philosophy (16)





Glad to announce this new book, initiated and led by B. Maria Kumar and most of his essays, and I respond to them. (Indra Publishing House, 2022)

I think readers will find us as two fearists in a creative exchange that was a lot of fun for me to be involved. One may even learn something new about the "human" from this book. 

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Bishwa Darpan

Monday, April 11, 2022

Interview With Desh Subba On Trans Philosophism


Trans Philosophism Is A Terminator

Desh Subba

Desh Subba was born in Nepal and lives in Hong Kong. He has been writing various books in 'Philosophy of Fearism'. His book 'Trans Philosophism' published in 2021. He is a founder of 'Philosophy of Fearism'. On its base, several books and articles have been written. Bishwa Raj Adhikari has interviewed him for Bishwa Darpan:

  1. May we start the interview with the introduction of your writings?

I am Desh Subba. I have written different genres of literature. Since 1999, I have been concentrating on the 'Philosophy of Fearism'. It took a long time to shape a philosophy. I researched; consulted with professors and studied to support it. It was hard to find a clear outline. In the beginning, Fearism was a matter of mocking concept because it was hard to accept as philosophy. No one thought and heard such Fear+ism before. As for them, fear was an average thought as others’ emotions. It was true in a sense. It was the reason that it became a joke. It was not happening to me only. Most of the philosophers faced such difficulties. In my experience, people learn a piece of philosophy. A piece of learning cannot complete the learning process. We cannot understand if we start from the middle. It is the same as watching a movie after one minute or starting to read a book from the 2nd page. When we miss the beginning, then we get lost somewhere. It is the trend of our academic research and study. Suppose, somebody read Marxism and said I know Marxism. At least to know Marxism needs to reach to Socrates and Plato because thesis, antithesis, and synthesis came from Meno and 'The Republic'. Once Meno asked Socrates,

Meno: "Can knowledge (virtue is written in Wikipedia) learn and teach?"

Socrates: "Cannot because it exists within us".

Meno: "How to draw it out?"

Socrates: "Through dialectic method."

He was talking about conceptual knowledge. Until the synthesis, dialect must continue.

Similarly, word communism first came from Plato. He used it in how to rule Athens. He said, "Ruler and warrior class are not permitted to keep the private property because if they acquire private property, they can be corrupted." He had a fear of corrupting the state. In a social measure, he preferred the communist system. We are playing a role like scholars of Socrates. After conversing with scholars, he said, "We do not know—neither the sophists, nor the orators, nor the artists, nor I—what the True, the Good, and the beautiful are. But there is this difference between us: although they believe they know something; whereas, I, if I know nothing, at least have no doubt about it."

  1. 'Philosophy of Fearism' is now widely read. Can you explain it in the simplest form? 

It is a philosophy as other philosophies. Its primary subject is fear. It looks at life and the world on its basis. It is my understanding; most of the influential philosophies have come from suffering, pain, pleasure, happiness, will, desire, etc. Fear was left behind, even some philosophers had given the place but it was negative, harmful, and secondary. We (fearists) are giving full focus on it. Its major quotes are "life is conducted, directed, and controlled by fear", and the "(Existence of) fear precedes essence". At present, politics, economics, education, healthcare, entertainment, and relation is conducted, directed, and controlled by fear of Covid—19. It is very practical. It is not negative; it is the most positive motivator. We see the fear of pandemic activated government, scientists, and medicines. If it was not spread, it would not require the invention of medicine, insulin and issue the laws. We are not doing it just for Corona, we did since early civilization. The bottom line of our invention, development, and construction is fear.

  1. 3. End of last year, your new book 'Trans Philosophism' was published. Can you say some words about it?

It is a metamorphosis of 'Philosophy of Fearism' in one sense and terminator in another sense.  By name, if we go through, it has four words Trans+Philo+sophy+ism=Trans Philosophism.  It argues that the later philosophies have to turn on 'Trans Philosophism' way. It has operated, refuted, criticized, and fearmorphosed (metamorphosed) the political theory of Thomas Hobbes, Communist Manifesto, Of Grammatology of Derrida, postmodernism, the subaltern studies, ecological crisis and Existentialism. 

  1. How can it be metamorphosis and terminator?

When the variant of philosophy comes that is a metamorphosis; if it strongly refutes and takes into an advanced level that is the terminator. Das Capital is an offspring of the Communist Manifesto. Several philosophies are in metamorphosis form. It is in Communism, Existentialism, modernism, postmodernism, etc. Some parts of Hegelian idealism (idea, or mind, or reason, spirit, or and Giest) is the metamorphosis of Purush and Prakriti of Sankhya philosophy. The spirit of Hegel and Purush of Sankhya has a common base; it has the potential to create matter. Similarly, the political theory of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau is a kind of metamorphosis because their first form is the state of nature. An animal is a living thing, so the same animal changes in different forms. An idea needs to change through philosophers. We cannot ignore the metamorphosis structure of the Communist Manifesto, Das Capital, Leninism, Maoism, and some other communists. If we see in the context of Nepal, there are plenty of metamorphosed offspring of communists. They are metamorphoses in the 'Trans Philosophism' terminology. 'Trans Philosophism' is a terminator because it terminates the previous meaning. In reality, fear is a terminator. It terminates other emotions. To look from a fearism point of view is fearmorphosis.

  1. How is the development of Philosophy of Fearism?

It is growing to the adolescence stage. It will grow into teenagers and adults. On its base, almost 20 books and lots of articles have been written. Trans Philosophism is among them. Dr. Bhawani Shankar Adhikari has applied it in his Ph.D. dissertation. It is a healthy symptom. In some books, I involved myself. Several universities have kept it in reference lists. Within 8 years, its progress is zeal.

  1. Do you have some words for readers?

It is my experience, if we want to learn philosophy, we must go back to 570 BC, and nevertheless, we miss the page. Around 600 BC is its beginning. As I said, reading from the 2nd page misguides our knowledge. 


