Blog

All Posts (415)

Art work by R. Michael Fisher (c) 2003.

This is an image from p. 359 of my dissertation (Fisher, 2003) [1]. I wanted to show that I was into doing digital graphics for the first time that year and exploring what I could do with it... though, this is a b/w version of the color plate in my original dissertation. 

As for the real reason I want to share this political blog, it is because I found a very humorous (and serious) excerpt from pp. 18-19 of my dissertation. This excerpt below picks-up on a dialogue of a real historical political-activist figure, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a youth leader of the May Revolution of students in 1968 in French universities--the dialogue is a fictional one but based on my study of Cohn-Bendit's theories and philosophy of revolution. So, below, he is the D and I am the M. 

M: So, Daniel let's get back to the May Revolution. How are things different now, as you see them? 

D: I won't talk about me. I want to talk about the liberalism that has infected so many old and new activists, intellectuals, and just about everybody else under capitalism's insurgence into every fabric of our lives today. 

M: You sound like Mao.

D: One doesn't have to be a Maoist or Marxist, to see the opportunism and individualism that goes with liberalism--that is, the cracked-out addiction to safety and security, greed and waste, that drives this fearism, hey Michael? Henri Lefebvre called it the "terror of everyday life." It is the pernicious creeping passivity that throttles our liberal 'souls' and leaves us 'sitting ducks' or TV-couch potatoes, computer-chair potatoes, fragmented cyborgs....

M: That's my experience in most North Americans, and certainly of most youth today in Canada, where I live. Sure, I'm generalizing... but god just look at the young people going to The University of British Columbia. My six years of graduate school here have left me pretty depressed--especially, when I look at most graduate students, preservice teachers, their professors, the courses offered, the regulation of campus life and rigid bureaucratic protocols--and worst of all, a collection of "managers" posing as administrative "leaders" in the Faculty of Education and the entire university system. I don't think UBC is unique in its pathology--culture of fear. Wilber really goes after the postmodern university and cites Kors and Silvergate's study in their book The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses--the administrators are becoming Grand Inquisitors, they argue. Boomeritis [a la Wilber], in leftist garb, assaults liberty in trying to defend it (narcissistically)--and a pathetic neo-liberalism results in some cases and a facist liberalism in others. 

I too am 'bit' by the deadly liberalism 'bug' and the green meme psychologism of the 'new age' human potential movement that has been the hegemonic matrix of our W. society since WWII. I have long been searching for a political social movement to create, to belong to, to imagine...something Melucci (1989) describes the essence of what I am looking for in a social movement and transdisciplinary inquiry (outside of the 'Fear' Matrix): 

"The submerged networks of social movements are laboratories of experience. New problems and questions are posed. New answers are invented and tested, and reality is perceived and named in different ways." 

****

Note:

1. Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpubl. dissert. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, pp. 18-19.

 

 

Read more…

Book Title: Philosophy of Unity:Love as an Ultimate Unifier
Author: Michael Bassey Eneyo
Published by: Xlibris, 2019
Reviewed by: Desh Subba

Osho as saying:
"Nations are just man made boundaries, races are stupid discriminations, and
religions are man-manufactured and they are all dividing man against man."

One of the tasks of philosophers is to collect information from different sources
and process them to bring out beautiful insights about the reality of life. We can as
well say that a philosopher is a collector, maker and a distributor of ideas that are
capable of bringing love, development and unity in human society. Pragmatically
speaking, unlike a manufacturer that specializes in a specific area of production as
s/he devotes time, energy and resources to ensure that such production comes out
as a good and appreciative product, a philosopher specializes in the quest for the
ultimate truth about everything in the world. His scope of enquiry is anything that
exists, as well as the inexistent. Philosopher investigates every tiny particle to
know how best such knowledge can help in the making of a better society. There’s
no part of beings; either human or non-human that has not enjoyed at least a dose
of the activities of philosophers. One can justifiably argue that philosophy is that
umbrella which gives coverage to all aspects of enquiry or study: both the
empirical and rational dimensions of knowledge are tinged with philosophy.
Michael Eneyo’s work is a reflection of this undeniable truth. Eneyo in this book
has successfully collected ideas from different sources right from the classical to
the present philosophic expositions and garnish it with many insightful
renovations. He resorted to the study of different fragmented entities such as:
atoms, ants, plants, animals, humans, etc, and then concluded that the apparent
fragmentation and individuation of things in the universe is just an illusion; that
everything is connected to everything else. He is of the opinion that unless
opposites are taken into consideration, enquiry is incomplete.

In one of his quotes he said: "don't desire to acquire so much wealth, but desire
that you live a happy life; true happiness is the greatest wealth."

Yes! Philosophers not only try to know what “is”, they also want to know what
was before creation and what would be after existence. It is always on expanding
scope that covers varieties of things. No wonder most scholars refer to philosophy
as "mother of all discipline"(P4).
It is therefore the character of philosopher to use any available tools in search for
absolute truth. Philosophers never stop at one destination; they look at both front
and back, up and down in search for answers to many barren questions of life. For
a philosopher to accept anything as appealing, desiring, virtuous, justice, etc, s/he
must have reason(s) to support such stance. This attitude of having reason for any
knowledge claim makes some people say that philosophy is the study of “why questions.

” They are always curious about why the thing is the way it is, and then
suggests how it ought to have been.

It is also true that philosophers always search for answers and these answers
always produce new knowledge. One can say that a philosopher is a planter of
knowledge; always curious to plant for others to harvest. Philosophy digs the depth
of knowledge, virtue, justice, nature, hell and heaven and every other thing that is
worth knowing. Michael Eneyo, a philosopher, the fearologist, lovist: is a
philosophical farmer whose duty is to plant knowledge in this field called universe.
The resounding philosophic dictum in most of his works is Love. For him, love is
the ultimate unifier of all fragments and their opposites. To support the above
dictum, he exhibited how different beings such as: animals, birds, human body,
plant, etc, are naturally connected with one another in the universe, which
according to him is predicated on love. He is of the opinion that the universe is
dialectically constituted and that every being is fundamentally guided by some set
of rules (p.25).

In one of his quotes he said: "don't desire to acquire so much wealth, but desire
that you live a happy life; true happiness is the greatest wealth". I agree with him.
From experience, we can see that people try to find happiness in material wealth,
but true happiness is not found in wealth. It can be in the forest, mountains, and
rivers or in nature itself. Happiness is a creation of the “self”; we are the one to
make ourselves happy no matter the situation. If we search for happiness in
politics, in business, in writing or in religion, we may not find it unless we choose
to be happy ourselves. When Socrates went out in search for wisdom among
politicians, authors, businessmen and among the youths of Athens, he couldn't
find it. Wisdom was already inside of him. It is the same way happiness is inside of
us, we only need to bring them out the way Socrates tried to bring out the
knowledge which he claimed was already in everyone.
Again, the author in this work says in another of his dictums that, "there is an
enduring battle between life and death. When life changes it battle ground, the
result is death, and when death changes, we call it life." Everyone is in-between life
and death. This again is very true. Absolutely, life is all about being saved from
death. Throughout our lives, we always try our best to ensure that we save it from death.

Eating, doing exercises, having balance diet, invention of medicines,
engaging in politics, enactment of certain laws, rules and regulations are mostly
associated with our fear of death. We are always in battle between life and death.
When we lose the battle for death, we die and if we win; we live. That is why we
always struggle to be the winner. Eneyo is right! All our struggles in life are
between life and death. Most people are afraid to die that is why they engage in
many activities that can prolong their lives.
Eneyo has cited a thought from Ernest Becker. Becker has said that all human
anxiety is ultimately a manifestation of their fear of death. This assertion is similar
to Eneyo’s. I am personally in agreement with Becker and Eneyo here. To add to
Becker’s assertion; depression, stress, mental problems are also ultimately
manifestations of humans fear of death.
In this book, Eneyo discusses that both the positive and the negative unity are
caused by love. But R. Michael Fisher, one of the renounced fearologists argues
that the kind of cultural unity discussed by Becker is caused by fear of terror; thus,
it cannot be interpreted as unity motivated by love, but Eneyo has successfully
prove his point in the pages of this book. This again depends on the belief or the
perspective Fisher is looking at fear. Fisher's department of specialty is on fear, so
his interpretation, no doubt seems to be influenced by his field of expertise. An
idealist once said to Sartre;"there is a god". He replied, "If there is a god, then
there must be existence". This means that things are necessitated by the
influence of other related things.

