How would I react to my greatest fear? Well, the answer is, I don't know. I suppose the question would be easier to answer if I were actually aware of what my greatest fear is. Day-to-day life takes up a lot of time, and doesn't really leave a lot of time to dig around in your own mind. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I haven't given it enough thought to decide on a 'greatest fear'.
A lot of what this question pertains to is strongly dependent on what one defines fear as. Fear, in itself, is not absolute. It's relative to the person, and the individual may interpret it as they see fit. As a general principle, fear coincides with panic, violence, rejection, misery and a whole bucketload of unpleasant things. To the average person, fear is basically something that elicits a negative response that often forces the subject to react irrationally in an attempt to escape whatever the fear is caused by. On a scientific basis, however, fear is a primal, self-preservation instinct that is basically an internal alarm that goes off whenever we sense danger.
So, for the sake of answering the question, let's define it as the average human being would; a heightened emotional response to unpleasant stimuli. As an average high school student, I have plenty of fears, none of which are really all that serious, and in the long run turn out to be pathetically trivial compared to common fears on a global scale such as starvation, murder, disease, and poverty just to name a few. Lucky for me, I've never actually gone through an emotionally traumatic experience that would force me to put my fears in perspective, so for right now I'm stuck worrying about comments on my progress report and farting loudly in a silent classroom. That said, if I were to actually be confronted by my greatest fear, I'd probably just blush and have a really bad week, but I'd get over it.
However, if we were to approach this question from a different angle and assume that my greatest fear was something far more dramatic than public embarrassment, I would bet that my reaction would be pretty darn different. I'd like to say that I'd face it down, head high, and tell it to take a hike, but if that were true it probably wouldn't be my greatest fear. In retrospect, I'd probably panic and run away, arms flailing behind me, like most people inevitably would. I'm sure that everyone would like to be the hero and laugh in the face of their greatest fear, but the sad truth is that they can't. This doesn't mean that everyone is a coward. It's not their fault. It's just how humans are built. We can't help that. Running away from our fears is natural. Those select few who manage to overcome their fears can die peacefully, knowing they accomplished something few on this planet have done.
I'm no stranger to fiction. Stories of fearless adventurers, heroes and monster-slayers have been with me as long as I can remember, and in every one of those stories the hero looks fear in the eye and brushes it aside. They always overcome their obstacles, every one of them. But that's just it. That's why they're the main character. Because no one wants to hear about the spineless, nameless filler character who just ran while the hero stood and fought. And part of the reason no one likes hearing about them is because they're reminded of themselves. We're all fillers. Sure, there are always going to be heroes, but I will be the first to admit that I am a nameless, spineless filler character. I know I will never be the first to volunteer for a suicide mission to save the universe, or fight off an army of monsters with a frying pan and a toothpick. And in knowing that, I've come to a kind of peace of mind. Sure, it's pessimistic and probably 'just a self-esteem issue' or something, but once I accept that I will probably not react to my greatest fear in the desired manner, I am content. I'm content in knowing that I know who I am inside, even if I don't like it.
Ha. You know, it's funny. After all this, I still have no clue what my greatest fear is. And you know, that's something I don't think I really want to know.