Posts Tagged behavior
We Have Manifested a World That Mirrors and Re-Creates Our Traumatic Human Births: Life or Death Matters We Need to Face to Survive
Posted by sillymickel in activism, authenticity, being yourself, Class, Culture, economics, Generations, globalrevolution, History, individualism, life, meaning, nonconform, occupywallstreet, philosophy, Politics, psychology, spirituality on February 21, 2013
What We Encounter in the Process of Psychological Death and Rebirth in our Visionary Experiences Make Today Our Evening News: Birth Wars ~ World Woes
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Thirteen: Birth Wars ~ World Woes … Life or Death Matters
Our Global Crises Are Manifesting Our Unfaced Painful Experiences: Birth Wars ~ World Woes
“Hellacious Birth Traumas Making Headlines Worldwide!” Film at Eleven
Perinatal and Global Situation Mirroring Each Other
We Interrupt This Book for a Breaking News Bulletin: “Hellacious Birth Traumas Making Headlines Worldwide!” Film at Eleven.
The connections between the physical conditions and symbols discussed in previous chapters and the perinatal unconscious should be obvious and may have already to some extent been spelled out. But let me finish connecting the dots, so to speak:
As Stanislav Grof put it,
[W]e have exteriorized in the modern world many of the essential themes of the perinatal processes that a person involved in deep personal transformation has to face and come to terms with internally. The same elements that we would encounter in the process of psychological death and rebirth in our visionary experiences make today our evening news. This is particularly true in regard to the phenomena that characterize what I call BPM III.
We certainly see the enormous unleashing of the aggressive impulse in the many wars and revolutionary upheavals in the world, in the rising criminality, terrorism, and racial riots. Sexual experiences and behaviors are taking unprecedented forms, as manifested in sexual freedom of youngsters, promiscuity, open marriages, overtly sexual books, plays, and movies, gay liberation, sadomasochistic experimentation, and many others. The demonic element is also becoming increasingly manifest in the modern world.
A renaissance of satanic cults and witchcraft, the popularity of books and horror movies with occult themes, and crimes with satanic motivations attest to that fact. The scatological dimension is evident in the progressive industrial pollution, accumulation of waste products on a global scale, and rapidly deteriorating hygienic conditions in large cities [Footnote 1]
Grof is saying, then, that we have manifested an external modern world that mirrors and re-creates some of the hellacious circumstances surrounding our traumatic human births.
No-exit Car Jams and People Clusters
In addition to the myriad of ways that Grof has detailed…and there are many more he could have mentioned…I would like to add a few obvious commonplace examples.
We re-create on a daily basis in major cities the no-exit frustration-depression-rage prior to birth in the traffic jams and gridlock of commuter traffic.
Another one: the population explosion. Simple overpopulation of the globe sets up scenarios exactly analogous to the negative conditions that existed toward the end of pregnancy when we grew/expanded too much to be any longer comfortable in the womb. The way this global overpopulation impacts us: the overpopulation and frenzy in a big city, manifesting the situation of a crushing womb.
Global “Therapeutic” Carbon-Dioxide Chamber
I have already mentioned reduced oxygen in the atmosphere and its relation to fetal “malnutrition.”
However, there is an interesting sidelight to this. For both Arthur Janov and Stanislav Grof, at one time early on, experimented with a technique of carbon dioxide ingestion for getting people into primal and perinatal states. In fact, at the time—in the late Sixties, early Seventies—though not on a large scale, a number of professionals were experimenting with this procedure and even offering it as a means of “expanding consciousness.”
The point is that increased carbon dioxide and decreased oxygen naturally stimulate perinatal feelings. Lucky us, as we continue to turn the entire atmosphere of the Earth into such a “therapeutic” carbon-dioxide chamber.
“Don’t Cut Me OFF, Man!”
After all this, if you still do not believe that a perinatal unconscious is emerging at this time in history, I ask you how else to explain how the simple act of being “cut off” in traffic can trigger so much perinatal “no exit” frustration as to enrage an “otherwise normal” person to pull out a gun and blow another’s life away. Incidentally, I myself had a shotgun pulled on me in such a situation and only escaped through a high-speed car chase.
Birth Wars ~ World Woes
The upshot of it all is that somehow or other we have managed to create a world situation that mirrors in a way unlike any other time in history our perinatal imprints and thus triggers the emergence of this perinatal unconscious.