Another beautiful presentation of the illusion of division and disunity in this
naturally unified world is well captured when the author cited Osho as saying:
"Nations are just man made boundaries, races are stupid discriminations, and
religions are man-manufactured and they are all dividing man against man". This
is a dynamic approach. In fact it is true; we are now in the universe where human
beings have created for themselves; nations, boundaries, race, and classes. This
idea of division and disintegration is not original to humans. These are the factors
that divide us; thus, turning us into enemies to each other. Even though Osho
seems to have looked at this factor of division from human perspective, I want to

add that other non living factors like: technological machines, pollutions, and
bombs are also dividing us through the way they are used by humans. Though in
the beginning, man invented these facilities for his benefits, after awhile, the
supposedly benefits have evolved into abuse; thus, becoming enemies to man.
That is why Jean Jacques Rousseau says that everything was good in the state of
nature, but everything degenerates in the hands of man. In the state of nature
there was no man-made religion, boundaries, race and class; everything was part
of everything else. This kind of natural unity with a contemporary mindset is what
the book envisioned.

Michael Eneyo’s book on unity is a panacea for mutual cohesion in the
contemporary society that is characterized with all kinds of disunity. Unity is the
best solution to war, violence, conflict etc. I recommend readers to carefully go
through this masterpiece of Michael Eneyo on unity of beings. Not only will it help
you in understanding the international conflicts and how it can be addressed, but
will also help you to understand how to handle domestic violence and conflicts
too. Once we understand the root of war, violence and conflict, we will certainly
have solution for them. The book: Philosophy of Unity is indeed a compendium of
solutions to international and domestic conflict, war, violence and all forms of
civil unrest.

Read more…

"Fearism" Coined in 1990: New Discovery

Figure 1  "Fearism" First Coined (in excerpt from an Unpublished book ms by R. Michael Fisher, Sept. 10, 1990)

      HISTORY OF THE COINING OF "FEARISM" 

The newest discovery of the first use of the term "fearism" came the other day while I was searching an old book ms. never completed or published. The date, Sept. 10, 1990, it was entitled Journey Into Fearlessness: Towards a Meta-Service Healing Model" and was part of my first year of writing and publishing on fear and fearlessness post-In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989 - ). The excerpt (Figure 1) makes an interesting claim and choice of words: "Egoism is fearism" (p. 4). I have included here the entire Preface Fisher Meta-Service Healing Model 1990.pdf from which this excerpt comes from, showing my deep connection at the time to understanding the nature and role of fear in the field of human services, of which I and my partner at the time (and co-founder of ISOF Project) were working in the field and researching as young scholars wanting to improve things. This was my third career, after my first in ecological and environmental biology, and second in education. 

Although, in re-reading this Preface (above) it is clear that I was imagining this expansive conceptualization (and theory) of "fear" as "fearism" just like of "ego" as "egoism," there was no further use of the term in my ms. at that time. However, often the text and thinking in this ms. indicates I was using "toxic fear" (amongst other such expressions) and referring to fearism, more or less. Note: Desh Subba's coining of the term "fearism" in 1999 in his literary work and later philosophical work is not quite the same as my early uses. When I connected with Subba in late 2014, just after his book Philosophy of Fearism was published and transl. into English, we then corresponded and I joined my views with his views somewhat to enable the East-West emergence of a "philosophy of fearism" as one philosophy with many branches (see our book in 2016 Philosophy of Fearism: A First East-West Dialogue). Subba and I agreed to use fearism-t (toxic form), to distinguish from his generic coining of the term in 1999, to refer to the earlier pre-Subbaian coining of fearism and what has followed as use by many authors in scholarly work since [1]. 

The history of the coining of "fearism" now needs to be revised with this new 1990 discovery. The history as tracked out in Fisher & Subba (2016), pp. 12, 106, 120-23, 128, needs revision and has some errors. Here is the best information I have now to give the history of its coining in brief summary: 

1990 - (Sept. 10), Fisher (Canada) uses the term in one sentence, linking it with "egoism" and a "toxic fear" formation with ideological overtones in meaning but nothing more is written specifically by him using the term "fearism" again until 1997

1992 - an American political writer (T. Hiss) used it once in The New Yorker magazine article and it was later cited by a scholar (J. K. White in a book 1997, p. 74) (see Fisher & Subba, 2016, p. 12, 153)

1997- Fisher (Canada) used it once referring to it as a "social dis-ease" in his unpublished Spectrum of 'Fear' book ms. 

1999- Subba (Nepal) uses the term in a literary ms. and then develops it into a full-blown philosophy

 

Note

1. For an inventory of uses of "fearism" by scholars, the latest update is Fisher, R. M. (2017). "Fearism": A critical analysis of uses and discourses in Global Migration Studies. Technical Paper No. 64. Carbondale, IL: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute. 

 

Read more…

Culture of Fear Politics: Has To Go

This is the latest electoral promo postcard that came to my door yesterday. It doesn't really matter who the politician is, when they are the opposition, you get this kind of depiction (representation) and derrogatory imagery and words (the yellow boxed words especially)-- and, what you see is the use of fear, violence/hurting, terror and demonization tactics used from the "good side" to create the 'enemy.' Even if I would not vote for the part and this leader depicted, here in Alberta, it is not that important to me as the WAY we do politics and campaigns and run governments upon this kind of culture of fear virus spreading tactics. As if this is going to make for a better political government and operations in the capital city where important decisions have to be made and worked through, like any negotiating, like any conflict process, like any 'family' or organization. This all shows me how demeaning and low and afraid both parties are and their leaders and planners of promo materials... they fall into this immature pit of despair and their own terror of 'losing' to the opponent. They use fear to create fear and try to win votes. This is not only immoral on many grounds, it perpetuates the culture of fear dynamic and its oppressive results and casts that upon all the people. There is nothing positively inspirational in governments making campaigns like this and trying to 'win' votes, and it does nothing for building future longevity of parties and leaders nor a stronger and healthier Alberta. But I know this happens everywhere. It really is immature thinking that's gone into this design and tactic. Let's work towards Healing Alberta not creating more wounds, more hurt, more fear and violence. Sanity is still a long ways from our political parties and leadership, sorry to say. Lot's of corrective work and change required! 

Yes, I'll go vote on Tues. in the Alberta election, but I do so with great ambivalence as to why I would vote to support any of the political parties and their leaders in Alberta as they behave in this immature way. I offer my support for all of them to 'grow up' to where they care about real people and care about their role in creating a culture of fear in this province. This is no future, a future of fearmongering, that our children and youth ought to inherit. CITIZENS AGAINST FEARMONGERING is my latest work in the communities in Calgary, as a pilot project through the program call LIFE ENHANCEMENT TRAINING... check in with me if you want to know more about these, and/or see my Youtube Channel, go to "R. Michael Fisher" (L.E.T.) for teaching videos. 

Feel free to share other critiques you have of this kind of visual cultural (advertising) that continues the culture of fear virus. 

 

[btw, election results are coming in for Alberta this evening Apr. 16/2019 -- Jason Kenny and United Conservative Party appear to have swept the 'majority']

[btw, my lecture topic Apr. 18/2019, my 67th birthday is "Politics & the Meaning of Betrayal"] 

Read more…

Transformation: A History of Transformation by R. Michael Fisher

Is a new series of teaching videos (on Youtube), as described in my second video

Dr. R. Michael Fisher continues this series of teaching videos on the history of transformation, as he weaves together many diverse threads of theories, philosophies, movements and critical thinkers, while sharing his own experiences of transformative dreams, nightmares, experiences with psychosis etc.

Be sure to watch the first History of Transformation 1 to give more context to this 2nd video, but it is also not necessary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wcgf0V-j0I

In this video Dr. Fisher emphasizes how the very nature of "transformation" itself is and has to transform as well. In particular, this is the case because of the inevitable social collapse, with psychic collapse going on as people become aware of what is happening to the world in the early 21st century, with global warming, mass extinction and a future image that is constantly shrinking and threatening everything.

------------

NOTE: I am doing research on transformation itself (as a movement) for a new book in the next 2-3 years... I look forward to this project as it feels like a lot of the historical memory (and even documentation) is disappearing fast and I was fortunate to be right in the middle of this, even though I was in Canada when "transformation" bloomed and is still so critical to us all ... 

Read more…

NOTE: "In denial" is a code word for "in fear" (terror)... let's face it... then, we begin being part of the "solution" (if there is such a thing; we start the restorations, we start the path of fearlessness)... 

