Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation that typically results in a surge of panic. 

They can take on many forms and manifest for many reasons. Rationality is not certain when it comes to phobias. It’s reasonable to think that a child that suffered a near-death experience via drowning can develop aquaphobia later on. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone can experience something so specifically traumatic to develop arachibutyrophobia. What is that you might ask? It is, and I quote, “the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.” 

Regardless of specifics, phobias boil down to a singular cause, ignorance. 

Most people that are afraid of the dark admit that it’s not darkness itself which they fear. They’re scared of what’s in the dark. They know that the absence of light can’t hurt them in any way. But just the fact that there are things that can hurt them while they’re in a state of sensual numbness becomes a nightmarish reality. 

You can argue that “phobias stem from ignorance” doesn’t apply to well-known logical dangers like spiders or heights; thus, only applicable to the irrational. “Anyone would be afraid of fire or getting shot. That’s just a normal human reaction.”

On the contrary, that explanation undermines the very root of all well-reasoned fright. What makes them appear horrifying to us in the first place? Spiders aren’t appealing to most of us: what makes us think that way? 

We’ve evolved to avoid, detest, and dread things that can cause us to die. Since no one knows what happens to the “soul” after death, we become scared of the possibilities. Do we ascend to heaven like the scripture says or are we stuck in an endless loop of despair? We want to go as far as feasibly possible away from confronting what happens when it happens. Death is ignorance and it is fear that makes it daunting as it is. Fear makes us shut away from the truth that leads to ignorance.