Fear- an enigma
What is Fear/danger?
The anticipation or awareness of danger cause murky, unpleasant, and often strong feeling called Fear. However, presence of danger is not necessary for fear to bear in our heart or mind. It might also result from a traumatic life event, a natural disaster, or an emotional setback or life danger. Terror embeds in us as a result of insecurities. Insecurities reside in us due to uncertainty and uncertainty is the outcome of lack of faith in God. So fear is actually a result of lack of faith in the Supreme. Or is it a punishment?
Fear and Psychology
According to Freud, terrible childhood experiences induce fear in us and the fear goes into subconscious as time passes and later inoculates in unconscious. Then as we grow, it surfaces in different forms in different situations.
“When we notice a connection between our present fears and their origins in early life, we are finding out how much of our identity is designed by fear or danger.” David Richo Many agree while many disagree with this theory as psychology of every human is different and no theory fits all.
According to Behaviorists,
Terror is a learned behavior. It is due to environmental factors and does not involve innate characters. This is true to some extent, especially when it comes to the fear of objects. A child is not afraid of a cat when she is a toddler, but she may grow to be afraid of it on seeing how other girls are also afraid of it or how it bites. Terror of situations can also be environmental. A girl can be conditioned to claustrophobia after multiple bad experiences in closed places.
These fears can be overcome by courage and learning. To beat these fears we have got to be gutsy. We have to stay in the situation that brings fear in us, and then fight gradually. Then the process starts, our fear loses grip on us, we start to grow, we start looking out of our shells.
But fears of objects, places, situations are not the only kind of fears. Some fears are hard to identify. Fear of unknown. Fear that has no origin or cause. How can we obliterate our hearts of fear unknown to us? “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and the strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown.” Lovecraft
What causes Fear?
Different parts of life bring with themselves different types of fears or danger. Some are trivial while others are quite significant. Someone gets afraid due to a scary movie, someone can be afraid of not getting picked up in school’s cricket team, someone might be afraid of failing a test, someone can be afraid of not getting a good job, and someone will be terrified on seeing his positive report of cancer. Prior ones are possible. The techniques of psychologists beneath the fear but what about this last fear? What is he afraid of? Of losing his life? Or of what will be next?
So I believe that uncertainty of future is what brings in fear, a set belief that the future is horrifying, it will harm me, devastate me, which stops an individual from moving forward. During different phases of life a person might just limit him to certain functional areas and avoid other, the avoidance mechanism is the most prominent thing in aggravating terror. A person with cancer is uncertain if he will survive or not.
He wonders if he dies what awaits next. If he has done bad deeds he will have guilt and thus a fear of punishment in after-life, only if he believes in an afterlife. Even if he does not, his sense of reasoning will remind him that justice will be done. He would not know how or when but he will fear the outcome of his bad deeds. And what is the definition of a bad deed? A deed which seems bad to the world?
Is it bad because the world thinks so? Or it seems bad to himself, to his own sense of reason? Yes, a deed which ignites guilt in him is a bad deed. Those deeds ignite guilt in us which are based on bad intentions. So basically fear is the punishment of our bad intentions. A deed done with good intention, even if the outcome is bad, does not incite terror. But a deed based on bad intention, no matter how good the outcome is, indoctrinates fear as well as guilt in our hearts. This is a natural phenomenon. All sane beings undergo it.
“What is fear of living?
It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself- for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.” Maya Angelou
According to Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis, we all have life and death instincts; Thanatos is the death instinct which inculcates terorr in us during different passing stages of life. Fear can arise due to desire of worldly things. Girls are afraid that they won’t stay young and beautiful forever. Their skin will loosen and people won’t like them anymore. Not being the center of attention of people is also a kind of fear common in a lot of people. Boys are afraid that they won’t remain agile and strong forever. Older people are afraid of losing their love ones and only life, here in particular; the older people experience more Thanatos. It won’t be wrong to say that fear is another name for not being able to hold on to things forever.
Fear associated with Success
Even the prestige of success is not able to keep fear away. A student who tops class is afraid that next year someone else might take the position away. A head girl is afraid that her reign will end after a year. A Miss Universe winner is afraid that after a year limelight will be taken away from her, so she does all she can to remain center of attention. Rich are afraid that they might lose their money. A president is afraid of not being able to rule forever. So fear is not something just unsuccessful people face. Successful people are subject to fear at the same ratio as unsuccessful ones, in fact successful people fear more, they carry the prestige, the power, the persona in the society.
A successful Pakistan Cricket Team captain, who led his team with power in all matters including selecting the team, Inzamam Ul Haq went off the field crying, the reason, yes; the reason was his team ruined him by loosing against a minnow opposition. He retired from the Cricket where ahead of that game he had no plans of retiring. fear that he is not a successful cricketer, cognition in mind that all he earned was wasted, results in avoidance and awful situation.
