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Understanding Fearism as Dephilosophy

When I look over a few prior blogs on this site that I have posted, there's the notion that we need a new philosophy of fearism to call out and analyze (as well as resolve) the unique human-fear relationship; which, I often call the Fear Problem. One doesn't want to necessarily be completely negative and cynical about the universal and pervasive role of fear in human existence, but some might not like that I tend to problematize fear ('fear') in that tone. It's a reasonable criticism of my bias. Desh Subba, however, founder of the philosophy of fearism [1], a Nepalese philosopher, novelist, poet, is not quite so negative sounding.

When Subba and Fisher join, there is a new dialogue and perhaps a more 'balanced' tone towards fear. That is our hope as co-authors in our new book [2] and ongoing collaboration. It creates a unique problem for me as I have to continually think through what do I agree with in Subba's work and what do I disagree with, and when is it appropriate to describe either in a piece of writing. So far, my emphasis is on sorting through, and it is not easy, what exactly Subba and I agree on to make this new E-W version of a philosophy of fearism. Currently, we are co-authoring an article on our work to be submitting to a magazine [3]. I want to use this blog to sort through my thinking about a similarity (agreement) Subba and I have in our work, and it revolves around a very powerful notion which Subba (2014) and (2016) [4] has called "dephilosophy" as one of the major (not only) components of applying a philosophy of fearism to other philosophies throughout history. Further, interesting, and somewhat complexifying, Subba (2016) wrote, "Fearism is a dephilosophy" (p. 8). Which means, many things, and I will only touch upon a few here. 

What dephilosophy means for Subba, is a "deconstruction" [5] and "reconstruction" to follow--as a primary methodological approach in a philosophy of fearism (or fearism, for short). Fearism in Subba's mind (and I am becoming more convinced) is a new philosophy of the 21st century, unlike no other philosophy in world history before it. Now, that alone, raises questions as to why this new philosophy (term) arose, almost by emergent random expression, in 1999 in one of Subba's novels [6]. Obviously, Subba had been thinking about the nature and role of fear in human existence for a long time before "fearism" popped up. Like myself, Subba is incredibly serious and dedicated to better our knowledge about fear and its management. I've not met another human being with his conviction and clarity on the topic of fear and unfortunately for the West, it is going to take time and many English translation of his writing in Nepalese (his mother tongue) to absorb the profundity of his work. I feel still an amateur interpreter of Subba's fearism. 

To focus on his fearism as dephilosophy, is to focus on a unique trend within the philosophy of fearism. To state it as simply as I can figure it out, it goes something like this: 

A case can be made, using a philosophy of fearism and its fearist perspective on human life, that all other philosophies that have evolved talk about important topics but they usually only refer to fear as important (if they do) and do so inadequately in relation to empirically how central fear is in shaping human existence. Thus, one of the tasks of fearism as dephilosophy is to deconstruct all the other philosophies and point out to where they focus on certain aspects of human existence and societies, e.g., Marxism and its focus on "class struggle"-- such a philosophy can be deconstructed to show that what Marx was really talking about underneath "class struggle" (classism) as so important is something more important (and left mostly invisible)--that is, "fear struggle" (fearism). [7]

Although I had not come across Subba's work until late in 2014, I had been doing some similar fearanalysis work (as I call it) on all kinds of philosophers, and thinkers in general who wrote about fear, or were writing about some other major concept like "sex" (or sexism) but were not acknowledging that fear was much more important than they were recognizing--or, as in the case with "sex" they were not writing near enough about how sexism is really underpinned by fearism and when they wrote about sexuality, I kept thinking they could easily be writing about fearuality. By 2000 or so, I was seeing fearism as the underpinning of classism, sexism, racism, etc. I wanted the theorists and philosophers writing about the various 'isms' that impact humans to talk about the fear underneath them all. So, in that sense, I too was utilizing a dephilosophy approach, although much less systematic than Subba. 

To keep this depiction of dephilosophy short in this blog, I think that is enough to give readers a sense of where Subba and I are coming from, and one of the major aspects of the work behind fearism as a critique (i.e., as a methodological practice of deconstruction and reconstruction). We believe that fearism can really help humanity free itself from  excessive fear and suffering. This we completely agree with each other on.

I trust, if you are interested further to join us in this project, you'll get in touch with us. Reading our books and articles is a good way for you to gain a better background before you engage us more seriously.  [fearism@gmail.com  and r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com]

End Notes

1. Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.

2. Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first east-west dialogue. Australia: Xlibris. 

3. We have been invited to submit a short piece to the semi-academic (more popular) Philosophy Now magazine. 

4. Subba, D. (2016). Towards philosophy of fearism. Unpublished paper. Trans. Rajendra Subba.

5. Subba (2016) wrote, "Thoughts of deconstruction came into being in the western literature [e.g., Jacques Derrida]" (p. 8). There is no doubt that one can only appreciate the historical sensibility of why fearism arose in consciousness in an Eastern critical thinker (and burgeoning philosopher) like Subba, if one understands that Subba has first and foremost been an accomplished literary figure in Nepal (and beyond). Derrida's deconstruction methodology (if one wants to call it that), is quite unique overall in the history of philosophy, and it is often referred to as a postmodern philosophy--and/or it has greatly impacted postmodern philosophy--and, it's roots are in Derrida's passion to introduce the philosophy of deconstructionism into literary analysis, and literary criticism and theories. It took much longer before the field of philosophy took up Derrida's work and eventually gave it some merit, albeit, it also has received great criticism and dismissal in the field of philosophy. I say this, to add the context by which a philosophy of fearism as dephilosophy is also going to take a long-time to get acceptance anywhere (especially in the West). Fact is, fearism has taken off a lot more in the East (N.E. India to be precise) in literary criticism (see Subba, 2016, and Fisher and Subba, 2016).  

6. It also appeared in my own unpublished work in 1997, as far as I can tell but I never pursued the term until much later. Subba, however, wrote it down and got excited about it as it was highlighted of interest by one or more reviewers of his novel draft in 1999. He is therefore, officially the founder of the term because he developed it systematically and has written the most extensive philosophical text on it (Subba, 2014). 

7. Currently, Subba is working on a dephilosophy of Marxism and plans to work on "dephilosophy of philosophies through [a] fearist perspective" for a long time. His first article  on dephilosophy [in Nepalese] was published on May 4, 2013 in Nagarik Dainik in Nepal (quotes from Subba, 2016, p. 9).

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I just found this new book review of Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016) posted on amazon books by Emmett Coyne, a Catholic priest who is the first person I know to have bought a copy of my book and read it through (note: he is also author of a fascinating book The Theology of Fear): 

By Emmett A. Coyne on February 29, 2016

FEAR is universally pervasive, not only geographically, but it penetrates all levels of human consciousness, unconsciousness, and endeavors. As has been noted, and many would accede the point, fear seems to be rooted in our DNA. DNA is certainly a modern category that seeks to identify the locus of what might be innate to humans. But, to say something is rooted in our DNA seems like it is a capitulation to a fatalistic acceptance of the ways things are. If our view, however, of the human person is dynamic, and not static, then fear need not be the bogey man in our human psyche that holds us prisoner.

 This work, The Philosophy of Fearism, seeks to bring to human consciousness how fear might be brought up from the basement to the living room., from the dark to the light, from an airless, stagnant place to fresh air space. When in the light it can lose some of its power to control, and cause us to wonder how we might better manage fear so that we are less the victim, more the agent.

 This work is a milestone in an east/west conscious consideration of fears many facets. By examining it together we can perhaps become more the subject than the object of fear. The West’s colonialization of ideas can create a blowback. We can be negatively impacted by our isolated analysis. An east/west dialogue allows us to consider how others perceive fear. This is a vital plus as it provokes us to think, reflect beyond the confines of our particular box, to view in a new light.

