One of the refrains from the Middle East and Northern Africa over the past couple of months has been “fear has been defeated.” I first heard this uttered during the Egyptian uprising, but have heard it numerous times in reference to those who are taking a stand for various freedoms in the face of oppressive –and, as we are seeing, often violent – rulers.
It is hard to imagine the reality of living in a culture of overt fear and the opening that such a “defeat” opens – especially for those of us who live in a land where freedom of expression is so taken for granted (even as we often disagree with one another).
When fear has been defeated, what takes its place? THAT is a question for all of us to deeply consider.
This inquiry had been percolating in my mind for several weeks. Then, a couple of days ago, I heard a radio advertisement for this week’s RadioLab (one of my wife’s favorite National Public Radio programs). In the “teaser” they asked people on the street: “Will humans ever stop fighting wars?” Every person they asked said “no” and one person added “it’s just part of human nature.”
Is it? REALLY? Can’t it every change? RadioLab provided a story that raises the possibility that, indeed, perhaps what we call “human nature” can change and evolve. Listen to their segment entitled “New Baboon” to hear a remarkable story of true transformation within one segment of a species.
Listening to it brought the hope of possibility that such change could happen in the human species.
One of the central premises – and hopes – of our work with The Power of TED* is that humanity is in the process of “upgrading its operating system” from a problem-focused, fear-based and reactive way of being (a Victim Orientation) to a Creator Orientation that is outcome-oriented and passion-powered. (For more, read “Upgrading Our Personal Operating System.”
The key to such transformation lies in how we respond once fear has been defeated in our own lives. Is it replaced by anger or some other equally reactive emotion? If so, we will stay locked in the Victim Orientation and merely perpetuate the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and its toxic interplay of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer roles.
However – and here is the hope for us as individuals and for the whole of humanity – when fear has been released, we then have an opening and opportunity to shift our focus, our energy and our life orientation from what we don’t want into creating what we do want.
Perhaps “human nature” can change and the defeat of fear is a gigantic baby step that brings us to the choice point between Orientations.