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Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

Your Map of Reality Was Written in the Womb: Falls from Grace, Chapter One — Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

Prenatal and perinatal psychology is the field that deals with the effects of events occurring prior to (prenatal) and surrounding (perinatal) the time of birth upon later life and personality. An ever increasing amount though certainly not all of the information we have about these periods of our lives and their effects is derived through the later and vivid remembering of these events in a phenomenon known as re-experience. Correspondingly, the two most frequently asked questions about this relatively new field, put by those initially encountering it, are those concerning the specific meanings of the terms perinatal and re-experience.

At the outset, I wish to present an explanation of these two terms and of my unique personal relation to this topic as well as some of my background in exploring it. I will follow this with an historical overview of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, which will reveal the key concepts and understandings employed throughout this book.

Re-Experience and Reliving

For over forty years, beginning in 1972 when I was a senior undergraduate in college, I have been involved both personally and professionally in a comprehensive investigation into the phenomenon of re-experience. Also called reliving, this phenomenon is reported to consist of a full somato-cognitive remembering of previous events in a person’s life. Reliving involves experiential but also observable and measurable components, such as brain wave changes, characteristic physiological and neurological changes, and typical observable body movements.

This phenomenon can occur, to varying degrees, in many consciousness-altering modalities—including hypnosis, LSD psychotherapy, primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork; to a considerable degree in re-evaluation co-counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder; and, occasionally and spontaneously, even in mainstream forms of psychotherapy, counseling, and “growth seminars.”

Re-experience is a more vivid and more completely somatic catharsis than what has been described in psychotherapy in terms of abreaction. It is in such contrast to normal abreaction that when these seemingly bizarre yet healing events have spontaneously erupted in traditional or mainstream Western contexts they have usually been mistakenly labeled psychotic, been intervened upon, and then aborted—via drugs and other highly coercive measures—by the attending therapeutic authorities.

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However, with an increasing appreciation for their therapeutic value, these events are gradually becoming understood and accepted in therapeutic contexts and thus allowed to complete themselves and to instruct the participants and observers in their meanings. Therefore, they appear to represent something new in our culture in terms of both a way of approaching knowledge and in terms of the kinds of information that are discovered (Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1971; Lake 1966/1986; Noble, 1993; Stettbacher, 1992).

My Relationship to the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

My interest in the phenomenon of reliving began forty-four years ago at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate there I was most inspired by a course in religious studies titled “Religious and Psychological Approaches To Self-Understanding.” I was so inspired by the course that I constructed my major around its topic and initially even used the same title for my program’s name. This major in “self-understanding” would lead me, in a few years, to a profound interest in and exploration of primal therapy, as presented by Arthur Janov (1970) in his much-publicized book, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis.

By 1972, I had completed all but the one final semester for a B.A. That semester was to include the cumulative project—required of such a Special Studies (individually structured) major. However, since my project would focus on primal therapy and one of primal therapy’s basic premises is that knowledge cannot really be known except through experience, I could not in good conscience turn in a project describing primal therapy without first experiencing it. Consequently I withdrew from college, for what was supposed to be only a semester, with the intention of “going through” primal therapy and then returning to school to write my cumulative project on it. In those days, the entire process of primal therapy was reputed to take only three to six months.

But a lot was unknown about that modality in those early days. As it turned out, I would not return to school to complete that final project until 1978—at which point I had five years’ experience of primal therapy behind me and was living in Denver, Colorado.

In addition to these experiences, I have amassed a broad array of other experience and training over the years that have contributed to my understanding of re-experience and of this field in general. Besides my two decades and more of primal therapy … both formally and in “the buddy system” … I have received training as a primal therapist. I am also a trained rebirther, having explored that modality since 1986. I have been experientially exploring the modality of holotropic breathwork since 1987 and did training with Stanislav and Christina Grof in that technique.

Finally, I have been facilitating people in their journeys into deep inner primal and holotropic states since 1975. I’ve given individual sessions in all three modalities of primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork. And with my wife, Mary Lynn Adzema, I conducted three day workshops in something we called primal breathwork. I’ve conducted two-day group workshops in this modality at conferences, which were attended by as many as sixty experiencers at a time.

Thus, I have experience in my own process in these modalities; but in addition I have facilitated for others on many occasions, and at times, it was my main profession—though most of my life I have spent in writing, teaching, and research.

Pre- and Perinatal Re-Experience

Re-experience of birth and of the events immediately prior to and after birth are termed perinatal—from the Greek, literally “surrounding birth.” It has been widely described at this point by a number of authors but is most closely associated with the work of Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Frank Lake.

However, one significant and as yet little explored or understood phenomenon, arising also from the modalities mentioned, is that of prenatal re-experience. In this case, the experiencer reports … and observationally appears to be … experiencing events that happened en utero, sometimes going back as far as sperm, egg, and zygote states (Buchheimer 1987; Farrant 1987; Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1983; Lake 1981, 1982; Larimore 1990a, 1990b; Larimore & Farrant, 1995).

These reports of remembering experiences that occurred before birth are at such variance with Western professional and popular paradigms that they are met with near-universal incredulity and, too often, premature dismissal. Yet the evidence from the mounting numbers of experiential reports and empirical studies attests that something which is at least unique and interesting is going on here.

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Nevertheless, much of this prenatal information is thus far unformulated, untheorized, and unintegrated into a coherent structure for making sense of these experiences. This book will go a long way toward doing just that—making sense of prenatal experiences and exploring the implications and prospects of the knowledge gleaned from this fascinating new area of research and which arises from the vision that an exposure to this material induces.

The present work represents an attempt to bring this new information concerning our origins and our earliest experiences into such a coherent structure. After the initial overview of the field to be presented in this chapter, I deepen that review of the current understanding and findings in this area in making a case, in Chapter Two, for the legitimacy of prenatal spirituality.

First, let us take a closer look at what we know about the time before and around birth and what it means for us throughout our lives.

Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field—Early Theorists: Psychoanalysis and Birth

Sigmund Freud — Birth as Prototype for All Anxiety

While Freud (1927) disregarded major effects of birth on personality, he still saw the birth experience as the prototype of all later anxiety. His overall disregard of birth, however, was largely influenced by the belief—although discredited (see Chamberlain, 1988), still common in mainstream psychology and medicine today—that a newborn does not possess the neurological capacity for consciousness at birth.

Otto Rank — Psychoanalysis, Birth Trauma, Foundations of Personality and Some Myth, Separation Anxiety

Other early psychoanalysts disagreed with Freud on this. Otto Rank is the most notable of these. Following Freud’s basic psychoanalytic reasoning for personality patterns in early infancy, he asserted basic patterns of experience and ideas that are rooted in even earlier experience. Rank (1929) claimed the deepest, most fundamental patterns of these personality constructs originated at the time of birth, which Freud thought was not possible. Based upon the dream, fantasy, and other patterns of associations arising in his patients in psychoanalysis, Rank postulated a birth trauma, which he saw as a critical event in laying down in each of us particular patterns of thinking, motivation, and emotion for the rest of our lives. Notable among these prototypes was a feeling of a paradise once known but somehow lost, a separation anxiety caused by the separation at birth, and a resulting futile and lifelong struggle to re-unite with that golden age and that early beloved because of a desire to return to the womb.

Nandor Fodor — Dreamwork, Birth and Prenatal Processing and Relivings, Prenatal Origins of Consciousness and Trauma

Also a psychoanalyst, Nandor Fodor (1949) focused on the reflections of birth and prenatal material in dreams. He also designed interventions in therapy to release the negative effects of birth and to process prenatal memories. He was the first to mention actual relivings of birth, in which veridical memories were recovered. He agreed with Rank on many points, but he stressed the origins of consciousness and of trauma being in the prenatal period.

Donald W. Winnicott — First Primal Therapist? Birth Relivings, Importance of Birth—Negative Imprints but Positive Effects, Too

Another psychoanalyst, and pediatrician as well, Winnicott (1958) also held that birth is remembered and is important. He insisted that the birth trauma is real, but he disagreed with Rank and Fodor that it is always traumatic. He suggested that a normal, nontraumatic, birth has many positive benefits, particularly for ego development. Still, he contended that traumatic birth is permanently etched in memory and leaves a lifetime psychological scar. Winnicott (1958) also suggested the possibility of prenatal trauma.

He has been called the first primal therapist in that he described the first birth primals—actual observable relivings of birth—spontaneously occurring by some of his patients during their sessions with him. Thus he was beginning the trend beyond mere talking association or dream analysis as ways of accessing and integrating this material.

Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Research and Theorists: Hypnosis, Primal Therapy, and Birth

David Cheek and Leslie LeCron — Hypnosis, Birth Memories and Imprints on Personality and Relation to Psychiatric Disorders

Cheek and LeCron (1968) used hypnosis to retrieve early memories in their patients. They discovered that memories earlier than what they expected, going back to birth, were possible. Importantly, a relief of symptoms seemed to follow from the re-experience of these birth memories. They came to the conclusion that a birth imprint occurs, which is induced by the extreme stress of that time and is resistant to fading from later experience. Further they asserted that this imprint could be the cause of a wide spectrum of psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders.

