I think sayings are programs that my mind runs, and I think it's useful to analyze them carefully and make sure they're good programs.

Sayings about Fear

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." — I assume this is intended to mean "we shouldn't be afraid of anything", but it's being cute. Being cute does not seem good for programs in the brain. I want my programs to be obvious and straightforward.

"Do not be afraid." — In general, I think I am too fearful, but it doesn't seem possible or reasonable to never be afraid.

"Face your fears." — This seems like a good strategy for training the brain to be comfortable with phobias, like walking in the rain on a stormy night to overcome a phobia of lightning, but it doesn't seem like a good strategy for all fears. I'm afraid that if I drive with my eyes closed, I'll hit something, but I think I'm right, so I'll die before overcoming the fear. Now some might say "you're not afraid of hitting something, you have good reason to believe you'll hit something, which is not the same as fear", to which I say "if I think about closing my eyes while driving, I tense up and feel anxious.. I'm pretty sure that's fear."

"Analyze your fears and make sure they're reasonable." — This seems good.

"Knock on wood." — I thought I didn't take this seriously, but I do, a little bit. I'm a little afraid to write "There is totally no chance there's going to be an earthquake tonight." First, it's not true. There is a small chance of that happening. But my fear is not of writing a falsehood, my fear is of the universe proving me wrong, and everyone else saying "you're getting what you deserve for saying that". But even if there is an earthquake tonight, I don't think I caused it by writing that.

By knocking on wood, I essentially tell the universe "I'm still afraid!" And sometimes it does make sense to keep being afraid. If I'm going hiking, and I say "I probably won't twist my ankle on this trip", that's true, but only if I pay constant attention to where I'm stepping — it would be bad to realize that I probably won't twist my ankle and use that as a reason not to worry about twisting my ankle, since without that worry keeping me paying attention, I probably will twist my ankle.

But since I have no ability to make earthquakes happen or not, it does not make sense to keep being afraid after I say "There is totally no chance there's going to be an earthquake tonight." Though it does make sense to revise it, for accuracy's sake, to "there probably won't be an earthquake tonight", which I believe is true, but I do have a little unreasonable fear now about it happening, which will hopefully be reduced tomorrow.. assuming no earthquake happens.

"I couldn't stand it if such and such happened." — I've felt this way. At one point, I worried about getting a girl pregnant. I feared that if it happened, my dad would be upset, and the world would end. But, I think the world would not end. I feel like I need to remove this "world ending" notion from my mind, since it doesn't seem possible. I mean, the world might actually end, but by "world ending" I'm referring to a sort of mystical incomprehensible badness, whereas I think all badnesses are ultimately comprehensible and non-mystical.

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