Monday, November 19, 2007

The Terror of the Moment

BLOG 3 Fear: How Much Is Enough? November 19,2007

When the cave bear approached brave Homo Erectus, the full range of available risk aversion balanced his odds of outrunning the creature or, perhaps less appealing to him, winning or losing a fight with it. Our central question rests firmly on comparing our odds on the “Law of Accidents” which placed the bear threateningly close and whether or not the fears we face today have the same mercurial origin.

Fear translates to control. The presence of the bear, at that moment, completely controlled the cave man, given his attachment to the 2nd Planetary Imperative, that is, the general axiom of all life: “Don’t die if you don't have to!” That aspect of fear seems to exist perpetually where there is life. (Refer to “Personal Possibilities” website for more information on planetary imperatives.)

All but the suicidal few agree, notwithstanding certain lines in our cinema scripts such as “I don’t care if he/they/it kills me. I’m going in anyway!” How often do we hear that when it is really meant?

The most potent fear of all is the death fear making it The Fear with the possibility for the greatest control, at least for human beings. The religionists got to this fear first, compounding it into their mythologies of unfortunate reincarnations, lakes of burning fire and every other tree in the orchard of modern Zoroastrian dualistic terrors. Once the incorporation of this fear was complete and available to every appetite or necessity for control, the continuous telescoping the phenomenon into every variety of cheap comic book and dirty shirt preacher with a frightening story roared into action.

The only other resource required by the benefactors of these issues of control was some program of mitigation. “Only if you follow me or him or us will you escape. We have convinced you that your position, whatever it might be, is quite, shall we say, either hopeless of at the very least quite vulnerable. Now, do as we say and think as we think. Make your own ‘movie’ from our story to sustain your terror and obedience.”

With the cosmic application of the death fear monopolized by this mischief, what is left for the ambitious politician in his sleazy quest for his own ration of influence and control? Well, well. It seems there are still a few neglected morsels left unnoticed on the floor beneath this religious feast. In any event, he will have to deal only with his uniquely constructed “cave bear” at the kitchen door, not some messy high maintenance soul business.

In contrast to the work of the religionists, the politician, and that is a ‘politician of any stripe, autocrat, dictator, party boss or simple clever liar who has already accumulated sufficient strength to have everyone’s attention,’ must take care with the thread of his story. Inconsistency for the pious can always be discounted as alternative dogma or heresy. The same “loose ends” for the ambitious autocrat can easily metabolize into dangerous suspicion. A terrified constituency, in this case, is a “happy face.” A suspicious constituency will be no more fun than a lingering toothache. Especially when the current news of his endeavor to protect them is not “roses, simply roses.”

So what is there remaining for his use? The death fear of the religionists is, generally, a risky nightmare with an onset perhaps no more than an instant after death. Our autocrat will require one based more on earthly sensations, one lasting from a few moments, say, close to the mushroom cloud, or one more durable, perhaps one not close enough to be measured in moments.

You know. The one that the Vice President mentioned. Of course, the children heard him. What an excellent investment for the future! What a nice man!

Nerve gas and fine tuned bacteria would last for various times. All these must be no more than a fleeting aside in the speech. He say too little and none will notice that he said it. Too much and that good old fighting spirit will be reduced to abject, hopeless fatalism. It must be just right. And it must be just right when repeated by other voices, voices which can also command attention.

These short quips, aside from seeming to have been nonchalant, routine reminders, must still be delivered with an air of long suffering courage if not outright bravado. This long suffering servant of our survival will require great measures of support, silent agreement, patriotism, as it is defined by his crisis, and cash. Especially cash. It’s sources and future consequences mean nothing so long as it is here today.

After all, we struggle for our survival.

And there will be blood in the dust. Not too much to fear a little, perhaps even more than a little. Even this can be managed to an advantage if it can be delivered with callous glory. Somehow, even the theatrical use of terms such as “our kids over there,” the careful delineation of “soldiers and marines,” and the most awful and fearful of all, “ultimate sacrifice.”

Once past the initial faint complaints about the allocated money, there can be further threats uttered about our homeland economy. No enemy can have suitable credentials without threatening our economy. A toothless enemy who does not threaten our economy would be almost useless as a fear generator. Even so, as with Homo Erectus and the cave bear, it will be far more fearful to take the odds of picking up the spear than building solar panels.

Real men have oil hegemony. Spears are for girls.

A wonderful and productive fear can be based on the idea that this enemy might force a change on the homeland. Perhaps an invasion, an immigration or some incompatible new idea that might damage our imaginary status quo while solving our conflict, all quite fearsome. To manage these torments, our autocrat will need phrases. “The founding fathers.” “When I was young.” “The good old days.” All sorts of things that we fear losing, each one a separate dream with an individual meaning and threat for every listener.

There are always a few inevitable social and cultural rashes in the rise of an autocrat. Managed correctly we feel them little more than the bite of an unseen mosquito on our back, but later it begins to itch. And, the itch of an innocent mosquito varies not one bit from the itch of “Malaria Mama!” The head men vary between leaders and incompetents in many possible qualities. There may be fear in the land during the time of either type.

Leaders lead. The others try to run on top of the water in a river of fear without getting damp. When the drought comes, the leaders still lead. Those of us who walk on the earth down below them may feel foolish, embarrassed, but we learn to be afraid far more carefully.

Perhaps we become a little braver.

"The evil of the day is sufficient." (Unknown Origin)

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