Monthly Archives: June 2013

Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious: How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences?

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Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part One — Primal Therapy: In Resolving Buried Tensions, One Sees Clearly, Feels Freer, and Turns Cycles of Pain Into Cycles of Joy

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The debate about the status we should ascribe to spiritual experience has been going on for a long time in psychology. Disagreement on this was crucial to Jung’s break from Freud, with Jung postulating an unconscious containing transpersonal as well as purely personal elements.

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More recently, LSD research and cathartic approaches to psychotherapy have extended the experiential exploration of spiritual aspects of the unconscious. Consequently, the legitimacy of spiritual experience has become an issue among some of us who primal.

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Some of us who have been through primal therapy have begun to have experiences that we find difficult to trace to biological roots.pandora__s_jar_by_xxdigipxx-d3100pj-png_thumb1_thumb But Janov, in his writings about primal, is consistent with the Freudian tradition in which he was tutored. He maintains a mechanistic interpretation of the primal process. He sees spiritual experiences as derivative of underlying primal pain and views meditation as “anti-Primal” (1970, p. 222).

For some who have continued primaling beyond Janov’s prescribed limits, it is becoming apparent that he is unaware of some of the potentials of the process he presented. As one who began “feeling his feelings” [Footnote 1] over four decades ago, I will present an explanation of the relationship between the primal and spiritual processes as an alternative to Janov’s mechanistic one. I rely on my own experiences, those I have observed in others in my role as facilitator and therapist, and the experiences of a number of other primalers as they have been related to me. I also rely on the important work with LSD and holotropic breathwork that Stanislav Grof (1970, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1988; Grof & Halifax, 1977; many more) has presented.

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Primal Therapy

It may be important to bring us up to date on primal therapy. Arthur Janov introduced it in 1970 with his controversial book, The Primal Scream, subtitled, Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis. It had its time of ascendancy, with well-known personalities such as John Lennon espousing it. It also had a long period of malignment in print and the media, with much of the criticism apparently directed at Arthur Janov’s style in presenting it or the excessive quality of his claims concerning it. Relevant articles, which were published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, are those by Kelley (1972), Kaufmann (1974), and Lonsbury (1978). Despite the controversy, however, primal therapy seems to have struck a chord in many people with its statement that the vast majority of us carry around a reservoir of unfelt pain from past experiences that was repressed because it was too overwhelming to be dealt with at the time. Primal therapy survived many of its contemporaries in the human potential movement.

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Primal theory, simply stated, is that the memories of unfelt pain from traumatic experiences in childhood, at birth, and in the womb, and the emotions that would have naturally occurred with them, are locked in the body as unresolved tension. This tension motivates all neurotic and psychotic symptoms in its grosser manifestations, and in its subtler manifestations influences and shapes one’s perceptions of and attitudes toward one’s self and world, and thus determines one’s behavior toward them. It does so in a manner that is symbolic of the unresolved need or trauma.

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This pain/tension keeps us uncomfortable, keeps us from being able to see reality clearly and act positively, keeps us from being fully functioning, and keeps us forever viciously trapped in negative life situations that serve only to recreate the patterns of our past scars. In primal one opens up to these repressed memories and relives the traumatic events with all the emotion that should have been there, accompanying them, originally. In resolving the tensions, one sees more clearly and is able to act more positively and joyfully and to create more positive scenarios for one’s life.

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Space limits a complete description of primal theory or therapy, and for that I refer the reader to Janov and to the articles mentioned. That is, with a few modifications. Outside of Janov’s own works, much of what has appeared in print has, as nearly as I can determine, been written by people who have neither been in nor been very close to primal therapy, the exception being Lonsbury (1978). In addition, little popular attention has been directed to it in recent years, and none to its development. I have been involved in a developing primal therapy and would like to amend the record accordingly.

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I agree with much of what Kelley had to say in 1972. In Denver, where I did the majority of my therapy, the medical model was abandoned and an educational one was adopted, as per his suggestion. More importantly, Kelley noted the fallacy of a “postprimal” state, “cured” and devoid of defenses. That this state is an extrapolation of tendencies, as Kelley says, and the mythical qualities of a “primal man” as well as a “genital character,” has become obvious to most of us who have been primaling for any extended period of time. To that extent, Kelley was well ahead of the rest of us in primal in seeing this. My major disagreement with his article is that it does not seem to take into account the deeper potentials of the primal process. He posits a need for an “education in purpose,” which is separate from or “antithetical” to (an education in) feeling, and does not acknowledge the possible emergence of a “felt purpose,” in the course of one’s “feeling,” that synthesizes the two.

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But most of all, I feel it is important to respond to Kaufmann (1974). Much of his attitude and many of his assertions have been mirrored elsewhere in the media and have contributed to the prevailing distorted impression of primal that is at variance with what I will be describing. As other critics of primal have done, Kaufmann seems to have zeroed in on the excesses and inaccuracies of the early primal therapy as described in Janov’s earliest works. A good example is his criticism of the “postprimal” person. This indolent, sexless character has been the source of much confusion and disdain for primal therapy. And Kaufmann’s remarks clearly are admissible considering the date. But let me say emphatically that this particular notion of a “real person” was later abandoned both in the publications coming out of Janov’s Primal Institute (“A connected person achieves.” [Footnote 2]) and among us primalers. We just didn’t turn out that way.

Janov’s early characterization began to be seen as someone just on the verge of making a more precipitous descent into earlier, “first-line,” preverbal feelings.

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Other of the early inaccuracies eventually were cleared up in practice. The primal therapy I experienced in Denver in 1975 with Jules and Helen Roth and their staff was an evolved version of primal as originally described by Janov (1970), or as initially presented to me in Toronto by Thomas Verny in 1972. It was less directive, more supportive. 1345645We didn’t maintain the illusion (as much) that anyone could really know where someone else was “at” and so we didn’t pretend that we could “bust” each other. Similarly, we didn’t use “props” or attempt to interpret one another’s experiences. We let one another “be” more fully where we already were and helped one another to go “deeper.” I specify the discrepancies because they relate to what I say further on.

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I might also add that while in Denver I was witness and participant in primal’s continued development. Initially, it did contain many elements of a “primal religion” as often criticized. Subsequently, we let go of illusions of that nature and were able to integrate this invaluable tool into a fuller life and into a broader framework of understanding. My impression from other primalers is that similar evolutions occurred elsewhere.

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The point I make is that the primal therapy to which I refer is quite unlike the popular notions of “primal scream therapy” and different in many ways from its earliest descriptions. My response to detractors of early primal therapy is just that many of their criticisms are no longer relevant.

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Continue with Is God a Defense? Is Passion not Spiritual? A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Two — To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House

Return to Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

Footnotes

1. fantasypic8-snake_thumbI will be using the terms primaling and feeling one’s feelings interchangeably. We began to use the term feeling feelings instead of primaling partly to counteract the impression fostered by Janov that all feeling outside of primaling is unreal, that there is a basic difference between primals and normal feelings. Although there is a great difference in quality and intensity, and to that extent a new term is justified, normal feelings are not separate from primal feelings. They are the tip of the iceberg, and are used to get to their roots in primal feelings.

2. The quote is from Spike (1974). See also the interviews in the Journal of Primal Therapy (1974) for other changes in the conceptions of early primal.

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Continue with Is God a Defense? Is Passion not Spiritual? A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Two — To Travel Unafraid Through All the Rooms of One’s House

Return to Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

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The Tao of Funny God and What Andy Kaufman and the Turkish and Occupy Protesters Teach Us: Living Authentically in the Illusion of Life … Playing Cards with Your Dragons

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Humanity Thrived at Gezi Park Prior to the Brutal Police Assault the night of Saturday, June 15th.

My only weapon is my Chapulcu heart.

We Are All Turks Today: A Pictorial, Event Log, and Perspective on the Meaning of the Turkish and Brazilian Protests

“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you: pull your beard, flick your face to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.” – John Lennon

If you want to gain a greater understanding of the funny god/ silly god concept I’ve been presenting, a great way is to see the movie of Andy Kaufman’s life, “Man on the Moon.” Andy Kaufman lived the idea; he embodied it. He was an enlightened spiritual master in this regard, along with being a comic genius. He left a grand legacy of how to live authentically in this illusion of life and transcend it.

This is the clip of the song played at the end of the movie, which starred Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman. Apparently, in real life Andy did leave a video like this to be played at his funeral after his death. The clip gives a taste of what I’m talking about; the movie is one of the best ever made, imo.

The Most Important “Funny God” Chapters:

Breaking News — Hell Doesn’t Exist: Good—God! Hell—No! … the Comedy

Funny God, Part One: SillyMickel Melts for God’s Crops and Revelations

Facebook Funny Revelations and the Mind’s True Liberation: Funny God, Part Two — Human Fear and the Absolute Earliest Preschool

The Purpose of the Human Form and the Poignancy of It All: Funny God, Part Three — Pain and Peek-a-Boo

Funny God, Part Four: God Is Experience. Life is a Disneyland

Related:

Loving Warriors and Silly Heroes: The Necessary Hero Dances Above Dissonance, Lightens Up in the Face of Stress, and Sees Divinity Not Demons Behind It All

Humanity Thrived at Gezi Park Prior to the Brutal Police Assault the night of Saturday, June 15th.

Humanity Thrived at Gezi Park Prior to the Brutal Police Assault the night of Saturday, June 15th.

Welcome home, loving warrior, silly hero

Under “Humor as Weapon in Protests,” out of the BBC today, June 14th….

Will Istanbul’s protesters have the last laugh?
By Jody Sabral and Zeynep Erdim BBC News, Istanbul
Turkish art group performs in support of protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul (5 June 2013)

Revolutions take commitment and determination. Revolutions are often messy and confusing. But in today’s digital age of iPhones, citizen journalism and self-made producers, revolutions can also be funny. ….

