New Civilization News: Fear    
 Fear21 comments
picture7 Nov 2004 @ 11:45, by Richard Carlson

The painting by Andrea Del Sarto is of Christ realizing He is Risen.

I heard the unblown flute
In the deep autumn shadows
Of the Temple of Suma.

---Basho

Heard melodies are sweet,
but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore,
ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but,
more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone.

---John Keats

W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches.
---Maureen Dowd, November 7, 2004

Garrison Keillor went even further on his Prairie Home Companion show last night. He proposes, of course in irony, a Constitutional amendment that bans born-again Christians from voting. He bases his proposal on the fact Evangelicals obviously are not citizens of the United States, but rather of Heaven. They no longer believe in our basic American values. Their health care plan is an opportunity for a closer walk with God.

Analysts on all sides tell us the Republicans rule the world today because they know how to handle our fear. They differ as to whether that's good or bad. Our time has been called the Age of Anxiety for at least 80 years. Weren't writers like Proust and Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and T.S. Eliot telling us about it? In 1949, Leonard Bernstein titled his Second Symphony for Piano and Orchestra "The Age of Anxiety." I remember giving a lecture to the senior class at the Wooster School, in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1968 about world overpopulation. (It's a good thing we fixed that problem.) I said if we wish to be politically conservative and do nothing, we have only to observe other mammals and how they control their own numbers: their adrenal glands expand because of the increased motion of the members of the herd, they suffer metabolic imbalance and just die off.

Americans were anxious and stressed before 9/11, but now they say we're actually afraid all the time. I presume, even in our fear, we know pretty well the chemical and neural response mechanisms that go off. Never have humans had such explicit knowledge of how our brains work---and even can be made to work by something pushing the right buttons. But apparently fear is such a powerful emotion or force in us that it is nearly impossible for us ourselves to control it. It's easier---and actually quite comforting---to make others afraid. We used to do it all the time as kids, didn't we? Ask my younger sister. Arianna Huffington wrote an essay October 13th on an aspect of ourselves a number of us have been considering: our lizard brain. "Deep in the brain lies the amygdala, an almond-sized region that generates fear. When this fear state is activated, the amygdala springs into action. Before you are even consciously aware that you are afraid, your lizard brain responds by clicking into survival mode. No time to assess the situation, no time to look at the facts, just: fight, flight or freeze." [link]

When we turn 50, and if we happen to have insurance plans available, the yearly physical examination for men and women changes in a drastic fashion. You begin to have tests for this and that from which you'll ultimately die probably. They call it Early Detection, and at first you're convinced this is a good thing, because they can cure you. When you're about 60, and now loaded up with pharmaceutical wonders you're taking every day, you learn there really is no cure---but maybe we can delay the inevitable. You may be presented with radical treatments which, as my friend Dr. Richard Strax points out, physicians dump in the patient's lap, with all our vast training in such matters, to make the final decision. You turn to the Internet and find sites where they list your chances in percentiles. I told my oncologist a couple weeks ago, after he had related the possibly devastating side effects of the ray gun treatment we're considering, that I felt I was in Las Vegas making a bet. He replied, "Yes, only there's no jackpot."

I answered, "Maybe there is. Maybe there is." But what is it? Whatever it is, it's past the fear. Why does fear exist? Do you believe in a Creator God? Is it not obvious fear is built into the Creation? Do you believe in a Loving God? Why would He do that? Why would She do that? Is it not recorded that Christ Himself cried out on the cross he believed God had forsaken him? The Passion of Fear. If Jesus said that, and I can't imagine it getting into the New Testament if he didn't, either he didn't know about his own Resurrection in advance or else fear and pain blotted it out of his mind. So on the Third Day, He must have wakened and been just a bit surprised. It wasn't finished after all. This amazing story still is going on. How wondrous...and what joy! And just think: if I hadn't been so scared, I might never have noticed.


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21 comments

7 Nov 2004 @ 17:32 by jstarrs : You can check out...
..where fear comes from, when it arises in the mind, when the self that cherishes itself is threatened by that which is other than self.
This self is said to be illusory, non-existent.
And the love that loves to love, the antidote, the jackpot.  



