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Author Topic: Flamekeeping - politics of fear  (Read 973 times)
HeartShadow - Cutethulhu
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« Topic Start: October 04, 2010, 02:50:46 pm »

Politics of Fear

There's a lot of power in fear.  It short-circuits the intellect, going straight to the emotions.  If done properly, it makes thinking seem counterproductive, dangerous.  If you do this, something bad will happen.  Don't do it.  It's not safe.

Now, fear in and of itself is a useful response to situations.  If I'm by myself and I hear footsteps, fear is the proper response.  But fear used to manipulate people is a real problem, and one that's being used more and more in political discourse.

Fear divides.  If you're afraid of someone, you're not going to try and talk to them.  You're not going to build community with them.  You're going to hide behind a wall and throw rocks.  Fear is a very powerful tool.  And while sometimes fear is the proper and understandable response, when people are going out of their way to stir up fear you have to wonder why.

Fear raises walls.  It's why people use terrorism – to cause fear.  To make people too afraid to fight against what they want to do.  They use violence to create that fear, but propaganda has the same overarching effect.  It's the desire to make people do what you want them to do by short-circuiting their cognitive functions.  In short, it's because they think you're stupid.  It's because they think if they play on your fear enough, you will do exactly what they ask.  It's a way to tie strings to people and turn them into puppets.  It's a way to use them as pawns.

But we're not pawns, and we're not puppets.  When we fear, when we're pushed into fear, it's because their logic won't hold up any other way.  When someone wants you to fear, it's because they know that if you think their arguments will be nothing.  It's the last refuge of those with nothing else to argue with.

Ask yourself, when you find yourself being bombarded with fear, what the person speaking gets from this.  What it is they want.  Because fear is a tool used by those without better ones.

Ask when someone asks you to fear.  Ask why.  Ask for what.  Because fear doesn't exist in a vacuum.  Someone wants to shut your brain off.  Don't let them.

Questions: How do people around you use fear?
What is it that frightens you?
What happens if you give in?  Is the fear meaningful, or just someone else's attempt to control you?  And if so, why?
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