Posts Tagged conception

What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide and the Necessary Mess of Transformation: Hard to Believe, But We’re Getting Saner

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The Cycle of All Events, the Evolution of Parenting, and Auspicious Collective Regressions: Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One

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Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

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There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope

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The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope

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Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals

clip_image002clip_image004At the point when the perinatal unconscious arises, individuals — and collectively, society — have the choice to turn toward the emergence of these feelings or to turn away from them.

In turning toward these feelings we embrace, feel, and if we go deeply enough into that, we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.

clip_image006In turning away from them we shun them, act them out, and are enslaved by them…thus we act unconsciously, trance-like, zombie-like.

If we face these inner forces—we call that feeling them…in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth—we integrate them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.

Satan.symbolCD_0094Or the individual and society can avoid this going within—as depicted in the peace symbol—and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down—the Satan symbol, the pentagram.

one.tries.to.be.strongIn acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. POSSESSED-PERSONOne tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” maya-deren-photo-of-her1This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can take over one’s soul.

So in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out…the greatest struggle.

Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process.clip_image012 It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth. The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill. [Footnote 1]

For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.

A “Spiral Dance”

These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain—this birth trauma—in an unending cycle of feelings having these components

    • Periods of feelings of expansion
    • Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
    • Aggression
    • Release

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Ritter3Tao_YinYangEarth2Then back around again.

In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war…the struggle, the battle…is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression…akin to a kind of “limbo”…before life can begin anew. A reconception is necessary.

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The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives

pt654_84-croppedThe reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this reconceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength—akin to the expansion that follows winning. C11Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

highlights_pk2And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battle truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.

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Where There Is Real Hope

facefeelingsagainandagainvulnerableinwombIt would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. But progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically BreathofLife (3)transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior zombie_reaganor we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.

Self-Reflection-in-a-Cup-of-TeaWe are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways KumbayaCrowdof dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way—and some ways are better than others for doing this—so that we can have some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.

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Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy

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Railing Against the Darkness, The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, and Social Progress Requires Regression

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The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”

pt654_84-croppedWhat we absolutely don’t have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability—through will or reason alone—to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and hence of positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them.more-easily-irritated Trying to reason with and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as trying to reason with a lizard and convince it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a gila monster.

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What We Call “Reason” Is Largely Just Rationalization

This impotence of intellectual understanding in the face of these patterns of self-destruction occurs because these schemas are rooted in memories existing in an emotional and entirely dissociated part of the brain, which is hardly touched by neocortical admonishing of any kind. As deMause correctly points out,

[The fetus’s] “early experiences have been found to be recorded in a separate early neural network—a dissociated emotional memory system centering in the amygdala, quite distinct from the declarative memory system centering in the hippocampus that is established in later childhood.” [Footnote 2]

Disclaiming these cycles, which inevitably pass through darkness, and reliance on “will-power” to change one’s patterns, which includes self-sabotage, has been exposed in its impotence in modern times. We see as evidence the growing acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness and, indeed, counter-effectiveness of psychoanalysis. [Footnote 3]

Railing Against the Darkness

So the question begging to be asked is “What do we do about it?” What do we do about these pernicious cycles?

bill-owensclip_image002And when these elements erupt in society in harmless, possibly healing ways, how do we view them? Do we, as Mayr and Boelderl do in their article, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe,” decry the regression…as if by disclaiming it we could somehow keep the cycle from happening? [Footnote 4]

Mayr and Boelderl write, for example, that the situation of collective regression in Europe “strikes us as being high-explosive [sic] and bitter enough.” [Footnote 5]

In another place they exclaim, “What is horrible about this insight [about the increasing collective regression in Europe] is the additional observation that regression is becoming still more radical.” [Footnote 6]

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This response of railing against the “Darkness” is a Freudian response. Yet it is not even a neo-Freudian one, since regression in the service of the ego—which began to be seen as ever more important by neo-Freudians—is not acknowledged, let alone considered.

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Social Progress Requires Regression

406327_251312034972552_198185372_ngeologicallycuriousThat regression in the service of the ego is not considered is confirmed by Mayr and Boelderl in their statement that “[R]egression by definition is a process of repression and a defense mechanism.” [Footnote 7]

These are surprising words, in light of the concept of regression in the service of the ego and awareness of the clinically based evolution of psychotherapeutic theory since Freud’s original postulations, over a half-century ago.

death-as-an-allyclip_image004They are even more awry if one considers the universal, cross-cultural, implementation by societies of rebirthing rituals to handle the same kinds of forces we are confronted with. The anthropological literature is rife with these accounts.

Further, Grof has meticulously shown that regularly going into altered states of consciousness where one confronts this material is a prime function of cultures, and it occurs nearly universally although it is woefully lacking in Western culture for the most part.

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Moreover, these words by Mayr and Boelderl indicate a conflict with or ignorance of the fact that deMause’s theory of evolution of historical change requires regression on the part of parents, while parenting their children, as the primary “engine” of sociopsychological progress.

For deMause writes,

“[T]he ultimate source of all historical change is psychogenesis, the lawful change in childrearing modes occurring through generational pressure…. Psychogenesis depends upon the ability of parents and surrogates to regress to the psychic age of their children and work through the anxieties of that age better the second time than in their own childhood.” (op. cit., 1982, p. 135, emphasis mine.)

clip_image006satanBut this mistake by these two social scientists would not be all that important if it was not the perfect example of the kind of uninformed attitude we have, generally speaking, in Western societies about these forces. This attitude is reinforced by a Judeo-Christian tradition of specialness and scapegoating in the West. It is a pervasive feeling about these things; specifically it, itself, is the actual defense. While this is a widespread reaction to our inner realities it is far from science, and even further from the truth or reality about these things.

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“Stop It!” … Yeah, That’s Gonna Work

At any rate, if we adopt this Western, Judeo-Christian, Freudian tactic of decrying the darkness, we are as effective in derailing the cycle of violence and war as Freudians are in what amounts to admonishing their clients to “stop it!” when it comes to their neurotic self-sabotaging.

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For people cannot will themselves to merely stop their cycles of neurotic self-sabotage and self-destruction, which are the individual manifestations/ acting out of their birth traumas. As mentioned these directors of action operate out of a different part of the psyche, and brain, than one’s conscious willing part. They are simply not accessible, so hardly amenable, to rational or willful input. And changing one’s thoughts to affect them is about as helpful as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.

Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One: Auspicious Collective Regressions

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People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”

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Regression in the Service of the Ego

With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.

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doctor-handing-pills-to-a-patientEponahorsegoddessThese schools/strategies include the psychiatric—the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the ego in a higher Self (a spiritual center) beyond or transcending the cycles. [Footnote 8]

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cant.luxury.negative.thoughtOther approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these.

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normal_ButterflyOfHealingFINAL_LG_Jpg2Finally, these newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy, which includes primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of (experiential) meditation (Vipassana meditation, for example), Reichian and healingcrisisbioenergetic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy—experiential ones—ones that involve reliving traumas—and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology.

reunionThe point is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives—and all of those that acknowledge the importance of 947867-lightdarkness_largeregression in the service of the ego—and from the perspective of the entire field of experiential psychotherapy, the answer to the cycles of violence, war, and death-rebirth is to stop the acting out, not by simply intellectually decrying it—as if one can actually talk oneself out of one’s inner fears and one’s Darkness/Shadow—but by reliving those cycles of violence at their origins…their primal roots. In the case of perinatal forces, those forces from “the dark side,” this is accomplished by reliving the violence of birth, a perinatal trauma that is thoroughly and masterfully delineated by Grof and deMause. [Footnote 9]

Auspicious Collective Regressions

But from this perspective of experiential psychotherapy—one completely congruent with and grateful of deMause’s contributions in psychohistory as well—regression, in Europe, or elsewhere, is not seen as something to decry, disclaim, be horrified of, or be seen as dangerous but is seen as an opportunity. Regression is certainly not seen as a form of defense but as the opposite of that. Regression is part of a process of diminishing one’s defenses against one’s internal reality of pain and trauma.

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Thus, examples of blatant collective regression as in Europe—more so to the extent they are relived, released, and integrated—are entirely auspicious for the eventual elimination of war as a collective device of acting out—defending against—the painful feelings coming from one’s personal history which one carries around, all unknowingly, and which pervade, in one way or another, in forms subtle and not so subtle, every moment of one’s consciousness in the present.

