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integral theory (11)

I'm delighted to share with you a post-adult 45 yrs RMF 2019.pdf from a book on Integral Theory and Educational Research. This chapter overviews my 45 years learning/teaching career, my notion of post-adult education and more. There is one section (pp. 350) that I especially draw your attention to--which I'll quote in an excerpt here: 

"I was attempting then (and still am) to create an entirely new second-tier curriculum of fear education ..."  

"The leap was from a fear-based structure... to one that is no longer driven by fear as the primary motivator..." 

"I called a fearlessness curriculum and pedagogy where the very notion of 'critical thinking' and 'critical theory' needed to be deconstructed and reconstructed..." (p. 350)

 

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What I Love to Teach

I recently sent this letter out to my connections in Calgary, AB, Canada, but then also felt it was relevant to you all on the FM ning, as you come to learn more about me and my teaching. 

As part of my "landing" (still in transition in returning to Canada, Calgary, after 20 years away)... there's some good clarity arriving of late as to my teaching priorities that I offer (listed below). I wish to share this clarity with you, as not meant necessarily to be anything more than that, because I appreciate your friendship and witnessing me on this journey as a "teacher" in progress always becoming--and if you feel called to assist my teaching work (especially in Calgary and W. Canada, for a start) that's great. Let's talk further. Best, -M. 

 
MENU: My BIG FOUR Teaching AREAS in the next while: 
 
1. Teaching (training) people in the new discipline I've named "Fearology" (the transdisciplinary study of the relationship of fear and Life). I am about to launch The Fearology Institute as a global online education program 
 
2. Teaching the general (and intricacies) of a post-postmodern way of thinking, doing research, and anything else of importance (e.g., education)--via, the use of critical integral theory (with my primary focus on the work of Ken Wilber, who's work has greatly shaped my own critical thinking and social philosophy since 1982)
 
3. Teaching about the Indigenous-Western Encounter, based on my interest in conflict and its transformative capacities in situations of "culture clash" and using my own study of the Indigenous worldview vs. Dominant worldview based primarily but not only, on the work of Four Arrows (see my new book as a vehicle for this learning and teaching)--my approach is that the basic (primal) intelligence of being human is grounded in the "indigeneity" at the heart (in the DNA) of all peoples
 
4. Liberation Peer Counseling (LPC) is one of my all time favorite theories of how humans are hurt and how they heal--the most basic knowledge in LPC reveals our natural healers (refreshers) and how oppressive societies eliminate (and/or distort) these via the 'normal' socialization of its citizens; I have learned, practiced and taught this peer-2-peer based grassroots model (one of the 'fear' vaccines) since the mid-1980s
 
I've not included all my other teachings, aesthetics, art, etc. but I think the above menu is a good start. 
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Jennifer Gidley is a futurist-educator of the highest calibre as a thinker and with great experience in educational alternatives and critique of education systems that are largely a couple of hundred years out-of-date with the challenges young people face in the early 21st century. I agree and applaud so much of what she has offered over the years, including her latest book Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (2017).

That said, my brief book review here is going to focus on what I think are major flaws in her philosophy of education, her use of Integral Theory, and developmental psychology discourse in general. The quickest way to say my critique in a nutshell is: Gidley is a political liberalist and it influences most every interpretation of education, of Integral Theory (e.g., of Ken Wilber's work) and of developmental psychology and evolution I read in her work. In other words, she is so enthralled with cognitive development of the higher orders (e.g., vision-logic, postformalism, fifth-order thinking) to analyze and solve the world's problems, she ends up not very radical at all. I find her quite a liberal thinker. I also find this true of Integral Circles and Schools of thought today, most everywhere. They are "gutted" for consumer culture (i.e., marketability) not so much for radical pursuit of the "truth" and liberation. Sure, she is critical of neoliberalism and its take-over of much of education today. Good. But it is not a very sophisticated critique or a good ideological and political critique (using critical theory) as background context for how she pursues educational philosophy and postformalism in general. I like Kincheloe & Steinberg's views of postformalism somewhat better in terms of critical and radical perspectives [1].

So, I am disappointed again in an integral book on education, that is supposed to be for the betterment of future generations. I am not pleased how she defaults on "love" as so core to her integral future curriculum design and how she says nothing of any depth about "fear"--many of you reading this will know that I am a big critical of all kinds of folks using the love-default and general pc positivism [2] in their philosophies to save the world. But let me return to the "politics" that she so ignores (or skirts around). 

To keep this critique short (someday I may write a longer critique of this book): Gidley's book does not have in the Index terms like "oppression" or "emancipation" or better yet, "liberation." I find this tells of just how "gutted" and "watered down" his her philosophy, theorizing of "integral" and her thinking in general. Her curriculum is anything but radical from this perspective, because she has no philosophy (or psychology) of oppression and liberation at the core of her curriculum conceptualization. I am convinced her training as a professional psychologist all these decades has muted and liberalized her radical-edge which is truly sitting there in her work and writing but not quite blossoming; she seems afraid to let it out. And, of course, one would be much less financially successful if they took the liberation path fully and spoke truths that are prophetic and very uncomfortable to the masses and even the liberal leftists, etc. 

For my part, I put the 'Fear' Project as the major oppressive force on the planet. It is worse in negative impact today than ever before because of complex structuration and new media means of public pedagogy that puts people in so much fear that it hampers how they perceive, think, learn, and believe and act on fear-based messages from elites and others. Unfortunately, most do not see the fear ('fear') construction everyday. It is called the context of the postmodern era--that is, the context of the "culture of fear." (Again, I have written lots about that). Gidley doesn't mention this context at all. She operates without a radical identification of oppression and liberation. I end my critique there. It is not a book worthy of a future that she wants and most of us want where people are "free" and a healthy sane and sustainable society is potentially unfolding. She thinks cognitive development (leading) and some emotional and social development etc. will take us out of this nightmare of the culture of fear--or, at least, it appears to me she thinks so. The politics of such cognitive development (and healing of cognitive pathologies of the old paradigms) is not an easy task and will not be accomplished without a powerful "shadow" work. I do not see Gidley entertain depths like this in her book and any of her writing. 

