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fear and disease (1)

New Dialogue with Desh Subba (1)

I hope to make a series of these dialogues with Desh Subba (living in Hong Kong), as we email exchange and co-author work on the Philosophy of Fearism. This dialogue I shaped and led as a kind of interview. Enjoy, -M.

Desh Subba and R. Michael Fisher in Conversation on:

 

            FEAROLOGY, FEARIATRY, FEARANALYSIS [1]:

                  Three Pillars[2] of a Philosophy of Fearism

 M (Michael): One of the things you and I have learned in attempting to promote the newest branch of philosophy [3], after existentialism and postmodernism, is how it is not always easy for people to grasp how a philosophy can aid their everyday life. Especially, it is hard for them to imagine that a philosophy called Fearism is going to be valuable to them or their loved ones or society living everyday life. What has been your experience of teaching? You have done much more direct lecturing than I have on introducing a philosophy of fearism, including your recent teaching experiences to many countries in the East and a few in the West.  

 D (Desh): It is human nature that we ignore common things that are habitual around us. Teaching Fearism, as a new type of philosophy, is difficult for people, be they ordinary citizens, professionals or academics. They tend to think what is common in everyday is normal and things have been like this from ancient time.

 M: Yeah, habituating to routines, norms and traditions is a powerful stabilizer in cultures of all kinds. Yet, you and I are nudging for people to attend through a fearist lens at the common things in their world, hoping they will begin to see them differently. 

 D: During my lectures in India, China, Bangaladesh, Nepal and even in the USA and Australia, I sometimes would ask the audience counter-questions by giving examples of their surroundings—e.g., window, door, balance of diet, physical exercise, etc. I say all these things are for making a better quality and longer life. And analogously, I say, we have fears habitually—that is, fear of accidents, diseases, death etc.

 M: I find it intriguing. I mean your teaching style. I sometimes wonder if it is uniquely Eastern and so different than how I approach teaching about fear in the West. That makes for an interesting exchange of the East-West dialogue as we can learn from each other, from very different perspectives. It seems to me you focus on teaching people to understand that fear is so common and habitual, and that has been part of human evolution as a motivator for everything we do, that people, for the most part, don’t realize it—its become a routine to live that way. And you reinforce that mostly that is good fear helping to improve our lives, like windows, doors, balance of diet, physical exercise. However, you and I also say that as tribes move to cities and become nations through time and development they tend to become more educated in knowledge and aware of more dangers. This makes for more things to fear. They tend to be more fear-based in motivations everyday, to the point where it is no longer all good fear that motivates.

 D: Yes. When I’m lecturing I say the scientists invent new technological devices and advance comforts and it mostly serves human life and society. It depends on our use and how to make it valuable to life. Analogously, I teach that Fearism is the same kind of device. We have discovered it now; we teach ways to use it. It’s time for them to learn and practice how to use it to improve their quality of lives.

 M: And, you and I as teachers sure wouldn’t want to force it on anyone. In particular, for this conversation today, I want to focus on practical concerns you and I have in regard to applying a fearist perspective that co-emerges with a philosophy of Fearism. I am thinking that our most practical direction offered to humanity, as outlined in our co-authored book, Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016) has been a pointing to how to end suffering. You wrote, in your opus work Philosophy of Fearism (2014), “... man suffers from fear due to various reasons.... There are lots of problems and diseases [caused] from fear.” And, the situation is getting worse in our Extreme Fear Age, you pronounce—and, I heartily agree.

 Of course, there have been other philosophies and religions that have been offered for this same goal of stopping suffering; but based on our long studies, you and I believe they have all, more or less, fallen short of a proper analysis of suffering because they have minimized systematic critical study of the nature and role of fear in their philosophy or religion. You and I also believe this has been the problem with sciences. For sciences, like medical science especially, has attempted to cure disease (and dis-eases, as in psychiatry) and stop suffering as well. Yet, we argue that religion, philosophy, science, social theory and politics, have all been inadequate in their theorizing on “fear.” This is the premise of a philosophy of Fearism.

 D: I am not arguing that philosophy of Fearism is a complete philosophy for humanity. My point: it is a core philosophy in human life. There are typically not practical daily explanations in other philosophies to assist people from morning to evening and birth to death. Fearism starts from our consciousness. Consciousness starts from birth. Its central point and motivation is fear. On the basis of fear we look at the world. I met Dr. Hariwani, a writer from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, in Shillong, Meghalya, India in a recent Hindi literary program. He says not only life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear but the whole universe is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.

