Book Title: Philosophy Of Fear: A Move To Overcoming Negative Fear
To Join "The Movement" or not?
Like any "movement" of consciousness and/or social change and transformation in history, there are philosophies behind them, if not ideologies, if not religions. There are going to be at times questioning of these "behind" the scenes forms and organizations and ideas and impulses--with their agendas. The general public or even serious thinkers and researchers will ask questions about this website called the "Fearlessness Movement." They will want to know "what it is" (really?)... and they want information so they can make up their mind what it is they may want to join or not to join.
What I have done as the person who has coined "Fearlessness Movement" near a few decades ago, and the leader and philosopher that I am, who likes 'big missions' and even what looks like 'utopian' visions... that's nothing I try to hide... is that my work has been to keep "the Movement" that I care about as open as possible to as many kinds of people and thinkers as possible, globally, and across the lines of sacred and secular. That's a challenge, because people can be so quick to "judge" a website, a "group" that they perceive is involved and make their quick decision to become involved productively, or not, and/or to go so far as to make it the 'enemy.' 
ABOUT US: Define "The Movement" (and, become involved in defining it)
I prefer to delineate a "Movement" for change and liberation not to define it or fix it...but maybe for some that is just me playing with words. Yet, the intention I have as one of the leaders in the study of fear on the planet, is to keep "the movement" open enough for people to participate in a way of critique and constructive revisioning... so that dogma does not set in, so that idolization and ideology cannot freeze up and enclose "the movement" definition and meanings. Of course, any delineation process, to make something different from something and to be able to label it and develop it, is an act (perceived and/or real) as one of differentiating and that can look like "exclusion" or a "clique" type of process. It may look like an esoteric group of elites who are "in" and get the power to play and control, while all others are "out" (more or less). Lots of those kinds of groups, cults and associations have occurred, as a history of social processes and the nature of groups and philosophies behind them.
So, again, I am not against such specialized social change groups and movements that developed or continue to develop. It is a valid social form. And, I acknowledge that most everyone is deeply hurt by socialization and the "group" making process of in and out, acceptance and rejection dynamics. However, true as that injury is, and we are so sensitive to it as a social species (a tender carnivore as Paul Shepard once labeled our species), our task is not to react by default and reflex based on the past hurts and thus be in fear of being rejected either (as victims). Others overcome rejection by using domination and charisma and power to 'lead' others and so they get control (somewhat) of the rejection and aceeptance dynamics of groups they are involved in.
I am not a big fan of joining any such ideological groups, religions, etc. I have never fully followed any one group, or movement or guru and so on, but I have drawn upon them (their better-side and offerings), and many of them, in my own 50+ years of learning consciously since being a teen, about humans and change and transformation, and how to make the world a better place.
So, my own version of "the movement" (or "Movement" as a simplified code word here that may be assumed or used explicitly).... is one that has taken an empirical and theoretical positioning to start with, and that goes back to the origins of my version of what I coined as the "Fearlessness Project" in 1989, then onward that became the "Fearlessness Movement" more recently, and with this website (ning) the Fearlessness Movement (2015) was located and made open to the public as a forum and online community. I recently wrote a few blogs (and a paper) "About Us" in referring to this movement and ning:
I highly suggest all visitors and/or members of the FM ning read these two blogs, and read up on how I have delineated the "Fearlessness Movement" in a Wikipedia style writing with Desh Subba in our 2016 book . Of course, sadly, too many and too often, people come upon my work or collegaues and quickly decide after reading very little of our work to reject it and quickly shy away from joining a "religion" in their minds, etc. I won't deny that when one leads a movement with a great mission, like "Fearlessness" for example, there is going to be a sense of a leader and big project that a lot of people don't feel comfortable with, and more or less like to operate as individuals and not as part of a group and do not want to be "controlled" or critiqued by a group. This latter "fear" (for the most part) is often never confronted or worked through by a lot of people, who keep "running" from groups of any kind, and ultimately are running from their own wounds from the past brought on by group dynamics. I am not saying that I understand all my critics and their motivations to leave, and/or reject "the movement"... I merely see, or sense, they haven't given it a good try to find out what it (we) are all about. So, let me clarify my delineation of "the movement" that the FM ning represents (if that is even the right term):
The Movement (again, short-hand code) related to the FM ning, is very broad, because virtually anyone can come on and join the FM ning and say and teach what they want to about fear and fearlessness, etc. One doesn't have to agree, or be a follower of any of us who are FM ning members, or do they have to conform to my philosophy either just because I am the host/moderator and original creator of the FM ning. However, for the newcomer to "the movement" there are some obvious 'big players' already on the FM ning who write the most, publish books, and tend to take up a good deal of the 'air space' on the ning. From my point of view, just because of that involvement they have, and commitment, and being outspoken etc., does not mean they "run" the movement or the ning, and/or do they define what the study of fear and fearlessness has to be like or look like. Indeed, they, like myself will have bigger influence on the face-of-the ning, and the "Fearlessness Movement"--however, there is not a pre-determined set or domination of ideas that is or ought to be and others should only follow. All can be co-creators of the content and shaping of the Fearlessness Movement and the FM ning that is one of its manifestations.
I delineate "the Movement" at this time, with three major components (branches) that appear on the FM ning [as distinct from, yet interrelated with the Fearlessness Movement per se] :
1. Fisher's Philosophy of Fearlessness, 2. Desh Subba's Philosophy of Fearism and 3. Eneyo's Philosophy of Fear... as well Kalu has his own version and mixture of all of these three labeled brands of philosophy.
The other some 60 people on the FM ning, besides the above guys, are (as far as I can tell) less participative as writers and less involved in creating their own philosophy (branch of the Fearlessness Movement). From my view, these 60 people are no less important or invited to be shapers (and/or followers and students)... than anyone else on the FM ning or those who are associated with the Fearlessness Movement who are not signed up as members on the FM ning.
I trust this short bit of delineation on my part is helpful in some way. I encourage anyone, especially newcomers to "the Movement" to ask questions, to stay out of victim-mode if that is what happens as a knee jerk reaction to reading stuff here on the FM ning or by any of the philosophers I mentioned above.
For philosophy of anything, to stay alive and vibrant and critically self-reflexive, there ought to be open-mindedness and invitation to all... and, I am not naive to think that "all" is actually a reality when it comes down to whom will be attracted and whom will be repulsed by "the Movement"-- people also create their own exclusion from something like a movement because they simply aren't interested and would rather spend their time elsewhere. In the end, I really don't care personally, if people join "the movement" or not. I merely love to communicate with all people about this work and movement. I'd love to see it grow, of course, and I am already well aware it may, or may not. History is rife with examples of philosophers and movements they promoted which came and went. Though, some have stuck around a long time. I would like this study of fear and all its branches of philosophies to become one of the formative forces that shape the future of this world in the 21st century and beyond...
1. I wrote on the enemies of fearlessness itself, in Fisher, R. M. (1997). Defining the enemy of fearlessness. Technical Paper No. 6. Calgary, AB: In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.
2. See Chapter One "Fearology, Fearism, and the Fearlessness Movement" as the basic quick introduction to "the movement" being spoken about often by myself, or Desh Subba (as founder of philosophy of fearism).
3. The Fearlessness Movement is a global historical movement, coined by Fisher, and includes many many movements with their own leaders and philosophies (e.g., A Course in Miracles, Gandhi's Satyagraha movement, etc.) whom are involved in some form of "teachings" that attempt to move the world from fear-based reality and politics etc. towards fearlessness (more or less). Again, see this summarized in Chapter One (end note 1) of Fisher and Subba (2016).
Fearologists Ask the Bigger Questions: Re: Fear Management
To ask if any form of fear management (style), secular or sacred, is "really effective" is a question the fearologist has to ask. And the larger contextual question to that question is more like "effective" at what? If one group or individual claims to have the "best" or most effective method of fear management, how can we assess that, not just in terms of its own context (e.g., Christian context, biblical context, etc.) but in the larger context of the evolution of fear management systems globally, throughout history. Christians, as my example in this blog, typically don't care about the larger context that the fearologist does. Yet, the fearologist of the 21st century has to care about what the Christians think and are doing in terms of fear management. The fearologist has to have that depth and breadth of ability to communicate with all groups and how they manage fear--and, yes, right down to all individuals as well. It's a big calling, but one I have found continually fascinating.