7 Nov 2004 @ 17:53 by vibrani : Fear
Fear is about survival and fear of death, fear of change, the different, the unknown. Fear is partially a natural animal instinct and partially taught fear. Fight or flight is very real and designed to save your life when in danger. The mind then can come in and decide what is a real danger versus a false danger - False Evidence Appearing Real. Our bodies are not just figments of our imagination, they are very real, even if temporary. What do all beings want? To be healthy, accepted, loved, feel safe. Not realizing that we already are loved by God/dess/All That Is is what creates a misunderstanding and feeling of lack - you know, that illusion of separation thingy. The other has to do with human touch and connection. We're not here just to be alone. Jesus didn't have it all figured out back then. He was a martyr who felt God deserted him...hello! Richard, who do you think wrote the New Testament, and when? Religion isn't enough, is it - there are always more questions. I think people project a human image onto God and then wonder why God is this or that!  


7 Nov 2004 @ 18:29 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Does God care?

I don't think we know. We may live within the bubble of our own fantasizing or there may be a loving and caring God out there. We just don't know. We are trapped within our limited relativity. We can not see the universe as giants. The world suits our size. If we were any smaller we could have been eaten up by frogs. So, I think it's all a mystery and a gift. And that when it comes to such questions we should never be intollerant or take ourselves too seriously. But should enjoy life while we can..... As the Bard said, "the readiness is all."

About the born again Christians..... May the Rapture come soon!!!!  



7 Nov 2004 @ 18:31 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Great quotes!

And I think Dowd is right on....  



7 Nov 2004 @ 18:52 by ov : Wants and Needs
"What do all beings want? To be healthy, accepted, loved."

Yeah, can't disagree that these would nice but I can take them or leave them. Want I really want is to not be forced, coerced, abused.  



7 Nov 2004 @ 20:56 by jazzolog : Left Behind
Thanks so much for these comments so far. Our Episcopalian priest labeled the Christian Right as the new Pharisees in his sermon on this All Saints Sunday. I am hoping to see more priests get out and confront this stuff now...as they did in the Civil Rights days.  


7 Nov 2004 @ 21:21 by ov : Christian backlash to Neo-Cons
Dianne's article on One Nation Under God is accumulated some interesting information on the emrging Christian schism in the states.  


8 Nov 2004 @ 00:09 by astrid : This backlash has started alright!
...but kept "secret" -of course, you know by whom... Somebody here on NCN, not very long ago at all referred to BishopJohn Shelby Spongs two very poingnant books: "Why Chrisitianity Must Change or Die" and
"A New Christianity For A New World. Why Traditional Faith Is Dying & How A New Faith Is Being Born" Great books.

On top of these two there are other books as well: I really like what Bruce Bawer said in his book: "Stealing Jesus. How Fundamentlism Betrays Christianity"

All three were definitely worth my time and effort and maybe yours too!..... Especially if you already read the link to the article that Swanny just posted.  



8 Nov 2004 @ 01:59 by vibrani : Add-on comment
One thing this election vividly showed were the red and blue states indicating the difference in consciousness, and in beliefs. I wouldn't say Bush has been the only responsible party for this separation (when he keeps talking about bringing people together - where's that evidence?) - we are becoming more and more aware of what our OWN beliefs and values are, therefore we are gravitating to those with like-mind. Sept. 11's attack was the start of getting people to face their own fears. Some people didn't do their work with this.

As for fear: Fear works both ways. If you fear Bush's administration, you voted for Kerry or someone else. If you fear gay marriage or other such horrible threats to your personal life and values (yeah, right), you voted for Bush. So people can look at how fear plays in their own lives. If you voted without fear, then I think you can handle what's going on without major breakdown.  



8 Nov 2004 @ 07:00 by vibrani : Optimistic news from Michael Moore
Friends,

If there was one group who really came through on Tuesday, it was the young people of America. Their turnout was historic and record-setting. And few in the media are willing to report this fact.

Unlike 2000 when Gore and Bush almost evenly split the youth vote (Gore: 48%, Bush: 46%), this year Kerry won the youth vote in a LANDSLIDE, getting a full ten points more than Bush (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%).

Young people were the ONLY age group that voted for Kerry. In every other age group (30-39, 40-49, 50-59, etc.), the majority voted for Bush.

In my state of Michigan, observers noted that it was the record youth vote that helped to put Kerry over the top in the state (AP: "Young Voters Played Big Role in Kerry's Michigan Victory").

Contrary to all predictions and to tradition, MORE young adults (18-29) voted in last week's election than in any other since 18-year-olds were given the right to vote in 1972.

