- Site Intro
- Chapters 1-15
- Ch 1 Smoke, Lies
- Ch 2 Matrix Aroused
- Ch 3 Opposing Worlds
- Ch 4 Concocted Worlds
- Ch 5 The King Won’t Die
- Ch 6 Culture War Allegory
- Ch 7 Cultural Rebirth, Aborted
- Ch 8 Creating an American Mind
- Ch 9 Creating an American Life
- Ch10 Erosion-Reason,Confidence
- Ch 11 Reality Transplant, Media
- Ch 12 Only The Game Remains
- Ch13 Great American About Face
- Ch14 Better Than 50 Years Ago?
- Ch 15 Money Mad
- Chapters 16-32
- Ch16 The Fall of “Obvious Truths”
- Ch 17 Freedom Repealed
- Ch 18 Dire Prediction
- Ch 19 Thanks, George Bush
- Ch 20 Auto Salesmen
- Ch 21 C-Students All
- Ch 22 Horrors Worse
- Ch 23 Wonderful Can Happen
- Ch 24 Naked Republicans
- Ch 25 Dictatorship: America
- Ch 26 American Fascism
- Ch 27 Life vs Matrix
- Ch 28 Thanatos Walking
- Ch 29 How To “Unlike” Fascism
- Ch 30 Afterword – Politics Matter?
- Ch 31 Epilogue – Is Good Bad?
- Ch 32 Interlude – Class Consciousness
- Culture/Class War – Bk 1
- Apocalypse Emergency – Bk 3
- Apocalypse NO – Bk 4
- Wounded Deer, Centaurs – Bk 5
- The Great Reveal – Bk 6
- Funny God – Bk 7
- Experience Is Divinity – Bk 8
- Falls from Grace – Bk 9
- Prodigal Human – Bk 10
Posts Tagged psychohistory
THE PRENATAL MATRICES OF HUMAN EVIL: Third Trimester Fetal Suffering Become War, Violence, Greed, Class War, Bigotry, Racism, Paranoia, Intolerance, Phobias, Sexual Abuse, Anti-Semitism, and Tattoos
Posted by sillymickel in 1%, activism, anthropology, book, books, child-rearing, Civil Rights, Class, Class War, consciousness, Culture War, Culture War Class War, economics, globalrevolution, holotropic breathwork, meaning, Michael Adzema author, oppression, parenting, personality, Police brutality, Politics, pre and perinatal psychology, primal therapy, psychology, science, sociology, spirituality, Stanislav Grof, totalitarianism, videos, War, Wounded Deer and Centaurs, youtube on April 26, 2018
Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from *Psychology of Apocalypse*, with my compliments.
Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil:
Prenatal Suffering Is the Root of Virtually All Human Atrocity — Greed, War, Torture, Rape, Racism, Murder, Massacre, Bigotry, Pollution, Apocalypse
“These imprints of experience — …being compressed and hemmed in, gasping and unable to get our breath as if we’re drowning, feeling poisoned and revolted or disgusted by what comes into us, and feeling dirty or irritated and burning on the surface of one’s body — are molds for what we call ‘human nature.’”
“…evil, as I mean it, is not of a theological or religious origin or intent. Quite simply, evil … e, v, i, l … is the opposite of live … l, i, v, e. Evil is live spelled backward…. There are many things we do on both large and small scales that are anti-life. They lead to death, to unhappiness, to unnecessary suffering, and to all the other things we have attributed to evil…. Evil is an empirical category … closely associated with self-destructive, destructive, and self-sabotaging tendencies in humans.”
Over the last five chapters, I disclosed the imprints from our experience of birth which are driving us to kill ourselves. For our birth is unique in Nature in both the amount of trauma attending it and the prematurity of its occurrence. I pointed out that we have experiences in the womb of oceanic bliss, then no-exit claustrophobic feelings, then feelings of struggle and warlike aggression, which is rooted in our actual birth struggle. And finally we have feelings of release and exultation, which is related to our experience of actually being born.
I explained that we act out these early imprints in all kinds of ways. War is a particularly salient one; as in going to war we are re-creating our imprint of the birth struggle and the desire to achieve release and rebirth. We are the only species who has the kind of birth that we do, that is, traumatic; and that has everything to do with the fact that we are the only species to go to war.
The Perinatal Pushes on Human Nature
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. Bipedalism causes fetal malnutrition in addition to birth trauma, you see. 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 delivery of vital resources mean the fetus is not getting as much oxygen, or nutrients for that matter, as it wants and could use. The prenate cannot gasp for breath but one can imagine it having a similar feeling … recall the sensation of holding one’s breath under water.
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. So birth pain makes humans out of planetmates, essentially. 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 books, Planetmates: The Great Reveal (2014) and Prodigal Human (2016).1
Looking more closely at it, there are four major feeling constellations involved in this late-gestation discomfort. You might say, four blueprints of human consciousness are written in the womb. 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.
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 does not 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.
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, suffocated, disgusted, and irritated. These imprints of experience — let us say, being compressed and hemmed in, gasping and unable to get our breath as if we’re drowning, feeling poisoned and revolted or disgusted by what comes into us, and feeling dirty or irritated and burning on the surface of one’s body — are molds for what we call “human nature.”
Let me explain. There are four important qualities of pain involved in late-stage gestation:
- The first has to do with being crowded and unable to move freely. The other three come under the category of fetal malnutrition:
- You get less oxygen because of the reduced blood flow in late pregnancy; you experience lack of abundance and feelings of deprivation, impoverishment, “starvation.”
- 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.”
- 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.
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. They are the roots of violence, bigotry, and pollution.
We will now, and in the coming chapters, deal with each of these in turn and discuss the way we act them out as adults politically, environmentally, and interpersonally. To aid us in this inquiry, I thought it a good idea to categorize these different constellations, similarly to the way Grof and deMause have of their patterns of experiences and events in their theories. They separately came up with categories that overlap, with Grof’s describing the birth process from womb to postnatal experience. And deMause contrived categories for stages in a nation’s cycles of peace and war. Keeping in mind that war is the birth struggle projected macrocosmically, we see that the categories line up neatly. Doing this, provides fascinating insight that they both, Grof and deMause, for ideological reasons that separated them, refused to get into themselves.
Perhaps by laying out their categories side-by-side you might see that better yourself.
Lloyd deMause, in his seminal work, Foundations of Psychohistory, himself encapsulated Grof’s matrices. I point this out because he clearly was aware of them, yet he failed to see the overlap. Let’s look at his words. In describing the basic perinatal matrices, deMause writes that they are,
BPM 1 (Primal Union with Mother): In the womb, fantasies of Paradise, unity with God or Nature, sacredness, “oceanic” ecstasy, etc.
BPM 2 (Antagonism With Mother): Derived from the onset of labor, when the cervix is still closed, feelings of being trapped, of futility, of crushing head pressures and cardiac distress, of unbearable suffering and hellish horrors, of being sucked into a whirlpool or swallowed by a terrifying monster, dragon, octopus, python, etc.
BPM 3 (Synergism With Mother): When the cervix opens and propulsion through the birth canal occurs, fantasies of titanic fights, of sadomasochistic orgies, of explosive discharges of atom bombs and volcanoes and of brutal rapes and suicidal self-destruction, all part of an overwhelmingly violent death-rebirth struggle.
BPM 4 (Separation From Mother): Upon the termination of the birth struggle, after the first breath, feelings of liberation, salvation, love and forgiveness, along with fantasies of having been cleansed, unburdened and purged.2
Then deMause sums up his own stages of the process of groups’ and nations’ events, which he calls the fetal stages as,
FS1-STRONG: During the leader’s first year, media fantasy language and cartoon body-images are full of group-fantasies of the great strength of the nation, and of the leader as grandiose, ruthless in defense of the group, and vitally necessary to its national life-blood…. The group in this “strong” stage is felt to be safe in a “strong” womb-surround, so any external disorders which might occur are not seen as threatening enough to require a violent response.3
This “strong” period is clearly a societal equivalent of Grof’s BPM I. Peace and prosperity and strength in the nation aligns with oceanic peace, vibrant growth, and bliss in the womb.
FS2-CRACKING: The deification of the leader begins to fail, with an increase in scapegoating to deflect hostility from the leader. The group’s boundaries are felt to be “cracking,” with images of leaking water and crumbling walls predominating. The leader is seen as weakening and unable to control events. Complaints of being crowded, hungry and breathless multiply, and worries are increasingly voiced that collapse is imminent….4
This is clearly equivalent, on the individual level, to Grof’s BPM II where growth is stymied, depression and no-exit hopelessness set in. The words “crowded, hungry and breathless,” which deMause is applying to a social context could as easily describe the fetal situation of BPM II.
FS3-COLLAPSE: The group during this stage experiences extreme anxieties about its collapse of self-image and growing rage toward the leader, who now seems impotent in ending the group’s feeling of pollution, sinfulness and starvation. Group-fantasies of choking, falling, abandonment, disintegration, death and explosiveness proliferate in the media…. Free-floating paranoid fantasies of unnamed poisonous enemies multiply, as the group attempts to project its own rage outward…. The “collapse” stage ends only after a “search for a humiliating other” — an enemy who, in a moment of “group-psychotic insight,” is identified as the concrete source of the group’s distress….5
Clearly this is describing another aspect of BPM II, the no-exit prior to birth. It would align with the time in the womb leading up to when the birth struggle will begin. It is here and the previous category, FS 2 and FS 3, where deMause breaks down Grof’s one stage of BPM II into two. That increasing distinction of this time by deMause was a stepping-off point for my own theories, where I found four distinct constellations of feelings within BPM II, not just two. We’ll get to that soon, but continuing with deMause, we have
FS4-UPHEAVAL: The “group-psychotic insight” which identifies the delusional poisoner of the group can take one of several forms:
(1) Regicidal Solution-.
(2) Martial Solution — If an external enemy can be located who will co-operate by humiliating the group, it then enters into a trance-like state of sadomasochistic enthrallment towards the enemy, whose totally evil nature makes every rage seem justified and every sacrifice noble.
(3) Suicidal Solution — Suicidal individuals often resolve internal ambivalences through a fantasy of a “Hidden Executioner” who helps them in their suicidal effort in killing the bad, polluted part of themselves so that the good purified part can be loved again….6
Clearly this stage describing a war or a substitute violent event in the nation’s inner dynamics corresponds to the time of birth, described by Grof.
Finally, deMause, without categorizing it, refers frequently to the time at the end of the war — the time of triumph, or defeat, and the aftermath — as having its own constellation of feelings and events. And it corresponds exactly to Grof’s BPM IV — which is the time of release from the womb, in birth, and right afterward.
Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil
However, another aspect of our unique human birth that is instructive to understanding our current drive to extinction and apocalypse is the time before birth, at the end of gestation. Here, where we do not get enough oxygen because of our weight as a fetus having become such that we constrict the blood vessels around us, we experience a suffocation but also a buildup of toxins, as the blood supply being reduced does not remove our waste matter, particularly carbon dioxide, sufficiently.
As I said above, this period is delimited, roughly, in Grof’s BPM II; but it has two components in deMause’s schema as it manifests in the cycles of national events. As I also said, I see there are four. Beyond that, I see that expanding the category to reveal these four components adds immensely to our understanding of human events through history and currently, particularly as it pertains to the events that demand we call them evil.
Furthermore, employing this fourfold breakdown of BPM II, and the expansion of deMause’s FS2 and FS3, reveals things overlooked in those theories. In my framework, we see clearly that the poisoning in the womb that Grof describes as going on during BPM I and only for some people is in fact routine and occurs during the last trimester and most excruciatingly during the final month. While I do not deny that some feelings of the influx of noxious elements can occur earlier, during the BPM I period, especially if the mother smokes, drinks, or uses drugs, it clearly — adding the research of deMause and my own — is an aspect of everyone’s experience, as you will see….
Also, Grof’s schema calls for scatological feelings as occurring after birth. Whereas with the addition of deMause’s research and insights along with my own, it is clear these feelings of wallowing in feces are actually an aspect of the prenatal immersion in toxins. While I believe it is possible that some people are born into feces, as the mother’s bowels release upon birth, as Grof explains it. Still, the fact that mothers routinely receive a pre-birth enema, yet experiencers feel this constellation of feelings about being surrounded by dirt and feces, is not explained. Not, that is, unless one employs the revised categories of BPM II that I am proposing.
In any case, these categories I am calling the prenatal matrix of human evil.
I should probably mention that evil, as I mean it, is not of a theological or religious origin or intent. Quite simply, evil … e, v, i, l … is the opposite of live … l, i, v, e. Evil is live spelled backward. That is to say that there are many things we do on both large and small scales that are anti-life. They lead to death, to unhappiness, to unnecessary suffering, and to all the other things we have attributed to evil. Thus, evil is an empirical category; it is one closely associated with self-destructive, destructive, and self-sabotaging tendencies in humans. In no way is my definition a derivative of any “revealed” or authoritarian laws or commandments. No. Evil is what causes unnecessary suffering and death. And great evil is what leads to unnecessary suffering and to death on a massive scale. There is no way to quibble about the suitability of my using the term evil for the events and occurrences I have been and will continue to be pointing to.
Putting it in the context of the categories brought out in the chapter on Thanatos — the death wish, the Will to Die — you might say that this prenatal matrix of evil specifies exactly what that death wish is, where it comes from, and does so much more in elaborating on its aspects, revealing its features. The prenatal matrix of human evil is Thanatos explained. It is the reason we are self-destructive and the ways in which we harm ourselves and others.
It is not a death instinct, however. It is the way we end up after going through some very hellish experiences in the womb in the last trimester. If we did not go through these experiences, we would not have these tendencies to sabotage ourselves and to harm others. In that light, you can see how the death “instinct” or drive becomes simply an aspect of neurosis. Certainly, it is a neurosis that is fundamental and common, nearly universal, but it has roots in experience, not DNA. We know that because by mitigating these early traumas, as we very well are able to, we create people with less of that tendency to want to undermine themselves.
Furthermore, we know this is not genetic because those experiencers who feel through, resolve, and integrate these early traumas have considerably less to none of those tendencies. I know. For I did re-experience these traumas in a thorough and comprehensive way over the course of a number of years. And whereas starting out I had my share, more than some actually, of self-sabotaging tendencies, after doing my inner work I no longer do. Rather than being unconsciously self-defeating, I am now — in a sense unconsciously … or at least effortlessly — self-actualizing. Completing and publishing twelve books in the last four-and-a-half years might be taken as testament to that.
In any case, let me explain these prenatal matrices of human evil. I break them down into four categories:
Prenatal matrix of human evil 1 (PME 1) is the time of compression and crowdedness in the womb that begins in the third trimester and is especially difficult in the last month.
Prenatal matrix of human evil 2 (PME 2) is the hypoxia that comes to the fetus as the placenta ages, becomes more fibrous, has increasing calcification, gets increasingly less efficient, resulting in reduced oxygen and feelings of suffocation, gasping, prenatal starvation and oxygen deprivation, and prenatal panic. This is augmented in the last month by the fetal malnutrition come of bipedalism and which is increased by the mother’s standing, rather than lying down, at the end of pregnancy. This also begins in the last three months but is extremely traumatizing in the last month.
Prenatal matrix of human evil 3 (PME 3) is the constellation of feelings during those last three months, especially severe in the last one, where because of the aging placenta’s deficiencies, the byproducts of food conversion, carbon dioxide in particular, are not removed as efficiently. So this toxic waste matter gets “backed up” and recirculated into the fetus. The prenate experiences feelings of being poisoned, of nausea, of being force-fed noxious substances, and of disgust-sickening.
Finally, prenatal matrix of human evil 4 (PME 4) comes about because the fetus is not merely taking in those toxins but is immersed in them. The environment in the amniotic sac, for the fetus, gets increasingly polluted; and this is experienced on the prenate’s skin as a kind of itch that cannot be scratched, an irritation, a burning. It results in feelings of revulsion, creepiness, dirtiness.
As I repeatedly say, war can be considered an act-out of our birth struggle and the desire to be born. However, on a deeper level war is a direct outgrowth of PME 1, for such crowdedness cries out for expansion in an explosive way, like a war.
Now, pertaining to PME 2, PME 3, and PME 4, I’ll give you a look ahead. For this time at the end of gestation, where we feel suffocated and living in a toxic environment, is the root of our unconscious desire to manifest and live with pollution, as well as of a global warming with its buildup of carbon dioxide and global oxygen reduction, which goes hand-in-hand with the increase of carbon dioxide. Much more of the things we have created which are threatening life on this planet, including nuclear radiation, are act-outs of the prenatal trauma built into our beginnings
Our PTSD from the Womb We Confuse as Human Nature
At any rate, the reason we do these self-destructive, indeed, suicidal things is that our psyche tries to heal itself from that birth and prebirth trauma by having us unconsciously re-create that which we could not integrate or face at the time, which left us thereafter damaged and in need of healing. The psyche does this in its unconscious attempt to somehow resolve or heal these traumas by having us continually re-create that which might remind us … at least it re-stimulates this in us … the things inside we need to resolve still. You might think of this mechanism as a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which virtually all of us experience, from our births, yes, but at a deeper level, from even before — during the hell of prenatal trauma.
This undergirding of our personalities with a prenatal horror is so prevalent, in fact, that we actually call it our “human nature” — a human nature we say is characterized by aggression, competitiveness, selfishness, and greed. But which my research and that of others in my field has shown to be a product of our birth and prenatal traumatic experiences. And which my research has shown is underlain with a deeper human nature, before that and in synchrony with the rest of Nature, which existed in us before that, before our trauma, which actually is genetic … a true human nature. Another hint of what’s coming: The good news is that we have such a harmonious and cooperative human nature which we can access and so avert our ecocidal plunge.
All this being said, let us now take the prenatal matrices in turn, beginning next chapter with PME 1. Which is the constellation of feelings around being crowded, hemmed in, and experiencing a fetal claustrophobia.
Prenatal Crowdedness Become War and Violence, PME 1:
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 1 … Claustrophobia, Compression, Hemmed In, Oppressed, Enslavement, Imprisonment, Straitjackets … “Back Off!”
“The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We would like the whole world, which for us is the womb, to ‘back off!’ It presses in on us, imposes itself on us, oppresses us. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to bear down on us, to ‘prosecute’ us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It ‘won’t let us do what we want to do.’ It is ‘out to get us.’”
“…the invention and use of straitjackets shows our preoccupation with the prenatal, especially as concerns our mental health or well-being. For the message there is that if you ‘get out of control’ you will be put back in a place where you will be forced to comply and will have to learn to deal, as all the rest of us do, with the ‘existential fact’ of needing to conform to the dictates of an overwhelming, dominating, and pervasive outer world.”
First, 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. This, for the sake of clarity, I have dubbed prenatal matrix of human evil 1, or PME 1.
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 1
The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We would like the whole world, which for us is the womb, to “back off!” It presses in on us, imposes itself on us, oppresses us. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to bear down on us, to “prosecute” us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It “won’t let us do what we want to do.” It is “out to get us.”
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 six-eight months of our lives since conception. This oppression from 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.”
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 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.
We act out these same feelings just as illogically and self-destructively in our behavior in regards to the environment. I mentioned how we manifest this crowdedness through overpopulation and that we react to or run away from these feelings through activities like swimming and dancing. Environmentally, we feel the need to push back and pave over Nature all we can.
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.1
We put ourselves in human zoos, which we call cities, and we 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. Does that not 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 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” (they block us from moving freely) … thus road rage.
Conversely, we take solace in speeding (though we risk tickets). We 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). Driving in one’s car is a perfect example of re-creating the experience of being in the womb — the car is an enclosed and protective vessel, like the womb — yet being able to move freely. When that free movement is blocked, as in a traffic pileup, it is a re-creation and a triggering of the time in the womb where, after our time of blissful free movement, we were blocked as we got larger and our space, more crowded.
So when we are not re-creating our womb freedom through driving, 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, for the reason of experiencing those feelings of free movement vicariously.
As indicative of PME 1, I would like to refer to a prenatal indicator in the visual media, which has been capturing my attention … seeming to be coming out of the very walls at me! This is — what appears to me to be — a recent and new sort of prenatal symbolism, at least in Western culture.
We have had, over and over again, the image of the “evil fetus” erupting from the abdomen, as in the classic scene from Alien, as well as that of it emerging from the mouth — as examples, the “Firewalker,” 1994, episode of The X Files, and the dance hall scene in Jacob’s Ladder — indicating fetal emergence mixed with ungentle neonatal mouth clearing, as discussed previously. However, this new variation of “fetal emergence” has human faces pushing through membrane-like elastic walls!
Ventura Out of the Womb
A good example of this occurs in the movie, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, When Nature Calls. In the Ace Ventura movie, Jim Carrey emerges from inside a mechanical rhino with virtually all birth elements evident. He is holed up in a hot and suffocating “womb” — that is, he is inside the rhino.
He becomes engaged in a desperate need to get out. Interestingly, the fan — the source of comfort in the rhino (womb) — stops working after a while. This is exactly analogous to the way, when we are fetuses, the nurturing elements of the mother’s womb “turn off,” in the last stage of gestation, making the womb quite an uncomfortable place indeed.
We see Carrey pushing his face against the elastic, membrane surface of the rhino’s posterior in a way graphically suggesting prenatal compression and discomfort as well as perinatal emergence. The tourists watching this explicitly state that they see it as the rhino giving birth.
We witness the actual “birth”: Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura) struggles to make the opening larger and to come out. Finally, he falls, naked wet and curled up, fetal- or baby-like, to the ground. The hilarious — and outrageous to the tourists — part is this image of a rhino giving birth to a full-grown naked adult human “baby.”
Couldn’t Fight Your Way Out of a Plastic Bag!
Other examples in media of the PME 1 trauma of crowdedness — with its concomitant that body parts and the face would push against the surface — has individuals completely covered, wrapped head to toe, and suffocated in membrane-like elastic sheets or their equivalent from which they cannot escape and in which they appear agonized and struggling.
Modern movies showing such scenes — or devices or procedures to a similar effect of claustrophobic-like assault — are indicative of these prenatal elements coming to the surface, obviously. One example is The Man in the Iron Mask.
I saw a most potent portrayal of this new prenatal element of faces and body parts pushing through walls in the 1996 movie by Peter Jackson, with Michael J. Fox, The Frighteners. Naturally, what was coming out of the walls was threatening, attacking. It tried to capture and compress its victim, too; just like it might be expected to be feeling itself. Lloyd deMause would call this an example of the evil fetus. It is symbology that arises out of that time of suffering in the womb, showing the pent-up, repressed feelings of anger and revenge that emanate from such a time of persecution in our lives.
This House Will Eat You Alive!
The plot of another movie involved a house being somewhat alive and gobbling people up into the walls. The ingested people would try to emerge from the house’s walls. The walls being like elastic when they would do this, the features of their faces could be seen pushing through to the point even of the individuals being identifiable.2
These swallowed people could not get out of the walls. And they would be the next ones trying to lure their loved ones and friends into being gobbled up by the house — the same having been done to them, which had resulted in their being taken into the walls initially. Sounds like a modern, very perinatal variation on the Pied Piper theme.
