philosophy of fearlessness (9)

Short Lecture on My Approach to Fear Study


You may want to check out my latest lecture:

where I talk about "Positiva" and "Negativa" approaches to study Fear and how that leads to the perspective that Fearology can bring, as well as a philosophy of fearlessness and a philosophy of fear. This lecture is in celebration of my new book "Philosophy of Fearism: A Primer" (Xlibris, 2022). There is more in this talk on the fearism notion and I read from the book as well. 


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Fisher's Four Paradigms: Human Condition

This Figure is my latest mapping of my own evolution of thought, philosophizing and theorizing about Love and Fear ... and, right to my latest version (Trialectic-Upgrade) which has emerged from my reading of Moreno's (1971/77) book (see my blog below). This has been 30 years of thinking critically about how to understand the "Human Condition" (and, concomitantly, how to understand "Human Nature" and "Human Potential"). I am convinced that without a good understanding of these relationships, there will be ineffective paradigms created for "managing" humankind and our future--especially, when we take into account the nature and role of Fear. Philosophy of Fearism (a la Subba) and Philosophy of Fearlessness (a la Fisher) and Philosophy of Fear (a la Eneyo etc.) ought to be very engaged with these four paradigms and/or adding more--around this deep search for understanding the primary forces of human meta-motivation. 

Of course, I am only giving you the barest skeletal diagrams here, as a small book could be written on describing the ontological details, rationale and potential applications  for each of these models and why they have evolved in my own thinking---and, I would argue they are each one an improvement upon the prior paradigm--a kind of evolutionary maturity is shown. For a general understanding of my own intellectual critique and evolution of the first 3 paradigms go to Fisher 2017 Radical Love.pdf" as it is an article published in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. 


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I recently found this image (as Halloween, or 'Day of the Dead' or Hallomas or Samhain) on the internet. The title was provocative and speaks to the concept of which this blog is all about: that is, the proposition (if not theory) that the basic core of the human condition is fear (or fear-based) (?)

The philosophy of fearlessness (Fisher) and philosophy of fearism (Subba) [1] is arguably a combination of supportive philosophies for the above claim. Others, like Eneyo who in part takes some aspects of the Fisher-Subba philosophies in his own "philosophy of fear" prefers to make the core of the human one of love, yet he agrees fear is also core but secondary [2]. The Fisher-Subba position is not opposed to Eneyo's claim but is more a nuanced branch of a philosophy of fear that situates understanding the human by focusing on fear over and above focusing on love [3].

My point of writing this very short blog is to say that there is still not an adequate (referenced) scholarly synthesis of important writing (philosophy and theory) on the proposition in the internet poster and/or in the authors' work mentioned above. There are fragments of support references for their claims but not yet the document that is needed to give scholarly credibility (at least, not as far as I am concerned).

I am of late beginning to see some critical thinkers in the early 1970s that I will be documenting their positions and arguments, theories, and works...coming from backgrounds in philosophy/anthropology/political science/theology... it is still too early for me to make my case for their support of the Fisher-Subba position re: fear is the core of the human condition and history itself is the unfolding of that human-fear relationship--as one of, if not the most powerful relationships on this planet (i.e., fearuality, fearological reality).

I'll keep you updated as this paper (booklet) I'm writing evolves.


1. Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris. Another young budding philosopher of this synthesis with his own nuances is Osinakachi Akuma Kalu (with his two books on fear in the last two years; e.g., The First Stage of the Fearologist. Amazon CreateSpace).

2. Eneyo, M. (2018). The philosophy of fear: A move to overcoming negative fear. Australia: Xlibris.

3. For a brief intro. discussion of Fisher and Subba on fear and love, see Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris (2016), p. xxxi. 




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To Join "The Movement" or not? 

Like any "movement" of consciousness and/or social change and transformation in history, there are philosophies behind them, if not ideologies, if not religions. There are going to be at times questioning of these "behind" the scenes forms and organizations and ideas and impulses--with their agendas. The general public or even serious thinkers and researchers will ask questions about this website called the "Fearlessness Movement." They will want to know "what it is" (really?)... and they want information so they can make up their mind what it is they may want to join or not to join. 

