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International Journal of Fear Studies

Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Approaches

 

Call for Papers and Creative Submissions:

Theme ISSUE: “Living and Learning in Pandemic Times”

 

Submissions Due Aug. 1, 2020 for the 4th issue of IFJS.

Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic dynamics have really changed our lives. What are we learning in this context of such pervasive fear... and more...? Are there better ways to handle all this?   

FOR the full details of Submission and about the Journal IJFS fourth call Apil 12 .docx

 

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"...the [research] findings show that how we choose to deal with our fear, critically depends on our cultural worldview" - Bobby Azarian (2020) 

"We have an existential threat on our hands, our Left-Right divide, I believe, is by far the most important divide we face....This is the urugent need of the next 50 years." - Jonathan Haidt (2016) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-_Az5nZBBM]

Dr. Bobby Azarian, cognitive neuroscientist, has put together an excellent basic video on the social and cognitive science research that can help explain why "fear" is at core the factor of political, religious and other forms of polarization in social systems. He has worked with the Terror Management Theory (of Ernest Becker, et al.), whereby in this video he takes us through a rapid teaching of major issues and findings. He offers, interestingly, a "cosmic perspective" as basis for a worldview that will be an anti-dote to the polarizing and violent course that American society and a lot of the world is heading down--including the direction toward fascism and authoritarianism, etc. I highly recommend Azarian's (fast-lane hyper) teaching video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvMkz1wy6_U

[Note: as much as Terror Management Theory and neurobiology of fear, and cognitive sciences offer an important direction of knowledge to combat the effects of fear as an emotion/feeling (i.e., a response to threat), I have always questioned how these disciplines and fields of study have not really added much at all to reconceptualizing fear (or 'fear'), fearuality, fear management/education, fearism, etc.). I think there needs to be a lot more dialogue between these knowledge domains and with Fear Management Theory as I promote, then more potent combinations will inevitably lead to a better "fear education" for the 21st century. ]

ADDITIONAL READING:

Azarian apparently has been researching a good deal on "fear" in political orientation, along with many others, it is a vast field of research which I support in general. I found this following article a good one to challenge stereotypes (I offer an excerpt only with link to the full article):

Wrong: Conservatism Isn’t About Fear

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  heartland-american  •  2 years ago  •  194 comments
No, Liberals, You’re Wrong: Conservatism Isn’t About Fear
 

Liberals don’t get conservatives. New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt, formerly a liberal himself, showed how much more liberals misunderstand conservatives than vice versa. And when they get conservatives wrong, often it’s by saying we’re “afraid.” Irrationally afraid, even; in fact, we’re “driven by fear.” They’re wrong: conservatism isn’t about fear. But they keep repeating it anyway.

Take the Psychology Today article, “Fear and Anxiety Drive Conservatives’ Political Attitudes.” (I just love it when they portray us in such a healthy light, don’t you?)

Biased Interpretations (Part 1)

The author, Bobby Azarian, tells us conservatives have a problem. People on the right “fear new experiences,” says. Based on what evidence, you ask? It’s the stuff college students keep in their dorm rooms. Researchers at Berkeley found that liberal students have more travel-related items, while conservatives have more planning- and cleaning-related items.

“This tells us that liberals more often seek adventure and novel experiences,” says Azarian. “Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to prefer a more ordered, disciplined lifestyle.” Okay, I get that there’s a difference there. I’ve got several questions, though. (First rule of reading science journalism: Ask lots of questions.)

First, why weren’t fear or anxiety even mentioned in the original research report? (They’re brought up briefly in the literature review section, but not where the current research was discussed.)

Second, what about the thousands upon thousands of conservative Christians who take mission trips to less-developed, often deadly parts of the world every year? How is Azarian going to explain this “fear” to them?

How on earth do planning, orderliness and discipline equate to fear?

And third, based strictly on Azarian’s article alone, how on earth do planning, orderliness and discipline equate to fear?

Conservatives’ dorm rooms only reflect fear if fear is what you’re looking for.....He tells us that MRIs show that the amygdala, a fear-related brain region, is larger on average in conservatives than in liberals. “It is possible,” says Azarian, “that an oversized amygdala could create a heightened sensitivity that may cause one to habitually overreact to anything that appears to be a potential threat, whether it actually is one or not.”

 [excerpt only]

 Read the entire rebuttal to Azarian et al.,:  https://stream.org/no-liberals-youre-wrong-conservatism-isnt-about-fear/

[Note: my own take as a fearologist is that it will generally be a fallacy of fear-mongering if either side of the political spectrum is caught in a 'game' of 'you have more fear; no, you have more fear' --etc. I have labled this the Fear Wars, long ago. This is where fearology can contribute a whole new perspective on that 'game' (dead-end) and truly lift the dialogue to include the typical fear(s) talk which is valid but take it to a new level where polarization can be dissolved in more potent ways, theoretically... that's a much longer conversation but involves my own (amongst others) work on a fearlessness psychology]

 

 

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Because I am a professional educator per se, it has always struck me how far behind the field of Education (and schooling) is, just about everywhere in the world, when it comes to advancing the notion of "fear management" and, what I prefer to call "fear management/education" (or simply, "fear education"). I'll be writing more about this in the near future blogs here, but just wanted to share this book resource Fear and Schools that looks interesting from the book description: 

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Call for Papers and Creative Submissions for International Journal of Fear Studies (2021 Spring Issue) -- ABSTRACT submission deadline: July 15, 2020

Theme: Navigating Ecofear through Diverse Cultures

 

“Is there one central fear like the trunk of a tree, though it has many branches, and if you could understand that single root of fear you have understood the whole network of fear? How do you approach this, from the periphery or from the centre? If the mind can understand the root of fear then the branches, the various aspects of fear have no meaning, they wither away. So what is the root of fear? Can you look at your fear? Please look at it now, invite it.     - J. Krishnamurti

Concept Note

Ecofear is a culture-specific trope. There could be various reasons for ecofear like climate change and the resultant floods, devastating cyclones, extensive wildfires and even a viral pandemic. The spectrum of fear may vary according to the agencies, context of interactions, and the various reasons for the fear, depending on the cultures in discussion. This issue of IJFR will focus on various kinds of ecofears experienced by humans and other animals in different cultural contexts apart from the various explorations of the consequences and manifestations of ecofear. The fears that connect/disconnect humans from nature have various dimensions that can be studied through a multi-, inter-, and/or transdisciplinary approach―sociological, cultural, economic, political, philosophical, theological, artistic and of course, psychological. These fear-dimensions that are understood through diverse disciplines explore diverse methodologies to arrive at realistic conclusions. For instance, the film Crawl (2019), set in Florida, a hurricane-prone state, contextualizes a world where natural disasters are an accepted reality but the antagonist(s) (alligators) engage in a “war” with humans―an explicit human-animal conflict that is primarily caused by fear (of various kinds) and also invokes fear in the audience. Augustina Baztericca’s novel, Tender is the Flesh: If Everyone Was Eating Human Meat, Would You?, which many readers assert as the most horrifying novel that is set in a world where cannibalism is normalized after a global epidemic which wipes out the animal population. The film and the book, both can be read as a result of human anxiety about a world that they are actively destroying. Fear is at the centre of both the works.

Notable fear-concepts, like ecophobia, theorised by Simon C. Estok, and/or the concept of fearism proposed by R. Michel Fischer, and/or Desh Subba provide a befitting framework to analyse such literary and cultural texts. An author who wishes to contribute to this issue of IJFR may consider employing any of the aforementioned theoretical frameworks or others’ for their critical analyses.

 

About the Volume

The guest editors of the Winter 2021 issue of the IJFR invite critiques of such depictions―instances of fear, ecophobia, awe, respect, obedience, or even love (not necessarily referring to biophilia) in the context of human-made calamities; fictional accounts of fear or ecophobia in the context of natural calamities; or even critiquing fear-methodologies in various disciplines. We also invite original documented and creative works such as poems, short films, music, short stories, short reports, experiential stories and so on. Authors attempting to write critical essays may analyse any text (literary, social, cinematic and so on) from a fear perspective. Critical essays may be written in about 5000 words and the written creative works may be from 2000-5000 words.

Please send your essay/creative work/proposal of your work to <raysonalex@goa.bits-pilani.ac.in> marking a copy to <sachindevps@gmail.com> according to the time-schedule. For the sake of congruity, we will be following the MLA style format for critical works. We expect the word limit for essays to be between 4000 and 5000 and no restrictions, whatsoever, on creative works.