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Leslie Feher — Psychoanalysis, Birth, Cutting of Umbilical Cord, Separation Trauma

Leslie Feher (1980) sought to extend the Freudian tradition farther back into areas that, she asserts, were until only recently unknowable. Thus, she describes a natal theory and therapy that includes experiences of cutting the umbilical cord, birth, and even prebirth. In fact, she considers the cutting of the umbilical cord to be central in her theory of trauma, calling it the “crisis umbilicus,” and echoes Fodor in claiming that it is the true origin of the castration fears made so much of in psychoanalysis. This is so because, according to Feher, the cord and placenta is an object of security and is considered by the fetus to be part of him- or herself. Thus, this cutting represents a supreme threat in being a separation from a total life support system, a major organ, a part of oneself. In these ways, she also brings forward for renewed appreciation Rank’s speculations on the element of separation trauma as a crucial element of the birth trauma.

Arthur Janov — Primal Therapy, Traumas of Birth and Early Life and Healing Them, Empirical Foundations and Neurophysiology of Early Events and Healing

Perhaps the major theorist and popularizer of the phenomenon of re-experience (which he termed primaling), Janov was reluctant to acknowledge the pervasiveness of pre- and perinatal re-experience and trauma. Yet when he did, it was in a major work on birth trauma, which remains as a touchstone in the field in its depth and detail. Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience, published in 1983, among other things places birth as the determining factor in creating basic personality constructs, called sympathetic and parasympathetic, which roughly coincide with the more common terms introversion and extroversion.

This work is more empirical and neurophysiologically rooted than most in the field. While the book is recognized in the field, Janov and his work have not gotten anywhere near the respect and attention that they deserve. He remains the unfortunate kicking-boy of a movement that is itself scapegoated by the academy and the larger scientific community.

Thomas Verny — Primal Therapy, Birth, Especially Womb Life and Relation to Personality … Prenatal Mother-Infant Bonding

The actual stimulus for a new field of pre- and perinatal psychology and the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health—APPPAH was Thomas Verny’s (1981) The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. His work brought together a good deal of the new empirical research that had opened the doors to us on the events in the womb. While himself a practitioner of “holistic primal therapy,” he integrated the accumulating data from the phenomenon of re-experience with the new information from the more traditional, “objective,” scientific research into the prenatal—made possible by the latest advances in technology.

One of his conclusions from this combination of lines of inquiry was that “birth and prenatal experiences form the foundations of human personality” (1981, p. 118). His other conclusions center around the importance of intrauterine bonding in that his research strongly suggests that the prenate, via pathways hormonal and unknown, picks up on the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the mother. More importantly, he asserted, the imprint of these factors on the fetus predetermines the later mother-child relationship. He emphasized that positive thoughts and feelings toward the fetus—”maternal love”—acts to cushion the new individual against the normal stresses and unavoidable harshness inherent in birth and early infancy. Yet all of this cannot be completely avoided. “Birth is like death to the newborn,” writes Verny (1984, p. 48).

David Chamberlain — Hypnosis, Confirmed Validity of Birth Memories

David Chamberlain (1988), for many years the president of APPPAH (the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health), has further substantiated the claim of consciousness at birth and the accuracy of pre- and perinatal memory in the phenomenon of re-experience. He reported one study he did in which he compared hypnotically retrieved memories of birth from mother and child and found an astonishing degree of conformity in their responses. Of note was the degree of inner consistency and originality in these memories as reported by the former neonate. They often contained technical details of the delivery and labor unlike what would be expected of the medically unsophisticated, a perceptive critique of the way the birth was handled, and other details of the event that could not have been known through normal conscious channels.

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Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Theorists: Societal Implications, Psychohistory, Birth and Prenatal

Lloyd deMause Psychohistory, Prenatal and Poisonous Placenta, Sociohistorical Implications of Gestational and Birth Events

Lloyd deMause (1982, 1987) was instrumental in establishing the new interdisciplinary field of psychohistory. In his study of historical happenings he discovered that stages in the progression of events related to stages in the progression of gestation and birth … which stages happened to correspond, by the way, remarkably well with Stanislav Grof‘s four stages of birth, his Basic Perinatal Matrices.

He found that natal imagery especially predominates in societies during times of crisis and war, when national purpose and state of affairs are construed as a need to escape or break free from an enclosing and constricting force. He also noted the suffering fetus and the poisonous placenta as sources of these later metaphors and imagery. In fact, in studying the imagery in the national media of various countries he has been able to predict political, social, and economic events such as wars and invasions, recessions, and political downfalls.

His work begins to look at the prenatal influences and imprints and how they related to macrocosmic issues of politics, history, social movements, and issues of war and peace.

Later Theorists — Dream Analysis

Francis Mott — Conception and Gestational Basis of Myth, Archetype, all Patterns of Macrocosmic and Microcosmic Realities and the Nature of Reality, Devolutional Model of Development

Francis Mott’s work is less well known even by this field’s standards, yet it is undeniably impressive. Mott’s (1960, 1964) major contribution lies in his focusing on basic patterns of mind and cosmos that correlate with prenatal feelings and states. He traced consciousness back to events around conception and saw these events as instituting patterns affecting all later experience and conceptual constructions. Through dream analysis he elicited these “configurations,” and he demonstrated their manifestation as seemingly universal archetypes in myths and universal human assumptions about the nature of reality.

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In fact, through his study of womb and conception patterns he claimed to have discovered patterns that underlie and unite all of reality at all levels of manifestation—astronomical, social, personal, cellular, and even nuclear. While this may seem rather grandiose, his work was highly regarded and admired by Carl Jung.

Mott also carried forward the intimations of earlier prenatal theoreticians, notably Rank and Fodor, on the gestational basis of archetypes. While he does not address or seek to discredit the range of, supposedly genetic, archetypes postulated by Jung, his work is highly suggestive of an experiential, specifically, pre- and perinatal, as opposed to genetic basis for many of these.

Denial and Incest Taboo

Mott (1960) also helped us to understand why if these prenatal memories are possible they are not more prevalent by suggesting denial is necessary in order to protect against incestuous feelings that might arise around feelings remembered from being inside one’s mother.

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Devolutional Model of Consciousness Development

Finally, he made the postulation—hugely relevant to the theme of this work—that our original expanded capacity to feel is diminished, as he says, “divided,” by experience not increased by it. The idea is that there is a reduction in awareness as a result of early traumatic events, beginning around conception and then on, and not the buildup of consciousness and feeling that we assume from the mechanistic paradigm that sees consciousness as a byproduct of increasing physical, specifically brain, activity during our early years. (See, for example, The Doors of Perception: Each of Us Is Potentially Mind At Large… When Perception Is Cleansed, All Kinds of Nonordinary Things Happen and Occupy Science … A Call for a Scientific Awakening: In Tossing Away Our Species Blinders, We Approach a Truth Far Beyond Science.)

Later Theorists — Breathwork

Stanislav GrofBreathwork, LSD, Birth and Prenatal, Myth and Archetype, Spiritual and Consciousness

A pioneer in this prenatal area is Stanislav Grof (1976, 1980, 1985, 1990, to name a few). His many works, providing a framework for conceptualizing perinatal and transpersonal experiences, are a profound and useful starting point for an investigation into this area.

In his use of LSD beginning in 1956 for psychotherapy, called psycholytic therapy, he discovered four levels of experience of the unconscious: the sensory, the biographical, the perinatal, and the transpersonal. He noted a tendency for growth and healing to occur in a progressive way through these levels. The sensory band is the level of expanded sensory awareness and is usually initially encountered by participants. The biographical band is the realm of the personal unconscious wherein unintegrated and traumatic memories and material from childhood and one’s personal history are retrieved, often relived, and integrated. The perinatal level of experience usually follows after dealing with the biographical material and involves the remembering, re-experiencing, and integrating of material that is related to the time prior to and surrounding birth. The transpersonal band, the level of spiritual experience, is usually reached after dealing with the other three levels.

Four Modes of Experiencing—the Basic Perinatal Matrices

Grof has also delineated four matrices of experience, four general experiential constructs, which he called basic perinatal matrices (BPMs). He discovered that experiences at all levels of the unconscious often group themselves in four general ways that are roughly related to the four stages of birth. Thus, Basic Perinatal Matrix I (BPM I) is related to the generally blissful or “oceanic” feelings that often characterize the fetus’s state in the womb in early and middle pregnancy. BPM II is characterized by “no exit,” hellish feelings that are related to the situation of the fetus in late pregnancy when the confines of the womb become ever more apparent but there is as yet no indication of any possibility of relief. BPM III relates to the birth process itself, the birth struggle, which is still characterized by feelings of compression and suffering but in which there is movement and change and thus hope of relief through struggle. If BPM II can be compared to hell, where there is no hope, BPM III is more like purgatory. Finally, BPM IV relates to the actual entry into the world, the termination of the birthing process, and is characterized by feelings of triumph, relief, and high, even manic, elation.

In his descriptions of the levels of experience and the matrices of perinatal experience, Grof has provided useful maps of the unconscious and experience in nonordinary states, which have incredible heuristic value in our understanding of cross-cultural religious and spiritual experience, psychopathology, personal growth, and consciousness and personality in general. And they have been utilized successfully in providing a context and guide for many tens of thousands of participants in his psycholytic and holotropic therapies.

However, while Grof is exhaustive in his descriptions of fetal and perinatal experience, he says less about the earlier experiences in the womb—the first trimester—and even less about conception and the experiences of sperm and egg—what is known as cellular consciousness. Still, this area is beginning to be discussed among his followers. And through his current nondrug modality, called holotropic breathwork, people are accessing these areas and beginning to give word to them (e.g., Carter, 1993).

