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Book by Francisco Jose Moreno (1971/77)

I appreciate being notified of this book by Dr. Randy Auxier, philosopher at SIUC, as he informed me that he was reading Moreno and found the first two chapters to be all about fear at the base of the human condition and of reason itself. Moreno (1971/77), a political philosopher (Mexican-American?) wrote, "Fear is one of the fundamental motivating forces behind our actions. The history of [hu]mankind is to a very large extent the history of our attempts to deny, repress, or escape from fear" (p. 1). "The fear resulting from our ability to reason [i.e., awaken to uncertainty and our own vulnerability] affects us so profoundly that it permeates our whole existence. This fear, which we struggle to suppress...never [completely] abandons us..." (p. 6). 

FEARISM: Roots (Precursors) of a Philosophy of Fear

Although Desh Subba points to several sources of theories and philosophies in his 2014 book [1] that somewhat point to the central importance of fear, Subba is not able to find any distinct "roots" that satisfy him that the "philosophy of fearism" (he coined) has a forerunner. This makes philosophy of fearism a unique creation for sure and that is worth celebrating. However, it also makes me question as to whether there are not indeed "roots" (forerunners) that already existed before 1999 and Subba's subsequent development of fearism. I am currently writing on this topic. It seems there are some authors, and Moreno (1971/77) is one of them, that may indeed be precursors to a philosophy of fearism. Because I just got this book in the mail today, and haven't read it, but only read reviews of it, I'll keep you all informed of my findings--but the two quotes above by Moreno are indeed compelling evidence that Moreno was "onto" a form of philosophy of fearism nearly a quarter century before Subba's fearism notion arose. 

All fearists, of any scholarly pursuit, will want to look at this little book (129pp) from the 1970s, from an original thinker--not because he identifies fear as at the source of distorted thinking "but in locating the root of fear in reason itself" --that is what makes his philosophy of uncertainty (i.e., of fear) a unique and important and courageous contribution (quotes from Michael A. Weinstein, in the "Introduction"). Such a claim by Moreno is going to really challenge all the "rationalists" and believers in "reason" as the best way to manage fear. Moreno seems to be turning that common and dominating thesis upon its head.

As I read these brief comments and quotes, at this point, I am strongly sensing Moreno is a precursor philosopher (from the political field) who sees through, and sees beyond fear of fear itself--and moves forward to articulate a philosophy of the human condition where fear is central and it is this fear that is the glue that links Reason and Faith--it is fear that is in between Reason and Faith (the psychic and cultural (and intellectual) defenses of individuals and collectives that try to repress fear and its impacts; that try to deny fear is central but prefer to put reason and faith first and central).  

 End Note

1. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris; see also Fisher, R. M. & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris. 

 

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I recently found this image (as Halloween, or 'Day of the Dead' or Hallomas or Samhain) on the internet. The title was provocative and speaks to the concept of which this blog is all about: that is, the proposition (if not theory) that the basic core of the human condition is fear (or fear-based) (?)

The philosophy of fearlessness (Fisher) and philosophy of fearism (Subba) [1] is arguably a combination of supportive philosophies for the above claim. Others, like Eneyo who in part takes some aspects of the Fisher-Subba philosophies in his own "philosophy of fear" prefers to make the core of the human one of love, yet he agrees fear is also core but secondary [2]. The Fisher-Subba position is not opposed to Eneyo's claim but is more a nuanced branch of a philosophy of fear that situates understanding the human by focusing on fear over and above focusing on love [3].

My point of writing this very short blog is to say that there is still not an adequate (referenced) scholarly synthesis of important writing (philosophy and theory) on the proposition in the internet poster and/or in the authors' work mentioned above. There are fragments of support references for their claims but not yet the document that is needed to give scholarly credibility (at least, not as far as I am concerned).

I am of late beginning to see some critical thinkers in the early 1970s that I will be documenting their positions and arguments, theories, and works...coming from backgrounds in philosophy/anthropology/political science/theology... it is still too early for me to make my case for their support of the Fisher-Subba position re: fear is the core of the human condition and history itself is the unfolding of that human-fear relationship--as one of, if not the most powerful relationships on this planet (i.e., fearuality, fearological reality).

I'll keep you updated as this paper (booklet) I'm writing evolves.

Notes:

1. Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris. Another young budding philosopher of this synthesis with his own nuances is Osinakachi Akuma Kalu (with his two books on fear in the last two years; e.g., The First Stage of the Fearologist. Amazon CreateSpace).

2. Eneyo, M. (2018). The philosophy of fear: A move to overcoming negative fear. Australia: Xlibris.

3. For a brief intro. discussion of Fisher and Subba on fear and love, see Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris (2016), p. xxxi. 

 

 

 

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Dr. Sheldon Solomon, social experimental psychologist (re: Terror Management Theory = TMT)... is one of several very important researchers on "mortal terror" (i.e., fear of death) as the universal ("proven") core of all malignant human behaviors individually and collectively--at least, that's what has been suggested by TMT research and the existential philosophy behind it for the last 40 years or so (thanks to writing of the late Ernest Becker). I have followed this work off and on and found it very insightful and yet to be truly tapped in 'Fear' Studies ... 

I recommend going to this video talk on the dim future of humanity ahead (unless we solve the Fear Problem): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuJhD5TkX-0

Note: I agree with much (not all) of TMT... much of the basis of TMT is supported, I'd argue in the philosophy of fearlessness (Fisher) and philosophy of fearism (Subba) and philosophy of fear (Eneyo) and others... I agree with TMT in its depiction and theory (supported by a good deal of cross-cultural evidence) that "culture" is a fear management strategy overall. In my Fear Management Systems Theory (Fisher, 2010), I give this more differentiation based on v-memes (worldviews) theories in Spiral Dynamics integral (theory).  

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Locating Fear At The Center

 Dr. Simone Tulumello, a Portuguese geographer and urban planning/theorist, has since 2009 especially, been devoting much (but not all) of his research attention on the nature and role of fear (especially, "urban fear") in urban planning and life quality in cities. He is not the only one to turn attention on fear in this field, as one can find all sorts of terms like "architecture of fear," "landscapes of fear" and "geographies of fear" (to name a few) that have taken up locations in scholarly discourses over the last 40 years, and especially the last five years of which Tulumello (and some others before him) have suggested that we even adopt the term "fearscapes" to give due justice to the ever-increasing and complex nature of fear and its impacts.

So, he has suggested landscapes are becoming more and more better understood, at least in the modern and postmodern cities as fearscapes, because fear has taken on such a central role. Tulumello in his latest book [1], not unlike some of the fearism literature of late [2], has been sliding notions of "multiplexing fear" [3] along with other spheres of life for critical analysis of various phenomena--in Tulumello's case, spatiality, cultural politics of cities and generally urban planning and policy. I find Tulumello's work unique amongst other scholars in geography, architecture and urban planning and theorizing in that he has (paradigmatically?) shifted emphasis on the common study of spatialization of fear (i.e., fear and spaces = spaces of fear discourses) to come to see that such a discursive formation and linguistics is not adequate, if not it is distortive, of a more nuanced phenomena of fearscape(s). 

The simple definition of fearscape refers to the embedded fear (explicit and implicit) in landscapes/spaces/places, and is often used equivalent with "landscapes of fear" (which is Tulumello's strategy as well, p. 1). In a more complicated argument than I will explain here, I like how Tulumello shifts back and forth but in fact seems to prefer fearscape [4]. I heartily agree, as would the philosophy of fearism, that putting "fear" central (or, in this case, linguistically as the prefix on any term or phenomena) marks the new term (e.g., fearscape) in a new way that expands the imaginary and analytic probe into an investigation of just how much fear is involved in the phenomena--which, hypothetically is "central" as Tulumello (2016) says in the following quote from his new book: 

[My operating] "hypothesis... [is] that some of the sociopolitical processes and spatial practices characterizing the last few decades, in the Western world and beyond, have been, and are, using fear and urban fear, instrumentally for agendas that are placing the civic and public gist of urban spaces worldwide into a state of crisis. As a result, fear, togther with the geopolitics of security stemming from it, has been producing exclusion, affecting especially marginalised groups.... If this is the case, putting fear at the centre of planners' agenda is nowadays inescapable." (p. 3)

I have often dipped my toes into architecture, urban planning/theorizing, and attempted to bring my own ideas and a philosophy of fearlessness (or of late, philosophy of fearism) to the table of analysis and perspective. Perhaps, Tulumello and many of us on this trajectory can have dialogues in the future. It is fascinating to me (and Subba) that Tulumello has adopted this "linguistic trick" he calls it in his naming of fearscape (Tulumello, 2015, p. 268).

Of course, the interrelationship of fear and fearlessness (a dialectic) is something that Tulumello seems not to enter into in what I have read of his work so far. In order to keep this short, I note that Tulumello's strategy for working with fear (of which he did not know our work) is quite similar (in part) to my own and to Subba's [5] and that is to keep the imaginary of fear (or fear imaginary) open-ended for the most part--and, I so appreciate his project is "... to build a comprehensive and critical theory [of fear]" (p. 108) and he also wants such an inquiry to be "exploratory" and thus avoiding reductionism around the conceptualization of fear, our ways of knowing fear, defining it and making meaning of it and ourselves. He notes that such an open-ended approach fits well for the very phenomena of "urban fear" today and it is preferable "rather than outline a clear definition... of fear or the way fear shapes planning" (p. 108), thus, Tulumello continues in the vein of study of fear much like a philosophy of fearism would-- "multiplexing fear" ongoing. I often talk about building a critical integral (holistic) theory of fear, and indeed, it is always exploratory, and for much of the same reasons that Tulmello gives in his recent works. Fear is complex, to say the least--it is perplexing as well, and contradictions and paradoxes linked with fear are seemingly inevitable the more one studies it in depth. 

I appreciate this insight of Tulumello to approach fear this way, which in no way prevents Tulumello from being pragmatic at times, and it in no way blinds him to seeing "we must be aware that fear is capable of throwing urban planning policy into crisis" (p. 107)--and he warns us all against overly technical-functionalist discourses on fear as inadquate--and, he warns that they typically don't engage fear enough as it deserves (p. 107). He concludes: "... there seems to be no simple/technical solutions for urban fear" and thus the project is preliminary and ongoing, and the actual benefits from such a methodological openness re: fear and the various applications of theory to practice in urban planning are yet to be shown fully--especially, as to whether they "work"... more so, we are in the beginning stages, as is philosophy of fearism, when it comes to "tested" applications and creating real improvements in the "urban fear" and/or just the "excessive fear" that is everywhere it seems. 

There is lots to read, understand, and critique in this work by Tulumello, and I trust as he reads my work (at least) he'll have critiques to offer as well. 

 

Notes: 

1. Tulumello, S. (2016). Fear, space and urban planning: A critical perspective from S. Europe. Springer. 

2. Example, Fisher, R. M., Subba, D., and Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues in applying the philosophy of fearism. Australia: Xlibris. 

3. Tulumello (2016), p. 106. This is a great term (complexifying approach), one that I and Subba have taken in our study of fear(ism) for several decades. 

4. I recommend: Tulumello, S. (2015). From "spaces of fear" to "fearscapes": Mapping for reframing theories about the spatialization of fear in urban space. Space and Culture, 18(3), 257-72.

5. Example, see Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

 

 

 

 

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For a book video trailer (click here)

To purchase the book online: Fear, Law and Criminology

We are (as co-authors), excited to see that our new book is available (by Xlibris publishing, Australia). This is the first book in a series of books that are going to be published over several years, as each one takes on a topic or critical issue in the world and applies the philosophy of fearism (a la Subba) to it. The original dialogues behind the making of this new book are all posted here on the FM ning and have been slightly modified in this new book, along with a lot of new material as well. We thought we'd include here the summary text from the back cover of the book and our brief bios: 

Fear, Law and Criminology -With the growing awareness of many critics of "risk society," the "culture of fear" and the dangerous rising levels of unhealthy fear around individual, group, and public insecurities, three keen observers of the human condition have joined experiences, theories, and ideas to create a fresh vision for how best to look at the Fear Problem and how Law and Criminology may benefit from a new lens or perspective.

The authors, with their backgrounds in the study of the philosophy of fearism (a la Subba), bring a new lens to Law and Criminology, to social policies, politics, and policing and how best to improve enforcement of safety, security, and moral order. The fearist perspective of a philosophy of fearism creates an exciting, challenging, and sometimes radical position, whereby the authors argue that fear itself requires a concerted focus for analysis and solutions--that is, if Law and Criminology are to fully meet the highest standards of serving justice for all in a globalizing complicated world. 

Going beyond the simple fear of crime or fear of policing issues commonly dealt with in discourses about law, the philosophy of fearism offers other concepts with a rich vocabulary introduced in this book, one of which is the introduction of a new subdiscipline called fearcriminalysis. Readers will find, in addition to the main text as collective writing of the three coauthors, several fresh dialogues of the three authors in conversation, which bring their individual personalities, philosophies, and approaches into a weaving of differenes and similarities. Overall, they each agree that fear has been underestimated and often misinterpreted in Law and Criminology, and this has resulted, at times, in exacerbating insecurity, crime, and injustice in the world. 

 

R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, AB, is a Canadian philosopher, educator and fearologist, having studied fear from a transdisciplinary perspective for three decades. He is founder of The Fearology Institute, a professional training program, and author of hundreds of articles and several books, including The World's Fearlessness Teachings.

