Would you really like to live without fear?
I came across this article a while ago and thought it would be nice to give it an airing and the thoughts associated with it.
Reading through the article it becomes immediately apparent what fear actually does to protect us from harm in our every day life. This story clearly shows how difficult that fearless life could be.
How on earth has the woman in the article survived? After reading this article I went further into some of the other research documents. The woman mentioned regularly put herself at significant risk because she didn’t feel the fear necessary to tell her “This may harm you.”
She did feel fear in the past. When she was a child she knew that things would scare her just like anyone else. However, due to a very rare medical condition she has reached the point where the part of her brain responsible for fear no longer operates. Does her brain not recall the time in the past when she did have fear and let her go through the cognitive process of “this might harm me”?
In the study she was asked to keep a diary of what she did and what happened to her on a daily basis. According to her own log she regularly stepped into traffic, walked through dark parks at night resulting in her being attacked by a man with a knife and held at gun-point.
In supervised experiments she was introduced to a tarantula. The spider itself was a particularly dangerous species, she knew this and yet the only feelings she described were feelings of curiosity and wanting to touch the animal.
Fear is one of the best self-preservation mechanisms we have. It tells us that something is likely to hurt or harm us and actively works to make us avoid that situation. It is fear that makes us pull back from the growling dog. It is fear that stops us walking down the alley in the more disreputable parts of town. It is fear that puts our foot on the brake when someone steps in front of our car.
Would you really want to live without fear?
I don’t think I would.