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deep thinking (1)

I have long been an advocate of not denying the "mess" the world is in and where we are likely heading--crises one after another are mere symptoms of a larger looming disaster ecologically and in every other way--we will be challenged big time!. Some before me and after will raise this awareness in a fearlessness fashion, beyond denial and fear. I think one of the most powerful critiques of what has happened to the human-Earth relationship in the last 10,000 years or so, is the analysis of worldview(s). My own upcoming book on the work of Four Arrows, an Indigeneous-based social transformer [1] and others, like the new dissertation of Sepie (2018) from New Zealand [2], are critical sources of helping us understand the problem of worldview(s) and how to change our intimate relationships with them. We tend to swim in our worldviews that have been imposed on us and that we adopted very early in life without critical consciousness of the impact of that adoption. It takes a life-time of hard work and study and thinking critically to unravel the layers of the dominant worldview that has "taken us on." This critical analysis is even more crucial when the dominant worldview happens to be a paradigm of fear, that is, ruled by fear (and not in a good way)! At least, that is what the Indigeneous, the Feminist, the Matrixial, the Integral, the Fearlessness and the Postcolonial worldviews offer as a critique, more or less explicit, of the colonial worldview that dominates much of modernity and beyond. But that's another blog for another time. 

What I wish to share here is a few quotes from a mixed-blood Maori doctoral student in the field of geography [3], and one that has done an enormous amount of research in the dissertation which I have glanced at. Sepie (2018) does an outstanding synthesis of vast literature across fields, and cultures, and time, and has offtered a new pedagogical framework for a planetary futurity that is healthy, sane and sustainable. She says she is looking to be part of a growing movement, a near invisible one, of geographies of hope, that is, some force with actual academic useful things to offer humanity in its struggles.

She doesn't talk a lot about fear nor mention fearlessness or fearless as concepts (or paradigms) for her imaginary, however, I particularly am inspired to share bits of this dissertation because of the Indigenous-based, Motherline-based, Earth-Elders-based, decolonising worldview she articulates and challenges the dominant colonising worldview--and, mostly I am thrilled to find an Indigenous-based scholar (they are rare; [4]) who has acknowledged the integral thinking and writing of Ken Wilber, an American integral philosopher who's work has greatly influenced my own, and my philosophy of fearlessness and fearism. Okay, a few short quotes from Sepie (2018), 

p. i - In pursuing planetary futurity, I engage with these [many and diverse] voices in order to trace a path toward a renewed Earth community [ethic]....I outline a pedagogical framework for worldview transformation, as a component of necessary decolonisation and rematriation processes." 

p. 1 - "Such times of crisis call for a radical shift in conceptual focus, one that pushes the human imagination to create differently." 

And finally, I love her radical surprise, when after listing all gratitudes to those who supported her research, she writes: 

"My gratitude is also extended to those who did not support me – in this endeavour, or in general. I thank those who did not believe in me, who forgot or ignored our mutual obligations as humans-in-relation, who withheld assistance in times of need, and who sometimes deliberately conceived of obstacles, often seemingly insurmountable, for me to overcome. Just as the stone in the river becomes smoother through turbulence and its story becomes infinitely more interesting, this resistance has added innumerable and valuable layers to my experience in life, despite its acquisition via discomfort. Thank you for the contrast: for reminding me to remain open and to be without fear, to be tenacious, to speak my mind and live in accordance with my values, to remember courage in the face of adversity, and, for whatever the reasons, known only to you, contributing what you had to give. Thank you for teaching me, even if it was ultimately to take a different turn. Without you, also, this work would not be what it is." (p. viii) [bold added for emphasis]

Now, that's practicing the "gift of fearlessness" the Indigenous gratitude way... wonderful!  

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The importance of "imagination" or what I often refer to in my work as "imaginary" expansion is worth highlighting here. I particularly, have taken a radical shift of focus (like Subba et al.) toward understanding the nature and role of fear and fearlessness in the worldivew and crises humans have created. I have uniquely among my colleagues in fearism, taken the integral theory and imaginary on as ontological and epistemological grounds for a holistic critical approach. Sepie (2018), makes reference to her encounter with Wilber's integral-transpersonal perspective in a footnote (citing A Brief History of Everything, 1996 written by Ken Wilber): 

"Some of the greatest thinkers I have encountered (in print, alas, far more than in life) are skilled at novel innovation or insight by the careful cultivation of specialisation and generalism, or a balance of span and depth thinking, undertaken in equal measure. This is a quality I admire in Harvey, among others. My concept of span and depth balance is interpreted from the essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox” by the philosopher and political theorist, Isaiah Berlin (Berlin et al. 1997, pp. 436-498), and has also been developed via the work of transpersonal and integral theorist Ken Wilber (1996)." [bold added for emphasis]

Notes

1. Soon to be published: Fisher, R. M. (2018). Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer. NY: Peter Lang.

2. Sepie, A. J. (2018). Tracing the motherline: Earth elders, decolonising worldview, and planetary futurity. Unpubl. dissertation. Aotearoa, NZ: University of Canterbury. [geography]

3. Thanks to Dr. D. T. Jacobs (aka Four Arrows) for sending me this dissertation.

4. I am referring to a quote in Meyer, M. A. (2008). Indigenous and authentic: Hawaiian epistemology and the triangulation of meaning. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln & L. T. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of critical and Indigenous methodologies (pp. 217-232). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 222-24.

 

 

 

 

 

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