Fear and Ignorance

"Fear is nothing more than an obstacle that stands in the way of progress.  In overcoming our fears, we can move forward, stronger, and wiser within ourselves." - Unknown

When I was 22 years old, I watched the Twin Towers fall in NYC on September 11th.  I was just starting my adult life right out of college with my first job and entering the world as an adult.  I don't need to get into the fact that 9/11 happened only a few miles across the water from where I grew up in New Jersey.  I'll just say it was scary as shit.

Not too soon after I moved out of my parent's house.  I recall vividly a moment of when in the midst of moving all my material belongings into the truck, one of the movers asked me, "what is that", as he pointed to a red, white and blue ribbon pinned to my shirt.

"It's for those who died in the 9/11 attacks", I said.

The words he said following this have stuck with me for a long time. 

"It is sad, but you American's are very ignorant."  The man was from Israel and explained in his lifetime, he had experienced worse situations on more than one occasion, and the pains of dealing with violence and death where he lived.

It has been a while since 9/11 happened, but recently just over two weeks since the attacks in Paris and now 24 hours since the latest mass shooting here in my country.  I have watched people on social media cast judgments upon fellow citizens, make attacks upon other religions, and let their emotions get the better of them.  I'm not writing what I'm about to say to take a side, but hopefully to try and make sense of why this is happening.

Wherever you come from, whoever raised you, and whatever you consider your culture and experiences leads to how you act in life and becomes your own personal mindset.  I'm sure a psychologist or anyone in social science could explain it better with theories and practices, but a mindset is a key factor in taking you through life.  A belief, in my opinion, is a subset of one's mindset--and beliefs, of which we have many, is the foundation of how we live our life.  They are difficult to change, even in the face of facts.

Of all the reactions to terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, one thing rings true.  Fear.  Fear is a genetic disposition.  Fight, flight or freeze (many forget the last one) are inherent in our blood as a way to protect ourselves.  The fear center of our brain is very primal and makes quick decisions without much thought.  It can simply come down to living or dying with the element of fear being the reason for such an outcome.  Unfortunately in our modern times our fears leads us to things such as taking sides, lashing out at one another, instilling fear on someone else, and you guessed it--ignorance. 

I am ignorant of a lot of things in life even though I'd say given my education, skills, up bringing, where I've lived and traveled to, and I could go on I've had it pretty good.  But still I don't fully understand the world.  And for that matter, nobody does.  I don't understand terrorism.  I don't know much about Islam.  I don't know how to shoot a gun.  But I try my best to understand other people's mindsets.  I try my best not to make judgements,  and I try not to be the one that claims my mindset and beliefs are greater than or superior to someone else's.  Yet, I observe almost everyday people acting this way--out of their own fears and ignorance.  Out of their very own mindset and beliefs.

Now I don't have solutions for any of this other than to say, be aware that this is going on around us everyday from our leaders of all the way down to different kinds of everyday people all over the world.  And take note of what your own fears and ignorance are doing to you as well as others.  Because like my mover guy said in 2001 is that we don't get it.  It's 2015 and we still don't understand how our mindsets are leading us down a path that could be far more fearful and ignorant than it is now.

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