terrorism (5)


The spiritual teacher, political activist and cultural (r)evolutionary [1] Marianne Williamson recently interviews human rights lawyer Steven Donziger, who has been for over 20 yrs fighting the battle for the Ecuadorian farmers and tribal peoples of the Amazonian Basin in S. America. I highly recommend this interview not only to show two outstanding citizens in dialogue, without hatred, but with firm analysis and righteous indignation as they point out in some detail how the guts of the American judiciary branch of justice is being systematically undermined by the courts and corporatist (money/powers) of the oil industry (i.e., Texaco now bought by Chevron). The corporations, with their huge lawyer teams, belive they can out-smart and finesse their way out of their own debts to the Ecuadorian people and ecosystems, which are in law they are to pay for the damages they did back several decades ago in malpractice of their oil drilling operations. 

The importance of what Donziger, now under "house arrest" in what is likely an illegal (certainly unjust) set of circumstances in New York courts, backed by Chevron's legal team, cannot be underestimated. I particularly am impressed overall how Williamson with her use of her large following of fans and supporters, is keeping the battle going even if she is not a "politician" per se. She is showing everyone how to be a political leader in and out of the mess and corruption of so much of politics and the law these days. Of course, corruption is nothing new. This case is exemplar as to what the justice systems, law itself, has to confront with the newest maneuverings of gross injustices by legal firms and corporations ('big oil' in this case). The latter are bent on intimidating, if not destroying, human rights lawyers in general--and could just as well be investigative journalists, etc. who are out to expose the truths of the worst crimes against humanity and the earth's ecosystems at-large. Williamson has found her broadcast medium through her podcasts [2] and her independent type of journalistic-work. It is not something to be dismissed of what she is capable of, and of which I would argue makes her one of the most important adult educators and (r)evolutionary leaders of the Fearlessness Movement today. 

Williamson offers several direct actions for solutions to the Donziger case, and makes it clear that even if things go in the worst way with his charges and trial on May 10th, 2021, that he will not be forgotten in his heroic efforts to bring to justice these corporate-legal entities that believe they can operate and profit from destroying the lives of lawyers as the 'weak link' when they have been shown to be guilty already in the Ecuadorian Court going back to the 2011 judgement, which Williamson speaks about with Donziger in this recent interview. Consider helping out in anyway you can. And, finally it is worth noting that although the two of them have never met, other than online, after Williamson initiated the first talk with him (this being the 2nd one)--Donziger makes his clear endorsement of Williamson that is worth writing down and reading. He says at the end, unsolicited: 

"Thank you Marianne for your leadership in our society. Your positive vision, you're an awesome person. I've watched you from afar [including during her 2020 election bid for leadership of the Democratic Party]... I just salute you for having the visiion that you do to better our society." 

In my mind, a toxic fearism, as I call it, has been the underbelly of all kinds of terrorism. Now that fearism is working its way into law big time, with corporatism and its worst sides giving us all a picture of how it will intimidate and destroy human rights lawyers, ignore the charges against it, and use money-power-law-politics to be the weapons for its own survival, meanwhile willing to destroy peoples and the ecological systems of this planet in their own selfishness. It is their deep fear/terror that they will lose control of their domination (Oil Empire)--and indeed, that battle still remains. We do have to recognize that "fighting" such sickness as we see in this case of Chevron and their law teams and the judges involved, that it is fear-based. That means it is wound-based. The way to fight them all has to be done with a good critical analysis of fearism not merely claims of injustice and crime etc. That latter concepts will not be sufficient [3] in the long run if we truly want to 'set everyone free,' even the oppressors, the criminals, those who exploit others. Everyone deserves to 'pay the price' when they are responsible for damages proven in courts. And, everyone deserves to be restored and supported to heal and transform.  




1. I have outlined in great detail her role in Fisher, R. M. (2021). The Marianne Williamson Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution for a Dangerous Time. Peter Lang. 

2. Go to: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/marianne-williamson-podcast-conversations-that-matter/id1536043190 

3. The holistic-integral arguments within the framework of a philosophy of fearism (as distinct from fearist-t in its toxic form), have been given in the book: Fisher, R. M., Subba, D. & Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism. Xlibris. 

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Dialogue on Fearcriminalysis (Part 3): R. Michael Fisher, B. Maria Kumar and Desh Subba

[This is third, and last of the Fearcriminalysis series of dialogues. If you haven't already read the earlier ones, I recommend you do, but it is not necessary to understanding a good deal of what is in this dialogue. For the Pt. 2 go to:  https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/fearcriminalysis-dialogue-series-pt-2-subba-kumar-fisher. Perhaps a small book will be published one day on this topic using these initial dialogues as a basis. Enjoy, -rmf.]

