Posts Tagged experiential

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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Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One: Rebirthing Rituals, Part Three – Auspicious Collective Regressions

People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”: Rebirthing Rituals, Part 3

Circle Ceremony

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.

butterfly_tree

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 9]

NativeAmericanDancers

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.

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 10]

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 11]

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 12]

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 13]

auspicious.collective.regressions

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 14]

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 15]

concert

Footnotes

9. 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.

10. DeMause, op. cit., 1995.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

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

15. Ibid.

Continue with The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History: Rebirthing Rituals, Part Four – I Know It’s Hard to Believe But We’ve Been Getting Saner

Return to 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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Apocalypse, Human Nature, and the Perinatal Imprint: “We Are a Fever … We Ain’t Born Typical”

Apocalypse – No! Chapter Seven:
“We Ain’t Born Typical””

“We Ain’t Born Typical”: A Closer Look at the “Human Nature” Pushing Us to Humanicide – The Perinatal Unconscious

“Perinatal” = “Surrounding Birth”

“We Are a Fever”

How are we to characterize these strangest of days and the current unprecedented global condition? As I have said, they are driven by what I call an emerging perinatal unconscious. As The Kills sang it, most aptly, “We ain’t born typical.” [Footnote 1]

Perinatal Unconscious

Why perinatal? First, let us remind ourselves that perinatal means, literally, “surrounding birth.” As a one-time university instructor of pre- and perinatal psychology and as an editor of a professional journal concerned with perinatal psychology— as well as a psychohistorian, let me explain what might be considered elements of a perinatal unconscious. [Footnote 2]

Unconscious Matrices = “Human Nature”

The elements I will describe are near universally accepted among perinatal psychologists as unconscious forces, factors, matrices that exist in us all as a result of a human birth that is unique, by comparison to all other species, in its degree of trauma and hence of its impact or imprint on what we might call—dare I say the word—our “human nature.”

These perinatal elements have come to our understanding through the efforts of both the inner explorations of experiential pioneers into the perinatal, as well as the hard empirical work of pre- and perinatal researchers. I might also point out that I, myself, have forty years of experiential exploration into these perinatal elements, in addition to my scholarly work and research in this field. My experiences confirm, in my own mind, their absolute validity, as well as validating for myself the theoretical constructs put forth by others to describe and explain them.

Pre- and Perinatal Psychology, Experiential Voyagers

Be that as it may, these perinatal elements in the unconscious have been described most thoroughly be three figures in particular: Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Lloyd deMause. It might help, also, to keep in mind that entire new fields of pre- and perinatal psychology, primal psychology, and to some extent, transpersonal psychology have grown up around the existence of these perinatal factors. Entire modalities of healing tap in to and are based on the existence of this perinatal unconscious, including primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, and rebirthing, to name just the few, which I happen to be trained in. These unconscious perinatal elements have, at this point, been confirmed by thousands of researchers and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of experiential voyagers into the perinatal unconscious.


The Perinatal Unconscious
– audiocast by SillyMickel Adzema

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

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=rfrhsmtjnm
Apocalypse, or New Dawn? Chapter 2: “The Perinatal Unconscious” by SillyMickel Adzema


Elements of Birth Experience

Based upon all this, then, let us look at some of the elements, in general, that characterize this perinatal unconscious.

Perinatal Matrix ~ Societal Matrix

Stanislav Grof describes basic perinatal matrices (BPMs)—in other words, typical experiential constellations related to our births. These happen to be very much akin to deMause’s perinatal schema, with some slight differences in emphasis, and more elaboration on the part of Grof. So let us use Grof’s schema as a basis. [Footnote 3]

All Needs Met . . . With Luck – Matrix 1

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Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix I, or BPM I, involves the experiences and feelings related to the sometimes, or at least relatively, undisturbed prenatal period. The prenatal period is that time in the womb sometimes characterized by feelings of peace, complete relaxation, and a feeling of all needs met, or “oceanic bliss.”

BPM I corresponds to deMause’s societal periods of “prosperity and progress,” which he claims are accompanied by feelings and fears of being “soft” and “feminine” — understandably here, for in BPM I, that is, prenatally, the fetus is largely identified with his or her mother and is very much “soft,” i.e., undefended.

