By sort of combining the research of a lot of smart people, I came up with an equation for dread [dread=uncontrollability+unfamiliarity+imaginability+suffering+scale of destruction+unfairness]. The dread equation is a simplification, but it's a way to explain why we fear something so much when it is so unlikely. Part of it is the lack of control. That's why we're more scared of plane crashes than car crashes even though we know rationally which is more dangerous.
Observe how many people evade, rationalize and drive their minds into a state of blind stupor, in dread of discovering that those they deal with- their "loved ones" or friends or business associates or political rulers- are not merely mistaken, but evil. Observe that this dread leads them to sanction, to help and to spread the very evil whose existence they fear to acknowledge.
The evil genius of terrorism is that that maximizes unfamiliarity, imaginability, suffering, scale of destruction, unfairness. It's really important to understand why terrorism is so frightening because it is a psychological war and until you understand it and try to reduce the dread, until then you become like a force multiplier for the terrorists inadvertently because you'll tend to overreact to terrorist attacks because the dread factor is so high.
Some allow themselves to be overcome by panic, and others charge because they dare not remain at their posts. Some may be found whose courage is strengthened by small perils that prepare them to face greater dangers. Some are daring when facing swords but dread facing bullets; others dread bullets little but fear facing swords a lot.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld
The [Great] Actor is able to approach in himself a cosmic dread as large as life. He is able to go from his dread to a joy so sweet that it is without limit. Only then will the actor have direct access to the life that moves in him, which is as free as his breathing. And like his breathing, he doesn't cause it to happen. He doesn't contain it, and it doesn't contain him.
Is he a dread genetic determinist, or a dread environmental determinist? He is neither, of course, for both these species of bogeyman are as mythical as werewolves. By increasing the information we have about the various causes of the constraints that limit our current opportunities, he has increased our powers to avoid what we want to avoid, prevent what we want to prevent. Knowledge of the roles of our genes, and the genes of the other species around us, is not the enemy of human freedom, but one of its best friends.
Lo!" cried the demon. "I am here! What dost thou seek of me? Why dost thou disturb my repose? Smite me no more with that dread rod!" He looked at Cabal. "Where's your dread rod?" "I left it at home, " replied Cabal. "Didn't think I really needed it." "You can't summon me without a dread rod!" said Lucifuge, appalled. "You're here, aren't you?" "Well, yes, but under false pretences. You haven't got a goatskin or two vervain crowns or two candles of virgin wax made by a virgin girl and duly blessed. Have you got the stone called Ematille?" "I don't even know what Ematille is." Neither did the demon. He dropped the subject and moved on. "Four nails from the coffin of a dead child?" "Don't be fatuous." "Half a bottle of brandy?" "I don't drink brandy." "It's not for you." "I have a hip flask, " said Cabal, and threw it to him. The demon caught it and took a dram. "Cheers, " said Lucifuge, and threw it back. They regarded each other for a long moment. "This really is a shambles, " the demon added finally. "What did you summon me for, anyway?
Jonathan L. Howard
Bend down, bend down. Excess is the only ease, so bend. The sun is in the tree. Put your mouth on mine. Bend down beam & slash, for Dread is dreamed-up-scenes of what comes after death. Is being fled from what bends down in pain. The elbow bends in the brain, lifts the cup. The worst is yet to dream you up, so bend down the intrigue you dreamed. Flee the hayneedle in the brain's tree. Excess allures by leaps. Stars burn clean. Oriole bitches and gleams. Dread is the fear of being less forever. So bend. Bend down and kiss what you see.
A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain - a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space... Therefore we must judge a weird tale not by the author's intent, or by the mere mechanics of the plot; but by the emotional level which it attains at its least mundane point... The one test of the really weird is simply this - whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe's utmost rim.