Monthly Archives: September 2011
Conformity Beginning at Birth – To Survive, newborns learn they had better be adorable – The 22nd Prasad from the Planetmates
Smiling Babies Through Natural Selection…Neonatal Conformity
Planetmates Release The Twenty-Second Prasad
Traits in helpless newborns making them seem less burdensome or more appealing were selected for.
Butterfly is First Consciousness at The Twenty-Second Prasad.
Since newborns were increasingly seen as handicaps in the survival competition you created among yourselves, those that had traits fitting with the crazed perceptions of the fully growns were selected for survival increasingly
The Twenty-Second Prasad – Newborns Had Better Smile
It was around the time of ultimate control occurring with agrarian and sedentary-accumulating-conforming ways that non-care and death for newborns was common. Newborns were often and routinely abandoned, deprived, even killed. Your species could not, of course, thrive during this period; and you would have died off if not for the fact that some of your humans were not as crazed as others and so carried out at least the minimal amount of care-giving for some newborns to reach maturity and themselves have offspring. During this period, also, there were advantages for survival of newborns who had certain characteristics. Since newborns were increasingly seen as handicaps in the survival competition you created among yourselves, those that had traits fitting with the crazed perceptions of the fully growns were selected for survival increasingly. So traits in helpless newborns that made them either seem less burdensome or more appealing were selected for and increasingly prevalent. (to be continued)
Paraphrase/ Elaboration/ Abstract of “The Twenty-Second Prasad”
— by SillyMickel Adzema
Your extremely controlling proclivities reached a peak with your agrarian and sedentary lifestyles. Of course the flip side of controlling was conforming or sycophancy. An offshoot of these tendencies was that newborns were considered a burden, which meant that non-care, abandonment, and death for your most dependent was common and ever increasing.
Self-absorbed and/or controlling adults—riddled with imaginary fears from early perinatal traumas—would be more likely jealous than caring of even needier newborns and toddlers. So murder of newborns—infanticide—became ever more a possibility.
So these traits were not conducive to the vitality of your species and they would have ended your line if not for a few factors and developments. One is that not all of your humans were as crazed as those who would kill or abandon babies. Your species still had access to biological impulses for affection and spiritual ones of unity with the psyche of the Other. It was because of these that a sufficient number of your young made it to reproductive maturity, enough to save your species from extinction. They would be able to have young of their own upon maturity, so you did not die out.
But there was another thing that was quite important. Half-born human infants are, in all of Nature, the neediest young ones, and the most helpless. This makes their care indeed quite a chore. Through natural selection, you would have more and more newborns with appealing traits. Non-fussiness, repression of needs, extreme tolerance for discomfort and pain, and traits that adults would find appealing were all selected for in your young. So these traits also became more pervasive in your species.
Newborns were a burden in the unnaturally intense race for survival you created for yourselves out of pain. However, to the extent that these young had traits that fit with the unnatural needs or wants of your manic adults, they would better survive and more likely grow to have offspring themselves. All in all, your species would be increasingly characterized with traits that had roots in your neonates’ needs to win its beauty pageant and congeniality contest, or else.
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The Great Reveal, Chapter Thirty-One:
The Twenty-Third Prasad from The Planetmates
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Children a Burden … Unfit Parents: Children Became the Ultimate Repository for the Suffering Resulting from Social Conformity and Its Humiliation, Say Planetmates in the 21st Prasad
“You are Babies Raising Babies”: Consumed with Baseless Terrors and Caught up in Relentless Mental Machinations, Humans Are Hardly Fit Care-Givers, According to the Planetmates
The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twenty-First Prasad: Children a Burden … Unfit Parents
Planetmates Release The Twenty-First Prasad
Fully Growns Hardly Fit Care Givers for Newborns
Tree Frog is First Consciousness at The Twenty-First Prasad. Alongside the increasing time of helplessness and dependence of newborns was the increasing reluctance of fully growns to jeopardize their survival for their own newborns.
