fearless (9)

One Might Ask About Self-Realization



The (Eastern) mystic/teacher/guru Gangaji, has an important distinction to make when it comes to the psychotherapeutic world of trauma and healing, and the spiritual process of self-realization. She goes so far, in this short talk, to say emphatically, that "healing the ego" (or developing a healthy ego) via trauma work in the psychological domain, "does not have anything to do with self-realization" (by which she means, achieving non-dual consciousness and ultimate awareness, which means "fearless" existence). 

Check out his controversial teachers presentation on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fM8RxgEhFY

And share your views on the FM ning here for discussion. I particularly like, how she is both embracing and critical at the same time of PSYCHOLOGY (i.e., the new Psychotherapeutic Dominance of Society)-- which she refers to the whole dynamic of such work  as "basically the church we live in" --meaning, psychology as interpretation and meaning making is now the new 'postmodern church' of a lot of W. society (at least)--and, yet, you can hear in her assessment, and I agree, there is a flaw in the fabric of such a new church. In other words, ultimate freedom and fearless existence, she is implying, cannot be attained via psychology and psychotherapy and trauma work and to mistake that and believe in it (as 'savior') as if it is the way to ultimate freedom and fearless existence and compassion of the highest order, she says, that's a mistake; that's a false belief. That is the ego itself trying to control the agenda of liberation. There are other more significant level practices one has to undertake than healing the ego, but one has to transcend the ego. 

She says, this spiritual work she teaches is "not about getting more best moments" (i.e., about trying to be more happy)... now, that is really hard to understand for most people, because we live in a culture (and 'new church') movement which tries to convince us you can get more out of life, just do the right thing, just be positive, just do healing, and you will attain, more best moments everyday, and you will be happier and people will love you and you will love people more, etc. etc. Gangaji is cutting through all that self-ego-flattering and questing to be 'saved' and be a 'savior' --and, that's what I find very provocative in her intervention. How that is related to the path of fearlessness is another conversation worth having. So many people come to me and my fearwork, thinking that they will get more best moments IF they follow the path of fearlessness. That's problematic on a lot of levels.... [more later]....

And one last quote from Gangaji's talk: 

"The human species is crazy; it has gone crazy with its own power." 

In my view, Gangaji is as good as they get in terms of watching a philosophy (phenomenologist) work fearlessness in the meeting of fear, and transcend Fearlessness into the realm and work of Fearless --the latter, "just being" in/with the absolute real/truth. For a demo of her skill with a participant at a workshop of hers, go to: 


Read more…

Disruption into and amongst "Systems" of the banal and everyday, is a huge route to creative innovation, and not just for the fun of it. It can be potently productive, say recent researchers on organizational dynamics: [excerpt] 

LbztQsDfUr9JzFSp-JEycMTxfECyo_QTV9AT316IiUleX7DH7-9kWcpLrJh3AiLC0cOnT9zvjFEqfvD_Je55SQPLGcTdyYjOTroJ6GDTnYbU2LJuj6nW1e6RGqo2LG6HikDUhn0ZkZ3ltWyy1fAYziS-OYpJYfIxfTo=s0-d-e1-ft#<a href=https://gallery.mailchimp.com/2576dfff9468a5e3b5ccb0771/images/4301a483-6a6f-4354-8dd3-0a9599a46ec5.gif" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" data-bit="iit" />



Being fearless [1] sometimes requires going where no one else has gone — or, in the case of underrepresented groups, going where no one like you has ever gone.

We noticed many companies on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list check one of those boxes. While disruptive innovation is the core thread among all companies on the ranking, many of this year’s honorees have a unique business model centered around social or environmental purpose, 13 have a female founder, and 14 have CEOs representing racial and ethnic minorities. Triple Pundit’s recent article on sustainability innovators was just as inspiring, full of scientists and entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to do something different.

Below, we feature several organizations and individuals who are working fearlessly to conquer challenges and shape a better world — as well as many investors who support others who are disrupting the status quo. They inspire us with their bold actions and courage in the face of adversity. We hope you find them as inspiring as we do.



Note 1. I have typically critiqued the business world on its use of "fearless" which it never defines. See my critical blog on use of the term in the FM ning some days ago. 

