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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.

****

Read more…

Fisher's New Book Released

 

This book is now AVAILABLE  

See also book trailer video

"I'm reading the book Michael. It is really amazing ....a truly wonderful piece of work that I think will withstand the test of time. Well done indeed." -Beatrice [1]

AMAZON Books Reviews: 

Luke R. Barnesmoore
October 10, 2018
Format: Paperback
 
 
Harriette
5.0 out of 5 starsA remarkable story
October 11, 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Thom Hartmann
5.0 out of 5 starsBrilliant - an amazing story about an amazing guy
October 10, 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
 
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Other Book Endorsements:  

“This book tells the story of one of the leading Indigenous educators in North America. I have known Four Arrows for many years and am delighted that his journey and contributions are presented in this timely book. In these difficult times his journey can inspire us to live fearlessly.— Jack Miller, Ph.D. Curriculum Studies OISE author of Educating for Wisdom and Compassion 

...”a wide-ranging exploration of fearlessness examines the life and work of Four Arrows through the lens of Fisher’s synthesized philosophy of fearism/fearlessness. It helps address the most urgent questions facing our generation today...”. - Jeff Nixa, J.D., Author of The Lost Art of Navigation

“As a Cree Sun Dance Leader who well knows my brother Four Arrows, I highly endorse Dr. Fisher’s insightful description of his courageous activism and how it represents a key virtue represented by Indigenous Peoples the world over.” – White Standing Buffalo, Métis Elder, Sundance Chief and Storytelling author of What Life is All about

The author shows how Four Arrows understands the complementary forces of Western and Indigenous cultures....”— Howard Teich, Ph.D. Author of Solar Light, Lunar Light

“Fisher has selected as his focus the life of a remarkable man, Four Arrows, a beacon of hope in an era of confusion and fear. Fisher carefully and expertly explains some of Four Arrows’s most important contributions to understanding the path toward Fearlessness. He reminded me why Four Arrows's work has moved me so greatly and why everyone should know him. Fisher's book is an excellent introduction to the man and his insights, and an inspiration for those committed to helping humanity return to its potential.”— Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Notre Dame. Author of Embodied Morality: Protectionism, Engagement and Imagination; 2017 recipient of the Expanded Reason Award for Research, and co-Director of Notre Dame’s 2.6 million dollar “Self, Motivation, and Virtue” initiative.

 Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows The True Story of an Indigenous-Based Social Transformer

In these times of cascading global crises it is past time for us to re-evaluate the dominant worldview that has brought us to the point of likely extinction. As a species we need to re- embrace the worldview that guided us for 99% of our history on this planet and re-learn our “original instructions” from wisdom of our ancient ancestors and from the surviving Indigenous Cultures who still know how to live in harmony with the Natural Order. Acting on this holistic understanding may bring us beyond our individualistic egos and collective illusions that are cast forth like chains via the hegemony that manipulates our fears so as to allow the rulng elite to gain control of all.

Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows offers strong ‘medicine’ for the reconstruction of a healthy, sane, and sustainable future for all of life on this precious planet. Utilizing an “intellectual biography” of Four Arrows (aka Dr. Donald Trent Jacobs) and presenting a picture of his courageous life through true stories, Dr. Fisher creates a powerful adventure into the firey philosophy, activism, and emancipatory inspirations of one of the world’s great visionary educators and social transformers.

Through a number of Four Arrows’s unique experiences including firefighting, white-water kayaking, wild horse training, world-class athletic competitions, and counter-cultural activism, Four Arrows has become a connoisseur of fear and courage. This book shows how he walks a universal ethical path of Fearlessness at a time when too many remain trapped by their fears. This is a text for all people but especially useful for teachers across all grades and disciplines. Study questions encourage dialogue to help students overcome fears in service of helping to transform the world with their own "fearless engagement."

This book offers 15 teaching stories provided by Four Arrows about his life adventures, activism, and professional work as a holistic-Indigenous educator. The book is contextualized within the challenges of our times and the need for learners to examine best how they may re-evaluate and transform the Dominant [Westerm] worldview that has proven unsustainable to life on this planet. Fisher and Four Arrows dialogue at the end of each part of the book with fresh insights and honesty, including self-critique. This book will serve well for students in high schools, colleges and universities in the many disciplines where understanding about courage, fear and fearlessness can be integrated into the curriculum.

CHAPTER CONTENTS

Opening Prayer – by White Standing Buffalo
Foreword: On Being a Warrior – by Shirley Steinberg
Preface
Introduction

PART I FEARLESS

1 Fearless Waters Deep

2 “Walking a Path of Harmony”

3 Radicalization of a Moralist

Part I Study Questions & Practices

PART II FEARLESSNESS

4. CAT-Nature as Compassionate Gifting 

5. Dancing In/With the Spirit of Fearlessness 

Part II Study Questions & Practices

PART III COURAGE(OUS)

6. Radical Honesty: Harnessing the Magic of Fear

7. Befriending the “Gift of Fear”

Part III Study Questions & Practices

PART IV BRAVERY

8. The Bronco and the Boat

Part IV Study Questions & Practices

EPILOGUE - by Four Arrows

INDEX

About the Author

R. Michael Fisher has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and a Masters of Adult Education from The University of British Columbia. He is a former schoolteacher, youth worker and family therapeutic counselor. His service includes liberation work as a facilitator, presenter, artist, fearologist and independent scholar. He is founder of the In Search of Fearlessness Project and Research Institute (1989-). Fisher is author of hundreds of published articles, book chapters and monographs focusing on the topic of education, fear and fearlessness. His two prior books are leading-edge explorations: The World’s Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21st Century (2010) and Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016) (co-authored with Desh Subba). He is father of two adult children and has one grandson. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his artist wife and scholar Barbara Bickel.

Peter Lang Publishing Educational Series, “Counterpoints”

order@peterlang.com 1-800-770-LANG

 

Notes

1. Beatrice Jacobs, is the photographer of the portrait of Four Arrows (Don Jacobs) on the cover of the book, and she is Four Arrows wife. 

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Book Cover- [photo of Four Arrows by Beatrice Jacobs]

I  would like to share with you my new book soon to come out in July, 2018 (New York: Peter Lang). For an advanced look at the book's content see a short book video trailer and the FE brochure 2018.pdf (4 pp) I created here. Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs) is an FM ning member. Feel free to pass on these promotional materials to your networks and those you feel would be interested. Thanks.

I'll be writing more about this book on the FMning in future blogs. I'll leave you with one excerpted quote by Four Arrows (interviewed by me) from the book: 

"In my mind, this mass hypnosis syndrome, I now call Trance-based Learning (TBL) gone awry, is the only explanation that makes sense of how modern educated societies, especially, have rationalized their technologies of domination, their polluting of their own nest, and their addictions to ways of life that paradoxically destroy Life. My own vision of rehabilitation from this destructive path is that Fear and courage concepts are essential to understand as they drive learning and development in a 'good way' or 'bad way'....I offer an intentional transformation learning theory and critical praxis as an initiative to build a society and world that is able to resist and reconstruct current hegemonic fear-conditioning--the latter, which has unfortunately become 'normal' socialization--a 'culture of fear.'" (p. 2)

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Time Magazine Cover Image (revised by RMF)... Apr. 2, 2018

There's a churning of emotionalism and activism in America this year, especially this spring. I have posted a few blogs about youth (mostly in highschools) across America but also around the world, protesting "gun violence" in their schools and communities. They have picked various slogans and hashtags, but the one I think is most telling and interesting is "Fear has no place..." (and the usual term finishing that phrase, but not only one, is) "in our schools." Does this means American youth are protesting in record numbers publicly to say, "We want no fear in our schools? our societies?" --and, why are they not saying they want a "Fearless Society"? 

I have just completed a new Tech Paper 76.pdf "Fear has no place..."..": Youth movement for fearlessness in need of critique" which I would love if folks read and gave me feedback. In particular, I'd love this paper get out to youth who are in this movement and may we find ways to dialogue. 

Also see Photo I recently posted of the images, t-shirts, mugs and commercialization that has already quickly adjoined itself to the youth protest movement. I very much wanted to see this movement as a Fearlessness Movement (see my blog post "March Without Fear"https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/youth-s-march-for-our-lives-is-a-march-for-without-fear

I really wonder where the "Fear has no place..." slogandia started? Maybe some of the readers here know. All I know is that, as a fearologist, this is the last thing to be voting for or marching up and down the streets for. Notice, I am not talking about the "gun problem" these young people are also addressing, but interestingly enough it has spread from there, the more concrete part of their activism, to an issue of "fear" (again, see the Internet and all the articles and images that have grown up around this notion of "Fear has no place in our schools" for example. 

As a fearologist, and as one who articulates and follows the philosophy of fearism, and philosophy of fearlessness, everything tells me that the narrow and shallow notion of "Fear has no place" is quite the wrong direction to go if we really want to be liberating youth, school cultures, and society as a whole. It's too bad that phrase is a 'viral' catch phrase but perhaps with time and more deep thinking, and informing of the movement by fearologists, a more congruent message can be applied. The basic starting point is not to try to get rid of fear. That is casting it out like a mis-placed thing. Fear is us, as the saying goes. I cannot help but think youth in America have been disillusioned and or so brain-washed in some ways (not all), that they are taking on the politically and ideologically fraught with problems view of the "conservatives" in American culture and politics--that is, with their Zero Tolerance policies and practices. The very discourse (unfortunately) of the rebelling youth today in America is sounding an awful lot like a discourse that is from the elders they have been oppressed by for so long--that is, a Zero Tolerance policy of excluding "fear" from schools and well, where does that exclusion stop. It is ironic that this youth generation protesting is also the most articulate and delightful in supporting inclusion (diversity-- equals difference and the Other). But when it comes to "fear" they are saying it has no place in American schools, communities, and societies. This is a contradiction and a basically 'wrong-headed' strategy and rhetoric. 

Again, this short blog is not my full argumentation re: the problem this declaration has brought forward. As a hint, I will say a much wiser declaration or wisdom comes from the elder African-American Black novelist Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature--where, she wrote about in her novel Sula on the very importance of Black People (generally, meaning the oppressed) to rather "make a place for fear" where it can be seen, worked with, and "controlled" (re: the character Shadrack in that novel)--and managed because it is known and studied and lived with in relationship because it is real. The African-American experience and guidance here is well worth looking at in terms of its contradictory message relative to the youth message today in America (and not only youth) of "Fear has no place...". Equally, in future writing on this, I'll examine Four Arrows' Indigenous-based theory of Fear [1] and why the native people and their worldview also are wise enough to know that the last thing we ought to be promoting anywhere are places where "fear" is not welcomed! It is rather astounding, on one level, that all the "fear-positive" literature and teachings since the 1990s in N.A. has had little to no uptake so it seems, at least, at this time for this youth movement [2].