What I have done as the person who has coined "Fearlessness Movement" near a few decades ago, and the leader and philosopher that I am, who likes 'big missions' and even what looks like 'utopian' visions... that's nothing I try to hide... is that my work has been to keep "the Movement" that I care about as open as possible to as many kinds of people and thinkers as possible, globally, and across the lines of sacred and secular. That's a challenge, because people can be so quick to "judge" a website, a "group" that they perceive is involved and make their quick decision to become involved productively, or not, and/or to go so far as to make it the 'enemy.' [1]  

ABOUT US: Define "The Movement" (and, become involved in defining it)

I prefer to delineate a "Movement" for change and liberation not to define it or fix it...but maybe for some that is just me playing with words. Yet, the intention I have as one of the leaders in the study of fear on the planet, is to keep "the movement" open enough for people to participate in a way of critique and constructive revisioning... so that dogma does not set in, so that idolization and ideology cannot freeze up and enclose "the movement" definition and meanings. Of course, any delineation process, to make something different from something and to be able to label it and develop it, is an act (perceived and/or real) as one of differentiating and that can look like "exclusion" or a "clique" type of process. It may look like an esoteric group of elites who are "in" and get the power to play and control, while all others are "out" (more or less). Lots of those kinds of groups, cults and associations have occurred, as a history of social processes and the nature of groups and philosophies behind them. 

So, again, I am not against such specialized social change groups and movements that developed or continue to develop. It is a valid social form. And, I acknowledge that most everyone is deeply hurt by socialization and the "group" making process of in and out, acceptance and rejection dynamics. However, true as that injury is, and we are so sensitive to it as a social species (a tender carnivore as Paul Shepard once labeled our species), our task is not to react by default and reflex based on the past hurts and thus be in fear of being rejected either (as victims). Others overcome rejection by using domination and charisma and power to 'lead' others and so they get control (somewhat) of the rejection and aceeptance dynamics of groups they are involved in. 

I am not a big fan of joining any such ideological groups, religions, etc. I have never fully followed any one group, or movement or guru and so on, but I have drawn upon them (their better-side and offerings), and many of them, in my own 50+ years of learning consciously since being a teen, about humans and change and transformation, and how to make the world a better place.

So, my own version of "the movement" (or "Movement" as a simplified code word here that may be assumed or used explicitly).... is one that has taken an empirical and theoretical positioning to start with, and that goes back to the origins of my version of what I coined as the "Fearlessness Project" in 1989, then onward that became the "Fearlessness Movement" more recently, and with this website (ning) the Fearlessness Movement (2015) was located and made open to the public as a forum and online community. I recently wrote a few blogs (and a paper) "About Us" in referring to this movement and ning: 



I highly suggest all visitors and/or members of the FM ning read these two blogs, and read up on how I have delineated the "Fearlessness Movement" in a Wikipedia style writing with Desh Subba in our 2016 book [2]. Of course, sadly, too many and too often, people come upon my work or collegaues and quickly decide after reading very little of our work to reject it and quickly shy away from joining a "religion" in their minds, etc. I won't deny that when one leads a movement with a great mission, like "Fearlessness" for example, there is going to be a sense of a leader and big project that a lot of people don't feel comfortable with, and more or less like to operate as individuals and not as part of a group and do not want to be "controlled" or critiqued by a group. This latter "fear" (for the most part) is often never confronted or worked through by a lot of people, who keep "running" from groups of any kind, and ultimately are running from their own wounds from the past brought on by group dynamics. I am not saying that I understand all my critics and their motivations to leave, and/or reject "the movement"... I merely see, or sense, they haven't given it a good try to find out what it (we) are all about. So, let me clarify my delineation of "the movement" that the FM ning represents (if that is even the right term): 

The Movement (again, short-hand code) related to the FM ning, is very broad, because virtually anyone can come on and join the FM ning and say and teach what they want to about fear and fearlessness, etc. One doesn't have to agree, or be a follower of any of us who are FM ning members, or do they have to conform to my philosophy either just because I am the host/moderator and original creator of the FM ning. However, for the newcomer to "the movement" there are some obvious 'big players' already on the FM ning who write the most, publish books, and tend to take up a good deal of the 'air space' on the ning. From my point of view, just because of that involvement they have, and commitment, and being outspoken etc., does not mean they "run" the movement or the ning, and/or do they define what the study of fear and fearlessness has to be like or look like. Indeed, they, like myself will have bigger influence on the face-of-the ning, and the "Fearlessness Movement"--however, there is not a pre-determined set or domination of ideas that is or ought to be and others should only follow. All can be co-creators of the content and shaping of the Fearlessness Movement and the FM ning that is one of its manifestations. 

I delineate "the Movement" at this time, with three major components (branches) that appear on the FM ning [as distinct from, yet interrelated with the Fearlessness Movement per se] [3]:

1. Fisher's Philosophy of Fearlessness, 2. Desh Subba's Philosophy of Fearism and 3. Eneyo's Philosophy of Fear... as well Kalu has his own version and mixture of all of these three labeled brands of philosophy. 

