michel foucault (4)


Michel Foucault: "knowledge is power and social structure is constituted by power."

DeshSubba: "Knowledge is fear and any kind of structure is constituted by fear. Existence of fear precedes power."

-Desh Subba

Houses are essence of our fears and it stands on the mixture of cement, iron, sands and concrete etc. These essences are for protecting life and house. Strong materials are primary and boundary is secondary protection. 'Self' stands on the base of 'body self', and religion, culture, politics, tradition are protection of 'body self' as boundaries. 'Individual Self' is combination of body self and boundaries. 'Fearomenon' (fear and phenomenon or fear/phenomenon) is attached with it.  

The most invisible power is power of fear. Cat doesn't show power until he/she has options. Generous man doesn't show power until, he/she has options. Foucault's power theory's motive is a perspective of analyzing everyday life and history showing that knowledge/power tends to create fear and rule over individuals, families, societies and nations. Some are ‘in power’ to control or manage knowledge production and consumption. Same could be said of fear. Like other philosophers, typically, Foucault’s knowledge conception tends to veil fear beneath it—that is, it obscures more than it reveals, in terms of the fearomenon of existence. It is this latter substrate of existence where the real-power is.

Size (or quantum) of fear is like the (unconscious= 99%) hidden part of an ice berg. The conscious part above water level that is visible is about 1% quantum of the total size. Foucault focuses on 1% ‘Knowledge’ aspect and misses 99%--thus, his understanding of ‘Power’ related to both fear/knowledge is highly understated, and distortive. Fear is in a place of unconscious means in langue and power is in the place of conscious means in parole.

In the Fear System, fear is in the place of sun and other parts are in the revolving form of planets.

We can understand knowledge/power theory by parole and longue. Parole is power and longue is fear, means fear is important like heart and paroles are body parts. Forms of power are punishment, sovereign power, disciplinary power, surveillance, panopticon, law; prison and watchman are paroles of fear. In the Fear System, fear is in the place of sun and other parts are in the revolving form of planets. Fear has attraction gravity. Concept of surveillance is the watching—and fear motivates it. Some places we can see photo of two eyes. It means we are being watched by someone—watched by discourses of fear and the knowledge/power that accompanies it. Foucault ought to have better derived a unit of analysis for a critique of history as in fear/knowledge/power.As in institutions disciplining their ‘subjects’ we find the religious always circulating upon an eternal recurrence of fear of being watched by god. Fear of power(god) controls them to do sin.   

Amygdala is biological fear brain-center like epicenter. It generates amygdalary fear and makes a structure within the body. Fear existence precedes essence that is structure. Individual, society and nation are structured bodies of amygdalary fear generation. Family, government, judiciary, parliaments are examples. Every individual is structured and generated by amygdalary Fear System—as biological (Natural) foundation is re-appropriated for psychological (Cultural) architectures.Collective body is society and collective society is government. Collective body of society and government is nation. Direct fears are in conscious part(1% quantum) and indirect fears are in (the 99% quantum) unconscious parts of ice berg. Fear Studies are intended to look to the ‘below’ the ice berg and include the studies of direct, indirect and silent fears—which remained largely veiled for Foucault, but also most all philosophers.

Amygdala is biological fear brain-center like epicenter.

It generates amygdalary fear and makes a structure within the body.

                                                                                                                                            (The Lord Vishnu in Universal form)

Foucault's knowledge/power is like sandwich between fear and fearless. For individual; more fear blast in mind as mental problems but in society blast as revolt. His great contribution is fear management through his books. First monitors by supervisor (fear), later themselves (fearless).

