Just Another Day

"Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's day to day living that wears you out." - Chekhov

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Fear (Part 2)

Let me see if I can explain with a personal analogy.

I was always physically small growing up, if athletic, and people liked to pick on me. So, I learned to tap into my inner animal and fight. We moved a lot so I was often the new kid which, in addition to physical stature, made me a target for bullies. I encouraged them many times with smart ass comments and when they approached the inner animal came out and I showed them that it is probably wise not to mess with me. And, many times, after they saw that I could hold my own, they wanted to befriend me. Of course, I made sure that this didn't happen because I had no interest in being friends with idiots and people for whom I had no respect. Who did I respect? The smart kids? Not necessarily. I liked intellectual and athletic activities but I didn't respect either camp outright. Those that I respected were those who were very capable intellectually but didn't use it to pummel others and make them feel like idiots. Same goes for the athletes. I had no problem with with the big, strong kids as long as they didn't make that aspect central to who they were. I still feel the same way. Those that mouthed were challenged and taken down - I'm not just referring to me, here, but those who projected their strength by not having to flex it; those that were modest in their position of strength were those with whom I could relate.

This is the same situation for the US. As long as we are the strongest, toughest kid on the block, someone will always look to hurt us. If we react too strongly, we show basic insecurities and those who have attacked will be emboldened to try to hurt us again. There will always be someone out there doing this so we will have to continuously swat flies. However, if we pull out the big guns to go after each fly then we have shown that we must have vulnerabilities. Otherwise, why go through that much trouble? If we show vulnerabilities, these nuisances will look to keep coming at us because they know they can illicit a reaction. If we react calmly, diplomatically, then we show our strength, will be more respected and will have less interest placed in us as a potential target.

The mosquito can sense carbon dioxide, our exhalations, from far, far away. However, they don't zero in on the source in a bustling world. What they eventually zero in on is the bustle itelf. In other words, if you are alone in a room and a mosquito flies in through the window after detecting your exhalation, she won't necessarily know where to go next because there will be CO2 all over the room. She'll fly around until she can feel the heat from your body, which is greater if you are active, or she will find you because she will see you moving.

The mosquitoes (somebody ask Dan Quayle if that spelling is correct) will find us. If we are jumping around trying to chase one of them, we are that much more vulnerable to attacks from others because we are focussed on just one and exposing ourselves with bustle and heat. Don;t be afraid, calm down, let them come to you, swat when you have to. Rinse, repeat, if necessary.

Otherwise, the mosquitoes will win.

Man, I can ramble, can't I?