When we feel threatened it seems that we are triggered either by the mystery of the person or thing; or that we know the actual potential for harm the person or thing has. This little truism came to mind after hearing a line from “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
I considered the brief history of the poem and how the attorney, Francis Scott Key, penned the verses after watching British troops threaten the viability of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. He felt relieved and grateful that the fort was not captured in the onslaught. Those were times of clear and present danger to the young democratic republic by outside forces. The citizens rightfully felt threatened because they knew a thing or two about the workings of the British Empire.
Nations, social groups, individuals, and creatures react to the threat of danger by internal machinations that are angry, frightening, and extreme. Organizations and organisms are geared up to locate the source of the threats and instinctively attempt to do something to avert or avoid danger. If the threat becomes real verbal or physical violence, we could become traumatized. Basic psychology tells us that when traumatized individuals encounter similar circumstances or even when they only think about such events, the mind once again goes on high alert status.
Except for natural disasters, fatal disease, crime, accidents, and war, there are few physical threats to contemporary human survival. We feel existential threats and threatened by ideas that do not coincide with our own and people whose lives do not match our own lifestyles.
For instance, there is the hypothesis that many male humans feel threatened by the concept of feminism. Some observers posit that fears and insecurity are triggered by how boys are raised. The males believe their self-worth is diminished if they are not in leadership roles as men. The threat-level is heightened when some feminists proclaim that men are extraneous and unnecessary. This opens a messy Pandora’s box of religious, political, and philosophical disputes. Reason gets thrown under the bus and emotions clash over rightful concerns of both males and females.
Perhaps reading the previous paragraph caused you to feel uneasy and maybe somewhat threatened. Whether we are male or female, we are aware of the “culture wars” regarding gender roles and sexuality. Oftentimes, mere mention of the differences causes our adrenaline to flow. Did you notice at least a bit of tension in your muscles? Did a mental barrier manifest itself? This is an example as to how deeply real and perceived threats affect us. Hot-button issues can throw us off our balance between emotion and rationality–with emotion often winning the day.
Wisdom gained over the centuries, tells us that we should never turn our backs on threatened danger. We should confront it and only flee from it as a last resort. One school of thought says we should meet the adversary promptly without flinching. Doing so shows the adversary you are a force to be reckoned with. This diminishes the danger. Military strategists advise us that retreat is a last resort.
It is good to understand the nature of those who threaten our safety and lives. Such knowledge helps us to focus on coping with any real or imagined danger.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Imperial Army General and Japanese Prime Minister during World War Two, Hideki Tojo. “It goes without saying that when survival is threatened, struggles erupt between peoples, and unfortunate wars between nations result.”
💜 Irrational “fears” (F.E.A.R (Friendly Emotive Alert Response), creating (False Evidence Appearing Real) or leading to (Firm Efficient Assertive Reaction)) is Interesting and Intriguing; for example I Have had Confrontational Therapy to Quell My Many “fears” of Snakes yet, although My Rationale tells Me Snakes ARE OK, I AM Still Scared of Snakes, I Guess The Mental Health Pros would Label it an UnTreatable Phobia
If you encounter a cottonmouth snake in a Louisiana swamp, that fear will be quite useful. There is an hypothesis that our species has evolved an instinctive fear of snakes. Just as squirrels evolved an instinctive fear of cats.
💜 Same is applicable to the African Black Mamba and the Australian Brown Snake; yet many snakes ARE Shy, Smart and Non-Venomous…so I Guess I AM just envious of Snake Handlers and Snake Charmers et al; apparently snakes give a pretty good massage as They Slither Over Our Bodies
I was within a few feet of a snake charmer in Mumbai, India (not by choice…jostled by a crowd). That was closer than I cared to be to a cobra. I will mention that I felt sort of sorry for the snake because it looked very unhealthy.