The Twenty-First Prasad – Children a Burden
But the fully growns are at the same time consumed by the controlling, conforming, backwards thinking, and the alien and crazed overstimulation of consciousness that we’ve been describing. In this state they are hardly fit to be good care givers to newborns. Remember that fear for your survival—of deprivation and uncertainty—drives your obsessive controlling and conforming. So there was an increasing tendency, as you became more “human,” as we’ve defined you, to not want to add the burden of caring for dependent young ones to your already uncertain state. Alongside the increasing time of helplessness and dependence of newborns was the increasing reluctance of fully growns to jeopardize their survival for their own newborns. These reluctant feelings did not fully manifest, however, until around the time of ultimate control and crazed beingness that occurred with the switch to sedentary and accumulating-conforming ways.
Paraphrase/Elaboration of the Twenty-First Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema
For your adults are not passive actors in these developments. As we have been saying, this is the ultimate and easiest arena of control for humans.
Sure enough, your adults consciously and unconsciously foster and constrain the Ego creations of your young ones in the course of their care giving.
You know how you seek to do it consciously. You call it “raising” your children; again, you show how you objectivize the world and how its people look to you like things to be grown for your use and consumption, much like your crops or chickens. More kindly, you view it as “training” them; though you would never acknowledge, however true, that your aim is to mold and force upon them a shape that makes of them just another extension of you … a mini-me. Again, there is that Ego of you. And here you see how your effects on your children begin to become unconscious influences: You affect them in ways of which you are completely oblivious and always and everywhere have vehemently denied. Still, we must tell you, for those who, because of the pressing and intense nature of these times and their unusual sensitivity to the needs of those beyond just themselves, are able to hear it.
What you are always and everywhere ignorant of is your biological, species-determined inability to give adequate care to those dependent on you. You are, for all the reasons we have been listing, “not quite here,” virtually all of the time.
You are distracted and self-obsessed. While responsible for tending the young’s needs,
you are forever distracted by your controlling and conforming obsessions; you are continually derailed and led astray by your backward thinking. You are barely able to focus outside of yourselves, as you are constantly consumed by the alien and crazed, overstimulated consciousness that characterizes you.
You cannot help but be poor caregivers, with all these other things going on inside you. For children require attentiveness and focus on their needs, and you are ever self-obsessed, and your minds are busy building walls to buffer reality and bridges over unpleasant Nows to fantastical and ever receding futures of ease.
Looking back at the deepest origins of that feverish controlling and fearful conforming we remember that it is rooted in and driven by your underlying — exaggerated and foundationless — fears of death — the supposed end of your beingness.
This fear for your survival is made keen by your incessant paranoia of becoming deprived and of facing uncertainty, as you actually did, in most horrifying ways, as infants.
So, the very same deprivations and uncertainty we planetmates embrace as providing the spice and delightful play of life for you are the forces to drive your obsessive controlling. Furthermore, as you became more “human,” you became that much more, not less, fearful of death; you became ever more terrified of an imaginary future containing uncontainable levels of pain of not getting what you want. You became ever more deranged when confronting uncertainty in your present.
So, consumed with baseless terrors and caught up in your relentless mental machinations around them, you cannot bear the thought of adding the burden of children to all that.
Hardly able to focus outside yourselves and lost in a matrix of long-ago schemas of feelings (from infancy and birth)—pushing and pulling you all about regardless of what you are confronted with in the present—you are babies raising babies.
You would like to make up for your inability by having your newborns simply grow up faster and not be such babies for so long. For after all, it is only their neediness that offends you. It drags you down and requires that you leave off some of your activities and thoughts in the efforts of defense and come out of yourself to heed another’s needs. “If only they would cry less”; “If only they would sleep through the night”; “If only they would poop in the right place.”
Forever falling short of filling your needs in the present, as you go about doing that along with attempting to fill the ever present list of imaginary “needs” left over from your past, you cannot be good caregivers for needy others. Put another way, burdened as you are with imaginary struggles, it does not behoove you to attend to another’s real needs.
Bad enough, all this was when you were nomadic, gatherers and hunters, but all of this was made worse by the switch to sedentary living. For with fixed abodes, inequality of stores, and the resulting social hierarchy came all its requirements to conform increasingly to the demands of a social arena for the satisfaction of one’s needs. Remember that in Nature you enjoyed a relative independence of action in satisfying your basic needs. In Nature, you knew the relative self-assurance that one could always fend for oneself, if need be.
