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I am inviting any new students out there to apply for The Fearology Institute Course TFI-118 "Expanding the Fear Imaginary". If you want to learn more about TFI just enter "The Fearology Institute" into the search box on the front (upper right) of the FM ning home page and you'll get several articles I have written about it. 

Since a year ago opening, I have had five students attempt to do the course TFI-118 as a start to their program but for various reasons only 1 student has followed through and is soon to graduate from that course. It is an online program and thus people have to make priorities and be disciplined to make it through the course. I look forward to new students in the 2019-20 season. Email me for more information: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail [dot] com

For an Introduction (video) to TFI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVWD7IjJ2iM

For an updated TFI Program Brochure of full details: 

Contact: thefearologyinstitute [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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2019     Fearlessness Teacher, [an interview of R. Michael Fisher, by Kevin Barrett of Truth Jihad Radio at  

            http://Kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/?s=”Michael+Fisher

 Show Descriptor:

 Jan. 26, 2019. Then in the final half hour R. Michael Fisher, author of Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer joins the show. Michael recently wrote me:

Hey Kevin,… wanted to let you know I have responded on a 26 min. video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kuEEJltp0o to the “stand off” between Nick Sandmann (16 yr old white Catholic student) and Nathan Phillips (Indigenous elder) in Washington this past wknd… a viral spectacle event that needs to be brought into an educational context of higher grounds in learning about fear and fearlessness and their role in this world… hope you can take a peek at this and feel free to pass it on to others who might be interested in a fearanalysis of this event …  -thanks, -M.

 Transcript

 [Interview with RMF begins at the remaining 26:43 min. point of the full 90 min. show]

 Bio: Dr. Kevin Barrett (KB) is a left-leaning Muslim anarchist, Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, holds advanced degrees in English Literature, French Literature, and African Literature, and is the author of multiple books which deconstructs the "war on terror". Dr. Barrett has been a Muslim since 1993. Blacklisted from teaching in the University of Wisconsin system since 2006 for questioning the events of 9/11, Dr. Barrett now hosts radio shows and is a public speaker.

 KB: What’s a “Fearlessness Teacher”? Sounds like a great concept because, as we’ve been discussing it seems like people are being paralyzed by fear. How do you teach fearlessness? If you could patent that and put it in a medicine bottle and put it out there that’s pretty much what we all need. So, let’s get into it right now with R. Michael Fisher. How’s it going?

M: Hi Kevin. Well, there’s a notion that you’ll see every once in awhile in the literature, I just was reading a quote: “Fear is a disease of the mind, just as cancer is a disease of the body. And you know that has been around as a discourse or way of thinking about and imagining fear for quite awhile, and certainly the Western world. And so one of the things in my investigations on fear which started back in 1989 systematically, was that I found the Eastern views and then later I found that the Indigenous views don’t quite use that same kind of language, like “fear is a disease of the mind” and so on, it’s very catchy. And there’s no doubt some truth to it, Kevin, but I found it is a more nuanced game and so it’s a little harder to put in a bottle

KB: Interesting. In Islam of course, we want to inculcate [Arabic term] which is sometimes translated as pious God-fearingness, others would translate it as God-consciousness but there is an element of awe-struck, call it fear if you want but it is really a lot deeper than ordinary fear when you are dealing with [Arabic term] but we’re not really supposed to be dominated by our petty egotistical fears. That’s what we’re trying to get rid of as we overcome our ego, the evil- side of our ego, the ego that orders or commands evil. Do you see it that way? Our desiring egos that often desire things that are not so good, are the source of the lower consciousness out of which fear sort of operates?

M: Yeah, so the way I would look at that is that there’s a spirit of fearlessness in the world. I start with that assumption. What is that spirit of fearlessness? I start with this dictum, and this again comes from a lot of reading and thinking that when fear appears, which it will, so does the spirit of fearlessness with it. Which is sort of like that arising possibility of handling, managing and self-regulating fear because no organism wants to be in fear for too long. It’s just not healthy for the body right, it’s like distress as it starts to cause breakdown of the system.

KB: It’s like fight-flight response with all the adrenalin?

M: Yeah, That would be the sort of easy one that we recognize, sort of gross in a way, because it’s so powerful when you get that adrenalin hit, the flight-fight response and/or freeze and so but what I was interested in looking at is that ego is involved because ego is part of consciousness development. We start with a pre-egoic structure of consciousness, you could say, before the self is fully developed, so very early in life, and then the ego starts to develop and the it gets very attached to many things, and many traditions talk about the attachment of the ego as the real problem not the ego itself. That’s where you get this fear-based self-defensive always trying to maintain your self-esteem and trying to maintain that self-esteem within a particular mileu of a culture or a social structure....

KB: This sort of leads us to that topic of the confrontation on the national mall between the white high school kids the Native American elder with the drum.

M: Yeah, it definitely does and I call that in my classification system, along the spectrum of the spirit of fearlessness, there’s a spectrum, that one of the first stages is “No Fear” and that’s to me that stage basically before you are born, before you come out into the world and get your umbilical cord clipped and somebody puts you over here and all of a sudden the world’s cold, there’s bright lights and big noises so then we start entering the fear. So that first response to fear, via the spirit of fearlessness is what I call bravery. And that’s how I classified when I looked at that tape over and over again of this Catholic high school boy confronting the Indigenous person and I said wow, what a great example of bravery but I want to just add the nuance, like all things, good things like the spirit of fearlessness it can be twisted, it can turn into a more pathological and/or immature form. And so the bravery that was really arising, was because he [the Catholic youth], this is my definition of it really, Kevin, bravery is when you sort of do things that you aren’t really planning or expecting to do and you just happen to be there in the right place and the right moment and something comes out of you and you do it, some sort of very brave act. However, later you look back and say, and actually this young man said this in an interview, I kind of wished I didn’t do that, like I kind of wish we would have backed-off and went our own way. So he did it, why? Because of the environmental condition of social reinforcement or positive reinforcement....

