Is Fear A Useless Emotion?
Let us enter into the great debate about fear. To be sure, this is an evolutionary debate of exceedingly large proportions. In order to address this topic, we must enter the realm of planetary evolution on a much bigger scale. We must view ourselves as powerful beings who wish to evolve to our highest potential, rather than as weak people trying to cope with a less-than-optimal situation.
The first thing to note is that fear is indeed a part of our biology. The experience of fear arises from the infamous amygdala in the ancient, reptilian portion of our brains. But I do not want to debate our biological structure. I will leave that to the scientists and anthropologists of our time. Rather, I wish to challenge the experience of fear in principle and ask the following question: Is fear really necessary?
Because we are a species gripped by fear, we tend to make all sorts of excuses for its existence. The most famous excuse is that we need fear to protect us. There is a crazy belief that without fear we would all be jumping off of cliffs, running into speeding cars, throwing our money into dumpsters, and living an entirely reckless existence overall. We are told that fear keeps us sane and prevents us from doing crazy things.
But I would contend that the existence of fear places us in an extremely low position on the evolutionary ladder. It says we are no better than dogs who need an invisible, electrical fence to keep them bound to a certain physical area. In this case, the dog is so stupid about getting lost or running into traffic that it takes an electric shock to teach it to stay put.
Fear is like that in our lives. Whenever we attempt to stray outside of our current comfort zone or change our system of habits and beliefs, fear will hit us like a shockwave and warn us to stay put. And like the well-trained dog, we soon learn to do so. We become fearful of our own creative ability to evolve and change, and learn to deem such things dangerous acts. Fear teaches us to be extremely wary of our better and higher selves.
There is currently a popular mythology that fear is really our friend. This mythology purports that even though fear is a painful and soul-restraining habit, it is really a wonderful teacher or spiritual guide in some creepy sort of way. To me, this sort of reasoning speaks of the utter desperation and feeling of entrapment that our human species feels regarding fear. It reminds me of the famous “Stockholm Syndrome” where prisoners learn to identify with their torturous captors in order to survive psychologically. Are we so lame as a species that we must stoop to identifying fear as our friend in order to cope with its existence?
Let’s examine how much of a friend fear really is. Let’s start with the idea that without it you might immediately run out your front door onto the freeway and get yourself killed. Are you really that stupid? Of course not. You can actually reason out the cause and effect of running into traffic. You want to remain physically intact, so therefore you intelligently reason, without the need for fear, that running into traffic doesn’t match the current intentions you have for your life. It’s called being conscious and in command, which is a much higher level of intelligence than needing to be shocked by a cocktail of fear-based chemicals secreted from your brain.
How about all of the times that you have passionately wanted to make something of your life and fulfill your life’s purpose? Has fear supported you in doing that? Has fear said, “Go for it! You are a creative, empowered, intelligent being. You can do it!” When was the last time you heard fear say that to you? Of course the answer is “Never.”
No, fear probably said something like this to you: “You can’t do that! What will people think? Besides, you’re too stupid. Remember all the other times you failed? You don’t want to expose what a loser you are, do you?” In other words, according to fear, the consequences will be dire indeed. And just to make sure that the negative messages really sink in, all of this negative self-talk will be accompanied by miserable physical sensations of anxiety and worry, which are the closely-knit cousins of fear.
Fear is basically an inhibitor. It is not a friend. It inhibits you with extremely negative experiences, whether they be physical, mental, or emotional. Fear acts as the antidote to consciousness and evolution. When was the last time you made a good decision from a fear-based place? When was the last time you had clarity when acting from a basis of fear? And at the most basic level, when was the last time you felt wonderful when experiencing fear? Have you noticed that love is nowhere to be found when you are feeling fear?
So let’s dispense with this idea that fear is a necessary friend. Let’s call it what it is; an outdated, outmoded, primitive part of our biology and consciousness. It causes us to war with each other like animals. It causes us to lose control and behave irrationally. It makes us stupid and ineffective. Ultimately, it shuts down consciousness, love, and intelligence altogether. Fear is completely incompatible with our higher selves.
Why don’t we decide to finally live up to the higher intelligence that we are and call out the existence of fear as the useless emotion that it truly is? Unless we do, we have no hope of ever evolving beyond its fitful grasp. We cannot continue to excuse it as some necessary part of our existence, when all of the evidence points to the contrary.
Love is the necessary constant in our lives. We can live amazingly productive, creative, intelligent lives where love is allowed to reign. Fear serves only to interrupt our experience of the constant of love. Ultimately, fear interferes with our very experience of God, sometimes for an entire lifetime!
Fear keeps us corralled in littleness, whereas love urges us to expand and reach our highest potential. Fear causes us to feel alone and in constant danger, whereas love reassures us that we have the absolute comfort and support of the divine. Fear destroys the development of intelligence, where love encourages its expansion. If we are honest with ourselves, there is no contest as to which of these two things needs to go. Clearly, it’s fear.
Fear needs to be eliminated as a platform of evolution. Love is who we are and perhaps it’s time that we stop accommodating the existence of fear by assuming its necessity in our lives. It’s time that we take a stand for our highest, best selves and be unafraid to make the statement that fear puts us at an unnecessary disadvantage and is no longer welcomed here.
How does it make you feel to regard fear as an outdated, outmoded part of our biology and consciousness? Does it feel empowering? Or do you feel a reluctance to entertain such ideas? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!