From this experiential psychotherapeutic perspective, we have a different feeling about developments like those that Mayr and Boelderl describe as collective regression in Europe and Lawson describes as occurring at rock concerts. [Footnote 10]

From a more enlightened viewpoint these cultural phenomena should have us, if not dancing in the streets, at least hopeful of a gradual decrease in the use of war and violence. Why? It is because the youth who display this “regression” so blatantly were brought up by an “advanced” form of child-rearing than that of previous generations, that they have fewer defenses, fewer layers of obfuscation covering up their unconscious psychodynamics; consequently the regression is seen more clearly in their behavior. [Footnote 11]

Unflinching Belief Related to Total Dissociation

Why is this important? DeMause points out that people do go to war, and that prior to it their perinatal dynamics come to the fore, as evidenced by perinatal-laden words and images in the media and in leaders’ speeches used to describe the situation and its dynamics. Thus, our leaders take us into war, they act out their perinatal dynamics…and we in following them act out ours…in such gruesomely overt ways because these dynamics are so hidden, repressed, and overlaid with defenses that the conscious mind has absolutely no access to, and hence insight into, them as being part of one’s unconscious dynamics.

clip_image008Consequently the conscious mind is completely able to convince itself that those dynamics are actual, real, and doubtless parts of the situation and therefore require an actual, real, and extreme response. The amount of resolve required to act out war can only be wrought of an unflinching belief in the rightness, the absolute correctness of one’s perspective of the situation and therefore of that extreme course of response. And that can only be brought about by a total dissociation from one’s perinatal traumas, and a complete and utter projection of it on the outside—the enemy, to be specific.

Blatant “Sickness” Related to Being Real

The contrary is also true: When there does not exist that total and complete dissociation of the perinatal trauma—when it is, as in Europe and rock concerts currently, closer to the surface, less defended against, less repressed and, hence, more blatant—it is more accessible to consciousness and less likely to be acted out in the extreme as in war. Instead it is more likely to be acted out in less extreme forms, such as jumping into mosh pits, carrying pacifiers, listening to baby tunes about the, very real, difficulties of being a baby, and so on.

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Finally, it is more likely to be actually allowed to emerge in consciousness and be relived, and thereby “healed”…and gone beyond, to be replaced by something more benign and more socially constructive, and thus to be removed forever as a motivation to war or violence. This is the auspicious view of the developments described by Mayr and Boelderl. [Footnote 12]

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Janov was the first to point out that a permanent resolution of underlying trauma initially entailed an aggravation of symptoms and symbolic acting out. That is to say, the underlying dynamics become more blatant and apparent in behavior. [Footnote 13]

Janov was also the first to note that the acting-out and overt neurotic was closer to being “real,” and therefore really sane, than his or her highly functioning and “normal,” but repressed, rigidly defended, and unfeeling neighbor. [Footnote 14]

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The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History: I Know It’s Hard to Believe But We’ve Been Getting Saner

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Thanks to You We’re Getting Saner: The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History

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Evolution of Parenting – We’ve Been Getting Saner

Finally, the correctness of the view that being “crazy” in an insane world might be more sane has been borne out in recent history. DeMause describes an evolution of parenting from ancient times to the present which involved ever decreasing psychosis and violence and increasing caring and consciousness of the needs of children. He connects this decrease in violent child caring to ever decreasing violence and psychotic acting out in societies.

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DeMause labels the most common modern parenting mode the socializing mode. Short of the quite recent helping mode—which only really rose to prominence in the last three decades—the socializing mode is the most advanced and most humane.

Lest there be any confusion, I wish to point out that my own theoretical first_peopleunderstanding differs from deMause’s in one important respect. While I agree with his evolution of child-rearing over the course of civilization and within recorded time, I believe he is wrong about prehistory and what primal peoples were like and the kind of child-caring they engaged in. He depicts prehistoric societies as psychotically oblivious of the needs of children, engaging in, first, infanticidal; then, second, abandoning; then, third, ambivalent modes of child-rearing. Whereas it seems to me the overwhelming evidence and increasing numbers of anthropologists point to a natural “organic” child-caring being employed in the the mists of the past quite a bit more “advanced” than even many modes employed today.

kapstadt-wandern-mit-pavianenI believe the change from the loving parenting we see in many primal peoples and in Nature among many of our planetmates to the infanticidal, abandoning, and ambivalent modes he has described for early historic cultures is a product of that ever increasing control of Nature that went into full gear with the agrarian revolution, some ten to twenty-five thousand years ago. So, I am saying that brutal parenting was a consequence of “civilization” and was at its worst at the beginnings of recorded time.

But I agree we have been gradually evolving to better modes of child-caring over the history of civilization to the most sane and psychologically beneficial modes employed in recent decades, which, you might want to note, are very much like the modes of the earliest humans. I describe why and how we lost our connection with Nature and loving ways of parenting—how we left “Eden”—in my book and blog “The Great Reveal.”

The Cycles of Time

I believe my understanding shows once again how much of what modern folks thought of “development”—including it being linear and increasing from “darkness” to “light” with ourselves always at the top (conveniently)—is wrong and merely part of an anthropocentric bias and an ethnocentric heritage. For more and more, as we lay down those blinders to reality, we notice the evidence of the cyclical nature of everything—from our lives (ashes to ashes) to the physical Universe’s expansion and contraction, to the vibrations at the subatomic level, the waves in the sea, the turning of the Earth and the revolutions of the solar systems, and I contend now also, the so-called “history” of our species on Earth. This is the thoroughly postmodern idea that human time is also cyclical, with over and again peoples returning to earlier halcyon times only to “fall” away from them.

The Worst of Times Quality of Current Events

This idea of time as cyclical not linear is in keeping with Eastern philosophies, as well as indigenous ones. Hindu thinking currently has us at the depths of the Kali Yuga, the worst part of the cycle right now, with matters to be reversed very soon and the best of times just ahead. And, as I have been describing in my books Falls from Grace and Primal Renaissance and will be directly pointing out in my upcoming book, Primal Return, we are currently seeing a most necessary return to a more harmonious way of being and a more natural self. And with it, requiring it, to some extent preceding it, we are evolving to the most advanced mode of loving parenting.

The “Best of Times” Nature of Our Parenting

Psychohistorian Glenn Davis, following deMause, analyzed the most advanced form of child-caring short of the most recent helping mode—the psychogenic parenting mode deMause termed socializing—and found that it comprised four submodes. In order, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century and each one a more “evolved” and humane one than the previous one, they are the submodes of psychic control, aggressive training, vigorous guidance, and delegated release. [Footnote 15]

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Oh, Be-HAVE. WWII Generation … Received Aggressive-Training and Vigorous-Guidance Parenting

Davis concluded that in America the Vietnam War was perpetrated by individuals belonging almost entirely to the aggressive-training and vigorous-guidance psychoclasses. [Footnote 16]

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Questioning Authority and Oneself Is Good. Boomers … Received Delegated Release Parenting

clip_image0048065543_origYet the Vietnam War was brought to an end largely as a result of the efforts of an antiwar movement whose largest component was a Sixties youth brought up under a more advanced delegated-release child-caring mode. [Footnote 17]

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The delegated release mode, which resulted in the phenomenon of Sixties youth and the counterculture, is the most “advanced” mode short of the helping mode.

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“Let’s Collaborate” – Millennials. Received the Most Advanced Parenting – Helping … “We Just Want You to Be Happy.”

trust-father-sonboyjumpintomanshandsclip_image006The helping mode is the child-caring mode employed widely by the Sixties generation for their children, the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y. So, a helping mode of parenting was enjoyed by the children of a delegated-release psychoclass, the Boomers. Sixties youth are seen, psychologically, to have the most the most “advanced” ego structures short of their children taught within a helping mode. [Footnote 18]

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What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide – Peace Is Painful: But Better Psychotic Than Warring

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Ending War and Humanicide—Peace Is Worth its Price of Suffering: Better “Emotionally Disturbed” Than “Healthily” Fighting in War

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Walking In Another’s Moccasins

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It is obvious that these Sixties youth did not have the same unflinching and unqualified belief in the absolute rightness of their country’s position in Vietnam as did many of their parents. clip_image009[1]This is obviously the case in a psychoclass of youth chanting a generational mantra, “Question authority!” and whose more extreme members would at times even go over to the perspective of seeing the war from the eyes of the “enemy,” the Other.

