On Fear and Happiness
July 21, 2021
Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Kat Z starts with questions about leadership, and arrives at a galvanizing answer about self-respect.
To rule with fear or respect – it’s a question that distinguishes different types of leaders. Which is truly more effective in the eyes of the amassed crowd? How does a single person grasp the spirit of the people in a way that produces a productive result? Leadership involves maintaining a grip on the reins of the herd, but what, really, is the right way of doing this?
Every person responds to people in positions of power differently. Some find a threatening stature to be the most impactful, and are motivated by avoiding the dangers of failure. Others require a kind, supporting figure to succeed. They enjoy life led towards prosperity with a gentle hand.
You can notice these various styles of leadership in every political figure. There are democratic candidates: those who must vie for the admiration of the public in order to be elected. Alternatively, there are dictators. Dictators, or any other tyrannical leader, feed off the fear of their people to remain in power.
In some ways, using fear as a motivator can be very effective. After all, fear is a primary driver for human adaptation and survival. But there is also a high cost: a greatly decreased quality of life. Consistently using extreme measures to push yourself to your limit is an incredibly taxing and tiring method. To put it in a wider view, very few countries have found lasting success using this method. An autocratic country with content citizens is not far off from an oxymoron. They’re also rarely economically profitable. An afraid and unhappy population does not produce the greatest quality, or quantity, of work. Fear is a method designed to defeat the strongest of us.
This doesn’t only ring true in politics. This rule can be applied to any single person’s communication style. And it can be seen in how we respond to different people.
Most importantly, it can be seen in how we treat ourselves.
We aren’t just born this way, as some may lead you to believe. We are taught how to handle ourselves by witnessing the influential people in our lives. Whether they be our parents, siblings, grandparents or someone unrelated to us, their actions will be reflected in ours. We, as the next generation, will then go on to influence our children.
If we rely on fear, the parasitic pain that results is allowed to propagate. Then how can I possibly escape my own brain?
Your neurological system has been taught that fear is the best possible way of achieving success in life. It will never knowingly try to bring itself down, it’s just doing the best it can with the given circumstances.
The genetic staircase that brings about these views may seem insurmountable, but that is not the case. The importance of treating yourself gently can be learnt with time and patience. However, in order to rewire your brain, you must first be aware of how negative treatment came about as the default. To effectively move on, we must look back and reflect on the past. Thoroughly processing the details of your upbringing can be an incredibly harrowing experience, but the only way to properly treat an infection is to first release the pus that hides the wound.
Humans as a group have an intense need to constantly evolve. We have a drive like no other to be the most improved versions of ourselves. It can be easily forgotten that we still have some of those same primal instincts from when our ancestors lived in comparatively underdeveloped conditions. Our minds and abilities have come incredibly far, yet we still cannot seem to grasp our final existential goal. Many people think that it is tangible success, whether it involves making the most money or having the most things, though this isn’t the case. You can endlessly improve the standard of the objects around you, but a lot of the time, this will only decrease your quality of your life.
In reality, the most highly evolved goal is to be able to do things purely out of enjoyment. There are entire industries that exist because of the happiness these products bring to people, whether it aids their survival or not. This is, admittedly, a problematic concept, as there are vast numbers of people all over the world who still have to worry about their most basic needs. But it does prove that the human race isn’t only a race to the finish line; it also involves appreciating what you have, when you have it.
This means allowing yourself to simply live life. To abandon all unnecessary stress and to remember that, in order to demand respect from others, you have to first demand it from yourself.
Power produced from your own pain is not power in itself, but abuse. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to believe that you can live a life that isn’t ruled by fear.
Each person is the sole leader of themselves, so it can’t be forgotten that the journey to a fulfilling life begins with the proper, respectful treatment of you.
Treat yourself! What makes you happy? Let us know on any of our social media channels, in the comments below or in person at a Conscious Connections meeting!
At Low Entropy, we believe changing the world starts with changing ourselves.
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