I'll leave it here, with the dialectical thought that if one creates "no place for fear" likewise that is going to create "no place for fearlessness" --and, thus I see a lot of emotionalism and bravado in the new activism of youth today in America rather than true fearlessness. But that's not a put down or dismissing of the good spirit that is driving behind their efforts [3]--their peace, anti-gun, anti-violence anti-fear efforts... I applaud their heartfulness to find truth and justice, and yet, I am seeing how woundedness and trauma doesn't always analyze deeply enough the discourse of the oppressors--of the 'Fear' Matrix (culture of fear) that beseiges us all today--including youth in school cultures. 

Notes: 

1. See for e.g., Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2016). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival.  Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. 

 2. By "fear-positive" I am referring to literature from many disciplines and professionals, who have asserted that we need to shift from seeing fear as only negative to also seeing fear as positive, a gift and so on. For e.g., one of the most effective teachers of this has been de Becker, G. (1997). The Gift of fear: Survival signals that protect us from violence. New York: Bantam. 

3. On the positive-side, I could argue a "spirit of fearlessness" is motivating their call, their 'truth-to-power' discourse. Another view is that from a nondual standpoint argument that could be made, as a colleague Luke Barnesmoore makes generically in an unpublished essay "Fear and Fearlessness" (in his larger collection of essays "Nomadic Exploration of Critical Pedagogy") that: "I seek to emulate the Divine out of loving respect, not fear (which is a product of the potential for the Divine's privation in manifestation and has no place, in and of itself, in the eternal" (p. 7). Barnesmoore's argument is one from an absolutistic philosophy (spirituality) or what he calls the "Natural Worldview" of the "Nothing-Infinite Eternal and its emanations Force, Form and Consciousness" whose attributes inlcude Love, Truth, Reality, Beauty, Goodness, Unity, etc." Thus, arguably, one could take such a metaphysical principle and say that there may be wise truth practical and value in the rhetoric of "Fear has no place..." that the youth in America are manifesting in their own way, consciously or not. See Barnesmoore, L. (2018). Fear and fearlessness. Unpublished paper. A self-identified San Franciscan (California), Luke is currently a doctoral student in the Geography department, Co-Founder/Director of the UBC Urban Studies Lab, at The University of British Columbia, Canada.

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I have long been an advocate of not denying the "mess" the world is in and where we are likely heading--crises one after another are mere symptoms of a larger looming disaster ecologically and in every other way--we will be challenged big time!. Some before me and after will raise this awareness in a fearlessness fashion, beyond denial and fear. I think one of the most powerful critiques of what has happened to the human-Earth relationship in the last 10,000 years or so, is the analysis of worldview(s). My own upcoming book on the work of Four Arrows, an Indigeneous-based social transformer [1] and others, like the new dissertation of Sepie (2018) from New Zealand [2], are critical sources of helping us understand the problem of worldview(s) and how to change our intimate relationships with them. We tend to swim in our worldviews that have been imposed on us and that we adopted very early in life without critical consciousness of the impact of that adoption. It takes a life-time of hard work and study and thinking critically to unravel the layers of the dominant worldview that has "taken us on." This critical analysis is even more crucial when the dominant worldview happens to be a paradigm of fear, that is, ruled by fear (and not in a good way)! At least, that is what the Indigeneous, the Feminist, the Matrixial, the Integral, the Fearlessness and the Postcolonial worldviews offer as a critique, more or less explicit, of the colonial worldview that dominates much of modernity and beyond. But that's another blog for another time. 

What I wish to share here is a few quotes from a mixed-blood Maori doctoral student in the field of geography [3], and one that has done an enormous amount of research in the dissertation which I have glanced at. Sepie (2018) does an outstanding synthesis of vast literature across fields, and cultures, and time, and has offtered a new pedagogical framework for a planetary futurity that is healthy, sane and sustainable. She says she is looking to be part of a growing movement, a near invisible one, of geographies of hope, that is, some force with actual academic useful things to offer humanity in its struggles.

She doesn't talk a lot about fear nor mention fearlessness or fearless as concepts (or paradigms) for her imaginary, however, I particularly am inspired to share bits of this dissertation because of the Indigenous-based, Motherline-based, Earth-Elders-based, decolonising worldview she articulates and challenges the dominant colonising worldview--and, mostly I am thrilled to find an Indigenous-based scholar (they are rare; [4]) who has acknowledged the integral thinking and writing of Ken Wilber, an American integral philosopher who's work has greatly influenced my own, and my philosophy of fearlessness and fearism. Okay, a few short quotes from Sepie (2018), 

p. i - In pursuing planetary futurity, I engage with these [many and diverse] voices in order to trace a path toward a renewed Earth community [ethic]....I outline a pedagogical framework for worldview transformation, as a component of necessary decolonisation and rematriation processes." 

p. 1 - "Such times of crisis call for a radical shift in conceptual focus, one that pushes the human imagination to create differently." 

And finally, I love her radical surprise, when after listing all gratitudes to those who supported her research, she writes: 

"My gratitude is also extended to those who did not support me – in this endeavour, or in general. I thank those who did not believe in me, who forgot or ignored our mutual obligations as humans-in-relation, who withheld assistance in times of need, and who sometimes deliberately conceived of obstacles, often seemingly insurmountable, for me to overcome. Just as the stone in the river becomes smoother through turbulence and its story becomes infinitely more interesting, this resistance has added innumerable and valuable layers to my experience in life, despite its acquisition via discomfort. Thank you for the contrast: for reminding me to remain open and to be without fear, to be tenacious, to speak my mind and live in accordance with my values, to remember courage in the face of adversity, and, for whatever the reasons, known only to you, contributing what you had to give. Thank you for teaching me, even if it was ultimately to take a different turn. Without you, also, this work would not be what it is." (p. viii) [bold added for emphasis]

Now, that's practicing the "gift of fearlessness" the Indigenous gratitude way... wonderful!  

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The importance of "imagination" or what I often refer to in my work as "imaginary" expansion is worth highlighting here. I particularly, have taken a radical shift of focus (like Subba et al.) toward understanding the nature and role of fear and fearlessness in the worldivew and crises humans have created. I have uniquely among my colleagues in fearism, taken the integral theory and imaginary on as ontological and epistemological grounds for a holistic critical approach. Sepie (2018), makes reference to her encounter with Wilber's integral-transpersonal perspective in a footnote (citing A Brief History of Everything, 1996 written by Ken Wilber): 

"Some of the greatest thinkers I have encountered (in print, alas, far more than in life) are skilled at novel innovation or insight by the careful cultivation of specialisation and generalism, or a balance of span and depth thinking, undertaken in equal measure. This is a quality I admire in Harvey, among others. My concept of span and depth balance is interpreted from the essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox” by the philosopher and political theorist, Isaiah Berlin (Berlin et al. 1997, pp. 436-498), and has also been developed via the work of transpersonal and integral theorist Ken Wilber (1996)." [bold added for emphasis]

Notes

1. Soon to be published: Fisher, R. M. (2018). Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer. NY: Peter Lang.

2. Sepie, A. J. (2018). Tracing the motherline: Earth elders, decolonising worldview, and planetary futurity. Unpubl. dissertation. Aotearoa, NZ: University of Canterbury. [geography]

3. Thanks to Dr. D. T. Jacobs (aka Four Arrows) for sending me this dissertation.

4. I am referring to a quote in Meyer, M. A. (2008). Indigenous and authentic: Hawaiian epistemology and the triangulation of meaning. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln & L. T. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of critical and Indigenous methodologies (pp. 217-232). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 222-24.

 

 

 

 

 

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Four Arrows and my work recently is mentioned in "Stories That Heal Primal Wounds",

in Psychology Today magazine (2018 blogpost) by Dr. Darcia Narvaez 

Professor of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, IN, USA.
To read this interesting blogpost by her go to:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201801/stories-heal-primal-wounds

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Issue of Adequatio: Fearlessness

Without going into the technical and philosophical tradition of critique of adequatio in knowledge pursuit in general, let me say that this concept refers to the questioning of methodology, approach, attitude, assumption, discourse, perspective, worldview, and so on--and, how these impact the claims of knowledge we make as thinkers. 

How adequate is a person's thinking (including, methodology, etc.) to take on with adequacy a particular task, and in this case my questioning revolves around the task of gaining truth(s) about Fear and Fearlessness. I'll focus on "Fearlessness" because this is what this ning, and the historical Fearlessness Movement is all about. 

How does one both pursue knowledge about Fearlessness, define Fearlessness, conceptualize it (and ourselves in relationship to it both individually and collectively, and historically, culturally, politically, etc.)? This is a methodological question. A research inquiry into Fearlessness can be loose and sort of an anybody and everybody say what they want and make claims. There is a place for that free-for-all pluralism alright in any topic as long as there are not too severe of consequences regarding what claims are to be made and implications--based on context and subject matter under investigation (e.g., a problem).

My interest has always been to let people claim what they may, inquire as they may, and let's put all that information together and see if it helps us sort out Fearlessness. However, that is a very limited methodology and approach itself, which when the stakes are high, as I believe they are today with the exacerbated Fear Problem on the planet, there may have to be less encouragement of that wide pluralistic way and focus on a more systematic way of knowledge, knowing, and understanding of Fearlessness. It is just too important of a concept and phenomena, arguably, to let anyone make claims without them being challenged by more systematic expertise and careful thought. 

So, I have spent decades on this epistemological issue of adequatio when it comes to Fearlessness. The PRACTICAL suggestion of my writing this blog on adequatio is for all writers on fear (who are serious) to locate themselves, their methodology, perspective, etc. in up-front ways, so that others can assess the limitations of one's claims made because of those methodological structurations and biases.

