existential philosophy (4)


12332596058?profile=RESIZE_400xJames Miceli, University of Massachusetts, USA

This article covers my interpretations of the author's work, and discusses the philosophical views presented in "Philosophy of Fearism," by Desh Subba, a Nepali philosopher, poet, and novelist based in Hong Kong.  "Philosophy of Fearism," aims to provide a practical means of examining our holistic responses to fear and encourages an independent exploration of fundamental questions about our perception of Fear.  The text addresses a wide range of topics and offers unique perspectives on the nature of the world, ultimately presenting our responses to Fear as something to view positively rather than something to run away from.

 Why do some words start with a capital letter? (i.e. Being, Fear..): This is a tool used by philosophers to let you know that they’re referring to the philosophical concept, rather than the surface layer material.  Fear (capital F) would refer to the concept Subba builds upon, whereas fear (lowercase f) indicates the typical use of a word in our everyday.

Key Points:

  • Subba’s novel viewpoint challenges common interpretations of Fear from around the world.
  • His work influences and includes international communities ranging from politics, philosophy, economics, and engineering, and he lives his philosophy by presenting new voices in philosophy and journalism and inviting open criticisms
  • Philosophy of Fearism is presented as a necessary factor for authentic existence, rather than something to run away from, and aims to inspect our existence without imposing meaning or feelings onto the subsequent description.
  • Subba’s work proposes a practical means for examining our embodied responses to various factors and platforming the ideas of those around him, rather than limiting perspectives to his merelyhis own.

About Me:

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student of Clinical Laboratory Science and Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth and Veteran of the U.S. Army.  This review attempts to explicate my personal interpretation of the ideas and discussions presented by Desh Subba to a broader, philosophically inclined audience.

“After all, my greatest pleasure comes from philosophical conversation, even if I’m only a listener...”

-Plato, Symposium


I recently finished the text ‘Philosophy of Fearism’ by Desh Subba, a Nepali philosopher, poet, and novelist currently living with his family in Hong Kong. Subba’s text echoes the early works of existentialist philosophers and journalists, and Subba’s theories are well known for their ability to influence scholars, journalists, and philosophers around the world. His text “Philosophy Of Fearism” (2014), uses its novel viewpoint as a way to challenge the readily available interpretations we’ve all run into on the internet, especially those of misunderstood or potentially undervalued thinkers. His ideas in this book reach into a broad range of topics including bipartisan politics, philosophy, economics, and engineering. His attempt to describe his unique viewpoint on the surrounding world offers novel philosophical perspectives on the nature of the world around us.

What’s the Gist?

While there's a comically large amount of truth to the idea that philosophy is the study of making more questions, the theme of my interpretation suggests that we “start at the very beginning", a very pleasant place to start.  Personally, I attempt to answer this question by showing how a word is used in order to better understand it, almost like rules to a game.

By describing fear as the underlying principle behind the coming-into-Being of all Beings-in-the-world, Subba proposes a way to view fear as a driving force, rather than something to run from. Philosophy, and phenomenology (referring to the phenomena of experience) in particular attempt to teach us how to inspect our own lives in an attempt to describe the fundamental experience of simply being present in the world in consideration of the human understanding that we exist to some degree as - as weird as it may sound - “bodies” in a specific location at a certain time, and how the variety in that experience can better inform our understanding of what it means to live a good life, particularly without imposing any meaning or feelings onto that description.

Fearism and Philosophy

Philosophy of Fearism is an attempt to identify fear as something “larger” yet still essentially contained within the self. In an attempt to isolate the essential features of psychological responses to various neurobiological, spiritual, and social factors, Subba offers a practical means for answering this question on our own, rather than limiting it to his own perspective, which is all too common in contemporary philosophical and academic discourse.  Consider Thales of Miletus, who "was made fun of by a playful Thracian serving - girl" while he was "gazing upwards while doing astronomy," and "made fun of him for being eager to know the things in the heavens, but failing to notice what was just behind him and right by his feet.((11A9) Plato, Theaetetus 174a)

“The story goes that when they were reproaching him for his poverty, supposing that philosophy is useless, he learned from his astronomy that the olive crop would be large. Then, while it was still winter, he obtained a little money and made deposits on all the olive presses both in Miletus and in Chios, and since no one bid against him, he rented them cheaply. When the time came, suddenly many requested the presses all at once, and he rented them out on whatever terms he wished, and so he made a great deal of money. In this way he proved that philosophers can easily be wealthy if they wish, but this is not what they are interested in.”

