Why does it matter?
Many of us have been taught to value reason over emotion and to dismiss, judge, and manage our feelings. But left unacknowledged, it is far more likely that our feelings are managing us, the unconscious drivers of our actions, attitudes, and beliefs. Chief amongst them is fear.
In an evolutionary sense, fear is vital. It is the mechanism that makes us alert and responsive to the threat of potential harm. In the concrete jungle of consumer culture, it’s survival of the biggest, the newest, and best. We buy product after product, each one promising the security of belonging and the safety of strong self-concept and self-worth. We chase an endless stream of impossible ideals in the constant fear that no matter what we have, we will always need more.
This fear makes us misrecognise our abundance as scarcity so that we feel perfectly justified in choosing convenience and cost-effectiveness over the consequences. We can close our eyes to factory farming, turn our backs on child slave labour, and shut our ears to cries of climate crisis because we genuinely believe that we cannot afford not to.
Because our fears turn our attention inward on our own survival, we have no real capacity to see, to empathise, or to care about anything outside ourselves. Feeling and expressing our fears allows us to move through them, to turn our attention outward, to connect with others, and to care. Learning to recognise and reconcile our fears and feelings is therefore vital activist work for change