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The latest "white powder" in the mail hoax threats against Muslim Organizations this week and now the closing down of the entire LA School System in Calif by Education Officials... you really have to look at the twisting of discourse that is going on... which was well studied by myself (as a fearologist) after 9/11 and others like Gavin de Becker (a security expert in the US) and others... It comes down to the way knowledge is used in these "credible" (or more like incredible) "threats" to public safety... and how Officials in those domains of society make decisions. Without a doubt, LA Education officials are showing us all just how much they didn't learn their lessons after 9/11 as the entire W. world (especially in USA but also Canada) "panics" again, more or less. 

A long blog post could be written about this moral (safety) panic phenomenon, which is the "culture of fear" by any other name showing just how un-intelligent it is in the face of fear, terror, and then in contrast with what is merely a threat of fear and terror initiated by someone (as a criminal act). The "terrorists" today gotta be laughin' all the way to the bar, or wherever else they are celebrating the power of an email threat on a few school districts in the USA ... btw, New York Mayor and Officials (not in Education) decided there is no way they would close down schools broad brush like they did in LA. And, there is no facts or close to facts that show any real difference in these two localities, except that in the context of LA, it is the power of Education Officials to shut down or open schools, which is not apparently the same as in NY where the Mayor only has that power. I mention this because Education is the field I work in as a professional and to which I have been attempting to educate them on the role of fear and its irrationality for 14 + years. 

I keep thinking of the "costs" of the LA School-based Authorities today, acting on an email threat. You want to read a few of their "reasons" which always come down to the same thing... (when under pressure of the fear of being sued if they don't keep kids safe at schools--or the "but if something bad does happen?" -- all of which are xtreme applications of the "precautionary principle"--but that is another argument for another time)... I keep thinking what do the children and youth and families of entire city as big as LA take home from staying home... because of an email? Talk about terrorizing one's own people in the name of "safety first"... that's always the reason the Officials gave after 9/11, including going to War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq and the mess of costs that has produced (likely Islamic State bred upon that error of the US illegal invasions into sovereign nations). 

Tell me, Education Officials, now what... there was no attack today... but what about tomorrow... and the next day? and next... now what are you going to do? what money (for one) are you going to spend to try to keep every child and youth safe in your school systems... and then, are you going to try to keep them safe when the walk home from school or go somewhere else after school and what then, are you going to do ... any time, any place... you see, it is a slippery slope of irrationality that is winning the day... not intelligence, not intelligent Defense, or Security... it is madness caused by moral and safety panic (assumptions)... of course, the Officials can always throw it back at me or anyone who critiques them as "What would you do if you were in our place?" ... that's of course a distractive argument that goes no where because it doesn't exist and because they don't really care what I would do ... because they would never let me get into power in that place where they sit and make these kinds of decisions and cover them with "reasons" based on patterns (i.e., fear-patterned) Discourses. That's what I want to end with... 

To end this initial blog, I want to put this distinction about Discourses... that came to me while reading only one news blog on this LA action (and NY reverse action)... it is that we citizens, leaders of all kinds, have to be honest about what is going on in a culture of fear--denial is deadly. The so-called "reasons" are that people have to be making "rational" and "reasonable" and "responsible" choices to protect the absolute safety of all their children and youth who are students under their care during a school day... but let us not be fooled (not anymore after what we learned in post-9/11)... that "Safety-Discourse" (or argument they make) is a "Fear-Discourse" in disguise, and their "Rational-Responsibility-Discourse" is a masked nightmare which is really "Irrational-Irresponsible-Discourse." 

They use language that is false and highly destructive. Anyone in high fear (panic) will do this to justify what they have done. In my view, and many others in the security business, and who study fear and social moral panics in a culture of fear... all of them will tell you how fear-based and irrational it is to do what the LA Education Officials did today... and one can only imagine how long they will keep doing it and/or other school districts will do likewise... I don't buy it for a minute that "safety first" is the only "first" value on the block... on the table... no, my friends, and fellow educators, what is first is Intelligence ... a good assessment of risks and costs... that actually comes before trying to secure safety... that's what all security experts will tell you... but when people are in fear of being sued because something horrible happens (and US society is really good at that-- finding someone to blame and sue)... then you have Fear running the entire program... and Educators of all, are people who should be well-educated about risk, fear, danger and their interrelationships. I have been trying to get Education Officials everywhere to listen to what good education exists out there... and how to operate from fearlessness not fear... in making any decision about anything... I always believed (ha ha) that Education was about fostering Intelligence... you can see what I am a big believer that Fear-Discourse rules Education (and has for a very long time)... 