Since the time in the womb may also be disturbed by toxic substances that the mother ingests—drugs, chemical additives, and so on—as well as by disturbing emotions that the mother experiences, which release stress hormones into the mother’s bloodstream, which then cross the placental barrier and affect the fetus, BPM I is also sometimes characterized as feelings of being surrounded by a polluted environment and being forced to ingest noxious substances, toxins, and poisons, which sickens the fetus.

No-Exit Despair – Matrix 2

In Grof’s schema, BPM I is followed by BPM II—that is, Basic Perinatal Matrix II—which are experiences and feelings related to the time of “no exit” in the womb and claustrophobic -like feelings occurring to nearly all humans in the late stages of pregnancy and especially with the onset of labor, when the cervix is not yet dilated. Since there does not seem to be any “light at the end of the tunnel”—metaphorically speaking—it is characterized by feelings of depression, guilt, despair, and blame, and a characterization of oneself as being in the position of “the victim.”

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It is very much like DeMause’s period of collective feelings of entrapment, strangulation, suffocation, and poisonous placenta, which he has found to precede the actual outbreak of war or other violence. [Footnote 3]

Birth Wars – Matrix 3

imageThis of course is followed by BPM III (Basic Perinatal Matrix III), which involves feelings and experiences of all-encompassing struggle and is related to the time of one’s actual birth. Characterized also by intense feelings of aggression and sexual excess—in the position, now, of “the aggressor”—it is related directly, in DeMause’s schema, to a time of actual war.

Hallelujah! . . (I think. . . . ) – Matrix 4

Basic Perinatal Matrix IV (BPM IV) follows this; it corresponds to the time of emergence from the womb during the birth process and is characterized by feelings of victory, release, exultation.

But also sometimes, after that initial relief of depression — when the struggle does not bring the expected rewards, as when, during modern obstetrical births, the neonate is harshly treated and then taken away from the mother, disallowing the bonding which should occur, naturally, immediately after birth.

In my own experience, the exultation and relief of release was replaced suddenly by feelings of being assaulted by the attendants at my birth (which of course they thought of as “attending” to me) imageas they went about roughly removing mucous from my mouth; prematurely cutting my umbilical cord to leave me struggling for breath; scrubbing, weighing, measuring, and otherwise probing me; and wrapping me like a tamale and taking me away from all I had previously known…i.e., my mother. This felt like ritual abuse to me, and I have often likened it, after the intense period of compression and crushing before birth, to a situation of “going from the frying pan into the fire.”

At any rate, this experience of actual emergence or birth coincides, societally, with deMause’s period of the ending of a war.

Heaven and Hell

In summary, we have euphoric, oceanic, blissful feelings, sometimes feelings of being poisoned or being in a toxic or polluted environment; followed by crushing, no-exit, depression, claustrophobia, compression, strangulation, suffocation, and being force-fed by a poisonous placenta; followed by struggle, violence, war scenarios, birth/death fantasies, sexual excess; and finally release, triumph, feeling of renewal or rebirth and a new golden age, but also possibly of being abandoned, tortured, ritually sacrificed, probed medically, and assaulted by sensations. These are some of the elements that characterize the experience of the perinatal unconscious.

For Dreaming Out Loud! Projecting the Perinatal Zeitgeist

In the next chapter, Perinatal Media, we will take a look at how these elements have erupted into our collective dreams in recent history. By this I mean, we will see how our artists and creative people have projected them into the media, movies, and TV–in which we all participate–and how our fascination with them, because these artists are reflecting things that exist deep inside of ourselves as well, has caused them to grow, creating the dominant underlying zeitgeist of our time.

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Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
The Perinatal Media

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Six:
Strange Days

Footnotes

1. Chapter titled with appreciation and admiration to The Kills for their recording, U R A Fever. The lyrics go, “I am a fever, you are a fever, we ain’t born typical….” and so on. The music video produced is similarly brilliant. Together, it is a production bordering on genius. The video contains levels of meaning that are only obvious on subsequent viewings. I reproduce it for the second time in this book, above in this chapter, for the convenience of the reader.

