- 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- Ch 17 Freedom Repealed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 violence
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.
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*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
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These are the strangest of days. We live in a time in which ending our species in our lifetime, even eliminating all life on this planet, are very real possibilities. The awareness of this acceleration toward an “end of days”—while so horrifying we hardly speak it—hangs over us and affects us in ways singular and fantastic.
Apocalypse NO, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious awakens us to the unconscious influences erupting into our world which are changing the Earth and us in radical ways. Herein is revealed the underbelly of our modern life and the impetus behind our self-destruction. We see primal forces arising and exposed. Finally, we can direct our attention to the roots of our drive to apocalypse and reverse it.
More than that, this awakening provides a way of transformation. For in the heart of this darkness lies the most incredible opportunity for taking a leap beyond what we think of as human nature. This time calls for a new hero’s cycle—one that leaves behind the thuggishness of the old one. We are lifted beyond ourselves in a higher calling and a transcendent yet deeply rooted spirituality.
We realize that the necessary answer to the dilemma of apocalypse or Earth rebirth lies, not only in the resurrection of a new Earth, but in the dawning of a new self as well.
About the Author
Michael Adzema is a writer, activist, teacher, and psychotherapist. He was the editor of a professional journal of primal psychology and was the first person in the United States to teach prenatal and perinatal psychology at the university level. In the early Eighties, working as an anti-nuke activist, he was one those whose actions led to ending nuclear plant construction in the United States. In addition to Apocalypse NO, he has authored the books, Falls from Grace, which is a reference on prenatal and perinatal psychology; Primal Renaissance; Experience Is Divinity: Culture War, Class War; and the companion volume to this one, Apocalypse Emergency—Love’s Wake-Up Call.
activism, activist, announcement, apocalypse, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth, Apocalypse-No!, authenticity, book, book release, culture, description, e-book, Earth Rebirth, ecocide, Economics, emerging perinatal unconscious, environmental collapse, generations, globalrevolution, History, Michael Adzema, occupywallstreet, order information, perinatal, Politics, prenatal and perinatal psychology, prenatal psychology, Psychology, psychotherapist, publication, science, spirituality, violence, war
Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? A Smaller Number of Us — Standing in the Right Place and With a Lever Big Enough — Might Be All That Is Needed to Move the World
A Smaller Number of Us Can Make All the Difference in the World, Literally, by Tipping Our Course One Way as Opposed to Another: Moving the World – A Race Against Time
Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen:
To Move the World – A Race Against Time
Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth?
The Evidence for Change Occurring
Finally it is time to answer the question posed by this book: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth? Knowing apocalypse, we can now declare a hearty No! to apocalypse.
Our answer begins by pointing out that we have discovered, in this book, that there are things that can be done to prevent our extinction and, on the contrary, bring in a new dawn of harmonious cooperation with the forces of Nature. In the last five chapters we have seen that there is evidence of a collective change in consciousness occurring. A radical change in our attitudes to war, racism, the environment, and even spirituality—and thus to the very way we live our lives—is manifesting in our culture, the youth of the world, our children, and is even popping up in our collective dreams.
In addition we are aided by some fundamental processes of natural and cosmic law. In preceding chapters I have pointed out how both our nature inside and Nature outside seem to be conspiring to force us into the changes necessary. From this perspective we are in the hands of natural law, and its homeostatic mechanisms may bring us into line in ways unimaginable, beyond even the speculations I put forth in our attempt to see “through Gaia’s’ eyes” in Chapter Seven.
Visible and Invisible Allies
Furthermore we may be aided by unseen forces and entities of which we know not and may be incapable of knowing. Though I think it foolhardy to sit on our hands and hope that some intergalactic or spiritual cavalry will arrive to save the day at the last moment. Still it is eminently reasonable, considering the minuscule knowledge we have in relation to the immensity of All That Is, to put aside our familiar hubris and at least consider the possibility of aid from higher forces or entities.
Perhaps it is because our interconnectedness with Everything requires that we not fail, for it would have detrimental effects on things of which we do not know. I must confess that I myself have received knowledge of such help being given us. [Footnote 1]
Similarly there are others who believe that God will not allow His/Her creation to be destroyed and did indeed come in the flesh to ensure its success. [Footnote 2]
And there may even be cosmic laws at work. “Truth has its own momentum,” said one of our workshop participants. My wife and I conducted workshops in what we call primal breathwork, which is based on the Holotropic Breathwork™ of Stanislav Grof. In these workshops, which involve access to all aspects of the unconscious, including the spiritual/transpersonal, the biographical-psychodynamic, and the sensory, as well as the perinatal, it is not unusual for us to witness people being motivated, because of their profound transformative experiences, to commit themselves with all their being, talents, and resources, to aid in the processes of renewal on this planet.
But Is It Enough?
Don’t Expect to See It on Cable News
But some might argue that there are not enough people changing. You might easily get that impression if your prime source of information is the mainstream media of the cultures of the world. For it is in the interest of the dominant media of all lands to support the status quo—for economic, as well as political reasons. They are not likely to report the new and controversial.
