Feeling Good Is Not Bad: How to Stop War, Violence, and Planet Poisoning

War, Violence, Earth .. and Our Tendency to Always Screw Up a Good Thing

What’s So Bad About Good?

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

The question posed at the end of the last chapter was whether we would self-destruct bringing death to the entire planet along with us or we would become good citizens of this planet and our species continue on.

What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

Most folks would think there would be only one answer to that question desired by virtually all humans. The last chapter, however, intended to show how that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: It explained how there is a huge percentage of our human Earth citizens, and a part of all of us, that wants to “throw in the towel.” This has always been true of humans, but it is of critical importance only now.

But I will assume anyone reading this will at least consciously be wanting our vital question to be answered in the affirmative. You know as well as I that the folks on the other side of this question are doing vastly different things right now than us and are nowhere to be found around here.

How do we “unlike” fascism?

So the next thing to be addressed is how we might change our fortunes and live. Since continuing on is not just of matter of deciding it–-voting “like” on it or checking its box-–as we saw in the last Part, how can we get around this part of ourselves and our population that wants to do us all in? We need to know how to derail our perpetual cycles of war and violence; we need know how to quit bringing fascism on us. We have to know how we can stop our secret desire to be controlled, how to “unlike” totalitarianism on our inner “profile.”

I have written a great deal on this question, including an entire book in 1999 which I have just updated. [Footnote 1]

For our purposes presently I will focus on the element of all that which is critical to answering our question.

So we first need to look into the place from which emanates our dilemma. I showed in the last chapter that this bugaboo is our Will to Death.

Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. Again, the book of mine mentioned deals with this in great detail. But to cut to the chase, this Will to Death arises from human’s unique-among-all-species primal pain, rooted in our singular way of coming into the world, our unique human birth.

This pain surrounding our birth has been termed perinatal, literally, “surrounding birth.” And since this pain is something that as neonates we cannot handle, or face, we repress it and create a perinatal unconscious. This perinatal unconscious-–this part of ourselves that we have pushed out of awareness but that contains a boatload or unresolved energy that affects us anyway-–is what we see manifest in us that Freud called the Will to Death. It is our self-sabotaging part.

We need to look deeper into the elements of that part of ourselves that would have us take us all down. We need inquire into that tendency of ours to choose tyranny over freedom, Republicans and fascists over Democrats and liberators, enslavement over autonomy, oppression over liberty, war over peace, violence over pacifism, misery over happiness. We must derail the cycles of war and violence. We must know how to “like” happiness.

To do so, we must separate the skeins of this inner entanglement and shed light into this darkness within. We need to know specifically, precisely where to place the lever of effort we will apply to truly move the world, to derail it from its current acceleration into oblivion.

So we look now into the elements of that perinatal unconscious manifesting currently as a will to die on the grandest scale imaginable. [continued after audio links]

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:

Image of Apocalypse or New Dawn, Ch. 8: Derailing the Cycles of War.and Violence, Pt.1: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? by SillyMickel Adzema

“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:

Image of 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

Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

We find there are two researchers who are particularly relevant to our understanding of the elements of the perinatal unconscious in a way as to avert collective, worldwide disaster. These are Stanislav Grof and Lloyd DeMause. [Footnote 2]

Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than…Alive…

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 2]

Men are more terrified of appearing “feminine” than of losing their lives. Why we invite war.

DeMause is saying we go forever into war because after a while peace makes men feel guilty, “sinful.” Men have uncomfortable, even shameful…homophobic…feelings of being “soft” or “feminine” when their lives are good. So men choose the “purifying,” masculinizing ritual of war to fight off these feelings. Nothing distracts one from looking inward better than a “good, old-fashioned” life-or-death struggle, and war is the most all-encompassing of them.

Men are more terrified of appearing “soft” than having the boot of totalitarianism on their neck. Why we allow fascism.

What DeMause says about bringing war upon us can be said also about allowing fascism, inviting totalitarianism. For whether we are fighting enemies of another nation or struggling to survive against oppression at home, we are involved in a daily struggle. Secret to us, we feel better being engaged in a dramatic battle, though it brings us suffering and misery.

We simply can’t hack peace for very long. We feel guilty, for some reason, lolling on the beach. You ever notice how at the end of your vacation time, you are anxious for it to be over and to get back to work? That feeling-–that one where we feel…guilty?…uncomfortable…tense?…unfulfilled?…(you tell me)–-that’s it. That’s the one I’m talking about.

It happens the same way collectively after we have experienced a “vacation” of national peace-–for example, in the Nineties when we were prosperous and mostly peaceful under Clinton. At the end of it, with Bush, we ended up getting the misery and struggle many in America were driven to want, though no one would ever admit that.

A quick aside. The fact that the majority of Americans actually didn’t vote for Bush and so tried to choose happiness over struggle is a source of hope for us in all this. That’s a hint of what’s coming.

But for now, let us get back to this opening provided us. We can make better use of DeMause’s insight using Stanislav Grof’s delineation of this birth unconscious of ours.

Grof explains we are moved by four specific kinds of drives emanating from our earliest experiences. These specific tendencies in us relate to four different times in the birth process which involve four radically different kinds of experiences.

Grof uses the term, basic perinatal matrices (BPMs), to refer to these four aspects of our inner urges. I will describe them here and refer to them along with DeMause’s cycles of social-historical violence and war to pull apart the roots of our dilemma. [Footnote 3]

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

The first of Grof’s aspects of our unconscious he terms Basic Perinatal Matrix I, BPM I for short.

Prosperity and progress equal feeling “soft” and “feminine”

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.” [Footnote 2]

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. 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, for example, “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. Feelings associated with this state include despair, victimization, blame, and guilt.

