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2011 and the Future of Fear (?)

Dallas Boyd
Dallas Boyd

When I go to bed at night, I am conscious of what I wear and where my things are. I used to sleep pretty naked.  But if armed men break into my house at night, tie me up and rummage through my things, I’ve decided I’ll be way more accepting of the situation if I’m at least wearing pants. I’m not being dramatic, it’s the reality of my geography. “It’s just the time of year” people say. But I don’t want to be conditioned for fear and anxiety (hence my reassuring pants plan). And I wonder if around the world it’s becoming too late - are we programming the future for fear?

A man with some form of connections, although I am not aware of the extent, felt the need to reference the movie “The Sum of all Fears” while mysteriously telling me “it’s already happening” - that the United States government is freaking out right now, which is why “probing pat down” airport security has been heightened to the max. The new anti-terrorism screening procedures are reportedly for our own safety. But will the psychology of our society be scarred by these measures? Once initiated, is there a point of no return? Can levels of stress, distrust, suspicion and anxiety ease with time, or once implemented, are we in for invasive probing pat downs for good?

A few days ago in New Zealand, an Israeli man sparked a full scale emergency response when his prayer rituals were mistaken as terrorist threats on the Interislander ferry. TV3 reported that the captain of the boat had been taken hostage by the man who had explosives, and possibly a gun. But none of this was true, total false alarm and media drama. Some may consider it wise to take caution against unfamiliar behaviour, yet I’m sure in a more innocent age bystanders could have observed the middle-eastern man wrapping leather around his arms and, at the most, thought “huh, weird...” (without triggering a terrorist alarm). And then in light of this, call me bigoted, but I am a wee bit nonplussed as to why an actual man who is being monitored by the police as a possible threat is currently living in New Zealand off state benefits while refusing to work.

Dr. Hunter S Thompson commented on the peak of a zeitgeist... “the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.” Whereas our generation still appears to be riding high on ours, waiting, waiting for the tension of the wave to break and roll back. At the symbolic division between one year and the next, as always there is a poetic sense of reflection on what we are leaving behind and anticipation for what is yet to come. Next year, the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will be marked and our wave will have been building energy for a decade.

Since we humans like nice round numbers, after this time, will you allow the state of the world to create more fear, stress, distrust and anxiety? Or will we turn the tide and contribute more energy towards the creation of a new wave and beat a future of fear? For sure we can ;-)


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