In fact, the proof of this is that when truth is truly democratized and shared freely, as on the Internet, the information that comes out is drastically different from the sanctioned news sources. Indeed, we have seen the social media and the Internet leading in many areas, from Wikileaks to Mideast revolt, everywhere and anywhere. Like a tail wagging a dog, the Internet has been the first to expose information that the controlled media, who knew of it but repressed the information, only afterwards were forced to present.
So don’t expect the paid-for media to give you an accurate portrayal of what is truly new and breaking or for them to accurately reflect cultural changes as they occur. And don’t either expect for them to present the news of positive developments occurring—especially when those positive developments threaten an entrenched status quo. No, the official information sources of the status quo are the last to report such changes, and they do so only when they absolutely have to.
The Peace Symbol—Moratorium—Reversed
Meanwhile, from my vantage point, I would answer the query that there are not enough people changing by reiterating that, in fact, there are many of us who are integrating this emergent material, who are regaining our truth and the truths of this Earth and the Universe, who are expanding our consciousness to include this information, and who are carrying that information forward into positive action to heal ourselves, the people around us, humanity at large, and the planet.
This response of constructive action is exquisitely expressed when the peace symbol is reversed and symbolizes a human figure with arms upstretched—meaning the expression into the external world of what was discovered within.
Putting Out Our Hand By Creating Healthy Alternatives
An answer to the question of what will happen is that we can hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and reaction in the face of this influx of material, for one thing. In addition, those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier for others less fortunate to face and deal positively with their environmentally enforced psychological transitions.
Those of us who can should put out our hand to our struggling sisters and brothers. If we can set up and provide accessible alternatives to the ones of reaction and acting out that now exist, we’re going to make it more likely that those more prone to reaction and avoidance will instead also grow in response to these eco-apocalyptic, bio-noetic changes.
Facing the Monster Is Always Better, Often Beautiful
For, contrary to what many believe, the evidence from the experiential modalities involving the perinatal, and my own experience, concludes that the dangers of not accessing the perinatal unconscious are much greater than the ones of attempting to access them. For our residual birth issues influence us one way or the other. If we deny them, we can be deluded into acting them out, completely unconsciously, without an insight or a clue, in a “fetal trance state,” in the form of war, social violence, spouse abuse, sexual promiscuity resulting in the contraction of AIDS, and a myriad of other destructive and self-destructive ways.
Whereas if we turn to face this supposed “monster,” with only a tad of insight into these forces that direct our life, we are at least able to avoid the most horrific of the destructive acts that keeping it unconscious can cause us to participate in.
And then, on the more positive side, fully working through these seemingly hellish inner traumas can result in a transformation of the person and a lightness, peace, beauty, and fulfillment of life unlike anything that can be imagined beforehand.
A Race Against Time
Regardless of whether we succeed, we must try. As Stanislav Grof put it in his conclusion to an article on this global crisis: For our very survival,
We seem to be involved in a race for time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are extremely destructive and self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will survive. However if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of deep inner transformation; we might reach a level of consciousness evolution that will bring us to the point of deserving the name given to our species, Home sapiens, i.e., wise humans.
“The Leaven In the Dough”
Of course, I do not expect that the sort of application of experiential techniques Grof hopes for above can occur on the massive scale that would seem to be necessary to avoid apocalypse in the short period of time that we have left. Yet it might be that we would be lucky enough for that not to be necessary.
It is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world.
Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
1. See “Some Cosmic Encouragement: I Was Told “Once There Lived ‘Noble’ Beings” and Now Is the Time for a Regeneration of Peoples to Regain What We Lost,” which is the prologue of the book that follows in line from this one. Wounded Deer and Centaurs expands and elaborates on some of the central concepts introduced here.
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. 25. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site.
Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
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The Journey to Light Leads Through Perinatal Darkness: Correcting the Arrogant Modern Ego … Religions Are About Control … Spirituality, Surrender
Will We Survive? Putting Our Society “On the Couch”: Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life … The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell
Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell
Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming
Are the Changes Needed to Avoid Apocalypse Occurring? The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind, Putting Our Society “on the Couch”
Is there any evidence that the changes that need to happen for us to stave off apocalypse and save our world are actually occurring?
The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind
I have mentioned there are studies of the psychology of generations, beginning with the Baby-Boomers or Sixties Generation, that show both an increased access to the perinatal as well as a tendency to act out perinatal influences in less harmful…though more blatant…ways than generations prior. We have seen that this tendency goes hand in hand with actual engagement in activities to counter the negative perinatal act-outs that exist in our environment, for example, campaigning against war, pollution, racism, violence, and so on.
But in “Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media,” I introduced the common anthropological tenet that the projective systems of a culture—that is, its art and artifacts—can be analyzed to get a glimpse into the worldview of a particular society. For our purposes, I pointed out how our movies are especially potent glimpses into our collective consciousness as well as our collective unconscious. You might say that our cinema is the “royal road” to our collective unconscious.
Movies As Collective Dreaming
Our flicks perform admirably well as collective dreams in that, unlike the other products of our collective consciousness such as other art and artifacts, they are multimedia stories, much like dreams are. But more than that, they are shared by more of the populace than any other art form. I am not including TV separately as an art form, since I put it in the same category as films, especially when many films are broadcast on TV and much else on TV also has the same character of being multimedia stories.
