fear (60)

The healing of trauma, and the creating of room for growth in the nervous system of our children and other human beings, does not only happen in therapists’ offices. Our everyday lives present us with endless opportunities to heal—through the things we say and do, the harmful things we are able to not say and do, and the ways in which we treat ourselves and others. We all have the capacity to heal—and to create room for thers to heal. Our relationships, communities, and circumstances all call us into this healing.

(from Resmaa Menakem, 2017, p. 305 in My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies)

 

Today, September 18, 2020, I received my absentee ballot to vote in the USA elections from my home in Canada. The United States has been politically, emotionally, and spiritually shaken the past 4 years. The truth of its darkest side unleashed for the world to see. And yet many in the USA still do not to see it. Including some of my devout Christian American relatives who support the current White House resident.

Last night I reread the letter I wrote in the early morning hours on the day after the 2016 election in my desire to not be caught in the deep fear that I could feel so viscerally in my body. I could not imagine going to my office and teaching that day as “normal” so I wrote to my community of students and faculty at the university where I was teaching and administrating. After I sent this letter many told me that they kept turning back to it in their state of shock and despair in the days and weeks that followed.

In less than 2 months we will face the next moment of truth and I find myself preparing.

Dear WGSS Students and Faculty 

I will be sharing the regular newsletter later today but felt the need to share these early morning thoughts in the aftermath of the election. I am a Canadian who chose to become an American 7 years ago after coming to teach at SIU. I have found it hard to understand American thinking and ways of being on so many levels. As a new American I have experienced the significance and responsibility of voting that I never felt as a Canadian. There are many gifts to be found in America. May the peoples of American now become leaders in the recovery and healing of deep systemic institutionalized oppressions that perpetuate hatred and fear. May Canada and all the world allies come forward to join in. The presence of WGSS in institutions of education is an essential part of that recovery. The work is undeniable and we have the knowledge and tools. We teach them in our classes, share them our research. I echo many of my WGSS colleague words on FB. It is time to get to work. 

Barbara

November 9, 2016.

Reality and Recovery

Accepting reality is the first step in recovery. Last night I chose to go to bed before the final election results were known. Awakening this morning at 5am my thought was “Trump has attained the Presidency of the United States of American. This is a reality.” Immediately I moved into thoughts of what I could share in my weekly newsletter to the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies community in which I am the Director of at SIU. I realized what I do know is that a number of disenfranchised groups in America have risen and won over other disenfranchised groups in this current political system. The familiar win-lose binary that keeps racism, sexism, homophobia and every other oppression in place is alive and well. The backlash for the losers is excruciating, full of pain and horror. I feel overwhelmed and ill-prepared for what is to come. I wake my partner up in bed as I weep and shake and ask him for attention. Attention is what we can give each other as we do the conscious work needed to release the collective trauma that has surfaced so blatantly in this 2016 election. It is a trauma that invokes with its worst side the use of intimidation to silence us and keep us isolated and in fear. On its better side it asks us to keep moving from crying to singing. I know from my experience that it is crucial to not silence the voice even when words feel impossible and/or inadequate. While being held by my partner I shift from shaking to singing. As I sing, thoughts of how oppressed groups utilize singing in times of political, cultural and religious oppressions arise in my memory, both in mind and body.

I begin to ask myself questions:

How can I step out of this rampant political binary and step into what can be clearly seen as fearism now that all politically correct hiding strategies have been blown up? How can I model something else more unifying with diversity for those who are part of my professional and personal life? The WGSS conference that I am in the midst of planning with students and faculty is entitled “Allies Across Differences.” We have been preparing to address the binary of win vs. lose, us vs. them. We have an opportunity to offer a hospitable space on campus for the collective trauma that this political election has brought to the world’s attention. The fall-out from the election results calls for attention and healing. We have the opportunity to keep teaching truth to power in hospitable ways, and yet, not be cooperative with oppression.

I am grateful for my wise colleague Cade Bursell’s FB post in the hours prior to the final election results. Reminding us/me to continue the work; to not return the hate that we feel directed at us as women, people of color and diverse sexual and diverse gender identities. Instead let us stay connected, give attention to each other’s fear but do not succumb to projecting it back out as attacks. Stand up for each other. Gather allies, strategize and continue to use your voice and gifts to build allyships across differences. I grieve for and with the young especially as they have been born into this legacy of fear.

I begin this day with a simple commitment to remind people to sing [and create]. To keep walking the path with allies and those not yet allies with love and compassion. From chaos and destruction eventually comes new order. Keep teaching and speaking truth to power in your classes [and lives]. And remember that the formal political realm is one of at least three realms that make up our world. The others being equally important, the natural and the spiritual realms. Take time for recovery. Spend some time outside today and remember the unconditional life-giving forces that sustain us as humans on this planet. 

Please contact me if you would like to set up spaces for dialogue. WGSS will do what it can to support initiatives and gatherings for recovering and generating creative and critical ideas and initiatives for the future. 

 

Read more…

Black Lives Matter & Policing Reform(s)

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become a pivotal, and controversial, social movement. Triggered primarily by repeated incidents of black males being killed (murdered) on the streets of America by police officers (particularly white officers) has left a mark that is now indelible and performed in the Floyd Rebellion (street protests). It has not been pretty and disturbs and terrifies many. And, not all people of color agree with the way things have gone down on both sides--the authorities and the rebellion protestors. But lots of good things are also coming from the rubble, you might say.

So I give hats off to the BLM better aspects of liberation and its allies generally for the 'wake up' call; and especially my focus here in this blog is on the positive push of some BLM folks and other sensitive educators and therapists to help get to root causes of racism traumatization (and/or racialized trauma). I use these latter concepts, from a healing and fearlessness perspective or paradigm for social change and transformation. I am less a fan of the politically and ideologically driven 'playing the race card' and 'fanning the race wars' strategies on all sides of the battles today between opponents. Thus, with this distinction of my work and interest, I would argue that nowadays, it is really questionable if the term "racism" or "race" are actually of any value to healing, just like the term "racists" is to me only a way to continue the worst of racism traumatization [1]. The cycle of domination-fear-conflict-violence is hard to break, but I believe breaking the language and making ourselves more aware of emanacipatory and healing language is a good start to the 'rebellion' that all of us could participate in and not just BLM on the streets. 

In this regard, obviously my work is about moving from a culture of fear to a culture of fearlessness, and that ideally would be what BLM is attempting to do. I am not telling BLM what to do nor speaking as if I know all about them and their work. I certainly don't and I am willing to be informed by them as they see fit. I will listen, and I will open up opportunities for healing on their side and my side--and, all the other options of our juxtapositioning as human beings attempting to figure out how to live together well on this fragile planet. I am concerned that forces of tyranny take many forms, and no group is immune. So, to counter the fear-based tyranny movements of all kinds, on all sides of the conflicts in societies, let's take a look at the notion of racism traumatization as a learning and healing process. I have not delved a lot into this field but I have come across a book my life-partner is using for her own liberation via ancestral healing work and is planning to use in a local non-profit organization in the urban setting of the city we live in. The book is by Resmaa Menakem, a person of color and expert on conflict and violence and healing (individual and collective). The title is "My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathways to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies" (2017). It is radical on many fronts, but what it does not do is 'pit one race against another' nor attempt to show any superiority in any group that is innate or given by God, or any other power. Menakem writes with wisdom and compassion and a lot of street smarts about racialized violence and oppression--and, better yet, about racialized trauma work. I have included a couple pages from the book, particularly on Menakem's advice for reforming policing. I have also written a book with two colleagues on this topic but more general on the relationship of fearism to law and criminology [2]. Menakem's work is very pragmatic and I trust you'll find these couple pages useful for knowledge and as potential to take into action in your communities. 

 

7941058885?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

7941063077?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

Notes

1. Another angle of understanding racism traumatization is through a critical analysis of "white supremacism" and an even more interesting angle is through critical analysis of tribalism-ethnocentricism and their worldviews (e.g., in Spiral Dynamics integral theory). No doubt, societies today and in the future will best be served by multiple angles on the problem of "Race" in America or anywhere in the world. For me, I always have looked with great focus on the problem of fearism-t (toxic form) as the core root of terrorism of all kinds and those are the isms that are articulating the other isms--that is, sexism, racism, classism, adultism, and so on. Oppression is fear-based in an ideology of fearism-t. All that said, my owning responsibility for my white caucasion historical situation and current privilege is well taken as something I have to always look at as part of white supremacism agendas--that is, oppression. 

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

Read more…

7927130280?profile=RESIZE_584xI think this is one of my best (sociopolitical and economic) applications of a design for how to re-form our societies, and I also bring in the concept of Fear (i.e., culture of fear) and Fearlessness into the UBI model which has radical implications to transform society not just tweak it (the latter, which is mostly what I see in the vision and thinking of those promoting UBI at the present time). Let's talk about this folks! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ-IhnblIRA

Read more…

‘Ending the Culture of Fear’: Fantasy or Possibility?

A Dialogue between Nonye & Michael

R. Michael Fisher & Nonye T. Aghanya

 [Note:  Michael (Canada) approached Nonye (USA) recently and conducted this email exchange over a few weeks focusing on their interests and questions about the phenomenon called “culture of fear”]

 Recent decades have witnessed the emergence of competitive scaremongering, where different groups vie with one another about what we should and should not fear. So while one group of professionals advises parents to shield their children from the sun in order to protect them from skin cancer, another group points to the risk of children suffering from vitamin D deficiency because they have been shield from the sun. Competitive scaremongering surrounds the debate on whether vaccinating children carries more risk than letting nature run its course. People routinely accuse one another of promoting fear, playing the fear card, or allowing themselves to be manipulated by appeals to fear....Barry Glassner [sociologist] claims that “we are living in the most fear-mongering time in history.’ Perhaps he is right.   -Frank Furedi [1]

RMF: I have recently been working on a paper tracking the history of the “culture of fear” concept across disciplines [2]. Although, this concept has been in my research, writing and teaching since 1997 or so, it remains a sturdy concept for critical analysis of our individual and collective lives. In 2004, I was contracted to do a baseline study of the uses and definitions of “culture of fear” across disciplines. I directed it for leaders, although that report was never published widely [3]. I observe, unfortunately, there is still a good deal of (mis-)interpretation going on amongst those that throw the term around today. So, that’s one issue I’d be curious to explore with you in this brief interview.

