desh subba (55)

Ed. Note: Fearmorphosis book by Desh Subba 2023 reviewed here below, was first posted in The Existentialist Cafe group on Facebook. On that post David Grahame Armes commented. His comment cannot be shared with readers. For the convenience of them,with the permission of commenters, published. -DS] 


Desh Subba, isn't this article saying fear of everything crashing down is fundamental in metamorphosis within people, economies and societies which has delivered every advance known to Humanity? I do not dispute that fear can be a huge motivation for most people, but this can go too far reaching a point where people no longer fear even death because they've had it up to here with fear, and of course many people find this extremely difficult to understand and frightening because such people appear out of control still living but with a totally different motivation. This is basically true. Nevertheless, it is people in this state of mind who have actually delivered the great advances in Humans and Society.

Without fearless Universalists like Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Gandhi, MLK, and Baron RAF Battle of Britain Air Marshall Lord Sir Hugh Tremenheere Dowding (who had a laugh claiming he never got the true recognition he deserved after WW2 whilst turning his attention to working with Walt Disney in the Fairy Investigation Society), there would likely be nothing to raise the endeavor of people from the barbarity of constant warfare of some sort or another.

World Religion was created and maintained by these people, and without tolerant liberal Religion as the first and arguably best form of Politics because it acts to unify despite what openly sectional politicians who brought it down say today, there really would be no universities, libraries, science, schools, industrial revolution, philosophy, politics, and comfort. Even an isolated Amazon tribe motivates its members through something greater than the struggle to keep alive, probably because that would be far too depressing and they'd all give up and die out. Even today in the seemingly secular West we still idolise Love and falling in Love as the highest motivation we could hope for even though being in Love confronts everyone with our collective desire to be Functioning Mad rather than still Mad but not Functioning so well. If the Sisyphus metaphor is correct here we have to madly embrace not being afraid in order to keep getting motivated to keep pushing the huge rock up the hill.

I guess I don't totally agree with the Fearmorphosis thesis, because in a Western mindset at least we desire to be fearlessly Mad and Free in order to get anything done.

In this respect we have been extremely successful so far, even if the Planet teeters on the edge of total destruction regularly these days. What Westerners say is Liberal Democracies that idolise Love and Freedom rarely if ever go to War with each other, so we are frantically trying to help everyone be as Mad as we are before the whole thing goes belly up!

The real huge gaping academic gap in the market for ideas, is a more comprehensive examination and appreciation of what Madness actually is and how it can metamorphosis into different things that we decide are not Madness whether for Good, Reason, or Utter Evil? We simply are not looking at the main drivers of real Progress in every way. Not whilst we're basically using pseudoscience to control it whenever it appears problematic regardless of whether this is true or not?
The element in the Fearmorphosis thesis covering different forms of scapegoating is relevant to how we treat pseudoscience mental health patients.
In my own case, there appears zero interest in whether the original reasons for scapegoating me had or have any basis in reality, as well as a grim determination to carry on scapegoating me regardless. The fact that only something like God Almighty can probably deliver me from this fate, and in fact is something I claim to know something about, only seems to motivate the scapegoating further and in and of itself the combination of the two is driving Political and Psychiatric change yet again!
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by Jun-ichi-Suzki, Hokkaido, Japan
Desh Subba is a Nepali-born writer and poet. His self-published book ①"Philosophy of Fearism" depicts fear as a major part of human life. According to him, life is guided and controlled by fear. And we humans are in the age of "FEARMORPHOSIS," which is a combination of "Sisyphus," "Metamorphosis," and "No Exit," and we are making the argument that in society and life various Sisyphuses are pushing a rock. Here again, human is Fear Sisyphus being watched by Panopticons.
②And he keeps writing that "Hell is other people concept is wrong because Hell is himself. Sartre contradicts himself, we can see contradiction between Existence Precedes Essence and Hell is other people."
Sartre's literary works that are relevant here include "The Wall'' which depicts the delusion of life as seen from the perspective of a person who is placed in a "death-limit situation'', "No Exit'' which depicts the hell of others, and "The Wall''. In "The Dead Without a Grave," he depicts a person dying after all attempts at justification are invalidated, and expresses the "vomiting nature" of existence through "vomiting."
①"Philosophy of Fearism" depicts fear as a major part of human life. According to him, life is guided and controlled by fear.
This is the first time I've heard the phrase "philosophy of fear." I think this theory was built with a focus on the human "consciousness of fear." This "consciousness" is suitable for things that are "feared." In this case, the "fear" that exists in the outside world is being watched by Panopticons and Metamorphosis, right?
First, in existential philosophy, humans are "free''. "Consciousness" is "free" even if circumstances prevent it from being "free." It is impossible for our human "consciousness" to always be "fearful." The "consciousness'' of "fear'' exists as an "object'' of human consciousness in contrast to the "situation'' or "existence within the situation." "Fear'' does not "exist'' in "consciousness.'' The "consciousness of fear'' as a "concept'' "exists'' within humans, and through the act of manifesting it, we create an "image'' of it in the outside world, whether it be in the space in front of us through our eyes or outside the window even behind the eyelids for instance.
The fact that humans are free also means that they are trying to transcend their destiny and categories, which "depicts fear as a major part of human life. According to him, life is guided and controlled by fear."
As a matter of fact and as my experience, I do not live my life depending on something called "fear."
In my opinion, the philosophy of fear has its meaning in the real world of North Korea, where Kim Jong Il's dictatorship is in place. There, people are stripped of their humanity and their freedom of action and speech is severely restricted. It is precisely under such circumstances that resistance and revolutionary movements are necessary. I think we need "action'' to overcome the "philosophy of fear'' rather than just analysis. If a talented literary figure in North Korea were to write a literary novel based on the "philosophy of fear," they might be able to create a good work.
Additionally, the same situation applies to those who have been deprived of their freedom due to the killings and oppression of the people in the Tibetan Autonomous Region under China's effective rule.
Human beings always use their imagination in their daily lives. Imagination is also "consciousness." I previously talked about the difference between "self-deception" and "lies" and how humans use these two in their lives. And the important thing is that we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping. This means that sleep resets your daily life. You could call it "oblivion." Also, I think you can understand the importance of dreaming because here again we use the "consciousness'' of "imagination.''
②"Hell is other people concept is wrong because Hell is himself. Sartre contradicts himself, we can see contradiction between Existence Precedes Essence and Hell is other people."
Well, let me disproof about "Hell is other people concept is wrong." 
Just like myself, the "others" is also a "self-existence''. The "others'' is also an "existence'' whose "existence precedes essence.'' Sartre devotes one of his three books, "Being and Nothingness,'' to "exploring this "existence of the others'' .This is because the world is an aggregation of these "self-existence'', and elucidating the meaning of this human relationship is a feat that traditional "realists'' could not accomplish.
And the meaning of "Hell is other people'' is "Humans always judge their own worth, their existence, and the way their lives should be based on the eyes of others. Hell is the expression of the fact that you cannot escape forever from the gaze and the feeling of being measured by others."
There are such things as "Hell" that has become a reality and "Hell as a concept", so taking these into consideration, if I change the expression, "Hell is also other people'' .
In addition, in Christianity, there is also "Purgatory".
Well, in conclusion, Sartre's ontology is not contradictory. Thank you for reading through my attempt to defend Sartre's critique of existential philosophy.
[NB: This article is taken from Jean-Paul Sartre Facebook Group. With the permission of Jun-ichi-Suzuki it is re-published.]
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I mean sometimes amongst the millions of words I have written, spoken and published, I say something not too bad--even a little extraordinary, if I do say so myself. 

