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Old 31-01-2010, 10:00   #1
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Fear and The Cruising Sailor

I lived outside the USA for twenty-eight years, and during some of those years, I sailed around the world on my catamaran, Exit Only. I have been through one tsunami, a few storms, and sailed through pirate alley. I've taken a few risks that seemed reasonable, and I have never let fear control my life. In fact, fear has never been a significant component to my existence on planet earth. An occasional fearful thought keeps me sharp and on my toes, and out of harms way. But it doesn't keep me from living my dreams.

I never allowed fear to control my sailing itinerary. It was more about risk managment than it was about fear. Maybe I'm saying the same thing, but I don't think so.

Now that I have returned home, I am hearing the gospel of fear from many quarters. Politicians attempt to use fear to get votes, and businesses use fear to sell products. I am a physician, and I am blown away by the fear based advertising done by pharmaceutical companies to get people to take the drugs that they sell. Buy their product, and you won't have a heart attack, stroke, and a thousand other afflictions. I guess fear gets votes and makes people buy stuff.

Here's the surprising thing. When I was sailing around the world, the gospel of fear and lack did not ring in my ears. Maybe it's because I wasn't around television and the media. Nevertheless, I don't recall that when I lived in Australia and New Zealand, that fear based advertising was prominent in the media. Maybe my short term memory is faulty.

Maybe one of the benefits of being a cruising sailor is that it's harder for the fearful toxic waste of "civilization" to reach me and infect my mind. Anyway, I've had enough of it. For as long as I am on shore, I've got my ear plugs in, and I'm not listening to the gospel of fear.

How is it where you live? In your country is fear a significant component of the life in your country? When you are out cruising, do you notice a reduction in the messages of fear?

Here's a few thoughts about fear in my blog:

FEAR
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:04   #2
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It's the same way they sell religion, Doc.
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:07   #3
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It's the same way they sell religion, Doc.
You are probably right, and a point worthy of consideration. Toxic waste takes many forms, and for some people faith falls into that category. It's possible to take anything and twist it in such a way that it becomes toxic and fear based. Too bad. Nevertheless, this thread isn't about religion or politics. It's about a cultural shift where fear is a significant or substantial driving force in a culture.

I did not feel fear, or feel that I was being manipulated with fear while I was out cruising. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I like cruising so much.
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:17   #4
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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
I am a physician, and I am blown away by the fear based advertising done by pharmaceutical companies to get people to take the drugs that they sell. Buy their product, and you won't have a heart attack, stroke, and a thousand other afflictions. I guess fear gets votes and makes people buy stuff.
You know what I'm afraid of? That "Erection lasting longer than 4 hours" thing! Jeez that scares me!

Seriously, you are so right. Our corporations and our govt. have become masters of fear. They've figured out how to control, and it works. Marisa and I speak of this often, in hushed tones, because we're afraid they'll hear. They can change the course of elections, stop Congress dead, and make billions in health care with the gentle application of fear. This fear spreads quickly. Want a cruising example? Look at all the talk of pirates and arms on this website. How many of us will actually ever even be in the vicinity of a real pirate? VERY few. Another example; Fear can seep into your friends and loved ones. I had lunch with a friend yesterday. We spoke of our cruising plans. He thought it was great, but said he was worried about us out there all alone...you know, pirates and things...Must be the Disney films, because we're only goin' to the Caribbean, for Heavens sake...
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:22   #5
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Hi, Dave --

An interesting and important topic. Just a quick editing thing, though: It was FDR that said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" during his first inauguration, in 1933.

Of course, fear is part of our evolutionary make up and played a crucial role in the ancestral environment. Our ancestors who didn't pay attention to it, had less opportunity to see their genes passed down.

In contemporary times, it is an excellent lever for all sorts of manipulation. Like you, it has been one of the shocks to the system when getting plugged back in to the Matrix of modern media. While cruising, my fears were much more immediate and real, with the consequences of one decision vs another usually quite transparent and obvious. Politicians are expert at using fear and they have many willing accomplices (and not just in the so-called Mainstream Media, either; most political blogs seem to have fear as their basic motivating emotion). Those are usually variations on the "Boogey-Man", the fear of the "other".

