fearlessness (67)

Love-Pleasure-Dopamine Addiction

For a good short explanation of a theory that explains brain functioning and dopamine release process and regulation of that ...

go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zd9qvJUr-o

Dr. Anna Lembke, psychiatrist who also points out the social-cultural habit problem of "too much pleasure" available and digested today in the postmodern world--it is literally making us more and more anxious-depressed and dysphoric and suffering more physical pain. Our brain system didn't evolve with so much access to pleasurable thoughts, substances and behaviors. Now, I would add the problem of "Love" (especially in contrast to Fear)--and, how I am quite sure that Fearlessness IS a much healthier pursuit and path that does not get caught in trying to always get to the "Love" side. Lembke, at least physiologically, speaks to this and the vicious cycling of "always searching for love" --and, it creates huge problems on the other side (via, what Lembke calls "opponent process reaction").

Note, "Fearlessness" gets us beyond this opponent process reaction triggering mechanism (at least theoretically) because it gets us beyond the binary-seeking of pleasure over pain or equally in parallel the love over fear (e.g., positive over negative). "Fearlessness" paradigm unhooks us (albeit, slowly often) from the binary obsession and problems of opponent process reaction in the brain-emotional system. 

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Meditation: Be Fearful and Fearless

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A Talk By R. M. Fisher, @ Meditative Inquiry Conference, Aug. 18, 2022 

The link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2H8yByGFYw&list=PLfVjDB_dQhEomgiYYmBJKj1nvD1oGBwaf&index=14

gives access to a Talk I did on the Fearlessness Worldview and its critique of Meditative Inquiry as is being promoted by several people, especially in E. Canada and the field of Education. This is part of a movement of spiritual education and its branches of holistic education, transpersonal education, contemplative education, mindfulness education, peace education, love education, etc. I critique the bias of perspective of all these movements that like to focus and collectivize their "corrective" for the world around virtues signalling and aims of hope. The Fearlessness Worldview, a liberation praxis itself and education process, takes another route, one that is arguably less fear-based, more integral-holistic and wiser than the fault of running after the next fix of 'escape' from fear and suffering and a world so enmeshed in the making of its own crises--at every level and especially at the level of the institutions that fall within the Dominant Worldview and its self-deception and corruption. 

After a brief meditation I offer at the beginning (photo above), I am 2nd to speak on the panel and I start with critical commentary about the problems I see in the book "Meditative Inquiry" based on the conference leader's work. IF you only want to see my teachings go to 25:38 on the video for a 20 min. rather improvisational lecture. And go to 1:10:45 for picking up on comments (Q and A) at the end of the panel session, in which you will hear one philosophy professor from India makes comments on my talk and concludes fervently "we need to be fearful and fearless" --then, I come on and comment on his comment and take the discussion further based on a question someone asked in the panel "define fearlessness." Of course, of which I didn't in a nice clean linear way! I give some reasons for why that is so, and the problem of my topic and this question in the context of having one or two minutes at most to engage it. I really find these rushed-time conference presentations as a format a horrid way to actually do serious scholarly work or dialogue. Oh, well... take this for what it's worth.... 

 

Of course, in only a 20 min. talk on a panel, it is near impossible to set up my arguments for a Fearlessness Worldview and 

 

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[The following article is reprinted with permission from X. Yuan.] 

Fearless Conversations in Curriculum as a Wayfinding Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Xuechen Yuan
Lakehead University

JCACS Musings, Apr. 19/22

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGpGwhzxzJsLzfBCcldNQRhjpdD

I fear many things amid the crisis in Ukraine when the immediate future is so unknown. Being immersed in mainstream news media makes me even more fearful. As a graduate student in Education, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the uncertainties of global consequences makes me very pessimistic about curriculum reform these days. At a time when collective trauma and fear coexist within the bodies of the world’s citizens, stories symbolizing backwardness are constantly told, and voices of hope for global justice are silenced. With the current nuclear terror in Europe, information warfare, the deteriorated NATO-Russian relationships, and the Taiwan Strait Crisis, news media induces a global mass hysteria of World War III. While people around the world stand in solidarity with Ukraine and others who are affected by Putin’s tyranny, I fear that humanity is headed for a more nuclearized, militarized, competitive, and backward situation. While looking at history, I realize that many of the decisions that led the world to being in an arms-race situation could have been avoided long ago. Decades of mistrust between the U.S. and Russia destroyed any hope for turning Russia into an ally and for democratic reform in Russia. Russian civilians’ distrust of the hypocrisy of democracy and freedom of speech has been reinforced since it does nothing to prevent millions of children from being malnourished, starving and dying.

To be fair, I’m writing this post out of fear. As someone born in an authoritarian state like China, I have always been discouraged to raise adverse opinions of sensitive issues on any platform. Especially in the face of the invasion, Chinese leaders have been siding with the aggressor, and have mass media intensifying toxic nationalism against the West. After an in-depth discussion with renowned fear scholar R. Michael Fisher, I realize that we could explore opportunities in fear. In Chinese, we often say Weiji (危机) — opportunity in crisis. I like how this transforms the relationship to fear rather than assuming a reductive and functional view that defines fear and supposes that it’s the best way to make sense of things (Fisher, 2010). We must understand fear, not run from it. The mainstream news media coverage of the current crisis in Europe has left us with a victim-type of fear, building curriculum that does not endow or inspire any practices of fearlessness. The American imperialism of news outlets has been inducing mass hysteria of nuclearization and Russophobia across the globe. It is not the future that haunts us but the fear of the future. But isn’t that what we fear every day? We fear what we are not prepared for (that we lack agency and readiness), but isn’t that the point of curriculum, to prepare us to face those fearful uncertainties during our apprenticeships, rather than spoon-feeding our ways out of fear?

