don t jacobs (4)


Book Covers:               2021                                                                    2018 

I have spent the last 5-6 years studying and writing books on two critical adult educators, also motivational "coaches" and leaders of various endeavors with ethical and emancipatory importance. I'm aware of my energetic (voluntary) devotion as I look at these two books together. It is pretty clear that I am passionate about assessing the people who catch my eye as 'outstanding' human beings, and their ways of educating and promoting agendas that would be labeled by most people as "progressive." 

That said, there is no easy label or box to put either of these two living Americans (first Four Arrows, aka Wahinkpe Topa, aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs; and second, Marianne Williamson) --although, they are both 'radicals' of some sort, even pariahs who stir things up and make many people uncomfortable with their teachings and critiques of society. My aim in these books was not always clear but I wanted to document their contribution, in part, as important historical figures of their time--and, who I believe will have still an ongoing impact of significance in the future. Most decidedly, I took them on as "subjects" of study, in what are books above that I would best categorize as intellectual biographies, because they have articulated a focus on the Fear Problem (as I call it). 

I'm just beginning now, after finishing a few months ago the Williamson book, the comparison and contrast of them and their transformative teaching approaches. Surely, they are both holistic, both spiritual, and so on... yet, I have critiques also all the way through each of these books. Not surprising, I am critical of their partial, and under-theorized, notions of the Fear Problem and its solutions. They certainly have "advanced" tracks they've laid down to work with fear but that falls short of my expectations and my own holistic-integral framing and fearanalysis. Yet, that's all part of the dialogue I wish to have with them and their followers, and their critics--that's what learning is all about. Unfortunately, at this time, Williamson has refused to engage me in conversation about this work. Four Arrows has been gracious and we are continuing to dialogue. 

I suspect in the near future I will do more writing on comparison and contrasts of their work and their personalities that influence their leadership in education generally--but also beyond that, as they are also prophetic voices in our day that have much wisdom to guide societies everywhere towards more sanity, health and sustainability (i.e., maturity of consciousness). They both are well aware the current civilizational trajectory is collapsing and extinction on mass scales is well underway. The future is precarious, to say the least. I encourage all to have a listen to their work. They are both readily available on the Internet sources as well in my books and articles. 

Re: my recent FearTalk #12 with Four Arrows, go to:

Also, I just found this video image and link of Four Arrows back in his younger days and his work with horses (whispering):


go to: 



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Mike Tyson said, "Fear is like fire, you can burn your house

down and kill yourself-or cook food and warm yourself."

Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows is the true story of Four Arrows (Dr. Don T. Jacobs) since his child years to his life at 71. He is an internationally recognized important indigenous scholar and mixed-blood American. Four Arrow is an activist of fearless. He has been advocating his own kind of fearless movement since 1970s.

How to be fearless moving beyond fears is the primary teaching Four Arrows shares in his real-life teaching stories as practical advice in the book. This intellectual biography is written by the educator-fearologist R. Michael Fisher. CAT-FAWN model is introduced to readers as Four Arrows’ discovery of a radical approach to de-hypnotize ourselves from negative fear. Four Arrows knows fear deeply, for example when he was challenged: "I must have felt enough fear after the March 2008 diagnosis of non- Hodgkins lymphoma..." (p.246) He uses CAT-FAWN as an inspiring means plus other tools to keep the disease from killing him.   

Four Arrows says, " [my] Near-death-experience (NDE) while white-water kayaking on the Rio Urique in 1983 is one of the real experiences of fear." It is real fear experience, the kind that transforms one’s life completely.

I enjoyed other stimulating quotes, like Mike Tyson said, "Fear is like fire, you can burn your house down and kill yourself-or cook food and warm yourself." (p. 244) Four Arrows trained wild horses and learned a great deal about fear and how to manage it. A beautiful sentence by Fisher says, "If fear is the horse, courage is the rider." During the reading, I think readers will feel like they are together with Four Arrows in his activities described in detail of risking while swimming, playing, horse riding, teaching and kayaking.

