Fear is the flip-side of wonder

Have you ever noticed we use the same words for fear and wonder?

Awe is both awesome and awful.

Terror is both terrible and terrific.

Our ancestors knew something we’ve tried to forget. That the horrors we fear are also the gateways to wonder.

Scared of losing your job? Failing your exams? Ending that relationship?

Flip them over and all these disasters become miracles. A new career, a different life, greater love.

Even death, the ultimate awful, might be followed by the ultimate awesome.

Boredom, anxiety, depression are the symptoms of wonder-starvation, caused by a chronic aversion to fear.

Fear is the flip-side of wonder. You can’t have one without learning to love the other.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

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