KB: So let’s get empirical here about what your interpretation is of sort of what really happened here. So, the original assumption, when people saw this picture or brief video, was that they thought that this gang of Trump loving high school kids had sort of surrounded and harassed the Native American Elder and had gotten in his face and he responded by just drumming. Which makes him the hero and the white Catholic school boys are the bad guys. But then it turns out that the Native American guy had actually gotten in the face of that white kid, he approached him drumming drumming drumming up to his face and the white kid had just not backed down and just stood there. Which my first hour guest Kevin MacDonald sees the white kid as being heroic. But to me this is kind of an interesting confrontation of these two sides that are confronting someone that they find, perhaps,  fear-inducing and that they don’t understand and in a sense they are both heroic. They are kind of just standing there and not backing down, doing their thing. But at the same time there’s kind of a problem in that their not communicating empathetically and rationally, their coming out of tribal egos, so what’s your interpretation?

M: I think that’s a really good point, that they did both move into bravery for various reasons and so we could analyze that but what I was then interested in was when does bravery move to courage or courageousness? And even a moral courageousness? And then when does courageousness move into fearlessness? And this is what Four Arrows and I, from the Indigenous perspective he studies, is what is that shift? And what I would say the big shift of difference was that the young man, he’s basically got all his guys cheering behind him, you know 200 or whatever, so he’s going to be heroic in that moment in what I’d call bravery. But not necessarily he took a lot of time or thought to think internally and develop this kind of moral courageousness that could take him to a possible point of fearlessness, which in fearlessness the whole motive is then to connect to make a connection in relationality in a communication for higher possibility for higher integration beyond those egos, beyond even those ethnic, cultural backgrounds, value structures, left – right, whatever it might be, secular or Christian vs. Indigenous etc. And so I think the Indigenous elder was in quite a different positioning, even though he stepped forward he felt he needed to do this and he was moving toward he thought was probably the higher moral ground and I would say that was fearlessness because he stayed in the communication of connection to his ancestors and a spiritual sacred song. And that song was a song basically of, yes, we’re here to resist oppression but also here to connect and create unity, and he actually said that at one point. Connect-unity. This is a song of unity that I sang. Well, the young man did not have all that thought going on, he had a lot of adrenalin and a whole lot of adrenalin behind him. It makes sense, it’s kind of like the sports team, it could be war team ready to pump themselves up to get ready to go out and do the heroic battle.

KB: Interesting analysis. I think the Native American guy, the drummer, said, that what he thought he was doing was protecting these black Israelites or something there was kind of a hand-full of these young black who were caught on video yelling insults at the white high school boys but of course they were grossly out-numbered by the white high school boys and so the Native American guy thought he was protecting those black guys. So it’s a very interesting kind of situation where it’s not that clear how it developed. It’s not like an obvious good guys vs. bad guys or aggressors vs. defenders kind of situation.

M: And that really brings me to, I think it is great to discuss this on media itself because of what media does with these kinds of spectacles. I mean I am saying it is an important spectacle but if we just stay with the spectacle of who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy, who’s the real hero, who’s is not. Well, those are really ancient very simple binary narratives of what is going on. And what I was much more interested in, and that’s why I am glad to talk to you on air about this, what do those kinds of narratives and discussions, if you just put all that media together in one big ball, I look at it from my point of view as a fearologist, and I call myself that, self-defined, is that I go, the level of conversation about understanding fear and this path that I’ve arced out from bravery to courage to fearlessness and even to fearless at the highest level of maturity and consciousness. It just shows me that we don’t have a vocabulary for it in the West, is my argument, and that is what my work is about is trying to get more discernment about when is it bravery, when is it moving to courageousness, when is it moving to fearlessness? And again, it’s not like that’s good and that’s bad it’s like it’s actually developmental and that’s the discernment I think we need, is we need to see the developmental differences and then we need to teach that. Those young guys, I’d love to see them have a curriculum that actually helps them understand the nature and role of fear, how fear becomes part of a psychological, biological complex and then is also a part of a cultural and political complex and the history with it. And then how is that different than say to the Indigenous perspective and how they’ve come to understand fear. And, what I wanted to say right at the beginning is that the Indigenous Peoples, as Four Arrows and others have summarized in general, and Indigenous perspective, not to disrespect the diversity and differences in Indigenous Peoples, but fear is seen as the opportunity to a higher virtue. It’s the opportunity to practice a higher virtue. And you can see that right, it’s even in the West, in the more dominant culture of yeah it’s good to be courageous, we generally think that is a cool thing to be heroic but what we don’t understand is that that is not the end of the road. That’s not the end of the developmental spectrum, that I’m speaking to. That’s why I think we need to bring in this language of Fearlessness and even Fearless.  I arc that out in my writing and research.

KB: Very interesting stuff. Abdul Arif Muhammad in the ½ hr before you were on said that he thinks the war on free speech, which is what I talked about with Keven MacDonald in the first hour, is driven by these false flag events, and war-trigger events, that put us on a war footing and made us feel like we were under attack, 9/11 of course being the classic example, but just hard-wired the average American’s nervous system to be much more fearful. Martha Stout, has written a book called the “Paranoia Switch” in which she cites research that about ½ of the population of the US developed clinical post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] from watching those 9/11 images on television, so talk about a jolt of fear to the nervous system, 9/11 probably impacted the human nervous system more than any other event in history. And that fear that was intentionally injected into the world, and especially Americans on 9/11, as part of this very carefully thought out orchestrated false flag operation set the stage for the police-state, the fear-based police-state we’ve been living in ever since. When you go to the airport and the color-code for terror is up to Orange and been color-coded for Orange now for years if not decades; I can’t remember before we were living in a state of permanent Orange fear-color-coding. So, I think that your work on fear is probably more timely than ever, unfortunately.

