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Dr. Don Trent Jacobs (Four Arrows)- Speaking to Dep. of Curriculum & Pedagogy at University of British Columbia Sept. 28/18

I encourage you to have a listen to an Indigenous activist/educator (and hypnotherapist) talk about the "indigenizing" of Education and the conclusion he has come to: that we (humanity) are not going to turn things around in the world--things will get very much worse--and, he talks of "courageous hopelessness" as the only sane and realistic optimism we ought to be accessing... rather than false hopes, illusions, of repair... At the end of the talk he goes into mass hypnosis and how to dehypnotize oneself from the culture of the Dominant worldview... he gives an example of how courage is different than fearlessness (his view). 

Note, Four Arrows is the person I have studied for over 10 years and recently 3 yrs ago began writing his intellectual biography, which is now published "Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer" (Peter Lang, 2018). Also, note, I obviously agree with much of what he says about fear, courage and fearlessness, but we also have our significant differences as well. 

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Dr. Sheldon Solomon, social experimental psychologist (re: Terror Management Theory = TMT)... is one of several very important researchers on "mortal terror" (i.e., fear of death) as the universal ("proven") core of all malignant human behaviors individually and collectively--at least, that's what has been suggested by TMT research and the existential philosophy behind it for the last 40 years or so (thanks to writing of the late Ernest Becker). I have followed this work off and on and found it very insightful and yet to be truly tapped in 'Fear' Studies ... 

I recommend going to this video talk on the dim future of humanity ahead (unless we solve the Fear Problem): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuJhD5TkX-0

Note: I agree with much (not all) of TMT... much of the basis of TMT is supported, I'd argue in the philosophy of fearlessness (Fisher) and philosophy of fearism (Subba) and philosophy of fear (Eneyo) and others... I agree with TMT in its depiction and theory (supported by a good deal of cross-cultural evidence) that "culture" is a fear management strategy overall. In my Fear Management Systems Theory (Fisher, 2010), I give this more differentiation based on v-memes (worldviews) theories in Spiral Dynamics integral (theory).  

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Well, after a lot of years of making documentaries, in the 'wild' style of art, activism, and education... Micheal Moore has just had his newest film released last night (mostly on the Trump election and following disasters to democracy in the USA) and on "fear" (and "terror") of all kinds of fascist waves going on all over the world.. I look forward to seeing his latest film, and it is not because I love everthing Moore does and how he represents people and problems--the big and "wicked problems" that we have to face as humanity... but I like to see how he uses his art, smarts, and technologies to "create curriculum" for the 21st century.

I followed his work closely in the post-Columbine highschool mass shooting and how he approached the American "Gun Problem" (aka "Fear Problem") in his movie that won an Academy Award, Bowling for Columbine" (2002). 

I won't say much more at this point until I see the film, and listen to interviews of Moore... with the question in the back of my mind: "Is Moore a good artist, activist, educator?" and so far, I think he is a better artist-activist than he is an educator, and particularly I am referring to how he handles "fear" as a major topic... which runs all through all his best documentary works... in Bowling for Columbine he really was making a film about the growing "culture of fear" ... and its consequences...which, arguably, I would speculate have been brewing for a good 30 years in particular, and the symptoms are arising (e.g., gun violence) etc... and if you watch his 2002 award winning film, it is the "best" dealing with fear as a topic... and of course terror is not far away... in Fahrenheit 11/9 we'll no doubt once again see him dealing with "fear of Trump" and everything Trump represents ... watch carefully how he "teaches" us about what is going on and how best to understand fear/terror and how best to manage it... transform it... if he even gets to anything so complex... my critique of all his works (as he is a typical activist) is his stereotypes and polarizations (simplifications)--to create his stories. 

RECENT VIDEO RESPONSE of mine to Moore's interview on "Democracy Now" tv program (with Amy Goodman): 

https://youtu.be/ga5BZfV5UnA

 Most recent video (2nd one) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJLdM85Rwts&t=4s

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This image is from the book cover of Santiago Zabala's (2017). Why only art can save us: Aesthetics and the absence of emergency. NY: Columbia University Press. The art piece on this cover is The Ninth Hour, sculpture by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

I added the yellow text... because I thought this was the kind of subtitle I would give if I had written such a book like this. I appreciate the title (as extreme as it is and which publishers these days like and often chose without the author having the final say). The point in my teaching of the importance of the "arational" (not irrational) modality of fearwork (like this image and book) is we need more than rational fear management/education to tackle the Fear Problem. 

The concept of "emergency" is critical to the study of fear-risk and who gets to construct and use (sociopolitically) "emergencies" of all kinds, real or imagined... as this is all part of the Fear Problem today... a dynamic called the "culture of fear" and/or "risk society" or "fearscapes" depending on various authors and critics... artists (and arational modalities) have a lot to contribute to both the problem itself and its solution. Which way will artists go? 

I look forward to reading this book and having discussions on aesthetics and other arational domains (e.g., dreaming, trance, meditation, bodywork) in fearwork ahead... there's so much to do! 

 

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16 YEARS LATER... Finding ways to locate 'fear' at the center... and a new critical theory/pedagogy...

In 2002 I had done a series of 71 of these "platinum plates" for my arts-based arational component of my dissertation: "Fearless Leadership In and Out of the 'Fear' Matrix" (UBC). This particular plate/collage image I created from the standard campus map, and re-converted it to my own 'narrative' of the kind of liberational university I fantasized would be some day, with a "place" for Fear as central to the education and the buildings and support for fearanalysis etc. 

So, my red circled building is the actual Education (Scarfe Bldg.) on The University of British Columbia campus... I attended most of my classes there in my masters and doctoral degrees in Education (1998-2003). The interesting thing I reflect on right now is that I actually was creating the first mapping (as an institutional imaginary) for an Institute of Fearanalysis... which, eventually since then has gone through several morphs and failures, and re-visions... blueprints... as I keep finding alternatives to the mainstream higher education that is going on and is so out of synch with the demands of the times, the 21st century, post-9/11 era, and so out of touch with the Anthropocene context. 