Frank Lake—Breathwork, First Trimester, Early Experience as Foundation for Myths

Frank Lake, though less well-known again, has probably been the premier theoretician on the topic of prenatal events during the first three months of gestation. Just prior to his death in the early eighties, he wrote a culmination of his thirty-year investigation into pre- and perinatal influence in two works titled Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling and The First Trimester. In these works he goes beyond his other works (for example, 1966) in placing the roots of all later experience, and in particular, distress, at the first three months of physical existence.

Lake began his investigation of re-experience in 1954. Like Stanislav Grof, he did this using LSD, initially, in the psycholytic therapy that was being developed at that time to facilitate therapeutic abreaction. Later he, again like Grof, developed a nondrug modality to accomplish the same thing. His method of “primal therapy” employed a type of fast breathing—again, like Grof’s later technique—to access theta-wave brain levels, which are levels of consciousness that he saw as crucial to accessing and integrating these memories.

His thirty-year research led him to the realization of the importance of ever earlier experience. Thus his earlier stress on the importance of birth gave way to his later emphasis on the first trimester in 1981 (Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling) and in 1982 (The First Trimester).

He stressed the maternal-fetal distress syndrome, beginning at around implantation, as a major time of trauma. He also described a blastocystic stage of relative bliss just prior to that.

His one other major disagreement with Grof was his belief that the mythological and symbolical elements described by Grof were a product of LSD and that the first trimester events were the actual roots of much of such symbolism and supposed transpersonal/mythological scenarios (1981, p. 35).

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Later Theorists — Myth and Sacred Text/Mysticism

S. Giora Shoham — Devolutional Model of Development, Falls from Grace

While not strictly a pre- and perinatal psychologist, I include this too little-known theoretician and criminologist because of the close relationship and influence his work has had upon my own work regarding these Falls from Grace. Falls from Grace and other devolutional models of consciousness postulate that during life and over time, beginning at conception, we actually are reduced in consciousness and awareness, not increased in it, and it corresponds to a “brain as reducing valve” theory of consciousness. (Again, See The Doors of Perception and Occupy Science.)

While I initially constructed and wrote down my devolutional theory of consciousness—Falls from Grace—without the benefit of Shoham’s work, upon discovering it I could not help but be both confirmed and reinspired by the astounding resonance his understanding has with my own.

Shoham (1979, 1990) starts his devolutional model in the womb and carries it through birth, weaning, and the oedipal periods of development. Though, as I delineate in Part Two, I disagree with his model by beginning mine at the creation of sperm and egg—as does other devolutional theorists like Francis Mott and David Wasdell—in virtually all other major instances his model corresponds to my own if one simply … in keeping with a normal trend in child development in general as it begins to integrate the new pre- and perinatal evidence … places everything back a little farther in time—in this case, specifically, one stage back.

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Later Prenatal Psychology Theorists — Cellular Memory and Conception, Foundations of Myth and Personality, Spirituality and Soul

Lietaert Peerbolte — Conception and Cellular Memory, Soul, Spirituality

Peerbolte (1954) was one of the earliest theorists to relate spirituality to conception and sperm/egg dynamics. In addition to claiming that a regression to conception is the inevitable result of all prenatal states, he traced the sense of “I” — the “I-function” — back to the egg, existing even in the mother’s ovaries. He further postulated that the spiritual self was invisibly present within the field of attraction between the egg and the sperm. Correspondingly, he was the first to point out that the existence of conception, preconception, and even ovulation symbolism in dreams indicates the existence of a soul. For, he asked, what mind records these events otherwise?

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I wrote the article, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” which later became the next chapter in this book before I knew about Peerbolte’s work. Yet, once again the conclusions I came to, especially about the existence of soul being established by the fact of these memories and especially those at the cellular levels of sperm and egg existence, are very much in line with his.

Michael C. Irving — Primal Therapy, Birth, Sperm, Egg, Myth, Dragon Symbolism, Prehistoric Cult and Ritual

Michael C. Irving is a primal therapist whose contributions include his relation of these earliest events from sperm and egg through the birth experience to fundamental mythological motifs and images across cultures. The originator of a way of interpretation that he calls natalism, he has brought together a host of artistic and artifactual images from a wide range of time periods and cultures which relate, with an astonishing degree of accuracy, to actual pre- and perinatal events.

In particular, he has traced the universal serpent/dragon motifs and mythology to birth and sperm experience, noting, among other things, that the serpent/dragon shape represents the birth canal or tunnel, that the fire-spewing characteristics of dragons relate to consuming pain, and that the constricting characteristics of snakes correspond to the constriction of the birth canal. Of great interest is his deduction that the widely prevalent snake and dragon cults, which were especially popular in prehistory, indicate an attempt to deal with such unfinished birth trauma material as we are only now, in modern times, rediscovering the importance of doing.

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Graham Farrant — Primal Therapy; Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness; Soul and Spirituality

Graham Farrant (1987; Buchheimer 1987), a psychiatrist and primal therapist from Australia, is probably the most influential and well-known of those discussing the phenomena that occur at the earliest times of our lives. In addition to echoing Frank Lake in describing fetal, implantation, and blastocyst feelings, he has been able to elicit and describe sperm and egg imprints. He has found trauma from these earliest events to influence lifelong patterns of personality and behavior. He produced a notable video in which segments from the widely acclaimed movie “The Miracle of Life,” which shows actual footage of gamete and zygote events, are juxtaposed via a split-screen with actual footage of a person reliving the exact same events in primal therapy, which occurred before such cellular events were ever able to be seen and recorded. The effect is astounding in the detail in which the relivings replicate the actual cellular happenings.

In addition to his emphasis on cellular consciousness, Farrant has stressed the spiritual aspects of these earliest events. He relates incidents of spiritual trauma at the cellular level in which the individual splits off from Divinity—thus setting up a lifelong feeling of loss and yearning and a desire to return to Unity and the Divine.

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Paul Brenner — Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness and Biological Foundations of Myths

Paul Brenner (1991), a biologist and obstetrician, has been presenting at conferences and in workshops on the idea of the biological foundations of myth. For example, he relates basic biological, cellular events to biblical events described in Genesis.

He also relates male and female adult behavior to basic patterns of sperm and egg behavior and to events prior to and surrounding conception. He has said that male and female behavior are just sperm and egg activity grown up!

Elizabeth Noble — Cellular Consciousness and Spirituality, Empirical Underpinnings

Elizabeth Noble (1993) is an educator in the field of pregnancy and childbirth and is a student of Farrant’s. She published a comprehensive overview of this new field, titled Primal Connections, in which she doesn’t hesitate to stress the issues of cellular consciousness and the spirituality that appears to coincide with the re-experience of these earliest events. She provides empirical and theoretical avenues for understanding how memory can occur at such early times. Some of these are consistent with mainstream physicalist science while others coincide with the cutting-edge, new-paradigm discoveries in fields such as biology, physics, and neuroscience.

David Wasdell — Sperm/Egg and First Trimester Imprints, Devolutional Model of Development, Social and Historical Implications

One of the more recent theoreticians in this area is David Wasdell. Wasdell’s (1979, 1985a, 1985b, 1990) major contribution lies in his relating these earliest events to social and cultural patterns. He describes a process of devolution of consciousness beginning at around conception and proceeding through other reductions caused by traumas at implantation, in the womb, and at birth.

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Most importantly, he delineates how the result of this diminution of potentiality is projected outwards into the problems and crises of violence, wars, and the mediocrity of modern personality on the scale of the masses and the macrocosms of the group, society, and global events.

In describing the problems of “normality” as rooted in a deprivational and deformational series of traumas from our earliest biological history, Wasdell emphasizes that this gives us the possibility to change that tragic social and personality outcome by focusing on the prevention and healing of such traumas. Thus, he holds out the vision of a new person and new society as an outcome of the efforts directed at the earliest laying down of human experience.

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The Importance of the Intrauterine for Understanding Our Times and the Goal of This Book

Despite this long legacy of work and thought in this pre- and perinatal area, much of it, especially the prenatal, remains ignored by mainstream psychology and is largely unavailable to the public. Within the field itself, in addition, the prenatal information, in relation to the more widely accepted and circulated perinatal evidence, seems to be analogous to Otto Rank’s (1929) ideas of birth trauma were to Sigmund Freud’s concerning early infancy in that they are cast under an extra cloud of suspicion and disbelief and disregarded accordingly. Yet, like Rank’s findings also, their main problem may lie with unfamiliarity and prejudice rather than validity or scientific viability; and these findings, like his were, may end up harkening the outlines of future endeavors and being confirmed by subsequent research.

Thus, I believe that this prenatal area in particular is ripe for reaping what it can teach us about what is human, about “human nature.”

Therefore, this book will put forth the possible relationship between our earliest ontogenetic experiences as humans and the structure of human consciousness and stages of human “development.”

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I build a model that seeks an initial formulation of this information, teasing out its implications, and integrating it with relevant thinking and theoretical perspectives in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and others.

However, before proceeding, it seems important to establish this pursuit within the logical-empirical framework that validates it. To do this, let us now turn to the re-experience movement I am most familiar with and feel to be the most important, primal therapy, and discuss its relation to the phenomenon of prenatal re-experience and spirituality.