Andrew Harvey a long-haul serious spiritual teacher, along with others like Marianne Williamson, are really starting to take their critical shots big time at so much of the commodified bull shift and narcissism in the "spirituality" that cricles around human potential, pop cult spirituality, and new ageism... I am totally in agreement with their assessment as I have watched this bull shit for 30 years and not been impressed with how they manage fear (by trying to transcend it)--and, get themselves so wrapped up in their own spiritual enlightenment they miss the very disasters under their feet. "Terrifying" says Harvey, now that's what we have to admit to 'turn' (if possible) this all into a much better future outcome than the one this is fast going down now. Welcome to the Fearlessness Movement--a time for true Sacred Warriors. 

AND, for those who want to learn more about the "Deep Adaptation" movement, and facing our collective death and suffering on massive scale with the "inevitable" real collapsing of environment and social systems in the very near future (less than 10 years)... go to a great conversation by David Thorson (of Emerge podcast) with guest Dr. Jem Bendell on "The Meaning of Joy of Inevitable Social Collapse" https://anchor.fm/emerge

BTW, since writing this blog, a bunch more people (e.g., David Suzuki) etc. are coming out with the "collapse" narrative re: the precarious future facing humanity and the earth, to the point where various organizations I see are starting to collect resources to try to help people cope with the dramatic changes and potential suffering and death inevitable--e.g., "Library of Collapse" is one: 

 
Inline image
 
 

What is the Library of Collapse?

This Library was established with three distinct purposes.
The first is to be a repository and distribution point of key information that would be useful for surviving and thriving before, during and after societal collapse. To achieve this goal we intend to make our entire site downloadable. Individual knowledge-base PDFs will also be provided on a per-entry basis.
Our second goal is to aggregate important news happening around the world today pertaining to collapse. We will not interpret the news, nor will be selective in our narrative or editorialise. We are here to merely report the facts and allow our readers to form their own opinions.
Our third and final goal, is to be a place of support. Collapse is a scary notion for many, and can drive people towards depression. Our goal is to provide comfort, guidance and perhaps even some hope. We believe that individuals can still change the world.

What topics does the library cover?

The Library of Collapse will cover topics that will prove helpful before, during and after collapse.
We will have resources on preparing your home for natural disasters or intrusion. Writers are already working on a series of sustainable living guides, including micro-farming, alternative energy for your home and much more. Our library also covers important life skills that could make all the difference in a world on the brink of collapse.
We hope that you will find this growing library indispensable as we head into uncertain times.

 

Read more…

Youth Leadership & Fear: Greta Thunberg

 

Greta Thunberg, 16 year old protestor-leader on climate change (2019)- 

A (largely) youth (school) movement has begun with a young woman's protests on the inaction, what she calls all political movements have failed to stop the climate change crisis (re: global warming)... she is being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize... this is nothing to shrug off... I love hearing youth voices speak out with 'truth to power' that most adults are unable to attain, so it seems. It's political action like hers we have a lot to learn from. To ponder... 

In this speech she says to the world (especially economic leaders): "I don't want your hope.... I want you to panic .... I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday."  

Whoa! That's a quote I won't forget. And of course it is a claim about "fear" and contra "hope" (and a lot more)... this is philosophically and politically an important point to grasp and take in and then also critique... even Greta can learn from what she is speaking about... and, all of us as humanity, as Homo sapiens, as she likes to speak about need to reassess a lot of things we say as adults to youth, and say to them in this time of 'tipping point' cascading crisis on a planetary level. 

I invite Greta and her movement to join the Fearlessness Movement. For my own take on Greta, some months ago, I did a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMKKLXhSG9o

 

 

 

 

Read more…

New Video (35 min.)... where I describe how I am stepping up full of inspiration to enter "politics" (i.e., from the perspective of the political sphere, a holistic-integral approach)... 

Entitled: The Great Citizen: Future Process Politics & Learning

[companion video recently: The Great Collapse: How Afraid Should We be?]  Note: my play off the term/concept "The Great" [1] has an intellectual history behind it, important for those readers and viewers who really want to understand where I am coming from. 

New Video- Description: The Great Citizen

Dr. Fisher talks of how he is moving to make a commitment over the next 10 years to enter the political sphere and politics. He shares his experience professionally as a teacher and differentiates that from being an educator (especially, adult educator). He questions and critiques politics and political figures but also supports their differing pieces of the puzzle toward the making of a great citizen, great society, etc. What makes a process philosophy, thinking, person is explored, and he shows his intention to study the history of transformation in the last 100 years especially and how it is essential to understand what is transformation and its role in the political sphere and politics of which he mentions Marianne Williamson as an exemplar for a holistic-integral approach as she is currently running for President of the USA in 2020. Always asking: "What are we learning?" is key to his educational philosophy and thus "learning to learn" is both a meta-cognitive skill but also the basis for a great learner/citizen and it is essential to analyzing the problems and crises we face individually and collectively.

(action still from my video)... 

 

End Note

1. The first book and stream of intellectual thought on the telling of 'Big Story' narratives per se came from my encounter in the late 70s-early 80s sometime, and reading the little booklet I ordered from the US by eminent Thomas Berry, the self-identified geologian (cultural historian) at the time, entitled "The New Story" (also a recent video has been put together on this work http://thomasberry.org/publications-and-media/the-new-story-1)--and, much later Berry wrote a critically important work to many in the holistic movement called "The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future" (2000) [2]; but the more substantive perennial philosophy work I read sometime in the early 80s was one that was promoted as foundational in the transpersonal philosophy of Ken Wilber at that time, and it is the classic (1936) book "The Great Chain of Being: A study of the History of an Idea" by Authur O. Lovejoy. There was that sense of "The Great" something, historically, evolutionarily and beautifully articulated, as what Wilber later called the "spirit in evolution" basically. And that's all resonant with my own soul and sensing that there is some 'big picture' (a fav. term of Wilber's) going on that I or anyone could learn about and feel there is an alternative view of history (and the future) than what the straight-up historians (and evolutionists in biology) have been and still were (and still are) painting about the nature and destiny of humans, Homo sapiens, and humanity and human nature, etc. The next in the trilogy on "The Great" works that came to me is David C. Korten's (2005), "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community"--again, much could be said on how important this book and teaching is, and to say the least Korten has attracted a huge following across a lot of different areas, but yes, still within the alternatives movements. To be interested in "transformation" at the core of my process philosophy, politics and education, one has to link these triad or quadrad of influences to my work to make sense of what "transformation" means to me. And with a little research there are others who have their own versions of The Great Turning, e.g., a very important leader, and Buddhist eco-activist, Joanna Macy, https://vimeo.com/191169785 ;

2. "Great Work" (i.e., magnum opus) is a term with spiritual-philosophical rooting that apparently goes back to ancient Hermetic (esoteric) philosophy, at least, as a legacy and tradition of thinking about the reality and future reality that the human and consciousness is participating in, and can shape and can be shaped by. 

 

Read more…

Love and Fear: A Great Teaching Video

Wow... a great teaching video on Love vs. Fear ... this is based on Judaism teachings, but as a cartoon video animation it is fantastic, and has some great wisdom and thinking in it... you don't want to miss this, especially as it shows a "female" figure out-smarting the "male" figures on how each interprets fearmongering in situations that anyone can related to (like the workplace)... I highly recommend this for "Fear Education" curricula anywhere... (albeit, it is in English only, with strong Jewish accents)... go to the article and video: 

https://reformjudaism.org/love-and-fear-what-does-judaism-teach-us-part-2

Read more…

Dr. Carl Leggo 

Part 0 

Dr. Carl Leggo joined the Fearlessness Movement ning (April 24, 2015) a week or so after I put out to a bunch of people on my birthday (April 18) I had started this FM ning in Jan. 2015--he was the 14th member to sign-up, and 5th academic to do so. He wrote one blog in 2018 on his favorite topic "love" and schools: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/carl-leggo-ruminating-on-love-and-schools

He is a significant Canadian educator-poet, departed from his physical form yesterday morning with lymphoma cancer, and an earlier death than one would like; as he had a lot of poetry left in him but his destiny and body were telling him another story, less poetic, less grand, less fun, and much less limiting than the cheers of the human potential movement and new age rhetorics that incessantly call out, and preach, as they do these days-- you can do anything, be anybody  (and, live young forever).... I don't think so! 

