'fear' matrix (4)

Time Magazine Cover Image (revised by RMF)... Apr. 2, 2018

There's a churning of emotionalism and activism in America this year, especially this spring. I have posted a few blogs about youth (mostly in highschools) across America but also around the world, protesting "gun violence" in their schools and communities. They have picked various slogans and hashtags, but the one I think is most telling and interesting is "Fear has no place..." (and the usual term finishing that phrase, but not only one, is) "in our schools." Does this means American youth are protesting in record numbers publicly to say, "We want no fear in our schools? our societies?" --and, why are they not saying they want a "Fearless Society"? 

I have just completed a new Tech Paper 76.pdf "Fear has no place..."..": Youth movement for fearlessness in need of critique" which I would love if folks read and gave me feedback. In particular, I'd love this paper get out to youth who are in this movement and may we find ways to dialogue. 

Also see Photo I recently posted of the images, t-shirts, mugs and commercialization that has already quickly adjoined itself to the youth protest movement. I very much wanted to see this movement as a Fearlessness Movement (see my blog post "March Without Fear"

I really wonder where the "Fear has no place..." slogandia started? Maybe some of the readers here know. All I know is that, as a fearologist, this is the last thing to be voting for or marching up and down the streets for. Notice, I am not talking about the "gun problem" these young people are also addressing, but interestingly enough it has spread from there, the more concrete part of their activism, to an issue of "fear" (again, see the Internet and all the articles and images that have grown up around this notion of "Fear has no place in our schools" for example. 

As a fearologist, and as one who articulates and follows the philosophy of fearism, and philosophy of fearlessness, everything tells me that the narrow and shallow notion of "Fear has no place" is quite the wrong direction to go if we really want to be liberating youth, school cultures, and society as a whole. It's too bad that phrase is a 'viral' catch phrase but perhaps with time and more deep thinking, and informing of the movement by fearologists, a more congruent message can be applied. The basic starting point is not to try to get rid of fear. That is casting it out like a mis-placed thing. Fear is us, as the saying goes. I cannot help but think youth in America have been disillusioned and or so brain-washed in some ways (not all), that they are taking on the politically and ideologically fraught with problems view of the "conservatives" in American culture and politics--that is, with their Zero Tolerance policies and practices. The very discourse (unfortunately) of the rebelling youth today in America is sounding an awful lot like a discourse that is from the elders they have been oppressed by for so long--that is, a Zero Tolerance policy of excluding "fear" from schools and well, where does that exclusion stop. It is ironic that this youth generation protesting is also the most articulate and delightful in supporting inclusion (diversity-- equals difference and the Other). But when it comes to "fear" they are saying it has no place in American schools, communities, and societies. This is a contradiction and a basically 'wrong-headed' strategy and rhetoric. 

Again, this short blog is not my full argumentation re: the problem this declaration has brought forward. As a hint, I will say a much wiser declaration or wisdom comes from the elder African-American Black novelist Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature--where, she wrote about in her novel Sula on the very importance of Black People (generally, meaning the oppressed) to rather "make a place for fear" where it can be seen, worked with, and "controlled" (re: the character Shadrack in that novel)--and managed because it is known and studied and lived with in relationship because it is real. The African-American experience and guidance here is well worth looking at in terms of its contradictory message relative to the youth message today in America (and not only youth) of "Fear has no place...". Equally, in future writing on this, I'll examine Four Arrows' Indigenous-based theory of Fear [1] and why the native people and their worldview also are wise enough to know that the last thing we ought to be promoting anywhere are places where "fear" is not welcomed! It is rather astounding, on one level, that all the "fear-positive" literature and teachings since the 1990s in N.A. has had little to no uptake so it seems, at least, at this time for this youth movement [2].

I'll leave it here, with the dialectical thought that if one creates "no place for fear" likewise that is going to create "no place for fearlessness" --and, thus I see a lot of emotionalism and bravado in the new activism of youth today in America rather than true fearlessness. But that's not a put down or dismissing of the good spirit that is driving behind their efforts [3]--their peace, anti-gun, anti-violence anti-fear efforts... I applaud their heartfulness to find truth and justice, and yet, I am seeing how woundedness and trauma doesn't always analyze deeply enough the discourse of the oppressors--of the 'Fear' Matrix (culture of fear) that beseiges us all today--including youth in school cultures. 


