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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
khanti
Cultivator
11:15 PM on 10/03/2010
Fear is our natural instinct for self preservation. To protect an ego. When overcome with fear there is no rationality. One can easily be mislead my others and by oneself. Like witch hunts and being mislead into unnecessary wars. Even soldiers kill innocent bystanders mistaken for the enemy when overcome with fear.
Some products sell through fear.
There must be a balance in every decision we make and the best way is to cultivate compassion. Taking in considerationtTo think of others and to care for others before making a decision which will affect others..
12:35 AM on 10/04/2010
some products sell through fear... like gold. hmmmm i wonder who would use fear to help sell gold?
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Analyze This
If you don't vote, you can't complain
10:36 PM on 10/03/2010
Colbert is a satirist. His TV persona appears (apparently too successfully) to bash liberals. Take the segment of his show called 'The Word'. If you were to only listen, and not 'watch', you would not see the real meaning behind his talking points.

Those who don't watch the show at all, or those who's eyes and minds are not open to satire, simply don't understand. His 'Rally to Keep Fear Alive' is simply making fun of the right wing agenda.
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Jon Mendoza
11:59 PM on 10/03/2010
I think the writer acknowledged the satire near the beginning of his article.
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Analyze This
If you don't vote, you can't complain
12:13 AM on 10/04/2010
I was trying to explain to some of the posters here who seem to think that Colbert is really trying to keep fear alive. Sorry I wasn't clear about that.
10:24 PM on 10/03/2010
I love your work, and use your meditations a lot.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
ApprxAm
09:40 PM on 10/03/2010
But it's the only to get RePugZ to the polls!
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
OtayPanky
You're welcome
09:40 PM on 10/03/2010
I say we all join the blogger in writing a petition to Colbert to call off the rally.
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11:26 PM on 10/03/2010
Colbert is not really promoting fear at all....just the opposite It's satire.
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01:28 AM on 10/04/2010
I think OtayPanky is probably aware of that and making a humorous point. Although Colbert could conceivably have some fun with a fear of his rally taking place. Where would he stand?


bvf
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
1murillo
Can't be neutral on a moving train - Zinn
01:38 AM on 10/04/2010
As per his using Keep Fear - Hope - Alive! as his theme.
09:37 PM on 10/03/2010
I think Rick's point is that we should make a daily practice of being aware when we are driven by unnecessary fear and to notice how that effects our thinking and enjoyment of life. You use your mind to change the fear-based wiring of your brain by observing the workings of the brain; your mind can choose to change the brain by repeatedly focusing on the good until it becomes a habit. We miss so much by being afraid. And don't worry, you'll still have functional fear when you need it.
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Jon Mendoza
12:01 AM on 10/04/2010
My name is Jon Mendoza, and I'm your first fan!
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Earl
Praying for evolution of human species...
09:22 PM on 10/03/2010
Our overcrowded highways kill more Americans every year than terrorists ever have. Even in 2001, over ten times as many Americans died on our roads than by terrorism. How much safer would Americans be if we spent half a trillion dollars on highway and vehicle safety instead of war? How much healthier and more secure would we be if we spent the other half a trillion war dollars on weaning ourselves from oil and its associated pollution? Will we ever come to our senses, or will we continue to keep fear alive -- at the expense of our own lives?
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Doktorkev
Can ya see the real me?
11:38 PM on 10/03/2010
The military-industrial complex is a machine than cannot be stopped.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
ForVivi
Another button, another buttonhole.
09:17 PM on 10/03/2010
This article speaks to the need for discernment between the real and the imaginary and what we can and cannot control.

I find that the serenity prayer helps reset me when I get too out of whack:

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

Then, I still have to actually do the work. Ahrggg!
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Tatters
08:55 PM on 10/03/2010
Colbert is a really funny political satirist and humour is a great way to get those entranced by the constant drumbeat of fear to become released from it. It's long been known that fear or appeals to the limbic system puts the human brain in a semi-trance state that is very receptive to suggestion and manipulation. That's why fear mongering is such an effective propaganda tool. It's success rate in history is very high and that's why it's still being used today. Review all the right wing talking points and you'll see for yourself. It doesn't matter that it's ludicrous to the rational minded, it works on the more weak minded. Naomi Klein's book, "The Shock Doctrine", exposes the nefarious uses of fear mongering.

But buddhists' practices of calm and meditation are great ways to insulate oneself from the constant barrage of negativity and fear. That with a bit of mindful gratitude and appreciation will help center ourselves into a positive equilibrium and not be influenced by the manipulative messages hiding under the cloak of fear.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
littleolwinemakerme
Put A Cork In It!
11:21 PM on 10/03/2010
I don't meditate & still I'm not skeert.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
docbets
04:46 AM on 10/04/2010
Me neither. I was amazed by the wild panic during 9/11. Same with the drumbeat to war. Same at every turn; every time there is an incident.