The very earliest actuality of my vision for a Fear University of the liberational kind... based on fearlessness... etc. was my venture in 1990-91 in beginning, with Barbara Bickel, the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute and center in Calgary, AB. Then the past 2 years I have had different images and blueprints floating in my imagination filled with desire to find a "form" that could sustain itself and work. The latest iteration is The Fearology Institute, now with four students, from around the world, and more in the wings interested to join. So, I wanted to share this 'map' above to show you sometimes how long it takes to bring a vision together, even in the most humble outcome, and most minimal impact on the world... patience is no. 1, I believe, on the path of fearlessness... and to be a true visionary. 

p.s. oh, if you are wondering what the DCFV letters represent, they are my "big four" concepts that stand for: DOMINATION, CONFLICT, FEAR, VIOLENCE... upon which I began to formulate in 1998 in the early stages of my masters degree in adult education (also at UBC). 

 

 

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Locating Fear At the Center... Again

 In literary works, at least in the West, there is a long tradition of showing how "FEAR" is the great corruption (along with "power" of course)-- of all things good. In this 2014 sci-fi apocalyptic novel, Grant spins out another version of this ever-literary-metaphoric "truth" about fear and human civility (and its Shadow): The advertisement on amazon.com books tells it all in the future "FEARSCAPE" of humanity/desiny: 

PLOT: "It's been one year since all the adults disappeared. Gone.

Despite the hunger, despite the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new world they've built, though, is the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear." 

****

 Unfortunately, the gift of the aesthetic, arational and arts modalities in depicting "fear" (FEAR) in so many ways it does, leaves us still as a populus with "okay, so what now?" kind of feelings... and, I keep thinking what would happen if artists of all kinds were better informed by the philosophy of fearism, could they produce works on fear that are more than horror, terrorology-- and, actually do some good fearwork for the planet? I think they could...

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Locating Fear At The Center

 Dr. Simone Tulumello, a Portuguese geographer and urban planning/theorist, has since 2009 especially, been devoting much (but not all) of his research attention on the nature and role of fear (especially, "urban fear") in urban planning and life quality in cities. He is not the only one to turn attention on fear in this field, as one can find all sorts of terms like "architecture of fear," "landscapes of fear" and "geographies of fear" (to name a few) that have taken up locations in scholarly discourses over the last 40 years, and especially the last five years of which Tulumello (and some others before him) have suggested that we even adopt the term "fearscapes" to give due justice to the ever-increasing and complex nature of fear and its impacts.

So, he has suggested landscapes are becoming more and more better understood, at least in the modern and postmodern cities as fearscapes, because fear has taken on such a central role. Tulumello in his latest book [1], not unlike some of the fearism literature of late [2], has been sliding notions of "multiplexing fear" [3] along with other spheres of life for critical analysis of various phenomena--in Tulumello's case, spatiality, cultural politics of cities and generally urban planning and policy. I find Tulumello's work unique amongst other scholars in geography, architecture and urban planning and theorizing in that he has (paradigmatically?) shifted emphasis on the common study of spatialization of fear (i.e., fear and spaces = spaces of fear discourses) to come to see that such a discursive formation and linguistics is not adequate, if not it is distortive, of a more nuanced phenomena of fearscape(s). 

The simple definition of fearscape refers to the embedded fear (explicit and implicit) in landscapes/spaces/places, and is often used equivalent with "landscapes of fear" (which is Tulumello's strategy as well, p. 1). In a more complicated argument than I will explain here, I like how Tulumello shifts back and forth but in fact seems to prefer fearscape [4]. I heartily agree, as would the philosophy of fearism, that putting "fear" central (or, in this case, linguistically as the prefix on any term or phenomena) marks the new term (e.g., fearscape) in a new way that expands the imaginary and analytic probe into an investigation of just how much fear is involved in the phenomena--which, hypothetically is "central" as Tulumello (2016) says in the following quote from his new book: 

[My operating] "hypothesis... [is] that some of the sociopolitical processes and spatial practices characterizing the last few decades, in the Western world and beyond, have been, and are, using fear and urban fear, instrumentally for agendas that are placing the civic and public gist of urban spaces worldwide into a state of crisis. As a result, fear, togther with the geopolitics of security stemming from it, has been producing exclusion, affecting especially marginalised groups.... If this is the case, putting fear at the centre of planners' agenda is nowadays inescapable." (p. 3)

I have often dipped my toes into architecture, urban planning/theorizing, and attempted to bring my own ideas and a philosophy of fearlessness (or of late, philosophy of fearism) to the table of analysis and perspective. Perhaps, Tulumello and many of us on this trajectory can have dialogues in the future. It is fascinating to me (and Subba) that Tulumello has adopted this "linguistic trick" he calls it in his naming of fearscape (Tulumello, 2015, p. 268).

Of course, the interrelationship of fear and fearlessness (a dialectic) is something that Tulumello seems not to enter into in what I have read of his work so far. In order to keep this short, I note that Tulumello's strategy for working with fear (of which he did not know our work) is quite similar (in part) to my own and to Subba's [5] and that is to keep the imaginary of fear (or fear imaginary) open-ended for the most part--and, I so appreciate his project is "... to build a comprehensive and critical theory [of fear]" (p. 108) and he also wants such an inquiry to be "exploratory" and thus avoiding reductionism around the conceptualization of fear, our ways of knowing fear, defining it and making meaning of it and ourselves. He notes that such an open-ended approach fits well for the very phenomena of "urban fear" today and it is preferable "rather than outline a clear definition... of fear or the way fear shapes planning" (p. 108), thus, Tulumello continues in the vein of study of fear much like a philosophy of fearism would-- "multiplexing fear" ongoing. I often talk about building a critical integral (holistic) theory of fear, and indeed, it is always exploratory, and for much of the same reasons that Tulmello gives in his recent works. Fear is complex, to say the least--it is perplexing as well, and contradictions and paradoxes linked with fear are seemingly inevitable the more one studies it in depth. 

