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A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality: Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

we-are-then-simple-awarenessHigh Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant: Stormy Path to Self, Part Three

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Ego-Weak Mystics and Shamans

In a more recent work, John White (1990) continues Ken Wilber’s mistake in not realizing that the sharp distinction between the sacred and the profane that we observe today is a product of recent history.

The “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Not Fare Well in Front of a Psychiatrist

While White refers to early mystics in making his case for what a unitive state of consciousness entails, he does not seem to notice that these people, in terms of his proposition of developing a fully functioning ego as a necessary prerequisite to transpersonal realms, would not only fail in this regard but that by his criteria the kind of odd and extremely eccentric behavior of holy people in the past would be considered insane.

My point is that in neither White’s nor Wilber’s limited Western viewpoint is there any allowance for that kind of “regressive” behavior on the spiritual path. I quote Feuerstein (1991) as an antidote to this omission:

It is true that when we look at crazy adepts like Drukpa Kunley or Nityananda, we see phenomenal feats of renunciation. But we also see behavior that, certainly in the eyes of a psychiatrist, at times borders on the neurotic, if not psychotic. Some of these holy fools have in fact wondered about their own sanity. The saintly Ramakrishna, teacher of the world-famous Vivekananda, is a case in point. For a period of time he ceremonially worshipped his own genitals, and on other occasions he installed himself on the altar of the temple where he served as head priest.

Such behavior is certainly not “normal.” Nor is sitting on garbage heaps or sexually fondling women and girls, as has been reported of several contemporary Hindu adepts. (p. 21)

The “Fully Functioning Ego”

Thus, I re-iterate, as White (1990) himself points out (p. xxiv, he says “I elaborate on this central point throughout the book”), central to White’s argument that we are evolving into a new species of human at this time in history is that the characteristic Western ego “development”—one could as easily say (and some have said)—”ego-dissociation”—is a necessary prerequisite to higher consciousness. Thus he marshals in, to support his proposal, the concept of the “fully functioning ego” which Wilber has unfortunately popularized.

A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Most “Sanitized” Modern Spiritual Pursuits

What these transpersonal theorists are claiming then, in deference to mainstream psychology which is dominated by ego psychologists, is that a fully functioning ego is necessary to develop before one can go on to transpersonal pursuits. My research and experience, confirmed by that of Stanislav Grof and supported by the theory of Michael Washburn (1988) and others, tells me they are wrong in this espousal and that in fact what they are talking about developing is merely a supremely defended ego. It seems that what they would wish to develop is high self-esteem as a prerequisite for higher consciousness.

But the Idea of Necessary Defenses Is a Relic of Antiquated Freudian Thinking

Yet my research indicates that this is a legacy from Freudian thought which claimed that defenses are necessary. To the contrary, what we have learned from primal therapy and the other experiential, feeling psychotherapies is that defenses are not necessary.

Self Esteem Versus Self Regard

Furthermore, research by Gergen and Marlowe (1968) points out that there’s a difference between high self-esteem and high self-regard.

High Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant

Essentially, high self-esteem involves the use of defenses that deny and avoid aspects of reality, whereas high self-regard is based on an openness to and acceptance of those same kinds of unpleasant aspects of reality. Self-esteem and the fully functioning ego is based on distortion of reality and falseness relative to the Self; high self-regard is rooted in painful and not necessarily so functional acceptance of reality in its dark and light, pleasant and unpleasant facets.

Attunement with the Higher Self Involves a Diminution of the Ego, a Reduction of Ego Defenses

Similarly, there is a difference between what is often called ego strength and what is meant by the fully functioning ego. For ego strength, as Erikson (1968, 1985) uses it for example, is really a consequence of being in tune with the higher self, which is in fact not ego strength at all. On the contrary, this kind of attunement with the higher self (or Self) represents a diminution of the ego, a reduction of ego defenses.

Madness and Genius … Madness and Mysticism

Going back historically, what is noticeable about mystical adepts (not always their followers, interestingly—see Hesse [1930/1968], for example) is their lack of ego, often from a very early age, and how they are closer to their mystical promptings because of this. This pattern also relates to creative people and the process of creativity. For creative people from all times quite often exhibit this poorly functioning ego that has often been associated with mystics. Because of this, people are familiar with the connection between madness and genius as well as the one between madness and mysticism. (See Erikson, 1962.)

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“Fully Functioning Ego” Actually Precludes, Rather Than Precipitates, the Mystical

The point is that in neither of these cases is there the development of this recent prescription: “the fully functioning ego.” In fact, a fully functioning ego is the last thing a person with mystical promptings would want to develop.

An Anal-Compulsive Control of Inner Life

One begins to suspect that what these transpersonal theorists and their legions of followers are really saying is that they really do not want to surrender to mystical promptings or to surrender to the Divine.

Affirmations, Ritual, and the Like Are Capitulation to the Controlling Ego and a Flight from True Spiritual-Mystical Surrender

What this kind of thinking says about these erstwhile spiritual adepts is that they want to continue to do their controlling; they want to continue to do their affirmations; they want to control their inner life. Certainly there are fear reasons why one would want to avoid the path of spiritual surrender and would wish to carry one’s controlling and defensive ego over with one into the transpersonal realms. And the devolutional model helps us to see the very deep roots of that fear and makes this entire transpersonal gambit quite understandable.

Worst of All, These Beliefs Have Roots in Racism and Western Supremacism

Still, the dictates of truth, and of real spirituality, require that these fearful prescriptions and their illusion-weaving proselytizers be spotlighted for what they are. For it is bad enough when one is self-deluded. It is purely unacceptable when one seeks to foist one’s ego defensiveness onto the spiritual pursuits of others. It is worse still when institutions, such as the psychiatric and psychological, are reinforced in their antiquated and soul-destroying methods by such efforts and beliefs. And it is worst of all when these beliefs support the kind of unconscious racism and denigration of other-than-Western-cultures that has caused so much suffering historically.

Continue with A Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Spiritual Thinking: Whereas Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem

Return to “Crazy” and Transcendent Are Not Opposite as Ego Psychologists Conveniently Proclaim: Have Western Puritanical Beliefs Infected Transpersonal Psychology?

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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Return to Grace, Part Three — The Primal Scene and the Divine Child: Hierarchical Societies Demand Conformity All the Way Down the Line

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Becoming “as a Child” and Building the Better Human — Childhood: The Ego Is Sycophantic to Someone and “The Word” — What Those Voices You Hear Really Are

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Let us turn now to the third fall from grace, that time when the child’s potential is reduced to the acceptable spectrum, only, that reflects the socionormative constructs of the society. Can this be different?

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Primal Scene — We Give Up

Remember that at the primal scene, occurring around the age of four or five, we become “them.” We give up. We see our attempts to interact as ourselves with our parents and the world extending out from them as being utterly futile. We feel it is better to get at least something by being someone they want rather to get nothing and to seethe in loneliness and inattention being the unique person we were meant to be.

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The Unreal Self, the Ego, Is Sycophantic to Someone

So, we cater to others’ requirements and lose connection with our own wants and needs … their needs become our needs.