If we are seeing it on the news, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN TO US.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
dixdarlin
08:33 PM on 10/03/2010
You may look at Fox news! It is the most mind numbing, scare tactic in mondern day media!
Remember the Republican Mushroom cloud if you vote for Kerry?
WMD, Rich welfare? Go Stewart, try to Restore the sanity!
07:59 PM on 10/03/2010
I think Colbert's point is the "keep fear alive" is about manufactured fear, thanks to the media and the government, inflicted on Americans daily. Don't go to Europe or you will be blown up. Don't take a bottle of hand cream on the plane or you will be blown up. Don't forget to celebrate 9/11 or you will be blown up. Watch out for Muslim looking person or... All fears and diversions are there to mask the really important things that are dangerous and need to be dealt with. We still haven't dealt with the major problems in the banking and corporate investment world but there is a cacophony of media/political voices telling us things are "too big to fail" and we shouldn't insist something is done because the whole world will collapse which is more to fear than the fact that they've spent our savings, and our tax dollars were spent to shore them up, with no timetable to get those loans back.

Fear is what motivates humans to advance in a very real way but manufactured fear is all about control of the masses ability to think seriously about what we really need to be afraid of. Fear has become smoke and mirrors. When fear is used for the wrong purpose then you can't think clearly and make any good decisions. It takes two very good comedians to try and sort this out for us and we can have some fun while we're at it.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
alahnar
A strange bedfellow indeed
07:45 PM on 10/03/2010
After being edited to correct both the names of the rallies and to make it clear that you understand he's a satirist, it's much easier to read the article. And it's very well-written, I just want to make that point clear, and it's a nice take on our brains. Also I love the book Buddha's Brain, so write on! :-)
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HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Annie Spiegelman
07:44 PM on 10/03/2010
Simmer down now . . . Hanson understands satire. He's just trying to help you use your brain in a more efficient way.

"It also helps to get more skillful with your own brain: to understand how it makes you needlessly afraid, whether you're talking with a family member, doing a project at work, or watching the news - and most importantly, what you can do about that by using your mind alone to change your brain for the better."

The most alarming part of this is how so many of you commenting missed the entire message.
I'm sending you all back to Literary Criticism 101!
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
OtayPanky
You're welcome
09:42 PM on 10/03/2010
Actually, you missed the original version of this blog, which Hanson apparently re-wrote this afternoon.

In it, he CLEARLY was under the mis-apprehension that Colbert wanted to keep fear alive. It was very funny, which is why so many of us commented upon it.

But thanks for offering to help us simmah da na anyway.

It is much appreciated, I'm sure.
10:41 PM on 10/03/2010
Sorry; I read both versions: he added a sentence at the beginning and a bracketed admission of an edit at the end. Both explain clearly and briefly that he understands satire, and knows who Colbert is.
Obviously, a lot of people who read this post in all its forms have surmised that Hanson doesn't understand satire and wants to help Colbert understand he doesn't need a rally.

Whether Hanson is a closet Tea Party member or a raving liberal, the article stays the same. It's still a commentary on fearmongering and an explanation of the brain with a three sentence hook relating it to Colbert and current events. Colbert's rally itself is pretty irrelevant to the point of the piece.
07:37 PM on 10/03/2010
Great post. The crux is to understand what needs to be feared (or better, to be calmly cognizant and ready for), and what is an illusion. The alarm about climate warming must be sounded, as we cannot see it otherwise (takes decades to manifest). And I get your double-agency about Colbert .... subtle and spot on.
ThatsTheTheWayItIs
religion, ideology, partisanship are delusional
07:29 PM on 10/03/2010
"In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones."

But the opposite is true: the brain overvalues positive experiences, and expects positive outcomes more than experience tells us we should. Humans are overly-optimistic, and are willing to endure many negative outcomes for a single positive one. Males particularly favor risk, and believe it will work for them.

Occasional positive reinforcement trains better than irregular negative reinforcement. Humans (and chimps) are willing to endure multiple electric shocks or other bad result, for the occasional banana :-)

If we were not overly optimistic, we would not buy scratch tickets or play Keno. But we do.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
OtayPanky
You're welcome
09:46 PM on 10/03/2010
Corrrectomundo.

Anyone who's studied Skinner knows this stuff. And Las Vegas is built on it.

It also explains why our politicians are still doing nothing to make a serious dent in global warming. There's this fuzzy optimism that things will work themselves out somehow, so we don't need to fret too much over actually doing anything.