Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Kristina Flour / Unsplash

This post is going to be interesting, because it is a bunch of thoughts I had which I didn't know how to connect. The connecting piece was re-watching the first episode of American Horror Story: Cult.

It kept touching on the point of fear and how that has become a currency. Businesses, politicians and more trade that to win over your attention and thus money. It seemed like writing just reaching for the point of a good show, but then I started processing it.

For the sake of these points, first lets start with a recent Netflix movie: Apostle.

Apostle - Netflix

This film was based in the year 1905 with a little remote Welsh island where a cult lives. We see new converts to the cult arriving, but any modern text or information they are carrying is burned. Cult members without information are then forced to cling to the leaders for any knowledge.

Remember, we are talking 1905 in this film so there is no magical device in every citizen's pocket for complete knowledge. Paired with a desolate isolated island leads to very little outside influence. If someone told you the soil wouldn't be fertile to support farming unless a blood sacrifice was made, would you believe it? You wouldn't know the truth from false statements because it is all you knew.

You can see a pattern with this in the religious space in our world. Church was a great place to learn some of life's greatest question or even learn how to act in a "religious" manner.

Though as cities began connecting and civilizations went online, it was quickly learned there was hundreds, if not thousands, of religions out there. What did you do when religious text contradicted each other? Who was right? Who was wrong? Were any of these religions scared of the connected world?

U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades - Gallup

As my random Google search showed, church membership is going down and I think I know why. Years ago when knowledge traveled via paper & voice, it was slow to learn anything. You trusted what your town, family, teacher or neighbors said. If I don't know anything now, I have an unlimited number of sources to learn that information. Children these days are born with this technique jumping on family iPads and phones researching everything and anything.

So with that prior information, lets jump back to "Fear is a currency". When you prevent your child from biking to a friends house is that because you are fearful of kidnapping? Do you lie to your friends fearful of them to know the truth? Do you prevent explicit media fearing what it will cause?

I just feel like every time I tune into a news story, its about fear. Fear about a potential war, fear about a shooting, fear about an airborne virus.

That fear drives humans to do one thing - lose their attention and focus on something else. Whether it is a school shooting to change who you vote for in politics or buy an expensive bulletproof backpack.  

A few weeks ago I was at a park in the early morning playing Ingress, when the park was way more popular than it should be. There was an event going on and people everywhere. As I did my laps, someone with a clipboard approached me and asked if I was registered to vote in Florida.

I said yes and that was my mistake. They asked me if I would sign this paper for some purpose. I continued to make up excuses because I just didn't want to until they moved on to someone else. Whatever they were talking about was not simple to process, much like this amendment on the 2018 ballot.

Ban Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling and Ban Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces Amendment

It blew my mind because its completely two unrelated things in one question, which reminds me about the mess in politics. We have two large parties right now which many pledge their allegiance to. You may not agree with the entire viewpoints of either side, but you normally have to pick one at the DMV or label yourself undecided.

These labels are outside of politics as well in genders, religions, race and more. The world wants you to fear being unlabeled. Though once you fit a label, you fall into the group and get classified in it as well. I want no alliance to any label and just want to fall into what I feel is right.

I dislike how every incident on the news gets classified as some label against another. It incites fear for both groups, fear gets manufactured into action and action leads to money or attention which every entity out there wants.

So to end this post of rambling thoughts, the next time you get fearful. Remember what is driving that fear. Is it some survival based instinct mechanism or some manufactured emotion to drive you to some point?

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