fear (77)

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Fearism Philosopher-- B. Maria Kumar (India). 

It has been my pleasure over three years ago to meet Mr. Kumar, an FM ning member for several years. He has a fascinating background, as public servant (police officer) and author of a number of books, amongst other things. His dedication to life-long learning is admirable. Currently he and I are working on a book Resistances to Fearlessness: A Philosophy of Fearism Perspective. This will be my 3rd book working with him as a co-author [1] 

This FM blog is a very brief celebration of his thinking and contribution to the philosophy of fear(ism) and fearlessness. He recently sent me some free-writing thoughts he has about "Fearlessness as/is Beautiful" for one of the Parts of our new book. I am so impressed with his opening paragraph, containing 11 intriguing questions. I felt it important to share this with the FM community and encourage you to use these questions as prompts for your own thoughts; feel free to Comment below on this blog and dialogue with us all, and I'm sure Mr. Kumar will also join in depending on the interest around these 11 questions. 

"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. That's why when Socrates commented on beauty, he implied it had 'a short lived reign.' While for Keats, on the other hand, accorded eternality to it, saying, 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever.' 

How can we say that fearlessness is beautiful? Nobody likely adores fear and so fear is considered ugly. However, if our thoughts are cleared of fear, our fearless mind naturally enjoys watching the sunrise without a feeling of mental block or doubt or predicament.

If mind is unrestricted, can we say whether it is beautiful? Or is it beautiful simply because it fascilitates unbridled freedom? Does it mean that fear is unwanted and freedom is most sought after? 

Will mind be beautiful if it is not restricted and at the same time not agitated? Does it also mean that absolute liberty, which is the manifestation of unrestricted freedoms of people in the society is also beautiful? Doesn't one's absolute liberty affect the other individual's rightful freedom adversely? In that case, does society or individual want fear to exist to a certain extent in order to keep the things in order or under control, so is not fear, up to some limit, also beautiful? 

Does it imply that total fearlessness without fear at all is also not beautiful? Does it mean that only some degree of fearlessness is beautiful and not extreme fearlessness to the inconvenience of others? 

Lastly, can we deduce that both fear and fearlessness are beautiful in proportions as beauty is also seen in terms of proportions and symmetries?" 

*****

I am quite sure from my research, no other thinker has so intimately questioned the relationship of fear/fearlessness and beauty in the historical literatures around the globe and through time. Kudos to Mr. Kumar. 

Notes: 

1. Kumar, B. M., Fisher, R. M. & Subba, D. (2019). India, a Nation of Fear & Prejudice. Xlibris; Fisher, R. M., Subba, D. & Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism. Xlibris. 

 

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Four Arrows' New Book on Sitting Bull's Words

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The above images are from Four Arrows' 2021 book (cover, and p. 15), published by DiO.

I wanted to give you a sample. Four Arrows and I have known each other (mostly online) since 2007. He is a scholar in Indigenous leadership and education and a Lakota initiated member. What is most important in this new little book, I highly recommend, is the simplicity of his presenting a very complicated theory of fearlessness he has been developing for over 35 years. I won't say more, but to encourage you to check out his work from many other publications as well. I have written several FM nings on and around his work and his CAT-FAW/N model. So, you can search on the FM ning (upper right search box) to find those... 

 

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Transmuting Fear in Conflictual Times

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Lee Harris - spiritual teacher/artist at "The Portal" (LeeHarrisEnergy)... is someone I just listened to for the first time on Youtube... a talk called "Transmuting Fear in Times of Division" (Jan. 28, 2021). I thought it was a well-grounded and wise presentation. Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efuqWJkQe3c

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This is a screen shot of my Youtube teaching at one point in the 2nd video in a series on "Fear Education"

Based on several people (mostly men) sending me emails over the last year and prior, of their severe struggles with anxiety, depression and panic. Certainly, after a year of pandemic "lock down" and just where the world is going--it's a disturbing time for most anyone, IF we let ourselves really feel into reality. So, thought I could do a series of videos (maybe 1/wk) to give you specific coaching and teaching re: the path of fearlessness... and note, this is not a psychological approach so much as it is a philosophical approach... I talk a good deal about that distinction in the videos  -enjoy,  -M. 

p.s. the point also is that you may feel connected to something and someone during these rough times, and reach out and share your experiences, ask your questions, inquire with me and certain even better in co-inquire with the Fearlessness Movement ning community... check out the videos... you may Comment on my Youtube and/or here; I'll do my best to address and talk to everyone in some way... you also mail directly contact me via  r.michaelfisher [at] gmail.com

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This is my newest book! Fearlessness meets Fear!