Presented by: Bishwa Raj Adhikari

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Aesthetic Way of Expanding the Study of Fear


I've long been a believer that artists, and the aesthetic mode of thinking, feeling, acting (that is, the arational) is a more effective way to change our fixed and overly-conditioned ways of thinking about anything--especially "fear" itself. So, in the above 'play' I situate two major concepts, and phenomena, and now they sit within a 'taoist' model or philosophical system of thought and imagination. I wonder what new could be discovered if this re-mapping of both Taoist philosophy and the understanding of fear in general could be adopted--as a thought experiment. So, if any of you want to try and play with it. I'd love to see what you come up with. 


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What Kind of Philosopher Am I?


Early 1991, Morocco, N. Africa - R. Michael Fisher in contemplation. 

(photo by Barbara Bickel)

What Kind of Philosopher Am I?

I FOLLOW the trail(s) of words/concepts, like, fear, fearlessness--and, I end up in places to learn about it and have it change me, even if just a little. As cultural critic Sara Ahmed said in an interview, noting she is involved in philosophical inquiry and likes it, but it is questions and words/concepts that are her focus and guide--declaring herself not really a trained philosopher at all, nor motivated by philosophy in an academic disciplinary way:  "I’m interested in the world making nature of words and concepts, philosophy becomes one of the places I go...among others...". [1]

            Making of a Naturalist-Moral Philosopher (1952-  )

Life vs. Death, Good vs. Evil, have long intrigued me; since 1989 I found another way to express this great archetypal Battle of opposites, and situated it as Love vs. Fear. The latter, has been by far the most fruitful investigation. The ethical implications of how we are motivated by deep forces as humans truly is my passionate inquiry—it is what I bring to the field of Education.

Although some have called me so, I have never really labeled myself a “philosopher,” never mind a moral philosopher. Firstly, my thoughts about calling myself a “moral philosopher” (wanna be), is that I had a fundamentalist Christian family system informing from my dad’s side, and I was raised implicitly in a Judeo-Christian (Abrahamic) culture, with insidious religious roots in the Middle-East and its grand sacred myths of divine leaders and newly emergent religious doctrines. My entire K-12 education in public secular schooling, was in fact, not so secular and not free of a controlling religious power regime in Canada. I had to stand and say the Lord’s Prayer (from the Bible) since I was very young until junior high school.

Secondly, I think of my deep dive into the Environmental Movement, and graduating from high school when the first Earth Day was announced and celebrated on this planet. The 1960s-70s consciousness transformation and (r)evolution was in the background of my “growing up.” Yet, one other thought, not so obvious to me is always likely shaping my philosophy. It is WW-II and the rise and fall of the Third Reich (Nazi Germany)—the invasion of fascism in modern times—leading to the Holocaust and a devastating assault on modern assumptions of rationality and human decency. What has civilization to offer, if it could not prevent Nazism? Another Reign of Terror, as in the eras across history that show “progress” and “democracy” come with a heavy price—and, a lot of fear (terror). With my mom being an immigrant (war bride) from Belgium to Canada, and a survivor of Nazi occupation for over three years when she was in her teens, it is not surprising I have a penchant to become a moral philosopher. Yet, we shall see here in this section just what kind of philosopher that is, in my own customized version.

From some autobiographical sketching it is obvious that some of my family influences were significant in my upbringing. I talked of three ‘best’ teachers, my dad, my older brother and Nature. It seems obvious to me that informally I was very much a naturalist philosopher budding, from the earliest days of my child-play and experimenting on the prairie escarpment  of the Bow River valley, in Calgary, AB, Canada, of my most formative 2-8 years of life. I was a “nature boy” and grew to become a “nature lover.” With my love for and defense of the “Natural” world, it is not surprising that the first serious (mostly Western) philosophy I was attracted to in my spare-time, in my early-to-mid 20s, were biological philosophical writers (e.g., René Dubos, Lyall Watson, E. O. Wilson) and environmental/eco-philosophical writers (e.g., Albert Schweitzer, Arnie Naess, Gregory Bateson, Lynn White, Valerius Geist, etc.)—with roots in the American Transcendentalism philosophy stream (e.g. Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.)—and, then specifically, E. F. Schumacher’s (practical-economic) Buddhist philosophy. Other Eastern philosophers and spiritual teachers (e.g., Alan Watts, Chöygam Trungpa, Ken Wilber, etc.) all had their early influence as I turned 28 years of age and started my Education career track....

[extract of draft for a chapter in my new book in progress, The Fear Problematique: Role of Philosophy of Education in Speaking Truths to Powers in a Culture of Fear ].



1. From "Sara Ahmed: Dresher Conversations" (Mar. 20, 2018)


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Trans Philosophism Book Review


Review: Desh Subba's Trans Philosophism by Nicola Tenerelli ForPsiCom - University of Bari -

It is Desh Subba's essay, Trans Philosophism, published in 2021 by Xlibris, English language, is a study that could initially appear as a philosophy of history: "What is presented herein: public made law, rule, constitution, state, court, and government to direct, control and conduct the societies that they developed via theism, the theory of evolution, political theory, Marxism, and now Fearism. Lineage, tribe, caste, and nationality were constituted later. Now, we are living within its periphery. " (p. 47)

Desh Subba's work takes on particular interest because it offers thinkers an unprecedented reinterpretation of the history of philosophy, made by a Nepalese thinker who passionately digs to verify the cornerstones of Western thought, making them his own and reinterpreting them. It often happens that they ask me for an interpretative judgment; I point out that my philosophical training is linked to Western culture; my mind and I are damned tied to a logical structure, a mindset, inescapably Western. It is impossible to take a further logical position, although the strength of philosophical thought is expressed primarily if it translates into freedom, intellectual autonomy. In fact, the goal of philosophy is achieved when the mind takes on a further point of view, knowing full well that it cannot transcend itself and its own essentiality. The substratum of the mind is the rootedness it possesses in nature - time and place - a kind of Aristotelian power (δύναμις) which produces its otherness while remaining linked to its life. Reading Desh Subba's essay first of all invites us to discover what Trans Philosophism is.

