Why We Are Afraid

Roy Masters from the Book ‘Cure Stress’

We have fear because we meet each moment unwisely, and unfairly. Animals cannot choose to be unfair or unwise; they are limited to one of two basic responses: run or fight.

Technically, they are not afraid when they flee danger. They are simply stimulated in nature’s way to outwit their adversary.

They evolve stronger legs or wings or other mechanisms in this process.

Their physical structure is maintained and developed by means of their reactions to the excitement of danger. If they run, they develop. If they become ferocious and fight back, they develop also. In either case, their reply to life’s dangers is correct for them.

People, however, should not respond in the way of the animal inasmuch as they differ from the animal in one significant way; that is, they have reason. Reason or wisdom is a quality different from cunning or rationale.

It is not a reaction to environmental stimulus. Cunning, on the other hand, is. It arises from a reaction of emotion, which bubbles

into our minds as thought, which travels back through emotion into bodily activity.

Notice the cycle. It works like a computer. Fed the problem—two plus two, for instance—the computer replies with “four.” So it is with growth.

The danger represents the problem for our physical computer. It stimulates our emotions to produce a mental answer. The thought now patterns the bodily action. The sequence, repeated over a period of time, produces a habit pattern, and the answer becomes flesh.

This is the evolutionary process, by means of which natural life is sustained. If you separated an animal from its environment, its body and mind would lose the sustaining factor and pattern of growth, and it would die.

Yet man makes this very mistake when he tries to avoid feeling the fear, guilt and agony of not being able to meet each moment with wisdom and reason, for his natural environment is reason.

Each resentment is an attempt to reply to life and its challenges as an evolving beast. It causes us to feel, think and do terrible things. Once we are caught up in this animal cycle, any attempt to suppress our bubbling emotions makes us feel as though we were going to burst.

We may indeed distract ourselves from the disturbing parade of thoughts arising from our feelings, but that does not interrupt the process. We need larger amounts of pleasure, medication, drugs and distractions, all of which excite and disturb the body still more.

For man, any reaction based upon hostility bypasses the modifying factor of reason and prods his mind and body into mutilating changes that are proper for the beast but are guilt and fear-producing in man.

Why does man react badly to irritants, temptation and danger? It is because he does not love wisdom. He loves his own advantage. He has set his own goals and ambitions for life instead of seeking to discover what was prepared for him.

In order to have what he wants, he must deny the prod of reason toward what is prepared for him. Indeed, he must not even allow himself to see it for fear of being paralyzed into inaction by shame, disabled from pursuing the egocentric goals that the light of reality would show to be impossible of any real attainment.

In the setting of his own path, man sets himself against the obedience to conscience and the world within. He seeks and needs support for his illusions and aspirations, for now he is minus the relationship with an inward stimulation from an inward world, out of which he could unfold to become different from the beast of the field.

“Man takes his shape and responses from what he stands next to.”

Man takes his shape and responses from what he stands next to. Pursuing our own goals, we become sensitive to the forces of our outer environment. This consists of billions of other selfish men and women, also without reason, likewise maneuvering for their own advantage.

They also spend their lives devising ways to stimulate, bamboozle and manipulate others to gain their own ends, blinding them to the light of

reality that would disable their illicit schemes.

All is injustice; injustice because none of us will listen to the reason that haunts us as guilt whenever we fail to live rightly in any given moment.

We live ambitiously, selfishly, blindly inflicting cruelties upon our fellows even as they inflict them upon us. We start by responding to another cunning manipulator who appeals to or supports our own ambitions (for his own good).

We are excited by his wooing, and our consciousness is led captive into the powerful material world. It falls from reality into the realm of rationale and excuses. To escape from seeing our own weakness, we sit in judgment on our deceiver, and our own hostility to-ward him increases our sensitivity to life.

Hostility makes us feel right in our wrong, and our sense of rightness stimulates us to be aggressive. You see, we have lost the inner stimulation by virtue of our denial of it, by choosing our own ways, by allowing ourselves to be led into false beliefs.

We have justified these ways as correct; we have rationalized them as right, and we have argued against our conscience, calling it wrong.

All this is aided by more outside stimulus. We have actually become enemies of reality!

Because of this, we need the stimulation of the outer world to give us the drive that would otherwise come from within.

But when the excitement comes along, it binds us even more closely to its controlling factor and separates us even more from what is

right for that moment.