Scarred for Life--by Fear(?)


The above is an excerpt from a popular article online which really raises interesting questions for a philosophy of fearism, a philosophy of fear, and philosophy of fearlessness? 

The field of "epigenetics" is a field of knowledge construction, largely out of the biogenetics-psychology domains, with its own biases in how it understands fear and how it understands trauma etc. 


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  • [JUST FOR THE RECORD, Dr. Eddyman who runs the website where I posted my response to Fox, I see has removed my comment for no reason; I guess he doesn't want any controversy or real critiques of articles he posts; too bad. -rmf Dec. 3/18] 

    Oh, I just couldn't help critiquing this article by Lisa Fox (2018) on this topic, as the first paragraph of it is so distorting. So I posted a Comment reply on that article page and hopefully they may publish it. Here it is: 


    Fox's article on "epigenetics of fear" is important. Her reporting, albeit, seemingly quite innocent and journalistic like does offer us food for thought on the nature and role of fear--especially, across generations. Big stuff!

    Fox, however, makes several problematic assumptions and points to begin her article. And, it verges on the unethical as far as I am concerned. Granted, most people will read it as an "information" article without the critical analysis. But as a fearologist I bring a critical lens to what anyone says, writes, teaches about fear.

    I'll be very brief, in regards to where Fox takes the reader right off the start is the dangerous sliding slope of one of the dynamics of a "culture of fear" (which is now, pervasive, according to many researchers and myself). She raises more fear in the discussion about fear...despite her intent to minimize the fear-problem (i.e., epigenetics of fear): "you could [as a parent, for e.g.] potentially pass down to your children or grandchildren" the epigenetic marks of fear on your DNA because of your fearful (traumatic) experiences. Okay, is that not a good opening line to really get parents freaking out? Yeah, it is a way to get the ever-shortage and valuable ATTENTION of a reader--using a fear-appeal advertising (journalistic) technique. It is already a fear-based way of manipulating the readers brain/mind (distress system)... so, right from that point, I am very critical to how Fox crafts this article. Again, Fox is like 99.99% of writers who do this when the topic is on "fear." As a fearologist, I pick-up on these inconsistencies in how one tries to help with the current Fear Problem in society and ends up using approaches that feed the fear. Not cool!

    I give credit that Fox uses "might" and "potentially" in her opening paragraph, and so an astute reader may pick that up, but not likely, because the photo image of the women with her hands over her face that accompanies the article is an immediate "trigger" (warning) that this is about being frightened and this "look" and "feel" is what we will end up like--at least, that's how I read that very victimized image of no agency but a passivity before the experience(s) of fear that come into anyone's life. There is no empowered image of this women shown only the victimization--and, that's what newspapers and others use, is these kinds of victim-images to raise (trigger) fear in readers and viewers to get their fear-antennae going and remind them of their own fear (and trauma) at the start. It's again, fear-appeal, if not despair-appeal advertising. Then the article goes on to promote all kinds of products for sale for supposedly 'helping' those of us so distraught as the image of this women in the image. Fear and money go together in a culture of fear--almost everyone uses it for marketing and consumers are sucking it up for the most part without critical analysis. Thus, fearology is one way to provide the education on how to better critique things like this piece of media (curriculum).

    There is so much more to be said about the problematic means of Fox's communication in this article. Here are just a few more: (1) next paragraph, she writes "diseases such as anxiety" --oh, who says so? When has anxiety become automatically a disease? Under who's authority can that claim be made? Especially, this is sloppy research without the distinction of neurotic anxiety and existential anxiety or unhealthy vs. healthy anxiety, (2) "heightened fear responses" is made the crux of the problem of the "diseases" (e.g., PTSD)...and, sure, that's the common sense wisdom on that causal effect; however, I present a whole different scenario of the causes of the problem of chronic-fear-patterning (e.g., neurotic anxiety, anxiety disorders, PTSD, etc.)--and, that's a complex topic but let me at least share with you all that "heightened fear responses" are not in and of themselves the problem that leads towards an epigentics of fear problems--or diseases based on fear in excess in chronic condtions--no, the real problem is an educative one that there are 6 fear responses in human beings as a social species that evolution has nicely equipped us with--the problem is, our societies (especially) in the W. world only give us two fear-responses in our general common sense education--that is, flight or fight (maybe freeze is mentioned)--but there are three other fear-responses (at least) that are not taught to us and thus it is to our detriment: 1. tend and befriend, 2. fearlessness, 3. fearless (for more information on these see my teaching video

    rmf Nov. 22/18

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