A Nation of Philistines

Philistine is defined as someone “lacking in or hostile to culture”. Is it me or have you noticed that the predominant feelings of our time appear to be anger and hatred. Are we a nation of philistines and, if so, what is the cause of it? Let me suggest that it all revolves around the word “fear” which is the core of our subconscious individual beliefs about ourselves. Fear of the what if’s.  Fear of failing; fear of succeeding; fear of the unknown’s like corrupt governments, terrorist attacks, not having enough money, losing people you love, fear of the future, and on and on. Fear is the predominant driving force in many, if not most, of our lives and the unconscious determining factor in our individual choices/reactions to the circumstances of life. It’s also in my opinion the driving force behind our national anger and hatred problem.

The natural reaction to fear is “fight or flight” and some psychologists are now adding “freeze”. If fear of failure is at the core of your personal identity then every challenge you face in life can become a deeply personal attack on your core identity. Then you either freeze, do nothing with the resulting deer in the headlights look; fight tooth and nail; or flight- in this scenario avoiding certain problems and/or people you see as a threat. In short, we can get so busy fighting our own internal personal battles that other very important problems never get addresssed. Think also about the inordinate amount of time we each waste worrying about things that will never happen, what people think of us, and what are they trying to do to us. We’re all a little paranoid and much to self-absorbed, self-conscious and it’s fear driving this behavior and often the resultant, groundless anger and hatred.

It’s easier to see this in other people than it is to see it in ourselves. For example, I think of all the hope we as a nation had when President Obama entered office. The considerable public support, energy, and optimism that was similar to the days of President John F. Kennedy. President Obama’s legacy is highlighted by ending the 2008 recession; 2010 tax cuts; Obamacare, though not delivering all the promises made with it; “saving the economy” which is somewhat questionable since he nearly doubled the national debt in the process leaving each full-time private sector worker with an estimated $84,266.00 individual share of our government’s debt*; the Iran deal which has been questioned on both sides of the political aisle; killing bin Laden; and the worlds largest trade agreement.

But you can’t help but sense that there was a lot more that could have been accomplished but for President Obama’s inability to rise above his personal fear of failure issues. Perhaps this is most clearly and most recently seen in his reluctance to turn the wheels of government over to President Trump and, instead, moving into a home just down the street from the White House and setting up his shadow presidency for the sole purpose, apparently, of undermining President Trump’s presidency and protecting his all important presidential legacy. Fear of failure is clearly driving this effort. But again think for a moment what he might have been able to accomplish but for his fear of failure and core belief issues that appear to have dominated and, perhaps, sabotaged his presidency.

The jury is still out on President Trump but at the onset we can see our current president has an irresistible need to respond/react to any criticism made of him. His thin skin could easily be his undoing as more and more of his considerable energy is spent debating his critics, making questionable accusations, and defending his tweets rather than ignoring them and running our country. Whether this will ultimately undermine his presidency remains to be seen.

I say all this to make the point that until we each, including our presidents, deal with our personal core fear issues our individual anger problem is only going to get worse. Think about that the next time you get angry over a very insignificant event that you unconsciously think is somehow confirming your fear of failure; President Trump fires off a strongly worded tweet, or allegations of surreptitious spying are made. The war for our individual and national peace of mind may depend on it.

Mason Swinney

*Terence Jiffrey, CNSNEWS.com


About menmourningmoments

I'm happily married, the Father of 2 sons and 2 daughters and 4 beautiful grandchildren. Death is all around us but somehow we've managed to distance ourselves from it. Men, Mourning, Moments is about how the death of my son awakened me to life & the desire to seize every moment as though it were my last. It's about making sense of life in the good times and bad and allowing GOD to carry me and teach me through the hard times in life.
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