I appreciate this insight of Tulumello to approach fear this way, which in no way prevents Tulumello from being pragmatic at times, and it in no way blinds him to seeing "we must be aware that fear is capable of throwing urban planning policy into crisis" (p. 107)--and he warns us all against overly technical-functionalist discourses on fear as inadquate--and, he warns that they typically don't engage fear enough as it deserves (p. 107). He concludes: "... there seems to be no simple/technical solutions for urban fear" and thus the project is preliminary and ongoing, and the actual benefits from such a methodological openness re: fear and the various applications of theory to practice in urban planning are yet to be shown fully--especially, as to whether they "work"... more so, we are in the beginning stages, as is philosophy of fearism, when it comes to "tested" applications and creating real improvements in the "urban fear" and/or just the "excessive fear" that is everywhere it seems. 

There is lots to read, understand, and critique in this work by Tulumello, and I trust as he reads my work (at least) he'll have critiques to offer as well. 

 

Notes: 

1. Tulumello, S. (2016). Fear, space and urban planning: A critical perspective from S. Europe. Springer. 

2. Example, Fisher, R. M., Subba, D., and Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues in applying the philosophy of fearism. Australia: Xlibris. 

3. Tulumello (2016), p. 106. This is a great term (complexifying approach), one that I and Subba have taken in our study of fear(ism) for several decades. 

4. I recommend: Tulumello, S. (2015). From "spaces of fear" to "fearscapes": Mapping for reframing theories about the spatialization of fear in urban space. Space and Culture, 18(3), 257-72.

5. Example, see Fisher, R. M., and Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

 

 

 

 

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Fearwalking Practice

I am introducing a new practice here for all. It may be particularly of interest to budding fearologists who are studying at The Fearology Institute. However, like all practices, be they around physical exercise, diet, or yoga practice, etc. are all meant to assist one's overall goals of reaching their highest potential. Fearwalking is no different. The difference is that it is a practice (to make into a routine) for attuning one to fear (and/or 'fear')--and thus improving one's learning about fear and one's self and others. In this sense, it is a learning exercise, with focus on fear. 

Here is the link to the instructions and my rationale for this new practice of Fearwalking.docx

Enjoy, 

M. 

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What I have seen dominate (with its own hegemony) in discourses on fear and its management/education for so long has been the "rational" mind approach as solution (or cura). There is something great about the modern "rational" modality for sure and yet, I think it is not very wise because it is not holisitic-integral, and it especially (typically) misses the arational means by which humans communicate and respond to the world via magic, art, aesthetics, culture, etc. So, I just did a quick artistic/magical (?) poster up and thought while making it that this is my initial arational response to the articles (and real situation) going on in Nigeria in the last two blogposts on the FMning ... 

Of course, 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' as the saying goes ... it is important to have creative "fun" in working with the worst "wicked problems" on the planet, of which the "embers" problem in Nigeria seems to be a symptom of the Fear Problem that is no fun at all when looked at only in a rational lens of inquiry and solutions. The fearologist, I think, has to draw on all means and modalities of Defense Intelligence, to come up with prompts, ideas, and generative possibilities for managing fear better on this planet. One could interpret this picture (a poster) I quickly put together mostly by intuition without a lot of rational thought. Feel free to say what you think this poster is "doing" and "saying" in its form. I think inventing the term "Fearember" is actually potentially really useful (hmmm???)... 

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                                                                                            Michael Bassey Eneyo

Introduction

We are in the world where frightening and tension-laden incidents are increasingly threatening the freedom; peace and liberty of humanity in such a way that many individuals have been left in the condition of constant fear because of the uncertainty of safety in their various living communities. In recent times, the most trending news on social media are such that bring the feelings of fear. We’re somewhat witnesses to the frequent broadcast on television and radio on crises in different parts of the world in both local and international communities. Frankly speaking, news headlines on daily bases are not without some incidents of fear. War and rumour of war across the globe are enough to create fear and panic. Terrorists’ activities and their destructive impacts are amongst the emerging factors and incidents of fear in the contemporary society. Apart from this global threat, every society has it peculiar prevalent type of fear, their causes and the season in which such incident(s) is believed to be more rampant than any other period. More often also, many of these incidents are directly caused by human beings. Examples of such fear factors caused by human beings are: war, terrorism, kidnapping, accident, arm robbery, etc, which are often instigated by human desperations to meet up with their daily challenges or the pursuance of their selfish goal. Most of these fears can be eliminated if human beings choose the path of peace, carefulness and love. But there are other incidents of fear that are beyond human ability to fully control or stop from happening. Such incidents are: earthquake, flood, volcanic eruption, death, etc. These are natural phenomena which may occur without man direct interference. The kind of fear these incidents generate cannot be completely overcome. However, it can be managed, subtly controlled or reduced if we inculcate the habit of observing what is going on in our environments and make steps to addressing them. Thus, human being is expected to familiarize himself with the happenings in his environment and also pay attention to seasons of events and try to know the impacts such events can have in the life of the people; thus, knowing the measures to be adopted in addressing them. But then, we must also know that some of these phenomenon cannot be completely overcome. Thus, the belief in the existence of natural disaster as part of human existential challenges can also contribute in eliminating fear; hence, reducing the impact of threat such incidents can cause us.

Another kind of fear is the one caused by certain belief systems or myths of a people. This type of fear is what I called “accident of fear”. This is what R. Michael Fisher refers to as “fear culture”[1]. Accident of fear has varieties, but in this article, we shall be looking at the kind of accident of fear I called “periodic accident of fear”. It is under periodic accident of fear that the phenomena of the “ember” months and the belief that goes with is contextualized, using Nigeria as a mirror.

