Dialogue on FEARCRIMINALYSIS (Part 2): R. Michael Fisher, B. Maria Kumar and Desh Subba

Editorial Preamble:

This second dialogue with two fine thinkers, Maria and Desh, and two accomplished writers of several books and awards, is one of great treasure for me as I am simultaneously talking with law enforcement people, Desh a guard, and Maria a top position police officer. The first dialogue we had is worth reading over before you begin this one, but it is also not a necessary pre-requisite. Go to:

The Dialogue


“Hundred of years before modern human life was present, there were less terrorists and risk. Not too much murdering, kidnapping, stealing and raping. People generally felt more secure everywhere.”  - Desh Subba


Fisher: There’s so much to pick-up on if we wish from the last dialogue (Pt. 1). Though I’m starting this dialogue off with some more practical issues, especially in regard to how you both experience your work as in jobs and careers in the security and policing worlds. I’ll then stir up a very specific conversation around applying a philosophy of fearism to law and enforcement and security, especially, at the large domain of research and attention that has been given to “fear of crime” and its relevance to Fearcriminalysis.

So, let me start off by asking you both a professional question but also with a personal and subjective component. You Desh are a security guard for a private company. Let me start with that. Could you respond to the empirical evidence I have seen that there are now like several times as many security guards in the world as police.

What has happened in societies, and I am presuming this isn’t just a Western phenomenon that brings about this relatively recent recorded trend of seeing privatized security guards--working in for-profit companies-- just about everywhere, even in grocery stores and schools? Equally, I also am aware that prison guards and prisons are one of the fastest growing industries and mostly privatized now. I sometimes think civil society and the world is being invaded by Security Forces! Is there a connection between these two industries? And, lastly, how do you feel about this personally when you are out there working? And how does it all relate to a philosophy of fearism for you?  

Subba: You are right the Security Industry is one the fastest growing. We can take it as an industry. Security guards are not a basic requirement of life. It is one kind of luxury related to standard of life. Rich people are getting more and more rich. The gap is greater. When people become richer they need more security as a buffer protection from the poor in need. Because they have more fear, it means together with being rich--fear and risk is growing in this class.

It has also put some pressure on to improve the standard of security guard work. Rich demand more honest, sincere and loyal security guards. In Hong Kong and India, for example, richer people lean more to Gurkha Security. Gurkha security guard has a good trade name. Mostly in Hong Kong, rich people hire Gurkha Security guards. They are more expensive than other security guards. Gurkha security has the elite name and fame since WW-I. When India was ruled by the British, the British forces attacked many times Nepal, which is my home. All effort of the British became unsuccessful. First the British recruited them, the Gurkha as British soldiers. Then retired soldiers started to be recruited in the Security Guard industry. Wherever there was a British Colony, the British people as invaders hired the Gurkha as their security. British colonialism in that sense made them so famous and contributed greatly to the professionalization of the security industry. Belief and trust in a security person itself is a kind of security guard. If a client does not trust them fully then insecurity starts.

Fisher: It’s a kind of worrisome world this whole security forces business. We know that at times an honest security force can build very strong but it also can turn against it’s rulers and clients if need be. I’m not historian about this but I’m sure there have been lots of cases because security forces once working on your side tend to know all the insides and outsides of their client’s defense systems, because they are the defense system largely. So, there can be a lot of vulnerability set up when the security force or some radical faction of it decides it’s better to turn and betray your boss, so to speak and gain power-financial and/or blackmail power. Criminality amongst security forces and growth of the industry leads to corruption and more fear, it seems to me. Who can trust who after awhile? It leads to a paranoid world.

