Fear: A Bottomless Pit

“Best safety lies in fear.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet



What a messy being a person is. Even the person himself, acting with emotions, thoughts, and impulses, often does not know what he is doing and why he is doing it. It is impossible not to be surprised at how one gets lost in oneself even while searching for oneself. Sometimes he cries out of sadness, sometimes he goes into raptures, sometimes he burns like an ember in the hands of anger, and sometimes he drowns in the dark bottomless well of fear. If one intends to know the human, that is, himself, then he has no choice but to turn his gaze inward. This article offers its reader to turn his gaze a little more inward take a look at "fear", one of the deepest and wildest emotions that people cannot cover up with logic. At this point, it should not be forgotten that this article does not aim to create scientific content.



'Scream' by Edvard Munch.


A person often does not want to reveal what he is afraid of; sometimes he is afraid of being branded as a "coward". And what is the difference between fear and the other feelings that exist in all humans; such as hope, such as anger, such as happiness? Why does one often run away from it and not accept fear, instead of understanding fear? Sometimes one may not even realize what he is afraid of. Then this fear grows, intensifies, and after a while creates that feeling called "anxiety", which leads him to find himself in the rooms of psychologists or psychiatrists. In fact, fear exists in all human beings, and as long as a person lives, he experiences fear in all aspects of life and at every step. Whether one is aware of it or not, he sleeps with fear, gets up with fear, because there are fear-related reasons at the heart of many of his actions.

A human is stuck in the past that has been left behind and cannot be changed, and an uncertain future stands in front of him. Therefore, the existence of a person cannot touch either the past or the future, he can only be found in the split-second which we call 'present'. And this uncertain future ahead is perhaps one of the things that confuse people the most. It seems possible to say that this uncertainty essentially creates fear. Indeed, the famous philosopher Spinoza also describes fear in his main work Ethica as "an unstable grief born of the image of an uncertain event". Because a person is afraid not of what he knows, but of what he does not know; so uncertainty and the possibility of something happening create a feeling of fear in a person. At this point, in order not to create confusion of concepts, it is worth noting that: Fear is a very extensive topic. Panic, excitement, anxiety, delusion, sarcasm, lies, denial, and doubt are also situations that contain fear, combined with fear to form a complex or are born of fear. In order for these to be solved, fear must be understood.


In addition to the necessity of an uncertain situation for fear to occur, one must also have something to lose. Because people are actually afraid of losing what they have in this uncertain future. The fear of loss is sometimes money, sometimes work, health, another person, a relationship. So, everything that is owned materially or spiritually can actually be the subject of fear.

So when we look at the desire to control, is it possible to see it as a result of fear? Perhaps, as a result of this fear, the cause of which is not even known, the person wants to control the future and the moment wants to guarantee them. Sometimes he feels the need to control his partner in a relationship, and sometimes he wants to take control of his child or friend. Even the systems that people have built and the modern world they live in may actually be the work of fear. It is possible to see camera systems, alarms, phone locks, safeguarded houses, or many similar technological tools and developments as products of potential fear. Because maybe the only thing that can be done about fear is to take precautions.




''Fear'' by Mariusz Lewandowski.


But what about the fear of death? It should not be wrong to say that the 'fear of death', which is at the root of our fears and perhaps our greatest fear, lies at the root of the feeling of loss. This fear of death, which is, in fact, an extension of the will to live, lies at the basis of our urge to survive and our entire struggle for life. “The greatest of all evils, the only threat everywhere, is death, and the greatest fear is the fear of death”, says Schopenhauer. According to the famous philosopher, every being born into the world brings with the fear of death. That is, in fact, the fear that a person does not want to accept and escapes in all areas, has actually penetrated life and human existence to this extent.

Yet, with the current pandemic, is not the fact that most people are vaccinated as a result of the fear of getting sick and dying? While this is the case, for example, getting a vaccination ID, not being able to travel without vaccination, not being able to enter closed places without vaccination, are some of the practices that are built on this fear of death. Then, it seems possible to realize with amazement how strong an emotion fear is, that people can even give up their basic rights and freedoms because of fear. As it can be understood, fear actually accompanies us in every area of life and every step we take. Perhaps, for this reason, trying to understand fear instead of avoiding it will perhaps give one a new perspective. Because as long as one runs away from himself and his fears, he becomes disconnected from life. For this reason, accepting and observing fear will perhaps be the first step in human liberation.


References:


  • Koç, Emel. (2018). Schopenhauer Felsefesinde ‘Ölüm’ ve ‘Ölüm Korkusu’ Üzerine. Dört Öge, 13, 21-41. http://www.nobelyayin.com/dortoge.

  • Sicinski, Adam. “Critical Lessons About How to Better Understand Your Fears.” IQ Matrix Blog, 31 Mar. 2021, blog.iqmatrix.com/understanding-fear.

  • Spinoza. Ethica. Alfa, 2017.

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Umut Açıkgöz

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