But hierarchy and increased specialization of function—which was a narrowing of the fullness of life experience down to a focus on the aspect of it which could be traded in society for survival—made one dependent on the good will of others for survival. It re-created the state of infantile dependence on one’s care-givers. You were thrust ever, triggered ever, into feelings of helplessness vis-à-vis the Other, which now would include the social matrix within which you were nurtured and fed.
We will leave for later how this, in itself alone, transformed your ideas of Divinity, again … this time it took on more of the qualities of the ones you were most dependent upon—strong men or a man, patriarchal elders, and chiefs—instead of the forces of Nature and its central experience of rebirth. For now it is more important to notice that the major effect this fundamental helplessness in relation to society had upon your feelings and thoughts was the requirement, always, that one’s actions be not just sufficient (for survival) but pleasing (to Other). So, to a consciousness caught up in pushes and pulls left over from early deprivations and trauma in interaction with an inattentive, sometimes harsh, Other (one’s caregiver/parent) was added the pushes and pulls to appeal to, and be approved by, similar unconcerned, careless, sometimes brutal Others in the present, which were one’s higher ups.
This could not help but make it even more difficult to attend to the needs of your young. In the drama of intrigue and chicanery, which erupted out of the necessary interaction for fulfillment of needs with increasingly larger numbers of similarly helpless and equally desperate others in society, you were engaging the majority of the attention and focus you did have. Caught up in the necessary wiles of life left you with little over. The persistent and undeniable needs of children, arising at any time of the day or night, was an unwanted addition to the increasing demands and complexities of daily life.
The result? From the preceding prasads it can easily be guessed what transpired: Children were the lowest in the hierarchy of importance in any society—they were often abandoned or even killed, oftentimes right at birth—for they were the least able to defend themselves and represented the biggest additional outlay of resources and effort of anything coming into an adult’s life. But they were under the most pressure and were the most scapegoated in the hierarchical societies which came with sedentary living.
In ways very similar to the change in the perceptions of women, with hierarchy—that is, with there being controlling and demanding persons ever above one—came incredible pressure to extract from others below oneself amounts of complicity and service equal to what was being demanded from above. It was the unconscious trade-off that men sought for the sacrifice of their energy, time, and self-esteem to those above.
By that we mean that men knew and secretly resented the fact that they needed to put time and effort into the needs and wants of those above them, rather than their own. They felt they could live with that as long as they could balance that suck of energy from them to above with acquisition of unworked for boons from those below. More simply, if you had to suck up to those above you, you could console yourself with the fact that others below you sucked up to you. This was all decided unconsciously, of course. So men used women and controlled them in an amount equal to that which they themselves felt controlled and dominated from above. Men knew they were humiliated and denigrated to an intolerable degree by those above, but they were able to live with that if at other times they also could dominate and bully.
And, of course, women were always targets for all this scapegoating and abuse. But even further down—and available to be scapegoated even by women—were the children. So, again, children were felt to be both the one excludable variable in life’s burdens as well as the ultimate repository for the suffering brought about by such burdens. They were not wanted and were killed or abandoned, being felt to be additional burdens on psychologically and economically distracted adults. But if they were allowed to live, their needs would be set aside in accordance with the pathetic needs of caregivers who desperately sought dependent underlings (of any kind, women or children, fringe group or subservient class) upon which to balance the injustices of one’s adult life.
It is no coincidence, either, that women, being the easiest ones to burden, the ultimate societal scapegoats, would have thrust upon them the burden of caregiving that men did not want. Being the child-bearers they were obvious candidates; but these societal pressures that came with sedentary living increased and reinforced that relation. And men were both more anxious as well as more able—more easily beginning with sedentary life—to cut themselves away from any such responsibilities regarding children. However, they heaped extra pressure on women. For the fact that women, being lowest on the totem pole, were the most supervised of all sectors of adults meant that although men would not want to help in child caregiving, they certainly did not want women to be so cavalier about it.
So, women were in the worst situation. Being the repository of the suffering of their men, who themselves were the repository of the misery of the strong men above them, women carried the heaviest burden yet were left with no one below them to pass along the burden of caregiving.