Also, I want to say one more thing about what has happened in American in a few places at least that is a very troubling trend. And, this has to do with civil disobedience on the streets that the public has a right to protest and then privatized security forces, other than government and state forces, are being hired to suppress and intimidate the protestors, often in quite brutal ways. Some of this has happened with the private security forces coming in and infiltrating civil disobedience protestors’ movements like in the Black Lives Matter and the Water Protectors in North Dakota this past fall at Standing Rock. I know my friend and colleague Four Arrows was involved in the latter situation four times in the field representing support for the Native people to protect their lands from an illegal oil pipeline. Four Arrows, a former US Marine officer and now Indigenous scholar and peace activist, was a representative of the Vietnam Vets for Peace at the Standing Rock Camps. He and others wrote about the vicious private security firm contracted by the State, which is made up of largely past special forces from the US Marines. Again, these corporations recruit these people and they have tactics that are more extreme. And because they are contracted by local police forces, as they were in North Dakota, it was found out that their tactic were determined by an internal company protocol, not by the State, because they named the Indigenous peace-protestors “jihadists” and thus they were treated unfairly, and illegally, as such, with no consequences for law enforcers [1].  

Subba: Most places people use CCTV security technology as well. It is a form of mechanical guard. The purpose of human and CCTV guards are almost same. If people cannot affordable high security capacities then they don't hire. It is a class-based tiered system of privilege for some and not for others. That's why I said security systems, guards and such are a luxury. 

Hundred of years before modern human life was present, there were less terrorists and risk. Not too much murdering, kidnapping, stealing and raping. People generally felt more secure everywhere. Generally, communities and cities were smaller and people were helpful, honest, co-operative. There’s so much conflict and technologies in weapons have advanced greatly. Nowadays, everywhere there are bomb blasts, kidnapping, murders, rapes, stealing, etc. It makes more danger and life becomes full of more risks. Most countries of the world people can’t relax and walk in the evenings. Nobody can predict  where the target of attack will be. If you watch media like most people do, we are always listening news of mass killings, bomb blasts, etc. It makes people generally more fearful, frightened of the smallest risks or big ones, and sense of dread and pessimism can set into our lives and societies.


“Desh, I think your model somewhat matches with the sociologists for example naming the postmodern era as a “risk society,” which really means predominantly fear-based, paranoid society and/or “culture of fear,” that is where most are now afraid to risk, afraid to live…”   -R. Michael Fisher


Fisher: In Subba (2014) you give your own informed and thoughtful history of the “Ages of Fear” (Chapter 3). You write, “When human beings existed in this earth, consciousness began to increase. They began to consider the necessity of security. As was knowledge about different caste/ethnicity, life, and the world, so was fear in human minds.” You then describe the evolution of nine Fear Ages humanity has gone through overall in a global macro-scale, even if certain parts of the world may not have advanced consciousness and technologies and their fears at such levels. Desh, you claim that currently in the developed world overall, we have entered the “Extreme Fear Age” not very long ago [2]. I think your model somewhat  matches with the sociologists for example naming the postmodern era as a “risk society,” which really means predominantly fear-based, paranoid society and/or “culture of fear,” that is where most are now afraid to risk, afraid to live; because living is so risky or at least it is perceived and inflated by media etc. to look and feel that way.

In this Extreme Fear Age people with money live behind gated communities with security guards 24/7 and so on. Fear often dictates the changing shape of our communities and cities and policies. Architects have said that we have moved into a postmodern era in urban planning of creating “defensive architecture” that is quite ugly and meant to withstand bomb blasts. Some leftists call this a growing “bunker mentality” and a general “domestic militarization” of police forces, security guards, and society overall, including our schools [3]. These are a few examples of insecurity and fear, mistrust, shaping our educational institutions [4] and the ‘new world’—a world competing for how to bring Order and Control. The latter, supposedly, is to bring peace and security back?

Subba: Yes, this is the way I see it. As I wrote in my book, with different ages there are certain fears created as people become more conscious, as their brains evolve bigger and life gets more complicated by more information and knowledge and awareness of things: “Knowledge generates fear” [5]. The historical ages develop “different thoughts and faiths” [6] and/or secular ideologies and theories as ways of managing these fears and stresses. The first age I label “Primitive Low Fear Age (primitive hunting age)” and the cultural evolution moves through various fear ages with agricultural, feudal, industrial, nuclear developments, etc. My thesis is that the first fear age consisted of “only 10 per cent fear compared to the present. Therefore, it is the primitive low fear age” [7]. By the seventh fear age or “Space Fear Age,” “fear is increased to 70 per cent” [8], and yes, that’s a big jump but so has knowledge jumped relatively as well.

