Monday, June 23, 2014

Fear: Breaking the block part 1

Fear is an emotion that arises from a threat, real or perceived, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately changes behavior through running away, hiding or freezing in the face of it. Fear may be a response to something happening in the present, or maybe caused by a future anticipated situation, perceived as risky in areas of health or life, status, power, security, or anything held dearly. Fear is an intangible emotion, but its effects can be felt and even touched. Today I thought I would try and talk through the simple concept of fear as it pervades daily living. Fear is acquired over time as a result of occurrences one comes across.

A baby will not hesitate to reach out and pull a poisonous snake as if it is a piece of rope, touch a red hot stove or take a dive into a pool without a single swimming lesson. A person is mostly shaped by the freedoms they are allowed by those around, which makes one a risk taker or risk averse, adventurous or cautious. If a baby is allowed to push limits of exploration, chances are fear will not be a factor for them, while over protection with no allowance to venture, may hinder attitude towards risk taking. I will be quick to point that some who have been overly protected from exploration have ventured later in life with things going either way as they try to prove that they can also handle adventure. As a baby develops into childhood, input and feedback from the environment as well as from older people starts to shape the child in form of parameters and bounds of fear. The child starts to be afraid of doing certain things because of the outcomes therefrom. As a child learns to read expressions, sounds and postures and meanings thereof, they gain knowledge of what to be scared of and what not to. Interestingly, this cannot be stated as a blanket position because cultures and upbringing play a massive role in the shaping of fear in someone's life.

A random example could be that while Jane is afraid of and will not even look at a snake up close which Jill fearlessly wraps around the neck, Jane may be a master of touring a big city alone, while Jill may be so scared of venturing into the city and try the same feat. Most toddlers are crazy about superheroes, and they will try to jump off tables and chairs and do all the tricks super heroes do to save the world. After a while however, reality kicks in and they begin to understand that there is TV and showbiz and then there is real life where things are a bit different. In real life, fear, which was virtually non-existent at birth, after a while becomes so much ingrained in one's life that it seems and feels instinctive and in-built as if one was born with it, yet it was acquired over time. Fear becomes a part of one's life to the extent that it is like a wallet for a man or a purse for a woman which one cannot move around without. The subconscious mind is a composite of everything one sees, hears and a storage of any information the mind collects and cannot otherwise consciously process to make meaningful sense. The conscious mind cannot always absorb random bits of information, especially nowadays due to information overload, so the subconscious mind stores this information for retrieval by the conscious mind in need. This is where my simple explanation of Dejavu comes from, as the act of the subconscious mind bringing back something to the conscious mind that did not initially make sense when it was consumed earlier. The sub-conscious mind helps in instinctive behavior where one evades a risk or threat in ways they have never done before or even rehearsed and they cannot recall how they even managed to do it. There are many fears that we face(phobias) and I suppose the best way to get rid of fear is humor, so I chose several which I found intriguing.

Agoraphobia – fear of helplessness and of leaving safe places (I will find you where I left you?)
Androphobia – fear of men (the opposite for gentlemen is Gynophobia – fear of women)
Chaetophobia – fear of hair (Bald head anyone?)
Ergophobia – fear of work or functioning (hmmmm...no comment)
Nomophobia – fear of being out of cellphone contact (difficult these days)
Papaphobia – fear of the Pope (what are the chances of bumping into him on the street)
Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words (doesn't help the cause does it?)
Pogonophobia – fear of beards (what happened to Samson from the Bible?)
Somniphobia – fear of sleep (if I was sleep, I would sing "You can run but you can't hide")
Cyberphobia – fear of or aversion to computers/technology (this doesn't affect you)
Agyrophobia – fear of crossing the road (work and stay on the same side of the same street)

I did not know my phobia had a name, but seems it does and it is a fear of large objects in water (Hydromisobaptizophobia) How do you relate with fear up to this point?Let's explore fear further in part 2.

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