“You’ll wallow in your shit, and you’ll think you’re happy.” – Kurt Cobain, from the song, “Sad”

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.” – Kurt Cobain, from the song, “Sad”

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 unfortunately all-too-common and ordinary spousal and child abuse in the household, and of course everything in between. [Footnote 4]

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.

As I said the societal analogue to BPM IV, or actually being born, is a war’s end. It is no coincidence that in triumph or peace, the two-finger peace symbol is used. What better way to signal we have come from constriction into openness, specifically through the vise of a mother’s cervix, out from between two legs. As John Lennon so aptly put it, using the peace sign frequently, “War is over (if we want it).”

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. W. 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 this: 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.

What Can Be Done?

So knowing this, how can we use it? Elsewhere I explain how and why we see the dynamics of this perinatal unconscious, not coincidentally right now, on the ascendance, just at the time when it is crucial we deal with it to survive. I call this an emerging perinatal unconscious, and I go into detail about why it is happening now, what it means, and how we can take advantage of an opportunity it brings that could aid us in our current dilemma. [Footnote 1]

For now, I only need mention the fact that facing these unconscious forces instead of turning away from and thereby insuring our continued ignorance of them and helpless acting out of them is imperative.

So, how do we consciously participate in these drives not merely be driven by them? 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 mitigate the ferocity of these forces within humans and help us avoid an otherwise inevitable planetary disaster. He is restating what other pre- and perinatal psychologists…I am one, by the way…including Thomas Verny and Stanislav Grof assert. [Footnote 2]

However, I believe we need to go further than that. I, along with Grof, 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. 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. Healing the perinatal traumas can be accomplished through, at this point, thoroughly tested and effective techniques of experiential regression and emotional release.

But it is impossible for everyone to take advantage of these techniques, especially in the short time we have to make the changes. But something short of that ideal may be sufficient to stave off otherwise inevitable doom.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Finding the Weakest Spot

Elsewhere I address the question of what might be the result of this emerging perinatal unconscious for our species. And of course only time will tell. [Footnote 1]

Real, not blindly delusional, action is required.

But to get an idea of what we might hope for, given a readiness to actually do something about this, I offer a perspective. This understanding requires we remember some critical aspects of the cartography of the psyche described above. Looking into them we might begin to see where are the openings allowing for realistic action to be taken to bring about true, not just blindly delusional, change for our species.

We can no longer afford otherwise.

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 these 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 poisoning of the earth and air, global overpopulation, and the ongoing regional wars to give just a few of many examples I could have used. These things, along with many other current quite insane tendencies of ours, 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 to stop sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways 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 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 believe 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 arise they unerringly do, given any opportunity to do so.

“Don’t just do something, STAND there!”

However, when these traumatic memories come up 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 5]

It does not seem so at the moment. For we have extreme acting out going on from Tea Party type elements. The homophobia that characterizes them is an indicator of the degree to which they are fearful of that feeling of being “soft” and “feminine,” I mentioned.

However there is a pattern in change that things can not really change until the negative slide has “hit bottom.” These negative forces cannot be gone beyond until they have wasted themselves in desperate acts. At this time also, positive forces are strengthening in the wings, burnishing their skills, tempering their character and nobility, fully capable when the time comes to take over. There are so many examples of this in social and individual histories, but not to get bogged down, I will mention one powerful one–-Nelson Mandela. You can take it from there.

The more common thing to mention about change is that prior to a major paradigm shift, the forces on the decline always wage a fierce, desperate battle…a bloody retreat, a burning of the fields, near suicidal and totally reckless forays.

We see people do this, too, just before they are about to change. We see people who self-destruct being the ones whose last desperate battle before awareness can dawn being something that takes their life and perhaps others with them.

We currently can point to Gaddafi, Assad, and other tyrants. We can observe reckless tea-baggers willing, as in the debt ceiling clash, to bring down the country for ideals that, however rationalized and spun, are at their roots as simple and crude as jealousy–-of those smarter and more capable; hatred-–of minorities, the poor, the “dirty,” the “slobs,” the “lazy”…basically all the scapegoats society allows them to vent the rage of their inner fears and hurt on; and homophobia–-that fear of being “soft,” feminine, unmasculine, and being willing to kill or be killed rather than to let oneself be seen that way.

Before continuing, one big misconception around that last point needs clearing up: homophobia is at base not fear/hatred of homosexuals, it is terror/hatred of the “feminine” and “softness” inside of the man himself who is homophobic. And this is the result of tens of thousands of years of “civilization,” still continuing, in which men are threatened with disapproval, ostracism, ridicule, attack, or worse for not repressing their softer sides down to the level of the norm of their group. Boys learn they must constrict their potentials and diminish themselves to that which coincides with-–and does not threaten-–the older males in their group or face severe punishment. Boys learn the consequences for not becoming less than they could be are severe, often from their own fathers.

And by the way, something similar goes on with young girls and the reduction of their potentials. We see a blatant example of this in the practice of cliterectomy-–also called female genital mutilation–in some cultures. In this practice the older women-–mother and aunts usually-–are responsible for this brutal and extremely painful and bloody attack. It tells little girls they will have no pleasure more than that which was allowed the older women, themselves, in that patriarchal world. So girls must diminish themselves in order to not be hated and ostracized by the women of the group, who, already having been diminished, would be jealous of someone being allowed to have what they have not. This is an exact mirror image of the process that goes on the diminution of the personalities-–the potentials-–of young boys.

Now to continue: So seeing so much of this pathos, hate, and bitter fear and anger is hopeful for us to be near the end of the cycle. Certainly it could get worse. But I personally don’t see how we could go much further on this path to oblivion without going past the point of no return. Perhaps we are not meant to succeed. Perhaps we are doomed. But I know in my own life, and that is the only true basis anyone can have for knowing how things really work, that, without fail, every seeming “loss of ground” was a prelude to an even bigger “advance.” As Jung said, we need to take two steps backward to make a big leap forward. That is the way individuals are. And societies and populations are just collections of individuals. So we can hold on to that, for one thing.