The other some 60 people on the FM ning, besides the above guys, are (as far as I can tell) less participative as writers and less involved in creating their own philosophy (branch of the Fearlessness Movement). From my view, these 60 people are no less important or invited to be shapers (and/or followers and students)... than anyone else on the FM ning or those who are associated with the Fearlessness Movement who are not signed up as members on the FM ning. 

I trust this short bit of delineation on my part is helpful in some way. I encourage anyone, especially newcomers to "the Movement" to ask questions, to stay out of victim-mode if that is what happens as a knee jerk reaction to reading stuff here on the FM ning or by any of the philosophers I mentioned above. 

For philosophy of anything, to stay alive and vibrant and critically self-reflexive, there ought to be open-mindedness and invitation to all... and, I am not naive to think that "all" is actually a reality when it comes down to whom will be attracted and whom will be repulsed by "the Movement"-- people also create their own exclusion from something like a movement because they simply aren't interested and would rather spend their time elsewhere. In the end, I really don't care personally, if people join "the movement" or not. I merely love to communicate with all people about this work and movement. I'd love to see it grow, of course, and I am already well aware it may, or may not. History is rife with examples of philosophers and movements they promoted which came and went. Though, some have stuck around a long time. I would like this study of fear and all its branches of philosophies to become one of the formative forces that shape the future of this world in the 21st century and beyond... 


1. I wrote on the enemies of fearlessness itself, in Fisher, R. M. (1997). Defining the enemy of fearlessness. Technical Paper No. 6. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.  

2. See Chapter One "Fearology, Fearism, and the Fearlessness Movement" as the basic quick introduction to "the movement" being spoken about often by myself, or Desh Subba (as founder of philosophy of fearism). 

3. The Fearlessness Movement is a global historical movement, coined by Fisher, and includes many many movements with their own leaders and philosophies (e.g., A Course in Miracles, Gandhi's Satyagraha movement, etc.) whom are involved in some form of "teachings" that attempt to move the world from fear-based reality and politics etc. towards fearlessness (more or less). Again, see this summarized in Chapter One (end note 1) of Fisher and Subba (2016). 


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The First Stage of the Fearologist



Nigerian author Osinakachi Akuma Kalu has just published a new book: The First Stage Of The Fearologist (2017). He has been writing books within the Fearism genre in the past couple years. His last book was "Conquering the Beast Fear A Philosophical Cum Psychological Approach" (2016). This book is the first book looking at fear as philosophical aspect. His second book explores more aspects of fear.

These two books will be recognized tomorrow as a part of Philosophy of Fearism/Fearlessness/Fear Psychology/Fearlessness Movement. It is my understanding that he is a rising philosophical author from Africa already at age 24. We are a team of Philosophy of Fearism. I hope some more authors will join us in the future. He is one of the best nurturerers of Philosophy of Fearism in the world.

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Phenomenological Encounters at the Edge

I will describe below another interesting, albeit somewhat terrifying, experience psychologically that has been with me for the past 48 hrs. I am alright, just a little shaky and mostly exhausted.

I suspect, there are some potentially useful insights in these experiences for learning about fear and fearlessness. I see them as engagements or encounters with the "edge" --or, you might say, with the 'surprise' in one's life where the ontological and existential disruption of the rational and one's sense of normal identity is challenged. The first of these phenomenological inquiries I post here on theFM blog Oct. 12/17 Spontaneous Fear "Practicing" in the Unconscious. That may be a good article to read before this one. Note, all this work "practicing" fear at the edge is perhaps useful to Feariatry work.

I suggested in that first article that "fear" has more than a genetic (primal) and/or learned (conditioned) dynamic. The common rational view would be to stick with those two categories as they are empirically studied phenomena, of which psychology has well documented. As partial truth. I suggested the unconscious (via psychoanalysis) is also itself a dynamic field of fear/terror production amongst other things.

The typical rational psychologist, philosopher or thinker rarely penetrates the phenomenological depths of the fear experience--or what Kierkegaard so rightly labeled the exigencies of "fear and trembling" that go with being human in a world of 'surprises' and great emotional and felt explosions (including deep love for, and loss of, another). The mystics of all religions and beyond religions have often written about these disturbing experiences of altered states and/or some incursion of unconscious aspects into their 'normal' and/or 'spiritual' experiences. At times shaking or shattering their identities. At times, with the right conditions, the unconscious seems capable of causing one to simply lose it. 

