5 thoughts on “Being secure versus feeling secure”

  1. The first things my mom asked me when I talked to her about studying abroad was, “Do you think it’s a good idea, I mean wouldn’t you be afraid of terrorist attacks?”

    My mom’s thinking reminded me of Schneier’s psychology of security. Terrorist attacks were out of my mom’s control and not in the scope of normal situations, so my mom amplified the risk of terrorist attacks when I am actually at more risk of security with daily activities such as walking across the street or walking home at night.

    I think one of the reasons our society makes poor security decisions is because the media tells us what to be afraid. It is like our society follows the trends of what is now popular to be afraid of and simultaneously forgets about the passing trend as new ones occur. Before a house in your neighborhood gets robbed, neighbors always leave their houses unlocked, once one house is robbed, everyone locks their doors and gets security systems. Before 9/11 people like my mom were never afraid to travel to foreign countries or to ride public transportation, now people worry about terrorism, but even that is a dying trend. People worry a lot less about terrorism now then as they did right after the attacks. But there is no logic in following this cycle of only worrying about your security after it has already been breached. We spend so much time worrying about the latest trend that we downplay daily risks and forget about older risks that we use to worry about, so that we make wrong security decisions and continually repeat those wrong decisions.

  2. I feel that our sense of secuirty varies under different situations and there are several factors that control and influence it. There are factors that we can’t control such as our beliefs and upbringing. However, there are factors that we can control and hence minimize the extent of their influence on our sense of security. One such factor is certaily media. Many a times we are made to believe and fear certain things so that a few people can gain from our hightened sense of fear, such as companies manufacturing security systems. The key here is not to not use these systems, but to use them but not be 100% reliant on them and to train ourselves mentally and physically to the best of our abilities to deal with situations that do infact threaten our sense of secuirty.

  3. One of my favorite classes I’ve taken while at BU has been Biological Anthropology, which basically seeks to explain why human beings are the way the are, both anatomically and behaviorally, and therefore draws primarily off evolutionary discussions. One of the most fascinating aspects of this topic is understanding how what’s ingrained in our genes leads us to act in patently irrational ways due to the fact that they weren’t designed to function in the type of world which we currently live. Schneier starts to go there in this article, but changes the subject without really going into it. But it makes sense that certain things will never make is feel as safe as they actually are simply because of what we are. Human beings were not designed to sit in tiny compartments flying thousands of feet in the air and traveling at hundreds of miles per hour (we weren’t designed to drive cars either, but it’s much closer to our primal “reality”). But we were designed to be territorial and even tribal, and in that sense to be unsettled by what is different or what we don’t understand. Perhaps that is what causes the fear of terrorism to be so great, or alternatively, what causes terrorists to act against us. Of course when confronted with “unnatural” things, we will naturally find refuge in fear, even if that fear is unreasonable. That, if anything, is human nature.

  4. Security seems to be relative depending on a particular situation. As Jackie mentioned, right after an immediate attack or robbery people are inclined to feel less safe and require greater safety measures to reattain their forgone level of security. This is just the way we as a species have developed and most of the time it helps ensure our safety in the long run otherwise we wouldn’t pursue it. When we lose security, we will pursue various mediums to at least “feel” secure once again because by doing so we feel that it gives us control in our lives. Security and control are closely related to one another, at least in the way people perceive them. Many people rationalize that by making a trade-off for the feeling of security, they are gaining control in their lives even if they are forfeiting actual security. The media, peer groups, and the environment can all influence our decision to make these trade offs. But more often than not, being safe rather than merely feeling safer will give us greater control in our lives.

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