We can master fear not only by facing it and understanding it,

…we can master it through courage. Courage has always been considered a supreme virtue. Plato considered it that element of the soul which bridges the cleavage between reason and desire. Aristotle considered it the affirmanon of one’s essential nature. Thomas Aquinas considered it the strength of mind capable of conquering whatever threatens the attainment of the highest good. The stoics considered it the affirmation of one’s essential being in spite of desires and anxieties. — MLK, The Mastery of Fear


So let us take our fears one by one and look at them fairly and squarely.

By bringing them to the forefront of consciousness, we may find them to be more imaginary than real. Some of them wll turn out to be snakes under the carpet. Let us remember that more often than not, fear involves the misuse of the imagination. By getting our fears in the open we may end up laughing at some of them, and this is good. As one psychiatrist has said “ridicule is the master cure for fear and anxiety.” — MLK, The Mastery of Fear


First we must face our fears without flinching.

We must honestly ask ourselves why we are afraid. The confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. We can
never cure fear by the method of escapism. Nor can it be cured by repression. The more we attempt to ignore and repress our fears, the more we multiply our inner conflicts and cause the mind to deteriorate into a slum district. — MLK, The Mastery of Fear


Abnormal fears

But it must be borne in mind that there are abnormal fears which are emotionally ruinous and psychologcally destructive. The best illustration of the difference between normal and abnormal fear was gven by Sigmund Freud himself. A person tramping through the heart of an Afncan jungle, he said, should quite properly be afraid of snakes That is normal and self-protectwe But if a person suddenly begins to fear that snakes are under the carpet of his city apartment, then his fear is abnormal, neurotic. Are not most of our fears so based? Psychologsts tell us that a normal child is born wth only two fears-the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises-and all others are environmentally acquired. Most of these acquired fears
turn out to be snakes under the carpet. — MLK, The Mastery of Fear


Fear is a powerfully creative force.

Every great invention and every intellectual advance has behind it as a part of its motlvation the desire to escape some dreaded thing. The fear of darkness caused man to discover the secret of electricity. The fear of pain led to the marvelous discoveries of medical science. The fear of ignorance was one reason that man built great instltutions of learning. The fear of war was one of the forces behind the birth of the United Nations. Angelo Patn was right in saying, “Educatlon consists in being afraid at the right time. If we were to take away man’s capacity to fear, we would take away his capacity to grow, invent and create. Some fear is normal, necessary, and creatlve — MLK, The Mastery of Fear


We shall overcome …

because Carlisle is right. “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right. “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right. “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.” Yet that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the Bible is right. “You shall reap what you sow.” With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all of God’s children all over this nation – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free At Last.” — MLK, “The Other America”