Blog

global warming (3)

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE?[1]: Case of Climate Change Today               - rmf May 18/2019

 The fear of eco-turbulence is the greatest one.

This eco-fear must be made positive fear to prevent the possible disaster.                                                                                                                                                            - Bhawani Shankar Adhikari[2]

             Preamble

 I too, like Adhikari and other fearists (of recent expressions), am seeing something powerful amidst the current zeitgeist on the planet in general, of something which could be called “eco-fear.” This is the fear related to eco-issues (i.e., environmental and global issues of great ecological consequence to quality of life (and Life itself) in the early part of the 21st century).

I have written about this topic off and on, not the least of which was my series of technical papers on what Simon Estok calls “ecophobia” and its importance in literary criticism and beyond.[3] Many issues are thus being raised about the relationship between eco and fear that require more analysis and perhaps ‘better’ guidance than so far offered by anyone thinking about this. I’ll attempt to move forward this discussion and offer some direct guidance as consulting to eco-fear—and, I think I can do that best through a case study, albeit, it is more imagined for me personally at the moment than real. That is, climate change education (CCE) of which some in the literature refer to it as merely “climate education” but it is assumed they are speaking about “change” and big changes in climate—that is, global warming and the human-causation of that phenomena and the issues around how humans can mitigate the impacts of global warming crises upon us now and that are to become increasingly severe by most scientific predictions in the next decade or less—to the point, where mass extinctions of species and perhaps, more or less, our own species is immanent as is the product of great risk of toxification that will destroy life-sustainability on planet Earth.

I will not here, go into an analysis of the toxification problem, that is global warming as part of the CCE curriculum per se—if anything, I will focus on the issue of “fear toxification” as one particular angle in the discussion, whereby over the last several years I have made the direct analogy between CO2 rising levels of threat to Fear rising levels of threat[4]—both, with their interdependent relationship and mutual causality (arguably). I’ll not pursue this relationship in this paper further than this mention. There are other concerns I am focusing on here and they can simply be wrapped-up in and around the question I ask myself in this context of toxification, How afraid should we be?—while, I realize that is not the only or even the ‘best’ question—it is one I think is rich with heuristic value to pursue.

My First Thoughts and Question(s)

If I (or any fearist) puts themselves into the situation of answering this question, several things arrive to be clarified, if not answered with a powerfully thought through rationale and direction:

(a). in concrete, if I am teaching and/or advising the teaching of say “climate education” today (as it is sometimes called” and, I am also answering to the critique “Climate Education is Screwed Up” as a recent video announces [5] – I am also having to answer philosophically and pedagogically how afraid should the students of such a climate education (CE) be at the first, in the middle and at the end of the class or course, or lecture? How does “fear” (i.e., fearfullness) enter into CE and specifically my way of ‘best’ teaching CE and/or advising others to teach CE?

(b) what theoretical and philosophical grounds (e.g., philosophy of fearism, and/or a General Fear Theory) can I draw upon to help analyze this questioning and calling as a fearist—and, how might I compare that guidance I seek be compared to some other guidance from other theoretical and philosophical grounds?—and, thus in that comparative analysis how I could make my ‘best’ recommendations to others in CE and/or follow the findings to my own curriculum and pedagogical design in the classroom?

(c) if I was to analyze the already prevailing general critique (since the mid-1990s) that is substantive amongst diverse critics of a growing “culture of fear” phenomena –a critique that at times takes the provocative label by some writers as “Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?” [6]—there seems to be an important point of analysis required (fearanalysis) as to “why” and “how” this latter phenomenon is functioning already and this was showing itself (as a symptom) in a historical time when “climate” and the crisis around “global warming” were there but only minor in the zeitgeist of planetary consciousness—at least, it was much less than it is today and in the last decade of the 21st century’s unfolding... then, to analyze this I have to bring forward problematic issues that are in that particular historical discourse, and then bring them into light of my own search in (a.) above and ultimately to answering (b.) above.

No one has pursued, to my knowledge, this kind of in depth research project that (a.), (b.) and (c). involve—and, the time has come for this work to be done, and the sooner the better. It will take a dedicated number of individuals and a team (perhaps) to do a good job of this and prepare the material for publication. I’m inviting interested researchers and thinkers to consider my proposition. I myself have already begun this venture, however, I am only in the very early stages of organizing and designing how to proceed. It would also be great to acquire “gifting” and “funding” supports for such an initiative.

 ****

NOTES

[1] See my recent 2019 teaching video : “The Great Collapse: How Afraid Should We Be?”

[2] Excerpt from April 25, 2019 FM blog (which Desh Subba and other fearists endorsed enthusiastically).

[3] See Fisher (2018) tech papers No. 66-70.

[4] For e.g., CO2 FEAR chart Posted by R.Michael Fisher on September 11, 2015.

[5].  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXuzdoKs9pI

[6] For e.g., Cohl, H. A. (1997). Are we scaring ourselves to death: How pessimism, paranoia, and a misguided  media are leading us toward disaster. NY: St. Martin's Griffin. 

 

Read more…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more…

I've just written and published a CSIIE Yellow Paper which I think gives one the most updated clarity on my work. I've attached it here. "Invoking Fearanalysis: A New Methodology Applied to Wicked Problems and Paradigm Shifts in the Anthropocene" by RMF.

Read more…