systems thinking (2)


On left (Marianne Williamson, former Democratic leader hopeful in 2020 US election) and right, Jimmy Dore, podcaster (interviewer)- see the whole interview on Youtube "What is Enlightenment? With Marianne Williamson" Sept. 9, 2020.

Why watch or listen to this interview? Many reasons, as children are this fall going back to schools, youth are going to colleges and universities and their teachers are sitting with them on Zoom classes and/or in real face-to-face encounters we as a society like to call "education" (Education). MW is leading to this day and will continue I predict until her leaving this planet, one massive "Education" campaign (and, yes, it is heavily cloaked in "political" symbols, language and her activism as a leader for a healthy and sustainable democracy). She is an educational leader of the rare kind that does not come along very often in human history. That is the point of my bringing her and her work to the surface of public access and for public debate and dialogue. I have dedicated years to study of her work and recent 2020 campaign and now her following-up work before the Nov. 3 Presidential election (probably the most important US Presidential election in that country's history--the results of it will impact the world in powerful ways). With my study I have written and now had published my new book [1]. But my book is not what this blog is about. 

Even take 12 min.'s (less than 1/2 of this interview) into your living room in the next day or two. Dwell with it. If you are a professional educator, take even more time to re-listen to this over a few times. It is not that this particular interview is totally unique from her other thousands of such interviews/speeches/writings--she has a plethora of her 'voice' out there in published form (over 35 years of doing this)--but it is worth pulling out in this interview how she is an "educator" not just of spiritual things (her forte') but of material things--her "holistic" and "systems" perspective on reality, on learning and unlearning, on enlightenment itself, on love, on fear, etc. is all there brief and to the point in this short section of the interview. Not that you ought to agree with it all or anything. I have lots of my own critiques, including in my book--but that also is not the most important thing, I would argue. I am basically saying, it is profound to listen to a leader talk about education (of all people) in a transformative (yes, spiritual-centric) view, on mass social media, and with such clarity and conviction--and, with real answers of how to get through the mulitple cascading crises we face. 

Just a few teasers I pulled out this morning, to share here, and offer as prompts for you to listen to her teaching (some call preaching at times)--are the following: 

(a) the big healing and transformation required individually and collectively, "...won't be easy, and there will be truths we'll try our best to avoid" [2]

(b) we'll go not far in changing only surfaces of society and our crises if we are not "facing the darker Shadow of our past" [3] 

(c) we require a "deeper holistic understanding of what is happening" for "it's an all systems breakdown" [i.e., emergency] and only an "all systems" solution will do [4]

(d) real "understanding" is what our education and socialization processes need to be focused on--priority #1 and we can look to a couple sources to find that understanding (at least)--that is, watch a baby and watch the "big misunderstanding" that our learning systems virtually everywhere perpetrate as 'normal' (as 'truth' as 'reality') [5]

OKAY, that's a sample for you and, oh yes, let's not forget here why I get excited about her teaching about teaching our kids and youth (and everybody)--is because it is near impossible to find present educational and/or world leaders with such futurist, holistic, transformative and depth vision of how to proceed to "educate" ourselves as a species. Once again, it is not the issue of whether she has it all right, and is infallible in her vision, diagnosis and prescriptions--no, that is not my point, and I think she too is open to such critique--but the issue is that someone with such clarity of breadth and depth, spiritual and material, acumen is here and standing out and willing to 'run' for politics and/or to participate so sagaciously in the political sphere--that is remarkable and ought to be supported in and of itself. The world doesn't need MW to be President--necessarily (perhaps in 2024 if she runs again) but the world desires this kind of quality leadership, as I see it. And, let me close with my favorite quote from her intro bit in this interview: 

MW: "We're all so misinformed. From the earliest time in our lives, we are taught such false interpretations of living that we instinctively become more prone to fear...and defensiveness, where natural loving thinking feels unnatural to us, and unnatural fear-based thinking feels natural". 


1. My new book "The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution in a Dangerous Time" (Peter Lang, Inc., 2020) available later this fall but now ready for online pre-purchase

2. Her educational philosophy is one of 'truthing' as I call it--and, yes, fear as the ruling motivation will guarantee us to not move toward the truth but away from it

3. Shadow, in the Jungian psychotherapeutic sense, is core in her recovery, healing and transformation work, and she believes that what an individual has to go through to heal their 'shadow-side' (unconscious, past, trauma, fear) is to engage shadowork and she believes a nation also has do this; two of the major political pillars that hold together in an unhealthy way the American way of life (at least) are the shadows unexamined, untruthed out, that are coalescing always to keep the systemic racism and militarism in place as the ruling paradigms of how to live and, yes, our educational systems are immediately in commission if not in perpetuation overtly of these pillars and their fear-based structurations

