Why do we fear … Bumps in the Dark?

Ever sat around a campfire, telling ghost stories and there is a noise in the bushes behind you. Do you jump? Look around in fear? Laugh at your own reactions? Why is that we have the initial reaction? Ever been in a good horror movie and gotten scared? What about as a little kid? Creatures under the bed? In your closet or in your head? Why is it that we fear?

Fear is a natural reaction. We learned many years ago when campfires were our lights and heat that the dark is something to fear. If we go back in time, back when we lived in caves we didn’t have the electric lights to keep the dark at bay. As we come forward in time, the dark still posed a problem.

Humans don’t have the best night vision. When we first started living in groups, the waste from living would bring predators who would come in the night. If a person was weak or old they were to the predator, an easy meal.

Some animals learned to be nice to humans and they would get free meals. They would alert to the other animals that were hunting and protect us and we would feed them. This is how we got domestic pets.

So, if we have pets to protect us, and the campfires have been replaced with electric lights so why do we still fear the bump in the night?

As little kids everything is new, we haven’t learned how to sort out the difference between what is in our heads and what is real. As we get older, our minds start to rationalize things but still the gut reaction remains.

Some say that the bumps in the night are our imaginations. Some say the fear is the reaction that we have when we don’t understand the nature of something. Others say that some people enjoy being scared, that it releases a hormone and that is healthy for us.

What do others think? Does fear control the human mind? If it does, is there a way to control it? That is where things get tricky.

If you take a person who has repeated nightmares, they don’t feel in control of the situation so they must rely on what the fear tells their subconscious mind to do. That is the fight or flight response. There are those that don’t like to dream but if you ever look what you dream about you will find it is your minds way of letting the stress go from the day. If you learn to understand it then you can realize that the dreams are helpful to you.

Those that believe in the paranormal, may see the bumps in the night as something from the beyond telling us of danger or wanting to cause harm to us. If that is the case then it becomes a case of beliefs. If you are a person who does believe that there are other things out there that we can’t control, then the same fear remains. The bump in the night of a car door shutting becomes the creature under the bed and we still have to face the darkness.

One of my favorite sayings is from the movie and book series Dune:


I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain

(Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear – From Frank Herbert’s Dune Book Series

© 1965 and 1984 Frank Herbert Published by Putnam Pub Group)


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