Non abbiate paura : Be not afraid
~ Pope John Paul II
Throughout most of our evolution we were a weak, defenseless animal trying to survive in a hostile environment. The cautious among those lived long enough to pass on their genes. We are their progeny, and we are naturally fearful.
But today, as a species, at this stage of our development, we are also king of the hill.
Parents try to do the best for their kids. But we also do a lot of damage, unintentionally. We pass on our fears and insecurities, and not just genetically. It takes special effort to realize this, and heroic effort to avoid it. Every time we tell them to “be careful” or “don’t talk to strangers” we inadvertently diminish their bravery.
For most of those reading this, our lives are reasonably secure, reasonably free from danger and reasonably prosperous. We are members of a species that is king of the hill. We have little to fear. This lack of fear is, ideally, what we should be passing on to our kids, to help them unlearn—even if it’s just a little bit—the results of eons of evolution.
Whenever I feel despair at our broken world, I sit myself down and listen to Beethoven’s, Ode to Joy, to lift my spirits and as a reminder to trust my hopes, not my fears.
I wish you a New Year free from fear.