"Crime is down... but fear is up!"  - R. Michael Fisher

In Fisher, I wrote [1]

"Political leaders and authorities (like the police force) in Canada have been heard on CBC radio interviews in the past few years making remarks that have stuck with me: for e.g.,  the Vancouver Chief of Police was asked about the problem of violence in the city and he said (paraphrasing), ‘It isn’t the violence that is the real problem for the police force. It is peoples’ fear of violence that is creating more enforcement problems that we don’t have the resources to handle.’ The Hon. John Havelock, Alberta Justice Minister, recently (1998) reported on CKUA radio, that after tougher legislation against violence and more legal clout for the victims and society in general, he is pleased to announce statistics indicate ‘crime is down.’ However, in the next breath, he reports that ‘fear is up’ and the governments’ citizen response lines are bursting with complaining calls because people don’t feel safe anymore and governments need to do something more about all the crime and violence. In the May 6, 1997 edition of the Calgary Herald, a male Alberta judge remarked: ‘A climate of fear has started to pervade this city at night’" (Fisher, 1998, p. 5).

Fisher: From the above quotes, you can see I have long been interested in Fearcriminalysis, even though I didn’t call it that back then in the late 1990s. I was aware that crime and its effects are not merely physical but psychological and sociological. The research concept and phenomena called the “fear of crime” is one of the biggest and hottest topics, at least, in the West, as it is present in a lot of the criminology and social sciences literature.

In a policing Newsletter from the U.S. National Institute of Justice [2], the authors write about how concrete crime negatively impacts people but “Behind the immediate, concrete losses of crime victims, however, is a different, more abstract crime problem—that of fear. For victims, fear is often the largest and most enduring legacy [trauma] of their victimization….For the rest of us—the not-recently, or not-yet victimized—fear becomes a contagious agent spreading the injuriousness of criminal victimization….Of course, fear is not totally unproductive. It prompts caution among citizens and thereby reduces criminal opportunities….Thus, reasonable fears, channel in constructive directions, prepare society to deal with crime. It is only when fear is unreasonable, or generates counterproductive responses, that it becomes a social problem. This paper explores fear as a problem to be addressed by the police….it turns to what is known about the efficacy of police strategies for managing fear, i.e., for reducing fear when it is irrational and destructive, and for channeling fear along constructive paths when it is reasonable and helpful in controlling crime” (pp. 1-2).

What is interesting to me is that this policing report is totally appropriate to today, and yet it was written and published in 1988—that’s 30 years ago. The authors then conclude the report with two basic findings: (1) “Society does not yet systematically collect data on fear. Consequently, our map of fear—its levels, trends, and social location—is sketchy. Nonetheless, its main features are easily identified” (p. 2), and (2) “Fear of crime is an important problem in its own right. Although levels of fear are related to levels of criminal victimization, fear is influenced by other factors” and they suggest research shows that “the current strategy of policing [in general]  does not result in reduced fear. Nor does it leave much room for fear reduction programs in the police department” (p. 6).

My first question to you Desh and Maria: Do you think anything has substantially changed in criminology and policing strategies in your countries that has improved the situation of fear as a social problem as brought forward in this report from 1988? Explain your answers.

Subba: It is very interesting to hear words like: “fear of crime,” “collection data on fear,” “map of fear.”
They are to me beautiful words for a Fear Dictionary. These are new phrases in my knowledge. They seem to follow nicely after the word and conceptual field of Fearcriminalysis. I seek to learn more about these.

Fisher: Desh, you in your own unsophisticated way made your own Map of Fear(s) in Figure No. 21 in your 2014 book, where you began a very basic map/model of “sources” of fear to humans but yes, it would be a next step to find ways to map geographically, politically, etc. the way “fear” exists and moves on the planet [3]; the field of “geography of fear” is making some strides in this but that information is still new and hardly anyone is practically using it, especially in police forces, at least not that I know of.

Kumar: I feel that the report of 1988 is still relevant even today because there is no substantive relief in mitigation of fear. In regards to the reduction in fear of crime generally, there seems to be no change in status but rather, unfortunately, the quantum of fear appears to be on the rise.  

Subba: There now is another new phrase “quantum of fear.” Wonderful.

Fisher: Yes, I agree it is a term that catches the imagination. I’d like Maria to explain why he chose that particular phrasing.

Kumar: Good query Mr. Subba and Dr. Michael! I mean this phrase by two aspects:
1) Literal: as it means amount or quantity. A sort of an idea to quantify fear just like the way ‘intelligence’ is measured in terms of IQ with the help of Simon-Binet tests, so that we may also devise a Fear Quotient (FQ).

2) Psychological: Juxtaposed to Ian Fleming’s Quantum of Solace (QS), which refers to comfort level during tense moments, Quantum of Fear (QF) means the opposite, i,e., tense moments during comfort. When QS stands at zero on 0-9 scale, love and fellowship simply doesn’t exist. On the other hand, if QF stands at zero, fear doesn’t exist, and the world is simply overflowing with love and fellowship. That’s an ideal.