This blog posting was stirred up by recently reading some excerpts from a new book:
Hamilton (2018) in a book published by a "big" NY publisher (Penguin Random House), is a Methodist pastor in Missouri, USA. I lived in that area of southern-mid-western USA for nine years (2008-17), and I met a lot of clergy-types and had discussions about fear, my work, and their interests and concerns. Overall, they weren't very interested in what I had to offer to their (Christian) ways of fear management. I always wondered why not? Was it because I am not God and citing biblical quotes about how best to manage fear? I'm not a "god fearing man"?  I'm sure that's a factor but I also thought, these spiritual and religious leaders in Christianity just don't have the best education on fear management/education for the 21st century? I never told them that directly, but they likely sensed I was implying that in challegning their views...though, I also listened to their views at times without any critique. But being a fearologist, my job is to critique everything about fear and life, and how humans carry on in relationship to fear. Theology and religion play an incredibly powerful role, now and historically, in shaping the relationship of fear itself and in how best then we are to manage, cope with, and/or transform fear.
What made this book by Hamilton catch my eye (and, I have read many of these kinds of books), is the book blurb on Amazon.com that introduces the book with Hamilton's recent survey of his congregation. Here is the excerpt from the blurb:
"Fear is a complex emotion. Sometimes it saves us. More often it robs us of the life we want. But we can take our lives back.
You'd be hard-pressed to overstate the extent to which fear, anxiety, and worry permeate our lives today. Fear wreaks havoc on our relationships and communities. It leads us into making bad decisions. It holds us back from the very pursuits that promise fulfillment and joy.
Making matters worse, not a week goes by when some new threat or calamity isn't dominating the headlines. Why are there so many tragedies? we wonder. What will happen next?
As the senior pastor of a large, diverse church in America's heartland, Adam Hamilton has seen the cost of fear up close. When he surveyed his congregation on how fear affects them, 2,400 people responded--and what they said was eye-opening. Eighty percent admitted to living with moderate or significant levels of fear.
Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times is Reverend Hamilton's insightful and impassioned response."
Okay, 2400 people is a good sized sample, and I tend to trust Hamilton and his sincerity to find out what his congregation is feeling these days. And, 80% are living in a good deal of fear. I appreciate that Hamilton cared to ask, and that's a budding "fearologist" in his curiousity, I'd say. Such a statistic also makes me wondered, as it may have for Hamilton as well, is the religion they believe in actually helping to reduce and/or eliminate destructive excess, if not irrational fear? It doesn't sound like the God of Love, as Christians supposedly teach (with some exceptions) is working all that well(?) Fear management isn't sounding very effective when I here the 80% statistic? Or, is it effective, and these people in the congregation would be a lot worse off if they didn't have their God? Church? Pastor? Love? on their side(?) Well, that kind of data and research just isn't available. We can only speculate.
That said, I immediately am quite critical of everything in the book I scanned online. Let me share a few of the critiques:
a) Hamilton dedicates a whole chapter 7 to "Weaponizing Fear" and with some good observations there on terrorism, I have to say he has a very limited view of terrorism (very conventional) and that is in contrast to the book that I just co-authored with Desh Subba and B. Maria Kumar , yet, Hamilton misses that the entire politics of this planet earth has been one, at least for a few thousand years, one of Fear Wars, and, yes, exactly a process of weaponizing fear (terror) to dominate, control, maim and destroy the "enemy" and, Hamilton oughta know that, as Jesus teaches pretty much the same as what I am saying about the way fear is used sociologically, politically, historically--and, thus, I was not satisfied with Hamilton's restricted view of easily labeled "terrorists" politically while ignoring his own Christian religion as having weaponized fear for a whole lot of purposes throughout most of its history (other religions, typically, have done also),
(b) Hamilton creates (unquestioningly) his implicit effective broad brush simplistic answer to the Fear Problem (not only of himself, his congregation, of America, but of the world), whereby he constructs his own formula for F.E.A.R. : F for face your fears with faith, E for examine your assumptions in light of the facts , A for attack your anxieties with action, R for release your cares [worries, fears] to God. I am not saying there is no wisdom in Hamilton's religious fear management system offered. I doubt that it works all that well. So, the issue is, what would be better, more effective? That, I cannot say for certainty, not with the kind of certainty that one reads in Hamilton's teaching (but, then pastors are supposed to sound confident and certain re: their faith in God).
I won't go on and on with problems in this F.E.A.R. formula, be it Hamilton's version or others, the point I am raising is that they are so pragmatic with no theory to draw upon, and certainly, Hamilton is not drawing on the philosophy of fearism, or fearology teachings. The restricted boundaries, if not barriers, around religions, seem always to fall into this "traditional" way of thinking, even when fear is clearly dominating the lives of 80% or so of his congregration, never mind all of America these days. I find this short-sighted view of fear management everywhere I go. I don't claim that churches (e.g., Christianity) are all that worse or better than most organizations in handling fear today. I find them all "under-educated" and relying on old pragmatics, myth, folk wisdom, and good old common sense. But is it working? I doubt it is working very well, and I don't suspect it will change its ways, as religion has that rigid nature to keep the same, only change little on the outside, but the core stays the same. "Be not afraid" says Hamilton, albeit, these words of Jesus or whomever in the Bible come to Hamilton's book cover as "Unafraid" and of course that is 'good marketing' speak these days in America, and apparently in the congregrations as well. Publishers sell a lot of these self-help (Christian-help) books per year... a big industry. But, the fearologist asks: does it really work to manage fear well, to solve the Fear Problem? No, it won't solve anything like the Fear Problem, because there is such a muted and incomplete (if not distorted and rigid) thinking going on in the analysis of fear itself. Again, I won't go down that road of critique in this blog.
Religion and fear (or even, spirituality and fear)... these are huge topics so important. I have some "faith" in religions and spiritual discourses to discover better fear management/education for the 21st century, however, mostly and ubiquitously I see little progress--for thousands of years, and I say this about Christianity which I know the most about. If I was to improve the fear management/education of religious leaders (like Hamilton), I'd say, why don't you folks come down off the pulpit and get a larger perspective within the evolution of fear management on this planet, in a global and internationalist sense, and take a look at theories of fear management like my own (for e.g.,), based on 10 fear management systems available to humanity... throughout time, and across cultures , and begin to see that the discourse (style) of your religious  systems is institutionally stuck typically in Fear Management System 4 [pre-modern], and, to acknowledge it has its role, and place, and value, but that many other fear management systems all the way along the spectrum to Fear Management System 9 [nondual] have evolved and are available to humans everywhere, no matter what religious faith one may hold. My point, as a fearologist, is that it is likely not wise to let religion institutionally dictate the fear management systems people are allowed to learn and practice. Then, let them make up their own minds how to manage fear best, and effectively, depending on situations and contexts, and a whole lot of other developmental factors, political factors, and that such complicated means is the way of learning--rather, than these authoritarian-based fixed F.E.A.R. broad brush formulas of tradition only.
Lastly, if "fear" is so recognized as critically important in the lives of people all over, especially today, and in lives of Christians (in congregrations like Hamilton's) then why oh why is there not a deep and longterm search in these traditions of religion for the very best knowledges, knowing, understanding on fear management/education(?). That my friends, is a puzzle. It doesn't speak well, for the future of religions, in my opinion!
1. Note, there are some Christian "fearologists" out there I have met in the world in the last few years, but I myself am not self-identified with any religion. I do however, come from a father and mother line of Christians going back into Europe and Russia, with even an strong evangelical side in my dad's family. So, I do know what it is like to live that way, as I spent many hours with them as a child and young adult; however, my own parents professed to no religion nor did they coerce us to "join" or "believe." I thank them for not instilling a fear of God so that I would behave the way they (or Christians) thought was right. As well, my wife-partner comes from a father who was a Lutheran minister all his life, so I have lots of experience in that religion and with clergy as well.
