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fear management (8)

This image is from the book cover of Santiago Zabala's (2017). Why only art can save us: Aesthetics and the absence of emergency. NY: Columbia University Press. The art piece on this cover is The Ninth Hour, sculpture by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

I added the yellow text... because I thought this was the kind of subtitle I would give if I had written such a book like this. I appreciate the title (as extreme as it is and which publishers these days like and often chose without the author having the final say). The point in my teaching of the importance of the "arational" (not irrational) modality of fearwork (like this image and book) is we need more than rational fear management/education to tackle the Fear Problem. 

The concept of "emergency" is critical to the study of fear-risk and who gets to construct and use (sociopolitically) "emergencies" of all kinds, real or imagined... as this is all part of the Fear Problem today... a dynamic called the "culture of fear" and/or "risk society" or "fearscapes" depending on various authors and critics... artists (and arational modalities) have a lot to contribute to both the problem itself and its solution. Which way will artists go? 

I look forward to reading this book and having discussions on aesthetics and other arational domains (e.g., dreaming, trance, meditation, bodywork) in fearwork ahead... there's so much to do! 

 

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'Philosophy of Fearism' Offers Treatment for Fear Patients

-an Interview with Desh Subba

 Desh Subba 

Some years back he wrote a novel 'Insult' that made him popular; he then brought out a non-fiction book 'Philosophy of Fearism.’ More than a decade later he is leader of the' Philosophy of Fearism' movement. Deepak Sapkota talks with Subba on the foundations of Fearism:

Deepak: You have written a book Philosophy of Fearism. You have said, world, earth, life and air of our breathing, and there is also fear; “everyone lives in fear.” Do you want to extend fear’s importance?

Desh: It is not my intention to extend fear. I didn't say live in fear. We are living in fear. I said live with the unveiling of the cover of fear. For those who are running breathless in fear, I told them to run with fearless breath. You can see businessmen, employees, in the name of progress and success, they are breathless in running. People of Nepal often rush like this. Abroad, also people are taking their breakfast and lunch while running in their cars. If they don't run at this modern speed they fear losing business, job and prestige. There is fear in our breathing air. If not fear why should we use mask? Fear comes together with consciousness and breath. We are doing many activities to save our breath. Fear is a giant.                                                                                                                                                     

Deepak: What is Fearism? Please tell us in simple language?

Desh: Fearism is a combination of life, consciousness, knowledge, fear and cognition. We always have fear of dying in starvation and disease. We have fear of accident, incident and some problems. To manage our life from these fears we are motivated to doing invention, construction, profession and employment. Philosophy of Fearism is a philosophical explanation of all these.

Deepak: You said, “Life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.” How it can be? Life is impossible without fear?

Desh: Among all, fear of starvation is the highest. Is there any meaning dying by courage? We are conducted by fear. To rescue, it conducts to work, when working, doing carefully otherwise can dismiss. This directs and controls us. That's why I said, “life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.”  In the life fear is everywhere.

Deepak: Fear can be the subject of thesis, study and research? How can it be 'ism'? People might say it is nonsense?

Desh: I never meant for 'ism' as some formula. I did not read it has length, width, height, area, volume, color and taste. Zero has 'ism'. Absurdly has 'ism'. You used insulted word; has air 'ism' too? Marx, Lenin and Mao has 'ism'. If we calculate in percentage, how many people have Marx, Lenin and Mao in their life?  How many percentages do you have? 7 billion people of earth, how many of them have? But fear is with everyone. Human to animal all has fear then cannot it be 'ism'? And how is it possible Marx, Lenin and Mao to be 'ism'? How strange is the game of words and beliefs? 7 billion people and animal have fear, how can it be nonsense? Logic of fear(ism) cannot be mere philosophy as baseless. It is empirical fact.

Deepak: What is the reason for a deep study of fear? What advantage for society?

Desh: All human beings live in fear. They are encircled by many fears. They feel it. They are living with the thorns of death, disease, damage, accident and problems. Because of fear they are terrified and doing killings. This forces me to do deep study. In this vast human disaster, I thought I can make a contribution toward something good being done? What are sources of their fear? What happens more or less due to fear? These kinds of thoughts were coming in my mind. I thought of the many accidents of the world. I came to the conclusion most all sources of many problems are fear. Since early civilization fear can be taken as negative but I asked how can it be made positive? Moral questions were in my mind. How to make comfort from it? Many questions were hovering inside me. Then fearism emerged as an idea. It is not negative as normal mass understand fear. The most positive things of life are due to fear. Balance of fear has leaded us to success. Life makes us happy and peaceful. Innovative parts of life are defined by fearism. 

