spirit of fearlessness (2)

"I'm Not All That Impressed by Love"

This line came to me a few days ago, in journal reflective writing: "I'm not all that impressed by love." As it goes, spontaneous and empassioned ideas like this do come once in awhile, and mostly I just leave them to sit in the journal, and rarely if ever are they discovered again by me. But this one was different... 

I have had several tensions (if not subtle conflicts) on my psyche (soul) for sometime. As a writer and philosopher this is not unusual, they create some of the best motivations for me to proceed with research and writing projects. But this one was different... this time, anyways. The words "I'm not all that impressed by love" is what I would have wanted to say to at least a half dozen people, some close friends, some family--and, some are colleagues in the domain of studying and writing about fear. The basic conflict, or sometimes an ontological and real "battle" as I see it, is Love vs. Fear(lessness)... and, where is it (as subject of study) that I (or anyone) ought to really put their attention on--and in doing so nurture that subject. I mean, haven't you noticed how many people want you to be more loving? Doesn't the whole world sometimes seem like it is putting pressure on you (and everyone) to be more loving, and say to someone "I love you." 

This blog is not going to pursue this notion of Love vs. Fear(lessness), and why it has been so important in my conscious research and writing since late 1989, and the founding of the In Search of Fearlessness Project (of which the Fearlessness Movement is the latest iteration). You can check out my writing on "love" and on "fear" or all the circuitous derivations of the latter, and the former, that intrigue me under the umbrella of my search to contribute to the Fear Problem on this planet--oh, and that means, contribute in a positive way (ha ha). But it seems sometimes, even my closest allies forget, or don't get, what it is I am doing, and why "fear" has been my focus not "love." They still think, and sometimes say, "Michael, you just need to be more loving" [1]. It is subtle all the different ways they communicate that. I feel there's an ideological plot on the planet (or, at least in my circles of relations in North America in the 20-21st century) to 'force' me to be a better loving person. This I call the Virtues Project (a brand new conceptual label for my critical philosophical work to come)--or, more simply, I call it the pathological (obsessive) side of moralism

What was so unusual in the last few days, with having this conflict around "love" come up again in my life... I mean really, it is more than a little frustrating... is that I found (or my unconscious did) the exact words I want to say to the world: "I'm not all that impressed by love"--and, with that I believe I may have found the title for my new book project. No kidding. After several encounters with the "love-people" as I call them--meaning, they are convinced that "love will save the world", I began to write and write in my journal, some 8 to 10 pp. just flowed, and it was the basic informal outline of everything I have wanted to say and write about in my own social philosophy development since 1982 (and that date is significant, but I'm not going to give it away why--that'll be in the book). Yes, I'm going to write the book I always wanted to write, since 1982 but just didn't have the maturity for it, and life-course realities took me in other directions. At age 66 (and "retired" with a pension)--ha ha, I can now afford to write it, and afford to lose a lot of "friends" perhaps, because I am going to say what I really believe and think is the reality: And, that is, more or less what boils down to my philosophical starting point (i.e., in simple words): I'm Not All That Impressed By Love --start there, Michael, it's where your heart and soul resonate, and the conflict begins, for the creativity required to be inspired to write the book, now 36 years later... you finally can do it. 

I'm jazzed about this book... you have no idea! Hey all "you" out there who have a critique of my way of being in the world, of my writing and teaching... okay, get ready, because I am finally going to give in to your side of things. Really, I am finally, after 36 years, going to write my first book on "Love"... 

love, 

Michael

[oops... love, in the spirit of fearlessness], 

-M.

 Note: 

1. Love is aka Spiritual, as it turns out, and so you can begin to see this as part of my long critique growing around what "spiritual" is and how people use it as a 'weapon.' 

 

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

Ban Ki-moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emerging into Worldcentric Consciousness and Research on the Spirit of Fearlessness

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

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

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

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