Saturday, 15 June 2013

Fear- A conditioned mind state

He whom many fear, has himself many to fear. –Publilius Syrus

Fear is not an objective reality but a state of mind. A state of mind is something one assumes. Like any mind state, it is subject to control and direction.

Mark Barad, a scientist of UCLA, conducted a conditioning experiment on rats in which an electric shock was applied to metal floor of rats’ cage along with a feeble noise. It did not take long for the rats to brace themselves for the shocks as soon as they heard the noise. It is because the noise is associated with electric shock deep in their unconscious mind. In the language of neurologist, it is said that their amygdalas paired the noise with the shock, and the noise created a fear response. Further experiments were done on the same rats. This time, rats were exposed to same feeble noise but without electric shock. Habitual hearing of noise without the shock made the rats fearless once again. Similar experiment was done on a little child, Albert, who had no fear of laboratory's test animals to induce fear of white rats in him by John Watson, an American psychologist. Whether it is psychology or neurology, one thing is certain that fear is a mind state and is prone to conditioning.

It is interesting to note in a race of prey and predator that most of the times prey win despite their low capability compared to their predator. The reason is the survival mechanism given to them by nature, fear. Fear starts neurobiological chain reaction in the body which releases the chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing, energized muscles and many other things that make them capable to exceed their normal performance. In other words, fear is not failure but a driving force to leap beyond one’s abilities. 

There are many forms of fear seen human’s psyche. The prominent one are fear of poverty, fear of criticism, fear of ill health, fear of loss of love, fear of age, fear of death, fear of lack of ability etc. In fact, these are not fears but lame excuses for inaction. It is an old proverb that when there is a will; there is a way. In case of fear, one needs to be brave for few more minutes and one succeeds. It is said that life begins after fear.

As far as excuses are concerned all great companies whether Microsoft or Apple were started in garages only with great idea. No one in the history was ever praised by cent per cent; Jesus was crucified and Socrates was poisoned. David Copperfield was penned after the tragedy faced by Charles Dickens in his first love. Socrates once told that one should indulge in love; if accepted, one will be on higher planes of consciousness through love and if rejected then also he will be on higher planes but through philosophy. Excuses of young age could be countered by citing examples of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and old ages by Colonel Sanders who founded KFC at the age of 65. No one is ever in the history is blessed with immortality. So, mourn over inevitable is not justifiable by any means. Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Thomas Alva Edison and many others were initially declined for their inability.

Nature has endowed man with absolute control over one thing and that is thought. This fact, coupled with the additional fact that everything which human creates starts in the form of thoughts, lead one very near to the principle by which fear may be mastered. On the other hand, indecision crystallizes fear and there is some kind of action for any form of fear. Determine your cause of fear and associated action. Take action promptly. Be decisive.  

I’ve learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away fear.                 -Rosa Parks                                                                                                                                                                                  

1 comment:

  1. Fear plays a huge part in the human psyche because we allow ourselves to dwell in it instead of just facing it and then conquering it.

    I remember when i decided to join military service at 17 years of age and how people my age at the time thought i was crazy. That fear began to make me second guess my decision and it wasn't till the day i left for boot camp and the fear just dissipated. I learn that morning in the recruiters car that fear is just something your mind does to keep you from doing things. Now fear still floats around every now and then but i have learned to ignore and push ahead! I have been doing that ever since.

    You can never get rid of fear it is a part of us but we can control it and keep it on a leash so that when it acts up you can just pull back on the leash!

    Fantastic post Ravish!