I am not typically drawn to sensationalist articles titled “What Are You Afraid Of?” Mostly, because I already know.
But when Parade Magazine fell out of the Sunday paper last week, there was a cool cartoon on the cover so I flipped to the article.
Here are a few of the things you should and should not fear in 2015:
Flu not Ebola
Domestic violence not serial killers, pedophiles
Heart disease not Mercury in fish
Not getting enough dietary fiber not gluten
The re-appearance of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases not vaccine side effects
Texting while driving not air travel…”
Note that domestic violence is number two on what we should actually fear.
Long before we feared flying in airplanes, long before airplanes, it served us to be afraid—of other animals that might eat us, things that go bump in the night, impending hunger or thirst. All this surviving through the millennia has landed us here—as beings with hyper-reactive fear centers in our brains that override rational thought.
But we humans are fortunate to also have lots of brain architecture dedicated to rational thought. This gives us access to things like ideas about what is right and wrong. About the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. And about how to survive domestic violence or stop perpetrating it.
I’d like to suggest an alternative to the fear framework that recognizes the wide open spaces of the fully evolved human brain. How about…
Use your gigantic pre-frontal cortex to:
Outsmart sexism instead of fearing that violence against women is inevitable
Outthink racism instead of fearing that racial stereotypes are real and/or irreversible
Promote peace and prosperity instead of fearing that there simply is not enough to go around
Think, plan, and act instead of fearing that nothing can be done.