In describing the
coming present weird times, and the study of horror that defines the Doktor's role in life, I think we have to nail down some terminology. I'd like to propose the following definitions:
1. Fear: The sensation that something bad in the natural order of things is about to happen to you. Example: A dog approaches you, snarling and growling. Your reaction is fear; something very bad is potentially about to happen. Your fight or flight reflex kicks in, and you drop down a few neural circuits. Another example: You are a soldier on the front line, and someone starts to shoot at you. This is part of the natural order of things for that environment, and causes fear rather than any other emotion. How you REACT to fear will vary from person to person and event to event, and isn't really relevant to the definition (at least for our purposes here).
2. Loathing:: The knowledge and distaste of something undesirable about the natural order of things, but isn't a direct, fear-causing condition (though anxiety is definitely part of it). Example: The knowledge that the next door neighbor owns a mean dog that occasionally menaces you, but isn't doing so at the moment...Or the soldier on furlough from the front, who knows that he is due to return to the fighting soon. Displeasure, hatred, and anxiety are the root emotions, and again, the reaction may vary (see above).
3. Horror: The sensation of being confronted with something utterly outside of your perception of the natural order of things. Example: Same dog confronts you and starts singing Elton John tunes. Or the soldier wakes up to find that his entire unit has pulled back in the night, leaving him to die (He has been ingrained with the belief that no man gets left behind).
Consider: An infant is only afraid of two things...Loud noises and heights. He hasn't yet had enough experience with the world to view anything else as a scary part of the natural order. As adults, we know that there are demented people who like to molest and/or harm infants...This is a disgusting thing, but part of the natural order of how the world works, so we loathe it. A child has no idea of this, and when the concept is introduced as part of the natural order of things, the child feels horror. Once the child becomes accustomed to this new view, loathing kicks in...And a parent who loses track of her child at a crowded department store knows the natural order of things, and is directly confronted with the potential that someone has done something with her child, and you're back to fear.
So as we study the present century, and the events that lead up to it, we can distinguish between direct threats, bad things we know for certain will occur, and new things that increase our knowledge of the natural order of the world in ways that will be undesirable. The first two have been studied (and if we worry about them, then we'll never get anything done), the third is our purview: The Weird.
It's a weird century, and we Doktors are Strangehunters. Don't tell me about war, I know about war. Tell me the new or at least previously unknown stuff. We can predict those things based on fear and loathing, what we need to research is the horror.
Okay for now,