Thus, in this article, we shall identify “periodic accident of fear” as the ruling fear in the “ember” months within Nigerians context. But then, such fear can be overcome if we should separate myth from reality or superstition from fact. Before we go further, it’s important we make some contextual analysis on the above concepts so as to know their roles in this article. Hence, let me quickly define the above mentioned concepts in order to make our ideation more clearing and appealing. In my book Philosophy of Fear, I argues that fear is said to be accidental if what you’re afraid of is actually not real, but are created by your own imagination [2]. Thus, “Accident of fear” as a kind of fear is founded on the belief in the superstition, falsehood or error which should not be taken as true. In other words, accident of fear is man-made fear either in his attempt to overcome other factors of natural fear or as means to instil the spirit of carefulness as it is common amongst the traditional folk tales and myths of different societies. In the same way, “periodic accident of fear” is the belief that there are certain period or time where certain negative things must necessarily take place more than any other time. According to this belief, such incidents are natural to the period or the time they occur. This notion is what I refers to as “generic fallacy” within Nigeria communities. It is a fallacy because such belief is not always the case in the real sense of it; it is just human creation which has affected the psychics of many individuals negatively, thus, creating unnecessary fear among people. A clear instance of this false belief is captured in the attitude of most Nigerians toward what is tagged “Ember Months”.

The concept of the “Ember Months”

The word “ember” as it is used here is different from the lexical meaning which has to do with a glowing piece of coal or wood from fire[3]. In this context, “ember” is a derivation from the last suffix of the names of three of the four months in the last quarter of the year (September, November and December). October is also included amongst the ember months even though it doesn’t have the prefix “em” added to the suffix “ber” which is generic to all the four months, but for sharing the suffix “ber” ends it a membership of the “ember” school of thought. What then is the philosophy driving the belief in the “ember” months in Nigeria society?

The trending philosophy of the ember months in Nigeria

This article was necessitated after receiving hundreds of well intended messages of prayers from my numerous friends, relatives, colleagues and well wishers on the 1st September, which is the first day into the “ember” period. Such messages like: “you shall not experience death throughout this ember months”,” blood sucking demon shall not taste your blood in this ember months”, “there shall be no accident on your way as we begin the ember months”, every evil altar raise against you in this ember months shall be destroyed” and many of similar prayers. These were prayers I received wholeheartedly with a faithfully affirmative “amen”, knowing fully that no well intended prayer is useless. Before 1st September, I had also witnessed many evangelical and ministerial billboards and churches posters along the streets and some members distributing fliers; inviting the general public for the ember months programmes with similar inscriptions as the ones I received through text messages and calls. Putting the inscriptions on these various billboards, fliers and the messages I received together, I realized that the central message was an invitation to re-awaken our consciousness of the ugly experiences people always observed during the period, I also understood that it was an appeal to people to rise up to conquer this fear(s) through the belief in a God who can rescue them from the terror of the devil and the challenges which is believed to be associated with the ember period. Most importantly, I realized that the blame of the ugly and bitter experiences of the ember period were put on evil men/women and their master; Satan, rather than putting it on the desperations and carelessness of the people.

Ember months are always believed as the period in the year where different rituals, sacrifices, festivals, spiritual rites, etc, are performed for appeasement of some gods and deities. The sacrifice that demands spilling of blood whether human or animal blood is often called rituals [4] This is always done to appeal to the gods of the land for a particular favour or to appease the gods for the misdeed(s) of the people or of a person. It is a strong belief among people including Christians and other religious that people ought to be very prayerful during ember months in order to break any forms of satanic covenant(s) that was made against them for the period. During this period also, there’s always “full load” of religious activities in churches and prayer houses as people pray against the spirit of death, spirit of accident, spirit of sickness, spirit of bad luck and other forms of bad spirits. Also, many prayers have been channelled to rebuking every kind of demon on assignment to execute any of these ugly incidents. In short, it is a period in which expectancy of bad incidents is at its maximum horizon, thus, increasing our fear(s).

Separating myth from reality

This article is not targeting at negating completely the philosophy or the belief characterizing the ember months, rather, it is an attempt to refute the exaggeration of attributing every of the ill of the period to demon, Satan or evil people as if ember months is a period dedicated to the devil, without looking at the desperations in the part of human beings to fulfil all his budget before the end of the year. In as much as I don’t deny the existence of some supernatural powers and principalities with their corresponding influences on the affairs of men, I do not agree with the belief that ember months are always characterized with ugly incidents caused by demons. This work shall therefore separate the myth and the fallacious notion about the ember months from the fact or reality surrounding the period. This separation I believe shall help us go about our normal businesses throughout the period with care and caution. We need to separate the myth that demons is always at work during the ember months, that demons have positioned themselves in strategic junctions to collect human blood by causing accidents on the road. We must conquer the myths that ember months is the only time the ritualists have kept to appease their gods and deities; using human beings as sacrificial lambs. We must separate the actual state of affairs of the period from the belief that satanic manipulations are always at work in our society during the ember months. These are the main trusts of this article, which I think is timely and demanding.

The myth

Myth is a story or an idea that is believed by the people but then, not true [5]. Such story may be the one that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence [6]. Thus, myth is a folklore genre consisting narratives that play a fundamental role in society, such as foundational tales [7] Using the above definition as a mirror, we can argue authoritatively that the over emphasized threat of death, accidents misfortune as the effects of the activities of spiritual interference in the affairs of men during the ember months is mythologically conceived and such belief ought to be refuted. Empirically speaking, there is never a period of a year that has ever been celebrated as death and problems-free period than will justify one to think that death or misfortune in any other time of the is caused by some demonic forces. It is therefore counterproductive to raise the feelings of fear when there’s actually nothing to be worried about.

