I think one of the better teaching videos, with giving my background on how I make meaning of politics distinct from the political sphere is "The Great Citizen: Future Process Politics & Learning" from several months ago. I talk about my reasons for studying 'stars' like Michael Moore, Jordan Peterson, Marianne Williamson as a few popular culture examples. This seems to be my new research and writing--with my latest book manuscript currently under review as a study of the 2020 Democratic hopeful Marianne Williamson--a 'great citizen' in my mind and a teacher who can guide many to becoming such. And, yes, I am critical too.
Climate crisis as part of an amoral economic system is part of Marianne Williamson's presidential campaign to tell the American people the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The question is, will the people be able to handle the truth? Fear can play it's own game of denial and forget, suppression and repression, and unfortunately I predict more and more people will carry on as 'business as usual.' Meanwhile, things will only get worse--and, deep below the surface of suppression and repression--eventually, more and more people will be overcome by the unconscious and collective fear/terror that's inevitable. Williamson teaches Love over Fear, Love as the solution to Fear-- and, so, you'd think perhaps a lot more people would 'rise up' and join her Revolution to transform America and the future. She will not be able to do it alone.
See my series of two videos on Williamson ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDlATRUYLM
Dr. Jinmin Lee was a Korean graduate of Politics Department of Brandeis University, USA, and has written a most valuable contribution to fear management literature in their doctorate dissertation: "The Faces of Fear: Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Fear and Political Community" 2014
Anyone interested in the interrelationship between fear and politics, especially the imaginary of fear of political philosophers (E. and W.)--this dissertation is going to be of great interest. I offer the dissertation here in pdf (link above), with the following Abstract:
"Inspred by the hopes of better understanding and managing fear in our political lives, this dissertation engages Western and Chinese thinkers in a cross-cultural dialogue about fear. Influenced by the Enlightenment portrayal of fear, we tend to think fear as the great evil of civilization and the greatest enemy of freedom. This research shows that this way of thinking about fear is not the only one that is plausible or available to us. In order to understand what is missing from our current understanding of fear, this dissertation explores parallels among six philosophers who represent diverse attitudes to fear and political community. The six philosophers are grouped in three pairs, each of which includes one Western and one Chinese thinker: the moralists Aristotle and Confucius; the realists, Hobbes and Han Fei; and the Enlighteners, Montesquieu and Lian Qichao. From the dialogue among these thinkers, the thesis shows how the concept of fear has changed its character; how fear has developed critical relationships with justice, equality and liberty; and how fear has been related to the different ways of political life. At the same time, by highlighting each voice's strengths and weaknesses, this cross-cultural dialogue enables us to see how each theory may hide sources of fear within itself and how, ironically, they sometimes inflate the fears that they were designed to tame. Contemporary liberals, in particular, need to learn that there is much that is missing in our current understanding of fear and how these limitations may undermine their efforts to promote individual liberty and security. In this regard, these different faces of fear point both to a richer portrait of fear and a better understanding of how to handle it."
I just published a Tech Paper 83 .pdf (involving Lee's work).
NOTE: "In denial" is a code word for "in fear" (terror)... let's face it... then, we begin being part of the "solution" (if there is such a thing; we start the restorations, we start the path of fearlessness)...
Andrew Harvey a long-haul serious spiritual teacher, along with others like Marianne Williamson, are really starting to take their critical shots big time at so much of the commodified bull shift and narcissism in the "spirituality" that cricles around human potential, pop cult spirituality, and new ageism... I am totally in agreement with their assessment as I have watched this bull shit for 30 years and not been impressed with how they manage fear (by trying to transcend it)--and, get themselves so wrapped up in their own spiritual enlightenment they miss the very disasters under their feet. "Terrifying" says Harvey, now that's what we have to admit to 'turn' (if possible) this all into a much better future outcome than the one this is fast going down now. Welcome to the Fearlessness Movement--a time for true Sacred Warriors.