1. See for e.g., 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. 

 2. By "fear-positive" I am referring to literature from many disciplines and professionals, who have asserted that we need to shift from seeing fear as only negative to also seeing fear as positive, a gift and so on. For e.g., one of the most effective teachers of this has been de Becker, G. (1997). The Gift of fear: Survival signals that protect us from violence. New York: Bantam. 

3. On the positive-side, I could argue a "spirit of fearlessness" is motivating their call, their 'truth-to-power' discourse. Another view is that from a nondual standpoint argument that could be made, as a colleague Luke Barnesmoore makes generically in an unpublished essay "Fear and Fearlessness" (in his larger collection of essays "Nomadic Exploration of Critical Pedagogy") that: "I seek to emulate the Divine out of loving respect, not fear (which is a product of the potential for the Divine's privation in manifestation and has no place, in and of itself, in the eternal" (p. 7). Barnesmoore's argument is one from an absolutistic philosophy (spirituality) or what he calls the "Natural Worldview" of the "Nothing-Infinite Eternal and its emanations Force, Form and Consciousness" whose attributes inlcude Love, Truth, Reality, Beauty, Goodness, Unity, etc." Thus, arguably, one could take such a metaphysical principle and say that there may be wise truth practical and value in the rhetoric of "Fear has no place..." that the youth in America are manifesting in their own way, consciously or not. See Barnesmoore, L. (2018). Fear and fearlessness. Unpublished paper. A self-identified San Franciscan (California), Luke is currently a doctoral student in the Geography department, Co-Founder/Director of the UBC Urban Studies Lab, at The University of British Columbia, Canada.

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What does it mean to be a conscientious objector to Western society?

This blogpost is directly related to the current political situation that Barbara and I have experienced living in the USA for 9 years (July 2008- July 2017). Because Barbara was an Illinois State public employee at SIUC also added to us becoming "very political" relative to our other years living in Canada together (since 1991). Although, few know, that in 1994 or so I created a brochure to outline the NO FEAR PARTY that I was going to lead. People didn't pick up on it. In a sense, we've grown into being more civically aware, involved--albeit, she more than I, and I have spent most of my 9 years in conflict with various civic and activist and political groups in Carbondale, IL--not because I wanted to fight with them, I merely tried working with them and found them unworkable--and, perhaps that's what they would say about me. I do feel I confronted head on, not just intellectually, the stubborn American-psyche/personality that Americans generally take on because of the way America is and has been for centuries. The other-side to this was to face a lot of unsuccessful ventures and collaborations that fizzled rapidly here and thus, I turned very inward and contemplative, read, researched and wrote a whole tonne of good work, I think. I'm also exhausted by supporting Barbara's work out there and my own having to deal with vast rejection--to point I have said I live in exile and am undergoing social death.

Yet, Barbara and I continue to be quite political. A distinction is required, and one we both emphasized in earlier blogs this year with the Presidential 2016 election here and the shock n' awe of so many progressives. There is "politics" (and all its history and structures and discourses of power differential and hegemony) and there is the "political" realm which is basic relations in groups and society and the planet. The latter is the sphere of sociality as sociologists call it--and many might just call it the "cultural" sphere--as these overlap for sure. Barbara and I are moving into a time of our life where we just cannot ignore or put aside the politics of the world as much as we have in the past, and we have to be very aware of doing political work. That doesn't mean we'll like this change. We haven't. But to be responsible as a citizen (e.g., global citizens, which we identify with) there is no way to sluff off and remain unpolitical or slightly political. I wish it were different. The world is becoming too 'on edge' in terms of any healthy, sane, sustainable future--and if one is half-awake as a citizen, there is just too much critical work to do now to attempt to stave off the massive destruction going on, in politics, economics, education, and you name it--all are in big trouble. The next decade will be not an easy one. The intense violence and insecurities due to global warming alone, will "test" the sociality of trust and cooperation to the nth degree. We may not make it as a species. No need to try to scare anyone with this. I have thought about this and studied it for nearly 50 years more or less systematically, and my conclusion is not fearmongering or my own fear talking. It is really an intelligent future projection. And, don't forget Barbara and I have a grandson who is 7 years old.

