I've just completed a short study and Tech Paper 125.pdf on Bonaro W. Overstreet, an American critical adult educator who wrote an amazing book on fear in 1951.
I've just completed a short study and Tech Paper 125.pdf on Bonaro W. Overstreet, an American critical adult educator who wrote an amazing book on fear in 1951.
R. M. Fisher new video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g7AsApU3gU
Climate crisis as part of an amoral economic system is part of Marianne Williamson's presidential campaign to tell the American people the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The question is, will the people be able to handle the truth? Fear can play it's own game of denial and forget, suppression and repression, and unfortunately I predict more and more people will carry on as 'business as usual.' Meanwhile, things will only get worse--and, deep below the surface of suppression and repression--eventually, more and more people will be overcome by the unconscious and collective fear/terror that's inevitable. Williamson teaches Love over Fear, Love as the solution to Fear-- and, so, you'd think perhaps a lot more people would 'rise up' and join her Revolution to transform America and the future. She will not be able to do it alone.
See my series of two videos on Williamson ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDlATRUYLM
Students of Fearology... young and old, from around the globe... India, Africa, America, Europe, Canada... are leading the way to a 'new' way to critique, understand, and intervene in the global Fear Problem(s) of our times...
Hello all who may be interested in The Fearology Institute (TFI) online higher education. I am pleased, as founder, director and main instructor, to share with you that we have five registered students taking the first course at TFI ("Expanding the Fear Imaginary")--and, some of these students are intending to take the full first-year program to train as a "fearologist."
Since end of July 2018, the program at TFI is designed and slowly unfolding and evolving as I and the students learn about what it is going to become. There are no prior programs anywhere in the world on this new domain (field) of study and scholarship, that produce a professional certificate. I have designed "four core courses" and there are three streams of specialization students can pick after the first mandatory course (i.e., "Expanding the Fear Imaginary").
See my video "Introduction: The Fearology Institute" and/or you may find more info. on the program if you do a search (top right corner) on this FM ning site.
In 2004 (one year after my dissertation on "Fearless Leadership") I was interviewed on Canadian national (CBC) Radio by one of the top program hosts (Shelagh Rogers). The live 18 min. interview (her in Toronto and me in Vancouver) is historical and a great moment in my life of possibility for "fearology" and the naming of the importance of fear's impacts. The program began as follows:
(S): Good morning!
(M) (Michael): Good morning Shelagh.
S: To begin, what’s a fearologist?
M: Well, a fearologist is somebody who studies the relationship of fear with, basically, Life. And that fear is not just what I’d call psychological fear but actually cultural, sociological, political fear.
S: And how did you become a fearologist?
M: Well, basically, I’m not trained in fearology. It’s hard to find anywhere that will give you a degree in that.
It is 14 years later and such an interview with the public media has not happened since with anything more than the very brief media interview (clip) of less than a minute on air. It is quite possible that public media or even independent media radio or tv will not ever interview me again. I've learned lessons about this kind of thing over the decades. The 'snowball effect' that we all wish for when we are promoting a cause may or may not come in our life-times. It's a humbling reality.
The point of sharing the Roger's interview is to point to my ongoing interrelationship with the art/activism (film making) of Michael Moore (B. and I went and saw his latest movie 11/9 last night... more on that later in this blog). Roger's and I also got into a discussion about Moore's award-winning Oscar film (2002):
M: I wish every parent, teacher and community leader would read the latest book on the culture of fear by Dr. Giroux, on how fear is being constructed through a cultural politics by elites in government, the military, and corporations—he says we are abandoning the young people of Gen X and Y. Democracy is being undermined by a culture of fear in a post-9/11 world. Giroux’s point, and mine, is that it doesn’t mean we don’t take action against terrorists, it means we don’t undermine democracy and all quality of life in doing it.
S: Michael, what is responsible for that?
M: Well I think you know media has unfortunately....