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We develop an unreal self which is concocted to please others and comprised of bargaining chips to procure approval from others. Our self is sycophantic to someone. Even if that self contains elements of “toughness” or independence, those traits came into being to placate another, usually the same-sex parent.

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“Child Sacrifice”

I say it is comparable to “child sacrifice” and is exemplified in Western culture in the Biblical story of Abraham being told by “God” to sacrifice his son, Isaac. For “God,” you may read the insane workings of the mind in adult life once one has lost a real and felt connection to the transpersonal by means of these falls from grace. You see here, over and again, that we do to others what has been done to us. Having been forced to give up ourselves we are compelled … by “God,” but actually by the end products of emotional pain … to slay that same thing in our children when it presents itself.

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I say it is the fall from grace that occurs as a result of relationship trauma. Indeed, it is that which develops at the time when the child is beginning to connect with the wider world beyond Mother. The earlier traumas and splittings from innate divinity come about in relation to the mother or other primary care-giver. They happen at and around birth and for a while afterward through the interaction of the infant with mother around gestation, actual birth, and then, bonding, nursing, feeding, toilet training, and so on.

While this pressure to split off from the body and its needs and the transpersonal and its directives and guidance continues into toddlerhood, more and more the child interacts with siblings, other children, the father, the other figures in the social unit.

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So, as with the mother, the natural child will seek to have its needs satisfied. Earlier this was for biological needs. Now this is for relational needs … connection with others, interaction, mutual recognition. So over time the biological and affectional needs develop and become related to ways of behaving and interacting around needs of belongingness and connection with loved ones in the immediate family. Ideally these needs are met through mutual recognition and appreciation between distinct human personalities.

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Hierarchical Societies Demand Conformity All the Way Down the Line

However, in complex, hierarchical societies and just like in the Abraham and Isaac myth, the parents will seek to have their children behave and appear to be like miniature versions of themselves … mini-me’s. Like Abraham, the adult is not really seeing the child and its needs as separate from his or her own. Rather the parent is caught up in the mental byproducts of unmet needs from his or her own childhood. Indeed, the child becomes a byproduct of the adult’s attempt to orchestrate the emotional pain within him or herself.

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“The Word”: Those Voices You Hear … What They Really Are

60606PCN_GarnerDorothy11-682x1024How that manifests is that the adult—all the while proclaiming to be doing this “for the child’s own good”—will seek to carve a reflection of him or herself into the precious sensitivity of the toddler and preschooler.

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Without a doubt, the adult thinks it is doing this in obedience to voices coming from outside. For they are the pushes and pulls of his or her own unmet needs in childhood, which—repressed because of the pain associated with them and existing in a portion of the consciousness … and brain … not accessible to consciousness—now have influence seemingly from the outside.

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The fact that the adult will feel that these unconscious forces have the force of a higher power … a deity in Abraham’s case … is because they indeed are the remnants of instructions, nonverbal messages, and admonitions given to that adult as a child from his or her own parents. Coming from outside oneself they seem to come from a supernatural source. Coming from one’s parents they seem to come from a higher source … one requiring strict obedience … one’s parents.

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The “Commandments” and the Culture’s Shared Neurosis

Beyond that, they appear to come from a higher authority since these “commandments” from the parents are reflective of the society as a whole. For the cookie cutter that is pressed upon the precocious personality of the young one and which is in the shape of the parent is somewhat like the cookie cutters of that culture in general. That is to say, the neurotic proclivities of an adult in any society are of course going to be similar to those of the others in that society, for indeed neurosis is all about conformity with others. Put bluntly, the way the parent’s soul has been disfigured is roughly in the manner of the way others in that society have been disfigured.

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“Doctrine” of Infallibility

So, being reflective of the larger society, again the patterns of this unreal self have that sense of being from “above”—from outside oneself and from higher up. Thus, these distorted orchestrations on the self from the outside carry with them all the weight and validity as from an infallible source … though of course that is anything but true.

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I should at least mention at this point that the reason this process of losing one’s self in conformity to supposedly higher others is more extreme in complex, “civilized,” societies is because the hierarchical nature of such societies imposes itself upon all elements of its corresponding culture. Specifically, in such societies virtually all adults are pressured into conformity with higher ups of some sort or other and are sycophantic in relation to them. Naturally this pattern of oppression in the greater society will be reflected in the patterns of relationship in the family as well.

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Building the Better Human — Childhood

A Child Wants to Be of Service by Nature

Now, by contrast to Western attitudes to young children, Liedloff (1977) describes the kind of trust in the innate sociality of the child and the “respect” for the child and for his or her “inclinations” that characterized the Yequana:

Perhaps as essential as the assumption of innate sociality in children and adults is a respect for each individual as his own proprietor. The notion of ownership of other persons is absent among the Yequana. The idea that this is “my child” or “your child” does not exist. Deciding what another person should do, no matter what his age, is outside the Yequana vocabulary of behaviors. There is great interest in what everyone does, but no impulse to influence—let alone coerce—anyone. A child’s will is his motive force. There is no slavery—for how else can one describe imposing one’s will on another and coercion by threat and punishment? The Yequana do not feel that a child’s inferior physical strength and dependence upon them imply that they should treat him or her with less respect than an adult. No orders are given a child that run counter to his own inclinations as to how to play, how much to eat, when to sleep, and so on.

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But where his help is required, he is expected to comply instantly. Commands like “Bring some water!” “Chop some wood!” “Hand me that!” or “Give the baby a banana!” are given with the same assumption of innate sociality, in the firm knowledge that a child wants to be of service and to join in the work of his people. No one watches to see whether the child obeys—there is no doubt of his will to cooperate. As the social animal he is, he does as he is expected without hesitation and to the very best of his ability. (pp. 90-91)

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An Example of the Adult Role Containing Within It Also the Real Self, the Child

In a similar fashion, the Mbuti, as described by Turnbull (1961), hardly notice a difference from child roles and expectations and adult ones:

And one day they find that the games they have been playing are not games any longer, but the real thing, for they have become adults. Their hunting is now real hunting; their tree climbing is in earnest search of inaccessible honey; their acrobatics on the swings are repeated almost daily, in other forms, in the pursuit of elusive game, or in avoiding the malicious forest buffalo. It happens so gradually that they hardly notice the change at first, for even when they are proud and famous hunters their life is still full of fun and laughter. (p. 129)

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The Divine Child

The holy man from India, Sathya Sai Baba, echoes these perspectives of the child as presented by Pearce (1980) and demonstrated in nonliterate cultures. He says, “The human child sees itself as the center of the universe and the world as an extension of its being. This divine child knows that it is so” (1991, p. 295).

