Based on a subversive graphic novel, this sci-fi futuristic film noir (2006 (c) Warner Bros.); screen play by The Wachowski Bros. (of The Matrix film trilogy 1999-2003) is well worth a watch in the next days ahead. Barbara and I took it out the other night, and the analogies and metaphors and 'story' are so connected to what happens to a nation and culture that has come to be ruled (and infected) by a fear virus-- in our case now, novel Coronavirus and the 'spin' of fear contagion that is shutting down rapidly all parts of societies everywhere. The implications of the "shut down" or "lock down" security regime have to be investigated (and resisted)--because this is political as much as it is a biological phenomenon. Watch this movie V for Vendetta... and start talking it up. There are so many excellent quotes on fear (and fear mangement) in this film, including a wonderful section on "transformation" of Evey, the female protagonist--as she comes to fearlessness out of a life of unhealed wounds and fear-based living in a 'Fear' Matrix. There's also a sub-narrative of an "experiment" re: a virus... okay, I won't spoil this further. -enjoy, -M.
Charles Eisenstein - on ECO-rhetoric (ideology) and fear 
"I am afraid that, in adopting climate as their keystone narrative, environmentalists have made a bargain with the Devil.... The premises of the [environmental] conversation shifted away from love of nature and toward fear of our survival [fear of Nature]." - C. Eisenstein (2018, p. 131) 
When we confront the environmental and ecological issues of the day, we are also confronted with an overwhelming (if not distracting) rhetoric (ideology) of the dominant climate crisis narrative. I and others are challenging the implications of this narrative, even though we don't deny it is important. The question we have is how important is it? So, I'll introduce you to one of the critics, an environmentalist himself--and specifically I suggest his recent video "Am I a Climate Alarmist or a Climate Denier?" which lays out a lot of important issues, and ends in the video with a really good challenge to "fear" vs. "love" as the motivational source which will be most effective to bring to our grand environmental problems in the next decades. Unfortunately, he says nothing about fearlessness and/or fearism etc. in offering solutions. Anyways, I commented (see below) on his Youtube video channel the following:
ALSO, see my series of two videos on The Greta Effect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kHozXgPS7Y which look at similar dilemmas that Eisenstein is pointing to, albeit, he doesn't name names like I do. And see alternative views of young Swede's (other than Greta Thunberg, for e.g.) who are sick n' tired of the "prophet of panic" and "climate cults" from Leftists and their continued pc binary thinking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZCCXZz5Esw
Equally, a great short talk on becoming a critical level-headed "climate thinker" (not propagandist) see Alex Epstein's work: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm&ogbl#inbox/FMfcgxwDrvCQvDhZMvSdxBQlDFfKhsnM?projector=1
I like what wise elder and death-grief expert Stephen Jenkinson said recently:
"There are people walking up my path, one-third my age. Their hands are full," spiritual activist and author Stephen Jenkinson told The Vancouver Observer a recent fundraiser for Wakan Tanka, a film about environmental elders engaging youth on climate change. "One hand is full of a blistering hatred of anybody my age—the other is full of despair, something I’ve come to call principled anxiety...They say to me, ‘have you got anything?’"
ALSO, on the back cover of Eisenstein's new book and critique see Climate: A New Story (2018):
"Flipping the script on climate change, Eisenstein makes a case for a wholesale reimagining of the framing, tactics, and goals we employ in our journey to heal from ecological destruction. With research and insight, Charles Eisenstein details how the quantification [statistic obsession] of the natural world leads to a lack of [empathetic] integration and [reinforces] our 'fight' [and 'flight'] [fear-based] mentality."
This latter point of exacerbating a battle of who's facts are right, re: climate change activists vs. the deniers, is fear-based in structuration, which is something I also have seen for many decades when it comes to making cases to 'save the environment' (or the world). The passions of fight-flight, our primal brain reflexes on survival get triggered and grow and out race the higher cognitive functions of which are needed to look at the situation and problems we have to face more collaboratively. Digitial media and social networks in the past decade have exacerbated fight-flight divisiveness on top of the quantification battles and in the end the subtleties of really listening and connecting to our hearts, souls, and our holistic nature of perception are diminished. David Abrams, cultural ecologist, geophilosopher, and author of Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous endorses Eisenstein's critique calling Eisenstein's latest book "a blast of sanity!... he writes from within an uncannily woke worldview... that discerns and feels into the complex entanglement of our lives.... This book is visionary and prophetic...".
I think with Eisenstein's work here we have the possibility of moving from fear to fearlessness in the entire eco-problematique. I still am in the early stages of analyzing Eisenstein's work and especially from a fearological lens. So the "New Story" he speaks to is basically, as his book (back cover) says:
"This refocusing away from impending catastrophe [as primary fear-based motivator to care for Nature] and our inevitable doom cultivates meaningful emotional and psychological connections [love] and provides real, actionable steps to caring for the earth. Freeing ourselves from a war mentality and seeing the bigger picture...".