S: I’m leaving the studio.... [chuckles]
M: [chuckles] I know. I was just ready, you are going to shut the mic off here. I think it’s pretty clear that, Bowling for Columbine by , was a clear indicator of the impact that media has on constructing fear. So, I’ve been using this term, culturally constructed, or culturally-modified fear.
S: And Bowling for Columbine would be the culture of fear, leading to gun culture?
M: Gun culture and where we get in situations where one-third, for example, statistics, of housing starts in America are actually walled-communities. So, just think that one-third of housing starts are actually in gated or walled-communities.
S: Is the media it, Michael? Or are there other sources for the blooming of the culture of fear?
**** [For the full interview script: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/forum/dancing-with-shelagh-rogers-on-cbc-radio-18-minutes-for-fearology ]
Michael Moore also showed up in a photo entry https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/photos/3allies where I talk about why Moore is important:
This image is from the book cover of Santiago Zabala's (2017). Why only art can save us: Aesthetics and the absence of emergency. NY: Columbia University Press. The art piece on this cover is The Ninth Hour, sculpture by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.
I added the yellow text... because I thought this was the kind of subtitle I would give if I had written such a book like this. I appreciate the title (as extreme as it is and which publishers these days like and often chose without the author having the final say). The point in my teaching of the importance of the "arational" (not irrational) modality of fearwork (like this image and book) is we need more than rational fear management/education to tackle the Fear Problem.
The concept of "emergency" is critical to the study of fear-risk and who gets to construct and use (sociopolitically) "emergencies" of all kinds, real or imagined... as this is all part of the Fear Problem today... a dynamic called the "culture of fear" and/or "risk society" or "fearscapes" depending on various authors and critics... artists (and arational modalities) have a lot to contribute to both the problem itself and its solution. Which way will artists go?
I look forward to reading this book and having discussions on aesthetics and other arational domains (e.g., dreaming, trance, meditation, bodywork) in fearwork ahead... there's so much to do!
To purchase the book online: Fear, Law and Criminology
We are (as co-authors), excited to see that our new book is available (by Xlibris publishing, Australia). This is the first book in a series of books that are going to be published over several years, as each one takes on a topic or critical issue in the world and applies the philosophy of fearism (a la Subba) to it. The original dialogues behind the making of this new book are all posted here on the FM ning and have been slightly modified in this new book, along with a lot of new material as well. We thought we'd include here the summary text from the back cover of the book and our brief bios:
Fear, Law and Criminology -With the growing awareness of many critics of "risk society," the "culture of fear" and the dangerous rising levels of unhealthy fear around individual, group, and public insecurities, three keen observers of the human condition have joined experiences, theories, and ideas to create a fresh vision for how best to look at the Fear Problem and how Law and Criminology may benefit from a new lens or perspective.
The authors, with their backgrounds in the study of the philosophy of fearism (a la Subba), bring a new lens to Law and Criminology, to social policies, politics, and policing and how best to improve enforcement of safety, security, and moral order. The fearist perspective of a philosophy of fearism creates an exciting, challenging, and sometimes radical position, whereby the authors argue that fear itself requires a concerted focus for analysis and solutions--that is, if Law and Criminology are to fully meet the highest standards of serving justice for all in a globalizing complicated world.
Going beyond the simple fear of crime or fear of policing issues commonly dealt with in discourses about law, the philosophy of fearism offers other concepts with a rich vocabulary introduced in this book, one of which is the introduction of a new subdiscipline called fearcriminalysis. Readers will find, in addition to the main text as collective writing of the three coauthors, several fresh dialogues of the three authors in conversation, which bring their individual personalities, philosophies, and approaches into a weaving of differenes and similarities. Overall, they each agree that fear has been underestimated and often misinterpreted in Law and Criminology, and this has resulted, at times, in exacerbating insecurity, crime, and injustice in the world.