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, as written in the Bible. I say knowledge is fear and god is a fear too. The details I’ve written in Philosophy of Fearism(2014). Game of knowledge is on the hand of religious and philosophical players. They are wrestling since the dawn of knowledge in the ring. Challenging and exercising question is coming to juxtaposing, that is death. To know death is it power, god or fear? How does fear of the Lord and power become the knowledge? We are as humanity in a great whirl of confusion.  Keeping aside these grand narrations of existence and history, we practically need to ask our self:are we right? Doctor said, "You are suffering from cancer." After knowing diagnosis, name of cancer then what we really feel power, god or fear? The dilemma is hovering in our mind. Who is telling the truth? It is very hard to attain clean philosophical solution because too much soot.

There is plenty of space to do contemporary discourse/criticism in power theory. I have chosen power and related matters because these are face to face core matter of fearism.

Key critic notes;

a. Physically fear starts from amygdala, which is first developed part among four parts of human brain. Amygdala is a primitive part; its main function is look after processing threats and modulating fear quantum. There is no special part in brain to look after power.

b. Amygdala generates amygdalary fear and amygdalary fear constructs structures of man, society and nation.

c. Source of power is existence of fear, it precedes essence,discipline, punishment, prison, control, Juridical and repress, resistance, apparatus, biopower, and ethic etc. USA has fear with enemies, then stores powers and bombs fear based on fear.

d. Power is primary dialectic of fear.

e. Civilization history starts from stone tools and civilization is history of fear struggle.

f. Consciousness- knowledge- social consciousness self (person like house)

g. Source of production is fear (termination, lose income, dark future etc.)not power.

h. Power remains until it creates fear. We have seen dictators, countries, Institutions, law and heads of institutions. People feared with them until they had power, when public stopped to fear they became powerless and collapse.

i. Relation of government, society run in circle of fear but family runs opposite pyramid of fear.

j. Power hierarchy is dominated by double fear hierarchy (i.e., Fear System).

k. Concept of Plato's 'Gyen Ring' was image for fear purpose.

l. Scientific, cultural, political, religious truths were established using fear. Hitler's truth, Roman Catholic's truth, gender truth, myth truth, Hindu truth, Muslim truths were established by fear. The sun revolves around the earth was religious truth. When Giordano Bruno said, "The earth revolves around the sun" he got execution for punishment(i.e., bringing out the hidden fear of knowledge in The Church). This punishment was not just showcase of execution; it was fear for them who dare to challenge Catholics.

When Giordano Bruno said, "The earth revolves around the sun"

he got execution for punishment

m. Does prison just keep prisoners at jail? No, it has more duties and responsibilities. It is for creating fear [not in excess] to all who are against the law. When every citizen is afraid of punishment, prison, law, then people enjoys happy, peace and success.

n. In many communities people not openly express sex, method of sex, enjoy of sex, effect of sex because of cultural, religious, traditional, legal fear. If fear is open, everybody enjoys talking and doing.

o. In the structuralism god, myth, will, desire, pleasure were decider for society, nation structure and reform etc. Myth, God, will. pleasure and desire were replaced by power theory of Foucault in post-structure. Silence fear has active role in decision making and truth making process. Many structures were made in keeping silence fear. Silence fear may require power or not, depends on situation. He said structure of society, nation is decided by power but I said from the lens of fearism, it is not decided by power it is decided by fear.

Some witness of fears first or power;

  1. Fear of animals, hunger first or tools, farming (production)
  2. Fear of die by nature first or live in cage, tunnel
  3. Fear of natural disaster first or worship of god.
  4. Fear of disease first or clinic
  5. Fear of violence, kill, and murder first or law, punishment, jail
  6. Fear of social problems first or government
  7. Amygdala comes first or other parts of brain

The god realm is the biggest realm in human life. The god is delivered by fear not by power. It proves that most of structure is decided by fear.

Do you know appearance of disease is like a light? When click a light switch on, light disperses everywhere in the room likewise when disease spread out in society, it disperses in insulin, medicine, doctors, treatment centers etc.

 External looks like power circle, internal circle is fear circle. Fear circle is heart circle. Power is based on fear, but fear is based on fear.