The book (according to Brock Doman, Water Institute Director) is "A clarion call to reconnect through love with our living earth... to collectively move past divisive reductionism [fear-based patterning], betwixt false Prophets of doom and false prophets of denial, towards a revitalization of reverential relations."
2. This shift is super important to recognize and analyze (see Note 1 also)--it is part of an emergency paradigm regarding time and risk--and the fear of failure at an unprecedented scale--thus, it is a way to motivate people and institutions to change by 'force' of fear rather than love--which is the basic foundational strategy of what is called "negative" politics/environmentalism relative and in contrast to "positive" politics/environmentalism.
"I'm very grim, and down and out," says Emeritus professor Cornel West in a recent interview. He was responding to Anderson Cooper's (CNN host) about the current Trump rally in the US and people chanting to "send her home" referring to a Congress Woman (of color). Indeed, West has long been a Left intellectual and anti-racist advocate and scholar and he is no doubt reflecting a mood many are feeling in the USA and a lot of the world that has strong racist-right-wing elements rising to power these days.
Why doesn't Cornel West, this great liberation (populist, intellectual) leader of our times talk about "fearlessness"? 
Of course, relevant to the Fearlessness Movement, I ask myself if Cornel West is a proponent of "fearlessness" in his philosophy, his Christianity, his radical left Black activism? And, upon my preliminary searching I found, just like in his recent talk with Cooper, he barely mentions fear itself and when he does he usually is talking about angst and nihilism (as loss of hope and growth of meaninglessness) as a collective dis-ease in American society. Fear as a term is never usually mentioned more than 5 times in any of West's many books, and best sellers. I wonder why? And, in his recent talk with Cooper he will admit he is "down and out" in psychic temperament in relation to the rise of White Supremacism ideology in his country (again). He's old and tired, but he's not without a bit of spirit to fight. So, next after his grim response he says to Cooper and the audience that (paraphrasing) 'we must in this time especially have moral fortitude and courage' and that's what he and all the down-trodden people have always had when they are oppressed and the fight will continue until they find their victory and justice, no matter what happens in the meantime.
"Moral courage" is the fav phrase in West's discourses, which has a long tradition (e.g., black liberation theology) in the justice movements of history. I see this as a particular fear management system (FMS-5 with some FMS-6)--and, it is basically modernist. It is about the individual (and society) under oppression fighting back and not letting fear of oppressors, nor internalized fear destroy you and your integrity and your will to keep fighting back, even if the odds are tremendously against you gaining much in the bigger political world. "Hope" is also his fav concept to accompany "moral courage." This is the basis of ethical philosophy behind West's popularity and stardom. He attracts great followings of people from the Left especially, and I'm noticing a lot of young men are really admiring West's character and intellectual prowess--and, see him as a hero in the nightmares of the times of post-truth bullshit that is invading most all of America day to day. The young men are scared as I see it, and rightfully so, and they are looking for leaders who speak to them and impress them as having the 'best' analysis. And, true, West is "brilliant" and "warm" and "sharp" at the mouth. He's very hip too!
But my critique is that "moral courage" is not sufficient to deal with Fear's Empire, the 'Fear' Matrix of which America and the rest of the world is being swallowed up and coded into moment by moment. Moral courage, hope, and love, as the prophetic voice has always offered since ancient times, right up to the present modernist values and virtues of a Christian like West, are helpful, but not enough; from a fearlessness meta-psychological perspective, that is . Listen to West (from his best selling book Race Matters (1993/2017):
"Being a hope is being in motion, on the move with body on the line, mind set on freedom, soul full of courage, and heart shot through with love. Being hope is foraging moral and spiritual fortitude.... being willing to live and die for the empowerment of the wretched [oppressed] of the earth." (p. xxiv) .
For three decades, I have advocated and argued, that if one trully penetrates into the nature and role of fear, across the spheres of Natural, Cultural and Spiritual realities, from a critical holistic-integral perspective--then, fearlessness will be understood like never before too. This new understanding of fear and fearlessness repositions many things from a moral and ethical and philosophical perspective--and, one major outcome is that when operating from Fearlessness there is no need to constantly boost "hope" and "love" and "empowerment" as does the modernist approach to activism and liberation. I am not dissing these modernist and even premodernist traditions of liberation, I am merely claiming they are largely out-dated and need a serious upgrade. And, that critique, no matter how much I publish and speak about it is still largely ignored by West, and so many of his contemporaries.