Istanbul’s anti-government protesters have inhaled tear gas and faced water cannon, but they are still laughing all the way to Gezi Park, the symbolic centre of the demonstrations, which have now spread to at least 60 cities across the country.

“We have witnessed incredible things that have left us psychologically traumatised, and although we are determined to win, we may actually lose this revolution because of laughter,” said Fatih, a graphic designer ….

Riffraff’ phenomenon

A slogan that has become synonymous with the protesters who describe themselves as “a civil resistance”, is the word “chapulling’, which literally translated means “bumming around”.

The word was coined in reaction to Mr Erdogan’s comments describing the protesters as “calpucu”, or “riffraff”, before he left on a trip to North Africa earlier this week.

The BBC’s James Reynolds looks at how the crisis has escalated

The remarks have spawned an entire chapulling phenomenon, one that even has a Wikipedia definition and a video explaining how to use the word.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22823730

Related Book: Culture War, Class War: The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Related Book: Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call

Related Book: Apocalypse No: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious

Related Book: Wounded Deer and Centaurs

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Turkish Protesters Dance in Gas Masks. “Day and night we are ‘chapulling’!”

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Tao of Funny God: Why Not Bring Your Piano to the Protest?

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Grandma at the Protests: “NOW, will you be good!”

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another one from Brazil

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Continue with Culture War, Class War: The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths”

or Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call

or Apocalypse No: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious

or Wounded Deer and Centaurs

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About this latest pic, Bernardo Antonacci Enlightened Love II says:

Meanwhile, the Divine Feminine in Action in Turkey- Goddess Rising!!

No one can tell me now that ascension is a myth. It is happening everywhere right in front of us. If this is not the divine feminine I don’t know what is.

There is imminent danger and final ‘illegal’ warning has been issued to the protesters by the PM (Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan). Police with live ammo have been observed around the protesters for the first time since the protests began and they are in thousands! Please add us to your prayers and send any healing, calming energy you can to us. Thank you!

All the mothers of all ages whose children are protesting in Gezi Park surrounded the park with a human chain.

Tonight there won’t be an attack. Mothers are there to protect their cubs. There is a wonderful piano concert within the park tonight. The police are also just hanging around and sitting on the floor, waiting and poor guys, what else can they do, except feel the love.

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The above was written yesterday, June14th. The police in Istanbul brutally attacked the beautiful people in Gezi Park tonight, Saturday, June 15th. Many were injured, people were brutally clubbed.

In honor of the brave people of Turkey. What you do, you do for all of us. We are truly one humanity.

“someday we’ll make this world a little brighter…”

Latest report … from Istanbul, June 16th –

LIVE FROM ISTANBUL: Today, following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s extremely sectarian, separatist, and fictious speech in Ankara, around 9 PM, the Turkish police began to attack thousands of people who were at the Gezi Park and Taksim square, having dinner. There are kids under 4-5 years old, mothers, and old people among those who were under gas and pressurised water attack. According to reports, police doesn’t allow journalists to report or to take pictures from Gezi Park. They are also attacking with pressurised water business such as famous Divan Hotel that opened its doors to protestors running away from brutality. People are saying there are thousands of wounded inside of the hotel. People formed a human chain in front of the hotel to prevent police to attack. Another report says that people cannot leave the hotel because police is arresting whoever leaves. There are also unconfirmed reports that police shut down the metro and boats between Asia and Europe to stop people coming and joining the rest. Another report says that there is a jammer in the area to prevent TV stations’ broadcast. There are hundreds of wounded. There are a lot of missing kids, or kids who are separated from their families. Protestors are fighting with police in Sıraselviler, Cihangir, Harbiye, and most likely around Dolmabahçe and Maçka. People call it a total brutality, a real savagery that is going on tonight. What we are seeing an ugly war where only one side have weapons.

in this photo you can see the chemical gas in water cannons

later update: now also the army is with the police against its own people

all around Turkey … people are resisting

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Why Turkey?

If you want freedom, you better *flaunt* your rights to be … nothing extraordinary … just *free* … That is one reason I love the Turkish protesters.

If you want freedom, you have to act free. If you can only say and do certain ordinary and innocuous human things in certain places, at certain times, and even then have to be careful of straying over some arbitrary lines, you are not free … though you may avoid bloodshed. But history has shown that the more you hide from tyranny the bigger it grows. You allow it to grow unhindered. Then, you are the cause, because of cowardice in the present, for bigger atrocities in the future.

We have the same struggle for peace and freedom here in the states. and we have had it the entire time I’ve been adult, going back to the 60s. my generation got us out of a ghastly war. but we had to pay with some lives, and with being hounded, ridiculed, slighted, and short-changed forever after. But I for one would not have done anything differently. And i still refuse to submit to tyranny.

My struggle, your struggle, their struggle is no different from the struggle of all people to be free of their oppressors. We are all heirs to benefits wrought of the sweat and blood of our forebears. And if we shirk that duty on our watch, we will be guilty of shortchanging our progeny.

At Gezi Park, it was a festival in the park for weeks until the police attacked them. even afterward there was a rightful attempt by citizens to act like free people. their resistance to being stomped on for just being human strengthens all of us who are trod on … regardless of any outcomes. …. in the end, there is simply no alternative except, if you want to be free, you better act free…..

Politicians can nitpick about the details and the complexities of the situation and all the geopoltical intrigue and whodunits. ordinary folks, however, will never be privy to all that. so our course is simple and straight. We have an obligation to be free…. not just for ourselves and our children and in the foreseeable future or moment … but for all people everywhere and for generations unborn. there has never been a clearer line in the sand than has been drawn in these last few decades between the moneyed oppressors and the increasingly downtrodden everyone else. and with environmental collapse looming in the background, we are called to be heroes like never before. Literally everything depends on whether we succeed or not.

Many folks have been heroes in recent years, in Egypt, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Wisconsin, Zucotti Park, Oakland, and in freedom struggles and Occupy events all over the world, to name just a few. I love and salute all of you and am ever inspired by your actions in our worldwide struggle. I’m just saying now, let’s extend that same courtesy to the brave and heroic ordinary folks of Turkey right now, who are suffering. They deserve the same credit and support now that we all would like to get when we are on the frontlines in our struggles as well.

Solidarity, brothers and sisters. … simply that….

We are all Turks today. one humanity. one struggle.

#WeAreAllTurksToday #Gezi #Istanbul #Turkey #Occupy #occupygezi #breakingnews #Turkey #occupy #TurkishSpring #Taksim – #ErdoganOut – #301TurkishPenalCode – #Gezi – #ArmenianGenocide – #TurkishSpring – #PrimaveraTurca – #OqvcnaovenaTV – #OrhanPamuk – #HrantDink – #Turquia – #SalveJorge – #ForaErdogan – #erDOGan

From Istanbul, 16 of June, report –

Today they drive them out of Gezi Park and Taksim. But Resistance cries “Everywhere Taksim, Everywhere Resistance!”

Police attacked a parlamentarian.

He is a deputy, he wanted only to help injured people but police kicked him

Police detain doctors too…

Please call Red Cross to go Turkey

because they use dangerous chemical gas, injure people and arrest doctors who help injured peoples

chemical toxins in water cannons.

please report them to UN

We have to complain to the UN about their putting chemical weapons in water cannons, they put gas bombs directed at the hospitals,and they arrest doctors who aid in a humanitarian way to the injured and chemical burned people.

Please contact Red Cross and United Nations

#occupygezi #WeAreAllTurksToday

We are all Turks today. one humanity. one struggle.

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[Istanbul] IMC Television made a declaration concerning the arrest of their editor Gökhan Biçici today. As following:

“This Sunday, the 16th of June around 6 p.m, while our editor Gökhan Biçici was intending to capture the demonstrations and give report about, had been pounded and beaten up for several minutes by police forces who had dragged him on the road. His eyebrow lift got injured, his gas mask was broken, his i-pad was seized and though he was injured, he had to wait bounded in handcuffs for 4 hours, without being told anything about where he will be taken and without getting any accurate treatment by the police. Our friend was kept to wait as of 23.30 in front of the AKM building in a police car from where he would have been brought to Istanbul Police Department. We abhore strongly the treatment that was exposed to Gökhan Biçici. We want our friend to be set free immediately and demand immediate identification and punishment for the responsible individuals. Their images are known from videos shared on social media. IMC TELEVİSİON”

Please contact Red Cross and United Nations

We are all Turks today. one humanity. one struggle.

From Wisconsin to the People of Gezi Park

Love from the Solidarity Sing Along! (Bella Ciao)

Bella Ciao – the Italian song of class struggle was sung at Gezi Park and Taksim Square

One morning I woke up
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
One morning I woke up
And I found the invader

Oh partisan, carry me away,
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
Oh partisan, carry me away,
For I feel I’m dying

And if I die as a partisan
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
And if I die as a partisan
You have to bury me

But bury me up in the mountain
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao,
But bury me up in the mountain
Under the shadow of a beautiful flower

And the people who will pass by
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao,
And the people who will pass by
Will say to me: “what a beautiful flower”

This is the flower of the partisan
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
This is the flower of the partisan
Who died for freedom

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Some background on recent events –

May 30

At 5 a.m. this morning police moved in and tear gassed #OccupyGezi in Istanbul, where hundreds have gathered to try to stop the demolition of beloved Taksim Gezi Park. The police surrounded the demolition area. The participants returned to face the police. Some have been reading out loud to them: education as an act of creative resistance.

