Posts Tagged The Frighteners
Birth, Death, Hell … Roots of Depression and Fascism … And Freedom’s Just a Membrane Away: Perinatal Media, Part 7
Perinatal Media, Part Seven: Aliens, Abductions, Hell, and Fear: Freedom Is Just a Membrane Away
This idea of birth trauma has been vigorously resisted in our culture ever since it was first presented by Otto Rank. And we can attribute that resistance to accepting its reality to the fact that it triggers so much fear in people to even consider these perinatal influences.
Love, Fear Relationship
To put it another way, considering, as we now are, how imbued with death, fear, and pain is this time of our life, we are capable of seeing that there are good reasons why otherwise logical people would at all costs resist the idea of birth trauma and perinatal influences, the evidence be damned. We are fascinated by this time of our life. We play it out endlessly in our imaginations and collective dreams and, as we shall see in the next chapter, in our everyday lives. But we are utterly terrified of it. Indeed it is, as Janov once put it, the only time for most people that in life we come so close to death, other than our actual demise.
To Hell With It…
So to acknowledge birth is to face death and an inner memory of horror and a hell-like experience. These aspects of it are not going to lend to its being readily accepted among our intellectual currency.
Clients in the therapy rooms only face their perinatal memories when all other interpretations, memories, and early experiences have been made and integrated. The perinatal is the last and most gruesome of truths to face. It is faced only when all other options are gone and the truth alone will do.
In the same way—since it is not easy truth—its acceptance into the arena of our common knowledge has awaited its necessity to be known and acknowledged. It has required our species survival being at stake for us to consider the deepest roots of our problems. [Footnote 1]
Face Me, or You’re Mine!
And this book is primarily about that necessity to face the ultimate and horrible truths if we are to save ourselves. Not only are we closer to our perinatal unconscious these days, we are—because of the precarious nature of our times, which our ignorance and denial of the perinatal heretofore has set up for us—required to face the perinatal “monster” or we are doomed. It is now the time to uncover the truth, to get to the root of the problem, or there will simply, eventually, be no problem, because there will be no people to have a problem or to recognize a truth or root of a problem.
Fear and freedom…only a membrane away
Be that as it may, this recent development in perinatal imagery involving a membrane barrier between us and the perinatal realm is closer to our actual perinatal reality than any of the previous symbols put out in earlier times which showed a barrier between us and the perinatal. So this membrane depiction of the perinatal suggests an increasing closeness to the perinatal unconscious.
We have progressed in our collective consciousness beyond hard walls or mirrors separating us from our perinatal memories (and horror), now they are just a membrane away. They are only a thin, elastic membrane away. And from the other side this part of ourselves calls out to us, pushing its face through—like the computer push technology, with all its annoying pop-up consoles and screens that won’t go away. Our births come spamming through to tell us what we need and to call us back to a realization of the truths we need to hear to save ourselves.
Getting back to the membrane symbol itself, the perinatal elements of this new depiction are rife. Obviously the late stages of pregnancy have one in an enclosed elastic, membrane container—the womb—from which one cannot escape. Also, the fetus’s features in the latest stages are somewhat evident, can be seen and felt, on the surface of the mother’s belly, something like faces pushing out of elastic walls. And one struggles agonizingly during birth and endures intense suffocation through a great deal of it, just like those in movies who are surrounded by elastic sheets.
All of this is then, in Western civilization, compounded after birth with tight swaddling. The newborn, curiously, is wrapped like a tamale in a way that he or she cannot move freely. So rather than remember the earlier womb experience of blissful freedom and euphoria, it has its most recent hellish experience of the late stages of gestation and birth reinforced. There is no doubt that we are letting our newest members know they will not be able to move freely in life, have freedom, or express themselves freely. It is no wonder that depression is a pandemic in modern society and antidepressants are sprinkled over the masses like holy water.
Baby abductees and masked medical aliens
Finally, a later perinatal element is inserted in the “Fire In the Sky” scene in that the struggling abductee, covered in the elastic membrane sheet, is lying on an alien’s medical table. In the same way a baby, right after birth, endures the struggle for breath, caused by premature umbilical cutting, as it lies on the medical table and receives “processing” by medical personnel who to the fetus are alien-looking—that is, they have prominent eyes and lower face not pronounced because covered with surgical mask.
