researching fear

One night when I was young I took the kitchen garbage out to the dumpster.  We lived in a condominium building and all the condos shared the dumpster. When I came back up the stairs to our door my older brother asked me with genuine curiosity "Aren't you afraid of the dark?"

"No." I answered truthfully.  I had never given it much thought.  Until then.  Then my mind starting playing a pretty much nonstop game of "what *scary things* could possibly BE in the darkness?"

A few months later I found myself entertaining the concept of a legion of cat people spying on me from the dark woods.  In this construct of fear they were deciding if I was too close to discovering them and thereby in need of elimination.  I imagined their leader's oily golden eye fixed on the back of my neck.  He was measuring just how hurriedly I was walking away and assessing if it meant that I was truly aware of him and his legion.
It wasn't until then that I stopped and turned to look at the seemingly menacing dark forest and thought, "There is nothing in those woods right now that wasn't there in the light of day.  It's the same stuff, it's just dark."

My fear of the dark melted (mainly) completely away.

Fear is the imagining of what horrible things may befall us in the future.

I have seen somewhere the acronym F.E.A.R.  "Future Events Already Realized"

In my teenage years I started to test my ability to face my fears.
I also started to wonder what fear has in common with caution or prudence.

I would walk in the dark a lot.  In my own house I would try and see how well I could operate as a blind person - eyes tightly closed.  I would notice what pictures fear would paint for my mind in the dark.
Someone hiding in the closet?  Around the next corner.  Or was someone in the corner watching me with golden oily eyes as I fumbled around quite near them?

We fabricate constant fantasy - spinning it out around us in our imagination to patch the holes and set us at our ease.   It is like set design in theater except it is constant and ongoing and convincing enough.  Easy to swallow illusions to distract ourselves from the gaping dark holes all around us - the unknown, the unsavory, and the fearful.

I once heard a man quote some famous explorer as having said, "Man's greatest self deception is a world small enough that he can understand."  I thought that was brilliant.  Later I amended it a little bit to "Humankind's greatest self deception is a world convenient enough to understand."

We also holoproject horrors in every nook and cranny of existence when we allow Fear to be too much a part of our process.

Cat people in the woods?
Phantom killers hiding in my bathroom?

Nothing convenient about that.

So Humankind's other great deception is horrors that will never exist.

I am a Lumper and not a Splitter.  In biology a lumper might say there are Black Bear and Brown Bear and maybe only 'Bear' since they can mate.  A Splitter would say that there are 300-350 subspecies of Bear some of which may not be known yet.

We don't have five senses.  We only have one sense and that is touch.  Every other so called sense is a matter of particular nerves attached to particular feelers which eventually involves touch.  You have no sight unless photons touch your eyes.  Hearing is the vibration of (usually) air molecules against our inner ear.  Scent is a matter of particles touching our olfactory bulb.  You get the idea.

Well I think we only have two emotions.  Love and Fear.  Every other emotion is some nuanced flavor of one or both of these two elementary feelings.

Such as this quote illustrates :

"Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go." - Jamie Anderson

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