We as Americans are terrified. Scared witless. Our fore-fathers brought forth on this continent a great nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. They put their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on the line. The fought and died so that we could be free of tyranny. Today we worry about fighting “them” over there so we won’t have to worry about fighting “them” over here. What changed? How did we go from a country where people are willing to die to gain freedom to a country where we send people to die to protect our luxury? It all goes back to a loss of love. Perfect love casts out fear.
Fear is a selfish emotion. We can feel fear for others, but it is always based on our possessiveness and desire to control the other person. We can be afraid that someone will die and we will be deprived of them. This is a feeling that masquerades as love but is in fact born of selfishness. Otherwise we can be afraid that someone is going to do something to us or do something harmful to themselves or people we care about (and then we’d have to deal with the results.) All fear comes back to selfishness. And America is by and large the most selfish, self-absorbed country in existence at this present time. But of course, a country is comprised of people. We, as Americans, are entirely obsessed with our own preservation, our desire to stay alive and stay in control, and stay wealthy. Not everyone of course, there are plenty of kind, giving, wonderful people in the United States, but somehow this selfishness has seeped into our national identity.
And now we have constant fear. “Could your toilet cleaner KILL YOU?! Story at 11.” (Short answer: not unless you’re a complete idiot.) We have warning labels on everything. (Which may speak more for our lack of intelligence and lawsuit obsession than it does for our fear.) We are constantly passing new legislation to “Keep our citizens safe!” (By putting more warning labels up for idiots to ignore.) We’re constantly being reminded of how unsafe our world is and how everyone is out to get us and then given some kind of BS about how politicians are going to make us safe by passing more legislation and talking about it.
So how do we combat this? I recommend cynicism. Not the fatalistic kind of cynicism where you are paralyzed with the belief that nothing will change and there’s no point in trying, but the kind of cynicism where you see the world without the rose-colored glasses of optimism or the blinders of pessimism. Question everything, try to see what is really there. Most people believe what they see on Television or in the news. Sometimes subconsciously while saying how they’re all a bunch of liars. Question it for real! Question everything you read or see. Try to get as close to the truth as you can before giving an opinion. Once you have seen the world as it truly is, look for ways to change it for the better. And love!
Love the world. It is a beautiful place well worth saving. It can always be made better though. More loving, more full of joy. Love it and the people in it enough that you are willing to die for them. Once you have reached that point, you will never fear again. When you live for something beyond yourself, when you truly love others as you love yourself, when you rid yourself of selfishness in pursuit of love, you will find yourself free of fear. Selfish people are afraid because they may lose their security, their lives, their livelihoods, their luxury. They’re so afraid of losing what they have, they can’t enjoy it. They will go to great lengths to keep it and increase it, only to increase their worry instead. Being able to let go of what you fear to lose is the only way to quell the terror. Not by might nor by power can you protect yourself from harm. Everyone will die someday. Everyone. So really, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Except for fear itself. And bears.