This bloke had a piece of his brain cut out and can no longer feel fear
It’s not uncommon to hear the word ‘fearless’ thrown around to describe moments of courage and bravery, but have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually lose all sense of your fight-or-flight fear response? Yeah, nah, us neither. Still, one bloke, Jody Smith, has actually experienced it. After surgery meant to cure him of epilepsy, he soon found out that he no longer felt real life-or-death fear.
“When I say I no longer feel ‘fear,’ I am using the word to describe a very unique feeling,” Smith, reckons. “People describe a lot of things with the word ‘fear’ – like ‘I’m afraid of girls’ or ‘I’m afraid of failure’ – but I’m talking about the fear you’d feel when facing death or serious injury. That’s the fear that was removed.”
And that, obviously, presents a pretty interesting conundrum for the bloke. While we often talk about being fearless as a positive thing, the fact is that fear is what keeps us alive, so how does Jody manage when he’s in those situations that tell us to get the f**k out of dodge?
“As an avid hiker, I frequently find myself near cliffs. I still didn’t want to fall, and would still feel tense if I started to slip when scrambling, but I didn’t feel the fear part of that. That’s when I started to experiment a bit with my fear: by intentionally walking towards cliffs to see what my instincts would say.”
Of course, there’s a whole f**ken story behind the series of events that led Smith to this point, but without going into detail about his epilepsy, we’ll just tell you that it was only after he’d recovered from having his right amygdala removed that he became aware of it.
The reason for that was simple: two particularly hairy events. One in particular was pretty memorable. He was swarmed by five guys, but despite realising he was about to get rolled, he just walked casually through them. Strangely, he wasn’t attacked. “Apparently, my lack of fear struck them,” Jody reckons.
The second time he should have been scared, he wasn’t so lucky. Right after a f**ken spider munched him, he realised he wasn’t panicked at all. “I just sort of looked at it – I didn’t even flick it away instinctually. I was like ‘oh wow, I was just bitten, and that hurts. I wonder what I should do now?’”
Yeah, nah, it sounds rad, but surely that’s where you want your fear instinct to kick in. Deadset.
Final thought: First of all, we really recommend you check out the whole story over on Vice – it’s a great write-up – but how would you like to live without fear? Would it be as good as it seems, or would it have its downsides? Let us know what you reckon.
Just in case you missed it, here’s one of Ozzy’s latest commentary videos…Ozzy Man Reviews: Honest Mistakes