M: Yeah, unfortunately. You know I was just talking to a Canadian friend, I would call her a liberal friend, very intelligent lady, and I was saying I’m trying to develop this program to make people more aware of how fear rules and controls our life, again, not just in a psychological level but sociological, political, historically, and that we could move from this notion of a culture of fear to actually bring in a vision and imaginary for a culture of fearlessness. What would that be like? So, I was talking to her just briefly on the phone and she said, well I don’t think most people actually think that fear rules their life. And I had to stop, and thought, if I was living in America, which I was in the last 9 years, before last year, I don’t think an American would say that so readily. And I thought is that part of being the Canadian, we’re neutral, quiet and hide, and I’m a Canadian, I live in Canada right now, and I just thought I think there is a huge difference between Canadian perspective and awareness and I actually think it is actually a bad thing in the sense that I think Americans are at least much more woken up, sorry you had to go through that guys and folks, you know the post-traumatic stuff but you know that’s the wake-up, that’s the symptom arising for the new possibility. So, if I go back to the Indigenous perspective, that wake up that post-traumatic we can look at it as all negative, negative, negative, that’s a typical Western clinical view, and then we can look at it as “whoa!” This is actually in the Indigenous perspective, the door way the possibility for this new [level] trajectory of the spirit of fearlessness, that arises in all that intense fear. So, when I see someone like that Indigenous elder drumming in a very heated, very potentially dangerous situation, and he said I’m afraid, I’m scared, like I was scared going out there—but he took a positionality of unity and utilized that fear in the virtue of both courageousness in a moral sense, and I would say onto the gift of fearlessness because really, I said to my wife, you know why those young guys are having so much trouble with him is because, they were so anxious, so anxious because they didn’t know how to code. They didn’t know how to communication code with this drumming scene from this Indigenous person, more or less, they tried to sort of dance a bit, they clapped a bit, you could see they would try and get into it. But then they got more into the jeering and the making fun of and I said that’s the moment they don’t understand where this is going. They actually don’t understand fearlessness and that’s very typical because they’re not educated to do so. Something like that would be my hypothesis.

KB: That’s a really interesting analysis. It departs from the partisan take on this...

M: Right.

KB: Where you have the certain sort of Left anti-Trump side that’s totally demonizing the kids and making the Native American guy out to be totally the hero, versus the other side, Kevin MacDonald seemed to see it pretty much the other way. I like your take, seeing the overall reactions from both sides and the fear and fearlessness, overcoming the fear, from both sides. That’s actually a much more interesting, and probably more accurate, way to look at it. It reminds me, of what you are saying about needing that injection of fear, having to go through that PTSD, actually having benefits, for US Americans. That reminds me of the plot line in “V for Vendetta” [movie] which is really about the female character EV getting over her fear. When the film opens she’s about to be raped by vicious goons from the National Security State, set up on the back of a 9/11 style false flag, and she goes through all this horror and trauma and emerges being trained in fearlessness by the comic book hero V. That film is about, what it is of course a dream-like meditation on the American people being traumatized by 9/11 and then hopefully waking up and becoming totally fearless and having a revolution. Of course, it is a dream fantasy and unfortunately that revolution hasn’t yet happened in reality but it’s a pretty good wish-fulfillment fantasy. So, yeah I think that trauma is there, it’s not just a crippling thing, trauma can also be a way to get over fear and get into that state of fearlessness and do great things. It seems like that is where your work is leading?

M: Yeah, it’s going to move us. You might not jump into Fearless right away. You might not jump into the fearlessness practices right away and capability. But you certainly will start moving along that direction when you take it on, right you take on that fear, even that terror. And you take it on as this is the challenge. This is the opportunity. And, again, unfortunately we don’t quite have a good worldview for that, usually what we try do with out worldview, Western worldview I’m talking about more in the modern sense, is try to eliminate that enemy, that Other, who is bringing up all that fear. And so you gotta find the scapegoat target and try to destroy it. And that just keeps us way way in a very immature state, and that’s not like a criticism, oh you’re all immature blah blah, no I’m not saying that, I’m just saying compassionately it will keep us in an immature state in relationship to this spirit of fearlessness and this movement from No Fear, to Bravery, to Courageousness, to Fearlessness to Fearless. So you can see why I arc that out and repeat that Kevin, is because we don’t have that imaginary. You called it sort of a fantasy, right through V for Vendetta, which I love that movie, for it was a transformation, a transformation that was both internal and it had possibilities for the external, we got to watch it in the fiction, that’s what art is for. Thank goodness. And yet that imaginary is still working. It actually starts our new vocabulary, a new imaginary for possibilities, so I like to use expanding our imaginary on fear and fearlessness and yes, if you want to call it a fantasy in a way that’s maybe useful to but I actually think it is getting imagination for the possibility and unfortunately in the West, for example if I was to pick up the Bible, if I was to pick up pretty much any of the Abrahamic traditions and I’ve looked, they don’t have the word fearlessness, at least not when interpreted in English, I’m not a scholar in that direction, but you won’t find the word fearlessness in there, is what you get over and over is “Fear Not!” or “Be Not Afraid!” Well what’s that about? That’s saying we are meant in this deepest spiritual part of ourselves to follow this path, this path of Fearlessness, but not a lot of nuance in those literatures, and that’s just because of where they come from, in their time and their history, the information they were drawing upon, but I use that term path of Fearlessness as a developmental process.

KB: Very interesting. Anyways, in Islam there’s the phrase “they will fear not, neither shall they grieve” which is about the state the good people get to and I think that it is both getting to paradise but it’s also about that state of [Arabic term ?] meaning peaceful soul, which is really what Islam is about getting to in this life, is having a peaceful soul. And those that get to that ... they’ll fear not neither shall they grieve. So you founded fearology [laughs], as a ...

M: Yeah.