“Hear this out please! Help us! Spread the word to the media! We shout #occupygezi because we believe in trees. We believe in people.” ~ @Buzkadin

Photo by Deniz Atam @denizatam

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June 2nd

Istanbul after the march across the bridge arrived, Taksim square was full, and the police retreated, letting everyone in. Reports are saying that 100,000’s of people there now. Here is a recent status update from our dear friend in Istanbul, Ezgi Kozmik: “Friends, we are safe, happy, blessed, proud, sad, tired, scared, angry, and traumatized .. Thank you for all those who supported us.. We heard there were around 25 people killed, thousands of people got hurt, hundreds of them seriously injured.. We will know more clearly soon… Government is still lying. This is ridiculous.. I will share more details soon.. But now, it has been 50 hours since I haven’t slept… I feel so much love that I can cry…. This is a civil revolution…. In solidarity… #occupylove “

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June 2nd

A single tree, in a small park, in the crossroads of the world. It began.

ISTANBUL, June 2 – This is a story that spans the continents, and is spreading. The recent occupation of Gezi park in Istanbul and the ripples it has had throughout 48 cities in Turkey is filling a political space that exists between Occupy and the Arab Spring; linking them like the bridges of Istanbul that span the continents. This week we have seen the violent repression of expression that marks the fine line between democracy and dictatorship, the domination of private financial interests over the common good. We are learning each year that all of our grievances are connected.

A single tree, in a small park, in the crossroads of the world. It began.

Power is a rebel force, and here in Turkey the Prime Minister Erdogan is armed with the conviction of a religious man who has been elected. He has recently passed a series of deeply unpopular but tolerated laws. He pushed his people into a corner, and has kept pushing. Like many leaders, he is acting as if the national power is his, because the millions of people in this representational democracy had given their power to him. He has played their power like a violin – so loud he couldn’t hear there wasn’t any applause, and so long he didn’t notice the rest of the orchestra had dropped out. Maybe he is afraid of what could happen in that silence.
Saturday night the silence was filled. From any open window you heard the people playing their pots and pans as if these utensils were finally freed to be the joyful instruments they had always wanted to be – singing their metal hymns for a good life. This is that sound that comes to fill the silence. People who had nothing in their hands used their hands, and sat leaning clapping from car windows and in crowds. The people had retaken the park, and it was Saturday night, so there would be too many people tonight to do what they had been doing the past nights. Saturday night felt like a celebration; in some places.

In other places the violence was still building like friction in any unoiled machine. Violence was encouraged by Erdogan himself, who broken the media blackout and had gone on TV and asked his supporters to personally stop “the terrorists,” which he claimed was a marginal group of radicals. A friend had seen teenagers attack a group of students because they were carrying gas-masks. Erdogan is mixing strong forces, concocting dangerous politics in an earthquake zone.

These stories I share were told to me by a friend who noticed he was still trembling to speak of them. He arrived late, because he had been teargassed again, and so had to shower the chemicals from him. He told me these stories, recounting like legends in days of this same week. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Today.

Wednesday. It started with machines. The supreme court had ruled that Gezi, the last green space in the center of this sprawling megalopolis, would not be razed to make way for a new shopping center. The rogue prime minister sent the excavators anyway, but by the time they had ripped out the first of the trees, some 20 or 50 people had gathered. Some hugged the trees (perhaps the most pacifist of all possible acts), others tied themselves to the trees. They set up tents, read to the police and shared food. They called it Occupy Gezi

Thursday. At 4am the police came and filled the air with teargas. They didn’t fire the metal canisters at the ground, they fired it at the people, at their faces, smashing holes in skulls. They burned down their tents. They kicked people from the trees they held on to. The police expected to have the park cleared by morning, but by morning 5,000 people were there.

A line had been crossed – if people are not allowed to peacefully demonstrate what they believe in, and if their expression is met with such brutality – than this is not a democracy. And if one is obedient, silent or waits in hopes it will pass, than power is the only one who has freedom.

Friday. These days were battles of bravery and violence. The police surrounded the park, attacked, and refused to let anyone leave; later they wouldn’t let anyone enter. Water cannons threw people off their feet and onto their thin necks, batons cracked skulls of anyone within range, the teargas canisters littered the ground like confetti. Police fired gas into residential buildings that were helping the wounded and housing those hiding from the acid smoke. Police fired gas into a Starbucks full of people and into the Hilton Hotel. Every photograph from these days is wrapped in that tyrannical gas.
But opposites attract, and the people who lived in the area began to leave out baskets of lemons to help soothe teargas. Old ladies lowered baskets of food from their windows by rope to support the people below – doing what they could to support those doing what they could not. Restaurants left bags of food outside their windows. The state’s violence was countered by the people’s kindness. Lovers led their gas-blinded lover through the smoke-filled streets to safety; strangers did the same.

Turkish flags with their floating moon and star sprang up everywhere, and the bridge that you cannot walk across, was filled with 40.000 people walking in the space between two continents. What was 50 people in tents became 5,000, became the more than a hundred thousand that surrounded the park yesterday until they so outnumbered the police that they were let back into park, and the shade of the trees that were still standing.

Today. In this small park, a great many conflicts are colliding. There is the tree that started this, and the fight for the rights of nature against the cold machinery of progress. There is the fight to protect the commons: to save one of the few public spaces that still exist from its transformation into a private space dedicated to the production of personal capital. There is the issue of democracy: that the people have the right to speak out, and the necessity to be heard by those they have empowered. This is history, after all, and people know that if they cannot speak their mind then it is not their story.

This is no longer a story about a tree, a park, a politics or a cause. It is a story of a people, all over, knowing that they are standing on the global frontline of history. It is not a struggle to change the story, its the struggle to be allowed to write it.

Tomorrow. No one knows what will happen in the coming days, but some of that will be determined by us. We need to make sure the world is watching the trees and people of Gezi square, and that Erdogan knows we are watching. Where do you draw the line?”

from Kevin Buckland of 350.org: “A Tree Grows in Gezi
Posted on June 2, 2013

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background, June 5th

“The occupied Gezi Park is transforming into an amazing community space! There is already a library at the park. People have been planting trees, herbs and flowers. They created a vegetable garden too. There are conversations and performances being organized. Apparently a space for children will be created as well. People faithfully go and socialize at the park. This is ‘owning’ a public space. Designing it, loving it, using it, protecting it. This park now means so much more than a park. I am utterly inspired!” ~ from Filiz Telek, our dear friend and Occupy Love community screening host, in Istanbul.

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background, June 6th

The uprising in Istanbul has spread around the country. Here is a message from Ankara: “Dear friends, currently the mainstream global media is keeping an eye on Taksim, Istanbul. Thus, the police forces have backed off and they have remarkably scaled down the number of attacks against the protesters. However, in the meantime the police terror in Ankara as it is now is on a much larger scale compared to the very beginning of Istanbul attacks. Tear gas is relentlessly being thrown inside apartments, people are suppressed by plastic bullets, illegal custody and physical assault. Things have escalated quickly and the scale of these attacks are rapidly increasing. We need to make benefit of social media once again to show the world what’s going on in Ankara right now. This resistance is clearly not limited to Istanbul, it has taken over all of the country. “

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from Brazil, Saturday –

“Tension is definitely in the air all over. I believe many have just had enough – as with the trees at Gezi Parki in Istanbul, the 20 cents raise in the bus fare is but just the last drop onto of a series of abuses and disrespected population’s rights….

… we are waking up now. It’s not only the additional 20 cents, which add up to a significant amount of money specially for those who earn less – it’s about our rights.
I guess Brazilians share also this similarity with Turks: we have had enough! We are tired of being disrespected. Tired of living in fear. Tired of the daily violence and impunity. Tired of the mess Brazil has always been.”

We are all Brazilians today. one humanity. one struggle.

#occupylove #Brazil #WeAreAllTurksToday #WeAreAllBraziliansToday #Gezi #Istanbul #Turkey #Occupy #occupygezi

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POLICE STATE 3

What? You couldn’t just say, “wrong answer”? *dark sarcasm*

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Saturday at Gezi Park

#OccupyGezi has been raided with brutal force. Please let the world know. #occupylove

Urgent update from the Istanbul:

Help!
”DEAR FOREIGN FRIENDS: Please pass this along. The Turkish government has attacked Gezi Park directly with water cannons and pepper gas aiming the said elements at men, women, children… They are now attacking the nearby hotels that have opened their doors to the wounded. it has been reported that they are entering the park with work machines. THEY HAVE ATTACKED CHILDREN! PLEASE PLEASE Pass this along as much as you can. it has been reported by local news channels that the government will be bringing in jammers to stop the broadcasts! pLEASE SPREAD THE NEWS. I am shaking as I write these words. What the prime minister is doing is inhuman and amoral!”

