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Unformatted text preview: tances fear acts as an energizer,
causing physical reactions not ordinarily within the will of the person. "Fear lends wings," is the time-honored
way of expressing this. The trapped animal makes "frantic" efforts to escape.
Fear is extraordinarily contagious, perhaps because as herd members the cry of fear sets us all racing for
safety. This is the grimmest danger from fires in public places or the presence of a coward in a military unit.
Panic occurs with its blind unreasoning flight, and the result is disastrous. I emphasize again that emotions are
poorly adapted to the welfare of the individual. Business panics are in large measure the result of the
contagiousness of fear; timidity spreads like wildfire, distrust and suspicion are aroused and stagnation results
without a "real" basis. In President Wilson's phrase, the panic is "purely psychological."
Intellectualized, fear becomes one of the driving forces of life, as Hobbes pointed out. Fear of punishment
undoubtedly deters from crime, though it is not in itself sufficient, and the kind of punishment becomes
important. Fear of hunger has brought prudence, caution, agriculture into the world. Life insurance has its root
in fear for others, who are really part of one's self; the fear of the rainy day is back of most of the thrift,
though the acquisitive feeling and duty may also operate powerfully. Fear of venereal disease impels many a
man to continence who otherwise would follow his desire. And fear of the bad opinion of others is the most
powerful deterrent force in the world. "What will people say" is, at bottom, fear that they will say bad things,
and though it keeps men from the "bad" conduct, it inhibits the finer nobler actions as well. There is a great
deal of unconventional untrammeled belief in the world that never finds expression because of fear.
How deeply the fear of death modifies the life of people it is impossible to state. To every one there comes the
awful reflection that he, that warmly pulsating being, in love...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11