I ranted posted back in August about pointless apocalyptic fear; how culture around us encourages a depressive outlook – we’re all going to hell in a handcart kinda-thing.

And, sadly, since then, the fear factor is just that: a factor, mathematically-speaking. What would you estimate: worry levels have gone up by a factor of – two? three? ten? Marcus Aurelius (he of Meditations and a cameo in Gladiator) was not the first or last to say about experience:

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

And you know he’s right.

One thing we hear again and again in the media is that the Current Situation is caused by a lack of …confidence. (I say “Current Situation” because euphemism is psychological armour; it stops the signified thing worming its toxic way into the  brain’s fear-centre, the amygdala, and creating stress, angst, worry and fear. Honestly: look it up. That’s why verbal and actual pictures are used far more by politicians and advertisers: they go into that hard drive of fear and they stay there.)  So correct me if I’m wrong, but confidence is about trust, expectation, well-placed belief in something. It’s subjective.

As Lambeth Council’s Youth Unit once said, “If you get rid of the Evening Standard tomorrow, the fear of crime will plummet.”  We all know that fear can be both manufactured and incited. You can look at it another way – as game theory: will X do what s/he says they will? Or as the FT cited today, the whole banking crisis is just like a McDonald’s drive-thru: if you thought that you couldn’t trust them to deliver the burger after you had paid for, you’d do a wobbly. Oops – one maccy-D didn’t deliver (Lehman Bros) and hey presto.

In an industry which was supposed to be based on values such as honour (the London Stock Exchange’s motto translates as ‘My Word is My Bond’), it goes to show how highly they think of one another, doesn’t it?

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