Worry vs Fear

I have always been a worrier. I have avoided many things out of over thinking the outcome, but I don’t think I have felt fear that often. Maybe the first half hour of 9/11 and the rest have been times that I have watched or read fiction that made me want not to have ever been born. So for perspective today, here is an example of upper middle class over educated mostly white worry:

Wondering if your breathing might cause you harm while you are trying to float back like the ex super model mother of 4 married to the billionaire while you have the body you have. Just try to remember to listen to your teacher when she reminds you that equal, full deep breathing is the best way to practice equanimity.

Here is an example of an impolite not very well thought out expression of fear:

Fear is reading the news and finding out that there is a town in CA that no longer has running water. Looking at a photo of thousands of walruses that have nowhere else to go and are beached in the coast of Alaska. Reading Quinn Norton’s latest on Medium https://medium.com/message/whiteness-3ead03700322 and realizing how really effed up our social constructs are. It is suddenly understanding that an angry enough and dejected human being does not even have to be insane, just a product of enough humiliated and pissed off generations in order to cause a cataclysm in the geographical place they blame the most for their despair. I hope the NSA/FBI/CIA  do not come after me for saying this, but what is to prevent an unhinged person to get intentionally sick, travel to lets say here. sneeze on his hanky and then smear it all over the poles of the IRT on the way downtown and then on the poles of the BMT on the way back uptown and then while at it cough all over the downstairs food court of grand central for payback? You might not want to come and read here again, and even though I feel a lot better than I did this morning before practice, this fall does not feel like any other fall.

32 thoughts on “Worry vs Fear

      • I hope my paranoia didn’t transfer itself to you!

        I probably shouldn’t have done this, but I read Hot Zone when the virus was at the beginning of its African resurgence, and let me tell you, it’s really not a pleasant way to go. It’s not so much that I believe it will sweep the planet, but on the other hand, I know I will be glued to that Dallas story until further notice.

  1. I think media is a little overdone as usual about Ebola, creating fear without giving more facts.


    If your immune system isn’t working up to par in general, Ebola and a whole lot of other less serious stuff we are exposed to can make us ill. Even the dang common cold grabs on. Of course keeping the immune system pumped up is a big job thanks to all the chemicalized, processed foods most people eat and the toxic air many are exposed to as well.

    So do I believe in the conspiracy theory around Ebola? I do.

    • Thanks Anon. If I am freaked out without having watched any television, I can only imagine how misinformed and panicked those who have it as a sole source of news and information must be. Will now go ahead and read the link you shared. Thanks again.

  2. I’ve been kind of on a news blackout in the past year, purposefully. I don’t watch TV any more. I only read the news, and that, rarely. But still, the information trickles in: Ebola and ISIS, open carry laws and police brutality. I know about most of it, even though I purposefully avoid knowing about any of it. That’s how strong the propaganda machine is.

    So, yeah, with the knowledge they share with us, fear comes up. But, the thing is, they want us to be scared, Maria. We’ve been on Orange alert without dropping down to Yellow since 2001 for chrissakes. They want us to feel fear – and to hate each other – so that they can keep us in check, controlled. Divide and conquer, so that Liberals hate Tea Party folks and vice versa. In doing so, the real culprits we should be fearing and hating, the .01%, get to keep most of everything for themselves. (And by “they”, I mean the .01% and their corpocracy that is our government. For insight into corporate divide and conquer methodology, watch a great film called Gasland II. It’s one of the most chilling things you will ever see. http://www.gaslandthemovie.com)

    I fear for my kids – for their futures, and for their kids. I fear even more for the planet. We are willfully, blindly ignorant. We don’t want to see our behaviors are destroying our world – because in seeing, and learning the truth, well, that means we have to wake up, change our behavior, and do with less. So, it’s easier to remain anesthetized. We certainly have a lot of options in that area – drugs, food, alcohol, TV, sex, etc. Bread and Circus, provided by despots.

    So, yes, I concur. I’ve become more cynical this year. I’ve begun to feel that if we are stupid and greedy and blindly ignorant enough to make our planet uninhabitable for ourselves, then maybe we deserve to go extinct. If that happens, I guess I hope the planet is strong enough to withstand our self-extermination, and that life of some kind will continue on our little planet afterwards.

    We need to evolve or we will die. And yet, I have no control over anything or anyone outside of myself. All I can try to do change my own behavior – to evolve – and try to live as lightly on the planet as possible, consuming less, giving more to those who have less than me, and trying to stay awake vs. anesthetized. Hoping that my actions make a tiny bit of difference.

