Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Life Class Catherine Blyth on Fear

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Life Class Catherine Blyth on Fear

Article excerpt

Byline: Catherine Blyth

Have you ever felt so alive as after a plane lands in a storm? We value our skin most when scared out of it. Yet fear is not to everyone's taste. I know a woman who traversed the globe with her chaotic parents at a time when foreign travel was safest pursued in the pages of an Agatha Christie novel. Then she married a traveller. No sooner had she borne a child than she grew terrified of flying, crashing and losing her family. Only boats would do. So her husband was left alone for months, with predictable consequences. It took her as many months to sail back to rescue her children from their frequent emergencies at boarding school. A devoted mother, say friends. Her legacy is her offsprings' many phobias. The family runs like a conspiracy to ensure her fears come true.

Society is risk averse, yet fear is essential for the survival and management of our species. Stalin used it as an instrument of policy. Likewise, it is schooled in us from the instant we realise our parents are not God, and they seek other means to control us, primarily yelling. At which point the world becomes infinitely more dramatic and erotic, as illustrated in a book, Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures), about rampant UN peace-keepers. …

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