F&LILV Question #18 ~ The Fear

by Hunter S. Thompson

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Gypsylee
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Unread postby Gypsylee » Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:30 pm

I have to admit I really couldn't put my finger on what they meant by "The Fear," but after reading everyone's comments here I am starting to get a vague idea, but still not clear on it.

If you have ever experienced a panic attack...........that is the fear for me..........a fear of fear.......

How is it that the nerve of the American Dream was at Circus Circus at that moment? To me everything happening at Circus Circus is so weird.........everyone is strange, combined with all the loud noises, crazy activities, people running around throwing their money away in hopes of making money or winning a stuffed animal.........insane behaivor..........what's it all about? You can't think. It's all useless. That's the American Dream?

The American Dream............going to the best colleges, getting rich, big house by the beach, job you love...........????

What is the American Dream? Being American, the dream of my parents generation was to have a 9 to 5 job, own a home, a car, have a family, a savings account for the unknown and an Avon lady running amok in the neighborhood...........kind of Edward's Scissorhandsish. My dream is not to have any of that, but to search, wander, see new things and fly by the seat of my pants.

The fear for me is the feeling of being a tiny speck in the world wide sea of humanity without any significance.

I had no set idea what I was going to write here.......just going with the flow in my head.
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Unread postby QueenofKings » Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:53 pm

I think that The Fear is an extreme level of psychic discomfort and realizing that you can't change whatever it is from within or without.

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Unread postby JD101 » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:07 pm

I think the fear hits when you get close too the core. Some core truth that you may not be ready to face. Doesn’t matter if it’s a truth of human nature (Are we all animals, or lizards, as HST so vividly details? Are we inevitably alone?), political truths (do we really matter as individuals? Who are these people, crooks, we entrust with our lives?) or the existential truths (Is there really an American dream and what does it look like? Is it really Circus Circus? Is it worth pursuing?)

I don’t know… these are the questions I have when I get THE FEAR.
"The greatest pain that comes from love is loving someone you can never have." ~ Unknown

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:14 pm

JD101 wrote: I think the fear hits when you get close too the core. Some core truth that you may not be ready to face.


Well said. And that core truth could be personal or societal.

QueenofKings wrote: I think that The Fear is an extreme level of psychic discomfort and realizing that you can't change whatever it is from within or without.


I think gilly touched on this earlier. Is Hunter asking us to fight it or surrender to it?
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Unread postby QueenofKings » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:24 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
I think gilly touched on this earlier. Is Hunter asking us to fight it or surrender to it?


I think his intent is to make us recognize The Fear when we experience it and to use it for transformation. Definitely not surrender to it.

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Unread postby suec » Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:09 pm

For me, the thought that is strongest is Hunter's love of life and experience, and not the kind of experience on offer in the Circus-Circus either, but the real thing, where it isn't laid on for you. By way of contrast, here are people spending their time chasing a win gambling. Is this what their goal is? With all kinds of sights just laid on for them. He is so scathing about it at times "No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted." What is the point of taking the drugs if reality itself is so - vivid - and weird? A place that can freak Gonzo out? If the drugs are escapism, they clearly aren't working. Real sights are worse than than the hallucinations. It is interesting that he equates the place too to what the Nazis would have been doing. I think freedom is key thing. And so many of the people seem to be just - deadened really. Not many signs of real life: the stupidity of the drugs conference, where they clearly are not using their brains, or the defeated air of the waitress when Gonzo cuts the telephone wire. Are these people really alive? That is what the Fear is, I think. But I am also finding it quite hard not to comment on the dream as it is tied in so explicitly in that passage. And it does remind me of the passage in The Rum Diary too where Kemp talks about the Fear and leaving St. Louis "he just wants to find some place where he can breathe".
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Unread postby DeppLovesBananahs » Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:11 pm

Endora wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Hannah wrote: The Fear. Hmm.....I suppose the Fear could be when you realize what rock bottom is, for Gonzo, it was then. He just had a feeling of oddness, a feeling that maybe he shouldn't be there. An awkward, stimulation of senses. But what RD counters is, "we've found the main nerve" that's what he's afraid of in a sense, (obviously because that's what he answers with) but he knows how dangerous or how....dangerous its become....and still doesn't care? I can't help but feeling this answer isn't....right.


Remember, no right or wrong answers here! :cool: Maybe each of us has our own Fear?


I think that's definately the right answer, DITHOT. The fear starts from inside a person, not externalities, I'm sure. It's about the things you can't share with anyone. We certainly have our own Fear. I'm thinking about Hunter's suicide here, too.


I agree, fear is from the inside really, its like, its all in your mind so to speak. I see what you mean about HST's suicide too, that could've been a type of Fear. If there is a type. :-? Could fear be general? Or is there Fear that evolves? Can it be contained? Am I asking too many questions?

