The important questions we need to ask ourselves are:
- Why this focus on “other”, and what’s in it for those focused on “other”?
- Are they pandering to a particular group of voters?
- Is it to gain some financial power?
- The power to simply control?
- Political power to rule?
- Or is it simply another rigid ideology promoted by out-of-control pathological narcissism?
In many cases, it is a combination of those motives. But most importantly…. fear is undermining our faith and conviction in the values of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion…..the very values the founders of our Nation envisioned.
Fear of “Other”
A fear of “other” is a primitive level of human consciousness hardwired into our unconscious mind. It is tribal in origin. From a time in history when human culture was small and local. When “other” was simply another tribe that wanted our food, our hunting ground, our water access, or simply our warm cave. We are hardwired to survive by avoiding danger….to be fearful is part of our reptilian brain. When we are fearful, we stop thinking. All of our energy, both physical and mental, is focused on survival. When fear drives us, we stampede with the herd because we are evolutionally hardwired to trust that there is safety in numbers.
Today, “other” includes anyone who is “different”, someone from another religion, another culture, or simply someone who thinks differently than we do. We label those “others” as terrorists who are less than human. Unfortunately, we indiscriminately apply that label onto those who are innocent. A good example is the immigrants that have been displaced by violence in their own country and are being labeled as a threat and feared as potential “terrorists”. Our fear of “other” blinds us to our own humanity; including our values of compassion and mutuality. We are drowning in a fear of “other”.
The Real Enemy
We have neglected the reality that anyone who attempts to promote an extreme ideology as “absolute truth” is by definition a “terrorist”. They don’t have to come from the Middle East. The list of ideological extremists in our nation today is large and growing. We have Christian ideological extremists (anti-abortion, right to life anti-Planned Parenthood), racial extremists (Hispanic, Black, Muslim), gun lobby extremists, political extremists (Tea Party politicians), anti-immigrant extremists (building walls and deporting entire “alien” cultures that live inside our national boundaries). The list is endless. And they all create categories of “other”.
Ideological extremists are always working out of their un-evolved, immature, childhood primitive ego. They “know” exactly how the world “should be”, and they will not be satisfied until every person in the world believes exactly as they do. Their goal is to convert the world (you and me) to their point of view. Period. And many of them will use violence if they think they can get away with it. Their ideology supersedes compassion, empathy, concern for the poor, the elderly, the sick, the homeless…..and again, that includes you and me.
Make no mistake, they are interested in one thing, and only one thing…….promoting their ideological truth and converting the world.
The problem is not “terrorists”. The problem is the immature black and white, “us” vs. “them” ideological extremism they use to create categories of “other”. Immature ideological extremism, the need to be “right”, is what we need to fear. Not “others”. Extremism is the breeding ground of “terrorism”. In other words, we need to focus on what we actually need to fear……and it’s not “terrorists”…….it’s anyone who uses the imperative voice of “absolute truth” to promote their immature extremist views. Every despotic ruler, every fascist or communist form of government (radical authoritarian nationalism) and every dictator in human history, was an advocate of ideological extremism in one form or another. They used a fear of “other” to amass power.
Stay focused on the real enemy. The more extreme and rigid their beliefs, the more likely extremists are to use political and physical violence as a tool to create fear and obedience. They know that frightened sheep are easily manipulated.
If you are emotionally fearful of a “might happen”, you are most likely being emotionally manipulated. If you are fearful of “other”, you are almost certainly being manipulated. Stated simply, unless the object of your fear is because of a real tiger that is actually attacking you….stay awake. Pay attention. You are probably being manipulated.
When our fears are not rational; when they are based on a fear of “other”, or a “might happen” event, there is a high probability we are being manipulated. We need to pay careful attention whenever we are encouraged to be fearful.
For example, we are encouraged to be very fearful of “terrorists” based in the middle east that “might” come to our country, but we are encouraged to ignore the reality that over 33,000 people die in car accidents every year, 21,000 die by gun suicide every year, over 30,000 die by gun violence every year, 47,000 die from drug overdoses every year. But America is still one of the safest countries on the planet. The number of people killed by “terrorists” in the last decade is 24! The number of people killed by guns in the last decade is over 280,000! Our fear of “terrorists” is totally irrational. The fear of “terrorists” is being created and inflamed by politicians in order to create fear in the less educated or informed people in our country.
We are encouraged to be emotionally fearful and frightened of things that “might” happen, while being actively encouraged by our conservative GOP politicians, and the multi-national energy industries, to ignore the reality that more than 97% of our world’s top environmental scientists are concerned that global climate change is a growing threat likely to kill and displace millions of people in the years to come. A reality that many are already experiencing.
Some have said that history will look back at those who denied global climate change, in the face of scientific evidence and the reality that it was already being experienced in many places around the world, with a very justified anger toward their greed. They warn that history will refer to the climate change deniers as having committed one of the most immoral crimes in human history.
We need to ask ourselves “why are we being inundated with warnings to be fearful “other”, fearful of ‘might happen’ events, and encouraged to ignore high probability ‘real’ threats”? We need to pay attention. What’s in it for them if they are successful?
It’s time to engage our common sense. When our fears are not logical, we need to pay attention. Are we being emotionally manipulated! Why? Who’s behind the fear? What’s their hidden motivation? What ideological extremism are they promoting? What’s in it for them? What are we missing?
Fear shuts down our most powerful human gifts….the ability to think rationally and the ability to exercise choice. The ability to pay attention. The ability to see that fear of a “might” happen, is not the same as the fear of something that is real and actually happening.
Whenever we are encouraged to be fearful or frightened of a “might happen”, we need to remind ourselves that….. “fear itself” is often far more dangerous for us than the irrational “might happen” events that others use to create that fear.
And history reminds us, the greatest threat to our well-being, and our way of life, is not the “terrorists”, it’s the immature black-and-white, “us” vs “them” ideological extremism used to create irrational fear.