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Fearism Philosopher-- B. Maria Kumar (India). 

It has been my pleasure over three years ago to meet Mr. Kumar, an FM ning member for several years. He has a fascinating background, as public servant (police officer) and author of a number of books, amongst other things. His dedication to life-long learning is admirable. Currently he and I are working on a book Resistances to Fearlessness: A Philosophy of Fearism Perspective. This will be my 3rd book working with him as a co-author [1] 

This FM blog is a very brief celebration of his thinking and contribution to the philosophy of fear(ism) and fearlessness. He recently sent me some free-writing thoughts he has about "Fearlessness as/is Beautiful" for one of the Parts of our new book. I am so impressed with his opening paragraph, containing 11 intriguing questions. I felt it important to share this with the FM community and encourage you to use these questions as prompts for your own thoughts; feel free to Comment below on this blog and dialogue with us all, and I'm sure Mr. Kumar will also join in depending on the interest around these 11 questions. 

"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. That's why when Socrates commented on beauty, he implied it had 'a short lived reign.' While for Keats, on the other hand, accorded eternality to it, saying, 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever.' 

How can we say that fearlessness is beautiful? Nobody likely adores fear and so fear is considered ugly. However, if our thoughts are cleared of fear, our fearless mind naturally enjoys watching the sunrise without a feeling of mental block or doubt or predicament.

If mind is unrestricted, can we say whether it is beautiful? Or is it beautiful simply because it fascilitates unbridled freedom? Does it mean that fear is unwanted and freedom is most sought after? 

Will mind be beautiful if it is not restricted and at the same time not agitated? Does it also mean that absolute liberty, which is the manifestation of unrestricted freedoms of people in the society is also beautiful? Doesn't one's absolute liberty affect the other individual's rightful freedom adversely? In that case, does society or individual want fear to exist to a certain extent in order to keep the things in order or under control, so is not fear, up to some limit, also beautiful? 

Does it imply that total fearlessness without fear at all is also not beautiful? Does it mean that only some degree of fearlessness is beautiful and not extreme fearlessness to the inconvenience of others? 

Lastly, can we deduce that both fear and fearlessness are beautiful in proportions as beauty is also seen in terms of proportions and symmetries?" 

*****

I am quite sure from my research, no other thinker has so intimately questioned the relationship of fear/fearlessness and beauty in the historical literatures around the globe and through time. Kudos to Mr. Kumar. 

Notes: 

1. Kumar, B. M., Fisher, R. M. & Subba, D. (2019). India, a Nation of Fear & Prejudice. Xlibris; Fisher, R. M., Subba, D. & Kumar, B. M. (2018). Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism. Xlibris. 

 

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Right Kind of Education: Fear Education

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[note: should be May, not Nay, as author here]

1941

Two historical documents here, the first by May, an American psychologist (1891-1977), wrote a good deal about the psychological imperatives for "peace education" in the world and then penned this 1941 book on the nature of what education ought to be in a "World of Fear". I had not previously found this little 73pp book in all my decades of researching on fear and Education. So, I share this with delight of discovering an important historical thinker, who has importantly contributed, even if implicitly, to what I call (and Jiddu Krishnamurti) "appropriate education" or "right kind of education"  OR simply, "Fear Education" required for a world of peace, freedom and non-oppression--never mind, now it is so important to have such a right (ethical) education for ecological sanity and with the outcome of creating a true sustainable health for all beings for many generations. Life depends on this movement, reformation, and transformation of Education as we know it. 

Regarding May's book (published by Harvard University Press), and its opening sentence on p. 1, "The dominating emotion of the world today is fear." I would highly guess there is no other book on Education anywhere, dare I say in the world, across cultures, through time and history, that opens on its first page, first sentence, with that brutally honest and courageous statement of a declaration and indictment to the Modern World. One has to assume it is, more or less, a great truth that humans generally deny and do not like to face and/or write down on paper--and, especially in a book on Education.

I myself, specializing in fear education and leadership, have not been so bold and poignant in my own writing to nail this epithet like May did 80 years ago. And, so I wanted to honor him for doing so. And, may a great many other writers do the same from here on. I found one reference recently during COVID-19 pandemic by Gup (2020), talking about his experience in higher education and all the fear and trauma of what is happening to most everyone in his circles, and that he himself is questioning what is really core to being relevant right now to teach. He asked in this online article: "What is my goal as an educator?" And, then responded to himself: "In part, the answer may be what the late Mark May... declared in 1941, as the world faced the imminent prospect of war: "The task of education is to teach people how to manage their anxieties and hold them proportional to the realities of the danger." His [The Inglis Lecture] lecture turned book was entitled Education in a World of Fear, a fitting primer for today." [1] On my first look through the indexes, I could find only 4 book reviews done on May's book in the early 1940s, after that the book seems to have largely disappeared from view or at least no one was citing it with any enthusiasm. I'll continue to research to see if that is indeed the factual fate of this work by May.