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From a friend in Turkey, yesterday :

This is not about Taksim anymore…This is not even about Turkey…My friends all over the world;this is the power of politics trying to come over the power of love …We, the mothers, the students, the teachers, the workers,the doctors, the housewives of the land…cannot sleep for days…and that is ok…even our hospitals filled with patients are being attacked now… teargas is being thrown in the houses … thousands of people are in the streets, helping and holding each other and the attack only comes form the police… we, all the people living in Turkey, are together now regardless of our age, political view,and everything, and walking hand in hand.. and now it is time for us all, all the people from all around the world, come together, and stand still in peace… as one… cause that is what it is… lets remember who we are, where we come from, where our hearts are still beating as one, lets remember that we were the ones who created the system, the government, the borders, lets remember that we are all brothers and sisters, coming from the same roots, lets remember, re- member …. and lets recreate what is needed now… we can do it, together as one…

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A moving status update from yesterday in Istanbul…. from Avital Livny:

“i cried quietly on the boat over to taksim tonight. having spent a few hours earlier today in gezi park, strolling around and chatting with the folks gathered there, i was struggling to understand the inhumanity of the police attack on such a peaceful demonstration.

by the time we had docked in kabataş, my sadness and confusion had turned to anger, and i was eager to climb the hill and stand shoulder to shoulder with friends and strangers against this brutality. an avowed pacifist, i knew i would throw no stones, i would go on no offensive. my only intention was to demonstrate my human right to stand in solidarity, to chant slogans, to clap my hands in the air, to peacefully protest.

we gathered on sıraselviler blvd in cihangir. quite a few yards ahead was one of the police’s water cannons, but we reasoned that we were in a safe place, along the route the ambulances take in and out of taksim square. (indeed, we stopped our chanting every few minutes to cheer on the brave EMTs as they shuttled the injured out of harm’s way and to the hospitals. sadly, there were so many ambulances – going back and forth, empty and then full – that i easily lost count.) there were rumors of clashes in harbiye and that the police were coming up from both sides of istiklal. but things felt relatively calm where we stood, like we had found the one safe public space in the entire area in which we could peacefully protest.

but we were wrong. before long, and without provocation, the tear gas came, raining down on us. the crowd responded as usual: calling out ‘slowly’ and ‘don’t run’ and walking calmly but relatively quickly to try to get clear of the police attack without causing a stampede ahead. but the police didn’t want us to react calmly. before we knew it, the water cannons were on our backs and noise bombs flashing to our sides. but remarkably – incomprehensibly – no matter how fast we ran, we couldn’t seem to get clear of them. they were literally chasing us – a group of peaceful protesters trying our very best to show (by running away) that we meant no harm. but they meant harm. they intended not only to scare us but also to injure us, whether by hitting us with pressurized water or tear gas canisters, or by causing the exact stampede we were trying so hard to avoid.

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i cried quietly on the boat home from taksim tonight. something in me felt broken. call me naive if you’d like, but i’m not sure i believed something like this existed before tonight, before i saw it for myself. violence in the face of non-violence. the absence of a public space to express our collective yet peaceful discontent. the disrespect one human can show another when they refuse to recognize that they are, in essence, equals.

i am struggling tonight to hold onto the beauty and signs of collective strength i have witnessed during these past weeks – the solidarities formed in gezi park, on the streets of istanbul, and all across social media platforms. i still want to believe in the basic goodness of humanity. but something in me broke tonight. and so i know this night will be a dark one in my personal history; and i worry that it will be a dark night in turkey’s history as well.

non-turkish and non-turkish-speaking friends: if you haven’t already done so, please take the time to educate yourselves about the situation here. take the time to contact your local consulates and elected representatives to demand that somebody be held accountable for this unwarranted violence. demand that there be public spaces in which people can come together to peacefully protest. demand that human rights – nay, human decency – be respected. we need your help.”

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Update from Turkey, today, June 17

14.23: [Izmir] In Izmir thousands of labours came together at the Konak Square. Labours are shouting: “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!”. Labours in Izmir are walking from Basmane to Konak Square….

Continual updates and More at – http://turkishspring.nadir.org/index_eng.html

izmir17hazirangrev

Tuesday, 18th of June

Update: Turkey

07.29: [Eskişehir] Again the police started an early-morning removal In Eskişehir. 1 TOMA, 2 digger, 4 trucks, 2 police vans and 100 policeman gathered in front of the park. They attacked the park without a warning. The People, who tried to remove to a safe place in apartments or the clinging sidestreets, were haunted even in to the aparments. The arrested were lined up, thrashed with sticks and there faces were filmed one by one. At the begining there were 7 people arrested. The current number is not clear now. It’s said that the police tried to arrest all demonstrants.

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Tuesday, 18th of June

Four protesters and one police officer have been killed during the protests … More than 7,800 people have been injured; six remain in critical condition and 11 people have lost their eyesight after being hit by flying objects.

Addressing legislators of his Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, Erdogan said riot police deployed to disperse protesters had acted with restraint and said their powers would be increased, allowing them more leeway in dealing with future protests….

Police on Tuesday carried out raids at homes and offices, detaining at least 87 people suspected of involvement in violence. Overnight, police broke up a silent protest at Taksim Square by hundreds mimicking a lone man who stood silently for hours in a passive anti-government protest.

The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday asked Turkish authorities to investigate reports that tear gas canisters and pepper spray were fired directly at demonstrators and into closed spaces.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch late Monday said police use of tear gas in confined spaces “showed dangerous disregard for the well-being – and indeed the lives – of protesters and bystanders.”

“The repeated police violence against people who are dissatisfied with the government policies has deeply polarized Turkey,” Human Rights Watch said. “The government urgently needs to change police tactics and issue a clear signal for restraint.”

Riot police on Tuesday were again deployed in Turkey’s two main cities, keeping an unyielding stance against the street demonstrations. Thousands have flooded the streets nightly, many honking car horns and waving Turkish flags.

Erdogan’s opponents have grown increasingly suspicious about what they call a gradual erosion of freedoms and secular values under his Islamic-rooted ruling party…..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/turkey-protests-police-powers_n_3459047.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=1015737,b=facebook

We Are All Turks Today. one humanity. one struggle.

Turkey Protests

Tuesday, 18th of June

”Standing man ” protests are increasing in Turkey….

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This interview was conducted by Zeynep Bilgehan on 18th June for the Turkish paper Hürriyet.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/18/flames-of-resistance-and-hope-in-turkey/

Excerpts:

The mixture of a sharp intelligence, fearlessness and the rebirth of hope that I witnessed was very inspiring. It reminded me to a certain extent of Europe (Paris and Prague) in 1968, much more than the Arab spring. What is happening in Turkey is very clear. An elected authoritarian government, committed to neo-liberalisam and war, imagined that it could do anything it wanted because of its democratic status. This was a foolish mistake….

When I was in Istanbul a few months ago, it was difficult not to detect a pall of depression that had enveloped activists and oppositionists. The closure of one of the city’s oldest cinema on Istiklal had led to mild protestsd. So mild that the government imagined it could accelerate its select and destroy mission. They miscalculated badly. The Prime Minister, in particular, a veritable Sultan of the building industry refused to retreat and embarked on repression. This was the breaking point. People unconcerned with the proposed destruction of Gezi now came out to protest and in huge numbers. The more the repression, the more the protests grew, spreading to virtually the entire country apart from four Kurdish-dominated towns. A campaign to save a park had become a national uprising against an obstinate and thuggish regime….

The courageous Turkish citizens opened up a new front at an important time. And their example might well spread ro France and, who knows, perhaps even Britain and Germany in the months ahead….

What is crucial as I said in my solidarity message is that the government has discredited itself with the help of a tame and servile Turkish media which ignored, underplayed and slandered the occupiers in Taksim during the first weeks….

if a new democratically structured political movement is formed (like, for instance, Syriza in Greece) it could give a permanent voice to the people from below. A monthly public assembly in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum, Antakiyya and other cities to discuss the situation at home and abroad and report on te building of a new movement would create something permanent and make the clearing and re-clearing of the squares a bit meaningless. This is my hope….

Neo-liberal capitalism is hollowing out democracy. Those who fight the capitalist onslaught are also strengthening democracy….

19th of June

This is a better idea of what the “standing man” protest really looked like in Turkey.

And a “standing ovation” for all the Standing People of Turkey.#standingman #Duranadam #occupygezi

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19th of June

Update-today! Incredible eyewitness account from one of the protesters in Turkey and plea for help. Please read and help… We are all Turks Today!

“After negotiations with the Prime Minister, the protest groups relaxed a little seeing some small hope of peace and they were actually preparing to scale down the protest in Gezi Park. So everyone in a celebratory mood and this being the weekend, the Gezi Park and Taksim square was packed with all kinds of people including elderly, children and tourists. At around 8PM while there was a concert in the park, people were warned to empty it and within minutes the attack started. Now I can tell you about the following 36-40 hours of torture this nation went through in detail and I contemplated long about posting one of the hundreds of footages of unarmed, peaceful people being beaten by groups of policemen, gassed grandparents, children losing their parents in mayhem, residents being gassed in their own homes, hotels, restaurants, chemists, hospitals and first aid centres being attacked and all sorts of violence you wouldn’t dream of. And I decided not to ruin your day just like it has been ruining our lives for the last 4 days. Please just know that we became a battered, bruised nation over the weekend both physically and psychologically….

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Since then the people are standing silent in many towns and cities, especially at places that have significant meaning for them, for example where one of the protesters was shot dead in Ankara, or in front of the TV stations who don’t report what is going on in the country. And yes, some of them get arrested for just standing, they found a cover for it – standing in silence is ‘being psychologically violent’ towards the police!…

“So while everyone in the country ‘stands-up’ one way or another, I will again ask your support….

“there are some 3D things you can do to help us. Such as contacting your members of the parliament, congress people, NGOs such as Amnesty International, European Union Representatives, Media, alternative media and anyone you can think of to inform them of the atrocities, ask them to act accordingly and put the pressure on Turkish government.
Nothing the protesters do or say is against the constitution so there is no basis of the police violence towards them. Again, it is completely against all the international treaties Turkey signed to use chemical weapons against anyone let alone your own people, but this is what happened over the weekend, we have many people with 2nd and 3rd degree acid burns. The social media arrests are continuing and they are putting together an urgent law to regulate the internet and social media the way they want. Please share these truths with anyone you see fit….”

More at – http://soundofheart.org/galacticfreepress/content/update-istanbul-june-19-2013-one-lightworkers

19th of June. support from the states

I’m feeling sick about what happened in Turkey. An entire world away, and my heart aches with theirs. The brutal crushing of such beauty and innocence as their people have shown is like the mashing of a butterfly, the drowning of a kitten. I think the whole world cries a little each time the forces of hate snuff another candle.

