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Feariatry: Psychiatry in a Critical New Key

FEARIATRY, is a play from the book of "psychiatry"--as an overt word-game and conceptual connection between the two. "Feariatry" first coined by Desh Subba, the founder of philosophy of Fearism (see his 2014 classic book), knew on the one hand exactly what he was expressing with this 'call' to begin a new theory, study and practice of feariatry that would complement, if not some day replace, psychiatry as we know it. On the other hand, he did not know what feariatry would actually shape out like, and he wasn't going to lead that formation.

Subba is no psychiatrist or psychologist, and this raises the question: Who is he to be so rebelliously confident that the entire domain of psychology and psychiatry need to change?--and more so, need to transform their very identity and ways. It's a grand sweeping gesture for anyone to make. I loved it when I read it and had already intuited in my own work on fear and fearlessness that, indeed, there was something fundamentally wrong with these two fields and the BioMedical Paradigm they rely on, that is, if we ever want to truly have liberated humans and societies on this planet. Like Subba (and others), I was a quiet advocate for years to revision psychiatry and psychology--as they are accepted legitimate in the mainstream and by the State. In fact, they are 'the State' and its long-arm of intervention into how human beings 'should be' and how they should be fixed when they are no longer 'normal' (i.e., how they should be). This for me, is a very contested territory, and reaks with ideologies of "normal" and the control systems to maintain such. Yes, a politics of psychiatry and psychology cannot be ignored, in our search to better understand human behavior, etc. 

I encourage people to read the reasons for Subba (2014) making the claim for a lot of changes in concepts, fields of inquiry and disciplines because of his discovery of the core nature and role of fear in life and human life in particular. Philosophy of Fearism was his beginning articulation of that primacy of "fear" and the valuation imperative that discovering fear as such one ought to revise everything--even change our language which has gone away from acknowledging this primacy of fear (e.g., see also the fearist Samuel Gillian's (2002, 2005) work on this loss of fear from the English language as a cover-up of distortion due to mind conditioning, propaganda and ideologies). The primacy of fear is the central philosophical and theoretical driver behind Subba, and myself, and our work in fear management/education. 

BACK TO SUBBA and a fearism perspective (a fearist lens)--and, one now is reconfiguring psychiatry and psychology--based on the fear findings. It is a new awareness, a new paradigm of fear, that is being 'called' to bring about a better (hypothetically) psychiatry and psychology to the 21st century. I have totally got on board with this project too. FEARIATRY is particularly intriguing to me. You may search that term in the upper right box of the FM ning and you'll see some of my posts on feariatry over the years. 

BACK TO PSYCHOANALYSIS--AND OTTO RANK (a post-Freudian psychoanalyst and theorist)-- as I have always liked Otto Rank since my reading of his work in the early 1980s, and off and on, I am now reading his 1941 book "Beyond Psychology" (also once named, in the text "beyond individual psychology"--but he also meant beyond social psychology as well)-- the Preface and first chapter pages of this book are intriguing. I kept writing in the margins just tonight that "this sounds like a good place to start a theory of feariatry" --and so on. Indeed, I find a good deal of his thought, experience and theorizing fascinating as grounds for a fearist-revisionist accounting of what psychiatry and psychology need to change. I will do another blogpost on this soon, but just wanted to give you all a heads-up, and to get you maybe starting to think about Feariatry with some seriousness--as it is one of the least developed paths/areas/pillars under the Philosophy of Fearism and Fearology trajectory (i.e., Subba-Fisher's work)...

A small hint: Rank is very big on bringing back to center (or at least to 'balance') "irrational" [1] along with "rational"--and, he believes that is the only way to human health, sanity and a good life worth living. He is a psychoanalyst who actually undermines psychoanalysis (and psychology generally) by the time he wrote this last very honest and penetrating critique in 1941--his last book before he died. For me, I see his 'call' for "beyond psychology" as exactly a route to foreshadowing a "feariatry" (and fearanalysis), etc. But Rank saw through this problem, and named "fear" and "fearless" as key players in his revisioning--so that very much excites me. Again, I'll write out more and cite his work in another blog soon. 

 

 End Note

1. By "irrational" he means just the same as "the natural" (e.g., "natural self"); in my theorizing, with my partner Dr. Barbara Bickel, we often call this "arational." 

 

 

 

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Simple question

i, would simply like to know the pratical applications of the Fearlessness Movement. Yes, i, am reading and researching, but i, must admit the practicality has eluded me. A little help please.

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I'm so glad Dr. Mate' has his priorities right! He has seen "fearless" self-inquiry, individually and collectively as essential to overcoming the massive distortions of reality going on that are costing us our existence here on planet earth. If so many millions continue to buy his books and listen to his talks, as he is a 'guru' today in popular media and talk shows... may they all take a listen to this quote he ends his book with--as he sets out a vision for positive change. The "fearless" propositionhe calls for in this book is of course 'not normal' at all--not when we are talking about an authentic fearless self-inquiry not some superficial or romantic, bravado or be courageous or let's all just love each other and things will be better. Mate' is pointing towards so much more--and wiser truths. Yet, unfortunately, he doesn't philosophize on fear itself, a common error of teachers of all kinds. How will we understand fearless(ness) if we don't fully understand fear? 

