File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2003/lyotard.0302, message 31

Subject: Fear.
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 16:51:54 +0800


The intro to the book "The Politics of Everyday Fear" ed by Massumi can be
read here:

The trauma you speak of seems it would initially be one of Badiou's events
(event-uating the possibility of another reality/ possible world). The echo
of the event is very interesting... I do not know enough about
psychoanalysis to have a play with that idea though...

David Altheide suggests there is a difference between 'risks and danger' as
a signification of possible harm and 'fear' that is the emotional response
to an imminent harm that should be avoided (188): "Risks and danger signify
an awareness of potential harm, and they are often associated with specific
acts or objects. [.] Fear is much different. It is an emotion. It is a
general orientation that harm is imminent and that steps should be taken to
avoid the source of fear [.]" (188). Altheide, David L. Creating Fear :News
and the Construction of Crisis. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 2002.

I theorised fear in terms of being an essential element in the technologies
of control utilised by the State to generate 'docile' car-drivers
(Commuters), so your example of the post-adolescent was great as it
supported by general thesis (which was not about Commuters and fear, and
more about Hoons (the reckless driving post-ad.) and different kinds of
fear, mainly of a caged oblivion. I would argue they (hoons) are not
apathetic, just that they have empathy and emotional investment in fields
that wouldn't make much sense to the Commuter).

Anyway... when a risk becomes a fear the ability to 'think' (in a critical
Deleuzian sense) is lost, and conditioning takes over. Fear is an
interesting intersection of the virtual and actual. Where the risk may seem
to be (and probably is!) fully real it is albeit virtual, however, 'fear'
processes this risk into an imminent and actual danger.

A personal example is that I used to have a terrible stutter. I could hardly
speak, and I am not sure how much this has effected me over the years. I
have never encountered anything else quite like the feeling of knowing
exactly what you want to say (the words, the spelling and meaning of the
words) but simply not having the physical ability to speak them. (Except
maybe when speaking to a pretty girl;) I still do to some extent however I
'manage' my stutter so that I calculate the risk of stuttering (or having a
'block') on certain words and manipulate the rhythms and selection of my
spoken words to minimise the disjunctive rhythms of my speech impediment.

However, the fear I have of stuttering is actualised by/into a visceral
reaction (panic, sweating, further stuttering, etc), when I begin to stutter
or know that I am particularly susceptible to a block or a stutter (ie when
very tired), so that I am fearful of 'actually' stuttering (and not
necessarily the effects of the stuttering). It can be quite painful
'choosing' every single word while maintaining 'normal' rhythms of speech,
so much so that when I am not tired I speak very very fast (haha)... I have
been somewhat successful returning to my managing my speech through
calculating risks even when the fear of stuttering/blocking grips me, so
that I force myself to 'forget' my fear (break the feedback loop generated
that amplifies my visceral reaction) and relate to the words I speak on the
level of a calculated risk. A bit like a politician I suspect...

I don't know if this is at all helpful?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Socha" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 9:57 AM
Subject: RE: the latest in propaganda...

> Eric writes:
> >Don,
> >
> >[snip]  Perhaps this is the first step - to recognize that
> fear is
> >used as a weapon and to resist it as such.
> I want to think the problem is closer to the bone.  I mean,
> more than a weapon, fear goes a long way toward how I am
> fundamentally, and I feel it is my responsibility to work to
> do something about that.  But what?  I think I have to train
> my mind somehow, get it into a new habit... created
> somehow... by some kind of practice through which I am not
> afraid.
> Fundamentally, though, I need to understand what fear is.
> Having lived through trauma creates fear, and trauma seems to
> be something that few human beings have not experienced on
> some level.
> I want to understand how it affects me in different
> localities.  I get the hebeegeebees at stripmalls, for
> example, or when I'm feeling impatient.  It manifests itself
> as a kind of impatience verging on panic.  And certain
> people, like Dick Cheney can trigger it in me, or car
> salesmen, or apathetic, self-destructive post adolescents
> breaking the speed limit....
> Anyway, fear affects the way I am.  And to recognize that, I
> think is my first step, not toward realizing that "another
> world is possible," but something more immediate?
> Don
> >
> >I admit I have been surprised to discover how many others
> here in
> >America share political views similar to mine about the war
> and the
> >economy.  There is also a linkage here with others around
> the world.
> >While I don't want to minimize the dangers, I also want to
> point out
> >that this is not the time for us to despair.
> >
> >Once Margaret Thatcher said: "There is no alternative."
> >
> >More recently, it has been said by the Zapatistas: "Another
> world is
> >possible."
> >
> >Now we must decide what choice we will make. What world will
> you choose?
> >
> >eric
> >
> >
> >


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