Fisher: I have always found your historical theory of Fear Ages fascinating. The conclusion is that human history has grown more consciousness, more knowledge, and more fear.

Subba: Yes, that’s correct. And, as our discussion today suggests, and more security forces. It challenges notions of “progress” as supposedly taking human civilization out of a world driven by superstitions, fears, etc. –this is what one gets when one takes a fearist perspective on history, it is a different result and progress is not one-side.

Fisher: Indeed, it’s a unique and controversial perspective you’ve offered us. I think your Fear Ages logic of development makes sense in terms of who I have studied regarding evolution, that is, Ken Wilber the integral philosopher. He argued that evolution of consciousness has vertical increasing complex levels or stages as well, some 9-10 or so depending on your categorizing. Humanity has gone through these, and some place and times change slowly and don’t evolve to higher stages and some shift quickly. One is not absolutely better than the other, the key issue is adaptability of the consciousness for the conditions at hand and the brain-size available—that is, what works best is best. But, evolution happens because conditions change, nothing is static. New strategies evolve to meet new demands of the environment, etc.

Wilber’s main point, as I see it from a fearist lens, is that all stages of development, culturally and individually, he argued, are challenged by certain emergent fears based on conditions and brain development and complexity of living systems; that is, consciousness maturation. He argues that the simpler—meaning less complex structured systems—as consciousness stages do not construct the same kinds of fears as complex higher stages, each stage has its own fear-set, you might say [9]. Again, this also includes environmental conditions. So, evolution, according to Wilber, is growth and maturation where one set of old fears are eventually (re-)‘solved’ and at the new level of transformation and new potential also comes new fears that also have to be solved [10]. He calls it a view of evolution based on a “dialectic of progress”—and, that means not everything as you evolve is just great and better, loving and harmony, without problems—the latter, is an artificial abstract idealistic view of progress. He also says something very interesting: when a new level develops/evolves and a society and/or individual take it on as a ‘better way to go’ but still have some old fears not yet fully resolved but rather are missed by error of communications, and/or bypassed consciously, that is, forgotten temporarily, and/or dissociated from and placed completely in denial and unconscious repression shadows, he then argues the new emerging level of consciousness will eventually be limited and undermined in its full potentials and even fraught with pathologies from the earlier levels (i.e., fears) unresolved. You may recognize that some of that psychological theorizing is quite similar, but different, to what Freud found regarding the unresolved unconscious repression patterning from the past that can haunt our futures. So, if there are “cures,” or what Wilber calls a philosophical “therapia” [11] for evolution and the human situation, they will be found in our ways of managing fear(s) well. That’s where the fearism comes in, right?

Now, I suppose some would debate, as I read and hear at times, that the world is less risky for the majority, and surely in the first-world developed countries so-called. They compare statistics over time. Historians speak of a lot more terrifying times for human groups thousands of years ago, empires invading other empires, torture, horrible plagues and massive deaths, as well or during the Middle Dark Ages, and so on. I tend not to have that historical statistical debate but go with my gut and some evidence from sociology that say “fear is on the rise” and contagious--even if less actual crime is reported statistically when looked at by quantitative data.

And people generally today feel much less secure than they did a generation or two prior [12]. Several critics have said that around the early 1980s much of the Western developed nations entered a state of “risk society” [13]–a by-product of late modernism and the coming postmodern era.  And because of the security risks rising all the time, and technologies like nuclear energy have added to this problem there is a huge tendency for citizens and their leaders to then become overly gun-shy about taking risks in governance. Another topic we can come back to later, but it is probably more appropriate to the development of Fearpoliticology. I also want to say that it has got to put people in a lot more fear-risk expectation every time they see a security guard on the corner of this street or that, or the grocery store or school hallway, and so on. When are they going to start wearing guns too, just like police? I think this is a subtle thing perhaps, but most people don’t like seeing security forces all over their communities. Of course, they don’t like seeing crime and violence in their communities either. It’s a real Catch-22 or double-bind scenario with no easy and pure answer to the problem of insecurity. I call it all part of the Fear Problem.