BTW, those who, like Mate' are very familiar with AA's 12 Steps, will note that the "fearless self-inquiry" above spoken by Mate' is an echo of AA's Step 4: 

Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous encourages one to make, “A searching and fearless moral inventory” of themselves. In effect, this step is designed to help those struggling with addiction examine their character and behaviors. Through the process of discovering the true nature of personal character, a participant learns to understand identify the weaknesses that may have helped contribute to alcohol addiction. When one identifies these weaknesses, it allows them to begin to formulate plans to overcome them and changes their habits in the future. As one might expect, searching yourself so intimately can be a deeply uncomfortable and challenging endeavor. Luckily, there are processes for practicing Step 4 of AA.

His new book "The Myth of Normal" published in 2022 with his son Daniel Mate' as secondary author [erratum: not "2020 New Book" in the poster above, it is 2022]

 

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Love conquers fear

Experience has shown that many of the strong men who have fallen, were as the results of love and not fear.

It is only love that can conquer fear. The Fear-force is strong, but the Love -force is stronger.10865495098?profile=RESIZE_710x

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Fisher's Fear Management Theory (FMT): Video

For a short summary of my FEAR MANAGEMENT THEORY (FMT) see my youtube video just published: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Na-4iuR7w

Dr. R. Michael Fisher, fearologist-educator-researcher, is a Canadian independent scholar since 1989. He has constructed in this video the Presuppositions and Theory aspects for what he calls Fear Management Theory and spins it in and out of some aspects of Terror Management Theory (based on other researchers and theorists in social psychology). For those keen on theory, and implications for policy, philosophy, and other aspects of a good social life, this is a great short summary of Fisher's theory (still in progress and still requiring a lot more "testing" for validity). Fisher ultimately wishes to work with TMT researchers/theorists and combine the theories to create a potent re-education of human beings. No small task.

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  1. 10847262466?profile=RESIZE_710x1. The only true religion is love for all beings. – Michael Eneyo.

2. Religion doesn’t necessarily make somebody a good person. It only makes you to be committed to what you believe in. What makes you a good person is being a good moral agent. Being a good moral being is more honorable than being a religious . – Michael Eneyo.

3 If you kill or fight a fellow human being because he is not of your religion, then religion has become the reason for division instead of unity. The aim of religion is to unite and not to divide. – Michael Eneyo.

4. If religion should make you hate your fellow human being, then staying without a religion will be a true religion. – Michael Eneyo.

5. If all religion worshippers are sincere and also respect the tenet of religion, they will adopt only one doctrine; the doctrine of love for all. Then a Muslim will freely worship in a Christian church and a Christian in the Hindu temple in their own unique way without conflict, since they are practicing the same doctrine of love. – Michael Eneyo.

6. Wearing of suit or jacket is not a criterion to becoming a true pastor or a born again. Even Jesus Christ didn’t abandon his native way of dressing. Our traditional wears are good enough for preaching. It’s high time we stop acting the western script of dressing in the name of religion. Be a true African even on pulpit. – Michael Eneyo.

7. When you go for offering in the church, you search for the lowest denomination of money as offering to the Lord, but when you pray for money from God, you ask him to surprise you with millions in dollar. Let your conscience be a judge between you and God. – Michael Eneyo.

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Review of book, by R. Michael Fisher, Philosophy of Fearism: A Primer, published by Xlibris, 2022.

Nicola Tenerelli

Università degli Studi Aldo Moro, Bari

www.nicolatenerelli.it

 "The problem is not the fact of dying, but the Fear of Death, that feeling that so disturbs us and prevents us from achieving inner serenity. How to fight it? Epicurus' solution is this: When there is us, there is no death. And vice versa." (Epistle to Meneceus, 124-127)

"We could say that this book is the Manifesto of Fearology." -N. Tenerelli

The philosopher of Samos took refuge in ataraxia, but his answer highlighted his awareness: the real human dilemma is the problem of Fear, which is more important than death.

We can say that if there is phobos, there is no logos; in the presence of Fear, full rationality is lost, so it is impossible to give an ultimate answer.

Answering the question what is Fear? is in itself an exhaustive operation, a philosophical question.

That is why the question what is Fear is among the first questions a human being asks - right after the fateful one: why is there Being and not rather nothingness? -.

The question what is Fear is both theoretical and practical; it represents the meeting point between utilitarian rationality and primordial sentiment. For Severino (1929-2020), philosophy stems from ancestral Fear (thauma): if we could know what Fear is, we could know Being: if we could answer - what is Fear? - philosophy would not exist.

Philosophical thought has always moved on the boundary between the known and the hidden, and it has always sought to erode this seemingly insurmountable limit. Every revealed truth (aletheia) is once again hidden, veiled twice: re-veiled, in effect!

In Heideggerian terms, the gap between what a human knows and what he can never know must be maintained so that Being is preserved: so he does not fall into nihilism - the claim to be able to discover the truth conceals the will to nullify Being -.

Firstly, the question what is Fear is a foundational question because it relates the subject to its deepest interiority.

Secondly, just as importantly, the incommensurability of the question - what is Fear - relaunches philosophy, both because it shows that philosophical thought is indispensable and because it gives meaning to the limited existence of human beings and their desire to improve.

  1. Michael Fisher is a thinker who has devoted all his studies expressly to the subject of Fear, author of the essay Philosophy of Fearism. A primer, published by Xlibris; this volume is intended to introduce even non-specialists in the discipline to this field of philosophy that arose - a further merit of Fisher's - outside institutional and academic circles.