Yes, much of her book can be useful in the future of curriculum design, teaching and learning theories, etc. Fine. But neoliberalism, which she admits is gutting Education everywhere in very negative ways, has to be 'hooked' to its root in a society extremely anxious, if not terrified of the future--especially, of economic security. That is, a culture of fear and neoliberalism cannot be unhooked as she does--or ignores the fact of it. Many critics (like Henry Giroux) have said as much as I am. However, none of the educational critics has given a critical integral attention to analyzing how fear ('fear') moves in and shapes all things today on massive scales to micro scales of operations. Education is a reproducer of that fear-based structuration--that is, what I have called the 'Fear' project. So, we need a counterhegemonic Fearlessness Project--and Movement. 

Honestly, I would rather Gidley (and her many followers) look carefully at how to build a curriculum and philosophy for a liberational futures and not get so distracted by complex futures. That's my ultimate critique of this book and Gidley's project. I think with good open dialogue, her and I and others may bring our work together and move forward in a truly prophetic and pragmatic futures education for all... one that has a theory of oppression and liberation at the core--not complexity alone. 

Notes

1. Kincheloe, J. L. & Steinberg, S. R. (2011). A tentative description of post-formal thinking. In K. Hayes et al. (Eds.), Key works in critical pedagogy: Joe L. Kincheloe (pp. 53-76). Amsterdam, Holland: Sense Publishers.

2. My complex theorizing on "positivism" is way beyond the rational positivism notion in epistemology but includes cultural hegemonic formations of everything from political correctness (and identity politics), be gentle loving and caring and be positive (e.g., positiive thinking) ideologies that have flooded North American culture (at least) for the past 3 or more decades. It is like one cannot say anything really "critical" because victim culture that accompanies the positivism ideology will attack you for being mean and saying something offensive to some one (while, they themselves attack with viciousness because you are not conforming to their positivism). 

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The Shadow Side of "New Age" Thought

DIAGNOSIS OF FEAR: CANCER

I first became aware of something like "New Age" thought (some call philosophy or spirituality) in my early 30s. I was more influenced by the Human Potential Movement and its positive optimistic view of human beings and our potential. I then got into Anthroposophy texts (e.g., Rudolf Steiner) and esoteric thought in my late 30s. Without going into all that detail, I became more interested in "mystic" dimensions of reality.

All those forms of knowledge were fine but the more I saw the holistic health movement take-off in the 1980s-90s and to this day, and the use of esoteric "New Age" thought about this sense we are going through a major transformation of consciousness, etc... the more skeptical I became. I was studying Ken Wilber's work parallel at this time of these explorations into alternative forms of reality and philosophies of life. All a long story.

This blog I merely want to point out the shadow (if not pathological, if not violent) side of "New Age" thought, from the perspective of its theories about reality, about human subjectivity, about knowledge, knowing and understanding (i.e., epistemologies), and its politics, etc. There is nothing "value-neutral" nor innocent, I have found out the hard way, about how people of all stripes use and abuse "New Age" thought.

Here is one example I saw today in a book someone gave Barabara. It is a book on someone healing themselves (apparently) of their cancer diagnosis, which if you turn to the chapters in the Table of Contents, there is a chapter called "Diagnosis of Fear"--indeed, many have written about the problem of fear in relation to both getting cancer and in treating it effectively (if the latter, is actually even possible in some cases). So, there are a lot of books on cancer, and a lot of holistic, 'new agey' books too. Let's look at the quote by the author of Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani (2012). Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

I merely want to keep this blog short, and will give you the essence of my critique of what is typical of New Age thought (holisitc health as popularized and spiritualized, and of which Hay House publishers pumps a tonne of these kinds of books on the market and has for some 20 years or so, often based around Louise Hays' kind of thinking and attitudes). Moorjani (2012) wrote in the front pages her Dedication (and her faith statement):

I believe that the greatest truths of the universe don't lie outside, in the study of the stars and the planets. They lie deep within us, in the magnificence of our heart, mind, and soul. Until we understand what is within, we can't understand what is without."

This statement of faith, belief, and epistemological claim (teaching) is very common and very troubling to me from many perspectives (i.e., an integral perspective for one). It wants to more or less diss the external (more Objective) world of information (that "lie outside") and replace it with a privileged inner (more Subjective) experiential world of information to guide our lives. The author falls into the swinging pendulum trap of trying to correct the abuse of Objectivism (e.g., hard empirical science) as the privileged source of information for guidance toward the opposite of what is now abuse of Subjectivism ("lie deep within us"). This subjectivism is individualism in another disguise, and it is what Wilber in his Integral Theory diagnosis of the problems today, a form of Upper Left quadrantism (all value is put on inner psychological and spiritual truths and ways of knowing). It's 1/4 of reality that Moorjani is privileging in her Subjectivism excess. Why not simply give the "outer" and "inner" worlds their equal due as important in providing us guidance and a relationship with reality in the entire Kosmos (to use Wilber's term)? This is actually quite a violent epistemic move on Moorjani's part and one made way too often, way to uncritically, by the Human Potential Movement/New Age (e.g., holistic spiritual health discourses) today.

If you want more on my critique on this epistemic violence, you can share your views on the FM blog. I am more interested in an epistemic fearlessness as guidance than this fear-based quadrantism of Moorjani's. Her way, which is a discourse common beyond just her that she has adopted, is very inadequate to solving the "wicked problems" of the 21st century, and we have to get over thinking that excess Subjectivism is going to correct excess Objectivism--that's simply 'bad' advice, and worse, it is violent to the Kosmos (and that means, to you and I as well).

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Indeed, Ken Wilber has always been my fav philosopher (psychological theorist and writer in the technical realm). His newest book (The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great Traditions, a welcomed one by me is 800 pp and reminds me of when he let loose his intelligence and skills for synthesis in 1995 when he published his other 800 pp book (Sex, Ecology and Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution).