Subba: Right. But people with power and wealth want higher security and pay for it and that keeps the market growing for security forces of greater effectiveness. These problems are every where. In developed countries generally, governments take this rising insecurity more consciously and with responsibility to protect others and try to solve the roots of the problems. Yet, in underdeveloped countries less so, where there is more corruption in government-and private security forces working together. Or they just don’t take it seriously if threats are not coming to them and only to the poor people. 

Fisher: So, what is your 10th Fear Age, Desh?

Subba: The Fearless Age. Now we are talking about the future vision in my historical theory and logic of Fear Ages in humanity’s history. It’s a positive with the negative. There is the 10th stage called “Fearless Age.” As we are undergoing the Extreme Fear Age, some of us will be driven by evolutionary adaptation and intelligence systems to develop the counter to the worst of the Extreme Fear Age. Fearless is also extreme and a response to extreme. That’s how I see evolution and development works at its best.

Fisher: Right. A strong problem creates a strong solution—potentially, and it helps only if we take the opportunity and manifest its gifts. And you write that the Fearless Age is “the last stage of fears—is fearlessness” [14]. Of course, I was really happy when I read that a few years ago in your book. Both Wilber’s work and my own have also such a theory built-in with potential of fearlessness and beyond that to fearless [15]. What would law, and policing and security world look like in a Fearless Age? But, let’s leave that topic aside and hear from Maria. Could you also comment on these beginning queries of mine re: security and prison guards in general and also more specifically how this relates to your vocation so dedicated to policing? I’d like both professional answers and your personal more subjective views too, if you would. And how do you think this relates to a philosophy of fearism?


“A considerable number of policy makers also don’t seem to know that the enactment of their own policies, laws, rules etc. creates fear in the minds of people.”  - Maria B. Kumar


Kumar: Sure. One of the foremost traditional and current objectives of policing is the protection of life and property. Police are supposed to safeguard the rights of people in regard to their lives and properties.  Right to life, right to livelihood etc. emanate from what we call human rights. Right to life doesn’t simply mean that of living for living sake. A life shall be lived and enjoyed freely. One has to have freedom and liberty in exercising the right to free life. ‘Free’ means free of crime, theft, bondage, restrictions, threat, slavery etc. and ultimately it boils down to freedom from fear while exercising the right to life. Liberty is the other face of freedom meaning that the individual has got the right to lead his or her life freely. Here ‘freely’ means fearlessly. That way, freedom connotes ‘freedom from fear’ whereas liberty demands ‘liberty to act fearlessly’.

In order to ensure these fundamental aspects of human life, the institution of policing system was envisaged and with a view to equipping the police force accordingly for that purpose with requisite authority, accountability, duties, tools, legitimacy etc.; laws, rules, regulations etc. were framed. So we may say finally that it is the responsibility of police to facilitate public peace and order in the society so that all the individuals enjoy their lives freely and fearlessly.

Fisher: Wow. That’s a wonderful framing of policing function, Maria. First, I wonder if other police and/or law policy makers understand policing like this? Do they train their leaders and staff to implement it? And, who is actually teaching them about fear and fearlessness in order to be informed widely and deeply and critical enough to bring that about as a good vision for law? I am skeptical about what is really going on, in terms of priorities, in policing world, you might say; but maybe I just don’t know enough.

Kumar: That’s a good question Michael! Very few police officers understand policing in terms of fear and fearlessness. Most of them look at policing as an instrument of controlling crime and keeping order in the society. In the process, some resort to instilling a feeling of fear. Of course, fear to some extent is a necessary evil for example in case of dispersal of violent crowds as a deterrent mechanism to prevent the criminals from committing crimes. If fear serves for larger good, it is okay. But if it worsens the otherwise tranquil climate to deteriorate, then it is bad. So it all depends upon the principle of larger good.