Oh, I’m curious Nonye if and when you had heard of the term “culture of fear” or “climate of fear”; and have you pursued researching more into those at all? Do you teach about these concepts as contexts within nursing education or in your online program per se, what is it called?

Nonye: Thanks Michael, this is truly an interesting topic and I’m excited to explore and gain some insights from a fearologist on “culture of fear,” especially as it pertains to healthcare. In the context of Nursing/Medical education and healthcare practices, many institutions for countless years have implemented and embraced various methodologies for more efficient general care delivery. An example is the use of Wong Baker pain scale for objective assessment and better pain management for patients.

However, in my review of various existing empirical studies, there seemed to be a lack of methodology to effectively address patients’ apprehensions due to anxieties and fears in healthcare settings. Such patients’ state of anxiety is quite comparable to the “climate of fear” brought on by the feeling of unknown amongst other factors. Some studies highlight various contributory factors, for e.g. decline of practitioners’ empathy and compassion in healthcare practices and further suggest educational interventions for enhancing empathy in healthcare practitioners as part of a solution to the problem of fear/anxiety management. I’m optimistic about introducing my findings on the use of soft skills of communication as a vital tool for curbing patients fears and anxieties and improving the chances of trust development with healthcare practitioners. Contents of my online courses and book can be used as educational resources in Nursing and medical institutions.

RMF: Okay. But before we get to the conception of what makes a culture of fear, and how to best ‘know’ what a culture of fear is and transform it, I’ll ask you to respond to the recent article in the British Medical Journal (2018) that caught my eye, with a provocative title: “End the Culture of Fear in Healthcare” (Ladher, 2018). This is a prestigious journal in this field. And as a 30 year experienced nurse-educator yourself, I’m sure you are aware of the phenomenon itself where fear, mistrust, intimidation is very real in organizational cultures in the health field. Could you comment on this excerpt from Ladher (2018): “A key finding of the independent report into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, where around 600 people received fatal and medically unjustified does of opioids, was a hospital culture of uncritical deference to doctors and a fear of raising concerns.” Ladher goes on to note that the report mentioned calls for “ending professional hierarchies in clinical practice”—you wrote a book or two on this have you not? What’s your take on this kind of finding from such a report, and I am sure there are many other examples of such reports we could find all over in various nations and sectors of society?

Nonye: First, from a practical perspective, I believe there needs to be further clarification of the latter part of Ladher’s article excerpt particularly on the “fear of raising concerns” within the hospital organization and how it may have contributed to the unfortunate fatal opioid overdosing of some 600 hospital residents.

I have written two books [4] in recent years on the issues of overcoming fears and anxiety in regard to the clinician-patient relationship—focusing on communication effectiveness as it relates to treatment effectiveness. This UK report creates more questions than answers. Did many patients’ hesitations and fears of expressing their opinions to their doctors and/or administration of the hospital contribute to strained dialogue and mistrust that made it difficult for the doctors to ascertain their pain levels accurately?

Did the doctors unwelcoming attitudes make it difficult for patients to be vulnerable and transparent about their pain levels? Did the nurses participate in assessing patients pain scales and response to opioid management?

If and when patients attempted to suggest alternate pain management plans, other than opioids (e.g., heating pads, NSAIDS, non-narcotics analgesics), was there a perception that doctors were not accommodating of their suggestions? Did the patients disclose these concerns to nurses and did the nurses fail to inform the prescribing doctors? Did such communication breakdown create a sense of patient dependency and the disastrous impact of opioid over-medication?

RMF: You mention “communication breakdown.” You seem to frame everything in your analysis of your work on communication effectiveness? Is this something you were personally interested in, perhaps even before your training as a nurse? Where did that focus come from? It seems to be a lens you bring to determining what’s really important in reality.

Nonye: Effective communication is achieved via a “two way venture” and this became apparent to me very early in life, as early as 5 years old. I was always an anxious child and grew up into an anxious adult, very eager to please others around me. The realization that I could dramatically reduce my state of anxiety by aiding someone else, by any possible means, to become less anxious while they interacted with me was my eureka moment! Noted in one of my study analyses was a disclosure from Dr Stephen Trzeciak, the chief of medicine at the Cooper University Healthcare in Camden, N.J. In his 2018 TEDx talk which explored the existence of a healthcare compassion crisis, I was fascinated by his mentioning of a stark difference between sympathy and compassion. Sympathy is characterized by feelings while compassion is characterized by actions. Thus the practice of strategic and compassionate engagement became an actionable effective tool which needed to be shared with other healthcare professionals and nursing/medical institutions.

By recognizing human characteristics and behaviors, and adjusting engagement approach strategically, healthcare practitioners can help reduce patients anxieties while promoting the chances of trust development complementary with compassion development. 
 

RMF: Oh interesting about your core childhood strategy. I would call that a core base for a fear management system, based on the need for social acceptance and comfort, which then becomes a form of social conformity, which then functions “well” not only to lower your anxiety but it maybe adaptable in a career choice, maybe in a society as a whole, where the strategy gets rewarded via the culture’s need for cooperation, consensus, and being a good workers—or a good person, etc. All that conforming, I suppose is anxiety-reducing too; yet, it can also exacerbate anxiety further below the surface. I know you also are somewhat of a rebel too (smile). 

That’s very reasonable as a core fear management system, and is seen as part of the evolutionary history of our species; so, don’t get me wrong, in that I am not complaining about it, I’m more curious how it fits and works at one level; but my thinking is always critical and reflective too. I have mapped out at least 10 different fear management systems in human cultural evolution [5]—some which individuals may choose to stick with and sometimes they also change and evolve to meet newer challenging conditions when an individual or a culture is faced with bigger challenges that the old fear management system adaptations may start to fail to be serviceable. I guess, I’m always teaching people to examine both what fails and what works, when it comes to their fear management systems—and/or habits. Learn from both. There is always a possibility that even what “works” may have limitations and prevent growth and development. But that’s a larger topic, perhaps for another time. So, back to your professional work...

Nonye: I learned long ago to ask a lot of questions when I see a problem like that described by the article above. If healthcare providers failed to consider patients’ contributions towards the treatment plan, did this lead to a situation where patients just continued to overly ingest opioids because “doctor knows best”? Did doctors uptight and unfriendly demeanor make it difficult for patients to inquire about the frequent dosing of their opioids because they were afraid to upset the doctors by “asking too many questions”?

These are some of the factors that could have contributed to this tragic and unfortunate event and I don’t particularly believe that Ladher’s singular suggestion for “ending professional hierarchy in clinical practice” is sufficient to adequately address this issue and prevent recurrence.

RMF: I agree. If all an institution does, be it a medical and health one or not, is tweak the surfaces of the problems, and focus on the issue of “hierarchy” without focusing on the nature and role of fear, not much will change. I mean Ladher’s summary does note fear is a factor. That is not uncommon in issues when “culture of fear” is raised to a head as an organizational problem. The issue for me is that the thinking of “fear is a factor” is just too tame or euphemistic, and reductionistic. It tends to psychologize, even individualize, fear. It is easy to say “fear is a factor,” more or less—although, in some uptight fear-based organizations they won’t even allow that discussion to come to the surface. It is because “fear management” is a topic way off-the-radar. “Pain management” is on the radar, but not fear management. And, I’m generalizing but this is what seems to happen in health care generally. “Fear” is still like a taboo topic itself, often, and that’s what I see as a professional education and training deficit problem in many organizations. Have you noticed this? Have you thought about this, and what might be some solutions?

Nonye: I totally agree with your assessment of the lax use of fear as a factor that impacts many events in healthcare practices and other organizations. More often than not, there seems to be a reluctance of organizations to delve deeper and discover the root causes of fears that affect the organizational culture and employee performance. This is an important aspect of quality performance process as it can ultimately provide clues for implementing changes that will positively impact an organization’s performance, in healthcare and otherwise.

As part of a quality performance assessment process, this could involve the act of organizational and individual self-reflection. It could sometimes be conducted via a self-assessment questionnaire. This process of reflection may quite frankly be a bit awkward for some but it’s a necessary step for unraveling and successfully addressing the causes of many fears in various institutions and making positive and lasting changes from the result of the revelation of such assessment processes.

RMF: So what if “culture” or at least institutional culture is itself a phenomenon that is a defensive reaction against fear—as existentialists and social psychologists [6] say? What if the entire matrix of the system is so pathological and toxic, which is what “culture of fear” means?

Nonye: Culture of fear in healthcare is a complex one influenced by many factors such as patients’ behaviors, perceptions, healthcare providers’ personal ethics and consulting styles with patients and their abilities to identify patient characteristics and apply appropriate communication styles that lead to more sincere and productive engagements with patients.

These factors must critically be addressed to help reduce the risks of such unfortunate events as reported at Gosport War Memorial hospital. When you speak of culture itself as virtually a fear-based reaction—a defense—and thus seemingly toxic inherently, I don’t know what to say but that’s not a familiar notion to me. Can you say more?

RMF:  Sure, but let me first define what a culture of fear is generically, as a dynamics of a living system. And to quote Furedi, “The term culture of fear works as a rhetorical idiom rather than as a precise concept. Its meaning is often far from clear.” [7] I tend to agree with him, in part. At least, this is what I came up with as a first working definition (and, I did not find it in the dictionary or a sociology encyclopedia or in Frank Furedi’s or Barry Glassner’s books, as useful as those resources may be at one level). Rather, I came up with this after reading hundreds of documents across history and disciplines: culture of fear – is when a system tries to manage fear and ends up creating more fear. It’s a paradoxical fear management regime, you might say. That creates a dilemma because one has to really ask about ‘who’ or ‘what’ to trust in terms of furnishing us as citizens, workers, and leaders with good knowledge on fear management in the context of a culture of fear?

