fearanalysis (13)

Fearosis: Ernest Becker's Theory of Health

As a fearologist, also practicing feariatry (and fearanalysis)--all part of the philosophy and psychology of fear(ism) and fearlessness, it behooves me to take seriously any writer's work that probes deeply into the "human condition" (or "human situation" as Aldous Huxley called it [1]) and search for roots to the human problem--human predicament--to human contradictions--and, ultimately to theorize (at least) a way beyond those great problems and limitations, if not pathologies--onward to 'better' thinking about who and what we are and how to achieve as Ernest Becker named it--"Health as an Ideal" (even if, it is impossible to achieve under world and environmental conditions) [2]. For recent discussion of Becker & Education (theorizing) go to: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/educators-engaging-ernest-becker-s-philosophy-terror-and-its-role

I won't go into the finer details and complexities of Ernest Becker's particular offering (following somewhat Kierkegaard, then Otto Rank) of a theory of health (and illhealth--that is, neurosis) but I want to let readers themselves scan the couple pages I pulled from Becker's (1973) Pulitzer Prize winning book on the human condition and the nature and role of fear (of death) as fundamental. Yet, in these couple pages with my years of going back over and marking and commenting many times, you'll have a sense that Becker's theory of neurosis is based on a "natural" philosophical, theological and psychological approach--where he does not want to make "neurosis" (in his definition, at least) 'bad' or 'wrong' per se--but rather he seems to construct neurosis as based in three problems (largely, but not entirely, beyond the will-control of human beings and their society's functions): (1) the problem of character-formation, (2) the problem of reality vs. illusion and (3) historical [environmental] circumstance. In these two pages there is enough richness to follow and dwell with to keep a theorist like me busy for years. What did come out of this reading this morning is a new fear(ology) term for the way Becker (rather uniquely) defines and makes meaning to "neurosis" in the largest sense--which, I so appreciate the way he does this. The new term is fearosis

Although, I would perhaps be inclined to be offering (in initial stages) a theory for fearosis which no one has yet done on the planet (using this word fearosis)--it behooves me to acknowledge the insight of B. Maria Kumar, in fact, who first coined the term and it has been published in Fisher (2020): 

fearosis- (BMK) the pathological state of chronic excess fear at the base of neurosis and/or psychosis (p. 13). [3]



 You'll see in my notes at various times, I have both embraced the Beckerian theory and critiqued it for some serious flaws, and, yet, I acknowledge I am not at all a Beckerian scholar, so my critiques still need to be studied and critiqued themselves. I welcome others to do so. I am convinced however, that Becker's work offers immense value to our current world dilemmas--our wicked problems and the need for new solutions that are more than band-aids. He is after solutions that come from deep analysis of not only individuals but of culture itself [4]. I have often claimed in my work that how he talks about culture in general, even at times naturalizing it and that that is just the way culture is--it is neurotic--and humans are neurotic and always will be (more or less)--he is talking about the "culture of fear" (dominated by fearism-t) and, yet, I believe he has limitations of seeing this himself--now, perhaps, that limitation on his part is due to him dying so early in his career at 50 and in 1974--as his own historical context of the early 1970s was just the beginning of a slowly increasing exacerbation of the predicaments and crises that humanity was going to have to face in the 1980s- through to 21st century. Becker just didn't have the near 50 years more (as I have had) to see where the culture of fear dynamic was going to grow--and thus, fearosis was going to grow in unbelievable proportions. 

Okay, I'll leave this here for now. 


1. Huxley, A. (1977). The human situation. Lectures at Santa Barbara, 1959. Harper & Row. 

2. Becker, E. (1973/97). The denial of death. Free Press/Simon & Schuster, p. 198.

3. Fisher, R. M. (2020). New fear vocabulary. International Journal of Fear Studies, 1(2), 10-14.

4. I think on of Becker's most powerful indictments (analyses) is of culture itself as a buffering defense mechanism to terror, to vulnerability, to hyper-awarenss of this animal-human that can perceive and imagine the future so intimately and (often accurately)--especially, in the psychological sense of imagining one's own final demise (death)--if not one's suffering and those of the one's we love. Becker's cultural thesis presents a case, of a culture (dynamic) that really is essential to contextualize how humans behave. He calls it above in the passage the "cultural project" which is formed by several forces (fearosis included) and which is unique somewhat too due to various cultural and historical settings--yet, he is onto a universal understanding (a kind of socioculturalanalysis) and I appreciate it. I think he's quite accurate. The "cultural project" has many other dimensions and terms used by Becker (and Rank) of which particularly of interest is "Immortality Project" (which I have recently written a technical paper on, soon to be available). I go further in my recent thought to revisioning what culture is as Immortality Transference Formation (ITF)--as a foundational psycho-cultural unit of evolution itself in the Cultural and Spiritual domains of existence. 

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Update of "Three Pillars": Fisher & Subba

This is the latest update (2018) of the diagram in Fisher & Subba (2016), Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. We invite further ideas on this ever evolving integral model as we look for all the ways to apply the philosophy of fearism to large domains of societies and individual's lives. The latest addition is "Fearcriminalysis" (all issues to do with law and order). For full definitions of these all, you can consult our book for some, but there will be an upcoming FMning blog that will define these.

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The Fearism Study Center offers Professional certificates to students who engages in research studies(6months, 1year, and 2years) on the main three courses of Fearism:

1. FEAROLOGY- The transdisciplinary study of the relationship of fear and life (could include other beings including non-living)- usually, refers to human experience but does not have to be so restricted; serves as one of the pillar technologies or disciplines of practice under the umbrella of the philosophy of fearism and philosophy of fearlessness.

2.FEARIATRY- The study and application of fear-disease relations in the mental health and wellness fields; analogous to psychiatric.

3. FEARANALYSIS- Study of fear related issues and the impact in the life of the individual and society.



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Invoking Feariatry

This is a preliminary essay intended to invoke further interest in what Fisher & Subba (2016) have called feariatry; we defined it (a term first named by Subba (2014)): feariatry (feariatric) - refers to the study and application of fear-disease relations in the mental health and wellness fields; analogous to psychiatry and psychiatric [1]

"Feariatry" is one of the sub-branches of a triad under FEAROLOGY, the latter which is one of the triad ("three pillars") identified in Fisher & Subba (2016) as an Integral Model of Relationships that are important to health and wellness, liberation and a better way to understand fear and create new knowledge about fear (p. 141).  Feariatry has the least development conceptually (theoretically) and practically relative to the other triads. For previous writing on feariatry search this blog [2].  

What is Feariatry? 

This is an open question that has not near been answered in the short-life span (a couple of years) of its growth as a concept. I won't summarize here everything Subba has published on it nor myself. I merely want to share some of my latest thinking. Feariatry is a re-calibration of the nature and role of fear (utilizing a philosophy of fearism) within its applications to health and wellness, medicine, psychiatry, therapy and psychology. The impetus behind this concept (and field of inquiry and care service) has been that fear requires a 'new' revision from its place in these areas, especially the field of psychiatry. Subba and myself argue that most all mental health problems and/or disorders (e.g., phobias, and other disorders in the DSM-V Manual that psychiatrists and psychologists use) are basically at their roots different forms of "fear-disease" relations.

In other words, the ecology of fear has been messed up, made errors as a "defense system" or "motivation system" and the result of those errors (intrinsic and extrinsic) are psychopathologies of fear (often with physical pathologies). Fear is at their root cause, and therefore, fear management/education is their primary or at least important treatment. Psychiatry as it has developed in modern times, and its following under the Biomedical Paradigm (Model), has left us with a psychiatry that is not that attuned or well-informed to the way fear operates in psychopathologies in general and in particular psychopatholgies like phobias, etc. Obviously, psychiatry sees the powerful nature and role of fear in psychopathologies like neurosis, psychosis, phobias, panic, anxiety disorder, but in actual theory and operations of treatment psychiatry doesn't pay that much attention to how to best work with the ecology of fear as a whole system of dynamic interactions, both intrinsic and extrinsic, both individually and collectively, and objectively and subjectively--all operating as impacting on the way fear is shaping and controlling life process (including nearly all psychopathologies). 