Economic and political competition might seem like a ‘game of thrones’ for many conventional wisdom holders, and to many who view history as an objective truth. But I think of curriculum as being ‘agentic,’ a way-finding that can shift the narratives we tell of the past. A lot of us might be let down by the injustice in the world today, but we need to continue to find our ways amid fear, acknowledge and feel the fear inside of us, and then become courageous to face the fear. During this invasion, countless netizens, activists, and civilians around the world rose against Putin’s brutal actions. The borders between nations are no longer defined geopolitically, but agentically by conversations. In an internationalized and democratic world, conversations enable us to readjust and destabilize the conventional, now ever-changing borders (Pinar, 2004). The next step of curriculum for us is to define borders ideologically with depth imagery. An authentic conversation requires “going beyond the surface to take into account ‘unspoken’ and ‘taken-for-granted’ assumptions, including ‘ideology’ […and] must be guided by an interest in understanding more fully what is not said by going beyond what is said’’ (Aoki, as cited in Pinar, 2004, p. 159). So far, our democratic discourse/conversations have been based on denouncing Putin’s behaviour, which can be done intuitively and without much effort to engage in deeper conversations. Many who are sceptical of the ideal of democracy perceive it from the frame of reference of cognitive imperialism — ‘fast-food-like’ pedagogy embedded in empty words that lead people into a fallacy that they are endowed with greater freedom than institutions actually allow. Cognitive imperialism largely obscures the construction of conjunctive ‘inter-space’ in conversations while diverting public attention to shallowness of conversations — freedom of expression and individual liberty. What is beyond the unsaid, however, requires a curriculum of critical literacy in which people work together to co-create reciprocal and complex conversations. Our curriculum needs to create democratic agents, not agents in a democratic political structure. Conversation represents a relationship between spaces (not just ‘spaces’), where people engage in mutuality rather than dichotomous struggles of viewpoints. Therefore, when world crises happen, we do not just condemn the aggressor with empty words but act ahead to prevent it. This is how our curriculum can truly be agentic rather than being reactive (to fear).

From the emergence of COVID-19 to the humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe, it has become more necessary than ever for curriculum changes to address how the trauma of war, the separation, and the isolation of life, have lived in and affected our bodies, so we can hold each other’s hands and find our way out of the hardships collectively, rather than kill each other. Ironically, we can learn a lot from coronaviruses; even viruses know how to converse with each other and change according to different situations to achieve their survival goals (Chambers, 2022). I don’t know what the curriculum will look like in the future, but I do know that our curriculum should inspire people to share difficult knowledge, memories, stories, and to explore and confront their fears, not run from them. The purpose of this post is to find ways to encourage people to lift the veil of these unspoken fears, to engage in deep (as opposed to dichotomous) conversations with each other, and to prevent hatred, phobia, and mistrust toward others. To end this post with an excerpt from an interview done with University of Lethbridge professor Cynthia Chambers (2022), “The truth about maps is they’re only useful when you’ve already been somewhere, they’re not really helpful when you’ve never been anywhere [… We have to] find our way collectively and to learn together [under difficult circumstances], rather than looking to authorities for the final answer or being angry that nobody knows” (26:44).

Rise up, Ukraine. We stand with you!

References

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

JCACS Curriculum Without Borders. (2022, February 23). JCACS interviews Cynthia Chambers: Curriculum as wayfinding. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNAxSJbdBPo

Pinar, W. F. (2004). What is curriculum theory? Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

 

 

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Figure 1  Philosophical Treatments of Fear (Historically in the Western World) 

 

CONFESSION OF A FEAR CRITIC [1]

-R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D.

Every philosopher, theorist, practitioner in any field of inquiry and endeavor ought to eventually come to a time in their life and career where they re-evaluate their work. This year has been a good one for me as a fear critic to assess what has been happening since I joined the stream of thought throughout time that has investigated "fear." I am feeling like there's a big transition, a growing doubt of some of my premises, and a suspicion that my fearwork may have 'taken a wrong turn.' The longer story is yet to be written. But I at least here in this blog want to offer Figure 1 as a preview of my mapping the historical moves and movements of various philosophers that I believe are quite important to Fear Studies in general. The main aspect of Figure 1 shows the "Positivization" of agendas of various thinkers and their movements as they worked to make the concept and experience of "fear" more positive than was the case for the majority (of their times). They all, more or less believe (and rightly) that "fear" has too often been given a negative valuation over it being positive in humanity and Nature. Although, since 1989, I have been aware of this positivization in various discourses on fear, I was never quite taken-up into the enthusiasm of the positivization movement in Fear Studies. Now, I am re-evaluating that choice on my part? My motivation? My insistance that there was a skewing of reality by this positivization, of which I wrote many critiques of what I called the "fear-positivists" (and/or "fear-positivism"), was maybe a good track to take philosophically but in 2022 I am starting to really wonder if my choice was a good one. 

Therefore in Figure 1 you can see that I have put the "Fisherian" camp of fearwork outside of the main field of positivization of fear camp. You probably know that I chose "fearlessness" as the core strength for my study of fear ('fear') and fearlessness. The others in Figure 1, all whom I respect (and other writers are not shown just to keep this diagram less complicated), are distinct in their working with the fear-fearlessness relationship. To be clear, most all of the fear-positivists are anti-fearlessness (except Subba and some of his followers, and except Four Arrows). The main reason for my re-evaluation at this time is that I have re-discovered the work of Sam Gillian Jr.(1939-2016) in recent months and have begun a serious study of his unique Beckerian and Black existentialism that leads into his philosophy and fear-pedagogy--all of which I believe is so uniquely constructed that it deserves the categorization of Gillianism of Fear. Gillian was not aware of the liberalism of fear and fearism of fear and other writers in the list above, but he was aware of existentialism in general and especially he was influenced by Ernest Becker's work. The latter, I greatly admire and have been studying off and on since the early 1980s before I even began the In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989-). 

