Just being made aware that we are “vulnerable to attack” does not constitute a “terrorist act”. There is an error in thinking that we live in an ongoing “era of terror” – requiring constantly concern and combat.
Terrorism is the creation and perpetuation of fear – even without attacking.
Terror is a form of extreme fear – that can often result in panic. An effective “terrorist act” results in someone else’s “panic attack”. The “desired damage” – and all that really matters – is what the intended “target” does to itself.
There ARE people in the world who wish us harm. And there ARE people in the world who DO desire and intend to cause us as much pain and suffering as possible. Unfortunately there are also even MORE people willing to harm themselves through unnecessary fear created within them and their society.
Reactions to intimidation and implied violence are almost always greater in degree and scope than the damage or required response to actual attacks.
Our own government and news media have become more effective terrorist organizations than plotters and suicide bombers – because they are creating more fear, more often, for more people, and are less likely to be stopped, or even questioned.
There is a big difference between rational contingency planning or preparing for various scenarios and allowing the intellect to self-destruct as the result of an emotional response to imaginary events.
There tends to be an inverse relationship between emotions and intelligence. The more emotional a person becomes, the less likely that his or her thinking will be clear, comprehensive, or constructive. We must not allow fear (and those who seek to deliberately stoke and provoke it) to control us. Threats may be real, but fear only increases their (presumed/potential) power (over us). In many ways, the only thing we really have to fear is fear itself. Facing our fear(s) is often the fastest (and ironically least painful) way to reduce or rid ourselves of pain and paralysis in the present. Perception is mainly projection. How we feel on the inside has a huge effect on what and how we experience and respond to the world outside and around us. No matter how inconvenient, unpleasant, or undesirable anything may seem, it is always possible to experience life and respond to what happens in it without fear.
Death, destruction, and damage are not always preventable, avoidable, or recoverable, but the potential pain and certain suffering we experience – both in advance and ever after – as the result of becoming so fearful that we are “terrorized” is far more “optional” than many people believe.
A belief is merely a thought or idea – to which someone is attached. Beliefs may, or may not, reflect “reality” (accurately). A belief is only “true” to the degree that an individual accepts it and allows it to determine their thoughts, emotions, and (re)actions. People become identified with (and by) their beliefs – to the point that they are willing to defend them (often regardless of cost). To even question someone’s beliefs is often perceived – and responded to – as a personal attack.
Like anxiety, fear is an emotional reaction to what has not yet happened.
Fear is the anticipation of pain – in the future. FEAR can cause many people to Forget Everything And Run. What people can, and do, imagine is almost always far worse than any actual reality that manifests. Most people tend to usually respond to “reality” and what actually occurs fairly well – either in the moment or shortly thereafter. It is what has NOT yet happened, but which is FEARED may happen, that usually creates the most problems – and panic.
In her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers suggests that ALL fear is simply thoughts of not being able to handle what has yet to happen.
It is far easier to handle and respond appropriately to what IS in the present than what is NOT (yet and perhaps may not ever be – in the future).
FEAR is NOT always False Evidence Appearing Real.
Sometimes the amount or degree of pain that is anticipated is accurate (and unavoidable), but that does not mean that the cause(s) and effect(s) cannot be handled or dealt with – appropriately or successfully. How we react and respond might not always be as we may prefer, or how others can or do, but the pain and presumed problem of the future that provokes fear in the present can and WILL be handled, dealt with, and “resolved” – in one way or another – if and when it actually occurs.
Pain is very relative – regardless of the stimulus – and different people react and respond very differently. Both physical and emotional pain is largely the result of resistance – to what is (happening). Acceptance does not mean approval or submission; it simply means acknowledging and not denying what is. Whatever we focus our energy and attention on tends to grow in size, significance, and/or power – and what we resist tends to persist. It is far more effective to focus on what we desire than what we do not. War and fighting (regardless whether for or against anything or anyone) tends to increase and expand pain and problems rather than reduce or resolve them. Ignorance implies not knowing, not acknowledging, or not responding – to whatever or whoever is ignored.
Ignorance is no more an acceptable “answer” than war is – and I am not suggesting it as a “solution”, but many people and things do not “deserve” the amount and extent of attention they now receive. Instead, as individuals and a society, we would be better focusing on what we desire to create rather than what we seek to eliminate. People, problems, and other things often change simply as a result of how we think about them. This is what I suggest: changing what and how we think (and act) – without fear.
That’s my perspective. What’s yours?
© 2010 – 2014, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.