Continue with How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences? Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious

Return to Falls from Grace, Introduction — The Radical Rational View of Us and It: “Normal” Truth Is Convenient Truth … and Is Anything But True

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We Are a Fever, Part One: Perinatal Psychology, the Phenomenon of Re-Experience, and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

The Vision of Ourselves Arising from This New Research Is the Most Important One for Understanding Our Humanicidal, Ecocidal Plunge and for Doing Something to Reverse It

How do we go about changing the patterns of millennia? How do we change, and change radically … and soon? How do we bring about the consciousness transformation that will allow us to avert the humanicidal, indeed ecocidal, scenario we are currently bringing about at breakneck speed.

Well, it is pretty clear that it is ignorance pushing these trends, along with unconscionable doses of denial and ignore-ance. So, reversing this means learning why it is humans can be so self-destructive. Ignorance must be replaced with awareness and understanding. Looking at our problems must be happening more than our current denial is. And we must trace our current ecocidal tendencies to their roots, and we must do something about them there.

This is something I have been doing for over forty years. I sought the answers to our most important questions. I did not know that someday these questions would be as pressing as they are currently. I thought we would have turned the corner on these problems a long time ago, as indeed we should have done if we were to give ourselves any real chance.

Be that as it may, I have researched and studied in this area. I have undergone many years of deep experiential psychotherapy to trace the roots of these human tendencies within my own mind and psyche. (See, for example, Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Prologue: Sure It’s Hard).

And I have studied humanity—it’s mind and it’s culture—in depth.

What I have discovered is that our current humanicidal tendencies are rooted in a particular birth that characterizes humans. Elsewhere  I have delineated how we humans, among all species, have come to be unique in this manner. In another book, I have laid out how and why these unconscious traumas from our birth—our perinatal unconscious—are rising more than ever before, whether to our detriment or in some uncanny method of healing.

In this book, Wounded Deer and Centaurs: The Perinatal Zeitgeist of Postmodern Times and the Necessary Hero, we look deeper. We trace those tendencies further, to even deeper roots. We find patterns even more profound; we see possibilities even more promising.

But before going deeper even than birth, in teasing out our patterns and predilections, we need understand birth. We must review the perinatal imprints on our personality and remember how we are affected, indeed, pushed and pulled by forces those early events have set in motion.

Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

Pre- and perinatal psychology is the field that deals with the effects of events occurring prior to (prenatal) and surrounding the time of birth (perinatal) upon later life and personality. An ever increasing amount though certainly not all of the information we have about these periods of our lives and their effects is derived through the later and vivid remembering of these events in a phenomenon known as re-experience. Correspondingly, the two most frequently asked questions about this relatively new field, put by those initially encountering it, are those concerning the specific meanings of the terms perinatal and re-experience.

At the outset, I wish to present an explanation of these two terms and of my unique personal relation to this topic as well as some of my background in exploring it. I will follow this with an historical overview of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, which will reveal the key concepts and understandings employed throughout this book.

Re-Experience and Reliving

For over forty years, beginning in 1972 when I was a senior undergraduate in college, I have been involved both personally and professionally in a comprehensive investigation into the phenomenon of re-experience. Also called reliving, this phenomenon is reported to consist of a full somato-cognitive remembering of previous events in a person’s life. Reliving involves experiential but also observable and measurable components, such as brain wave changes, characteristic physiological and neurological changes, and typical observable body movements.

This phenomenon can occur, to varying degrees, in many consciousness-altering modalities—including hypnosis, LSD psychotherapy, primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork; to a considerable degree in re-evaluation co-counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder; and, occasionally and spontaneously, even in mainstream forms of psychotherapy, counseling, and “growth seminars.”

Re-experience is a more vivid and more completely somatic catharsis than what has been described in psychotherapy in terms of “abreaction.” It is in such contrast to normal abreaction that when these seemingly bizarre yet healing events have spontaneously erupted in traditional or mainstream Western contexts they have usually been mistakenly labeled psychotic, been intervened upon, and then aborted—via drugs and other highly coercive measures—by the attending therapeutic authorities.

However, with an increasing appreciation for their therapeutic value, these events are gradually becoming understood and accepted in therapeutic contexts and thus allowed to complete themselves and to instruct the participants and observers in their meanings. Therefore, they appear to represent something new in our culture in terms of both a way of approaching knowledge and in terms of the kinds of information that are discovered (Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1971; Lake 1966/1986; Noble, 1993; Stettbacher, 1992).

My Relationship to the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

My interest in the phenomenon of reliving began forty-three years ago at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate there I was most inspired by a course in religious studies titled “Religious and Psychological Approaches To Self-Understanding.” I was so inspired by the course that I constructed my major around its topic and initially even used the same title for my program’s name. This major in “self-understanding” would lead me, in a few years, to a profound interest in and exploration of primal therapy, as presented by Arthur Janov (1970) in his much-publicized book, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis.

By 1972, I had completed all but the one final semester for a B.A. That semester was to include the cumulative project—required of such a Special Studies (individually structured) major. However, since my project would focus on primal therapy and one of primal therapy’s basic premises is that knowledge cannot really be known except through experience, I could not in good conscience turn in a project describing primal therapy without first experiencing it. Consequently I withdrew from college, for what was supposed to be only a semester, with the intention of “going through” primal therapy and then returning to school to write my cumulative project on it. In those days, the entire process of primal therapy was reputed to take only three to six months.

But a lot was unknown about that modality in those early days. As it turned out, I would not return to school to complete that final project until 1978—at which point I had five years’ experience of primal therapy behind me and was living in Denver, Colorado.

In addition to these experiences, I have amassed a broad array of other experience and training over the years that have contributed to my understanding of re-experience and of this field in general. Besides my two decades and more of primal therapy … both formally and in “the buddy system” … I have received training as a primal therapist. I am also a trained rebirther, having explored that modality since 1986. I have been experientially exploring the modality of holotropic breathwork since 1987 and did training with Stanislav and Christina Grof in that technique.

Finally, I have been facilitating people in their journeys into deep inner primal and holotropic states since 1975. I’ve given individual sessions in all three modalities of primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork. And with my wife, Mary Lynn Adzema, I conducted three day workshops in something we called primal breathwork. I’ve conducted two-day group workshops in this modality at conferences, which were attended by as many as 60 experiencers at a time.

Thus, I have experience in my own process in these modalities; but in addition I have facilitated for others on many occasions, and at times, it was my main profession—though most of my life I have spent in writing, teaching, and research.

Pre- and Perinatal Re-Experience

Re-experience of birth and of the events immediately prior to and after birth are termed perinatal—from the Greek, literally “surrounding birth.” It has been widely described at this point by a number of authors but is most closely associated with the work of Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Frank Lake.

However, one significant and as yet little explored or understood phenomenon, arising also from the modalities mentioned, is that of prenatal re-experience. In this case, the experiencer reports … and observationally appears to be … experiencing events that happened en utero, sometimes going back as far as sperm, egg, and zygote states (Buchheimer 1987; Farrant 1987; Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1983; Lake 1981, 1982; Larimore 1990a, 1990b; Larimore & Farrant, 1995).

These reports are at such variance with Western professional and popular paradigms that they are met with near-universal incredulity and, too often, premature dismissal. Yet the evidence from the mounting numbers of experiential reports and empirical studies attests that something which is at least unique and interesting is going on here.

Nevertheless, much of this prenatal information is thus far unformulated, untheorized, and unintegrated into a coherent structure for making sense of these experiences. This book will go a long way toward doing just that—making sense of prenatal experiences and exploring the implications and prospects of the knowledge gleaned from this fascinating new area of research and which arises from the vision that an exposure to this material induces.

Indeed, the earliest indications are that the implications from including the prenatal and primal perspective are vast—one might even say revolutionary, in the true sense of the word. For indeed this new perspective, this new information seems to call for an overthrow, or at least a reversal, of many of the aspects of the dominant paradigms in child-caring, child development, psychotherapy, and spiritual growth. Not the least important, these findings and insights have direct bearing on our current ecocidal and humanicidal plunge to oblivion. So, the vision is the most important one for understanding why we are doing what we are doing and then how we might do something to actually reverse our course.

To begin, then, let us review what has so far been conceived in relation to our life and our worldview in the arena of pre- and perinatal psychology.

Continue with We Are a Fever, Part Two — The Evidence That Life’s Blueprint Is Written at Birth: Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Overview — Early Theorists, Psychoanalysis, and Birth

Return to The Sins of the Fathers: I have This Sense of Brother/ Sisterhood — That We Are Engaged in an Immense Undertaking … Necessary for the Survival of This Planet.

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Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Foolin’ the People About America and The Rise of Obvious “Truths” … It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life.

Peaking in the Sixties, Starving for Prosperity, The Compassion Gap, Starving the “Beast,” Humbug for the Poor, Democratizing the Hate … Your Money or Your Life

Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?

Peaking in the Sixties

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Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

Obvious “Truths”:

  • Americans are innovators and problem-solvers.
  • There’s nothing Americans can’t do, no problem we can’t solve, once we put our minds to it.
  • Things just keep getting better in America
  • Republicans are for small business.

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So unfortunately, after Reagan instituted “voodoo economics,” with prices on health care and pharmaceuticals going through the roof along with the sudden unexpected increases of other necessities of life, you had that lowered standard of living we have now become accustomed to for the great majority of Americans. You had a population that was poorer, in relative terms, and got increasingly poorer.

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Over time, over the course of my lifetime, though we might ostensibly have appeared to prosper we did not. The apparent rise in standard of living was a result of the glut of new consumer items produced in an increasingly technological and complex culture. 955830597_092af7676dYou might be able to afford plenty of cheap trinkets and toys, but for things that pertained to your well-being and quality of life, such as health and medical care, good schools, wholesome food, higher educational opportunities, a clean environment, recreational opportunities, fuel and energy, leisure, family, and quality time, and so on we were ever more wanting.

