fearologist (7)

Dr. Darcia Narvaez on Fear

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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." 

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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. 

 

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Jean Gebser on Primal Trust-Primal Fear

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I think this is a powerful extract from the teaching of the cultural historical theorist, Jean Gebser, from a 1972 talk on "Primal Fear and Primal Trust" re: his asking humans to continue to pursue the answers to the origin questions like: 'Where do I come from?', 'Who am I?' and "Whither do I go?' (the full quotation from this talk is offered in Georg Feurstein's (1987) Structures of Consciousness p. 30, and in Johnson's book in a chapter on "The Integral A-Perspectival World" (Johnson, 2019, p. 168). 

For those of you who know I am a critical integral theorist/philosopher, often following much of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber, it is important to note that integralist philosophy is articulated by many other great minds of which Jean Gebser is one of them. Johnson names Gebser (1905-1973) "a German-Swiss cultural philosopher, intelectuall mystic, poet, and scholar of the evolution of consciousness." (p. 1). 

See also https://prism.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/handle/1880/112698/Tech%20Paper%20114_rev.pdf?sequence=5 [my more in depth article on "Cultural Theorist Jean Gebser Meets a Fearologist"). 

 

References

Feurstein, G. (1987). Structures of consciousness. Lower Lake: Integral Publishing [translation].

Gebser, J. (1997 ed.). The ever-present origin [Trans. Noel Barstad with Algist Mickunas]. University of Ohio Press.

Johnson, J. (2019). Seeing through the world: Jean Gebser and integral consciousness. Revelore. 

 

[art poster image by R. Michael Fisher]

 

 

 

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Hi all, I have just written and published The Fourth Stage of the Fearologist in Technical Paper No. 73, for your free download. 

Here is the Abstract of that paper: 

Abstract

There is an emergent impulse, noticeably stronger than ever, in the last few years, especially in 2017, for the field of study called “fearology” to take its rightful place in the world. Albeit, fearology is still a baby growing with lots of mistakes and victories, good and bad, to learn from and mature. This essay is an autobiographical reflection of Dr. Fisher on his life as a self-named fearologist, with a focus particularly on what the four stages of the fearologist may look like. It is an essay inspired by The First Stage of the Fearologist (Kalu, 2017). A healthy non-competitive comparison is made of the first stage as a beginning-point and the fourth stage as moving to an undisclosed end-point in one’s development as a fearologist. This is thought to give the ‘book ends’ of a new field of study—that is, arcing out a spectrum of possibilities in which to understand fearology (and the fearologist) from different developmental levels/stages. This ought to lead one to engage fearology appropriately with those distinctions in mind and with a guiding map for negotiating the basic journey it involves on its way to becoming a mature field/discipline of knowledge and personhood. Dr. Fisher gives attention to his own challenges to articulate what he calls the “three discourses” in his intellectual life at its current stage. He shares these difficulties for teaching purposes because the three discourses make conversations he has very complicated when arising around topics in the realm of fearology (e.g., is “fearless” a good thing or bad thing?) and how best to practice as a fearologist in a world of increasingly diverse perspectives, values, and worldviews on “reality” and “truth” and fear management/education.

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Search for Health(y) (Thinking)...

The role of the fearologist has to be fundamentally concerned about health (Health) [1]... and that has to start with some philosophy, theory of "health(y) thinking"... and, I do not merely mean this is a question or inquiry about "mental health" as is so commonly the route taken, and that's why I manipulated the image above which came from a mental health website... "Health" and "Health(y) Thinking" cannot be taken accurately by dividing them... nor the later merely shuffled off under the umbrella of mental health as a field. The fearologist is quick to challenge that dissociation of the two components and also to place "Fear" central on the 'map' of the inquiry and dialogue about Health in general... so, I added Fear into this diagram from the website.... there will be more discussion about "health" when I get back to Canada...

Note: for more in depth thoughts on where I am going with this discussion see FM Ning Forum (Dec. 16, 2016) "My Becoming a Health Critic: The Last Leg of Life's Work"

End Note

1. One could include well-being as part of health; the definition of "health" has to be more than "absence of illness" (of which the generic medical establishment in the Dominant and Western worldview has too long perpetuated as the only definition worthy)

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