Lyrics – U.R.A. Fever – The Kills

Walk you to the counter
What do you got to offer

Pick you out a solder
Look at you forever

Walk you to the water
Your eyes like a casino
We ain’t born typical

Find a piece of silver
Pretty as a diagram
And go down to the Rio

Put it in my left hand
Put it in a fruit machine
Everyone’s a winner
Laughing like a seagull

You are a fever
You are a fever
You ain’t born typical

You are a fever
You are a fever
You ain’t born typical

Living in a suitcase
Meet a clown, fall in love
went down to have you over

Going ’round a break up
Take you to a jukebox
That’s the situation
Pick you out a number
And that’s our arrangement

Dancing on the legs of a new-born pony
Left right left right
Keep it up son

Go ahead and have her
Go ahead and leave her
You only ever had her
When you were a fever

I am a fever
I am a fever
I ain’t born typical

I am a fever
I am a fever
I ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

2. In the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Newsletter I was applauded for being the first person in the United States to teach the subject of pre- and perinatal psychology at the university level and—as it was said, remarkably—for doing it while still a student. I did this at Sonoma State University, in Rohnert Park, California, in the years 1994 and 1995, beginning while I was a graduate student there.

My graduate thesis became the book, Falls From Grace: Spiritual and Philosophical Perspectives of Prenatal and Primal Experience, which is listed in Wikipedia as a reference under the topic of prenatal and perinatal psychology.

Subsequently, I became the editor of the professional journal, Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology, formerly published by the International Primal Association. Much of the contents of its issues were later posted to my website, Primal Spirit, where they can still be viewed.

I have had my writings published in The Journal of Psychohistory, including some that later became part of this book. In fact, I presented the material of this book originally at an Institute for Psychohistory Association convention; and its earliest publications were in The Journal of Psychohistory under the title, “The Scenery of Healing: Commentary On DeMause’s ‘Restaging Prenatal and Birth Trauma’s in War and Social Violence’”” 23/4, 395-405.

These are among my many credentials in this field of pre- and perinatal psychology, where I have studied and trained from 1972 till this day.

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

4. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 344-391. (Reprinted, with permission, on the Primal Spirit website as “Restaging Prenatal and Birth Traumas in War and Social Violence“)

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
The Perinatal Media

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Six:
Strange Days

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Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Seven: “Please, Sir, Might I Have Some More?”—The Psychological and Economic Repercussions of Fetal Malnutrition

please-sir-i-want-some-more

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

coastal_pollution

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.

1904_Russian_Tsar-Stop_your_cruel_oppression_of_the_Jews-LOC_hh0145s

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.

hand_drowning1

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.

see-through-concrete4

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.

SycthianKingsuperiorimagesCA6DJ4X4 (2)

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.

Glenn Beck as Jesus

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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Continue with Oxygen Hunger, the Greenhouse Effect, and Fetal Malnutrition … The Latent Worldwide Oxygen Panic We Don’t Want to Notice: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 8

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

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“We Ain’t Born Typical”: A Closer Look at the “Human Nature” Pushing Us to Humanicide – The Perinatal Unconscious

“We Are a Fever…We Ain’t Born Typical”: Apocalypse and the Perinatal Unconscious

“Perinatal” = “Surrounding Birth”

“We Are a Fever”

How are we to characterize these strangest of days and the current unprecedented global condition? As I have said, they are driven by what I call an emerging perinatal unconscious. As The Kills sang it, most aptly, “We ain’t born typical.” [Footnote 1]

Perinatal unconscious

Why perinatal? First, let us remind ourselves that perinatal means, literally, “surrounding birth.” As a one-time college instructor of pre- and perinatal psychology and as an editor of a professional journal concerned with perinatal psychology— as well as a psychohistorian, let me explain what might be considered elements of a perinatal unconscious. [Footnote 2]

Unconscious Matrices = “Human Nature”

The elements I will describe are near universally accepted among perinatal psychologists as unconscious forces, factors, matrices that exist in us all as a result of a human birth that is unique, by comparison to all other species, in its degree of trauma and hence of its impact or imprint on what we might call—dare I say the word—our “human nature.”

These perinatal elements have come to our understanding through the efforts of both the inner explorations of experiential pioneers into the perinatal, as imagewell as the hard empirical work of pre- and perinatal researchers. I might also point out that I, myself, have nearly forty years of experiential exploration into these perinatal elements. My experiences confirm, in my own mind, their absolute validity, as well as validating for myself the theoretical constructs put forth by others to describe and explain them.

Pre- and Perinatal Psychology, Experiential Voyagers

Be that as it may, these perinatal elements in the unconscious have been described most thoroughly be three figures in particular: Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Lloyd deMause. imageIt might help, also, to keep in mind that entire new fields of pre- and perinatal psychology, primal psychology, and to some extent, transpersonal psychology have grown up around the existence of these perinatal factors. These unconscious perinatal elements have, at this point, been confirmed by thousands of researchers and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of experiential voyagers into the perinatal unconscious.