Further, this task of attentiveness to children is a complication that just adds to your considerable discomfort around not knowing things, not being able to control things … around uncertainty. For while you sought to control everything about you, your children would be the one major factor upsetting your carefully made plans and throwing the monkey wrench into any laboriously constructed ease you were able to carve out for yourself.
So while your newborns required more, you would prefer to give less. Your newborns required ever longer periods in the dependent and helpless state as you changed over time, while
with your increasing fears you felt it risky to focus on a helpless other and away from your attention to warding off present and future imaginary threats.
This reluctance to care for your newborns only became truly apparent and blatant after your transition from nomadic ways to sedentary ones, however.
For this switch allowed full rein to your mania to
accumulate and control and,
with this increased separation from the natural, a greater state of ordinary madness. You peaked, at this point, as far as your desires for controlling. So the unpredictability brought by newborn others was that much more unappealing.
Return to The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twentieth Prasad: Obsessive Control — Controlling Your Young
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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eighteen:
Moving 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 four 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 Twelve.
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.
Indeed, there are many people in this day and age who believe that particular forces have come together at just this juncture in time to aid us and to ensure our success. Who knows why?
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 has in fact 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 World Wide Web, the information that comes out is drastically different from the sanctioned news sources. Indeed, we have seen 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 the book –
The Great Reveal by SillyMickel and the Planetmates
1. See “Sure It’s Hard! But Always Are We Here Helping You” section in “Chapter Two: Culture As Moonview” of my book, Primal Renaissance: The Emerging Millennial Return, on the Primal Spirit site. [return to text]
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. [return to text]
Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema
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The Great Reveal by SillyMickel and the Planetmates
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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Seventeen: Dreaming Out Loud: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes
Joe Versus the Volcano
Volcano-Jumping: A Different Heroic Response
The different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, is exemplified in another contemporary movie. In “Joe vs. the Volcano,” the main character, played by Tom Hanks, is given a heroic task. But unlike a typical hero’s cycle task which stereotypically involves the slaying of a fire-spewing dragon, Joe is asked to give up his life by jumping into a fire-erupting volcano.
The connection between volcano and dragon is that at the second-line or psychodynamic level the fire-spewing aspects of the perinatal, which might be compared to a volcano, can be seen as “embodied” or reduced in the form of a dragon. In the same way, the volcanic energy of perinatal feelings is initially embodied in easier-to-face and “dragonized” psychodynamic, second-line, or childhood traumas and feelings.
You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano
But what may seem to work at the second-line or psychodynamic level—the conquering or slaying of negative feelings…and notice that I said “seem”—has no place at all at the perinatal. For here the pain energy is overwhelming and pervasive. Thus the difference is analogous to that between facing the energy of a dragon and facing that of a volcano.
First Anima, Then Community
Keep in mind that this movie shows Joe, earlier on, going through all the major stages of the hero’s cycle—the retreat from mundane reality, the sailing off into a new and exotic realm of existence and adventure.
It even depicts a typical hero’s conquering of inner fears and risking of one’s life for another that results in the uniting with anima energy–the saving of the damsel. So earlier on there is a dealing with psychodynamic energy, just as in “Nothing but Trouble” Chevy Chase deals with psychodynamic material by risking his life to rescue Demi Moore from a giant chopping machine. But, also similarly, this results in the opening up of another level. Thus, in “Joe Vs. the Volcano,” Joe is asked to give up his life to save an entire community, not merely to risk his life to rescue his anima, his feeling self.
Risking It All
The ensuing plot has interesting elements as it shows Joe having to decide whether to sacrifice his newly won relationship with his anima ally for the benefit of an entire—but anonymous—community. This demonstrates that at a progressed level of the spiritual process—that having to do with one’s inter-connection with the larger community of living things, not just one’s personal unconscious—one must risk even one’s newly regained creativity, inner child playfulness, and personal feelings.
But in telling fashion, in order to make the higher “community” sacrifice the elements that have been let go of, symbolized by Meg Ryan as the anima damsel, end up going with Joe to his chosen fate and are borne up, renewed, along with him.
Borne Up by a Beneficent Universe
On Joe’s part, the climax shows the same quality of a beneficent Universe aiding a true and dharmic heart. Joe (with his anima) face what they think is death. Instead they find themselves “borne up” by the volcano, not consumed; and they are deposited (reborn) in a typical perinatal watery surround—the ocean, symbolizing therefore a spiritual birth.’