In this blog I'll describe my fresh almost 'losing it' (at the edge) experience. Then I'll follow with some theorizing and philosophizing from a fearlessness perspective--and, keep in mind, that a philosophy of fearlessness is my long-term project of which you will want to know that it requires great vulnerability to practice, embody, live and be at times overwhelmed by because of extreme methodological procedures[1]. I'll return to that in the last part of the blog.  

The focus of my last 48 hrs is on somatic experience. But before I get to this, I want to contextualize this experience. My body was (is) 'breaking down' and that is part of a longer-term medical diagnosis recently in the past month of being told by doctors that my little symptom of "shortage of breath" at times is actually a very serious heart disease problem that finally is manifesting. I have genetically-based coronary heart disease. Most all my family members on my dad's side (males only) die of early heart disease and diabetes in their 50s or 60s and/or they get open heart surgery. My brother is a case in point. Apparently, now, I am one of those too.

It's understandable that this disease would eventually catch up to me and throw me for a loop. Again, nearly a month ago I was diagnosed and that came after many medical tests, all of which I cannot stand doing. I have a loathing (and fear) of medical systems for a lot of reasons. I don't like being out of control, and having to give up Authority to the system and establishment which has most all the power when it comes to physical illness and dysfunctions.

My doctors have told me that I am "lucky" to not have had a serious heart attack because I am "a heart attack waiting to happen." I now (apparently) have this medical (problematic) identity to live with--a medical institutional inscription based on something I cannot even see (except on an ECG or with fancy imaging technologies). This of course is a 'surprise' totally to me as I am quite a fit person who rarely goes to the doctor more than once a year for the basic medical examination. I'm a healthy self, body and somatically I love that experience of being relatively strong and fit. Of course, with age (now I'm 65) there is an increasing sense of physical vulnerability as things continue to wear out and/or at times not working so well in the body. I give all this information as context for my structuring of a self-ascribed (self-empowered narrative) to a 'normal' identity as the somatic level, or what could be called a somatocentric "self" (one of my multiple selves). 

It is amazing how the health of the body is foundational to a sense of ontological (psychological) well-being--at least, it has been for me. Now I am disabled. I take 5 medications daily or twice daily. I can never get away from my sickness by this practice. I want to resist it all. But I also live with my wife who cares about me. I have daughters and a grandson, etc. This sense of "healthy" identity is all now up in the air. So, my schedule is all thrown off--now, it is abnormal--and I have an image of myself at my end of life--and, at times I even contemplate choosing death and not having the open heart multiple bypass surgery. The tenuous of my existence, with the image of the heart with clogged arteries is with me now every moment as the medical technology showed me and doctors the disease of several arteries on my heart. I could be in the next second in pain with heart seizure because of shortage of blood to the heart muscles. I could be on the operating table which is in late January (though, I don't yet have a schedule for it) and die on the table in the institution. The post-op recovery time is horribly long and painful, from all accounts of others and what doctors are warning me. 

So, with this context of a barrage of fear-based messaging about my condition and my future--altering everything I know about myself rationally and somatically--I look fine, there is a shaking of ontological and self-identity going on now like I have not experienced ever before. So, then 48 hrs ago or so I got a cold. My wife's young friend Zoe had it when she visited us. Barbara then got it. Then I got it. Barbara had a rough time with the cold symptoms, but I really got hit by it all. Notice the sense of 'surprise' as being 'hit' that I could get this sick. I don't get colds very often, but I don't remember one like this with so much head pain and sinus swellings and weariness--the latter, all part of the drug cocktail I am on as well because of my heart condition. In particular, fear/terror (almost a subtle panic attack) came upon me during the day trying to sleep. Barbara was away working at the studio all day. I was coping with the horrible symptoms that totally dragged me down. I couldn't think or write and get work done on my computer. I tried sleeping because the night before I didn't sleep at all, maybe but a few minutes--the cold symptoms kept me awake and breathing was hard. Yet, then I started to get a fever as the old body tries to fight off the infection. I have not had a fever, with spells of hot flashes, like this for a very long time. 

I could not sleep again, and again and again. I'm exhausted. This really showed through in what I experienced as 'losing it' last night in bed, like a small child, my mind racing and disturbing thoughts, the whole set of changes of my normal routines, of lack of normal sleep and having to take all kinds of extra treatments that Barbara was giving me. I wasn't myself. And, I didn't know who I was as I laid in bed in the dark alone. Barbara was in the bathtub. I felt I was doing so many things for other people, and that included doctors. I was losing who I was, and I was panicking because of disorientation--ontological disruption and being overwhelmed by all the changes going on at the same time. Barbara and I are continually having to talk about medications, treatment, how to prepare for the operation and afterwards because it is a big burden on care-givers. I hate being a physical burden on anyone. I like being the helper not the helped. Or so it seems... these are the kinds of things that led to me having to tell Barbara "I'm scared." I rarely ever say that anytime in my life and not to my partner. 