The integrative conversation approach of the book between the author and subject Four Arrows and Fear—multiple characters—is  fascinating. It helps readers to make more clear most all things about fear and fearless. I hope this book is good for those readers who are experiencing fear and willing to know real fear. 

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Figure 1  A-ness/D-ness Assessment Tool (by R. M. Fisher, (c) 1984)

[This diagram of four models of creating, was initiated as a thought experiment. Being a visual artist all my life, and having read lots of philosophy and other things that were attempting to figure out how humans form values and act upon them, etc., I asked one day in 1984, "If I were a Creator, what are all the different ways I could draw and color a shape?" I just picked up some basic materials for drawing and coloring, and set forth using the "rectangular shape" as an arbitrary shape. I could only come up with these four very different ways to create and thus answer the question I posed. Any sub-variations were not distinct enough to classify as a type. I settled with these four, and there is a more complex theory behind this which I have written about but it would take up more than I want to cover here. I then came up with questions to ask people about these four models/paradigms and that's a whole other study for analysis, but not here.]

In my writing on Four Arrows' life and work for a new book entitled Fearless Engagement, I have discovered an interesting concept of "fearless intimacy" (not that I coined the term, but it did arise in my own writing independently). I like this when things like that happen and I have another way to come at notions that I have been theorizing for a long time, like the notion of "fearless"--which, in the new book I'm writing (with Four Arrows) the plan is to label it Fearless (with a capital letter) as to distinguish it from the more common language that people use for "fearless" (with no capital). That's a long technical explanation for the capitalization and how Fearless is being articulated, and you'll have to wait for the book before I can share all that detail. It will come out in early 2018 I hope.

Now, to Figure 1 which is the reason for this blog post. I made the linkage while writing recently on fearless intimacy, seeing it connected to Four Arrows' Indigenous worldview writings and his CAT-FAWN Connection theory ('F' in FAWN stands for Fear), and then his use of the Lakota Indigenous conception of wolokolkiciapi- peace within oneself and all of creation (recently, from a chapter he has going to press). Anyways, all three of these aspects, plus knowing so much about Four Arrows' experiential journey at the extremes of experiences for many decades (he's now 70 yrs. old), it occurred to me he was describing D-ness (Figure 1) as an aesthetic visual expression (representation) of "Fearless." Now, when I first designed Figure 1 as a visual metaphoric test to assess people's aesthetic value biases, and worldview biases that go with that, it never fully came to me that the qualities of D-ness are as close visually as I could imagine it, and create it on paper with drawing and coloring materials to Fearless (and the three aspects of Four Arrows' work I mentioned above). And, yes, D-ness represents best what I (and perhaps others below) have called "fearless intimacy".

Three references to uses of "fearless intimacy" that showed up in a quick Google search are:

1. regarding the writing done by John Muir, the great American naturalist, Ehrenfeld (2008) described it as "his [Muir's] fearless intimacy with nature" (p. 284). This would certainly be similar to what I have learned from a lot of Four Arrows' writing, as Nature (with a capital) is so critically important in his life and theories, and the 'N' in FAWN of his theory stands for Nature. Ehrenfeld, D. (2008). Becoming good ancestors: How we balance nature, community, and technology. NY: Oxford University Press.

2. "When we refuse to listen, we must ask ourselves if we can hear our own inner voice over the fear that is running so much of life. Learning the art of listening is a powerful tool toward fearless intimacy and self-empowerment" (p. 158). In Britten, R. (2005). Change your life in 30 days: A journey to finding your true self. NY: Penguin.

3. "When there are no resistances, we then merge contract, close our eyes and in the darkness of our primal world, we rediscover the peace and pleasure of dark and fearless intimacy" (p. 105). Salzman, W. (2007). Ortho Para V.