Feariatry ought to include the best of what psychiatry has to offer, but it also ought not be caught following only, or being dominated by, psychiatry and the Biomedical Paradigm. Feariatry, like the philosophy of fearism, is something new in perspective--one that uses a "fearist perspective" or lens. There is to be an open-mindedness, creativity and imagination for fear like never before in history. In that sense, feariatry ought to be transdisciplinary in approach to gathering data, knowledge, and assessing outcomes of feariatric treatments on patients. Psychiatry and its domination of the definition of fear and ways of managing fear are seen now as too restrictive and dismissive of the findings of the philosophy of fearism. We want this relationship to change, and we want more dialogue between theorists and practitioners from psychiatry and feariatry. Well, fact is, we don't have any one practitioner at the moment who claims to be a feariatrist. There isn't yet training for them. Meaning, we don't have a curriculum and pedagogy already prepared and planned for such training of feariatrists. But it is slowly developing and I am personally very interested to help lead this work and teaching. 

What is the Biomedical Paradigm?

This is a long and complex topic. When I suggest (as have several other critics) that the field of Medicine (and Psychiatry) are deeply embedded in the assumptions, premises and culture of a paradigm of Science as supreme over other forms of knowing, knowledge, and paradigms--then, that's where there is a conflict that needs to be understood, with a history going way back. Anthropologists tell us that around the world there have been "medicines" and "medicine peoples" in all tribal cultures for most of human history. Indigenous medicine (as therapy) is ancient and has its own Indigenous science basis, which many Indigenous scholars are now reclaiming and documenting in writing. Most of that wisdom is oral tradition, passed on from masters to initiates. There has also in the last several decades been a challenge to Western Medicine by the Eastern approach to Medicine (or wellness and health). Again, this is a large topic, but the point is to say that the worldviews behind these different approaches have different value systems, beliefs, assumptions about reality, and about the way disease and cures are related. These different worldviews and their paradigms of operations are also different in how they view the nature of fear and how best to manage fear. They have different ways of theorizing the fear-diseases (i.e., what diseases or dis-eases are caused mainly by fear and which are not). 

The biomedical paradigm, at least in the Western world began in the early first millenium and especially in the 16th century, as "Science" was becoming thought by many (not all) to be the best method to find out the truth, to diagnose the true illness and find the true cure. Experimentation was systematized using new means of statistics, data analysis, validating procedures, etc. The history of diseases and cures is fascinating and gives one a larger perspective when practicing any kind of curing --therapy--etc. So, I encourage all psychiatrists and feariatrists to be philosophers and historians as well as practitioners. Keep an open mind, and especially with regard to the nature and role of fear in disease(s) and in health and cures. 

So, may feariatry move along and develop, and do so in part because of its open-dialogue with psychiatry. As for how hard that is going to be, I predict it will be very hard because psychiatry isn't very open in my experience to other paradigms for understanding medicine, wellness, health, therapy. Of course, I could be just as critical about Psychology today, especially in the Western world. 

I look forward to further dialogue. 


1. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris, p. 157. See also Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.

2. For e.g., I have written: "Advances in the Psychopathology of Fear" (FM blog Apr. 19/17); "Feariatry: A First Conceptual Map" (FM blog Aug. 26/16). 

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This blogpost is a quick rendering of my practical life interest in terms of "helping" others. I am most interested, for a lot of autobiographical reasons, to observe and assess the nature of caregiving. I and Barbara (my life-partner of 26 years) have often said "we are recovering caregivers" and it leads most of our professional and academic lives. It leads because we are deeply aware of the upside and downside of caregiving. This caregiving is the largest umbrella and practical term for what includes everything from parenting to service work and especially we have the most experience in watching and working with nurses, counsellors/therapists, health care providers in the largest sense, and this includes the large field of educators and teachers of all kinds. Then, there is a large group of people who are community-oriented caregivers in social services, etc.

I have been working in and/or closely around these caregivers since the day I was born. I seemed to have had an extra-sensitive if not empathic antennae built-in to recognize caregivers as both important in society and my own development but also to recognize when they were inadequate for the job due to many many reasons, not all of their own making by any means. And, the more important reason I think I watch the caregivers is because so many of them go into leadership positions. They want to care for others, even for whole nations or the world--and, thus, I have been likewise interested in world leaders. Barbara has focused her dissertation research in the past on women leaders, and more recently she is in collaboration (as am I) with academic women and leaders of various kinds and how they are "burnt" by the world and the academy especially these days with the neoliberalism agendas of institutions in general (especially, in the Western world).

So, how does fear and fearlessness and "allergies and addictions" come to play the central theme of my life's work and this blogpost. If you read my past Forum blog on this ning you'll see what I call my latest turn of the latter years (65-80) on HEALTH in the largest sense of that term, and how I can bring my critical work and life-experience to bear on how we approach health (and illhealth, and wellness) in societies. But, I want to give a sharper focus to that for the moment in this blogpost. It comes from working of late with academic caregivers from the fields of Nursing and Education, and in watching my life-partner be impacted over the last 15 years by entering the Academy and what that does to a person, to a woman, to a feminist, to a caregiver. Yes, Barbara has been a caregiver ever since she was old enough to hold a baby, and most of the babies in her family were on loan, so to speak, as her minister dad and caregiving expert mom took on foster kids for many years, as well as having a family of five children.

A major highlight that really transformed my life was marrying an x-nun (if that is even possible), my first wife Linda. She was a fresh and enthusiastic and idealistic Catholic girl who at age 17 graduated high school successfully (if that is possible to be healthy in the Catholic girls schools only) and she entered a life-time commitment to Jesus Christ (yes, the nuns marry JC literally in ceremony) and to helping the suffering in the world. Of course, I fell in love with that kind of woman, as I met her in the field of Education, a year after she left the nuns (which was a highly traumatic scene) and wanted to train to become a school teacher (in Social Studies). Again, this blogpost is not going to give you the whole story. It turned out to be a largely disastrous family we made together in terms of dramatic tragedy and traumas. She has literally no relationship with me or her girls at this point, which started when the girls were late teens many years ago. 

So, as I said, I have watched the Love and Fear interplay in and through the dynamic ecology of caregiving, across many fields, and I have been lucky enough for the most part to escape it all because for the most part I left all institutional-based caregiving long before my life-partners, and friends, and colleagues. I watched them from the outside, and I have spent decades observing and studying and finding best ways to help them. The entire caregiving establishment of our Western societies is very pathological in my view--a conclusion I reach with great care. I have seen the Love-based motivations of caregiving turn over and over into Fear-based motivations and most of it driven by the larger 'Fear' Matrix of society. One cannot simply be naive about this. You enter caregiving with good intentions and the hurts add up and caregivers are often as hurt and damaged soon after by the system and those that they help. I am not the only one to have noticed this problematic of caregiving. Yet, I have studied how Love and Fear play out. Most don't do that systematic detailed fearanalysis. I have continued to watch the desperation of coping means professional caregivers use to handle this and I have read more research by academics studying their own crumbling under the institutionalization of care.

The book I can see I ought to write is entitled "CAREGIVING: ALLERGIES AND ADDICTIONS OF GROWTH" ... something like that. I am referring not only to the physical (clinical) manifestation of allergies (moving away from) and addiction (moving toward) but as Ken Wilber brilliantly analyzes the issues of growth and development and its dysfunctions (see earlier blogposts by me on Wilber's new book). Again, I'm not going to elaborate at this point on this problematic. The simple application of the book is to help caregivers of all kinds see a better framework for caregiving than the one they absorbed from their mothers and fathers, their teachers, their nurses, etc. There is so much woundedness that has been accumulating faster than our models of caring and healing. That's pretty much the story I would tell. And I have hundreds of case examples to draw upon, to explain why caregivers 'burn out'--some make the best of that experience and transform healthily again (if that is even possible) and most don't make a positive turn around but drive themselves down into oblivion through various allergies and addictions in extreme... often manifesting severe illnesses. Again, my interest is in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual allergies and addictions--that is, dis-eases and their cures. Of course, one's relationship to Fear and Fearlessness (and Love) is an essential part of the Wilberian developmental analysis but I take that even further into a critical theory and praxis, I simply call fearanalysis.

So, maybe we can get the caregivers to come on to the FM ning and start to reflect on their lives as caregivers in light of some of these things I have brought forward (over simplified) above.