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Peaking in the Sixties

In retrospect I can see we prospered in the Fifties and Sixties. The records show that Americans achieved a peak of affluence in the Sixties and that since then, and rapidly accelerating since the Eighties, we have been on a downward slide.

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Poor Mothers Could Afford to Stay Home and Take Care of the Kids.

ason504l6a00d8341c579653ef00e552b0f6fb8834-800wiI can see the ways we, living in the Fifties and Sixties, were as a culture fairly well off, though personally my circumstances were anything but that. My father made only fifty dollars a week for a time. But my mother never had to go to work. She actually did get a part-time job much later in life for the enjoyment of it. Can anyone today imagine that?

How Much for That House? Ok, Let Me Get My Wallet.

My father never made over a hundred dollars a week until later in his life he actually started his own small trucking outfit…that’s another story about who are the real job creators in America that I get into elsewhere. Yet he bought his home with cash he had saved up. Eight thousand dollars smack on the barrelhead in 1953. He never had to work three jobs to get by either, like some folks have to today. No mortgage on his house and he bought every car he owned—roughly once every five years—also with cash he had saved.

College Educations for Free in the Sixties and Seventies. #occupycollege today

No loans, never in debt and yet five of his six children attended at least some college and two attained at least Master’s degrees. I was talking with my older brother about his college education, which mirrored my own, and we both remember getting by with very little or no debt afterward. We both received enough to cover all college plus living expenses most years just on scholarships and grants—mostly state and federally funded—yet we both attended private, somewhat prestigious, colleges.

I know, millennial generation, but don’t blame us, we’re on your side. #occupycollege.

What’s Health Insurance?

My family didn’t have any health insurance, had never even heard of it. We were not well off, but we like most people could afford to go to the doctor. And similar to others we could even normally pay hospital bills, for maternity and so on. If anything very serious developed that required more money no one ever imagined that they would be turned away at a hospital. The Mercy Hospital in my city, run by a religious order of Catholic nuns and funded by contributions, was a place one could always go regardless of one’s means. Sounds unbelievably quaint, doesn’t it? I know. I can hardly believe it was once that way myself.

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Starving for Prosperity

Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Two: Starving for Prosperity

Foolin’ the People About America

Obvious “Truths”

  • There is an abundance of food in America
  • There is a huge problem with obesity in America because folks actually have too much to eat.
  • People are overweight because they eat too much.

Starving for Prosperity

“Have Some More, There’s Plenty!”

And my family never starved back in the Fifties and Sixties. The dinner refrain was “Have some more, there’s plenty.” Though we were fairly poor by the standards of that time, I never, ever, ever imagined there being a lack of or limitation on food. There were big restrictions on sweet treats and goodies, but not on wholesome food. So it shocks me to see how much more concerned parents are today about how much their children will eat, as well as how precisely they mete out their gustatory offerings when entertaining.

“You’re Not Leaving This Table till You’ve Eaten All Your … Ketchup.”

When not long ago I worked in a group home for troubled boys I was shocked and distressed to see the controversies over the food portions given and the restrictions on when they could eat. This was a government-funded group home and had to abide by all kinds of minimal standards in nutrition. Still, ever since Reagan determined that ketchup qualified as a vegetable serving, I have noticed this public stinginess about food.

Where I worked, sugared-water drinks qualified as juice, and peanut butter consumption was limited to a thin layer like that of butter that’s spread on bread. Cheap sugar this and thats and nutrient-low, colon-clogging baked goods, noodle dishes, and pizza were the at-hand substitutes for wholesome, more substantial offerings. The resulting blood-sugar swings and erratic, aggressive behavior were handled with drugs and listed within their case histories.

“Please, Sir, Some More?”

There was much more like this but suffice it to say that I could hardly believe the happenings in this Oliver Twist world. My heart went out to those young boys who in this once wealthy land and still surrounded by plenty in this post-millennial, rich suburban California stood near the kitchen with plate in hand, their eyes pleading if they might “please have some more.”

This miserliness about food seems a prevalent thing throughout the culture as it is evident in school lunch programs also. Whereas at the grammar and secondary schools I attended while growing up I enjoyed complete wholesome meals on a par with and sometimes surpassing the enjoyable repasts at home and even seconds were allowed, what is considered a decent school lunch today is shocking. Corporations have taken over as suppliers. Can you believe we had a Joe the Cook in grade school who concocted home-style offerings, which were ladled out by those of our mothers, including my own, who had volunteered?

The Beloved School Cook–Pepsico

Today the school meals are akin to that in fast food restaurants and just as monotonous … pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, greasy burgers, hot dogs, fries. They are not “cooked.” From what I understand, they are taken from freezers, popped in microwaves, and dealt out to pupils like one would cards. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes in our country attest to how much worse is the nutrition for young folks today.

Aren’t America’s “Extermination Policies” Just More Undetectable Than Nazi Germany’s? Starving the “Beast”—That Means You: Your Money or Your Life

Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Three: Starving the “Beast”

Your Medical Payment or Your Life

What else is different now than fifty years ago? Well, there’s people who can’t pay for health care… can’t get health care? …. Now that’s something new for me too. Can’t get health care. Wow. You mean you’re sick, you’re gonna die, but you can’t get help in the medical system? Unbelievable. That used to be unheard of.

I know. You’re thinking, “But we passed universal health care in recent years.” Remember though, we passed universal health care “coverage” … not care. Everyone has to be insured does not mean everyone gets taken care of.

At any rate, none of this “universal health care” has “trickled down” to the very needy as far as I can tell. Now, I don’t know if folks are being turned away from hospitals like they were before it was passed. Folks got refused care for lack of coverage in recent decades. And sometimes they died. (I wonder how many others died while struggling to fill out the forms to apply for health care for the needy? *sarcasm*)

Regardless, health care that is delayed, rationed out, or cut back and denied for certain conditions can be just as much a death sentence as being turned away at a hospital door. Example? After we passed “universal” coverage Governor Jane Brewer of Arizona allowed a change in policy in their state-funded health care to deny organ transplants to those folks who could not afford it otherwise. These were organ transplants needed to save their lives. These people would have received them under some other coverage, but falling through the cracks and being poor—some of them born too disabled to be able to work at a job—they were essentially told, “We can’t afford to keep you alive (we’ve got tax cuts for the rich to pay for).” So they did. They died. Republicans clamored about “death panels” beforehand; then promptly implemented one as soon as they could.

Isn’t this the kind of health care the opponents of “socialized medicine” say we would get if we went to single-payer? Well, we’ve got it folks—delays, rationing, denials, complications … and stress!—without any of the benefits of “socialized medicine.” I’ve watched it take two weeks to get a prescription in Riverside County, California, when it should have taken 45 minutes or less. The folks there handling health care for people who include poor folks on Medi-Cal are so overworked and stretched thin that you need to stand in line, literally stand in line for sometimes four hours or more to get a prescription filled. Think I’m exaggerating? I’m aware of at least one elderly gentleman who collapsed while waiting and was removed on a stretcher. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie Soylent Green, wondering where they were taking this one who had fallen by the wayside.

And the answer is no. No to the other question in your mind: “Don’t they have places you can sit down?” I know of no other place where you have to stand to get your prescription, you’re REQUIRED to stand. But then this is a huge county hospital catering to the poor. It handles many poor people…and it does it poorly. The unwritten rule is, “You’re asking for health care at a discount!? Well, WE’LL MAKE YOU PAY…ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, DAMN YOU!”

Starve the “Beast”

You don’t think this attitude trickles down to the masses from policy on high? Well, you tell me what the policy makers of the 1% are thinking when they say they are going to “starve the beast” of government … continually cut back funds for government services…as a back door way of making government smaller. This is the exact wording they have used, since Reagan, for their policies of tax cuts for the rich that require massive spending cuts on services for poor and middle income folks.

But think now: Just who do they imagine is really that “beast”? And why use the word, “starve”? Yes, the “beast” of the masses, the riff-raff, is being “starved”—being made to suffer for lack of sufficient money for systems and workers so folks can be served faster. With money stretched thin for humane processing systems and employees to implement them, people are refuse…”beasts”…having to stand and suffer.

I wonder how this is not simply a more undetectable way of eliminating in America the handicapped, disabled, and/or mentally challenged than the way the Nazis did it to the same sort of “riff raff” when they got to power during the time of the Third Reich.

Universal Health Care in America? Don’t Make Me Laugh… You Get an “Assumed Doctor” and Like it or You Choose to Die.

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Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Four: But Do You Get a Doctor?

starve the beast

And Do You Get a Doctor?

102792692praying-with-open-hands2_thumb[3]Do you get a doctor, though? Not in this decade you don’t. When I was a child we went to the doctor’s office and paid $7 for a doctor’s visit. Even on my Dad’s $50 a week, that was affordable; and that was the least he made. When you now have doctor’s visits that cost a hundred to three hundred dollars if you pay out of pocket (or more), do you realize how much you’d have to make for it to be as affordable as it was for my Dad? Figure $700 to 2 to 3 thousand a week. Some people make that nowadays, but not the poor. Remember, my father was dirt poor, getting by on $50 a week with six kids.