4. Bringing her experience with 12-Step Recovery model of A. A. is one great experience she brings, but she also goes way beyond that model and approach to a more esoterically informed "recovery" and "transformation." As an educator, terms like recovery, restoration, healing, transformation ought to be the core of all curriculum, no matter what the subject matter is that is being taught---and, that will only occur when "Education Faculties" in Universities really take this serious and governments and non-government organizations truly support educators (at university levels, at least) to teach future teachers about these concepts and new paradigms (e.g., a fearlessness paradigm of education--systems theory, critical theory, etc.)--but these are concepts being gutted rapidly out of the universities with the domination of neoliberalism and superficiality over all

5. I (and Ken Wilber) would have differences of conflict philosophically and developmentally with her view of "enlightenment" (way too over simplified and regressively romantic); however, I (and Wilber) would completely support the notion that defining "enlightenment" and giving it a place in educational discourses (all ages)--is crucial to us facing the truth about what it is that is really important in life and education--and the future. Typically, modernist and postmodernist schooling avoids terms like "enlightenment" as if it is the plague. Universities have also grown an allergy to such discussion. Big mistake. 




Read more…

I am sharing a brief email conversation I had with Dr. Gokul Bhandari, from the Business faculty at University of Windsor, as we have mutual interests in bringing about a higher quality curriculum in higher education today (especially, in Business) that centralizes "Fear" as a subject and important force in determining so much about what is going on in higher education. Our first conversation on email (below) accompanies the diagram/model (above) that I have extracted from the ppt presentation Bhandari gave in Hong Kong recently with Desh Subba (founder of "philosophy of fearism")... Bhandari has a great interest in cybernetic systems and communication and would like to apply his quadrant model to "Fear" (I added the word "Fear" in the middle of his model).

Hi Dr. Bhandari, 

Desh Subba sent me a link to the youtube video of you and him at Hong Kong University 2017, from a talk you gave " Perspectives on Fear" -- despite my being an English only speaker I did listen and gathered bits of your talk, thanks to the slides in your ppt presentation in English... great. 
I'm inviting you to dialogue with me anytime you would like to on this topic. Desh said you had a copy of our book. I'm most curious of your interest in this topic. I would like you to write something up on this talk in English if you would and submit it to me so I (or you) can post it on the Fearlessness Movement ning (see below)... that would be great... oh, I did make a poster of you and Desh and put it up in the Photos already on the FM ning site. 
I am particularly interested to have a good copy of your ppt slide of the 4 quadrant model, by itself (and/or your whole ppt presentation)... and, if you have done any prior writing on fear(ism) I would like to have a copy as well... thanks. 
-look forward to hearing from you,

Dear Dr. Fisher,

Thank you for your email. We had an interesting discussion on Fearism last week in Hong Kong. I had to speak in Nepali because of the audience but my main points were basically as follows:

1) Desh Subba's primary contribution is his compilation of Fear literature from various sources and disciplines.

2) What is lacking is a unified framework that ties together a myriad of fear related concepts. Without having such an integrated framework, it is difficult to propose solutions to overcome FEAR.

My interests:

I am an Information Systems faculty and a big believer in Systems Thinking (understanding relationships, patterns, context, communication and feedback) in any setting. My view is that the solution to FEAR can only come from providing the right information (or knowledge)  to the right people at the right time using the right medium (communication and context). FEAR is also not a homogeneous concept. From information-centric viewpoint, FEAR has a unit of analysis (such as individual, cultural, societal, national, global etc.) and the provided information's level of abstraction must match with the unit of analysis. My hypothesis is that even if the information is factually correct, if the unit and abstraction levels do not match, that mismatch will engender FEAR.

I am highly interested in analyzing FEAR from the info-centric perspective.

The 4 quadrant model that I discussed is basically a standard micro-macro interaction of the Systems Thinking paradigm (not my creation). I was proposing it as starting point to analyze FEAR and its solution.

I have not published anything related to FEAR but given my current responsibility as an MBA Program Director, I would like to explore implore implications of FEAR on curriculum and pedagogy. Let us have the communicating going.

My inclinations:

Systems Thinking of Maturana and Varela, Communication-> Wittgenstein's philosophy of language

Thank you once again for reaching me out.

Best regards, 

Gokul Bhandari

[btw. we are continuing on to develop the Fisher-Bhandari Model of Integral Teaching & Learning, that locates the "integrative" models of Knowing, Doing Being in higher education with Ken Wilber's critical integral theory and my own work on Fear... stay tuned for all that, as we have put in a proposal to a teaching and learning conference in Detroit in early 2018... I'll let you know more about our model as we pursue to bring "Fear" into the curricula of higher education, especially in Business]

Read more…