 

About the Journal

International Journal of Fear Studies is an open-access peer-reviewed online journal. IJFS was founded in 2018 by R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D. (Sen. Editor). Its purpose is to promote the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary study of fear. It is the first journal of its kind with a focus on the nature and role of fear and on innovations in methodologies, pedagogies and research inquiries that expand the fear imaginary beyond what is commonly assumed as how best to know and manage fear.

The Journal accepts submissions that are theoretical or practical on fear that deserves international recognition. The primary criteria is that works have an interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary approach, while at the same time are progressive and open-minded works that instigate insight, healing, liberation, creative thinking, critique, and synthesis. IJFS focuses consistently on fear as a subject matter and is issued biannually.

All authors retain their own copyright of their works published in IJFS. The journal will consider re-published submissions as long as copyright approval has been made.

 

Guest Editors: Rayson K. Alex and Sachindev P.S.

Rayson K. Alex is currently Assistant Professor at BITS-Pilani, K. K. Birla Goa Campus. He is one of the editors of Essays in Ecocriticism (2007), Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations (2014), Ecodocumentaries: Critical Essays (2016) and Ecocultural Ethics: Critical Essays (2017). He has directed/co-directed ethnographic video documentaries and is the Founder and co-Director of tiNai Ecofilm Festival.

 

Sachindev P. S. is at the Department of Film Studies and Visual Culture, English and Foreign Languages University. He is one of the editors of Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations (2014). Formerly an advertising creative, he has shot and directed documentaries, one of them screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival (IDSFFK 2014).

 

 

 

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Fear and a General Social Theory[1] 

-R. Michael Fisher [notes: June 16/20]

                    Introductory Issues of the Social & World

Recently, it occurred to me that no one will really ‘get’ my work adequately until they ‘get’ that my work is foundationally a social theory of fear (management/education). I am deeply a social thinker/theorist and philosopher and educator, who has, unfortunately, not helped the waves of mis-understandings of my work for 31 years because I have not systematically written out my general social theory as context for my work. I am beginning to take on this daunting project. This essay consists of beginning shreds of what is on my mind and is by no means a ‘finished’ work. It is noticeably somewhat nostalgic, at least for me, in that to recover the ‘social’ in my work, and in my life, I have had to return to the past of my first systematic studies of knowledge and disciplines when I was 20 years old to my 30s. If these references seem ‘old’ or ‘out of date’ to readers, I won’t apologize for how important and relevant they are in ‘messages’ for today—but, certainly, this general social theory I am attempting needs up-dating with newer thinkers for sure—yet, all in time. I want to keep things relatively simple to start with. I appreciate your patience with my somewhat nostalgic turn.  

As part of Social Sciences, social theory seems essential to my fearanalysis project [2] on the Fear Problem. It is an approach to all phenomenon (e.g., especially fear and its management/education) primarily through the lens of the social sphere of reality. Social theory today, in the Anthropocene era, also has to be part of Biological and especially Environmental Sciences, because global cascading crises are putting the survival and quality of life on this planet at-high-risk, moving existence regularly into emergencies. COVID-19 is the latest episode showing how vulnerable Homo sapiens is.  

The basic purpose overall of these Sciences seen through my own value-based lens, is that of “making man [sic] more aware of the consequences of his actions.”[3] Awareness has to do with learning, and that is why my profession is Education. I turn now to explicate my evolved, yet still evolving, social theory as a synthesis of many others’ critical thinking and research. It is not too embarrassing to say my social theory is quite unique in the history of thought.

                   Theorizing: Natural Sciences Are Social

 It is essential for humans as a whole, and for me to remember that the aim of the knowledge quest (i.e., learning and education) is to,

 ....establish the process of human development as the goal of the process of social evolution, both the process and the goal being understood to be open to further transformation as we advance in the practice and understanding of them.[4]

 And furthermore, there is a search still going on across large domains of societies functions, and within the inner searching and reflecting that humans do at times, to find a better “image” of our selves—of our nature, of our potential—and to do so, as crucial so that we don’t become crushed by harsh realities of the everyday human condition (i.e., of a good deal of suffering). Markley & Harman (1982) spoke to this in a way that made sense for me in my youthful scholarship days, and still resonates today:

 It seems evident that the characteristics we postulated for an adequate image [of the human] cannot be fulfilled unless such a new type of policy paradigm comes into existence—a paradigm that provides a far closer reconciliation of C. P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’ (the sciences and the humanities) than has heretofore seemed feasible [in modern times]. Central in this pursuit would be the reconciliation of the objective inquiry methods found suitable for learning to manipulate the external/physical environment and the inquiry methods which are emerging to similarly explore the subjective/internal/psychical environment of our living. Likely such an umbrella paradigm will not be possible without the emergence of other, somewhat more specialized but nevertheless holistic [-integral], paradigms to support it.[5]

 In Markley & Harman’s profound search for a “moral science,” “moral economics” and politics for a sustainable, healthy and sane future, they know that a “moral paradigm” lies below them all, which is something I have always been interested in but I am not a “moralist” or “virtues” prophet/teacher or thinker. That’s a topic that arrives much later in this essay and social theory. Suffice it to say at this point, my approach to ethics and morals and the ‘good’ and ‘true’ and ‘beautiful’ will be strongly tainted in this work with the social as environment—and, it is this environmental emphasis that is most conducive to pulling out and foreword why I think the social is so critical to any good fear studies (and fear management/education) today and in the future. To note, the marriage of objective and subjective that Markley & Harman recommend, not totally radical, is very important to my own holistic-integral approach to knowledge and living, of which Wilber (1995) has added another vector of polarities to build a more adequate and complete (and moral) epistemological quadrant analysis. He adds: individual and communal sphere. When I speak of the “social” so forthright and as forming everything in human affairs, I am not excluding the other quadrant inputs into the social sphere of reality but including them, even if they are lesser focused on.  

I more or less ‘hated’ public school. I was born and raised poor working class. The whole system seemed rigged, even though I am a white guy (Canadian), to benefit those who already were privileged by class. The more would get the more and doing well in education was seemingly their way of greasing their wheels of progress (success).  Post-secondary schooling nor societal success meant anything important to me until my 19th year of life (after graduation from high school in a technical curriculum stream for the ‘dummies’). One course in grades 10-12 really was a place for me to shine—Biology. I was a budding naturalist (thanks to my dad, my uncle, my older brother). Learning science was hard but I did it and learned things I cared about—that is, how Life works. By my 19th year I was dedicated to pursue secondary education and make a career in science (e.g., forestry or something). The rest is history. As I went through careers and more and more degrees, “Science” grew in scope and dimensions in ways I could have never predicted back in my late teens or early 20s. Today, I reluctantly, would call myself a “scientist” but at-heart I really am. I am a little more comfortable being called a “philosopher” at-heart, an “artist”—and yet, my graduate Ph.D. training ended with a doctorate in Education.

                  Fear is Social

A most basic premise of my life’s work is that fear is social, or more accurately, that the nature and role of fear for humans cannot be understood without a social perspective. At some level, thus, my hypothesis is that: social fear is the best descriptor for all fears and fear itself. Contentious perhaps. I’ll return to that topic later. Now, I wish to claim that science is always social—and, the corollary, all science is social science. Let me explain.

                  Scientists are Social

It is no surprise that from anthropology to ecology and evolutionary studies, many scientists have concluded that “Homo sapiens” is a social species. It sounds simple to conclude. It seems true. What it exactly means and the implications are much more profound, as I have found to be the case over the decades. I think most people don’t really think about this.

Despite the history of Science being diverse, with all its twists and turns and shifts in its role and the ways scientists themselves saw their efforts to build scientific knowledge, it is likely true that at the end of the 19th century most scientists were relatively “unconcerned as to where they ought to be going. They saw no point in formulating social goals for their professional work, because they regarded science as an end rather than a means.” And many then, as still now, do not want their scientific work determined by social (e.g., economic and political) agendas of interest groups or the public at-large, according to Dubos (1970, p. 229). More characteristically, the scientists overall have not seen their own profession as a social enterprise itself—that is, shaped overly by influences from the social sphere including by non-scientists.