The above paragraph comes from a preview (galley proof) of a book soon to be published this autumn [1]. Thought, to share it, as I came across it this morning as part of my reviewing the edits for this book and the many errors I make, even when I think I have been so careful. It's humbling. 

Anyways, back to this text above...there's a lot to consider there. I'm always glad to hear what other's think. 


End Note: 

1. Fisher, R. M. (2023). The Fear Problematique: Role of philosophy of education in speaking truths to powers in a culture of fear. IAP. 


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Fearism, Fearlessness, Love and Trauma

“When the artist understands fear as a mental construct at the root of everything,
when she understands that fear is a choice that dictates all, her path to love opens up. She chooses to move into a state of fearlessness (e.g., see R. Michael Fisher, who is a Fearlessness philosopher from Canada)--and, one choice at a time continuously creating life from a place of core stability. Fear cannot be eliminated as everything stems from it. Yet the artist knows that by removing all fear-based conditionings and attachments that no longer serve the transmuted self, she advances into enlightenment. She becomes love. She becomes limitless.
Desh Subba’s in dept study of fear (Philosophy of Fearism) should be taken as a serious guide to help one go deeper within to heal traumas rooted in fear as well as to move into a new state of reality where fear is seen as a choice to master rather than an emotion to fear. To see fear in its truth, accepting it as the fire that ignites our journey to love is remembering that love is the all.”
Roxy Genier
Philosopher of Luxury
Global Citizen
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Philosophy of Fearism or FEARISM philosophy, whatever way one constructs these, is a historical (potentially grand and radical) turn in philosophy, and like many other turns before it, there needs to be serious investigation into this turn and its reasons for wanting to make a turn in the way philosophy itself is perceived, constructed, and operates. Any top-notch political movements would do well to be informed by fearism philosophy.  -rmf


I often encourage folks to study fear(lessness) with expanded imaginaries rather than old school only ideas and imagination. I ask the learners be open and curious. Lurking amongst the history of ideas about fear are limitations as well as the benefits of careful study. However, in the late 20th century, a new turn had occurred with the emergence of two concepts "fearism" (Fisher) and "philosophy of fearism" (Subba). This blog will not cover that history of new thinking on the topic as there are lots of resources now published to do so [1]. But if you were around in the 1990s, for e.g., there was no way to study fear that truly provided a new philosophy of fear at the same time. 

Okay, enough on the history of ideas and their politics. Let me now turn to the subject of this blogpost, which spun from my watching last night the fascinating historical/drama film by Raoul Peck (2017) The Young Karl Marx. Without resorting to a marxophobic reaction as so many do in the West (especially N. A.) and around the world with fears of socialism and communism, let's back off that fear-based move and keep open and curious, and let the criticism fly later. My colleagues and I are promoting fearism not Marxism per se. 

Peck's film relates to my wanting to talk to Feurbach's philosophical turn in the mid-19th century that Marx and Engels fed from as young revolutionaries in Europe and Britain. It relates indirectly to my desire to elaborate a simple summary purpose of philosophy of fearism and clarify for readers why is this an important history of ideas to name fear(ism) as a philosophical base and movement itself. But before I dive into Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach(1804-72) and his great influence on W. thinkers like Darwin, Marx, Freud, Engels, Wagner and Nietzsche, for examples, let me say a bit more about the Peck film and my attraction. 

I am attracted to any teachings that helps one understand the status quo and its oppositions, the latter being ideas, discourses, and/or movements that challenge and critique the mainstream (sometimes called the Old World view). We see a young 20's something Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels meeting and building a manifesto to challenge the Old World (largely unjust) ways of doing economics and labor relations. A good movie review (Arnoff, 2018) says this is the film the younger generations have been waiting for, those who are tired of the only two alternatives battling under Capitalism vs. Communism. No, there is a third way, called Socialism.

The young Marx was a leading ground philosopher and Engels a sound boots-on-the-ground scientific-empirical thinker of socialism, who saw what was needed to reform labor relations (i.e., classism). That's a great thing in the history of ideas and movements for positive change--in fighting oppression. And the film shows how brash the young philosophers were and the risks they took for what they believed in. The Young Karl Marx is entertaining too but it is "a theory laden movie" an "ideological coming-of-age story" [2]. It depicts some of the real strengths and flaws of revolutionaries and philosophers. It shows that all philosophers also have their politics and there is plenty of clashing. The young brash Marx is obnoxious and angry and determined. His flaws showed and it was clear he needed mediated help from allies like his Jenny and Engels and many others. It takes a community to change the world --to bring about revolution. Clearly, Marx and Engels failed overall, as have many other philosophers to bring about the change they wanted--that is, their ideals. Although, for sure, arguably, much good did change because of these thinkers and those around them that they drew upon, like the ideas of Feuerback and Proudhorn, for examples. 

What was Marx's main complaint? There are many things he critiqued of the status quo, but I'll stay in this blogpost with the philosophical ones, and relate those to Feuerbach's critique and then finally to the philosophy of fearism critique today. 

Understanding Feuerbach's Radical Descent and Philosophical Turn 

First, I admit I have not read Marx and Engels and Feuerbach, other than those mostly who have written about them. I have drawn often on philosopher Ken Wilber to understand these thinkers and their movements they produced in the history of philosophy and in the evolution of consciousness itself--the latter is my most interest. Ultimately, as a fearist thinker myself, I want to know the intimate link between consciousness and fear. I'll return to that later. 

Secondly, I am not for or against Marxism, or Communism or Socialism. I am curious what each of these ideological movements, sets of ideas and their leaders have to offer for a better (less oppressed) humanity--and, that ultimately would be a way to lead the world be be more sane, ecologically sustainable and a healthy place to raise children. 

Thirdly, I am not an ideologue per se, in that I am pushing any "ism" and think all other forms of thought (and isms) are crap. Such exclusionist and reductive (and highly political) thinking doesn't make for good philosophy. Now, I am not a professional philosopher either, and I am want to critique philosophy and even poke fun at it, as we see in the young brash Karl Marx. 

Fourthly, let me say in summary in my own words, without a lot of research on Feuerbach, what I think was happening in these 19th century revolutionary storms of ideas, ideologies, critiques and new offerings of how to live more justly and fair. I simply, woke up this morning, after watching the movie last night, and in my hypnopompic state and darkness of the bed, I am starting to link things. I know Desh Subba has written a lot in the past few years on his fearism critique of Marxism, etc. This is all lingering in the back of my mind. I want to explain what Subba is doing with his version of fearist thinking and some of my own thoughts. So, begin, I say, and write something to start it off here, and the FM ning is as good a place as any to jot down these notes. The largest power in philosophy of the early to mid-19th century seemed to be Hegelian thought. It was Idealistic. It was stunning in depth and scope, but it lacked a practical empirical substantiation. Feuerbach, then Marx (amongst others) were looking for the strengths and fault-lines in Idealism [3] as a way to bring about any real revolution in society, and their criticism was aimed at Hegel and philosophical academicians and at the pompous "young Hegelians" in politics as well. So, Marx and Engels led a socialist attack on "abstraction" (and Hegelian thought and political spin from it). Marx was looking for ideas to turn around Hegelian philosophy in politics and economics. He later would call this class-critique and critique of oppression in general. But before that, I want to focus on the historical evolution of the ideas of criticism that the young Marx was propagating so passionately. So, let me turn to some expertise knowledge beyond my own, from scholars like Wilber and Collins [4], as starters. 

