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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fearless leadership in and out of the ’Fear’ Matrix Fisher, R. Michael


There are many types of leaders and leadership but rare is it to find leaders operating from a fearless standpoint, like that of the sacred warrior traditions, where the very construct of 'fear' is seen as the "first enemy" and is thoroughly critiqued. If we are living in a 'Fear' Matrix where 'fear' rules and shapes our personalities, organizations, leadership and pedagogy, then a new kind of leadership in education is required— especially, in a post-September 11th context with a cancerous "culture of fear" and violence (terrorism). After watching the popular sci-fi action film The Matrix (1999), it became evident that this dissertation was going to be directed and shaped by the film's characters and meta-mythical narrative. The problem and question that this dissertation explores is "What is the 'Fear' Matrix?" This attempts to legitimize the question and the ongoing answers as having curricular and pedagogical relevance, especially for educational leadership development. The dissertation inquiry takes complex, chaotic, and artistic pathways, collaging together multi-layered transdisciplinary processes of an arts-based performative postmodern methodology. The play opens with Part One and an introduction to a polyvocal chorus of insights into the role of fear in education and our world. Revolutionary fictional dialogue with Ken Wilber (critical integral theory) and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (French revolutionary), serves to introduce the intellectual problematics of understanding the 'Fear' Matrix and the author of the dialogue. Part Two is the performance of a sequel (screen play) and critique of The Matrix, written through a general cyborg feminist lens. Part Three summarizes the methodological problems of the dissertation through a post-performance fictional dialogue with the audience and reader.

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