Fear And Self Preservation Within The Face Of The Unknown Essay

1809 Words Dec 4th, 2015 null Page
Fear and Self-Preservation in the Face of the Unknown
In 1347 CE, the European world experienced a disaster on a scale that has remained among the most massive in all of history: the Black Death. Tens of millions of people perished, disease leaving communities, families, long-running institutions crippled and destroyed. The Black Death remained the great killer, the divine punishment for a sinful world, and fractured society, more so than any corrupt government, empire, or person could ever have done. Beyond the staggering loss of human life, something almost as precious was lost- the fundamental unity and care for fellow man that had been commonplace up to that point. Communities turned against each other in fear of the unknown killer, only binding together out of necessity to survive. In short, the Black Death damaged social relations by turning people groups against each other, making social relationships about fear, and perhaps most importantly, creating a culture of immorality that influenced every action in such an uncertain time. However, to best learn of its effects on the people who feared it, one must know what exactly this great unknown was, to know why people were affected in the way they were.
The Black Death, starting primarily in 1348-1350, and flaring up over the next few decades, is said to have been the definitive event of the Middle Ages, changing society and culture in gigantic ways. (Aberth vii). An epidemic of massive proportions, characterized…

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