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Halcyon actively monitors change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter at the beginning of 2023 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

A Mundane Comedy will be Dominic Kelleher's new book, published in early 2023. Extracts will appear on this site and on my social media accounts the final quarter of 2022. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

What's Changing? - Fear



Please see below selected recent fear-related change.


See also:


November 2022

  • When fear subsides, we can be left with feelings of pleasure. Is this just the relief of having survived, or something more, asked The Guardian, The amygdala controls the fear response. In a fearful situation, the amygdala stimulates the hypothalamus, which activates two systems in the body - the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal cortical system - causing a flash flood of hormones and triggering the fight-or-flight response. Adrenaline boosts the body’s alertness. It speeds up the heart rate and diverts blood from the core to the muscles needed for movement. Cortisol raises blood pressure. Blood vessels around the vital organs dilate, flooding them with oxygen and nutrients. Breathing quickens, delivering fresh oxygen to the brain, while levels of glucose in the blood spike, giving the body a quick energy boost – ready for action.


October 2022

  • Researchers in Sweden identified a mechanism that seems to explain why fear memories tend to become over-concentrated in certain circuits in the brain. By "knocking down" the activity of a certain gene in rats, the researchers found that the rodents experienced an abnormally long-lasting conditioned fear response, such that their fear memories took longer to extinguish than control animals. 
  • The findings may help explain why anxiety disorders are often associated with excessive alcohol use. 


June 2022


April 2022

  • Fear can have transgenerational effects. Sparrows that listened to a horror playlist of predator sounds were less likely to reproduce, and their offspring less likely to survive.


March 2022


February 2022


July 2021


November 2020

  • The School of Life believes that most of us could manage perfectly well with very much less than we have, or rather than we think we should have. Not just around possessions but across every aspect of our lives. It’s not that we should want to: it’s simply that we could. We could cope quite well with being rather poor, not being very popular, not having a very long life and with living alone. We could even, to put the extreme instance forward, cope with being dead; it happens all the time. But we forget our resilience in the face of the risks we face. The cumulative effect of our innocence is to make us timid. Our lives become dominated by a fear of losing, or never getting, things which we could (in fact) do perfectly well without. TSOL adds that by continually renewing our acquaintance with our own resilience – that is, with our ability to manage even if things go badly (getting sacked, a partner walking out, a scandal that destroys our social life, an illness) – we can be braver because we grasp that the dangers we face are almost never as great as our imaginations tend to suggest.


September 2020

  • The School of Life explained that some the reason why we are far more fearful, inhibited and sad than we should be is that we are - unbeknownst to ourselves - wandering through our lives with a huge burden of unresolved and unobserved trauma. A trauma is not merely a terrible event, though it is very much that too. It is a terrible event that has not been adequately processed, understood and unpicked and that has been able to cast a very long and unwarranted shadow over huge areas of experience. Many of our greatest fears have nothing at all to do with actual dangers in the here and now; they are the legacy of traumas that we have lacked the wherewithal to be able to trace back to their origins, localise and neutralise.


August 2020


April 2020

  • The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event in modern history. And yet, according to Paul Argenti, Professor of Corporate Communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, the experience of managing through it is not necessarily unique. Similar to other crises, such as 9/11 and the global financial downturn, workers feel scared and worried. “Uncertainty triggers fear,” he says. “People are freaking out and wondering, ‘What does this mean for my company, my job, and my future?’” 


December 2019

  • According to IAI TV, from terror attacks to paedophilia, our era is in thrall to fear. Throughout history, the fears of a society have defined the people who live in it. In this course, Professor Frank Furedi has tried to confront the causes of our anxieties and uncovers what they say about the way we live now and to examine whether we combat the culture of fear.


April 2019


February 2019

  • For The School of Life, many of us are daily tortured by a feeling of imminent catastrophe. Something terrible seems about to happen to us: we’re going to be abandoned, shamed and humiliated, publicly mocked, lose physical control over ourselves or be seen as a loser. The fear of such imminent catastrophes leads to a state of hypervigilance: where we are permanently on the alert, permanently worried, permanently scared, and permanently really very unhappy. People may try to reassure us, but reassurance goes nowhere; the terror remains.


December 2018


October 2018


September 2018

  • Hope really is a choice and a practical habit,” says Martha Nussbaum in her new book The Monarchy of Fear – an x-ray of Trump America’s emotions. Building on political theory, psychoanalysis, psychological studies and classics, the philosopher argues that fear, disgust and envy undermine democracy, while Martin-Luther-King-Jr-style-love and ‘practical hope’ offer answers to our current political crises. 
  • The author of a recent book, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender claims that “If we take a close look at human life, we see that it is essentially one long elaborate struggle to escape our inner fears and expectations that have been projected upon the world. Interspersed are period of celebration when we have momentarily escaped inner fears, but the fears are still there waiting for us. We have become afraid of our inner feelings because we have no conscious mechanism by which to handle the feelings if we let them come up within ourselves.”


August 2018

  • Is fear the best way of teaching us how to choose the seatmates, the soulmates, the mates we want alongside us throughout our lives?
  • Is the great modern fear anonymity? If the property that grounded the self in Romanticism was sincerity, and in modernism was authenticity, then in postmodernism is it visibility? So asked the writer of a highly thought-provoking article about our obsession with connectivity. Is this what our contemporary selves really want? To be recognised, to be connected, to be visible, if not to the millions via, say, the X Factor, then at least to the hundreds, via Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn? And in the process, perhaps we are losing the ability to know ourselves in quietness, in isolation, to dip into what Thoreau called fishing "in the Walden Pond of our own natures".