in search of fearlessness project (7)


I have just collected this data from PRISM (online library at The University of Calgary) where my many publications and unpublished works are held and freely available as open-access to the public. I just looked up the 2006 paper I wrote on what I founded as "In Search of Fearlessness Project" and to my surprise it has been downloaded in the past few years while put up online, near 900 times. How is that possible? Why have none of the download readers contacted me, contacted the FM ning... etc. (?) I am not seeing or hearing anyone writing about this historical phenomenon as Project. I'm puzzled. But it is interesting. To read my paper "Overview of the In Search of Fearlessness Project" (click here). 

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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 [1], 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 [2] 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 [3]

See also some writing on this concept in a recent technical paper on "fearlessness psychology" I am developing (Fisher, 2019) [4]

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 [5]. 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 [6] 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 [7] 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; 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




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I have just written a new Tech Paper 75.pdf entitled "HYPNOSIS TO FEARGNOSIS: An Introduction to Trance-Formations" (click on for pdf), below is the Abstract. I see this as an important contribution to Feariatry:

Hypnosis to Feargnosis: An Introduction to Trance-Formations

                                              - R. Michael Fisher,[1] Ph.D.       ©2018                                                                             Technical Paper No. 75


This paper explores initial theories, ideas, and examples of feargnosis. This new term, created in Feb. 2018 by the author, is intended to help us all work with fear in text, conversations and teachings with an improved sensitivity to the way hypnosis, and trance, and other arational modes of consciousness impact on our fear-knowledge and basic learning about this topic of fear (and fearlessness).


[1] Fisher is co-founder of In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and Research Institute (1991- ). He is also founder of the Center for Spiritual Inquiry & Integral Education ( and is Department Head at CSIIE of Integral & 'Fear' Studies. He is an independent scholar, public intellectual and pedagogue, author, consultant, researcher, coach, artist and Principal of his own company ( Currently, he is developing The Fearology Institute to teach courses. He can be reached at:

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"I'm Not All That Impressed by Love"

This line came to me a few days ago, in journal reflective writing: "I'm not all that impressed by love." As it goes, spontaneous and empassioned ideas like this do come once in awhile, and mostly I just leave them to sit in the journal, and rarely if ever are they discovered again by me. But this one was different... 

I have had several tensions (if not subtle conflicts) on my psyche (soul) for sometime. As a writer and philosopher this is not unusual, they create some of the best motivations for me to proceed with research and writing projects. But this one was different... this time, anyways. The words "I'm not all that impressed by love" is what I would have wanted to say to at least a half dozen people, some close friends, some family--and, some are colleagues in the domain of studying and writing about fear. The basic conflict, or sometimes an ontological and real "battle" as I see it, is Love vs. Fear(lessness)... and, where is it (as subject of study) that I (or anyone) ought to really put their attention on--and in doing so nurture that subject. I mean, haven't you noticed how many people want you to be more loving? Doesn't the whole world sometimes seem like it is putting pressure on you (and everyone) to be more loving, and say to someone "I love you." 

This blog is not going to pursue this notion of Love vs. Fear(lessness), and why it has been so important in my conscious research and writing since late 1989, and the founding of the In Search of Fearlessness Project (of which the Fearlessness Movement is the latest iteration). You can check out my writing on "love" and on "fear" or all the circuitous derivations of the latter, and the former, that intrigue me under the umbrella of my search to contribute to the Fear Problem on this planet--oh, and that means, contribute in a positive way (ha ha). But it seems sometimes, even my closest allies forget, or don't get, what it is I am doing, and why "fear" has been my focus not "love." They still think, and sometimes say, "Michael, you just need to be more loving" [1]. It is subtle all the different ways they communicate that. I feel there's an ideological plot on the planet (or, at least in my circles of relations in North America in the 20-21st century) to 'force' me to be a better loving person. This I call the Virtues Project (a brand new conceptual label for my critical philosophical work to come)--or, more simply, I call it the pathological (obsessive) side of moralism

