[Zoom Event] Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear-- Eva Holland with Ben Goldfarb
Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear
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To what can we attribute a phobia? Is it a bad memory metastasized, or is extreme fear unrelated, or not always related, to memory? Furthermore, what exactly happens when we feel fear? Does the feeling of fear prompt the body to tighten muscles, shiver, sweat, et cetera, or is it the other way around: does our mind conjure up the feeling of fear in response to our body's physical reaction?
Such are the questions threaded through Eva Holland's Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear, her courageous chronicle of many fraught years spent facing down two debilitating phobias--of losing her mother and of heights. Fear, Holland learned, is not what she thought. By taking part in innovative pharmacological and exposure therapies, interviewing some of fear science's leading scientists, and simply jumping out of a damn plane, she found that fear lost much of its fearsomeness.
In Amsterdam, Holland sought help from Merel Kindt, a therapist using the beta-blocking drug propranolol to eliminate the emotional effects of a fearful memory. "The procedure is not about erasing memories," Holland writes. "Instead, it's as though it unmoors them so they can no longer trigger our fear responses in the present." After being elevated over sixty feet in the rickety bucket of a firemen's lift, a traumatized Holland took a single pill of propranolol and "Sooner than I expected, I felt completely calm. My body felt normal again."
Poignant and humorous, Holland's demon-chasing journey is an inspiration. Holland will discuss the groudbreaking work with Ben Goldfarb, award winning author of Eager: the Suprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
About Eva Holland
Eva Holland is a correspondent for Outside magazine, and a former editor at Up Here, the magazine of Canada’s far north. Her work has also appeared in Esquire, Wired, Bloomberg, Pacific Standard, AFAR, Smithsonian, Grantland, Seattle Met, National Geographic News, and many other outlets. Her work has been nominated for a Canadian National Magazine Award, anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best Women’s Travel Writing, and Best Canadian Sports Writing, and listed among the notable selections in multiple editions of The Best American Essays, The Best American Sports Writing, and The Best American Travel Writing. She lives in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
About Ben Goldfarb
Ben Goldfarb is an environmental journalist whose writing has appeared in the Atlantic, the Guardian, Science, Orion Magazine, Outside, High Country News, and many other publications. He is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and named a best book of 2018 by the Washington Post. His next book, on the emergent science of road ecology, will be published in 2022 by W.W. Norton.
“In a plague year where our worst fears are real but unseen, possible but indefinable, this book could not be timelier.”—Rolling Stone
Frozen in terror during a mountain descent, award-winning journalist Eva Holland reaches her breaking point.
WINNER of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
Washington Post "50 Notable Works of Nonfiction"
Science News "Favorite Science Books of 2018"
Booklist "Top Ten Science/Technology Book of 2018"