The essay is a presentation of the Philosophy of Fearism and its disseminators; R. Michael Fisher, a Canadian, is the most authoritative representative of this philosophical current; other philosophers of Fearism, the Nepalese Desh Subba and the New Yorker Samuel Nathan Gillian Jr. (1939-2016), all of whom were fellow travellers encountered by chance during their decades of study, are mentioned in the essay.We could say that this book is the Manifesto of Fearology. Evidence of this is the subtitle, Primer, which also implies the first coat of paint that is applied to the canvas to prepare it for painting - let us not forget that Fisher is an artist.

 "Glossaries in fearist books are unsystematic, although useful — but, for research purposes there is not yet enough conformity to know exactly what is what in the whole domain of terms and concepts and theories under the umbrella of a philosophy of Fearism. With this caveat in mind, the reader is advised to not become overly concerned about all the technical terms right away and also not to try to change them, without spending a good amount of time studying the philosophy of Fearism. It may take years to really get the feel for what this philosophy is all about." (p. 50)

 We are obviously dealing with a philosophical text, so no one expects an easy read, but Fisher has propped up his essay with a series of twenty-one Frequently Asked Questions to answer what Fearism is and help the reader who wants to approach this study.

Fisher wants to make it clear, above all, that the Philosophy of Fear is not a utilitarian theory and does not intend to offer a recipe that will free people from such a strenuous feeling/research.

Furthermore, the proposed (Fearism) Philosophy of Fear is not a substitute for abstract existentialism because, on the contrary, it originates as a real need of the philosopher.

In the text, some of the necessary prerequisites for approaching the Philosophy of Fear are suggested:

- need to be humble when it is appropriate to learn something 'new' from everyone;

-  need to study current theories in order to understand that this is a social philosophy that requires disciplined enquiry and research-based focus,

- need a maturity beyond one's own selfish needs, and, subsequently, an engagement with the community of other fearists;

- need to know methods/techniques derived from theories that enfold themselves with this philosophy;

- need to take risks and be honest intellectually.

The 'risk' that Fisher speaks of is the one that all intellectuals incur: studying a lot and always feeling dissatisfied; not being considered by a social system that favours telegenic faces and monetisable ideas.

The reader, however, can be assured that the study of Fear can lead every human beyond his/her inner boundaries.

 "Fear is a mystery. It is as vast as the universe... It constitutes an impact on human tendency, action, and activities. Human activities done knowingly and unknowingly are heading towards it... The fearist perspective is a new dimension to look at life and the world... The purpose behind fearism [and fearists’ work] is to conduct continuous research, investigation, and invention in order to make life more comfortable." (quoting Desh Subba in Fisher's Introduction, p. 1)  

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12 OF THE MICHAEL ENEYO'S QUOTES ON PERSONAL ETHICS AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LIFE (From the Eneyo's quotes diary)

1. The essence of wealth is not to make a name, but to make life, and not to build an empire but to spread love. – Michael Eneyo.

2. You are too unique and precious to be rubbished by someone who don’t have respect for human dignity. There are people you shouldn’t go to for help. I repeat, don’t go to them. – Michael Eneyo.

3. Why should I struggle to be like you when I haven’t finished being myself? – Michael Eneyo.

4. The very best of you is still inside of you, bring it out and achieve your goal. Your best is all that you need! – Michael Eneyo.

5. Success is hiding behind suffering, when you see suffering, don’t quickly run away, challenge it and it will run and leave the success with you. That is what others do to become successful. – Michael Eneyo.

6. While in deep thinking, people may think that you are mad, just after thinking, your words and actions will prove that you are sane. – Michael Eneyo.

7. When a friend insists to know every detail of you, be careful, for that may not be a show of concern, there may be something he/she wants to confirm about you. – Michael Eneyo.

8. Don’t make post(s) because of people’s likes and comments. Rather, do it because you have something useful to tell the world. Let your posts and comments be the kind that bring hope to our broken world. – Michael Eneyo.

9. While I’ll support you to follow your heart, I’ll also advise you not to keep your brain behind. The heart must work with the brain. – Michael Eneyo.

10. Why should I struggle to be like you when I haven’t finished being myself? – Michael Eneyo.

11. Too much explanation to justify your act is a sign of weakness. Strong people talk less. – Michael Eneyo.

  • 12. When things turn around, even the hunter can become the hunted. So, be careful the way you conduct your affairs. – Michael Eneyo.

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As I have been study the work of Samuel Nathan Gillian Jr. this past year, and publishing various articles on his work, and now with a full-length book completed (in first draft), it is becoming more obvious to me what a gem of a rare thinker on fear and life philosophy this man was (passed January 2016), and still is historically. His work is virtually unknown, other than within his New York City 'circles' where he lived and taught for three decades.

You can look up his name on the FM ning here in the search box at the top right and find other pieces I have written on him and his work. I recently included SNG as the triadic father of philosophy of fearism, along with Desh Subba and myself--see my new book on this introduction to SNG in this capacity [1].

