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Masala Inc 17

🌱 2022-08-08


Hello friends,

The question of fear, despair and courage have been taking up a lot of my thinking off late. How can one come face to face with fear? What exactly counts as courage? I tried to untangle this a bit more with the essay below.


alec soth


Battle Fear

I.

A young warrior was sent to battle fear. She roused herself, and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”.

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me respect by asking for my permission.”

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?" [1]

II.

There is an undercurrent of anxiety when one enters parenthood. The color of your child's skin has marked them for cruelty.

Injustices that you endured. Pushed on you by people who don't think they did anything wrong, because they don't see you as a person. You fear the world would be similarly unkind to this child.

The world is against our children from the moment they are born. The utter despair that accompanies this anxiety is hard to directly look at. [2]

III.

An elephant is trained to stay in a place by having its feet tied to a pole when it's a baby. Once removed it goes on believing that she can't move.

Chains of caste have shackled your feet. You will never outgrow your station. You will stay in your circle. Be a good citizen of your nation.

Your child tells you they see no circle.

You say, "star child, You have much to feel. Much to love. Much to fear."

IV.

Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi said, life is like getting into a boat that’s about to sail out to sea and sink. But it’s hard—no matter how much we hear about it—to believe in our own death.

‘I cannot escape death’, he said, ‘but at least I can escape the fear of it.’, says Epictetus

V.

You want to make art. But, embracing your ideals would mean you have to prove yourself. To your friends and family. Worse, to yourself. [3]

VI.

Your fears are you. They make you, shape you. Shape your imagination.

VII.

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get close to your face. Then you get unnerved, and you do as I ask. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. I could even convince you. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

VIII.

Zen master Kobun Chino Roshi when asked how he related to fear, and he said, “I agree. I agree.”

IX.

I agree.


  1. when things fall apart, pema chodron ↩︎

  2. Further reading, Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ↩︎

  3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield ↩︎


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