I've been reflecting on my own path of fearlessness approach to fear. I have made various philosophical moves and created methodological approaches (e.g., fearanalysis) to accomodate my interest to camp more in the fear-negativist discourse but with a good deal of revision of those discourses that come from history. By no means, was I conforming to only making fear negative--yet, I was compelled to construct 'fear' as a postmodern concept, and situate Fear Studies within a "culture of fear" (and/or 'Fear' Matrix) and thus fearlessness as the main approach gave me a decided edge of negativity towards fear and knowledges constructed on fear. I also felt I was somewhat fear-positive and still do, but lately and with the work of Gillian, my critiques have turned on my own work. I do not believe my trajectory has been very effective, and there is a lot of evidence since 1989 to prove to me my work has faltered in having any real impact out there in the world, in the field of Education or anywhere else. The Fearlessness Movement (and this ning under that name) have been luke-warm to non-existent in real impacts and growth of a powerful modeling of fear mangement/education and/or of liberation in general. It's been a sobering reality of watching this non-productivity of my fearlessness-oriented fearwork. I am seeing that fear-negativity still is strong in my work and that must change to be more effective. Gillian especially has argued persuasively that a truly simple and productive fear management begins with fear-positivity and of course, many others have said this too (see Figure 1). Yet, for various reasons, it was the combination of Ernest Becker's philosophy and Terror Management Theory that arose from it; and then the application of the philosophy and pedagogy of Gillian (a Beckerian) that really made the difference. [see the prior FM blog on Samuel N. Gillian for more background]. 

Basically, the fear-positivism camp offers (likely) 'the best' treatment of fear philosophically, theoretically and practically--for where the "populus" and society as a whole is at. My own work is 20 yrs. ahead (i.e., 'out there' in the stratosphere)--and, I have to admit not very useful at the moment. In the end, I envision a more productive fear management education for the world that the fear-positivists will lead, and I can help serve that movement as well but I will always have my biases--and, perhaps, my fearlessness work will in some way hold a larger perspective for all the good of the fear-positivists; perhaps, my work will keep the fear-posiitivists from falling into traps of their own ideology and shadow(?) I can only speculate, my work has been in an important fear-negative camp for a reason and it is not just some personal fettish but only history will "test" that. I really don't know. What I do know is that there is still a good deal of synthesis required, and good critical analysis, to make the fear-positive camp stronger and more effective. And, really there is not a lot of time to waste for this to happen. If I can help out, do let me know. 

I'll leave this introductory confession right here... for discussion, if anyone is interested. There is a whole course I could teach on Figure 1--that would be a fantastic addition to Fear Studies and fearology, etc. Maybe some day, if there is interest. P.S. the International Journal of Fear Studies is homeless right now, but I am working closely with some colleagues (especially, Rayson K. Alex) to re-locate and re-structure the journal (it may be a year or two down the road before it is operating again).

ADDENDUM

To be sure there are sub-branches of philosophies and thinkers not mentioned in Figure 1, for example, a fascinating movement by Sijin Yan (et al.) on a Levinasianism of Fear and Four Arrows (Wahinkpe Topa) and an Indigenism of Fear, Libertarianism of Fear (Frank Furedi) all could easily be added; and, I suspect there are others I am missing too; note also there are Asian and African variant branches of Fearism of Fear (spurred on by Desh Subba but also some quite independent streams of thought). Also, missing here, is discussion of the role of religion (especially, the Abrahamic traditions) in securing the effective dispositions of a fear-positive theology (e.g., it is good to fear God, Allah, Yahweh)--that these religious discourses are core to cultural development and health is an area for debate. There is also missing here the debate on what a good "pedagogy" re: fear ought to be (?). Typically, the "pedagogy of fear" (e.g., Arie Kizel and others) is always constructed as a fear-negative discourse, for the most part. This really all needs to be unpacked further, and I think Figure 1 offers a larger framework for the evaluation on the nature and role of fear and education (learning) overall. As well, there is the Indigenous (and pre-colonial), post-colonial, Matrixial (feminine), and nondual, pragmatism (Barbara Stengel) and holistic and Integral perspectives (worldviews) that I have left out here--they are not to be taken lightly in their importance for the future development of philosophy of fear (fearlessness). And lastly, I apologize for the largely "Western" slant on this whole discussion and Figure 1 representation. Eastern (and Northern, Southern) perspectives need to map their own field of orienting the major branches of fear-positive and fear-negative discourses. 

Notes: 

1. Fisher, R.M. (2002). On being a 'fear' critic. Technical Paper No. 14. Vancouver, BC: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

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Glad to announce this new book, initiated and led by B. Maria Kumar and most of his essays, and I respond to them. (Indra Publishing House, 2022)

I think readers will find us as two fearists in a creative exchange that was a lot of fun for me to be involved. One may even learn something new about the "human" from this book. 

 
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This excerpt (first draft only) is a small piece to give you a sense of what I am 'onto' these days, especially in writing this tenth book (to be published later this year by Information Age Publishing, in their Philosophy of Education Series, Ed. Dr. John Petrovic) [1]. I have been working months and months, and it has been quite a ploughing the soil. Hard going at times. This Chapter Five took weeks to complete, as I just did this morning. Wow! It is by far the largest chapter in the book (coming in at a heavty 25,000 words itself, without the references). Yikes.

