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"Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you..."

I saw the article "Memoirs of a Bullied Kid" on the site Single Dad Laughing. It's written by a guy named Dan Pearce, and he seems like a hell of a guy. He's talking about raising his son, about accepting yourself, dealing with conflict, things like that. Pretty inspirational and good stuff.

The Memoirs of a Bullied Kid article must've taken a lot of guts to write, and I massively respect that. That said, I disagree with his conclusion on how to deal with violent bullies. So I want to send some praise and respect in his direction, but also some significant disagreement.

I originally wrote this as a comment for Hacker News, but it came out to about a normal post's length. Tone is more discussion site level than blog post level, but you'll get the gist of it -

"Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you..."

This comment will be controversial, especially for North Americans and Western Europeans. I ask you to read it and think about it a moment before reacting, and comment if you disagree. I believe what I'm about to say is true, and I'm not trying to get a rise out of people - I want to fix some problems with society.

Good Fear, Bad Fear, How to Kill Fear

On Samovar

There are two kinds of fear: good fear and bad fear.

Good fear is when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The kind of fear that tells you to cross the street for "some strange reason." The kind of fear that gives you superhuman strength in dealing with sudden danger. The kind of fear that immediately threatens your physical survival and that prepares you for dealing in the short term.

That’s the good kind. It’s rooted in our animal instinct of pure and absolute protection of ourself and our clan. Good fear that we only want to experience a few times in life if possible.

Then there’s bad fear. The fear that creates the same kind of physical sensation you get from good fear: increased heart rate. Blood flow to the extremities. Rapid short breath. Bad fear is rooted in all the “What if blahblahblah happens?” What if? What if? What if? Bad fear keeps us on the treadmill of mediocrity. Bad fear keeps blood out of the brain, where we need it the most in order to make effective decisions.

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