“Will the markets tank in November?” I have to admit, I laughed when I read that headline yesterday. No, I’m not losing my marbles – well the jury is still out on that, it is highly possible. I found it so amusing because in that one postulation, there was enough fear dripping off it to choke a horse. ‘Will the markets tank? Are we sinking into a double recession? Everyone grab your money and run for cover, ahhhhhhhhh!’ We’re not even in November and yet the news machine wants us to stress about it. Great, like I don’t have enough to worry about.
It got me thinking about fear and what a deliciously powerful tool it is when used by the powers that be – you know the powers I’m talking about: the media, the government, our own mothers! My mom just had to use a look, no words needed, and I would snap to attention. And nowadays fear is running rampant, it is the opiate of the masses whether we know it or not. And fear, my friends, is everywhere. “Terror threat was raised, another attack imminent.” “Autism on the rise, vaccines will harm your kids.” “Our planet is melting (okay, a real bonafide fear).” “The socialists are coming!! Everybody grab your gun and join a tea party!”
Let’s be honest, fear enables things to exist: governments, religion, order. Since the dawn of time it has been used to keep the human race in line. If you do not obey, you will go to jail; if you sin (and we’ll supply the list of sins of course in this nice long book we wrote) you’ll go to hell and be boiled to death by the devil...Well okay then, I will rethink that whole coveting nonsense. Even Santa Claus is fear based. If you’re bad, you get nothing!
In fact, since 911, fear has been one of the most powerfully used commodities. It has kept people in power, it has passed initiatives that ordinarily would not pass; it has fueled a variety of debates from immigration, to defense spending, to our civil liberties (and subsequently had them one by one thrown out a window). Fear has also inspired hate and ignorance, close cousins of fear. Be scared of the man next to you, cause guess what, he probably wants to hurt you. Why? Because we said so!
Even with the King, if someone has put the ‘fear’ into me in regards to his safety or well being, I come to attention like a freaking soldier. Hell, half the things on the market for babies are motivated by fear. Buy this or they won’t sleep – let me tell you, that is enough to scare your hair white. They won’t be smart if you don’t buy this educational toy; you will ruin their lives unless you do exactly what we say. Oh, and by the way, that toy you just bought, it’s probably filled with lead…..Are you scared yet?
Take advertising itself; we are bombarded on a daily basis with fear-based pronouncements. In short, if you don’t buy ‘our’ products you will not only be fat, ugly, and old, but you may just die sooner. So get your fear filled butt to the store and buy a cream that will make you look young, loveable and important. But be warned, crime is apparently up in your neighborhood, I’d lock your car doors if I were you.