A number of fresh insights came from the writing that I could put into it, so that was good. It is never a boring writing because I risk all the time, on the edge of not knowing what I am doing and not creating chapter outlines. I just start writing. 

As always, I trust this bit of expository on fear will intrigue you to critique, to commnent, here on the FM ning. And/or you can always email me directly: 

r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com

Notes

1. Excerpt from Fisher, R. M. (in progress). The Fear Problematique: Role of Philosophy of Education in Speaking Truths to Power in a Culture of Fear. 

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Christine Breese, Ph.D., University of Metaphysical Sciences, and from Wisdom of the Heart Church (non-profit 501(c)3), offered in 2011 a free book entitled: 

"Fearlessness In the 2012 Paradigm Shift" (here is free copy in pdf.

I have not read too much detail but scanned her Table of Contents --and it is interesting for sure. A few highlights: "Paradigms Are Built to Fight Change, It's Natural" and "Hypnosis in Fear For The Masses" and Chapter 5 "Facing Fear" and "What Does a Fearless Life Look Like?" 

Those are all topics that interest me a lot as a fearologist. I'm writing my own book now on The Fear Problematique, and a core of what I need to articulate is the importance of what a Fearlessness Paradigm, contra a Fear Paradigm is all about. And, then link that to a fearlessness philosophy and theories and finally to education as a field. 

Anyways, you folks may want to check out her book here. It's historical of course, that 10 years ago there was a lot of 'new age' hype, especially in the astrological and metaphysical communities about some critical juncture of alignments and ancient Mayan calendars, etc... whereby, a "quantum leap" in the evolution of consciousness and humanity was being predicted--albeit, Breese admits in the book apparently, one cannot ever totally predict such things in terms of when--yet, there is a transformation going on she asserts, along with many others. And, I have been hearing about this since at least the early 1980s--and, especially with another big celestial and astrological event in 1987, of which I found so many new ager types of folks way too optimistic about what was going to happen at that juncture on a particular day, etc. I think the evidence is clear that these people exaggerate things yet, I am also not one to put them down for their enthusiasm generally for the need to transform the paradigms of the day. I like that Breese in particular has identified "fear" and "fearlessness" as significant vectors for this transformation. I agree!. 

 

 

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John Dewey on Fear and Binaries

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The eminent early 20th century
American philosopher John Dewey... 

In this above quote, he is on his grand project (to restore "experience" to philosophy)--to debunk all binaries, so it seems. E.g., Life vs. Education, is a good place to start that deconstruction.

Then he goes on, in a passage analogously, where he critiques those that derogate the "lower" aspects of reality (so-called) vs. the "higher" aspects of reality (so-called) that have become so common by the 20 th century in philosophy, and education philosophy and psychology. He wrote of these sensory aspects: 

"Since sense-organs with their connected apparatus are the means of participation [with reality, with Life, with living organisms], any and every derogation of them, whether practical or theoretical, is at once effect and cause of a narrowed and dulled life-experience. Oppositions [i.e., binaries] of mind and body, soul and matter, spirit and flesh all have their origin, fundamentally, in fear of what life may--bring forth. They are marks of contraction and withdrawal [i.e., fear-based]." (Dewey, 1934, pp. 22-3). 

This is not the only passage I have been reading from Dewey, in my recent study of his writing, where I am reading into and between the lines, and sometimes reading explicit calling out of fear in our knowledge and knowing systems--like it is a massive weight on us and life-forces, it is like he is speaking a language of fearlessness. I'll be writing a chapter on his philosophy (fearlessness) and education for my new book The Fear Problematique (2022)... more  to come. 

[NOTE: for another of my FM blogs on Dewey and fear and fearlessness go to: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/holy-rant-john-s-dewey-s-fearlessness-project]

 

Reference

Dewey, J. (1934/2005). Art as Experience. Penguin Group.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beauty and Order: Ugly and Distress (Fear)

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"The Uses of Beauty and Order" (a 13 pp booklet) by the founder of Re-evaluation Counseling (Harvey Jackins) came out in 1972 and talks of the "environmental crisis" facing human beings and that we are responsible to "clean up" [1] our messes... meaning, not only the physical 'garbage' we 'dump' but on the inside 'distress' ('garbage') we also hold inside our body/mind and social systems and institutions that function upon philosophical premises of oppression is 'normal' and that's the way it is. That's human nature for us to be violence, and dumping on each other, etc. Jackin's, peer-to-peer theory and praxis is a marvelous tool that I have used since the early 1980s, and am still using it as a way to not let my distress accumulate (as 'fear' patterning) in any ways, and mostly in ways that stop me from being a fully alive, creative being who is interested in beauty and order in the environment (inside and outside). That's why in this publication Jackin's argues: 

"With discharge [via peer counseling sessions] we can begin not only to realize but to act on the truth that every human being is gifted artistically, in the visual arts and in all others. In the meantime, it is perfectly possible to take a length of wire and bend it into an interesting shape, then mount this piece of wire sculpture in a prominent position. It's possible to take some torn pieces of tinted or colored paper and move them about on a sheet of cardboard until the arrangement pleases the arranger, glue them in place and, with such an 'abstract collage' mounted on the wall, be continually reminded of one's own ability to create beauty. A poem or verse which one has composed belongs in plain sight to be read and looked at. This will be another signal that one is a creative human being in charge of the environment [as a steward, and co-maker, co-participant in evolution itself]." (p. 12)

