I have always had a tendency to follow blindly in Fear’s footsteps: From fighting my way into screaming consciousness, aged three, tormented by dreamlike flurries of fearsome feathers to my virtual shut-down under certain emotional terrors now, I rarely use the eyes I have to look properly at the terrain before I plummet to my death over the steep cliff of False Evidence Appearing Real.
This works both ways, a point I have laboured over so often in my posts that I will not, now, push out its familiar foetal head anew.
I think extremes of fear do, by their very nature, blind us to reality – or, at least, they narrow our vision to such an extent that we tunnel our way through the following seconds, minutes, hours or even days, completely unable to see the beauty of the landscape beyond our locked gazes.
Fear is powerful: It can save us from genuine danger. It can also, if we face it head on, plunge us into the acid bath of memory, stripping the flesh of artifice from the bones of truth. But, in the negative sense, the chemicals it releases can warp the body and create an almost-hallucinogenic series of nightmare scenarios in the mind.
Following fear’s dictates – which, more often than not, actually come down to the crabbed notes and rotting quill of FEAR – can lead us into the Hell of Paranoia, the Pit of Pain, the crazed druggy surroundings of disordered thought and certainty of imminent disaster.
FEAR, when followed in this blind way, can persuade us that rejection, attack, even death will occur immediately. It can make us certain that everyone we love has turned against us, or will disappear from our lives. It can turn the ordinary into Hieronymus Bosch-like images of Hell and destruction. It can allow us to think that our bravely-beating hearts are about to give up the ghost and beat no more. It can encourage us to translate the book of the present into the lurid and agonising paper-scape of last year’s novel. It can convince us of things which, when not following FEAR so slavishly, we would laugh to scorn.
What I have said in this post is not, of course, exclusive to fear, or FEAR; it applies, I suspect, to all strong emotions: Anger, Love, Hatred…
The point is this: If we follow any of the emotions blindly, we are allowing them to lead, to rule us. We are giving our overall sovereign power to a fleeting feeling created by our very own internal alchemist’s crucible. We are concentrating on the irritating gnat while elephants and mammoths, tusked Titans, roar all around us.
Yesterday, I fully confess that I flung myself fiercely off that felonious stony edge, following in FEAR’s fallacious footsteps. Last year’s book – to use another image from this post – lay, savage and red-hot, in my hand and I was translating it into today’s lingo as I went along, muttering imprecations and weeping volubly, as I went along.
FEAR distorts and contorts. It stretches body and mind, making senseless shapes out of both.
Fortunately, for me, my precipitous plunge was broken by the gorse-bush of prickly reality – and chastened, I hauled my prickled arse up to the top once more.