Fear has been shown to be a VERY effective way of getting people to be compliant.
Every day we are barraged with a slew of fears: inflation, national debt, terrorism, city riots, drug deaths (e.g., fentanyl), community killings, out-of-control immigration, school propaganda, legislative self-serving, executive branch incompetence, judicial bias, corporation corruption, climate, COVID-19, China, Russia, etc., etc.
A case can be made that we are living in really bad times so fear is warranted. But two quick thoughts:
a) what can the average citizen do about most of the threats we are dealing with? and
b) doesn’t this incessantly foreboding fear desensitize us?
Let’s back up a bit and consider what goes on internally in us that causes fear. Anxiety is typically at the root of this emotion, and anxiety is usually the result of a perception that we lack control (i.e., a comforting plan). Regardless of the threat, if we believe that we have a safe way out, our fear will be minimal.
Whether fear is a good or bad thing, has been debated for a long time. On the one hand, fear can be beneficial when it is a wake-up call. On the other hand, it is detrimental when it causes us to give up in the face of a perceived threat, or when it eats away at our health, relationships, enjoyment of life, etc.
Another significant matter here is when a fear-inducing claim is made, who is responsible for establishing its authenticity: the alarmist or us? Fear perpetrators almost always rely on deference to authority: these supposed experts say “do such-and-such.” In other words, you should toe the line and go along (be compliant).
This article has some good insights, like explaining the difference between stress and fear:
Stresses come in many varieties—viral, bacterial, parasitic, fungal, toxic, chemical, mechanical, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Many of the assaults on our bodies are just part of living in our modern world. We can’t avoid air pollution. We can’t stop all the germs that land on us in the elevator. We can’t change modern-day farming practices. There is much we can not control, but fear is a bit different.
It comes in one variety: thoughts that start with “what if,” and often end up with a worst-case scenario. The fear of loss in humans is very keen — a primary motivator that has made many advertisers rich. What if you lose your job? Or your child? Or your lover? Or your home? Or your reputation? Or your car? Or your wallet? Or your mind? Or your health? So many things to lose!…
There are two major worldwide fears we have been continuously bludgeoned with:
a) Climate Change. The basic message is: unless we make radical societal changes, the world will come to an end in 10± years. You might think this fear is the worst that we can be threatened with, but no…
b) COVID. The basic message was: unless you are willing to drastically surrender your rights and freedoms, you or your loved ones will likely die very quickly.
There are several tactics to counter these fear-inducing messages (like just ignoring them), and two (2) have proven to be very effective:
1 Critical Thinking
1 – CRITICAL THINKING regarding Climate or COVID would reveal that the media messages we are being fed are purposefully designed to create and feed fear. This should not be a surprise, as feeding fear has a long tradition in media — as they believe that bad news sells much better than good news.
Worse is that many of the media messages we are being fed are without merit. This also should not really be a surprise, as how many journalists writing about highly technical matters like Climate or COVID are bonafide experts (real scientists)? Almost none.
They might argue that they are just passing on what the “experts” are saying. That might sound sensible, but it is false, as they only endorse and pass on what SOME experts are saying. Since experts differ on both of these complex issues, how does a non-technical journalist decide which experts are right?
They do not have the technical background to make a science-based determination!
For example, there are experts on both sides of the issue as to whether black holes exist. If a journalist writes about this topic, they have no business taking a side. Instead, they should write objectively and thoroughly about the arguments made on BOTH sides — and let the reader make up their own mind.
None of that is happening regarding the mainstream media’s handling of technical matters (Climate, COVID, energy, etc.)!
One of their arguments would likely be that they are just passing on what the “majority” of experts are saying. That is more BS meant to fool non-critically thinking citizens. For example, do they have proof that the majority of climate experts believe that unless radical changes are made immediately, the planet will cease to exist in 10± years? Of course, they have no such thing!
That leaves citizens who want accurate information one choice: do their own investigation and apply Critical Thinking. Checking things out on their own, they will likely come across experts who are more interested in the Truth, rather than going along with what is politically popular. Citizens would do well to listen to such parties — but should still apply Critical Thinking to what they are told even from them. (My twice-a-month Newsletter is a free vehicle for such sources.)
The same would apply to multiple other societal issues. For example, we know that an eight-year-old does not have the maturity to: drive a car, own a gun, drink a beer, get married, decide whether or not to wear a COVID mask, etc., etc. So (critically thinking about this), what sense does it make to say that this same child has the maturity to make a sex change decision — that will have extraordinarily profound consequences on them for the rest of their life?
My last observations about Critical Thinking start with the reality that keeping things in perspective is a key objective for maintaining mental, emotional, and spiritual health… We need to appreciate that fear prevents an organized, rational resistance — which is exactly what the bad actors are hoping for… Manufactured (and exaggerated) Fear is intended to divide us (e.g., see here). To counteract that, surround yourself with quality people.
In other words: have strong personal relationships in your life. For example, if you are in a committed relationship with the love of your life, societal troubles will fade into the background.
2 – GOD. A powerful conclusion from a critical thinking analysis on these societal fears we are being subjected to, is that many of these are not simply a difference of opinion, but rather are just evil. Many of us tend to be skittish when it comes to taking a stand on moral issues, and that is exactly what our opponents want us to do: stay on the sidelines, be wishy-washy, etc. That leaves the playing fields open to bad actors to wreak havoc on America and our Judeo-Christian standards.
When we have a proper perspective on why we exist, God is the most logical answer. For example, as a professional scientist, I say that to believe that we are just a statistical part of a Big Bang, is stretching credulity beyond the breaking point.
If we really believe in — and are on good terms with — God, then the threat of a “worst-case scenario” is actually an illusion. If the world ends or we die, so what? All that has happened is that our time to get an eternal reward is accelerated. This is one of the main reasons that our country’s opponents want to undermine our Judeo-Christain beliefs, as they are a powerful anecdote to their fabricated fears
God is the guaranteed anecdote for the evil we are being subjected to, as God’s power is far greater than all the evil in the world combined. But there is a hitch: this power will not come into play until a) we acknowledge it, b) we ask for it, and c) we do our part: pray as if everything depends on God, but work as if everything depends on us.
Some people are resistant to accepting the God part because they say things like “How could God stand by and allow XYZ to happen?” The fact is that God understands the Big Picture of the world a thousand times more than any of us do — so for us to say we need to have it explained to us why God does something, is arrogant.
Following the logical plan of Critical Thinking + God will result in less stress and more comfort. It will also open the door to more happiness (see our recent discussion on that).
Some additional interesting thoughts on this topic:
I like this quote: “Fear is like heroin: it takes more and more to get the same high until it finally kills you.”
This is an interesting video of a discussion by four people from different backgrounds regarding Manufacturing Fear: American Culture Today.
Overcoming Manufactured and Authentic Fear has some powerful and practical insights.
A Primer for the Propagandized: Fear is the Mind-Killer is excellent.
©2023. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.