Fear is a completely natural human emotion that guarantees survival. But when pushed to the limit, it has the power to condition your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. People in power have always known that fear is an effective weapon that can be used to control others and make them think, feel and act just the way they want.
People in power have always been concerned with fear of oppressing the people under their command. At its most basic, fear is deployed through physical punishment, which threatens the integrity or lives of those subjected to it.
Physical violence, hardship, and pain are tools used throughout history to punish insurgents, subdue enemies, or keep a latent threat alive among those who obey.
But it was one thing to oppress a few feudal servants in the Middle Ages, and quite another to oppress masses of people in today’s society.
Many people can escape the physical punishment as it would be impossible to detect any action that goes against the ruler or to effectively punish those who do so. That’s why power has become much more sophisticated today. It is no longer about suppressing those who break the rules, but about implementing mechanisms that ensure the obedience of the majority.
Power and fear today
If there is one emotion that has a massive hold on society today, it is fear. But it’s an inaccurate, scattered fear that comes from recognizing hundreds of latent threats, even though there’s no precise data on the danger. The risks are not entirely clear, therefore fear is able to cling to and invade our emotional life without us noticing.
What really has arisen is the fear of living, and without wanting it, we face this fear by being obedient. Half consciously, half unconsciously, we obey the orders we have been given. We try to join the herd. We even rebel in a submissive way. We can outdo each other in a football game, but few have the inner freedom it takes to throw everything away and fight for what we’ve always dreamed of.
Many people are even able to give up their rights if they are given a presumed state of higher security in return. Politicians know this and that’s why they use threats as an excuse to take away people’s rights and freedoms.
If they restrict health services, it is to avoid a financial collapse. If they raise taxes, that guarantees your pension. If they allow the police to enter your home without a warrant, it is to fight a terrorist threat. They say that politicians today don’t promise dreams, but protect you from nightmares.
The Threat Factory
Today’s world isn’t exactly a song of harmony and brotherhood, that’s for sure. But it’s also not the filthy sewer that the news and media show every day. The media has specialized in making crime, violence and corruption overly important so that you get the impression that they are the center of reality. While it is true that all this exists, it is also true that millions of actions are carried out daily by honest and good people who just want to live peacefully.
But power needs fearful people, because fearful people are vulnerable, and vulnerable people feel more than they think. And when they feel without thinking, they are controlled by the fear that overwhelms them and accept the unacceptable: a life based on boring conversations on a smartphone, worshiping a muscular body, earning five college degrees to feel competent. or the obsessive search for a partner who will save them from everything and save everything.
There are people who are good at producing fear. There isn’t a worker who isn’t afraid of being fired, as a threat of ‘labour reduction’ looms in most companies.
Few mothers raise their children quietly. There are pedophiles, ADHD and thousands of other things to worry about. We are all faced with the uncertainty of the next madman who will land us in war, or the next irresponsible person who will change the rules of the game and throw us off the board in the process.
Why punish with physical force? Why oppression? Scaring society is enough. That’s what the fear factory is all about, to teach everyone that they can’t take control of their lives, that there are threats that are beyond their ability to react. And this justifies the fact that there are hundreds of repulsive beings in positions of power.