It is hard for the vast majority of scientists (maybe less so today) to believe that what they do intellectually may be socially-determined—in whole or in part. Kuhn’s (1970) classical analysis of the paradigm shifts of the scientific enterprise validates just how social science communities are. Scientists likely find that thought of socially-determined, socially-responsible or “mission-oriented”[6] science rather loathsome, and beneath their self-integrity. They are very proud of their elite scientific training. I remember, the same feeling when I was fully in science education processes and working as a scientist of sorts. To get a masters or doctoral degree in some science adds to their privilege and sense of self-esteem. They see they are in a scientific establishment and career in order to best perform good (or even ‘pure’) science. No one should be telling them or even much influencing them who isn’t a scientist.[7] The very reason of bringing this issue of Science to the foreground to begin my general social theory explication tells you something about how important I think Science is today; And especially, it tells you that I agree with Dubos (50 years ago) that the best way to talk about the current (at least Western) society is under the umbrella term “scientific civilization.”[8]

                  Civilization Types: Evolving Fear(s)

As civilizations, many humans have thus evolved from tribal, to agricultural, to industrial—all because of an advance in Science (and technologies). Since late-modernity, that’s been recognized as a mixed blessing for those of us in the latter forms of civilization. Myself included, we have begun to realize the paradox of progress via Science that is now creating some of the worst nightmares of which are capable of extinguishing all civilization (e.g., nuclear weapons, anthropogenic accelerated global warming, clear-cutting forests, mining, etc.). It is arguable, that there have been new fears created and overcome at each level of civilization type listed above. However, it is also arguable, the current chronic level of fear(s) in the highly scientific civilization type is accumulative (post-traumatic) and worse than other civilizations. If so, it is another hypothesis of my social theory that with increasing progress, comings increasing social fear (of the most destructive kinds). But let’s return to my thinking on Science before focusing on other aspects of my social theory (of fear).

                  Need for a Social Theory of Science

It has been a great gain to knowledge generally to develop the history of science and open-up the world of Science to historians and the public. It may well be, as Dubos suggested, that it is more important for citizens in a true democracy to be critical in their literacy of how Science functions than needing to know all the facts of science and its applications.[9] It is great to have a grasp of both, but at least it is important to learn about science as a social activity that ought to serve social purposes, as well as intellectual purposes. For example, to learn about science is to learn as a layperson that “scientific knowledge is never absolute or final, yet it remains valid when considered in the social and intellectual framework within which it was developed.”[10] Another example, “scientists hardly ever disagree on the validity of the facts themselves, but only [mostly] on the interpretation and use of the these facts.”[11]

The argument I am making, as did Dubos 50 years ago, is that all science operates with shifting “fashions”[12]—that is, it is socially contextualized ‘not an island to itself’ and visa versa “all social decisions now have scientific determinants,”[13] whether we recognize them or not. Snow’s (1959) lecture on The Two Cultures—of facts (science) vs. values (social morals and/or religion)—raised critical questions of the long modern separation of these realms; and, suggested how they ought not be fully disengaged from each other. Integral philosopher, Ken Wilber, notes that Snow called both facts and values inherently “cultures” and thus serve as social phenomena. He argued knowledge is best for cultures/societies when they are not totally battling, competing, and thus end up dissociated and divorced; but rather, today we have to work to repair their ancient marriage[14] so that a higher holistic-integration of knowledge can once again yield wisdom and guidance for the modern, late-modern and post-modern times. There’s a need for a new thinking today—and, more so than ever it will have to be around the notion of fear. I am calling my version of this, as core to my methodological concerns, integral social thinking.

               Methodology of Integral Social Thinking (IST)

As I attempt to introduce this emergent sense that my social theory itself has to be based on integral social thinking—troubling questions of knowing arise. Philosophers call this ontological and epistemological issues. I’ll start with the “integral” part of thinking—which, comes from a long venerable tradition of integral philosophies and theories in history,[15] of which, for example, Wilber (1995) is one of the most prescient of these thinkers, and has influenced my ways of thinking since the early 1980s.

Yet, there is a further problem not so overtly dealt with as an epistemological problem in integral thinking and style, which I must mention. In the study of fear itself (meaning, the human-fear-self-social relationship dynamic) there is a problem of attempting to know something (perhaps, a prior conceptions that are faded or invisible) that is escaping its very knowability. You open a black sealed box to study something locked away inside for generations, but in assuming the light you shine on it will reveal its essence, you more or less destroy the operation and object/subject you are analyzing because it is not the proper ‘method’ to disclose the essence of that which lives in a ‘black box.’

Using this ‘black box’ as metaphor or analogy, this is what I learned in my youth when I (and others) first encountered the nascent field of “ecology.”[16] I cannot help but be an ecological thinker, but that gets massively more complex than approaching an ecological problem of studying Nature when one brings the light of investigation to Culture—in this case, my pursuit of a social theory and a fear theory simultaneously—things get very tricky, to say the least. I’ve hinted at this problem (part of the larger Fear Problem) in my earliest works in the late 1980’s into the early 1990s and why I demarcated my subject of study of fear as ‘fear’ with (‘) marks[17] to signify something I really didn’t know even what it was I was studying or what methods would be best for doing so). The progressive futurists Markley & Harman (1982) touched somewhat on the enigmatic attitude and sensibility in which a researcher has to imbue when after a topic, with humility, with the arational and rational modes, as they articulated one way to capture the same troubling question I am now explicating:

How does one study a priori conceptions which, by definition, are fundamental to and lie beyond the [standard] rules of inquiry of any particular discipline [of knowledge, and knowing, and understanding]? (p. xxi)

I chose to assume “fear” (and ‘fear’) as already embedded in a black box of a prior phenomenon/conceptions and no one discipline or even a couple disciplines could unravel the hidden subtle nature of fear (‘fear’). To be playful, I enlisted a neologism of “fearology” to act as a transdisciplinary approach to the topic. However, there was more I had to deal with in Markley & Harman (1982) and what they called “bricolage thinking” – and my attempt to:

....discern fundamental and usually unrecognized influences on our societal problems, on our social policies, and on our hopes [aspirations] for the future....our aim is to break out of set patterns of thinking (and hence recognize useful new ways of thinking and imaging” (p. xxi)

More specifically, my nascent methodological rationale was built upon both a defence against, and an offense for, a better knowledge about fear (‘fear’) that was already socially embedded in culture—which I soon would discover other scholars talking about how near everything today is embedded in a “culture of fear” (which by 2000, I talked about as a ‘Fear’ Matrix and/or a decade before that, I talked about a largely invisible ubiquitous form of oppression called “fearism”). I felt intuitively, and theorized from my reading, research and phenomenological experiences, that fear was already ‘hooked’ into living inside a black box that for many good reasons could not be opened or if it was it might yield more than the investigator could handle anyways (e.g., you may note the analogy here with the myths of Pandora’s Box, Icarus, Prometheus from ancient Greek as ‘warnings’ to human hubris—likewise, in psychoanalytical theory and practice there is the cautionary of any inquiry into the unconscious).

The invocation from the start of my study of fear to be in search of “fearlessness” was not by chance, albeit, I knew little of what complexity and black box I would bump into as well on this latter subject. In a nutshell, I assumed (sometimes concluded) that the deep territory of fear was an a prior social taboo (and ‘fear’ was even more elusive, denied, repressed and dangerous territory). All fear is a priori social—social fear (i.e., we humans are sociophobic,[18] in other words, and I do not just mean this term like contemporary clinical psychiatrists would use it—as “fear of the social”—although, in part that is applicable too). Thus, I had stumbled in my early years in and around this troubling situation of the social sphere and how much or how little to let it into my investigations of fear. It seems that transdisciplinary study pushes one into creative synthesis of methodologies and multiple ways of knowing, and asks us to be not overly disciplined in trying too hard to control your subject and tools of inquiry....

[to be continued....]

References

Dubos, R. (1970). Reason awake: Science for man. Columbia University Press.

Fisher, R. M. (1995a/12). An introduction to defining ‘fear’: A spectrum approach. Technical Paper No. 1. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

Fisher, R. M. (1995b/12). An  introduction to an epistemology of ‘fear’: A fearlessness paradigm. Technical Paper No. 2. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

Kuhn, T. (1962/96). The structure of scientific revolutions. [3rd. ed.] The University of Chicago Press.

Markley, O. W., & Harman, W. W. (1982). Changing images of man. Pergamon Press.

McIntosh, S. (2007). Integral consciousness and the future of evolution: How the integral worldview is transforming politics, culture and spirituality. Paragon House.

Odum, E. P. (1972). Fundamentals of ecology [3rd ed.]. W. B. Saunders.

Scruton, D. L. (Ed.) (1986). Sociophobics:  The anthropology of fear. Westview Press.