Or, you might reverse that and say that an emerging perinatal unconscious—brought about by other factors, improved “child-caring” methods perhaps…more about that later—has resulted in our creating a world situation manifesting or acting out those unconscious perinatal elements, which are having increasing influence on our consciousness and on our behavior.
I suspect both of these processes are occurring—each one augmenting the other.
Can You Look Your Belly in the Face?
Noticing Our Underbellies … What It Is That’s Happening Here
Noticing Our Underbellies
Let me make this latter scenario clearer. What I am saying is that we all have birth trauma and we must distance ourselves from this birth trauma so that we can function. If the birth trauma is extreme, or if subsequent child-caring is abusive and neglectful [Footnote 2]—as is the case in any of the “less enlightened” of deMause’s psychogenic modes of child-rearing [Footnote 3]—or both, then complete splitting, repression of the perinatal, and dissociation from the perinatal occurs. Thus a person can project his or her perinatal unconscious onto the world and be completely unaware that it has anything to do with him- or herself.
Can You Look Your Belly in the Face?
However, with more humane child-caring modes—deMause’s latest psychogenic mode, for example [Footnote 3]—less repression, and less defenses, are necessary and total dissociation does not occur. In this situation, the perinatal is not completely projected onto the outside world. We have more access to it, hence we act it out and manifest it in lesser ways, which reflect back to us, for the times when we are able to see them, our perinatal underbellies.
On the one hand, the world is becoming increasingly perinatal and thus is stimulating more of the perinatal unconscious than previously. On the other hand, we have more access to and are closer to our perinatal unconscious so that we exhibit it more blatantly in our behavior and cultural creations and thus stimulate, again, in ourselves and others, the underlying perinatal matrices.
This is a chicken-and-the-egg process. And I suspect, in the same way, that these processes are going on simultaneously and hence augment each other.
Life or Death Matters
In an earlier section, We Are a Fever, Part Five, The Perinatal Unconscious: Why We Are Committing Ecocide and Seeking Species Suicide, we entertained the notion that the reason things seem so much different nowadays than anytime we can imagine from the past is because they are different. We have looked at how the character and events of our age are remarkably like the feelings and events surrounding our births and, unfortunately: traumatic births, traumatic times! Lastly, we have considered a few reasons…more coming…as to why these times might be uniquely imbued with our perinatal events.
Still, the biggest questions lie begging: What does this all mean for us? Is it the “end of the world,” really, like some are claiming? Or are we seeing the “dawning of a new age”? (Now why is it that I cannot restrain the strains of the group The Fifth Dimension, in full orchestration no less, intoning in my mind the song “The Age of Aquarius” as I write this!?)
What Can You Me Do?
These are not unimportant questions. And they have all the implications of life or death, again indicative of the perinatal, about them.
Will we live? Will we survive? Or are we doomed? Kinda important to think about, don’t you agree?
And if it is within our power to decide our fate, well, just what the hell are we going to do about it? What can be done about our situation? What can each of us—you…me—do?
What It Is That’s Happening Here
We will begin addressing these questions in “Part Three: Global Healing Crisis,” beginning with this chapter. There are some processes of change in these times—processes of change unlike any that we normally encounter—that will weigh heavily on the outcome of the current emerging perinatal unconscious. These include not only the concepts and processes of the healing crisis—as stipulated in the next chapter, “The Changing of the Generational Guard” — but also that of macrocosmic processes beyond our human scope, as will be explained in “Chapter Sixteen: Eden Arise —Aided by Gaia We Rediscover Our Natural Self.”
Apocalypse, Or Earth Rebirth?
Finally, having considered the perinatal nature of our times in Part One: A Womb with a View—The Prenatal and Perinatal Unconscious (Chapters One and Two), and then the corresponding unique processes at work in these times in Part Two: 21st Century and Its Discontents (Chapters Three through Twelve), we can look at some likely propensities for our future (Chapters Fourteen through Sixteen). Considering what we know at that time, we will see that there are also some directions in which to look for a solution. We will then be able to look deeper, daring to ask: Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? And we will see how crucial are the roles of our postmodern “wounded deer” and “centaurs” and why their appearance may be the brightest hope for humanity at this time.
But next we need to consider how in order to save ourselves we need to bring to the surface all the rotten ugliness of perinatal trauma that for millennia our species has been keeping inside.