But the former victims who, once pulled into the walls, themselves become perpetrators also is a powerful metaphor of the way primal trauma and child abuse of all kinds — including genital mutilation — is passed from one generation to the next. Vampirism has this telling quality as well: Once you are bitten, you are compelled to do it to others. In the same way, all child abusers were abused themselves as children, as any psychologist will tell you.
Womb Symbology — House, Cave, Squids
Anyway, this portrayal of a house that gobbles up its victims, bizarre as it sounds and as it looked, can only be explained by looking into our prenatal imprints; and it is rife with such elements.
To start with, a house — being an enclosure in which humans protect, nurture, and take care of themselves once born into the world — is perhaps the most prevalent womb symbol that exists. It is right up there in importance with caves, oceans, swallowing beasts — especially beasts of the ocean like whales (Jonah), sharks (Jaws), and octopi or giant squids.
There was a movie of this squid variation, which I saw not long ago. Its plot development was of the Jaws genre. But in adding tentacles, it added elements of pubic hair and umbilical strangulation to the normal aspects of womb torture such as simple compression and suffocation.
House; cave; water; devouring dragon, as in Harry Potter; whale or shark; automobile, especially buses or motorhomes; boats, especially submarines; indeed, all vehicles of transition, nonmechanical as well as mechanical as in trains and airplanes; the deep forest, as in Avatar — anything in fact with elements of being surrounding and engulfing of one and as nurturing or threatening one, or both, are womb symbols, as we have known for a long time.
Womb Symbology — Prison, Jail Cell, Schoolroom
In the category of womb symbols that are places that enclose or “house” one that are uncomfortable, constricting, limiting of one’s ability to move around, and in which one is made to suffer, even be tortured; we need to add prisons, dungeons, jail cells, and schoolrooms. Breaking out of prisons, being rescued from tight, enclosing places or situations in which one is not free — that is, cannot “move freely” — are specific portrayals of the birth process itself. Contemporary film is flooded with plots and scenes depicting such escapes and/or rescues.
Any constricting surround is a womb symbol, including oppressive social and political conditions from which one cannot escape and under which one is not able to move freely, to enjoy “freedom”; especially regimented ones under which one is tortured, processed, and treated anonymously and in an unfeeling, insensitive manner.
Schools and schoolrooms are especially strong womb symbols for they are places in which a person is supposedly nurtured and helped along in one’s development, exactly as was the purpose and situation in the womb. When they depict being constricted or made to suffer, it becomes even more obvious, depicting as that does the later stages in the womb which are uncomfortable and often hellacious. Libraries are the benign version of womb-like “schooling” in that the element of volition or choice in the matter exists.
Even the invention and use of straitjackets shows our preoccupation with the prenatal, especially as concerns our mental health or well-being. For the message there is that if you “get out of control” you will be put back in a place where you will be forced to comply and will have to learn to deal, as all the rest of us do, with the “existential fact” of needing to conform to the dictates of an overwhelming, dominating, and pervasive outer world.
Existential fact is in quotes to point out that this is not an essential fact of existence; rather they seem to be facts to humans because of the experience we share of being in constricting wombs which become uncomfortable and suffocating increasingly near the end. This is an example of what I have termed elsewhere, biologically constituted realities.3
Of course, a similar thing — forcible “re-education” — could be said for the use of jail cells, solitary confinement, and enclosures like “The Hole” during incarceration. Simply the fact that we have a much greater percentage of our population in prisons than any time previously points to our mania for trying to control this aspect of our feelings from our origins … and of an emerging prenatal-perinatal unconscious triggering the reaction.
In a similar respect, I have already mentioned our current preoccupation with water-boarding style torture. In employing suffocation — a PME 2 element, coming up next chapter — as well as maintaining immovability by being tied down (PME 1), it is an effective yet brutally inhuman way of stimulating people’s prenatal pain, just as straitjackets and jail cells are intended to.
In former times, torture apparatus often employed elements of compression, suffocation, constriction … of the entire body or just the head … and frequently added the element of prenatal discomfort by adding torture while so enclosed. The Iron Maiden is such a contraption. It is a torture device used during medieval times. Note the feminine being employed in the name itself. Could that be any clearer that it is meant to be a painful, tortuous re-creation of being inside one’s mother? How else are maidens conceived of as being “iron,” let alone enclosing?
Indeed, it was, too. For it was a coffin-like enclosure, with spikes on its interior walls, pointing in. The coffin was shaped, and sized down, so someone would be rather tightly enclosed in it. And when it was shut, the spikes would stab you all around. You don’t want to know how accurately that describes some of our experiences prenatally.
Aw, 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. Now, though, let us 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.
Our aggressions against others are of course connected to the long period of difficult immovability in the womb, but we can already see it is related to the reduction of oxygen at that time as well. Looking into the feelings of latent oxygen panic rooted in fetal oxygen hunger, PME 2, we see it has many more political implications, even, than war and aggressions toward others over space … over lines and perimeters and rooted in the feelings of being hemmed in — that constellation of “crowded” feelings I have in this chapter teased out.
We look now at the horrifying feelings of prenatal matrix of human evil 2, of oxygen starvation — gasping, suffocating, and feeling stifled — and the crazy things we do to “breathe free” again.
Prenatal Suffocation Become Greed and Class War, PME 2:
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 … Gasping, Suffocation, Drowning, Being “Cut Off” Become Greed, Oppression, Conformity … “They’re Sucking the Very ‘Life Blood’ Out of Us!”
“The timelessness of prenatal experience at this point — when not getting enough air — feels horrific, an unending nightmare. This part contributes to human ideas of places of forever, endless suffering, for example, hell.”
“The feeling we carry with us, below the surface in life, is of not being able to breathe, to get enough air … 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.”
“…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….”
“We 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.”
I mentioned how our human tendency to warring has its roots in the uncomfortable crowdedness we experience in the late stages of gestation, specifically PME 1. This matrix of crowdedness describes a trauma that stays with us for life and drives us to act it out in trying to push back lines and make more room (womb) for ourselves in many areas of our lives, including politically.
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2
I also said our psychological state preceding wars, in line with deMause’s work in this area, is akin to feeling stifled and wanting to “breathe free.” This arises of the second prenatal matrix, PME 2, which is related to early-rooted feelings of suffocation … of drowning. In the “gasping” or oxygen-deprivation trauma of late-stage gestation, beginning usually in the third trimester, we cannot get enough oxygen. The placenta is aging and is not as efficient in providing for our needs.1 We feel suffocated … suppressed, stifled, repressed, oppressed.
Lloyd deMause does a pretty good job of describing this development. For that reason, and to respond to those of my readers wondering “just where the hell am I coming up with this shit,” lol, let me lean on him to give you a flavor of what is going on at this point. I quote,
“Although most of these studies have been generally ignored by medicine and psychology alike, some obstetricians have recently begun to draw the same conclusions as I have drawn regarding the womb as a place full of pain as well as tranquility. Albert Liley, while filming with x-rays what he termed ‘frantic’ movements of the fetus during uterine contractions, concluded that they ‘were characteristic of a human being in severe pain, as the fetus threw its arms and legs about and appeared to actively resist each contraction with various contortions of its body.’ If the uterus were not filled with fluid, says obstetrician Robert Goodlin, and if there were air in the womb, the fetus would be heard ‘crying in utero’ much of the time. ln fact, he says, for ‘obstetricians using air amniograms, it is often necessary to caution the mother to assume the sitting or upright position (post air amniogram) for several hours after the amniogram so that the air will be kept away from the fetal larynx; otherwise, the annoyance for the [mother] of hearing her unborn fetus cry. It therefore seems not unreasonable to assume that fetuses are often as uncomfortable (enough to cry) in utero as extra utero [for] it is the intrapartum, not the newborn period, which is filled with pain and stress for the infant.’
“The distress of the fetus is increasingly felt during its third trimester in the womb. As the fetus during this period increases its length from 13 to 20 inches and nearly triples its weight, it is more crowded, more affected by stress including hypoxia, moves less and dreams more, and begins to exhibit a definite ‘personality’ which the mother can now recognize as its own, as it gets upset and vigorously kicks her in response to certain of her actions or positions — for instance, if she is sleeping in a position uncomfortable to the fetus. The crucial problems for the fetus in this new cramped womb lies in its outgrowing the ability of its placenta to feed it, provide it with oxygen, and clean its blood of carbon dioxide and wastes. The placenta not only stops growing during this period, it regresses in its efficiency, becoming tough and fibrous rather than spongy, as its cells and blood vessels degenerate and it becomes full of blood clots and calcified areas. As this happens, the effect on the fetus is to make it even more susceptible to hypoxia than previously.
“Ever since the early research in the 1930s by Anselmino, Haselhorst, Bartels and others, medical research has been puzzled by the low oxygen pressure of fetal blood, which continuously has such low oxygen levels that adults would black out in comparable conditions. This normal condition of low oxygen pressure was termed ‘Mt. Everest in utero,’ with the suggestion that fetal development during the last trimester is analogous to a mountaineer climbing Mt. Everest and experiencing slowly decreasing oxygen levels as the fetus grew bigger and the placenta became less efficient. Although the discovery that this very low oxygen level is somewhat offset by an oxygen affinity of fetal red blood cells that is somewhat higher than adults, even so, it is now recognized by many researchers that this one factor is not enough to completely offset the growing insufficiency of oxygen supply to the brain cells. In fact, the late-term fetus is often extremely hypoxic by adult standards.’ As one obstetrical researcher puts it, ‘the foetus in utero may be subject to great O2 and CO2 pressure changes’ which produce frequent hypoxia, ‘the most frequent cause of brain damage in the perinatal period.’
“Recent medical literature is full of admissions of ignorance and calls for more research as to what is termed the ‘puzzling’ ability of the fetus to live with such low oxygen levels and with such an ‘inefficient’ placenta — the oxygen transfer efficiency of which Bartels calls the ‘worst’ of all mammals. Since ‘the asphyxiated fetus has no cerebral regulatory mechanism giving priority to the blood flow of the brain,’ and since the human fetal brain is many times the comparable size of other mammals of equal body weight, ‘the margin of safety of the fetal brain against hypoxia is probably smaller in man’ than in other animals, so any reduction at all of the already very low oxygen level late in fetal life is felt as extremely stressful.
“Therefore, as the third trimester proceeds and birth approaches, as the placenta becomes less efficient and fetal needs much greater for oxygen, nutrition and the cleansing of its blood of carbon dioxide and wastes, the blood becomes more polluted, and every stress becomes magnified and is more painful to the fetus. At this low level of oxygen, even normal contractions (‘practice’ contractions), which produce an increase in uterine pressure and a decrease in oxygen levels of up to 25%, are painful to the fetus — as though the womb were giving it an hourly ‘squeeze’ to get it used to the more violent contractions to come…. [T]wo weeks prior to birth, the fetal oxygen level drops much further, and the fetus’s need for oxygen becomes … critical….
“During labor itself, oxygenation is decreased even further below critical levels, and carbon dioxide in the blood rises. Saling found a level of oxygen in fetal scalp blood at the onset of labor of 23% and just before delivery of 12% (in adults, the central nervous system fails below 63%, findings which have led even the most cautious of obstetricians to conclude that ‘hypoxia of a certain degree and duration is a normal phenomenon in every delivery.’) The effects on the fetus of this severe hypoxia are dramatic: normal fetal breathing stops, fetal heart rate accelerates, then decelerates, the fetus often thrashes about frantically in reaction to the pain of the contractions and the hypoxia, and soon the fetus enters into its life-and-death struggle to liberate itself from its terrifying condition.”2
In addition to the hypoxia come of an aging placenta, near the end of gestation, the mother, when standing, constricts blood vessels to the fetus. This reduces the blood supply to the fetus and thus less oxygen is received. It is what I addressed earlier as fetal malnutrition. The result is that prior to birth we humans experience suffocation and claustrophobic feelings — we “can’t get enough air”! — which seem deadly and unending.
The timelessness of prenatal experience at this point — when not getting enough air — feels horrific, an unending nightmare. This part contributes to human ideas of places of forever, endless suffering; for example, hell.
The feeling we carry with us, below the surface in life, is of not being able to breathe, 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. Still, 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.
We act out these fears through excessive control of all these resources and through controlling and sycophantic behavior toward others in order to try to ensure a steady supply of vital resources. Additionally, we unconsciously re-create that situation of panicky suffocation in our environment, in particular with the air we breathe.
Important prenatal influences, specifically of PME 2, are evident in media and film in the frequency of scenes of death by suffocation, in water or otherwise. Remember, we are immersed in water before birth, amniotic fluid.
PME 2 in Human Events and Humanicide
With this overview of the prenatal matrix of human evil 2 in mind, following now in this chapter and the next we will look into some of the psychological dynamics of human events, particularly regarding our air. While we are at it we will uncover rich veins of understanding and possible solutions for certain political and social dilemmas, which we will find are operating dialectically with these dynamics. 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.
However, our act-outs of our PME 2 feelings have the most significant effect on our humanicide through their effects in pushing us to create the environment we have. That is a topic so important I will save it for a few chapters, for the ones on “prenatal Earth,” Chapters 19 through 21. We will look, there, at how our experiences from this time of our lives is implicated in our insane behavior regarding our environment; as well as how an understanding of PME 2, specifically, is crucial to reversing any of our self-sabotaging tendencies there and possible solutions for our current environmental problems.
On Greed and Oxygen
So there’s crowdedness in the late stages of womb life increasing up to the time of actual birth, which is PME 1. Yet also 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; which is PME 2. One feels “pressured” and “overwhelmed” as one becomes larger in the womb; however one also experiences not getting enough oxygen — the simmering panic of near drowning.
There is the state of not moving and crowdedness; but there is also suffocation of sorts. They are related but very different experiential constellations, both of which profoundly affect how humans will see their lives ever after. Both experiences skew our ability to ever see reality accurately — clearly and “unfiltered.” Due to 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.
We spend a great deal 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.
“They’re Sucking the Very ‘Life Blood’ Out of Us!”
Second, 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. As 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.
Oxygen and Oppression
It is out of these feelings carried over and restimulated again and again as adults that we create class wars, revolution, and culture wars. For we feel there to be an oppressive force inhibiting our self-expression, keeping us from “breathing freely.”
But more: On the other side of those panicky feelings of suffocation we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need — greed. We experienced oxygen poverty in the womb, so poverty and reductions in finances feel stifling and suffocating. It is less desirable to not have money, of course. My point is that this prospect drives us to overreact and build our lives around major act-outs of it, as so:
Suppression, Oppression, “Sucking” From
(1) Being politically oppressed, we feel we can’t move freely, which is the crowded feeling, or PME 1. However, interestingly, we feel we can’t “breathe freely.” We act this out on both sides of class war and revolution: One side always feels this lack because it has roots in the unconscious and cannot be satisfied and so overcompensates and in doing so “sucks” up all possible resources (oxygen) from those lower on the totem pole: It “suppresses” the “masses”; it “sucks from” the masses.
Liberals’ hearts may “bleed” but not conservatives.’ For releasing blood is losing oxygen and conservatives have a prenatal “knowing” that you need every smidgen you can get to survive. You may even go so far as to try to “squeeze blood from a stone,” i.e., the aging placenta.
Sycophancy, Conformity, “Sucking Up”
(2) From another side of this discomfort we have a prenatal sycophancy showing itself. Conforming Underlings, in a country’s economic array, act out their prenatal oxygen panic by investing all their energy in “sucking up” to those above them … seeking to ensure a steady supply of resources (money, oxygen) by sucking from the rich stream (blood stream) of money “circulating” among those on rungs above them on the economic ladder.
Suffocation, Starvation, Being “Sucked From”
(3) And the other component in this political triangle — those poor and working class directly opposed to the greedy forces “sucking up” from the masses — feels this suppression as suffocation, starvation, and stifling unto death. So it wants to “overthrow” or “throw off” the forces weighing down upon and suppressing/suffocating them.
Basically, if you’re not “sucking” resources (oxygen) from below, you are either “sucking up” to those above you or being “sucked from” and wanting to “overthrow” them to “breathe more freely.”
Revolution, Freedom, and Breathing
This does not mean that revolutionary forces are necessarily act outs of early trauma and not real. Although that is possible. It does not mean that oppression does not actually exist; it does not mean that struggles for economic justice are overcompensations.
Injustice, Inequity, Struggle — Throwing Off
No. It is no more true that these are unreal than that struggles to save the environment are act-outs. For we must remember that the prenatal forces inside us drive us to actually manifest conditions that re-create our womb states. And just as we are driven to despoil our air and waters as act-outs of our fetal malnutrition, so also our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary, greedy acts creating gross economic injustice. These are the actions of the Controllers, the wealthy. And these greedy forces are aided in their suppression by their sycophantic underlings, driven by their underlying panic of resource loss. These are the Conforming Underlings. Between the two, our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary greedy acts creating gross economic injustice.
Free Speech — Stifled, Inspire, Expire, Express … to Breathe Free
Interesting aspects of this oppression-revolution dynamic rooted in the fetal dynamic is the focus on free speech: The one side wants to suppress expression (expiration — release of air) of inspiration (to inspire — to take in air), thus directly slowing down the masses’ political equivalent of breathing, “stifling” its expression (its ability to “breathe out”).
The revolutionary side of this wants the opposite: Folks want freedom of speech. They want to be able to speak freely (breathe freely), to be inspired (take in air or spirit), and to express this uninhibitedly (expire, let air out). These same dynamics apply to freedom of religion as well.
The oppressed masses feel they are deprived, cannot get enough of what they need (oxygen), want to “breathe freely,” and so need to assert self-expression, to express (expire) one’s inspiration freely as part of that “struggle.”
Sycophancy and Conservatism
Nevertheless, the basic dynamic is about resources: One side out of oxygen panic wants to suck up resources from everywhere around and wants to keep those resources from others. The other side, the revolutionaries, wants to take theirs back. That third part, the Conforming Underlings, is the fetus hoping to get more resources from “above” … to “suck up” … by not moving too much, by “conforming.”
We all know how movement in a delicate situation might just “make things worse.” That is the basis of why we hold our breaths when we first experience stress. The response of Conforming Underlings to the oppression that pervades societies since civilization is patterned upon that. Their strategy for survival is to stay compliant with outside forces, not be too obvious or “stand out,” and if moving to do so only in ways remembered as safe … strictly prescribed, ritualistic ways.
For our prenatal memory tells us that doing so is the way of getting a little more in the way of resources (oxygen). We experienced that by not struggling, by not moving around too much … and further complicating and constricting the blood flow through the arteries to the placenta (the bank) … more oxygen (money) seemed to flow. Also, by not moving too much, by “conserving” our energy, “holding our breath” as it were, we might be able to survive … that being too “radical” and free risked death.
Culture War — Oppressors Orchestrate a Panicked Population for Their Profits
An aspect of this prenatal dynamic as acted out politically is the culture war that comes of it:
The greedy forces manipulate the latent panic of the masses in order to suck more resources by telling each segment of the masses that another sector of the population is actually the part that is sucking all their resources, stealing all their benefits and money (oxygen). So we have the creation of minorities and scapegoats out of this interplay.
Nonetheless, the reason it happens unerringly in societies is because it works so well. And it works so well because the forces of manipulation are orchestrating powerful drives and forces within the masses — tendencies of people born of the desperation and panic of catastrophic suffocation, which have their roots in the earliest months of one’s individual existence.
Now let us look more deeply into this manipulation of the masses, this scapegoating of minorities. We see how racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are themselves constructed out of prenatal cravings and fears. In continuing to direct our attention here, to PME 2, we find out why we look at others the way we do, so that our errant ideas can be further used against us by the greedy ones. And we stumble upon the underpinnings of some of the most curious of human concoctions of thought — as in the ideas of vampires and blood libel.
Prenatal Oxygen Hunger Become Bigotry and Racism, PME 2:
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 … Deprivation Become Jealousy, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia, Blood Libel, Anti-Immigration, Vampire Symbolism, Capitalism … “Please, Mother, Might I Have Some More?”
“…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 survive, but it is not free and easy and leaves us always a little starved, wanting ‘some more.’”
“…if we had less of these feelings, we would less often create situations that mirrored them. We would more often create our lives out of our earlier joy grids — rooted in earlier times in the womb, which were blissful and proximate to Divinity….”
“These joy-prints would be (and can be) our foundation, our template, for living. However, almost invariably we grow our lives and actions out of the soil of our pain grids, the pain templates, if you will, which are created out of these traumatic prenatal experiences.”
The driving force of this adult behavioral complex of PME 2 is the oxygen deprivation we experienced as prenates during late gestation. This lack involved feelings of desperate suffocation … oxygen starvation … panic … fear of imminent death. Our lives were dependent on getting enough rich blood — blood that was full of oxygen and nutrients … “rich” and “pure.”
Human Rights, Racism, and Oxygen-Rich Blood
Since we needed “fresh” blood to say alive, to breathe, we wished to suck blood from the placenta, like vampires do to live. Since that oxygen was lacking, it opens the possibility that others are sucking the blood we need. For we got it earlier in the womb … what happened? We suspect others are sucking our blood, that which we deserve, are “entitled” to, and is meant for us. This is the basis for our jealousy, bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism. That is why fairness is a notion never appearing in the motives of bigots.
Hence, there are two parts to this complex — wanting more for ourselves and fearing that others will take that which we have. Just above I discussed how we act out both sides of that politically and in the framework of class war, with one side wanting — indeed, needing — more (deprivation) and the other side “sucking” up all available resources out of fear of the other getting any of what they are hoarding (greed, causing deprivation in others, class war). Let us now see how those same dynamics play into human tendencies to racism, bigotry, anti-immigration sentiments, and anti-Semitism; and how they are revealed in our strange notions regarding vampirism, marital fidelity, the “sanctity” of the family, the purity of hereditary bloodlines, and blood libel.
Due to fetal hypoxia, humans feel they are lacking in air and room and are starving for oxygen and they desire “fresh blood.” More than that, we feel that this desire is connected with our survival. For it was: We needed “pure blood” … or blood with at least the minimal amount of oxygen … to stay alive as fetuses.
Because as prenates we are starved for oxygen and experience the blood we receive to be deficient in providing it, we crave “rich” blood — blood that is full with oxygen and nutrients.
Ideas of vampires and werewolves — beings that need to “suck” on the blood of others in order to live … who “crave” rich blood — come of such unconscious memories of deprivation.
Vampires and Dracula “suck” others’ blood and in doing so make the victims just like themselves — needing to feed on the blood of others forevermore. In this idea, are we not saying that we wish to suck the blood of the Other … the Mother … so that we might live? And even that we will live forever if we continue to do so, as no doubt the fetus feels it needs oxygen-rich blood to live … without which it will die … getting which it will continue living on … “forever,” as far as a fetus feels/knows.