“Away From the Things of Man”
In the end, the main characters are floating in the middle of a wide open sea—signifying the immensity of potentiality that is now open, and facing a gigantic moon on the horizon—symbolizing the beneficent nature of the Universe to which they are opening, that is, it is beautiful and lit with possibilities.
They are seen sitting on only their luggage—symbolizing the “stripped down” nature of the self, that is, stripped of ego trappings of status, vainglory, defenses, and so on. Their final comment at the very end of the film is that they do not know where they’ll end up but only that it will be “away from the things of man”—indicating their desire to never go back to the drama of ego and its puerile catacomb pathways of darkened experience.
The Universe Is You
We see then that in this movie, like “Nothing but Trouble,” the heroic response required is surrender, not resistance or control, and that the response from the Universe is cooperative and helpful, and hardly antagonistic as was feared, especially at earlier levels.
This is in keeping with the discovery at the perinatal, which borders it on the transpersonal, that in fact the Universe, not only is not antagonistic, not only is beneficent and helpful, but in fact is no different from oneself, indeed is oneself…and one begins to wonder why one would ever expect not to be borne up by a Universe that is now seen as inextricably united with one’s Self.
Responses to the Perinatal
Returning now to “Nothing But Trouble,” an aspect of it that has significance for dealing with perinatal issues is the way different characters are shown responding to the embodiment of arbitrary justice, the judge. In the wonderfully Kafkaesque courtroom scenes, we see several different types of people—representing different responses to unconscious material—hauled before the judge. The musicians, signifying artists, creative people; the hedonistic criminals; and the main characters, representing average people, each present distinct attitudes, which are responded to differently by the representative of the unconscious, the judge.
Jiving With Your Monsters
The musicians are able to create rhythm and flow. Therefore they are able to get through the experience unharmed. Indeed, they are even able to elicit a response from the judge—getting him to join in. In this way we see how creative people can actually use perinatal material and get it to cooperate for desired ends. We might consider how this relates to the writing of “Nothing but Trouble” itself.
Peter and Dan Aykroyd, in creating this movie, are, like the musicians in the movie, getting the unconscious to “play along,” to create something beyond what either the writer or the unconscious could accomplish separately. Much of what is interesting in art is done this way: The deeper fear-evoking material is allowed to come in and enrich, enliven, freshen with new ideas and perspectives, stimulate, and invigorate the creative production.
Beware the Tar Baby
On the other hand, the arrogant banker contends with evil, and, like Brer Rabbit with tar baby, gets stuck. Notice also that the really contentious ones—the alcoholic drug-using criminal hedonists—are completely lost. Thus the two extremes, as well as the average person are depicted.
But the truly striking element that indicates an advanced way of dealing with the perinatal material is shown in the genre of the movie itself. As a comedy, it shows a non-attached and transcendent approach. Chevy Chase and Demi Moore, especially Chevy Chase, show an aloofness and silly playfulness in the face of horror and death that has spiritual implications. Like a Tibetan mystic, Chase refuses to get sucked in to the involved drama confronting him. Like a Christian saint about to be martyred, he jokes, teases, and gets silly with the instruments of horror and evil. Similarly, Demi Moore humors and plays cards with her would-be monsters.
Standing within the Witness higher self, they are able to take the entire situation lightly—acting and reacting in the moment to each unique situation as it presents itself. One moment Chevy Chase is confronting his own demise, the next moment he is in a love scene. He alternates a frightful encounter with relaxing and smoking a cigar.
If we want to know what real and transcended behavior is, we might do well to get our hints in the depictions of unattached playfulness—as presented by modern Western actors like Bill Murray, Demi Moore, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, and Jim Carey—rather than in the repressively calmed not-with-it-ness—not-witness—that is sometimes mistaken for spiritual attainment.
Incidentally, this element of humor shows an entirely different way of dealing with the perinatal than most other movies that deal with this kind of material. The movie, “Brazil,” is a good example of this difference. Not only is “Brazil” cast in an eerie, somber, and tragically hopeless and futile air—indicating that one’s response here is to “believe in” the reality of such material—but the only escape in this movie is in a purely conceptual, fantasy way.