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Kasturi (1991), Baba’s editor and translator explains,

Children are most concerned with the Now; Baba reminds us the past is past; do not turn back and look wistfully or wailingly on the road you have traversed already. Children do not see the world as fragmented by walls: Chinese, Berlinese, or erected just to tease; they are involved in everything and with everyone; they represent true innocence, love, forgiveness and fraternity. The child has no conceit or contempt of gender; this divine child [referring to the avatar, Sai Baba] affirms: “Among men I am man; among women I am woman; among children I am a child.” (p. 295)

This child [meaning Sathya Sai Baba] inspires us to become children again so that we might be ever with Him, of Him, in Him. (p. 295)

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Continue with By Adolescence “Civilized” Children Are Programmed … Whereas in Primal Societies Inner Experience is Cultivated: Return to Grace, Part Four — Puberty, Becoming Adult

Return to Changing the Human Condition Starts with Birth: The Most Precocious, Brilliant, and Advanced Children Were Treated Differently as Newborns

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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Life Is Passed Performing Rituals and Mouthing Incantations in the Service of Others’ Requirements: At the Age of Four or Five, Giving Up, We Become “Them”

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The Natural Self Slain, the Ego “Is Rewarded for Being Obsequious While the Real Self Seethes in the Prison of Loneliness”: The Third Fall, the Primal Scene, Part One — “Child Sacrifice”

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The Primal Scene

The primal scene occurs at around the age of four or five years. It corresponds exactly with Wilber’s tertiary dualism, as also it correlates with the beginning of the Oedipal struggle (in Freudian terms). It consolidates the formation of the ego against the body, severing the Centaur into “a horseman divided from his horse” (Wilber, 1977, p. 149). It may be likened to a third shutdown, a third stage in the removal of self from divinity, a third denial of God—this time under the terrorizing influence of what might be called social or relationship trauma.

The Natural Self Is Slain

According to Arthur Janov (1970), at around the age of four or five there occurs a point at which the child perceives the hopelessness of ever being loved for him- or herself and becomes instead what the parents (and, by proxy, society) want. Their needs become her or his needs.

The real self—the “child within,” the natural self, the God within—is slain and buried in the unconscious (once again) and becomes the unconscious self. Janov (1970) explains this process of losing the real self in a systematic and detailed manner. He writes brilliantly and poetically in his description, and I will let his words do most of the talking here.

Janov points out, first of all, that

We are all creatures of need. We are born needing, and the vast majority of us die after a lifetime of struggle with many of our needs unfulfilled. These needs are not excessive—to be fed, kept warm and dry, to grow and develop at our own pace, to be held and caressed, and to be stimulated. These Primal needs are the central reality of the infant. The neurotic process begins when these needs go unmet for any length of time. . . .

Since the infant himself cannot overcome the sensation of hunger (that is, he cannot go to the refrigerator) or find substitute affection, he must separate his sensations (hunger; wanting to be held) from consciousness. This separation of oneself from one’s needs and feelings is an instinctive maneuver in order to shut off excessive pain. We call it the split. (p. 22)

The split evolves into the permanent disconnection between the real and the unreal selves—between the real, needing, “feeling” self and the self we must pretend to be in order to try to get some our needs satisfied.

Demands for the child to be unreal are not often explicit. Nevertheless, parental needs become the child’s implicit demand. The child is born into his parents’ needs and begins struggling to fulfill them almost from the moment he is alive. He may be pushed to smile (to appear happy), to coo, to wave bye-bye, later to sit up and walk, still later to push himself so that his parents can have an advanced child. As the child develops, the requirements upon him become more complex. He will have to get A’s, to be helpful and do his chores, to be quiet and undemanding, not to talk too much, to say bright things, to be athletic. What he will not do is be himself. The thousands of operations that go on between parents and children which deny the natural Primal needs of the child mean that the child will hurt. They mean that he cannot be what he is and be loved. . . . (p. 25)

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Becoming “Them”

The upshot of this process, then, as Sam Keen (1972) described it:

He knows he cannot both be himself and be loved. So he splits into a real and an unreal self. His real feelings are sealed in the throbbing vault of the lonely inner self and he begins to tailor his conduct to the expectations of his parents. His watchword becomes: I will be what you want me to be if you will only love me. Although I feel hurt, alone, fearful, and unlovely, I will act trustworthy, loyal, helpful. . . . Henceforth the budding neurotic child gets plastic approval but no genuine love. His unreal self is rewarded for being obsequious while his real self seethes in the prison of loneliness. (p. 46)

Body Snatchers

The primal scene itself, however, is that crystallizing event that for the child symbolizes the essential truth of all the accumulated interactions that from birth on have demonstrated that in order to get a semblance of one’s needs fulfilled one cannot simply be oneself but must instead struggle to please another—for now a parent or parents, later it will be a lover, a spouse, a boss, society in general.

Giving Up, We Become “Them”

Janov (1970) describes this primal scene:

As the assaults on the real system mount, they begin to crush the real person. One day an event will take place which, though not necessarily traumatic in itself—giving the child to a baby sitter for the hundredth time—will shift the balance between real and unreal and render the child neurotic. That event I call the major Primal Scene. It is a time in the young child’s life when all the past humiliations, negations, and deprivations accumulate into an inchoate realization: “There is no hope of being loved for what I am.” It is then that the child defends himself against that catastrophic realization by becoming split from his feelings, and slips quietly into neurosis. The realization is not a conscious one. Rather, the child begins acting around his parents, and then elsewhere, in the manner expected by them. He says their words and does their thing. He acts unreal—i.e., not in accord with the reality of his own needs and desires. In a short time the neurotic behavior becomes automatic.

Neurosis involves being split, disconnected from one’s feelings. The more assaults on the child by the parents, the deeper the chasm between real and unreal. He begins to speak and move in prescribed ways, not to touch his body in proscribed areas (not to feel himself literally), not to be exuberant or sad, and so on. The split, however, is necessary in a fragile child. It is the reflexive (i.e., automatic) way the organism maintains its sanity. Neurosis, then, is the defense against catastrophic reality in order to protect the development and psychophysical integrity of the organism.

Neurosis involves being what one is not in order to get what doesn’t exist. If love existed, the child would be what he is, for that is love—letting someone be what he or she is. Then, nothing wildly traumatic need happen in order to produce neurosis. It can stem from forcing a child to punctuate every sentence with “please” and “thank you,” to prove how refined the parents are. It can also come from not allowing the child to complain when he is unhappy or to cry. Parents may rush in to quell sobs because of their anxiety. They may not permit anger—”nice girls don’t throw tantrums; nice boys don’t talk back”—to prove how respected the parents are; neurosis may also arise from making a child perform, such as asking him to recite poems at a party or solve abstract problems. Whatever form it takes, the child gets the idea of what is required of him quite soon. Perform, or else. Be what they want, or else—no love, or what passes for love: approval, a smile, a wink. Eventually the act comes to dominate the child’s life, which is passed in performing rituals and mouthing incantations in the service of his parents’ requirements. (pp. 25-26, emphases mine)

In Myth: Isaac’s “Primal Scene”

A good mythic reflection of the dynamics of this third fall from grace is the Abraham and Isaac story in Genesis. In the story, God “tempts” Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Therefore, the altar Isaac is to be sacrificed on is that of the parent’s own misapprehended growth needs.