Why I Haven't Been Successful: Costs of Being Too Political (Critical)

My political life is based on the theory/praxis of conscientization (or critical consciousness development, a la Paulo Freire and others)... this, I find is the only way to be a citizen and educator, a therapist and spiritual teacher, or whatever I do... yes, even being a father and grandfather, a husband, a friend or ally... critical consciousness has to be the ethical foundation for a life on this Earth... especially so, as Life becomes more and more threatened... I am angry that people deny this is going on.

How one is political, and chooses to grow their political sensibilities and skills by taking conscious action is a big issue. How ethical is one if they do not grow in the political sphere of life? But let me reflect on my life. Now, 65 years old, I feel there is so much work to be done in the political, that I am more and more shifting, albeit, slowly, to being less focused on other areas that I have been traveling in. So, to put it bluntly, as I was journaling this morning, a realization: Most people, especially young people, I encounter or who encounter me (mainly my writing) are not impressed by my life. Why? Because I haven't been successful. Not really by any business standard, not by a mainstream economic standard, not by a cultural or political standard as in being known or even a celebrity. So, I am thus, not likely to be effective in influencing anyone or anything out in the wide-world. Sure, I have a small circle of influence, but it is virtually still invisible on the big picture scene--and, hey, I am not even on Fb or Twitter. And, clearly I have no economic power nor am invited to be a public speaker, etc.... or if so, only rarely and I have not got onto Ted Talks or anything of the like. Sure, you can Google Scholar me on the Internet and I am somewhat impressive there, but who looks there?

So, the insight... I am too political, meaning radical and thus too demanding to have been able to take advantage of the various paths and platforms that our Western society has offered in order to 'climb to the top' (or at least near). A whole lot of people who know me or of me, frankly, wouldn't see me as "political" and, I certainly don't usually gt involved in politics. I don't even vote (and, for lots of good reasons). So, let me start with all the areas I have had access to and have even developed somewhat but they have all led to me not being perceived (not really) as successful in them: being a son, a brother, a father, a husband, a biologist, environmentalist, rehabilitation practitioner, artist, musician, psychologist-therapist, educator, writer, teacher, spiritualist, leader, scholar, public intellectual, academic, and you could add others if you want. None of those platforms of my engagement has worked for me really. And, my conclusion today is because I have been more "political" than even I thought into all of these forms. They were supposed to work, and they really didn't and don't to this day. I am too political, means I "resist" all of these platforms for their inherent (seemingly) collusion with the 'Fear' Matrix that dominates the world--and, has for at least 5000, maybe 10,000 years in the evolution of our species and cultures. That's a pretty big claim. That's a political claim--that's a critique. I am a big CRITIC of everything. I even critique the liberation movements, and the Fearlessness Movement as much of it is ... and, as much of it still needs to improve and unite, and grow and evolve and become more effective.

Well, all of the above, doesn't "pay" worth a damn, as I found... that is, being too political in everything, just doesn't pay... rather, it costs... and costs me big time. Yet, I have not near the kinds of oppressions and problems that most of the world has. What to do about this? Food for more thought... I'm sure I'll write more about it... I have thought of going into politics once I get back into Canada (Alberta)... Calgary... watch out!

Bottomline... unsuccess breeds more unsuccess... in a capitalist society that wants success and that success breeds more success... no body wants to be around a 'loser' without success(es)... by the standards of great variety that are constructed and promoted on TV and in the culture at large... if a young person looks at my work and my life, they may say, "interesting dude" but that's about it, because they look at what I don't have, and they are not impressed with the image of a (non-) "hero" of success in anyway that they want to follow, learn from and model... this has been very painful to experience on my end. Geez... I'm not even a good postmodern "anti-hero" like they may admire in popular culture.