The main character cannot face the horror ultimately. He flips out into a reassuring dream sequence brimming with BPM I and BPM IV imagery. Interestingly, reflecting the pattern of progression of our expressions in feeling therapies, the dream includes a BPM III scenario to get him to those later bucolic realms.
But in “Brazil” these are only day dreams. This fact shows a refusal to face this perinatal material or to surrender to it. Rather, in fantasy, one overcomes the horror. It is as if one continues using familiar ego techniques—hero’s journey methods, dragon-slaying methods—for dealing with material on a deeper level where they no longer work—where they are in fact counterproductive.
Thus, these techniques can only succeed in dreaming. Terry Gilliam, the creator of “Brazil,” shows us that the hero, in reality, is doomed. [Footnote 1]
Evolution In Attitudes to the Perinatal?
However, in “Nothing but Trouble,” the main characters do face and deal with all the material. Sometimes they fight it; sometimes run from it; sometimes play with it; sometimes joke, tease, spar, or get silly with it; sometimes are swallowed by it and carried along…but always they are creatively facing and dealing with it. This different air about and attitude towards the perinatal material can be said to be an advance from the earlier movie, “Brazil,” representing perhaps a progression of our collective consciousness in our attitudes and manner of dealing with the perinatal.
Dancing Above the Dissonance
Such a prospect is, indeed, the auspicious legacy of such a creative project. Though it is doubtful they did so consciously, the Aykroyd brothers and the producers of “Nothing But Trouble” deserve our gratitude for their efforts in lighting forward our collective reality endeavor.
Beyond that, we can take hope in the possibility that Western culture may be rising itself, however minimally at first, above the dramas of light and darkness that have plagued it for so long. The Manichean tendency can lead only to ever-spiraling cycles of resistance and assault. Yet we are seeing currently, not only an erosion of defiantly uni-dimensional ego perspectives, not only a movement toward facing and dealing with our inner darkness, but an integration of opposing forces, a dancing above the leela—the play—of light and dark.
The Universality of Divinity Remembered
The perennial understanding of the universality of divinity, both within and without us, in the lowest as well as the highest of places, is the bright at the center of the perinatal bedlam about us. We are guided as well by this gleaming, a rising moon of promise and possibilities.
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1. However, one might interpret the main character’s escape into fantasy as a victory over evil forces. That the ending lends itself so readily to such an interpretation is a telling indictment of the state of progress of some of us in dealing with perinatal material. Apparently, there are those so lost that the only success possible seems to be in insanity or death. [return to text]
Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema
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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eighteen:
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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Sixteen: Dreaming Out Loud, Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions
Nothing But Trouble
A Perinatal Flick
A film of postmodern times, available at video rental outlets, “Nothing but Trouble,” is an especially potent example of both the different heroic response and of the rising pre- and perinatal influence in the media that is allied with it. It is all this, plus a twist—as a comedy it represents an unlikely approach to such material and themes. More about that later. It was produced and written by Peter and Dan Aykroyd and stars Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, and John Candy.
The Lure Into the Underworld and Call to Adventure
The perinatal adventure of “Nothing but Trouble” begins innocuously with the main characters “leaving the beaten path” on a rather ordinary trip out of the city. Interestingly, the Brazilian couple who have forced themselves on the main characters of Chevy Chase and Demi Moore in making the trip act as impish other-worldly instruments in the change of route.
Joseph Campbell pointed out that the “call to adventure,” which marks the beginning of the descent into the transformative nether regions, may be instigated by the merest chance or blunder. [Footnote 1]
Campbell also writes that the heralds of such a rite of spiritual passage are often loathly and underestimated characters. The Brazilian couple—as gaudy, overbearing, quirky, and from “down under”—perform just this function of luring into the underworld. Thus, they remind us that it is the quirky yet underestimated element in our familiar daily experience that opens us up to the process whose ramifications are huge by comparison.
The Merest Blunder, The Adventure Begins
Sure enough, this innocent-appearing outing is soon disturbed. The merest blunder of map reading results in an ominous tour of an eerie town and its somber and menacing-looking inhabitants. This is followed by a high-speed car chase as the police attempt to pull the innocents over for a bogus traffic violation.