Desh Subba, livess in Hong Kong. He is a Nepali philosopher, poet, writer and founder of the philosophy of fearism and Fearism Study Center in Nepal. Author of several books and articles, his pivotal award-winning textbook is Philosophy of Fearism. 

B. Maria Kumar, living in India, is a long-term career police officer, recently retired as Director General of Police in Bhopal. He has published many books, such as Policing By Common Sense, and To Be or Not to Be Happy.

 

 

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To Join "The Movement" or not? 

Like any "movement" of consciousness and/or social change and transformation in history, there are philosophies behind them, if not ideologies, if not religions. There are going to be at times questioning of these "behind" the scenes forms and organizations and ideas and impulses--with their agendas. The general public or even serious thinkers and researchers will ask questions about this website called the "Fearlessness Movement." They will want to know "what it is" (really?)... and they want information so they can make up their mind what it is they may want to join or not to join. 

What I have done as the person who has coined "Fearlessness Movement" near a few decades ago, and the leader and philosopher that I am, who likes 'big missions' and even what looks like 'utopian' visions... that's nothing I try to hide... is that my work has been to keep "the Movement" that I care about as open as possible to as many kinds of people and thinkers as possible, globally, and across the lines of sacred and secular. That's a challenge, because people can be so quick to "judge" a website, a "group" that they perceive is involved and make their quick decision to become involved productively, or not, and/or to go so far as to make it the 'enemy.' [1]  

ABOUT US: Define "The Movement" (and, become involved in defining it)

I prefer to delineate a "Movement" for change and liberation not to define it or fix it...but maybe for some that is just me playing with words. Yet, the intention I have as one of the leaders in the study of fear on the planet, is to keep "the movement" open enough for people to participate in a way of critique and constructive revisioning... so that dogma does not set in, so that idolization and ideology cannot freeze up and enclose "the movement" definition and meanings. Of course, any delineation process, to make something different from something and to be able to label it and develop it, is an act (perceived and/or real) as one of differentiating and that can look like "exclusion" or a "clique" type of process. It may look like an esoteric group of elites who are "in" and get the power to play and control, while all others are "out" (more or less). Lots of those kinds of groups, cults and associations have occurred, as a history of social processes and the nature of groups and philosophies behind them. 

So, again, I am not against such specialized social change groups and movements that developed or continue to develop. It is a valid social form. And, I acknowledge that most everyone is deeply hurt by socialization and the "group" making process of in and out, acceptance and rejection dynamics. However, true as that injury is, and we are so sensitive to it as a social species (a tender carnivore as Paul Shepard once labeled our species), our task is not to react by default and reflex based on the past hurts and thus be in fear of being rejected either (as victims). Others overcome rejection by using domination and charisma and power to 'lead' others and so they get control (somewhat) of the rejection and aceeptance dynamics of groups they are involved in. 

I am not a big fan of joining any such ideological groups, religions, etc. I have never fully followed any one group, or movement or guru and so on, but I have drawn upon them (their better-side and offerings), and many of them, in my own 50+ years of learning consciously since being a teen, about humans and change and transformation, and how to make the world a better place.

So, my own version of "the movement" (or "Movement" as a simplified code word here that may be assumed or used explicitly).... is one that has taken an empirical and theoretical positioning to start with, and that goes back to the origins of my version of what I coined as the "Fearlessness Project" in 1989, then onward that became the "Fearlessness Movement" more recently, and with this website (ning) the Fearlessness Movement (2015) was located and made open to the public as a forum and online community. I recently wrote a few blogs (and a paper) "About Us" in referring to this movement and ning: 

(1) https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/fearlessness-movement-about-us

(2) https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/fearlessness-movement-and-it-s-context-of-meaning

I highly suggest all visitors and/or members of the FM ning read these two blogs, and read up on how I have delineated the "Fearlessness Movement" in a Wikipedia style writing with Desh Subba in our 2016 book [2]. Of course, sadly, too many and too often, people come upon my work or collegaues and quickly decide after reading very little of our work to reject it and quickly shy away from joining a "religion" in their minds, etc. I won't deny that when one leads a movement with a great mission, like "Fearlessness" for example, there is going to be a sense of a leader and big project that a lot of people don't feel comfortable with, and more or less like to operate as individuals and not as part of a group and do not want to be "controlled" or critiqued by a group. This latter "fear" (for the most part) is often never confronted or worked through by a lot of people, who keep "running" from groups of any kind, and ultimately are running from their own wounds from the past brought on by group dynamics. I am not saying that I understand all my critics and their motivations to leave, and/or reject "the movement"... I merely see, or sense, they haven't given it a good try to find out what it (we) are all about. So, let me clarify my delineation of "the movement" that the FM ning represents (if that is even the right term): 

The Movement (again, short-hand code) related to the FM ning, is very broad, because virtually anyone can come on and join the FM ning and say and teach what they want to about fear and fearlessness, etc. One doesn't have to agree, or be a follower of any of us who are FM ning members, or do they have to conform to my philosophy either just because I am the host/moderator and original creator of the FM ning. However, for the newcomer to "the movement" there are some obvious 'big players' already on the FM ning who write the most, publish books, and tend to take up a good deal of the 'air space' on the ning. From my point of view, just because of that involvement they have, and commitment, and being outspoken etc., does not mean they "run" the movement or the ning, and/or do they define what the study of fear and fearlessness has to be like or look like. Indeed, they, like myself will have bigger influence on the face-of-the ning, and the "Fearlessness Movement"--however, there is not a pre-determined set or domination of ideas that is or ought to be and others should only follow. All can be co-creators of the content and shaping of the Fearlessness Movement and the FM ning that is one of its manifestations. 

I delineate "the Movement" at this time, with three major components (branches) that appear on the FM ning [as distinct from, yet interrelated with the Fearlessness Movement per se] [3]:

1. Fisher's Philosophy of Fearlessness, 2. Desh Subba's Philosophy of Fearism and 3. Eneyo's Philosophy of Fear... as well Kalu has his own version and mixture of all of these three labeled brands of philosophy. 

The other some 60 people on the FM ning, besides the above guys, are (as far as I can tell) less participative as writers and less involved in creating their own philosophy (branch of the Fearlessness Movement). From my view, these 60 people are no less important or invited to be shapers (and/or followers and students)... than anyone else on the FM ning or those who are associated with the Fearlessness Movement who are not signed up as members on the FM ning. 

I trust this short bit of delineation on my part is helpful in some way. I encourage anyone, especially newcomers to "the Movement" to ask questions, to stay out of victim-mode if that is what happens as a knee jerk reaction to reading stuff here on the FM ning or by any of the philosophers I mentioned above. 

For philosophy of anything, to stay alive and vibrant and critically self-reflexive, there ought to be open-mindedness and invitation to all... and, I am not naive to think that "all" is actually a reality when it comes down to whom will be attracted and whom will be repulsed by "the Movement"-- people also create their own exclusion from something like a movement because they simply aren't interested and would rather spend their time elsewhere. In the end, I really don't care personally, if people join "the movement" or not. I merely love to communicate with all people about this work and movement. I'd love to see it grow, of course, and I am already well aware it may, or may not. History is rife with examples of philosophers and movements they promoted which came and went. Though, some have stuck around a long time. I would like this study of fear and all its branches of philosophies to become one of the formative forces that shape the future of this world in the 21st century and beyond... 

Notes

1. I wrote on the enemies of fearlessness itself, in Fisher, R. M. (1997). Defining the enemy of fearlessness. Technical Paper No. 6. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.  

2. See Chapter One "Fearology, Fearism, and the Fearlessness Movement" as the basic quick introduction to "the movement" being spoken about often by myself, or Desh Subba (as founder of philosophy of fearism). 

3. The Fearlessness Movement is a global historical movement, coined by Fisher, and includes many many movements with their own leaders and philosophies (e.g., A Course in Miracles, Gandhi's Satyagraha movement, etc.) whom are involved in some form of "teachings" that attempt to move the world from fear-based reality and politics etc. towards fearlessness (more or less). Again, see this summarized in Chapter One (end note 1) of Fisher and Subba (2016). 

 

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I want to share a short excerpt from a new fearism book in progress, hopefully it will come out this late autumn. The book is entitled: Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism co-authored by R. Michael Fisher, Desh Subba and B. Maria Kumar. This book started with the project I initiated earlier this year on creating a series of dialogues with Desh and Maria on a new sub-discipline I coined as fearcriminalysis... now to the excerpt from the Introduction chapter of the new book: 

 "Overall, on first glance upon the earth, too many people and other species are not protected enough from suffering. Humanity is still striving to bring safety and security to such victims; yet, equally it seems humanity is unwinding the sacred freedoms, rights and securities faster and faster each day. Oppression and violence growing rapidly is a symptom of such desecration of basic needs of so many. Nuclear (arms) development, global killer diseases, starvation, mass human displacements, global warming, extreme weather crises, and mass species extinctions with ecological deterioration are bringing new fears and insecurities to humanity. The future is more precarious by the day. Youth are particularly ‘hit’ by this reality, as we see stresses upon them overwhelming and youth suicide rates in many countries are skyrocketing.[i] Excess fear and insecurities grows—a “climate of fear” or a “culture of fear”[ii] have been pronounced by many critics as the no. 1 problem humanity has to resolve. Generally, people don’t feel trusting or safe! It is this very condition of growing insecurities globally that no doubt has motivated us as co-authors to apply fearism to law and criminology. Maybe we can begin to bring some new insights and solutions to these ominous problems.   

Safety and security as basic needs is like mother’s milk or apple pie. How could it not be a valuable thing (like love itself) to warrant being protected with the ethical fibre of our existence? The likeability and instinctual response to value safety and security is not what is in question here. Law, in principle, is primarily oriented to such protection, just as are government sponsored “vaccine” programs. Recent raging debates and a general loss of public trust in vaccines, that is, an increase in “fear of vaccines,” is a huge international topic and has analogous lessons for the debates and general loss of public trust in governance and policing as “fear of crime” and “fear of police” increases. Yet, as critical thinkers and co-authors we also have to question the ‘sacred cow’ so to speak. No “need” ought to be given such sacred status/privilege or priority that it becomes unquestionable in its reign, where no voice of critique can be raised. It is that moment when we are facing silencing. In that moment we are likely confronted not by argumentation of common sense or logical propositions for survival and wellbeing but something more like ideology. Philosophers typically sense ideology and challenge it before others. We sense “safety and security” today is being usurped from its good side, to becoming another football for dominant ideologies to compete—to win."[iii]

 

[i] Yip (2010).

[ii] See a summary of these concepts and reference literature on Wikipedia, for example, and/or see Fisher & Subba (2016), pp. ii, xxiv-xxv, xxvii, xxviii, 22, 55-57, 66, 67, 93, 104, 112.

[iii] It is beyond the purpose of this discussion in the Introduction to go into it, but many astute critics have argued that the major colonizing and globalizing ideology of neoliberalism is today greatly shaping economics, politics, education and culture (e.g., see Giroux, 2014). 

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Fear Poetry: Form of Fearism

 (This review of Fear Poetry by Rana Kafle, from Assam, India, is published in Lok Chintan Monthly Magazine January-February 2018 issue from Kanpur, India. His book reviewed by Surendra Gupta Sikar. This review is translated into English by Surya Prakash Pangdhak Limbu. Rana Kafle is an ardent believer of theory of Philosophy of Fearism. He has written two other essays, one story book and one book of poetry based on the philosophy of Fearism by Desh Subba.)

Surendra Gupta "Sikar"

Tulasidas, the world famous poet, wrote in his Ramcharitmanas, "Without accepting humble requests promptly, three days have gone. Laxman, handle your bow being absence of fear and affection!"

The mentioned couple of verses confirm "Fearism." Lots of congratulations and best wishes for the publication of your work "Bhaya(Fear)". In the course of Fearism-tradition, "Bhaya" is an important step. Certainly, "Bhaya" will be the useful work for those researchers working on "Fearism". I went through "Bhaya Poetry" thoroughly. I liked it very much. Fear is everywhere in the core of all human activities and biological achievement as the fundamental fact. Fear leads a person to be oriented for goal achievement. "Fear" is the philosophy that transmits biological life. Buddhism is also the return of "Fearism".

Art and edition of the work "Bhaya" has come to be so beautiful. Congratulations and best wishes once again.  -RK

 

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"Psychology is how to struggle with it. Philosophy is always looking for an exit out of it." -Jon Amundson (psychotherapist) 

Dr. Jon Amundson

I just had to quote my fav psychotherapist from Calgary, AB. Long story of our connection. But when I saw this on his website tonight, it made me think of this as a traditional view where there is "problem" and psychology and psychologists help people struggle with it (pragmatically). Maybe there is some truth that philosophers and philosophy tend to be more about ideas and questions and offering better "exits" from problems. Though, that is all too stereotypic generalizing, and what strikes me is that the philosophy of fearism is anything but an exit per se but a way to engage the struggle with fear, and in fact is a philosophy all about fear in all its dimensions from genetic to biological to psychological to sociological to philosophical and even theological. The fearologist works with this philosophy of fearism as a basic guidance, at least that is the way Desh Subba (founder of philosopher of fearism) and myself envision the education, practice and development of the new fearologist of the 21st century--they are a hyrbid cross, both in the struggle with the Fear Problem and also looking for an exit (e.g., what "fearless" may mean)--but there is no separation or divorce of the two types of fearwork(ing)... they must be integrated all the way, and the very word "fearism" and "fearology" makes sure there is deep and wide investigation and struggle and working through all things to do with fear ... [just some thoughts for the night]... 