What Is Meant by “Child Sacrifice”

Moreover, just as Isaac, the son, the child, is to be offered in sacrifice to Abraham’s relationship to the divine, to his supposed spiritual needs; so also we, most of us, are asked to forego our own dreams, our own unique directions, for the unfulfilled dreams, desperate hopes, and ego vanity of another—usually the same-sex parent.

Continue with Having Become “Them,” We Are Left Forever Asking “Who Am I?” The Third Fall From Grace, The Primal Scene, Part Two — The Philosophic Bands

Return to Becoming Not Yourself: The Centaur Stage of Infant and Toddler Learning Involves Learning You Are Not OK and Continues the Separation from Innate Divinity

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Continue with Having Become “Them,” We Are Left Forever Asking “Who Am I?” The Third Fall From Grace, The Primal Scene, Part Two — The Philosophic Bands

Return to Becoming Not Yourself: The Centaur Stage of Infant and Toddler Learning Involves Learning You Are Not OK and Continues the Separation from Innate Divinity

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Cellular Consciousness and The Chonyid Bardo: “Like a Prodigal Child, I Had Run Away from my Macrocosmic Home and Imprisoned Myself in a Narrow Microcosm.” (Paramahansa Yogananda)

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The Creation of Space, the Primary Dualism, and “the Appearance of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities”: The First Fall From Grace, Sperm/Egg and Conception, Part One

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First Fall From Grace

According to Wilber (1977), the primary dualism is the separation that first creates self and Other. Based upon both personal experience and study of several experiential growth modalities, I submit that this first fall from grace, the primary dualism, correlates ontogenetically with the phase of biological conception, more specifically with the creation of sperm and egg. Earlier I called this the first shutdown, which is the first time we have narrowed our consciousness, and I quoted Yogananda (1946), “Like a prodigal child, I had run away from my macrocosmic home and imprisoned myself in a narrow microcosm” (p. 168).

Wilber (1977) describes the characteristics of the primary dualism: “[T]his separation of subject from object marks the creation of space: the Primary Dualism itself creates space” (p. 120).

At the level of Mind, or Void, there is no form:

The Absolute Subjectivity is sizeless or spaceless, and therefore infinite; but with the rise of the Primary Dualism, the subject is illusorily separated from the object, and that separation, that “gap” between seer and seen, is nothing more than space itself. Man, in identifying exclusively with his organism as separated from his environment, necessarily creates the vast and grand illusion of space, the gap between man and his world. (Wilber, 1977, p. 120)

At the time of conception—specifically, with the creation of sperm and ovum—we have the emergence of form out of no-thing-ness (so to speak). That is, that there is the awareness of a separate thingness where before there was none. This awareness is referred to as cellular consciousness (Buchheimer, 1987; Farrant, 1987; Larimore, 1990a, 1990b). The memory we have of it is the earliest one we have of form within the frame of this particular physical form.

Cellular consciousness also relates to the beginnings of the Chonyid bardo, which, as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and reported by Wilber (1980, pp. 165-172), is a “period of the appearance of peaceful and wrathful deities” (p. 165). These appearances are caused by a contraction against the Clear Light, which transforms that Reality into “primordial seed forms of the peaceful deities (cf., Grof’s BPM I level of experience in the womb) and these in turn, if resisted and denied, are transformed into the wrathful deities” (p. 165) (cf., Grof’s BPM II and III levels of pre- and perinatal experience—but more about these processes in the next sections). This is the time when—having missed the opportunity for mergence with the Clear Light during the Chikhai bardo, which occurs after death of the previous incarnation—one begins fleeing into form once again, attracted by the “impure lights” and “substitute gratifications” (p. 166).

That a separate consciousness exists here, at this cellular level, at least in the “reflections” that we call memory, is also evident in the research of psychedelics (Grof, 1976, 1980, 1985; Masters and Houston, 1967), in the re-experience that occurs in experiential psychotherapy and in the memory retrieval acquired through hypnosis (Gabriel (1992); Wambach, 1979). [Footnote 1].

The Breaking of the Vessels and the Scattering of the Divine Sparks

Shoham’s (1990) primary phase of separation is birth.

Nevertheless, with the additional perspective of pre- and perinatal psychology and of experiential psychotherapy we can add to and alter this formulation. Shoham writes, “In the first phase of separation, man is ejected from the comfortable womb and cruelly exposed to the elements in a manner that was recorded mytho-empirically in the Kabbalist catastrophe of the breaking of the vessels” (p. 35). Of course, I disagree with this. As stated at the beginning of this chapter, in the first phase of separation the individual leaves the godhead and generates form in the creation of sperm and ovum.

That the interpretation of the myth needs to placed farther back in time, into the womb, is indicated even in Shoham’s words, where he speaks of a “theurgic symbiosis and partnership between man and God” (p. 35). “Symbiosis” relates to the flow in <—> flow out feeling described as characterizing the BPM I or blissful womb state, i.e., before birth. It is indeed correct to describe this time also as a “partnership between man and God” in that the fetus feels that all its needs are immediately responded to as well as it partakes of the emotional-psychic field of its mother (the experiential analogue of whom is “God”).

Continue with In the Beginning, the “Thin Pipe From Infinity” … “Emanated Light Into the World”: We Begin with “Contraction” … Biological and Spiritual … How We Tell Ourselves That in Myth

Return to Mythology Tells the Tale of Our Lives as Cells: “Whatever Happened to Us in the Amnestic Years … Is Projected Toward Cosmogony, Magic, and Other Human Beings.”

To Read the Entire Book … free, on-line … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

Footnote

1. Evidence from experiential psychotherapy is from Graham Farrant’s work as reported by him at various PPPANA conferences, in Aesthema (January 1987) and in the International Primal Association Newsletters, winter and summer, 1990; in works such as Gabriel, 1992; Hannig, 1982; Lake, 1981, 1982; and Noble, 1993; and from personal experience in primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork, among many other sources.

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Continue with In the Beginning, the “Thin Pipe From Infinity” … “Emanated Light Into the World”: We Begin with “Contraction” … Biological and Spiritual … How We Tell Ourselves That in Myth

Return to Mythology Tells the Tale of Our Lives as Cells: “Whatever Happened to Us in the Amnestic Years … Is Projected Toward Cosmogony, Magic, and Other Human Beings.”

To Read the Entire Book … free, on-line … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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“I Went from Birth to an Intrauterine State to Conception to Floating in the Icy Vastness of Space”: Levels of Pain, Levels of Bliss and the First Shutdown

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Experiences of Overwhelming Energy and Joy Have Been Described: A Primal Perspective, Part Six — Four Levels of Psychedelic Experience and a Primal Spirituality

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LSD Therapy

The strongest support for the alternative explanation, however, comes from research done by Stanislav Grof with LSD. Grof has described the reliving of traumatic experiences from childhood, birth, and in the womb, of people under the influence of LSD, that seem almost identical to experiences described by primalers. [Footnote 5]

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Four Levels of Deep, Psychedelic Experience

Grof delineates four levels of the drug state, each deeper than the preceding one: the aesthetic, the psychodynamic, the perinatal, and the transpersonal. These also represent a progression in that the usual course, over a series of LSD sessions, is to go beyond the initial levels, after having experienced and resolved the particular tasks/problems on those levels (1970, pp. 19-20). Consequently, the transpersonal level is only reached by persons in advanced stages of LSD therapy.

