east-west dialogue (3)

Dr. Jinmin Lee was a Korean graduate of Politics Department of Brandeis University, USA, and has written a most valuable contribution to fear management literature in their doctorate dissertation: "The Faces of Fear: Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Fear and Political Community" 2014

Anyone interested in the interrelationship between fear and politics, especially the imaginary of fear of political philosophers (E. and W.)--this dissertation is going to be of great interest. I offer the dissertation here in pdf (link above), with the following Abstract: 

"Inspred by the hopes of better understanding and managing fear in our political lives, this dissertation engages Western and Chinese thinkers in a cross-cultural dialogue about fear. Influenced by the Enlightenment portrayal of fear, we tend to think fear as the great evil of civilization and the greatest enemy of freedom. This research shows that this way of thinking about fear is not the only one that is plausible or available to us. In order to understand what is missing from our current understanding of fear, this dissertation explores parallels among six philosophers who represent diverse attitudes to fear and political community. The six philosophers are grouped in three pairs, each of which includes one Western and one Chinese thinker: the moralists Aristotle and Confucius; the realists, Hobbes and Han Fei; and the Enlighteners, Montesquieu and Lian Qichao. From the dialogue among these thinkers, the thesis shows how the concept of fear has changed its character; how fear has developed critical relationships with justice, equality and liberty; and how fear has been related to the different ways of political life. At the same time, by highlighting each voice's strengths and weaknesses, this cross-cultural dialogue enables us to see how each theory may hide sources of fear within itself and how, ironically, they sometimes inflate the fears that they were designed to tame. Contemporary liberals, in particular, need to learn that there is much that is missing in our current understanding of fear and how these limitations may undermine their efforts to promote individual liberty and security. In this regard, these different faces of fear point both to a richer portrait of fear and a better understanding of how to handle it." 


I just published a Tech Paper 83 .pdf (involving Lee's work).


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I just found this new book review of Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016) posted on amazon books by Emmett Coyne, a Catholic priest who is the first person I know to have bought a copy of my book and read it through (note: he is also author of a fascinating book The Theology of Fear): 

By Emmett A. Coyne on February 29, 2016

FEAR is universally pervasive, not only geographically, but it penetrates all levels of human consciousness, unconsciousness, and endeavors. As has been noted, and many would accede the point, fear seems to be rooted in our DNA. DNA is certainly a modern category that seeks to identify the locus of what might be innate to humans. But, to say something is rooted in our DNA seems like it is a capitulation to a fatalistic acceptance of the ways things are. If our view, however, of the human person is dynamic, and not static, then fear need not be the bogey man in our human psyche that holds us prisoner.

 This work, The Philosophy of Fearism, seeks to bring to human consciousness how fear might be brought up from the basement to the living room., from the dark to the light, from an airless, stagnant place to fresh air space. When in the light it can lose some of its power to control, and cause us to wonder how we might better manage fear so that we are less the victim, more the agent.

 This work is a milestone in an east/west conscious consideration of fears many facets. By examining it together we can perhaps become more the subject than the object of fear. The West’s colonialization of ideas can create a blowback. We can be negatively impacted by our isolated analysis. An east/west dialogue allows us to consider how others perceive fear. This is a vital plus as it provokes us to think, reflect beyond the confines of our particular box, to view in a new light.


The authors provide us with a ‘new’ vocabulary relative to fear, all of which allows us to be less victimized by fear, to view fear as a force that can be managed. Until recently, fear has been like sex, omnipresent, but which too often the impulse seems to keep us dangling. Sex education has tamed the balky beast. If sex education has allowed persons to manage it for a more holistic life, ought not fear education which these author are promoting, integrate fear in the pantheon of our being? This work will cause one to have new thoughts, considerations about fear, and how its DNA need not necessarily be a negative, unmanageable beast. Again, knowledge liberates.

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Here are a couple excepts from the Foreword(s) in Desh Subba and my new book Philosophy of Fearism: A First E-W Dialogue (forthcoming, Xlibris): 

             You are about to eavesdrop on a most important dialogue. Poetic, provocative and exciting, this engagement with “fearism” might also be, well, frightening. One thing that emerges from this radical conversation between the two most eminent fearologists in the world is that each of us must make vital choices that determine if and how we might escape the growing dangers that relate to our inability to manage fear effectively. And making such choices can be a scary proposition for many.

            What makes this text so valuable is not just the authors’ freewheeling, challenging thoughts that stem from years of contemplating their subject, but the fact that it is being discussed at all. Although people in most cultures know about the importance of courage, few have had the opportunity to learn how to employ it consistently and effectively. Dr. Fisher and Desh Subba offer reflections from two very different cultural orientations that can lead to our becoming “connoisseurs of fear,” (a phrase I once borrowed from the courageous author, Sam Keen (1999), for a chapter title in my 1998 book, Primal Awareness.) This book thus offers a unique break from the status-quo avoidance that surrounds the topic of fear, if one can muster the courage to tackle the subject. 

Four Arrows (Dr. Don Trent Jacobs)- Professor, School of Educational Leadership & Change, Fielding Graduate School, Sequim, WA


           In late 2014, Mr. Subba called me and informed me about Dr. R. Michael Fisher's (2014) Technical Paper 51. I became curious and read it. Really, it was amazing. My dreams  had come true, it was there. That paper was the first internationally supported document of Fearism, and fortunately very similar thought was now available coming from the West. I made many copies and distributed them among writers. Subba also sent copies to  N.E. India. Now, with the publishing of Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue, there is a very important blueprint for global fearism, built on friendship, philosophical exchange, and open-minded thinking about the Philosophy of Fearism as it moves through a new door to the wide world. This latest work is an excellent foundation for authors, scholars, students and philosophical lovers. I wish the book and its authors all the best. 

Dr. Tanka Prasad Neupane, Professor, and Chairman, Fearism Study Center, Dharan, Nepal

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