The Fear Paradox
A clinical psychologist reveals how fear – which evolved to keep us safe and enhance our existence – has grown into the greatest single threat to our humanity and our collective survival.
What if our exciting innovations and continuous technological progress are driven not by curiosity, pure creativity or bright ideals of human advancement, but rather by fear, an evolutionary state embedded in our brains and reinforced over countless millennia?
In The Fear Paradox, Frank Faranda shows how most of our technological and social changes are simply more imaginative ways for us to run from danger. Yet no matter how many dangers, real or imagined, we neutralize, new ones emerge. Superbugs arise from our battle with bacteria; worldwide social media platforms give propagandists, trolls and outside operatives unprecedented powers to manipulate and control; industrial robotics are devouring our workforce; and sadly, as we seek to share more of ourselves online, we feel less connected and more alone. Our level of fear remains constant.
Faranda’s argument serves as a universal translator for our current state of affairs in politics, in Silicon Valley, online and in the real world – a lens that gathers diffuse light and focuses it into a sharp, incisive point. Our opioid crisis, our smartphone addictions, the rise of 'strong' authoritarian leaders who leverage our fear to gain power, the constant march of ever-more-convenient technologies that minimize genuine interaction with others, the rush to develop artificial intelligence – at the root of all of this is fear of pain, of domination by others, of outside threats, of the unknown.
The Fear Paradox tackles all this and more, uncovering the evolutionary root causes of our heedless advancement and examining our personal and societal obsession with that mythical, always-just-out-of-reach, utopian future: a provocative, important and original work that connects the state of our world to the state of our minds.