The point of bringing out the occurrence of these media images is that the projective systems of our culture—our art—are reflecting our collective changes in consciousness: Specifically, the evolution of our consciousness as it is confronted by this unconscious pre- and perinatal material…or, as some psychohistorians would have it, the “collapsing” of our “ego strength” as we are “threatened” by these “dangerous” perinatal elements.
Birthing Into Everyday Life
Meanwhile, let us look at how these elements, not only show up in our collective media dreams, but fashion the very furniture of our everyday reality.
1. See Stanislav Grof on this at “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed“ [return to text]
Return to Through the Looking Glass Into Parallel Universes…But “There’s No Place Like Home”: Perinatal Media, Part 6
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Now add a blissful period and go back around again; that’s the way it works in life.
Through the Looking Glass Into Parallel Universes…But “There’s No Place Like Home”: Perinatal Media, Part 6
Perinatal Media, Part Six: Through the Looking Glass Into Parallel Universes, But “There’s No Place Like Home”
Origins of Parallel Universes
But this idea of something coming through the walls, membrane walls, is both fascinating and telling in the extreme. It speaks to other perinatal elements and feelings.
I might start by pointing out the element of there being another realm into which people go and from which people are rescued (with luck). There is a barrier between the two realms—a permeable, elastic barrier. Anytime you have this other realm you are talking about either birth or death or both. Oftentimes it is both, for it is felt that to go back to the time of being in the womb (“regression”) is akin to death.
Of course we get this idea that birth is death, for one thing, because of the fact that at that time—in the late stages of pregnancy with fetal malnutrition, lack of sufficient oxygen, suffocation, and so on—there was a sense of impending death, and oftentimes actual vital life threat to the fetus. We see our beginnings as dire, for another thing, because the actual time of being born is analogous to a dying to one state in order to be born into another. Actual birth, BPM III, has most often been related to feelings of death/rebirth.
So of course, for these reasons, anything having to do with going across or back into that other realm is going to be associated with death.
“There’s No Place Like Home.”
But death is not the only aspect of crossing some kind of barrier into another realm. Related to the house theme we see how going through a membrane into another realm can take one into another place where one has adventures and rediscovers important understandings or is transformed or matured in some way.
In this category we have Alice going through a looking glass to go into Wonderland; Dorothy and Toto in “The Wizard of Oz” being transported — in their house, naturally — to another realm; and the back of the wardrobe opening up into the other land of Narnia in the classic children’s series by C. S. Lewis titled, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In Howl’s Moving Castle, a floating, traveling house takes the occupants to different places and into various adventures and scenes, like some kind of animated version of Sliders.
Through the Looking Glass
And of course this is only the tip of the iceberg of works of literature, film, and TV that could be given: the magic mirror, often an antique one (of course), which opens up to another horrible or wonderful place or to a time in the past; or the secret passageway in a wall that opens, by means of some magical or technical maneuver and takes one into secret places—both wondrous and hideous.
The hearth that spins around is particularly telling in that the hearth may be considered the “heart” or center of the maternal in the house, the prime source of heat and nourishment—as when in previous times it was the place in which the food was actually cooked. There are many other examples.
The movie “Jumanji” with Robin Williams employed this idea laboriously and dramatically, with people going through walls into other times and places.
But the movie also included perinatal elements such as stampedes of gigantic jungle animals and even floods. Here again we see beasts that can devour or crush one, but also enveloping waters. In fact, when the flooding waters came through the wall, to accompany this element there was even the “mandatory” fight with a toothy beast!
This “Dark” Unknown
In this movie, “Jumanji,” as in too many others, the “other side” is depicted as a dangerous and often deathly place. This points to the vital life threat that we go through at the times of our birth, leaving an imprint of fear of it for a lifetime.
This depiction of it and fear of it are both understandable and unfortunate. For, as I alluded to earlier, this idea of birth trauma has been vigorously resisted in our culture ever since it was first presented by Otto Rank. And we can attribute that resistance to accepting its reality to the fact that it triggers so much fear in people to even consider these perinatal influences.
Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eight: Perinatal Media
Return to Worse Homes and Gardens – Houses, Prisons, Schools, Dungeons, UFOs and Spaceships…and Their Obstetricians: Perinatal Media, Part 5
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Worse Homes and Gardens – Houses, Prisons, Schools, Dungeons, UFOs and Spaceships…and Their Obstetricians: Perinatal Media, Part 5
Perinatal Media, Part Five: Worse Homes and Gardens – Houses, Prisons, UFOs and Spaceships, Dungeons…and Their Obstetricians
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 perinatal 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 recent movie of this squid variation. 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; boat, especially a submarine; 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.
Prison, Jail Cell, Schoolroom = Womb
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, can not “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. Libraries are the benign version of womb-like “schooling” in that the element of volition or choice in the matter exists. 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.
In the school sequences in the movie, “The Wall,” there are other perinatal elements potentiating some of the scenes. We have anonymity, indicating not being seen in the womb; fetal faces; tortuous “development” and passage from one state to another especially as in being shoved through a wringer or meat grinder; and faces coming out of walls or having an appearance similar to that.
Houses and Spaceships Are Real “Mothers”
One lengthy explanation of this kind of symbolism as it is connected with “the Mother” is the classic work by the Jungian, Erich Neumann, titled, The Origins and History of Consciousness, which he himself based on other even earlier analyses of mother symbolism and its association with enclosing and enveloping sorts of thing.
At any rate, among all these, the house is probably the most popular symbol today. It would seem to be used more in the visual media as a womb symbol than any other, currently. With the increased interest in science fiction, the spaceship is perhaps coming in second, but even that distantly.
Being spaceships, UFOs are obviously womb symbols. Carl Jung once speculated in writing that the upsurge of UFO sightings indicated a rising urge for psychic unity in humans. While this is true on one level, on a deeper level, they are symbols of reintegration with our repressed traumatic womb experiences. Space travel is transition from one world to another in general. And the vehicle of passage is a UFO or spaceship … in which one’s needs are taken care of and one is involved in passage or transition … It is not surprising that often in the course of this transition, space travel, the space voyagers of the silver screen encounter odd and horrifying developments.
Notice how we say “mother ship.” UFO type spaceships are so often depicted as round or spherical. Indeed, we have elaborate developments of these themes in the Death Star depiction of Star Wars–a round enclosed place and habitat associated with dread and death …
“You Will Be Assimilated.”
The variations on this are themselves telling. We have one instance of a cubical habitat in space…a square, not round, spaceship. What better way to show how terrifyingly different the inhabitants are from natural, biological beings. For womb equals round, flowing lines as in Nature, products of a physical or biological world, one of life and dealing with living and animate things. Whereas to indicate that these beings are mechanical, unnatural, robotic…products of a mental world only, one of death and dealing with inanimate, non-living things…machines…straight lines are employed, implying the worlds of engineering, mathematics, geometry…of the mind only, not of the physical or biological worlds or the worlds of feeling and experience. Implying a world of non-feeling and non-experience is horrifyingly akin to implying a death-like existence.
Star Trek aficionados will have picked up by now I am referring to the Borg and to their cubical spaceships/habitats. We have to make the connection that the appearance of symbols of machines, robots, androids, and such with womb symbols–increasingly prevalent in modern and postmodern times–is easily attributable to the fact of our ever increasing mechanization of birth…in which, as I was pointing out in the previous post/section, humans are “thingified” and turned into “human robots.” And, yes, these are horrifying and death-like experiences that we undergo at our beginnings and subject our incoming members to.
Worse Homes and Gardens. Is It Any Wonder It Is Haunted?
I remember watching an old movie from the “Amityville” series. As most people are aware, in any of these movies, it is the evil house that is the source of the horror. This goes back at least to Edgar Allen Poe’s “The House of Usher.”
Yet this plot idea of an evil house, which must, in the end, come crashing down in flames—indicating the explosive and fiery birth, BPM III, which signals the release from the evil forces—was boringly evident in films in the Twentieth Century.
Mad Doctor Frankenstein, the obstetrician
At any rate, in this idea of a house that “gobbles” one up, as in “The Frighteners,” we have the bringing together of two of the most predominant birth elements in film—an evil house and a devouring beast. That fact of a doubling of perinatal elements alone is indicative of a plot saturated with perinatal influence.
Continue with Through the Looking Glass Into Parallel Universes…But “There’s No Place Like Home”: Perinatal Media, Part 6
Return to All in All, It’s Just Another Face in the Wall–Enclosing, Threatening Things From Which One Wishes to Push Out or Escape: Perinatal Media, Part 4
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