What defines our fears?

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Everyone has them.

But what makes them? Why are they there?

For instance, at night it takes me a few hours to fall asleep because I’m afriad that there is someone in my house. I keep some lights on, and have my “guard doggy” sleep in my room, but I still have that fear. I know it’s irrational, because I’d hear if someone was in our house, but still. And even more, I know for a fact that once I fall asleep I will be fine. But what makes me afraid of this?

Most people are afraid of spiders, or snakes. Why are they afraid of them?

 
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I’m really just afraid of needles (the kind for flu and the like…) and going to Hell, I know I’m not going there though( I don’t want to spark another religion debate but that’s the truth…) and that needles are really over feared (regardless of the fact that I’ve hyperventilated(technically) twice after getting stuck)

 
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But what makes our fears what they are? Is it some kind of chemical portion in the brain… aliens.. what??

 
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You can go the traumatic experience route, or the built in flight-or-fight response. Fear has an effect on human bodies, elevating blood pressure and flow, increasing adrenaline, such and such. Fear is what helps people to survive. In the case of a traumatic experience causing your fear, it is the memory of how helpless the body felt in the danger it perceived.
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Revolutioneyes: Razz must remain a paradoxal enigmatic mystery.

 
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But I haven’t had any traumatic experiences to rationalize my fear of someone killing me while I sleep.

 
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But I haven’t had any traumatic experiences to rationalize my fear of someone killing me while I sleep.

That’s your body trying to cover all possible dangers to itself, you must’ve heard of someone killing someone else while they were sleeping and your mind has not removed the near impossiblility of this happening to you so that is why you fear the one who comes in the night.
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Revolutioneyes: Razz must remain a paradoxal enigmatic mystery.

 
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Your telling me you’ve never seen a scary movie or television show were someone kills someone in thier sleep?

 
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Not while they’re sleeping…

And anyway, it’s not really that I’ afriad of being killed, but the feeling of having someone else in my house…

 
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i don’t think every fear is linked to some traumatic experience. that would mean that you have to have a traumatic experience with a gun to be afraid of a bank robber.

i dunno, maybe i’m kind of an oddball in this field: i’ve never been afraid of spiders, snakes or anything most people are afraid of (except heights, but only a little bit). on the other hand, i have a very irrational fear that my body could just betray me and stop working. i have a little disorder that makes my cartilages too soft so that they wear down more quickly, making most of my joints crack a lot and hurt after prolonged strain or cold, so that fear would not be irrational at all if it had started after it was diagnosed, but i had it since i can remember. sometimes i just can’t help but suddenly think “OMG your lungs could just stop working and you’d suffocate right here on the street!”

 
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I believe fear is defined by nature AND nurture. Some humans are afraid of the dark because of instinct, as when we were cave-men we had to be wary of predators at night. But also, if you are brought up to be afraid of something, for example, terrorists, or Satan, that also contributes to us fearing them in later life.

 
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How can you teach someone to be afraid of something? Not that I disagree with you Bench, there is an engrained “natural” fear and fear that is grown…but how is that done? How can I make someone afraid of something they haven’t seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt? (Fear can be brought on by all 5 senses)

The obvious answer is to stimulate those senses, but then the question moves to their as to thier motive. Which again has simple reasons. However, I want to hear another person’s thoughts on that.
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Revolutioneyes: Razz must remain a paradoxal enigmatic mystery.

 
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Well, in the Cold War the US government managed to make it’s citizens afraid of a foe that they had only been told about through propaganda and journalism, but don’t quote me on this, my infomation onto this is a bit vague. Also, Many people are brought up to be “God fearing”, and this is only done by them being teached to be at a young age.

 
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Fearing God and fearing something like spiders are two different things.

 
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But I was trying to show how you can be teached to fear something. Maybe Satan would have been a better example.

 
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Oh, OK. Also, LOL at “teached”

 
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Oh wow, how did I spell that wrong?! I meant taught, obviously :P

 
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fear is a lack of understanding

btw when the bible says fear the lord it refers more respect the lord

 
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Jjuan, we never moved to the meaning of fear in the bible. So fear still isn’t fully defined…I give it a shot based on what has already been said. It is the remembrance of emotions that gave you a flight-or-fight response, either natural or induced, through any of the 5 senses. Is that good enough?
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Revolutioneyes: Razz must remain a paradoxal enigmatic mystery.