             This is a fear circle of family. Mother and child fear with father, child fear with father and mother. In this circle father's power is preserved in his traditional, physical, patriarchy, income and culture. When he became old and retired, no income, nobody fears with him. Child grows up, becomes strong and earns then, father starts fear with son. Same case is repeating again. Power is parasite and dependent upon fear. Fear depends on fear not in power.

 Every action of the human being is conducted by fear and existence of fear precedes essences. Fear of killing, murder, violence insists to law, court, and prison is fear and binary powers. So I put them as binary powers. Government/power of government, court/ power of court, police/power of police is simple examples of binary power. But it is not extended like fear. We cannot say power of sick, power of unconscious etc. because sick man and unconscious has no power.

Most cases binary power and binary fear goes side by side. Power of government means fearing power. Government's binary is power of government. Under it there is binary fear.  Practically we never use power of unconscious but we use fear of unconscious.  

Binary fear, I mean every position has fear even transgender e.g. transgender/fear of transgender, computer/fear of computer, life/fear of life, Happy/fear of happy but we cannot find binary power everywhere. Sick has binary that is fear of sick. During the time of sickness, to make binary power that is power of sick is unreasonable because we never use power of sick and it never happens. 

Lower caste, race, transgender, poor people, workers, colonized countries why they didn't exercise power because they were the place of using the power.North Korea experiments new long range missile in the sea. Powerless people were same as sea. Power theory is one side of coin, other side is avoided.

The fearologists are the thinkers of other side which is dominated by power. Monarchy, bourgeois, high class and the priest exercised power over powerless. Power cannot use to powerful, power doesn't measure in power, it is measure machine is fear. If people more fear, it means more powerful. Super power dominates power and power dominates powerless. If over throw them from power of monarchy, high post and make them powerless, then what happens? If they have no power/post, first they experience fear. Power is like jokes of commander Nadir and Hitler. It is a joke that Nadir was brave army commander in the history but he never let friends to put hands on his shoulder because he feared his friends may kill him. Hitler was brave too but he hid in the bunker because he feared to die. Under the braveness (bravado power) fear is hidden fact.

Foucault argues power can be additional, subtract and make zero-sum. Zero-sum is utopia of power theory. How can exercise in the person or institution which is in bankrupt? Lower caste, colonized, sick person how can, they exercise power? Power theory is not on behalf of marginal and dominated people. Fear is the one either powerful or powerless it can add, subtract and divide. For example a person is sinking on the debt. How can power exercise because he is powerless and fear-based person? He has a fear of 10000 dollars. How can calculation by power? It can calculate by fear. 10000 can divide to make piece fear (installment), can be subtract to minimize, and face with creditor.

Generally social welfare can be promoted by the best management of fear.

According to Foucault life is power-centered. How? One man was standing bare, naked 2.5 millions year ago. He was in center of grass land, bust, wind, rain, animals and reptiles. He had a fear of much kinds-killing, starvation, sick, nature etc. This fear motivated him to tend to use stone, hut, stick, hide and pray. Fear provokes to develop more advance apparatus. As a result; ancestors developed technologies and reach in our age. So, life is not power- centered it is fear-centered. Fear is the best mechanism to normalized life. When fears minimize and reach to fearless condition that is normalization. We can say fear-based normalized society is the historical outcome. Apparatus are the technology tools of fear-centered life.

Foucault's power types are many kinds. Function of all power has almost same meaning that is work around fear-centre. This center must be magnet for all surroundings.

Micro level hard to convince it lays like unconscious. How can we prove quantum of unconscious it is almost same. Macro level can be somewhere like weather reports, traffic signal etc. Highly educated person has more knowledge than uneducated. In the sense of employment being educated is power but in the sense of atom bomb; it is opposite because educated has more knowledge of atom bomb. In most cases knowledge doesn't make powerful, it makes more fearful. This conclusion is not the typical one in philosophies and commonsense because they conclude “knowledge” is the vaccine against fear.

