I just read an interesting, and troubling, recent article in Psychology Today magazine "The (Only) 5 Fears We All Share" by K. Albrecht (Ph.D.). It is based in a psychology (very Western modern) discourse formation (i.e., psychologism ideology), and that is both revealing and concealing, if not distorting the knowledge on "fear." But rather than get into the long critical arguments I could make on this, let me say a few things about Albrecht's model and the contradiction which is glaring in his own article (and model).
First, it is great he is working on trying to figure out some kind of universal human hierarchy of fears, and then labels his model the "Feararchy" (I have not seen anyone use that concept (theory) before, so I tend to like these kinds of developmental and evolutionary hierarchical theories/models and so I like the basic notion of this). Here is the model diagram he proposes:
Albrecht starts the article off saying, "When we know where they [fears] really come from, we can start to control them." Hmmm... there's the Western dominant masculine (?) obsession to control and dominate--even to dominate emotions. That's one concern I have, but not the main one here. Then he begins to quote former U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt from the 1930s, and the iconic quote in so many fear discourses-- re: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (very much repeated ad nauseum)... and he (Albrecht) says, in his own conclusion: "I think he [FDR] was right: fear of fear probably causes more problems in our lives than fear itself."
So, here is Albrecht beginning his thesis and strong positioning that "fear of fear" probably is our worst, or near most worst of the fears (and it's universal, he implies). There are lots of troubling issues in this claim, but I also tend to agree with it basically. So, let's then move to the model of simplification that Albrecht is presenting. And, be clear, he is a "SIMPLIFIER" type of person/thinker/theorist when it comes to fear and its management, and he says so, from the start of the article too: "Fear has gotten a bad rap among most human beings. And it's not nearly as complicated [aka 'bad'] as we try to make it." Again, I could take issues with how this is a dubious positioning. Yet, if I grant him that he may be this simplifier (vs. COMPLEXIFIER, of which I would place myself), then lets see where he makes the most contradictory (error) in the article.
Look at his diagram model, The Feararchy (above). Okay, I'm not seeing him placing in this model the very universal fear he opened the article with--that is, "fear of fear" as what he declares is what "probably causes more problems in our lives than fear itself." Hmmm.... what happened, why is this fear not included in his hierarchy, if it is as important as he says? So, there begins ... more troubles with this article by Albrecht.
You can read the article and make up your own critique. Feel free to share it on the FM ning.