R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, AB, is a Canadian philosopher, educator and fearologist, having studied fear from a transdisciplinary perspective for three decades. He is founder of The Fearology Institute, a professional training program, and author of hundreds of articles and several books, including The World's Fearlessness Teachings.
Desh Subba, livess in Hong Kong. He is a Nepali philosopher, poet, writer and founder of the philosophy of fearism and Fearism Study Center in Nepal. Author of several books and articles, his pivotal award-winning textbook is Philosophy of Fearism.
B. Maria Kumar, living in India, is a long-term career police officer, recently retired as Director General of Police in Bhopal. He has published many books, such as Policing By Common Sense, and To Be or Not to Be Happy.
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!
R. M. Fisher: Concerned About the State of 'Fear' Studies -2018
Hi Folks, I am offering my latest technical paper here on the FM ning. It is one that is crucial to all my work in fearology, fearanalysis, philosophy of fearism, etc. The conceptualization of 'fear' (with ' marks) is not an insignificant gesture to distinguish it from the contextual discourses on fear that fill the mind and libraries of humanity. So rare few in my experience have acknowledged the postmodern and integral meta-contextual framing for 'fear' and thus are always attempting to reduce my work into their context of fear.
- R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D.
©2018 Technical Paper No. 74
Fear became an evocative object/subject of the author beginning in late 1989. The massive and mediated (post-9/11) assertion of Terror(ism) into humanity’s experience and thought has spurred the author’s work to the point in 2006 of publishing “Invoking ‘Fear’ Studies” in the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. Much has changed dramatically in the world and in the interest, across disciplines and in the populist communities, in regard to how to negotiate a relationship with fear(ism) and terror(ism). This article is the next-generation ‘Fear Studies’ invocation for curriculum theorizing in a postmodern and post-traumatic era. The purpose is to validate the growing significance and complexity of the Fear Problem and the many authors who contribute to better understanding it and undermining it.
[Author’s note: This article was turned down by the so-called progressive Journal of Curriculum Theorizing by the one reviewer and the editor because it did not, in their view engage the ‘canon’ of work that exists in the field regarding emotions, etc. And, my whole argument is that my work is not within the context of emotions, it is rather a meta-context beyond that reductionism, and so all their advice to me to integrate other literature on emotion was totally not what this article is about. As the one reviewer wrote, “while the author’s work is quite valuable, I feel that he leaned a bit too much on his own ideas without the complication of those ideas across fields in general or within curriculum studies in specific.” Clearly, the reviewer and editor wanted a totally different kind of article and couldn’t stand my own work as ‘leading-edge’ re: ‘fear’ (not as mere emotion). This is a sad statement on the conformist, clique-like conservativism that has invaded even the progressive wings of educational curriculum in the last 12 years. I now would add this very response of JCT as one more “barrier” to the progress of ‘Fear’ Studies in the future!]
 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Personal communication, Rob Helfenbein, Mar. 9/18.
"Psychology is how to struggle with it. Philosophy is always looking for an exit out of it." -Jon Amundson (psychotherapist)
I just had to quote my fav psychotherapist from Calgary, AB. Long story of our connection. But when I saw this on his website tonight, it made me think of this as a traditional view where there is "problem" and psychology and psychologists help people struggle with it (pragmatically). Maybe there is some truth that philosophers and philosophy tend to be more about ideas and questions and offering better "exits" from problems. Though, that is all too stereotypic generalizing, and what strikes me is that the philosophy of fearism is anything but an exit per se but a way to engage the struggle with fear, and in fact is a philosophy all about fear in all its dimensions from genetic to biological to psychological to sociological to philosophical and even theological. The fearologist works with this philosophy of fearism as a basic guidance, at least that is the way Desh Subba (founder of philosopher of fearism) and myself envision the education, practice and development of the new fearologist of the 21st century--they are a hyrbid cross, both in the struggle with the Fear Problem and also looking for an exit (e.g., what "fearless" may mean)--but there is no separation or divorce of the two types of fearwork(ing)... they must be integrated all the way, and the very word "fearism" and "fearology" makes sure there is deep and wide investigation and struggle and working through all things to do with fear ... [just some thoughts for the night]...