2. Fisher, R. M., Subba, D., & Kumar, B. M. (in press). Fear, law and criminology: Critical issues applying a philosophy of fearism. Australia: Xlibris. [see Chapter 5]
3. There are a plethora of such variants, secular and sacred, on this formula of fear management, of which the earliest seems to have arisen in the Alcoholics Anonymous tradition, some 40+ years ago or so; ALANON is where I first encountered this formula in their brochures, as they well acknowledged the problem of fear in a recovering alcoholic individual or system (i.e., F for false, E for evidence, A for appearing, R for real).
4. Hamilton is critical of anyone, including his congregration, for distorting truth, facts due to overblown fear. He wrote "The perception that most of us have in America is that ISIS [terrorist group] has as its primary focus killing Americans and Europeans. Yet in the first half of 2017, only 1.7 percent of the 1,670 people killed by ISIS were European or American (29 persons), while more than 95 percent of their victims were Muslims living in Islamic countries" (pp. 65-66).
5. For the complete map of the Fear Management Systems see Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education in the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America (Imprint of Rowman & Littlefield).
6. My critique and analysis of fear management systems of "institutions" in society, be they secular or sacred, is much the same, based on the same research I have collected for decades. Also, to note, within religious faith traditions, there are exoteric forms of religion practices (e.g., institutional guard) and there are esoteric forms (e.g., the mystics)--with the latter, usually tapping into, if not creating, the higher more complex and matured wise forms of fear management systems.
This book contains interesting guides to all those who want to overcome fear. Negative fear consists in: Sadness, sorrow, tragedy, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, stress, etc. While its opposite are: Happiness, peace, pleasure, bliss, (positive fear) etc. In philosophy, a single word is enough to be philosophy. A country, state, king, religion, ethics, etc, are all single words, yet we study and write much about them and bring out many philosophies from them. Just as Aristotle who built his philosophy to find happiness, almost all philosophies, particularly human philosophy started with a single human emotion, temperament and feeling then developed into universal principle of life. Fear is one of such words that have become philosophy to be studied by all and sundry. In this context therefore, this book can be said to be a compendium of prophetic messages that comes with revealed knowledge on how positive fear can be used to foster growth in the society. Indeed, the book is a blessing to those that are willing to overcome negative fear.
The major beauty of the book is that of the Nigerian myths. Efik people's myths are paradigms for philosophy of positive fear. I recommend that other myths of the world, just like the Efik myths discussed in this book should be built on the assumption that myths ought to be channelled toward general development in human society. I found many beautiful words introduced by Eneyo which I think should be included in a Fearism dictionary. I also suggest that the words be inserted in the glossary of this book. Such words like: Horror of fear, antecedent fear, fear territory, fear memory, fear conflict, eschatology of fear, fear studies, history of fear, faculty of fear, fear climax, fear coalition, fearful mythology, negative fear expeller, potentiality of fear and many other new words. The credit of these new words belongs to you; you're the coiner. Your logic, explanation, example and myths are well articulated. I congratulate you on your success.
Author: Philosophy of Fearism and founder of the Fearism Movement.
The upcoming book Philosophy of Fear is a philosophical manual developed by me to aid human persons overcome the existential limitations imposed on humanity by fear. In this book, I recognizes two categories of fear: The positive and the negative and I blamed all forms of negative activities of human persons to negative fear, while I attributes all aspects of positive developments to positive fear.
The tenet of this book is that; there is fear everywhere and that this fear is fundamental to all beings. Hence, philosophy of fear as a philosophical school of thought, ought to be given its own seat in the educational environment with its unique brand name: "Philosophy of Fear" or "Fearism". As a book designed to investigate the nature, scope and the role of fear in human society, philosophy of fear is out to offer expanding opportunities to the study of fear and its related challenges.
In suggesting a workable methodology to the solution to fear problems, i adopted unification-complementary approach in advancing my philosophical arguments, where fear and fearless/courage (the opposites) are investigated in a unified and in a complementary manner in order to have a complete knowledge about fear. I am of the opinion that, unless opposites are taken into consideration, enquiry is incomplete.
In making fearful/fearless decisions therefore, the book uses love-courage as a panacea for decision making within the framework of Fearism. In this expanding investigation, I incidentally ended up in place where all fearful things are found which I refered to as in this book, "Fear Territory". Thus, fear territory is an open ended research zone that can accommodate all fearologists or any body who wants to study fear.
Such words like: faculty of fear, fear coalition, fear conflicts, amalgamation of fear, fear climax, potentiality of fear, history of fear, negative fear expeller, etc, have been coined to demonstrate the workings and the operational patterns of fear.
The book is an interpretative, analytical, explanatory, logical and of course, philosophical guide to the intrigues of fear and how it can be overcome. I urge you all to be ready to grasp your copy.
Author: Michael Eneyo.
In my up coming book, An Invitation to Fearism: A Contemporary Philosophy, I am going to handle some critical issues like where fear as a being is. Most people sees fear as an EMOTION while others sees it as a STATE. There is always this question as a fearologist, is fear in man or outside man? For while many psychologist argue that fear is inherent in man, philosophers who think that man is also an emotive being and that since fear is an emotion, fear is ipso facto part of man's emotive composition? However, I continually disagree with this position. This is because, the perceptive nature of man and his ability to grapple with things around his environment makes him to perceive fear from the environment. Perception here means existential copying of an event or thing (fear factors) either through thinking or empirical grappling. When these are copied to the mind it becomes induced and now be in a state called fear.
I want to share a short excerpt from a new fearism book in progress, hopefully it will come out this late autumn. The book is entitled: Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism co-authored by R. Michael Fisher, Desh Subba and B. Maria Kumar. This book started with the project I initiated earlier this year on creating a series of dialogues with Desh and Maria on a new sub-discipline I coined as fearcriminalysis... now to the excerpt from the Introduction chapter of the new book:
"Overall, on first glance upon the earth, too many people and other species are not protected enough from suffering. Humanity is still striving to bring safety and security to such victims; yet, equally it seems humanity is unwinding the sacred freedoms, rights and securities faster and faster each day. Oppression and violence growing rapidly is a symptom of such desecration of basic needs of so many. Nuclear (arms) development, global killer diseases, starvation, mass human displacements, global warming, extreme weather crises, and mass species extinctions with ecological deterioration are bringing new fears and insecurities to humanity. The future is more precarious by the day. Youth are particularly ‘hit’ by this reality, as we see stresses upon them overwhelming and youth suicide rates in many countries are skyrocketing.[i] Excess fear and insecurities grows—a “climate of fear” or a “culture of fear”[ii] have been pronounced by many critics as the no. 1 problem humanity has to resolve. Generally, people don’t feel trusting or safe! It is this very condition of growing insecurities globally that no doubt has motivated us as co-authors to apply fearism to law and criminology. Maybe we can begin to bring some new insights and solutions to these ominous problems.
Safety and security as basic needs is like mother’s milk or apple pie. How could it not be a valuable thing (like love itself) to warrant being protected with the ethical fibre of our existence? The likeability and instinctual response to value safety and security is not what is in question here. Law, in principle, is primarily oriented to such protection, just as are government sponsored “vaccine” programs. Recent raging debates and a general loss of public trust in vaccines, that is, an increase in “fear of vaccines,” is a huge international topic and has analogous lessons for the debates and general loss of public trust in governance and policing as “fear of crime” and “fear of police” increases. Yet, as critical thinkers and co-authors we also have to question the ‘sacred cow’ so to speak. No “need” ought to be given such sacred status/privilege or priority that it becomes unquestionable in its reign, where no voice of critique can be raised. It is that moment when we are facing silencing. In that moment we are likely confronted not by argumentation of common sense or logical propositions for survival and wellbeing but something more like ideology. Philosophers typically sense ideology and challenge it before others. We sense “safety and security” today is being usurped from its good side, to becoming another football for dominant ideologies to compete—to win."[iii]
[i] Yip (2010).