But each time a flower blooms as did in Gezi Park, it fortifies the spirit of the world and rekindles its yearning to be free. And for those of us whose hearts are able to bleed with another’s suffering, it also binds us together in love and our common humanity … as hardships and tragedy will.

19th of June: Report from Istanbul – Good news!

RESISTANCE CONTINUES WITH FORUMS
Every Park Become Gezi Park in Turkey

Gezi Parkers are now discussing the transformation of their movement, saying that “PM did not kick us out of the park, he made everywhere a Gezi Park”.

3 weeks into the protests, brutally forced out of Gezi Park, Istanbulites made a better plan: Occupy every park!

Right now at least 35 parks are home to people assemblies, some are livestreamed, some are still small. And many cities followed… We are reclaiming public spaces one by one

3 weeks into the protests, even us Turks are amazed at our own power and sense of humor
Now we have people assemblies in parks all over Istanbul and many other cities. We are re-designing the society and the way we communicate. It is all happening, here, now. And also happening in Brazil, and hopefully soon, everywhere

The piano was transferred to the Abbasaga Park in the Beşiktaş district, the Beşiktaş sport club fans picked it because it was a place they can protect easily. But then the assembly idea spread, and now its everywhere!

Gezi park is still not open to the public, and Taksim square is open but , after all the violence this weekend no one really prefers to do anything there, except the “standing man”. Instead people are looking for creative ways…

http://bianet.org/english/youth/147740-every-park-become-gezi-park-in-turkey

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After an assembly, the piano is back!

We are all Turks today. one humanity. one struggle.

#occupylove #WeAreAllTurksToday #Gezi #Istanbul #Turkey #Occupy #occupygezi #WeAreTheMedia #breakingnews #TurkishSpring #Taksin #occupywallstreet #ows #WeAreAllBraziliansToday #changebrazil #WeAreAll

1002084_4439387643215_1694319803_nThe Tao of Funny God .. Brazil. Such transcendence of mind was hardly lacking in Brazil recently

forsaleOccupy Wall Street

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Occupy Gezi

Continue with Culture War, Class War: The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths”

or Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call

or Apocalypse No: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious

or Wounded Deer and Centaurs

or Breaking News — Hell Doesn’t Exist: Good—God! Hell—No! … the Comedy

Return to Wounded Deer and Centaurs — Book 5

Invite you to join me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

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

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

Apocalypse No! Chapter Seven: Nature Balances HerSelf

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

“Tinkle-Down” Economics

“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.

“Neutron-Bomb Turf

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.

Budget Cutbacks

Rest Areas

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!

Roads

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.

Signs

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.

Some Joke

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.

Some Loss

I thought of the gallons of gas wasted in this way…of the jobs in maintaining these services—to keep things in working order and correct—that no doubt were lost.

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.

So much for being the “wealthiest nation in the world.”

State Parks

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.

Overpopulation

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

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Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created, It’s Back to the Drawing Board for Humans: Nature Balances HerSelf

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How Far Astray

269227_317556784996674_816559956_nI began to consider how far we’ve gone astray from any meaningful or sustainable path for our species on this planet. clip_image001I 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.

absinthedrinker

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!

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Going Inward

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.

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Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created

black-swan-intcrpdAnother 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.

clip_image003As 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.

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clip_image005Consider 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,more-easily-irritated 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.

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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.

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clip_image008But this reduction in defenses is not experienced or understandable only by those who have experimented with psychedelics. In fact, in at least minor ways we have all experienced it.

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; unwanted-informationmore 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.

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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.

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clip_image013Consider 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.

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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.

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clip_image015With 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.

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clip_image017escaping-the-earthAt 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!

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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.

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Back to the Drawing Board for Our Species

medusa-promo_288x288back-to-drawing-boardBut 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 555320_10151084223043185_1223314488_nphysically and clip_image020emotionally/ 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.

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Eden Arise: Consciousness Revolution as We Rediscover Our Natural Self — A Deeper, More Cooperative Nature

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Moratorium and Death as an Ally: Apocalypse Is the Teacher to Wake Us and Return Us to Eden, Our Natural Self

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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.

clip_image004Therefore 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.

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Death As An Ally

death-as-an-allyIn 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.

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“Pay Attention!”

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!”

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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.

Moratorium

clip_image009This “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. clip_image011It 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

Through Gaia’s Eyes — Nature Balances Herself: Eve of Destruction or Global Healing Crisis

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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

clip_image013As 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.

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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.

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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?

Acting Out

clip_image002Granted, 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.

clip_image004One 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]

Helping Out

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.

clip_image006And 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?

clip_image008To 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?

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clip_image010In 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?

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

Footnotes

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

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2. I wish to draw your attention to something I posted in the last year bringing together these aspects of rising prescription drug use and rising social, political hatred-idiocy. It was in response to an article announcing evidence that antidepressants, specifically, Paxil, make one more “normal.”

“Is Paxil creating more people who aren’t self-reflective? More “Conservatives Without a Conscience”? Happy Idiots?”

3. See also “Are Some ‘Sick’ People More Healthy Than Normals?” on the Primal Spirit site.

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

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Your Map of Reality Was Written in the Womb: Falls from Grace, Chapter One — Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

Prenatal and perinatal psychology is the field that deals with the effects of events occurring prior to (prenatal) and surrounding (perinatal) the time of birth upon later life and personality. An ever increasing amount though certainly not all of the information we have about these periods of our lives and their effects is derived through the later and vivid remembering of these events in a phenomenon known as re-experience. Correspondingly, the two most frequently asked questions about this relatively new field, put by those initially encountering it, are those concerning the specific meanings of the terms perinatal and re-experience.

At the outset, I wish to present an explanation of these two terms and of my unique personal relation to this topic as well as some of my background in exploring it. I will follow this with an historical overview of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, which will reveal the key concepts and understandings employed throughout this book.

Re-Experience and Reliving

For over forty years, beginning in 1972 when I was a senior undergraduate in college, I have been involved both personally and professionally in a comprehensive investigation into the phenomenon of re-experience. Also called reliving, this phenomenon is reported to consist of a full somato-cognitive remembering of previous events in a person’s life. Reliving involves experiential but also observable and measurable components, such as brain wave changes, characteristic physiological and neurological changes, and typical observable body movements.

This phenomenon can occur, to varying degrees, in many consciousness-altering modalities—including hypnosis, LSD psychotherapy, primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork; to a considerable degree in re-evaluation co-counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder; and, occasionally and spontaneously, even in mainstream forms of psychotherapy, counseling, and “growth seminars.”

Re-experience is a more vivid and more completely somatic catharsis than what has been described in psychotherapy in terms of abreaction. It is in such contrast to normal abreaction that when these seemingly bizarre yet healing events have spontaneously erupted in traditional or mainstream Western contexts they have usually been mistakenly labeled psychotic, been intervened upon, and then aborted—via drugs and other highly coercive measures—by the attending therapeutic authorities.

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However, with an increasing appreciation for their therapeutic value, these events are gradually becoming understood and accepted in therapeutic contexts and thus allowed to complete themselves and to instruct the participants and observers in their meanings. Therefore, they appear to represent something new in our culture in terms of both a way of approaching knowledge and in terms of the kinds of information that are discovered (Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1971; Lake 1966/1986; Noble, 1993; Stettbacher, 1992).

My Relationship to the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

My interest in the phenomenon of reliving began forty-four years ago at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate there I was most inspired by a course in religious studies titled “Religious and Psychological Approaches To Self-Understanding.” I was so inspired by the course that I constructed my major around its topic and initially even used the same title for my program’s name. This major in “self-understanding” would lead me, in a few years, to a profound interest in and exploration of primal therapy, as presented by Arthur Janov (1970) in his much-publicized book, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis.

By 1972, I had completed all but the one final semester for a B.A. That semester was to include the cumulative project—required of such a Special Studies (individually structured) major. However, since my project would focus on primal therapy and one of primal therapy’s basic premises is that knowledge cannot really be known except through experience, I could not in good conscience turn in a project describing primal therapy without first experiencing it. Consequently I withdrew from college, for what was supposed to be only a semester, with the intention of “going through” primal therapy and then returning to school to write my cumulative project on it. In those days, the entire process of primal therapy was reputed to take only three to six months.

But a lot was unknown about that modality in those early days. As it turned out, I would not return to school to complete that final project until 1978—at which point I had five years’ experience of primal therapy behind me and was living in Denver, Colorado.

In addition to these experiences, I have amassed a broad array of other experience and training over the years that have contributed to my understanding of re-experience and of this field in general. Besides my two decades and more of primal therapy … both formally and in “the buddy system” … I have received training as a primal therapist. I am also a trained rebirther, having explored that modality since 1986. I have been experientially exploring the modality of holotropic breathwork since 1987 and did training with Stanislav and Christina Grof in that technique.

Finally, I have been facilitating people in their journeys into deep inner primal and holotropic states since 1975. I’ve given individual sessions in all three modalities of primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork. And with my wife, Mary Lynn Adzema, I conducted three day workshops in something we called primal breathwork. I’ve conducted two-day group workshops in this modality at conferences, which were attended by as many as sixty experiencers at a time.

Thus, I have experience in my own process in these modalities; but in addition I have facilitated for others on many occasions, and at times, it was my main profession—though most of my life I have spent in writing, teaching, and research.

Pre- and Perinatal Re-Experience

Re-experience of birth and of the events immediately prior to and after birth are termed perinatal—from the Greek, literally “surrounding birth.” It has been widely described at this point by a number of authors but is most closely associated with the work of Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Frank Lake.

However, one significant and as yet little explored or understood phenomenon, arising also from the modalities mentioned, is that of prenatal re-experience. In this case, the experiencer reports … and observationally appears to be … experiencing events that happened en utero, sometimes going back as far as sperm, egg, and zygote states (Buchheimer 1987; Farrant 1987; Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1983; Lake 1981, 1982; Larimore 1990a, 1990b; Larimore & Farrant, 1995).

