fear and love (4)

Females (Women): Fear & Love

I have been slow in researching the ways females (women) come to understand fear (and fearlessness). I have published a technical paper on the topic in 2013 [1] and I have just recently completed a two part series of FearTalks with a Ph.D. candidate Nicole Rallis and Dr. Barbara Bickel on this topic, including how it relates to women's bodies, feminist spirituality and caring and so I encourage you to check it out: Part 2    Part 1 



Fisher, R. M. (2013). Females and fear: Contributions and challenges. Technical Paper No. 49. Carbondale, IL: In

                    Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.  Tech paper 49.pdf


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"Emotional civil war" ... a very interesting (?) campaign quote... and, what does she really mean by this? And what is a fearologist's perspective of her rhetoric, intention, and potential for presidential victory and/or at least influence in American culture and politics. See my new youtube video on "Ethical Leadership: Marianne Williamson"

In the INTRODUCTION of Fisher & Subba (2016), p. xxxi [1], you will read a philosophy of fearism (and fearlessness) perspective on Marianne Williamson, and you will see that I have (in particular) been following her philosophy and social media following for a long time. She is a close friend with the media star Oprah Winfrey, and many others (see picture below on this webpage of FM ning). In that Introduction, Subba and I ask : "WHY FOCUS ON FEAR, NOT LOVE?" and then we begin the chapter with a quote from Williamson:

"Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside myself, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. I have been trained by the world to think fearfully, and today I choose to think with love." (from A Year of Miracles), and, many of you may or may not know that she is a 'big' promoter and teacher, supported by A Course in Miracles movement. In this spiritual movement "love" is placed as the answer to "fear" and all of our problems. The dialogue between Subba and I now moves on in the Introduction to show how unreliable, if not distorted, from a fearist perspective, this emphasis on love is the answer approach to personal and world transformation. We risked to critique, in a mild way in this chapter, a person (and ideology), who is now running for the 2020 American political presidency under the Democratic party. She is a populist leader, with no experience in politics per se, althought a few years ago she ran for a local congress position in California but never made it very far. Now she is going for the 'big' position. It will be interesting to watch, but more importantly it will be interesting to see how her work (as part of the Fearlessness Movement) will emerge on the 'big' stage of American politics in a time of crisis.

I for one, will keep analyzing her work and offering her and her supporters ideas of how to better bring about a challenge and intervention to disrupt that problem of being (in her words) "trained by the world to think fearfully"... and, challenging her movement to look at fearism and fearlessness to better inform their own philosophy and politics.


1. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris. 


ADDITIONAL NOTE - M. W. is also an endorser of one of my favorite philosophers Ken Wilber, for e.g.

And, in 2007... they met:  (Marianne & Ken)


OH, interesting The Washington Post (a rather conservative major newspaper in USA)... wants to spin the story of MW's campaign in the ruts of the traditional right winger folks like Dobson's "tough love" pitch for parents, which a lot of people bought hook line and sinker back 30 years ago... and, also if you see the headlines (below) on The Washington Post interview (and the photo shoot which really is a 'joke' and 'play' on MW, not taking her really seriously)--and, then you get the headlines... which one thinks she is again being played with by this media journalist and well... you can make up your own mind... I'm so skeptical of who is behind these newspapers--owned by a handful of the very elite she criticizes :


Feb. 19/19 by Anna Peele:

[Peele talks about miracles] [a small excerpt from her text for this article, which I nearly gag on]:

Today, it’s the eve of the 66-year-old’s declaration that she will be seeking the highest office in our country, during what is arguably one of its most terrifying times. Since Williamson is sitting at the head of the table, close enough to touch my arm, it feels like an appropriate moment to ask her to act as my own spiritual adviser. Not because I believe in miracles. Because I want to believe.

“I’m afraid,” I tell Williamson. Afraid about how bleak things feel under our current president; afraid of how angry people are. “I’m afraid of what will happen to the country,” I say. “And that there’s no going back.”

[sure, I'm glad they are talking about "fear"... but Peele's approach is too much of a grand skit and makes me angry... I trust/hope MW doesn't fall for this stuff from the mainstream media... okay, one other quote, an accurate view from MW's mouth, that is, A Course in Miracles, she says to Anna at one point:]

“Where there is light, there cannot be darkness,” Williamson says. “And where there’s love, there cannot be fear.”

“We’re hallucinating. And that’s what this world is: a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. Fear is an illusion. Our craziness, paranoia, anxiety and trauma are literally all imagined”? [says Williamson... her absolutist philosophy, belief, faith, religion, spirituality, ideology?]... 

[If "fear is an illusion" a common claim of many esoteric religious teachings, E. and W., then what does that say about a philosophy of fearism and its claims... hmmmm... ?]




