The Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Fear and Anxiety
Author Gordon Livingston discusses the psychological breakdown of fear and how it affects the lives of everyone.
BY: Gordon Livingston
Our preoccupation with “safety” is a natural reaction to our vulnerability to loss. At the same time, the search for perfect safety is absurd given the inevitability of our eventual demise.
Even as our lives have become safer overall, our fears remain intact and lie at the foundation of our most revered institutions, notably religion, which typically promises some version of immortality as a salve for our dread of extinction.
Americans live in an increasingly authoritarian society out of persistent fear that other tribes in distant places are a threat to our way of life, to our very existence. Over the last century, this apprehension has brought us to a continual state of war, which shows no sign of abating. And, although we congratulate ourselves for being a peace-loving people, our national anthem is a tribute to fighting off threatening foreigners. (Because I am, by accident of birth, an American, the reader will find that most societal references in this book derive from this place and time. However, I have tried to choose themes with universal meaning and application.)