AND, for those who want to learn more about the "Deep Adaptation" movement, and facing our collective death and suffering on massive scale with the "inevitable" real collapsing of environment and social systems in the very near future (less than 10 years)... go to a great conversation by David Thorson (of Emerge podcast) with guest Dr. Jem Bendell on "The Meaning of Joy of Inevitable Social Collapse" https://anchor.fm/emerge
BTW, since writing this blog, a bunch more people (e.g., David Suzuki) etc. are coming out with the "collapse" narrative re: the precarious future facing humanity and the earth, to the point where various organizations I see are starting to collect resources to try to help people cope with the dramatic changes and potential suffering and death inevitable--e.g., "Library of Collapse" is one:
This Library was established with three distinct purposes.The first is to be a repository and distribution point of key information that would be useful for surviving and thriving before, during and after societal collapse. To achieve this goal we intend to make our entire site downloadable. Individual knowledge-base PDFs will also be provided on a per-entry basis.Our second goal is to aggregate important news happening around the world today pertaining to collapse. We will not interpret the news, nor will be selective in our narrative or editorialise. We are here to merely report the facts and allow our readers to form their own opinions.Our third and final goal, is to be a place of support. Collapse is a scary notion for many, and can drive people towards depression. Our goal is to provide comfort, guidance and perhaps even some hope. We believe that individuals can still change the world.
What topics does the library cover?The Library of Collapse will cover topics that will prove helpful before, during and after collapse.We will have resources on preparing your home for natural disasters or intrusion. Writers are already working on a series of sustainable living guides, including micro-farming, alternative energy for your home and much more. Our library also covers important life skills that could make all the difference in a world on the brink of collapse.We hope that you will find this growing library indispensable as we head into uncertain times.----------------------------OF COURSE, I TOO, AS WITH ANY FEAROLOGIST-TYPE, OUGHT TO BE VERY INVOLVED IN THIS MOVEMENT... WE CAN OFFER SOMETHING UNIQUE.
New Video (35 min.)... where I describe how I am stepping up full of inspiration to enter "politics" (i.e., from the perspective of the political sphere, a holistic-integral approach)...
[companion video recently: The Great Collapse: How Afraid Should We be?] Note: my play off the term/concept "The Great"  has an intellectual history behind it, important for those readers and viewers who really want to understand where I am coming from.
New Video- Description: The Great Citizen
Dr. Fisher talks of how he is moving to make a commitment over the next 10 years to enter the political sphere and politics. He shares his experience professionally as a teacher and differentiates that from being an educator (especially, adult educator). He questions and critiques politics and political figures but also supports their differing pieces of the puzzle toward the making of a great citizen, great society, etc. What makes a process philosophy, thinking, person is explored, and he shows his intention to study the history of transformation in the last 100 years especially and how it is essential to understand what is transformation and its role in the political sphere and politics of which he mentions Marianne Williamson as an exemplar for a holistic-integral approach as she is currently running for President of the USA in 2020. Always asking: "What are we learning?" is key to his educational philosophy and thus "learning to learn" is both a meta-cognitive skill but also the basis for a great learner/citizen and it is essential to analyzing the problems and crises we face individually and collectively.
(action still from my video)...