 

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Philosophy of Fearism in African Nation

Philosophy of Fearism in African Nation

Pradip Menyangbo 

[This article, which I have translated into English is published in one of the main newspapers of Nepal Kantipur Daily (02/13/18) in Nepalese language. Translated with the permission of the author/reporter] [Assistant translations by Surya Prakash Pangdhak Limbu; also edited by R. Michael Fisher] 

News

February 13, 2018 

Western intellectuals have accepted the…Bhayabad (Nepalese word for Philosophy of Fearism) or Philosophy of Fearism produced by Desh Subba, who has been living in Yuen Long in Hong Kong for two decades. Philosophers and writers from Canada and different African countries are collaborating together with Mr. Subba in order to further re-interpret and redefine the Fearism writings that have won dozens of international awards, including in the USA.  

While the intellectual world is interested in discussing fear(ism), high officials of the police and military departments of some African countries are facing violence and civil war. They recently have expressed their concern about the practical use of the philosophy of fearism to manage the fear of society in practical life. Police and military have shown good interest to formulate policy for fear management by practicing Mr. Subba’s philosophy through maintaining peace and security in society, family, and whole country, by freeing any kind of terror also coming from natural disasters, and setting the fear management agenda as the main purpose of their countries. 

Furgeli Sherpa, a facilitator of fear management, said that seven nations’s senior police officers from different African countries had drawn the conclusion in a workshop held in Mukjar, a city in Sudan, that growing fear in their country could be managed according to Fearism. Sherpa is working in the UN peace keeping force, Sudan. He is from an Armed Police Force of Nepal. 

Sherpa said 27 police and military officers from Tunisia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Jordan had responded that Fearism is practical philosophy to manage different types of fears in family and society. Their goal is to improve ways to manage fear and control crime, civil war, murder, violence and they require philosophy in order to be utilized from the ground all the way up to the policy formulation levels. Fearism recognizes that “life is conducted, directed, controlled and operated by fear,” as Subba’s book sub-title suggests. 

Fearism was conceptualized and coined in 1999 by Mr. Subba, who has been living in Hong Kong with his family for two decades. Philosophy of Fearism has come on the world stage of thought as the latest philosophy, which has been awarded after acceptance of western authors and philosophers. It is the first time in Africa to be utilized. The philosophy has become attractive to many universities from Hong Kong, Sikkim, Northeast India, Bangladesh, USA and Europe, where Subba has lectured. 

Armed police force of Nepal reaches into Sudan, Sherpa said, "They have drawn the conclusion that the philosophy that has been founded by a Nepalese (Subba), can help those African countries facing violence and civil war to better manage fear.” Facilitator of the program in Sudan, Sherpa added’ “Every work done by the police and the army of any country, is to make citizens free from fear and terror and give them protection and peace. The philosophy guides to how to make citizens free from fear and establish calmness in society.” 

He said African police personnel and the army self-approved of the philosophy as a positive fear which could be used as a means of increasing courage, motivation and will. Sherpa reported, after his introductory workshop, that Tanzania police officer Sheila Msami, said, “Fearism will be able to help to manage fear generated by terrorism and civil war.” He added that Msami responded Fearism as relevant to the peace, security and development of the nation.Mr. Subba expressed his gladness that police and army personnel of some African countries had taken his Philosophy of Fearism as the means to develop their countries with establishing fearless peace. He added, “Up until now, the philosophy has become an interesting subject for philosophical studying and some scholars, but I felt good that it is entering Africa, as police and army have also started to realize Fearism potential.” 

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Read more…

 Dialogue on Fearcriminalysis (Part 1): R. Michael Fisher, B. Maria Kumar and Desh Subba

 I am intrigued by the long standing traditional ethic in law, be it judges or police officers that they are to do their duty “without fear or prejudice.” Easier said than done.  -R. Michael Fisher

 Editorial Preamble:

I (R. Michael Fisher) took on the initiative to start this sub-field of Fearcriminalysis because of the recent email communications of Desh Subba (founder of philosophy of fearism) with B. Maria Kumar. See our bios at the end of this dialogue. I thank both of my colleagues for their important work and life experiences and how they have so easily and sincerely taken-on this dialogue series I envision on Fearcriminalysis, as we explore together the first roots of what this sub-field may entail.

Recently, I wrote on a FMning blog “What I have learned over my 45 years of teaching, more or less, professionally, with then getting three post-secondary degrees in Education as a field, is that it is good to continually reflect not only on our thinking and content, but on how we design curricula, how we imagine the nature of the human being, and how we actually teach in diverse conditions and to whom.” The analogy with “teaching” (and learning) that I was speaking about seems very appropriate when it comes to the field of governance, law, criminology, etc., of which Fearcriminalysis is focused on. I am intrigued by the long standing traditional ethic in law, be it judges or police officers that they are to do their duty “without fear or prejudice.” Easier said than done.

Like Subba and Kumar, I am interested in how we design organizations and governance, create laws (facilitate authority- power structures), make rules, regulations, policies and practices of enforcing them. Our imaginary in designing for such work are often passed on from past generations, protocols, institutional traditions, cultural and religious habits and often without a lot of critical thinking and examination of the deeper (and invisible) assumptions behind such ‘norms,’ ‘beliefs’ and practices of governance and law. And, concomitantly, our assumptions behind those who ‘break’ the law. Thus, our focus of conversation involves the political but focuses on criminological aspects in the largest sense where fear is important to account for.

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. We all love inquiry and change. But then we have to define what best and better are, and in what context are such qualitative and/or quantitative assessments made. I’ll never forget the trial of the late Mahatma Gandhi in the British courts of India during colonization, where he more or less said to the judge and jury, “You may be following your laws, but I am following justice.” And, on that difference, Gandhi was charged and imprisoned, a similar story to the late Nelson Mandala in S. Africa.

There are always hidden biases, for nothing is value-neutral when it comes to how to best organize and manage societies. I am interested in the issue of fear-based laws, rules, etc., and what would fearlessness-based laws, rules, etc. look like in contrast and would they work better? I would like to address in this series of dialogues the notion of a Fearlessness Paradigm for law. Tagore seemed to point to the possibility of a new society, after my own heart, when he wrote, ”where the mind is without fear....into that heaven of freedom, my Father! let my country awake.” [thanks Maria, for sharing this relevant quote]

It is evident in the dialogue below the three of us quickly move into discussions of human nature, the human condition and the human potential, at least implicitly. Our own “politics” may also come through somewhat in these discussions. There is every intent in the dialogue to be non-dogmatic, non-coercive and at least listen to each others’ views respectfully, even if at times we may not all agree. The articulating worldviews, philosophies, values and methodologies that come from how we see relationships in society are important to analyze as well as the pragmatic details of governance, for e.g., policing and security, of which Kumar especially has a long track-record of highly accomplished professional competency that he brings to the table of the discussion on the nature and role of fear related to governance in India. It is also obvious that the disciplines we draw on in the discussion, although mostly about governance and law, one can see we dip into anthropology, sociology, social psychology and criminal psychology, flowing back and forth as the conversation develops. As Editor of this dialogue it was challenging also at times to interpret our words, our linguistic meanings by email, as we come from different cultures and parts of the world, with various degrees of background in English language use and writing. Each of us can Comment on this dialogue on the FMning as well to enhance and/or clarify points made.

Clearly, the world is in a lot of crises these days. Political tensions and nuclear war has never been so high a probability since many decades. The global Fear Problem is self-evident. How countries, cities, and people in general get along and/or don’t get along is crucial to the outcomes of how we are best going to solve ecological, social and political problems. Conflict is inevitable in such diverse landscapes and mindscapes of differing cultural backgrounds, and even “Culture Wars,” and so Fearcriminalysis seems ready to emerge to help out. I tend to agree with the contemplative Thomas Merton that “At the root of all war is fear” not unlike Subba’s (2014) claim, “War, murder, terror, etc. are produced by fear. Anger, conspiracy, suspicion, and hatred are produced by the fear…” (p. 11). That is, fear which is not understood or managed very well. From my research, no full attention has been given to “fear” systematically in relation to governance and law, even though fear is mentioned and seen as a factor (e.g., “fear of crime,” or “freedom from fear” in the UN Declaration of Human Rights). Centralizing analysis, through what Subba (2014) called a “fearist perspective” (lens), as the philosophy of fearism and fearology suggest, can be very valuable. This is totally new and exciting exploratory territory.

I personally, cannot think of a more important topic than these critical issues of governance and what democracies may look like that better serve the people (of all kinds). I also cannot think of a more controversial topic. In my experience in the past, be it with government leaders, bureaucrats, police, or military, or teachers and/or parents and citizens-- everyone has very strong opinions on the “best” ways to govern and keep law and social and moral order. But we need more than “opinions” to rule a society and be healthy, sane and sustainable in all ways that are moral and just. Governance and its institutionalization, on the macro-scale, is much like being parents raising children at home, or schooling them—there are a lot of “hot” contentious views in this domain. We are talking about Authority and Power every moment we talk about governance and law(s). And at the same time, we are talking about Fear related to Authority and Power and issues of freedom or non-freedom. Big stuff. So, without further comment, let’s proceed and let you the reader experience and interpret what is going on in the dialogue(s) and how we may shape Fearcriminalysis. We hope you will Comment on this blog, and/or send us personal emails as well (see bio.’s and contact info. at the end of this Dialogue).

The Dialogue:

[Ed.: For readers of this dialogue, and to remind each of us (Subba, Kumar and Fisher), I have copied [1] my recent correspondence with you both re: Fearcriminalysis (the name I coined), just to get us started, and after that it is anything goes, as an emergent creative exchange.]

Fisher: In regard to your background Maria, which I know little about re: policing and your writing and publishing, I did want to share with you that I have thought for some time that the Fearlessness Movement or whatever we call it has to bring a new radical paradigm to inform new research, thinking and applications re: fearology, fearanalysis, and feariatry, also terms Desh has used to all sorts of domains of society today.

What has not been talked so much about in Subba’s and my work is that we need to bring the study of fear and fearism in closer relations to the entire world of law, criminology, safety and security, i.e., social order--so, that we can take new and better directions in the future of governance and in how we manage societies and the plagues of phenomena like the growing "fear of crime," “fear of policing,” "terrorism." etc. There's a larger conversation I'd be glad to engage with you and Subba, if you are interested in being part of another sub-discipline of philosophy of fearism that directly relates to the above, perhaps we call it Fearcriminalysis? This would be the next specialty study for the 21st century, so that we truly can begin to turn around the growing toxic "culture of fear" that is invading all aspects of life for virtually everyone. 

 

"I watch people running towards the objective of happiness be that achieved individually or in groups. Unfortunately, this aim is undermined somewhat by the ‘Free World,’ which is changing to more value on competitive aims and financial gain."  - Desh Subba

 

Kumar: I appreciate your kind gesture in sending information about your brain child, i.e., Fearlessness Movement and references to your books, blog, tech papers etc. Desh and I are also recently corresponding and exchanging books. It will take some time to study this material to familiarise myself with both your research and teaching projects, which are quite important.

As regards to your observations on prospective expansion of fearism into the realm of crime, law, public safety and order, etc. I would like to say that it is a brilliant idea to pursue and if you and Desh Subba could guide me, I will certainly put in my efforts to work on Fearcriminalysis with you both. Having been in India’s police service as a career for the last 32 years, I have had first hand experiences about how people fear not only crime and criminals but also policing and police and other crime fighters; which is itself intriguingly a paradoxical reality.

Fisher: This is wonderful news Maria to be able to develop the sub-fields of fearism having a practitioner like yourself working alongside the philosophizing and theorizing that Desh and I have done. I note from your recent correspondence you also appear to love writing, poetry and you quote famous philosophers and mystics. That was sweet music to my ears.

We’d equally like to find a psychiatrist to work with to develop Feariatry. So, I’m curious how Desh you respond to Maria coming to this work on Fearcriminalysis at this time and what you see happening in this area of law, safety and security, etc.? I know for an example, you have a professional side career, beyond being a philosopher, writer and poet—you are a security guard in Hong Kong.

Subba: I am honored Maria has been offering to help us out. He has a prestigious reputation. Yes, I am. Somewhat like policing, our job is to provide a sense of security through watch and secure. I have since being a child closely watched the activities of people. Aristotle once mentioned that the aim of humans ought to be happiness. And happiness is not only an emotion, it involves activities. Those activities must be unique. I watch people running towards the objective of happiness be that achieved individually or in groups. Unfortunately, this aim is undermined somewhat by the ‘Free World,’ which is changing to more value on competitive aims and financial gain. I observe this kind of world creates more fear for them and less happiness the harder they strive. Between being human and finding happiness they need to cross many barriers. Every barrier is full of fear. It is not easy to reach the top of happiness.

Fisher: It has long struck me as I observe people in competitive modern societies that they seem not to be conscious of the contradiction between the high value put on competitiveness, usually a win-lose scenario and how it undermines human happiness because the latter is undermined by feeling more insecure, i.e., fearful. In a sense, it is logical that “feeling safe” is not going to be secured under highly competitive societal structures and processes of winners and losers. After my own education in such a North American society and being a school teacher and curriculum designer and social critic, it is more than obvious children generally are not very happy in these systems—mostly, they are very frightened and motivated by fear nearly chronically, and I think in postmodern society this has got worse. Insecurity is the dis-ease of choice, so it seems ironically in a society constantly seeking “safety and security” in order to avoid risk; a paradox many sociologists have seen, e.g., in labeling the West’s “risk society” [2].