 M: As I understand this unique point of view, and it is interesting you have others who agree with you, in the Eastern world anyways, you paint a macro-picture for the good role that fear plays beyond merely in the world of humans or even earth.

 D: There are many universal fears. We cannot find an explanation for this reality and ways of seeing in previous philosophies. In 2012 there was a world warning of a Nebula coming near and/or striking earth and 6 billion people were in high alert with its dangerous course. I put the question on social media saying: Which philosophy can explain it? This type of A, B, C Nebula always emerges in human life and history of our solar system. Or we can say we are in the unique trap of multiple Nebulas that seem to be focused on destroying earth and killing us. Only a Philosophy of Fearism closely monitors, and explains this matter in a wider and more rational way. In the former type of thinking and analysis, without Fearism, people’s victim consciousness creates more suffering due to fear than is necessary. Fearism takes us on a course of consciousness that relieves this victim perspective and thus relieves some suffering.

 M:  So let’s get down to the focused topic for this conversation. As I said, you wrote in your opus work, Philosophy of Fearism (2014), “... man suffers from fear due to various reasons.... There are lots of problems and diseases from fear. This obstruction has occurred, as fear has not been theorised for a long time. Fear has been interpreted a lot. It has been theorised” (p. 159). I realize your text (2014) has been written in Nepalese, and the English translation is not the best here, but I interpret that by “obstruction” you mean a limitation and disturbance has appeared in humanity’s knowledge systems and disciplines that, more or less, has missed seeing and thinking clearly about the role of fear in human problems and diseases. And then you say fear as “not been theorised” very well for a long time in human history but more recently is being theorized (especially in psychology)—and, yet, if I understand you correctly, you are also saying this recent theorizing on fear is still quite inadequate and requires assistance from a philosophy of Fearism—and, more specifically, it requires assistance from developing sub-fields of Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry. Is that correct?

 D: Yes, you are right, it is inadequate. Not only this, but previous philosophies are inadequate too. Humans have done their best and always try to complete their work on these things, but we have left a hole in our knowledge. Philosophy of Fearism was totally left out. You and I are the first persons making Fearism a philosophy and showing it to the world. Even our work at times only touches the macro-level but is not always useful on the micro-level. To patch the holes we need multiple explanations and that requires sub-fields of Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry. To maintain our goal these have to be pillars; and, later as circumstances may change then we may require more pillars according to demand.

 M: I agree; there is never a fixed or static solution. A fearist perspective will continue to evolve as fear evolves. It seems to me one of the most pressing problems is the state of the environment, e.g., global warming (pollution effects). This will cause major planetary changes of mega-proportion, and with that, lots of destructive fear and terror through the disruptions—a time of great pressures, challenges and risks to life survival. We really need to get Fearism in place around the world soon to prepare for this crisis time, which has already started for the past few decades, at least. 

 D: Philosophy of Fearism is a general philosophy but also a flexible one to analyze such crises and helps in fear management and better education about fear. To specialize in particular matters, needs particular pillars. However, our three pillars will assist and sustain the use of Fearism for likely a long lasting time.

 M: What do you think might be the cause (motivation) for this “obstruction” to good theorizing on fear throughout history? Likely, there are multiple causes for this, but what do you think are the most important ones. And why?

 D: In my opinion, the main obstruction is Meaning. Everything is based on it. Meaning means perception, social consciousness and social knowledge. How knowledge is changeable, meaning changes accordingly. The current meaning world, and how individuals and institutions create it is what obstructs change of meaning.

 M: Some researchers call this a “meaning frame” which determines everything one understands about them selves and their relationships to everything. It is hard to change a meaning frame because it is so unconscious for most. But once it is made conscious, which is what education and self-reflection can do, the meaning frame (or “paradigm”) can shift dramatically.

 D: People have to make fearological knowledge, and consciousness and perceptions part of their new meaning frame. Thus, they can develop a new fearological world.