KB: I wonder how that intersects with Lt. Dave Grossman’s killology? The US Army guy who studied killing and what people go through. All the research shows that the vast majority of soldiers have never been able to kill. They have to have the extreme Pavlovian conditioning to get the majority of soldiers to be able to kill. In Korea, half of the US soldiers would purposely try to kill up from 10% in World War II. And by Vietnam it was 80-90% but they came back with horrible trauma. So, anyways, the killology is really interesting stuff. Grossman’s book “On Killing” is absolutely essential. So, how does fearology intersect with killology?

M: Well certainly, I actually communicated with Mr. Grossman quite a few years ago because I was fascinated with his idea and we had some correspondence and he sent me his audio tape. Yeah, he talks about fear as well and he also talks about really what I saw as a state, a state we have to obtain in order to hold that gun, have your intention, and be very clear of what you are doing. If you don’t have that consciousness, that awareness, rather than I can just go kill somebody, no it’s actually be aware that you are going to be a killer and you better know how to be a killer otherwise get out of that business. So his training was I think quite along the lines of fearlessness. I actually found him very respectful in his work. What he didn’t do, where fearology takes off, and fearology develops this notion that true fearlessness, one of its main features is, to learn and know and study everything about fear that you can, in an ongoing sense, there is never an end to it and that to me is the sacred commitment to both healing and developing to our highest potential. And I think the Biblical quotes or the quotes you just gave from your tradition and background, I think that’s what it means, it means without grief, that to me I resonate with as, that means that I’ve done my grieving work, I don’t hold myself in an immature state of unhealed grief because that will cause constant fear-based life. So, something like that.

KB: That’s beautiful. You know I need to look at your books, I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. I’ve seen your video and Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows, sounds great. Four Arrows is a hero of mine. He’s one of the really great figures to come out of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Anybody who doesn’t know about him should learn about him. Maybe your book would be a good place to start?

M: I think it is a nice one. It’s an intellectual biography, so it is called Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer, it was a 2.5 yr project of him and I sending a lot of emails back and forth, and me studying his work and I would definitely say he is probably one of the most advanced thinkers from a fearologist’s point of view, on fear today. Because he integrates the East, the West, he integrates all his military background, his training with horse and wild horses, extreme sports, he’s a hypnotherapist, he just has this great richness, and that’s why that book was so fun. So there’s a lot of stories in there but then there’s also my theory and my framework so I think a reader could kinda get enough of me but enough of Four Arrows to make an interesting read, not so theoretical.

KB: Well, I’m going to try and get my hands on it. Hey thanks so much Michael Fisher, I appreciate your very interesting stimulating work and I’m planning to learn about more of it and read your book and I’ll probably get you back on the air to talk about it.

****

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New Video on Fear Talk from Nigeria

I congratulate Osinakachi Akuma Kalu for his work in spreading fearology and fearism in Nigeria and beyond. His latest (first) video is now available where he talks about his own story of thinking and writing about fear and its influences. https://drive.google.com/file/d/17G-NEd0tOb8m6KgUO4c8FJdKaqKMhIla/view?usp=drivesdk

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I'd certainly rather talk about a much lighter topic than the near (potential) devastation of planet earth due to climate change and global warming caused by humans (e.g., CO2 and changing the surface of the earth so much it absorbs more heat)...

In the last few days myself and Barbara have been going through our own "existential crisis" as if it feels like at some point we just (really) GOT! the information of what is happening on the planet re: global warming and the reluctance of too many government and business leaders to ignore the impacts, when they could make substantial changes re: the biggest polluters, if they had the will to do so. Which means, if they had the moral courage, in the face of great social fear of being fully "green," of perhaps losing friends and losing money (at first)... and so on. It's risky to make the moral change in times like this.

I think the fearologists of the future (and today) will have to do their homework and really come up with ways to intervene in the way social fear gets in the way from all kinds of people and institutions changing in major ways. We need a (r)evolution of fearlessness. But over the last decade or so, even with calls for such radical shifts and such fearlessness, there is enormous inertia to do so. I find it a type of 'evil' that knows the problem but refuses to do anything about it (or does very little, and too late). Basic Premise: I have long theorized that the more the "terror" the more "fearless" as a new management system will arise and evolve and be available... the living cosmos is incredibly gifted to handle distress, fear/terror--we have to learned to pay attention to it's beautiful and available Defense Intelligence--and learn to work with it, and to "push" any lesser forms of defensive behaviors and thoughts toward a threshold where transformation can occur. It is not about being "hopeful" or "optimistic" for me, it is a matter of looking at the data and theorizing what has been happening on the planet re: Defense Intelligence (and, that is way beyond just humans, to be sure)....

Tipping points re: climate change and crisis after crisis on the planetary scale (e.g., major storms, extreme climate)... are more or less here on our door step. What we have to realize first, and it will be a great grief to admit, that humans (overall) have done some good things in evolution for sure, but late-industrial humanity and especially the urbanites, have now to 'take on' responsibility. A new book offers many creative ideas ("arts") etc. of how to live on this damaged planet. Here is the write up from amazon.com

"Living on a damaged planet challenges who we are and where we live. This timely anthology calls on twenty eminent humanists and scientists to revitalize curiosity, observation, and transdisciplinary conversation about life on earth.

As human-induced environmental change threatens multispecies livability, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet puts forward a bold proposal: entangled histories, situated narratives, and thick descriptions offer urgent “arts of living.” Included are essays by scholars in anthropology, ecology, science studies, art, literature, and bioinformatics who posit critical and creative tools for collaborative survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. The essays are organized around two key figures that also serve as the publication’s two openings: Ghosts, or landscapes haunted by the violences of modernity; and Monsters, or interspecies and intraspecies sociality. Ghosts and Monsters are tentacular, windy, and arboreal arts that invite readers to encounter ants, lichen, rocks, electrons, flying foxes, salmon, chestnut trees, mud volcanoes, border zones, graves, radioactive waste—in short, the wonders and terrors of an unintended epoch."

