Nothing is more relevant to our current situation than fear.
The first thing to realize about fear is that it’s not very helpful in modern society. In some ways, it’s an artifact of evolution.
I found a very interesting description of what fear does to our bodies in this fascinating article “The Effects of Chronic Fear on a Person’s Health” by Jaime Rosenberg.
- Alarm: The first reaction to stress recognizes there’s a danger and prepares to deal with the threat. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system are activated. Primary stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and nonadrenaline are released
- Resistance: Homeostasis begins restoring balance and a period of recovery for repair and renewal takes place. Stress hormones may return to normal, but there may be reduced defenses and adaptive energy left.
- Exhaustion: At this phase, the stress has continued for some time. The body’s ability to resist is lost because its adaption energy supply is gone. This is often referred to as overload, burnout, adrenal fatigue, maladaptation, or dysfunction.
The author then goes on to describe the toll that this process can take on a human body.
- Immune system dysfunction
- Endocrine system dysfunction
- Autonomic nervous system alterations
- Sleep/wake cycle disruption
- Eating disorders
- Alterations in hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis
In other words, it’s unhealthy to live in chronic fear. And psychologically, fear makes us irrational and easily manipulated by authority figures.
So, why are governments and media doing their best to scare the crap out of everyone? I don’t know, but it’s certainly not helpful. The vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover quickly. Yes, certain populations are vulnerable, but unfortunately this is the case with all diseases.
This September 2021 poll by Rasmussen Reports demonstrates the effect that fear-based messaging has had on the public. The result: the public thinks COVID is far more dangerous than it actually is.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 case-mortality rate – the percentage of diagnosed patients who have died from the disease – is 1.6% in the United States. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 30% of American Adults correctly estimate the rate as being less than 2%, while 20% believe the rate to be between 2% and 5%. Seventeen percent (17%) estimate the mortality rate to be in the 5%-10% range and 19% believe the rate is more than 10%. Another 14% say they’re not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Almost 20% of the country thought the COVID fatality rate is more than 10%! And another 17% thought it was 5% to 10%. It’s not true.
This is the effect of sustained fear propaganda on a population. Also, it’s likely that the 1.6% case mortality rate was an extreme overstatement, due to the fact that such an incredibly large number of cases go undiagnosed.
We should be focused on doing what we can to protect vulnerable people in nursing homes and hospitals. We should not be locking down society and mandating medical interventions. In my opinion, lockdowns simply don’t work, as the Brownstone Institute has clearly shown. It all feeds our society-wide fear problem.
And guess what? Isolation can also harm the immune system, due to both psychological and immune issues. If our immune system is rarely exposed to common pathogens, it may actually harm our long-term immune function.
We are social creatures, physiologically and psychologically. Without human interaction and touch, we simply cannot thrive.
Fear: The Mind (and Body) Killer
Since I was a kid, I’ve read hundreds of sci-fi novels. One of my all-time favorites is Frank Herbert’s space epic “Dune.” Minor spoiler alert: It’s a deep and complex political story that reflects Herbert’s experience as a speechwriter for DC politicians.
In “Dune,” the protagonist Paul Atreides is the scion of a powerful planetary dynasty. His mother, Jessica, is part of an influential sect called the Bene Gesserit. One of the cornerstones of their belief system is a mantra called “The Litany Against Fear.”
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
As a 14-year-old, I thought the Litany was a little hokey. But now I deeply appreciate it. Fear truly is the mind killer. It disables our ability to think clearly and can put our bodies into an inflammatory state, which makes it prone to disease.
My other favorite anti-fear message in pop culture is from the 2006 film “Apocalypto.” If you haven’t seen the film yet, I strongly recommend watching it. But you can see the clip I’m talking about here on YouTube. It’s a powerful way of viewing the corrupting effects that fear can have.
Bottom line: We must quickly move out of this fear paradigm and into a new one.
One of the best ways to exit the fear paradigm is to do everything you can to improve your own health and situation. Personally, I try to eat healthy, mostly organic food. I use an RO water filtration system that removes 99% of chlorine, fluoride, and other junk. I take a long walk every day and try to get a little sun. A few times a week I take vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and lots of probiotics. (I believe having a gut full of good bacteria is critical for ALL immune function – more on that soon.) I avoid sugary and processed foods whenever possible and steer clear of all “seed oils” (soy, canola, cottonseed, etc).
Personal empowerment and responsibility is the way out of this crisis. I pray change comes quickly.