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Carl Leggo, Ruminating on Love and Schools

A colleague at the University of British Columbia invited me to visit his doctoral seminar on February 14, 2018. Questions had been asked about the role of love in schools. My colleague remembered that I had written at least a few articles about love and schools. An invitation to speak about love on Valentine’s Day was a delightful treat. Prior to my visit I asked the class to read my article “Living Love: Confessions of a fearful teacher (2011). In this article I address Michael Fisher’s thoughtful and inspiring work on fearlessness and love:

I lean into the strong words of Fisher’s writing. I am glad he is calling out his erudite and energetic vision for an education of fearlessness. He knows that “Perfect Love, like perfect non-violence (i.e., non-revenge, non-hate, non-ego) is a highly demanding ethic and consciousness to attain” (pp. 161-162), but he sustains the hope that “if we look and trust radically and deeply enough” (p. 191), we can replace the “Law of Fear” with the “Law of Love” (p. xii). This is a timely and complex vision for education in our globalized and cosmopolitan world. (p. 127)

A day or so before the class, I received an email message from one student in the doctoral seminar. I have met the student a few times, and he always impresses me as theoretically sophisticated, insightfully rigorous, and thoughtfully dedicated to asking big questions about urgent issues of education and human becoming. He especially raised questions about the notion of “Perfect Love” and whether or not it is attainable. He expressed his clear concern that “Perfect Love” is simply not attainable. I was struck by the difficulty of language in discussing love.

In the seminar I shared anecdotes and ruminations about love and schools. And I distributed a list of several quotations I have been mulling over, including the following:

hooks, bell. (2013). Writing beyond race: Living theory and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

“When describing the political system that we live within here in the United States, more often than not, I use the complicated phrase imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. This phrase is useful precisely because it does not prioritize one system over another but rather offers us a way to think about the interlocking systems that work together to uphold and maintain cultures of domination” (p. 4).

“As we move away from dominator culture towards a liberatory culture where partnership and mutuality are valued we create a culture wherein we can all learn to love. There can be no love where there is domination. And anytime we do the work of love we are doing the work of ending domination” (p. 37).

hooks promotes: “education for critical consciousness that re-shapes thought and action” (p. 185)

Kogawa, Joy. (2016). Gently to Nagasaki. Halfmoon Bay, BC: Caitlin Press.

“For my part, I hold with a fierce and painful joy my trust in a Love that is more real than we are” (p. 42).

“The life of which I was a part, my family’s life, my community’s life, everything that was done to any of us or by any of us—everything—all the good, all the evil, all the shame, all the secrets, all the kindness, all the sorrow, all all all, was fully known. A tide within me surged forth and I acknowledged the Knowing as the Presence of Love” (p. 70).

Finney, Sandra, & Sagal, Jane Thurgood. (2017). The way of the teacher: A path for personal growth and professional fulfillment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

“The profession of teaching is one that calls us to be lovers of wisdom, to love learning new things, to more deeply understand old ideas we hold, and to ignite this spark of curiosity and wonder in our students” (p. 107).

Heller, Chaia. (1999). Ecology of everyday life: Rethinking the desire for nature. Montreal, PQ: Black Rose Books.

“In love, there is a paradox. In order to know and understand that which we love, we must first know ourselves. We must engage in a continual process of becoming conscious of our own beliefs, prejudices, and desires if we are to truly see that which we love. When we fail to know ourselves in this way, the beloved can be nothing more than a projection of our own desires, a projection that obstructs our vision of the desires, history, and distinctiveness of those we love” (p. 35).

Nonnekes, Paul. (2001). Three moments of Love in Leonard Cohen & Bruce Cockburn. Montreal, PQ: Black Rose Books.

“Structures of love are created not through the fixing of desire in secure borders and boundaries, but through establishing frameworks of intersubjectivity, the activity of subjects reciprocally recognizing each other’s independence and freedom, recognizing each other’s difference, establishing a big space for the entertaining of diversity” (p. 174-175).

Taylor, Barbara Brown. (2009). An altar in the world: A geography of faith. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

“…the hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbour as the self…” (p. 93).

In the course of my conversation with the seminar participants, I asked, How can we learn to live with one another in our diversity? That has always been one of my main commitments as an educator—learning to live with the other, with one another, with others, with myself in relation to all the others who are not me. What does it mean to experience Perfect Love in relation to all the others I know as you?

I don’t think the participants in the seminar were ready to take up the kinds of issues and questions I offered. Conversations about love are messy! I drew the class visit to a close with a recent poem, full of memories of my brother.

Apple Tree

growing up on Lynch’s Lane

my brother and I always loved

fall when apples sparkled

on Old Viv Drover’s tree

and we slipped over the fence

from Cec’s backyard to stuff

our pockets full of apples like

sour stones after a season

too short for anything but

potatoes carrots turnips

but we still stole the apples

because they hung on a tree free

ate a few and threw the rest

like grenades in the war games

we fought constantly like

democracy depended on our defiance

slipping over the fence in October

dark like we were winding through

barbed wire on the Berlin wall

intent on espionage and escape


last August I remembered the raids

on Old Viv Drover’s apple tree

while standing in the backyard

of my brother’s house in Mt. Pearl

outside St. John’s Newfoundland

where an unlikely apple tree stood

in the corner because my brother’s

six-year-old grandson suggested

with infectious hope they plant

an apple tree since an apple a day

will keep the doctor away but no

apples could battle cancer and on

the day of my brother’s funeral

he and I are still sneaking over

the fence in the cool dark autumn

evening to steal the last apples

on Old Viv Drover’s tree bulldozed

decades ago for an arterial highway

even though the apples still taste

hard sour stomach-slaking as always



Leggo, C. (2011). Living love: Confessions of a fearful teacher. JCACS (Journal of

     the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies), 9(1), pp. 115-144.


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