1. The first book and stream of intellectual thought on the telling of 'Big Story' narratives per se came from my encounter in the late 70s-early 80s sometime, and reading the little booklet I ordered from the US by eminent Thomas Berry, the self-identified geologian (cultural historian) at the time, entitled "The New Story" (also a recent video has been put together on this work http://thomasberry.org/publications-and-media/the-new-story-1)--and, much later Berry wrote a critically important work to many in the holistic movement called "The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future" (2000) ; but the more substantive perennial philosophy work I read sometime in the early 80s was one that was promoted as foundational in the transpersonal philosophy of Ken Wilber at that time, and it is the classic (1936) book "The Great Chain of Being: A study of the History of an Idea" by Authur O. Lovejoy. There was that sense of "The Great" something, historically, evolutionarily and beautifully articulated, as what Wilber later called the "spirit in evolution" basically. And that's all resonant with my own soul and sensing that there is some 'big picture' (a fav. term of Wilber's) going on that I or anyone could learn about and feel there is an alternative view of history (and the future) than what the straight-up historians (and evolutionists in biology) have been and still were (and still are) painting about the nature and destiny of humans, Homo sapiens, and humanity and human nature, etc. The next in the trilogy on "The Great" works that came to me is David C. Korten's (2005), "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community"--again, much could be said on how important this book and teaching is, and to say the least Korten has attracted a huge following across a lot of different areas, but yes, still within the alternatives movements. To be interested in "transformation" at the core of my process philosophy, politics and education, one has to link these triad or quadrad of influences to my work to make sense of what "transformation" means to me. And with a little research there are others who have their own versions of The Great Turning, e.g., a very important leader, and Buddhist eco-activist, Joanna Macy, https://vimeo.com/191169785 ;
2. "Great Work" (i.e., magnum opus) is a term with spiritual-philosophical rooting that apparently goes back to ancient Hermetic (esoteric) philosophy, at least, as a legacy and tradition of thinking about the reality and future reality that the human and consciousness is participating in, and can shape and can be shaped by.
Just finished my Part 2 Video doing a fearanalysis of Marianne Williamson's campaign so far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDlATRUYLM
The Marianne Williamson campaign-- questions are being asked as in this Forbes magazine article on MW... [see also my blog a few posts ago on this ning]
Warrell, a fan of MW, asked (as many will) in this article ending:
"Will love win out over fear in a political system that seems to so richly reward those who are most masterful in manipulating fear in their favor? Time will tell."
ALSO, my daughter (Vanessa) interviewed in a podcast Marianne in 2012, well worth listening to: http://www.poetic-justice.ca/for-the-love-of-social-change--interview-with-marianne-williamson --at one point Marianne says, "forces of fear are intensifying; forces of love are intensifying" -- sounds a lot how I think too but my philosophical and theoretical frame looks at this as forces of fear/fearlessness are intensifying...
"Emotional civil war" ... a very interesting (?) campaign quote... and, what does she really mean by this? And what is a fearologist's perspective of her rhetoric, intention, and potential for presidential victory and/or at least influence in American culture and politics. See my new youtube video on "Ethical Leadership: Marianne Williamson"
In the INTRODUCTION of Fisher & Subba (2016), p. xxxi , you will read a philosophy of fearism (and fearlessness) perspective on Marianne Williamson, and you will see that I have (in particular) been following her philosophy and social media following for a long time. She is a close friend with the media star Oprah Winfrey, and many others (see picture below on this webpage of FM ning). In that Introduction, Subba and I ask : "WHY FOCUS ON FEAR, NOT LOVE?" and then we begin the chapter with a quote from Williamson:
"Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside myself, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. I have been trained by the world to think fearfully, and today I choose to think with love." (from A Year of Miracles), and, many of you may or may not know that she is a 'big' promoter and teacher, supported by A Course in Miracles movement. In this spiritual movement "love" is placed as the answer to "fear" and all of our problems. The dialogue between Subba and I now moves on in the Introduction to show how unreliable, if not distorted, from a fearist perspective, this emphasis on love is the answer approach to personal and world transformation. We risked to critique, in a mild way in this chapter, a person (and ideology), who is now running for the 2020 American political presidency under the Democratic party. She is a populist leader, with no experience in politics per se, althought a few years ago she ran for a local congress position in California but never made it very far. Now she is going for the 'big' position. It will be interesting to watch, but more importantly it will be interesting to see how her work (as part of the Fearlessness Movement) will emerge on the 'big' stage of American politics in a time of crisis.
I for one, will keep analyzing her work and offering her and her supporters ideas of how to better bring about a challenge and intervention to disrupt that problem of being (in her words) "trained by the world to think fearfully"... and, challenging her movement to look at fearism and fearlessness to better inform their own philosophy and politics.
1. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.
ADDITIONAL NOTE - M. W. is also an endorser of one of my favorite philosophers Ken Wilber, for e.g.