These reports of remembering experiences that occurred before birth are at such variance with Western professional and popular paradigms that they are met with near-universal incredulity and, too often, premature dismissal. Yet the evidence from the mounting numbers of experiential reports and empirical studies attests that something which is at least unique and interesting is going on here.

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Nevertheless, much of this prenatal information is thus far unformulated, untheorized, and unintegrated into a coherent structure for making sense of these experiences. This book will go a long way toward doing just that—making sense of prenatal experiences and exploring the implications and prospects of the knowledge gleaned from this fascinating new area of research and which arises from the vision that an exposure to this material induces.

The present work represents an attempt to bring this new information concerning our origins and our earliest experiences into such a coherent structure. After the initial overview of the field to be presented in this chapter, I deepen that review of the current understanding and findings in this area in making a case, in Chapter Two, for the legitimacy of prenatal spirituality.

First, let us take a closer look at what we know about the time before and around birth and what it means for us throughout our lives.

Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field—Early Theorists: Psychoanalysis and Birth

Sigmund Freud — Birth as Prototype for All Anxiety

While Freud (1927) disregarded major effects of birth on personality, he still saw the birth experience as the prototype of all later anxiety. His overall disregard of birth, however, was largely influenced by the belief—although discredited (see Chamberlain, 1988), still common in mainstream psychology and medicine today—that a newborn does not possess the neurological capacity for consciousness at birth.

Otto Rank — Psychoanalysis, Birth Trauma, Foundations of Personality and Some Myth, Separation Anxiety

Other early psychoanalysts disagreed with Freud on this. Otto Rank is the most notable of these. Following Freud’s basic psychoanalytic reasoning for personality patterns in early infancy, he asserted basic patterns of experience and ideas that are rooted in even earlier experience. Rank (1929) claimed the deepest, most fundamental patterns of these personality constructs originated at the time of birth, which Freud thought was not possible. Based upon the dream, fantasy, and other patterns of associations arising in his patients in psychoanalysis, Rank postulated a birth trauma, which he saw as a critical event in laying down in each of us particular patterns of thinking, motivation, and emotion for the rest of our lives. Notable among these prototypes was a feeling of a paradise once known but somehow lost, a separation anxiety caused by the separation at birth, and a resulting futile and lifelong struggle to re-unite with that golden age and that early beloved because of a desire to return to the womb.

Nandor Fodor — Dreamwork, Birth and Prenatal Processing and Relivings, Prenatal Origins of Consciousness and Trauma

Also a psychoanalyst, Nandor Fodor (1949) focused on the reflections of birth and prenatal material in dreams. He also designed interventions in therapy to release the negative effects of birth and to process prenatal memories. He was the first to mention actual relivings of birth, in which veridical memories were recovered. He agreed with Rank on many points, but he stressed the origins of consciousness and of trauma being in the prenatal period.

Donald W. Winnicott — First Primal Therapist? Birth Relivings, Importance of Birth—Negative Imprints but Positive Effects, Too

Another psychoanalyst, and pediatrician as well, Winnicott (1958) also held that birth is remembered and is important. He insisted that the birth trauma is real, but he disagreed with Rank and Fodor that it is always traumatic. He suggested that a normal, nontraumatic, birth has many positive benefits, particularly for ego development. Still, he contended that traumatic birth is permanently etched in memory and leaves a lifetime psychological scar. Winnicott (1958) also suggested the possibility of prenatal trauma.

He has been called the first primal therapist in that he described the first birth primals—actual observable relivings of birth—spontaneously occurring by some of his patients during their sessions with him. Thus he was beginning the trend beyond mere talking association or dream analysis as ways of accessing and integrating this material.

Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Research and Theorists: Hypnosis, Primal Therapy, and Birth

David Cheek and Leslie LeCron — Hypnosis, Birth Memories and Imprints on Personality and Relation to Psychiatric Disorders

Cheek and LeCron (1968) used hypnosis to retrieve early memories in their patients. They discovered that memories earlier than what they expected, going back to birth, were possible. Importantly, a relief of symptoms seemed to follow from the re-experience of these birth memories. They came to the conclusion that a birth imprint occurs, which is induced by the extreme stress of that time and is resistant to fading from later experience. Further they asserted that this imprint could be the cause of a wide spectrum of psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders.

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Leslie Feher — Psychoanalysis, Birth, Cutting of Umbilical Cord, Separation Trauma

Leslie Feher (1980) sought to extend the Freudian tradition farther back into areas that, she asserts, were until only recently unknowable. Thus, she describes a natal theory and therapy that includes experiences of cutting the umbilical cord, birth, and even prebirth. In fact, she considers the cutting of the umbilical cord to be central in her theory of trauma, calling it the “crisis umbilicus,” and echoes Fodor in claiming that it is the true origin of the castration fears made so much of in psychoanalysis. This is so because, according to Feher, the cord and placenta is an object of security and is considered by the fetus to be part of him- or herself. Thus, this cutting represents a supreme threat in being a separation from a total life support system, a major organ, a part of oneself. In these ways, she also brings forward for renewed appreciation Rank’s speculations on the element of separation trauma as a crucial element of the birth trauma.

Arthur Janov — Primal Therapy, Traumas of Birth and Early Life and Healing Them, Empirical Foundations and Neurophysiology of Early Events and Healing

Perhaps the major theorist and popularizer of the phenomenon of re-experience (which he termed primaling), Janov was reluctant to acknowledge the pervasiveness of pre- and perinatal re-experience and trauma. Yet when he did, it was in a major work on birth trauma, which remains as a touchstone in the field in its depth and detail. Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience, published in 1983, among other things places birth as the determining factor in creating basic personality constructs, called sympathetic and parasympathetic, which roughly coincide with the more common terms introversion and extroversion.

This work is more empirical and neurophysiologically rooted than most in the field. While the book is recognized in the field, Janov and his work have not gotten anywhere near the respect and attention that they deserve. He remains the unfortunate kicking-boy of a movement that is itself scapegoated by the academy and the larger scientific community.

Thomas Verny — Primal Therapy, Birth, Especially Womb Life and Relation to Personality … Prenatal Mother-Infant Bonding

The actual stimulus for a new field of pre- and perinatal psychology and the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health—APPPAH was Thomas Verny’s (1981) The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. His work brought together a good deal of the new empirical research that had opened the doors to us on the events in the womb. While himself a practitioner of “holistic primal therapy,” he integrated the accumulating data from the phenomenon of re-experience with the new information from the more traditional, “objective,” scientific research into the prenatal—made possible by the latest advances in technology.

One of his conclusions from this combination of lines of inquiry was that “birth and prenatal experiences form the foundations of human personality” (1981, p. 118). His other conclusions center around the importance of intrauterine bonding in that his research strongly suggests that the prenate, via pathways hormonal and unknown, picks up on the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the mother. More importantly, he asserted, the imprint of these factors on the fetus predetermines the later mother-child relationship. He emphasized that positive thoughts and feelings toward the fetus—”maternal love”—acts to cushion the new individual against the normal stresses and unavoidable harshness inherent in birth and early infancy. Yet all of this cannot be completely avoided. “Birth is like death to the newborn,” writes Verny (1984, p. 48).

David Chamberlain — Hypnosis, Confirmed Validity of Birth Memories

David Chamberlain (1988), for many years the president of APPPAH (the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health), has further substantiated the claim of consciousness at birth and the accuracy of pre- and perinatal memory in the phenomenon of re-experience. He reported one study he did in which he compared hypnotically retrieved memories of birth from mother and child and found an astonishing degree of conformity in their responses. Of note was the degree of inner consistency and originality in these memories as reported by the former neonate. They often contained technical details of the delivery and labor unlike what would be expected of the medically unsophisticated, a perceptive critique of the way the birth was handled, and other details of the event that could not have been known through normal conscious channels.

Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Theorists: Societal Implications, Psychohistory, Birth and Prenatal

Lloyd deMause Psychohistory, Prenatal and Poisonous Placenta, Sociohistorical Implications of Gestational and Birth Events

Lloyd deMause (1982, 1987) was instrumental in establishing the new interdisciplinary field of psychohistory. In his study of historical happenings he discovered that stages in the progression of events related to stages in the progression of gestation and birth … which stages happened to correspond, by the way, remarkably well with Stanislav Grof‘s four stages of birth, his Basic Perinatal Matrices.

He found that natal imagery especially predominates in societies during times of crisis and war, when national purpose and state of affairs are construed as a need to escape or break free from an enclosing and constricting force. He also noted the suffering fetus and the poisonous placenta as sources of these later metaphors and imagery. In fact, in studying the imagery in the national media of various countries he has been able to predict political, social, and economic events such as wars and invasions, recessions, and political downfalls.

His work begins to look at the prenatal influences and imprints and how they related to macrocosmic issues of politics, history, social movements, and issues of war and peace.

Later Theorists — Dream Analysis

Francis Mott — Conception and Gestational Basis of Myth, Archetype, all Patterns of Macrocosmic and Microcosmic Realities and the Nature of Reality, Devolutional Model of Development

Francis Mott’s work is less well known even by this field’s standards, yet it is undeniably impressive. Mott’s (1960, 1964) major contribution lies in his focusing on basic patterns of mind and cosmos that correlate with prenatal feelings and states. He traced consciousness back to events around conception and saw these events as instituting patterns affecting all later experience and conceptual constructions. Through dream analysis he elicited these “configurations,” and he demonstrated their manifestation as seemingly universal archetypes in myths and universal human assumptions about the nature of reality.