Fearism uses fearist lens. Foucault looks at humanity with a power(ist) lens, like so many others. We must ask critical ontological questioner: the existence of power precedes fear, or existence of fear precedes power? We are in a philosophical fearcourse (analogous to discourse); we always look at front and back reasons. Source of power was fear struggle, when our ancestors were in nomadic condition; they had many fears-external and internal. Even today humanity has big fear struggle. Fear struggle is a new machine which builds, grinds handsome society and individual. Origination of fear goes back to first step of civilization, earlier than stone tool. Stone tool was first power invented by man over animals before birth of enemy. Later it was used to kill enemies. Basic need of power was fear of starvation, animals and enemies. Feudal system, industrial revolution, capitalism and communism are developed form of stone tools. One point is common in all ages and that is fear of hunger (the threat leading to dis-ease and death). Fear has diverse incarnations in different times. According to its needs it appears like incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. Sometimes it appears multi-hands octopus, sometimes multi-heads Narsinha (half man and half lion) and Vishvarupa (Universal form of Vishnu).

Under the fear it has many faculties. Fear births power and power birth fears. Fear is a mother of power and power births baby fears. Is it not only the case Sovereign power1757 tortures and execution of Robert-Francois Damiens who attempted to kill Louis XV? Is it not the case of disciplinary power of 1837 house of young prisoners in Paris ? Killing is the surface of fear; in womb it hides fear universe. Killings are paradigm of fears. In the Bible the Lord gives punishment to sinners and other people afraid to do sin. This is its own particular form of a systematic (fearology) psychology part.

Power of united workers in Marxism was to overthrow the bourgeois, power of Foucault was exercise throughout society, university, hospital, prison and school sectors. Field of fear is not limited, it is unlimited, in this sense. In fearism, fear is using fear in all living things.

I use this term 'death of fear' synonymous with terms of fearless.

Power theory cannot make fearless. It provokes more fear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good example of power is gun. Gun represents all powers (political, intellectual, money, discipline, rules etc.). First why do we keep gun? We keep gun because we fear somebody. Gun is our power. A targets to B. Gun is visible power, invisible power is fear. It has one visible target and multiple invisible targets. B must follow/order/discipline/law what A wants. If he not obeys, he will punish B. A has gun, he is powerful and B is fearful. If gun goes to B, B is powerful and A is fearful. If both are powerless, they are equal normalize. When balance of power goes to one side other side goes powerless (fear). Racial, communal, gender, religious, political, capital, colonialare using power and dominating (fear) other since thousands years. Power is like rolling stone which down from top to bottom. On the way it is suppressing, torturing, and killing powerless people.

I use this term 'death of fear' synonymous with terms of fearless. Power theory cannot make fearless. It provokes more fear.

Death of fear, we must ask, is it possible? Can death of fear be possible by power theory? No, it is impossible. Motive of power theory is to produce more fear and rule over innocent people and nations. It is against humanity. It can bring the curse of violence to humanity. Silent of fear has existed in society for million years. It is the mechanism to structure society and nation. Theory must be harmony and peace. Harmony and peace theory produces peace and happiness. At least, utopia of theory must follow towards peace and happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           (Narsingha Killing Hirnyakasyapu)

Theory of Derrida's under erasure can be applied in Fear Studies. Under the world war, war is erased, but it is fear that continues as remnant on the mind of people. We can add upper erase, it is before war. Before war there is war cloud. War cloud gives upper erase fear. Upper erase, erase and under erase, before war, being war and after war gives war fear. Under war erase fear goes long, but it depends how fearful war was. In these stages, where is the place of power?  

Sounds like alarm, siren and red color, warning, notice, threatening have silent fear. Sometime silent fear can appear in dangerous dog, high voltage, very steep edge, danger; some pictures of danger have silent fears too. We can see injurious to health, low fat, no sugar. Safety notice, items, accident, loss, fail, bad weather, heavy snow/rain also keeps silent fear. We have many safety precautions. Presence of silent fear is very silent. There are no such items to show silent of power. 