 
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“Fearing God and fearing something like spiders are two different things.” i take that as fear in the bible because it’s in the bible.

have you ever been scared that there is a monster in the closet? that is because you dont understand that there is no monster in the closet your mind is simple playing tricks on you.

 
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Nope, jjuan, it means fear. As in… fear.

That’s what the word means.

 
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Fear is a survival trait. Mammals in particular seem to be quite fearful. Cats can be startled for instance.

Other animal groups seem to be more robotic. Insects for instance. This is purely an observation.

Anyway, fear seems to have helped us survive. We’re afraid of predators so we are not eaten. We’re afraid of death, so we usually do not purposely do something that will kill us.

I watched Batman Begins recently, of which the entire topic was fear. In that movie, the Scarecrow makes people afraid of something. I remember a much more interesting plot from an early batman cartoon from the 90s animated series. Scarecrow has an anti-fear toxin. He uses it on Batman, and Batman becomes so fearless that he does completely reckless things putting himself and everyone around him in danger.

As far as exactly what part of our brain gives us fear… well, I do not know. I simply know that it appears to be a survival trait, and very present in mammals. You could argue that the trait is annoying in a modern society where you do not necessarily need to fear predators — but I disagree. I think we definitely need a little fear in our lives to keep things on track.

Irrational fear on the other hand can be a bitch. I wonder what allows one part of our brain to be afraid of something that the rational part of our brain know is extremely unlikely or even impossible.

Hrm…

 
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I’m an arachnaphobe. Spiders scare me because:

1. They can inject poison into your body (so can other things, and it’s not a lot, but still..)

2. They have eight legs..shudders..

3. Some of them jump!

 
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Insects are indeed viewed to be fearless. This is because your observation of them is only to a singular part.

The mind of a ant or bee is a group mentality, fear for the group, not the self. This is why bees will be careful around wasps near their nests, but not when the bee is alone with a wasp.

Other insects however, do fear. This is seen in their response mechanism. The butterfly will fly to a tree and spread it’s wings in camouflage, or the Stink bug sprays it’s…spray for lack of a better word, or even the stick insect when it stops moving if it senses a bird above.

Rational fear, Damijin, does indeed keep our lives on track. Would I rob a store if I didn’t fear a cop would arrest me? Of course that’s a drastic example. Would I wear 2 different shoes? No, because I fear what others would think of me.

And with Batman Begins, the Scarecrow gives people overwhelming, irrational fear. It is the extreme of what would happen if we let those fears take control of us.

And the different tack is shown in the third episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series, called Nothing to Fear (I remember this show fondly). It is the opposite extreme, no fear leads to reckless endangerment as fear moderates our actions.

Indeed, fear is an essential part of our lives.

P.S. Any incoherencies are due to me writing this at 2 in the morning after being awake for 42 hours.
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Revolutioneyes: Razz must remain a paradoxal enigmatic mystery.

 
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Your afraid of them because you know of them, and from movies/television.

If nobody else in the world was scared of spiders, and you had never heard of people being scared of spiders befor, then chances are, you won’t be afraid of spiders.

However if you are to see a spider bite somebody, whether it be on TV or in a movie, and get into a huge panic attack, then you would be much more likely to be scared of spiders.

I suppose this is learn from knowlegde that spiders are bad though.

A better example I could have used was people who are scared of small spaces.

 
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Fear is not always conscious. When you’re afraid of something, it can be for many reasons. It can be because you fear for your life, or because you fear of something changing your life negatively. Sorry if what I posted and am about to be posted was already posted – It’s late at night, so I didn’t read through every post.

Some people have no conscious fears. Myself, for example, and am one of them. However, even if you don’t know you’re afraid of something, you still might be. I’ll use myself as an example. Consciously, I know that my girlfriend won’t break up with me. Subconsciously, however, I fear that I’ll do something wrong and she’ll break up with me. That subconscious fear goes so far as to cause sharp stomach pains when I’m with her.

Fear is a survival mechanism. However, humans have grown more dependent on technology, and do not need survival mechanisms as much anymore. As of such, they can be irrational…. like being scared of something impossible.

And also, does anybody know a way to outpower a subconscious fear? The fear I mentioned in the second paragraph really effects me, and I am looking for a solution.