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In fact, through his study of womb and conception patterns he claimed to have discovered patterns that underlie and unite all of reality at all levels of manifestation—astronomical, social, personal, cellular, and even nuclear. While this may seem rather grandiose, his work was highly regarded and admired by Carl Jung.

Mott also carried forward the intimations of earlier prenatal theoreticians, notably Rank and Fodor, on the gestational basis of archetypes. While he does not address or seek to discredit the range of, supposedly genetic, archetypes postulated by Jung, his work is highly suggestive of an experiential, specifically, pre- and perinatal, as opposed to genetic basis for many of these.

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Mott (1960) also helped us to understand why if these prenatal memories are possible they are not more prevalent by suggesting denial is necessary in order to protect against incestuous feelings that might arise around feelings remembered from being inside one’s mother.

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Devolutional Model of Consciousness Development

Finally, he made the postulation—hugely relevant to the theme of this work—that our original expanded capacity to feel is diminished, as he says, “divided,” by experience not increased by it. The idea is that there is a reduction in awareness as a result of early traumatic events, beginning around conception and then on, and not the buildup of consciousness and feeling that we assume from the mechanistic paradigm that sees consciousness as a byproduct of increasing physical, specifically brain, activity during our early years. (See, for example, The Doors of Perception: Each of Us Is Potentially Mind At Large… When Perception Is Cleansed, All Kinds of Nonordinary Things Happen and Occupy Science … A Call for a Scientific Awakening: In Tossing Away Our Species Blinders, We Approach a Truth Far Beyond Science.)

Later Theorists — Breathwork

Stanislav GrofBreathwork, LSD, Birth and Prenatal, Myth and Archetype, Spiritual and Consciousness

A pioneer in this prenatal area is Stanislav Grof (1976, 1980, 1985, 1990, to name a few). His many works, providing a framework for conceptualizing perinatal and transpersonal experiences, are a profound and useful starting point for an investigation into this area.

In his use of LSD beginning in 1956 for psychotherapy, called psycholytic therapy, he discovered four levels of experience of the unconscious: the sensory, the biographical, the perinatal, and the transpersonal. He noted a tendency for growth and healing to occur in a progressive way through these levels. The sensory band is the level of expanded sensory awareness and is usually initially encountered by participants. The biographical band is the realm of the personal unconscious wherein unintegrated and traumatic memories and material from childhood and one’s personal history are retrieved, often relived, and integrated. The perinatal level of experience usually follows after dealing with the biographical material and involves the remembering, re-experiencing, and integrating of material that is related to the time prior to and surrounding birth. The transpersonal band, the level of spiritual experience, is usually reached after dealing with the other three levels.

Four Modes of Experiencing—the Basic Perinatal Matrices

Grof has also delineated four matrices of experience, four general experiential constructs, which he called basic perinatal matrices (BPMs). He discovered that experiences at all levels of the unconscious often group themselves in four general ways that are roughly related to the four stages of birth. Thus, Basic Perinatal Matrix I (BPM I) is related to the generally blissful or “oceanic” feelings that often characterize the fetus’s state in the womb in early and middle pregnancy. BPM II is characterized by “no exit,” hellish feelings that are related to the situation of the fetus in late pregnancy when the confines of the womb become ever more apparent but there is as yet no indication of any possibility of relief. BPM III relates to the birth process itself, the birth struggle, which is still characterized by feelings of compression and suffering but in which there is movement and change and thus hope of relief through struggle. If BPM II can be compared to hell, where there is no hope, BPM III is more like purgatory. Finally, BPM IV relates to the actual entry into the world, the termination of the birthing process, and is characterized by feelings of triumph, relief, and high, even manic, elation.

In his descriptions of the levels of experience and the matrices of perinatal experience, Grof has provided useful maps of the unconscious and experience in nonordinary states, which have incredible heuristic value in our understanding of cross-cultural religious and spiritual experience, psychopathology, personal growth, and consciousness and personality in general. And they have been utilized successfully in providing a context and guide for many tens of thousands of participants in his psycholytic and holotropic therapies.

However, while Grof is exhaustive in his descriptions of fetal and perinatal experience, he says less about the earlier experiences in the womb—the first trimester—and even less about conception and the experiences of sperm and egg—what is known as cellular consciousness. Still, this area is beginning to be discussed among his followers. And through his current nondrug modality, called holotropic breathwork, people are accessing these areas and beginning to give word to them (e.g., Carter, 1993).

Frank Lake—Breathwork, First Trimester, Early Experience as Foundation for Myths

Frank Lake, though less well-known again, has probably been the premier theoretician on the topic of prenatal events during the first three months of gestation. Just prior to his death in the early eighties, he wrote a culmination of his thirty-year investigation into pre- and perinatal influence in two works titled Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling and The First Trimester. In these works he goes beyond his other works (for example, 1966) in placing the roots of all later experience, and in particular, distress, at the first three months of physical existence.

Lake began his investigation of re-experience in 1954. Like Stanislav Grof, he did this using LSD, initially, in the psycholytic therapy that was being developed at that time to facilitate therapeutic abreaction. Later he, again like Grof, developed a nondrug modality to accomplish the same thing. His method of “primal therapy” employed a type of fast breathing—again, like Grof’s later technique—to access theta-wave brain levels, which are levels of consciousness that he saw as crucial to accessing and integrating these memories.

His thirty-year research led him to the realization of the importance of ever earlier experience. Thus his earlier stress on the importance of birth gave way to his later emphasis on the first trimester in 1981 (Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling) and in 1982 (The First Trimester).

He stressed the maternal-fetal distress syndrome, beginning at around implantation, as a major time of trauma. He also described a blastocystic stage of relative bliss just prior to that.

His one other major disagreement with Grof was his belief that the mythological and symbolical elements described by Grof were a product of LSD and that the first trimester events were the actual roots of much of such symbolism and supposed transpersonal/mythological scenarios (1981, p. 35).

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Later Theorists — Myth and Sacred Text/Mysticism

S. Giora Shoham — Devolutional Model of Development, Falls from Grace

While not strictly a pre- and perinatal psychologist, I include this too little-known theoretician and criminologist because of the close relationship and influence his work has had upon my own work regarding these Falls from Grace. Falls from Grace and other devolutional models of consciousness postulate that during life and over time, beginning at conception, we actually are reduced in consciousness and awareness, not increased in it, and it corresponds to a “brain as reducing valve” theory of consciousness. (Again, See The Doors of Perception and Occupy Science.)

While I initially constructed and wrote down my devolutional theory of consciousness—Falls from Grace—without the benefit of Shoham’s work, upon discovering it I could not help but be both confirmed and reinspired by the astounding resonance his understanding has with my own.

Shoham (1979, 1990) starts his devolutional model in the womb and carries it through birth, weaning, and the oedipal periods of development. Though, as I delineate in Part Two, I disagree with his model by beginning mine at the creation of sperm and egg—as does other devolutional theorists like Francis Mott and David Wasdell—in virtually all other major instances his model corresponds to my own if one simply … in keeping with a normal trend in child development in general as it begins to integrate the new pre- and perinatal evidence … places everything back a little farther in time—in this case, specifically, one stage back.

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Later Prenatal Psychology Theorists — Cellular Memory and Conception, Foundations of Myth and Personality, Spirituality and Soul

Lietaert Peerbolte — Conception and Cellular Memory, Soul, Spirituality

Peerbolte (1954) was one of the earliest theorists to relate spirituality to conception and sperm/egg dynamics. In addition to claiming that a regression to conception is the inevitable result of all prenatal states, he traced the sense of “I” — the “I-function” — back to the egg, existing even in the mother’s ovaries. He further postulated that the spiritual self was invisibly present within the field of attraction between the egg and the sperm. Correspondingly, he was the first to point out that the existence of conception, preconception, and even ovulation symbolism in dreams indicates the existence of a soul. For, he asked, what mind records these events otherwise?

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I wrote the article, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” which later became the next chapter in this book before I knew about Peerbolte’s work. Yet, once again the conclusions I came to, especially about the existence of soul being established by the fact of these memories and especially those at the cellular levels of sperm and egg existence, are very much in line with his.

Michael C. Irving — Primal Therapy, Birth, Sperm, Egg, Myth, Dragon Symbolism, Prehistoric Cult and Ritual

Michael C. Irving is a primal therapist whose contributions include his relation of these earliest events from sperm and egg through the birth experience to fundamental mythological motifs and images across cultures. The originator of a way of interpretation that he calls natalism, he has brought together a host of artistic and artifactual images from a wide range of time periods and cultures which relate, with an astonishing degree of accuracy, to actual pre- and perinatal events.

In particular, he has traced the universal serpent/dragon motifs and mythology to birth and sperm experience, noting, among other things, that the serpent/dragon shape represents the birth canal or tunnel, that the fire-spewing characteristics of dragons relate to consuming pain, and that the constricting characteristics of snakes correspond to the constriction of the birth canal. Of great interest is his deduction that the widely prevalent snake and dragon cults, which were especially popular in prehistory, indicate an attempt to deal with such unfinished birth trauma material as we are only now, in modern times, rediscovering the importance of doing.

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Graham Farrant — Primal Therapy; Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness; Soul and Spirituality

Graham Farrant (1987; Buchheimer 1987), a psychiatrist and primal therapist from Australia, is probably the most influential and well-known of those discussing the phenomena that occur at the earliest times of our lives. In addition to echoing Frank Lake in describing fetal, implantation, and blastocyst feelings, he has been able to elicit and describe sperm and egg imprints. He has found trauma from these earliest events to influence lifelong patterns of personality and behavior. He produced a notable video in which segments from the widely acclaimed movie “The Miracle of Life,” which shows actual footage of gamete and zygote events, are juxtaposed via a split-screen with actual footage of a person reliving the exact same events in primal therapy, which occurred before such cellular events were ever able to be seen and recorded. The effect is astounding in the detail in which the relivings replicate the actual cellular happenings.

