Fear grows in darkness;
if you think there's a bogeyman around,
turn on the light.

- Dorothy Thompson
© Zadius Sky
Fear is very much known to everyone and it is highly contagious. We see it everywhere, especially in today's world. When one becomes fearful, one's mind resorts to a state of being clouded or paralyzed. In order to overcome this kind of fear, one would require knowledge and the ability to think for oneself. Knowledge can surely protect us from that which we would be fearful of.

Imagine going to a jungle or to a far away place where wild animals reside. You see a tiger, which will begin to growl at you when you come near it. You would then become fearful or paralyzed. You would have no idea what to do except to run. Then, she would come running after you and eventually kill you. However, when a tiger is considered to be your favorite animal, you might not be paralyzed when you see it and instead you would want to pet it. But, you would still get killed. The tiger was protecting herself and her cubs, and sees you as only a threat. So, what to do? Before getting into a situation like this, you would need to gain knowledge of the nature of the tiger. Before going off to some forest or jungle, you might need to consult with experts in the field or read up on the subjects of wild animals. Start with their history, how they live, the works. Research all sides of a situation or everything on the subject. By gaining knowledge of tigers and their way of life, you would be much less fearful of the tiger when you do encounter it. Then, you would instantly know what to do.

Fear can only control us when we do not know in depth about the things we fear. When you fear a certain thing, that is the thing you should be learning about. You will then gain knowledge that is stored in your unconscious mind, so that when the moment comes, you make a better 'snap judgment' to protect yourself. It is very much like training your mind and body before facing the danger, without becoming paralyzed by sudden fright.

When a person learns of something, he or she will begin to become fearful if that 'something' (e.g., spider or terrorist) would be considered as a danger to one's survival. Learning does have its rewards.

Here is an interesting conversation between Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda from The Teachings of Don Juan:
(Don Juan said)"When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives. His purpose is faulty; his intent is vague. He hopes for rewards that will never materialize for he knows nothing of the hardships of learning.

"He slowly begins to learn - bit by bit at first, then in big chunks. And his thoughts soon clash. What he learns is never what he pictured, or imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield.

"And thus he has stumbled upon the first of his natural enemies: Fear! A terrible enemy - treacherous, and difficult to overcome. It remains concealed at every turn of the way, prowling, waiting. And if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his enemy will have put an end to his quest."

"What will happen to the man if he runs away in fear?"(asked Carlos)

"Nothing happens to him except that he will never learn. He will never become a man of knowledge. He will perhaps be a bully, or a harmless, scared man; at any rate, he will be a defeated man. His first enemy will have put an end to his cravings."

"And what can he do to overcome fear?"

"The answer is very simple. He must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule! And a moment will come when his first enemy retreats. The man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task.

"When this joyful moment comes, the man can say without hesitation that he has defeated his first natural enemy."

"Does it happen at once, don Juan, or little by little?"

"It happens little by little, and yet the fear is vanquished suddenly and fast."

"But won't the man be afraid again if something new happens to him?"

"No. Once a man has vanquished fear, he is free from it for the rest of his life because, instead of fear, he has acquired clarity - a clarity of mind which erases fear. By then a man knows his desires; he knows how to satisfy those desires. He can anticipate the new steps of learning and a sharp clarity surrounds everything. The man feels that nothing is concealed." (p. 53-54)
When one becomes so fearful, it is very easy to run away and hide. However, when one hides from danger, that danger will come to him or her later in life. The fear will never go away if one hides. In order to overcome your fear, learn about what you fear, and be objective in your learning. Then you will reach the point where your fears become less and less.

When one learns more about what one fears, one will begin to have strong courage to face certain danger.

According to Martha Stout in her book, Paranoia Switch:
You as an individual human being must realize that you already have an illuminating psychological tool for casting some light on both overt and covert terrorism, two of the darkest forms of psychological abuse ever to be perpetrated. The tool you possess is courage: first, the courage to reevaluate the real physical threat of terrorism to you personally (...) and second, the courage not to be retraumatized and controlled by foreign terrorists - or by political scaremongers right here at home, who are motivated to keep your subliminal fear and your sense of dread at the simmering point. View the information that bombards you with an analytical eye. Do not pledge allegiance to paranoia. Just as it is for a battered and submissive spouse, courageously deciding to get out of a trap built of fear is by far the most knowledgeable, the sanest, and the safest thing you can do. (142-3)
What it all comes down to is: don't give into your fears, try to know more about what you fear from all angles, and you will no longer be controlled by your fears.

Knowledge will protect you in so many ways.