Wilber, K. (1998). The marriage of sense and soul: Integrating science and religion. Random House.

Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology and spirituality: The spirit in evolution [Vol. 1]. Shambhala.

 

END NOTES

[1] Cf. to Skoll (2010) “Social theory of fear: Terror, torture, and death in a post-capitalist world.”

[2] Overtly, I co-founded the In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989-) for this work, more implicitly this is a fearanalysis I am doing on the entire phenomenon of humans and fear and life. I have several short publications on "fearanalysis" but the book on this is still to be finalized and published (with the first draft of "An Introduction to Fearanalysis" still sitting on my shelf from 2016). 

[3] Dubos (1970), p. 229.

[4] Quote from Dunn (1971), cited in Markley & Harman (1982), p. 156.

[5] Ibid., p. 157.

[6] Ibid., p. 219.

[7] “[M]any scientists are more interested in the advancement of [scientific] knowledge, than in its possession [by non-scientists]” (Dubos, 1970, p. 209).

[8] Ibid., Chapter 5.

[9] Ibid., p. 215.

[10] Ibid., pp. 217-18, 219.

[11] Ibid. p. 220.

[12] “Rapid and profound shifts of emphasis [on what and how things are studied scientifically] have repeatedly occurred in the scientific community, in part because fashions change in science even more than in other types of endeavors, also because social [and economic] concerns inevitably affect intellectual preoccupation” (Dubos, 1970, p. 217); see also Kuhn (1970).

[13] Ibid., p. 207.

[14] Wilber (1998).

[15] One could make a massive long list of ‘integral’ thinkers going back to ancient times; they are the ‘renaissance’ types that integrated vast domains of different spheres of knowledge, arts, sciences, religion etc. More recently, in philosophy, one can identify several thinkers and lines within philosophy itself that have the qualities of the holistic-integral thinker (and/or “integral consciousness” and/or “integral worldview,” according to McIntosh (2007) some recognizable leaders of this integral movement are Georg Hegel, Henri Bergson, James Mark Baldwin, Teilhard de Chardin, Alfred North Whitehead, Jean Gebser, Jürgen Habermas, Ken Wilber (pp. 151-54).

[16] Odum (1971) refers to this (after G. E. Hutchinson’s notion) ‘black box’ conception as hololgical (p. 22) and which refers to complex systems that one can only study by realizing the “internal workings...are but vaguely known” (and may not be known) (p. 105).

[17] Fisher (1995a, 1995b).

[18] It is not by chance the first major initiative (I know of) in academic work to bring “fear” study out from under the umbrella of the hegemonic dominating grips of the biomedical and psychological fields (i.e., Natural sphere), into the Cultural (social) sphere—via anthropology/sociology/social psychology was called sociophobics (Scruton, 1986). The Spiritual (religious, theological) sphere, including much of philosophy also had taken on “fear” study but that is beyond the scope of the discussion here.

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The philosophy of fearism (a la Subba et al.) is a great foundation, and still needs a lot of work (thanks to all of you working on that). However, if the idea of having fear and its role recognized as central in mediating human affairs throughout history, then legitimized in actual contemporary research studies (e.g., in social sciences) and then into actual policy formation (e.g., politics, urban planning)--well, there are some great opportunities. Recently the two research articles below from the international scene of publishing indicate, for the first time in a big way, that I have seen, where "fearism" is used as a key "force" field actor-agent of analysis and interventions. I've selected excerpts from the two papers so you can get a sense of how "fearism" [1] is being used and why. It is exactly this direction that fearism studies and knowledge need to go to actualize into world affairs with some impact. I ask all of you to help spread this message and encourage research in these directions of applications. Very important. 

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End Note

1. You will notice that Desh Subba's notion of "fearism" per se is not being cited directly by these researchers but my own version that pre-dates Subba's meaning of fearism. In Fisher (2017), as you see the citation of my work in these two papers, does include a discussion briefly of Subbaian fearism as well. So far, the researchers in Global Migration Studies tend to (but not always) use my old definition from a paper I published in 2006 (although, my first naming and definition of fearism goes back to 1997). My definition of fearism originally focused on the cultural-ideological angle of fear-based "structures" (discourses) that control and manipulate societies. Fearism in that sense was the subtle underbelly of terrorism. Later in Fisher & Subba (2016) I came to distinguish my original version as fearism-t (toxic). Unfortunately, despite all the enthusiasm in the social sciences with my "fearism" concept and that is great, unfortunately, I have also seen it not used very accurately, or is just oversimplified, of which my 2017 paper was intended to correct those errors but that's not yet happening even in these two new 2020 articles. See Fisher, R. M. (2017).'Fearism': A critical analysis of uses and discourses in Global Migration Studies. Technical Paper No. 64. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. See Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Xlibris. 

 

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Politics of Moving Beyond Fear

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Reviews

"Why do people vote against their best interests? Why do many working people vote for their class enemy, a con artist who is dedicated slavishly to wealth and private power and is shafting them at every turn? The question is carefully addressed in this powerful study which explores a central part of the answer: the "security story" mixed with "raw tribalism," an amalgam with ancient vintage, commonly implemented in ways that gravely undermine security. Not for the first time in history—and as Mark Twain reminded us, while history doesn’t repeat, it rhymes. Sometimes ominously, sometimes with hope."

Noam Chomsky, author of Internationalism or Extinction

I have not seen this book, it just came out. As a fearologist, I see these kinds of titles of books and articles all the time, "conquering fear" or "going beyond fear" and so on, but I rarely find any good theorizing on the nature of fear, the problem of knowing fear itself (and 'fear' as a culturally modified fear) and thus, they usually are disappointing enterprises. But maybe someone will have a look at this book and report back to the FM ning on it. 

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Quantitative Data:

The basic summary of data of FM ning sign-ups (memberships) intrigues me, and shows, that after an initial 'burst' in 2015 when we started the FM ning and invited lots of people, then a drop, and finally a slow organic process of slight increase each year (with no membership drives being done) to a maximum (n =21) in 2018 for some reason? Then a slight decrease but holding to the levels of the initial year of opening the ning AND, most noticeable is that 2020 (especially in May, with effects of Covid-19 mounting, increasing fear in the world population collectively), indicating that the membership level (predictably) will reach well beyond 21 by the end of the year. Note: four new members signed-up in six days (May 16-22, 2020)--then two more signed-up by end of the month, this rate has never been even close to happening over the 5.5 yrs, except the week we started the FM ning... something is happening(?) that is unique... Now, I added another graph to show May sign-ups, and clearly, statistically, it is significant the correlation of "lockdown" (and pandemic) with the interest to sign-up to the FM ning. We ought not take this correlation lightly, and ask how we can work with this growing interest productively. 

Qualitative Data: 

I have not done any statistics on more subtle qualitative aspects of the growth and development of the FM ning. I would say that, I am very looking forward to a vast growth in the numbers and exchanges and actions taken by FM ning members in collaborations to improve the aims of which the FM ning was started in the beginning... please join in, and please invite others to join us too. May we learn great lessons from the Covid-19 global experience and advance fearlessness into the world like a 'fear' vaccine. 

 

 

 

 

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Fear Studies and Trauma Studies Link

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hATcs4Zpdqo to watch Thomas Hubl and Otto Sharmer in recent dialogue... 

I have always taught that the significant area of Fear Studies (include 'fear' studies) has to be linked to evolutionary theory, defense psychology theory (e.g., Freud's defense mechanisms, and Ernest Becker's views as well, as found in Terror Management Theory)--but my teaching has always been that why "fear" is so important (and often toxic) is because of humans being "hurt" (i.e., traumatized and not yet healed from past hurts). Hubl puts forward his 3 "Forces" (or "drives") in his own evolutionary theory of transformation, with the last one "trauma" being critically important, if not the most important to understand better than we usually do.  

 

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I have just published a new Tech Paper 94.pdf, "Dialogue Between Terror Management Theory and Fear Management Education" based upon my recent FearTalk 9 with guest Sheldon Solomon, one of the core founders of TMT and other materials in which we both are looking at how to bring our work together in a new synthesis. 

