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Actions Before Choices: The Danger Of Too Much Choice
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Actions Before Choices: The Danger Of Too Much Choice

There is nothing wrong with fear. Despite it being associated with cowardice and weakness in the minds of those who value bravery and strength, fear is potentially one our greatest assets. Without it we would have almost certainly perished as a species. However, as with water, a drop of fear can be quite refreshing, but it can also be an ocean than can swamp us and drown us. I suspect this is because fear is not so much an emotion as a tool; provided by nature for our survival. However, like many tools, such as a hammer, screwdriver, knife, scissors etc, it can be utilised as a weapon; thereby changing survival-via-constructive tools into survival-via-destructive weapons.

Of these two categories of fear, I suggest that the former is congruent with life enhancing reason whilst the latter is congruent with life diminishing passion. Reduced further, my suggestion might be taken to mean that Fear and Reason can work wonders whilst Fear and Passion can wreak havoc.

If this is true, it essentially means that we are back to the old dilemma of which serves us better; Reason or Passion? And since I have posited that fear can be both a tool and a weapon, we might benefit from establishing whether fear is better responded to by reason or passion. Our survival might well lie in the conclusion we arrive at.

There is no doubt that our world is one which results in us being both secure and insecure at the same time. We can travel on relatively comfortable and safe public transport, but can find ourselves caught up in collisions, system failures and wilful acts of destruction that turn those relatively comfortable and safe public transports into furnaces and war-zones.

This implies that whatever our world is, it is neither for us nor against us. It both refreshes us and drowns us depending on the situation we find ourselves in; and in that situation, where our refreshment or drowning is insignificant to our home planet; our only hope might lie in the faculties we apply to our fear. Will it be reason or passion?

I sense I might have stumbled upon an unsuspected curiosity today; that curiosity being that in a situation where my survival or demise is irrelevant to my environment, I am faced between choosing to address my fear with reason or passion. It means that I am likely to spend time choosing the way to address my fear whilst the cause of my fear prevails.

This all hints that the old dilemma of which serves us better; Reason or Passion, is not a dilemma at all. It is a dampener of spontaneous action. The introduction of a choice between Reason and Passion during periods of fear is merely a tactic to avoid activity.

But what benefit would there be in avoiding activity when activity is required? Whatever it is, it seems logical that it is only of benefit to that which would benefit from our inactivity. And the only thing that would benefit from our inactivity is that which would have to pay a price for our activity; so pops a dampener in; a choice between two things that actually require no choice from us. A dilemma where there is no dilemma.

What does all this have to do with politics? – Everything! One who wishes to amass power would be wise to dampen the actions of those whose actions might dampen its power. And what better way to dampen activity than to distract those who might act with a choice between acting upon reason or passion?

Reason and Passion are both tools and weapons of our nature; but they are neither a tool box nor an armoury to be governed by reason or passion. They are natural human facilities to be governed by reason and passion during a given situation.

Fear is fast diminished by those who act rather than deliberate. It is wise to beware of those who encourage us to believe that lots of choice and lots of dilemma is a sign of a good society. It might well be a sign of political strategy being used to protect power.

We are not forged by our choices between X and Y but by Z; our actions in our situations.


Street Talk

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