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fear managementeducation (13)

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)."

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[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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Fearologists Ask the Bigger Questions: Re: Fear Management

To ask if any form of fear management (style), secular or sacred, is "really effective" is a question the fearologist has to ask. And the larger contextual question to that question is more like "effective" at what? If one group or individual claims to have the "best" or most effective method of fear management, how can we assess that, not just in terms of its own context (e.g., Christian context, biblical context, etc.) but in the larger context of the evolution of fear management systems globally, throughout history. Christians, as my example in this blog, typically don't care about the larger context that the fearologist does. Yet, the fearologist of the 21st century has to care about what the Christians think and are doing in terms of fear management. The fearologist has to have that depth and breadth of ability to communicate with all groups and how they manage fear--and, yes, right down to all individuals as well. It's a big calling, but one I have found continually fascinating.

This blog posting was stirred up by recently reading some excerpts from a new book:

Hamilton (2018) in a book published by a "big" NY publisher (Penguin Random House), is a Methodist pastor in Missouri, USA. I lived in that area of southern-mid-western USA for nine years (2008-17), and I met a lot of clergy-types and had discussions about fear, my work, and their interests and concerns. Overall, they weren't very interested in what I had to offer to their (Christian) ways of fear management. I always wondered why not? Was it because I am not God and citing biblical quotes about how best to manage fear? I'm not a "god fearing man"? [1] I'm sure that's a factor but I also thought, these spiritual and religious leaders in Christianity just don't have the best education on fear management/education for the 21st century? I never told them that directly, but they likely sensed I was implying that in challegning their views...though, I also listened to their views at times without any critique. But being a fearologist, my job is to critique everything about fear and life, and how humans carry on in relationship to fear. Theology and religion play an incredibly powerful role, now and historically, in shaping the relationship of fear itself and in how best then we are to manage, cope with, and/or transform fear.

What made this book by Hamilton catch my eye (and, I have read many of these kinds of books), is the book blurb on Amazon.com that introduces the book with Hamilton's recent survey of his congregation. Here is the excerpt from the blurb:

"Fear is a complex emotion. Sometimes it saves us. More often it robs us of the life we want. But we can take our lives back. 

You'd be hard-pressed to overstate the extent to which fear, anxiety, and worry permeate our lives today. Fear wreaks havoc on our relationships and communities. It leads us into making bad decisions. It holds us back from the very pursuits that promise fulfillment and joy. 

Making matters worse, not a week goes by when some new threat or calamity isn't dominating the headlines. Why are there so many tragedies? we wonder. What will happen next?

As the senior pastor of a large, diverse church in America's heartland, Adam Hamilton has seen the cost of fear up close. When he surveyed his congregation on how fear affects them, 2,400 people responded--and what they said was eye-opening. Eighty percent admitted to living with moderate or significant levels of fear.
Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times is Reverend Hamilton's insightful and impassioned response."

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Okay, 2400 people is a good sized sample, and I tend to trust Hamilton and his sincerity to find out what his congregation is feeling these days. And, 80% are living in a good deal of fear. I appreciate that Hamilton cared to ask, and that's a budding "fearologist" in his curiousity, I'd say. Such a statistic also makes me wondered, as it may have for Hamilton as well, is the religion they believe in actually helping to reduce and/or eliminate destructive excess, if not irrational fear? It doesn't sound like the God of Love, as Christians supposedly teach (with some exceptions) is working all that well(?) Fear management isn't sounding very effective when I here the 80% statistic? Or, is it effective, and these people in the congregation would be a lot worse off if they didn't have their God? Church? Pastor? Love? on their side(?) Well, that kind of data and research just isn't available. We can only speculate.

That said, I immediately am quite critical of everything in the book I scanned online. Let me share a few of the critiques:

a) Hamilton dedicates a whole chapter 7 to "Weaponizing Fear" and with some good observations there on terrorism, I have to say he has a very limited view of terrorism (very conventional) and that is in contrast to the book that I just co-authored with Desh Subba and B. Maria Kumar [2], yet, Hamilton misses that the entire politics of this planet earth has been one, at least for a few thousand years, one of Fear Wars, and, yes, exactly a process of weaponizing fear (terror) to dominate, control, maim and destroy the "enemy" and, Hamilton oughta know that, as Jesus teaches pretty much the same as what I am saying about the way fear is used sociologically, politically, historically--and, thus, I was not satisfied with Hamilton's restricted view of easily labeled "terrorists" politically while ignoring his own Christian religion as having weaponized fear for a whole lot of purposes throughout most of its history (other religions, typically, have done also),

(b) Hamilton creates (unquestioningly) his implicit effective broad brush simplistic answer to the Fear Problem (not only of himself, his congregation, of America, but of the world), whereby he constructs his own formula for F.E.A.R. [3]: F for face your fears with faith, E for examine your assumptions in light of the facts [4], A for attack your anxieties with action, R for release your cares [worries, fears] to God. I am not saying there is no wisdom in Hamilton's religious fear management system offered. I doubt that it works all that well. So, the issue is, what would be better, more effective? That, I cannot say for certainty, not with the kind of certainty that one reads in Hamilton's teaching (but, then pastors are supposed to sound confident and certain re: their faith in God).

I won't go on and on with problems in this F.E.A.R. formula, be it Hamilton's version or others, the point I am raising is that they are so pragmatic with no theory to draw upon, and certainly, Hamilton is not drawing on the philosophy of fearism, or fearology teachings. The restricted boundaries, if not barriers, around religions, seem always to fall into this "traditional" way of thinking, even when fear is clearly dominating the lives of 80% or so of his congregration, never mind all of America these days. I find this short-sighted view of fear management everywhere I go. I don't claim that churches (e.g., Christianity) are all that worse or better than most organizations in handling fear today. I find them all "under-educated" and relying on old pragmatics, myth, folk wisdom, and good old common sense. But is it working? I doubt it is working very well, and I don't suspect it will change its ways, as religion has that rigid nature to keep the same, only change little on the outside, but the core stays the same. "Be not afraid" says Hamilton, albeit, these words of Jesus or whomever in the Bible come to Hamilton's book cover as "Unafraid" and of course that is 'good marketing' speak these days in America, and apparently in the congregrations as well. Publishers sell a lot of these self-help (Christian-help) books per year... a big industry. But, the fearologist asks: does it really work to manage fear well, to solve the Fear Problem? No, it won't solve anything like the Fear Problem, because there is such a muted and incomplete (if not distorted and rigid) thinking going on in the analysis of fear itself. Again, I won't go down that road of critique in this blog. 

Religion and fear (or even, spirituality and fear)... these are huge topics so important. I have some "faith" in religions and spiritual discourses to discover better fear management/education for the 21st century, however, mostly and ubiquitously I see little progress--for thousands of years, and I say this about Christianity which I know the most about. If I was to improve the fear management/education of religious leaders (like Hamilton), I'd say, why don't you folks come down off the pulpit and get a larger perspective within the evolution of fear management on this planet, in a global and internationalist sense, and take a look at theories of fear management like my own (for e.g.,), based on 10 fear management systems available to humanity... throughout time, and across cultures [5], and begin to see that the discourse (style) of your religious [6] systems is institutionally stuck typically in Fear Management System 4 [pre-modern], and, to acknowledge it has its role, and place, and value, but that many other fear management systems all the way along the spectrum to Fear Management System 9 [nondual] have evolved and are available to humans everywhere, no matter what religious faith one may hold. My point, as a fearologist, is that it is likely not wise to let religion institutionally dictate the fear management systems people are allowed to learn and practice. Then, let them make up their own minds how to manage fear best, and effectively, depending on situations and contexts, and a whole lot of other developmental factors, political factors, and that such complicated means is the way of learning--rather, than these authoritarian-based fixed F.E.A.R. broad brush formulas of tradition only.

Lastly, if "fear" is so recognized as critically important in the lives of people all over, especially today, and in lives of Christians (in congregrations like Hamilton's) then why oh why is there not a deep and longterm search in these traditions of religion for the very best knowledges, knowing, understanding on fear management/education(?). That my friends, is a puzzle. It doesn't speak well, for the future of religions, in my opinion!

 

Notes

1. Note, there are some Christian "fearologists" out there I have met in the world in the last few years, but I myself am not self-identified with any religion. I do however, come from a father and mother line of Christians going back into Europe and Russia, with even an strong evangelical side in my dad's family. So, I do know what it is like to live that way, as I spent many hours with them as a child and young adult; however, my own parents professed to no religion nor did they coerce us to "join" or "believe." I thank them for not instilling a fear of God so that I would behave the way they (or Christians) thought was right. As well, my wife-partner comes from a father who was a Lutheran minister all his life, so I have lots of experience in that religion and with clergy as well.

2. Fisher, R. M., Subba, D., & Kumar, B. M. (in press). Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues applying a philosophy of fearism. Australia: Xlibris. [see Chapter 5]

3. There are a plethora of such variants, secular and sacred, on this formula of fear management, of which the earliest seems to have arisen in the Alcoholics Anonymous tradition, some 40+ years ago or so; ALANON is where I first encountered this formula in their brochures, as they well acknowledged the problem of fear in a recovering alcoholic individual or system (i.e., F for false, E for evidence, A for appearing, R for real).