Therefore, a fearologist’s pragmatic endeavor inter alia ought to be the study of how to bring down higher QF levels to the lowest level possible, if not zero, of course, within the understanding and framing of a context of fearism-t as you both have articulated. Concomitantly, this would be a condition of the higher FQ.

Fisher: A good challenge for fearology alright. Indeed this sounds worthy to me, a Fear Quotient measure and quantum of fear. Sounds like a whole other conversation we ought to have someday. I have argued that like we have developmental lines that are measurable, e.g., re: multiple intelligences as Howard Gardner, the Harvard psychologist argued; he said, we have a cognitive intelligence (CI), a moral intelligence (MI), an emotional intelligence (EI), aesthetic intelligence (AI), etc. Then I believe we ought to have a Fearlessness line of intelligence or defense intelligence (DI); it would be similar to Fear Quotient, if not homologous.

Kumar: Back to my point. Normal crimes of 1988 had normal fears. Now different crimes like that emerging from cyberspace are dangling over our heads.

“fearism-t (toxic form) is the core issue at hand. All crime in one way or another is going to add fearism-t to the social fabric and destroy social trust—and, fearism-t is basically the more subtle form of terrorism.”   -R. Michael Fisher

 Fisher: The everywhere and nowhere kind of fear atmosphere since cyberspace was generated is definitely taxing us in new ways.

 Subba: I have listed this in my 2014 book “Cyberphobia- fear of computers or working on a computer” [4] but now in this context of Fearcriminalysis discourse beginning, I can see this psychological disorder from the DSM-IV manual must change to include the larger sociocultural and political implications, all of which advance the quantum of fear, as Maria suggested. In my book I neglected to mention cyberterrorism directly, but I say “The [new] modern fears are the products of new inventions for the protection from fears and avoiding fears….Some fears have been minimised, but many new fears have been added. It is moving around in a full circle [cycle]. We are entangled with it.” [5] In general, “the world’s become the victim of a great fear. To rescue the world from such quicksand, its sources have to be identified and they have to be reinterpreted” through a fearist perspective/lens [6]….

 Fisher: And mapped as the 1988 authors above point to, we need better research to entangle the Fear Problem and cycle of Fear analytically, never mind emotionally and philosophically. I think Desh you said it well in your evolutionary and historical mapping of the Fear Ages. Your sixth age is “Cyber Fear Age,” in which you begin that description of that age based on Prof. Dr. Gobinda Raj Bhattari whom you quote: “Cyber has a big role in transplantation of psychological fear and [an] even bigger role to wage psychological wars,” [7] like cyberterrorism.

 Kumar: I agree with Desh, that the quantum of fear high levels, which police forces and military and governments generally come across, are due to three interrelated complex factors: 1) Technological 2) Socioeconomic and, 3) Legal. For example,

  • With the advent of CCTV/AI/robotics, privacy of the individual is at stake. Fear of being watched is ubiquitous. There are the threats of identity theft, computer frauds etc. that pose new fears, adding accumulatively and qualitatively, not merely quantitatively, to traditional fears.
  • As Hawking noted, socioeconomic inequality increases with the accumulation of much of wealth in a few hands, thereby leading to more economic uncertainties and insecurities like joblessness and to the rise of a new vulnerable class called the precariat. So, again more crimes, accompanied by fears and we get that cycle of fear that Desh referred to. Like Macbeth’s fear of ghosts, people tend to nurse feelings of fear, more through imagining shadows than actual crimes but the crimes are still there and increasing in complexity and interrelationships.

  • To regulate technological proliferation and its repercussions, senators naturally happen to come up with more laws, creating and defining new crimes, hence more fears.

I feel that this is the general cycle of Fear scenario. But the problem is that the society seldom recognizes that police alone cannot tackle every crime and fear. Criminogenic factors lie elsewhere like in socioeconomic environment, socializing processes, psychological makeup, international relations among countries, unbridled enactment of laws, unnecessary curbs or restrictions on lifestyles etc.

Fisher: Thus, the need for the whole society to take responsibility and develop a good fear management/education programming everywhere, so that citizens at the foundation of society can become more response-able to handle safety and security needs, as well as initiate desires for a quality of life that no longer feeds on and depends on the cycle of Fear, but rather grows based on a Fearlessness Paradigm.

Kumar: For example, recent news points out that crime in Holland is declining so much that their prisons are being closed up. I think fear might have also diminished in Dutch society commensurately. It may reveal new realities if we can check up the state of these reports over there [8].

