Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Count Your Fears

What are you afraid of? Are your fears personal or universal? Temporal, or infinite? Is there any fear you can have which is not shared by at least some of your fellow humans? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
  1. A fear of being forgotten, of having never mattered. Of knowing that no matter how hard I try, my art may never be recognised, and when I am gone, all that will remain of me is slowly rotting bones hidden beneath cold earth. That I may never achieve what I hope to achieve.
  2. That fear Number 1 is what I deserve, that it is my lot as a human. That my art is mediocre, not worth saving, not worth remembering. That I am ordinary.
  3. That all art is vain and nothing lasts forever. The loss of my work. The idea that, when my work is lost, and all those who knew me have died, I will be truly gone.
  4. A violent death. A painful life. Broken bones and surgeries. Illness and atrophy.
  5. That fear Number 4, of mere pain, will prevent me from living, from taking risks, from doing things which will thrill and excite me.
  6. The loss of cherished loved ones, family and friends; or their ire, disgust, or disregard. A life of solitary confinement, alone and ignored by friend and foe alike.
  7. That I will take risks and fail. That I will never know glory. That I will be damaged and discarded.
  8. That I will be injured and become trapped in my own body, unable to move or escape, unable to stir the hand that would provide the consolation of death and nothingness. That my mind will fail me and I will forget everything I am, all my memories washed away like stones worn down by the sea.
  9. That death is the end. That life does not prevail. That there is nothing more than here and now. That I will never see my loved ones again.
  10. That death is not the end. That there is something more, unknown and unknowable. Possibly more beautiful and brilliant than can be conceived, possibly more terrifying and horrible than can be imagined. That eternal suffering is real and palpable. That I may be divided from those I love forever.
  11. That I have wasted time, dallied, idled. Made excuses for laziness, spurned the gift of life with TV and boredom. That, knowing this fear, I do little to alleviate it.
  12. That I will die without ever really knowing true love. That I will never find it, am not made for it; that I will simply be unlucky and  never trip over it or dare to grab it. That I may try for it in vain. That I have been in love and not dared to realise it, or to speak it aloud, scared of what it might mean.
  13. That I am weak. Physically, intellectually. That there is evil in my mind I cannot fully control; that I am subject to basic biology which will betray me. That I am wrong about all the important things, despite my efforts to follow the evidence.
  14. That God is real. That he is real and is as evil, petty, and malicious as many of his followers would have you believe. That he hates us as much as his treatment of us on Earth would lead me to believe.
  15. That I fear too much, and it takes up too much of my time, so that at the end of my life I will look back and say ‘what a waste of energy that could have been spent on living’. That I worry about things I can control instead of changing them. That I worry about things I cannot control.
  16. That there are things I cannot control.
  17. That we humans will destroy ourselves. That we already have and we cannot see it. Lacking the will to ask the hard questions, that we do not see what we are and what we are capable of, where we came from and where we might go. That our nature will lead us to ruin, when it could have led us to the stars.
  18. That society will fail and justice be trampled by blind men of perfect faith or perfect self-interest, discarding compassion; and we will lose all that precious thought, all that we have gained through the labour of discovery accumulated over countless years of sweat and setback and the smallest of triumphs, day by day. That we will cast away all beauty and reason in the face of blind instinct, dogma, or prejudice.
  19. That we will be destroyed before our time by a universe cold and uncaring, without even the chance to say goodbye to things that really matter, to those we really love.
  20. That we humans behave so badly that we deserve to be destroyed. That our evils outweigh our acts of kindness. That everyday people of good conscience are nothing against the power of the machine-like indifference to both human and non-human suffering which seems to drive the world along. That we will someday be treated by other species the way we treat our fellow humans and fellow species here on Earth, that is, with contempt, disregard, and annihilation.

Your turn.

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