Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Can You Handle Happiness…and the Pain That Comes With It?

What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

So what will be the result of the emerging perinatal unconscious for our species? Only time will tell of course. Lloyd deMause, in his article, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence,” printed in the spring 1996 issue of The Journal of Psychohistory, calls for kinder and gentler birthing and child-caring practices to help us mitigate an otherwise inevitable disaster. [Footnote 1]

I believe we need to go further than that, so I call for a larger awareness of and efforts in the direction of healing these perinatal elements in the consciousness and unconscious of those already alive right now. Healing the perinatal traumas can be accomplished through, at this point, thoroughly tested and effective techniques of experiential regression and emotional release. For unless we act to heal the people currently inhabiting this planet, we might not leave a planet that babies can be born into!…let alone people to conceive and give birth to them.

But it is impossible for everyone to take advantage of these techniques, especially in the short time we have to make the changes. In this and succeeding parts, I will be describing how something short of the ideal may be all that we will need. To do that, we we shall begin with a little review, so we might begin to see where the openings are in which realistic action can be taken to bring about realistic change for our species.

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

“Part 1; What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

“Part 2; Can You Handle Happiness (And the Pain That Comes With It)?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

Our Tendency to Always Screw Up a Good Thing, BPM I

DeMause writes,

[T]he group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars “pollutes” the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men “soft” and feminine” — a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification. [Footnote 1]

Again we can profit by using Stanislav Grof’s basic perinatal matrices (BPMs) in understanding deMause’s cycles of social-historical violence and war. [Footnote 2]

Prosperity and progress equal feeling “soft” and “feminine.”As I explained in Part Seven under the heading “Elements of Birth Experience,” Grof’s BPM I is sometimes described as “oceanic bliss” and involves the experiences and feelings related to the relatively undisturbed prenatal period. On the social macrocosmic level, it is the period described in the quote by deMause above in which there is a period of “prosperity and progress” and feelings of being “soft” and “feminine.”

The strong connection between individual experience (personal psychology) and collective realities (social-historical events and elements) is patent here since in BPM I experience the individual is still in the mother’s womb and to some extent shares her identity, which is of course feminine, and being unborn and not having gone through the “toughening” experiences of birth and later trauma, which predominantly create one’s defenses, the individual is also “soft,” i.e., undefended.

“No Pain, No Gain,” Hell, Satan, and Poisonous Placenta; BPM II

“No-exit” claustrophobia. To further review Grof’s schema and its relation to deMause’s cycles of war, I want to remind you that BPM II is related on the individual level to the time near the end of pregnancy when the fetus is no longer rocking blissfully on the waves of oceanic bliss but is trapped in an ever more confining womb. As the fetus grows in size, the suffering becomes greater; no doubt this is the source of the common-sense belief that growing has to involve suffering (e.g., “No pain, no gain”). At any rate, the feelings are those of claustrophobia and “no exit.”

There is heavy non-agitated depression here, since there appears to be no hope, no change in the situation that would indicate a way out of the suffering. Indeed, this period continues practically right up to the time of birth, ending only when the cervix becomes dilated and, experientially speaking, there appears suddenly to be a “light at the end of the tunnel” and therefore hope.

Where the hell we get the idea of hell. However, up until that time there are feelings of being totally unempowered, completely in the hands of an entity (the womb) that imposes a horrifying reality that appears to be unending and eternal. Herein we have the psychological roots of notions of hell and Satan; and feelings associated with the state include despair, victimization, blame, and guilt.

“You’ll wallow in your shit, and you’ll think you’re happy.” As birth comes nearer, “fetal malnutrition” increases, since the neonate’s increasing size and weight press down on and constrict the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the placenta, when the mother is standing. The decreased blood supply means a reduction of life-giving oxygen as well as the buildup of toxins that would otherwise be taken away by a normal blood flow. So feelings of suffocation as well as skin irritation and other feelings of wallowing in waste matter–deemed poisonous placenta by deMause–increase.

“You’re really in a laundry room.” As I have said previously, deMause has found that these feelings exist to an extraordinary degree in a society and its leaders prior to its engaging in a war. Similarly, they precede, and obviously can be held to be accountable for, individual acts of violence–including everything from murder and rape to all-too-common and ordinary spousal and child abuse in the household, and of course everything in between. [Footnote 3]

Bloody War, Bloody Birth; BPM III

BPM III is birth. Its social analogue is war or violent assault. Feelings that accompany this state on both the individual and societal level include rage and intense aggressiveness, all-encompassing struggle, and sexual excess.

Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

BPM IV relates to the time of actually coming out of the womb and the post-natal period. On the societal level it is the ending of a war.

“Busting out all over.” Feelings of expansiveness, release, exultation, coming finally out into the light and/or being “on top” of things, and victory are feelings associated with this matrix, whether in the individual birth or the collective war cycle. The societal analogue to birth is the ending of a war.