4. Hamilton is critical of anyone, including his congregration, for distorting truth, facts due to overblown fear. He wrote "The perception that most of us have in America is that ISIS [terrorist group] has as its primary focus killing Americans and Europeans. Yet in the first half of 2017, only 1.7 percent of the 1,670 people killed by ISIS were European or American (29 persons), while more than 95 percent of their victims were Muslims living in Islamic countries" (pp. 65-66).

5. For the complete map of the Fear Management Systems see Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education in the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America (Imprint of Rowman & Littlefield).

6. My critique and analysis of fear management systems of "institutions" in society, be they secular or sacred, is much the same, based on the same research I have collected for decades. Also, to note, within religious faith traditions, there are exoteric forms of religion practices (e.g., institutional guard) and there are esoteric forms (e.g., the mystics)--with the latter, usually tapping into, if not creating, the higher more complex and matured wise forms of fear management systems. 

 

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[Image created from the book cover Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows, Peter Lang Publ. 2018; I added the details of the CAT and FAWN  components and 2-way arrows for this teaching blog version]

"SHAMANIC INTERVENTION(S)" a "Fearless Engagement" in a POSTMODERN ERA

You may have seen the prior blogpost re: my book on Dr. Don Trent Jacobs' (aka Four Arrows') life and work as an activist-scholar and Indigenous holistic educator. I framed the book as an intellectual biography. I did not want to only create a biography nor merely an abstract intellectual overview of a scholar. I aimed in the book for another layer of reality and meaning that to me was more important than mere biographic facts, stories, or intellectual interests. I was looking to gather all I could from Dr. Jacobs' (Four Arrows') experiences and thoughts, his activism and his teaching, and make a powerful summary of it all in light of the context of a better understanding of Fear and Fearlessness for myself and for all others who read this book. The synthesis of his life regarding how he has studied Fear and Fearlessness with my own work ought to create a 'new' curriculum or what I call a liberational 'fear' vaccine (process). We really need this on the planet today. 

It is rare indeed to find an educator who gives so much attention to the topic of Fear. What is 'new' as a synthesis in this book is really exciting to me and I trust others will also find this to be so, however, beneath the layers of the 'new' is something revealed that is very 'ancient' and dare I say, universal to the human struggle to find the best ways to be in relationship with Fear. The way he points us is not merely a "psychology of fear" and that is what makes this critical educator very unique. He is more transdisciplinary, like myself, in approaching this subject. 

It is thus a book all about a holistic-integral approach to fear management/education, a point I make in my own work, whereby, any attempts at bravery, courage, fearlessness, etc. are all attempts at some kind of fear management [1] and transformation. And, as Dr. Jacobs and I see it, we really need a better fear management on this planet today.

Ancient CAT-FAW/N Dynamics: A De-Hypnotizing 'Fear' Vaccine (Process)

So, the 'ancient' part is what I wish to briefly introduce here as it takes shape from Dr. Jacobs' life and work, especially as it comes throught the most important finding in his scholarship, as far as I am concerned, and that is the finding that concentration is core to the processes and outcomes of fear management of any kind. In the book I overview in the Introduction his CAT-FAW/N model [2] , which took him 15 years to develop (and it is still evolving). And CAT stands for Concentration Activated Transformation, according to Jacobs. FAWN stands for Fear, Authority, Word(s) and Nature. I have in detail described this in the new book but more accessible immediately is my interpretation of CAT-FAWN Connection theory in a blogpost [3], where I suggest his model/theory is a praxis of Fearlessness and thus is a praxis of what I would add to my list of 'Fear' Vaccines (processes) [4] in the liberation work that I design and teach. 

This 'ancient' part of Four Arrows' (Jacobs') model/theory/praxis is represented on the book cover image as four arrows (triangles) around his portrait. These represent the colors of the most common Medicine Wheel in several Indigneous cultures in North America (Turtle Island). The CAT is placed in the image on his brain as controlling centre of his senses, perception and ultimately of how and where he puts his attention--that is, his concentration. The concentration is depicted nicely in this portrait photo taken by his wife the photographer Bea Jacobs. So this gives a little backstory to what my latest image adaptation is about. The significant point I am making with this teaching image is that the book is not just about a man named by the Lakota Sioux in ritual initiation with their community but about a universal context of the ancient Medicine Wheel--whereby, I believe this book has "good medicine" to offer a very ill modern and postmodern (Western) society, and, perhaps beyond that to the world.

My point, is that Four Arrows the man ought not to be the center focus of the book (only). That's only part of the picture. There is another layer of center focus that I bring out in the book and that is the "four arrows" as "four directions" as "four colors" (vibrations) --and, thus acting as an orienting model/theory/praxis as 'Fear' vaccine process. I took the liberty in creating this image to name the four colors and directions as Fear, Authority, Word(s) and Nature following the Jacobsian model. My interest is that readers and viewers will re-interpret the book's cover and this teaching image. I want them to see that the book is about the "fearless engagement" of "four arrows" and thus, of CAT-FAW/N itself. What does it mean to bring a context of "fearless engagement" [5] as a referent notion to the study of fear management/education, to Fearlessness, to the Jacobsian model? 

The de-hypnotizing component of the CAT-FAW/N model is based on many experiences in Four Arrow's life. It is also a professional and scholarly attained model, tested over the past few decades. Yet mostly, of interest to me right now is that it is a model that comes from the ancient (living and non-living) 'Ancestors,' a point I make in the Introduction of the book and which I have described in detail to some degree in De-Hypnotizing Technology blog on Four Arrows' work and my research on his work. He is a trained health psychologist, hypnotherapist and high-performance athletic coach for many clients. That's where he learned many things, including from his training free-roaming horses and competitions with them. But lest it not be forgotten that he learned his most powerful lessons on the origin of the CAT-FAW/N model from his Near Death Experiences and study and work with shamans in remote Mexico [6] and how he was transformed. He has been rightfully reluctant to call himself a "shaman" though he has not totally rejected association of his work with shamanic elements over the years [7]. 

At one level, I see much of the analogous relational transformative learning in Carlos Castaneda with shaman/warriors (e.g., Don Juan Matus) in his series of (non-fiction fictional) books in the 1970s-80, as with Four Arrows and Augustin Ramos. I think anyone reading my new book on Four Arrows will find it mystical at times as well as very pragmatic, logical and grounded. The diversity of areas and methodologies covered in this new book is enormous. However, the core of it is all about fear management/ education, about Fearlessness as a path and a standpoint of "fearless engagement" as the premise of how Four Arrows' comes to move in the world and teach. He clears the way of all dogmatism, and religion, of rules and regulations and any arrogance of "fearless" on this path. It is available, he suggests, to all who are capable and willing to pursue to knowing Fear better--to becoming "connoisseurs of Fear" as he says. CAT-FAW/N model and theory provides a way of engaging the "four arrows" of the "good medicine" required as we reassess our Dominant worldview in the context of a resurgence of the Indigenous worldview. All that is covered in the new book. 

If I have communicated effectively in this blog, I'll be heartened by those readers who do not take this as a book about "Four Arrows" only but about "four arrows" and the study of Fear and Fearlessness within a de-hypnotizing process. I have included in the prior blogpost the initial Introduction of Four Arrows' near clinical assessment of mass hypnosis that humanity is suffering right now (especially, those non-Indigenous and Indigenous moderns and postmoderns disconnected from the "old ways" of pre-point of departure worldview and values). This new book is all about assessments, diagnoses and interventions. Agree with them or not, my aim as author is to present them in interesting ways and to provoke further dialogues--and, yes, if we can find enough agreements on the assessment then we can find new ways to make holistic-integral interventions in the Fear Problem on this planet. 'Fear' vaccines are going to be very useful, and CAT-FAW/N is one of the most powerful, that, I have come across, no doubt. Indeed, still a good deal of work and development is required to make it even more efficacious to more kinds of people, leaders and organizations.  

 

Notes:

1. See, for e.g., 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/Rowman & Littlefield.

2. I have taken Jacob's original model from his dissertation and 1998 book Primal Awareness and recently modified it with the /N for the Nature aspect which I believe is distinctly different in order of reality from F A W, and thus the /N signifies the entire model is underlain by Nature and comes from Nature as source. A few years ago he agreed with my adapted version, though he himself has not used it in his publications. 

3. See CAT-FAWN explained and another FM blogpost on "Indigenizing" Fearlessness

4. Re: prior writing on 'fear' vaccines see my FM blogpost 6 'Fear' Vaccines (book in progress). CAT-FAW/N is a 7th 'Fear' Vaccine recently added to the repertoire. 

5. In the book I make a comparable, parallel, case that "fearless engagement" for Four Arrows' is analagous (in part) to my own "fearless standpoint theory" which I believe is essential to better analyze fear management/education going on now and in the past and how to improve it substantially for the future. See Part 1 : FEARLESS, of the new book. 

