Every human person wants to to be on the path of fearlessness. But, is this path possible? In the light of Michael Fisher, who succinctly put, ‘only those who journey fearlessly live their existence in full’. Looking at the encyclopedic meaning of what fear is, one would realize that, it is tagged a negative emotion. However, this “dephilosophizing”[1] was evident in the work of Subba as he affirmed that, “Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the Fear”. Thus, this epigram implies that the ‘end cause’ of fear is determined by the ‘subject of fear’. Hence, in Subbas attempt to look at the treatment of fear, he divided it into; Primary and Secondary Treatment of Fear, which are methodic. On the secondary treatment of fear, in Method A- Changing form, he made a critical statement which needs a very crucial respond. Thus, employing of the logic of fear becomes essential in this critique, for a good “defearing”[2] process.

            Fear is a being. As a being it implies that, it is

Anything the IS


Anything that EXIST


Anything that can be KNOWN


Anything that can be THOUGHT OF


Anything that is NOT NOTHING[3].


Building on this backdrop of fear being a BEING, it presupposes that it is transcendent; it possesses the attribute of BEING. This attributes also encapsulate into the ‘First Principle of Being’ also known as ‘The Laws of Thought’ – Identity, Contradiction/ Non-Contradiction, Excluded Middle, Sufficient Reason, Intelligibility and Finality.

            And so, looking at Subbas caption of ‘Changing Form’, a critical minded person would ask from the causal point of view if ‘fear’ actually has ‘form’. The answer is no. This is because; fear does have any shape or size[4]. Another question would be, can mental abstraction, solve the question of whatever IS. IS- the identity principle of the fear factor/object? It could be more or less a presupposed pseudo-defense mechanism approach which can lead to inauthentic existence.

            Subbas statement which is with some mind staggering analogies goes thus:

"Suppose we have a serious problem like a dangerous animal, tiger, or anything that produces a dreadful situation. We can’t face it in the same manner. If we think the tiger to be a cat, by means of our mental effort fear itself dies away. It means that a major problem should be taken as a minor one. It is possible as it is the result of the mindset. Suppose somebody owes five hundred thousand Nepalese rupees and is threatened day and night by the person to whom he owes. Although unable to pay off the entire amount at once, if he gets the creditor to agree to him making payment in installment, it is a way of dividing fear into small fragments. If there is fear of death, we can relieve it thinking, ‘Death is nothing. It happens to all’. Someone has the fear of being injected. If he is convinced that everybody gets injected and it does not harm anybody and if he is physically and mentally ready, his fear lessens. Similarly, if a person has never spoken on stage, he feels nervous and has a fear of speaking. His fear fades away when he is mentally ready and says that if everyone can speak he can also easily speak. Thus, if the problem, fear, thing can be directly faced, they can be removed by changing their forms through strong thought and courage"[5].

Looking at this puzzling statement, one would sense the tendency of making one a coward – seeing a tiger and pretending it is a cat, what a self deceit (anyway, try it and know who is a higher animal or who is Imago Dei ­- created in the image of God). It is pertinent to note that in fear treatment, one needs to understand and accept reality as it is first, which is first and foremost an attempt to live an authentic existence before deciding on what to do. For the very fact that a dangerous animal is involved implies facticity[6] that is, no matter your level of abstraction, it will just use you as a daily bread. Hence, what fits in here is to take a drastic decision, understanding your level of “existential-operation”. This is because, carefulness is not fearfulness and cowardice is not bravery.

            On the other hand, I think that “death” is a controlling factor in the universe. This is because it has driven so many things like medical research’s, scientific explorations, philosophical thinking, spiritual reflections, meditations and other things. Fear raises so many existential questions that lead to existential consciousness in the universe – consciousness of the self, the Order, evolution and ethical consciousness.

            Any attempt of saying that “death is nothing”, presupposes that “death does not exist”. ‘Nothing’ is different from ‘No-Thing’. And so, ‘fear’ cannot be said to be any of the two because, ‘fear’ is SOMETHING. Hence, we need to understand in the words of Iroegbu Pantaleon that “death is the end of existence, not as something not yet there; something standing out there…it is something that stands before us, something impending[7]”. This is an affirmation to Martin Heideggers statement that, “we are being unto death”. Although death is a source of anxiety and fear we should see it as a positive event that shows that we have completed our being on earth. This is when one conducts and directs one’s life rationally.

