I don’t think there is such a thing as fear of the unknown. Here’s why.
You don’t know what is going to happen so why are you afraid of something that you don’t know about? You don’t know if it is harmful to you.
Is it because we don’t know whether what is not known is good or bad for us? We only know what happens when we engage with what we don’t understand fully because we had such an experience before. And that knowledge is known, but that is not applicable to every future event.
So, there is no such thing as fear of the unknown. It is rather the fear of the known. Rather it is the fear of what you have already felt before, a sense of powerlessness when we engage with things that we can’t control. The sense of nervousness. If you look at a closer look at it, it is the fear of how you have felt and the fear of some familiar nasty thoughts repeating. And treating such feelings and thoughts that have not occurred yet as things that are happening now, is what I call fantasy.
Desire is the same thing, the other side of the coin. Desire and pleasure. You can only desire what you have already known, experienced. You have had the pleasure of experiencing something, and then you want to repeat it. That is desire. You have known pleasure, and the desire is the repetition for pleasure.
Fear is the same process but works in the inverse, you want to avoid things that are painful.
You have had the experience of joy and that felt good. Joy when it is felt in the present it is a healthy thing. But the problem comes when we want to prolong that experience through fantasies and wishing the pleasure would never end or worrying that it will never happen again, concluding it is better to extract the very last ounce of it when you get in touch with every now and then.
The moment you say ‘I want to repeat this again (joyful thoughts and feelings)’ or ‘I want to prolong it’ it becomes an idea and I suspect that is why we never reach there, we voluntarily put ourselves though unconsciously into a chase for the idea of happiness or pleasure. You have already known all the emotions, but you would like some emotions over the other. The bad news is that I don’t think, and I have heard that you can’t selectively numb your emotions. Keep the subjectively good ones and avoid the bad ones, again good and bad according to what you define as good and bad – because for the masochist what pain is actually a pleasure.
Fear, in the same way, is, saying that, ‘I don’t want this to happen to me again’ or you have experienced the state of fear and you have said ‘this is bad’ or ‘I don’t like it’ or some version of condemnation towards the feelings of fear.
So, there is no fear of the unknown. It is only the worry that your past is going to repeat again in the future.
But guess what, you are here, already having had the fearful experience, you have handled it before. So, the rational thing would be to say, oh yeah ‘I am remembering something from the past and I must have handled it in the past too’ otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Also, it is not happening now.
But I get it, such fears are deep-rooted. But sometimes we use it as an excuse not to proceed in our life because the alternative is to be comfortable in the short run.
Avoidance of immediate discomfort. That is what it is. That does not mean things will not uncomfortable in the long run though.
And we know that, if we were to think about the qualities of our psyche 10 years ago, how happy we are, etc, if you look and can’t say, ‘I have made some progress’, we know that the things we promised ourselves to do or to be, those promises were simply us deceiving ourselves. Such promises gave us the delusion of action, though in reality nothing were really getting acted on. Simply making a false promise to yourself, in the moment, even if no action succeeds it, gives you a momentary sense of security. It gives permission for you to do what you really want to do in that moment, which is to be comfortable. We say after this cigarette I am going to stop, after this sugary snack I am going on a sugar-free diet and so on.
Okay, ten years is too long to process. Did you make some promises a year ago and you haven’t kept those promises? That will be a better timeline to run this thought process against.
Avoidance of immediate discomfort or craving instant gratification is a good way to delude yourself into thinking that you are making progress.
Also, if you look into the works of people such as Alfred Adler, you will happen to see that, even the pain as I talked about before, that some people find pleasure in pain. We experience pain, sometimes, because we want to. In reality, we experience anything right now because we want to. There is something in it for you. The depressive does not want to leave the house and engage with others because there is something in it for him. It lets him off the hook of responsibility of everyday dealings of personal relationship, duties etc, among other things. He is getting exactly what he wants. And there is security for him there.
You can see the need for security and comfort creeps in your every fear and desire. But such security is known. It is the comfort of knowledge. The comfort of ideas and thoughts in your head.
There is nothing new happening.