Fisher: One perspective on this is that Holland has overall promoted an advancing critical consciousness and evolution of thinking that few countries have. I’m not sure why that is, but some studies show this progressive thinking there. Which doesn’t mean they haven’t other kinds of problems too, because they do. I do agree they can serve perhaps as an image of possibility, a model, to some degree. I didn’t know it’s particular effective reforms to reduce crime and fear, improve safety, as you mention Maria.

Subba: I think Fearcriminalysis will be a hard conception to be listened to by others, especially in policing but there are some good signs slowly happening like in the UN Peace Keeping forces recently in Sudan, where fearism is being introduced. However, for all of us promoting this shifting consciousness regarding the role of fear, it is going to take time. It will be slow. Recently I gave an interview in Sewa Ro talk show. I said "Geeta" [i.e., Bhagava Gita] says "without expecting good result just do work." Similarly Marxism says "do labour." Why do work ? It is not mentioned. Cause and effect is popular word in Philosophy. Beyond cause and effect, there is more cause. I mean when we do work, we get wages. Work is cause and effect is wages. Behind work there is more cause, and that is fear. This fear motivates in a positive way to explore the world creatively and make it a better place with less excess fear and anxieties. In relativity theory, there must be a base. Without a base relativity cannot exist. Fear is the base of all cause. All activities are relatives of this phenomena. 

When society and governments are enlightened with a new idea, the new idea explores new solutions. Fearcriminalysis is like that, we just have to keep doing the work, without expecting good results, at least not right away.

Back to Michael’s earlier question, I do agree with Maria that fear of crime and fear of violence is becoming a hottest topic everywhere not only in Canada. Particularly the climate of fear in Canada is different, I suspect, than in Nepal. Major fears are similar but minor fears not similar. Nepal never faced fear of terrorism much but we certainly faced fear of civil war. The form of civil war encourages a trend of terrorism almost more so. I’ll tell you what happened in my home country Nepal. In 1995, allies of the communist parties put 52 demands to Congress government. Allies of communist party became Maoist later.

Nepali Government ignored their demands, underestimating them. That time communists didn't have even a rifle. Government thought they are powerless, can’t do thing. This was big mistake. If government, try to come to positive dialogue, try to listen demands, even if they cannot solve all conflicts with opposition groups, they can begin to be more positive and cooperative to avoid greater problems with security issues later. Because of government’s arrogance 12000 people directly lost lives and billions lost in values property. 

Rise of crime and terrorism must be closely related to civil war of Nepal. Nepal has not done anything much about the growing fear. There is no data of fear, maps or good analysis. There is an insidious climate of fear, unemployment, disease, poverty and all contribute to a sense of national hopelessness. Natural climate and weather crises cannot be easily changed. But a social climate of fear is not unchangeable. 

Fisher: Thanks for the history lesson in Nepal, which is probably like a lot of other countries under similar political, economic and historical challenging conditions. What stands out for me from this 1988 report, which I believe is still totally relevant, at least in the West, is that fearism-t (toxic form) is the core issue at hand. All crime in one way or another is going to add fearism-t to the social fabric and destroy social trust—and, fearism-t is basically the more subtle form of terrorism.

And terrorism I define in a much broader way than do the legal justice and state security discourses. It is not merely a political or ideological act against society or the state authorities. Terrorism is a psychosocial process whereby someone (e.g., criminal), who is already terrified and been so terrified by others, whether they know they are or not, acts out means whereby they spread their terror to the rest of the world. In a way, they are “sharing” their fear/terror and the wounding underneath it. In a way, they are looking to get attention from others, from authorities, even from the police. Sure they also want power, but who doesn’t?  

However, most terrorism exists not in the ‘big’ criminal acts of blowing up a bomb in the public square or kidnapping and killing journalists or government people or hi-jacking a plane, but terrorism has its roots in and more subtle form in fearism-t. The ‘small’ acts of someone who is afraid spreads their fear through lying, stealing, cheating, bullying, scaring, and/or other forms of abuse, some which is nearly impossible to pin down and label so clearly. It is even more subtle how fearism-t spreads fear contagion and how the quantum of fear increases so rapidly. One example of the benign spread of fear that I detest is when people in the community you live, and this happened to me living in Carbondale, IL in the USA the past nine years, tell “stories” and spread “news” as if they are helping out to avoid crime, or bad weather like tornado’s as possibilities. Yes, there is always a possibility of some horrible event and we should be cautious. But they would send me and the community members emails about the next warning, and the next possible and there was a crime here and so on. After awhile, this scared me too in deep almost somatic unconscious ways I didn’t want to be scared over.

Because I want to assess things without all of other people’s fear on top—even if they are trying to be helpful. I found that kind of “news” unhelpful, and I felt a bit bad being critical of their tactics because they argued they were being good responsible citizens helping to warn others. They defended their position when I challenged them. But something was really out of balance in those communities of “do gooders” as they are kind of like the first-warning responders for a community.