  1. R. Michael Fisher,[i] Ph.D.  2020       Technical Paper No. 94

                                                          Abstract

There’s something ‘wrong’ in the field of fear management, the author had expressed in his 2010 tome, The World’s Fearlessness Teachings. Using a transdisciplinary approach to fear and fearology, he has sought how best to engage other theories. Within philosophy of existentialism (a la Ernest Becker) and the applications to social psychology (empirical studies of human behavior via Pyszczynski et al.), he found their contributions on terror (fear) management intriguing. The author, a specialist in fear management/education (FME) has been citing and at times teaching about terror management theory (TMT) since the early 2000s. In 2007 he published his first attempt to integrate TMT through an “integral” lens, to serve as one way to up-grade what he saw as some of the weaknesses in TMT, even though he highly admires TMT. In 2020 he engaged in an in depth interview dialogue with Sheldon Solomon, one of the three core founders of TMT, and it is this Technical Paper No. 94 which offers an extensive transcript from this exchange. As well, the author includes a letter to Solomon on potential ways of upgrading TMT, especially as the world spins within the extraordinary challenges of the coronavirus epidemic and lots of death—never mind, the overall context of an Anthropocene era, which both Solomon and the author acknowledge and attempt to offer good FME.   

 

[i] Fisher is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, AB, Canada. He is an educator and fearologist and co-founder of In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and Research Institute (1991- ) and lead initiator of the Fearlessness Movement ning (2015- ). The Fearology Institute was created by him recently to teach international students about fearology as a legitimate field of studies and profession. He is also founder of the Center for Spiritual Inquiry & Integral Education and is Department Head at CSIIE of Integral & 'Fear' Studies. Fisher is an independent scholar, public intellectual and pedagogue, lecturer, author, consultant, researcher, coach, artist and Principal of his own company (http://loveandfearsolutions.com). He has four leading-edge books: The World’s Fearlessness Teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century (University Press of America/Rowman & Littlefield), Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue (Xlibris) and Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer (Peter Lang), Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues in applying the philosophy of fearism (Xlibris); India, a Nation of Fear and Prejudice (Xlibris); The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon (Peter Lang).  Currently, he is developing The Fearology Institute to teach courses. He can be reached at: r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com

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The Unseen Truth

 

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            This paper by Adhikari, displays Death as the ultimate invisible truth of Life. It draws forth the example of various characters and events on how Death has acted as the most powerful human agent to equalize all people, either the powerful or the powerless. It has made the link with the philosophers' principle of invisible truth of Plato, who draws the idea from Socrates. COVID-19 and its influence on virtually the entire world is taken as the example of fear functioning as the master of all humanity in the world. If outside visible things of the world are regarded as false, Death which is invisible, and hence the fear of death, is the final truth of externally unseen things.

Death which is invisible, and hence the fear of death, is the final truth of externally unseen things.   

Key Words: death, fear, COVID-19, mythology, Lord Krishna, Kamsa, images, shadows, traumatic, discourse

 

Bhawani Shankar Adhikari    

Introduction

Plato takes the discourse of Socrates' idea of invisible truth in the philosophical dispute. The external visible things are not truth and the real truth is unseen and in fact the fear of death is the real truth.  The word "fear" is the human instinct. It is linked with the psychological aspect of the individuals and the amount of fear differs person to person and society to society. It depends on the background of his or her upbringing. Science has created everything but it has not created to measure the exact amount of the individuals' fear as we take the temperature of the fever or the heat of the living creatures. But fear is the master of all. It has become the root cause of invention and the present civilization of the entire world. There is no place to hide the fear of the individuals and the extreme  and low forms of fear becomes detrimental all the time and only the medium fear becomes the true guiding principle in the better path of life. Sigmund Freud's concept of fear is concerned with the idea of the uncertainty. "The term fear, whose metapsychological status remains uncertain (Google, stark stein)" indicates that fear comes with uncertainty and Death itself is the matter of uncertainty but it is the truth of life.

Fear of Death is the ultimate and the greatest one in the life of not only human beings but also in the life of all living creatures. Man is always active and busy in life but when the inner truth of life is revealed to him or her, then everything becomes worthless, meaningless and the useless one. This inner truth of life is Death and it is always lurking behind us but we forget it and ignore it. We become unconscious about the reality of Death. When we become conscious about Death, then we scare too much about it. This is the invisible and unseen truth of life. The unseen truth to the fear of Death is the lack of consciousness and the knowledge.  Nepali thinker Mr. Desh Subba has presented the figure of fear in relation to consciousness and knowledge. "Life . . . consciousness . . . knowledge (Meaning) . . . fear . . . cognition (Subba)." It is obvious that fear does not come without the consciousness and the knowledge. Subba means that knowledge must be the knowledge of meaning. If a person does not have the knowledge of Cobra's poison containing the life taking strength, then the person does not get scared but when he knows about its danger or sees someone being passed away by the Cobra's bite, then the person is scared. Likewise when the person knows that he or she is suffering from the terminal cancer and he or she does not live long, then it is called the knowledge about his or her own Death. Then the person is scared much more. Can we call it the ultimate truth is the "Fear of Death"?  It is also because the Death is unseen and hidden and it becomes the most powerful force to lead the life and the entire world. In the absence of the fear, the whole universe can not function properly and in its system.

Fear in Hidden truth

The philosophers have done the research regarding the truth and the unseen power. Plato has drawn the allegorical concept of the reality and facts. Plato's "Allegory of Cave" is the philosophical principle of getting into the world of the truth. Plato's figure of the burning fire and the people of the den are watching the shades of the burning fire but they have not seen the real burning fire and they believe that the images of the fire of other sides' shadows are the truth. They trust in the false images as the ultimate truth but know nothing about the real truth. They are in the cave in ignorance. If anyone comes  out of the cave with knowledge and knows the truth, and if he comes back to the cave again and convinces the cave dwelling  people to know the truth, then the cave dwellers do not trust him or her. The cave dwellers do not want to come out of the cave. They do not know the invisible, unseen, and the ultimate truth. The real truth is hidden from the visible scenes of outside world. The allegory is explained:

Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all over their lives, facing a black wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners' reality. Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of the place do not even desire to leave their prison, for know no better life. The prisoners manage to break their bonds one day and discover that their reality was not what they thought it was. They discovered the sun, which Plato uses as an analogy for the fire that man can not see behind like the fire that cast light on the walls of the cave, the human condition is forever bound to the impressions that are received through the senses. (Plato Wikipedia)

This concept of Plato shows that what we see in the outside world with our senses is not the truth but only the images and shadows of the fire is the truth for the cave dwellers but the real truth is invisible and unseen. Our visible form of the world is just the shadows created by the light of the fire to the prisoners who are chained and can see the shadows on the opposite walls. When one of the prisoners comes out of the cave and learns the truth of outside by the knowledge and the learning and he goes back to the cave and tries to convince the prisoners but they do not believe in it. They are habituated to live in the cave and the truth is the truth of the images of the opposite wall created by the fire. So, truth is unseen from the eyes in the visible world. So is the case of the fear of the Death. The allegory of the cave is the lack of enlightens through the education and learning. We are all in the cave of the world because this world itself is the cave in a sense to those people who are without the knowledge of the truth. Man without of knowledge of the truth is in the condition of without knowing the fear of final truth of life.

Realization of Fear

Fear is all around the life of all the living beings but the function of fear depends on the condition and the situation when and where a person faces it in real life. A person thinks that the power holding people enjoy the life. The person believes that the king would be enjoying the life most but when these types of people receive the position of power and the responsibility, then they realize the real fear in life even with the power in their hands. The best example of it is found in The Greek Legend entitled "The Sword of Damocles". In this legend, the common person, Damocles believes that the king of Sicily, Dionysius enjoys the power most and Damocles flatters the king most to receive the position to enjoy. The king knows the truth and he decides to give the moral lesson to Damocles by making him the king temporarily in the banquet. Damocles is made the king and given him the due respect with the crown on his head but the "sword" was put hanging above his head tied by a single hair and Damocles had to taste the food every time. Then Damocles realized the real fear. It is narrated:

When the time of the banquet arrived next day, and the high born guests had all assembled, Damocles, clothed in royal robes, was bidden by the king to ascend the throne; and a golden crown was then placed upon his head, whilst all the guests were commanded to render him the same honour and deference as they would have done to Dionysius himself. . . . The heaviness of the crown soon made his head ache . . . it was somewhat irritating to have to await tasting of every dish offered to him by the royal tasters, for fear it might be poisoned . . . a keen edged naked sword suspended from the roof by a single hair exactly over his head . . . he would be instantly killed and filled with terror at the thought, he entreated the tyrant to permit him to take a lower seat at the board. (Nissani 51-52)

This extract displays that Damocles realized the truth of the fear of the Death only when he was made a king for the time being during the Royal Banquet but with the sword hanging over his head with a single hair and the fear of tasting the food and it might have been poisoned him too. The realization of true fear to Damocles came only when he was in the position under the sharpest sword over his head and it might have fallen at any time and killed him. If he was not placed him in such a position, he would not be in the situation of realization of fear and he would be forever in the condition of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Likewise the realization of fear of death comes only when the person knows his or her death is nearing him or her.  Fear is invisible and unseen but it is only felt and realized like the fear of corona virus pandemic.