Deepak: Fear is director of life, Universe, black hole of space, light, creator, seer, mystery, beauty, courage, super power, parent, law and god. End with God is fear. These are your many meanings of fear in your book. It looks very abstract isn't it?

Desh: It is not abstract, it is simple. It looks strange because nobody explained fear like this before, not from this perspective. Michel Foucault said, 'knowledge is power.' Doesn't it look strange too? Does to know about dying have power? Take the example of law, does not its main motive come from fear and create fear?  Nobody will follow law if it cannot create fear. Fear is a law, it is not abstract.

Deepak: After reading your book, readers may recognize they suffer from depression. Except fearful readers cannot see, listen and understand anything about fear. Is your book about creating fear?   

Desh: After reading philosophy of fearism, this does not take readers to depression but helps them to see they may be a fear patient. It helps to reduce depression, stress, and violence created by doubt and fear. It gives an idea of the source of depression, it offers reason and explanation and routes of fear so they can better manage fear.  

[Originally published in Friday entertainment paper March 27, 2015. It is sister news paper of second popular daily Nagrik news paper of Nepal. Interview was by sub-editor Deepak Sapkota. [Original in Nepalese, trans. to English by Desh Subba, editing for English, by R. Michael Fisher]

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Sorry folks for the poor reproduction of this model I found on the Internet, it is the best version I can find, eventually I'll make another better copy. It is, as an integral fearologist (which I am), a nice quick (overly-simplified) complex systems model of how to look at crisis and crisis management of any one topic, in this case the maker (anonymous [1]) of this particular version used Wilber's Quadrant (Integral) model to apply to the "Eco-Crisis" globally. So, there is a macro-scale view being mapped out here as "terrains" (quadrants of reality) to attend to, at a minimum. I share this because I wish my colleagues and others on the FM ning to consider this model of analysis and critique. It is too much to go into detail here of all the dynamics and theory behind this model but if you are interested you can look up terms on the Internet or start discussion here on the the FM ning.

But HOW ABOUT APPLYING SUCH A MODEL IN LOOKING AT THE FEAR-CRISIS on this planet? Now, that would be a worthwhile project, a beginning, so that we can nuance our conversations (at times) around integral theory, more or less, and see what benefits that type of analysis may offer. Of course, one doesn't have to over-use this model either, and leave lots of open-ended approaches as well. Oh, btw, I am a staunch critic of the way these integral quadrant models are represented period, they distort many things, including that they are too clean and the lines shown ought to be dashed (boundary lines but porous) because the realities in each quadrant are co-emerging all the time in a total dynamic system (Reality). Anyways, this gives us a peek into the epistemic nature of inquiry that Ken Wilber's work has shown to offer and it has really helped my work on fear management for many years. 

I am particularly noticing in the Lower Left quadrant (LL) Crisis of Systems, there is a point of notice made re: "enforcement" (which brings forward the domain of dialogues going on right now between Subba, Kumar and myself on Fearcriminalalysis (and, my overlapping interest in also Fearpoliticology)... 

Notes

1. It is likely Sean Esjborn-Hargens and/or Michael Zimmerman, their website www.integralecology.org/source is where it was at one time but this website is no longer in service, and so, it may be in their big book entitled "Integral Ecology" (2009). 

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Fearism in United Nations Workshop in Mukjar, Sudan

Officer Furgeli Sherpa, from Nepal here presenting.

"Fear Management & Fearism" program was held in UN Workshop, Mukjar, Sudan 8th February, 2018. Participants were 21 officers from 8 countries. Fear Management, introduction, rational of fear management, principal of fear management, tactics of fear management and more slides were presented by facilitator Furgeli Sherpa. Furgeli is a police Inspector of Nepal Police armed force. Currently he is in UN peace keeping force in Sudan, Africa. I personally salute him for his creative work. He is the first person who introduced Fearism in United Nations. I request dear friends to congratulation facilitator Mr. Sherpa who push Fearism in summit of world.