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This blogpost is a continuation of a few of my FM blogs and a book review (see on this website as pre-requisite reading background): (1) "A Re-Invigorated Religiousity on the Planet: Ken Wilber's Book" (May 2, 2017), (2) amazon.com book review "Wilber Targets the Dysfunction(s) of Religiousity" (May 2, 2017), (3) "Wilber's Use (Biasing) of Terms: Initial Fearnalysis (May 3, 2017) and (4) "Ken Wilber's Basic Vocabulary of the 'Pathological'" (May 9, 2017). All these are in the service of my critical examination of his new book The Religion of Tomorrow (2017) which I believe will prove to be an extraordinary work of his, and mostly the best and readable book to "hit" hard at all of us to truly examine the "Dysfunctions" of religion, religiousity and spirituality as they have largely been constructed over the past couple thousand years. He is saying we need to up-grade seriously and quickly a whole lot of different aspects in this domain of human existence--and religion, religiousity and spirituality cover a lot of deep territory, always have in our ancient past and always will, according to Wilber.

The First Three Pages (of ROT)

Now, this blogpost will be short but will cut into something I believe is essential to "get" which most people "don't get" when they read Wilber's work (or, I'm willing to grant they may "get it" or at least "read it" in his words, and then they deny it and move on to others things that distract them from paying attention to what was just said). I'll go back, to my last FM blogpost for a moment, please read it, to reiterate how Wilber opened this new book (ROT) in the first 3 pp, with 98% rather positive, barely critical (not wrist slapping) discourse on "what a possible religion of tomorrow might look like" (p. 1). He then explains a bit why he'll apply his Integral Theory (or Integral Spirituality) critique to Buddhism as the exemplar, but with "no particular bias involved" he says. All the Great Traditions can learn from his critique of Buddhism. He goes on to describe nicely how one can remain "spiritual but not religious" if they choose, even after his critique is applied in the book, and that those who are religious believers in the Great Traditions may also go on worshipping their core credos, etc. He makes rooms for "exoteric" and "esoteric" teachings and so far by the top of p.3 he is still being very generous and positive and looking at our human potential and how we may best "radically free men and women from suffering" etc. But by the lower 1/3 of p. 3, all is about to walk over the edge... his discourse shifts, and it comes up at you without you barely recognizing it.

This is where he "hits," writing from what is the esoteric (mystic) perspective, or what I will later suggest is the Causal Stage (standpoint: see Chpt.13). Wilber is fully capable of delivering the cannon in the sense of 'blowing up the ark' and challenging the shit out of our complacency and niceness. This is where people of all stripes who read Wilber seem to largely ignore and deny once they have read it or heard it. But right there on the bottom 1/3 of the page... there is the sentence I quoted in my last FM blog which is most relevant to a fearanalysis of Wilber's work (and ROT specifically). This is where he goes into the core of Fear (actually, terror). This is where he espouses the universal truth found by many esoteric practitioners of the Great Traditions, across religions, outside of religions, and across cultures and time-space. He does, in my opinion begin to open up his own "fearanalysis" of the human condition (existence of a conscious being on planet Earth). Religiousity and spirituality have also been interested in their own "fearanalysis" of the human condition and how to help humans (supposedly) be truly and "radically free men and women" (to recite Wilber's words on p. 3).

So, page 3, the bottom 1/3, slides the reader (and their gravity of consciousness) over the waterfalls of the beautiful river they had been floating on in pages 1-2 of Wilber's Introduction to ROT. The quote includes a few things, you can see in my previous FM blog, or read the book (p. 3). Here's the essence of the esoteric findings Wilber is synthesizing in his own words as he contrasts "Great Liberation," "True Nature", "ultimate Reality itself" and "ultimate Freedom" (positive stuff- Absolute) with the barrier that all the religions and spiritual practices (supposedly) are battling against (of sorts)... and, the barrier he notes is "the terror-inducing limitations of ordinary life" (negativ stuff = relative). This ontological explication, philosophy/theory of Wilber's favor here is in all his work going back to 50 years ago, more or less. I have never seen him slip away from this quite existential sounding claim of the terror at the base of human experience on planet Earth in a body.

"Terror" in fearanalysis is extreme Fear. So, I prefer to call it Fear so as not to fall into a fear-based over-dramatization complex or interpretive frame making everything "extreme" (unfortunately, such a tendency is part of the pop-culture X-treme movements and trope of the day). I don't think Wilber is over-exaggerating and trying to be dramatic, in fact, he is being very calm in claiming this ontological experiential ground of human existence (i.e., the human condition in the relative world). I appreciate Wilber's objectivity in regard to the subjectivity of an intense affective (emotion) word like "terror" (or even, Fear). In fact, only 15 pages in the 800 page book have "terror" or "terrorism" on them. Yet, it is right there in the opening 3 pages, and it is there before the word "Fear" appears in the text too. I don't think this is an accident, and I do believe Wilber was not going to give a write-up in the Introduction on the esoteric dimension of findings of the human condition without a little conscious 'shock and awe' to wake-us-up, at least a little. It's the first "negative" thing he says in this book, and I'm so glad he did it. I could see this as Causal View (transpersonal perspective) he took on it. It is from a high-altitude and standing back making the subject an object, which is essential to the transformation of developmental stages, a point and principle of his entire teaching (see also Robert Kegan, in this regard in terms of developmental psychology). Consciousness, for Wilber has to encounter the world along a spectrum from simple to complex (systems)... and "fear" (or "terror") is at each level, and if it is not managed well then the whole system (and/or holon) will start to go pathological. The core of that theory is based on his juxtapositioning of Eros/Agape (Ascending Love, and Descending Love) contra Phobos/Thanatos (Ascending Fear, and Descending Fear). Granted, Wilber doesn't quite spell his ontological theory/philosophy out that clearly but it is there, and in future blogs I will argue that.

Point, being, to wrap up, the entire religion, religiousity and spirituality 'game' of pursuits and aims, you could say from a fearanalysis perspective, is all about Fear Management (or Terror Management)--and, this I have always seen as a major gift of Wilber's synthesis to us Earthlings, if we pay attention to the "terror-inducing" side of existence and not become allergic to it and concomitantly addicted to the Love-side. Note in a recent blog I give a reference to my article published in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy (2017) as a critique of Paulo Freire's "radical love" concept which I show is not being used very radical because most all who use it (and Freire himself) are and were addicted to "love" and avoiding "fear" (or, archetypally, the Love-Fear Dynamic, as I call it). Again, I won't go into all those arguments for a revisioning ontology based on fearanalysis of a whole lot of literature including Wilber's. Now, my critique of where Wilber missed a good opportunity on p.3 (ROT) is his own Causal biased look at the human condition (i.e., esoterically). He didn't do a very good job of articulating the "terror-inducing" in an AQAL Matrix framing, rather he just (casually) jumps his discourse to this "negative" aspect of existence and does so coolly and collectively from the Causal level/stage (i.e., transpersonal)--which, I was delighted to see because it is a definite indicator of a transpersonal perspective of Fear Management at the core of the spectrum of consciousness, evolution, history, development.

Wilber's claim re: "terror-inducing" relative reality from a Causal level perspective (or View, as he is now calling stages)--is great, is high altitude Truth-- but inadequate to be really all that useful to most humans and where their center of gravity is at. It sets up what I have long written about as a Fearless Standpoint Theory (or Fear Management System 9a), and yet, isn't integral enough and thus won't undermine effectively "suffering" as all the Great Traditions strive for (supposedly). Yes, my friends, this is where the details come in. I won't articulate my critical integral theory of Fear Management/Education (see Fisher, 2010) [1], but what is important on p. 3 (ROT) is to see the thread, to feel the waterfall you just went over when "terror" was mentioned in Wilber's text. That begins to unthawing of the frozen ontological grip of terror (or, more accurately, what I call the 'Fear' Project and 'Fear' Matrix constructions). Wilber has always seen through The Matrix, you might say, and he focuses unfortunately, too much on the positive and the negative nearly never gets 'equal' attention (which would be an improvement). Yet, be clear, as I have seen in ROT, Wilber is highlighting "Dysfunctions" at all levels of the spectrum of consciousness (and in religion, religiousity and spirituality) like I have not seen him do so well. And, gosh, I haven't even read the book nearly at all. I don't skim over page after page of his texts. I study it in small pieces, and jump all around, looking for the important "pattern that connects" that I think will be really useful for us to better diagnose the "pathological." Then, can come the "cura" and "therapia"--which, from my perspective has to include Fear Management/Education. Now, to end, it is too bad, as I said, Wilber did not do an AQAL (basic) analysis of "terror-inducing" (or at least, a long end note when he used it on p.3)... one piece I would have added is that existentialists, following Ernest Becker's philosophy/theory of the human condition and evolution of culture, are now calling out how we have to come to terms with how "terror management theory" (TMT) [2] is exposing the deepest roots of the human dilemma (i.e., between Love-Fear as meta-motivations, and/or Growth-Defense, etc.)... and that would be the Lower Left quadrant input needed to bolster Wilber's Causal (Upper Left) claim on p. 3.