Finally, the strength of a particular element of the collective consciousness can be easily determined by the popularity of a particular movie that represents it or by that element’s increasing inclusion in a number of films. For example, in “The Perinatal Media,” I discussed the emerging new elements of faces coming out of walls and forceful oral insertion.
Putting Our Society “on the Couch”
All together, these mean that, just as a psychotherapist might analyze a client’s dreams to get an idea of his or her unconscious workings and contents, one can interpret mainstream movies to get an idea of the workings and contents of our society’s “collective mind”—both conscious and unconscious.
This is no more complex than saying that when we see things in movies that people rush to see, they are drawn to it because those things are also in their own minds. And the more they flock—the greater the success of a movie—the more pervasive in a society are those themes, elements, and contents. Certain aspects—themes or elements in films—are said to really “resonate” with people and therefore people make the movies that contain them popular and successful.
When this is said, it only means that people are consciously or unconsciously drawn to things that exist within themselves. Conversely, no existence inside? No interest.
So in this and upcoming chapters I will use films as the dreaming out loud of our collective mind. Put less esoterically, I will be analyzing a few examples of mainstream movies for their content, and I will be assuming the content I find there exists as well in the society that has watched it…has dreamt it.
I will also be assuming that movies that are mainstream, by which I mean can be found readily for sale as DVDs on-line or in retail stores and have become part of the popular conversation are indicative of pervasive elements in our collective consciousness and unconscious. They can be looked at for the unacknowledged workings of our society as a whole.
I will not deal with the actual numbers of people who have attended particular movies. For I will assume out of the tens of thousands of movies that are produced each year—by small and large producers—those that have made it into the theaters of virtually all the communities of our society, and from there onto the DVD lists and the shelves of stores of all those communities, have by those facts alone demonstrated their resonance with the collective social mind. Otherwise, we would get into the maelstrom of analyzing critic’s opinions of these movies; and with that, to modify a saying, opinions are like asses: everyone has a different one.
Something’s Happening Here … Again
One final point about the heuristic value of the analysis of films for the workings of the collective mind: Elements and themes in movies change over time. I have shown how new elements may be evidence of new elements of our collective unconscious minds coming into consciousness in detailing how the faces-in-the-wall element has developed. (See “All in All It’s Just Another Face in the Wall.”)
But when old, familiar plots have different outcomes, this is important as well. When elements change or evolve over time, this speaks of something going on. This points to changes or evolutions in our collective consciousness. And when elements and themes and plots change or evolve rapidly, we can accurately say that the changes in consciousness are equally swift.
These are some of the tools we will be using in this and upcoming chapters as we take a look at a few examples of mainstream films and what they might be reflecting back to us about our own society’s changes in consciousness. But first let me say something about what may turn out to be the most important of the thematic evolutions or changes in film elements that we have been seeing.
Information Avalanche and Pre- and Perinatal Themes
In the last half century we have been hearing a great deal about the need to expand consciousness to balance the negative effects of the extremes of technological advance. Fortunately this change of consciousness is to some extent inevitable—or at least greatly aided—by certain side effects of the technological explosion…specifically in the area of telecommunications.
Ego-Eroding Information Deluge
As cultural boundaries are eroded by a multicultural information avalanche, people are forced to lower their inner defenses and ego boundaries. Confronted by such incoming information people will either take some of it in, learn, and thereby grow beyond their former selves or they will need to expend themselves in an all-out effort to shore them up.
A potent example of the first, currently, is the way people worldwide are opening to and learning from each other using social media via the internet; the revolutionary potential of this creation of an open global consciousness is already showing itself in uprising for democracies and economic justice virtually everywhere on Earth. A clear example of the second—where folks are putting everything into blocking out information and beating back the personal growth that would result—is in the backlashes to these liberal forces, which are also occurring throughout the world—as a Tea Party in the United States and as the fortification of authoritarian regimes from China to Syria and Turkey, from Iran to Israel.
We have seen that the first response—where folks allow the discomfort inherent in personal growth—is typical of a more advanced form of child-caring that is centered on the needs of the child. We know also that the latter reaction goes with child-caring centered on the needs of the care-givers, or parents…and not the child. In this latter instance of parenting, it is understandably called child-rearing or raising a child as opposed to child-caring. We have noticed that the first response goes along with increased self-analysis and introspection and the latter one with acting out, aggression, and culture war.
Information Tsunami Pushes Consciousness Revolution
So, this tsunami of information in all areas, where previously we could smugly hold forth ego-satisfying views, pushes both toward an overthrow of those narrower perspectives and the establishment of broader, more encompassing ones as well as toward an ever increasing irrationality in fending off this information, at any and all costs.
“Consciousness Raising” As “Shoveling It”
For the most part, this growth or expansion of consciousness, when it happens, is seen as a linear increase and correspondingly is labeled a “raising” of consciousness. This is true whether we are talking about societal or individual progress.
Ken Wilber’s transpersonal theory is the most popular version of such a ladder-style path. In it the process of growth is analogous to that of climbing a mountain or shoveling compost into a pickup truck—one simply moves upward or piles it on. [Footnote 1]
But there are those who think otherwise.
Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell
Religions Are About Control; Spirituality, Surrender. Let Go, Let God to Correct an Arrogant Modern Ego
The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell
Those in the know about the pervasive pre- and perinatal influence on personality and behavior, and especially those of us actively engaged in working through the effects of such early traumas, are fully aware, like Dante, that the path to heaven leads through hell. We have found that the path to the transpersonal light leads through the psychodynamic and perinatal darkness, that the path up and the path down are parts of the same path outward. [Footnote 2]
A Dark and Hideous Shadow World
Our experience has been that the information avalanche and multicultural onslaught have eroded our personal boundaries to an influx, not only of transpersonal bliss-love-compassion, but equally—and very often, initially—to a dark and hideous shadow world, a backwards bizarro world, of pernicious and insidious disorganized feelings comprised of elements ancient, infantile, pathological, biological, scatological, and perinatal. These are some of the forms spiritual emergence can take, especially initially. And they are the ones most likely to be seen as spiritual emergencies.
Pre- and Perinatal Themes in Cinema
Therefore, it is interesting to see these views confirmed by the bubbling up of psychodynamic and perinatal themes in our collective consciousness as evidenced by current films, books, and music. I have mentioned the pre- and perinatal themes and symbolism in films and explained why, along with other elements of postmodern times, they are evidence of something significant occurring in the consciousness of our age—an emerging perinatal unconscious.
But there is another element evolving in current films which has to do with a changing or evolving collective attitude toward these perinatal elements. And along with a changing attitude, there is evidence pointing to an evolving collective response to it.
Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life
“Control Spiritualities” and Patriarchal Cultures
Specifically, a different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, can be said to characterize the postmodern movies replete with perinatal symbolism. Most striking of all, this different kind of heroic response corresponds to a different kind of spirituality than what is commonly portrayed in this society, or at least has been the norm up until now.
For basically there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting. “Control spiritualities” are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.
“Surrender Spiritualities” and God As Being Good
But there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared—as in the control spirituality—but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.
“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies
Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to psychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches—those in which the “demon” of the id is postulated.
The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant mode of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.
“Hero’s Journey” As “Control” Psychotherapy
Since the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will…over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the Universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.
A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths
Since the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.
In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet—Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East—or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn.
Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy, and it is much more common in traditional cultures and in the East.
A Shift to “Surrender” As a Corrective to a Western Overweening Ego?
All of this may be changing in recent times in the West, as once again the humanistic attitude and the new spiritual perspectives, as well as the experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, make us increasingly aware of the ultimate beneficence of the body, and of the Universe beyond even that, and of the importance of surrender and letting go as a corrective to the overweening control and defensiveness of the diminutive Western ego.
1. See especially Ken Wilber, The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.
2. See, for example, Michael Adzema, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116. Reprinted online at the Primal Spirit site at “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality.”
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Where There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.
Rebirthing Rituals, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and the Value of Popular Culture in Awakening: The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace
Culture War Replaced Cold War
We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.
This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.
Talk Show Soul-Searching
For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.
We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.
To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. Yet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.
This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.
A Modern “Priesthood”
This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.
Keeping the People Down
Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.
Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.
Therapy for the Masses
At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.
We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.
My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.
Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.
If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.
Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.
Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.
As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight
The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.
For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?
America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price
The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.
What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?
It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?
Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation
Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.
Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations
“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?
Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation
So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most “advanced” mode of child-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.
Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]
“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation
No doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. They sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]
These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.
These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”
Let the Buck Stop Here!
Nonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.
If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?
What virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.
We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.
While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”
While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. They called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.
So our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.
What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise
A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
A Drive to Healing
We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!
Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]
These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.
What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.
To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.
So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.
What Might We Expect?
What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.
“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”
From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.
Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming
Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.
Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.
We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.
1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.
2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”
3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.
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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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Through Gaia’s Eyes, Eden Arise: Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created, We Are Forced Inward to Rediscover Our Deeper, More Cooperative Human Nature
The Heart of the Problem, Gaia’s Cure, and Back to the Drawing Board for Humans: It’s a Consciousness Revolution as We Rediscover Our Natural Self
We Discovered the Heart of the Problem in the Heart of America: Our First-Hand Look Into “Tinkle-Down” Economics, Reagan-Style, and Where It Would Lead
Lest We Forget and Things Never Before Seen: A View Into Reagan’s America — A Place We Never Left, Its Dire Prophecy Still Unfolding
“This land is your land,” they sing. Taking them at their word, my wife and I spent a year, in the early Nineties criss-crossing our land in a twenty-three-foot Prowler travel trailer, pulled by an old but ambitious Oldsmobile with way too little horsepower. Our idea was to attend conventions and trainings in our field before we had to be in Northern California, by September 1992, where I had accepted admission into a graduate program. [Footnote 1]
So West and East, North and South we went—there was much to see…all too much to be alarmed about. This was, after all, in 1991-1992, the final year of the Reagan-Bush era when Reagan’s voodoo economics had played its course in distributing the wealth upward to the wealthy where it could be squandered on luxury items like yachts and overpriced objects of art and the trickle-down theory had shown itself to be a piss on the poor or, let us say, “tinkle-down” reality.
