What do we fear? Death, without a doubt; violence, torture, abuse, or the loss of our loved ones. We are afraid of illness, of decrepitude, of the loss of our memory and resources; we fear others, strangers and what they could do to us; ridicule, no longer being ourselves; we fear losing control over our lives. Fear can also be a survival mechanism through which our body urges us to save our own necks, but when the feeling of fear is prolonged for too long, it can cause depression and paralysis. There is a reason why tyrants from across the ages have used it as their main method of coercion. For years our country has been engulfed in an atmosphere of terror. We feel the constant threat of the drug trade and its assassins, but also of soldiers and the police, whom we ceased to trust decades ago. The State, far from inspiring a sense of security, often uses this feeling to its advantage. This month, the Revista de la Universidad de México wants to take a moment to analyze the spectrum of fear, from Japanese horror films to the fear felt by women, flesh and blood, when they go out alone at night; as well as the fear of change, terrorism, and senile dementia. In an article called “Notes on the Troops and Fear,” Daniela Rea and Pablo Ferri analyze the fear instilled by the military during armed combat, but also that which they themselves experience. The Argentine narrator Mariana Enriquez takes us on a journey through the readings that shaped her in the genre that she now executes masterfully: horror literature. The neuroscientist Melina Gastélum describes the brain’s reactions during episodes of panic. Alexandra Haas narrates the process of initiation that a human being goes through in order to become a murderer, as well as the terror that these people inflict upon their victims. In these pages we also publish a preview of the Spanish translation of The Thread, the autobiographical novel of Philippe Lançon, the French journalist who survived the attack on the weekly Charlie Hebdo by Islamist fanatics from ISIS. Our art dossier features a powerful series of drawings by Melecio Galván entitled “Militarism and Repression.” The essayist Romeo Tello puts it very clearly: “Fear is what turns all the men and women in all the world and across all ages into brothers and sisters.” So, fear is within the seed of every civilization, in the myths and archetypes that reflect our psychological organization. Analyzing our fears allows us to know who we are, but also to discover what we care about the most. Is it possible to free oneself from this emotion? Fear is always related to the future, to what is about to happen or what could happen. Norman Fischer, author of the essay “The Origin of Fear,” proposes an alternative: to avoid falling into the trap of terror-induced anxiety, the best option is to fully inhabit the present.
Imagen de portada: Melecio Galván, detalle de Apocalíptico o Apocalipsis, de la serie “Militarismo y represión”, 1980