Okay, that's lots, and I realize it is a bit technical where I am going. Feel free to email me for clarifications. I also welcome your critiques and input. But whatever, you or I do, please let's not lose track of Wilber's Causal claim on p. 3 and what we humans are facing, and what religion, religiousity and spirituality have (esoterically) always had to deal with, and that is "How do we best manage terror/fear on this planet?" Folks, all the positive "psychotechnologies of consciousness transformation" (Wilber, 2017, p. 3) working toward the aim of the Absolute (e.g., archetypal Love) mentioned in this book (ROT) will only be 1/2 baked, and ineffective, if there isn't an 'equal' emphasis on study and practices of the Fear-side of things (i.e., AQAL fearanalysis of "terror-inducing" aspect of relative reality). It's annoying somewhat, to read in ROT, how much emphasis Wilber puts on the "positive" (see my last FM blog on this topic)--I said, it looks like his formula is to give only 12.5 % (1/8) of attention to the "negative" in his Shadow (work) part of the program. That is disasterous, if people follow such a formula. Terror/Fear management/education (as "Cleaning Up") are was too important everyday, at every moment, to avoid or limit to such a small amount of theorizing and practice. Next time, I will blog on how Wilber's actual text will tell a different story about how important it is to do Fear Management, than his simplistic formula (p. 264) and it goes way beyond how "Shadow" work is given attention in his explicit formula. So, stay tuned. And, I will continue to lament Wilber's progressive positive focus he seems to persist with since about 1997 onward (my less fav. of his works)... even in ROT he mentions he is developing a whole book on "Flourishing" (e.g., Seligman's positive psychology) interventions/practices for Integral followers... oh, my, this is definitely not going to cut it... why isn't he also developing a whole book on recognizing "Pathologies" and working directly with them... even, though, yes, I am well aware the positive and negative interventions (like via positiva and via negativa paths) are interrelated. He's doing it, with his colleagues, who want to be popular(ized), and marketable, that's why. Fear and Terror management/education is not as fun as Love and light and joy and flourishing, right?


1. Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral theory of fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

2. See Wikipedia "Terror Management Theory"

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In the last few FM blogs you'll see my conversation on Ken Wilber's new (Integral) book called The Relgion of Tommorow (2017). My interest has been to look at slowly (in pieces) doing some kind of introductory fearanalysis of his book (and his work overall as a philosopher offering a world/kosmic therapia).

I already picked up in the book's Index that "dysfunctions" is the word that gets the most sub-entries. Indeed, he devotes a lot of the main text to outlining the different dysfunctions (what can go wrong--i.e., pathological) at each state-stage of his complex spectrum of consciousness theory/philosophy.

In this short blog I want to quote from the book and then share my initial List of Basic Vocabulary of the "Pathological" (as I call it) in Wilber's book. I'll then say a few words after these two inserts:

(1) Quote from Religion of Tomorrow - "... the esoteric teachings [across all major religions throughout time, across cultures] were the 'inner teachings,' the 'secret teachings,' usually kept from the public [masses] and open only to individuals of exceptional quality and character [and commitment]. These teachings weren't merely mythic [as in exoteric teachings] stories and beliefs; they were psychotechnologies of consciousness transformation. By performing the specific practices and exercises, an individual could reach an actual awakening to his or her own True Nature, gaining a Great Liberation [from suffering] and ultimate Freedom from the terror-inducing limitations of ordinary life and a direct introduction to ultimate Reality itself. This Great Liberation was also known by various names...". (p. 3)

[Now, I am fascinated by this opening of this huge 800pp book by Wilber, though, it is also very consistent in most all his work I have read over 35 yrs... he has a theory he follows, from the Great Traditions of wisdom/religion, in which ordinary life and its consciousness, generally, is "terror-inducing" and limiting to the highest human potential. This is exactly where a fearanalysis ought to begin with examining Wilber's Integral philosophy/theory in terms of how it is informed by this kind of intense and ominous fear-talk, as I call it. Not that he is using this fear-talk in the quote to be overly-negative, nor fearmongering, as we see he balances the 'good' and not so good part of the story of human existence and the evolution of consciousness on earth, in humans (and perhaps other creatures too)... his claim is that all the esoteric (or mystical) practices, from meditation, to contemplation, and rituals of purification and transcendence etc.. are all dedicated to clarifying the problem of human existence that is limiting and causes suffering--and, as I read this quote, the problem is a Fear Problem (more accurately, the 'Fear' Problem, which in my more detailed analysis includes concepts like 'Fear' Project(ion) and 'Fear' Matrix--not that I will go into elaborating any of that here; read my other works; So, my point is that if you are reading and studying Wilber's work you better get the core of his project, yes, Enlightenment and Liberation and Awareness, etc. for sure, but also that only comes, as this book makes very clear by wide-open analysis of the Fear Problem of evolution's inevitable 'messy' way of growing and evolving in which "fear" is a major influence, and in fact, he goes so far to claim it is "terror" not mere fear--and, all that would require a whole critical analysis further than what I can go into; So, my other point is, Wilber's work is thus all about fear management (or terror management, if you will)--and, my last 27 years are focused on developing a holistic critical and integral approach to fear management/education on this planet--and, I thank Wilber for all the work he has done on synthesizing a whole lot of others' great work on this--yet, there is so much to still articulate as Wilber himself has underplayed, and/or remained non-cognizant of the Fear Problem in his own philosophy/theory--and, thus, any good integral theory has to be up-graded to really catch the significance of this all. Note, I am using fearanalysis to pull this out, but it also goes by another name Desh Subba created as "dephilosophy" based on the philosophy of fearism--see our book on that, as in other earlier blogposts and photos on this website]

Okay, I'll leave this and go to the List of "Pathological" (and/or like-pathological) in Wilber's vocabulary in this book (ROT)... this list is just a beginning, but it is awesome in scope and descriptive color, of which it is essential for any serious Wilberian to understand and be able to apply this vocabulary accurately and critically to at least Wilber's own philosophy and theorizing on development and evolution (and its problems)--that is, the Fear Problem itself--so, I am suggesting the basic vocabulary of Wilber's implicit articulation of the human universal Fear Problem is right here [note, non-italic terms are not in ROT but I think could be because Wilber has used them elsewhere... there are many other terms he has used in other works earlier too that I have not put in this list but will be added with time]:


Wilber ROT &  (Basic) “Pathological” Vocabulary

compiled by R. Michael Fisher (May 9, 2017)


 absolutisms (quadrant)-





 amok (run)-



 Avoidance (Primordial)-

 Bad News (story)-


 biased (thinking)-

 broken (consciousness)-

 bypass (spiritual)-





 contraction (self-)-



 dark face,

 dark side,

 death drive-



 defense mechanisms-

 deformed (holon)-

 Demonic (trends)-




 destructive (current)-


 disguised (forms)-


 dis-owning (drive)-











 dominator (hierarchy)-






 fails (self)-

 false self-






 fused (with)-





 havoc (wreaking)-

 hidden (subject, lens)-





 immortality (addiction)-





 Jonah complex-


 less (“alive”)-



 loss (of faith)-



 meltdown (communion)-

 miscarriage (developmental)-













 perforation (in consciousness)


 prejudiced (thinking)-




 projective (dysfunctions)-

 projects (immortality)-










 security (needs)-

 shadow (material)-



 stuck (to)-





 therapeutic culture-








 victim mentality/culture-



 wrong (go)-

[Arguably, this vocabularly is based on a recognition in Wilber, consciously or not, of the "terror-laden" aspect of reality, that is, the fear-based aspect of reality, as humans experience it, consciously or unconsciously; so much more could be said about this, but it does raise the issue of Love-Fear as meta-motivational "forces" in the universe, if you will, which are all part of Wilber's major contribution to helping clarify and resolve the Fear Problem, and improvement fear management/education on this planet--before, not doing so adequate, really wipes us and a whole lot of other living systems off the face of the earth; we cannot ignore this any longer, we need as much fear-talk as love-talk, to put it simply in a nutshell--and, I pulled out this vocabulary from Wilber's work to get us talking about this other (shadowy, darker) side of the existence we live, and to not be seduced overly by the "transcendent" and "love n' light" consciousness talk that near totally dominates popular culture as it enters the "spiritual" (including human potential and new age)--okay, that's it for now]