The Perinatal Unconscious
– audiocast by SillyMickel Adzema

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

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=rfrhsmtjnm
Apocalypse, or New Dawn? Chapter 2: “The Perinatal Unconscious” by SillyMickel Adzema


Elements of Birth Experience

Based upon all this, then, let us look at some of the elements, in general, that characterize this perinatal unconscious.

Perinatal Matrix ~ Societal Matrix

Stanislav Grof describes basic perinatal matrices (BPMs)—in other words, typical experiential constellations related to our births. These happen to be very much akin to DeMause’s perinatal schema, with some slight differences in emphasis, and more elaboration on the part of Grof. So let us use Grof’s schema as a basis. [Footnote 3]

All Needs Met . . . with luck – Matrix 1

image

Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix I, or BPM I, involves the experiences and feelings related to the sometimes, or at least relatively, undisturbed prenatal period. The prenatal period is that time in the womb sometimes characterized by feelings of peace, complete relaxation, and a feeling of all needs met, or “oceanic bliss.”

BPM I corresponds to deMause’s societal periods of “prosperity and progress,” which he claims are accompanied by feelings and fears of being “soft” and “feminine”—understandably here, imagefor in BPM I, that is, prenatally, the fetus is largely identified with his or her mother and is very much “soft,” i.e., undefended.

Since the time in the womb may also be disturbed by toxic substances that the mother ingests—drugs, chemical additives, and so on—as well as by disturbing emotions that the mother experiences, which release stress hormones into the mother’s bloodstream, which then cross the placental barrier and affect the fetus, BPM I is also sometimes characterized as feelings of being surrounded by a polluted environment and being forced to ingest noxious substances, toxins, and poisons, which sickens the fetus.

No-Exit Despair – Matrix 2

imageIn Grof’s schema, BPM I is followed by BPM II—that is, Basic Perinatal Matrix II—which are experiences and feelings related to the time of “no exit” in the womb and claustrophobic-like feelings occurring to nearly all humans in the late stages of pregnancy and especially with the onset of labor, when the cervix is not yet dilated. Since there does not seem to be any “light at the end of the tunnel”—metaphorically speaking—it is characterized by feelings of depression, guilt, despair, and blame, and a characterization of oneself as being in the position of “the victim.”

It is very much like DeMause’s period of collective feelings of entrapment, strangulation, suffocation, and poisonous placenta, which he has found to precede the actual outbreak of war or other violence. [Footnote 3]

Birth Wars – Matrix 3

imageThis of course is followed by BPM III (Basic Perinatal Matrix III), which involves feelings and experiences of all-encompassing struggle and is related to the time of one’s actual birth. Characterized also by intense feelings of aggression and sexual excess—in the position, now, of “the aggressor”—it is related directly, in DeMause’s schema, to a time of actual war.

Hallelujah! . . (I think. . . . ) – Matrix 4

Basic Perinatal Matrix IV (BPM IV) follows this; it corresponds to the time of emergence from the womb during the birth process and is characterized by feelings of victory, release, exultation.

But also sometimes, after that initial relief of depression—when the struggle does not bring the expected rewards, as when, during modern obstetrical births, the neonate is harshly treated and then taken away from the mother, disallowing the bonding which should occur, naturally, immediately after birth.

In my own experience, the exultation and relief of release was replaced suddenly by feelings of being assaulted by the attendants at my birth (which of course they thought of as “attending” to me) imageas they went about roughly removing mucous from my mouth; prematurely cutting my umbilical cord to leave me struggling for breath; scrubbing, weighing, measuring, and otherwise probing me; and wrapping me like a tamale and taking me away from all I had previously known…i.e., my mother. This felt like ritual abuse to me, and I have often likened it, after the intense period of compression and crushing before birth, to a situation of “going from the frying pan into the fire.”

image

At any rate, this experience of actual emergence or birth coincides, societally, with DeMause’s period of the ending of a war.

Heaven and Hell

imageIn summary, we have euphoric, oceanic, blissful feelings, sometimes feelings of being poisoned or being in a toxic or polluted environment; followed by crushing, no-exit, depression, claustrophobia, compression, strangulation, suffocation, and being force-fed by a poisonous placenta; followed by struggle, violence, war scenarios, birth/death fantasies, sexual excess; and finally release, triumph, feeling of renewal or rebirth and a new golden age, but also possibly of being abandoned, tortured, ritually sacrificed, probed medically, and assaulted by sensations. These are some of the elements that characterize the experience of the perinatal unconscious.

