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Youth Leadership & Fear: Greta Thunberg

 

Greta Thunberg, 16 year old protestor-leader on climate change (2019)- 

A (largely) youth (school) movement has begun with a young woman's protests on the inaction, what she calls all political movements have failed to stop the climate change crisis (re: global warming)... she is being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize... this is nothing to shrug off... I love hearing youth voices speak out with 'truth to power' that most adults are unable to attain, so it seems. It's political action like hers we have a lot to learn from. To ponder... 

In this speech she says to the world (especially economic leaders): "I don't want your hope.... I want you to panic .... I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday."  

Whoa! That's a quote I won't forget. And of course it is a claim about "fear" and contra "hope" (and a lot more)... this is philosophically and politically an important point to grasp and take in and then also critique... even Greta can learn from what she is speaking about... and, all of us as humanity, as Homo sapiens, as she likes to speak about need to reassess a lot of things we say as adults to youth, and say to them in this time of 'tipping point' cascading crisis on a planetary level. 

I invite Greta and her movement to join the Fearlessness Movement. For my own take on Greta, some months ago, I did a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMKKLXhSG9o

 

 

 

 

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New Video (35 min.)... where I describe how I am stepping up full of inspiration to enter "politics" (i.e., from the perspective of the political sphere, a holistic-integral approach)... 

Entitled: The Great Citizen: Future Process Politics & Learning

Video- Description

Dr. Fisher talks of how he is moving to make a commitment over the next 10 years to enter the political sphere and politics. He shares his experience professionally as a teacher and differentiates that from being an educator (especially, adult educator). He questions and critiques politics and political figures but also supports their differing pieces of the puzzle toward the making of a great citizen, great society, etc. What makes a process philosophy, thinking, person is explored, and he shows his intention to study the history of transformation in the last 100 years especially and how it is essential to understand what is transformation and its role in the political sphere and politics of which he mentions Marianne Williamson as an exemplar for a holistic-integral approach as she is currently running for President of the USA in 2020. Always asking: "What are we learning?" is key to his educational philosophy and thus "learning to learn" is both a meta-cognitive skill but also the basis for a great learner/citizen and it is essential to analyzing the problems and crises we face individually and collectively.

(action still from my video)... 

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Dr. Carl Leggo 

Part 0 

Dr. Carl Leggo joined the Fearlessness Movement ning (April 24, 2015) a week or so after I put out to a bunch of people on my birthday (April 18) I had started this FM ning in Jan. 2015--he was the 14th member to sign-up, and 5th academic to do so. He wrote one blog in 2018 on his favorite topic "love" and schools: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/carl-leggo-ruminating-on-love-and-schools

He is a significant Canadian educator-poet, departed from his physical form yesterday morning with lymphoma cancer, and an earlier death than one would like; as he had a lot of poetry left in him but his destiny and body were telling him another story, less poetic, less grand, less fun, and much less limiting than the cheers of the human potential movement and new age rhetorics that incessantly call out, and preach, as they do these days-- you can do anything, be anybody  (and, live young forever).... I don't think so! 

A memorium to Dr. Carl Leggo... mine, but there will be many from his 30 years teaching... so many students and colleagues that loved him and learned from and with him. Let me start spontaneously with my own initial memorium (perhaps, there will be more and some more formal, perhaps not)... I just want to riff here a bit: 

 

Part 1 

I met him first on UBC campus in his office, led by the contact given me by a professor who said, "You should meet Dr. Leggo?"; the meeting was all upon my initiative going to grad school in Adult Education (a masters) because I was looking for a supervisor for my thesis in the fall of 1998. Expecting good things, he turned me down and said he was already too busy, and he wasn't totally best fit, for what I was into--that is, the study of conflict and its influence in education and society in general. I was going to write a critique is all I knew. How we handled conflict in society I thought really stunk! He didn't disagree but it was not his cup of tea.

 

Part 2

Carl Leggo (1953-) Carl Leggo is an autobiographical poet who evokes his nostalgic childhood experiences growing up on the now non-existent Lynch’s Lane, Corner Brook. [Newfoundland, Canada].  Heavily influenced by fellow Corner Brook poet, Al Pittman, who Leggo first heard read in 1972, he, like Pittman, believes poetry should represent and narrate the experiences of people in a language that resonates with the heart’s memories. Born to Russell and Kerry Leggo, Leggo worked as a teacher in Newfoundland for nine years during the 1980s, teaching in Roberts’ Arm, Stephenville and Corner Brook. In 1990, he accepted a faculty position as Associate Professor in the Language Education Department at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches classes in communication, writing, education and narrative research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. [excerpt from http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/arts/carl-leggo.php]

 

Part 3

Not always to my liking (I have my critiques), Leggo was (still is) all about bringing "love" into curriculum and pedagogy and graduate research--and love of language into education and life, in the largest sense. A new book dedicated to him and his work was created by some UBC colleagues etc. and his favorite picks--all while he was in cancer treatment--and, just in case he didn't make it. They wanted to honor his years of contribution. I heard about this book from my partner Barbara Bickel, also a doctoral student of Carl's at one point. The new book title: 

Storying the World: The Contributions of Carl Leggo on Language and Poetry (Studies in Curriculum Theory Series). NY: Routledge, 2019.

 

Part 4

Leggo was my doctoral co-supervisor (with Karen Meyer) at UBC Education (2000-03). I remember he gave me the bad news I didn't get accepted into the program. I phoned back later and challenged that. I thought I was a perfect candidate. He rethought, and said, okay then. Years later, a fun memory of him asking me to take him to the UBC book store art section and help him buy a bunch of visual art supplies because he wanted to learn to use those materials more with his work and he was so inspired by my art and how I had turned my cubby-hole graduate student office into an art studio for my research. He apparently never did much with all the art supplies, but we had fun buying whatever without caution to how much things cost. That's an artists fantasy... 

 

Part 5

He was the second (and only seriously interested) academic in the field of Education to endorse and study my first major 'real' book The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21st Century (Lanham, MD: University Press of America/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010). He made sure UBC Education library had a copy for future teachers. 

 

Part 6

I kept up email correspondence with him for 15 years after I graduated from UBC. He usually always replied to the writing I was sending him, and always encouraged me. I eventually was angry enough to push him to do more than respond on emails and he decided to take on reading my 2010 book and then riff off from it and explore "Love" and "Fear" more specifically, which he did and published that in 2011 in a Canadian curriculum journal, the piece entitled: "Living Love: Confessions of a fearful teacher." (Leggo 2011 Confessions.pdf). I see he picked this article to include it in his last anthology book: "Storying the World"... There's nothing like a good confession, and I suppose I was looking for it from him all those years of corresponding. He admitted in this article two things: (a) my book was an important book for all educators to read and study, (b) thinking through much of what I was saying in that book impacted him to look more honestly... and, his long pursuit of love, he admits, was motivated mostly by fear, which he had not fully realized until he did this inquiry--which, for me was a collaboration project... a coming full circle where not only he was the mentor for me (and others) but I was the mentor for him (and perhaps others who'll read his confessions article)... For further advice on confessions, e.g., see the big A. A. Blue Book: "Step 4: Make a Fearless Moral Inventory...". 

 

Part 7

My favorite quote (I subversively recorded) from him came during one of my doctoral research committee meetings, when he jumped into the conversation around my work and blurted out: "It is really terrifying to look at a fearless organization." [meaning, in context, he was saying, it was so contradictory to his entire way of understanding and experiencing most of academic and other institutions in society, to imagine what it would look like to have a fearless organization] (quote cited in my dissertation (p. 6), Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia. During my performative defense of the dissertation, and the first UBC 'outside' reviewer spoke, and castigated my entire dissertation (pretty much), Carl followed with my defense: "Now, [long silent rumination], this is a really complex text." [thanks man!]

 

Part 8

I got up at 4:30 am and had powerful dreams of being back in the forests of British Columbia. Barbara had a dream with Carl also this night... so, I decided to write this memorial piece and when I went to my filing cabinet what popped out for me was a paper I had written in my doctoral studies years, which in some ways was influenced by my encounters with Carl and one course I took of his on narrative writing/inquiry in research... it stimulated my creative self to stay alive, to keep the artist in my academic work... and, so I'll just let you read these three scanned first pages from a paper I wrote for Dr. Elvi Whittaker, an anthropologist (course instructor for EDCI 572 on Critical Ethnography) in which I wrote fictionally a dialogue, something I love to do, as I wrote to Dr. Michael Taussig (anthropologist) whom I had been reading with some fascination in my doctoral research; but I really wanted to go into a deeper communion with Taussig and his ideas, and about the academy (my critique) as well... here are the three scans... and, for Carl, if you are bored wherever you are, you may want to have a read of these yourself and feel free to send me feedback in a dream... 

 

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2019     Fearlessness Teacher, [an interview of R. Michael Fisher, by Kevin Barrett of Truth Jihad Radio at  

            http://Kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/?s=”Michael+Fisher

 Show Descriptor:

 Jan. 26, 2019. Then in the final half hour R. Michael Fisher, author of Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer joins the show. Michael recently wrote me:

Hey Kevin,… wanted to let you know I have responded on a 26 min. video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kuEEJltp0o to the “stand off” between Nick Sandmann (16 yr old white Catholic student) and Nathan Phillips (Indigenous elder) in Washington this past wknd… a viral spectacle event that needs to be brought into an educational context of higher grounds in learning about fear and fearlessness and their role in this world… hope you can take a peek at this and feel free to pass it on to others who might be interested in a fearanalysis of this event …  -thanks, -M.

 Transcript

 [Interview with RMF begins at the remaining 26:43 min. point of the full 90 min. show]

 Bio: Dr. Kevin Barrett (KB) is a left-leaning Muslim anarchist, Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, holds advanced degrees in English Literature, French Literature, and African Literature, and is the author of multiple books which deconstructs the "war on terror". Dr. Barrett has been a Muslim since 1993. Blacklisted from teaching in the University of Wisconsin system since 2006 for questioning the events of 9/11, Dr. Barrett now hosts radio shows and is a public speaker.

 KB: What’s a “Fearlessness Teacher”? Sounds like a great concept because, as we’ve been discussing it seems like people are being paralyzed by fear. How do you teach fearlessness? If you could patent that and put it in a medicine bottle and put it out there that’s pretty much what we all need. So, let’s get into it right now with R. Michael Fisher. How’s it going?

M: Hi Kevin. Well, there’s a notion that you’ll see every once in awhile in the literature, I just was reading a quote: “Fear is a disease of the mind, just as cancer is a disease of the body. And you know that has been around as a discourse or way of thinking about and imagining fear for quite awhile, and certainly the Western world. And so one of the things in my investigations on fear which started back in 1989 systematically, was that I found the Eastern views and then later I found that the Indigenous views don’t quite use that same kind of language, like “fear is a disease of the mind” and so on, it’s very catchy. And there’s no doubt some truth to it, Kevin, but I found it is a more nuanced game and so it’s a little harder to put in a bottle

KB: Interesting. In Islam of course, we want to inculcate [Arabic term] which is sometimes translated as pious God-fearingness, others would translate it as God-consciousness but there is an element of awe-struck, call it fear if you want but it is really a lot deeper than ordinary fear when you are dealing with [Arabic term] but we’re not really supposed to be dominated by our petty egotistical fears. That’s what we’re trying to get rid of as we overcome our ego, the evil- side of our ego, the ego that orders or commands evil. Do you see it that way? Our desiring egos that often desire things that are not so good, are the source of the lower consciousness out of which fear sort of operates?

M: Yeah, so the way I would look at that is that there’s a spirit of fearlessness in the world. I start with that assumption. What is that spirit of fearlessness? I start with this dictum, and this again comes from a lot of reading and thinking that when fear appears, which it will, so does the spirit of fearlessness with it. Which is sort of like that arising possibility of handling, managing and self-regulating fear because no organism wants to be in fear for too long. It’s just not healthy for the body right, it’s like distress as it starts to cause breakdown of the system.

KB: It’s like fight-flight response with all the adrenalin?

M: Yeah, That would be the sort of easy one that we recognize, sort of gross in a way, because it’s so powerful when you get that adrenalin hit, the flight-fight response and/or freeze and so but what I was interested in looking at is that ego is involved because ego is part of consciousness development. We start with a pre-egoic structure of consciousness, you could say, before the self is fully developed, so very early in life, and then the ego starts to develop and the it gets very attached to many things, and many traditions talk about the attachment of the ego as the real problem not the ego itself. That’s where you get this fear-based self-defensive always trying to maintain your self-esteem and trying to maintain that self-esteem within a particular mileu of a culture or a social structure....