Dr. Jonathan Metzl, a psychiatrist and Director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society (Vanderbilt University, TN)
I just watched an interview with Dr. Metzl on Democracy Now on the internet, and I know his expertise is very important to the debates, as we now witness the tragedy of another mass murder shooting in a Florida highschool, another one, one of 18 such incidents in the school year so far in the USA.
Most important in the discussion on the program was the impact on society of such events, which Metzl raised as the "broader questions" beyond all the details and symptoms of these mass murders. I heartily agree, as he says, "In terms of what I think psychiatry and mental health can do.... the question that rarely gets asked at times like this is why do we need so many guns in the first place? What kind of society do we really live in and want to live in?....in the aftermath of this people start to mistrust each other, all of a sudden, we need more guns in schools, more armed guards, more metal detectors....this mistrust becomes so pervasive," he says.
And, yes, mistrust only can register and grow like a virus damaging the social fabric (i.e., sociality and social trust) if fear is rampant and spreading like a virus. The word fear was not actually mentioned on the entire story Democracy Now covered, or in Metzl's dialogue. I think this is where feariatry (as one of the branches of fearology and the three pillars, in Desh Subba and my books) comes in... we will not get to the roots of what Metzl is concerned about without a serious study of the Fear Problem, as more important than the Gun Problem, and that whole shift would really give us a chance to ask what kind of society we live in and want to live in. Since the mid-1990s these issues have been brought up with the documenting and naming of the "culture of fear" problem in America, but fast spreading around the world... and, actually, this label goes back to the early 1980s. So, clearly, there isn't much take-up of the problem, and much really serious public discourse on fear--and, certainly, in my 29 years studying this all the school systems are loath to get into discussing it. We so lack vision in W. society.
Anyways, there will always be more opportunities, and unfortunately, more deaths... more guns... more mistrust and more fear. Feariatry has to be brought up to help inform psychiatry (and mental health) at all levels. I have written on several of the mass murders about these things for years. So far, no one really is listening too intently and rather people follow the fear trail... and look who to blame ... a point Gavin de Becker made back in the late 1990s as he studied these issues as a security expert... yes, change is very slow. Though, one cannot predict the future totally by the past--thank goodness, otherwise, I'd be motivated to say, "we're fucked!"
Art work by Charles Cutting.
There is a fascinating "Operation Project Fear" as an Open University educational curriculum out of the UK, check out their website. The tag line for the novel (and an animation film as well): "An uncertain world. Can systems thinking free us from fear?" The website description in general read: "We are all victims of fear. Project Fear has been with us for hundreds of years. Find out how fear is weaponised and targeted and how to avoid making things worse!"
This image above is an excerpt of the cover of a graphic novel by Dr. Simon Bell (and Charles Cutting's illustration)--available free if you sign-in to The Open University website. Bell, Professor of Innovation & Methdology (in Dept. of Engineering & Innovation) is a systems thinker who is bringing his background to the Fear Problem (aka Fear Project). He is someone I recently discovered through reading some of his book online- see "Formations of Terror" (2017). Unfortunately, this e-book is over $100. However, if you go on Google Books you can read parts of it for free.
