Friday, September 4, 2020

The Final Solution: Fear

Hitler l938 Sudetenland, photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 137-004055/CC-By-SA 3.0)
Fear can be very simple. You cross the street and realize a taxi circling around a double-parked car is coming right at you. You scamper to the curb with your heart pumping. However, it might be exactly the opposite. The phone rings and you're filled with the fear that you're going to be informed of a loss. “I want to end the relationship,” was a call you might have received as a teenager from a girl or boy you’d been dating. Such news usually came on a Friday afternoon in October just as it was beginning to grow dark early. Fearing the worst, you’d fallen into one of those horribly depressing late afternoon sleeps. At the time you undoubtedly were sure you could not live without the love object in question. The thing you were most afraid of was actually happening. Actually, the thing you were most afraid of would go on to happen again and again until you almost got used to the idea of the thing you were most afraid of happening--and your attitude about loss began to evolve. But traumatic events leave a tattoo and now even years later when you have a lot more to lose in the long run, but relatively little to fear for in terms of things like significant others leaving, you still feel that twinge of alarm at certain moments when the lighting begins to throw shadows on your wall. History itself may create anxiety, particularly when you hear the roar of a crowd in response to exhortations of hate from the leader who's addressing them.

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