It is ready to order now https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/73363 and will be released in the next week, if all goes well; also available from diverse book sellers (e.g., BrooklineAmazon). To introduce you to a bit of the inside of the book, here is one of the endorsements by Dr. Randall Auxier and the Table of Contents. I'll share bits more in the weeks ahead. THE BOOK is divided into three PARTS: (1) THE PHENOMENON, (2) THE CRITIQUE, and (3) THE LESSONS; a total of 358 pp.  [to talk with me: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com] also full brochure on book is MWPP Book Brochure.pdf

Also just created first video Intro on the book (focus on meaning behind the cover design): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4sYleZOf5g

BOOK REVIEWS

Marianne Williamson reached hundreds of thousands of people with her books, lectures, and workshops since her rise to prominence in the 1990s. Since declaring her bid for the Presidency of the US she has reached millions. Not all were eager listeners but many heard her enduring message. Dr. Fisher has made a case study of her "transformational" leadership, arguing (critically at times) that the key to her success was an ability to meet fear fearlessly. Why does her message resonate now in just the way it does? Why is there such tension between those who want to push her away, call her a flake, avoid the obvious and real spiritual implications of our present politics? 

And how can Williamson balance her other-worldly discipline with her transformational leadership? Dr. Fisher is probably the world's leading expert on the effects of fear and its antidotes, and here he takes an unflinching look at how fear has warped and twisted us, and how we can be transformed by such figures as Williamson. As he indicates, it is very important, at this moment, not only to understand what is happening, but to remember and document for the future what this moment was for those who lived it. Yet, there is more than memory in these pages. This is also about what kind of future we can hope for, in contrast to what we will get if we do not learn to face our fears, and face them down. 

Randall Auxier, Ph.D., author of Time, Will, and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce, Professor of Philosophy and Communication Studies, S. Illinois University Carbondale

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

Foreword by Rob Asghar

Preface

Introduction

Transformer for President(?): A Shocking Possibility

Politician or Not?

Book Overview

PART I- THE PHENOMENON

Chapter One: The Donald Trump Phenomenon

Trump and Talking About Fear: Coronavirus Epidemic

The Donald Trump Phenomenon

The New Age of Trumpism

Chapter Two: The Marianne Williamson Phenomenon

Contexts of Sensemaking

Williamson and Talking About Fear: Coronavirus Epidemic

Corona-Time: Do We Need an Epidemic of Williamson-style Love?

Four Major Aspects of the Marianne Williamson Phenomenon

    A. Inner Life and Mysticism

    B. Leadership (Theory/Style)

    C. Philosophy (and Theology)

    D. Therapy (and Metaphysician)

Chapter Three: A Spiritual (R)Evolution Enters Politics

Spiritual (R)Evolution

Move On: Your History Needs You! 

More Than 'Spiritual But Not Religious': A Course in Miracles

New Age/New Thought Movement

Marianne Williamson and New Social Movements: 50+ Branches

PART II- THE CRITIQUE

Chapter Four: Donald Trump as Bad or as Evil? 

Entering Fragilization as Discovery

Mirroring: Introduction of the Arch-Rivals

"You're Letting Evil In..."

Williamson's Theological View on "Evil"

'You're Letting In the Donald Trump Phenomenon'

The Twin Phenomenon: Shadow Projections

Chapter Five: Systems Thinking Correction: Transformation of I and We

Introduction: From Political Sphere to Entering Politics

Self-Correcting Systems: Mind/Nation

Paradise is Nice But There's More Story to Tell

PART III- THE LESSONS

Chapter Six: She's Missing 'The Right' Six Words

Never Short on Words

'I Want To Be President Of The United States'

Reflections: The Primaries Election Discontent

Chapter Seven: Some Lessons

Lesson Six: 'Waking Up'

Lesson Five: Tweet Mindfully or Not At All

Lesson Four: Boomeritis Handicap

Lesson Three: Love vs. Fear Thing

Lesson Two: "Faux Spirituality"

Lesson One: Playing Psychiatrist 

 

Index

 

****

 

 

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The following link, will guide you to my recent Dr. A. V., Varughese Memorial Lecture (2020) in Kerala, India

To listen to my lecture you best start the video at the 21:20 mark 

My talk is about ecocriticism as a newly emerging field in the last few decades, that involves literary criticism and ecology. I focus on a particular way I interpret this field and how it can better be holistic-integral in integrating the work on fear, fearism, and fearlessness. Fear as a vector in ecocriticism, and literary criticism, ought to take into account a term I coined in the talk, called Egocriticism. It is the combination of Ecocriticism and Egocriticism that I believe will be the better way to go in the future for truly critical analysis that really cuts through. The last 1/2 of the video is made up of questions from the audience and me answering them. 