I thought I would (rather arbitrarily) except a few pages from Gillian's 2002 [2] first book (one of two he wrote and self-published) to give you a feel for his philosophical style and an interesting piece on the "false worldviews" that misguide humanity today, and his "Redefining Fear" and a section on newborn babies:  

[95]

Unfortunately, it is our inability to see that “self” and “other” are eternally linked that has lead to philosophies that see mankind as uniquely isolated, alienated beings living dreadfully meaningless lives in an uncaring, hostile, and ever-changing universe that is unexplainable and that allows for no hope. If this is the best understanding that we can come up with about the meaning of life, then we will continue to pay the self-destructively heavy price that we are now paying for dwelling solely in the negative terror of existence.

 Fortunately, this negatively terrifying view of existence is far from the truth of our lives, Dear Reader. True hope lies in our ability to see the positively terrifying truth of our existence, which is that everything is changing. True hope lies in our ability to recognize that we have the power to change our negative view of our world to a positive view of our world—a view based upon the truth that the terror of existence lies in change itself.

 False worldviews rob us of our power to understand our lives. False worldviews rob us of our power to positively change our lives. Any worldview that does not take into consideration the most fundamental truth about the nature of our universe (everything is changing) can only serve to create more and more confusion within our minds, leading to a greater deception of perception as we lose the power to think clearly and critically. Developing the power to think clearly and critically is a major step in learning how to positively enjoy being afraid.

Moreover, that there is no separation between “self” and “other” is why giving is receiving. The giver receives all kinds of [96] benefits from the act of giving itself. Everything done for others is done for ourselves. There is no altruism if “altruism” means an exclusion of the self (selfishness), for the “self” can never be excluded from anything that we do. If we hurt others, we hurt ourselves. If we love others, we love ourselves. Other-love and self-love are not mutually exclusive. Self-love is totally dependent upon other-love, and vice versa. This is why selfishness is not self-love. Since selfishness is the inability to properly love our neighbors, selfishness is the inability to properly love ourselves.

 Realistically, when we act as selfish human beings, it is because we are negatively terrified human beings trying to make our lives more secure, meaning less negatively terrifying, by the acquisition of material things, for example. Although we feel the power of material possessions as a good thing, this feeling is a deception of our perception. This feeling of power is momentary and counter-productive because the more we use material possessions in our struggle against the terror of existence, the more negatively terrified we must become.

 Our need to acquire more power through possessions is our feeling of deep insecurity. Owning material possessions in a world where they are not properly shared, in a world of inequality, means that we possessors must live in constant negative terror of other human beings seeking to expand their power by removing our material possessions from us. That’s why hating taxes seems like a natural human instinct.

 Every nation’s military and civilian forces have on primary objective: they must maintain that nation’s way of life. They must maintain inequality, the status quo of material possession by those citizens who have an abundance of material goods against those citizens who do not have much material wealth, a very insecure and negatively terrifying position to be in.

 Real security comes with the movement towards equality of power. Those who seek to maintain the inequality of power that has long been our status quo here on earth are those who have had no choice but to be truly negatively terrified and insecure human beings. Human history is the story of the maintenance of the inequality of power by those who have expanded their power more than others have. Human history is the story of our [97] selfishness. It is the story of our inability to love others and, therefore, the story of our inability to love ourselves.

 In addition, since there is no separation between “self” and “others,” no one can hurt others without experiencing a deep feeling of hurt at the same time. This hurt stems from a terrifying disconnection from others, for bad deeds are their own punishment: the negative terror of a strong sense of separation. Only an already tortured mind tortures others, for while there may be joy in doing evil, there is no inner peace, no soul dwelling at ease.

 That “self’ and “other” are one does not negate the fact that we “feel” separate from others. But we feel separate within our universe. We feel separate within the connections that bind us to everything else. We can never be physically separate from our universe, so fear is not the feeling of separation from our universe. Fear is the feeling of separation within our universe. The more that we are able to understand that there are no real separations amongst things in our universe, the less terrifying our world becomes because our fear is our feeling of separation.

 We are separate and connected at one and the same time, for we are eternally rooted in our earth and in our universe. Only when we become radically aware of this truth concerning our existence can we properly value others and, therefore, properly value ourselves. Human value and dignity are dependent upon our understanding the truth that love of self is love of others and vice versa. All thinking to the contrary is hopelessly self-deceptive and, therefore, self-destructive. 

Fear redefined

Since the current definition of fear does not reflect the true meaning of fear (for example, that fear is dual, both positive and negative), we need to redefine fear. Yes, fear is our reaction to danger, but since danger is power, fear is our reaction to power. And power exists because things going through changes exist. So, what we fear is the power of things to make us go through changes, which we call “experience.” What we fear is change. Therefore, “fear” is our “reaction to change.” [98] 

This simple definition takes everything into consideration since everything is changing. This definition, because it includes everything, includes all positive and negative reactions. This definition includes all living beings—plants as well as animals, for even phototropism is the “fear” that a sessile organism expresses as it grows or moves toward or away from the sun or other source of light in “fear” that it will get too little or too much light. For light, being power, is dangerous even to a plant. 

Once we understand that existence itself is about the changes that we go through and that fear and existence arise at the same time, then we can understand why any and all changes are what terrify us. We can understand why fear is our reaction to change. We can understand why being aware and having experiences are all about being afraid of the changes that we go through—all of the time. We can understand the terror of existence: to be alive is to be afraid. 