            Thus, fear of death is a positive alert which calls one for preparation in the universe one finds himself.



[1] “Dephilosophy” is a concept coined by Desh Subba which for him means deconstruction of some philosophical ideas. Cf, D. Subbas, Philosophy of Fearism, 2014, p.245

[2] Defearing means the act of fear treatment/ counseling/ rehabilitation etc (Cf. O. A. Kalu article on  Defearing the Notion of “Ember” Month, 2017)

[3] Cf., I. M. Onyeocha definition of BEING, Claretian Institute of Philosophy, Owerri, Unpublished Lecture Note, 17th October 2017. And I think FEAR is a being.

[4] Cf., O.A. Kalu, Conquering The Beast Fear, CreateSpace Publishers, 2016, p.19-20, (…going back to the time of classical philosopher Aristotle who poignantly asserts in his work ‘’posterior Analytics’’, that the certain knowledge of things is through their cause (certa cognito rerum per causa).This is because he believed that knowledge is one and is universal. For Aristotle, universality of knowledge is dependent on the knowledge of the causes of the thing in question. Thus, according to his view these causes are four in number. In the bid to point out clearly these four causes, Ogbozo writes: ‘’He outlined four causes that must be sought four in any attempt to know something comprehensively and hence universally. Those causes are: the material, formal, efficient and final cause’’.  While the material cause ask the question: what is the stuff a thing is made of? The formal cause raises the issue: what is its shape or form? Of what quality is it? The efficient cause inquires about the agent responsible for bringing about the thing in question while the final cause searches for the purpose or the end of such thing’’.

Having listed and explained the four causes above, it is of important to note that only the efficient and final causes would be exceptionally put into consideration. The first two

causes would not necessarily be of importance here because, the phenomenon fear has no shape or form (formal cause) neither is it measurable in degree  nor can one talk  about its composition or even component parts(material cause)).

[5] D. Subbas, Philosophy of Fearism: Life is Conducted, Directed and Controlled by The Fear, 2014, p.310

[6] The term facticities in existentialism are those things which are in existence through no fault of your own and you cannot do anything to change them. E.g your parents, country of origin, your genotype etc

[7] P. Iroegbu, Metaphysics: The Kpim of Philosoph, Owerri, International University Press Ltd,1995, p.229

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  • I appreciate Kalu's respectful highly philosophical exploration and challenge around some of Subba's notions. I don't follow easily all of Kalu's thinking here and would need more time to dwell with it. I don't have a strong philosophical background like he does. 

    What stood out is an almost poetic piece of writing on Fear as Being ... and then Kalu's insistence that "from the causal point of view if ‘fear’ actually has ‘form’. The answer is no. This is because; fear does [not] have any shape or size." So, if this is Kalu's position, and I've not thought about it myself in the way he does, is it true that Kalu is countering one of Subba's major contentions in the philosophy of fearism?--that is, where Subba opens with his definitions in Chapter 1 (p. 13) with "Fear is a beautiful consciousness [Being?] with different forms." Subba (2014) is saying fear has actual multiple forms, by which it makes sense that would be the case of fear informing all things just as Being or consciousness does? I am trying to understand now, Kalu's position in contrast.  

    • I agree with  Subba when he asserts that "fear is a consciousness". But tagging it a "..beautiful one with forms" becomes problematic to my critical mind as a philosopher of fear. Calling fear "a beautiful consciousness.." is a fallacious statement (fallacy of composition - using a part in judging a whole). It also contradicts Subba's view of fear logically when he opined "paraphrasingly" put that, "fear is positive and negative" (Cf Subba 2014). However for him, the positive outweighs the negative. This is one of the clear ideological differences between I and Subba. For me, the negative outweighs the positive. I also believe that it is the mind through perceptual categorization that conducts the impression of conscious awareness (fear) to be positive or negative.
      And so, Subba saying also that fear has forms needs to be analytically examined. Do we actually have forms of consciousness? Can we say that  Subba didn't think in this direction or  is there a mixed up in translation?
      Hence, what do we mean when we talk about "form"- Etymologically the term "form" is a derivative of the middle English forme (“shape, figure, manner, bench, frame, seat, condition, agreement, etc.”), from Old French forme, from Latin forma (“shape, figure, image, outline, plan, mold, frame, case, etc., manner, sort, kind, etc.”). As a noun it means "the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something" and as a verb it means, "develop into a distinctive entity" (Cf Advanced English Dictionary). Building on this backdrop of forms having to do with phaimomena- that which appears, (which Edmund Husserl regards to as- to the things themselves) we can not categorize fear abstractly. Nevertheless, we can typify it from it's cause.
      Since fear (sense of fear or feeling(s) of fear) is consciousness of something, that which projects the intentionality of fear could be said to be the cause and since it informs the impression that makes one to tremble or plan for a way out from the perceived danger, it typology depends on its cause. Example - If death of (a) friend (-s) causes one to be afraid, the one is suffering from fear of death.
      Thus, in measuring of emotive awareness of fear, one cannot talk about forms of fear but degrees or levels of fear. This is because, consciousness is measured in degrees since it is not an empirical reality that is composed of materials to have form(s) but an abstract mental feelings. For instance, two  persons might be afraid of a particular thing but their level or degree of fearness differs.