    The other thing I try to remember is that there is good in most others and most of us all want the same things, really. Even if I think someone’s worldview is fucked up, I have to let go of fearing and hating the other, 1) because we all walk around in our own little conditioned, subjective realities that we got through nature/nurture and culture, and 2) that’s what “they” want us to do – fear and hate each other. The best way to fight against ignorance is to be compassionate towards it – and to educate it’s victims.

    I am hoping for the best. And trying not to let the fear get to me. As for changing the “they” who rule us – peaceful nonviolence in the face of oppression would be my choice, but, I know most humans don’t tend to go that route, and we are in for some dark times, methinks. Kali Yuga indeed.

    • Oh wow, how strange that you brought up my other source of anguish, which is finding out that the current Colombian minister (secretary in USA speak) of the environment just sold fracking rights to every multinational he could think of. The size of his kickbacks are a national outrage and he is going to loose his post, but the deed is done. A big chunk of Colombia is virgin rainforest still believe it or not, but he sold it all to the highest bidder. I remember someone on twitter joking that if the Rockefellers were divesting from fossil fuels, it must be because “we were about six weeks away from some Mad Max kind of shit” . Dark times indeed but more of us are publicly awake.

  3. And also, that Quinn Norton essay is outstanding, thanks for sharing. Ever since watching “12 Years a Slave” I’ve been consumed with angst and yes, guilt, about race and being a beneficiary of White American culture. It’s film that must be seen by every American: it woke me up. But, most (white) people I’ve talked to about it say, “I can’t really bring myself to watch it.” Agreed, it IS brutal – it’s akin to movies that show how horrible we are to animals on a global scale within the industrialized food complex. Most people don’t want to watch those either. Again, we’d rather remain ignorant than see the truth, because it’s easier. We don’t have to change or give up what we are used to.

    Even though I can say that every one of my ancestors immigrated to America in the 20th century, and “no one in my family owned slaves” – nevertheless, I am still a beneficiary of White American hegemony. And I want to reconcile myself and make things right. Not sure how, though, other than speaking out here about it, and with people who want to listen to my apologia. As Norton says, “There is something powerful in the reconciliation, and in the hard work of accepting and speaking truth.”

  4. I too don’t watch tv and have stopped watching the news but as Michelle points out, it trickles in. The break room, conversations, airport and bar tv screens, etc. I had just a few moments of nervousness about this given all the public places and airplanes I’ve been squeezed into with sneezing people the past six weeks, including the Dallas airport. But I’m getting on a plane and coming to NYC as soon as I can, woman. Viruses be damned. XO

  5. And I’ll be waiting for you! There is no place to hide anyway, which to me is a calming brave sane thought. Looking forward to a glass of something good in your company.

  6. Hey, this just in from Charles Eisenstein….http://www.thenewandancientstory.net/home/ebola-in-america-a-modest-proposal1

    In it he says,

    “…why is it that infectious disease and terrorism provoke such hysteria in the media, whereas the threat of a nuclear accident – which is far more likely – is downplayed? Let me offer a rule to predict what gets pumped up and what gets ignored: If the crisis provides ready means to increase the amount of control over society, it gets played up. If it is a crisis that defies our technologies of control, and especially if it is crisis that reveals the futility of control, then it is hidden away. I am not claiming a conscious conspiracy among the power elite to use ebola as an excuse to tighten their control over society, but it certainly plays out that way: any crisis that can be used as a pretext for more control, will be.”

    Worth reading…and I can’t wait to see you Friday, either Maria! Mwah!

    • Well I have a good reason for that. It’s because radiation kills slowly and you can’t generally tell, later, where you got the cancer from. Whereas Ebola causes you to bleed out of every orifice. That’s not to say that Fukushima & leaking storage tanks everywhere aren’t the greater, long term danger.

      • I think Charles agrees with you there B. Radiation poisoning cannot be used as threat to control society because it reveal the futility of control. I always acquire a sense of perspective when I read his opinions.

      • Ya… I saw someone on Twitter coming down on Naomi Wolf b/c she was speculating about the strategies behind sending untrained (in CDC methods) troops rather than scientists or, say, hospital builders over to Africa. Someone had accused her of saying the government was sending troops over to catch Ebola and bring it back here, when that’s not at ALL what she was saying. I took a creative writing class with her father once, at Cooper Union. That’s an aside! It just seems that whenever there’s an event like this there are always constitutional infringements waiting in the wings. Like the Patriot Act being brand spanking new & ready to go a mere month after the WTC blew up.

        And the way the cops reacted while chasing the Boston Marathon bomber guys… I watched a clip of them dragging a family out of their homes by the hair. These people were terrified! There were like 4 really aggressive guys pointing machine guns at them. (OK I don’t know if they were “machine guns” but they sure as hell were big, freaking guns). I was thinking it looked like practice for martial law.