Influence of fear in life

The role of fear is seen and felt only in the life of a person when he or she is the victim of fear. The psychological fear becomes much more powerful than only other kinds of the fear. When the fear exists in the inner voice, minds, and the soul of a person, then it can be seen in the visible form of a person. When the fear influences to the person, then he or she can lose the minds and he or she becomes the mental patient. When a person is entirely under the domination of fear, he or she goes in the traumatic condition. It becomes too complicated to bring him in the right and normal condition again. The fear makes the person abnormal and it does not have any kind of treatment system. So, fear is mainly concerned with psychology of a person. Too much fear troubles the person and he or she suffers too much and forgets him what he or she has done in the actual life.

The example of influence of fear in the life of Armando Gonzalez in a story from Puebla, Mexico entitled "Fear' is practically experienced. Armando was a poor man without home. He had saved fifty thousand pesos in twenty years of hard work and he went in the bank to withdraw the money to buy the house but he was scared of the crowd and he put his hate at the back side of his head. And everyone looked at him. He was afraid with everyone in the bank, in the bus and even with the three boy students and got out of the bus in the middle of the road and ran to the forest. He cried for help and the three boys followed him to help him what had happened to him but he thought they were the robbers. Armando was in tragic condition because of over influence of fear in that particular time. The last scene of his fear is expressed: "As Armando started to get up, the three boys came over a pile of metals pieces and approached him cautiously. He cried like a baby." Why do not you leave me alone? I earned all of this money through hard work! (Lohani 43)". This extract shows that fear of being away from getting his money robbed from the robbers victimizes Armando Gonzalez and his mental condition of fear changed him into a baby like situation and he cries like a baby and requests the three boys to leave him. Armando has experienced the real fear in his life.

Another real fear and its influences are found in the life of Kamsa in Krishna Leela.  The saint's prophecy was that the eighth son of Kamsa's sister, Dewaki, would kill him and Kamsa put his sister, Dewaki and her husband, Bashudev, in the prison from the day of their wedding and went on killing her babies up to the six sons but Balaram and Krishna were saved. They were brothers. They were reared in Gokula in the house of Yasodha and Nandalal. Then the evil king, Kamsa of Mathura, sent the numbers of monsters to kill Krishna but they were killed one by one by Krishna since he was the incarnation of Lord Krishna to free the people from injustice on the Earth. The Kamsa was much more scared and psychologically he was disordered. He did not get sleep. He was surprised with the news of Krishna. He had put even his own father in the prison. He was scared of his own life. He did not want to die. But he made a conspiracy and brought Krishna and his brother Balaram in the palace of Kamsa in Mathura to kill them but Krishna killed Kamsa. His murder is narrated:

There is a mention of the event in the Padma Puran, one of the ancient Puranas of Hindu mythologies. Kamsa was the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna who swore to kill Lord Krishna because according to a prophecy, Lord Krishna would kill him otherwise. Kamsa was a very cruel person and germinated fear in human hearts by his nefarious ways. In fact the Tilla where Krishna killed Kamsa is called the Kamsa Tilla. Krishna pulled Kamsa off his throne as he pulled him by the hair. (Google)

Why Kamsa does all the evil activities from the beginning to the end of his life is because of the fear of Death of him from Lord Krishna. His best friend, Bashudev, who becomes the brother- in- law as soon as he gets married with Dewaki also becomes the problem in Kamsa's life. Kamsa does not want to die. All the evil and cruel activities that the king of Mathura, Kamsa, performs from the fear of the Death and he does not want to die from the hand of the Lord Krishna and the fear of death is the invisible truth.

COVID-19's Fear

            Fear is concerned with the security of life. People scare of losing their life and they do whatever the ways they can do to save the life from the Death. Corona virus got started in China on 31 December 2019 and "The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020. On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new Corona virus disease: COVID-19 (Google)".

World Health Organization's idea is to lockdown the countries to minimize the spread of Corona virus in the world. To lockdown the countries and to stay home with the principle of social distancing is nothing more than the fear of Death. The whole world has come to the position of stand still by the fear of Death. What can be more powerful and fearful except the Death? The fear of Death from Corona virus has brought the entire world in this position and the Death is unknown to humans and people become busy to move ahead in the day to day life. If he/she knows the time of Death, then he/she stops doing anything in life. The fears are of multiple types but the fear of Death is the complicated one. It is stated:

Thanatophobia, of fear of Death, is a relatively complicated phobia. Many, if not most, people are afraid of dying. Some people fear being dead, while others are afraid of the actual act of dying . . . . Many people's fear of Death is tied to their religious belief . . . . Some people think that they know what will happen after Death; but worry that they may be wrong. Some believe that the path to salvation is very straight and narrow, and fear that any deviation or mistakes may cause then to be eternally condemned . . . . Thanatophobia may also have roots in fears of the unknown.(Fritscher Google)

            This article displays that people scare the unknown and in fact that unknown is nothing other than the "Death". Whatever the types of the fear it may be, it is concerned with "Death". Fear of religion, fear of scarcity, fear of any types of weapons, fear of journey, fear of animals and creatures and any types of fear that humans have is directly or indirectly linked with "Death". So the ultimate truth of unseen fear is the fear of "Death".

Death is unknown to man. The person does not know how long he lives and when he dies. So, the truth is that the "Death" is unknown and hidden from the minds of the people. Leo Tolstoy has presented this concept in his story "What men live by". A man was ordering the shoes that would last long but the shoe maker started making slippers. Later the shoe maker was reported that the man had died and he needed the slippers to put on his coffin. And the shoe- maker provided to the messenger of the dead person the same slippers which he had made before. "What dwells in man? What is not given to man? And what men live by? (Google Tolstoy)" are the three questions asked to find the right answers.

"What is not given to man" is the right question to know the fact that man is not given to know his own death. It is beyond the idea of his ability to find out his death. It is hidden and no one knows when and how his Death comes to take his life. If a man knows about his own Death, then he stops every thing that he is doing what it is supposed to do in life. Hence, the Death is hidden in reality and it is the truth of getting scared of. The visible reality is false as Socrates and Plato have argued in their philosophical discourse. Something invisible truth of fear is the fear of Death.

Conclusion

            Death is the agent of equalizer to all either it is ruler or the ruled ones. The Death does not respect the rich and neither hates the poor. The fear of Death is found in the life of all humans, animals, and the creatures. The fear of Death is the invisible truth to all. The amount of fear depends on the situation and the events in person to person but no one is immune from the fear of Death. Even if we ignore the fear of Death in our youth, we cannot do so when the Death comes near to the person. Death is always lurking behind us and we are not aware of it but when we become aware of it, we become helpless. COVID-19th lockdown in the entire world is the real fear of Death. Hence the fear of Death exists just like the fear of Corona virus which is not seen but only felt and realized by all the humans of the world as a real truth.     

Bhawani Shankar Adhikari                    

English lecturer, Balmeeki Campus, Kathmandu

Nepal Sanskrit University, Nepal    

Works Cited

Fritscher, Lisa. Thanatophobia Diagnosis and Treatment: Fear of Death. Google. https://www.verywellmind.com>Thanatophobia. Wave.

Google. https://www.who.int>diseases>org.

Google. Starksteins. Sigmund Freud and the Psycho analytical concept of Fear and Aniety. https://link.springer.com.

Google. www.https://m. dailyhunt.in>india>ore. wave.

Lohani,Shreedhar p and etal.the Magic of words. M.K. Publishers & Distributers, Bhotahity, Kathmandu. 2000. Print.

Nissani, Moti and Shreedhar Lohani. Flax-Golden Tales: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Learning English.Ekta Bookss, Kathmandu, Nepal. 2008. Print.

Plato. Allegory of Cave. Google. Www. https://en.m.wikipedia.org. Wave.

Subba, Desh. Philosophy of  Fearism: Life is Conducted, Directed and Controlled by the fear. Xbris. 2014. Print.

