by Penrod

“The real game is the game you are in.”

Is there anyone who would debate the assertion that much human activity is guided by fear? I’m not saying that is bad. After all, it has been proclaimed that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In this column, I have avoided calling things good and bad as much as possible and have tried to be aware of the activity of making good and bad judgments. It’s difficult to penetrate to an understanding of a matter or the action one is engaged in when a pre-judgement

has been or is being made. That’s not news, but it happens—to me, all the time.

What I propose here is that you and I acquire Fearlights. It’s a kind of flashlight that you can shine into a confusing situation. With our handy Fearlight, we can see the fear element clearly.

Let’s say you are thinking about a girl or a boy and you would like to talk to her or do something with him. But, you are afraid to make the call. You don’t want to think about it. It is not clear exactly what you are afraid of and you have refused to look—you have avoided it. That’s when you need the Fearlight. It’s like having a superpower.

“Really? Let’s see it work.”

Okay. I turn on the Fearlight as part of understanding what is going on—so as to see what role fear is playing in my action or decision. Mind you, we will see many instances in which fear is serving us well. Watch out for a quick right or wrong as you continue to look. We know that often our actions are not in line with what we truly want, because of a fear. Or, we are driven by fear as a community or a nation, which in our case means we spend untold numbers of dollars protecting ourselves. As individuals, we buy insurance, which powers a huge industry, just as national fear generates a huge armaments industry.

We spend a lot of money guarding against things that never happen.

The thing is, it’s hard to resist the importance of protection. Instances are cited: “He didn’t lock his house and vandals came in and wrecked it. You need our home security system that you can monitor from anywhere in the world with your iPhone.” It is presented as a necessity. Of course, it means you can never leave home. On the national front it multiplies into wars and all kinds of crazy things.

What does the fear that the Fearlight illuminates warn you about? Is it helping or hurting? Most importantly, what light does it shed on any given matter? It will be worthwhile to consider.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington’s Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.