Correspondingly, the 1980s “party” was over. It left little money for government to do its job properly, though. The National Debt, after all, had nearly been quadrupled in this Reagan-Bush give-away to the rich. Budget cutbacks at all levels of government were in effect…and these cutbacks were grossly evident in what we saw.
Similarly, the suckers…or coke-heads, or both…who had bought into the false prosperity promised by the Robin-Hood-in-reverse fiscal policies of the Eighties were now waking up from their mania with the hangover of ill-conceived schemes in ruins surrounding them. This was apparent in the places we traveled as well. All over Florida and Georgia, for example, we saw shopping centers looking half like ghost towns—evidence of recent bankruptcies or, my wife wondered, is it possible those spaces were never leased?
The only thing comparable in my experience I could think of was Springfield, Oregon, during the recession of the early Eighties. I remember well, while doing door-to-door anti-nuclear canvassing, how up to half the houses in a given neighborhood would be empty and unoccupied…the continual frustration of nobody answering doorbells leaves an imprint, I suppose…. We used to call it “neutron bomb turf”; and it almost—but not quite—served as an excuse for not making “quota.”
In Springfield, where the lumber industry was taking a beating because of the lack of new housing starts caused by the recession, people had moved out of town to look for work where it still existed.
But in the South in the early Nineties it was somehow different. My wife and I wondered if this plethora of vacancies had something to do with the S&L scandal: all those boondoggles…all those poorly conceived investment projects gone belly up, leaving only haunted shells as evidence of that mania.
Throughout the South, evidence of the cutbacks in services was everywhere. Too often we found rest areas along the highways so overcrowded we had to drive on for lack of parking. We saw tractor-trailers forced to park along exit routes, or side roads—anywhere there was space. Some rest areas had “two hour limit” signs—something else I had never come across—and others were closed down completely…”for cleaning,” allegedly.
I half expected to see truck wrecks littering the roadsides as I envisioned the plight of truckers pushing on in bleary-eyed exhaustion for lack of some place to pull over; or raising themselves up from a dead sleep, in a fog, with an alarm clock set to abide by the two-hour limit. I myself was rather dangerously dazed several times when, in the wee hours, we were forced to continue past eagerly anticipated rest areas that turned out to be barricaded or otherwise unavailable.
These imaginings of sleep-driving truckers barreling, obliviously, across medians and into oncoming traffic it turns out were premonitions, as a few years later they were proven to be horrifyingly correct. In 1998 to be exact, this problem became big enough to finally become a story in the mainstream media. Highway deaths, caused by a lack of places for sleepy truckers to park, were piling up in numbers too large to ignore any longer.
Of course, the media provided an alternative to fully acknowledging this truth—as they are wont to do—by laying alongside the actual facts a concocted theory that some trucking companies were at fault, for pressuring truckers to meet unreasonable deadlines for delivery. Regardless, scores of cars and other trucks have been involved in some of these accidents, including head-on collisions, with people dead and many injured.
But in ’91-’92, these realities had not been statistically blatant enough to make the evening news and went unnoticed. However our U.S. Congress was not completely oblivious to such effects of its cutbacks. “America can no longer afford to maintain its infrastructure,” they said in 1993 when they had the chance to appropriate money for ordinary maintenance. To get themselves off the hook, they dared to call these highway and infrastructure funds “pork barrel.” And instead they wrote laws to crack down on the truck drivers and their employers for overtime driving…now that’s gonna find ‘em a place to pull over!
In our travels we also found that roads were often bumpy and wavy—“these are supposed to be freeways,” I mused,” not side roads.” The “deteriorating infrastructure of America,” they called it.
Related to this, we found many roadways were not clearly marked and signs were out of date. In trustingly following them, we got lost a number of times. It seemed nobody cared out there; nobody was paying attention. I lost count of the number of side journeys and turnarounds we were forced to make. I don’t remember ever—in my fifteen or so transcontinental adventures over twenty-three years—having so much trouble with signs.
Often we were forced to return to the point of departure from the true course, and I’d examine the sign that led us astray. “Yes, dammit, the sign does indicate to turn here for that route.” I wondered if perhaps that was once the correct way but had since been changed without the sign being corrected.
And then I imagined all the other cars, of all those others who didn’t just so happen to live in the area and be aware of this anomaly, traveling up that side road and turning back around again…almost as if that were part of the route—to make that kind of loop before proceeding.
I pictured a local watching these cars, one by one, turning around in the course of a day. “Check it out, Mabel,” he’d chuckle. “We got another one.” Or, “Strangers in town! Strangers in town!” It is something to behold…smacks of human futility and ridiculousness.
I thought also of the huge sums of money now gone that could have been spent this way—money which was wasted instead for weapons to fend off a Red Menace that turned out to be a straw man. I recalled with anger how the warhawks tried to take credit for the downfall of Communism by claiming it a victory for their weapons-production policies, how I never heard it pointed out that the fact that Communism collapsed from within indicates a tremendous waste of money and poor policy to think that we needed to prepare to fight it from without.