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The psychodynamic and perinatal level experiences, although containing additional symbolic elements not always found in the primal process, show striking similarities to experiences of what Janov has termed “second-line” and “first-line” pain.

Levels of Primal Experience, Levels of Pain

First-line pain is preverbal. It relates to traumatic experiences that occurred en utero, at birth, and for a period of about six months after birth. There is a life and death urgency about these kinds of feelings, relating as they do to a time of complete helplessness and dependence on others and an inability to separate one’s self from painful experience by conceptualizing it. This kind of pain often relates to matters of biological necessity, and the memories of the traumatic experiences are registered in subcortical parts of the brain. First-line appears to be identical to Grof’s perinatal level of the unconscious.

Second-line pain is more verbal and relates to traumatic or hurtful events from childhood, after the child has begun to use concepts to structure his or her experience. The memories associated with this level are more accessible to consciousness, registered, as they are, in the cortex. Second-line appears to be identical to Grof’s psychodynamic or biographical level.

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Levels of Pain, Levels of Bliss

The manner in which these levels are experienced, the progression from later and more accessible to earlier and deeper, the way that the pains are resolved, and the manner in which unresolved pains influence postsession intervals—all seem to be similar and often identical in the primal and the LSD experiences.

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However, one striking difference exists. Beyond the “primal” levels of the LSD experience, Grof has described experiences of a transpersonal nature that do not appear to have any roots in the personal pain of the participant and appear to be experiences sui generis. The experiences on this level are incredibly varied and range from past-incarnation experiences to ancestral memories, certain kinds of archetypal experiences, and, on what appears to be its most profound level, consciousness of “Universal Mind” and “Metacosmic Void.”

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Primal-Spiritual Feelings

The question naturally arises as to why primalers who are able to experience psychodynamic and perinatal phenomena without drugs are not reported to be contacting feelings of a transpersonal nature. Contrary to Janov’s published reports, there are some indications of it occurring. Some long-term primalers with whom I have contact have talked of receiving love, helping, strength, or bliss that seemed to be coming from a place beyond the scope of their current physical existence, to be emanating from a “higher power” of some sort. Their descriptions have many parallels to some descriptions of spiritual experience.

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“I Was Three Things: Sperm, Egg, and a Cosmic Life Force.”

Experiences of overwhelming energy and joy have been described. One person used the terms “cosmic life force,” “cosmic energy,” and “God power” to describe his experience. He remarked that it was of such intensity that it would have been too much to experience at an earlier stage in his therapy and related it to a time before he was conceived. He said that he had the realization that “I was three things: sperm, egg, and a cosmic life force.”

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Another primaler, Belden Johnson (1991) described his experience:

In a sort of sped-up time-lapse film that ran quickly backwards, I went from birth to an inter-uterine state to conception to floating in the icy vastness of space, surrounded by the faint light pricks of distant stars. At first my Observer-mind came in with, “Hm. Symbolic ideation. The soul floating in space between embodiments and all that.”

But he quickly changed his diagnosis:

“Nope. You’re a tiny part of the whole shtick , old boy. An atom in space, a mote of consciousness, a tiny fragment of the God head.” (p. 54)

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The First Shutdown

0034-icarus61It is no coincidence that these last two experiences revolve around conception and cellular consciousness. Indeed, our sense is that these spiritual experiences often are related to gaining access to a time before the first “shutdown,” which is the first time that trauma forces a retreat from one’s full capabilities and consciousness. Our experience has been that the time before initial shutdown varies among people, but usually ranges from before the fertilization of the egg to some time en utero.

Exactly when and how this shutdown occurs will be the major theme of the rest of this book, Falls from Grace. While the time of major shutdown appears to vary, shutting down or retreat from full capabilities appears to happen gradually, and in stages—with earlier access correlating with relatively more spiritual, transpersonal access.

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Footnote

5. Grof (1980, p. 10) acknowledges the convergence of LSD therapy and primal therapy.

Continue with The Joy Beneath the Pain and Positive Possibilities of Experiential Process: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Seven — The Roots of Bliss

Return to Approaching the “Source”: Right-Left Brain Integration, Theta Waves … Hypnogogic Experiences, and Delta Waves … A Nightly Return to Our Roots in the Infinite

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Rebirthing Rituals, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and the Value of Popular Culture in Awakening: The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.

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Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace

Societal Self-Analysis

Culture War Replaced Cold War

We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.

This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.

Talk Show Soul-Searching

For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.

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We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.

Sitcom Socialization

To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. father-knows-bestYet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.

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This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.

A Modern “Priesthood”

This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.

Keeping the People Down

Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.

Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.

Therapy for the Masses

At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.

We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.

Rebirth Denied

My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.

American Rehab

Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.

If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.

Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.

Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.

As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight

The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.

For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?

America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price

The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.

What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?

It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?

Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation

Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.

We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!

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Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations

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“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?

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Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation

clip_image0033So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most Painted Glass Ball Illusion“advanced” mode of butterfly-transformationchild-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.

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Grof_AdventureSelf-Discoveryiconclip_image0053Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]

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“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation

clip_image007_thumbNo doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. 181264_233235313453542_936852846_nThey sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]

These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.

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clip_image0091These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”

Let the Buck Stop Here!

CD_0094MillionProtestersDisappearNonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.

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If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

baker_conceptioniconwe.said.let.the.buck.stop.hereWhat virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.

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We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.

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While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”

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While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. rainbowThey called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.

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candle.666655jpgSo our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.

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What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .

Wall Street Protest

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Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise

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A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

A Drive to Healing

We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!

Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]

clip_image002These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events clip_image004that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.

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What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?

Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

clip_image008In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.

clip_image009To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.

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So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.

What Might We Expect?

Millennial Promise

clip_image011What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.

“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”

clip_image012For, as Janov has pointed out, closer to one’s Pain—one’s unconscious—is closer to being real. And this closeness holds out the possibility both of healing…and of self-destruction.

From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.

Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming

Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.

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Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly clip_image016widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.

We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.

Footnote

1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.

2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”

3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

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The Cycle of All Events, the Evolution of Parenting, and Auspicious Collective Regressions: Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One

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What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide and the Necessary Mess of Transformation: Hard to Believe, But We’re Getting Saner

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Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

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There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope

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The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope

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Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals

clip_image002clip_image004At the point when the perinatal unconscious arises, individuals — and collectively, society — have the choice to turn toward the emergence of these feelings or to turn away from them.

In turning toward these feelings we embrace, feel, and if we go deeply enough into that, we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.

clip_image006In turning away from them we shun them, act them out, and are enslaved by them…thus we act unconsciously, trance-like, zombie-like.

If we face these inner forces—we call that feeling them…in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth—we integrate them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.

Satan.symbolCD_0094Or the individual and society can avoid this going within—as depicted in the peace symbol—and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down—the Satan symbol, the pentagram.

one.tries.to.be.strongIn acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. POSSESSED-PERSONOne tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” maya-deren-photo-of-her1This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can take over one’s soul.