What was so unusual in the last few days, with having this conflict around "love" come up again in my life... I mean really, it is more than a little frustrating... is that I found (or my unconscious did) the exact words I want to say to the world: "I'm not all that impressed by love"--and, with that I believe I may have found the title for my new book project. No kidding. After several encounters with the "love-people" as I call them--meaning, they are convinced that "love will save the world", I began to write and write in my journal, some 8 to 10 pp. just flowed, and it was the basic informal outline of everything I have wanted to say and write about in my own social philosophy development since 1982 (and that date is significant, but I'm not going to give it away why--that'll be in the book). Yes, I'm going to write the book I always wanted to write, since 1982 but just didn't have the maturity for it, and life-course realities took me in other directions. At age 66 (and "retired" with a pension)--ha ha, I can now afford to write it, and afford to lose a lot of "friends" perhaps, because I am going to say what I really believe and think is the reality: And, that is, more or less what boils down to my philosophical starting point (i.e., in simple words): I'm Not All That Impressed By Love --start there, Michael, it's where your heart and soul resonate, and the conflict begins, for the creativity required to be inspired to write the book, now 36 years later... you finally can do it. 

I'm jazzed about this book... you have no idea! Hey all "you" out there who have a critique of my way of being in the world, of my writing and teaching... okay, get ready, because I am finally going to give in to your side of things. Really, I am finally, after 36 years, going to write my first book on "Love"... 



[oops... love, in the spirit of fearlessness], 



1. Love is aka Spiritual, as it turns out, and so you can begin to see this as part of my long critique growing around what "spiritual" is and how people use it as a 'weapon.' 


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Gospel of Fearlessness: Down to Basics

In my more prophetic and ministerial mode, and damn right angry moments--because, of what is being ignored, denied, dissociated on this planet--that is the Fear Problem, I come back to a concept that is controversial to some, abhorrent to others, and is just right for me. Perhaps the religious followers of my writing (like some of my uncles) may find this a refreshing conception which pulls it out of a secular sounding teaching.

All along, from the start, I knew teaching about fearlessness (and fear) was neither to be restricted to the sacred or secular genres and traditions. The concept of a Gospel of Fearlessness, feels more like a passionate declaration, indictment, and reclamation project than does In Search of Fearlessness which I conceived with Catherine Sannuto back in 1989. In my righteous indignation I prefer the definitive and confident Gospel of Fearlessness to a more tentative In Search of Fearlessness notion.  

This morning I ponder the basics of this Gospel of Fearlessness, which is implicit I believe in the entire Fearlessness Movement that's been going on around the world throughout time. The basics of which I have also put into this more "religious" language as a "Credo of Fearlessness" which I sketched, with a similar purpose, in my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings (2010, p. 39). You can look up those sketches if you wish, but I wanted to put down the most basic basic aspect of what I came up with this morning for a Gospel of Fearlessness.

Before laying that out, I want to reflect for a moment on "gospel." It means to me a sacred story-- a telling of great importance to a culture and civilization, told with diverse tellers, who are also passionate and righteous-- for e.g., in their story of a Messiah, or of, at least, a process of liberation that we all have access to if we so will to access it and follow the regime of deliberative teachings, philosophies, and disciplined practices. I think this hardly should be called "religious" (or even restricted to being called "spiritual") as it is so fundamental to all humans, whether they are conscious of it or not--that is, to have a narrative of redemption from the pain and suffering and oppression of the everyday world they experience. As far as we know, there likely has never been a life for a human being that has not had this combination of weights to bear. The gospel stories, legion around the world and across cultures, offer a 'way out' or what you might call an idealist perspective and thus 'hope' for a better life and way--sometime in the future. They are stories of guidance when we may ourselves want to give up. Yet, they are also 'wake up' stories that prevent us (at least theoretically, or momentarily) from becoming paralyzed and numb as we are bombarded by pain, fear, suffering, distress.