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Love, Fear, and the US Election 2016

Living in America the past 8.5 yrs, and the tumultuous presidential elections, has been an eye opener for Barbara and myself. Not that we both follow the official party politics and debates that much--though, in the last years we have been watching Democracy Now program to get our "news" in very small doses I may add. Years ago I predicted Hilary Clinton would run and win the next presidency in the country (USA) and I wish her the best to do a good job. I'd help her in any way she needs. I also know she is not perfect, and the Clinton legacy going a long way back in this country has left a lot of scars and problems in policies. I'm not hear writing about all that. I also see that as Trump self-destructs in terms of legitimacy as a president, as I also predicted he would because the American civil society is still strong and healthy in many areas and will not allow him to win--and, civil society also is unraveling quickly or so it seems--but I think many radicals are fear-mongering about this collapse way more than they need to in order just to make a point of the great reform and transformation required in the entire American system.

One really, likely, is not going to be "helped" to negotiate these very troubling times, of which the US election of 2016 is bringing from the shadows to the surface--it's like the unconscious repression is being released, and a neurotic state is moving at times in and out of a psychotic state--that is, a culture of fear, where as I listened to the last debate session between Trump and Clinton, and it's clearly disturbing--almost, no matter what candidate you support--the disturbance of psychic material they are moving within and speaking about--all shows the precarity of this country's democracy, social fabric, and social contract. You can feel the rip... and that word 'rip' is being used and is accurate. The terror underneath all this is so palpable amongst virtually everyone I watch on these 'political' broadcasts... and, so, as I say, I watch it rarely as it is so toxic to my system and living systems unless there is equal time for healing the fear-based rhetorics (of course, there is no such equal time provided on news media). 

That said, I feel a political, cultural and social obligation to help work on the social fabric, and guide in any way I can (and, that people will accept) to ensure the neurotic and psychotic are understood for what they are, not demonized, not pathologized to the point of hyper-reactive animosity. I treat the 'patient' as the entire nation, while I am living here, and in the not too distant future I'll be back in Canada and working with that nation. Of course, I have always been one that felt drawn to examine critically the love and fear dynamics of any system, from individual to collective, from visible to invisible--that's what I care about as the deepest source of all our worst problems as humanity.

I won't say more that this unless people want to talk about it here. I close with one of the brighter minds of the 20th century on the love and fear dynamic, and that comes from someone you have likely never heard of (as I had not until only a few weeks ago), Oscar Pfister, theologian, pastor, and psychoanalyst from the early 20th century [1]. Writing in his book (Christianity and Fear, 1948) that I am reading, there's a passage that stood out today, I'll pass on as a gift to all Americans in this very difficult and dark times. Albeit, in this crisis of leadership in the US election, the Green Party is finally having a good chance in this country so all is not 'bad.' Pfister writes about a theme that has always been close to my heart, and his whole book over 500 pp. is more or less devoted to the love and fear dynamic--and, its deep motivational and shaping role in human activity. He wrote [re: the 'ideal' community],

"The production of strong, fearless personalities united in a powerful community, not by compulsion but through love freely acknowledging an authority--this is certainly a grandiose ideal for the combating of fear; moreover it represents a brilliantly inspired method for permitting its beneficiaries to achieve lofty spiritual values productive of the utmost happiness, and the whole being based on secure economic foundations. But we must ask whether the [ideal] community system may not be ruined by the frailty of human nature which does not provide sufficient numbers of free [fearless] personalities freely subordinating themselves in self-sacrificing love to a social and spiritual whole. And even if repressions and fears are avoided to the greatest possible degree, can the level of sublimation and moral achievement required for the community's prosperity be reached and maintained? What is certain is that the community described presupposes a highly developed stage of individual and social morals, and that it is beset by numerous dangers. If the communal idea loses its driving force a base egoism springs up and an ugly partisanship disfigured by conceit, hate of other parties, class hatred, dissension and internal strife threatens the security of the whole, stands in the way of important achievements by the totality, plants the seeds of a new fear by frustrating love, lays the foundations for new primitive crowd formations, depresses individuals standing about the crowd to the low average level, instils a spirit of slothful negation and undermines the entire communal structure as well as the culture of the individual. It must be remembered that the entire system is built up on a minimum of compulsion and of repression.... And the spiritual element for its part can be maintained only by an effort.... It is no accident that hitherto the larger and more enduring communities have grouped themselves around a faith." (Pfister, 1948, pp. 147-148).  

The point Pfister strongly emphasizes before and after this passage on building the 'ideal' community--which can spread and grow and shape other communities, and a nation... is "education" and "development" of individuals so that they truly know how to discern between love-based and fear-based, healthy and neurotic, and that they are involved in their own fearanalsyis work (my term)... and, as for the "faith," yes, I have one you might say (not that I use that term), and, it is the Fearlessness Movement (i.e., the spirit of fearlessness that arises as fear arises--as naturally as does the spirit of healing when an organism is hurting).

End Note

1. Oscar Pfister had some 40+ years services as a pastor in Germany, trained in theology, then in Freudian psychoanalysis--he remarkably, takes the best of Freud and leaves the rest and includes a psychology of fear and religion that is incredibly insightful and close observing from his field and clinical experience with thousands of people. He knew religion did not have all the tools to bring about healthy functioning of the mild to most religious people he met when he was their pastor. It is remarkable he wrote this book in the years of Nazism in Germany, and somehow managed to get it published in 1944 (Gr. edition) and 1948 in English transl. I came across his work after reading some of the interesting cultural psychoanalysis articles by Dr. Richard Frie, at UBC in Canada.


Pfister, O. (1948). Christianity and fear: A study in history and in the psychology and hygeine of religion. [trans. W. H. Johnston] NY: The Macmillan Co.

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Feariatry: A First Conceptual Mapping

Desh Subba (2014), using a "fearist perspective" and a reading of history and human development based on a "philosophy of fearism"-- coined the term "feariatry" and wrote a few pages on its conceptualization (see pp. 156, 160-61).[1] His basic idea was that psychiatry has not fully seen the nature and role of fear in mental illness and well-being. He posited, that in the future there will be feariatrists as well as psychiatrists. The former would use a philosophy of fearism to guide their practice of psychiatry. He also believed that the knowledge from the sub-field of feariatry would help people in the grassroots of communities and other mental health and social workers to better understand that we ought to be diagnosing fear problems in people and offering them appropriate solutions and not allowing ourselves to be ruled by psychiatry. I would add, and not be ruled by psychology either (thus, Subba and I have also been developing fearology, and fearanalysis).

The following concept map is one of my first ways of articulating a vision for a field of study or a topic. This ought to provide the more complex version of conceptualization beyond Subba's initial concept. We both know there is no one and only way to define the sub-field of feariatry but it will take many creative efforts to build a good theory and practice. I have given a wide and deep lens to what I would like to see go into the development of feariatry in the future. The details of course are yet to come.

End Note

Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.

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How We Talk About Fear is Everything

I am taking a fearanalysis perspective to challenge the ways we talk (or write and teach) about fear. This is embedded in an underlying context of a philosophy of fearism (Subba, Fisher) and thus is more philosophical than psychological. I'm currently writing a journal article introducing fearanalysis as a critical methodology for cultural studies and education.[1]  A small section of the article lays out a minimum of nine precepts one would have to in whole or part agree with to begin a learning of the basics of fearanalysis. Of course, one may not be so willing to entertain these and argue against them. I would at least like a person to engage them seriously and enter dialogue around them with me and/or others, especially to engage those who claim to be fearanalysts (of which I am, unfortunately, at this time one of a rare few).

