fearologics (2)

Like it or not, in the last few months especially, Extinction Rebellion movement on climate crisis (e.g., CO2 levels) is at the forefront and dominating media-attention re: environmentalism. One can debate the value of this, e.g., as Charles  Eisenstein and others have (see previous blog). Most important to me is the way Extinction Rebellion leaders (planners) have staged this movement upon the uses of fear, terror, panic, and what is an "emergency" beyond which they are willing to accept without their dramatic actions on the streets. We as citizens and leaders of all stripes need to pay serious heed to what their fearological strategies are, because they are decidedly (have already decided) how best to define, make meaning of, and create fear and anxiety amongst the people of the globe, but especially in the UK where the movement started and is strongest. 

Fearologics is a fearanalytical term I coined recently to assess the way anyone, or any group, cohesively and systematically induces a particular relationship to fear without providing alternative constructions but rather focuses on only one way (which, implicitly, in their view, is the right way--the one and only way)--and they put all their efforts into this dominating dicourse formation on fear and how to handle (manage it). I would question such a fearological domination (ideology) by anyone and any group and stand up to resist such domination, as I trust more and more people will do so. 

Note the fearological part of my analysis of environmentalism, as one example (including Extinction Rebellion as a most recent formation), is what is under the covers of the overt and dramatic actions and rhetoric of "activism" (of green politics). It is what we curriculum theorists call "hidden curriculum" (e.g., ideology behind the surfaces of what is being communicated and taught  of what looks benign and 'good'). I won't go into the critical theories behind the uses of hidden curriculum and the propaganda that goes with it that undermines truly educative praxis. Unfortunately, so far, Extinction Rebellion leaders have gone on full blast with their new strategy and fearologics that they have some how decided is the best and only way to manage fear and anxiety re: climate change/crisis. Environmentalists, like just about any activism I have studied for three decades off and on does the same thing, and do not disclose a rationale or make overt their agenda for using fear and promoting fear management--and of which I strongly am against such one sidedness in its uses as a process to bring about change. For many critics, "fearmongering" is not acceptable to the degree which it is being indulged in by all kinds of causes, Left or Right or Center or within activism in general-- but not only activists do this, most every form of institution and leadership does this without rationale of any critical depth and reflection. I thus assert there is more hidden curriculum (propaganda) than there is educative practices and due attention to the negative impacts on learning, on freedom of thought, and on the right of the people to have "freedom from fear" (as the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights recommends to all the world). 

One will have to take time to organize the critique in my mind regarding the fearanalysis of movements like Extinction Rebellion, but already there is one good example in thier promo (propoganda) videos they produce coming out of London (I'm presuming). I have watched two of these promotional videos where they are usually "apologizing" to the people that they have to be so disruptive in their so-called "non-violence" direct action because they realize it pisses a lot of people off like the average citizens trying to go about their lives. Again, my fearological analysis is not about that direct action, maybe that is definitely needed for a lot of good reasons, my great concern is the hidden curriculum they use to shore up and glue-together their motivational psychological approach to fear management/education. The one example I'll use here comes through to show Extinction Rebellion's primary fearologic (and its great weakness as good fear education): 

See two images stills I took from these promo videos of Extinction Rebellion


3660043473?profile=RESIZE_710xSo, the pattern of communication tactic here in these two videos has one section that includes a "man" identified rather obvious by physical image and voice. These two men speak a scripted text, acting as if it is their authentic voice, but obviously it is scripted and play acted. Sure, each individual may feel scared but we don't really know when I see the same script each is repeating and performing and the fact they have chosen "males" to act this out is a part of their fearlogics that it is okay men can share they are afraid. Fine. My critique mostly then would come, as part of a fearanalysis, that they offer nothing about "fearlessness" -- as in when fear appears so then does fearlessness or some higher virtue as Four Arrows teaches and so on. No. The fear management system here is flatland. It just says, men are scared (and people are scared)--and, because of this we are "just like you" -- which is a big generalizing jump of communication and imposition because it doesn't let us each make up our mind and feel our feelings, and this imagery and text imposes upon us... and tries to get us to buy into their "I'm scared" or "We're scared" collectivism. This is the danger of this monocultural ideological messaging very typical of propaganda in general. It then leaves the justification for virtually any thing open as action and as the way to manage the fear-- that is, by joining Extinction Rebellion, joining direct action, strikes and disruption of society the way they do it and so on. Again, I'm not critiquing the particular events of strategy I am critiquing the hidden curriculum of how "best" (implicitly) to manage fear and anxiety and terror and panic-- by following their way.

