Discovering the Relevance of Words
The two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, are named for its namesake god’s battlefield companions. Their names are usually translated as fear and panic, which I expect was the immediate overriding sensation of standing on a sun-baked field in bronze armor waiting your turn to be killed by a spear.
To the ancients, emotions and impulses existed in the world around them and acted upon the human mind from the outside as gods. Achilles doesn’t decide not to attack Agamemnon for taking his spear bride from him; Athena stays his hand. Powerful feelings that were too big to ignore were the will of the gods. Few feelings are more powerful than fear and the hysterical panic that comes with it. It just makes sense that the Greeks would personify them as gods.
And if you end up with a planet named for a war god who had two little buddies that rode into battle with him on his chariot, and that planet ends up having two moons? That’s almost too perfect. Even astronomers saw the poetry in that.
Why am I bringing any of this up, you ask? Because I’m afraid that if I don’t spout off like an egghead every once in a while people might not think I’m smart. Then I panic a little and ramble on about mythology or philosophy or movies I like until I calm down. I don’t need a battlefield or imminent grievous injury to encounter those pesky demigods.
Which brings me around to my actual question for today. I think we might have asked this before, but it is late October and I have Halloween on the brain. I want to know what scares you. What is your biggest phobos?