Fear can be an asset
"Driving is real simple," said my teenager at home. He had been observing for years that all I ever did was turn the wheel, step on the gas or step on the brake. He has no fear and I am not impressed!
That is why I laud the efforts of the Australian government, reported in PandemicResponsePattern and related discussions, in waking up its citizens to a probable recurrence of a Global Pandemic. In the weeks following the Health Minister's original fearful statements, a lot more reports came out that validated the timeliness of his provocative remarks. A month later even SixtyMinutes deemed it profitable to do a news story on the subject.
Fear is useful when it becomes a conscious concern, and a liability when it becomes a worry.
In the case of PandemicResponsePattern, if the fear results in a "panic calling fire in crowded theatre" response then it is a worry, but we can choose to have a "emergency planning response" drafted while there is still time.
I believe the correct term is "understanding" not "fear"
Fear is not useful. Understanding is useful, and at best fear is only a reaction to understanding. At worst, fear prevents one from acting upon understanding or incites one to react rashly.
An online definition of fear is at http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=fear"Yes" understanding is a "good term". I would like to stay with the "more appropriate" term of Fear. And in "The Fear of the Lord..." type of usage Fear is meant to be an extreme form of Respect.The forces unleashed by "Fear" can SiezeControl? of an individual, a community, etc. And the same channelled to good use result in life saving initiatives.
An example of ProceedWithFear is the case in Philipines where an appropriately timed evacuation resulted in saving many tens of thousands of otherwise lost souls in 1991. The furor of the subsequent Pinatubo eruption slowed down GlobalWarming and was the second largest in the past century.