[extract from advertising on cover from "Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene" - note this is mostly an academic book]

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The Fearology Institute: Update

Students of Fearology... young and old, from around the globe... India, Africa, America, Europe, Canada... are leading the way to a 'new' way to critique, understand, and intervene in the global Fear Problem(s) of our times... 

Hello all who may be interested in The Fearology Institute (TFI) online higher education. I am pleased, as founder, director and main instructor, to share with you that we have five registered students taking the first course at TFI ("Expanding the Fear Imaginary")--and, some of these students are intending to take the full first-year program to train as a "fearologist." 

Since end of July 2018, the program at TFI is designed and slowly unfolding and evolving as I and the students learn about what it is going to become. There are no prior programs anywhere in the world on this new domain (field) of study and scholarship, that produce a professional certificate. I have designed "four core courses" and there are three streams of specialization students can pick after the first mandatory course (i.e., "Expanding the Fear Imaginary"). 

See my video "Introduction: The Fearology Institute" and/or you may find more info. on the program if you do a search (top right corner) on this FM ning site. 

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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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"Psychology is how to struggle with it. Philosophy is always looking for an exit out of it." -Jon Amundson (psychotherapist) 

Dr. Jon Amundson

I just had to quote my fav psychotherapist from Calgary, AB. Long story of our connection. But when I saw this on his website tonight, it made me think of this as a traditional view where there is "problem" and psychology and psychologists help people struggle with it (pragmatically). Maybe there is some truth that philosophers and philosophy tend to be more about ideas and questions and offering better "exits" from problems. Though, that is all too stereotypic generalizing, and what strikes me is that the philosophy of fearism is anything but an exit per se but a way to engage the struggle with fear, and in fact is a philosophy all about fear in all its dimensions from genetic to biological to psychological to sociological to philosophical and even theological. The fearologist works with this philosophy of fearism as a basic guidance, at least that is the way Desh Subba (founder of philosopher of fearism) and myself envision the education, practice and development of the new fearologist of the 21st century--they are a hyrbid cross, both in the struggle with the Fear Problem and also looking for an exit (e.g., what "fearless" may mean)--but there is no separation or divorce of the two types of fearwork(ing)... they must be integrated all the way, and the very word "fearism" and "fearology" makes sure there is deep and wide investigation and struggle and working through all things to do with fear ... [just some thoughts for the night]... 

 

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Update of "Three Pillars": Fisher & Subba

This is the latest update (2018) of the diagram in Fisher & Subba (2016), Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. We invite further ideas on this ever evolving integral model as we look for all the ways to apply the philosophy of fearism to large domains of societies and individual's lives. The latest addition is "Fearcriminalysis" (all issues to do with law and order). For full definitions of these all, you can consult our book for some, but there will be an upcoming FMning blog that will define these.

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Invoking Feariatry

This is a preliminary essay intended to invoke further interest in what Fisher & Subba (2016) have called feariatry; we defined it (a term first named by Subba (2014)): feariatry (feariatric) - refers to the study and application of fear-disease relations in the mental health and wellness fields; analogous to psychiatry and psychiatric [1]

"Feariatry" is one of the sub-branches of a triad under FEAROLOGY, the latter which is one of the triad ("three pillars") identified in Fisher & Subba (2016) as an Integral Model of Relationships that are important to health and wellness, liberation and a better way to understand fear and create new knowledge about fear (p. 141).  Feariatry has the least development conceptually (theoretically) and practically relative to the other triads. For previous writing on feariatry search this blog [2].  

What is Feariatry? 

This is an open question that has not near been answered in the short-life span (a couple of years) of its growth as a concept. I won't summarize here everything Subba has published on it nor myself. I merely want to share some of my latest thinking. Feariatry is a re-calibration of the nature and role of fear (utilizing a philosophy of fearism) within its applications to health and wellness, medicine, psychiatry, therapy and psychology. The impetus behind this concept (and field of inquiry and care service) has been that fear requires a 'new' revision from its place in these areas, especially the field of psychiatry. Subba and myself argue that most all mental health problems and/or disorders (e.g., phobias, and other disorders in the DSM-V Manual that psychiatrists and psychologists use) are basically at their roots different forms of "fear-disease" relations.

In other words, the ecology of fear has been messed up, made errors as a "defense system" or "motivation system" and the result of those errors (intrinsic and extrinsic) are psychopathologies of fear (often with physical pathologies). Fear is at their root cause, and therefore, fear management/education is their primary or at least important treatment. Psychiatry as it has developed in modern times, and its following under the Biomedical Paradigm (Model), has left us with a psychiatry that is not that attuned or well-informed to the way fear operates in psychopathologies in general and in particular psychopatholgies like phobias, etc. Obviously, psychiatry sees the powerful nature and role of fear in psychopathologies like neurosis, psychosis, phobias, panic, anxiety disorder, but in actual theory and operations of treatment psychiatry doesn't pay that much attention to how to best work with the ecology of fear as a whole system of dynamic interactions, both intrinsic and extrinsic, both individually and collectively, and objectively and subjectively--all operating as impacting on the way fear is shaping and controlling life process (including nearly all psychopathologies). 

Feariatry ought to include the best of what psychiatry has to offer, but it also ought not be caught following only, or being dominated by, psychiatry and the Biomedical Paradigm. Feariatry, like the philosophy of fearism, is something new in perspective--one that uses a "fearist perspective" or lens. There is to be an open-mindedness, creativity and imagination for fear like never before in history. In that sense, feariatry ought to be transdisciplinary in approach to gathering data, knowledge, and assessing outcomes of feariatric treatments on patients. Psychiatry and its domination of the definition of fear and ways of managing fear are seen now as too restrictive and dismissive of the findings of the philosophy of fearism. We want this relationship to change, and we want more dialogue between theorists and practitioners from psychiatry and feariatry. Well, fact is, we don't have any one practitioner at the moment who claims to be a feariatrist. There isn't yet training for them. Meaning, we don't have a curriculum and pedagogy already prepared and planned for such training of feariatrists. But it is slowly developing and I am personally very interested to help lead this work and teaching. 

