Tag Archives | Fear

Which Worldview Fears What?

Yale Scientific Magazine presents a fascinating Myers-Briggs-style test of what your societal fears reveal about your political and personal orientation. As a bonus, the amusingly-true chart of what people expect hierarchist communitarians, individualist egalitarians, etc., to look like:

“Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of people to fit their perceptions of risk and related facts to their group commitments,” says Dan Kahan, professor at Yale Law school and a CCP researcher. Researchers in the CCP measure people’s “worldviews” along the two dimensions of hierarchy-egalitarianism and communitarian-individualism.

This framework relates to the theory of anthropologist Mary Douglas, the originator of “the cultural theory of risk.” The theory postulates that people’s perceptions of risk should reflect and reinforce the combinations of values defined by the intersection of these two “worldview” dimensions.

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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.… Read the rest

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Eleven Scary Evil Monsters from World Religions

Picture: J.A.S. Collin de Plancy (PD)

Via Mental Floss:

Terrifying monsters have lumbered, lurched, stalked and devoured their way through many world religions for untold millennia.

They were sometimes devised to frighten for purposes of cultural control – or as mythologic personifications of harsh, inexplicable forces. In the case of the Book of Revelation, monsters often symbolized the oppressive political tactics of the Roman empire.

Today’s religious monsters might well include: a ghoulish pedophile Priest with scaly-gropy fingers; or a polyester-swaddled fire-breathing Baptist Preacher; or maybe a grinning Televangelist that spews fundamentalist bile from its jack-o-lantern head; or a shape-shifting Republican p

olitician that can somehow take the form of & draw hateful power from every pitchfork wielding mob it encounters, no matter the religion.

Now if only Sam & Dean from “Supernatural” would hunt THEM!

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Lightning & Disease: A Primitive Thought System Overturned

For most of human history, life has been a struggle – a struggle against predators, against disease, against natural disasters, and against our fellow human beings as we find ourselves all thrown together on a single planet, vying for limited resources.  In the words of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, life for the many has been “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Foremost among our ongoing challenges, however, and rising above all the others, is the struggle against our own ignorance.  Like newborn infants, naked and helpless, humans have been thrust into this world without the benefit of any instruction book to show us the way.  It is only through patience and ingenuity (and a fair amount of dumb luck) that we have managed to rise above our brute animal nature to occasionally achieve something resembling peace and civility.  Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but if we as a species hope to continue our stumbling progress towards a happier, healthier future, we must acknowledge the various pitfalls and dead ends we’ve encountered along the route, starting with those of the distant past.… Read the rest

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The Drug That That Banishes Fear

Although reported in typical surface-skimming Business Insider tabloid/SEO-max style, Noah Plaue’s account of anandamide’s potential for humans really is quite interesting…

Promising research shows how to increase a chemical within us that counteracts fear.

Scientists from Duke University and the National Institute of Health studied an endocannabinoid chemical, called anandamide, that is secreted naturally in humans and causes bliss while reducing anxiety. The chemical works similarly to marijuana.

By blocking an enzyme called FAAH that breaks down this chemical, the researchers successfully reduced fear in mice and believe that the same thing could very well work for humans.

As the paper notes, the potential for curing anxiety and stress disorders is truly exciting:

Our mouse data suggest that, by preventing FAAH-mediated degradation, augmenting anandamide in the basolateral amygdala may boost on-demand recruitment of endocannabinoids to facilitate the extinction of traumatic fear memories. Further we report an association between a putative loss-of-function human FAAH gene variant, an amygdala fear-plasticity endophenotype, and reduced trait stress reactivity.

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Americans Are As Likely To Be Crushed To Death By Furniture As Killed By Terrorism

Writes Micah Zenko in the Atlantic:
[On June 6th], the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) released its 2011 Report on Terrorism. The report offers the U.S. government's best statistical analysis of terrorism trends through its Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS), which compiles and vets open-source information about terrorism—defined by U.S. law as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."... According to the report, the number of U.S. citizens who died in terrorist attacks increased by two between 2010 and 2011; overall, a comparable number of Americans are crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year. This is not to diminish the real—albeit shrinking—threat of terrorism, or to minimize the loss and suffering of the 13,000 killed and over 45,000 injured around the world. For Americans, however, it should emphasize that an irrational fear of terrorism is both unwarranted and a poor basis for public policy decisions...
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Zombie Bullets: U.S. Ammo Producers Cash In on Zombie Apocalypse Fears

Via RT:

Hornady Manufacturing Company, an American maker of ammunition and hand-loading components has decided to cash in on current zombie terror. Zombie Bullets are designed for those who want to be ready and fully-equipped for what the company calls “a Zombie Apocalypse.”

Zombie fascination is also bouncing around the internet, recently becoming the third most-popular search term on Google. Conspiracies and expectation of the Zombie Apocalypse have even forced the US Center for Disease Control to address the American public and deny the threat.

A weapon against zombies is being sold across the US after a series of cannibal attacks shocked the country. The largest independent producer of bullets in the world says their Zombie Max ammunition is a response to the flesh-eating crimes.

Hornady Manufacturing Company, an American maker of ammunition and hand-loading components has decided to cash in on current zombie terror. Zombie Bullets are designed for those who want to be ready and fully-equipped for what the company calls “a Zombie Apocalypse.”…

Read More: RT

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The 9/11 Propaganda Archive: How Scared Should You Be?

Via Media Roots:

A pair of internet archivists who call themselves ‘Neuro Linguistic Programming’ have uploaded Part Two of US corporate media print publications from the immediate days and weeks following 9/11. The duo plans to post multiple full issues of Time and Newsweek as well as other timely magazines that are filled with blatant fearmongering and propaganda about terrorism.

Following 9/11, news media accelerated at an amazing rate, and most companies soon adopted internet versions of their paper or magazines. Before this was commonplace, many interesting pieces of information printed about that day most likely were never reprinted again—due to false information or just abandonment by the propagandists. As we know, many government narratives and unfounded claims about 9/11 were reprinted without any journalistic investigation.

Check out Part One, ‘The Terrorism Survival Guide’ here. Part Two, featured below, gives us a look at a Newsweek titled “Biological & Chemical Terror: How Scared Should You Be?” The featured photo is a man wearing a gasmask, and the entire issue focuses on bio terrorism.… Read the rest

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Media Roots Radio: Existential Conversation – State of Humanity & the World

Via Media Roots: Robbie & Abby Martin of Media Roots have an impromptu late night conversation about existentialism: the progression of technology and its effect on human interaction; human nature and the inability to face personal truths; reinforced perceptions of reality and societal myths keeping people in line; false flag terrorism, corporate collusion, the police state ruling society by fear and the unsustainable nature of global capitalism.
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Rick Santorum Unveils Dystopian Horror Flick

The Hunger Games? Nope, this year's hottest dramatic depiction of our nightmarish future is Rick Santorum's 'Obamaville', a look at a 'small American town two years from now if Obama is reelected'. What will 2014 under Obama be like? The playgrounds are empty, rusted, and littered with children's abandoned shoes, signs are painted in blood, the numbers on clocks are printed in Soviet-font, and the sun rarely shines. No joke, a campaign spokesperson said this teaser is the kickoff an eight-part miniseries:
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