Fear Of Fear

Anne-Chloé Destremau
6 min readMar 11, 2019


Thoughtware is what we think with.

We seldom think about what we think with.

We mostly think about what we think about. We think about our relationships, about what we will have for dinner, about how to balance our accounts, etc… These are all things we think about. But what do we use to think with, about those things? We use what we call thoughtware.

For example, think about a mountain. What thoughtware are you using to think about a mountain? An anthropologist discovered that a young boy in the state of Colorado thinks about a mountain as a pile of rock that he can mine for his own profit. A young boy in Peru relates to the mountain as a god guiding him during his journey through Life on Earth. The American boy thinks he can own part of Planet Earth, whereas the boy in Peru regards Earth as a deity which cannot be owned. Neither thoughtware is good nor bad, better nor worse. However, thoughtware has consequences in reality.

Where do we get our thoughtware? Well… not from school, because they only let children in school who can already think. We get our thoughtware from before going to school. We get our thoughtware from the environment that we are born in, a.k.a. our parents. And where did our parents get their thoughtware? From their parents. And where did they get their thoughtware? … And so on. Thoughtware is passed down from generation to generation. We are using 10,000-year-old thoughtware, incredibly outdated thoughtware. Imagine how many times you upgrade the software on your phone or computer — every couple of months at least. And if you don’t, the apps on your phone stop working. When was the last time you upgraded your thoughtware?

Most people born and raised in modern culture are unaware of the thoughtware they carry. The offer here is to have a look at one particular thoughtware you probably use that when upgraded becomes one of the most powerful creation tools ever. You can check the thoughtware that you carry in the privacy of your own home with the following procedure. You will be checking your thoughtware regarding the feeling of fear.

Find a quiet place, get a piece of paper and a pen. When you are ready, write out a number of answers to the following questions: What comes up for you when you think about fear? What do you connect to feeling afraid?

If you do this for the first time, it might feel strange and ridiculous and you might be going blank. Not to worry! Checking your thoughtware might itself trigger fear! Like any new skill, thinking about your thoughtware may require some practice.

Here are some answers to those questions collected during a number of trainings. Common western-modern culture includes the thoughtware that fear is bad. Fear should be avoided because it is not manly. It is not safe. Fear is childish and for scaredy girls. If you are afraid people will call you a ‘chicken’ or a ‘pussy’. It is not professional to be afraid. If you are scared you are going to mess up your task. If you are afraid then you are weak and you should toughened up. You are not in control, and if you are not in control then you will die. Fear leads to panic, freezing up, and being ridiculous in front of everybody, …

People raised in modern culture carry the thoughtware that fear is bad and should be avoided at all costs. In other words, we fear our own fear.

You might know some people who live constantly with 10–18% constant fear in them. Modern medicine calls this ‘anxiety’ or ‘stress’ and tries to banish it with drugs. Anxiety and stress are symptoms of unconscious fear. We keep our fear unconscious because our thoughtware tells us we have to be afraid of our fear.

After you look at what you wrote and inspect your thoughtware about fear, you might want to try an experiment. The experiment is to create new alternative thoughtware about fear for yourself. Why? Because if you are afraid of your fear you are living in the belief that fear (like anger, sadness, and joy) is a design error from the Universe. To be clear, how many design errors from the Universe have you seen lying around?

A proposal for a new thoughtware is that, instead of being afraid of your fear, assume that fear is a neutral source of information and energy and therefore one of the most powerful creation forces in the Universe.

If fear is a neutral source of information and energy and a creation force, then write answers to the same two questions: What comes up for you when you think about fear? What do you relate to the feeling of fear? You might start exploring the possibilities that with fear, you can, for example:
- Detect the hidden assumptions in a space. For example, what people think is impossible to do or even try, or what people assume is always true and can never change.
- Know where the dark places are in someone, or in a space.
- Discover how to pull the rug out of under someone. You discover the how-to by revealing to yourself what you are standing on and you don’t want to step out of.
- Sense who is hiding what. You discover who is hiding what by using your fear as an indicator to reveal to yourself or to the group what you are hiding.
- Go non-linear by bouncing off the conclusions that people are holding in the space.
- Invent your next experiment or someone else’s next experiment by identifying what you or they don’t know how to create.
- Detect what secret people are holding by noticing what they are not revealing, what they are protecting
- Detect where power is flowing or where it is not flowing (useful for Gameworld Builders!)
- Detect who is inside the group and who is outside the group.
- Detect who has higher status and who has lower status.
- Take a space, a group, an organization into breakdown by having a meta-conversation about stories that people think are true. Have them reveal the stories one-on-one or as a group process. (Useful for Gameworld Alchemists).
- Notice what is behind the mask people are wearing by noticing what people are afraid about.
- Inform yourself about the secret purposes of the various Gremlins in the space.
- Inform yourself about where and when the 6 different gaps are: gap in space, gap in time, gap in noise, gap in knowing, gap in identity and gap in Gameworlds.
- Discover what might be the next dangerous question to ask.

Here is another experiment to try at your next boring dinner or work party. Sit at the entrance of the room and take on the role of being the host/hostess. Welcome each new person individually into the space and use your fear to scan them, detect what they are afraid of, detect if they have higher or lower status and with whom, detect who is holding the space, detect who has power over whom, detect what are the next questions to ask to each new comer (and maybe even ask them!). This experiment is not about feeling arrogant or superior to the people arriving at the party. The intention is to feel more deeply connected to each person, where they secretly reside within themselves. You might discover that you have so much more in common with these people than you originally thought. You might find that they are afraid of their fears just like you were.

powered by Possibility Management.



Anne-Chloé Destremau

Next Culture Maker, Evolutionary Gameworld Builder and Possibility Management Trainer