    • I really appreciate Kalu's disposition on fear treatment.His rejection of Subba's usage of "beauty" and "form" as qualities of fear is a very deep philosophical burden thrown into the contemporary philosophical  discourse. It's part of the tasks Fearism/ Fearless Movement take seriously in order to overcome the "geography of its dark age". "The dark age" in this connection is the period that philosophy of fear as a school of thought tries to systematize its tenet of enquiries.

      But is Kalu really right in saying that beauty should not be attributed to fear? And is his assertion that fear should not also be associated with form epistemologically justified?

      I want to disagree with Kalu that fear has no form. Subba's usage of "form" in this context does not really mean material property of fear, but the pattern or means through which fear manifests.

      Form according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is essential nature of thing as distinguished from its matter: as a: idea. The component of a thing that determines its kind. Established method of expression or proceeding: procedure according to rule or rote; also: a standard or expectation based on past experience: precedent<true to form, the champion won again>.

      From the above lexical definition of form, it is clear that form can be defined in both abstract and object senses. Subba usage is purely abstract sense. so his application of fear as something that has form is still within the realm of logical validity.

      Beauty or ugly can equally be applied to fear. Beauty is defined as the qualities in a person or thing thst give pleasure to the senses or the mind. In this sense, fear can be manifested in a person or thing, but this does not mean that the person himself is fear that can be ascribed as beauty, rather, the person can exhibits some fearing qualities that can be attributed to beauty. When a person or thing exhibits some positive qualities of fear, such expression can be said to be beautiful, but if the quality is negative, then fear can be said to be ugly.


      Fear can be manifested in an object and can be abstract as well. We have never seen yellow color, but we have seen yellow car, white house, but not white itself. Yet we say the color is beautiful. 


      I still agree with Subba in his usage of beauty and form to describe fear.

    • Eneyo wrote, "Fear can be manifested in an object and can be abstract as well." And Eneyo makes the point that epistemologically the question of form(s) of fear is important, and I agree. Although, over the decades I have written about form(s) of fear, I always made the distinction with 'fear' and made the point that we ought to imagine fear and 'fear' are always in co-evolving morphic and functional relationalities (I now call "ecologies") in which environment/situation/development and fear expressions and structures are dynamic and dialectical.

      As a visual artist myself, with a strong interest in aesthetics as a way to invesitgate "fear," it is important we do not get caught up on "beauty" and "ugly" as qualities only situated in classical aesthetics and scientific aesthetic queries--that would be too reductionistic, and Eneyo's definition for these terms tends in that direction. I have asked a couple of aesthetic/artistic-based questions off and on in my work: (1) Why do we have a virtually universally recognized "symbol" form for love (e.g., the classic Heart drawn and colored and reproduced with amazing stability, although I don't know the history of this symbol) and not have a universally recognized symbolic form for fear? and, (2) related to that, I have come up with a four-diagramtic model/theory using aesthetics and simple drawing/coloring processes (as aesthetic practices) to sort out the unique differences in fear, fearlessness (and/or love)... I trust the philosophers, like Subba, Kalu, Eneyo may be interested to see some of what I have discovered; go to my online video for an introduction

      I look forward to your further feedback on my work with forms of fear and I am glad you are pursuing this line of inquiry each in your own ways.

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