I just listened to this good talk on fear and fearlessness, radical trust, the future, child-rearing and an Indigenous view on life in general. I recommend:"For life to continue on earth, every day must be Indigenous Peoples’ Day"Darcia Narvaez's Discussion with Four Arrows about Indigenous Approachesto Human Development and the "Evolved Developmental Niche" (October 9, 2020)Watch on YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/_1CH1IvFpVMListen on SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/evolvednest/indigenous-peoples-day-2020-a-discussion-with-darcia-narvaez-and-four-arrowsKindred World is the parent nonprofit of The Evolved Nest. As an award-winning 501C3 nonprofit, Kindred's leadership in the Conscious Parenting Movement has provided a solid foundation for pioneers, scientists, authors, activists, parents and professionals to share their sustainable and peaceful visions for humanity since 1996.
Dr. Sheldon Solomon, co-founder of Terror Management Theory, dialogues with R. M. Fisher on Jeff Gibbs' new controversial film "Planet of the Humans" (2020). In FearTalk 9
Fearlessness is complex enough. Add "fearlessnessnizing" and you get an even more intricate complication. I believe this is absolutely necessary to work our way in and through the nightmarish days we live, and the worse to come as a global reality of crises and tragedies of immense proportions will rain down. We are already there... what we do about it all is another thing and fearlessness and fearlessnessizing everything is really important, so I say and... so says the fearlessness theorizing that has come to me in the decades and most recently in the last two years or less. I introduce you to the currrent writing I have done on fearlessnessizing as a resource.
"Fearlessnessizing" - was budding, preconsciously and intuitively as I wrote the book on Four Arrows' life and work , and especially by the end of that book I began writing on it indirectly as Four Arrows and I were invited into another project of co-writing a chapter  for the SAGE International Handbook of Critical Pedagogy. I had been spending a lot of time thinking and reading about "Indigenizing" (especially via Four Arrows' perspective on this revitalizing healing transformative concept) but did not include "Fearlessnessizing" in the book on him but did bring it in somewhat alongside Indigenizing to align both with Four Arrows' thought and the burgeoning field (perspective) of Indigenous revitalization across the globe.
What would it mean to (re-)Indigenize modern societies? And, for me, that came to be: What would it mean to (re-)Fearlessnessize modern societies? It was an analogy I found very useful but have not at all developed in detail yet.
"Fearlessnessizing" however, has continued to stay a live with me since 2017 early intuitions and then with the writing of articles with Four Arrows in 2018 forward. In the recent issue (Vol. 1(2)) of the International Journal of Fear Studies, I gave it a simple definition and officially recorded it as part of a "New Fear Vocabulary" [Fisher et al., 2019, p. 13] :
fearlessnessizing - [coined by RMF] the process of deconstructing fear-based realities and structures and replacing them with fearlessness-based ones; analogous to indigenizing 
See also some writing on this concept in a recent technical paper on "fearlessness psychology" I am developing (Fisher, 2019) 
So, that definition, preliminary as it is, has a long history that goes back to the prophetic visionary experience I had with Catherine in the birthing of the In Search of Fearlessness (ISOF) Project (1989), a project (spiritual, philosophical and political) that was meant to counter the dominating hegemony of the Fear Project . In a sense, that very counter-hegemonic 'turn' I was introducing formally to the planetary conciousness was itself a fearlessnessizing of everything. It's hard to even imagine that. The fear-based paradigm was to become eventually a fearlessness paradigm  and so on. I was on this grand project to re-make and re-label the world--so to speak. I know that sounds all rather grandiose. And, so is Indigenizing the world.
Besides the ISOF Project and the Indigenizing project, there was a prior influence in my educational (re-)evolution tracing back to the Critical Tradition coming out of (mainly) Europe with the Critical Theory [Frankfurt] School and with many parallels the Liberation Theology (South American) resistance movements, of which the latter produce a very powerful line of Critical Pedagogy of which Paulo Freire made popular around the world and still ongoing. The key term I related to in Freire's writings was conscientization as a form of describing liberation process/work and its deconstruction and reconstruction of oppression. So, in that sense, I was attracted to how liberation (conscientization) was a type of fearlessnessizing as well, even though I did not call it that in the late 1970s when I studied that tradition in my education degree. Conscientizing, indigenizing, Fearlessnessizing all made a lot of sense to me. In 2017 I wrote a short piece on the FM ning  mentioning my interest to re-vise Freirean conscientization to Jacobsian conscientization (a la Four Arrows)--of which this was elaborated in the Fisher & Four Arrows, in press) article about to appear in the SAGE critical pedagogy handbook mentioned above.