Continue with Psychology of Generations —The Changing of the Generational Guard: Why There Is Less Violence but More Depression…. And What’s Good About That
Return to Perinatal Printouts Of Sixties, X, and Millennial Generations: No-Exit Wombs, Vampire Apocalypse, Drug Use, and Being Gratefully Dead
1. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 23. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site.
2. See Solter, Aletha, (1996), “Tears For Trauma: Birth Trauma, Crying, and Child Abuse” on Primal Spirit website on how birth trauma sometimes contributes to and/or triggers child abuse.
3. For an at-hand description of DeMause’s psychogenic modes click on “The History of Childhood As The History of Child Abuse” for deMause’s article on Primal Spirit.
Continue with Psychology of Generations —The Changing of the Generational Guard: Why There Is Less Violence but More Depression…. And What’s Good About That
Return to Perinatal Printouts Of Sixties, X, and Millennial Generations: No-Exit Wombs, Vampire Apocalypse, Drug Use, and Being Gratefully Dead
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How We Re-Create Human Prenatal Irritation and Burning in a Polluted Planet: Diagnosis, Prognosis, and What to Do About Toxic Womb ~ Toxic Earth
Posted by sillymickel in activism, authenticity, being yourself, Class, economics, Generations, globalrevolution, History, individualism, life, meaning, nonconform, occupywallstreet, Politics, psychology, spirituality on February 17, 2013
Roots of Apocalypse — We Stood Up — and Why Humans Defecate Where They Sleep: We Need to Face the Monsters of Our Creation … Earth to Humans – Wake the F#$% Up!
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Eleven: Toxic Womb ~ Toxic World … Gaia Is Calling
Toxic Womb ~ Toxic Earth: How We Manifest Prenatal Irritation and Burning in Environmental Destruction and Why Humans Are Compelled to Poop Where They Sleep.
Toxic Womb ~ Toxic Earth … How We Re-Create Human Prenatal Irritation/Burning in a Polluted Planet … Diagnosis and Prognosis
Environmentally We Act Out
The second aspect of prenatal irritation/revulsion is, We can’t get rid of poisons that build up in the environment around us…like a prenatal environmental pollution. We can’t eliminate wastes as efficiently.
Toxic Womb ~ Toxic World
I’ve written a lot about this in other places of this blog/book. I’ve talked at length about how we act out the deprivation part of late gestation experience in global suffocation, greenhouse effect by focusing on the reductions of oxygen. But remember that there are slight increases of carbon dioxide with the reduced blood flow for the prenate: These are a big part of the increase in waste matter, consequent upon a reduced efficiency of eliminating toxins. So, obviously this is analogous to the way we have created such an increase in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere called the greenhouse effect. We’ve done a good job of manifesting this…not easy to do. And we should be congratulated if it were actually a good thing and not another way we have become good at self-destruction.
We re-create the bad blood aspects of fetal malnutrition in air pollution. I can tell you from much personal experience in Southern California that indeed it re-creates the sensations of sickness at times. And this is when it is obvious to me; here I’m asserting that it is stimulating unconscious memories of discomfort even when we are not aware of being sickened, consciously.
So that’s deprivation and bad blood…of course the other aspect of late gestation is crowdedness, which I’ve also dealt with earlier at length.
So now, here let us just look at some of the ways we re-create, specifically, those irritating, burning sensations in our environment—the fourth aspect of late gestation comfort and the third of fetal malnutrition. I mentioned in a previous post how we sit out in the sun and endure discomfort—sun bathing—in some odd re-creation of fetal irritation. The most obvious environmental correspondence with that is the way we have thinned out our protection from the sun, so now we can better be harmed by UV rays. With the huge reductions in our ozone layer, we are insuring an increased burning of our skin and epidemics of skin cancer—not very comfortable I would imagine.
We have managed to surround ourselves with the prospect of burning up in a fiery inferno at any moment because of nuclear weapons we have created out of the suicidal deliriums of some of us. That would be prenatal burning acted out to the infinite power.
Some of this is the most obvious of all: Toxic Womb Environment leads to Toxic Environment. Again, good job, humans! If it were some kind of achievement. We have created a worldwide toxic womb, with a fractal equivalent of the situation in the womb—a buildup of poisons that cannot be eliminated anywhere: There is no longer any “away” to remove it to.
We have air pollution, water pollution, food pollution, radiation pollution…. We are polluting the genetic codes of biological organisms on Earth…. We are polluting our land by fracking, so water sent through it will poison us and catch fire…. If there’s anything else, well, I’m sure we’re polluting it somehow or other.
