In 1943, Abraham Maslow identified a hierarchy of needs. These needs, according to Maslow, are the conditions that the human brain must satisfy, in order to thrive and meet its full potential.
The foundation of the pyramid describes physical needs, like food, water and shelter. Just after physiological, comes the need for a sense of safety and security. In order to develop, the human brain must have a sense of safety and security.
Fear erases that sense of safety. In modern day society- there are messages of fear attacking our psyche from every direction. These messages inundate media and seep into our relationships and into our collective psyche.
A mind in fear is a mind that cannot progress. A culture in fear is a culture that cannot progress. A society in fear is a society that cannot progress. Humanity in fear is humanity that cannot progress.
Collective Fear It is a commentary on how messages of fear seep into the mind and destroy one’s ability to think clearly or to reason. It is about how the tendrils of fear can destroy the preciousness of individual thought, innovation and creation.
Be not afraid, for with thee I am, Look not around, for I am thy God, I have strengthened thee, Yea, I have helped thee, yea, I upheld thee, With the right hand of My righteousness.
On March 16, 2020, we were told to go home and hide in our houses. We were told to only go out if absolutely necessary and to cover our faces if we had to venture into the dangerous world.
You see, there was an invisible enemy. While this enemy was undetectable, it would cause suffering, death and destruction. We were shown video of bodies in Italy and suffering in China. Our news programs and social media started displaying the sickness and death toll. One in five wouldn’t survive- look around- how many is that? The government made plans to manage the expected wave of illness and hospitalization.
They told us it would take 2 weeks. They told us it would be ok. Isolate in your homes. Cover your faces. Avoid the others who might hurt you.
We listened. We wanted to survive. There was an invisible enemy that would cause suffering and death: Collective fear.
We held tight to our loved ones. Jigsaw puzzles and hearts in the windows. Essential workers turned heroes. We were in this together. ALL IN ILLINOIS. for a moment.
Fear leads to confusion. Confusion leads to suspicion. Suspicion leads to division.
On May 25, 2020, a store clerk suspected a man named George Floyd of paying with counterfeit money and called the police. That interaction led to a gut-wrenching video spreading throughout the world.
The video showed a man face down on the ground. A police officer was holding the man down, using the weight of his own body. The officer had his knee on George Floyd and, through the power of media, we sat in our homes watching as life left this man. Again and again.
Witnessing death is always traumatic- this death was witnessed collectively. Trauma leads to fear. Fear leads to confusion. Confusion leads to suspicion. Suspicion leads to division. Division leads to anger. Anger leads to fear.
After a moment of disbelief and sadness over the publicized and public demise of this man- emotions replaced reason and the images being downloaded into our brains became images of anger, violence and hate.
We saw windows being broken. We saw open looting. We saw buildings being burned. We saw monuments toppled. We saw history itself demonized.
The politicians and the media told us it was all understandable and that we should isolate ourselves in our homes – cover our faces- avoid the others who wanted to harm us.
Then came the political battles. While images of a country in crisis flashed in front of our eyes- the great oligarchs pointed fingers at one another along with fiery speeches and projections of American flags waving large behind them.
We were like ancient Greeks, sitting helplessly watching as some great battle on Mt Olympus raged on. Sides were taken and lines were drawn. A civil war within families- friendship and kinship replaced by fanatical allegiance to a party- to an ideology.
The media told us it was normal. They told us it would be fine. Just isolate yourself, cover your face- avoid the other who might mean you harm. And take this medicine. AND VOTE!
Then an election. Then a winner. A winner? Some say yes. Some say no. More confusion. Collective confusion. Collective division. Collective illusion. Collective suspicion. Collective collision. Collective conflict.
January 6, 2021. We sat in our living rooms feeling the tension. We sat in our living rooms watching the speeches. We sat in our living rooms watching the protests. We sat in our living rooms watching the crowds.
Then it all began to change. Crowds of people carrying flags, chanting “U.S.A.” Flags climbing the walls- like a medieval battle scene. All on video.
Were they patriots? Were they terrorists? Were they freedom fighters? Were they insurrectionists? Were they at the wrong place at the wrong time?
Some time ago, I read about an Amish community in America.
The Amish do not use TV-sets, computers or cell phones. They do not drive cars or listen to the radio. Amish communities maintain their traditional German language.
The Amish grow their crops and tend to their animals. They build, create, cook and praise God. The Amish have lasted this long because they live separate from the rest of us- in their peaceful way. They do not bother us, and, for the most part, we do not bother them.
The Amish community in the article I read had not heard about the pandemic until late 2020. They did not know about George Floyd or the riots. they were not concerned with the fiery election cycle or the outcome.
The Amish continue to support one another and raise their families through hard work and connection to the land that God granted them. They go forward with the faith that they will live out God’s plan for them during their time on this earth.