 

The authors provide us with a ‘new’ vocabulary relative to fear, all of which allows us to be less victimized by fear, to view fear as a force that can be managed. Until recently, fear has been like sex, omnipresent, but which too often the impulse seems to keep us dangling. Sex education has tamed the balky beast. If sex education has allowed persons to manage it for a more holistic life, ought not fear education which these author are promoting, integrate fear in the pantheon of our being? This work will cause one to have new thoughts, considerations about fear, and how its DNA need not necessarily be a negative, unmanageable beast. Again, knowledge liberates.

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Interdisciplinary Conference on Fear Studies (ICFS), would be a first of its kind in the world, in human history. The human Fear Problem is that bad, and anything less than a full interdisciplinary gathering is not going to be enough to turn the toxic concentrations of fear (and 'fear') around to live-able levels. 

I envisioned this ICFS today and thought I'd put it out to people on the FMning, and others who may see this. So contact me if you are interested to explore a role for yourself in this concrete and very important event. It could be one to two or three years down the line for it to fall in place, but it will fall in place and organize... I just don't know when and right now I don't have any solid volunteers to draw upon for any of my research and educational work. And, of course, I'd love to find funding so people don't have to just volunteer either. 

For point of interest, this conference would bring together as many diverse people who study fear (and/or fearlessness) in some way, so they can share their work, get to know each other and build a community to set goals for tackling the "wicked problem" of Fear. I know there are enough people out there working, often in their own isolation more or less--it's a matter of unifying our work and voices--and then, well... just about anything can happen with a team or group or international organization... whatever form evolves.

We have to start somewhere... this would be a conference open also to the public. Historically, this is not the first time I have wished to organize such an event. The major first thrust was in 1994-95, when a colleague [1] and I put many months into trying to get "Learning Under Fire" conference series going as a global event, with the first year being on the "Nature and Role of Fear"--in the widest sense. We got some interest, but not near enough, and we couldn't find the volunteers to help. It was laid to rest and I no longer am in contact with that individual. A lot has changed since the mid-90s... some twenty years has passed, and 9/11 and a whole lot more... surely, this time we may be more successful attracting attention. 

So, give me a shout: r.michaelfisher52[at]gmail.com

End Notes

1. Ian Dakers

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I finally received a first published hard copy of my new co-authored book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (of which I have written previously on this FMning). I glanced it over and opened the book randomly at a few places and started reading. It's a little shocking to read one's own published work sometimes: "Who wrote that?" The overall impression is positive and that's a good sign. I happened to think (with all modesty and objectivity as I can muster) that there is no book more important on the topic fear and its management on the planet right now (that I know of). This short blog will say a few words (and quote from the new book) about why I think this is true. Btw, I thank my co-author Desh Subba (a Nepalese philosopher, novelist, poet) for his dedication to developing a philosophy of fearism and his openness to include me in that conceptualization and project. I see myself dedicating the rest of my working years (maybe 15 left until I'm 80) on this new philosophy. 

So the pages I happen to open to at random come from Chapt. 4 (pp. 98-100) which is unique in the book because Desh encouraged me to re-vise but basically republish a 2014 essay I wrote on a "Theory of Fearism" (Technical Paper No. 51) (note: theory of fearism as distinct from, but related to, a philosophy of fearism). I begin with a Foreword to Technical Paper No. 51: 

p. 98: "In Chapter 3 of this co-authored book there is a controversial message: "There is something wrong in the field of fear management" [a phrase I penned in my first major scholarly book The World's Fearlessness Teachings in 2010, p. xxvii]. I go on to talk about why we need various theories of fearism (mine, which I call fearism-t) in order to have a healthy philosophy of fearism, and from that a healthy set of practices of fear management (and fear education). Yes, I could just have easily written: "There is something wrong in the field of fear education" (i.e., fear education used in a positive way, analogous to sex education). So, how controversial is this claim? What do I back it up with? 

Let me first say, the phrase "something wrong" is hyperbole in a sense to attract attention on a problem in the field of fear management. In retrospect, I am not sure this is a good way to get attention, because the very discourse of labeling something "wrong" is highly problematic in terms of its long history (especially in the West) of being a way to put something, some group, some policy, some person (and their behavior or values) down. It is a criticism. And it carries a lot of fear-based baggage (garbage, toxicity) that tends to easily slide from saying "something is wrong" to "someone is wrong" and I would not want to perpetuate such a notion. I think it is too partial of a claim and it tries to paint the entire reality of something or someone as "wrong" in an absolute sense. And, it immediately raises the question of who (and from what perspective) can anyone judge that anyone is wrong--same applies to something. The use of the label "wrong" (often with emotional discharge behind it) is clearly an attack to putting something down and "diss it", more or less. I won't go on and on with this but to say the use of the term (hyperbole or not) is a dangerous one of bringing more injury into human society--and that means concomitantly bringing more fear with it. Arguably, it is "fear talk" to blame, shame and make someone or something "bad" (the opposite of good, and it may even mean making it "evil"). 

So, I used the phrase as hyperbole, and I could have (more sensitively) said: There is something wrong in the field of fear management, even though there is a good deal of something right in the field of fear management. Then, that would be both more fair, and less re-stimulating of our hurts and fear itself. Especially, in that I am not intending to attack anything or anyone per se who practices fear management as a professional, theorist, etc. Nor, would I want anyone who teaches and designs fear management curricula to feel I am attacking them and their work and their motivation. Criticism alone is usually not very useful and does more harm than good. Critique however, in contrast to criticism, is when you point out the negative and positive at the same time, in proportion to a healthy engagement with someone, rather than trying to put them down. I intended to offer a critique in my new book re: the state of the field of fear management (or, equally of fear education). I think if anyone reads my books they will find I can get passionate and critical and even slip into criticism but that if they read on it is more critique I offer overall. But I'll leave others to assess my work overall, as I am too close to it to tell. 

Returning to the point of this blog, I am taken with my clarity in the new book (scanning pp. 98-100), of how simple (and controversial) the message is that I have argued. It is worth repeating again but maybe I'll do it in a more readable way here in this blog. Things need to be said many times, and in many ways, in order to communicate. Sometimes a reader will hear it anew, from a different time and place and with some different language. As an educator myself, I am dedicated to not giving up on anyone, even when they tell me "I read your book and I don't really understand it." Okay, to the basic simple message in these couple pages, which really well represents my overall project--it all boils down to something like this: 

1. there is something wrong in the field of fear management; and that is skewing how we understand best how to know fear and thus, manage it well

2. that something wrong (or missing) is ....... a "harmful violent ideology" (p. 98) that over-shadows the entire study of fear

3. a theory and philosophy of fearism (e.g., Fisher and Subba) can address this ideology and ensure a 'correction' to what is missing (wrong) in fear management

4. no one else has pointed out the above problems (gaps, errors, "something wrong" or missing), until now, in this new book .... etc. 

Okay, there's the basics of the my work I am so passionate about. Would this excite anyone else, to the point where they would dedicate some time, or a lot of time to helping clarify the problem in the field of fear management (and, in every day life as we manage fear, more or less consciously)? With this new clarification, we could then develop interventions more healthy re: fear, and its study and management. We could create a re-evaluation of everything we think we know about fear, and run it all through a new deconstruction and reconstruction--that is, through a new theory and philosophy of fearism. 

On p. 99, I have a sub-title: Fearism-t and Epistemic Violence: Reconstructing Fear Management. That speaks to a greater articulation of all of the above. And, about now, one gets the creeping feeling that this all is about to impact the way one perceives, thinks, and acts in regard to fear. That's pretty major in implication to our everyday life. That involves being a lot more consciousness and self-reflective (and critical) about everything to do with fear--and, especially what others tell you about fear (e.g., authors, teachers, parents, ministers, psychology clinicians, policemen, lawyers, government leaders, business corporate heads, and so on). 