Just How Long Can You Not “Step In It” – 250,000 Years?
We have become the filthiest of species, essentially pooping in our own nests. We have landfills that overflow and encroach on residences, ticking time bombs of nuclear waste matter that have to be guarded for 250,000 years. That’s a long time to have to avoid “stepping in it,” wouldn’t you say? And we are polluting and killing our oceans, creating the closest thing of all to a toxic, poisonous placenta, as from it, ultimately, we suck our necessary O2 and H20.
Compartmentalizing Our Doom
I could go on but you get the point. We’ve done a great job of re-creating the discomfort of the toxic womb. And, as I said, yes we are sickened, whether we acknowledge it or not. And what I’ve observed is that even the most intelligent of us is trying like crazy to NOT acknowledge it, using all manner of denials and defensive maneuvers of consciousness. If nothing else, about our discomfort and its causes, we are “compartmentalizing” so we can go on with our lives.
Nature Balances HerSelf
We have done such a good job of creating the “toxic womb” in our planetary environment you have to marvel at the perfection of its replication. And with such perfection, there are reasons. As I’ve been saying, we re-create that which we need to experience. So, as we do this, we are creating the exact situation that we need to face in our earliest lives in order to heal them…and in this lies the hope. In fact, looking ahead, I will be telling you that this is the key to a solution for us. As I say, Nature Balances HerSelf, and we are part of her. We may or may not make it as a species, but certainly it looks like we are in the process of something that is perfectly set up to wake us into consciousness of what we need to heal, if we heed it.
Toxic Earth – Prognosis: We’ve Created Our Own “Monsters” and Roots of Apocalypse – We Stood Up!
We’ve Created Our Own “Monsters”; How We View Them Is Up to Us … Toxic Earth – Prognosis
Roots of Apocalypse—We Stood Up
Basically, it warmed up pretty good in the interior of Africa millions of years ago, so our forebears headed “to the beach”—to the ocean shores, swamps, and lakes—where it was more bearable. We foraged for food in the shallow waters and found it beneficial to stand upright, for it allowed us to go into deeper waters and gather more, and for longer periods. Naturally over time bipedalism traits were the ones that won out through natural selection.
But when we became a standing species, it added birth trauma and premature birth to our “species set.” For with this rearrangement of our posture, we created a narrower pelvic opening and our prenates no longer hung loosely below us but pressed down upon the arteries below to create the fetal malnutrition, which I’ve been discussing in the previous 22 sections. The prematurity of birth was caused by the narrower pelvic opening, as the baby needed to leave the womb earlier than other species in order to make it out. This meant that we would do a great deal of our early life’s learning and development—much more than any other species—outside of the womb and in the context of society, not Nature; this is called secondary altriciality, which is something unique about humans.
With all of these developments — prenatal fetal malnutrition, premature birth, and secondary altriciality—we had greater pain and trauma at the beginning of our lives than any other species. We needed to grow a bigger brain—with an additional brain structure, vastly multiplied neural pathways, and a split brain—to deal with this pain in order to survive. The larger skull added further to birth trauma; it was even more difficult to get through the pelvic opening, and so it required even more prematurity of birth.
All this development outside the womb and increased brain size resulted in language and culture, with all its complexities. Split off from horrible early pains and discomforts, our minds created substitute reflections of our early memories in our cultural products. We created an artificial consciousness construct—an Ego—as an intermediary between the impulses from our insides, emanating from early discomforts, and the stimulus and information coming to us from our current reality.
Its egoic product — that is, what we end up thinking is real — would be the distorted amalgamation of the past — early pain and the learning built on early discomforts — and the present—our present-time situational reality, including the twisted cultural products within and without. So what the Ego came up with would not be true, for its purpose would be to allow us to survive, regardless of bothersome early imprints.
We called the accumulation of cultural product the “advance of man,” and patted ourselves on the back for our Promethean achievements, deeming ourselves superior to Nature. To congratulate ourselves, we needed to ignore all the evidence of savagery on a scale not seen in the rest of our world, which we perpetrated on each other and on the world of Nature.
In all this abominable acting out, we were manifesting aspects of our early pain that we were clueless about, and so created a mirror image of our early experience and its horrific pain and trauma in Reality itself. So it is that, all our early trauma has led us to unthinkingly plod to the edge of oblivion, as we re-create war, fascism, class war, racism and bigotry, environmental pollution, nuclear radiation, loss of ozone layer, threat of nuclear war, and all the rest of the dire threats I’ve been discussing as being act outs of our early prenatal discomforts—crowdedness, deprivation, disgust, and irritation/burning.
