Fear, a word we feel on some occasions, a word that keep many psychologist being busy working at (and keep getting money, for sure). Despite their complicated neurological methods to understand it, is it possible for us to approach it in simpler way? Is it possible if we divide this "fear" into as many pieces as we want, so that we don't need to consume all the pain?
Fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it, also known as the fight-or-flight response (Wikipedia). Yeah, sounds like a bunch of cryptic words, right? We all have this "fear" happening day by day upon us, and we think that it's normal. Well, since being "normal" is kinda boring for me, i try to make an alternative approach. Let us start it by using a simple example - the dark street case (I actually want to call it the dark night case, but it'll turn you into ambiguation if you think that this article is talking about Batman :D).
T H E D A R K S T R E E T C A S E
So here is the case. You're 14 year old boy, walking down the street alone. You'll have to go through a dark and silent pathway on the way you're going home. A large tree is on your right. A wolf's howl is breaking the night. (OK, it's too much, just imagine a dark creepy pathway :P). Let me introduce you Situation 1 (Figure A) that shows the FEAR level you'll have when you are in this situation.
Fig. A: Situation 1
Pain on Situation 1: Headaches, chronic pain and muscle tension, stomach problems coming up like nausea and diarrhea, exhaustion, and restlessness. We see that you received 100% fear level, which means that you're totally being frightened by the darkness on that street.
Now, with other variables being equal, you're accompanied by your friend, another 14 year old boy. Both of you walk down the street together. Here is the fear level you and your friend will have, i name it Situation 2 (Figure B).
Fig. B: Situation 2
As we can see on Figure B, Situation 2 shows that the FEAR level declines to 50% (you can see that those 2 young boys are sweating no more). This phenomenon indicates that FEAR could be treated as a mathematical substance, where you could divide it into two parts. Now we'll see how it would be if we add one more boy into the situation.
Fig. C: Situation 3
As we can see that, the dark street is not frightening any more for those three boys. The FEAR level has fallen to 33%. As a conclusion, we see that the FEAR level is a mathematical substance. The more people we put into the situation, the less the fear they have. (1 person-> 100%, 2 person -> 50%, 3 person-33%, 4 person->25%, and so on).
Having other variable being equal is something we only have in a lab, , thus we need to add one more variable into it (The case is getting more serious!). Let's have experiments with variable AGE. Would the result be the same if the boys are not having the same age ?
Fig. D: Situation 4
Now we can see that we add a complication to the formula if the variable AGE is put into account. The FEAR level the young boy has is no longer as much as his partner's (the baby's). The baby doesn't know anything about why being afraid by being in a dark street, so the baby's not afraid (FEAR level 10% or less). On the other hand, the young boy feels that his partner (the baby) is someone unreliable to share the FEAR with, thus his level rises to 90% instead of being 50%. The boy's perception (about the baby's unreliability) has changed the result. The boy is the victim of the situation. (the one who gets more FEAR level).
The next situation is a bit different. We would like to try older man to accompany the young boy.
Fig. E: Situation 5
An old man, with presumption that he has walked through the dark street many times before, doesn't really care whoever his partner is. This old man will stay calm and have small FEAR level (he might still have a small fraction of FEAR if he remember the bad news about his friend having bad experience going through that dark street). On the other hand, the young boy feels very secured since he is with an old experienced and reliable man. In this case, there are two perceptions getting involved into account (the boy's and the old man's). The old man's FEAR level would not change whoever his partner is, while the boy's FEAR level is declining since he is accompanied by the old man.
So, the hypothesis is proved to be vulnerable if many variables is put into account. Well then, why are we wasting time reading this article?
I wouldn't say that FEAR is absolutely not a mathematical substance, which we could divide or subtract (we already proved it in THE DARK STREET case). But I could say that, we could arrange our self to treat FEAR as a mathematical substance. We could modify it to avoid the pain the FEAR feeling brings. Thus, when you're having a situation, you could either :
a. Share your fear with your other (equal) friend. If you could find the right people to share with (friends at the same age or at the same league), then the fear level (hopefully) will fall into 33% (if you find another 2 equal friends). We could find the result on Figure C (Situation 3). The FEAR could possibly fall by some smaller amount if you share more with another people at the same age.
b. Meet another experienced people. You will certainly be sure that the problem is not impossible to solve when you hear another people's success story. As you can see on Figure E (Situation 5), your FEAR would fall to 25% if you share it with another people whom you really believe in.
- THE END -