Little Fears, Big Fears, and Catastrophic Fears.
Fear of big-toothed carnivorous predators, little sneaky poisonous creatures, and stupid people doing things that could get you and you loved ones killed are deeply engrained in the fiber of our being, perhaps even in our genetically determined behavior. Saber-toothed tigers are extinct and very few people these days live near wild tiger populations.
Of course there are dangers in contemporary environments, but few of us worry about being eaten.
If you have read much of my stuff you probably know I have a thing about meaning. I love to figure out why we find meaning in the things we do. Most people don’t have an inkling of why they do what they do. I happen to be from the school of thought that believe we can find out some of the psychology behind some of the major beliefs we hold about parenting and basic human interaction.
I have been reading George Lakoff’s work for decades, at least since the 1980s. He posits two models for interaction derived from parenting. The strict father versus the nurturant parent. I fall into belief that the nurturant parent is the superior model.
Abuse of people, abuse of the common good, has been fermenting in America for many decades. The minority desire to suppress the expression of democracy has been with us since the birth of the U.S. Democratic Republic, but the recent (last five decades) explosion of corporate rights, stockholder rewards, and profit at all costs, over the diminishment of stakeholder rights has driven this fermentation to burst into a devastating fiery blast that is destroying so much that was good about much of our culture.
Hatred and fear come from the same perceived threats.
An ever spiraling decrease of jobs and and the utter stagnation of wages in the vast geographic heartland promotes desperation which leads to to anger. The almost exponential expansion of wealth among the corporate heads as well as the boards and corporate managers to manipulate media that streams into our phones and homes convince labor and other stakeholders that “others” in their own ranks are the reason for their ever decreasing real incomes and the downward spiral of living conditions.
This is the strict corporate father telling his starving children that the reason they are hungry is that one of them is stealing from the pantry at night, while the father is out at his club doing whatever it is that fathers do when they go to their social and country clubs.
This might seem simplistic, but most laborers and their dependents and the communities which they comprise (stakeholders) have no idea of the ease and luxury that corporate leaders enjoy and which they are accumulating for their generational descendants. Stakeholders do not even make enough to help their own children receive the education they need to maintain or better their circumstances.
Hearing the same thing over and over from the corporations that create and control the media makes these same people believe the lies they hear every day even though they are being manipulated into blaming their brothers and sisters rather than the corporate capitalists that are purchasing politicians who preach hate of their brothers and sisters.
In addition to this manipulation via the media, the strict father construct is a dominant one in much of fly over county per the prevalence of patriarchal religious traditions in these areas.
I think most of us know there are ebbs and flows in cultural cycles like a spiral or a pulsed rhythm. The ability to modify these through propaganda and the encouragement of group formation based on hate and misinformation that taps into already existing social parenting models can lead not only fear of the other but fear of losing control.
This fear is based in emotion. We need real information and logic-based action plans. Acting from fear, whether fear of the other, or fear of not living up to the stern parental models we have internalized guarantees little other than frightened, stampeding herd behavior.
We can do better than to allow fear to drive our actions.
F in #AtoZ2023 – Fear