The book I have co-authored with Desh Subba (2016), Philosophy of Fearism: An East-West dialogue is one of the shorter but good summaries of a lot of my thinking on these issues. I also wanted to leave readers here with an excerpt from my new book [1] about to come out in 2018 in the next few months. It is an excerpt on my (imaginary) discussion with Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs) an very important Indigeneous scholar and educator who has developed his own notions of Fear and Fearlessness over 30 years: 

Four Arrows: I am noting the tension in the responses as to what we should be focusing on, Love or Fear or Fearlessness. A Fearlessness philosophy is something I have not specifically ever thought about until meeting Michael some ten years ago. I would say, Indigenous philosophy is primarily at core, in motivation and inspiration, a Fearlessness philosophy, yet I know that isn’t going to fly in the academy, and certainly not amongst philosophers. Yet it is true. Unfortunately, “Most of the education about [an] Indigenous worldview that incorporates the importance of courage does not say much about fearlessness. Nonetheless, Indigenous worldview holds that courage leads to fearlessness at a magical point when the commitment to act on courage is irrevocable. It is a kind of trust in the universe that is a legacy for all of us. We face a situation in the world that demands that we re-embrace this perspective as best we can.”[i] I have already published on my critical views about Western philosophy and the Dominant worldview re: fear and courage and how there are a lot of “half-truths put forward by Aristotle and Socrates” which just about all philosophers in the West picked up and pass on, right up until this day. Greg Cajete, Jongmin Lee and I critiqued current neurophilosophy and neuropsychology for its inadequacy and how they are so biased, requiring a radical different perspective to integrate with science that the ancient knowledge of Indigenous Peoples offers about reality.[ii] So, come to think of it, I suppose that was my ecophilosopher-self challenging philosophy as a field to ‘wake up’ to its hegemony and the dangerousness of that course. The other starting place to research on a fearlessness philosophy is to notice how these same philosophers seem to have no respect for Fearlessness, at least the way Michael and I use it.

 Michael (M): I wrote a technical paper on the West’s fear of Fearlessness, and/or its lack of interest in it.[iii] You know there are multiple scholars writing a history of fear but none have written a history of fearlessness. This is a “gap” that a Fearlessness philosophy will have to address and as Rafiq said so well, we have to ask if philosophy and its methodologies as we know them today, especially in the West, can adequately research Fearlessness, including a sacred perspective, at least as Four Arrows and I have been conceptualizing it.


[i] Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2016a). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, pp. 60-61.

[ii] Four Arrows (in dialogue with Cajete, G. & Lee, J.) (2010g). Critical neurophilosophy and Indigenous wisdom. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publications.

[iii] See Fisher, R. M. (2015b). What is the West’s problem with fearlessness? Technical Paper No. 53. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

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Note: 

Fisher, R. M. (2018). Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer. New York: Peter Lang.

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Here is the 5th (last) of the series on ecocriticism as related to my work on Fear and Fearlessness. It is entitled: "Ecocriticism, Ecophobia and Indigenous Criticism" - Technical Paper No. 70

Below is the abstract for this paper:

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 70

Abstract – The author addresses some of the ways he has come into the field environmental education and the study of perceptions of humans towards nature, noting that fear of Nature is paradoxically situated with love of Nature in most people. He summarizes, using a brief fearanalysis, the Indigenous perspectives on ecocriticism and then proceeds to show the great influence of Four Arrows’ provocative de-hypnotizing method to help us get beyond the worst aspects of “ecophobia” (Estok’s hypothesis). He makes a few cautionary recommendations in the Conclusion as to how we can reclaim “indigeneity” by listening to and studying the more than human being (Nature) as guides to becoming “connoisseurs of Fear.”

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Four Arrows & Protecting Rights: New Video

Four Arrows - video still - SPAGO 2017 23 4Arrows 

Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs), an FM member recently sent me a short 4 min. SPAGO video of his activist work and philosophy: "I think fear is the biggest deterrent of both happiness and talent," he remarks in the 2017 film. This is definitely worth watching, and a fine production for which Amnesty International is now using this in their pr work.  

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If any of you have been following my work with Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs) and his CAT-FAWN model (see earlier blogs), you also want to have a look at Naomi Klein's expertise journalistic work on what she calls "shock doctrine" analysis-- where both her and Four Arrows are mounting, independently, their own attempts to help us avoid the excessively irrational negative impact of crises, fear, chaos and how it gets systematically used (manipulated) by politicians (and, other authoritarians) to push through anti-democratic and draconian policies and laws, e.g., "emergency" procedures and exceptions to law, etc. Over the decades I have taught about how to build one's own 'fear'-vaccine process with similar intentions of political and psychological resistance to fear-mongering of anykind.

This has been all well documented how this works, another form of propaganda when people are fear-full, often due to a crisis, be it individual or collective. Producing and using "crises" of all kinds, from natural to human made, is so extra powerful today shaping our world, especially with mass media, that an entirely new branch of sociology is being developed, called the "sociology of crisis" and fear is of course fundamental to all this process. Below I have linked the website of Naomi Klein and her 5 step video on how to resist being caught in the next crisis and shock that is bound to come. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w44lApffH30

Also, with Four Arrows and Naomi Klein, I would recommend (see Photo on FM ning) the work of Timothy Snyder, "On Tyranny" for other strategies of how to circumvent and resist current and future tyranny overall.

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I have been re-reading Paulo Freire on "critical pedagogy" lately, as I was into it in my early 30s. I never leave this radical liberation model of education, of teaching and learning, with the "oppressed" in mind. And the oppressed, for Paulo Freire included the 'oppressors' as well because they are the worst case in being oppressed themselves by say "patriarchy" or any other name you want to give to the 'big bad problem' of domination-subordination (master-slave) relationality. I mean "worst case" because they are "blinded" by their power/privilege and thus enabled to "deny" they are oppressors and oppressed. They cause the worst damage to the whole system, not the typically identifiable "oppressed" and marginalized with very limited power/privilege in a society.

Finding A Fearlessness Center Again

I have an article about to come out soon in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy (Spring, 2017) on some of my challenges to the critical pedagogy schools of thought and discourse in regard to how they have not really gone after the big bad problem of oppression in the way I think they need to. That is, the schools of critical philosophy, critical theory and critical pedagogy have largely ignored (or only very partially) addressed the Fear Problem (which, I am also calling many other things, but an interesting term of late is "paranoiaic paradigm" that has to be addressed). Or, as I wish to put it on this blogpost, these schools of thought and education, of which Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) is also very critical of and yet also applauds, have ignored the 'loss of a center' in the sense of loss of 'sanity' and an ethical reference point for it --by which he and I  mean a "Fearlessness Center." Yes, there has always been a Fearlessness center or core foundation of all living systems, Natural, Cultural and Spiritual--at least, so the theory goes. He uses the Indigenous worldview as his basis for re-finding that 'Center' and I use many traditions of thought, basically under the rubric of the Fearlessness Movement. We are going to produce a lot more systematic work on this in the years to come.

I am going to post one of Four Arrows' fascinating early diagrams (1998), CAT-FAWN Connection, attempting a holistic model to show the need for a "Center(edness)" in all curriculum, that can call itself ethical and/or liberational (see below). Lot's more to be discussed of course, as this model isn't totally self explainable nor is the "Fearlessness Center" he and I are now writing about in various ways and it will show up in our new book in 2018 Fearless Engagement (Peter Lang Publishers). Anyways, something to think about.

Reference: Jacobs, D. T. (1998). Primal Awareness: A True Story of Survival, Transformation, and Awakening with the Raramuri Shamans of Mexico. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

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Becoming an Artist: Fearlessness Path

There are many ways to walk the path of Fearlessness, and one way, more or less, is that of art, artworking, arting, and becoming an artist in your own way. Four Arrows', from an Indgenous worldivew perspective wrote, one of the best ways to stay in touch with Nature, especially when you don't always have a lot of access to natural areas, is to "Become an artist. It is taken for granted among primal peoples that creativity is everyone's birthright. Art should not be the prize of the wealthy or the exclusive domain of a few 'gifted' individuals" (Jacobs, 1998, p. 240).

I have mentioned on the FM ning a few times, Bracha L. Ettinger, my favorite artist/theorist these days, and with Barbara, we are always learning from her work which I think is going to some day be seen with the equivalent impact Sigmund Freud had on the world. Matrixial theory, is Ettinger's main contribution, and there is an excellent new interview from Dec. 16, 2016 in the New York Times (if you can believe it)... wow, this is great to have reach the shores of North America, as she is best known in Europe so far. The title of the interview is "Art in a Time of Atrocity: Ettinger and Evans".

I see Ettinger's deep analysis essential to guiding a sanity path of Fearlessness through a world more and more dominated by Fear.

Reference

Jacobs, D. T. (1998). Primal awareness: A true story of survival, transformation, and awakening with the Raramuri shamans of Mexico. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

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Abstract

This rather technical blog is a first introductory sorting through my synthetical and fresh thoughts, though with a long history, of why I have never been happy with the locating of "fear" as (only) an emotion or feeling as typically found in our thinking (norms). The theories of affects, feelings, and emotions are many and diverse, yet for me they virtually all fall into the same, often unconscious biased framework, paradigm, or what can also be called a (Dominant) worldview. There are a few radical sources of fresh and alternative thinking/theorizing that have led me today to create a new category of awemotion to work along-side, if not dismantle, the hegemonic control of Fear and its meanings and definitions. I no longer think it very productive to liberation to continue to see fear as emotional; at least not without a serious correction to that referential frame of meaning and shaping of experience that goes with it typical of Psychology. People of all stripes, for the most part, cannot seem to think of Fear beyond it being imagined and classified within this Emotional Paradigm. I'll give an introduction to the difference between emotion and awemotion and offer a theoretical rationale for awemotion as the best way to understand Fear beyond the Emotional Paradigm, the latter, which is arguably buried in oppressive premises of a phallocentric and non-Indigenous understanding. Therein, I surmount the scaffolding (only briefly) here for a new theory of Fear which will better help us solve the Fear Problem. My gratitude here is to three contemporary critical thinkers, theorists, who have assisted my synthesis: Four Arrows, Bracha L. Ettinger and Desh Subba. 

Brief Introduction

This morning I awoke with one of the synthetical moments of the hypnopompic trance-state of consciousness (between waking and sleep). This has always been a most creative time, when my brain/mind system has had a good night of dreaming and rest, and re-integration of a lot of the complexities and inputs during the day prior, and during my entire life-time. The synthetical moment is like a bursting of a "damn" or "knot" in my thinking and processing of problems to solve.

The biggest problem to solve since 1989 [1] is how to convince humans to experience, perceive, respond and think about Fear (with capital) in an entirely different way than the norm. Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Jacobs at the Leadership Studies Program, Fielding Graduate University) and myself have had an intense six years specifically talking about how to re-frame Fear from a trance-based learning (TBL) and Indigenous perspective. We are working on a book together entitled Fearless Engagement (to be published in 2018, Peter Lang publishing). He began using a capitalization of the term to set it apart from fear (with no capital, which is the norm) as defined and made meaning by what he called the Dominant worldview (contra the Indigenous worldview) [2]. I really like his framing of the Fear Problem (my term) within this Worldview Wars (see also Culture Wars, Paradigm Wars below). If "wars" is off-putting and sounds militarized, I assure you that is not how I see the battle/resistance going on for domination, re: the problem of hegemony of knowledge/power in the domain of Fear Studies. Yet, you can turn the conflict and use your own word(s) of which many in the recent Indigenous resistance movements are calling themselves "Water Protectors" while various actors, non-Indigenous and/or Indigenous backgrounds, call themselves "Water Warriors." In this sense, Four Arrows has preferred of late to call himself an Indigenous (Nature and Culture) protector rather than warrior. I label him and his work within the Sacred Warrior traditions from around the world, across cultures and through time. These are word(s) for you to consider but further delineation here would be a distraction.