Give me a shout... if you all want to know more... if you want to challenge me... go for it... respond on this blog, or email me rmfisher.88[at]frontier.com

Oh, and Pres. Obama, you may want to look at my book I sent you near a yr. ago, offering to "educate" yourself and your governments on fear and fearlessness... that is, Intelligence as "first" and Safety as "second" (or third, or fourth)... that's another debate... a long one... for another time... 

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  • Btw, myself and Desh Subba as co-author, have just published Technical Paper No. 57 from the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute... entitled: TERRORISM: A GUIDE TO FEARFUL TIMES BASED ON A PHILOSOPHY OF FEARISM. Below is an Abstract and short few paragraphs of the Introduction... for a full copy go to http://csiie.org/mod/page/view.php?id=3 and scroll down for pdf. 

    Abstract 

     

    The authors, each with their own independent history of study of fear and fearlessness have recently been in dialogue (Fisher living in America as a Canadian; Subba living in Hong Kong as a Nepalese) and are creating a synthesis of a growing movement called philosophy of fearism (Fisher and Subba, 2016). This philosophy, an extension of existential philosophy, is shown in this technical paper to offer new insights and perspectives to better understand the nature and role of fear (and fearlessness) in shaping human evolution and current problems like terrorism and violence and conflict. With recent attacks by so-called “terrorists” (i.e., extremists) in France and California (USA) in late 2015, with politico-military ramping up of many countries battling ISIS as a so-called “terrorist organization,” there is an urgent call for re-thinking the nature and role of terrorism according to not merely the traditional counter-terrorist hegemony of W. thinking but rather, with a new paradigm, birthed forth from the roots of a philosophy of fearism. This short paper is intended as a first and preliminary guide to people wishing to better understand and act in healthy and sustainable non-fear-based ways in the face of real increasing terrorism. The authors offer both individual and collective suggestions at the end. The context for a philosophy 

    of fearism is based on a historical mapping of the rise and ‘heating up’ of planet earth’s emotional atmosphere with excessive anxiety and other forms like fear/terror/panic/paranoia—and, so it is in this problematic context that we ought to be able to tap the most advanced forms of fear management systems, fear education, fearanalysis, feariatry, and fearology. Ultimately, the authors conclude that terrorism is a philosophy of fearism problem and thus a philosophy of fearism ought to have the best answers to manage, if not end, terrorism in the future. The authors intend in the near future to expand this technical paper into a larger book project as part of inquiry into terrorism and the human Fear Problem.

     

    Philosophy of Fearism in a Crisis Era:

    Brief Introduction

    A philosophy of fearism (Subba, 2014, Fisher and Subba, 2016) is articulated around this emergent need for up-dating existentialism (for. e.g.), and other philosophies, to the 21st century and its imperative demands on how we understand and manage fear/terror. Barrett (1958/90) has brilliantly summarized the postmodern emergence of the philosophy of Existentialism (and Modern Art) as a philosophy brought forth in times of great collective crisis, in which the “irrational” (and arational) aspects of the human condition are overflowing the social-order (containers), and challenging us to see that we are made of—and it turns out, maybe not quite so perfectly “rational” creatures and societies as we would like to think.

     

    We see “fear” (i.e., via fearism) as a sign of the times (an Extreme Fear Age[1]) and a sign of our sociopolitical, environmental and economic crises (e.g., wars, global warming, states being foreclosed on loan debts they cannot pay back) coming from the depths of our being—and, reminding us to not ignore the importance of the irrational and affective dimensions of human nature. Barrett tells us, historically, that new philosophies are born as a reflection of (and revolt against) their times. A philosophy of fearism is just that—made for the 21st century—a century of fear/terror that cannot be ignored. Terrorism is perhaps the perfect “sign” that tells us to re-orient the way we think about everything. From a largely W. European historical perspective, Existentialism, with its postmodern temperament and attitude, attempted the same radical transformation of thinking and



    [1] Subba (2014) has mapped out the ages of Fear (see Figure 1), across human history and concludes that most recently (especially the 21st century) we are in such an Extreme Fear Age (p. 44-45).

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