Collins (1998) a sociologist, and a conflict theorist of my own persuasion, is also a great historian of sociology. He has put his scholarship into studying global philosophies and their players and movements as a dynamic network of patterns of power, well worth understanding. Ideas-people-places-power flows are all important in this socioecology of philosophy. So, what does Collins offer us in understanding the core of mid-19th century Europe and the philosophical (political) turn going on and Feuerbach's location in it? In very brief, Collins noted in Germany history of thought and philosophical circles, several networks were going on, and by 1837-42 the "left-Hegelians" were following Feuerbach's philosophical critique mainly [5]. These were more "coffeehouse" like circles and less academicians centered in universities, while basically, they would not last long and German philosophy would move into the academy thereafter. The young Marx and Engels were part of the Feuerbach leftist socialist wing but eventually left it in developming their own critique. A big part of that critique, still following Feuerbach's critique of Hegelianism overall, was to move to a more materialism and secularism in their foundational philosophy--turning spiritual Hegel on his head, as it is often said by historians. They claimed Hegel has it all wrong, and that material was ultimately real, in opposition to Hegel's metaphyics of spiritual is ultimately real. Hegel's philosophy and its new spins could never, for Feuerbach and Marx be a foundation for a just society of labor relations and basic humanist values in the economic sphere of survival. Hegel was philosophy for the bourgeois (elites). 

Feuerbach criticized religion (Christianity) and broke with tradition and Hegelian sympathy for Christianity. "After Hegel's death came Feuerbach and Marx" (and others) [6] to dominate the intellectual waves of thought in philosophy and politics. The Battle of Sense and Soul (Material and Spiritual) (Descenders and Ascenders) continued at this time in history (and it still does). Feuerbach (then Marx) were fighting back to ground philosophy in the sense-world, anti-metaphysical, anti-abstract, anti-elitist. Wilber (1996), wrote, "There is a famous phrase, that after Hegel everybody was saying 'back to Kant!' [i.e., rationality and its grounding in the senses, and empiricism]" [7]. Wilber summarizes: "The collapse of Idealism left the Descenders [materialists] virtually unchallenged as the holders and molders of modernity....the Idealist current was snapped up by the industrial grid and converted, via Feuerbach and Marx, into a strongly materialistic and 'naturalistic' conception. It's almost impossible to escape the modern Descended grid, and after absolutely heroic attempts by the Idealists, they were hounded out of town by the troglodytes. And so Feuerbach, a student of Hegel, would soon announce that any sort of Ascent, was simply a projection of men and women's human potentials onto an 'other world' of wholly imaginative [false] origin. And, according to Feuerbach, it is exactly this ['fear'] projection of human potential onto a 'divine' sphere that cripples men and women and is the true cause of self-alienation" [8]--and, concomitantly, such 'fear' projection as I call it and existentialists like Becker would call it immortality projection, there is a weakening and vulnerability created to exploit that alienated and wish-filled man by the world of the senses-material and economic exploitation. "Get real!" is the Descender-call, the Feuerbach-Marxist charge here. Then, they argue, we can resist and avoid exploitation of workers and the poor, by those who would seduce us into being 'slaves' (labor) for this so-called higher divine spiritual end, of which the elites propogate as ideology in the name of the bourgeois church, state, and corporations. Real empowerment was grassroots, secularist, modernist, and a Descender movement in consciousness itself. 

Wilber (1995), a 'neo-Hegelian' of sorts (but an integralist philosopher), today argues, we humans of the West especially, have not recovered yet from this massive philosophical turn and 'blow' (collapse) of the Kosmos into the materialist explanation for everything--a worldview of only the seeable and matter-based substance is real [9]. Engels would pen, "nothing exists" apart from nature and human beings....The enthusiasm was general; we were all for the moment followers of Feuerbach." Wilber laments, "And the entire modern and postmodern world is, in effect, the followers of Feuerbach" [10]. The larger philosophical question for our time is: What impact on consciousness itself is such a Descender victory?" It has big problems, so Wilber and I argue. 

'Fear' Projection and It's Mighty Problems

Feuerbach then was a philosopher of mighty insight and leadership capability obviously. Marx took it further, and others have taken it further too. This is nothing to dismiss too easily as nonsense. What intrigues me as Wilber analyzes the Feuerbachian (r)evolution of thought, he points out the critique of the materialists toward the spiriitualists (or at least the idealists), is that the latter are projecting ideals for human beings (i.e., their higher human potential and empowerment) onto the divine fantasies and constructions and dogmas around them (e.g., religion). "Projection" is a powerful psychological term, and it is argued by many (including myself) as a fear-projection (or 'fear' projection, as I prefer)--by which a certain inferiority complex in the human is projecting onto the immortal and trying to find a "fearless" representation of identity to attach to to make them feel better (be less fearful of mortality), etc. This complex projection phenomenon, driven by fear-based thought is pathological. Wilber sees this too, as do I. But the materialist philosophies were also trying to point this out and correct it with their own cura philosophy of the time (e.g., secular materialist, and humanist, modernist). Fine. But they could not see their own fatal flaw in the materialist (Feuerbachian factor) turn. That's the point of an integralist critique (a la Wilber), which I prefer, and going beyond that it is my contention that the very ones critiquing the spiritualist philosophies had their own fear-based agenda and ideology as in their form of rejection and criticism. They would not turn that projection critique on their own positionality, and philosophies and politics--that is, on their own self-alienation and diminishment of consciousness itself. Wilber (1995, 1996), for example, tells this story of the unfortunate binary of Ascenders-Descenders, in what is a compelling philosophical story and critique. I recommend you read his lengthy analysis. But yes, Wilber agrees, fear-based projections are on both sides of this battle for reality, and Ascenders only are just as bad as Descenders only. That's the point. It creates massive pathologies at all levels of society and the world and a lot of toxic destruction has shown itself because of the failures of modernity and postmodernity (post-Feuerbachian factor). 

So, along comes this late 20th century, early 21st century new fearism philosophy (a la Fisher-Subba) as another corrective to the Feuerbachian corrective--and, a new battle for philosophy and politics, and how to best live generally, is underway. History of philosophy is like that. History of ideas is not static. And, fearism presents new ideas (and old) and offers up a new menu of choices. At least, that's the argument I wish to remind readers of. Check it out yourself. 

What fearism offers is a re-visioning of what is the basis of existence, and it concludes "fear" is the basis, and it precedes essence and all else that is real. With that, there is no need to be depressed about it. For "fear" in the fearism lens, from the fearist perspective, is not merely negative, not merely an emotion or feeling or defense. And, from there a new story of human potential and corrective to the pathologies of history and philosophy are ready to take shape. But, will it ever get off the ground? Will it every be applied in important places of society? We don't know that yet. The Fearism movement (like Fearlessness Movement) are very nascent, at least, in their current forms. I have always argued, however, that fear(lessness) is foundational to life and evolution. They are ancient forces and intelligences waiting to be tapped by us. We still have to wake up to this potential, and I believe (like Subba, and some others) "fear" is a great channel for this awakening, for this paradigm shift and new philosophy.  


End Notes

1. E.g., see Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Xlibris; and Fisher, R. M. (2022). Philosophy of fearism: A primer. Xlibris. 

2. See Arnoff, K. (2018). The Young Karl Marx: A film whose time has come. The Intercept.

3. Keep in mind that intellectuals, E. and W. at this time, says Collins, "were cosmopolitans" and globalist and more universalist in outlook and philosophies and "Idealism is cosmopolitanism in religion; it is religious thought argued out independently of dogma and tradition. That is why Idealism everywhere is the favored philosophy in the transitional generation of secularizing reformers" (p. 686). 

4. Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology and spirituality: The spirit of evolution (Vol. 1). Shambhala; Collins, R. (1998). The sociology of philosophies: A global theory of intellectual change. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 

5. Collins (1998), pp. 530-1. 

6. Ibid., p. 686. 

7. Wilber, K. (1996). A brief history of everything. Shambhala, p. 282. 

8. Ibid., p. 283. 

9. Wilber (1995). 

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Feariatry: Psychiatry in a Critical New Key

FEARIATRY, is a play from the book of "psychiatry"--as an overt word-game and conceptual connection between the two. "Feariatry" first coined by Desh Subba, the founder of philosophy of Fearism (see his 2014 classic book), knew on the one hand exactly what he was expressing with this 'call' to begin a new theory, study and practice of feariatry that would complement, if not some day replace, psychiatry as we know it. On the other hand, he did not know what feariatry would actually shape out like, and he wasn't going to lead that formation.

Subba is no psychiatrist or psychologist, and this raises the question: Who is he to be so rebelliously confident that the entire domain of psychology and psychiatry need to change?--and more so, need to transform their very identity and ways. It's a grand sweeping gesture for anyone to make. I loved it when I read it and had already intuited in my own work on fear and fearlessness that, indeed, there was something fundamentally wrong with these two fields and the BioMedical Paradigm they rely on, that is, if we ever want to truly have liberated humans and societies on this planet. Like Subba (and others), I was a quiet advocate for years to revision psychiatry and psychology--as they are accepted legitimate in the mainstream and by the State. In fact, they are 'the State' and its long-arm of intervention into how human beings 'should be' and how they should be fixed when they are no longer 'normal' (i.e., how they should be). This for me, is a very contested territory, and reaks with ideologies of "normal" and the control systems to maintain such. Yes, a politics of psychiatry and psychology cannot be ignored, in our search to better understand human behavior, etc. 

I encourage people to read the reasons for Subba (2014) making the claim for a lot of changes in concepts, fields of inquiry and disciplines because of his discovery of the core nature and role of fear in life and human life in particular. Philosophy of Fearism was his beginning articulation of that primacy of "fear" and the valuation imperative that discovering fear as such one ought to revise everything--even change our language which has gone away from acknowledging this primacy of fear (e.g., see also the fearist Samuel Gillian's (2002, 2005) work on this loss of fear from the English language as a cover-up of distortion due to mind conditioning, propaganda and ideologies). The primacy of fear is the central philosophical and theoretical driver behind Subba, and myself, and our work in fear management/education. 

BACK TO SUBBA and a fearism perspective (a fearist lens)--and, one now is reconfiguring psychiatry and psychology--based on the fear findings. It is a new awareness, a new paradigm of fear, that is being 'called' to bring about a better (hypothetically) psychiatry and psychology to the 21st century. I have totally got on board with this project too. FEARIATRY is particularly intriguing to me. You may search that term in the upper right box of the FM ning and you'll see some of my posts on feariatry over the years. 

BACK TO PSYCHOANALYSIS--AND OTTO RANK (a post-Freudian psychoanalyst and theorist)-- as I have always liked Otto Rank since my reading of his work in the early 1980s, and off and on, I am now reading his 1941 book "Beyond Psychology" (also once named, in the text "beyond individual psychology"--but he also meant beyond social psychology as well)-- the Preface and first chapter pages of this book are intriguing. I kept writing in the margins just tonight that "this sounds like a good place to start a theory of feariatry" --and so on. Indeed, I find a good deal of his thought, experience and theorizing fascinating as grounds for a fearist-revisionist accounting of what psychiatry and psychology need to change. I will do another blogpost on this soon, but just wanted to give you all a heads-up, and to get you maybe starting to think about Feariatry with some seriousness--as it is one of the least developed paths/areas/pillars under the Philosophy of Fearism and Fearology trajectory (i.e., Subba-Fisher's work)...

A small hint: Rank is very big on bringing back to center (or at least to 'balance') "irrational" [1] along with "rational"--and, he believes that is the only way to human health, sanity and a good life worth living. He is a psychoanalyst who actually undermines psychoanalysis (and psychology generally) by the time he wrote this last very honest and penetrating critique in 1941--his last book before he died. For me, I see his 'call' for "beyond psychology" as exactly a route to foreshadowing a "feariatry" (and fearanalysis), etc. But Rank saw through this problem, and named "fear" and "fearless" as key players in his revisioning--so that very much excites me. Again, I'll write out more and cite his work in another blog soon. 


 End Note

1. By "irrational" he means just the same as "the natural" (e.g., "natural self"); in my theorizing, with my partner Dr. Barbara Bickel, we often call this "arational." 




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Review of book, by R. Michael Fisher, Philosophy of Fearism: A Primer, published by Xlibris, 2022.

Nicola Tenerelli

Università degli Studi Aldo Moro, Bari

 "The problem is not the fact of dying, but the Fear of Death, that feeling that so disturbs us and prevents us from achieving inner serenity. How to fight it? Epicurus' solution is this: When there is us, there is no death. And vice versa." (Epistle to Meneceus, 124-127)

"We could say that this book is the Manifesto of Fearology." -N. Tenerelli

The philosopher of Samos took refuge in ataraxia, but his answer highlighted his awareness: the real human dilemma is the problem of Fear, which is more important than death.

We can say that if there is phobos, there is no logos; in the presence of Fear, full rationality is lost, so it is impossible to give an ultimate answer.

Answering the question what is Fear? is in itself an exhaustive operation, a philosophical question.

That is why the question what is Fear is among the first questions a human being asks - right after the fateful one: why is there Being and not rather nothingness? -.

The question what is Fear is both theoretical and practical; it represents the meeting point between utilitarian rationality and primordial sentiment. For Severino (1929-2020), philosophy stems from ancestral Fear (thauma): if we could know what Fear is, we could know Being: if we could answer - what is Fear? - philosophy would not exist.

Philosophical thought has always moved on the boundary between the known and the hidden, and it has always sought to erode this seemingly insurmountable limit. Every revealed truth (aletheia) is once again hidden, veiled twice: re-veiled, in effect!

In Heideggerian terms, the gap between what a human knows and what he can never know must be maintained so that Being is preserved: so he does not fall into nihilism - the claim to be able to discover the truth conceals the will to nullify Being -.

Firstly, the question what is Fear is a foundational question because it relates the subject to its deepest interiority.

Secondly, just as importantly, the incommensurability of the question - what is Fear - relaunches philosophy, both because it shows that philosophical thought is indispensable and because it gives meaning to the limited existence of human beings and their desire to improve.

  1. Michael Fisher is a thinker who has devoted all his studies expressly to the subject of Fear, author of the essay Philosophy of Fearism. A primer, published by Xlibris; this volume is intended to introduce even non-specialists in the discipline to this field of philosophy that arose - a further merit of Fisher's - outside institutional and academic circles.

The essay is a presentation of the Philosophy of Fearism and its disseminators; R. Michael Fisher, a Canadian, is the most authoritative representative of this philosophical current; other philosophers of Fearism, the Nepalese Desh Subba and the New Yorker Samuel Nathan Gillian Jr. (1939-2016), all of whom were fellow travellers encountered by chance during their decades of study, are mentioned in the essay.We could say that this book is the Manifesto of Fearology. Evidence of this is the subtitle, Primer, which also implies the first coat of paint that is applied to the canvas to prepare it for painting - let us not forget that Fisher is an artist.

 "Glossaries in fearist books are unsystematic, although useful — but, for research purposes there is not yet enough conformity to know exactly what is what in the whole domain of terms and concepts and theories under the umbrella of a philosophy of Fearism. With this caveat in mind, the reader is advised to not become overly concerned about all the technical terms right away and also not to try to change them, without spending a good amount of time studying the philosophy of Fearism. It may take years to really get the feel for what this philosophy is all about." (p. 50)

 We are obviously dealing with a philosophical text, so no one expects an easy read, but Fisher has propped up his essay with a series of twenty-one Frequently Asked Questions to answer what Fearism is and help the reader who wants to approach this study.