Mission accomplished…not! Interestingly, just as in recent times harsh modern obstetrical practices and the removal of the baby from the mother can leave lifetime feelings of success not bringing with it the expected rewards and thus a post-accomplishment sort of depression, so also the ending of successful wars sometimes also leaves a society with a sort of letdown. For example, the euphoria following George H. Bush’s Gulf War–which catapulted his approval ratings into the ninety percent range in 1991–was followed, only a year later, by the increasing agony of a recession, and Bush’s defeat at the polls.

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War

All of this is to say that in society, as in the womb, a period of uninterrupted and relatively undisturbed feelings of growth leads to feelings of depression–being too “soft” and “feminine,” but also “too fat” in the womb and, therefore, extremely constricted and compressed.

Why women fear becoming fat and men fear appearing “feminine.”Another way of saying it: feelings of expansion are followed by a fear of entrapment. And I agree wholeheartedly with deMause in saying that it happens this way in a nation’s cycle of feelings because it happened that way to us prior to and during our births. We have these patterns of feelings as collective groups of individuals because our first experience of expansion was followed by extreme depression, guilt, despair, and then struggle and something bloodily akin to war–our actual births.

Finding the Weakest Spot

Now, for our purposes here, the most important part of the cycle is BPM I. Societies, according to deMause, go through these cycles of war and peace and have been doing so for as long as we know. But we can no longer afford theses wars, as World War I and World War II have shown–with each one being an increase in our ability to destroy and to commit atrocities. We cannot afford to have a World War III as that most likely would end life on our planet. Indeed, as I’ve been pointing out, we cannot even afford the less extreme forms of acting out of perinatal trauma that we have been doing in our polluting of the air and global overpopulation, to give just two of many examples I could have used. These also have the capacity to end our species and possibly all life on this planet.

Feeling Good Is Not Bad

So the cycle of societal perinatal acting out must be stopped. And the most obvious place to derail the insidious cycle is at the point of societal prosperity and progress. Feeling soft, undefended, and feminine are, rationally speaking, not things to be alarmed about. Quite to the contrary, it is rational that prosperity should make people feel good. It is rational that feeling soft should be a source of contentment, sensitivity, and intimacy with others. It makes sense that men should have no shame about feeling feminine because that only means that they have access to sensitive and nurturing feelings that are a source of joy, “color,” and fulfillment in life.

Changing the Patterns of Millennia

But how do we do this? How do we convince people that feeling good is not bad? For these unconscious forces, these cycles of violence, have been pulling our strings for at least tens of thousands of years. How can we change such an engrained pattern?

Chasing the Mirages of the Future

Well, again, we get our leads from the experiences of individuals undergoing experiential psychotherapy.

“It’s never enough.” For individuals also, if they are to heal themselves, have to learn how to appreciate success and stop self-sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways that they do. Individuals act out their mini-cycles of “war” in their struggles to achieve. And people are driven to struggle to achieve because they cannot be pleased with what they have.

Relating back to deMause’s societal schema, people cannot simply enjoy their “prosperity.” People cannot stop to smell the roses occasionally. We cannot count our blessings and feel contented with what we have. Nor can we enjoy the natural pleasure of being alive in the moment.

“Wrong…It IS enough.” No, instead what characterizes we humans–for the most part because of our having birth trauma–is a persistent drive to always have more than we do. We find that every accomplishment or success is short lived, with inexplicable depression following it. For each new attainment does not bring the expected (unconscious) rewards and leads us almost immediately to a new struggle, a new accomplishment to be sought. Humans are driven to chasing mirages of better times somewhere off in the future, and we fail to live in the present. We feel unsatisfied with what we have and are continually deluded that some new possession, accomplishment, or love “conquest” will bring with it the missing happiness.

Becoming Self-Actualizing Instead of Self-Sabotaging

When people are aware of the way they unconsciously sabotage their happiness, they sometimes seek help. And if they seek help in the experiential psychotherapies, they are enabled to work through their birth trauma so that they are no longer driven out of the moment, with its pleasure and pain, into an imagined but never attainable pleasureful and happy future.

Learning that it is enough.So people derail their cycles of drivenness and their tendencies to sabotage their successes by learning to enjoy their “prosperity,” even if it is the simple pleasure of being alive. And when they act to add to that pleasantness, they do so, not out of drivenness, but out of feelings of flow and the simple joys of acting and actualizing one’s tendencies, talents, and desires. They become self-actualizing instead of self-sabotaging.

Can You Handle Happiness?…

And the Pain That Comes With It?

OK, knowing this, one might ask me if I am suggesting that to save our species everyone needs to get into experiential therapy. While that would be nice, it is not practical. But I also believe that it is not necessary either. There is an element of that societal period of prosperity that can be used and focused on in order to make the societal change of pattern, the societal derailing of the tendency to self-sabotage through war-making.

