Friday, April 06, 2012

Fear in the Modern Era

Some Questions that often perplex me are the following – Why is there is such evident resistance to accepting the contributions that science has made in terms of the understanding of the physical and natural worlds that permeate human existence?  Why is there an urge on the part of so many citizens of the United States to turn back the clock and undermine a great deal of human progress in favor of a more restrictive and repressive cultural and social environment?

These are not easy questions to answer.  It is, in fact, a very perplexing reality in this modern technological age that so many proponents of a change to supposedly "simpler" times are wholly dependent upon the very technology that is a product of science and the scientific method that they so vociferously distrust.


Human life by its nature is transient and often filled with uncertainty, hardship, disappointment and discord.  Even with the best of intentions and a determined resolve to succeed, there is no guarantee regarding how an individual's life will necessarily unfold.  This, of course, is nothing new; it has always been the case.  What is different, however, is the fact that American cultural life in the modern era seems to be unbounded; there are so many possibilities and so many varieties of choices in terms of conceivable ways to make a living, numerous alternatives in regards to sexual expression, a wide variety of potential lifestyles and worldviews that it can be thoroughly disconcerting.

In my judgment, it is this kind of apprehension and the resulting fear that creates a deep inner anxiety among those who long for a simpler time when one's role was apparently well defined and the choices for living were far more restricted.  Within this mental construct, conformity is exceedingly attractive, extreme religious beliefs become seductive,  racism seems somehow natural and diversity becomes a dangerous and destabilizing concept.  Furthermore, within such a self-imposed and constricted way of thinking, the need for order becomes paramount and self-censorship the norm.  This kind of fear is further compounded by ignorance; these two attributes, in fact, can readily become self reinforcing.


From this perspective, the renunciation of the great strides made by the advancement of science in the realms of the natural world around us, the cosmos of which we are a miniscule part and the workings of the human mind appears to be rooted in fear and nurtured by ignorance.  It is an unfortunate tendency for fear is a mind killer.

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