6. I utilize here (and in the book) "shaman(ic)" with a due cautionary of contemporary (white man) mis-appropriations of these terms and traditions within an Indigenous context. I believe Four Arrows' has truly made a good effort for several decades to ensure his is not mis-appropriating (colonizing) the very Indigenous worldview he promotes at great length as a recognized Indigenous educator. Which doesn't mean that some Indigenous people and others have not criticized his approach and his mixed-blood heritage and background which is (potentially) inadequate to make him a "spokesperson" of the "Indigeneity" he teaches. I (as White guy) have followed the tracks of Four Arrows' careful situating of any of these Indigenous terms as best I can. I cover this problem in the new book, as does Four Arrows' in many of his writings. "Shamanic" however is still something very useful to understanding some of the phenomena Four Arrows and I discuss in the idea of CAT-FAW/N and de-hypnotizing technologies. He tracks out how the Indigenous Peoples, often had an intuitive sense of this de-hypnotizing as lived process, even though, apparently they have never written it down as a de-hypnotizing technology or theory or model as Four Arrows has. Clearly, beyond his scholarly naming and associating his name with this CAT-FAW/N dynamic, he'd be the first to declare it is not his model per se or anyone's but it belongs to Nature, to All Relations and to All Histories. He documents anthropologically (and otherwise) his experiences with shamans amongst the Raramuri Peoples of remote Mexico in the 1980s-90s, and especially of the 104 year old Augustin Ramos a most well respected shaman that he worked with there. This true story can be found in his dissertation and book that came from it, Primal Awareness: A True Story of Survival, Transformation, and Awakening with the Raramuri Shamans of Mexico (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1998). 

7. See his slide show video of his remote Mexico adventures and learning re: "Shaman's Message" on Youtube, as one example; his writing makes the connections continually re: the orgin of the CAT-FAW/N "vision" (shamanic-like and/or mystical) in a heightened state of altered consciousness when amongst Nature and the presence of shamans. My interpretation is that CAT-FAW/N theory is shamanically-imbued and offered to the world from the 'Ancestors'--a further explanation of this categorizing of his theory is in the new book. I treat CAT-FAW/N as a transpersonal "transmission" of teachings with all the shamanic overtones and undertones that I believe require due acknowledgement. I also respect that Four Arrows himself avoids any such direct suggestion of such. My assessment is my own based on studying his work and communicating with him, off and on, for the past 10 years. 

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As The Guardian Newspaper says about this protest in the US earlier this week: 

" [Student] Demonstrators hope to maintain a sense of national urgency around the need for gun policy reform, in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting at a US high school." And, the basic walkout was 17 minutes from their regular classes, as organizers of the demonstration want that to be symbolic of the 17 youth gunned down in the Parkland, FL school recently. 

I would call this great! I'm glad youth are taking action in public. I'm glad they are challenging their politicians through civil action. I also watch as a fearologist the entire event. And, nowhere can I find easily that the students or the organizers, or the media that are reporting on their civil action, that the students are learning more about fear management/education. I've always said the Gun Problem is a Fear Problem. It's too bad that message has not been included in the protests and the media coverage of the protests, and it reminds me, sadly, of how far away we are with dealing with the real root of the problems of violence! 

 

 

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I have just written and published a new article Technical Paper No. 72; below is the abstract: 

The Fearlessness Movement: Meta-context Exposed!

- R. Michael Fisher,[1] Ph.D.

©2018

Technical Paper No. 72

 Abstract

 We need a new context, and beyond that, we need a new meta-context as a context of contexts for locating our perceptions, our thinking, theories, critiques and philosophies on the topic of “fear” (and fearlessness). Meta-context is a place of vision and new imaginary creations. The author asks the question of what would fear management/education look like today and in the future if there was an overarching meta-context given for fear and its management—that is, what the author shares in this technical paper as his unique discovery of a historical and evolutionary “Fearlessness Movement”? Although, use of this concept by Fisher is relatively late in arriving in his repertoire (around 2000) for creating new fear-words, he says that he has since 1989 always thought that some “movement” or “spirit” was articulating and shaping human history beside fear, right along with it—and, that is “fearlessness.” The 21st century challenges and crises demand a new meta-context for looking at history from broad and deep perspectives, with good quality critiques. He co-founded the Fearlessness Movement ning as a community of inquirers and where his latest writings can be found. He summarizes this historical discovery and its implications and what he has noticed shifting in the last year or so regarding an interest in his work and the ning.

 

 

[1] Fisher is co-founder of In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and Research Institute (1991- ). He is also founder of the Center for Spiritual Inquiry & Integral Education (http://csiie.org) and is Department Head at CSIIE of Integral & 'Fear' Studies. He is an independent scholar, public intellectual and pedagogue, author, consultant, researcher, coach, artist and Principal of his own company (http://loveandfearsolutions.com). Currently, he is developing The Fearology Institute to teach courses. He can be reached at: r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com

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Hi all, I have just written and published The Fourth Stage of the Fearologist in Technical Paper No. 73, for your free download. 

Here is the Abstract of that paper: 

Abstract

There is an emergent impulse, noticeably stronger than ever, in the last few years, especially in 2017, for the field of study called “fearology” to take its rightful place in the world. Albeit, fearology is still a baby growing with lots of mistakes and victories, good and bad, to learn from and mature. This essay is an autobiographical reflection of Dr. Fisher on his life as a self-named fearologist, with a focus particularly on what the four stages of the fearologist may look like. It is an essay inspired by The First Stage of the Fearologist (Kalu, 2017). A healthy non-competitive comparison is made of the first stage as a beginning-point and the fourth stage as moving to an undisclosed end-point in one’s development as a fearologist. This is thought to give the ‘book ends’ of a new field of study—that is, arcing out a spectrum of possibilities in which to understand fearology (and the fearologist) from different developmental levels/stages. This ought to lead one to engage fearology appropriately with those distinctions in mind and with a guiding map for negotiating the basic journey it involves on its way to becoming a mature field/discipline of knowledge and personhood. Dr. Fisher gives attention to his own challenges to articulate what he calls the “three discourses” in his intellectual life at its current stage. He shares these difficulties for teaching purposes because the three discourses make conversations he has very complicated when arising around topics in the realm of fearology (e.g., is “fearless” a good thing or bad thing?) and how best to practice as a fearologist in a world of increasingly diverse perspectives, values, and worldviews on “reality” and “truth” and fear management/education.

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I have long argued in my work that to just look at fear(s) is a biased and distorted approach to fear management/education (FME). I have worked for 28 years to bring a more complete and dynamic view to the area of FME. Unfortunately, the resistance within the dominating fields of Psychology, Medicine (Psychiatry) and just about all 'normal' common sense discourses on "fear" tend to default (conveniently) to only a simplistic view and thus an incomplete ineffective FME.

Yes, I am a critic of all things to do with "fear" that get tossed around as 'the way it is' or 'this is the truth'--my approach is to question everything about fear--take the best, and scrap the rest. Ultimately, my goal is to come up with something better, of course. No easy task to "prove." It seems worth the effort to attempt the improvement because by all records and experience it is pretty clear to me (and a good number of other critics) that fear has got the better of us and our societies. I'm going to only speak here about the Western world (North American in particular where I have been born and grown up in). 

You ought to know that "proving" that something is better, as in a dynamic approach to FME, that challenges the status quo is going to scare people who already think they know the "best" ways to understand and manage fear. They have the supposedly 'proven' long track record. They often also have the status power positions in academic and research organizations and they have funding and assistants to do the research and write and publish. However, outside of that system of power/knowledge are the alternative and often critical approaches that are by people like myself with no funding for research, doing it all voluntarily and often alone without paid assistants. For the most part, it is this very real economic and status limitation that keeps much of my work in the hypothetical, philosophical and theoretical realm of argumentation. I have little empirical proof. However, I do have life experience and a lot of research but it is just not the usual kind that gets into the "scientific" kinds of journals of proving certain things about the nature and role of fear. 

The Problem of Human (Anthropocentricism) Fear Projection [1]

My point in this short blog is to bring up one part of my critique of just how simplistic and distortive (from my perspective) is the common discourse on fear(s). A 2014 article in a popular "scientific" magazine (Discover) on "Six Things We're Born to Fear" (like so many articles) goes on to tell of how "fear" was and still is instinctual, and that the same basic fears in humans are universal (e.g., fear of loud noise, fear of falling). The major interest in these articles is to confirm to us contemporary humans that we are not alone in being fearful--because all other creatures are too. It is genetic and predetermined. One biologist on a blog "Ask the Biologist" responded: "A baby bird in a nest is frightened of everything, which is sensible because they are almost completely helpless." Again, we hear the implicit justification for a very simplistic view, and defense mechanism, that it is natural to be fearful of everything (?)... or, at least most things. Evolution, say these biologists and psychologists, operates on the default mechanism to that is better to be cautious (aka "frightened") than not and trust only after you have learned it is okay to do so. [2]

There are many critiques to be made about this biopsychological and so-called evolutionary theory of "fear." I am more than skeptical when human beings living in a "culture of fear" today are projecting their fear onto Nature, and arguing that the bird chick in the nest is "frightened of everything"--as if this is all the time, and as if this is equivalent to human experience. How do we know what fear is for a bird chick? How do we know that the bird chick is in fear? Are we imposing our view (i.e., ecophobia) [3] and in particular our individual psychological perspective onto a bird chick in a nest. For the first thing, a bird chick is totally connected to its environment and its parents in an ontologically grounded and very trusting way. Fear is not its modus operandi of perceiving the world. Again, I won't go on and on with these points here. I want to merely raise them so that we are very cautious about projecting the word "fear" and how that concept/idea has been taught to us, and thinking that we can so completely assuredly, as the biologists and psychologists portray, make the claim that this is what the bird chick in the nest experiences. 