                                                                                                                                                         Nicola Tenerelli

                                                                                                                                        Universita degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

With narrative wisdom and philosophical competence, the Author guides the reader in the unprecedented analysis of thinkers such as Hobbes and Marx, Sartre and Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida.

The hidden purpose of the mighty volume is to show the contemporary subject how to understand its complexity in order to become master of himself: this result can only be achieved by seeking the anfang of human action, understanding what is the fulcrum that moves human life. The philosopher manages to Trans philosophism (sic!) By deconstructing history, creating a genealogy of humanity: he will thus discover that the principle from which historical existence moves is fear; the Author can therefore state, paraphrasing Existentialism is a humanism: "It is new path for a new century - 'Trans Philosophism - (existence of) fear precedes essence'." (p. xvii) Using the method of exploration typical of philosophy, Desh Subba produces a re-proposition of Being in an existent key, moving from the moment immediately following the Sartrian being-thrown, and reconstructs the history of humanity that slowly evolves, interacted by the ontic thrust of fear. The production of structure - in the Marxian sense - has always been moved by the constitutive fear with which man must coexist; the eternal inner conflict of the fearful self generates the facts, determining history as a result of the struggle between fear and its overcoming. The transphilosophist understands that fear is the lever with which the human has produced History, but fear increasingly gives way to the spirituality of human beings, producing survival and growth, from the cave to the spaceship: "Fear existed along with the existence of human beings. It encouraged us for further progress. This is a reality hidden behind the motion of civilization and the cyber globe. Tomorrow it will reach space and the galaxy. It is still going on and human existence remains continuous. The globe goes back to the void along with the end of fear. We are born as complementary. We act in different parts till our tasks remain significant. It's like a dream in a play. Our roles end with the end of the play. "(p. 78) we are not faced with the Feuerbachian materialist vision, in which the concept of fear would be considered the anthropological principle according to which every activity can only be called human, even the existence of God. 9937719075?profile=RESIZE_400x

Desh Subba's Trans Philosophism intends to suggest a new path.

Although not mentioned in this demanding work, many of the principles of the New Science of Giambattista Vico echo, for which man must not delude himself into discovering the laws of nature, since this approach to the world would presuppose both the desire to be able to reconstruct it. Out of nowhere, let it be the arrogance of being able to discover the mystery of existence. Man can only know the only reality he has managed to produce, History, his history, but he must carry out this genealogical reconstruction by placing himself methodologically distant from the Western philosophical tradition: "[...] I utilize the basic reference from Viktor Afanasyev, Marxism Philosophy A Popular Outline. The origin of philosophy is the beginning of creation. It depends on how it has been narrated. A lot of philosophies have come into being while attempting to explore answers to questions. The planet we live in can be divided into material and spiritual. People with a material faith see everything material and the people with spiritual faith see everything spiritual. Yet, all theories developed to look at the world are incomplete. Similarly, the truth we believe in is typically mostly surficial. " (p. 62)

Desh Subba's wit invites reflection that takes into account the constant clash from which cultural achievements and changes, all forms of collectivism, life and relationships are born. The essay interprets the history of Western thought as the history of the contrast between materialism and spiritualism - Plato and Aristotle, which Raphael in the School of Athens depicts one pointing to the sky, the other to the earth -: this dichotomous vision must be overcome. To do this, the transphilosopher declares himself to be a Mateidealist, engaged in the simultaneous knowledge of his matter and his interiority, since both are part of the world, where everything is in everything, and in all things there is the intellect - The (things) that mix together and separate and disjoin, all the Intellect has known (Anaxagoras, DK 59 fr. 12) -. "Fearism is a Mateidealism. To understand, to make somebody understand and to feel frightened are related to Fearism. It originated in the ancient period. Socialism and capitalism remain meaningless unless each applies a theory of subsistence. So, philosophy should explore these issues to reach depth. We are working in a task force on the exploration and resolution of equivalent issues. It focuses on subsistence. " (p. 76)

Desh Subba's tension is all concentrated to demonstrate that there is inseparable unity between knowledge and life; understanding that everything is one - men and nature - represents the last form of awareness that can lead the subject back to greater moral solidity, being able to grasp being to free himself from fear: it is the attempt to reach the top of the mountain more unexplored to be able to look the other way, with the hope of freeing oneself from the torment of the unknown! "Why does it birth fear? And I found the nectar of fear in the mount Kumbhakarna Himal. There is a myth in my village, on the top of Kumbhakarna Himal, there is herbal plant of immortality. It is hard to climb and with a steep summit. Phoktanglungma (Phoktang means shoulder and lungma means Mountain) named in local Limbu Language. Originally it looks like one side of a broken soldier. Villagers maybe made the myth up because it is hard to climb. Many beautiful mountains of Nepal which are virgin are not open for climbing. I was looking for a metaphor of fear, and I found genesis of meaning. " (p. 423)

At the end of the reading of Trans Philosophism, agile thanks to clear writing, is it necessary to resist the usual Western temptation to deconstruct and decode Desh Subba's thought in order to attribute to it an ism - utopian? pantheist? -, making it immediately understandable, and then putting it aside. The Author's message is important with which he invites us to educate the intellectual capacity to understand a further project, because it is in the strength of human beings to be able to renew and grow, recognize themselves in others and overcome errors. The trans-philosopher Desh Subba suggests to human beings that the time has come to build a "fear-free-zone" (p. 438), a possible social place, a collective experience that makes history. The greatness of a man is to be a bridge and not a goal: in man, it is possible to love that he is a transition and a sunset (Prologue of Zarathustra, 4): only by getting rid of his own Icheit is it possible that every man learns to reduce at a minimum the ancestral coexisted fear to help create a more just and shared world.

Note: Originally it is written in the Italian Language. With the permission of the author Nicola Tenerelli, I have posted an English translation via Google, for English readers’. Original Italian text can be read at this link.

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Calling Philosophy From Fear to Fearlessness



The above excerpt is from first page of my latest book chapter in Ramala Sarma (Ed.) (2021) [1]. Sarma has put together an interesting mix (mostly Eastern writers) on philosophy and mind issues. I was pleased she asked me to contribute to this anthology. I recommend you check it out and if you want to read more of my chapter I can also post a few more excerpts, or you can order the book for my full essay.  

