The Fear Factor

As I suspected might happen, everybody has taken away the wrong lesson — and I daresay “perverse” lesson — from the recently published West Coast research on the role of fear in maintaining equilibrium in ecosystems, as reported in Nature Communications, (“Fear of large carnivores causes trophic cascade“). What they should have taken away is the insight that subjective states — moods, emotions, feelings — are an integral part of the environment, and not that “fear is good” or that we’ve discovered a “surprising new weapon in the war against raccoons“.

Wrong lesson.

To be fair, though, the research only focussed on the fear factor. There are other moods just as vital —  even more vital. And I have no doubt, too, that some social Darwinist types are going to exploit such research for a justification for the “culture of fear” or the calculated political uses of public anxiety, or for a rationalisation of the social value of predatory or vulture capitalism, and not just the continuation of the war psychosis against “Nature” (but also against “human nature”).

The lesson that should be learned from this is that you can’t mask feelings or emotions behind a facade of indifference or nonchalance. They have an effective reality despite all such pretense that extends beyond the boundary of the body. They are an integral part of the total milieu.

But for human life, love is far more effective than fear.


7 responses to “The Fear Factor”

  1. abdulmonem says :

    Years ago I read about a community that have killed all vultures as un- necessary carnivores only to find that these vultures were the nature tools to clean the environment from the dead carcasses and that there is nothing un-necessary in nature. it is a balance universe. The worst carnivore on the earth is the human when he turned away from his divine message in justice and truth and turn that message in aggression,encroachment and blunder, as it is the story of our post-modern world which know no limit to his greed and rimless desires. I feel we are going to see the divine blowback warningly demonstrated across ourselves and our universe.

  2. LittleBigMan says :

    Intelligent study and remarkable results! Thank you for linking to these.

  3. alex jay says :

    “Fear Factor”: Well, there could be no clearer indication of brain-washing the public into that condition than the current media onslaught – in these here parts (UK) – on the “sky falling down” should the people choose to leave the totalitarian tip-toe of what is called the European Union (Orwell eat your heart out). While the majority of the Western World has been lobotomised with the never-ending soap opera of the U.S. presidential election campaign, we lowly orcs in the service of Mordor have an opportunity to regain our elvish heritage by sticking the middle finger to this fascistic enterprise.

    Even the faux-liberal press like the Guardian have joined the bandwagon (nevermind the Labour party – Jesus wept!) to scare the pants off their gullible readership to remain in a project that was designed from its inception to destroy democracy – the little that’s left – in favour of top-down control by an unelected cabal of fat men in grey suits pimping for their corporate paymasters.

    Fear is and has always been the tool of choice for those that want to control the true destiny of our species’ potential. And it is used simply because it always works … so far … but then, I always seem to bet on the long shot – never won yet. The folly of being an optimist.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    Hi alex
    I do not think, it is folly to be an optimist, once one knows the rules of the game as you ably narrated the situation. it is always the story of those who remain more patient, more tolerant and more compassionate until the end of the evil cycle, maintaining his fighting spirit in this human race, not forgetting the alternating cycles of our existence.

    • alex jay says :

      “… it is always the story of those who remain more patient, more tolerant and more compassionate until the end of the evil cycle, maintaining his fighting spirit in this human race, not forgetting the alternating cycles of our existence.”

      Ah …yes my friend. Unfortunately, my time cycle in this dimension is gradually ebbing away, so patience is a luxury not afforded to me in my doltage. Paradoxically, unlike my “baby boomer” generation, which has been ossified both physically and mentally (just consider the demographic support for the Medusa (you know who I mean) of the current American tragedy, i.e the presidential farce). Rather than patience, I want to witness action before I wind up like Telihard feeding pigeons in Central Park waiting for the “Omega Point”. After all, why bother making a journey unless there is a destination to reach? And that requires impatience; if no other reason than to leave a much better legacy for our progeny.

      Give the left hemisphere its due, otherwise, we’d all be angels. : )

      And, as you know, angels are envious of we lowly confused and contradictory schizos … the divine comedy – the mask of Janus. Laugh and cry simultaneously.

  5. Dwig says :

    “But for human life, love is far more effective than fear.”

    From living in close quarters with some non-human animals, I’d say that love occurs more widely. There might be a fascinating ethological study there — on the roles and effects of love-based relationships in the evolution of imteracting groups. Abdelmonem, I think your comment relates here — it’s possible that love is an essential element of long-term evolutionary success.

  6. abdulmonem says :

    While I sympathize with Alex impatience and my impatience, I know from experience that impatience solves no problem, it only makes us more restless. It is the alternating forces of our life,that never co-exist at the same time and always in a state of shift and that is one of the most benevolent aspect of the human life. Once we recognize that there are rules and codes for our existence and polarities is one of these basic rule, we became more able to navigate in this life journey. I enjoyed reading Alex comments because they are down to earth and never fly in the realm of the abstract. I agree with Dwig, after all compassion is the epitome of love that moves patiently and tolerantly with the beloved. I feel more inclined to spent my remaining years feeding pigeons than lose my self in a fit of unhealthy tempers, after all feeding pigeons is an act of love.

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