fearmongering (5)

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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Marianne D. Williamson, (1952- ) is an American spiritual teacher, activist, leader, political critic and Democratic progressive living in the USA. She has been documented historically as an important woman "mystic leader" amongst other icons over the last three centuries [1]I have followed her work for over 30 years off and on, and recently have studied her work and her campaign to run for President of the U.S. in 2020, and have a new book coming out soon on "The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution in Dangerous Times" (Peter Lang, 2020). As well, my deep interest has been in her thinking and writing about Love and Fear. 

Caroline Myss, (1952-) the famous contemporary American spiritual teacher, in a recent interview on Williamson's new podcast, called for a "visionary humanity" that truly transcends the old humanity imaginaries which have brought so much injustice and violence for centuries; Myss acknowledges her friend and colleague, Marianne Williamson in the interview at one point with emphatic tone: 

"I really do want to say, that I deeply believe you have made such a dent in the turning point of this country....Even though you didn't make it to the White House.... your message reverberated and I think what you did was, you implanted an archetype, [2] that spiritual consciousness needs to be part of the governmental dialogue, you did that.... you inserted it." 

What Myss is saying in general, is that Williamson is fully re-introducing a mature and complex spirituality into the political scene--what Williamson calls a "holistic" and/or "integrative" politics, more practically articulated for the common people as in her latest (2019) book "A Politics of Love" [3]. She is telling Americans (and beyond that), we have to heal our souls, individually and collectively--we have to 'heal the nation' or we likely are not going to make it and the world collapse is near upon us. 

In this FM blog, I merely wanted to have one place where people could quickly access the References that refer to my writing and speaking and publishing on Williamson in the last few years. Although this is not the total complete list of my works on her, it is a good starting place to understand why I say I am 'voting' for her, because she is no longer running a political campaign [4] but I am voting for her as one of the best leaders we have today in North America (if not beyond) to guide our societies to more sustainable health, sanity and growth that is in tune with the limitations of our ecological partners on this planet. I salute her as a 'great' leader to be studied and engaged, as you see fit. I think she will improve, mature and become an even greater leader in the future. Although, as I point out in many of my publications below, there is also the susceptibility in her leadership to 'miss' or 'deny' or simply go down a road which I believe will be ineffective to meet her higher aims [5]. Of course, this is all debateable and I encourage dialogue amongst us all to pursue understanding better this leader, and ourselves, and where our societies are going. 

 

My Publications List [all available online free] re: Marianne Williamson

Fisher, R. M. (2020). How to best define 'the enemy: Tips for Marianne Williamson & other emancipatory leaders. Technical Paper No. 113. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. 

_________ (2020). Marianne Williamson's dubious 'be courageous' prescriptions need a 21st century upgrade. Technical Paper No. 112. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. 

_________ (2020). The Marianne Williamson presidential phenomenon: Cultural (r)evolution in a dangerous time. NY: Peter Lang.

_________ (2020). Marianne Williamson’s educational mission: Curriculum for ending suffering. Technical Paper No. 110. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

__________(2020). Coronavirus and Marianne Williamson: Teachings for fear management education. Technical Paper No. 92. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

__________(2020). Marianne Williamson phenomenon: Chapter six reading. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xesF3CTWz40

__________(2020). Marianne Williamson: New book dives deeper. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBo66hjxMWg

__________ (2019). Near-fearlessness women leaders and their shadow: U. S. presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. Technical Paper No. 87. In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

___________ (2019). Marianne Williamson 3: Love and fear. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJzLb6ALHPg

___________(2019). New ethical leadership: Marianne Williamson 2. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDlATRUYLM

___________ (2019). Marianne Williamson: Fearmongering herself. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Satev8F7K14

___________(2019). New ethical leadership: Marianne Williamson 1. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjyENboIzxc

 

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END NOTE

1. "Marianne Williamson, presidential candidate and preacher of the New Age Gospel of Love" (according to Scott, 2020). Scott, L. (2020). An American covenant: A story of women, mysticism, and the making of modern America. Topple Books/Little A. Scott, a journalist, author, activist and mystic herself, wrote this book as a "scathing queer feminist history" of five women who ought not be forgotten "who inspired the nation in their own times." 

2. As much as I agree with Myss re: the major contribution of "inserting" a new spirit into politics today, I did not hear Myss in this interview define or name fully the "archetype" that Myss is referring to. I think that is unfortunate. In my book (Fisher, 2020) I have independently from Myss's analysis given a detailed account of the archetype of Williamson but have done so in contradistinction to Trump's archetype (and in dialectical relatonship with him)--as "phenomenon," which I put in ancient mythological terms as "The Twins" (Good vs Evil, Love vs. Fear, Light vs. Darkness etc.). My point is, there is no one archetype (as Myss seems to suggest) that is articulating the current Williamson project in the world, in leadership, and in America. My further critique of Myss-Williamson from this interview is to watch how contradictory their high consciousness articulations are for a 21st century "visionary humanity" and how they operate from a 'gut' expositional discourse as "patriots" (pure and simple American-lovers). What happened to higher consciousness and the evolution of global citizenry as so many great and compassionate evolutionary minds have written about this for hundreds of years. It trully seems Myss-Williamson (as very successful millionaires in American culture) have a 'strange' morality hybridization, which as a Canadian looking on, it has to be called a pattern of deep-conditioning in American exceptionalism (and romanticism). It is this kind of thinking that will hold back, in my view, the maturation of the growth of Williamson as a great world leader but that's not a criticism of disparagement, more an encouragement to be the 'best' she can be. She, like any great leader, needs a lot of support and honest critical feedback too. 