[ii] See a summary of these concepts and reference literature on Wikipedia, for example, and/or see Fisher & Subba (2016), pp. ii, xxiv-xxv, xxvii, xxviii, 22, 55-57, 66, 67, 93, 104, 112.
[iii] It is beyond the purpose of this discussion in the Introduction to go into it, but many astute critics have argued that the major colonizing and globalizing ideology of neoliberalism is today greatly shaping economics, politics, education and culture (e.g., see Giroux, 2014).
The quote, "need to restore fearlessness to higher education" is a refreshing call, one that I cannot ever recall hearing in North America or the Western hemisphere for that matter. It comes from President of the Campus Contact (network) of 1100 colleges and universities both in the USA and Internationally. It is one of the largest such coalitions of promotion of higher education in the world. The President who said these words in a blog in 2016 is Dr. Andrew Seligsohn.
Seligsohn, talks of interviewing casually many in higher education today. "More than anything I hear fear." He writes of all the kinds of fears he hears people concerned about as priority in their campus lives, from students to top administrators. "Everyone is afraid," he wrote. And then continues with words that are gold to my ears:
"... nothing is more destructive of the mission of higher education than fear....We need to restore fearlessness to higher education....We need to talk to each other [across our differences and conflicts and ideologies] about what would help us regain the fearlessness that makes higher education great."
I highly recommend the rest of this article...
FYI, as a resource (annotated bibliography), I have compiled most all of my publications since the mid-1990s on Education, Fear and Fearlessness in Tech Paper 77.doc, free for your download, and may this be used in educational institutions as well, because in the end we need to better understanding fear and fearlessness... not merely talk about them as words... as if we already knew everything there is to know about them.
Greetings great scholars!
Sequel to my upcoming book which will kickoff properly next month ending (An Invitation to Fearism: A Contemporary Philosophy), I wish to inform you all that all your ideas would be represented in the book. Thus, I would like to get the following from you:
- A good picture
- Good bio data with dates. Intellectual influence, and motivation should be stated.
- List of books published.
- Background to each book
- Summary of each book
- If the book is written in local language as the original name is given, let it be translated.
- Names of all articles that are emotive, especially with fear related concepts should be sent.
If you have any fearological ideology, theory or principle send it in.
- Fear related poems are equally welcomed for fearological analysis.
- Any fear motivated novel should be summarized. If possible, the plot should be sent.
The email is email@example.com
Yesterday I closed my account in buying R. Michael Fishers World Fearlessness Teaching in 21st.....
I have most of his articles too.
I know this is a huge task but we can do it.
Am expecting much from all scholars here. We must work hard to properly situate and fix Fearism in the philosophical milieu.
Osinakachi Akuma Kalu
Have a Splendid Weekend
There's a lot of interest in therapeutic and neurobiology and medicine circles these days, and for a few years now , around what Stephen Porges has entitled "Polyvagal Theory." It refers to the vagus nerve (autonomic system) and its net of interacting nerves from brain to heart and heart to brain, and other central body organs.
A lot of people interested in the neurobiology of fear and trauma have taken to this theory and psychotherapists and psychiatrists are particularly interested. I have not given the theory much attention yet. I am always reluctant to get on the new bandwagon of the science of fear researchers and their positivist empiricism that biases their theories of explaining fear (and 'fear'). It is typically too reductionistic in itself as explanation of such a complex phenomena as "fear." The fearologist prefers to think in holistic-integral deep and broad ways before explaining "fear." But if we are to pay attention to all dimensions of our bodies and minds and our history as a species, then neurobiology has something to offer. So, let me quickly say what I hear this theory is about, based on Porges' description in a video interview "Polyvagal Theory: How Your Body Makes the Decision." There are many videos, articles and books on this topic now a days and many professionals and theorists who put their own spin on it as well--not, to say Porges would likely agree with all the interpretations and uses per se.
Porges explains an evolutionary theory of Defenses, that is, of systems that have developed and evolved over hundreds of millions of years in vertebrates, and in particular in mammals. A major shift went on, a kind of transformation of mega-proportions in the operation of the brain and nervous system from reptiles to mammals , he says. We as humans, the theory goes, are still hard-wired like our mammalian cousins in the past with the Defense system being one of the most fundamental of our systems to remain rather strongly intact because of its "proven" adaptive value to survive. That said, the beauty of that system can also be a nightmare.
Dr. Stephen Porges
I have always argued that "fear" is part of DI or Defense Intelligence (part of Emotional Intelligence) . We can utilize it and we can mature it and take more and more conscious charge of it as we evolve ourselves via new levels of consciousness re-setting the operational dynamics of DI, and allowing for more flexibility than mere "reflex"  I would also argue that this developmental evolutionary theory of consciousness (e.g., Ken Wilber's work) gives an essential nuancing to how DI and how "defenses" work--this is not something that I see Porges' neurobiolgical research includes, which is typical of most neuroscience and positivism that don't care much about consciousness (or "mind") soft-structure platforms because they are "invisible" and not so measurable easy like brain-nerve firings (e.g., the vagaus nerve complex). The exception I know to this is Bruce Lipton's work on cell biology and consciousness, including his understanding of the most basic Love vs. Fear dynamics in the ecology of cells and their relationship to the environment.
Nonetheless, as Porges points out in this brief interview, "fear" has its own operational platform of Defense, as if it has its own rapid-fire "mind" (i.e., brain-reflex wiring that is very ancient and powerful and still active in the neuroceptive regions of pre-consciousness autonomic activity, which are really unconscious). He says, this is essential because such defense decisions (instincts) are needed sometimes in an instant when in a particular context of some severe life-threat or potential life-threat. There's no time to think about it, is the argument, and that's why these rapid-fire decisions systems are biologically-based to hi-jack the higher thought platforms of the mid-brain and cerebrum. You may note, that lots of research on the brain's amygdala surfaced in the 1990s and onward telling us of this same basic notion about fear and our defense systems... but, Porges has merely fine-tuned this and looked more at the action of the autonomic system overall and the vagus nerve network in particular.
What the amygdala research emphasized is more the "fight-flight" responsivity of the defense systems we inherited. Where Porges' work focuses on the polyvagal network and its function--quite complex, and I won't do it justice here--but that it primarily moves bi-modally as meta-motivational patterns between "protecting" and "connecting" in the reptilian-mammalian architecture of the body/brain system .
Porges and his followers are interested in the notion of "safety" first  for self/system regulation (and rehabilitation and growth), as far as I can tell. And that is the role of safety from a neurobiollogical (vagal) point of view. They assert that the defense system is hard-wired for not just fight-flight but also "shut down" (or paralysis) process under severe threat--that is, under severe trauma. They call this fear as originary and thus natural and valuable. This shut-down may take place as a kind of "trance" and/or "dissociation" or "fainting." It is very powerful to protect the organism. It is sometimes the "chosen" 3rd of the fear responses mentioned by various authors talking about fear management: in hierarchial order of activation frequency is something like this: (1) flight, (2) fight and (3) freeze (i.e., "shut down" or "shock"). Porges notes that fear-immobilization has been largely ignored traditionally in psychological fear theories and especially ignored in medicine and psychology and therapy theories . He is bringing this out to the forefront, and using his polyvagal theory to help understand more of human's behaviors when distressed, when triggered by painful memories, etc. The point being, is to see that "shut down" which may not look very brave or courageous socially, is incredibly "intelligent," natural and unconscious, and not a typical "rational choice"--but it can be the very best strategy in some situations of extreme violence or damage potential of such. So, the point is we ought not be down on this 3rd option and we ought to respect the natural archaic body and defense systems to enact in our best interest.
However, like all the 3 options of fear-responses, so-called, they can be healthy responses and they can be "dissociated" or "inaccurate" and on "over-drive" creating more problems than one already has. In other words, the fear management/response of any of these 3 responses can be "irrational" and "pathological"--leading to breakdowns of the intelligence of the Defense system. We need to learn about these systems in a good "fear education" (as I call it) so we can work with them and overcome their down-sides and potential pathological enactments. I won't go into polyvagal theory (i.e., bi-modal meta-motivation theories) beyond this brief introduction. Unless people want to explore this on the FM ning. FYI, you may or may not recall that in my work, I have added 2 more fear-response options beyond Porges  and his followers: that is, (4) tend-and-befriend, and (5) fearlessness.
