Beware of fear

It is as easy as logging on to social networks or turning on the television to watch the great show of fear. In the name of information and the much-trumpeted free speech, anything has been justified, and this time is no different.

Presenting a constant morbidity among the dead, the infected, the opinionated (from the opinion of the neighbor, to the most diverse authorities), has us immersed in a situation that we must look at carefully, if we want to leave this hypnotic trance that may lead us to a place worse than the very evil that we want to fight.

What do we human beings do when we are captured by the emotions of fear and uncertainty? Our brain has a simple answer to these states. First of all, we must remember that our brain is made to survive, not to be “happy” and certainly not to behave in an “intelligent” or “civilized” way. On the other hand, our mind does not distinguish truth from lies (that is why those who know the art of lying work well), but only responds to its own representations of the world around it (both internal and external). Thus, when we feel uncertainty we fervently seek to embrace something that gives us certainty, whether in ourselves, in others or in supernatural forces that can make us feel that we have an explanation for what is happening.

Similarly, our emotions of fear lead us to three very primitive states (however much we may sometimes want to convince ourselves that we are very rational), namely, attack, flight or paralysis. We can see these three basic reactions quite easily today.
There are those who are paralyzed without taking action or making a decision, waiting for something to happen, for things to change or for something (inside them) to transform in order to continue with life. We can also see those who prefer to flee, denying elements of their reality in order to have greater inner tranquility (finally, if the perception is focal, why not focus it on something else?) And we see fervently those who attack, insult, disqualify and more, in order to feel a little better.

Are those who insult, as a daily sport, all decisions, opinions or differences, practicing the so defended “critical thinking”? I don’t think so, rather they show their personal competences to face uncertainty and fear, exposing the fact that they have only chosen, consciously or unconsciously, to let their primitive brain rule the need to calm their overflowing emotions.

Whatever the answer is, they are all very human, so also in writing about this I try not to judge one or the other, although I wonder if there is one that manages to contribute in both directions, that is, to improve our internal state by reducing fear and/or uncertainty, and to contribute to a space of coexistence where we can respect and learn from each other?

If we take this background of our way of functioning as a species in the face of fear, then we should be more careful when the campaign of terror is extreme, because the probability of a violent group lashing out with force against others who prefer to flee or simply remain immobile becomes a viable alternative, in fact we have already seen it on several occasions and contexts, which can lead us to be led by the former and, personally, I do not remember a time in the history of humanity in which much good has resulted at the hands of unbridled violent people.

Perhaps making the attempt to use our cerebral cortex to reflect, to be more aware of what happens to us, to shape our decisions to take care of our welfare and that this is not sending the cost of this to the welfare of others (screwing our neighbor), but rather can generate “externalities” good for everyone, could help us to better face a challenging context, which requires that internal capacity that as a species we have applauded so much, but that at times like these is when we must lower it from the ideology of superiority and use it to work for something that allows us to obtain better results.

It is for this reason that I believe it is time to stop selling and buying so much fear and anger among each other, to focus on what affects us all and robs millions of peace of mind. Perhaps in this way, we can stop being those who are “right” for a moment and start contributing so that we can be better off.

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