Letter to the editor: Fear itself is once again the only thing to fear
Perception is a challenging beast. It is often the proverbial horse to logic’s cart. Given proper motivation, such a powerful animal may direct its strength toward good and productivity. But when fooled or spooked, perception may understandably lead to emotions and responses that leave quite the opposite. So the point is not to control what we as American people do in response to perceived threats, but to clear our common perception to the objective truth and focus on the true challenges that face the nation.
The greatest irony of this information age is that development of consensus and conclusions outpaces the creation of raw data. Only so much can be said about the state of the world before any new discoveries become reinterpretations of what is known to be true. For example, COVID-19 is widely known as a highly contagious virus that presents mostly in the lungs and that the best protection short of a vaccine is preventative action. But given the depth and breadth of the internet, it is easier than ever to access both truth and fiction about the subject without ever seeing the difference. And such confusion makes the objective truth furiously hard to find.
The point is that this is true for all things, and it happens to be the perfect fuel for social division. Bewilderment supports the creation of a “ghost in the room,’” anxiety that is simultaneously tangible, unprovable and often artificial. But the ghost’s greatest threat is its visceral nature. As a tool, dismay is best used to stir intense fear or hatred. And given the information age, confusion is everywhere. In truth, as we are all humans facing the same problems, fear itself is once again the only thing to fear.
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