Why don't these men after they say in these videos they are "scared" that they are then moving towards fearlessness... using some approach that is based on real theory about fear and fearlessness, or fearism philosophy, etc.? Truly they [e.g., Extinction Rebellion leaders, makers of these promo videos) have not done their homework on fear and its management. That's not their interest. They want to use fear to justify their behaviors, values, etc. That's the big error of their hidden curriculum, it is a mis-information on one of the most potent forces in the human universe--fear. 

So fearologics of Extinction Rebellion can begin to be critically analyzed here... from this kind of scripted imagery, text, and repetition of theme and approach. Unfortunately, it leaves nothing more for viewers, it drops us off... and I really challenge that that is really useful when the crisis situation is going the way it is. We have to be much more intelligent  (e.g., re: Defense Intelligence) in truly helping people manage (and transform) emotions of this powerful kind... truly, these movements have not thought deeply enough about this 'soft' side of the problem of eco-anxiety or whatever you want to label it. Again, I and others are writing more and more but surely these bits like this blog, are far behind and more research and critiques need to be published. I offer only the barest bit of a fearological analysis here. More to come. Let's talk about it. 


Thanks to my daughter for a new link: I just heard a great talk (interview) with Ronan Harrington of Extinction Rebellion as one of its UK political strategists who supports the movement for sure but also raises questions (and makes videos) re: (in his words) "shadows of the Left that make up Extinction Rebellion" [a point I have long made since I first watched how ER had a political agenda below its enviromental agenda of which moves into rigid ideologies of polarization, even though many in ER leadership talk of having "nonviolent" and non-polarizing (r)evolution]-- go to http://www.whatisemerging.com/emergepodcast

 ALSO a really good critique of the "hidden curriculum" (i.e., politics) denied by the XR folks (leaders) is brought out in a critique by Erica X. Eisen (2019) in an article in Current Affairs. We have to look closely at the politics behind the apolitics (slogandia) of XR, e.g., their "Beyond Politics" ideation and campaign. Eisen makes several good challenges, while still positively in support of XR. Go to: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/10/extinction-rebellion-has-a-politics-problem

ALSO just recently climate scientists themselves have come out and critiqued Rupert Read (Extinction Rebellion) leader who is scaring kids unnecessarily and worse, he's doing so with unjustifiable (biased) interpretations of he climate science data https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eob7P_o-6OE

ALSO, I just made a video on "Fearlessness Love" which adds to my critique of Extinction Rebellion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q7gzA1t_hU

Yes, things are getting 'messy' around the Extinction Rebellion movement (tactics, and philosophy) etc. really quickly, and I picked up on these potential problems way back several months ago as red flags were existent in my study of what they were saying and doing. Which is not to castigate or demean what they are doing. 


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Charles Eisenstein - on ECO-rhetoric (ideology) and fear [1]

"I am afraid that, in adopting climate as their keystone narrative, environmentalists have made a bargain with the Devil.... The premises of the [environmental] conversation shifted away from love of nature and toward fear of our survival [fear of Nature]." - C. Eisenstein (2018, p. 131) [2]

When we confront the environmental and ecological issues of the day, we are also confronted with an overwhelming (if not distracting) rhetoric (ideology) of the dominant climate crisis narrative. I and others are challenging the implications of this narrative, even though we don't deny it is important. The question we have is how important is it? So, I'll introduce you to one of the critics, an environmentalist himself--and specifically I suggest his recent video "Am I a Climate Alarmist or a Climate Denier?" which lays out a lot of important issues, and ends in the video with a really good challenge to "fear" vs. "love" as the motivational source which will be most effective to bring to our grand environmental problems in the next decades. Unfortunately, he says nothing about fearlessness and/or fearism etc. in offering solutions. Anyways, I commented (see below) on his Youtube video channel the following: 

As I listen to this talk (thank you Charles) a second time, his argument (biggest question/concern) boils down to questioning the primary tactic (not only one) of the Environmental Movement in the last 60+ years--that is, should environmentalists be utilizing (without questioning, without self-reflective critique and analysis) Fear Appeal over Love Appeal--in order to get people's attention and make them change (i.e., "wake up")? He says this in the last minute specifically of the video and to say this is most important is truly I believe exactly that. My own work of 3 decades has been on critique of societies in the modern era running aground because of a fear-based orientation to everything--our W. dominant worldview is fear-based and as much as ECO environmental critiques of that dominant worldview exist and are fantastic they unfortunately in practice often use the same rhetorical tactical fear-based approach (i.e., compare the effectiveness of fear-appeal advertising and propaganda over the centuries). I have written a few recent articles readers (and Charles) may find useful to this problematic of "eco-propaganda" (even with the best intentions). I too am an environmentalist (since my late teens, and I'm now 67 years old)--and ECO thought and environmentalism is still far behind in understanding the Fear Problem at the basis of why the world is going down today. See free pdf publications of mine: "The 'Fear' Matrix Revisited" and "Fearologics: Eco-Fear Protestations of Climate Crisis Activism Need Critique." I look forward to talking with others about this r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com