Multiple Perspectives/Worldviews: Radicalizing the Theory of Emotion(s): Fear

This morning I wish to briefly introduce a parallel notion to Four Arrows' work and his naming of Fear [3], which intersects with his conceptualization and radicalization of Fear. I am referring to two other sources that, more or less, complement Four Arrows' work and my own on this subject. Also, notice that the focus of this blog is not to go into the practical applications of a radical theory of Fear but to show the initial revision required in the dominant theory of fear as we normally have been taught--and, taught to absorb rather than question critically. The Biomedical scientific model (or paradigm) is part of the Dominant (i.e., non-Indigenous) worldview--and is thus, the worldview of the "colonizer" of the Earth and Natural Systems and the destroyer of much of what had been Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.

The biomedical perspective, now Psychiatry and Psychology serving as its agents, continues to categorize "fear" as an emotion--and thus, always emotional. This has been heavily reinforced by technologies (e.g., MRI brain scan research into the neurobiology of fear). It has told us that that is the way to understand fear. It has told us we ought to be emotional and manage all the emotions (i.e., fear being only one, not special in any way, from the list of emotions). Note, I am not questioning that we may at times be "emotional" that is not the issue here, if you read on, the context for how emotionality is constructed and regulated by "Authority" is the issue in question. The theory of fear (Fear) is one way to get at this critique.

I began fearology long ago as a way to displace this unquestioned assumption of the Biomedical scientific model. When I found Desh Subba's work on a philosophy of fearism (he's from Nepal, now living in Hong Kong) writing about fear in such a new way, as he has since 1999, it floored me that he was doing so without having known about my work. We had so many overlapping ideas and thus wrote a book together in 2016 [4]. I'll never forget the awe I had when reading Subba's primary text on philosophy of fearism (2014) [5], where he offered, in chapter one, some 21 "Definitions" of fear. I had never seen such a diverse array of ways to understand fear. And I had been researching the topic for over a quarter century at that point. And what was so rare was that he didn't start off with the standard Biomedical definition (i.e., fear- is a feeling or emotion). Clear to me, he was articulating an understanding of fear that was complex, holistic, transdisciplinary and obviously non-Western. He was giving an Eastern worldview perspective to the topic that was completely refreshing. Turns out Subba has a very broad background as a journalist, philosopher, and best known for his many books of poetry and fiction. He is an artist in the largest sense. I resonated, and since have helped in re-translating some of his English translated works (originally written in Nepalese), because it is very difficult to read some of his work even with the English translations he has to date. I know it is very costly to get good translations and he is doing the best he can with very limited resources as he lives a very working class life in Hong Kong. Readers of the philosophy of fearism are growing, and I am very happy to be part of Subba's leadership in this area. However, this blogpost is not about his work either.

The third theorist I wish to engage very briefly who helped me come up with the specific term awemotion (pronounced ah-motion) [6], is the Israeli (living in France) artist, psychoanalyst, activist and matrixial theorist Bracha L. Ettinger. This woman has amazed me with her matrixial theory ever since Barbara Bickel (my partner) and I discovered her work in 2009-10. Barbara and I continue to study her largely feminist/feminine theory that offers an important re-correction to phallocentric theory (i.e., overly masculinized perspectives, psychologies, and those that typically accompany a pathological patriarchy) [7].

Ettinger's notion of "feminine" is very unique and complex in her matrixial theory (which she coined over 20 years ago). I will only tell you that it is non-gendered as a concept and proto-subjective (or transubjective). Much of her matrixial theorizing is based on her phenomenological investigations into her artworking processes as an artist, and her work in the psychoanalytical relationship, her motherhood, as well as the traumatic era of a post-Holocaust survivor connectivity as "Jewish" in general.

Barbara and I have really fallen in love with matrixial theory as we are both artist and it speaks to us on that aesthetic and poetic level, but also on the psychospiritual level; yet, her framework is all-encompassing (cosmic), based on the "womb" (not just physically speaking) and the "maternal" and the child-mother bonding (again, not only physical but on the psychical and spiritual dimensions of experiencing--and, one doesn't have to be only a biological mother to engage matrixial theory and the reality it attempts to "touch" that is so ignored in the phallocentric Dominant and Biomedical worldviews). Her work is not metaphysics, yet it crafts what feels like an entirely new feminine theology (worldview). She isn't attacking all of the masculinist worldivew but says it is incomplete and crippled because it has for a long time in human history ignored and or deleted the feminine--that is, the matrixial reality. Thus, we all have suffered under this regime of political power/knowledge exclusion--and led to us generally "fearing the feminine." Thus, she also has feminist objectives but matrixial feminism is interrelated with but very different than all other kinds of feminisms.

Does Ettinger have a unique Fear theory? Not overtly. Her work is therefore different from Four Arrows and Subba that way. Yet, I find lots of overlaps in the three theorists, of which I will not be going into here in this blogpost as it would take a long essay to ferret those similarities and differences out. Yet, her Fear theory exists when I study it and write about it and it is wonderfully liberating because it does not encast and mold the definition and meaning of fear (Fear) as only "emotional"--rather, Ettinger is specific to include that emotionality of Fear in matrixial theory but by no means does she rely on the phallocentric Biomedical perspective. She doesn't actually talk about emotions much at all. Her emphasis is on a much more contemporary philosophical and theoretical body of work, and varied schools of thought, that can best be called the "affective" schools. She always talks about affect--which includes, but transcends the limited meanings of emotion. Again, all that is too complex to go into here. 

Ettinger's Matrixial Relational Ecology

Ettinger's matrixial-based affect-focus to understand the dynamics of the human experience is proto-emotional, proto-aesthetic, and proto-ethical. Her primary affects are "awe and com-passion" as the basic unit-bond of the maternal subjective formation of the baby and mother (or, more generally, what she calls the non-I and I relational dynamic; which I would call the matrixial relational ecology). It is upon her notion of "awe" in particular that I am now considering seriously as a very unique way to add as a prefix (that is the matrixial feminine side) to emotion--thus, we get the synthesis of awemotion. Think of this as a relational ecological understanding of our primal foundational onto-epistemological way of being in the world--that is, prior to post-traumatization (i.e., woundedness, and fear-conditioning) [8].

Like Four Arrows Indigenous worldivew, or Subba's Eastern worldivew, Ettinger's Matrixial worldview do not privilege the understanding of Fear as emotional but rather as relational and better situated in the concepts of alertness, arousal and ultimately awe (and com-passion [9]). I recall Fr. Matthew Fox once preaching about how the term "fear of God" in the Bible in the old Hebrew actually means "awe of God." Anyways, Ettinger, I believe would argue, that these relationally (more truly matrixial feminine) terms offer a "natural" and healthy responsivity to all relations (i.e., self/Other) and thus ground the human experience ontologically in love and trust (again, her definitions of these terms are complicated and corrections to the phallocentric views). "Fear of the Other" (or strange) is not where human subjectification and identity-formation begin and/or mature from--at least, not in matrixial theory. 

The entire understanding of the emotional and empathy with it, as we've known, are being critically re-framed by Ettinger into awe and com-passion as the base rather than anxiety (i.e., fear) that undergird emotionality and empathy as we know them as norm conceptions and practices. The Western (Dominant) worldview has given us a 'picture' of reality and human experience as based primarily on anxiety (e.g., existentialism, and developmental object relations, early psychoanalysis, Judeo-Christianity, etc.). The anxiety or fear-based perspective to basic human subjectivity skews our orientation to the world (to Nature, to God, to Spirit) via what Ettinger would call "reactive" rather than "responsive"--and, most importantly, that makes the orientation flooded with an ongoing sense of the world (and our own bodies, and God) as "threat" and "traumatic" signalling. It leaves us with a bereft (if not pathological) and very skewed psychology (and Psychology Paradigm). It isn't a healing paradigm that's for sure. It is a coping paradigm. This is violent and killing us.

A new paradigm is available, of which Ettinger is one of the major theorist I draw upon for such a reconstruction. To be sure, the entire body of research and writing and education based on "emotion" (and the Emotional Paradigm) is being challenged--and, that goes the same for the Emotional Intelligence theory, models and pedagogy! Okay, I'll leave this here, understandably incomplete... I want to think a lot more about Ettinger's complex "proto-emotion" (i.e., proto-affects) of "awe and com-passion" as foundational to a new way of understanding Fear. I will say, rarely does she talk about "fear" directly, though when she has, I immediately resonate with a deep and enduring truth in her work, and it sounds like she is writing and thinking from a Fearlessness perspective. I love it. Yet, it will take awhile to unwind her thought and theory and show how matrixial theory is non-fear-based (because, for many reasons, at least, it is non-phallocentric based). At least, this is the critical theory of matrixial theory I am attracted to pursue, so as to produce a better critical theory and pedagogy for the world and our ways of doing fear management/education.

Until next time ... [feel free to email me and lets chat about any of this: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com]

Notes:

1. In late 1989, while living in Calgary, AB (my hometown), I had a transformative vision with a female partner, Catherine Sannuto, at the time, that led to my naming and leading the In Search of Fearlessness Project (a not-for-profit organization). I am grateful to my next partner, Barbara Bickel, who came into this project and has helped support my work since. I established the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute in 1991 and remains the structure in which I publish my results (e.g., Technical Papers Series).

2. Probably the best up-dated summary of Four Arrows "point of departure theory" that articulates the conflict (Culture Wars, Paradigm Wars, Worldview Wars) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives is his book: Point of Departure: Returning to a More Authentic Worldview for Education and Survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. I have written a book review on Amazon books, which will give you my early perception of the value of this approach he has taken, albeit, I am also critical and working to revise his views somewhat, yet keep their core intentions and wisdom in place.

3. Although Four Arrows had originally began using Fear (with the capital) in his doctoral research and his first major theoretical book on the topic (1998), he has not always been consistent in doing so and thus many of his readers do not often gather in the implication of how his view of Fear (based on many perspectives) is so unique from the norm view of fear (without the capital). See Jacobs, D. T. (1998). Primal Awareness: A True Story of Survival, Transformation, and Awakening with the Raramuri Shamans of Mexico. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

4. See Fisher, R.M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

5. See Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of Fearism: Life is Conducted, Directed and Controlled by the Fear. Australia: Xlibris.

