FEAR – a driving force

09 Feb

The White haired ShooterTHE WHITE HAIRED SHOOTER

This post is the first in a series examining the nature of FEAR and its effect on FIREARMS – on both a societal and individual level, and I intend to develop the topic more particularly as a factor for the mature woman as we go.

This introductory post will examine “Fear” in general, and its affect in our lives. There are positive and negative elements to fear, and I am going to look at the process we experience as we transform it into learned behavior. This post is just my opinion and musings on the subject and is not meant to be go into great depths, but is more along along the lines of “food for thought.”

For the purposes of this post, I’ve broken fear down into TWO types, Primitive Fear and Generalized Fear.


Fear is a response to a direct stimulus or a perceived threat.  When the unexpected, threatening, and unknown is first encountered, we experience a primitive  “flight” (run away),”fright” (freeze) or “fight” (engage)  reaction to that stimulus, and that is what I will refer to as primitive fear.  It is direct, immediate, and uncontrollable.

An example might be when someone jumps from hiding. Whether that person is playing or intending us harm doesn’t matter.  Our conscious thinking process is not involved in the primitive response – and it doesn’t matter if we know we are playing a game.

IT happens, and IT stimulates an immediate reaction.

That reaction makes appropriate changes in our bodies to facilitate an immediate response to the threat or perceived threat – heart rate, muscles, and chemical releases in the body and brain that can enhance, sharpen – or deaden – our focus and ability to act, think and process. It prepares us to respond with heightened senses and strength, or an overload of stimuli can cause fainting and worse.

As a species we appear to delight in engendering that primitive fear response. We joke, tease each other, play and watch games and movies that get our adrenalin going, and engage in activities that “make us feel we’re alive” with thrilling sensations that stimulate and evoke that primitive fear response.


As thinking/sentient beings, we “generalize” – which basically means we take what we have learned and apply it to similar situations where we think, or are taught or trained to think, we can expect similar results.  This is a survival trait that assures the species will continue to exist. We learn from a situation and apply it to others.

It can also be used to control others without having to actually and physically approach or threaten the individual with REAL harm. By referencing or “linking” the fear response from memory, through words, pictures, and implication, a generalization to all sorts of situations is possible.  We teach our kids this way while they are growing, and society uses and maintains that training as as a person reaches adulthood.

A very real primitive fear response can be evoked from secondary situations. As in the babysitter who lets the children watch a scary show, or tells a horror story to them just before bedtime. Thrilling and scaring the listeners with gory details and embellishments to raise the primitive fear response engenders a generalized fear that can keep the kids in bed, although it can backfire and cause the babysitter a lot of grief when the kids won’t sleep and refuse to be alone out of fear.

We are complex beings, and there are webs built from fear based training that impact our daily decision making process. This affects culture and society, and our individual lives.  We are mostly not aware of the vast majority of these foundational fears, but that’s the realm of psychologists, psycho analysts, and …writers!

Fear and Firearms

Next post will open the “hot” topic of firearms.  On both the societal and individual level, there is the need to control firearms and their use, and the need to be able to use them for defense. These needs arise from both experiential and re-enacted memory of primitive fear, and from generalized training. It is a topic that gets very complex and hard to trace back to primary reasons on “both” sides. And its affect is a driving force in our society and lives today. Emotions attached to a fear based, fear driven issue are very often intense.

Happy and Safe shooting  –  Peggy

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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in FEAR Factors


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