As I mentioned earlier, among the Sixties Generation we saw Jane Fonda’s journey to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags by protesters, clip_image011[2]and the carrying of little red books on the sayings of Chairman Mao. These are obvious indicators that the generation as a whole was open to seeing the war from the North Vietnamese perspective: That is, as a conflict perpetrated by a foreign nation that was hypocritical in its espousal of democracy in that it prevented democratic elections that would have without doubt elected Ho Chi Minh and instead it installed a puppet-ruler in the South, making Vietnam a virtual colony of the United States. From this perspective, the clip_image013_thumb[3]Vietnam War was for the Vietnamese as much a war for independence as the American Revolution was for the U.S.

This is just an example of how there are two sides to every issue and how an attempt at empathy or “walking in The Other’s moccasins”—made possible by a closeness to a perinatal unconscious that is also an opposite perspective than that of the conscious mind—can lead, at the minimum, to the reluctance necessary to prevent engaging in at least the most blatant and horrific forms of violence…against others, but consider also, against Nature.

The Perinatal Generation

clip_image0143At any rate, is there evidence that this undermining of the self-righteous position necessary for the instigation and carrying out of war and ecocide—this ability to see at least somewhat from The Other’s perspective and not just one’s own—is in truth correlated with a closeness to perinatal dynamics, a closeness to the unconscious for that generation of youth, those of the Sixties? The answer: Absolutely yes!

clip_image016_thumbAs mentioned in a previous part, sociologist Kenneth Keniston did psychological studies of members of the Sixties Generation.

He was inspired to do so through his noticing that he was seeing something really unusual and radically different in these youth than what he had ever seen. This led to his fascination with discovering what made them so different. And he documented his findings in two books—The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society and Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. Roughly speaking he chose to study the unconscious dynamics of both the “alienated-hippie” and the “activist” sectors, respectively, of that generation. [Footnote 19]

Blushing Troll-Handlers

pacifier.millennial.gen_thumbbill-owens_thumbAt the risk of repeating myself, I wish to remind the reader that a reading of his books—keeping in mind that Keniston knew nothing of perinatal dynamics at that time, and few people did, for that matter—reveals a degree of perinatal imagery, fantasy, and acting out—especially among “the uncommitted”—enough to make a troll-handling, pacifier-wearing, mosh-pit jumping youth of today to blush! [Footnote 20]

Self-Analysis and Psychological-Mindedness

woman-looking-in-mirror_thumbcandle.666655jpg_thumbBecause of this peculiar perinatal access, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that Keniston also found an unusual amount of inner reflection—questioning oneself—alongside the more well known questioning authority. This he labeled “overexamined life” for the alienated sector and “psychological mindedness” for the activists.

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Better Emotionally Disturbed Than “Healthily” Engaging in War

So, being close to one’s perinatal imprints, being less defended against one’s inner unconscious painful memories, leads to one being able to question not just oneself—and therefore to be a catalyst to personal growth and a quest for truth—but also the actions of one’s society. It is a counterbalance to our tendency to act out in violence to others as in war and to Nature as in ecocide. It means people will suffer more inner turmoil and pain, will feel more psychologically “disturbed,” and will be less likely to take it out on others, will be less likely to make others or the environment “pay” for what happened to them.

Let us contrast that with its opposite. DeMause writes,

Hitler’s projection of his fears…into Jews and foreigners helped him avoid a psychotic breakdown and enabled him to function during his later life, as long as others shared his delusion of poisonous enemies.

Therefore acting out collectively, as in war, can prevent a psychotic breakdown in certain individuals.

Better Psychotic Than Waging War

clip_image0173But when the consequences of acting out one’s birth trauma, collectively, is millions of people—including oneself—dead, not to mention the uncountably large loss of material and personal resources, it is clear that by comparison a psychotic breakdown is a more benign alternative for either the individual or the society in which that or those individuals act.

Similarly, not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual…oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a “rite of passage”…would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.

Some folks might even be motivationally paralyzed—receiving information from the unconscious that contradicts and undermines the stance and beliefs of their conscious ego. But when that egoistic stance is slanted, commonly, towards war, violence, selfishness and greed and corresponding environmental apathy, then better one would be indecisive, overwhelmed, and doing nothing.

The Price of Emotional Pain Is Minuscule Compared to That of War

Yet it is true that this neurotic breakdown, of at least a small amount, on the scale of society would result in the kind of collective regressions that Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson describe. That is, the cause of peace, of the saving of human lives, requires that people pay the price of encountering their primal pain.

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clip_image019[1]By all measures, this peace price is minuscule. It is even more worth it when you take into account the fact that many people, after initially “breaking down” for lack of a collective…and highly destructive…act-out like war/aggression, will actually succeed in reconstructing a self more in line with reality, through the dynamics and means categorized under the term regression in the service of the ego, desccribed above. Regardless of professional help…which would be nice but is not always available or practical…some people just find a way.

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Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Footnotes

1. A. Briend, “Fetal Malnutrition: The Price of Upright Posture?” British Medical Journal 2 (1979): 317-319.

2. DeMause, op. cit., 1995, p. 12, emphasis in original.

3. See, for example, Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, trans. by Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, especially “Vantage Point 1990,” pp. vii-ix.

4. Daniela F. Mayr & Artur R. Boelderl, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe.” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (1993): 143-156.

5. Ibid., p. 144.

6. Ibid., p. 148, emphasis mine.

7. Ibid., pp. 149-150.

8. Regarding the “experiential,” I should make clear that this approach is, from the perspective of the experiential psychotherapeutic approach I will be describing shortly, actually the superficial symbolic acting out of these underlying and powerful cycles in a way that is only a little less impotent than the Freudians.

9. DeMause, op. cit., 1995.

10. Alvin H. Lawson, “Placental Guitars, Umbilical Mikes, and the Maternal Rock-Beat: Birth Fantasies and Rock Music Videos.” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (1994): 335-353.

11. Mayr and Boelderl claim quite wrongly and quite strangely—as if to make the facts not conflict with DeMause’s psychogenic theory, or as if to cover up some hole in their analysis—that those caught up in the pacifier craze were raised under the intrusive and socializing parenting modes (op. cit., 1993, p. 145) and yet, in 1992, were between the ages of 15 and 30 (Ibid., p. 143). This is hard to understand because these youth would have been born between the years 1962 and 1977 in advanced Western countries of mostly Western Europe—Italy, Germany, Austria, all of Europe, and even the U.S. (Ibid.).

However, the intrusive and socializing modes are associated, by DeMause, with the eighteenth century and the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, respectively, in the Western world (DeMause, op. cit., 1982, p. 62). On the other hand, the helping mode begins mid-twentieth century in the Western world (Ibid., p. 63).

The conclusion from this is that these youth, described by Mayr and Boelderl, would have been greatly influenced by the helping mode. They would be expected, at least, to have received the most advanced methods of child-caring overall in the world at this time—considering DeMause’s theory—since they are the most recent progeny of the Western world!

Indeed, if these cannot be considered products of the helping mode, who can be? In order for Mayr and Boelderl to dispute this and claim they were exceptions to the rule and were raised under intrusive and socializing modes, they would have had to do a study demonstrating this, or at least cite one done. And this they do not do.

12. Michael D. Adzema, “Reunion With the Positive (Self), Part 1: The Other Half of ‘The Cure.’” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 1(2): 72-85. Reprinted on the Primal Spirit site.

13. Arthur Janov, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis. New York: Dell, 1970.

14. Ibid.

15. Glenn Davis, Childhood and History in America. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1976.

16. Ibid., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and the Youth Revolt,” and p. 240.

17. Ibid.

18.Ibid., p. 241.

19. Kenneth Keniston, The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society. New York: Dell, 1965; Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968.

20.While these aspects of youth are laid out by Keniston, a fuller delineation of these dynamics are to be seen in my work-in-progress, tentatively titled The Once and Current Generation: “Regression,” Mysticism, and “My Generation.” [Stay tuned.]

Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

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Four Earliest Roots of War, Bigotry, Capitalism, and Pollution: Blueprints of Human Nature and Prenatal Personalities … Profound Sculpting of Who We Are Occurs at a Time We Cannot See

Prenatal Imprints of “Human Nature”: Four Programs of Human Personality Are Written Into Us in the Womb

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Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Four: Prenatal Imprints of Our Unnatural Self

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The Perinatal Pulls of Pollution: Air Pollution and Fetal Oxygen Starvation

Increased Carbon Dioxide, But Also Decreased Oxygen

SuffocationTotalRecallArnoldScream-thumb-500x273-55189One overlooked, but hugely pervasive perinatal element of these strange days is connected to the increasing carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere called “the greenhouse effect” which occurs alongside the curiously overlooked yet necessarily corresponding decreases in oxygen levels. There is increasingly less oxygen as we use it up burning carbon-based fossil fuels and making carbon dioxide. [Footnote 1]

We have more carbon dioxide for that reason and also because we are stupidly destroying the Earth’s mechanisms for turning that carbon dioxide back into oxygen…forests and ocean plankton, for example. This increased carbon dioxide is called “the greenhouse effect.” While this has been looked at from the perspective of it creating global warming and climate change, there are even stronger corporate (profit-motivated) as well as personal psychological reasons why we do not look at its most immediate effect on humans—the amount of oxygen we get from the air we breathe. We will steal at least a brief glance into some psychological reasons now and while we are at it uncover rich veins of understanding of and possible solutions for not only our current environmental problems but certain political and social dilemmas which we will find are operating dialectically with them. For there are provocative and profound influences from our experiences in the late stages of our womb life on the kaleidoscope of our current postmodern lives.

Air Pollution Bring Up in Us Uncomfortable Feelings From Our Births

For the increased carbon dioxide and reduced oxygen of the globe is analogous to the situation of “fetal malnutrition,” described by Briend and DeMause, that occurs prior to birth, and which is the basis for DeMause’s explanation of poisonous placenta symbolism. Keep in mind in particular that we experience this reduction in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide in the form of air pollution, which is most pronounced in larger cities. [Footnote 2]

The Perinatal Pushes on Human Nature

Bipedalism Causes Birth Pain

But let’s back up a bit and put this in context. Because humans stand upright—are bipedal—in the latest stages of gestation/pregnancy the weight of the fetus, now nearly at its largest, presses upon the arteries feeding the placenta and bringing oxygen to the unborn child. Of course this is most pronounced when the mother is standing, as the fetus weighs down upon arteries between itself and the bones of the pelvis. Reduced blood and oxygen means the fetus is not getting as much oxygen as it wants and could use. The fetus cannot gasp for breath but one can imagine it having a similar feeling…recall the sensation of holding one’s breath under water.

Birth Pain Makes Humans Out of Planetmates

This is an uncomfortable situation for the fetus which goes on for a long time and gives rise to many of our adult feelings of claustrophobia and entrapment, depression, no-exit hopelessness.This is one of those specific birth traumas we humans have acquired because of becoming bipedal that other species, our planetmates, do not have. It makes us different and sets us apart from all other species in ways that are not often positive or beneficial, however human. It is something that is crucial to the understandings I bring forth in my book, The Great Reveal (See “Bipedalism and Birth Pain“).

Four Blueprints of Human Consciousness Are Written in the Womb

Looking more closely at it, there are four major feeling constellations involved in this late gestation discomfort. They, along with other imprints from our prenatal and perinatal experiences, are integral parts of the foundation of our humanness—that part which is normally called “human nature” and is considered to have a basis that is genetic only.

These Aspects of Late Gestation Pain—Crowded, Gasping, Poisoned, Dirty —Are Important Molds For Human Nature, Which Scientists Have Heretofore Naively Labeled Genetic

It is a joke to think that just because a trait exists in humans at the time of birth that it is rooted in our DNA alone. That thinking is as archaic as flat earth theories became after the heliocentric revolution. For there are a full nine months of individual experience prior to birth that, being the earliest influences on all experiences and perceptions after them, are far more important in determining who we become and how we act later on than anything that happens to us after birth, even if it also occurs to us early on, as in infancy or childhood. It is wholesale naïve and rather quaint that esteemed scientists and intelligent lay folk would subscribe to the idea that just because one cannot see something happening with one’s eyes, it doesn’t have observable consequences. By that reasoning, we would never attribute causation to molecular events and would have no science of chemistry.

So, no, there are profound imprints on the way we think, view and interpret our experience, view the world, and act in relation to ourselves, others, and the world, which are stamped upon our psyche by our earliest experiences. For now let us look at the provocative and profound influences from our experiences in the late stages of our womb life. They are especially deep and far-reaching molds for all later experience because they are, in general, the most painful, uncomfortable, and overwhelming experiences we have in the entire first nine months of our physical existence.

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Four Blueprints of “Human Nature”

These imprints on our psyche caused by uncomfortable experiences in late gestation that are molds for and roots of a great deal of the later experience and behavior of humans can be put in four categories:

Crowded … “Back Off!”

afgsghstrghtrhhoardnewspaperFirst, we experience crowded, restricted conditions in the womb as we get larger and no longer enjoy the blissful uninhibited freedom of the previous time of our short lives.

Kowloon-Walled-City-12I discussed in a previous section how we manifest this through overpopulation and then react to or run away from those feelings through activities like swimming and dancing. 9For now, suffice it to say we act this out as nations through wars in general (pushing back “lines” of the enemy), especially wars of “expansion.” Environmentally, we feel the need to push back and pave over Nature all we can. We’ll get more into these sorts of things soon.

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Stifled… Gasping … “They’re Sucking the Very ‘Life Blood’ Out of Us!”

suffocating_by_jolsariellaSecond, because of pressure on arteries we experience a reduced blood flow and get less oxygen, therefore we experience “stuffiness,” suffocating feelings, feelings of need, want, and lack…and deprivation.

Later in life as individuals we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need—greed. qwthdgwry5y6p'uAs nations we are compelled to exploit resources from those conquered territories we “expanded” into—colonialism and imperialism. It is fascinating how we act this out on both sides of class war and revolution also; that part is coming up soon. For now I just want to give you an idea of the critical importance of the understandings just ahead.

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Disgusted… Poisoned … “Don’t Feed Me That Bullcrap!”

car1Third, the blood we do receive is not as good as it was, so we feel what we do get is “poisonous”…deficient, unhealthy, harmful…even deadly and threatening as in the feeling we might be being poisoned to death. witch_s640x427It is “bad blood.” This sounds like the deprivation/gasping feelings, but though it is related it has a different quality: The difference is between neo-wakes-upgasping for breath as in being held under water and feeling one will die for lack of oxygen, versus being in a gas Jews-Gas-Chamberchamber and feeling that the air we breathe is foul, unhealthy, smelly…and is deadly because of its toxicity. They are considerably different in that in one we feel we will die for lack of resources—the outside is withholding something we need. In the other the outside very much is impinging on one but in a bad way; it is forcing itself on us, and it is felt as an assault.

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Eichmann-jew_1875209ilonelygirlThis crops up later…these feelings have fractals at all levels…as the difference between a child being hurt because he or she is ignored, abandoned, unloved, or left alone versus a child getting asdfagagaghshshshs“attention” but in the form of assault, abuse, violence, sexual assault. The first is a lack of Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, walk to gas chamberssomething; the other is an unwanted getting of the opposite of what one wants/needs. It is the difference between being “starved” for knowledge and being “fed” propaganda, not the “pure” truth.

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hitler-andyouth-fullAn interesting aside and look forward into what is coming up is that it is because the Nazis in particular were so caught up in this kind ofchelmno2 “bad blood” matrix of feelings in the policies they carried out that they even created the manner of death for Jews that they did—gas chambers. In other words, because they felt the “blood” (money) they were receiving was “poisoned” (tainted, manipulated) by the Jews, it made the most perfect sense then, when it occurred to them, to fight back against these sources of “tainted blood” (Jews) by forcing “tainted blood” into them also, until they died (gas chambers). [Footnote 3]

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Irritated… Dirty … “Eeew!”

irritation-thumb17549753Fourth, there are feelings caused by the fact that the decreased blood flow caused by pressure on the arteries providing blood to the placenta means that there will be reduced efficiency in removing the byproducts of oxygen combustion by the fetus. matrix-pod (2)These are waste products or toxins of the biochemical process of food conversion into energy that are normally removed by the blood through the veins…to be expelled eventually one way or another back into the environment.

8053431-an-irritated-young-man-driving-a-vehicle-is-expressing-his-road-rageSo there will be a backflow caused by the reduced blood flow, and the fetus experiences a buildup of toxins…think stuck in a traffic jam and breathing in the exhausts of all the vehicles around…any wonder road rage? The prenate feels increased “yuckiness” in its environment that is greater than anything experienced previously. China---Environment---Pol-001Oh, the garbage man still comes to take out the trash…but think of it as the garbage man coming less often and one still puts out the garbage just as frequently. Imagine how one feels watching from one’s window as it piles up on the sidewalk. Perhaps you lived in New York during the huge garbage strike; you’d have an even better idea.