I want to say only a few introductory remarks of why I care about his work (note: I am also always critical of it too). First, of the 3 endorsements on the jacket cover of The Religion of Tomorrow, one of them is by the very progressive Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation, he wrote, "Ken Wilber is today's greatest philosopher and both critic and friend to authentic religion, a true postmodern Thomas Aquinas." Wow. That's quite the statement by Rohr. I'm sure a whole lot of philosophers will really not be at all happy about it.

Anyways, also want to say I have only scanned a few pages, and mostly I studied the Index for about 2 hrs today as the book just arrived in the mail. Because I also create book Indexes for people's work and my own work, I am very sensitive to reading how an Index reflects really important things about where a book and/or an author is coming from. It's a bit like reading tea leaves, you might say. Anyways, my thrill (and surprise) in looking at the Index of The Religion of Tomorrow is that the entry title word that gets by far the most sub-entries is the term dysfunctions. What does Wilber mean by that? I'll get to that shortly, but first, let's get the gist of his reason for writing this book (well, there are many). I am convinced he wrote it because he knows that this world is pretty much fucked, and it won't be long before it is near unlivable, unless "religions" get their act together and up-grade to the knowledge available in the 21st century (including what science has to offer). Simply, he is saying we don't need to toss all religion, it merely needs to grow up. He more or says, all the great traditions of religions (E and W) are about 1000 years over due for a re-write. And, he is writing it because religions, and the nature of religiousity in human lives is major in influence. With so many around the world involved in religion(s) and religiousity (and/or spirituality) they can have an enormous impact on helping people either stay immature or mature-- "Grow Up" as Wilber says it in a very unique and complex way (i.e., developmentally, evolutionarily). I won't say more in this blogpost about that part of his agenda.

I realized in the book Index, that what most attracts me to Wilber's work, which I have followed since 1982 long before he started to become famous globally, is his diagnosis of pathologies at all levels and all complexities--of which he does so well as a philosopher and psychology theorist. His work is unsurpassed here, and his simple term (he has not used much before this new book) is dysfunctions. Cool, it is a systems thinker's word. It also has a bit of a clinical touch to it. I like that too. I am, as you may see in an earlier blog I wrote on advanced psychopathology of fear, very interested and specializing for years in pathology recognition, diagnosis and treatment--to use those rather blunt terms. It is a complex thing, pathology and who gets to "define" it and make "meaning" of it and how it can so easily, unfortunately, be used to attack people from power-elite positions (e.g., psychiatry at its worst). I won't go into that long discussion here. 

So, here's what I recognized cogently today. Wilber has two major projects in his tome of works. He has his evolutionary Enlightenment project of liberation of consciousness--something, familiar to the religious and spiritual types and discourses throughout human history. He wants people to "Grow Up" (keep learning and maturing) and finally to "Wake Up" (see through all illusions of what is Real). You can read Wilber to better understand the nuance of his version of the Enlightenment project (E. and W.).

Now, as cool and interesting as Wilber's Enlightenment project is, I have not always been so interested in all its anatomy of consciousness, and meditation practices in a traditional sense, etc. That's not so much been my path, though I can respect it too. What I really am specializing in, and always have been attracted to is his brilliant analysis of dysfunctions (pathologies, by any other name). His Integral approach to the pathological is essential to complement the more positive and "fun" stuff of looking at Enlightenment and liberation of consciousness. Though, of course they are intertwined. The pathological theorizing of Wilber is more on the "Shadow-side" of existence, and he has developed a very complex lexicon of terms that could be placed under "dysfunctions." Again, no term in the Index in his latest book is near close to the length and detail that is found under this term "dysfunctions." I love that emphasis and I will be writing more in later blogs about what this 1/2 of Wilber project is all about and how I have brought it in as a major (not only) contribution to how I approach the pathology of Fear ('fear'; the 'Fear' Project), etc.

So, I'm just giving you a heads up of some blogposts coming on linking Wilber's Integral theory (and philosophy) with my fear and fearlessness stuff... re: "dysfunctions" at all levels of Reality... not just simple "physical" or "psychological" as we normally understand thinking and imagining about "pathology" or "dysfunctions"-- this stuff is complex and really interesting, and if I do a good job, hopefully I can help you all understand Wilber's contribution to pathology (and immaturity that is prolonged) in the human and systems worlds...

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Introduction

This long blog post involves questioning how my own work (e.g., fearanalysis) can contribute as a 'corrective' to the Gender and Sex Wars going on around the planet, particularly in the Western (post)modern world, and especially since the 19th century arising of the Women's Movement through to the waves of feminisms. I will rely heavily in this blog on my daughter's contribution to this topic, as she (Vanessa D. Fisher) has become a bit of an expert on Gender and Sex Wars. Also, note, "solution" is used very loosely here, because these wars are not easy to solve and not by one solution.

The challenge for me is important in that I ought to be able to say something significant to help assess the Gender and Sex Wars, because they are "wars" indeed if you actually take time to study them and what they are producing, some good and some not so good, results. They are arguably, and seemingly, essential conversations and debates, because humanity is working through a "crisis" in the gender and sex identifications, and roles, and the entire societies involved are going through this transitional difficult time because Traditional understandings (i.e., premodernist) and Modern understandings (i.e., modernist) are clashing severely and have for well over a hundred years but now since postmodern times (e.g., post-WWII, 1945 onward to present) we are facing Postmodern understandings and complexities around gender and sex, and the wars between these perspectives are severe. [Note: I include this war under the Culture Wars title used by many thinkers]. With wars there is going to be a lot of fears--and, the exacerbation point of the Fear Problem itself that has not been resolved, or not even been well enough acknowledged at the root of the wars, and here I'll focus on Sex and Gender Wars (conflicts).