Well, it is hard to say they were bad or doing crime in any way. At least, not from a normal position of examining their behavior. However, from the critical consciousness of attempting to slow down or stop the quantum of fear cycling, that is, the climate and culture of fear, there is a moral and just reason that these tactics should be challenged and stopped if necessary. Yet, only Fearcriminalysis could really make a good case against what these people are doing. Law is useless, and police wouldn’t even touch such a case as being illegal or against bylaws of the cities.

To its credit, in part, Law, at least in the West, has long been attempting to create more and more definitions of forms of “abuse” and making them illegal. But we simply can’t make a law against every abuse and harder still is then trying to enforce it. Because so much abuse and hurting takes place in private homes and relationships that are part of families, workplaces, school systems and everyday interactions in neighborhoods.

So what do you two think of calling “fearism-t” what it is, that is—the foundation of terrorism? Would law and criminology and policing be open to this idea? Wouldn’t it help better frame an understanding of the social problem of fear that the 1988 report described? What do you think?

Kumar:  Yes, I think so. We may call fearism-t as the foundation of terrorism. Art of War strategist Sun Tzu said, ’kill one and terrify one thousand.’ And this tag line has become the unfortunate fundamental base of terrorism. One of the main objectives of terrorism is to spread fear.

Fisher: And, to do it with the minimum of resources and greatest efficacy. I think every good military leader would say something similar; even if they may sound less radical and extremist than a “terrorist” type. We know counterterrorism is an accepted and rationalized part of most every form of government, no matter what ideology and political stripes or histories—the tactics of terrorism and counterterrorism are fearism-t when you boil it down to the basics. Much conflict and out-and-out war is based on it. That’s where the problem is deep rooted and no one side can claim to be the ‘angel.’ All contribute their share to the social problem—the Fear Problem. If police forces and criminology as a whole, including Law, could begin to see their contribution to fear production, even when they may think they are not doing so, then that would at least be an admission to start the journey of recovery from this mess.

Kumar: A terrorist by nature is a sadist. There may be a good thief, good cheat, good fraudster, good drunkard etc., but not a good terrorist. Because he wants to see others stricken by fear, panic, terror and so on. The easiest and worst way to realize his motive is to get media to sensationalize through publicity his thoughts, words and deeds, however minor it could be - like issuing threats and warnings, burning of an unclaimed bike or a simple hoax. This kind of attention of public threatening becomes oxygen for which terrorists survive, strive and thrive.

Law, criminology and policing also endorse this view in that the law itself defines terrorism in terms of such and such an act that causes extreme alarm, over-awe, anxiety, fear, threat, panic etc. Criminology looks at terrorism as a serious crime because it is an embodiment of genesis of terror and the power that accompanies it.

Coming to the proposed premise of Fearcriminalysis, I also concur that it will certainly help better if we can create an understanding of the social problem of fear. Ultimately, we have to keep asking: What causes a terrorist to wage their kind of ruthless and barbaric war against the society?

A young Fearologist team may someday be lured by this dialogue to do something creative. We can do more work on family and society terrorism.    -Desh Subba

Subba: Right. This is the philosophical “cause and effect” issue that a philosophy of fearism can analyze probably better than other ways, and other philosophies that have not given such attention to fear and its role.

Kumar: To my mind, one of the main reasons appears to lie in economics, much like the Marxian view of economic determinism. As one economist professed, poverty anywhere in the world is a threat to prosperity everywhere in the world. We see many of the terrorists are a disgruntled lot, on the move to avenge the society. As has been known, no one is more dangerous than the one who has nothing to lose. Persons of such background are likely to form a major chunk of terrorist cadres, who don’t hesitate to use any nefarious means to achieve their objectives.

Therefore, one of the efforts on the part of fearologists should be to explore and plot how the potential perpetrators of terrorism could be identified so that the steps to thwart the prognosis of infection could be taken before hand.

“Policemen should not get panicky themselves. Don’t use unnecessary force and don’t create further panic.”

-B. Maria Kumar

Fisher: Yes, that’s a great challenge for fearologists, terrorologists, traumatologists, victimologists and criminologists—for starters—who have to learn to work collaboratively in the future. Then we have to get research accomplished and good critical thinking into the hands of the people on the front lines “fighting” the battles of crime and trying to maintain civil life and order. I am also optimistic that “the people” will, for better or worse, take “order” into their own hands if the authorities don’t. On the better side of that, are civil protests for new laws and policing policies and security priorities. I am thinking of the recent walkout of 1 million school students in America because they believe the gun laws in the US are not working for them, not protecting their schools from mass gun murders, etc. Yet, sadly, such protests are not accompanied by an improved fear management/education, which needs to happen below the Gun Problem, which is a Fear Problem at root. Why are people carrying guns around in the first place? There has yet to be the critical awareness in students, faculties and/or in the media and public leaders that cover and discuss these protests that what our societies need is to “fight for” an improved Fear Quotient or Defense Intelligence as I call it in my writing. So much still to be done educationally. Unfortunately, guns and violence and terrorism that is ‘big news’ and dramatic gets all the attention and resources, and fear management/education and the problem of fearism-t, gets left behind in the shadows and denied importance.