 

The facts and realities of the ember months

The main reason for the seemingly increase in the mortality rate during the ember months is not mainly as the result of certain spiritual manipulations by some gods or deities as it is often alleged, neither is it because of the activities of the ritualists. Rather, it is as a result of desperations on the part of the people in trying to meet up with their financial challenges before the end of the year: this is what many pastors, preachers, teachers of times and seasons have failed to tell us about the ember months. Since the beginning of the ember months marks the beginning of the end of the last quarter of the year, it is pertinent that people will work even harder to put finishing touches in their projects for the year and it is logically true to say that, it is a period in which people check their scorecards to know if their outlined plans have been achieved or not. It is always a period of stock taking and account balancing. Ember month is a period of business and self evaluations; those in business must take stock to know if their business is growing or not; if they make profit or loss. People want to know if their budget for the year is deliciously executed. It is the period where many financial institutions, both public and private are rounding up their financial year and as such; all debts are expected to be paid to ensure that account book and the transaction thereto is in order. So it is always a challenging period to those indebted to these institutions. Parents must pay their wards school fees; prepare them to return to school. It is also a period that many people struggle to complete their project before crossing to another project year, this is predicated on the tradition of people making budget and drawing of proposal in the beginning of the year for what they wish to achieve before the year is ended.

The fact is that people are always desperate to accomplish their given budgeted projects before the end of the year. The pressures which many people found themselves during this period are capable of changing their psychics and then alter their senses of reasoning and behaviours, and this can affect their lives in a more devastating way such that it can lead to death. Since the ember months are made up of the last quarter of the year, it is always a period of clashed programmes and activities. In Nigeria, ember months always come with its unique fanfare, variety of feasting and other kinds of celebrations in the families, communities as well as in the states. For example, Calabar Carnival that is always celebrated from every 1st December to the end of the year demands so much financial involvements from those who may desire to have a full dose of the period. Many families and communities always fix their get together during this period. Everyone wants to travel home to reunite with their love ones. Many marriages are fixed for this period; all sorts of social anniversaries, end of the year parties, visits to friends, welcoming loved ones for a holiday, etc, are the common experiences of the period. Another demanding celebration among Christians at the last month of the ember is Christmas celebration. Here, parents, whether poor or rich are expected to buy Christmas wears for the children, the husband must buy for the wife, while wife must visit her parents with gifts. Earnestly speaking, ember month is a month of huge spending.

From the above, we can see why there are always so much desperations; everybody wants to meet up with the fanfare and the obligations of the period and nobody wants to be left out. And the result of these desperations is displayed in the careless driving by commercial drivers, absence mindedness of other commuters as well as roughness exhibited by different road users while applying the road; all in the name of meeting up with the demands of the season. The end product of this is an increase in road accidents and death. We need not to work in medical laboratory to know that too much of thinking can lead to High Blood Pressure and can affect our brain as well. We must not be medical practitioners to know that commercial drivers who overwork and deny themselves rest and sleep are bound to sleep while on steering (car steers well). We must not wait for a nurse to tell us that our failure to eat well just because we want to meet up with some financial commitments can make us collapse. We all know if we overwork ourselves without corresponding medical attentions, we can die at anytime. Many people because of the desperation to travel home, they don’t care about servicing their cars before embarking on the journey. For those who do, they often be in a hurry to move without test-running the vehicle before putting it on a far distance journey. All these are parts of the carelessness associated with the ember period. These and many more are the real causes of high mortality rate during the ember months and not the devil as we believe it to be. More often, during this time a lot of people only think about money and forget about their health. Human desperations during ember months have caused more death within the period than what demons may believe to have caused, but this is the truth that many have refused to know.

Conclusion

To overcome the fear of ember months therefore, we must shift the focus away from demons to human beings. We must not blame the ritualists, rather, we should blame ourselves for setting a goal that is difficult to achieve to ourselves. We can overcome the fear of the ember months if we stop wasting our time in church to rebuke Satan, but use such precious time to face our challenges even as we call on God to go stand by us. The fear and tension of the ember months can be overcome if we choose to be careful in all our dealings during the period, knowing fully that others will continue with their lives of desperations. Fear will depart from us if we pay attention to our health, knowing that the demands of the season might make us work more than needed.

*Don't drink too much.

*Don't drive carelessly.

*Don't set a goal that is difficult to achieve within a short time.

*Plan your life within your income.

*Always make sure you keep to the rules.

With these, you will be able to overcome the fear of the ember months.

 

 Endnotes

Ancient Sacrifices and Rituals in Nigerian Culture, informationparlour.com.

Eneyo, Michael. Philosophy of fear: A Move to Overcoming Negative Fear, Xlibris Publication, USA, 2018.

Eneyo, Michael. Philosophy of Unity: Love as an Ultimate Unifier, Nigeria, unpublished Book, 2018.

Fisher, Michael & Desh Subba. Philosophy of Fearism: A Eest-West Dialogue, Xlibris Publication, USA. 2016.

Fisher, R.” ‘Fear’ Studies, 12 Years Later: Progress and Barriers”. Technical Paper No.74, In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute, 2018.

Jeremy. “ Alternative Mythologies-The Efik Religion”. jeremyvarner.com. 7 Oct 2014

Kalu, Osinakachi. Conquering The Beast Fear, CreateSpace Publishers, 2016.

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Fear is Perplexing and Complex: Fearism

Recently, Fisher and Subba have prepared a paper and short presentation, to be given by Desh Subba at the 2018 International Scientific Conference Proceedings [1] in Moscow, Russia. The title of our paper is Abstract Expressionism Under the Lens of Fearism. This paper and presentation is a first collaboration on the relevance of fearism to art(s) and aesthetics, of which we hope to eventually create a book on that area of application of philosophy of fearism. Art(s) are so important to culture and societies and their consciousness evolution, so fearism has to take up that task of analyzing this important sphere. 

