Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 10:28:23 -0500 Subject: Re: Fear. Yes, Glen. Yes. Thank you very much for your generous thoughts and citations. I'm putting Massumi, Badiou, and Altheide on my plate. How fear activates conditioning is also a provocative intersection I'd like to meditate on. Can't say as I've experienced any real, sweating sort of panic since I was a kid. I do get quite angry, however, and impatient, as I've mentioned, which, I think, does indeed at least touch on what you speak of with regard to our sense of impending harm. My feeling is that the sense that impending harm is impending triggers an albeit minor sort of fear, but it is a fear that, broken down far enough... and I suppose I'll find this explored in Massumi... affects our quotidian experience fundamentally. Yet perhaps your example of how someone who stutters learns to cope in advance is evidence that I'm chasing something of a red herring. Perhaps fear is not so automatic and can be diverted successfully with practice. But again, how free of fear can any one of us become and what might we look forward to as a result? Certainly, of course, I'm not trying to advocate the wooden headed calculations of "political" monologue, but quite the opposite. What I seek is how to be more affective politically... if only to advance economic changes or to function as a better "intensity-conducting body." Thanks again for your wonderful indulgence, Don > >Don, > >The intro to the book "The Politics of Everyday Fear" ed by Massumi can be >read here: > >http://www.anu.edu.au/HRC/first_and_last/works/feartoc.htm > >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? > >Glen.
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