Of course, it was in the midst of WW-II and all the big threats to democracy, to America and its allies (e.g., Nazism, fascism, pathological communism) that May was writing. Fears were abundant and spreading like a virus around most of the world, where people were directly involved in these toxic ideologies and the wars that accompanied them, and/or where people had global media access to listen to what was happening. Being informed in the times of WW-II (like WW-I) meant being fearful and anxious in an existential way that took its toll on everyone. Of course, it would take a psychologist, and specialist in educational psychology [2] as May was to name 'the dis-ease' (if not the inner 'enemy') to democracy, freedom, and a healthy world condition and good future. And, it was 1941 also that W. H. Auden penned his famous long poem "Age of Anxiety," which published in 1947, won a Pulitizer Prize for Poetry in 1948. It could just as well have been entitled "Age of Fear" or "World of Fear"--and so, one wonders if May had come across Auden's indictment or visa versa (?). Auden's poem, which is arguably a postmodern symptom arose because of a lament of the Modern Age which indeed seemed to be plagued by fears and anxieties, which Auden linked in the poem to increasing loss of cultural and family traditions, loss of religious/spiritual and moral compass, loss of basic sociality of trust and replacement of mistrust--leading to increasing human isolation. How indeed, could a social species (Homo sapiens) last under such conditions of decay? 

From my point of view, a social species that does not have a thorough, creative and progressive Fear Education (curriculum, pedagogy, awareness, and commitment), like say sex education or peace education, etc., is a species that just won't make it far towards reaching its potential, and worse, it will likely deconstruct and enter extinction very rapidly in evolutionary time. Yet, why is it, I cannot find such a curriculum of a good, a right, an appropriate "fear education" to this day. Humans have avoided nailing it down, and May, is one amongst some other insightful and wise people, named it in his education book 80 years ago. But a lot of silence followed after his first sentence, first page, and his first book on setting the context for the field of education--that is, "a world of fear." The context is everything, for designing an appropriate education for the era we live in. I think nothing has changed since 1941 and yes, as Gup (2020) wrote in his article, mentioned above, such a context that May had named is "a fitting primer for today." Problem is, we need more than May's primer. We need a research agenda that acknowledges the nature and role of fear, across the board. We need it now. And, I have been working on this project since late 1989, and unfortunately, with little 'up-take' from the Education circles or from society in general. So, let me turn now to a most powerful voice, again, not one that is acknowledged generally in academia or the field of Education (at least, certainly not in the W. world)--J. Krishnamurti, a great philosopher of Indian background, who broke out and talked to the world in the 1930s-80s, at least to those that would listen, about many things--and liberational Education was always on his agenda. 

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1885-1986)

I wish to briefly introduce another thinker (from India, also lived in USA), outside of the field of Education proper, who has more than one lecture or book that is "a fitting primer for today." Although I met JK in my own snooping and advancing my educational philosophy studies c. 1980s-90s, I have not published much on him, and I intend to change that. One of his small books Education and the Significance of Life (1953) [3]of which I copied the cover and placed it with May's first page (above image), is truly the most important book I know of relevant to education in a world of fear. If I had my say in how teachers today were to be "trained" --at least, in their first educational philosophy class, they would read this gem of a book. Frankly, I do not know of any one professor of education anywhere who is utilizing this book as a core reader for pre-service teachers. Of course, it is not only for those entering the profession of education but for all educators any time in their careers or beyond their careers. It is a necessary book to 'set priorities' on "What is my goal as an educator?" Governments, parent groups, and leaders of all kinds, ought to ask that question and, at least, explore what this philosopher JK has to say about the "right kind of education." 

There is far too many quotes in this little book I would love to share, but in the spirit of this short blog post, and my juxtapositioning with May's book, I'll settle for one I picked at random this morning from JK's 1953 text, and to remember, my interpretation is that JK also, implicitly, is calling for a better "fear education" for humanity everywhere: 

....without love no human problem can be solved. If the teacher is of the right kind, [s]he will not depend on a method, but will sstudy each individual pupil....The child is the result of both the past and the present and is therefore already conditioned. If we transmit our background to the child, we perpetuate both his and our own conditioning. There is radical transformation only when we understand our own conditioning and are free of it. To discuss what should be the right kind of education while we ourselves are conditioned is utterly futile....[unfortunately too often] We seek to fulfil ourselves in our children [students], to perpetuate ourselves through them." (p. 27)

[JK is talking about the (mis-)use of education, learning, teaching, as a grounds for perpetuating 'adult' needs and projections on children but keep in mind he is well aware that as parents/teachers/educators of all kinds, if we are unaware of our conditioning, then we are more or less mere 'agents' reproducing the agenda of the culture, society, religion, etc. within which all this socialization and education is taking place. Now, if you add May's point, and JK would not have likely disagreed, education is taking place ongoing, since at least 1941 (to pick an arbitrary date and era), then education is taking place in a "culture of fear" by any other name [4]. For brevity, I would argue the "conditioning" conceptualization here is truly radical and part of any good critical philosophy and pedagogy--but to be clear, JK arguably, is talking about fear-conditioning. Any serious investigation into theories of learning, has to start with the often accepted notion that what humans have learned about learning is that it can be "tested" and "inculcated" by psychological conditioning--of which, famously is done by "shock" (i.e., fear-conditioning)--because it is so overt, obvious, and incredibly effective. Thus, starts our basis for a critical literacy on the nature and role of fear--that is, "fear education" 101.]