As much as I so respect Cornel West as a leader today, it is disturbing he has not picked up on the great liberation traditions (at a minimum) and thus talked a lot more about fear and fearlessness. As I said, less than 5 pages in any of his books is on "fear" and when he talks about it usually it is rather thin and about "fears" --not seeing that the entire study of fearism-t (at the base of all oppression - ism diseases) requires so much more than moral courage, hope and love. It requires an incredibly systematic study of fear itself (and 'fear', as I argue)--it requires Fearlessness which is a meta-psychology (and philosophy) and methodological re-orientation that directs our gaze and analysis to something much deeper at-cause of our worst human behaviors, individually and collectively. Fear is not a factor, as West makes it out to and as that modernist discourse does as well. Talk about a "culture of fear," a "fear lens" a 'Fear' Matrix, etc., and then we'll realize we are up against an enormous power and complex of external and internal structures in everyday life that keep us "afraid" and, to then, even at times encourage us to thus be "courageous"--but, the latter encouragement actually supports us being more afraid so that we'll develop more courage--it's an ironical productive cycle of 'Fear' as oppression itself. That's not the kind of critical self-reflection you will find amongst the Left (or West) of their very notion of "moral courage" (and hope and love) and how they too are tainted already from the start when one lives in Fear's Empire. Everything is tainted with fear ('fear')--and that's what makes an oppressive society work so well (said, in sarcasm). So, no, I am not big advocate for "courage" alone as a fear management system (discourse) that will get us very far with liberation on the scale and with the depth I am talking and theorizing about.
Unfortunately, I have learned that people don't want to do the work of discovering Fearlessness in this meta-context I propose and teach about. I am no celebrity, like a West, and likely never will be, but I will live and die attempting to show people we can do better than "moral courage" discourses and actions--even if, I admit, those may be better than nothing--but I will argue, they are going to be 'too little too late' unfortunately. That's a larger conversation, I'm always glad to engage with you all.
1. I have tried email contacting him and sharing with him my work but to no avail, he typically doesn't respond or engage the work. Only once did I find in several of his books one reference where he used "fearlessness" (per se), and that was in his talking about his appreciation of the "New Black Panther Party.... they have a certain fearlessness like Malcom [X]" (West & Buschendorf, 2014, n.p.). But West doesn't define the term. See West, C., & Buschendorf, C. (2014). Black prophetic fire. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. See also my criticism of American pragmatist philosophy (Fisher, 2015) in general and its domination of American ideas, culture and society, of which I find Cornel West is susceptible to in his discourse (and ideology): Fisher, R. M. (2015). What is the West’s problem with fearlessness? Technical Paper No. 53. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
2. I am currently writing a new book "A Fearlessness Meta-psychology" for the 21st century. See also my Fisher, R. M. (2019). Fearlessness psychology: An introduction. Technical Paper No. 79. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
3. West, C. (2017). Race matters, 25th anniversary. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
This is an image from p. 359 of my dissertation (Fisher, 2003) . I wanted to show that I was into doing digital graphics for the first time that year and exploring what I could do with it... though, this is a b/w version of the color plate in my original dissertation.
As for the real reason I want to share this political blog, it is because I found a very humorous (and serious) excerpt from pp. 18-19 of my dissertation. This excerpt below picks-up on a dialogue of a real historical political-activist figure, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a youth leader of the May Revolution of students in 1968 in French universities--the dialogue is a fictional one but based on my study of Cohn-Bendit's theories and philosophy of revolution. So, below, he is the D and I am the M.
M: So, Daniel let's get back to the May Revolution. How are things different now, as you see them?
D: I won't talk about me. I want to talk about the liberalism that has infected so many old and new activists, intellectuals, and just about everybody else under capitalism's insurgence into every fabric of our lives today.
M: You sound like Mao.
D: One doesn't have to be a Maoist or Marxist, to see the opportunism and individualism that goes with liberalism--that is, the cracked-out addiction to safety and security, greed and waste, that drives this fearism, hey Michael? Henri Lefebvre called it the "terror of everyday life." It is the pernicious creeping passivity that throttles our liberal 'souls' and leaves us 'sitting ducks' or TV-couch potatoes, computer-chair potatoes, fragmented cyborgs....
M: That's my experience in most North Americans, and certainly of most youth today in Canada, where I live. Sure, I'm generalizing... but god just look at the young people going to The University of British Columbia. My six years of graduate school here have left me pretty depressed--especially, when I look at most graduate students, preservice teachers, their professors, the courses offered, the regulation of campus life and rigid bureaucratic protocols--and worst of all, a collection of "managers" posing as administrative "leaders" in the Faculty of Education and the entire university system. I don't think UBC is unique in its pathology--culture of fear. Wilber really goes after the postmodern university and cites Kors and Silvergate's study in their book The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses--the administrators are becoming Grand Inquisitors, they argue. Boomeritis [a la Wilber], in leftist garb, assaults liberty in trying to defend it (narcissistically)--and a pathetic neo-liberalism results in some cases and a facist liberalism in others.
I too am 'bit' by the deadly liberalism 'bug' and the green meme psychologism of the 'new age' human potential movement that has been the hegemonic matrix of our W. society since WWII. I have long been searching for a political social movement to create, to belong to, to imagine...something Melucci (1989) describes the essence of what I am looking for in a social movement and transdisciplinary inquiry (outside of the 'Fear' Matrix):
"The submerged networks of social movements are laboratories of experience. New problems and questions are posed. New answers are invented and tested, and reality is perceived and named in different ways."
1. Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpubl. dissert. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, pp. 18-19.
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"https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/youth-s-march-for-our-lives-is-a-march-for-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  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 .
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 --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.
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.
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)
Bad News (story)-
hidden (subject, lens)-
loss (of faith)-
perforation (in consciousness)
[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]
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.
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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