Subba: I agree with Michael that terrorists are already terrified and sharing their fear/terror within victimization. That’s a dangerous situation when they start carrying deadly weapons. In my view terrorist are victimized by some community, government, race, religion. According to them they are suffering from injustice. In the primary stages they had no rifles like Maoists of Nepal. Slowly gathering they get support from their group and grow and add technologies and economic support to their goals. This is the problem. When a small problem grows without good interventions, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to solve later. Mix up and conflict with many sources like political, international game, economic, ego, jealous, hatred, revenge. It makes the problem very big. Through terrorist attacks they want to draw attention, collect support, take revenge, create dramatic explosions, nurture hatred and fear, etc. 

Like our dialogue as example, there needs to be open ideas and follow through with respect and actions. Sometimes human beings become so hard. They keep a permanent pillar of protection around their heart, and they don’t want to move. When they start to move, then there are chances to solve the problem. If it cannot be solved, the problems over time, one day, they become a fire that burns the earth and all that remains are ashes in our hands. 

Fisher:  We need to think not just in short-term, but long-term effects to everything we do. I want to change the course of dialogue just a bit. “We are not bad, we are frightened.” – Jeanne Segal, a progressive spiritual psychotherapist [9] wrote in 1985, and it is one of my all-time favorite quotes to provoke critical thought. It is 33 years ago. Wow. I have used it often in my publications; but no one, to my surprise, ever seems to get the grit and importance of what she is claiming as a potential truth or working hypothesis.

I would like either of you to respond to this in the context of our rich discussions of what Fearcriminalysis might be, and regarding our terrorism discussion here. Go for it.

Kumar: Yes Michael! You have very thoughtfully caught hold of a clever observation made by Jeanne Segal. How I interpret it is that she put forth her assertion as an anti-thesis to what Burke quoted long ago. He stressed, ’the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ He felt that bad things continue to happen as long as the people including the good, do not oppose the bad. Since evil is ignored, it grows further and spreads farther. So, in a way the so-called good men also come to be treated as bad. But Jeanne refutes saying that it doesn’t mean such people are bad just because they couldn’t oppose bad things. They are also good but they are not in a position to put up resistance since they are too frightened and forced to remain hapless and helpless without being allowed to take a step forward externally but they are intrinsically still imbued with righteous virtues that inspire. Their condition is like the truth that unfolds slowly. As Churchill said, ’A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.’

The fight against terrorists is going on across the world and millions and millions of people, though not explicitly seen or felt due to unseen reasons by way of being put to fear or whatever, continue inspiring millions of policemen to take on the evil triumphantly. That’s what Jeanne’s quote implies, I suppose.

Fisher: From the first dialogue on Fearcriminalysis in this series I began with, “I  am intrigued by the long standing traditional ethic in law, be it judges or police officers that they are to do their duty ‘without fear or prejudice.’ Easier said than done.” From what you are saying above Maria, there has to be a realistic adjustment of ideals. Whereby we have to realize that people, including police, will at times be too fearful in certain situations, conditions, contexts, to apply law as it should be applied, and to do what Burke would have wanted in a humanistic and democratic society—that is, that we not act unnecessarily from our fear or terror, and panic and thus end up not making the best or most just responses. From what I understand it has long been part of criminal law to assess the “illegal” acts of the accused under the law, not only assessing judgement and/or penalties based on the letter of the law, but also on psychological circumstances. If someone was, arguably, so fearful due to reasonable cause in a situation, the judge will give them less of a sentence or even let them off the hook of the crime.

Now, if we had police training and civilian education from the start that taught us how to develop the highest Fear Quotient or Defense Intelligence, then arguably when under stresses we would nearly all respond so much better, more just, more lawful, more democratic. Research on people in emergencies shows, if I recall, that on average only about 10% or so actually can lead, operate intelligently and flexibly in such times and not let fear overwhelm them, at least during the critical period of required action. Maria, I know that you have written on important psychological principles that ought to be taken into account in your book on law and order, which is translated into English, could you share a bit of that material as it is relevant to this series.  

Kumar: In my 17th book [10], Application of Psychological Principles in Maintenance of Law and Order, I was covering a number of broad topics but fear was in this discussion. As we all know, policing involves interactions with people. Policemen or policewomen are supposed to deal with behaviours of various types of people during the course of their day-to-day duties, and at the time of emergency operations. Therefore, handling situations by a psychological approach does matter most in any enforcement activity and it is incumbent on the police to take recourse to psychological skills and techniques in the interest of quality policing.