KB: This sort of leads us to that topic of the confrontation on the national mall between the white high school kids the Native American elder with the drum.

M: Yeah, it definitely does and I call that in my classification system, along the spectrum of the spirit of fearlessness, there’s a spectrum, that one of the first stages is “No Fear” and that’s to me that stage basically before you are born, before you come out into the world and get your umbilical cord clipped and somebody puts you over here and all of a sudden the world’s cold, there’s bright lights and big noises so then we start entering the fear. So that first response to fear, via the spirit of fearlessness is what I call bravery. And that’s how I classified when I looked at that tape over and over again of this Catholic high school boy confronting the Indigenous person and I said wow, what a great example of bravery but I want to just add the nuance, like all things, good things like the spirit of fearlessness it can be twisted, it can turn into a more pathological and/or immature form. And so the bravery that was really arising, was because he [the Catholic youth], this is my definition of it really, Kevin, bravery is when you sort of do things that you aren’t really planning or expecting to do and you just happen to be there in the right place and the right moment and something comes out of you and you do it, some sort of very brave act. However, later you look back and say, and actually this young man said this in an interview, I kind of wished I didn’t do that, like I kind of wish we would have backed-off and went our own way. So he did it, why? Because of the environmental condition of social reinforcement or positive reinforcement....

KB: So let’s get empirical here about what your interpretation is of sort of what really happened here. So, the original assumption, when people saw this picture or brief video, was that they thought that this gang of Trump loving high school kids had sort of surrounded and harassed the Native American Elder and had gotten in his face and he responded by just drumming. Which makes him the hero and the white Catholic school boys are the bad guys. But then it turns out that the Native American guy had actually gotten in the face of that white kid, he approached him drumming drumming drumming up to his face and the white kid had just not backed down and just stood there. Which my first hour guest Kevin MacDonald sees the white kid as being heroic. But to me this is kind of an interesting confrontation of these two sides that are confronting someone that they find, perhaps,  fear-inducing and that they don’t understand and in a sense they are both heroic. They are kind of just standing there and not backing down, doing their thing. But at the same time there’s kind of a problem in that their not communicating empathetically and rationally, their coming out of tribal egos, so what’s your interpretation?

M: I think that’s a really good point, that they did both move into bravery for various reasons and so we could analyze that but what I was then interested in was when does bravery move to courage or courageousness? And even a moral courageousness? And then when does courageousness move into fearlessness? And this is what Four Arrows and I, from the Indigenous perspective he studies, is what is that shift? And what I would say the big shift of difference was that the young man, he’s basically got all his guys cheering behind him, you know 200 or whatever, so he’s going to be heroic in that moment in what I’d call bravery. But not necessarily he took a lot of time or thought to think internally and develop this kind of moral courageousness that could take him to a possible point of fearlessness, which in fearlessness the whole motive is then to connect to make a connection in relationality in a communication for higher possibility for higher integration beyond those egos, beyond even those ethnic, cultural backgrounds, value structures, left – right, whatever it might be, secular or Christian vs. Indigenous etc. And so I think the Indigenous elder was in quite a different positioning, even though he stepped forward he felt he needed to do this and he was moving toward he thought was probably the higher moral ground and I would say that was fearlessness because he stayed in the communication of connection to his ancestors and a spiritual sacred song. And that song was a song basically of, yes, we’re here to resist oppression but also here to connect and create unity, and he actually said that at one point. Connect-unity. This is a song of unity that I sang. Well, the young man did not have all that thought going on, he had a lot of adrenalin and a whole lot of adrenalin behind him. It makes sense, it’s kind of like the sports team, it could be war team ready to pump themselves up to get ready to go out and do the heroic battle.

KB: Interesting analysis. I think the Native American guy, the drummer, said, that what he thought he was doing was protecting these black Israelites or something there was kind of a hand-full of these young black who were caught on video yelling insults at the white high school boys but of course they were grossly out-numbered by the white high school boys and so the Native American guy thought he was protecting those black guys. So it’s a very interesting kind of situation where it’s not that clear how it developed. It’s not like an obvious good guys vs. bad guys or aggressors vs. defenders kind of situation.

M: And that really brings me to, I think it is great to discuss this on media itself because of what media does with these kinds of spectacles. I mean I am saying it is an important spectacle but if we just stay with the spectacle of who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy, who’s the real hero, who’s is not. Well, those are really ancient very simple binary narratives of what is going on. And what I was much more interested in, and that’s why I am glad to talk to you on air about this, what do those kinds of narratives and discussions, if you just put all that media together in one big ball, I look at it from my point of view as a fearologist, and I call myself that, self-defined, is that I go, the level of conversation about understanding fear and this path that I’ve arced out from bravery to courage to fearlessness and even to fearless at the highest level of maturity and consciousness. It just shows me that we don’t have a vocabulary for it in the West, is my argument, and that is what my work is about is trying to get more discernment about when is it bravery, when is it moving to courageousness, when is it moving to fearlessness? And again, it’s not like that’s good and that’s bad it’s like it’s actually developmental and that’s the discernment I think we need, is we need to see the developmental differences and then we need to teach that. Those young guys, I’d love to see them have a curriculum that actually helps them understand the nature and role of fear, how fear becomes part of a psychological, biological complex and then is also a part of a cultural and political complex and the history with it. And then how is that different than say to the Indigenous perspective and how they’ve come to understand fear. And, what I wanted to say right at the beginning is that the Indigenous Peoples, as Four Arrows and others have summarized in general, and Indigenous perspective, not to disrespect the diversity and differences in Indigenous Peoples, but fear is seen as the opportunity to a higher virtue. It’s the opportunity to practice a higher virtue. And you can see that right, it’s even in the West, in the more dominant culture of yeah it’s good to be courageous, we generally think that is a cool thing to be heroic but what we don’t understand is that that is not the end of the road. That’s not the end of the developmental spectrum, that I’m speaking to. That’s why I think we need to bring in this language of Fearlessness and even Fearless.  I arc that out in my writing and research.

KB: Very interesting stuff. Abdul Arif Muhammad in the ½ hr before you were on said that he thinks the war on free speech, which is what I talked about with Keven MacDonald in the first hour, is driven by these false flag events, and war-trigger events, that put us on a war footing and made us feel like we were under attack, 9/11 of course being the classic example, but just hard-wired the average American’s nervous system to be much more fearful. Martha Stout, has written a book called the “Paranoia Switch” in which she cites research that about ½ of the population of the US developed clinical post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] from watching those 9/11 images on television, so talk about a jolt of fear to the nervous system, 9/11 probably impacted the human nervous system more than any other event in history. And that fear that was intentionally injected into the world, and especially Americans on 9/11, as part of this very carefully thought out orchestrated false flag operation set the stage for the police-state, the fear-based police-state we’ve been living in ever since. When you go to the airport and the color-code for terror is up to Orange and been color-coded for Orange now for years if not decades; I can’t remember before we were living in a state of permanent Orange fear-color-coding. So, I think that your work on fear is probably more timely than ever, unfortunately.

M: Yeah, unfortunately. You know I was just talking to a Canadian friend, I would call her a liberal friend, very intelligent lady, and I was saying I’m trying to develop this program to make people more aware of how fear rules and controls our life, again, not just in a psychological level but sociological, political, historically, and that we could move from this notion of a culture of fear to actually bring in a vision and imaginary for a culture of fearlessness. What would that be like? So, I was talking to her just briefly on the phone and she said, well I don’t think most people actually think that fear rules their life. And I had to stop, and thought, if I was living in America, which I was in the last 9 years, before last year, I don’t think an American would say that so readily. And I thought is that part of being the Canadian, we’re neutral, quiet and hide, and I’m a Canadian, I live in Canada right now, and I just thought I think there is a huge difference between Canadian perspective and awareness and I actually think it is actually a bad thing in the sense that I think Americans are at least much more woken up, sorry you had to go through that guys and folks, you know the post-traumatic stuff but you know that’s the wake-up, that’s the symptom arising for the new possibility. So, if I go back to the Indigenous perspective, that wake up that post-traumatic we can look at it as all negative, negative, negative, that’s a typical Western clinical view, and then we can look at it as “whoa!” This is actually in the Indigenous perspective, the door way the possibility for this new [level] trajectory of the spirit of fearlessness, that arises in all that intense fear. So, when I see someone like that Indigenous elder drumming in a very heated, very potentially dangerous situation, and he said I’m afraid, I’m scared, like I was scared going out there—but he took a positionality of unity and utilized that fear in the virtue of both courageousness in a moral sense, and I would say onto the gift of fearlessness because really, I said to my wife, you know why those young guys are having so much trouble with him is because, they were so anxious, so anxious because they didn’t know how to code. They didn’t know how to communication code with this drumming scene from this Indigenous person, more or less, they tried to sort of dance a bit, they clapped a bit, you could see they would try and get into it. But then they got more into the jeering and the making fun of and I said that’s the moment they don’t understand where this is going. They actually don’t understand fearlessness and that’s very typical because they’re not educated to do so. Something like that would be my hypothesis.

KB: That’s a really interesting analysis. It departs from the partisan take on this...

M: Right.

KB: Where you have the certain sort of Left anti-Trump side that’s totally demonizing the kids and making the Native American guy out to be totally the hero, versus the other side, Kevin MacDonald seemed to see it pretty much the other way. I like your take, seeing the overall reactions from both sides and the fear and fearlessness, overcoming the fear, from both sides. That’s actually a much more interesting, and probably more accurate, way to look at it. It reminds me, of what you are saying about needing that injection of fear, having to go through that PTSD, actually having benefits, for US Americans. That reminds me of the plot line in “V for Vendetta” [movie] which is really about the female character EV getting over her fear. When the film opens she’s about to be raped by vicious goons from the National Security State, set up on the back of a 9/11 style false flag, and she goes through all this horror and trauma and emerges being trained in fearlessness by the comic book hero V. That film is about, what it is of course a dream-like meditation on the American people being traumatized by 9/11 and then hopefully waking up and becoming totally fearless and having a revolution. Of course, it is a dream fantasy and unfortunately that revolution hasn’t yet happened in reality but it’s a pretty good wish-fulfillment fantasy. So, yeah I think that trauma is there, it’s not just a crippling thing, trauma can also be a way to get over fear and get into that state of fearlessness and do great things. It seems like that is where your work is leading?

M: Yeah, it’s going to move us. You might not jump into Fearless right away. You might not jump into the fearlessness practices right away and capability. But you certainly will start moving along that direction when you take it on, right you take on that fear, even that terror. And you take it on as this is the challenge. This is the opportunity. And, again, unfortunately we don’t quite have a good worldview for that, usually what we try do with out worldview, Western worldview I’m talking about more in the modern sense, is try to eliminate that enemy, that Other, who is bringing up all that fear. And so you gotta find the scapegoat target and try to destroy it. And that just keeps us way way in a very immature state, and that’s not like a criticism, oh you’re all immature blah blah, no I’m not saying that, I’m just saying compassionately it will keep us in an immature state in relationship to this spirit of fearlessness and this movement from No Fear, to Bravery, to Courageousness, to Fearlessness to Fearless. So you can see why I arc that out and repeat that Kevin, is because we don’t have that imaginary. You called it sort of a fantasy, right through V for Vendetta, which I love that movie, for it was a transformation, a transformation that was both internal and it had possibilities for the external, we got to watch it in the fiction, that’s what art is for. Thank goodness. And yet that imaginary is still working. It actually starts our new vocabulary, a new imaginary for possibilities, so I like to use expanding our imaginary on fear and fearlessness and yes, if you want to call it a fantasy in a way that’s maybe useful to but I actually think it is getting imagination for the possibility and unfortunately in the West, for example if I was to pick up the Bible, if I was to pick up pretty much any of the Abrahamic traditions and I’ve looked, they don’t have the word fearlessness, at least not when interpreted in English, I’m not a scholar in that direction, but you won’t find the word fearlessness in there, is what you get over and over is “Fear Not!” or “Be Not Afraid!” Well what’s that about? That’s saying we are meant in this deepest spiritual part of ourselves to follow this path, this path of Fearlessness, but not a lot of nuance in those literatures, and that’s just because of where they come from, in their time and their history, the information they were drawing upon, but I use that term path of Fearlessness as a developmental process.

KB: Very interesting. Anyways, in Islam there’s the phrase “they will fear not, neither shall they grieve” which is about the state the good people get to and I think that it is both getting to paradise but it’s also about that state of [Arabic term ?] meaning peaceful soul, which is really what Islam is about getting to in this life, is having a peaceful soul. And those that get to that ... they’ll fear not neither shall they grieve. So you founded fearology [laughs], as a ...