Notice other aspects of this vampirism symbology: Count Dracula lives in a coffin (womb symbol) and always in the dark, as was the case in the womb. Consider also that the vampire/Dracula will die if exposed to the light. Does not the fetus die to the womb state at the time of exposure to light … in other words, at birth? This shows how we remember our time of oxygen (blood) desperation coming to an end at birth: It is the end of living a hellish existence where one is fed by blood in the dark. Birth is a state where one lives in the light and breathes air in an environment where one can move freely, thus the other state is left behind or “dies” upon exposure to the light.
Vampires and werewolves will decompose and die if exposed to light, that is, if they are caught out in daylight: Backing up to political aspects of this, think of the greedy ones of society and their fear that if they are exposed … to the media … they will die. So they must suppress the media, at all costs; and they must keep the “light of day” from ever detecting them … the media “shining” its “light” on them. So, the greed in them has them “sucking others dry,” but they fear that if they do it “in broad daylight,” they will be caught “red-handed” (more blood), and it will be “curtains” for them.
This feared Other, who might be taking our desperately needed fetal oxygen, comes out later in life as immigrants. “They’re leeches. They’re sapping our life blood,” we say. This dynamic comes out in the belief that “foreigners” are stealing our jobs, benefits, and resources — “oxygen” — which we need ourselves … for “real” Americans, Germans, whatever … in other words, “pure blooded” ones. We say immigrants are taking all the jobs (we have no money or fuel … nutrients to a fetus … to live, move freely), using up all our resources (oxygen and nutrients for the fetus), being a “burden” (pushing down on the arteries to the placenta which feed the fetus) on the system (cardiovascular one bringing oxygen to fetus). The Germans had similar feelings about Jews.
- We fear others will “suck us dry.”
- We feel we “must destroy those undeserving ones feeding off our hard-earned money!” (blood).
We are forever feeling we cannot get enough resources (money) and that the lack of it means we are suffocated, cannot move freely, cannot breathe freely. We act out this fear in doing all we can to keep other folks from stealing or getting ours — our money … our “pure blood,” our pure children. We express our fear of failing in this with the words that others will “suck us dry.”
- Children are our “blood line.” We fear we must protect it and keep it “pure.”
We see our children as extensions of our blood (line), so some of us fear that others might want to use them to “feed” on: whether they be “communists,” “hollywood,” social agencies, or schools. We fear they will “suck” the goodness out of our otherwise “pure” children … our blood (lines).
Our children are also aspects of our social surround, our family. This is analogous to our placenta in the womb. This is another reason why we fear our children will have the blood sucked out of them by others.
- For men, wives and family are the placental surround, which we feel must be kept “pure” at any and all costs.
If we are men, our wives are also part of that placental family entity; and we fear other men might take their purity, their innocence, and such, through “impure” acts, “unclean” ones. We symbolize this sometimes with the fear of a vampire “sucking” on such a “pure” woman’s blood … after which they would be “tainted” and “impure” … a placenta lacking in pure blood.
The idea that this attack on our placenta/wife/social-surround would come from another “blood line”/race abounds. Minds on fire with such fears will go to no end of murder and torture against the targets of such furious projections and deem it all justified in light of some higher honor and purity. It inspires the activities of the Ku Klux Klan (the KKK). Their seminal artistic production — the film, The Birth of a Nation — is a robust and thoroughgoing depiction of such “heroic” depravity by white “knights,” carried out within a crazed light of such “honor” and “nobility,” against the concocted threat of a different “blood,” i.e., Blacks, contaminating the “purity” of White womanhood through intercourse — perceived as a pollution of the “superior” blood line.
Anti-Semitism, Blood Libel
And this is an obvious reason that through history we have ideas of blood libel popping up … and being acted on in horrific ways. Blood libel is the idea Christians had that Jews wanted to abduct Christian children to be used as an ingredient in one of their foods … matzos, specifically. The idea was that Jews wanted the “purity” of Christian children to feast on, especially during one of their main holidays, Passover, for they had no pure blood within them. “Bad placenta!”
When I first heard about this, I thought this a rather insignificant, isolated phenomenon until I found out how Jews had historically been put on trial and executed … or simply rounded up and murdered … based on this spurious … this insane … accusation.
Blood libel displays to us how we have this idea that some demonized Other needs to take our “pure blood” — our jobs, benefits … nutrients, oxygen — and will do it in some hideous way. And for this reason these sorts need to be destroyed. Remember, we, as “vampires,” need to suck up all resources around us out of our prenatal oxygen hunger (deprivation). However, in this aspect of that feeling constellation, we want to fight off any and all who might be capable of or thought to be capable of stopping, slowing down, or reducing our resources (blood supply). We act the first out of lack or deprivation, the second out of panic and fear.
Scary Sarah … an Aside
We should not leave this issue without pointing out what this says of Sarah Palin’s use of the term blood libel to defend herself from attacks, which came out in the presidential campaign of 2008, when she was the Republican vice-presidential candidate. She accused those in the media assessing her qualifications for office, in particular her intelligence, of engaging in “blood libel.” She was saying, then, that she is a martyr with pure blood — a “real” American! And that the rest of the country and the media want to feed on her purity for they lack such. Aside from the lurid impertinence of her saying that, it is chilling that this idea is popping up again, considering what it led to historically.
Our Earliest Economics and Capitalism
Yet even as we wrap up so much of our time and energy in these pursuits of greed, oppression-control, and bigotry, we make sure we will feel no relief from their underlying uncomfortable feelings. As in every other of these uncomfortable early feelings, we both seek relief from them and at the same time create the circumstances that give rise to them.
Let me explain how that plays out in the economic systems we choose to meet our needs. In early economic systems — such as a “strong man” economy and feudalism — there is a simplified framework of control-conformity, dominance-sycophancy. All benefit flows from the top … or not. Compare the “trickle-down economics” of Republicans in the U.S. since the 1980s, by the way.
However, in “evolved” economic systems, as well, 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 survive, but it is not free and easy and leaves us always a little starved, wanting “some more.” We form 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.
Fetal Malnutrition and Politics
That barely kept in check feeling of being cut off from something we need to survive causes us to insist on economies where the vast majority of people operating in it would feel that they are, for example, only one paycheck away from living on the streets. So, not only do we insist on inflicting this kind of pressure and pain on others — by insisting on a capitalism that keeps the majority in want and by voting for Republicans and their kind in other nations, who represent the interests of the wealthy and who insist on dismantling any societal safety net. But also we unconsciously want to live in such a society for it feels right and familiar that one should be under such threat at all times. Nope. Not rational. But then humans are not.
As for, why socialism? That is because in our natural state in Nature, the forest or other surrounding environment was the safety net. By taking us away from Nature and by denying us access to it, we make it just and right that society should provide that safety net, that sense of ultimately being able to take care of oneself. Yet in current industrialized societies, we not only threaten people with being out on the streets, once they are out there we punish them for being there by preventing their lingering in any public places, from sleeping in view of others, and so on.
Of course, there are societies who have done this historically, that is, have provided the social safety net we need. Many indigenous cultures operate harmoniously this way; and there are societies and cultures that are attempting to create such a workable harmonious system today. Nonetheless, there 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. The BPM I state.
That would be smart, of course. Yet as always we insist on our miseries. 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.
Why Know This … In Case You’re Wondering
The lesson to be taken from all this is not that our early life mirrors our adult, “real” lives. Something more important is being said: Having our lives suffused with these distorted 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. They are very early components of what becomes, later, our unreal self.1
These feelings are rooted in forgotten memories, imprints we carry from early experience, and they are not rooted in actual circumstances. Certainly, 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. More often, instead, we would create our lives out of our earlier joy grids — rooted in earlier times in the womb, which were blissful and proximate to Divinity; in our cellular existence, which was at times euphoric; and/or in that state of No-Formity and Divinity before even coming into Form. These joy-prints would be … and can be … our foundation, our template, for living. However, almost invariably we grow our lives and actions out of the soil of our pain grids — the pain templates, if you will — which are created out of these traumatic prenatal experiences.
Next let us consider the third constellation of prenatal feelings, which imprints us for life, under the category of poisoned and disgusted.
Prenatal “Poisoning” Become Paranoia and Intolerance, PME 3:
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 3 … “Bad Blood,” Disgust, Nauseated, Sickening Become Homophobia, Smoking, Sadism-Masochism, Addictions, Money Fetish, Air and Food Pollution, Propaganda … “Don’t Feed Me That Bullcrap!”
We’re getting some blood, but is it bad blood? How it manifests in our thinking, in psychosis — food, aliens, and tin foil. “Bad blood” aspects of fetal oxygen hunger
Prenatal malnutrition and politics. Prenatal roots of war. In collective dreams. How “bad blood” manifests in our doing
“With all rationality set aside, we are compelled to poison, infect ourselves again and again with bad air (bad blood). Again, of such depth is the grooves of the imprint created in our prenatal times and along whose lines we make our self-destructive decisions.”
Outside of PME 1, crowdedness, there are three parts remaining and all three of these are related to the factor of the aging placenta, the hypoxia; in general, to prenatal malnutrition. This pain in the last trimester defines us as humans and creates what we think of as “human nature” and most often as being genetic, but it is not. We have been dealing with the first part of fetal malnutrition — deprivation. That is PME 2, suffocation. We fear there is not enough oxygen/resources coming to us to keep us alive. Another part of this complex of trauma has to do with the toxic quality of the environment we experience surrounding us — which is burning, is irritating. It is something we will get to in the next chapter.
However, the one I want to deal with now is the second aspect of oxygen starvation in the late stages of gestation. It has to do with our prenatal assessment of the quality of the “air” — the oxygen and nutrients — we do get. Not that there is not enough of it.
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 3
As just discussed, we carry an underlying panic that our supply will end at any moment. Yet we are getting some oxygen from the blood that comes to us, however reduced its flow. It is the contrast from what we knew that is alarming. Imagine blood that is free- and easy-flowing, rich and bright red with oxygen. Think of it as a bubbling, churning stream … sparkling, clear, pure, healthy.
Now, imagine blood that is more trickling than gushing, more depleted of resources — oxygen and nutrients — tainted, darker, barely able to sustain one’s life…. A stagnant pool, now; a polluted slow-moving river or stream … dank, smelly, unhealthy. The first was our experience of earlier womb life; the second, the way it gradually began being perceived.
To be clear, we cannot actually see our blood flow as a fetus, of course. This is meant to be an analogy giving you an idea of the difference in the feeling experience of the fetus in this changing situation. The metaphor must be close enough to what it actually was like, since out of it we form images and symbols in later life with these differing characteristics, as I will continue to show.
“Don’t Feed Me That Bullcrap!”
So we began feeling poisoned, polluted, decrepit, diseased. Our situation in the womb had portents of death and seemed a dire threat if it were to continue. We received blood sufficient to keep us alive, obviously, but it was felt to be degraded, to be “bad blood.” This has to do with our feelings about the blood we do get: It is tainted, not pure. We began feeling that what we were getting was deficient, even poisoned. The blood that comes is not only barely sufficient to keep oneself as a fetus alive … or certainly it feels that way. But it is tainted, impure … or certainly it feels that way. And one feels not just deprived but attacked.
An 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 of “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, on an unconscious level, to fight back against these sources of “tainted blood” (Jews) by forcing “tainted blood” into them also, until they died (gas chambers).
Incidentally, it would be interesting to find out what in particular was the cause of such inordinate fixation by Nazis on this aspect of early prenatal pain involving tainted and poisoned blood. For example, did Germans have more of this kind of pain as fetuses because German women did much more standing. It is known, after all, that German women, like the men, were hard-workers and tough-minded, not bothering to let up even when pregnant. That is the nature of the Aryan psyche that was promoted with the Nazi philosophy.
Likely it is, then, that German women would be spending much of the time of their pregnancies on their feet, even in the final trimester. This would only augment the usual prenatal malnutrition for the fetus. In this we have a hint as to why Nazis may have been inordinately caught up in fantasies and delusions emanating from this bad-blood matrix.
And 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 similar places — until practically the time of birth? Does this have anything to do with the increase in war and conflicts we observe in agrarian cultures over nomadic ones? Is there a corresponding increase in psychosis, ritual, and superstition … scapegoating and sacrifice … as, for example, with the Mayan and pre-Colombian New World cultures? No doubt there are many factors involved in these things, yet are these prenatal contributing factors some important overlooked ones? If so, how important?
Finally, what of the tendency of women today to want to work right up until the time of birth? These are the kinds of things that can make such differences. These are the unexplored aspects of our understandings of why peoples do what they do that are different from other cultures. These are the kinds of considerations which could have us altering our cultural practices around pregnancy and birth in a way that could literally create a world where such horrific doings would no longer ravage us.
Disgusted … Poisoned….
Regardless, in PME 3, the blood we receive is not as good as it was, we feel what we get is “poisonous” … deficient, unhealthy, harmful … even deadly and threatening, as in the feeling we might be being poisoned to death. It is “bad blood.”
This second aspect of fetal malnutrition and the third of prenatal discomfort is the feeling of being force-fed something noxious and deadly. We feel we are being poisoned or infected by what we take in through our breathing or eating. What is coming into us is sour and unhealthy. Think, stuck in a traffic jam and breathing in the exhausts of all the vehicles around. Any wonder road rage?
This is of course related to the previous feeling constellation discussed, wherein we fear we are not going to get enough oxygen and so want “pure” blood.
This sounds like the deprivation/gasping feelings, but though it is related it has a different quality: The difference is between gasping for breath, as in being held under water and feeling one will die for lack of oxygen, versus being in a gas chamber 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 us but in a bad way. It is forcing itself on us, and it is felt as an assault.
Fractals, Abuse, Sadism/Masochism
This 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 “attention” but in the form of assault, abuse, violence, sexual assault. The first is a lack of something; 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.
In the one you cannot get something you need, you are deprived (panic). Indeed, this imprint from PME 2 may be the deepest roots of the panic attacks with which some people are afflicted. In the other — this one of PME 3 poisoning — you get something but it seems intentionally polluted to harm you. Indeed, this may be the deepest roots of the paranoia that pervades the thinking of many folks.
Briefly, the way these matrices manifest in difficult emotions and psychopathology are
PME 1 à aggression, violence, “beating back”
PME 2 à panic
PME 3 à paranoia
To explain the distinction between PME 2 deprivation and PME 3 poisoning-molestation, you can compare it to the difference between being starved for affection as a child versus receiving unwanted attention as in being sexually or physically abused. The reason this can be seen so clearly at a later time of life is because these feeling constellations are fractals of each other: They occur in the same pattern again and again at different times of our lives exactly because of our tendency to re-create, unerringly, the discomfort we could not face originally (primally). The original formulation of this pattern in the womb sets up that we will act out on both sides of tendencies to deprive others of affection, as well as to subtly and unconsciously push others away. And because of the other aspect of it, we will also force unwanted attention on others and will assault them, as well as being unable to avoid such attacks. Traditionally, this last has been discussed under the headings of sadism and masochism.
Having dealt with the deprivation/greed aspect of this in previous chapters, in this chapter we will look at the poisoned and infected feelings and their sadistic/masochistic outgrowths. Unraveling this complex at its primal roots in the womb, we expose some fascinating revelations.
“Bad Blood” and Paranoia
Though not the most common, I must start with the most obvious adult manifestation of this — the curious notion among paranoid psychotics and some obsessive-compulsives that they are being or are in danger of being poisoned. Certainly, through the food they eat, but this also manifests as the idea that “alien” thoughts are being inserted into their minds/brains. I have seen walking neurotics (borderline psychotics) strolling around with wire pyramid or tinfoil hats to prevent this infection from above.
Along these same lines it has come out in the press, just recently, that Donald Trump is exceedingly fearful of being poisoned. It has been reported that Trump — employing the metaphorical equivalent of a wire-pyramid hat with the help of his entourage — protects himself accordingly. This goes along with the fact that he is prone to conspiracy theories and believes all reporting of facts in the media to be “fake news” — probably he feels the reporting to be “infecting” him, certainly he experiences it as “assaulting” him. We see him defending the slightest such incursion upon his psychic domain with his compulsive tweets. While he himself is the largest perpetrator of such “poison” and lies — such “fake news” — into the “bloodstream,” mainstream, of the public at large. Which demonstrates the psychodynamic that that which we do not acknowledge in ourselves we project and inflict upon others.
We have to wonder how much of conspiracy theory is itself skewed by this constellation. It most definitely drove Nazi conspiracy thinking about Jews. I would say you can see elements of it in Trump’s conspiracy theories about Mexican and Muslim immigrants, currently. Indeed, the fact of Trump’s food-poisoning paranoia along with his anti-immigration stance — built as it is upon an idea that “bad hombres,” rapists, and murderers are invading us from the outside — adds further weight to my contention that poisoning fears are related to PME 3, prenatal bad blood, with its paranoia and anti-immigration, ethnophobia. Unfortunately, with Trump’s stolen position as the leader of the United States, his fear of being infected from the outside will have all Americans paying to build a wall on the southern U.S. border … a wall he wishes, unconsciously, he had in the womb to protect him from the bad blood. Amazingly, an entire nation is likely to be involved in the construction of a billions-of-dollars big and metaphorical tin-foil hat on its border because of what its leader experienced in his earliest months of existence.
However, even more blatantly, in some quite popular conspiracy circles of recent years we observe a concoction of the existence of forces that spy on us and influence our actions from behind the moon (behind the placenta) or some other unseen place. The person putting this out is David Icke. This is what happens when big thoughts are channeled through sorry states of mind. What is more significant is that so many folks buy into his insanity, which says everything about their own prenatal traumas. I should mention that Trump supporters embracing his particular brand of psychotic thinking reveals the same thing about them.
In Media — Myth and Fairy Tale
We express these ideas arisen of our PME 3 template in our myths and fairy tales, as well. For they are the collective “dreams” we share to which our unconscious dynamics give rise.
Snow White and the Evil Queen
A salient example is the children’s story, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” Consider her name, and remember the part about the purity of blood and children, which was felt to be our earlier situation in the womb.
In the same consideration of blissful BPM I experiences occurring prior to late stage, BPM II, discomforts, notice that Snow White enjoys an earlier, idyllic time living in communion with planetmates in the forest. She was supposed to be killed (aborted) by the huntsman (god figure); but he falls in love with her and lets her go, telling her to hide. She finds a tiny cottage (blissful womb), where she is aided by and lives in harmony with seven dwarves. The dwarves, as well as the planetmates, represent the forces of Nature aiding exquisitely perfect growth in the early stages of gestation in the womb.
Then, however, BPM II style — specifically in the manners of PME 1, PME 2, and PME 3 — her wicked stepmother wants to crush and poison her, but even notice how.
First the “evil queen” (mother symbol) wants to kill her by crushing her. Think, PME 1, compression, hemmed in, claustrophobia. She ties her tightly in a bodice with stay-laces. Remember that being compressed and crowded was the very first and most obvious aspect of late-stage gestation discomfort.
This compression might result in actual death through her being unable to breathe. Think PME 2, suffocation, gasping. Indeed, the effect of being tied tightly in the bodice is that she faints, just like one might expect to if one were not getting enough oxygen.
And then begin the poisoning attempts: The evil queen tries to kill Snow White by brushing her hair with a poisoned comb. So, what does this mean? Well, our hair comprises thousands of tiny filaments that emanate out from our bodies, just as in the womb we have tiny filaments extending from our bodies — arteries and veins — which connect us to our mothers (evil queen). The wicked stepmother poisoning her by combing her hair is saying she is being poisoned through these filaments of arteries extending from her and to her mother, through the placenta.
Next, the evil queen wishes to get the girl to eat a poisoned apple. Apple is as the penultimate symbol of food, nutrition in Western culture. It was an apple that was eaten in Eden, for example.
Now, why? Remember that a red apple is the same color as blood. So a poisoned apple represents the bad blood in the womb with its poor or “poisoned” nutrients … being given to one by one’s mother. Significantly, there is a white half and a red half to this apple, and the farmer’s wife eats the white half, which is like saying that the mother gets the blood fresh with oxygen. While Snow White eats the red half, which is like saying the child in the womb gets the poisoned blood.
The Mother Proxy
Notice that here as in many fairy tales it is a stepmother … in others it might be a wicked aunt or witch … who does the bad stuff. It has to be a stepmother or aunt, for we wish to preserve the idea that a “good mother” still exists. So we separate out an idea of a bad part of her, just as we come up with the idea of a bad god … a Satan … who is responsible for all the evil things that we cannot abide that a good God would not be … thus preserving the idea of a good God/ good daddy here.
But there’s more. Snow White fainted when she was tightly laced, and she collapsed again after being brushed with the poisoned comb. Yet finally, being poisoned with the apple, she falls into a stupor and appears dead.
Obviously, Snow White represents a prenate struggling with the “groggy” and lethargic feelings associated with being trapped, stifled, and poisoned/drugged. And in modern times, sometimes having ingested actual drugs or toxins from smoking or alcohol through the placenta … poisoned through those tiny “hairs” of arteries.
Appearing dead, she is placed in a glass coffin. Womb symbol, anyone? I have a lot more to say on the meaning of the Snow White tale pertaining to the Electra complex and the primal scene coming up in the next book in this Return to Grace Series. In Volume 12, titled Back to the Garden — as well as in Dance of the Seven Veils I, which is Volume 2 in The Path of Ecstasy Series — we explore that under the title of “The Assault of the Mother.”
Having looked at how this early experience of blood degradation is manifest in our thoughts, madness, and creative product, let us look into some really important, major act-outs of this prenatal mental framework for construing things. This brings us to the ways we act out these crazy ideas, emanating from early experiences, in major ways as cultures, as societies, and even as nations. We address now the psychotic acting out of these thoughts and feelings — rooted in unconscious discomforts and repressed memory patterns — by insane societies.
In this aspect of fetal discomfort, a reduced blood flow to the placenta is experienced as a buildup of carbon dioxide and toxins, since they are not removed as efficiently as they were before. Lloyd deMause explains how this womb situation is universally expressed among humans as a fear of being “poisoned” by “bad blood.” He has found that feelings of being trapped (PME 1, in my categories) and at the same time “infused” with bad blood or toxic energies (PME 3, as I’ve termed it) of some sort precede the outbreak of all wars.
For these wars are the unconscious way humans try to “break free” from these uncomfortable feelings, which are for the most part just early unresolved memories from our beginnings in life. We see “bad blood” as coming from the enemy. We see the enemy as an attacking many-headed monster “encroaching” on the “home”land (PME 1) … a threatening multi-veined placenta, aging and filled with toxins, “filth.” So we wish to attack and destroy the enemy — this placental “monster” — so we can “breathe free” again (PME 2) and escape their “poisonous filth” (PME 3).
These feelings of being “sickened” at the end of our womb existence are the root of all xenophobia with its creation always of a toxic Other which cannot be allowed to infect the virtue and purity of people of “our blood.”
