Brutally Honest Special: What do you FEAR?
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(Music intro: "Real American Remix 2" by David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this weeks Brutally Honest Rant. I'm David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
Let me ask you something on this Halloween week...
What are you afraid of?
What is it that you FEAR the most? What is that one thing that will keep you up at night, clutching your favorite pet or loved ones like a security blanket and never wanting to let them go?
Some people are afraid of dying. They have a lot that they want to get accomplished, a lot to experience, and they are afraid that they will never get to do those things before they die.
Some people believe that they are destined for great things, and that dying would somehow disturb the great cosmic balance. In truth, though, all that it really does is that it shakes up THEIR belief in the great cosmic balance.
You see, that's the kind of fear that some people really dont want to talk about. It's not the fear of DEATH that scares people as much as it is the fear of FAILURE. If you believe that youre destined for great things, and then suddenly something happens that takes that all away, then you've FAILED to meet those expectations. And there's nothing that you can do about it at that point because you're dead.
Thats why some people really fear DEATH. Its that ultimate finality, the knowledge that you FAILED to do all of the things that you set out to do in life. Whether or not the death is your fault, it doesn't really matter. It's the knowledge that YOU FAILED to do these things that really gets to you.
Sometimes it's fearing a great tragedy that really gets to us. The loss of your home, your possessions, your loved ones... look at the people who went through the tragedies of our hurricane season. Whole communities literally destroyed by Mother Nature! We're not just talking about a few uprooted trees or broken windows or opened roofs. We're talking stores, workplaces, hotels, roads, literally WIPED OUT.
We are afraid of nuclear war, not because we may die, but because we may actually LIVE to experience the horrors of it's aftermath. We may survive to see our loved ones die, to see our belongings destroyed, to see everything that we have come to know and count on be destroyed, and to see even civilization as we know it vaporize.
You know, when I was a teenager, I was scared to death of nuclear war... because up until I saw the movie "The Day After", I really didn't understand the full implications of a nuclear attack. Now I do. Now I know what that kind of destruction would do to people.
We're afraid of biological warfare; of bugs and viruses that have no cure. Not because we may die instantly, but because we might have to survive and watch our loved ones die from it. Slowly, painfully, without any hope for a cure. We're afraid because we may have to do things that we SWORE we would never, EVER do, just to survive. That's the kind of destruction and devastation that keeps some people up at nights.
But there are other things that terrify people. Things that are far WORSE than death itself.
Right now a group of men in Washington DC are living in FEAR. And that fear can be summed up with one sentence: "We, the jury, find the defendants GUILTY of all charges."
That's right... these men - and you know which ones I'm talking about - are living in FEAR that their sins, their tactics, are going to come back to haunt them. These are people who have amassed, wielded, and indeed abused power over the years, and did so thinking that they would get away with it time and time again. They believed themselves to be untouchable. Now, they're waiting with baited breath to see if they really are untouchable... if they can truly avoid justice.
Take a look at the chief executives of Enron and WorldCom. It used to be standard operating procedure for companies to simply fold up. Now when a company goes under, the suits can end up going to prison. You don't think that doesnt have an effect on the rest of the execs? You don't think that executives and accountants aren't double-and-triple-checking their stuff? They're AFRAID! They're AFRAID of getting caught playing destructive money games that used to be tolerated and excused with just a wink and a nod.
But there is one more fear out there that isnt discussed... one more fear that strikes right at the HEARTS of people all around the world. You know what that fear is?
It's the fear of being WRONG!
You want to know what fuels a moralist? What drives a theocrat? What motivates a conservative or a liberal to go on a freedom-hating tear that reduces their platitudes of freedom and liberty to empty hypocritical buzzwords? Well let's get brutally honest here... at the heart of these drives is not just the quest for power, not just the desire to dominate and control all that they see and know about, but the FEAR that they could very well be wrong!
Take religion. Religious belief is a gamble. You're betting your life, even your soul, that your understanding of the universe and the great hereafter is right. And it helps to have a whole bunch of people who think just like you do... who have also taken the same gamble and bet on the same horse.
But then you realize that not EVERYONE is betting the same way as you are. They don't value the same things as you do. They don't interpret things just like you and your peers do.
All of a sudden, there's doubt. What if you dont have it right? What if these other people are right? What if THEY are the ones going to get the eternal reward?
Thats where the fear comes in. You're AFRAID that they might actually be right. And the longer that these people exist and carry on doing the things that they do, the greater the chances that OTHER people may believe that they are in the right and that YOU are in the wrong.
So to quell those doubts and to shut off that fear, you decide to wage war against all those who don't believe like you do. You don't wait for God or Buddha or Allah or Yahweh or the Great White Father or Joe Peshi to punish these people for doing the things that you consider evil and sinful. If you don't act, then there's an even greater chance that you really COULD be in the wrong. So you decide to step in yourself, or, better yet, to get the government to be your personal avenging angel. After all, if you act, then you're a terrorist. But if the government acts on your behalf, then you're considered a powerful and successful religious leader.
But that's only half the battle. The other half is to make sure that no other belief can be treated the same as yours. You NEED to have your beliefs edge out over all the others so that there is no doubt that YOUR beliefs are ONLY ones that are right. And of course, you can't just bluntly IMPOSE your will over these other beliefs. No, you have to do it subtly, quietly, in incremental steps so that nobody would ever realize what is going on until it is already a fait accompli.
And it's all done not in the name of patriotism or the family. It's not done for the good of society or for the sake of the children. God and country are irrelevant here. You're really not trying to better society or even to save lives.
No, its all done because YOU'RE AFRAID of waking up one morning and finding out that everything that you believed in is wrong.
Now THAT, my friends, is fear!
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With all of this talk about fear, theres something that needs to be pointed out.
No matter what it is that you fear the most, there are people in this world who make it their business to know what that fear is and how to exploit it to their advantage. Some of these people are moralists. Others are members of the media. Still more work for the government.
But they all have one thing in common... they need to know how to manipulate you and to push your buttons. And they need to know that because its a whole lot easier for them to manipulate you through fear than to convince you on the justness of their actions through intellectual argument.
And if you should ever wonder why those moralists, government wonks, and members of the media treat the rest of us as something less than human... well it's only because they already see us as nothing more than Pavlovian animals.
Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and Ill speak with you soon!
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