And, without going into further theorizing, the basic thing I discovered is that most people assess the culture of fear based on ‘scientific’ and measurable things, like fear factors, mistrust factors, intimidation factors in the organization, and of course self-assessed fear(s), and so on. The standard psychological fare of applying tools to understand what is going on. But there was in none of the literature (virtually none) any consciousness on the part of the theorists, the professionals, or those creating the assessment tools, that (arguably) 90% of fear (which motivates us; often as anxiety) is unconscious and one doesn’t know the root cause per se. Now, that is my existential, psychoanalytical and fearological lens being applied for that conclusion.

You can see that I go deeper than a rationale based on communications or cognitive behavioral psychological modes per se in the pursuit of understanding fear or what I also call ‘fear’ (culturally modified fear – analogous to culturally modified organisms). The world hasn’t yet caught up with the complex morphing and evolving of ‘fear’ in ‘culture’ (i.e., within culturalism as ideology; i.e., within a culture of fear context)—I mean culturalism as the process of dominating belief systems (and taboos)—mostly that are culturally-created meaning systems as defenses against existential terror—and thus social fictions are used to avoid dealing honestly with that deep unconscious terror).

That’s just one part of my thesis here, then there are all the psychoanalytical implications of say “staff” working under “authorities” and so on. Or patients trying to survive under “authorities” who have at times, literally, control of their life—that is, control of their death. I have written some about that in my latest Technical Paper No. 98. With all these conflicting dynamics as part of communications and basic existence, there is often as Furedi described above, a competition of scaremongering going on as part of people trying to control their world. I don’t mean a natural control within reason, I mean an irrational neurotic and obsessive control. At times, some critics have said, today people are addicted to fear and that glues the whole culture of fear system together. I often meet people who cannot stand the word fearlessness because they say they want to keep their fear. And, I wonder exactly what they mean? Do they want to keep their addiction? Anyways, most people are just not well-enough educated on the history of the culture of fear phenomenon at the base of social life and cultural formations and evolution. Anyways, maybe that’s deeper than you are interested or see as practical in the workplace (?). I’m a fearologist so I cannot restrict myself in researching deeper on the topic of fear (and ‘fear’) and society.

Nonye:  Sure, I absolutely respect your deeper exploratory views on fear as a fearologist. I’m truly honored to have gained more insights from your work about these other aspects of fear management that I otherwise may not have been privileged to learn about. Thanks so much Michael for this interesting dialogue and I wish you much success in your upcoming book project on the past Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson [8].

RMF: Not that there is any one clear all-decided definition of a fearologist and what they are supposed to do, but over 20 years ago, I made a commitment to be able to be informed enough, and maybe even bring some wisdom, to conversations about fear with virtually anyone, and especially to be able to do so across the disciplines and professions. So, it’s been great to have this conversation with someone in the field of Medicine and Health Care. That really means a lot to me. Thanks.

And as for Ladher’s comment, from a medical perspective in that article, my response is: Let’s not overly jump ahead too far when we call out the problems of a culture of fear dynamic, and especially let’s not think that the culture of fear is only in some workplace, the home, the school or on the streets of some ghetto; my point in this dialogue has been to show, there is no “end of the culture of fear” per se, in the concrete sense—more so, there is an educational project that is required from K to 12 and beyond, across societies—whereby we actually teach about how best to educate ourselves on what fear is and what a culture of fear is that constitutes the way fear takes forms. All relationships are inducted into this matrix. Once we understand better, then we can start thinking about the “end of the culture of fear”—but, from my view, that means we have to end this Dominant culture that pervades, that oppresses, and transform its worldview to a new and better one—not based on fear itself. I posit a culture of fearlessness is the replacement. For some, they might say, a culture of love is the replacement. And, from that point of contention—is a whole other interesting dialogue to be had.

End Notes:

  1. Furedi, F. (2018). How fear works: Culture of fear in the twenty-first century. Bloomsbury Continuum, p. 5.  
  1. Fisher, R. M. (2020). Culture of fear: A critical history of two streams. Technical Paper No. 98. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.  
  1. Fisher, R. M. (2004). Capitalizing on fear: A baseline study on the culture of fear for leaders. Intellectual Architects, Ltd.  
  1. Aghanya, N. T. (2016). Simple tips to developing a productive clinician-patient relationship. iUniverse; Aghanya, N. T. (2019). Principles for overcoming communication anxiety and improving trust. Folioavenue Publishing.  
  1. To study the 10 fear management systems, I argue is a way to expand one’s knowledge of a full spectrum of consciousness and cultural systems, moving from more simple and immature to more complex and mature (i.e., ultimately, towards an emancipatory pull to ‘freedom’ and/or ‘enlightenment’ whatever one wants to call it); see the 10 fear management systems documented in Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world’s fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. University Press of America/Rowman & Littlefield.  
  1. E.g., see the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death); and, the social psychologists who have ‘proven’ Becker’s theories and created “Terror Management Theory” (e.g., Sheldon Solomon et al.).  
  1. Furedi, pp. 4-5.  
  1. She is referring to Michael’s book soon to be released by Peter Lang, Inc. entitled: “The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution in a Dangerous Time.” Nonye wrote an endorsement review about the book, “The gradual advances of a change agent may encounter numerous hiccups on its pathway to implementing change; but with honesty, grace and compassion the committed will forge ahead towards success. The book reflects such a journey of both the author and his subject. R. Michael Fisher, in both an exploratory and objective fashion, provides riveting detailed accounts of many observers who have encountered the remarkable social phenomenon, which has grown in and around a once American presidential candidate—Marianne Deborah Williamson, a true change agent. One must applaud her clear moral stance as a driver of a movement gaining momentum because of this quality of leadership, with a mission for pursuit of greatness in service of others....It is a democratic mission not driven by personal gain but rather driven by eternal fulfilment and the awareness that the benefits of righteousness far exceed those of condemnation. We really need this ‘message’ today.”

Nonye T. Aghanya, MSc., RN, FNP-C, nurse, nurse educator, author, mother and so much more. Originally from Nigeria, she moved as a young person to the USA, now living in Alexandria, VA.  [for a recent 30 min. talk on her work go to: https://bit.ly/3k6HB1X ]

Michael Fisher, Ph.D., artist, educational theorist, author and teacher, has dedicated his life-purpose to the study of fear and fearlessness. He was born and raised in Calgary, AB and after traveling and working internationally, he has returned to Calgary to live and spread the word.

Read more…

International Journal of Fear Studies

Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Approaches

 

Call for Papers and Creative Submissions:

Theme ISSUE: “Living and Learning in Pandemic Times”

 

Submissions Due Aug. 1, 2020 for the 4th issue of IFJS.

Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic dynamics have really changed our lives. What are we learning in this context of such pervasive fear... and more...? Are there better ways to handle all this?   

FOR the full details of Submission and about the Journal IJFS fourth call Apil 12 .docx

 

Read more…

6297047090?profile=RESIZE_400x

"...the [research] findings show that how we choose to deal with our fear, critically depends on our cultural worldview" - Bobby Azarian (2020) 

"We have an existential threat on our hands, our Left-Right divide, I believe, is by far the most important divide we face....This is the urugent need of the next 50 years." - Jonathan Haidt (2016) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-_Az5nZBBM]

Dr. Bobby Azarian, cognitive neuroscientist, has put together an excellent basic video on the social and cognitive science research that can help explain why "fear" is at core the factor of political, religious and other forms of polarization in social systems. He has worked with the Terror Management Theory (of Ernest Becker, et al.), whereby in this video he takes us through a rapid teaching of major issues and findings. He offers, interestingly, a "cosmic perspective" as basis for a worldview that will be an anti-dote to the polarizing and violent course that American society and a lot of the world is heading down--including the direction toward fascism and authoritarianism, etc. I highly recommend Azarian's (fast-lane hyper) teaching video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvMkz1wy6_U

[Note: as much as Terror Management Theory and neurobiology of fear, and cognitive sciences offer an important direction of knowledge to combat the effects of fear as an emotion/feeling (i.e., a response to threat), I have always questioned how these disciplines and fields of study have not really added much at all to reconceptualizing fear (or 'fear'), fearuality, fear management/education, fearism, etc.). I think there needs to be a lot more dialogue between these knowledge domains and with Fear Management Theory as I promote, then more potent combinations will inevitably lead to a better "fear education" for the 21st century. ]

ADDITIONAL READING:

Azarian apparently has been researching a good deal on "fear" in political orientation, along with many others, it is a vast field of research which I support in general. I found this following article a good one to challenge stereotypes (I offer an excerpt only with link to the full article):

Wrong: Conservatism Isn’t About Fear

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  heartland-american  •  2 years ago  •  194 comments
No, Liberals, You’re Wrong: Conservatism Isn’t About Fear
 

Liberals don’t get conservatives. New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt, formerly a liberal himself, showed how much more liberals misunderstand conservatives than vice versa. And when they get conservatives wrong, often it’s by saying we’re “afraid.” Irrationally afraid, even; in fact, we’re “driven by fear.” They’re wrong: conservatism isn’t about fear. But they keep repeating it anyway.

Take the Psychology Today article, “Fear and Anxiety Drive Conservatives’ Political Attitudes.” (I just love it when they portray us in such a healthy light, don’t you?)

Biased Interpretations (Part 1)

The author, Bobby Azarian, tells us conservatives have a problem. People on the right “fear new experiences,” says. Based on what evidence, you ask? It’s the stuff college students keep in their dorm rooms. Researchers at Berkeley found that liberal students have more travel-related items, while conservatives have more planning- and cleaning-related items.

“This tells us that liberals more often seek adventure and novel experiences,” says Azarian. “Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to prefer a more ordered, disciplined lifestyle.” Okay, I get that there’s a difference there. I’ve got several questions, though. (First rule of reading science journalism: Ask lots of questions.)

First, why weren’t fear or anxiety even mentioned in the original research report? (They’re brought up briefly in the literature review section, but not where the current research was discussed.)

