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1,654 hits Rate me! Share Favorite | Flag 14 years ago by cpayne

Is fear irrational?


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14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 5:40:13 AM EST (GMT-5)
I got into a conversation about this with my girlfriend.

I say that fear is necessary at times, else people would constantly die unnecessary deaths. The way I see it, most people will develop a healthy respect of dangerous things. At times though, being afraid can save you. If a stranger pulls up beside you and tries to coax you into the car, a fear or being murdered, kidnapped, or what have you along with common sense and the need to survive will help to make you understand that you need to get away as quickly as possible.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 5:45:07 AM EST (GMT-5)
Some fears to real life situations are rational.

Some are irrational, some phobia or anxiety disorders for instance.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 5:46:10 AM EST (GMT-5)
Exactly, fear is a response, evolved because animals who are afraid of sudden movements or experiences they know to be dangerous are more likely to survive.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 5:55:03 AM EST (GMT-5)
Fear leads to panic. Panic leads to doing something irrational. Hard to see it is.

Is fear irrational?

I think that it depends on the situation and the person.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 5:56:16 AM EST (GMT-5)
Some fear is, but not all. Fear is necessary for survival.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:02:36 AM EST (GMT-5)
On 7/18/2006 5:45:07 AM sansarf wrote:
Some fears to real life situations are rational.

Encountering a bear in the wild, fear would be for survival.

On 7/18/2006 5:45:07 AM sansarf wrote:
some phobia or anxiety disorders for instance.

Some fears are disorders like this very this very irrational one (Found this in links)

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:03:58 AM EST (GMT-5)
Rational fear when encountering a bear can still lead to death.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:08:45 AM EST (GMT-5)
better to have the fear than to walk up and pat it on the head
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:14:02 AM EST (GMT-5)
On 7/18/2006 6:03:58 AM cpayne wrote:
Rational fear when encountering a bear can still lead to death.

Your fear will result in you getting ready for action.
So encountering a bear, will lead to arousal of your parasympathic nervous system, your heart rate goes up, your adrenaline starts to rush, your pupil dilats and you get ready for a "fight or flight" response.
And indeed sometimes you can't outrun or beat (whicheverone someone choses) the bear.

Sometimes trough a learning proces this fear becoms associated with harmless objects. Leading to irrational fears. you've been bitten by a mean dog but generalize this to all dogs and become afraid of all dogs even small harmless ones.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:14:48 AM EST (GMT-5)
or even pickles
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:49:24 AM EST (GMT-5)
I agree wholeheartedly sansarf. Just that the conversation I had, the other person called all fear irrational. She says the rational fear is more a healthy respect.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 6:52:22 AM EST (GMT-5)
healthy respect wouldn't make people freeze and/or wet themselves in my opinion. I guess she can define words anyway she likes though if she wants to win an argument like that.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 7:27:52 AM EST (GMT-5)
In a weird crooket kinda of way i can see where she's coming from

(Sorry i had to used a dictionary dictionary>http://www.wordreference.com/definition/...
Respect can have multiple meanings,
generally (or i) would view it as "an attitude of admiration or esteem".
it could also mean "courteous regard for people's feelings" examples: "out of respect for your wishes"

or you could say

"out of respect for a bear's wishes,"

Only thing: i don't think you would respect a bear out of courteous regard. But the bear will inflict physically damage if you don't.

So technically i'd just call it fear not respect.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 12:24:39 PM EST (GMT-5)
That's what I tried to argue. Didn't quite work out so much. Guess that's what I get for arguing with a girl. But I do understand where she's coming from. I just think it's definitely fear rather than respect.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 12:28:24 PM EST (GMT-5)
On 7/18/2006 12:24:39 PM cpayne wrote:
That's what I tried to argue. Didn't quite work out so much. Guess that's what I get for arguing with a girl. But I do understand where she's coming from. I just think it's definitely fear rather than respect.

I agree, it's definitely fear. When you respect something your body doesn't give you a huge shot of adrenaline like it does when you are afraid.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 5:05:53 PM EST (GMT-5)
Okay, girlfriend here. I believe I was unfairly represented by a biased party.

I believe that some reasons behind fear are rational. It makes sense to be afraid of lethally poisonous animals, or being run over by traffic. Perfectly logical to have a healthy sort of fear (I say respect in the case of animals, because if you're in their space you most likely know the risks involved in being that close.)

When I say that all fear is irrational, I am referring to the actual emotion of it only. The panic, lack of control over rational thought or action. No matter how calm you are in the presence of something you fear, there is some irrational thought there, or you wouldn't be experiencing the state of being afraid. When you are scared, you're acting on a certain amount of instinct. That level to which instinct takes over varies from person to person, but it's always right there alongside fear.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Tuesday 7/18/06 - 9:48:42 PM EST (GMT-5)
But you can easily be afraid and not panic. The time of my life when I was most afraid, I didn't panic, or lose control over rational thought or action. And none of the thoughts I had was irrational. To say that instinct is irrational is saying that when animals run away based on sudden movement or noise it's irrational, because that's purely instict. However, if that animal doesn't run away, then if that noise is a predator on the hunt they don't live. Instict is a tool to help you survive, fear is a basic instict, thus even swift reactions life that based on fear aren't necessarily irrational.
14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Wednesday 7/19/06 - 8:03:04 AM EST (GMT-5)
On 7/18/2006 5:05:53 PM Snow Baby wrote:
The panic, lack of control over rational thought or action.

On 7/18/2006 9:48:42 PM cpayne wrote:
But you can easily be afraid and not panic.

To be overcome be fear and totaly panic would be irrational. But this would be the minority of cases.

Ussually fear is very functional in it's situation.

14 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Wednesday 7/19/06 - 10:18:25 PM EST (GMT-5)
Snow Baby makes sense though. She is basically agreeing with what I'm saying, but she just words her opinion differently so it's hard to see her exact view of things sometimes. Confusing, but I understand it now that she's explained a bit further and I see that we agree.

But ignoring all the specific instinct reaction points, I'm still curious about fear in general and whether or not people find it to be irrational. So the question still stands.

14 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Monday 8/14/06 - 8:18:03 PM EST (GMT-5)
Nope. Fear is meant to keep us safe. To make us learn about what is dangerous to us. You touch a hot stove burner once, and you *should* be afraid to touch it again, because you know that if you do you will be burned.
There's a reason people who are bit by a dog are wary of all dogs from then on. Because our instincts tell us to learn from experience. Some people may see it as irrational, but really it's instinct.
If no human ever learned from experience that some types of animals are dangerous, we would never have survived.
14 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Sunday 8/20/06 - 6:05:54 PM EST (GMT-5)
Sometimes.
14 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Tuesday 8/29/06 - 9:58:06 PM EST (GMT-5)
Fear of reasonable things is rational
14 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Tuesday 8/29/06 - 10:24:07 PM EST (GMT-5)
My daughter (15) refuses to accept that her EXTREME fear of grasshoppers is irrational.

Mind you, we live in present time US and to my knowledge she has never been abused by them . Makes me wonder about past lives...seriously.

It's just not reasonable or rational.

14 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Tuesday 8/29/06 - 10:36:56 PM EST (GMT-5)
Panicking is irrational. Being afraid of something is a survival mechanism.
14 yrs ago, 5 mos ago - Friday 9/8/06 - 11:48:16 PM EST (GMT-5)
Naw, it actually can help at times. Like in dangerous stunts.

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