Read more…

Over the 34 years studying the way people perceive, think, talk, teach and preach about fear (and fearlessness), has led me to many conclusions, hypotheses, theories and a philosophy around this topic. It has never ceased to amaze me how difficult it is to find people who really want to learn something fresh and new about fear (and, typically, concomitantly that means they are likewise not very interested to learn anything new or fresh about fearlessness or fearless). 

Basically, it is not their fault they are so unwilling and uninterested to learn anew and to even transform their thinking and imaginaries about the nature and role of fear (and fearlessness). What I see over and over, generally, is their fixing in on some fav definition and conceptualization or even a theory or implicit philosophy that has grown. They have adopted such a philosophy and they teach it with such confidence. 

On one level, you'd think as an educator and human potential advocate that I would be happy that people learn anything about fear and then teach it confidently. You'd think. But that's where the subtlety comes in and disrupts what might be my easy default position to take on individuality and human expression and opinion. I am all for such a beginning of that individual attitude and teaching, even preaching, as long as it is not oppressive and "demanding" (as Yahweh recently uttered on their post here)--but that alone, that free speech agenda, and tolerance, is not what makes a systematic study and learning about fear happen. No, it will not go far. 

That limitation is part of why I began the Fearlessness Movement and its mission "to better understand..." (that's exactly what this website is about)-- and, I'll leave you all with the educative challenge as a community of learners to really look at our self, our conditioning, without blame and attack or loathing, without fear that we are doing something wrong IF we are not so confident in preaching about fear. Good intentions to give advice about fear, a mainstay, of the teacher or preacher, is often a shallow pattern of knowledge pretending to be way more than it is because the intentions of goodness and helping are seen by the individual as their motivation for "sharing." 

True fearlessness work, as a path of learning and transformation, requires so much more than that "sharing"--I guess that's my main intervening point in this short blog. After 34 years of fear study, I can tell you, and I publish on this all the time, there is less confidence I know what I am talking about or even preaching about. 

One of the things that regularly disturbs me in the common discourses that have shaped people's minds, is they think they know what not only "fear" is all about but they utter the term "fearless" or even "fearlessness" as if they know exactly what that is. Maybe they do, in their own minds. But I ask, what theory of fear(lessness) are you utilizing to make your truth claims, your offerings of advice and your expressions? I am not saying here nor have I ever said, "stop sharing people because you don't know enough" and I am not saying either "you should listen to me because I know better." That said, some will definitely interpret that is what I am saying and publishing about in my work. 

The nuances of my points above, could be debated, and I'm glad to do so as part of the learning here on this FM ning. To offer but the most basic outline of a "theory" and a good deal of how I think about these topics, go to my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21st Century" (2010). That publication is one of many of mine. It also lists hundreds of references I have looked at and suggests where you can learn more about these topics. To end here, my short thesis in that book (based on 20 years of research) is that "fearless" is quite completely misunderstood by most people and "fearlessness" is even less understood. I create an integral developmental theory (from a fearlessness perspective) in that book. The theory says that we need to speak much more carefully about our ideas re: fear and how we manage it and educate ourselves and others around it. I call for a new improved and critical Fear Education 101. 

My basic developmental (evolutionary) theory of fear (management) goes through several distinct (albeit, overlapping) phases or stages--each with its own particular intelligence and adaptive strategies to manage fear:

Stage 1 - No Fear,

Stage 2 - Bravery,

Stage 3- Courage(ous),

Stage 4 - Fear Less,

---------------'Fear' Barrier (abyss) ----------

Stage 5 - Fearlessness

Stage 6 - Fearless.

I ask people to look at the data, the arguments, the references, the logic and the intuitions behind why I have used this language and these categories. I want to upgrade our poor fear education generally to get it up to snuff with the 21st century demands upon us as a species. 

Let's learn more together! 




Read more…


I'm so glad Dr. Mate' has his priorities right! He has seen "fearless" self-inquiry, individually and collectively as essential to overcoming the massive distortions of reality going on that are costing us our existence here on planet earth. If so many millions continue to buy his books and listen to his talks, as he is a 'guru' today in popular media and talk shows... may they all take a listen to this quote he ends his book with--as he sets out a vision for positive change. The "fearless" propositionhe calls for in this book is of course 'not normal' at all--not when we are talking about an authentic fearless self-inquiry not some superficial or romantic, bravado or be courageous or let's all just love each other and things will be better. Mate' is pointing towards so much more--and wiser truths. Yet, unfortunately, he doesn't philosophize on fear itself, a common error of teachers of all kinds. How will we understand fearless(ness) if we don't fully understand fear? 