Oh, and the most hurtful criticism I get back... in slight variant forms, is that "Michael you are too angry" that's why you aren't successful. "Lighten up." I think that is the easy way to put me and my political work in a 'box' with a pink ribbon that makes people feel comfortable with who they are, and has little to do with understanding who I am and what my life purpose of conscientization is all about.

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In the last few FM blogs you'll see my conversation on Ken Wilber's new (Integral) book called The Relgion of Tommorow (2017). My interest has been to look at slowly (in pieces) doing some kind of introductory fearanalysis of his book (and his work overall as a philosopher offering a world/kosmic therapia).

I already picked up in the book's Index that "dysfunctions" is the word that gets the most sub-entries. Indeed, he devotes a lot of the main text to outlining the different dysfunctions (what can go wrong--i.e., pathological) at each state-stage of his complex spectrum of consciousness theory/philosophy.

In this short blog I want to quote from the book and then share my initial List of Basic Vocabulary of the "Pathological" (as I call it) in Wilber's book. I'll then say a few words after these two inserts:

(1) Quote from Religion of Tomorrow - "... the esoteric teachings [across all major religions throughout time, across cultures] were the 'inner teachings,' the 'secret teachings,' usually kept from the public [masses] and open only to individuals of exceptional quality and character [and commitment]. These teachings weren't merely mythic [as in exoteric teachings] stories and beliefs; they were psychotechnologies of consciousness transformation. By performing the specific practices and exercises, an individual could reach an actual awakening to his or her own True Nature, gaining a Great Liberation [from suffering] and ultimate Freedom from the terror-inducing limitations of ordinary life and a direct introduction to ultimate Reality itself. This Great Liberation was also known by various names...". (p. 3)

[Now, I am fascinated by this opening of this huge 800pp book by Wilber, though, it is also very consistent in most all his work I have read over 35 yrs... he has a theory he follows, from the Great Traditions of wisdom/religion, in which ordinary life and its consciousness, generally, is "terror-inducing" and limiting to the highest human potential. This is exactly where a fearanalysis ought to begin with examining Wilber's Integral philosophy/theory in terms of how it is informed by this kind of intense and ominous fear-talk, as I call it. Not that he is using this fear-talk in the quote to be overly-negative, nor fearmongering, as we see he balances the 'good' and not so good part of the story of human existence and the evolution of consciousness on earth, in humans (and perhaps other creatures too)... his claim is that all the esoteric (or mystical) practices, from meditation, to contemplation, and rituals of purification and transcendence etc.. are all dedicated to clarifying the problem of human existence that is limiting and causes suffering--and, as I read this quote, the problem is a Fear Problem (more accurately, the 'Fear' Problem, which in my more detailed analysis includes concepts like 'Fear' Project(ion) and 'Fear' Matrix--not that I will go into elaborating any of that here; read my other works; So, my point is that if you are reading and studying Wilber's work you better get the core of his project, yes, Enlightenment and Liberation and Awareness, etc. for sure, but also that only comes, as this book makes very clear by wide-open analysis of the Fear Problem of evolution's inevitable 'messy' way of growing and evolving in which "fear" is a major influence, and in fact, he goes so far to claim it is "terror" not mere fear--and, all that would require a whole critical analysis further than what I can go into; So, my other point is, Wilber's work is thus all about fear management (or terror management, if you will)--and, my last 27 years are focused on developing a holistic critical and integral approach to fear management/education on this planet--and, I thank Wilber for all the work he has done on synthesizing a whole lot of others' great work on this--yet, there is so much to still articulate as Wilber himself has underplayed, and/or remained non-cognizant of the Fear Problem in his own philosophy/theory--and, thus, any good integral theory has to be up-graded to really catch the significance of this all. Note, I am using fearanalysis to pull this out, but it also goes by another name Desh Subba created as "dephilosophy" based on the philosophy of fearism--see our book on that, as in other earlier blogposts and photos on this website]

