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5-Shot Friday: One Long Shot Of Fear

Welcome to a much abbreviated 12/9/16 version of 5-Shot Friday.

How abbreviated? It’s down to a 1-Shot Friday – a looong 1-Shot (in part to make up for last week’s absence, while I was traveling at a conference).

In toto, it’s about the length of three 5-Shot Fridays.


Why We’re Living In The Age Of Fear, by Neil Strauss




This article by Neil Strauss appeared in the October edition of Rolling Stone magazine. It’s about 21 page scrolls from start to finish – an article that’s more like a book chapter.

Totally worth your time.

Excerpts follow:


The Setup

“If this election cycle is a mirror, then it is reflecting a society choked with fear. It’s not just threats of terrorism, economic collapse, cyberwarfare and government corruption – each of which some 70 percent of our citizenry is afraid of, according to the Chapman University Survey on American Fears. It’s the stakes of the election itself, with Hillary Clinton at last month’s debate conjuring images of an angry Donald Trump with his finger on the nuclear codes, while Trump warned “we’re not going to have a country” if things don’t change.”

“Meanwhile, the electorate is commensurately terrified of its potential leaders. According to a September Associated Press poll, 56 percent of Americans said they’d be afraid if Trump won the election, while 43 percent said they’d be afraid if Clinton won – with 18 percent of respondents saying they’re afraid of either candidate winning.”


The Paradox

“But just how unsafe is America today?

“According to Lewis & Clark College president Barry Glassner, one of the country’s leading sociologists and author of The Culture of Fear, “Most Americans are living in the safest place at the safest time in human history.”

“Around the globe, household wealth, longevity and education are on the rise, while violent crime and extreme poverty are down. In the U.S., life expectancy is higher than ever, our air is the cleanest it’s been in a decade, and despite a slight uptick last year, violent crime has been trending down since 1991. As reported in The Atlantic, 2015 was “the best year in history for the average human being.”

“So how is it possible to be living in the safest time in human history, yet at the exact same time to be so scared?

“Because, according to Glassner, “we are living in the most fearmongering time in human history. And the main reason for this is that there’s a lot of power and money available to individuals and organizations who can perpetuate these fears [emphases mine – pk].”


What It Pays To Understand

“For mass media, insurance companies, Big Pharma, advocacy groups, lawyers, politicians and so many more, your fear is worth billions. And fortunately for them, your fear is also very easy to manipulate. We’re wired to respond to it above everything else.”

“”The more we learn about the brain, the more we learn it’s not something that’s supposed to make you happy all the time,” says Andrew Huberman, a Stanford neurobiology professor who runs a lab studying fear. “It’s mostly a stress-reactive machine. Its primary job is to keep us alive, which is why it’s so easy to flip people into fear all the time.”

“The author Daniel Goleman has coined the term “amygdala hijacking” to describe what inflammatory rhetoric and imagery are designed to do: trigger the emotional brain before the logical brain has a chance to stop it. This is what both the right and the left believe their opponent’s media are doing to people.”

So in order to resist being manipulated by those who spread fear for personal, political and corporate gain, it’s necessary to understand it. And the first thing to understand is that although the emotion may look like fear, sound like fear and smell like fear, neuroscientists argue that it is actually something quite different.”

I’ve had the good fortune to meet and speak with Neil Strauss, and consider him one of the most articulate, thought provoking individuals I’ve ever met – especially when it comes to popular culture and current events.

Read the full article here.


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Peter L Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle.

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