BTW, those who, like Mate' are very familiar with AA's 12 Steps, will note that the "fearless self-inquiry" above spoken by Mate' is an echo of AA's Step 4: 

Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous encourages one to make, “A searching and fearless moral inventory” of themselves. In effect, this step is designed to help those struggling with addiction examine their character and behaviors. Through the process of discovering the true nature of personal character, a participant learns to understand identify the weaknesses that may have helped contribute to alcohol addiction. When one identifies these weaknesses, it allows them to begin to formulate plans to overcome them and changes their habits in the future. As one might expect, searching yourself so intimately can be a deeply uncomfortable and challenging endeavor. Luckily, there are processes for practicing Step 4 of AA.

His new book "The Myth of Normal" published in 2022 with his son Daniel Mate' as secondary author [erratum: not "2020 New Book" in the poster above, it is 2022]


Read more…

Trinity is Fearless: The Matrix Teachings



There are so many things one could say about this new film. I'll hold back for now, as I want to watch it a few more times before I write too much. However, there is a clear picture of the morphing notion of "The One" and what the latest movie Resurrections makes of it, with Trinity coming into her own--and, in fact women generally coming into their own to challenge the men characters and designers of The Matrix which controls human's lives (for the most part). The control pretty much declared throughout the four films since 1999 of The Matrix, as control via fear-- that is, when a fear choice is taken over a love choice. The enactment to reclaim the love choice, is however, made clear to me (at least) is about fearlessness--call it "fearless"--but it is fearlessness nonetheless--utter and shown as a harder choice (it seems) for women (and mothers) than for men. But, I'll let you all decide what dramatics are going on in this great piece of art--again, congrats to those who all made this latest film possible. I do trust the teachings from it will have more impact, 20 years later, in this self-reflective work with a critical edge. 

What are the Matrix teachings?, you may ask. They are, based on my study of this film series since 1999, a most poignant and deeply powerful set of "fearlessness teachings"--of the Fearlessness Movement--and, if viewers miss that, it's sad, but truly most people don't see the full depth in this art work project. It's profound. And it is available to learn from. 


Read more…

Bertrand Russell (1926) on Fear and Fearless

Bertrand Russell, the great UK philosopher, wrote a 1926 book "On Education" with implications for especially early childhood rearing, socialization and education (e.g., schooling). Interestingly, I am just reading this for the first time, and I see some really good signs that this will be a useful book in the history of Fear Studies, and especially the history of fear in educational philosophy. 

Russell has evoked me several times to quote him (from this book), especially his line around wisdom and fear, and around fearless mothers and fearless children as well. For purposes of this blog, I want to focus on why he thought love and fear were so crucial to child rearing and society's health in general. He ends his book with "A thousand ancient fears obstruct the road to happiness and freedom." (p. 206) During the book he makes a distinction that irrational fears are the biggest problem, rational fears are important--albeit, a big problem can come when a child, for example, has not the adequate rational fears online and operative and that puts the child at risk to dangers it normally would rationally be afraid of. He talks about his wife and him trying out many of these things about fear management with their own two children in the earliest years 1-4 yr olds. 

Again, on the final paragraph of the book he wrote, "But love can conquer fear, and if we love our children nothing can make us withold the great gift which is is in our power to bestow." (p. 206). One has to realize that Russell was a secularist-humanist philosopher, yet, here he is articulating what all the great spiritual/religious teachings also argue as a basic premise/theory about love and fear. That's a whole topic for study itself. Is this true, that love can conquer fear? What does conquer mean? On p. 71 he describes how an irrational fear in children (or anyone) ought to not be left alone to just disappear or skirt around too much. Russell says it "should be gradually overcome" as an important aspect of healthy developmental growth and learning. "Overcome" as a behavioral and emotional aspect, seems to be what Russell means by "conquer" in other parts of his text. 

