Phobia – Fearsome, but Protective as well

Word phobia also known as phobism, owes its origin to the Greek word ’Phobos’. From Phobos, there arose ‘phobia’ and ‘phobism’ in English linguafranca. Phobos in Greek means morbid fear which goes on haunting the subject repeatedly.

In the initial stages the word phobia or phobism was used in spoken and written language to mean a mental attitude of aversion or experience of morbid fear and the physical reaction connected with those feelings. But as time passed by, the scenario too got changes as is usual in all human perseverance: Today phobia carries on its head serious fearful thoughts and actions. It includes persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear connected with certain things or situations that compel a person to avoid the things or situations. And that disorder continues to persist even if proper awareness and reassurance that the things or situations are not dangerous is imparted.

In sum and substance, phobia is a combination of fear and dread in connection with certain things and matters which the phobic tries to avoid despite being lobbied that the things and matters concerned are harmless. In that backdrop phobia can be described as 1. An emotion containing persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels the inflicted person to avoid the thing or situation despite the awareness and reassurance to the effect that it is not dangerous;   2. The impairment of phobia is of serious nature, sometimes leading to very strong and severe repulsive dislikes and aversions.

Don’t take Phobia as a minor or temporary disorder: In fact it is a persisting mental aberration; it is difficult to bring the victim of which back to normalcy.

The disorder has been a serious subject for in-depth studies both by soul-searchers of psychology and by bio-neurological researchers of physiology. While the former remained in subjective conclusions about the onset and removal of the disorder without tangible results, the latter had made significant progress in diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. For diagnostic purposes, they classified phobias into two categories and thereby resolved major issues of the problem scientifically: Specific Phobias and Agora Phobias were/are the two categories which the researchers identified.

Specific Phobia relates to fear and aversion to particular objects or situations that induce acute anxiety and at times panic attacks. Such phobias fall under different types such as animal type, environmental type, situational type, injury type et al. The types are created on the basis of fear-objects and fear-situations that make the patients panic stricken. Agora Phobia is related to fear of leaving home, departing familiar and safer places and also while encountering thoughts of open spaces, social embarrassment, contamination, germs and so on. Such fears and aversions sparingly or otherwise follow obsessive-compulsive reactions as well.

The severity of phobia varies from individuals to individuals depending upon biological, genealogical and neurological factors. Mentally and physically strong built persons with the support of powerful conditioned reflexes developed during their childhood days where no blind beliefs and unwanted fear-situations were ever allowed can simply ignore objects of fear situations in their grown up years of existence. They are the individuals who can resist the pull of phobia and can feel comparatively milder fear and aversive reactions. On the other hand there are lot many people who suffer full-fledged panic attacks associated with disabling symptoms of phobia. Such persons feel totally powerless to override their panic reactions. The main reasons for such disablement are the environal influences they had undergone during their childhood mental development. Blind beliefs and obscurantistic persuasions exerted by parents, relatives, neighbours, religion, faith, social and cultural engagements, all of which jointly or isolatedly, in some way or the other, created fear and aversions in children during their upbringing days. As a result, the people who were born and brought up in the described tardy background become prey to different types of phobic reactions.

Psychologists have recently come out with a finding that women are more prone to fear than men. Their views are mischievous and untrue because of two scientifically proven facts. For one thing, there does not exist any difference between men and women in matters of brain-size and cell to cell communication faculty pertaining to intelligence and reasoning. Secondly, women are straighter forward in revealing what they are and what they know whereas men-folk tend to hide many truths relating to their personality which may force them not to reveal that they are prone to phobic reactions. Therefore, it is better to ignore the conclusion of the Psychologists on this score as the so-called soul-searchers are deeply into subjective pursuits rather than objective research with the support of empirical evidence.

Whatever be the pros and cons of phobias, in normal conditions, it is a protective reaction especially while viewing it in the context of evolution. Phobia plays a role of warning in advance to save the living organism, more importantly the humans, from harm or destruction from dangerous objects or situations. However, in abnormal conditions where phobia leads to panic attacks and serious repercussions, appropriate medico-clinical and psychiatric treatments should have to be sought for. Hypnotherapy is a suggested method of treatment for phobia. An appropriately trained hypnotist with adequate knowledge of neuroscience can help cure phobic maladies. Here, Pavlovian (Dr. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov) theory of deconditioning is put into operation by the Hypnotist to restore normalcy.