Second, what about the thousands upon thousands of conservative Christians who take mission trips to less-developed, often deadly parts of the world every year? How is Azarian going to explain this “fear” to them?

How on earth do planning, orderliness and discipline equate to fear?

And third, based strictly on Azarian’s article alone, how on earth do planning, orderliness and discipline equate to fear?

Conservatives’ dorm rooms only reflect fear if fear is what you’re looking for.....He tells us that MRIs show that the amygdala, a fear-related brain region, is larger on average in conservatives than in liberals. “It is possible,” says Azarian, “that an oversized amygdala could create a heightened sensitivity that may cause one to habitually overreact to anything that appears to be a potential threat, whether it actually is one or not.”

 [excerpt only]

 Read the entire rebuttal to Azarian et al.,:  https://stream.org/no-liberals-youre-wrong-conservatism-isnt-about-fear/

[Note: my own take as a fearologist is that it will generally be a fallacy of fear-mongering if either side of the political spectrum is caught in a 'game' of 'you have more fear; no, you have more fear' --etc. I have labled this the Fear Wars, long ago. This is where fearology can contribute a whole new perspective on that 'game' (dead-end) and truly lift the dialogue to include the typical fear(s) talk which is valid but take it to a new level where polarization can be dissolved in more potent ways, theoretically... that's a much longer conversation but involves my own (amongst others) work on a fearlessness psychology]

 

 

Read more…

Because I am a professional educator per se, it has always struck me how far behind the field of Education (and schooling) is, just about everywhere in the world, when it comes to advancing the notion of "fear management" and, what I prefer to call "fear management/education" (or simply, "fear education"). I'll be writing more about this in the near future blogs here, but just wanted to share this book resource Fear and Schools that looks interesting from the book description: 

6216037258?profile=RESIZE_710x

Read more…

Fear and a General Social Theory[1] 

-R. Michael Fisher [notes: June 16/20]

                    Introductory Issues of the Social & World

Recently, it occurred to me that no one will really ‘get’ my work adequately until they ‘get’ that my work is foundationally a social theory of fear (management/education). I am deeply a social thinker/theorist and philosopher and educator, who has, unfortunately, not helped the waves of mis-understandings of my work for 31 years because I have not systematically written out my general social theory as context for my work. I am beginning to take on this daunting project. This essay consists of beginning shreds of what is on my mind and is by no means a ‘finished’ work. It is noticeably somewhat nostalgic, at least for me, in that to recover the ‘social’ in my work, and in my life, I have had to return to the past of my first systematic studies of knowledge and disciplines when I was 20 years old to my 30s. If these references seem ‘old’ or ‘out of date’ to readers, I won’t apologize for how important and relevant they are in ‘messages’ for today—but, certainly, this general social theory I am attempting needs up-dating with newer thinkers for sure—yet, all in time. I want to keep things relatively simple to start with. I appreciate your patience with my somewhat nostalgic turn.  

As part of Social Sciences, social theory seems essential to my fearanalysis project [2] on the Fear Problem. It is an approach to all phenomenon (e.g., especially fear and its management/education) primarily through the lens of the social sphere of reality. Social theory today, in the Anthropocene era, also has to be part of Biological and especially Environmental Sciences, because global cascading crises are putting the survival and quality of life on this planet at-high-risk, moving existence regularly into emergencies. COVID-19 is the latest episode showing how vulnerable Homo sapiens is.  

The basic purpose overall of these Sciences seen through my own value-based lens, is that of “making man [sic] more aware of the consequences of his actions.”[3] Awareness has to do with learning, and that is why my profession is Education. I turn now to explicate my evolved, yet still evolving, social theory as a synthesis of many others’ critical thinking and research. It is not too embarrassing to say my social theory is quite unique in the history of thought.

                   Theorizing: Natural Sciences Are Social

 It is essential for humans as a whole, and for me to remember that the aim of the knowledge quest (i.e., learning and education) is to,

 ....establish the process of human development as the goal of the process of social evolution, both the process and the goal being understood to be open to further transformation as we advance in the practice and understanding of them.[4]

 And furthermore, there is a search still going on across large domains of societies functions, and within the inner searching and reflecting that humans do at times, to find a better “image” of our selves—of our nature, of our potential—and to do so, as crucial so that we don’t become crushed by harsh realities of the everyday human condition (i.e., of a good deal of suffering). Markley & Harman (1982) spoke to this in a way that made sense for me in my youthful scholarship days, and still resonates today:

 It seems evident that the characteristics we postulated for an adequate image [of the human] cannot be fulfilled unless such a new type of policy paradigm comes into existence—a paradigm that provides a far closer reconciliation of C. P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’ (the sciences and the humanities) than has heretofore seemed feasible [in modern times]. Central in this pursuit would be the reconciliation of the objective inquiry methods found suitable for learning to manipulate the external/physical environment and the inquiry methods which are emerging to similarly explore the subjective/internal/psychical environment of our living. Likely such an umbrella paradigm will not be possible without the emergence of other, somewhat more specialized but nevertheless holistic [-integral], paradigms to support it.[5]

 In Markley & Harman’s profound search for a “moral science,” “moral economics” and politics for a sustainable, healthy and sane future, they know that a “moral paradigm” lies below them all, which is something I have always been interested in but I am not a “moralist” or “virtues” prophet/teacher or thinker. That’s a topic that arrives much later in this essay and social theory. Suffice it to say at this point, my approach to ethics and morals and the ‘good’ and ‘true’ and ‘beautiful’ will be strongly tainted in this work with the social as environment—and, it is this environmental emphasis that is most conducive to pulling out and foreword why I think the social is so critical to any good fear studies (and fear management/education) today and in the future. To note, the marriage of objective and subjective that Markley & Harman recommend, not totally radical, is very important to my own holistic-integral approach to knowledge and living, of which Wilber (1995) has added another vector of polarities to build a more adequate and complete (and moral) epistemological quadrant analysis. He adds: individual and communal sphere. When I speak of the “social” so forthright and as forming everything in human affairs, I am not excluding the other quadrant inputs into the social sphere of reality but including them, even if they are lesser focused on.  

I more or less ‘hated’ public school. I was born and raised poor working class. The whole system seemed rigged, even though I am a white guy (Canadian), to benefit those who already were privileged by class. The more would get the more and doing well in education was seemingly their way of greasing their wheels of progress (success).  Post-secondary schooling nor societal success meant anything important to me until my 19th year of life (after graduation from high school in a technical curriculum stream for the ‘dummies’). One course in grades 10-12 really was a place for me to shine—Biology. I was a budding naturalist (thanks to my dad, my uncle, my older brother). Learning science was hard but I did it and learned things I cared about—that is, how Life works. By my 19th year I was dedicated to pursue secondary education and make a career in science (e.g., forestry or something). The rest is history. As I went through careers and more and more degrees, “Science” grew in scope and dimensions in ways I could have never predicted back in my late teens or early 20s. Today, I reluctantly, would call myself a “scientist” but at-heart I really am. I am a little more comfortable being called a “philosopher” at-heart, an “artist”—and yet, my graduate Ph.D. training ended with a doctorate in Education.

                  Fear is Social

A most basic premise of my life’s work is that fear is social, or more accurately, that the nature and role of fear for humans cannot be understood without a social perspective. At some level, thus, my hypothesis is that: social fear is the best descriptor for all fears and fear itself. Contentious perhaps. I’ll return to that topic later. Now, I wish to claim that science is always social—and, the corollary, all science is social science. Let me explain.

                  Scientists are Social

It is no surprise that from anthropology to ecology and evolutionary studies, many scientists have concluded that “Homo sapiens” is a social species. It sounds simple to conclude. It seems true. What it exactly means and the implications are much more profound, as I have found to be the case over the decades. I think most people don’t really think about this.

Despite the history of Science being diverse, with all its twists and turns and shifts in its role and the ways scientists themselves saw their efforts to build scientific knowledge, it is likely true that at the end of the 19th century most scientists were relatively “unconcerned as to where they ought to be going. They saw no point in formulating social goals for their professional work, because they regarded science as an end rather than a means.” And many then, as still now, do not want their scientific work determined by social (e.g., economic and political) agendas of interest groups or the public at-large, according to Dubos (1970, p. 229). More characteristically, the scientists overall have not seen their own profession as a social enterprise itself—that is, shaped overly by influences from the social sphere including by non-scientists.

It is hard for the vast majority of scientists (maybe less so today) to believe that what they do intellectually may be socially-determined—in whole or in part. Kuhn’s (1970) classical analysis of the paradigm shifts of the scientific enterprise validates just how social science communities are. Scientists likely find that thought of socially-determined, socially-responsible or “mission-oriented”[6] science rather loathsome, and beneath their self-integrity. They are very proud of their elite scientific training. I remember, the same feeling when I was fully in science education processes and working as a scientist of sorts. To get a masters or doctoral degree in some science adds to their privilege and sense of self-esteem. They see they are in a scientific establishment and career in order to best perform good (or even ‘pure’) science. No one should be telling them or even much influencing them who isn’t a scientist.[7] The very reason of bringing this issue of Science to the foreground to begin my general social theory explication tells you something about how important I think Science is today; And especially, it tells you that I agree with Dubos (50 years ago) that the best way to talk about the current (at least Western) society is under the umbrella term “scientific civilization.”[8]

                  Civilization Types: Evolving Fear(s)

As civilizations, many humans have thus evolved from tribal, to agricultural, to industrial—all because of an advance in Science (and technologies). Since late-modernity, that’s been recognized as a mixed blessing for those of us in the latter forms of civilization. Myself included, we have begun to realize the paradox of progress via Science that is now creating some of the worst nightmares of which are capable of extinguishing all civilization (e.g., nuclear weapons, anthropogenic accelerated global warming, clear-cutting forests, mining, etc.). It is arguable, that there have been new fears created and overcome at each level of civilization type listed above. However, it is also arguable, the current chronic level of fear(s) in the highly scientific civilization type is accumulative (post-traumatic) and worse than other civilizations. If so, it is another hypothesis of my social theory that with increasing progress, comings increasing social fear (of the most destructive kinds). But let’s return to my thinking on Science before focusing on other aspects of my social theory (of fear).