        Eh. All’s I want is to get out of NYC. Too bad it looks like I can’t get a job in Austin.

      • Maybe I’ll do that tonight! I have to exercise though, after I get out of this thankless hellhole cubicle that is. Bleah.

  7. Folks, i don’t think anyone is trying to control us. People sometimes try, in an oversensationalized way to keep us engaged in stories, to keep us watching/listening/reading. Still, I believe that as citizens we have an obligation to learn about what is going on in the world in whatever way is comfortable for us, to not overreact, not assume conspiracies (but not rule them out), approach everything with a little skepticism based on lots of general stupidity and miscommunication floating around in the world, and keep engaging in conversations–directly and indirectly–with those who don’t agree with us. Just what I think. And frankly i am too busy trying to keep my own family in one piece to worry about larger dangers. But that just goes to show i am overwhelmed and have a lot of immediate problems.

    • Yes S, We should all try to question and not overreact while understanding how the media cycle works. As you point out it is also important to engage in dialogue with those who do not share our points of view. This thread just reflects point of overflow in anxiety that as I mentioned in my post was an impulsive blurt of what was screaming in my head (screaming: never good). I think that is one of the reasons why I use this blog, to leave an uncomfortable thought on screen instead of carrying it around. I don’t think any of us is in the “Ebolaghazi” camp, maybe quite the contrary in my case anyway. Maybe people who respond to my blog are a bit isolated from our mainstream community due to our lifestyle (yoga and other proclivities) and I like to think that we can pretty much write freely in these comments. Most times like you say, addressing what is immediately critical for our survival is the most clear and accurate perspective. It is said that nothing makes you feel more alive than real danger. Thanks for sharing what you think here while having all the challenges you are facing right now. I wish you the best solutions and that they arrive with peace and comfort.

      • I TOTALLY use my blog as therapy. For one thing, I’m sure my crappy health insurance would refuse to cover any therapy as every time I use it. And for the other, even if money weren’t a factor, just trying to schedule that hour every week in a packed schedule would create its own stresses.

  8. First off: I missed you guys! and am happy to be back blogging and commenting now that my own crisis-riddled summer is over. Ebola. Yes. I happen to believe we will not escape unscathed. One only has to recall the influenza epidemic of the early part of the last century to see how these things can get out of control. I also happen to believe it’s nature’s way of cleaning house. Grim I know. As for what to do about it, I think there is nothing except being careful and washing hands etc. Turning towards one’s own family/ friends is a great idea because action generates calmness. Which is what Maria does here. Fukashima is more scary and subterranean: massive effects are being felt on the West Coast with aquatic die off and radiation found in food and yet we are not bombarded with it on the news. And yet, we function better when we are at least moderately happy and free from terror and functioning better is really needed now. Some sort of balance between action and deliberate ignoring seems to be in order. If I figure out how to do that and figure out what I’m trying to say here, I’ll let you know.

    • I’m reading a book about histories of global extinction & finding some comfort in it. There have been five “regime changes” in the earth’s 4.5 billion years. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

      It’s a very interesting read.

      • And what is the secret handshake for the title??!! Hahahaha, Pencil me into your wine diet routine after Tim Miller. I have to hand over something that belongs to you.

        Sent from my iPhone


      • It’s funny because the author was investigating the doom of humanity (& is a fellow appreciator of Oryx & Crake), but found optimism in the fact that even SOME life survived a previous 95% die off. But I’m not even half way through so I don’t know what her thoughts are for surviving humans to adapt to a world where every single nuke plant & every single nuke storage tank (many with 40 years waste as of now) melt down all at once. Still, in the scale of geology, even a 2 million year lapse of life while the radiation burns itself out wouldn’t be all that long. Yes let me know when you’re back from Tim’s! As long as I plan accordingly I am still allowed wine 🙂

  9. I don’t mean to minimize the reasons for fear or attack any one. Venting on a blog is reasonable. It’s just that as someone who has worked in media my whole life, i feel the need to explain that journalists are not manipulating you, though they may not always be skeptical enough of things they hear or deliberate and careful enough in formulating reports. And like yogis, they’re a bit insular, and they don’t always hear messages outside of their bubbles. I did hear some healthy skepticism during and after the first CDC news conf, though we don’t always get that. Anyway, I think there are good reasons to worry, but suggest keeping eyes and ears (and minds) open and assume that there is not always manipulation and malevolence behind news stories and frightening situations. Just everyone engaging in CYA (officials), naivete and desire to be noticed (journalists) and the usual dose of general dumb stuff.

    Thanks for good wishes for me with family. We all need those. And of course, yoga helps.

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