THE FOLLOWING (fictional, non-fictional) DIALOGUE (and image above) is created by R. Michael Fisher, July 21/18... because, he was bored one night!
Q: Have you heard of the book published recently that features the 40+ years of teaching experiences of Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs)? It is written up in an intellectual biography by Dr. R. Michael Fisher and specifically focuses on the teachings Four Arrows, an Indigenous-based educator-activist, has gained from studying and applying professionally many things from hypnotherapy to wild horse training, high-level sports coaching, and teaching in general. Four Arrows gains most of his wisdom from Nature and what he calls the ‘old ways’ of the Indigenous worldview.
A: Yes, I heard of the book. I’ve met Four Arrows many years ago and showed him my book.
Q: The emphasis of Fisher in the book is on seeing Four Arrows’ life and work through the lens of fearlessness. Fisher, a 40+ year teacher himself, from diverse backgrounds, connected over 11 years ago with Four Arrows and noted that “Fear” was a major topic in Four Arrows writing and teaching—and, that’s rare for any educator that he’s read or known.
A: Yes, “Fear” is potentially a powerful force.
Q: Fisher decided with Four Arrows to entitle the book: Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer.
A: Now in my 60s and having had a lot of wilderness experience, I can't say that I've ever become fearless. I'm not even sure that's a goal for me any longer.
Q: Do you think becoming fearless is a goal for a lot of people?
A: I don’t know. On first glance it seems like a cool ideal—or some kind of ideal of youth.
Q: I have noticed “fearless” is used for branding all kinds of things these days, from hair and cosmetic products for women to you name it. Indeed young people are most attracted to the idea of it. It does seem a cool word in popular culture. Four Arrows and Fisher have something much more subtle in mind in how they use the term, and they actually use it in multiple ways, depending on the context.
A: As I mentioned, I can’t say that I’ve ever become fearless and I have no desire to attain it. Rather, fear seems to be part of my inner weather and as long as I have a self, I suspect I'll experience fear.
Q: Oh, I see. Do you ever imagine...
A: Actually, rather than becoming free of fear or conquering it, I work to learn to live with fear and to pay attention to what it has to teach me.
Q: So, you disagree with Four Arrows and Fisher? Have you read their book?
A: No, I haven’t. I’m just saying what’s right for me. I am not interested in becoming free of fear or conquering it.
Q: I’ve read their book, and they don’t talk about that. They have 80+ years of combined experience and concentrated study on the topic of fear and fearlessness. They actually define “fearless engagement” as something more than mere behavioral action of being without fear feelings or...
A: Yeah, well whatever. I know what’s right for me. Rather than becoming free of it or conquering it, I work to learn to live with fear and to pay attention to what it has to teach me.
Q: I’ve read your book on wilderness experiences and you write a fair amount about your fears at times.
A: Yeah, I do.
Q: And, I notice you teach courses on your book.
A: Yeah, I do.
Q: So, you really don’t see anything you are curious in about Four Arrows’ and Fisher’s expertise on this topic of fear to fearless(ness)?
A: I don’t believe there are experts; we all have our own inner-expert and all we have to do is learn to listen to it.
Q: Seems like you already know what you need to know about fear and fearlessness.
A: I don’t need another book to tell me... ah, fear teaches me, and so does Nature... it works.
Q: Basically, Four Arrows and Fisher say the same thing you are, they just have a more complicated understanding of Fear and therefore Fearlessness in quite interesting ways.
A: Uh, ha. I’m not that interested in complicating things that are really simple.
[Note: the above dialogue was inspired by an actual email correspondence with a very bright person (see A: parts)... and slightly modified to create a narrative story; the theme of this dialogue is something that RMF finds more than a little annoying but real and repetitive in his experience for decades on this planet]