                  Need for a Social Theory of Science

It has been a great gain to knowledge generally to develop the history of science and open-up the world of Science to historians and the public. It may well be, as Dubos suggested, that it is more important for citizens in a true democracy to be critical in their literacy of how Science functions than needing to know all the facts of science and its applications.[9] It is great to have a grasp of both, but at least it is important to learn about science as a social activity that ought to serve social purposes, as well as intellectual purposes. For example, to learn about science is to learn as a layperson that “scientific knowledge is never absolute or final, yet it remains valid when considered in the social and intellectual framework within which it was developed.”[10] Another example, “scientists hardly ever disagree on the validity of the facts themselves, but only [mostly] on the interpretation and use of the these facts.”[11]

The argument I am making, as did Dubos 50 years ago, is that all science operates with shifting “fashions”[12]—that is, it is socially contextualized ‘not an island to itself’ and visa versa “all social decisions now have scientific determinants,”[13] whether we recognize them or not. Snow’s (1959) lecture on The Two Cultures—of facts (science) vs. values (social morals and/or religion)—raised critical questions of the long modern separation of these realms; and, suggested how they ought not be fully disengaged from each other. Integral philosopher, Ken Wilber, notes that Snow called both facts and values inherently “cultures” and thus serve as social phenomena. He argued knowledge is best for cultures/societies when they are not totally battling, competing, and thus end up dissociated and divorced; but rather, today we have to work to repair their ancient marriage[14] so that a higher holistic-integration of knowledge can once again yield wisdom and guidance for the modern, late-modern and post-modern times. There’s a need for a new thinking today—and, more so than ever it will have to be around the notion of fear. I am calling my version of this, as core to my methodological concerns, integral social thinking.

               Methodology of Integral Social Thinking (IST)

As I attempt to introduce this emergent sense that my social theory itself has to be based on integral social thinking—troubling questions of knowing arise. Philosophers call this ontological and epistemological issues. I’ll start with the “integral” part of thinking—which, comes from a long venerable tradition of integral philosophies and theories in history,[15] of which, for example, Wilber (1995) is one of the most prescient of these thinkers, and has influenced my ways of thinking since the early 1980s.

Yet, there is a further problem not so overtly dealt with as an epistemological problem in integral thinking and style, which I must mention. In the study of fear itself (meaning, the human-fear-self-social relationship dynamic) there is a problem of attempting to know something (perhaps, a prior conceptions that are faded or invisible) that is escaping its very knowability. You open a black sealed box to study something locked away inside for generations, but in assuming the light you shine on it will reveal its essence, you more or less destroy the operation and object/subject you are analyzing because it is not the proper ‘method’ to disclose the essence of that which lives in a ‘black box.’

Using this ‘black box’ as metaphor or analogy, this is what I learned in my youth when I (and others) first encountered the nascent field of “ecology.”[16] I cannot help but be an ecological thinker, but that gets massively more complex than approaching an ecological problem of studying Nature when one brings the light of investigation to Culture—in this case, my pursuit of a social theory and a fear theory simultaneously—things get very tricky, to say the least. I’ve hinted at this problem (part of the larger Fear Problem) in my earliest works in the late 1980’s into the early 1990s and why I demarcated my subject of study of fear as ‘fear’ with (‘) marks[17] to signify something I really didn’t know even what it was I was studying or what methods would be best for doing so). The progressive futurists Markley & Harman (1982) touched somewhat on the enigmatic attitude and sensibility in which a researcher has to imbue when after a topic, with humility, with the arational and rational modes, as they articulated one way to capture the same troubling question I am now explicating:

How does one study a priori conceptions which, by definition, are fundamental to and lie beyond the [standard] rules of inquiry of any particular discipline [of knowledge, and knowing, and understanding]? (p. xxi)

I chose to assume “fear” (and ‘fear’) as already embedded in a black box of a prior phenomenon/conceptions and no one discipline or even a couple disciplines could unravel the hidden subtle nature of fear (‘fear’). To be playful, I enlisted a neologism of “fearology” to act as a transdisciplinary approach to the topic. However, there was more I had to deal with in Markley & Harman (1982) and what they called “bricolage thinking” – and my attempt to:

....discern fundamental and usually unrecognized influences on our societal problems, on our social policies, and on our hopes [aspirations] for the future....our aim is to break out of set patterns of thinking (and hence recognize useful new ways of thinking and imaging” (p. xxi)

More specifically, my nascent methodological rationale was built upon both a defence against, and an offense for, a better knowledge about fear (‘fear’) that was already socially embedded in culture—which I soon would discover other scholars talking about how near everything today is embedded in a “culture of fear” (which by 2000, I talked about as a ‘Fear’ Matrix and/or a decade before that, I talked about a largely invisible ubiquitous form of oppression called “fearism”). I felt intuitively, and theorized from my reading, research and phenomenological experiences, that fear was already ‘hooked’ into living inside a black box that for many good reasons could not be opened or if it was it might yield more than the investigator could handle anyways (e.g., you may note the analogy here with the myths of Pandora’s Box, Icarus, Prometheus from ancient Greek as ‘warnings’ to human hubris—likewise, in psychoanalytical theory and practice there is the cautionary of any inquiry into the unconscious).

The invocation from the start of my study of fear to be in search of “fearlessness” was not by chance, albeit, I knew little of what complexity and black box I would bump into as well on this latter subject. In a nutshell, I assumed (sometimes concluded) that the deep territory of fear was an a prior social taboo (and ‘fear’ was even more elusive, denied, repressed and dangerous territory). All fear is a priori social—social fear (i.e., we humans are sociophobic,[18] in other words, and I do not just mean this term like contemporary clinical psychiatrists would use it—as “fear of the social”—although, in part that is applicable too). Thus, I had stumbled in my early years in and around this troubling situation of the social sphere and how much or how little to let it into my investigations of fear. It seems that transdisciplinary study pushes one into creative synthesis of methodologies and multiple ways of knowing, and asks us to be not overly disciplined in trying too hard to control your subject and tools of inquiry....

[to be continued....]

References

Dubos, R. (1970). Reason awake: Science for man. Columbia University Press.

Fisher, R. M. (1995a/12). An introduction to defining ‘fear’: A spectrum approach. Technical Paper No. 1. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

Fisher, R. M. (1995b/12). An  introduction to an epistemology of ‘fear’: A fearlessness paradigm. Technical Paper No. 2. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

Kuhn, T. (1962/96). The structure of scientific revolutions. [3rd. ed.] The University of Chicago Press.

Markley, O. W., & Harman, W. W. (1982). Changing images of man. Pergamon Press.

McIntosh, S. (2007). Integral consciousness and the future of evolution: How the integral worldview is transforming politics, culture and spirituality. Paragon House.

Odum, E. P. (1972). Fundamentals of ecology [3rd ed.]. W. B. Saunders.

Scruton, D. L. (Ed.) (1986). Sociophobics:  The anthropology of fear. Westview Press.

Wilber, K. (1998). The marriage of sense and soul: Integrating science and religion. Random House.

Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology and spirituality: The spirit in evolution [Vol. 1]. Shambhala.

 

END NOTES

[1] Cf. to Skoll (2010) “Social theory of fear: Terror, torture, and death in a post-capitalist world.”

[2] Overtly, I co-founded the In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989-) for this work, more implicitly this is a fearanalysis I am doing on the entire phenomenon of humans and fear and life. I have several short publications on "fearanalysis" but the book on this is still to be finalized and published (with the first draft of "An Introduction to Fearanalysis" still sitting on my shelf from 2016). 

[3] Dubos (1970), p. 229.

[4] Quote from Dunn (1971), cited in Markley & Harman (1982), p. 156.

[5] Ibid., p. 157.

[6] Ibid., p. 219.

[7] “[M]any scientists are more interested in the advancement of [scientific] knowledge, than in its possession [by non-scientists]” (Dubos, 1970, p. 209).

[8] Ibid., Chapter 5.

[9] Ibid., p. 215.

[10] Ibid., pp. 217-18, 219.

[11] Ibid. p. 220.

[12] “Rapid and profound shifts of emphasis [on what and how things are studied scientifically] have repeatedly occurred in the scientific community, in part because fashions change in science even more than in other types of endeavors, also because social [and economic] concerns inevitably affect intellectual preoccupation” (Dubos, 1970, p. 217); see also Kuhn (1970).

[13] Ibid., p. 207.

[14] Wilber (1998).

[15] One could make a massive long list of ‘integral’ thinkers going back to ancient times; they are the ‘renaissance’ types that integrated vast domains of different spheres of knowledge, arts, sciences, religion etc. More recently, in philosophy, one can identify several thinkers and lines within philosophy itself that have the qualities of the holistic-integral thinker (and/or “integral consciousness” and/or “integral worldview,” according to McIntosh (2007) some recognizable leaders of this integral movement are Georg Hegel, Henri Bergson, James Mark Baldwin, Teilhard de Chardin, Alfred North Whitehead, Jean Gebser, Jürgen Habermas, Ken Wilber (pp. 151-54).

[16] Odum (1971) refers to this (after G. E. Hutchinson’s notion) ‘black box’ conception as hololgical (p. 22) and which refers to complex systems that one can only study by realizing the “internal workings...are but vaguely known” (and may not be known) (p. 105).

[17] Fisher (1995a, 1995b).

[18] It is not by chance the first major initiative (I know of) in academic work to bring “fear” study out from under the umbrella of the hegemonic dominating grips of the biomedical and psychological fields (i.e., Natural sphere), into the Cultural (social) sphere—via anthropology/sociology/social psychology was called sociophobics (Scruton, 1986). The Spiritual (religious, theological) sphere, including much of philosophy also had taken on “fear” study but that is beyond the scope of the discussion here.