I'm looking forward to getting back to just dealing with "real" fears, like storm fronts. I can cope with those, even though the consequences for a poor decision on my part are much more immediately dangerous than the consequences of a poor vote in an election.

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Old 31-01-2010, 10:28   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post

I'm looking forward to getting back to just dealing with "real" fears, like storm fronts. I can cope with those, even though the consequences for a poor decision on my part are much more immediately dangerous than the consequences of a poor vote in an election.

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Real fears are healthy. They demand the best of you. They make you reach down deep inside and take action. They are a call to general quarters, and when you emerge victorious, you are a better and stronger person.

Virtual fears that are used to control people are debilitating. They make you weak and less of a person.

I'm with you. I will take a backpack of real fear any day over the virtual fears of "civilzation."
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:32   #7
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Oh, I heard the part about "seek medical assistance if you have an erection lasting more than four hours".

Hey, that is PURE fear based marketing.

From my perspective, if I have erections lasting more than four hours....I need an agent. Not a doctor.
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:40   #8
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You are right about the fear factor in modern life, but maybe because im used to it, i dont conciously think of it on an everyday level untill its brought up in a case such as this.

Cruising takes people away from a lot of modern fast pace of life influences and in Sardinia I noticed a cultural difference in the pace of life and peoples expectations in general.
No signs of alcohol abuse there or the constant media focus on 'celebrity', - just two of the main problems I see society having trouble with in the UK.

Maybe its the influence of media because its the portal for this bombardment of fear and daily crap.
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Old 31-01-2010, 10:52   #9
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Someone on line once said something like "I don't fear economic melt down, I fear melanoma. One day a spot and 6 months later you are dead."

I think that says a lot. We don't accurately evaluate our fears but just run with the herd.

There is the fear that you will fail, and there is the fear that you will never try.

I fear I will die cheated from having fully experienced life. Then I'll be grumpy and morose forever after. Of course the Wife says, "So why should you be different in death?"
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Old 31-01-2010, 11:06   #10
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Fear is a healthy emotion. As ID says it helps in passing down your gene pool. Unreasonable fear is a whole other story. It amazes me the lengths people will go to attempt to eliminate unreasonable fear and the costs they incur. As said above, fear is a great marketing tool used by very slick people grabbing for your dollars. But how does it affect cruisers? You don't need to look around the world for people who are already out there to find fear. Take a look at any dock. How many dreams have been dashed and bank accounts drained because the cruiser feared he didn't have enough of the newest equipment, not enough insurance and everything wasn't 110% on his boat? Control your fear and realize you are human and therefore subject to demise no matter where you are and throw off the fear peddlers. Just bring up the subject of insurance for cruisers and the fear mongers will come out of the wood work.
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Old 31-01-2010, 11:42   #11
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Being somewhat of a Jungian dilettante, I've found some of his comments on the matter of fear to be helpful.

"The only thing we have to fear on the planet is man."

"Your vision will only become clear when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

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Old 31-01-2010, 11:44   #12
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Oooooh . . . I really like that last one!

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Old 31-01-2010, 12:04   #13
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we can certainly relate this conversation to a general "bluewater fear" that rears its head so often on this forum. How often do we hear how crazy it is to venture offshore in anything other than a full-keel, attached-rudder, lifeboat-with-a-stick built of kevlar-reinforced steel and equipped with multiple radar reflectors, AIS, and a full complement of armaments?

I suspect that much of this is because so many people marketing boats are playing on these fears in a desperate attempt to sell "true" bluewater boats rather than Benehuntalina production boats, all of which, we're told by anyone selling anything other than Benehuntalinas, are destined to sink the first time they hit a crab pot.
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Old 31-01-2010, 12:18   #14
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There was a Micheal Critton book couple of years ago "State of Fear". Was "kind" of about global warming, but what it really was about was how so much is spent trying to keep us in a state of fear to distact us from real issues.
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Old 31-01-2010, 12:18   #15
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Fear is the instrument of the fascist mindset with fascism being the merger of corporate and state interests to dominate and control the people.

The global war on terror brought to us after the 9/11 event fed us fear continuously for years and has hobbled the people who predictably respond and acquiesce.

Fear is used to paralyze and control people and it works.
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