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"Moving from Fear to Flow": Hendricks's Model

Many, including myself, have used the terminology re: enhancement of the human potential as "moving from Fear to Fearlessness"--and, there are some variations, but here is another version by the Hendricks couple in their therapeutic and educational work. Katie is using "moving from fear to flow".

Gay and Katie Hendricks, psychologists, have for over two decades been counseling and coaching couples for love. They have set up The Hendricks Institute as a place to carry out this work. I have not taken courses from them, nor read much of their work, but I have heard of them off and on for decades. No doubt they operate with a lot of integrity, but I am not in a position to sanctioned or recommend their work. 

However, I am always interested in what people offer in understanding fear and how they prescribe fear management. Gay Hendricks (see Photo on the FM ning lately) has come out with a strong message about fear and its impacts on love and the way couples communicate, handle conflict and so on. In her video "FEAR MELTERS" (and how to recognized the signs of "FEAR SIGNATURES" or symptom expressions) she goes so far as to say:

"I've come [after all these years] to be obsessed with fear in the last year or so because I've noticed that when I'm in fear, or other people are in fear, that I react in ways that just keep the conflict going, or the drama going." She then talks about how important she has found "presencing within myself" (or a type of centering in the present moment and recognizing, as a witness, what the body is doing, feeling, and what the mind is onto, that is, catching habitual tendencies in the early stages before they act out destructively). She offers then her own observation and categorization (not that it is original) on 4 types or "expressions of fear":

[she notes most of us have heard of the first two] : (1) FIGHT or (2) FLIGHT and, then adds two more less known by most people (3) FREEZE and (4) FAINT. 

I won't comment more on these, but to say that are a good beginning to gain a conscious relationship with "fear" (expressions, behavioral responses, reactions)... however, this is still a model and discourse typical of the field of Psychology and is inadequate in many respects. My own work extends two more (rarely known by most) expressions: (5) "tend and befriend" -as a more female/women's way and (6) fearlessness. All that for a much larger discussion. 

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Fearologist Interviewed

This is an excerpt (newspaper clipping from 2007), where a reporter interviewed me at my office, which was the space I was given at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, because I was hired for an original 3 week intensive course I created (as lecturer) called "Addiction Recovery as Fear Management: A Post-modern View"-- can you believe it? It truly happened, and there is a long story behind it (maybe I'll share another time). I had about 12 undergrad students, mostly in counseling psychology who took this. 

The point of pasting this photo and article is to show that at least one serious daily newspaper reporter of a fairly large city (in Canada) at one time (now 10 years ago) actually wanted to use "fearologist" in the sub-heading. It's a breakthrough, first time ever for such a phenomenon, anywhere in the world, I'd guess. So, it actually can be taken seriously. But like most leading-edge things in the society, far beyond what it can imagine itself, things like "fearology" and the profession of a "fearologist" appear and disappear just as quick. The lesson: don't think one good bit of pr and a paying gig like teaching is going to last necessary. There can be long dry spells between these golden opportunities. I'm just glad it was recorded in human history, in this one article. Maybe there will be another someday for some fearologist, not just for me. 

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I finally received a first published hard copy of my new co-authored book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (of which I have written previously on this FMning). I glanced it over and opened the book randomly at a few places and started reading. It's a little shocking to read one's own published work sometimes: "Who wrote that?" The overall impression is positive and that's a good sign. I happened to think (with all modesty and objectivity as I can muster) that there is no book more important on the topic fear and its management on the planet right now (that I know of). This short blog will say a few words (and quote from the new book) about why I think this is true. Btw, I thank my co-author Desh Subba (a Nepalese philosopher, novelist, poet) for his dedication to developing a philosophy of fearism and his openness to include me in that conceptualization and project. I see myself dedicating the rest of my working years (maybe 15 left until I'm 80) on this new philosophy. 

So the pages I happen to open to at random come from Chapt. 4 (pp. 98-100) which is unique in the book because Desh encouraged me to re-vise but basically republish a 2014 essay I wrote on a "Theory of Fearism" (Technical Paper No. 51) (note: theory of fearism as distinct from, but related to, a philosophy of fearism). I begin with a Foreword to Technical Paper No. 51: 

p. 98: "In Chapter 3 of this co-authored book there is a controversial message: "There is something wrong in the field of fear management" [a phrase I penned in my first major scholarly book The World's Fearlessness Teachings in 2010, p. xxvii]. I go on to talk about why we need various theories of fearism (mine, which I call fearism-t) in order to have a healthy philosophy of fearism, and from that a healthy set of practices of fear management (and fear education). Yes, I could just have easily written: "There is something wrong in the field of fear education" (i.e., fear education used in a positive way, analogous to sex education). So, how controversial is this claim? What do I back it up with? 