The simple notion is there. But will we talk about this further, or merely read about it? Will we talk about "a 'harmful violent ideology' surrounding the study of fear--and, in particular, the construction and dissemination of the knowledge about fear and its management and education" (p. 98)? Another way to put the problem is something like this: 

A lot of authors/experts on the topic of fear management (and researchers) often say: It is not fear that is the problem, it is how we manage it that matters most. Such a claim has become ever-popular in layman and professional circles today. It is partially (in my view) good wisdom but to a point. I (and Subba) tend to stretch this quite a lot more to a critical perspective on that claim itself (which, btw, those who utter the above predominant wisdom of the day, never reflect on themselves and offer readers some opening (cautionary) of critical inquiry into the claim and its potential limitations, if not distortions--they seem to not be aware of a perspective beyond their own favorite one--which gets repeated by others who think like they do). So, on p. 98-100 in the new book, I offer another entirely different angle (and I think a much better one): The problem with fear and how we manage it is that we lack a critical awareness and vocabulary (i.e., guiding methodology) that operates outside of the fear-based structure of the field of fear management. And thus, we return to the 4 points I listed re: the basic problem--which, you can see is articulated much differently than the popular wisdom problem articulation above. Introducing a notion of a harmful violent ideology surrounding the study of fear--becomes a very simple but also complex intervention I throw into the soup pot. The main ingredient missing in the popular wisdom is a notion of fearlessness (but that's a much longer story, of which I write about in my other WFT book). 

From this point forward, my work (and Subba's) is essentially different from anything else out there. It is also in that sense, critical of anything else out there. Now, in the long-run, time and experience will prove if it is better, as we both think it is. And, any such "proving" will only occur when others (beyond Subba and I) take serious interest with the necessary support of resources to help test the theory and philosophy of fearism. There's no doubt in our minds, that many theories and variations of philosophies are required to cover the huge territory of fear (and/or 'fear')--or what I like to simply call The Fear Problem today. So, I am not looking for only "followers" (yes, they are helpful for the cause), I am looking for allies who think critically (and have healthy doubt) about everything--including everything I just wrote in this blog! 

Give me a call or email [618-529-1166  r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com] if you want to talk seriously (or even playfully)... and co-create with me and this work. 

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Sex and Gender Wars: From Many Perspectives

I promised (see latest Photo), that I'd do some writing around sex and gender (wars)... and especially around Dr. Sarah E. Nicholson and Vanessa D. Fisher, two bright stars in the approach of many perspectives on sex and gender, and evolution of men, women, feminists, etc. First, I'll guide you to my latest two pieces (see below). Later, I'll probably write more. Also, I've given a link to Vanessa's latest powerful video on the necessity of the messiness and need for vulnerability in the cultural woundedness of sex and gender. Lastly, I link to a good (positive) review of Sarah & Vanessa's book (2014) of which the reviewer also writes about my chapter in that book, and I respond (all from Integral Leadership Review journal).

Vanessa wrote to me: 

I put together a spontaneous video last night about my struggles and vulnerability being in the gender conversation. I ended up getting emotional half way through, but just let the camera keep rolling...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss_zSjghZtw

So, as for my two review pieces here you go: 

(1) "Women, Gender, Sexuality: Two Rising Stars and a Follower" (by R. M. Fisher, Feb. 8/16), go to http://csiie.org and click on Blogs (right-hand side) -- to read it you may be asked to sign-in as "Guest" which is just a button to press... hastle free... this gives the background really for my Amazon.com book review piece on Nicholson's book "The Evolutionary Journey of Woman"

(2) Amazon.com book review: Search "The Evolutionary Journey of Woman: From the Goddess to Integral Feminsim" and click on Book Reviews, and I am no. 7 ... it is enitled "In Defense of Woman's Journey: A Wicked Problem"  

And the review of Sarah & Vanessa's (2014) book: 

http://integralleadershipreview.com/12579-115-rejoining-conversation-commenting-integral-voices-sex-gender-sexuality-critical-inquiries/

-enjoy, 

M. 

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Within the last few days several things have been happening as I tune into the world (and particularly the state of economic crisis in Illinois where I live with Barbara) and tune into what I am doing, who I am becoming, and all of what is 'calling' my soul (if you will) to present itself to the world. You may know me mostly (since 1998) as an independent scholar, writer, speaker, consultant, teacher, etc. All of that has been continually an interest and will remain so, of which my latest book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue just published attests to my background and interests (as does this FM ning website). However, there is always a re-evaluation of what "I Am" and am becoming and how to offer myself to the world. 

I'll keep this blog post short other than to declare that I am opening the door again to myself as a teacher of fearlessness. You or people you know may contact me now because you are looking for such a teacher, or considering checking me out in this very particular role--not one that is casual as has been the case for decades, but now it would be a formal contracted role of "Student and Teacher" in the great philosophical and spiritual traditions of all history across time and cultures. Call me an elder, a wise person of knowledge, a sacred warrior, a healer, etc. All labels have their value and their distraction. For now, I prefer simply to call myself a teacher of fearlessness of which I am inviting students to pursue the path of fearlessness, which can be from either/or a secular viewpoint and spiritual viewpoint--it matters not to me because I have seen the core essence of all traditions around the world in my studies as basically after the same thing. They are attempting to solve the human Fear Problem, more or less, with various ways of doing so--and, often they do not say this is their core essence. As an experiential journeyor along the path of self-reflection, contemplation, meditation, and all the other forms of work I do to free myself from the regimes of fear ('fear') in this world, I see no contradiction in the essence of all these paths of liberation. That said, I am a postmodern/integral 21st thinker and teacher, and I have long crafted a very unique way to understand and research this phenomenon of the human Fear Problem and path of fearlessness--integrating what I see as the best of the traditions and discarding (through good critique) the worst of those traditions. 

I recently posted a Photo from a brochure I discovered some 10 years ago (The League for Fearlessness: An International Movement to Free the World From Fear), 1931. Finding this organization (that once was) became a validation of my own vision and initiative in founding the In Search of Fearlessness Project and organization in 1989. It was difficult on many levels to be a leader-teacher of the In Search of Fearlessness Project because I was seemingly doing something no one else had established a particular systematic tradition to do so. I had to learn with others what this ISOF Project was and would become and it has been a bumpy road. That's a longer story where you can learn details about on my various websites (particularly click on "Projects" at http://www.feareducation.com). The League for Fearlessness is the same kind of initiative I knew in 1989 I must bring forward into the world, for the purpose of the health of the World Soul (if you will). Again, notice one can use many different kinds of languages to describe all these things I speak of, but just because you read or hear the words and labels it does not always reflect exactly what I am speaking to. Interpretations are always tenuous at getting to the truth. So, that is the limitation of writing and speaking words and it is best sometimes to communicate with each other in silence. For the moment, I make the communication in writing.  

I trust you'll gather the essence of my opening the doors to students. Of course, one will immediately connect myself in doing so with 'gurus' etc. And in part that cannot be escaped because of the long tradition of what the guru-discipline formation has (and continues) to bring to the world. I was fascinated watching a video the other night documenting (from the inside) several (non-famous) gurus and their disciples of Hinduism in India in present day (see film called Naked in Ashes) where they give the facts: there are 1 billion people in India and 13 million "holy men" who live more or less in poverty as nomads offering themselves as teachers of the path of liberation. I couldn't help but see the relationship to what I have been doing since 1989, albeit I am a relatively comfortable 'working class' North American, not a Hindu, not of any religion, not a naked nomad on the streets (or in caves)--and yet, I am so deeply dedicated to the same essence of the work as gurus in India or anywhere, and like with the people who founded The League for Fearlessness in 1931 New York City.  Again, all of that is another story. 