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House Calls in the Past; “Pretend” Doctors Today

But we got to see a real doctor. We even got a doctor who made house calls. Today? Well you get a pretend doctor who confers, along with a gaggle of other pretend doctors, with an actual physician, then gets back to you as you wait…and wait some more.

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And You Wait

955830597_092af7676dRecently, it took four hours for the visit and another four hours to get the prescriptions at the same hospital in another place…and the prescriptions didn’t all come through until after two weeks and a number of phone calls, as at one point they had to order a common prescription and then lost the order (had no record that it had ever been made; though on several phone calls they referred to it) and had to make it again. And this experience has been common. I’ve experienced it a number of times. I’m trying to acquire health care elsewhere, believe me.

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You Get an “Assumed” Doctor

OliverTwist_6957Did I get a doctor? No. Oh, they call themselves doctors. The last one was more honest and announced when he came in that he was so and so who was a “student doctor.” I didn’t hear him correctly. My mind scanned thousands of files in an instant and what it came up with I just had to ask. I said, “Did you say you are an ‘assumed doctor’”?

And You Like It

tumblr_lv1gf21YZO1r6m1z5o1_500And being “processed” like a piece of meat this way, you get a different “assumed doctor” every time. There is no continuity. You don’t bother to keep track of their names, for it doesn’t matter. You start all over on every visit. The only thing they know of you is what has been electronically recorded from previous visits; nothing human or relational is carried forward. They will tell you it is because all the “assumed doctors” are equally competent and qualified, so it doesn’t matter. Of course that is a rationalization for a system so “starved” of funding the personal touch has long ago been squeezed out in favor of assembly-line efficiency.

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Or You Choose to Die

So what is the upshot of all this. It is that many folks have to weigh getting health care in America—which is claimed to be “available”—against the complications and time of getting it. I don’t have a job, so I was able to persevere. What of folks who have to work full time or more? I was well enough to stand around and coherent enough to make notes and make phone calls. What of folks who are sicker than that?

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The Unspoken Costs of Health Care

2008_09_25_wall_stThe upshot is that many folks are weighing THESE costs of health care when choosing whether or not to seek help. And their decision is leaving many of these folks dead. I know of a number of people who have made such a decision; many of you also do.

Some Are Choosing a “Soylent Green” Escape

I know of one instance where it was even done consciously, for the person did not want to spend what might be her last time on Earth struggling with an insensitive and mean-spirited medical system, so she just opted to let her cancer take her in the serenity of her home and surrounded by loved ones. (Why am I thinking of that movie Soylent Green again? Well, maybe you remember that scene as well.)

Others Are Risking It

passion-of-the-christ-3.lrgrI know I myself weigh these costs in time and suffering and inconvenience whenever I feel I might need to be looked at for something. And very often…most of the time actually…I put off being looked at. ht_pepper_spray_meme_12_nt_111121_ssvI postpone doing tests that are made more time consuming and painful for poor folks (don’t get me started on that); and I often give up in pursuing the treatments and medications that I am prescribed…figuring that putting up with the suffering of the ailment is better than the suffering incurred in its cure. And I am not alone. Will it cost me my life? Perhaps.

Universal health care in America? Don’t make me laugh..

America—Best Health Care in the World
…Before Them

reagan1Now, compare all this with the way it was fifty years ago. hc-gop-prescriptionA friend of mine on Facebook shared how her brother was treated when he had a life threatening injury. This was that long ago and she relates they were poor. She says, they flew in a specialist from Australia to perform the delicate operation. I repeat, they were poor. But then this was all before Reagan…and Nixon. I’m getting to that.

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With the Excuse of “The Game,” Small-Hearted Folks Can Now Flaunt Their Mean-Spiritedness – The Compassion Gap

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“Stop War? Now, Don’t Go Gettin’ All Kumbaya on Me!” … Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Five: The Compassion Gap

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pepper spray 84 y-o occupy seattle 111511 (2)IngrahamSo what happened to our country? We were supposed to be a country that valued human life, for example, but is now valuing contract law over that.

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The Word’s More Important Than The Life

So the word has become more important than the person, and better that people sleep in the gutters or lie out in the park than to lend them a hand. And god forbid when you have children, that one of them get sick, someone have an accident, or someone get killed….

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Rules (Made Up to Benefit the Wealthy) Are Now More Important Than Life

194423-megyn-kellysantellismirkGoddamn it. Y’know, here you’ve got Rick Santelli saying, well they must have put in a kitchen or else they wouldn’t have gotten foreclosed on. Where does he get that? That’s not a fact. That’s a made up thing, just to get people angry.

3001217305_fc96d11d48_bAnd that’s the game. A game that’s not founded on any facts, only played to be won, and it’s won by making the best argument to arouse the most passions, the most negative passions in people, and to find scapegoats.

Stop War? Don’t Be Silly.

eric-cantor24mccain-apAnd this is the kind of thing that was brought up year after year over the decades to the point where it became that the things that I heard being valued growing up were laughable: compassion, if you were caring about people, or not wanting people to die.

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Say, there was a war or something and there was agony over the loss of life. And all these people would gather together out of their concern. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. People anguished and horrified by other people’s deaths and sufferings…reaching out to help them, help each other, comfort each other, pray together…hope…weep.

Oh My Lord, Kumbaya.

380431_10150394611429091_577414090_8854717_513826914_noccupy-wall-street.hippies.crppdYea, a great big kumbaya moment! Wow. And I’m sure that’s what you heard, too. So I get it. Ok, so you shouldn’t have any feelings toward your fellow suffering brother or sister. Is it, what, silly? Uncool? Weak? Wussy? Sappy? What?

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What is it you’re trying to prove to others with that?

..

What is it you’re hiding about yourself?

..

… What would Jesus have said to that…

..

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It seems more than the standard of living was lowered since those days. And I’m sure they are in many ways connected…. I’ll get into that later.

Health Not-Care: Democratizing the Hate, Humbug for the Poor, and The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About

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Foolin’ the People About America…The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Six: Health Not-Care

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Getting back to the change in the physical standard of living that Reagan wrought, though, let’s take for example the increase in health care costs. This is one of the necessities of life, and it’s been climbing out of reach, putting a burden on people, ok? …

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Humbug for the Poor

humbugforthepoorAs I explained in Part Two of “Obvious Truths,” Nixon addressed that problem in the Seventies. He was supposedly helping out the people, the poor…. Uh. But, no, he would never say that. He would never say he wanted to help the poor! Previous to him, in Johnson’s time…The Great Society and all that, yes. That was surely a time when you would hear talk like that. There was actually a War on Poverty then.

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But by the time of Nixon….

So, I guess that’s when it started happening.

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You couldn’t say you were actually going to help out the poor anymore. Because the truism, which I’m sure you all agree with, whether you admit it to yourself or not, is that the poor people deserve to be punished because obviously they’re lazy. Think about that; isn’t that the same stuff that, back in the day, they were saying about African Americans? …

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Democratizing the Hate

Who-reports-child-abuse-and-neglect2889767_370So isn’t it kind of like that racism has become classism? It’s kind of like a hatred that’s not been eliminated because they’re still saying that about people of color, but it’s been expanded. It includes more people–whites and blacks…and all other kinds of colors. All the poor, they’re all now lazy, deserving what they get.

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The Middle Class–The Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About

So instead what you hear today is like the “middle class”! Well, supposedly the middle class are ok people. They’re not deadbeats; they didn’t put in that kitchen they can’t afford…. Actually they’re the ones who are owning homes so some of them actually are the ones getting those new kitchens.

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Health Not-Care

Nixon Cared About Health…Healthy Profits.

Nixoncared..aboutprofitsSo Nixon’s answer to health care, to help the middle class, he started the move toward HMOs. And remember how it came about. There were actual White House tapes, an actual taped phone conversation of it. You hear Nixon talking to Ehrlichmann. And they are discussing the matter, health care. kaiserexposedNixon is told that Kaiser, and this is the guy who started Kaiser Permanente, jpmone of the top HMOs. He is told that Edgar Kaiser is proposing a “for rich-poorprofit” system of health care.

Now here we have people who can’t afford health care and now you want to have a system that’s going to add to the costs of it. How’s that you say?

Some People Just Wanting to Get Sick Again and Again!

hospitalinternYou say HMOs lower health care costs by reducing overhead? Maybe, but to all necessary costs that are already there, HMOs add the cost of profits to go to the owners of that health care system. Ok?

Also, Kaiser pointed out it would discourage “overuse” of medical treatment. Wow! So, here we go again.

pleasesiriwantsomemoreMitt_Romney_Corporations_Are_PeopleSo now we see that people who need medical treatment are just like those deadbeats, they’re like poor people, they’re overusing medical care. My god! They’re getting sick too much. And if you had a for-profit system, well, they could deny people coverage. And they could deny people medical treatment, no doubt, because they would naturally want to increase their profits.

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GOP-Think. GOP, Think! GOP…Think?

sarahpalinSo guess what? So, Nixon replied, “Well, now that I like.” This is a true story. gop-needs-its-brains-backSo this is a look into how Republicans think.

Well not long afterwards, Nixon gives a speech to present his sweeping new health care proposal. What does he say?

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Remember, there is this obvious disdain for certain groups of people who might be getting too much health care. On the other hand, Nixon is wanting to see that certain other groups of people will make out big time from profits that will be involved.

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But his speech doesn’t go like that. Nixon is recorded giving a speech, proposing a big solution, purportedly to answer the problem of the rising health care costs that are beginning to be felt at that time. He will emphasize that his proposal would be a great benefit to the middle class. [Footnote 1]

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Make It to the Middle Base and You Score.

