“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” ~Aristotle
Since we were born, society has always imposed on us what to do, what to think and what to feel, and if we don’t follow society, then we are bound to get in trouble.
Parents taught us to behave in certain ways. If we did so, they would reward us, and if we didn’t, they would punish us. Naturally, every child obeys its parents, because the child deeply needs the parent — it is a matter of survival, especially in its very early years.
At school we were taught to think in certain ways. They taught us what to think, but not how to develop our thinking. And everyone was taught the same. If we thought in different ways than our fellow students, teachers would tell us we are bad students. They would give us bad grades and might even expel us from school. Therefore, most of us when students compromised our thinking so as to get away with trouble.
Religion taught us to follow anything but our inner voice: follow scriptures, follow priests, follow God. It taught us to have faith in others, but not to have faith in ourselves. Religion taught us that, if we did certain things, we would be rewarded with the bliss of heaven, but if we didn’t we would be punished in hellfire. And what sane person would desire to be punished in hell? And who wouldn’t want to experience heaven? Therefore every one of us held religion in dear faith.
Parents, school, and religion used one and the same thing to make us do what they wanted us to do: fear. If you want to manipulate anybody, first make him or her afraid. Once afraid, he or she will be ready to accept your offered suggestions.
This tactic is being continuously used in our everyday life, but we are unaware of it. Have a clear look around you, and you will see what I mean. Politicians are being elected by persuading the masses through fear. Companies are selling their products by manipulating consumers’ insecurities through the use of fear in advertising. Journalists influence public opinion by making people afraid. And these are just a few examples.
Fear is the best weapon of all great manipulators. It can move people to do anything, no matter how illogical and stupid it is.
“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” ~Bertrand Russell