OH, interesting The Washington Post (a rather conservative major newspaper in USA)... wants to spin the story of MW's campaign in the ruts of the traditional right winger folks like Dobson's "tough love" pitch for parents, which a lot of people bought hook line and sinker back 30 years ago... and, also if you see the headlines (below) on The Washington Post interview (and the photo shoot which really is a 'joke' and 'play' on MW, not taking her really seriously)--and, then you get the headlines... which one thinks she is again being played with by this media journalist and well... you can make up your own mind... I'm so skeptical of who is behind these newspapers--owned by a handful of the very elite she criticizes :
[Peele talks about miracles] [a small excerpt from her text for this article, which I nearly gag on]:
The above logo (I created) is Barbara and my new collaboration as artists-researchers-teachers, as we have just moved back to Canada and settled in Calgary, Alberta. Studio M* is a place and space for us to co-create with the Calgary Community (in particular the Beltline Neighborhoods downtown), and beyond that with anyone in the world who wishes to be in collaboration with us and wants to utilize Studio M*. Barbara has posted an initial blog ("Barbara Bickel tumblr") on this project, and the location of McHugh House (120 yrs. old) where our studio 6 space is--which I encourage you to have a look at some of the earliest stages of our creating and imagining. We're very excited about the possibilities...
As for why this is important to the Fearlessness Movement per se, I would encourage you to read the Studio M* Manifesto (version/exhibit #1.0), I have reprinted the Manifesto below (notice the particular reference to "without fear")... So, if you are interested to be a signatory of this Manifesto contact us r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com and if you are traveling and want to drop by the studio to see what is going on, and if wish to join our Studio M* envisioning processes, then WE INVITE YOU to participate and help build a synergy that can make a positive difference. We look forward to hearing from you. If you are interested in doing some kind of creative/artistic Residency with us, give us an email: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com and we can talk about potentials for you using Studio M* ... that is, if you find our Manifesto in some way resonates with you and your work in the world...
Studio M* : Manifesto Exhibit #1.0 (Aug.-Sept., 2017)
WE are a research creation lab intersecting Arts, Culture & Healing
- WE are committed to an inclusive & expansive curatorial practice that stems from the Latin root curare- “to take care”
- EVERYTHING is encountering others, human & more-than-human, a tableau of unique creative collaborations
- WE commit to a Matrixial co-poetic paradigm of Artworkings in radical trust
- WE practice a co-relational Aesthetic as foundational and preceding the Ethical, while both ought to inform the shape of the Political
- WE live with the premise that EVERYTHING began without fear... imagine that!
- SPONTANEITY is the life-blood-water of play, humour, sociality, sustainability, health & ecological sanity
*M stands for “Matrixial” theory based on Bracha L. Ettinger’s art & philosophy. See, for e.g., her book The Matrixial Borderspaces published in 2005 by University of Minnesota Press. Or a good video of Ettinger with art historian Griselda Pollock, go to "Istanbul in/+ Leeds Event 3: Making with Bracha Ettinger": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqwWIr3WjxU
Studio M* is a restorative and transformational learning, teaching, and creative inquiry space for all. Co-conceived by artists-researchers-teachers Drs. Barbara Bickel and R. Michael Fisher.
Late last year, R. Michael Fisher blogged about my memoir Days of Shock, Days of Wonder and invited me to join him in a fear analysis of my writing. Searching for "Rafiq" here at the Fearlessness Movement website will show you the artifacts of our exchange. Since that time, Dr Fisher and I have continued our dialogue offline, and I hope to eventually write an article about what I have been able to distill about his ideas regarding fear.
Recently, I shared a new review of Days of Shock, Days of Wonder with Dr Fisher, and he encouraged me to post it here, perhaps as a way to direct readers to our earlier exchange but also to encourage readers to support writers like ourselves whose ideas are so far outside mainstream paradigms and the dominant worldview that our work rarely receives enough exposure for us to find an audience.