Anyways, I don't want to give a sermon on gospels, as I really don't know much about them but I think I know enough, and the term really resonates with me and my teaching, which is the teaching I was chosen to teach. Remember, In Search of Fearlessness Project, as a gospel story itself, never came from some book, or guru, or anything but real embodied experience that I had with Catherine in 1989, through the veins of blood cursing through our bodies in the excited and trance state of joyous sex in the transpersonal dimension. Call it mystical experience if you like. It was and is real. There was this intuitive voice inside me (and us)... a gospel really all on its own-- that said, there is a Fear Project on this planet that is deadly and limiting of human capacities in most all areas of life. It is destroying our species and quality of life for other species. Humans are the central focus of this Fear in that they seem to produce Fear at a rate and in a way that is unique amongst all other species.

And so the gospel of fearlessness in this informal manifestation began in/with us as a couple, and now has carried on with Barbara Bickel and I as the 'next' couple after Catherine abandoned the ISOF Project in mid-1990. The story goes on and on... but now to the most basic basic of the gospel truth, in the way I best have found to understand it and purvey it to others--with, all due regard for the near impossible task of conveying such truth in words/text on a page.

The Gospel of Fearlessness as best I can articulate it with all my own biases, boils down to a story ("theoria" or theory) which proclaims:

(a) that we humans have a Fear Problem that is as important, if not more important, than any other problem that will act to bring us down toward extinction sooner than later.

(b) historically, and continued today, we humans have, more or less,  largely ignored, denied, dissociated from knowing this truth of the Fear Problem-- this is our "sin" no. 1

(c) we require a redemption to turn us around from only living in this human condition ("sin") and advance toward our true human potential (based in the best of our human nature before human culture took over domination)

(d) the biggest movement (especially in the 20th century on) has been to try to re-frame "fear" as an emotion that can have a positive, normal, and natural side--this "positivist" movement to re-evaluate the nature and role of fear may have some value worth keeping; but its negative side-effects have led to ignoring a whole body of wisdom that teaches a different story about the nature and role of fear--the positivist obsession of our day has lead us astray because of its reductionism (especially, to a biopsychological mode of thinking)-- this is our "sin" no. 2

(e) the Fearlessness Movement initiative and its deconstruction and reconstruction project regarding the very way we perceive and conceive and construct "fear" is likely the best way to go, so that we focus less on fear(s), as in fear of x, y, z and the idea that fear is one of many emotions and not more important or unique (typical of "sin" no. 2) and focus our inquiry on better understanding the nature of the politics of knowledge involved in how "fear" has been and is currently being constructed as 'fear' (i.e., culturally-modified fear)

(f) until we emphasize in our fear management/education the importance of a transdisciplinary (non-reductionistic approach) whole new imaginary and way of thinking about thinking about fear, there will be little progress at all in undermining the Fear Problem, and in fact, we'll only make it worse

(g) any real progress in analyzing the Fear Problem, and undermining its out-of-control growth in the 21st century, will require a unified effort and a systematic source of consistent funding and energy commitments by people and organizations--this latter has not accrued in 27 years since the founding of the In Search of Fearlessness Project-- that is "sin" no. 3

Thus, is the Gospel of Fearlessness in a nutshell. Perhaps, you could summarize the above into an even simpler nutshell so people could remember this gospel, and/or you may suggest things that ought to be added to it. I could think of a lot of things to add but my point here is to keep it as basic as possible, and still get the message across of what my teaching is all about.

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New 7th 'Fear' Vaccine Added

The 'Fear' Vaccines as I have called them going way back to the early 1990s (In Search of Fearlessness Project or ISOF), are intended, just as they say, to counter the oppressive effects of 'fear' (and fear). I have written a good deal about these notions, including the distinction of "fear" and 'fear' (as a culturally modified fear patterning). I won't repeat that here and you may want to check out my other writings.