There is much else to be considered. In the other work of mine mentioned, Apocalypse Emergency, I consider in much detail the factors in the current situation that are the basis for hope, as well as those that are not so but can be valuable as warnings at least.

There I evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. I look into 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 currently found around us. 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.

Where this book leaves off, then, is where the other book takes up.

But before all that, there is still a few more things to be said in this one about what we have learned and what it means. So next we look at a few prevalent pervasive attitudes of these times that are distinctly and specially self-sabotaging. It is time we at least did our part to puncture these ego balloons. We deal in the upcoming section with the smug attitude many have that politics is somehow beneath them. Afterward, I look into this development emanating still from the Eighties that the human endeavor to do or be good, or noble, honest, have integrity, is somehow a naive, silly, and not truly “real” way to live one’s life…in these woefully non-idealistic, mean-spirited times.

For we need to show the hypocrisy and cowardice of these claims. They are most assuredly rooted in the pathetic egotisms of ordinary souls trying to fend off the insights that would grow and better them. For if we cannot deflate these obvious grand ego stands and convince people that they are self-defeating and cowardly to look down their noses at politics and as well they cannot see the pathos and self-sabotage at the base of being cynical and condescending toward those who would help, well then there is no further to go after that. For how can we improve on our current situation if people are convinced they are above the means of effecting change and lots of people also have succumbed to thinking that being cynical and mean-spirited is the only option for garnering self-esteem through the approval of others…is the only “cool” option. Without effective means and good people then the dark forces truly win.

So I will address this now. [continued after audiocasts]

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

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

Image of Apocalypse or New Dawn, Ch. 8: Derailing the Cycles of War.and Violence, Pt.1: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? 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:

Image of 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

So Did Politics Matter?

As we approach the end of this book-length exposition, I wish to focus on a pervasive attitude in the West of late. I have noticed how many folks in these established democracies, notably among the educated, present themselves in a way as to be above politics…as if politics is a profane activity that only ruffians and crooks get involved in.

Never mind that it has been through the “dirty” political action of their forebears they have been blessed with educational opportunities; unions and workers’ rights; the right to vote for women and minorities; freedoms, opportunities, and jobs; civil rights; relative peace, sometimes, or maybe just the privilege of not living under war; environmental safety; and so much more. No doubt more needs to be done in all these areas, but that’s part of the point: How ungrateful is one to be too good to dirty oneself in those matters that people of the past engaged in, which benefits they enjoy, but be “too good” to do anything to defend, let alone expand, those privileges for those to come after?

At length in several earlier chapters I discussed a “time capsule”—an article I had written just prior to the 2000 election in America that ended with the Supreme Court giving the presidency to George Bush. I related my astonishment at how closely the events that followed that election traced the course I predicted if Bush were to become president.

Now that the “time capsule” has told its tale—and I have related what this perception did to me, how it changed me—I’m curious as to how many others had any thoughts at all similar to mine during that period leading up to the election in 2000. Perhaps more did among the people reading this than in a random sampling, I would guess.

2000 Election Inconsequential?

Still, bemusedly I recall that at the time, as I made posts on international list services, principally on topics of deep feeling psychotherapy, psychohistory, and childhood and parenting, I was especially targeted for attack by non-Americans—several French and a German or two—who wanted to know how in hell a mere American presidential election was a thing of consequence to them, or to any non-American. I was brow-beaten also for daring to insert politics into matters pertaining to how we teach and love our children, or how we can help to love away each other’s traumas. Most often I was told it didn’t matter who won—Bush or Gore, Democrat or Republican—that they were all the same.

Being “above” politics—intellectuals…

More telling even than the attacks and the efforts to muzzle me about such “inconsequential” things was the vast stillness and silence of all the rest who sat watching or ignoring the drama, unmoved by the muzzling of opinion. Perhaps they felt themselves “cleaner” for not knowing, caring about, or in any way allowing their superior intellects to be dirtied by even the slightest rub up against the mud of profane politics. So also they were staunchly complicit in the ostracism that was the end result.

Shocked, I found that only one person out of all the three-four groups I participated in spoke up for me or supported my position. But even then, disappointingly, this woman who did support me spoke not on the grounds of the need to avert a disastrous outcome in the election. No, she aped the prevailing and supposedly “superior” position of neutrality about that. She upheld with the rest that, to me, strangest of notions about intellect and knowledge—that its true nature is detached.

This belief that an authentic quest for knowledge is dispassionate I have seen to be prevalent; I observe and hear it espoused repeatedly all about. Surely there are others thinking this to be strange too, I hope. And is it a mostly American thing somehow? Are those in other cultures more appreciative of passion?

They think that being fair means to not care.

The essence of this view is that intellect, first-hand knowledge, and intense study and thorough research in any and all fields of knowing lead always to a neutral, dispassionate position in the end and an acceptance of all the officially accepted traditional positions-–however dissonant, contradictory, even essentially opposed they might be and crying out for fresh insight and re-envisioning of them.

That stance is a total painful mind-bender to me, as my view is that intense and passionate search for truth and the actualities of events is the path to greater awareness. For I know of no original contributor in any field, especially of the genius caliber, who has not–-by necessity in fact, else it’s not a real contribution–-come out in the end as passionate advocates, committed and fervent articulators of their insights. I have observed them to identify with that specific and thoroughly detailed, often comprehensive, even visionary position, which they having suffered, sweated, and patiently waited, and sacrificed for before arriving at it. I see these truly original contributors to be passionately identified with their discoveries and hardly neutral about their validity!

So I wonder: Is it somehow profane or crude to be passionate these days? Have we become so “cool” as to look down our noses on those who are fully alive and fully engaged in life, not “compartmentalizing” or “managing” it from afar? Not multitasking it at a safe distance?

