When was the last time you were afraid? Not nervous, not anxious, but really scared, with the monster-under-the-bed kind of fear.
I used to get scared all the time, and of everything, but as I grew up, the fear disappeared. But I think fear is exhilarating, and I think we miss that rush as we get older, and this is why we seek it out. Actively. Watching horror movies—what’s the point if not to re-experience the exquisite fear we’ve long since lost.
But we don’t want cheap monsters and skeletons and blood. These no longer scare us. We want something more convincing.
We search for it; we embrace danger, and yet each time we find ourselves safe despite the risk, the situation becomes less attractive, less… ominous. So next time, we climb a little higher, worry less about the footholds. We’re not there for the view; our goal is the fear—the electric shock that surges under the skin as a rock slips from under our feet.
But what happens when our survival instinct fails us? Or when we realize that the oh-so-tangible world around us is, essentially, hallucinatory? A construct of our minds, which cannot distinguish between accurate and aberrant sensory information, which must necessarily create rather than perceive. What can terrify us now, if it is not even real?
But who says we must be afraid only of real things? Is the child within us really so dead that we must scorn fear of the imaginary? Fear of the mind itself?
I fear only my mind itself. Or perhaps losing my mind. Because with insanity will return all the hallucinatory nightmares of childhood that I have long since banished. I doubt the monsters will scare me; rather, I’m afraid of the idea of seeing them again, not that I know they’re not real.
Perhaps overcoming this last fear could save us from insanity.