Fisher: I understand the practicality of that reality. I think the principle would be summarized as simply: fear is useful for some good, but not too much fear then turns destructive. Basically, that is not a different principle than most of the literature one can find in popular and professional discourses. Many books I’ve read on fear management and psychology in general say that kind of thing and use that pragmatic principle. They usually call it good fear and bad fear, and they name the various symptoms of them both and typically end up in a quantitative paradigmatic meaning frame on the subject of “fear.” The referent measure of distinction is always some fear is good as long as it is not too much because then it is bad. And, again, I am not saying that has no common sense validity, it is obviously pragmatic for where we are in our maturity of a species and how much or little we are informed about fear management and fearology etc.

However, I think like all principles and pre-fixed definitions of “what is fear” and “how should we best manage it,” even if they seem to have served in the past, have to be analyzed critically in postmodern contexts and beyond—because such knowledge assumptions and experiences are  themselves in part constructions of perception, based on understanding at the time based, on experience, tradition, and likely habitual discourses, with some utility but maybe ‘out of date. They made need to be asked as questions of fresh inquiry within new contexts not used in the past or now [16]. I’m saying more or less, what I said in the Editorial Preamble in Part 1 of our Dialogue: “Regarding tradition, although we each respect it in its best offerings, just because something was and is done this way or that, certainly doesn’t mean by necessity it is the ‘best’ way.”

I know that may sound too abstract to some. My own research and the imperative of fearology, with its epistemic doubt, itself demands more re-examining everything we think we already know about fear and how to best manage it and, of course that boils down to how we’re going to manage human beings, conflict etc. Policing and law are all about that, from one point of view.

Subba: I am less academic than Michael, however there are two things I found in my research on why fearism is so important in a new fear management outlook and plan. First, I found the heavy bias toward fear is due to a negativism in people’s views, and fearism has the counterbalancing to make fear more positive. Next, I found that fearism is a platform for criticism, it began with literary criticism, and quick spread as a philosophical fearism critique to reinterpret all things. Policing and law is one of the things that fearism has yet been applied to and I think that is what Michael is getting at. The Third thing I found is that fearism alone is not sufficient to understand anything. I ended my 2014 book writing, “Thus, fearism interprets, investigates, and analyses many things….It unfolds the folded aspects/sides. It also opens closed doors.” [17]

Fisher: Thanks Desh for clarifying. Your point Kumar about how police understand fear and fearlessness and your view to me show a significant ‘gap’ and that’s exciting territory to explore, especially because you are a career policeman yourself. Police and law and policy makers may actually listen to you and your context of how things may be done differently. Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt your train of thought….  

Kumar: A considerable number of policy makers also don’t seem to know that the enactment of their own policies, laws, rules etc. creates fear in the minds of people. A climate of fear. For example, curfew during war. The efficacy of their policy making depends upon how well it succeeds on a cost-benefit scale.

Fisher: That’s the economic-logical-rational paradigm—now, largely dominating fear management discourses under the rubric of “risk management” and “risk analysis” as you seem to be indicating.


“If we browse through the preamble of any national constitution, we find liberty, equality, fraternity, dignity, pursuit of happiness, justice and so on but nowhere is the word ‘fearless’ found.”  

- B. Maria Kumar


Kumar: Right. Here also the principle of the larger utilitarian good steps in. Larger good means that larger number of people are fearlessly pursuing their respective affairs. Practically speaking, complete fearlessness is only utopian whereas total fearfulness is dystopian. All policies, laws, rules, regulations etc. are supposed to grant legitimacy to institutions for fearless working. As said by the philosopher John Locke, the end of law is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and enlarge freedom. Like- the institution of marriage was established in order to facilitate fearless sex between consenting partners. A firm is established under law just to function its way to achieve business objectives fearlessly. But the problem is that the true spirit of fearlessness is not expressly pronounced in the tenets of the institutions of police, business, politics, education etc. but is only implied. Hence training curriculum is deficient on that count.

