transformation (3)


Book Covers:               2021                                                                    2018 

I have spent the last 5-6 years studying and writing books on two critical adult educators, also motivational "coaches" and leaders of various endeavors with ethical and emancipatory importance. I'm aware of my energetic (voluntary) devotion as I look at these two books together. It is pretty clear that I am passionate about assessing the people who catch my eye as 'outstanding' human beings, and their ways of educating and promoting agendas that would be labeled by most people as "progressive." 

That said, there is no easy label or box to put either of these two living Americans (first Four Arrows, aka Wahinkpe Topa, aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs; and second, Marianne Williamson) --although, they are both 'radicals' of some sort, even pariahs who stir things up and make many people uncomfortable with their teachings and critiques of society. My aim in these books was not always clear but I wanted to document their contribution, in part, as important historical figures of their time--and, who I believe will have still an ongoing impact of significance in the future. Most decidedly, I took them on as "subjects" of study, in what are books above that I would best categorize as intellectual biographies, because they have articulated a focus on the Fear Problem (as I call it). 

I'm just beginning now, after finishing a few months ago the Williamson book, the comparison and contrast of them and their transformative teaching approaches. Surely, they are both holistic, both spiritual, and so on... yet, I have critiques also all the way through each of these books. Not surprising, I am critical of their partial, and under-theorized, notions of the Fear Problem and its solutions. They certainly have "advanced" tracks they've laid down to work with fear but that falls short of my expectations and my own holistic-integral framing and fearanalysis. Yet, that's all part of the dialogue I wish to have with them and their followers, and their critics--that's what learning is all about. Unfortunately, at this time, Williamson has refused to engage me in conversation about this work. Four Arrows has been gracious and we are continuing to dialogue. 

I suspect in the near future I will do more writing on comparison and contrasts of their work and their personalities that influence their leadership in education generally--but also beyond that, as they are also prophetic voices in our day that have much wisdom to guide societies everywhere towards more sanity, health and sustainability (i.e., maturity of consciousness). They both are well aware the current civilizational trajectory is collapsing and extinction on mass scales is well underway. The future is precarious, to say the least. I encourage all to have a listen to their work. They are both readily available on the Internet sources as well in my books and articles. 

Re: my recent FearTalk #12 with Four Arrows, go to:

Also, I just found this video image and link of Four Arrows back in his younger days and his work with horses (whispering):


go to: 



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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)... 

Entitled: The Great Citizen: Future Process Politics & Learning

[companion video recently: The Great Collapse: How Afraid Should We be?]  Note: my play off the term/concept "The Great" [1] 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)... 


End Note

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, much later Berry wrote a critically important work to many in the holistic movement called "The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future" (2000) [2]; 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, ;

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. 


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Experience of Fear: "The Black Hole"

I just read Chapter 4 in a 2013 dissertation by Merlin B. Thompson, a musician and music educator [1]. This work is an excellent description of a phenomenological-hermeneutical inquiry into the practice of "authenticity" in teaching/learning experiences, but what most interested me is how the researcher was eventually confronted with what they did not previously in their 25 year career look at seriously or critically in a self-reflection. Thompson writes in Chapter 4, "I depart from the previous chapter's personal viewpoint to consider the implications of an additional concept that interrupted my research investigation into the relationship between authenticity and fear" (p. 16). 

I attach the dissertation for your reading, especially of Chapter 4 (and what Thompson comes to call "The Black Hole of Fear" experienced).

I end this short blog with a self-reflective discovery Thompson (2013) made: 

"Fear is not an abstract, objectified concept that somehow manages to superimpose itself upon an individual. Fear is the name given to intensely unpleasant, worrisome, and apprehensive real life reactions that individuals experience for themselves and about themselves. The individual's experience of fear acts like a kind of spotlight that illuminates or draws our attention toward characteristic features of who we are as individuals. Through fear--that is, the experiencing, addressing, overcoming, ignoring, and avoiding of fear--the individual gets important clues regarding one's self, no matter how accurate or inaccurate, noticed or unnoticed, complete or incomplete such clues might be. 

How we respond to fear gives us an indication of who we are as individuals....Fear stimulates or intensifies the individual's self-perception, not by validating or nurturing the individual, but by threatening or disrupting the individual's sense of personal safety and security. With the idea of fear as provoker of personal awareness and authentic disruption in mind, I return to the continuation of the above narrative." (p. 115)

"Looking back at my experience with the eruption of the black hole of fear, the subsequent recognition of a pattern of downgrade-downplay-denial, and finally the purposeful validation of fear as integral to my successful achievements, what stands out is that fear has played an ongoing role in my personal and professional life--much like a disruptive character who appears unexpectedly in the various chapters of my life narrative. More importantly, however, is the observation that the disruption of fear and my ability to accept fear into my life allowed me to develop both philosophical and practical resolutions to the uncertainty, insecurity, and failure associated with the experience of fear. 

Recognizing fear, not as an undesirable tension but as a characteristic of life, there is something appropriate, essential, and self-revealing about the experience of fear that speaks to who we are as human beings, to the individuals sense of self, to authenticity....fear functions as an agent of personal transformation. Fear operates as a catalyst for learning about one's self..." (p. 116)

[I am struck by Thompson's authentic self-reflection and vulnerability in disclosing their relationship to fear, and the turn around to realize Fear is so important to self-awareness and self-knowledge. This is confirming of Subba's philosophy of fearism. And, it reminds me of how the value of Love may also help this process of self-awareness and self-knowledge but Fear is at least equally important in that journey.]


1. Thompson, M. B. (2013). Authenticity, teaching relationships, and Suzuki. Unpublished dissertation. Calgary, AB: The University of Calgary.

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