Read more…

Fear Studies and Trauma Studies Link

5250879675?profile=RESIZE_584x

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hATcs4Zpdqo to watch Thomas Hubl and Otto Sharmer in recent dialogue... 

I have always taught that the significant area of Fear Studies (include 'fear' studies) has to be linked to evolutionary theory, defense psychology theory (e.g., Freud's defense mechanisms, and Ernest Becker's views as well, as found in Terror Management Theory)--but my teaching has always been that why "fear" is so important (and often toxic) is because of humans being "hurt" (i.e., traumatized and not yet healed from past hurts). Hubl puts forward his 3 "Forces" (or "drives") in his own evolutionary theory of transformation, with the last one "trauma" being critically important, if not the most important to understand better than we usually do.  

 

Read more…

4620940281?profile=RESIZE_584x

 

Dr. Bruck Liption, a cell-biologist and spiritual philosopher, offers his latest 10 min. video on the coronavirus (Covid-19) 'flu' problem in the world right now and he has strong statements about the nature and role of fear in this pandemic and quarantine. The first few minutes of the video he teaches about the immunological perspective. 

"Fear" is the "biggest problem" in terms of where this virus pandemic is, is going, and will continue to go. That's his view. I tend to agree. I have always respected Lipton's research and teachings going back into the early 1990s and he has always had interesting theories about "fear"... that said, I do not agree with everything he says. I'll leave it up to readers of the FM ning to discuss this and/or ask me about my critiques, at this point. 

Lipton starts the video off with "Stop the fear, take care of yourself." -- and, of course, that can mean a whole lot of things, including, how do we best define what fear is, and what if we do not know completely what it is and there are unconscious fear aspects that are affecting everything as well related to Covid-19 reactionary actions (?)... Lipton assumes we already know everything we need to know about fear, and he does his "scientist" thing in the video ... 

Read more…

Quarantine Quiz 1: Fear Management Systems

During this rather global "lock down" to slow the spread of coronavirus, I have been producing some 21st century-appropriate, crisis-learning appropriate, fearlessness curriculum materials for your study (and perhaps, pleasure) in any extra time you and your friends may have on your 'home-time' for the next weeks... 

1. see my two short teaching videos setting a context for this crisis transition time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpIhhZYPlv8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PApUkTl5x-k

2. to stay critical in one's empowered self and thinking always in crisis times to avoid unconscious hypnotic learning see my brief sample of critique 

    https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/my-critique-of-desterno-s-coronavirus-advice

3. most exciting (ha ha)... see the diagram attached below that is a skeletal 'map' of my Fear Management Systems Theory (FMST) taken from my main teaching textbook The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education in the 21st Century (2010). As I know several of you have this book, and it is also (in part) available to search online https://www.amazon.ca/Worlds-Fearlessness-Teachings-Management-Education-ebook/dp/B009R6GES0/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%22World%27s+Fearlessness+Teachings%22&qid=1584459018&s=books&sr=1-1

4136580239?profile=RESIZE_710x

Your Quiz 1 is to take time to study this map (and research in the book itself) and answer these two basic questions as best you can: 

A. What is the predominating kind of FMS (Fear Management System), according to my theory, that is operating today all over the world regarding the management of fear (I am especially thinking of the so-called First World developed nations)? [hint: numbers 0 to 9 on the map are labels for the FMSs)

B. Give a rationale (why) for your selection for predominant FMS utilized generally (and, what is the second most predominant one as well, and give your rationale)? 

 

 

Okay, have fun, and post your answers up on the FM ning... and/or send to me directly r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com 

Also feel free to ask more questions of me and all others in our FM ning community. 

Take care, and keep learning... 

-M.  

 

 

Read more…

3770518069?profile=RESIZE_710x

--------------------------

The above chart is particularly of interest to transhumanists who belive in change dynamics and evolution endlessly moving on into dimensions that 'stretch' (include but transcend) the very nature of humans, human nature, and humanity itself and what we call "life" (and Life) itself. Often mathematical paradigms, computational paradigms and good ol' creative extremism is brought into this mixture of futuristic and hybridizational thinking-- that is "transhumanism"-- as both vision, ideas, perhaps even ideologies. But those controversies I'll leave for others to discuss. I just read parts of an edited book by Lee, N. (2019). The Transhumanism Handbook. Springer. [charts from p. 760 by Selariu]

Very serious writers, thinkers, innovators and some 'mutants' in the current normal pool of psycho-cultural-sociological happenings. I looked up "fear" and was curious what positive transformational people were thinking in this book. I find it interesting. I would have liked to see a lot more on "fear" as a topic but I found this diagram of particular usefulness to my work and I think anyone ought to pay attention to this in the domain of Fear Studies, fearism, fearology etc. In particular look at the major factors on the left-side charts of what most limits the macroevolution of systems in an Intelligent (Information-driven) universe-- and, yes, I agree with this side for sure-- all of the aspects there are crucial and "culture of fear" (i.e., a human, humanity defined by pain/fear/reactions and neuro-sociological pressures to conform to that base structural brain-system of "survival" above all else)-- are top of the list. I am not at all surprised this is being critiqued, as well it should, by some transhumanists. Yeah!!!! 

Indeed, my whole domain of work is about re-imagining and transcending the 'Fear' Project... now, that's a long story and theory and ends with a promotion of a (perhaps mutational) idea of a new Fearlessness Psychology just read to be born in this living world here on Earth-- and the sooner the better! 

Read more…

In Search of Fearlessness itself is a very intriguing phrase, which has spiritual (theological), mindful (philosophical) and historical import for humanity, as well as more practical psychosocial, cultural, and political and economic implications. I wish to begin a series of FM blogs on this topic with emphasis on the "research institute" of this name and its publishing and educational role of liberation. I am inspired to write this out and share it because most people in the Fearlessness Movement (and beyond) have no idea what my main project has been in this form of a research institute "In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute" (founded by me in 1991 and still going). A few years later, with my partner Barbara Bickel we led the non-profit organization (and eventual official "society") called "In Search of Fearlessness Centre & Research Institute" combination which had two physical centre spaces in the city of Calgary, AB, Canada (between 1991-1999). That's a much longer story, of which some of that history will unfold in this blog series and some of it is documented in various places on the Internet and in my publications if you do any searching. 

The Generic Phrase: "In Search of Fearlessness"

My own prophetic vision for the use of this phrase came in late 1989 while going to university and getting involved with a woman, all of which is very intense and explosive in terms of my discovering deeper layers (mystical aspects) of "love" with another like never before in my life-time. I was 37 years old when the term and project "In Search of Fearlessness" appeared to me as my life purpose and my partner at the time agreed but she quickly bailed out of it all and the relationship ended by mid-1990. I kept at the helm to lead the ISOF Project (for short). Later, I would search the Internet and other places to see if anyone else was or has used this phrase. I found very little. Osho, a mystic from the East who came West and had a big impact in the E-W spiritual integration of the 1980s-90s etc. had used this phrase, which I find interesting and yet I am curious exactly what he meant by it and what his followers thought of it as well. But that's another research project to figure out, which I will not do here. But it is clear such a phrase has not taken off with anyone to any extent except myself. 

What does it mean? Well "in search of fearlessness" means many things and it all depends on how you define fear and fearlessness for one. That's extremely complex the more you get into it, especially that is the case in my own transdisciplinary investigation of these phenomena and their interrelationship. Let's start with the criticism I have received over the years since declaring publicly ISOF and attempting to develop it into a viable community, organization, research vehiicle and place of practices for liberation. Most people, or many at least, thought it was too weak and not inspiring. They believed and judged "in search of" gives the project and name a kind of nebulous unknown with no fixed and certain vision of the end goal, the promise, the reward. I was accused of being a "wandering jew" by one person and probably others with Christian faith commitments have thought the same. There was no "god" or "goddess" either that was the ultimate leader of ISOF and of its principles and practices. They couldn't trust such nebulous unknowns and that one is always seemingly in this ISOF Project always "searching" and never satisfied or redeemed or enlightened. I thought that was then, and still now, very telling of the kinds of people and their developmental evolution of consciousness, more than it was an accurate statement about ISOF Project. Reality is, they had their criticisms about this weakness, if not folly, and yet understood very little because they were largely uncurious about the nature of the ISOF Project--for they sure did not talk to me about it, they merely preferred their speculative judgments from afar with little good information or dialogue. That tells me they are afraid to really know. They want their secure fixed already known safety and security in their belief systems and their faith practices etc. They want their promise of good reward. 

In Search of Fearlessness as I articulated it was a movement from Fear to Fearlessness in an overall evolutionary developmental process. But it was a process-focused way of getting to liberation (or enlightenment or to 'heaven' if some prefer that term). Process-focused means there is always an emergent learning in and with the unknown and mystery of life/risk/death dynamics and no guaranteed outcome. One requires a larger scope and depth of understanding that the process of existence is such a variable and sometimes nebulous magnanamity that there is no way to fix and control and reduce it down to the guaranteed result one wishes for as ideal. ISOF can be an ideal way or path of life, a journey, but the ideal is not worshipped nor even fully known. I made the case early in this that "in search" keeps us humble before the ideals so that we don't let our fear of not getting to the ideal become such a big motivator that it distorts the path and the very qualities of the ideal (e.g., God or Perfection, Absolute). Most people don't have the emotional or existential capacities developed to adopt and stay with this "path of fearlessness." That is a socialization and educational problem of the modern era, which is another longer story I write and teach about in many places you can look up. 

One practical example I can give of the necessity and demand of the "in search" commitment to ISOF is to be an inveterate learner (researcher) of the highest calibre in that you are endlessly pursuing information, knowledge, knowing and understanding, from one level of superficial to a deeper level of integration of wisdom and compassion, then pursue the search to learn again as much as you can about fear and fearlessness (as central topics)--and, then again pursuing the moving from a deeper level to an even yet deeper level of integration--potentially endlessly to one's death. For many, I found, they are not used to such disciplined learning and process-focused work in their growth and in their drive to find safety and security in existence, and they short-cut their way, by-passing their way, to find a quick fix solution to their fear, without really understanding fear (and fearlessness) very deeply at all. They die mostly in this shallow state of understanding and it is a loss I see because of its short-cut path to true liberation. 

