Dad here: on a serious note, I often wonder if my knee jerk reaction to ignore the scare tactics of the politicians, the clergy, the media or anyone who would use fear to separate and divide us is the equivalent of the ostrich burying its head in the sand. But what are my choices? Not caring at all, or allowing myself to be worked up into a mindless frenzy to the point that I’m useless not only to myself, but more importantly, to others?
One fact that I think that is proven science is that the oldest and the youngest amongst us are the most susceptible. I now have a week old grandbaby and a 74 year old mother and an 82 year old mother in law; I have an excuse to fear, but I refuse to. Charlie’s story is all about being confined in our own particular crates, and fear and ignorance are two of the most confining crates I can think of. But on the other hand, they are also the two easiest to escape from, for we alone hold our own keys: knowledge and love, as perfect love casteth out fear.
The following piece by CS Lewis was written in 1948, at the height of the nuclear arms race, when the world was in the grip of another type of fear. These words made great sense then, but even better sense now; check it out.
We be of one blood, ye and I
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds”
— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948)