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Thursday, 9 January 2020

Basic types of fear

On Tuesday afternoon, I was listening to Dutch radio NPO2. One remark caught my immediate attention: "there are two basic kinds of fears: not having enough and not being enough". An interesting analysis, involving two main English (and Dutch) verbs: be (zijn) and have (hebben).

I believe in balance & symmetry (my blogs). Fear and Love are each other's opposites and (thus) provide balance in our lives. Please see my diagram in my 2016 blog on Human Emotions (2) - a revisit. One might argue that all (other) human emotions are derived from our primal emotions, being Fear and Love.

The ancient Greeks didn’t use one word for Love but used several words. The Greek words for Love indicate the object or subject of that Love. Also see articles in Vocal, Well and Good. Based on the symmetry between Fear and Love, our main fears would then become as follows:
  • divine love (agape) versus fear for going to Hell;
  • romantic love (eros) versus fear for losing your loved one, and growing old alone;
  • family love (storge) versus fear for/of losing family or fear of death;
  • friendship (philia) versus fear for being alone (eg, loneliness);
  • self-love (philautia) versus fear for being inadequate (eg, self-loathing).

A Google search revealed that the "American self-help author" Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) had identified six basic fears, being: (1) poverty, (2) criticism, (3) ill-health, (4) loss of love of someone, (5) old age, and (6) death. Sources: BusinessInsiderCourageHub, MBG.

A 2012 Psychology Today article, The (only) 5 fears we all share, has a (very) different perspective: (1) extinction, (2) mutilation, (3) loss of autonomy, (4) separation, and (5) ego-death. These 5 fears are mentioned in the 2007 book "Practical Intelligence: the Art and Science of Common Sense" by Dr. Karl Albrecht.

An article by Carol the Coach mentions another 6 basic fears: (1) failure, (2) embarrassment, (3) rejection, (4) hurting others, (5) success, and (6) the unknown. Yet another article provides a hybrid of the above through a quizlet.

Most of these fears do not seem universal. In my view, these fears are consistent with already having a negative outlook on life. People with a positive outlook on life may fear the ones that are opposite to Love.

"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Excerpt of the first inauguration speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President.


The Opposite of Love (2016) by Sons of an Illustrious Father


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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