The world promotes fear, not only with global things, like terrorism and bad economy, but also with our individual hang-ups. Fear of falling and fear of dying seem instinctive. Fear of public speaking is acquired.
Behind them all lurks the fear of losing ourselves, irony of ironies, since so many never find themselves.
How can we, if fear controls us? And, is life really about the pursuit, not the destiny?
That depends on where we land: when we fall, when we die, when we flub the speech.
Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the democratic movement in Myanmar (Burma), has faced fear. Her life's pursuit landed her under house arrest for almost 15 years. Her haters hoped the 66-year-old would fade away upon her release on Nov. 13.
Suu Kyi's many honors, among them the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, do not sustain her. Her mission does.
In mid-August she spoke again for freedom, the very thing that took it away before. She traveled only 50 miles outside the city of Yangon, gave only a 10-minute speech, but she understands something of value to us all.
Perceived insignificance, limitations of place and voice, stop our dreams. Fear of failure, atychiphobia, dooms us to a housebound life worse than Suu Kyi's.
Trial and error are prime means of solving problems, yet many won't try because they fear error. That instinctive fear of falling (failing) kicks in on physical, mental and spiritual levels.
No matter what else life brings, nothing strips aspirations to bare essentials like a hit to one's own body.
In early August the news featured a snapshot of Indonesians seeking relief from pain, bravely positioning their bodies on railroad tracks as if nailed to a cross.
When a train passes on the adjoining track, its power sends shock jolts, "electric therapy," alternative medicine for the desperately poor with no other health care.
There is no evidence that lying on rails does any good, but it is better to fight fear than succumb to it.
In our more sophisticated country, Robert Ettinger founded the Cryonics Institute in Detroit, a place that freezes the dead in hopes that medical technology will bring them back to life someday.
In July, the 92-year-old joined the 105 bodies already stored there. Action did not prevent his death; maybe it distracted his fear.
Trying to learn how to insert contact lenses, I bought a lighted mirror that magnifies what the human eye can see 20 times.
For two hours I examined my face in horror, forgetting all about my original purpose. Self-absorption brings fear.
In late July, Chris Ingram wrote about visiting refugee camps in famine-stricken Africa. Children play in the midst of starvation and death.
Though Ingram entertained them briefly with photos and mirrors, they knew images had little to do with their lives and who they are.
World and individual events bring fear. Apostle Paul advised giving bodies and minds to God (Romans 12:1-2) as the only sensible solution.
A Christian church in Baghdad has had more than 200 members murdered this year for doing that very thing.
Their minister, Andrew White, says: "So awful are the things around us and yet we're the happiest church I've ever pastored." Like Suu Kyi's choice, it is destiny despite fear.