A is also for Fear!

In the Lucky Mushroom ABCs we have learned that the letter A conjures up more than just images of apples in the minds of non-native English speakers. Egypt, yellow and pineapples were just of the few images that the letter A can conjure in the mind of a child.

For adults the letter A is also the first letter a word that means fear. Angst, an A-word in German that means fear, is so powerful that the same word it is used in several languages to convey fear. This is a spontaneous post and I’m actually saddened to be writing. This post was actually supposed to be about Art, one of my favorite A-words.

Unfortunately fear has consumed our lives for almost three years now. We have woken up with it and gone to sleep with it. We have worn masks and taken shots because of it. We have not hugged or shaken hands because of it. We have even quit going to work because of it. We like to tell ourselves that it was brotherly concern that drove us to our decisions but I beg to differ. Sadly we have even encouraged our children to participate in our fear.

I am a child of the Cold War and fear of the mushroom cloud was a part of my childhood. If you are not familiar with the term “mushroom cloud” consider yourself lucky. Fear of that cloud governed the lives of many in my generation. In retrospect it almost seems ironic that fear of that cloud returned to haunt my generation after the so called iron curtain fell.

Fear drives our markets. Regardless of what our eyes tell us and our hearts convey, fear remains firmly in control the economic system that we have built. Perhaps that is because our markets are based on fear. The rainy day in our economic system is not something to be celebrated. The term does not mean does nor does it imply that there will be a cleansing or replenishing of any kind on said rainy day. One should fear and prepare for it. Rainy days in economic terms mean that something has gone wrong. Why should it ever rain?

When I started my journey as a business English trainer there was a fear that computers could not handle the digits 2 0 0 0. The fear was given a name (Y2K). This fear might seem laughable to a millennial but believe me it was real. That fear generated billions of dollars. When that fear subsided we learned to fear all things on the internet and billions of dollars were lost. Then we learned to fear not being a part of the internet and billions were made. We are still in that cycle of fear. and billions are still being made and lost.

We are told that fear is healthy no matter how disproportionate that fear is to our situation. Bravery is celebrated only when our markets need to shed excessive fear. Fear can temporarily paralyze the market. The market accepts the death of a few deer but will try to avoid a herd. There buying power would be greatly missed. Enough fear must be removed on time to shock the market back into action so that it may clear the road and begin to consume.

Right now we are being pumped with fear and the market is responding. The deer is singing songs of peace and ease while the market is preparing to honk the horn. The deer is indoctrinating the fawn in fear by standing paralyzed in the middle of the road while the market slows down and gives the deer time. At the right moment the deer will flee upon hearing the horn and the fawn will have learned. The road will clear and the market will pick up speed again. The deer will never know if it was a bicycle, motorcycle, train, truck, or car nor will the fawn. It will have learned to freeze and wait for the honk then run blindly behind the herd. There is a lot to be consumed in the forest. There is nothing wrong with this strategy in a strong herd and a plentiful forests.

This is probably the most cynical post you have ever read on this site. I am often ridiculed for my relentless belief in the humanity of humans. I believe that our ability to love is where we get our strength as a species. I believe that these principals can also fuel the market. However when this message is spread during times of peace and prosperity it goes unheard. We are addicted to our dose of fear. We are more accustomed to celebrating in fear together. Most business models are built on the principle that if the underlying product being offered to potential consumers does not convert that potential consumer into a customer, there will be negative consequences for all parties involved. The markets will freeze, it’s armegedon and it’s too late to get out of the road. In the words of Prince, “Party over uuups out of time!”

I am simply tired of the doom and gloom. We are teaching our children to love our fellow man only when things are so dire that they too will be affected. We are not teaching them that it’s healthy to love other humans simply because we are in a big family called humanity. We only become concerned when there is a crisis; crisis prevention is not something to be concerned with. Grandma’s well being, for example, only became a factor when it was a factor for everyone. Her well being/health only became something to consider when it became a crisis for everyone. Peace is only important when your peace is threatened. We only unite in times of war but not in times of peace. Peace is something that just happens.

The sad truth about what’s happening in the world today is that it is not new. I keep hearing journalists report and others repeat that there hasn’t been a war on European soil since World War 2. One day our children will read about Bosina and Herzegovina and ask if it is a part of Europe. They will ask us about the timeline for our claim that there hadn’t been any wars in Europe since the Great War until Ukraine. I believe our answer will sound something like, “Oh yeah that did happen but it’s not Europe”.

I don’t want to participate in the fear. Please don’t be offended that I would like to continue talking about love, communication, and the ABCs. I will continue to say to kids; red is red and blue is blue and every day there’s something new.

Please excuse the typos this was hastily written.

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