Fisher wants to make it clear, above all, that the Philosophy of Fear is not a utilitarian theory and does not intend to offer a recipe that will free people from such a strenuous feeling/research.

Furthermore, the proposed (Fearism) Philosophy of Fear is not a substitute for abstract existentialism because, on the contrary, it originates as a real need of the philosopher.

In the text, some of the necessary prerequisites for approaching the Philosophy of Fear are suggested:

- need to be humble when it is appropriate to learn something 'new' from everyone;

-  need to study current theories in order to understand that this is a social philosophy that requires disciplined enquiry and research-based focus,

- need a maturity beyond one's own selfish needs, and, subsequently, an engagement with the community of other fearists;

- need to know methods/techniques derived from theories that enfold themselves with this philosophy;

- need to take risks and be honest intellectually.

The 'risk' that Fisher speaks of is the one that all intellectuals incur: studying a lot and always feeling dissatisfied; not being considered by a social system that favours telegenic faces and monetisable ideas.

The reader, however, can be assured that the study of Fear can lead every human beyond his/her inner boundaries.

 "Fear is a mystery. It is as vast as the universe... It constitutes an impact on human tendency, action, and activities. Human activities done knowingly and unknowingly are heading towards it... The fearist perspective is a new dimension to look at life and the world... The purpose behind fearism [and fearists’ work] is to conduct continuous research, investigation, and invention in order to make life more comfortable." (quoting Desh Subba in Fisher's Introduction, p. 1)  


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NEW BOOK by R. Michael Fisher (2022); the exact kind of easy to read short book (100 pp) on the philosophy of Fearism--a guide, a primer, an intriguing story! 

Order from Xlibris Publishers (Australia) and/or online booksellers e.g.,


A book review video is available on the context and history behind this book and my views on "Fear Inquiry" --and, I read a few sections from the book as well; go to

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Here is a brief look at the Table of Contents for my new book coming out in the next few months, published by Xlibris. Thanks to support from Desh Subba. My goal with this project was to create a 100 pp. book as a basic introduction to most of the important aspects of the philosophy of Fearism as it has evolved to today. I look forward to sharing more of this book in little bits and creating discussion around it in the months ahead. Glad to share this sneak preview with you here: 




       INTRODUCTION: What’s in a Name?, Why Focus on Fear(ism)?

            Time For a Primer on Philosophy of Fearism

            The Search for Fear-Plus

            Fearism Complicates Fear

            Risking to Care Deeply for Fear


  1. HISTORY and PEOPLE Behind the Philosophy of Fearism

             Fearism: A Mixed History

                        Fisherian Fearism

                        Subbaian Fearism

                        Subbaian-Fisherian Fearism


  1. An INTELLECTUAL MOVEMENT in Philosophy and Beyond

             Founders: From Dyad to The Triad

  1. Michael Fisher

                        Desh Subba

                        Samuel Nathan Gillian Jr.

            Vignettes of the Three Philosophers: Discovering Fearism



             What Philosophers Would Think of Fearism?

                        A Few Fearists’ Imperatives

                        A Few Theories Within Fearism

            Some Philosophical Assumptions and Principles

            Some Critics of Fearism



 Basic References

 Brief Glossary


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Ernest Becker's Fearist Choice (?)


Introduction: Fear Studies and The Fearist's Dilemma

And, I have been struggling cheerfully (mostly) with trying to figure out this Beckerian (fear) problem ..since late 1989.

And, just when I think I have it figured out, and can make up my mind, I get thrown off-track by the data, the evidence, the arguments of someone else. I feel a bit of 'nausea' or is it intellectual 'vertigo' (?); re-evaluation and critical self-reflection are non-stop.  

This has been with my latest serious encounter and re-reading of the work of the late Samuel Nathan Gillian Jr. And, I'm still trying to make up my mind. I also have always had problems with the binary of the two camps/schools (see diagram above)--yet, I also see their value in describing a real dynamic of thought, of ideas, of philosophies and ultimately of choices that each human makes (be they conscious or not in doing so).

You may know, the fearists [1] that have been collecting around the work of Desh Subba [2] have more or less been ambivalent, non-concise or decided on this problem--albeit, they have done so without consulting the work of Ernest Becker--as far as I can tell. There is much more discussion to be had there. It is essential to the general advancement of a truly postmodern and post-postmodern Fear Studies that I have proposed in many of my publications since 2006 at least [3]. 

Which Way To Go: Positive(?) vs. Negative(?)

Studying (see last two FM blogs) the work on fear by Sam Gillian Jr. (1939-2016), I have noted that he is a self-confessed Beckerian [4], albeit, very unique in his thinking and philosophy (I am writing an intellectual biography on his life and work). You'll note in the last FM blog I placed Gillian and Ernest Becker in the "Fear-Positivist" camp of thinkers (both happen to be existentialists) because they are out to re-cast and transform the overly-negative valuation and mis-understanding that "fear" (and anxiety and death) have received for hundreds of years, particularly in the Western world and modernity. They are not (therefore) "Fear-Negativists." The latter, would reject the claim that Subba (for e.g.) makes that: "life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear." That is too negative and not how they want to think about reality, the human being or Creation itself--thus, they adopt and/or develop a lighter-positive attitude, and set of beliefs (ideologies) and philosophies or theologies. The choice of direction (camp) taken, deeply impacts how we design our organizations, our cultures, and how we institute socialization, education and live our lives. No small consequences. 

Earliest of the Historical Fearists [5]: The work of Ernest Becker in the 1960-70s especially ought to be regarded as the first (proto-) fearist philosopher we have to draw upon in the West--although, he was writing with a modernist's universalist perspective in his claims. Desh Subba and I came along two-three decades later to build our own fearist philosophizing, of which a few others (in the East) have followed in our tracks. Gillian, uniquely followed Becker's fearism. He did not know of Subba's or my work. Albeit, I did contact Gillian and we exchanged email correspondence for nearly a year (which, will be published in my new book on him and his work). From what I can tell of his 2005 book, my thought had no influence on him and his writing and teaching. We clashed on some basic issues, although we agreed on others.

After teaching in The Fearology Institute's new 2018 programming several students who wanted to study fear(ism) and fearlessness, and fearology, it became very clear that I was disenchanted with their thinking and imaginaries regarding fear (and 'fear'). I sensed often, we were in a discourse battle (not a bad thing)--and, at one point I wrote a long intense paper and sent it to them to study. It was a critical paper (albeit, nascent one) of the entire problem of dividing the conversation into issues of "good fear" and "bad fear" (i.e., fear-positive vs. fear-negative). At times, I too was puzzled what was going on and I questioned the "fearists" and myself. I won't go into that longer analysis, and I haven't read my own paper from that time in years either. So, I will drop that discusson. I have some new thoughts shaping to share. 

Perhaps, to confuse things a little, for the purpose of finding more clarity; my fearanalysis of Becker's and Gillian's work of late is telling me, because of their agenda, that it is best to classify them both as human "Negativists" overall in terms of the (darker-side; shadow-side) context and perspective in how they conceive of reality and human nature--that is, they do not believe as the human "Positivists" do that humans are more lighter-side dominant (i.e., benign, love-based). The Negativists and Positivists clash on human nature and they clash on their orientation of the importance of "fear" in relations to human existence and behavior and human potential. 