So in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out…the greatest struggle.

Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process.clip_image012 It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth. The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill. [Footnote 1]

For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.

A “Spiral Dance”

These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain—this birth trauma—in an unending cycle of feelings having these components

    • Periods of feelings of expansion
    • Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
    • Aggression
    • Release

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Ritter3Tao_YinYangEarth2Then back around again.

In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war…the struggle, the battle…is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression…akin to a kind of “limbo”…before life can begin anew. A reconception is necessary.

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The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives

pt654_84-croppedThe reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this reconceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength—akin to the expansion that follows winning. C11Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

highlights_pk2And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battle truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.

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Where There Is Real Hope

facefeelingsagainandagainvulnerableinwombIt would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. But progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically BreathofLife (3)transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior zombie_reaganor we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.

Self-Reflection-in-a-Cup-of-TeaWe are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways KumbayaCrowdof dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way—and some ways are better than others for doing this—so that we can have some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.

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Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy

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Railing Against the Darkness, The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, and Social Progress Requires Regression

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The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”

pt654_84-croppedWhat we absolutely don’t have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability—through will or reason alone—to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and hence of positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them.more-easily-irritated Trying to reason with and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as trying to reason with a lizard and convince it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a gila monster.

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What We Call “Reason” Is Largely Just Rationalization

This impotence of intellectual understanding in the face of these patterns of self-destruction occurs because these schemas are rooted in memories existing in an emotional and entirely dissociated part of the brain, which is hardly touched by neocortical admonishing of any kind. As deMause correctly points out,

[The fetus’s] “early experiences have been found to be recorded in a separate early neural network—a dissociated emotional memory system centering in the amygdala, quite distinct from the declarative memory system centering in the hippocampus that is established in later childhood.” [Footnote 2]

Disclaiming these cycles, which inevitably pass through darkness, and reliance on “will-power” to change one’s patterns, which includes self-sabotage, has been exposed in its impotence in modern times. We see as evidence the growing acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness and, indeed, counter-effectiveness of psychoanalysis. [Footnote 3]

Railing Against the Darkness

So the question begging to be asked is “What do we do about it?” What do we do about these pernicious cycles?

bill-owensclip_image002And when these elements erupt in society in harmless, possibly healing ways, how do we view them? Do we, as Mayr and Boelderl do in their article, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe,” decry the regression…as if by disclaiming it we could somehow keep the cycle from happening? [Footnote 4]

Mayr and Boelderl write, for example, that the situation of collective regression in Europe “strikes us as being high-explosive [sic] and bitter enough.” [Footnote 5]

In another place they exclaim, “What is horrible about this insight [about the increasing collective regression in Europe] is the additional observation that regression is becoming still more radical.” [Footnote 6]

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This response of railing against the “Darkness” is a Freudian response. Yet it is not even a neo-Freudian one, since regression in the service of the ego—which began to be seen as ever more important by neo-Freudians—is not acknowledged, let alone considered.

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Social Progress Requires Regression

406327_251312034972552_198185372_ngeologicallycuriousThat regression in the service of the ego is not considered is confirmed by Mayr and Boelderl in their statement that “[R]egression by definition is a process of repression and a defense mechanism.” [Footnote 7]

These are surprising words, in light of the concept of regression in the service of the ego and awareness of the clinically based evolution of psychotherapeutic theory since Freud’s original postulations, over a half-century ago.

death-as-an-allyclip_image004They are even more awry if one considers the universal, cross-cultural, implementation by societies of rebirthing rituals to handle the same kinds of forces we are confronted with. The anthropological literature is rife with these accounts.

Further, Grof has meticulously shown that regularly going into altered states of consciousness where one confronts this material is a prime function of cultures, and it occurs nearly universally although it is woefully lacking in Western culture for the most part.

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Moreover, these words by Mayr and Boelderl indicate a conflict with or ignorance of the fact that deMause’s theory of evolution of historical change requires regression on the part of parents, while parenting their children, as the primary “engine” of sociopsychological progress.

For deMause writes,

“[T]he ultimate source of all historical change is psychogenesis, the lawful change in childrearing modes occurring through generational pressure…. Psychogenesis depends upon the ability of parents and surrogates to regress to the psychic age of their children and work through the anxieties of that age better the second time than in their own childhood.” (op. cit., 1982, p. 135, emphasis mine.)

clip_image006satanBut this mistake by these two social scientists would not be all that important if it was not the perfect example of the kind of uninformed attitude we have, generally speaking, in Western societies about these forces. This attitude is reinforced by a Judeo-Christian tradition of specialness and scapegoating in the West. It is a pervasive feeling about these things; specifically it, itself, is the actual defense. While this is a widespread reaction to our inner realities it is far from science, and even further from the truth or reality about these things.

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“Stop It!” … Yeah, That’s Gonna Work

At any rate, if we adopt this Western, Judeo-Christian, Freudian tactic of decrying the darkness, we are as effective in derailing the cycle of violence and war as Freudians are in what amounts to admonishing their clients to “stop it!” when it comes to their neurotic self-sabotaging.

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For people cannot will themselves to merely stop their cycles of neurotic self-sabotage and self-destruction, which are the individual manifestations/ acting out of their birth traumas. As mentioned these directors of action operate out of a different part of the psyche, and brain, than one’s conscious willing part. They are simply not accessible, so hardly amenable, to rational or willful input. And changing one’s thoughts to affect them is about as helpful as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.

Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One: Auspicious Collective Regressions

People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”

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Regression in the Service of the Ego

With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.

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doctor-handing-pills-to-a-patientEponahorsegoddessThese schools/strategies include the psychiatric—the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the ego in a higher Self (a spiritual center) beyond or transcending the cycles. [Footnote 8]

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cant.luxury.negative.thoughtOther approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these.

normal_ButterflyOfHealingFINAL_LG_Jpg2Finally, these newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy, which includes primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of (experiential) meditation (Vipassana meditation, for example), Reichian and healingcrisisbioenergetic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy—experiential ones—ones that involve reliving traumas—and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology.

reunionThe point is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives—and all of those that acknowledge the importance of 947867-lightdarkness_largeregression in the service of the ego—and from the perspective of the entire field of experiential psychotherapy, the answer to the cycles of violence, war, and death-rebirth is to stop the acting out, not by simply intellectually decrying it—as if one can actually talk oneself out of one’s inner fears and one’s Darkness/Shadow—but by reliving those cycles of violence at their origins…their primal roots. In the case of perinatal forces, those forces from “the dark side,” this is accomplished by reliving the violence of birth, a perinatal trauma that is thoroughly and masterfully delineated by Grof and deMause. [Footnote 9]

Auspicious Collective Regressions

But from this perspective of experiential psychotherapy—one completely congruent with and grateful of deMause’s contributions in psychohistory as well—regression, in Europe, or elsewhere, is not seen as something to decry, disclaim, be horrified of, or be seen as dangerous but is seen as an opportunity. Regression is certainly not seen as a form of defense but as the opposite of that. Regression is part of a process of diminishing one’s defenses against one’s internal reality of pain and trauma.