 ((11A10) Aristotle, Politics I.11 1259a9 - 18)

Whether or not this is literal advice or not is up for interpretation, but history would be hard-faced to put the Rockefellers on the other side of this argument.  Either way, I think that Subba’s view on Fear offers a fascinating view on our responses to things that cause Fear

For myself, Philosophy allows us to encounter and bridge the gap between new and old things alike, and explain our subjective experiences in a way that lets us play life as a metaphorical “tetris” rather than “jenga” - which is to say we should see the new ‘blocks’ we encounter as opportunities to find a perfect spot for them on non - specific principle, rather than the inherited and out of style of trying to leave the bare minimum by taking away from another. In this way, we can begin to see our mistakes as opportunities for growth rather than things to be fearful of.

When things we feel ashamed of can no longer gain control over us, we start to feel realize that it’s all kind of silly when we use them as authentic opportunities to make the cracks in our art into something beautiful, similar to the Japanese concept of Kintsugi mentioned (between the lines) by American Philosopher Elizabeth Woolridge-Grant.

Philosophy of Fearism:

Since Heraclitus, we've known that change is constant (through his logos) If it’s true that we can’t step foot in the same river twice, why do we continue to use old terms for new rivers?

“It is not possible to step twice into the same river. . . . It scatters and again comes together, and approaches and recedes.”

 ((B91) Plutarch, On the E at Delphi 392b)

 “We step into and we do not step into the same rivers. We are and we are not.” ((B49a) Heraclitus Homericus, Homeric Questions)

Why should you stick with Hegel if Foucault suits you better? In Nietzschean terms, Subba takes the view that not every scale on the dragon “thou shalt” has to be rejected, just self - inspected.  Subba’s philosophy presents the idea that we can use Fear to better diagnose our collective but independent senses of authentic Being-in-the-world. To Subba, we are able to overcome our response to fear when we are able to help others create their own sense of purpose - else one risks repaying their teacher poorly. (Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra)

Fearism hopes to provide a philosophy that informs us that we are best able to realize our transcendence when the veils of Maya are lifted, and we reason the shadows on the wall cast by pure facts and logic as that of Socrates, rather than the reality that it’s Euthyphro playing Nero’s fiddle. From this newer, more ontological perspective on fear, Subba highlights why we as humans have good reason to be cognizant of the impact that failing to adopt more actionable, humanitarian viewpoints on topics like better living conditions or transportation options, climate change and gender inequality would have on our flourishing.

There’s a reason all roads lead to Rome, and that very analytic circle on the Aristotelian Wheel of Logic is largely attributed to Gaius Octavion, whose successes in establishing a long - lasting empire were largely derived out of his early interchange of culture both into and out of his city. If we want to overcome Fear in our lives, we can also look to Viktor Frankl, for example, who proposes the idea that happiness can only “fall into your lap” as a product of something else, it cannot be acquired as an end in itself. Thus, the pursuit of a personal relation to the world is the pursuit of happiness, and seeing fear as inhibitory impedes on that fundamental and unique ability.

 When we instead view Fear as an opportunity to grow, or as a chance to find a place for something new to belong rather than trying to break it, we untether ourselves from the Heideggerian tendency to establish a norm or a “way one does things” based on social structures and based more on an authentic sense of Being-in-the-world that protects not only ourselves, but those around us and within our community. If we want to flourish, not just survive, we have to consider how we treat not only the people that look and act like us, but also create a means for new life and expression to reveal itself to us through the environment around us, which cannot happen if we continue to destroy our planet for temporary gains. Instead, for Subba, the actual way we turn Fear into fearful responses (i.e. so called Gestalt Principles) is something we, at least in part, learn from those around us, and the same is true for our own perception of others. Fearful responses prevent us from seeing our own futures as beautiful and/or worthy of hope or love, so we fail to understand the beauty of things that may be shown to us in new ways.

In what Subba refers to as the “village times”, for example, "seidr" in roman, viking, and pagan religious/shamanic practices would be seen as extremely feminine and shameful for men to practice because it encouraged them to dress up in women’s clothing, even despite the cultural tendency to regularly seek the advice of women in all matters, as documented by Tacitus in Germania, or MPs ‘I’m a Lumberjack’.