What is the Biomedical Paradigm?

This is a long and complex topic. When I suggest (as have several other critics) that the field of Medicine (and Psychiatry) are deeply embedded in the assumptions, premises and culture of a paradigm of Science as supreme over other forms of knowing, knowledge, and paradigms--then, that's where there is a conflict that needs to be understood, with a history going way back. Anthropologists tell us that around the world there have been "medicines" and "medicine peoples" in all tribal cultures for most of human history. Indigenous medicine (as therapy) is ancient and has its own Indigenous science basis, which many Indigenous scholars are now reclaiming and documenting in writing. Most of that wisdom is oral tradition, passed on from masters to initiates. There has also in the last several decades been a challenge to Western Medicine by the Eastern approach to Medicine (or wellness and health). Again, this is a large topic, but the point is to say that the worldviews behind these different approaches have different value systems, beliefs, assumptions about reality, and about the way disease and cures are related. These different worldviews and their paradigms of operations are also different in how they view the nature of fear and how best to manage fear. They have different ways of theorizing the fear-diseases (i.e., what diseases or dis-eases are caused mainly by fear and which are not). 

The biomedical paradigm, at least in the Western world began in the early first millenium and especially in the 16th century, as "Science" was becoming thought by many (not all) to be the best method to find out the truth, to diagnose the true illness and find the true cure. Experimentation was systematized using new means of statistics, data analysis, validating procedures, etc. The history of diseases and cures is fascinating and gives one a larger perspective when practicing any kind of curing --therapy--etc. So, I encourage all psychiatrists and feariatrists to be philosophers and historians as well as practitioners. Keep an open mind, and especially with regard to the nature and role of fear in disease(s) and in health and cures. 

So, may feariatry move along and develop, and do so in part because of its open-dialogue with psychiatry. As for how hard that is going to be, I predict it will be very hard because psychiatry isn't very open in my experience to other paradigms for understanding medicine, wellness, health, therapy. Of course, I could be just as critical about Psychology today, especially in the Western world. 

I look forward to further dialogue. 

Notes: 

1. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris, p. 157. See also Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.

2. For e.g., I have written: "Advances in the Psychopathology of Fear" (FM blog Apr. 19/17); "Feariatry: A First Conceptual Map" (FM blog Aug. 26/16). 

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Fearologist Interviewed

This is an excerpt (newspaper clipping from 2007), where a reporter interviewed me at my office, which was the space I was given at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, because I was hired for an original 3 week intensive course I created (as lecturer) called "Addiction Recovery as Fear Management: A Post-modern View"-- can you believe it? It truly happened, and there is a long story behind it (maybe I'll share another time). I had about 12 undergrad students, mostly in counseling psychology who took this. 

The point of pasting this photo and article is to show that at least one serious daily newspaper reporter of a fairly large city (in Canada) at one time (now 10 years ago) actually wanted to use "fearologist" in the sub-heading. It's a breakthrough, first time ever for such a phenomenon, anywhere in the world, I'd guess. So, it actually can be taken seriously. But like most leading-edge things in the society, far beyond what it can imagine itself, things like "fearology" and the profession of a "fearologist" appear and disappear just as quick. The lesson: don't think one good bit of pr and a paying gig like teaching is going to last necessary. There can be long dry spells between these golden opportunities. I'm just glad it was recorded in human history, in this one article. Maybe there will be another someday for some fearologist, not just for me. 

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Feariatry: A First Conceptual Mapping

Desh Subba (2014), using a "fearist perspective" and a reading of history and human development based on a "philosophy of fearism"-- coined the term "feariatry" and wrote a few pages on its conceptualization (see pp. 156, 160-61).[1] His basic idea was that psychiatry has not fully seen the nature and role of fear in mental illness and well-being. He posited, that in the future there will be feariatrists as well as psychiatrists. The former would use a philosophy of fearism to guide their practice of psychiatry. He also believed that the knowledge from the sub-field of feariatry would help people in the grassroots of communities and other mental health and social workers to better understand that we ought to be diagnosing fear problems in people and offering them appropriate solutions and not allowing ourselves to be ruled by psychiatry. I would add, and not be ruled by psychology either (thus, Subba and I have also been developing fearology, and fearanalysis).

The following concept map is one of my first ways of articulating a vision for a field of study or a topic. This ought to provide the more complex version of conceptualization beyond Subba's initial concept. We both know there is no one and only way to define the sub-field of feariatry but it will take many creative efforts to build a good theory and practice. I have given a wide and deep lens to what I would like to see go into the development of feariatry in the future. The details of course are yet to come.

End Note

Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.

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New Dialogue with Desh Subba (1)

I hope to make a series of these dialogues with Desh Subba (living in Hong Kong), as we email exchange and co-author work on the Philosophy of Fearism. This dialogue I shaped and led as a kind of interview. Enjoy, -M.

Desh Subba and R. Michael Fisher in Conversation on:

 

            FEAROLOGY, FEARIATRY, FEARANALYSIS [1]:

                  Three Pillars[2] of a Philosophy of Fearism

 M (Michael): One of the things you and I have learned in attempting to promote the newest branch of philosophy [3], after existentialism and postmodernism, is how it is not always easy for people to grasp how a philosophy can aid their everyday life. Especially, it is hard for them to imagine that a philosophy called Fearism is going to be valuable to them or their loved ones or society living everyday life. What has been your experience of teaching? You have done much more direct lecturing than I have on introducing a philosophy of fearism, including your recent teaching experiences to many countries in the East and a few in the West.  

 D (Desh): It is human nature that we ignore common things that are habitual around us. Teaching Fearism, as a new type of philosophy, is difficult for people, be they ordinary citizens, professionals or academics. They tend to think what is common in everyday is normal and things have been like this from ancient time.

 M: Yeah, habituating to routines, norms and traditions is a powerful stabilizer in cultures of all kinds. Yet, you and I are nudging for people to attend through a fearist lens at the common things in their world, hoping they will begin to see them differently. 