So I have dealt with policing in this book exclusively from a psychological perspective touching upon topics ranging from common sense to crowd behaviour, stress management to human management, persuasion to negotiation, police-public relations to attitudinal aspects, morale-motivation-discipline-welfare-leadership on the part of policemen to interrogation etc. From our dialogue’s point of view, relevant are some excerpts from my book such as the following four items:

1).Controlling Panicky Situations

Regarding panicky situations, police should be extra-cautious. The origin of panic should be found out and eliminated. In such circumstances, the police commander himself should not get panicky as a rule. Rumor mongers should be identified and dealt with sternly. There should be public announcements through public address system and media. It should be made by the way of explaining the facts. All efforts are must to restore confidence in the public. Panic stricken people could be given proper clarification about realities. And the most important part is to uplift morale and give courage to policemen under the command of police leader.

2).Handling Panic 

  • Find out the origin and eliminate it.
  • Announcements to be made through public address system by explaining actual situation and an assurance should be given to the panic stricken in order to uplift their spirits and confidence levels.
  • Rumor mongering should be stopped.
  • Peace Committee meeting should be convened and cooperation of the people should be sought.
  • Take the panic stricken people along for clarification of the realities at the very source of panic. 
  • Instill courage and confidence into law enforcement officials under command. 
  • Divide the whole force ( contingent) into sections and entrust different officers to handle different areas to ease fears.
  • Immediate foot and mobile patrolling by armed police and fixed pickets in hypersensitive areas will alleviate public fears. 
  • Policemen should not get panicky themselves. Don’t use unnecessary force and don’t create further panic.
  • Restore communication. 
  • Panic creators should be dealt with sternly.

 3).Rumor Handling /Public Opinion/Propaganda

 Counter the rumors

  • Truth to be told to the people if it has positive effect.
  • Mischievous elements who spread rumors should be detained. 
  • Denial of rumors through public announcements, tv, loud hailers, newspapers, radio etc.
  • Disinformation technique.
  • Preemptive arrests rumor mongers.
  • Police intelligence to be activated.
  • Deploy persons of credibility to counter rumors.
  • Administer vaccine against fake news.

 4).Media to be Used to Help Police 

 Create positive opinion amongst public 

  • Boost police image 
  • Contradict rumors 
  • Caution people against criminals 
  • Identify the missing/ absconders
  • Help people understand police better 
  • Promote public trust in police 
  • Help people during natural calamities 
  • Act as check on police efficiency and against police inertness 
  • As source of information! [10]

 Subba: I have curiosity to read Maria’s books. It seems attractive and useful to cure fear problems. It will be inspiring and a motivational source for some governments, communities and leaders. I think a young Fearologist Team might be lured by this entire dialogue to do something creative. We can do more work on family, society terrorism. What we are discussing is based on international terrorism often. Terrorism has multiple aspects and we have to look from more than one lens. One lens cannot see everything obviously. We have to be more alert. 




  1. Fisher, R. (1998). Culture of ‘fear’: Toxification of landscape-mindscape as meta-context for education in the 21st Technical Paper No. 7. Vancouver, BC: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
  2. Moore, M. H., & Trojanowicz, R. C. (1988). Policing and the fear of crime. Perspectives on Policing, No. 3, 1-7.
  3. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris, p. 66.
  4. , p. 338.
  5. , p. 20.
  6. , p. 65.
  7. , p. 42.
  8. Go to: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dutch-prisons-are-closing-because-the-country-is-so-safe-a7765521.html
  9. Segal, J. (198 ). Living beyond fear: A tool for transformation. Hollywood, CA: Newcastle, p. 88.
  10. Go to: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/Madhya-Pradesh-IPS-officer-B-Maria-Kumar-releases-his-17th-book/articleshow/48505634.cms
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Here is the 4th Technical Paper in the series of five articles on ecocriticism: "Fearanalysis and Ecocriticism in the Light of Terrorcriticism" (Technical Paper No. 69). See Abstract below. 

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 69


Abstract – After a brief review of the author’s conceptualization and praxis of fearanalysis (different but analogous to psychoanalysis), he applies this method to ecocriticism (especially, Estok’s “Ecophobia Hypothesis”) in the “Age of Terror.” A study of books using “Age of Terror” in their title and other discourses on “terror” (especially, but not only post-9/11), convinced the author that there was need for terrorcriticism a new branch of literary criticism contextualized within ecocriticism (but not restricted to it), that could offer useful critical analysis of the “Age of Terror” discourses and representations of terror and the human-planetary future. Fearanalysis as previously configured is being challenged to expand to a greater inclusivity of excess-extremes for the 21st century (e.g., an “Age of Terror”), of which terror conceptualization and its problematics provides a most useful platform to the author’s agenda of promoting the global Fearlessness Movement for manifesting a “Fearless Age.”