6. The profound work of Erin Manning (also Brian Massumi) is also part of articulating my formation this new term awemotion; and also, the theory of Re-evaluation Co-Counseling (a la the late Harvey Jackins) has been influential, as a few others... however, I won't be going into their work here.

7. You can read and/or listen to Ettinger's work for yourself (e.g., Youtube) although, I caution that her work can be hard to grasp because it uses a complex scaffolding of theory and terms that take quite awhile to learn (not unlike psychoanalysis in general). For a much easier "in" to her work I suggest Fisher, R.M., and Bickel, B. (2015). Aesthetic Wit(h)nessing Within a Matrixial Imaginary. Canadian Review of Art Education, 42(1), 76-93.

8. This is complicated and not some "pure" or Ideal fantasy or potential phantasy that is disconnected from reality. Ettinger, like myself, show that the traumatic threads of historical woundness (unhealed) are continually circulating as traces, even in the unborn.

9. "Com-passion" is very different than an adult (or phallocentric) view of compassion. This has to be kept in mind if you want to understand the proto-ethical dimension of Ettinger's matrixial theory. This has a lot to do with the aesthetic dimension of experience of subjects and objects and the entire process of subjectification as Ettinger articulates it. For a simple description of this see Fisher and Bickel (2015) in relation to corrective matrixial theory of empathy. Psychology, at least in the West and modernity, has a very biased phallocentric view of empathy and Ettinger's work offers a great critique--and, likewise, I would add so does Four Arrows and Subba's work.

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In my historical research on what I eventually called the Fearlessness Movement, Indigenous worldview at its ideal is definitely a foundation of this movement. Currently, Four Arrows (aka Don Jacobs), a member of the FM ning, and one of my collaborators on several writing projects on Fear and Fearlessness over the years, has written his latest piece in Truth Out e-zine: http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/39504-february-22-at-standing-rock-a-last-beginning

He asks all who are able to attend the latest protest stance.

He wrote,

"Joining the peaceful, prayerful Water Protectors on Feb. 21 and 22 in large enough masses will show the world that with courage to choose right directions and fearlessness to take action in behalf of them, we can protect our waters."

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Figure 1  A-ness/D-ness Assessment Tool (by R. M. Fisher, (c) 1984)

[This diagram of four models of creating, was initiated as a thought experiment. Being a visual artist all my life, and having read lots of philosophy and other things that were attempting to figure out how humans form values and act upon them, etc., I asked one day in 1984, "If I were a Creator, what are all the different ways I could draw and color a shape?" I just picked up some basic materials for drawing and coloring, and set forth using the "rectangular shape" as an arbitrary shape. I could only come up with these four very different ways to create and thus answer the question I posed. Any sub-variations were not distinct enough to classify as a type. I settled with these four, and there is a more complex theory behind this which I have written about but it would take up more than I want to cover here. I then came up with questions to ask people about these four models/paradigms and that's a whole other study for analysis, but not here.]

In my writing on Four Arrows' life and work for a new book entitled Fearless Engagement, I have discovered an interesting concept of "fearless intimacy" (not that I coined the term, but it did arise in my own writing independently). I like this when things like that happen and I have another way to come at notions that I have been theorizing for a long time, like the notion of "fearless"--which, in the new book I'm writing (with Four Arrows) the plan is to label it Fearless (with a capital letter) as to distinguish it from the more common language that people use for "fearless" (with no capital). That's a long technical explanation for the capitalization and how Fearless is being articulated, and you'll have to wait for the book before I can share all that detail. It will come out in early 2018 I hope.

Now, to Figure 1 which is the reason for this blog post. I made the linkage while writing recently on fearless intimacy, seeing it connected to Four Arrows' Indigenous worldview writings and his CAT-FAWN Connection theory ('F' in FAWN stands for Fear), and then his use of the Lakota Indigenous conception of wolokolkiciapi- peace within oneself and all of creation (recently, from a chapter he has going to press). Anyways, all three of these aspects, plus knowing so much about Four Arrows' experiential journey at the extremes of experiences for many decades (he's now 70 yrs. old), it occurred to me he was describing D-ness (Figure 1) as an aesthetic visual expression (representation) of "Fearless." Now, when I first designed Figure 1 as a visual metaphoric test to assess people's aesthetic value biases, and worldview biases that go with that, it never fully came to me that the qualities of D-ness are as close visually as I could imagine it, and create it on paper with drawing and coloring materials to Fearless (and the three aspects of Four Arrows' work I mentioned above). And, yes, D-ness represents best what I (and perhaps others below) have called "fearless intimacy".

Three references to uses of "fearless intimacy" that showed up in a quick Google search are:

1. regarding the writing done by John Muir, the great American naturalist, Ehrenfeld (2008) described it as "his [Muir's] fearless intimacy with nature" (p. 284). This would certainly be similar to what I have learned from a lot of Four Arrows' writing, as Nature (with a capital) is so critically important in his life and theories, and the 'N' in FAWN of his theory stands for Nature. Ehrenfeld, D. (2008). Becoming good ancestors: How we balance nature, community, and technology. NY: Oxford University Press.

2. "When we refuse to listen, we must ask ourselves if we can hear our own inner voice over the fear that is running so much of life. Learning the art of listening is a powerful tool toward fearless intimacy and self-empowerment" (p. 158). In Britten, R. (2005). Change your life in 30 days: A journey to finding your true self. NY: Penguin.

3. "When there are no resistances, we then merge contract, close our eyes and in the darkness of our primal world, we rediscover the peace and pleasure of dark and fearless intimacy" (p. 105). Salzman, W. (2007). Ortho Para V. Lulu.com.

So, my take on "fearless intimacy" from all the writers above, including Four Arrows (who hasn't yet used this term per se), is that D-ness, especially in contrast to A-ness at the opposite extreme of the spectrum of ways of creating and organizing and solving a problem, shows us in this spectrum of possibilities, the "right way" to go. I use this strong ethical language in the same sense that Four Arrows does in most all his writing and teaching. He, like myself, are not timid in calling out for current humanity to awaken to the binary road we can take--the first road leads in the direction of D-ness, of which the Lakota term (as Four Arrows' interprets) is traditionally called the "Red Road" and therein is the manifestation of wolokolkiciapi- peace within oneself and all of creation. The other road, is in the direction of A-ness (beginning with any compromised reductionism of D-ness, to C-ness, to B-ness and eventually, horrifically, to A-ness as a way of being). So, there's some theory and a visual mnemonic device to complement the CAT-FAWN mnemonic [1] that Four Arrows offers in his work. Great dialogue to come on all this, as Four Arrows and I are still in the early stages of bringing these two models/theories/praxes together. I am excited for its powerful potential as a new 'fear' vaccine like this planet has not seen before combined this way.

End Note

1. See Four Arrows book (Jacobs, D. T.) (1998). Primal awareness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions ... it will give you the full explication of CAT-FAWN Connection.

The 'C' stands for Concentration, 'A' for Activated, 'T' for Transformation, 'F' for Fear, 'A' for Authority, 'W' for Word(s), 'N' for Nature.

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Transformation of Fear (new tech. paper)

Find attached here the newest technical paper No. 63, "TRANSFORMATION OF FEAR: A Critical Look in Educational Philosophy & Contexts"... hot off the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute (press)... "Tech%20paper%2063.pdf by yours truly... it takes a close examination at some of the leading-edge work on "transformation of fear" and reviews a lot of literature, and includes my critiques and recommendations for improvements toward a future pedagogy of fearlessness. Note: It specifically focuses on Four Arrows' CAT-FAWN connection theory and Elisebeth VanderWeil's Trickster Fear theory, comparing and contrasting them. -enjoy, RMF

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Anyone who attempts to publish truths that are unspeakable to most of the population, and especially to publish in Education journals, magazines, newsletters, blogs and books that active educators of the mainstream will likely read, knows the frustration of being exiled from discursive communities that are supposed to be professional communities (among others) who care about young learners and the future.

Since 1989 I have been attempting to get published in such places and typically my manuscripts and proposals are exiled from publication and even worse from merely having a dialogue with an educator 'in the system.' There have been a small handful of rare moments where this was not the case and I am grateful, yet, those exceptions ran dry very quickly. It seems educators, in my experience (and, I'll keep this critique aimed at my own Western companions and colleagues), are simply not wanting to talk about fear and its negative impacts--that is, they avoid my distinction as center to my research of labeling the Fear Problem exactly as best I can for all to then do their own research and make up their own damn minds. I could be wrong or exaggerative--then, dialogue with me, let me publish, and we can go from there as any healthy democracy would. Or, am I too idealistic? Well, if I am idealistic in my expectations for educators then I am not alone. Recently, because of my dialogue with Rafiq (aka Robert Lewis) on the FM ning, I went back to search the article out that he and Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) wrote and published on "Classroom Silence About September 11: A Failure of Education" [1].

I had read their co-authored article in 2011, long before I had heard of Rafiq. It was a time when Four Arrows had approached me in an email about his frustration of being unable to publish this piece. It so happened that I had just had my ms. for an article on pedagogy of fearlessness [2] accepted by a Pakistani journal sort of in Education (on the literary end). Not only was I amazed my article, really a first likely ever on "pedagogy of fearlessness" that I knew of, and certainly the first to get into an education mainstream peer-reviewed international journal--then, I told Four Arrows to perhaps contact the editor [3] which he proceeded to and was successful. I did not know at the time he co-wrote this with Rafiq. Rafiq (2016), in his book writes of his first encounters with Four Arrows in a remote village in Mexico and when reading his book recently I found his story about this episode of being rejected and then finally finding a publisher:

"Between editing jobs I tried to get back to work on this book. But when I looked at the pages I'd written seven months earlier, I didn't like what I read.... I stuck it back in the drawer. Instead I got talked into writing about the attack of 2001 [i.e., 9/11] Four Arrows wanted me to co-author an article with him about the complicity of educators in [not] spreading the official lie about what happened that day. I didn't want to do it. I didn't want the attack inside my head... [all over again]."

