My deepest emtion

Sep 26 2008 Published by under Personal Updates

I think is fear.

It's only natural, of course, living in the USA, because our government currently gets us to agree to do things by tapping into our fear.  But I'm talking about something more personal.  And, it may not really be "fear" as much as "worry".  The whole "what if" thing.

At the most base level, it's probably the same "what if" so many people share, and some people much more directly than myself.  "What if I lose my job?"  Then I can't pay for the house.  I can't pay for health insurance, which my wife and I need (literally in my wife's case) to survive.  I know that the stress of that situation would be killer.  I lived for a few years in academia with the near-certain knowledge that I was going to lose my job, and knew the time when it would happen.

Nowadays, I like my job, I like the people I'm working with, I like the day-by-day work of it.  I'm a happier person.  But underneath all of that is my fear.  And, when I see something, or do something stupid, that makes me think that the worry underneath perhaps isn't as completely irrational as it usually is, it gets very hard, at least for a short period of time, to carry on like a rational human being.

Worrying about the future has always been a week point for me.  Before my academia-induced depression turned to basic out-and-out despair, it usually manifested itself as worrying, worrying that would take over my brain and freeze me up from being able to do other things.  It still comes back sometimes.  And then I kick myself for having done the stupid thing that led me to think that perhaps I really had something to worry about, or for blowing something that I observed out of proportion.

It is kind of sad, though, that all of us in our society, in or out of academia, spend our lives in fear that we have to hang on to whatever income-earning activies we have or else we're going to be in trouble, unable to meet our responsibilities, unable to survive.  That at the base there isn't a drive to make the world a better place, an appreciation of beauty, a wonderful curiosity, but rather simple personal fear that the bottom is going to drop out and we're going to be in trouble.  No wonder we're such an on-the-edge society!

Although, truth to tell, I suspect it was worse through most of human history.

All very sad.

2 responses so far

  • Pamela says:

    There is truth in this. Thank you for being venerable.

  • Patness says:

    Although I tend to think this is not reflective of some mere existential anxiety, I feel a need to point something out.

    When we live our lives strictly in terms of "should" we end up having a very "should"y view of the world.

    Just be reminded the only "right" kind of life to live, is the life you are currently living. It is yours, to be shared and spread as you see fit. Perhaps you see fit for fear to be more predominant. I am hopeful that you don't, and that you find ways to relieve that fear to areas where your immediate welfare is at risk.

    I know it's a problem I have a lot of experience with. This year I promised I would take more time for others; I also promised I would learn to let go of unnecessary things.