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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

www.nicolatenerelli.it

 "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., https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/philosophy-of-fearism-r-michael-fisher/1142049448

BTW 

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyeVeEHtqO4

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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: 

CONTENTS

 Preface

 Acknowledgements

       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

 

  1. FEARISM THEORY

             What Philosophers Would Think of Fearism?

                        A Few Fearists’ Imperatives

                        A Few Theories Within Fearism

            Some Philosophical Assumptions and Principles

            Some Critics of Fearism

 

 FEARIST’S QUOTES

 Basic References

 Brief Glossary

 Index

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Ernest Becker's Fearist Choice (?)

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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...]

Endnotes

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... 

Addendum: 

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgP1aDxLeag

Notes: 

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. 

-enjoy, 

M. 

p.s. If you want my edited version, with me talking about my lecture in commentary, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVpArm2cwPw 

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Dr. Faranda's New Book on Fear as Potent

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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]

             Preamble

 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.

 ****

NOTES

[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.

[5].  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXuzdoKs9pI

[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)

      HISTORY OF THE COINING OF "FEARISM" 

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

 

Note

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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WET-THINKERS 31: No Longer Fearing the Future

You've heard of wet-nurses... well, then imagine wet-thinkers... and, 

In this blog I wish to introduce to the world a new kind of thinker and thinking--I'm calling "Wet-Thinkers 31" --a group yet to evolve but there in the waiting, because our world today is in such crises (and lots more to come)--that a new "fearless thinking" and thinkers of great critical capacity and creativity are required. 

Where did this strange name come from? Wet-thinkers offer wet-thinking! That came from the hypnopompic state of trance-based learning that took place last night in bed. I first had a dream that I was watching a photocopy machine or printer producing sheets of paper coming out that had in big black type "BABY BOOMER" and I thought that was interesting messaging (as I am a 'baby boomer' born in 1952; and, it so happens that Marianne Williamson is also a baby-boomer; see my prior post)-- then out came the next sheets and they read "BABY THINKING" and that really caught my imagination. I awoke and in a trance state (the hypnopomic) 'in between' consciousness not asleep and not awake to the normal light of day--I layed in this state for a long time and thoughts started to associate and elaborate and soon I came to the analogy of what the world needs now (and, what I have to lead) is a new kind of "Baby Thinking" but what came to me for various reasons was an even better, more appropriate term for the times we are in and are going into as humans on this planet--and, what emerged was wet-thinking as a play from wet-nursing. It was perfect! 

Wet-nursing is the (very female) orientation to the future that I believe the world quickly has to shift to or things are not going to turn out well at all. Wet-nursing is an orientation of unconditional gifting of one female (mother) to another female (mother) because the one is willing to nurse their child (temporarily or until weaned). This is breast milk gifted because... because the child requires a good future. Breast milk, either from the original mother, or from the wet-nurse, is the future!. It is white, thick, rich and full of all the ingredients and immunological properties for true prosperity for new life to flourish. Wet-thinking is likewise, a gifting of nourishing that is the future--the future right now! An idea of wet-thinking is an idea of a good future-life now which makes the future--as sustainble because of the TRUSTING gift of fearlessness that a mother and/or wet-nurse passes on automatically, for they are mothers. The concrete aspects of this gifting and wet-nursing are also metaphorical of a new female (mothering) way of relating to all --and, through wet-thinkers there is future-thinkers being raised and nourished and flourishing with ideas that make the next 1000 years a reality of goodness for all children who are exposed to this wet-thinking. So far, mostly, men-thinking is not wet-thinking but dry-thinking. I'll let you play with that metaphor and the unbalanced direction and unsustainability that latter type of thinking has taken us to... a 'cliff' at the end of the dead end... not much of a future--and, a threatening future to worry about and that's what is on the mind of just about everyone these days everywhere in the world. Be it nuclear war threat, climate change and global warming etc. The Anthropocene era is now fast becoming the Worry-scene era. A world of dry-thinking has left us bereft of the gifting of the wet-nurse (thinking)--the feminine, female, mothering love--which, I reframe as a wet-thinking that is a fearless leadership towards and into and with the making of the future now. 