I recently am working on an art project with stones (a 1/2 dump truck load of them) which most people use only to "decorate" their landscapes and keep down weeds and grass from growing (as a suppressant). I am working with the stones in an artist residency right now to make them interesting, beautiful and even sacred... I just am learning how to do that with children at the daycare center and kindergarten school where I am artist in residence, and of course, then there is the difficult challenge to get the staff and parents and other adults around the children to 'attune' and 'resonate' with the words and direction of Jackin's (above)--and to playfull engage as part of their day in making art, and connecting with the art of the stones I am working on their premise. Mostly, the adults are quite in a "rut" from what I can see, and they can hardly gaze to the environment around them. Often they are on cell phones when they leave their car and walk to work, and often they have a preoccupied (if not worrying) mind about what they are doing and what is happening and how this or that is going to coordinate. They are managing their lives. This management paradigm is quite working in the opposite direction of a creative-artistic-aethetic paradigm.

As a fearologist and artist, what I am interested in is the role of fear/anxiety and how it shapes one's creativity, aliveness, and everything else in the environments we make, the relationship we engage in any moment in time. Too often, most all people are living lives feeling a "victim" (prisoner) of some kind, and often they are not aware they feel this but are just on 'autopilot' doing things that are functional and help to manage their day. Jackins' experience is that human beings who have been hurt and not fully allowed to heal their hurts from birth onward, are carrying distress-based (fear-based) patterning in their nervous system and memory systems, and when that accumulates there is a sense after awhile of feeling like the environment is "hostile" (more or less) and one has to try to survive within it--but for Jackins, like myself, the hostile perception (as a fear projection and defense mechanism) can become quite distorted and totalizing of one's inherent being and destroys the best part of our human nature. This is, says Jackins, due to "past fears of isolated groups of human beings in danger from weather, disease or other hostile forces" but his point is, that within a healing culture (practices) such dangers/fears can be healed through adequately so that humans do not carry around trauma (unhealed painful memories) for any length of time beyond what is necessary. The past thus, when unhealed, turns to dominate our nervous systems and thinking patterns, we 'become our distress' (i.e., our fear patterning). We feel victimized. We then justify our behaviors that come from fear-based (distress-based) sourcing. We even justify that it is okay we oppress others and accept our social oppression because that's the way it is--the world is hostile, etc. 

Fearlessness as a paradigm is quite in the opposite direction of this fear-based paradigm of victimization and oppressive patterning. Thus uses of beauty and order making (healthy creativity to enhance one's world individually and collectively) is a way to stay in "present time" reality (says Jackins), and that leads to a greater humanity and care for everything to follow from that. Arts and aesthetics, are critical to good fear management/education. 

Your thoughts? 

Notes

1. To be clear, I use "clean up" in this context within a sophisticated therapeutic philosophia (or therapia) based on many traditions but in particular I most recommend the theorizing of integral philosopher Ken Wilber on "Cleaning Up" as one of four calls to come to full consciousness and attention in the best way humans are potentially able--and, such a mode of "cleaning up" is not just some psychological clinical, homogenizing, white-washing, or purification schema of a germophobia, xenophobia, paranoia about Nature--no, I and Wilber are talking about something very different and you may wish to read his writing on "Cleaning Up" in this larger transpersonal and evolutionary perspective; see Wilber (2017), pp. 11, 75, 264-66, for e.g. (also see his writing on the analogous process of "shadow work"). Wilber, K. (2017). The religion of tomorrow: A vision for the future of the Great Traditions--more inclusive, more comprehensive, more complete. Shambhala. 

 

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Fear is Social, in a New Key: Video by RMF

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Check out my new video on my new book "sketch" and possibilities and how I am influenced in thinking about educational philosophy in a new key--from many new perspectives (transdsciplinary) etc. See my teaching video just put up now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6H6rpQlZ60

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Glad to let you all know my new book with B. Maria Kumar is just published. I'll write more about it later. 

https://www.xlibris.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/791530-resistances-to-fearlessness

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The current dominating worldview and its paradigms of operations are unhealthy and unsustainable. Ecological, economic, political and psychological health are at stake. As experts in a philosophy of fearism, they apply a critical perspective on the dominant Fear Paradigm as root cause of the global crises in the 21st century. They offer a worldview shift via the Fearlessness Paradigm. This is a second major book on this topic, of which the first was Fisher?s The World?s Fearlessness Teachings (2010). This follow-up book is deep, punchy and provocative. It points to the failure of the world to understand the spirit of fearlessness that has existed from the beginning of Life some four billion years ago. The authors, from diverse backgrounds, point to the resistances that work against the recognition and development of the natural ?gift? of fearlessness and the design of a Fearlessness Paradigm, both which can counter the abuses of the Fear Paradigm. With extensive research and philosophical thought, the authors dialogue in a fresh imaginative way to help readers and leaders in all walks of life to better understand what resistances they may have to escaping from what Fisher calls the ?Fear? Matrix.

Resist to FLSSNSS brochure.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The "DIRECTION" to head in... is all important, if we want to liberate ourselves and truly re-build a healthy, sane and sustainable world (and Education System)... 

When you get to be my age (69), and having thought critically about "Education" as a field and as a "project" overall on this planet (for nearly 50 yrs), and in terms of how to analyze it and improve it, this is what happens at 6 am in the morning when I awoke and had the idea kernel "I DON'T WANT TO..." on my mind as the center piece of this map and then I began to sort territories ("Positive Description") on the Left and sort of a 'middle-ground' then "Negative Description") on the Right. As an educator, designer of curriculum and pedagogy, I tend to near completely side to the Negative philosophical orientation in terms of how to best approach "Education" and deconstruct it and then reconstruct it (moving more to the Positive philosophy eventually.