If so, what has happened to the life force in people? Are these claims to having superior numbness about life-and-death matters ego? Neurosis? Are they perhaps a byproduct of the huge injections of pharmaceuticals that are at present being shot into the veins of our social body?

Not to be smart so much as to be seen as smart

So that dispassionate position secretly says to me that like C-student Bush these people are not so much intelligent as seek to have the position of intelligent, rather, of intellectual. Their motive is not knowledge, but the benefits of traveling and being accepted in such society and circles. Therefore, it seems, the hardest place to find intelligent discourse is among the groups who are avowedly intellectual by definition.

And this stance of neutrality–-sometimes only purported, though, as happens often in the field of journalism-–strikes me as a real howler. For it would have us believe the most intelligent of the bunch were the last ones to adopt the heliocentric universe and the globe-like nature of our home. Wouldn’t they also be the last to position themselves on the side of evolution, too?

Just imagine any of the great and thoroughly established positions of our days, which once were astonishing discoveries, and I doubt you’d of found these neutral dispassionate types as first to the lecture halls to learn it. More likely these disinterested “smart” folks woulda been the stolid types–-the Salieris, hardly the Mozarts–-happy to have a position and eager to pick up its paycheck and then to enjoy the ease of hearth and home, comforting and filling food and drink….happy to be aware of the raskolnikovs, demians, and steppenwolfs in literature but totally nonunderstanding of such a nature and hardly believing that such people even exist, let alone walk among them.

Politics profane?

The person who supported me did not do so on the merits of the warnings I was making about political developments-–remember they ended up proving true. No, I was supported only on the grounds of fairness, individual expression…you know the old Bill-of-Rights type of support talk. Though who knows if she may not have been afraid to express her political concerns after witnessing the way her esteemed and “supposedly” high-minded idealistic–and oh-so-eminently mannered, always appropriate, ever so intellectual and high-spoken colleagues had, in what seemed an immediate and collective and nearly audible harrumph-like reflexive turning away and textual mouth-covering, nose-holding reaction, directly upon my raising the question of politics—and worse, of espousing one position, party, and person over another-–apparently perceived such a thing exactly the same as if I had loosed something dirty, stinky, sensual or sexual, and at least lowly, for certain profane, into the space which of a sudden it seemed all had judged to be reserved for only sacred topics…whatever that could mean.

And keep in mind it was only one person out of the several large groups I was following and posting with that found any reason at all to support me.

So now among those various groups I wonder how many of those that criticized me still maintain that in Europe they are only slightly, if at all, affected by American politics? I wonder this of those who considered their sympathetic and helping actions in person and one-on-one to be the only actions useful in the problem of worldwide human misery.

I wonder, as well, if there are still those–after the last American presidential election of 2008—who are still maintaining it wouldn’t have mattered a twit, in terms of the future of our world and the degree of suffering and dying and torture that it will witness…assuming even that it survives…in the coming upcoming years if McCain had won.

Gore not winning inconsequential?

And I wonder how many catastrophes created by their haughty disinterest around politics it takes to rouse them to interested concern. Just how many are required of tragic Katrina debacles; environmental collapses; massive and increasing species extinctions; stolen elections and rigged voting machines; losses of democracy, human rights, and habeas corpus; governmental mass murders orchestrated to instill fear and hatred enough to wage endless costly wars with the concomitant extinction and suffering of hundreds of thousands of collateral innocents; big-brotherish listening in and recording of all electronic activity; worldwide slaughter and rape of innocents which if not perpetrated then simply ignored or allowed; and worldwide economic collapses, to name just a fraction of the unexpected, unprecedented “dictatorial” actions that resulted from the fact that a Bush not a Gore, a Republican not a Democrat, was placed into the most powerful position on the planet in 2000 by a Supreme Court picked mostly by Republicans and against the will of the majority of Americans-–both popularly and electorally.

How much tragedy does it take?

I wonder just how many such events have to happen to bring about that relatively minor percentage point swing in opinion away from the Republican perpetrators of these atrocities that would allow, at long last, the election of a person from that thoroughly besmirched, maligned, lied about party. You know, that ridiculed and laughed about other party of namby-pamby “bleeding hearts” expressing concern for the suffering; that party who has members espousing useless, profitless, “kumbaya” moments of fellow feeling, community solidarity, and global caring; who have passionate aspirations and allegiances to invisible principles and values which involve the betterment of others—even non-Americans!—beyond just oneself and one’s kin; that party which—as empty-headed , soft, and nonsensical as it sounds—actually values these ideals higher than motives of profit—the dimwitted snots actually deeming a good number of things to be greater than money!

Just how many calamities need to occur in America and the world in order for a Democrat to be elected to the helm? Why else would there be only an infrequent election of someone from that alternative party?

The consequence of this is that the Republicans have managed even greater control, after their decades of entrenchment and ever increasing bloating of power and riches arrived at primarily through the consistent scapegoating and then feeding upon and stealing from the vulnerable, the helpless, the poor, and the different.

The Republicans have maneuvered and bought themselves into actual ownership of so many of the necessary societal institutions–-education, for example, and most of all the mainstream medias. Then as owners they direct the pundits of the popular media. So these talking heads come across as though programmed in their utterances so that the narrowest vision is presented.

We hear this paid-for perspective packaged in snide comments and insulting and misinforming appellations carefully crafted over time by Republican operatives and fed to their lackeys for the purpose of beating down the comprehension of the public through repetition and the total lack of any accompanying informing or contradictory viewpoint.

Notice in this regard the rise and fall the “liberal” moniker, somehow brought to its grave by someone’s strange verbal construction , however lacking in meaning but, having the quality, the crucial thing sought, so as to malign and affect opinion and feeling, of it sounding offensive and wrong and something that nobody, I mean nobody, would find appealing and identifiable to themselves.