3. See Williamson's two overt political books: Williamson, M. (1997). The healing of America [later titled Healing the soul of America]. Simon & Schuster; and Williamson, M. (2019). A politics of love: A handbook for a new American revolution. HarperOne. 

4. I am predicting she will either run again for Democratic Party leadership (or some other '3rd' option party) in 2024--and, if not, before then, she'll even run for a Congresswoman position; or she'll be esconced into some position even in the Biden Presidency (if he wins, and at this point in time, polls are showing that'll likely be the case).  

5. One of the worst mistakes, is her evolution from calling her opponents (enemies) "sociopathic" as in the current predatory economic system that runs America, to a degrading literalization of people (something she said in earlier speeches in her campaign, and going way back in her spiritual teachings she would not do)--see her recent Twitter (amongst other evidence I have collected on her unbecoming personalizing and demonizing agenda of political leaders): 

"The core of the problem is that only a government dominated by genuine sociopaths could have the heartlessness to ignore that much fear and suffering in our midst."  

Tweet Oct. 7/20

 

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Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook corporation is currently under investigations and growing criticism, for breaking anti-trust violations, but the situation is far worse than that. I highly recommend the 3 part interview (or even part 1) https://www.democracynow.org/2019/10/23/roger_mcnamee_facebook_russia_cambridge_analytica 

The part 1 interview above is with Mr. Mcnamee, author of the new book "Zucked" and how Facebook is completely screwing the world and destroying the fabric of democracy. Most important in this interview by a very credible critic (Roger McNamee) is basically another kind of insider whistleblower story of sorts. Worth listening to. And, particularly because McNamee talks about how Facebook (like most social media platform giants today) are making business and algorithm systems that "prey" upon the most vulnerable in a population and primarily make most of their advertising dollars and viewer numbers based on (mis-)information, hate-speech and conspiracy theories-- that is, according to McNamee's words, Facebook preys off of the information that produces and reproduces "fight flight behaviors" that become "addictive" to many, especially those who carry smart phones around nearly all the time and everywhere they go. 

The danger of ongoing exacerbation of "polarization" of the toxic kind, not just healthy conflict in societies--there is no doubt social digital media ways of doing business are hurting us and undermining our ability to manage conflict and fear in good ways. See also a review of McNamee's book 

https://tech.co/news/zucked-facebook-catastrophe-review-mcnamee-2019-03
 
I have simply said this is the nightmare of our digital times when people are 'hooked up' to fear-producing systems that are making tonness of money off of people's fear and their ways of coping with fear. It is an ethical issue. People en mass are being educated into this fear-based world, and from the interview above (it validated my views many years ago not to join such social media like Facebook) I am sure this is one of the greatest problems facing the future of civil society and basic sanity. Lots to talk about.... lots for the fearologist to offer as alternatives and as corrective interventions. Whether anyone will listen to me or others concerned about fearmongering for profits, well, that's another story. 
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There's a good series of blogposts by academic/psychologist Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., on "primal wounding" and its relationship to fear, addictions and many of the problems we face as societies, especially in the West today. I have copied an excerpt on how she speaks about fear in relation to primal wounding (trauma): [for the full article go to: http://kindredmedia.org/2018/01/tales-primally-wounded/ ; and you'll find links to the 6 part series]

"A primally-wounded society is filled with fear-promoting stories.

Stories, tales or narratives guide all societies. “We people” stories are passed down from generation to generation. Shared stories are part of what a culture entails (along with shared practices and shared beliefs). In the past, wise elders and designated storytellers held the society together with stories that humanized animals and promoted social cooperation, contributing to group survival.

Note that these stories decreased fear and focused attention on group goals for flourishing.

Fantasyland: A Nation of Primally-Wounded People, Part Four in the Series

We live in a different era now, one in which elders have been displaced by bureaucratic systems of control, systems that tell tales to increase fear—fear of stepping out of their bounds.

When storytelling is taken over by high-powered and moneyed interests, fear promotion becomes dominant. These stories seem true because they have been repeated so often. We are shamed if we question them and eventually we self-censor our higher aspirations, succumbing to the heart-numbing tales, keeping the system alive through our action or inaction.

We primally wounded people are especially susceptible to fear-promoting narratives. We are trying to escape primal pain and alleviate distrust with some certainty somewhere. Fearmongering tales give us certainty."

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