Why fear isn’t sustainable
I haven’t been writing much on this blog for a while now! Personally, it’s about finding the balance between disciplined work and spontaneous creativity/play that makes things work out smoothly for me. So that’s the reason why I have periods of sharing nothing at all, and periods of sharing a lot at once. It comes and goes in cycles rather than linear as we normally think in Western culture. Winter has arrived in The Netherlands, and this is usually a period in which I want to take it easy, have more rest and spend more time dreaming about things then actually executing them. The book ‘staying healthy with the seasons’ is a great resource for those who are interested in finding more balance during the seasons.
Recently, I read a beautiful quote from Noam Chomsky (voted as one of the leading intellectuals of today’s age) about the nature of work. It relates to concepts I have shared previously on this blog about Karl Marx his theory of alienation of labor due to our capitalistic system in which the labor process is divided and man, therefore, as well. “If a craftsman produces beautiful work on command, we may admire what he does, but may despise what he is, a tool in the hands of others, if the craftsman creates out of his own commitment, search , initiate, we admire what he is“- Noam Chomsky. Basically, its about the split, the dichotomy between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of why people are contributing in a given society and the freedom one has to choose between this paradox of surviving versus thriving. It is not a new insight, but probably one that is ancient old, since all people of all cultures had to make a choice in how they wanted to survive. You either make a decision based on the bodily fear of not having your basic needs met and, in so doing, living a mediocre life in sacrificing your creative potential, or you figure out what makes you tick, and see if you can survive while maintaining your creative integrity and pursuit of mastery. To me this is a shared challenge of all human beings to discern their true from false desires. More often then not, people conform to the masses and sacrifice their creative integrity out of all kinds of fear. In this article, I am claiming that this approach is not sustainable in the long run, since it will do more harm then good on the long run, to the individual as well as the collective. This is a topic I am highly interested in for several reasons. Not only is it an intellectually pleasing to work on this, I think it is also a crucial topic for many who are miserable, depressed, apathetic and bored in their current lifestyles.
Coming back on topic; why fear isn’t sustainable. My assumption on this is that fear, in and of itself, is inherently destructive and, therefore, not lasting, not sustainable. I have absolutely zero clue on how you can even begin to scientifically prove this statement, so, therefore, I want to invite you for a philosophical discourse. I want to make a distinction between navigational fear and psychological fear, since some fears are actually very useful, like the bodily fear that signals you to save yourself from a calamity. However, many fears are highly irrational, and we can question the validity and usefulness of these fears in making more refined choices in creating a better life.
One example is the fear of not having enough while you are having a million dollar on the bank and enough food and warmth to feed a nation. You can still feel the gaping hole of not having enough while you are living in plenitude. Greed is a fear that is absolutely unsustainable in the most practical definition of the word sustainability. You cannot continue to consume finite sources, since it will eventually end, and, therefore, this behavior is not sustainable.
We currently live in a world that is pretty much depleted of natural resources because of corporate greed and consumerism. Greed might be the most obvious example of how fear cannot be sustainable since it is an external fear, trying to feed a psychological emptiness with external substitutes, which cannot be done off course. It will never be enough if you are acting out of the fear of not having enough.
Another example of an irrational psychological fear, is the fear of being vulnerable. Highly arrogant people who are afraid to expose their vulnerabilities are doomed to sustain such a grandiose image about themselves. What comes up must come down, so this fear is also unsustainable. Real strength comes out of the humbleness and the knowledge that we are actually immensely vulnerable and ignorant. The fear of showing your weaknesses and thinking you don’t have any is being delusional, and, therefore, not sustainable. Eventually, you will get a reality check if you think you are superman and attached to the grandiose self, hence the reason why this behavior isn’t sustainable as well.
So these are just a few expressions of how fear can actually be a limiting factor instead of a beneficial one, as of warning you for a REAL THREAT, not an imagined one.
So coming back to how fear limits our ability to be sustainable. I have given a few examples of how irrational psychological fears are limiting your ability to sustain and transcend your growth as an individual. Breaking it down into brackets like navigational fear and irrational psychological fear can maybe help you in identifying which fear is beneficial and which isn’t. Remaining calm whenever these fears are coming up is crucial in getting mastery over them without loosing yourself in the dread.
So what is sustainability?
It all depends on how you want to define the word ‘sustainability’, since there is a great range of perspective on this concept. The reason is because it is a highly complex concept that can only be fully comprehended if you see it holistically. People who are solely trained or educated in one domain cannot comprehend a word like this differently then their current knowledge of the world will allow it to be. They interpret a word like ‘sustainability’ with what they currently know. You can only understand something based on the context, the soil, you already have. Economist will say that sustainability is about sustaining profits, environmentalist will say that it is about sustaining the planet and its resources, and politicians will say it is about providing the needs for the current generation without compromising on the needs for future generations. In my view they are all integrated, the economy and society are both sub-systems of the ecology, just like our bodily system is a sub-system of the ecology. That is the paradigm shift we have to make to truly achieve global sustainability if you ask it to me. The ecology has to be priority if we want to make all other systems of human live sustainable as well. We keep forgetting in our alienated state that nature, the planet itself, is what we are made of, we are all made from dirt and we all go back to be dirt when we die.
So fundamentally speaking. When the critical mass of humanity today is acting out of the fear for survival, and in so doing, depletes all finite resources without adopting a long term perspective, humanity is basically doomed to fail in the long run. Hence, my statement that fear is unsustainable, because the behavior that comes out of fear isn’t sustainable and the reasons why I want to correlate the workings of the human psyche and behavior with the current world ‘issues’ we are facing. I say ‘issues’ because from a spiritual perspective, I am saying that it is all just a learning curve, and, therefore, I don’t wanna be apocalyptic… Even if humanity as a whole screws up big time, it is my personal belief that all people can get another shot, at another planet, in a different body.
If the ecological system fails, we fail as well, since we are dependent on the ecology. The ecology on the other hand isn’t dependent on us, it thrives without us or not. We cannot thrive without ecology. So the quality of our civilizations is intertwined with the quality of the ecology.
So what is blocking the critical mass of humanity to acknowledge of what I hope is a logical statement?
I think it is irrational fear, the main obstacle everyone of us is facing on a daily basis. The many expressions of irrational fear, the demons whispering in the minds of humanity. By giving in to these demons, we give in to self-destruction, self-annihilation.
Hope it was worthwhile reading,
Planning on putting out more content during the holiday season.