Book Reference: 

1. Fisher, R. Michael (2021), pp. 91-114.  In R. Sarma (Ed.) (2021). Understanding mind, consciousness and person. New Delhi, India: Rawat Prakashan. 



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John Dewey on Fear and Binaries


The eminent early 20th century
American philosopher John Dewey... 

In this above quote, he is on his grand project (to restore "experience" to philosophy)--to debunk all binaries, so it seems. E.g., Life vs. Education, is a good place to start that deconstruction.

Then he goes on, in a passage analogously, where he critiques those that derogate the "lower" aspects of reality (so-called) vs. the "higher" aspects of reality (so-called) that have become so common by the 20 th century in philosophy, and education philosophy and psychology. He wrote of these sensory aspects: 

"Since sense-organs with their connected apparatus are the means of participation [with reality, with Life, with living organisms], any and every derogation of them, whether practical or theoretical, is at once effect and cause of a narrowed and dulled life-experience. Oppositions [i.e., binaries] of mind and body, soul and matter, spirit and flesh all have their origin, fundamentally, in fear of what life may--bring forth. They are marks of contraction and withdrawal [i.e., fear-based]." (Dewey, 1934, pp. 22-3). 

This is not the only passage I have been reading from Dewey, in my recent study of his writing, where I am reading into and between the lines, and sometimes reading explicit calling out of fear in our knowledge and knowing systems--like it is a massive weight on us and life-forces, it is like he is speaking a language of fearlessness. I'll be writing a chapter on his philosophy (fearlessness) and education for my new book The Fear Problematique (2022)... more  to come. 

[NOTE: for another of my FM blogs on Dewey and fear and fearlessness go to:]



Dewey, J. (1934/2005). Art as Experience. Penguin Group.






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Glad to let you all know my new book with B. Maria Kumar is just published. I'll write more about it later.



The current dominating worldview and its paradigms of operations are unhealthy and unsustainable. Ecological, economic, political and psychological health are at stake. As experts in a philosophy of fearism, they apply a critical perspective on the dominant Fear Paradigm as root cause of the global crises in the 21st century. They offer a worldview shift via the Fearlessness Paradigm. This is a second major book on this topic, of which the first was Fisher?s The World?s Fearlessness Teachings (2010). This follow-up book is deep, punchy and provocative. It points to the failure of the world to understand the spirit of fearlessness that has existed from the beginning of Life some four billion years ago. The authors, from diverse backgrounds, point to the resistances that work against the recognition and development of the natural ?gift? of fearlessness and the design of a Fearlessness Paradigm, both which can counter the abuses of the Fear Paradigm. With extensive research and philosophical thought, the authors dialogue in a fresh imaginative way to help readers and leaders in all walks of life to better understand what resistances they may have to escaping from what Fisher calls the ?Fear? Matrix.

Resist to FLSSNSS brochure.pdf









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This is a screen shot of my Youtube teaching at one point in the 2nd video in a series on "Fear Education"

Based on several people (mostly men) sending me emails over the last year and prior, of their severe struggles with anxiety, depression and panic. Certainly, after a year of pandemic "lock down" and just where the world is going--it's a disturbing time for most anyone, IF we let ourselves really feel into reality. So, thought I could do a series of videos (maybe 1/wk) to give you specific coaching and teaching re: the path of fearlessness... and note, this is not a psychological approach so much as it is a philosophical approach... I talk a good deal about that distinction in the videos  -enjoy,  -M. 

p.s. the point also is that you may feel connected to something and someone during these rough times, and reach out and share your experiences, ask your questions, inquire with me and certain even better in co-inquire with the Fearlessness Movement ning community... check out the videos... you may Comment on my Youtube and/or here; I'll do my best to address and talk to everyone in some way... you also mail directly contact me via  r.michaelfisher [at]

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I just received a message from Pooja Soni, a young author on consciousness, who has spent many years writing a very intense philosophical treatise (new theory) examining consciousness, development and yes, looks also at fear where necessary, in order to articulate the 'shaping' effect of fear experiences. Book is available: Pooja wrote to me: 
"Here is a recent interview of mine describing my book -  [and here is a recent FearTalk #10 Soni & Fisher in conversation ]
The basic idea regarding emotions such as fear that I advocate in my book is that negative experiences or emotions are crucial for learning and development of an individual. 
Treating negative experiences in pessimistic terms exposes our obsessions regarding the idea of a perfect world, a world where you can control everything. 
Our fears and negative experiences define who we are as persons."
[Note: Pooja joined the FM ning years ago, and has a few posts which you can find if you do a Search in the upper right box on the FM ning home page] 
[see also a discussion Pooja and I had on their "Panexperientialist view of fear" on the FM ning a few years ago]
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I recently came across a paper by the Brazilian progressive critical educational philospher Walter O. Kohan (State University of Rio de Janeiro). The paper is called "Paulo Freire and Philosophy for Children: A Critical Dialogue" go to: Kohan2018_Article_PauloFreireAndPhilosophyForChi.pdf

He describes positively and critiques the "philosophy for children" (or P4C) movement [1] in education and philosophy that developed in the early 1970s (by Matthew Lipman et al.). He also brings Lipman's philosophy and pedagogy into distinct comparison with Paulo Freire's philosophy and critical pedagogy, where he concludes the former is too apolitical to be effectively emancipatory for children or society--while Freire offers so much more. Kohan goes even further to bring forth several other critiques, methodologies and critical perspectives to complement critical pedagogy (see below).

