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What are we afraid of - Essay Example

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Franklin D. Roosevelt once said in one of his inaugural speeches, 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself'.However,this is debatable because different people are all afraid of different things.Some are afraid of heights,death,others of insects and others yet of peanut butter sticking to the roofs of their mouth…
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Download file to see previous pages Franklin D. Roosevelt once said in one of his inaugural speeches, 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself'. (The quotations page, 2007) However, this is debatable because different people are all afraid of different things. Some are afraid of heights, death, others of insects and others yet of peanut butter sticking to the roofs of their mouth.You are hurriedly walking home from work. It is late and very dark. You cannot wait to get home. Suddenly, from afar you see something big and burly ran from one end of the street to the other, then a blood curdling scream. What one is afraid of, the functions of fear and even where fear comes from can either be explained by science or even philosophy. Fear is one emotion that can be considered to be felt by all men.According to Tucker, scientifically speaking, all animals, human being included are born with the ability to fear. This ability to fear is for the very important instinct of survival. For instance, it is because that one fears something that they learn to escape or evade it. This has been attributed to a particular region in the brain, the amygdala, through which we learn that certain things are dangerous and thus also learn to avoid them. (2003) If one experiences something fearful, say death in the family or of someone close to them, the result is that the person may become fearful of death. One becomes aware of his/her own immortality. This is because the fearful event is stored in the amygdala. Consequently, any time one experiences the death of some one close, the amygdala releases the adrenaline and the norepinephrine hormones which causes one to behave or act in a particular way. These are referred to as the fight or flight hormones. This is because they make a person to either confront their fears or run away. It would be correct to point out that most people who have had the misfortune of experiencing death can only fight as a way of dealing with it. Not physical fighting but emotionally facing the grief and coping with it. Fleeing from death is useless because it is going to happen to all us at some point in life. More over, one cannot escape from feeling helpless in the face of death. This too has to be faced head on. Thus, one learns through conditioning, to be afraid of something, it is stored in the brain by way of conditioning, which is why the fear may never go away unless we relearn how not to be afraid.
Philosophically speaking, we think so we are. It is our views and beliefs that result in or behaviors. That is to say, if we think we are fearful then indeed we are. If we think death scares us then indeed we become fearful of it. This philosophy can be linked to Descartes, cogito ergo sum. (Newman, 2005) However, sometimes it is not only that we fear animate things such as snakes and dogs rather that we are scared of certain situations. Our fear of certain scenarios and situations, such as an encounter with death, comes from the fact that we might want to avoid it. Nonetheless there is no real fool proof way of doing so. We cannot avoid living life to the fullest just because we are scared of death. As children watching our parents and elders plus our own experiences, may have conditioned us to think or behave the way we do with regards to death. Over time, we become openly fearful of this unfamiliar situation that is death. We could say this kind of fear protects us from the unknown at that particular time. But looking at the bigger picture it is evident the more fearful we are of coping with unfamiliar situations and accepting the inevitable, the less we grow mentally or even spiritually. We will never learn unless we overcome our fear of death. If we encounter death and are able to deal with it, we become stronger people. The same goes for accepting our own immortality.
The following poem on death can give more insight into what people fear, death, and why they might be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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