Becker and the Fear Problem: "Terror" at the Base of Human Nature (Existence)

When I read in Becker's Pulitzer prize winning book The Denial of Death (1973), published at the end of his life (died early due to cancer), that he layed out the argumentation of both the human Positivists and Negativists (these are my terms, he used respectively, "Healthy-Minded" argument vs. "Morbidly-Minded" argument--for naming the two camps of thought)--and, Becker concluded after examining the evidence carefully that:

"I frankly side with this second school--in fact, this whole book is a network of arguments based on the universality of the

fear of death, or "terror" [for short], as I prefer to call it, in order to convey how all consuming it is when we look it full in the face." (p. 15) [6]

I am struck with the poignancy of his declaration of the two camps, and that he labeled them (albeit, with the cautionary of " marks)--whereby, the Postive is Healthy and the Negative is Morbid (or unhealthy). It seems he is being somewhat facetious or critical at the same time, and thus reverses the positive valuation in fact (for his liking) because of his choice to approve of and work with the Negative or Morbid (so-called) kind of thinking about reality and human nature. That meant, he accepted a reality of existence for the human being and henceforth, was an inveterate Fear-Positivist. I have problems with that commitment, although I see its validity to a point, and Gillian pushes the fear-analysis even farther and more importantly I think than Becker does. Gillian is a real hard-core fearist (even though, he did not use that label). 

I wonder where he would have gone with this Fear-Positivist and human Negativist philosophy and theorizing if he had lived a few more decades as a great thinker and synthesizer across disciplines of knowledge (see his Wikipedia:Ernest Becker); for some who knew Becker well and studied his work, they have told me that Becker likely would have got "darker" in his interpretations and understanding of the reality of Homo sapiens sapiens, that is, human nature and human destiny (along with planet earth) [7]. That aside, what we do see in Becker's (1973) book, so influential in many quarters of international discussion (at least, in its hey day)--that, if one starts with the argument that the human being is an animal, and recall that had great influence since Darwin (mid-19th century)--that, in the end, most empirical evidence points to the reality of what basically comes down to Homo sapiens can best be characterized and rather uniquely (in Becker's words): 

The result was the emergence of man [sic] as we know him: a hyperanxious 

animal who constantly invents reasons for anxiety even when there are none. [8]

So Vulnerably Human

Humans (a la Beckerian Negativists) = living terrified, hyperanxious, constantly 'out of touch' with their actual level of threats in their environment (and/or inside themselves). It does not sound like a very pretty happy picture of our species and lives. Those qualties make for a troublesome mix altogether; although, recall that being terrified and anxious (i.e., "fear-based" in terms of the two choices in the diagram above that is one way of interpreting Becker's (fear) problem)--is not the problem, for the Fear-Positivists are totally okay with accepting that is just fine, it is even positive to be terrified and anxious all the time--because reality is just that! Now, you can see the twist is in the fine details of that claim and one would have to critically ask, but what about "hyper" and the being out-of-touch part--how can these be healthy and just fine--even ontologically justifiable? [I won't go into that argumentation here] [also note: my definition of "fear-based" is way more complicated and intentionally troublesome than is the way it is used above and is implicitly understood in the Beckerian (fear) problem]

One the other hand, the human Positivists rally against it all (as they also do generally against anything Darwinian-informed). For myself, my first 1/3 of life as a thinker was absorbed completely in biology, ecology, evolutionary, ethological and environmentalist critique. How could I not be in agreement with the second solution to the Beckerian (fear) problem? 

That aside, we now have a whole lot of people, of all stripes really, that want us to be animal, and those that don't. Sure, some will try to 'mix and match' and 'blend' the animal-human (even Becker, and Gillian do somewhat)--but, then you have to scrape down--sit in the primal depths of reality/truth and look-at (not avoid) the layers of the real problem with the problem of being a terrified hyperanxious out-of-touch with reality kind of critter. From the latter characteristic in the list, the Repression Problem then comes forth [9], which I will not elaborate in this short blog. Anyways, the (primal) Negativists, often push down to where they relentlessly end up with their strongest pragmatist truth: humans are afraid to die and "fear of death" is thus the new primal motivational base reference point for where to begin a philosophy of human nature and all that follows from that. We are animal, they say, but we are a unique (vulnerable) animal--e.g., premature young incredibly helpless for a long period of their early development, big brains sensitive to knowing we are dying sooner or later, etc.   

[to be continued... perhaps...]


1. "Fearist" refers to anyone who systematically makes "fear" central to their investigations of human behavior and reality itself. There are more complex nuanced definitions and meanings that can be found too, but the basic meaning (above) is taken from Subba (2014) and the original articulation "The fearist perspective is a new dimension to look at life and the world" (p. 11). Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris. 

2. E.g., Subba coined his "fearism" notion in 1999 as part of his literary (novel and poetic) productions and literary criticism interests, which merged with his growing initiative to become a philosopher. He wrote the standard text for his new philosophy (see Subba (2014). 

3. Note, I did cite Becker's famous book The Denial of Death as one vector of inquiry, essential in developing the sub-field of Fear Studies; see, Fisher, R. M. (2006). Invoking 'Fear' Studies. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 22(4), 39-71.

4. True in general, there's many other influences I am finding in Gillian's thought; also Daniel Liechty, in a book review of Gillian (2002), noted Gillian was also "very 'Rankian'" (Liechty, 2004). Referring to the psychoanalyst-theorist Otto Rank. This book review was published originally "Book Review of The Beauty of Fear in Ernest Becker Foundation Newsletter, December; and reprinted by Gillian in the front matter of his next book in 2005. See the two books by Gillian: Gillian, S. N. (2002). The beauty of fear: How to be positively afraid. Phemore Press; and Gillian, S. N. (2005). Terrified by education: Teaching children to fear learning. Phemore Press. 

5. If pushed, and she's much lesser known than Becker, I would argue that the American adult educator-poet, activist, Bonaro W. Overstreet (1950's) is the first fearist--but, I'll leave that case for another place and time to argue. 

6. Becker, E. (1973/97). The denial of death. NY: Free Press Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster.

7. E.g., correspondence in 2020 with Dr. Daniel Liechty and Dr. Jack Martin. 

8. Becker (1973), p. 17.

9. The repression complexity (theorizing) in the Beckerian model has a long tradition in depth psychology and critical philosophy but easily it goes back to Arthur Schopenhaur, through Fredriech Nietzsche to Freud, and to Becker...etc. Tying reality-fear-repression together as one dynamic is key to understand--if one wants to understand the Beckerian Negativist perspective. I have only recently been thinking of repression-fear-fearlessness dynamics but it is too soon to share more. I guess, I see myself as post-Beckerian (meaning, I adopt the best of his work and transcend and create beyond it's limitations--that is, of existentialism itself). 



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By now most of the FM ning readers will have seen and/or heard of this (somewhat 9/11-like tragic and disturbing event)--that hit the Washington, DC city and Capital Hill (the White House of the USA Government) on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The purpose of my short blogpost here is to put in my 'vote' for all of us to be very aware, smart, and fearless in our thoughts and imaginations about what happened that day (Jan. 6, 2021). I say this after my research on fear and fearlessness (and fearism [1]) for the last 25 years or so and how it is so important to not just fall into all the rhetoric, tropes and narratives being "spun" by all kinds of agendas, and politics, and extremisms. So, I call the Jan. 6 event an example (with more to come) of the organization and dynamics of how 'two sides danced' (i.e., opposites that have made an enemy out of each other for a long time)--to create this phenomenon now recorded in US history and recorded as a 'message' to EVERYONE--that, "Domestic Fearism" (my term for it)--is not going away (for it also has been a process, a phenomenon, boiling in the base of the mountain and awaiting to explode in the classic hurling lava of rage, fear, hate, call it what you will--violence, by any other name. The chaos and irrationality laying just below the surface. But wait... even I am susceptible to fall into easy narratives, I could even so easily pick sides in the "battle" on Capitol Hill (and, everywhere in America, at least)-- I too could fall into the fear-based 'design' of perception, thinking, valuing, worldview and rhetoric and actions of those all who are clearly upset by what happened that day--and, prior. 