I'd suggest any of the philosophy of fearism scholars and practitioners take a good look at the P4C movement and Kohan's critique (along with others). Kohan's views are very similar to my own on several grounds and particularly his conviction (along with Freireans) that philosohizing with children is extremely important to their wholesome education and socialization process but that it is a relationship of 'peers'-- where teachers and learners co-create the unlearning and learning that will set them free (in my words, re-connect and correct their way along the path of fearlessness to liberation). Philosophizing with children is often done (via Lipman et al. and P4C) with the teacher(s) being in charge of the design of curriculum and delivery and with the emphasis on being 'neutral' as teachers and likewise the curriculum. From my view (and Kohan's) that is a faux neutrality (ideal) and not to do with what true education has always been about, which is a problematizing of everything including the economic-social-political order. At some point, every philosopher and educator has to decide what kind of society children live in (as curriculum context). Do we live in an oppressive society or not? The answer is rather obvious to me, as to Kohan, as to Freire. 

Role of Fear: Real vs. Ideal

My favorite part in the Kohan paper is when he is in dialogue with his mentor of his dissertation (Lipman himself). Kohan asks Lipman about the abuses of democracy and questioning capitalism in that relationship and how this topic has to be put on the table of philosophical inquiry with adults and children. Lipman says: "... in this country [USA] we are very confused. We respect the notion and the ideal of democracy but we are afraid to see it in its confrontation [relational context] with capitalism. There we just shrug and turn away, we don't want to talk about the fact that democracy and capitalism may be incompatible...". (Kohan, 2018, p. 625) [bold added for emphasis]

Kohan doesn't pick-up on the fear component that Lipman brings front and center, as I would have done so, from a fearanalysis viewpoint or a fearist lens. I agree with Lipman (as I am sure Kohan does here as well) that fear of critiquing the 'hand that feeds you' (i.e., Capitialism) in philosophical inquiry is typically such that philosophers and educators (educational philosophers) will shy away and talk about other things. The very basis of a philosophy of fearism (and method of dephilosophy of Desh Subba, [2]) is to make sure that when fear is involved in the construction of the ideas and realities of our texts and practices that we 'call out' the fear and name it and deal with it in some conscious and constructive (if not transformative) way rather than "just shrug and turn away" (as Lipman expresses). Note, even Lipman, in this interview, has no 'solution' to offer or re-frame the very problem of fear he raises and its power to 'dissociate' the real and the ideal in our societies and individual lives. It is disappointing the source leader of P4C comes up so short. The ethical importance of this ought not be overlooked.

My entire educational philosophy is pretty much now based on this dephilosophy (i.e., philosophy of fearism and/or fearlessness philosophy) I bring to all inquiry, philosophizing, and educational curriculum and pedagogy. My first principle of a fearlessness philosophy could be

(a) fearlessness at all cost is essential to the integrity and sustainability of Life (systems); and thus, fear ought not be used as an excuse to avoid/deny the Ideal(s) we hold dearly (sacredly); fear leading our lives tends to compromise the ideal for a real (via ideological realism-pragmatism) because the latter is functionally 'convenient,''comfortable' and 'conformist'

Other Means for Emancipatory Practices: New Rationalities

I'll close this article with the recommendations by Kohan (incomplete as they are) because they offer all of us involved in philosophy, and especially philosophy with children, other ways (beyond Freirean or Lipmanian P4C approaches) to emancipatory education. Kohan (2018, p. 625) wrote, 

... other paths to explore Freire's inspiration other than critical pedagogy. One is to follow the decolonial turn, opening, for example, a "mestiza rationality" [3] (Anzaldua 1999), one of the sensual body, "full of feelings, of emotions, of tastes" (Horton and Freire 1990:23). [4] [this alternative] It needs to be a rationality sensible to different forms of being of the "oppressed" (to use Freirean terms), which would also include LGBT, Indian [Indigenous], Black, and women and children: a rationality sensitive to contradiction and ambiguity. [5]

Various forms of "undoing of identity" (via queering), or feminisms, post-humanism, etc, are encouraged by Kohan and those authors he cites, as part of re-examining critically how we see the child and human nature itself. He calls for "deterritorial" approaches, deconstruction, etc. (part of postmodern philosohpies) to bring human and non-human into a closer relationship overall in valuation to resist the easy commodification and capitalization processes of oppression. Even different kinds of schools ought to be considered. And he then writes of how we ought to trouble the very notion of rational-linear "time" conceptualizations and the problem of only one notion of time that dominates a worldview and schooling and/or educational system. I particularly like this challenge and it is one that Luke Barnesmoore and I have brought forth in a few publications, because time-fear are very closely connected ontologically and need to be critically examined to set us free from fear-based worldviews in general [6]. 

In conclusion, Kohan argued well that philosophy and politics are not separate nor should be, they each contribute to an emancipatory project of which all authentic education (and philosophy) ought to strive for. Like Freire's notion, each educator (philosophy) and child ought to "build her own path" in how best to accomplish a wholesome education and critique of the status quo. That said, and I agree, there's essential need for firm and mature guidance in this building that we are as educators ethically responsible. The trick is to guide without imposing. I offer the path of fearlessness, I don't impose it, even when many through my decades of this work believe that I am imposing it. A similar criticism has been launched at Freirean critical pedagogy. Perhaps, the articulation of politics and philosophy on my part is just not sufficient or it is still incomplete--always a project in progress. I invite input and critique ongoing, as part of good dialogical learning and research. 

End Notes

1. Kohan sees himself part of the P4C movement in a cautious way, and told me he prefers PWC ("philosophy with children") as the articulating concept of this work.

2. E.g. See books and articles by Subba and Fisher (philosophy of fearism) and in particular his dephilosophy method--which, I call fearanalysis in my work. 

3. Usually this is translated in the literature as "mestiza consciousness"-- note, Kohan's mother tongue is Portuguese and this article has been translated into English.

4. I (and Barbara Bickel and others) would call this (in part) the arational domain.

5. What is being constructed by Kohan here is a pathway and/or 'container' of expansion beyond the fear-based egocentric and ethnocentric worldviews. It is a matured existential (and emotional) capacity he is calling for that moves from fear to fearlessness as its operative paradigm, beyond being oppressed by a dualism-centered philosophy in which fear breeds and predominatnly shapes everything. I believe Kohan would be better to bring in notions of transrationality at this point. That's a more complex nuanced discussion. You can see that fear however will be intimately involved in the rationality processes (alternatives) Kohan calls for (as do others)--but unfortunately, little do these theorists (including Kohan) adequately theorize fear/fearlessness in this expanding of worldview in their philosophies. 