1. Apparently the first article that had impact on the greater scientific community by Porges (a psychiatrist and researcher) came in 1994. I find that an interesting date historically in the research on "fear." It was around this same time that a great wave of interest came from MRI studies of the brain and studies of the neurobiology of fear, pinning down the brain centre called the amygdala as the place of storage and processing of "fear" from ancient times to the present. The mid-1990s was also the time when the first critics of the "culture of fear" were starting to get published and listened to in the social sciences (albeit, they began naming this phenomena a decade earlier to explain cultural, historical and political dynamics of the major role that "fear" plays, beyond individual psychology).
2. This is not new as an insight nor a neurobiological fact, and it has physio-behavioral impacts of great significance in understanding humnan behavior in the past and today. The most explicit evolutionary theory of this deep structures of human motivation patterns came out of the research and theorizing of the "triune brain" concept of at least going back to Paul McLean's work, a very controversial theory that we are made up of an R-complex (Reptilian), M-complex (Mammalian) and H-complex (Human)--and, all three have their roles, and their attempts to dominate the behavior of an organism or system depending on the context. I found this in the late 1970s and was taken by what seemed a very logical brain/physiological (dynamic) explanation of behaviors and values sytems. Polyvagal theory is more or less interested in the same issues, the same hierarchical organization of these three brain platforms, albeit, Porges has his own way of naming and casting them.
3. I am interested in a theory (Howard Gardner's) of multiple intelligences that ought to be part of our general awareness and certainly part of how we design systems that utilize the best of human potential along these lines of mulitple intelligences, e.g., cognitive, affective, relational, musical, existential, etc. The most popularized and "successfully" applied version of this has been the great attention to Daniel Goleman's work on emotional intelligence, which also bloomed in the mid-1990s (see note 1.) Again, there are critics of Goleman's theory and applications, and I myself have critiqued it several times over the decades. Mostly, there is not room in his theory for the deep structures of the evolutionary brain, as in McLean's or Porges' work, and thus, it leaves out the deep motivational phenomenology of Defense Intelligence as a core essential intelligence.
4. My own theorizing on this for decades has been that the developmental levels (and fear management defense systems) increasingly via consciousness evolution are less and less fear-based themselves. Thus, fearlessness as a path is always a path of continual growth (under good conditions) of connectivity and more reflexive thus, less reactive defensivity re: mistrust or protectionism.
5. There is a large universal body of research and phenomenological experience throughout recorded history that notes this bi-modality of human motivation (and a good deal of animal motivation, or even plants). Re: autonomic nervous system, Porges' polyvagal theory brings out the bimodality of parasympathetic nervous system vs. sympathetic nervous system. As well, the simplest (non-technical) expression of it is the only "two emotions" theory--what I have called meta-motivations of Love and Fear. The equivalency is that our basic "drives" as organisms move along a spectrum of Love at one end pulling us to connection, and Fear at the other end pulling us to protection (cf. Porges' theory). Now, with any extra investigation, I am now thinking of all the other theories that are ought there, prior to Porges', like John Bolby on attachment theory (based on two bimodal orientations of the baby: fear of abandonment and fear of enmeshment, of which the first is the pole of protection or defense and its problems, and the second is the pole of connection and its problems). There is also the bimodal theories of "Fear vs. Freedom" as a synthesis of many theories which I have seen brought forward by the Terror Management Theory folks, and, of course the earliest theory along this line (other than the ancient Love vs. Fear philosophies and theologies) is Erik Erikson's first stage of affective development which he named "Trust vs. Mistrust" --and, so there is a great interet in this bi-modal theorizing to explain human behavior, and Porges' theory is just the latest, with more neurobiological evidence that basically "proves" what was already known to be tested and true in human experience by the other critical observers. I'd have to think more about how Indigenous worldview (and "theories") of human motivation may also contribute here. Each of these theories has partial truths to add to the puzzle.
5. My own 'red-flags' go up when I listen to Porges and his followers and their excitement about this theory of "safety" first rhetoric and discourse--which can slide into an ideological protectionism in the name of "connectivity." A tricky thing to tease apart, and we have to use fearanalysis to sort it out re: what is fear-based motivation and what is not. To what degree is fearlessness operating? To what degree is a fear-based structuration operating in even the most positive and benign looking campaigns (even the current 'wellness' craze)? Educators and psychologists are now saying without this polyvagal "calm" (motivation for connectivity overcoming motivation for protection) there is no way children or adults can learn through teaching-connections, or no way compassion and empathy can occur. This is a highly problematic, oversimplified, discourse today, with political ideologies to examine in that such cannot be left only in the analysis of polyvagal neurobiology, no matter how much partial truths the scientists may have at their finger tips in arguing for "safety" first as foundational to basic moral-compassionate connectiing--i.e, what makes us mammalian (sometimes linked to a "feminine" perspective and/or the oxytocin of mothering and bonding processes). I won't go into my critique further here, as it is a long one, suffice it to say it involves how the State (elite) powers have mis-appropriated this "safety" (connectivity) first evolutionary and neurobiological predisposition into various uses to control people/organizations and also to construct "enemies" to be destroyed who may threaten that "safety" first need or motivation. Terror Management Theory (social psychology empirical research) has offered some of the very best analysis on this and how humans behave in inclusive-exclusive dynamics re: safety needs hooked to self-esteem needs at individual and collective platforms. Fear of course (i.e., extreme cousin in the form of terror) cannot be left out of the equation of understanding major ways humans behave.
6. My own early study of ethology (animal behavior in the wilds) gave a lot of concerted attention to the "play dead" shut-down process of the nervous system and as a general behavioral strategy in many species. So, I would say the human psychologists and psychiatrists are much slower on picking up on this in general.
7. Which is not to say that Porges has not taken this into account in terms of co-evolutionary face-to-face interactions, and a notion of "care" that brings about polyvagal homeostasis in mammals, especially humans. The "tend-and-befriend" is a feminist theory of fear-response by Taylor et al. not based on polyvagal theory as far as I can tell.
[Image created from the book cover Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows, Peter Lang Publ. 2018; I added the details of the CAT and FAWN components and 2-way arrows for this teaching blog version]
"SHAMANIC INTERVENTION(S)" a "Fearless Engagement" in a POSTMODERN ERA
You may have seen the prior blogpost re: my book on Dr. Don Trent Jacobs' (aka Four Arrows') life and work as an activist-scholar and Indigenous holistic educator. I framed the book as an intellectual biography. I did not want to only create a biography nor merely an abstract intellectual overview of a scholar. I aimed in the book for another layer of reality and meaning that to me was more important than mere biographic facts, stories, or intellectual interests. I was looking to gather all I could from Dr. Jacobs' (Four Arrows') experiences and thoughts, his activism and his teaching, and make a powerful summary of it all in light of the context of a better understanding of Fear and Fearlessness for myself and for all others who read this book. The synthesis of his life regarding how he has studied Fear and Fearlessness with my own work ought to create a 'new' curriculum or what I call a liberational 'fear' vaccine (process). We really need this on the planet today.
It is rare indeed to find an educator who gives so much attention to the topic of Fear. What is 'new' as a synthesis in this book is really exciting to me and I trust others will also find this to be so, however, beneath the layers of the 'new' is something revealed that is very 'ancient' and dare I say, universal to the human struggle to find the best ways to be in relationship with Fear. The way he points us is not merely a "psychology of fear" and that is what makes this critical educator very unique. He is more transdisciplinary, like myself, in approaching this subject.
It is thus a book all about a holistic-integral approach to fear management/education, a point I make in my own work, whereby, any attempts at bravery, courage, fearlessness, etc. are all attempts at some kind of fear management  and transformation. And, as Dr. Jacobs and I see it, we really need a better fear management on this planet today.