So, my take on "fearless intimacy" from all the writers above, including Four Arrows (who hasn't yet used this term per se), is that D-ness, especially in contrast to A-ness at the opposite extreme of the spectrum of ways of creating and organizing and solving a problem, shows us in this spectrum of possibilities, the "right way" to go. I use this strong ethical language in the same sense that Four Arrows does in most all his writing and teaching. He, like myself, are not timid in calling out for current humanity to awaken to the binary road we can take--the first road leads in the direction of D-ness, of which the Lakota term (as Four Arrows' interprets) is traditionally called the "Red Road" and therein is the manifestation of wolokolkiciapi- peace within oneself and all of creation. The other road, is in the direction of A-ness (beginning with any compromised reductionism of D-ness, to C-ness, to B-ness and eventually, horrifically, to A-ness as a way of being). So, there's some theory and a visual mnemonic device to complement the CAT-FAWN mnemonic [1] that Four Arrows offers in his work. Great dialogue to come on all this, as Four Arrows and I are still in the early stages of bringing these two models/theories/praxes together. I am excited for its powerful potential as a new 'fear' vaccine like this planet has not seen before combined this way.

End Note

1. See Four Arrows book (Jacobs, D. T.) (1998). Primal awareness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions ... it will give you the full explication of CAT-FAWN Connection.

The 'C' stands for Concentration, 'A' for Activated, 'T' for Transformation, 'F' for Fear, 'A' for Authority, 'W' for Word(s), 'N' for Nature.

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New 7th 'Fear' Vaccine Added

The 'Fear' Vaccines as I have called them going way back to the early 1990s (In Search of Fearlessness Project or ISOF), are intended, just as they say, to counter the oppressive effects of 'fear' (and fear). I have written a good deal about these notions, including the distinction of "fear" and 'fear' (as a culturally modified fear patterning). I won't repeat that here and you may want to check out my other writings.

The 'Fear' Vaccines (which is really a process of "soft technologies") are intended to be practiced and studied. With time, patience and experience, they will counter-act to free you (and organizations) from any fear-based domination. They are essential "tools" in that sense to working one's way out of the 'Fear' Matrix (or 'Fear' Project, or fearism-t). These include 6 in their original configuration that evolved in ISOF (Calgary): (1) quality information on fear and fearlessness, (2) Liberation Peer Counseling, (3) Spontaneous Creation-making, (4) Community-building, (5) Sacred Warriorship, (6) Vision Quest.

The 7th vaccine has just been discovered in its latest form in the last 20 years or so by Dr. Don Trent Jacobs (also known as Four Arrows). I am currently writing a book on his life and work, but most importantly I have followed his work as a researcher and educator because of his discovery of a great model for working with decolonizing the mind, or de-hypnotizing ourselves from the dominant (and largely pathological) Western worldview. His model is defined in a mnemonic form: CAT-FAWN. There is a fascinating story behind the years of discovering this model, with roots of its "teaching" coming from ancient ancestors in remote Mexico and the shamans of the Raramuri there, as well as from the non-human spirit teachers-- and to be clear, it has not yet been put to full use (not even by Four Arrows), and I am just in the early stages of understanding it. I will write more on CAT-FAWN but not in detail here as I merely wanted to officially recognize it in my mind as the 7th 'Fear' Vaccine.

CAT-FAWN = Concentration Activated Transformation (CAT) and FEAR, AUTHORITY, WORDS, NATURE (FAWN). The basic principle behind this CAT-FAWN connection, as Four Arrows calls it, is that in any concentration state (subtle and light, or dramatic and heavy) we are in "trance" and in that state the human (and many animals) are highly susceptible to learning, for good or not so good. The point is to recognize with great critical awareness when one is going into a trance-state (i.e., CAT), it may be as simple as when you are watching TV too long, or driving a car, or working on an art piece or listening to music or when you have been injured and are fearful and/or terrorized... etc. By recognizing and predicting the high learning potential in this trance (CAT) state, you will be able to ensure you are not going to let Fear, Authorities, Words, or Nature be used against you and your current state, but be helpful as guides to move you along (in my words) the path of fearlessness of development.

More on all this as time goes... just also want to let you know that Barbara Bickel (my partner) has initiated with me to co-author a book on the 'Fear' Vaccines and all our years experience with them, and ensure they are documented for history. You can bet a final chapter will be on the latest addition of the 7th to the traditional 6 that we have the most experience with in the ISOF Community especially. Stay tuned...

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