Vita Nostra Q7: Farit and fear


Farit is the face of fear in the book, and fear is a key emotion in it. Students are recruited through fear and being compelled to perform difficult, but "not impossible" tasks. Once at the Institute, they are kept ignorant of what awaits them, increasing their fear. Farit continues to stalk the institute, inducing fear in all the students. 

Is fear the only, or correct, or normal, way to feel when confronted by the sublime? Was fear and coercion the correct way to help the students become words?


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    For me this was a negative point of the book. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I don't feel that constant fear and anxiety is a good way to learn or integrate into something (either in academia or in the workplace). If fear is used as a tool, then (IMHO) it has to be balanced by some form of positive encouragement or reward - one draws a student or work colleague forward into something as much if not more than prodding them from behind away from something.

    According to pretty much all religious literature, fear and awe is a regular feature of encountering the sublime, but that emerges from the experience and the impact thereof, rather than a necessary precondition. I realise that there are exceptions, ie cases where fear of say eternal damnation has persuaded people into religious experience, but I also feel that this is a high-risk strategy in that the person concerned might well be propelled into all kinds of nastiness and bigotry just as much as a true encounter with the numinous.

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