We thought we would share a short excerpt from our paper presentation with you all on the FM ning: 

"Discovering that the study of fear is best to be studied under a new philosophy of fear(ism), Subba pioneered some of the core work in this area. Fisher, working independently across on the other side of the world, was doing the same but using some different vocabularies and philosophies to sort through how best to understand and manage fear. What we both agreed upon, independently, is that the world (including art in the largest sense) can be best understood by looking deeply at fear and its role. We also knew that “fearism alone is insufficient” as a total analytic direction and it must be supplemented with other ways and methods that are not focusing on fear so intensely. We also agreed that most of the analysis of fear historically has been one of making it a negative factor in human experience. The literature on this negative bias is predominant and still remains to this day. We felt a positive-side was important to promote, yet at the same time we knew fear is much grander than merely sorting into binary boxes of good fear and bad fear. Subba’s (2014, 14) fearist conception is that we ought not forget that “Fear is as vast as the universe” and thus we keep an open imaginary regarding the nature and role of fear. We both agreed that a post-postmodern (i.e., holistic-integral) view on fear itself was required. Fear was to remain, under a fearist lens, as a very complex, if not perplexing, phenomenon requiring an equally complex and perplexing adequate set of epistemic methodologies to understand it (Fisher & Subba 2016)."

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[NB: It is a constant theme of debate in fearological circles that "fearology" and "fearism" and a "fearist lens" (perspective) really takes a very unique positioning on how to expand the prevailing fear imaginary and understand fear management/education compared to most authors/teachers/writings available. The issue of "perplexity" and "complexity" is definitely a key feature of differentiating the fearological way and the non-fearological way of interpreting "fear" and everything related to it. So, if one examines critically just about any typical writing/teaching on fear, what you'll notice is that writers tend to be very rational, clear, concise and (over-)confident when speaking about the nature and role of fear and how to manage it best. The fearological approach embraces another direction, not following that "rational" approach and thus one enters more the sublime of inquiry into a world of perplexity and complexity when it comes to the topic of fear.  -rmf]

 

 

Notes: 

1. The title of the conference is "The Destinies of Abstract Expressionism: For the Centenary of Guy de Montalur's Birth" 

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Introduction

We are living in a world where even though we tend to run away from natural-fear(s)[1], the society creates fear(s) for us directly or indirectly (artificial-fear(s)[2]). To this fact Desh Subba stated it clear that, “life is directed, conducted and controlled by fear,” which though does not presuppose that one should subscribe to fear but serves as a clarion call for us to raise eyebrow on this phenomenon fear.

This article is a fearological reflection on the notion of ember months (September, October, November and December) especially in Nigeria where some religious sect uses it to induce non-personal fear, interpersonal fear[3] and inculcation of fear culture on people’s way of living within this period. It aims at uncovering how the notion of ember month affects the psychic conditioning of the people so as to defear folks suffering from the emotion (fear) especially within the Christians denomination.

 

Explication of Terms

Defearing: To defear is to make one fear free. Just like deconstruction. The concept “defearing” is a composition of two terms ‘de’ and ‘fear’. De which is derived from the Latin preposition de-(meaning undoing, reversal or removing) and fear (an anxious feeling).

Ember month: The last quarter of the year ending with the suffix ‘ember’ like September, October, November, December.

During ember month there is always this tendency for people to strive towards achieving more success so as to beat financial constraint so as to celebrate Christmas in a luxurious way. For while everybody are struggling, the religious people are not left out. Everyone wants to mark this celebration by showing his people that he/she is not wasting time in the city or place of work (this is peculiar to those who live in the cities (mobility of labour) and migrants) who visit the village occasionally.

The religious sects especially the occasional churches that springs up like supermarket with the inscription “worship with us” on their sign post normally come up with fliers, banner and texts inviting people to programs titled “operation fight those fight against you,” ‘cancelling every spirit of ember,’ “blood sucking demons of ember month will not see me”, ‘my blood will be bitter for any ember month demon’, “my head will not be used for any sacrifice in this ember month”.

Some of those captions raise a question in the mind of any critical minded person; are there spirits meant to work only on ember month? Why should these programs come up now? Are there demons that operate only in ember month? Or is it the actual time for the religious program to be profitable?

These programs come up as a result of praying for people not to be use as rituals during this period. People sow seeds to the men of God even when they have little to live on but instead of receiving message of peace and love which serve as an antidotes for fear so as to toe that path of fearlessness, they receive messages that is characterized by fear which will make many to even receive the Saviour in anxiety and pain. In all honesty, the type of messages or preaching’s given by some pastors makes people to live in fear of the neighbor and above all seeing the good in people to be bad. By doing so, they kill the “I-thou” relationship preached by Jesus Christ, Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas.

The information they are inundated with are often projected in the dream. And as such, the dreamer begins to capitalize on his/her dream. In some cases the one shares the dream(s) with the so called men of God who create more confusion by creating more fear(s) that ends up in what I call fear-societal-disintegration[4].

Fear leads to societal disintegration because it is contagious. If someone becomes afraid of something, this fear has a tendency to spread to others, who in turn spread it further.[5] It is very easy to spread because humanity is confronted by powerful destructive forces that threaten our everyday existence. In this ember –fear, there is always two predominant fears that make people grieve or act as cowards without calling to mind that fear could also be a sale tool especially in fear cultured society.

  • Fear of Death

It is truism that death is inevitable. Every human person should strive towards accomplishing the existential calling (purpose) than wasting time trying to be like Mr. this or that. Protecting the self and achieving nothing can even make one to do anything humanly possible to be.

Although life is the chief value, the interestingness of life is that which is successful. By that I mean in the sense of achieving your purpose. Fear of death during ember month comes as a result of non-personal fear; fear that comes from a particular person, individual or private situation,[6] (it is created) intra-personal fear; fear that occurs within the individual mind or self like failure, inadequacy, impropriety,[7] resulting from cultured fear conditioned by religious leaders and get quick money syndrome.

