Fear is the most basic feeling. It is fear, of the most elemental kind, which formed all manner of social association and Hobbes may have trumped Rousseau in thinking, that it was for the alleviation of the fear of other men. that alliances were formed, in furtherance of their own sense of security.

In this dated but ongoing debate between those, whose view of mankind is generally trusting the good will of brethren, with those, who take the opposite view, there is an indeterminacy, the nature of which hinges on the temperament, and the background of the holder of such view.

Within the complex of fear, the gamut of which runs from underlying, generally unaccepted or unrealized fear, such as those which fuel the existential angst of alienation ,to those which deal with generic fears associated with death and dying, abides confusion.

An apparent demarcation has evolved between these two types of fears, whereas, they run along the same spectrum.Social fears, inter alia have gotten a lot more pronounced, as traditional roots have become more solvent, as the social markers have narrowed, entropically from social psychological matrices, toward psychosocial signifiers.

Community based help organizations have mushroomed , as the institutions have been de structured , as a result from changing perspectives in patient care. As a result, normalcy has been diffused as a societal index, and has resulted in more variance and tolerance.

Is this trend indicative of less, or more fear individually, or within the helping professions, of validating either one of the OP’s views? Is this process of contraction seen in terms of more enlightened views of the human animal, or are budgetary constrains being used to rationalize a state of affairs where social philosophy cannot hold water to social psychology ?

A very basic fear which has gained a lot of steam over the past few decades, are associated fears, such as the fear of insanity. The word " crazy " has become almost meaningless, it is tossed around, almost as much as a word salad some fifty years ago , definitive of specific meaning. Literature has reflected loose association as genre, in seminal works by Joyce , Stein , and the abstract expressionists. If disassociation in literature is any sign toward a general loosening of meaning, then it could presuppose the idea,that associated fears could become less significant, furthering lessening of apprehension and angst. But is this what is going on? The significance of dissonant expressions, may have have effected a shift in changes of apparent incongruities between the social, and the individual boundaries. These may have become more blurred as a result. It’s no longer the fear of the fear that causes a downward trend, but the perception of fear, which has become more symptomatic than understood. it’s harder then ever to gauge people other than their own self presentation,and consequently, mistrust has evolved.It is not unusual, to be in close proximity to others for extended periods of time, and be unable to raise the level of trust to any significant degree , among them.

Then what may follow, is the the lack of autonomy. Is it safe to say, that Rousseau mistakenly imbued men with basic goodness ,upon which trust through association became a given , or, that such presupposition worked in a self fulfilling prophecy to develop the enlightenment’s trustworthy rights of man.Today signs point toward the opposite, fearing the irrational,for it’s apparent distortion of confusion and ambiguity.

Social fears have become almost of pandemic proportions, and societal tools have narrowed the field toward psychological markers. However, should we hold out for Rousseau?

This hits very close to home, and home is becoming day by day, any place in this world.

I believe we’re rational, thus, predictable.

If this is the case, then we need not waste our energy fearing one another.

All we need to do is build understanding of one another, then react accordingly.

Also, if one feels competent, one is less inclined to be guarded. (Find a grown man who is physically afraid of a child)

It would be odd if they were physically afraid, unless the kid had a habit of throwing things or biting, etc. Emotionally could be a different matter. Fears of disappointing, upsetting, not quite knowing how to answer and more.

As far and competence and guarded…to me part of competence is to know when to be guarded and when not to be.

As far as rational and predictable…this means that the participats in all the conflicts we have had - wars, fights, arguments, rapes, any kind of conflict - have been rational and predictable. If this is the case, we still have a problem and it was rational to be afraid of some significant number of these people.

If fear is an emotional response to threats and danger, and a basic survival mechanism responding to a definite impetus, like pain or the threat of death, it is something we have to get acquainted with. It is one of a number of innate emotions that also includes joy, sadness, and anger and so something that we have to control and not let get the better of us.

In the whole development of mankind it has become understood that fear is not good counsel and has led to a number of tragic endeavours, all the same, fear seems to guide us more than wisdom sees fit, which our huge armouries and the numerous interventions in the political development of other countries show us. This supports the Hobbesian view that fear is the origin of civil society but also the only reliable means of its preservation. That is how it appears, but it is my contention that the world leaders have long left a realistic view of mankind and in paranoid frenzy have themselves contributed to the chaos we have today, although things had looked better after the fall of the Soviet Union.

As I understand Rousseau, fear should not be so important to the government. It is a very European view to see government as a body whose purpose is the realisation of the needs of the people. In his “Social Contract” we read that the government’s purpose is to bring harmony to its people and unite the general will. Unfortunately we seem to have left these ideals behind, but it doesn’t mean that Rousseau was wrong, just that mankind fails to realise its potential.

Although I don’t believe in an innate brotherliness amongst human-beings, I have had numerous connections to people from different cultures and find that it is the way we meet each other which causes or avoids fears. In the modern duality it doesn’t seem to be interesting for our leaders that varying cultures may see dangers in an all too quick “progression” along the path of the western society. Even our elders warn us of the consequences of developments and I found that Sam Harris made a good argument that western sub-culture is hardly encouraging for Islamic countries, which protect the dignity of their women actively.

Those people who just assume that everything in their society or their group is good, and regard other factions or cultures as inferior, only stoke the fears of others. That is why there is a lot of insecurity, which leads to social fears. There is a lot of bigotry around and readiness to violently press one view on others is growing – even in Europe, where we have had relative harmony.

There is also a spread of depression and burnout, which is often the result of people taking offence at the way reality turns out, and it renders them paralyzed and even beyond fear – unable to feel anything at all. But at the root it is a feeling of not being able to make a difference, and of dejection. No wonder then, that the need for assistance has grown.

Crazy in German is the word “verrückt” which you could translate as displaced or shifted. The people we call crazy have this effect on us, that they seem displaced, estranged from our sense of reality and at home in a unique reality of their own. Their reality may seem to span across both realities, but they question the authenticity of our reality and see things from a very different perspective. Some artists welcome such a dislodgment, in order to get a different perspective and offer us something new.

This may be necessary from time to time; stepping away from conventional standpoints may help us gain a wider horizon, especially if we can accept that other standpoints are very real for other people. I think a fear of such a displacement is a fear of loosing grip of what we conceive as normalcy and what is required of us in order to belong to society. Is it appropriate? I’m not sure …