By this I am referring to the success of the nonsensical but hugely unappealing epithet of “bleeding heart” which, added to and repeated endlessly along with the word, liberal, has succeeded in the complete and utter destruction of the use of that word. The connotation of this word, even, has been so successfully made to be distasteful as to sully even the words in its vicinity, as in the unappealing and rarely ever talked about anymore “liberal arts” education, school, or ideal.

Mainstream media have managed to convince nearly everyone, somewhat, of the validity of Richpublican-biased talking points—“obvious truths” which are in fact not–-through methods of endless repetition. They have poisoned common perceptions through the trick of the derisive appellation, concocted for the media by Republicans, to be endlessly rained upon their opposition. The opinion-creators have reached unprecedented skillfulness in the practice of mesmerism through the never-ending manufacture of nonsensical straw men which, in the practice of their being pummeled, provide ongoing drama to distract the millions from the issues of real and direct concern to them, to their lives.

How much of this is required? How much suffering needs to occur each time in America and the world in order for at long last a Democrat be chosen?

So, a full eight-year course of Republican fare later, served up for, and often force-fed down the craws of both Americans as well as non-Americans, I wonder now how many of those that criticized me still maintain that in Europe they are only slightly, if at all, affected by American politics.

I wonder how many remain unchanged of those who put up their noses at politics and proclaimed proudly their neutrality or their lack of involvement in it–-thus expressing their superiority in either their not being brainwashed like us others into thinking it mattered or in their purity and elitism above us worldly creatures in being above such roughish activities.

I wonder if they still think such things.

And since some of them also espoused that the personal one-on-one sympathetic and helping activities they engaged in were the only ways one could expect to ever make changes in the world and to alter the global trajectory heading inexorably toward the environmental abyss (among many others), I wonder if by now they’d bothered to do a little math around that concept-–what with people and their needs and their sufferings ever rising at the same time as we rapidly increase global warming, overpopulation, and the like.

Lastly, having heard it so proudly proclaimed before all elections and by personages both public and private and with equal sort of superiority, I wonder if there are still those who think politics does not matter and does not really affect them in their daily pursuits.

But what did it take?

One the other hand, if some of those I refer to have subsequently reevaluated their status as being above such concerns of lowly humans, I ask what did it take? How much suffering is required of us before those who would but for their egos be at our sides descend to join our ranks? And, it being so much misery, why so much? Do they actually feel that empathy for others they seek credit–-and some being “helping” professionals, profit-–for having?

Not to belabor but to expose this perspective so easily shunned and darkened, I ask just how much? As Ted Kennedy roared in the Senate, “Just how much greed is required by the other side? Just how much money does it take? How much is enough?”

And my version of that: I ask just how much is wanted of infinite debt–-burdening Americans and their children for generations without end-–created not out of any spending for healing or the alleviation of suffering of any kind but solely out of the desire of that wealthiest, unnamed one percent of Americans–-since the Sixties, but especially rapidly since the Eighties with Reagan-Bush I and now with Bush II, and controlling sixty percent of all resources…still wanting more, refusing to contribute even the slightest, and in the end result, not merely aligning their riches to bring illegally into power another Bush to redistribute upward the wealth alongside the stomping ever increasingly into the dirt of the poor and working classes?

We must not forget a budget surplus after eight years of Democratic leadership in the Nineties, a hard fought for budget surplus, cavalierly gifted to the least needy and the most greedy, as practically Bush’s first big act after receiving the Presidency…almost like it was a payback.

And how unbelievably outrageously despicable this, continuing with Bush right up to the end, to the final days of Bush’s second term—everyone being aware of Obama’s plans for major changes in health care, the environment, jobs, and so much else to benefit the greatest numbers and the most needy—well, too conveniently to not be suspicious and yet with all the boldness of an outlaw gang of the old West terrorizing the citizens of an isolated town, who unashamedly and in their last looting before moving on, resort to stripping the town bare, removing even the gold in the townsfolk’s teeth, and laughing uproariously, powerdrunk, upon overhearing the sobs of mothers contemplating the feeding of their children, the agonized groans of fathers feeling defeated and helpless to protect, nor even to sustain their families.

We observe the strong arm tactics of the representatives of these greedy elites calling the shots of politicians from their hidden or disguised positions. We hear the Democrats of Congress bullied with another fearful specter, some kind of financial nuclear holocaust at the eleventh hour. With all the temerity to actually employ, undisguisedly, the high pressure, railroading tactics of auto salesmanship, we see an extortion by the rich of such magnitude as if wanting to insure the failure of America’s leadership in bringing forth the society of ordinary opportunity for all, and a health care affordable enough to allow citizens a little respite from the knowledge of their inevitable death.

No, instead we see what seems an attempt to rob the store one last time…and hearing the voices of CEOs like that at Chase who afterwards bragged that they would not loan out even a penny of the thirty billion they received and instead use it buy up their competition, thus insuring even greater profits…it is difficult to believe it was anything BUT what it so obviously appeared to be, this theft.

But its results go far beyond that, handicapping the sincere efforts of good politicians and leaders who would want to make a better situation for us all, and doing it so severely, beyond draconian, as to insure a kind of soft burden or soft cage of enslavement for Americans forever into the future.

So great the theft, so great the extortion over the course of eight years that at least one expert has written a book, whose calculations he struggles with in every scenario having results that all carry one conclusion in common: that America will never, repeat, never again be able to regain the relative material gains and ordinary prosperity for those who worked for it that for a long time it held out to its citizens.

And No Sooner Had…

Yet immediately after the election of a Democratic president we hear the persistent cacophony of Republican and wealthy misconstruction and misinformation. They cry out all the louder now in blaming Obama for the very things they had accomplished during their eight years at the cash register, as if by doing so they could blot out the memory of the much greater outpourings of tax dollars for their rich friends and for ends much less noble.