I went through that needy feeling of dependency, of losing it (meaning, losing my full rational self-control)--of losing my mind, of the irrational and arational elements pouring over me--and, 'surprising' me to such an extent that I could go so low as to be so helpless or needing care from another to comfort me. It was very humbling. I didn't get much sleep again but I am able to write this blog. It is my therapy of trying to find some 'normalization' of what it is I like to do and who I think I am. I get to be the fearologist, the philosopher the rational person. At least, it is a semblance of such. But I think when I walk back into the dark bedroom alone today, and feel all the overwhelming changes of my identity and my body, and the threat of continually wondering is my heart going to seize in the next 5 weeks before the operation, oh, my it is not a pleasant thing to go into that dark with my vulnerable and exhausted body ... and, eventually, if I don't sleep my mind will (more or less) breakdown. I have been terrified on several occasions in my life by people having mental breakdowns (e.g., panic attacks, psychoses), including my love-ones. I know this experience well. I never thought I might be the one to go through such--though, I always knew it was possible. I feel "victimized" all around. Not that I want to feel that way. It is irrational, and arational, and it is from the unconscious and circumstances of multiple 'big' changes all at once. Fear (unconscious-based) emerges with and alongside many sources. 

So a philosophy of fearlessness, has always been a philosophy of vulnerability as true and authentic courage to live and breakdown and die--the latter, is happening all the time, but we keep that in denial and at bay and when we are young and healthy we sure don't think about it much. So, I am now both not young and not healthy. That's totally weird but it is a good chance to practice philosophy of fearlessness. I cannot rely on rational deduction or thinking to get me through. I know my body needs to heal through a lot of distress, and trauma, still... because I am convinced, as fearlessness says, that our worst fears are from old wounds that are often being triggered in the present by stressful circumstances. This painful reminder is our existential condition. Suffering exists. There is no relief. But fearlessness is also joy found in the midst of that suffering and fear/terror--even panic. I am learning from this all. I trust my experiences may help others. I have learned, as the philosophy of fearism also says, there is no need to try to escape from fear-- it is the foundation of everything. 

A philosophy of fearlessness thus would say that "fear" experience, phenomenologically, is essential to our human condition and it is a great way to grow and mature if we handle and manage fear well. Doing so by feeling in and through the depths of the vulnerable, the deconstruction of one self, the failure of one's skills, and finding many selves, and finding there is no "solid" self identity to depend on-- all these things are part n' parcel of developing what I call existential and emotional competency and humility. But such skills and meta-skills of competency to 'walk through' and 'fall through' and 'break down' are only built by dropping down into the out-of-control feelings and losing it! Even going crazy to some degree is real too. It doesn't have to be a clinical diagnosis (or identity) that psychiatry puts on it (on us) as the final meaning.

I wish in my life to follow this path and feel and experience what I do because it is this diversity of being in control and losing control that make for wisdom and compassion. I will admit, that I have been not well-balancing my skills in the domain of losing it. I've been too in control for too long. I have been the strong one for Barbara and others. I have been the leader and caregiver. And, now, I have to go through my own disability and needs to be taken care of. I have to realize I may get strong again, but not until after I have this operation and put my 'heart' and my 'life' literally in the hands of others--they are the experts, they are the powerful authorities. I have to let go. This latter quality is deeply ingrained in the mystical paths (universally) of what I call the path of fearlessness.

The rational philosophers tend to stay away from this messy interiority of life and experience, but the existentialists have been more the courageous explorers in that territory. Philosophy of fearlessness goes beyond what the existentialists have to offer, I believe, because there is a path and map of the soul's journey that goes with philosophy of fearlessness [2]. It is a developmental philosophy and requires we do our development work with credibility, with integrity, and mostly with vulnerability. How could I really trust a philosopher or philosophy that has not deeply gone into and through the fear/terror experiences of 'surprise' and losing it? 