The perfect example is the German xenophobia that resulted in the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews around the time of World War II. I have already pointed out how these walking psychotics injected poisonous gas into Jews in gas chambers out of these prenatal feelings, which they framed in adult thoughts of being themselves infected with tainted money from these Jews. Let us now look at other act outs of this.
This matrix is the basis of racism. Blacks are pollutants, as are Jews, is what is thought. Most recently, in America, it is Muslims who we feel defile us. They want to take away our purity — our pure children … blood libel; our women’s pure virtue. And so we need to dress in white (the Ku Klux Klan), indicating “pure” blood, to defend against these incursions (of “bad blood”).
This fetal malnutrition gives rise to bigoted ideas of keeping racial lines “pure.” It insists upon no mixing of the races … or ethnicities … for fear of affecting the gene “pool” (pool of blood), but it is always described in terms of “blood” that will be mixed, tainted, polluted, made impure, or degraded. Can you see how these are all instances of fear of encroachment by another from which one senses a threat of pollution and in conjunction with which one feels suffocated, made helpless, unable to move freely?
We see it in intolerance of all kinds of others. Several years ago, on 12 May 2012, a Baptist preacher from the South made headlines everywhere by announcing from the pulpit that all gays and lesbians should be “rounded up,” placed in an “enclosure,” surrounded by an “electrified fence.” He imagined they could have food air-dropped to them until they died — obviously of an insufficient, oxygen starvation (PME 2) amount … or of a poisoned, bad blood (PME 3) quality. At this point, I do not believe I need to unravel the prenatal qualities of the morass his mind was wading in.
And why all this? His exact words are, because “It makes me pukin’ sick!” what homosexuals do.
Sick, nausea, poisoned. Need I say more?1
Yesterday, Donald Trump let the world know he thought of Black and Latino folks from Haiti, El Salvador, and African Countries coming into the country as being from “shithole countries.” In this he shows how he sees his White world as being surrounded by filthy others. Again, I mention how this fake president of the United States is peppered by fears of being poisoned. It is all connected. I daresay, the fact that Donald Trump provides an at-hand example in full view of everyone of my theory of the prenatal matrices of human evil, especially PME 3, is perhaps the one good thing come to my mind regarding his having stolen the American presidency.
This thinking is found in classism as well. Here, royalty call themselves “bluebloods” and only allow marriage between others of their class — from their own nation or another, interestingly, as long as they are of the same class of royalty. Such elites will not allow their “blood” to be mixed with the polluted blood of the masses and “riff raff.”
University intellectuals have a more “refined” take on this primal disgust: They set up barriers to academic entrance in order to “keep out the unwashed.” They do so, without a clue they are coming across like scared fetuses inside a virtual womb (academia) trying to protect their continuing flow of blood (money).
For a long time in Western culture, it was thought that when one got sick that one had “bad blood” coursing through one’s system. The idea was that by bleeding a person one would rid their body of some of this impure blood and the person would get better. This bloodletting was employed for hundreds of years in the face of the evidence to the contrary wherein folks got paler and sicker from this “treatment.” Such is the power of these sorry thoughts rooted in unconscious dynamics.
Another thing we do out of this “bad blood” complex is we re-create the atmospheric imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the womb — which is what is meant by the reduced oxygen and buildup of toxic waste matter, primarily carbon dioxide, occurrent to fetal malnutrition — through burning stuff, through creating air pollution. Again, I will have lots more to add on that in Chapter 20, especially, regarding “Prenatal Earth, Life in Gaia’s Womb.”
However, in a similar way the smoking of tobacco and other vegetation can also be likened to our pushes and pulls to re-create the bad “air” of the womb. In ingesting this smoke into one’s lungs, we have a most perfect example of the drive to re-create the uncomfortable feeling of ingestion of “bad blood” — in this case, inhaling, bad air. With all rationality set aside, we are compelled to poison, infect ourselves again and again with bad air (bad blood). Again, of such depth are the grooves of the imprint created in our prenatal times and along whose lines we make our self-destructive decisions.
How We Make It Worse; How We Re-Create It in Our Environment and Bodies
So we act out this “bad blood” of PME 3 in all kinds of harmful ways, including war and bigotry. It manifests in our paranoia and sadism; and we express it in our creative productions. But more: We re-create it, we make it worse, we manifest it in our lives. Smoking is only one example.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
How we add to this today, how we make it worse? Well we do it when drinking and taking drugs, as well. These could not be clearer examples of how we pollute our blood by ingesting poisons. Indeed, we have to wonder how much of alcoholism and addiction is motivated by this complex. For certainly, if you’ve ever had a hangover, you have a taste of what that kind of “bad blood” poisoning in the womb feels like. This is only one of the many experiences we do not like, that we outright hate; yet which we cannot keep from bringing to ourselves, repeatedly, because of the existence of these repressed early traumas.
Medications and Food Pollution
Beyond that, we create and imbibe toxins in our food, our air … and through the medications we use. The whole idea behind “medicine” is that a toxin (all drugs are) administered in a tiny amount will alter our blood constitution in just the exact way to affect some currently felt experience of our blood being bad (sickness).
And in doing these things we reinforce the bad-blood experience of fetal malnutrition that the fetus will experience out of its being human. We insure we will pass along our bad-blood experience to the next generation … we will multiply it even. For the mother’s ingestion of these compounds into her system — smoke, drugs, food additives, air toxins, water pollutants — are felt by the fetus as receiving bad blood, even worse than it would be otherwise just from pressure on the arteries restricting blood flow and dampening the removal of waste. Again, we create that which we need to resolve. Only this time, it is the unborn child who will be “infected” with the bad blood and who will need to face these feelings later in life, again and again.
Genetic Engineering and Propaganda
I cannot leave this without pointing out that, as in environmental pollution and in political oppression, it is not all just a figment of a past memory. There are those of us acting-out this feeling complex by coming up with such odd creations that end up polluting the food of others … as in the tainted food coming out of corporations like Monsanto, with its Frankensteinian concoctions.
There are those, also, who seek to inject alien ideas in others to make us do things we would ordinarily not do — whether that is to buy some unnecessary thing to fatten the wallets of these others (advertising) or to surrender one’s self interest or hand over one’s power and rationality of thought to these others for their political ends — as, for example, in propaganda. In America, this would be Fox News and, most recently, anything coming out of the Trump administration.
These things in mind, now, in the next chapter we will look into the fourth aspect of the prenatal matrix of human evil — PME 4, which has to do with prenatal irritation-burning-revulsion.
Prenatal Revulsion Become Phobias and Sexual Abuse, PME 4:
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 … Burning, Irritation, Itchiness, Creepiness, “Makes Skin Crawl,” Dirtiness, OCD, “Ewww,” Rape, Insect Phobia … “Don’t Bug Me!”
Irritated … dirty … “eeew!” Touch, sex, preadolescent “creepiness” and early roots of rape and sexual abuse
“…in this aspect of late-gestation experience, what you perceive around you is a poisonous environment that you feel wants to diminish your purity of self, your integrity, and ultimately would lead to your death. This threatening environment has a characteristic of filling up increasingly with toxins, bad blood…. We have around us something that is building up which is polluting (sinful) and will drag us down (put us in hell), take away our ‘morality,’ our ‘purity,’ our ‘innocence.’”
“The reason this happens is that the reduced blood flow in the womb means there is a buildup — slight, but noticeable to a fetus — of toxins. They are not taken away as efficiently through the veins. There is also the factor of an aging placenta. There is a feeling of skin irritation and/or slight burning. There is a sense, for the fetus, of its world not being as vibrant and alive as earlier. Systems are no longer accelerating or peaking, as was the case for the entirety of one’s life previous to that — earlier womb life — but are leveling off. And if one is a delayed birth … one can sense a breaking down of the systems … an entropy that is frightening.”
The fourth part of late-gestation formative experiences, which I am calling the Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil, and the third part of fetal malnutrition is about irritation-burning. It is about a toxic environment in the womb that surrounds the fetus and is experienced on the skin. To review, back then, inside our mothers,
- It was tight — “crowded,” oppression — which is PME 1.
- We felt we were not getting enough air — suffocation, oxygen hunger, deprivation — which is PME 2.
- We felt what we got was poisonous — “bad blood,” disgust — which is PME 3
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4
Now in this fourth part, prenatal matrix of evil 4, or PME 4, we feel the environment around us is toxic. It is about ickiness, irritation, feeling dirty, burning, uncleanness, yuckiness, filthiness … as teens like to say, “creepy,” and “ewww!” It is all about the surface of the body in this complex, not about what we are taking inside us (bad blood, disgust, PME 3) or not getting to take inside (deprivation, PME 2). And it is not about being pressed in from the outside … crowdedness, PME 1 … but is about irritation and burning on the surface of the skin.
PME 4 refers to feelings caused by the fact that the decreased blood flow — a result of pressure on the arteries providing blood to the placenta and of an aging, less efficient placenta — means that there will be reduced ability of the placenta to remove the byproducts of oxygen combustion by the fetus. 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.
So there will be a backlog caused by the reduced blood flow, and the fetus experiences a buildup of toxins. The prenate feels increased “yuckiness” in its environment that is greater than anything experienced previously. Oh, 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 trash 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 City in 1968 during the huge garbage strike; you would have an even better idea.
So, 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,” toxic, threatening, filthy, slimy … “yucky.” Ugly, as well; that is why we create dystopian societies to live in. Our environments being manifested this way is another example of our re-creating that which we repress, keep out of mind And again PME 4 is related to the previous feeling complex but is different. For one can be forced to take in something noxious, PME 3, or one can be immersed in something that is painful or uncomfortable like a bath that is too hot, as in this one, PME 4. In other words, this pain is on the surface of the body, not of something being forced inside, like PME 3.
How 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 supposed witches: Jews were placed like firewood in heaps and burned to ashes to get rid of them as the threat they were felt to be. Witches were often immolated at the stake. As in the gas chamber example mentioned last chapter — where Jews were poisoned because of the Nazis’ prenatal “poisoning” — these “ordinary” citizens perpetrated on their Jewish, female, and heretical victims the sort of suffering the murderers felt was actually coming at them. In incidents of burning people to death, the act-out of PME 4, prenatal burning-irritation, is patent.
“Witches” — most often just women a little different, perhaps a tad more free-thinking — heretics, and Jews were felt to pose a threat of burning for the perpetrators. If nothing else in that they could be responsible — in influencing Catholics away from their tortuous beliefs by thinking a little differently — for the murderers themselves burning forever in hell. So they thought, the poor bastards — the conforming and fearful, the religiously bedeviled. The prospect of an unthinkable horror, a hell, projected onto the metaphysical of the grandest scope, forever — which beliefs were firmly rooted in the seemingly endless prenatal suffering they experienced, the crushing, the suffocating, the sickening, the burning — rationalized, indeed compelled, some of the most hideous of human atrocities committed on Earth.
The unfortunates during the Medieval Burning Times and Inquisitions acted it out on others as well as themselves. They engaged in self-flagellation of the skin, mimicking their prenatal pain of burning-irritation. They starved themselves (PME 2) through fasting and others through fostering widespread poverty and deprivation. As mentioned, they were among the ones who sickened themselves through blood-letting (PME 3). They not only created tortuous crushing, mutilating, and skin-piercing devices — the Iron Maiden being one — which they inflicted on others (PME 1 and 4). Many of them gathered in dystopian cities, with streets and alleyways running with human sewage (PME 1 and 4). And more.
Incidentally, the fact that Nazis burned their victims, as well as poisoned them, is another indicator of the unusual prenatal trauma of the Germans of their time.
Yet the extreme acting out of PME 4 suffering was not limited merely to folks of former times. No. We have our own ways.
Parts of this PME 4 complex later on can be those of annoyance, yuckiness, being continually distracted by sensations (ADHD), creepiness, dirtiness.
We feel bugged, irritated. We overkill pests and overclean our houses, using an abundance of toxic “product” which only adds to the overall toxicity of our environment. This is the prenatal underpinning of what Freud called anal compulsion. It actually leads to us employing strict toilet-training, if you think about it. Indeed, it manifests especially in draconian punishing of all kinds and in all times. The slightest perceived defect of anyone around is felt as a threat to one’s purity of self and as warranting severe, unthinking, and brutal repression.
We feel surrounded by “dirty” hippies … Jews … Blacks … immigrants…. You name it. We feel “imposed on” by others, especially “visitors” who come to our “house” … i.e., toxins who fill up in our womb environment. We know how we feel about guests who overstay their welcome. We call them bums. Our children return home to live with us, and we call them freeloaders.
In psychosis it comes out, not as paranoia, as in PME 3, but in feelings and hallucinations of bugs everywhere, and crawling on one’s body. It is no coincidence that folks withdrawing from addictions, in which essentially they were poisoning themselves, might find themselves wanting to climb the walls because of the skin itchiness-discomfort and the hallucinations of creepy-crawly things over their body. Often, in times of panic, including times like this of detox, folks will have so much PME 3 skin irritation-burning, often combined with PME 1 crowded trauma, that they will remark they want to “jump out of their own skin.”
Returning to ancient mythology, we have a pretty good description of this prenatal matrix in a Norse myth — the one about Loki — which is said to be one parallel to the Prometheus myth. In this one, “The god Loki (often associated with fire) was bound to a rock. Above him is a large serpent which drips toxic venom upon him. His wife collects the poison in a bowl, but must empty it every time it gets full. As she is in the process of doing this, the snake proceeds to cover Loki in poison. Just as Prometheus gets his liver eaten only to have it grow back again, Loki is temporarily saved from venom only to have it drip on him once more.”1
So in this aspect of late-gestation experience, what you perceive around you is a poisonous environment that you feel wants to diminish your purity of self, your integrity, and ultimately would lead to your death. This threatening environment has a characteristic of filling up increasingly with toxins, bad blood. As deMause points out, a serpent represents the poisonous placenta, the “bad womb.”2 So it makes sense it would be a snake which drips the toxic venom on Loki. Also, in the Loki myth, the wife (the mother, the good placenta, good womb) collects the poison (waste matter not efficiently removed) in a bowl (womb, placental surround), but must empty it every time it gets full (waste material removed).
Similar feelings arise in religious folk who see society as being something toxic around them that is building up and which is polluting (sinful); will take away their “morality,” their “purity,” their “innocence”; and will drag them down … will put them in hell, that place of eternal burning.
The reason these images come to us is that the reduced blood flow in the womb means there is a buildup — slight, but noticeable to a fetus — of toxins. They are not taken away as efficiently through the veins. There is also the factor of an aging placenta. There is a feeling of skin irritation and/or slight burning. There is a sense, for the fetus, of its world not being as vibrant and alive as earlier. Systems are no longer accelerating or peaking, as was the case for the entirety of one’s life previous to that — earlier womb life — but are leveling off. And if one is a delayed birth, as I was, one can sense a breaking down of the systems … an entropy that is frightening.
This sort of early experience focused on the skin surface should be compared with the skin trauma and deprivation which Ashley Montagu (1971) has written about in great detail.
Skin Deprivation, Skin Irritation
Montagu argues that skin trauma is related to a deprivation of contact after birth. He has shown how we have as much need for contact and touch as we do for any of our other biological needs, and it is certainly more fundamental than sex.
However, not that his point is not also correct, I would add that the trauma I am talking about is very similar but is an earlier fractal. Just as before we saw how there is trauma from not getting enough resources (oxygen deprivation, emotional deprivation, PME 2) but also from getting plenty but of the wrong kind (bad blood, child abuse, PME 3), so also the skin trauma Montagu is mostly talking about is deprivation of contact. Whereas what I am referring to is about trauma from stimulation of the skin in an unpleasant way.
Sugar and Spice … Snips and Snails
A later fractal of this early skin trauma would be the skin being touched, but in an unpleasant or revolting way … as they say, “Ewww … Don’t touch me with that … That’s gross! That’s creepy.” Pre-adolescent boys get a lot of amusement out of provoking and playing with these feelings in young girls … as at the same time they are working out their own similar feelings but in a counterphobic way.
This common, perhaps universal, behavior is a way that societies have evolved of dealing with these feelings so as to be able to propagate the species. For, obviously, if we acted out of these feelings as adults, no one would want to have sex or pretty much have anything but ungloved contact with the physicality or biology of others. We would have no doctors or biologists!
Rape, Sexual Abuse
When this fractal goes beyond unpleasant (“creepy”) contact to touch that is administered in an aggressive or assaultive way, we have rape and sexual abuse. These kinds of assaults and abuse have roots in this early experience of the prenate. They can occur out of the fact that an individual’s experience of this aspect of gestation was traumatic … along with other contributing factors, of course.
Excuse that I do not mention Donald Trump again. You can draw your own conclusions and notice how all of it is part of the same complex of prenatal trauma, resulting from prenatal malnutrition.
We Are at War with Our Personal Environment
How, in our daily lives, we act out this feeling from the womb of being surrounded by toxins, first and foremost, is in how we feel about our environment on all levels. These poisons threaten us in our homes and communities. That not enough, we re-create such toxicity in our planetary environment.
Obsessive-compulsive cleanliness … severe tidiness.
The environment around us in our homes — for some, more so than others — is always felt to be dirty, polluted. We cannot seem to ever get it clean enough. Any dirt or untidiness reminiscent of our time of built-up toxins in the womb sends us into a flurry of activity to fight it off, lest we ever feel that way again.
We use chemical cleaners and anti-bacterial agents to battle away imaginary threats, which we call viral and bacterial. Yet in doing so we ensure we will actually live in a toxic chemical environment.
We will tolerate pollutants in the air we breathe and the water we drink — after all that merely re-creates the “bad blood” we once experienced — but we will not abide litter or dirty streets. In fact, we see these pollutants of our womb life projected on the people in our cities, so we want to “clean up the streets” … meaning get rid of the homeless and undergroomed.
“Don’t bug me, man!”
We felt “bugged” in the womb, for we were irritated. We cannot abide any creepy-crawly bug-like things around us for they remind us of those “itches we cannot scratch” — that prenatal skin irritation. We over-eliminate spiders and insects from our environments in a way so far beyond what is necessary. We are blind to how they are part of our essential ecosystem.
I don’t like mosquitoes any more than the next person, but I can see that alongside an all-out war on all creepy crawlies we have seen a disappearance of bees, essential for our food production … maybe related, probably not.3
We will not be “bugged.”
My point is that the vast majority of insects are harmless to us and not even bothersome. Yet, let some tiny insect into a suburban home, and you would think it had been invaded by a SWAT team. This is hilarious from the perspective of someone who has done primal work and so is not so “bugged” by the appearance of an insect, or of being a part of its roadway to wherever, or by noticing how some have used our bar-b-que items for temporary landing places or short-lived insect airports. Notice the reaction of some people when an ant or some other insect is observed kiting across a picnic table if you think I am exaggerating.
We are at war with anything that reminds us of those irritating times; we do not want to be “bugged.” And if we are “imposed” on that way, it can send some of us into a fury … or a terror. I have one friend who was once invaded by fleas. She is now terrified of them. I have had similar experiences with fleas. Don’t get me wrong; I do bomb them, when they get to a certain point where they might get out of control. However, I have been in the same environments with this person, as has my wife, and this person’s terror is extraordinary for the situation.
I believe these kinds of phobias — and there are many examples of this fear of insects that could be used — are rooted in this trauma of being irritated in the womb. For it is an uncomfortable situation that went on for an incredibly long time for an extremely young human (a fetus) who had little, if any, sense of time and so of the possible ending of discomfort.
An extension of that bugged feeling is the way we feel about “messy” Nature and “messy” biology in general. Because of this complex, we will be inclined to war against Nature — seeing it as uncivilized, unclean, and needing our management and “order.” And we will do the same with the Nature in our own persons — our bodies and their natural, bodily functions — sex, waste elimination, bodily sounds and excretions. Farts, burps, masturbation, “bathroom functions,” and more will be seen through this eeewy veil. And we will extend that war on Nature and body to women, who are felt to be inextricably wedded to Nature.
So humans will war on women … and be especially freaked out and horrified by their unique bodily excretions — menses — and their unique biological capacities … i.e., birth and nursing … which will also be seen as “messy.” I mean, “eeeeww.” (lol)
Next — The Itches We Cannot Scratch
So we know what it is … this irritation-creepiness complex. To review, in the womb,
- We are marinated in toxins and our skin “crawls,” feels irritated, itchy, burning.
- The toxins surround us and are felt to be dangerous. They are everywhere. They threaten us … our lives, our “purity.” They “irritate” us, emotionally. They “bug” us.
- We cannot eliminate wastes as efficiently, and we experience a buildup of poisons, akin to a prenatal environmental pollution.
Now let us look at the ways we act out these traumas and the kinds of thoughts and behaviors arising from these imprints in the womb. In the next chapter, we look at number one, above, and we see how we respond to this imprint of itchy and burning skin with some uniquely human cultural behaviors — tattooing, body piercing and adornments, and sun bathing.
Following that, we unravel how we act out these imprints of the threatening and dangerous quality of our surroundings in dire and major ways in relation to our social environment. In looking at this second aspect of it, number two above, we see how we manifest our prenatal discomfort in our homes, communities, and societies — that is, in our attitudes and actions in interaction with other people. This has to do with intolerance. It is how we act it out politically, too.
Finally, in the two chapters after the next, we go deeply into number three above, the buildup of poisons around us in our environment. Being as how this is the most important aspect of PME 4 in relation to the topic of the “psychology of apocalypse,” I devote all of Chapters 19, “Our Prenatal Air”; 20, “Prenatal Earth, Life in Gaia’s Womb”; and 21, “Gaia’s Cries,” to it. We delve into how we manifest a prenatal environmental pollution in our creating a toxic environment in which to live. This quality of PME 4, pertaining to the excess waste around us, relates to how we act this out with our general — our planetary — not social environment … i.e., with environmental pollution. In creating a toxic, sometimes burning, world, we act out our PME 4 trauma of irritation-burning.
Let us take them, now, in turn.
Prenatal Irritation Become Bigotry and Body Adornment, PME 4
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 … Revulsion, Itchiness Become Racism, Tattoos, Tea-Party Politics, Hippie-Bashing, Genocide … Loss of the “Golden Age”
“We create culture wars and put those other people on the other side — they are hippies, immigrants, minorities — always they are described as ‘filthy’ and ‘dirty,’ which indicates we are seeing them through a veil of perinatal irritation-revulsion.”
“…we fight back against this toxic encroachment like little supermen fighting for some version of the pristine past … for ‘truth, justice … and the American way!’”
“…because of these prenatal formative experiences, we place some folks ‘outside our circle’ and see them as irritating, even revolting. They are ‘disgusting’ (poisonous) abominations of bloodlines … criminals and rapists and ‘bad hombres’ … whether they are Jews (not like the pure Aryans) or Blacks (filthy, lazy, dirty, immoral, it is thought), or Mexicans (dangerous, threatening, violent, encroaching, it is said) who want our fresh pure blood (blood libel), our resources.”
“They are everywhere! We cannot get away from them. They surround us! And they are taking over. They are ‘poisoning’ our way of life. So this is how these early imprints have us seeing others and our society in ways conducive to horrible intolerances and anti-immigration sentiments.”