A memorium to Dr. Carl Leggo... mine, but there will be many from his 30 years teaching... so many students and colleagues that loved him and learned from and with him. Let me start spontaneously with my own initial memorium (perhaps, there will be more and some more formal, perhaps not)... I just want to riff here a bit: 

 

Part 1 

I met him first on UBC campus in his office, led by the contact given me by a professor who said, "You should meet Dr. Leggo?"; the meeting was all upon my initiative going to grad school in Adult Education (a masters) because I was looking for a supervisor for my thesis in the fall of 1998. Expecting good things, he turned me down and said he was already too busy, and he wasn't totally best fit, for what I was into--that is, the study of conflict and its influence in education and society in general. I was going to write a critique is all I knew. How we handled conflict in society I thought really stunk! He didn't disagree but it was not his cup of tea.

 

Part 2

Carl Leggo (1953-) Carl Leggo is an autobiographical poet who evokes his nostalgic childhood experiences growing up on the now non-existent Lynch’s Lane, Corner Brook. [Newfoundland, Canada].  Heavily influenced by fellow Corner Brook poet, Al Pittman, who Leggo first heard read in 1972, he, like Pittman, believes poetry should represent and narrate the experiences of people in a language that resonates with the heart’s memories. Born to Russell and Kerry Leggo, Leggo worked as a teacher in Newfoundland for nine years during the 1980s, teaching in Roberts’ Arm, Stephenville and Corner Brook. In 1990, he accepted a faculty position as Associate Professor in the Language Education Department at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches classes in communication, writing, education and narrative research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. [excerpt from http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/arts/carl-leggo.php]

 

Part 3

Not always to my liking (I have my critiques), Leggo was (still is) all about bringing "love" into curriculum and pedagogy and graduate research--and love of language into education and life, in the largest sense. A new book dedicated to him and his work was created by some UBC colleagues etc. and his favorite picks--all while he was in cancer treatment--and, just in case he didn't make it. They wanted to honor his years of contribution. I heard about this book from my partner Barbara Bickel, also a doctoral student of Carl's at one point. The new book title: 

Storying the World: The Contributions of Carl Leggo on Language and Poetry (Studies in Curriculum Theory Series). NY: Routledge, 2019.

 

Part 4

Leggo was my doctoral co-supervisor (with Karen Meyer) at UBC Education (2000-03). I remember he gave me the bad news I didn't get accepted into the program. I phoned back later and challenged that. I thought I was a perfect candidate. He rethought, and said, okay then. Years later, a fun memory of him asking me to take him to the UBC book store art section and help him buy a bunch of visual art supplies because he wanted to learn to use those materials more with his work and he was so inspired by my art and how I had turned my cubby-hole graduate student office into an art studio for my research. He apparently never did much with all the art supplies, but we had fun buying whatever without caution to how much things cost. That's an artists fantasy... 

 

Part 5

He was the second (and only seriously interested) academic in the field of Education to endorse and study my first major 'real' book The World's Fearlessness Teachings: A Critical Integral Approach to Fear Management/Education for the 21st Century (Lanham, MD: University Press of America/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010). He made sure UBC Education library had a copy for future teachers. 

 

Part 6

I kept up email correspondence with him for 15 years after I graduated from UBC. He usually always replied to the writing I was sending him, and always encouraged me. I eventually was angry enough to push him to do more than respond on emails and he decided to take on reading my 2010 book and then riff off from it and explore "Love" and "Fear" more specifically, which he did and published that in 2011 in a Canadian curriculum journal, the piece entitled: "Living Love: Confessions of a fearful teacher." (Leggo 2011 Confessions.pdf). I see he picked this article to include it in his last anthology book: "Storying the World"... There's nothing like a good confession, and I suppose I was looking for it from him all those years of corresponding. He admitted in this article two things: (a) my book was an important book for all educators to read and study, (b) thinking through much of what I was saying in that book impacted him to look more honestly... and, his long pursuit of love, he admits, was motivated mostly by fear, which he had not fully realized until he did this inquiry--which, for me was a collaboration project... a coming full circle where not only he was the mentor for me (and others) but I was the mentor for him (and perhaps others who'll read his confessions article)... For further advice on confessions, e.g., see the big A. A. Blue Book: "Step 4: Make a Fearless Moral Inventory...". 

 

Part 7

My favorite quote (I subversively recorded) from him came during one of my doctoral research committee meetings, when he jumped into the conversation around my work and blurted out: "It is really terrifying to look at a fearless organization." [meaning, in context, he was saying, it was so contradictory to his entire way of understanding and experiencing most of academic and other institutions in society, to imagine what it would look like to have a fearless organization] (quote cited in my dissertation (p. 6), Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia. During my performative defense of the dissertation, and the first UBC 'outside' reviewer spoke, and castigated my entire dissertation (pretty much), Carl followed with my defense: "Now, [long silent rumination], this is a really complex text." [thanks man!]

 

Part 8

I got up at 4:30 am and had powerful dreams of being back in the forests of British Columbia. Barbara had a dream with Carl also this night... so, I decided to write this memorial piece and when I went to my filing cabinet what popped out for me was a paper I had written in my doctoral studies years, which in some ways was influenced by my encounters with Carl and one course I took of his on narrative writing/inquiry in research... it stimulated my creative self to stay alive, to keep the artist in my academic work... and, so I'll just let you read these three scanned first pages from a paper I wrote for Dr. Elvi Whittaker, an anthropologist (course instructor for EDCI 572 on Critical Ethnography) in which I wrote fictionally a dialogue, something I love to do, as I wrote to Dr. Michael Taussig (anthropologist) whom I had been reading with some fascination in my doctoral research; but I really wanted to go into a deeper communion with Taussig and his ideas, and about the academy (my critique) as well... here are the three scans... and, for Carl, if you are bored wherever you are, you may want to have a read of these yourself and feel free to send me feedback in a dream... 

 

Read more…

Critical Imagination: Is Fearlessness

 

"... the ground of imagination is fearlessness."  - D. D. Prima 

 

I would add to this poetic line, from a powerful women beat poet from the 50-60s who broke out of the 'boxes' and... made a great impression on the world... she is still writing... I would add to her above line "the ground of critical imagination is fearlessness"... because that contradicts the imagination of the masses... and, that is an imagination based on fear -- a fear-based hypnosis that captures the young child's imagination early in life and shapes it and locks it up in a room until it can be totally appropriated and domesticated, just like in many places in India, especially Muslim girls... they are kept locked up once they hit menstruation (puberty) and are domesticated, taken out of school often... especially in the lower castes... and, are made slaves (see documentary film called "Salma")... I think the American poet Prima knows this oppressive way of life, perhaps more subtle in North America than in India, yes, but nonetheless... without the critical imagination essential to the full growth of the soul and true freedom... a society is doomed...  Yeah, to the poets!!!! 

 

 

Read more…

ON THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2019

At the end of 2018, you must have evaluated and reevaluated yourself to know your performance appraisal. Since you cannot correct the past but make a new beginning you decided to make a better tomorrow for yourself, thereby saying, in 2019, I will do this and that. A strategic planner ought to have a good To-do list for the year. This list serves as a set-out goal(s). Each of the goals should be guided with policies characterized by cardinal plans. Without that, it will end as a wish.

Now that we have entered the quarter of the year 2019, you ought to know if you are on the right direction. Hence, making a deduction on whatever you do. If you are not doing well, you can restrategize. Although there is no time wallowing in failure, you still have time to succeed perfectly well.
Be guided by time. It is good to make connections but try and maintain your relationship. Do not make too many friends so as not to import those who see your principle or way of life as a pompous character. Those set of people always want you to while away your time in the name of giving them attention.
They don't know that proper attention is given when you have a proper foundation to make ends meet.
You need a supportive friend male and female who share in your positive ideologies.
Be courteous, responsible and responsive in all that you do, knowing fully well that what your critiques and failure are to succeed in the positive direction. The means justifies the end because, as a being in the cosmos, it behooves on you to live and lead your life for tomorrow or repercussion sake.
It is March, where are you matching to in your life? Backward or Forward?

Read more…

Females (Women): Fear & Love

I have been slow in researching the ways females (women) come to understand fear (and fearlessness). I have published a technical paper on the topic in 2013 [1] and I have just recently completed a two part series of FearTalks with a Ph.D. candidate Nicole Rallis and Dr. Barbara Bickel on this topic, including how it relates to women's bodies, feminist spirituality and caring and so I encourage you to check it out: Part 2    Part 1 

Notes:

1. 

