As a race we seem to be obsessed with two things – ‘Bright Shiny Objects’ (more of which another time) and ‘Scary Monsters’.
Of course, fear is one of our basic instincts and back in the day it really was fear of scary monsters – predators that might eat us. Fear would kick in eliciting a fight or flight response – usually the latter!
But although we don’t have to face carnivorous predators on a day to day basis any more, it seems that we can’t live without some form of ‘scary monster’ to be afraid of, or at least worry and speculate about.
Scary Monsters can be imagined in a global, local or personal context.
When I was growing up one global Scary Monster, the Soviet Union had just replaced Nazi Germany as the harbinger of the end of the world.
Mind you, the Soviets and their populace were equally as ‘scared’ of ‘The West’ as we were of them which sort of neutralizes the whole concept.
And of course as it turned out that particular ‘SM’ faded away – only to be replaced by another global SM in the form of ISIS!
And so it goes on; but also this time with another, somewhat different SM in the form of ‘global warming’ and how that is also going to wipe us all out.
Of course, it does keep the ‘end of the world is nigh’ merchants in business.
And I do mean ‘merchants’ – there’s a huge and profitable industry in supplying those ‘survivalist’ individuals preparing for Armageddon just around the corner!
But what about more local Scary Monsters?
To name but a few (not necessarily in order) we’ve had ‘decimalisation’, the ‘common market’, various economic crises seemingly on a regular basis, the EU and ‘Brexit’ (whichever way you look at it)., immigration (several rounds of that one), emigration and ‘the brain drain’, every change of government, ‘Y2K’ when the world was going to end when all the computers stopped, ‘teenagers’, Generation X, Generation Y, Millennials, various energy crises, all sorts of legislation including most recently ‘GDPR’, and of course the weather.
You’d think that by now people would have become used to that fact that it’s cold in winter, warm in summer and rains often – and it’s temporary. But one small change and ‘disaster’ happens.
And then on a personal scale we have relationships, health, body weight, having kids, not having kids, retirement, redundancy, exams, household bills, mortgages, debts and so on and so on.
It seems everything is something to be scared of, everything seems to create its own Scary Monster.
But here’s the thing.
Scary Monsters don’t exist and unless you happen to run into a large wild animal coming at you, they are all imaginary.
But you and I don’t conjure them up out of our own imaginations, they are thrust upon us.
Why? Because it’s ‘Scary Monsters’ that keep the news and current affairs media going. It’s what keeps journalists and pundits in jobs.
Because bad news and fear sell newspapers, they sell news programmes and documentaries, and most of all they sell advertising.
Without which of course we wouldn’t be subjected to all the bad news media and all the fear and scary stories broadcast to us every day. Hmm?
Good news and positivity are a minority interest it seems.
You see – fear and scary monsters make money – lots of money – more than anything else.
If you can frighten people, they’ll pay you to make it go away.
Remember Y2K? Billions of dollars and pounds and all other currencies were spent on consultants and specialists to ‘solve the problem’ and stop the perceived ‘end of technology’. But as it turned out the problem was minute compared with what people, companies and governments had been led to believe.
‘Consultants’ who know perfectly well that there isn’t really much of a problem, are taken on by companies who have been scared out of their wits by the media and the ‘fake news’ purveyors, to resolve these problems before their business fails.
It’s a huge industry, solving a problem or crisis that isn’t really there, usually something to do with changes in technology or compliance with some new regulation.
It’s not down to the consultants, although some do take advantage, but to people’s gullibility and obsession with fear and risk.
And then there are the companies who make fortunes out of peoples’ personal fears, usually about their health or weight, but also about their careers, businesses and relationships. Quite a lot of which is based on the fear of ‘missing out’ – another scary monster in itself.
The thing is however, that you and I don’t have to subscribe to all this.
We don’t have to be on the lookout for the next SM, we don’t have to listen to the ‘news’ (or the fake news), we don’t have to believe what we read in the press or on the internet. We don’t even have to believe what we ‘see’, because sometimes that just isn’t the ‘full story’
You and I don’t have to buy in to the Scary Monster culture we find ourselves in.
What we do have to do though is to remain aware, notice what’s going on around us, because some ‘bad things’ do happen from time to time and there are dangers that we can avoid in every sphere of our lives.
That’s the point – all this stuff can be avoided, put on one side, left for other people to worry or agonise about. If they want to make a problem out of it they can. It’s none of our business.
Don’t let the Scary Monsters get at you, other than perhaps, as a source of amusement.
Stay positive – oh, and look out for yourself!