The Problem of One-Sidednes: Lack of a Dynamic Systems Perspective (and Fearlessness Movement)

The discourses so common in popular articles and in the discourses on fear by biologists and psychologists (for e.g.) fall into a naming and labeling of fears. They also fall into trying to set a preconditioned (genetic) default explanation for why creatures (supposedly) are mostly fearful most of the time. My own observations in Nature for 50+ years as a naturalist and ecologist, tell me that this is not the case. Creatures are on "alert" more or less, for sure. Nature is built on eat and be eaten; nothing escapes this. However, creatures in the wilds in my experience do not carry around a neuroses complex about danger and thus live in fear. The wild organisms are so attuned to a natural trust in all things they rely upon and live in with. They are so not "isolated" and "alienated" from Nature as humans as a species have become (again, I'm primarily talking about North American life-styles in the last millenium or so). There is little that can be compared between wild creatures and urban alienated human beings. 

The one-sidedness of the reports and advice on FME thus is obviously disconnected from the natural organismic systems that are going on. When a creature is in fear (e.g., running from a predator), which is rare, they are in a high alert response system that works to potentially free them from such a fate, but also at the same to which is working to heighten their spirit of fearlessness (as I call it). All my research shows that what has happened in evolutionary systems is a dynamic (dialectical) interplay of forces of Fear and forces of Fearlessness (of which, the latter has many forms, bravery, courage, and so on). There is no one without the other. They both always exist in a systems flow together, mutually working off of each other. The fearlessness aspect is one way to think of what I have called the Fearlessness Movement (a liberation process from a fear-based reality). The analogy (if not homology) is the fact that stress moves in organismic systems in a way that it is equally engaged with de-stressing natural mechanisms. Same with Fear, it has de-fearing mechanisms right there with it. I teach this in a phrase (law): When fear arises so then does fearlessness. 

My point, if you read 99% of the articles and books and listen to videos on fear(s) that are universal and natural in humans, etc., all there is in these articles is this documenting that's how fear is. There is no dialectical or complexification and systems perspective as I have said, a dynamic view is essential if we are to understand the nature and role of fear as best we can--that is, holistically. Of course, many of these simplistic approaches will try to pitch that you ought to will to be brave and courageous in the face of fear, or some will even say bravery and courage come with fear if we only tap into it (and, they are partially accurate)--but none that I have seen have a theory of the dialectical instinctual notion of the "spirit of fearlessness" as I do. I ask you to be very critical of all that 99% of the writing on fear(s). And, to be equally critical of my teaching and theorizing. Everything can be improved. Watch for Fear Projection via anthropocentricism, watch for the individual psychologizing of creatures in Nature (as if they think like humans today). And, as a learner of FME yourself, consider how we can better talk about Fear/Fearlessness in one breath--in one natural theory of FME, instead of separating these two components of living systems. 

I realize this is a brief picture and critique above. If you want the long version of my arguments for this dynamic relationship of Fear/Fearlessness and add even more complex components to it (via my Fear Management Systems Theory--which is really a meta-theory) go to my 2010 book The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21s century (Lanham, MD: University Press of America). 

Of course, I'd be glad to enter discussion with any of you here on the FM ning about this most basic critique I've been creating... 

Notes:

1. From a fearanalysis point of view (including psychoanalysis), defence mechanisms of Freud's work include "projection"--well, worth studying because it like all the defence mechanisms he uncovered in his work are fear-based (arguably). 

2. Underpinning my systems theory of Fear Management Systems is a hypothesis that in actuality "humans" (today) are the most fearful of all creatures in Nature and that the sooner we as a species admit this, we actually might learn the best lessons on fear management from Nature. This view is also somewhat (in part) held by my colleague Dr. Don Trent Jacobs (Four Arrows) and his Indigenous worldview perspective on Fear and Fearlessness. We have a new book coming out next year on this called "Fearless Engagement" (an intellectual biography of his life and work). He is one of the FM members. 

3. See the last several FM blogs on ecophobia as part of ecocriticism discourse today in the academy. 

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As some of you know, I am close to finishing the first draft of a book ms. on the life and work of Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs), a mixed-blood Irish-Cherokee critical (Indigenous-based) holistic educator and activist. At age 71, Four Arrows has a lot of true life-adventure stories to tell and this book I'm writing with his assistance has 15 teaching stories, following the Indigenous pedagogy format of using stories as ways of learning, knowing and passing on wisdom. The initial title for the book is Fearless Engagement in the Life and Work of Four Arrows: An Indigenous-based Social Transformer (to be published likely in 2018 by Peter Lang: New York). The reality is that this is an intellectual biography with an emphasis on my doing a fearanalysis [1] of Four Arrows' experiences and writing.

Image 1  Four Arrows (much younger) with his 'wild' mustang (Brioso) training for the Olympics

Four Arrows is a prolific athlete, eco-social activist and writer with some 20 books and hundreds of articles. He's won many honors among them the Martin Springer Moral Courage Award and he was chosen as one of the top 27 AERO Visionary Educators. He is frequently asked to be a presenter and guest lecturer around the world. His main teaching is that humans have not nearly reached their highest potential. He has developed many approaches and techniques to assist that process. He is very critical of the general way humans are socialized (e.g., in North America) to be unfit and adopt life-styles that are unhealthy. As well, in the last three decades he has studied and adopted the American Indigenous traditional ways of teaching/learning and living as wisdom, that he works to help protect, preserve and bring to the general non-Indigenous populations [2]. Controversial as his life and work has been, including his own re-conceptualizing of "Indigeneity" [3], I heartily support his overall project and see it as an important up-grade of fear management/education on this planet as well as a specific complement to expanding critical pedagogy/theory [4].

In that sense, he is an avid interpreter of the 'old ways' of Indigenous but also many traditions of spirituality. His own version of analysis for his "point of departure theory" tells of a time when our human ancestors were "relatively harmonious and healthy" living via a "Nature-based existence" that was non-anthropocentric, non-hierarchical and non-dominating. He identifies a "Dominant worldview" that began 9-10,000 years ago when "some humans chose to disregard the old [traditional] ways" that were ecologically in harmony with the environment [5]. He argues we are on the brink of extinction and today we have to re-integrate the best of the Indigenous worldview with the best of the Dominant (e.g., Western) worldview. In that sense, I have followed his work since 2007, because of my interest in "Two-Eyed Seeing" (http://www.integrativescience.ca/Principles/TwoEyedSeeing/) as a way of bringing together conflicting worldviews as part of conflict transformation and syntheses of ways to analyze and solve the biggest (most "wicked") world problems. You may know, I happen to think the global Fear Problem is no. 1. Four Arrows brings a lot of intriguing experience and research to this problem, and so I have appreciated our working partnership, off and on, since 2007. 

Image 2 Four Arrows (today) [photo: courtesy of Beatrice Angela Jacobs]

In the mainstream, academia and in Education generally, Four Arrows is, unfortunately, relatively unknown, although in some circles of critical theory, Indigenous (worldview) Studies, holistic education and character education he is well-known. He is currently professor in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, California (15 years service). My task is to make him more known, but in particular, to focus on bringing forth a better understanding of his major discovery from an NDE (near death experience) and spiritual vision in 1983, verified by research and spiritual leaders of the region [6], in a remote canyon in Mexico--that is, his vision (theory) named CAT-FAWN Connection.

This blog is a very condensed version of his explication of this theory/praxis, a form of 'fear'-vaccine, Fearlessness and fear management/education, in which it can best be described as a de-hypnotizing technology [7]. I'll explain that shortly. The book Fearless Engagement offers more detail, and you can find other publications by Four Arrows and/or myself that give background on the theory/praxis of CAT-FAWN Connection [8].

CAT-FAWN Connection: De-Hypnotizing Technology for the 21st Century

Doing a fearanalysis of Four Arrows' experiences and writing is a complex venture, to say the least. The new book is quite a wild ride and I have learned a good deal from the experience of writing my first biography. I have also been continually inspired by Four Arrows' life and work. I find it a refreshing critique of the mainstream and Western history and current globalization problematics as well as the common ways we understand Fear and courage (i.e., fear management/education). He brings unique combinations of life-experience and professional study together. Fear management/education is truly going to get an up-graded booster from his work, particularly his unique notion of becoming a "connoisseur of Fear" [9] and CAT-FAWN. So, let me give you a quick sense of CAT-FAWN, without all the details of his original vision and the 15 years it took to finalize the theory/praxis. I preface this explanation as not the exact way Four Arrows may describe it, and I am an admitted total amateur in CAT-FAWN practice and/or in hypnotherapy overall. I do have a cognitive and intuitive understanding of it and I expect many of us readers will intuitively use CAT-FAWN technology more or less (usually, only in part) without even knowing it.

According to Four Arrows, CAT-FAWN is a metaphor, "a new theory of mind" and metacognitive mnemonic that tells of a predator (CAT) and its potential prey (FAWN) operating with the joint (dialectic) bonding of a hyphenated form; this indicates a basic integration of opposites in a complementarity--the latter, being a foundational principle of the Indigenous worldview (and harmony) as he has written about. The CAT portion stands literally for Concentration Activated Transformation. This refers to a heightened state of consciousness/awareness, which can be induced by many stimuli (situations), for e.g., meditation, dreaming, and/or a shock, etc.).