1. The implicit argument is that 'authenticity' is the hallmark of this orientation to philosophy and psychological living experiences, and not just alone but in relationships. In my dissertation (2000-03) I totally immersed myself in studying the "culture of fear" phenomenon using an arts-based performative method called a/r/tography. The qualitative research method was also heuristic inquiry which demands one steep their entire lives in the study of their subject, which includes themselves and the co-mutual interactions going on. In the end, my dissertation was labeled by colleagues as "authentic" but was too disturbing or difficult to understand. I ended up labeling my methodology (i.e., practicing fearlessness) a "voluntary performative schizoidal praxis" (Fisher, 2008, p. 145). See Fisher, R. M. (with Quaye, S. J., and Pope, B.) (2008). "Fearless Leadership": R. Michael Fisher's story. In Four Arrows (Jacobs, D. T.) (2008). The authentic dissertation: Alternative ways of knowing, research, and representation (pp. 143-48). NY: Routledge.

2. I am referring to my map in Fisher (2010), p. 48. The traveling from stages of victim, to survivor, to warrior to lover. My wife Barbara and I have been discussing with this recent major turn of events (and life transition) that I now have to work more closely with her to find the way from my 'warrior' identity to 'lover.' It's rocking my boat. See Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. 

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If I was to label my own philosophy that has captured (in a good way) my life since 1989, it would be to call it a "fearlessness philosophy." Now, today, I was thinking of some differences, initially, that ought to be distinguished between fearlessness philosophy (FP) and a philosophy of fearlessness (PF) [1].

First, I went on the internet and searched for fearlessness philosophy and that combination of terms, putting fearlessness before philosophy and as the identifier and inscription for a particular kind of philosophy, and found it is only used once in a publication, and that is by myself in 2007 [1]. All the 'near' hits on Google search related are all my publications and a couple of other authors who have not used this combination exactly. At some point, I'll search PF and no doubt there will be more people using this, although still likely not that many. Also, to keep in mind, there are authors/philosophers (especially in the East) who are very interested in a PF (perhaps even FP) but they haven't yet decided to put those two terms together. Okay, enough of that detail.

Now, to get down to my initial distinction of FP and PF, of which I prefer the former for various reasons (see below). I too have used both combinations over the 27 years of my study and writing. I also have other publications, with FP in them but the internet wouldn't have picked it up and/or some of my work is not published properly per se. Okay, now to PF - this more common phrasing is best to be used to describe when philosophy is applied to the topic "fearlessness" just as any philosophical investigation could be applied to any topic, like, for e.g., the "Philosophy of the Matrix" (which does exist, that is, when The Matrix sci-fi film trilogy by The Wachowski Bros. came out 1999-2003). This arrangement of terms is predictable in that a philosopher could (and they have) study the film using all their philosophy tools, by which they do not for a moment ask reflectively (or rarely might they) "Are the tools of philosophy as a discipline adequate to study The Matrix?" It is precisely, if you are an academic philosopher (or really any other kind of 'philosopher' even an amateur), such a reflective questioning that ought to be part n' parcel of any philosophical inquiry. Philosophy if it is anything substantive and important, always begins with questions about the nature of the methodology of knowing, the knower's capabilities, etc. in bringing them to a research, that is, a philosophical question or topic. Another, point, is to say, there is also a "Matrix philosophy" overlapping somewhat with a philosophy of the Matrix, but they are not the same necessarily. Matrix philosophy (analogous with FP) is when philosophy itself is intricately changed from its disciplinary canon or normal way of conceiving it and its methodologies and knowledges--thus, in this latter combination there is more attention given to the impact that The Matrix (as topic, or subject, or object) itself has on the philosophical tools (and/or philosophers) applied to studying it.

Okay, FP, now begins to look substantively different if you get some of this analogy I just went through. Indeed, FP posits from the beginning that "fearlessness" is not only a topic of study for philosophy (which is a good idea), but the dialectical relationship of the two components "philosophy" and "fearlessness" are in an irrevocable interplay, an intimacy of exchange, whereby it is expected (and assumed) there will be transformational set of findings from the process of bringing these two together. Whereas, in PF, there is no such expectation but rather the expectation and/or goal is that philosophy will make fearlessness more clear and knowable and so on. Science also operates this way, on this methodological and paradigmatic assumption, as if we had a "science of fearlessness" then you see the same operating procedures, more or less, in terms of the assumptions of relations of the discipline applied to the "object" of analysis. Whereby, FP reverses this as well (i.e., both/and). FP says that you ought to have the observer of the fearlessness equally "observed" and interrogated by "fearlessness." I know that can sound a bit strange at first. But really it is at the crux of this distinction I am making that everything shifts into the dialectical and transformative way of knowing and results of the inquiry ought to reflect this dialectical dynamic. Simply, in FP, there is a much greater demand on philosophy to actually 'become' fearlessness simultaneously, more or less, as philosophy studies fearlessness. Make sense?