It is thought by some that fear of death is the fundamental motivation behind human behavior. Death, a major change in our lives, is clearly terrifying because it is such a powerful and final change. However, death, reflecting the breakdown side of our existence, is not as fundamental as change itself, which includes both the breakdown and buildup sides of the duality within change. 

A newborn baby does not fear death because death is a concept that is learned later in life. A newborn baby does fear change, however, because fear of change is not something that is merely learned. Fear of change is built into a newborn baby’s body. Fear of change arises with existence itself. Through crying, a newborn baby lets its caregiver know about the frightening changes that it is going through, changes  that are supposed to create proper caring in a newborn baby’s caregiver.

And caring, Dear Reader, is our human desire to protect a newborn baby, others, and ourselves from the dangers of destructive changes that we all experience. Caring protects us from negatively powerful experiences. Caring is fearing, and knowing how to care means knowing how to fear, for the secret of life is in knowing how to be afraid. The secret of life is in knowing how to deal positively with the terror of existence.

 

[99]  8. Knowing How to Suffer Positively

 

Knowledge .... 

 

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Notes

1. Fisher, R. M. (2022). Philosophy of fearism: A primer. Xlibris. 

2. Gillian, S. N. (2002). The beauty of fear: How to positively enjoy being afraid. Bronx, NY: Phemore Press. 

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I'm delighted to share the first advertisement for the book my partner and I just completed. It is our second book together on the use of spontaneous creation-making process (we label a "fear vaccine"), in which our first book on our experiences of using this method and the guide for how to do it came out in "Opening Doors: A Guide to Spontaneous Creation-Making" (pubished by In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute). Many years later, in this new book we reflect on the process in greater detail, and offer readers a look at how we applied this method to the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown around most of the world, and for a year we invited a group of people to share this experience creating online and building a community of care. Hope you can take a look at this work, as it also provides a guide of how to use it in any communal setting.  -rmf

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Sheldon Solomon, social psychology on the aspects and changes in uses of TERROR MANAGEMENT. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AOck3inyu8

THE unconscious (existential) death anxiety we carry as an animal, like no other animal, leads to us doing some of the most horrific things imaginable--called 'evil' or what you will. Solomon gives this interview on some of his latest thinking about how he has understood the role of fear/terror over his 30+ year career. TMT (Terror Management Theory, draws on the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker's work) is a profoundly interesting research trajectory. It is trying to understand the primary motivation of human behavior and how to turn it from its negative-toxic drivers towards how to bring in positive reminders that make people more tolerant (e.g., like humility, gratitude) etc. 

What you basically ought to know is that if YOU REMIND SOMEONE OF THEIR DEATH (e.g., a "threat" of the worst case scenario)... they ultimately act more kindly towards those who have the same values and worldview, and at more nastily towards others with different values and worldview. 

Likewise, their TMT research over the decades has shown that, for example, 

a) Americans on the whole didn't like George Bush Jr. that much as a leader, but when they were given reminders of their own death, their rating of Bush went up significantly--and, the same finding was true later when they researched Americans on Donald Trump Jr. 

b) when reminded of their own death, people generally do not like to think of themselves as an animal creature and likewise do not like Nature as much and will think and act more greedily towards the environment without regard of costs (e.g., use more non-renewable resources)

c) when there are pre-existing conditions, not necessarily diagnosed psychiatrically, after death reminders the intensity of those pre-existing conditions arise and become more intense: e.g., fear of snakes is exacerbated greatly, OCD people use more water and soap to hand wash, smokers smoke more, people go shopping more, alcohol drinkers want to drink more, and socially anxious people will spend longer in the 'closet' isolated 

These are just a few examples of some of the research. And, they have also shown people become more aggressive and violent in intent towards others different than themselves, when given a death reminder (even if it is given subliminally where they are not aware they are being reminded of their death). This is all powerful social psychology and tells us what? PEOPLE ARE highly impacted by the fear experience!!! --whether they know they are or not. "Death" just happens to be on the continue of fear experiences, and yes, somewhat extreme for sure. However, the implication of this research is that people are continually doing some sort of fear/terror management all the time--because they are unconsciously (at least) aware they are going to die. 

I have given only the very skeletal aspects of this theory, and I write about in my various publications and some other places on this FM ning. I have also long been a fan of the work of Ernest Becker (e.g., his Pulitzer Prize winning book in 1974 "The Denial of Death" and another I like is his 1968 "The Structure of Evil." 

To watch my FearTalk with Sheldon Solomon a few years back go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXzUhVTYdb8

It has long been my mission to co-ordinate a synthesis of TMT with my own Fear Management Theory. When I say: "You have fear, then you have more fear"--after a death prompt reminder, I am saying, you have more intensity of expressing the original level of fear in ways that are worse in terms of how you treat others (or even yourself)--and, the reality is this is not necessary if you are conscious of the effects of that "death threat" reminder. Now, comes the critical questions about fear management/education and how to turn this negative toxic reactivity around in other directions and/or to at least minimize it. I have suggested "fearlessness" and Solomon et al. are suggesting giving positive prompts like humility, gratitude and that research in their studies shows people are less negatively reactive following death prompts. So it mitigates things (as you'll hear in his talk in the 2021 video at the beginning of this blog). 