Let me give the first two precepts for fearanalysis I wrote down in the article and then enter a discussion, using an example I found recently on the Internet of a coaching practitioner talking about fear. It could be nearly anyone who might say this kind of thing about fear, and so I have no need to name them. I have seen this type of talk a  hundred times in my years of researching "discourses" on fear.[2] Again, I come with a specialized fearanalysis perspective to the topic of fear and how we talk about it, which is a scholarly and theoretical perspective, where understandably not all practitioners have that specialization or scholarly interest. Rightfully so, practitioners are hired for pragmatic tasks by clients and want to be "effective" at what they do. I love to work with practitioners, I too am one as well, and see if I can assist them to expand their practices and become more conscious of how they talk about fear. 

Two Precepts

At a minimum, in order to understand what fearanalysis is based on, the following nine precepts are core (not the only) foundations:

(a) avoid the habitual over-emphasis on discussion of fears (i.e., fear of x, y, z), phobias, etc. and conflating this knowledge with understanding the nature and role of fear itself and the even more complex conceptualization of fearism

(b) ensure multiple perspectives are examined on the topic fear, interdisciplinary, including populist accounts, but preferably transdisciplinary is useful

Two Examples of a discourse on fear that falls (somewhat) short of the criteria above. I quote from an Internet blog by a contemporary practitioner (coach/trainer):

1. "The sub-conscious mind is the home of those fears that are largely unconscious and which are driving up to 95% of our behavior. Trust me when I say that, after coaching hundreds of individuals, the fears are within all of us. I'm not good enough, I'm going to be found out, I don't fit in are just a few that simmer below the surface of our existence.... [and often, due to guilt, a cousin of fear, people would rather not face this truth] "I see it all the time, never more clearly than with 'spiritual' types... those who want to ignore or escape from the deepest shadows of fear by putting on a religious or spiritual facade. I understand. I, too, can adopt the facade. You see, it takes courage, tremendous courage to look at the fear. And then we discover that it truly is illusory." [bold added for emphasis]

[The above quote indicates the topic is circulating around the "sub-conscious mind" which is interrelated, rightfully so, to "the deepest shadows of fear" and yet instead of focusing on fear itself and a more complex conception of fearism, the primary text emphasis is on fears (fear of x, y, z) etc. What is most promising is the interest to explore the sub-conscious, unconscious realms of awareness and unawareness, which is where we will come to have to examine fear itself as the topic and begin to see that all our fears individually and collectively, are still "fears" and thus not all that useful, other than as surface symptoms, for understanding the dynamics of fear itself and fearism dynamics which are less visible and knowable at first but with good fearanalsyis (even psychoanalysis) can be revealed and be seen to be themselves symptoms of even greater unconscious realms of what I call the 'Fear' Project or 'Fear' Matrix, "culture of fear" etc. ]

2. "I 'get' what you mean about two different ways of using fearism [3]... at least I think I do. To use some cliche's, there are always two sides to a coin. Nothing is all good or all bad. No matter how you flip it, a pancake has two sides. (I can digress.) There are some fears that serve us in a healthy way; others are destructive. The most destructive are often buried deep within the subconscious mind, driving our behaviors despite our finest conscious intentions."

[The above quote indicates a reasonable first off-the-cuff interpretation of how Subba and I use fearism, however, it then slides into cliche's and that will in all likelihood lead to misinterpretation somewhat, as is the case above in its brevity of analogies. I am very familiar with the dialectic nature of the philosophies in Taoism and other nondual forms of thinking, yet, the common maneuver of a psychology of fear discourse is to quickly drop the philosophical part of the framing of fearism which is a good start of possibilities, then to reduce it to "fears" in making the analogy the author wishes to validate. This is chronically a problem I see where there is a categorical error enacted philosophically by taking a very complex construct "fearism" (in this case) and reducing it not only to "fear itself" (which would be less of an error) but then goes all the way down to the simplest construct of "fears." As I said before, nearly every book and article (almost) that talks about fear makes this same categorical error continuously. The error as well based on the two precepts above, is the beginning to talk about sub-conscious and unconscious shadows of fear, and yet the discourse stays within the dominating psychology of fear, and historical, cultural, political aspects (e.g., necessary in talking about fear itself and fearism) are left out. I believe all these tend to inhibit the full-potential of a good fearanalysis. Which is not to say the thinking and practice of such a practitioner and their discourse is unvaluable.]

A Take Away

When we talk about "fear" in any way, realize that when we do so in the public sphere (e.g., the Internet, a conversation, etc.), we are public and thus are engaging in what scholars today call a form of "public pedagogy." Typically, if not trained to thinking critically about our pedagogies, then we can spread knowledge very rapidly in the public and digital worlds without always thinking so carefully about what we are actually teaching and what that teaching (and its "discourses") are actually doing. For a fully ethical practice of public pedagogy, especially on the topic of fear, I propose that we begin to examine the problematic of switching categorical differences in knowledge about fear-- and the most basic way is to acknowledge the increasing complexity of holarchical order of constructs from fears to fear itself to fearism.[4]


1. The journal article is entitled: "Invoking Fearanalysis: A New Methodology Applied to Wicked Problems and Paradigm Shifts in the Anthropocene."

2. "Discourse" is a particular complex construct used by academics in various ways, but it always more or less refers to the way people, organizations, etc. 'talk about' a topic and it can be thus analyzed as a pattern of communications based on a set of underlying assumptions and values, beliefs, worldviews and what are called historical and ideological discourse formations. Point is, we humans may think we are talking about our experience as if it is ours and we made it up entirely and are communicating it as if there are no influencing historical, political, and philosophical sources to the discourse formation. This has been shown to be a naive view of our selves and how we talk. Philosophers like Michel Foucault have well shown how discourses are knowledge-power entities (formations, patterns) that 'stick' together over time in cultures and are used by people to gain certain privilege and power in their knowledge assertions. Typically, they do not know they are carrying these (like memes), nor are we usually aware of how Discourses (with a capital 'D') actually are using us as their agents to pass on certain knowledge in certain ways. I have studied what is called a method of critical discourse analysis for many years now, and it tends to come into all my critiques.

3. This was a reply to my post on their blog about how Subba and I have two different ways of conceptualizing fearism (one more healthy, one not so because it is a pathology).

4. I would include my own notion of 'fear' in that spectrum of complexity between fear itself and fearism.

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New Dialogue with Desh Subba (1)

I hope to make a series of these dialogues with Desh Subba (living in Hong Kong), as we email exchange and co-author work on the Philosophy of Fearism. This dialogue I shaped and led as a kind of interview. Enjoy, -M.

Desh Subba and R. Michael Fisher in Conversation on:



                  Three Pillars[2] of a Philosophy of Fearism

 M (Michael): One of the things you and I have learned in attempting to promote the newest branch of philosophy [3], after existentialism and postmodernism, is how it is not always easy for people to grasp how a philosophy can aid their everyday life. Especially, it is hard for them to imagine that a philosophy called Fearism is going to be valuable to them or their loved ones or society living everyday life. What has been your experience of teaching? You have done much more direct lecturing than I have on introducing a philosophy of fearism, including your recent teaching experiences to many countries in the East and a few in the West.  

 D (Desh): It is human nature that we ignore common things that are habitual around us. Teaching Fearism, as a new type of philosophy, is difficult for people, be they ordinary citizens, professionals or academics. They tend to think what is common in everyday is normal and things have been like this from ancient time.

 M: Yeah, habituating to routines, norms and traditions is a powerful stabilizer in cultures of all kinds. Yet, you and I are nudging for people to attend through a fearist lens at the common things in their world, hoping they will begin to see them differently. 

 D: During my lectures in India, China, Bangaladesh, Nepal and even in the USA and Australia, I sometimes would ask the audience counter-questions by giving examples of their surroundings—e.g., window, door, balance of diet, physical exercise, etc. I say all these things are for making a better quality and longer life. And analogously, I say, we have fears habitually—that is, fear of accidents, diseases, death etc.