ALSO, see my series of two videos on The Greta Effect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kHozXgPS7Y which look at similar dilemmas that Eisenstein is pointing to, albeit, he doesn't name names like I do. And see alternative views of young Swede's (other than Greta Thunberg, for e.g.) who are sick n' tired of the "prophet of panic" and "climate cults" from Leftists and their continued pc binary thinking  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZCCXZz5Esw

Equally, a great short talk on becoming a critical level-headed "climate thinker" (not propagandist) see Alex Epstein's work: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm&ogbl#inbox/FMfcgxwDrvCQvDhZMvSdxBQlDFfKhsnM?projector=1

I like what wise elder and death-grief expert Stephen Jenkinson said recently: 

"There are people walking up my path, one-third my age. Their hands are full," spiritual activist and author Stephen Jenkinson told The Vancouver Observer a recent fundraiser for Wakan Tankaa film about environmental elders engaging youth on climate change. "One hand is full of a blistering hatred of anybody my age—the other is full of despair, something I’ve come to call principled anxiety...They say to me, ‘have you got anything?’"

ALSO, on the back cover of Eisenstein's new book and critique see Climate: A New Story (2018):

"Flipping the script on climate change, Eisenstein makes a case for a wholesale reimagining of the framing, tactics, and goals we employ in our journey to heal from ecological destruction. With research and insight, Charles Eisenstein details how the quantification [statistic obsession] of the natural world leads to a lack of [empathetic] integration and [reinforces] our 'fight' [and 'flight'] [fear-based] mentality." 

This latter point of exacerbating a battle of who's facts are right, re: climate change activists vs. the deniers, is fear-based in structuration, which is something I also have seen for many decades when it comes to making cases to 'save the environment' (or the world). The passions of fight-flight, our primal brain reflexes on survival get triggered and grow and out race the higher cognitive functions of which are needed to look at the situation and problems we have to face more collaboratively. Digitial media and social networks in the past decade have exacerbated fight-flight divisiveness on top of the quantification battles and in the end the subtleties of really listening and connecting to our hearts, souls, and our holistic nature of perception are diminished. David Abrams, cultural ecologist, geophilosopher, and author of Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous endorses Eisenstein's critique calling Eisenstein's latest book "a blast of sanity!... he writes from within an uncannily woke worldview... that discerns and feels into the complex entanglement of our lives.... This book is visionary and prophetic...". 

I think with Eisenstein's work here we have the possibility of moving from fear to fearlessness in the entire eco-problematique. I still am in the early stages of analyzing Eisenstein's work and especially from a fearological lens. So the "New Story" he speaks to is basically, as his book (back cover) says: 

"This refocusing away from impending catastrophe [as primary fear-based motivator to care for Nature] and our inevitable doom cultivates meaningful emotional and psychological connections [love] and provides real, actionable steps to caring for the earth. Freeing ourselves from a war mentality and seeing the bigger picture...".

The book (according to Brock Doman, Water Institute Director) is "A clarion call to reconnect through love with our living earth... to collectively move past divisive reductionism [fear-based patterning], betwixt false Prophets of doom and false prophets of denial, towards a revitalization of reverential relations." 


 1. When Eisenstein refers to "fear" problem in the ECO movement and especially the current climate crisis debates, he is really referring to the environmentalists (and Leftists, especially) getting caught up on an hyper-inflated use of the "precautionary principle" as the primary tactic informing (a fear-based) policy making process as well as using this principle to justify they can do and say anything and be "right" because of it. A good book critiquing the hyper-inflation of the precautionary principle" see "Law of Fear"(by Sunstein)

2. This shift is super important to recognize and analyze (see Note 1 also)--it is part of an emergency paradigm regarding time and risk--and the fear of failure at an unprecedented scale--thus, it is a way to motivate people and institutions to change by 'force' of fear rather than love--which is the basic foundational strategy of what is called "negative" politics/environmentalism relative and in contrast to "positive" politics/environmentalism. 



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