 CRITICS

Like all theories and studies, there are problems. One good summary of research replication problems with TMT is: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/morbid-minds/202103/are-we-really-terrorized-thoughts-death

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Love-Pleasure-Dopamine Addiction

For a good short explanation of a theory that explains brain functioning and dopamine release process and regulation of that ...

go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zd9qvJUr-o

Dr. Anna Lembke, psychiatrist who also points out the social-cultural habit problem of "too much pleasure" available and digested today in the postmodern world--it is literally making us more and more anxious-depressed and dysphoric and suffering more physical pain. Our brain system didn't evolve with so much access to pleasurable thoughts, substances and behaviors. Now, I would add the problem of "Love" (especially in contrast to Fear)--and, how I am quite sure that Fearlessness IS a much healthier pursuit and path that does not get caught in trying to always get to the "Love" side. Lembke, at least physiologically, speaks to this and the vicious cycling of "always searching for love" --and, it creates huge problems on the other side (via, what Lembke calls "opponent process reaction").

Note, "Fearlessness" gets us beyond this opponent process reaction triggering mechanism (at least theoretically) because it gets us beyond the binary-seeking of pleasure over pain or equally in parallel the love over fear (e.g., positive over negative). "Fearlessness" paradigm unhooks us (albeit, slowly often) from the binary obsession and problems of opponent process reaction in the brain-emotional system. 

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Short Lecture on My Approach to Fear Study

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You may want to check out my latest lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyeVeEHtqO4&t=132s

where I talk about "Positiva" and "Negativa" approaches to study Fear and how that leads to the perspective that Fearology can bring, as well as a philosophy of fearlessness and a philosophy of fear. This lecture is in celebration of my new book "Philosophy of Fearism: A Primer" (Xlibris, 2022). There is more in this talk on the fearism notion and I read from the book as well. 

 

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NEW BOOK by R. Michael Fisher (2022); the exact kind of easy to read short book (100 pp) on the philosophy of Fearism--a guide, a primer, an intriguing story! 

Order from Xlibris Publishers (Australia) and/or online booksellers e.g., https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/philosophy-of-fearism-r-michael-fisher/1142049448

BTW 

A book review video is available on the context and history behind this book and my views on "Fear Inquiry" --and, I read a few sections from the book as well; go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyeVeEHtqO4

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Meditation: Be Fearful and Fearless

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A Talk By R. M. Fisher, @ Meditative Inquiry Conference, Aug. 18, 2022 

The link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2H8yByGFYw&list=PLfVjDB_dQhEomgiYYmBJKj1nvD1oGBwaf&index=14

gives access to a Talk I did on the Fearlessness Worldview and its critique of Meditative Inquiry as is being promoted by several people, especially in E. Canada and the field of Education. This is part of a movement of spiritual education and its branches of holistic education, transpersonal education, contemplative education, mindfulness education, peace education, love education, etc. I critique the bias of perspective of all these movements that like to focus and collectivize their "corrective" for the world around virtues signalling and aims of hope. The Fearlessness Worldview, a liberation praxis itself and education process, takes another route, one that is arguably less fear-based, more integral-holistic and wiser than the fault of running after the next fix of 'escape' from fear and suffering and a world so enmeshed in the making of its own crises--at every level and especially at the level of the institutions that fall within the Dominant Worldview and its self-deception and corruption. 

After a brief meditation I offer at the beginning (photo above), I am 2nd to speak on the panel and I start with critical commentary about the problems I see in the book "Meditative Inquiry" based on the conference leader's work. IF you only want to see my teachings go to 25:38 on the video for a 20 min. rather improvisational lecture. And go to 1:10:45 for picking up on comments (Q and A) at the end of the panel session, in which you will hear one philosophy professor from India makes comments on my talk and concludes fervently "we need to be fearful and fearless" --then, I come on and comment on his comment and take the discussion further based on a question someone asked in the panel "define fearlessness." Of course, of which I didn't in a nice clean linear way! I give some reasons for why that is so, and the problem of my topic and this question in the context of having one or two minutes at most to engage it. I really find these rushed-time conference presentations as a format a horrid way to actually do serious scholarly work or dialogue. Oh, well... take this for what it's worth.... 

 

Of course, in only a 20 min. talk on a panel, it is near impossible to set up my arguments for a Fearlessness Worldview and 

 

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Social Media and the Swamp of Anxiety

Dr. Cal Newport's TED-X talk "Quit Social Media" is a must see video (13 min.), where he makes 3 arguments of why to stay off social media--and, he emphasizes in the 3rd one of those arguments that the worst is the rise in "anxiety disorders" (diagnosed or not diagnosed) that come with such use of this technology--a technology that is not essential to "deep work" and value and success in the society. 

go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E7hkPZ-HTk

As a fearologist and educator, I am equally concerned with the breeding of fear in a culture of fear embedded in social media platforms AS IF they are the only way to be involved in the world. I have never joined such social media platforms like FB, TWITTER, Instagram, etc. Only a modest participation in the FM ning community and posting on my Youtube channel is what I see as actually useful. I particularly know many of the truths that Dr. Cal Newport shares, as I have always believed children from the get go need to develop skills of "deep work" (concentration capacities and existential resilence)--boh of these skills are fast being eroded by social media and it hits the children earlier and earlier. My educational philosophy is one of getting children and youth unhooked from this 'sick' technology that is more harmful than not. Watch the video and make up your own mind. Spread the word... 

