The power to create fear is the power to control and manipulate.
You all remember the tale of Chicken Little. He’s nursery rhyme character who is struck on the head by a falling acorn and concluded, “The sky is falling.” This story, or a similar one, has appeared in dozens of cultures going back at least 2500 years. It appears The Brothers Grimm were the first to transition from the story from oral tradition in the early 18th Century.
As you’ll recall, Chicken Little’s adventure begins with a real event. He’s struck on the head by the falling nut. However, he magnifies the actual event into a much more fearful proposition – that the sky is falling and every one is at threat.
The story is a cautionary tale of believing those preaching the approach of calamity or even you as an individual buying into catastrophic thinking.
That story was simple compared with what we deal with in our modern world. I call our situation Chicken Little 2.0. Chicken spread his story by personal word-of-mouth. He spread what he believed to be the truth without ulterior motives. There’s no institutions with agendas in the story. There’s no media or social media megaphones to spread the panic instantly. There’s no constant repetition of the fearful exaggeration until it soaks into everyone’s minds and becomes orthodoxy.
In the end, Chicken and his friends’ fear allowed them to be manipulated by Foxy Loxey. Our fate, if we’re not careful consumers of information, can be much worse. Today there are institutions with interests and agendas who take the kernel of truth in a story like Chicken Little’s use it to make fearful shadow puppets to manipulate the population.
This is highly disempowering and runs counter to our modern concepts of a society of, by, and for the people.
Power hack: How can you tell when some idea with a truthful base is being manipulated to control through fear. There’s a pretty simple playbook that uses a pretty simply equation and you can spot it easily once you know what you’re looking for.
Some have called this Problem-Reaction-Solution. A powerful entity has a solution it wants to implement. It waits for an event or creates an event designed to get a reaction from the people that causes them to become fearful and demand the solution the entity already planned.
Event + Fearful/angry reaction = a demand for action = implementation of the plan.
We see this over and over again in our foreign policy. There’s no time to think. There’s no alternative. We are at risk by some evil in the world and we must take immediate action. These decisions are forced upon the populace with a “sky is falling” attitude and no one is permitted the time or the space to ask whether or not it’s true or it’s true to the extent being claimed.
This has been used against populations from time immemorial to control and manipulate. When you hear one these scenarios. Look around, proverbially, is there sky laying on the ground around your or just an acorn? Why does the purveyor of the information want you to short-circuit critical thinking, give up freedom, or worse because of this threat?
Why am I talking about this on blog focused on personal development? Because nothing is more important to our individual and collective development than that we act from the conviction of our hears not the shadows in our brains. Our way forward is to break the Chicken Little cycle not perpetually play that game over and over again. Reason, wisdom, and humanity must drive our decision-making not fear and anger, especially fear and anger manufactured by those who want to keep us marching to Chicken Little’s drum.
Stay informed and you stay empowered!