I focus on this hot conflict today for several reasons, not the least of which is because of my daughter's involvement in them for over 10 years now as a public intellectual and activist in her own right, with her own youtube channel (see "Vanessa D. Fisher"). At age 33, my daughter has turned out, with my pride of course, to be an important voice in that debate about Gender and Sex going on. She is in the middle of conflict sorting out her own ways to make sense of it and add a compassionate response and potential guideposts to its resolution and healing, as well as directions for policy. She is also a critical thinker and writer, has taken several feminist courses since high school and through her undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts. At present, she is nearing the place of applying for law school. In fact, today, she told me she is going to visit Yale Law School to see it from the inside. This is a big step for a girl who was raised mostly in poverty borderline working class home, even though her mom and I were professional school teachers for a few years in her infant years. Later, after the divorce, she was raised by her mom, with her sister, and they lived on welfare until she left at age 16 and came and lived with Barbara an I and started a "new life." That little bio background may help you understand some of where Vanessa comes from, because she is going to be important in this blogpost. I will use her example of how to talk about feminism and women's issues in the Gender and Sex Wars debates of the day. She offers me an ongoing look, from a young person's view of this debate and her youthful wisdom is always something I learn from, even if I am also critical of her positions at times, or mostly I have extensions I would offer to her positions. Understand, also in biographical context, she was raised from 16 on, until she left home at 19 or so, by me and her step-mom (Barbara Bickel) as declared feminists ourselves. Vanessa learned from us, and she also "parted" to develop her own views, which I appreciate.

Brief Overview of My Work on Gender and Sex: Sexuality & Fearuality

First, before I share with you my interpretation of the substantial components of Vanessa's latest video channel presentation on "Were Women Historically Oppressed?"(Apr. 21, 2017), it may be useful for you to read some of my prior work on this topic of gender and sex, and activism and social movements. I am not an obvious "activist" to most who know me now. I have been more a traditional activist in the way long gone years in my late-teens and 20s especially. So, I am going to list in the end note here what blogposts I have published previously on the FM ning that are background and relevant to this topic today [1]. Those pieces are samples of my work and interest on this topic, if you want more, let me know and/or look on the internet. Bottomline, I approach gender and sex as the domain of "sexuality" in the largest sense of that term as an important dimension of being a living organism/system. Sexuality, for me, is equivalent in many ways, analogous to, "fearuality"--and, thus, the two of them together come down to my interest to see how "fear" plays an important role in sexuality and fearuality and how they interrelate in total human evolution and development. Of course, culture and politics and history all come in as well to shape sexuality just as they shape fearuality and the combination of the two dimensions of human experience.

Vanessa D. Fisher's Views

Now, to the substance of this blogpost, and Vanessa's contribution to this. Note, I have not had her edit anything I am writing here. We have had several conversations however, after her last video ("Were Women Historically Oppressed?") and before that we have always had good critical conversations on this topic. That said, she is much more a content expert, a young person's expert, than I am (at age 65). I have always told myself, and later to her face, "I am staying away from entering this topic." I continue to take that position, and do not wish to be an expert on gender and sex and the conflicts. However, I keep getting drawn into it, thanks to Barbara and Vanessa. So, on that, let me start my interpretation of what I think is so crucially important in Vanessa's response the question that she says is the most common one she gets asked by many people in her public exchanges (mostly on the Internet but also live). She gets asked by activists who are fighting on either side of the debates, the wars, to come out and take a stronger stand and not just "fence sit" in the middle. I can tell you that pisses Vanessa off because she feels she is taking a strong stand, but it just doesn't nicely fit the activists' stands on either/or sides of the war. I know Vanessa's personality since she was born, she is not one to be quiet with her opinion, nor her intelligence, nor her fiestiness. She is also not one who totally like to conform just because of its advantages, but this also has been a struggle for her growing up and even now, as it is for most people. We all are going to face the fear of non-conformity and the option to rather just conform and "not rock the boat" in our social and work worlds. Also, being a Libra, some astrologers tell me that makes her a "mediator" by inherent nature. I see that is her strength, and at times, in some situations, it is not likely her strength.

Her lastest video is one of a long series of many videos and blogs and interview podcasts she does. I highly recommend you check her out on the Internet and her social media work. She does all of this for free. She has been passionate and driven to help the world solve this problem, and other things. She knows my work on Fear and Fearlessness, somewhat, and knows where I stand and why I am doing my own interpretation which is somewhat different than hers. That said, I agree with so much, especially in her latest video where she says she refuses to answer the "purity test" question the binary activists throw at her: "Were Women Historically Oppressed?" Also, note, she often is referring to the gender and sex problems and wars as heated right now because of the strong and growing opposition of "Feminists" vs. "Men's Rights Activists" (MRA's) and others involved who may not fit those two sides, but fact is, those two opposing sides get all the media attention and hype. Vanessa has not wanted to play that binary game, although, she admits to being sensitive and empathetic to both sides, both have partial truths to share but both have their own "shadows to deal with" is a phrase I particularly like because I call that "shadow" (as do others) the pathological, neurotic, and wounded side--that is, the Fear-side of their perceptions, thoughts, actions and stances, politically and psychologically, etc. 

So, I would focus on the fearanalysis of Gender and Sex Wars, and I can tell you, no one really likes that I do that, not even Vanessa, though she wouldn't likely say that to me overtly, but it is just not her "flavor" of ice cream she likes to focus on in approach. That's not what I want to go into in this blogpost but it is worth mentioning.