Fisher, R. M. (2013). Females and fear: Contributions and challenges. Technical Paper No. 49. Carbondale, IL: In

                    Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.  Tech paper 49.pdf

 

Read more…

How Will Love Do It?

Just finished my Part 2 Video doing a fearanalysis of Marianne Williamson's campaign so far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDlATRUYLM

The Marianne Williamson campaign-- questions are being asked as in this Forbes magazine article on MW... [see also my blog a few posts ago on this ning]

Warrell, a fan of MW, asked (as many will) in this article ending: 

"Will love win out over fear in a political system that seems to so richly reward those who are most masterful in manipulating fear in their favor?  Time will tell."  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2019/01/29/marianne-williamson-can-love-transcend-fear/#6cc095f4141b

 

ALSO, my daughter (Vanessa) interviewed in a podcast Marianne in 2012, well worth listening to: http://www.poetic-justice.ca/for-the-love-of-social-change--interview-with-marianne-williamson --at one point Marianne says, "forces of fear are intensifying; forces of love are intensifying" -- sounds a lot how I think too but my philosophical and theoretical frame looks at this as forces of fear/fearlessness are intensifying... 

Read more…

Hi All, 

As founder director and main instructor of The Fearology Insitute, I welcome you to check out the higher education online program and courses. TFI started in July 18, and will soon be finishing up the first course with five students from around the world. 

I have created an introductory video on TFI and have attached the TFI Becoming a Fearologist July 26.pptx of all the details of how TFI runs, the courses, the value of courses etc. I look forward to hearing your interests and questions. 

The world is ready (or not) for a new breed of fearologically intelligent thinkers and practitioners... 

Contact me for an application form: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com 

Read more…

"Super-Human" Stage of Development (5%)

 

This comes from a website (endorsed by Ken Wilber and engaged with Wilber's work/teachings): https://superhumanos.net/

Although I have long followed developmental theories which make these kinds of proclamations (data summaries) about % of people at various levels of development on the spectrum, my experience shows these are highly inflated numbers used typically. It may be valid that research testing shows cognitive grasp of say some new stage of development (e.g., "self actualization") --but reality is, with all the cultural barriers and the pathological and dissociative aspects in most individuals, there is a big difference to actually be able to center one's self-sense and operational values and behaviors at the new level in a deep coherent consistent integrative way--so, my estimate would be more like 0.5 % actually are living fully as "self-actualized." 

Read more…

WET-THINKERS 31: No Longer Fearing the Future

You've heard of wet-nurses... well, then imagine wet-thinkers... and, 

In this blog I wish to introduce to the world a new kind of thinker and thinking--I'm calling "Wet-Thinkers 31" --a group yet to evolve but there in the waiting, because our world today is in such crises (and lots more to come)--that a new "fearless thinking" and thinkers of great critical capacity and creativity are required. 

Where did this strange name come from? Wet-thinkers offer wet-thinking! That came from the hypnopompic state of trance-based learning that took place last night in bed. I first had a dream that I was watching a photocopy machine or printer producing sheets of paper coming out that had in big black type "BABY BOOMER" and I thought that was interesting messaging (as I am a 'baby boomer' born in 1952; and, it so happens that Marianne Williamson is also a baby-boomer; see my prior post)-- then out came the next sheets and they read "BABY THINKING" and that really caught my imagination. I awoke and in a trance state (the hypnopomic) 'in between' consciousness not asleep and not awake to the normal light of day--I layed in this state for a long time and thoughts started to associate and elaborate and soon I came to the analogy of what the world needs now (and, what I have to lead) is a new kind of "Baby Thinking" but what came to me for various reasons was an even better, more appropriate term for the times we are in and are going into as humans on this planet--and, what emerged was wet-thinking as a play from wet-nursing. It was perfect! 

Wet-nursing is the (very female) orientation to the future that I believe the world quickly has to shift to or things are not going to turn out well at all. Wet-nursing is an orientation of unconditional gifting of one female (mother) to another female (mother) because the one is willing to nurse their child (temporarily or until weaned). This is breast milk gifted because... because the child requires a good future. Breast milk, either from the original mother, or from the wet-nurse, is the future!. It is white, thick, rich and full of all the ingredients and immunological properties for true prosperity for new life to flourish. Wet-thinking is likewise, a gifting of nourishing that is the future--the future right now! An idea of wet-thinking is an idea of a good future-life now which makes the future--as sustainble because of the TRUSTING gift of fearlessness that a mother and/or wet-nurse passes on automatically, for they are mothers. The concrete aspects of this gifting and wet-nursing are also metaphorical of a new female (mothering) way of relating to all --and, through wet-thinkers there is future-thinkers being raised and nourished and flourishing with ideas that make the next 1000 years a reality of goodness for all children who are exposed to this wet-thinking. So far, mostly, men-thinking is not wet-thinking but dry-thinking. I'll let you play with that metaphor and the unbalanced direction and unsustainability that latter type of thinking has taken us to... a 'cliff' at the end of the dead end... not much of a future--and, a threatening future to worry about and that's what is on the mind of just about everyone these days everywhere in the world. Be it nuclear war threat, climate change and global warming etc. The Anthropocene era is now fast becoming the Worry-scene era. A world of dry-thinking has left us bereft of the gifting of the wet-nurse (thinking)--the feminine, female, mothering love--which, I reframe as a wet-thinking that is a fearless leadership towards and into and with the making of the future now. 

WET-THINKING 31 ... what is that? It is a project, a group consciousness, that thinks now for the next 1000 years, that's where 31 comes from in this name, it is the addressing of the now for the 31st century--that is the kind of qualitative shift, to get us beyond the 21st century thinking (mostly dry-thinking of the future)--and, it is a kind of gifting being that is called for that senses the future in the same way that the wet-nurse does not think of death when they give milk to another's child--they do not think that I'm giving this milk but it really won't help and the future is going to be deadly sooner than later. Yes, of course we all will die. But that is only when you think in dry-thinking of the isolated individual body of a child--they are also a soul and part of the World Soul--of the total collective and the eternal. That's a healthy whole systems kind of thinking and the wet-thinking is when we gift our thinking today as adults (or anyone) to the next generations for 1000 years (symbolically, much like the Indigenous tribes that I have heard posit the ethical basis of thinking and acting now with the thought of what impact it will have on 7 generations)... I also like the number 31, for so many reasons, not the least of which on Oct. 17, 1931, an esoteric group (of wet-thinkers?) emerged in New York City and started The League for Fearlessness, if you believe it or not (yes, I have the brochure they wrote then). This group seems to have disbanned but their vision, at least for me, has not disappear, and I have not abandoned the "Fearless Society" and "Fearless Age" (as Desh Subba called it)... an age of the future, in say 1000 years is our aim for acting and thinking today. 

Do you get the idea? Do you get the vision? I realize I am barely describing the dream-like vision and qualities and some sense of what this aim is... but if you take time to contemplate the beauty so natural of wet-nursing as an evolutionary phenomenon found in many mammal species (perhaps?) but at least it is know for humans from the earliest records of history--women did this kind of thing--as a gift--the milk of life passed on and the future made for a child in this goodness in the now--as offering that flourishing. 

THE PROBLEM--is a FUTURE OF FEAR--that ihas tainted 'the milk' of the societies of the 21st century (and long before that)... where, when I listen to political leaders, and I listen to the population (e.g., in the Alberta future discussion last night on CBC TV)--it was so apparent that the premier Rachel Notley, the panel experts on the economy and and the audience--they are all coming from so much fear of the future --that is, the economic state of Alberta which is spiraling precariously and not bringing forward the 'growth' and 'jobs' for a stable future. People are suffering. Yes, indeed. But the world is suffering too. The dry-thinking, based on fear of the future tomorrow... short-term, really was so evident and WORRY (deficit, shortage, greed)--seemed so much a part of self-preservation thinking that poured out of the auditorium and all the world could watch this tv show--this stage of Fear's domination. It is understandable fear--sure. But it is so typical of today, where the future is now seen as so threatening on so many levels, including the problems in Alberta around oil and gas, energy, and sustainability and diversification needed in the economy. But what I saw in that room was a dark swirl of lack of vision for the 31st century. A wet-nurse was needed--but on the thinking level--on the creative imaginary level--and, there was none to be found in that room of folks grappling with are they going to make it in the next month, year, maybe 10 years... the future vision of goodness of the wet-nurse gifting was not there. If I was a young child or even a teenager sitting in that room listening to all the adults and the leaders of those adults--what would I pick-up? I'd pick up everyone is trapped in worry (some trying to be hopeful)--and, I saw not the spirit of Fearlessness--not the 31st vision and aim of a peoples who are there looking to create a world that is 1000 years from now. I saw people trying to keep the status quo--which, has already well been proven to be dysfunctional and inflated and out-of-touch with reality--and certainly out-of-touch with the laws of Nature and wet-nursing gift economies which bring flourishing to the environment (future) that we are gifted now. I saw no sacredness. And the so-called "Indigenous" young man on the panel seemed not to be able to say anything important beyond the dry-thinking of all the rest. 

