Is Fear Beneficial?

We all know that fear is sometimes unhelpful fear. This is the fear that keeps me from actions and situations that would otherwise be to my benefit.

  • Fear of flying prevents some people from visiting other nations.
  • Social phobias keep some people from making friends.

We would all benefit from less of this kind of fear.

The argument goes that some fear is beneficial, however. The reason given is that  it keeps us from doing things that are harmful.

  • Fear keeps me from putting my hand in fire.
  • Fear keeps me from the edge of the cliff where I might fall.

I don’t go along with this. As a mature adult, I don’t need fear to keep me from huting myself: I need wisdom.

  • Wisdom keeps me from putting my hand in the fire.
  • Wisdom keeps me from the slippery edge.

So, then, what purpose fear? In the absence of wisdom, fear can be beneficial. But where wisdom reigns, fear is redundant.


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