Thoughts on control, fear and mortality

Fear is the mind killer.  I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.[2] –  Frank Herbert, Dune.

Everyone is afraid of something, as a species we are afraid of everything, the dark, even the light, the enemy we cannot see, the friend who may be an enemy in disguise, the child that might not fulfil the dreams of the parent, the things that contain threats of violence or warnings which is the method of control used by governments. In the now it’s the threat of becoming a nonentity in our society. We are threatened with the loss of identity, homes, income. The loss of a place in society where we will be respected, not for what we are, but for what we possess. The government controls that through taking away our individuality. We become a number not a person. In doing that they control how we live, how we spend our money, how we interact with others and how that money that we make is taken from us ‘for the greater good of the society’.

In ancient societies we were controlled by the notion of an all seeing, all knowing deity. We were told we must obey or the consequences will be beyond horrific. If we don’t toe the line, we are condemned to the fiery pits of hell where we will be tormented for our audacity in trying to be our own person. If we are good and obedient to the societal strictures placed on us, we will be allowed to go to a mythical place where we will live in a state of grace, no longer troubled by the tribulations of pain, torment or old age. This is obviously a lot more attractive than the alternative.

 In primitive times, they feared the dark, because in the dark lay many things that were concealed. In the blessed light, everything could be seen, enemies detected, food and water found. Sun makes the animals healthy and crops grow. Blessed be the sun, we must give the sun its due otherwise it won’t come out. We must give homage to it otherwise the darkness will fall. So begins the notion of a god, or goddess, a being who can make the light shine and the darkness fall if we displease them. They can cause the crops to die, the disease to come, the children to die in the womb before they are born. They must be worshipped. So begins the notion of religion. The word religion is a word of forced application when used with respect to the worship of God. The root of the word is the Latin verb ligo,  from which comes religo, to tie or bind over again, to make more fast – from religo, comes the substantive religo,which, with the addition of n makes the English substantive religion.

The advent of technology and knowledge has reduced those fears, although they still exist in the collective consciousnesses that make up an individual. We are the sum of those consciousnesses that came before us. We are an organism made up out of myriad of teachings, actions and wisdom or lack thereof from the past. You are your mother, father, grandparents and so forth until the original person whose loins spewed forth your ancestors. Everything is passed down, nothing is unique. The only thing that is unique is how you deal with that information and in this everyone is different, but we are all still bound to some degree by the people who came before. We create the future even as we write or live in the present. Everything I write or say now becomes both the past and a future, not the only future because there could be many outcomes from someone reading these words, but it’s a future in a universe full of futures and full of possibilities for other futures.

We are taught to deny that mass consciousness that makes us who we are. We are taught that we are alone and yet we’re not alone, we carry the seeds of everything that was, and therefore everything that could be, within us. Because of this teaching that denies and the discouragement to search who we were, when we are faced with our greatest fears we have no knowledge base to deal with them and we are afraid, deathly afraid.

If we sit at the bottom of a very big mountain and we are told that we must climb it; that there is no going back, we have no climbing rope, no pegs to hammer in to give us a foothold and no hammer, our senses begin to quicken, our breathing becomes heavier as we contemplate the mountain with growing fear.

“But I don’t know how to climb mountains.” we wail.

We have no knowledge of this art. So we sit at the bottom of the mountain, we cannot go back and we are afraid to go on.

“I can’t do it.” we mutter and we sit and nurse our fears until they threaten to overwhelm us.

“Fear is the mind killer” , as a human author once said in a book.

Finally, “I can’t do it” becomes “I won’t do it”, so instead of moving on, albeit with a tremendous effort of mind and body, we stay where we are and bemoan our fate. We worry until death overtakes us and perhaps at the very end we panic because we know that we have left things unsaid that should have been said and said things that we know we should not have said and cannot un-say. We left things undone that should not have been left undone and it has finally undone us. We fear not leaving behind any footprints that indicated we were ever here and that our death means complete obliteration of who we are, were or would be.

“Fear is the little death that leads to total obliteration.”

Fear leads to control. When we perceive that we cannot move on or control our future, we then exert control over the things, events or people we can control. We won’t climb the mountain because we are afraid, but we see others have done it and we try to teach our own children that they must climb the mountain without even seeing that our own fear of moving on has been imbued in them by our teachings and example; in those teachings we pass on the fears that we possess ourselves and yet having not overcome those fears, we expect those who follow us to do what we cannot do.

English: Words associated with Fear

English: Words associated with Fear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We seek many ways to control our fears. We drink or take drugs, we immerse ourselves into religions and esoteric beliefs or the supernatural. We create machines that seem to give us the infinite futures and possibilities that we don’t have the courage to seek for ourselves in reality. Or quite simply we pretend they are not there and that by controlling the minutiae around us, we are effecting the demise of fear.

Instead it festers in the back of our minds and is nurtured to immense proportions, like the elephant in the room., and in our weakest moments it threatens to overcome us.

How do we overcome those fears then? I hear you ask. Usually it’s some kind of life altering event. The death of a child perhaps, because nobody should outlive a small child at the beginning of its life.

Not the death of a parent or grandparent, because those deaths are expected and prepared for. Life starts at birth, goes through the middle and ceases at the end. Everyone knows that. Vicious or instant and unlooked for death doesn’t even trigger the ability to overcome it, because having seen an accident or incurable illness and the inevitable death of others, we rarely learn from it. We still drive too fast, or take chances or ignore signs from our bodies that something may be very wrong and we truly believe that it will never happen to us.

 Facing death, the cessation of everything we are or would be is the trigger. We are then faced with the ultimate fear, the fear of not leaving behind anything of who we are, not being able to control anything, not being able to carry on thinking and acting on those thoughts. Death is the one thing we cannot control. Overcoming fear of death is the only control open to us.

You must face your fears, let them flow around you and through you until at the end, there is ONLY you left.

The human race is not made up out of individuals, we are an organism consisting of everyone that came before in our race memory. We are not alone, even in our darkest hour if we search through our minds and the deep memories we can find the necessary tools to move through life and climb our mountains, it’s just that so many people are too afraid to search.

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)