Halloween and the Fear Treadmill

October 31, 2011

Halloween isn’t really that scary of a holiday. Its assortment of images includes all the horror movie stars: ghosts, goblins, vampires, demons, monsters, zombies, mummies, witches. But these are all cute and smiling on our decorations. Children dress up as them.

We’re not afraid of these things anymore. Most of us don’t believe in ghosts and vampires. Mummies are no different from a regular dead body, they’re just better-held together. Witches as we understand them nowadays are pretty harmless and often even helpful, like Kyeli Smith. We’ve moved beyond these fears.

Prehistoric humans feared things like thunderstorms and wild animals. Civilizations did eventually celebrate storms and beasts, but we don’t have an equivalent Halloween for those anymore, really. We’re so far beyond fearing them that they’re just kind of there.

In 2011, we fear that we won’t get the job we want, or any at all. We fear that we’ll cave to social pressure and handicap our true selves just to get by. We fear not making a difference.

With enough work, knowledge, and time, perhaps this too shall pass.

Happy Halloween.

photo by Terry Tyson

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