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Tehran pollution 2

04_souls_to_denycrppdSo, finally, there is the pain and discomfort of being surrounded by these toxins, forced to live in an environment that is felt to be dirty, “creepy,” ugly, toxic, threatening, filthy, slimy, yucky. And again this is related to the previous feeling complex but is different. For one can be forced to take in something noxious, or one can be immersed in something that is painful or uncomfortable like a bath that is too hot. In other words, this pain is on the surface of the body, not being forced inside, like the other.

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crematoriumHow this noxious environment feels to the fetus can be that of irritation, uncomfortable heat, burning, and feelings of threat to one’s survival—thus alarm and panic—which those outside “impositions” bring up in a fetus. Historically this has been acted out on Jews and witches: They were placed like wood in heaps and burned to get rid of them as the threat they were felt to be. As in the gas chamber example, they perpetrated on the victim the sort of c036ab9825d8dd091b80ef841e622d57suffering the murderers felt was actually coming at them…witches and Jews were seen as a source of burning…if nothing else in that they could be responsible for one burning forever in hell.

And parts of this complex later on can be those of annoyance, yuckiness, being continually distracted by sensations (ADD), creepiness, dirtiness.

over-accumulate.zombies.The chicken zombie hoard approaches

stock-photo-an-irritated-young-man-driving-a-vehicle-is-expressing-his-road-rage-61974868We feel bugged, irritated. We overkill pests and yuppieoverclean our houses, using an abundance of toxic “product” which only adds to the overall toxicity of our environment. This is the perinatal underpinnings of what Freud called anal compulsion. It actually leads to us employing strict toilet-training, if you think about it.

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We feel “imposed on” by others, especially “visitors” who come to our “house.” We feel surrounded by “dirty” hippies… Jews… blacks… immigrants…. You name it.

Roots of War, Bigotry, Pollution….

These feeling complexes sculpted by our early, uniquely human, prenatal discomfort and pain mold our politics, shape our wars and conflicts, determine how we treat the environment, and color how we see and treat each other. We will now deal with each of these in turn and discuss the way we act them out as adults politically, environmentally, and interpersonally.

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Crowdedness, Packed Together “Like Sardines”

Can’t Move Freely – “Back Off!”…Cast Out of Heaven, Driven Out of Eden

The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to press in us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It “won’t let us do what we want to do.” I discussed this the previous chapter and how we manifest it through overpopulation.

This is quite a contrast, ever more stark and blatant as we get closer to actual birth, to the earlier euphoric feelings of all the rest of our lives at that point—that is to say, the previous seven-eight months of our lives since conception. This oppression from an an overwhelming and pervasive Other is shockingly different from the unrestrained movement of the not long ago, with its gravity-free ecstasy, and blissful unity with an Everything which was not at all threatening but just the opposite: supremely helpful, nurturing, and kind in the most perfect way. We remember the previous “golden age” and its easy, “heavenly” existence. This new existence feels like we have been driven out of Eden, cast out of heaven, and now must struggle and earn survival through the “sweat of one’s brow.”

Reactions – Swimming, Dancing, Mosh Pits, Religious Fantasy

I mentioned previously how our activities like gymnastics, flying, and skydiving are reactions to these uncomfortable feelings; they are attempts to run away from this discomfort as we continue to re-experience it as adults. I explored how we re-create and re-stimulate those blissful feelings in us through adult experiences of weightlessness, swimming, dancing, surfing, hot tubbing. I need to add loving sexuality to that—particularly in its re-stimulating blissful memories of re-union with an Other who is all-accepting, all-embracing, and eminently kind. I have explored how we seek resolution of these uncomfortable feelings through mosh pit “rebirthing” and warm water “rebirthing.” I need to add to that the seduction of the experience of being religiously “reborn.” [Footnote 4]

I wish to add now, since it becomes especially relevant to what follows from here on, the specifically environmental and especially political aspects and act outs of these early uncomfortable feelings.

Politically, As Nations – Wars of “Expansion”

Politically, as adults we feel we need to push back “lines” of the enemy, to fight off “oppression” (compression), to go to war. We act this out as nations through wars of “expansion” and through “conquering” of new territories…through imperialism. We are always pushing back lines of encroachment from some “enemy”…creating and then railing against the opposition on these “front lines.”

We re-create the switch we experienced in the womb from easy existence to struggle and discomfort by “spoiling” our peace and going to war. No, it is not smart; but it is what we are driven to do because of these patterns from our earliest experience.

The point of knowing all this…the reason why I am writing this and sharing this information…is because knowledge of these irrational tendencies is the most important and necessary step in discontinuing them. We can only have hope for our children in going beyond these tendencies in us of tens of thousands of years and longer through actually facing and coming to terms with the absurdity of our “normal human” pursuits…like war.

Environmentally – “We Paved Paradise; Put Up a Parking Lot”

We act out these same feelings just as illogically and self-destructively in our behavior in regards to the environment. Remember that, as prenates, the “environment” then was felt to be encroaching and blocking our easy movement. So, with these feelings now deeply ingrained in us as something we call “human nature” we hack back at actual Nature and push it all away to “make room”…excessive room…for ourselves…while conversely we make sure we will continue to re-stimulate these feelings through overpopulation, city life, dense and crowded neighborhoods, and traffic jams. [Footnote 5]

We put ourselves in human zoos and struggle with our neighbors over “boundary lines” and where fences should actually be placed…we gather on freeways with their traffic jams and experience “road rage” at the same time as fighting back against the feelings these situations create through inane environmental undertakings: We remove and destroy all trees to make an empty space, though we add trees after the fact. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit queer?

Environmentally, we destroy forests, we pave over Nature so that we can have huge houses and lawns (the bigger the better…we want more “womb”) and speed around (the faster and more nimbly the better) uninhibitedly in our cars (auto-mobile…free moving self…part of self capable of moving freely)… we cut off others in traffic and feel trapped (encroached upon, constrained or suppressed) by drivers that cut us off and don’t let us “in” (move freely)…thus road rage

Conversely, we take solace in speeding (though we risk tickets) and we take pleasure in watching racing and race car drivers and stunt drivers; also airplane and jet stunts and air shows and fighter pilots and jets.

Next: Our Repetitive Struggles to “Breathe Free”

We will continue looking at the ways we act out our early imprints and how we can actually stop continuing this self-destruction which has now reached an apocalyptic peak. But now let’s turn to another terrifying feeling we carry over in us from that hellish time as prenates, which we act out, politically and environmentally, in disastrous ways. We look now at the horrifying feelings of oxygen starvation—gasping, suffocating, and feeling stifled—and the crazy things we do to “breathe free” again.

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“Please, Sir, Might I Have Some More?”—The Psychological and Economic Repercussions of Fetal Malnutrition

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There are four important qualities of pain involved in late stage gestation. RootedInConservatismcrpdlrgrOne has to do with being crowded and unable to move freely. The other three come under the category of fetal malnutrition: (1) You get less oxygen because of the reduced blood flow in late pregnancy; you experience lack of abundance and feelings of deprivation, impoverishment, “starvation.”charlie-brown-meets-pepper-spray-cop-on-thanksgiv-19247-1322028428-8 (2) With the reduction of blood, you get a reduction in nutrients and insufficient removal of toxins so that the blood coming into and flowing through you is not felt to be as “pure”; you experience being poisoned, “infected”…prenatal “disgust.” (3) Finally, you experience a buildup of toxins in your placental environment as the reduced blood flow does not remove toxins as efficiently as it previously did; you feel irritated, bugged, “dirty”…prenatally imposed upon by the outside world.

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Oxygen Starvation

worker.oppressed.1230370_f248 (2)uprightbirthposture071212-pregnancy-tips_big_thumbSo there’s crowdedness in the late stages of womb life, increasing up to the time of actual birth. But there’s the experience directly related to the fetal malnutrition—the increased pressure on arteries to the placenta which reduces blood flow hence the amount of oxygen the prenate receives—that occurs at that time. One feels “pressured” and “overwhelmed” as one becomes larger in the womb; but one also experiences not getting enough oxygen—the simmering panic of near drowning.

