Friday, November 7, 2008

Truth Has Nothing To Do With Fear

The pursuit of knowledge, whether through formal education or life experience, is one of the many joys of humanity. By coming to understand ourselves and the environments in which we dwell, we are empowered to shape ourselves (i.e., adapt) and bring about meaningful change in the world around us. And yet, we must acknowledge that the quest for knowledge can be terrifying for those who would prefer to cling to ancient superstitions, preferring the shadows of authoritarian "truth" to any semblance of the real thing.

Fortunately, there are those among us who are not willing to see eyesores like this one from Long Beach, MS, go unchecked. Below is a letter to the editor written by our own Mims Carter after running across this sign.

I saw a sign (photo above) in downtown Long Beach Saturday morning. It was an advertisement for something called 'Eternity House', obviously a special sort of Halloween Haunted House. The sign went on to say 'Truth Begins With Fear'. I did shudder momentarily when I read the sign, but it wasn't fear, it was anger. What kind of message is this? Especially since, given the context, the target audience of this fear mongering was children, innocent, gullible, trusting children who rely on adults to keep them from physical, mental and emotional harm. We should be teaching our children that the road to truth requires courage, insight, clear thinking, and hard work, not fear.

Given the quirks of our emotional wiring, we do get a thrill out of being scared. I have no problem with haunted houses, thrill rides, monster movies and such things. With children, I believe it is important to be there during these activities to let them know it is just entertainment, not real or dangerous. To actively promote fear and to link it to some message of truth is a different story. There is a technical term for such tactics - child abuse. Any 'truth' that requires such reprehensible behavior towards innocent children in order for them to learn it is obviously unworthy of the term.

Mims H. Carter
Pass Christian