Fear is something that almost everyone can say they have experienced at some point or another. It is fear that serves as the foundation for survival instinct. Fear is such a powerful emotion that even the memory of it can be enough of a deterrent for almost any kind of behaviour. Today’s conversation will be about fear at its most fundamental level, and how we can possibly hope to fathom such a thing.
The one thing that most humans fear the most is death. The fear of the unknown can in fact be a great catalyst for many an action. Humans who do not fear death are either very wise or very foolish, and there is no middle ground. When we speak of a fear that is primordial, we are referring to that which serves as the foundation for fear itself.
It is the fear of the unknown on an existential level. It is to take a moment to contemplate the existence of beings that are superior to ourselves in ways that the human mind cannot even begin to fathom. If there indeed exists such an entity that holds the power over life and death itself, how terrifying it must be to ponder whether or not one can get by the pearly gates.
For most people, it’s easier to simply pretend that life on earth is everlasting and that there is more to this world than the decay and loss that has defined all of the history books thus far. Name 10 of history’s greatest figures, and there you will find 10 people who lost everything when they died. Sure, a tiny fraction of people have gotten to the heavens; but humans willingly spend all of their time alone in heaven. That means that even your lifelong “soulmate” will actually(at best) end up at another address in heaven.
Primordial fear goes beyond the fear of dying or even being killed. It is the fear of being powerless on an existential level and being at the mercy of powers greater than ourselves. It is a naturally born antipathy towards any line of reasoning that takes away humankind’s agency. We are taught to believe that the laws of men are the pinnacle of order. It must be frightening to realize that they are but a temporary stop gap and a distraction from all the parts of life that we simply cannot control as a species.
At the end of the day, everyone must decide for themselves how they will face the notion of eternity. For most, the concept is simply unfathomable. It is much easier to lean on that which can be seen or measured, even after being informed that most of the things that happen in this world are at least somewhat influenced by forces that transcend the laws of this world in the most unseen and unheard of ways. One thing is for certain, and that is that sooner or later that existential band-aid is going to have to be ripped off. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.