BaucusMiddlemccainpalinKeep in mind as I was saying in Part Two, there was a time in which influential groups would consider they “had a home run” when they could dor001make a case that their proposal was going to benefit the tea party teaAmerican people. But by this point, because of the culture war and mean-spiritedness being stirred up in the country by Republicans, it had become necessary to single out the middle class as the only ones receiving the benefit, because, y’know, poor people…they’re not Americans.

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Thanks for Those Health Care Savings, Dick! Nixon’s Big Idea: HMOs … for One-Stop Larceny

Foolin’ the People About America…”Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick!” Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Seven: Hit Men for the HMOs

Foolin’ the People About America: Nixon’s Big Idea—HMOs

Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick.

So Nixon says he is going to lower health care costs. Well, you can see how right he was about that. Just look at Michael Moore’s movie on American’s health care system if you can handle knowing how bad it got. The documentary, “Sicko,” lays out in brutal detail how devastating it was to inject the profit motive into health care.

“I Was a Hit-Man for the HMO.”

There is one especially disturbing example of this. A former employee of a huge HMO testified before Congress. Crying and tearful she related how she was rewarded for denying an operation that would have saved a man’s life. It would have cost the HMO a half million dollars. Instead, he died; they increased their profits.

In another situation an HMO employee received bonuses upwards of $20,000 for cancelling coverage on people who were costing the insurer a lot of money. She cancelled hundreds of policies, including for those who were scheduled for life-saving procedures. In one “particularly good” year for this person, she saved her employer $6 million. I don’t know offhand how many folks died in exchange for her dutiful and lucrative actions and am not sure I want to. This is hard to look at, isn’t it?

The upshot is these HMO-persons were rewarded for taking people’s lives; and they are in no way untypical. Linda Peeno, the physician who testified before Congress, admitted as much; she admitted her action amounted to a murder, for which she should have been charged but wasn’t. She pointed out how perverse it was that instead the system rained rewards up her. Now you show me the moral dividing line between theses actions of professionals of the HMO and “professional” assassins…mafia hit men. For I don’t see it.

Pay Us Now. We’ll Think About Covering You Later.

Now you might argue that saving money on costly care means there would be more help for others.

But, no. That’s not the rationale. That’s another part of it. They can deny health care on any basis. They can deny it on any basis but they went out and they found more ways to make even greater profits. If you were going to cost them a lot of money, if  what you needed to live was medical treatment that they might consider too expensive, well what they would sometimes do is hire people to look into you. These people would be paid to research your background, to see if they could find something that could be used as an excuse to deny your costly procedures to you.

Michael Moore records in his documentary at least one such researcher who explains, with remorse, what he had been paid to do and how he would go about it. He, and people like him, would pore over your records to look for something, even slight, that they could hang a denial of coverage on. They would in particular look into your childhood for any care that they could say indicated the presence of a medical condition for you at that time.

When they found something, they would be able to say that you had a pre-existing condition and so they were not liable for your care now. They would claim that you lied on your application in not listing such an ongoing ailment so that they could drop you from coverage and let you die.

So people were being left to die, killed in this manner. Does this not amount to more “hits” put out on people by the HMO?

Buuuut It’s Contract Law!!

Did You, At Any Point in the Past, Pre-exist This Application?

Buuut it’s contract law! …dollar laid, dollar played, y’know. And it’s contract law that is stretched to benefit the people with the most money and who have the better lawyers and who can, y’know, twist things better in their favor. Here you have a situation, where, let’s say, somebody is dying and they’re dying of emphysema. I don’t know enough about medicine to know if that would be the kind of thing that could entail very costly care, but let’s just say it did. So this person very ill with emphysema might be informed that it had been discovered, let’s say, that they had a bronchial condition as a child…maybe to them, they were prone to get colds. But they would make the determination that your frequent colds shows a preexisting condition for you. Now you tell me how a person who is dying is going to be able to fight that.

Over Your Dead Body Getting Paid

We’ve all heard Obama’s story about his mother and what she had to go through prior to her death. She spent the last months of her life arguing with the medical insurers over the bills. She was being told they didn’t have to cover her. Are those the kind of final days you would want for a loved one of yours? How does that prospect fit your own view of your last days?

One-Stop Larceny

Getting back to Nixon, at the time of his health care proposal he said huge managed care systems, which he touted as being one-stop medical systems, were going to lower health care costs. This was so, he claimed, because cost sharing and lower overhead would rein in the price of providing medical care. He said these lower expenses would benefit the whole system.

Apparently he forgot to mention the for-profit part, which ended up funneling all those benefits, those lower expenses, into the pockets of the owners and shareholders. That is what happens when you put profit-hungry businessmen in charge of care. Gradually, America’s medical needs were primarily the purview of business, big business.

Remember, again, that the health care law that went into effect under Obama was to make sure everyone would receive coverage, not health care. It remains to be seen how effective this health care reform will be in reducing these sorts of abuses by insurers. No doubt it is better than what existed before. But it leaves intact the profit motive in American health care. So any regulation and prohibitions of abuses are likely to amount to tying down a ravenous beast with bungee cords. It is hard to believe this monster created by Nixon will not break free whenever it can and wreak much havoc before being stopped again…but again with piles of dead Americans in its wake.

You Mean You Care…And You’re Not Paid To?? (Oh, Kumbaya.)

Previous to all this with big business put in charge of the life or death decisions of Americans, much of what was involved in caring for the sick had been attended to by religious and charitable organizations. These concerned social institutions might be dedicated to idealistic or religious principles, for example, which included compassion and caring for the sick as one of their values or one of their religious ideals. So, much of health care had been in the hands of charitable entities and people dedicated to the idea of service, caring for the sick, getting them well, caring for your fellow person, your fellow man or woman, and so on; naturally the type of care you received was infused with such ideals.

But with Nixon all that changed. And Nixon loved it.

Corporations Crowding Out the Mom and Pops … HMOs Driving Out the Private Physician, It’s the Same Old Monopoly Game

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Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Eight: The Monopoly Game Again…It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life.

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The Monopoly Game Again: HMOs Drove Out Private Physicians

So then also, these businessmen with their HMOs are having near monopolies; they’re the only HMO providing health care in many areas. The only alternative is privately paid physicians. And these medical providers have costs that have have gone up because of their reduced client base, their patients having been siphoned off by the HMO.

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“Buy One Appendectomy, Get a Second One for a Dollar!”

So private care physicians have the same overhead, and now they’ve got less clientele. In addition to that, now with their making less money and having higher costs, they also have extra costs, of competition, advertising for the first time.

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“I Need to Take Two Aspirin…I’ll Call YOU in the morning.”

angry-anger-mad-furious-mob-crowd-yelling-hate-blame-blaming-accuse-accused-scape-goatdoctor smileBut that’s only one of the many costs that occur in a situation where you have a small market, with the same number of providers. You have a scrambling with other private small medical practitioners over a smaller pile, which increases not only the competitive costs involved in having to put oneself out imagesthere to win clients from competitors and thus further increases the cost of private care, it also increased pressures and tensions on private physicians who now are required to have two jobs. They have to be medical provider and business person. They have to work longer hours because of this too.

Of course you can imagine what a boon this was for medical care in our country.corp_signs Now you not only have to pay more for private care but also compared to not so long ago it is being increasingly performed by angry, stressed, tense, overworked, underslept professionals. Well what happens when you’ve got those kind of people providing you medical care on the private side?

So, on the one side–the mega-care side, you have them denying you medical care even if you’ve paid. Occupy-Wall-Street-Corporations-Suck-SignYou’ve got them denying you coverage if you have anything wrong, or if you’ve ever had anything in your life and you admit it. You either don’t get covered at all, or you may have paid premiums for years but when you get sick you don’t get treated so you die.

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“Take Two Aspirin and Call Me After Tax Time.”

AlperOn the other hand, you can pay the higher costs for private care out of your pocket. And these people are overworked, spending much of their time trying to drum up business and trying to take care of all the increasing paperwork of a competitive business enterprise and that of an ever increasing number of payers. So they’re making more mistakes.

ADS_April 2009-thumb-450x297And more mistakes equal what? More mistakes in medicine means more people dying, by mistake, or having the wrong procedure done, or having the wrong limb removed. The extra stress will push some physicians to “operate under the influence” of alcohol or the readily available prescription mood drugs glutting the market.

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chiropractorsofficeYou get the idea that things may have been getting worse over the years in a lot of areas?

So with all the extra pressure on medical practitioners, we begin to hear more and more about malpractice. So, another cost is introduced. And medical malpractice insurance for physicians has ever increasing premiums. This adds even more to the price of private care.

The Kind of Care That Increases Suffering

mountain_king_must_die_ii_by_tapsa-d3l5u57So you can see that the suffering of the masses, in both health care systems, is going up. As for the doctors themselves, well now they’re either out of business because they made a mistake or they’re keeping up with the competition and trying to make a living. But now they have these huge malpractice insurance payments. This is a cost HMOs can easily absorb, but for private physicians, it adds even more to their costs of business, their need to increase their fees, their loss of patients, their financial stress.

So what happens? They’re forced out of their professions. Or, they’re minds are filled up with financial considerations and they are burdened with concerns…and now they’re gonna treat you!

Foolin’ the People About America: Republicans Are for Small Business?

