Fear or Love in the Making

There is no fear in love.

John 4:18

I have written about fear not being a spirit in the commonly understood sense among Christians, and I have written about what a spirit is instead.

We are at the moment experiencing the constructing, or better, the birthing of some spirits.

There is no classical spirit being behind a pandemic, but there certainly is a spirit behind it, and one or more born from it.

First of all, the virus we are seeing at the moment is a mutation of viruses that have been around for a long time. Mutations are caused by life conditions. Today’s life conditions might just favor mutations as we have a different climate, radiation and such than before.

Those life conditions have been fueled by our belief that we can do everything and by our hyper-individualism of strive and drive.

Spread is aided by the same fuel: we see very slow reaction to government warnings because we are afraid about individual freedom and rights more than the common good.

And of course, there never was such a population density as we have it today. Thus, one of the biggest aids we have in overcoming the pandemic–hygiene–is also involved in its spread, as it contributed to the size of world’s population due to higher expected lifespans.

Globalization and travel are aiding the spread as well.

But then, it is our scientific abilities of globally networked scientists that will help overcome the pandemic.

Obviously, there is much more to be said about what brought about this crisis, what helped it, and what will help overcome it. But most of those things are mindsets materialized.

Just as an example, our mindset of individualism and “yes, we can” manifested in sciences, business, wealth, globalization, climate change, exploitation, health, and much more.

But let me have a look at what is birthed from this pandemic.

Again, it is mindsets, based on interpretations of the situation and believes we come up with based on them.

Many look at the growing numbers and react with fear, even panic. It shows in irrational behavior like buying tons of toilet paper.

Others look at the actual size of numbers and react with complacency. It shows in those spring break beach parties in Florida.

And some look at this and are compelled to muster up their best and fight back.

Here we see three spirits in the making.

In today’s world, it is very likely that we end up with information bubbles driven by confirmation bias: we value and follow those that speak into our reaction.

Building self-affirming networks will give power to the spirits born from the underlying belief system and have them grow. Fear begets fear, complacency begets complacency, and courage begets courage.

The strongest spirit is love. The verse above continues by saying: perfect love casts out fear.

Does that mean that love has to be perfect to cast out fear? I do not think so. I think that love in and off itself is perfect. Perfect love is almost a pleonasm.

And you would not guess it, but love begets love.

Mindsets, whether positive or negative, if such dualistic categorization is even possible, are very hard to overcome on an individual level. Even more so on a community level or bigger.

Usually, mindsets develop over centuries. The mindset of lawfulness with its rights and wrongs, adherence to law and order, had centuries to develop from the Codex of Hamurabi to the 10 Commandments to the Roman law, the British and the French judicial system, to today’s overly regulated public and private life.

But it is changing life conditions that initiate, fuel, and rule this change.

It is slavery and the fight against Pharao that cry out for a higher authority than a human leader to give some boundaries. Even though it took the Israelites centuries to adapt, and even in the times of the pharisees it was all but prefect.

We are in the midst of life conditions changing. Let me give you a very personal metaphor for what is happening at the time.

A few years back I have been diagnosed with cancer. It was removed and I underwent radiation. But the cancer markers exploded since, and the cancer has become systemic. That is, it is all over my body but cannot be located with the best tools we have.

I suffer from byproducts of the surgery, and it has made my life rather inconvenient. It has brought shame in social situations, fatigue, and very low energy levels, even depression.

A few weeks ago, I experienced breathlessness to the point of panic, muscle pains, and loss of cognitive capabilities. I was diagnosed with bilateral multiple central pulmonary embolisms, and it was a close call.

Since then, I am on blood thinners and recovering at a rate I did not think was possible, and I am very thankful to God for this.

Why am I telling you all this?

I see a parallel in what is happening worldwide at the moment.

The cancer I had and to a degree still have is usually curable if detected early enough. Otherwise, it is very slow death.

Climate change is curable. The measures we took so far might have seemed radical like surgery to some, but were not enough. Climate change is systemic. It does result in fatigue, depression, shame.

Embolisms have sudden death potential. The obvious parallel to the pandemic we are in: it’s all about the respiratory system. And this pandemic also has sudden implications on our lives. Just look at the halt it has put on our common lifestyle.

Our reaction to all this is important. Do we give rise and power to fear, complacency, or courage and love?

When I look back at my own reaction: at no point in the evolving story I was afraid. Fear did not play a role, even when my body was panicking due to lack of oxygen.

Again, I see a prophetic parallel. Let’s face this crisis with love and courage, and humanity will arise and go from glory to glory, which in my eyes is the real eschatology of the bible.

I am still in the beginning phase of building my mindset, and I am looking to find the like-minded so we can give birth to a spirit of love and rise to the occasion to confront and adjust to the new life conditions. In this, we all will grow further into our destiny.