Richard Ratliff is a professor emeritus of accounting from Utah State University. He is one of the founders of Logan-based think tank RelationAge. He has written numerous books and shares his views as radio essays for UPR.
I have heard people speaking of fear a lot lately. Recently I heard a couple of new graduates express their fear of life beyond high school. A business manager recently told me about an employee who was behaving unusually toward co-workers and management. Everything about the situation suggested that the employee was frightened, lashing out one moment, retreating and defensive the next. On a larger scale, I read about war in the middle East and conflict in Ukraine, and the world watches, fearful of the possible outcomes and consequences. Closer to home, our own Tea Party rebellion in recent years seems mostly based upon fear. Several commercial radio and television programs cater to the fearful- and the rantings would be comical if not so scary.
So what are we afraid of? And what does fear do to our relationships and our economy? Must we be so afraid?
We humans often do not understand each other very well. I heard a retired industrial worker recently lament, "My boss never understood me or any of his employees, and I never understood anything he did." I heard two radio news commentators recently discussing the tragedies of politics, diplomacy, and warfare continuing to unfold in the Middle East due to a lack of understanding.
It isn't surprising. People are complicated, fickle, and unpredictable. But because we live and work together, we must try to deal with it.
Individual people constitute great bundles of intellectual, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and physical phenomena, internal contradictions, and anomalies. Social scientists tell us that societies exhibit similar complexities. It is all very complicated and difficult to understand.
How many laws would it take to keep people from doing anything wrong? Call it "morality by law." Almost everyone can understand the necessity of law for an orderly and safe society. But at the extreme, where law is viewed as the only effective remedy, there are two serious problems.