Subba:  I used to watch activities of the rich man to the poor man. Most of rich couldn't sleep at night.  They wake up and drive their car early in the morning, even at 2am, 3 am., Because they are burning inside and try to cool it. Sometimes they used to take lot of medicine. I am first witness of their hide and seek activities. They used to leave medicine and 4 or 5 mobiles in guard room. These mobiles used to call entertainment girls. They keep all these in the guard room and keep away from the reach of their wives. Sometimes I watch office staff. They come early 3 or 4 o’clock to work. Their office time is 9 am. They have been given some task by manager. They must complete assignment work within tight time frames. Otherwise they lose commission, promotion and remuneration. They are always running behind so called “happiness.” It makes them hard, fast and better workers but that is where things fall short.

The rich man fears losses:  losing name and fame. To maintain it he suffers from anxiety, stress, fear, depression. Similarly, employee fears losing their job, income and family and social status. It gives overload, burden, restless etc. Slowly these activities change into sickness physically and mentally. Family life is more strained.

For these people, rich and/or poor, to meet their demand, they engage in lying, smuggling, stealing, and blackmailing. Sometimes it changes into family and social violence. These are crimes. The source of the crime maybe differs, but to solve crime we need to follow the surface symptoms of behaviors to the deeper root causes. Directly of indirectly, some parts of fear must be examined there. If we treat the root, some crime can be cured.

Kumar:  Let me at the outset congratulate you all on your unfailing enthusiasm and dedicated yeoman service for the cause of fearism. Truly, with Mr. Oshinakachi Akuma Kalu, I believe you have hit the nail on the head when you wrote [Desh’s book subtitle]: ”life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear.

As we all know, Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1913), became synonymous with his emphatic lines when he wrote, ”where the mind is without fear....into that heaven of freedom, my Father! let my country awake.” Unless fear is undone, freedom has no meaning for existence, rather existence has no meaning. It is here in this existential context of political life, that whether it is the American Declaration of Independence, or any other democratically-based national constitutional provisions and laws, there ought to be fearlessness alongside the inalienable rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, fraternity, justice and equality.

As I see it, knowing about handling or managing of fear well, as a philosophy of fearism promotes, is more potent than the feeling of being safe.

Fisher: Indeed, Kumar that is a powerful statement from someone in policing. I think the recent “safety” and “risk” discourses, especially in the West are excessive, if not neurotic and fear-based themselves. In general, I find, people care more about lowering risk, and striving for safety and security, than being moral citizens. In one philosophy conference I presented in my graduate years, I entitled the talk “Better Safe Than Moral.” This was a horrible state of affairs we had entered as societies. People seeking low risk and safety all the time easily become so dependent on someone, like authoritative “forces” or “law” or “policy” to protect their safety but rarely then do they take responsibility anymore for their own actions, and the very fact that risk is part of life if one wants to be a creative developing and maturing person. Worse, dictatorships more or less begin within this matrix of fearfulness of citizens who cower under all authorities and thus give over to them to rule with the iron fist. I see a lot of this happening in Western so-called “advanced” societies like in Europe and the USA today. Not a good sign of the future.

Kumar: True Dr.Fisher! Most of the people tend to care more about lowering risk than being moral citizens.

Fisher: Maria, is this human behavior even in India where you live and work? Do you think this tendency is part of human nature? Or, is it part of the human condition(ing)? Explain your views.

Kumar: I think that it hardly has anything to with India or any other country but strongly indicates that it is part of human nature in general. In a way, ‘lowering risk’ and ‘striving to be moral’ are equally important in the sense that they are complementary to each other. One alone can not bring in desired good because these two strategies need to be attended to in terms of prioritisation as well as simultaneity. Because, ‘risk management’ (i.e., lowering risk) is a short-term goal, usually because of its urgency. For example, a thirsty deer is about to drink water at a river but on sighting a lion in the vicinity, it immediately sprints away without touching water, in its bid to escape its life from the imminent danger. So is the case with anyone, who feels threatened and tries to minimise or avoid risk. If secure for the time being, then one has to the option to strive to be moralistic and ethical as a long-term goal.

Fisher: Sounds like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory explaining developmental and motivational priorities. In this sense, “true fear,” as Gavin de Becker, international security expert, would label it as the “gift of fear” [3] acts just as it is designed by evolution as good Defense Intelligence to reduce immanent and/or potential threat. So far no problem, our instincts as Nature’s gifts are working the system for best outcomes—not necessarily guarantees of safety but a likely best probability of least harm.

Kumar: But caution is warranted while handling a threat and lowering risk in the sense that it should not result in the creation of more or bigger risks, since I am reminded of Friedrich Nietzsche’s warning, “whoever fights monster should see to it that in the process, he should not become a monster.” As Michael is rightly apprehensive, Nietzsche’s apt quote serves as a red alert if the citizens cower under all authority and vest unbridled powers in the dictatorship to rule with an iron fist.

 

...civilisations also went on regulating the conduct of subjects/citizens through formal laws. Then what happens if regulations, enforcement and controls become more intense? Too much of regulation through laws and rules proves to be more harmful than helpful. If any aspect of human behaviour is controlled by unlimited creation and application of rules in the name of crime prevention, safety or maintenance of peace and order, what will happen to society as a whole? "  -B. Maria Kumar

 

Fisher: Then the social contract and basic trust, the republic and its principles, all take a dive and democracy itself is threatened or collapses. Terror(ism) is released, more or less. The classic is fighting “the enemy” who is “evil” over there as having weapons they could use against us, and so, pre-emptively, let’s strike them with our bigger weapon first. For example, the spiraling nuclear warheads phenomena—that is Fear Wars, fits this, and shows how easily, when perceptions and worries lead to decisions that are chronically fear-based, we end up with bigger risks—e.g., US and N. Korea for one, and maybe the same for India and Pakistan, and many gang wars, etc. War itself seems to fall into this wrong thinking as Nietzsche was getting at. In other words, It’s sort of bad policing all around. I also think your deer and lion example is only partly successful as explanation when we apply prioritisation principles to a chronically worrying sub-set of humans, that is, who are neurotically fear-based people living in culture—living under oppressive conditions [4]. Human nature is now operative, more or less, as  the human condition—the latter, a Defense Intelligence undermined and compromised by what de Becker calls “false fear.” Now risk assessment, in a postmodern “risk society,” often is exaggerated to default on the ‘worst scenario’ when there is no real evidence for it. This is the opposite of Tagore’s ideal, because the mind is filled with fear and worry and a big brain that can project that fear into the future (unlike a deer). A more complex explanation and theory is required here. Anyways, Maria could we get back to your views about the haves and the have-nots that Desh spoke about earlier.

Kumar: Let me start with an observation of four categories I have observed and named. I’ll distinguish two generic types of peoples’ patterns distinguished within the haves and have-nots. Some of such people are have-nots whose primary aim is to survive. I call them “literal survivors.” These struggling literal survivors can be of two sub-types. The first sub-type may struggle morally, ethically and lawfully to secure their most basic needs like food/water and sex—that is, the instinctual goals of existence-food for self-survival and sex for familial, tribal and/or survival of the species. Say for example that someone of this sub-type having no means of livelihood shows initiative to take-up manual work as a farmhand and marries a girl as per normal legal procedures. Let us call such people “socially approved literal survivors.”

The second sub-type of have-nots are those who struggle for existence by ‘hook or crook’ without little if any concern for upholding social standards of morals, ethics or laws; say for example that a man is starving and resorts to robbing a passer-by and/or raping a lonely vulnerable girl as instinctual acting-out. We may term them as “socially disapproved literal survivors.”

Fisher: I think this second sub-type nicely fits, for the most part, what criminologists and psychologists would label “deviants,” and Subba might call “corrupt people” [5] of which I tend to prefer to name and theorize generically as “rebels.” The issue of one’s relationship to Authority/Power becomes a major factor in outcomes of these actors and their interactions. A point, perhaps, later we can return in regard to the relationship and role fear plays in these authority-power-control and ‘game’ dynamics in governance and law.

Kumar: Okay, regarding the haves, on the other hand, as the more well-to-do people, I see two sub-types under the generic label “lateral survivors.” They don’t need to struggle for food and sex. They just want to survive their current affluent status (i.e., status quo), meaning that they don’t want to go down below the current standards of living.

Subba: They fear falling and failing. It is fear accompanied often by guilt and shame, if not terror deep down.

Kumar: Yes, it’s this fear that tends to dominate their motivations. They have to keep up the present sophistication and norms. During the course of their efforts to maintain this sameness in status, some people follow morals, ethics, and laws to do so. This sub-type we may refer to as “socially approved lateral survivors.” Similar in motivations, but strategically in contrast to the first, are those who don’t adhere to standard rules, morals and laws, these are the “socially disapproved lateral survivors.”

The socially disapproved literal survivors and the socially disapproved lateral survivors are well aware of the unsavory consequences like penalties, and legal sentences, etc. for their illegal and immoral activities; hence they continually try to lower the risks and uncertainties involved in achieving their objectives. These people feel threatened by the ‘long arm’ of the law and by lawful defenders and are more fearful of Authority.

Fisher: Are you saying the haves/laterals are more fear-based in general than the have-nots/literals? If so, that seems counterintuitive at first glance, doesn’t it? I think Desh might agree with you, as he has argued in his philosophy of fearism that people living more simple lives, e.g., traditional villagers without formal education, without high tech, and living closer to Nature and outside of big cities, etc., are generally less fearful and less fear-driven than modern urban dwellers living more complex and “well-educated” lives.

Kumar: No, I think the opposite; the socially approved survivors, whether literal or lateral, are less fearful; and less fearful in the sense that they are concerned only about natural hazards or sudden change in policy etc.. like a cargo truck washed away by unexpected floods or their share-values fell due to new pricing regulations.

Subba: I have, as Michael says, hypothesized that the better well-off generally are the more fearful compared to the less well-off. In my book Subba (2014), “After the fulfilment of all these stages [in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs], they live their lives happily. But they are more aware of some things than the common people [at less advanced stages].they have a lot of stress in regard to the[ir] security of property, necessity, and increment of investment. They always have the fear of downfall from the[ir] present position. If they have a little loss in their business, they feel as if they are completely hopeless. That is why they are hard-working; they work day and night at the cost of their health” (p. 288). [6]

Fisher: Desh, in your 2014 book you give attention to this hypothesis in your views on rural simple-traditional lifestyles vs. urban modern life-styles [7], as well you wrote about a model--“Pyramid of Renowned Person” Figure No. 71, and bluntly say, “According to this pyramid, most famous people have the highest fear and ordinary people have the lowest fear. Since ordinary people have the least fear, they have the freedom to walk wherever they want and also they don’t fear to walk wherever they like and eat whatever they like…” (p. 233). I think your security guard experience may have informed this view? Perhaps also your study of Marxism and class? Desh, where did this hypothesis, re: haves and have-nots, start in your thinking? And, I’d like to hear more what Maria thinks of it. 

Subba:  You know Michael, I have less theoretical basis and bookish knowledge for this view. I mostly do practical study. What I mentioned above can seen by everybody. When people rise in hierarchy needs, more and more, they fear more and keep more bodyguards, keep CCTV, bullet proof cars. Without checking proper security, they never dare to travel, walk freely. It is right, when people have nothing, that person has less enemies, jealousy, kidnapper, torturer, and harm. A coolie, labourer, daily wage worker normally has less fear and fears less heath and diet problems.

Fisher: It’s interesting that, at least in North America, the sociologist Barry Glassner, famous for his book on the “culture of fear” studied also the great worry and fear over what people eat these days because of a sense of always something is going to cause some health problem [8]. They listen to the news way too much and read too much about warning reports and often they have contradictory results. It leaves the informed consumer confused often. I don’t think people on bare survival on the street worry much at all about the same neurotic details of diet and health choices. I don’t suspect they listen to the mainstream media news two or three times a day or read newspapers often as daily diet. Though, in extreme cases they may fear starving to death or freezing at nights. But generally the street comm-unities take care of each other because they are all vulnerable together. In competitive and well-to-do communities people are more isolated, although they do have extra money to insulate themselves from disease and death too. It’s complex to generalize but I do think you have a good point Desh. I don’t know if it has ever been systematically researched. I wonder how it may be something relevant to our topic of law, social order and policing? It is relevant to Kumar’s model of literal survivors and how they are perceived as deviants—maybe, they are less fearful people (more fearless?) and in that sense “healthier” than the richer? Maybe if this is true, we would see them differently when we are in the middle and upper classes? I wonder. Maybe we could learn something from them about fear management?

Kumar: Yes Michael. What I opine is that riches, fame, name, power and status may bring in fear at times as shown in Subba’s model of Pyramid of Renowned Person but it may not be generalized because there are many great people in history who walked around freely. We know that the Danish king used to bicycle alone on the streets. Mahatma Gandhi was always amidst masses but he was not afraid of being killed, though as irony has it, he was shot dead by the assailant at a prayer meeting. Despite being great, one’s security can be compromised, as some people are “too bold” in terms of spiritual strength-- being loving, caring and humble. Mother Teresa of Kolkata was one example. On the other hand, the down-trodden poor like untouchables of ancient Kerala in India fear to come near to a Brahmin, so they maintain a distance of 10-20 steps or so, lest the upper castes become impure. And the untouchables may even incur legal penalties.