-enjoy, 

M. 

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

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Join Steve Nation and I in a dialogue on FearTalk #11, part of a series of unique conversations about fear and a lot of other things. Steve is a life-long student of theosophy, and he collaborates in such a way to synergize with me during this spontanteous chat on Zoom. I think you may find it interesting, we cover a lot of topics, and lots of discussion about the United Nations, and other things...

Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8Id7lI6rM0

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"Fearology" Get's a Positive Mention

I'm pleased to see that an article came out recently, with a mention of "Fearology" and my work on this, in relation to the life of Marcus Garvey and Intergenerational Trauma" (by Philip Geoffrey). I've taken the relevant excerpt here:

intergenerational trauma is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in which first victims passed their trauma to their children through a series of problematic behaviors[1]. As Bezo notes, “Each generation seemed to kind of learn from the previous one, with survivors telling children, ‘Don’t trust others, don’t trust the world.[2]” These behaviors, rooted in fear of a reoccurrence of the initial trauma, if left unchecked, are often revealed in symptoms such as learned helplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, self-harm, and depression.

Fearology and the RIA Method

One of the most exciting developments in psychology has been in Fearology, a “transdisciplinary study of the interrelationship between fear and the human experience.[3]” The conceptual framework developed by R. Michael Fisher has been advanced by Dr. Mary Poffenroth, who, in a recent interview, outlined methods she has used to “teach people about how to create strategies around fear”: “The first step is just recognizing what's going on. And then the second step would be identifying it, kind of like ‘name it to claim it. And then the A is going to be to address. What kind of strategies do you need to manage outcomes for this?[4]

Now, fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Some have called fear a gift because it is survival-based[5]. However, the instinctive caution in a dangerous situation can become a liability when the threat is no longer present.

Marcus Garvey, who was never a fearful man, witnessed firsthand the effects of fear on his family and the debilitating effects that it had on them and worked hard to remove fear-based behaviors from his life. As he stated in Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, “FEAR is a state of nervousness fit for children and not men.[6]

[article is available at http://marcusandtheamazons.blogspot.com]

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[Note: I am glad fearology and my definition are given their due, but it is inaccurate to assume this is a "development in psychology" as my very definition of fearology is "transdisciplinary"--also, my conceptual framework has not "been advanced by Dr. Mary Poffenroth" actually, as she is using "fearology" but virtually totally within a biomedical and psychological conceptual and traditional disciplinary lens; as well, I do not support Garvey's definition of fear, for several reasons]

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I just received a message from Pooja Soni, a young author on consciousness, who has spent many years writing a very intense philosophical treatise (new theory) examining consciousness, development and yes, looks also at fear where necessary, in order to articulate the 'shaping' effect of fear experiences. Book is available: Pooja wrote to me: 
 
"Here is a recent interview of mine describing my book -  [and here is a recent FearTalk #10 Soni & Fisher in conversation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqif3--8L5c ]
 
The basic idea regarding emotions such as fear that I advocate in my book is that negative experiences or emotions are crucial for learning and development of an individual. 
Treating negative experiences in pessimistic terms exposes our obsessions regarding the idea of a perfect world, a world where you can control everything. 
Our fears and negative experiences define who we are as persons."
 
[Note: Pooja joined the FM ning years ago, and has a few posts which you can find if you do a Search in the upper right box on the FM ning home page] 
[see also a discussion Pooja and I had on their "Panexperientialist view of fear" on the FM ning a few years ago]
 