This is all I'm going to write on this today, to just start FM ning members thinking about this all--and, the perennial problem in all forms of governance from the beginning of human history, you know I'm talking about when people don't get along--when conflict is part n' parcel of living in groups. Oh, but today, I trust we can be a lot more intelligent in figuring our way through this crisis of governance which this demonstration above truly shows--our failure in a lot of parts of governance. It is no one's (only one's) fault that any of this symptom exists and erupts--sure, some will be spear-head leaders but they are "not the problem" in the roots of the phenomenon, I will continue to call "Domestic Fearism" --a more nuanced and critical conception rather than calling it "Domestic Terrorism" as many (including Michael Moore, Marianne Williamson[2]) have already chosen to call it. Let's keep having a deep conversation on this, and preferrably from a fearlessness standpoint (rare and difficult as it may be to pull off)--rather, than the classic and habitual fear standpoint. Let's talk... 


I just made a video on Michael Moore's intense emergency raw talk on Jan. 6/21 events and what is following soon. You might want to watch this but I'd suggest do it with a friend, ally or group, as it can be quite terrifying and traumatic material. I am both supportive and critical of how Moore does this work.


1. "Fearism" is my specialty and conception of choices (amongst other frames and terms and theories)--because I am convinced it will be emancipatory for all human beings (and yes, all citizens, and yes, all who are on either side of the current enemy-making that is actually 'storming the entire nation' --of America--but also around the world). There is a lot of writing on "fearism" and "philosophy of fearism" on the internet and on the FM ning (just do a search here on our FM ning front page for more info.). I am particularly pointing out in my title for this blog that of one expression of fearism that is--fearism-t which is the toxic form of "fearism" (as Desh Subba has coined)--see our book for more on this distinction: Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of Fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Xlibris. To be very short, "domestic fearism" is the best way to understand "domestic terrorism"--and, that applies as well to finding a better way to understand terrorism in general--as fearism is the underbelly, the more quiet and less dramatic dynamic and reality that is always going on in oppressive societies--building up suppression, repression and violence of many forms--all of which, when built up enough, some eruption will come from that fearism and 'blow' to become an obvious form of terrorism (e.g., like what was seen Jan. 6). If we only try to understand terrorism without fearism, that will lead inevitably to such a partial and distorted analysis of the problems going on and that of course will undermine finding a real set of solutions deeper below the surface where fear breeds--and, virtually everyone on this planet is (more or less) a contributor to the "manufacture of fear" (and, fearism-t). 

2. For more background on my interest and study of Williamson's work and her political ambitions etc., see my upcoming book soon off the press: The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution in Dangerous Times (New York: Peter Lang, 2020). 

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The following link, will guide you to my recent Dr. A. V., Varughese Memorial Lecture (2020) in Kerala, India

To listen to my lecture you best start the video at the 21:20 mark 

My talk is about ecocriticism as a newly emerging field in the last few decades, that involves literary criticism and ecology. I focus on a particular way I interpret this field and how it can better be holistic-integral in integrating the work on fear, fearism, and fearlessness. Fear as a vector in ecocriticism, and literary criticism, ought to take into account a term I coined in the talk, called Egocriticism. It is the combination of Ecocriticism and Egocriticism that I believe will be the better way to go in the future for truly critical analysis that really cuts through. The last 1/2 of the video is made up of questions from the audience and me answering them. 



p.s. If you want my edited version, with me talking about my lecture in commentary, go to: 

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Dr. Faranda's New Book on Fear as Potent


I haven't read this new book but will take a peek at it in the next while and make comments. You may also want to do so. Use the FM ning "Comment" feature here to create a discussion. NOTE: See "Comment" below this blog for my latest thoughts on reading some chapters on Faranda's book.

I've enclosed below the book publisher's description, note that I put in larger font a most interesting thesis Faranada makes about fear and the future. The book looks on first glance like an important contribution to the emerging sub-field called Feariatry (a la Subba & Fisher): 

#1 New Release in Evolutionary Psychology and Buddhism ─ Fear, Contemporary Society, and its Consequences

For anyone suffering from the global pandemic anxiety surrounding the new coronavirus, comes a long awaited exploration of one of the most powerful and primitive human emotions.

A history and culture of fear. Over the last five hundred years, life for the average human being has changed dramatically―plagues no longer wipe out entire families, and no longer do we empty our chamber pots into the street. But, progress in the West has shown that no matter how many dangers we neutralize, new ones emerge. Why? Because our level of fear remains constant.

Fear in contemporary society. For years, Dr. Frank Faranda studied a state of fearfulness in his patients―an evolutionary state that relentlessly drove them toward avoidance, alienation, hypercriticism, hyper-control, and eventually, depression and anxiety. He began to wonder what they were afraid of, and how embedded these fears might be in contemporary society. This book aims to break us free from what he found.

Fear not. Faranda’s Fear Paradox is simple―even though fear has a prime directive to keep us safe and comfortable, it has grown into the single greatest threat to humanity and collective survival. As a consequence, fear is embedded in our culture, creating new dangers and inciting isolation. With global pandemic disruptions and rising anxiety levels, now is the time to shine a light on our deepest fears and examine the society that fear is creating.

But fear not―inside, you’ll learn about:

  • The fear of pain and the fear of the unknown
  • How fear has driven progress in the West
  • The price paid to eradicate fear
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Author Trio:

B.Maria Kumar, R.Michael Fisher & Desh Subba 

Here’s the book back-cover note:

“So many nations today, large and small, are faced with compelling global and local circumstances, breaking acute crises, and lingering long-term chronic problems that demand leaders and followers to cope as best they can. However, there’s a growing suspicion in most everyone’s minds—from the higher classes to the lower classes, across races, religions, and various differences—where there is a deep feeling that something big needs to change. From real threats and tragic events like violence, crime, wars, global warming, mass extinctions to more specific problems of population densities to health concerns and economic near-collapse, people know that living in fear is not a quality way to live. India is a unique and great nation, with its tragic realities in the past and present, haunting its future. B. Maria Kumar, born and raised and having worked all his career in the streets, knows India well and knows what needs to change. He writes from great intellectual acumen, an understanding of history and mythology, and with vision for a better India. He has invited two colleagues to respond to his analysis of problems and solutions, each of them (Subba, a Nepali philosopher and poet living in Hong Kong, and Fisher, a Canadian philosopher and educator) to respond to his views. This book brings a trifold synthesis of how the nature and role of fear is critical to the shaping and destiny of India. Not enough development theories or thinking have invoked “fear” as a major construct to analyze, as a new way to interpret culture, religion, policies, plans and governance overall across the world. India seems the perfect location to start a new critical and creative consciousness that sets goals that the three authors believe are essential for India to make progress into the twenty-first century. Growing insecurity, uncertainty, mistrust, and corruption that accompany them is no way to build a nation resilient for the major challenges coming. In the face of a daunting task, the authors step-up boldly into the dimension of vision and realities facing a nation. They don’t shy away from saying what needs to be named, for only then will such honesty clear a path of fearlessness forward. This book will serve as a guide for many in India and its allies to rethink the ways they have understood the problems in India’s development.”

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HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE?[1]: Case of Climate Change Today               - rmf May 18/2019

 The fear of eco-turbulence is the greatest one.

