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    texas.grok's Avatar
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    Perceived fears

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    If you step outside of the influence of the media in the USA, you start to realize how much fear is used to sell, control and manipulate people.

    Now to me, there are two types of fear.
    • Reality based fear
    • Perceptual based fear

    Now reality based fear is pretty easy to understand. If you wake up in the middle of the night and there is smoke and fire in your house, your fear is based on reality, the reality of the situation you are in.

    But that fear can be controlled with knowledge and experience. If you have never been in a fire, your instinct is to get out. If you have been trained as a fire fighter, while your instincts might be screaming at you to not go into the fire, your training and experience give you a degree of control over that fear and you do your job.

    The reality of the fire has not changed, your response to your reality based fear does.

    So what about perceptual based fear? Well, let’s look at the definition of perception.

    per•cep•tion
    : the way you think about or understand someone or something
    : the ability to understand or notice something easily
    : the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses

    The above is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

    So taking the first definition, “the way you think about or understand someone or something”, notice that this is not necessarily reality based. Perceptions can be manipulated by various influences either accidentally or on purpose.

    Let’s take the fear of spiders. Even though most spiders are harmless, a lot of people are scared of spiders.

    Ironically the larger ones, such as tarantulas, are harmless while their much small cousin, the brown recluse, is pretty nasty. But people are more scared of the large spiders than them smaller ones. It is a perceptual fear with a basis in reality. While the reality is that a small percentage of spiders are deadly, it is also reality that most are not. This is not an intentional manipulation of perception, more of an accidental or natural misconception.

    So now let’s look at perceptual fears that are based on intentionally manipulated perceptions.

    One of the most blatant to me was the manipulation of perceptions about Muslims after 9/11. The USA, needing a new enemy after the USSR went out of business, found the perfect enemy in radical terrorist claiming to commit these acts in the name of Islam. I’m not disputing that these acts occurred as portrayed by the media (a topic for another forum) but for years we were told that terrorist were out to get us. “They hate us for our freedoms”. The “threat” of the use of biological terrorism was so heavily portrayed that people were buying duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal up a “safe room” against biological or chemical terrorist attacks, 3 people suffocated in one of these “safe rooms” because of the perception of an imminent attack by terrorist that never came.

    While there were deaths by terrorist, the numbers that died were by far lower than most other causes of deaths in the USA such as vehicle accidents, cancer, heart disease or, for that matter, Iatrogenic Deaths (Deaths induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures) which for one year was over 700, 000 US citizens!

    Obviously iatrogenic death was a much greater threat than terrorist but which threat got the most media attention?

    Another example of perceived fears, and more PB related, is the fear of cholesterol as being the main cause of cardiac disease. If the “science” behind these fears was manipulated to fulfill some agenda or was simply flawed science, doesn’t change the fact that a large portion of the population in the USA, and other countries, cut out animal fats, eggs, bacon, etc. in order to avoid this perceptual fear of having a heart attack if they did not change their diet. The perceived fear went further into the flawed USDA “Food pyramid”, the use of stantin drugs, overeating of heavily processed but “low fat” foods, etc.

    The problem with perceived fears is that they are often formed by a sole source (I consider the major media sources to be a single, and biased, source). People often don’t take the single source of information presented to them, that sows the seed of their fear, and research it further to see if their fear is justified or manipulated.

    Let’s take the example above of a possible house fire. You wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke; fear is a natural reaction to that smell. But if you take that as your sole source of information, you panic, gather up your family and rush out the door to only find that the smoke is coming from your idiot neighbor who decided to burn his trash that night.

    If your bombarded by a constant barrage of messages from the idiot tube (named as such for a reason) and don’t look beyond that single source, then you will be manipulated to take this new drug, buy this new fitness product, fear this new “threat” or mindlessly buy into a new law.

    And I’m afraid that this tendency of Americans to be brought to a constant state of fear is generational. When I was growing up, no car seats, no seat belts, no bike helmets, no bottled water, few vaccinations, few trips to the doctor every time we sneezed. We fought, we played, we got hurt, we healed up. While we lived under the potential threat of a war with the Soviet Union, it wasn’t as constantly shoved down our throats as current potential threats are. Of course, we only had 3 TV channels, no internet and (GASP!), no cell phones.

    We roamed the streets until, or after, nightfall. The concept of “Stanger danger” was alien to us because, while there was no doubt the occasional kid kidnapped or molested, it wasn’t broadcast around the world and flashed up on government billboards by the highway.

    But now, the generations of adults that were coddled and shroud in layers of protective barriers, are raising kids of their own the same way.