6. For e.g., see Fisher, R. M., & Barnesmoore, L. (2018). Hierarchical security: Problem of fear of the eternal [Appendix 3]. In Fisher, R. M., Subba, D., & B. M. Kumar, Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues in applying the philosophy of fearism (pp. 125-48). Australia: Xlibris. 

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New Podcast Interview: Sotiris M. and RMF

The following 1 hr interview podcast hosted by Sotiris Makrygiannis takes listeners through a philosophical tour of R. Michael Fisher's work on fear, fearism, fearlessness.

Abstract: A casual discussion around the philosophy and epistemology of Fearism. Together with M. Fisher we covered his multiple books, ways to promote books and also a philosophical branch that is inspired by the Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Hope you enjoy a friendly chat turned into a podcast.  - S.M.

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"I'm very grim, and down and out," says Emeritus professor Cornel West in a recent interview. He was responding to Anderson Cooper's (CNN host) about the current Trump rally in the US and people chanting to "send her home" referring to a Congress Woman (of color). Indeed, West has long been a Left intellectual and anti-racist advocate and scholar and he is no doubt reflecting a mood many are feeling in the USA and a lot of the world that has strong racist-right-wing elements rising to power these days. 

Why doesn't Cornel West, this great liberation (populist, intellectual) leader of our times talk about "fearlessness"? [1]

Of course, relevant to the Fearlessness Movement, I ask myself if Cornel West is a proponent of "fearlessness" in his philosophy, his Christianity, his radical left Black activism? And, upon my preliminary searching I found, just like in his recent talk with Cooper, he barely mentions fear itself and when he does he usually is talking about angst and nihilism (as loss of hope and growth of meaninglessness) as a collective dis-ease in American society. Fear as a term is never usually mentioned more than 5 times in any of West's many books, and best sellers. I wonder why? And, in his recent talk with Cooper he will admit he is "down and out" in psychic temperament in relation to the rise of White Supremacism ideology in his country (again). He's old and tired, but he's not without a bit of spirit to fight. So, next after his grim response he says to Cooper and the audience that (paraphrasing) 'we must in this time especially have moral fortitude and courage' and that's what he and all the down-trodden people have always had when they are oppressed and the fight will continue until they find their victory and justice, no matter what happens in the meantime. 

"Moral courage" is the fav phrase in West's discourses, which has a long tradition (e.g., black liberation theology) in the justice movements of history. I see this as a particular fear management system (FMS-5 with some FMS-6)--and, it is basically modernist. It is about the individual (and society) under oppression fighting back and not letting fear of oppressors, nor internalized fear destroy you and your integrity and your will to keep fighting back, even if the odds are tremendously against you gaining much in the bigger political world. "Hope" is also his fav concept to accompany "moral courage." This is the basis of ethical philosophy behind West's popularity and stardom. He attracts great followings of people from the Left especially, and I'm noticing a lot of young men are really admiring West's character and intellectual prowess--and, see him as a hero in the nightmares of the times of post-truth bullshit that is invading most all of America day to day. The young men are scared as I see it, and rightfully so, and they are looking for leaders who speak to them and impress them as having the 'best' analysis. And, true, West is "brilliant" and "warm" and "sharp" at the mouth. He's very hip too! 

But my critique is that "moral courage" is not sufficient to deal with Fear's Empire, the 'Fear' Matrix of which America and the rest of the world is being swallowed up and coded into moment by moment. Moral courage, hope, and love, as the prophetic voice has always offered since ancient times, right up to the present modernist values and virtues of a Christian like West, are helpful, but not enough; from a fearlessness meta-psychological perspective, that is [2]. Listen to West (from his best selling book Race Matters (1993/2017):

"Being a hope is being in motion, on the move with body on the line, mind set on freedom, soul full of courage, and heart shot through with love. Being hope is foraging moral and spiritual fortitude.... being willing to live and die for the empowerment of the wretched [oppressed] of the earth." (p. xxiv) [3].

For three decades, I have advocated and argued, that if one trully penetrates into the nature and role of fear, across the spheres of Natural, Cultural and Spiritual realities, from a critical holistic-integral perspective--then, fearlessness will be understood like never before too. This new understanding of fear and fearlessness repositions many things from a moral and ethical and philosophical perspective--and, one major outcome is that when operating from Fearlessness there is no need to constantly boost "hope" and "love" and "empowerment" as does the modernist approach to activism and liberation. I am not dissing these modernist and even premodernist traditions of liberation, I am merely claiming they are largely out-dated and need a serious upgrade. And, that critique, no matter how much I publish and speak about it is still largely ignored by West, and so many of his contemporaries. 

As much as I so respect Cornel West as a leader today, it is disturbing he has not picked up on the great liberation traditions (at a minimum) and thus talked a lot more about fear and fearlessness. As I said, less than 5 pages in any of his books is on "fear" and when he talks about it usually it is rather thin and about "fears" --not seeing that the entire study of fearism-t (at the base of all oppression - ism diseases) requires so much more than moral courage, hope and love. It requires an incredibly systematic study of fear itself (and 'fear', as I argue)--it requires Fearlessness which is a meta-psychology (and philosophy) and methodological re-orientation that directs our gaze and analysis to something much deeper at-cause of our worst human behaviors, individually and collectively. Fear is not a factor, as West makes it out to and as that modernist discourse does as well. Talk about a "culture of fear," a "fear lens" a 'Fear' Matrix, etc., and then we'll realize we are up against an enormous power and complex of external and internal structures in everyday life that keep us "afraid" and, to then, even at times encourage us to thus be "courageous"--but, the latter encouragement actually supports us being more afraid so that we'll develop more courage--it's an ironical productive cycle of 'Fear' as oppression itself. That's not the kind of critical self-reflection you will find amongst the Left (or West) of their very notion of "moral courage" (and hope and love) and how they too are tainted already from the start when one lives in Fear's Empire. Everything is tainted with fear ('fear')--and that's what makes an oppressive society work so well (said, in sarcasm). So, no, I am not big advocate for "courage" alone as a fear management system (discourse) that will get us very far with liberation on the scale and with the depth I am talking and theorizing about. 