Rather than embracing our neighbors in times of change, we too often impose a belief that we cannot work together with our environment or ‘biosphere’ because of perceived differences of those around us, thereby adopting western beliefs in place of longer - lasting concepts like paramatma. We can look to historical figures that challenged these overly violent hero-figures as far back as Hildebrandslied, who fails to grasp the message from his elders that violence does not solve problems, which underlies german culture to this day, shown even through Nietzsche and Goethe, who clearly reaped the benefits of a more appropriate understanding of how we encounter fear.  In Will to Power, for example, Nietzsche writes:

“300. (Spring - Fall 1887) Suppressed and effaced heresy in morality.

 ---- Concepts:

  • Paganism
  • master morality
  • Virtue.

The abandonment of what was seen as “ugly pagan” interpretations of the world was vital in establishing the master - slave morality that Nietzsche associated with the European domination over Europe following the gross and despicable misuse of his and his sisters work by the Nazi party.

Goethe elaborates sightly more on the topic than the posthumously archived WIll to Power that Nietzsche’s sister frantically gathered and attempted to organize from the hoards of notebooks of an increasingly maddening Friedrich, instead expressing these ideas with a bit more prose:

"You are perplexed, my love, by this thousandfold mixed profusion, Flowering tumultuously everywhere over the garden grounds;

So many names you are hearing, but one suppresses another, Echoing barbarously the sound makes in the ear.

Each of their shapes is alike, yet none resembles the other, Thus the whole of the choir points to a secret law,

Points to a holy puzzle. I wish, lovely friend, that I were able to Happily hand you at once the disentangling word!— "

The Metamorphosis of the Plants

The Roman Elegies, for example, likely present an example of what awaits those who are willing to adopt and platform the more “feminine” perspectives Goethe found so abundant in Palermo (where, of note, rules on who could play what roles were much more loosely defined & subsequently outperformed the limited Shakespearean casting of Britain’s culture).  This applies to Subba’s concept of Linguistic survival, commenting on our desire to create sentences or phrases that will always be remembered perfectly as a way to ensure we are remembered. In general, we want to ensure we are remembered, but Subba encourages us to ask how often we find ourselves doing the same for others.

When Elisabeth and Friedrich Nietzsche discuss for what is now translated as a 'revaluation of all morals', for example, they don’t advocate for anarchy or violence, as this would cause us to choose what we are told rather than what is right, not only what is pious - and that (to me) is to love and care for the people around you, and to do your best to lend a hand to others where you can. Similarly, Subba uses Fear as a way to show that there's nothing inherently wrong with complying in society, and encourages us to pursue a sort of "eustress" vs "distress".

All too often, we prevent others from sharing new perspectives or ideas because we fail to consider them as having something to offer in the first place. This problem was easily solved in ‘village times’ where new perspectives were vital and brought great potential to the people, who readily worked to understand them.

My Interpretation

Subba uses this writing as a socratic investigation of the nature of our experience of fear, showing that actions we take during “fight or flight” responses are not always reflective of our essence as humans. The validity of Subba's arguments are reflected by Republic, for example, which shows that Thrasymachus major failure was that he lacked the self - reflective capacity to accept that other people may have equally valid but different fundamental unique experiences within the same world.

Subba’s view suggests that we consciously adjust our response to Fear through careful self - examination, enabling us to increase our potential for realizing the alleged Nietzschean ubermensch - after all, the Last Man is most often the one pulled from the herd. (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)

According to Subba’s philosophy, consciousness lets us select certain things out of the foreground that have to be reached out into, rather than leaving the human experience up to symbols pasted onto background states, waiting to be recognized.

Subba writes that, although we associate some things we encounter in our life - like animals or weapons as causative agents of fear, fearfulness, in reality, arises out of an error in our own ability to comprehend new concepts, for which we feel reflects on our sense of competency in society. The reason someone purchases them, in my experience, is because they are afraid of his own weakness and thereby attempts to respond by inducing fear without cause, which, in reality, is just anxiety (according to Heidegger). The way we turn Fear into fearful responses (i.e. so called Gestalt Principles) is something we, at least in large part, learn from those around us, and the same is true for our perception onto others.  When we act in ways that cause harm to others or ours, be it actively or passively, we isolate ourselves by encouraging fear in place of discussion.  The risk we run into is the exclusion of many perspectives that, at a minimum, are worthy of consideration.