 M: I find it intriguing. I mean your teaching style. I sometimes wonder if it is uniquely Eastern and so different than how I approach teaching about fear in the West. That makes for an interesting exchange of the East-West dialogue as we can learn from each other, from very different perspectives. It seems to me you focus on teaching people to understand that fear is so common and habitual, and that has been part of human evolution as a motivator for everything we do, that people, for the most part, don’t realize it—its become a routine to live that way. And you reinforce that mostly that is good fear helping to improve our lives, like windows, doors, balance of diet, physical exercise. However, you and I also say that as tribes move to cities and become nations through time and development they tend to become more educated in knowledge and aware of more dangers. This makes for more things to fear. They tend to be more fear-based in motivations everyday, to the point where it is no longer all good fear that motivates.

 D: Yes. When I’m lecturing I say the scientists invent new technological devices and advance comforts and it mostly serves human life and society. It depends on our use and how to make it valuable to life. Analogously, I teach that Fearism is the same kind of device. We have discovered it now; we teach ways to use it. It’s time for them to learn and practice how to use it to improve their quality of lives.

 M: And, you and I as teachers sure wouldn’t want to force it on anyone. In particular, for this conversation today, I want to focus on practical concerns you and I have in regard to applying a fearist perspective that co-emerges with a philosophy of Fearism. I am thinking that our most practical direction offered to humanity, as outlined in our co-authored book, Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016) has been a pointing to how to end suffering. You wrote, in your opus work Philosophy of Fearism (2014), “... man suffers from fear due to various reasons.... There are lots of problems and diseases [caused] from fear.” And, the situation is getting worse in our Extreme Fear Age, you pronounce—and, I heartily agree.

 Of course, there have been other philosophies and religions that have been offered for this same goal of stopping suffering; but based on our long studies, you and I believe they have all, more or less, fallen short of a proper analysis of suffering because they have minimized systematic critical study of the nature and role of fear in their philosophy or religion. You and I also believe this has been the problem with sciences. For sciences, like medical science especially, has attempted to cure disease (and dis-eases, as in psychiatry) and stop suffering as well. Yet, we argue that religion, philosophy, science, social theory and politics, have all been inadequate in their theorizing on “fear.” This is the premise of a philosophy of Fearism.

 D: I am not arguing that philosophy of Fearism is a complete philosophy for humanity. My point: it is a core philosophy in human life. There are typically not practical daily explanations in other philosophies to assist people from morning to evening and birth to death. Fearism starts from our consciousness. Consciousness starts from birth. Its central point and motivation is fear. On the basis of fear we look at the world. I met Dr. Hariwani, a writer from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, in Shillong, Meghalya, India in a recent Hindi literary program. He says not only life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear but the whole universe is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.

 M: As I understand this unique point of view, and it is interesting you have others who agree with you, in the Eastern world anyways, you paint a macro-picture for the good role that fear plays beyond merely in the world of humans or even earth.

 D: There are many universal fears. We cannot find an explanation for this reality and ways of seeing in previous philosophies. In 2012 there was a world warning of a Nebula coming near and/or striking earth and 6 billion people were in high alert with its dangerous course. I put the question on social media saying: Which philosophy can explain it? This type of A, B, C Nebula always emerges in human life and history of our solar system. Or we can say we are in the unique trap of multiple Nebulas that seem to be focused on destroying earth and killing us. Only a Philosophy of Fearism closely monitors, and explains this matter in a wider and more rational way. In the former type of thinking and analysis, without Fearism, people’s victim consciousness creates more suffering due to fear than is necessary. Fearism takes us on a course of consciousness that relieves this victim perspective and thus relieves some suffering.

 M:  So let’s get down to the focused topic for this conversation. As I said, you wrote in your opus work, Philosophy of Fearism (2014), “... man suffers from fear due to various reasons.... There are lots of problems and diseases from fear. This obstruction has occurred, as fear has not been theorised for a long time. Fear has been interpreted a lot. It has been theorised” (p. 159). I realize your text (2014) has been written in Nepalese, and the English translation is not the best here, but I interpret that by “obstruction” you mean a limitation and disturbance has appeared in humanity’s knowledge systems and disciplines that, more or less, has missed seeing and thinking clearly about the role of fear in human problems and diseases. And then you say fear as “not been theorised” very well for a long time in human history but more recently is being theorized (especially in psychology)—and, yet, if I understand you correctly, you are also saying this recent theorizing on fear is still quite inadequate and requires assistance from a philosophy of Fearism—and, more specifically, it requires assistance from developing sub-fields of Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry. Is that correct?

 D: Yes, you are right, it is inadequate. Not only this, but previous philosophies are inadequate too. Humans have done their best and always try to complete their work on these things, but we have left a hole in our knowledge. Philosophy of Fearism was totally left out. You and I are the first persons making Fearism a philosophy and showing it to the world. Even our work at times only touches the macro-level but is not always useful on the micro-level. To patch the holes we need multiple explanations and that requires sub-fields of Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry. To maintain our goal these have to be pillars; and, later as circumstances may change then we may require more pillars according to demand.

 M: I agree; there is never a fixed or static solution. A fearist perspective will continue to evolve as fear evolves. It seems to me one of the most pressing problems is the state of the environment, e.g., global warming (pollution effects). This will cause major planetary changes of mega-proportion, and with that, lots of destructive fear and terror through the disruptions—a time of great pressures, challenges and risks to life survival. We really need to get Fearism in place around the world soon to prepare for this crisis time, which has already started for the past few decades, at least. 

 D: Philosophy of Fearism is a general philosophy but also a flexible one to analyze such crises and helps in fear management and better education about fear. To specialize in particular matters, needs particular pillars. However, our three pillars will assist and sustain the use of Fearism for likely a long lasting time.

 M: What do you think might be the cause (motivation) for this “obstruction” to good theorizing on fear throughout history? Likely, there are multiple causes for this, but what do you think are the most important ones. And why?

 D: In my opinion, the main obstruction is Meaning. Everything is based on it. Meaning means perception, social consciousness and social knowledge. How knowledge is changeable, meaning changes accordingly. The current meaning world, and how individuals and institutions create it is what obstructs change of meaning.

 M: Some researchers call this a “meaning frame” which determines everything one understands about them selves and their relationships to everything. It is hard to change a meaning frame because it is so unconscious for most. But once it is made conscious, which is what education and self-reflection can do, the meaning frame (or “paradigm”) can shift dramatically.

 D: People have to make fearological knowledge, and consciousness and perceptions part of their new meaning frame. Thus, they can develop a new fearological world.

 M: Desh, you also wrote in your 2014 book (p. 159): It will be easier to identify the disease caused by fear when its definition, condition, source, origin, effect, types, etc. are interpreted. The treatment system develops [i.e., improves] when a [medical] doctor declares [i.e., admits] that the disease is a result of fear. Medicine can be discovered for it.” In this last phrase I interpret you mean that Medicine, as a field of curing and aiming to stop suffering, can be reformed and transformed for making this change that a philosophy of Fearism is calling for it to discover. You also wrote, “All hospitals are established and medicines [discovered] due to fear. Yet fear was not identified [as so important] in [the history of] medical science.”

 That is, Medicine, from our fearist perspective, needs to discover more emphatically the importance of the nature and role of fear in general, and in its own evolution as a field of Medicine. Both you and I would go so far as to suggest new sub-fields of study and application need to be invented like Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry to better inform the Medical field and society as a whole. Why do you think Medicine as a whole has not regarded fear as so important all these years of its history? Do you think this “obstruction” to do so is found in all parts of the world, East, West, North, and South? Do you think past cultures had “medicine” practices that were more in-tune with the critical importance of fear? If so, what ones and how so?