"I had no excuse. So I started outline the simple holes in the story that educators refused to look at. I discussed what it meant to have an education system that wouldn't challenge fascist authority. Like the one in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. We finished the paper at the end of December and Four Arrows sent it off to a critical education journal...". (p. 115)

Rafiq (2016) tells more on this story of the paper's destiny and the kinds of (mostly inane) types of criticism they received from reviewers and editors. Then he (again, not knowing me and my role in Four Arrows' career at this time) wrote, 

"So it went. Our article was rejected four times by journals in Canada and the United States. [hmm... is it any surprise Four Arrows and Rafiq both have left the USA and Canada, respectively, to live in Mexico] We wouldn't find a publisher until the end of 2011. The Journal of Critical Inquiry at the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad. One of Pakistan's biggest universities with more than ten thousand students. [and, you may take a moment to reflect on the 'problems' that country has with terrorist regimes, and questionable governments, etc.] Its motto? 'We are taught how to think, not what to think.' [gotta luv that, and wish that was the motto of every classroom in North America, at least] [while Rafiq was teaching writing in Montreal at a college night class] It was my student from Pakistan who'd tipped me off about Osama bin Laden's ties to the CIA. It was fitting that a journal out of Pakistan should publish our paper." (p. 116)

I find this web of interconnections to be a-buzz with aliveness and vigor for searching for the truth... as best we can know it. It is a-buzz with the energy of Four Arrows, Rafiq and many others in the 9/11 "truth movement" and that's partly why I am featuring it in my blog here. I feel deeply connected to this whole thing around 9/11, albeit, my trajectory and focus was somewhat different than most of these critics's voices, because at the time of 9/11, 2001, I was living in Vancouver with my two teenage girls and my life-partner and trying to work on my dissertation research which was all about the "culture of fear" and its negative impacts on education, leadership and everything else--which, no one (more or less) wanted to talk about before 9/11. Then came the great North American (world) extreme dramatization of just how the culture of fear dynamic works (i.e., repression-oppression) in a so-called democratic continent, of the so-called highly developed First World. Hmmm... That's another story I'll leave for some other time, in terms of the reactions of people, within and beyond the academy, to my dissertation work and the consequences of me never getting short-listed for the many jobs I applied for in academia in North America after 2003 when I was ready to find paid work and a career.

Now, the the crux of this blogpost. As I said, I recently re-read the article by Four Arrows and Rafiq (2011) and didn't get passed the Abstract before it struck me that, OMG, I could easily hi-jack the exact words and intent behind these guy's opening words and insert my own (which I have done in square brackets below):

Abstract

“[U]ncritical belief in the official story” [of Fear’s out-of-control domination] “in light of the many substantiated contradictions to it, makes education’s silence about” [The Fear Problem] “one of its greatest failings for future generations. Educators are responsible to help students do independent research and dialogue about the validity of the official account across many academic disciplines [and beyond them too]”

“This silence does not stem from direct attacks on academic freedom but relates more to a perceived need for self-censorship” [as part of an individual-collective and, respective chronic repression-oppression dynamic, otherwise called a propagandist meta-taboo] 

“This paper is perhaps the first published appeal for more [honest and] courageous engagement with this topic in schools, especially in higher education. This purpose reflects a concern for the state-of-the-world and for future generations, and should not be interpreted as being ‘political’ beyond the fact that any study of this topic would naturally include an analysis of governments and their affairs and motives.” (p. 43)

I hi-jacked their text because it is so intimately intertwined with my own text(s) and 'narrative in the wilderness' over the years since 1989. To see it up there and published in the way they did brought up so much of my own struggles I share in common. There's not more I want to say on this. It speaks for itself, NOT IN SILENCE... and, that's the beauty of being able to write and publish on the Internet--even though, it is disappointing and sometimes frustrating how I can only do this it seems with very small marginal groups and websites (like FMning)--yet, that's no reason not to speak out! As Four Arrows and Rafiq (2016) begin their article's Introduction, how appropriately with an artist in history, they quote Leonardo da Vinci: "Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence" --by which, I know they mean, "authority" that propagandizes, entrances and oppresses.

I also noticed my red ink marks on the front page of their article from when I first read it back in 2011. I was starting to do a basic textual fearanalysis of their piece, and I noted that, they only used the term "fear" 2 times, never mentioned the "culture of fear" nor "climate of fear" etc .[4] And no mention of "fearlessness" or "fearless" and, that got me thinking how strange that was when 9/11 is the archetype of archetypes for the human Fear Problem, if I have ever seen it!

End Notes

1. Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2011). Classroom silence about September 11: A failure of education? NUML: Journal of Critical Inquiry 9(1), 43-58. 

2. Fisher, R. M. (2011). A critique of critical thinking: Towards a critical integral pedagogy of fearlessness. NUML: Journal of Critical Inquiry, 9(1), 59-104.

3. The editor Sohaila Javed (for only a very short time; one issue, I believe) for this journal was one of my doctoral candidate colleagues at The University of British Columbia. We had not been close friends, and even had our conflicts around the role of religion in higher education as I recall one time--but, we always kept in touch, and gratitude to her for doing so. And, she invited me and Barbara (my life-partner) to submit articles for this issue she was putting together in Pakistan, a few years after she had graduated from UBC.

4. Four Arrows wrote to me, during the process of trying to find a publisher: "I sent the article off to another magazine in Pakistan as you suggested and have a U.S. author who has read it who says he will publish. But he would be happy [happier] I'm sure to publish a different [watered-down] version. It might get tricky though with Robert [Lewis, aka Rafiq] since he is traveling and not accessible usualy. If Pakistan does not publish it as is, then I'm sure both Robert and I would be very happy for you to take it and play with it any way you want, adding material about fear, etc. We could always resubmit a new version to anyone. I think you could be a player somehow in the project and I'll keep you posted.... I have a vision for a conference on our spirit of fearlessness, CAT-FAWN stuff somehow. More later." (pers. comm., Oct. 28, 2011)

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A Peek Into a Young Artist’s Days of Fearlessness: Rafiq

-R. Michael Fisher

From time to time I drop out of my philosophical and theoretical fearology work to hone-in on living exemplars (teaching examples and guides), who attempt to practice a life of ethical resistance to the over-determining ‘Fear’ Matrix of everyday life. After all, it is much easier to talk and theorize about liberation in ideal abstractions and through texts of the ‘great ones’ as (s)heroes; yet, so much harder to find examples of those who live it in contemporary North American contexts—that’s where I live. And, especially interesting is to witness today’s younger people, self-critically reflecting on their path, critiquing their own generation and the previous one, in a unique, very clear writing style interspersed with incomplete English sentences that look as they might sound, when they talk to you in person (e.g., “I did again.” or  “Our tribe.” or “Not love.”). I also prefer such inquiries into exemplars when the person is not so popular or famous but someone struggling in the margins as a human, artist and cultural worker like myself, who never quite ‘fit in.’

I have just read with intrigue the last four chapters (33 pp. + 12 pp. of endnotes) of Days of Shock, Days of Wonder: The 9/11 Age, the Ways of the Mystics, and One Man’s Escape from Babylon in the Belly of a Whale by Rafiq (2016) (aka Robert Sean Lewis), an eastern Canadian from Montreal. I read it from the back page (177) forward. It seems an efficient strategy in my experience to get to the “guts” of what a book offers without investing a lot of time in something I am not sure I want to. At age 64, an environmental and social activist-educator-radical for 45 years, I’ve read a lot, and my focus of where I put my energy these days is often precise, if not impatient.

No one recommended this book. I found it ‘accidently’ while researching if anyone had written any new book reviews on Four Arrows’ (2016) Point of Departure: Returning to a More Authentic Worldview for Education and Survival—as I am currently writing a book (with Four Arrows), due to be published by Peter Lang in 2018, on his “fearless” life and work, focusing on his original specific theory of fear and fearlessness utilizing general principles from an Indigenous perspective. I noticed immediately on the front cover of Rafiq’s new book the endorsement “A book to ignite a generation” by Four Arrows. I had to check that out, because by the end of this review of mine there will be my view of whether I think Rafiq’s book will ignite anything of such grandiosity.  

So you’re learning about me, perhaps, as much as this book by Rafiq. Like him, I won’t pass by a chance to write about myself and promote my work—I am an entrepreneur, with no salaried cheque every month or benefits. I have to self-promote. Ego? Narcissism? Yes, no doubt, and a whole lot more. Anyways, I’ve never been much for the long slow boring intro material—and, not sure I wish to wade through a lot of pages by Rafiq’s hand about 9/11 “facts” at this point—I’ve watched a few 9/11 truthing documentary films). Although, I confess, beginning context material can sometimes be important for understanding what comes later in a book. So, if I misinterpret anything herein it’s my own damn fault. Rafiq or anyone can correct me if I am way off the mark. Frankly, I get a thrill out of the risk of mis-interpretation. I can’t explain it other than it’s freeing to just ‘fly’ and be ‘incomplete’ and not apologetic to those who want a standard book review. I prefer a radical trust that I still can say something important, doing it my way. This is a release for me, as most of my other serious writing tends to be technical and guided by a thirst for completeness in research and accurate interpretations. But in the ‘free-spirit’ of which I sense Rafiq loves to fly, let me proceed likewise going with the flow of the southern west coast waves (California, Mexico) where he and his buddies loved to hang out, according to his story. Oh, I noticed he has had some reviewers on Amazon.com books reviewing it by the genre of a “novel.” Maybe it is, but it is non-fictional.

I don’t do formal book reviews these days but prefer a “review” that lives in some form of an inter-textual intimacy with my own journey of fearlessness, especially when the author of what I am reviewing is clearly opening their life and heart to an exchange with the reader and consciousness itself. I feel ‘called’ by such intimate texts and wish to handle them gently; albeit, honestly as well with critique as skillful means. Near the end, I will address why I chose to frame this dialogue with Rafiq’s text as indicative of someone, riffing along, more or less, on the path of fearlessness (re: the latter conception, see Fisher, 2010). I’ll also suggest where I think that path could be honed, both as a spiritual consciousness explorer, revolutionary and as an artist—each of which I feel comfortable in situating Rafiq and this book.

