Fear of the Unknown

Whenever we find ourselves in a new situation, an experience that we yet have to witness or an event we must endure, it is not uncommon to have that unsettling feeling – fear of the unknown.

From time immemorial, since humans first crawled from caves to hunt and kill, to survive, we have been constantly bombarded with life or death choices and situations. The juicy red berries on the bush will either nourish or kill. The seed pods hanging from the tree will do the same and I sometimes wonder if our whole existence has been a case of ‘well last week, Joe ate some of those and it killed him so we had better not eat them’, or is it that that which doesn’t kill you simply makes you stronger. 

We are creatures of learning and if the choice is between life or death, along the way we must have learnt many lessons the hard way to arrive at the basic instinct that keeps us away from eating poisonous foods, petting a lion or stroking a  hairy spider.

The inner instinct of whether to flee or fight where, if you scratch the surface of any human they will show one form of survival tactic or the other, is ingrained in each of us as we career through the three score years and ten (or more) that is currently our average lifespan. Although we might wear a thin veneer of fine trappings, the modern society, living in houses or apartments rather than caves (or trees as some would have us believe), underneath these fancy exteriors we only fool ourselves if we think we are far removed from our ancestors who scavenged the plains and mountains to survive. When push comes to shove, we will stand and fight, or run and hide, as there is nothing we can do to change this basic instinct without hard external mental and physical training. We are merely a combination of many of our ancestors who over time and lineage have resulted in our own individual genetic embodiment. Just as we may bear physical resemblance in one way or another to our mother or father or grandparents or beyond, we are made up internally and mentally the same way, stretching back through the mists of time. 

Nature or Nurture is a subject for another blog, but in each of us, when it comes to it, there is the historical Neanderthal just waiting to show his or her true colours in a crisis.

When such a darkness as COVID-19 befalls humanity and the usual status quo of normality is removed and replaced with a survival instinct, there can be little wonder that self-preservation for some of us is higher up the list of priorities than others. With a minority of our present world population seemingly hell-bent on placing everyone else in a state of jeopardy, as they swan about flouting the instructions that the majority of us are adhering to, I’m left wondering if the laws of evolution and natural selection are not even now being played out on our streets and in our parks.

Seeing how other countries have enforced obedience to these excellent rules and regulations by using their police or armed forces in large numbers to patrol and fine at will, is it not better for those who should have had ‘Do Not Breed’ stamped on their foreheads long ago, for them to be left to wander about with gay abandon to suffer their eventual demise, as time and circumstance should surely prove?

So while the rest of us self-isolate to protect not only ourselves, but also others who are more at risk, we ensure that the population isn’t decimated as for instance in the time of the black death, but that we are able to keep fatalities to as low a number as possible. 

This fear of the unknown and the will to survive is our personal, individual, evolutionary conscience that gnaws away at the back of our subconscious, in an attempt to see us through the dark period we are now in. 

As our whole world becomes more like a bygone era, our roads now empty, with only a few necessary working travellers hoving into occasional view, as our skies no longer have the multitude of vapour trails crisscrossing the summer blue, as pollution from factories dissipates and vehicular fumes drop to levels not witnessed or recorded in living lifetime, we as a race take shelter, back in our metaphorical caves, only venturing forth for reasons of self-sustainability to feed ourselves until this dark storm of unknowing has cleared.

Will normality be restored?

Economic revolution is predominantly driven by humanity’s own economic greed. A healthy society, therefore, has to be paid for by society itself.

The lesson we all must learn from the dark time we now endure is the inherent fragility of our existence here on this planet. All things will pass, all things will become new and hopefully, we might be given an opportunity to do great things together if there is the combined global will to stop walking the dark path of blind ignorance and move towards the light of knowledge, learning and collective global understanding.

In this instance, don’t carry on regardless! 

Hopefully, the fear of this present unknown will keep us alive, by making us stay at home, staying safe and protecting lives.


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