If we would help the child to be free from the ways of the [conditioned] self, which cause so much suffering [fearfulness], then each one of us should set about altering deeply his attitude and relationship to the child. Parents and educators, by their own thought and conduct, can help the child to be free and to flower in love and goodness. Education as it is at present in no way encourages the understanding of the inherited [cultural] tendencies and environmental influences which [fear-] condition the mind and heart and sustain fear, and therefore it does not help us to break through these conditionings and bring about an integrated human being. Any form of education that concerns itself with a part and not with the whole [and context] of man [sic] inevitably leads to increasing conflict and suffering. It is only in individual freedom [from fear] that love and goodness can flower; and the right kind of education alone can offer this freedom. Neither conformity to the present society nor the promise of a future Utopia can ever give the individual that insight without which [s]he is constantly creating problems. (pp. 28-9).

So much more could be said about JK and the education of freedom from fear which is a central thread that ties everything his philosophy is about and creates. No wonder it has long attracted me. I would call it an education of fearlessness, or a fearlessness education, no matter what it is. I see in these quotes alone, the deeper issue of JK's persistence to draw our attention to the global Fear Problem. Meaning, we have not adequately named and/or undermined this Fear Problem. And, until we do, and we face our complicit participation in it (e.g., compliance with the "culture of fear" dynamic everywhere)--then, any 'education' is actually being done to reproduce the very problem we may think we want to solve. I am convinced after 32 years researching on fear, fearlessness, education, leadership, that rare is it to find anyone who wil fully admit the Fear Problem on the scale that May, JK or myself are demanding. We have a choice here. We are not mere victims to this Fear Problem. Albeit, it is immense, because we are so fear-conditioned--operating in the 'Fear' Matrix as I have called it [5] and cannot even sense sometimes what 'water it is we are swimming in'--and so it becomes hard to imagine there is anything different, alternative--or actually freeing. As Erich Fromm and so many others have said, and JK included, 'humans are afraid to be free' --at least, within the conditioning of several millenium and in the Modern Age onward. My task as an educational designer? Design a "fear education" that builds the essential emancipatory critical literacy for such a project--I call it In Search of Fearlessness Project--but it could have other names too. 

Recently at an online conference, hosted in Canada and connected with India and an international audience, entitled "J. Krishnamurti and the Contemporary World Crisis"--I asked the panel after their presentations the following, based on how often I heard the host and panel members mention the word "fear":

I have always found Krishnamurti's analysis of knowledge and self as dependent upon analysis of fear. Do we need a better "fear education" where, fear is not merely an emotion like all others.?" 

The host and presenters did respond kindly and sincerely but I found their understanding of my question unsatisfactory. They clearly could not address the second part of it. Maybe there was not time to, or maybe they really have no idea what a "fear education" means--certainly, if they have not read my work, they will not likely have enough to go on to even engage a rich dialogue on the topic. That's not their fault, it is that humanity has not done much since May's calling 80 years ago. Education as a whole is way behind the exacerbated viral fear-conditioning of the everyday--even though, no doubt there are improvements and some alternative education curriculum (e.g., private schools) that are going further along the road of emancipatory holistic and integral education. Even with the 'best' of those, however, I have discovered they are resistant still to talking about fear at the depths of what I propose they may want to consider in their curriculum and pedagogy. It's sad to watch these great school systems still being caught, or blind, to what JK, myself and others have pointed to--re: fear. 

If we look at May's first page and first sentence again now, his third word is "emotion"--and that is where he locates "fear." That assumption, reasonable as it is based on W. (highly conditioned) thought (e.g., disciplinary philosophy and psychology)--it is very problematic to a good emancipatory "fear education" of the kind that JK or myself are asking for. To think that fear is just another emotion like all others, more or less, is a great illusion--and part of the problem of suffering. But, I won't go further in making that argument, though you can read Krishnamurti's book on education (1953) and you will definitely see how fear is by far something more than any other emotion he talks about in his philosophy. OK. Enough. 

Let's continue the dialogue [r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com], and give "fear education" its due. I for one am pursuing this for the rest of my years on this planet--and, specifically, my newest book just starting is entitled: The Fear Problematique: Role of Philosophy of Education in Speaking Truths to Powers in a Culture of Fear (Information Age Publ.). 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

1. Gup, T. (2020). Rewriting the syllabus. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/04/15/professors-will-be-returning-different-reality-their-classrooms-fall-opinion

2. May had a Ph.D., professor of educational psychology and long-time director of the Institute of Human Relations, Yale University. He was author of several other books and a highly respected scholar and humanitarian in his days of service.  

3. Krishnamurit, J. (1953/81). Education and the significance of life. Harper & Row. 

4. Since the early 1980s, in the W. world, many scholars and some educators, have been naming the "culture of fear" per se as the context by which we all are living, more or less. No longer is it merely a group of "fears" or "anxieties" that we face together, as May is referring to--but, in the postmodern condition, arguably, the entire fabric of culture itself is fear-based, fear-shaped, fear-addicted, and so on. Now, under that condition, which I start my own educational philosophy, we have to ask "What is my goal as an educator?" Wow. That's a massive and heavy starting place. Of course, many, I have found, will conveniently answer that by saying, "My goal is to love them" (the children). Anyways, that's a huge contentious topic and answer that I find incredibly insufficient, as I believe JK or May would also have critiqued. Not to say, 'love' is not something incredibly important in the world and in educational happenings, but JK may mention loves pivotal role, as in the quote I chose above, but he says so much more about fear than most of my colleagues would who have taken on the love-mantra as "the" solution. These colleagues promote, more or less, a "love education" and have little to no patience for a "fear education." Frankly, I find that attitude alone, and the lack of curiosity that accompanies it, evidence for just how much fear is motivating their 'love' agenda. I do not trust it for one moment. JK would have a lot to say about that hidden motivation as well, part of our "conditioning." 

