(The contents of this post may be controversial.)
SCIENCE is a branch of study dealing with facts of the physical and material world; FEELINGS are a consciousness/ vague awareness, as in thoughts and sentiments.
These two words in the title are deliberately categorized under two types of sciences: the natural and social, respectively. The Science of Unwanted Feelings could be re-titled The Science of Unwanted Emotions, but the study of social sciences would be lost. It would become purely a scientific study with ‘emotions’ defining the cognitive, psychological term of sentiment, instead of ‘feelings’ defining the social animal term of sentiment. I combine a natural science with the social to understand the human behavior of two of the most unwanted feelings: fear and discomfort. These feelings physically tell our body something is wrong but socially have been oppressed and labeled unacceptable. In society the majority is guided by feelings rather than facts. And the underlying feeling is to get rid of these unwanted feelings. But why does society eliminate feelings built into the human system of instinctual survival?
Fear is a predator prey relationship. If a lion hunting zebra came across a herd of fearless zebras that don’t stay with their herd, don’t run, don’t hide, and don’t fight back—they are in trouble. They will be attacked, slaughtered, and a buffet for the lion. Likewise, imagine a fox in a henhouse. As it enters, none of the chickens run, none flap their wings to flight, and none croak—they are a meal for the fox. Fear is a natural instinct that tells us danger is near. It allows us to take the appropriate action to protect ourselves for survival.
However, society has tried to rid of this survival instinct of fear, to demonize and to demolish it. While there may be many reasons to this course of action, the biggest is where society has taken the biggest leap in transformation—a move towards abolishing religion to form new cultural values. In the past when religion was surging throughout the world it instilled fear in man; a fear of God; a fear of evil; a fear of improper livelihood. Although, culture was always influenced by religion, as religious influence declined new values emerged. Some philosophers argue that religion stripped man of his natural instincts of action, I argue that the modern purging of religion may have done just that. The idea of human nature is not built on mere instinct but intellectual instinct: taking cautionary measures. Religion has worked hard to awaken this intellectual instinct, while society formed values to rid of it. Hence, new cultural practices of independence, bravery, and gender equality have combated the survival instinct of fear.
To justify the three cultural practices above, let us investigate a common example of the predator-prey relationship in modern society. A woman walking down the street alone late at night does not sense fear—or forces herself not to sense fear. Why? Because she’s independent, brave, and equal to a man. The societal value adopted is that women do NOT need a companion, nor do they need a chaperone. In this way, we try to force something that nature did not create. Nature did not create independent humans, fearless heroism beyond human capacity, nor physical and mental equality among men and women.
As humans, we are social animals dependent on our surroundings. We have a structure like any other animal, of a community, population, and ecosystem. We have household families, societies, and governments on which we are dependent. No matter how much we tell ourselves we are independent or isolate ourselves to prove independence, we are biologically designed to rely on one another. In society, the transformation to independence is seen in both men and women. But I will argue that the women’s independence, whether though the feminist movement or abolished religion, is not a bad quality; it is a dangerous one. Independence allows a woman to avoid companionship when needed. It prevents her from asking for help when needed. Independence is embedded so deep into her mind and cultural surroundings that even when she thinks of dependence on another, she must quickly abolish that thought and workout the problem or avoid the impending danger on her own. Independence defies the instinct of fear.
Bravery is strong spirit, conduct, courage, valor, and boldness. In society bravery is encouraged and seen as a positive thing. But bravery is irrelevant when mortal danger is lurking. When nature has taken its course to make a predator-prey relationship, no heroism or standing up to fears will do any good. Similar to chickens in a henhouse or zebras in the wild, appropriate action of flight must be taken upon seeing a predator. Thus, the term bravery cannot be used in science to fight nature’s creation. It is a societal term in which bravery is taking on challenges of life, creating potential positive outcomes, and awakening the courage to act on decisions. Bravery kicks in when we are afraid or apprehensive about actions, behaviors, and decisions. But none of these factors play a role when there is fear. Real danger. A women cannot take the natural feeling of fear and replace it with the societal feeling of being afraid—because her body’s response would not be instinctual. She would ignore the intellectual instinct of taking cautious measures. She would force ourselves to be brave, keep walking instead of running, staying alone instead of with a companion. A brave woman can carry her own burden, live a bold life, and combat her challenges, but a brave women cannot stop lurking danger. She must follow her instinct. Bravery defies the instinct of fear.
Our biology tells us from the day we are born that females and males are not equal. The different physique, body formation, and strength, convey this idea straightforwardly. However, female and males are translated to women and men in society, each carrying a different task. The two genders are not equal—but equally burdened. Therefore the lack of biological equality does not translate to dominance of one gender, but the equal separation of burdens and responsibilities. As a woman has the burden of bearing children, religious faiths assign a man the burden of running the household. Only society has decided that the latter is more important than the former, putting the blame on religion which only articulated the separation of burden. Therefore, a woman who is molested, or violated by a predator on the streets may be because of her lack of cautionary measures due to the misunderstanding that she is physically equal (instead of burdensomly) to a man and brave (with equal strength) to overtake a man. This misunderstood equality is embedded so deep into her that even with lurking mortal danger, she kills her instinct of fear that was built in her for survival. She forgets that the physical burden is biologically assigned to a man not a women (and religions explicitly enforce this burden of protecting women on men). Her burden of equality lies elsewhere, not here, and in this case she must practice cautionary methods and appropriate actions of survival. Her sense of equality defies her instinct of fear.
In the predator-prey example of modern culture a women must run, hide, seek help, but most importantly prevent the situation from happening by letting free her intellectual instinct of caution—choosing not to go out or having a companion or chaperone. Intellectual instinct tells her that mortal danger is a burden beyond her control, where a sense of independence, self-serving heroism, or gender equality cannot help. Although both genders should practice caution, the fear of being over taken is greater for a women and turning off the instinctual fear more harmful.
Independence should be redefined in its limitations to allow dependence in society, and bravery should be redefined to combat the sense of being afraid as opposed to the instinct of fear. Equality should be redefined in terms of burdens instead of physicality (also ending the dominance of one gender and reawakening instinct to realize the predator-prey relationship is unequal). Fear is a necessary tool of human survival and the cultural values of independence, bravery, and equality work against this tool of survival. These three cultural values must be reevaluated under the confinement of human nature. We fail to see the teachings of religion from the art of science. If religion was understood from this angle, all religious literature would be transformed from figurative into literal understanding to fulfill the needs of society and nature’s course. We would not work to rid of the unwanted feelings, but understand their importance for instinctual survival.
(to be continued…discomfort)