Book Title: Philosophy Of Fear: A Move To Overcoming Negative Fear
Author: Michael Eneyo
Reviewed by: B.Maria Kumar, India.
Reminding the Hindu mythical Sagar Manthan, this cerebral work stands out as the outcome of the intellectual churning of the mind of the author Michael Eneyo, presenting complicated ideas on fear in a much simpler and tastier form; like Amrit, the divine nectar- ready to be drunk for attaining eternity.
Albeit an arduous task, the author makes his concepts and observations surrounding fear and their analysis interesting as well as captivating. In one of his positive interpretations of biblical verses, he says, “... the coming of Christ was to enthrone love and to encourage his followers not to be afraid as it is recorded in St.Mathew 1:20.” Such is the optimism that reflects his ideation so as to brighten the otherwise dimly lit path of human life.
The best part, explicitly visible in his style of approach, is that he resorted to antithetical treatment of various fear constructs for arriving at holistic reality because unless the opposites are taken into consideration, the enquiry is incomplete.
The author views Subba as fear positivist in the sense that the positive side of fear outweighs the negative and Kalu as fear negativist for the contrary there-to. The author also interprets the stratagem of Kumar and Sushmita as fear negativistic. The three perspectives, according to him, are tinged with opposite orientations, rather in subtle manner. Then he fuses the whole gamut of different viewpoints in the Fisherian crucible of fearlessness, thereby reaching a beautiful philosophical synergy; when he propounds, “.... opposite is a natural characteristic of every being and none can be eliminated.... they necessitate each opposite’s existence.... positive fear must continue to struggle with the negative fear using fearless approach....”
While journeying by the train of his thoughts, the author finds himself in a never ending ‘fear territory’ where he exhibits his unique knack of rhetoric with scintillating coinages like ‘fear conflict’, ‘fear dilemma’, ‘fear climax’ etc. These new vocabularies expand the human mind to understand fear more insightfully as Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist infers from her research that the new words and new dialects do shape the way we think.
In order to elucidate the multifaceted nature of fear more succinctly, the author has intelligently developed a typology of fear, making each segment of category not only unambiguous but also easily comprehensible. The fear that poses as challenge turns creative and proactive and results in productivity whereas that fear which confronts as procrastination gets translated into underdevelopment, he reasons.
‘How fear is generated?’ has been systematically discussed in the chapter on ‘the process of fear’. Like a manufacturing procedure, where one component gets converted into the other by a step-by-step method, fear process also takes its route through six phases, culminating into consequences or effects- kudos to the author for bringing the entire fear genesis to a logically plausible end with ‘reason’ as ‘catalyst’.
Congruent to dual nature of fear as to its positive and negative results, its impact on humans and society has also been examined in both constructive and destructive terms. With the support of corroborative real life examples, the author has undoubtedly succeeded to prove his point that the fear which acts sometimes as a builder of society also turns into a destroyer at times and some other times as a guarantor for success whereas at times becoming responsible for failure.
For managing fear, the author takes recourse to love and courage. Positive love controls positive fear, negative love controls negative fear; he deduces by narrating day-to-day experiences from his home land. He also explains how ‘courage’ suppresses the tensions unleashed by negative fear. He intends to surmise that ethically and morally driven decisions alone can control negative fear. Also, righteous socioeconomic-psychological environment backed by value based educational and legal systems help overcome negative fear.
The last parts of the book enthuse the readers to empathise with Nigerians, pondering over the fact as to how negative fear played havoc resulting in the country’s backwardness, that could not only be rectified but even be bounced to bubbling economic resurgence with dedicated adherence to and spirited application of positive fear.
In essence, I would like to conclude my review by affirming that this wonderful philosophical treatise on fear has been very thoughtfully conceived, logically sequenced, intelligently chaptered, analytically explained and convincingly presented. I admire the cognitive toiling and the intellectual labour that the author Michael Eneyo has put in while crafting this masterpiece.
B. MARIA KUMAR,
Co Author, The Youth Don't Cry,