 

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Challenging the Tendency of Elitism and "Grandiosity" in Movements

It was with some grief I found out a few years ago that Mariana Salcido, a signed 'member' of Fearlessness Movement, a loose member of Fearism philosophy group and curious advocate for The Fearology Institute, passed away suddenly. I heard this through another colleague who was communicating with her, and a family member informed him of her passing. She was relatively young, a mother, and left behind a lot of people who will miss her. I came across her in 2018 or earlier, and she wanted to discuss her way of getting involved in this fearwork. She was a fiesty born and raised Latino woman (living in the USA at the time) with a strong bright mind and critical view of how things ought to work better in this world. 

Just today, I found a correspondence with her that I wish to document on this archive of the Fearlessness Movement. It represents a piece of her philosophical challenges on a few different things but she was always one to see the critical importance of "fear" study and philosophy. This correspondence is one sample of many conversations on email I had with her, but I also knew she was struggling with many things in life, as so many young people do. 

I pick up her writing as part of a conversation she had around challenging the tendency to elitism and exclusivity for "the movement" be it labeled as "fearology" or even the Fearlessness Movement itself. She was pushing in a good way for us not to try to become a cult-like group of thinkers who encircle and keep telling the world how great we are and how much the world needs us, while forgetting to see we have our own biases and egos too. I asked her to write about this problem of "grandiosity" in any new intellectual or social movement, from her point of view. 

Mariana wrote, (June 15, 2018) not long before she died c. 2020: 

"The Bible spoke about fear hahahhaaa before anyone else! What is unique about this [Fearlessness Movement, Fearology, Fearism] is the approach. Fear has been traditionally, either used as a manner of control, spoken as an instinct (pretty lousy instinct that can be smelled by your predator, I wonder if it is not intended as a 'warning,' but, as evolutionary weakness); fear has also been used by 'motivators.' That is the worst, really.

I know the [Fearology] Institute seeks to release people from fear through consciousness. I like that, we can't teach everyone because some people won't want to be taught. Motivation is, I believe you made  this analogy, as easy to use as sex in public. I'm trying to imagine [Viktor] Frankl yelling at the people [in the concentration camps of Auschwitz] "Wake up! This is your time! You are successful! You can find a purpose!" 

I don't know how do you feel about motivational materials, as soon as I smell 'motivational' I send it away as far as possible from me. In the same line, fear is a good subject for psychology. But, I haven't seen anything serious on Philosophy of fear. What? What's philosophy?, they ask. Philosophy is how we tell people they are being manipulated. We tell them that when you catch them they say 'conspiracy theory,' we tell them that it is horrifying to be 'equal' (someone whould explain the omitted part 'before the law.')

IF WE ARE "EQUAL" as they understand WE ARE THREATENED TO DISAPPEAR AS AN INDIVIDUAL. How about showing that with real research but a smart apporach (no intellectual, no dumbed down). Flat. I need to research the old philosophy and see who speaks seriously and detailed about fear. 

Oh my...I'm sorry, too long. 

I feel like writing....

Hugs to both [RMF and Barbara] and thank you for a great conversation. -Mariana 

********

NOTE: Mariana contributed as blog post (poster) once: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/photos/fear-question

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[The following article is reprinted with permission from X. Yuan.] 

Fearless Conversations in Curriculum as a Wayfinding Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Xuechen Yuan
Lakehead University

JCACS Musings, Apr. 19/22

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGpGwhzxzJsLzfBCcldNQRhjpdD

I fear many things amid the crisis in Ukraine when the immediate future is so unknown. Being immersed in mainstream news media makes me even more fearful. As a graduate student in Education, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the uncertainties of global consequences makes me very pessimistic about curriculum reform these days. At a time when collective trauma and fear coexist within the bodies of the world’s citizens, stories symbolizing backwardness are constantly told, and voices of hope for global justice are silenced. With the current nuclear terror in Europe, information warfare, the deteriorated NATO-Russian relationships, and the Taiwan Strait Crisis, news media induces a global mass hysteria of World War III. While people around the world stand in solidarity with Ukraine and others who are affected by Putin’s tyranny, I fear that humanity is headed for a more nuclearized, militarized, competitive, and backward situation. While looking at history, I realize that many of the decisions that led the world to being in an arms-race situation could have been avoided long ago. Decades of mistrust between the U.S. and Russia destroyed any hope for turning Russia into an ally and for democratic reform in Russia. Russian civilians’ distrust of the hypocrisy of democracy and freedom of speech has been reinforced since it does nothing to prevent millions of children from being malnourished, starving and dying.

To be fair, I’m writing this post out of fear. As someone born in an authoritarian state like China, I have always been discouraged to raise adverse opinions of sensitive issues on any platform. Especially in the face of the invasion, Chinese leaders have been siding with the aggressor, and have mass media intensifying toxic nationalism against the West. After an in-depth discussion with renowned fear scholar R. Michael Fisher, I realize that we could explore opportunities in fear. In Chinese, we often say Weiji (危机) — opportunity in crisis. I like how this transforms the relationship to fear rather than assuming a reductive and functional view that defines fear and supposes that it’s the best way to make sense of things (Fisher, 2010). We must understand fear, not run from it. The mainstream news media coverage of the current crisis in Europe has left us with a victim-type of fear, building curriculum that does not endow or inspire any practices of fearlessness. The American imperialism of news outlets has been inducing mass hysteria of nuclearization and Russophobia across the globe. It is not the future that haunts us but the fear of the future. But isn’t that what we fear every day? We fear what we are not prepared for (that we lack agency and readiness), but isn’t that the point of curriculum, to prepare us to face those fearful uncertainties during our apprenticeships, rather than spoon-feeding our ways out of fear?