It's nothing to blame anyone about. This is my critique. I'm glad they were in that room doing what they were doing. But they now need to re-think what they were thinking and saying, and ask themselves: If a child or teen were in that room, what inspiration, what fearlessness would they see? What are we really offering to young people, to the future, when we are so worried about the future it captures us into fear-based thinking and energies that are barely anything I would want to share and 'dump' on the next generation--on the baby. This is not 'good milk' that was passed on. I say that from the point of view of being a Wet-Thinker 31. I invite you to also become one. 

[Note: Wet-thinking is my latest feminine, matrixial, way of conceptualizing thinking and teaching thinking in our educational systems and in general socialization. I am a professional educator, and a couple of years ago I published an article that introduced 500+ ways of thinking about thinking--essential to a truly holistic-integral approach to the future. Young people deserve this kind of expanded thinking--beyond worry and fear and mistrust of the future. See: 

Fisher, R. M. (2017). Two hands, two decks, and a theory: Expanding thinking vocabularies of learners in the 21st

            century. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 15(1), 6-16.

note, as well, my dissertation was on "fearless leadership" in education and beyond... and, that was in 2003, when after the 9/11 tragedy and the worse post-9/11 aftershocks and changes in governments and people's future imaginary--there was a need to call out for "fearless leadership" ... and, so, you can see I have been on this for awhile... see:

Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia.

Read more…

"Emotional civil war" ... a very interesting (?) campaign quote... and, what does she really mean by this? And what is a fearologist's perspective of her rhetoric, intention, and potential for presidential victory and/or at least influence in American culture and politics. See my new youtube video on "Ethical Leadership: Marianne Williamson"

In the INTRODUCTION of Fisher & Subba (2016), p. xxxi [1], you will read a philosophy of fearism (and fearlessness) perspective on Marianne Williamson, and you will see that I have (in particular) been following her philosophy and social media following for a long time. She is a close friend with the media star Oprah Winfrey, and many others (see picture below on this webpage of FM ning). In that Introduction, Subba and I ask : "WHY FOCUS ON FEAR, NOT LOVE?" and then we begin the chapter with a quote from Williamson:

"Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside myself, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. I have been trained by the world to think fearfully, and today I choose to think with love." (from A Year of Miracles), and, many of you may or may not know that she is a 'big' promoter and teacher, supported by A Course in Miracles movement. In this spiritual movement "love" is placed as the answer to "fear" and all of our problems. The dialogue between Subba and I now moves on in the Introduction to show how unreliable, if not distorted, from a fearist perspective, this emphasis on love is the answer approach to personal and world transformation. We risked to critique, in a mild way in this chapter, a person (and ideology), who is now running for the 2020 American political presidency under the Democratic party. She is a populist leader, with no experience in politics per se, althought a few years ago she ran for a local congress position in California but never made it very far. Now she is going for the 'big' position. It will be interesting to watch, but more importantly it will be interesting to see how her work (as part of the Fearlessness Movement) will emerge on the 'big' stage of American politics in a time of crisis.

I for one, will keep analyzing her work and offering her and her supporters ideas of how to better bring about a challenge and intervention to disrupt that problem of being (in her words) "trained by the world to think fearfully"... and, challenging her movement to look at fearism and fearlessness to better inform their own philosophy and politics.

Notes

1. Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris. 

 

ADDITIONAL NOTE - M. W. is also an endorser of one of my favorite philosophers Ken Wilber, for e.g.

And, in 2007... they met:  (Marianne & Ken)

---------

OH, interesting The Washington Post (a rather conservative major newspaper in USA)... wants to spin the story of MW's campaign in the ruts of the traditional right winger folks like Dobson's "tough love" pitch for parents, which a lot of people bought hook line and sinker back 30 years ago... and, also if you see the headlines (below) on The Washington Post interview (and the photo shoot which really is a 'joke' and 'play' on MW, not taking her really seriously)--and, then you get the headlines... which one thinks she is again being played with by this media journalist and well... you can make up your own mind... I'm so skeptical of who is behind these newspapers--owned by a handful of the very elite she criticizes :

 

Feb. 19/19 by Anna Peele:

[Peele talks about miracles] [a small excerpt from her text for this article, which I nearly gag on]:

Today, it’s the eve of the 66-year-old’s declaration that she will be seeking the highest office in our country, during what is arguably one of its most terrifying times. Since Williamson is sitting at the head of the table, close enough to touch my arm, it feels like an appropriate moment to ask her to act as my own spiritual adviser. Not because I believe in miracles. Because I want to believe.

“I’m afraid,” I tell Williamson. Afraid about how bleak things feel under our current president; afraid of how angry people are. “I’m afraid of what will happen to the country,” I say. “And that there’s no going back.”

[sure, I'm glad they are talking about "fear"... but Peele's approach is too much of a grand skit and makes me angry... I trust/hope MW doesn't fall for this stuff from the mainstream media... okay, one other quote, an accurate view from MW's mouth, that is, A Course in Miracles, she says to Anna at one point:]

“Where there is light, there cannot be darkness,” Williamson says. “And where there’s love, there cannot be fear.”

“We’re hallucinating. And that’s what this world is: a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. Fear is an illusion. Our craziness, paranoia, anxiety and trauma are literally all imagined”? [says Williamson... her absolutist philosophy, belief, faith, religion, spirituality, ideology?]... 

[If "fear is an illusion" a common claim of many esoteric religious teachings, E. and W., then what does that say about a philosophy of fearism and its claims... hmmmm... ?]

 

------- 

 

Read more…

 

2019     Fearlessness Teacher, [an interview of R. Michael Fisher, by Kevin Barrett of Truth Jihad Radio at  

            http://Kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/?s=”Michael+Fisher

 Show Descriptor:

 Jan. 26, 2019. Then in the final half hour R. Michael Fisher, author of Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer joins the show. Michael recently wrote me:

Hey Kevin,… wanted to let you know I have responded on a 26 min. video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kuEEJltp0o to the “stand off” between Nick Sandmann (16 yr old white Catholic student) and Nathan Phillips (Indigenous elder) in Washington this past wknd… a viral spectacle event that needs to be brought into an educational context of higher grounds in learning about fear and fearlessness and their role in this world… hope you can take a peek at this and feel free to pass it on to others who might be interested in a fearanalysis of this event …  -thanks, -M.

 Transcript

 [Interview with RMF begins at the remaining 26:43 min. point of the full 90 min. show]

 Bio: Dr. Kevin Barrett (KB) is a left-leaning Muslim anarchist, Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, holds advanced degrees in English Literature, French Literature, and African Literature, and is the author of multiple books which deconstructs the "war on terror". Dr. Barrett has been a Muslim since 1993. Blacklisted from teaching in the University of Wisconsin system since 2006 for questioning the events of 9/11, Dr. Barrett now hosts radio shows and is a public speaker.

 KB: What’s a “Fearlessness Teacher”? Sounds like a great concept because, as we’ve been discussing it seems like people are being paralyzed by fear. How do you teach fearlessness? If you could patent that and put it in a medicine bottle and put it out there that’s pretty much what we all need. So, let’s get into it right now with R. Michael Fisher. How’s it going?

M: Hi Kevin. Well, there’s a notion that you’ll see every once in awhile in the literature, I just was reading a quote: “Fear is a disease of the mind, just as cancer is a disease of the body. And you know that has been around as a discourse or way of thinking about and imagining fear for quite awhile, and certainly the Western world. And so one of the things in my investigations on fear which started back in 1989 systematically, was that I found the Eastern views and then later I found that the Indigenous views don’t quite use that same kind of language, like “fear is a disease of the mind” and so on, it’s very catchy. And there’s no doubt some truth to it, Kevin, but I found it is a more nuanced game and so it’s a little harder to put in a bottle

KB: Interesting. In Islam of course, we want to inculcate [Arabic term] which is sometimes translated as pious God-fearingness, others would translate it as God-consciousness but there is an element of awe-struck, call it fear if you want but it is really a lot deeper than ordinary fear when you are dealing with [Arabic term] but we’re not really supposed to be dominated by our petty egotistical fears. That’s what we’re trying to get rid of as we overcome our ego, the evil- side of our ego, the ego that orders or commands evil. Do you see it that way? Our desiring egos that often desire things that are not so good, are the source of the lower consciousness out of which fear sort of operates?

