School children in Great Barrington were put in lockdown early this past week in response to threats of violence. A caller declared he was entering a school with a gun and a bomb. Great Barrington was one of a dozen towns targeted across Massachusetts with similar threats. Massive emergency responses were triggered by the threats and understandably so. The threats turned out to be false, thankfully, but nonetheless fear and anxiety spread across communities throughout the state.
Local and federal authorities are investigating what appears to be some sort of fear-mongering hoax.
Fear and evil
Instigating fear is a high crime, in my view. No matter who is doing it. Fear is a primal state. In the face of fear, different behavioral patterns emerge. An ancient, animalistic response kicks in. It’s deep-seated, fueled by adrenaline: the “fight or flight” state.
- Our pupils dilate.
- Our breathing accelerates.
- Our heart rate and blood pressure rise.
- Rationality is not a part of the fear state. Thinking, an essential human function fades.
- We become more impressionable and more open to suggestion.
“Fear is a good motivator. Control can be established through fear.” These are well-known totalitarian “facts” and not too remote from other thoughts. “The human is a hackable animal; freedom is an illusion.” These thoughts are the equivalent of a sickness to me, but they are also out there. They are anti-human. They become true if we don’t resist them.
Fear is so pervasive. It’s like an institution in our times. How do we resist?
When we become fearful there is a ready mistake of desiring to “cast out evil” or whatever is suggested to be the cause of our fear. You could call it the pandemic approach. While fear remains unchallenged, we take illogical steps to relieve our fear by eliminating undesirables in the environment, and eliminating or canceling anything or anyone who is contributing to the problem state. It’s a failure. It’s a false “black and white” worldview.
The Right Stuff
We will feel fear. We will face evil. It’s our next step in the face of fear and evil that matters most. The true fix is inside. The undesirable is inside of us: and it’s named fear. It’s the revolutionary step to eradicate fear from ourselves. We must remember our wholeness and live into the big perspective of who we are and what our life means: to live out of trust. It’s not at all a blind trust but rather an attentive, watchful, and prudent trust. Trust is the key: in ourselves, each other, and in the spiritual world.
A paraphrase from an excerpt from Rudolf Steiner on the topic:
It becomes essential to eradicate all fear from the soul. We must practice serenity. It becomes a spiritual task and one we must practice every day. Looking at whatever comes into our life through a lens of calm and equanimity is a big part. Don’t be quick to judge a circumstance. Let it unfold. We must trust that whatever we face is part of a universal system that is vaster than our limited view and full of wisdom. We must trust that we have help from the spiritual world.
Be part of the revolution. The human is not a hackable animal. The human being is a powerful spiritual being on an earthly journey to experience and face evil and to learn love through vanquishing fear.
Read this next quote and feel what is in the words:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
From John’s gospel
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
The revolutionary step in today’s world is to seek and nurture fearlessness, to go against the grain. It’s a universal antidote for our times. And where do we find it? The true human response to fear is in a re-connection to our vaulted spiritual nature, regardless of your spiritual tradition.
“There is no fear in love; …perfect love casts out fear.”
John’s Gospel, again
Through the resultant acceptance, we maintain our wholeness, with ourselves and with our community. We allow for something different than us. Evil doesn’t thrive in that setting. This is how we eventually transform evil, which is blended in shades of grey everywhere. Evil is seen as a stimulator of our activity. It’s our teacher. Viewed in this way it is also in service of good!
If you find some sense in that, you might have a little Manichean influence in your worldview.
“The essence of Manichean teaching relates to the doctrine of Good and Evil. In ordinary thought, the Good and the Evil are two irreducible qualities, one of which — the Good — must destroy the other — the Evil. To the Manicheans, however, Evil is an integral part of the cosmos, collaborating in its evolution, finally to be absorbed and transfigured by the Good.”
— R. Steiner
Be strong. Be fearless. Be a revolutionary force for good!
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