The fear of flying is largely irrational, though not abnormal, in people who are perfectly adapted to travel in automobiles.There are two primary, primal roots to the fear of flying:

  • The fact that humans do not naturally fly, and the closest natural analog the primal human has to flying (being suspended in the air) is "falling". Flying high in the air is interpreted subconsciously as falling high in the air, or being in danger of falling. Travelling in a car along the ground is less of an extrapolation from running fast.
  • Poor risk assessment. Most people fear the macabre, catastrophic, yet improbable accident more than the mundane, less gruesome accidents. In nature, this is generally a quite safe assumption; gruesome accidents are generally a result of unnecessary risks or poor choices. But in our technology-laden, artificial society, this rule does not work so well. In fact, the chance of a mishap in a flight is far less than a mishap in a land vehicle, and an auto accident can be just as lethal even if not as dramatic and on a smaller scale.

If you have a fear of flying, the best course of action is to understand and come to terms with it. Plain facts, comparisons, and realistic risk assessments, as well as experience, breed confidence where confidence is appropriate. For instance, you may well have a basis for preferring Northwest Airlines to China Airlines, even if the steerage class conditions in Northwest are far inferior.

Erica Jong novel published in 1974 by Rhinehart and Winston. It was about women's sexual values and desires. Initially the book received only a tepid response but after Henry Miller and John Updike reviewed Flying in The New Yorker and the New York Times, a media frenzyensued. Although Miller praised the novel's "cheerful, sexual frankness," other critics ripped it apart. They accused Jong of "falsifying reality" by suggesting women were helpless sexual victims and being anti-marriage. In spite of the backlash the book made it to number one on the NYT Bestseller list and sold 15 million copies worldwide.

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