Hello again, and Happy New Year!
It’s been a while, and I’ll save the excuses. I’ve missed writing this blog. Like any other electronic communication over the internet it gives me a chance to express myself openly and freely. Anyone who knows me also knows how much I like to express myself. I imagine many of you do as well.
Self-expression is very important, especially in these days where many people are feeling frightened and others feel that they might lose their right to express themselves in the most fundamental fashion–by losing their ability to live their lives the way they see fit.
I will not turn this blog into a tool to express my political views pro or con any particular group or politician. There’s plenty of that going around. I will however, address the matter of fear. Here are some of my thoughts on fear, and what to do about it.
Fear is one of the primal human emotions. It has driven us all at one time or another. I won’t claim that I have any special insights on fear even given my military service or other events in my life (none of which are any more terrifying than anyone else’s, and probably have been less so than those in others’ lives). I have learned that absent a few truly psychopathic individuals we all feel fear.
The people that others call ‘fearless’ instead manifest the ability, at that particular moment, to acknowledge their fear and operate despite it, to do what they feel they must do. We all feel fear, but any of us can do what we feel is right in the face of it. Sometimes the ‘right thing’ is to continue to live our lives and behave normally even though the dread of the future fills our soul. ‘Take no counsel of your fears’, advised Andrew Jackson and many since. In this current era where facts are fiction and the most important thing is considered how we feel about situations, base persons seek to engender gut emotional reactions through appealing to our fear (and its handmaiden, hate) at the expense of reason.
It doesn’t have to be that way, people.
Live your life the way you want to, albeit always remembering that your freedom ends where someone else’s begins. Americans, please exercise your civil rights, secured (but neither issued to nor given you) by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. You are citizens, not subjects. To my other friends across the world–and you are my friends, if you too love freedom–do the things you need to be free.
I do not advocate violence. Rioting, looting and other anti-social behaviors do not hurt your perceived enemies as much as they erode your own goodness. Speak out against injustice, loudly but with restraint. Act against oppression decisively, but not precipitously. Cooperate with one another, but be wary of the demagogues who would subvert your actions to their benefit.
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.