It is fascinating that another "systems thinker" is applying their craft to the Fear Problem, as I recently posted a blog here on Dr. Bhandari doing the same thing. Oh, by the way, British Politics has apparently had this public discourse going of use of the label "Project Fear" in the past few decades, according to Wikipedia:
The term "Project Fear" has been used in British politics, notably before, during and after the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership by those campaigning to leave the European Union. It denotes the alleged scaremongering and pessimism employed by those in favour of remaining in the EU. The phrase was coined by Rob Shorthouse, who was the "Better Together" campaign's director of communications during the Scottish independence referendum, and was later used by 'remain' supporters in the buildup to the "Britain Stronger In Europe" campaign during the EU membership referendum campaign. [see more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Fear_(British_politics)
"There's fear on the streets of London basically. I've not experienced that before, and I've been there for 12 odd years. I've never seen that kind of fear, especially in the night's hours... it's horrific to be involved in that kind of situation" (says, "Gareth" a witness at the London Bridge incident the other day of a "terrorist attack" on citizens).
As you may be aware, in London for e.g., there have been three major "terrorist attacks" (the latest one, ISIS claimed responsibility for, as part of their agenda to assert fundamentalist Islamist views and identity). How the British (and London) officials handle the whole thing is just like watching a repeat performance of how the USA handled 9/11 and other terrorist attacks on its soil... and, for that matter, you'll likely not find any national gov't anywhere handling the problem of "terrorist attacks" on their streets any differently. I have been studying these citizen and State reactions to "terrorist attacks" (and "mass shootings" or "mass bombings") since 9/11--and, I keep thinking (hoping) one day there will really be a different narrative given media attention as well... but, there doesn't seem to be. Fear spreads fear, terror spreads terror, and so little do I hear anyone saying anything really intelligent about how to undermine this cycle of violence/hurting/fearing --i.e., terror. Officials just want revenge. It seems everyone is still operating on that principle--and, real "understanding" and possible solutions to the problem are extremely rare. So goes the surface simplistic discourse around terrorism, at least I am speaking about it from a Westerner (North American) perspective.
There is a complex discussion required to address effectively growing terrorism, and that is not the discussion that national governments, or coalitions (like USA, UK, etc.) want to have. They want, like the media outlets, to just follow in the same old, unworkable, ways of "blame game" on the terrorists and their groups (e.g., like ISIS). They default immediately to the hegemonic (only allowed) discourse of "safety and security" with elements like: we're going to be tougher now than ever and we won't be defeated by them (often, calling them, the "terrorists" words like "cowards")... we're putting more police and military presence on the streets, etc.
Where is the complex discussion, questioning, and non-reactive discourse in these times? "Safety and security" discourse is not where you will find it because it tends largely to be fed by high-fear among the society in "emergency time." Being tough and hyper-masculine and military is not where you will find it. Our entire public platforms of mainstream media, and often even the alternative stations (like Democracy Now) also barely touch the complex discussion even after emergency time wears off. So, what would that more complex discourse look like? I won't go into that here in this short blog, but I am glad to engage if others want to. I simply, will take a primary prevention response to such horrific events like in London. I also won't forget the mutual causal network of "reasons" why terrorists fight guerilla warfare in the streets of the dominant Western hegemonic nations like the US or UK. I'll keep it simple to say, there is no concerted effort by these media and State sources to actually talk about the problem of fear/terror itself as the deep-rooted source of violence/hurting/oppression and "wars" for that matter. There is a war going on, and UK and US are in it. Don't expect anyone is free from the effects of war. Don't expect anyone is innocent either. I'd start with facing the fear that prevents us in the West from being partly accountable for what happens when these horrific strikes take place. Facing fear... getting beyond our blinders to how we participate in global violence. There's the affective level of analysis, I'd call fearanalysis that is required. Where are the voices of fear management experts in times like these? No, the discourse hegemony is flooded by security and safety talk, not fear talk and how Fear is an important signal, catalyst, and metamotivation to bring Fearlessness about for transformational learning. And, it may even be the way to empathize with the "killers" or "cowards" however we may want to label them.