Fear (and/or trauma) is a big cause of CAT as well. Because of his long training as a hypnotherapist, Four Arrows (like the Indigenous Peoples of the 'old ways' in pre-point of departure times, especially) knows that when people are in CAT they are in a light-to-heavy "trance." At this time, the human brain (which includes other-than-humans as well) is hard-wired to attend with extra-sensory awareness to the subtle and gestalt realities of one's self and surroundings and does so initially, virtually unconsciously. It's a healthy preparatory state of action, for e.g. fight-flight reaction among others--all intended for good Defense Intelligence operations [10] and ultimately survival strategies if needed. Instinct and primal awareness are core to CAT and so is hypnosis and/or "trance-based learning" (Four Arrows' latest label for this phenomena). We are heightened for (transformative) learning in CAT.

The problem, Four Arrows notes, is when we enter a CAT state without noticing or knowing we are so, and what is causing it.Thus, if largely unconscious to CAT we are highly susceptible to "inputs" from the environment that may condition us, that is hypnotize us and implant "messages" that are harmful to us. These trance-based learned messages, even if unconscious and subliminal, are deeply memorized and held in the nervous system, so goes the theory of hypnosis. The quick example, is when a parent first scares a child, say by yelling at them unexpectedly with anger, creating a CAT in the child, and then tells the child they are stupid. It is unfortunately so common. We also have the equivalent of this fear-based conditioned (trance-based) learning happening in societies as a whole, e.g., the media showing images of the 9/11 towers being on fire and collapsing and so on. Then media and presidents give "messages" (e.g., propaganda) when we are in shock state--this is now a cultural trance. Messages driven into our systems by these means are very difficult to change and worse yet, the 'bad' messages continue to influence our mood and behavior for a life-time in some cases. There has to be a rehabilitation "program" of conscious de-hypnotizing going on, which involves first better managing the hypnotic messages implanted and, second, learning a de-hypnotizing technology (e.g., CAT-FAWN) that would offer a way to re-circuit the early learned messages. Also, new positive messages can be put in place when in a state of CAT. So, you would learn how to bring about CAT and/or how to recognize it when it occurs spontaneously in daily life. 

Remember, in this teaching by Four Arrows' on CAT-FAWN, there is both new scientific information, clinical knowledge and ancient Indigenous wisdom combined. Again, with limited space in this brief summary, let's move on to the other half of the "formula"--FAWN. Literally, F = Fear, A = Authority, W = Word(s) (and music) and N = Nature. This stands for what Indigenous Peoples of the 'old ways' always knew were "four major forces" that shape our lives, for good or ill (depending on our awareness and management of them). Fear is taken as very primal in both inducing CAT and joining with CAT (e.g., CAT-Fear) as a powerful two-some able to bring about "courage" as a virtue (for e.g.) or to bring about "panic" and "irrationality" as a vice (for e.g.). Great character/values are built on the former, and shabby destructive values built on the latter. To reach our highest human potential(s) one has to learn to manage CAT-Fear well--without doing so, this can undermine all the good ways of the other three major forces. Authority is very powerful because it can use Words (for e.g.) to hypnotize. Humans, as a social species, are particularly hard-wired through evolution to "follow" authority (dominant) individuals, groups, organizations, nations, ideologies. So, one has to be very aware when in CAT of their relationships going on via CAT-Authority and CAT-Word.

The last of the major forces of the de-hypnotizing technology is most foundational to the entire CAT-FAW complex, and I prefer to write this formula (theory) as CAT-FAW/N. Which is saying that the common denominator and most influential factor is N = Nature [11]. It is the most benign of the forces. I won't go into all those reasons but many of us know how powerful it can be to connect with Nature when we are "off-center" or "hurting" and or "terrified" by the human world. The Natural world, in general, is our "Mother" (Source) for earthlings. Today some groups of modern people know this, as well as the Indigenous Peoples of this planet that have lived in relative harmony with Nature for 99% of human evolution, which is the basic premise of Four Arrows' theory and work overall. 

The summary is, we are easily hypnotized, and when FAWN are utilized in 'good' (positive) ways for recovery, healing, transformation, then we grow and mature as healthy and sane humans. When FAWN are made meaning of and utilized in 'bad' (negative) destructive ways for control, order, manipulation tactics etc., then we shrink and stay immature and very dubious creatures with seemingly only self-centered interests and a relative floating and undependable moral compass. Four Arrows knows we can do better than fall "victim" to hypnotic trance-based learning of ill-intent especially. We may get "caught" but then catch ourselves, and use the CAT-FAWN mnemonic to recall what we need to do to unravel any potential destructive hypnosis going on, consciously or otherwise. It is not paranoid, I don't think, nor does Four Arrows, to assume that most leaders of the Dominant worldview already well-know how to control and manipulate by creating CAT and using FAWN negatively with it (e.g., propaganda).

We now have the de-hypnotizing technology in CAT-FAWN to make our own history, to decolonize and de-hypnotize our minds! The first step, is to realize this may be a good thing to try to learn and implement. Believe you me, both Four Arrows and i know, people often "get it" how CAT-FAWN works more or less, but there are massive programs in place in the mind and culture-at-large (e.g., modern Western societies) that resist learning this technology. Personally, I know how many years I resisted (unconsciously) learning what Four Arrows was teaching in CAT-FAWN Connection. I mean years, and that's a confession that comes from one who is deeply interested in fear management/education and I knew F stood for Fear in his formula. Let it be a lesson...

Notes

1. "Fearanalysis" is a methodology I have been working with since the mid-1990s. For more details on its basic composition see for e.g., Fisher, R. M. (2012). Fearanalysis: A first guidebook. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute; also, an upcoming book is underway A general introduction to fearanalysis: Putting the culture of fear and terror on the couch.

2. He has carefully researched Indigenous scholarship, lived and worked with Indigenous communities, practiced sacred rites with Indigenous communities (e.g., Sun Dance) and has dialogued on this contentious issue: who has the right to claim "Indigeneity" and/or even if that is a term that ought to be used? He has many supporters in Red and White (and Mixed) camps--and, some distractors against his approach. Basically his understanding of "primal awareness" is core to Indigeneity, and if we all track back far enough we'll find our Indigeneity connections (primal awareness as "instincts")--so, in that generic sense, we are all Indigenous.That said, he (like myself) is very respectful of the distinct Indigenous cultures and their value and in no way does he wish to 'speak for them' and/or collapse their histories, lives and teachings into only one summative functional generalization of Indigeneity or Indigenous. See any of his recent books in which he directly address these issues and his current stance.

3. For e.g., see Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (with England-Aytes, K., Cajete, G., Fisher, R. M., Mann, B. A., McGaa, E., and Sorensen, M.) (2013). Teaching truly: A curriculum to Indigenize mainstream education. New York: Routledge.

4. See Fisher, R. M. (2017). Critical philosophy, theory and pedagogy need an upgrade. FM ning April 11, 2017.

5. Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2016). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing

6. Four Arrows arrived at this finding in a sacred initiation process over many years. His primary teacher was Augustin Ramos, a 104 yr old Raramuri shaman and other Tarahumara spiritual leaders and/or shamans that Four Arrows met during his dissertation research in remote Mexico have passed on a lineage teaching of which is sacred (see Jacobs, 1998) and is not to be only taken as some invention of Four Arrows or anyone else. I take this teaching and responsibility for it as an ancestral lineage of which is not merely a secular theory/praxis. In this sense I acknowledge the ancestors and the privilege it is for me to work with this lineage Four Arrows has shared so intimately with me over the years.

7. I appreciated Dr. Barbara Bickel for discussions on Four Arrows work, where she coined this term in regard to Four Arrows' work. See also a book review of Four Arrows' latest book Bickel, B. (20

8. For e.g., see his first major book gives the best description: Jacbos, D. T. (1998). Primal Awareness: A true story of survival, transformation, and awakening with the Raramuri shamans of Mexico. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions; see also his latest book Four Arrows (2016); see also Fisher, R. M. (2016). Four Arrows: His philosophy, theory, praxis and pedagogy. Technical Paper No. 62. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. 

9. Originally Sam Keen coined this word and Four Arrows had talked with Keen back in the 1990s and has since modified Keen's conceptualization to include an Indigeneous-based perspective where we learn to be connoisseurs of Fear from our ancient ancestors (living and non-living, human and other-than-human).

10. See my own writing on Defense Intelligence (in relation to Fear and fear management/education and fear management systems theory) in 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.

11. Recently, Four Arrows wrote in regard to my re-write of the formula "you [Michael] are a co-developer of it [now] as far as I am concerned.... love it and appreciate it and grant the modification whole-heartedly" (per. comm., Jun. 10/17).

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Advances in the Psychopathology of "Fear"

Introduction: Postmodern Concerns for Feariatry

It has long been my interest to study the large field of "pathology" from a systems perspective. That means, there are ways to identify "pathologies" within systems across the spectrum of complexity of evolution and development. In this sense, I have always been interested in a meta-theory of pathology.

