fearlessness paradigm (3)

Dr. Darcia Narvaez on Fear

9732504072?profile=RESIZE_584x

Dr. Darcia Narvaez, psychologist of child development, the evolutionary nest concept, and moral development. She comes at the ways to better understand what is human nature and healthy development from an evolutionary and neurobiological, psychological, anthropological and Indigenous worldview lens. This interdisciplinary thinker was recently giving a presentation and having a discussion with the gift economy (motherer) experts, and at one point she starts to talk about "fear" per se and how difficult it is to make the shift to a feminine-based gift economy and new paradigm of holistic health and sustainable sanity. 

She says, "There's a lot of people who are afraid in the United States, and when you are afraid it can lead you into directions that are good or not so good...not so helpful. So, I think getting through the fear is something...the fear of pain I think...if we suffered as a young child our...it's in our body, our body remembers the trauma, the pain and we don't want to go back there, we have some resistance to it....we need ways to help people not be so afraid of feeling the pain, because once you feel the pain it's actually quite liberating...it wasn't so bad. People go to therapy for this." [she then says once we do this a few times] "a whole new life [is possible], it's like being reborn. [to help people through pain and fear we have a responsibility of] "reassuring people that you can pass through this...primal wounds...you pull them off, and its painful at the moment at the time, but then once you pull them off you can be yourself...unlock your heart." [I takes a lot of support from others too]. 

Then she concludes with a hope she has: "Hopefully, somebody out there is going to come up with...a great way to help people get through the fear." 

--------

My quick comments are critiques of this explication and hope Dr. Narvaez offers, although, in basic idea and with experiences, she is talking of the truth, I have no doubt. It is just that her discourse on fear management here is so conformist and 'normal' as to be nothing outside of the domination worldview and paradigm basically. There are so many who have offered the same advice as she and the same hope as she. I was really looking for something more radical from her in this discussion especially in light of being in conversation on the radical shift of an exchange (capitalist) paradigm to a gifting paradigm that was the theme of the entire conversation. But what this shows me is that even the radical gift economy types have not yet got "fear" figured out or configured out is more accurate. They have no radical vision of a new paradigm of fear management/education. Sadly, I have seen this also in the feminist movement, and most spiritual movements, etc. over the decades. The thinking about fear is still back in the old paradigm (what Narvaez herself is concerned about and has critiqued in part as "colonized psychology") they wish to leave and transform and so on. The fear thinking hasn't changed and they don't seem to look at the literature that is out there on new 'Fear' Studies and Fearlessness Paradigm.

In particular, one can recognize the same "individualist" psychology and morality within Narvaez's discourse that she falls back on, basically a kind of existential modernist philosophy, and practicality, because she says we really need to deal with fear differently in our society--okay, that's great--and yet, her answer to that fear problem is her immediate default to talk about "fears" (i.e., she mentions the core "fear of pain" problem)--and she then proceeds her diagnostic and prescriptions from there. As I said, there is nothing new paradigm at all about that, even if she is offering a weak medicine better than not for fear management. 

Narvaez, defaults into her trained psychological and rather individualistic mind re: fear discouse. Even though, all her research is on interdisciplinary studies and community and social relationality as so important in the healthy development of humans and ecosystems etc. Her actual knowledge and theorizing on fear is however individualistic and typical of the modernist paradigm and of patriarchy (more or less) itself. So, why(?), I ask, over all these years of her knowing my work on fear and fearlessness, and knowing I am a fearologist with a transdisciplinary lens I bring radically to the topic of fear management/education, has she not engaged directly with my work with any depth and understanding [1], if she is saying that "fear" is one of the most important factors in a human beings life and a society (e.g., the USA)? Why has she thrown out a hope that "somebody out there" is going to find a solution to the fear problem--and, she is like waiting or something(?). That amazes me she seems dissociated from the vast literature and my work (including Four Arrows' work) on fear ('fear'), fearism, fearlessness, etc. I have found that she is like so many. There is a denial/blindness still operating even in the most sophisticated and mature academics and professionals in general (Dr. Narvaez is top-notch and very wise in my opinion)--and, "psychologists" have continually shown to be in this state of learning and training that they cannot receive the vast wisdom out there on fear already available. There is no need to hope for someone to come along with a magic bullet, Dr. Narvaez, there is only an opportunity and willingness to actually engage and study what is available already and then apply it sincerely. 

So, my first agenda as a fearologist has always been to question and critique the very way we (especially psychologists) frame the discourse on fear itself, never mind trying to figure out which fears are most important (e.g., fear of pain, or fear of death), etc. Dr. Narvaez, and the rest of you, still hoping... why don't you consult with a fearologist, for starters and go from there? The "why" they don't do this, is critically important. I have suggested in my latest book it is because of a "resistance to fearlessness" [2] built deeply into the self-social-political fabric of how people are perceiving the world's problems and the answers to its problems. I actually sent that new book to her upon her request so she might write a book review, of which she has not done so, nor shared anything with me about my book and her reading it. Instead, she "hopes" there is some one out there who will make a silver bullet. I think her troubling view expressed in the above discussion is that she herself in my opinion, is still caught in the "colonized psychology" she is critiquing. It is not anyone's fault per se that our fear management/education discourses (at least, in the W. world) are so unhelpful. 