In fact, we’re already finding the ends ignoble, as the banks took the help and then conducted a campaign to bankrupt and default everyone they could find who was dangling on the edge, not well-off like them, nor yet overboard.

It seemed a calculated attack on Americans by the faceless wealthy elite who for reasons we can’t understand appear to want to actually destroy or weed out of existence all but the very strong—these harder ones who, often, we see, are the very types who have aligned themselves with the multinationals and have no patriotic interests.

It is hard to understand, this assault on ordinary Americans by this unknown faceless enemy and for unknown reasons. But sure enough, with talk of a great depression and about and having received unprecedented handouts to help those struggling with debt, we find that moneyed sliver of us precipitated a nationwide campaign, then ratcheted it to full speed, involving the unilateral, universal, and comprehensive doubling, tripling, and more of credit card interest rates, whose effects, while many are simultaneously facing job layoffs, could only bring about more often than not the loss also of home loans, meaning loss of credit, job, and home all at once. One can only wonder at the designs behind such cruelty.

As for me, my greatest wonder is how it is that some of the American people are still going along with the Republican lies as they cover, still, for the continued looting of the poor by the rich. Eight years long; but still continuing. And, again, I’m wondering at the perverse gullibility of some people following blindly those many in the media who are engaged in the coverup, the bait and switch, the offering up of newly elected Obama for the sins of a secret wealthy class over the course of almost thirty years plundering the poor with Republicans help and now without even connivance, shame, or aforethought. In plain sight.

And we see them continue the plunder, with even more obvious support from the media, as they target job-stimulating “earmarks” many of which are scaled in terms of dollars measured by thousands, while individual bankers so very recently bragged about tens of billion being extorted.

It is incomprehensible to me that after all we’ve been through and with all that we see we must deal with, not only now, but also as far into the future as we can imagine, that a good many Americans are still singing with their “daddies” the Republicans. I mean at one time at least one was rewarded with bread and circuses for such misplaced loyalty.

Even as they suffer, even as they lose their jobs and self-respect in being unable to care for their families, or even themselves, still these are mesmerized, seemingly unconsciously acting against their own interests. One wonders again at how long one will feed on one’s own entrails before at least noticing.

So does politics matter? Did politics matter? Can you guess that I think it does?

Perverse Puppeteering

At the beginning of this Part, I began to address that curious behavior, which is uniquely human, of choosing to punish oneself and to attack innocents—being unable to accept happiness—while the perpetrators of suffering stand untouched and in sight. Indeed, listen up and you hear that it is the voices of these guilty that are still pronouncing horrid acts to be done, spelling out in detail the sufferings to be endured and to be inflicted. Yet people, as I have shown, allow, even wish this upon themselves.

In the next section I look into another aspect of that weird masochism, particularly of many Americans currently, to derail their own well-being by buying into wishes of their puppeteers to go after—to attack, ridicule, and beat off—the very ones who would put out a hand to help them from their suffering, to beat off the very rescuers who swam out to save them from drowning.

I look into the strange success of the “directors” in getting folks to take pleasure in their enslavement by embracing the scapegoating of those with good hearts wishing to raise us all, including them, up, thus ensuring their continued and even increasing agony.

I ask how is it possible that the ones most good of us have been made to receive judgement as being not good? How is it possible for people to be made to feel proud and superior for shouting down our positives instead as bad, stupid, or naïve…even at great cost to their own happiness? How is it possible that cyncism, mean-spiritedness, even covert racism and other hate, has been made “cool,” hip, and more real than that which would actually bring what is wanted?

In the upcoming section I ask, why is good so bad?

Tags: politics,time,capsule,psychohistory,intellectuals,election, Republican, Bush, Gore, American, 2000, Democrat, Obama, McCain, lies, wealthy, filthy, rich

What’s So Bad About Doing Good?

In the last section it appeared that politics might be sort of a good thing to pay attention to if one cares and wants to make a real difference in our world. But I notice in what I see around me that we need also to address the issue of whether to care is even a good idea. I am being serious about this.

Let me tell you what I mean. “The Rainmaker” is a 1997 movie based upon the blockbuster novel of the same name by John Grisham. It is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and stars Matt Damon and Danny DeVito among others. It is no B-list movie.

And while “The Rainmaker” is an extremely well-produced, acted, and directed movie, I vividly remember the first time I saw it. I did not feel good when I left the theater afterward.

Uncovering the layers of feelings that were in me then, I realized I was not satisfied at all with the ending. The movie had a triumphal and climactic courtroom scene, a delightfully sweet love story, and was totally engaging throughout—so much so that I was surprised, upon checking in with my body, occasionally, at how tense and “in suspense” I was because of my involvement with the movie: I found myself caring and pulling for the events to turn one way as opposed to another—just as if these were real events in people’s lives instead of mere fictional events played out by actors with lives totally unlike the characters they portrayed.

Nevertheless, I noticed my body being in suspense, as well as my wet cheeks, replenished continuously by tears flowing freely during love scenes of caring and compassion, and scenes of tragedy and sadness. [Footnote 6]

So why did I leave the theater feeling so dissatisfied? Beneath the more superficial layers of feelings—the disappointment that the “victory” was only a pyrrhic one—that is, it did not reap the expected benefits and was almost as good as a loss; and the fact that the romantic element was left undetermined—you weren’t sure there was going to be a “happily ever after” for this couple—I realized there was the larger disappointment that the “heroic” main character, after this first and only case as a lawyer, and despite his huge though prryhic victory, was considering quitting the legal profession. This, because of the corruption and injustice in it.