But for now, in this blog I want to keep this short and somewhat uncomplicated with some basic ideas about "Fear" and how it has to be brought into the scope of Feariatry [1] and a general (meta-)theory of psychopathology, for example. I will mention before I make my key points, that "pathology" and "psychopathology" in general, although not particular contentious say 60 to 100 years ago, these terms no long enjoy such a stable status. There have been many attacks on their meaning and who gets to construct the meaning of "pathology" and make the judgments about it. This has huge implications to philosophy and psychology and all aspects of our societies and policies of health and so on. I won't be discussing that all here, but to say it is important to bring into our work on Feariatry especially, and less so Fearanalysis. The postmodern period since WWII and the philosophical turn to postmodernist thought (e.g., deconstructionism) is a big part of the contention and critique of theories and applications of the concepts of "pathology" and "psychopathology" especially. [Note: a topic for another time, is what I see as "fear of postmodernism" itself preventing a progressive Feariatry and 'Fear' Studies overall]

Problem of Pathologizing Fear to Naturalizing Fear

Okay, now to my main point. First, most writing on "fear" today is attempting to make it more "positive" in attributions than in prior eras, especially in the W. world. I think it is fair to move along this axis of re-adjustment of an overly "negative" attribution and pathologizing of the term and phenomena of "fear"--again, the problem becomes how do we define fear and then ought we attribute it to positive or negative evaluations, and on what philosophical, theoretical and empirical grounds do we make such assessments. This is a contested and complicated territory once one removes "fear" from being only an "emotion or feeling." This has been the direction of my work (and a few others). We are continually expanding the conceptualization of "fear" (see my last posting of a Photo of the 5 steps towards a critical literacy of Fear and Fearlessness on the FM ning).

I don't want to fall into the old discourses of pathologizing "fear" either, and so I and the philosophy of fearism work has attempted to keep Fear as a much more positive concept and phenomenon--and, much of this has led to valuation that says "fear is natural" and thus we really ought not get down on fear and pathologize it in all cases, or even most cases of its interplay with humans or animals etc. Fine, as that is to a point, there are strong arguments against naturalizing "fear" as a counter-balance to overly pathologizing "fear." I won't go into all that argumentation, as it is technical and beyond a brief blog on psychopathology of fear.

So, let's be clear of what a systems view of pathology of fear is (and, thus, how psychopathology fits). I see a system of pathology as potential in all living systems. This includes physiological (biological) pathologies, and on to emotional and psychological pathologies, to sociocultural pathologies over time and history. These pathological systems are totally interconnected, interrelated, and co-evolving. Basically, I am saying pathologies at one level --e.g., physiological can influence pathologies all the way up to the most complex sociocultural dimensions and visa versa. Everything affects everything, is the assumption in systems (holistic and integral) theory.

Anthropocene Pathologies Re-Calibrated: Analogy of CO2 and Fear Levels (toxicity)

I think historically, in the W. world at least, it is fair to say, in general there has been a movement from pathologizing fear to naturalizing fear, and now, my own work and others is beginning to critique that movement, and asking for another 21st century re-calibration and a return to more pathologizing of fear (e.g., fearism-t).

The key issue I have raised in the last year or two, is what happens when a positive valuation of "fear" as natural begins to weaken under criticism that conditions are changing so dramatically on planet earth and its systems, that there is some point (a turning point, or point of departure), perhaps, where "fear" is virtually engulfed in a pathological system and/or set of systems cascading into a pathological destructive cycling? The analogy, and metaphor, is that carbon dioxide (CO2) used to also be only seen as natural and thus positively valued in the living cycles of life and the planet (including temperature regulation of the atmosphere). Then, a turning point came in the Anthropocene era [2] when "CO2" was being constructed as a "pollutant" (toxin) to the atmosphere and was causing excessive warming of the earth and massively changing the earth's living viability. This was a crisis. It still is as many argue today under the banner of human-caused (anthropogenic) CO2 excess production, mainly from agricultural practices and especially from fossil fuel burning. In that geo-historical and physiological layer of Gaia (or earth system), indeed it is potentially useful to label CO2 levels as pathological.

The same can now be said, from a turning point, that "fear" is now a pollutant, a psychopathology (see fearism-t concept [3], a toxin, and is exacerbating major crises in living systems on the planet (and even non-living systems). All of the "fear" in excess due to human activity (thus, anthropogenic). Big problem. I have called this, in part, the Fear Problem (with capitals, as a "wicked problem" we have to figure out how to solve in the 21st century or likely it will destroy life as we know it on a massive global scale).

Now, the question becomes, how do we even talk about "fear" anymore, in a meaningful way, in the Anthropocene, that is, after this point of departure when "fear" is no longer safely represented as "natural" or "normal" because in it is argued it has become pathological? How should fear management/education on the planet adjust to this macro-shift in our very paradigm of thinking about and talking about "fear"? This, my friends, is exactly where my research is going and why we need a serious investigation ongoing into the psychopathology of fear, on a meta-theoretical axis.

Notes

1. Feariatry has been conceptualized as one of the pillars of a philosophy of fearism (a la Subba and Fisher)... and, there are several photos and blogs on the FM ning over the past year or so that you can learn more about this and/or just contact me if you are particularly interested. Also see the book, Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

2. A good definition of Anthropocene Era is found on wikipedia

3. Fearism-t - (toxic form of fearism) is defined by Fisher and Subba (2016), p. 157.

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If you haven't seen it already, I recommend watching the 70 min. interview of Dr. Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor at MIT, author of over 100 books, and critic--go to Democracy Now, Apr. 4, 2017. I have been following Chomsky's work for decades, off and on. He has written often about the "culture of fear" in various countries and the problems with it in terms of undermining civil societies.

In this latest interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Amy introduces a question from the viewers as she introduces it as a question about "Trump exploiting fear" and Chomsky answers (a repetitive analysis I have heard him say this several times over the past decade about America):

"[T]his is a very frightened country. For years, this has been probably the most frightened country in the world. It's also the safest country in the world. It's very easy to terrify people [here]."

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Let me say a few brief comments about this statement/observation. To say the least, I agree with Chomsky on the Fear Problem in the USA, and not that I agree America is the most "frightened country" but it is at least right up there in the top of them in the world, especially countries that are under dictatorships, I'd say they are more frightened. But one can't measure this so easily and no data is presented by Chomsky, only some 88 yrs of observations of being an American, and that counts! He's an astute and brilliant social critic of our times. His voice ought to be taken seriously. Yet, so disappointing amongst all his fans and they must be millions around the world, I do not hear any concentrated effort or advocacy of how to handle the Fear Problem, not even from Chomsky himself in terms of fear management/education strategies. That's what tends to gut his emphasis on America as "the most frightened country in the world." You can say this, and it may be plausible, as I say, I agree more or less, yet what is there to do about it directly. I mean to go to the source. Chomsky's general solution is just to have a more rational and civil democracy that works well, and the fear ought to decline. That's pretty much the operating assumption. It's no doubt partially true. However, my 28 years researching the Fear Problem (and "culture of fear" specifically) tells me that this will not be a solution, and it also will not happen without some major intervention (e.g., 'fear' vaccine) to turn America around in another direction away from this chronic frightened state--kind of like a general anxiety disorder on the scale of a whole country. That is pretty much Chomsky's diagnosis. I don't disagree basically and other critics of the "culture of fear" phenomenon has said as much for decades, e.g., the sociologist Barry Glassner amongst the more popular authors.

I have written about Chomsky a year ago. Fisher, R. M. (2016). In defense of fearism: The case of Noam Chomsky. Technical Paper No. 58. Carbondale, IL: In                    Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. I argued he would in all likelihood support the philosophy of fearism (at least my own theory of fearism)--because toxic fearism is like terrorism but works in the more subtle infrastructures of societies to create this chronically frightened (anxious) state, where as Chomsky says, it becomes "very easy to terrify people." So true. I have lived in the USA for 9 years and I feel it and see it among Americans. Now, I have gone out to make myself present here (Carbondale, IL) and reached out to many activist groups, to clergy to political leaders to non-profit organizations, to school system leaders, etc. And they have little to no interest in the Fear Problem, even when they sort of agree with me it is a big problem in the USA. This I have found empirically disturbing to see how they will not, on the whole, or in small groups, focus on the root of all the rest of their problems that makes them so susceptible to being "very easy to terrify." It is like they are so terrified as the 'normal' condition they also are so arrogant that they are "fine" and that they already know how to solve their social problems, etc. They must be in a state of denial and psychic numbing, as far as I can tell. Even Chomsky, will say the core of the problem is fear but he offers no other analysis, or insufficient analysis as I point out in my Technical Paper No. 58. And, I have always said, to Americans I meet and who are so quick to reject or just ignore my efforts to help them, that sure maybe you don't want to be a "connoisseur of fear" (as Four Arrows and Sam Keen and myself suggest) but could you at least consult with people like me, a fearologist, so that you get that expertise to help? No, they do not. I can tell you in all these years, they do not ask for it. This is the real Fear Problem, is when you know you are operating out of so much fear (and thank you Chomsky for calling it out), and you don't do anything substantially different to change it.