Fisher: Exactly! Desh and I would agree with you. “Fearless” and/or “freedom from fear” for marriage, or policing, or education, are only words with some good intent. We seem to have an impulse for that true freedom as the spirit of fearlessness—but the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, for example, also showed humans who have operated under the fear-principle a long time as dominant, when shown “freedom” they tend to “escape from freedom,” which was the title of one of his books in the early 1940s-50s as I recall. I think the link here is similar to the paradox Maria you pointed out in the freedom from fear that good law and policing intend and the reality that people too often end up fearing the police. Although, other factors are going on too in the climate of fear that grows around the world of policing and militarisation. As you say, there are some police for example, who operate on a different principle than what you are suggesting and it is anything but true fearlessness. Indeed… the problem is receiving a better education for police and law and policy makers and everyone else-- a quality curriculum on fear and fearlessness that just doesn’t exist, and I doubt if it has ever existed in human history. It is coming though!

Kumar: If we browse through the preamble of any national constitution, we find liberty, equality, fraternity, dignity, pursuit of happiness, justice and so on but nowhere is the word ‘fearless’ found. Therefore, I think that this is the time to emphasize the need for explicit provision of ‘the right to fearlessness or the right to be fearless’ so as to help all institutions including police redraft their vision, mission and objectives.

Fisher: What a great place to end Part 2. There’s so much I wanted to get to as well around “fear of crime” as a problem itself in law and policing today, but that will have to wait for Part 3. Thank to you both for this.



  1. See Four Arrows’ 2017 article,
  2. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris, pp. 44-45.
  3. See e.g., Giroux, H. (2001). Mis/education and zero tolerance: Disposable youth and the politics of domestic militarization. Boundary: An International Journal of Literature and Culture, 28: 1-92. Most of these critiques link the fast growth of a privatized prison complex with this domestic militarization—and, all the racism that has been shown to accompany it in the US especially.
  4. A more problematic American trend in the last few years but also after 9/11 somewhat, is the expansion of U.S. State Homeland Security Office. There has been a growing infiltration of “homeland security” as a subject matter for junior and senior high school students in public schools and now these are coming into colleges and universities—as basically funded and taught by State officials of Homeland Security, with the objective on the surface to provide young people with career jobs for the growing state security industry. See Nguyen’s new book Curriculum of Fear that studies this infiltration problem; I posted on this
  5. Subba, p. 21
  6. , p. 35
  7. , p. 37
  8. This is an empirical reality in the USA, as security expert Gavin de Becker has researched over the years.
  9. This fear-set is basically a particular generalized Fear Management System, which I have identified 10 in the evolution of humanity, accordingly with Wilber’s stages of consciousness evolution. See Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world’s fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st Lanham, MD: University Press of America. I also take a slightly different view than Subba’s continuous model of Fear Ages. I have constructed more a “point of departure theory” to explain certain fear dynamics in human and cultural evolution (i.e., of fear management systems)—whereby, one sees at a certain point the fear became ‘fear’ (a very toxic form and fearism-t began to rule as an ideological pathological system or ‘Fear’ Matrix, around 9-10,000 years ago, according to Four Arrows)—note, this is all in Fisher (2010) more or less, and now I have aligned some of my thinking with Four Arrows, and an Indigenous worldview critique, see his wonderful theory and writing on fear and fearlessness in Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2016). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  10. Wilber (1995) wrote, “Each successive stage brought new information, new potentials, new hopes and new fears; brought a greater complexity, a greater differentiation, a greater relative autonomy—and the capacity for a new and greater pathology [i.e., bigger Fear Problem] if a corresponding integration and embrace did not ensue [i.e., was missed or by-passed]” (p. 104). Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology and spirituality: The spirit of evolution (Vol. 1). Boston, MA: Shambhala.
  11. Wilber (1995) wrote, “each discovery [evolutionary development] of a new and deeper context and meaning [i.e., expanded consciousness structure] is a discovery of a new therapia, a new therapy, namely: we must shift our perspectives, deepening our perception, [and do so] often against a great deal of resistance [i.e., fear of change], to embrace deeper and wider contexts” and with these shifts is a shift in the very identity of the self-Other reality (p. 73).
  12. , p. 43
  13. g., see Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London, UK: SAGE.
  14. Subba, p. 45.
  15. For Wilber it would be the achievement of “integral” consciousness or “vision-logic” to get to fearlessness as the basic motivational core, and it would be to achieve the higher stage of “nondual” consciousness to reach fearless. I use this same foundation for my Fear Management Systems Theory and Fearless Standpoint Theory, and I have been writing about the notion of a “Fearless Society” at least since 2000; e.g., see Fisher, R.M. (2000). A movement toward a fearless society: A powerful contradiction to violence. Technical Paper No. 10. Vancouver, BC: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
  16. Two such meta-contexts off the top of my head: (a) Fearless Age and historical unfoldment and theory in Subba’s work and, (b) the Fearlessness Movement as I have conceptualized it. So, I would ask about law and policing and security principles and practices and suggest they also need to be calibrated and re-constructed within at least these two meta-contexts, and then see what we learn from that process. Even if we don’t see anything immediately relevant or practical to use, the exercise is one that will likely give us new perspectives on our old and traditional ways of doing things. However, I don’t know, I can only speculate. This dialogue is a beginning first in this field of bringing together enforcement people (e.g., Kumar) into relation with thoughts about fearism and my own fearwork(ing).
  17. Subba, p. 333.