1. Fisher, R. M. (2018). Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer. NY: Peter Lang.
2. Fisher, R. M., and Four Arrows (Jacobs, D. T.) (in press). Indigenizing conscientization and critical pedagogy: Nature, Spirit and Fearlessness as foundational concepts. In S. Steinberg & B. Down (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Critical Pedagogies (Vol.1) (pp. ). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
3. Fisher, R. M. et al. (2019). New Fear vocabulary. International Journal of Fear Studies, 1(2), 10-14.
4. Fisher, R. M. (2019). Fearlessness psychology: An introduction. Technical Paper No. 79. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
5. See for e.g., Fisher, R. M. (2018). The Fearlessness Movement: Meta-context exposed! Technical Paper No. 72. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
6. See for e.g., Fisher, R. M. (2013). Fearlessness paradigm meets Bracha Ettinger's matrixial theory. Technical Paper No. 46. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute; Fisher, R.M. (2006). Integral fearlessness paradigm. Technical Paper No. 20. Vancouver, BC: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute; Fisher, R.M. (1995). An introduction to an epistemology of 'fear'; A fearlessness paradigm. Technical Paper No. 2. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
7. See my (2017) photo https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/photos/jacobsian-conscientization; and, also see my (2015) 'mapping' (photo) of critical pedagogies and locating Jacobsian critical pedagogy and conscientization as an Indigenous addition to the traditions of critical pedagogies https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/photos/crit-pedag-fear-fig-1001
Mike Tyson said, "Fear is like fire, you can burn your house
down and kill yourself-or cook food and warm yourself."
Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows is the true story of Four Arrows (Dr. Don T. Jacobs) since his child years to his life at 71. He is an internationally recognized important indigenous scholar and mixed-blood American. Four Arrow is an activist of fearless. He has been advocating his own kind of fearless movement since 1970s.
How to be fearless moving beyond fears is the primary teaching Four Arrows shares in his real-life teaching stories as practical advice in the book. This intellectual biography is written by the educator-fearologist R. Michael Fisher. CAT-FAWN model is introduced to readers as Four Arrows’ discovery of a radical approach to de-hypnotize ourselves from negative fear. Four Arrows knows fear deeply, for example when he was challenged: "I must have felt enough fear after the March 2008 diagnosis of non- Hodgkins lymphoma..." (p.246) He uses CAT-FAWN as an inspiring means plus other tools to keep the disease from killing him.
Four Arrows says, " [my] Near-death-experience (NDE) while white-water kayaking on the Rio Urique in 1983 is one of the real experiences of fear." It is real fear experience, the kind that transforms one’s life completely.
I enjoyed other stimulating quotes, like Mike Tyson said, "Fear is like fire, you can burn your house down and kill yourself-or cook food and warm yourself." (p. 244) Four Arrows trained wild horses and learned a great deal about fear and how to manage it. A beautiful sentence by Fisher says, "If fear is the horse, courage is the rider." During the reading, I think readers will feel like they are together with Four Arrows in his activities described in detail of risking while swimming, playing, horse riding, teaching and kayaking.
The integrative conversation approach of the book between the author and subject Four Arrows and Fear—multiple characters—is fascinating. It helps readers to make more clear most all things about fear and fearless. I hope this book is good for those readers who are experiencing fear and willing to know real fear.
I've just completed a lengthy Technical Paper No. 79, "Fearlessness Psychology: An Introduction"... it is long over-due as I have been pursuing to clarify my 'new' psychology project that seems imperative in our troubled times. I have been a critic of Psychology (therapies, etc.) for a long time... and, I think this will help you understand my work better, as no doubt many have found my work still difficult to get their head around--and, many have rejected it. I believe this paper will make it all more clear but who knows.
Abstract (to Tech Paper 79):
The author tells of his resistances to and his love of “psychology” since his youthful years until the present. He sets up the most basic (inadequate) starting place for his new psychology or psychology in a ‘new key’ by placing his inquiry and explorations upon the reference of an “Indigenous Perspective” (or worldview). He calls this “fearlessness psychology” of which it immediately by name alone challenges that most all other psychologies available to humankind are fear-based in their conceptualization and in their offerings and thus no wonder the Fear Problem continues to blossom. He lays out the problematics of all he is doing here and claims that his entire exposition in this technical paper is necessary to go through—he believes it will communicate itself with a wider audience because of this—but his critical philosopher-self is constantly critical of just about everything he sets out—and, yet, there’s no room in this introductory paper to deal with all his philosophical critiques of his own work (and others). This he suggests, a conflictual tension throughout the paper, is probably a really good way to proceed creating a new psychology—which, he wishes he didn’t have to call a psychology per se. With that, the author proceeds to engage a fascinating array of ideas that potentially will change the way “Psychology” is conceived in the first place. The future, if it is to be at all healthy, sustainable and sane, ought to take this Fisherian path and the sooner the better. For it is worth, an improved universal ethical referent is needed, says the author and fearlessness psychology is one way to nourish that imperative and transformative option. A better wisdom and compassion, he argues is likely a consequence of this new psychology—which is not really a psychology.
2019 Fearlessness Teacher, [an interview of R. Michael Fisher, by Kevin Barrett of Truth Jihad Radio at
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.
[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...
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 ...
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.
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 
AMAZON Books Reviews:
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.
Opening Prayer – by White Standing Buffalo
Foreword: On Being a Warrior – by Shirley Steinberg
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
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”
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.
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)
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  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 .
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 --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.
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.
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  and others, like the new dissertation of Sepie (2018) from New Zealand , 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 , 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; ) 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!
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]
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.
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:
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  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.
Fisher, R. M. (2018). Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer. New York: Peter Lang.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jacobs, D. T. (1998). Primal awareness: A true story of survival, transformation, and awakening with the Raramuri shamans of Mexico. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.
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.
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  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) . 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 , 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 . I'll never forget the awe I had when reading Subba's primary text on philosophy of fearism (2014) , 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) , 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) .
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) .
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 ). 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]
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.
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/
He asks all who are able to attend the latest protest stance.
"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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