Fear & Cages

I often see people talking about experiencing fear as if it represented something externally wrong with the world. As if fear, by itself, meant something was amiss.

Fear is a response to things that we don’t feel prepared for. There are only two ways to reduce fear in your life, and zero ways to eliminate it completely. Of the two ways to reduce fear, only one is healthy.

Method One – the unhealthy way to avoid fear is to reduce new events in your life to the point that you never encounter something you’re unprepared for, because you never encounter anything new. This is called a cage. You can’t even eliminate fear in a cage, because your agency is removed, and at some point the people who control the cage will change something. Ask yourself if people in prison live without fear.

Method Two – the healthy way to avoid fear is to increase your own agency so that you are more prepared for a variety of situations.

“The world,” as a static entity, is never safe nor unsafe. It’s unsafe for me to try to walk a tight-rope wire forty feet above the ground with no net. It may be much more safe for someone else, if they’ve trained to do that and are prepared for the challenge.

No one is going to save you. No one can make the world more “safe,” because that’s nonsense. People can change the world or aspects thereof, but that only shifts around relative positions (and often in favor of the so-called savior). The only way to increase your own safety, to reduce your own fear, is to prepare from within.

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