For Dreaming Out Loud!

In the next chapter we will take a look at how these elements have erupted into our collective dreams in recent history. By this I mean, we will see how our artists and creative people have projected them into the media, movies, and TV–in which we all participate–and how our fascination with them, because these artists are reflecting things that exist deep inside of ourselves as well, has caused them to grow, creating the dominant underlying mythos of our time.

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Continue with ET, Phone Mom – Of Aliens, Toothy Vaginas, Satanic Cults, and Explosions: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Being Born

Return to Facing Foursquare the Darkness – Not for Cowardly or Uncaring Humans: Strange Days, Pt 3

Footnotes

1. Chapter titled with appreciation and admiration to The Kills for their recording, U R A Fever. The lyrics go, “I am a fever, you are a fever, we ain’t born typical….” and so on. The music video produced is similarly brilliant. Together, it is a production bordering on genius. The video contains levels of meaning that are only obvious on subsequent viewings. I reproduce it for the second time in this series, above in this part, for the convenience of the reader.

Lyrics – U.R.A. Fever – The Kills

Walk you to the counter
What do you got to offer

Pick you out a solder
Look at you forever

Walk you to the water
Your eyes like a casino
We ain’t born typical

Find a piece of silver
Pretty as a diagram
And go down to the Rio

Put it in my left hand
Put it in a fruit machine
Everyone’s a winner
Laughing like a seagull

You are a fever
You are a fever
You ain’t born typical

You are a fever
You are a fever
You ain’t born typical

Living in a suitcase
Meet a clown, fall in love
went down to have you over

Going ’round a break up
Take you to a jukebox
That’s the situation
Pick you out a number
And that’s our arrangement

Dancing on the legs of a new-born pony
Left right left right
Keep it up son

Go ahead and have her
Go ahead and leave her
You only ever had her
When you were a fever

I am a fever
I am a fever
I ain’t born typical

I am a fever
I am a fever
I ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

We are a fever
We are a fever
We ain’t born typical

2. In the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Newsletter I was applauded for being the first person in the United States to teach the subject of pre- and perinatal psychology at the university level and—as it was said, remarkably—for doing it while still a student. I did this at Sonoma State University, in Rohnert Park, California, in the years 1994 and 1995, beginning while I was still a graduate student.

Subsequently, I became the editor of the professional journal, Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology, formerly published by the International Primal Association. Much of the contents of its issues were later posted to my website, Primal Spirit, where they can still be viewed.

I have had my writings published in The Journal of Psychohistory, including some that later became part of this book. In fact, I presented the material of this book originally at an Institute for Psychohistory Association convention; and its earliest publications were in The Journal of Psychohistory under the title, “”The Scenery of Healing: Commentary On DeMause’s ‘Restaging Prenatal and Birth Trauma’s in War and Social Violence’”” 23/4, 395-405.

These are among my many credentials in this field, where I have studied and trained from 1972 till this day. [return to text]

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

4. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 344-391. (Reprinted, with permission, on the Primal Spirit website as “Restaging Prenatal and Birth Traumas in War and Social Violence“) [return to text]

Continue with ET, Phone Mom – Of Aliens, Toothy Vaginas, Satanic Cults, and Explosions: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Being Born

Return to Facing Foursquare the Darkness – Not for Cowardly or Uncaring Humans: Strange Days, Pt 3

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

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

What’s So Bad About Good?

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

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

What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

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

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

How do we “unlike” fascism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

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

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

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


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

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


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



Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

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

Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than…Alive…

DeMause writes,

[T]he group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars “pollutes” the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men “soft” and feminine”–-a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification. [Footnote 2]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grof’s BPM I is sometimes described as “oceanic bliss” and involves the experiences and feelings related to the relatively undisturbed prenatal period. On the social, macrocosmic level, it is the period described in the quote by deMause above in which there is a period of “prosperity and progress” and feelings of being “soft” and “feminine.” [Footnote 2]

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

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

“No-exit” claustrophobia

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

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

Where the hell we get the idea of hell.

