To be afraid is to behave as if truth were not true.

Bayard Russell

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2013 Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller returned from the recent annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to observe that fear among the attendees was prevalent.  Fear?  Yes, fear of technology and the future.

In particular, Shiller reported that the assembled economic, finance and business leaders feared the fundamental changes to human existence they perceived from information technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing and the like. He recounted that those who expressed fear could not see what the future would be for their children and grandchildren.

It is not that their perception that fundamental changes are afoot is unfounded, but that their fear overshadows hope and confidence that arises, frankly, from faith, belief and a sound understanding of the human story over the centuries.

Those who are fearful would be wise to remember the words of the Stoic philosopher and statesman Seneca offered so wisely in the century before Christ:

Lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty; the difficulty comes from a lack of confidence.

Confidence.  It comes from knowing what is true.  True about life.  Truth about the human person.  True about the limits of mortality.  True about the human soul.  A truth about the Divine.

Psychotherapist Rollo May, M.D., tells of a bright woman patient who had parents that were emotionally distant and, in this, rather unloving.  Despite her education and intelligence the woman was detached from others, fearful of intimate human contact and without it.  He first marriage, to a detached man, yielded a rather quick divorce.

Seeing she was very much alone and without human intimacy she began reading to those who were blind and soon enough she became pregnant by a blind man to whom she read.

What is my point?  Our actions in life most frequently arise from interior responses to exterior conditions.  If we do not know who we are and have a context that allows us to see the truth we carry individually, there can be no confidence, and miscues and fear flourish.

Facing life – especially life when fundamental change invades our established norms and ways – requires context, an organizing narrative.  For most this is the faith story: that which gives us a depth of understanding and insight that quiets an unseen future.  For others, it is the ageless narratives, visible in multiple forms in culture’s throughout time.

Truth is our elites (like the most of us) have neglected faith, contextualizing narratives, and honest self-examination. Lacking knowledge of self, things outside of us produce fear.

Apprehension is acceptable.  Fear serves no purpose and is unnecessary and counter-productive.

Shalom.

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