Of course, a whole set of lectures could be developed on what is liberation? That's another topic beyond what this blog is dealing with. The path of fearlessness, the ISOF Project are designed with a good deal of study I have made of liberation, and that is a critical integral perspective on liberation and not just some individualized psychospiritual liberation that I am referring to within the ISOF context. Liberation work is very complex and so far the world has made overall very little progress in my view and seems actually to resist liberation at the same time the instinctual impulse of the universe is liberation. Maybe, this is the point the brilliant psychoanalyst Erich Fromm was getting at with seeing the deep irony in the human condition where people en mass are controlled by others (dominating) because people are in "fear of freedom" (i.e., liberation). ISOF is the way to explore and understand and undermine that fear of freedom, you could say, which is based on fear of fear itself and so on. Learning what the spirit of fearlessness is and being open to learn more about it, same with fear, brings a whole new level (paradigm) to our quest for freedom, liberation, enlightenment, call it what you will. And, yes, you could say "Love" is the final goal, at least, a love purified (more or less) from the fear-based motivations that so quickly undermine love (and compassion). 

Brief HISTORY of In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute

Since the moment of my own 'awakening' to the ISOF Project, and giving this name, I feel I have been guided by spirit to enact this in my life-time on this planet. No one is paying me a salary to do this. It is service, in serving as best I can the liberation work of which fearlessness is the great principle and path. After just over a year of working and living this path in relationship in the real world, and feeling all the resistance and betrayal and despair that goes with it, my personhood was transformed and more clarity came about the need for a real space and vehicle to perform the service. The Research Institute (1991-) was my newest way to go and it has been with me ever since to this day. It shows that In Search of Fearlessness is not just about individual personal growth and development and success. So many others in the Human Potential and New Age Movements of my time were into this individualizing liberation which I saw as a flaw and still do. It is corrupted for many reasons but that's a longer critique and story you can find in my other writing and teaching. Research Institute I take very seriously because I knew we had to research this new paradigm of fearlessness (today, I call it a "fearlessness psychology") based on theories and practices adopted and tried out for real. Then making corrections and keeping track of our findings, and publishing and educating on this so it could be effective. It was a great idea I still believe in but without funding it won't go anywhere fast and it hasn't done so. I have never figured out how to inspire people overall to donate (gift) to this cause, and to the very gift of fearlessness tradition which is found in the ancient Eastern wisdom and religious traditions. In the Western world where I live, this notion is rejected and fearlessness is often vilified as being pathological and dangerous to people and societies in general. I find that very oppressive and not very wise of the Western world to have been so ignore-ant of the Eastern roots of fearlessness. 

In 1991 my partner Barbara Bickel came on board and her and I formed a non-profit Canadian publishing company "In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute" and have used that to publish several small books and booklets over the years with our own ISSN library catalogue numbers. We've pretty much stopped that in the last several years but ISOF Research Institute continues to publish my technical papers series and the journal I just founded (International Journal of Fear Studies). I am looking at finding a space again to start up the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute (and Centre) but without funding it is hard to grow anything. I see that such a Research Institute can provide many things for the public in support of them reaching their potential but also being wise and compassionate, and this is all especially important in the coming crisis years we face as humanity (including near social collapse if not extinction on mass scale). Emotional resiliency as one example, is now getting more attention in the mental health sectors, but basically it is a way of managing "fear" (emotional anxiety, panic, etc.). I would like to promote the ISOF Research Institute as offering a much deeper approach to emotional resilience, as I argue "fear" ('fear') cannot be reduced to only an emotion as these clinical psychologists tend to do. They will only address symptoms, whereas ISOFRI will address much deeper causes--and set us back (potentially) on the course of liberation (via the path of fearlessness) from which we have long strayed as nations and peoples. 

Okay, that's enough for this very beginning bit of history and clarification of ISOFRI and I trust you will find it useful in your own navigation of what liberation could mean. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information and make Comments on this blog as well, so others can engage a dialogue with you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more…

Who Legitimately Can Call Who Fearful?

I've always been interested in the question: Who legitimately can call who fearful? What I mean is, who is qualified to do so? Who is allowed to by the other person (or by society) that is so being labeled "fearful"? And who of course is actually fearful? Are they admitting they are fearful or are they covering the fear up with bravado (for e.g.,)? Is the one labeling the other fearful, actually the fearful themselves and only projecting fear onto another? Is only a 'transcendent other' the 'one' to truly know the fear in the human soul(s)... and resolve it? The questions grow... like weeds... but I think they have philosophical, sociological, psychological and political merit. As a society we ought to reflect on these questions and others like them.

I'm concerned we don't talk about fear enough for the challenging times we live in. I'm concerned we remain largely unconscious of the great "force" of fear to influence us. And, thus, you can see I am an advocate for feartalking and fear management/education, and fearology and so on. 

I recently was in a conflict with an acquaintance who was insistent I listen to a set of videos on 'end of the world' scenarios via extreme climate change. This is a growing topic in our world, at least in the West. I said, I won't likely get to them because I have interest in other topics rather than the science of climate change. This person became incensed and bullying in response and tried to find ways to intimidate, make me feel guilty, etc. for not doing what he wanted me to do. Now, this was not an adolescent or a three year old child of mine, it was a 45+ yr old man and a very intelligent and sensitive and aware man. What was going on? I snooped out it was his fear (and fearfulness around survival of the end of the world) that was pressing on me to be informed of what he was informed on that he thought was so important to survival. I guess, in the moment I wasn't concerned about survival and the future that much. I'm more interested in other aspects of extreme climate change, like the perceptions and psychology of such events and realities. That greatly interests me. 

So, under pressure of his personal attacks on me for not cooperating with his desires for me to watch these videos, I told him bluntly, but respectfully, I heard his concern, and I wasn't ignoring it but I was more concerned with the way he was approach me and trying to get me to do it. I told him he was using fear tactics to teach, if not convert, me. This raised the level of his anger and he denied he was doing so. 

I suppose it was very hard for him to hear my message of communication, that both he wasn't effective in his communication and he was using fear tactics and that cannot be a way to wisdom. His rage went on and on and many many emails he sent. I stopped reading them. He was unloading a whole lot of distress. I told him so. He again, resented my view because it felt like a judgement upon him. Was I judging him because I said he was using fear tactics? Which, in a way I suppose I was but I wasn't trying to make him into a horrible person necessarily at all. I just was standing up for what I believe is unethical (or just not effective)--that is, to use fear tactics, some call fearmongering to make your point and to try to change people to your view. 

This all was hurtful to me and disappointing this person would treat me so disrespectfully--he treated me suddently from friend to enemy. No doubt many of you know this experience I am talking about. It felt like the 45 year old person became a young angry adolescent quite irrational--that is, fear-based in their relationship with me, rather than connecting and respectful--even if we had our differences. This is a common problem in our world. People disrespecting people with differences and for having a right to be different and to not be coerced or threatened to change. 

Anyways, I'm most intrigued by my calling him out and labeling his approach to communication as a "fear tactic." I was saying he is using fear implicitly because he is fearful. Why else would he be so insistent and stubborn and disrespectful to my free choice to do as I saw fit? Fear has to be ruling that kind of behavior, so I surmised, and I do believe this is the case as well. One could go into the theory behind my thinking, and some evidence perhaps from knowledges available but that is not what I want to do here in this blog. I merely want to have readers think about this in terms of why did this person, knowing I was a fear expert for 30 years, not want me making my observation of his fear tactic? It seems he couldn't stand it that I was discerning something he didn't see or feel? Did he not feel fear in himself when I refused to follow his orders of insistence to watch the videos he sent to me? Perhaps not, perhaps he was quite unconscious of his feelings and only trying to correct my behavior with his behavior of writing all the disrespectful emails. Later, he did apologize for trying to "force" me. 

Point being, what is more important is that he would not trust or respect all my knowledge and experience with fear and thus when I labeled it onto his activity in a particular way he rejected it completely and more or less threw back comments to try to make me fearful of his vengeance and power etc. He tried to say I was fearful to not watch these videos. I did wonder if that was true of myself? I had bits of doubt. Then it took time to get over my hurt and fears of his abusive language toward me and find out that no I was not avoiding anything, I was merely chosing a different priority of where I put my time and energy than he would. 

This person is like so many I have met, and often when in conflict--I will say, if I sense it, "you're coming from fear" or you seem to "be afraid" etc. Most people resent me saying that, no matter how soft I deliver that message or observation. I guess they don't like me interpreting them. I am not saying I am highly skilled in effective communication around this touchy issue. I have lots to learn so I can be more effective. But nonetheless, I keep doing it and will because I think it is so important as part of my teaching to point out fear and its mis-uses on others (and/or on me). I see people hate being called out on it. 

They fear being seen through--seeing their fear when they don't even seem to see or feel it. They are fearful and won't admit it. They attack me or others you label the fear in them and their actions. The attack is meant to transfer the unacknowledged fear in them onto me (or another target who names the fear). They attack the messenger, in that sense. 

Yes, very very common and very destructive this dynamic is. It is like they don't give persmission to me (or others) to so name their fear, except maybe they would do so if the person was someone they trusted a lot or was a clinical psychologist for example. Maybe. 

I wonder about this phenomenon of legitimacy to call out fear when it is there. Of course, maybe I was 'wrong' in my interpretation. That's possible. But I trust my skills in detecting fear. Anyways, it's a problem that won't go away and I have lost good friendships with many people over this issue of my naming fear when I see it in them. 

Another e.g., comes when I am not with someone I know per se in person. They are not a friend or colleague in my close connections, but I may still want to point out and name the fear I see in them, and feel they are not acknowledging, and/or feel they are abusing fear against others--e.g., in fearmongering. This is what I have done with the famous Jordan Peterson. I have done a few youtube videos on his life and work from what I gathered studying him and his work [1]. He tends to come across in his lectures and interviews as very "brave" or "courageous" (some might call "fearless")--and, yet, I don't see him that way when I watch him and listen to him speak on videos. I don't get his fearlessness--he seems quite fearful and anxious.