Tolstoy, Leo. What men Live by? https://en.m.wikipedia.org

 

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Dr. Bruck Liption, a cell-biologist and spiritual philosopher, offers his latest 10 min. video on the coronavirus (Covid-19) 'flu' problem in the world right now and he has strong statements about the nature and role of fear in this pandemic and quarantine. The first few minutes of the video he teaches about the immunological perspective. 

"Fear" is the "biggest problem" in terms of where this virus pandemic is, is going, and will continue to go. That's his view. I tend to agree. I have always respected Lipton's research and teachings going back into the early 1990s and he has always had interesting theories about "fear"... that said, I do not agree with everything he says. I'll leave it up to readers of the FM ning to discuss this and/or ask me about my critiques, at this point. 

Lipton starts the video off with "Stop the fear, take care of yourself." -- and, of course, that can mean a whole lot of things, including, how do we best define what fear is, and what if we do not know completely what it is and there are unconscious fear aspects that are affecting everything as well related to Covid-19 reactionary actions (?)... Lipton assumes we already know everything we need to know about fear, and he does his "scientist" thing in the video ... 

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First Principle: Not Reducing Fear

Thank you Piergiacomo severini for an initial response to my question re: the philosophical discussion of Hobbes, and the nature and role of fear, and other things, that has been going on the FM ning of late. There are several things we could discuss from Piergiacomo's Comment. I offer a group of us take this on to respond to him. 

I will start this thread by saying Piergiacomo offers something like a first principle on the contemporary philosophy of fear, and it is a cautionary: to avoid in most cases to reduce fear by definition, by meaning, by application to phenomenon.

This principle would overcome the problems of reductionism that methodologically (e.g., epistemologically) have a history. Reductionism is indeed, in my view one of the great forces (patterns), and habits, of a particular mindset, worldview, values sytem, beliefs, whereby a complex phenomenon is reduced (overly) to a simple phenomenon. And, my research shows that "fear" is particularly susceptible to this reductionism in our past as a species and currently this still predominates. However, there are some good signs that things are changing a bit in the direction of giving fear its due conceptual, theoretical and philosophical regard so as to avoid reductionism and critique reductionism of fear when it occurs. I would like FM ning members to give this all a good consideration and offer your views and knowledge about this topic. Who are good thinkers we could follow in this regard, be they philosophical sources, or otherwise. 

The very positing of a first principle of non-reductionism of fear is at the basis of my own research on fear and fearlessness. I have gone so far as to suggest that ultimately we have to be more interdisciplinary in our discussions about fear and beyond even that, we ought to be more transdisciplinary (e.g., you can read my work on justifying this principle and direction via my writing on the 'Fear' Project, 'Fear' Studies, on fearology (and fearism), fearanalysis, and fearlessness, for starters. My use of the term 'fear' (with the ' marks) is one of a rare exploration on the topic of fear, and I believe offers a sign of resistance to the hegemony of reductionism of fear, amongst other things. My view is thus constructed on an emancipatory knowledge and methodological basis, not merely a functionalist-pragmatic one. 

I look forward to hearing more on this topic, and I do not expect that it has to be a discussion all about my initiatives. 

I also think there are many things in Piergiacomo's Comment(s), and others here, that could be explored and questioned. 

 

 

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Hey, all you bright philosopher types... could any of you give a summary (synopsis) from your Discussions (in Comments) here, based around Subba's blog on Hobbes,--in terms of how your discussions might be related to the Fearlessness Movement? I'm curious... and maybe the other people in the FM ning community could relate and join in responding IF you could give us some other angles to work with... on what is important to your thinking projects. 

p.s. I appreciate you being so engaged on the FM ning, and bringing some spirited life to the FM ning... 

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International Journal of Fear Studies

Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Approaches

 

Call for Papers and Creative Submissions:

Theme ISSUE: “Living and Learning in Pandemic Times”

 Submissions Due Aug. 1, 2020 for the 4th issue of IFJS.

 Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic dynamics have really changed our lives. What are we learning in this context of such pervasive fear... and more...? Are there better ways to handle all this?   

 IJFS offers space to share the kinds of work (theoretical or practical, complete or incomplete) you are doing on fear that deserves international recognition. The primary criteria is that works have an interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary approach, while at the same time are progressive and open-minded works that instigate insight, healing, liberation, creative thinking, critique, and synthesis. IJFS uniquely offers a much called for place to focus on fear as a subject matter as no other journal to date.

 All authors retain copyright of their works published in IJFS. The journal will consider re-published submissions as long as copyright approval has been made. This peer reviewed journal is published bi-annually, at minimum, with final editing by Dr. R. M. Fisher (Senior Editor).

 Articles and creative submissions may include large technical and philosophical works, research studies and results, essays, opinions, poetry and other art forms, etc. You are welcome to send a proposal for feedback ahead of time to the editor (r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com). Otherwise, send completed work. Citations of references are essential in papers where appropriate and should follow a standard style format (e.g., Chicago, APA, Harvard, etc.) to avoid any copyright violations. Creative style formats are welcome but require a rationale for any such deviations from standard formats. There is no word-length requirements of submissions. If all goes well the 4th journal issue will be published in early Sept. 2020.

 Dr. R. Michael Fisher[1], Ph.D., founder/editor of IJFS, developed this on-line journal to promote academic scholarship, professional explorations and popular educational, activist and creative works for a variety of serious readers interested in fresh thinking and ideas about the nature and role of fear in societies.

Issue archive links:

1st issue https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/110106

2nd issue https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/111125

3rd issue https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/111681

 To serve on the Editorial Board (and/or be a Reviewer) make your interest known to Dr. Fisher as soon as possible. Archived editions are available in an open-access pdf format and housed at the University of Calgary Library on PRISM for international access on research search engines. On average 200 downloads/views internationally are made of each issue. In addition, each article has separate download/views statistics.

A journal that operates in the gift economy-- gift donations to IFJS are most welcome, please contact R. M. Fisher.

[1] CV available on request. Dr. Fisher is an independent scholar, educator, fearologist with many publications available on Google Scholar. See his Youtube channel for more of his views: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC01OHEXhSuxnyilmkV0f95A

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This is the inside book cover (from the publisher, Oxford University Press, NY, 2004). Author: Corey Robin, "Fear: The History of a Political Idea". 

I share this with you all discussing Hobbes, and philosophical history issues re: passions, emotions, fear, etc. I appreciate the erudite philosophical wonderings you are all offering there in the FM ning. If I had time I'd join in more, but I have a book ms. needing to be completed. Just to say, I have not studied philosophy like many of you in this discussion, but I browse bits from it, and travel across multiple disciplines to gather my views on "fear" in history etc. What intrigued me so much about Robin (2004) was that he is he first author in history of thought, that I know of, to re-frame "fear" as a discourse into an "idea"-- and that changes everything from the total focus on fear as feeling, emotion, etc. His writing on Hobbes (Part 1, pp. 27-50) is something I have read several times over the years, to glean my understanding... some of you may want to check out this reference, if you haven't already. (Note: I also don't agree with all of Robin's approach to fear, either). 

 

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Political Fearism                                                                                                                                                                 -                                                                        

 4284028392?profile=RESIZE_710x"Father of political science Thomas Hobbes and fear were born twins, they lived together and died together." 

"A man is by birth rational and fearful animal, life is process of fearless."

 After reading a quote of Hobbes, I started to think his philosophy in fearism perspective. I have given its name Fearolotical (Fear+Political=Fearolotical). Simple logic behind it is; fear precedes politic.

Character of the state of nature is Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, short, no preservation, war, threatening, warning, danger, death, killing, violence, insecure=fear 

Character of the state of sovereignty is government, institution, power, court, law, justice, prison, punishment, command, authority, order, preservation, force=fearless 


.A man, government, or institution starts when switch on (fear on). Appearance of fear is a silent in Hobbes's entire philosophy, not visible but active like under eraser of Derrida. He says, "Liberty is in silence of law ". (Hobbes146) I say, "Law wakes up; when fear rings bell.-" Fear is gravity and motion, fear (>) is greater than (<) other emotions. It can be scientific and mathematically explained because Hobbes preferred scientific presentation. So, our motions (life) move towards fearless. In below  images, fear and fearless activities are motion of fear-gravity. The state of nature was between two fears as sandwich (before coinage and after avoiding).
 