Fisher: This kind of code of law is based mostly around mythological-based fears that have infiltrated the culture, even if somewhat irrational, even if they may have once had meaning in earlier times--or even if they are unjustice we might say, there’s real pressures and fears as you say, regardless of reason and rationality and life in a modern world. I suppose such primal magical and mythical fears are “laws” (or taboos) that have their own logic developmentally and they can be recalcitrant to change and adaptation over time. Fear (i.e., taboos) are powerful shapers of social life and law(s). They are also the basis of a good deal of prejudice unfortunately, and they spread a culture of fear as well, even in non-industrialized countries. No small problem, from an ethical and fearist’s perspective. It is difficult for me as a modern Westerner to get my head around how an untouchable caste put upon a person is treated like this via criminalization for such an ‘innocent’ event like walking to close to another person (i.e., the upper-caste) in public space—where is freedom in that? I think Mahatma Gandhi, espousing a philosophy of fearlessness and liberation for all, was on a mission to change these traditional ways. No wonder he was assassinated, for he was not only challenging the British Rule but also India’s Religious Traditional Rule—which, I would guess he saw both as unnecessarily fear-inducing—and, ultimately creating unnecessary fragmenting and polarizing against the establishing of a just sense of modern liberty, governance, law, security and social/moral order—that is, of a true (ethical and spiritual) community and democracy.

Kumar: Indeed. This ‘forced fear’ seems to have been ingrained and conditioned in the minds of lower castes in such a manner that it led Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of modern India to say: ”so long as you do not achieve social liberty, whatever freedom provided by the law, is of no avail to you.” I also suppose that it may perhaps depend upon the person’s state of mind as to feel fearsome or fearful, depending upon various factors. Relevant here is Steve Biko’s eye-opener observation, “the most potent weapon in the hands of oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

Subba: I discussed in my Philosophy of Fearism (2014) book the “Fear Weapon” of which is the worst configuration of fear in history (pp. 235-38). I write about law and criminals and how people fear to violate rules and laws. They fear going to prison. This is essential to society, but it can be abused. However, we have to recognize what fearism reveals over history, and that is that fear is one of the most powerful weapons to use to maintain law and order from tribes to grand nations and even over the world. It makes people more disciplined so they can function in groups and that’s a good thing generally.  

Kumar: As also pointed out by Subba earlier in this dialogue, well-to-do people do nurse fear about their wealth that it might be taken away or about how it could be secured/preserved. Same way, poor people also suffer due to fear of uncertainty about how the future holds for them in terms of socioeconomic well-being. It was also clearly visible in ancient India that the people of lower castes were more fearful than upper castes because of societal sanction accorded in the texts of some scriptures. In the 19th century of Europe also, Karl Marx felt that the upper classes were more powerful whereas the lower classes were more fearful. It is in this connection that he yelled his battle cry, ‘workers of the world! unite.... you have nothing to lose but chains.’ Metaphorically speaking, these chains he referred to were nothing but the shackles of fear. With apologies to my revision of Karl Marx, one way of looking at things could be: “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of fear maneuvers....the fearsome have always exploited the fearful; but the point however is to change it for pan-fearlessness.”

Subba: A new formation of history itself, based on a fearism perspective and philosophy. I am writing about Marx and dephilosophy soon to be published.

Fisher: I so agree that the fearsome (elites, for e.g., and/or street gangs and other leaders) of history have tended to run the course of a logic of moral order upon the basic principle (written or not) that: Right is Might! However, that will not sustain sane or healthy existence in societies. Why? Because the “might” is part of the mechanism of terror(ism)/fear(ism) in its most toxic forms. I have, like Kumar suggested, thought that history (the human condition) is one of repeated (traumatic) Fear Wars. By definition: someone somewhere is out to see how they can make (force) someone else to become more afraid than themselves—and, that, supposedly (for the short run) produces superiority, power-over, domination, and rule. These Fear Wars are killing us all and destroying the planetary ecology that sustains life. We need alternatives, time is running short re: our cascading multiple crises. We need to critique everything we do as to when excessive fear is being induced for control in one form or another to dominate. This gets critical for police officers and military. A big topic. Suffice it to say, a new kind of education is required, and fear and its management has to be part of it. That’s why I am so delighted to have Maria as part of this dialogue. I am also heartened by recent teaching at the UN bringing fearism to police and peace keepers across several countries [9]. And so, I suggest, armed and unarmed, rich and poor, black and white, secular or religious, all can, if they allow it, get caught up in this addiction to fear-power-might. The game of control and who can give freedom and who can take it away. This patterned dynamic is so dangerous when it motivates “righteousness” (i.e., rules and laws) which motivates reactions and even revolutions.

Subba: As much as I see Kumar’s point of the complexity and situation variances. I still believe for poor and workers, their life is one of more satisfactory when it comes to fear. They have big hope of having daily food and finding a place to sleep. Street sleeper, beggar life is far better than rich in sense of fear. This picture we can see everywhere. It does not mean that I fully support we all live a life-style like of those persons; I support them, their space of hope. They have many spaces of hope. In comparing to their life, the rich person’s scope of hope is limited. Size of fear is less in poor whereas full fear is in the life of renowned person. When they have more fear, certainly they have more fear-related anxiety, depression, mental sickness, stress etc. Thank you for giving me chance to put my view. I think our dialogue will be fruitful to interested readers.

Kumar: Michael’s concerns are genuine in the sense that the so called authoritative ‘righteousness’ in the guise of laws and rules may foster the deadly combination of fear-power-might. After all, crime is a product of law, rule, regulation or procedure. As long as law does not talk about pass-port or visa, everyone used to roam freely across the international borders in the past. Now the pass-port Acts, visa rules, deportation and extradition procedures, etc. restrict individuals’ freedoms and define ‘non-adherence’ or any violation as crime. And then enters the police and other enforcement agencies, as the strong arm of the government to prevent/detect or investigate crime and to enforce law.

It is not illogical to say that people get such police that they deserve. If people are violent, police also have to resort to more of their coercive powers. The more intense the enforcement, the more fearful or aggressive the people are. If people are law-abiding, police rarely have to intrude into people’s privacy or conduct investigations as peace prevails in the society. When necessitated, police are required to use force as little as sufficient enough to bring back normalcy.

When laws were not enacted, there were also problems such as the reign of brutality of anarchy and fearsome chaos, the prevalence of unwritten practice of ‘might is right’ - whoever is strong, they arbitrarily dictate, etc. That kind of disorderly situation in the Babylon of 18th century BC forced King Hammurabi to formulate a code of conduct or laws that set the standards of orderly behaviour and justice. By this enactment, the hitherto prevailing unbridled freedoms of the mighty that led to fear, disorder and violence were regulated so as to facilitate order, peace and fearless interpersonal harmony.

Fisher: Maria, it is good to be reminded of some of this history of law. In future dialogues, however,  I want to critically examine any so-called “fearless interpersonal harmony” as idea(l) under law, and what the actual real(ity) may have been.

Kumar: Subsequent civilisations also went on regulating the conduct of subjects/citizens through formal laws. Then what happens if regulations, enforcement and controls become more intense? Too much of regulation through laws and rules proves to be more harmful than helpful. If any aspect of human behaviour is controlled by unlimited creation and application of rules in the name of crime prevention, safety or maintenance of peace and order, what will happen to society as a whole? Same situation as aptly assessed by Michael will occur in terms of reactions and revolutions as history witnessed exactly 36 centuries after Hammurabi’s code that the 18th century AD’s French Revolution took place when the dictatorial monarch imposed too many of laws, rules etc. in the name of “liberty” while collecting too much tax, curtailing basic freedoms and denying food to people.

Lastly, as Michael said, we are inclined to design governance, create laws, make rules, regulations, policies and practices of enforcing them. I too feel that it is here in this context that a balanced approach is required to be devised so as to ensure that the governance intervenes least in the affairs of people except in the matters of life, liberty, equality, justice and the like; facilitates an environment free from fear and inconvenience while safeguarding the rights and interests of people and at the same time preserves and enlarges the freedoms of all individuals through appropriate moral and legal framework.

Fisher: Okay, lots to think about, for our next dialogue. Thank you both for a stimulating start on issues of fearcriminalysis. It has all got me thinking about at some point there may have to be a distinction drawn with a sub-field also related I’m coining fearpoliticology as more general than fearcriminalysis.

Notes:

  1. I have made slight modifications in uses of correspondence (as personal communications, Jan. 31- Feb. 1, 2018) for clarity, accuracy, English language use, and prompting purposes; but have attempted not to change the content and intent of the messages from my dialogue partners here.
  2. See, for e.g., Ulrich Beck’s work. Beck, U. (2003). An interview [by J. Yates] with Ulrich Beck on fear and risk society. The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture, 5, 96- Also, Beck, U. (1999). World risk society. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Also Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. [Trans. Mark Ritter]. London, UK: Sage. This concept “risk society” overlaps with “culture of fear” (e.g., see Frank Furedi, Barry Glassner).
  3. De Becker, G. (1997). The gift of fear: Survival signals that protect us from violence. NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell.
  4. This is where I introduce ‘fear’ (with ‘ marks) to distinguish the topic and phenomena (i.e., fear) that I see dominating today in most societies, a morphing culturally modified ‘fear’—especially in the West where I live, in a culture of fear (e.g., see Fisher, 2010). Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world’s fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  5. See Subba (2014), p. 322-23.
  6. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.
  7. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris, pp. 57, 89. In part, Subba’s views have been validated in a recent research study and article, where Subba (2014) is cited in supporting evidence. See Farzana, S. U., & Mannan, A. V. (2017). Vernacular settlement vs. fractal geometry: A comparative study addressing popular density and space quality in rural Bangladesh. AIUB: Journal of Science & Engineering, 16(3), 1-8.
  8. Glassner, B. (1999). The culture of fear: Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things. NY: Basic Books. See also Glassner, B. (2007). The Gospel of Food: Why we should stop worrying and enjoy what we eat. NY: HarperPerennial.
  9. Specifically, I am referring to the workshop on fear management and fearism by a colleague of Desh Subba’s, his name is Furgeli Sherpa from Nepal, currently working with the UN Peace Keeping services as a police officer himself in Sudan; go to https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/fearism-in-united-nation-workshop-room-mukjar-sudan

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B. Maria Kumar (b.mariakumar@gmail.com)

Born on 5th April 1958, B. Maria Kumar studied biology at pre-graduation level, chemistry in graduation and business management and philosophy in post-graduation at Vijayawada, Guntur and Hyderabad (India) respectively. Joined Indian Police Service in 1985, he served in central India holding various positions in law enforcement and is presently working as Director General at Bhopal. Interested in literature, he wrote in his mother tongue Telugu and also in English. Some of his published titles are:

 Mahimalesa Satakam (Telugu), Sanjivayya Satakam (Telugu), Vannela Dorasni (Telugu), Nenu (Telugu), Anandangaa Vundaalante (Telugu), Generation Z (Telugu), Voh Venus aur mein (Hindi translation), Poems d’Romance (Telugu), To Be Or Not to Be Happy (English), The Teapot Book of Love and Romantic Poems (English), Policing by Common Sense (English), Application of Psychological Principles in Maintenance of Law and Order (English), Be Selfish But Good (English), Kuch kadam aur khushi ki oar (Hindi translation), Psi Phenomenon of Nestorism (English)

Some works were translated into Russian language. Besides, he wrote articles in journals of national and international repute. Reviews of his works appeared in various newspapers. The following titles of honour were bestowed on him as a mark of recognition for his contribution to literature: Sahitya Sree, Vidya Vachaspati, Acharya, Bharat Bhasha Bhushan. He was also decorated with the following medals by the President of India in recognition of his services to police profession. Indian Police Medal, President’s Police Medal. Other distinctions won are: Singhast Medal ( Government of the state of Madhya Pradesh), EOD Medal (US Administration). He currently lives in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India with his wife Vijayalakshmi. He has one son and one daughter.

 Link to books available online:

https://www.amazon.in/Books-B-Maria-Kumar/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A976389031%2Cp_27%3AB.%20Maria%20Kumar

 Desh Subba  (fearism@gmail.com)

Is a philosopher, poet, writer, and founder of the Fearism Study Center (Nepal) and leading expert on the philosophy of fearism.

http://fearism.blogspot.hk/

Pseudonym: Desh Subba, Full Name: Limbu Desh Bahadur, Address: 215, Yuk Ping House, Long Ping Estate, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong.