M: Yeah.

KB: I wonder how that intersects with Lt. Dave Grossman’s killology? The US Army guy who studied killing and what people go through. All the research shows that the vast majority of soldiers have never been able to kill. They have to have the extreme Pavlovian conditioning to get the majority of soldiers to be able to kill. In Korea, half of the US soldiers would purposely try to kill up from 10% in World War II. And by Vietnam it was 80-90% but they came back with horrible trauma. So, anyways, the killology is really interesting stuff. Grossman’s book “On Killing” is absolutely essential. So, how does fearology intersect with killology?

M: Well certainly, I actually communicated with Mr. Grossman quite a few years ago because I was fascinated with his idea and we had some correspondence and he sent me his audio tape. Yeah, he talks about fear as well and he also talks about really what I saw as a state, a state we have to obtain in order to hold that gun, have your intention, and be very clear of what you are doing. If you don’t have that consciousness, that awareness, rather than I can just go kill somebody, no it’s actually be aware that you are going to be a killer and you better know how to be a killer otherwise get out of that business. So his training was I think quite along the lines of fearlessness. I actually found him very respectful in his work. What he didn’t do, where fearology takes off, and fearology develops this notion that true fearlessness, one of its main features is, to learn and know and study everything about fear that you can, in an ongoing sense, there is never an end to it and that to me is the sacred commitment to both healing and developing to our highest potential. And I think the Biblical quotes or the quotes you just gave from your tradition and background, I think that’s what it means, it means without grief, that to me I resonate with as, that means that I’ve done my grieving work, I don’t hold myself in an immature state of unhealed grief because that will cause constant fear-based life. So, something like that.

KB: That’s beautiful. You know I need to look at your books, I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. I’ve seen your video and Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows, sounds great. Four Arrows is a hero of mine. He’s one of the really great figures to come out of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Anybody who doesn’t know about him should learn about him. Maybe your book would be a good place to start?

M: I think it is a nice one. It’s an intellectual biography, so it is called Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer, it was a 2.5 yr project of him and I sending a lot of emails back and forth, and me studying his work and I would definitely say he is probably one of the most advanced thinkers from a fearologist’s point of view, on fear today. Because he integrates the East, the West, he integrates all his military background, his training with horse and wild horses, extreme sports, he’s a hypnotherapist, he just has this great richness, and that’s why that book was so fun. So there’s a lot of stories in there but then there’s also my theory and my framework so I think a reader could kinda get enough of me but enough of Four Arrows to make an interesting read, not so theoretical.

KB: Well, I’m going to try and get my hands on it. Hey thanks so much Michael Fisher, I appreciate your very interesting stimulating work and I’m planning to learn about more of it and read your book and I’ll probably get you back on the air to talk about it.

****

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Mark Eales new Fear Video Channel

I met Mark Eales, from the UK on email some near 2 years ago, and he has started his own Youtube Channel ... go to the link below to hear him speak in the last third of the video about fear and his purpose for doing vlogs. I encourage his creative sincerity with his venture Fear Revolution ... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmhxk3LuITo

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I'd certainly rather talk about a much lighter topic than the near (potential) devastation of planet earth due to climate change and global warming caused by humans (e.g., CO2 and changing the surface of the earth so much it absorbs more heat)...

In the last few days myself and Barbara have been going through our own "existential crisis" as if it feels like at some point we just (really) GOT! the information of what is happening on the planet re: global warming and the reluctance of too many government and business leaders to ignore the impacts, when they could make substantial changes re: the biggest polluters, if they had the will to do so. Which means, if they had the moral courage, in the face of great social fear of being fully "green," of perhaps losing friends and losing money (at first)... and so on. It's risky to make the moral change in times like this.

I think the fearologists of the future (and today) will have to do their homework and really come up with ways to intervene in the way social fear gets in the way from all kinds of people and institutions changing in major ways. We need a (r)evolution of fearlessness. But over the last decade or so, even with calls for such radical shifts and such fearlessness, there is enormous inertia to do so. I find it a type of 'evil' that knows the problem but refuses to do anything about it (or does very little, and too late). Basic Premise: I have long theorized that the more the "terror" the more "fearless" as a new management system will arise and evolve and be available... the living cosmos is incredibly gifted to handle distress, fear/terror--we have to learned to pay attention to it's beautiful and available Defense Intelligence--and learn to work with it, and to "push" any lesser forms of defensive behaviors and thoughts toward a threshold where transformation can occur. It is not about being "hopeful" or "optimistic" for me, it is a matter of looking at the data and theorizing what has been happening on the planet re: Defense Intelligence (and, that is way beyond just humans, to be sure)....

Tipping points re: climate change and crisis after crisis on the planetary scale (e.g., major storms, extreme climate)... are more or less here on our door step. What we have to realize first, and it will be a great grief to admit, that humans (overall) have done some good things in evolution for sure, but late-industrial humanity and especially the urbanites, have now to 'take on' responsibility. A new book offers many creative ideas ("arts") etc. of how to live on this damaged planet. Here is the write up from amazon.com

"Living on a damaged planet challenges who we are and where we live. This timely anthology calls on twenty eminent humanists and scientists to revitalize curiosity, observation, and transdisciplinary conversation about life on earth.

As human-induced environmental change threatens multispecies livability, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet puts forward a bold proposal: entangled histories, situated narratives, and thick descriptions offer urgent “arts of living.” Included are essays by scholars in anthropology, ecology, science studies, art, literature, and bioinformatics who posit critical and creative tools for collaborative survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. The essays are organized around two key figures that also serve as the publication’s two openings: Ghosts, or landscapes haunted by the violences of modernity; and Monsters, or interspecies and intraspecies sociality. Ghosts and Monsters are tentacular, windy, and arboreal arts that invite readers to encounter ants, lichen, rocks, electrons, flying foxes, salmon, chestnut trees, mud volcanoes, border zones, graves, radioactive waste—in short, the wonders and terrors of an unintended epoch."

[extract from advertising on cover from "Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene" - note this is mostly an academic book]

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For my latest FearTalk2 video with Luke Barnesmoore, an up and coming young philosopher (doctoral candidate) from the Geography department of The University of British Columbia: 

Description of what is on this video: 

This is a lively (sometimes heavy) discussion between two perceptive philosophical thinkers as comfortable with vulnerable intimacy and abstract ideas as they are savvy with the aesthetics of oppression (via fear of the Eternal) and the many neurotic loops of fear-based escape routes from the Real. With a deep concern for finding the best ways to build a healthy and sane society, their Integrating of East-West, Indigenous and ecological knowledges brings forward a synthesis of ideas to be reckoned with. Dr. Fisher, founder of The Fearology Institute and Luke Barnesmoore a doctoral student in the Geography department at The University of British Columbia (https://ubc.academia.edu/Barnesmoore) caress the contours of fear and fearlessness and the importance of admitting how much fear exists in most all places humans dwell in contemporary urban societies. if we are to avoid the worst catastrophe's of crises we face on the planet in the very near future, Fisher and Barnesmoore are sure that fear is going to be a major player in the outcomes. Note: Dr. Fisher's reference to his work with the A-D-Ness model ("test") re: an aesthetics of fear -- go to https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED... Also a discussion of A-D/ness can be found in Fisher's video "Do's and Don'ts of Fearology" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcNte... A fitting poem that Barnesmoore wishes to share relevant to this discussion: "Each and All" …All are needed by each one; Nothing is fair or good alone. I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven, Singing at dawn on the alder bough; I brought him home, in his nest, at even; He sings the song, but it cheers not now, For I did not bring home the river and sky;— He sang to my ear,—they sang to my eye. The delicate shells lay on the shore; The bubbles of the latest wave Fresh pearls to their enamel gave, And the bellowing of the savage sea Greeted their safe escape to me. I wiped away the weeds and foam, I fetched my sea-born treasures home; But the poor, unsightly, noisome things Had left their beauty on the shore With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar… Then I said, “I covet truth; Beauty is unripe childhood’s cheat; I leave it behind with the games of my youth:”— As I spoke, beneath my feet The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath, Running over the club-moss burrs; I inhaled the violet’s breath; Around me stood the oaks and firs; Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground; Over me soared the eternal sky, Full of light and of deity; Again I saw, again I heard, The rolling river, the morning bird;— Beauty through my senses stole; I yielded myself to the perfect whole.” (Emerson 1914, pp. 7-8)[1] Ralph Waldo Emerson 1914, The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson Vol. V Poems, London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd.

 

Also check out my 2nd part on FearTalk 3 video with Luke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI3Gjn10t38

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FEAR IS THE CAUSE OF MURDER, VIOLENCE AND WAR

          (Socrates seems to have spent most of his time in the agora, or marketplace, discussing all sorts of things.)                        

An interview conducted by a Nepalese journalist, Raj Sargam of the Nepal Time Magazine with Desh Subba, the founder of Fearism Movement.

Date: 1st September 2018,

Trans. by Desh Subba

Edited by Michael Bassey Eneyo 

Socrates ran Agora school [teaching in the market places].

Plato ran academy, while Aristotle ran Lyceum.

Philosophers from France and Germany ran schools in tea and coffee houses. 

Desh Subba is a poet, novelist and a philosopher from Nepal. He has been working on the development of "Philosophy of Fearism" for some years now. "The Tribesmen's Journey to Fearlessness" is his first Fearism-based novel. He is on the course of introducing Fearism [philosophy] through poem, drama and epic. In the interview published in Nepal Time Magazine, Raj Sargam began the interview by asking Desh Subba how Fearism as a school of thought can handle the problem of fear which seems to be fundamental to every life. Below is the interview. 

Raj: I know it is true that everybody has one kind of fear or the other. I equally believe that the young generations are suffering from depression. How does Fearism handle such problems?

Desh: Fear is natural to human beings. No matter our level of exposure, we cannot completely eliminate fear. Fearism as a movement is focusing on how human beings can understand fear more insightfully, how fear can be controlled, managed and applied for the good of human beings. We have read classical philosophies regarding states, citizens, capitalism, struggles, happiness and pleasure. If we should get to the root of all these philosophies, we will see that none of them has really emphasised on the importance of fear. We can take example from the "Ring of Gyges" mentioned in the Republic of Plato. This mythical and magical ring saves people from fear of being caught and punished when they do something wrong. But even at that, nobody actually acknowledged the importance or the role fear in the affairs of human beings. 

The entire world and its life can be looked at with the eyes of fear [Fearism lens]. It is not only the new generations that are suffering from fear; our ancestors were also suffering from it. Invention of stone weapons, dwelling in the cage and the worship of nature were parts of the witnesses to the influence of fear in the ancient period. We are in continuation of the same fearful influence. But today, it is manifesting in the mask of modernism. 

I have said elsewhere that each era is an era of extreme fear, because each era carries its optimum level of knowledge, rationality and invention which are motivated by fear. The difference between the past and the present level of fear is shown in different ways through which human beings have adopted in the attempts to better their lives. The ancient period was not such a competitive and a corporate society as it is today. In our present generation, we have witnessed so many competitions: among students, in the areas of sports, employment, acquisition of wealth, among peers, family members, colleagues in the office, market men/women, etc. There’re so much depressions today. Depression begins anytime we fail to achieve any of our expectations. When this is the case, all the experiences during these periods increase our fears. 

But then, depression is not limited to the scope of depression, it expands beyond. It creates more hazardous situations. I know people often mention sources of hazardous situations, but nobody seems to have mentioned fear as part of it. This may have been predicated on the fact that we didn’t have theory that can explain the workings of fear. After the development of Fearism Movement, Fearism traditions began to spring up. One of the Fearism dictums says: "Don't keep fear of competition an irrelevant prestige." Avoidance of unnecessary competition, desire and interest keep us safe from depression and mental sickness. So Fearism provide the methods that can help human beings handle the challenges of fear and depression. 

Raj: You are trying to establish Fearism with the help of Fearism Study Centre. What will be the role of Fearism activities in Nepalese’s literature?

Desh: In any serious philosophical movement, there is always a tradition of schooling. Socrates ran Agora school [teaching in the market places]. Plato ran academy, while Aristotle ran Lyceum. Philosophers from France and Germany ran schools in tea and coffee houses. 

When a person becomes famous in his philosophy, such philosophy will certainly convert into school. It is my belief that to establish Fearism, we need a school [i.e. we need fear education] and Fearism Study Centre is our school. 

