Just trying to get the most out of life by figuring it out
What's the point anyway?
Published on January 28, 2007 By So Many Questions In Misc
I know people can come up with an argument for pretty much anything as being evolutionarily adopted, but really some emotions we can do without. Yeah, yeah, without fear, you wouldn't necessarily kick in that "fight or flight" response that tells you that you're in danger, but I'm considering a less physiological approach. I just don't understand how being afraid is helping us through life. You're supposed to learn from your mistakes and fear is supposed to help you do that? Well, I'm sure we've all made mistakes and then just started fearing them and the only reason we keep making them now is because we fear them! In instance, I've finally come to realize that I am indeed a fairly social person. I used to make quite an immemorable first impression on people, but I think I've bettered myself in this aspect quite a bit now. However, for some reason I still become afraid of sounding awkward at times long after I've established a relationship with someone. In effect, I think about it and think I'm seeming awkward which ultimately makes me seem awkward and then I just get confused as to how someone who is so not awkward keeps ending up having such Larry David moments (except a lot less funny)! See...no fear, no awkwardness...no problem, right?

And then of course it comes down to all other aspects of our lives. I have recently come to realize that so much of the...let's say, less content parts of my life, can really boil down to certain fears, whether conscious or not. I definitely know I have some form of commitment phobia. What the hell is wrong with a girl who can't help but totally care so deeply for someone else and become so attached to them yet be scared as hell (excuse the french) of getting too close, (I don't know...in fear that they will think I'm getting too attached or that I care more than they do, which may be the truth...so basically I fear the truth?). I've also recently realized that I have immense issues showing my emotions. When I talk about how much turmoil I'm in, I always tend to sneak in some giggles, so that it can be taken light-heartedly...(you probably don't wanna see me at a a funeral)...even when it's killing me inside! Some kind of fear, I'm sure. Perhaps it's some form of defense mechanisms that we tend towards, but really, I think I've had enough. I think living this way is a lie. So, uh, how is this fear helping?

Funny thing is I do believe all emotions ultimately arise from one of two base emotions: love and well...fear. Although this may seem to be quite paradoxical to my aforementioned pointlessness of fear, it just makes sense. Jealousy (fear you're not as good as someone else), sadness (fear that something isn't going right and you don't know how to fix it), hate, anger, disgust, etc. (vs. empathy, caring, happiness, laughter, peace, etc.). But who needs all those other feelings anyways?

I really do think that if we could all learn to live each day eliminating a little fear in our lives, we could be astounded to discover how amazing certain aspects of our lives are. Problem, of course, is how to make that happen. Shit, I'm even kinda afraid of posting this blog!

Any insight?

Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 28, 2007
Heh...emotions give us a spark. Even the bad ones are good for you...they make you more...shall I say, human? You can pack them all away with some effort...but that doesn't change the fact that they're most likely tearing you up inside if you don't let'em out once in awhile. You might think things would be better without the negative bits....but then you really couldn't appreciate the good feelings at all. The world is about balance...and to know true happiness one needs to know true sadness...to feel comfort, one must know fear...etc.

Apathy works once in awhile...but never let yourself get stuck in it.

~Zoo
on Jan 28, 2007
Yes the overblown fear response is just so quarter million years ago. Most of it should have left us a long time ago. Whether or not we still need any at all is difficult to say, it’s such a huge part of who we are. You gave a few examples but you could write several books on how fear shapes our actions. It is overwhelmingly negative and no longer necessary IMO.

They can put electrodes in the brains of manic-depressives now and just flip a switch to make them happy. I think a fear dimmer switch would be a nice mod:)
on Jan 28, 2007

Reply By: Zoologist03

What the kid said (and a very wise one at that).  You cannot know love, without hate.  Compassion without anger.

Simply put, as Zoo did, you cannot eliminate one emotion without affecting the opposite.  And I do not want to do that.

on Jan 28, 2007
What the kid said (and a very wise one at that).


Bwahaha...aww, shucks.    Thanks, Doc.

~Zoo
on Jan 28, 2007
I agree with Dr. Guy and Zoo. In fact, they probably both have high emotional IQ's.

I was always taught that feelings are neither good nor bad. They simply are. It's what we do with them that counts. In other words, you're supposed to:

1) identify the feeling --- many of us don't even know we're having them - intellectualizing them, minimizing them, fleeing them with substances

2) allow yourself the time to feel it ---sit in the feeling, painful though it may be, you'll develop a tolerance

3) find a healthy way to express it --- here's the creative challenge, I'll leave that up to you (hint: talking, blogging, etc.)

Were it not for fear - we might end up hurting ourselves. Fear protects us. I find I have to make peace with my fear to live with it.
Were it not for shame and guilt - we would make life unbearable for others and be unable to improve upon ourselves.
Were it not for anger - where would we find the energy to do fight injustice.

Anger. though, is usually a secondary emotion with shame (the feeling of being less-than) or fear at its root.

