As it’s almost Halloween we thought, as we’re just so gosh-darned young and clever, to get to the bottom of things and find out why human beings get so ruddy terrified all the time.
Contemplating the Nature of Human Fear
To do this we must first highlight some intrinsically terrifying stuff in a list. Behold! It’s the list of TERROR:
- Great white sharks
- Supermarket meat that has slightly passed its sell-by date
- Rotting vegetables
- Mouldy cheese
- Psychopaths wielding axes
- Screechy violin music like what were done an’ used in Psycho
- The lower classes
- The higher echelons of the upper classes
- Anything involving blood spurting high in the air
Now, the above list is a, sort of, a mishmash of scary stuff. All of them don’t necessarily relate to different societies.
For instance, in certain suburbs of England chavs are viewed as a minor, laughable nuisance rather than the ASBO gathering, knife-carrying, nationwide rioting buffoons they usually are.
So, for the purposes of this scientific analysis, we will take a look at great white sharks. Scary, eh?
It’s fairly straightforward. If you’re in the ocean and you eye spy a great white shark 10 feet away, how do you think you would react?
- Calmly remove oneself from the water by calmly swimming towards the shore and remaining calm.
- Swim towards the shark waving and shouting merrily, as if approaching an old friend.
- Panic insanely, thrash wildly to the shore and, in so doing, foul yourself repeatedly.
We’d like to say we’d go for 1, but we’ve never been near a Great White Shark. We’ve watched Jaws a fair bit and from this we have gleaned the knowledge of the sad truth; we’d probably end up like 3. Ho-hum.
So why should this be? Professional Moron’s theory is the theory of the Suspension Of Disbelief (or SOD).
It’s like the “survival instinct” but with a bit more instinct and a lot less survival. SOD is based on the notion (which, admittedly, has no evidence whatsoever behind it) of humans being able to suspend their Belief, and therefore entering a phase of Disbelief.
Therefore, when confronted with something terrifying, such as a Great White Shark, they are able to panic insanely.
If they were in their Belief state of mind, they would try and hold a rational conversation with the shark under the mistaken belief they would be able to dissuade it from eating them (breathe in).
In the state of Disbelief in SOD they abandon their rational behaviour, panic, lose control of their intestines, and make a bid for freedom what be already doomed to failure.
So, now you know why humans are often frightened.
The next time you see somebody freaking out, rush up to them screaming “SOD!”, and all will be well.
Oh lordy. I just befouled myself in the presence of this perfect masterpiece.
Honestly, that’s not very ladylike now, is it? Still, when it comes to sharks I can’t imagine anyone being perfectly poised. Not even Beans the Chinese Dwarf Hamster.