Unfortunately, I have learned that people don't want to do the work of discovering Fearlessness in this meta-context I propose and teach about. I am no celebrity, like a West, and likely never will be, but I will live and die attempting to show people we can do better than "moral courage" discourses and actions--even if, I admit, those may be better than nothing--but I will argue, they are going to be 'too little too late' unfortunately. That's a larger conversation, I'm always glad to engage with you all. 


1. I have tried email contacting him and sharing with him my work but to no avail, he typically doesn't respond or engage the work. Only once did I find in several of his books one reference where he used "fearlessness" (per se), and that was in his talking about his appreciation of the "New Black Panther Party.... they have a certain fearlessness like Malcom [X]" (West & Buschendorf, 2014, n.p.). But West doesn't define the term. See West, C., & Buschendorf, C. (2014). Black prophetic fire. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. See also my criticism of American pragmatist philosophy (Fisher, 2015) in general and its domination of American ideas, culture and society, of which I find Cornel West is susceptible to in his discourse (and ideology): Fisher, R. M. (2015). What is the West’s problem with fearlessness? Technical Paper No. 53. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

2. I am currently writing a new book "A Fearlessness Meta-psychology" for the 21st century. See also my Fisher, R. M. (2019). Fearlessness psychology: An introduction. Technical Paper No. 79. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.  

3. West, C. (2017). Race matters, 25th anniversary. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. 

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          (Socrates seems to have spent most of his time in the agora, or marketplace, discussing all sorts of things.)                        

An interview conducted by a Nepalese journalist, Raj Sargam of the Nepal Time Magazine with Desh Subba, the founder of Fearism Movement.

Date: 1st September 2018,

Trans. by Desh Subba

Edited by Michael Bassey Eneyo 

Socrates ran Agora school [teaching in the market places].

Plato ran academy, while Aristotle ran Lyceum.

Philosophers from France and Germany ran schools in tea and coffee houses. 

Desh Subba is a poet, novelist and a philosopher from Nepal. He has been working on the development of "Philosophy of Fearism" for some years now. "The Tribesmen's Journey to Fearlessness" is his first Fearism-based novel. He is on the course of introducing Fearism [philosophy] through poem, drama and epic. In the interview published in Nepal Time Magazine, Raj Sargam began the interview by asking Desh Subba how Fearism as a school of thought can handle the problem of fear which seems to be fundamental to every life. Below is the interview. 

Raj: I know it is true that everybody has one kind of fear or the other. I equally believe that the young generations are suffering from depression. How does Fearism handle such problems?

Desh: Fear is natural to human beings. No matter our level of exposure, we cannot completely eliminate fear. Fearism as a movement is focusing on how human beings can understand fear more insightfully, how fear can be controlled, managed and applied for the good of human beings. We have read classical philosophies regarding states, citizens, capitalism, struggles, happiness and pleasure. If we should get to the root of all these philosophies, we will see that none of them has really emphasised on the importance of fear. We can take example from the "Ring of Gyges" mentioned in the Republic of Plato. This mythical and magical ring saves people from fear of being caught and punished when they do something wrong. But even at that, nobody actually acknowledged the importance or the role fear in the affairs of human beings. 

The entire world and its life can be looked at with the eyes of fear [Fearism lens]. It is not only the new generations that are suffering from fear; our ancestors were also suffering from it. Invention of stone weapons, dwelling in the cage and the worship of nature were parts of the witnesses to the influence of fear in the ancient period. We are in continuation of the same fearful influence. But today, it is manifesting in the mask of modernism. 

I have said elsewhere that each era is an era of extreme fear, because each era carries its optimum level of knowledge, rationality and invention which are motivated by fear. The difference between the past and the present level of fear is shown in different ways through which human beings have adopted in the attempts to better their lives. The ancient period was not such a competitive and a corporate society as it is today. In our present generation, we have witnessed so many competitions: among students, in the areas of sports, employment, acquisition of wealth, among peers, family members, colleagues in the office, market men/women, etc. There’re so much depressions today. Depression begins anytime we fail to achieve any of our expectations. When this is the case, all the experiences during these periods increase our fears. 

But then, depression is not limited to the scope of depression, it expands beyond. It creates more hazardous situations. I know people often mention sources of hazardous situations, but nobody seems to have mentioned fear as part of it. This may have been predicated on the fact that we didn’t have theory that can explain the workings of fear. After the development of Fearism Movement, Fearism traditions began to spring up. One of the Fearism dictums says: "Don't keep fear of competition an irrelevant prestige." Avoidance of unnecessary competition, desire and interest keep us safe from depression and mental sickness. So Fearism provide the methods that can help human beings handle the challenges of fear and depression. 

Raj: You are trying to establish Fearism with the help of Fearism Study Centre. What will be the role of Fearism activities in Nepalese’s literature?

Desh: In any serious philosophical movement, there is always a tradition of schooling. Socrates ran Agora school [teaching in the market places]. Plato ran academy, while Aristotle ran Lyceum. Philosophers from France and Germany ran schools in tea and coffee houses. 

When a person becomes famous in his philosophy, such philosophy will certainly convert into school. It is my belief that to establish Fearism, we need a school [i.e. we need fear education] and Fearism Study Centre is our school. 

Fearism Study Centre is not only domiciling in Nepal, it will soon kick start in Nigeria. It is going to be run by Nigerian philosopher Osinakachi Akuma Kalu and his friends Michael Eneyo, Augustus Chukwu and others who have shown commitment in Fearism Movement. It is still in its starting phase, it would be extended to other countries as time goes on. At present, R. Michael Fisher has founded The Fearology Institute in Canada which is an integral part of Fearism.

Nepalese’s literature is traditionally divided into group(ism) and not into the formal method of schooling. The formal pattern of schooling gives more knowledge. My ambition has been to take Fearism beyond the Nepalese’s traditional literary circle and that ambition is already yielding positive result as you can see. 