There is a lot more I could go into regarding these distinctions, but this will do for a short initial blog on the topic. I am amazed I haven't written this out clearly enough over all these years, and I really ought to do a full technical paper on this. Soon. And, as well, now, I am sort of starting to see why there is no one else (apparently) on the planet throughout history using the term FP. It requires very rigorous parameters and a critical transformative dialectical framework to the inquiry. One could write a dissertation on this problem, of How Do I Perform an Adequate Study or Discipline Called "Fearlessness Philosophy"(?). I'd love to do that doctoral research, but maybe someone younger than I is better to be the one doing it. Let me know if you do. 


1. This said, it is not a contradiction to my other claims to be working on and with the notion of a philosophy of fearism (a la Desh Subba). I am committed to both these strains of philosophy.


1. Fisher, R. M. (2007). Conceptualizing a fearlessness philosophy: Existential philosophy and a genealogy of fear management system-5. Technical Paper No. 23. Vancouver, BC: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.

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It has been an intense 10 mo. working on this new book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016, just published by Xlibris International). I have written a few prior times on this blog site about the book, and I just posted a photo and short write up as well. The following is going to be something more raw and fresh as I have been writing today about the 'birth' of this book, and how I see it is significant. I know everyone who encounters the book will make up their own mind about its significance. I hope you write me if you want to tell me and others what you think. This blog can be a location to document those conversations. 

So, the writing about the book here is from my journal, writing unedited, and spontaneous for the most part: 

On the simplest concrete level one merely sees an image of a book cover, Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue, and if they don't take time to dwell with it and better yet read it, they are going to likely be missing so much. It's a shame that will happen, inevitably, as I have known it to be the case with my other prior book, published 6 yrs ago (The World's Fearlessness Teachings). I wish I could be there to encourage everyone to dwell with this new book and see beyond the surfaces of words and images, and imagine deeper. It is troublesome I know for most to do so. Philosophy and fearism together as words, concepts, is a strange mix but then there is the purpose of the book, perhaps even stranger. 

The book is intended to outline (epistemologically) the necessity for a new kind of philosophy (practical and social) that human history has not seen before, and in that light it is so incredibly radical. For me, a lifer-kind-of accomplishment. I am most curious what it will do for the reader, layperson, academic, philosopher but that is all unknown at this point, other than the few folks who reviewed the ms before publication. It is going to be an odd book for me in that I am interpreting Desh Subba's work a lot (Philosophy of Fearism, 2014) and he comes from another culture and part of the world (the East, Nepal, and living in Hong Kong)... he's a poet, novelist, writes in Nepalese... and all these factors, now, bring his work as a philosopher of that 'strange' part of the world into my life and writing and thinking... philosophizing... and this book is the outcome of all that, including my original work on a philosophy of fearlessness. But, now I return to think about the reader of this book. I realize now, which I didn't realize before when writing it, that this book is not so much for the individual. It is for the World Soul, the collective-social-communal aspect of our psychic-soul reality. It is hard to say that. I didn't write that in the book itself. But it is there. 

Fear has never been treated at the center of a philosophy before, not anywhere near the extent as in this new book. It marks a new awareness and calling in the World Soul of which is mostly unconscious. It is important in that the time has arrived, as Subba and I have written for decades, to make fear this important. We are needing a new philosophy that recognizes this, and develops these ideas we present. We are in (as Subba says) an Extreme Fear Age historically, and collectively. That tells me of the 'pressure' that is building in the World Soul dimension. Feartalk is "ego-talk" and Fearlessnesstalk is "soul-talk"-- this book is all about the latter, and it is articulated, unbeknownst to most everyone, that it is crafted from a Fear Management System-7 (i.e., Integral). I also made sure this was the case in the gaze I brought to The World's Fearlessness Teachings book in 2010, and most everything I have written on the topic since 1989. But, most people will look to see what the book offers individually, and yet, that would mis-interpret the scale and register of the purpose of this book --for the World Soul. 

How could writing a book for the World Soul, make a difference globally, as we are on the cusp (as Subba says) of a Fearless Age? These and many more questions are lurking in the new book, even if we don't bring them to the surface for discussion. I guess, that's what I am most curious about in the next months and years ahead as this 'soul child' of a book enters into the world and energizes the World Soul-- and, in that, the soul of which everyone cannot tap from their individuality to their collective meshworking... gravity, history, geography, and all the psychophysical and emotional and philosophical threads are there--and like a web of eternal time and space, perhaps, I believe (or am only guessing)--this book will hold a weight in that net--across time and cultures, universally... and ... and... and... 

