Michael Crichton is most known for his famous Jurassic Park. The huge dinosaurs, some meek and quiet, some completely after your blood. He is a master when it comes to science fiction. His works include many amazing ones: “Jurassic Park”, “The Lost world”, “The Andromeda Strain”, “The prey” and many more. Each of them deals with situations that are pretty probable as an outcome of the fast technological advancement. Man can create age old dinosaurs (Jurassic Park) or create nanoparticluate predators (The Prey).
That is a different story altogether! One book that really set me thinking was “State of Fear”
The book, on surface deals with Global warming crisis. But the concept that it introduced was really mind boggling. Did you know that today we live constantly, perpetually,in a state of fear?
Analyse this: Open your newspaper and the first news would be some Disaster or some Calamity or some catastrophe. Hmm.. So you read on and exclaim “Gosh there are so many terrible things going on!” or say “We have to fight climate change or we will all drown”. Your dad may exclaim “Son, the time has come. Your country may need you any day to defend it”
Another one: Global Warming. When you read about Global Warming, how many times do you actually look up facts about these?
Sea-Level Rise – Is it accelerating?
Cooling Trends – Are They Inconsistent with Global Warming?
Hurricanes – Are They More Frequent?
Glaciers – Are they retreating?
James Hansen’s 1988 Testimony – Did He Exaggerate the Problem?
Is it true that there are actually more number of “bad” events happening as compared to a few decades back? NO. It is not. If you hear of 100 murders today then trust me or not there used to be a 100 murders back in our granny’s days too. This is not something to be happy about, but again it isn’t something we need to brood upon.
A few decades back the environmentalists tried scaring us with the concept of “Ice Age” happening all over again. Then there were the World Wars. Again there are rumors of some countries trying to attack India. Are there any proofs? Any evidence? It’s all talk???
Threats are mediated through cultural norms that instruct us how to respond. Arguably, the role of culture is more significant today than in previous times. Individual fears are cultivated through the media and less and less an outcome of direct experience. ‘Fear is decreasingly experienced first-hand and increasingly experienced on a discursive and abstract level’
Indeed it seems that the ‘fear of crime is now recognized as a more widespread problem than crime itself’. (Bannister & Fyfe, 2001: 808).
I will give a small example which you all are pretty familiar with. The Blackberry case. Our defense institutions are vehemently trying to shut down the Blackberry technology in India. Why? For the fear of not being able to trace some unknown element in the unknown future. Then what happens next? Do they plan to shut down rest of the communications as well? And then? You shut people in their homes so that no one can attempt at anything at all? Oh trust me, I am not acting dramatic, I am simply extrapolating on the thought process! And then as someone rightly said “You cut off India from the rest of the world by banning blackberry and the terrorists will win their war without even raising a weapon!”
Living in a posh society you may often think twice about going out alone after dusk. Because you read in the newspaper today that “According to a study, every 1 out of 5 women get raped every day” (actually I read it today). Let me give do some math for you. How many girls do you know? At least 15 from your school, 15 more from around your society and a random 10 more. That makes it 40. One fifth of forty is 8. So as per the “Study”, 8 women should have been raped. Or even if their calculations are wrong, then 1. I know it sounds crude and crass perhaps, but I guess that’s the only way to alleviate your state of fear.
When you rise above this sea of fears floating around you, you will be able to see the world as it actually is. It is neither dark nor bright, it simply has its own shades. If we keep looking at them through our dark glasses, how else will they appear but gloomy?