Ancient CAT-FAW/N Dynamics: A De-Hypnotizing 'Fear' Vaccine (Process)
So, the 'ancient' part is what I wish to briefly introduce here as it takes shape from Dr. Jacobs' life and work, especially as it comes throught the most important finding in his scholarship, as far as I am concerned, and that is the finding that concentration is core to the processes and outcomes of fear management of any kind. In the book I overview in the Introduction his CAT-FAW/N model  , which took him 15 years to develop (and it is still evolving). And CAT stands for Concentration Activated Transformation, according to Jacobs. FAWN stands for Fear, Authority, Word(s) and Nature. I have in detail described this in the new book but more accessible immediately is my interpretation of CAT-FAWN Connection theory in a blogpost , where I suggest his model/theory is a praxis of Fearlessness and thus is a praxis of what I would add to my list of 'Fear' Vaccines (processes)  in the liberation work that I design and teach.
This 'ancient' part of Four Arrows' (Jacobs') model/theory/praxis is represented on the book cover image as four arrows (triangles) around his portrait. These represent the colors of the most common Medicine Wheel in several Indigneous cultures in North America (Turtle Island). The CAT is placed in the image on his brain as controlling centre of his senses, perception and ultimately of how and where he puts his attention--that is, his concentration. The concentration is depicted nicely in this portrait photo taken by his wife the photographer Bea Jacobs. So this gives a little backstory to what my latest image adaptation is about. The significant point I am making with this teaching image is that the book is not just about a man named by the Lakota Sioux in ritual initiation with their community but about a universal context of the ancient Medicine Wheel--whereby, I believe this book has "good medicine" to offer a very ill modern and postmodern (Western) society, and, perhaps beyond that to the world.
My point, is that Four Arrows the man ought not to be the center focus of the book (only). That's only part of the picture. There is another layer of center focus that I bring out in the book and that is the "four arrows" as "four directions" as "four colors" (vibrations) --and, thus acting as an orienting model/theory/praxis as 'Fear' vaccine process. I took the liberty in creating this image to name the four colors and directions as Fear, Authority, Word(s) and Nature following the Jacobsian model. My interest is that readers and viewers will re-interpret the book's cover and this teaching image. I want them to see that the book is about the "fearless engagement" of "four arrows" and thus, of CAT-FAW/N itself. What does it mean to bring a context of "fearless engagement"  as a referent notion to the study of fear management/education, to Fearlessness, to the Jacobsian model?
The de-hypnotizing component of the CAT-FAW/N model is based on many experiences in Four Arrow's life. It is also a professional and scholarly attained model, tested over the past few decades. Yet mostly, of interest to me right now is that it is a model that comes from the ancient (living and non-living) 'Ancestors,' a point I make in the Introduction of the book and which I have described in detail to some degree in De-Hypnotizing Technology blog on Four Arrows' work and my research on his work. He is a trained health psychologist, hypnotherapist and high-performance athletic coach for many clients. That's where he learned many things, including from his training free-roaming horses and competitions with them. But lest it not be forgotten that he learned his most powerful lessons on the origin of the CAT-FAW/N model from his Near Death Experiences and study and work with shamans in remote Mexico  and how he was transformed. He has been rightfully reluctant to call himself a "shaman" though he has not totally rejected association of his work with shamanic elements over the years .
At one level, I see much of the analogous relational transformative learning in Carlos Castaneda with shaman/warriors (e.g., Don Juan Matus) in his series of (non-fiction fictional) books in the 1970s-80, as with Four Arrows and Augustin Ramos. I think anyone reading my new book on Four Arrows will find it mystical at times as well as very pragmatic, logical and grounded. The diversity of areas and methodologies covered in this new book is enormous. However, the core of it is all about fear management/ education, about Fearlessness as a path and a standpoint of "fearless engagement" as the premise of how Four Arrows' comes to move in the world and teach. He clears the way of all dogmatism, and religion, of rules and regulations and any arrogance of "fearless" on this path. It is available, he suggests, to all who are capable and willing to pursue to knowing Fear better--to becoming "connoisseurs of Fear" as he says. CAT-FAW/N model and theory provides a way of engaging the "four arrows" of the "good medicine" required as we reassess our Dominant worldview in the context of a resurgence of the Indigenous worldview. All that is covered in the new book.
If I have communicated effectively in this blog, I'll be heartened by those readers who do not take this as a book about "Four Arrows" only but about "four arrows" and the study of Fear and Fearlessness within a de-hypnotizing process. I have included in the prior blogpost the initial Introduction of Four Arrows' near clinical assessment of mass hypnosis that humanity is suffering right now (especially, those non-Indigenous and Indigenous moderns and postmoderns disconnected from the "old ways" of pre-point of departure worldview and values). This new book is all about assessments, diagnoses and interventions. Agree with them or not, my aim as author is to present them in interesting ways and to provoke further dialogues--and, yes, if we can find enough agreements on the assessment then we can find new ways to make holistic-integral interventions in the Fear Problem on this planet. 'Fear' vaccines are going to be very useful, and CAT-FAW/N is one of the most powerful, that, I have come across, no doubt. Indeed, still a good deal of work and development is required to make it even more efficacious to more kinds of people, leaders and organizations.
1. See, for e.g., Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America/Rowman & Littlefield.
2. I have taken Jacob's original model from his dissertation and 1998 book Primal Awareness and recently modified it with the /N for the Nature aspect which I believe is distinctly different in order of reality from F A W, and thus the /N signifies the entire model is underlain by Nature and comes from Nature as source. A few years ago he agreed with my adapted version, though he himself has not used it in his publications.
3. See CAT-FAWN explained and another FM blogpost on "Indigenizing" Fearlessness
4. Re: prior writing on 'fear' vaccines see my FM blogpost 6 'Fear' Vaccines (book in progress). CAT-FAW/N is a 7th 'Fear' Vaccine recently added to the repertoire.
5. In the book I make a comparable, parallel, case that "fearless engagement" for Four Arrows' is analagous (in part) to my own "fearless standpoint theory" which I believe is essential to better analyze fear management/education going on now and in the past and how to improve it substantially for the future. See Part 1 : FEARLESS, of the new book.
6. I utilize here (and in the book) "shaman(ic)" with a due cautionary of contemporary (white man) mis-appropriations of these terms and traditions within an Indigenous context. I believe Four Arrows' has truly made a good effort for several decades to ensure his is not mis-appropriating (colonizing) the very Indigenous worldview he promotes at great length as a recognized Indigenous educator. Which doesn't mean that some Indigenous people and others have not criticized his approach and his mixed-blood heritage and background which is (potentially) inadequate to make him a "spokesperson" of the "Indigeneity" he teaches. I (as White guy) have followed the tracks of Four Arrows' careful situating of any of these Indigenous terms as best I can. I cover this problem in the new book, as does Four Arrows' in many of his writings. "Shamanic" however is still something very useful to understanding some of the phenomena Four Arrows and I discuss in the idea of CAT-FAW/N and de-hypnotizing technologies. He tracks out how the Indigenous Peoples, often had an intuitive sense of this de-hypnotizing as lived process, even though, apparently they have never written it down as a de-hypnotizing technology or theory or model as Four Arrows has. Clearly, beyond his scholarly naming and associating his name with this CAT-FAW/N dynamic, he'd be the first to declare it is not his model per se or anyone's but it belongs to Nature, to All Relations and to All Histories. He documents anthropologically (and otherwise) his experiences with shamans amongst the Raramuri Peoples of remote Mexico in the 1980s-90s, and especially of the 104 year old Augustin Ramos a most well respected shaman that he worked with there. This true story can be found in his dissertation and book that came from it, Primal Awareness: A True Story of Survival, Transformation, and Awakening with the Raramuri Shamans of Mexico (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1998).
