Saturday, October 27, 2012

Is Our Fear Primal Or Conditioned?

As All Hallow's Eve approaches, "fear" is on my brain.

Not all phobias are because of a learned condition.  Fight-or-Flight response is a biological response that is embedded in our brains from the days when man was killed by bears or saber-toothed tigers, or poisonous animals like snakes or spiders.

I have a fear of roaches.  It's a phobia that will leave me paralyzed.  I once had one run across my hand as I was throwing trash out into a dumpster and while crying and screaming, I was scrubbing my hand with a steel wool brush.  My husband thinks my fear is silly.  That it's something I've learned to be afraid of and that I instigate my own fear to the point of paralysis.

Perhaps, but you should see him near a spider!

I'm not afraid of anything else.  That doesn't mean I will actually pick up a snake, but I'm not exactly going to wet my pants either.  I've held one, they're just gross.

I've photographed most "deadly beasts" of North America for the fun of getting a good picture and some of them have nearly cost me my life, but I'm not afraid. I get an adrenaline rush when I reach safety and giggle like a lunatic while getting lectured by those that stayed in the car.

I like to take pictures.  (that's a baby grizzly, no zoom, mom was about ten yards away, Yellowstone National Park)

I don't get scared during movies, I enjoy them for the entertainment, but I don't sweat, jump, or hide my face.  Probably for two reasons:  I have the knowledge that they are only movies & not real and I've encountered ghosts (spooks, specters, or something I can't explain) in real life and they didn't harm me.

I believe to some extent that fear is purely primal.  I had a cat once, from birth until he was many years old.  He'd never been outside and he'd never been exposed to snakes.  But once I had a rubber snake for a prop and he saw it and instinct took over.  He arched his back, danced around it slowly and even took a couple of swipes until he determined it was safe.

That's natural instinct dormant within us, proven to those that don't believe.

All fears are rooted somewhere.  As Halloween approaches, I see people getting made fun of for their fears and I don't think it's right.  None of us really know why people are afraid of the things they are afraid of and we should respect their fear.  Because deep down, we're all afraid, it's just biology.

Oh, wait.  And sharks.

I won't go in the water because I'm afraid a sharks.  Any water really, unless it's chlorinated, contained, and I can see everything.  But I love the beach and I don't panic when my family swims.  I just know if one in a million get bitten, that's me, so I'm staying on dry land!  But that's conditioned because I've seen Shark Week with that idiot specialist that said sharks won't attack and then they ate his leg on camera.

This photo is real!

Why tempt fate?


  1. I wish I could watch scary movies...even though I realize they're just movies, I just can't handle the visuals! I share your loathing of roaches; down here in GA, they are the size of mice...ugh. Luckily, they only come into the house once in a while. So funny about your cat and the rubber 3 year old German short-haired pointer spent about 15 minutes, barking ferociously at an old tire across the street. Wonder what she thought it was? LOL. As usual, Barbara, your post brought a smile to my face, along with a good chuckle!

  2. I'm from Louisiana originally, I know how big "they" can get, that's part of my fear! Anything that can push open a door just by trying to go under it. Nope.


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