In helping his own children to overcome fear(s), Russell tells us at one point, controversial I am sure it will be: "A grown-up [e.g., parent, teacher] person in charge of a child should never feel fear" --meaning, express it it in front of a child and when trying to teach a child to have mild rational fear of a potential danger the child needs to learn about (e.g., like a sharp knife edge, or cliff edge). Now, if an adult around a child is to be fully responsible for the best interests and growth and learning for a child, and to make them feel loved and not afraid of the world around them too much, then Russell argues it is best to "never feel" or express fear in your teaching children lessons or warnings. I tend to agree with this because of the unpredictable (if not traumatic) ways a child may take in the concrete message from the adult but also the affect-tracing lingerings of the adult into their emotional (if not soul level) aspects of their being. Adults have that kind of powerful impact potential on children's psyche/soul, is my claim, and many others but here we see Russell the philosopher (and father) saying the same thing. His cautionary goes on to say: " That is one reason why courage should be cultivated in women just as much as in men." (p. 72). There's a few arguments he makes later in the book about the sexes and the dynamics of fear and timidity, etc. He wants both sexes to be hardy and courageous --and even fearless. Again, he focuses at times on women's major role here in child development of fearlessness: 

"One generation of fearless women could transform the world...by bringing into it a generation of fearless children".... and "Education is the key" to this accomplishment. On my part, that is true and is exactly why I offer an upgraded theory and praxis called critical Fear Management/Education or simply Fear Education for the 21st century. Russell's philosophy of education, it turns out, is very supportive of my initiative. 

Anyone have some thoughts about all this?


Russell, B. (1926/2003). On education. Routledge.






Read more…

Mike Tyson said, "Fear is like fire, you can burn your house

down and kill yourself-or cook food and warm yourself."

Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows is the true story of Four Arrows (Dr. Don T. Jacobs) since his child years to his life at 71. He is an internationally recognized important indigenous scholar and mixed-blood American. Four Arrow is an activist of fearless. He has been advocating his own kind of fearless movement since 1970s.

How to be fearless moving beyond fears is the primary teaching Four Arrows shares in his real-life teaching stories as practical advice in the book. This intellectual biography is written by the educator-fearologist R. Michael Fisher. CAT-FAWN model is introduced to readers as Four Arrows’ discovery of a radical approach to de-hypnotize ourselves from negative fear. Four Arrows knows fear deeply, for example when he was challenged: "I must have felt enough fear after the March 2008 diagnosis of non- Hodgkins lymphoma..." (p.246) He uses CAT-FAWN as an inspiring means plus other tools to keep the disease from killing him.   

Four Arrows says, " [my] Near-death-experience (NDE) while white-water kayaking on the Rio Urique in 1983 is one of the real experiences of fear." It is real fear experience, the kind that transforms one’s life completely.

I enjoyed other stimulating quotes, like Mike Tyson said, "Fear is like fire, you can burn your house down and kill yourself-or cook food and warm yourself." (p. 244) Four Arrows trained wild horses and learned a great deal about fear and how to manage it. A beautiful sentence by Fisher says, "If fear is the horse, courage is the rider." During the reading, I think readers will feel like they are together with Four Arrows in his activities described in detail of risking while swimming, playing, horse riding, teaching and kayaking.

The integrative conversation approach of the book between the author and subject Four Arrows and Fear—multiple characters—is  fascinating. It helps readers to make more clear most all things about fear and fearless. I hope this book is good for those readers who are experiencing fear and willing to know real fear. 

Read more…


 In the short essay “Can I Be Fearless?” by the internationally eminent organizational consultant, leadership trainer and teacher, Margaret Wheatley, available on the Internet at several locations, is everything I’m glad about what is happening with intention regarding the improvement of fear management/education (FME)[1] today—and, unfortunately, everything that is ‘wrong’ (distortive) with how we still think and talk and teach about fear. My position has been that we haven’t had an appropriate 21st century upgrade [2]in our “program” of how we conceive FME for a long time and its more than overdue. Fisher and Subba (2016) concluded,

            There is something profoundly new to be said about fear and its impacts in the

            21st century. The sooner it is said the better otherwise the evidence shows we will

            continue losing ground to fear—realizing one day, fear has us in its ominous

            grip—and, our healthy fearuality development (analogous to sexuality) is compromised. (p. xxi)

If we cannot arrive at an upgraded and disciplined multiperspectival view of fear itself within the near future as an intervention, then the Fear Problem will continue to rule and destroy life on this planet to the point of mass extinctions (Fisher, 2016).