I realized this part was disappointing because it fit with a pattern of numerous stories of the Nineties—especially, but in the decades since, as well—whose message was largely that corruption and injustice…or downright evil…was everywhere and that it is hopeless to resist…and that heroic responses, by contrast, were stupid, or naïve, or—worst of all—too…well, “Sixty-ish.” So I was beginning here to notice the generational tie-in –> deeper depressing feelings still!

Among those images of BPM II hopelessness and despair in the face of an overwhelming, insensitive, unjust–and monstrously huge and randomly acting–social system, I remembered “The X Files.” Will Scully and Mulder ever find out the truth? Will any episode ever end with the truth concerning the events portrayed actually being spelled out and affirmed in their “FBI Final Reports” . . . rather than left as “Status: Unexplained” or “Reason-” or “Cause Unknown” . . . when in fact the TV viewer, as well as of course Mulder and Scully, know full well what happened and why. The truth is left always hidden and covered up.

Why? Well, because Scully, especially, cannot put out explanations that do not fit the prevailing paradigm—that do not fit traditional “scientistic” explanations—for fear of ridicule. Hence, she covers up the truth and denies that she’s observed, learned, and experienced what in fact she has. In this way she demonstrates the hallmark of neurosis—denial of one’s own experience, one’s own reality.

I remembered also how popular “The English Patient” was. Talk about a bummer movie!! No hero here either—just random events, tragedy, meaninglessness. Yet a huge box office success it was! What the hell’s going on here?

Used to be that the “good guys” would win in the end and that a promise of real love was gifted, by movie’s end, to everyone in the theater. While not always realistic, what’s so wrong about hope and ideals? What’s so wrong, or stupid, about trying for the best in one’s life . . . or to be the best one can be in one’s life?

There are many other media stories that fit the pattern of hopelessness against overpowering forces, of course. The TV series “Millennium” is a good example. But I think I’ve made my point.

clip_image074Lest I be misunderstood, however, you should know that I’d be the first to decry a sappy plot that glosses over reality and sugar coats, rationalizing everything as wonderful, happy, and good. Yet, is the truth then that life is always so hopeless? Is reality truly so grim, horrific, tragic…? Is the effort to make a better world or to be a better person clip_image076really so stupid and naïve because so impossible—with everything stacked against one? Or, instead, can it be true that this hopeless view is actually a paranoid one—”the whole world against me”—a manifestation of BPM II birth pain?

At any rate, then it dawned on me how these attitudes are physicalizing themselves in the furniture of our social reality: adolescents and young adults wearing black, painting their faces to be deathly masks, sticking pins in themselves everywhere—from tongue to genitalia…and the ongoing vampirism craze…simply the name itself, “Generation X”—indicating a generation with no overriding ideals, purpose, meaning, or even profile! So ambiguous and lacking in shape as to merit only an X as a name!

Alongside the above: the scapegoating of the Sixties generation and its ideals. “How Sixties!” “Too Sixty-ish,” and “Old-fashioned”—I’ve already discussed “kumbaya” and “bleeding heart”—have become putdowns for expressions and examples of idealism, hope, visions, efforts to make a better world or to fight injustice.

I realized then why my spiritual teacher, Sathya Sai Baba, often exhorted his audiences to be “heroes not zeroes.” He is not saying people should emulate John-Wayne-ish egotistical machismo and unfeelingness. To the contrary, he exhorts his followers to strive to be as fully human, caring, sensitive, courageous in the service of truth and justice; to be feeling people, caring people and as actualizing of the best in them as they can possibly be. He says it is better to fail at aspiring after high ideals than to succeed stupendously at lower aims.

It’s not that there are no heroes anymore. We still have the movies and stories where good triumphs in the end, against even hopeless odds. Sure we have them. And we even have uplifting and inspiring TV shows like “Touched By an Angel” to watch. It’s just that, when teen suicides are occurring in record numbers, drug addiction is ever rising, and an epidemic of “depression disease” has swallowed our society whole and doctors are scattering antidepressants over the masses like holy water…well, maybe, we should not be reinforcing this depressive attitude.

clip_image070Writers and producers will choose to write and produce what they will, and they will make the ending whatever they want it to be. But I, for one, have got the point, already, that the Fifties-shlock-pollyanna view was a sham that needed overturning and unraveling because it hid so many social problems that needed to be looked at, addressed, attended to—that is, the Government, and Eisenhower, is not always right; parents do not always love their children, in fact sometimes they beat and even kill them; a newborn’s screaming entrance into the world is not a joyous occasion indicating healthy lungs; women, African-Americans, and minorities are not happily oblivious in their subservient or submissive roles; and on and on.

Yea, I got it. A whole generation got it…in that oh-so-much-maligned Sixties. And because we got it, we exposed it. We fought it. We sought justice; we sacrificed; we strove to start from scratch and build a world on high and glorious ideals. Euphoric in our growing numbers, we grew optimistic… hell, even certain that we could/would change the world. And we would do it “NOW!” You know the story.

OK, so, yes, we did get put down by the moneyed elite who commanded and manipulated the media into stopping its coverage of the revolution and “the greening of America” that was actually occurring and instead instructed and coerced the media into announcing the “big lie” of a “conservative backlash”…which didn’t really exist at first…any backlash occurring only in the minds of the few but powerful moneyed elite, with the actual trend of the masses in the country being toward more demonstrations, more change, more liberalism, and so on. But…eventually, with enough of the repetition in the media that money can buy, enough accompanying discussion of such a “conservative backlash” and other treatment of this fictitious reality in the lackey press…well, sure enough, people began to accept it as the consensus reality—a reality bought and paid for.

And this supposed reality was hammered home by TV shows, funded by corporate and moneyed interests that would benefit by such a view being promulgated. Shows such as “Family Ties”—showing a conservative son rebelling against Sixties-generation parents. A total farce in that, predominantly, children grow up owning not rebelling against, the values of their parents. If they rebel, it is in the direction of being more extreme than their parents in pursuing those values; studies have proven this.