First, “We are marinated in toxins and our skin ‘crawls,’ feels irritated, itchy, burning.”
Some common ways we behave out of these early imprints from prenatal irritation-burning have to do with obsessions for sun-bathing and tattooing. Body ornamentation, in particular, is one of the cultural universals of humans, which is lacking in our planetmate societies. We will get to the other, more important, cultural manifestations of this early experience shortly, when we discuss intolerance, obsessive-compulsiveness, and scapegoating and persecution of minorities in societies and the horrid ways we act them out.
Tattoos and Body Adornments
This complex of feelings includes irritation. Think of it as like an itch that one cannot scratch. Pretty unnerving, right? We are focused on our skin in this manner, though we are not aware of these feelings in a conscious way after a while. Imagine an itch that is there all the time, like from a mosquito bite. As they say, if you don’t scratch it, it goes away. Well it is not that the feeling is not there, it is that virtually all feelings fade with time … one gets distracted from them … one “wearies” of it.
Still, that does not mean it is not influencing our actions on a subconscious level. So, we get tattoos and do all kinds of strange things to the surface of our skins and to the outsides of our bodies which only make sense if you look at such people as acting out an ongoing itch that cannot be scratched. Unknown in other species, these rituals are one of our unique human characteristics.
Gen X and Millennial Generation.
When you have sudden eruptions of this kind of behavior in a society, it would be illuminating to look at what changed in that culture’s practices around pregnancy and prenatal care when those adults were in their mothers’ wombs.
A prominent example of this is the fascination and addictiveness that Gen X and the Millennial Generation have with tattooing. This is a distinct contrast with the previous generation, the Boomers, and with generations prior to that. I do not think it is coincidence that these Gen X and Millennial spent their womb-time during a period of a Western avalanche of prescription drug use of all types that was for a long time — and to some extent still is — thought to be inconsequential to the fetus.
Fetal drug irritation … that itch that won’t go away.
When the medical establishment did discuss pharmaceutical use and the fetus, it was talked about in terms of whether the particular compound passed through the “placental barrier.” Unfortunately, the “placental barrier” turned out to not be the major protection to fetuses that Western society wanted it to be in order to continue with this explosive intake of all kinds of medications.1
And all this intake is quite a bit different from the moderate and minimal medication usage by mothers in all previous generations. These drugs simply did not exist in any earlier time in the abundance they do now.
Extreme examples of this — pathologies rooted in such late-gestation trauma — can manifest as a desire to cut oneself. People who are compulsive cutters say they are trying to feel something, that they feel dead or numb. Well, yes, this is how it feels when one scratches an itch … one has the sense that one does not really feel it until one scratches it. And until then, like bug bites, one does a psychological numbing of the area until one can get to it.
Another way this is felt is as a kind of a burning on the surface of the skin, what we might feel being immersed in mildly acidic water. As always, we re-create these discomforts in an unconscious attempt to try to resolve them.
So we have this curious ritual in some cultures of lying out in the open on sunny days and allowing our skin to be heated and burned. We think this is all about cosmetics, personal appearance, or health, but it is not. Those ideas are rationalizations after the fact. For we even allow the feeling of sunburn, a painful experience, as if it is some kind of fortifying experience. Medically, we now know, these rituals are not healthy at all … contributing to skin cancers and such. A sidenote: One needs to ask if the skin trauma in the womb causes the skin cancer and the sun-bathing is just another act out, but not causative of skin cancer.
And you think this a minor thing? Well for many, yes. Remember, though, that some people revolve their lives around these experiences. George Hamilton comes to mind. They might center their lives on surfing … or being “beach bums.”
I know of one person who has made the major decisions of his life around such rituals and behaviors. He kept finding ways to live near the beach, the ocean, so he could sun-bathe … “take in the rays.” He had his marriage ceremony on the beach; though he was not a beach bum. I also know this person has major skin trauma in his life: He had chicken pox as a baby. It was so itchy, and he so wanted to scratch himself, they actually tied him down so he could not. It makes perfect sense that such preeminent skin trauma has the kinds of deep roots I am talking about here. So this is how such early trauma can be no small matter.
Having looked briefly at the human cultural behaviors that arise from these early perceptions and feelings, let us now delve into some of the bigger and more dire act outs — ones that are more relevant to the apocalyptic topic of this book. Let us see how we act these things out in society in our group behaviors — culture wars — and how we act them out in our interactions with the world of Nature and our environment. We now turn to the issues of scapegoating, immigration, intolerance, racism, culture wars, abortion and contraception, overpopulation, slavery and fascism and genocide. After that, next chapter, we will look at environmental contamination and the depletion of the ozone layer.
To continue, (2) “The toxins surround us and are felt to be dangerous. They are everywhere. They threaten us … our lives, our ‘purity.’ They ‘irritate’ us, emotionally. They ‘bug’ us.”
“Dirty” Hippies and Other “Irritating People”
It is not just bugs that bug us. We project this primal irritation on others. They bother us, are irritating. Sometimes they are; but sometimes simply the sight of them stimulates our unconscious irritations.
We see them sometimes as “unwashed” and thus irritating. Some folks say other folks are “scum” or “vermin”; or they use similar terms indicating a revolting dirtiness — vile, immoral.
We hate anyone and anything that seems to be on the other side of this war against ickiness. We create culture wars and put those other people on the other side — they are hippies, immigrants, minorities — always they are described as “filthy” and “dirty,” which indicates we are seeing them through a veil of prenatal irritation-revulsion. We are at culture war with elements in society that remind us of this distressing time in the womb.
Creeped Out in the Womb …
This feeling constellation is about the surface of the skin and the revulsion about skin contact, however it is very often augmented by the disgust and poisoning feelings going on (PME 3), which is also a response to a toxic environment. Irritation can be focused just on the skin, but add the disgust come of those same toxins being taken internally, you have the basis of so much of the hatred and violence perpetrated on innocent others.
Nonetheless, the surface of the skin, the irritation, is the primary sense being stimulated to set off the entire feeling complex of being creeped out in the womb, revolted, and disgusted by others enough to want to lash out at them. Add crowdedness (PME 1), which makes us want to push them away, and deprivation (PME 2), which has us thinking they are responsible for us not getting enough, and you have a sadly solid foundation for the atrocities of the ages.
In saying that, I do not want to discount the sense of dis-ease or sickness the fetus experiences in general, for there is the feeling awareness that this situation is different from, is a deterioration of, the “golden age” of well-being and exquisite functioning of systems that was experienced earlier in (womb) life.
Politically — These Poisons Surround Us
There are these poisonous elements — immigrants, communists, socialists, hollywood ideas, teachers, educators, union organizers, activists, “hippies,” beatniks, unemployed, riff raff — who are destroying our “pure” way of life (way of life = blood stream with lots of bright oxygenated blood), and “these influences” are all about us and surrounding us. And we fight back against this toxic encroachment like little supermen fighting for some version of the pristine past … for “truth, justice … and the American way!”
Prenatal Irritation and Loss of the “Golden Age”
Politically, we scapegoat minorities, gays, immigrants, Jews, Hispanics, hippies, gypsies, witches, as being pollutants to our purity of race, blood. We look out at others as being those “unwashed masses,” who are imposing on our happiness … our “cleanliness.”
But there was a “golden age” before them.
This implies we have a time of purity from the past … the Fifties in America, for example … when only our pure blood existed and life was easy and not filled up with irritating outside elements. And we want to get back to it. In late-gestation discomfort, most of us as prenates actually do have a memory of an earlier time of pristine perfection, harmony, and bliss — BPM I — early womb life.
Yet, now, in adult life, these impure things insert themselves into our lives and disgust us … bad blood. They also surround us … with their filth. In actuality, however, we are merely acting out a time of increasing carbon dioxide, chemical, and waste matter buildup in the late stages of gestation. It is this incursion we are endlessly and futilely fighting off.
Racism, Bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Immigration
So, because of these prenatal formative experiences, we place some folks “outside our circle” and see them as irritating, even revolting. They are “disgusting” — poisonous — abominations of bloodlines … criminals and rapists and “bad hombres.” Whether they are Jews … not like the pure Aryans. Or Blacks … filthy, lazy, dirty, immoral, it is thought. Or Mexicans … dangerous, threatening, violent, encroaching, it is said. Who want our fresh pure blood — blood libel — our resources.
Notice how this is a veil across how we will see all else outside of our community and nation as well. All these “foreigners” — well, they are just downright irritating! I mean, why don’t they speak the language? And dirty … dirty foreigners we say, dirty French, dirty Jew. Their cultural practices are irritating. I mean, why do they have to wear that thing on their head, dress that way, bow down that way and so many times a day. Best not go into their bathrooms — god only knows what they do there. Seriously, I have a few relatives who tell a story — to them hilarious, to me, just sad — of how they needed to use a bathroom in a part of a city that was predominantly Black … how they ran into the service station rest room, did their business quick as a wink and were out, running to the car, and laughing like they’d made some kind of escape. Why? S’like they thought they would “catch” something.
I know, right?
By contrast to these “dirty foreigners,” we are the “real” Americans. “They,” on the other hand, want to take all that is good … about America, for example … and destroy it; “they” are dragging us down. And they keep coming across our “borders” (placental barrier) and “overrunning” the country (surrounded by toxins in the womb). We think of immigrants as dirty, polluted, and, damn it, they just keep filling up all the space around us. You know, “they’re taking over California, and soon it will be just Northern Mexico!” (And that would be horrible, why exactly?) In the past these same feelings were had by folks in relation to the Irish immigrants, the Polish immigrants, the Jewish immigrants, the Italians….
They are everywhere! We cannot get away from them. They surround us! And they are taking over. They are “poisoning” our way of life. So this is how these early imprints have us seeing others and our society in ways conducive to horrible intolerances and anti-immigration sentiments.
In truth, though, we create our situation in life out of our prenatal matrices and then engage in the drama of acting out against these others by wanting to punish them in a way that mimics how they are making us feel. We experienced our environment as yucky and irritating back then in the womb. So some of us humans, in American times of slavery and Reconstruction, concocted the idea of tarring and feathering these “unclean” others.
The Nazi mind was riddled with this prenatal trauma. They rounded up Jews, ethnic others, and the “undesirables” of their society. They stuffed them (crowded womb) into cattle cars, where many were forced to stand uncomfortably and where they could only defecate on themselves and wallow in their own waste matter (buildup of waste matter in the womb).
I recall seeing a movie — Sarah’s Key, based on an actual event during World War II — where 13,152 Parisian Jews were gathered up and placed in the Vélodrome d’hiver, a sports stadium, for eight days without sanitary facilities until they were processed into even more dire “facilities” at Auschwitz … and murdered.
About the conditions at the stadium, it is written, “The dark glass roof, combined with windows screwed shut for security, raised the temperature inside the structure. The 13,152 people held there had no lavatories; of the ten available, five were sealed because their windows offered a way out, and the others were blocked. The arrested Jews were kept there for eight days with only water and food brought by Quakers, the Red Cross, and the few doctors and nurses allowed to enter.”2
They had no recourse but to fill their own surroundings with waste matter; it was said the stench outside in the surrounding neighborhood was unbearable, quite foul. We see manifest here a pathological imposition of prenatal pushes about being crowded, given very little in the way of resources (oxygen deprivation), in a hot environment (prenatal stuffiness and irritation/burning), and forced to wallow in waste matter (toxic womb).
I have already mentioned the way many Jews were eventually shunted into gas chambers where they were forced to inhale poisonous fumes as a re-creation of prenatal poisoning trauma, PME 3.
At any rate, we feel we need to eliminate these others for “they” want our resources (oxygen). We feel they will use up everything and leave us wanting (deprivation), and left with nothing (oxygen starvation, death). Never mind that in going after them we are looking away from those in society who are actually causing us to struggle for the necessities and to feel deprived. But this has nothing to do with rationality.
The Prenatal Narrative
This prenatal mind has us seeing everything through the fetal narrative: Once upon a time, there was harmony, bliss, perfection. Everyone was happy; we were strong (BPM I).
But then came change in our lives. Our surroundings became increasingly filled with strange and alien others at the same time as we felt less free and more unhappy (PME 1, crowdedness), our strength waning, and that times had gotten tough: There was less money and we felt unfairly deprived (PME 2, oxygen deprivation).
We felt that these alien others were infecting our purity of life by imposing upon and inserting themselves into our lives (PME 3, bad blood). Everything around us seemed dirtier and more foul, and they were around us in increasing numbers (amounts of toxins building up), so it was their fault; and their continued presence would eventually kill us (PME 4, poisonous placenta, prenatal irritation-burning). It was they who were responsible for the loss of our pristine way of life. So to do anything about it, it was thought necessary to fight back against this incursion, defend our way of life, family, and the innocents from this “filth,” and shore up the goodness (good blood) and resources (oxygen) we still had. Ultimately, we want to eliminate them, seeing them as the obstacles to returning to that “golden age.” Again, we have another aspect of these matrices coming boldly to light with America’s Trump.
In general, in America this narrative is played out by the right-wing and Tea Party folks: Essentially, they see the world as having gone downhill since a 1950s-style “golden age” when everyone was serene, happy, and prosperous. Never mind that the wealthy at that time paid their fair share of taxes to contribute to a general prosperity, and that these conservatives seek to return to it by having the wealthy pay little to no taxes now. Never mind either that it never really existed the way they think they remember it and that what they want to reinstate is a pasted-together collage of childhood hurts and hopes, bad TV and movies, even worse advertisements and commercials conveying an image of the way Americans really had it (but did not), prenatal imprints, and wudda cudda shudda beens. They see liberals, “bleeding hearts,” hippies, immigrants, and minorities as responsible for preventing a return to that truly mythical golden age. So, these elements are scapegoated for the crimes of the 1%.
In Germany, the same narrative was played out, but their golden age was before World War I. Hitler attained power by promising a return to that time of prosperity, and he scapegoated Jews and other minorities for the German “fall from grace” by pointing to them as blocking a return to national strength and purity.
Thus, sometimes how humans dealt with these threatening incursions of “poisonous” others was with all-out attack … and destruction. Those others were seen to be in the way, so it followed they would need to be eliminated. Yet in the process those “filthy” others would be made to feel the kinds of feelings that their presence was stimulating in the pure ones — the real Germans … nowadays the real Americans.
Remember, these others irritate us and just “burn” us (prenatal irritation/burning). Some say, “It just burns me to look at them!” And folks will act out horribly by killing these others by fire: by burning witches, Jews, enemies in general.
It continues to this day. In the previous chapter I mentioned the Baptist preacher — the one who got “pukin’ sick” at the thought of gays and lesbians — who wanted to surround them with an electrified fence! Not exactly like burning witches, but close enough.
And ultimately … the “Ultimate Solution” … we wish to remove them altogether by burning them up in fires or ovens (prenatal burning/ irritation). This we do either by concentration camps, pogroms, or by the highest tech means of raining fire down upon the undesirables in third world countries.
In modern times, we have rained fire down upon them from aircraft. We have used napalm — liquid fire — and Agent Orange — one of the most toxic compounds created — on these others, who we have called “gooks” and other derisive terms. Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people, burning away the skin of children. This example, from the war in Syria. These atrocities and prenatal dynamics are hardly limited to the West.
How We Re-Create It in Our Decisions, Ensuring We Will Continue to Feel This Way
These feelings are irrational and not based in fact, of course. We show this in that at the same time as we hate and fight off this incursion into our surroundings, we create overpopulation and a buildup of people who cannot be cared for … who will therefore be the “unwashed,” surrounding us. We fight abortion policies and contraception and so create overpopulation and thus increasing toxicity in our environment.
While we expend our energy fighting reflections of our pain, in the form of other people we create to hate, we bring about the conditions that will keep us feeling the way we do. We create pollution in our environment. We even wish to keep our scapegoats downtrodden and filthy, even though around us and “polluting” us. Our desire is to keep them “dirty,” to keep them as “slaves” and riff-raff. We act to keep them poor, to drive them into the “dirt,” and to keep them from being able to rise above the “squalor.” All so we can continue acting out our prenatal dynamics without being bothered with the raised awareness and personal growth that would come of not scapegoating them … of looking inside for the roots of our discomforts … our irritations, hates, revulsions, and burning angers … our disgusts about what we get, and our panics of not getting/having enough … our feelings of being trapped, hemmed in, and pushed around by the presence of others.
Basically, it comes down to the world being divided into filthy and disgusting things who want our resources (oxygen), and our pearly white threatened selves. Substitute corresponding contrasts for cultures other than American. This is bottom line our feelings of fetal malnutrition and hypoxia creating our prenatal matrix of human evil. It is unfortunately for us projected onto the outside world so strongly we cannot know what is really going on behind that prenatal veil.
Now let us turn to how these prenatal and perinatal screens, the PMEs and the BPMs, have us twisting the reality we see, have us defiling our own homes and aiding our own self-destruction. For toxic womb has been re-created as toxic planet.
— FROM *Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, and the Prenatal Roots of Humanicide* by Michael Adzema, coming to print book and e-book format May, 2018.
Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from *Psychology of Apocalypse*, with my compliments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell
— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
At Amazon at
The Beginning of Change
by Debbie Condon
[This is a review of the book Apocalypse NO: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious]
Reading Apocalypse No is the answer to all of the questions I’ve had about what is really going on this world today. This book is fascinating in the way that the author, Michael Adzema, brings to light the reasons for the apathy that haunts our planet today. His concerns for this planet mirror my own which was the reason I bought it. He actually brings us to the beginning of our problems and was my introduction to the experiential therapies. He has put many years of additional research into the therapies that go beyond the “band aids” being administered today by taking us back to our blatantly overlooked beginning. He successfully brings to attention the parallels between our beginnings to every day modern life which is also heavily mirrored in today’s pop culture; that is not inherent to our species at all. I’ve been following Michael Adzema for a couple of years online and happy he has finally brought his work to a format that can reach many more so we can begin collectively working together to heal ourselves and hopefully, this world we live in. I believe this book as well as the other books in this series he has written is rudimentary to the solutions this planet is in dire need of which has to begin within ourselves. I highly recommend this book for everyone because, as he points out, we all begin at the same point and are so deeply affected by these beginnings that we subconsciously reenact and unconsciously accept the often vague yet potent facsimiles in our everyday lives. I have found this book to be the beginning of healing and positive change for myself and hopefully for you as well. This is the book of change!
apocalypse, Apocalypse-No!, breathwork, change, Debbie Condon, Earth Rebirth, ecocide, Environment, experiential therapies, fukushima, Gulf Oil spill, holotropic breathwork, Michael Adzema, new hero, pollution, primal therapy, psychohistory, Psychology, spirituality
What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide and the Necessary Mess of Transformation: Hard to Believe, But We’re Getting Saner
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
Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing
There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope
The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope
Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals
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.
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.
Or 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.
In acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. One tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” This 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. 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
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.
The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives
The 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. Then 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
And 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.
Where There Is Real Hope
It 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 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 or 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.
We are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways of 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.
Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy
Railing Against the Darkness, The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, and Social Progress Requires Regression
The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”
What 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. 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.
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?
And 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]
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.
Social Progress Requires Regression
That 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.
They 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.
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.)
But 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.
“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.
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.
People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”
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.
These 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]
Other 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.
Finally, 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 bioenergetic 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.
The point is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives—and all of those that acknowledge the importance of regression 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.
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.
Consequently 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.
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]
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]
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
Thanks to You We’re Getting Saner: The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History
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.
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 understanding 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.
I 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]
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]
Questioning Authority and Oneself Is Good. Boomers … Received Delegated Release Parenting
Yet 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]
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.
“Let’s Collaborate” – Millennials. Received the Most Advanced Parenting – Helping … “We Just Want You to Be Happy.”
The 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]
Ending War and Humanicide—Peace Is Worth its Price of Suffering: Better “Emotionally Disturbed” Than “Healthily” Fighting in War
Walking In Another’s Moccasins
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. 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, 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 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
At 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!
As 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]
At 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
Because 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.
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
But 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.
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.
Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
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.
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.
15. Glenn Davis, Childhood and History in America. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1976.
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
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Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? And Can You Handle Happiness?
Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth … What Can Be Done: Changing the Patterns of Millennia Requires Learning That Feeling Good Is Not Bad
Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence
Why We Invite War, Allow Fascism, and Pollute: Our Coming Into the World Makes Us Want to Leave It
The question posed at the end of the last chapter was whether we had opened the door to an unimaginable armageddon or were experiencing the birth pangs of a massive consciousness transformation and subsequent Earth rebirth. Are we going to self-destruct, bringing death to the entire planet along with us, or will we 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. But in previous chapters, especially Apocalypse Emergency, Chapter Five: Death Wish – Thanatos Walking, I showed how, and why, that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: We saw 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 “Like” Life?
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 Chapter Five: Death Wish, 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 pollution and suffering on us. We have to know how we can stop our secret desire to take comfort in failure, how to “unlike” self-sabotage on our inner “profile.”
How Do We “Unlike” Fascism?
I have written a great deal on this question, including an entire book in 2011 on the way we act out this masochistic tendency politically and culturally by taking comfort in totalitarianism and embracing fascism. [Footnote 1]
For our purposes presently I will focus on the element of it all that is critical to answering our question. So we first need to look into the place from which emanates our dilemma. I showed that this bugaboo is our Will to Death.
Our Coming Into This World Makes Us Want to Leave It
Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. As we have seen 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.
We Need Look Deeper
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 pollution over health, tyranny over freedom, war over peace, enslavement over autonomy, violence over pacifism, oppression over liberty, misery over happiness. We must derail the cycles of war, violence, and fascism. We must know how to “like” happiness.
We Need Know Where Exactly to Focus Our Efforts to Be Successful
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.
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…
[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.
Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War … The Four “Colors” of the Perinatal Veils and Why Women Fear Fatness and Men Fear Femininity
Four Kinds of Early Experience Color Our Adult Experience in Four Distinct Ways … Cycles of Birth and War
Four Kinds of Experiences in Our First Nine Months Imprint Us for Four Feeling “Flavors” as Adults
But for now, let us get back to this opening provided us. We can make better use of deMause’s insight on the birth feelings that take us into war using Stanislav Grof’s delineation of this birth unconscious of ours. Let us review as described earlier and further stipulate on them: Grof explains we are moved as adults 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 current apocalyptic 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.”
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,” in other words, undefended.
“No Pain, No Gain,” Hell, Satan, and Poisonous Placenta; BPM II
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. [Footnote 4]
“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.
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 to Do to Stop War and Violence: Changing the Patterns of Millennia Requires Learning That Feeling Good Is Not Bad
To Derail War and Violence, Replace Self-Sabotaging With Self-Actualizing … We Can No Longer Afford Our Delusional Ways
What Can Be Done?
So knowing this, how can we use it? In previous chapters, I explained 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 called this an emerging perinatal unconscious, and I went into detail about why it is happening now, what it means, and how we should take advantage of the opportunity it brings that could aid us in our current dilemma.
