“Fear is good.” Discuss.
Fear is the bad feeling that one has when he is in danger or when a particular thing frightens him. A German proverb goes, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” This is absolutely true as fear will often cause people to imagine the worst and act irrationally. In that case, can fear be any good? Personally, I think a small amount of fear is good and even necessary as it not only acts as a form of control and deterrence but also serves to motivate oneself. Nonetheless, being overly fearful is bad as it will severely hamper man’s progress. In this essay, I will discuss how fear can be a double-edged sword, bringing both advantages and disadvantages to man.
Fear is good as it deters people from doing dangerous acts and prompt them to control and regulate their behaviour. For instance, despite the numerous wars since World War Two, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan remain the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare. This is because the world is fearful of the widespread devastation that such weapons will bring about. Therefore, the fear of total annihilation has prevented world leaders from acting irresponsibly and going down the path of self-destruction.
Next, fear is good as it is a powerful motivator. For individuals such as students and entrepreneurs, the fear of failure will prompt them to work hard and put in their best effort in their studies and business undertakings. This will lead to results and progress. Similarly for nations, the fear of losing their competitive edge will spur them to constantly improve and reinvent themselves to keep pace with the fast-changing world. For example, Singapore is taking active steps to maintain and improve her skilled and flexible workforce to ensure that she remains competitive and does not fall behind major economies like China. Retraining schemes and upgrading courses have been provided for the workforce to ensure that it stays relevant. Hence, we can see that the fear of losing out to others is one of the reasons that has motivated nations to take active steps in improving their economies. Without fear, nations will become complacent and they will eventually fall into a decline.
However, although fear is good, man must keep in mind that too much fear may be detrimental to his development. Being overly fearful of the unknown and intangible will prevent people from venturing into areas previously unexplored. For instance, in the area of space exploration, Apollo 11 would have never landed the first humans on the moon if the Americans had let fear get in the way of their dream. As the late John F. Kennedy once said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” To achieve great feats, man must learn to conquer his fear and find the courage to overcome the obstacles that life presents. Only then can the human race continue to make progress and enjoy the sweet smell of success.
In sum, fear is good as it will ultimately lead to a well controlled and motivated society. Nevertheless, people must keep in mind that they should not be clouded by fear as it will hinder their progress. I believe that a small dose of fear and a good deal of courage will make a great man as such a man will have the spirit to pursue his goals and the sense to act responsibly in the process.
GCE O-Level, 2014, English Tuition