Ā© Scream by Edvard Munch

War of Fears

Fear is the disease of the Now. Fear is the denial of modernity and its seemingly unmanageable problems. Fears wherever you may look. Fear for the planet. Fear of war. Fear about the futures. Fear on the complexity of the things. Fear of facing the problems. Meanwhile one surfs to delirium. Fear is the drumbeat of the new lifestyle.

It is not the climate catastrophe that is killing the future of mankind. It is the fear. It is the war of fears. The more fear there is on the planet, the easier the answers of the fundamentalists.

The desire to travel back to earlier times in life, the longing for the happiness of past times: Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, but romanticizing the past is risky. In the midst of wars and shortly before the world’s end, certainties are sadly missing: Religion? Only for fundamentalists. Alternative energy production? Yes, but not in my backyard. Reducing the carbon footprint? Let the big polluters start first.

Fear is a bad advisor, they say. It seems to me that fear is the cozy corner of nowadays: one hides behind his or her fears, it is so infinitely comfortable to be fearful and to yammer. The Ā«Generation BirkenstockĀ» has become well accustomed that everything is comfortable and healthy, but Birkenstocks are unsuitable for rough terrain.

There is no such thing as Ā«fear per seĀ»: Fear hijacks our lives in various camouflages: Confusion, anger, rage, hate, phobias, these are all synonyms for fear. The strongest fear a person can experience is Ā«German AngstĀ» – the booming mother of all fears, for and against everything, usually already in pre-emptive obedience… Serious ā€“ Fears must be understood in five levels: 1st. The Unknown Fear, a kind of incertitude. I donā€™t know anything but worry already – even if I donā€™t know why. 2nd The Oppressed Fear: I am aware of the fear, but I do not act. 3rd. The phase of Excuses and Ā«WhataboutismĀ»: Mainly the politicians and media cultivate the fears of their clientele. 4th This is about apportioning blame and finger pointing: e.g. Boomers vs Woke – pretty boring. 5th It is already too late: Fatalists and relativists are strong here. No matter which phase, fear is and remains a zero-sum game that invents and cancels itself. In short: Fear creates intellectual dwarfism. It is only our own choice, how much space we sacrify to our fears.

Fear, in this sense, is not a survival mode, but we all have to worry (and be prepared) to lose privileges (which resulted exclusively from elaborate mechanisms of greed). I am probably not wrong in my assumption: this will be an ugly massacre (especially in the Global North).

If whole generations assume that it is wiser to work more on one’s sensitivities than to do the job of overcoming fear, getting courageous, not much should be expected, because, as we all know, yammering doesn’t help. Those who allow fears into their lives, those who are afraid of the unknown unknowns, are on the bad side of life. That is why we need to develop the talent to distinguish between what feels good versus whatā€™s important.

For these Ā«Generations BirkenstockĀ» any toughness is smoothed out: Changes are to take place without grief, politics should not overburden and hurt, for children all resistances have to be removed from their path. Painkilling on all levels (with drugs if necessary) until merciless reality paves its way again. This retreat into the spheres of fear precludes you from critically dealing with reality. Again: Where there is fear, fundamentalism is not far away. Fundamentalism is the answer of the confused to complexity. But life is hard, get a helmet!

The secret of survival by the fearless is to finally learn to deal with complexity, but the GenBirkenstock remains in the soft and comfortable mindset. Artists are no exception here.

Why is a large part of the Art-world so silent? Where is the outcry, where is the Guernica against todayā€™s war of fears? Please report.

Stay curious.

Hans Rudolf Jost





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