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We Feel Recurrently Pressured, Overwhelmed, and Panicked

So there’s not moving; but there is also suffocation of sorts…they are related, pelvicbonesbipedalism_thumbbut very different experiential constellations, both of which profoundly affect how humans will see their lives ever after … unnaturalself.coil unnatural history.crpdboth experiences skewing our ability to ever see reality accurately—clear and “unfiltered.” Because of the distinctly different experiences humans have coming into the world—caused by our uprightness, our bipedalism—we are, unlike any other species, riddled with bouts of feeling “pressured” by events, “overwhelmed” by circumstances, and panicked by thoughts of suffocating for lack of vital resources—food, air, land, water, touch, interpersonal contact, tribal/societal belongingness.

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The Struggles We Create to “Breathe Free”

over-accumulate.20080626hundred3We spend much of our lives struggling to “breathe freely,” to “get on top of things,” to “get out from under,” to “be ahead of the pack,” because of this time in late gestation when we felt stifled and in danger of dying lest our oxygen/blood supply be completely “dried up.” We cannot enjoy the blessings of the moment, for we are forever looking forward, fending off and steeling ourselves for possible unpleasantness in the future.

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The lesson to be taken from this is not that our early life mirrors our adult, “real” lives. Something more important is being said: praying-with-open-hands2_thumb[3] Having our lives suffused with these feelings is not necessary, and the perceptions and deductions one makes from them are not instructive … they are wrong interpretations of what is going on; they are “unreal” … when we once again experience them as adults.

These feelings are rooted in forgotten memories, imprints we carry from early experience, and they are not rooted in actual circumstances. Sure, we create a reality that matches these feelings, but the feelings are there first. And if we had less of these feelings, we would less often create situations that mirrored them.

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Gasping

The feeling we carry with us, below the surface in life, is of not being able to suffocation_by_songoftheday-d37qntebreathe, to get enough air…as I have said it is like the discomfort we feel holding our breath under water. We have a simmering panic of “drowning”…of our oxygen supply being “cut off”…which is kept constantly in check.

As adults our experience is colored through with that feeling in ways so subtle we can no longer tease it out even if we wanted to…that is, unless we go through deep experiential psychotherapy, wherein we discover this to be the case. inception_movie2_thumbBut the vast majority of us live our lives with a barely-kept-in-check panic that we will at some point be cut off from something that we need to survive—food, water, air, other people…and their concomitants—land, transportation, money, family, and so on.

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The Oliver Twist Economies We Insist On…”Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?”

SchindlersList01over-accumulate.ClosetWe act out these fears through excessive control of and storage of all these resources and through controlling and sycophantic behavior toward others in order to try to ensure a steady supply of vital resources.

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Prenatal Feudalism

peasantsnobleswatching (2)peasantplowingbelowcastle (2)Yet even as we wrap up so much of our time and energy in these pursuits, we make sure we will feel no relief from their underlying sycophancy.shoe.kiss.4160945447_43e464a92e (3)uncomfortable feelings…as in every other of these feelings, we both seek relief from them and at the same time create the circumstances that give rise to them. In early economic systems, such as a “strong man” economy and feudalism, there is a simplified framework of control-conformity, dominance-sycophancy.

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Prenatal Capitalism

work.6107181.1.flat,550x550,075,f.this-is-the-fall-of-woman-in-the-garden-of-edencorporate-greed_27-06-1882But in “evolved” economic systems, we make certain we will not feel relief from the threat of lack (oxygen starvation/ fetal malnutrition): For we insist on a “dog eat dog” competitive system like capitalism, with its underlying Dickensian threat of an Oliver Twist state of deprivation—We get enough to Picture32oilpollutionmasksurvive, but it is not free and easy and leaves us always a little starved, wanting “some more.” We find all kinds of rationalizations for not adopting a more prosperous, more egalitarian, more cooperative, less competitive, and less stressful economic style as exemplified by socialism, for example.

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Prenatal Socialism

392763_316505275028930_282370021775789_1344329_233053393_n_thumbindigenousOf course, there are societies who have done this historically — many indigenous cultures operate harmoniously this way; and there are societies and cultures that are attempting to create youth-protest (3)such a workable harmonious system today. But image_thumb18there are reasons why we refrain from wholesale adoption of such easier existences and why we insist on our economic struggles not being alleviated. For to adopt a cooperative socialist framework for meeting our actual needs would be akin to re-creating the earlier style of existence in the womb that was easy and free…the one that was Edenal…in harmony with Reality and Nature.

Eden-Project-england-1

We’re the Ones Who Block a Return to Eden

That would be smart, of course. But as always we insist on our pains; we are forever doomed to creating situations that confront us with their reality unless or until we actually face and resolve them . So, while we are capable of living in more enlightened styles, we are for the most part going to ensure our existence in a state of struggle…we are the ones who put the angels to guard the gates of Eden.

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Coming Up, Why We Steal Fire

In the next chapter we will look more closely at how we re-create our early pain in one specific area that has dire significance today, for it concerns what we are doing to our atmosphere. We are driven to want to suffocate ourselves, and we will see how this is rooted in our particular human beginnings, making us the one and only species on the entire planet that is so enamored of making fire. For from the earliest campfires to the nuclear power plants of today, humans are seen to like to burn things. What we discover is there are reasons, deeply rooted in our psyche, that would make us the penultimate Prometheans of Earth.

Continue with Global Oxygen Loss, Fire, and Prenatal Oxygen Hunger: Why Humans Are So Big on Burning, So Reckless About Polluting … Why We’re Globally Suffocating Ourselves

Return to The Primal Screen: The Doors of Perception Stormed and The Perinatal Rising — A Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life

Footnotes

1. This obvious though insistently overlooked fact has scientific support, of course:

According to a study conducted by scientists from the Scripps Institute there is less oxygen in the atmosphere today than there used to be. The ongoing study, which accumulated and interpreted data from NOAA monitoring stations all over the world, has been running from 1989 to the present. It monitored both the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decline in oxygen. The conclusion of that 20 year study is that, as carbon dioxide (produced primarily by burning fossil fuels) accumulates in the atmosphere, available oxygen is decreasing.

Carbon dioxide seems to be almost the total focus of attention in the climate change model as it exists today. After reviewing the results of this study and talking with Dr. Ralph Keeling (one of the lead scientists on the study), it seemed to me that the consequences of atmospheric oxygen depletion should be included in any discussion of atmospheric change….

Read more: “Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Fall as Carbon Dioxide Riseshttp://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/atmospheric-oxygen-levels-fall-as-carbon/#ixzz1ru2460V8

2. A. Briend, “Fetal Malnutrition: The Price of Upright Posture?” British Medical Journal 2 (1979): 317-319.

holo53. It would be interesting to find out what in particular was the cause of such inordinate fixation on this aspect of early prenatal pain…. For example, did Germans have more of this kind of pain as fetuses because German women did much more standing…being hard workers, perhaps…in the late stages of pregnancy than others? Such are the kinds of things that can make such differences.

peasantsplantingpotatoesAnd if women doing standing work right up to the time of birth correlates with excessive fetal malnutrition, what of women in primitive agrarian cultures working—in the fields or wherever—until practically the time of birth? imagesDoes this have anything to do with the increase in war and conflicts we observe in agrarian epa_525crppd-1cultures over nomadic ones?… is there a corresponding increase in psychosis, ritual, and superstition…scapegoating GREEDand sacrifice…as, for example, with the Mayan and pre-Colombian New World cultures? No doubt there are many factors involved in these things, but are these prenatal contributing factors some important overlooked ones? If so, how important?

Battle-of-Verdun

4. I differentiate between legitimate attempts at birth pain resolution—primal therapy, holotropic and other breathwork, water and breath “rebirthing”/vivation, and mosh pit “rebirthing”—from false ones like being religiously “reborn” or otherwise experiencing a “second birth” as in some social initiation. In the first instances, there are continual attempts to resolve something that needs such attention and in fact can never be fully resolved. In the second instance, there are actual feelings of rebirth, when one is religiously reborn; it is true. I know. I experienced it as my first experience of rebirth forty-four years ago.

The problem with religious “rebirth” has to do with this idea of trying to recapture ever afterward what is essentially a one-time experience and yet taking steps to insure no further such experiences or transformations will occur. One loses the feeling, feels “sinful” again (see upcoming posts on the BPM II elements of “bad blood” and “dirtiness” or review the overview of this in this chapter) and because one has barely touched it, let alone resolved the pain, needs “saving” over and over again, futilely. The fact that is not really resolved is proven in that the proponents of religious rebirth need to convert others to the experience in order for them to feel they have achieved it; this would not be necessary if one had. Further, the other components of birth pain seem to be more, not less, prevalent after religious “rebirth.” One feels “sinful,” “dirty,” and that others are “dirty,” “defiled,” “filthy,” “unwashed,” “toxic,” “impure,” and more. Again see upcoming chapters for details.