It was the first time that a MAJORITY of all young adults came out to the polls: 51.6%.

Young adult turnout was UP more than 9% higher than the 2000 election ("Big Voter Turnout Seen Among Young People").

4.7 million MORE young adults voted in this election than in the last one. All these numbers are likely to go up when the millions of provisional ballots (and absentee ballots) are counted later this week (it is believed that young people were among the hardest hit in being forced to vote provisionally and students away at college make up a large bulk of the absentee ballots).

Rock the Vote and MTV's "Choose or Lose" had set the seemingly unattainable goal of getting 20 million young people out to vote. In the end, nearly 21 million youth voters cast their ballots last Tuesday -- A RECORD.

From the beginning, I believed that young adults and "slackers" would rise up in this election. As we began our slacker tour in Syracuse's football stadium on September 20, we could tell that this election would be like no other. It was no longer uncool to talk politics like it was five or ten years ago. Now, you were considered a loser if you didn't know what was going on in the world.

After speaking to the 10,000 gathered in Syracuse, we went on to hold rallies in 63 cities, mostly on campuses. Every night the events were packed, with anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 people showing up. We registered thousands to vote and got tens of thousands more to sign up to volunteer with Move On, ACT, the College Dems and other groups like Vote Mob and the League of Pissed Off Voters. We reached perhaps a half-million people in person and millions more on local TV and radio in those 63 cities (all but three of them in swing states).

To be honest, this tour was a killer and not the easiest thing to do for a guy who isn't 18-29. Two (sometimes three) cities a day for over a month, crisscrossing the country, is enough to make you want to sleep for a year. But I was deeply inspired by what I saw. The level of dedication and commitment amongst everyday, average citizens was overwhelming. Each night from the stage I could see it in people's eyes that they were not going to give up -- and they, too, would not rest until Bush was removed from the White House.

In every town, this movement was being fueled and often led by young people. I don't ever want to hear another adult talk about how apathetic the youth are or how they don't have "it" in them. What you are about to see in the coming months is going to shock you. These kids aren't going away. They have a resilience that cannot be snuffed out by older people's whining and moaning about the state of America. THEIR America has yet to be formed as they see it, and this one setback is not going to stop them.

Witness the students at Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado on Thursday, two days after the election. These kids can't even vote yet but that was not going to get in their way of expressing their outrage over what we adults had just done. The high school students took over the school by staging a sit-in and would not leave the building. They stayed there all Thursday night. They told the media that they were protesting the election results and putting Bush on notice that there was no way they were going to allow the draft to come back. It was the most uplifting moment of the week.

In the day after the election, the pundits were spewing their hot air about how the youth vote didn't matter this year. I wonder, even though they have the same facts available to them as I do -- the ones I've cited above -- do they just chose to ignore them because it doesn't fit into their tired old routine they call "conventional wisdom." I guess it is easier to simply repeat the same broken down clichés than it is to find out what the truth really is.

And it's even more important to kill what smells like teen spirit to them. God forbid if young people ever realized their true power and used it. Maybe what young adults need to continue to do is keep creating their own new media and news sources on the Internet and through other new technologies. Just bypass the old farts on Fox and CNN and all the rest. One thing's for sure -- by never challenging this president on his lies that sent our young off to war, they have proven which side they are on and it isn't on the side of the young or the future.

Congratulations, 18 to 29-year-olds -- you rocked.

Yours,

Michael Moore
[link]  



8 Nov 2004 @ 07:47 by astrid : Nora,
I really like what you are saying about fear here. :)  


8 Nov 2004 @ 08:20 by vibrani : Thanks, Astrid
there are many ways to look at fear, eh? Not paranoia - that's an exaggerated fear, an illness of the mind. I'm talking about fear. Having all the facts doesn't make one paranoid. Being out of balance does.  


8 Nov 2004 @ 10:45 by jazzolog : My Letter
Ov's Log really is carrying the hacked election story. Though I've been closely involved in this developing investigation, I didn't want to post anything until now. Please see the email I've just sent out which I put up as a comment~~~

[link]

Thank you so much for continuing to comment on Fear and the religious aspects. I'll respond to you whenever I can extricate myself from these political dealings.  