This eco-fear must be made positive fear to prevent the possible disaster.                                                                                                                                                            - Bhawani Shankar Adhikari[2]


 I too, like Adhikari and other fearists (of recent expressions), am seeing something powerful amidst the current zeitgeist on the planet in general, of something which could be called “eco-fear.” This is the fear related to eco-issues (i.e., environmental and global issues of great ecological consequence to quality of life (and Life itself) in the early part of the 21st century).

I have written about this topic off and on, not the least of which was my series of technical papers on what Simon Estok calls “ecophobia” and its importance in literary criticism and beyond.[3] Many issues are thus being raised about the relationship between eco and fear that require more analysis and perhaps ‘better’ guidance than so far offered by anyone thinking about this. I’ll attempt to move forward this discussion and offer some direct guidance as consulting to eco-fear—and, I think I can do that best through a case study, albeit, it is more imagined for me personally at the moment than real. That is, climate change education (CCE) of which some in the literature refer to it as merely “climate education” but it is assumed they are speaking about “change” and big changes in climate—that is, global warming and the human-causation of that phenomena and the issues around how humans can mitigate the impacts of global warming crises upon us now and that are to become increasingly severe by most scientific predictions in the next decade or less—to the point, where mass extinctions of species and perhaps, more or less, our own species is immanent as is the product of great risk of toxification that will destroy life-sustainability on planet Earth.

I will not here, go into an analysis of the toxification problem, that is global warming as part of the CCE curriculum per se—if anything, I will focus on the issue of “fear toxification” as one particular angle in the discussion, whereby over the last several years I have made the direct analogy between CO2 rising levels of threat to Fear rising levels of threat[4]—both, with their interdependent relationship and mutual causality (arguably). I’ll not pursue this relationship in this paper further than this mention. There are other concerns I am focusing on here and they can simply be wrapped-up in and around the question I ask myself in this context of toxification, How afraid should we be?—while, I realize that is not the only or even the ‘best’ question—it is one I think is rich with heuristic value to pursue.

My First Thoughts and Question(s)

If I (or any fearist) puts themselves into the situation of answering this question, several things arrive to be clarified, if not answered with a powerfully thought through rationale and direction:

(a). in concrete, if I am teaching and/or advising the teaching of say “climate education” today (as it is sometimes called” and, I am also answering to the critique “Climate Education is Screwed Up” as a recent video announces [5] – I am also having to answer philosophically and pedagogically how afraid should the students of such a climate education (CE) be at the first, in the middle and at the end of the class or course, or lecture? How does “fear” (i.e., fearfullness) enter into CE and specifically my way of ‘best’ teaching CE and/or advising others to teach CE?

(b) what theoretical and philosophical grounds (e.g., philosophy of fearism, and/or a General Fear Theory) can I draw upon to help analyze this questioning and calling as a fearist—and, how might I compare that guidance I seek be compared to some other guidance from other theoretical and philosophical grounds?—and, thus in that comparative analysis how I could make my ‘best’ recommendations to others in CE and/or follow the findings to my own curriculum and pedagogical design in the classroom?

(c) if I was to analyze the already prevailing general critique (since the mid-1990s) that is substantive amongst diverse critics of a growing “culture of fear” phenomena –a critique that at times takes the provocative label by some writers as “Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?” [6]—there seems to be an important point of analysis required (fearanalysis) as to “why” and “how” this latter phenomenon is functioning already and this was showing itself (as a symptom) in a historical time when “climate” and the crisis around “global warming” were there but only minor in the zeitgeist of planetary consciousness—at least, it was much less than it is today and in the last decade of the 21st century’s unfolding... then, to analyze this I have to bring forward problematic issues that are in that particular historical discourse, and then bring them into light of my own search in (a.) above and ultimately to answering (b.) above.

No one has pursued, to my knowledge, this kind of in depth research project that (a.), (b.) and (c). involve—and, the time has come for this work to be done, and the sooner the better. It will take a dedicated number of individuals and a team (perhaps) to do a good job of this and prepare the material for publication. I’m inviting interested researchers and thinkers to consider my proposition. I myself have already begun this venture, however, I am only in the very early stages of organizing and designing how to proceed. It would also be great to acquire “gifting” and “funding” supports for such an initiative.



[1] See my recent 2019 teaching video : “The Great Collapse: How Afraid Should We Be?”

[2] Excerpt from April 25, 2019 FM blog (which Desh Subba and other fearists endorsed enthusiastically).

[3] See Fisher (2018) tech papers No. 66-70.

[4] For e.g., CO2 FEAR chart Posted by R.Michael Fisher on September 11, 2015.


[6] For e.g., Cohl, H. A. (1997). Are we scaring ourselves to death: How pessimism, paranoia, and a misguided  media are leading us toward disaster. NY: St. Martin's Griffin. 


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"Fearism" Coined in 1990: New Discovery

Figure 1  "Fearism" First Coined (in excerpt from an Unpublished book ms by R. Michael Fisher, Sept. 10, 1990)


The newest discovery of the first use of the term "fearism" came the other day while I was searching an old book ms. never completed or published. The date, Sept. 10, 1990, it was entitled Journey Into Fearlessness: Towards a Meta-Service Healing Model" and was part of my first year of writing and publishing on fear and fearlessness post-In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989 - ). The excerpt (Figure 1) makes an interesting claim and choice of words: "Egoism is fearism" (p. 4). I have included here the entire Preface Fisher Meta-Service Healing Model 1990.pdf from which this excerpt comes from, showing my deep connection at the time to understanding the nature and role of fear in the field of human services, of which I and my partner at the time (and co-founder of ISOF Project) were working in the field and researching as young scholars wanting to improve things. This was my third career, after my first in ecological and environmental biology, and second in education. 

Although, in re-reading this Preface (above) it is clear that I was imagining this expansive conceptualization (and theory) of "fear" as "fearism" just like of "ego" as "egoism," there was no further use of the term in my ms. at that time. However, often the text and thinking in this ms. indicates I was using "toxic fear" (amongst other such expressions) and referring to fearism, more or less. Note: Desh Subba's coining of the term "fearism" in 1999 in his literary work and later philosophical work is not quite the same as my early uses. When I connected with Subba in late 2014, just after his book Philosophy of Fearism was published and transl. into English, we then corresponded and I joined my views with his views somewhat to enable the East-West emergence of a "philosophy of fearism" as one philosophy with many branches (see our book in 2016 Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue). Subba and I agreed to use fearism-t (toxic form), to distinguish from his generic coining of the term in 1999, to refer to the earlier pre-Subbaian coining of fearism and what has followed as use by many authors in scholarly work since [1]. 

The history of the coining of "fearism" now needs to be revised with this new 1990 discovery. The history as tracked out in Fisher & Subba (2016), pp. 12, 106, 120-23, 128, needs revision and has some errors. Here is the best information I have now to give the history of its coining in brief summary: 

1990 - (Sept. 10), Fisher (Canada) uses the term in one sentence, linking it with "egoism" and a "toxic fear" formation with ideological overtones in meaning but nothing more is written specifically by him using the term "fearism" again until 1997

1992 - an American political writer (T. Hiss) used it once in The New Yorker magazine article and it was later cited by a scholar (J. K. White in a book 1997, p. 74) (see Fisher & Subba, 2016, p. 12, 153)

1997- Fisher (Canada) used it once referring to it as a "social dis-ease" in his unpublished Spectrum of 'Fear' book ms. 

1999- Subba (Nepal) uses the term in a literary ms. and then develops it into a full-blown philosophy



1. For an inventory of uses of "fearism" by scholars, the latest update is Fisher, R. M. (2017). "Fearism": A critical analysis of uses and discourses in Global Migration Studies. Technical Paper No. 64. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. 


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