M: Yeah, so the way I would look at that is that there’s a spirit of fearlessness in the world. I start with that assumption. What is that spirit of fearlessness? I start with this dictum, and this again comes from a lot of reading and thinking that when fear appears, which it will, so does the spirit of fearlessness with it. Which is sort of like that arising possibility of handling, managing and self-regulating fear because no organism wants to be in fear for too long. It’s just not healthy for the body right, it’s like distress as it starts to cause breakdown of the system.

KB: It’s like fight-flight response with all the adrenalin?

M: Yeah, That would be the sort of easy one that we recognize, sort of gross in a way, because it’s so powerful when you get that adrenalin hit, the flight-fight response and/or freeze and so but what I was interested in looking at is that ego is involved because ego is part of consciousness development. We start with a pre-egoic structure of consciousness, you could say, before the self is fully developed, so very early in life, and then the ego starts to develop and the it gets very attached to many things, and many traditions talk about the attachment of the ego as the real problem not the ego itself. That’s where you get this fear-based self-defensive always trying to maintain your self-esteem and trying to maintain that self-esteem within a particular mileu of a culture or a social structure....

KB: This sort of leads us to that topic of the confrontation on the national mall between the white high school kids the Native American elder with the drum.

M: Yeah, it definitely does and I call that in my classification system, along the spectrum of the spirit of fearlessness, there’s a spectrum, that one of the first stages is “No Fear” and that’s to me that stage basically before you are born, before you come out into the world and get your umbilical cord clipped and somebody puts you over here and all of a sudden the world’s cold, there’s bright lights and big noises so then we start entering the fear. So that first response to fear, via the spirit of fearlessness is what I call bravery. And that’s how I classified when I looked at that tape over and over again of this Catholic high school boy confronting the Indigenous person and I said wow, what a great example of bravery but I want to just add the nuance, like all things, good things like the spirit of fearlessness it can be twisted, it can turn into a more pathological and/or immature form. And so the bravery that was really arising, was because he [the Catholic youth], this is my definition of it really, Kevin, bravery is when you sort of do things that you aren’t really planning or expecting to do and you just happen to be there in the right place and the right moment and something comes out of you and you do it, some sort of very brave act. However, later you look back and say, and actually this young man said this in an interview, I kind of wished I didn’t do that, like I kind of wish we would have backed-off and went our own way. So he did it, why? Because of the environmental condition of social reinforcement or positive reinforcement....

KB: So let’s get empirical here about what your interpretation is of sort of what really happened here. So, the original assumption, when people saw this picture or brief video, was that they thought that this gang of Trump loving high school kids had sort of surrounded and harassed the Native American Elder and had gotten in his face and he responded by just drumming. Which makes him the hero and the white Catholic school boys are the bad guys. But then it turns out that the Native American guy had actually gotten in the face of that white kid, he approached him drumming drumming drumming up to his face and the white kid had just not backed down and just stood there. Which my first hour guest Kevin MacDonald sees the white kid as being heroic. But to me this is kind of an interesting confrontation of these two sides that are confronting someone that they find, perhaps,  fear-inducing and that they don’t understand and in a sense they are both heroic. They are kind of just standing there and not backing down, doing their thing. But at the same time there’s kind of a problem in that their not communicating empathetically and rationally, their coming out of tribal egos, so what’s your interpretation?

M: I think that’s a really good point, that they did both move into bravery for various reasons and so we could analyze that but what I was then interested in was when does bravery move to courage or courageousness? And even a moral courageousness? And then when does courageousness move into fearlessness? And this is what Four Arrows and I, from the Indigenous perspective he studies, is what is that shift? And what I would say the big shift of difference was that the young man, he’s basically got all his guys cheering behind him, you know 200 or whatever, so he’s going to be heroic in that moment in what I’d call bravery. But not necessarily he took a lot of time or thought to think internally and develop this kind of moral courageousness that could take him to a possible point of fearlessness, which in fearlessness the whole motive is then to connect to make a connection in relationality in a communication for higher possibility for higher integration beyond those egos, beyond even those ethnic, cultural backgrounds, value structures, left – right, whatever it might be, secular or Christian vs. Indigenous etc. And so I think the Indigenous elder was in quite a different positioning, even though he stepped forward he felt he needed to do this and he was moving toward he thought was probably the higher moral ground and I would say that was fearlessness because he stayed in the communication of connection to his ancestors and a spiritual sacred song. And that song was a song basically of, yes, we’re here to resist oppression but also here to connect and create unity, and he actually said that at one point. Connect-unity. This is a song of unity that I sang. Well, the young man did not have all that thought going on, he had a lot of adrenalin and a whole lot of adrenalin behind him. It makes sense, it’s kind of like the sports team, it could be war team ready to pump themselves up to get ready to go out and do the heroic battle.

KB: Interesting analysis. I think the Native American guy, the drummer, said, that what he thought he was doing was protecting these black Israelites or something there was kind of a hand-full of these young black who were caught on video yelling insults at the white high school boys but of course they were grossly out-numbered by the white high school boys and so the Native American guy thought he was protecting those black guys. So it’s a very interesting kind of situation where it’s not that clear how it developed. It’s not like an obvious good guys vs. bad guys or aggressors vs. defenders kind of situation.

M: And that really brings me to, I think it is great to discuss this on media itself because of what media does with these kinds of spectacles. I mean I am saying it is an important spectacle but if we just stay with the spectacle of who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy, who’s the real hero, who’s is not. Well, those are really ancient very simple binary narratives of what is going on. And what I was much more interested in, and that’s why I am glad to talk to you on air about this, what do those kinds of narratives and discussions, if you just put all that media together in one big ball, I look at it from my point of view as a fearologist, and I call myself that, self-defined, is that I go, the level of conversation about understanding fear and this path that I’ve arced out from bravery to courage to fearlessness and even to fearless at the highest level of maturity and consciousness. It just shows me that we don’t have a vocabulary for it in the West, is my argument, and that is what my work is about is trying to get more discernment about when is it bravery, when is it moving to courageousness, when is it moving to fearlessness? And again, it’s not like that’s good and that’s bad it’s like it’s actually developmental and that’s the discernment I think we need, is we need to see the developmental differences and then we need to teach that. Those young guys, I’d love to see them have a curriculum that actually helps them understand the nature and role of fear, how fear becomes part of a psychological, biological complex and then is also a part of a cultural and political complex and the history with it. And then how is that different than say to the Indigenous perspective and how they’ve come to understand fear. And, what I wanted to say right at the beginning is that the Indigenous Peoples, as Four Arrows and others have summarized in general, and Indigenous perspective, not to disrespect the diversity and differences in Indigenous Peoples, but fear is seen as the opportunity to a higher virtue. It’s the opportunity to practice a higher virtue. And you can see that right, it’s even in the West, in the more dominant culture of yeah it’s good to be courageous, we generally think that is a cool thing to be heroic but what we don’t understand is that that is not the end of the road. That’s not the end of the developmental spectrum, that I’m speaking to. That’s why I think we need to bring in this language of Fearlessness and even Fearless.  I arc that out in my writing and research.

KB: Very interesting stuff. Abdul Arif Muhammad in the ½ hr before you were on said that he thinks the war on free speech, which is what I talked about with Keven MacDonald in the first hour, is driven by these false flag events, and war-trigger events, that put us on a war footing and made us feel like we were under attack, 9/11 of course being the classic example, but just hard-wired the average American’s nervous system to be much more fearful. Martha Stout, has written a book called the “Paranoia Switch” in which she cites research that about ½ of the population of the US developed clinical post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] from watching those 9/11 images on television, so talk about a jolt of fear to the nervous system, 9/11 probably impacted the human nervous system more than any other event in history. And that fear that was intentionally injected into the world, and especially Americans on 9/11, as part of this very carefully thought out orchestrated false flag operation set the stage for the police-state, the fear-based police-state we’ve been living in ever since. When you go to the airport and the color-code for terror is up to Orange and been color-coded for Orange now for years if not decades; I can’t remember before we were living in a state of permanent Orange fear-color-coding. So, I think that your work on fear is probably more timely than ever, unfortunately.