Let me first say, the phrase "something wrong" is hyperbole in a sense to attract attention on a problem in the field of fear management. In retrospect, I am not sure this is a good way to get attention, because the very discourse of labeling something "wrong" is highly problematic in terms of its long history (especially in the West) of being a way to put something, some group, some policy, some person (and their behavior or values) down. It is a criticism. And it carries a lot of fear-based baggage (garbage, toxicity) that tends to easily slide from saying "something is wrong" to "someone is wrong" and I would not want to perpetuate such a notion. I think it is too partial of a claim and it tries to paint the entire reality of something or someone as "wrong" in an absolute sense. And, it immediately raises the question of who (and from what perspective) can anyone judge that anyone is wrong--same applies to something. The use of the label "wrong" (often with emotional discharge behind it) is clearly an attack to putting something down and "diss it", more or less. I won't go on and on with this but to say the use of the term (hyperbole or not) is a dangerous one of bringing more injury into human society--and that means concomitantly bringing more fear with it. Arguably, it is "fear talk" to blame, shame and make someone or something "bad" (the opposite of good, and it may even mean making it "evil"). 

So, I used the phrase as hyperbole, and I could have (more sensitively) said: There is something wrong in the field of fear management, even though there is a good deal of something right in the field of fear management. Then, that would be both more fair, and less re-stimulating of our hurts and fear itself. Especially, in that I am not intending to attack anything or anyone per se who practices fear management as a professional, theorist, etc. Nor, would I want anyone who teaches and designs fear management curricula to feel I am attacking them and their work and their motivation. Criticism alone is usually not very useful and does more harm than good. Critique however, in contrast to criticism, is when you point out the negative and positive at the same time, in proportion to a healthy engagement with someone, rather than trying to put them down. I intended to offer a critique in my new book re: the state of the field of fear management (or, equally of fear education). I think if anyone reads my books they will find I can get passionate and critical and even slip into criticism but that if they read on it is more critique I offer overall. But I'll leave others to assess my work overall, as I am too close to it to tell. 

Returning to the point of this blog, I am taken with my clarity in the new book (scanning pp. 98-100), of how simple (and controversial) the message is that I have argued. It is worth repeating again but maybe I'll do it in a more readable way here in this blog. Things need to be said many times, and in many ways, in order to communicate. Sometimes a reader will hear it anew, from a different time and place and with some different language. As an educator myself, I am dedicated to not giving up on anyone, even when they tell me "I read your book and I don't really understand it." Okay, to the basic simple message in these couple pages, which really well represents my overall project--it all boils down to something like this: 

1. there is something wrong in the field of fear management; and that is skewing how we understand best how to know fear and thus, manage it well

2. that something wrong (or missing) is ....... a "harmful violent ideology" (p. 98) that over-shadows the entire study of fear

3. a theory and philosophy of fearism (e.g., Fisher and Subba) can address this ideology and ensure a 'correction' to what is missing (wrong) in fear management

4. no one else has pointed out the above problems (gaps, errors, "something wrong" or missing), until now, in this new book .... etc. 

Okay, there's the basics of the my work I am so passionate about. Would this excite anyone else, to the point where they would dedicate some time, or a lot of time to helping clarify the problem in the field of fear management (and, in every day life as we manage fear, more or less consciously)? With this new clarification, we could then develop interventions more healthy re: fear, and its study and management. We could create a re-evaluation of everything we think we know about fear, and run it all through a new deconstruction and reconstruction--that is, through a new theory and philosophy of fearism. 

On p. 99, I have a sub-title: Fearism-t and Epistemic Violence: Reconstructing Fear Management. That speaks to a greater articulation of all of the above. And, about now, one gets the creeping feeling that this all is about to impact the way one perceives, thinks, and acts in regard to fear. That's pretty major in implication to our everyday life. That involves being a lot more consciousness and self-reflective (and critical) about everything to do with fear--and, especially what others tell you about fear (e.g., authors, teachers, parents, ministers, psychology clinicians, policemen, lawyers, government leaders, business corporate heads, and so on). 

