Sunday, March 6, 2016

Liberation, Fear and a Stupid Quote

I don't remember who it was that said just recently "Liberation is freedom from fear." I did some unfruitful googling. It was a tweet from some singer to her fans. Why is it stupid? First things first, there will always be something new and unexpected to make us afraid. Liberation as freedom from fear really means one remains afraid of fear itself.

Liberation, if it means anything, means the recurring experience of finding oneself, contrary to all hopes and expectations, to be bigger than one's fears. Fear treated as resistance, as obstacle (and dare I say intoxicant?) is something completely different from fear as objectively and irredeemably evil in its propensity to destroy human happiness and potential.

It will be objected that not everyone is cut out to be an existential daredevil, nor will even the best of us prove herself to be bigger than her fears each and every time. Occasional failures, that is to say running away by dressing up one's cowardice as something else, are assured even in the best cases. A little failure sweetens every success. One of my students shared a Chinese proverb: Failure is the mother of success.

Or, is a little failure not sweet at all? Maybe we shouldn't think of failure in terms of sugar, honey and sweetness. Why not in terms of heat, capsaicin and Scoville units? Repeated and continual failures in pursuit of one's ideal might prove to be a stronger stimulant to happiness than any promise of a land rich in milk and honey. Not everyone finds the allures of capsaicin irresistible, and not every chilihead enjoys ghost peppers.

This all presumes, of course, fear as an inextricable  part of the human animal. If one has once known liberation from fear even in passing, it would make for sadness to think liberation could only happen just once in a person's life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog

Map of Visitors

Locations of Site Visitors