Fearism Study Centre is not only domiciling in Nepal, it will soon kick start in Nigeria. It is going to be run by Nigerian philosopher Osinakachi Akuma Kalu and his friends Michael Eneyo, Augustus Chukwu and others who have shown commitment in Fearism Movement. It is still in its starting phase, it would be extended to other countries as time goes on. At present, R. Michael Fisher has founded The Fearology Institute in Canada which is an integral part of Fearism.

Nepalese’s literature is traditionally divided into group(ism) and not into the formal method of schooling. The formal pattern of schooling gives more knowledge. My ambition has been to take Fearism beyond the Nepalese’s traditional literary circle and that ambition is already yielding positive result as you can see. 

Raj: In following Fearism as your new discovered paradigm, are you not missing poem and novel writings?

Desh: yes! At the surface, I missed them, but in a more critical look, I am still doing them under Fearism [though in a subtle manner]. Literature has multiple genres, but Philosophy is above all literary genres. Story, poem, essay and epic cannot sustain for a long time if they are not rooted in a given philosophy. Writing or any form of theory can only be sustained if it is rooted in a strong philosophy. I have potentialities of many writing genres. But in the face of philosophy, other genres are dimmed. If one man has many genres, he will likely be addressed by the one he is noted to doing better and not by all the genres. Jean Paul Sartre had many writings, but people addressed him as a Philosopher. 

Raj: You used to say Fearism is isolated philosophy. How do you mean and to what extent is the influence of Fearism apart from in Nepal?

Desh: Actually, I don't have deeper understanding of this saying of Nepalese believers: "Dark underneath the lamp." Fearism to me is isolated philosophy in Nepal because we do not really have many philosophers here working to develop contemporary philosophies. Fearism Movement goes beyond our home philosophy which is embedded in our culture.  We often talked about culture at home, but our literature and philosophy are not separated from our culture. This makes it somewhat difficult to say that we have a philosophy of our own. It is not right to expect a highly philosophical culture in those countries where the culture of doing philosophy is not developed. 

Professors are in competition to be the first follower of western philosophy.

 They dream to be the first followers and never dreaming to be leaders of new ideas or philosophy.

Here in Nepal, we have less leading characters; we only have people with the mentality of wanting to be good followers. Professors are in competition to be the first follower of western philosophy.  They dream to be the first followers and never dreaming to be leaders of new ideas or philosophy. This is the reason I said Fearism is in far distance among professors and students of Nepal. 

Edward Said had opined: "Westerns have a capacity to define eastern." We imbibe the culture of followership; we follow the culture of the west. When they say, “You are stupid and arrogance” we nod our heads and answer 'yes'. This is a kind of slave mentality. Easterners have the habit of being happy in Western definitions to things. It is exclusively implemented in the philosophical minds of most Nepalese. This tendency discourages and disqualifies us from aspiring for leadership position in the global community. Today, Fearism is gradually becoming popular in some states of India and in Nigeria. These countries are trying to develop a culture of original definitions to life. This is the reason we can see many Nigerian Philosophers coming up with original ideas to the study of fear. 

Raj: There is increase of the numbers of murder, violence and rape in the society now. Can Philosophy of Fearism give explanation to this or not?

Desh: Violence, murder and war are caused by fear. Very rare may be resulted from other reasons, but fear is mostly the reason. After the murder comes more fear. The one that kills become afraid of the likely consequence of his action. Sometimes the impact of it extends like Pyramid and sometimes like rectangle. If somebody has fear of being killed by someone, and he decided to kill the person in order to eliminate his fear and become fearless. After killing the supposed source of fear [the person], he will discover that killing is never elimination of fear, rather, it ushered us into another domain of fear-the fear of the punishment for killing by the family and the society as stipulated by law. 

There are many of such people in the society. Thug, corruptor, liar, killer, raper, murderer and dishonest always feel the presence of surveillance cameras everywhere they go even when there is no such thing. The impact of fear depends on the gravity of the offence. Those who commit grievous sin always forget taste of food and sleep. They have the illusion of somebody following or talking about them. A particular fear can expand and become as big as the black sky. 

In Nepal and India, the numbers of murder and violence cases are increasing by the day. Less fear of law is the reason of it. In most cases, either the leaders are involved in the breaking of the law or they provide protection for those who break the law. Even the states seem not to adhere to the dictum of the law; this definitely increases murder, rape and violence cases in the land. 

This state of lawlessness depicts Thomas Hobbes’ State of Nature; where life was brutal, nasty and short. This is a kind of "Modern Wild Kingdom" where law is no longer regarded as a guide. This is the main problem I have seen about South Asia and Africa in recent times. When a given country or an individual begins to fear and have respect for law that is when a state can be said to be a lawful state. Then violence, murder and rape are likely to be swiped from such a state.

 

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International Journal of Fear Studies

Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Approaches

 

Call for Papers and Creative Submissions:

Dr. R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D., founder/editor of IJFS, has set the wheels in motion for a first edition of an on-line journal that promotes academic scholarship, professional explorations and popular educational and creative works for a variety of serious readers interested in fresh thinking and ideas about the nature and role of fear in societies. Articles and creative submissions may include large technical and philosophical works, research studies and results, essays, opinions, poetry and other art, etc.

There is also going to be space to share the kinds of work (theoretical or practical, complete or incomplete) you are doing on fear that deserves international recognition. The primary criteria is that works have an interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary approach, while at the same time are progressive and open-minded works that instigate insight, healing, liberation, creative thinking, critique, and synthesis. We simply require a new journal format like IJFS because there is no other place to focus on fear as a subject matter in any journal to date.

All authors retain their own copyright of their works published in IJFS. The journal will consider re-published submissions as long as copyright approval has been made.

Submissions Due January 20, 2019 for the first volume edition of IFJS. Feel free to send the editor (r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com) a proposal of what you would like to submit ahead of time if you want feedback first. Otherwise, send your completed work and it will go out for peer-review and final editing by Dr. Fisher. Citations of references is essential in papers and should follow a standard style format (e.g., Chicago, APA, Harvard, etc.) in most cases, but also feel free to be creative in style format as well but provide a rationale for any such deviations from standard formats. There is no word-length requirements of submissions. If all goes well the first journal will be published in Spring 2019. There’ll likely be two issues/year.

If you would like to be on the Editorial Board (and/or be a Reviewer for IFJS) make your interest known to Dr. Fisher as soon as possible. We look forward to your participation to make this journal a success. The first edition will be available in an open-access pdf format and housed on the Fearlessness Movement ning (hosted by R. M. Fisher) and eventually, IFJS will be archived in a university library digital repository with open-access and full linking to academic search engines.

If you would like to gift a donation to IFJS, please contact R. M. Fisher. Your support is greatly appreciated. 

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Black Consciousness: Fear and Liberation

 

This radical minister is one who is part of the same religious-liberation movement as Malcolm X was (in the USA)... I do not necessarily support this minister and his religious group and their leader(s)... but he is an influential voice, and speaks some wisdom that all need to hear (same as did Malcolm X), especially, as he calls to Black people all over the world: for the 3 min. video talk

 

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Dr. Sheldon Solomon, social experimental psychologist (re: Terror Management Theory = TMT)... is one of several very important researchers on "mortal terror" (i.e., fear of death) as the universal ("proven") core of all malignant human behaviors individually and collectively--at least, that's what has been suggested by TMT research and the existential philosophy behind it for the last 40 years or so (thanks to writing of the late Ernest Becker). I have followed this work off and on and found it very insightful and yet to be truly tapped in 'Fear' Studies ... 

I recommend going to this video talk on the dim future of humanity ahead (unless we solve the Fear Problem): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuJhD5TkX-0

Note: I agree with much (not all) of TMT... much of the basis of TMT is supported, I'd argue in the philosophy of fearlessness (Fisher) and philosophy of fearism (Subba) and philosophy of fear (Eneyo) and others... I agree with TMT in its depiction and theory (supported by a good deal of cross-cultural evidence) that "culture" is a fear management strategy overall. In my Fear Management Systems Theory (Fisher, 2010), I give this more differentiation based on v-memes (worldviews) theories in Spiral Dynamics integral (theory).  

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Well, after a lot of years of making documentaries, in the 'wild' style of art, activism, and education... Micheal Moore has just had his newest film released last night (mostly on the Trump election and following disasters to democracy in the USA) and on "fear" (and "terror") of all kinds of fascist waves going on all over the world.. I look forward to seeing his latest film, and it is not because I love everthing Moore does and how he represents people and problems--the big and "wicked problems" that we have to face as humanity... but I like to see how he uses his art, smarts, and technologies to "create curriculum" for the 21st century.

I followed his work closely in the post-Columbine highschool mass shooting and how he approached the American "Gun Problem" (aka "Fear Problem") in his movie that won an Academy Award, Bowling for Columbine" (2002). 

I won't say much more at this point until I see the film, and listen to interviews of Moore... with the question in the back of my mind: "Is Moore a good artist, activist, educator?" and so far, I think he is a better artist-activist than he is an educator, and particularly I am referring to how he handles "fear" as a major topic... which runs all through all his best documentary works... in Bowling for Columbine he really was making a film about the growing "culture of fear" ... and its consequences...which, arguably, I would speculate have been brewing for a good 30 years in particular, and the symptoms are arising (e.g., gun violence) etc... and if you watch his 2002 award winning film, it is the "best" dealing with fear as a topic... and of course terror is not far away... in Fahrenheit 11/9 we'll no doubt once again see him dealing with "fear of Trump" and everything Trump represents ... watch carefully how he "teaches" us about what is going on and how best to understand fear/terror and how best to manage it... transform it... if he even gets to anything so complex... my critique of all his works (as he is a typical activist) is his stereotypes and polarizations (simplifications)--to create his stories. 

RECENT VIDEO RESPONSE of mine to Moore's interview on "Democracy Now" tv program (with Amy Goodman): 

https://youtu.be/ga5BZfV5UnA

 Most recent video (2nd one) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJLdM85Rwts&t=4s

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Fear is Perplexing and Complex: Fearism

Recently, Fisher and Subba have prepared a paper and short presentation, to be given by Desh Subba at the 2018 International Scientific Conference Proceedings [1] in Moscow, Russia. The title of our paper is Abstract Expressionism Under the Lens of Fearism. This paper and presentation is a first collaboration on the relevance of fearism to art(s) and aesthetics, of which we hope to eventually create a book on that area of application of philosophy of fearism. Art(s) are so important to culture and societies and their consciousness evolution, so fearism has to take up that task of analyzing this important sphere. 

We thought we would share a short excerpt from our paper presentation with you all on the FM ning: 

"Discovering that the study of fear is best to be studied under a new philosophy of fear(ism), Subba pioneered some of the core work in this area. Fisher, working independently across on the other side of the world, was doing the same but using some different vocabularies and philosophies to sort through how best to understand and manage fear. What we both agreed upon, independently, is that the world (including art in the largest sense) can be best understood by looking deeply at fear and its role. We also knew that “fearism alone is insufficient” as a total analytic direction and it must be supplemented with other ways and methods that are not focusing on fear so intensely. We also agreed that most of the analysis of fear historically has been one of making it a negative factor in human experience. The literature on this negative bias is predominant and still remains to this day. We felt a positive-side was important to promote, yet at the same time we knew fear is much grander than merely sorting into binary boxes of good fear and bad fear. Subba’s (2014, 14) fearist conception is that we ought not forget that “Fear is as vast as the universe” and thus we keep an open imaginary regarding the nature and role of fear. We both agreed that a post-postmodern (i.e., holistic-integral) view on fear itself was required. Fear was to remain, under a fearist lens, as a very complex, if not perplexing, phenomenon requiring an equally complex and perplexing adequate set of epistemic methodologies to understand it (Fisher & Subba 2016)."

-----

[NB: It is a constant theme of debate in fearological circles that "fearology" and "fearism" and a "fearist lens" (perspective) really takes a very unique positioning on how to expand the prevailing fear imaginary and understand fear management/education compared to most authors/teachers/writings available. The issue of "perplexity" and "complexity" is definitely a key feature of differentiating the fearological way and the non-fearological way of interpreting "fear" and everything related to it. So, if one examines critically just about any typical writing/teaching on fear, what you'll notice is that writers tend to be very rational, clear, concise and (over-)confident when speaking about the nature and role of fear and how to manage it best. The fearological approach embraces another direction, not following that "rational" approach and thus one enters more the sublime of inquiry into a world of perplexity and complexity when it comes to the topic of fear.  -rmf]

 

 

Notes: 

1. The title of the conference is "The Destinies of Abstract Expressionism: For the Centenary of Guy de Montalur's Birth" 

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There's a lot of interest in therapeutic and neurobiology and medicine circles these days, and for a few years now [1], around what Stephen Porges has entitled "Polyvagal Theory." It refers to the vagus nerve (autonomic system) and its net of interacting nerves from brain to heart and heart to brain, and other central body organs. 

