I need my fix!

By the way, the point between rationality and what we would call the irrational is a very difficult point to establish. There’s no specific line, as you know.
Leo Ornstein–Composer

What will our next fear-fix be? Homo sapiens seem to need something to fear. Perhaps it is rooted deep in the primitive sections of our brains. Our prehistoric ancestors had real threats to their lives. A saber tooth tiger or a mastodon was an immediate fear a rational reason.

There are no more saber tooth tigers or mastodons, and while there are many stupid things we can do resulting in immediate death, we don’t fear them. Jumping off a cliff into water of an unknown depth or driving 100 miles per hour are of no concern. We NEED a deadly threat outside every door.

Killer bees are real, but you are probably safe when you head to work in the morning. A nuclear bomb is very real, and we know its threat, but again, the odds are in your favor as you leave home, so we don’t really fear them.

The only thing left is to make up something of which to be afraid. Some of the fearful things we conceived in the past fizzled: Y2K, starvation from overpopulation, H1N1 flu virus, mercury in inoculations, bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, DDT, or a new ice age. My personal favorite was that gravity from the near-perfect alignment of the planets was going to crack Earth apart. Believers climbed to the top of a mountain to pray and await the end of the world. It must have been a long walk back down the next day. None of the dire threats occured. They were irrational fears. Most were simply debunked. No real threat existed.

I guess a few of those are still in play, but it has been necessary to extend the time line to keep them alive. Iran is going to blow us up . . . if it ever manages to build a nuclear bomb and isn’t destroyed by Israel first. Overpopulation could still cause massive starvation if the population continues to rise another few hundred years, but we need an immediate fear.

All we have left now is CO2 caused global warming, Earth destroying earthquakes, Earth destroying volcanoes, Nostradamus predictions, the end of the Mayan calendar, and Armageddon. It’s not looking so good for global warming; may take a few centuries to get warm enough for anyone to be able to notice . . . if it is caused by CO2 and if it keeps warming. There is absolutely diddly squat we can do about earthquakes and volcanoes; and no one not living on one thinks of them as immediate threat. Nostradamus hasn’t had too much impact lately, and we’ll find out about the Mayan calendar in a couple of years. Don’t count on me being on that mountain with you as the final days tick off. Walking down the mountain would be just too embarrassing. That leaves Armageddon. Groupthink is predominantly, “Not in my lifetime.”

Perhaps 3D movies are the answer. If they get realistic enough, maybe they will be able to scare the bejesus out of us and give us our fear-fix. It would be a lot easier than continuously trying to think up new things of which to be scared.

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Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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