The theme was submitted by Alex Smith, university registrar.
We risk ignoring important facets of human existence if we do not encourage the exploration of powerful phenomena which have traditionally been condemned as ignoble, such as fear. Fear affects a huge range of human activities. Fear of racial, religious, sexual and ideological contamination has operated against diversity over the centuries. Fear has played a role in art and in Dystopian literature. Psychologists study the emotional and psychic texture of fear, while biologists examine it as a physiological phenomenon. Many religions have fear of other religious groups or of damnation as a fundamental tenet. Political fears can range from terror of the state’s lack of control to fear of the state’s total control. Some forms of technology are initially greeted with public fear, and moral fear has been attached to some diseases. Perhaps by studying fear, we will be less likely to make decisions based on fear.