That latter, would be part of the complex discussion that has potential to lead to solving the problem of terrorism (attacks) that creeps into the West from the 'Other'... oh, but once we actually face our fear (i.e., our shadows, and 'fear' projections onto the Other) we will see we too have been terrorizing others all over the world for centuries--- it's called "wars" and "invasions" and "dominations"... violence by any other name. Terrified people will return to terrify those who are behind the terror--and, that all adds up to a self-reinforcing cycle of violence--a Fear Problem, a Fear Wars... I have said all this kind of thing for 28 years, and still the media and State... the officials in power... don't leave room for that complex discussion. And, they won't until the citizenry demand more than "safety and security"--and demand, discussion about building a world, a country, a city, based not on fear but fearlessness... There are multiple "tools" and "theories" to draw upon for an critically educated public so we don't merely listen to media and the State continue to repeat their "solutions" which are no solutions at all. The level of sophistication of discourse of these outlets are pathetic, as I see it, from the perspective of fear management/education or fearanalysis. The Fearlessness Movement is a whole other discourse and history to tap--and, we require so much more creativity than the same old hypnotic repetitions we hear even to this day.
One can only keep offering citizenry and leaders the alternatives. That's my task, and others who are looking progressively ahead and deep enough to get to the real root problems of our world, and why wars continue...
I have been re-reading Paulo Freire on "critical pedagogy" lately, as I was into it in my early 30s. I never leave this radical liberation model of education, of teaching and learning, with the "oppressed" in mind. And the oppressed, for Paulo Freire included the 'oppressors' as well because they are the worst case in being oppressed themselves by say "patriarchy" or any other name you want to give to the 'big bad problem' of domination-subordination (master-slave) relationality. I mean "worst case" because they are "blinded" by their power/privilege and thus enabled to "deny" they are oppressors and oppressed. They cause the worst damage to the whole system, not the typically identifiable "oppressed" and marginalized with very limited power/privilege in a society.
Finding A Fearlessness Center Again
I have an article about to come out soon in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy (Spring, 2017) on some of my challenges to the critical pedagogy schools of thought and discourse in regard to how they have not really gone after the big bad problem of oppression in the way I think they need to. That is, the schools of critical philosophy, critical theory and critical pedagogy have largely ignored (or only very partially) addressed the Fear Problem (which, I am also calling many other things, but an interesting term of late is "paranoiaic paradigm" that has to be addressed). Or, as I wish to put it on this blogpost, these schools of thought and education, of which Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) is also very critical of and yet also applauds, have ignored the 'loss of a center' in the sense of loss of 'sanity' and an ethical reference point for it --by which he and I mean a "Fearlessness Center." Yes, there has always been a Fearlessness center or core foundation of all living systems, Natural, Cultural and Spiritual--at least, so the theory goes. He uses the Indigenous worldview as his basis for re-finding that 'Center' and I use many traditions of thought, basically under the rubric of the Fearlessness Movement. We are going to produce a lot more systematic work on this in the years to come.
I am going to post one of Four Arrows' fascinating early diagrams (1998), CAT-FAWN Connection, attempting a holistic model to show the need for a "Center(edness)" in all curriculum, that can call itself ethical and/or liberational (see below). Lot's more to be discussed of course, as this model isn't totally self explainable nor is the "Fearlessness Center" he and I are now writing about in various ways and it will show up in our new book in 2018 Fearless Engagement (Peter Lang Publishers). Anyways, something to think about.
I think the following image here is self-explanatory, other than the fine details. So, I leave with you to ponder and feel free to start-up a discussion on the FMning.
I've just written and published a CSIIE Yellow Paper which I think gives one the most updated clarity on my work. I've attached it here. "Invoking Fearanalysis: A New Methodology Applied to Wicked Problems and Paradigm Shifts in the Anthropocene" by RMF.
In my more prophetic and ministerial mode, and damn right angry moments--because, of what is being ignored, denied, dissociated on this planet--that is the Fear Problem, I come back to a concept that is controversial to some, abhorrent to others, and is just right for me. Perhaps the religious followers of my writing (like some of my uncles) may find this a refreshing conception which pulls it out of a secular sounding teaching.