5. E.g., Fisher, R. M. (2003). Fearless leadership in and out of the 'Fear' Matrix. Unpubl. dissertation. The University of British Columbia.

 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYKeP9renPs    [Marianne Williamson and Cornel West, 2021] new video: 

Bringing spirituality of courage and fearlessness... to politics and leadership and life in a comic-tragedy ... and so much more. 

I highly recommend this dialogue of two 'great' humans, yes celebrities alright, but who don't forget what it means to be raw and truly prophetic, to always keep an eye on the suffering of the vulnerable and the responsibility for all... 

 

 

 

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Four Arrows' New Book on Sitting Bull's Words

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The above images are from Four Arrows' 2021 book (cover, and p. 15), published by DiO.

I wanted to give you a sample. Four Arrows and I have known each other (mostly online) since 2007. He is a scholar in Indigenous leadership and education and a Lakota initiated member. What is most important in this new little book, I highly recommend, is the simplicity of his presenting a very complicated theory of fearlessness he has been developing for over 35 years. I won't say more, but to encourage you to check out his work from many other publications as well. I have written several FM nings on and around his work and his CAT-FAW/N model. So, you can search on the FM ning (upper right search box) to find those... 

 

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Marianne Williamson's Hypnosis of the Masses

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Marianne Williamson is deeply serious... about the future. In this talk recently on Wisdom 2.0, she takes the host of the program and the audience through a 30 second exercise which is clearly a hypnotic induction but does so without telling anyone that is what she is doing. She would likely justify this is her love-based good intentions, and so on... but, what is unethical [1] to me is her assumption that people want to be both de-hypnotized and re-hypnotized by her use of FEAR, AUTHORITY, WORDS [2] in this intervention. Clearly, she is criticizing (especially, young) people for 'wanting to not have children because of the not so good future that is coming'. [3] 

See the full demonstration of this manipulative pedagogy she induces in the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zQkIDdPUbA

What is so contradictory in Williamson's pedagogy (preaching) at times is just this reality that she for one knows about and teaches about the mass hypnosis of all people (media, etc.) as propagandizing. She knows we are in a 'trance' (an illusionary state) re: reality. But, she also is not teaching people about the process of hypnosis and then asking them, if this is what they want to go through with her because she feels called to 'help them' out of their delusions (?). Yikes, this is where she gets off the rails as far as I am concerned and assumes way too much, is way over-confident, and missionary zeal takes over rather than really respecting the people sitting in front of her. 

I have just written a book on Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon --an intellectual biography and critique (her strengths and weaknesses as a leader) go to: 

https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/marianne-williamson-presidential-phenomenon-new-book

Notes

1. "Unethical" has many layers of meaning which I will not be outlining further here in this short blog, but to say the least, it is therapeutically and philosophically 'off the rails' to be so confident that you know people's intentions when you asked them a question (e.g., about the future and having children). In other words, that you know them so well that you can call their choice "deeply, deeply aberrant" (i.e., pathological by any other name). Sorry, that's bad practice, even if it is partially true. There are so many kinds of justifications a person may have for raising their hand that they don't want a child in this world, including the fact that IF one lives in a so-called highly developed (First World nation) the environmental cost of that child on the planetary ecology is outlandishly excessive relative to other nations (e.g., Third World). Unfortunately, Williamson gives us no real reason for her pathological ascription (and dramatization of it with such serious and confident commitment) as "aberrant." It all comes across to me as her fear and her ideology rather than really level-headed analysis and 'good practice' therapeutically and philosophically.

2. The CAT-FAW/N (meta-cognitive) model and theory of Four Arrows, an Indigenous-based educator-philosopher and trained hypnotherapist, has long been a part of my work and you can look his name up on the FM ning---and/or see my book (an intellectual biography) "Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows" (2018).  

3. Of course, she would likely defend herself here and say 'I am not diagnosing people as pathological [i.e., aberrant], but the society that makes them that way." Ah, yeah, right. As if they are not intimately related and part of a co-evolving dialectical dynamics of self/system.

 

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Transmuting Fear in Conflictual Times

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Lee Harris - spiritual teacher/artist at "The Portal" (LeeHarrisEnergy)... is someone I just listened to for the first time on Youtube... a talk called "Transmuting Fear in Times of Division" (Jan. 28, 2021). I thought it was a well-grounded and wise presentation. Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efuqWJkQe3c

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This is a screen shot of my Youtube teaching at one point in the 2nd video in a series on "Fear Education"

Based on several people (mostly men) sending me emails over the last year and prior, of their severe struggles with anxiety, depression and panic. Certainly, after a year of pandemic "lock down" and just where the world is going--it's a disturbing time for most anyone, IF we let ourselves really feel into reality. So, thought I could do a series of videos (maybe 1/wk) to give you specific coaching and teaching re: the path of fearlessness... and note, this is not a psychological approach so much as it is a philosophical approach... I talk a good deal about that distinction in the videos  -enjoy,  -M. 

p.s. the point also is that you may feel connected to something and someone during these rough times, and reach out and share your experiences, ask your questions, inquire with me and certain even better in co-inquire with the Fearlessness Movement ning community... check out the videos... you may Comment on my Youtube and/or here; I'll do my best to address and talk to everyone in some way... you also mail directly contact me via  r.michaelfisher [at] gmail.com

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This is my newest book! Fearlessness meets Fear!