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I have just written and published Technical Paper No. 64, entitled "Fearism" as an analysis of the literature of scholars in global migration studies. Below is the Abstract for this technical article:


 Although terrorism was coined in the French Revolution over 200 years ago, fearism has emerged in scholarly and popular culture in the past 25 years, articulating a new critical perspective on the nature and role of fear. This is the first review study of scholars using “fearism” overall but with a focus on uses and misuses within the fields of global Migration, Ethnic and Citizenship Studies (MECS). The 13 MECS’s publications reviewed, with the first use of fearism in 2009, indicate discourses conform closely, yet with differences which require conceptual and theoretical clarification. MEC’s discourses suggest we ought to think critically about fearism as a postmodern complex concept, phenomena, analytic framework, discourse, rhetoric, ideology, imaginary and matrix, with historical, traumatic, sociopolitical and cultural implications for migration problematics in the 21st century. Nearly 80% of the MECS’s authors, more or less, quoted and/or cited the same excerpt, that is, a 24-word definition of fearism (Fisher, 2006, 51). Unfortunately, the excerpt is a truncated definition, when the original definition is more complex and radical as contextualized by Fisher. This author recommends how to correct this truncated, often inaccurate, reading of Fisher’s original definition which MECS’s discourses tend to rely upon.  

  Keyword:  fearism, fear, fear management, hidden curriculum, migration


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If I was to do a fearanalysis on how societies categorize "terror" via its association with terrorism and terrorists, i would say it usually makes sense only on the surface. Once you penetrate through the political discourses (and their psychological defense mechanisms), you come to see a lot of not making much sense in how so-called "terrorists" are labeled and how so-called "terrorism" is used and manipulated by all sorts of people (especially the elite power players, like military, and political leaders and their corporatist friends). Yet, we all are susceptible to playing with these terms, using them, thinking with them--often without a lot of nuance or critically.

I won't go into my long critique of the use of this term. I have been writing a good deal about that since 1989, more or less, and especially during my dissertation years--and 9/11 really showed me the way the discourse on terrorism gets used and mis-used so quickly in the same breath. Now, just in my last few days in Canada, I am aware of heading back to the USA and the political battles brewing before the 2016 Presidential run-off. I see so much of the Harper conservative leadership regime really getting into this "terrorism" thing as the US elites and culture do, using ISIS and any other movement or actions appropriately connected or not, to get people scared enough so that military western invasions are acceptable nearly anywhere anytime. It's all part of the ongoing construction of the culture of fear phenomenon that I have blogged about on this site before (see for e.g., May 15, June 18, 2015).

My partner (Barbara) just brought the latest issue of Common Ground magazine to share with me, and I open to an article (Letter) entitled: "Understanding Harper's Actions Takes Some Mental Acrobatics" (yes, the west coasters in Canada really are out to get Harper thrown out of office as soon as possible... smile). The author of the article (and it could be so many other authors I have read for decades) really ends up following the oppressive (mis-guided) conformist pattern of critiquing most "terrorists" (who ever may identify and label them) as "disillusioned psycho cases on the margin of society" (p. 13), that is, when they are gunman, mass murderers, and not so clearly identified with a so-called political "terrorist organization"--and yet, that all becomes a murky distinction. The author was referring to those individuals who have attacked Canada's parliament buildings in recent years. Okay, now what does that mean(?)-- "psycho case" . And is that not a cutting hurtful label to give someone who chooses (more or less) to not participate and support the mainstream of society? And, are not the politically motivated so-called terrorists (e.g. ISIS) also folks who have chosen (more or less) to not participate and support the mainstream of society that they live in and chose not to support Western militarization and global capitalization of their countries? They are all resistors. Now, people can call them terrorists, and can call them "psycho cases" and compare the two-- but what attitude is making the judgment. It is one based on fear and it is a nasty way to make all these people 'Other' (reproducing "fear of Other" as postmodern and postcolonial critics have argued is a one-way ticket to hatred and violence in some form).

It astounds me, how unable (unwilling) and fear-full the smartest people are (our leaders?), when it comes to a sophisticated understanding and representation of people who don't fit in the margins. When are we going to listen to them (enough, a lot, a little) so that we don't just write them off as "terrorists" or "psycho cases" and actually work with the larger systems reality that they are us, in some way, in some larger more systematic ecology of consciousness and life--and, equally take responsibility that 'We' have created them for the exact reason to confront 'Us' to see what we are creating as a system. Any good family or organizational therapist knows this problem of scape-goating, and so do social critics who see it as another way to distance ourselves from the pathologies of the mainstream production system itself. Yes, I'd really like to do a fearanalysis of how we don't make sense making sense... you gotta laugh, you gotta cry.... we are so far away from the Intelligence we need yet as a society to really change, transform and heal a legacy of "fear of the Othering" that is chronic.

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