 D: Look Michael, every one is suffering some sickness from fear. Nowadays, I am studying the Holy Bible. Whenever I read it, top to bottom, I see many forms of fear: threatening, warning, killing, attack, disaster, hunger, disease, punishment, imprisonment, escaping, hiding etc. I am using a lens of Fearism to evaluate it. So, I can vision clearly this fear-based drama depicted in the Bible stories. Similarly, when we read life, society, economy, and politics with this lens, we can see obviously different forms of fear. Likewise, disease can be studied accordingly, we can find Feariatry world, which is unseen at this time but we can imagine it. Philosophy of Fearism is analyzing and arguing from this lens. Until now, patients in psychiatry and therapy are being treated under various names and diagnoses, but not in the name of “fear patient.” Fear is not seen as the source of the mind pathologies. This is blunder of the Medical world. The same blunder is everywhere for the most part in the wider world too. The world is following foolishly a rather zigzag ineffective road, instead of a straight road to the root of the pathologies of the mind and body. This is the reason we are not approaching good mental health soon. And sometimes we seem as societies to have become lost on the way. Medical science is doing the same, particularly in case of the fear patient who is suffering from fear unrecognized as the root source. I suspect this problem is in the East, West, North, and South. I don’t know if other cultures from the past were all that different.  

 M: Do you know of any medical professionals who are listening to your lectures, reading our books on philosophy of Fearism? Or, is our movement largely being listened to by only writers and literary people (i.e., artist-types) so far? How do we best get our fearist perspective to at least be considered in the Medical field and especially in the medical education programs? A big topic...

 D: No medical professional, that I know of, has listened to my lectures so far. I try my best to reach to them. You are right, mostly I lecture to writers and literary people and scholars in the humanities and arts.

 M: Same with me.

 D: Every one has some kinds of pillars of truth they believe in. It is not simple to remove their views. The major reason behind this is they want to hold onto it—their pillars. They don't want to shake them or have them shaken by others. Without shaking pillar, there is not chance to mix with new thoughts. They tend to believe in a pillar and that is final.

 M: Something this reminds me of, and I have written about it often, is the problem of people being too afraid to change their views on fear, to challenge their knowledge pillars about fear and its management and how we should be educating ourselves and others. It’s a real stumbling block to progress.

 D: Indeed. Yet, this resistance is not happening merely to a philosophy of Fearism. Similar problems we can see historically in each new ideology. Time will come to remove the old and replace with the new. It has happened in the past and will happen again. This is the time for a philosophy of Fearism to be delivered to every ear. I am doing my part of that, and so are you. One day, one ear will get the message and speak and share it with the rest of the world.

 M: Teaching about fear in this way takes a lot of patience. Thanks Desh for your patience to do this interview with me. Good luck with your work. I look forward to doing more of these dialogues.

End Notes:

[1] I am currently finishing a first draft of a book A General Introduction to Fearanalysis, which is my equivalent (analogy) to Freud's A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. My book, modeled after Freud's format, consists of 13 lectures. This ought to really move the work of fearanalysis out there.

[2] Technically, to be more precise to Fisher and Subba (2016, p. 141), the model we presented suggests the three pillars of our work are (1) Fearist Perspective, (2) Philosophy of Fearism, and (3) Fearology (including Feariatry and Fearanalysis).

[3]. See Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris; and, Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

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Fearanalysis a Forensic Craft

I have just published Technical Paper No. 56 "Fearanalysis: Further Notes From a Forensic Craft" which I thought you might be interested in. Below is the Abstract of this paper and it can be downloaded from http://csiie.org/mod/page/view.php?id=3 (scroll down)... 

Fearanalysis: Further Notes From a Forensic Craft

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


                                                                                                           Technical Paper No. 56


The advancement of the methodology and praxis called fearanalysis by the author for the past 20 years, is a process of application, theorizing, and then refining the craft. It is becoming evident that in many ways (not all) the work of fearanalysis is in large part forensic—among its many forms of interrogation. Its primary critical inquiry is to reveal the uses (and mis-uses) of language that has anything to do with making meaning of fear—especially in the social realm. The author draws upon Ken Wilber’s discussion of the unconscious (repressed) in language (and linguistic formation) and its power—not unlike the “discourse” of language that Michel Foucault presented in his philosophy and theories of the ways we talk about subjects/topics over time and across cultures. Fearanalysis, in particular, unique among the methodologies that “study fear” is a critical discourse analysis of the “language” and “linguistics” of fear itself. This becomes even more complicated, methodologically (and epistemologically) when the author has posited within the study he calls fearology the necessity of cataloguing the dynamic (morphing) “forms,” “types” and “species” of fear itself—which, has led to his strategic and powerful use of the notion of ‘fear’ (including, but beyond fear). Simply, fearanalysis has taken on a forensic study of the “crimes” of language (and their sociocultural embedded status within a “culture of fear”) that involves fear—be that fear directly stated, or implied. All of which fearanalysis is one of the many tools the author has created to critique and improve fear management/education on the planet. These notes are an attempt to convey some of the author’s latest thinking, in lieu of a longer project eventually to write a full-length book Introduction to Fearanalysis.   

[1] Fisher is co-founder of In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and Research Institute (1991- ) of which archives can be found at http://www.feareducation.com (click on "Projects"). 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). He can be reached at: rmfisher.88@frontier.com

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If I was to do a fearanalysis on how societies categorize "terror" via its association with terrorism and terrorists, i would say it usually makes sense only on the surface. Once you penetrate through the political discourses (and their psychological defense mechanisms), you come to see a lot of not making much sense in how so-called "terrorists" are labeled and how so-called "terrorism" is used and manipulated by all sorts of people (especially the elite power players, like military, and political leaders and their corporatist friends). Yet, we all are susceptible to playing with these terms, using them, thinking with them--often without a lot of nuance or critically.

I won't go into my long critique of the use of this term. I have been writing a good deal about that since 1989, more or less, and especially during my dissertation years--and 9/11 really showed me the way the discourse on terrorism gets used and mis-used so quickly in the same breath. Now, just in my last few days in Canada, I am aware of heading back to the USA and the political battles brewing before the 2016 Presidential run-off. I see so much of the Harper conservative leadership regime really getting into this "terrorism" thing as the US elites and culture do, using ISIS and any other movement or actions appropriately connected or not, to get people scared enough so that military western invasions are acceptable nearly anywhere anytime. It's all part of the ongoing construction of the culture of fear phenomenon that I have blogged about on this site before (see for e.g., May 15, June 18, 2015).

My partner (Barbara) just brought the latest issue of Common Ground magazine to share with me, and I open to an article (Letter) entitled: "Understanding Harper's Actions Takes Some Mental Acrobatics" (yes, the west coasters in Canada really are out to get Harper thrown out of office as soon as possible... smile). The author of the article (and it could be so many other authors I have read for decades) really ends up following the oppressive (mis-guided) conformist pattern of critiquing most "terrorists" (who ever may identify and label them) as "disillusioned psycho cases on the margin of society" (p. 13), that is, when they are gunman, mass murderers, and not so clearly identified with a so-called political "terrorist organization"--and yet, that all becomes a murky distinction. The author was referring to those individuals who have attacked Canada's parliament buildings in recent years. Okay, now what does that mean(?)-- "psycho case" . And is that not a cutting hurtful label to give someone who chooses (more or less) to not participate and support the mainstream of society? And, are not the politically motivated so-called terrorists (e.g. ISIS) also folks who have chosen (more or less) to not participate and support the mainstream of society that they live in and chose not to support Western militarization and global capitalization of their countries? They are all resistors. Now, people can call them terrorists, and can call them "psycho cases" and compare the two-- but what attitude is making the judgment. It is one based on fear and it is a nasty way to make all these people 'Other' (reproducing "fear of Other" as postmodern and postcolonial critics have argued is a one-way ticket to hatred and violence in some form).

It astounds me, how unable (unwilling) and fear-full the smartest people are (our leaders?), when it comes to a sophisticated understanding and representation of people who don't fit in the margins. When are we going to listen to them (enough, a lot, a little) so that we don't just write them off as "terrorists" or "psycho cases" and actually work with the larger systems reality that they are us, in some way, in some larger more systematic ecology of consciousness and life--and, equally take responsibility that 'We' have created them for the exact reason to confront 'Us' to see what we are creating as a system. Any good family or organizational therapist knows this problem of scape-goating, and so do social critics who see it as another way to distance ourselves from the pathologies of the mainstream production system itself. Yes, I'd really like to do a fearanalysis of how we don't make sense making sense... you gotta laugh, you gotta cry.... we are so far away from the Intelligence we need yet as a society to really change, transform and heal a legacy of "fear of the Othering" that is chronic.

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