Fear

 

I was reading “Amor’s Thoughts” post on “Fear = Ignorance” and that reminded me of my personal history.

Few people who know me now, will guess that I once was a small frightened boy. At school always in the top five of math and science and Latin, but always one of the last ones chosen for the sports team. Not that I was not popular, or was bullied. I was just not adventurous. Always the shy guy. Admiring the girls from a distance. Never daring to take the first step. Following the well laid out path. Not straying.

Was I unhappy? I don’t think so. My parents took good care of me and actually left me a lot of freedom, but on the other hand never “pushed” me to be more daring or adventurous.

So my life simply carried me along. Finished high school with very good marks and went to University (Law School) and got my Master degree with Magna cum Laude. Started my trainee-ship in a law-firm for one year.

And then it happened: I was called up for military service. I opted for a reserve officer training, even though it extended my military service for 5 more months. I actually surprised myself by this decision!

I got chosen for a training as an Artillery Forward Observing Officer and in the space of 5 months I changed from a shy, let-me-disappear-in-the-background guy to a strapping 2nd Lieutenant of Artillery, top of my class. Somehow I got a gift for guiding artillery fires, so much even that batteries would get me “on loan” when it was time to do their annual test fires.

After 13 months of service I went back to the law-firm, but kept doing regular reserve officer training and courses.

What changed in me that I evolved into a fearless, daring new me?

Well, I had discovered the “Litany against fear”. It goes as follows:

LITANY AGAINST FEAR

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Reverend Mother Mohiam (Siân Phillips) and oth...

Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear – From Frank Herbert’s Dune Book Series
© 1965 and 1984 Frank Herbert – Published by Putnam Pub Group – ISBN: 0399128964

Whenever I had to do something frightening (rappelling down a wall; throwing life grenades; crossing a field with machine-guns firing above your head; and more such fun) I just said the Litany and that helped me.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not at all religious. Indeed I am a confirmed atheist, but this Litany strengthens me in times of trouble. In the end, only you can rely upon yourself and that is exactly what the Litany says.

Try it. It works!

And what happened to the let-me-disappear-in-the-background guy? He is still there. I can indeed disappear, almost become invisible for others, even -or especially- in busy areas. But that is another story.

 

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Why don’t they eat cake?

It is nutritious, it is healthy and sooooo tasty!

A home-made pumpkin, chestnut and bacon cake. Everything tastes better if it contains bacon. Even cake. Really. Trust me on this. Try it. Have a slice.

The unlucky “Section 13”

Yesterday in the office, I was reviewing a slew of contracts made by and for US companies.

To my surprise I read the following in the Table of Contents:  “SECTION 13.  [INTENTIONALLY OMITTED]”.

The missing Section 13

The missing Section 13

Now I could start a whole rant about the silliness of lawyers of major US corporations who blatantly show their superstition. I could point out that in many, some even say the majority of US sky-scrapers, there is no 13th floor (of course there is a 13th floor, it is just not so numbered) and that for sure superstition and religion march hand in hand, yeah one is not different from the other at all.

But I will not do so.

Have a look again at the picture. By “intentionally omitting” the unlucky section 13, they have actually included it. And not only in the Table of Contents, but in the contract text also.

And to add insult to injury: This unlucky and intentionally omitted “Section 13”, finds itself on page 13!

It seems one cannot escape one’s destiny and superstition will come back to haunt those who believe in it.

Now excuse me while I go out and walk under ladders, hug a black cat and step on the cracks in the pavement.

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