But the Pentagon was not the only “bottomless well” in the Eighties. I thought of all the money funneled into the coffers of the wealthy in the orgy of extravagance that we taxpayers got the bill for as the S&L scandal. I thought how that money could have been used not only for signs, for roads, for rest areas…but also for all the pressing needs of our people, so neglected in the Reagan-Bush years.
And then there was the situation in the state parks. More than once we were prevented from camping for a night. We arrived too late at a park and were unable to enter—an iron gate barring the driveway.
We found other evidence of cutbacks: a cutback in employees; areas roped off and blockaded, not to be used. My mind liked to break into a “This Land Is Your Land” melody when encountering such barriers and fences; the overall effect would be altogether depressing.
All this of course in addition to the other signs of deterioration: pollution of the countryside, over-industrialization, wilderness areas turned stinking and worn by commercial interests.
On one occasion while hiking in a Florida park, once more due to a lack of signs we lost our way. During the inadvertent nine-mile hike back to our campsite, we saw signs…at least there was money for these…indicating how the dunes should not be walked on because the sea oats would be worn down and killed—resulting in sand drifting, blowing around, killing trees, and destroying campgrounds.
And indeed everywhere we walked it appeared as if thousands of people had stamped beneath the trees, so that even the space between them looked like trails. I began to speculate on just how many people there are on the planet. Clearly the basic problem was there were too damn many of us here!
Gaia Heals HerSelf: So Far Astray and With Global Cabin Fever, We Are Forced to Look Inward and Go Back to the Drawing Board
Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created, It’s Back to the Drawing Board for Humans: Nature Balances HerSelf
How Far Astray
I began to consider how far we’ve gone astray from any meaningful or sustainable path for our species on this planet. I reflected on how the effects of the changes we’ve made—for example, the reduction of oxygen in the atmosphere that goes with the increase of carbon dioxide, known commonly as the greenhouse effect—how it’s been discovered that these effects keep people close to their unconscious pain, closer to their unconscious in general.
It is as if we as part of Nature are also regulated by Nature, that the very effects of our overpopulation and our straying from a cooperative ecological niche for our species result in consequences that are inevitably going to bring us back into line …one way or the other!
Knowing as I do that environmental pollution and lowered oxygen levels promote diseases, general illnesses, hay fevers, epidemics of allergies, and a general weakening of our immune system–all of which, since the Reagan Eighties, we are seeing in abundance—I realized that people are more and more being forced to go inward because they are less and less able to go outward in a healthy manner.
Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created
Another factor in this is that the deteriorating quality of air and the increasing levels of toxins that we ingest are also attacks on ego defenses, which has important yet previously unexplored implications.
As I said previously, both Stanislav Grof and Arthur Janov—and others as well, I am told—at one time used carbon dioxide to take people into a nonordinary state of consciousness where people would be more open to their repressed traumas, to their unconscious mind. They did this to help these people heal these traumas.
They found that slight increases in carbon dioxide inhalation invariably brought up primal pain and birth-trauma feelings—that is, repressed painful feelings from our experiences of birth and infancy that our ego defenses normally keep “safely” tucked away in our subconscious.
Consider for a moment what that means for those trapped in the pollution-ridden cities! Though keep in mind that increased carbon dioxide is an atmospheric problem that affects everyone on this globe. I recall a TV report when I lived in the air-chunk-city of Denver, Colorado, in 1978. At the time, Denver’s air was rated as being the second worst in the country, behind Los Angeles, partly because the high altitude made for thinner air and thus higher percentages of toxins relative to normal air. Anyway, the TV report proclaimed how the number of hospital admissions for spouse abuse, child abuse, alcoholism, and related violence would soar on days when the air pollution index was high.
Air Pollution as a Psychedelic
Apparently, the reduction of oxygen in these situations acts similarly to a reduction of blood sugar or glucose to the brain, which results in an inhibition of the ego’s defensive ability to keep out unwanted information. Coincidentally, research has shown that this same kind of reduction of glucose to the brain is instrumental in producing the effects of certain psychedelics, including mescaline and marijuana.
The workings here are similar to those in the common experience of being more cranky; irritable; irrationally emotional; more prone to depression, anger, and tears; more excitable; and in general, closer to one’s “shit,” when one is tired, overworked, or just gotten up from a sound sleep. In these situations as well the brain is inhibited—here because of fatigue—from being able to effectively fend off unwanted information, impulses, and emotions.
The evidence concerning heavy metal toxicity indicates that it, also, can have a similar effect at times on one’s mental and emotional state.
Global Cabin Fever
Also, there is the experience of “cabin fever,” which many people are familiar with. We like to think that simply the fact of being cooped up for a long period of time psychologically leads to wanting to break out and be free, to be irrational and highly prone to emotional outbreaks, and in the extreme to result in delusions and hallucinations. But obviously this is not the case or else these symptoms would be rampant in other situations where one is contained for a long period of time, and they are not. It turns out that there are biochemical reasons—not simply the fact of being cooped up—which account for cabin fever symptoms.