Date of Birth: 06 Dec, 1965, Birth Place; Dharan, Sunsari, Nepal, Fathers' Name: Kubir Jung Limbu, Mother's Name: Tilmati Limbu

Education: Master in business administration, Writing field: Philosophy of Fearism, Novels and Poems, Published Novel Books: Four novels, Doshi Karm 2050 B.S, Apman 2052 B.S., Sahid 2056 B.S., Aadibashi 2064 B.S., Philosophical Books: Philosophy of Fearism 2014 (English and Nepalese), It is translating in Hindi, Assamis and Burmese, Philosophy of Fearism- a First East-West dialogue 2016- English (co-author with Dr. R. Michael Fisher), Tribesmen's Journey to Fearless (Novel based on Fearism)

R. Michael Fisher (r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com)

Has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (UBC), and is an educational consultant, editor, lecturer, independent scholar, writer and founder of the In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989-), In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute (1991-), the Center for Spiritual Inquiry and Integral Education (2009-), The Fearology Institute (2018). He is a world-renowned expert on the topics of fear and fearlessness and has published hundreds of articles and books on the topic and on education: The World's Fearlessness Teachings, The Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (with Desh Subba), and Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer. His latest blogs are at the Fearlessness Movement ning which he began with his with Barbara Bickel in 2015. Also go to http://www.loveandfearsolutions.com

 

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If you have followed the FMning at all lately you may have noticed one of our FM members is Osinakachi Akuma Kalu (OAK for short), a young ambitious Nigerian man (25 years-old) from East Nigeria. His second book, which I have not yet read, is entitled "The First Stage of the Fearologist" (Vol. 1). [1] I had a chance this morning to read some of the Foreword and Preface of his book online at Amazon.com books, and it intrigued me what others were saying about him who know him as a student and colleague, a mentoree. Later below, I'll share my view of why this book is so rare in the history of humanity, and why it is important to me and the cause I lead in world reclamation. 

The Foreword by Dr. Mehzbeen Sadriwala begins with characterization of OAK, "He is a sound and much acclaimed motivational speaker and author" (p. 7). I trust that OAK truly has accomplished some reputation in a positive motivational way for some others, perhaps online, perhaps mostly in Nigeria in some places, but these are things I do not know and so it is good to learn what others think of him and his career arising. It gives me and readers from other parts of the world, some perspective at least as we read his book(s) and his views on fear and fear management. 

The Preface, to my surprise was not written by OAK, for that is the usual standard in my experience. Rather he chose to have it written by an academic friend and classmate of his, Sir Peter U. Aloh. It seems both these writers are from Nigeria. Aloh's Preface is impressive as writing itself and kept my attention with its flare of exuberance, as an echo of the exuberance of OAK, whom Aloh has tried to paint in his positive portrait. Luckily, for me, the Preface was not all positive, happy, glowing and bright, as that would seem too unreal for anyone who takes the 'alternative' path, the 'road less traveled' and the more prophetic way. The path, I call fearlessness, is not always such a glow with only positive happiness.  

Aloh's own words are worth quoting at length (as an excerpt) as he describes OAK with crafty language, albeit it could have used more refined English editing: "Crest fallen I seek [sic] him [OAK] share his experience and ways he navigates successfully through life with me. Like an automaton he switched over to a pensive mood as he recounts the yester years of arduous sufferings and losses, years when his mind's idealism was trumped by life's realism, years when his well built castle crumbles, the years of outsourcing on the streets, the years of hunger and pain just to strike out a Diploma through blood and sweat standing nearly alone as a derided 'useless boy' who has refused to understand the limit[s] that his talent and luck can carry him." (p. 11)

"Fear must be the killer of risk taking" -OAK

If I understand OAK's experience, through his mentor's eyes here, it is one I relate to deeply myself as a young man about OAK's age and younger, where I was also driven by idealism and hard hit by the realism of the norms of society. Afterall, the fact is, that I was a teen rebel in the North American 1960s-70s revolutionary movement, something that OAK would not have known and been supported by. No, he was born much later in 1990s into a world that, in most places, had sold out to neoconservative and neoliberal capitalism and materialism to the extreme.

I also pick-up that OAK, like Desh Subba, have come out of poor working class, rural and tribal backgrounds and to achieve formal education beyond the basic primary grades, when there is not a lot of money-back-up coming from parents and family, and when they also are not all that understanding of the value of education themselves, and are more practical --it is not surprising that OAK was labeled a "useless boy" from their perspective of the normal way to live in villiage life, in Nigeria, in Africa. But, I don't know what it was like for him, yet, I get a good taste of it from Aloh's perspective, and when I finally get my copy of OAK's new book, I can hopefully read a bit more of his life autobiography--and, yet, I am not so interested in the biographical details as I am in OAK's intellectual biography and development, and that is what this book seems to be most about. 

Aloh continues: "Derided and forsaken....But one thing continues to trouble his existence even with his seeming success: why are [the] majority of the populace [e.g., Nigerians] afraid to take risks; to confront challenges that prepare them to enjoy the wonders of their being? In muted reflection he understood that great legacies are made not by fear but by courage....Fear must be [OAK concluded] the killer of risk taking which births creativity and invention." (p. 11) 

 I feel and sense here the burgeoning spirit of the artist, as the one who sees deeply what others often do not see. OAK must have seen early in life the loss of the spirit of the people, and himself potentially, if he would ignore his own "creator" and artist-inside. See some of his poetry posted on the FM ning. In my own life, it was both in Nature and in art-making that I kept my soul alive and my creative line of development in continual maturation, so it wouldn't be stunted to the 'norm' of conformity. If one wants to leave a great legacy, one has to be a creator and leader. OAK has shared with me in emails several times, he is looking ahead, and beyond the shallow, beyond only the present, in that he wants to do the good work and leave a legacy in this world, and he seems to have found it in the philosophy of fearism and Fearlessness Movement, as we hear in the rest of the excerpt from Aloh. 

 Aloh continues: "Headed [sic] to the library, he decided that people must be made to understand this fact and the bettery way to do this would be via giving a philosophical and psychological analysis of how to conquer the beast [fear: see OAK's first book]....He decided that the AWOL status of Africans at the Fearism Study Centre Nepal founded by Desh Subba and the World's Fearlessness Movement founded by Michael Fisher and his wife Barbara Fisher [sic: Barbara Bickel] is enough. That the wrong barometric reading of Nigeria and Nigerians as a liability to the world must be corrected. He enrolled into the Fearism Study Centre Nepal and the World's Fearlessness Movement [online] reclaiming Africa's lost glory that has sunk into the labyrinth of obscurity....He grabbed the headlines for the right and noble reasons reshaping fearism's trend of thought to encompass the African Weltanschuung....[becoming one, the youngest, of the] three of them [i.e., Subba, Fisher, Kalu] the world known leading fearologists." (p.11)

 Now, this is all a great introduction, albeit, only scratching the surface of this young man's philosophical, ethical and spiritual commitment. It shows he can change himself by looking at the evidence, critically examining his own views, his own moods and temperament, and seeing larger perspectives, be those taught by others as mentors and teachers, or created by his own innovative unique thinking. This is the sign of a good fearologist in the making, and that's why I am glad, as is Subba, to welcome this young learner and adventurer from Nigeria to be a founding fearologist amongst us. Sure, he has lots to learn about being a scholar, of which he has also told me. He will have to learn the lessons of patience to balance with youthful exuberance. I look forward to seeing how his journey unfolds. I also write a piece about him and his rare work in this Fearlessness Movement in the book itself, so I'll leave it up to readers now to check out this book. I imagine that as he is beginning to design his courses to teach out of The Fearism Study Centre in Nigeria, he will use this rare and important book for a text. That will create the kind of discussion needed for the nascent fearologists attracted to study with him. And, of course, any such students, including OAK himself, will always have access to Subba and myself as mentors as they so choose. We are all in this together! 

Btw, I do believe our greatest oldest ancestors, in the subtle realms of teaching of the 'right old ways' to live, are deep in the soul of Africa and Africancentric ways of knowing and seeing--which, certainly we in North America (other than maybe some Indigenous peoples) have lost--we have really lost our way, our soul from the source, the evolutonary and historical Mother Worldsoul of Africa. It is rare enough finding a truly dedicated fearologist in the world, never mind someone in their 20s, and never mind they are a beautiful black person. I could go on and on of how historically rare this moment is, when one as OAK publishes a book with "fearologist" in the title. No one has ever done that. I'm glad it was him. 

p.s. To be clear, all of my praise, also comes with critiques. I in no way endorse everything he does or writes about in his books. He is his own person. In time, he and Subba and I will have our "truthings" with each others' works, as will all the students. It takes time to do a proper endorsement of someone elses work, at least for me it does. At this point, I endorse only generically his enthusiasm and contributions in helping us move the fearwork along into the future.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note

1. Kalu, O. A. (2017). The first stage of the fearologist. CeateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Amazon.

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Update of "Three Pillars": Fisher & Subba

This is the latest update (2018) of the diagram in Fisher & Subba (2016), Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. We invite further ideas on this ever evolving integral model as we look for all the ways to apply the philosophy of fearism to large domains of societies and individual's lives. The latest addition is "Fearcriminalysis" (all issues to do with law and order). For full definitions of these all, you can consult our book for some, but there will be an upcoming FMning blog that will define these.

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This is the first in what will be a short series of blogs I'll write on the "Brief History of Fearology" [1]. As you may know, I have recently posted on the FM ning Forum a piece about the vision of the Fearology Institute. This is only a vision [2] but may easily become a reality in history in the next decade. I will do everything I can to assist this growth and development and I appreciate any others who will help with this venture.

My task in this series is to articulate a comparison of Fearology with Sexology and Thanatology. The reasons for this comparative historical overview will become apparent as the series unfolds. In the first instance of historical facts that underlies the development of Fearology, I turn to the history of "fearuality" as a major turning point for humanity and it own self-awareness of the importance of the nature and role of fear (a similar importance as brought forth by Desh Subba with coining and elaborating the first text on philosophy of fearism [2] between 1999-2014 and beyond).

In Fisher (1998) I began a glossary where I defined two key terms relevant directly to this series of blogs. The first was: fearuality- "a term created in the early 1990's [by RMF] to give the study of 'fear' a serious forum and name. This term is used analogously with 'sexuality' which burgeoned only in the last few decades [but began to flourish post-WWII, see below] as a legitimate area of [specialized] study--the study of sex and sexual behavior. This term ['fearuality'] gradually evolved into transpersonal phobosology, and eventually in 1997 with phobosology" [see below] [4]

The second term in Fisher (1998) was phobosology- "is the 'study of 'fear' and its interrelationship' with Life. This new discipline was named in 1995 originally as "transpersonal phobosology" and renamed as [simply] "phobosology" in mid-1997 by Robert M. Fisher [RMF]. The roots of this focus of attention on a systematic study of 'fear' (and fearlessness) goes back to as early as 1993 when Fisher was calling this field fearuality that was a way to look at 'fear' and study it just like sexuality, the latter which had become a field to study the phenomenon of 'sex' in the late 20th century [even earlier; see below]. Both fields are intriguing because they involve topics that are almost like 'taboos,' and do not have serious critical discourses (though this has changed in the last 10 years). A taboo is a 'fear' of something and it is thus avoided. So, the taboo against knowing 'sex' (and sexuality) seemed an appropriate analogy to the taboo against knowing 'fear' (and fearuality). 'Fear' actually seems to do everything it can to not know itself." [5]

In Fisher (1998) I continued to mark out bits of philosophy, theory and history around phobosology, so I'll quote it all, including the first philosopher to comment on my notion of phobosology (before it became labeled fearology; see this blog series 2 coming soon on the use of fearology):

"Phobosology is the first discipline to grow out of the spectrum framework of the transpersonal theory of Ken Wilber (see Appendix IV). Phobosology applies the spectrum or integral theory of consciousness [a la Wilber] and attempts a synthesis of all the disciplines and ways of knowing 'fear'--honoring each approach as part of the Whole or Reality. For an overview of the literature on phobosology (see Fisher, 1997c) [6]. These are all publications by Fisher, for as yet no one else has declared themselves a phobosologist ('fear' hunter, 'fear' researcher per se). The field is very new and this encyclopedia [Fisher, 1998] is one of the more important contributions to the field of a systematic study of 'fear'. A key task of phobosology in the next while is to define 'fear.' For we have to know what we are talking about when we use the term, and when we explore the interrelationship of 'fear' with Life.

Currently Fisher is planning a professional international journal for phobosologists [7] and anyone interested in 'fear.' The journal is likely to be called 'Fear' Spectrum: A Critical Journal on the Nature and Role of 'Fear'. This field of inquiry takes an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to knowing 'fear.' The intention is to create a full scale public critical dialogue on 'fear' and its place in our society and future. All evidence seems to indicate that 'fear' is growing rapidly on this planet and we will have to learn much more about it. Ken Wilber, transpersonal [and integral] theorist wrote [after I sent him my brief proposal of this new field of study phobosology]:

Dear Robert, I think your transpersonal study of fear is a terrific idea. You are a meticulous researcher and the world would benefit considerably if you published all of this material that you have been collecting for over a decade--as well as your conceptual summary in terms of the fear spectrum. It all sounds great to me. My only negative criticism is the name, 'transpersonal phobosology'. That's a bit much... phobosology? Sounds like a disease of the nose. Anyway, good luck with this endeavor." - Ken Wilber, personal communication, 1995 [8]."

To end this first blog in this series on a brief history of Fearology, I draw your attention to an excerpt I took from the internet on the brief history of Sexology. Again, because from the beginning of my work in 1989 on fear (and 'fear') and fearlessness, the analogy of studying fear the way humans have studied sex, be it formally or informally, is useful. I like reading texts on sex and sexuality and sexology, then going in to the text and replacing the work sex with fear in all instances. This gives a kind of legitimation to the study of fear so seriously as have others done with sex. It always leaves me feeling more assured that someday, even with resistances (as you can read below in the history of sexology and taboos against knowing) that fearology will someday emerge as a distinct field of scholarship, professional practice and basic education for all. It must be added, of course, that thanatology (the study of death and human relationship to it) is also a similar analogy and taboo of sorts, which I will write about in another of this series of blogs.