For now, I need only remind that is imperative we face these unconscious forces instead of turning away from and thereby insuring our continued ignorance of them and helpless acting out of them.
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, called 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 was restating what other pre- and perinatal psychologists…I am one, by the way…including Thomas Verny and Stanislav Grof assert. [Footnote 5]
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
Of course only time will tell what will be the result of this emerging perinatal unconscious for our species.
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? What to Do – We Get By With a Little Help, from Our Nature … Stand in the Place Where You Are
A Hierarchy of Healing … Becoming Human Beings (Not Doings): Removing the Hood from Homophobes, A Hard Rain, and Stand
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. [Footnote 6]
Are We Doing This?
But can societies do this? Are they doing this?
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.
But Then Again…
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.
Homophobes Don’t Fear Homosexuals … They Fear What’s Inside Themselves
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 Be Less Alive to Survive
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.
Girls Learn They Must Feel Less Pleasure to Be Liked
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 in the diminution of the personalities—the potentials—of young boys.
A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
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. As the Tao symbol depicts, the seed of light is in the depths of darkness. So we can hold on to that, for one thing.
So Let Us See. A Scenery of Healing?
With these considerations in mind, the next chapter will evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. In Rebirthing Rituals – The Sometimes Messy Scenery of Healing—we will look for 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.
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.
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”) – 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. 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.
6. “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” … 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.
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence – Audiocasts
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:
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Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”
Your Map of Reality Was Written in the Womb: Falls from Grace, Chapter One — Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
Prenatal and perinatal psychology is the field that deals with the effects of events occurring prior to (prenatal) and surrounding (perinatal) the time of birth upon later life and personality. An ever increasing amount though certainly not all of the information we have about these periods of our lives and their effects is derived through the later and vivid remembering of these events in a phenomenon known as re-experience. Correspondingly, the two most frequently asked questions about this relatively new field, put by those initially encountering it, are those concerning the specific meanings of the terms perinatal and re-experience.
At the outset, I wish to present an explanation of these two terms and of my unique personal relation to this topic as well as some of my background in exploring it. I will follow this with an historical overview of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, which will reveal the key concepts and understandings employed throughout this book.
Re-Experience and Reliving
For over forty years, beginning in 1972 when I was a senior undergraduate in college, I have been involved both personally and professionally in a comprehensive investigation into the phenomenon of re-experience. Also called reliving, this phenomenon is reported to consist of a full somato-cognitive remembering of previous events in a person’s life. Reliving involves experiential but also observable and measurable components, such as brain wave changes, characteristic physiological and neurological changes, and typical observable body movements.
This phenomenon can occur, to varying degrees, in many consciousness-altering modalities—including hypnosis, LSD psychotherapy, primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork; to a considerable degree in re-evaluation co-counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder; and, occasionally and spontaneously, even in mainstream forms of psychotherapy, counseling, and “growth seminars.”
Re-experience is a more vivid and more completely somatic catharsis than what has been described in psychotherapy in terms of abreaction. It is in such contrast to normal abreaction that when these seemingly bizarre yet healing events have spontaneously erupted in traditional or mainstream Western contexts they have usually been mistakenly labeled psychotic, been intervened upon, and then aborted—via drugs and other highly coercive measures—by the attending therapeutic authorities.
However, with an increasing appreciation for their therapeutic value, these events are gradually becoming understood and accepted in therapeutic contexts and thus allowed to complete themselves and to instruct the participants and observers in their meanings. Therefore, they appear to represent something new in our culture in terms of both a way of approaching knowledge and in terms of the kinds of information that are discovered (Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1971; Lake 1966/1986; Noble, 1993; Stettbacher, 1992).
My Relationship to the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
My interest in the phenomenon of reliving began forty-four years ago at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate there I was most inspired by a course in religious studies titled “Religious and Psychological Approaches To Self-Understanding.” I was so inspired by the course that I constructed my major around its topic and initially even used the same title for my program’s name. This major in “self-understanding” would lead me, in a few years, to a profound interest in and exploration of primal therapy, as presented by Arthur Janov (1970) in his much-publicized book, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis.
By 1972, I had completed all but the one final semester for a B.A. That semester was to include the cumulative project—required of such a Special Studies (individually structured) major. However, since my project would focus on primal therapy and one of primal therapy’s basic premises is that knowledge cannot really be known except through experience, I could not in good conscience turn in a project describing primal therapy without first experiencing it. Consequently I withdrew from college, for what was supposed to be only a semester, with the intention of “going through” primal therapy and then returning to school to write my cumulative project on it. In those days, the entire process of primal therapy was reputed to take only three to six months.
But a lot was unknown about that modality in those early days. As it turned out, I would not return to school to complete that final project until 1978—at which point I had five years’ experience of primal therapy behind me and was living in Denver, Colorado.
In addition to these experiences, I have amassed a broad array of other experience and training over the years that have contributed to my understanding of re-experience and of this field in general. Besides my two decades and more of primal therapy … both formally and in “the buddy system” … I have received training as a primal therapist. I am also a trained rebirther, having explored that modality since 1986. I have been experientially exploring the modality of holotropic breathwork since 1987 and did training with Stanislav and Christina Grof in that technique.
Finally, I have been facilitating people in their journeys into deep inner primal and holotropic states since 1975. I’ve given individual sessions in all three modalities of primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork. And with my wife, Mary Lynn Adzema, I conducted three day workshops in something we called primal breathwork. I’ve conducted two-day group workshops in this modality at conferences, which were attended by as many as sixty experiencers at a time.
Thus, I have experience in my own process in these modalities; but in addition I have facilitated for others on many occasions, and at times, it was my main profession—though most of my life I have spent in writing, teaching, and research.
Pre- and Perinatal Re-Experience
Re-experience of birth and of the events immediately prior to and after birth are termed perinatal—from the Greek, literally “surrounding birth.” It has been widely described at this point by a number of authors but is most closely associated with the work of Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Frank Lake.
However, one significant and as yet little explored or understood phenomenon, arising also from the modalities mentioned, is that of prenatal re-experience. In this case, the experiencer reports … and observationally appears to be … experiencing events that happened en utero, sometimes going back as far as sperm, egg, and zygote states (Buchheimer 1987; Farrant 1987; Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1983; Lake 1981, 1982; Larimore 1990a, 1990b; Larimore & Farrant, 1995).
These reports of remembering experiences that occurred before birth are at such variance with Western professional and popular paradigms that they are met with near-universal incredulity and, too often, premature dismissal. Yet the evidence from the mounting numbers of experiential reports and empirical studies attests that something which is at least unique and interesting is going on here.
Nevertheless, much of this prenatal information is thus far unformulated, untheorized, and unintegrated into a coherent structure for making sense of these experiences. This book will go a long way toward doing just that—making sense of prenatal experiences and exploring the implications and prospects of the knowledge gleaned from this fascinating new area of research and which arises from the vision that an exposure to this material induces.
The present work represents an attempt to bring this new information concerning our origins and our earliest experiences into such a coherent structure. After the initial overview of the field to be presented in this chapter, I deepen that review of the current understanding and findings in this area in making a case, in Chapter Two, for the legitimacy of prenatal spirituality.
First, let us take a closer look at what we know about the time before and around birth and what it means for us throughout our lives.
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field—Early Theorists: Psychoanalysis and Birth
Sigmund Freud — Birth as Prototype for All Anxiety
While Freud (1927) disregarded major effects of birth on personality, he still saw the birth experience as the prototype of all later anxiety. His overall disregard of birth, however, was largely influenced by the belief—although discredited (see Chamberlain, 1988), still common in mainstream psychology and medicine today—that a newborn does not possess the neurological capacity for consciousness at birth.
Otto Rank — Psychoanalysis, Birth Trauma, Foundations of Personality and Some Myth, Separation Anxiety
Other early psychoanalysts disagreed with Freud on this. Otto Rank is the most notable of these. Following Freud’s basic psychoanalytic reasoning for personality patterns in early infancy, he asserted basic patterns of experience and ideas that are rooted in even earlier experience. Rank (1929) claimed the deepest, most fundamental patterns of these personality constructs originated at the time of birth, which Freud thought was not possible. Based upon the dream, fantasy, and other patterns of associations arising in his patients in psychoanalysis, Rank postulated a birth trauma, which he saw as a critical event in laying down in each of us particular patterns of thinking, motivation, and emotion for the rest of our lives. Notable among these prototypes was a feeling of a paradise once known but somehow lost, a separation anxiety caused by the separation at birth, and a resulting futile and lifelong struggle to re-unite with that golden age and that early beloved because of a desire to return to the womb.
Nandor Fodor — Dreamwork, Birth and Prenatal Processing and Relivings, Prenatal Origins of Consciousness and Trauma
Also a psychoanalyst, Nandor Fodor (1949) focused on the reflections of birth and prenatal material in dreams. He also designed interventions in therapy to release the negative effects of birth and to process prenatal memories. He was the first to mention actual relivings of birth, in which veridical memories were recovered. He agreed with Rank on many points, but he stressed the origins of consciousness and of trauma being in the prenatal period.
Donald W. Winnicott — First Primal Therapist? Birth Relivings, Importance of Birth—Negative Imprints but Positive Effects, Too
Another psychoanalyst, and pediatrician as well, Winnicott (1958) also held that birth is remembered and is important. He insisted that the birth trauma is real, but he disagreed with Rank and Fodor that it is always traumatic. He suggested that a normal, nontraumatic, birth has many positive benefits, particularly for ego development. Still, he contended that traumatic birth is permanently etched in memory and leaves a lifetime psychological scar. Winnicott (1958) also suggested the possibility of prenatal trauma.
He has been called the first primal therapist in that he described the first birth primals—actual observable relivings of birth—spontaneously occurring by some of his patients during their sessions with him. Thus he was beginning the trend beyond mere talking association or dream analysis as ways of accessing and integrating this material.
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Research and Theorists: Hypnosis, Primal Therapy, and Birth
David Cheek and Leslie LeCron — Hypnosis, Birth Memories and Imprints on Personality and Relation to Psychiatric Disorders
Cheek and LeCron (1968) used hypnosis to retrieve early memories in their patients. They discovered that memories earlier than what they expected, going back to birth, were possible. Importantly, a relief of symptoms seemed to follow from the re-experience of these birth memories. They came to the conclusion that a birth imprint occurs, which is induced by the extreme stress of that time and is resistant to fading from later experience. Further they asserted that this imprint could be the cause of a wide spectrum of psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders.
Leslie Feher — Psychoanalysis, Birth, Cutting of Umbilical Cord, Separation Trauma
Leslie Feher (1980) sought to extend the Freudian tradition farther back into areas that, she asserts, were until only recently unknowable. Thus, she describes a natal theory and therapy that includes experiences of cutting the umbilical cord, birth, and even prebirth. In fact, she considers the cutting of the umbilical cord to be central in her theory of trauma, calling it the “crisis umbilicus,” and echoes Fodor in claiming that it is the true origin of the castration fears made so much of in psychoanalysis. This is so because, according to Feher, the cord and placenta is an object of security and is considered by the fetus to be part of him- or herself. Thus, this cutting represents a supreme threat in being a separation from a total life support system, a major organ, a part of oneself. In these ways, she also brings forward for renewed appreciation Rank’s speculations on the element of separation trauma as a crucial element of the birth trauma.
Arthur Janov — Primal Therapy, Traumas of Birth and Early Life and Healing Them, Empirical Foundations and Neurophysiology of Early Events and Healing
Perhaps the major theorist and popularizer of the phenomenon of re-experience (which he termed primaling), Janov was reluctant to acknowledge the pervasiveness of pre- and perinatal re-experience and trauma. Yet when he did, it was in a major work on birth trauma, which remains as a touchstone in the field in its depth and detail. Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience, published in 1983, among other things places birth as the determining factor in creating basic personality constructs, called sympathetic and parasympathetic, which roughly coincide with the more common terms introversion and extroversion.
This work is more empirical and neurophysiologically rooted than most in the field. While the book is recognized in the field, Janov and his work have not gotten anywhere near the respect and attention that they deserve. He remains the unfortunate kicking-boy of a movement that is itself scapegoated by the academy and the larger scientific community.
Thomas Verny — Primal Therapy, Birth, Especially Womb Life and Relation to Personality … Prenatal Mother-Infant Bonding
The actual stimulus for a new field of pre- and perinatal psychology and the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health—APPPAH was Thomas Verny’s (1981) The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. His work brought together a good deal of the new empirical research that had opened the doors to us on the events in the womb. While himself a practitioner of “holistic primal therapy,” he integrated the accumulating data from the phenomenon of re-experience with the new information from the more traditional, “objective,” scientific research into the prenatal—made possible by the latest advances in technology.
One of his conclusions from this combination of lines of inquiry was that “birth and prenatal experiences form the foundations of human personality” (1981, p. 118). His other conclusions center around the importance of intrauterine bonding in that his research strongly suggests that the prenate, via pathways hormonal and unknown, picks up on the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the mother. More importantly, he asserted, the imprint of these factors on the fetus predetermines the later mother-child relationship. He emphasized that positive thoughts and feelings toward the fetus—”maternal love”—acts to cushion the new individual against the normal stresses and unavoidable harshness inherent in birth and early infancy. Yet all of this cannot be completely avoided. “Birth is like death to the newborn,” writes Verny (1984, p. 48).
David Chamberlain — Hypnosis, Confirmed Validity of Birth Memories
David Chamberlain (1988), for many years the president of APPPAH (the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health), has further substantiated the claim of consciousness at birth and the accuracy of pre- and perinatal memory in the phenomenon of re-experience. He reported one study he did in which he compared hypnotically retrieved memories of birth from mother and child and found an astonishing degree of conformity in their responses. Of note was the degree of inner consistency and originality in these memories as reported by the former neonate. They often contained technical details of the delivery and labor unlike what would be expected of the medically unsophisticated, a perceptive critique of the way the birth was handled, and other details of the event that could not have been known through normal conscious channels.
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Theorists: Societal Implications, Psychohistory, Birth and Prenatal
Lloyd deMause — Psychohistory, Prenatal and Poisonous Placenta, Sociohistorical Implications of Gestational and Birth Events
Lloyd deMause (1982, 1987) was instrumental in establishing the new interdisciplinary field of psychohistory. In his study of historical happenings he discovered that stages in the progression of events related to stages in the progression of gestation and birth … which stages happened to correspond, by the way, remarkably well with Stanislav Grof‘s four stages of birth, his Basic Perinatal Matrices.
He found that natal imagery especially predominates in societies during times of crisis and war, when national purpose and state of affairs are construed as a need to escape or break free from an enclosing and constricting force. He also noted the suffering fetus and the poisonous placenta as sources of these later metaphors and imagery. In fact, in studying the imagery in the national media of various countries he has been able to predict political, social, and economic events such as wars and invasions, recessions, and political downfalls.
His work begins to look at the prenatal influences and imprints and how they related to macrocosmic issues of politics, history, social movements, and issues of war and peace.
Later Theorists — Dream Analysis
Francis Mott — Conception and Gestational Basis of Myth, Archetype, all Patterns of Macrocosmic and Microcosmic Realities and the Nature of Reality, Devolutional Model of Development
Francis Mott’s work is less well known even by this field’s standards, yet it is undeniably impressive. Mott’s (1960, 1964) major contribution lies in his focusing on basic patterns of mind and cosmos that correlate with prenatal feelings and states. He traced consciousness back to events around conception and saw these events as instituting patterns affecting all later experience and conceptual constructions. Through dream analysis he elicited these “configurations,” and he demonstrated their manifestation as seemingly universal archetypes in myths and universal human assumptions about the nature of reality.
In fact, through his study of womb and conception patterns he claimed to have discovered patterns that underlie and unite all of reality at all levels of manifestation—astronomical, social, personal, cellular, and even nuclear. While this may seem rather grandiose, his work was highly regarded and admired by Carl Jung.
Mott also carried forward the intimations of earlier prenatal theoreticians, notably Rank and Fodor, on the gestational basis of archetypes. While he does not address or seek to discredit the range of, supposedly genetic, archetypes postulated by Jung, his work is highly suggestive of an experiential, specifically, pre- and perinatal, as opposed to genetic basis for many of these.
Denial and Incest Taboo
Mott (1960) also helped us to understand why if these prenatal memories are possible they are not more prevalent by suggesting denial is necessary in order to protect against incestuous feelings that might arise around feelings remembered from being inside one’s mother.
Devolutional Model of Consciousness Development
Finally, he made the postulation—hugely relevant to the theme of this work—that our original expanded capacity to feel is diminished, as he says, “divided,” by experience not increased by it. The idea is that there is a reduction in awareness as a result of early traumatic events, beginning around conception and then on, and not the buildup of consciousness and feeling that we assume from the mechanistic paradigm that sees consciousness as a byproduct of increasing physical, specifically brain, activity during our early years. (See, for example, The Doors of Perception: Each of Us Is Potentially Mind At Large… When Perception Is Cleansed, All Kinds of Nonordinary Things Happen and Occupy Science … A Call for a Scientific Awakening: In Tossing Away Our Species Blinders, We Approach a Truth Far Beyond Science.)
Later Theorists — Breathwork
Stanislav Grof — Breathwork, LSD, Birth and Prenatal, Myth and Archetype, Spiritual and Consciousness
A pioneer in this prenatal area is Stanislav Grof (1976, 1980, 1985, 1990, to name a few). His many works, providing a framework for conceptualizing perinatal and transpersonal experiences, are a profound and useful starting point for an investigation into this area.
In his use of LSD beginning in 1956 for psychotherapy, called psycholytic therapy, he discovered four levels of experience of the unconscious: the sensory, the biographical, the perinatal, and the transpersonal. He noted a tendency for growth and healing to occur in a progressive way through these levels. The sensory band is the level of expanded sensory awareness and is usually initially encountered by participants. The biographical band is the realm of the personal unconscious wherein unintegrated and traumatic memories and material from childhood and one’s personal history are retrieved, often relived, and integrated. The perinatal level of experience usually follows after dealing with the biographical material and involves the remembering, re-experiencing, and integrating of material that is related to the time prior to and surrounding birth. The transpersonal band, the level of spiritual experience, is usually reached after dealing with the other three levels.
Four Modes of Experiencing—the Basic Perinatal Matrices
Grof has also delineated four matrices of experience, four general experiential constructs, which he called basic perinatal matrices (BPMs). He discovered that experiences at all levels of the unconscious often group themselves in four general ways that are roughly related to the four stages of birth. Thus, Basic Perinatal Matrix I (BPM I) is related to the generally blissful or “oceanic” feelings that often characterize the fetus’s state in the womb in early and middle pregnancy. BPM II is characterized by “no exit,” hellish feelings that are related to the situation of the fetus in late pregnancy when the confines of the womb become ever more apparent but there is as yet no indication of any possibility of relief. BPM III relates to the birth process itself, the birth struggle, which is still characterized by feelings of compression and suffering but in which there is movement and change and thus hope of relief through struggle. If BPM II can be compared to hell, where there is no hope, BPM III is more like purgatory. Finally, BPM IV relates to the actual entry into the world, the termination of the birthing process, and is characterized by feelings of triumph, relief, and high, even manic, elation.
In his descriptions of the levels of experience and the matrices of perinatal experience, Grof has provided useful maps of the unconscious and experience in nonordinary states, which have incredible heuristic value in our understanding of cross-cultural religious and spiritual experience, psychopathology, personal growth, and consciousness and personality in general. And they have been utilized successfully in providing a context and guide for many tens of thousands of participants in his psycholytic and holotropic therapies.
However, while Grof is exhaustive in his descriptions of fetal and perinatal experience, he says less about the earlier experiences in the womb—the first trimester—and even less about conception and the experiences of sperm and egg—what is known as cellular consciousness. Still, this area is beginning to be discussed among his followers. And through his current nondrug modality, called holotropic breathwork, people are accessing these areas and beginning to give word to them (e.g., Carter, 1993).
Frank Lake—Breathwork, First Trimester, Early Experience as Foundation for Myths
Frank Lake, though less well-known again, has probably been the premier theoretician on the topic of prenatal events during the first three months of gestation. Just prior to his death in the early eighties, he wrote a culmination of his thirty-year investigation into pre- and perinatal influence in two works titled Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling and The First Trimester. In these works he goes beyond his other works (for example, 1966) in placing the roots of all later experience, and in particular, distress, at the first three months of physical existence.
Lake began his investigation of re-experience in 1954. Like Stanislav Grof, he did this using LSD, initially, in the psycholytic therapy that was being developed at that time to facilitate therapeutic abreaction. Later he, again like Grof, developed a nondrug modality to accomplish the same thing. His method of “primal therapy” employed a type of fast breathing—again, like Grof’s later technique—to access theta-wave brain levels, which are levels of consciousness that he saw as crucial to accessing and integrating these memories.
His thirty-year research led him to the realization of the importance of ever earlier experience. Thus his earlier stress on the importance of birth gave way to his later emphasis on the first trimester in 1981 (Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling) and in 1982 (The First Trimester).
His one other major disagreement with Grof was his belief that the mythological and symbolical elements described by Grof were a product of LSD and that the first trimester events were the actual roots of much of such symbolism and supposed transpersonal/mythological scenarios (1981, p. 35).
Later Theorists — Myth and Sacred Text/Mysticism
S. Giora Shoham — Devolutional Model of Development, Falls from Grace
While not strictly a pre- and perinatal psychologist, I include this too little-known theoretician and criminologist because of the close relationship and influence his work has had upon my own work regarding these Falls from Grace. Falls from Grace and other devolutional models of consciousness postulate that during life and over time, beginning at conception, we actually are reduced in consciousness and awareness, not increased in it, and it corresponds to a “brain as reducing valve” theory of consciousness. (Again, See The Doors of Perception and Occupy Science.)
While I initially constructed and wrote down my devolutional theory of consciousness—Falls from Grace—without the benefit of Shoham’s work, upon discovering it I could not help but be both confirmed and reinspired by the astounding resonance his understanding has with my own.
Shoham (1979, 1990) starts his devolutional model in the womb and carries it through birth, weaning, and the oedipal periods of development. Though, as I delineate in Part Two, I disagree with his model by beginning mine at the creation of sperm and egg—as does other devolutional theorists like Francis Mott and David Wasdell—in virtually all other major instances his model corresponds to my own if one simply … in keeping with a normal trend in child development in general as it begins to integrate the new pre- and perinatal evidence … places everything back a little farther in time—in this case, specifically, one stage back.
Later Prenatal Psychology Theorists — Cellular Memory and Conception, Foundations of Myth and Personality, Spirituality and Soul
Lietaert Peerbolte — Conception and Cellular Memory, Soul, Spirituality
Peerbolte (1954) was one of the earliest theorists to relate spirituality to conception and sperm/egg dynamics. In addition to claiming that a regression to conception is the inevitable result of all prenatal states, he traced the sense of “I” — the “I-function” — back to the egg, existing even in the mother’s ovaries. He further postulated that the spiritual self was invisibly present within the field of attraction between the egg and the sperm. Correspondingly, he was the first to point out that the existence of conception, preconception, and even ovulation symbolism in dreams indicates the existence of a soul. For, he asked, what mind records these events otherwise?