Love and Hate

Profoundly tender and passionate affection is Love; feeling of warm attachment is love; strong predilection and liking for someone or something is love; Above all, at the top of everything, Love points at sexual desire and its gratification.

Every human being knows love; every bird, every animal, every living organism feels love, experiences love, lives in love.

Intense and passionate dislike is Hate; feeling of strong hostility is hate; aversion to something or someone is hate; unwilling to interfere and to act wherever needed also constitute a version of Hate.

Every human being knows hate; every bird, every animal, every living organism undergoes hate; everyone keeps hate as a life-partner.

Linguists are very curious to find out which word in the linguafranca has the same meaning with different looks: Hate has not been an exception. One of the linguists found out that hate originated from old English word ‘hete’. Hete means hostility and aversion arising out of fear or anger or injury.

Love and hate are slated to be two of the most intense emotions: They are marked as closely connected with each other with totally different aptitudes. It has been a serious concern for scientists to locate the particular part of the human body where love-hate mechanisms are situated.

Researchers at University College, London on their relentless pursuits, have discovered that brain houses love and hate at a safe location called putamen insular cortex or medial frontal gyrus. Their hypothesis is that these regions protect love from hate through its spiteful reaction. They clarified that some of the brain circuits are equally responsible for generating the experiences of love and hate even though both are opposite to each other in quality and nature. Not only that, their conclusions indicated that hate is intended primarily to protect love.

The Researchers are reported to have also found that when a person undergoes feeling of love, the frontal cortex connected with mental activity of critical thinking becomes less excitatory as compared to normal working: When hate situations are introduced the particular brain area assumed energetic response, well-set to strongly react.

The above findings still need further elucidation. A deep study based on the excitatory and inhibitory responses of the sensory centres in the cortex might lead to the truth. Whatever it is, the reported findings give credence to the conclusion that love diminishes reasoning and critical thinking whereas hate produces instant aggressive sensory experience with strong motor reaction against hate-situations. It is common phenomenon that when an individual is in deep love with someone or something, the person concerned becomes unaware of reality and acts without reasoning. Very often such situations lead to animosity and hate leading to mental and physical hazards for the lover and the loved. Simply put, that is how ‘blind-love’ impacts.

Let the Researchers and psychologists in Western universities continue spending the bounty of their time and energy to find the special spot in the brain that produces love and hate. In the meanwhile those who are not averse or hesitant to Pavlovian theory of neuroscience know pretty well that love and hate are not housed in any particular brain-spot. As in the case of any other feelings and emotions, love and hate is also the product of excitatory and inhibitory reactions of nerve cells in the sensory centres: The Sensory centres are located in the cerebral cortex. Sensory centres are excited through reflex action and induce sensory experiences including love and hate, when stimuli from environs reach the centres through sense organs of the living entity, irrespective of whether the entities are humans or animals or any other living organism.

Frontal cortex of the brain which houses the five sensory centres is responsible for all types of mental and physical experiences and reactions including motor response. Since love and hate are emotional sensory experiences, these emotional feelings are certainly the product of brain-centric sensory reactions.

Meeting the physical needs is the basic requirement that ensures life, growth and survival of the living organism. Ingestible food and water, suitable environs for existence, procreation of new generation are fundamental physical needs.

Love enables the organism to meet its fundamental physical needs with the aid of hate. It is Hate that identifies what is appropriate and suitable for love to meet the physical needs. Hate executes the selection of the suitable by strong reaction in favor of whatever and wherever the objects are suitable for love to help to meet the physical needs or by strong reaction to reject whatever and wherever the resources are not suitable for love to help meet the physical needs. These are primitive love-hate reactions which are confined to lower animate species and the humans. The individual to individual communication mechanism of First Signal System gives boost for love-hate reaction among these species.

As for humans the scenario assumes greater significance: When homo-erectus evolved into homo-sapiens, their brain activities and intelligence became enormously complex. Development of Second Signal System of communication through words added extra glamour and supremacy to the complexity of human brain.

Love-hate reactions of human brain gained greater operational skills with the advent of second signal system in addition to the first signal system. Love thus became tool of awe and wonder in addition to its primitive module. Hate followed suit to help love by the route of aggressiveness and violence, in almost all areas of innovations, inventions and also in social, cultural, religious and political spheres.

Love in accompaniment with hate, both driving on the physic, opened the way for the evolution: Love and hate will ever continue its worthy job for survival as also for destruction.