All along, from the start, I knew teaching about fearlessness (and fear) was neither to be restricted to the sacred or secular genres and traditions. The concept of a Gospel of Fearlessness, feels more like a passionate declaration, indictment, and reclamation project than does In Search of Fearlessness which I conceived with Catherine Sannuto back in 1989. In my righteous indignation I prefer the definitive and confident Gospel of Fearlessness to a more tentative In Search of Fearlessness notion.
This morning I ponder the basics of this Gospel of Fearlessness, which is implicit I believe in the entire Fearlessness Movement that's been going on around the world throughout time. The basics of which I have also put into this more "religious" language as a "Credo of Fearlessness" which I sketched, with a similar purpose, in my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings (2010, p. 39). You can look up those sketches if you wish, but I wanted to put down the most basic basic aspect of what I came up with this morning for a Gospel of Fearlessness.
Before laying that out, I want to reflect for a moment on "gospel." It means to me a sacred story-- a telling of great importance to a culture and civilization, told with diverse tellers, who are also passionate and righteous-- for e.g., in their story of a Messiah, or of, at least, a process of liberation that we all have access to if we so will to access it and follow the regime of deliberative teachings, philosophies, and disciplined practices. I think this hardly should be called "religious" (or even restricted to being called "spiritual") as it is so fundamental to all humans, whether they are conscious of it or not--that is, to have a narrative of redemption from the pain and suffering and oppression of the everyday world they experience. As far as we know, there likely has never been a life for a human being that has not had this combination of weights to bear. The gospel stories, legion around the world and across cultures, offer a 'way out' or what you might call an idealist perspective and thus 'hope' for a better life and way--sometime in the future. They are stories of guidance when we may ourselves want to give up. Yet, they are also 'wake up' stories that prevent us (at least theoretically, or momentarily) from becoming paralyzed and numb as we are bombarded by pain, fear, suffering, distress.
Anyways, I don't want to give a sermon on gospels, as I really don't know much about them but I think I know enough, and the term really resonates with me and my teaching, which is the teaching I was chosen to teach. Remember, In Search of Fearlessness Project, as a gospel story itself, never came from some book, or guru, or anything but real embodied experience that I had with Catherine in 1989, through the veins of blood cursing through our bodies in the excited and trance state of joyous sex in the transpersonal dimension. Call it mystical experience if you like. It was and is real. There was this intuitive voice inside me (and us)... a gospel really all on its own-- that said, there is a Fear Project on this planet that is deadly and limiting of human capacities in most all areas of life. It is destroying our species and quality of life for other species. Humans are the central focus of this Fear in that they seem to produce Fear at a rate and in a way that is unique amongst all other species.
And so the gospel of fearlessness in this informal manifestation began in/with us as a couple, and now has carried on with Barbara Bickel and I as the 'next' couple after Catherine abandoned the ISOF Project in mid-1990. The story goes on and on... but now to the most basic basic of the gospel truth, in the way I best have found to understand it and purvey it to others--with, all due regard for the near impossible task of conveying such truth in words/text on a page.
The Gospel of Fearlessness as best I can articulate it with all my own biases, boils down to a story ("theoria" or theory) which proclaims:
(a) that we humans have a Fear Problem that is as important, if not more important, than any other problem that will act to bring us down toward extinction sooner than later.