A lot of people interested in the neurobiology of fear and trauma have taken to this theory and psychotherapists and psychiatrists are particularly interested. I have not given the theory much attention yet. I am always reluctant to get on the new bandwagon of the science of fear researchers and their positivist empiricism that biases their theories of explaining fear (and 'fear'). It is typically too reductionistic in itself as explanation of such a complex phenomena as "fear." The fearologist prefers to think in holistic-integral deep and broad ways before explaining "fear." But if we are to pay attention to all dimensions of our bodies and minds and our history as a species, then neurobiology has something to offer. So, let me quickly say what I hear this theory is about, based on Porges' description in a video interview "Polyvagal Theory: How Your Body Makes the Decision." There are many videos, articles and books on this topic now a days and many professionals and theorists who put their own spin on it as well--not, to say Porges would likely agree with all the interpretations and uses per se. 

Porges explains an evolutionary theory of Defenses, that is, of systems that have developed and evolved over hundreds of millions of years in vertebrates, and in particular in mammals. A major shift went on, a kind of transformation of mega-proportions in the operation of the brain and nervous system from reptiles to mammals [2], he says. We as humans, the theory goes, are still hard-wired like our mammalian cousins in the past with the Defense system being one of the most fundamental of our systems to remain rather strongly intact because of its "proven" adaptive value to survive. That said, the beauty of that system can also be a nightmare.

Dr. Stephen Porges

I have always argued that "fear" is part of DI or Defense Intelligence (part of Emotional Intelligence) [3]. We can utilize it and we can mature it and take more and more conscious charge of it as we evolve ourselves via new levels of consciousness re-setting the operational dynamics of DI, and allowing for more flexibility than mere "reflex" [4] I would also argue that this developmental evolutionary theory of consciousness (e.g., Ken Wilber's work) gives an essential nuancing to how DI and how "defenses" work--this is not something that I see Porges' neurobiolgical research includes, which is typical of most neuroscience and positivism that don't care much about consciousness (or "mind") soft-structure platforms because they are "invisible" and not so measurable easy like brain-nerve firings (e.g., the vagaus nerve complex). The exception I know to this is Bruce Lipton's work on cell biology and consciousness, including his understanding of the most basic Love vs. Fear dynamics in the ecology of cells and their relationship to the environment.

Nonetheless, as Porges points out in this brief interview, "fear" has its own operational platform of Defense, as if it has its own rapid-fire "mind" (i.e., brain-reflex wiring that is very ancient and powerful and still active in the neuroceptive regions of pre-consciousness autonomic activity, which are really unconscious). He says, this is essential because such defense decisions (instincts) are needed sometimes in an instant when in a particular context of some severe life-threat or potential life-threat. There's no time to think about it, is the argument, and that's why these rapid-fire decisions systems are biologically-based to hi-jack the higher thought platforms of the mid-brain and cerebrum. You may note, that lots of research on the brain's amygdala surfaced in the 1990s and onward telling us of this same basic notion about fear and our defense systems... but, Porges has merely fine-tuned this and looked more at the action of the autonomic system overall and the vagus nerve network in particular.

What the amygdala research emphasized is more the "fight-flight" responsivity of the defense systems we inherited. Where Porges' work focuses on the polyvagal network and its function--quite complex, and I won't do it justice here--but that it primarily moves bi-modally as meta-motivational patterns between "protecting" and "connecting" in the reptilian-mammalian architecture of the body/brain system [5].

Porges and his followers are interested in the notion of "safety" first [6] for self/system regulation (and rehabilitation and growth), as far as I can tell. And that is the role of safety from a neurobiollogical (vagal) point of view. They assert that the defense system is hard-wired for not just fight-flight but also "shut down" (or paralysis) process under severe threat--that is, under severe trauma. They call this fear as originary and thus natural and valuable. This shut-down may take place as a kind of "trance" and/or "dissociation" or "fainting." It is very powerful to protect the organism. It is sometimes the "chosen" 3rd of the fear responses mentioned by various authors talking about fear management: in hierarchial order of activation frequency is something like this: (1) flight, (2) fight and (3) freeze (i.e., "shut down" or "shock"). Porges notes that fear-immobilization has been largely ignored traditionally in psychological fear theories and especially ignored in medicine and psychology and therapy theories [6]. He is bringing this out to the forefront, and using his polyvagal theory to help understand more of human's behaviors when distressed, when triggered by painful memories, etc. The point being, is to see that "shut down" which may not look very brave or courageous socially, is incredibly "intelligent," natural and unconscious, and not a typical "rational choice"--but it can be the very best strategy in some situations of extreme violence or damage potential of such. So, the point is we ought not be down on this 3rd option and we ought to respect the natural archaic body and defense systems to enact in our best interest. 

However, like all the 3 options of fear-responses, so-called, they can be healthy responses and they can be "dissociated" or "inaccurate" and on "over-drive" creating more problems than one already has. In other words, the fear management/response of any of these 3 responses can be "irrational" and "pathological"--leading to breakdowns of the intelligence of the Defense system. We need to learn about these systems in a good "fear education" (as I call it) so we can work with them and overcome their down-sides and potential pathological enactments. I won't go into polyvagal theory (i.e., bi-modal meta-motivation theories) beyond this brief introduction. Unless people want to explore this on the FM ning. FYI, you may or may not recall that in my work, I have added 2 more fear-response options beyond Porges [7] and his followers: that is, (4) tend-and-befriend, and (5) fearlessness. 

Notes

1. Apparently the first article that had impact on the greater scientific community by Porges (a psychiatrist and researcher) came in 1994. I find that an interesting date historically in the research on "fear." It was around this same time that a great wave of interest came from MRI studies of the brain and studies of the neurobiology of fear, pinning down the brain centre called the amygdala as the place of storage and processing of "fear" from ancient times to the present. The mid-1990s was also the time when the first critics of the "culture of fear" were starting to get published and listened to in the social sciences (albeit, they began naming this phenomena a decade earlier to explain cultural, historical and political dynamics of the major role that "fear" plays, beyond individual psychology). 

 2. This is not new as an insight nor a neurobiological fact, and it has physio-behavioral impacts of great significance in understanding humnan behavior in the past and today. The most explicit evolutionary theory of this deep structures of human motivation patterns came out of the research and theorizing of the "triune brain" concept of at least going back to Paul McLean's work, a very controversial theory that we are made up of an R-complex (Reptilian), M-complex (Mammalian) and H-complex (Human)--and, all three have their roles, and their attempts to dominate the behavior of an organism or system depending on the context. I found this in the late 1970s and was taken by what seemed a very logical brain/physiological (dynamic) explanation of behaviors and values sytems. Polyvagal theory is more or less interested in the same issues, the same hierarchical organization of these three brain platforms, albeit, Porges has his own way of naming and casting them. 

3. I am interested in a theory (Howard Gardner's) of multiple intelligences that ought to be part of our general awareness and certainly part of how we design systems that utilize the best of human potential along these lines of mulitple intelligences, e.g., cognitive, affective, relational, musical, existential, etc. The most popularized and "successfully" applied version of this has been the great attention to Daniel Goleman's work on emotional intelligence, which also bloomed in the mid-1990s (see note 1.) Again, there are critics of Goleman's theory and applications, and I myself have critiqued it several times over the decades. Mostly, there is not room in his theory for the deep structures of the evolutionary brain, as in McLean's or Porges' work, and thus, it leaves out the deep motivational phenomenology of Defense Intelligence as a core essential intelligence.  

4. My own theorizing on this for decades has been that the developmental levels (and fear management defense systems) increasingly via consciousness evolution are less and less fear-based themselves. Thus, fearlessness as a path is always a path of continual growth (under good conditions) of connectivity and more reflexive thus, less reactive defensivity re: mistrust or protectionism. 

5. There is a large universal body of research and phenomenological experience throughout recorded history that notes this bi-modality of human motivation (and a good deal of animal motivation, or even plants). Re: autonomic nervous system, Porges' polyvagal theory brings out the bimodality of parasympathetic nervous system vs. sympathetic nervous system. As well, the simplest (non-technical) expression of it is the only "two emotions" theory--what I have called meta-motivations of Love and Fear. The equivalency is that our basic "drives" as organisms move along a spectrum of Love at one end pulling us to connection, and Fear at the other end pulling us to protection (cf. Porges' theory). Now, with any extra investigation, I am now thinking of all the other theories that are ought there, prior to Porges', like John Bolby on attachment theory (based on two bimodal orientations of the baby: fear of abandonment and fear of enmeshment, of which the first is the pole of protection or defense and its problems, and the second is the pole of connection and its problems). There is also the bimodal theories of "Fear vs. Freedom" as a synthesis of many theories which I have seen brought forward by the Terror Management Theory folks, and, of course the earliest theory along this line (other than the ancient Love vs. Fear philosophies and theologies) is Erik Erikson's first stage of affective development which he named "Trust vs. Mistrust" --and, so there is a great interet in this bi-modal theorizing to explain human behavior, and Porges' theory is just the latest, with more neurobiological evidence that basically "proves" what was already known to be tested and true in human experience by the other critical observers. I'd have to think more about how Indigenous worldview (and "theories") of human motivation may also contribute here. Each of these theories has partial truths to add to the puzzle.

5. My own 'red-flags' go up when I listen to Porges and his followers and their excitement about this theory of "safety" first rhetoric and discourse--which can slide into an ideological protectionism in the name of "connectivity." A tricky thing to tease apart, and we have to use fearanalysis to sort it out re: what is fear-based motivation and what is not. To what degree is fearlessness operating? To what degree is a fear-based structuration operating in even the most positive and benign looking campaigns (even the current 'wellness' craze)? Educators and psychologists are now saying without this polyvagal "calm" (motivation for connectivity overcoming motivation for protection) there is no way children or adults can learn through teaching-connections, or no way compassion and empathy can occur. This is a highly problematic, oversimplified, discourse today, with political ideologies to examine in that such cannot be left only in the analysis of polyvagal neurobiology, no matter how much partial truths the scientists may have at their finger tips in arguing for "safety" first as foundational to basic moral-compassionate connectiing--i.e, what makes us mammalian (sometimes linked to a "feminine" perspective and/or the oxytocin of mothering and bonding processes). I won't go into my critique further here, as it is a long one, suffice it to say it involves how the State (elite) powers have mis-appropriated this "safety" (connectivity) first evolutionary and neurobiological predisposition into various uses to control people/organizations and also to construct "enemies" to be destroyed who may threaten that "safety" first need or motivation. Terror Management Theory (social psychology empirical research) has offered some of the very best analysis on this and how humans behave in inclusive-exclusive dynamics re: safety needs hooked to self-esteem needs at individual and collective platforms. Fear of course (i.e., extreme cousin in the form of terror) cannot be left out of the equation of understanding major ways humans behave. 

6. My own early study of ethology (animal behavior in the wilds) gave a lot of concerted attention to the "play dead" shut-down process of the nervous system and as a general behavioral strategy in many species. So, I would say the human psychologists and psychiatrists are much slower on picking up on this in general. 

7. Which is not to say that Porges has not taken this into account in terms of co-evolutionary face-to-face interactions, and a notion of "care" that brings about polyvagal homeostasis in mammals, especially humans. The "tend-and-befriend" is a feminist theory of fear-response by Taylor et al. not based on polyvagal theory as far as I can tell.

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Is the WHO organization spreading more fear dis-ease than it is preventing, while playing out their worst fears re: Epidemics?