Now, if you want to get a sense of what I am opening the doors to (in a serious way now, after many years hiatus)... as Teacher I would invite you to read my work ahead of time to tune-in to much of my thought at a basic level. Then contemplate what being a Student might entail for you and why you seem attracted (and, you may also discover in this reflection you "don't really know why?" which is fine too). Contact me and we can begin the phases of your training (i.e., education). You'll have lots of questions in the preliminary phases and that is all fine. You'll have critiques of what I am doing as well, and that is all fine. Here are the rough phases I envision at this time for a Teacher-Student Relationship based on the path of fearlessness (i.e., the World's Fearlessness Teachings -- see my 2010 book on this topic): 

Teacher-Student Relationship: Phases

1. 'Trial' Period-- Exploration of the relationship with me as Teacher and you as Student (this may also involve a group when there are more people involved simultaneously in this relationship with me and each other as a community of learners of the path)-- lots of questioning, assignments, dialogue, and practices (secular and/or spiritual depending on what you want as a Student at this stage) - at least 6 mo.'s this is a trial period and there are expectations of seriousness to work together and stay connected, but it will all be re-evaluated often and either myself or yourself can 'pull the plug' so to speak and we part and move on with our lives without (preferrably) a lot of critical judgment of each other--which, does not mean we ignore telling the truth to each other 

2. 'Initiation Preparation' Period - comes after the 6 mo. 'Trial' Period together and it arrives the moment we both realize that it would be good to keep the relationship going along the path and to enter into a deeper study and commitment with more rigorous practices... this may go for years before the next phase unfolds as a readiness to full 'Initiation' 

3. 'Initiation' Proper - a ceremony of Initiation to emerge as appropriate to each Student's path (and may likely involve other 'Initiates' and/or those in preparation for a future 'Initiation' [note: this is not a 'cult' experience but a 'culture of fearlessness' and like any culture of any kind, it has its boundaries and regimes more or less rigid all depending on many factors--the process is one of membership and joining, belonging, and responsibilities that go with that]

4. 'Post-Initiation' Period - this is a time (of indefinite length) when the 'Initiate' develops their own leadership and contributes to the path and teaching of others as a major vocation, under some guidance by myself as Teacher, and of course, the 'Initiate' may at some point decide to part from my guidance directly and find other Teachers etc. 

The value and payment for such a Teacher is always a difficult challenge to work out, especially when we live in North America or any modern capitalist society. The fact is that I need to survive with basic value and payment for my services in this world of demanding resources to pay the bills. On the other hand, the arrangement of payment is flexible to conditions and individuals and thus I cannot state any such one "cost" for such a Teacher-Student Relationship. It has to be negotiated and it has to operate in a non-fear-based way (as much as possible). The general path of fearlessness is aligned with what many today have called a Gift Economy and that topic ought to be part of how we come as a community of practitioners of the path to work and live together, share our knowledge and experience, and grow a new kind of world based on new ways of relating. 

That's enough of an Introduction to what I mean by opening my doors again... 

In the Spirit of Fearlessness, 

Michael

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It has been an intense 10 mo. working on this new book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (2016, just published by Xlibris International). I have written a few prior times on this blog site about the book, and I just posted a photo and short write up as well. The following is going to be something more raw and fresh as I have been writing today about the 'birth' of this book, and how I see it is significant. I know everyone who encounters the book will make up their own mind about its significance. I hope you write me if you want to tell me and others what you think. This blog can be a location to document those conversations. 

So, the writing about the book here is from my journal, writing unedited, and spontaneous for the most part: 

On the simplest concrete level one merely sees an image of a book cover, Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue, and if they don't take time to dwell with it and better yet read it, they are going to likely be missing so much. It's a shame that will happen, inevitably, as I have known it to be the case with my other prior book, published 6 yrs ago (The World's Fearlessness Teachings). I wish I could be there to encourage everyone to dwell with this new book and see beyond the surfaces of words and images, and imagine deeper. It is troublesome I know for most to do so. Philosophy and fearism together as words, concepts, is a strange mix but then there is the purpose of the book, perhaps even stranger. 

The book is intended to outline (epistemologically) the necessity for a new kind of philosophy (practical and social) that human history has not seen before, and in that light it is so incredibly radical. For me, a lifer-kind-of accomplishment. I am most curious what it will do for the reader, layperson, academic, philosopher but that is all unknown at this point, other than the few folks who reviewed the ms before publication. It is going to be an odd book for me in that I am interpreting Desh Subba's work a lot (Philosophy of Fearism, 2014) and he comes from another culture and part of the world (the East, Nepal, and living in Hong Kong)... he's a poet, novelist, writes in Nepalese... and all these factors, now, bring his work as a philosopher of that 'strange' part of the world into my life and writing and thinking... philosophizing... and this book is the outcome of all that, including my original work on a philosophy of fearlessness. But, now I return to think about the reader of this book. I realize now, which I didn't realize before when writing it, that this book is not so much for the individual. It is for the World Soul, the collective-social-communal aspect of our psychic-soul reality. It is hard to say that. I didn't write that in the book itself. But it is there. 

Fear has never been treated at the center of a philosophy before, not anywhere near the extent as in this new book. It marks a new awareness and calling in the World Soul of which is mostly unconscious. It is important in that the time has arrived, as Subba and I have written for decades, to make fear this important. We are needing a new philosophy that recognizes this, and develops these ideas we present. We are in (as Subba says) an Extreme Fear Age historically, and collectively. That tells me of the 'pressure' that is building in the World Soul dimension. Feartalk is "ego-talk" and Fearlessnesstalk is "soul-talk"-- this book is all about the latter, and it is articulated, unbeknownst to most everyone, that it is crafted from a Fear Management System-7 (i.e., Integral). I also made sure this was the case in the gaze I brought to The World's Fearlessness Teachings book in 2010, and most everything I have written on the topic since 1989. But, most people will look to see what the book offers individually, and yet, that would mis-interpret the scale and register of the purpose of this book --for the World Soul. 

How could writing a book for the World Soul, make a difference globally, as we are on the cusp (as Subba says) of a Fearless Age? These and many more questions are lurking in the new book, even if we don't bring them to the surface for discussion. I guess, that's what I am most curious about in the next months and years ahead as this 'soul child' of a book enters into the world and energizes the World Soul-- and, in that, the soul of which everyone cannot tap from their individuality to their collective meshworking... gravity, history, geography, and all the psychophysical and emotional and philosophical threads are there--and like a web of eternal time and space, perhaps, I believe (or am only guessing)--this book will hold a weight in that net--across time and cultures, universally... and ... and... and... 

Words run out at this point... the World Soul does not operate on the Symbolic Code (the phallic lens)... and, now, it is all poetry, art, aesthetics... at least, for me and for those who may dwell with just the 'strange' combination and emphasis which this book brings forth now in human history (herstory)... 

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I have just downloaded a long article "Educators, We Have a Culture of Fear Problem," one of my best (imo) in terms of a relatively complete analysis of the domain of how a culture of fear has penetrated the field of Education all the way up and down the spectrum right up to academia itself, at http://csiie.org/mod/page/view.php?id=3  (scroll down to Yellow Papers).

I have included the Abstract of this paper below. I look forward to talking with you on this after you have read it (in part, or whole). I cannot think of a more important topic on the planet that we should be talking about and taking actions on in order to transform this society ASAP. But, then, that's just my view--although, the culture of fear and education topic is my expertise. Btw, this article was submitted to an academic journal in the field of Education and rejected by both reviewers (on not very stable grounds) and so I decided to add the reviewers criticisms of the paper in the paper itself (at the end) with my fresh comments of critique of their critiques--so, that might be interesting for you to read. -enjoy, M.

Abstract

 

The author argues that a focused universal agenda for educators to critically assess is the human Fear Problem (i.e., “culture of fear”). It could serve as a useful and ethical meta-context to rally around for a thoroughgoing new reference point by which to design healthy and emancipatory educational global systems. This is the first publication in Educational literature to summarize the status of discourses using the culture of fear construct. The author briefly tracks out his 26 year journey studying this topic and its relationship to Education and social policy in their widest global sense. He documents and critiques some current conventional liberal reductionist discourses on fear and education, as well as the arising interest in writing about the culture of fear construct and reality (from 1990- to date). Based on cross-disciplinary literature surveys, a basic definition of culture of fear is offered that is unique to the otherwise ubiquitous nebulous definitions of others. The article asserts it is now near impossible, and certainly naive, to mention and/or study fear without including the necessary, if not universal, meta-context of the culture of fear. Without such a context, fear will be reduced to a largely ‘value-neutral’ psychological discourse and phenomena instead of a cultural and political one. He offers several suggestions for resistance amongst the educational community to adopt the culture of fear in critical pedagogy and Education in general. Concluding remarks offer recommendations to resist that resistance and pursue proactive means to improve our critical understanding of the nature and role of fear, and the culture of fear in Education and civilization-at-large.