8 Nov 2004 @ 16:52 by astrid : Yep, Nora, you got it! : )
Great job, Nora; to put it (the Cosmic Truth) forth so “sweet ’n’ short” Only a person's own Genius ( in this instance your's) can do it with the "Grace of God"; giving Insight how Energy-processes come into being and "how" they will then manifest as either healthy -or unhealthy!
Being Out of Balance is what mutates –originally- healthy energy processes into something unhealthy, becoming “perverted”. Thanks for that Insight! :)  



9 Nov 2004 @ 16:24 by jazzolog : Bump In The Night
Last night I woke at about 1 AM, and lay there for about an hour...hoping the melatonin would kick in finally. Ordinarily just taking a tablet of that stuff is enough to get me back to sleep...if I think restlessness may be a problem. Not this time: and that's because tomorrow is the decision whether or not to face radiation for 7 weeks and attempt to endure what might be devastating side effects. I don't feel resentful of the situation in the slightest. I've had magnificent health for nearly 65 years---never been in a hospital until the procedure last May. Nor do I struggle against the anxiety. All that seems OK...although I'm tending to be shorter tempered: not good.

My question is an old and classic one. If there is any design or purpose to life and the Creation, do I believe it is motivated by Love? I don't HAVE to believe that, but I enjoy being around others who do believe it. I like Jesus' message about Love and his approach...and I've known many through the years who accept Christ without necessarily being sure if there's a God or not. They just think the ethic works for what to do here with our lives. I can accept that philosophy too; but I'm just wondering about some of the things you all have mentioned, like death and pain and suffering and fear, that seem completely engrained in the Creation. I think Christianity particularly has trouble working with those aspects, while other religions do not.  



9 Nov 2004 @ 17:27 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Good luck

Well I'm not going to argue with a guy who went to Harvard Divinity School but Christianity, in its essence, the teachings of Christ, has always struck me as a moral religion. When it comes to "god" enfusing things the Budhists seem to do it much better. But though so many Christian sects have turned away from Christ's basic teachings if we return to the source I believe there is a sweetness and an optomisitic gentleness there which should be reassuring and consoling. (I speak as one who only goes into churches to admire the art, architecture, and, in Europe, the profound mix of spirituality with aesthetic beauty.)

I heard a brief interview with Dennis Kucinich following the election. He advised that progressives should return the fundamentalist right's diatribes by reminding them that Christ believed in feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. That we have a responsibility to those less fortunate. (With an emphasis on the word "fortune.") I think Dennis makes a good point.

Well, good luck, Dick. At this moment I kind of wish I could share some of your pain with you, just to relieve you a little of it.

Un abrazo, Paul  



9 Nov 2004 @ 18:33 by vibrani : Richard
I think if you can accept that love (not romantic love) is what created all of it, then you can make your own decision if what YOU do is motivated by love or something else. The point of Jesus' story was really the symbolic resurrection, ETERNAL LIFE, not martyrhood, not victimhood, not blame. So if there's anything to celebrate from the story of Jesus, it is that we are all divine and eternal beings. His other message was to accept all people; end suffering; to heal the sick; to help the needy; to teach people how to realize their own personal connection to the Creator; to BE sons and daughters of God. If a person doesn't behave like Jesus, or God, then they don't believe in him.

I sent this to you once before a long time ago - maybe reading it again will help?

If God is truly infinite, then there is not the smallest place, nor the shortest moment where God is absent. God, to be truly infinite, must (by definition) be everywhere, all times, with all life. There can be nothing that is not God, nothing that is not made of God, because in the beginning there was only God and nothing else - pure creativity. God already filled all of existence. There couldn't have been any room left over because if there was, then God wasn't infinite. Thus, God only had Itself out of which to make everything God created and thus, despite the illusion of separateness, we can not actually be separate from God because there is nowhere else to be separate from God.

We have free will and the ability to choose the illusion of being separate from God. But, our ability to do this, and yet still be supported in God's creation, proves just how unconditional God's love really is. How can anyone say that God's love is unconditional except for this condition and that condition? That shows complete faithlessness. Humans imposed the limited and narrow view on Jesus (or whomever) and God because they won't accept themselves as God's unconditionally loved creations.

"It has been said that the Devil's greatest trick was in convincing the world he didn't exist. I disagree. If the Devil does exist, then his greatest trick is also a great irony: he has convinced millions of people to spread judgment and fear in God's name! He has tricked people of weak faith into believing that God's love is limited and finite; that God will judge Its children as unworthy and will punish them in Hell for their sins, and he gets these people to preach this gospel of fear IN GOD'S NAME! Even the Christians acknowledge that the Devil can quote Scripture to suit his own purposes, yet the idea escapes them that the Devil (or just plain human fear and greed) could have convinced people to subvert the Scriptures themselves.

