The unwarranted or irrational fear of the opinions of others.
Although Allodoxaphobia is generally accepted as a medical or psychological
condition (not unakin to a psychosis or overruling condition requiring expert
attention) it could easily be argued to be a basic function of the human condition.
If I call the atheist a Theophobe how does he feel? Does
he thank me? Of course not, he feels perhaps angry at my opinion or
maybe he looks down at me for not understanding but most likely he
feels defensive. We feel defensive when we feel the need to defend - it
can be seen as a fear reaction.
How do these comments make you feel?
It's be pretty hard to take if that was all said to you in a day. One
or two of the comments might fail to affect you at all, but what if someone
important to you started to say them? Out of this core fear then comes:
peer-pressure, fashion, demands, popularity contests and a thousand
every-day games of lets pretend that tries to avoid 50% of the possible
opinions of others.
At the end of the day words and opinions can not damage or kill you but the experienced
rejection, (that failing in the eye's of another brings), can. It is a
form of Social Phobia that causes us to stay home on a "bad hair
day" and refuse to be seen at a club without "the right
clothes". At some level we know that clothes are required only to
keep us warm and dry but still we still are extremely selective and our criteria
are not those of practicality but of the opinions of others.
What else does this lead to?
- Cainophobia / Cainotophobia, (Fear of newness,
novelty), fear of taking risks of doing something different. Is
this not, aguably, part of what binds us as a society together? This
is an opinion, does this opinion frighten you? If not - good; if
"yes" then why?
- Autodysomophobia, (Fear of one that has a vile odour)
perhaps? The fear that being with an unfashionably scented person may
make us guilty by association in the minds of others?
- Bromidrosiphobia / Bromidrophobia, (Fear of body
smells) comes to mind too.
- Automysophobia, (Fear of being dirty), Fear that
our most fashionable top will be unwashed in time to go to the party?
- Catagelophobia, (Fear of being ridiculed). Is this not
what we fear the most?
- Cacophobia, (Fear of ugliness). Beauty, they
say, is in the eye of the beholder but is it not true that no one want to be
thought of as ugly.
- Caligynephobia, (Fear of beautiful women). It
has happened to all of us males at some point. We see the fantastic
looking female and we become frightened. What are we frightened
of? Clearly we are frightened that this lady will think badly of
us. Why is her opinion suddenly important? It is because we elevate
her opinion along with her status as a goddess. To be blessed by the
smile of the goddess is to be popular, liked, successful, god's gift to
women; not a failure, manly, liked...
- Isn't all just Autophobia, (Fear of being alone or of oneself) at the
end of the day?
What is at stake is our faith in ourselves. Our belief in our own
abilities, charm and general worthiness as a human often take their cues
from others opinions. We feel reassured when people agree with us or like
us. It is how a person will cope when there is non to agree no-one who's
opinions are "nice" that is the mark of potential greatness.
Such a person is free to act according to his own standards to strive for his
own goals and to do so with whatever methods seem right to him. This
person - a man in this illustration - this man may become a great pioneer or a sociopathic
and criminal menace but he will be a great.
Does that mean , then, that we are tied to mediocrity through enslavement to vague
elemental forces of this world? Controlled by fear and yet calling
ourselves free? Are we dictated to by the mores and wants of those around
us? Acting as a giant herd of sheep with no true purpose or
direction? This is the natural conclusion; the final destination of this
way of life. What other conclusion can we draw? We could come up
with a more comforting ending but who would that help?
So what now? Do we accept that this is "the glue that binds"
or do we break out of our constraints? If you re-act to these opinions are
you still acting as the sheep or do some opinions set you free? Is it true
that truth sets you free? If it is and if this is some truth do you have
the courage to be free? After all the sheep in the herd feel safe and are
unlikely to be eaten by wolves. Perhaps it is better to be a slave to the
vagueties of life, to take comfort in the safety and live a good if unremarkable
life and then die (as we all shall).
Now it is down to you. I have no answers - just questions.