Today's guest blogger woke me up last night when he had to turn the light on after I was already in bed! Okay, just kidding, I wasn't really asleep yet. More to the point, today's guest blogger has gone out of his way to make this very stressful week a little less stressful and a little more manageable for me. Yep, in case you hadn't guessed, it's my husband Chadwick, here for your reading enjoyment!
Fear of the unknown is one of our most basic survival instincts. X represents an independent or unknown variable, and we don't like independent or unknown variables, even though we live with more of them than we can possibly count. Maybe the fear of the unknown is part of the reason why some people have anxiety at the mere thought of an algebra exam. But something a lot less abstract is at play here.
We are all independent variables and unknown variables to each other. We build trust and form groups for a shared sense of knowing, and knowing gives a sense of safety, which is one of our most basic needs. Yet, we really can't know everything about an other. This leads to a range of reactions to the other. We view the world from inside-out and we evaluate the world based on ourselves. So, what is like us is less strange to us than what is different from us. The more different another is, the more strange and foreign they are to us.
If someone reacts to foreign people or ideas with fear, they are xenophobic and these xenophobes can be anything from paralyzed to aggressive in their xenophobia. The opposite reaction is attraction and these people are xenophilic. Xenophiles can be anything from pleasant to obsessive in their xenophilia. These two reactions form a continuum, which defines a major motivator in all of human life.
I know it will horrify some of you to learn that life is just one big algebra exam. Finding the value of X is our most basic survival instinct. This is why the most basic fear is fear of the unknown and the most basic attraction is attraction to the unknown. If we are too afraid of the other, we will avoid them completely. If we are too attracted to the other, then we may soon be like them. Either way, this is how we attempt to survive as the Unknown Variable.