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Makow -- Overcoming Fear

August 8, 2023


"I will not apologize for being a nervous flyer. It's not natural for seventy-five tons to be hurdling through the air at 500 mph. You're basically riding a wing attached to two jet engines SEVEN MILES ABOVE THE EARTH."

This "confession of a nervous flyer" was written in Dec 2020 when I fled the coming COVID lockdown in Canada. The article illustrates how we are all prisoners of our ego and its lizard-like programming (fear of dying, greed, lust, power, fame, etc.) This voice in our head depresses us (lowers Consciousness.) On my way back to Canada last May, I detached myself from the nervous voice. I called him "Mr. Chickenshit."  I would ridicule him when he spoke. Control your thoughts.  I am applying this to all my ego's programmed addictions (listed above.) Joy wells up naturally from the soul when devoted to God's Purpose for us, however, we define it. Life is sacred.

Confessions of a Nervous Flyer (Humor)
by Henry Makow PhD

I know you all regard me as a spiritual avatar but when it comes to flying I am just as neurotic as the next guy. 

Not "me" exactly but "he." The voice in my head.

He's afraid the turbulence will cause the plane to go into a nosedive.

"Turbulence is just wind," he reasons, "planes never crash from it. Imagine waves lapping up against a boat."  

But he's still clutching the armrests.

He could never be a pilot: "This is your captain speaking. We'll land in the desert and wait for this nasty turbulence to subside."

 He tries to strike a deal with God. He promises to give up some bad habits if only he lands safely! 

And he heaves a sigh of relief when he does land safely, promises forgotten. 


He loves airplanes and is grateful for the miracle of air travel. But he is a backseat driver. 

 Boarding the plane, he inspects the engines.  Are they large enough? 

Then he assesses the age of the plane and wonders if the airline is maintaining it properly. Did this one fall through the cracks???

How much tread is left on the tires?

I hope they filled the fuel tank. 

The plane is packed. Heavy. But it's designed to handle it, he guesses. 

Apart from being attuned to every sound the engines make, he also second-guesses the pilot's skills. Should he be climbing so steeply? Can the engines handle it? 

(Approaching our destination) Is this the way to the airport?

Once, on leaving a plane, he told the pilots it was incredible two small engines could propel something this big. By their expressions, he knew he had unnerved them! 


The voice in my head. 

If only I could shut it off, I'd have some peace. I am imprisoned in a kaleidoscope of thoughts: A carnival hall of mirrors reflecting our comic book world. 

Who is this cantankerous and unruly roommate, my thoughts? They are the thoughts of the animal that hosts our soul.

Keeping this animal in line is a constant trial.

Anyway, like a bad marriage, I have to live with him, control his anxieties, and appreciate his good qualities. (He does have some.)

Courage isn't being fearless. It is mastering fear. 


Related - Self Discipline is the Key to Everything
Cohabiting with a Monkey 
----------------  What Nervous Fliers Need to Know 

First Comment from G

I think you just described what is likely a universal experience for a good percentage of world flyers.  Flying:  we put up with it, endure it, for at the end might be something that enhances our lives or fulfills some quest.  You have articulated it to a "T," so I hope you know you are not alone.  What I've reduced it to for myself is that like many other things, like swimming in the ocean, or hiking in the wilderness, there are risks, and a lot of us take them because usually there's a sweet payoff.  Like Mary Chapin Carpenter sings:  I take my chances:

I know you'll keep flyin', Henry, in more ways than one.  Something tells me you are protected and will not go down in flames

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Makow -- Overcoming Fear"

LK said (August 9, 2023):

I've found the voice in our head, playing like a pre-recorded bad track, self-talk comes with a lifetime of not only living in fear but living according to "the self". We identify with the self and its fears; fears of flying and as you said "dying, greed, lust, power, fame, etc."

The biggest thing we're missing is that we should not identify with "the self" and the emotional rollercoaster it takes us on. We must identify with Jesus.

It has taken me a good four decades to figure this one out and now to put it into practice, and remind myself each and every day. When we are with God, we need not fear. We need not fear death because with God there is no fear.

Al Thompson said (August 8, 2023):

I used to be a small aircraft pilot. We had a saying: It only hurts on impact. Hopefully, this might help people taking their next flight.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at