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

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

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

“You’re really in a laundry room.” – Kurt Cobain, from the song, “Sad”

As I have said previously, deMause has found that these feelings exist to an extraordinary degree in a society and its leaders prior to its engaging in a war. Similarly, they precede, and obviously can be held to be accountable for, individual acts of violence-–including everything from murder and rape to unfortunately all-too-common and ordinary spousal and child abuse in the household, and of course everything in between. [Footnote 4]

Bloody War, Bloody Birth; BPM III

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

Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

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

“Busting out all over”

Feelings of expansiveness, release, exultation, coming finally out into the light and/or being “on top” of things, and victory are feelings associated with this matrix, whether in the individual birth or the collective war cycle.

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

Mission accomplished…not!

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

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War

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

Why women fear becoming fat and men fear appearing “feminine”

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

What Can Be Done?

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

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

So, how do we consciously participate in these drives not merely be driven by them? Lloyd DeMause, in his article, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence,” printed in the spring 1996 issue of The Journal of Psychohistory, calls for kinder and gentler birthing and child-caring practices to mitigate the ferocity of these forces within humans and help us avoid an otherwise inevitable planetary disaster. He is restating what other pre- and perinatal psychologists…I am one, by the way…including Thomas Verny and Stanislav Grof assert. [Footnote 2]

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

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

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Finding the Weakest Spot

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

Real, not blindly delusional, action is required.

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

We can no longer afford otherwise.

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

Feeling Good Is Not Bad

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

Changing the Patterns of Millennia

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

Chasing the Mirages of the Future

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

“It’s never enough.”

For individuals also, if they are to heal themselves, have to learn how to appreciate success and to stop sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways they do. Individuals act out their mini-cycles of “war” in their struggles to achieve. And people are driven to struggle to achieve because they cannot be pleased with what they have.

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

“Wrong…It IS enough.”

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

Becoming Self-Actualizing Instead of Self-Sabotaging

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

Learning that it is enough

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

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

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

Getting By, With a Little Help From Our Nature

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

Hierarchy of healing

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

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

However, when these traumatic memories come up seeking resolution, they, also unerringly, bring with them the associated feelings of depression, unease, and pain. But because these feelings are anything but pleasant, to their detriment most people seek to avoid these feelings through addictions and other forms of “acting-out” behavior. So addictions and acting-out behavior emerge after periods of relative stability precisely because that stability allows unresolved feelings an opening for emergence and a possibility of resolution and healing.

Allowing Our Society to Be Honestly, Blatantly “Sick”

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

“Stand in the place where you are…just stand.”

Societally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, “sicknesses,” negativities, and the pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them. But can societies do this? Are they doing this? [Footnote 5]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There I evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. I look into whether there are any indications that this standing firm in the face of the rising up of the repressed social Shadow-–allowing the pain of it and facing it foursquare, hashing it out-–is to be currently found around us. If we can find this being done, we may allow ourselves at least the hope for a change in consciousness radical enough to save us from extinction. On the contrary, if we find little or no evidence for this kind of auspicious, fruitful healing activity, we might as well consider ourselves doomed.

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

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

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

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


Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

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

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

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


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

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

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


So Did Politics Matter?

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

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

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

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

2000 Election Inconsequential?

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

Being “above” politics—intellectuals…

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

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

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

They think that being fair means to not care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politics profane?

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

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

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

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

Gore not winning inconsequential?

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

How much tragedy does it take?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wonder if they still think such things.

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

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

But what did it take?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And No Sooner Had…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perverse Puppeteering

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s So Bad About Doing Good?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodbye, Hello

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema

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


Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sad” lyrics

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

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

R.E.M. – “Stand”

“Stand” lyrics

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

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

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

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

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

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Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

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

What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

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

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

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

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

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

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

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

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

Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

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

DeMause writes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloody War, Bloody Birth; BPM III

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

Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

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

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

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

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War

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

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

Finding the Weakest Spot

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

Feeling Good Is Not Bad

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

Changing the Patterns of Millennia

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

Chasing the Mirages of the Future

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

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

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

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

Becoming Self-Actualizing Instead of Self-Sabotaging

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

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

Can You Handle Happiness?…

And the Pain That Comes With It?

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

Getting By, With a Little Help From Our Nature

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

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

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

Allowing Our Society to Be Honestly, Blatantly “Sick”

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

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

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





Footnotes

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

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

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


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

“Sad” lyrics

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

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


R.E.M. – “Stand”

“Stand” lyrics

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



Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema


Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

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

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

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

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

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

 



 

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