What are you afraid of, or WHAT SHOULD YOU BE AFRAID OF?

The other day whilst I was out in the car, I passed a dog sitting at the exit of the driveway where I presume he lived. Nothing extraordinary about that you might say, but there was no gate at the end of this drive way and cars were speeding passed him within a metre or so and he wasn’t bothered by them at all.  So, well behaved and not afraid.

That got me thinking.  Where else have I seen this behaviour in nature. Quite often you pass rooks at the road side.  They are also quite unconcerned by cars going passed them, often within a foot or so, whilst they wait for you to go on your way so they can get on with their favourite activity of devouring carrion.  In the parks we enjoy in towns and cities you will often see birds such as geese, gulls and pigeons that are quite prepared to let you get very close, even coming up to you if they think there’s some food on offer.

Whilst all these situations are similar, at the same time they are all very different too.  The dog and the rooks know that these metal boxes generally just keep going and they stay on the black stuff, provided you don’t get too close they are no danger at all.  If you were to stop though, the rooks would fly away immediately.  The two legs can be very dangerous when they are walking.  The dog though knows that most people want to give you a stroke and a fuss so therefore are not scary.  Maybe that’s why so many just recently have been dog knapped.  But for the most part dogs can and do trust humans.

Likewise with pigeons to a certain extent, pigeons are really good at staying just out of reach too, however, many are now domesticated.

If you saw the same geese or seagulls in most other areas though you wouldn’t get close.  The same geese if encountered in a field would fly away before you got within fifty yards of them, seagulls wouldn’t generally land at all unless they thought there was food on offer, or stealable. 

In each case the animal or bird knows exactly when to be afraid and when not to be afraid.

Can you say the same?

I was having a meal with some friends the other day and one teenager was having apoplexy because there was a fly in the room.  He had got himself into such a state that he couldn’t even sit down and eat his dinner, let alone have a conversation.  How often have seen the ladies, yes generally it is the ladies who get into a panic when a spider is in the room.  I remember my sons mother jumping from the floor onto my lap when she saw a spider descending on a strand of a web in one amazing movement that she wouldn’t have been capable of normally.

Now, let’s not get onto the fears we have during life when things happen that might be a threat to our job, bank balance, house, personal safety or any other perceived fear…

We are born with two fears! And two fears only!!!  Falling and sudden loud noises.  I’ll say that again, falling and sudden loud noises!

Every other fear we have learnt.  Probably before we are two and from our parents.

Lets, put that into context, spiders, there are only a few spiders in this country that have mouthparts big enough to pierce skin.  Flies are no threat, provided they don’t lay eggs on your food, and generally they don’t do that whilst you’re there.  Bees won’t sting you, it would likely kill them if they did.  Wasps can sting you very easily, but don’t, unless you flap about around them and they become scared.  I appreciate if you suffer from anaphylaxis, care needs to be taken around them, but otherwise…

Mosquitos can and will bite you, well, they will if they are female, they need blood for egg production, so it’s only the females then, funny that. The males get a pretty rum deal and often flattened for fear they might be female.

Maybe then its time to once again take the lead from the creatures of nature that we live with and work out what we actually need to be afraid of and what is effectively just nonsense, even if it does feel very real to us. 

Let’s go and seriously unlearn some fears…

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