All I can say, is that Americans didn't get here over night. It has been part of their European history coming to America, part of their slave trade to build this country--all points that Chomsky has pointed to historically, as have others. The American "culture of fear" or "politics of fear" (e.g., Corey Robin's analysis) has a long intricate history that must be understood and taught in our school systems, and generally it is not, and only as so partial and then with no follow up in terms of teaching fear management/education in the radical ways I have suggested for nearly 3 decades. So, Four Arrows has said it recently in our work together that the Indigenous Peoples of the world, practicing the 'old ways' have a worldview where they are taught not to fear fear itself. This has never really been part of the non-Indigenous or Dominant worldview on the planet.

I'll leave this commentary with the comment that Chomsky threw into his interview (and the quote above): "It's the safest country in the world." Too bad he didn't give statistics for this, and too bad Amy didn't ask him about this. Let me explain where it is coming from, as far as I can tell, because when you read the quote as a whole it is so paradoxical and ironic, that the most frightened country is the most safest in the world, according to Chomsky. Many of the culture of fear theorists, and critics have said the same things (Glassner, Frank Furedi, Gavin DeBecker, etc.). So what is going on here? The argument of these  critics is that America has created the "safest" society but yet it is the most "frightened"--and, there is a real 'disconnect.' One indicator these critics give is that the rates of crime have gone done for decades but on surveys the population as a whole keeps saying that they have a higher "fear of crime." All the critics pin this problem down on how media creates this fear by exaggeration and repetition on TV and other sources of mass media, and they do so to "win" viewers to their programs because nothing gets attention like fear--as they say. It is part of the "economy of attention" as some scholars have called it. It is part of the "culture of fear"--and then, when you get government leaders, activists, and corporations using this economy of attention--that is, economy of fear to manipulate people's opinions--then, fear keeps going up, no matter even if the society is relatively safe and secure.

I agree with most of this "culture of fear" and "politics of fear" analysis to explain the 'disconnect.' It is a very troubling psychic and social state going on, and I have witnessed it here in the last 9 years. But more disturbing to me, is how Americans are so arrogant, and ignore-ant, as a whole, to actually attend to this Fear Problem 'disconnect.' I also am a critic that you can't use simple statistics on "safe" and "secure" to measure a society that is living in a post-traumatic condition and culture of fear as ongoing chronic context. There is always, says, Brian Massumi the cultural critic, a "low-grade fear" that isn't even normal anxiety or fear--it is like another phenomena we haven't easily been able to "name" or study. I have called it toxic fearism.

It would be great if someday, Chomsky and others like him, and the culture of fear critics will take my work seriously and engage with me, instead of deny we need a much better fear management/education that is systematic in all curricula.

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Fear Management System (FMS)-4

 The following is my quickie fearanalysis of Anderson and Miller (2001). Their Christian approach (manual) to "freedom from fear" is interesting, though very familiar to me, as I have seen many examples just like it, all coming out of the religious form of FMS-4. To help guide you through this, I've provided an up-dated summary of how to recognize the features of FMS-4, then I give an example from their book and critique it. This is of course, all very brief and inadequate to make a full critique but it shows you how I think, for what it's worth. I look forward to any conversation we may enter around this.

[Nutshell version: basic Fear Management Systems Theory (a la Fisher)[1] is based on an integral worldview perspective of development whereby each system (e.g., FMS) developed under a set of conditions (including consciousness) and developed the best means possible at the time--establishing marvellous, viable and healthy practices of fear management; but over time, often under changing conditions, often due to collective accumulation of trauma and system errors, the intelligence and strengths of a particular FMS diminished—found lacking by many, and were, more or less, incapable to meet the new demands and growth; thus often it became partially and/or largely pathological (unhealthy), while simultaneously a new FMS was evolving to meet the demands of the new conditions for survival and thriving growth and development. Each FMS therefore, has a healthy side and an unhealthy side; it is our task today to learn to recognize and discern both sides, and make informed decisions to utilize the best of the intelligence of each FMS (between 0 – 9), and toss the worst, along the spectrum of possibilities, as we learn, individually and collectively, to better manage fear on this planet]

 

Mythic-Membership (Belonging and Conforming-Identity) – Blue v-meme – Communal – Ethnocentric and Sociocentric Consciousness

In-Group vs. Out-Group; Moralism = Right vs. Wrong; Patriarchal 

Emerged c. 12, 000 years ago, Beginning of Farming-Mode

Around 5000 years ago in the West began Dominator Culture

(and some forms of Monotheism)

 

Blue Fear Story (Cosmology)Religious Form- as first, “the original” (e.g., Biblical) and powerful disturbing negative feeling/emotion (a “suffering” punishment, like pain) from the mythic “Fall” of some kind; therefore the human condition is flawed (impure) and less than “ideal” (i.e., less than “divine,” than “essence”) due to a rebellion/sin against some authority-figure (e.g., Law, God, Authority, Father, Nation/State), which is seemingly inherent in human nature due to egoic arrogance (hubris or pride); thus “fear of God” is the only salvation (freedom from fear and suffering) via a return to humbleness once again as the virtue to counteract the vice of arrogance (i.e., human character flaw); Secular Form- (see, e.g., Thomas Hobbes, 18th century Europe)

 Fear Management/EducationReligious Form- although it recognizes “fear is natural” (or “normal”) because it seems useful for activating survival/defense capacities (e.g., courageousness), though the actual focus of attention is to ensure early childhood learned-conditioning of “social fear” (i.e., low-grade, barely recognizable, chronic social anxiety in confrontation with the persistent surveillance systems of the Divine/Authority/ State/Family and general Social Order as unquestioned beliefs and values called Tradition); one learns the safety/protection and self-esteem gained by the in-group (e.g., less fear being with a larger number of like-same-members) they belong to and identify with; yet, also fear and its cousins guilt and shame are learned as well and are associated with the dangers of punishment (ultimately via God) by forms of social abuse, sacrifices, isolation/alienation and exclusion (violence and terrorization) that will come rapidly if one transgresses the social-religious-sacred taboos (written or unwritten codes, rules and regulations and laws of Tradition); the latter punishment by fear-based means is offered by the Social Order enforcement fear-based systems under the name of this is because ‘we really love you,’ ‘tough love,’ and ‘this is for your own good’ (aka: meaning, it is done for the good of maintaining the Tradition of the in-group as priority value); defends Right and Wrong to the death using fear-tactics to suppress, oppress and/or eliminate; one must have “moral courage in battle” to fight (sacrifice the self) for the communal Right (i.e., our-side = right-side); one is encouraged into a paradoxical (contradictory) position: that is, to seek “freedom” from fear of one’s enemies, earthly existence, and of humans themselves—and, at the same time, as appropriate to the wishes of the Authority, never try to be free from fear of God (or the secular Ruler or Father of the House); Secular Form- (see e.g., Terror Management Theory a la Ernest Becker)

Example of Fear Education (pedagogy)- Religious Form- a contemporary Christian book entitled Freedom from Fear[2] opens with:

 "What are the differences between anxiety, fear, and panic attacks? In order to live a healthy productive [Christian] life, every child of God needs adequate answers to these critical questions. Let’s start by defining terms." (p. 17)

 First, in the above quote (Anderson & Miller, 2001), there is a decidedly modern (FMS-5)[3] aspect to this gaining a kind of modern day scientific (i.e., clinical psychology) knowledge (as an individual) about fear in order to manage it better—doings so by using definitions and distinctions that secular philosophy discovered first, then secular psychology (‘science’) discovered regarding the distinctions of anxiety, fear and panic. The authors however then retreat from FMS-5 discourse, to FMS-4 in the second sentence, and one can hear the complete Authoritative (conservative) tone it carries in that the human “needs adequate answers” (pre-determined and given as prescriptions by the authors, and the Bible, by Christian religion = Authorities of a Tradition). FMS-4 is characterized by this social conformity to knowledge passed down by legitimate (social-religious) Authorities (God being the ultimate carrier of the Truth). Implied in the second sentence in using “adequate” is “correct” (i.e., Biblically correct, meaning, the right answers because only we are after God’s truth, the one and only Truth, one and only God).

FMS-4 does not typically encourage individuals to think very critically about the knowledge (i.e., ‘Truth’) passed down from Tradition. The authors, as legitimate Christians, are obliged to provide the “adequate answers” and learners are to receive them in good faith, without doubt, without learned critique, but take them and let their heart make the best of them rather than heads. Thus, FMS-4 characteristically focuses on how we flawed, suffering, fearful, and ‘sinful’ humans need answers that are already available, rather than suggesting we humans need adequate questions to pursue our inquiry into the topic of freedom from fear and how best ought we define fear, etc. No, the Program (curricula) is already pre-packaged in FMS-4. After very little time (or theory) about defining fear and making distinctions, FMS-4 focuses on practices (i.e., prescriptions, rules) to follow—and, there are usually always 12-step programs, or in this book, a 7-step program (‘Steps to Freedom in Christ’)  to “freedom from fear”; and behind it all, is to give over all your fear(s) to the “higher authority” (e.g., in Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program)—in this book, so you no longer have to worry about fear(s) and do so by several prescriptions and ultimately by praying: “We call upon Jesus, the ultimate authority, and He escorts [fear] the enemy of our souls out of our lives” (p. 339).[4]

[Reminder: FMS theory argues, as well there is empirical evidence, that each FMS, including this FMS-4, actually work quite well—but, not on everyone, nor in every environment or circumstance; the big (pathological) problem comes, when FMS-4 or any other one kind of FMS (becomes arrogant and intolerant of difference, as a system) trying to dominate all other forms of fear management/education and even denying they exist because there is no other Right way to understand fear and how to best manage it; Integral worldview (v-meme Yellow) and FMS-7 (Fearlessness) is the first evolved level of consciousness that begins to see this error of arrogant and intolerant FMSs because it sees the entire spectrum of 0-9 possibilities of how to best understand and manage fear; FMS-7, which I operate from and critique from, is also not merely about relativism as integralism is often confused with by people who have not studied integral theory; FMS-7 and integral thinking are critical of only relativism or pluralism and argues we need discernment of "better" in both horizontal and vertical means--that, unfortunately, is more complex than what I can explain here]



[1] See Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world’s fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD.