Vanessa both accepts the concern behind the question ("purity test" as she called it in the video): "Were Women Historically Oppressed?" (now is a good time to watch her video)--and, she rejects the question. Her main reason for hating to answer this question, is it forces the discussion and her positioning into a binary that is imposed in the structuration, assumptions, and bias already in the question. She says she doesn't want to play into the "tribalism" of that forcing an answer in a way that then allows the activists asking the question to quickly label Vanessa's answer (or anyone's answer) as pro-feminist or pro-MRA (i.e., pro-men). And I agree with the forced and narrow binary of the question and the way labeling is made superficially and rigidly and it is like there is no room, flex or curiosity after that. The "victim-mentality" as Vanessa calls it in this debate (on both sides) has to do with feeling they can be then "safe" with Vanessa as an ally for their cause or not. The really disturbing part of activism ideology (binary forcing) is that it divides and conquers as its main strategy. I find that oppressive itself. Vanessa likewise, and no doubt others of you would too. The gender and sex wars is complicated, so is the question about oppression. Vanessa goes into that problematics in the video. I want to come back to Vanessa labeling this "tribalism" behind the agendas of these two camps in the war (which could be any kind of war). The tribalism is a way of organizing the world and discourse and rhetoric that looks for "right" and "wrong" "guilty and not-guilty" behind everything going on, especially in how people take a stand on some issue or problem. This divisive (philosophical dualism) is itself fear-based and oppressive when it is pressed with the pressure of the "purity test" --as you see is also the case when in many different issues of the day, "blood lines" are used to tell who is on who's side of a genocidal war or any other cultural/tribal label (could be race, ethnicity) etc., or color as in racism, etc. involving genetics. This is the old wars we know of, they are very destructive. Not that all things about tribal cultural life and consciousness and politics are "bad"--no, that is not what Vanessa or I am saying. We are merely saying, that in a 21st century context, in a postmodern world of complex problems and conflicts with globalization, with gender and sex identities evolving and roles of people changing ---such simple "purity tests" are made for another time and era, not now.

The "purity test" is a way to tell (as the activists may wish) if a person is a "denier" or not. From the generic feminist view (especially, radical side) the test is to tell how much one has sympathy for the female cause of vicitimization and of the 'holocaust' and atrocities against girls and women from the beginning of time--all, perpetuated by the Other (i.e., the boys and men of patriarchy)... the other side in the debate would also see if one is a "denier" just going in the other direction, as the MRA's often do in their radical forms of ideology and binary tribalism. Again, you can watch Vanessa's video, one or two times and I think she really gets this out and suggests better ways to go. To make this blogpost not too long, I call all this problematic "fearism-t" or a type of terrorization to conform that fits the agenda of any ideology. That's the problem of all ideologisms. They are fear-based, guilt-based, shame-based in entire structuration and always have been. Today, in the 21st century, and especially from the perspective of Fearlessness, these are not going to be useful. I also would argue they carry a retro-regressive rather than a true progressive agenda. But that's a long blogpost for another time.

Vanessa, is a good "integralist" thinker, a post-postmodern thinker, and she smells that ideological retro-regression and its violence based on fear--which is, as she says, based on wounds and shadows on both sides--where all the activists really want with you in their asking the question is to "objectify" you as "for or against" them, and that prevents the most important relationship and working through dialogically and otherwise the healing and communications needed in war zones. Again, that's a long blogpost for another time. Vanessa is offering in her work a non-fear-based intervention to the wars. I heartily support this, and of course, I would want to bring in a critical integral fear management systems (fearanalysis) to it all. I'll give a quickie summary. Tribalism as I mentioned above, when applied to a postmodern world, e.g., North American society overall, is going to be disasterous, and much of the old pre-modern tribalism and hurts still persist, including the war between Church and State, that W. Enlightenment tried to separate out using FMS-5 as the method, which was attempting to overcome FMS-4 and FMS-2 ... and, their limitations to deal with a more complex modern world. Then there is FMS-6 (postmodernism) attempting new strategies to overcome the "fear of the Other" (i.e., diversity problem)--and, feminists and MRA's for example, also use this FMS-6 as their main approach to dealing with fear and diversity and yet, when it comes into the gender and sex wars, and victimization and identity politics (too often) there is a hidden underbelly of pre-modern FMS-2 (tribalism) and FMS-4 (empirism) underneath trying to use "fear" against people by intimidating them to conform to the status quo (or to conform to the "gang" mentality and means of ideologies)...

Okay, that's a bit of my interpretation to wet your appetites, perhaps. The "Solution" promised, is really in Vanessa's response to the "purity test"--and, Vanessa is very wise I think on many levels in the way she handles the difficulty. I would take some different routes to handling it. I would start with a really good education for everyone on oppression history, philosophy, theory and praxis. That, most people, including Vanessa, just do not get in contemporary society and education. I would add, a good fear management/education is also needed, and also lacking. I would add, the integral perspective (theory) is also key, and Vanessa is most educated in that, as I introduced her to it in her late teens. Ultimately, the solution is to use "FMS-7" (what is called 2nd-tier in Spiral Dynamics Integral Theory). That is, "Fearlessness" theory to guide the "wars" to a less violent resolution.

Notes

1. See "My View on Social Movements" (Sept. 23, 2015), "New Social-Practical Philosophy for the World Soul" (Jan. 19, 2016), "Sex and Gender Wars: From Many Perspectives" (Feb. 12, 2016), "Women/Feminists: The Struggle Against Fear" (Dec. 18, 2016), and "Fearism and Feminism" (Jan. 9, 2017).

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With all the different emotional reactions on either side of the political spectrum, especially in the U.S., since Trump's presidential victory, we need to find larger perspectives for analysis and not merely be caught up in the either/or binary of arguments and aggressive fighting back n' forth.

So, the other day, thanks to Dan McKinnon in Calgary, I received a copy of a draft that Ken Wilber, the integral philosopher, has been sending out to some people on his application of Integral theory (and Spiral Dynamics beneath it), of why there is an evolutionary correction going on that had to come out eventually, and it came out in the 2016 US presidential elections. Like it or not.

Wilber, is one of my mentors, and as a philosopher he understands cultural evolution, especially in America, like no one else I know of, especially with his meta-theory and contextual worldcentric and kosmocentric view. His arguments I find very compelling, and always have in his critique of postmodern excess and pathologies (e.g., narcissism and nihilism via relativism). Anyways, I won't say more but I'll post his 90 page document here KEN%2BWILBER%2BTrump%2Band%2Ba%2BPost-Truth%2BWorld.docx

I only got to page 6, I haven't read the rest. And on page 6 I found the "truth" I was expecting would be in his argument, but I love the way he said it. This may not make full sense to the rest here on the FM ning, but I'll put it into the perspective of fear, and the culture of fear which I study.

Basically, Wilber is saying that cultural evolution had gone forward on a leading edge for quite awhile, at least in human terms, since the 1960's especially (in the Western world). This was the time of radical cultural (r)evolution, and the Love Generation. I grew up in that too. We thought Love would take victory over Fear basically and make the world a better place.