Endnote

1. Granted she did engage somewhat in a Psychology Today blog some years ago, supporting Four Arrows' and my work on fear and fearlessness; go to: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/moral-landscapes/201801/stories-heal-primal-wounds

2. Fisher, R. M., and Kumar, B. M. (2021). Resistances to fearlessness. Xlibris. 

 

Read more…

Black Lives Matter & Policing Reform(s)

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become a pivotal, and controversial, social movement. Triggered primarily by repeated incidents of black males being killed (murdered) on the streets of America by police officers (particularly white officers) has left a mark that is now indelible and performed in the Floyd Rebellion (street protests). It has not been pretty and disturbs and terrifies many. And, not all people of color agree with the way things have gone down on both sides--the authorities and the rebellion protestors. But lots of good things are also coming from the rubble, you might say.

So I give hats off to the BLM better aspects of liberation and its allies generally for the 'wake up' call; and especially my focus here in this blog is on the positive push of some BLM folks and other sensitive educators and therapists to help get to root causes of racism traumatization (and/or racialized trauma). I use these latter concepts, from a healing and fearlessness perspective or paradigm for social change and transformation. I am less a fan of the politically and ideologically driven 'playing the race card' and 'fanning the race wars' strategies on all sides of the battles today between opponents. Thus, with this distinction of my work and interest, I would argue that nowadays, it is really questionable if the term "racism" or "race" are actually of any value to healing, just like the term "racists" is to me only a way to continue the worst of racism traumatization [1]. The cycle of domination-fear-conflict-violence is hard to break, but I believe breaking the language and making ourselves more aware of emanacipatory and healing language is a good start to the 'rebellion' that all of us could participate in and not just BLM on the streets. 

In this regard, obviously my work is about moving from a culture of fear to a culture of fearlessness, and that ideally would be what BLM is attempting to do. I am not telling BLM what to do nor speaking as if I know all about them and their work. I certainly don't and I am willing to be informed by them as they see fit. I will listen, and I will open up opportunities for healing on their side and my side--and, all the other options of our juxtapositioning as human beings attempting to figure out how to live together well on this fragile planet. I am concerned that forces of tyranny take many forms, and no group is immune. So, to counter the fear-based tyranny movements of all kinds, on all sides of the conflicts in societies, let's take a look at the notion of racism traumatization as a learning and healing process. I have not delved a lot into this field but I have come across a book my life-partner is using for her own liberation via ancestral healing work and is planning to use in a local non-profit organization in the urban setting of the city we live in. The book is by Resmaa Menakem, a person of color and expert on conflict and violence and healing (individual and collective). The title is "My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathways to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies" (2017). It is radical on many fronts, but what it does not do is 'pit one race against another' nor attempt to show any superiority in any group that is innate or given by God, or any other power. Menakem writes with wisdom and compassion and a lot of street smarts about racialized violence and oppression--and, better yet, about racialized trauma work. I have included a couple pages from the book, particularly on Menakem's advice for reforming policing. I have also written a book with two colleagues on this topic but more general on the relationship of fearism to law and criminology [2]. Menakem's work is very pragmatic and I trust you'll find these couple pages useful for knowledge and as potential to take into action in your communities. 

 

7941058885?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

7941063077?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

Notes

1. Another angle of understanding racism traumatization is through a critical analysis of "white supremacism" and an even more interesting angle is through critical analysis of tribalism-ethnocentricism and their worldviews (e.g., in Spiral Dynamics integral theory). No doubt, societies today and in the future will best be served by multiple angles on the problem of "Race" in America or anywhere in the world. For me, I always have looked with great focus on the problem of fearism-t (toxic form) as the core root of terrorism of all kinds and those are the isms that are articulating the other isms--that is, sexism, racism, classism, adultism, and so on. Oppression is fear-based in an ideology of fearism-t. All that said, my owning responsibility for my white caucasion historical situation and current privilege is well taken as something I have to always look at as part of white supremacism agendas--that is, oppression. 

2. Fisher, R. M., Subba, D., & Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues in applying the philosophy of fearism. Xlibris.

Read more…

The following article, just published in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy (2017), I wrote as a critique of "radical love" (a la Paulo Freire) in critical pedagogy. It is entitled: "Radical Love: Is It Radical Enough?".

I introduce the dualistic (and sometimes) dialectical theory of Love vs. Fear and how Fearlessness is essential to the dialectic (even a trialectic) to make it effective in the current meta-context of the "culture of fear." Hope you enjoy it, and feel free to send me any comments [r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail [dot] com.

REVIEWS: 

In near 2 years since my article was published, no one has made a peep about it. Which is too bad, I'm not impressed with critical pedagogues in that sense of being so silent. Anyways, one of my colleagues from my UBC days, a bright younger scholar, Dr. Kent denHeyer, Prof. of Education, at UofA in Edmonton, responded having recently read my article in IJCP (2017). He wrote me, 

"i liked very much your review of radical love. i think you are correct that without a critical examination of the dyad [Love and Fear] as you identify, we are working with one leg."
k
Mar. 11/19
 
[years later, another comment from a philosophical colleague:] 

Michael, there are two critical points for me in your text, they might seem obvious to you: first the opposition love-fear; is fear the opposite of love? I doubt. Of course it is one of them and I understand that in your framework it should be and it is but I think by privileging fear your leave aside so many other important dimensions; the second is that every time when someone says about anything  something like "it should be treated this way" thinking suffers... it might be fearanalysis or whatever... of course in this case it is only needed accepting and following your assumptions but many other roads might be walked so I prefer to stay aside when someone says "you cannot approach this issue if you do not take this road"... just two maybe superficial comments and sorry I will not be able to follow this discussion...

regards, WK Feb. 10/21

Dear WK, 

Your cautionary taken. Appreciated. Perhaps another time when you have space, we can go further. Just to be clear, a careful reading of my thesis will show "privileging fear" is NOT what my work is about period! I construct a systematic Fearlessness Paradigm (a whole other ball game)... 

-cheers,

M.

Read more…