Okay, I'll leave this and go to the List of "Pathological" (and/or like-pathological) in Wilber's vocabulary in this book (ROT)... this list is just a beginning, but it is awesome in scope and descriptive color, of which it is essential for any serious Wilberian to understand and be able to apply this vocabulary accurately and critically to at least Wilber's own philosophy and theorizing on development and evolution (and its problems)--that is, the Fear Problem itself--so, I am suggesting the basic vocabulary of Wilber's implicit articulation of the human universal Fear Problem is right here [note, non-italic terms are not in ROT but I think could be because Wilber has used them elsewhere... there are many other terms he has used in other works earlier too that I have not put in this list but will be added with time]:


Wilber ROT &  (Basic) “Pathological” Vocabulary

compiled by R. Michael Fisher (May 9, 2017)


 absolutisms (quadrant)-





 amok (run)-



 Avoidance (Primordial)-

 Bad News (story)-


 biased (thinking)-

 broken (consciousness)-

 bypass (spiritual)-





 contraction (self-)-



 dark face,

 dark side,

 death drive-



 defense mechanisms-

 deformed (holon)-

 Demonic (trends)-




 destructive (current)-


 disguised (forms)-


 dis-owning (drive)-











 dominator (hierarchy)-






 fails (self)-

 false self-






 fused (with)-





 havoc (wreaking)-

 hidden (subject, lens)-





 immortality (addiction)-





 Jonah complex-


 less (“alive”)-



 loss (of faith)-



 meltdown (communion)-

 miscarriage (developmental)-













 perforation (in consciousness)


 prejudiced (thinking)-




 projective (dysfunctions)-

 projects (immortality)-










 security (needs)-

 shadow (material)-



 stuck (to)-





 therapeutic culture-








 victim mentality/culture-



 wrong (go)-

[Arguably, this vocabularly is based on a recognition in Wilber, consciously or not, of the "terror-laden" aspect of reality, that is, the fear-based aspect of reality, as humans experience it, consciously or unconsciously; so much more could be said about this, but it does raise the issue of Love-Fear as meta-motivational "forces" in the universe, if you will, which are all part of Wilber's major contribution to helping clarify and resolve the Fear Problem, and improvement fear management/education on this planet--before, not doing so adequate, really wipes us and a whole lot of other living systems off the face of the earth; we cannot ignore this any longer, we need as much fear-talk as love-talk, to put it simply in a nutshell--and, I pulled out this vocabulary from Wilber's work to get us talking about this other (shadowy, darker) side of the existence we live, and to not be seduced overly by the "transcendent" and "love n' light" consciousness talk that near totally dominates popular culture as it enters the "spiritual" (including human potential and new age)--okay, that's it for now]

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How Hard Is It To Keep Going On the Path?

Now and then it is important, I believe, for anyone, especially leaders of liberation to talk about their struggles. Not to over-indulge or anything, but to share the journey of fearlessness so that others can sense what it is like for others and leaders. If you were to read my boxes-full of my personal journals over the decades you'd get more than a handful of pages about the struggle to keep going. I sometimes just express "distress" and "despair" and "depression" and lots of rage and righteous indignation. Sometimes I get valuable insights. Mostly, a lot of sadness of how it is so hard to get others to 'take up the cause' and join me and/or join the Fearlessness Movement on the planet in their own ways. I certainly don't need to be the leader of it all. I look for fellow companions, comrades, and peers who are also leading this work. It's so hard to find them, and when I do they are so busy with their own worlds of goings on that they don't have time to engage with me usually very in depth. So, I suffer from an intellectual aloneness pretty much daily. 

The following excerpt from my journaling the other day is I think a good example of my struggles and how in journaling (often) I find some resolution to my internal conflict and other negative feelings and heaviness due to exhaustion of carrying out this work of fear and fearlessness with so little positive rewards from society. I certainly don't generally get paid for my primary cultural productions or efforts. I am financially dependent on my life-partner, not a situation that ever feels good to me or her. Yet, it is reality. 

April 22, 2016 - Fearism-t is not to be side-stepped, displaced by some simple elocution or filing away in a locked-up storage vault!!! -- in my mind. 