7. See his slide show video of his remote Mexico adventures and learning re: "Shaman's Message" on Youtube, as one example; his writing makes the connections continually re: the orgin of the CAT-FAW/N "vision" (shamanic-like and/or mystical) in a heightened state of altered consciousness when amongst Nature and the presence of shamans. My interpretation is that CAT-FAW/N theory is shamanically-imbued and offered to the world from the 'Ancestors'--a further explanation of this categorizing of his theory is in the new book. I treat CAT-FAW/N as a transpersonal "transmission" of teachings with all the shamanic overtones and undertones that I believe require due acknowledgement. I also respect that Four Arrows himself avoids any such direct suggestion of such. My assessment is my own based on studying his work and communicating with him, off and on, for the past 10 years.
I would like to share with you my new book soon to come out in July, 2018 (New York: Peter Lang). For an advanced look at the book's content see a short book video trailer and the FE brochure 2018.pdf (4 pp) I created here. Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs) is an FM ning member. Feel free to pass on these promotional materials to your networks and those you feel would be interested. Thanks.
I'll be writing more about this book on the FMning in future blogs. I'll leave you with one excerpted quote by Four Arrows (interviewed by me) from the book:
"In my mind, this mass hypnosis syndrome, I now call Trance-based Learning (TBL) gone awry, is the only explanation that makes sense of how modern educated societies, especially, have rationalized their technologies of domination, their polluting of their own nest, and their addictions to ways of life that paradoxically destroy Life. My own vision of rehabilitation from this destructive path is that Fear and courage concepts are essential to understand as they drive learning and development in a 'good way' or 'bad way'....I offer an intentional transformation learning theory and critical praxis as an initiative to build a society and world that is able to resist and reconstruct current hegemonic fear-conditioning--the latter, which has unfortunately become 'normal' socialization--a 'culture of fear.'" (p. 2)
There's a churning of emotionalism and activism in America this year, especially this spring. I have posted a few blogs about youth (mostly in highschools) across America but also around the world, protesting "gun violence" in their schools and communities. They have picked various slogans and hashtags, but the one I think is most telling and interesting is "Fear has no place..." (and the usual term finishing that phrase, but not only one, is) "in our schools." Does this means American youth are protesting in record numbers publicly to say, "We want no fear in our schools? our societies?" --and, why are they not saying they want a "Fearless Society"?
I have just completed a new Tech Paper 76.pdf "Fear has no place..."..": Youth movement for fearlessness in need of critique" which I would love if folks read and gave me feedback. In particular, I'd love this paper get out to youth who are in this movement and may we find ways to dialogue.
Also see Photo I recently posted of the images, t-shirts, mugs and commercialization that has already quickly adjoined itself to the youth protest movement. I very much wanted to see this movement as a Fearlessness Movement (see my blog post "March Without Fear"https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/youth-s-march-for-our-lives-is-a-march-for-without-fear
I really wonder where the "Fear has no place..." slogandia started? Maybe some of the readers here know. All I know is that, as a fearologist, this is the last thing to be voting for or marching up and down the streets for. Notice, I am not talking about the "gun problem" these young people are also addressing, but interestingly enough it has spread from there, the more concrete part of their activism, to an issue of "fear" (again, see the Internet and all the articles and images that have grown up around this notion of "Fear has no place in our schools" for example.
As a fearologist, and as one who articulates and follows the philosophy of fearism, and philosophy of fearlessness, everything tells me that the narrow and shallow notion of "Fear has no place" is quite the wrong direction to go if we really want to be liberating youth, school cultures, and society as a whole. It's too bad that phrase is a 'viral' catch phrase but perhaps with time and more deep thinking, and informing of the movement by fearologists, a more congruent message can be applied. The basic starting point is not to try to get rid of fear. That is casting it out like a mis-placed thing. Fear is us, as the saying goes. I cannot help but think youth in America have been disillusioned and or so brain-washed in some ways (not all), that they are taking on the politically and ideologically fraught with problems view of the "conservatives" in American culture and politics--that is, with their Zero Tolerance policies and practices. The very discourse (unfortunately) of the rebelling youth today in America is sounding an awful lot like a discourse that is from the elders they have been oppressed by for so long--that is, a Zero Tolerance policy of excluding "fear" from schools and well, where does that exclusion stop. It is ironic that this youth generation protesting is also the most articulate and delightful in supporting inclusion (diversity-- equals difference and the Other). But when it comes to "fear" they are saying it has no place in American schools, communities, and societies. This is a contradiction and a basically 'wrong-headed' strategy and rhetoric.
Again, this short blog is not my full argumentation re: the problem this declaration has brought forward. As a hint, I will say a much wiser declaration or wisdom comes from the elder African-American Black novelist Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature--where, she wrote about in her novel Sula on the very importance of Black People (generally, meaning the oppressed) to rather "make a place for fear" where it can be seen, worked with, and "controlled" (re: the character Shadrack in that novel)--and managed because it is known and studied and lived with in relationship because it is real. The African-American experience and guidance here is well worth looking at in terms of its contradictory message relative to the youth message today in America (and not only youth) of "Fear has no place...". Equally, in future writing on this, I'll examine Four Arrows' Indigenous-based theory of Fear  and why the native people and their worldview also are wise enough to know that the last thing we ought to be promoting anywhere are places where "fear" is not welcomed! It is rather astounding, on one level, that all the "fear-positive" literature and teachings since the 1990s in N.A. has had little to no uptake so it seems, at least, at this time for this youth movement .
I'll leave it here, with the dialectical thought that if one creates "no place for fear" likewise that is going to create "no place for fearlessness" --and, thus I see a lot of emotionalism and bravado in the new activism of youth today in America rather than true fearlessness. But that's not a put down or dismissing of the good spirit that is driving behind their efforts --their peace, anti-gun, anti-violence anti-fear efforts... I applaud their heartfulness to find truth and justice, and yet, I am seeing how woundedness and trauma doesn't always analyze deeply enough the discourse of the oppressors--of the 'Fear' Matrix (culture of fear) that beseiges us all today--including youth in school cultures.
1. See for e.g., Four Arrows (aka Jacobs, D. T.) (2016). Point of departure: Returning to a more authentic worldview for education and survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
2. By "fear-positive" I am referring to literature from many disciplines and professionals, who have asserted that we need to shift from seeing fear as only negative to also seeing fear as positive, a gift and so on. For e.g., one of the most effective teachers of this has been de Becker, G. (1997). The Gift of fear: Survival signals that protect us from violence. New York: Bantam.
3. On the positive-side, I could argue a "spirit of fearlessness" is motivating their call, their 'truth-to-power' discourse. Another view is that from a nondual standpoint argument that could be made, as a colleague Luke Barnesmoore makes generically in an unpublished essay "Fear and Fearlessness" (in his larger collection of essays "Nomadic Exploration of Critical Pedagogy") that: "I seek to emulate the Divine out of loving respect, not fear (which is a product of the potential for the Divine's privation in manifestation and has no place, in and of itself, in the eternal" (p. 7). Barnesmoore's argument is one from an absolutistic philosophy (spirituality) or what he calls the "Natural Worldview" of the "Nothing-Infinite Eternal and its emanations Force, Form and Consciousness" whose attributes inlcude Love, Truth, Reality, Beauty, Goodness, Unity, etc." Thus, arguably, one could take such a metaphysical principle and say that there may be wise truth practical and value in the rhetoric of "Fear has no place..." that the youth in America are manifesting in their own way, consciously or not. See Barnesmoore, L. (2018). Fear and fearlessness. Unpublished paper. A self-identified San Franciscan (California), Luke is currently a doctoral student in the Geography department, Co-Founder/Director of the UBC Urban Studies Lab, at The University of British Columbia, Canada.
"I have received these awards as a sign of acceptance of the "Philosophy of Fearism" by the Western world and I am lucky".
Born in Dharan, Nepal, Desh Subba the author of the "Philosophy of Fearism" is a philosopher, a poet and a novelist. Due to his employment, Subba has been living in Hong Kong with his family for two decades now. His scholarly prowess became eminent when he began to advocate for the "Philosophy of Fearism" in Hong Kong. At the initial stage of his voyage, his intimate friends who were poets, authors and those with philosophical background mocked him when he talked about the concept of 'Fearism' with them. But Subba never gave up; rather, he persisted in his mission of making "Philosophy of Fearism" an emerging paradigm in the contemporary time. He continued engaging in writing, rewriting, describing and explaining his concept of fear continuously for 17 years.