WET-THINKING 31 ... what is that? It is a project, a group consciousness, that thinks now for the next 1000 years, that's where 31 comes from in this name, it is the addressing of the now for the 31st century--that is the kind of qualitative shift, to get us beyond the 21st century thinking (mostly dry-thinking of the future)--and, it is a kind of gifting being that is called for that senses the future in the same way that the wet-nurse does not think of death when they give milk to another's child--they do not think that I'm giving this milk but it really won't help and the future is going to be deadly sooner than later. Yes, of course we all will die. But that is only when you think in dry-thinking of the isolated individual body of a child--they are also a soul and part of the World Soul--of the total collective and the eternal. That's a healthy whole systems kind of thinking and the wet-thinking is when we gift our thinking today as adults (or anyone) to the next generations for 1000 years (symbolically, much like the Indigenous tribes that I have heard posit the ethical basis of thinking and acting now with the thought of what impact it will have on 7 generations)... I also like the number 31, for so many reasons, not the least of which on Oct. 17, 1931, an esoteric group (of wet-thinkers?) emerged in New York City and started The League for Fearlessness, if you believe it or not (yes, I have the brochure they wrote then). This group seems to have disbanned but their vision, at least for me, has not disappear, and I have not abandoned the "Fearless Society" and "Fearless Age" (as Desh Subba called it)... an age of the future, in say 1000 years is our aim for acting and thinking today. 

Do you get the idea? Do you get the vision? I realize I am barely describing the dream-like vision and qualities and some sense of what this aim is... but if you take time to contemplate the beauty so natural of wet-nursing as an evolutionary phenomenon found in many mammal species (perhaps?) but at least it is know for humans from the earliest records of history--women did this kind of thing--as a gift--the milk of life passed on and the future made for a child in this goodness in the now--as offering that flourishing. 

THE PROBLEM--is a FUTURE OF FEAR--that ihas tainted 'the milk' of the societies of the 21st century (and long before that)... where, when I listen to political leaders, and I listen to the population (e.g., in the Alberta future discussion last night on CBC TV)--it was so apparent that the premier Rachel Notley, the panel experts on the economy and and the audience--they are all coming from so much fear of the future --that is, the economic state of Alberta which is spiraling precariously and not bringing forward the 'growth' and 'jobs' for a stable future. People are suffering. Yes, indeed. But the world is suffering too. The dry-thinking, based on fear of the future tomorrow... short-term, really was so evident and WORRY (deficit, shortage, greed)--seemed so much a part of self-preservation thinking that poured out of the auditorium and all the world could watch this tv show--this stage of Fear's domination. It is understandable fear--sure. But it is so typical of today, where the future is now seen as so threatening on so many levels, including the problems in Alberta around oil and gas, energy, and sustainability and diversification needed in the economy. But what I saw in that room was a dark swirl of lack of vision for the 31st century. A wet-nurse was needed--but on the thinking level--on the creative imaginary level--and, there was none to be found in that room of folks grappling with are they going to make it in the next month, year, maybe 10 years... the future vision of goodness of the wet-nurse gifting was not there. If I was a young child or even a teenager sitting in that room listening to all the adults and the leaders of those adults--what would I pick-up? I'd pick up everyone is trapped in worry (some trying to be hopeful)--and, I saw not the spirit of Fearlessness--not the 31st vision and aim of a peoples who are there looking to create a world that is 1000 years from now. I saw people trying to keep the status quo--which, has already well been proven to be dysfunctional and inflated and out-of-touch with reality--and certainly out-of-touch with the laws of Nature and wet-nursing gift economies which bring flourishing to the environment (future) that we are gifted now. I saw no sacredness. And the so-called "Indigenous" young man on the panel seemed not to be able to say anything important beyond the dry-thinking of all the rest. 

It's nothing to blame anyone about. This is my critique. I'm glad they were in that room doing what they were doing. But they now need to re-think what they were thinking and saying, and ask themselves: If a child or teen were in that room, what inspiration, what fearlessness would they see? What are we really offering to young people, to the future, when we are so worried about the future it captures us into fear-based thinking and energies that are barely anything I would want to share and 'dump' on the next generation--on the baby. This is not 'good milk' that was passed on. I say that from the point of view of being a Wet-Thinker 31. I invite you to also become one. 