 D: During my lectures in India, China, Bangaladesh, Nepal and even in the USA and Australia, I sometimes would ask the audience counter-questions by giving examples of their surroundings—e.g., window, door, balance of diet, physical exercise, etc. I say all these things are for making a better quality and longer life. And analogously, I say, we have fears habitually—that is, fear of accidents, diseases, death etc.

 M: I find it intriguing. I mean your teaching style. I sometimes wonder if it is uniquely Eastern and so different than how I approach teaching about fear in the West. That makes for an interesting exchange of the East-West dialogue as we can learn from each other, from very different perspectives. It seems to me you focus on teaching people to understand that fear is so common and habitual, and that has been part of human evolution as a motivator for everything we do, that people, for the most part, don’t realize it—its become a routine to live that way. And you reinforce that mostly that is good fear helping to improve our lives, like windows, doors, balance of diet, physical exercise. However, you and I also say that as tribes move to cities and become nations through time and development they tend to become more educated in knowledge and aware of more dangers. This makes for more things to fear. They tend to be more fear-based in motivations everyday, to the point where it is no longer all good fear that motivates.

 D: Yes. When I’m lecturing I say the scientists invent new technological devices and advance comforts and it mostly serves human life and society. It depends on our use and how to make it valuable to life. Analogously, I teach that Fearism is the same kind of device. We have discovered it now; we teach ways to use it. It’s time for them to learn and practice how to use it to improve their quality of lives.

 M: And, you and I as teachers sure wouldn’t want to force it on anyone. In particular, for this conversation today, I want to focus on practical concerns you and I have in regard to applying a fearist perspective that co-emerges with a philosophy of Fearism. I am thinking that our most practical direction offered to humanity, as outlined in our co-authored book, Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016) has been a pointing to how to end suffering. You wrote, in your opus work Philosophy of Fearism (2014), “... man suffers from fear due to various reasons.... There are lots of problems and diseases [caused] from fear.” And, the situation is getting worse in our Extreme Fear Age, you pronounce—and, I heartily agree.

 Of course, there have been other philosophies and religions that have been offered for this same goal of stopping suffering; but based on our long studies, you and I believe they have all, more or less, fallen short of a proper analysis of suffering because they have minimized systematic critical study of the nature and role of fear in their philosophy or religion. You and I also believe this has been the problem with sciences. For sciences, like medical science especially, has attempted to cure disease (and dis-eases, as in psychiatry) and stop suffering as well. Yet, we argue that religion, philosophy, science, social theory and politics, have all been inadequate in their theorizing on “fear.” This is the premise of a philosophy of Fearism.

 D: I am not arguing that philosophy of Fearism is a complete philosophy for humanity. My point: it is a core philosophy in human life. There are typically not practical daily explanations in other philosophies to assist people from morning to evening and birth to death. Fearism starts from our consciousness. Consciousness starts from birth. Its central point and motivation is fear. On the basis of fear we look at the world. I met Dr. Hariwani, a writer from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, in Shillong, Meghalya, India in a recent Hindi literary program. He says not only life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear but the whole universe is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.

 M: As I understand this unique point of view, and it is interesting you have others who agree with you, in the Eastern world anyways, you paint a macro-picture for the good role that fear plays beyond merely in the world of humans or even earth.

 D: There are many universal fears. We cannot find an explanation for this reality and ways of seeing in previous philosophies. In 2012 there was a world warning of a Nebula coming near and/or striking earth and 6 billion people were in high alert with its dangerous course. I put the question on social media saying: Which philosophy can explain it? This type of A, B, C Nebula always emerges in human life and history of our solar system. Or we can say we are in the unique trap of multiple Nebulas that seem to be focused on destroying earth and killing us. Only a Philosophy of Fearism closely monitors, and explains this matter in a wider and more rational way. In the former type of thinking and analysis, without Fearism, people’s victim consciousness creates more suffering due to fear than is necessary. Fearism takes us on a course of consciousness that relieves this victim perspective and thus relieves some suffering.

 M:  So let’s get down to the focused topic for this conversation. As I said, you wrote in your opus work, Philosophy of Fearism (2014), “... man suffers from fear due to various reasons.... There are lots of problems and diseases from fear. This obstruction has occurred, as fear has not been theorised for a long time. Fear has been interpreted a lot. It has been theorised” (p. 159). I realize your text (2014) has been written in Nepalese, and the English translation is not the best here, but I interpret that by “obstruction” you mean a limitation and disturbance has appeared in humanity’s knowledge systems and disciplines that, more or less, has missed seeing and thinking clearly about the role of fear in human problems and diseases. And then you say fear as “not been theorised” very well for a long time in human history but more recently is being theorized (especially in psychology)—and, yet, if I understand you correctly, you are also saying this recent theorizing on fear is still quite inadequate and requires assistance from a philosophy of Fearism—and, more specifically, it requires assistance from developing sub-fields of Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry. Is that correct?

 D: Yes, you are right, it is inadequate. Not only this, but previous philosophies are inadequate too. Humans have done their best and always try to complete their work on these things, but we have left a hole in our knowledge. Philosophy of Fearism was totally left out. You and I are the first persons making Fearism a philosophy and showing it to the world. Even our work at times only touches the macro-level but is not always useful on the micro-level. To patch the holes we need multiple explanations and that requires sub-fields of Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry. To maintain our goal these have to be pillars; and, later as circumstances may change then we may require more pillars according to demand.

 M: I agree; there is never a fixed or static solution. A fearist perspective will continue to evolve as fear evolves. It seems to me one of the most pressing problems is the state of the environment, e.g., global warming (pollution effects). This will cause major planetary changes of mega-proportion, and with that, lots of destructive fear and terror through the disruptions—a time of great pressures, challenges and risks to life survival. We really need to get Fearism in place around the world soon to prepare for this crisis time, which has already started for the past few decades, at least. 