The simple notion is there. But will we talk about this further, or merely read about it? Will we talk about "a 'harmful violent ideology' surrounding the study of fear--and, in particular, the construction and dissemination of the knowledge about fear and its management and education" (p. 98)? Another way to put the problem is something like this: 

A lot of authors/experts on the topic of fear management (and researchers) often say: It is not fear that is the problem, it is how we manage it that matters most. Such a claim has become ever-popular in layman and professional circles today. It is partially (in my view) good wisdom but to a point. I (and Subba) tend to stretch this quite a lot more to a critical perspective on that claim itself (which, btw, those who utter the above predominant wisdom of the day, never reflect on themselves and offer readers some opening (cautionary) of critical inquiry into the claim and its potential limitations, if not distortions--they seem to not be aware of a perspective beyond their own favorite one--which gets repeated by others who think like they do). So, on p. 98-100 in the new book, I offer another entirely different angle (and I think a much better one): The problem with fear and how we manage it is that we lack a critical awareness and vocabulary (i.e., guiding methodology) that operates outside of the fear-based structure of the field of fear management. And thus, we return to the 4 points I listed re: the basic problem--which, you can see is articulated much differently than the popular wisdom problem articulation above. Introducing a notion of a harmful violent ideology surrounding the study of fear--becomes a very simple but also complex intervention I throw into the soup pot. The main ingredient missing in the popular wisdom is a notion of fearlessness (but that's a much longer story, of which I write about in my other WFT book). 

From this point forward, my work (and Subba's) is essentially different from anything else out there. It is also in that sense, critical of anything else out there. Now, in the long-run, time and experience will prove if it is better, as we both think it is. And, any such "proving" will only occur when others (beyond Subba and I) take serious interest with the necessary support of resources to help test the theory and philosophy of fearism. There's no doubt in our minds, that many theories and variations of philosophies are required to cover the huge territory of fear (and/or 'fear')--or what I like to simply call The Fear Problem today. So, I am not looking for only "followers" (yes, they are helpful for the cause), I am looking for allies who think critically (and have healthy doubt) about everything--including everything I just wrote in this blog! 

Give me a call or email [618-529-1166  r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com] if you want to talk seriously (or even playfully)... and co-create with me and this work. 

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Map/Guide for the Terrorist Fighter

Trigger Warning: the following is not what you will usually be exposed to in the dosage (or paradigm) of what is called "counterterrorism"

The following map/guide is the skeletal outline for a Series of Articles (blogs) and an eventual booklet to be published soon. I'll start these on this site and eventually expand them. The map/guide and series is an attempt to take a fearist perspective on the current rise of terror(ism) and its effects. The map/guide and the title of this blog may catch your attention. You may think of a spectrum of ways to manage terror(ism), as I have utilized for a long time the spectrum of consciousness model of the philosopher Ken Wilber. As well, I have added my own research on fear management systems along that spectrum, of which the current map/guide (below) is an example of how it can be utilized. The title "Map/Guide for the Terrorist Fighter" is left ambiguous with many meanings, depending on how one wants to 'read' this. There is a long philosophical rationale (based on a philosophy of fearism by Fisher & Subba and a resultant identified new fearist perspective) for why any intervention into the "problem of terror(ism)" requires an essential moral imperative to serve both the "terrorist" (so-called--and, often called freedom fighter, depending on who's perspective does the labeling) and serve those harmed by those values, beliefs and actions of the "terrorist"--the former would be called the "victim" of such acts--at least, initially. 

You may notice I am being very conscious and particular in how I frame the entire discourse that proceeds around anything we might call "terrorism"-- and it is in this cautious and exploratory modality I and Subba suspect we'll find much better analysis and solutions than what is offered today in what could be called an old-fashioned Modernist perspective (i.e., Victimist, Survivalist, Thrivalist). You can see where I have located the Fearist perspective on the spectrum. Again, there are numerous philosophical arguments and theoretical positions to be taken to articulate all of what you see in this map/guide. But that will have to wait its time to unfold. I am interested to put out this 'new' spectrum approach and let people begin to digest it. I look forward to our further dialogues and explorative co-inquiries on all this. We truly need something much better than what is offered today anywhere--around the world. The philosophy of fearism has great potential to disrupt and re-form our entire way of understanding terrorism--and, of course, the new book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (soon to be published) will give lots more background. 

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