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Leith on Life: nothing to fear but fear itself

"I wonder whether these fears are the product of an inherited disposition"

First boredom, then fear. That’s Philip Larkin’s formula. I think he oversimplified things—or, at least, writing from adulthood, he forgot what came first. Certainly, looking at my five-year-old daughter, the trajectory seems to be different. She’s seldom ever bored, as far as I can tell, but she is a complete scaredy-cat.

When one of her friends was planning a birthday treat—a pizza and a trip to the cinema—the friend’s mother said, with concern in her voice, that perhaps it would be safest not to take Marlene along for the cinema part of the expedition. Were they thinking of going to…

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