By Jarret Horst
Apr 26, 2013
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear...” ~ H.P. Lovecraft
Our interest for self-preservation needs no introduction or explanation. Without mankind’s propensity and efficiency for self-preservation, we would be yet one more fossil set for some future intelligent species to chip their shovels upon.
Yet, like so many aspects of life, too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. When we become slaves to a self-preservation instinct, we miss out on the beautiful vastness and diversity that composes the entirety of our world. Not to mention we get stuck in constant emergency response mode and never move into the realm of unimpeded potential.
This instinct alone would not be nearly so detrimental to the forward progress of our species if there were not those who would gladly exploit it for personal gain. Sadly, this is not the case. In fact, it seems like a play against our self-preservation tendency is buried in the very core of just about every institution we find. The education system, prison system, financial system, religion, and even many traditional family structures have found ways of exploiting fear to the benefit of the system and detriment to the individual. The U.S. Military thrives on the notion that there are “terrorists” lurking around every corner. Politicians have convinced us that they are the final bastion of our well-being and that without our beloved representative republic, we would careen into the abyss. Or worse, Anarchy.