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To 2016: The Fearlessness Movement

A short note to let you all know officially, we'll be carrying on with the FM ning for another year, and will decide then in 2017 if we ought to invest the $300/yr fee to keep this going. I'd really like to keep it going forever. So far, there is little activity on the ning and I would like to see that change but it is up to all members to be active and/or recruit others to join as well. 

I look forward to 2016 and movement forward with this great cause... 

all the best, and may the spirit of fearlessness be with you in the next yr.

Michael 

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I have to say I am quite disappointed at Huffington's latest downgrade: she used to talk all about fearless and fearlessness in 2006-07 or so, and now she's only talking about "thriving" and how to re-evaluate the nature of success (which is a good thing)... but in her latest book "Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom and Wonder" (2015) she does not even mention at all fearless or fearlessness (1). I watched a 57 min. video of Huffington on stage at the Googleplex for Google employees (see Youtube) and she mentioned the word "fear" only once (i.e., we have a "fear of pausing" in our extra busy life-styles these days). Google as a corporation has been called by some a few years back a "culture of fearlessness" for its positive innovative activities, which makes this talk all the more interesting to me, and at the same time, disappointing. 

So what's going on with the change-up? What happened to her major life mission to help everyone (especially girls and women) become fearless? We need to inquire critically into this phenomenon as an example of my big concern about how superficial people really are (and are teaching) when it comes to how they conceptualize "fearless" this and that and this and that... and how fearlessness is ultimately distorted, and degraded in these hyper-sales type human potential pitches of all kinds of people, stars, and such... Huffington being one of them. I thought she might be something more in 2009-10 when I read and researched her work. Let me explain the "downgrade" problem... 

If you haven't heard of Arianna Huffington, a quick Internet search will show you who she is on paper anyways. She's a famous business person and health promoting personality (at least in the USA). In 2013 Forbes magazine voted her as one of the Most Powerful Women. All that success aside, the reason I have been sort of following her is because in my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings I highlighted her in the first chapter (pp. 4-13) among several other contemporary women leaders around the world who I cherished had been teaching about fearlessness as the best way to go in the early years of post-9/11 etc. Huffington wrote multiple essays, gave talks, and had a hit book entitled "On Becoming Fearless in Love, Work, and Life" (2007). I thought wow, this woman leader could really make a difference and promote fearlessness in a good way. 

I was disappointed that she nor her staff would respond to my short articles sent to them for publication in the Huffington Post (which Arianna is founder and CEO)... I was disappointed she never cited my work on fear and fearlessness all the years I have been publishing, etc. I sort of let it go and kept my eye on the positive things she was doing to counteract the fear-mongering in the 2008 American elections and her call for an "epidemic of fearlessness" among Americans and others to resist the abuses of fear in politics. 

I haven't followed her work for five or so years. But, turns out, some powerful things have been happening in which her "fearless" way of being in the world came crashing down. Literally, as she told her story to the Google staff on Youtube, she completely collapsed without provocation or notice something was wrong and broke her jaw and cut her head open above the eye-- near concussion. All because, as she says now reflectively, she was an A-Type personality and workaholic in denial all these years. Yes, in my words, it was this strong successful business woman and journalist that was teaching the world to be fearless... and all that time she was self-destructive and waiting to 'hit bottom' so she could turn her life around. She tells of her priorities and obsessive work habits and how she had lost the joy of life and was always tired (but she admits, she didn't know she was that off-balance and tired). She was a mess on the inside. The outside looked good. She sold a lot of books on "fearless" and everybody (nearly) loved her. 

I tell this story because, even in my book I applauded her call for an "epidemic of fearlessness" (and listed her as leader of such a populist Fearlessness Movement--see Wikipedia that I posted). I also critiqued her thin conceptualization of "fear" and making its meaning so watered down without rigor, and thus her definitions and meanings of fearless and fearlessness were also going to suffer. I had some doubts about it all but it was something rather than nothing. Practically, I let it go, but theoretically and philosophically I was disturbed (as I often am with people's shallow and marketing hype in using "fearless" to sell and coach and you name it)... 

Turns out my critique was accurate. Huffington was on a 'kick' with her "fearless" thing. It was temporary. It was false (or at least weak in foundations). I see this over and over in the Human Potential Movement and New Age, and in Business and Organizational Development discourses. It really pisses me off how much attention, money and following they gather... but the real authentic Fearlessness Movement never gets that. So, now we see Arianna Huffington not even talking or writing about fearlessness. I think, in fairness, she was caught in the masculinist world's interpretation and valuing of fearlessness--she, had not done her homework on the notion and how it is much more feminine (or at least more about balancing the worlds, if we want to label them so insufficiently as masculine and feminine)-- bottom line, she was out promoting her own version style (flavor)... and now she's selling "thriving" (beyond just surviving)... 

I'll end my disturbance of thoughts and feelings about how style and hype (celeb culture) get so much attention and money in American culture... and just say that Arianna had to 'hit bottom' like every addict. And addicts get addicted to fear and fearless. It doesn't seem to matter. They do so because they really don't understand what fear and fearless are about. They don't understand the developmental and evolutionary process, nor the world's fearlessness teachings. They certainly don't follow my work. Oh, well, her "thriving" is exactly where she should be... she has not yet matured to authentic fearlessness... if you see my book Fig. 2.1 (p. 48), I had mapped out this path of development as a universal soul path:  naive, to victim, to survivor, to thriver ... then (across 'Fear' Barrier-2) to sacred warrior (and magician) and then to royal leader... 

"Thriver" is, from the perspective of true fearlessness (sacred warrior-magician) still someone who buys into the normal culture more or less-- only tweaks it a bit to improve it... a 1/2 step beyond the 'norm' and when they are rich and famous, like Huffington, then they are "goddess" or "god" to the normals who want to really make it beyond survivor stage... my point, is there are still two stages left in development. Huffington has now settled (it seems, at age 65) with this great "wisdom" as one of her big offerings to people today, and she wants us all to slow down and sleep better longer... okay, fine, but she also still wants us to live in this world of coping (first-tier) and not really do anything too revolutionary... in fact, she repeated in the interview at Google, "just micro steps make a big difference"-- there was no more the talk of fearlessness and (r)evolution like there was in her teaching back in 2006-07... nope... something really downgraded in her teaching... but, maybe that's just what needed to happen... 

But, my critic keeps wanting to ask her: So, what happened to "fearless" and how have you integrated with "thriving"? 

If she answers that honestly, we all will see just how "thin" fearlessness was in her conception and teaching, coaching, back before her accident (he falling on her egoic nose!")... true fearlessness is not about ego-hype-style-charm and business wealth... not about bravado... thanks, Arianna for showing us all that! 

Endnotes

1. Except for on citation of a book title by Joan Halifax in the references which has the word "fearlessness" in the title of Halifax's book (p. 323)

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I have recently come across a wonderful book by Emmett Coyne (2012), The Theology of Fear. Emmett is a priest who had lived a rather unconventional path and recently has taken great interest in the In Search of Fearlessness Project and the ways that I point to "Fear" as our main enemy along the journey of which, in Christ's words, we have to come to love (i.e., "love thy enemy")... no small calling. I wrote a book review of Emmett's book on Amazon.com which I suggest you check out. Here is the first paragraph from the book review I wrote there: 

on December 16, 2015

I for one, not a "Christian" per se, but one who admires and aspires to be what Coyne calls "other Christs," has long been contending that until Christianity (and all the Abrahamic Tradition religions) re-evaluate seriously their privileging of fear (e.g., "fear of God," "fear of sin," and "fear of the Devil," "fear of the Earth," for a start... oh, "fear of flesh"-- i.e., sexuality and females) there will be no Kingdom of Heaven on Earth or anywhere else. But then, what do I know? I know a lot about fear and fearlessness, as my professional study for the past 26 years. And when I pick up a book like Coyne's on the theology of fear, and see his critique with two outstanding chapters (in my eyes) on "The Empire in Drag: Reinforcing the Reign of Fear" (Chpt. 3) and "The Afterlife: Living in Fear of the Future" (Chpt 4), my heart opens to what I see as a fragile and wonderful confession--and, in this case from a career-long well-traveled priest of the RCC. Frankly, I don't care who or what or where one makes this transformation to admit that we have been living in and utilizing fear as power--and, mostly not for good. Christ certainly wouldn't have supported living life by the Rule of Fear.

