Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The insecure person as opposed to the secure person

"Why can't love ever touch my heart like fear does?"
-- "Bluer than Midnight," The The on their album Dusk (1993)

This is from my favorite philosopher these days, Lars Svendsen, from his book A Philosophy of Fear:
The secure person lives in a reliable world — the word secure means "untroubled by feelings of fear, doubt or vulnerablity" — while the insecure person lives in a world that at any time can turn against him, where the basis of existence at any time can be pulled out from under his feet. Dangers threaten us everywhere: in dark streets, …with strangers and with those closest to us, in nature as well as in technology, inside our bodies as well as in external forces. There no longer seems to be anything that is really secure.

In fear we are met by something outside ourselves, and what we meet is a negation of what we want. We fear the important things in life being destroyed or taken away from us, such as our freedom, dignity, health, social status and — taken to its extreme — our lives. We fear not only for our selves but also for others, …

A Philosophy of FearWhen any of this is threatened, fear is a normal reaction. We want to protect ourselves against such threats. For human life is frightening. As Montaigne says: “Our human frailty means that we have more to flee from than to strive for.”  There appears to be something fundamental about fear, and it is scarcely a coincidence that fear is the first emotion to be mentioned in the Bible: when Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge and discovered that he was naked, fear preceded shame.  We are born into the world naked and unarmed, and — compared to most other animals — remain in this defenseless state for the rest of our lives.
If you think that I am suggesting that homeless people are the insecure folk, you're right.  I am.

This from an article in McClatchy newspaper bureau today:
Last year was the deadliest in a decade for hate crimes against the homeless, with 43 people killed, according to the report by the National Coalition for the Homeless. That's an increase from 27 killings in 2008.

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group chronicled such brutal crimes as homeless people doused with gasoline and set on fire and others beaten with aluminum baseball bats, golf clubs or pipes. The research showed some assailants killed merely for the sport of it — a "thrill kill" in police slang. …

A Sacramento man who was listening to music alone suffered seizures and a concussion after a group of "thrill-seekers" reportedly pummeled and stomped on him as onlookers cheered.

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Blogger David Scott said...

Love your work, Tom!

September 3, 2010 at 8:11 PM  

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