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Thus, examples of blatant collective regression as in Europe—more so to the extent they are relived, released, and integrated—are entirely auspicious for the eventual elimination of war as a collective device of acting out—defending against—the painful feelings coming from one’s personal history which one carries around, all unknowingly, and which pervade, in one way or another, in forms subtle and not so subtle, every moment of one’s consciousness in the present.

From this experiential psychotherapeutic perspective, we have a different feeling about developments like those that Mayr and Boelderl describe as collective regression in Europe and Lawson describes as occurring at rock concerts. [Footnote 10]

From a more enlightened viewpoint these cultural phenomena should have us, if not dancing in the streets, at least hopeful of a gradual decrease in the use of war and violence. Why? It is because the youth who display this “regression” so blatantly were brought up by an “advanced” form of child-rearing than that of previous generations, that they have fewer defenses, fewer layers of obfuscation covering up their unconscious psychodynamics; consequently the regression is seen more clearly in their behavior. [Footnote 11]

Unflinching Belief Related to Total Dissociation

Why is this important? DeMause points out that people do go to war, and that prior to it their perinatal dynamics come to the fore, as evidenced by perinatal-laden words and images in the media and in leaders’ speeches used to describe the situation and its dynamics. Thus, our leaders take us into war, they act out their perinatal dynamics…and we in following them act out ours…in such gruesomely overt ways because these dynamics are so hidden, repressed, and overlaid with defenses that the conscious mind has absolutely no access to, and hence insight into, them as being part of one’s unconscious dynamics.

clip_image008Consequently the conscious mind is completely able to convince itself that those dynamics are actual, real, and doubtless parts of the situation and therefore require an actual, real, and extreme response. The amount of resolve required to act out war can only be wrought of an unflinching belief in the rightness, the absolute correctness of one’s perspective of the situation and therefore of that extreme course of response. And that can only be brought about by a total dissociation from one’s perinatal traumas, and a complete and utter projection of it on the outside—the enemy, to be specific.

Blatant “Sickness” Related to Being Real

The contrary is also true: When there does not exist that total and complete dissociation of the perinatal trauma—when it is, as in Europe and rock concerts currently, closer to the surface, less defended against, less repressed and, hence, more blatant—it is more accessible to consciousness and less likely to be acted out in the extreme as in war. Instead it is more likely to be acted out in less extreme forms, such as jumping into mosh pits, carrying pacifiers, listening to baby tunes about the, very real, difficulties of being a baby, and so on.

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Finally, it is more likely to be actually allowed to emerge in consciousness and be relived, and thereby “healed”…and gone beyond, to be replaced by something more benign and more socially constructive, and thus to be removed forever as a motivation to war or violence. This is the auspicious view of the developments described by Mayr and Boelderl. [Footnote 12]

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Janov was the first to point out that a permanent resolution of underlying trauma initially entailed an aggravation of symptoms and symbolic acting out. That is to say, the underlying dynamics become more blatant and apparent in behavior. [Footnote 13]

Janov was also the first to note that the acting-out and overt neurotic was closer to being “real,” and therefore really sane, than his or her highly functioning and “normal,” but repressed, rigidly defended, and unfeeling neighbor. [Footnote 14]

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The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History: I Know It’s Hard to Believe But We’ve Been Getting Saner

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Thanks to You We’re Getting Saner: The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History

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Evolution of Parenting – We’ve Been Getting Saner

Finally, the correctness of the view that being “crazy” in an insane world might be more sane has been borne out in recent history. DeMause describes an evolution of parenting from ancient times to the present which involved ever decreasing psychosis and violence and increasing caring and consciousness of the needs of children. He connects this decrease in violent child caring to ever decreasing violence and psychotic acting out in societies.

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DeMause labels the most common modern parenting mode the socializing mode. Short of the quite recent helping mode—which only really rose to prominence in the last three decades—the socializing mode is the most advanced and most humane.

Lest there be any confusion, I wish to point out that my own theoretical first_peopleunderstanding differs from deMause’s in one important respect. While I agree with his evolution of child-rearing over the course of civilization and within recorded time, I believe he is wrong about prehistory and what primal peoples were like and the kind of child-caring they engaged in. He depicts prehistoric societies as psychotically oblivious of the needs of children, engaging in, first, infanticidal; then, second, abandoning; then, third, ambivalent modes of child-rearing. Whereas it seems to me the overwhelming evidence and increasing numbers of anthropologists point to a natural “organic” child-caring being employed in the the mists of the past quite a bit more “advanced” than even many modes employed today.

kapstadt-wandern-mit-pavianenI believe the change from the loving parenting we see in many primal peoples and in Nature among many of our planetmates to the infanticidal, abandoning, and ambivalent modes he has described for early historic cultures is a product of that ever increasing control of Nature that went into full gear with the agrarian revolution, some ten to twenty-five thousand years ago. So, I am saying that brutal parenting was a consequence of “civilization” and was at its worst at the beginnings of recorded time.

But I agree we have been gradually evolving to better modes of child-caring over the history of civilization to the most sane and psychologically beneficial modes employed in recent decades, which, you might want to note, are very much like the modes of the earliest humans. I describe why and how we lost our connection with Nature and loving ways of parenting—how we left “Eden”—in my book and blog “The Great Reveal.”

The Cycles of Time

I believe my understanding shows once again how much of what modern folks thought of “development”—including it being linear and increasing from “darkness” to “light” with ourselves always at the top (conveniently)—is wrong and merely part of an anthropocentric bias and an ethnocentric heritage. For more and more, as we lay down those blinders to reality, we notice the evidence of the cyclical nature of everything—from our lives (ashes to ashes) to the physical Universe’s expansion and contraction, to the vibrations at the subatomic level, the waves in the sea, the turning of the Earth and the revolutions of the solar systems, and I contend now also, the so-called “history” of our species on Earth. This is the thoroughly postmodern idea that human time is also cyclical, with over and again peoples returning to earlier halcyon times only to “fall” away from them.

The Worst of Times Quality of Current Events

This idea of time as cyclical not linear is in keeping with Eastern philosophies, as well as indigenous ones. Hindu thinking currently has us at the depths of the Kali Yuga, the worst part of the cycle right now, with matters to be reversed very soon and the best of times just ahead. And, as I have been describing in my books Falls from Grace and Primal Renaissance and will be directly pointing out in my upcoming book, Primal Return, we are currently seeing a most necessary return to a more harmonious way of being and a more natural self. And with it, requiring it, to some extent preceding it, we are evolving to the most advanced mode of loving parenting.

