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Ibrahim Moussaoui 11/06/2012

FEAR
We as a society have become consumed by the way we are perceived by our friends, our peers, and by the whole of society. We constantly worry about not being accepted by those around us and not fitting into social circles. Furthermore, people are frowned upon for going against the grain and not subscribing to the ideologies that everyone else upholds, enlists under, or identifies with. Fear has evolved into a restraining force on individuals a metaphysical barrier obstructing the path to individuality. People are beings of free will and choice. Ayn Rand states that the thoughts of man determine: his character, his values, his emotions, and his actions, and so his thoughts determine his destiny. However, due to fear, the destinies of most are already predetermined, and prescribed through the colossal pressure and influence of societal norms and expectations. Our dreams and aspirations are tainted by what others envision for us. People display a fear of being different, of standing out beyond the boundary of what is deemed acceptable. The majority of us are ordinary beings who do ordinary things, and leave behind no significant legacy for the coming generations. The fear resides in a key element: risk. The risk necessary in order to elevate from ordinary to extraordinary is what deters many from developing a sincere ambition to achieve their goals, generate a ripple in an attempt to change the world, and many other feats. Realistically, this risk entails several components, the primary of which is failure. People tend to have an innate fear of failure, and public opinion further heightens both the fear of failure, and its resounding impact on the individuals morale. In the case of an individual attempting to change the world, in a selfless act for the betterment of humanity, that individual is often shouted down and ridiculed, painted as a radical, and given the ultimate humility: shame. This is the very reason so few people attempt to defy the status quo, because doing so is jeopardizing ones reputation to challenge it is political suicide. As a result of fear, individuals aim to avoid detection by the government by keeping a low profile. And the most effective way to achieve this is to conform to the trends, actions, and the mindset of the bulk of society. The problem is civil obedience, as stated by Howard Zinn. And Zinn clearly articulates, Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Out of fear from being denounced by other members of society, as exemplified in Orwells 1984, or by the State itself, individuals refrain from breaking from the chain of compliance in the face of injustice and hostile or inhumane practices. But out of fear, most are simply enveloped into a web in which their political and societal mobility is extremely limited. We fear to traverse beyond the extents of our comfort zone because we fear what lies beyond it. Our general fear of the unknown prevents people from trying new things new cultures, lifestyles, and from glimpsing into the lens of another individuals perspective. Our fear of the unknown is a barrier that prevents individuals from breeching the insular barricade and overcoming stereotypes and initiating relationships with people of diverse origins and backgrounds. This fear insulates society from the ultimate characteristic necessary for cultivating an understanding, peaceful, and prosperous global community. This characteristic is curiosity.

Ibrahim Moussaoui 11/06/2012

Fear is constricting the potential of individuals and eradicating individuality. The fear of being different, of occupying ones mind with revolutionary thought, spurs from the subsequent reverberations of the destruction of ones reputation, and shame inflicted on those who dare challenge the status quo. It is what prevents individuals from striving to be exemplary, and what hinders people from identifying and combating the flaws of the societal construct. Instilling fear among people is the ultimate method for preventing a revolution because revolution cannot unfold on the streets until it has unfolded in each of our minds. We, humanity, must overcome fear in order to continually advance our prosperity both as a society and as individuals.