TBIMG Question #8 ~ Fear

by Dr. Madhi Obeidi and Kurt Pitzer

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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TBIMG Question #8 ~ Fear

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:00 am

Pg. 74 “Fear shadowed us just as effectively as any agent and made us alter our behavior.” In what ways can fear alter behavior? Is it more powerful than brute force?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:09 pm

I think fear is more powerful than brute force. Brute force is usually immediate and over. To a certain extent, one can protect oneself from brute force. Fear does not end and immobilizes people--- keeps them from communicating, from accomplishing, from doing what they feel should be done, from thinking straight..... from having hope.
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Unread postby Theresa » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:09 pm

Fear is an incredibly powerful intangible force. It can make you imagine things that aren't there, it can make you suspicious of everything, or it can make you behave in irrational ways.

It is much more powerful than brute force because with brute force, there is actually a finite substance that can be measured. Fear is infinite, it has no substance, no boundaries -- and has the potential to rapidly spiral out of control to encompass more than brute force can imagine.

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Unread postby fansmom » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:27 pm

I'm not sure how much of a discussion we can have if we're all in agreement!

Fear is much more coercive than brute force. Threatening to hurt Obeidi's family made him more compliant (I believe) than hurting him would have done.

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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:42 pm

Perhaps we are dealing with shades and types of fear here. Brute force could certainly create fear......fear of it happening or fear of it happening again -- that would be a direct and measurable fear that might be different from those "nameless dreads" that can also be described as fear. There is no doubt that fear is incredibly powerful! Brute force can also be powerful, but part of its power would be the fear it generates...... I think...... :-? But a fear that is a sort of shapeless nameless monster might be even more powerful.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:09 pm

I guess I need to ask harder questions? :grin:
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Unread postby Bix » Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:21 pm

This question reminded me that I had been struck by another passage quite similar to it when Dr. Mahdi has been told by Abdul Tawab that he cannot transfer out and, in fact, he is making Mahdi head of all projects for MIC. Mahdi asks what would happen if he declined the job and Abdul Tawab answers, "You cannot. . .If you try, there will be consequences. And you probably know what they are." And then Mahdi says, "In Iraq, a veiled threat is always more dangerous than an explicit one. His public threat to imprison me during the steering committee meeting a year earlier was a way of putting me in my place. But I understood the coded message. Because he did not mention throwing me in a dungeon, I knew that Abdul Tawab was deadly serious this time."

I tried to imagine what that must have felt like, how terrifying it must have been. And of course Mahdi must take on the new job and go about it as though everything is fine and dandy. In the US, we have the freedom to quit our jobs - even if we work for the government - any time they become untenable for us and never think once that something might happen to us or family members (other than falling into poverty, of course) because we chose to quit or change jobs.

Anyway, I thought it was very telling that the threat of brute force of some kind was regarded as the best case scenario here, because the unspoken menace was so much more dangerous and fearful.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:04 pm

Because he did not mention throwing me in a dungeon, I knew that Abdul Tawab was deadly serious this time.


Thanks for finding that quote, Bix. The fear of the unknown must have been overwhelming if the threat of being thrown in a dungeon seems less worrisome.
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Unread postby suec » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:11 am

I think you need a combination of the two for it to be especially powerful. For example, when Saddam takes power, and publicly makes an exmple of some people to terrorise, the question then is how much more will he do privately? So I guess I am agreeing with Bix here. But ultimately, I'm not going to make a choice, I think. I don't want to experience either option.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:03 pm

I agree with you, Suec, that neither is a pleasant option. And Saddam was definitely a brute force, with a history of ruthlessness. And this reputation was the cause of the fear.

Theresa, I liked your description of fear. I think that describes pretty well what people such as Dr. Obeidi had to live with.
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:35 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I guess I need to ask harder questions? :grin:


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Unread postby Linda Lee » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:16 am

Fear can definitely alter behavior and can be more effective than brute force, especially if the target has an imagination and can see no way to escape. Planting the seed of fear along with the specific demand for results caused this group to work more efficiently and accomplish goals in an amazingly short time.
Brute force can work, but if the victim has to be fit to work there are limitations. Fear doesn't have limits especially when you're threatening not only the individual but family and colleagues.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:48 am

Fear doesn't have limits especially when you're threatening not only the individual but family and colleagues.


And you know those making the threats are capable of just about anything. :-/
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:13 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Fear doesn't have limits especially when you're threatening not only the individual but family and colleagues.


And you know those making the threats are capable of just about anything. :-/


Yes, that is the essential element, knowing that those in power will follow through on their threats.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown


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