So it is not that religious experiences of being “reborn” are not legitimate and part of a psyche seeking healing and growth. It is that the experience is hung on to, looked back on; one is stuck in it. One says Christ will do it for one (He has died for one’s sins), so one does not have to experience the discomfort of facing these pains and discomforts from the womb oneself. The experience is institutionalized and never experienced again, though one surrounds oneself with true believers affirming the opposite, along with this idea that one does not have to suffer again…Christ has done it for one; or one can confess sins and the priest will take care of it…and so one is distracted from the discomfort that precedes any more growing or being born or transformed any further. As I like to say about such glancing experiences of real truth: Yes, it’s legit. But don’t make a fucking religion out of it.

Worst of all, the institution or social group takes over and restructures one’s self along the lines that will benefit it, not oneself, so one is not reborn into one’s real self but into an inauthentic fabrication benefiting some manipulative social group—Marines, evangelical group, secret society, ethnic group, or simply the normal adult neurosis of one’s culture.

5. As concerns creating the situations that bring up these early discomforts, as in unconsciously being drawn to create traffic jams, notice as I have, when you’re driving, how often folks will have two or more lines to go to, in traffic especially but sometimes in retail establishments as well, and will line up behind each other in one line, foregoing the empty ones. Not everybody does that; but explain the ones creating that line…what is driving them to act like lemmings and feel restrained when they could have it easier? This is not restricted to queues however, as we will see it is a metaphor for human irrationality rooted in these imprints.

Continue with Global Oxygen Loss, Fire, and Prenatal Oxygen Hunger: Why Humans Are So Big on Burning, So Reckless About Polluting … Why We’re Globally Suffocating Ourselves

Return to The Primal Screen: The Doors of Perception Stormed and The Perinatal Rising — A Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life

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We Can’t Know What We Can’t Know but We Cannot Unknow What We Are: Our Reality Is Species Determined and the Relativity of Science

Biologically Constituted Realities, Part Two: Our Reality Is Species Determined: Relativity of Science

Summary: What I’m saying in this part is that basically our sciences have shown they can not determine what is real,558008_447511325288521_2045342229_n let alone measure it, because they are extensions of our senses which are themselves imperfect. So we cannot really know what is real. Further, we find that just as culture creates our reality for us, that prior to that our biology creates the reality upon which culture can build. This means that we are able to understand what is human reality at least, though not ultimate reality, by looking at the only reality that all humans share—our biological one.

We will see shortly that means that the way we come into the world—our conception, womb life, and birth—create the foundations upon which all are other perceptions are built, and these being unique to humans mean that humans will be the only species seeing the world exactly the way we do.

bwv01aFurther, while focusing on our biology as a basis for understanding what is fundamental about humanness, we are able to compare cultures in relation to that biology, though not in any other way. What we will see this means is that while we cannot compare cultures for the most part—this is called cultural relativity—we can compare them in terms of certain things all cultures share which have to do with the fact that all humans have the same kind of body and biological history: an example of that would be the way cultures deal with birth, specifically the pain of it.

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“Ultimately our physics . . . is going to demonstrate that essentially there is no such thing as matter. All there is is mind and motion.” – Armand Labbe

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Relativity of Science

381068_2409354290062_410697896_nBut what of our science, one might ask, which can reputedly extend the range of our senses? Does it not provide accurate-enough “feedback” or “alternative”-enough perspectives to allow us a glimpse of what is , for truth, really real? Let us just look at what modern science tells us about the observations it makes on the world.

According to Zukav (1979), author of a widely read overview of the new physics, a major underpinning of modern physics is the realization and discovery that science cannot predict anything, as had been taken for granted, with absolute certainty. Relatedly, it informs us that there is simply no way to separate the observed event from the observer. That is to say that the observer is, her- or himself, an inexcludable variable and always affects the results of an experiment.313530_447511135288540_994262983_n In a very fundamental way, the perceiver influences what is seen in even the most “scientifically” pure observations and experiments: “The new physics . . . tells us clearly that it is not possible to observe reality without changing it” (Zukav, 1979, p. 30).

Zukav (1979) takes, as an example, that a condition is set up to perceive an event: If it is designed to find waves in light, it discovers waves; if it is designed to find particles, we get particles—in supposedly the same “outside world” . . . and regardless of the fact that logically light cannot be both a particle and a wave (pp. 30-31). That is the classic example, of course. The structure of the experiment, designed by the observer, determines what will be found.

What is this saying if not just what I have stated above: that we determine ultimately, because of our specific biology, what we sense; that we therein determine the “world” we experience.

In line with Anscombe’s (1958) terminology of “brute facts,” Searle (1969) claims a distinction between “brute facts” and “institutional facts.” D’Andrade (1984) explains,

Not all social-science variables refer to culturally created things; some variables refer to objects and events that exist prior to, and independent of, their definition: for example, a person’s age, the number of calories consumed during a meal, the number of chairs in a room, or the pain someone felt. (p. 92).

528519_447511581955162_2026388883_nFrom what I have been saying, we can admit that these “brute facts” may not be culturally constituted as D’Andrade asserts, but they certainly are biologically constituted. They are species-specific facts—”brute” only in relation to our particular species.

Thus, the new-paradigm answer to the age-old philosophical question is clear: If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Absolutely not. Sound is as much species-relative as the practice of polygamy is culturally relative. In other words, there are species for which sound does not exist. Similarly, the event that 578797_2214324854448_756151266_nwe perceive as sound-tree-and-forest-interacting may be “perceived” as something quite different with different and/or more kinds of “senses” or, one might say, from a different vantage point.

Removing our anthropocentric blinders in this way we must conclude that the world, as experienced, is created of realities that are not only culturally constituted; there are also biologically constituted realities. The “brute facts” to which D’Andrade refers are—nothing brute about them—biologically determined facts. Indeed, there are biologically determined facts, bioculturally determined facts, and culturally determined facts—all existing on a continuum.

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So do we then, indeed, create our own reality culturally, of which Sahlins (1976) writes. Yes, I believe we do. But I believe we do much more than that. I believe we create it biologically too—that our reality is species determined.

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Relativity: Cultural and Biological

So what does this say about cultural relativity, of which so much is made in anthropological circles? 255366_2258372155603_1546714044_nI agree with Sahlins’s position on the total and symbolic nature of culture and the resulting extreme cultural relativism. As D’Andrade (1987) put it, Sahlins’s view is extreme enough that it undermines even science’s claim to validity (p. 5). But I do not imply by my agreement that I believe reality is only culturally determined by any definitional stretch of the term cultural that Sahlins, even from his “total heritage” perspective, could have had in mind. I intend to go further.

10-emergence-440_thumbHow so, then, could I claim, at the outset, that I believe both positions can be true? How can reality be so thoroughly “created” (not only culturally but biologically as well) and yet there be universal commonalities on which to base analyses and cross-cultural understanding? Where I disagree with Sahlins and emphatically agree with D’Andrade is where D’Andrade (1987), in referring to a quote from Sahlins, writes

I think I agree if . . . [he] . . . means that people respond to their interpretations of events, not the raw events themselves. 1However, if this means that culture can interpret any event any way, and that therefore there is no possibility of establishing universal generalizations, I disagree. I believe that there are strong constraints on how much interpretative latitude can be given to biological and social events. While the letters “D,” “O,” “G,” can be given any interpretation, pain, death , and hunger have such powerful intrinsic negative properties that they can be interpreted as “good” things only with great effort and for short historical periods with many failed converts. ( emphases mine, p. 6)

two_thousand_ten_ver1-2010crpd_thumbWith this statement of D’Andrade, I enthusiastically agree also. I believe that there are “intrinsic” (biological) determiners of cultures, which create a basic underlying structure. Where I feel I take issue with D’Andrade is in contending that these “intrinsic” determiners are intrinsic to the species, not to the events themselves. This is as important to point out as it is important in physics to keep in mind that particles and waves only exist in relation to an observer. 224754_3983661984328_1661313711_nIn this regard, as Armand Labbe (1991) put it at a Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness conference, “Ultimately our physics . . . is going to demonstrate that essentially there is no such thing as matter. All there is is mind and motion.” At any rate, I contend that this biological “infrastructure” results in biocultural, species-specific, and hence transcultural patterns of thought and behavior. Further, these transcultural patterns create transcultural patterns of social structure, “external culture,” sociocultural behavior, and so on.