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There's a long story behind my finding this 4 pp. fold-out brochure in a medical library in New York City. It is the only evidence currently available on this group [1] that was apparently started under the guidance of the famous theosophists, Alice & Foster Bailey. Since 2006, when I found this brochure (which I made in color, aged, and adapted with a few excerpts here only using photoshop), I have been searching for answers to the mystery of where this group and The League 'disappeared' and why no traces. Currently, the fine folks at Lucis Trust, NY, are attempting to search into this. Curiously, no body in the current big American theosophical organizations has heard of this League but they do suspect the Bailey's were quite likely to have taken on initiating such a project. IF anyone has any leads to finding out more about this group, let me know: 

r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com

But besides that fascinating historical evidence, and a story yet told, I wanted to share the brochure today, it seems appropriate as just 5 days away from one of the most important elections ever in U.S. history. The level of tension, fear, dread, etc. is palpable. It's also in my dreams. And, so, I thought it would be good to share these words, ideas, and spirit of fearlessness from this group in 1931, of which North America was deep in the Depression and fear was rampant. If you haven't already picked-up the nuanced connection between The League's mission and my own via the In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and later, founding the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute (1991- )--and, the uncanny sense of a paralleling historical soul-based work that is wanting to go on in this world, it is so obvious to me--and yet, struggles of resistances to manifest this Project effectively are so powerful as well. To say it bluntly, there is no such project that has such a systematic well-thought out "program" to improve fear management and remove fear on the planet as a barrier to the evolution of consciousness. This is powerful beyond words. I wished, in retrospect, I would have found this brochure in 1989--boy, that would have made a big difference! But, that's the way it is. 

End Note

1. Just recently, I have attained a few documents on this group, I am reviewing, and will keep you posted with updates, if you let me know you are interested. 

 

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New Book Released: "Exotic Fearology"

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EXOTIC FEAROLOGY is a book which emerged with ample examples of fear study on the countenances of the people especially on the various airports during the beginning of the coronavirus spread from China to western world and different narratives as coronavirus, airports, seas and the author as in the meditative trance with the poetic voice of reality of eco-turbulence globally. The examples of traumatic sights of the visitors of the planes have been reflected in the co-writing with Dr. R. Michael Fisher and the author himself on the principle of what Fearology is and its implication to day to day life as experienced being in traumatic form. It has, of course, provided a new taste and knowledge for the readers so far.  -BSA

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Author of "Exotic Fearology" Bhawani Shankar Adhikari (Ph.D. candidate)

 

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"Fear is a disease": What Do You Think?

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Howard Thurman, author, Africanist, 'Black Power' theologian, mystic, activist during the Civil Rights Movement, was one who studied both W. religions and also visited the far East to study their religions, including the philosophy and social activism of Mahatma Gandhi. Thurman was the spiritual guide for most of the 'big' nonviolent Civil Rights leaders in the USA (including Martin Luther King Jr.). I was fascinated to learn in a recent talk on the internet that Thurman used the phrase "Fear is a disease" and closely linked to "hate"--and, it is one of the great enemies of the human potential and justice, love and compassion. 

So, I'm curious if you all would take a stab at sharing your own reflections here on this phrase by Thurman... (use the Comment fearture). 

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The spectre of 'The Communist Manifesto'

 
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Fear of a spectre is the beginning of whole communism. 1st sentence, in 'The Communist Manifesto' Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have written, "A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism (p.3)."
As a philosopher always comes
'Y' did they use the spectre word as a symbol? What is the genesis of the spectre ? They never and nowhere have given answer of genesis of the spectre.
Answer of question is fear and genesis of the spectre is given in genesis of meaning article.
What and whose fear was there in industrial revolution time?
There was fear of exploitation, oppression, torture and domination of bourgeois to proletariat. (It was hypothetical concept of authors)
 
To exorcise from the spectre, they encouraged to make many spectres (association, organization, union, London assembled) among them "Workingmen of all countries, unite! (p.30)" is the universal spectre.
 
Why did they begin manifesto from the spectre symbol. Why did not use other symbols? It is a reason, fear was with them because the spectre is the best synonym of the fear. It is always happening to the life of philosophy and philosopher. They first pick up a word or sentece then elaborate as much as they can. So, it is the first step of whole communism.
 
But they (Marx n Engels) charged all Europe, "All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre (p.3) pope and tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radiclas and German police-spies." in contrast, they entered themselves in many alliances.
 
The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie (p.11)
 
"Wage labor rests exclusively on competition between the labors." (p.13)
 
"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle." ( p.3)
We can see above three struggles. There is no class struggle but struggle in same profession.
Competition and fighting are a synonym of struggle. The struggle is always happening in the same profession (professor have struggle with professor), rarely happens to other professions. It is the reason, I say, "the History of all hitherto existing society is the History of fear struggle."
 
Marxism says, "before men do anything else, they must first produce the means of their subsistence. Everything else follows from the necessity to produce material means of our subsistence."
 
