Has Our Society Come To Fear Life Itself?

You can call me a pessimist every time that I have time to brood over the human condition and how society views it. Our present condition, however, is less than inspiring for ruminating positively about the future of mankind.

We live in a society now where everything, no matter how trivial it is, is considered an existential crisis to some segment of the population. Consistent with base instinct is that the voices of that population segment will always be the loudest regardless of reality. When close to half of society unites in existential fear-mongering on a particular question on a bad day and the overwhelming majority does on a good day, we are no longer living a natural existence. We are living an existence of fear.

Nonetheless, every circumstance is treated as a threat to mankind. Your candidate doesn’t win a political election? Life will end for you as you know it. The temperature rises a few degrees? Life will end for humans as we know it. Someone gets sick with a mild disease? They are now a superspreader of something that my grandfather had very colorful names for and that will end the human race. Your boss speaks to you harshly at work? Your dignity is irreparably damaged to the point where it isn’t worth living any more. You can’t muster up the courage to go engage someone that you dislike or feel strongly about in some other way? Your life is paralyzed, unable to progress or attain any meaning.

Grow up.

Life is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Bad things happen. We confront the uncomfortable every day. A hangnail, a political election, a cold, or the people in your life are not going to end or control your life unless you give them the power to do so through your fear. Who cares if life knocks you down with a punch? You usually get a ten-count to stand back up, and no one is going to remember you getting knocked down if life’s bad circumstances are being carried out on a stretcher when you attend your own funeral in your good old age.

In other words, we live in a society that has stopped recognizing life for what it is: hard. We live in a society that forgets life’s one certainty: death. We are all going to take punches. We are all going to die. We, however, are not going to die from every punch that life throws at us. Our health, fortunes, and dignity are all resilient if we embrace what it means to live fearlessly.

Our forefathers lived off Franklin Deleano Roosevelt’s words at his 1933 inaugural address: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Their descendants fear everything but fear. Fear has become the primary way of life in our society now, and it permeates every human action and interaction.

There is no way to sugarcoat society’s attitude right now. Our society fears life. Its members fear the natural circumstances that arise in human life. Thus, every problem and every unfavorable happenstance becomes an existential threat to the fragile that comprise the overwhelming majority of our society. The natural desire for stability has become an inflexible force. Modern society will not accept that change or unfavorable circumstances naturally arise in life. That translates to a paralyzing fear of life.

I personally refuse to live that way. If life decides to kill me tomorrow, I would prefer to go down swinging rather than cowering in a corner. Circumstances and problems might leave a bitter taste in my mouth, but that’s just going to stock the spittoon that I can throw back at life when it’s full.

Sadly, our society shows no signs of growing up. We’ll be treated to existential fear-mongering and fragility for the foreseeable future. Don’t be a part of it.

Cameron L. Atkinson

Cameron Atkinson is a Christian, a published constitutional scholar, a trial and appellate lawyer, and a general hell-raiser. He has received national recognition for his victories in civil rights cases, especially in First Amendment cases. Attorney Atkinson stands out for his written advocacy, and he has taken the lead role in briefing cases to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Connecticut Appellate Court, and multiple New York appellate courts. Attorney Atkinson has successfully represented clients facing criminal charges, including successfully arguing for the reversal of a sexual assault conviction before the Connecticut Supreme Court. He will accept requests for public speaking engagements on a case-by-case basis.

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