For me, both fearlessness and the constructive use of fearfulness are closely tied to our deepest perceptions of reality, and these perceptions in turn are inseparable from our capacity for spiritual experience, understood as the sensation of connection to a whole that is larger than the self. Just as fear is one of the great dividers of people from one another and from the earth, it is also one of the great inhibitors of this kind of spiritual awareness rooted in notions of diversity within unity and variety within essence.
So without further preamble, here is the brief review, recently posted at Amazon. If it inspires you to ponder my earlier exchange with Dr Fisher, all to the good. If it inspires you to read my book, all to the better. For I am sincere in my belief that in this age without prophets, it is up to us to inspire each other.
There is something happening here ...
By Alicia on July 24, 2017
Rafiq’s memoir is both a thought-provoking critique of our neoliberal times and a touching account of one man’s spiritual pursuit. It is written in a lively and engaging prose, making it quite difficult to put down. I did not know what to expect when I purchased this book, but found myself captivated by the author’s adventures and inspired by his spiritual journey that took him through India, Belize and Mexico. At times I laughed out loud too. Rafiq’s sober assessment of our capitalist world is an important undercurrent to the text. But more significantly for me, this book is a powerful testimony to the importance of reciprocity in our lives, a call to correct our relationships with the non-humans around us, and a gentle invitation to explore the gifts of the invisible. Days of Shock, Days of Wonder makes for a fantastic read.
What does it mean to be a conscientious objector to Western society?
This blogpost is directly related to the current political situation that Barbara and I have experienced living in the USA for 9 years (July 2008- July 2017). Because Barbara was an Illinois State public employee at SIUC also added to us becoming "very political" relative to our other years living in Canada together (since 1991). Although, few know, that in 1994 or so I created a brochure to outline the NO FEAR PARTY that I was going to lead. People didn't pick up on it. In a sense, we've grown into being more civically aware, involved--albeit, she more than I, and I have spent most of my 9 years in conflict with various civic and activist and political groups in Carbondale, IL--not because I wanted to fight with them, I merely tried working with them and found them unworkable--and, perhaps that's what they would say about me. I do feel I confronted head on, not just intellectually, the stubborn American-psyche/personality that Americans generally take on because of the way America is and has been for centuries. The other-side to this was to face a lot of unsuccessful ventures and collaborations that fizzled rapidly here and thus, I turned very inward and contemplative, read, researched and wrote a whole tonne of good work, I think. I'm also exhausted by supporting Barbara's work out there and my own having to deal with vast rejection--to point I have said I live in exile and am undergoing social death.
Yet, Barbara and I continue to be quite political. A distinction is required, and one we both emphasized in earlier blogs this year with the Presidential 2016 election here and the shock n' awe of so many progressives. There is "politics" (and all its history and structures and discourses of power differential and hegemony) and there is the "political" realm which is basic relations in groups and society and the planet. The latter is the sphere of sociality as sociologists call it--and many might just call it the "cultural" sphere--as these overlap for sure. Barbara and I are moving into a time of our life where we just cannot ignore or put aside the politics of the world as much as we have in the past, and we have to be very aware of doing political work. That doesn't mean we'll like this change. We haven't. But to be responsible as a citizen (e.g., global citizens, which we identify with) there is no way to sluff off and remain unpolitical or slightly political. I wish it were different. The world is becoming too 'on edge' in terms of any healthy, sane, sustainable future--and if one is half-awake as a citizen, there is just too much critical work to do now to attempt to stave off the massive destruction going on, in politics, economics, education, and you name it--all are in big trouble. The next decade will be not an easy one. The intense violence and insecurities due to global warming alone, will "test" the sociality of trust and cooperation to the nth degree. We may not make it as a species. No need to try to scare anyone with this. I have thought about this and studied it for nearly 50 years more or less systematically, and my conclusion is not fearmongering or my own fear talking. It is really an intelligent future projection. And, don't forget Barbara and I have a grandson who is 7 years old.