Fear can be applied to subjects and objects but power cannot.  We fear with Ebola. We are subjects here. We fear with Ebola. Ebola is object here. Again we fear with Ebola. How can power be applied here? We power with Ebola. wrong. Again we power with Ebola, wrong. Power cannot apply to subject and object. In Power as a subject sometimes use to threaten object.

(Octopus's main work is to protect master. )

Why do thinkers forget, Glaucon the older brother of Plato and founder of social contract? Glaucon discussed with Socrates regarding justice. He argued, "Every member of society has to follow principles and rules of society because it serves to maintain law and order in society. It keeps peace, security, happiness in society. Who doesn’t follow, he will be punished." Meantime he gave concept of Gyges Ring who has ring he doesn't fear of being caught. It was invisible ring.  It is myth for ubiquitous hidden fear—invisible 99% quantum in the Fear System.

This article is edited by Dr. R. Michael Fisher 








Read more…

'Philosophy of Fearism' Offers Treatment for Fear Patients

-an Interview with Desh Subba

 Desh Subba 

Some years back he wrote a novel 'Insult' that made him popular; he then brought out a non-fiction book 'Philosophy of Fearism.’ More than a decade later he is leader of the' Philosophy of Fearism' movement. Deepak Sapkota talks with Subba on the foundations of Fearism:

Deepak: You have written a book Philosophy of Fearism. You have said, world, earth, life and air of our breathing, and there is also fear; “everyone lives in fear.” Do you want to extend fear’s importance?

Desh: It is not my intention to extend fear. I didn't say live in fear. We are living in fear. I said live with the unveiling of the cover of fear. For those who are running breathless in fear, I told them to run with fearless breath. You can see businessmen, employees, in the name of progress and success, they are breathless in running. People of Nepal often rush like this. Abroad, also people are taking their breakfast and lunch while running in their cars. If they don't run at this modern speed they fear losing business, job and prestige. There is fear in our breathing air. If not fear why should we use mask? Fear comes together with consciousness and breath. We are doing many activities to save our breath. Fear is a giant.                                                                                                                                                     

Deepak: What is Fearism? Please tell us in simple language?

Desh: Fearism is a combination of life, consciousness, knowledge, fear and cognition. We always have fear of dying in starvation and disease. We have fear of accident, incident and some problems. To manage our life from these fears we are motivated to doing invention, construction, profession and employment. Philosophy of Fearism is a philosophical explanation of all these.

Deepak: You said, “Life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.” How it can be? Life is impossible without fear?

Desh: Among all, fear of starvation is the highest. Is there any meaning dying by courage? We are conducted by fear. To rescue, it conducts to work, when working, doing carefully otherwise can dismiss. This directs and controls us. That's why I said, “life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.”  In the life fear is everywhere.

Deepak: Fear can be the subject of thesis, study and research? How can it be 'ism'? People might say it is nonsense?

Desh: I never meant for 'ism' as some formula. I did not read it has length, width, height, area, volume, color and taste. Zero has 'ism'. Absurdly has 'ism'. You used insulted word; has air 'ism' too? Marx, Lenin and Mao has 'ism'. If we calculate in percentage, how many people have Marx, Lenin and Mao in their life?  How many percentages do you have? 7 billion people of earth, how many of them have? But fear is with everyone. Human to animal all has fear then cannot it be 'ism'? And how is it possible Marx, Lenin and Mao to be 'ism'? How strange is the game of words and beliefs? 7 billion people and animal have fear, how can it be nonsense? Logic of fear(ism) cannot be mere philosophy as baseless. It is empirical fact.

Deepak: What is the reason for a deep study of fear? What advantage for society?