 D: Philosophy of Fearism is a general philosophy but also a flexible one to analyze such crises and helps in fear management and better education about fear. To specialize in particular matters, needs particular pillars. However, our three pillars will assist and sustain the use of Fearism for likely a long lasting time.

 M: What do you think might be the cause (motivation) for this “obstruction” to good theorizing on fear throughout history? Likely, there are multiple causes for this, but what do you think are the most important ones. And why?

 D: In my opinion, the main obstruction is Meaning. Everything is based on it. Meaning means perception, social consciousness and social knowledge. How knowledge is changeable, meaning changes accordingly. The current meaning world, and how individuals and institutions create it is what obstructs change of meaning.

 M: Some researchers call this a “meaning frame” which determines everything one understands about them selves and their relationships to everything. It is hard to change a meaning frame because it is so unconscious for most. But once it is made conscious, which is what education and self-reflection can do, the meaning frame (or “paradigm”) can shift dramatically.

 D: People have to make fearological knowledge, and consciousness and perceptions part of their new meaning frame. Thus, they can develop a new fearological world.

 M: Desh, you also wrote in your 2014 book (p. 159): It will be easier to identify the disease caused by fear when its definition, condition, source, origin, effect, types, etc. are interpreted. The treatment system develops [i.e., improves] when a [medical] doctor declares [i.e., admits] that the disease is a result of fear. Medicine can be discovered for it.” In this last phrase I interpret you mean that Medicine, as a field of curing and aiming to stop suffering, can be reformed and transformed for making this change that a philosophy of Fearism is calling for it to discover. You also wrote, “All hospitals are established and medicines [discovered] due to fear. Yet fear was not identified [as so important] in [the history of] medical science.”

 That is, Medicine, from our fearist perspective, needs to discover more emphatically the importance of the nature and role of fear in general, and in its own evolution as a field of Medicine. Both you and I would go so far as to suggest new sub-fields of study and application need to be invented like Fearology, Fearanalysis and Feariatry to better inform the Medical field and society as a whole. Why do you think Medicine as a whole has not regarded fear as so important all these years of its history? Do you think this “obstruction” to do so is found in all parts of the world, East, West, North, and South? Do you think past cultures had “medicine” practices that were more in-tune with the critical importance of fear? If so, what ones and how so?

 D: Look Michael, every one is suffering some sickness from fear. Nowadays, I am studying the Holy Bible. Whenever I read it, top to bottom, I see many forms of fear: threatening, warning, killing, attack, disaster, hunger, disease, punishment, imprisonment, escaping, hiding etc. I am using a lens of Fearism to evaluate it. So, I can vision clearly this fear-based drama depicted in the Bible stories. Similarly, when we read life, society, economy, and politics with this lens, we can see obviously different forms of fear. Likewise, disease can be studied accordingly, we can find Feariatry world, which is unseen at this time but we can imagine it. Philosophy of Fearism is analyzing and arguing from this lens. Until now, patients in psychiatry and therapy are being treated under various names and diagnoses, but not in the name of “fear patient.” Fear is not seen as the source of the mind pathologies. This is blunder of the Medical world. The same blunder is everywhere for the most part in the wider world too. The world is following foolishly a rather zigzag ineffective road, instead of a straight road to the root of the pathologies of the mind and body. This is the reason we are not approaching good mental health soon. And sometimes we seem as societies to have become lost on the way. Medical science is doing the same, particularly in case of the fear patient who is suffering from fear unrecognized as the root source. I suspect this problem is in the East, West, North, and South. I don’t know if other cultures from the past were all that different.  

 M: Do you know of any medical professionals who are listening to your lectures, reading our books on philosophy of Fearism? Or, is our movement largely being listened to by only writers and literary people (i.e., artist-types) so far? How do we best get our fearist perspective to at least be considered in the Medical field and especially in the medical education programs? A big topic...

 D: No medical professional, that I know of, has listened to my lectures so far. I try my best to reach to them. You are right, mostly I lecture to writers and literary people and scholars in the humanities and arts.

 M: Same with me.

 D: Every one has some kinds of pillars of truth they believe in. It is not simple to remove their views. The major reason behind this is they want to hold onto it—their pillars. They don't want to shake them or have them shaken by others. Without shaking pillar, there is not chance to mix with new thoughts. They tend to believe in a pillar and that is final.

 M: Something this reminds me of, and I have written about it often, is the problem of people being too afraid to change their views on fear, to challenge their knowledge pillars about fear and its management and how we should be educating ourselves and others. It’s a real stumbling block to progress.

 D: Indeed. Yet, this resistance is not happening merely to a philosophy of Fearism. Similar problems we can see historically in each new ideology. Time will come to remove the old and replace with the new. It has happened in the past and will happen again. This is the time for a philosophy of Fearism to be delivered to every ear. I am doing my part of that, and so are you. One day, one ear will get the message and speak and share it with the rest of the world.

 M: Teaching about fear in this way takes a lot of patience. Thanks Desh for your patience to do this interview with me. Good luck with your work. I look forward to doing more of these dialogues.



End Notes:

[1] I am currently finishing a first draft of a book A General Introduction to Fearanalysis, which is my equivalent (analogy) to Freud's A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. My book, modeled after Freud's format, consists of 13 lectures. This ought to really move the work of fearanalysis out there.

[2] Technically, to be more precise to Fisher and Subba (2016, p. 141), the model we presented suggests the three pillars of our work are (1) Fearist Perspective, (2) Philosophy of Fearism, and (3) Fearology (including Feariatry and Fearanalysis).

[3]. See Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris; and, Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

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Here's the cover image of the new book I just wrote (with Desh Subba)... soon to be published Jan. 1/16... keep checkin' in, as I'll write a few blogs about it... looking forward to engaging with you all on this new philosophy for the world... a world in the 'grip of fear.' (btw, I designed the cover with my art work from a 2007 art series I called "Emotospheres"...

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