For years, scientists have been trying to create the perfect A.I. But they have failed to create the exact replica of a human. And the only reason for that is our emotions. The minuscule chemical reactions that happen in our brain that cause us to act the way we do in certain situations. Replication of that is equal to the replication of life itself. Even for us, emotion is a very complex concept to grasp. We don’t know which sort of incident triggers which sort of emotional reaction.
Emotion, generally, is categorized into 4 segments: happiness, sorrow, anger, and fear. But among all of these, “Fear” reigns supreme. Fear is the king of all emotions. It is the innate reaction of human beings, one that spans from birth to burial. Fear is not even an emotion. It is an instinct, one which controls all other emotions. According to the classical elemental theory of ancient philosophy, existence was made of four elements: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. And indeed, these four elements correspond to the four human emotions. Air being happiness, it is everywhere but we are too blind to see it. Water being sorrow, both having the power to drown us. Fire claiming anger, as it will destroy anything it can touch. And finally, the earth taking fear since it is rigid and right below us at all times.
Air feeds the fire, while water overpowers it. But none can change the earth. Air is harmless to earth, while fire makes it harder and water allows it to mold into many shapes. Similarly, happiness has no effect on fear. Anger lets fear grow stronger. And sorrow allows fear to be manifested in many unrealistic forms. Fear is the trigger for all other emotions. It is the measure of emotion.
We all know what electricity is. Some of us also know that electricity is the flow of electrons. In the same way, emotion is the flow of fear. The absence of the flow begets happiness while overwhelming flow reflects sorrow. But anger is a different story. Anger is the prime outlet of fear. It is the transfer of fear. And that is what makes it that much scarier. Fear is not confined to an individual. Willingly or not, fear can and will spread.
But what truly makes fear what it is, is how it makes humans feel. Until now, fear was only described as being the backbone of all emotions. But fear in itself is a very dangerous feeling. Fear controls the very existence of all other emotions. And fear is not felt for someone else.
When we watch a movie that has a happy ending, we feel happy for the character and vice versa. But in a horror movie, we do not fear for the characters. Rather, we fear that the evil entity or the ghost of the film might suddenly come out of the movie hurt or kill us. We can be happy for someone, or sad for someone, or be angry with someone. But we can never feel the fear of others. Whenever we feel fear inside us, it is only for us. Now someone might say that we can fear for someone’s safety. Well, when we fear for someone’s life, usually that person is very close to us. And the fear we feel is the fear of not having them in our lives. As they say, love is but the fear of losing someone.
But again, fear is not all bad. It is actually what drives us in our day-to-day lives. It has a sort of passive motivational effect. For instance, we work because we fear being homeless and hungry. We try to be social for fear that people may call us weird or unsocial. We get into relationships because we fear being alone. We raise a family because we fear not having someone come to our funeral. Fear is what drives us to do everything that we do.
Fear is with us since our birth. But ironically, it takes us years to truly be affected by its influence. Right after a child is born, it starts crying. Why? Because it fears everything outside its mother’s womb. That is a human’s first interaction with fear. The fear of being in a new place, with new faces. This is the only fear that seems to be persistent in an infant. Strangely enough, all the other types of fear need to be programmed into the brain, just like we program certain things into a robot. A child that does not know that falling from any height is lethal, will carelessly walk off a cliff if given the chance. A person who is not a criminal will never know the fear of a wailing police siren. And so, a proverb goes “a burnt child dreads the fire.”
And when this programmed fear materializes, as said before, sadness entails. A person overwhelmed with fear starts to cry. This is not, contrary to popular belief, a way to let the sadness out. It’s the body’s way to try and restart itself, by doing the very first thing it remembers doing, crying. Just like a machine, overloaded with work. Because, at the end of the day, we are just machines with emotions.
Fear is strange. It works in many convoluted ways. It is something that everyone feels. But everyone has different reasons for fear. Again, someone’s fear might disappear without any particular reason. A ‘true’ fearless man does not feel any emotion at all. He is can be regarded as neither a human nor an animal. He becomes a machine. Cold and emotionless. Running only because it is told to run.
We all have, at some point in our lives, used the phrase ‘all is fair in love and war.’ And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that in Greek mythology, Phobos, the personification of fear, is the son of Ares and Aphrodite, the personifications of war and love respectively. Fear makes people do things that they are not proud of. And this same fear forces us to justify these acts.
Fear is a perpetual machine. It spreads itself by feeding on itself. It does not spare anyone, not even animals. And this is why fear is the king of all emotions.