The direction of going to the Left and then the Right is precisely what I call an "Integral Turn" --and, in no way is that direction of flow only about "politics" (and parties, etc.). I am rather quite non-partisan in that sense, but what really comes through in the mapping is that I am "existentialist" in orientation and "conflict theorist" in orientation primarily, but I also don't see that one-side is all right (Good) and one side is all wrong (Bad)--mostly, I'm concerned as a critic that the left-side of the "Positive" (Virtues) side is a huge cover-up these days for some of the worst 'evil' going on--and, of course, those who are on that "Positive" side want to make us all thing they are virtuous, good, correct, and the only way to go. They tend to loathe the analysis and offerings of the 'other' side (the right-side). 

So, if you look within the map you'll also see LOVE, FEAR, and FEARLESSNESS ... as my own special area of interest in how that trialectic operates [1], although, that's a much more complex 'story' than this 'map' (theory) above can show in nuance. Oh, and the abbreviations that came out in orange circles, they are at the crux of my counter-education theorizing and curricular (r)evolutionizing:  CME - conflict management/education (my invention), TMT - terror management theory (not my own invention), and FME -fear management/education (my invention). Other abbrev. worth noting: COC - culture of conflict and COF - culture of fear. The red ink "Contemplation" is there because of my reading a colleague, an educator, on "meditative inquiry" in research/education and the foregrounding there of contemplation in education--or spirituality in education. And, this spurred me on to think about my view of that initiative and so I woke up in the morning due to this prompting to situate "contemplation" and problematized it as well.  

I am in color highlighter very intrigued with "Fear of Loss" (aka "Death") at the center along with my original idea-kernel of "I DON'T WANT TO..." and I am pretty certain now that strategically this is the focal pivotal point for any real educational transformation that will be emancipatory. If we educators miss this...well, the consequences of our current direction of global crisis/collapse will continue unabated. I have no doubt we are already in the Anthropocene era of collapse of all systems, and much destruction will be inevitable (aka death will be inevitable)--and it will continue for many years if not decades. The world will never be the same. However, in that collapse we have all the real potential of making these shifts that I have indicated in the mapping. I believe the whole process going on is best looked at as "sacred correction" (call it self-system regulation or healing, or whatever)--we can get through this as a collective of living organisms and putting all our intelligences together integrally--but IF humanism tries again to rule, using technologism and scientific arrogance alone--we'll likely do ourselves in and sufficiently destroy the carrying capacity for most Life on this planet for millenium. 

Just some bright and not so bright words from the unconscious to the conscious of the morning air and light... let's breath, create and grow in 'a good way' (a fearlessness way). 

Note

1. Fisher, R. M. (2017). Radical love—is it radical enough? International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 8(1), 261-81.

 

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IN a recent interview (Mar. 12, 2020)... I heard this 80+ year old man, scientist, environmental activist, say some really important things. As powerful as he has been in his career (e.g., The Nature of Things, and The David Suzuki Foundation)--helping bring science to education and political policy, etc., he told CBC interviewer Anna Marie Tremonti [1] that he's always been controlled during his career as a scientist and as host of the show and a dignitary of a foundation, etc... THAT "I've been constrained" by those who run those organizations and programs, as they would tell him "...'oh, you can't say that'...you have to couch everything, with 'oh, well, there's this hope...there's this opportunity' and people have never really confronted the reality...seriously enough...", he said. 

Now as an elder not under anyone's thumb and their fear that the consequences of him speaking the truth would have been not politically correct, or pissed off funders, etc., David is coming out full blast these days and saying what now fear has controlled in him and others. Some of his truths he spoke in this interview: 

- we have less than 10 years to 'turn around' total chaos (e.g., with global warming, climate change, migrations and economy collapsing etc.)

- we have to get beyond sugar-coating and hope-mongering strategies and get to the raw 'truth' and don't wait for politicians to act on it "it's going to be too late" when they actually do some really big things to help

- "We just have no idea what is coming" and current hope in "geo-engineering" and "science" solutions are going to really make things even worse 

- "This the great fear I have. We're at a point where we have a very limited amoutn of time, in which we can actually do something to prevent total chaos." 

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The whole point of my blogs on fear and politics of late, is to also speak as an elder (albeit, only age 69)--there is no use anymore to hold back and sugar-coat reality, and yes, the facts of science included--and, yes, there is FEAR controlling almost everything in this world and the ways we 'talk about problems and crises' on a global scale--and, politically, etc. This is going to really be our downfall, and rather soon... as Suzuki, like myself and many others are saying ... I have always promoted FEARLESSNESS over HOPE... because things are that serious. 

Note

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOnUW-3EQ2w

 

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I have for decades attempted to educate the general public about fear. The other side of my work is to educate their leaders. Specficially I want to share an example of how to educate politicians. 

Politics and Political Sphere

First, let me state that I have my issues with the whole political system of institutionalized "politics"--that is one thing. Yet, I have made a distinction that "politics" as institutionalized is only 1/2 of what democratic practice is about. The other 1/2 where I hang out the most is what I call the "political sphere." The latter is what we all are involved in as citizens and no politics or politician who earns their livelihood from politics ought to ever dominate the political sphere. Nowadays, the later is often talked about, in part, as "cultural politics." But that's another topic. 