It is ready to order now https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/73363 and will be released in the next week, if all goes well; also available from diverse book sellers (e.g., BrooklineAmazon). To introduce you to a bit of the inside of the book, here is one of the endorsements by Dr. Randall Auxier and the Table of Contents. I'll share bits more in the weeks ahead. THE BOOK is divided into three PARTS: (1) THE PHENOMENON, (2) THE CRITIQUE, and (3) THE LESSONS; a total of 358 pp.  [to talk with me: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com] also full brochure on book is MWPP Book Brochure.pdf

Also just created first video Intro on the book (focus on meaning behind the cover design): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4sYleZOf5g

BOOK REVIEWS

Marianne Williamson reached hundreds of thousands of people with her books, lectures, and workshops since her rise to prominence in the 1990s. Since declaring her bid for the Presidency of the US she has reached millions. Not all were eager listeners but many heard her enduring message. Dr. Fisher has made a case study of her "transformational" leadership, arguing (critically at times) that the key to her success was an ability to meet fear fearlessly. Why does her message resonate now in just the way it does? Why is there such tension between those who want to push her away, call her a flake, avoid the obvious and real spiritual implications of our present politics? 

And how can Williamson balance her other-worldly discipline with her transformational leadership? Dr. Fisher is probably the world's leading expert on the effects of fear and its antidotes, and here he takes an unflinching look at how fear has warped and twisted us, and how we can be transformed by such figures as Williamson. As he indicates, it is very important, at this moment, not only to understand what is happening, but to remember and document for the future what this moment was for those who lived it. Yet, there is more than memory in these pages. This is also about what kind of future we can hope for, in contrast to what we will get if we do not learn to face our fears, and face them down. 

Randall Auxier, Ph.D., author of Time, Will, and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce, Professor of Philosophy and Communication Studies, S. Illinois University Carbondale

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

Foreword by Rob Asghar

Preface

Introduction

Transformer for President(?): A Shocking Possibility

Politician or Not?

Book Overview

PART I- THE PHENOMENON

Chapter One: The Donald Trump Phenomenon

Trump and Talking About Fear: Coronavirus Epidemic

The Donald Trump Phenomenon

The New Age of Trumpism

Chapter Two: The Marianne Williamson Phenomenon

Contexts of Sensemaking

Williamson and Talking About Fear: Coronavirus Epidemic

Corona-Time: Do We Need an Epidemic of Williamson-style Love?

Four Major Aspects of the Marianne Williamson Phenomenon

    A. Inner Life and Mysticism

    B. Leadership (Theory/Style)

    C. Philosophy (and Theology)

    D. Therapy (and Metaphysician)

Chapter Three: A Spiritual (R)Evolution Enters Politics

Spiritual (R)Evolution

Move On: Your History Needs You! 

More Than 'Spiritual But Not Religious': A Course in Miracles

New Age/New Thought Movement

Marianne Williamson and New Social Movements: 50+ Branches

PART II- THE CRITIQUE

Chapter Four: Donald Trump as Bad or as Evil? 

Entering Fragilization as Discovery

Mirroring: Introduction of the Arch-Rivals

"You're Letting Evil In..."

Williamson's Theological View on "Evil"

'You're Letting In the Donald Trump Phenomenon'

The Twin Phenomenon: Shadow Projections

Chapter Five: Systems Thinking Correction: Transformation of I and We

Introduction: From Political Sphere to Entering Politics

Self-Correcting Systems: Mind/Nation

Paradise is Nice But There's More Story to Tell

PART III- THE LESSONS

Chapter Six: She's Missing 'The Right' Six Words

Never Short on Words

'I Want To Be President Of The United States'

Reflections: The Primaries Election Discontent

Chapter Seven: Some Lessons

Lesson Six: 'Waking Up'

Lesson Five: Tweet Mindfully or Not At All

Lesson Four: Boomeritis Handicap

Lesson Three: Love vs. Fear Thing

Lesson Two: "Faux Spirituality"

Lesson One: Playing Psychiatrist 

 

Index

 

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By now most of the FM ning readers will have seen and/or heard of this (somewhat 9/11-like tragic and disturbing event)--that hit the Washington, DC city and Capital Hill (the White House of the USA Government) on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The purpose of my short blogpost here is to put in my 'vote' for all of us to be very aware, smart, and fearless in our thoughts and imaginations about what happened that day (Jan. 6, 2021). I say this after my research on fear and fearlessness (and fearism [1]) for the last 25 years or so and how it is so important to not just fall into all the rhetoric, tropes and narratives being "spun" by all kinds of agendas, and politics, and extremisms. So, I call the Jan. 6 event an example (with more to come) of the organization and dynamics of how 'two sides danced' (i.e., opposites that have made an enemy out of each other for a long time)--to create this phenomenon now recorded in US history and recorded as a 'message' to EVERYONE--that, "Domestic Fearism" (my term for it)--is not going away (for it also has been a process, a phenomenon, boiling in the base of the mountain and awaiting to explode in the classic hurling lava of rage, fear, hate, call it what you will--violence, by any other name. The chaos and irrationality laying just below the surface. But wait... even I am susceptible to fall into easy narratives, I could even so easily pick sides in the "battle" on Capitol Hill (and, everywhere in America, at least)-- I too could fall into the fear-based 'design' of perception, thinking, valuing, worldview and rhetoric and actions of those all who are clearly upset by what happened that day--and, prior. 