[2] Anderson, N. T. (2001). Freedom from fear: Overcoming worry and anxiety. London: Monarch Books.

[3] In reading only the last dozen pages, and few at the beginning, I am able to rather quickly grasp the discourse formation that is dominant in the book and what fear management system dominates it as well. I also saw FMS-2 and even some FMS-9. Though, I won’t discuss those sub-dominant FMS discourses here in this brief introduction (for general FMS theory, see Fisher, 2010).

[4] Priority of value in FMS-4 is always on the (social-religious) Authority as the only ultimate source of Love and where to devote one’s love—for example, the prayer is offered in this book “You are the only all-powerful and only wise God. You are kind and loving.... I love You and than You.... I choose not to love the world or the things [e.g., nature] in the world, and I crucify the flesh and all its passions” (p. 341). This is characteristic of the transcendental philosophy of religious expression/ consciousness at FMS-4. We can debate how healthy or unhealthy such a prayer (belief) is or not.

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As an educator, and as a critic of when certain ideas are promoted as propaganda, and distorted, I have to be concerned. Truly, I'd rather put my attention on more positive productions of my own work on fearlessness, for example. But when it comes to "fear" and our knowledge about it, I am on the path of the sacred warrior real fast. A defender of the dharma, as Ken Wilber has been called. I too am not about to leave knowledge about fear and its management alone--if, I see it is creating more problems than good. Now, the latter is not so easy to prove, and indeed, that's not my task. Other's with funding dollars and research support teams can go out there and prove the harmful effect levels of anything. I don't have that research team nor the resources to do it. I can be a good philosopher however, and that means offering a good critique--of everything. That said, I don't want to waste my time on everything-- I "waste" my time where I think I couldn't live with myself if I didn't say something. That topic of compelling interest is fear (by any other name). 

One major critical philosophical tradition has been to critique ideologies. I am talking about fear-based, fear-mongering distortions of knowledge. Now, there is not a premise in such critiques that persons, or organizations, etc. are consciously trying to reproduce toxic ideologies, nor do they want to do fear-mongering. But everything anyone publishes is potentially doing that if we are not consciously reflecting on what is being taught in discourses (e.g., how do we talk about fear). Well, there is an awful lot of talk about fear and an even greater volume these days of writing about it. I follow books on Amazon.com to watch how quickly a new book comes out on fear--like it seems every few months. All the authors have an agenda, and they want to help us be less afraid, and/or be only afraid of the right things, not the wrong things. That alone, on the surface is admirable and even ethical. But as critical philosophers, since at least Aristotle, have known, you can be right about something but be motivated by the wrong source and create unethical results. Carl Jung is somewhat famous, as a psychotherapist and theorist of the human psyche for his elaboration of the enantiodromia syndrome he found quite universal in most of modern human history and in people he observed. That syndrome boils down to a kind of 'law' of human behavior that goes like this (paraphrasing Jung): Those that try hard to do good end up (usually) doing bad. That is, the opposite results. 

So, if I as a researcher are looking for such syndromes, and I do, there is no greater source of cases of such as in the literature on fear management/education. I won't go into all the reason for why--but a good deal of my arguments can be found in my books and articles over the decades. One of the first steps to such critical analysis (i.e., fearanalysis) is to see how contradictions show up in common sense ("wisdom") of a society, a group, a writer/teacher, etc. So, here's one example that just popped-out at me today while researching new books on fear (the following are from the self-help genre): 

The example is Christian authors (but believe me, if you will, my research could find a similar case in secular writers). So, one author in a new book on fear (Jeanetta Dunlop, Unmasking Fear) writes: "As divine beings we are entitled to live a fear-fear life." 

The next Christian author (David Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants in Your Life), unknowingly, in distinct contradiction to the above author, writes, "The Bible, as a matter of fact, doesn't paint a picture of the fear-free life." 

Okay, I have to ask if I am selecting very specific quotes out of context and juxtaposing them to make my case of a contradiction in Christian teachings (at least by these two authors)? It is a slight possibility I am biasing this because I haven't read their books. I don't know them. I am speculating, but logically so, via a reading of one line of text, which is a "teaching"-- which has implications for readers. I ask, but what is a reader of such texts supposed to believe now? Which author is telling the best truth? I could go on an on as an educator and as part of a critical analysis... asking these questions. My reason for confidence in just how contradictory these authors are (as selected from many possibilities) is because I have read many such books by all kinds of people across as many diverse backgrounds as possible, over 27 years. If that makes me a bit of an expert on predicting where an author is likely going (in most cases, not all)--I can predict pretty well, and I have seen the pattern pretty well. In the self-help books, it seems people skew knowledge the most readily. Hey, we all skew somewhat anything we are passionate about to want to write a book about so we can help others by how we think we have been helped. I appreciate that desire. 

The ideological part of my criticism, however, is less forgiving, because these typical books on fear and its management/education, never critique themselves reflectively. The authors who write about fear don't seem to have that basic philosophical and ethical imperative in their work. I just do not see it (the rare exception is out there). 

I look at how there is so much contradiction about "fearless" these days-- is it good, is it bad? The volumes of teachings on fear and fearlessness is growing rapidly because of the era we are in--people are looking hard, and are quite 'desperate' for answers. Oh, yeah, and rarely do they read other authors and cite them in their own particular book or on their own particular promotional videos. Oh, no, they like to present their knowledge about fear as if it is their own great discovery, and if it worked for them then it will work for you. They are quick to flaunt their own philosophies. 

I think I've made my general point, of how this mess... of contradictions... and insufficiently good knowledge, often unethical knowledge... is splattering all over our children and parents, and so on... all over our societies... at least in the West. The East doesn't seem so obsessed with this. And my colleague in the philosophy of fearism (Desh Subba) tells me it is because the W. is much more fearful than the East. Now, there's an interesting thesis to test... as years go by. 

No, I'm not offering any advice on my critique here. You can ask if you want to know more. I'd rather, like you to think about it, and do your own research well, whenever someone says something about fear and its management as if they know what they are talking about. 

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Anyone who takes the Fearlessness Movement seriously, has also to take seriously the past, current and future state of our "fear education" (analogous to say, "sex education"). I mean, the Fearlessness Movement is a mega-form of "fear management" no matter how you look at. Thus, one of the primary conceptions I have used for decades is "fear management/education" (FME). I keep asking, since 1989, where does one get a really high quality FME these days... or whenever, in the history and evolution of our species. I know a big question... 

So, just for curiosity sake, I asked today, "If I (or anyone) is going to inquire about the nature and role of fear (which seems a good starting point)... and I (or anyone) wanted to do a quick scan of the literature and discussions around this phrase and its intention to improve our FME... then, what would I (or anyone) find?" 

Here is my summary of the current scan of Google Scholar, Google Books, and the Internet Web [I realize there are other searches in academic Indexes, and libraries, but they are much harder to access]... these 3 primary sources of knowledge today, worldwide, if one has a computer at hand show the following results to the search for "nature and role of fear" (specially, as those words): 

Google Scholar - the first 6 references that show up with information are mine, then a few others, and then mostly mine-- Total is 13 references (77% are mine)

Google Books - the first reference is mine, the second a dissertation in Classics Studies in 2008 at Univ. of Michigan-- not more, that's it! 

Internet Web - the first reference is mine, the second is the same 2008 dissertation, and next 5 are mine, next a German journal article on tragedy writing, next 4 are mine, next a journal article in Spanish history, next mine, next a populist blog on Batman -- Total 14 references (71% are mine)

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Wow, it astounds me how this very fundamental inquiry phrase "the nature and role of fear" is so rare on these massive searches above... the one conclusion, from this scan, is that yours truly is a world expert on the topic, and secondly, that my work dominates the topic--at least in terms of a search of the literature on the internet three sources above ... 

Of course, if you were to search just "fear" the story would be completely different because of hundreds of thousands of references using that search term-- but then, you can see, I am interested in where to go for a good quality FME... and, asking about the "nature and role of fear" (individually, or collectively) seems so fundamental to any depth of questioning and insights to gather... but there you go, clearly I seem quite alone in seeing things this way... apparently. It is quite a shock to my sensibility on one level to see this dirth of information around that query phrase, and at the same time, I am not surprised, as I have been saying for decades that it is near impossible to find a good quality FME on this planet! More evidence was gathered today, as far as I am concerned... for my concern. 

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