Who fears Whom?
Fear is a paradoxical process. A person is afraid of the one he frightens. Humans are afraid of wild animals that they might hurt them, while those humans attack humans due to the fear of getting killed by humans. Poor are afraid of people with a lot of money and higher status because they desire money and a higher status. Counter-intuitively rich are also afraid of poor. On seeing poor people, they are reminded of the possibility of themselves being poor.
Victims are afraid of tyrants as their life decisions are made by them and tyrants are afraid of victims as they realize that at some point the victims may rise up in unity and raise their voice against tyranny. As a result they repress the victims even more.
Same is the case with politicians in Pakistan. Those in power are afraid of losing it so they use all kind of dirty tactics to remain in authority. The fear of losing their seat makes them frighten people. They put basic necessities of people at stake which induces fear of survival in people. Then they give a solution by providing basic necessities. So people drenched in fear of losing their basic necessities forget their other rights and let the tyrants rule over them.
Traitors are afraid that the government might find out about them and the governments are afraid that there might be traitors, and both should be afraid. Students are afraid of teachers and teachers are afraid of students.
Fear: A Motivator
Motivation is very important in the journey of life. Fear keeps us alive. If we survive a bad experience, we never forget how to avoid it in future. Marketers use fear as a motivator. They present as scenario that usually invokes our sense of fear. Then they show us a solution i.e. to use their product. A shampoo company invokes fear of hair fall in a lot of women through its advertisements. And then it shows a solution i.e. to use its shampoo in order to avoid hair fall.
It is human nature that he suffers from the fear of failure. If it exceeds a certain limit it stifles creativity and innovative power and thus renders the man useless.
“Tell your heart that fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, and that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounterwith God and with eternity.” Paulo Coelho, Alchemist
A parachute jumper
A parachute jumper, A Special Services Group Commando of Pakistan Navy who has over 600 parachute jump said “When I release myself in the air, my heart gets in my mouth, I feel every time, I’ll not survive, but each time I remain in that situation, I win at the end” in the process, during all those 600 parachute jumps, every single part of his body got through a hairline fracture. He holds the record for the Most Parachute jumps by a Navy Commando in Pakistan. “Ahead of fear is Win” This is how we combat fear, this is how we win. Human Beings are resilience naturally, those who are exposed to fearful situations also have power of resilience which help them come back harder at the task, Says Maston, a Positive Psychologist.
Fear of failure until a certain limit motivates us to work hard. Employers may frighten their employees to sell more products by threatening to fire them if they do not. This tactic may bring positive response but in order to use fear successfully as a motivator, a solution must be provided with it. If the employer is telling the employee to sell more products, he must also show him how.
After a certain point fear, even if used as a motivator, becomes harmful. A person’s motivation for power is to acquire control over his environment. This controlling behavior is normal but once it surpasses a certain level. Then fear becomes the cause of desire for power. and to eliminate fear power need. Greater the intensity of fear, greater will be the desire for power to feel safe. And those who use power to alleviate their fear are dangerous because they also use fear against others to maintain their power.
Way out of Fear
Once fear resides in us, every situation becomes fearful. We perceive everything that happens as a tragedy. A frightened person feels alone in this world. Fear distorts our reality to some extend as well; it brings in us cognitive errors, Schema’s to generalize different situations in negative manner. On a single bitter experience, generalizations, black and white thinking, fortune telling about self in negative manner. Yes, that is where the problem lies.
It is only possible for terror of worldly things to enter our heart if it is empty of fear of the Sovereign. When a person values himself more than he values God, fear of God is vanished from his heart. Such heart is the best residence for anxiety, depression, loneliness, guilt, sadness, distress, and most of allfear of everything other than God. A selfish and self-centered person does not love anyone but himself. He becomes alone in a crowd and is deprived of happiness.
they are trying to find ways of getting rid of fear of things invisible to eyes but everything goes in vain. I believe that the only way of getting rid of terror is to fear God. Due to fear of God we will follow His commands and we all know following His commands brings about true satisfaction of hearts. If we put God and creation of God above ourselves, we won’t fear lack of worldly power because we know this world is temporary and nothing in it is permanent.
We will prepare to embellish our next world by purifying our intentions and remaining just to others and ourselves. people abandon worldly desires in order to attain a better life in the world Here-after as it is the natural psychological process in humans that they want the longer period of time to be a comfort and are ready to struggle in the shorter time period in order to make the longer one better. one study hard for 25 years to make next 45 years comfortable on average. So if we believe in God, we know that the life here-after is infinite and the life in this world is one moment as compared to the next one. So we will struggle in this world to make next life better.
Seeking forgiveness for our sins, believing that God is Benevolent and Merciful, and deciding not to repeat the sins can obliterate our hearts of guilt and thus fear of punishment. Doors of mercy are open till our last breath.