What frightens you?

What frightens me? What do I fear? That is a bad question to ask me. Or, maybe, it is a good question, that depends entirely on your point of view.

It is a bad question because I don’t know the answer. Short of being threatened with a gun or living in a warzone, I have experienced every mundane danger. And even if I were threatened with a gun, I’m not sure I would be afraid. Maybe I am insane? I don’t believe so. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to pull the trigger on me. I would healthily avoid any situation where a gun could be pointed at me. But if the situation chose me, and there was no way to avoid it, I wouldn’t wet myself – at least I hope not. Maybe I’d even be brave – or stupid, depends on the outcome – enough to be the hero.

It is a good question, because I need to look into myself to give my best estimate at what might frighten me. It gives me the possibility to improve my self-awareness. I used to be frightened by things. Things that don’t exist, and things that do exist. The things that do exist, which I feared, I outgrew. Not only physically – I am 6’4½ and weigh 240 lbs, a lot of that muscles – but mentally and emotionally. Of the things that don’t exist, I rationalized that fear away. Is the Dark real? As a physical phenomenon, absence or very low level of light, it very well exists. As a place where gremlins and goblins hide, not so much. Rationalizing the fear of the Dark away and outgrowing it emotionally go hand in hand. It is a primal fear. Other, real things may still lurk in the dark. In the wilderness, the proverbial Lions and Tigers and Bears, in the city, muggers and cutthroats. I mentioned that I’ve been to Russia recently. I had no encounters of that sort. Of course, I make friends easily, and when you have a band of gypsies and vagabonds protecting you, you can go anywhere. Another fear that I outgrew was the fear for my immortal soul. That doesn’t make me an unethical person. On the contrary, I am even less prejudiced and judgmental towards other people than I was before, and the line is clearer. When I still believed in a conscious universe, or God, I felt justified to hate people. Not for their different faith, or religious practices, but for doing wrong. I believed it was my personal responsibility to go after them and punish them, and not being able to do so was no excuse in the eyes of whatever higher power. Of course, that was all subliminal, and only thinking about it now led me to interpreting my feelings this way. Now I can let go of the direct responsibility and pursue more fulfilling and effective courses of action, like writing; after all, the mind is the most powerful tool we have, and changing it is thus the most effective method.

Rambling again, are we? So, no more fear of death and afterlife. What remains? The fear of life. Normal people, I am told, constantly live in fear of botching their lives, of not making it count, losing their meaning – without ever having found it in the first place. I might have that fear as well. What if my books don’t find an audience? What if my (prospective) publishers don’t buy the idea? I don’t know. I’ll see it when I get there. No reason for panic. I can still become an auto mechanic.

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