8/10/2005

The Nature of Fear

Fear and anxiety are two of the oldest, most instinctual emotions we possess. Survival depends on both. One of the oldest structures in our brain is the amygdala:
Located in the brain’s medial temporal lobe, the almond-shaped amygdala (in Latin, corpus amygdaloideum) is believed to play a key role in the emotions. It forms part of the limbic system. In humans and other animals, it is linked to both fear responses and pleasure.
Fear overrides both reason and logic, which are two reasons why it is such a powerful tool. In the hands of a fanatic, this tool can be used to change the direction of entire governments. In the hands of a government, this tool can be used to change the direction of an entire people. In the hands of a people, this tool becomes the foundation of majority oppression. Today we see more fear in everything - from television to the economy to political campaigns.

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So what is a person to do when society is so desensitized, cheap rubber masks and equally cheap campaign commercials no longer scare us? Simple: saturation.

9/11 was a turning point in our history, but not for the reasons we once believed. We are a people who no longer believe in no fear. This government and its supporters use this weapon, and not just a fear of terrorism, or death, but everything. We have promoted so much fear, so much distrust, so much hatred, it has become impossible to rely on reason or logic. Instead we maintain one, long stream of anxiety which permeates our lives to every extent the opposition can reach.

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for the whole piece see
It Affects You: The Nature of Fear after first taking a look at The Third World Traveler's

Consent, American Style

Many cultural critics, such as Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, and Ben Bagdikian, have pointed out that in order for American power to carry out the atrocities it has perpetrated abroad, it needs to "manufacture" the consent of the American people. That is because America must at one and the same time carry out the appearance that it is the freest society in the world (true, to a degree, as Chomsky acknowledges) while tyrannizing much of the rest of the world. The democracy of the U.S. is managed, while the democracy of the rest of the world is deterred, as a host of militaristic and authoritarian national governments point to themselves as "allies" of our great nation. Opinion in our society must be carefully shaped and molded within certain careful boundaries: those who transgress those boundaries are libel to wind up "extremists," "ideologues," "fanatics," or "agitators." Now that dissidents in the U.S. can no longer be labelled 'fellow travellers' of the Moscow-run Commie conspiracy, the task has become more urgent. And how is it that consent, that most valuable of social products, is manufactured?

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