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  • Writer's picturefrederique STREF

Fear : constituent emotion

Do you remember the hero of a children's story who knew no fear?

He was then marginalised by those around him and considered stupid or unfit for the codes of society. So he goes in search of this emotion, and is put to the test in the forest where supernatural creatures surprise him but still don't scare him. As he has not felt any danger he cannot be satisfied with this experience, nor can he be integrated into his surroundings. Later, when he meets a young woman with whom he falls in love, he trembles with fear. Usually in stories, the would-be hero feels fear, accepts this emotion, and with courage overcomes the obstacle presented. Here, however, we notice above all that the absence of fear sets him apart from the social group. What does fear represent in the social space? Can we consider fear as a condition for solidarity? For union within the group and as a restriction on individual freedom? How can we explain that this so-called negative emotion is recognised here as a virtue that the hero must absolutely acquire?

This fear is particular because it is relative to the system of values and founding beliefs of the social group.

Fortunately, thanks to the thrill of fear following the feeling of love, the hero regains his humanity. The encounter with this girl implies an attachment that is immediately associated with the fear of loss, while at the same time giving strength and colour to all things.

The fear of this hero is very different from the fear that paralyses societies. The function of tales is to encourage cohesion within the group and also to warn against excessive authority.

Folk wisdom looks for measure in all things: if fear is a fundamental emotion necessary to the survival of man and the development of his sensitivity, it loses all virtue when it is instrumentalized for the benefit of any power to control individuals within societies. Our hero follows an itinerary that allows him to experience a fear that is the breath of life, to reappropriate his humanity, without losing the freedom that is the foundation of the individual.

Hurry to our storybooks!

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