So, no, I don't believe we should eliminate any particular feeling. There would always be a lot of good stuff lost.
on Jan 28, 2007
Were it not for fear - we might end up hurting ourselves. Fear protects us. I find I have to make peace with my fear to live with it.



I bet you can’t name one thing that we need an instinctive fear response to protect us from. We have an intellect now we don’t need the fear response any longer. Fear can paralyze you and it’s a proven medical fact that an intense fear response shuts down higher brain functions. You’re far more likely to hurt yourself when startled of afraid. In fact people whom can overcome their instinctual fear are much more likely to survive a life threatening situation.

I’m sure the military is already working on a way to shut off or meter this response, so maybe will know soon if we truly need it at all anymore.

Any debate would just be speculation at this point.


on Jan 28, 2007
I bet you can’t name one thing that we need an instinctive fear response to protect us from


Walking down a dark alley with an unknown person's footsteps echoing behind us.
on Jan 28, 2007
, Your joking right? Tell me you don't need an instinct to tell you to be wary of a stranger in a dark alley?

on Jan 28, 2007

Your joking right? Tell me you don't need an instinct to tell you to be wary of a stranger in a dark alley?

What do you call it?

on Jan 28, 2007
Most people I see in the examining room are there as much out of a sense of fear of illness as they are out of a wish to be healthier. Nonetheless, I make sure that they are healthier when they leave than when they arrived. Thus their fear has been productive. Fear is often what causes them to reach out for help and to get it.

Regardless, likely only imbeciles, druggies and robots are truly without fear. So, the rest of us will have to learn to live with it. The point is, I and probably most people don't want to be any of the above.

on Jan 28, 2007
What do you call it?


Reason, I am aware like all humans that some people will do me harm and that those type individuals often hang out in dark alleys. In such a situation it would much better to keep your wits about you don’t you think?

Most people I see in the examining room are there as much out of a sense of fear of illness as they are out of a wish to be healthier.


Well as a Doctor you should know that fear and apprehension cause a great deal of often unnecessary stress. And stress can take more years of your life than all the bad habits rolled into one.

It’s possible some do need a fear of illness to get them to see a Doctor. I should think knowledge of what could happen if you don’t see a doctor when your sick would be enough but I’m not arguing that.

I’m talking about the massive fear response that pumps you full of adrenalin and scrambles reasonable thinking.

The response that was supposed to get us up that tree before the saber tooth got us, not the fear of eventual illness and death.

on Jan 28, 2007
I see your point, sf and I don't completely disagree. Fear can be healthy. Fear can be unhealthy. But stress due to unhealthy fear is more likely due to the intellectual process of obsessing on that fear. We rid ourselves of that obsession by accepting that we are afraid and expressing it appropriately, not by denying it.
And stress can take more years of your life than all the bad habits rolled into one.

And, I'm going to assume that you are not rationalizing bad habits as a way of eliminating unpleasant feelings.
on Jan 28, 2007
I bet you can’t name one thing that we need an instinctive fear response to protect us from.


Fear protects us from many, many things. Of course, being too fearful is a handicap in itself. Say something scares the heck out of you...what happens? Adrenaline releases, heart rate increases, pupils dilate and you can do things you don't normally do like run away very, very fast or try and fight....intellect will not get you running if you something or someone is chasing you. Fear is important in some situations...in fact, it's crucial in honing other emotions such as courage or love. Do you not fear that those you love might get hurt in some way? Then do you gather courage to do something drastic to save them?

Fear and the overcoming of it builds character...as a child one is fearful of several things and this is good because they are weak...when one grows older, it subsides because we understand things and should in a sense be stronger. You say intellect should replace a feeling of fear? How do you think intellect came into being in the first place?...when you are afraid you figure out a way to combat that very thing, thereby surpassing the fear and growing as a person or in the case of an enemy protecting something. It's also that very intellect that makes us have unreasonable fear...the whole multiude of phobias, for instance.

Emotion is very complicated...and while we may deem them as bad or unnecessary, the truth is we need each and every one of them to be a fully balanced person. The thought of casting them out is misguided and as far as I know impossible without frying one's brain. Some we are able to control, but not feel them?...I cannot believe that unless there's something wrong with that person either mentally or physically.

~Zoo
on Jan 28, 2007
very positive way of saying it, Zoo - I'm impressed
on Jan 28, 2007
"I’m talking about the massive fear response that pumps you full of adrenalin and scrambles reasonable thinking.
The response that was supposed to get us up that tree before the saber tooth got us, not the fear of eventual illness and death".

What you quoted.

"I bet you can’t name one thing that we need an INSTINCTIVE fear response to protect us from".

What do these sentences mean to you? Does it sound like I'm talking about the fear of your loved ones getting hurt?

Your a Zoologist and you don't understand the difference between instinct and emotion.

"intellect will not get you running if you something or someone is chasing you"

If your intellect can't get you running when something that can hurt you is chasing you, your a vegetable.