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Fear Can Keep You Docile and Under Control

If you never understood why Time Line Therapy® is vitally important for your wellbeing and safety – here it is folks.

You have heard this before: fear is your greatest enemy. It’s almost a cliché, and yet, almost everybody I know succumbs to fear from time to time.

Wrongly there is a popular belief that fear is useful because it keeps you safe. We disagree. Fear is a secondary response. What keeps you safe is the instinctual response of fight or flight. This is a response that kicks in from the oldest part of your brain called the reptilian brain and the rest of your brain shuts down. The function of this part of your brain is to assure your survival. Being the oldest part of your brain it is pre-linguistic.

If you think temporal-wise during the evolutionary development, the reptilian brain (the brain stem, etc) was formed before the neo-cortex (the biggest and newest part of your brain) came into existence. Therefore it is not associated with thinking. When you think about something in the future and you get afraid, this is not a flight/fight response; it is not an imminent and immediate danger. It is something fabricated in your head, which hasn’t happened and is not happening right now. Therefore 1. It has nothing to do with flight/fight response and 2. It is only created in your head.

It is amazing to me how most people don’t understand this very simple concept.

The reptilian brain (the oldest part of your brain) works to ensure your survival. When it kicks in it is only in the presence of an immediate danger or threat. And when it activates, the rest of your brain shuts off. You don’t have time to be afraid. You don’t have time to think. You either flee or fight.

Make note – this happens before fear even kicks in. This is an automatic response. Fear is an emotion. It comes after the flight or fight response. Fear is not useful as a protection mechanism. Awareness of a situation is useful but awareness does not imply fear! And what I tell you here is not a new discovery.

If you have eyes to see and ears to hear you learn a lot from movies. If you go back and read my article named 5 Ways Your Mind Is Secretly Controlled you will remember the famous quote from Will Smith‘s character Cipher in the movie After Earth. Fear is not real. It exists in our thoughts of the future. It’s a creation of our mind. Danger is real but fear is NOT. I don’t know of many people are aware of the importance of this quote, but there you have it.

Now, if this is how it works then how come that the parroted line says that fear protects you. “Be afraid and you’ll be safe” you’re told.

Fear Is a Marvelous Control Mechanism

(B. F.) Skinner, an American psychologist and behaviorist and originated the concept of operant conditioning (which is different from classical conditioning a la Pavlov). He was of the opinion that human free will does not exist and any human action was the result of the consequences following that action. You did something and you either got good results or bad results. But he continued by using this via punishment or reward to change behavior. This is where fear comes in very handy – unfortunately not for you!

How many times did you do something and were punished for it? Not only as a child folks, even as an adult! As a kid is easy to understand – school: pet on the shoulder and verbal praise when you replicate the behavior you’re supposed to replicate and punishment when you did anything different. You said something and you were laughed at by your peers – you were embarrassed. You learned that embarrassment feels really bad. Maybe it happened more than once. You may be now conditioned to keep your mouth shut.

But even if most conditioning happens early in life, as an adult let’s say you went through a red light and you got a ticket. You were not careful with what you said and you got in an argument with somebody. You broke your relationship and you ended up in painful separation litigation. This is how it works: you did something, you were punished and if that situation happened several times (reinforcement) you’re now conditioned to be afraid of a similar situation. It does not mean it will happen again but it also does not mean you will not do it again. The future has not happened yet and still you’re conditioned to be afraid. This is different from classical conditioning (Pavlov) which deals with automatic or reflexive behaviors (see the above paragraph).

Look around you: everybody is afraid of something. The news is only about bad things that make you afraid (and funnily enough, the more they scare you, the more you watch). Television and most of the entertainment is promoting fear. Billboards are shamefully threatening you and conditioning you. Don’t drive when tired, we’re watching you!” Compare this with a set signs on the highway in New Zealand – “Take a break! Look at the scenery! Life is beautiful.” Same idea, different message.

The problem is that when your mind is in constant fear, you cannot think any longer. You’re stuck. You’re frozen (by fear). You’re insecure. You’re lacking basic self-esteem and self-confidence. You cannot make up your mind. Your decision making power is blocked. You look up for approval and you behave only as required so you don’t get in trouble. Fear now controls you but those using the fear against you do so, too. And then you’re anything but safe. You’re not using the most important part of your brain – your thinking brain. You operate much like an animal or in a childish manner, with outbursts of anger like throwing a tantrum, and in this condition you’re ripe for an easy control.

The only thing that should really scare you is the thought that fear controls you. Do Time Line Therapy® and let go of your fear. Oh, and remember also to let go of anxiety. Life will be much better.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about this. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Just post a comment below.

Until next time, be well