Thursday, September 10, 2009
Fear - The Society of Fear
Every society, from the beginning of time, on down to our own, has had not only their citizen's individual or personal fear(s), but also community/regional and cultural fears as well.
So how does a society of fear happen?
First, fear is an innate mechanism to protect us. If we didn't have it, we simply wouldn't survive very long. Second, a part of the brain (the amygdala) works to process our emotions. This information then gets stored indefinitely as memories, as well as encoded in our DNA.
Our ancestors learned how to suppress and/or overcome fear, as well. (i.e. - stomp on the spider, avoid dangerous places, or act/be unafraid via peer pressure or reason.)
Fear can also produce a "high", leading to a distorted sense of power. This can, and has, made people think, feel, and believe they can do anything, including controlling others. Numerous examples of this can be found past and present.
Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said it best "The 'War on Terror' was intended to generate a culture of fear deliberately because it obscures reason, intensifies emotions, and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue."*
This statement pretty well sums up why fear is used for getting a society to be a certain way. Those with control issues use the common fears of pain, war/fighting, loss, and death. However, what's behind all of these is the biggest and deepest fear of all: fear of the unknown. "What if" never has a guaranteed solution, so psychologically, fear can be used long term.
Promoting fear is still used daily, worldwide. There may be truth in many of the situations occurring, however too many of us take at face value what's being said/promoted, rather than taking time to ask questions, or make educated choices.
As our language, technology, and awareness has changed/increased, those who promote fear have gotten more creativ as well. This can be seen especially with things like Astroturfing and Psychographics.
Astroturfing: hiring fake grassroot, including virtual/online, supporters. Also publishing film footage, and/or photos, to sway non supporters.
Psychographics: studying profiles. IAO (interest/activities/opinions) questionnaire. Also polled: attitudes, values, personality, and lifestyle. Info is used to both create the next gotta have item and determine our sense of security/stability.
Fear is an integral part of who and what we, as humans, are. It has been in our societies from the beginning, and still is. However, this doesn't mean we have to hypnotized or ruled by it. When we change, so does our societies, communities, and world.
Part three covers the interesting ways/places we store fear, as well as suggestions for things we can do.
Sources: www.wikipedia.org, www.nlm.nih.gov, www.symptomfind.com, www.answers.com, www.webmd.com, www.howstuffworks.com and www.mentalhealthsamhsa.gov
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