This is all I'm going to write on this today, to just start FM ning members thinking about this all--and, the perennial problem in all forms of governance from the beginning of human history, you know I'm talking about when people don't get along--when conflict is part n' parcel of living in groups. Oh, but today, I trust we can be a lot more intelligent in figuring our way through this crisis of governance which this demonstration above truly shows--our failure in a lot of parts of governance. It is no one's (only one's) fault that any of this symptom exists and erupts--sure, some will be spear-head leaders but they are "not the problem" in the roots of the phenomenon, I will continue to call "Domestic Fearism" --a more nuanced and critical conception rather than calling it "Domestic Terrorism" as many (including Michael Moore, Marianne Williamson[2]) have already chosen to call it. Let's keep having a deep conversation on this, and preferrably from a fearlessness standpoint (rare and difficult as it may be to pull off)--rather, than the classic and habitual fear standpoint. Let's talk... 

Addendum: 

I just made a video on Michael Moore's intense emergency raw talk on Jan. 6/21 events and what is following soon. You might want to watch this but I'd suggest do it with a friend, ally or group, as it can be quite terrifying and traumatic material. I am both supportive and critical of how Moore does this work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgP1aDxLeag

Notes: 

1. "Fearism" is my specialty and conception of choices (amongst other frames and terms and theories)--because I am convinced it will be emancipatory for all human beings (and yes, all citizens, and yes, all who are on either side of the current enemy-making that is actually 'storming the entire nation' --of America--but also around the world). There is a lot of writing on "fearism" and "philosophy of fearism" on the internet and on the FM ning (just do a search here on our FM ning front page for more info.). I am particularly pointing out in my title for this blog that of one expression of fearism that is--fearism-t which is the toxic form of "fearism" (as Desh Subba has coined)--see our book for more on this distinction: Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of Fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Xlibris. To be very short, "domestic fearism" is the best way to understand "domestic terrorism"--and, that applies as well to finding a better way to understand terrorism in general--as fearism is the underbelly, the more quiet and less dramatic dynamic and reality that is always going on in oppressive societies--building up suppression, repression and violence of many forms--all of which, when built up enough, some eruption will come from that fearism and 'blow' to become an obvious form of terrorism (e.g., like what was seen Jan. 6). If we only try to understand terrorism without fearism, that will lead inevitably to such a partial and distorted analysis of the problems going on and that of course will undermine finding a real set of solutions deeper below the surface where fear breeds--and, virtually everyone on this planet is (more or less) a contributor to the "manufacture of fear" (and, fearism-t). 

2. For more background on my interest and study of Williamson's work and her political ambitions etc., see my upcoming book soon off the press: The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution in Dangerous Times (New York: Peter Lang, 2020). 

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"We would all be a lot better off letting go of hope and doing so because we are imbued with truth and the sparkling spirit of the path of Fearlessness."  It is more important to get to really deep--really real--to get to know and understand 'who we are', than to try to be more hopeful.  -rmf

And Mother Earth would also be a lot better off. We require in the midst of the severe cascading crises and extinctions of the 21st century, something 'way beyond' hope. The sooner we learn that lesson the better, for the time is drawing nigh for the Reconciliation. 

From the BEGINNING of my thinking and writing seriously about "In Search of Fearlessness Project" (since late-1989), I always had this mystical awareness of the work I was doing, more a calling and vocation, and that it was going to be a full-on assault of the notion of, and the discourses of, HOPE (and, what I see is an addictive and toxic form, too often a process of hope-mongering). Fear-mongering as it turns out and hope-mongering are two-sides of the same coin. 

Over the 30+ years since, I have refined this problem of hopeism that pervades the legacies of virtues ethics, developmental theories, moralism, and of just about the entire W. Dominant worldview's way of communicating. Our very modern 'self' is soaked in the rhetoric of "hope".... and, it's turning out to "failing" us all--and, consequences are severe.

I won't go into the depths of my original critique here [1], rather, I merely wanted to share a few recent things that have come across my desk, that reflect my own work on developing a "replacement therapia" (or call it a philosophical and collective cultural therapy) needed to re-vision and re-inform us all 'about who we are.' My first triggering moment in the last day on this issue came from a masters' students, in their 20s, writing a draft of their experience of joining the climate activists in our local community and then finding out what that really involved--that is, more than anything, a whole lot of "climate grief" and, yes, some healing too. Listening to this piece of writing of this nascent activist and their 'calling' to help the world, it was so good to hear the consciousness they brought to the problem of trying to solve wicked problems like global warming, and to change and transform politics--but also, I was so aware of how this young person (like so many) has just begun to take the lid off of a can of worms of immense 'Darkness' upon the earth right now, and which will get a whole lot worse before it gets better. I was thinking of this young person, reminded of myself at that age and becoming an environmental activist, and the myth of Pandora's Box. You know, its the ancient Greek myth (or earlier) historically that told of what happened to the world when one took the lid off--lifted the repression--tried to come awake--and, then was bombarded with all the great horrors of the world (individually and collectively)--all at once--and, of course it is overwhelming, but then so the myth goes (as I vaguely recall), IF one sticks in there and faces all the 'demons' and 'horror' --that is, all the fear and terror--then, there was one last thing to come out of the box, and it was HOPE. The question was then perhaps, and it is certain my question now--based on doubt, is there anything that HOPE can offer to solve the real issues of the day--in the 21st century? Is hope even useful anymore... once the world has slipped by, and passed over, the 'path of return' from the massive ecological devastation that has been wrought by millenia of not caring enough for this planet's sources of life--and gifts. We have abused Her too long. Her Box, like Pandora's Box, is now all coming out--the immense horrors of climate change and all related phenomenon--psychically and sociologically-- you name it. We are in the decline of civilization as we know it and there is no turning back. Oh, but wait, so the myth goes, there is still hope? Right? 

