Causes of Fear
Fear was originally a developed sense that was supposed to guard us against things that may cause harm to our bodies. It was based on past experiences as well as that “gut feeling” or instinct. In today’s world a large amount of fear can be traced back to unreasonable paranoia aroused by the media and movies. These form of mass communication often stirs up many emotions about things like violence and plane crashes and other such rare events. People become so accustomed to seeing it that they think it’s a common occurrence.
Experiences as a child and in every day life give us a reasonable set of fears. The falling from the top of the stairs that makes a child afraid of walking to close to the edge is a reasonable fear. If he does it again he may fall off the edge. People who get in cars often fear getting in an accident. This is because there is a large accident rate and we experience them everyday. They then proceed to wear a seatbelt to protect themselves. The high chance of getting in an accident produces a logical fear. These type of fears keep people safe because they are a result of rational thought that have come to the conclusion that there is a chance for injury.
Outside pressures cause people to have irrational fears. The fear of crashing an airplane for example, people drive cars to and from the airport without hesitation but fear boarding the plane itself. Rationally they would fear that car ride there since you chances of dying in a car are far greater than dying in a plane. This fear is a product of the extensive news coverage of the few plane crashes that occur. Without the coverage of the more frequent car accidents it appears to be more gruesome to die in a plane accident. Things such as this are magnified by movies. People see an attack on a person in a movie so their natural reaction would be to think that it is possible to occur to them. They replay the scenario in their mind over and over until it becomes second nature to think that it is a possibility. They then fear the situation with out it ever taking place. These events are often impossible or highly unlikely to happen but they are stressed never the less.
Perhaps the greatest cause of fear is the fact that some things are out of our hands. People in our society are very accustomed to feeling that they have control of their destiny. Its when we have a feeling of losing control that people become fearful. People in flight, people susceptible to terrorists, people in the ocean, and even people walking down the street in the dark. Without the actual ability to manipulate all aspects of our life people feel away from power and susceptible. This causes fear.
These things in combination or alone provoke the natural defense to injury of our bodies. It is a good defense when it doesn’t interfere with our lives. All to often we see people who walk the fine line between bravery and stupidity.