Continue with We Are What We’ve Experienced and The Perinatal Paradigm: Our Conception, Gestation, and Birth Create Our Windows to the World

Return to Creating Worlds: Biologically Constituted Realities, Part One

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Imprinted in the Womb for Wars of Expansion, Deforestation, Cities, Imperialism, and Road Rage—Crowded—”Back Off!”: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 6

Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Six: Wars, Imperialism, and Why We Live in “Human Zoos”: The “Crowded” Feelings of Late Gestation—BPM II—and Their Political and Environmental Expressions

Crowdedness, Packed Together “Like Sardines”

Can’t Move Freely – “Back Off!”…Cast Out of Heaven, Driven Out of Eden

The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to press in us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It “won’t let us do what we want to do.” I discussed this in a previous section and how we manifest it through overpopulation.

This is quite a contrast, ever more stark and blatant as we get closer to actual birth, to the earlier euphoric feelings of all the rest of our lives at that point—that is to say, the previous seven-eight months of our lives since conception. This oppression from an an overwhelming and pervasive Other is shockingly different from the unrestrained movement of the not long ago, with its gravity-free ecstasy, and blissful unity with an Everything which was not at all threatening but just the opposite: supremely helpful, nurturing, and kind in the most perfect way. We remember the previous “golden age” and its easy, “heavenly” existence. This new existence feels like we have been driven out of Eden, cast out of heaven, and now must struggle and earn survival through the “sweat of one’s brow.”

Reactions – Swimming, Dancing, Mosh Pits, Religious Fantasy

I mentioned previously how our activities like gymnastics, flying, and skydiving are reactions to these uncomfortable feelings; they are attempts to run away from this discomfort as we continue to re-experience it as adults. I explored how we re-create and re-stimulate those blissful feelings in us through adult experiences of weightlessness, swimming, dancing, surfing, hot tubbing. I need to add loving sexuality to that—particularly in its re-stimulating blissful memories of re-union with an Other who is all-accepting, all-embracing, and eminently kind. I have explored how we seek resolution of these uncomfortable feelings through mosh pit “rebirthing” and warm water “rebirthing.” I need to add to that the seduction of the experience of being religiously “reborn.” [Footnote 1]

I wish to add now, since it becomes especially relevant to what follows from here on, the specifically environmental and especially political aspects and act outs of these early uncomfortable feelings.

Politically, As Nations – Wars of “Expansion”

Politically, as adults we feel we need to push back “lines” of the enemy, to fight off “oppression” (compression), to go to war. We act this out as nations through wars of “expansion” and through “conquering” of new territories…through imperialism. We are always pushing back lines of encroachment from some “enemy”…creating and then railing against the opposition on these “front lines.”

We re-create the switch we experienced in the womb from easy existence to struggle and discomfort by “spoiling” our peace and going to war. No, it is not smart; but it is what we are driven to do because of these patterns from our earliest experience.

The point of knowing all this…the reason why I am writing this and sharing this information…is because knowledge of these irrational tendencies is the most important and necessary step in discontinuing them. We can only have hope for our children in going beyond these tendencies in us of tens of thousands of years and longer through actually facing and coming to terms with the absurdity of our “normal human” pursuits…like war.

Environmentally – “We Paved Paradise; Put Up a Parking Lot”

We act out these same feelings just as illogically and self-destructively in our behavior in regards to the environment. Remember that, as prenates, the “environment” then was felt to be encroaching and blocking our easy movement. So, with these feelings now deeply ingrained in us as something we call “human nature” we hack back at actual Nature and push it all away to “make room”…excessive room…for ourselves…while conversely we make sure we will continue to re-stimulate these feelings through overpopulation, city life, dense and crowded neighborhoods, and traffic jams. [Footnote 2]

We put ourselves in human zoos and struggle with our neighbors over “boundary lines” and where fences should actually be placed…we gather on freeways with their traffic jams and experience “road rage” at the same time as fighting back against the feelings these situations create through inane environmental undertakings: We remove and destroy all trees to make an empty space, though we add trees after the fact. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit queer?

Environmentally, we destroy forests, we pave over Nature so that we can have huge houses and lawns (the bigger the better…we want more “womb”) and speed around (the faster and more nimbly the better) uninhibitedly in our cars (auto-mobile…free moving self…part of self capable of moving freely)… we cut off others in traffic and feel trapped (encroached upon, constrained or suppressed) by drivers that cut us off and don’t let us “in” (move freely)…thus road rage

Conversely, we take solace in speeding (though we risk tickets) and we take pleasure in watching racing and race car drivers and stunt drivers; also airplane and jet stunts and air shows and fighter pilots and jets.

Next: Our Repetitive Struggles to “Breathe Free”

We will continue looking at the ways we act out our early imprints and how we can actually stop continuing this self-destruction which has now reached an apocalyptic peak. But now let’s turn to another terrifying feeling we carry over in us from that hellish time as prenates, which we act out, politically and environmentally, in disastrous ways. We look now at the horrifying feelings of oxygen starvation—gasping, suffocating, and feeling stifled—and the crazy things we do to “breathe free” again.

Continue with Oxygen Starvation and the Oliver Twist Economies We Are Imprinted in the Womb to Insist Upon…Prenatal Capitalism: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 7

Return to Blueprints of Human Nature and Four Earliest Roots of War, Bigotry, and Pollution: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 5

Footnotes

1. I differentiate between legitimate attempts at birth pain resolution—primal therapy, holotropic and other breathwork, water and breath “rebirthing”/vivation, and mosh pit “rebirthing”—from false ones like being religiously “reborn” or otherwise experiencing a “second birth” as in some social initiation. In the first instances, there are continual attempts to resolve something that needs such attention and in fact can never be fully resolved. In the second instance, there are actual feelings of rebirth, when one is religiously reborn; it is true. I know. I experienced it as my first experience of rebirth forty-four years ago.

The problem with religious “rebirth” has to do with this idea of trying to recapture ever afterward what is essentially a one-time experience and yet taking steps to insure no further such experiences or transformations will occur. One loses the feeling, feels “sinful” again (see upcoming posts on the BPM II elements of “bad blood” and “dirtiness” or see the overview in the previous post) and because one has barely touched it, let alone resolved the pain, needs “saving” over and over again, futilely. The fact that is not really resolved is proven in that the proponents of religious rebirth need to convert others to the experience in order for them to feel they have achieved it; this would not be necessary if one had. Further, the other components of birth pain seem to be more, not less, prevalent after religious “rebirth.” One feels “sinful,” “dirty,” and that others are “dirty,” “defiled,” “filthy,” “unwashed,” “toxic,” “impure,” and more. Again see upcoming posts for details.

So it is not that religious experiences of being “reborn” are not legitimate and part of a psyche seeking healing and growth. It is that the experience is hung on to, looked back on; one is stuck in it. One says Christ will do it for one (He has died for one’s sins), so one does not have to experience the discomfort of facing these pains and discomforts from the womb oneself. The experience is institutionalized and never experienced again, though one surrounds oneself with true believers affirming the opposite, along with this idea that one does not have to suffer again…Christ has done it for one; or one can confess sins and the priest will take care of it…and so one is distracted from the discomfort that precedes any more growing or being born or transformed any further. As I like to say about such glancing experiences of real truth: Yes, it’s legit. But don’t make a fucking religion out of it.

Worst of all, the institution or social group takes over and restructures one’s self along the lines that will benefit it, not oneself, so one is not reborn into one’s real self but into an inauthentic fabrication benefiting some manipulative social groupMarines, evangelical group, secret society, ethnic group, or simply the normal adult neurosis of one’s culture.

2. As concerns creating the situations that bring up these early discomforts, as in unconsciously being drawn to create traffic jams, notice as I have, when you’re driving, how often folks will have two or more lines to go to, in traffic especially but sometimes in retail establishments as well, and will line up behind each other in one line, foregoing the empty ones. Not everybody does that; but explain the ones creating that line…what is driving them to act like lemmings and feel restrained when they could have it easier? This is not restricted to queues however, as we will see it is a metaphor for human irrationality rooted in these imprints.

Continue with Oxygen Starvation and the Oliver Twist Economies We Are Imprinted in the Womb to Insist Upon…Prenatal Capitalism: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 7

Return to Blueprints of Human Nature and Four Earliest Roots of War, Bigotry, and Pollution: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 5

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