Political philosophy (Fear+Political=Fearolotical) philosophy can be understood exclusively (Hobbes) of Thomas Hobbes was born because of fear (state of nature and civil war of England). According to him, the nature of man was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short (Hobbes 83-84). His famous quotation was he was born twins with fear. He was not only born twins with fear; he was lived with fear and died with fear. He had preferred absolute monarchy; it was his best system to preserve live. Core part of whole philosophy is in the heart of preservation. Again, preservation can be defined as binary of fear. It means he had feared all the time. No preservation, war, threatening, warning, danger, death, killing, violence, and insecure were to fear. In the state of nature man had special character that was rational. Using his distinct attribute, he avoided the state of nature. 

Preservation, protection and secure was his priority. We can read it starting to the end of The Leviathan. It looks common for all the people; as a Fearism author, I look everything; life to cosmos in Fearism perspective.

It is obvious that since the beginning of his life, fear had great role. Prior to the civil war of England, he guessed that the situation was worsening. It was the Fear of unknown happening, thus he left England and lived in Paris. Though in Paris; fear was chasing him all the way of his life. It couldn't detach from body, it was the shadow of life. He was looking external solution, but it was dwelled within him. 

He exiled himself in 1640 and wrote the Leviathan when he was in Paris. He thought, the accident of Socrates might repeat to him. Same phenomena were happened to Aristotle 323 B. C. such chaotic and fearful situation played major role in his thinking. Hobbes applied fearful life, and environmental fact in fearolotical philosophy to draw people's attention. He wanted to make scientific laws like law of gravity and motion. Law of gravity is the law of fear. How much magnetic power fear had; nothing had in comparison to fear. Every compass of life was attracted by fear (magnetic fear). Omitting the fear from the state; state would be paralyzed. It proves that state of gravity was the fear. Fear had the powerful magnetic and hypnotized power. One needle of fear was towards him and he wanted to turn out that needle to the political direction. His political direction was the political science. This political science is what I called 'Fearoloticalogy'. 

A man used his reason to avoid the state of nature. He explored and found the law of divine and law of man. He mixed up both and developed political science. In the round figure, political theory of Hobbes is a theory of fear and fearless. It is an image of his state and he writes about state as: 4284497718?profile=RESIZE_710x

  1. The old poet said that the gods were at first created by human fear :( Hobbes 72)

 -"The gods were at first created by human fear. "The old poet is very true. In philosophy of  Fearism (2014) I have written god is a fear. In the state of nature, there was nothing except fears of starvation, animals, and natural powers. These calamities were risk of life. So, they started to worship them as a god. After many years, people began to fear with them, which they established.                                                                                                           

 A man, who looks too far before him, in the care of future time, hath his heart all day long, gnawed on by fear of death, poverty, or other calamity; and has no repose, nor pause of his anxiety, but in sleep.(ibid 72)

 -Fear of death, evil, poverty, or other calamity is the bottom line of a man. For being that there be caused of all things that have arrived hitherto or shall arrive hereafter; are cause of fears.

 Hereby it is manifested, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, and they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man against every man. (ibid 83-84)

 -"They were in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man against every man." It is famous dictum of Hobbes in 17th century; it is very practical hitherto now. It was that time men lived without a common power to keep them all in awe. In normal condition, we seek friends, relatives, when abnormal situation appears, all goes to deem and self – preservation comes forward. It happens when food becomes shortage like shortage of mask and sanitizer nowadays. In the state of nature, nobody had food store. It was the reason; war was  against of every man. In the fearism it is written, man has stronger war than dog that fights for the bone. Man's fear struggle is more danger than animal because man can use rational, nepotism, bribes, conspiracy, flatter and force. 

4284522799?profile=RESIZE_710xTHE RIGHT OF NATURE, which writers commonly call just naturale, is the liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life, and consequently, of doing anything, which in his own judgment, and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto. (ibid 86)

 -For the preservation the right of nature of a man; that is to say, of his own life; and consequence.

 A LAW OF NATURE, (lex naturalis) is a percept, or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved. (ibid 86)

 -A law of nature, which is forbidden to do, that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same, so he wanted to avoid it because he didn't see any preservation there. Omit, that, by which he thought it may be best preserved. It was the thinking of Hobbes.

 The mutual transferring of right is that which men call CONTRACT. ((ibid 89)

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 -At last the nature of state reached to the position of  CONTRACT. It was the mutual transferring of right to save the life. According to Hobbes, the best solution and option to exit from the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short was contract.

 Good and evil, are names that signify our appetites, and aversions. (ibid 105)

 -Appetites, and aversions is also famous dictum of Hobbes. Appetite was the prime reason of war. Limited food couldn't fulfill the appetite, to find more; needed to invade others. No one could sit silent; their appetite didn't let a man sit in rest and peace because if it didn't fulfill, chances would be to lose the life. Increasing appetite was the caused to make enemies. A man was always sandwich between fear of being hungry and fear of enemy. How to do the best to preserve life? It was the final cause. Aversion was secondary action. If a man didn't like or fear, he had a way of aversion. In some case, a fear chases a man.

 If they think good, to a monarch, as absolutely, as to any other representative. (ibid 123)

 -In concept of Hobbes; he mentioned absolute monarch is the best political system. Absolute monarch can secure life better way than assemble.

 And thus I have brought to end my Discourse of Civil and Ecclesiastical Government, occasioned by the disorders of the present time, without partiality, without application, and without order design than to set before man's eyes the mutual relation between protection and obedience; of which the condition of human nature, and the law of divine, (both natural and positive) require an inviolable observation. (ibid475)4284544948?profile=RESIZE_710x

 -At the end Hobbes in his Fearolotical philosophy; Discourse of Civil and Ecclesiastical Government, he focused in the mutual relation between protection and obedience. Base of his state was the protection; it was in first priority. Outstanding were supportive to the protection.

Conclusion

It shows that man abandoned the state of nature because of many problems and fears. He made social contract, in the contract; it is doctrine that; sovereignty may be assembly, absolute monarchy and institution. To sovereignty, through the contract, he gave all his natural right except self – preservation. In the state of nature, self-preservation was in danger; so, he left it. If preservation was danger in state, he could revolt against the government because this right was not handed over to the state. At any cost and at any means preservation was the most important. If no life everything would be useless. To avoid the fear of the state of nature; he created artificial social contract and handed over to absolutely power (monarchy, government and commonwealth).Entire political philosophy of Hobbes wandered around the hide and seek of fear and fearless. Not only his theory; theory of John Locke, J.J. Rousseau, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Karl Marx is also in the periphery of fear, but it is veil. A man is by birth rational and fearful animal. For  any kinds of contract there was a hidden fear. The state of nature was the state of fear for a man because a man was by birth rational and fearful. He had a great war against his fears rather than his enemy. A man lived with external and internal fears; he had war against his fears all the time. It was known as fear struggle in the history of fearism.

 What was the incident Hobbes wanted to avoid the state of nature, pin point was fear. Cruel civil war he faced and it stroke him. He has taken the state of nature as its backbone. His state of nature is hard liner, Locke softer and the Rousseau the softest. After reading him and sharing experience, we can say, a man by birth is fearful animal and life is the process of fearless. Political Fearism is a faculty of Philosophy of Fearism.

He has long reference about Bible and explanation in the last chapters. His advocating was the absolute monarchy. He had good relationship with royal families. Hobbes was against power division. He argued share power means share punishment, reward and law. It developed powerless sovereignty. As consequence; it could beget unhealthy society. He followed the absolute power system of God. God never shared his power that was the reason; everyone followed him because everyone got terrified with him. One point was mismatching; in the kingdom of a man, people can revolt the government if danger comes for the preservation but it was impossible in the kingdom of the God.

 It is an example article of Rephilosophy. In Philosophy of Fearism (2014), I have used Dephilosophy; now using Rephilosophy. Dephilosophy needs to deconstruct first but in rephilosophy, it doesn't require. It can be directly rephilosophy means rethink or reanalyze.

 (I have taken reference from book of Thomas Hobbes the Leviathan. In the article I have shown the fearism effect on his political theory and invisible fear was the important to invent political science.)4284650814?profile=RESIZE_710x

This article is edited by David Nwaobi, Osinakachi Akuma Kalu, Bhawani Shankar Adhikary and Rachelle Roberthon Favaloro.

Reference

  1. Thomas Hobbes Leviathan Oxford World's Classics Edited with an introduction and noted by J.C.A.Gaskin1996 (Mostly I have taken reference from it.)
  2. DeshSubba, Philosophy of Fearism (2014)  Xlibris
  3. https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/existence-of-fear-precedes-essence-desh-subba
  4. https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/knowledge-is-fear-existence-of-fear-precedes-power-is-death-of-fe
  5. https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/111138
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxEZukcNidM 
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