Fear

Fear is the worst thing in the world.

Christmas is often a time when families get together and share news about their lives and the people around us. It is interesting and often argumentative, because people who otherwise carve out quite different existences are forced through the bond of family into talking.

I learnt that someone mutually known had got married and they had adopted a child. I expressed my joy at the news, but was rebuffed. Rebuffed because this was a female same sex marriage. However what I found interesting was that it wasn’t the marriage in itself, that was the bad news, but the adoption. The reason given for the adoption being bad news was a fear for the child suffering abuse at school because of the nature of their parents.

Children can be astonishingly cruel and vindictive in the playground, I know this very well, having been an outsider child myself.  Children can be picked on for almost anything and more so if the abuse affects them. The point is that it is impossible to shield children entirely from abuse in the playground, no-one should not do something through fear of potential consequences.

This example may be one of misplaced fear. I visited members of my family before Christmas. I remember the subject of Elton John’s recent marriage came up and some of the younger children didn’t get why the adults were discussing it. It was quickly explained that all possible combinations of gender were possible in a marriage and the law had only recently been changed to allow this. The younger children appeared to quickly grasp the idea and didn’t find it odd at all. The world the adopted children of same sex marriages  will hopefully be one where people are not abused for their, or their parents sexuality.

Is fear of change, fear of the unknown? Society is changing, some people may not understand or wish to engage with change through fear. A fear that one old fashioned rule being changed may have consequences for the whole social moral structure. Again this is a misplaced fear, the social rules still exist, they are still discussed, but one less thing is now suppressed and hidden away behind the net curtains, which is a good thing, fewer oppressed people!. I would suggest that the fear of the change is the thing that causes problems.

I read that there was the usual Festive season train problems in Britain. This time Kings Cross station in London was closed and thousands descended upon Finsbury Park station, being the ‘planned’ alternative. Really bad planning (we expect this sort of thing in Britain!), as the much smaller station couldn’t cope with the numbers of people. You would think that in a country which suffered from the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, that people would think twice before shoving their way in to a crowded station, that there would be civility and a sense of public spirit and putting up with the expected chaos of the UK rail network. Judging by the pictures it would seem not, that there was a selfishness in the people wanting to get on the trains. It is possible to suggest that this lack of public spirit was due to the fear that social values are breaking down as a justification to act selfishly. It is fortunate that no-one died because of this mess.

This sense of fear is used by the media and politicians to scapegoat groups. For example there is the story that Ukip blamed the congestion on the M4 motorway on immigration. The reason for the congestion on the M4 is due to poor planning, a lack of investment in transport infrastructure that has occurred since the second world war and the idea that the ‘free market’ will produce solutions to these issues. So the immigrants end up suffering the abuse and the ruling classes who failed to deal with the problem get rich out of it.

Yet people still sometimes have a pop at ‘heavy metal’. A musical genre that openly deals with the dark and the grotesque. The reason for this is not that metal fans are sinister people, far from it. It is simply better to deal openly with fear, to confront it, to reflect upon it, to embrace it, for then it it can be realised that the fear is simply fear and reality is not as bad as can be imagined when fearful, oppressed or depressed.

Things are never as bad as the fearmongers of the world would have you believe.

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