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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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Map/Guide for the Terrorist Fighter

Trigger Warning: the following is not what you will usually be exposed to in the dosage (or paradigm) of what is called "counterterrorism"

The following map/guide is the skeletal outline for a Series of Articles (blogs) and an eventual booklet to be published soon. I'll start these on this site and eventually expand them. The map/guide and series is an attempt to take a fearist perspective on the current rise of terror(ism) and its effects. The map/guide and the title of this blog may catch your attention. You may think of a spectrum of ways to manage terror(ism), as I have utilized for a long time the spectrum of consciousness model of the philosopher Ken Wilber. As well, I have added my own research on fear management systems along that spectrum, of which the current map/guide (below) is an example of how it can be utilized. The title "Map/Guide for the Terrorist Fighter" is left ambiguous with many meanings, depending on how one wants to 'read' this. There is a long philosophical rationale (based on a philosophy of fearism by Fisher & Subba and a resultant identified new fearist perspective) for why any intervention into the "problem of terror(ism)" requires an essential moral imperative to serve both the "terrorist" (so-called--and, often called freedom fighter, depending on who's perspective does the labeling) and serve those harmed by those values, beliefs and actions of the "terrorist"--the former would be called the "victim" of such acts--at least, initially. 

You may notice I am being very conscious and particular in how I frame the entire discourse that proceeds around anything we might call "terrorism"-- and it is in this cautious and exploratory modality I and Subba suspect we'll find much better analysis and solutions than what is offered today in what could be called an old-fashioned Modernist perspective (i.e., Victimist, Survivalist, Thrivalist). You can see where I have located the Fearist perspective on the spectrum. Again, there are numerous philosophical arguments and theoretical positions to be taken to articulate all of what you see in this map/guide. But that will have to wait its time to unfold. I am interested to put out this 'new' spectrum approach and let people begin to digest it. I look forward to our further dialogues and explorative co-inquiries on all this. We truly need something much better than what is offered today anywhere--around the world. The philosophy of fearism has great potential to disrupt and re-form our entire way of understanding terrorism--and, of course, the new book Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue (soon to be published) will give lots more background. 

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The obvious electric condition of affect flowing in the USA and a lot of Europe (at least) these days comes from the recent "terrorist attacks" in France and recently California... linked to ISIL Organization and the movement for a radicalization of the Islamic State conception (not all that different, but more publicized, than the Zionist State conception of the official Israeli government). And one could find another 20 or so "rogue state" types of organizations or "nations" in the world that are one way or another fighting for their right to exist, to critique the hegemony and status quo and defend themselves against the oppressive larger states and their enemies. 

I open with this rather cold-hearted political analysis of what is going on. I am not going to continue such a sociopolitical, geographical or historical analysis of the problem of "terrorism" (some call "freedom fighting") as many would call it in the mainstream, certainly in the USA. Rather, you may see that I am viewing the current (and ongoing) crisis as political and psychological, philosophical and theological, sociological and historical... all at once. There is criminal activity going on and "justice" (usually as revenge killing) going on. I find the whole mess of conceptions, perspectives and barbaric actions on 'both sides' an indicator of how sick our world has become in handling conflict, in handling views totally different, and views that are suppressed by the dominant. Don't forget to listen to the recent state address Pres. Obama gave in response to these recent rising attacks on European and American soil. Obama is, like 99.9999% of Americans dedicated to "wipe out" any such organization (e.g., ISIL is the latest target) that is against the USA policies, values, capitalist and military expansionism and its claim to exceptionalism via its claim to moral superiority, and a free democracy. 

Let me turn, and say, from a fearanalysis, from a perspective of fearlessness... any system that cuts off another part of its own system (i.e., a world system) and claims that it is to be "wiped out" by any means (be clear, there is not need in times like this for the USA military might to follow any kind of legal or just framework or attention to human rights or international codes of ethical war conduct... not for a second is that mentioned in Obama's speech... he actually is out to punish and kill people without a trial (a justification beneath all capital punishment regimes)... listen to the calm voice and rhetoric, it is very clear, as it was similarly when former Pres. Bush Jr. called for an equal revenge and the pres. of France recently did like wise--oh, you are able to do that once you declare "war" on some organization, some state, etc. This my friends, is the way we in the West do leadership even from so-called liberal or democratic governments. This is sadly how far we've come in what we have learned went so wrong with the American response to 9/11. 

Let me turn again, to focus down to the question I raise for the Fearlessness Movement (a global phenomenon: see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Fear_educator/sandbox)... What role has fearlessness and fearless leadership to play in the current rise of actions and reactions to terror(ism)? Obviously, it has a huge role. First, any fear-based means of trying to control ("manage") or destroy ("wipe out") terror(ists) and terror(ism) and organizations that use fear to terrorize... all will fail. That is what the philosophy of fearism (and fearlessness) argues... at great length... in most all of my publications for 26 years and in the recent book by Desh Subba and myself coming out soon.

Yet, that may still sound abstract to many, unfortunately, who have not chosen to study my work or Subba's and who have ignored the experience of the ineffectiveness of fighting terror with fear-based means (e.g., punishment and terrorizing, revenge killing, wars, acts of injustice that are rationally and cooly justified, e.g., Pres. Obama's latest speech to the American public). Again, in this one blog I only introduce this topic for the FM ning. I am not propounding out a philosophy or theory that itself cannot be challenged. I wish it would be. I'd love to argue, dialogue, conflict, and grow with others sincerely engaged in such a discourse, seriously engaged in asking ourselves if we want to learn something "new" about the way terror(ism) moves in societies, and in the world systems of today. I know there are hundreds if not thousands of arguments, journal articles, research studies, philosophical and political critiques... but to this day (although I have not read them all), I see nothing "new" or anything I'd call a fearlessness approach. I'll stop, and await to see who else may want to join this discussion (oh, and feel free to set up a FORUM on this site for this very topic).

Journaling on this all this morning, and lamenting on the repetitive failed-strategies to solve a "Wicked Problem" (see two blogs prior)... wouldn't it have been so nice to hear Pres. Obama truly say somethings different--truly re-frame the problem differently--at a higher (mature) integral level guided by fearlessness? Oh, he says bluntly, he is not attacking ISIL out of fear, for that is what the terrorists would want. Cooly, bravely, as only American males are so good at on camera, he says, we will do what needs to be done to "keep Americans safe." Which will not of course happen, as we saw in the past 14 yrs... terror only moves and morphs, going further below the surface... and the violence that goes with it... and the more you try to wipe it out... the more it duplicates and spreads in more difficult ways to detect and to stop. Okay, wouldn't it have been nice to hear the president say, "All of the recent tragedies, and crimes, have left the world, and certainly many Western nations with a great dilemma.... a great problem we have not yet figured out how to solve but solve we must. It is the Fear Problem. If we don't stop the Fear Problem we will not stop the Terror Problem. Fearism (as toxic-fear made ideological weaponry) is after all, that which operates under terrorism. Let's all take moments to reflect critically on our own part in "THE TERROR THAT COMES TO VISIT US" that is, where, why, how... and less ought we focus on only the criminals of these acts of mass murders... even though, a part of us wants to hate their hate towards us."

