Psychology of Fear Drives Society

The following discussion clip is from the Occupy Wall Street demand discussion list.

Here is the lead in post from Dmanic:

This [the OWS demand list] is a great list and encompasses pretty much all of the current practices that need legislation in this country. Anybody who has a problem with these demands is either willfully ignorant, corrupt in their own right, or just downright stupid.


This comment actually exposes a very, very big problem. If we trust the last election, upwards of 50% of the U.S. population qualifies [as having a problem with the list]. How could this big difference in human perception of our world exist when we are all “intelligent people” looking at the same issues?

A new theory presented on under brain theory, language, psychology and other tabs, explains how this difference in perception is directly related to both how our brains are wired and how we learned language ( i.e. both nature and nurture ).

The human brain did not evolve its functions to understand and deal with the complexity of the modern world. It was optimized for survival in a rugged, outdoor world where trigger-like responses were needed to escape predatory animals and obtain food. One element of this is what we call the “fight or flight” response.  And MOST decisions we make quickly are emotionally driven by FEAR to avoid pain. The result is a version of the three behaviors listed above. I would reword them as: anxiety driven blindness, fear driven survival response, and inability to understand complex issues due to limited thinking ability and lack of knowledge.

The problem typically starts out with the third trait and works backwards.

During childhood, our knowledge and mental skills are poor. We absorb things. But MOST important, we remember hazards that can hurt us. The harsher the conditions we grow up under, the more fear we build up. We also learn fear from our parents and other adults. Our early childhood starts a house of cards in our brains. I use this house of cards image to stress that, to maintain sanity, each of the things we learn somehow depends on linking to other things we learn.

As we grow into young kids, our fears continue to build the house. By the time we reach adolescence, the house is mostly built. That’s the time of truth: have we built a house that is solidly founded on TRUTH. By truth I mean very specifically, principles that describe real elements of the world. If we have, then moving into adulthood, we can be flexible about dealing with adjustments, because most of the elements are rooted in principles of the world that will repeat over and over again without much change. However, if the house was founded on superstition, moving into adulthood is fraught with anxiety, because the complexity of life and challenge of other cultures will not typically align with the superstitions. That’s when people shut off new ideas. They can’t deal with so many parts of the house falling down at once. It becomes anxiety driven blindness.

In summary, we will encounter many people who challenge things on this list. We all come to the list from a different background. Hopefully the interaction will make all of us wiser. The most important factor however, is, do they exhibit STRONG EMOTIONS! Do they stand on solid beliefs with little depth to support them. If so, the driver to look for is fear – fight or flight response. If so, we can expect they have a house of cards that is being challenged.

About Nanook

I am the "REAL" Nanook. I wrote the book LIARS! It presents the philosophy behind most of the posts on this blog. Look for information about it at
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