Margaret Wheatley

Before I begin my critique of how Wheatley teaches about fear and FME in this essay, that I think her teaching is almost a “standard” for most teachers who talk about fear. That said, she is also one of the ‘cream of the crop’ organizational consultants and human leadership teachers on the planet today. She brings a welcomed Buddhist perspective to much of her work and to the functioning of a healthy workplace in the Western world. I have published off and on of her positive contributions and her critical and useful challenge for all of us to think better about the 21st century in terms of how we relate to fear, personally and collectively. In particular, two of her publications are worth noting, of which I have honored for their direction we need to go, and which I ended my book (Fisher, 2010) with: (a) “Eight Fearless Questions” in 2006[3] and, (b) “Fearlessness: The Last Organizational Change Strategy” in 2007.[4]

When I recently found and read her essay “Can I Be Fearless?” (Wheatley, 2008), I decided to carefully analyze it to see what if any thing might be new in her synthesis and teaching of FME. It struck me as a good teaching case study.

            Problem of Use of Terms

The first problematic in this short essay is her unsystematic classification system (i.e., no system) for terms that are crucially important in any FME curriculum. There is no adequate attention given to discussion of fear per se or with a philosophy and/or theory of fear to accompany and support it. Where is her starting point for a discussion of fearless, if one has no robust idea of what she defines or means by fear?

I don’t necessarily expect something complex and scholarly in such an explicit defining, as her piece is obviously written as a quick and practical overview for the practitioner. However, this is an omission too often found in 95% of the writing I read on FME. Thus, she, like the rest, assume the reader already knows what fear is (i.e., an emotion, is the assumed default “truth”). I have challenged this type of omission in a recent article (Fisher, 2016a) by criticizing it functions as a political and epistemic hegemonic (dominating) discourse—and, thus a tragic distortion of the four major ways/discourses of knowing fear on the planet (i.e., beyond, fear is an emotion discourse). In fairness to Wheatley, she does draw on two opening quotes referring to “fear” by rather famous spiritual teachers, Hafiz and Parker Palmer,[5] who say a few things about fear but do not define it either, other than indirectly. They do at least acknowledge, as does Wheatley herself, the importance of fear in shaping the human condition—of which, my own work with Desh Subba supports (e.g., Fisher and Subba, 2016). 

Secondly, she repeatedly exchanges “fearless” with “fearlessness,” of which I have argued is a very common tendency, which has no theoretical or philosophical grounds to do so—and thus, falls into a common populist discourse usage with the same looseness (Fisher, 2016b). It also contravenes (seemingly by ignoring), the decades of scholarly work others and I have done on the topic. Albeit, I can forgive her somewhat for this loose use of these terms because I never articulated the integral theory of fear management systems until Fisher (2010), making the explicit distinction based on a good deal of historical and cross-cultural research. I have argued, however, since the early 1990s that “Fearless” is a very high level (or stage[6]) of evolutionary and personal development of consciousness that includes but transcends “fearlessness.” They are best used not interchangeably.

Her focus, despite the title of the essay (on “fearless”), is on “fearlessness”  and there is some worthy material there. Again, without having defined “fear” earlier, it leaves me with continually questioning how useful really is her discussion on fearlessness. I also question the reliance on any tradition (e.g., Buddhism, which highly values “fearlessness”) by Wheatley or other authors, touting the great virtue of fearlessness when one could argue the person pursuing fearlessness is not able to identify “fear” (or ‘fear’ as I add to the complexity of knowledge required). She does ask, “... what is fearlessness? It’s not being free of fear, for fear is part of our human journey” (Wheatley, 2008, p. 1). Here you can see the necessary dependency of fear and fearlessness as a dialectical relationship, yet, without fear being defined per se, and assume to be meaningful and true as “part of our human journey” (i.e., natural), she glosses over a huge epistemic problem in discussions about FME. She does not make clear what is natural fear or normal fear or pathological fear, etc. A number of authors do this in their discourse, but they all confuse and conflate to make natural and normal one and the same thing. This is highly problematic and distortive because of the evidence that is shown from many disciplines that there is a constructed fear born in the cradle of a “culture of fear” context,[7] and thus, to assume fear is simply natural or normal is to exclude the context of our lived reality. I have referred to this problem of reductionism (once again) to a hegemonic psychologization of fear (or FME). Writers, like Wheatley, disavow and/or ignore the historical, cultural, social and political complexity of fear and how humans are impacted by it and are participant co-creators of constructed fear (i.e., cultural modified fear, as analogous to genetically modified organisms). 