"The real question is: Are YOU willing to take the REAL risk: To see yourself and all others through the eyes of an unconditionally loving God - One who will love you FOREVER no matter what you do? One who loves Its children so much, It's willing to give them eternity to learn from their mistakes rather than punish them? Are you willing to believe in your own goodness? Willing to "risk" that you can handle that much love FOREVER?" [Bashar]  



10 Nov 2004 @ 15:55 by dempstress : Funny,
I believe in the love, but not necessarily the god. If you believe in the god I would have thought the love bit came so much easier.  


10 Nov 2004 @ 19:10 by vibrani : the definition of God
is up to each person. I don't see God as a human-like being, for instance. For me it's an energy, consciousness, all things.  


21 Dec 2004 @ 11:54 by jazzolog : How Mammals Spread Fear
BBC News
Why whites of eyes spell 'danger'

Coming face-to-face with someone who looks scared triggers an automatic response in the brain that tells you to be afraid too, US researchers suggest.
Two studies found we respond to even the most subliminal danger messages.

One, in Science, found seeing the whites of the eyes triggered a danger message in the brain.

A second, in Neuron, showed that, even if an image of a scared face is shown too briefly to be consciously recognised, the brain registers it.

Wide eyes

The first study, carried out by a team from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, looked at how the brain sensed danger.

It was known that the message was received in an almond-shaped part of the brain called the amygdala, but not what triggered that response.


The things that we look at first in people are their face, and usually the first facial feature we look at is their eyes
Iain Hutchison, Barts and the London NHS Trust

The researchers scanned the brains of volunteers as they were shown a series of faces.
Before each face appeared, an image of either wide "fearful" eyes or smaller "happy" eyes appeared.

And even though the images appeared so quickly that the volunteers were unaware of them, the scans showed that the wide eyes activated the amygdala.

But negative images, showing black eyes with white pupils, did not provoke the same response.

They said this meant that it was the sight of the whites of the eyes, known as the "sclera", triggers the response in the amygdala.

Writing in Science, the researchers led by Dr Paul Whalen, said: "Responsivity to eye whites, but not to eye blacks, appears to be driven by the size of the white scleral field and not by the outline of the eye."

They added: "Facial expressions are complex stimuli.

"Although there are holistic messages to be discerned - ie that person is afraid of something - this demonstration offers one example of a simpler rule that a subset of neuronal systems could use to prime additional circuits that will decode more detailed facial information and response systems."

Anxiety

The second study, carried out by researchers at Columbia University in New York, agreed that the amygdala - along with the attention and vision regions of the cerebral cortex - processed unconsciously detected threats.

They also looked at how a person's anxiety levels affected how they responded to potential threats.

The brains of 17 university students were scanned using high-resolution fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) as they looked at a computer screen.

A fearful face was displayed for 33 milliseconds, immediately followed by a similar neutral face. The images flashed up too quickly to be consciously registered.

The students had normal variations in anxiety. But the more anxious a student was naturally, the more of a reaction was seen in the brain to a frightened face, the researchers found.

But when the students looked at the scared faces long enough for conscious recognition, a different brain circuit was used. That activity did not vary according to the underlying level of anxiety.

The researchers say their findings suggest more anxious people respond differently to fear triggers.

Dr Amit Etkin, who led the study, said: "Our study shows that there's a very important role for unconscious emotions in anxiety."

Subliminal messages

Joy Hirsch, who also worked on the study, added: "Psychologists have suggested that people with anxiety disorders are very sensitive to subliminal threats and are picking up stimuli the rest of us do not perceive.

"Our findings now demonstrate a biological basis for that unconscious emotional vigilance."

She said the findings may mean it will one day be possible to use fMRI imaging to test new drugs to treat anxiety and to check a patient's response to therapy or medications.

Iain Hutchison, consultant facial surgeon at Barts and the London NHS Trust, said: "The things that we look at first in people are their face, and usually the first facial feature we look at is their eyes.

"They convey subliminal messages that we pick up on."

Story from BBC NEWS:
[link]

Published: 2004/12/17 12:46:21 GMT

© BBC MMIV  



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