The reality at that time was that the conservative youth of that time were the children of a Presley-Eisenhower generation—late World War Two through early baby-boomer generation—who had their adolescent and formative years during the “Monk-ish” and conformist Fifties. Nevertheless, the show served the powered interests in scapegoating Sixties values by belittling and trivializing them. clip_image071A generation’s serious ideals and efforts to completely re-create the world on a more humane, just, right, and true foundation became a laughing matter and its proponents a laughing stock, scapegoated. The attitude being put out then about Sixties revolution and values became: “It was all only about youth wanting not to have to go to war, after all, wasn’t it?”

And the conservative forces succeeded. For all of this media reconstruction of reality certainly discouraged the efforts of my generation of youth, as well as all youth since then—including and especially today’s—toward even thinking they could affect the world for the positive. A contract had been put out on optimism; idealism was dead and its scattered forces were ridiculed and scoffed at.

But . . . hey now! We did stop the war. We did improve civil rights for African-Americans, women, and minorities…though it’s a never-ending effort and cause, of course. We did raise consciousness about the pollution of the environment. And, indeed, we did instill an awareness of spiritual reality and values into a heretofore thoroughly mechanical, materialistic, and religiously hypocritical paradigm of social reality and normal human behavior. As Abbie Hoffman, pounding the podium in frustration, bellowed in a speech he gave not too long before his unfortunate death, “Goddamit! The truth of it all is that WE WERE RIGHT!!!”

My point is that reinforcing despair and hopelessness—as in “The Rainmaker” and productions like it—can only serve to undermine the idealistic energy, hope, and enthusiasm necessary to continue the struggle on those, and so many other, fronts, clip_image061which are necessary to be won if we are to bring in a new era…indeed, if our species is even to survive.

When our species’ survival is at stake, why reinforce hopelessness, which can only lead to apathy and paralysis in the face of injustice and suffering?

And yet, these media patterns and images are merely reflections of our society’s collective psyche. They are produced, and people go to see them, because people recognize their own feelings in them. So they are an expression of self-sabotaging, self-destructive behavior on a collective level…an expression of collective neurosis.

And the only thing that can be done about such things going on are to point them out…for whoever has ears to hear. I, for one, would like to point out that the glass is half full, not half empty…and I’d like to see some real heroes again. (See the movie “Strange Days” as an antidote to the hopelessness and anti-heroism I’ve discussed.)

For life is a game, and we can only lose by not playing it. Since we must act, and must decide—even apathy and indecision are actions and decisions—why not choose a “heroic” path or—to better avoid the negative connotations of the word hero—as Castaneda has enjoined us, why not choose “a path with a heart”? And I would like to see stories, TV shows, movies, and plots that sustain, support, and inspire us in that direction. What have we got to lose by being positive? Hell…what’s so bad about doing good?

Goodbye, Hello

clip_image060As I bring this topic of culture/class war to a close a new one begins. I have been alluding in this and a few of the chapters just before this to the fact that the political and cultural problem we face in America and worldwide is the most dire because it distracts from attention to and ability to act on a problem of infinitely greater significance…as if that could be possible. But something bearing down on us, actually does have far greater consequence for our lives than a fascism that is no longer creeping, or even “jogging,” but is actually “sprinting” in its advance now.

This thing has far greater consequence for our lives and for future generations, but amazingly also, for all previous generations…indeed all life that exists or one-time existed on this planet…and possibly for any life beyond this planet. The more spiritually-inclined might also say that the divine is intimately involved and intently watching it.

Sound grandiose? I only wish I were exaggerating. I am only saying straight as it is about something that is desperately being downplayed and too often pathetically denied. You probably know what I am talking about.

So this discussion of what is wrong and what can be done about it turns now to the environment, to the rapidly approaching environmental collapse and unprecedented mass extinction of life on this planet. Turning, we face and peer into an even greater darkness about. We uncage our power and bring real hope into our predicament by letting ourselves know apocalypse. First, we must acknowledge our “Apocalypse Emergency.”

Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema

Continue on this site with
Culture War, Part 16:
Anatomy of Class Consciousness


1. The book published in 1999 is titled “Apocalypse? Or New Age?” It was rewritten in 2011 with considerably more material and titled “Apocalypse Emergency: Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? [return to text]

2. 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.

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. I explain this in more detail in Apocalypse Emergency, especially Part Seven, “We Ain’t Born Typical under the heading “Elements of Birth Experience.”

4. “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
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
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
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

5. “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.

6. I really should not have to mention this but considering the thing being addressed in this section I suppose I had better. For I have experienced our culture changing drastically over the last few decades in its valuing of feelings and emotion. If you are familiar with earlier chapters of this book, you know this is a theme that keeps coming up in our understanding of this culture war, class war—that is, American and Western culture increasingly, in brave-new-world fashion, instilling cynicism, apathy, mean-spiritedness—creating “zombies” and “trolls”—and suppressing, ridiculing, beating down our human qualities—softness, kindness, caring…all that “bleeding heart” “kumbaya” stuff.

So, yes, I am one of those people who feels things. I am not being facetious, for I did deep feeling experiential psychotherapy at one time in my life to be able to handle such capacity to be sensitive and empathetic. I also spent a good deal of my life as a helping professional facilitating others in several of the most powerful and profound methods of healing and consciousness expansion—specifically, primal therapy (that’s the one John and Yoko went through and expressed in their music), rebirthing/vivation, and holotropic breathwork. You can check my bio in “About” for more on that.

So, yes, I cry, and it is not a big f—ing deal or a “meltdown” when I do. Laughing out loud I can’t write that last sentence without lmao. Anyway, you got the idea.

Continue on this site with
Culture War, Part Sixteen:
Anatomy of Class Consciousness

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