Now, to my next story, just came in an email this morning, as my colleague Four Arrows [2], an activist and Indigenous-based educator and transformer, shared with me his letter to a group of young people trying to transform higher education via their movement for "ecoversities" (i.e., universities with near total emphasis in their philosophy and curriculum geared toward solving the ecological problems on the planet). My colleague of course was admiring of this overall cause, but was critical that their latest conference theme was "HOPE." Hmmm... how interesting, and how troubling too. I won't cite the email letter here that my colleague wrote to them respectfully, but quite upfront a challenge for them to consider, as I paraphrase, he really said there is no evidence overall that "hope" as a virtue will be effective to the great transformation we require, and quite likely the same has been true of much of human history. He argues (and see his new book below) that the great activism that has arisen in spirit and in action, has been more or less always moved forward into the world because of something well 'beyond' hope--and, I see Four Arrows is articulating the basis of his critique of much of activism, and of traditional Enlightenment virtues, etc. His postcolonialist critical lens, like mine, sees through--and sees that "hope" is a side-tracking venture hooked to fear-based ways of thinking and identities. Hope is an illusion, he wrote. Okay, that's enough... I'm trusting this blog today will add to the current re-thinking so needed on the role of hope (and fear)--and, to replace hope with fearless(ness) or more accurately, what I call a "fearless standpoint" (e.g., see my writing on Four Arrows, in Fisher, 2018). Note, that Margaret Wheatley has written the Foreword for my colleagues book, and this doesn't surprise me one bit as she is a strong advocate of 'beyond hope' and towards a "fearless" perspective (and, yes, she is a Buddhist as well). 

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The "replacement therapia" is a concept that still needs work, and yet, I thank my colleague for raising this issue again, as to a direction 'beyond hope'--and, to end this missive, it is worth repeating something in his email today, and that is, what he sees the Indigenous perspective (I situate as a fearlessness paradigm) has to offer as a great alternative--and, and it is the idea that we ought not be distracted by our need for hope (if not, our addiction to it)--and, rather focus on the process of "recovery" of our sanity which will involve our coming inquiry, our critique, our healing, and our re-visioning of our very nature here on this planet and beyond this planet--in the total Mystery. The more we do that work, the far less dependence we'll have on "hope" or "fear" or .... okay, you get the picture. Let's proceed with that deep quest of knowing... and, from my point of view, the "path of fearlessness" is as good a way to go as anything else, it may even be "better" because it has long ago left the dependency on hope, and even on courage.  

 

p.s. another who has rejected American "hope" pretty much, is the political journalist, Chris Hedges [3]

 

Notes

1. See my developed critique of the "hope-courage" discourses (in first-tier Fear Management Systems) in Fisher, R. M. (2010). The world's fearlessness teachings: A critical integral approach to fear management/education for the 21st century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America/Rowman & Littlefield.

2. See Fisher, R. M. (2018). Fearless engagement of Four Arrows: The true story of an Indigenous-based social transformer. NY: Peter Lang.

3. E.g., see "The Dangerous Fantasy of Hope Rooted in Self-Delusion." (2020)

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Hi All FM Ning Members (105 at this time), 

After 5 years of founding, hosting and facilitating the care of the Fearlessness Movement ning, I'd like a break and have someone else take over, of which I will help make that transition. Maybe in a year or two down the road, I could take this responsibility on again. 

It is a very easy job to host a ning site like this, and the Ning, Inc. organization has lots of help tips on this process and I will also help share what I know. Lots of improvements could also be made with some initiative of a new host, to make it more active, etc. 

So, please write me if you are interested to possibly take on this role and responsibility:  r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com

Thanks. 

Have a good rest of the year and may the new year bring great creativity and fearlessness. 

NOTE: The year end cost is due soon (January, 2021) to run this FM ning site - $300 US and, I could really use some donations to help pay for it, please email me donations for this. Thanks. 

 

 

 

 

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The following link, will guide you to my recent Dr. A. V., Varughese Memorial Lecture (2020) in Kerala, India

To listen to my lecture you best start the video at the 21:20 mark 

My talk is about ecocriticism as a newly emerging field in the last few decades, that involves literary criticism and ecology. I focus on a particular way I interpret this field and how it can better be holistic-integral in integrating the work on fear, fearism, and fearlessness. Fear as a vector in ecocriticism, and literary criticism, ought to take into account a term I coined in the talk, called Egocriticism. It is the combination of Ecocriticism and Egocriticism that I believe will be the better way to go in the future for truly critical analysis that really cuts through. The last 1/2 of the video is made up of questions from the audience and me answering them. 