Thus, understanding what one wants, setting up strategic goals, and working towards it religiously in the spirit of fearlessness will be a way of being alleviated from this ideological mishap. It is pertinent to note that the ember months are like other months. Seeing it as different from other months or characterized by some sort of evil happening is a category mistake. Hence, people needs to own up to responsibilities as we recall the words of Augustine which says, “pray as if everything depend on God and work as if everything depend on you”. You will live better fearless than in fear. Life is more than fear, for fear is part of life consciousness. It is a cosmic force that helps in awaking consciousness in humans. Paying attention to some of these fear symptoms which as a result of wrong approach to reality (FMS- Fear Management System) can lead to what R. M. Fisher calls a kind of building fear-identity[8]. This is why he (Fisher) encourages us to pay more attention to fearlessness which will help us to be more responsible in decision making so as to conduct our affairs properly.

 

[1] Fear posed to humans by natural occurrences e.g natural deserters

[2] Fear that comes from human inventions either ideologically or otherwise

[3]For non-personal fear and interpersonal fear, A philosophical cum psychological Approach, (port Harcourt: EY&SONS, 2016), P.g23-26

[4] Confusion in the society which is as a result of fear

[5]S. Lars, philosophy of fear, (London: reaction books ltd), 2008, P.11

[6] K.A. Osinakachi conquering the beast fear, P.23

[7] K.A. Osinakachi P.25

[8] R. Michael Fisher, Ethical Referent to Fearology, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KE6TGirOIc

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New Teaching Videos: R. Michael Fisher

I have slowly been getting media savvy and starting to put out to public access some 15-30 min. teaching videos on themes related, more or less, to my passions and fear and fearlessness. 

The first one was done by Greg Wendt, a film-maker in Carbondale, IL, USA, on my approach to coloring and aesthetic development re: fearlessness practice.

The second one produced by my own amateur means from my home in Calgary, AB, Canada, on "Ethical Practice of Fearology"

The third one also produced on my own, is "Peer Counselling Outside of Distress"  (on my passion to bring Liberation Peer Counseling back to life after a long hiatus)

The fourth one also produced on my own is "Ethical Referents of Fearology"

The fifth one "The Fearology Institute: Introduction"

The sixth one "Study of Fear: A New Turn"

The seventh one "Developing a Critical Literacy on Fear"

The eighth one "Fisher Responds to Michael Moore: On Fear"

The ninth one "The 'Big Four' Talk: Advancements in Liberation"

The tenth one "Fear Vaccine Process: Two Stories"

The eleventh one "Path of Fearlessness: Lucid Dreaming, Visions and Alters"

The twelfth one "Fear(ism): Philosophy Along the Difficult Path"

The thirteenth one "Michael Moore Meets Fearologist-II"

The fourteenth one "FearTalk 1: Four Arrows & R. Michael Fisher"

The fifthteenth one "Do's and Don'ts of Fearology"

The sixteenth one "FearTalk2: Luke Barnesmoore & R. Michael Fisher"

The seventeenth one"Understanding Jordan Peterson 1: Social Implications"

The eighteenth one "Greta, Fear and Youths' Future(s)"

The nineteenth one "FearTalk 3: Luke Barnesmoore & R. Michael Fisher"

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Also, I've produced with Barbara Bickel, a couple recent book trailers on my new books: 

"Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer"  (published 2018)

"Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism" (2018, still to be published in early autumn)

 

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Canadian Prime Minister & Fearology

Hon. Justin Trudeau -Canada's Liberal Party Leader

& Prime Minister of Canada

I recently with some naive enthusiasm reached out to the Canadian government, and the Prime Minister... 

Hello Hon. Justin Trudeau,

I am a fellow Canadian educator, like yourself, who has picked out the most 'wicked problem' I could find in the contemporary world, and it turned to to be the Fear Problem. After researching and teaching on this topic for 30 years now, I have finally created The Fearology Institute (based on a 'gift economy' model), as something I can do to help train people to be fearologists in the academic, professional and activism spheres of learning and teaching and service to Canadian society and beyond.

I've attached The Fearology Institute brochure for you viewing... and, may we or others in your cabinet find a way to talk further how to promote the work of solving this 'wicked problem' that spreads like a virus...

All the best,
R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D.
Director, The Fearology Institute

July 26/18

 ----- RESPONSE (Aug. 10/18)
 

Dear Mr. Fisher:

On behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.

I recognize why you have written to the Prime Minister; however, I hope you will understand that he is unable to personally intervene or provide you with direct assistance in this matter.

I regret that this office cannot help you in the way you had perhaps hoped, but I wish you well in your endeavour.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Prime Minister.

Yours sincerely,

T. Jolicoeur
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister's Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

 
 
 
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For a book video trailer (click here)

To purchase the book online: Fear, Law and Criminology

We are (as co-authors), excited to see that our new book is available (by Xlibris publishing, Australia). This is the first book in a series of books that are going to be published over several years, as each one takes on a topic or critical issue in the world and applies the philosophy of fearism (a la Subba) to it. The original dialogues behind the making of this new book are all posted here on the FM ning and have been slightly modified in this new book, along with a lot of new material as well. We thought we'd include here the summary text from the back cover of the book and our brief bios: 

Fear, Law and Criminology -With the growing awareness of many critics of "risk society," the "culture of fear" and the dangerous rising levels of unhealthy fear around individual, group, and public insecurities, three keen observers of the human condition have joined experiences, theories, and ideas to create a fresh vision for how best to look at the Fear Problem and how Law and Criminology may benefit from a new lens or perspective.

The authors, with their backgrounds in the study of the philosophy of fearism (a la Subba), bring a new lens to Law and Criminology, to social policies, politics, and policing and how best to improve enforcement of safety, security, and moral order. The fearist perspective of a philosophy of fearism creates an exciting, challenging, and sometimes radical position, whereby the authors argue that fear itself requires a concerted focus for analysis and solutions--that is, if Law and Criminology are to fully meet the highest standards of serving justice for all in a globalizing complicated world. 

