Fear is the Mind Killer

Picture: Robbie Grubbs (CC)

Interesting work on fear and memory published in Science and dumbed down for mass consumption at Psychcentral:

For one experimental group, the re-consolidation process was disrupted with the aid of repeated presentations of the picture. For a control group, the re-consolidation process was allowed to complete before the subjects were shown the same repeated presentations of the picture.

Because the experimental group was not allowed to re-consolidate the fear memory, the fear they previously associated with the picture dissipated. This rendered the memory neutral — and no longer able to incite fear.

What’s notable about this is that it shows how fear is tied to signifiers and conditioned responses. Although that doesn’t cover the entirety of the range of fear responses to various stimulus, one is forced to wonder about the panic responses involved in various alien abduction/mad gasser/witch hunt phenomena where a specific fear spreads as a meme acros entire communities of people, some of them not even geographically connected to each other. And, given that those sorts of fears are so clearly analogous to other kinds of mass culture hysteria like occurs with racism or politico-demoniac panics like the historical yellow peril or red scare, if we will soon have the technology to beat back particular kinds of fears, to what extent will each of us have a social responsiblility to attempt to defeat our own fear responses in order to further the cause of rationality?

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  • Gergith

    “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.”— Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

  • Gergith

    “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.”— Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

  • Gergith

    “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.”— Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

    • http://twitter.com/alizardx A.Lizard

      The shorter version in the 7th or so book in the Dune trilogy might be more useful and easier to memorize. . . “Face your fears or they will climb over your back.”

      • Gergith

        I never made it past the first 4 to be honest. I’ve been meaning to read more as I re-read them just last year. Love the stories! Such an emersive story/world. Even loved the two PC games in the 90′s. Dune and Dune 2000 :)

      • Gergith

        I never made it past the first 4 to be honest. I’ve been meaning to read more as I re-read them just last year. Love the stories! Such an emersive story/world. Even loved the two PC games in the 90′s. Dune and Dune 2000 :)

    • http://twitter.com/alizardx A.Lizard

      The shorter version in the 7th or so book in the Dune trilogy might be more useful and easier to memorize. . . “Face your fears or they will climb over your back.”

  • http://twitter.com/alizardx A.Lizard

    “further the cause of rationality” ??? 

    Rationality is a tool, not a cause, and not even an all-purpose tool. 

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    Bob Diamond: Being from Earth, as you are, and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear.
    Daniel Miller: It has?
    Bob Diamond: Well everybody on Earth deals with fear – that’s what little brains do.
    Bob Diamond: …Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything – real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can’t get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you’re in for the ride of your life.
    Daniel Miller: God… my three percent is swimming.