Colonial Western (Dominant) Worldview Bias

Although there are other things I could critique,[8] including how Wheatley later uses “true fearlessness” without mentioning its dialectical partner “false fearlessness” and why there would be such a distinction required in the first place. I’ll end with one last point of great disturbance—and, that is her highly Western modernist (colonialist) perspective on the topic, even if she refers to authority figures in spiritual teachings from the Eastern world (e.g., Hafiz, Zen). It comes across that she has not at all integrated Indigenous traditions around the world (especially, from her own country of origin, America) to offer wisdom on FME—an Indigenous-based critique made recently of the “Dominant worldview” in relation to fear, courage and fearlessness (Four Arrows, 2016; see chapter two).

This flaw shines brightly in the first paragraph of her essay when she talks of “our own families, perhaps going back several generations” as guides and inspiration because they “have been fearless.” She mentions, “They may have been immigrants who bravely left the safety of home, veterans who courageously fought in wars, families who endured economic hardships, war, persecution, slavery, oppression, dislocation. We all carry within us this lineage of fearlessness” (Wheatley, 2008, p. 1). I do not here a direct acknowledgement of the people who have lived relatively sustainably with Nature for 99% of human history and what they went through, and how they are the more reliable source (than the Dominant worldview) to understand fearlessness—and pass it on.

Bottomline, one finds no nuanced understanding of fear and fearlessness in Wheatley’s essay and teachings and worse it has no multiperspectival approach to understanding these notions. She makes no effort to question the “reality” and definitions she vaguely offers. The lack of such critical awareness is not what one would expect from a person who is into Buddhism. So, the message to me is that if someone as top-notch as Wheatley is so flawed in her presentation on this topic, what are we getting fed as a public by the rest of the FME teachers out there in the world?

Time to develop our own critical awareness of everyone who teaches some form of FME, even if they don’t believe they are doing so. Fact is, we most all are teaching by modeling, if not more directly through instruction. FME is a socialization phenomena, and a critical one to do well. We have a lot of work to raise the consciousness about the Fear Problem, of which part of it is how we talk, write, and teach about fear itself.


Fisher, R. M. (2006). Invoking ‘Fear’ Studies. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 22(4), 39-71.

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

Fisher, R. M. (2016). Invoking fearanalysis: A new methodology applied to wicked problems and paradigm shifts in the Anthropocene. A CSIIE Yellow Paper, DIFS-15. Carbondale, IL: Center for Spiritual Inquiry & Integral Education.

Fisher, R. M. (2016a). 80% of fear discourse focuses on 25% of fear reality. Retrieved from http://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/80-of-fear-discourse-focuses-on-25-of-fear-reality

Fisher, R. M. (2016b). Problem of branding “fearlessness” in education and leadership. Technical Paper No. 59. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

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

 Kleiner, A. (with Wheatley, M. J.) (2007). Fearlessness: The last organizational change strategy. Retrieved from http://www.strategy-business.com/li/leadingideas/li00044?pg=1

 Wheatley, M. (2008). Can I be fearless? Retrieved from margaretwheatley.com/wp-content/.../Wheatley-CanIBeFearless.pdf‎


[1] The importance of this term cannot be overemphasized. It is based on the premise that the only reason any human being wants to know about fear is because they want to manage it more effectively. That has a lot more theoretical basis, which is beyond the scope of this article (see Fisher, 2010). Suffice it to say, I am the only writer using this term. Note, many writers do not explicitly admit their writing is about fear management, never mind fear education and thus, should be critiqued as such.