[Note: Wet-thinking is my latest feminine, matrixial, way of conceptualizing thinking and teaching thinking in our educational systems and in general socialization. I am a professional educator, and a couple of years ago I published an article that introduced 500+ ways of thinking about thinking--essential to a truly holistic-integral approach to the future. Young people deserve this kind of expanded thinking--beyond worry and fear and mistrust of the future. See: 

Fisher, R. M. (2017). Two hands, two decks, and a theory: Expanding thinking vocabularies of learners in the 21st

            century. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 15(1), 6-16.

note, as well, my dissertation was on "fearless leadership" in education and beyond... and, that was in 2003, when after the 9/11 tragedy and the worse post-9/11 aftershocks and changes in governments and people's future imaginary--there was a need to call out for "fearless leadership" ... and, so, you can see I have been on this for awhile... see:

Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia.

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"Emotional civil war" ... a very interesting (?) campaign quote... and, what does she really mean by this? And what is a fearologist's perspective of her rhetoric, intention, and potential for presidential victory and/or at least influence in American culture and politics. See my new youtube video on "Ethical Leadership: Marianne Williamson"

In the INTRODUCTION of Fisher & Subba (2016), p. xxxi [1], you will read a philosophy of fearism (and fearlessness) perspective on Marianne Williamson, and you will see that I have (in particular) been following her philosophy and social media following for a long time. She is a close friend with the media star Oprah Winfrey, and many others (see picture below on this webpage of FM ning). In that Introduction, Subba and I ask : "WHY FOCUS ON FEAR, NOT LOVE?" and then we begin the chapter with a quote from Williamson:

"Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside myself, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. I have been trained by the world to think fearfully, and today I choose to think with love." (from A Year of Miracles), and, many of you may or may not know that she is a 'big' promoter and teacher, supported by A Course in Miracles movement. In this spiritual movement "love" is placed as the answer to "fear" and all of our problems. The dialogue between Subba and I now moves on in the Introduction to show how unreliable, if not distorted, from a fearist perspective, this emphasis on love is the answer approach to personal and world transformation. We risked to critique, in a mild way in this chapter, a person (and ideology), who is now running for the 2020 American political presidency under the Democratic party. She is a populist leader, with no experience in politics per se, althought a few years ago she ran for a local congress position in California but never made it very far. Now she is going for the 'big' position. It will be interesting to watch, but more importantly it will be interesting to see how her work (as part of the Fearlessness Movement) will emerge on the 'big' stage of American politics in a time of crisis.

I for one, will keep analyzing her work and offering her and her supporters ideas of how to better bring about a challenge and intervention to disrupt that problem of being (in her words) "trained by the world to think fearfully"... and, challenging her movement to look at fearism and fearlessness to better inform their own philosophy and politics.

Notes

1. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris. 

 

ADDITIONAL NOTE - M. W. is also an endorser of one of my favorite philosophers Ken Wilber, for e.g.

And, in 2007... they met:  (Marianne & Ken)

---------

OH, interesting The Washington Post (a rather conservative major newspaper in USA)... wants to spin the story of MW's campaign in the ruts of the traditional right winger folks like Dobson's "tough love" pitch for parents, which a lot of people bought hook line and sinker back 30 years ago... and, also if you see the headlines (below) on The Washington Post interview (and the photo shoot which really is a 'joke' and 'play' on MW, not taking her really seriously)--and, then you get the headlines... which one thinks she is again being played with by this media journalist and well... you can make up your own mind... I'm so skeptical of who is behind these newspapers--owned by a handful of the very elite she criticizes :

 

Feb. 19/19 by Anna Peele:

[Peele talks about miracles] [a small excerpt from her text for this article, which I nearly gag on]:

Today, it’s the eve of the 66-year-old’s declaration that she will be seeking the highest office in our country, during what is arguably one of its most terrifying times. Since Williamson is sitting at the head of the table, close enough to touch my arm, it feels like an appropriate moment to ask her to act as my own spiritual adviser. Not because I believe in miracles. Because I want to believe.

