Fears. Feats. Battlestar Galactica.

Jim impersonates Dwight from The Office
Jim impersonates Dwight from The Office

What scares you? If you’re like most warm-blooded human beings, you’re afraid of something. Some people are afraid of the dark, afraid of speaking in public, or scared stiff every time a spider scurries near their feet…did you just check? Those are some of the more common fears. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, close to 7% of American adults have a social phobia. Even more have a very specific fear…of something. Some of the weirdest ones I found were:

  • Geniophobia: Fear of chins
  • Barophobia: Fear of gravity (Did I miss the first baby born in space? How is this fear even possible?)
  • Mnemophobia: Fear of memories (again, whaaat?)

While our fears may not be as extreme as Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words) and worthy of appearing in the final round of a spelling bee, some of the other phobias I found hit a little closer to home:

  • Ideophobia: Fear of ideas
  • Ergophobia: Fear of work
  • Deciophobia: Fear of making decisions

Fear is a very real thing, and the sooner we learn to deal with it, the sooner we can do something fly–in our personal and professional pursuits. Fears can take shape in many different forms. Seth Godin calls it the lizard brain. Steven Pressfield calls it The Resistance. You might have heard of these guys. They’re pretty damn good at emotional labor and overcoming their fears.

My irrational fear of becoming a Cylon…

The Cylons were created by man. They rebelled. They evolved. They look and feel human. Some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan.”
Battlestar Galactica Opening Prologue

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with technology. Science fiction movies and T.V. just get me going. I just love how writers in this genre are able to push the limits of our imagination and create entire fictional universes like Star Wars and FRINGE by asking, “What if…”. Many technologies that were once the dream nuggets of brilliant sci-fi writers long ago are now fully realized. I’m amazed at just how much more cool tech we have today than at this time last year! But there’s a part in all these advancements that make me uneasy. Although I consider myself an early adopter and into new tech, especially with the web, I’ve never had a MySpace account. I barely touch my Facebook profile (my Facebook friends can attest to this) and I didn’t sign up for Twitter until the spring of 2010. Why?

I’m afraid of turning into a Cylon.

A Cybernetic Lifeform Node. Basically a hyper-evolved cyborg indistinguishable from a human being, as made popular by the Sci-Fi series Battlestar Galactica and its prequel-ecessor Caprica. It’s stupid, I know, and for a while I would tell people this stupid idea and they knew it was so stupid that it couldn’t possibly be true for me. But I think it is true for me, at least a little bit. Hear me out!

"Identity theft is not a joke Jim! Millions of families suffer every year!"

I have a digital insecurity problem. Like Dwight from The Office, identity theft scares me. I don’t know when it started, or what originally got me afraid of writing or posting about myself on social media sites, but there it is. I tell myself it’s because I’m a very private person (really, Abe?) and I don’t like people all up in my biznass, but that’s not totally true. I really enjoy socializing and meeting new people in-person and online. But I do not wish for my thoughts, dreams, IM’s, spending activity, profile pictures, ATM surveillance footage, friend list, or online dating holler-history to be bundled up into a good-looking digital Replicant/Cyborg/Android/Terminator/Cylon me. I do not wish to CC that email.

But that’s where everything is headed, right?

Science and technology have reached a point where our means are finally catching up with our imagination, and the only thing restricting us from doing visionary work are these moral restrictions that lawmakers are putting into public policy. That, and money.” – Olivia Dunham, FRINGE

Moving on. Time for feats.

The way I see it, it’s only a matter of time before a team of bioengineers, robotics experts, data miners, programmers, and Project Runway stars create the first Cylon. Fine. Hopefully it’s not made with Abe. The point I’m trying to make here is that this is a really dumb fear that I have no control over, so why let it control me? Why did I let it control me for this long? Am I going to continue bottling up my contributions and experiences that can possibly benefit others, for the sake of privacy and safety? Not anymore. Social media is not so social if all you do is lurk and listen. If I am to be as fly as possible, this is a risk I must take. I must share. Great feats should be done out in the open, and the only way I’ll be able to do that is if I squash my irrational fears, starting with this one. Who knows, maybe my story will help someone? Trying to hide from the Internet is exhausting, and I’m sure my story won’t be perfect or pretty or thought-provoking all the time. And that’s frakking okay with me.

Do you have an irrational fear as dumb as mine? Squash and share below in the comments!

10 responses to “Fears. Feats. Battlestar Galactica.”

    • I hadn’t seen that before…weird, kind of a similar idea Everett has there. That must mean I’m on to something, or the Cylon takeover has already begun! Glad you enjoyed the post Em.

  1. You can’t hide from the internet…. I started a separate facebook page just for in person friends and family!! ha ha ha…. 😉 Needed somewhere to post pic of me burning couches etc… But, wait I never check that facebook page… so yes I guess it’s all ok to be out there, burning couches and all!

    Way to fly & thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Lora, ain’t that the truth?

      It’s either we bunker up and attempt to keep information hidden from the all-seeing eye of Google/Sauron or we embrace our personalities and just be one with it (and burn a few couches in the process). I’ve seen more people have astronomical success with the latter, so I’m giving it a go. Thanks for reading!

  2. Like you I avoided to have a digital identity until 2010 because I had the impression that I don’t have it under control. And it’s true, it’s maybe in your hands the first few moments but then you’re indexed by Google and it’s taking a way of its own. (A parallel identity?)

    But despite all the fears, it’s like in real life, you’re giving away something from yourself and in return you might get more back than you give.

    • Great point Michael about getting back more than you’ve given. That’s really been the case for me too, there are so many helpful and friendly people online…who knew? I’m looking forward to seeing what you cook up this year. Maybe we can collaborate on a fun design project or two, let me know!

  3. lol I loved Galactica (the original series though :))

    I like some internet anonymity too – you can just use nicknames and not full name etc in many places, no?

    About cyclon/cyborg problems.. hmm, I think this is actually a BIG problem – kids today spending too much time before computers, many don’t know how to ‘socialize’ or make friends iRL anymore..

    A lot of internet addiction in Korea and other countries worldwide.. As useful and cool as computers can be, it’s basically like fire: can do good or bad things… yup. Depends what you use it for and how..

    • Good to find another sci-fi buff around these parts hehe. I haven’t seen the original series and from what I read, they re-imagined it quite a bit. Did the original have a lot of philosophical aspects to it too?

      The digital and physical self, like you mention, is a growing challenge especially with the younger generations or “digital natives” who are exposed to so much digital media that sadly takes the place of time outdoors and with others. It’s sad driving around my neighborhood on a sunny day and not see any kids playing in the street or riding bikes–that was pretty much my childhood! Overall, I think it’s just an adjustment that needs to be made in the way we communicate and form relationships online and off. There are some cool people I’ve met in the online biz and blog circles that were just as great meeting in real life. Like you said it’s like fire, very potent when used properly!

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