The 'Fear' Vaccines (which is really a process of "soft technologies") are intended to be practiced and studied. With time, patience and experience, they will counter-act to free you (and organizations) from any fear-based domination. They are essential "tools" in that sense to working one's way out of the 'Fear' Matrix (or 'Fear' Project, or fearism-t). These include 6 in their original configuration that evolved in ISOF (Calgary): (1) quality information on fear and fearlessness, (2) Liberation Peer Counseling, (3) Spontaneous Creation-making, (4) Community-building, (5) Sacred Warriorship, (6) Vision Quest.

The 7th vaccine has just been discovered in its latest form in the last 20 years or so by Dr. Don Trent Jacobs (also known as Four Arrows). I am currently writing a book on his life and work, but most importantly I have followed his work as a researcher and educator because of his discovery of a great model for working with decolonizing the mind, or de-hypnotizing ourselves from the dominant (and largely pathological) Western worldview. His model is defined in a mnemonic form: CAT-FAWN. There is a fascinating story behind the years of discovering this model, with roots of its "teaching" coming from ancient ancestors in remote Mexico and the shamans of the Raramuri there, as well as from the non-human spirit teachers-- and to be clear, it has not yet been put to full use (not even by Four Arrows), and I am just in the early stages of understanding it. I will write more on CAT-FAWN but not in detail here as I merely wanted to officially recognize it in my mind as the 7th 'Fear' Vaccine.

CAT-FAWN = Concentration Activated Transformation (CAT) and FEAR, AUTHORITY, WORDS, NATURE (FAWN). The basic principle behind this CAT-FAWN connection, as Four Arrows calls it, is that in any concentration state (subtle and light, or dramatic and heavy) we are in "trance" and in that state the human (and many animals) are highly susceptible to learning, for good or not so good. The point is to recognize with great critical awareness when one is going into a trance-state (i.e., CAT), it may be as simple as when you are watching TV too long, or driving a car, or working on an art piece or listening to music or when you have been injured and are fearful and/or terrorized... etc. By recognizing and predicting the high learning potential in this trance (CAT) state, you will be able to ensure you are not going to let Fear, Authorities, Words, or Nature be used against you and your current state, but be helpful as guides to move you along (in my words) the path of fearlessness of development.

More on all this as time goes... just also want to let you know that Barbara Bickel (my partner) has initiated with me to co-author a book on the 'Fear' Vaccines and all our years experience with them, and ensure they are documented for history. You can bet a final chapter will be on the latest addition of the 7th to the traditional 6 that we have the most experience with in the ISOF Community especially. Stay tuned...

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I was just opening a page in my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21st Century (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2010), and this is what I thought was worth quoting today re: ISOF Project (In Search of Fearlessness): 

"After ISOF's rise (1989) and fall (1999) as an organization, I had been researching and writing to figure out what went wrong: why did it collapse, at least, in its first community manifestation in Calgary, Alberta, Canada? This is not the first time in history (herstory) that various visionary leaders [like myself] have witnessed the painful collapse of a radical movement. Usually they follow that with a reflective incubation and exile. They attempt to think through and write about their theories of revolution once again, before they pass away. ISOF Project is still going strong--in spirit--in the spirit of fearlessness. I expect new forms will emerge in the future; its inevitable, no matter how much one sees Fear's Empire growing and dominating (e.g., post-9/11 era). That said, it gives one great moral strength to carry on a Tradition (still unrecognized), when one finds that other's have acknowledged the importance of fearlessness in our future and attempted to lead movements to make that known." (p. 172)

It is now 2015, and as I reflect on this passage, sitting in Calgary at the computer awaiting emails from people I put a 'call' out to here, there is a sense that a lot of folks have more or less folded into a practical (pragmatism philosophy of life) way to be. I'm still appreciative that we have to be pragmatic to survive, I should know as a person who has been underemployed and unemployed for 22 years or so. Yet, I am still a critical thinker not willing to fold under my essential rebel spirit (of fearlessness). I am still willing to lead this fearlessness movement in some form, somewhere. 

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