Economic and political competition might seem like a ‘game of thrones’ for many conventional wisdom holders, and to many who view history as an objective truth. But I think of curriculum as being ‘agentic,’ a way-finding that can shift the narratives we tell of the past. A lot of us might be let down by the injustice in the world today, but we need to continue to find our ways amid fear, acknowledge and feel the fear inside of us, and then become courageous to face the fear. During this invasion, countless netizens, activists, and civilians around the world rose against Putin’s brutal actions. The borders between nations are no longer defined geopolitically, but agentically by conversations. In an internationalized and democratic world, conversations enable us to readjust and destabilize the conventional, now ever-changing borders (Pinar, 2004). The next step of curriculum for us is to define borders ideologically with depth imagery. An authentic conversation requires “going beyond the surface to take into account ‘unspoken’ and ‘taken-for-granted’ assumptions, including ‘ideology’ […and] must be guided by an interest in understanding more fully what is not said by going beyond what is said’’ (Aoki, as cited in Pinar, 2004, p. 159). So far, our democratic discourse/conversations have been based on denouncing Putin’s behaviour, which can be done intuitively and without much effort to engage in deeper conversations. Many who are sceptical of the ideal of democracy perceive it from the frame of reference of cognitive imperialism — ‘fast-food-like’ pedagogy embedded in empty words that lead people into a fallacy that they are endowed with greater freedom than institutions actually allow. Cognitive imperialism largely obscures the construction of conjunctive ‘inter-space’ in conversations while diverting public attention to shallowness of conversations — freedom of expression and individual liberty. What is beyond the unsaid, however, requires a curriculum of critical literacy in which people work together to co-create reciprocal and complex conversations. Our curriculum needs to create democratic agents, not agents in a democratic political structure. Conversation represents a relationship between spaces (not just ‘spaces’), where people engage in mutuality rather than dichotomous struggles of viewpoints. Therefore, when world crises happen, we do not just condemn the aggressor with empty words but act ahead to prevent it. This is how our curriculum can truly be agentic rather than being reactive (to fear).

From the emergence of COVID-19 to the humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe, it has become more necessary than ever for curriculum changes to address how the trauma of war, the separation, and the isolation of life, have lived in and affected our bodies, so we can hold each other’s hands and find our way out of the hardships collectively, rather than kill each other. Ironically, we can learn a lot from coronaviruses; even viruses know how to converse with each other and change according to different situations to achieve their survival goals (Chambers, 2022). I don’t know what the curriculum will look like in the future, but I do know that our curriculum should inspire people to share difficult knowledge, memories, stories, and to explore and confront their fears, not run from them. The purpose of this post is to find ways to encourage people to lift the veil of these unspoken fears, to engage in deep (as opposed to dichotomous) conversations with each other, and to prevent hatred, phobia, and mistrust toward others. To end this post with an excerpt from an interview done with University of Lethbridge professor Cynthia Chambers (2022), “The truth about maps is they’re only useful when you’ve already been somewhere, they’re not really helpful when you’ve never been anywhere [… We have to] find our way collectively and to learn together [under difficult circumstances], rather than looking to authorities for the final answer or being angry that nobody knows” (26:44).

Rise up, Ukraine. We stand with you!

References

Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world’s fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st Century. University Press of America.

JCACS Curriculum Without Borders. (2022, February 23). JCACS interviews Cynthia Chambers: Curriculum as wayfinding. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNAxSJbdBPo

Pinar, W. F. (2004). What is curriculum theory? Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

 

 

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Here is a brief look at the Table of Contents for my new book coming out in the next few months, published by Xlibris. Thanks to support from Desh Subba. My goal with this project was to create a 100 pp. book as a basic introduction to most of the important aspects of the philosophy of Fearism as it has evolved to today. I look forward to sharing more of this book in little bits and creating discussion around it in the months ahead. Glad to share this sneak preview with you here: 

CONTENTS

 Preface

 Acknowledgements

       INTRODUCTION: What’s in a Name?, Why Focus on Fear(ism)?

            Time For a Primer on Philosophy of Fearism

            The Search for Fear-Plus

            Fearism Complicates Fear

            Risking to Care Deeply for Fear

 

  1. HISTORY and PEOPLE Behind the Philosophy of Fearism

             Fearism: A Mixed History

                        Fisherian Fearism

                        Subbaian Fearism

                        Subbaian-Fisherian Fearism

 

  1. An INTELLECTUAL MOVEMENT in Philosophy and Beyond

             Founders: From Dyad to The Triad

  1. Michael Fisher

                        Desh Subba

                        Samuel Nathan Gillian Jr.

            Vignettes of the Three Philosophers: Discovering Fearism

 

  1. FEARISM THEORY

             What Philosophers Would Think of Fearism?

                        A Few Fearists’ Imperatives

                        A Few Theories Within Fearism

            Some Philosophical Assumptions and Principles

            Some Critics of Fearism

 

 FEARIST’S QUOTES

 Basic References

 Brief Glossary

 Index

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