Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fear and Panic. Not.

Are you at the end of your mother loving rope after plugging in to the endless streams of hysterical bad news and proclamations that everything sucks and prognostications that it's all hopeless and pontifications about how martial law is coming any minute and prophecies predicting that this is the end of the world?

Well stop it. At the very least put it all on pause long enough to consider the following points.

If you sit and look at pornography all day it does not mean that sexual intercourse is imminent. Does it? No, it doesn't.

By the same token, if you sit and listen to horrible bad news all day it does not mean that catastrophe is imminent.

You can tell when sex is imminent when there's somebody else with you who's naked and in the bedroom saying, "Let's have sex".

You can tell when catastrophe is imminent when you can personally see a tidal wave overhead. If you can't see it, it isn't there in any real terms that matter in your immediate life in the here and now. Sure, there's a tidal wave out there somewhere, that cannot be denied. But it's not here now. That means it's not here now. If it's not here now and you're panicking that would be like putting up your Christmas tree in the middle of July and waiting for Santa. In other words, it would be stupid because Santa's not coming for another six months no matter what you do with your Christmas tree. Santa, like any catastrophe, does not run on your schedule but in spite of it.

Now you may say that you know there are great big tidal waves out there and you're just sure one's going to come slosh you to Kingdom Come any minute. Sure, you can worry and pace and expect a tidal wave any minute, but that will neither hasten its arrival nor prevent or assure its coming. Your level of worry and anxiety has no effect on tidal waves or what they're doing or not doing. Sorry, you're just not that powerful and tidal waves don't care what you think or feel. If you are reasonably certain that a tidal wave is coming your way in the near future and believe that if it did you would not survive it, move out of its path. If you aren't there when it comes it can't get you, so don't be there if you're that sure it's on its way.

The salient point to keep stapled to our foreheads if necessary is that if it's not happening to you it's not happening to you, you are fine. If it's happening to someone else it is still not happening to you, you are still fine, they are the ones who are not okay. It actually happened to them while in fact nothing has happened to you. Your fear is not the same as their actual misfortune.

If you take the time and the necessary intelligent, reasonable steps to ensure your survival and your health, and if you take sensible security precautions such as not walking down dark alleys at night alone holding hundreds of dollars in your bare hands, you're doing as much as can be done to be safe and sound. There is no such thing as guaranteed safety and security. Anything can happen at any time to anyone and you can't do anything about that. If you pay attention in life you will notice something bad coming your way and that will enable you to get out of the way and avoid it. If you pay attention in life you will also be able to tell the difference between a real danger signal and a fake one that is the result of someone else's panic and ignorance getting unleashed and infecting everyone else who does not pay attention and has no facts and has taken no steps to self educate. If you do not pay attention then you won't be able to tell the difference between a real danger signal and your own unreasonable, unbridled bat shit nuts panic and fear disabling you and turning you into a jittering walking turnip who will probably do yourself more harm than any actual externally generated harm would do you. This is exactly like panicked goats running over a cliff. They are so afraid they're going to get hurt that they kill themselves. There's a bad plan. Panic is your worst enemy because it makes you stupid, and if you're stupid you can't take the simple steps that will keep you safe and sound, which can be as simple as stepping aside a few feet or taking cover for a couple of minutes. Running around with your hands in the air going, "Aahhhhh!" will not keep you safe and sound and don't laugh, that's what people do when they panic. That and much more and it often includes making the dumbest decisions that end up getting people hurt.

Not having a cow when you hear bad news is to know the difference between sitting comfortably in your living room reading about scary things and actually being in the midst of something terrible happening to you. These are not the same things. In one, you are perfectly fine. In the other you're not. If you can't tell the difference between when you're perfectly fine and when you're not you need to work on that until you get the hang of it.

Whenever you feel afraid, get your coordinates. What is the danger? Where is it? Can you see it? If you can see it, run away. If you cannot see it, it isn't there. Even if you're scared that it's there somewhere, if there's no sign of it, it's still not there. Your fear does not equate to there being imminent danger.

If you take these few little handy hints to heart and memorize them, you will be able to significantly cut down on your Prozac expenditures as well as other drugs that make your brain turn to mud pie but can't and don't solve anything or take away anything that's eating away at you in your real life. Being in the here and now will do you far more good than any form of knee-jerk mindless panic response will do you. Instead of worrying about things you don't have full and verified facts about and can't change anyway at the moment, invest your mental energy in learning what you need to know to be prepared if and when you should see an actual tidal wave overhead, and then get on with your life. Because there's no reason not to do that, and no good reason to do anything else.


  1. I supect the Rethuglican neocon thought police will be wanting to pay you a visit in the near future, and you will be taken to a 'secret re-education camp,' where you will learn that the proper mindset is,"Be afraid, be very afraid." I am afraid that the military/industrial/congressional overlords will insist on your conversion. Can't afford to have any independent thinkers peeking behind the curtain, don't you know...especially if those pesky independent types are holding back the curtain and inviting others to have a good look at the machinations going on back there...

  2. JC,

    Yah mon, I know these people spit whenever they hear my name. For the time being it's not much of a problem though since the number of people who actually know my name is about 12. When the whip comes down someday, then I'll pay for my sins and will be punished for thinking for myself. Until then though, I have to make hay while the sun still shines.

    Thanks for your comment. How are you doing by the way?


  3. 1/26/2010 - Hehehe...doing much better now that you're back. Just discovered your new post -damn, I missed your particular brand of passionate madness and righteous anger! was just re-reading some older posts and realized that I never saw your response to my comment - I guess, as I never answered your question. Can't tell you how pleased to see you emerge from the cage with your ravenous hunger intact.I hope you plan to grace us with your thoughts from time to time, and hope your need for hibernation has been satisfactorily sated. For now,anyhoo. So glad you resurfaced.