Center for Spiritual Inquiry and Integral Education

R. Michael Fisher
Critical Thinking: A Tool on the Path of Fearlessness
by R. Michael Fisher - Friday, August 22, 2014, 04:46 AM

Every now and then one of my colleagues in counseling and/or therapy (practitioners) asks me to put my work in more simple form so they can pass it on to their clients. Thanks to a recent request by Durwin Foster in Vancouver, I have customized a "tool" he was wanting for his clients that would link teaching "critical thinking" within a critical (conflict) theory lens that focused on the "path of fearlessness." Very cool, I thought. Here is what I boiled down, onto one page, which was his requirement that it be very short and sweet.


Critical Thinking: A Tool on the Path of Fearlessness

Fear is not the problem, as much as our way of looking at it and understanding it is.

Re-educating yourself on your fearuality (like sexuality) is your responsibility--be critical.

-R. Michael Fisher, Ph.D.

1. Become your own expert on fear (and/or anxiety)

Of the diverse ideas and strategies for one to become a "critical thinker" to both improve one's mind functioning and one's quality of life, I suggest the most fundamental critical thinking skills can be developed as a resistance to living in fear (and anxiety). Just about everybody will have a diagnosis and solution to offer, and often they are contradictory or so different, it's hard to decide what is best for you.

Rather than only listening to everyone's views, learn to be reasonably critical of everything you hear, see, and read about fear and its management. That is the first step to beginning the path of fearlessness. Make fear (and fearlessness) an interesting, creative, and critical study for your personal growth, preferably don't do it alone--find a friend (or more) to study with. You'll develop a critical powerful vocabulary and literacy about fear and fearlessness. If I can help, let me know.


2. Put critical thinking to work on the Fear Problem: Join the Fearlessness


Your study of fear is not just for you alone. Humanity needs to upgrade its learning and develop a healthier informed fearuality if we are going to unravel our worst global problems. Make a commitment to this path, walk on it a little each day, until you begin to recognize you are no longer only walking the path of fear. You can go back and forth from path of fearlessness to path of fear and back by choice. You're beginning to awaken to the critical difference.

There are many ways to enter the path of fearlessness as a positive goal by choice. For the individual, or a group or society, we have all some part of us that desires "freedom from fear." In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly stating that "freedom from fear" was humankind's highest aspiration. The Fearlessness Movement, I coined in 2003, is one way to capture the desire of humanity for an alternative to living in fear []

For more information on R. Michael Fisher's research work, writings, lectures, consulting, go to:

For an extensive academic essay in the field of Educational transformation:

Fisher, R. M. (2011). A critique of critical thinking: Towards a critical pedagogy of fearlessness. NUML: Journal of Critical Inquiry, 9(2), 92-164. [free pdf @]


p.s. I would have also included another resource for practical application which is my "Fearanalysis: A first guide book" (free pdf @

After I put this out, it was interesting to reflect on and see how I had come down to a two point recommendation, the first is educational, the second is a social activist intervention. There's no waxing on about developing compassion or wisdom and all that good ethical (if not moralistic) spiritual discourse and trying to be inspirational at some transpersonal level. Nope. I came out with something quite blunt, not new, but very much what I think are the first baby steps to the path of fearlessness, with little to no religious or spiritual or transpersonal coding. This says a lot about where I have come to in my long journey. I'm not so interested in the "higher" codings of fearlessness and what it will do to change the world and your world or consciousness, not that I am against those codes and yearnings, but I am really becoming so much more down-to-earth and practical as I get older and crankier and see that so many 'talk' the higher and don't really integrate it in their full dimensions of being. Keep it simple... yes, but also within a complex context. That's my take on this today, and may it serve us well. We'll need all the help we can get, and the sooner the better.  -RMF