So as you read the below, on sexology, try replacing fearology, and on sex, replacing fear, just to get a feel for how this analogy may be very useful in guiding future understandings and research on fearology. What is clear is that there is a politics of knowledge/power pervasive in any society and when it comes to taboo topics (e.g., sex, death, fear) there is going to be resistance to the development of awareness, education and knowledge that promotes better sex, death and fear management. It is of course to me an irony this is the case, because I also see that humanity (in the long run) also wants to advance its knowledge and skills in managing these topics.

[below excerpt from: http://www.davidmckenzie.ca/about-sexology/a-brief-history-of-sexology]:

"A Brief History Of Sexology

Clinical sexology has its roots in mid-19th Century England and Germany. Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), an English medical doctor, surgeon and sexologist, was one of the first researchers to challenge the sexual repression of the Victorian Age (generally considered to span the time of Queen Victoria's reign, 1819-1901) along with its taboo against masturbation (now considered by sex health experts to be a normal sexual behaviour, essential for healthy sexual development).

In 1919, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a German physician and clinical sexologist, founded the first Institute for Sexology in Berlin (Zentrum fur Sexualwissenschaft). The Institute accumulated a vast body of research on human sexual development as well as the treatment of sexual concerns and dysfunctions. It was the first such Institute to offer a clinic for the specific purpose of treating sexual problems.

On May 6, 1933, under orders from the Nazi High Command, Brownshirts broke into the Institute and carried away its vast collection of books, research material and clinical files to be destroyed at the infamous May 10, 1933 book burning on Berlin's Opera Square. The Institute was immediately closed. In passing, it must be stated that the later institutes, clinics and research of the great 20th century sexologists, Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, and Masters and Johnsonhad their forerunner in Hirschfeld's Institute.

After World War II, there was a renaissance of sexology in both America and Europe. In 1948, Alfred Kinsey and his associates founded the Kinsey Institutefor sexual research at the University of Indiana. In 1967 and in 1970, medical researchers and sexologists William Masters and Virginia Johnson published their vast, groundbreaking research in two separate volumes entitled Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy. They also founded a teaching Institute and treatment clinic. In 1983, Humbolt-Univeritat zu Berlin opened the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology to the public.

The science of sexology is now a well established and widely taught discipline in many of the world's leading universities. If you are interested in discovering just how widespread sexological research is, please visit the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology Website. You will find an exhaustive resource for learning about sexology's history and scientific research, and more links to the growing worldwide list of universities and institutes studying clinical sexology."

Now, I'll include the Wikipedia brief summary of Sexology:

Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviors and functions.[1] The term sexology does not generally refer to the non-scientific study of sexuality, such as political science or social criticism.[2][3]

Sexologists apply tools from several academic fields, such as biology, medicine, psychology, epidemiology, sociology, and criminology. Topics of study include sexual development (puberty), sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual relationships, sexual activities, paraphilias, atypical sexual interests. It also includes the study of sexuality across the lifespan, including child sexuality, puberty, adolescent sexuality, and sexuality among the elderly. Sexology also spans sexuality among the mentally and/or physically disabled. The sexological study of sexual dysfunctions and disorders, including erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, and pedophilia, are also mainstays.  [extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexology]

In the next series blog I will write a critique of these notions of sexology, of which I believe fearology can improve upon in its early conceptualizations in order not to fall into a [scientific and clinical] reductionism I interpret above in this discourse on sexology. Okay, until next time...

Notes:

1. An extensive history of fearology (before it was named this) has yet to be written but is very important to document. Some aspects of this history are available in my book (Fisher, 2010) where I arc out a transdisciiplinary and transcultural historical and evolutionary view of humans and their attempts to understand and manage fear. See Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. See also Subba (2014) for some historical overview of this as well [in end note 2.]

2. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris. See also Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

3. Historically, and arguably, one could say that the world's first fearology institute, before I used that naming structure with fearology as primary, was the 1991 In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute I founded in Calgary, AB, Canada. The ISOF Research Institute still exists and facilitates research scholarship, writing, teaching on all issues related to fear and fearlessness in the broadest and deepest sense--of which, fearology per se is only part of.

4. Fisher, R. M. (1998). 'Fear' encyclopedia. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute, p. 84.

5. Ibid., p. 75.

6. Fisher, R. M. (1997). Phobosology: A basic introduction to written materials. Unpubl. paper.

7. The latest version of such a journal is still alive in vision. See https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/steps-to-becoming-a-professional-fearologist

8. Fisher (1998), p. 75.

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My book (above) was published in 2010 by University Press of America, an imprint at the time of Rowman & Littlefield. Although this imprint press was a vanity press where I had to pay retail price for the first 100 copies, I felt it was worth compiling 25 years of my research on fear and fearlessness in one volume. The below blog information gives you an update of what this book is about, and what has happened to it since then.

First, here is what the back cover of the book says: The World's Fearlessness Teachings addresses the human fear problem in a truly unique and insightful way, summarizing the teachings on fearlessness from around the world and throughout history. The author then utilizes critical integral theory (a la Wilber) as an approach to categorize the developmental and evolutionary spectrum of fear management systems known thus far. The author has spent twenty years researching the timely topic of fear and how to best manage and transform it. From this experience, he offers an educational healing vision to address the challenges of a dangerous 21st century. Fear's empire has taken rule. It is time to resist it using the best intelligence from both sacred and secular traditions, as well as the transformational theories humanity has to offer. Fisher maps out ten fear management systems that will benefit future-positive leaders everywhere.

   From the Amazon books website:

I found [Fisher's] dilineation of the historical and theoretical contexts of "teaching fearlessness" affirming. They provide a strong staging area for discussion on the role of fear and emotional intelligence in transformational learning. (Mary O'Hara, Ph.D., sociologist, activist, and teacher)

This book is an important one. I'll not teach a curriculum theory class without it in the future. (Clifford Mayes Ph.D, Psy.D, Retired Professor of Educational Psychology, BYU and author)

   About the Author

R. Michael Fisher is a self-proclaimed postmodern fearologist with graduate degrees in rehabilitation studies, adult education and curriculum philosophy and design. He currently researches, writes, and consults as a private human development consultant.

The original retail price was $49.00 US. After 7 year, the price has gone up to $74.75 - up to 88.61 US for soft cover, which is a substantial increase of which I have no idea why that is the case, but I guess it tells us that the book is perceived on the market place as worth increasing value with time, like a good piece of art. And, I am glad about that. However, I wish it was more affordable to more people. The Kindle e-book Canadian version costs only $ 54.99.

To my delight, however, the book is available free to browse many of its pages at https://www.amazon.ca/Worlds-Fearlessness-Teachings-Management-Education/dp/0761849157

As well, copies are available from me at the original $49.00 US (plus shipping)--unfortunately, it is too costly to send copies by mail overseas outside of the US or Canada. email me: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com. However, free copies are available to read from college, university and public libraries around the world. Currently, a search of my book on Worldcat website shows that 175 libraries (mostly universities) are available in Ecuador, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Australia, S. Africa, Europe, etc. As well as in most states in the USA and provinces in Canada. It is great to see that international academic libraries found the book attractive to purchase. Unfortunately, this is not the case for books on Philosophy of Fearism by Desh (2014) or by both of us as co-authors (2016). This latter problem is due to Desh and I publishing outside of good established publishing houses, like Rowman & Littlefield because the latter know how to distribute flyers to the buyers.

Unfortunately, no scholar has written a book review of The World's Fearlessness Teachings and likely it is too late for that to happen any more. However, 4 people (all I know personally) have written book reviews on amazon.com. Here they are:

This book is the most comprehensive compilation of information, experience and critique of fear and fearlessness I have ever seen. For anyone who works with people, this book is integral. For anyone who has struggled with fear and courage, this book is very useful. For anyone curious about personal growth, human potential, the human condition, this book will become a reference you will return to over and over again. I'm about to read it again!  -Jan Sheppard, (clinical counselor) 2015

Fisher tackles a subject that ought to be talked about --and practiced -- more. When someone focuses on a specific topic in such depth, and over such a long period of time, the product is usually worthwhile, and this is no exception. If you want to learn about how you can move from simplistic ideas about managing anxiety, towards a comprehensive approach to becoming fearless, then read this book!   -Durwin Foster (clinical counselor) 2015

Dr. R. Michal Fisher is an artist, writer, counselor, human development consultant and public intellectual. He is a co-founder and director of the "In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute" since 1989. He is a Canadian citizen. He is one of the leading Fearist writers of world. He has been writing on fearlessness and fear management/fear education since 1989.

His book "The World's Fearlessness Teaching, A critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for The 21st Century" is master piece book for fear management. It was published by Universal Press of America in 2010. I have never seen such a deep book on fear. There are many technical books of fear. This is one of the best. It will serve in the future guidance as a core textbook on fearlessness and what he calls “fear education.”

There is not only fearlessness as the focus topic but there are some detailed explanations of fear education and fear management. He introduces child fear as well. Since 1989, he is persistently devoting himself to introduce this theory and philosophy of fearlessness. He offers important discussion on “culture of fear,” and a unique notion of the ‘Fear’ Matrix is important to the framework for his book.

His primary focus is on an improved fear-free education and life. But nobody can obtain a fear-free environment when surrounded by a fearful environment. Which unfortunately is so common today. To have a good quality life and education our fear must now need to be properly managed. He is one of the profound thinkers of fear and his offers graphic and artistic presentation of his models. He has tried his best to provide proof of fear in its complexity in this world. After reading his book, I felt, he has taken fear as overly negative at times, but that is because he uses a culturally-modified understanding of ‘fear.’

He has published another book "Philosophy of Fearism- a First East-West Dialogue" with Desh Subba in 2016. During my study of Philosophy of Fearism, I didn't have any idea of fear management and fear education and management systems. It is missing in my research. His scholarly theories can be quite difficult to understand for general and literary readers, yet, there is always something to learn. This is the best book for fear education and fear management, and would serve as a good textbook for upper levels university students and other serious readers. - Desh Subba (fearist) 2017

Chorlton [Terry Biddington]

20 May 2012

Format: Paperback | Verified Purchase

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Here is the 4th Technical Paper in the series of five articles on ecocriticism: "Fearanalysis and Ecocriticism in the Light of Terrorcriticism" (Technical Paper No. 69). See Abstract below. 

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 69

 

Abstract – After a brief review of the author’s conceptualization and praxis of fearanalysis (different but analogous to psychoanalysis), he applies this method to ecocriticism (especially, Estok’s “Ecophobia Hypothesis”) in the “Age of Terror.” A study of books using “Age of Terror” in their title and other discourses on “terror” (especially, but not only post-9/11), convinced the author that there was need for terrorcriticism a new branch of literary criticism contextualized within ecocriticism (but not restricted to it), that could offer useful critical analysis of the “Age of Terror” discourses and representations of terror and the human-planetary future. Fearanalysis as previously configured is being challenged to expand to a greater inclusivity of excess-extremes for the 21st century (e.g., an “Age of Terror”), of which terror conceptualization and its problematics provides a most useful platform to the author’s agenda of promoting the global Fearlessness Movement for manifesting a “Fearless Age.”

 

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This Technical Paper No. 68, "Eco-Philosophy of Fearism and Ecocriticism: In an Age of Terror" is the 3rd in a series of five Technical Papers on ecocriticsm and how it interrelates to my work on fear and fearlessness. In this paper the focus is on how ecocriticism, ecophobia, and eco-issues are relevant to Desh Subba's philosophy of fearism. I propose an Eco-Fear Problem concept throughout this series of papers and end up herein sketching out the beginning of a new branch I am calling "Eco-Philosophy of Fearism." See Abstract below: 

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 68

 Abstract – This is the 3rd technical paper in a five part series on “ecocriticism” as it relates to the author’s work on fear and fearlessness. Technical Paper No. 68 addresses both his focused engagement with Desh Subba’s philosophy of fearism in the last three years, and with his attempting to link Subba’s notion of “fearism” and the “fearist perspective” (lens) with ecocriticism (especially, Estok’s view). The synthesis is one that has led the author to propose herein a very basic description and outline of what is a new branch of thought called Eco-Philosophy of fearism. 

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Abstract

This rather technical blog is a first introductory sorting through my synthetical and fresh thoughts, though with a long history, of why I have never been happy with the locating of "fear" as (only) an emotion or feeling as typically found in our thinking (norms). The theories of affects, feelings, and emotions are many and diverse, yet for me they virtually all fall into the same, often unconscious biased framework, paradigm, or what can also be called a (Dominant) worldview. There are a few radical sources of fresh and alternative thinking/theorizing that have led me today to create a new category of awemotion to work along-side, if not dismantle, the hegemonic control of Fear and its meanings and definitions. I no longer think it very productive to liberation to continue to see fear as emotional; at least not without a serious correction to that referential frame of meaning and shaping of experience that goes with it typical of Psychology. People of all stripes, for the most part, cannot seem to think of Fear beyond it being imagined and classified within this Emotional Paradigm. I'll give an introduction to the difference between emotion and awemotion and offer a theoretical rationale for awemotion as the best way to understand Fear beyond the Emotional Paradigm, the latter, which is arguably buried in oppressive premises of a phallocentric and non-Indigenous understanding. Therein, I surmount the scaffolding (only briefly) here for a new theory of Fear which will better help us solve the Fear Problem. My gratitude here is to three contemporary critical thinkers, theorists, who have assisted my synthesis: Four Arrows, Bracha L. Ettinger and Desh Subba. 