M: Yeah, unfortunately. You know I was just talking to a Canadian friend, I would call her a liberal friend, very intelligent lady, and I was saying I’m trying to develop this program to make people more aware of how fear rules and controls our life, again, not just in a psychological level but sociological, political, historically, and that we could move from this notion of a culture of fear to actually bring in a vision and imaginary for a culture of fearlessness. What would that be like? So, I was talking to her just briefly on the phone and she said, well I don’t think most people actually think that fear rules their life. And I had to stop, and thought, if I was living in America, which I was in the last 9 years, before last year, I don’t think an American would say that so readily. And I thought is that part of being the Canadian, we’re neutral, quiet and hide, and I’m a Canadian, I live in Canada right now, and I just thought I think there is a huge difference between Canadian perspective and awareness and I actually think it is actually a bad thing in the sense that I think Americans are at least much more woken up, sorry you had to go through that guys and folks, you know the post-traumatic stuff but you know that’s the wake-up, that’s the symptom arising for the new possibility. So, if I go back to the Indigenous perspective, that wake up that post-traumatic we can look at it as all negative, negative, negative, that’s a typical Western clinical view, and then we can look at it as “whoa!” This is actually in the Indigenous perspective, the door way the possibility for this new [level] trajectory of the spirit of fearlessness, that arises in all that intense fear. So, when I see someone like that Indigenous elder drumming in a very heated, very potentially dangerous situation, and he said I’m afraid, I’m scared, like I was scared going out there—but he took a positionality of unity and utilized that fear in the virtue of both courageousness in a moral sense, and I would say onto the gift of fearlessness because really, I said to my wife, you know why those young guys are having so much trouble with him is because, they were so anxious, so anxious because they didn’t know how to code. They didn’t know how to communication code with this drumming scene from this Indigenous person, more or less, they tried to sort of dance a bit, they clapped a bit, you could see they would try and get into it. But then they got more into the jeering and the making fun of and I said that’s the moment they don’t understand where this is going. They actually don’t understand fearlessness and that’s very typical because they’re not educated to do so. Something like that would be my hypothesis.

KB: That’s a really interesting analysis. It departs from the partisan take on this...

M: Right.

KB: Where you have the certain sort of Left anti-Trump side that’s totally demonizing the kids and making the Native American guy out to be totally the hero, versus the other side, Kevin MacDonald seemed to see it pretty much the other way. I like your take, seeing the overall reactions from both sides and the fear and fearlessness, overcoming the fear, from both sides. That’s actually a much more interesting, and probably more accurate, way to look at it. It reminds me, of what you are saying about needing that injection of fear, having to go through that PTSD, actually having benefits, for US Americans. That reminds me of the plot line in “V for Vendetta” [movie] which is really about the female character EV getting over her fear. When the film opens she’s about to be raped by vicious goons from the National Security State, set up on the back of a 9/11 style false flag, and she goes through all this horror and trauma and emerges being trained in fearlessness by the comic book hero V. That film is about, what it is of course a dream-like meditation on the American people being traumatized by 9/11 and then hopefully waking up and becoming totally fearless and having a revolution. Of course, it is a dream fantasy and unfortunately that revolution hasn’t yet happened in reality but it’s a pretty good wish-fulfillment fantasy. So, yeah I think that trauma is there, it’s not just a crippling thing, trauma can also be a way to get over fear and get into that state of fearlessness and do great things. It seems like that is where your work is leading?

M: Yeah, it’s going to move us. You might not jump into Fearless right away. You might not jump into the fearlessness practices right away and capability. But you certainly will start moving along that direction when you take it on, right you take on that fear, even that terror. And you take it on as this is the challenge. This is the opportunity. And, again, unfortunately we don’t quite have a good worldview for that, usually what we try do with out worldview, Western worldview I’m talking about more in the modern sense, is try to eliminate that enemy, that Other, who is bringing up all that fear. And so you gotta find the scapegoat target and try to destroy it. And that just keeps us way way in a very immature state, and that’s not like a criticism, oh you’re all immature blah blah, no I’m not saying that, I’m just saying compassionately it will keep us in an immature state in relationship to this spirit of fearlessness and this movement from No Fear, to Bravery, to Courageousness, to Fearlessness to Fearless. So you can see why I arc that out and repeat that Kevin, is because we don’t have that imaginary. You called it sort of a fantasy, right through V for Vendetta, which I love that movie, for it was a transformation, a transformation that was both internal and it had possibilities for the external, we got to watch it in the fiction, that’s what art is for. Thank goodness. And yet that imaginary is still working. It actually starts our new vocabulary, a new imaginary for possibilities, so I like to use expanding our imaginary on fear and fearlessness and yes, if you want to call it a fantasy in a way that’s maybe useful to but I actually think it is getting imagination for the possibility and unfortunately in the West, for example if I was to pick up the Bible, if I was to pick up pretty much any of the Abrahamic traditions and I’ve looked, they don’t have the word fearlessness, at least not when interpreted in English, I’m not a scholar in that direction, but you won’t find the word fearlessness in there, is what you get over and over is “Fear Not!” or “Be Not Afraid!” Well what’s that about? That’s saying we are meant in this deepest spiritual part of ourselves to follow this path, this path of Fearlessness, but not a lot of nuance in those literatures, and that’s just because of where they come from, in their time and their history, the information they were drawing upon, but I use that term path of Fearlessness as a developmental process.

KB: Very interesting. Anyways, in Islam there’s the phrase “they will fear not, neither shall they grieve” which is about the state the good people get to and I think that it is both getting to paradise but it’s also about that state of [Arabic term ?] meaning peaceful soul, which is really what Islam is about getting to in this life, is having a peaceful soul. And those that get to that ... they’ll fear not neither shall they grieve. So you founded fearology [laughs], as a ...

M: Yeah.

KB: I wonder how that intersects with Lt. Dave Grossman’s killology? The US Army guy who studied killing and what people go through. All the research shows that the vast majority of soldiers have never been able to kill. They have to have the extreme Pavlovian conditioning to get the majority of soldiers to be able to kill. In Korea, half of the US soldiers would purposely try to kill up from 10% in World War II. And by Vietnam it was 80-90% but they came back with horrible trauma. So, anyways, the killology is really interesting stuff. Grossman’s book “On Killing” is absolutely essential. So, how does fearology intersect with killology?

M: Well certainly, I actually communicated with Mr. Grossman quite a few years ago because I was fascinated with his idea and we had some correspondence and he sent me his audio tape. Yeah, he talks about fear as well and he also talks about really what I saw as a state, a state we have to obtain in order to hold that gun, have your intention, and be very clear of what you are doing. If you don’t have that consciousness, that awareness, rather than I can just go kill somebody, no it’s actually be aware that you are going to be a killer and you better know how to be a killer otherwise get out of that business. So his training was I think quite along the lines of fearlessness. I actually found him very respectful in his work. What he didn’t do, where fearology takes off, and fearology develops this notion that true fearlessness, one of its main features is, to learn and know and study everything about fear that you can, in an ongoing sense, there is never an end to it and that to me is the sacred commitment to both healing and developing to our highest potential. And I think the Biblical quotes or the quotes you just gave from your tradition and background, I think that’s what it means, it means without grief, that to me I resonate with as, that means that I’ve done my grieving work, I don’t hold myself in an immature state of unhealed grief because that will cause constant fear-based life. So, something like that.

KB: That’s beautiful. You know I need to look at your books, I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. I’ve seen your video and Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows, sounds great. Four Arrows is a hero of mine. He’s one of the really great figures to come out of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Anybody who doesn’t know about him should learn about him. Maybe your book would be a good place to start?

M: I think it is a nice one. It’s an intellectual biography, so it is called Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer, it was a 2.5 yr project of him and I sending a lot of emails back and forth, and me studying his work and I would definitely say he is probably one of the most advanced thinkers from a fearologist’s point of view, on fear today. Because he integrates the East, the West, he integrates all his military background, his training with horse and wild horses, extreme sports, he’s a hypnotherapist, he just has this great richness, and that’s why that book was so fun. So there’s a lot of stories in there but then there’s also my theory and my framework so I think a reader could kinda get enough of me but enough of Four Arrows to make an interesting read, not so theoretical.

KB: Well, I’m going to try and get my hands on it. Hey thanks so much Michael Fisher, I appreciate your very interesting stimulating work and I’m planning to learn about more of it and read your book and I’ll probably get you back on the air to talk about it.

****

Read more…