And after my fantasy Pres. Obama speech, I am thinking and asking myself: So, Michael, are you saying, as it appears above, that whatever organization of thoughts, values and actions that exists, has a right to exist, because it exists? Yes, I guess I am saying that. It seems the only ethical coherent fearlessness philosophy that will bring sanity back. Notice, at no point, have I condoned in that right to exist (the opposite of "wiping them out") that such acts are free from social challenge and free from scrutinized, informed judgments by those whom we entrust (e.g., court systems--even if imperfect). Such discernment, sometimes judgements on ethical and legal grounds are necessary for sociality of systems--yet, they ought to be non-fear-based as we decide to to label things "criminal" or "not"... now, that all get's more complicated, for sure and a good theory of fear and fearlessness is essential to guide that process. But declaring war on everything that is totally different than your set of ideas, values, etc. is no way to end the cycle of Domination-Conflict-Fear-Violence that is really 'killing' us all... 

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Here's the cover image of the new book I just wrote (with Desh Subba)... soon to be published Jan. 1/16... keep checkin' in, as I'll write a few blogs about it... looking forward to engaging with you all on this new philosophy for the world... a world in the 'grip of fear.' (btw, I designed the cover with my art work from a 2007 art series I called "Emotospheres"...

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I just wrote and published a book review on Amazon.com books, after I read (mostly) Watkins & Wilber's (2015) book "Wicked & Wise" (which I refer to in the prior blogpost). Check it out 

http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Wise-Worlds-Toughest-Problems/dp/1909273643/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447879290&sr=1-1&keywords=%22Wicked+and+Wise%22

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"Wicked Problem(s)" is a term that Watkins & Wilber (2015) use in juxtaposition to the term "Wise" (for wisdom applied) (1). Wicked is potentially 'evil' (live, spelled backwards) because of the immense destructivity it carries individually and collectively. So, the other meaning is extremely difficult--challenging, to solve. For reasons, less-restimulating around "wicked" (in our W. historical past) and thus, not feeding into the growing excesses of mounting of fear people are already downloading and storing everyday, I'll take the useful 'call out' from W & W (2015) in their welcomed new book and just call these W-problems. W-problems can stand for a whole lot of things--like, world's problems--that is, problems seen from a worldcentric stance (worldview) (2). The subtitle of W & W's book is "How to Solve the World's Toughest Problems." Unfortunately, as I wish to report how their model of the Integral matrix is key in my work as well, they have (like most everyone) left out the toughest of the toughest of problems to solve in the world today (4)--you guessed it--the Fear Problem. Btw, check my latest book coming out in a few weeks on this problem (3). 

A couple things about their book which I admit I have not read it, but I read the last couple pages, which is typically of me--last is first--then, I know what I am getting into that will affect my decision to read the whole book or not. But before I go into the Integral matrix discussion they enter around "climate change" (a big W-problem), I want to say it is a delight to see Wilber is still going strong in writing (5) (as he has been "off" publishing for near a decade more or less) and has in 2014 "co-founded Source Integral and began developing the Integral Society initiative, which in collaboration with recognized global experts, will demonstrate how to develop human societies in the most comprehensive manner possible" (p. 296. This is the first book Wilber has written so extensively with another author on "solving" problems (applied). I think he has come to see that all his theory books and philosophy writings have now come to be ready to be more applied than ever as the W-problems are heating up. Good for him and his crew. And, I think the dedication of the book is worth quoting, not only to represent Wilber's worldcentric stance (or "Integral stance", see p. 293) but to show where W & W (and the Integral Movement) is coming from (at least, by noble intention): 

"We would like to dedicate this book to all those men and women around the world who look beyond their own needs and what they might want in life and serve a greater purpose than themselves. The people who can see that all of the issues we face, even problems within their own family, are our problems not 'yours' or 'mine.' Such a[n] [Integral, systems] stance reveals a deep understanding of the fact that we are not separate from each other and solving the world's toughest problems will need all of us." 

Well, such a dedication is clarifying at the general level, and it is not unfamiliar to me, as many authors have said such things. I would like to clarify the language with a little critique (I'll be brief). First, W & W have not, unfortunately, tuned-up to a language of the postmodern re: gender as they are using a very old binary of "men and women" and they say "look beyond their own needs" which is really, more accurately, for some of us working at worldcentric (Integral stance) like myself never seemingly possible as I live at the poverty-line, as I know other such individuals do. W & W obviously do not either know what that is like to live on the 'edge' or they are oblivious that it is an important factor for some of us at worldcentric operations in our work. So, "beyond" really ought to be clarified more accurately as "include their own needs" but do so within the context that "their own" also means the "world's needs" simultaneously. Lastly, they ought not to have used "not 'yours' or 'mine'" because, again, as I made my point above, the problems are both/and-- very much mine and very much the world's problems. I think a more integral-language could have been used for the otherwise lovely Dedication. 

The main point of this post is to move to the last pages of the W & W book (i.e., Appendix 6: Environmental Dimensions of Climate Change). Note, even if "climate change" is the signified W-problem, I believe both W & W would be in agreement to say that most all of the generalizations (theory) applied in Appendix 6 could be applied to any W-problem in the book and beyond what's in the book. I make that assumption. The most important reason I make that assumption is because of my interest in applying the "Integral matrix" (p. 292) more or less in my critical integral fearology work. I have been doing this for some 20+ years. I have also not been able to convince Wilber that my work is important, meaning, that my/our/world work on the Fear Problem is qualifying of dignity as a W-problem. Again, it is ignored in this latest book, and Wilber well knows that I have introduced him to my work on this problem since the early 1990s (we corresponded). Be that as it may, let me proceed to make the linkages so you may see (perhaps) how powerful the Integral matrix and vision-logic (apersperspectival-integral consciousness) and worldcentric worldview is when applied to "fear" (i.e., the World's Fear Problem). Fearology, as I have crafted it over the decades, is as "wicked" of a methodology (a W-methodology) as is the W-problems--in particular, Fear Problem (see Fisher, 2010 (6)).

I agree with W & W that the book Integral Ecology is "brilliant" (p. 292). Esbjorn-Hargens & Zimmerman (2009) produced an outstanding Integral assessment of the ecological and environmental problem(s) and the many diverse (often conflicting) individuals and groups trying to solve it. The assumption behind their book, following Wilber's basic Integral matrix conceptualization, is that (citing Esbjorn-Hargens) "No single method (e.g., level) can by itself 'see' or reveal climate change in its entirety." W & W reiterate (via Wilber's words) "You can't [realistically] honor various methods and fields, without showing how they fit together. That is how to make a genuine world philosophy." (p. 296). Integral matrix framework provides (arguably) the only and best truly Integral approach that values all the perspectives, fields, methods, and organizes them into a wise and compassionate model (a "theory of everything"; see, e.g., Wilber, 1996 (7)). Shift to the analogy (homology) of E & Z from "ecology" to "fearology"--and, at that point, everything you think you know about "fear" is about to change into multi-dimensional wickedness (dare, I say). And, I agree with E & Z and W & W that: "... our point in all of this is that wicked problems are wicked primarily because they are not approached from an equally wicked, complex, encompassing [i.e., aperspectival] multi-dimensional Integral stance" (p. 293).

I would add to this claim, which the "Integrals" never themselves seem to fully appreciate or write about, that anything less than such an Integral stance is one that is more fear-based than not, epistemologically. I make a long arduous case for that in my new book (see e.n. 3) and in all my publications on fearology. So, to again, play-off the work of W & W in Appendix 6, I am arguing that the human Fear Problem has never been solved, and fear ('fear') and fearism continue to plague us and distort our motivations (among other things). Continually, W & W call for this "subjective side" in our analysis and solutions to W-problems. E & Z did so as well, and they found in the literature, that over 200+ "ecologies" (i.e., "schools of ecology") can be identified (p. 292)--and, until we identify and embrace them, give them space on the table of legitimate partial truths in understanding the Big Ecology Problem-- there will be little and only fragmented progress solving the environmental (i.e., ecological) aspects of any problem, especially "climate change." Same with the Big Fearology Problem--and, I have not yet had the resources to classify the 200+ fearologies that exist, that is "schools" of thought in how they frame meaning of and identify the problem with "fear" (as a start). Each, more or less, with their own worldviews, own values, beliefs, facts, and so on. So, to conclude, if I get the support, I will lead this Integral matrix and stance further to study the Fear Problem--which is the motivational--I mean meta-motivational dynamic behind all the other problems (more or less) that W & W raise in their book. And yes, I too (theoretically) believe "Only by using an Integral Framework can we get a complete handle on the full extent of the challenge that climate change [fear problem] presents" (p. 293). 

