Supposing It Didn’t

I’m reading ‘The Te of Piglet’ by Benjamin Hoff, after thoroughly enjoying his ‘The Tao of Pooh’. Hoff is effectively teaching Taoism via Pooh and the gang, and though I found the first half of this book to be rather preachy, I’m getting to some really good stuff now. He starts his ‘The Upright Heart’ chapter with the following, taken from one of the Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne:

The wind was against them now, and Piglet’s ears streamed behind him like banners as he fought his way along, and it seemed hours before he got them into the shelter of the Hundred Acre Wood and they stood up straight again, to listen, a little nervously, to the roaring of the gale among the treetops.

“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”

“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this, and in a little while they were knocking and ringing very cheerfully at Owl’s door.

Piglet is a worrier extraordinaire. Sure, he is a Very Small Animal, and he seems to use this as a crutch, but I’m not going to address that. I read the emboldened (so yes, emphasis mine) exchange above and was blown away at the simplicity of Pooh’s response.

Yes, fear is wired deep in our brains, but as a species, we’re no longer under the threat of lions and tigers and bears (oh my). For the majority of us in the first world, we’re doing alright in the food-clothing-shelter department. If we follow Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, fear is now from other things… beyond physiological survival and security (job included) to social ideas like belonging. How social are these fears? Seth Godin in ‘Tribes’ argues that we are less afraid of actual failure than we are of consequent criticism! A stern talking to? This is hardly an imminent threat to the squishy ball of cells that is you.

Because the things we fear are in the future, we can choose to be afraid of them. Or not.

Supposing those mostly social fears weren’t to happen? How would you walk around then? What doors would you knock on?