 M: Desh, you also wrote in your 2014 book (p. 159): It will be easier to identify the disease caused by fear when its definition, condition, source, origin, effect, types, etc. are interpreted. The treatment system develops [i.e., improves] when a [medical] doctor declares [i.e., admits] that the disease is a result of fear. Medicine can be discovered for it.” In this last phrase I interpret you mean that Medicine, as a field of curing and aiming to stop suffering, can be reformed and transformed for making this change that a philosophy of Fearism is calling for it to discover. You also wrote, “All hospitals are established and medicines [discovered] due to fear. Yet fear was not identified [as so important] in [the history of] medical science.”

 That is, Medicine, from our fearist perspective, needs to discover more emphatically the importance of the nature and role of fear in general, and in its own evolution as a field of Medicine. Both you and I would go so far as to suggest new sub-fields of study and application need to be invented like Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry to better inform the Medical field and society as a whole. Why do you think Medicine as a whole has not regarded fear as so important all these years of its history? Do you think this “obstruction” to do so is found in all parts of the world, East, West, North, and South? Do you think past cultures had “medicine” practices that were more in-tune with the critical importance of fear? If so, what ones and how so?

 D: Look Michael, every one is suffering some sickness from fear. Nowadays, I am studying the Holy Bible. Whenever I read it, top to bottom, I see many forms of fear: threatening, warning, killing, attack, disaster, hunger, disease, punishment, imprisonment, escaping, hiding etc. I am using a lens of Fearism to evaluate it. So, I can vision clearly this fear-based drama depicted in the Bible stories. Similarly, when we read life, society, economy, and politics with this lens, we can see obviously different forms of fear. Likewise, disease can be studied accordingly, we can find Feariatry world, which is unseen at this time but we can imagine it. Philosophy of Fearism is analyzing and arguing from this lens. Until now, patients in psychiatry and therapy are being treated under various names and diagnoses, but not in the name of “fear patient.” Fear is not seen as the source of the mind pathologies. This is blunder of the Medical world. The same blunder is everywhere for the most part in the wider world too. The world is following foolishly a rather zigzag ineffective road, instead of a straight road to the root of the pathologies of the mind and body. This is the reason we are not approaching good mental health soon. And sometimes we seem as societies to have become lost on the way. Medical science is doing the same, particularly in case of the fear patient who is suffering from fear unrecognized as the root source. I suspect this problem is in the East, West, North, and South. I don’t know if other cultures from the past were all that different.  

 M: Do you know of any medical professionals who are listening to your lectures, reading our books on philosophy of Fearism? Or, is our movement largely being listened to by only writers and literary people (i.e., artist-types) so far? How do we best get our fearist perspective to at least be considered in the Medical field and especially in the medical education programs? A big topic...

 D: No medical professional, that I know of, has listened to my lectures so far. I try my best to reach to them. You are right, mostly I lecture to writers and literary people and scholars in the humanities and arts.

 M: Same with me.

 D: Every one has some kinds of pillars of truth they believe in. It is not simple to remove their views. The major reason behind this is they want to hold onto it—their pillars. They don't want to shake them or have them shaken by others. Without shaking pillar, there is not chance to mix with new thoughts. They tend to believe in a pillar and that is final.

 M: Something this reminds me of, and I have written about it often, is the problem of people being too afraid to change their views on fear, to challenge their knowledge pillars about fear and its management and how we should be educating ourselves and others. It’s a real stumbling block to progress.

 D: Indeed. Yet, this resistance is not happening merely to a philosophy of Fearism. Similar problems we can see historically in each new ideology. Time will come to remove the old and replace with the new. It has happened in the past and will happen again. This is the time for a philosophy of Fearism to be delivered to every ear. I am doing my part of that, and so are you. One day, one ear will get the message and speak and share it with the rest of the world.

 M: Teaching about fear in this way takes a lot of patience. Thanks Desh for your patience to do this interview with me. Good luck with your work. I look forward to doing more of these dialogues.



End Notes:

[1] I am currently finishing a first draft of a book A General Introduction to Fearanalysis, which is my equivalent (analogy) to Freud's A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. My book, modeled after Freud's format, consists of 13 lectures. This ought to really move the work of fearanalysis out there.

[2] Technically, to be more precise to Fisher and Subba (2016, p. 141), the model we presented suggests the three pillars of our work are (1) Fearist Perspective, (2) Philosophy of Fearism, and (3) Fearology (including Feariatry and Fearanalysis).

[3]. See Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris; and, Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

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