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Humanity's Greatest Fear

Dreamed 2007/4/8 by Emily Joy

In a dark, cold little underground classroom, my former art teacher Jake is giving a lesson on fear. He hooks up a projector to illustrate something called the Fear Manifestation Principle, which is as follows: when enough people fear a certain thing for a long enough period of time, they unconsciously begin weaving a pattern in which it's inevitable that the object they fear will crop up.

Jake tells us about a massive collaborative research project that was conducted after the discovery of the Fear Manifestation Principle. Over several years, the world's leading psychologists interviewed thousands of people all over the world, administered tests, and employed new mind-delving machines in an attempt to find out what, exactly, our fear pattern will cause to manifest.

The results? They found that, deep down, the human psyche is most afraid of:

"Big-eared pachyderms on bicycles," Jake reports. "The bicycle's tires are like an eternity loop (sideways 8); this line from the body of the bicycle, combined with the trianguloid shape of the head, ears, and trunk, forms a figure that the human being is instinctively terrified of.

"All the signs are there now that within this century, we will see our worst fear riding down Main Street." The projector shows images of floods, wildfires, screaming blue distorted faces, people dying of mysterious illness--signs, I guess, of imminent manifestation.

Jake turns off the projector, turns on all the lights, and scrawls a cartoony picture on the chalkboard. My classmates cower in fear. Jared himself is sweating, edging away from the chalkboard.

I stare hard at the drawing. Nothing happens. Then I try imagining, as vividly as I can, meeting one of these things in real life. Still nothing. I feel not even the slightest prickle of fear. Is my psyche really that alien?

"Um...I'm not scared by it."

"Me neither!" chimes a boy across the room.

Everyone stares at us. Jake says, "You'll be scared just like the rest of us when it comes for real, don't worry. It's hardwired in your psyches."

I shake my head, but say no more. It's an elephant on a bike! It's not scary, it's absurd!

Humanity's greatest fear, indeed. Unless, as I've suspected, my psyche isn't human.


Ohhh, I know what this is about. Prepare yourself for snottiness.

  1. As the saying goes, elephants never forget. That means learning.
  2. Bicycles are my only self-sufficient mode of transportation. That means independence.
  3. Let's put them together: Independent Learning.
Jake the Art Teacher epitomized everything I hate about school. Including the part where Knowledgeable Adults tell you that your level of standardized education is the difference between being "successful" and living out of dumpsters.

Naturally, his ilk are alarmed at the prospect of self-teaching. Unfortunately, most of my peers are ilk. I tell them I'm failing school, and they give me that look usually reserved for watching a man get ripped apart by zombies, and they gasp: "What will you DO?"

Keep doing what I'm doing, I guess. It's who I am. Besides, I wasn't around when the school system was being developed. Someone else wove the pattern. And here I am, the Manifested Fear.

And what exactly is that fear? I don't think they fear that I'm a poor misguided child who'll fail at life. I think they're afraid that I might not fail--that one day very soon, they will see successful independent flunkouts walking down Main Street.

LISTS AND LINKS: school and dreams of work - giftedness - politics - fear - weird field effects - elephants - bicycles - loners and dropouts - a weirdly similar dream by Wayan: Laced with Terror - more Emily Joy - dreamed the same night: Slave's Choice, also savaging American education...

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