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Phobophobia -- Writer's Poke #94

For Writers:

In 1933, FDR uttered these famous words: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Fear of fear, otherwise known as “phobophobia,” is a rather silly fear, don’t you think? And apparently Mr. Roosevelt never visited “The Phobia List” web site: That web site lists just about every phobia under the sun, including “heliophobia,” or fear of the sun.

I’m sure that Roosevelt meant well. Americans were dealing with the Great Depression and all that, and I'm sure he wanted to send out a positive message of hope; however, he should have distinguished, as Buddhists do, between healthy and unhealthy fears. Admittedly, saying “The only thing we have to fear is unhealthy fears” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Healthy fears, however, should be recognized as useful. In an evolutionary sense, fear is what has gotten us to where we are as a species today, and I mean that in a positive way.

Today, consult “The Phobia List” web site. Pick one of the fears listed there, and write about why someone might develop such a phobia; or, write about a phobia that you have, and examine whether it falls into the “healthy” or “unhealthy” category.

“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


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