This blog is all about the intersection of Health & Wellness and Fear. I see many research and career opportunities for people studying fear(ism). Here are 4 examples from one small local Alberta newspaper (March 16, 2018) [1] that show this intersection. I also know, in the West at least, there is a lot more available dollars and funding in the Health and Medical Field than any other field and they are likely to be more interested in fear and its impacts. There is a readiness for fearism studies awaiting. Now, to the four examples, and my brief critiques: 

Example 1: WHO is seemingly in its policies so overly exuberant to prevent disasters regarding "new" or "old" viruses and bacterial epidemices it has, according to this newspaper article (above) named "Disease X" as its priority. You have likely heard of Zika, SARS, Ebola, etc. but WHO has decided to name the worst epidemic disease before it is known. There is something really weird about that, even though they will tell us, as in this article, their rationale is to pre-prevent as much as possible the "next" outbreak that could threaten us. WHO is becoming like this major "security" company, organization, dominant voice and player in the role of fear and disease. Yes, as I read this article they want us to be afraid of the next unknown big killer disease before we know what it is. That's weird, and seems on the point of extreme dis-ease (fear-based) way of operating and making policies about world health. Even if their intention is good, which I trust it is, their means of getting there is dubious and I think adds more fear on the planet, and more fear adds more distress to people awaiting and trying to avoid getting sick from anything. More fear, more distress and worry, and guess what, one's immune system goes down in functioning because it is on chronic altert (worry mode) and that creates more susceptibility to infections. WHO is not paying attention to their own dysfunctional logic to create this "Disease X" as the unknown big killing epidemic disease. By calling it the unknown disease, listen to what the reporter of this article writes, and others will too as they spread the news of WHO and its listed "Disease X": "The WHO said Disease X could come from anywhere and strike at any time" and goes on to say (citing a scientific adviser to WHO) "it is likely the next big outbreak will be something we have not seen before" and don't know how to treat and people will not be immune. On and on this newspaper article goes creating the fear of the unknown in all of us over something we don't know will happen but probably will, according to experts, and they are sure good at creating the worst case scenarios and then try to convince us we should trust WHO because they are so on top of protecting us or will try to do so... etc. As I say, this is a type of totalitarian thinking and authoritarian politics to health and wellness, that the world doesn't need, it only breeds more fear. This is a primary case, on a global scale, of fear appeal advertising at its worst. It creates dependency and fear of the unknown everywhere and anytime; it creates ghosts in our minds and lives, and this chronic fear distress is a fear-disease itself being spread by a global organization (WHO) that is supposed to be improving our health, not compromising it(?). 

 Example 2: ADDING HOPE TO FEAR(S) is about how to best boost people's motivation to be well, healthy, happy, while at the same time warning them of health risks. Adversting in the field of what is called "Health Education" or "Health Communications" is a topic of research and debate. The question and concern is how much "fear" should be induced to motivate people, and when is it too much or better to add "hope" (for e.g.) to create empowerment in the consumers of these advertisements and educational programs to promote well-being? This next article gives some research, and sides in favor that "Fear will get attention, but it is better to provide them with possible solutions." I won't give more details, but this article is pointing to research that is the exact opposite of the WHO strategy (above), thus, a contradiction in the health field as our health experts themselves may not be following their own research and best practices and advice(?)

 Example 3: Love and Fear debate is ongoing, and Desh and I have written about it in our book (Fisher and Subba, 2016), and I have done research on this debate for 28 years.  In this popular article the author opens with the lines: "Reject fear, choose love" --although, it is easier said than done. If we all did it the world would be a fantasy utopia and health and wellness and good relationships would abound. What the article does not analyze, other than an individual making a committed choice to follow love even when fear pulls them in the opposite direction, is the full nature of the Fear Problem in the first place. Because, it raises the issue about why love, if it is so great, hasn't kept us as a species out of the spiraling down the drain into major crises where clearly fear is ruling not love. My point, "fear" no matter how you look at it, isn't just a "choice" and that begins a whole other philosophical, psychological, historical, theological, sociological inquiry. Fearism is one more additional mode of inquiry into this debate, and of course, the author of this article doesn't mention fearism as a new perspective in the study of fear. Unfortunately, this binary simplification "love vs. fear" (as a choice) is really kindergarten education, better than nothing, but it leaves out more than one can imagine--or, more than I'd like to see be left out of our basic fear management/education on this planet. I can say, there is an huge amount of popular interest, writing, workshops, and teachings about love in relationships, and I am glad (somewhat) that fear is recognized as a most powerful, if not the most powerful, "emotion" in relationships that can be useful or be destructive. Trying to just replace by choice fear with love, however, is fallacious and reductionistic--it will work perhaps "a little" but not a lot. And, we need a lot more understanding about the nature of fear. Although, as I say that, I know there is a great swarm of advocates who will disagree and say "no you are wrong, we need mor understanding about the nature of love." Who is right? I say, and Desh and I have said, we need a dialectical methodology of fearism to study the love vs. fear problem. [see Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.)

  Example 4: Pain Reduction: Fear Reduction is an article about the new research in medicine showing that use of opioids (e.g., methadone, heroine, etc.) cause worse symptoms regarding pain and anxiety problems than are helpful. The opioids are addictive and actually damage the biological systems own resilience to pain and fear. I suggest this is a great teaching to us all, and a critique of the field of Medicine overall, and a metaphor. Too much trying to take pain and fear away (as they are like twins), is not going to help in the long run. Of course, my complaint about the "pain" and opoid studies and the way the media covers this research, is that there is not enough talk about the fact that "fear" with "pain" is what the real problem is, and instead of just getting chronic pain (addicts) "off opoids" is not a solution but a moving the furniture around in the room. What these fear-patients need (a term Desh prefers, as does Feariatry, which we are working on), is attention on "fear" as the core of their problems, along with pain that goes with it. That's the larger discussion needed, is to look more closely at pain management within the context of fear management--then, we can really move forward as a society, and doctors who prescribe pharmaceuticals can readjust their paradigm of treatment, and truly follow the Hippocratic Oath they took in med schools, that is, to "cause no harm" in trying to help. Again, I believe there is a larger metaphor and teaching that goes to apply here to all of society, not just the field of medicine. Parenting and schooling and socialization in a culture of fear, a risk-avoidance society, etc. is the real problem. We end up teaching children, against their nature, to "fear pain" rather than truly come to understand it, themselves, and manage pain better: and, I could say the exact same thing with fear. Let's move this agenda of fearism forward because there are openings in the culture now, more than ever, to really find this new paradigm, perhaps it is a Fearlessness Paradigm, that can liberate.   

 

Notes

1. All articles are excerpted from www.TheEpochTimes.com ; (March 16-23, 2018), for educational purposes only. 

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As you may or not have been following the development of philosophy of fearism (especially with Desh Subba's 2014 text; and then the Fisher & Subba 2016 text), there is a particular way (not the only way) of framing how to better deal with fear in the world, individually and collectively. Of course, this is still nascent and hypothetical, theoretical and philosophical. But today I want to set a simple scenario of (fictional) action that I would argue (not here) is actually a useful way to approach how to better deal with fear, that accounts for the larger fearological diagnosis of the global "Fear Problem" but without necessarily exacerbating that "problem" and how it easily can be seen as a "failure" in the actual therapeutic and/healing and transformation process. 

Okay, if all that is just too many words and ideas, and spins your head, and/or if you really just want me to get to the point, I'm going to suggest I will below in a simple fictional action relationship between a feariatrist and a client (or, this maybe less formal without all the role-titles) give a practical working example of fearwork. The fearologist, I'm suggesting is not so interested or focused on this issue that will be revealed below, but the feariatrist (analogous with a psychiatrist, for e.g.) has to be more attuned to the therapeutic and/or clinical dimension of fearwork(ing). 

Okay, enough already, here's the feariatric lesson: 

Imagine a feariatrist meeting with a client: 

Feariatrist: Welcome. I am so glad you've decided to see me today and take time out from your normal life to do something less familiar or even what some may see as abnormal or just weird.

Client: Sure. It is a little weird. I don't really like psychiatrists or doctors much...

Feariatrist: I'm guessing they haven't appealed to you for good reasons. My focus is on the how are we going to solve any fear problem(s) you want to work on with me. 

Client: Sure. 

Fearistrist: Okay, well before we begin, I wanted to let you know that I did read over the information you supplied to me about your background history and your issue(s) you wanted to work on with me. Thanks, that was helpful. Though, I have to say I want to make sure we get off to a good start on this process, so would you answer a question for me first? 

Client: Sure.

Feariatrist: Oh, good. I want to talk to a part of you that most people, including psychiatrists usually, don't talk to. You could call it your unconscious, if you like. But at least, we could call it the hidden part of yourself. Is that okay?

Client: Sure. What do you mean?

Feariatrist: I want to talk to you about the purpose of your hidden part. 

Client: What?

Feariatrist: I want to talk to your fear. 

Client: Okay, but that isn't very hidden. I am afraid of ..... 

Feariatrist: Yeah, I know you were very good in outlining those fears in your preliminary information. We'll get to those. I merely want to talk to your fear first before your fears? Is that okay?

Client: Ah, sure, I guess. 

Feariatrist: Are you sure?

Client: Yes. 

Feariatrist: Good. Let's start. Sit back as comfortably as possible. Let your eyes close, and signal me some way, when you are ready to listen to my voice... 

[process of relaxation and induction goes on; details of that are not important here for this lesson]

Feariatrist (continues): Good, now here's what I want to say to your fear, that hidden part of you that doesn't get talked to, at least I am guessing so, very often by anyone. And, I'm even thinking maybe you haven't talked to it either, or at least not lately as you've been occupied with other important things. I'm not sure I know how to talk to your fear myself. But I'll do my best, you correct me after this exercise; for now, we are taking the time and space as you have chosen to come here and do this fearwork with me and get the communications going again. Right?

So, let's begin. This is what I want you to hear, which your fear already knows. [long pause, watching for responses from the client] 

There's a Fear Problem out there in the world. It's annoying. But it's not your problem. It's really not yours. It merely impacts you everyday, in mostly hidden ways. And, from the day you were conceived, or at least born, you knew. You knew but you couldn't make full sense of it, in adult terms, but you knew it had a purpose. The Fear Problem is out there in the world and it's not your problem. I want to tell you it will be totally up to you to decide how the impacts of the Fear Problem will impact you. Your fear knows already these impacts but has not always and/or not yet communicated them all to you. It wanted to protect you from some, and for good reasons. With us working together creatively we are going to help you to decide how you will be impacted, what are useful ways of being impacted and what are not useful ways of being impacted by the Fear Problem. I welcome fear now in all its gifts and ways and I welcome you [gives clients name] to a new relationship with fear. 

[this is enough for this purpose here as a lesson]

------

Again, this is a fictional session I have dramatized for teaching purposes in the work of feariatry. As you as readers may engage this or ask more about it, I will share more, but at least I think these vignettes of practice of feariatry could be useful for the development of theory and praxis down the road. At this point, I have put a good deal of thought into this, as well as drawing on my own therapeutic experience as a practitioner for decades, and yet, it is all still tentative and exploratory. I trust you will find these at least "interesting." 

p.s. as a prompt for you to Comment on this "session" feel free to take the feariatrist's perspective studying this case, or being in the session, AND/OR the client's perspective likewise, or a witness to the whole thing, etc. 

 

 

 

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Here is the 4th Technical Paper in the series of five articles on ecocriticism: "Fearanalysis and Ecocriticism in the Light of Terrorcriticism" (Technical Paper No. 69). See Abstract below. 

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 69

 

Abstract – After a brief review of the author’s conceptualization and praxis of fearanalysis (different but analogous to psychoanalysis), he applies this method to ecocriticism (especially, Estok’s “Ecophobia Hypothesis”) in the “Age of Terror.” A study of books using “Age of Terror” in their title and other discourses on “terror” (especially, but not only post-9/11), convinced the author that there was need for terrorcriticism a new branch of literary criticism contextualized within ecocriticism (but not restricted to it), that could offer useful critical analysis of the “Age of Terror” discourses and representations of terror and the human-planetary future. Fearanalysis as previously configured is being challenged to expand to a greater inclusivity of excess-extremes for the 21st century (e.g., an “Age of Terror”), of which terror conceptualization and its problematics provides a most useful platform to the author’s agenda of promoting the global Fearlessness Movement for manifesting a “Fearless Age.”

 

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The following reflections come from my recent experience living with the Bhutanese community in Dallas/Forth Worth, TX for the 2.5 days (Nov. 24-26, 2016). Upon an invitation to speak as a guest about the philosophy of fearism and its implications for their diasporic community development, art and literature and general literary criticism in regard to the Oriental (East) and Occidental (West) complementarity and contestations, I immersed myself by living with some of the organizers and learned much that I wish to share in this blogpost of their good work and my interests therein. 

Their theme for the event this year was “Peace, Progress and Prosperity,” their 3rd time holding this yearly event called Grand International Creative Ceremony-III, in Forth Worth, co-sponsored by The Global Bhutanese Literary Organization (Dallas/Fort Worth) and Bhutanese Legacy Youth Club-Fort Worth. This conference is put on every two years.

