Being fearless versus learning to control your fears?

Discuss the June 2014 book of the month Divergent by Veronica Roth. While only Divergent--the first book of the series--is the book of the month, feel free to use this subforum to discuss the rest of the series or to talk about the movies, but make sure not to post spoilers unless noted in the topic title.
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Scott
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Being fearless versus learning to control your fears?

Post by Scott » 03 Jun 2014, 19:06

The following discussion question was included in some copies of the June book of the month, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

What is the difference between being fearless and learning to control your fears? Do you believe anyone can be truly fearless? What does Tris mean when she says that “half of bravery is perspective” (p. 458)?
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by Hola2Cora » 03 Jun 2014, 23:25

I think the difference between fearless and learning to control your fears is dependent upon maturity, experience, and perspective. Fearless implies an attitude of confidence. That is learned once someone has experienced and matured through facing their fears. Facing fears is a process in which people learn to control their fears. Once you have taken control of your thoughts concerning a fear, then that fear has no more hold on you. Once you change your perspective on a fear, it will no longer have a hold on you. For instance, Four has a fear of heights. However, his perspective of climbing a ferris wheel to protect Tris from falling kept his fear from paralyzing him, so he was able to control his fear. Tris running back into Dauntless headquarters when everyone was still under the attack serum was fearless, because she faced the fear head on with confidence that she was going to accomplish a goal regardless of the circumstances. Her accomplishing her goal of stopping the attack, through facing her fear of being killed by Four was accomplished through her changing her perspective on the situation, and figuring out how to save herself and Four, thus creating bravery on her part. Therefore I think one becomes fearless through learning how to control their fears through changing their perspective.
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Post by toriborip » 04 Jun 2014, 13:23

I think that being fearless is having fear but not letting them control you... I have met very few people that have been able to do this... I'm working on it but I am no where near being fearless

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Post by toriborip » 04 Jun 2014, 13:24

I think that being fearless is having fear but not letting them control you... I have met very few people that have been able to do this... I'm working on it but I am no where near being fearless

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Post by toriborip » 04 Jun 2014, 13:24

I think that being fearless is having fear but not letting them control you... I have met very few people that have been able to do this... I'm working on it but I am no where near being fearless

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Post by CrescentMoon » 04 Jun 2014, 15:40

I don't think it's possible to actually be fearless. Fear is a universal human emotion and I don't think any human can not experience it. But, being able to move forward and facing and controlling your fear is different. Tris never gave up. Four told her that fear doesn't shut her down, it wakes her up. Even though she constantly faced certain fears, she never let that stop her from accomplishing her goals. I think a big part of controlling your fears is to never give up and to keep moving forward despite them.
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Post by anomalocaris » 04 Jun 2014, 18:58

I think anyone who is truly fearless is just plain stupid. There are plenty of things that SHOULD be feared, and fear is a natural alarm system that lets us know when to be prepared to take action, and actual makes physical changes in the body to prepare us to take that action. Courage has nothing to do with not experiencing fear. It's about what you do with the fear.
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Post by Alexsandra » 04 Jun 2014, 19:00

Quote about Dauntless by Veronica Roth." Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free of it." No you can not be truly fearless, everyone has something inside them they fear. I think Tris mean's when she say's" half of bravery is perspective." It is having the courage to face your fear's head on and work through them and coming out on the other side of them.

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Post by Hola2Cora » 04 Jun 2014, 22:45

anomalocaris wrote:I think anyone who is truly fearless is just plain stupid. There are plenty of things that SHOULD be feared, and fear is a natural alarm system that lets us know when to be prepared to take action, and actual makes physical changes in the body to prepare us to take that action. Courage has nothing to do with not experiencing fear. It's about what you do with the fear.
I think courage is the beginning of overcoming a fear. Anyone can become fearless about certain fears in their life, like the fear of having a confrontation with another person. I think the statement above sounds like fearless is being confused with caution. The mind will caution a person to warn them of danger. For instance, one can become fearful and tense when driving fast during hard rain fall, because of possible hydroplaning of the vehicle that could cause you to lose control. Fearless is having the confidence and desire to change your perspective on an irrational fear, to try something new, like ziplining. It is a lot easier to think and act on a fear, that one can't zipline. It takes courage to adopt a new way of thinking and acting to overcome a fear that could prevent you from trying something new like ziplining or confronting someone.
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Post by gali » 04 Jun 2014, 22:55

anomalocaris wrote:I think anyone who is truly fearless is just plain stupid. There are plenty of things that SHOULD be feared, and fear is a natural alarm system that lets us know when to be prepared to take action, and actual makes physical changes in the body to prepare us to take that action. Courage has nothing to do with not experiencing fear. It's about what you do with the fear.
I agree. I don't think anyone is truly fearless, no matter how much they might wish that they are. Courage is to act despite those fears.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by LittleWilma » 05 Jun 2014, 06:43

I think that the opposite of “half of bravery is perspective” is also true. Half of fear is perspective. Jeremy Renner said, "Fear is just not a part of my life - so much so that if it's involved in somebody else's life and they're close to me, I won't be around them." I think this is unrealistic. Everyone has some kind of fear. To me, it should be how the people around him deal with their fear that should matter.
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Post by Paliden » 06 Jun 2014, 08:48

I think being truly fearless is having fears but controlling them. It is a hard thing to do, that is for sure.
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Post by GKCfan » 08 Jun 2014, 00:26

I've heard that the only people who are completely devoid of fear are those who are either very drunk or those who are very stupid. Fear is a natural and necessary response by the body that identifies potentially dangerous situations.
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Post by L_Therese » 11 Jun 2014, 07:12

If someone were truly fearless, courage would be unnecessary. Fear can be useful, like pain, when it serves as a warning. It's a natural response to danger, and as such, it can be welcome if one can respond well to it. If a person can learn to act rationally and calmly in the face of fear, s/he has achieved courage and can then make fear a tool to alert him/her of danger and then react accordingly. I'm not sure I'd want to be around someone who was totally fearless, because then danger would have no role in his/her decision-making, which places everyone at risk.

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Post by H0LD0Nthere » 11 Jun 2014, 21:45

gali wrote:
anomalocaris wrote:I think anyone who is truly fearless is just plain stupid. There are plenty of things that SHOULD be feared, and fear is a natural alarm system that lets us know when to be prepared to take action, and actual makes physical changes in the body to prepare us to take that action. Courage has nothing to do with not experiencing fear. It's about what you do with the fear.
I agree. I don't think anyone is truly fearless, no matter how much they might wish that they are. Courage is to act despite those fears.
I agree. Fear is gift that helps us function in this dangerous world.

That said, I do admire people who are fearless about certain things. For example, there are people who just don't give a rip what others think about them. They are socially brave. And no, they are not necessarily clueless dorks, they may be quite aware of social norms, it's just that they are not afraid to give a contrary opinion. I admire that trait, because I was born with a craven need for approval. (There. I've said it. :? )

So, I think being fearless about some things can be a good thing. Kids have to be fearless about falling relative to adults, because they need to learn to walk, run, climb, ride a bike, etc.

However, I also agree with the other commenters who have said that for many things, being fearless just does not correspond to reality. The older I get, the MORE fearful I get, because I am more aware of the different things that can happen, and just how harmful they can be.

On a related note, can you believe the book said that "most people" turn out to have "about fifteen to twenty" fears???
What is wrong with these people? Don't they have any imagination? My list of fears would be nearly infinite. Name a bad situation, and yeah ... I'm afraid of that. Sure, who wouldn't be? But then their initiation would go on forever. :wink:
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