Now, this is subtle. But recently a psychoanalyst in Holland pronounced that J. Peterson is quite an anxious and fearful person because he mainly is a traditionalist [2] and Peterson cannot stand loss of traditionalism (a lot of it anyways)--and thus, Peterson attacks the postmodern thinkers who are rejecting traditionalism. Long story. I have made a poster below to make my inquiry visible: 

3715227018?profile=RESIZE_710x

So, if you don't know, Peterson is a clinical psychologist himself, he does therapy with people, some 30+ year competent career, etc. So, why is he so fearful? Oh, but first, the question is: Do I have a right to call him a fearful person? Does Dr. Jan Derksen, from Holland, have a right to do so, even if he is a trained psychoanalyst? On and on it goes. Is the fear pathological, neurotic, or near-psychotic (at times)? Is Peterson in need of psychological treatment for his excess fear and use of fearmongering? Lots of questions could be asked. My point is, not to diminish him and his work. My purpose is to ask if I (or anyone, like Dr. Derksen) has a right to call out Peterson on his fear-based ways of approaching things in his communications? This is just like the question of my calling out my friend recently that he was using fear tactics to try to convert me in some manner. I resent such coercion and worst, it is unethical to use fear tactics or fear-based perceptions and thinking to try to change anyone. At least, that would be a working pivot point for further philosophical discussion. This blog is not the place for that. I just wanted to raise all these issues. 

Dr. Derksen, rightly I think, nails it down quite well in talking about how Peterson has become the icon (of one sort) today for defense of Tradition. Sure, I know he doesn't like everything about tradition, but he is one of its remaining advocates, and yes, he's a privilege white old male to boot--which makes many skeptical of his motivations. I say, his motivations are often quite fear-based in his defence of Tradition (and himself). That said, you can see my videos on him and his work for more nuance. But to close here, I'll give the explanation Dr. Derksen gives (interprets) re: Peterson, as Derksen is here discussing the deep roots of fear that are being raised rapidly in a society of "political correctness" around identity politics and how our culture and society and law are all grappling with the new emergence of identity politics and "difference" overall. Dr. Derksen says in the video: 

"... it shakes people, it pulls at their roots... then it gets more emotional than rational, so it's [identity] a topic that will stay with us for many years... the most important intellectual topic will be, are we culturally and politically [able] to manage that anxiety [fear] that rises out of the fact conservative principles [values] are being broken down. Is there enough leadership... to organize their emotions about that in a productive way?" 

The host of the panel came in and said: "I think for many he [Peterson] is seen as a manager of anxiety [himself, for much of the society, especially white young males]." Dr. Derksen said, "yes." At one point Derksen says (paraphrasing), that Peterson's best-selling book "12 Rules for Life" is not science it is religion, it is all about Peterson's preaching his gospel of Tradition in his own unique way as a clinical scientist/psychologist, but it is not justified in the field of clinical psychology itself it is something else Peterson is trying to accomplish. The philosopher on the panel says (paraphrasing) it is Peterson's 'new mythology' guide for especially those who have lost their way, lost their identity and pride in this postmodern world of multiple and complex identities and their conflicts. The question in the panel's mind, seems to me always implicit in its rightful questioning of just how 'healthy' is Peterson himself to be teaching this way to 'health'? I think we should ask that of any teacher, especially one who makes their living in the human services field and who trafficks in authoring self-help advice in videos, talks, books etc. How healthy is Peterson, or how fearful is Peterson? [3] These are important questions, and questions I ought to also have hurled at my own teaching and life.

So, all this comes around to the importance of fear (anxiety) management, individual to collective. Our challenging times require a tremendous up-grade of how we manage and will manage fear. My own estimate, is that Peterson doesnt' do a great job of it. Albeit, I say that knowing he's made millions of dollars on his approach to fear management (unfortunately). The discussions must continue to challenge even Peterson's approach just like my friend's approach-- we have to look at when fear-based means are used for good ends, for good teaching, for morals, etc. I am a great skeptic and will be until I see a fearlessness-based approach invoked. 

 

Notes: 

1. Go to: https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrVk.IRk89dvksA3BAXFwx.;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?p=youtube+r.+michael+fisher+and+jordan+peterson+and+fear&fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hspart=Lkry&hsimp=yhs-SF01#id=1&vid=c3e2964bb0e8876f8326dc648887b306&action=view

2. Go to youtube.com/watch?v=Y5LrxSKGW5Y for a great 2019 conversation on Jordan Peterson by a panel of scholars, including Dr. Derksen. Also see just how "fragile" (fearful, anxious, sensitized) Peterson is in recent times with this interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0P6H7cm0E4

3. I suspected from the first moment I watched Peterson in a lecture on video, from several years ago, his approach is very preacherly, he has a tone and style that reminds me of many preachers I have observed and how they are very fearful of many things (like "chaos") and are trying to teach as a way to manage this fear. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but fear used this way can accumulate and multiply and become 'fear' in a cultural discourse which is far beyond Peterson's personal fears. I don't think he truly understands what it is he is doing with his fear, and so my video (note 1) is precisely my challenging of him to be more aware, and likewise with his followers. The fact that it is public knowledge that Peterson has suffered with severe depression in his life off and on and has been taking certain meds to deal with his emotional problems, he has become addicted to the meds (apparently) and in coming off those meds he is struggling even more emotionally and one can see this at times in his recent interviews, it is very obvious he is 'on edge' and highly hurting and anxious and fearful just below his tough and sharp intellectuality (the latter, which so many people admire as his strength). 

 

 

Read more…

[RMF note:] Likely THE MOST COMMON assumption in looking at the “great divide” of ontology, epistemology and axiology in world history, especially in the historical era of documenting human behavior, is probably the divide between “materialist” vs. “spiritualist” worldview perspectives. Much of philosophy and theology has been particularly involved in this debate. In many ways each of us lives out this dynamic, more or less consciously, each and every day--influencing who we think we are and what is most important. It ought not be ignored today as still very complex and important in our growth and development processes.

More and more others (like Luke Barnesmoore) are questioning the structure of that debate itself and re-visioning a more useful, and arguably more “nasty” debate that we ought to be having in terms of going from an ‘old story’ to a ‘new story’ of human reclamation and re-building a ‘new’ society that is truly sustainable. Barnesmoore, over several years of his graduate work on philosophy intersecting with geography and his own contemplative experiential journey of discoveries has synthesized a somewhat coherent way to categorize the distinction he thinks is crucial to the future of our species and to guide the necessary changes in our worldviews that then will help change our behaviors individually and collectively. I think there is much merit to his work, and, most particular I am interested in his adoption of the “Fearlessness” and “Fear” distinction(s) he often makes, which are evident below:

 “The Natural Worldview: 1. The order of (human) nature is inherently good. 2. Natural order as the basis for virtue and wisdom. 3. Order through emulation of natural order. 4. Power with. 5. Order through reciprocal collaboration between sun (breath, active, relatively masculine1516 [from the finite human perspective], pollen, sperm, mind, etc.) and moon (blood, latent, relatively feminine [from the finite human perspective], flower, egg, emotion, etc.). 6. Rooted in being. 7. Deliverance through return to natural order. 8. Fearlessness (love) as guiding principle of action. (Four Arrows)

 The Artificial Worldview: 1. The order of (Human) nature is inherently evil (sic. fallen). 2. Natural order as the barrier to virtue and wisdom. 3. Order through domination (sic. ‘improvement’, ‘completion’, ‘destruction’, etc.) of natural order. 4. Power over. 5. Order through hierarchical domination of moon17 (blood, latent, feminine, emotion, etc.) by sun (breath, active, masculine, mind, etc.). 6. Rooted in privation of being. 7. Deliverance through conquest and colonization (Warrior 1989) of the ‘other’ (sic. the natural, the feminine, the heart, etc.). 8. Fear as guiding principle of action. (Fisher and Barnesmoore 2018)”

[Note: “Where the above tables attempt to differentiate between the Artificial-Domineering Worldview that extends back through the history of hierarchical civilization and the Natural-Indigenous Worldview so as to illustrate that the essential worldview divide is not along the line of spiritual-materialistic but along the line of whether order is to be manufactured through hierarchical domination (the Colonial Modernist materialism that rose out of the hierarchical domination side of this essential worldview divide has surely increased the stratification between the natural and indigenous worldviews, but this was not the original divide)...” (Barnesmoore, p. 18-19).]

 Reference Cited:  Fisher, R. M., & Barnesmoore L. 2018, “Hierarchical security: Problem of fear of the Eternal”, In R. Michael Fisher, D. Subba & B. M. Kumar, Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism, Australia: Xlibris.

 Title: Nomadic Explorations V1: Essays in the Craft, by Luke R. Barnesmoore Founder/Co-Director, UBC Urban Studies Lab Founder/Executive Director, Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies PhD Student, UBC Department of Geography. This V1 is available at: 

https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/57779865/Nomadic_Explorations_V1_Essays_in_the_Craft.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DNomadic_Explorations_V1_Essays_in_the_Cr.pdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A%2F20191107%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20191107T215337Z&X-Amz-Expires=3600&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=64a472259c0af3a39f69f9b70efc433ea2b1d7796b639ca879629c1167b9ffbd

 

Read more…

New Podcast Interview: Sotiris M. and RMF

The following 1 hr interview podcast hosted by Sotiris Makrygiannis takes listeners through a philosophical tour of R. Michael Fisher's work on fear, fearism, fearlessness. 

https://soundcloud.com/sotiris-makrygiannis/the-marshal-michael-fisher

Abstract: A casual discussion around the philosophy and epistemology of Fearism. Together with M. Fisher we covered his multiple books, ways to promote books and also a philosophical branch that is inspired by the Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Hope you enjoy a friendly chat turned into a podcast.  - S.M.

Read more…