Wilber, using Integral theory, tells how the leading-edge of cultural evolution (i.e., postmodernism) got twisted and extreme (especially in academia in the humanities and arts) but also in the general popular culture. The idea was in this Love culture of equality and pluralism (Lower Left quadrant reality) and all the good stuff of postmodernism there was an problem with what I call Culturalism, in that cultural ideas (media) had taken over casting a better view of life than was actually being had. This is the virtual (unreality) of Culturalism and people believed it until the structural social reality (Lower Right quadrant reality) was so grossly out of synch with the Culturalism view, because greater disparity of health, income, and freedom, etc. was occurring as the "middle class" myth collapsed (especially, in the US). This gulf or gap between Cultural and Social Reality, to use Wilber's analysis, really brought the whole System into such contradictions that something big had to change.

Wilber says on page 6 "the culture was lying" (and had been for about 60 years, more or less). This, from my perspective, is because we were living in a growing culture of fear (as many critics have recently claimed) not a culture of love. Darn! This has brought the evolutionary system into a bit of regression and chaos, and who knows what else... but Trump rode the falsity of it all, the anger and frustration of the contradiction. And, he led with contributing and flying along the waves of the culture of fear not the culture of love--and, his predecessor Pres. Richard Nixon, once said exactly that-- it is not love that changes people but fear, that is, if you are a leader and want your way to dominate. Welcome to the power-game. Trump is riding in there well suited, more than any other candidate to play that game. But what will the next (r)evolutionary correction be after Trump's time in office? We'll see...

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I had the privilege yesterday to attend (with an overflowing crowd of 1500 others) the last public speech by the very popular and powerful humanitarian UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at S. Illinois University. I came to tears several times listening to his words and aware of the immense energy of attentiveness of the audience. This blog is not to summarize that speech, nor try to capture the amazing work and commitment of this great person of the 21st century, now having served his 10 year term at the UN in the top position of authority.

Ban Ki-moon

I wish to focus on one of the most powerful things I believe Ban Ki-moon said to us all. He has been saying it for a long time, and it is part of the UN unofficial mission. Paraphrasing Ban Ki-moon: Especially in regard to young people, now 50% of the world's population is under 25 years of age, it is time to put away nationality and nationalism as the highest value, and time to turn toward becoming a global citizen. We require a new sense of unity that we are all living on the planet earth as 'one' --as global citizens together. If we do not make this turn of identity and value toward such a global unity, we are sorely heading for the worst 'hell' on earth in human history. Climate change (global warming) must be solved together, with no boundaries.

I totally agree and salute this wisdom of Ban Ki-moon. Of course, it is not only his wisdom that has thought of this idea, but many many great thinkers and visionaries throughout history has more or less called us to such a task as well. I sat there and wrote notes, and asked myself: "Yes, to be a global citizen is a first shift of identity that is a great leap for many who cling to narrow-mindedness and nationalism identities. There is too many wars happening because of this nationalism at its worst levels, especially when it is fear-based, security-based, and will attack any 'Other' because it feels threatened."

It is an odd paradox I found in Ki-moon's speech, and in the UN mission, because there is both the UN position of keeping nations sovereign and not invaded by dominator nations. And, at the same time, he is asking us to abandon the boundaries and become 'one.' Of course, the latter, is a high ethical calling and one that just doesn't happen in reality because one calls themselves a global citizen, a global organization, or a global nation with all good intentions. More than good intentions is required. And then we have the problem that there will seemingly always be one or more such individuals, groups, organizations or nations that will resist this call for global unity to solve the world's problems and they fight against any such unity. Then what?

Yet, this is not what I wish to focus on in this blog. Conflict is definitely destroying this planet, and no one is as informed as Ban Ki-moon on global conflicts and horrors going on today, and ever since he took office in 2007 at the UN. He said, "I have served during a decade of turmoil.... conflicts are growing more protracted" globally and putting the whole world into great danger, with massive immigration of refugees and starvation, disease, crop failures as only mentionable among so many other global crises we could name. He concluded, "big fires are still burning."

Now, to my point, re: conflicts ("big fires")... and letting go of nationalism, ethnocentricism, group chauvinism, racism, regionalism, religionism and ideologism behind them, to become unified as global citizens. What Ban Ki-moon did not talk about, and I would have liked to seen talked about, is how to foster the essential shift to a new awareness or consciousness required today to solve the worst global crises. It is a shift to a "world perspective" by any other name. Today, I am reading again, a favorite short essay (Epilogue: What World Perspectives Means" by Ruth Nanda Anshen, c. 1963). This essay shows up in some 30 volumes that were written and published in the early 1960s under the name World Perspectives Series, planned and edited (with others) by Ruth Nanda Anshen. This Epilogue she wrote I have seen every time I buy a copy from that series, and today it happens to be a book by Erich Fromm on Sigmund Freud (1963). Anshen writes of the series purpose, as it sought to bring together the most powerful critical minds of philosophers, scientists, and spiritual thinkers of the time (East and West):

" This volume is part of a plan to present short books in a variety of fields by the most responsible of contemporary thinkers. The purpose is to reveal basic new trends in modern civilization, to interpret the creative forces at work in the East as well as in the West, and to point to the new [holistic] consciousness which can contribute to a deeper understainding of the interrelation of [hu]man and the universe, the individual and society, and of the values shared by all people.... This [time] is the crisis in consciousness.... This is the new awakening.... Knowledge, it is shown in these volumes, no longer consists in a manipulation of [hu]man and nature as opposing forces, nor in the reduction of data to statistical order, but is a means of liberating mankind from the destructive power of fear.... it is the thesis of this Series that [hu]man is in the process of developing a new awareness which, in spite of his [her] apparent spiritual and moral captivity, can eventually lift the human race above and beyond the fear, ignorance, and brutality and isolation which beset it today. It is to this nascent consciousness, to this concept of [hu]man born out of a fresh [holistic] vision of reality, that World Perspectives is dedicated." (pp. 126-9) [bold added for emphasis]

I have taken only a small slice of this essay, and pulled out the important points Anshen makes about knowledge and fear, and the purpose of research, thinking, education in the world. I am astounded how she describes the world in the early 1960s and its imperilment of crises pending, as one feels like this is written for the 21st century. Let me close this blog for you to reflect on, and what it means to take on a "world perspective" as Anshen articulates so well. Yet, even she does not go far enough, as I see it. We have to move as a world, differentiated and developmentally distinctly, into a certain small percentage of people chosing to become global citizens, and adopting somewhat a world perspective on life and reality and their values and actions.

