Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Time again to sing my refrain

A month or so into doing this blog, I eliminated a wordy little explanation of what I'm about and replaced it with the simple coda "Refuse To Be Afraid." Ever since, a day doesn't go by without someone, somewhere, trying to frighten us.

Today it's the prediction that if bird flu ever mutates into something that can pass between humans, we can expect half of the world's population to die. Robert Webster of St. Jude Children's Hospital is quoted as saying he's stockpiled three months of food and water to try to survive the panic.

As scary-monster tactics go, this one may even beat "the Y2K computer crash will end civilization as we know it" for its sheer scariness. I think I've reached armaggedon overload, though.

In my lifetime we have been told to be frightened of the inevitable nuclear war with the Russians, the collapse of the ecosystem, the inability of the Earth to feed us all, global warming, my neighbor's cigarette, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, a Republican Congress, a Democratic Congress, Y2K and dozens of other dangers that surely would end civilization as we know it. Now avian flu. (Sidebar: Someone always makes a lot of money selling solutions to the coming Ragnarok. You might want to research who owns stock in the company that makes Tamiflu.)

There's a grim but simple truth behind this all, which I've addressed before: We're all gonna die. It's OK to make preparations and take steps to postpone that day, but every minute you spend paralyzed by fear of dying is a minute you could have spent enjoying the time you have to live. Refuse to be afraid. Resist the siren call of the fear mongers. Live as a free man or woman, not as a slave to your fears.


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