            LARGER CONTEXT: POLITICAL CASCADE OF CRISES

All of us, the Bhutanese community living in the US diaspora, or whomever, are facing what blog writer Charles Einstein put so well in reflecting critically upon the post-2016 US election atmosphere:

Anything becomes possible with the collapse of dominant institutions. When the animating force behind these new ideas is hate or fear, all manner of fascistic and totalitarian nightmares can ensue, whether enacted by existing powers or those that arise in revolution against them.

That is why, as we enter a period of intensifying disorder, it is important to introduce a different kind of force to animate the structures that might appear after the old ones crumble. I would call it love if it weren’t for the risk of triggering your New Age bullshit detector, and besides, how does one practically bring love into the world in the realm of politics? So let’s start with empathy. Politically, empathy is akin to solidarity, born of the understanding that we are all in this together. In what together? For starters, we are in the uncertainty together.

We are exiting an old story that explained to us the way of the world and our place in it. Some may cling to it all the more desperately as it dissolves, looking perhaps to Donald Trump to restore it, but their savior has not the power to bring back the dead. Neither would Clinton have been able to preserve America as we’d known it for too much longer. We as a society are entering a space between stories, in which everything that had seemed so real, true, right, and permanent comes into doubt. For a while, segments of society have remained insulated from this breakdown (whether by fortune, talent, or privilege), living in a bubble as the containing economic and ecological systems deteriorate. But not for much longer. Not even the elites are immune to this doubt.[1]

Yes, we live in very challenging, if not dangerous times now and soon to come, especially as global warming extremes put enormous pressure on human survival. At the same time, this larger context of crises on planet earth is going to bring us all to better see that we are all on the ‘same boat’ and we can work together to help each other, or fight to try to dominate. No doubt there will be a bit of both tendencies, and yet, the great opportunity is before us to cooperate and operate beyond fear, domination and oppression. I do think our collective fear and uncertainty can be managed and transformed to create a much better world. We’ll see.

            FEARISM BACKGROUND: MEETING of EAST and WEST

A brief background before I offer some detailed reflections on this amazing experience I had with this American-based Bhutanese community:

(1) my first meeting online with Desh Subba in late 2014 has led to a collaboration, and this conference (creative ceremony) was planned (in part) so Desh and I could meet and present in person for the first time. Subba is a well-respected philosopher-writer from Nepal (now living in Hong Kong). He is currently touring the USA speaking to universities and various Nepalese groups on philosophy of fearism. He is the first to have coined the term “philosophy of fearism” as a new philosophy and wrote the first substantive text (Subba, 2014) outlining his approach to such a philosophy, where “fear” is given central conceptual and real importance as the major historical and evolutionary shaping force. His work on this topic came from a broad curiosity about the human condition and how we can help humanity move forward, with less suffering, to a better human potential.

(2) various communities in Nepal, Bhutan and especially N. E. India, have been picking up on Subba’s work and enriching it, especially the literary communities of these areas. It seems the arts in general are very open-minded to adding a new “ism” of thought in the 21st century to other isms that have been influential in shaping literature and art and have also grown out of art movements to some extent. Subba was positing that fearism, like other movements of philosophical thought (e.g., spiritualism, rationalism, existentialism, surrealism, idealism, etc.) has its place in history. These communities are, in some areas, at least beginning to explore how fearism may benefit the development of their nations, culture, communities, youth and the world.

(3) although Subba and I have communicated by email for two years, it was great to come together with the support of the Bhutanese diasporic community in Texas at this event. This allowed us to converse despite the language and cultural barriers (I am an English-only Westerner from Canada, living in the USA for the past 9 years). We gained a great deal from this time in Texas of which I’ll share some of our insights here. For those interested in our first writing collaboration see Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (Fisher and Subba, 2016).

          GUEST: BHUTANESE STYLE

The Bhutanese at this event really know how to celebrate and treat people well. Before I return to that experience, let me say a few opening remarks of relevance to my being a “special guest” as it said in the letter of invitation I received on Sept., 17, 2016. I was addressed in the letter as “American Writer and Philosopher” and on the plague I received on the last day of the event as “a special guest and presenting on FEARISM, representing CANADA/USA.” So far in my career, being asked to present on my own work on the topic fear(ism) and fearlessness is extremely rare. I started this specialty of research and education in 1989, some 10 years before Subba began his work on fear(ism). I shared with the Bhutanese audience, in a dialogue format with Subba up on stage with me, that Westerners are heavily embedded, if not invested and addicted, to carrying on a fairly dysfunctional relationship with fear that is causing major local, national and global problems. They typically like to avoid talking about fear together as communities, societies, and as an Occidental civilization. At least, that is my experience. I’ve tried a long time to engage them. So, to be welcomed as a special guest to speak on the topic was overwhelmingly joyful and still is a surprise and bit of a shock.

However, I quickly learned that the Nepali-Bhutanese culture has a long tradition of treating the “guest, as god” as one young couple expressed to me in a half-joking way, but they really meant that, not literally, but sincerely. When these people meet each other for the first time in the day, or met with me, it was always “namaste” with hands palm-to-palm in front of their heart (namaste, more or less translated into English is ‘the divine in me greets and respects the divine in you’).[2] I felt highly valued and included from the beginning moment of my arrival at the airport. The young men in the car, who picked me up, treated me so graciously and respectfully and some said they had either read about my work on fearism or heard of me and the work and they felt very honored to be able to share time with me and my thoughts at this event. Again, like with Desh, despite the language and cultural barriers of communicating, what mattered most to me was the non-verbal communication of real action of caring for the other—in this case, the guest. I never forgot I was a welcomed and honored guest from beginning to end. I have never in my own country or in the Western world where I live and work, experienced anything remotely close to this respect and dignity of a people for each other, and for their guests. Although, I have noticed this is often the case in some Indigenous peoples’ communities as well that I have visited.

Because of this communicating at the deeper level of the “heart,” which several of them told me about as part of their tradition and culture, I never felt much of an alienated feeling being the ‘outsider’ (white person, English-speaking only). Truly, I will be thinking and reflecting on this experience for a very long time. The entire conference was held in the language of their own country of origin, Nepalese. I never expected what it would be like to immerse oneself in a community like this, where only minor bits of English translations were given for mostly my benefit. I respected that they honored their own language when they came together as a community. I was the guest, but in reality I was the visitor and observer too. It is not my community by geographic or cultural origin. Yet, by the last day of events, with various speakers and poetry readings, dance and singing, I noticed myself in a light semi-trance state, my heart-overflowing and emotions of empathy, sadness, and joy and respect flowing. I could have cried but I held back the tears. In the words of the Bhutanese poet, who was at the event, Narad Pokhrel a former refugee now living in the USA: “Tears drop, Tears flow; Tears remain within for long.”[3]

Again, I didn’t understand a word they said most of the time. It didn’t matter to me as a human being connecting authentically and spiritually with other human beings. Culture is not the most important thing for this greater connection in spirit. I did not feel greater or lesser than anyone. I felt a balance. I was in a mindset where mind no longer allowed divisions. I felt I was channeling much of their emotions and thoughts through me, cleansing me of my Western life experience and identity dysfunctions, privilege, and ignore-ance. I was being educating and I loved it. I sat. I sat. I sat. There were even moments I wanted to get up and dance with them.

        HEALTH & DEVELOPMENT THROUGH FEARISM

When I first talked with Denzome Sappang, the primary organizer and community leader of the Bhutanese in Dallas/Fort Worth, he was looking at what kind of accommodation could be provided for me. I mentioned that he need not bother with anything fancy, “I am a philosopher, and those things are of little matter. So, keep it simple. I don’t need much.” As it turned out, I stayed at the Bhutanese Community Center, a small half-sized unit at the same townhouse complex where Denzome and his family live. It is a lower-working class, multi-ethnic, gated community. I never learned the details of exactly what this housing complex was or who designed it but I had a sense it was for the more vulnerable and likely many were refugees. It was not the most well-managed environment and at times I wanted to go around and lure the children playing there to perhaps help to pick up the garbage litter.

The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat) estimates that nearly one billion, or one-third, of urban dwellers in the world live in slums or near slum-like conditions or informal settlements or camps in 2007. I can imagine that rate is much higher since that survey especially with the ongoing waves of migration and refugees from war-torn and food-short environments around the world, often linked to global climate change and political instability. Housing adequacy and health environments are going to be a huge pressure humanity must face head-on in the coming decades to prevent escalating cascades of other problems, of which health issues is no. 1. I want to come back to this issue in regard to diasporic and vulnerable communities settling in North America, and especially in the USA recently and how a philosophy of fearism may play an important role.

In principle, I personally have always been against the trend of gated communities in North America especially. The main reason is because the rich people who build them and want to live in them keep themselves, more or less, isolated from the rest of the community. Many critics are pointing out that this trend is producing a class of citizens who do not have any sense of obligation to the larger civic mandates of all-taking-care- of-all, as an ethic of social justice. No, they live in a bubble and do not even care much about politics and voting. They like their segregation, their elite schools and privatized clinics and hospitals, and their own security forces, etc. I critique this because I see that all as fear-based by design; urban planners called it “white flight” for many years but it is moving beyond merely a racially-signified exodus from civic participation—it is very unhealthy and a way that continues the great divide of communities and cities by class status. Many gated communities build high walls between themselves and others. Now, the USA under a Trump leadership has a goal of building a great wall between Mexico and the USA. The wealthy can afford to live on the ‘right side’ of the security systems, which keep the growing numbers of poor and vulnerable away from them, unseen, uncared for by the wealthy. As I mentioned, racism traditionally is a significant part of the gated community phenomenon as “white” people take flight to the suburbs, leaving a type of inner city ghettoization encompassing many people of color and the vulnerable and poor in the USA.

My point is to say that I stayed with the way reality was during my short visit. If this is where Denzome and his family live and where they operate their community organization to teach ESL and Civics and yoga to new refugees and immigrants—then, I wanted to experience however briefly, the struggling to make it in America. I don’t care if it is uncomfortable and even a little scary as I was the only white person I saw the whole time there in that gated community.

I’m glad I was raised poor working class and was son of a mother who was an uneducated immigrant to Canada in the 1940s onward. I knew what my mom suffered in not speaking English and having to take jobs where she was given little respect. I saw the tears from her, and the anguish and anger. I know the shame I experienced when my friends and others made fun of our old run-down house, a lower-class neighborhood, and a car that was old and cheap and they’d stare at the patches in my clothes at times. Of course, as a young child, I never understood what was going on. I never understood the reason my mom was so unhappy and became alcoholic. Later, I put the puzzle together and realized how classism, racism, ethnocentrism, and sexism all intersect to create social problems that individuals suffer from. I learned that most everyone wants to blame to victim, the vulnerable person for their fate in life. I see the error of that kind of thinking now. I also see the error of treating people in the margins of society, like the refugees, as only “victims” because they certainly are not that alone. If you spend time with them, as I did, as a privileged white person, I could see a creative vibrancy and drive to be much more than a victim of circumstances.

So, I am now accepting of my lower-class background and my own struggles with poverty as an artist and as an independent scholar and philosopher. I guess, what I am saying is that I really ‘felt at home’ with these people I met at this event. I don’t mean to claim they felt ‘at home’ and comfortable with me, necessarily. I do not know for sure what everyone felt. What’s more important however, from the larger cultural, political context of contemporary America, is that the general public is still largely fear-filled when it comes to the concept of “refugee.” Call it xenophobia (fear of the stranger; the Other) or just call it simply fear of refugees and immigrants and anyone else who, in some people’s minds, “don’t belong here and are up to no good.” I don’t take that stance. But unfortunately, fear is still central in the lives of the diasporic communities in America because they feel often that negative association from the larger society. The recent racist-based headlines of the news reports “OSU attacker Identified Somali Refugee” and one could go on and on with the cases of how targeted populations are named in extreme violence cases like this one, rather than merely reporting a name of a criminal. If the attacker was white and “American-looking” (so-called) would anyone giving such a report in headlines say “Identified Irish-American” or such? Of course not! Targeting “refugee” in the headlines, in this case, easily generalizes peoples’ fear to include all refugees as dangerous like this one individual, who drove down and knifed several students on OSU campus. And this is what Trump’s agenda is all about, always was in the election campaign, fearmongering and xenophobia. I feel for my diasporic brothers and sisters who have to live with this kind of climate of fear, culture of fear, and its relentless unnecessary attacks on “the Other.”

