What We Fear
Summary: Human beings have a fine-tuned sense of fear. But how do we distinguish between fear and danger? How do we decide which fears are rational and irrational? In this hour, TED speakers explore what it means to be afraid, and how we calm ourselves down — or don’t — when we’re terrified. Astronaut and retired colonel Chris Hadfield discusses how to prepare your mind for the unexpected, and the worst. Through the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker describes how our most vivid fears are often not the most realistic. Folk singer Joe Kowan talks about the visceral, body-hijacking experience he feels when he’s performing in front of an audience, and how a song helped him cope with stage fright. Illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine reveals how he has made a career out of fearlessly performing death-defying feats. Philosopher Stephen Cave delves into the simple question: Why are human beings afraid to die?