Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Do You Fear?

Some of you might have gone through my recent post titled ‘What’s Meaningful For You?’. This was a short fiction in my attempt to extrapolate the significance of the few lines that struck me from the book Man’s Search for Meaning. Now I realize, there was more to it. It was not just about the meaning of a symbolic dream, but also about a strong enemy that often does some good to us all--fear. 

Fear seems to be the most primitive of human emotions, which often works as an alarm bell and releases various signals through hormones in human body thus influencing mind to take the best suited decision at the time of need. Fear, however has a very deep cultural meaning as well. This emotion signifies the inability to be in control of a certain occasion or the failure in keeping one’s nerves calm when met with adversity. As a result the coward flees from the war zone. Many a passages from holy texts of religions as well as ideologies proclaim it best to be full of courage.

“Sanity-destined people are fearless. They don’t occupy themselves with ego thoughts. They cling to knowledge and its discipline.”- Bhagavad Gita, Gita 16.1.
Image Courtesy: telegraph.co.uk

This quote suggests the significance of achieving courage in the face of ‘the unknown’, the most important and terrifying ‘enemy’ of human psyche. Fear for ‘the unknown’ is a severe form of fear that does not concern itself with the specific impacts of a harmful opponent, but the unknown repercussions of facing an unseen void.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” --Deuteronomy 31:6.

This verse from The Holy Bible assures the presence of The Highest Being at the time of facing an adversary. The focus, of course, is on the physical and ‘the known’ adversary. whether the threat is known or unknown, internal or external, within or without, fear always pops up in our minds and makes us feel as if fear is the enemy, as I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Fear is real, courage is only response. The tightening of muscles and the fastening of heartbeats make us realize either we should flee or should take measures for protection. The short story about dreaming spiders and those disgusting creatures crawling over the man’s face was not real. It was just a dream, both within the context of the story and the event that inspired the story. Or so I believed, until today, (5-11-2013) when I found a news item in The Independent.
Image Courtesy: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer suggests in his captivating book You'll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation that each individual is part of the great ‘human being’ that spreads throughout the earth, across time and space, and that individuals are not islands, as we normally conceive. In other words, every human being living on this plant, according to Dyer, is a part of the body of the total humanity. The news piece I encountered sounds an eerie proof to this pan human state of being.

According to The Independent, dated Monday, 04 Nov 2013, Consi Taylor noticed that “dozens of tiny baby spiders were emerging from within the fur and crawling all over her banana.” The newspaper quoted her saying, “they were hatching out on the table, scurrying around on my carpet.” She informed the pest control company, although at the time she was frightened out of her senses. The authorities said that the crawlies were “Brazilian wandering spiders – an arachnid commonly known the “banana spider” and listed as the world’s most venomous by Guinness World Records in 2010.”

The poison of Brazilian wandering spiders is capable of inducing “total loss of muscle control, severe breathing problems, and partial paralysis” and all this resulting in asphyxiation--the condition of extreme decrease in oxygen level in the body.
Image Courtesy: thesun.co.uk

The fear for spiders is totally justifiable, although some of the spiders are rather harmless to humans. Being an arachnophobic, you cannot expect me to be unbiased, by the way. Although the events in the news and my blog post on dreaming spiders were set apart by differences in dates and continents, Ms Taylor from the UK and I from INDIA, the striking similarity in spiders running around all over the place makes these two instances connected. Was I dreaming of what would happen to Consi? Or was Consi living an altered reality portrayed in my short story? The spider babies came out of the banana she was eating at the time. Her fright led her to take the right decision to call for help.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”-- 1 Corinthians 16:13.

As I mentioned, courage is only a response. However, a total absence of fear might cause a total absence of courage as well. In other words, courage is born out of fear. This verse from The Holy Bible suggests the same, when it says “be on your guard” and “stand firm in the faith”. Faith, in the final attainment of courage, is the only channel, the door of hope, in interpreting the message from those hyperactive muscles and fast paced heartbeats, correctly. 

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