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  • Thanks Michael, Maria, Desh. Very interesting reading. -Murray 076

  • Very good dialogue. But don't you think that writing "fearless" in the constitution can lead to some sort of "political terrorism"- lack of the sense of immunity and misuse of peaceful demonstration to violence.

    I think "freedom" is a better concept.

    • Thank you Kalu for your incisive and thought provoking observation. Incorporation of the ideal of fearlessness in the texts of various national constitutions doesn’t seem to pave way for political terrorism but rather its exclusion will, if we go by what had happened in certain countries in the past. Hitler’s regime was an example. Nobody dared to negate him. Because all were in fear. Edmond Burke used to say much earlier, "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Had good men then dared to do something against the maniacal tyranny of Hitler, such holocaust would not have happened. But good men were afraid of condemning the dictator’s diabolical actions. Same was the case during Stalin’s purges. And nowadays before our own eyes, the same is existing in North Korea. People are afraid of speaking out.

      As far as the possible misuse of "fearlessness" is concerned, adequate measures are required as the provisions for the same exist in the form of penal or deterrent powers vested in law enforcement and judicial authorities when the reasonable restrictions are infringed. I already stated during the course of the dialogue that fear to some extent is a must as a necessary evil (benevolent fear) because it acts as a proactive tool for larger good viz., prevention of crime and untoward incidents etc.

      I also completely endorse your saying, "freedom is a better concept."’ Various freedoms are enshrined in terms of fundamental and human rights within the main frame  of constitutions. Freedom means 'to be free from restraints to do what one wants to do.’ But we find the word liberty in the preambles of almost all the national constitutions. Liberty means 'to be free to do what one wants to do.' So the ultimate kind of liberty-freedom blend (let’s call it by a portmanteau ‘libdem’) can find a better expression in ‘fearlessness’  meaning ‘to be in a position to do away with counterproductive fear-based restrictions, either self-imposed (eg., adherence to superstitions ,irrational customs etc) or thrust upon (eg., illegal penalties, dictatorial violence etc).



    • I agree with Maria's general points. I like the distinction of "freedom" and "liberty" and that is an area which most, I think, would not make such fine nuanced distinctions especially from a fearism or fearlessness perspective as Maria is here, and which Desh and I in the dialogues implicitly follow course. 