-enjoy, 

M. 

p.s. If you want my edited version, with me talking about my lecture in commentary, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVpArm2cwPw 

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Join Steve Nation and I in a dialogue on FearTalk #11, part of a series of unique conversations about fear and a lot of other things. Steve is a life-long student of theosophy, and he collaborates in such a way to synergize with me during this spontanteous chat on Zoom. I think you may find it interesting, we cover a lot of topics, and lots of discussion about the United Nations, and other things...

Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8Id7lI6rM0

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"Fearology" Get's a Positive Mention

I'm pleased to see that an article came out recently, with a mention of "Fearology" and my work on this, in relation to the life of Marcus Garvey and Intergenerational Trauma" (by Philip Geoffrey). I've taken the relevant excerpt here:

intergenerational trauma is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in which first victims passed their trauma to their children through a series of problematic behaviors[1]. As Bezo notes, “Each generation seemed to kind of learn from the previous one, with survivors telling children, ‘Don’t trust others, don’t trust the world.[2]” These behaviors, rooted in fear of a reoccurrence of the initial trauma, if left unchecked, are often revealed in symptoms such as learned helplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, self-harm, and depression.

Fearology and the RIA Method

One of the most exciting developments in psychology has been in Fearology, a “transdisciplinary study of the interrelationship between fear and the human experience.[3]” The conceptual framework developed by R. Michael Fisher has been advanced by Dr. Mary Poffenroth, who, in a recent interview, outlined methods she has used to “teach people about how to create strategies around fear”: “The first step is just recognizing what's going on. And then the second step would be identifying it, kind of like ‘name it to claim it. And then the A is going to be to address. What kind of strategies do you need to manage outcomes for this?[4]

Now, fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Some have called fear a gift because it is survival-based[5]. However, the instinctive caution in a dangerous situation can become a liability when the threat is no longer present.

Marcus Garvey, who was never a fearful man, witnessed firsthand the effects of fear on his family and the debilitating effects that it had on them and worked hard to remove fear-based behaviors from his life. As he stated in Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, “FEAR is a state of nervousness fit for children and not men.[6]

[article is available at http://marcusandtheamazons.blogspot.com]

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[Note: I am glad fearology and my definition are given their due, but it is inaccurate to assume this is a "development in psychology" as my very definition of fearology is "transdisciplinary"--also, my conceptual framework has not "been advanced by Dr. Mary Poffenroth" actually, as she is using "fearology" but virtually totally within a biomedical and psychological conceptual and traditional disciplinary lens; as well, I do not support Garvey's definition of fear, for several reasons]

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I just received a message from Pooja Soni, a young author on consciousness, who has spent many years writing a very intense philosophical treatise (new theory) examining consciousness, development and yes, looks also at fear where necessary, in order to articulate the 'shaping' effect of fear experiences. Book is available: Pooja wrote to me: 
 
"Here is a recent interview of mine describing my book -  [and here is a recent FearTalk #10 Soni & Fisher in conversation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqif3--8L5c ]
 
The basic idea regarding emotions such as fear that I advocate in my book is that negative experiences or emotions are crucial for learning and development of an individual. 
Treating negative experiences in pessimistic terms exposes our obsessions regarding the idea of a perfect world, a world where you can control everything. 
Our fears and negative experiences define who we are as persons."
 
[Note: Pooja joined the FM ning years ago, and has a few posts which you can find if you do a Search in the upper right box on the FM ning home page] 
[see also a discussion Pooja and I had on their "Panexperientialist view of fear" on the FM ning a few years ago]
 
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There's a long story behind my finding this 4 pp. fold-out brochure in a medical library in New York City. It is the only evidence currently available on this group [1] that was apparently started under the guidance of the famous theosophists, Alice & Foster Bailey. Since 2006, when I found this brochure (which I made in color, aged, and adapted with a few excerpts here only using photoshop), I have been searching for answers to the mystery of where this group and The League 'disappeared' and why no traces. Currently, the fine folks at Lucis Trust, NY, are attempting to search into this. Curiously, no body in the current big American theosophical organizations has heard of this League but they do suspect the Bailey's were quite likely to have taken on initiating such a project. IF anyone has any leads to finding out more about this group, let me know: 

r.michaelfisher52@gmail.com

But besides that fascinating historical evidence, and a story yet told, I wanted to share the brochure today, it seems appropriate as just 5 days away from one of the most important elections ever in U.S. history. The level of tension, fear, dread, etc. is palpable. It's also in my dreams. And, so, I thought it would be good to share these words, ideas, and spirit of fearlessness from this group in 1931, of which North America was deep in the Depression and fear was rampant. If you haven't already picked-up the nuanced connection between The League's mission and my own via the In Search of Fearlessness Project (1989- ) and later, founding the In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute (1991- )--and, the uncanny sense of a paralleling historical soul-based work that is wanting to go on in this world, it is so obvious to me--and yet, struggles of resistances to manifest this Project effectively are so powerful as well. To say it bluntly, there is no such project that has such a systematic well-thought out "program" to improve fear management and remove fear on the planet as a barrier to the evolution of consciousness. This is powerful beyond words. I wished, in retrospect, I would have found this brochure in 1989--boy, that would have made a big difference! But, that's the way it is. 

End Note

1. Just recently, I have attained a few documents on this group, I am reviewing, and will keep you posted with updates, if you let me know you are interested. 

 

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