Overly Fearful responses prevent us from seeing new things or ideas as beautiful and potentially worthy of consideration, preventing us from seeing the world authentically and developing a personal relation with an environment that encourages the growth of all life forms. We prevent the development of not just others but also ourselves when we shame or “other” the people around us who are attempting to learn or reintegrate into society by inserting their own sense of “how one does things” onto another's, thereby treading on their autonomy. Similarly, Sun Tzu might highlight the power in keeping people from investigating their own personal forms or identities. Marcus Aurelius also writes that “the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” For Subba, we should consider the view of Fear as a source of color in the life project of becoming the "purple thread in the long white toga." (Epictetus).

It is one thing to overcome yourself, but can you help others overcome theirs, even if it causes Fear?

For more information on his philosophy, Subba’s other works, such as Trans - Philosophism (2021) and Fearmorphosis (2023) which discuss these ideas further, and highlight the need for contribution from post WWII - era existential phenomenological perspectives, especially those wishing to study complex and challenging topics like embodiment and free will. As always, Philosophy is - to me - a home for discussion about anything and everything, and phenomenology is a field which seeks to understand and preserve the viewpoints and perspectives of others and ourselves in the most genuine ways possible; Subba’s work highlights the value in learning from, rather than simply ignoring or rejecting, the philosophical mockingbird that is Fear.

[James Micell Published this article on his Linked In page. He permitted to republish her on the Fearlessness Movement ning -DS].

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

I will describe below another interesting, albeit somewhat terrifying, experience psychologically that has been with me for the past 48 hrs. I am alright, just a little shaky and mostly exhausted.

I suspect, there are some potentially useful insights in these experiences for learning about fear and fearlessness. I see them as engagements or encounters with the "edge" --or, you might say, with the 'surprise' in one's life where the ontological and existential disruption of the rational and one's sense of normal identity is challenged. The first of these phenomenological inquiries I post here on theFM blog Oct. 12/17 Spontaneous Fear "Practicing" in the Unconscious. That may be a good article to read before this one. Note, all this work "practicing" fear at the edge is perhaps useful to Feariatry work.

I suggested in that first article that "fear" has more than a genetic (primal) and/or learned (conditioned) dynamic. The common rational view would be to stick with those two categories as they are empirically studied phenomena, of which psychology has well documented. As partial truth. I suggested the unconscious (via psychoanalysis) is also itself a dynamic field of fear/terror production amongst other things.

The typical rational psychologist, philosopher or thinker rarely penetrates the phenomenological depths of the fear experience--or what Kierkegaard so rightly labeled the exigencies of "fear and trembling" that go with being human in a world of 'surprises' and great emotional and felt explosions (including deep love for, and loss of, another). The mystics of all religions and beyond religions have often written about these disturbing experiences of altered states and/or some incursion of unconscious aspects into their 'normal' and/or 'spiritual' experiences. At times shaking or shattering their identities. At times, with the right conditions, the unconscious seems capable of causing one to simply lose it. 

In this blog I'll describe my fresh almost 'losing it' (at the edge) experience. Then I'll follow with some theorizing and philosophizing from a fearlessness perspective--and, keep in mind, that a philosophy of fearlessness is my long-term project of which you will want to know that it requires great vulnerability to practice, embody, live and be at times overwhelmed by because of extreme methodological procedures[1]. I'll return to that in the last part of the blog.  

The focus of my last 48 hrs is on somatic experience. But before I get to this, I want to contextualize this experience. My body was (is) 'breaking down' and that is part of a longer-term medical diagnosis recently in the past month of being told by doctors that my little symptom of "shortage of breath" at times is actually a very serious heart disease problem that finally is manifesting. I have genetically-based coronary heart disease. Most all my family members on my dad's side (males only) die of early heart disease and diabetes in their 50s or 60s and/or they get open heart surgery. My brother is a case in point. Apparently, now, I am one of those too.

It's understandable that this disease would eventually catch up to me and throw me for a loop. Again, nearly a month ago I was diagnosed and that came after many medical tests, all of which I cannot stand doing. I have a loathing (and fear) of medical systems for a lot of reasons. I don't like being out of control, and having to give up Authority to the system and establishment which has most all the power when it comes to physical illness and dysfunctions.