I wrote the article, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” which later became the next chapter in this book before I knew about Peerbolte’s work. Yet, once again the conclusions I came to, especially about the existence of soul being established by the fact of these memories and especially those at the cellular levels of sperm and egg existence, are very much in line with his.
Michael C. Irving — Primal Therapy, Birth, Sperm, Egg, Myth, Dragon Symbolism, Prehistoric Cult and Ritual
Michael C. Irving is a primal therapist whose contributions include his relation of these earliest events from sperm and egg through the birth experience to fundamental mythological motifs and images across cultures. The originator of a way of interpretation that he calls natalism, he has brought together a host of artistic and artifactual images from a wide range of time periods and cultures which relate, with an astonishing degree of accuracy, to actual pre- and perinatal events.
In particular, he has traced the universal serpent/dragon motifs and mythology to birth and sperm experience, noting, among other things, that the serpent/dragon shape represents the birth canal or tunnel, that the fire-spewing characteristics of dragons relate to consuming pain, and that the constricting characteristics of snakes correspond to the constriction of the birth canal. Of great interest is his deduction that the widely prevalent snake and dragon cults, which were especially popular in prehistory, indicate an attempt to deal with such unfinished birth trauma material as we are only now, in modern times, rediscovering the importance of doing.
Graham Farrant — Primal Therapy; Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness; Soul and Spirituality
Graham Farrant (1987; Buchheimer 1987), a psychiatrist and primal therapist from Australia, is probably the most influential and well-known of those discussing the phenomena that occur at the earliest times of our lives. In addition to echoing Frank Lake in describing fetal, implantation, and blastocyst feelings, he has been able to elicit and describe sperm and egg imprints. He has found trauma from these earliest events to influence lifelong patterns of personality and behavior. He produced a notable video in which segments from the widely acclaimed movie “The Miracle of Life,” which shows actual footage of gamete and zygote events, are juxtaposed via a split-screen with actual footage of a person reliving the exact same events in primal therapy, which occurred before such cellular events were ever able to be seen and recorded. The effect is astounding in the detail in which the relivings replicate the actual cellular happenings.
In addition to his emphasis on cellular consciousness, Farrant has stressed the spiritual aspects of these earliest events. He relates incidents of spiritual trauma at the cellular level in which the individual splits off from Divinity—thus setting up a lifelong feeling of loss and yearning and a desire to return to Unity and the Divine.
Paul Brenner — Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness and Biological Foundations of Myths
Paul Brenner (1991), a biologist and obstetrician, has been presenting at conferences and in workshops on the idea of the biological foundations of myth. For example, he relates basic biological, cellular events to biblical events described in Genesis.
He also relates male and female adult behavior to basic patterns of sperm and egg behavior and to events prior to and surrounding conception. He has said that male and female behavior are just sperm and egg activity grown up!
Elizabeth Noble — Cellular Consciousness and Spirituality, Empirical Underpinnings
Elizabeth Noble (1993) is an educator in the field of pregnancy and childbirth and is a student of Farrant’s. She published a comprehensive overview of this new field, titled Primal Connections, in which she doesn’t hesitate to stress the issues of cellular consciousness and the spirituality that appears to coincide with the re-experience of these earliest events. She provides empirical and theoretical avenues for understanding how memory can occur at such early times. Some of these are consistent with mainstream physicalist science while others coincide with the cutting-edge, new-paradigm discoveries in fields such as biology, physics, and neuroscience.
David Wasdell — Sperm/Egg and First Trimester Imprints, Devolutional Model of Development, Social and Historical Implications
One of the more recent theoreticians in this area is David Wasdell. Wasdell’s (1979, 1985a, 1985b, 1990) major contribution lies in his relating these earliest events to social and cultural patterns. He describes a process of devolution of consciousness beginning at around conception and proceeding through other reductions caused by traumas at implantation, in the womb, and at birth.
Most importantly, he delineates how the result of this diminution of potentiality is projected outwards into the problems and crises of violence, wars, and the mediocrity of modern personality on the scale of the masses and the macrocosms of the group, society, and global events.
In describing the problems of “normality” as rooted in a deprivational and deformational series of traumas from our earliest biological history, Wasdell emphasizes that this gives us the possibility to change that tragic social and personality outcome by focusing on the prevention and healing of such traumas. Thus, he holds out the vision of a new person and new society as an outcome of the efforts directed at the earliest laying down of human experience.
The Importance of the Intrauterine for Understanding Our Times and the Goal of This Book
Despite this long legacy of work and thought in this pre- and perinatal area, much of it, especially the prenatal, remains ignored by mainstream psychology and is largely unavailable to the public. Within the field itself, in addition, the prenatal information, in relation to the more widely accepted and circulated perinatal evidence, seems to be analogous to Otto Rank’s (1929) ideas of birth trauma were to Sigmund Freud’s concerning early infancy in that they are cast under an extra cloud of suspicion and disbelief and disregarded accordingly. Yet, like Rank’s findings also, their main problem may lie with unfamiliarity and prejudice rather than validity or scientific viability; and these findings, like his were, may end up harkening the outlines of future endeavors and being confirmed by subsequent research.
Thus, I believe that this prenatal area in particular is ripe for reaping what it can teach us about what is human, about “human nature.”
Therefore, this book will put forth the possible relationship between our earliest ontogenetic experiences as humans and the structure of human consciousness and stages of human “development.”
I build a model that seeks an initial formulation of this information, teasing out its implications, and integrating it with relevant thinking and theoretical perspectives in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and others.
However, before proceeding, it seems important to establish this pursuit within the logical-empirical framework that validates it. To do this, let us now turn to the re-experience movement I am most familiar with and feel to be the most important, primal therapy, and discuss its relation to the phenomenon of prenatal re-experience and spirituality.
Continue with How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences? Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious
Return to Falls from Grace, Introduction — The Radical Rational View of Us and It: “Normal” Truth Is Convenient Truth … and Is Anything But True
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Psychology of Generations —The Changing of the Generational Guard: Why There Is Less Violence but More Depression…. And What’s Good About That
Consciousness Evolution from the WWII to the Millennial Generations: A Hierarchy of Healing, a Global Healing Crisis, and the Unseen Revolution
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Fourteen: Psychological History of Today’s Generations and Changing of the Guard
Healing Crisis Means Needing to Get “Sicker” Before We Can Be “Weller” and Making It When You DON’T Fake It: Centaurs, Wounded Deer, and the Consciousness Revolution, Untold
What’s in Your Head, Zombie? Being Really Sick, But Denying It — WWII Generation, Nazis, KKK, Right Wing, Tea Party
Getting Sick In Order to Get Well
What does this all mean? What does this portend? What might be the outcome of this emerging perinatal unconscious? In other words, consciousness evolution or apocalypse? And what is the meaning of this change in consciousness and of these wounded deer and centaurs? Is there hope in this development?
To answer what is the portent of these wounded deer and centaurs and what the emerging perinatal unconscious might mean on a macrocosmic or societal-global scale, it is helpful to look at what an emerging perinatal unconscious portends on the individual or microcosmic level.
What we have learned from the experiential modalities—holotropic breathwork™, primal therapy, rebirthing, vivation, and others like them—is that unerringly people need to get “sicker” before they can get well. This should not be news to psychoanalysts or any of the other mainstream psychotherapists or counselors either.
Basically, the underlying repressed material must come to the “surface,” must become more conscious…and obviously when it becomes more conscious its accompanying symptoms are exacerbated. This can be called a healing crisis in that the symptoms get worse, more obvious, more blatant; and there is a period of acting them out before integration and resolution happens.
One Must “Die” to One’s Sickness Before One Can Be “Born” Well
When Grof talks about birth/death scenarios in the perinatal unconscious, he is including these sorts of healings, where one must “die” to one’s sickness before one can be “reborn” into another way of being, without those sick patterns or symptoms.
Degrees of Disease
Dissociation – Completely Split Off
It’s YOU! YOU’re the f&^$#r!
We see a progression over the last century in which there was complete dissociation from the perinatal unconscious by those of the Fifties, the World-War-Two, and previous generations—hence complete projection of it on The Other—to lesser dissociations from it by the generations since, baby-boomer and afterward, which involve more awareness of it as being a part of oneself and less projection of it on The Other.
In this latter instance, there is more suffering from it and more individual acting out of it, so that in a sense one appears “sicker”—the perinatal is more obvious in one’s behavior, taking more individual forms, and it is more easily recognized and seen to be a personal problem…a “sickness.” Earlier I described this consciousness as being the way of the centaur, for it reflects Chiron, in ancient myths, having an ongoing wound but eventually becoming a teacher and healer.
To understand the ways the perinatal manifests depending upon one’s “closeness” to it, let us contrast the two extremes of being split off from it and being close to it.
Being Really Sick, But Denying It: WWII Generation, Nazis, KKK, Right Wing, Tea Party
Can’t Know That You Don’t Know
First let us take a look at what the perinatal appears like when it is completely split off from one’s conscious personality. This complete splitting off from the perinatal entails a complete repression and denial of it. Consequently, one has absolutely no access to it, and thus one is in total ignorance of the underlying motivations of one’s actions. One unconsciously acts out perinatal elements and traumas and manifests them in one’s behavior, rationalizing all the while that one has really good—non-perinatal, “real world”—reasons for why one is doing the things one is doing.
What”s in Your Head, Zombie?
Psychohistorians deem this state to be such an oblivious one that they use the term trance-state for it, fully intending all the implications and connotations that term engenders. That is, they are saying that people who are this repressed and split off do their acting zombie-like and out of motivations completely hidden from themselves. [Footnote 1]
Birth Woes ~ World Wars
In such total ignorance, and of course being totally ignorant that one is in ignorance, people in the past century have been able to act out their perinatal underbellies in ways to make such hideous and all-encompassing wars as World War I and World War II possible.
Leaving aside for a moment the myriad ways the perinatal has unconsciously been acted out in this century in creating the current situation in which we are on the brink of extinction—which can be considered the most serious consequences of this splitting off imaginable—simply focusing on this century’s major wars as evidence of perinatal acting-out alone is instructive.
The Nazis, in particular, were extreme in their dissociation from their perinatal, in their projection of it onto the Jews, and their consequent ability to act it out in horrific ways on them and others. Alice Miller and Lloyd deMause have each detailed the psychodynamics of this projection of primal pain—both perinatal and childhood—in the creation of the people that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis became in their adulthood. [Footnote 2]
The Nazis present us with the patterns of these processes of dissociation and projection in blatant and obvious relief. The way Nazis, especially in concentration camps, acted out perinatal trauma on their prisoners has been described in great detail by Grof as well. [Footnote 3]
Wounded Deer and Centaurs – Being “Weller,” But Appearing Sicker – Perinatal Awareness of Boomers and Beyond
Perinatal Boomers and Beyond—We Know THAT We Don’t Know…We Could Be Wrong.… But You Certainly Are
Being “Weller,” But Appearing Sicker—Generations Since
As I said, contrasted with being completely split off — dissociated — from one’s perinatal unconscious, as the Fifties and WWII Generation are predominantly, is being less cut off from it and having some access to its energies. This means that rather than being totally and blindly driven by these forces, which are acting on one indirectly, one actually feels them somewhat: One has a sense of their being a part of one’s experience as opposed to living within them so thoroughly that one has not a clue of their existence.
This means that one has more options than to act them out, but it also means they make one aware of one’s perinatal sickness. One feels them, suffers from them, struggles with them.
On the other hand, one does not suffer or struggle from unconscious energies that one is compliant with and that are completely manifest and supported in one’s social and cultural environments (for example, the worlds of the WWII and previous generations), however destructive that makes one’s actions.
Trancing Vs. Suffering
This difference may be likened to the difference between being a fish in water and totally oblivious to that fact versus living out of water and experiencing a downpour. When one is in less of a trance state, one is aware of alternative ways of being; in the example, that would be being dry. Consequently, one suffers and struggles amidst these forces and options…and one has at least some ability to choose one’s actions.
I do not believe it is simply coincidence that we are currently going from the Piscean Age — symbolized by fish in water — to the Aquarian Age — symbolized by a water bearer. This change was a big part of the consciousness during the Sixties, and I think we are beginning to see why: Going from a state where one is oblivious to the forces around one to a state where one can see the things one is dealing with (carrying the water) is no small thing.
It seems everything about evolution in humans has something to do with being between two mediums and the advance/the added perspective that comes with that, going all the way back to being the only ape to take to the water so much as to become partly aquatic—placing our species between water and land, halfway between a dolphin and a chimpanzee. I think we are heading toward being like the fairies and angels we imagine—halfway between land and air—but that is a whole other post.
Another analogy I’ve heard of this difference between the two modes of being completely oblivious and somewhat aware of one’s unconscious is that between living full-time in an arctic environment where one has to wear a heavy coat versus living in a milder climate. In the warmer climes, one is both aware of what it is like to not have a coat—one has capacity to feel better ways of being—as well as how bulky, obstructing, and uncomfortable it is to have the coat on—suffering more from it, suffering from one’s perinatal memories. Finally one is better able to decide when to have it on and not—one has more options. At some point I will discuss what this has to do with the increase of bipolar disorders, but not now.
One analogy I find especially provocative is the difference between watching a movie and being fully engrossed in it so that one does not know it is a movie, which is equivalent to acting out unconsciously from one’s early imprints. Compare this to watching the same movie with equal interest, but being aware that one is in a theater. You can see where in the second instance one would feel there are more options; and one would feel that one could step back before finding oneself caught up in horrific actions.
Wounded Deer and Centaurs
However, being aware of one’s discomfort (having “more access” to the perinatal), one suffers like the wounded deer—the innocent who feels things and so struggles with society’s sickness that many others are unconsciously perpetrating. But, with time and success in handling this pain, one can become the wounded healer—the Centaur.
Now, why and how would this occur? As I’ve said, some access to the perinatal and more blatant and direct acting it out is exhibited by many of the baby-boomer generation. This is in large part due to their having been raised in a way that required less in the way of ego defenses to keep their primal pain suppressed. Psychohistorians like Glen Davis and Lloyd deMause have detailed a slow advance of child-caring techniques, with generations since the WWII Generation being raised with more attention to their needs and less harshness and cruelty…increasingly more love.
“What the World Needs Now, Is…”
Before anyone begins thinking “permissive” or “spare the rod, spoil the child,” let me point out that I will be continually stressing how this development is not only a good thing (why wouldn’t love be good?) but is one of the few sources of hope for our future we really do have.
For less childhood pain and trauma means one is stronger and more able to face the even deeper perinatal pain.
Choosing Lesser Evils
At any rate, the extreme acting-out and total dissociation from the perinatal exhibited by the World-War-Two Generation was followed, in the generations coming after, by less relative dissociation and less horrific forms of acting it out. Quite simply, generations as a whole had better ability to refrain from the more blatantly evil act outs—wholesale murders and world wars, pogroms and genocide, inquisitions and witch-burning, racism and slavery. They were more able to choose seemingly milder forms of suffering and self-destruction — polluting the atmosphere, water, and food; population explosions and crowding of cities; and traffic jams.
The common everyday traffic jam is especially instructive of perinatal dynamics as traffic congestions replicate asphalt birth tunnels where one not only breathes exhaust fumes from trucks and other autos—fetal malnutrition—but also can become gridlock at any moment, thus re-creating the intense frustration and no-exit hopelessness, and rage, of BPM II.
Baby-Boomer Perinatal Awareness
Other examples of the scenery of modern times where the perinatal is manifesting but is less projected onto another:
We Know THAT We Don’t Know…We Could Be Wrong.
Many baby-boomers had enough access to their perinatal underbellies to question the absolute rightness of the Vietnam War and so they campaigned against it. This is indicative of closeness to the perinatal because it shows an ability to doubt one’s egocentric defenses—as given by society and family of origin—and to look at situations from the eyes of the Other.
So much was this evident in boomers that some were even able to see the Vietnam War through the eyes of the enemy—exemplified by Jane Fonda’s trip to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags at demonstrations, and the carrying of little red books of the sayings of Chairman Mao tse Tung.
But It’s Clear You’re Wrong.
The baby-boomer—or Sixties—generation also indicate their closeness to their perinatal in their campaigns against some of the act-outs of the perinatal mentioned above: These include actions against pollution; a rejection of city life, with its gridlocks, pollution, and crowding , and a return to the country, in communes or otherwise; an awareness and rejection of polluted foods and creation of a natural and organic foods movement; and actions against global overpopulation including support for birth control, a pro-choice stance on abortion, and delaying of baby-making on their own parts along with a reduction in the size of their families.
The sexual excess that is characteristic of the perinatal, specifically BPM III, was evident in boomers’ free love and promiscuous sexual behavior.
Many more examples could be given. But the proof of their closeness to their unconscious dynamics lies not only in their actions—as mentioned above, in their more blatant acting them out or in their actual actions against the blatant acting out, both of which indicate closer access—but also in the study of their unconscious dynamics. As mentioned in Chapter Twelve, Kenneth Keniston found in his study of the psychodynamics of the Sixties generation when they were in their youth an unusual amount of perinatal symbolism and self-analysis. (See “Raging to Reenter, Digging Under Ground.”)
Boomer Rage, Perinatally So
We Shall Overcome.
We also see perinatal feelings in the focus of the baby-boomers on empowerment. This word appears to come up in every area of their lives. It can be seen as the natural focus of a generation that feels itself inside to be a helpless fetus facing an overpowering obstruction of a womb.
Hence baby-boomers are of course also closer to the frustration, rebellion, and yes, rage, that is part of the perinatal complex. We saw it exhibited by them in their anger at authority in the Sixties, their rebellion against the Vietnam War.
“Get the &%$ OFF Me!”
Keep in mind that a huge aspect of the perinatal is feelings of restriction, thus frustration, and, consequently rage against large entities of obstruction—like the womb was in relation to the small and helpless fetus. In doing so, we see that the reason for their rage is simple and understandable.
Baby-boomers, characterized as being closer to their unconscious, especially the perinatal, have more access to their anger: This means they feel their anger and are less likely to act it out in more hidden, disguised, and dire ways such as war-making, racism, and anti-Semitism.
This does not mean their rage would not be troublesome. The perinatal lets no one get off scot free. We see lots of pre- and perinatal anger coming out in the last few decades in the phenomenon of the “angry electorate.” Let’s look at that next.
You Didn’t Really Believe Elections Had Anything to Do With Issues, Did You? Biting the Feeding Hand … Perinatal Rage and Panicky Electorate
Seriously? You Actually Think Elections Have Something to Do With Issues? Biting the Feeding Hand … Perinatal Rage and Panicky Electorate
More recently these baby-boomers have been coming into the triumphant phase of their lives. They make up the largest sector of the electorate, and their influence is reflected more as they come into positions of power in the media and elsewhere.
The Angry Electorate and Boomers
But their influence has been diffused and confused because of the anger of some of them. Their irrational rage—combined with the reactionary consciousness of the Fifties Generation, many of the Fifties Gen children of Yuppies-Gen Xers, and the remaining WWII folks—has most often skewed election results against the Boomers interests and their true desires. Though not the majority of boomers, enough of them expressed their rage to swing election results in favor of the other side.
1992 – “Mad as Hell”
Beginning in the 1992 and 1994 national elections, these baby-boomers exhibited their perinatal influences in contributing to the totally unexpected phenomenon of the “angry electorate.”
At the time, pundits and media analysts were at a total loss to explain the rage of the electorate that was affecting these elections. In 1992, they were totally surprised by the showing of three men in particular—Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, and Ross Perot—who seemed to have one thing in common: the angry tones and rebelliousness that characterized their speeches, as compared to others. [Footnote 4]
The demeanor of these candidates was at such odds with the other candidates that when Bill Clinton one night responded angrily to a comment by Jerry Brown about Hillary, Clinton’s wife, it was that part of the debate—of Clinton being angry, all issues aside—that made the news that night!
Though the rage of the electorate in 1992 caused the Brown, Perot, and Buchanan phenomena, it was split among them, so Clinton ended up winning. This of course was also OK with the baby-boomers in that (1) Clinton and Gore were baby-boomers like themselves and (2) in the race against Bush, Clinton was the challenger, and thus the rebel; and Bush was the “bum to be thrown out.”
However, this rage did not go away after the election, which highlights its having perinatal origins. In fact, after the shortest “honeymoon period” in history, by some accounts, it became directed at the most likely target/center—the President, Bill Clinton, himself.
We all know how despite the successes and progress of Clinton’s first year, he was especially singled out for ridicule and denigration by the media. He could not seem to do anything right, and the most incredibly outrageous behaviors were attributed to him.
1994 – “Throw the Bums Out … Again.”
This rage spilled over into the next year and, sure enough, during the midterm election—the issues be damned—the angry electorate was in a mood to “throw the bums out” again. It did not matter the party….I do not claim that all those of my generation are always as politically astute as they are angry.
The Republicans called it a “revolution.” It was simply the acting out of an electorate in the throes of perinatal feelings—that is, feelings of frustration, being “tied up” by red tape, an inability to go forward…that is, up the economic ladder—wages had been stagnating since the early 80s…being overcontrolled and pushed around by regulations…big government being the big mother womb keeping the fetus locked in and unable to move…and out of all this, the consequent anger and rage.
1996 and 1998 — “To Hell With You!”
At any rate, succeeding elections bear out this analysis of an angry electorate. In 1996, despite the much ballyhooed “Republican Revolution,” sure enough, the electorate was spoiling to “throw the bums out” again—only this time it was the Republican Congress. So there were Democratic gains at the time.
And in 1998, when everything pointed to a huge Republican landslide because of the Lewinsky scandal, the electorate again showed their rebellion and anger toward both the pundits and the Republicans who had been lambasting them with details of the scandal for nearly a year by giving the Democrats gains again! [Footnote 4]
2006, 2008, and 2010 — Panicky Electorate
In 2006, 2008, and 2010, it was an angry electorate reeling against oppression; and in the case of 2010, doing it mindlessly, against their own interests. If there were not perinatal charge to all this, Americans would not be so irrational about their choices.
People have had good reasons to feel oppressed since the Eighties when Reagan began the giveaways to the rich and the budget cutbacks, continuing to this day, that have caused the masses to feel constricted and oppressed.
Yet, if this did not result in their being perinatally overloaded so that they cannot reason, they would not have been able to be led to fight their own interests as they were in 2010 and in an ongoing way as exemplified by the Tea Party and the success of right-wing agendas.
Reacting, Too Angry and Confused to Think
Another aspect of this irrationality on both sides of the political spectrum has to do with this idea that there is no difference between the two major parties. Feeling oppressed perinatally is characterized by a pressure from all sides simultaneously. There is an inability to distinguish or discriminate between forces that are helpful and those that are dire, as any and all developments seem threatening in situations of crisis. In a situation of overwhelm, further, there is an inability to think clearly. One just fights back, explodes, reacts. It’s no coincidence that righties are called reactionaries.