Going beyond the simple fear of crime or fear of policing issues commonly dealt with in discourses about law, the philosophy of fearism offers other concepts with a rich vocabulary introduced in this book, one of which is the introduction of a new subdiscipline called fearcriminalysis. Readers will find, in addition to the main text as collective writing of the three coauthors, several fresh dialogues of the three authors in conversation, which bring their individual personalities, philosophies, and approaches into a weaving of differenes and similarities. Overall, they each agree that fear has been underestimated and often misinterpreted in Law and Criminology, and this has resulted, at times, in exacerbating insecurity, crime, and injustice in the world. 

 

R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, AB, is a Canadian philosopher, educator and fearologist, having studied fear from a transdisciplinary perspective for three decades. He is founder of The Fearology Institute, a professional training program, and author of hundreds of articles and several books, including The World's Fearlessness Teachings.

Desh Subba, livess in Hong Kong. He is a Nepali philosopher, poet, writer and founder of the philosophy of fearism and Fearism Study Center in Nepal. Author of several books and articles, his pivotal award-winning textbook is Philosophy of Fearism. 

B. Maria Kumar, living in India, is a long-term career police officer, recently retired as Director General of Police in Bhopal. He has published many books, such as Policing By Common Sense, and To Be or Not to Be Happy.

 

 

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Dr. Randy Auxier, SIUC University, Philosophy Department

Randy (an FM ning member), a philosopher of personalism with a spiritual infusion, has been an appreciative and progressive supporter of the philosophy of fear(lessness) work for the past few years. I am pleased to witness his commitment to social justice work and willingness to step up to the plate of American politics. Here's one piece of wisdom from his campaign website (on fear): 

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It is with great pleasure I am offering The Fearology Institute as a new and alternative training (educational) ground for those wishing to learn about fearology. For an Introductory video (23 min.) on my approach to teaching and the basics of the program and course click here Intro Video. I have linked here below the brochure TFI Becoming a Fearologist July25.pdf of courses and the program details. And, for those wishing to apply, here is the TFI Application.docx 

Feel free to pass on this blog and help promote TFI to the world. 

-thanks, 

RMF

 

 

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Fiction, Non-fiction Dialogue

THE FOLLOWING (fictional, non-fictional) DIALOGUE (and image above) is created by R. Michael Fisher,  July 21/18... because, he was bored one night! 

Q: Have you heard of the book published recently that features the 40+ years of teaching experiences of Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs)? It is written up in an intellectual biography by Dr. R. Michael Fisher and specifically focuses on the teachings Four Arrows, an Indigenous-based educator-activist, has gained from studying and applying professionally many things from hypnotherapy to wild horse training, high-level sports coaching, and teaching in general. Four Arrows gains most of his wisdom from Nature and what he calls the ‘old ways’ of the Indigenous worldview.

A: Yes, I heard of the book. I’ve met Four Arrows many years ago and showed him my book.

Q: The emphasis of Fisher in the book is on seeing Four Arrows’ life and work through the lens of fearlessness. Fisher, a 40+ year teacher himself, from diverse backgrounds, connected over 11 years ago with Four Arrows and noted that “Fear” was a major topic in Four Arrows writing and teaching—and, that’s rare for any educator that he’s read or known.

A: Yes, “Fear” is potentially a powerful force.

Q: Fisher decided with Four Arrows to entitle the book: Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer.

A: Now in my 60s and having had a lot of wilderness experience, I can't say that I've ever become fearless. I'm not even sure that's a goal for me any longer.

Q: Do you think becoming fearless is a goal for a lot of people?

A: I don’t know. On first glance it seems like a cool ideal—or some kind of ideal of youth.

Q: I have noticed “fearless” is used for branding all kinds of things these days, from hair and cosmetic products for women to you name it. Indeed young people are most attracted to the idea of it. It does seem a cool word in popular culture. Four Arrows and Fisher have something much more subtle in mind in how they use the term, and they actually use it in multiple ways, depending on the context.

A: As I mentioned, I can’t say that I’ve ever become fearless and I have no desire to attain it. Rather, fear seems to be part of my inner weather and as long as I have a self, I suspect I'll experience fear.

Q: Oh, I see. Do you ever imagine...

A: Actually, rather than becoming free of fear or conquering it, I work to learn to live with fear and to pay attention to what it has to teach me.

Q: So, you disagree with Four Arrows and Fisher? Have you read their book?

A: No, I haven’t. I’m just saying what’s right for me. I am not interested in becoming free of fear or conquering it.

Q: I’ve read their book, and they don’t talk about that. They have 80+ years of combined experience and concentrated study on the topic of fear and fearlessness. They actually define “fearless engagement” as something more than mere behavioral action of being without fear feelings or...

A: Yeah, well whatever. I know what’s right for me. Rather than becoming free of it or conquering it, I work to learn to live with fear and to pay attention to what it has to teach me.

Q: I’ve read your book on wilderness experiences and you write a fair amount about your fears at times.

A: Yeah, I do.

Q: And, I notice you teach courses on your book.

A: Yeah, I do.

Q: So, you really don’t see anything you are curious in about Four Arrows’ and Fisher’s expertise on this topic of fear to fearless(ness)?

A: I don’t believe there are experts; we all have our own inner-expert and all we have to do is learn to listen to it.

Q: Seems like you already know what you need to know about fear and fearlessness.

A: I don’t need another book to tell me... ah, fear teaches me, and so does Nature... it works.

Q: Basically, Four Arrows and Fisher say the same thing you are, they just have a more complicated understanding of Fear and therefore Fearlessness in quite interesting ways.

A: Uh, ha. I’m not that interested in complicating things that are really simple.

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[Note: the above dialogue was inspired by an actual email correspondence with a very bright person (see A: parts)... and slightly modified to create a narrative story; the theme of this dialogue is something that RMF finds more than a little annoying but real and repetitive in his experience for decades on this planet]  

 

 

 

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