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On Fear and the Right to Resist It (Also, Philosocom's Directory on Fear)

Updated: Apr 9

An old man


Fear -- An unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen -- Cambridge Dictionary

Why Living Courageously is the Only Path to Freedom

Fear, although undesired by many, is often a "good" way to keep people under control/influence by authorities, bullies, and manipulators. Fearmongering, intimidation and terrorism are such examples for that end. By installing fear among the populace, you increase their own paralysis from doing anything that goes against what the installed fear advocates as what "should" or "needs" to be avoided.

The shadows of power, managing the world behind the scenes, manipulation thrive best, working our emotions against us. Even today, it's possible that individuals with influence wield fear as a tool they have other's hearts, sculpting the behavior of others to their will. This "fear-installing," as you call it, seeks to control the actions of the "supervised"—keeping them within the confines of the powerful's desires.

If the last statement is true, then there are indeed people whose fear has taken too much control over their lives, when "too much control" can be described as equivalent to the paralysis of the self. In other words, fear can paralyze your autonomy, and not only compromise it greatly. Those who are fearful are less likely to do things they would otherwise do. That includes actualizing themselves.

(I wouldn't make this site if I never overcame my social anxieties, and succumbed to those who wanted to keep me down. We shouldn't be slaves to our fears).

Effectiveness and Fear-Based Control

Instilling fear in the mind is rarely, if ever, ethical, even if it's effective. Weaponizing fear to control people, despite its efficiency, is a destructive strategy that cripples individual agency, thus reducing psychological safety. Subjugating people through fear may work in the short term, but its immoral foundation ultimately undermines any ethical social engineering.

Fear also destroys trust, thus increasing the likelihood of betrayal. This fear is known as pistanthrophobia. Those who regularly interact with people who tend to be more afraid than others, AKA cowards, might want to seek ways to handle their betrayal.

Navigating the Complexities of Fear in a World of Power

The corrupt possibilities of being in a state of authority can easily blind the figure of power if they are not strong enough to resist the temptation of abusing their power through an enduring moral code.

Because in some cases where authority restricts the individual's freedoms (like when you are entitled to certain rights but are prevented them despite obligations), the justification is questionable. Therefore, individuals have the right to resist such limitations when they believe they have a valid reason to pursue a life of fearless peace and harmony.

The potentially only justifiable occasion to instill fear in others is in life-or-death situations where it can save lives with minimal casualties. In this context, fear serves a beneficial function, acting as a powerful motivator for survival. Even intimidation has its uses in the metaphorical cases of paper tigers. They can be used to keep away unnecessary harm from hostile, stronger forces.

Ironically, an example for the usefulness of fear as a way to save lives, is something called MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction. It's about nuclear weapons.

But beyond fatal potentials, we all have the right to want to live in peace and with as little fear as possible. Resisting, even if it will be met with disapproval, can nonetheless be justified with reason. After all, no one has the right to make us fear from doing things we want and/or need to do. And in some cases, even in times of war.

Hence why the writer should write, the speaker should speak, and the artist should resume their work even when met with people who don’t want to consume their content. Another's lack of will alone does not justify the dominance of a potential paralysis in our hopes and dreams. That's even if the people in question are of authority, thus leading to the authority fallacy. People of authority cannot just order you to shut up by their mere will to do so. An additional justification is required.

Otherwise, why obey a figure who can and/or should be questioned?

How to Conquer Doubt

“There are more things…likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

Whenever you feel afraid of something or someone, pause and ask yourself if there's actually a valid reason for your fear. If you can't find one, or if the reasons are outweighed by the potential benefits of facing your fear, then practice overcoming it. Remember, you have a rightful place in this world, no matter how many voices try to silence you.

Irrational and disproportionate emotions often lead to unproductive behavior, both for ourselves and those around us. When I say "productive," I mean refer to the product pursuing your goals and express yourself authentically within society.

And finally, a tip: Whenever you are very worried to the extent of fear, practice a mantra or melody that you will associate with bravery and triumph, and think about it while the emotion arouses. Perhaps this tip will help you better cope with the often-irrational proportions of fear or major worries. Mantras have the power to alter your emotions.

Just remember that if there's really no threat in doing something, no danger of real subtance, then maybe you shouldn't fear doing it. Don't let your anxiety make up a fuss.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

People often have unrealistic expectations when it comes to emotions and I am not meaning that in a good way. Most people have very negative reactions to change. They act as if their entire life has changed all because one minor thing changed which minor impacted them one day, upon learning about it.
“Oh my goodness my child did what?!” All because they have to take time to deal with it. Is it that emotional of a thing?
All that is needed is to take care of any fallout from it and teach your child to not do that exact thing in the future. That is the point of childhood. Yes you want to raise children with good values but they should come at the expense of experience. Make minor mistakes and learn from the outcome.
This should be no further emotion than excitement. You learn the right way to do things by learning all the wrong ways to do them. Again, this goes back to the fact that, when most people feel any level of emotion the thought which caused it becomes "the most serious thing in the world". Most of the time when people yell at you it isn’t about anything other than their response to the action that you took.
It should be a good thing to evoke emotions within people. It means that you are actually doing something. The whole life lesson I have for the existing of the emotional fallacy created by social construct is that one needs to handle their lives with as little emotion as possible.
Because anytime anyone has done anything bad it was because of emotion, in most cases, and humanity's response has been to try and stop certain emotions from occurring by limiting the actions which can be taken. How is that for a social psyop since the beginning of time? Driving fast makes you feel “insert emotion” so there for said emotion must be a bad thing so people shouldn’t feel in that way.
People are victims of the "What Will They Think Fallacy". It's where people’s determination to actually act is held back by what people they know might think. We let others' opinions of us impact our lives too much. Someone can overcome their fear through action.
People also fall victim to automatically assuming any negative emotion is something to be afraid of. They feel it and over react to what it is they are focused on. That focus turns things 10X worse than they truly are.
Also, remember that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. I mean, clearly, don’t go out and kill someone or cause anyone serious harm. But, at the same time, don't think that causing emotions is a negative thing. Emotions are the psychological response to a physiological occurrence. Don’t let leaving the emotional sprinklers on be a bad thing.
Your emotions were designed as a survival mechanism for people. Life is about moving around the emotional spectrum and understanding how to handle each one.
Fear is one such emotion. Nobody should be scared of fear. It means you are working properly.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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