In the tour of the town, it is as if the ego is shown getting a preview or having a precognition of what lies ahead and attempts to flee back into its safe familiar environs. But of course, this emerging piece of unconscious material will not be denied and is able to capture the fleeing ego that we see safely ensconced in its trappings of status and power—symbolized by the BMW with car phone. At this point the main characters, representing the ego, are led, under guard, into the bizarre town of Valkenvania—the encounter with unconscious perinatal begins.
The Junkyard of the Psyche
Campbell says that in the unconscious deep, to which one is beckoned, “are hoarded all the rejected, unadmitted, unrecognized, unknown, or undeveloped factors, laws, and elements of existence.” [Footnote 2]
Likewise, the set in “Nothing But Trouble” is replete with refuse. Bits of history—of rusted and broken refrigerators, automobiles, kitchen appliances, assorted junk, and pieces and parts of all the preceding…the wreckage of the past—are strewn about as well as heaped in clusters to construct the architecture and delineate the outlines of the drama. The correlation with subconscious remnants of forgotten memories and past emotional experiences is obvious.
Thus the drama evolves in the dumping ground and junkyard of the psyche—where all the rejected tidbits of experience have been relegated.
Stripped of Ego, Perinatal Begins
After being separated from the automobile—i.e., the ego stripped of defensive trappings of status and worldly position—the characters are rather quickly shuttled into encounters with a myriad of perinatal elements. A few of the obvious ones are as follows:
- Mr. Bonestripper, which is a roller-coaster type ride whose entrance is a large vagina dentate mouth that swallows, chews up, and kills. Notice the roller-coaster ride aspect of Mr. Bonestripper, which reflects the emotional extremes and changingness of perinatal, specifically Basic Perinatal Matrix III (BPM III), events. [Footnote 3]
- The chutes inside the house and of Mr. Bonestripper indicate birth canal symbolism.
- Sexual elements, indicating BPM III influence, are manifest in the scantily clad heroine and the penis-nose of the judge.
- The dark foundry symbolizes the foundation work of the psyche as well as the ominous and eerie aspects of perinatal experience.
- The slave labor surroundings represent similar feelings in the enforced and helpless character of doings just prior to and at the time of birth.
- Notice that the body—the car, the “Beamer”—gets trimmed down, the excess removed, symbolic of the cutting away of past attachments and concerns of a worldly nature, one’s “status” reduced.
- Chevy Chase as the main character is at one point forced into a marriage with a huge woman, who is tellingly androgynous in that she is played by John Candy. In her threatening and suffocating embraces we see symbolism of the crushing womb.
- The entire site of these doings is surrounded by a watery trench. This obviously reflects the amniotic surround in the womb.
- Police and guns point to the authoritative character of perinatal doings—i.e., do, or else!
- Death/rebirth symbolism of the perinatal exists in the form of skeletons and huge piles of skulls and bones.
- Scatological, that is to say, fecal symbolism is seen in the “bat-room,” which contains an enormous pile of wet bat-shit…excuse the wording, but it really is shit and not feces.
- The arbitrary nature of justice in the courtroom speaks to that perinatal feeling that one tiny thing, event, or action, has huge and horrifying ramifications.
The most obviously perinatal element, however, is the gargantuan and grotesquely flabby infant twins in diapers. Perinatal feelings are indicated in their extreme crying neediness. Their freshly newborn quality is evident in their fleshiness, which reminds one of the overweight appearance of some newborns, which is usually lost a little later on in infancy. The glossy, waxy sheen on their bodies is reminiscent of the skin of a newborn, which, fresh out of the womb, is wet and slippery, covered in amniotic fluid and cervical mucosa.
A Transpersonal Interface
An interesting aspect that indicates the transpersonal interface with the perinatal is an attic room—a higher mind of memory, kind of like an Akashic record—where all past IDs—identifications—and reports of them—newspaper clippings—are displayed.
Though, interestingly enough, in true perinatal fashion, a macabre lens is used to view these lives—only the reports of their tragic disappearances are seen. I believe that this is a wonderful depiction of how transpersonal information is distorted by perinatal material—the implications of which are far reaching for the pronouncements of so-called spiritual, or psychological, authorities who have not dealt with their perinatal undersides.