So, we stood upright; and now, unless something radical happens, it will lead to the end of life for ourselves and possibly everything else on this planet in short order.
What can we do about it? Strangely, many of us are determined to just die. But if you are one of those who would prefer not to, well, going up against all the others, don’t think it will be easy. But if you wish to fight to live, here is the starting point for effective change, which would actually save our lives and those of future generations and which comes out of this understanding of the early psychological roots of our otherwise apocalyptic propulsion:
We Always Create Our Own “Monsters”—How We View Them Is Up to Us
As mentioned in the last section, we always create around us a reflection of the kinds of issues we need to deal with “on our insides.” We have always done this, as a species.
They Can Be the Like the Wake-Up Knock from a Master
But we have added stimulus for these feelings today; we have greater prods to our waking up than ever before in our history. These will either be knocks on the head to get us to “pay attention”—as a Zen master might give to one of his students—or they will be the blow that will end our existence… It’s up to us.
For as always, we both re-create and resist that which we have unresolved. In terms of oxygen “starvation” prior to birth, we both create and are made uncomfortable by air pollution…toxic air. Much like creating crushing populations, as discussed in a previous post , we create suffocating global air pollution for us to continually be triggered into uncomfortable unresolved feelings from our early lives. So, it is not like we are not being reminded of what we need to do—on both our “insides” as well as our “outsides.” We will never need a to-do list for this.
How Can You “Let It Go” If You Won’t “Pick It Up”? Toxic Womb/ Toxic Earth … Prospects.
We Need to Face the Monsters of Our Creation … What to Do About Toxic Womb ~ Toxic Earth
Earth to Humans – Wake the F#$% Up!
Many ignore the warning blows, however, no matter how severely they are felt. There is huge denial about climate change, the invisible death upon us from Fukushima, and just about all the things I’ve been bringing up as important to look at, regardless how many deaths from tornadoes, tsunamis, and the rest. And from some quarters this refusal to see is deep, batshit crazy, and thoroughly intractable.
But now it’s at least understandable. And as with everything else, knowing the nature of something gives us an edge.
The Tea Party and Anti-Abortion Type Response
But at this point can you see why the “worst” of us—the sickest in terms of being pushed around by such early pain—would not want to do anything about these environmental problems? Can you see why the most afflicted of us are fixated on the abortion issue…here pointing exactly to the source of their discomfort…that is, in their lives as fetuses? We would think theirs to be an honest concern for prenates driven purely by compassion were it not for the fact that these same people have little sympathy—in fact, the opposite!—for the folks already born, around them, who are suffering.
How Can You “Let It Go” If You Won’t Pick It Up?
One must have less of this fetal pain originally or have resolved more of it by facing, feeling, standing and dealing with it…not running away from it…and working through these uncomfortable unresolved feelings which arise inside oneself for one to have any kind of distance from their pushes and pulls, their sway, to tackle these problems and not wish to keep bringing them about and keep making oneself suffer. That is, one needs to deal with something before one can stop oneself from reminding oneself that one needs to deal with that something. Why would one think one can “go beyond” something by simply ignoring it, “letting it go,” or imagining, “meditating,” or even praying it away? It just doesn’t work like that.
The other night I woke in the middle of the night, feeling annoyed that I had not gotten a good night’s sleep. I felt irritated, and my mind went on about how this lack of sleep was going to affect my work, was going to stress my heart and contribute to other health complications, and would generally be a drag on my well-being and happiness, as I needed to catch up on some sleep I hadn’t gotten lately. Eventually, my mind came around to how I felt. I noticed I was perspiring a little: I was warm. That had made me feel uncomfortable. I also realized I was uncomfortable on the bed as I had allowed the bedclothes to get all bunched up beneath me in a way that didn’t feel good. I had unwittingly created some “prenatal discomfort” for myself. While I didn’t feel like I could do anything to get back to sleep, I did attend to removing some layers, so as to be cooler, and straightening out my bed so it would be flatter and more comfortable. And you know what? I feel asleep for an additional five hours and caught up on my sleep.
I know, this sounds like a silly example. But if you understand like I do the roots of our apocalypse and the utter self-destructive stupidity of humans’ behavior and the mind-blowing absurdity of the reality we have constructed in order to keep from seeing our problems, you can’t help but be struck with how simple and obvious and everywhere about is both evidence of the dire state we are in but also the obvious solutions. So, I’ve allowed myself to be facetious, to make this point:
In order to solve a problem, you need to face it.