My doctors have told me that I am "lucky" to not have had a serious heart attack because I am "a heart attack waiting to happen." I now (apparently) have this medical (problematic) identity to live with--a medical institutional inscription based on something I cannot even see (except on an ECG or with fancy imaging technologies). This of course is a 'surprise' totally to me as I am quite a fit person who rarely goes to the doctor more than once a year for the basic medical examination. I'm a healthy self, body and somatically I love that experience of being relatively strong and fit. Of course, with age (now I'm 65) there is an increasing sense of physical vulnerability as things continue to wear out and/or at times not working so well in the body. I give all this information as context for my structuring of a self-ascribed (self-empowered narrative) to a 'normal' identity as the somatic level, or what could be called a somatocentric "self" (one of my multiple selves). 

It is amazing how the health of the body is foundational to a sense of ontological (psychological) well-being--at least, it has been for me. Now I am disabled. I take 5 medications daily or twice daily. I can never get away from my sickness by this practice. I want to resist it all. But I also live with my wife who cares about me. I have daughters and a grandson, etc. This sense of "healthy" identity is all now up in the air. So, my schedule is all thrown off--now, it is abnormal--and I have an image of myself at my end of life--and, at times I even contemplate choosing death and not having the open heart multiple bypass surgery. The tenuous of my existence, with the image of the heart with clogged arteries is with me now every moment as the medical technology showed me and doctors the disease of several arteries on my heart. I could be in the next second in pain with heart seizure because of shortage of blood to the heart muscles. I could be on the operating table which is in late January (though, I don't yet have a schedule for it) and die on the table in the institution. The post-op recovery time is horribly long and painful, from all accounts of others and what doctors are warning me. 

So, with this context of a barrage of fear-based messaging about my condition and my future--altering everything I know about myself rationally and somatically--I look fine, there is a shaking of ontological and self-identity going on now like I have not experienced ever before. So, then 48 hrs ago or so I got a cold. My wife's young friend Zoe had it when she visited us. Barbara then got it. Then I got it. Barbara had a rough time with the cold symptoms, but I really got hit by it all. Notice the sense of 'surprise' as being 'hit' that I could get this sick. I don't get colds very often, but I don't remember one like this with so much head pain and sinus swellings and weariness--the latter, all part of the drug cocktail I am on as well because of my heart condition. In particular, fear/terror (almost a subtle panic attack) came upon me during the day trying to sleep. Barbara was away working at the studio all day. I was coping with the horrible symptoms that totally dragged me down. I couldn't think or write and get work done on my computer. I tried sleeping because the night before I didn't sleep at all, maybe but a few minutes--the cold symptoms kept me awake and breathing was hard. Yet, then I started to get a fever as the old body tries to fight off the infection. I have not had a fever, with spells of hot flashes, like this for a very long time. 

I could not sleep again, and again and again. I'm exhausted. This really showed through in what I experienced as 'losing it' last night in bed, like a small child, my mind racing and disturbing thoughts, the whole set of changes of my normal routines, of lack of normal sleep and having to take all kinds of extra treatments that Barbara was giving me. I wasn't myself. And, I didn't know who I was as I laid in bed in the dark alone. Barbara was in the bathtub. I felt I was doing so many things for other people, and that included doctors. I was losing who I was, and I was panicking because of disorientation--ontological disruption and being overwhelmed by all the changes going on at the same time. Barbara and I are continually having to talk about medications, treatment, how to prepare for the operation and afterwards because it is a big burden on care-givers. I hate being a physical burden on anyone. I like being the helper not the helped. Or so it seems... these are the kinds of things that led to me having to tell Barbara "I'm scared." I rarely ever say that anytime in my life and not to my partner. 

I went through that needy feeling of dependency, of losing it (meaning, losing my full rational self-control)--of losing my mind, of the irrational and arational elements pouring over me--and, 'surprising' me to such an extent that I could go so low as to be so helpless or needing care from another to comfort me. It was very humbling. I didn't get much sleep again but I am able to write this blog. It is my therapy of trying to find some 'normalization' of what it is I like to do and who I think I am. I get to be the fearologist, the philosopher the rational person. At least, it is a semblance of such. But I think when I walk back into the dark bedroom alone today, and feel all the overwhelming changes of my identity and my body, and the threat of continually wondering is my heart going to seize in the next 5 weeks before the operation, oh, my it is not a pleasant thing to go into that dark with my vulnerable and exhausted body ... and, eventually, if I don't sleep my mind will (more or less) breakdown. I have been terrified on several occasions in my life by people having mental breakdowns (e.g., panic attacks, psychoses), including my love-ones. I know this experience well. I never thought I might be the one to go through such--though, I always knew it was possible. I feel "victimized" all around. Not that I want to feel that way. It is irrational, and arational, and it is from the unconscious and circumstances of multiple 'big' changes all at once. Fear (unconscious-based) emerges with and alongside many sources. 

