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
So, 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.