Emerging into Worldcentric Consciousness and Research on the Spirit of Fearlessness

Clearly, as I see it anyways, Anshen and Ki-moon are talking about a shift in consciousness from a fear-based cosmology/worldview to one of fearlessness-based or some call love-based.

Holistic unity is great, but for humans, and cultures, this evolves and develops, it is not something just decided upon and then works at the level of world perspective consciousness, or what Ken Wilber calls worldcentric consciousness, and then beyond that to the even more advanced stage of kosmocentric consciousness. I will not detail this spectrum evolutionary theory of Wilber's (called "Integral theory")... but to suggest it is better (more advanced) than holistic theories of unification and has to be looked at seriously. I have argued, elsewhere in my work, that the creative spirit is many things, even mysterious, yet, there is tremendous knowledge to be yet synthesized on how the spirit of fearlessness is core to the Defense Intelligence system of all organisms, at all levels (see my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings, 2010). The Fearlessness Movement ning is a dedication to thinking, ideas, people who are interested and moving toward a worldcentric consciousness that interprets the creative spirit of the universe really... as a spirit of fearlessness (at least, in terms of organism systems). This will give the structure and processes some reality when one utters terms like "global citizen" and/or "world perspective." We have a lot of work to do.

For another perspective on this talk see my partner Barbara Bickel's blog post

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Fearlessness and Indigenizing

[Prelude: the following is an excerpt from my spontaneous journaling and because of that I do not have all the references in here backing up what I am saying, as a scholar might do, and as I often do. Rather, I wanted to keep this less technical and formal and an expression of some of my intimate and philosophical thoughts as they run... feel free to contact me if you want more information and/or references. Note, most terms that have quote marks, especially when more technical terms, are the concepts of others, not my own]

Jun 2- the last full day of this trip to Winnipeg and my embedded relationships in the field space and mental-value epistemic space of what I would call the “Indigenizing Project” (which, in my own language is a part of the Fearlessness Movement and ISOF Project work for me. As you may recall the sixth ‘fear’ vaccine in the ISOF model was/is “Vision Quest.” Now, of course, these days in a postmodern and post-/neo-colonial critique, and hyper-sensitivity (dare I say “fear”) in identity politics land and politics, there is like zero-tolerance policies (nearly) floating in every which way to ensure that I as a “Westerner,” “Settler,” “White” “Eurocentric” "Male" "Heterosexual" person do not step over the line to enter into promoting a “Vision Quest” without "approval" of some Indigenous Elder or 'Indigenous' person (however, difficult and problematic those labels are, when it comes to issues of definition and authentication criteria, in the first place)--as anything other than a 'bad' thing (i.e., an act of violation called appropriation) from the point of view of that critique.

However, I am not going to be suppressed and oppressed by that critique and indictment alone, IF I think it is an oversimplified indictment without good evidence and without consulting me in the negotiation of that indictment, of which I am happy to give my case in equal argumentation, following the basic principles of a "Two-Eye Seeing" and “ethical space” argumentation.

I listen to the “appropriation” indictment, listen to it respectfully and engage it as much as the ‘other-side’ is willing;  but I also do not adopt, necessarily, despite what the pc police would have me adopt and swear to, because I find typically  their stance is still situated (Indigenous-Western) in a fundamentally postmodern response, if not a Romantic reaction (and retro-regression) response of cultural differentiation, protectionism, traditionalism, and an overall conservativism of the worst culturalism kind. I am much more interested in a philosophy of “cultural hybridity” as some scholars have carefully been arguing, along with a "trans(per)formative" approach to identity and pedagogy in general. The former traditionalism, with its odd postmodern garb, over-privileges an ontological and epistemological and axiological culturalism (primacy to the Cultural capital ‘C’ as meta-worldview) above and beyond the Natural and Spiritual domains—or what is intimately most accurately the Integral Standpoint (NCS) based on what I have argued in the Wilberian sense is a Fearless Standpoint Theory (FST). I believe this latter stance is the only way to ensure a freedom from epistemic violence perpetuated in under the flags of ideological reductionism that naturalism, culturalism and spiritualism are embedded in. In this sense, I am taking what Wilber has called a theocentric or kosmocentric perspective—which is something that the postmoderns and poststructuralists cannot stand and “hate” and will do everything in their power to maim and disavow credibility and integrity in the domains of knowledge-making and inquiry itself. Yes, my friends, this goes back to the “enemies of fearlessness” which I have argued all along soon after 1989.

I wish to write more of my own social philosophy of fearism, from FST and NCS, with its practical and theoretical threads, and in which the “Vision Quest” ‘fear’ vaccine is intended in these discussions to be revisited, extended, revised, as I have not given it the attention for some time. And in which I have come to see that my most recent work with Four Arrows (and the U of M Two-Eyed Seeing research team), is leading me to ask how it is that I can bring an Indigenizing lens (at least) to all of my conceptualizing, philosophizing, theorizing and practical work. Right off the top, is my interest to bring this to the ‘fear’ vaccines, and to an Indigenizing of the vision quest and a philosophy of fearism. The big debate that has to be worked through, not only in my own thinking, but so many others in and out of the Indigenous worlds, is how to define “Indigenizing” itself. That is what I think requires a lot of attention from me, at the least, before I proceed with the vision question and ‘fear’ vaccines. So, this is just a little ‘gem’ of my thoughts of late I wanted to share with you here at CSIIE for future inquiry and dialogues.  