Getting By, With a Little Help From Our Nature

And that element is this: During times of prosperity, when one is less engaged in a struggle to survive, we find that one’s body will naturally try to heal itself of unresolved and somatically imprinted trauma by bringing into consciousness the repressed traumatic memories needing resolution.

Hierarchy of healing. This occurs in a manner similar to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, one’s needs to “grow emotionally”…i.e., clear away the unresolved trauma…can only come to the fore when one’s physical survival needs are relatively taken care of; and this they unerringly do, given any such opportunity.

“Don’t just do something, STAND there!” However, when these traumatic memories arise seeking resolution, they, also unerringly, bring with them the associated feelings of depression, unease, and pain. But because these feelings are anything but pleasant, to their detriment most people seek to avoid these feelings through addictions and other forms of “acting-out” behavior. So addictions and acting-out behavior emerge after periods of relative stability precisely because that stability allows unresolved feelings an opening for emergence and a possibility of resolution and healing.

Allowing Our Society to Be Honestly, Blatantly “Sick”

So there you have it; that is the crux. The period of societal prosperity can be maintained and added to if that society refuses to run away from the negative feelings that come up with success. As I have said, one needs to get “sicker” in order to get really well.

“Stand in the place where you are…just stand.”Societally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, “sicknesses,” negativities, and the pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them. But can societies do this? Are they doing this? [Footnote 4]

With these considerations in mind, the next part—“The (Sometimes Messy) Scenery of Healing”–will be about whether there are any indications that this standing firm in the face of the rising up of the repressed social Shadow–allowing the pain of it and facing it foursquare, hashing it out–is to be found in the current social arena. If we can find this being done, we may allow ourselves at least the hope for a change in consciousness radical enough to save us from extinction. On the contrary, if we find little or no evidence for this kind of auspicious, fruitful healing activity, we might as well consider ourselves doomed.





Footnotes

1. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site. [return to text]

2. Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. [return to text]

3. “You’ll wallow in the shit and you’ll think you’re happy” and “You’re really in a laundry room” from, and with appreciation to, Kurt Cobain. These are lyrics in his song, “Sad.” The video and lyrics are reproduced again here for your convenience:


Nirvana – “Sad” (also “Sappy” and “Verse Chorus Verse”

“Sad” lyrics

And if you save yourself
You will make him happy
He’ll keep you in a jar
And you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll give you breathing holes
Then you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll cover you with grass
And you’ll think you’re happy
Now
You’re really in a laundry room,
You’re really in a laundry room
Conclusion came to you, oh
And if you cut yourself
You will think you’re happy
He’ll keep you in a jar
Then you’ll make him happy
He’ll give you breathing holes
Then you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll cover you with grass
Then you’ll think you’re happy
Now
You’re really in a laundry room,
You’re really in a laundry room
Conclusion came to you, oh (x2)
And if you fool yourself
You will make him happy
He’ll keep you in a jar
And you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll give you breathing holes
Then you will seem happy
You’ll wallow in your shit
Then you’ll think you’re happy
Now
You’re really in a laundry room (x3)
Conclusion came to you, oh
Alternate lyrics:
And if you kill yourself
You will make him happy

4. “Stand in the place where you are…just stand” from and with appreciation to R.E.M. While it seems no one understood the group’s huge initial release, “Stand,” it is quite meaningful in the current context. A video and lyrics are included here for your consideration:


R.E.M. – “Stand”

“Stand” lyrics

Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before
If you are confused check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
[repeat 1st verse]
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Season is calling
[repeat 1st verse]
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Reason is calling
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
So Stand (stand)
Now face North
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand (stand)
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t
[repeat 1st verse]
Stand in the place where you are (Now face North)
Stand in the place where you are (Now face West)
Your feet are going to be on the ground (Stand in the place where you are)
Your head is there to move you around, so stand.



Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema


Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Apocalypse or New Dawn, Derailing the Cycles of War.and Violence, Pt.1: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? by SillyMickel Adzema

http://www.entertonement.com/clips/pffbztrfkv–Apocalypse-or-New-Dawn-Ch-8-Derailing-the-Cycles-of-War-and-Violence-Pt-1

Apocalypse, or New Dawn?: “Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence, Part 2: Can You Handle Happiness? (And the Pain That Comes With It?)” by SillyMickel Adzema

http://www.entertonement.com/clips/syglfhsvld–Apocalypse-or-New-Dawn-Chapter-Eight-Derailing-the-Cycles-of-War-and-Violence-Part-2-Can-You-Handle-Happiness-And-the-Pain-That-Comes-With-It-by-SillyMickel-Adzema-The-Once-and-Future-News-SillyMickel’s-Calling-the-Noble-in-Spirit-Wake

<http://sillymickel.amplify.com/2010/03/06/the-govt-isbrokenis-mightily-trying-2-b-fixed-bydemsno-help-f-broken-media-reps-misinformed-public/>

 



 

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