Posted by Racer on January 27, 2008, at 18:43:24
In reply to Fear regarding science experiment, new update., posted by Michael83 on January 27, 2008, at 0:09:49
You know, when I was young -- roughly the time when the earth's crust was cooling and bellbottoms seemed like a good idea -- I was terrified by the prospect of thermonuclear destruction. Somehow, everything I read in the newspapers or saw on the news made it seem imminent to me. I was terrified that I would never have the chance to live my life, because The Bomb would drop, and that would be it. Alternately, I was afraid that I wouldn't be killed outright, but would have to go through the misery of dying of radiation sickness.
At this point in my life, although I am aware that any number of Really Bad Things could happen to the world or to me, I don't have the same level of fear.
At this point, I figure there's not a lot I can do about it; the worst is not all that likely to happen; the world hasn't been destroyed yet; it doesn't seem likely that it will happen today or tomorrow -- and I do best for myself by living my life. I could focus on the Really Bad Things which *could* happen, or I can focus on the very, very small bad things that are much more likely to happen on any given day: the cat boxes could get smelly, I might have to put fuel in my car, I might not have clean socks. All those are things I can have some direct impact on: I could clean the cat boxes more frequently, I could do the laundry, I could learn to enjoy the bowser at the service station. Those are things that have a guaranteed impact on my life, things I can control myself, things that I can fix. Worrying about something entirely outside my control doesn't help me. I do what I can, in my small way, to impact the bigger things that matter to me: I vote, I do contact my local representatives about issues that matter to me, I am involved in the homeowners association where I live. Those are the things I can do. Affecting whether or not an experiment takes place in Europe is something I can't control -- if I knew what it was and was against it, I could write a letter to the editor of a journal, or sign a petition against it, or write a letter of support to an eminent scientist who was calling for the experiment to be called off. Beyond that, though, there's nothing I can do, and worrying does nothing positive for me -- it saps my strength, distracts me from addressing the issues I can control or at least impact, it damages the quality of my life.
Some people would say that my attitude is a cop out, that I should be much more active -- that I *should* worry about these things and *do* something about them. I answer: what we do and how we cope with the world is an individual choice. After years of fear, frustration, uncertainty, and insecurity, I have found a way to cope with the world that takes a realistic view of my own, personal limitations. Those limitations include depression, anxiety, and a limited capacity for actions that don't seem to have much effect.
It's better for my mental health and quality of life to worry about those things with an immediate and direct impact on my life, those things I can do something about, than to put my energy into worrying about things I cannot. I also recognize at this point that I am not an expert in fields outside my own, if I'm even an expert in any aspect within it, and therefore may not understand fully the issues at hand.
I hope there's something in here which helps you put your fears into perspective, and learn to cope with them better.