How To Educate a Politician

I am not one to try to constantly put down people who become politicians. I could equally say, I am not one to put down people who become physicians, ministers, or school teachers, police officers, etc. They are people pursuing a career. I respect them as people first and foremost, even if I disagree vehemently with their practices and the system they belong to. I once, long ago, was a professional school teacher. I know that for many good teachers they will eventually become corrupted by the System of the State and Education as an institutions. Not all of the best professionals will leave the System. I did after two years. 

This blog is not about that decision to stay in or leave the institutions, that has ethical implications of course. I would ask anyone who is a politician to do the best you can and be as ethical as possible in an imperfect system they work in. And, by imperfect, unfortunately, there is an edge which is crossed often in which the System is actually oppressive. Now, if the System will admit it is oppressive, then I have sympathy. If it is in denial, then I have little sympathy for its justifications and rationale and its continuance to practice oppression of one kind or another. That's when I will go after such institutions as an activist-educator. 

I have learned how slow and hard it is to change a System that remains in denial. Sometimes one can have small positive inputs that someone inside the System listens to, but mostly they are defensive to hearing anything about their oppressive aspects as a System. 'They are bought and sold' into keeping the operation going, no matter what. That's a crude way of putting it. I also have seen and know that still 'good people' are inside those systems, even if sometimes in small numbers. Some do see the corruption and want to change it from the inside. I respect that. 

So, to be short here, I'll share a recent experience of a simple way to make the fearlessness voice heard and how to challenge the System, and its leaders (e.g., politicians) to not fall prey to fear-based ways of perceiving, thinking, strategizing and doing their job. I know that's a high calling. There's no other option however, from the Fearlessness Paradigm perspective (which is arguably the only sane way to proceed). I listened with my partner to a live government debate in Alberta on coal-strip mining where the leader of the opposition party (Rachel Notley) made a first case for a private members bill to a committee. If the bill would pass that committee it could go to the larger legislature and have a hearing and vote there. The bill would stop all current exploration and new lease developments that have to do with coal strip mining in the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains in our province. I'm all for that. However, in the debates I noticed something and decided to write it up as a Letter to the Editor in the local newspaper and also sent to Rachel Notley office. Here's what I wrote for public media, as that's one way to get a much larger audience (if the newspaper publishes it of course): 

ALBERTA EAST SLOPES TALK: POLITICIANS CARBONOPHOBIC

Congratulations to all who made private member bill (petitioned by Rachel Notley) of April 13 get through the first committee so that it can go to a full hearing and vote in the legislature. After watching the live performance of the debate on how best to protect the Alberta East Slopes from coal mining especially, I couldn't help but be saddened hearing the politicians reasons to slow and/or stop new coal mining permits. Even Notley and the NDP members who spoke to this bill were afraid to toalk about rationale in terms of transitioning out of a non-renewable economy, Global Warming, responsibility to worldwide Carbon Budgets and fulfilling a commitment to future sanity for our children's sake. No, what we heard was carbonophobic small-talk rational all about Albertans. I love the East Slopes too, but we have to face our fears folks; or we'll be tweaking our society and economic policies while the floor of the building crumbles. Global Warming is real. Notley should know better.   -R. Michael Fisher, Calgary

[note: Apr. 15th this was published, albeit gutted and words changed in places without my permission: go to: https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/letters/your-letters-for-april-15-2]

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So, in a very short missive like this, our job as fearworkers of the Fearlessness Movement is (at least) to carefully observe and point out (without shaming people and damning their character and careers) when fear is ruling in their work and practices and thinking. I found a way to do that in this instance. It is not that I think my example above is flawless either. I was writing specifically for a newspaper. I know Editors of said newspapers typically don't take articles unless they have some emotional juices and so I wrote more emotionally than I typically prefer to. It's a compromise to some extent. 

I encourage you all on the FM ning to point out fear-based ways wherever you see them and let's help educate and support our leaders (especially politicians) to change and re-think about how they engage and (mis-)use fear in their jobs. 

 

 

 

 

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Outstanding (Left) American Journalist & Political Pundit (2021)

Chris Hedges

In a recent interview Chris Hedges declared with total confidence, based on all his years of following political revolutions around the world, that only a politics of fear is the solution to the current oppression by the governmental/corporate/military eltes... and, in particular he talks now a lot about the situation in America. 

His exact phrasing for this, and it is one I have heard before from Leftist revolutionaries and Rightists as well... boils down to their own political philosophies of change and reform. Hedges said in this interview that "POLITICS IS A GAME OF FEAR" -- and he implied overtly that anyone who doesn't think this is true is deluded. And, he would also more or less say, anyone who thinks they can over-turn the corruption of governments like in the USA, and thinks they can do that without 'weaponizing fear'... well, he would conclude they are naive and mistaken. Worse, he would argue, that such people who do not see or wish to play this "game of fear" --and using fear to bring down the elites in the Capitol... well, then they are people who add to the problem of the oppressed and are not liberators at all. By the way: near 40,000 people have listened to this interview with Hedges and I'm wondering if all of them are attracted to Hedges as fans because he promotes 'weaponizing fear' --another form of fearmongering(?) Now, that really has me concerned if that is the case. I think it will lead to dangerous consequences on many levels if it carries out into a Fear War. And, it quite likely can--as such a war is already well going on but it could inflate and become much worse and very soon as the crises of 'the people' grow in desperation with the pandemic and all the other economic problems (especially, in the USA right now). 

Of course, because I am a supporter, philosopher and political-educational activist myself, and one who is not in agreement with 'weaponizing fear' for any systematic or ideological reason, no matter how it is justified--there is a huge "clash" here between Hedges and myself. I could elaborate that more, if you folks on the FM ning want to explore it. I'd also be interested to hear your views here, so make Comments on this blog if this interests you. 

