Panic is a sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction.
== Quotes ==
Alphabetized by author
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978 radio drama and 1979 novel), opening segment, comparing the fictitious eponymous guide to the fictitious Encyclopedia Galactica.Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Robert Burns,To a Mouse, st. 1 (1785)"Pan again!" said Dr. Bull irritably. "You seem to think Pan is everything." "So he is," said the Professor, "in Greek. He means everything." "Don't forget," said the Secretary, looking down, "that he also means Panic."
G. K. Chesterton in The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), Ch. XIV : The Six PhilosophersAnglers have a way of romanticizing their battles with fish and of forgetting that the fish has a hook in his mouth, his gullet, or his belly and that his gameness is really an extreme of panic in which he runs, leaps, and pulls to get away until he dies. It would seem to be enough advantage to the angler that the fish has the hook in his mouth rather than the angler.
Ernest Hemingway, introduction to S. Kip Farrington Jr., Atlantic Game Fishing (1937)Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.
Ernest Hemingway, Men at War (1942), IntroductionThe most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 52 (3 March 1919)Panic in Wall Street, brokers feeling melancholy.
Scott Joplin, "Wall Street Rag" (1909).To sound the alarm is not to panic but to seek action from an aroused public.
John F. Kennedy, speech at Tulsa, Oklahoma (16 September 1959), as printed in The Strategy of Peace (1960), edited by Allan Nevins.In the East men know panic, but they do not know what fright is.
Guy de Maupassant, "Fright", tr. H. C. Schweikert, French Short Stories (1918)Panic: A highly underrated capacity thanks to which individuals are able to indicate clearly that something is wrong.... Given their head, most humans panic with great dignity and imagination. This can be called democratic expression or practical common sense.
John Ralston Saul, The Doubter's Companion (1994), "Panic"When in danger, When in doubt, Run in circles Scream and shout!
Anonymous U.S. military saying, e.g. Infantry Journal, Vol. 35, (1929), p. 369.
Variant: When in danger or in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout.
Popularized in Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny (1951), which describes it as an ancient adage.
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