Making It So You Need a Car to Do Anything

Globalism-Flag_thumbamerican_slaves36Well, I’ve been around long enough, I saw this before. It’s a pattern of the big guys gobbling up the little ones. It’s the story of creeping corporate insertion into every aspect of your life that you keep seeing over and over again in America. And it’s changed America.

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Back in the Time of Neighborhoods

cash_mob_hawaii_the_sourcearticle-1250214-083FF92D000005DC-736_306x423There was a time when there were no supermarkets in America. I remember that time. You used to be able to walk up to the corner, walk down the street, and you’d see bakeries, drug stores. There were penny candy stores, there were meat markets…. There was a wonderful ambiance of community about it…it was a garden of delights…people smiling and everything.

Drive to the Store, Get a Loaf of Bread.

And now they have these huge mega supermarkets. And I saw the way it slowly changed; it didn’t happen overnight.

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Republicans—On the Side of the Mom-and-Pop Walmart

Those supermarkets — run by hourly wage workers — could beat mom-and-pop prices. Gradually over the years we don’t have meat markets, bakery stores….

And Republicans say they are for the small businesses, the backbone of the middle class. Well, 050-786949store2this is an example of just what a lie that is because, no, supermarkets are not small businesses. It’s all those meat markets, bakery stores and all that–those are the small businesses, they are the mom and pop, those are the average Americans trying to be self employed. Self-employment is not huge corporations.

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Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Thirteen:
The Great American About Face

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Footnote

1. For a humorous, hard hitting aside on this callous attitude of Republicans, on behalf of the rich, and as contrasted with Democratic efforts, check out this audio monologue of mine, “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…Who?!!”: Likely Constituent’s Response to Republican Governors Who Turned Down Unemployment Money from Stimulus to “Score Points” Against Obama“ below.

This four and a half minute clip is taken from the longer, 35-minute audio, “Naked Republicans Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish.”

You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…?!!…” –Comedy Monologue, audio clip by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is the audio clip of my comedic monologue. Click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below. The script for this piece is included below the player, fyi.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355

About the audio above

[From July 2009] What a riot these Republicans are. There was Louisiana, Alaska, Arizona, South Carolina, and Texas governors refusing stimulus money to “show up Obama.” Then they turn around and ask for it secretly, or as in the case recently with Texas, which turned down almost 550 million in unemployment extension money at the time, only in this last week (7/14-7/18) to ask for a loan from the federal government for about 440 million, get this, to pay for extensions on unemployment. HA!

bobbyjindelfakesmileWell, in this clip, I play a constituent of the Louisiana governor who went nationally to say he was going to turn down the unemployment money from the stimulus. Now, if you’re a Louisianan, and you’re on unemployment…hmmm…just imagine how freaking happy you’d be to hear that! Well, that is what I express in this clip.

Keep in mind this happened just after this governor had given the (horrible) Republican “response” to Barack Obama’s unofficial “State of the Union” address in January. And this governor, Governor Bobby Jindal, at the time was being touted big time as a presidential front-runner for the Presidency in 2012.

You’re gonna love this response to the self-serving “more principles-than-brains” political one-upsmanships at the expense of their constituents by these Republican x@#&%$%#@@# governors.

And the text of the “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME…” audio:

Ok, so now I’m one of those “constituents.” I’m thinking…

Thanks a lot, bastard, you think I got it easy? You jerk! Who the hell you think you are down there in Louisiana, Mr. freaking Governor who don’t need no additional unemployment money. No, idiot! You GOT a job! It’s me that can’t find work and that’s worried about my kids getting sick and, well, now the almost certainty, by the way because of your stupid-assed spiteful action to turn down my money for me. Now, I ‘m gonna lose my house, worry about my kids staying healthy, but you’ve done what? You’ve stood up to Obama (the guy who was gonna give me money?) You’ve said we don’t need no stinkin’ money and made yourself a spectacle on the national stage and, you think (here’s that lying again. You screwed us over and then you’re thinking you can tell us that we were better than that or something of other of a slick confusing fog of insanity.), and you think that this will give you a leg towards the Presidency.

Well, Mr. Jerk-off turning down my money for me like it’s my pride your fighting for, do you really think we are still that stupid, still that happy to be burdened and crushed for your aspirations, which obviously don’t include, you’ve made that damn clear, doing anything for any person, any “constituent, any citizen, no, not anyone” and it’s clear that our burdens are so meaningless to you that you will heap misery on us to do, now what was that again? You “stood up” to Obama? What the fuck, are you in grade school? Do you think I give a shit who’s staring who down? I’m trying to live a life; a life that you have just put a cloud of unhappiness and worry over that will not go away form many many years; in fact I may never own a home again.

But I won’t go on about things that cause your eyes to glaze over. Just let me ask you this Mister, wise-potato? You “stood up” to the guy who’s gonna give me money, and hold out his hand to me. Ok, Mr. more principles-than-brains, what’s your next big plan? Oh, I see, you’re gonna stand up to, well, Santa Claus. Oh, yeah, I hear it all right. Out on the National stage; spoutin out as if you’re talkin our mind; shit, you ain’t even one of us. But I hear you:”

“Nope, Mr. Matthews, you see we’re Louisianans? Not beggars. We don’t need Christmas. We can take care of ourselves. Let you folks out there have Christmas. I mean, if you’re so weak. So you’ve had it your whole life and now you’re kind of like addicted to it. Well OK. I’m not going to talk down any on those who are obviously so weak and needy.

But, you see, Mr. Matthews… Mr. Matthews, well let me put it this way, you ever come down to Louisiana? Ever? To visit or anything? You have? So you’ve met with some of our citizens, have you? You have. Well, then you know what a strong-willed, strong-spirited, and PROUD people we are down here, don’t you? You agree. So you see that’s why. I knew you would agree because it’s so obviously true about the folks that live down here, I didn’t see how you’d miss it.

So that’s OK, let Santa go somewhere else where he’s , you know, where they’re the folks that need to have a handout and can’t get by the year without having a good time. No, my constituents are strong-willed, and they wouldn’t have me letting any squirrely funny-suited guy out here prancin around and lookin foolish. Well, not us. We’re not foolish. We’re PROUD.


The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355



Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Thirteen:
The Great American About Face

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Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

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Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

Obvious “Truths”:

  • Americans are innovators and problem-solvers.
  • There’s nothing Americans can’t do, no problem we can’t solve, once we put our minds to it.
  • Things just keep getting better in America
  • Republicans are for small business.

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So unfortunately, after Reagan instituted “voodoo economics,” with prices on health care and pharmaceuticals going through the roof along with the sudden unexpected increases of other necessities of life, you had that lowered standard of living we have now become accustomed to for the great majority of Americans. You had a population that was poorer, in relative terms, and got increasingly poorer.

family_income_median_income_growth_productivity1

Over time, over the course of my lifetime, though we might ostensibly have appeared to prosper we did not. The apparent rise in standard of living was a result of the glut of new consumer items produced in an increasingly technological and complex culture. 955830597_092af7676dYou might be able to afford plenty of cheap trinkets and toys, but for things that pertained to your well-being and quality of life, such as health and medical care, good schools, wholesome food, higher educational opportunities, a clean environment, recreational opportunities, fuel and energy, leisure, family, and quality time, and so on we were ever more wanting.

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Peaking in the Sixties

In retrospect I can see we prospered in the Fifties and Sixties. The records show that Americans achieved a peak of affluence in the Sixties and that since then, and rapidly accelerating since the Eighties, we have been on a downward slide.

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Poor mothers could afford to stay home and take care of the kids.

ason504l6a00d8341c579653ef00e552b0f6fb8834-800wiI can see the ways we, living in the Fifties and Sixties, were as a culture fairly well off, though personally my circumstances were anything but that. My father made only fifty dollars a week for a time. But my mother never had to go to work. She actually did get a part-time job much later in life for the enjoyment of it. Can anyone today imagine that?

How Much for That House? Ok, Let Me Get My Wallet.

My father never made over a hundred dollars a week until later in his life he actually started his own small trucking outfit…that’s another story about who are the real job creators in America that I get into elsewhere. Yet he bought his home with cash he had saved up. Eight thousand dollars smack on the barrelhead in 1953. He never had to work three jobs to get by either, like some folks have to today. No mortgage on his house and he bought every car he owned—roughly once every five years—also with cash he had saved.

College Educations for Free in the Sixties and Seventies. #occupycollege today

No loans, never in debt and yet five of his six children attended at least some college and two attained at least Master’s degrees. I was talking with my older brother about his college education, which mirrored my own, and we both remember getting by with very little or no debt afterward. We both received enough to cover all college plus living expenses most years just on scholarships and grants—mostly state and federally funded—yet we both attended private, somewhat prestigious, colleges.

I know, millennial generation, but don’t blame us, we’re on your side. #occupycollege.

What’s health insurance?

My family didn’t have any health insurance, had never even heard of it. We were not well off, but we like most people could afford to go to the doctor. And similar to others we could even normally pay hospital bills, for maternity and so on. If anything very serious developed that required more money no one ever imagined that they would be turned away at a hospital. The Mercy Hospital in my city, run by a religious order of Catholic nuns and funded by contributions, was a place one could always go regardless of one’s means. Sounds unbelievably quaint, doesn’t it? I know. I can hardly believe it was once that way myself.

Glenn Beck as Jesus

Continue with Starving for Prosperity: Foolin’ the People About America…Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part 2


Return to Foolin’ the People About History: Reagan’s Great Ruse and The Face of the Enemy, Ours

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