      As an advocate of "fearlessness" on all levels of societies, it is my challenge to communicate well what fearlessness can be. I do not take it as one absolute, or already understood conception or phenomena, with one definition (see Fisher, 2010). That alone begins an ontological, epistemic and axiological inquiry afresh, but I realize most people don't want to take the time to do such in depth philosophical analysis. Yet, I believe we can do this critical analysis both at a scholarly level and at the common people or layperson levels, it needs to be an integrated movement of cooperation to enhance our basic education, which I label fear education (e.g., like sex education, or moral education) and, more generic beyond that I call it fear management/education. The question be it to law, criminology and or political science and governance and policies studies is really: What can a new fear management/education foundation offer us in the 21st century that will frame the freedom-liberty-fearlessness linkage in a way that best serves us all--for the greater good. Fearcriminalysis and fearpoliticology have their work cut out for them as fields or disciplines to address this. It is not my expertise at all when it comes to those applications in particular. 

      Besides my interest in careful use of words, like "fearless" or "fearlessness" with theoretical contextualization, I feel these are two of the most abused words, likely as much as is "love" in the West. But I won't go into that here. I rather will share a current political situation very relevant to the history of the use of "fearlessness" by a politician-activist and Nobel Peace Price winner Aung San Suu Kyi, member of the opposition in Myanmar (formerly Burma). This woman has been a glowing hero in advancing her Buddhist beliefs and philosophy of "fearlessness" in many books and documentaries etc. for years, since the early 1990s. She has had a reputation as offering the world a way to lead politically in an environment where her country has been under dictatorship rule for many decades and she herself under house arrest for many years. However, there has been a very troubling turn around in her country and her reputation, where the world is now watching what they call a 'genocide' in that country that has been carried out against Muslims (the Rohingya) and apparently many are blaming Aung San Suu Kyi for not taking a hardline stance against what her government and what other factions in her country have done (including fundamentalist and violent Buddhists). I think we have here a very important study waiting to be done on what happened and what is going on that perhaps indicates the counter-argument and evidence that "fearlessness" also doesn't work in a constitutional philosophy that A. S. S. Kyi has advocated and practiced. Something is amiss, and now articles are coming out in world press like "Fellow Nobel Peace Laureates Blame Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi for Rohingya 'Genocide' (by J. Alam, published in the Times, Mar. 1 2018 

      Kyi has written a famous essay "Freedom From Fear" which in the early 1990s won her the Nobel Peace Prize. Potentially, as I see it, this is more complex than a straight let's blame someone and then we have a solution. I introduced this problem in an earlier FM ning I see "fearlessness" being attacked indirectly in this mess that A. S. S. Kyi has got herself and Buddhism into. Is the fear-based ethnocentricity and religionism coming through and burning down the ideal of fearlessness in Buddhism and Kyi's political philosophy? Was her philosophy of fearlessness already tainted long ago and required its own up-grading and critical analysis rather than to use as a good intention and statement to contradict fear, but the deeper fear-patterning (if not pathology) was not been addressed? It makes me wonder.  

      Nobel Laureates Blame Suu Kyi for Rohingya 'Genocide'
      They urged Aung San Suu Kyi to "wake up" or "face prosecution"
    • What you wonder Michael, does make any mind ponder as to how to stymie such blunder that is there under! I too wondered how such great brains like Nobelist Andre Gide, author Arthur Koestler, journalist Louis Fischer et al., who were once committed communists, left later on communism because of the way Stalin was dealing with his critics. My personal assumption is that the reason behind their disillusionment was with Stalin but not the philosophy of communism as such. Same way, as you sensed it, the fear-based ethnocentricism is coming through but it is burning down the practice of, not the ideal of fearlessness in Buddhism. The ideal is intact but human frailties distort the realities as the same seems to have happened in respect of Kyi’s treatment of the philosophy of fearlessness. As Koestler confessed that ethnicity cannot be divorced from personality, Kyi’s position might as well drive her to succumb to failings. Humanum est errare but to persist in error, as Seneca said, is diabolical.

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