Brief Introduction

This morning I awoke with one of the synthetical moments of the hypnopompic trance-state of consciousness (between waking and sleep). This has always been a most creative time, when my brain/mind system has had a good night of dreaming and rest, and re-integration of a lot of the complexities and inputs during the day prior, and during my entire life-time. The synthetical moment is like a bursting of a "damn" or "knot" in my thinking and processing of problems to solve.

The biggest problem to solve since 1989 [1] is how to convince humans to experience, perceive, respond and think about Fear (with capital) in an entirely different way than the norm. Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Jacobs at the Leadership Studies Program, Fielding Graduate University) and myself have had an intense six years specifically talking about how to re-frame Fear from a trance-based learning (TBL) and Indigenous perspective. We are working on a book together entitled Fearless Engagement (to be published in 2018, Peter Lang publishing). He began using a capitalization of the term to set it apart from fear (with no capital, which is the norm) as defined and made meaning by what he called the Dominant worldview (contra the Indigenous worldview) [2]. I really like his framing of the Fear Problem (my term) within this Worldview Wars (see also Culture Wars, Paradigm Wars below). If "wars" is off-putting and sounds militarized, I assure you that is not how I see the battle/resistance going on for domination, re: the problem of hegemony of knowledge/power in the domain of Fear Studies. Yet, you can turn the conflict and use your own word(s) of which many in the recent Indigenous resistance movements are calling themselves "Water Protectors" while various actors, non-Indigenous and/or Indigenous backgrounds, call themselves "Water Warriors." In this sense, Four Arrows has preferred of late to call himself an Indigenous (Nature and Culture) protector rather than warrior. I label him and his work within the Sacred Warrior traditions from around the world, across cultures and through time. These are word(s) for you to consider but further delineation here would be a distraction.

Multiple Perspectives/Worldviews: Radicalizing the Theory of Emotion(s): Fear

This morning I wish to briefly introduce a parallel notion to Four Arrows' work and his naming of Fear [3], which intersects with his conceptualization and radicalization of Fear. I am referring to two other sources that, more or less, complement Four Arrows' work and my own on this subject. Also, notice that the focus of this blog is not to go into the practical applications of a radical theory of Fear but to show the initial revision required in the dominant theory of fear as we normally have been taught--and, taught to absorb rather than question critically. The Biomedical scientific model (or paradigm) is part of the Dominant (i.e., non-Indigenous) worldview--and is thus, the worldview of the "colonizer" of the Earth and Natural Systems and the destroyer of much of what had been Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.

The biomedical perspective, now Psychiatry and Psychology serving as its agents, continues to categorize "fear" as an emotion--and thus, always emotional. This has been heavily reinforced by technologies (e.g., MRI brain scan research into the neurobiology of fear). It has told us that that is the way to understand fear. It has told us we ought to be emotional and manage all the emotions (i.e., fear being only one, not special in any way, from the list of emotions). Note, I am not questioning that we may at times be "emotional" that is not the issue here, if you read on, the context for how emotionality is constructed and regulated by "Authority" is the issue in question. The theory of fear (Fear) is one way to get at this critique.

I began fearology long ago as a way to displace this unquestioned assumption of the Biomedical scientific model. When I found Desh Subba's work on a philosophy of fearism (he's from Nepal, now living in Hong Kong) writing about fear in such a new way, as he has since 1999, it floored me that he was doing so without having known about my work. We had so many overlapping ideas and thus wrote a book together in 2016 [4]. I'll never forget the awe I had when reading Subba's primary text on philosophy of fearism (2014) [5], where he offered, in chapter one, some 21 "Definitions" of fear. I had never seen such a diverse array of ways to understand fear. And I had been researching the topic for over a quarter century at that point. And what was so rare was that he didn't start off with the standard Biomedical definition (i.e., fear- is a feeling or emotion). Clear to me, he was articulating an understanding of fear that was complex, holistic, transdisciplinary and obviously non-Western. He was giving an Eastern worldview perspective to the topic that was completely refreshing. Turns out Subba has a very broad background as a journalist, philosopher, and best known for his many books of poetry and fiction. He is an artist in the largest sense. I resonated, and since have helped in re-translating some of his English translated works (originally written in Nepalese), because it is very difficult to read some of his work even with the English translations he has to date. I know it is very costly to get good translations and he is doing the best he can with very limited resources as he lives a very working class life in Hong Kong. Readers of the philosophy of fearism are growing, and I am very happy to be part of Subba's leadership in this area. However, this blogpost is not about his work either.

The third theorist I wish to engage very briefly who helped me come up with the specific term awemotion (pronounced ah-motion) [6], is the Israeli (living in France) artist, psychoanalyst, activist and matrixial theorist Bracha L. Ettinger. This woman has amazed me with her matrixial theory ever since Barbara Bickel (my partner) and I discovered her work in 2009-10. Barbara and I continue to study her largely feminist/feminine theory that offers an important re-correction to phallocentric theory (i.e., overly masculinized perspectives, psychologies, and those that typically accompany a pathological patriarchy) [7].

Ettinger's notion of "feminine" is very unique and complex in her matrixial theory (which she coined over 20 years ago). I will only tell you that it is non-gendered as a concept and proto-subjective (or transubjective). Much of her matrixial theorizing is based on her phenomenological investigations into her artworking processes as an artist, and her work in the psychoanalytical relationship, her motherhood, as well as the traumatic era of a post-Holocaust survivor connectivity as "Jewish" in general.

Barbara and I have really fallen in love with matrixial theory as we are both artist and it speaks to us on that aesthetic and poetic level, but also on the psychospiritual level; yet, her framework is all-encompassing (cosmic), based on the "womb" (not just physically speaking) and the "maternal" and the child-mother bonding (again, not only physical but on the psychical and spiritual dimensions of experiencing--and, one doesn't have to be only a biological mother to engage matrixial theory and the reality it attempts to "touch" that is so ignored in the phallocentric Dominant and Biomedical worldviews). Her work is not metaphysics, yet it crafts what feels like an entirely new feminine theology (worldview). She isn't attacking all of the masculinist worldivew but says it is incomplete and crippled because it has for a long time in human history ignored and or deleted the feminine--that is, the matrixial reality. Thus, we all have suffered under this regime of political power/knowledge exclusion--and led to us generally "fearing the feminine." Thus, she also has feminist objectives but matrixial feminism is interrelated with but very different than all other kinds of feminisms.

Does Ettinger have a unique Fear theory? Not overtly. Her work is therefore different from Four Arrows and Subba that way. Yet, I find lots of overlaps in the three theorists, of which I will not be going into here in this blogpost as it would take a long essay to ferret those similarities and differences out. Yet, her Fear theory exists when I study it and write about it and it is wonderfully liberating because it does not encast and mold the definition and meaning of fear (Fear) as only "emotional"--rather, Ettinger is specific to include that emotionality of Fear in matrixial theory but by no means does she rely on the phallocentric Biomedical perspective. She doesn't actually talk about emotions much at all. Her emphasis is on a much more contemporary philosophical and theoretical body of work, and varied schools of thought, that can best be called the "affective" schools. She always talks about affect--which includes, but transcends the limited meanings of emotion. Again, all that is too complex to go into here. 

Ettinger's Matrixial Relational Ecology

Ettinger's matrixial-based affect-focus to understand the dynamics of the human experience is proto-emotional, proto-aesthetic, and proto-ethical. Her primary affects are "awe and com-passion" as the basic unit-bond of the maternal subjective formation of the baby and mother (or, more generally, what she calls the non-I and I relational dynamic; which I would call the matrixial relational ecology). It is upon her notion of "awe" in particular that I am now considering seriously as a very unique way to add as a prefix (that is the matrixial feminine side) to emotion--thus, we get the synthesis of awemotion. Think of this as a relational ecological understanding of our primal foundational onto-epistemological way of being in the world--that is, prior to post-traumatization (i.e., woundedness, and fear-conditioning) [8].

Like Four Arrows Indigenous worldivew, or Subba's Eastern worldivew, Ettinger's Matrixial worldview do not privilege the understanding of Fear as emotional but rather as relational and better situated in the concepts of alertness, arousal and ultimately awe (and com-passion [9]). I recall Fr. Matthew Fox once preaching about how the term "fear of God" in the Bible in the old Hebrew actually means "awe of God." Anyways, Ettinger, I believe would argue, that these relationally (more truly matrixial feminine) terms offer a "natural" and healthy responsivity to all relations (i.e., self/Other) and thus ground the human experience ontologically in love and trust (again, her definitions of these terms are complicated and corrections to the phallocentric views). "Fear of the Other" (or strange) is not where human subjectification and identity-formation begin and/or mature from--at least, not in matrixial theory. 

The entire understanding of the emotional and empathy with it, as we've known, are being critically re-framed by Ettinger into awe and com-passion as the base rather than anxiety (i.e., fear) that undergird emotionality and empathy as we know them as norm conceptions and practices. The Western (Dominant) worldview has given us a 'picture' of reality and human experience as based primarily on anxiety (e.g., existentialism, and developmental object relations, early psychoanalysis, Judeo-Christianity, etc.). The anxiety or fear-based perspective to basic human subjectivity skews our orientation to the world (to Nature, to God, to Spirit) via what Ettinger would call "reactive" rather than "responsive"--and, most importantly, that makes the orientation flooded with an ongoing sense of the world (and our own bodies, and God) as "threat" and "traumatic" signalling. It leaves us with a bereft (if not pathological) and very skewed psychology (and Psychology Paradigm). It isn't a healing paradigm that's for sure. It is a coping paradigm. This is violent and killing us.

A new paradigm is available, of which Ettinger is one of the major theorist I draw upon for such a reconstruction. To be sure, the entire body of research and writing and education based on "emotion" (and the Emotional Paradigm) is being challenged--and, that goes the same for the Emotional Intelligence theory, models and pedagogy! Okay, I'll leave this here, understandably incomplete... I want to think a lot more about Ettinger's complex "proto-emotion" (i.e., proto-affects) of "awe and com-passion" as foundational to a new way of understanding Fear. I will say, rarely does she talk about "fear" directly, though when she has, I immediately resonate with a deep and enduring truth in her work, and it sounds like she is writing and thinking from a Fearlessness perspective. I love it. Yet, it will take awhile to unwind her thought and theory and show how matrixial theory is non-fear-based (because, for many reasons, at least, it is non-phallocentric based). At least, this is the critical theory of matrixial theory I am attracted to pursue, so as to produce a better critical theory and pedagogy for the world and our ways of doing fear management/education.

Until next time ... [feel free to email me and lets chat about any of this: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com]

Notes:

1. In late 1989, while living in Calgary, AB (my hometown), I had a transformative vision with a female partner, Catherine Sannuto, at the time, that led to my naming and leading the In Search of Fearlessness Project (a not-for-profit organization). I am grateful to my next partner, Barbara Bickel, who came into this project and has helped support my work since. I established the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute in 1991 and remains the structure in which I publish my results (e.g., Technical Papers Series).

2. Probably the best up-dated summary of Four Arrows "point of departure theory" that articulates the conflict (Culture Wars, Paradigm Wars, Worldview Wars) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives is his book: Point of Departure: Returning to a More Authentic Worldview for Education and Survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. I have written a book review on Amazon books, which will give you my early perception of the value of this approach he has taken, albeit, I am also critical and working to revise his views somewhat, yet keep their core intentions and wisdom in place.

3. Although Four Arrows had originally began using Fear (with the capital) in his doctoral research and his first major theoretical book on the topic (1998), he has not always been consistent in doing so and thus many of his readers do not often gather in the implication of how his view of Fear (based on many perspectives) is so unique from the norm view of fear (without the capital). See Jacobs, D. T. (1998). Primal Awareness: A True Story of Survival, Transformation, and Awakening with the Raramuri Shamans of Mexico. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

4. See Fisher, R.M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

5. See Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of Fearism: Life is Conducted, Directed and Controlled by the Fear. Australia: Xlibris.

6. The profound work of Erin Manning (also Brian Massumi) is also part of articulating my formation this new term awemotion; and also, the theory of Re-evaluation Co-Counseling (a la the late Harvey Jackins) has been influential, as a few others... however, I won't be going into their work here.

7. You can read and/or listen to Ettinger's work for yourself (e.g., Youtube) although, I caution that her work can be hard to grasp because it uses a complex scaffolding of theory and terms that take quite awhile to learn (not unlike psychoanalysis in general). For a much easier "in" to her work I suggest Fisher, R.M., and Bickel, B. (2015). Aesthetic Wit(h)nessing Within a Matrixial Imaginary. Canadian Review of Art Education, 42(1), 76-93.

8. This is complicated and not some "pure" or Ideal fantasy or potential phantasy that is disconnected from reality. Ettinger, like myself, show that the traumatic threads of historical woundness (unhealed) are continually circulating as traces, even in the unborn.

9. "Com-passion" is very different than an adult (or phallocentric) view of compassion. This has to be kept in mind if you want to understand the proto-ethical dimension of Ettinger's matrixial theory. This has a lot to do with the aesthetic dimension of experience of subjects and objects and the entire process of subjectification as Ettinger articulates it. For a simple description of this see Fisher and Bickel (2015) in relation to corrective matrixial theory of empathy. Psychology, at least in the West and modernity, has a very biased phallocentric view of empathy and Ettinger's work offers a great critique--and, likewise, I would add so does Four Arrows and Subba's work.

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