Desh: All human beings live in fear. They are encircled by many fears. They feel it. They are living with the thorns of death, disease, damage, accident and problems. Because of fear they are terrified and doing killings. This forces me to do deep study. In this vast human disaster, I thought I can make a contribution toward something good being done? What are sources of their fear? What happens more or less due to fear? These kinds of thoughts were coming in my mind. I thought of the many accidents of the world. I came to the conclusion most all sources of many problems are fear. Since early civilization fear can be taken as negative but I asked how can it be made positive? Moral questions were in my mind. How to make comfort from it? Many questions were hovering inside me. Then fearism emerged as an idea. It is not negative as normal mass understand fear. The most positive things of life are due to fear. Balance of fear has leaded us to success. Life makes us happy and peaceful. Innovative parts of life are defined by fearism. 

Deepak: Fear is director of life, Universe, black hole of space, light, creator, seer, mystery, beauty, courage, super power, parent, law and god. End with God is fear. These are your many meanings of fear in your book. It looks very abstract isn't it?

Desh: It is not abstract, it is simple. It looks strange because nobody explained fear like this before, not from this perspective. Michel Foucault said, 'knowledge is power.' Doesn't it look strange too? Does to know about dying have power? Take the example of law, does not its main motive come from fear and create fear?  Nobody will follow law if it cannot create fear. Fear is a law, it is not abstract.

Deepak: After reading your book, readers may recognize they suffer from depression. Except fearful readers cannot see, listen and understand anything about fear. Is your book about creating fear?   

Desh: After reading philosophy of fearism, this does not take readers to depression but helps them to see they may be a fear patient. It helps to reduce depression, stress, and violence created by doubt and fear. It gives an idea of the source of depression, it offers reason and explanation and routes of fear so they can better manage fear.  

[Originally published in Friday entertainment paper March 27, 2015. It is sister news paper of second popular daily Nagrik news paper of Nepal. Interview was by sub-editor Deepak Sapkota. [Original in Nepalese, trans. to English by Desh Subba, editing for English, by R. Michael Fisher]

Read more…

During the writing of my largest and most complex book, The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21st Century (2010), I was aware that maybe I ought to first be writing an even larger and more complex book called The World's Fear Teachings. This latter book seemed to be the logical precursor to The World's Fearlessness Teachings. Right? You ought to know about how "fear" is being constructed as a concept and being reproduced in some forms of information and knowledge--passed on to others and generations to follow. Then once you have a big book to understand about "fear" in this sense, you could then better be able to use and understand the big book of how to cure the Fear Problem and it would naturally be something like The World's Fearlessness Teachings as the road to liberation.

Well, all logic of that aside, it turned out when I was contemplating writing a big book on my 25 years of research and experience studying fear and fearlessness, that I just couldn't make up my mind which book was first. I actually started some drafts of The World's Fear Teachings but then, it seemed too complex and would take many years to complete, as I envisioned it. So I stopped that project. And one day had a shamanic experience 'on the table' with a registered shaman (shawoman) in a therapeutic treatment session and then did my own self-shamanic journey to explore what I ought to do. I knew I wanted to summarize my work for the past 1/4 of a century. The dream-vision and my later logical rationale "pushed" me in the direction to first write the "fearlessness" stuff. I don't regret that move. I wanted to show the world that there is a Fearlessness Movement and Spirit that is always already there and ready to handle all the Fear that is going on and has ever been going on. All we had to do is know more about it, that "spirit of fearlessness" as our cura if and when we were ready to make the choice to utilize its guidance. This simple idea for that first big book more or less came down to the findings of all my research up to that point, in a nutshell, which formed a dictum in The World's Fearlessness Teachings, that is, "When fear arises, so then does fearlessness."

It was a short and sweet, optimistic note. Here was the dictum that I would offer to the world in the early part of the 21st century, and I was curious as hell to see how the world would respond. Guess what? It didn't. Well, not much. Pretty pathetic response. I knew it was a great dictum but why was it not taking hold?