"Philosophy of Fearism" was already popular in North East India having been presented by Subba at the International Conference in Dharan, Nepal, a conference which was attained by 55 International Scholars from North East India.
Subba's efforts began to yield good results, as he pushed his idea to the limelight by translating in English "Philosophy of Fearism" was published in July 2014. Xlibris publication introduced his philosophy to the international world and later Nepalese language published by Kitab Ghar Kathmandu Publication. His other book: "Philosophy of Fearism-First East West Dialogue," which he described as, "Western and Eastern lens" is coauthored by a Canadian Philosopher, R. Michael Fisher. Soon after the publication of "Philosophy of Fearism," there was an international book competition. Competitors were invited from all over the world, and all English books were eligible. Subba, a courageous author filled the form and registered to participate. At the end of the competition, "Philosophy of Fearism" emerged the winner. "Philosophy of Fearism" gained more popularity and international recognition after winning three International Awards from the United States of America (USA). Interestingly, Desh Subba has become the first Nepalese to have won this International Award(s) and he is among the few writers across the globe to have won two International Awards within two months (National Indie Excellence Award on 18th May 2015 and New York Book Fest Award on 11th June 2015). For the National Indie Excellence Award, a total of 1, 200 (one thousand two hundred) competitors participated, Subba's book emerged the best. After receiving the awards Subba who was overwhelmed with joy exclaimed: "I have received these awards as a sign of acceptance of the "Philosophy of Fearism" by the Western world and I am lucky".
These awards have helped in promoting 'Fearism', on this Subba said: "It is the best medium to take Nepalese books to international market". Today, many researchers, authors and students from all fields of studies are researching on Subba's works on 'Fearism' on the Internet. After the first three International Awards, Subba has won seven more awards in Philosophy, Non-fiction and Spirituality/Religion, making a total of 10 International awards: a height that is difficult to imagine.
The main theme of his philosophy is that: all aspects of life are controlled by an emerging pattern of fear. He continued that positive utilization gives success, progress, development, pleasure and peace. While negative utilization gives terror, violence, anarchy, dictatorship and corruption. Subba observed that in the ancient times, inventions and the use of weapons, dwelling in the cave and worshipping of natural gods were as the result of fear. Every invention Subba said has its motivation from fear. As of the time of the publication of the news on his award on "Philosophy of Fearism', SARS and Ebola viruses were spreading with their emerging kinds of fear. It was during this period also, that the agitation among the International Organizations for the need to control global warming which was perceived as a threat to entire human existential conditions was at its top of discussion. The tension posed by the global warming necessitated the international communities to work assiduously to contend. The motivating factor for these International responses is the fear of death and extinction. Thus, "Philosophy of Fearism" is an emerging paradigm for how the problems of fear characterizing every extent can be managed.
It was published in Kantipur daily news paper, Nepal 11 August, 2015, news by Pradeep Menyangbo, translated by Desh Subba and edited by author Michael Eneyo.
In the USA, a reliable youth survey of 18-29 year olds tells us what is happening with rising fearfulness...
I just found this document I first created at the beginning of the FM ning (in Jan. 2015)--and, it still has all or many of the aspects I think would still be appropriate to today to remind us as FM ning members, more or less, what we are committed to.
'Philosophy of Fearism' Offers Treatment for Fear Patients
-an Interview with Desh Subba
Some years back he wrote a novel 'Insult' that made him popular; he then brought out a non-fiction book 'Philosophy of Fearism.’ More than a decade later he is leader of the' Philosophy of Fearism' movement. Deepak Sapkota talks with Subba on the foundations of Fearism:
Deepak: You have written a book Philosophy of Fearism. You have said, world, earth, life and air of our breathing, and there is also fear; “everyone lives in fear.” Do you want to extend fear’s importance?
Desh: It is not my intention to extend fear. I didn't say live in fear. We are living in fear. I said live with the unveiling of the cover of fear. For those who are running breathless in fear, I told them to run with fearless breath. You can see businessmen, employees, in the name of progress and success, they are breathless in running. People of Nepal often rush like this. Abroad, also people are taking their breakfast and lunch while running in their cars. If they don't run at this modern speed they fear losing business, job and prestige. There is fear in our breathing air. If not fear why should we use mask? Fear comes together with consciousness and breath. We are doing many activities to save our breath. Fear is a giant.
Deepak: What is Fearism? Please tell us in simple language?
Desh: Fearism is a combination of life, consciousness, knowledge, fear and cognition. We always have fear of dying in starvation and disease. We have fear of accident, incident and some problems. To manage our life from these fears we are motivated to doing invention, construction, profession and employment. Philosophy of Fearism is a philosophical explanation of all these.
Deepak: You said, “Life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.” How it can be? Life is impossible without fear?
Desh: Among all, fear of starvation is the highest. Is there any meaning dying by courage? We are conducted by fear. To rescue, it conducts to work, when working, doing carefully otherwise can dismiss. This directs and controls us. That's why I said, “life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear.” In the life fear is everywhere.
Deepak: Fear can be the subject of thesis, study and research? How can it be 'ism'? People might say it is nonsense?
Desh: I never meant for 'ism' as some formula. I did not read it has length, width, height, area, volume, color and taste. Zero has 'ism'. Absurdly has 'ism'. You used insulted word; has air 'ism' too? Marx, Lenin and Mao has 'ism'. If we calculate in percentage, how many people have Marx, Lenin and Mao in their life? How many percentages do you have? 7 billion people of earth, how many of them have? But fear is with everyone. Human to animal all has fear then cannot it be 'ism'? And how is it possible Marx, Lenin and Mao to be 'ism'? How strange is the game of words and beliefs? 7 billion people and animal have fear, how can it be nonsense? Logic of fear(ism) cannot be mere philosophy as baseless. It is empirical fact.
Deepak: What is the reason for a deep study of fear? What advantage for society?
Desh: All human beings live in fear. They are encircled by many fears. They feel it. They are living with the thorns of death, disease, damage, accident and problems. Because of fear they are terrified and doing killings. This forces me to do deep study. In this vast human disaster, I thought I can make a contribution toward something good being done? What are sources of their fear? What happens more or less due to fear? These kinds of thoughts were coming in my mind. I thought of the many accidents of the world. I came to the conclusion most all sources of many problems are fear. Since early civilization fear can be taken as negative but I asked how can it be made positive? Moral questions were in my mind. How to make comfort from it? Many questions were hovering inside me. Then fearism emerged as an idea. It is not negative as normal mass understand fear. The most positive things of life are due to fear. Balance of fear has leaded us to success. Life makes us happy and peaceful. Innovative parts of life are defined by fearism.
Deepak: Fear is director of life, Universe, black hole of space, light, creator, seer, mystery, beauty, courage, super power, parent, law and god. End with God is fear. These are your many meanings of fear in your book. It looks very abstract isn't it?
Desh: It is not abstract, it is simple. It looks strange because nobody explained fear like this before, not from this perspective. Michel Foucault said, 'knowledge is power.' Doesn't it look strange too? Does to know about dying have power? Take the example of law, does not its main motive come from fear and create fear? Nobody will follow law if it cannot create fear. Fear is a law, it is not abstract.
Deepak: After reading your book, readers may recognize they suffer from depression. Except fearful readers cannot see, listen and understand anything about fear. Is your book about creating fear?
Desh: After reading philosophy of fearism, this does not take readers to depression but helps them to see they may be a fear patient. It helps to reduce depression, stress, and violence created by doubt and fear. It gives an idea of the source of depression, it offers reason and explanation and routes of fear so they can better manage fear.
[Originally published in Friday entertainment paper March 27, 2015. It is sister news paper of second popular daily Nagrik news paper of Nepal. Interview was by sub-editor Deepak Sapkota. [Original in Nepalese, trans. to English by Desh Subba, editing for English, by R. Michael Fisher]
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