Fear

B: I am bored.
A: Do one thing every day that scares you.
B: Does waking up count?

A: Is that supposed to be some deep shit message about life?

A and B are two humans that like to indulge in casual banter. Occasionally, the bants moves from casual to causal. A likes to ask simple questions. B likes to drain whatever simplicity goes into the question, because according to B, “simplicity can’t be stripped down to a semantic experience.”

This is a conversation between A & B on a random Sunday afternoon.

A: What do you fear, B?

B: Bats. It’s time my enemies shared my dread.
A: Did you just quote Batman?

B: Okay. Sorry. I was only being half-amusing. The truth is, I fear I won’t be like Batman. I fear I won’t act on my fears. That I will just live and die a complete nobody. Worse, a mistaken somebody.

A: So you want to be famous?

B: Are you psychoanalyzing me? Here’s a fun-fact: Freud was afraid of the number 62.
A: Are you afraid you won’t be famous?
B: I am afraid at different levels. Fame is not one of the levels. I fear I won’t be brave – a somebody to myself. I want to be able to recognize myself. I don’t want to look back and see someone else traveled the journey and that I was the mere physical body.
A: A spine-less body?

B: A soul-less body.

A: But there must be this one thing you fear which leads to feeling like that.

B: That’s the thing. How can we ever fear one thing with one name? We oversimplify fear in order to make it easy to understand; Fear of failure/success/obscurity and the likes. I could tell you I fear quitting my job. Does that have a name? More so, is that one fear? It’s just one level and you’d think it’s the hardest level. But it’s the easiest – you just quit. The actual fears come after that. And that’s what we really fear – the levels of fears we have constructed over one another. It’s never the thing itself – quitting the job. It’s the fraught existential angst of what’ll happen when I run into the various levels, the consequences. Of never being able to get another job. Of little money, much misery, and veiled mockery. All imagined consequences from a place of fear. So I don’t even try.

A: But, isn’t that the very definition of fear, the many consequences that follow?

B: Yeah. How do you know when to stop? Because now it’s not about quitting your job. It’s about other paralyzing fears that come with quitting the job and a fear that comes with that ad-infinitum. You think you are afraid of this one thing – dying a nobody – but what you are really afraid of is attempting to be somebody. Even to yourself. It’s like going into the Batcave to escape rather than to confront your fear.

A: So you remain in the job until you have a good plan for the levels?

B: No. You remain in the job forever. Because you will never have a plan. You are constructing your life from a place of fear. That’s infinite probabilities. How can you make a five-year plan when most of your fears say you aren’t going to last that long?

A: So, are you saying fears are useless?

B: No. Fears are basal. And they do a pretty good job of not turning you into a psychopath, which we can all agree is nice. Fear’s usefulness is limited to how deep into the levels you want to go. Are you afraid you will fail or are you how afraid you will starve or are you afraid you will still have no idea what you are doing? It depends on how much of a future you want to construct on the foundation of fear. Our conception of a singular fear is an endless stream of more fears. It’s not just any man-made obstacle. It’s made by you. Made up in your own head to stop your own heart.

A: So, follow your heart?

B: Follow a hope. The thing with the fear spiral is that it asphyxiates hope. And that’s what makes it hard to try. Fear by itself doesn’t paralyze us. Hopelessness does. And fear is really good at producing hopelessness. It makes you give up on the will to love and be loved even before you begin.
A: Yeah. I was surprised you didn’t bring up love. I think it’s John Lennon who said the two biggest motivation forces are fear and love.
B: Fear and love…aren’t they the same thing?

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