My challenge is to all those who think, write, philosophize about fear(ism) and fearlessness--trully, we have to come to clarify our political philosophies and positions--from the theoretical to the practice, to the critical praxis of being citizens in the world today. Is there any justification ethically, politically, etc. for 'weaponizing fear' and just playing the game of fear as Hedges says we must. He is declaring a revolution that scares the leadership of governments and their allies 'out of power'--and, the longer we wait, he would say, we are then only in commission with that corrupt power and we are aiding and abetting the suffering of the oppressed everywhere. It's quite the challenge and I applaud Hedges and always have for decades, for his courage to speak as he does 'truth to power.' The deeper issue however, cannot be dismissed, and that's the issue--many issues, about how do we theorize the nature and role of fear in this challenge of political revolution? 

As you may or may not know, I have taken up this American political scenario of cultural (r)evolution very seriously in the last two years with my research and writing a book on Marianne Williamson, who ran a failed campaign as a 'new' revolutionary leader of the Democratic Party--and, who if successful, could have been President of the U.S.A. right now. That was a very close --relatively close-- arising of a totally new spirit of fearlessness in politics like I have never seen in my life in North America. (see my FM blog on Marianne Williamson and my new book). She is definitely closely moving along the political spectrum like Chris Hedges, but they also have a "clash" and go quite different ways. We as citizens, would do well, to educate ourselves around such political leadership--and, these to political intelligentsia and pundits are very interesting in my opinion. 

 

 

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Fearism Philosopher-- B. Maria Kumar (India). 

It has been my pleasure over three years ago to meet Mr. Kumar, an FM ning member for several years. He has a fascinating background, as public servant (police officer) and author of a number of books, amongst other things. His dedication to life-long learning is admirable. Currently he and I are working on a book Resistances to Fearlessness: A Philosophy of Fearism Perspective. This will be my 3rd book working with him as a co-author [1] 

This FM blog is a very brief celebration of his thinking and contribution to the philosophy of fear(ism) and fearlessness. He recently sent me some free-writing thoughts he has about "Fearlessness as/is Beautiful" for one of the Parts of our new book. I am so impressed with his opening paragraph, containing 11 intriguing questions. I felt it important to share this with the FM community and encourage you to use these questions as prompts for your own thoughts; feel free to Comment below on this blog and dialogue with us all, and I'm sure Mr. Kumar will also join in depending on the interest around these 11 questions. 

"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. That's why when Socrates commented on beauty, he implied it had 'a short lived reign.' While for Keats, on the other hand, accorded eternality to it, saying, 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever.' 

How can we say that fearlessness is beautiful? Nobody likely adores fear and so fear is considered ugly. However, if our thoughts are cleared of fear, our fearless mind naturally enjoys watching the sunrise without a feeling of mental block or doubt or predicament.

If mind is unrestricted, can we say whether it is beautiful? Or is it beautiful simply because it fascilitates unbridled freedom? Does it mean that fear is unwanted and freedom is most sought after? 

Will mind be beautiful if it is not restricted and at the same time not agitated? Does it also mean that absolute liberty, which is the manifestation of unrestricted freedoms of people in the society is also beautiful? Doesn't one's absolute liberty affect the other individual's rightful freedom adversely? In that case, does society or individual want fear to exist to a certain extent in order to keep the things in order or under control, so is not fear, up to some limit, also beautiful? 

Does it imply that total fearlessness without fear at all is also not beautiful? Does it mean that only some degree of fearlessness is beautiful and not extreme fearlessness to the inconvenience of others? 

Lastly, can we deduce that both fear and fearlessness are beautiful in proportions as beauty is also seen in terms of proportions and symmetries?" 

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I am quite sure from my research, no other thinker has so intimately questioned the relationship of fear/fearlessness and beauty in the historical literatures around the globe and through time. Kudos to Mr. Kumar. 

Notes: 

1. Kumar, B. M., Fisher, R. M. & Subba, D. (2019). India, a Nation of Fear & Prejudice. Xlibris; Fisher, R. M., Subba, D. & Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism. Xlibris. 

 

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Four Arrows' New Book on Sitting Bull's Words

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The above images are from Four Arrows' 2021 book (cover, and p. 15), published by DiO.

I wanted to give you a sample. Four Arrows and I have known each other (mostly online) since 2007. He is a scholar in Indigenous leadership and education and a Lakota initiated member. What is most important in this new little book, I highly recommend, is the simplicity of his presenting a very complicated theory of fearlessness he has been developing for over 35 years. I won't say more, but to encourage you to check out his work from many other publications as well. I have written several FM nings on and around his work and his CAT-FAW/N model. So, you can search on the FM ning (upper right search box) to find those... 

 

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This is a screen shot of my Youtube teaching at one point in the 2nd video in a series on "Fear Education"

Based on several people (mostly men) sending me emails over the last year and prior, of their severe struggles with anxiety, depression and panic. Certainly, after a year of pandemic "lock down" and just where the world is going--it's a disturbing time for most anyone, IF we let ourselves really feel into reality. So, thought I could do a series of videos (maybe 1/wk) to give you specific coaching and teaching re: the path of fearlessness... and note, this is not a psychological approach so much as it is a philosophical approach... I talk a good deal about that distinction in the videos  -enjoy,  -M. 

p.s. the point also is that you may feel connected to something and someone during these rough times, and reach out and share your experiences, ask your questions, inquire with me and certain even better in co-inquire with the Fearlessness Movement ning community... check out the videos... you may Comment on my Youtube and/or here; I'll do my best to address and talk to everyone in some way... you also mail directly contact me via  r.michaelfisher [at] gmail.com

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