Fear and the "Lens of Laughter"
A brilliant (or moronic, I'm not quite sure) idea occurred to me the other day. I was sitting here in my living room, smoking a cigarette and eating a bag of CBD gummies, when I wondered if it would severely annoy members of extremest groups if we, collectively, started referring to their rallies and marches as parades. Rallies are ominous and marches are threatening but who is afraid of a parade?
I jest but fear is a potent tool that is often used to influence the masses and corrupt our natural but flawed desire for safety. The extremists (obviously) want us to be afraid. The media that warns us about the extremists wants us to be afraid. Even the police, military leadership, and government officials who claim to protect us from the extremists want us to be afraid. We are bombarded with things to fear because when we are constantly cowering in fear of some threat or another, our wills are weakened and our minds are more pliable and easier to manipulate. Fortunately, mocking these attempts to frighten us can often rob them of their power and allow us to view the truth through the clear lens of laughter.
Fear is an easy and effective emotion to weaponize and it is commonly used to influence our actions in a way that benefits the group or individual that is pushing it. For example, a terrorist organization may use violence to generate fear among a population with the hope of causing that population to submit to its demands or to make some social or political change. However, terrorists are not the only ones who hope to leverage fear for their own benefit. The media makes a killing off of stories, images, and videos of death and destruction. People watch or read about whatever horrible thing that is out there, waiting to murder us in our beds at night, and they crave more vital and potentially lifesaving information. The media happily gives it to them but it comes along with a whole bunch of self-serving political rhetoric and corporate advertising. The governments and other established systems of authority love to point out a threat so as to stir up fear because people start handing over their rights and supporting whatever oppressive policies, needless and unjust laws, or war crimes that our brave and noble saviors say will help them "protect" us better.
Humor can be a powerful antidote to fear and with it we may be able to see through the attempts to frighten us into acting against our own interest. Going back to my original question; the answer is that no one is afraid of a parade. A Klan rally makes people uncomfortable but a Klan parade is ridiculous. What would such a thing entail? Who would choose to go to it for entertainment? As a parade, it stops being scary and starts being something to be laughed at or ignored and left to fizzle out and die on its own. The Klansman is seen clearly. He is not some super soldier that we must flee from or be slaughtered. Instead, he is seen as a moron prancing around the streets with a flag and a costume. Of course, this does not mean that there are no real threats. A moron in a costume could still totally stab you with his flag pole or something so you still probably shouldn't approach him. However, I do believe that we could benefit from that clarity that laughing at threats and our fear of them brings. We make poor decisions when we are freaking out about one thing or another and people will use that phenomenon against us. When we see the absurdness of the scary things of world, we calm down and think about our actions and which actions that we choose to support more effectively. Sometimes, that is all it takes to keep us from doing something really stupid.
All the images in this post are sourced from the free image website, unsplash.com.