Sunday, January 29, 2006

the origins of fear.

some people who had responsibility for a group of chimpanzees decided to do an experiment. they put five chimps in big cage and in the middle of the cage a ladder was placed, allowing the chimps to climb up to reach a banana suspended from the roof. every time a chimp tried to climb the ladder to get the banana someone sprayed the animals with cold water.
pretty soon the chimps weren`t going up the ladder any more.
then one off the chimps was removed and a new chimp was put in the cage. every time the new chimp went up the ladder he was stopped by the other chimps.
this process was repeated until none of the original five chimps were left. five new chimps lived in the cage with the ladder and the banana having never experienced the cold water, yet none of the chimps went up the ladder and if new chimps were introduced they were stopped from going up the ladder.
a culture of fear existed in the cage. the response existed in the behaviour of the chimps but no evidence of the stimulus was available to observation.
what would an observer conclude watching the behaviour of the new chimps in the cage without understanding the water conditioning that went before?
there are a number of disquieting questions that start to arise about our own existance when we look at the irrational behaviour of the chimps in the cage. we start to wonder what culturally supported fears that we accept are founded on actions that don`t exist now. we start to wonder what fears we act upon haven`t been installed by agencies that are reacting to similar actions that no longer exist, or are the personal bias of individuals or groups with agendas that are at odds with our own.
we have nothing to fear but fear it`s self.
a spiritual practice should contain ways of mastering fear.
this is my personal belief. i demand it in my life. i challenge fear, and i find that when i do it fades to nothing and i can go on to the next thing.
i can go up the ladder and get the banana because i`m a monkey and i eat bananas and i`m hungry.
as spiritual practice should contain ways of mastering fear because if it doesn`t then it`s allowing, promoting and utilising fear to control.
it`s a simple rule.
the same rule works in relationships of all description, from work to love to sports teams to politics. if we are being told to be afraid then we are being manipulated.
a spiritual practice must contain a mechanism for mastering fear. in fact i would go as far as saying that it must be the main focus of a spiritual practice. to hunt fear as one would hunt any prey. and when we catch it kill it.
only then can we work towards our personal divinity.


surfsteve said...

Fascinating... I love all of your posts and your website dude.

dr.alistair said...

well....thanks for the kind words. i must say that i`ve enjoyed your site for years. it is nice to find people with similar perceptions in life.