Updated: Mar 4, 2021
I was told that Fear and Love are the only two bases for human actions. I was in complete disagreement until I spent about a year with the idea, trying to figure out how it could possibly be true. After watching my own responses to situations and watching others, I have come to the conclusion that this is indeed the case.
At first it seemed too simple; it does not account for mental illness, shades of grey and other motives for human behavior. But when I really look to find the roots of everything I do, I have to go to my biology.
Biologically speaking we are here to procreate - to continue our DNA - survival of the fittest. Everything we do is directed by our brain with survival of the fittest as the end goal. Our brains are wired to protect us - at the basest level, our brains will shut off higher function so that we can be physically safe. In a state of fear we will continue to breathe and we will either fight or flee. If we look at it from this level, then we are necessarily operating out of fear any time our brain shuts down higher functioning.
So what happens when we are using our entire brain? It is then that we get to choose how to react and respond. When we have access to our entire brain we can still choose to act out of fear, or we can choose to act out of love.
Acting out of known fear is fairly self explanatory. We all understand what fear feels like in the pit of our stomach. We all know when we do something because we are scared even when our logical brain tells us we don't need to be scared. Think about it, most of us will turn on the light before we go down the basement stairs to make sure the boogie man isn't lurking - even though we know there is no boogie man.
Identifying the fear isn't always so easy, though. Sometimes we mask our fears from ourselves, or maybe the fear doesn't feel quite so big. Think about those times when you see something about to fall - and you reflexively reach out to stop the fall.
- Karen Lents, RMT