Raj: In following Fearism as your new discovered paradigm, are you not missing poem and novel writings?

Desh: yes! At the surface, I missed them, but in a more critical look, I am still doing them under Fearism [though in a subtle manner]. Literature has multiple genres, but Philosophy is above all literary genres. Story, poem, essay and epic cannot sustain for a long time if they are not rooted in a given philosophy. Writing or any form of theory can only be sustained if it is rooted in a strong philosophy. I have potentialities of many writing genres. But in the face of philosophy, other genres are dimmed. If one man has many genres, he will likely be addressed by the one he is noted to doing better and not by all the genres. Jean Paul Sartre had many writings, but people addressed him as a Philosopher. 

Raj: You used to say Fearism is isolated philosophy. How do you mean and to what extent is the influence of Fearism apart from in Nepal?

Desh: Actually, I don't have deeper understanding of this saying of Nepalese believers: "Dark underneath the lamp." Fearism to me is isolated philosophy in Nepal because we do not really have many philosophers here working to develop contemporary philosophies. Fearism Movement goes beyond our home philosophy which is embedded in our culture.  We often talked about culture at home, but our literature and philosophy are not separated from our culture. This makes it somewhat difficult to say that we have a philosophy of our own. It is not right to expect a highly philosophical culture in those countries where the culture of doing philosophy is not developed. 

Professors are in competition to be the first follower of western philosophy.

 They dream to be the first followers and never dreaming to be leaders of new ideas or philosophy.

Here in Nepal, we have less leading characters; we only have people with the mentality of wanting to be good followers. Professors are in competition to be the first follower of western philosophy.  They dream to be the first followers and never dreaming to be leaders of new ideas or philosophy. This is the reason I said Fearism is in far distance among professors and students of Nepal. 

Edward Said had opined: "Westerns have a capacity to define eastern." We imbibe the culture of followership; we follow the culture of the west. When they say, “You are stupid and arrogance” we nod our heads and answer 'yes'. This is a kind of slave mentality. Easterners have the habit of being happy in Western definitions to things. It is exclusively implemented in the philosophical minds of most Nepalese. This tendency discourages and disqualifies us from aspiring for leadership position in the global community. Today, Fearism is gradually becoming popular in some states of India and in Nigeria. These countries are trying to develop a culture of original definitions to life. This is the reason we can see many Nigerian Philosophers coming up with original ideas to the study of fear. 

Raj: There is increase of the numbers of murder, violence and rape in the society now. Can Philosophy of Fearism give explanation to this or not?

Desh: Violence, murder and war are caused by fear. Very rare may be resulted from other reasons, but fear is mostly the reason. After the murder comes more fear. The one that kills become afraid of the likely consequence of his action. Sometimes the impact of it extends like Pyramid and sometimes like rectangle. If somebody has fear of being killed by someone, and he decided to kill the person in order to eliminate his fear and become fearless. After killing the supposed source of fear [the person], he will discover that killing is never elimination of fear, rather, it ushered us into another domain of fear-the fear of the punishment for killing by the family and the society as stipulated by law. 

There are many of such people in the society. Thug, corruptor, liar, killer, raper, murderer and dishonest always feel the presence of surveillance cameras everywhere they go even when there is no such thing. The impact of fear depends on the gravity of the offence. Those who commit grievous sin always forget taste of food and sleep. They have the illusion of somebody following or talking about them. A particular fear can expand and become as big as the black sky. 

In Nepal and India, the numbers of murder and violence cases are increasing by the day. Less fear of law is the reason of it. In most cases, either the leaders are involved in the breaking of the law or they provide protection for those who break the law. Even the states seem not to adhere to the dictum of the law; this definitely increases murder, rape and violence cases in the land. 

This state of lawlessness depicts Thomas Hobbes’ State of Nature; where life was brutal, nasty and short. This is a kind of "Modern Wild Kingdom" where law is no longer regarded as a guide. This is the main problem I have seen about South Asia and Africa in recent times. When a given country or an individual begins to fear and have respect for law that is when a state can be said to be a lawful state. Then violence, murder and rape are likely to be swiped from such a state.


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The following article, just published in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy (2017), I wrote as a critique of "radical love" (a la Paulo Freire) in critical pedagogy. It is entitled: "Radical Love: Is It Radical Enough?".

I introduce the dualistic (and sometimes) dialectical theory of Love vs. Fear and how Fearlessness is essential to the dialectic (even a trialectic) to make it effective in the current meta-context of the "culture of fear." Hope you enjoy it, and feel free to send me any comments [r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail [dot] com.


In near 2 years since my article was published, no one has made a peep about it. Which is too bad, I'm not impressed with critical pedagogues in that sense of being so silent. Anyways, one of my colleagues from my UBC days, a bright younger scholar, Dr. Kent denHeyer, Prof. of Education, at UofA in Edmonton, responded having recently read my article in IJCP (2017). He wrote me, 

"i liked very much your review of radical love. i think you are correct that without a critical examination of the dyad [Love and Fear] as you identify, we are working with one leg."
Mar. 11/19
[years later, another comment from a philosophical colleague:] 

Michael, there are two critical points for me in your text, they might seem obvious to you: first the opposition love-fear; is fear the opposite of love? I doubt. Of course it is one of them and I understand that in your framework it should be and it is but I think by privileging fear your leave aside so many other important dimensions; the second is that every time when someone says about anything  something like "it should be treated this way" thinking suffers... it might be fearanalysis or whatever... of course in this case it is only needed accepting and following your assumptions but many other roads might be walked so I prefer to stay aside when someone says "you cannot approach this issue if you do not take this road"... just two maybe superficial comments and sorry I will not be able to follow this discussion...

regards, WK Feb. 10/21

Dear WK, 

Your cautionary taken. Appreciated. Perhaps another time when you have space, we can go further. Just to be clear, a careful reading of my thesis will show "privileging fear" is NOT what my work is about period! I construct a systematic Fearlessness Paradigm (a whole other ball game)... 



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