Consider that cabin fever describes a situation, most often, in which one lives in an environment that is insulated against cold winter weather—thus keeping out fresh air. And in which very often oxygen is further depleted by the burning of oxygen-consuming wood fires in fireplaces or woodstoves, or oxygen-consuming coal fires…whatever. With this in mind one can easily understand that that environment is going to be increasingly deficient in its oxygen level as time goes on. Add what we now know about lowered oxygen levels leading to lowered defenses and eruption of unconscious content, and we can see how such environments can lead to the symptoms that, combined, we call cabin fever.
When you consider that on a smaller scale, with the greenhouse effect, we are globally setting up the same conditions as that of cabin fever, we can see why there would be an emerging perinatal unconscious occurring.
With the entire world suffering a low-level cabin fever, it becomes even more understandable why there is the current fascination with escaping the Earth and setting up colonies on other planets and in other solar systems. This idea we see in science fiction scenarios of all kinds—consider the popularity of the Star Trek programs and movies. But I’ve also heard it coming out of the mouths of NASA spokespersons.
At NASA, they have considered building colonies on Mars! A multibillion dollar project—talk about high-cost housing! But this fascination and irrationality is understandable when you think of it as a symptom of a global cabin fever. Apparently, we not only wish to be break out and be free in traffic jams, we have magnified it to wanting to break free of our planet itself—as if Gaia, Mother Earth, were some confining, stifling Mother-womb that we needed to bust out of or die!
Of course, the other symptoms of cabin fever—being highly emotional, irrational, delusional, and prone to hallucinations—we have already discussed as being part of the furniture of our current global reality, so we need not go into them here.
Back to the Drawing Board for Our Species
But the consequences of all these factors taken together are inescapable: As we edge our way, in a myriad of ways, toward global destruction, we increasingly “sicken” ourselves both physically and emotionally/ mentally in the process. And this “sickening” is one of an eruption of unconscious material that causes us to psychologically “return to the drawing board” and seek solutions—both inner and outer—to our misery.
Eden Arise: Consciousness Revolution as We Rediscover Our Natural Self — A Deeper, More Cooperative Nature
Moratorium and Death as an Ally: Apocalypse Is the Teacher to Wake Us and Return Us to Eden, Our Natural Self
Down Can Be Up
Specifically, I am saying that inhibited brain functioning—whether through oxygen depletion, heavy metal toxicity, or other environmental anomalies—has the effect of heightened “mind” functioning…in the sense, at least, of lowered ego and defensive functioning. Thus, in the same way that psychedelic substances can open us to repressed perspectives by inhibiting “brain” activity, these environmental changes can be helpful in the sense of opening us up to suppressed individual…and global/universal…truth.
Therefore this “sickening,” this seeming decline or going down, can really be an “up”—in other words, it can be viewed as part of a necessary “negative” retreat for the purpose of bringing in new information and re-evaluation. And we may then create anew our more harmonious ecological role based upon this more accurate information.
Now, I am not espousing environmental poisoning as a technique of higher consciousness. But I am saying that apparently Nature…and we are part of Her…has ways of balancing HerSelf.
Death As An Ally
In this respect I might note that our co-habitation with the bomb and with environmental destruction is a spur to our growth of consciousness in a way akin to the traditional spiritual paths that speak of the catalyzing power of “having death as an ally.” That is, that the realization of the imminent possibility of death, which is in truth our existential condition, has been known to act as a spur to taking life seriously, and spiritually, and to “waking up” in general.
The power of this spiritual attitude can be imagined by considering how one would live one’s life if one constantly asked oneself: “If I knew I was going to die tomorrow…or in an hour, or next minute, et cetera...how would I live this day…hour, minute…before me?”
Indeed, a lot of the transformative power of near-death experiences is known to come from their ability to jog one into awakening to the fact of one’s mortality—the precariousness of one’s biological existence. In this light, we might view environmental damage on a global scale, then, as analogous to the bonk on the head from the stick of a Zen meditation teacher, telling us to “pay attention!”
The upshot of all this is that with this degradation of the external environment we are forced to go inward, to go back to the drawing board, so to speak, whether we want to or not. Illness in general and lowered oxygen levels in particular lead to a rising up of people’s repressed emotional pain, and they force us to confront the roots of our motivations and patterns of cultural engagement as well as our social and relational styles.
This “turning inward” is the essential meaning of the “peace” symbol, when you think of it. The upside-down cross pointing downward in a circle has rightly been used to symbolize “moratorium” — in other words, a period of halting of action in the world because nothing worthwhile can result from the ways we are currently doing things, and a turning away from the external world and looking inside to reevaluate. It is as if Nature, completely unbeknownst to us, balances us, pushes us down to our deepest programming and back to our earliest “grids,” individual by individual, and that this forces us to reassess our lives and causes us to create more meaningful lifestyles, more synergistic patterns.
So in a sense Nature’s reaction to our misconduct is to cause us—by means of the psychological effects induced by the biochemical alterations that are the result of environmental changes—to create new social and cultural forms. We cannot help but do this. And collectively, cumulatively, it cannot help but result in massive cultural changes of one form or another.
Through Gaia’s Eyes — Nature Balances Herself: Eve of Destruction or Global Healing Crisis
Eden Arise — The More Natural Self
Many have proclaimed, in these strange days, that it is our Western estrangement from Mother Nature—our particular need to control—that is at the core of the threats to the end of life on this planet. In such a case, one needs to regain harmony with Nature and acquire a consciousness of cooperation, not control.
