A Virus Called Fear - Documentary Short Movie
Nothing new, but concepts tied together well.
I relate to the fear response on a personal level, but the doc also addresses its effects on a sociocultural level as well.
Um, evolutionary hypothesis for fear makes sense to me, forming over the time the amygdala which controls fight or flight response to threatening stimuli. And I agree with Dawkin's argument re superstitions: at their roots the various religions provide knowledge pertaining to personal transformation, having originated around "enlightened" individuals, but generally they become wrapped in cultural baggage by those aligned with the exoteric teachings and thus become mere systems of morality and belief. The relation of religion to the divine, however, offers an explanation for good/bad fortune thus offering a sense of order and comfort to those involved in ritual whose practices can be experienced as a form of control or influence.
As a child, I definitely developed down the "mistrustful" track. When in public spaces I walk around with my amygdala very active, constantly scanning the environment looking for threats, ready to fly or flight, and this of course skewers my perception of reality. I connect bits of information extremely pessimistically because (it is assumed) doings so is the least risky approach. Of course is it an emotional response, and thus not rational in the sense of using the brain's executive functions, and so I'm not existing within my relative potential (at these times). And my "drug experiences" lol, each one threw me into my fear-based pattern of thinking and simply showed me how my mind worked.
I looked for a sense of belonging everywhere. Many different groups throughout primary and high school. After school living in different cities. Existing with a very fun and active group, then a "psychedelic" type group, I even joined an online cult briefly. A major point of the video was to show how people like me who experienced feelings of unworthiness formed their own groups but still feeling insecure within them needed to attack the "other" groups (e.g. Hilter). This occurs on any number of scales. Between ethnic groups, nations, school cliques, within workplaces, etc. The vid also mentions cults like Heaven's Gate but doesn't go into why people who were treated badly in childhood carried on the "programming" and ended up murdering many others later in life. Other than attacking perceived "threats" as a means of gaining security I think those who attack people within their own groups feel a self-destructive impulse as their answer to pain but tie this "solution" to others they genuinely care about (in their limited capacity to love). So as they drown in their lack of love they take others down with them under the guise of love. (Just a theory.)
I guess the question that begs to be addressed is: what is the difference between me (and others like me) and those who succumb to the "virus of fear?" The video suggests education is the difference, that is understanding the psychological mechanisms of fear and then transcending them through rationality. Obviously this will work to an extent but even so it cannot take one all the way: yes you can uncover your superstitions and become aware of your attraction to negative media and heal childhood traumas to become a more wholesome and trustful human being, but won't fear still linger on as a fear of death, disease, loss of loved ones, status anxiety, natural disasters, etc.? The video seems to imply that through adopting a scientific perspective one is able to overcome all their fearful responses (by installing an "anti-virus program"). It doesn't go into the remaining fears and the limits of science when dealing with them. This to me is a major flaw of the documentary. Ignoring these other fears just continues science's search for super-intelligence (A.I.) and immortality (transhumanism) - potentially dangerous discoveries if not managed correctly - not to mention connecting ideologies such neoliberalism, nature as resource, biological patenting, conservatism (the belief that inequality is natural, an uncritical fallacy derived from evolutionary theory), positivism, etc.
My search for an answer to my fears has increasingly led me within. I went through different stages and various schools of thought but eventually the search faces you directly with you self. And what comes of this? Further rationality (science)? Irrationality (madness or delusion)? I do not yet know. But I want to say neither in the form(lessness) of consciousness, of metaphysics, of mystical experience, of awakening, of gnosis. Can it take one beyond the limits of our currently "known" systems of thought and reality? Can really knowing fear take one beyond the limits of this documentary? This documentary is itself a program created in systematic and automatic fashion from many other programs. It is thought built on thought built on thought. I think non-e once said, "the story would eventually write itself." I take this to mean that these systems of thought would eventually become aware of themselves and thus lead to awareness of self as consciousness. The video is an improved version of our reality maps but the understandings still have a long way to go. You can break out of this slow developmental road and realise your true nature thus "jumping into the story" and co-authoring it. Thus transcending the limits of the version of reality provided by the video.
I cannot say all these things with certainty but they are things I am coming to have more trust in and thus am experiencing them more. I believe most arguments in this documentary are correct but the video does not take us far enough. There is no "scientific objectivity" beyond certain thresholds and thus these experiences become subjective and "mistrusted" by groups in mutual agreement on certain rules. I for one am diving into that subjective reality at the risk of going mad but it is not so much a conscious, "rational" choice as it is a natural unfolding of my life. I am starting to trust in myself and I no longer believe physical reality is all there is. Thus there are hidden realities waiting to be explored. I may be driven by feelings of unworthiness originating in childhood but I have had many chances to turn away from the metaphysical path and create a new life of work, community, belonging, etc. however, I don't take these opportunities because I am intelligent enough to realise the possibilities of larger truths. Therefore I am grateful for my harsh childhood as it provided the catalyst which shook the bars of my self-imposed mental prison, which, although it could have been a beautiful prison, simply would have trapped me inside a false sense of self and reality. So fear can drive one into despair and destruction (succumbing to fear), toward a more rational reality (suppressing fear), or, if one is brave enough and has the courage to explore their fears, can take them to their natural state beyond their mental constructions of the world they perceive.