Just When You Thought….
However an important element in this movie, which is different from artistic representations that deal with only the personal or psychodynamic, is the way the ending opens up under it to a new level, a whole new arena, of issues. Those of us in experiential therapies or breathwork are only too aware of how the perinatal opens up to one, revealing a greater expanse and pervasiveness of dis-ease, at a certain point after dealing with the personal and the psychodynamic.
This layered, or multilevel quality of the movie is shown when the main characters, having heroically escaped through personal effort, find themselves returning to the perinatal realm. Thinking that they have the forces of authority and light on their side, they expect this time to be able to put the evil away once and for all.
But When All Seems Lost….
To their immense surprise, it appears that the whole world has been conspiring against them—a telling perinatal feeling. The evil is discovered to be pervasive, as if infiltrating every corner of the universe—another perinatal feeling. Even the thoroughly trusted elements of light turn out to be on the side of the darker forces—a vantage point that is part of the hopelessness that characterizes the classic no-exit BPM II scenario. And just like in the womb, then, when all seems lost, something new happens, an explosion or eruption of sorts, which brings down the old world and its structures in a violent conflagration.
Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions
This hopeless and futile aspect of the perinatal realms—as opposed to the merely personal or psychodynamic ones—lends itself to its distinctive response—which is surrender, not resistance. Unlike the hero of Campbell’s hero’s cycle whose task is to slay the dragon using the sword of analytical or cognitive powers, the correct solution here at the perinatal is to let go of all designs, manipulations, and attempts at control and to put oneself into the hands of the seemingly irrational and chaotic Universe, come what may.
How Can You Be Borne Up, If You Won’t Let Go?
The Universe’s response in the movie—the upsurge of fire from below the earth that brings down the evil structures—demonstrates the theme of being saved by higher forces when one finally is able to surrender. In the same way, in our perinatal experiences, we find ourselves “borne up” and elevated when we once are able to submit to the upsurge of fear-evoking perinatal emotion.
Indeed, when Chevy Chase is seen rolling and setting fire to barrels of oil in a superhuman nick-of-time rescue attempt—in typical “hero’s journey” style—I had an odd disjointed sense that we had switched modes. The element seemed incongruous.
Say “Good Night,” John Wayne
But, then again, not so. For the movie shows that the successful escape performed through one’s own effort is, in actuality, futile. In perinatal terms, such heroics are illusory “atman projects” that ultimately fail against the onslaught of perinatal material, which must be surrendered to, not heroically resisted or conquered.
Interestingly, the eventual surrender solution is echoed earlier on when Chevy Chase is about to go through the chomping jaws of Mr. Bonestripper, the devouring womb. His response, at the prospect of his imminent failure, is to pray—to call on higher forces.
Trusting in Higher Forces
Amazingly, the machine breaks at that moment, signaling the response of such “external” or higher forces. He alone, of all the others who have faced that fate, goes through the machine unscathed. Notice also that he says “Thank you, Lord” afterwards.
Thus it is not on one’s own powers that one makes it through perinatal material, rather it is by the relinquishing of such attempts at control and the relying and trusting in higher forces. We are reminded that Dante required the angelic Beatrice to show the way through purgatorio and inferno to paradisio.
In the next chapter, we will use another postmodern film to expand on these themes. This will allow us to fill out an emerging pattern, as we then compare it with “Nothing But Trouble” and other perinatal evidence.
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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Seventeen:
Dreaming Out Loud – Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes
3. As a reminder, BPM III events (Basic Perinatal Matrix III events), using the typology set forth by Stanislav Grof in his many works, are the events surrounding the actual birth struggle of the infant during delivery. These parts on the perinatal in film make mention also of BPM II, which is related to the time of severe compression and constriction of the fetus in the latter stages of pregnancy and prior to the actual onset of delivery—which are characterized by feelings of “no-exit”; of BPM IV, which is concerned with the feelings of release, triumph, being saved, and whatever else occurs immediately after delivery; and of BPM I, which is related to the state of the fetus earlier in pregnancy—prior to compression—which is often conceived to have “oceanic” and “blissful” qualities, though not always. [return to text]
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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Seventeen:
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