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Fear has no brains; it is an idiot.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "The Moonlit Road"

Fear breeds upon itself because it is a hermaphrodite capable of endless reproduction. Fear is a contagious disease, spreading from its first victim to others in the vicinity until it is powerful enough to take charge of a group, in which event it becomes panic. Fear is the afterbirth of reason and calculation. It takes time to recuperate from fear.

ERNEST K. GANN, Fate is the Hunter

Real fear is like intense pain. It's there to warn you something's truly wrong.

TIM LEBBON, Fears Unnamed

I used to think the reason I'd like to stop letting fear run my life was that it felt so bad to be afraid, and also that it was pointless--possibly wasted, if the feared thing never did materialize. But now that fear has packed its miserable bags and is running out the door, making slamming noises to call attention to itself, I begin to see how much room fear has occupied. What opportunity opens up!

JAN FRAZIER, When Fear Falls Away

Like other sets of habits, emotions had to be learned. So, fear was not an instinctive reaction to phylogenetically predetermined objects or events, but was a learned response occurring on 'signals' or conditioned stimuli.... Consequently it came as no surprise ... that children shared their mother's fears. This shared community of fear within the family was not due to inheritance of psychic mechanisms: it was learned. After all, the behaviourists pointed out, there was no direct relationship between fear and vulnerability. Indeed, the most defenceless of all human beings (the new-born child) was the least fearful of all God's creatures.

JOANNA BOURKE, Fear: A Cultural History

Fear sells. Fear makes money. The countless companies and consultants in the business of protecting the fearful from whatever they may fear know it only too well. The more fear, the better the sales.

DANIEL GARDNER, The Science of Fear

Social control is best managed through fear.


Fear begins and ends with the desire to be secure; inward and outward security, with the desire to be certain, to have permanency. The continuity of permanence is sought in every direction, in virtue, in relationship, in action, in experience, in knowledge, in outward and inward things. To find security and be secure is the everlasting cry. It is this insistent demand that breeds fear.


There is always a cause for fear. The cause may change over time, but the fear is always with us.


A mind that is afraid withers away; it cannot function properly.


The boundaries between fear and other emotions are not clear-cut. How does fear differ from dread, consternation or surprise? Anger, disgust, hatred and horror all contain elements of fear. Jealousy may be understood as fear of losing one's partner; guilt may be fear of God's punishment; shame may be fear of humiliation. I history of fear would be rendered meaningless if all negative emotional states were classified as 'really' being fear states.

JOANNA BOURKE, Fear: A Cultural History

If someone is living in fear--whether it's fear of the burglar on your block or the fanatical dictator half a planet away--it's because she doesn't understand how the game of security is played. She longs for a fortress, for a fairy-tale solution that will work forever after. It's a perfectly reasonable longing, and its because she thinks about security in terms of absolutes or magnifies her level of risk based on her experiences with the media, both news and fiction. There's a smart way to be scared. It involves moving beyond fear and thinking sensibly about trade-offs. It involves looking beyond the newspaper headlines and getting a feel for the numbers: a feel for the threats and risks, and the efficacy of the countermeasures. It involves making sensible security trade-offs. The smart way to be scared is to be streetwise.


The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out ... and do it.

SUSAN J. JEFFERS, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Fear is a message--sometimes helpful, sometimes not--but often conveying critical information about our beliefs, our needs, and our relationship to the world around us.

HARRIET LERNER, Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

In my opinion the hectic and almost frantic pace of modern living is a clear sign of the fear we have of being and of life. And as long as this fear exists in a person's unconscious, he will run faster and do more so as not to feel his fear.


Early fear was felt cellularly and was indeed real. Defensive postures were necessary, but defenses generalize cellularly in adulthood and do not expire. It takes conscious work to undo them. Ironically, as long as we keep using defenses, we actually maintain the original force of the fear.

DAVID RICHO, When Love Meets Fear

The fear in my heart was like in one of those dreams where you try to run but you can't do it, you can't run because the fear is an anchor in your chest.


Throughout evolutionary history, anxiety and fear have helped every species to be wary and to survive. Fear can signal us to act, or, alternatively, to resist the impulse to act. It can help us to make wise, self-protective choices in and out of relationships where we might otherwise sail mindlessly along, ignoring signs of trouble.

HARRIET LERNER, Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

Fear is a fantastic marketing tool.

DANIEL GARDNER, The Science of Fear

I would describe a hero as a person who has no fear of life, who can face life squarely.


To a predator, fear indicates weakness.

DEAN KOONTZ, Fear Nothing

When a man is afraid and accedes to fear, he will always find arguments to justify his own surrender.


Fear of change is a part of the state of fear man has ever lived in but out of which he has begun to escape. Civilization might be defined indeed as the steps in his escape.

ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS, Fear and Conventionality

Fear. It was happening all over again. That sickly helpless feeling that spread with its icy fingers, slowly eating up all faith and hope.

GENNITA LOW, Facing Fear

Fear was there, too, cold and hot at the same time, making everything in the plain room sharper, with fewer shadows.


Fear of the unknown translates to fear of losing control. In order to feel safe, we feel we must control every variable--human, environmental, technical. And yet, as life, this just isn't realistic. Controlling everything that's around the corner simply isn't possible.

IVY NAISTADT, Speak Without Fear

Fear is a great poseur. Men especially are loath to admit that they're scared, even to themselves. Instead they convert anxiety into more acceptable feelings (anger, usually).

RALPH KEYES, The Courage to Write

Fear is another emotion that is strongly suppressed. We cannot afford to be afraid, and so we don't allow ourselves to sense and feel the fear within us. We lower our brows to deny it, set our jaws to defy it, and smile to deceive ourselves. But inwardly we remain scared to death.


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