If I look at the underlying 'cause' of 80% of my mental and soul suffering daily it comes from my own (with others) forgetting that fearism-t, in one way or another is operating and tearing me down. All the triggering manifestations that disgust, sicken and hurt me (an other beings) are based in an ideological formation so hard to define and to keep a finger on. Let me tell ya! I just know intuitively, every few weeks or months, to pick up my own book/writing/teachings, especially the last book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (co-written with Desh Subba), and actually hold the book when I am in the midst of my despair and sickness of how the world is, of how I am. To hold that book and actually open it up and read it, is not easy for me to do when no one else around me is showing interest in the book nor asking me questions about it etc. Today, I read some sections and watched my mood change, the suffering disappear, and listened to my own voice articulate the essence of fearism-t, and its toxic impact... and it is as though I am reading into the entire W. society and civilization and its addiction to fear, and no wonder it doesn't want to change, nor engage with my work... or follow the path of fearlessness with any real sincerity never mind real discipline and sharing this journey with me. 

So, that's the jist of the journal entry, that went on and on much longer. I don't think it is necessary to write it all out. Maybe someday, historians will find these journals of mine and publish bits of them. I have shared my struggles with my daughters and with my life-partner, but not often. I have counseled on this material with many co-peer counselors over the decades, but there is really never enough quality attention for me to heal through all this distress and constant bombardment from the fearism-t ideology that is embedded in my own being, and all around me. It is an ideology so well designed to make us forget there is even an ideology of fearism-t that exists... and, I watch how easily I forget this, and I am the one who found this "truth" and labeled it, and have written more on it than anyone on the planet that I know of. That's how toxic and effective it is-- it can make me forget how to free myself from the 'Fear' Matrix, the 'Fear' Project, the Culture of Fear, the fearism-t complex itself. Forget. Forget. Forget. And, I suffer in that forget. I also think everyone does, but they are often not aware of what is causing the suffering. I have no doubt that fearism-t is operating to make people stop reading my work on fear and fearlessness. It is preventing them from coalescing with force, of following my lead... of taking their own lead to develop a radical fear management/education on the planet. Of course, there are rare (but fragile) exceptions to this rule and my observations. Nothing is sustainable right now... I just don't see the "movement" and I don't see the willingness to learn about it that is required. Again, I blame no one because I watch my own slipping 'off' track and forgetting, and suffering and forgetting why I am suffering. That is, forgetting the very deepest roots of that suffering in an imprisonment, that is not being led by fearlessness as it could be. 

I feel so alone on this battle, and yet, rationally I know I am not. The proof I am not alone was something I sought to find for years in my research. That's why I wrote a wikipedia on "Fearlessness Movement" of which is the introduction to this FM ning as well. Which, I encourage everyone who has signed up (or not even) to read that introduction--see the very first FORUM at the bottom of the webpage on this FM ning-- we are part of something much larger, lest we not forget this is so! 

Final note:  Yes, I am reminding, and I have uncovered a great systemic ADDICTION TO FEAR (1) that I live in, with, amongst... and, it would be a similar daily experience to live amongst an alcoholic family in denial, who has not gone to treatment-- I know that experience from my own upbringing, and I have worked as a therapist with so many families where this is so and have tried to support the children (mainly, the male adolescents)... it is a toxic system, and it wears you down, and it feels like it is impossible to change. That's what I am sharing above... what it is like to be an addiction therapist for the entire W. civilization that is addicted to fear and denies that it is. 

End Note

1. If you get the drift of this "Addiction Problem" then if you read more of my work you can re-translate that code-word for "Fear Problem" and if you read the two blogs that were created (after this blog; thanks to my editing flexibility here I can add this end note) you'll see that "fear" (and 'fear') as I have been studying them for 27 years are codes for "evil" ('evil'), that is the 'Evil Problem'. In my recent co-authored book with Desh Subba, "Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue" (2016), you'll see it is not by accident that in the Preface the discussion begins with looking at evil (a la Carl Jung) and linking it with fear and a philosophy of fearism. 

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