Saturday, August 14, 2010

FID: Monsters in the Closet

What are your greatest fears?

Mine are coming face-to-face, in the wild, with one of the following three: sharks, bears, or snakes. Movies that make my skin crawl are: “Jaws” (or too many episodes of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”); “The Edge”; “Snakes on Plane”, “Anaconda” (the list of snake-infested movies is too long to list).

In “Flight into Darkness” (#2 of the Flight Trilogy) the characters are catapulted into a dark time, ambushed by Evil and forced to face their deepest, darkest, most dreaded fears.

Through their fears, we (readers) will be presented with—through the trials of the characters—one of the greatest truths in life: Fear is the enemy of faith.

What is fear? What is faith?

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the treat of danger. Fear almost always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable, or perhaps an instant reaction to something presently happening; the possible feeling of being trapped.

As with fear, faith involves a concept of future events or outcomes, and is used conversely for a belief not resting on logical proof or material evidence. Fear is the enemy of faith.

We are programmed to think that to feel anything other than happy, confident and successful means that we must be lacking in faith or suffering from an emotional disorder. The drug companies capitalize on the fear of “bad” feelings by telling us that if they are not eliminated, terrible things will happen to us. So we tend to think of bad feelings as “monsters in the closet” that can kidnap us at any moment.

If you are not familiar with the 2001 Disney animated movie “Monsters, Inc.”, take a couple of minutes to view the trailer:

Summary: Monsters, Inc. is the main power utility in Monstropolis, a monster-populated city. The company uses power from human children who scream, scared by company employees. These monsters enter the children's rooms through closets linked to special doors on the company's scarefloor. But children are becoming less frightened, and the company finds itself struggling to meet the power needs of Monstropolis.

This wonderful Walt Disney animation is a story about the strange world of monsters that usually invade the dreams of children and their world is energized by their screams of fear. One of the more successful monsters fails to scare a certain very cute child because he actually looks very cute and lovable himself. The child enraptured by him chases him into his world. This monster Sully and his mate Boo decide they love children and that their world needs to find an alternative energy source.

There is a lesson to be learned from this animated movie that supports one of the themes in my novel, FID (the movie is referenced in the novel). That’s all I can say.

Note: Fear is learned.

Scientists have learned that the neural processes associated with the development of fear are the same whether humans personally experience an aversive event or only witnessed it.

The New York University study is the first to examine the brain basis of fears acquired indirectly, through the observation of others. The study shows that the amygdala, which is known to be critical to the acquisition and expression of fears from personal experience, is also involved during the acquisition and expression of fears obtained indirectly through social observation.

In FID, I will open the closet door--just enough--to give you a peek at Fear. I don’t mean to scare you, only bring to mind that the capacity to fear is part of human nature. Since the feeling of fear  cannot be avoided, we must not let fear blind us to the wonderful blessings associated with faith.

So, how do I avoid encountering my greatest fears? I don’t go swimming in the ocean. I stay out of the woods. I watch where I step. In other words, I keep the closet door closed.

And just in case you were wondering, there are no sharks, bears, or snakes in “Flight into Darkness”... or are there? Hmm...

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2C4:8-9)

No comments:

Post a Comment