       FEARISM AS POTENTIAL ‘CORRECTIVE’ TO FEARMONGERING

This leads to my last short discussion on how fearism is potentially important. Desh and I shared some of our thoughts in our dialogue at the event, but it was much too short, as many other people came up and told me. I agree, we had great questions from the audience[4] and we have a lot more to say in trying to answer them. But that will all come in time. What I realized from this event and in talking with Desh and so many others, is that fearism is still relatively hard to understand in all its implications and all its liminal and unknown mysteries. Much of it is still intuitive thought that makes up the philosophy and thus, more systematic writing is yet to come. It is often poetically described and speculatively derived. Desh and I plan to write a short Manifesto on Philosophy of Fearism to help readers and students of our work. Some people told us, especially a few young people, it would be great to have an online course on this topic taught by Desh and I. Yes, that would be great. I’d like to see the Bhutanese diasporic communities or any communities take on studying the nature and management, and transformation of fear, just like a basic “fear education” (analogous, to say, a basic “sex education or "moral education").

The one thing that kept coming out in my mind about this experience was how powerfully important the diasporic communities are to the rest of the world and global change processes. I will be only brief in sharing my thoughts here. It seems that the places of change and transformation of human beings and their societies always function best under difficult challenging and even oppressive and “crisis” conditions. There is no comfort and stability much in these sites generally nor in the diasporic communities—especially, when they are refugee-based and/or poor. How to keep these communities healthy and developing forward, rather than falling into fear-based patterns of apathy and despair and pessimism—loss of culture and dignity, etc.—this, is a great challenge. I saw how Denzome and so many others worked tirelessly for this conference to be a success. I also stayed in their little community center and saw how it is a place of adult education and development for their Bhutanese community members and others who wish to participate in some way. Volunteers. There is minimal resources available at this time to them, and they do so much good work for what they have. I felt greatly inspired.

I kept thinking that fearism, if they continue to study it and apply it, with my help and with Desh’s help if they want it, has so much to offer to the health and development of the diaspora. The Nepal-Bhutan connection to fearism and fearlessness, all the way into the USA, is a great site, in the margins of the greater USA society, for learning, restoration, transformation and liberation. These big types of change rarely are instigated from within the ‘center’ of a society of the so-called “normal” people. I for one want to offer my allyship to this movement along with my heart-felt thanks for all you did for me at this event. I feel I was transformed and helped to see the world-reality in a more realistic way, than before when I had not had such an enriching experience in Bhutanese-Nepali culture and creative thoughts. I wished there was more time to talk with people, but that’s okay because the event was for their community to celebrate their achievements and enjoy connections with each other.

At one point on the last day, three white Americans showed up, two of whom presented on their work with the Nepalese in Nepal. They were speech instructor specialists and philanthropists. As much as I was interested to see the good they were doing, I was also disturbed at times personally by their attitudes toward refugees and immigrants. I noticed how different the American attitude is re: “melting pot” approach and how the one speaker literally gave a lecture to the Bhutan community on how they ought to “assimilate” and then Americans will be more kind to them. More or less, that was what was implied. In Canada, this is not, generally, the way we look at “the Other” but rather we see they have gifts to teach us about being human in a globalizing world. This is a much larger topic I don’t have space for in this blog. I will say, I perceived a lot of fear from these Americans, and I’m sure they are not even conscious of it, when they are in the presence of people of color, difference, and who aren't speaking in English, and they are not in control of them and the situation.

My hypothesis, after talking with Desh and having this experience, has led me to thinking there is a particular diasporic learning site of change that could be a great model for others in diasporas but also beyond that. For example, the Bhutanese diasporic, say in America, could be leaders of human change and global transformation, showing alternatives of love and care for “the Other” and of better ways humans could do things—the latter, which are turning out to be very destructive to humanity and the environment we depend on—that is, how to do them without pathological and neurotic and despairing fear and terror motivating change, perceptions, thoughts, actions. But rather to make the creative changes based on a new relationship to fear and fearlessness—one that is healthy and constructive not destructive. This is the lesson the rest of the world needs to learn, in Desh’s and my opinion. Philosophy of fearism is based on this basic assumption.

I look forward to my ongoing connections with these communities. There is a lot of work to do. I am full of renewed energy to be part of the solutions. I also learned in my experience at this event to be a good listener, no matter what, even if I don’t understand all the language and some of the behaviors and cultural traditions and rituals. That is not so important, as to listen-to-connect, then we’ll be human together without fear getting in between our differences. That’s the future I want to live and pass on to the children for generations to come.  

****

     References
Fisher, R.M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Fisher, R.M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.
Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.


[1] Excerpt from “The Election: Of Hate, Grief and a New Story”; thanks to Emmett Coyne who sent me this essay by Charles Einstein http://charleseisenstein.net/hategriefandanewstory/

[2] My reading of this ritual, both at the cultural and spiritual levels, is one of a “gift of fearlessness” (dana abaya) offering: that is (in English translation), I bring not fear to you or your loved ones, and I expect you to likewise return that gift. Elsewhere, Fisher (2010) I have written about the gift of fearlessness based on theological scholars’ work on this topic in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism.

[3] Excerpt from the poem “Tear” from The Pathetic Journey. Discourse Publications, 197.

[4] Three of the questions from audience members were, as best I recall: (1) What is the role of fearism in giving us a new perspective on how leaders of all kinds in societies everywhere tend to use fear to manipulate others?, (2) What is the difference between Subba’s philosophy of fearism, and Fisher’s philosophy of fearism?, (3) What is this philosophy of fearism, in simpler language, so that more people can practically understand this and make use of it?

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Responding to the 2016 US election results is the thing tens of thousands of people are doing already. I don’t want to write a response trying to repeat what they are saying, more or less—which, boils down to how much fear they have because of the winner “Donald Trump” ('the man,' 'the beast').

No, as a fearologist researcher-writer-teacher I am thinking in the imaginary of what I have lately been calling the Anthropocene Fear (21st century context). From that perspective, I don’t want to be petty and underplay the importance of this election, nor over-exaggerate its importance on a global-geological scale. That said, the ‘ripples’ of fear in the world, which for Trump supporters is elation, are worthy of responses. My first response was prior to election day; see “Love, Fear, and the US Election 2016” (FMning Oct. 20, 2016).

Instead, I’ll pick-up on the concept of Trumpism as the topic, which sort of makes Donald Trump a “symptom” not the “disease.” By which I mean to use Trumpism as a playful, trickster like way to signify a form of oppression, a guise, a mask, a character(istic) of which ‘the man’ embodies. I’m imagining, if this concept takes off with some acceptance (which I doubt it will), people will add this to the long list of ‘ism’ dis-eases in the world, like racism, sexism, classism (and, for some, Marxism, Freudianism, Stalinism, etc.). And, before long, people will be accusing other people of being not merely a racist, sexist—but, they’ll have another label to lay onto someone they disagree with and judge as Trumpist. If only ‘the man’ could play such an instrument (ha!).

My ploy is to displace the obvious energies arising in and around our dramatic reactions to ‘the man’—most all of which the media has constructed-- and potentially feel and see the energies transforming; as at one level we are ‘forced’ to come face-to-face into the energy field of fear of Donald Trump (i.e., Trumpism). I suggest we can avoid having to actually make up another “fear of Donald Trump” to add to the multiple growing lists of fears that people are already talking about in mass numbers since he (for some shockingly) won the election [1]. What the world needs now, to grow, heal and change for the better, is not a bigger list of fears or even mental disorders like Trumpophobia. I think you get what I mean. Don’t feed it! (gosh, I hope that advice doesn’t sound too new-agey spiritual). Attune to something that most of the media and the fearmongers are not attuning to... and, see what can happen. Let me explain.

So, a good friend and ally (a Canadian) asked me the other day to write more about Trumpism, and so that’s the purpose of this blogpost. I asked her why she wanted me to talk more about the concept. Here’s what she responded:

“When you mentioned that ‘Trumpism’ won’t go away [no matter what the election results], I wonder if yet another version or expression of fear has presented itself to the researcher [fearologist] in you. What do you know that the average person doesn’t that makes you think it won’t go away—and does it need to?”

The fear that motivates so much of the political field of interactions, especially in the USA (called a “culture of fear” by many experts), is what makes Trumpism work effectively. Fear motivates. It can do that in good ways and not so good ways. Trumpism is another form of fearism-t (toxic form)—which underlies all terrorism. That’s what I know that most people may not know. I was, it appears, first to coin the word “fearism” decades ago. Trumpism is closest to Triumphalism (very close to Chauvinism)—on and on I could associate terms that resonate around the fear-field of Trumpism, which makes itself look bravado-fearless but it is collecting nearly everyone’s fears at the same time to blow itself into this elite wealthy corporate charismatic leader—greater than life—blond Hero that speaks from impulse and will save the world (well, at least, “Make America Great Again” was his campaign slogan).

Does Trumpism need to go away? Does racism need to go away? Does fearism-t need to go away? I don’t think so. The question left lingering is what will replace it? Who has that magic filler for the gap it leaves? And, like waste products—once created—they don’t really go away anywhere that is really away—there is in the connectedness of all relations—“no away” anymore (and there never was, as my Indigenous brothers and sisters are teaching us today in the Anthropocene crisis). I guess we are left with transforming the energies of Trumpism, like any dis-ease. Of course, someone may take ‘the man’ out with a weapon but that won’t make Trumpism go away—because it is supported and fed and cookin’ in well nearly ½ of the voting public or more in the USA. It belongs. That’s the first rule of acceptance if one follows the path of fearlessness, as I promote and practice. It belongs because there is “no away” anymore—it is here! If it disappears then that will be—also here! My point is, don’t try and get rid of it—that’s like fear trying to get rid of fear(ism). It don’t work so well. Human history has tried this. Look at how fear of the nasty kind is still well with us and has us by the throat! (to be dramatic) We have a lot of fear management/education, I argue, to build and learn about before we ought to be trying to eliminate anything that reminds us of our fear—collectively, and individually. Yes, Trumphism is in you, and you dreamt it—that’s why it appeared in the running for the 2016 US Presidential Election. It’s yours and my Shadow, in otherwords.

My friend also said she looked up trump in a dictionary to learn it means “ranking above others” and “a valuable resource to be used to gain advantage”—she wrote, “How interesting that this descriptor energy seems embedded in our new ‘apprentice’s’ language and actions [yes, I call Triumphalism].... I’d like to know your thinking on how energy manifests in various ways it’s wonders to perform?”

Shadow energy from the unconscious (especially the collective) cycles and recycles, and then if we ignore it long enough—it “pops” out and bites us in the ass. That’s Trumpism. The 'bite' is an attempt to remind us we are "connected" --to everything! I realize that is intellectually easier to think about than to really 'get' fully and embody in practice.

We ought to say, “Hey, thank you Trumpism for the bite in the ass—I really need that!” We need it to accept it consciously—all healing, more or less, involves unconscious repressed arising and returning (and destroying) until we accept it consciously and then process it—and sure, by just working with the energy, even by doing so in playing with words, making up words, like Trumpism—is, in my view a better way to create a performance with the energies—rather, than getting all caught up in the symptom’s performance (of which ‘the man’ is so expert, apparently—he’s a TV star, isn’t he). So, get out of the box, out of the TV screen, or computer Internet screen—and design your own ‘energy’ transformations and performances to work through what is arising at this ‘crazy’ time. As many have said, “fear” (Fear) is just energy, at one level. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking your individual energy work is adequate alone to the collective reality of a “culture of fear” (or fearism-t, or Trumpism)—I’ve seen this reductionistic error (if not narcissism) way too much in the healing communities I’ve been part of. So, my long experience tells me we have to be more holistic-integral, and creative as hell as “communities” as well to do the energy transformative work.

End Notes

1. According to B. Kamal (2016) who wrote: “The electoral victory of U.S. Republican Donald Trump — many have said — is an alarming signal that heralds new, difficult times. Maybe. Anyway, this victory could –and should-be seen as a symptom not as a disease.

Such disease consists of a widespread malaise, the feeling of frustration and even oppression that the majority of citizens shelter in their hearts and minds worldwide. Let alone the syndrome of unrestricted fear of everything, which has been imposed on everyone.

Fear of the so-called economic crisis that the private banking and financial sectors have created in 2007.

Fear of lay people to lose their jobs and thus accepting unacceptable working conditions.

Fear of losing their houses, new cars, latest model smartphones, which they still owe to the banks.

Fear of migrants taking their jobs and leaving them in misery.

Fear of Muslim refugees coming to destroy their Western Christian “civilisation”.

Fear of cold wars promoted by the weapons business.

Fear, fear, fear.”

(excerpt from “Trump the Symptom” @http://www.other-news.info/2016/11/trump-the-symptom/#more-12655)

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