I’ve been following the aftermath of the election cycle very closely in attempt to make sense of what’s happening in America today. The increase in racism, hate crimes, and the growth of the Alt-right movement has left me scratching my head wondering why this is all happening—it has finally become blatantly obvious. America is trapped in a cycle of fear.
After Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life, God came looking for Adam and couldn’t find him, He asked Adam “where are you?” Adam replied: “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10) The first emotion Adam and Eve experienced was that of fear.
The strength and power of fear can only be compared to and oddly enough, undone, by one other emotion: love.
Many like to think that hate is the opposite of love, but if you take a deeper look, you find that hate is often rooted in fear. Depending on what perception or image you aim to project, it’s much easier to claim you feel hate, than the truth—you feel fear. Or you feel anger, when in reality, it’s really fear. Hate and anger can make you empowered and strong, while fear leaves you feeling weak and helpless.
Fear is often times an extremely irrational emotion that is rarely based in reality. The majority of fears are unfounded, they do not exist in the realm of possibility. Meaning, the actualizing of the fear is improbable. Unfortunately, the validity of the fear is irrelevant to the behavior a person exhibits because of their fear(s).
America is caught up in a vicious cycle of fear that is both self-prophesizing and propagating. The fear of one group is causing actions, reactions, and outcomes that is raising fears in other groups and back again. Meanwhile, everyone seems to share the fear of terrorists, losing their job, of not being able to provide for their family, the future, and on and on.
The raise in racism and the alt-right movement has little to do with hate and much to do with fear. Hate is a pretty personal feeling, someone had to have done you wrong to generate feelings of hate. Fear on the other hand is easily a universal one. Think of the fear of spiders, sharks, lighting—you don’t need personal experiences with the thing you fear in order to fear it.
Now, it’s not hard to tie the human fear of not being able to provide for your family, the fear of losing your identity and livelihood, or even your life, and appoint it an enemy like another group of people. This provides you a way to feel like you can actively do battle against your fear.
Unfortunately, it’s based on a false premise and will never yield the outcome you seek. You will remain fearful. You will not get the sense of security you want. You will however, successfully spread more fear.
The groups you target will become afraid of what they perceive as your hate towards them. Technically, they aren’t wrong to feel their fear, because they are in fact under attack.
Fear stirs more fear, and soon enough, all areas of one’s life becomes plague with fear.
To make matters worse, what might at one time not been something worth fearing, now actually becomes valid.
Are you caught up in this cycle? Do you know the real reason behind the fear you feel? Do you know how to address your fears? Do you want to break the cycle?