This is my first explicit encounter with Rafiq and his work and I wish to share some of the first impressions. No doubt someday I’ll read Days of Shock, Days of Wonder from start to end, maybe look on Vimeo at some of his films. Why wouldn’t I be fascinated to read about a “conscious” (p. 135) person and his “tribe” and what kind of communities they hung in—and a travel journey of a gen-Xer North American male searching for answers to big questions—searching, for his soul in a harsh predatory capitalist world that doesn’t give a shit about his quest or mine. And, then, a big attraction for me—his searching for “truth” (actually, big ‘T’) with a sincere drive to do so deeply—authentic, ethical, and creative as can be—and, continually coming up (most of the time) self-admittedly a little short, at times losing faith and a lot of grief and lament (and some joyous, even ecstatic highlights too). A few indicative Rafiq phrases caught-up in my net on this theme—I’ll call disillusionment (as he likely would too, p. 137):

 “In my days of truth activism, I’d struggled to stay on the Sufi [spiritual] path.”   (p. 164)

 “I still wasn’t myself [also p. 143]. I’d lost faith in the idea of the new human.... And Montreal was soul-defeating.... I was depressed. It’d been a year since I’d stopped meditating.” (p. 145)

“I wasn’t Taoist enough to work with others [effectively, intimately]” (p. 146)

“More than anyone over the years... [Jody] kept me from losing sight of reality in favour of my high ideals. (p. 147)

 “I’d seen the best minds of my generation swallowed up by the system.... The trick was to stay in the world without losing your soul.” (p. 153)

 “I was still looking for an alternative to the dominant system [Babylon] [p. 148].... I intended to take what I could from the modern world in order to help create Babylon’s lunar twin somewhere out on its fringes.” (p. 162)

 “But I wanted to believe that our [magical and sacred] ceremonies to activate love in the world had meant something.” (p. 142)

 [re: resistance to paying personal taxes to the State] “... like me, most people who’d woken up to their enslavement [in Babylon] kept paying them. We weren’t going to risk going to jail over it.” (p. 162) [and he often would show his own contradictions, that he was aware of, for e.g.,] “You couldn’t pay your taxes and be a moral person at the same time.” (p. 161)

 “I miss my tribe.” (p. 153)

 Gotta luv that ‘rawness’ and vulnerability in the text. Gotta question (I do anyways) How much truth can a human being handle today? Today’s culture really needs to hear these conscious journey stories and what our young people are going through (at least, some of the most aware “conscious” ones). I know he’s not the first in history to write one but that’s beside the point. Now, lest one think this book is a lot of navel-gazing, forget it! I mean it did strike me he’s a pleasure-seeking escape-from-society kind of beach-hugging “dharma bum,” as Wilber (2006, p. 109) calls a lot of the spiritual seekers suffering from “boomeritis” dis-ease in the post-1960s-70s of America. Admittedly, Rafiq’s journey of fearlessness recorded in these pages does often involve a “return to balance” (p. 150) a search and meditation on “some kind of holy union” (p. 155)—either trying to transcend fear in himself and the world or meditating on it and his ego in order to truly understand it and have it dissolve through mastery (pp. 154-55). Yet, what stood out more than anything else in terms of the purpose of this book was his cultural, economic and political critique as an activist-critic. He continually insinuates we have to look both inward and outward to keep whole.

 The word “revolution” is the bass drum beat behind nearly every sentence I read. Another reader may say “love” is the beat—he certainly repeated the latter word enough; but I found it less powerful than what was behind his passion for revolution. I spontaneously broke into a smile when he talked about his trip to the sacred temples of Mayans in S. America etc., and wrote, “At each site we would perform ceremonies to agitate for love. To help raise the collective vibration of the human heart” (p. 138). That was some of the most new agey stuff he participated in with his hippie tribe. He also was filming and observing it as a good anthropologist might do. “Agitate for love” is however, in my mind, an perfect indicator of that revolutionary political spirit that was akin to the discourse of a radical revolutionary (agitator)—and, to see that word juxtaposed with love... hmmm interesting! Oh, I also liked how he would critique some of this love-stuff, magical-stuff as well, e.g., the December 21, 2012 end of the world/time according to the Mayan calendar and many new age teachers at that time. I heard about it, watched the various documentaries and wasn’t impressed by any of it. I’ve written critically on a similar “event” that was supposed to be so spiritually transformative (revolutionary) on a grand scale back in Fisher (1987) due to some rare astrological alignment etc. I was disturbed then by the (false) “hope” I saw so many new agers fall into and then face great disillusionment (re: a substantive shift in consciousness/paradigm) as the year and years following that ‘great event’ played out in history in real-time, with real-bodies. Mostly depressing, I might add. I’ve been through several of these campaigns and none of them moves me nor seems very wise. I’m not saying these ceremonies are useless. They do probably help us find some strength and inspiration to carry on against the banal oppressive quotidian reality. Drugs do that too. I merely think they are typically over-hyped, if not ‘dangerously’ so. Hope/Fear are always sliding, colluding, and being sold to us by propagandists of every sort, secular and sacred. That’s another topic for another time—don’t get me started.

At times Rafiq would somewhat subjectively define the term revolution, contemplate on it and then lose its definitional clarity as fast as he found it—all, I think a good thing; because it keeps one always in a healthy questioning of such an important macro-conception as “revolution”—and, at times, he focused rather on “transformation” as a milder term less threatening to the status quo (and our comfortable way of life). I so appreciate that integration of the psychospiritual discourse with the sociopolitical sphere. He wrote, “But any revolution would be meaningless unless it changed our way of being in the world” (p. 164). I appreciated he both respected and at times was critical and disturbed by various revolutions and movements of his time, e.g., “new age” and “Occupy Movement.” I can relate to ambivalent feelings and thoughts about those movements as well. I get very angry at times by “young people” who think they are doing what no other generation had done before. OMG. All and all, his wide-reaching holistic sensibility makes for a strong path, a way to both compassion and wisdom—and, in my mind it makes the way to one that is not just out to be an activist-lawyer pounding out “truth” against “lies” and power and naming culprits—but, a voice speaking with nuance and troubling itself as much as it troubles how the rest of the destructive world is operating in Babylon (i.e., the ‘Fear’ Matrix, in my terms). A welcomed breath of fresh air.

Rafiq gained my respect quickly because of this holistic-integral sensibility of looking at reality from many perspectives not merely an immature righteousness one that spouts from a singular (rebellious, adolescent) perspective. Indeed, I was pleased to see self-healing with social-healing as foundational to Rafiq’s vision (even in all its instability) for revolution—if such a revolution in the Western technological world was even possible anymore. I share his questions and doubts too. In the opening section of my dissertation (Fisher, 2003) I waxed on for 50 pp. of fictional dialogue with (real) revolutionary thinkers in history around the question: “What does it take to make a (R)evolution today?” When my research supervisors, committee members and defense judges asked me to answer the question of what I found, I must admit, I couldn’t answer it ‘straight.’ I waxed on eloquently at the dissertation defense-spin to increasing glassy if not hostile eyes amongst them. No one really got it—well, maybe one out of the panel of seven members.

No wonder he also cites his experiences with Four Arrows and aligns as much as he can with a holistic Indigenous worldview, which challenges the Western dominant worldview—diagnosing it as “ill.” Four Arrows is one of the most holistic-integral balanced activist-educators I know of—and, so Rafiq is in good company and has a good ‘nose’ for sniffing out quality teachers, in my opinion. He searched and found Four Arrows and at times treated him as his mentor, even called him an “elder” in the Indigenous sense in his book review of Point of Departure (Rafiq, 2016a).

There is no way I can do justice to this book and Rafiq’s deep and unconventional thoughts (which most interest me as a radical liberation philosopher and educator). The review here would become many pages if I let myself fully explore it in careful detail and craft arguments and challenge his arguments. Yet, why bother? I want to take his work seriously, but he is also not trying to write a serious philosophy book. Is he? It is more an adventure story—with depth! Okay. Let me finish this dialogic textual interplay with him by doing a really quick and dirty fearanalysis. I’ll then end with my artistic analysis, as a social-engaged artist, raising questions about how he may have done his socially-engaged art practices ‘better’ during his four year journey in his VW van (“white whale”) in specific communities he continually visited. I risk, with humbleness (ha ha) doing all that with knowing only a ‘sliver’ of what he actually had done and does. I’m reading text, analyzing discourse, that’s all. I can’t say anything else about the man-in-real-lived relationship with him nor have I interviewed people who know him. I’m a fool.

The brief (incomplete version) of fearanalysis (for fuller delineation see Fisher, 2012; Fisher in progress) is, somewhat parallel but very different to psychoanalysis, where I ‘read’ the way an author talks/writes about fear and fearlessness. Rafiq doesn’t actually use the word “fearlessness” per se, at least in what I read but he uses “courageous” once (p. 153) among a list of other virtues he holds dear (e.g., balance, unity, wisdom, truth, love). Based on years of scholarly research and my own processes of healing and transformation, I (among others, like the late Rinpoche Chöygam Trungpa) hold the first steps of fearlessness to be vulnerability... a rawness of peeling away conditioned layers of oneself, not just in private but in public space too... and, Rafiq is well on that path—to repeat my own words: Gotta luv that ‘rawness’ and vulnerability in the text. The fact he was continually risking to paddle board on big waves in the ocean, venture into the “truthing movement” (re: 9/11) and live a wild life on the road not knowing what was coming or how he’d survive (e.g., without a lot of money), are all signs to me of the pilgrim of fearlessness facilitating their reality encounters by consistently “jumping into the unknown without a net in sight” (p. 133). Other people might judge him ‘reckless’ and full of bravado (male ego)—even immature. How does one define such labels? I don’t know for sure. The text overall told me probably a little bit of both male bravado and fearlessness spirited him along into these adventures and zones of danger and possibility. These same characteristics I read also in the biography of Four Arrows. Rafiq reminded me at times, somewhat mirroring, how I see Four Arrows operates.

My first fearanalysis (systematic) task is to underline all the uses of “fear” or relatives to it in the text. Having studied many authors’ writing about fear for over 27 years systematically, I get a quick ‘reading’ where someone is coming from relative to all the others I have studied likewise, via fearanalysis. I wasn’t impressed that he skirted around defining “fear” a lot more carefully (maybe, earlier in the book he does so). It would be important except that the concept is as important and as complex as “love” (and, he also didn’t spend a lot of time defining love systematically either). This makes me wonder, what does he actually mean when he writes about these important terms in human existence?

Okay, I’ll let him off the hook a bit because it isn’t that serious kind of a book on contestations of theories and conceptualizations of “fear” from multiple angles across disciplines. Methodologically, my ideal request would be that he treated both love and fear in holistic ways not just everyday discourse and his own fav notion at any moment in the text. Yet, “fear” came up forefront on a few pages, and I suspect his entire trip and his own philosophy is one of fearlessness (at least implicitly,)—and thus, to know fearlessness and master it is to know and master fear (at least, he does more or less bring this forward in his talking about “ego” –arguably, his writing is typically an esoteric and mystical spiritual genre, where “fear” is equated often with “ego” and visa versa; see, for e.g., p. 138). In that sense, I found him a bit of a conformist, lacking originality, creativity and depth around these great meta-motivational forces shaping our lives and his too. I mean conformist in regard to his imaginary and understanding of fear and its management and/or transformation. He might retort to my critique: “Ah, Michael, there you go, it is your ego always looking for what is lacking in someone else, so to make you feel superior and special.” I’ve heard this a hundred times over the past 27 years of my fearanalysis critique work—always raising the question, who is fear-projecting on who?