This blogpost is not about this question of the value or lack of up-take of The World's Fearlessness Teachings, which apparently is not as positive and as inspiring as I thought it was. The blogpost here is about the companion volume I never wrote, but am thinking of again, and thinking particularly how to go about it so it will be more "fun" to write and not a multi-year slog out of scholarly pages that no one will want to read. So, I thought I had a really cool idea, and that's what I want to share, and get your feedback on as well. But first a quote, from the Foreword to my first big book on fearlessness:

"Fisher offers a vision.... And he wisely insists that because the terrible curriculum of fear has been implanted in us at every level of our being, it must be addressed in an integral, holistic manner that existentially transforms not only individuals but also their cultures. What Fisher offers us, at both the personal and collective level, are some preliminary theoretical ways and practical means to transcend the matrix of fear and step out (as is our birthright) onto the bright landscape of a teleological optimism--one that lies at the heart of Fisher's profound, and profoundly healing, educational vision."  -Dr. Clifford Mayes, Professor, Educational Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA (p. x).

That endorsement is right on what my project is about, but this morning I am thinking maybe this companion volume to The World's Fearlessness Teachings will be just what is needed for the populations of the world to "wake up" and really get on the bandwagon to undermine the 'Fear' Matrix controlling us. Here's my little (big) idea for the companion book. It's title would be The Fear Bible.

Now, a little background before I say what would be in this book, The Fear Bible. First, I have been listening to artist-psychoanalyst and matrixial theorist Bracha L. Ettinger for a few weeks now (with Barbara) and we are so impressed once again at what she offers in way of a critique. The video we watched last night is entitled "Subject, Trust, and Carriance" (on Youtube). She takes apart the Bible discourses in a brilliant analysis of the (mis-)translations from the ancient Hebrew to Roman language and English. She does this showing virtually all the ways the (mis-)translation in English removes systematically any divine-feminine (Woman) from the text where it is really important stuff, and the divine-masculine (Man) is inserted. I won't give details, watch the video.

Point being, her matrixial feminine critical psychoanalysis is a "ground" platform to critique all the ways the paranoidal masculine has infiltrated the Western world, and the Abrahamic religious and cultural traditions and language (i.e., Discourse). In my way of looking at all this I want to do the same analogous thing with the Western world (especially), and show how "reality" has been (mis-)translated to us through texts, traditions and what Michel Foucault, the great philosopher/historian, called big 'D' Discourse. Discourse is the term for all the ways that ideas, and more than just ideas, flow through a civilization or culture in forms of information and then knowledge and then reproductions (e.g., cultural artifacts, architectures, teachings, etc.) of that Discourse.

I see a Discourse of Fear, has been flooding humanity for a long time. We don't know fully how to even recognize this. I want to show that there is a Fear Bible that has been written but is not actually written down in one book like the Bible--and, that's the big problem because we cannot at least have one source to go to to find out how we are being conditioned into one hegemonic Discourse on "reality" that is fear-based (even though, the Bible, may say it is love-based). So, I would research and write the Fear Bible as the book that I believe captures all the ways (and discourses) that are hegemonic in determining how we thinking about "Fear" (again, analogous to how the Bible is the book that captures (most) all the ways we in the West thinking about "God"). Get it? 

Read more…

Rhetorical Ecology of Fear: New Scholarship

As the postmodern era of scholarship has recently opened debate and doubt about the nature and role of emotions, so also has been the case specifically with new postmodern scholarship on fear (what I prefer to call 'fear'). One recent example, worth checking out, is the edited volume Entertaining Fear: Rhetoric and the Political Economy of Social Control ed. by Catherine Chaput, M. J. Braun and Danika M. Brown (New York: Peter Lang, 2010). I had not seen this book until just a week ago and thought I ought to check it out. I only read the Preface and Introduction (by Chaput), and I must say this is great work going on regarding the way to conceive of rhetoric in a conceptualization Chaput calls a rhetorical "ecology of fear." Not having studied rhetoric and theory, this Introduction chapter is very technical, and theoretical and I was not able to follow it totally. It may take time to absorb through various re-readings.