We will continue making air pollution and suffering from it until we face our unresolved inner problems, just as we will have air pollution (and any other problem) until we face it and deal with it. The idea that we can make problems go away by ignoring them and acting as if they don’t exist is nonsensical and an insanity in us. It is an irrationality borne of desperation, which we act upon but mostly deny that we do. It is that part of ourselves that continues to bring suffering upon ourselves and others.
This part, this thing about what can be done about our situation, is the part I elaborate on at the end of this book. All of it is based upon the simple idea that we need to look at problems we want to solve and the most dire problems are the most important to look at.
That is the most important reason we would want to know all this—that is, so we have some power or say in it … so we can do something about it.
So in the final chapters of this work, I deal with this in great detail, and I show where there is hope and where there are positive developments. I also indicate what we are doing wrong so as to continue manifesting that which we don’t want…that is, where we are self-destructive, basically where we are shooting ourselves in the foot without knowing it … as well as what we can do differently.
So let us leave it at this for now and continue the diagnosis of our condition. For if we do not understand it, how can we do anything about it? I will be pointing out at the end that the biggest part of our continued self-destruction is our brain-dead refusal to understand our actions and face their consequences.
Continue with Perinatal Printouts Of Sixties, X, and Millennial Generations: No-Exit Wombs, Vampire Apocalypse, Drug Use, and Being Gratefully Dead
Return to Prenatal Revulsion and Loss of the “Golden Age”: Creeped Out in the Womb, The Itches We Cannot Scratch, and the Deepest Roots of OCD, Bigotry, and Holocaust
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Prenatal Revulsion and Loss of the “Golden Age”: Creeped Out in the Womb, The Itches We Cannot Scratch, and the Deepest Roots of OCD, Bigotry, and Holocaust
Posted by sillymickel in activism, authenticity, being yourself, Class, Culture, economics, globalrevolution, History, individualism, life, meaning, nonconform, occupywallstreet, philosophy, Politics, psychology, spirituality on February 3, 2013
Why We Tattoo, Sun-Bathe, Hate Hippies and Immigrants and Jews, and Obsessively Clean Our Homes: The Roots of the Tea Party and Nazi Narratives of Loss of a Golden Age in Prenatal Irritation-Revulsion
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Ten: Prenatal Irrituation-Revulsion … Creeped Out in the Womb
Ewww! Prenatal Irritation, Revulsion … Toxic Environment, Touch, Sex, Preadolescent “Creepiness” and Early Roots of Rape and Sexual Abuse
Creeped Out in the Womb and Toxic Environment … Prenatal Irritation/Revulsion and Connections to Touch, Sexual Abuse, and Boys’ “Creepy” Behavior
The fourth part of late gestation formative experiences and the third part of fetal malnutrition is what I’m calling Irritation…Revulsion. It is about a toxic environment in the womb. To review, back then inside our mothers,
Where There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.
Posted by sillymickel in activism, authenticity, being yourself, Class, Culture, Generations, globalrevolution, History, individualism, life, meaning, nonconform, occupywallstreet, philosophy, Politics, psychology, spirituality on July 7, 2013
Rebirthing Rituals, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and the Value of Popular Culture in Awakening: The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace
Culture War Replaced Cold War
We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.
This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.
Talk Show Soul-Searching
For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.
We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.
To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. Yet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.
This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.
A Modern “Priesthood”
This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.
Keeping the People Down
Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.
Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.
Therapy for the Masses
At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.
We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.
My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.
Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.
If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.
Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.
Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.
As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight
The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.
For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?
America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price
The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.
What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?
It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?
Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation
Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.
We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!
Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations
“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?
Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation
So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most “advanced” mode of child-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.
Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]
“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation
No doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. They sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]
These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.
These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”
Let the Buck Stop Here!
Nonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.
If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?
What virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.
We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.
While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”
While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. They called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.
So our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.
What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise
A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
A Drive to Healing
We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!
Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]
These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.
What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.
To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.
So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.
What Might We Expect?
What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.
“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”
For, as Janov has pointed out, closer to one’s Pain—one’s unconscious—is closer to being real. And this closeness holds out the possibility both of healing…and of self-destruction.
From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.
Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming
Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.
Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.
We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.
1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.
2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”
3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.
Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell
Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing
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