Life has an ever-abundant way of throwing curve balls in each and every one of our directions. Quite naturally our air of self-import is inclined to suggest that as a species humanity is as a whole better equipped to deal such airborne assaults far better than most due to our assumed intelligence, experience, natural guile and most foolishly divine right to exist. However, in this deeply disturbing new reality when something as seemingly innocuous as the innocent exhalation of another individual can prove dangerously infectious if not deadly such illusions of infallibility are exposed as entirely fatuous. The proud beast that was once inclined to casually prowl enclosed in an imagined envelope of proscribed superiority is now inclined to shudder and recognizably shrink at the mere thought of their passage being imminently interrupted by another vessel traversing the darkness of the ocean of existence.
Fear is an emotion we have tended to use for our own somewhat perverse purposes, to alert, to alarm, to arouse, to set in motion all the delicious repercussions terror incorporates. Churning stomach, erratic heartbeat, breath caught inexplicably in the back of the throat are all effects that we dually and inexplicably connect with those apparent polar opposites of pleasure and horror, emotive states who logically should never coexist in fantasy or nightmare.
Tales and myths of the macabre have been a staple of storytelling throughout the ages, as a form of subtle cautionary instruction, a means to control and captivate and limit unwelcome open-mindedness and curtail perceived unorthodoxy. Many religions and sociopolitical systems utilize fear, particularly of the new or unknown, as means to instill a common creed upon the welcoming masses and equally to cultivate distrust or angst against any opposition. Nationalism, xenophobia, fascism, Marxism, the general panoply of isms, all tend towards the utilization of fear, terror, and unspecified threat as the base adhesive for their dogma.
Most individuals first come face to face with fear or at least palpitation producing discomfort in the form of nursery tales, stories that universally have always utilized the stick and carrot approach to childhood indoctrination. These flights of fancy excuse their often terrifying contents under the guise of life lessons, as if the average infant will ever require the guile to avoid the witch’s cannibal inclinations or the ogres bone grinding culinary predilections. Control the child’s mind to suppress their errant behavior, much the same theory as utilized with the revolting masses by politician and ruler ad finitum, perhaps in the exact same hope that animal trainers pursue.
Children and the general population bracketed with dancing troupes of horse, dromedary or elephant circling endlessly in a three ringed tent? Is that a cold and harsh assessment? Or perhaps rather a cut to near the bone for comfort? Fear or promise serve the same purpose, the whip and feeding bowl a similar objective. Independence is after all the enemy of social conditioning, and only social conditioning can make an irregular mob behave as a homogenous unit. Humanity lost the right to freedom of action, thought and direction the first time we settled for community rather than independence. Having once accepted the trainer’s subtle insistence, or the shock collars initial discomfort we were lost, never to recover.