I bought the book to add to my collection of new scholarship on 'fear' that takes it way beyond the psychology or philosophy of fear, and brings it into the intersectional dynamics of social, political and economic contexts and the way rhetorical situations and energies move--directly and most profoundly influenced by an "ecology of fear." This really interests me, although it is hard to get a handle on exactly what an "ecology of fear" is. There are other authors, from biology to cultural studies also using this phrase ecology of fear all with quite different meanings in some ways, and yet I am seeing some pattern that makes them all the same as well. So, hypothetically, and theoretically, the argument of Chaput et al., and my own thought, is that the best unit to understand 'fear' is by studying its ecology (and sub-ecologies). In other words, it is best we do not rely on studying fear "as an isolated event [or experience] rather than as a circulating energy" (p. 15). Let me cite Chaput some to give you a flavor of this ecological way she is attempting to create a discourse of understanding about fear for research and practical purposes (i.e., fear management/education):

"Global capitalism, as an extension of the past and an imagination of the future, relies on fear to pull us within its new modalities. Fear discourses [rhetorics] work in an paradoxical structure.... Although individuals certainly act on their own volition, their choices are powerfully proscribed by the rhetorical energy of fear.... What I am calling the rhetorical energy inherent in these discourses functions, according to theorists of fear, as a unbiquitous and apparently innocuous form of political and social control.... Unlike the visible repression of Orwell's watchful Big Brother, this form of social control occurs through the rhetorical energy circulating almost imperceptibly among many of the more open and free political and cultural sites of contemporary life.... this overdetermined rhetorical space of political economic reproduction [e.g., a campaign speech to preys on our worries] means that 'it is not necessary to make active or express threats in order to arouse fear; instead, fear can, and usually does, hover quietly about relationships [like a glue between them and the society's forms of social order] between the powerful and the powerless, subtly influencing everyday conduct without requiring much in the way of active intimidation' (Robin, 2004, p. 19).... [p. 14] the fear explicit in any one of these examples implicitly recalls the fear in the other spaces, and such [ecological] connections form the discursive undrepinnings of an overdetermined rhetorical ecology that sustains our current [conservative] political economic moment.... it is precisely this pervasive intangible quality that gives the rhetorical energy of fear its power.... Like ambient noises, fear resonates in the background of most contemporary experiences..." (pp. 20-21). 

What I make out of this way of imagining and using the conceptualization of a rhetorical ecology of fear, is that there has grown invisible 'channels' like grooves based on hyper-over-arousal of fear energy, circulating in these grooves (or veins) and each kind of experience that 'triggers' fear, then immediately lights up the entire grooved network of past and present and future imagined fears, and more fear energy is released from these sites in split second restimulations and accumulations but also in complex systems of constructing new ecological dynamics in which this rhetorical ecology of fear serves many things, of which global (predatory) capitalism is a major provider/host.

One almost has to talk about this organismically, and autopoietically, ecologically, as well as poetically, just to 'play' with ways to ensure we don't fall into an easy reductionism as fear is only in our brain, our self thought. No, an ecology of fear, especially via rhetorical discursive practices (many which don't seem fearful themselves per se or coming from someone afraid in any obvious way)-- takes on a 'life of its own' and thus 'fear' takes on a life of its own (a point Michel Foucault made about Discourses). 

There's an entire sub-field of study of the ecology of fear, in the larger sense, that I have long been a supporter of those naming this 'unit' and way of studying fear ('fear')... and, I am barely scratching the surface in this blog post... perhaps, as I read this new book by Chaput et al. more things will come clearer... and no doubt, more complex in how to understand fear ('fear') in our highly constructed rhetorical world today.

Read more…