Words run out at this point... the World Soul does not operate on the Symbolic Code (the phallic lens)... and, now, it is all poetry, art, aesthetics... at least, for me and for those who may dwell with just the 'strange' combination and emphasis which this book brings forth now in human history (herstory)... 

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If you have browsed the photos I have put up, and go right to the beginning you'll see the book cover of Philosophy of Fearism and a photo of Desh Subba the Nepali writer who wrote the book, as he was photographed at Hong Kong University giving a talk on his book. Desh and I are sort of colleagues, online, and have not yet met or even skyped. We read each others' text and we mirror what each other is thinking and writing about so passionately. 

I won't go into "our" story about beginning a philosophy of fearism on this planet. Some of that story is in Desh's 2014 book Philosophy of Fearism and a few interviews are online, but more to say that the "best" collaboration (collection) of our thoughts on a philosophy of fearism are well underway in a new book we co-wrote (and I am doing the final formatting on). The title is: Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue. Hopefully, it will come out in 3-4 months from now or around X-mas time... we'll see. I mention the 'story' part of our collaboration because it is part of what leads me to confess in this blog my "embarrassing" feelings and thoughts now and then. 

First, what is most embarrassing is my coming to terms (after 26 yrs.) that I am reaching my goal as a (to be) recognized international expert on a philosophy of fear and fearlessness. Yes, my original goal was shaping up to be a founder of a philosophy of fearlessness, because that felt right and was an interesting philosophy and combination of words. But after engaging in inter-textual dialogue, and an integral dialectical (if not trialectical) dance with Mr. Subba, things started to change, and I was not alone, not the Westerner any more leading only--and something happened where in our new co-written book I am joining forces to be the 'other' founder of a philosophy of fearism. I am submitting to (defaulting to) by no force, but by privilege of having met Subba's work and commitment--a philosophy of fearism over a philosophy of fearlessness. Even though, in our new book I explain how this happened and also that I am keeping my own unique stream of thought and philosophy (i.e., fearlessness) under the one roof of fearism. 

It is important that "two became one," as we share in this new co-written book, a dialogue is profoundly influential in one's thinking, and life, and this is surely the case with us, or at least, I'll speak for myself here. I'm a bit surprised, and slightly embarrassed by it because of my close identification (as a teacher) of the philosophy of fearlessness and that's what all my friends, colleagues and students have known me as. It is a bit like changing a name. I know how hard it is, slightly embarrassing, for example when I changed from "Robert" to "Michael" in the late 1990s. 

But the other embarrassing thing is to put myself out there as a founder of a brand new philosophy (and "better" philosophy for understanding fear) on the planet and to then reflect on the problematic of that assertion when I am not a qualified philosopher (not professionally, not academically)--and, I'm even rather poorly educated in "philosophy" and the humanities period. It's embarrassing to say I have never completed a post-secondary philosophy course ever. I took a couple in undergrad and "flunked" or "quit" before it was too late to embarrass myself as how I was a lousy philosopher, by academic standards--at least, that was the case in the late 1970s, but sure, I am quite a different being today. 

Desh also is not a trained philosopher. We are more artists... as our new book will describe. So, I'll leave that confession, and end this blog with a fresh piece of rough writing from my journaling today that's related to the above and adds a really cool thought which I think could be a foundational "descriptor" (in part) of what this new philosophy of fearism (beyond existentialism, or any other "ism" philosophy to date) is at core: 

PHILOSOPHY OF FEARISM- fear is actually the predominant motivator of human behavior, individually and collectively--and, it has overwhelming been disregarded as such in any current philosophy available on the planet. It is this disregard that is 'killing us' fast and slowly. But, in the end, each will have to decide what relationship they want to a philosophy of fearism (should they be so exposed). It is the very existence (emergence today) of a philosophy of fearism that is the better relationship to investigate, beyond the habitual and common practice of evaluating our relationship to the nature and role of fear (for e.g.), or beyond investigating our fear(s) and even fear itself. The latter two forms of inquiry are, according to the philosophy of fearism (Subbaian, and Fisherian), inadequate, if not misdirected in their focus and project. Accounting for one's relationship to a philosophy of fearism ought to take precedent to the former approaches. To do so, will in part, bring more clarity, more freedom from fear, and a liberational praxis that will prevent any toxifying ideology of fearism from taking over a philosophy of fearism.  -RMF

[note: this descriptor is ripe for being cast out onto a Wikipedia entry if anyone is interested]

p.s. thanks to Al and Laura Santos for their house (Calgary, AB) and printer and supplies, and quiet time, for the month of April, 2015 when I wrote the bulk of material for this new book

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