What is fear?
To be upfront, this is a completely unprofessional take on my perceptions of fear and what it drives us to do. So, if you are expecting a psychological treatise on phobias and the primal power of fear, I suggest you move on to something a little more scholarly.
In response to my question, fear is a primal reaction to the prospect of pain and/or death. I know we have ingrained fears that are there to keep us alive, but what about when that fear paralyzes us?
How many of us have actually faced death? How many of us have faced the kind of pain that invokes an actual fear response?
Some of us have faced that fear. But many more vicariously gather fear to themselves.
Social media definitely helps fan the flames of fear. Very few are born with a social media filter and so what we see are the primal fears spilling out in word form. What I see from social media is that everyone is afraid of something.
Some are afraid the coronavirus is going to kill them.
Others fear the government’s reaction and the destruction of the economy.
A few are afraid that this is a man-made virus that has been unleashed as a means of control.
Everyone is threatening social media mutual destruction. Their fingers hover over the unfriend button because they don’t agree. Realistically, this is just a rehashing of every political debate across the platforms since Myspace first came into existence.
All the different stances have one thing in common.
And what is the primal response to fear? Fight or Flight. Unfortunately, what we are seeing is a whole plague of lashing out over fear.
At this moment, the greatest enemy is fear and the division it causes. I caution you, the friend you burn today could be the friend you need tomorrow. Don’t let fear rule your decisions.
From that platform I’ll jump into literature.
Where does fear fit into the world of Atom & Go? I’ve tried to write Atom as a balanced character. There are many things he fears, but his biggest fear is losing Margo and leaving her alone in the Black.
Death is inevitable. Atom understands that and like the wandering samurai of chanbara he tries to live each moment as if it were his last. That doesn’t mean he seeks death. Quite the opposite is the reality. Atom simply tries to live unfettered by the daily fear that binds us and prevents us from making decisions with clarity. He looks for beauty in the moment and understands that love is the antithesis of fear.
Margo is Atom’s world. They will live and die together, but he seeks each moment of her life to relish.
Killing for Atom is not driven by fear, instead it is simply removing obstacles. Atom has learned that attaching emotion to death is the quickest way to fracture the psyche. As a soldier it is a byproduct of the profession. As a gunslinger and father it is on the level of removing a danger from the equation.
All this to say, in our uncertain and fear-driven times, we all need to remove fear like Atom and search out the beauty around us. Even in the direst of circumstances there are things to be thankful for.
Find the beauty and love in life. Maybe it’s the smile of a child, song of a bird, or a delicious meal shared with family.
Walk away from the fear. Do not live in it.
In spite of the state of the world, keep on reading, support your authors, and most importantly, keep on flying the Black.