(b) historically, and continued today, we humans have, more or less, largely ignored, denied, dissociated from knowing this truth of the Fear Problem-- this is our "sin" no. 1
(c) we require a redemption to turn us around from only living in this human condition ("sin") and advance toward our true human potential (based in the best of our human nature before human culture took over domination)
(d) the biggest movement (especially in the 20th century on) has been to try to re-frame "fear" as an emotion that can have a positive, normal, and natural side--this "positivist" movement to re-evaluate the nature and role of fear may have some value worth keeping; but its negative side-effects have led to ignoring a whole body of wisdom that teaches a different story about the nature and role of fear--the positivist obsession of our day has lead us astray because of its reductionism (especially, to a biopsychological mode of thinking)-- this is our "sin" no. 2
(e) the Fearlessness Movement initiative and its deconstruction and reconstruction project regarding the very way we perceive and conceive and construct "fear" is likely the best way to go, so that we focus less on fear(s), as in fear of x, y, z and the idea that fear is one of many emotions and not more important or unique (typical of "sin" no. 2) and focus our inquiry on better understanding the nature of the politics of knowledge involved in how "fear" has been and is currently being constructed as 'fear' (i.e., culturally-modified fear)
(f) until we emphasize in our fear management/education the importance of a transdisciplinary (non-reductionistic approach) whole new imaginary and way of thinking about thinking about fear, there will be little progress at all in undermining the Fear Problem, and in fact, we'll only make it worse
(g) any real progress in analyzing the Fear Problem, and undermining its out-of-control growth in the 21st century, will require a unified effort and a systematic source of consistent funding and energy commitments by people and organizations--this latter has not accrued in 27 years since the founding of the In Search of Fearlessness Project-- that is "sin" no. 3
Thus, is the Gospel of Fearlessness in a nutshell. Perhaps, you could summarize the above into an even simpler nutshell so people could remember this gospel, and/or you may suggest things that ought to be added to it. I could think of a lot of things to add but my point here is to keep it as basic as possible, and still get the message across of what my teaching is all about.
Everyone once in awhile, while I continue to surf the Internet looking for contacts and good info. on the Fear Problem, I find a 'gem' -- at least, in this case today, a gem of an article by Don Hazen, Exec. Ed. of AlterNet.org (an online community of radical progressive thinkers)... Don has a great article "Fear in America: Fear Dominates Politics, Media and Human Existence in America--And It's Getting Worse" (a quick read)...
It does my heart good to find current folks taking up a series of articles on their sites like this one Don and AlterNet have initiated. Now, I don't think any of the articles following Don's are all that great... and rather, more distractive to me... from the punchy issues that Don himself raises. I wrote to him and maybe we can collaborate. I'm glad his article is out there, and their site has near 1 million "Likes"... whatever, that actually means... but yes, I thought to copy and past a few tid bit quotes that stand out for me as so true...
FEAR IN AMERICA by Don Hazen, March 15, 2015
Fear Dominates Politics, Media and Human Existence in America—And It’s Getting Worse
Today, AlterNet launches a series of articles and investigations on fear, and how to combat it.
"We at AlterNet feel our society is overrun with a destructive and growing social preoccupation with fear.... Politically, socially and emotionally, fear is arguably the most powerful potent force in society."
Some two and 1/2 yrs ago I did some writing and took some political actions re: the Fearlessness Movement, my critique of fear management/education and my critique of the culture of fear in America... and especially critique of the way the mass murders in USA are regularly made meaning as a "gun problem" (pro or con)... the nice simple binary. I have selected some of that writing (and a link to an article) I wrote here: http://csiie.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=37 (on Dec. 26, 2012, post-Sandy Hook tragedy)...
Now we have the 21 yr. old rebel at Charleston, S.C. killing 9 black people who were praying in their Methodist church.... it is not a gun problem, is what I wrote to the Pres. and VP of the USA in 2012... it is a Fear Problem we have... and the guns only "feed" to the fear... and create more... what curriculum is adequate to the task of the 21st century and these ongoing mass murders (or acts of 'terrorism')... etc.? And with the help of a colleague I was inspired to write a letter and send a copy of my book to the Pres. and VP at the time (neither replied)... the ongoing, silence, and denial-- 'fear' itself (i.e., fearism-t) is well in place with even our best leaders who are too afraid to really encounter the issue of source--- fear itself, by any other name.... It will repeat... these tragedies... until we find a better way to make meaning of them and thus be able to intelligently, from a place of true fearlessness design a different society....
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