The Puppetry of Fear

Human beings are blessed with manifold flaws. One of the uglier ones is our predisposition to taking a side. Given any polarised altercation, we are prone to choosing a side prematurely based on insufficient trustworthy information; secretly fuelled by our fears and prejudices rather than by objective judgement. We then revert to our primal brain and zealously defend that opinion, much like we would our chosen football team, political party, or religion. Performing startling feats of confirmation bias and sophistry, we shield our opinions from convincing evidence or arguments to the contrary. Anything to ensure that we are on the right side after all, and everyone else is just an idiot who doesn’t get it.

The horror of all this is that it makes us remarkably easy to control via our fears. While these have historically tended to be fears about religion, race, or gender; they can equally be fears about religious, racial or sexual hatred. It doesn’t matter – everything is grist for the mill for governments and their alchemists in the media. Of course, they don’t really care about those issues like they’d have you believe they do. They’re just available moves in a never-ending chess game, which they must keep winning at any cost; to keep us at each other’s throats, and keep power and money flowing in their direction.

So whenever you hear a big story attributing blame, and you’re tempted to take a side, maybe take a minute to pause and question whether you’re being played. Maybe it didn’t go down the way they said it did. Maybe they’re trying to control you with your fears, and pander to sides you’ve already chosen to get you to buy into something else. Something which you would never choose if it was presented to you straight.

An open undecided mind is infinitely better than a closed decided one.


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