You just finished watching a horror movie and were about to leave the room, suddenly a bang! The lights went off, the room went pitch black. You could see a shrunken figure of an old man standing on the opposite corner of the room. It was a very small, shriveled man, bald, the fabric of his sleeves and trousers hung horribly flat. His eyes glittered like black marbles, a discomforting malice on his face, but it did not move, neither did you! A matter of seconds, the room was again lightened. You took a handkerchief out of your pocket and wiped the sweat out of your face. You were cold and shaking, sick with pity and still wondering!
Fear of fear probably causes more problems in our lives than fear itself. In the beginning itself, the words fear and horrors were used, which were enough to create a swirling anxiety in the mind. Fear is an anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience.
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.—MARIE CURIE
We grew with the facts of fear around. While we were kids there was a fear of the dark, the unknown. During daytime, we might have played with the dark shadows, but as the night approached the same shadows in a candle light turned monstrous. As we grew older, there came the fear to fail. We craved for the ultimate success but feared to take risks. It might be the fear of height, the drop, the loss whatever, what it actually did was, restricted our complete potential.
What is it scientifically?
According to science, fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things also known as the fight-or-flight response. The stimulus could be a spider, a knife at your throat, an auditorium full of people waiting for you to speak or a sudden thud at your main door. Could be anything!
What is it Mythologically?
Let’s roll over to the Greek mythology. A guy named “Phobos” was the son of gods Ares and Aphrodite, popularly pronounced as the “God Of Fear”. He was the brother of Deimos (terror). It is said that they followed his father into the battles. The followers of this cult made bloody sacrifices. They were the key symbols in the war and Spartans soldiers idolized them. Well, they idolized fear because it symbolized discipline and consistency in their army. But will you idolize fear to induce discipline? Isn’t it right to do it just so the things work in parallel proportions and nothing goes skew?
What is it philosophically?
Fear is the mind killer. Fear is a slow death that brings total obliteration. Often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death and thus hung back for no good reason. Traumas and bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us, which is hard to quell.
Few philosophers mentioned fear in their work, one of which is “An essay on self-reliance” by Emerson in which he proclaimed that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Hobgoblin he states is the fear of the unknown and he relates it to our obligations to conform to the society unintentionally, which, according to him is the biggest fear for an idealist who wants to live as a self-reliant person. Don’t we all?
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself. I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. –ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
So, next time if you get struck by any thrust, a scream or shock that may pierce your heart, split you into pieces or give you a deeper guilt, try to calm down and recall its just you, it’s just your own mind play!