So a philosophy of fearlessness, has always been a philosophy of vulnerability as true and authentic courage to live and breakdown and die--the latter, is happening all the time, but we keep that in denial and at bay and when we are young and healthy we sure don't think about it much. So, I am now both not young and not healthy. That's totally weird but it is a good chance to practice philosophy of fearlessness. I cannot rely on rational deduction or thinking to get me through. I know my body needs to heal through a lot of distress, and trauma, still... because I am convinced, as fearlessness says, that our worst fears are from old wounds that are often being triggered in the present by stressful circumstances. This painful reminder is our existential condition. Suffering exists. There is no relief. But fearlessness is also joy found in the midst of that suffering and fear/terror--even panic. I am learning from this all. I trust my experiences may help others. I have learned, as the philosophy of fearism also says, there is no need to try to escape from fear-- it is the foundation of everything. 

A philosophy of fearlessness thus would say that "fear" experience, phenomenologically, is essential to our human condition and it is a great way to grow and mature if we handle and manage fear well. Doing so by feeling in and through the depths of the vulnerable, the deconstruction of one self, the failure of one's skills, and finding many selves, and finding there is no "solid" self identity to depend on-- all these things are part n' parcel of developing what I call existential and emotional competency and humility. But such skills and meta-skills of competency to 'walk through' and 'fall through' and 'break down' are only built by dropping down into the out-of-control feelings and losing it! Even going crazy to some degree is real too. It doesn't have to be a clinical diagnosis (or identity) that psychiatry puts on it (on us) as the final meaning.

I wish in my life to follow this path and feel and experience what I do because it is this diversity of being in control and losing control that make for wisdom and compassion. I will admit, that I have been not well-balancing my skills in the domain of losing it. I've been too in control for too long. I have been the strong one for Barbara and others. I have been the leader and caregiver. And, now, I have to go through my own disability and needs to be taken care of. I have to realize I may get strong again, but not until after I have this operation and put my 'heart' and my 'life' literally in the hands of others--they are the experts, they are the powerful authorities. I have to let go. This latter quality is deeply ingrained in the mystical paths (universally) of what I call the path of fearlessness.

The rational philosophers tend to stay away from this messy interiority of life and experience, but the existentialists have been more the courageous explorers in that territory. Philosophy of fearlessness goes beyond what the existentialists have to offer, I believe, because there is a path and map of the soul's journey that goes with philosophy of fearlessness [2]. It is a developmental philosophy and requires we do our development work with credibility, with integrity, and mostly with vulnerability. How could I really trust a philosopher or philosophy that has not deeply gone into and through the fear/terror experiences of 'surprise' and losing it? 


1. The implicit argument is that 'authenticity' is the hallmark of this orientation to philosophy and psychological living experiences, and not just alone but in relationships. In my dissertation (2000-03) I totally immersed myself in studying the "culture of fear" phenomenon using an arts-based performative method called a/r/tography. The qualitative research method was also heuristic inquiry which demands one steep their entire lives in the study of their subject, which includes themselves and the co-mutual interactions going on. In the end, my dissertation was labeled by colleagues as "authentic" but was too disturbing or difficult to understand. I ended up labeling my methodology (i.e., practicing fearlessness) a "voluntary performative schizoidal praxis" (Fisher, 2008, p. 145). See Fisher, R. M. (with Quaye, S. J., and Pope, B.) (2008). "Fearless Leadership": R. Michael Fisher's story. In Four Arrows (Jacobs, D. T.) (2008). The authentic dissertation: Alternative ways of knowing, research, and representation (pp. 143-48). NY: Routledge.

2. I am referring to my map in Fisher (2010), p. 48. The traveling from stages of victim, to survivor, to warrior to lover. My wife Barbara and I have been discussing with this recent major turn of events (and life transition) that I now have to work more closely with her to find the way from my 'warrior' identity to 'lover.' It's rocking my boat. See Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. 

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