    Kids going to school now, if they are allowed to ride their bikes, are helmeted, knee-padded, elbow-padded and carrying bottles of anti-bacterial crap in their backpacks. They are overly vaccinated, overly prescribed antibiotics and have weak immunity systems. They are being raised by fearful parents to be fearful adults.

    “Safety first”, “we have to do it for the children”, “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here”, etc. are becoming the justification for all manners of “protective measures”, infringements on our freedoms, new laws and massive regulations.

    So how do we handle these fears? How do we start to take back our lives and live in a world that, while does have some scary things, is not as scary as it is perceived by the 30 second videos on TV. How do we manage to do this? What can we do?????

    Simple:



    Insert about any fear that is being hyped by the news media for "terrorism" and it still applies.

    Few what comes out of the TV with a skeptical eye, research the "research" that is being put before you, think for yourself.

    And most importantly, stop living your life in fear of, whatever the current threat de jour is.

    In other words, live!
    Last edited by texas.grok; 09-19-2013 at 02:20 AM.
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    Ironically the only reason it's so dangerous for kids to ride their bikes to school is because the school zone is crowded with crazy parents all speeding, distracted and jostling like crazy people to get in and out of the parking lots.
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    sb, you touched a nerve with me. I have to endure a middle school pickup line twice per day. Last week, a mother who had picked up her kid and was driving, didn't have her hands on the wheel because she was knitting. KNITTING! I don't even want my kid in the same school with her kid.

    Texas.grok, I am with you 100%. When I treadmill at the gym there is a bank of TV's all tuned to different channels. Some have closed captioning turned on, and I have to keep my eyes averted to avoid the nonsense. Last week I accidentally saw Oprah telling Steve Harvey that her true calling is to serve people.

    A friend of mine who was a radio media buyer once referred to programming as the stuff between commercials that gets people to listen to commercials. I view the news in that light, as a vehicle to sell cars and introduce a new pharmaceutical that my doctor might think is right for me.
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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Kids not riding their bikes to school is a situation where the perceived fear creates the reality. Another is that people stopped letting their kids ride bikes or walk to school because of "stranger danger". As a result, everyone is locked in their cars all the time and so nobody knows each other anymore. More strangers have been created and thus more fear. Another one is that since all this perceived fear about terrorism is everywhere a lot of mentally fragile people now see terrorists everywhere, get their hands on weapons or bombs and create terror themselves.
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    Mr.Perfidy's Avatar
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    Fight Club that shit outta people TexasGrok! It will radiate outward from the zipcodes of the participants
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    The scariest thing to me is 3+ young men walking on the same side of the street as I am if there aren't any other people around. I don't care their race, what time of the day it is, all I can think is, "It's a pack; flight." Rational? I don't know, I'd have to look up the statistics on violent crimes committed by packs of young males. But my instincts tell me it has the potential for ugliness.

    As to fear-mongering by the PTB, I get that there's an agenda. Good post texas.grok!
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    spk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texas.grok View Post
    Let’s take the fear of spiders. Even though most spiders are harmless, a lot of people are scared of spiders.

    Ironically the larger ones, such as tarantulas, are harmless while their much small cousin, the brown recluse, is pretty nasty.
    This. Right ^ here. (and the memory of Cottonmouth snakes climbing into my tent as a kid) Makes me want to go eat a croissant. That's how I deal w/ the fear.

    But seriously, fear does define a lot of peoples lives but are the comparisons equal? The 'idea' of an act of terror, be it from an unknown assailant in your neighborhood or some faceless religious zealot drummed up in the media is that––an idea. It's very powerful, just like how Hitchcock would leave the act of murder out of the film, leaving it to the viewer to develop their own potent worst idea of death.

    But can we compare that apples-to-apples with the number of known, expected, assumed risks of life; like driving, Iatrogenic or sheer acts of human stupidity?

    I think we accept these 'fear-driven' motivators as a society because we still, in our deep ancient brains, respond to, are driven by and need in a very physiological way to make choices driven by fear/survival. Look at Muddy Buddy runs or the Tough Guy runs in Britain. It drives a deep need in our brains to face risk, experience adrenalin, get that shot of the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol flooding the brain. Potent stuff.
    Last edited by spk; 09-19-2013 at 05:51 PM. Reason: duh-spelling

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    Mr.Perfidy's Avatar
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    Equally intense and all-encompassing an emotional alignment is Love, but society is a pyramid scheme designed to smother that out of everyone and their decision-making, so we are left building our house out of Fear instead, because it is the only mortar in reach
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    The one I've noticed lately is the hype around pandemics. Seems like since SARS, every year there is a new flu variant that they are saying is going to be a pandemic like the one in 1918.
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