Why I Haven't Been Successful: Costs of Being Too Political (Critical)
My political life is based on the theory/praxis of conscientization (or critical consciousness development, a la Paulo Freire and others)... this, I find is the only way to be a citizen and educator, a therapist and spiritual teacher, or whatever I do... yes, even being a father and grandfather, a husband, a friend or ally... critical consciousness has to be the ethical foundation for a life on this Earth... especially so, as Life becomes more and more threatened... I am angry that people deny this is going on.
How one is political, and chooses to grow their political sensibilities and skills by taking conscious action is a big issue. How ethical is one if they do not grow in the political sphere of life? But let me reflect on my life. Now, 65 years old, I feel there is so much work to be done in the political, that I am more and more shifting, albeit, slowly, to being less focused on other areas that I have been traveling in. So, to put it bluntly, as I was journaling this morning, a realization: Most people, especially young people, I encounter or who encounter me (mainly my writing) are not impressed by my life. Why? Because I haven't been successful. Not really by any business standard, not by a mainstream economic standard, not by a cultural or political standard as in being known or even a celebrity. So, I am thus, not likely to be effective in influencing anyone or anything out in the wide-world. Sure, I have a small circle of influence, but it is virtually still invisible on the big picture scene--and, hey, I am not even on Fb or Twitter. And, clearly I have no economic power nor am invited to be a public speaker, etc.... or if so, only rarely and I have not got onto Ted Talks or anything of the like. Sure, you can Google Scholar me on the Internet and I am somewhat impressive there, but who looks there?
So, the insight... I am too political, meaning radical and thus too demanding to have been able to take advantage of the various paths and platforms that our Western society has offered in order to 'climb to the top' (or at least near). A whole lot of people who know me or of me, frankly, wouldn't see me as "political" and, I certainly don't usually gt involved in politics. I don't even vote (and, for lots of good reasons). So, let me start with all the areas I have had access to and have even developed somewhat but they have all led to me not being perceived (not really) as successful in them: being a son, a brother, a father, a husband, a biologist, environmentalist, rehabilitation practitioner, artist, musician, psychologist-therapist, educator, writer, teacher, spiritualist, leader, scholar, public intellectual, academic, and you could add others if you want. None of those platforms of my engagement has worked for me really. And, my conclusion today is because I have been more "political" than even I thought into all of these forms. They were supposed to work, and they really didn't and don't to this day. I am too political, means I "resist" all of these platforms for their inherent (seemingly) collusion with the 'Fear' Matrix that dominates the world--and, has for at least 5000, maybe 10,000 years in the evolution of our species and cultures. That's a pretty big claim. That's a political claim--that's a critique. I am a big CRITIC of everything. I even critique the liberation movements, and the Fearlessness Movement as much of it is ... and, as much of it still needs to improve and unite, and grow and evolve and become more effective.
Well, all of the above, doesn't "pay" worth a damn, as I found... that is, being too political in everything, just doesn't pay... rather, it costs... and costs me big time. Yet, I have not near the kinds of oppressions and problems that most of the world has. What to do about this? Food for more thought... I'm sure I'll write more about it... I have thought of going into politics once I get back into Canada (Alberta)... Calgary... watch out!
Bottomline... unsuccess breeds more unsuccess... in a capitalist society that wants success and that success breeds more success... no body wants to be around a 'loser' without success(es)... by the standards of great variety that are constructed and promoted on TV and in the culture at large... if a young person looks at my work and my life, they may say, "interesting dude" but that's about it, because they look at what I don't have, and they are not impressed with the image of a (non-) "hero" of success in anyway that they want to follow, learn from and model... this has been very painful to experience on my end. Geez... I'm not even a good postmodern "anti-hero" like they may admire in popular culture.
Oh, and the most hurtful criticism I get back... in slight variant forms, is that "Michael you are too angry" that's why you aren't successful. "Lighten up." I think that is the easy way to put me and my political work in a 'box' with a pink ribbon that makes people feel comfortable with who they are, and has little to do with understanding who I am and what my life purpose of conscientization is all about.
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