It’s Cooperative Not Controlling
As Grof has claimed—and my personal experience attests—such a cooperative human nature is indeed our most fundamental human nature. In contrast to the “me versus them,” aggressive, and competitive imprint that is derived from our traumatic and premature human births, this more fundamental human nature is the result of a more fundamental imprint of symbiosis with the Other, as was the case in the womb surround during the relatively blissful prenatal period. The relation of the fetus to the mother at that time is one of cooperation, all needs met, flow in <——> flow out, and synergy of intents.
And when, as an adult, we reconnect with this more fundamental human nature, this more fundamental imprint, it manifests in us as a tendency toward that same kind of reciprocal relationship—cooperative, synergistic, and mutually beneficial. Only, as an adult, the Other with which this reciprocal relationship is had is Society and Nature. For these bear the same characteristics and relation to the adult as the womb did to the fetus.
Our More Fundamental Human Nature—Back to Eden
Furthermore, as Grof and I and many others have discovered, such a more positive human nature occurs naturally in a person when they have faced, reexperienced, and integrated their perinatal unconscious…as opposed to what is usually done, which is, completely denying it, projecting it on a scapegoat or enemy and engaging in wars and social violence.
So it is the recovery of this sort of more fundamental human nature—one in which we are in cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Nature, all life on this planet, and other humans—that would remove us from the brink of extinction.
Looking Through Gaia’s Eyes
When you think of it, when you consider that all of Nature—the whole planet, Gaia—is threatened by the actions of our species, and that that Nature would want to avoid this by balancing the elements that are currently skewed, it may be just the kind of global situation we see now around us that Nature would need to create in order to save “HerSelf.” It’s simple: We either change or die. Hey, why the long face!? If Gaia doesn’t look out for HerSelf, who will?
Granted, some people are not dealing in a healthy or positive way with the material that is arising. Instead of re-doing their basic programming, these people “act out.” Thus we have increased crime, aggression, hostility, one person against another.
And this fact is glaringly apparent in our big cities, where many who are not integrating this emerging information from outside their ego boundaries—from the unconscious—sadly are instead venting the energy of their pain—which our degenerating environment is opening up to them or giving them access to—in violent, destructive, wasteful, self-destructive, and pathetic ways.
One can also look to the grasping at racism, nationalism, and fundamentalism, which are not primarily urban phenomena by any means. These conduits of hatefulness are also a response that people are using to the feelings of pain, uncertainty, insecurity, and doubt that rise up, especially initially, in conjunction with these emerging truths.
Similarly, a great majority of people in general in our society are using drugs of one form or other to gloss over and obscure this emerging material rather than facing and integrating it. All in all these kinds of responses add up to a tragedy. And it is something that, if these reactions end up prevailing, could actually do every one of us in. [Footnote 2]
But about these others, what can we do—those of us who are changing our programming and creating new cultural patterns? It may be practical and advisable much of the time to just get out of their way if the ones acting out choose to kill each other off.
But we are often not able to “get out of the way” of those who are trapped in negativity. In addition, since we are all interconnected, we are bound to at least be indirectly affected by their actions.
And most importantly, since we are One and these others are actually ourselves in different garb, to the extent we are able to show compassion and be of assistance, we should not always want to step aside. I begin taking this up in the next chapter, “Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence.” I discuss more fully how exactly we can be helpful to these others, in both small and large ways.
“Eve of Destruction” or Scenery of Healing?
To put the current chapter’s theme another way: If we were to concoct a world situation in which we would be forced to take a quantum step in consciousness evolution by healing the nefarious elements of our perinatal unconscious, would not that world situation look something like what we see around us today? Would it not be a world rife with obvious perinatal elements…and influences…with some people resolving and thus being healed of them? While others would act them out and self-destruct because of them…not to mention contributing to our collective global self-destruction, as mentioned earlier?
In other words, the situation today, as it looks, could as easily be seen as a prologue to an apocalypse and just as easily be seen as a healing crisis preceding a massive consciousness transformation. Put another way, this same situation can be seen by one person as the “eve of destruction” and another as the “scenery of healing on the pathway to peace.” So which will it be?
In the next and final chapters of this book we will take a look at what are the most likely possibilities for ourselves and our planet, considering all that has been said so far. We will bring together all that we now know to conjecture: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth?
1. “This Land Is Your Land” is most often used as a form of feel good jingoism and heart-swelling expression of love of the homeland.
But this defense of the Fatherland is also, rather pathetically, a feel good denial and a counter to the reality of what we are doing to our land and our country in the US. The lyrics, as Woody Guthrie wrote them, are indeed anything but jingoistic.
The same thing has happened with Bruce Springstein’s “Born In the USA,” by the way, where a critique of the Fatherland has become a patriotic anthem by ignoring most of the lyrics except the ironic chorus. It has been harder to distort the meaning of John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses,” thankfully.
Anyway, here is the unsanitized version of Woody Guthrie’s sarcastic “anthem.”
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.
Woody Guthrie has a variant:
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.
“But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
It also has a verse:
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?
From Wikipedia, “This Land Is Your Land“