Hannah
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Rosevelt

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 26, 2005 6:25 pm

suec wrote: But I am also finding it quite hard not to comment on the dream as it is tied in so explicitly in that passage. And it does remind me of the passage in The Rum Diary too where Kemp talks about the Fear and leaving St. Louis "he just wants to find some place where he can breathe".


I know suec, but we are getting there I promise! We do have a master plan.... ;-) (We do have a master plan. Right, Liz? :-O )

Here are the passages from The Rum Diary. Thanks for pointing that out. This is what I was trying to get at when I said I thought it had to do with with fear of what we used to call The Establishment. Fear of complacency, loss of individualism, fear of beind deadened by a greedy and silent society, fear of fitting into the mold expected of you.


Pg. 59 in The Rum Diary:
“Tell me, Mr. Kemp, just why are you leaving St. Louis, where your family has lived for generations and where you could, for the asking, have a niche carved out for your self and your children so that you might live in peace and security for the rest of your well-fed days?”

“Well, you see, I …ah…well, I get a strange feeling. I…ah…I sit around here and I look at this place and I just want to get out, you know? I want to flee.”

“Mr. Kemp, you seem like a reasonable man—just what is it about St. Louis that makes you want to flee?...

“Certainly, I just wish I could…ah…you know, I’d like to be able to tell you that…ah…maybe I should say that I feel a rubber sack coming down on me…purely symbolic, you know…the venal ignorance of the fathers being visited on the sons…can you make something of that?”

Pg. 60 in The Rum Diary:
“Well, fella, I wish I could help you. God knows I don’t want you to go back without a story and get fired. I know how it is—I’m a journalist myself, you know—but…well---I get The Fear…can you use that? St Louis Give Young Men The Fear—not a bad headline, eh?”

“Come on, Kemp, you know I can’t use that; Rubber Sack, The Fear?”

“Goddamnit, man, I tell you it’s the fear of the sack! Tell them that Kemp is fleeing St. Louis because he suspects the sack is full of something ugly and he doesn’t want to be put in with it. He senses this from afar. This man Kemp is not a model youth. He grew up with two toilets and a football, but somewhere along the line he got warped. Now all the wants is Out, Flee. He doesn’t give a good s**t for St. Louis or his friends or his family or anything else…he just wants to find some place where he can breathe…is that good enough for you?”
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:24 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
suec wrote: But I am also finding it quite hard not to comment on the dream as it is tied in so explicitly in that passage. And it does remind me of the passage in The Rum Diary too where Kemp talks about the Fear and leaving St. Louis "he just wants to find some place where he can breathe".


I know suec, but we are getting there I promise! We do have a master plan.... ;-) (We do have a master plan. Right, Liz? :-O )


What? Oh yeah, that one. Whatever you say, DITHOT. :capnjack:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:33 pm

suec wrote: It is interesting that he equates the place too to what the Nazis would have been doing. I think freedom is key thing. And so many of the people seem to be just - deadened really. Not many signs of real life.


Thank you, Suec. Boy that would have been a good question--why did he equate the Circus Circus to something the Nazi's would have had? I thought it just felt that way in the movie. It reminded me of Caberet--just the feel of the set. So I didn't go further with it. But now that you point it out, it's kind of like the gamblers he depicts have been brain-washed--similar to the Nazis.
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Unread postby JD101 » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:04 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: This is what I was trying to get at when I said I thought it had to do with with fear of what we used to call The Establishment. Fear of complacency, loss of individualism, fear of beind deadened by a greedy and silent society, fear of fitting into the mold expected of you.


I really do think that is THE FEAR.

I think it's the fear described over and over in almost every chapter of this book (and most of HST's other books as well) and illustrated by almost every character they encounter. You are either outside The Establishment or inside The Establishment. I think Raoul/Hunter's fear was being inevitably sucked into the establishment some how. Not being able to fight it. I think that's the reason for the drugs. Not a weakness or self medication (that’s new millennium thinking) but to remain on the outside with strength and fortitude. Remember Hunter is a warrior. Actually, I think his suicide stemmed from the fact that he could no longer physically fight the good fight.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:20 am

JD101 wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: This is what I was trying to get at when I said I thought it had to do with with fear of what we used to call The Establishment. Fear of complacency, loss of individualism, fear of beind deadened by a greedy and silent society, fear of fitting into the mold expected of you.


I really do think that is THE FEAR.

I think it's the fear described over and over in almost every chapter of this book (and most of HST's other books as well) and illustrated by almost every character they encounter. You are either outside The Establishment or inside The Establishment. I think Raoul/Hunter's fear was being inevitably sucked into the establishment some how. Not being able to fight it. I think that's the reason for the drugs. Not a weakness or self medication (that’s new millennium thinking) but to remain on the outside with strength and fortitude. Remember Hunter is a warrior. Actually, I think his suicide stemmed from the fact that he could no longer physically fight the good fight.


:ohyes: Could very well be.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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