Fear is an animal instinct based on glandular responses to a perceived threat. When the threat persists without actualizing into a real danger, or when the actualization of the danger creates an emotional imprint, one's behavior becomes continually influenced by fear. Habitual fear leads to paranoia, depression, and anxiety, flooding the body with chemicals which in excess become toxic. The destructive nature of this conditioned pattern is therefore an example of intoxication; like all forms of intoxication, it lends itself to distorted perception. And yet, is this not the normal human condition?
In dealing with this underlying theme of subconcious fear, it is common to overcompensate with an engorged ego that embraces the drama of one's situation, glorifying itself as the hero or martyr of a cosmic tragedy. It is therefore believed that one's suffering is either noble or unjust, and created by a vindictively hostile universe that holds a personal grudge. Even the premise that the universe is apathetic or unconscious is taken as an insult to the ego. The eternally futile drive for comfort and satiation is said to be fulfilled in either an imaginary afterlife or through winning enough prizes (material or spiritual) in this life, but neither belief ever fully quells the hidden fears and doubts inherent to humanity.
For what, then, can humanity hope? Why bother trying? The easy answer is a temporary high, acquired by seizing the day and living in the moment. But that is just a superficial fix. The deeper solution is to uncover the subconscious fears and make them conscious, acknowledge how they have shaped one's life, and confront the issue or situation that created them in the first place. This must be more than a mental exercise: the habitual patterns that rule one's emotions can only be released by being replaced, which requires disciplined reconditioning. Without this, hope is insubstantial and usually misplaced; with it, one's heart's desire can become known and eventually manifested.