On the other-hand, I was glad he interacted some with Four Arrows around the fear concept and phenomena (e.g., Four Arrows’ theory of CAT-FAWN). However, in the pages I read (e.g., pp. 154-55) I did not see an intricate synthesis that convinced me Rafiq was utilizing the best of what Four Arrows’ work had to offer him in this area. It made me question how his “style” maybe quite like the dragonfly skimming along the surface grabbing what it can and running (flying) off to the next pond to fulfill the addictive zeal of “learning” from everyone and everything(?) Potentially, such a “style” I see in a lot of young people these days and their digital short attention spans and endless glut for information. Luckily, I missed a lot of that being a boomer.

I would guess Rafiq had read some of the metaphysics, by many writers throughout history and across cultures, that Love vs. Fear is the primary task of liberation work. These theories (philosophies, religions) claim, in some forms, that such meta-emotions (motivators) are not compatible (see Fisher, 2012a)—that is, not able to be complementary “twins” in the mythic sense as in say solar and lunar forces (that Rafiq was learning from Howard Teich and Four Arrows) (p. 154). My conversations with Four Arrows and interpretation of his writing over a decade, indicates the Indigenous worldview (love-based) and Dominant worldview (fear-based) are opposites of a very different kind than “twins.” I think this would be worthy evidence and theoretical argument to make the case of Rafiq’s own strong stance in the book re: that there cannot be (healthy) complementarity between “Indigenous ways... [and] Western [“modern tech”] society without losing their [Indigenous] essence” (p. 152).

This ends my ‘cheap’ fearanalysis, lest I forget to say, that because of his lack of depth into understanding fear, theorizing fear, and helping the reader be more clear how he was using that term, I believe this indicates that he had not thought a lot about fearlessness either up to that point of writing this book. My own integral-holistic theory (Fisher, 2010) of fear and fearlessness claims that one only truly reaches a stage of fearlessness (Wilber’s integral consciousness level) when they are seriously interested in fear at all levels of existence from multiple perspectives. It requires disciplined study, standing back and witnessing, what archetypally can be called the path of the Sacred Warrior. I surmise, from reading his text, Rafiq is definitely on that path, albeit, in the early to mid initiatory levels.

Now, to conclude, I have made it clear this is a good book to help understand what  “conscious” and sensitive young people may be going through in having to confront the Western modern tech world and predatory capitalism and its lies—of which the 9/11 debacle perpetrated by some corporate and governmental elites, is but one symptom. It is a good book in which to witness how “revolution” may or not be carried out in our times. It is a good book to examine the limitations of human beings too—and, their wounds and inabilities to hold existential, spiritual, economic and political truths. There’s no one to blame, really. Is there? I think Rafiq and his tribe got lost at times into a lot of blaming of this scapegoat or that one. It’s part of the grief cycle, so experts tell us. Hmmm....

My view, from the start of reading a brief bio of Rafiq was that he was an independent filmmaker and artist (writer, musician, etc.) with great social concern and wants his art to help make the transformation to a new and better (more sustainable, healthy, sane) world. He referred to as the “new human” (one with a soul)—living in the world but not of it.’ I too work as an artist in this context and struggle, in the Anthropocene, as some are calling this period of history today with cascading extinction-driving imperative forces (like global warming). Of many questions stirring in my mind about his “artist” in the world, from what I read, I continually asked what his methodology overall was, as a socially-engaged artist? He seemed to care about people and communities, but I didn’t get a sense he really utilized a clear understanding and foundation to stand on based on the long documented history and practices of socially-engaged artists.

It is like Rafiq hasn’t yet claimed the “territoriality” of that postmodern artist cultural worker role. Maybe he doesn’t agree with me on that ‘peg’ I would hang his work upon overall. My wife just this morning read me a text on this issue, of which I leave here as a “resource” perhaps of some use to Rafiq and others like him. It is from a book by an ecological and socially-engaged art collective (Compass) in Chicago and area, where my wife (also an artist) spent time engaging them in person recently. Anyways, the quote from their collective’s book (cited in Pentecost, 2012, p. 18) brings forward there can be critical pedagogical and methodological clarity brought to artists/teachers/activists who want to ‘walk’ (journey) and ‘work’ in the world and help solve its problems:

Celestin Freinet established the Modern School Movement in 1926.... He developed three complementary teaching techniques: (1) the ‘learning walk,’ during which pupils [or anyone] would join him in exploratory walks around town, gathering information and impressions about their community.... Afterwards the children would collectively dictate a collective ‘free text,’ which might lead to pretexts for direct action within their community to improve living conditions... (2) a classroom printing press, for producing multiple copies of the pupil’s writings and a newspaper to be distributed to their families, friends, and other schools; (3) inter-school networks: pupils from two different schools exchange ‘culture packages,’ printed texts, letters, tapes, photographs, maps, etc. (Pinder and Sutton, in Translator’s Note to Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies).

It was 1926... long time ago... when that kind of progressive educative action was being systematized, and it is only one type of activist work among so many since, and even before. I really never had a sense in my reading of Rafiq that he was drawing on such sources for his own activism, and I think often because of his total fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, and other factors, he “missed” the boat of doing effective good work that could have been accomplished on his four-year journey. Who am I to judge? I’m sure he’ll at least consider my thought. It seems he was so compelled to ‘huddle’ and find comfort with his “tribe” and, I feel somewhat the loss and missed opportunity. Yet, clearly, I have no idea what impact he did have on all the places he describes he stayed at on this journey Days of Shock, Days of Wonder.

Rafiq will be an interesting player of the revolution to come, for that I have no doubt of his importance. Will he or his book “ignite a generation”—I don’t think so, for many reasons, some of which I have given, not the least of which, he and his work is still young and growing toward something more powerful. I’ll be watching and no doubt as will others, for what form it all takes. The fact that there are 16 book short ‘book reviews’ on Amazon.com alone already, tells me his book does seem somewhat popularly inspiring. It is an impressive feat for anyone to get a book like this published by an official publisher the quality of Hay River Books, as I believe they have published many of Noam Chomsky’s political tracts. Good for him. Many will like his style. It’s not my style but I feel akin to his overall undertaking. I’m curious what happened eventually to the white whale? In the 80’s I bought a 1973 VW and well... a kinship with Rafiq’s spirit is inevitable. Today, I lament, no more cars, nor more vans—I’ve used up my oil and gas quota and supported excess CO2 for one life-time.

References

Fisher, R. M. (in progress). A general introduction to fearanalysis: Putting the culture of fear and terror on the couch.

Fisher, R. M. (2012). Fearanalysis: A first guidebook. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

Fisher, R. M. (2012a). Love and fear. A CSIIE Yellow Paper, DIFS-6. Carbondale, IL: Center for Spiritual Inquiry & Integral Education.

Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world’s fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press         of America.

Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the ‘Fear’ Matrix. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia.

Fisher, R.M. (1987). Life after Harmonic Convergence. Erospirit, October, 13-16.

Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2016). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age          Publishing.

Pentecost, C. (2012). Notes on the project called Continental Drift. In R. Borcia, B. Fortune and S. Ross (Eds.), Deep roots: The midwest in all directions by Compass Collaborators (pp. 16-24). Chelsea, MI: White Wire.

Rafiq (aka Lewis, R. S.) (2016). Days of shock, days of wonder: The 9/11 age, the ways of the mystics, and one man’s escape from Babylon in the belly of a whale.           Montreal, QB: Hay River Books.

Rafiq (2016a). Indigenous worldview and the art of transformation: A book review by Rafiq. Retrieved from https://truthjihad.blogspot.com/2016_09_01_archive.html

Wilber, K. (2006). Integral spirituality: A startling new role for religion in the modern and postmodern world. Boston, MA: Integral Books.          

 

 

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New School Movement Cares About Role of Fear

It is rare for me to find a transformative school, or school movement that seems like it really is what it advertises itself to be when looked at closer. It is rare when I get surprised there is a movement, I have never heard of (i.e., in North America) that is encouraging beyond the surface. I am aware of the great strides of progressive schools in Finland and how that model is taking off around the world, but right here in American there's EL Schools based on the Outward Bound design principles, brought into regular schools and transforms them. I think these are worth looking at seriously for anyone involved in curriculum development for the 21st century, and, I'm sure these schools are not "perfect" and I would have a lot of things to add, or would any other astute critic of educational practices. I am also not saying this is a radical school movement like I would like... but it seems, upon my reading the website that it is impressive nonetheless for what it is. The 10 principles are pretty great (albeit, I don't see enough Indigenous Education aspects up-front-and-center as Four Arrows would recommend [1]. Yet, a few things impress me, and that begins in Principle 1, I have included it below... and, you can guess why I like it so much. The second, is that Natural World is put out so prominently (principle 8) with also Solitude & Reflection (principle 9)

The foregrounding of the role of fear as the greatest barrier to human potential is not an entirely new idea at all, it is just rare to see it foregrounded in any school movement. I had never even heard of EL schools, although, I am somewhat familiar with the Outward Bound philosophy and programs going back into the 1970s as part of the Outdoor and Environmental Education movement. So, it is great to see this new adaptation into regular schools in the system and it is producing great results.

The area of my critique, of course, would be on what the quality is behind their conception of "fear" and most likely it is pretty shallow and individual and psychological--not an integral perspective. This is where I would bring forward the work of Four Arrows and myself to supplement such a "primary task" to ensure it is done the best possible [2]. I would encourage such EL Schools to join the Fearlessness Movement first off the bat. Then study these movements, and have their students study them, for starters. Why limit the imaginary to merely "overcome their fears" but rather put this into an evolutionary, historical, sociopolitical, liberational context. "Fears" is not the most important, but understanding the nature and role of fear itself is deeper and richer for critical consciousness... and, then, there are a few more steps along the spectrum of maturity that are required... all the way to fearlessness and on and on...

End Notes:

1. See, Four Arrows (Jacobs, D. T.) (with England-Aytes, K., Cajete, G., Fisher, R. M., Mann, B. A., McGaa, E. and Sorensen, M.) (2013). Teaching truly: A curriculum to Indigenize mainstream education. NY: Peter Lang.

2. in Four Arrows et. al (2013), see Chapter 13, "From Fear to Fearlessness"; also, in Four Arrows (2016), see Chapter 2, "Courage and Fearlessness." Four Arrows (2016). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

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