In addition to his emphasis on cellular consciousness, Farrant has stressed the spiritual aspects of these earliest events. He relates incidents of spiritual trauma at the cellular level in which the individual splits off from Divinity—thus setting up a lifelong feeling of loss and yearning and a desire to return to Unity and the Divine.

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Paul Brenner — Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness and Biological Foundations of Myths

Paul Brenner (1991), a biologist and obstetrician, has been presenting at conferences and in workshops on the idea of the biological foundations of myth. For example, he relates basic biological, cellular events to biblical events described in Genesis.

He also relates male and female adult behavior to basic patterns of sperm and egg behavior and to events prior to and surrounding conception. He has said that male and female behavior are just sperm and egg activity grown up!

Elizabeth Noble — Cellular Consciousness and Spirituality, Empirical Underpinnings

Elizabeth Noble (1993) is an educator in the field of pregnancy and childbirth and is a student of Farrant’s. She published a comprehensive overview of this new field, titled Primal Connections, in which she doesn’t hesitate to stress the issues of cellular consciousness and the spirituality that appears to coincide with the re-experience of these earliest events. She provides empirical and theoretical avenues for understanding how memory can occur at such early times. Some of these are consistent with mainstream physicalist science while others coincide with the cutting-edge, new-paradigm discoveries in fields such as biology, physics, and neuroscience.

David Wasdell — Sperm/Egg and First Trimester Imprints, Devolutional Model of Development, Social and Historical Implications

One of the more recent theoreticians in this area is David Wasdell. Wasdell’s (1979, 1985a, 1985b, 1990) major contribution lies in his relating these earliest events to social and cultural patterns. He describes a process of devolution of consciousness beginning at around conception and proceeding through other reductions caused by traumas at implantation, in the womb, and at birth.

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Most importantly, he delineates how the result of this diminution of potentiality is projected outwards into the problems and crises of violence, wars, and the mediocrity of modern personality on the scale of the masses and the macrocosms of the group, society, and global events.

In describing the problems of “normality” as rooted in a deprivational and deformational series of traumas from our earliest biological history, Wasdell emphasizes that this gives us the possibility to change that tragic social and personality outcome by focusing on the prevention and healing of such traumas. Thus, he holds out the vision of a new person and new society as an outcome of the efforts directed at the earliest laying down of human experience.

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The Importance of the Intrauterine for Understanding Our Times and the Goal of This Book

Despite this long legacy of work and thought in this pre- and perinatal area, much of it, especially the prenatal, remains ignored by mainstream psychology and is largely unavailable to the public. Within the field itself, in addition, the prenatal information, in relation to the more widely accepted and circulated perinatal evidence, seems to be analogous to Otto Rank’s (1929) ideas of birth trauma were to Sigmund Freud’s concerning early infancy in that they are cast under an extra cloud of suspicion and disbelief and disregarded accordingly. Yet, like Rank’s findings also, their main problem may lie with unfamiliarity and prejudice rather than validity or scientific viability; and these findings, like his were, may end up harkening the outlines of future endeavors and being confirmed by subsequent research.

Thus, I believe that this prenatal area in particular is ripe for reaping what it can teach us about what is human, about “human nature.”

Therefore, this book will put forth the possible relationship between our earliest ontogenetic experiences as humans and the structure of human consciousness and stages of human “development.”

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I build a model that seeks an initial formulation of this information, teasing out its implications, and integrating it with relevant thinking and theoretical perspectives in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and others.

However, before proceeding, it seems important to establish this pursuit within the logical-empirical framework that validates it. To do this, let us now turn to the re-experience movement I am most familiar with and feel to be the most important, primal therapy, and discuss its relation to the phenomenon of prenatal re-experience and spirituality.

Continue with How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences? Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious

Return to Falls from Grace, Introduction — The Radical Rational View of Us and It: “Normal” Truth Is Convenient Truth … and Is Anything But True

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Prenatal Spirituality and the Devolutional Model of Consciousness: A Revolution in Child Development, Parenting, Mental Health, and Spirituality Is at Hand

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The Radical Rational View of Us and It: Falls from Grace, Introduction — “Normal” Truth Is Convenient Truth … and Is Anything But True

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“Normal” Truth Is Convenient Truth … and Is Anything But True

Falls from Grace presents a radical theory of spirituality, evolution, child development, stages of life, purpose of life, human nature, and the human species. It is a comprehensive theory, which basically turns everything on its head to find the truth. For its premise is that human ego is a filter to truth and so, for the most part, turns truth into falsehood and vice-versa. Thus truth outside of ego, absolute truth—what exists when ego needs are filtered out—often ends up being the opposite of what humans’ egos have propounded as self-evident. Seemingly unimpeachable, these “normal” truths are only convenient truth, in actuality. They are meant to placate and prop up the human ego and have nothing to do with truth outside of that psychological need.

Still, while Falls from Grace is a radical view, it is in line with mystical beliefs, platonic thought, and even much of primitive or primal-like views of the world and Nature.

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Falls from Grace — Description and Overview

This work brings the new information of pre- and perinatal psychology to bear upon basic spiritual and philosophical constructs regarding the nature of consciousness, child development, personal growth, and transpersonal “evolution.”

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A Devolutional Model of Consciousness and Development

It utilizes the results of the phenomenon of re-experience of events surrounding and preceding one’s birth, as well as the more empirically rooted findings concerning our origins and our earliest experiences, into a coherent structure for understanding their implications. This structure is a devolutional model, meaning that the normal process of development is seen as a regression from or “forgetting” of prior, more aware states.

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Prenatal Spirituality

After an initial overview of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, that review of the current understanding and findings in this area is built upon in making a case for the legitimacy of prenatal spirituality. Prenatal spirituality means basically two things: (1) that regression to pre- and perinatal states represents a spiritual progression and a proximity to and increased access of spiritual states and awareness; and (2) that these earliest events themselves, as they originally occurred, were characterized by a similar heightened spiritual proximity and awareness.

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Making this case is important for two reasons: For one, there is a strong tradition in the field of re-experience that reduces all spirituality and spiritual experiences to early traumas and neurosis. This is the dominant attitude in psychoanalysis, articulated initially by Freud. However it has been carried and promulgated forcefully into the field of re-experience by Arthur Janov — one of the field’s leading theorists. This idea that all spirituality is derivative of underlying primal pain, as Janov contends, is addressed and disputed here.

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Second, just as spirituality and spiritual experience are denigrated in the light of primal experience by Arthur Janov, on the flip side of this Ken Wilber denigrates primal and prenatal experience in the light of spiritual experience. Wilber — the dominant theoretician in the field of transpersonal psychology — claims that preverbal states, like primal and prenatal re-experience, are the opposite of transverbal states — what he considers to be true spiritual experience. I focus on and dispute this aspect of Wilber’s thinking in making the case for prenatal spirituality in Chapter Two, but also throughout this work. That prenatal states are identical to, akin to, or at least leading to transpersonal states and that Ken Wilber has made a major mistake in contending the contrary is a central theme of this book.

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200278333-001Thus, the idea, presented initially — that there exists prenatal and cellular consciousness as well as an inherent spirituality or proximity to the numinous and transpersonal, if not also divinity, at these levels of development — is a crucial idea in all that follows. This case is made, in Chapter Two, on the basis of the available evidence in relevant fields and in particular from the viewpoint of findings in primal therapy.

Where Primal Re-Experience and Transpersonal Experience Meet

What will follow this analysis of the case for prenatal spirituality are examples of it from my own re-experience through the modality of holotropic breathwork — a technique of transpersonal access and reliving developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof. These pages should be seen as providing a sample of the sorts of experiences, insights, and perspectives that can occur through the phenomenon of re-experience. Though no sample could possibly represent the essence, expanse, or necessary outline of this highly individual and vastly diverse level of experience, my own experiences demonstrate clearly the overlap between the personal and transpersonal — between the biographical/biological and the spiritual/numinous — that characterizes this arena of experience.

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“Normal” “Development” Is Devolutional for It Is About Gradual Separation from Divinity

Following immediately afterwards, are the chapters that present the ontogenetic model of consciousness and devolutional — meaning the opposite of evolution — development based on such inquiry. It is the heart of the vision of this book. This work, titled “Falls From Grace,” details a process of removal from divinity or a higher state during the process of coming into this world as a series of stages, four stages, in fact. These stages center on the events of conception, birth, the primal scene (around age four or five), and puberty or the identity stage. Astonishingly, they happen to correspond to Wilber’s (1977) levels of consciousness in his “spectrum of consciousness.”

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Implications of This Are for an Overthrow of the Usual Ideas of Child Development, Parenting, Personal Growth, Psychotherapy, and Spiritual Evolution

Finally, what will follow is a presentation of the implications of this model for child development and parenting, for psychotherapy and personal growth, and for spiritual evolution and higher consciousness. This part carries forward some of the themes presented thus far to their logical conclusions in terms of their effects on current models and thinking and on society and culture. The earliest indications are that the implications from including the prenatal and primal perspective are vast. For indeed this new perspective, this new information seems to call for an overthrow, or at least a reversal, of many of the aspects of the dominant paradigms in parenting, child development, psychotherapy, and spiritual growth.

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A Radical New Vision — Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology

So, now we look at an overview of the field of pre- and perinatal psychology. The findings from this new field of science make possible this radical new vision into ourselves, our place in the Universe, the purposes of our lives, and the directions along which our efforts to better ourselves might most fruitfully be aligned.

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Continue with Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

Return to Four Falls from Grace … And Back Again — Becoming Human Is Love’s Supreme Act of Recklessness: Experience Is Divinity, Part Sixteen — Existence Is Fun

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