Cambrian: Opinion

Love or fear? Which one will you choose?

I was taught some time ago that all feelings/actions stem from one of two emotions: love or fear. Now, I’m one to pick things apart to the nth degree, so I’ve been cogitating that theory ever since. Our current world status is a perfect test case. (While I can’t wait for election season to be over, I am a bit nervous.)

Let’s break it down: One must carry love in one’s heart (of life, of one’s self …) to feel content, safe, generous, a sense of abundance, creative. OK, I know how well sorrow stimulates great works of art and deep poetry, so why am I going to put it on the “love” side? Well, you had to have loved in order to experience this sense of loss. Do you see where I’m going?

Love is for the good of not only you but for others, and that my friends, is a beautiful mandala of a circle — what goes around comes around. In the “fear” corner of the ring we have greed, hate, insecurity, anger, racism, homophobia, chauvinism … my, what a nasty little list, isn’t it? Are any of those love-based? I think not.

The minute I hear someone say, “Why should I have to pay for their (fill in the blank)?” I think, greed. Breaking it down, I hear fear. Fear that there won’t be enough for me. Fear that all my hard work won’t benefit me. Fear stemming from lifelong harping about not sharing with others because they are lazy … which brings us to more emotions (mental illness, addiction, lack of education, abuse, etc.)

Fear of not having enough. Fear that someone is going to be better than you and therefore more respected/cared for. Fear that maybe I have those same inclinations but society will stone me to death if I let on, so I’d better eliminate them. Why is that, by the way? Because it is different from them, people fear the unknown and those who are “in charge of” our lives withhold or skew education because they want people to do their bidding and abide by their fears.

A rather convoluted thought path, I know, but I hope you take time some day to wander it.

Polite society says one should never discuss politics or religion at dinner parties. (These days you practically take your life into your own hands if you say the wrong thing!) Frankly, I think that is why we are in the mess we, as a civilization, are in today. Nobody talks. Nobody listens. Let me rephrase that: Everybody talks and nobody listens. There are no more “discussions.” Everybody is right, gosh darn it, and that’s that!

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That was the only thing in my Catholic upbringing that ever made any sense. It was never the fear that we would go to a place of fire and brimstone if I was jealous of my sister getting all the attention. It was just that my core being resonated with the good things we heard about, to live respectfully! That was all. Nobody has obviously learned any of the lessons in that book, anyway, and they rewrite them regularly to suit their needs.

On the part of our (political, financial, religious, financial …) “leaders,” it is their fear of not being in control. I believe in a universal life force. That force is love. My Allah, or whoever she is, is a goddess of love and acceptance and empathy and gratitude and compassion and generosity. Mine is not fear-based, or controlling or judgmental (yes, I realize one could argue I am being judgmental in this written piece). My existence does not rely on material possessions. I do not subscribe to “normal” society. I’m much happier this way, thank you.

Controlling, lying, cheating, stealing — fear of not enough to eat, not good enough, not respected enough. Giving, understanding, looking a homeless person in the eye and saying “hello,” giving to the food bank, giving time in a community garden, a youth program, a care facility, wondering if that rude person at the bank was scared or sad or unhealthy … love-based actions! (By the way, I happen to personally know four transgender individuals whom I’d trust with my small children far more than someone with an assault weapon in their house — not because of the gun but the fear-based attitude they might imbue my child with!)

Yes, this election season can be summed up as “hateful and divisive.” Everybody’s wounds have been opened and salted. Will more fear-based emotions heal them? I strive to follow the path of love and kindness. I know when I get old I am going to depend on someone of a different color or sex or political party — and I’m going to be grateful that person is there.

Love or fear — which do you choose?

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at, or visit her website at