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Whether you're a professional, semi-pro, or natural caregiver and helper (consultant, coach, friend, lover, etc.), there are some interesting things to be aware of if you want to develop a mature ("fearless") practice. This is a complex topic when it comes to the relationship of fear and fearlessness to ethics, and a book or two needs to be written some day on that. However, in the mean time, of practical matters, I did find a starting thread of wisdom from a pretty interesting practitioner/writer by the name of Cedar Barstow, in a very readable book Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics (A Resource for the Helping Professional) (2008, Many Realms Publishing, Boulder, CO). I was particularly pleased in finding this book on a shelf at a house I am currently staying in Courtenay, BC, where the author Barstow uses Ken Wilber's (integral theory) substantially for her model of ethical development. Very cool.

I picked one page from the book to share here (in extract adaptations) around the issue of "counter-transference" issues in helping relationships. The theory and research done on how clients react to helpers and how helpers then react to client's reactions is one of an important piece of understanding to gain and mastery to utilize effectively. I'll not elaborate on all that here unless you ask (also feel free to elaborate for all of us on the FMning if you wish in your own Comments). To say the least, there is an enormous interchange of visible and invisible affect between people in helping relationships and most of us in these has a lot to learn about that.

The issue of counter-transference (as driver and dynamic of perceptions, thoughts, and actions), I will add, is a topic I have researched for a long time going back to my dissertation years when I gave a paper at a conference on the topic and how researchers (of all kinds) also need to be aware of their counter-transference with certain topics under the research lens (of course, I was taking the example of researching "fear itself" as a subject). Again, I won't go into that here. 

So, Barstow (2008, p. 131; citing J. M. Watkin's work) interestingly outlines 6 major issues/problems/challenges in counter-transference processes, which she calls "patterns" (and I easily could call them all technically 'fear' patterns; Counselor's Fears, is another way of saying it simplistically) [bold added for emphasis other than the beginning of the sentences]: 

"(1) Being overprotective of client. A client can trigger the counselor's fears. The counselor steers the client away from areas that trigger the counselor's painful material [unhealed painful memories = 'fear' patterns]... [I used to call this the core of all co-dependency patterns that are unhealthy in relationships, that is, the agreed obvious or the yet discovered agreement made between two people (or more) that goes something like this: "I promise not to bring up your fears if you don't bring up mine." ]

(2) Treating clients in benign ways. The counselor has fears of the client's anger. To guard against this anger, the counselor creates superficiality ... [reduces to] friendly conversation"... [this is more or less, "fear of destructivity" - pain, loss, deconstruction, etc.]

(3) Rejection of clients. The counselor, seeing the client as needy and dependent, moves away, remains cools and aloof, and does notlet the client get too close" [this is more or less "fear of intimacy" as problem for the counselor; that is, not trusting themselves in the depths of the world of intimacy with anyone]

(4) Need for reinforcement and approval. The counselor needs to be reassured of their effectiveness. If the client is not getting better, the counselor has fears and self doubts." [this is more or less "fear of failure"]

(5) Seeing self in the client. The counselor [over-]identifies with the client to the point of losing objectivity. They may see in the client traits that the counselor dislikes in themself. A 'difficult' client [is labeled]..." [and often rejected or abandoned by the counselor, more or less subtlely] [this is more or less "fear of one's shadow" and/or another's shadow]

(6) Development of sexual or romantic feelings. The counselor can exploit the vulnerable position of the client, consciously or unconsciously." [this is more or less "fear of losing control" and becoming subordinated to the power of the client]

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For as useful as this awareness is, there is still a much larger context we need to bring into an integrally aware caregiving/helping practice-- it is not just about "me" and "them" (or "you" or "we") it is also about the "world" (all the contexts, systems, of which I and we operate) (especially, if one is a "cultural therapist" as I claim for myself)-- that's what Wilber calls the "It" of the triad with "I" and "We" perspectives. Okay, may this awareness bring forward more dialogue on the role of fear (and of course, dialectically, fearlessness) in helping practices. This is core foundational work in my experience, and those that avoid it (the above) are more or less caught in "fear of ethics" -- and that's a higher level problem isn't it?

I did note in scanning this entire book by Barstow that she uses "fear" sparingly throughout and does not use "fearlessness" at all. I always thought that any integral theory and developmental map/design of ethical development has to be based on fearlessness (i.e., more or less non-fear-based)--and likewise any helping/caring that is healthy in the long run. Of course, the practical world is one filled with people "helping" and "caring" and "loving" by means that are less than fearlessness. That is a serious problem to overcome, without condemning anyone for 'where they are at', in my view. 

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Durwin's Integral Working Out of Anxiety

  • I was interested in Durwin's "Introduction" of himself through a graphic expression of his passion, and real challenges in life. You can read his blog posting and comments to follow. I highly recommend this short read of his article he is discussing and excerpting with his "Introduction" diagram see link below (article title: Integral Inquiry for Anxiety: Approach Your Fear with Mindfulness, Creativity, and Courage")... this is a working counseling model he's developing and would like feedback. 

    https://medium.com/@durwinfoster/-8b63e0f31d68

    I have read his piece, and have lots of notes and revisions of the diagram I would suggest... this is based on both my long experience of working with people with so-called "anxiety disorder" and or we could just call it "Fear Problem" issues... which our entire society (world) has as well-- I won't go into my comments right now (but soon)... and I'm thinking it's a topic that could maybe go on a FORUM or DISCUSSION platform here on the ning (?)-- among other topics over time... 
    Note: There are a few people who have signed-up, that I know of, like Durwin, Cecile, Janet, Barbara and myself who have a background for many years in "integral theory" (often associated with the integral philosopher Ken Wilber, but not restricted to his work)... and, this may surface, as I suspect, more than a few times, and just to be sure... this is not an "in-clique" or "club" of experts or esoterica... all of us are interested in better understanding integral approaches (which is like holistic) and to engage with others who don't know much about it... we are all here to learn, as far as I can tell... so, let's ask questions, be curious and sure, read and learn more... but there's nothing like "applications" to make it more fun to explore the integral perspective and its capabilities and limitations... 

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