So my friends, I trust this will give you a better understanding of the Fearlessness Movement and its work ahead. I end with Wilber (2015) from the Preface of W & W, which says in general what my whole blogpost here is about (except I would add "fearlessness" to the list of "more"): 

"The hope of both Alan and myself is that by using a more expanded, more inclusive 'Integral Coherence' model, a great range of new areas, dimensions, methods, fields, and approaches will be made available to you for a more comprehensive approach to whatever problems you might be facing--from the simplest to the most complex and wicked" (p. xvi)

End Notes

1. Watkins, A., and Wilber, K. (2015). Wicked and wise: How to solve the world's toughest problems. Chatham, Kent: Urbane Public. Ltd. 

2. Worldcentric, for simple identification, is a term Wilber particularly likes to use as operating when a personal or system/organization is focusing its attention, values, needs, actions, toward not just the body, self, ethnic/social grouping or institution, but the world (i.e., a global internationalist perspective, but also an ecological whole systems perspective that is evolutionary at its core). This level is developmentally called post-conventional in terms of (at least) cognition, affect, and moral capacities. Often it is called "integral" for short. See Wilber, the integral philosopher and theorist, in most any of his books, for more detail analysis of the different levels/stages of development. 

3. Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2015). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris. 

4. The other thing I do before I even read the last pages of a book is to glance through the Index. I look for words like affect, anxiety, fear, terror(ism) and not a one of those terms shows up in the Index. That's not a good sign, in terms of a book on so-called W-problems. I think my point of this quickie fearanalysis will come through in the text above especially in terms of how the authors continually state how important "motivation" is in order to analyze and solve W-problems. 

5. This latest short bio on KW says, "... with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages... [he] is in the process of writing and publishing half a dozen new books" (p. 295)--now, that's impressive with someone struggling with all the physical limitations (and aging) he has to work with daily. You can look up Wilber's disease and such on the Internet (e.g., Ken Wilber, on Wikipedia as a start). 

6. I summarized my work (albeit, only a partial Integral matrix approach with focus on stages/levels) in a critical integral theory applied to fear and its management (via fearlessness) in Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

7. Wilber, K. (1996). Brief history of everything. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

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Albert Camus and Theoretical Fearology 2

If you note in the previous blogposting on the "art" I wrote Camus 1946... and that reference is to his dictum I'll share below, one I discovered in grad school eons ago... 

It has been one of the guiding quotes, poetic, philosophic, political, historical... and educational... of which I have not found one quote to equal its power on me... and of which I cite often in my work, almost like a signature "sound" that Beethoven or some musician might put on all their work, and most would not notice it. Here it is, something translated from Fr. which he wrote from the underground movement (The Resistance) in France during the Nazi Occupation, and it was published c. 1946 in the underground newspaper Combat: 

THE 17TH CENTURY WAS THE CENTURY OF MATHEMATICS;

THE 18TH CENTURY THAT OF PHYSICS;

THE 19TH CENTURY OF BIOLOGY; AND

THE 20TH CENTURY IS THE CENTURY OF FEAR. 

I always add my own last line: The 21st century is the century of terror. Yet, what does this mean to me? It means that I am as much a mathematician, physicist, biologist and now fearologist attempting to make some new great discovery for the century of which I have lived. I call myself at times a theoretical fearologist and nobody gets it. 

What is there to get? I simply ask that one reads my work with the same sincerity as all of the knowledge pursuits of the last 300+ yrs. I ask that people reflect on what Camus's quote and insight may mean? I have interpreted it many ways, but the simplest is... if the 20th century has turned out to be a century of fear then we ought to really study that as the new discipline of importance--thus, I have called for fearology, and 'Fear' Studies, etc. So far, this has little been taken seriously. 

The next powerful quote that has stayed with me (and there are others too) is from the scholar Ruth N. Anshen in the mid-1960s as she was describing the shifting emphasis to which knowledge itself ought to be used--all in the context of the crises in the 20th century that were pointing to a rather gloomy future for humankind. She wrote, "Knowledge... no longer consists in a manipulation of man [sic] and nature of opposite forces, nor in the reduction of data to statistical order, but is a means of liberating [hu]mankind from the destructive power of fear." 

Put Camus's discovery together with Anshen's conclusion... and we are in the realm of prophetic vision and work, of which I have documented here, and will do so in the future--like a graffiti artist... like a madman... like a shaman... like a mailman... always with a message at your door, if you open it up!

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String Theory and Theoretical Fearology 1

Just watched the "Elegant Universe" PBS series on a DVD with Barbara. We get DVDs from the SIU library for free, and often pick up science documentaries like this one on the new physics of "string theory" as a potential "theory of everything" to explain the entire universe, with nothing excluded from such an explanation in one unified theory... well, when I was watching it, much of the aesthetics of the string theory representations in a way reminded me of the more "solid" universe in the drawing I did spontaneously a week ago and then the less "solid" with the black lines on top -- looking a lot like "strings" as the new physicists were describing. Is this just an "accident"? Well not that I care that much if I was attuning to strings in the sense of physics, I was exploring in these spontaneous colorings aesthetics more than anything... and it is not surprising to me that "elegance" (a notion of beauty) is a term physicists use when in this aesthetic modulation/register... so, I wrote some notes on this "art" piece to complete it based on my experience of the documentary. Yes, point being, I am so much dedicated like these physicists to "discovering" something not before discovered... I can't seem to help it... 

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Fearanalysis a Forensic Craft

I have just published Technical Paper No. 56 "Fearanalysis: Further Notes From a Forensic Craft" which I thought you might be interested in. Below is the Abstract of this paper and it can be downloaded from http://csiie.org/mod/page/view.php?id=3 (scroll down)... 

Fearanalysis: Further Notes From a Forensic Craft

- R. Michael Fisher,[1] Ph.D.

                                                                                                                      ©2015

                                                                                                           Technical Paper No. 56

 Abstract

The advancement of the methodology and praxis called fearanalysis by the author for the past 20 years, is a process of application, theorizing, and then refining the craft. It is becoming evident that in many ways (not all) the work of fearanalysis is in large part forensic—among its many forms of interrogation. Its primary critical inquiry is to reveal the uses (and mis-uses) of language that has anything to do with making meaning of fear—especially in the social realm. The author draws upon Ken Wilber’s discussion of the unconscious (repressed) in language (and linguistic formation) and its power—not unlike the “discourse” of language that Michel Foucault presented in his philosophy and theories of the ways we talk about subjects/topics over time and across cultures. Fearanalysis, in particular, unique among the methodologies that “study fear” is a critical discourse analysis of the “language” and “linguistics” of fear itself. This becomes even more complicated, methodologically (and epistemologically) when the author has posited within the study he calls fearology the necessity of cataloguing the dynamic (morphing) “forms,” “types” and “species” of fear itself—which, has led to his strategic and powerful use of the notion of ‘fear’ (including, but beyond fear). Simply, fearanalysis has taken on a forensic study of the “crimes” of language (and their sociocultural embedded status within a “culture of fear”) that involves fear—be that fear directly stated, or implied. All of which fearanalysis is one of the many tools the author has created to critique and improve fear management/education on the planet. These notes are an attempt to convey some of the author’s latest thinking, in lieu of a longer project eventually to write a full-length book Introduction to Fearanalysis.   



[1] Fisher is co-founder of In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and Research Institute (1991- ) of which archives can be found at http://www.feareducation.com (click on "Projects"). He is also founder of the Center for Spiritual Inquiry & Integral Education (http://csiie.org), and is Department Head at CSIIE of Integral & 'Fear' Studies. He is an independent scholar, public intellectual and pedagogue, author, consultant, researcher, coach, artist and Principal of his own company (http://loveandfearsolutions.com). He can be reached at: rmfisher.88@frontier.com

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