Tag Archives: fear

The 50th Law

Power is greater than happiness, contends Robert Greene in an online discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky about Fear, Power and Mortality (quality summary thereof), as happiness is fleeting and unremitting.

Also discussed in this conversation is strategist Robert Greene’s latest book, The 50th Law: 10 Lessons in Fearlessness, which is the result of an unlikely collaboration with hip hop artist 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson).

Initially (very) sceptical of such a collaboration (hip hop and its culture is completely alien to my tastes), I’ve heard The 50th Law called a “hip hop bible” and a “how-to for applying The 48 Laws of Power” and so had to look deeper.

With the life of Curtis Jackson as the narrative, the book looks at “how to succeed in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing”. Based on the text of the chapter headings, there’s an ebook introduction available on Slideshare that gives you a good idea of what the book is like.

I found the following excerpts rather inspiring on multiple levels and wanted to share them:

On self-reliance:

When you work for others, you are at their mercy. They own your work; they own you. Your creative spirit is squashed. What keeps you in such positions is a fear of having to sink or swim on your own. Instead you should have a greater fear of what will happen to you if you remain dependent on others for power. Your goal in every maneuver in life must be ownership, working the corner for yourself. When it is yours, it is yours to lose – you are more motivated, more creative, more alive. The ultimate power in life is to be completely self-reliant, completely yourself.

On opportunism:

Your lack of resources can be an advantage, forcing you to be more inventive with the little that you have. […] Do not let fears make you wait for a better moment or become conservative. If there are circumstances you cannot control, make the best of them. It is the ultimate alchemy to transform all such negatives into advantages and power.

On calculated momentum:

In the present there is constant change and so much we cannot control. If you try to micromanage it all, you lose even greater control in the long run.

On connection:

Most people think first of what they want to express or make, then find the audience for their idea. You must work the opposite angle, thinking first of the public. You need to keep your focus on their changing needs, the trends that are washing through them.

On mastery:

To [build the foundations for something that can continue to expand], you will have to serve an apprenticeship. You must learn early on to endure the hours of practice and drudgery, knowing that in the end all of that time will translate into a higher pleasure – mastery of a craft and of yourself.

Thanks, Ryan

Working With Children – Fear & False Accusations

This news report comes as no surprise.

While in the past, adults would have helped children in distress or rebuked those misbehaving, there was now “a feeling that it is best not to become involved”, it said.

Report author Prof Frank Furedi, of Kent University, said: “From Girl Guiders to football coaches, from Christmas-time Santas to parents helping out in schools, volunteers – once regarded as pillars of the community – have been transformed in the regulatory and public imagination into potential child abusers, barred from any contact with children until the database gives them the green light.”

This is the consequence of fear-mongering at its finest colliding with years of poor news reporting. Give the public something to worry about, and they will – taking it out of all proportions in the process.

Instead of relying on Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, adults should be allowed to use their “discretion and professional judgment” to decide who should work with children.


Why We Scream

The Telegraph looks at Why We Scream:

We all have a core set of five facial muscles that control our ability to produce standard expressions which convey anger, happiness, surprise, fear, sadness and disgust. But there are up to 19 muscles present in the face, and many people do not possess all of them.

The risorius muscle, which controls expressions of extreme fear, is found in only two thirds of people.

via Mind Hacks

10 Ways We Get Things Wrong

Psychology Today has an interesting article on fear, probability, and how we get things wrong. It’s not a very scannable article, so here’s an executive summary:

  1. We Fear Snakes, Not Cars – Risk and emotion are inseparable
  2. We Fear Spectacular, Unlikely EventsFear skews risk analysis in predictable ways
  3. We Fear Cancer But Not Heart DiseaseWe underestimate threats that creep up on us
  4. No Pesticide in My Backyard—Unless I Put it ThereWe prefer that which (we think) we can control
  5. We Speed Up When We Put Our Seatbelts OnWe substitute one risk for another
  6. Teens May Think Too Much About Risk—And Not Feel EnoughWhy using your cortex isn’t always smart
  7. Why Young Men Will Never Get Good Rates on Car InsuranceThe “risk thermostat” varies widely
  8. We Worry About Teen Marijuana Use, But Not About Teen SportsRisk arguments cannot be divorced from values
  9. We Love Sunlight But Fear Nuclear PowerWhy “natural” risks are easier to accept
  10. We Should Fear Fear Itself – Why worrying about risk is itself risky

Another Example of Middle-East Ignorance

Dunkin’ Donuts removes ‘terror scarf’ ad – The US chain Dunkin’ Donuts has pulled an advert following complaints that the scarf worn by a celebrity chef offered symbolic support for Islamic extremism.

She was wearing a black-and-white checked scarf around her neck that resembled a traditional Arab keffiyeh.

This fashion choice incensed at least one prominent conservative blogger, who said it evoked extremist videos.

The blogger called the garment “a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos”.

People really do need to get more educated on these issues. Do the majority of people not realise that there is a difference between Arabs and Muslims – let alone Muslims and extremists?

As a white middle classer who has recently decided to learn Arabic, I get a lot of odd, angry stares when I (attempt to) talk to the local Arab immigrants. However, I just ignore these ignorant people… just like Dunkin’ Donuts should have.

Edit: Here is the blog post from said “prominent conservative blogger”. Watch out, it’s scary over there!