[2] I basically mean a postmodern, postcolonial, and post-postmodern (integral) upgrade of perspective (see Fisher, 2010).

[3] Excerpt from “A Call to Fearlessness for Gentle Leaders,” from her address at the Shambhala Institute Core Program in June 2006. Published in Fieldnotes, September/October 2006 by The Shambhala Institute for Authentic Leadership, http://www.shambhalainstitute.org/contat/html.

[4] See Kleiner interview with Wheatley (Kleiner, 2007).

[5] I have also been critical over the years of Parker Palmer’s writing on FME, and in the quote he goes from talking about fear (itself) generically as “so fundamental to the human condition that all the great spiritual traditions originate in an effort to overcome its effects on our lives” (cited in Wheatley, 2008, p. 1), but then he goes on to talk about fears (p. 2)—a contagious problem in FME discourses that reduce the nature and role of fear to fears as if this is no categorical problem at all. Again, it is not the purpose of this article to go into the technical details of this reductionism other than to mention it as one other form of an epistemic flaw in the discourse of Palmer, Wheatley and 95% of writers on FME.

[6] Following the principles of integral developmental theory (a la Ken Wilber), one would have to make distinctions about what is a state experience of fearless (and/or fearlessness) and what is a stage of attained development of fearless. The former being an ephemeral experience, the latter being a relatively stable identity and experiential reality (also called nondual stage). I won’t go into the technicalities of this and one is best to turn to study of integral developmental theory to better understand the basis for Wilber being clear about making this distinction which fits reality best (or, at least, I find it a very good theory of explanation).

[7] This is a large topic, I recommend Fisher (2006) for an overview of the culture of fear context/problem.

[8] Similarly, in how she approaches “fear” without defining it adequately, or pointing out the problems in defining it from multiple perspectives and contexts, she makes clumsy errors equally with defining bravery, courage and bravado—as she contrasts these (rightfully) with fearlessness. Again, see Fisher (2010) for an integral theory of fear management systems, whereby, I identify an evolutionary and developmental deep structural model that distinguishes six core systems that counteract “fear” (and ‘fear’): (1) no fear, (2) bravery (and bravado), (3) courage(ousness), (4) fear-less, (5) fearlessness, and (6) fearless.

Read more…

Based on the prior discussion with Durwin, and his daughter's attraction to "fearless" motivational discourses, images, ideas (1)... there's such a deep channel of contemporary popular culture that is currently working really hard to overcome fear, and use fear as a motivation to excel (express absolute uniqueness of self), for males and females... but, if you want to get a feel for this discourse (a very problematic one), you can check out this video on Youtubehttps://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=fear+motivational+video&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-003, which is one of many hundreds no doubt, as I have been studying these hyper-individualized (often hyper-masculinized) motivational discourses (fear management/education) in W. societies for several decades-- implicit in the imagery and ideology promoted as "motivation" has to be questioned as it promotes "fearless" in such a loose (partial) way... with virtually no sensibility to cultural, historical and social contexts or (i.e., relational) dimensions-- this is in my view the pathology of the reductionistic view of "self" and "success" (2)-- and where this W. society is heading, and has been long on such a trajectory that leads to the adrenalin-over-dose addiction pattern (i.e., the 'fear' pattern itself) of bravado that thinks it is conquering fear... (by will power)...  

End Notes

1. The other underpinning is an "anti-victimization" narrative and ideology below this-- all part of a very conservative politics that I find is quite oppressive to those who don't all start on the same platform to achieve "success"-- and you'll, also hear the loud volume of the booming "authoritarian" voice in this telling you what you should do-- it is quite the irony to the freedom to "be oneself" promoted. Contradictions abide, and thus, we need a critical study of these--adolescents are particularly susceptible to this stuff (but not all). 

2. Upper quadrants of Wilber's integral map-- often seen as quadrantism (a pathological epistemological orientation); I often call this the psycho-spiritual dimension which "thinks" it can overcome everything and "win" (i.e., dominate, or at least, try to win over all other quadrants)--you can see this hyper-adrenalized masculinity in this video is so much a part of sports and fitness (even health) discourses today which spreads over all our lives as "being the best you can be" etc. --it even spreads into "spiritual" development of which you'll see small fragments in this seductive video.

Read more…