I found this topic really interesting, especially in the way that (most) of the instructors who responded said they found fear to be (in general) a bad thing and something to be avoided. To me, this seems somewhat counter-intuitive. Certainly teaching most people new techniques, fear need not be a part of the learning equation. Learning how to initiate a clean edge-to-edge transition or how to carve a turn certainly has no need for, or place for, fear or aggression.
However, much of our sport is not about technique so much as it is about approach. In cut up powder, in rock gardens, on truly steep terrain, among trees, or in crud, the way someone skis seems to be related more to their approach, confidence, and their innate aggressiveness than it is to their technique. No, I'm not saying that an aggressive advanced skier is more likely to ski these "on-the-edge" areas than a highly skilled freeskier who is devoid of fear and aggression. However, I think that the lesson process often forgets that a valid way to learn to deal with slopes that are "too steep," runs that are "too difficult," or snow that is "too crappy" is to force oneself to go ski that snow, to get down that run, or to go flail on that steep.
I'm not in favour of reckless abandon and dragging intermediates down couloirs. But I do think that there are some parts of the ski-school establishment that do not recognize in some of their clients (and in this I speak for myself) that a huge component of the joy of skiing is the incredible rush that comes from standing at the top of something, scared (insert expletive here) less, literally shaking, and then taking a deep breath, pointing them down the fall line, and attacking it with every ounce of aggression and power. You will never get someone to jump their first big cliff without a healthy dose of aggression (and often an even larger dose of peer pressure). Similarly, no matter how skilled you are at shaping your turns and practicing ideal technique, there comes a point where you just have to go for it.
To speak from personal experience, I was standing (at Alta) at the top of Stonecrusher last year. It was puking, like 3''-4'' an hour, it was filled in 2'-3' deep... And I was standing above it, untracked, on the top of the rock launching point. I've skied stonecrusher hundreds of times, in everything from bottomless (90''+) to death cookies, but I've skied it in turns, controlling my speed, conscious of the fact that the edges are rock walls and the run starts at almost 45 degrees. That day, I took a deep breath to stop my knees from shaking, checked my bindings and my chinstrap, and launched it in. I made four turns. Four unbelievable, snow over my head, send-it turns, and it was one of the best runs of my life. Was I aggressive? There's no way for me to ski a run like that at 45+ (I'm guessing here but I figure 1200 vert in 4 turns... that weren't far out of the fall line... puts me about there... maybe only 40, but its not exactly powder 8s) without pure, unbridled aggression.
I did that run with one of my best family friends and ski buddies, not with an instructor. But had I been with an instructor that day (which doesn't happen - I don't go for lessons much), I would have missed so much if I hadn't stepped up to the plate and let adrenaline and aggression take control. I would have had a good run, but I wouldn't have had one of those runs
where everything you've been doing for the past couple years condenses and you really take your skiing to a whole new level.
Ultimately, and sorry this has been so long-winded, I think aggression has an incredible role to play, in allowing us to overcome our fears and conquer things we don't imagine we're capable of skiing, and to push ourselves onto new runs and new areas in styles we previously only dreamed of skiing in. So I'd have to say that saying
|Agressiveness - NO
FEAR - Never
would cause me to miss out on so very much. I know I'm an adrenaline junky, and I would suspect that most people taking lessons aren't in a lesson for adrenaline, but I think it's important to recognize that at least for some people, being truly afraid and then using aggression (in combination with skill - don't get me wrong here) to conquer that fear might be the very reason they're out on the hill in the first place.