Biting the Feeding Hand
The upshot is an inability, under the pressure of perinatal feelings, provoked endlessly by actual oppression economically, environmentally, socially, and culturally, to rail against any authority, to bite the hand that feeds one. This is exactly like the panicked swimmer who in danger of drowning fights off his or her rescuer.
Can anyone at this point still maintain that the politics of the last few decades had anything at all to do with ideology or issues?
Millennials and Their Opposites – Fifties Generation Tea Partyers … How OWS and Tea Party Movements Are Generationally and Perinatally Different
Millennial Gen Occupiers and Eisenhower Gen Tea Partyers Are Perinatally As Well As Generationally Opposed
Right-Wing “Hate Groups,” the Tea Party, and the Fifties Generation: Perinatally Oblivious
One might also note the rise of “hate groups” occurring at the same time as the phenomenon of the angry electorate. Hate groups fill their ranks from folks on the extreme right and their actions are exemplified in the Oklahoma bombing tragedy and more recently in the Tea Party.
But notice again then that these hate groups are always on the extreme right of the political spectrum and thus exemplify a World-War-Two mindset in relation to their perinatal unconscious: Specifically, the mindset is one of being completely cut off from one’s unconscious dynamics and being in total denial of unconscious motivations so that one can have the complete certitude—lacking any access to the unconscious which would give rise to doubts—that makes violent actions possible.
For without exception their reasons for rising up against the government—representing the overwhelming womb—has to do with frustrations, like the trapped fetus feels, in regards to “oppressive” taxes, governmental red tape, laws, and other regulations that they feel restrict their freedom…to move freely, as one wanted to but couldn’t, in the womb.
Tea Party and hate group ranks are prevalent with Fifties Generation folks. The Eisenhower Generation — after the WWII Gen and before Boomers — were born just before or during WWII. They are mired in prenatal fears coming from the fact that their parents were living through such distressing times as WWII and the Great Depression when they were inside their mothers. They were “marinated” in the womb with fear and insecurity. They also were not brought up with the societal advance in child-rearing the next generation of boomers, and those afterward, would be granted. So it is understandable they would be both cut off from perinatal access yet full of perinatal pushes and pulls to act out in confused and self-destructive ways.
Perinatal Access of Millennials
Being Boomer Kids, Wouldn’t You Kind of Expect That?
Now on the other end of this perinatal spectrum we have the most recent generational cohort to be making a mark. The Millennial, or Baby-Boomer Echo generation, show the same inner access as their Boomer parents. They demonstrate as well their parents’ consequent refusal to act it out on a larger scale: It has been said that the greatest concerns of those in this generation, now in their twenties and thirties, are the environment and racism-bigotry.
They show the progressive bent of their parents, also, in their having a lot to do with giving America its first African-American president. And to the environment and minority rights, we need to add classism, economic fairness, and human rights because of their phenomenal outpouring of support in the past year for Occupy Wall Street and for union rights in Wisconsin and other states. They are showing global strength in opposing fascism, economic injustice, political oppression, and human rights abuses in Occupy and Arab Spring movements. They’ve filled massive demonstrations against the draconian economic policies of Republicans in Wisconsin.
Climate Change and The Environment
We know how pollution and action against pollution indicates a closeness to one’s perinatal. To put it another way, it is clear that only a total denial and disconnect between one’s consciousness and one’s unconscious perinatal dynamics would allow one to act it out unconsciously in the creation of pollution and in the denial of it as a problem or a mindless neglect of it. So the fact that these Baby-Boomer children, the Millennials, are so cognizant, concerned, and active in relation to global pollution and climate change shows their lack of denial of this perinatal act-out.
Multicultural, Resisting Racism and Oppression
But what of racism and bigotry? How is this an indication of a closeness to the perinatal. There are several ways in which this is so. As mentioned, a closeness to the perinatal allows one to doubt one’s given defenses and to glimpse alternate perspectives—in particular to look at things from the eyes of The Other.
In this way, the baby-boomer echo generation are able to see oppression, injustice, and unfairness as it is played out in the lives of minorities who don’t share their (predominantly) middle-class advantages. They simply don’t “get” racism, sexism, or bigotry of any kind; it is incomprehensible to them. They strongly oppose imperialism, colonialism, or oppression of any kind. Relatedly, they support animal rights and oppose animal abuse and cruelty. They don’t understand torture and violence against fellow planetmates.
Naturally they were helped in that awareness by the gains of previous decades, beginning in the Sixties, which had them growing up with diversity of racial and ethnic heritages—seeing things multiculturally not narrowly—in their schools and in the omnipresent media. They grew up with the environmental awareness that was set in motion in the Sixties; they don’t know of a world before recycling and energy conservation. Activism, demonstrations, and political action have been a part of their lives since they were born, unlike the several generations that preceded them and even their Boomer parents who grew up in a politically castrated Fifties.
But there is another, stronger element. This is the factor of oppression and unfairness itself. We experience compression (oppression), and frustration at our attempts to go forward, and what feels like hopeless unfairness and injustice, when in the throes of BPM II birth trauma. To see these facets of the fates of minorities, as in racism, or gender or sexual bias, points to this echo generation’s closeness to their own perinatal oppression; hence their ability to empathize with oppressed minorities.
This ability to realistically sense and respond to oppression is also the reason they would throw themselves in heartily in defense of unions, an increasingly oppressed middle class, and public sector employees.
Of Goths, Gen X, Anti-Abortionists, Pacifiers, and a Hierarchy of Healing … You Make It When You DON’T Fake It
Flaunting One’s Sickness Is Healthier Than Hiding It … Gen X, Goths, Pacifiers, and The Hierarchy of Healing
A Hierarchy of Healing?
This idea that those close to their unconscious conflicts are more likely to act them out blatantly goes completely against one of DeMause’s tenets. He wrote, “The higher the psychogenic mode of the psychoclass, the less it is necessary for it to act out its conflicts.” [Footnote 5]
However this is exactly the crux of my difference with his theory and is a central point I am making. For from my perspective, the higher the mode of child-caring equals the less the defenses. Hence, the more it is likely that that generation’s conflicts will be close to the surface, seeking resolution … like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. We might want to call it a hierarchy of healing theory. [Footnote 6]
In other words, our observing the supposed “acting out” of an underlying trauma does not mean that the group or person in question is actually or, at least completely, “acting it out” and defending against it. It may be that that group is resolving, healing, or integrating it—taking it inward rather than acting it out…in the world, on others…whether to a small or great extent. Using the analogy of Pandora’s Jar, described earlier, they are opening the jar, at least a little. And I disagree with deMause in that I wish to stress that it is healthier by far to do that. Let me explain:
The difference between acting out and resolving is whether the actions are done in total dissociation from the unconscious dynamics, that is to say, in a trance state—as explained earlier in regard to the World War Two generation and the Tea Party—or whether there is at least a modicum of insight into it occurring as a result of things inside of oneself, not completely projected onto the outside.
The attitude that leads to total dissociation and acting out was expressed in a recent 2012 military movie, Act of Valor, which depicted Navy Seals engaged in anti-terrorism activity. At the end, the manner of dealing with pain recommended for these American soldiers and “men of valor” was to (paraphrasing) put all the pain in a box, shut it tight, press it down till it is smaller and smaller, and never, under any circumstances, let it out!
However, in non-acting-out—“acting inward” or taking back the projection—there is a tad of insight, as, for example, in the “overexamined life” of the “uncommitted” and the “self-analysis” of the young radicals of the Sixties generation. Similarly, the rock concert revivication of all current generations except the Fifties and WWII ones, as I’ve mentioned, is about personal experience and growth, and it is not about acting out on another; whereas an example of the extreme other end of that would be engaging, trance-like, in a mass killing against a perceived political enemy, as Loughner did, and as we do as nations in wars.
Another example of complete dissociation are the anti-abortion folks. They don’t have a clue of the connection between their own unconscious prenatal pain and the feelings they have about unborn others. They are not wrestling with their feelings, they are trying to change the world to conform to their defenses around those feelings—that is, they want the world to suppress that womb time out of existence like they have done to it in their own minds. The proof that it is acting out is that it is all about changing others’ behavior, and it involves imposing one’s inner pain on others forcefully and aggressively—which we have seen in its extreme form with the murders of physicians committed by anti-abortionists
Flaunting One’s Sickness Beats Hiding It—Generation X
The self-analysis of the Sixties Generation was followed by a different mode of struggling with perinatal pain by Generation X, which continues in abated form with the Millennial Generation. It was manifest rather strikingly with the Goth phenomenon and the vampire fascination that began in the Eighties, coincident with Gen X’s coming of age. Goth and vampirism show blatant perinatal dynamics that are not unfelt and completely repressed as in dissociation with its trance-state aggression against others. An example of Gen X perinatal acting out of these dynamics in total dissociation and trance state was given above in the anti-abortionists. But Goth and vampire culture show folks feeling and immersed consciously in these pushes and pulls and wrestling with them, trying to work them out as opposed to act them out.
Hey, It Was Tough!
This is rather clearly shown in looking at the “regression” in Europe, described by psychohistorians, which occurred in the Nineties. This behavior showed a bit of insight…and resolution happening…in that the baby song being hummed was about the very real hardships of being a baby. Therefore, an actual truth about their own lives was being faced there by those singing along with it. The song was not being used to deny or defend against those traumas.
One might suspect that as well in carrying around such blatant examples of regression as a pacifier. For someone in a more defended mode would be highly threatened by such an obvious symbol that they are really needy children inside. More defended folks would be terrified such overt behavior would make them look wussy or sissified—that is, look like that vulnerable, frightened baby that they really feel themselves to be but are doing their damnedest to hide from everyone. Imagine how those Navy Seals described above would feel walking around sucking on a pacifier, for example.
So in actually carrying around a pacifier these youth were not only displaying an insight into their feelings of sometimes being needy babies, on the inside, but are actually flaunting this awareness, as if to shame, or slap the face of, or be “in the face” of a generation of their parents—the Fifties Generation for the most part—who did not see their needs when they were babies—however effortfully and obviously they sought to demonstrate them. Thus the symbols needed to become more and more shocking and obvious.
Look at What You Did to Me!
For example: the jeans with requisite holes around the knees was screaming out, “You did not take care of me; you made me feel like a poor, orphaned, ragamuffin child.”
The piercing of mouths, nose, ears, and even tongues shouted,
“I am in pain, dammit! Can’t you see that when you stick needles in me as a little baby that I hurt? How can you be so insensitive? Can’t you see that when you refuse to breastfeed and thus nurture me orally that I am forever damaged there, ever painful there? What does it take, my sticking pins—safety pins make the point even more that it was when I was in diapers—in myself to make you see that I hurt there?”
“Look, you might think we’re a wonderful family and everything is hunky-dory here; but I wish I were dead! I’ve felt so much pain, from in the womb, at birth, and right after birth, that I wish I’d never been born.
“Also, somehow in courting death, I have the feeling that I might somehow be reborn again into a good life, not like this place of torture and tears, right from the beginning, where my welcome into the world consisted of being drugged, handled like an object or piece of meat, blasted by bright lights, scrubbed by rough cloths, having needles and suctions stuck in me, blasted with noise, made to lie on cold stainless steel surfaces, and then bundled like a tamale so that I could not move…making me feel again like I was back in the hellish womb where in the later stages, for a time that felt like an eternity, I felt unable to move and was suffocating for lack of sufficient oxygen…and the only action that was possible was for me to scream my bloody head off for long periods of time or go into a stupor—which is what I did, alternating between them.
“Can’t you see that I’d rather be dead than live in such a world of insensitive zombies like you. Hell, in fact, to further drive the point home, I’ll even look and act like a zombie, I’ll try to appear as unfeeling and morose as you all seemed to me, especially at my birth. And I’ll go a step further and mirror yourselves back to you by becoming enamored of vampires….
“Can’t you see that you sucked my very life force, my blood, and turned me into an unfeeling vampire like you, by suffocating me in the womb, poisoning me with your toxic blood which you both sucked from me and then forced down my throat!”
The Consciousness Revolution They Don’t Want You to Notice. It’s Inconvenient for Them, Initially Hard for Us, and Hopefully Not Too Late
The “Inconvenient” Revolution – Unacknowledged Consciousness Evolution from the WWII Generation to the Millennials … More Suffering, Less Killing
Different Levels, Different Defenses
It is instructive at this time to note that Arthur Janov once compared the defenses that characterized the youth of the time—the late Sixties, early Seventies—with those of their parents and older people in general and came up with findings that amplify my own assertions here.
“Mind’s Made Up, Don’t Confuse Me With the Facts!”
Specifically, Janov found that older people—clients of his as well as others of whom he was aware—were characteristically more repressed, more split off, more prone to dissociation, more defended and, most importantly for our uses here, tended to use defenses of denial and obfuscation against inner information and impulses. Correspondingly, they tended to use drugs that repressed and blotted out reality, such as alcohol and nicotine; and they tended to be sexually repressed. They were also more compulsive. They tended to suppress their tension and hold it in for all their worth.
“How Can You Have Any Pudding if You Don’t Eat Your Meat?”
Truth was greatly feared, and all attempts were made to fend off incoming information that might threaten the delusional reality set of the conscious mind. This left them open to the characterization: “My mind’s made up! Don’t confuse me with the facts!” which was leveled at them by anti-Vietnam War protesters. In more recent years, it is no wonder they have engaged in a war against education and against Hollywood, as really they are at war with new information. Consequently, Janov found that the dominant mode of reaction, when threatened, was to act out aggressively against the supposed “oppressor.” Like prenates up against an overpowering womb, they are in constant war with overwhelm.
On the other hand, he found that his youthful clients—under 30—tended to use defenses of excess, release, and addiction, or to be unusually lacking in defense mechanisms. They were more impulsive. They tended to have weak barriers to incoming information, to be open to negative unconscious content, even at the expense of their self-esteem, and to be tension expressers. They were therefore more likely sexually promiscuous than repressed, and they tended to drugs that opened them to information and unconscious knowledge – such as marijuana and LSD.
Consequently they were less split off from their unconscious truth…though it made them uncomfortable…were less repressed, and, if anything, used defenses of masochism, self-denial, and self-inflicted aggression or depression. Truth was more important to them than emotional comfort. They tended to go out of their way to dig up negative information about themselves, and they accepted the low self-esteem and sense of self-worth that came with that kind of openness to truth.
Their delusional reality set — if it could be called that — entailed taking on the worries and cares of the world as their own, since their openness to their own cares and worries allowed them to empathize with others in obviously similar situations. When triggered into their pain, their dominant reaction was to take it inward and to take it out on themselves causing depression. In doing so they showed they would rather hurt themselves than hurt another.
Generation Gaps … Again
I don’t believe you need to be a rocket scientist to see that Janov was discovering an historical — one might say millennial — ”changing of the guard” as regards access to the unconscious, openness to personal truth, and lessening of the tendency to act out early trauma in violent or belligerent ways. The older generation had more tendencies to blame others, to find scapegoats for their ills, and to act out violently on them. The younger generation had more tendencies to look inward and to blame and punish themselves … and to prefer to hurt themselves before hurting another. They would more likely cut themselves than cut another; they would more likely commit suicide than kill.
The youthful generation might also become alcoholic, addicted to drugs, or do something else to injure themselves…rather than act it out on another.
Less Wars, More Suicides
And this “acting in,” as opposed to acting out, is indicated as well in the rise of teen suicides in recent decades. So you might say that the tradeoff we are currently getting is a reduction in the use of wars and racism to solve problems—that is, a reduction in the tendency to act out one’s Pain on others and to scapegoat. But, since the perinatal trauma is still there, and one is even more conscious of it, we have increased suicides. We have not had a world war or dropped a nuclear weapon on people since World War II; but we suffer unceasingly from relatively less loss of life in regional conflicts and the self-inflicted harm of air, water, and food contamination and from radiation poisoning from nuclear power plants. We have not had millions killed in genocides or purges since World War II, but we have suffered lesser loss of life in uprisings for democracy in China, Iran, Syria, Southeast Asia, and the Arab world. We have not had lynchings and racial riots have ceased, but we have suffered less lethal damage from culture and class wars, increased incarceration, creeping fascism, and struggles for economic justice.
Overall then, less death, more suffering. Less killing in wars, more suicides. Less large scale atrocities, more depression. On a collective level, we are taking our conflicts increasingly inward.
As deMause pointed out,
Those considered ‘neurotic’ in each age may often be a higher psychogenic mode than those considered ‘normal,’ only they must stand the anxiety of not sharing the group-fantasies of the age. [Footnote 7]
Away From Hubris: Nature Balances HerSelf
In this part on healing crisis, we have seen how perinatal acting out can be of two kinds: totally unconscious and trance-like, or semi-conscious with at least some access. We have looked at how a progression to more access to one’s perinatal underbellies has led to more acting in than acting out. We have seen how it has led to less violence and more depression.
Suffering Beats Dying.
At this point, one could make the point that the tradeoff is worth it: That individuals suffering more emotional pain and trauma is preferable to the horrors of world war and nuclear or genocidal holocaust…put bluntly, suffering beats dying.
This is natural of course, in that this is always the way we have thought of things—that is to say, as if all things were to be considered around the concerns of humans. This is called anthropocentrism—a form of species-centrism—in which Homo sapiens is considered the reason for the existence of the rest of the Universe.
Likewise, with a mind-boggling number of species living or having lived on this planet alone—species numbering in the hundreds of millions, if not trillions—again one might question the validity of choosing the perspective of our species alone in making our analyses.
How ‘Bout We Step Outside?
Yet this is the way we have always done it. And this is the way I have been slanting my perspective so far in this book.
But now let us do something radically different. Let us walk out of ourselves — figuratively speaking — and seek to stand upon that Archimedean point from which we might view the events currently transpiring.
From such an attempted non-species-centric viewpoint let us view this emerging perinatal unconscious, with its wounded deer and centaurs, as it is currently manifesting in humans. However tenuous our attempt, let us at least try such a new-paradigm viewpoint. For certainly all old-paradigm ones—containing all the hubris of anthropocentrism that they do—have failed in their attempts to save our species and indeed have contributed to such a likelihood.
Let us attempt to see through the eyes of Gaia, now—from the viewpoint of Earth itself—as we look at how the current human predicament may in fact be an example of Nature balancing HerSelf. With both perspectives in mind, we can have a complete picture. We will return then to look at where there is cause for hope, what we are doing wrong as well as where there are positive trends and forces at work, and how we might let go of the self-defeating and instead apply ourselves to fostering the forces of good going on in global consciousness and the globe itself.
Continue with Eden Arise and a Message to All Wounded Deer and Centaurs: It’s a Consciousness Revolution, Aided by Gaia We Are Rediscovering Our Natural Self
Return to We Have Manifested a World That Mirrors and Re-Creates Our Traumatic Human Births: Life or Death Matters We Need to Face to Survive
Another head hangs lowly
Time is slowly taken
And the violence causes silence
Who are we mistaken?
Let he see, it’s not me
It’s not my family
In your head, in your head
They are fightin!
With their tanks, and their bombs
And their bombs, and their guns
In your head, in your head
They are cryin!
In your head! In your head!
Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
Whats in your head, in your head?
Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
Another mother’s breaking
Heart is taken over.
When the violence causes silence
We must be mistaken.
It’s the same old theme
In your head, in your head
They’re still fightin!
With their tanks, and their bombs
And their bombs, and their guns
In your head, in your head!
They are dyin!
In your head! In your head!
Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
What’s in your head, in your head?
Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
2. Alice Miller, For Your Own Good. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984; and Lloyd deMause, “Restaging Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 344-391. Reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site as “Restaging Prenatal and Birth Traumas in War and Social Violence”)
3. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 23. (Article reprinted, with permission, on this Primal Spirit website).
4. See “It’s the Attack on Privacy, Stupid! What Republicans and Pundits Don’t Get About Clinton’s Support,” on the Primal Spirit site, for more on the angry electorate and how it played out in the 1996 election.
5. Lloyd deMause, The Foundations of Psychohistory. New York: Creative Roots, 1982, p. 139. See also “Are Some ‘Sick’ People More Healthy Than Normals?”
6. See also “Are Some ‘Sick’ People More Healthy Than Normals?” on the Primal Spirit site.
7. Lloyd deMause, The Foundations of Psychohistory. New York: Creative Roots, 1982, p. 143.
Continue with Eden Arise and a Message to All Wounded Deer and Centaurs: It’s a Consciousness Revolution, Aided by Gaia We Are Rediscovering Our Natural Self
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The Primal Screen: The Doors of Perception Stormed and The Perinatal Rising — A Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life
The Perinatal Veil: Dangling Above an Abyss and Everyday Rebirthing — The Perinatal Predilections of Everyperson
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Three: Twenty-First Century and Its Discontents—The Primal Screen
Dangling Above an Abyss
Beyond the entertainment media, it seems perinatal themes and elements are showing up everywhere else in our surrounding environment and culture. The scenery of our everyday reality consists of pollution of our air, water, and food; threat of death “at any moment,” caused by the knowledge of the power of nuclear weapons; fantasies of apocalypse of all kinds, magnified, perhaps, by the ending of one millennium and the approach of the end of the Mayan calende—including fundamentalist Christian imaginings of an end to human civilization in an apocalyptic “rapture”; New Age fantasies of ecological, spiritual, and social utopias; and so on.
First, let us consider a few of the most blatantly birth-related of the events around us.
The Primal Screen: Aliens … Ooooooooooo … Sca-ry….
Alien abduction stories, while a relatively recent addition to our cultural landscape, are unusual in the rapidity with which they have gained cultural currency and are telling in the extreme fascination the public has with them. They have catapulted more than one show—The X Files being the prime example, of course—to cult-like status. The photo here is a scene after the abduction of Fox Mulder, one of The X-Files main characters.
Yet Alvin Lawson has pointed out how alien abduction stories are replete with perinatal elements: passing through walls, umbilical beams of connection to the “mother ship”—the placenta—either fetal-looking aliens or aliens whose eyes are most prominent and the lower parts of their faces undistinguished—similar to the way a newborn might see an obstetrician wearing a medical mask.
Then of course there are the elements of being medically probed, measured, samples taken from one, and being swooshed from one place to another with no say on one’s part—all remarkably like the experience of a newborn, right out of the womb. [Footnote 1]
While I do not think that the “alien abduction” phenomenon is just derivative of birth, as Lawson does, I do believe that we perceive these events through a veil of birth trauma, the likes of which the world has never known. My position is explained in the article, “Alien Abductors: Angelic Midwives or Hounds From Hell?“
Mouth Suctioning…”Oh, What Pretty Teeth You Have, My Alien”
An interesting development in the alien face is the “shoved down the throat” thing going on. Similar to the “Jacob’s Ladder” kind of vegetable thrusting out, which was described in the last chapter, it was popularized greatly in the movie, “Alien.”