“I’m afraid,” I tell Williamson. Afraid about how bleak things feel under our current president; afraid of how angry people are. “I’m afraid of what will happen to the country,” I say. “And that there’s no going back.”

[sure, I'm glad they are talking about "fear"... but Peele's approach is too much of a grand skit and makes me angry... I trust/hope MW doesn't fall for this stuff from the mainstream media... okay, one other quote, an accurate view from MW's mouth, that is, A Course in Miracles, she says to Anna at one point:]

“Where there is light, there cannot be darkness,” Williamson says. “And where there’s love, there cannot be fear.”

“We’re hallucinating. And that’s what this world is: a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. Fear is an illusion. Our craziness, paranoia, anxiety and trauma are literally all imagined”? [says Williamson... her absolutist philosophy, belief, faith, religion, spirituality, ideology?]... 

[If "fear is an illusion" a common claim of many esoteric religious teachings, E. and W., then what does that say about a philosophy of fearism and its claims... hmmmm... ?]

 

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India's Development: Role of Fear

Recently B. Maria Kumar, a retired police chief of India, has approached Desh Subba and myself to respond to his first draft of a book on India and its developmental problems [1]. Kumar, is author of another book with Desh and myself on fearism and law [2], and there's a sense of us being a team of concerned people in different parts of the world, trying to solve some world development problems. We think "fear" is a major (not the only) issue that has to be addressed in development, be it for an individual, a community or an entire nation (in this case India is the topic).

At one point in the new ms. Kumar is head-author, he wrote of the ongoing insidious 'gap' between the weak and the strong in his nation India, which began in ancient times and seems to be ineradicable so far (e.g., the caste system as part of that). He noted that this 'gap' can be examined from the point of view that is interesting to me:

"The survival concerns of the lower castes made them to feel fearful for life whereas the power mongering anxieties [fear] of the upper castes emboldened them to be fearsome." (Kumar)

This is a topic Desh and I will write about in this new book initiative as we three authors would like to produce a small and practical book that would help India (and perhaps other countries) to get onto a more healthy recovery and sustainable and just developmental trajectory.

I found one recent article [3] which discusses the views of various experts inside and outside of India, on the status of India, and questioning whether it is still a "developming nation" relatively on the planet and why has it in many areas "failed" to grow and mature on many dimensions from economic to social improvements (a point also made by Kumar). Here is one excerpt from this recent article:

As the world's largest democracy prepares to go to the polls, we've invited five people from India, the US and the UK who have expertise on economics, women's rights, youth movements, disability rights and urban development to answer the question: "Do you perceive India to be a developing country?"

Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

"The development project in India is nowhere near complete – indeed it has barely begun. It is still a poor country: per capita income iremains below $2,000 (£1,206) at actual exchange rates, and there is still widespread destitution. Development is supposed to involve job creation, with more workers in formal employment in large units, but that has not happened.
Manufacturing still counts for less than one-fifth of both output and employment. More than half of all workers languish in low productivity agriculture, while another quarter or so are in low grade services. About 95% of all workers are in informal employment, and roughly half are self-employed. What's more, the recognised and paid participation of women in working life has actually been declining in a period of rapid income growth.

This basic failure helps to explain several other failures of the development project so far: the persistence of widespread hunger and very poor nutrition indicators; the inadequate provision of basic needs like housing, electricity and other essential infrastructure; the poor state of health facilities for most people; and the slow expansion of education. Growing inequalities do mean that a rising middle class is emerging, but this should not blind us to the lack of fulfilment of basic social and economic rights for the bulk of people."

[my point: We ought to be asking about the development of a nation as to whether it has achieved a philosophy, policy, and practice of fearlessness to the degree necessary to get it out of the 'impoverished' (and destructive) fear-based mentality]

Notes:

[1] The current book by B. Maria Kumar, R. Michael Fisher, & Desh Subba has the tentative title: India, a nation of fear and prejudice: Race of the third kind.

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

[3]. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/apr/07/is-india-still-a-developing-country

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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