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Irrational Fears [Aug. 28th, 2008|06:12 pm]
Wise Tits
wise_tits
[you_lied]
Who is to say that a fear is or isn't rational? Just because it's not something harmful, or because a majority of people are not afraid of something specific then when someone does end up being very afraid of said something specific all of a sudden it's irrational?

I am ridiculously afraid of ghosts, deep water, and haunted houses(like the entertainment kind around Halloween), and I mean RIDICULOUSLY afraid. All of these things can and have scared me to the point of crying, feeling sick, or throwing up. I couldn't really tell you why I'm so afraid of these things either. The issue with haunted houses I think goes back to when I was a kid, my mom would make me go in them and they scared me so bad as a child and I've never been able to kick that fear.

Anyway, why is that irrational? My brain must have it's reasons for why I'm afraid. Plus aren't we all different, it's like defining what or who is normal. Who is to say what's normal when we have 6 billion different individuals on the planet with their own thoughts and ideas.
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Comments:
From: d_h_belmont
2008-08-29 04:31 am (UTC)
I think from a strictly biological stand point, "fear" is created, either through millions of years of genetic conditioning, or by one's own experience, as a means of keeping oneself safe and sound.

I would tend to think that an "irrational" fear can be defined as a type of fear that doesn't keep one from danger or even goes far as to harm the individual. For example, I'm emetephobic (which means I have a fear of vomiting), which means if I ever got cancer, I might refuse to take chemotherapy because of the side effects, which include nausea. Because of my fear, I might end up dying in a situation where I could have continued to live a long life. I'm also hopelessly afraid of people in general. Most of the time, I can't even make eye contact. I'm sure my lack of an outgoing nature hinders my ability to do my job (which is in retail) the best I can.

I thin the Social Anxiety is a mixture of heredity and life experience, with the vomit thing being the result of one particular year where I threw up a lot and the last time, which I recall as being a step and a half away from being of the violent type, I swore (I was only eight at the time) never to do it again.

So, to answer your question with my own theories, I think one may consider a fear rational or irrational based on whether or not it helps a person and whether or not the fear is actually harmful to a person and to what degree.

You do have a point about how defining fears is relative to defining what normal is. A fear's rationality is probably based on the culture in which they live. It's probably more "rational" for a person who lived an entire life in the city to be afraid of wildlife than someone who has lived on a farm. Then there's also fears that may be considered "understandable", but not rational. For example, a child may be afraid of dark skinned people because of 9/11, and as a result, have a fear of the Asian-Indian man running the mini mart, even though he isn't an Arab, and is one of the sweetest gentlemen you'd ever meet.

I get the feeling we could make complex charts based on fear with one axis being "rationality" and the other being "understandability". I could go on ad infinitum, ad nauseum on this. I'll stop here. Hope all this applies to your question.
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