So, I (Philosophy of Fearism) say/s, "Existence of fear precedes essence." History of materialism has begun from the material of subsistence. Why subsistence was primary, was because they had a fear of death.
 
Note; It can be more described. I am trying to write in coming book 2021. It is some noted point from The Communist Manifesto.
 
Ref.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto, 1848
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This image comes from the documentary movie "Childhood 2.0" free to watch on Youtube--highly recommend. Any use of new technologies that 'hook' people into addictive relationships with social media are a definite empirical 'danger' to their mental health (levels of fear/anxiety depression) linked to self-esteem--and, in worst cases, the research shows social media for these young people especially is a major cause of suicide (deaths) and/or suicidal ideation. The graph above is a pretty clear indicator of the more social media forms that come available, the more fear is created in your people (due to violence online, in many forms)--and, then the results are no longer just speculation. 

As a fearologist, this kind of data, plus my own intuition, my own experiences with children and teens, etc., shows me that such young people (and it starts early in ages 7 onward for the most part) are incredibly sensitive to the fear of social rejection (or simply rating schemas that the social media designs have built-in to allow one to compare everyone with everyone very quickly and quantitatively, especially by the use of "Likes" measures, which are insidious devices which ought to be banned). But we all know the "tool" is not the problem, it is how we use it.

Families especially today have a major challenge to figure out how to keep connected between the generation gaps, teachers as well, and eventually we'll have to all admit (my request) we 'are scaring ourselves to death' by these computer technologies (especially use of social media) that create a cocktail for emotional disaster for young people. Ernest Becker, the great cultural anthropologist pretty much found in his research that "fear of death" and "self-esteem maintainance" are the 2 greatest motivators and shapers of human behavior. The nuance here is, fear of social death (i.e., exclusion, drop in status, etc.) is the greatest fear because it hits on the death fear and social fear and those hit on the self-esteem fear (loss)--and, a downward cycle results. The paradox is that parents generally believe the cell-phone, for e.g., is such a great "safety" device to keep kids secure, and so on; but real data like in the movie Childhood 2.0 shows that the online environment is more dangerous to the health of a young person than the outside world by a longshot. Check it out. 

The whole addiction cycle involved here--the addiction to security (and use of such devices 'in-hand' all the time like a milk bottle)--is creating the most frightened and depressed young people this world has ever seen en mass, no matter what culture, class, gender, etc. It is a ubiquitous Fear Problem at its base--and, thus, fearology has a lot to contribute to the analysis and solutions. 

 

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Dr. Faranda's New Book on Fear as Potent

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I haven't read this new book but will take a peek at it in the next while and make comments. You may also want to do so. Use the FM ning "Comment" feature here to create a discussion. NOTE: See "Comment" below this blog for my latest thoughts on reading some chapters on Faranda's book.

I've enclosed below the book publisher's description, note that I put in larger font a most interesting thesis Faranada makes about fear and the future. The book looks on first glance like an important contribution to the emerging sub-field called Feariatry (a la Subba & Fisher): 

#1 New Release in Evolutionary Psychology and Buddhism ─ Fear, Contemporary Society, and its Consequences

For anyone suffering from the global pandemic anxiety surrounding the new coronavirus, comes a long awaited exploration of one of the most powerful and primitive human emotions.

A history and culture of fear. Over the last five hundred years, life for the average human being has changed dramatically―plagues no longer wipe out entire families, and no longer do we empty our chamber pots into the street. But, progress in the West has shown that no matter how many dangers we neutralize, new ones emerge. Why? Because our level of fear remains constant.

Fear in contemporary society. For years, Dr. Frank Faranda studied a state of fearfulness in his patients―an evolutionary state that relentlessly drove them toward avoidance, alienation, hypercriticism, hyper-control, and eventually, depression and anxiety. He began to wonder what they were afraid of, and how embedded these fears might be in contemporary society. This book aims to break us free from what he found.

Fear not. Faranda’s Fear Paradox is simple―even though fear has a prime directive to keep us safe and comfortable, it has grown into the single greatest threat to humanity and collective survival. As a consequence, fear is embedded in our culture, creating new dangers and inciting isolation. With global pandemic disruptions and rising anxiety levels, now is the time to shine a light on our deepest fears and examine the society that fear is creating.

But fear not―inside, you’ll learn about:

  • The fear of pain and the fear of the unknown
  • How fear has driven progress in the West
  • The price paid to eradicate fear
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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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.

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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

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