The Oedipus Cycle: Does fear work out in the long run?

Reading Sophocles The Oedipus Cycle, I thought about the question does fear work out in the long run. The part I was reading at the time was when Creon was talking about why Polynices didn’t deserve a burial and the punishment for burying him. Even with the penalty of death, Antigone still buried her brother. That made me wonder if fear really works in the long run. For example, a dictatorship may control its people through martial law and restriction of multiple rights (press, arms, religion, and other things) for awhile, but eventually the people will revolt in the end. Also, I remembered a famous quote from Niccolo` Machiavelli that said ,”It is better to be feared than loved, if you can’t be both.” His book The Prince talks about how to govern people and I heard that many CEOs and other leaders have read The Prince.

I like the simple title

I like the simple title

I would say that fear doesn’t work in the long run. Machiavelli was writing this book during a time of disunity in the Italian city-states, so I think he was willing to do anything for peace at that point. You need the love of the people to be able to move forward into a better future. I mean, if everyone is dissatisfied, then either people will revolt, leave the country,people won’t come, other countries will fight you, or other countries won’t trade with you. But if you’re loving and tender, then people will want to immigrate, possibly strengthening your nation, and people will work with you to build a better nation.

Proof of a loving government

Proof of a loving government

At home, parents who are too strict to their kids to get them to get good grades or do multiple activities might make their kids depressed and gloomy and there won’t be a strong relationship. The kid might even become a bully to make others suffer what they suffer. On the other hand, a parent who rewards their kids for getting a 4.0 GPA or be in band and scouts and many other things with money or a trip to the movies will probably raise a lovely, content kid who has a great bond with their parents. Something I find very common is that many Asian parents are very strict about their children’s grades, such as yelling at their kids when they see Bs on the report card. This makes their kids hate school and very crestfallen and pressured about their grades.

I wonder where this family took this photo?

I wonder where this family took this photo?

Although fear is worst than love in the end, fear might be actually useful in small amounts. For example, in Batman: The Animated Series the episode “Never Fear” displays how Scarecrow’s new gas makes the citizens in Gotham lose their fear, which is actually dangerous because they become reckless such swinging around Gotham a couple stories high. Fear can be useful in other ways such as fear of detention makes kids go to school on time or how the fear of rebellion makes the government impose fair laws. I guess you could say that fear is a powerful motivator. The problem that lies with fear is the abundance or the scarcity of it. For abundance of fear, it’s bad in the sense that there are some bad things in your life that you just have to go face to face with. For example, a huge amount of fear of pain can cause someone to miss a super important shot. I mean, imagine if you were scared of needles so much that you would faint but then you died because you didn’t get the shot for TB. That’s just a horrible combination.

At least Ebola isn't as infectious as the flu

At least Ebola isn’t as infectious as the flu

Fear can even create racism, as the attacks on the Twin Towers by Al-Qaeda has create some hatred and racist jokes against Muslims and even just Middle Eastern people in general, even if they’re not Islamic. For example, a woman pushed a man onto the subway track just because he looked like a Muslim or a Hindu. Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/nyregion/woman-is-held-in-death-of-man-pushed-onto-subway-tracks-in-queens.html?_r=0. If you’re a Muslim or a Hindu, don’t go to the link if you’re offended by hate crimes such as this one. I hope that we will move forward in religious tolerance. Also, Mexicans might be getting hatred due to the fact that some Mexicans are part of drug cartels. Luckily, I saw a video that stated how interracial marriage will cause races to cease in the future. This way I hope that racism can end in some degree, although this might make it harder to identify which culture belongs with which person.

Here’s the video that talks about the merging of races (and other future predictions)

I think love is stronger than fear though. Think about it. How come some people sneak outside the house during the weekend for love even though there is fear that their parents will catch them? Or have a girlfriend or boyfriend when their parents said no? When Machiavelli talks about love, I think the love he is referring to isn’t the love between a husband or wife but just the love for the government by the people, which isn’t very strong. For example, in Romeo and Juliet the Montagues and the Capulets are sworn enemies and get into fights very often, but Romeo and Juliet love each other so much that they don’t care about the fights and their love overrides their fear. Other things would be like how a person’s love for League of Legends makes a person use the computer even though he or she has fear of their parents yelling at them or a person’s love for chocolate chip cookies overrides his or her fear of getting diabetes.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Even though fear works temporarily, I think love is best option in the long run. Or to switch around fear and love, in times of disunity and peace. For example, when the 13 colonies finally gained independence, the government was a bit too loving, making the Articles of Confederation too lax and causing the same chaos that the British government faced. Also, love and fear can actually work together. When parents display tough love, they may use fear to force their children to be good but they can reward him or her later with a trip to Disneyland. To finish things off, it’s best to have a bit of both to keep balance in our lives.

So glad the U.S. doesn't use this anymore

So glad the U.S. doesn’t use this anymore

~Martin

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