Friday, April 04, 2008

The Gift of Fear

In light of my experience yesterday I was reminded of a book I saw showcased on Oprah a while back (it's not one of her book club picks). It's called The Gift of Fear.




It was an interesting show and the author's premise is that we all have the the gift of fear to help us know when we are in danger. Out of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of people he's talked to who were victims of some sort of violent crime, there was always a moment before the crime occurred where their instincts told them something isn't right here. He said we are the only animals on earth who when they feel a sense of danger will walk into the situation anyway. Of course I personally believe this "gift of fear" to be a prompting from the Spirit or the Holy Ghost, but whatever you believe this to be I think it's something that everyone can relate to. I put it on hold at the library and plan to read it soon.

Here's a clip from the show (it's a long clip) if you're interested in seeing more.

5 comments:

  1. I read that book after I was mugged. I agree with a lot of what he says. I definitely felt like something wasn't right after 4 girls followed me into the elevator, but I just sort of brushed it off like they were going to visit a friend in the bldg and it was too much of a hassle (and embarrassing) to get out of the elevator at that point. Crazy, I know. After lots of reevaluation, I think they would have beat me up no matter what I did. I don't really think there was a way out of it.

    He also has a great section about protecting your kids at school- don't be naive and think that they're safe just because they're at school. That info was crucial to me since Lex will be attending a public school in *the Heights* next year!
    And, hello. That lady was WAY out of line. I would have high tailed it out of there, too.

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  2. I completely agree with him, and with you. Call it what you like, and I like to call it the H.G., but that instinct is an indication that we need to taken action (RUN!)

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  3. Not so sure about the instinct being the Holy Ghost for people who haven't received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I.e. I thought the Spirit of Christ was to help people make moral decisions, and I didn't think it was involved in danger sensing. Maybe. Seems like it must be something else for animals then. IMHO, I think this danger sense, since it applies to many different species, is a different entity from the H.G. But what do I know?

    I'm not actually that amazed that humans are the only animals who will walk into dangerous situations, after rationalizing their fear away. Yes, of course. Because we have another gift unique to us--the gift of reason. Reason/rationalization is what makes people run into burning buildings to save someone they don't know, what makes a nervous performer sing a beautiful song, and what makes anyone try anything new despite the fear of ridicule.

    There is no such thing as bravery or courage in other animals--some just have a stronger danger instinct than others. For us, we have been given a tool to overcome our fear, and this reason along with imagination, has allowed us to accomplish everything we have as humans.

    The problem with reason, of course, is that sometimes you're just wrong, and the situation has only danger, with no benefit, like all the examples in this video, and (I would imagine) in his book. The trick then, is to know when to use your fear, and when to ignore it.

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  4. Scott--I too questioned my use of saying it's the HG that warns us, but when I think about it, it just makes sense to me. You brought up the point of the light of Christ--I've always thought of that as our conscience as well...so totally different than the little voice telling us somethings not right. However, I have to say I have personally felt that the spirit has kept me out of dangerous situations. And I've heard many other people not of our faith have similar experiences (feeling like something or someone was telling them to get out of there). While I believe we have the gift of the HG I believe others are blessed with His presence in more than just a "making moral decisions" kind of way. When I think about it, it just doesn't make any sense that others wouldn't have the same privilidge..IMHO.

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  5. Thanks for posting this book...I'm definitely going to read it next. I love reading all these interesting comments too. :)

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