The “Best of Times” Nature of Our Parenting

Psychohistorian Glenn Davis, following deMause, analyzed the most advanced form of child-caring short of the most recent helping mode—the psychogenic parenting mode deMause termed socializing—and found that it comprised four submodes. In order, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century and each one a more “evolved” and humane one than the previous one, they are the submodes of psychic control, aggressive training, vigorous guidance, and delegated release. [Footnote 15]

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Oh, Be-HAVE. WWII Generation … Received Aggressive-Training and Vigorous-Guidance Parenting

Davis concluded that in America the Vietnam War was perpetrated by individuals belonging almost entirely to the aggressive-training and vigorous-guidance psychoclasses. [Footnote 16]

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Questioning Authority and Oneself Is Good. Boomers … Received Delegated Release Parenting

clip_image0048065543_origYet the Vietnam War was brought to an end largely as a result of the efforts of an antiwar movement whose largest component was a Sixties youth brought up under a more advanced delegated-release child-caring mode. [Footnote 17]

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The delegated release mode, which resulted in the phenomenon of Sixties youth and the counterculture, is the most “advanced” mode short of the helping mode.

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“Let’s Collaborate” – Millennials. Received the Most Advanced Parenting – Helping … “We Just Want You to Be Happy.”

trust-father-sonboyjumpintomanshandsclip_image006The helping mode is the child-caring mode employed widely by the Sixties generation for their children, the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y. So, a helping mode of parenting was enjoyed by the children of a delegated-release psychoclass, the Boomers. Sixties youth are seen, psychologically, to have the most the most “advanced” ego structures short of their children taught within a helping mode. [Footnote 18]

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What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide – Peace Is Painful: But Better Psychotic Than Warring

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Ending War and Humanicide—Peace Is Worth its Price of Suffering: Better “Emotionally Disturbed” Than “Healthily” Fighting in War

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Walking In Another’s Moccasins

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It is obvious that these Sixties youth did not have the same unflinching and unqualified belief in the absolute rightness of their country’s position in Vietnam as did many of their parents. clip_image009[1]This is obviously the case in a psychoclass of youth chanting a generational mantra, “Question authority!” and whose more extreme members would at times even go over to the perspective of seeing the war from the eyes of the “enemy,” the Other.

As I mentioned earlier, among the Sixties Generation we saw Jane Fonda’s journey to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags by protesters, clip_image011[2]and the carrying of little red books on the sayings of Chairman Mao. These are obvious indicators that the generation as a whole was open to seeing the war from the North Vietnamese perspective: That is, as a conflict perpetrated by a foreign nation that was hypocritical in its espousal of democracy in that it prevented democratic elections that would have without doubt elected Ho Chi Minh and instead it installed a puppet-ruler in the South, making Vietnam a virtual colony of the United States. From this perspective, the clip_image013_thumb[3]Vietnam War was for the Vietnamese as much a war for independence as the American Revolution was for the U.S.

This is just an example of how there are two sides to every issue and how an attempt at empathy or “walking in The Other’s moccasins”—made possible by a closeness to a perinatal unconscious that is also an opposite perspective than that of the conscious mind—can lead, at the minimum, to the reluctance necessary to prevent engaging in at least the most blatant and horrific forms of violence…against others, but consider also, against Nature.

The Perinatal Generation

clip_image0143At any rate, is there evidence that this undermining of the self-righteous position necessary for the instigation and carrying out of war and ecocide—this ability to see at least somewhat from The Other’s perspective and not just one’s own—is in truth correlated with a closeness to perinatal dynamics, a closeness to the unconscious for that generation of youth, those of the Sixties? The answer: Absolutely yes!

clip_image016_thumbAs mentioned in a previous part, sociologist Kenneth Keniston did psychological studies of members of the Sixties Generation.

He was inspired to do so through his noticing that he was seeing something really unusual and radically different in these youth than what he had ever seen. This led to his fascination with discovering what made them so different. And he documented his findings in two books—The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society and Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. Roughly speaking he chose to study the unconscious dynamics of both the “alienated-hippie” and the “activist” sectors, respectively, of that generation. [Footnote 19]

Blushing Troll-Handlers

pacifier.millennial.gen_thumbbill-owens_thumbAt the risk of repeating myself, I wish to remind the reader that a reading of his books—keeping in mind that Keniston knew nothing of perinatal dynamics at that time, and few people did, for that matter—reveals a degree of perinatal imagery, fantasy, and acting out—especially among “the uncommitted”—enough to make a troll-handling, pacifier-wearing, mosh-pit jumping youth of today to blush! [Footnote 20]

Self-Analysis and Psychological-Mindedness

woman-looking-in-mirror_thumbcandle.666655jpg_thumbBecause of this peculiar perinatal access, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that Keniston also found an unusual amount of inner reflection—questioning oneself—alongside the more well known questioning authority. This he labeled “overexamined life” for the alienated sector and “psychological mindedness” for the activists.

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Better Emotionally Disturbed Than “Healthily” Engaging in War

So, being close to one’s perinatal imprints, being less defended against one’s inner unconscious painful memories, leads to one being able to question not just oneself—and therefore to be a catalyst to personal growth and a quest for truth—but also the actions of one’s society. It is a counterbalance to our tendency to act out in violence to others as in war and to Nature as in ecocide. It means people will suffer more inner turmoil and pain, will feel more psychologically “disturbed,” and will be less likely to take it out on others, will be less likely to make others or the environment “pay” for what happened to them.

Let us contrast that with its opposite. DeMause writes,

Hitler’s projection of his fears…into Jews and foreigners helped him avoid a psychotic breakdown and enabled him to function during his later life, as long as others shared his delusion of poisonous enemies.

Therefore acting out collectively, as in war, can prevent a psychotic breakdown in certain individuals.

Better Psychotic Than Waging War

clip_image0173But when the consequences of acting out one’s birth trauma, collectively, is millions of people—including oneself—dead, not to mention the uncountably large loss of material and personal resources, it is clear that by comparison a psychotic breakdown is a more benign alternative for either the individual or the society in which that or those individuals act.

Similarly, not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual…oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a “rite of passage”…would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.

Some folks might even be motivationally paralyzed—receiving information from the unconscious that contradicts and undermines the stance and beliefs of their conscious ego. But when that egoistic stance is slanted, commonly, towards war, violence, selfishness and greed and corresponding environmental apathy, then better one would be indecisive, overwhelmed, and doing nothing.

The Price of Emotional Pain Is Minuscule Compared to That of War

Yet it is true that this neurotic breakdown, of at least a small amount, on the scale of society would result in the kind of collective regressions that Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson describe. That is, the cause of peace, of the saving of human lives, requires that people pay the price of encountering their primal pain.

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clip_image019[1]By all measures, this peace price is minuscule. It is even more worth it when you take into account the fact that many people, after initially “breaking down” for lack of a collective…and highly destructive…act-out like war/aggression, will actually succeed in reconstructing a self more in line with reality, through the dynamics and means categorized under the term regression in the service of the ego, desccribed above. Regardless of professional help…which would be nice but is not always available or practical…some people just find a way.

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Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Footnotes

1. A. Briend, “Fetal Malnutrition: The Price of Upright Posture?” British Medical Journal 2 (1979): 317-319.

2. DeMause, op. cit., 1995, p. 12, emphasis in original.

3. See, for example, Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, trans. by Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, especially “Vantage Point 1990,” pp. vii-ix.

4. Daniela F. Mayr & Artur R. Boelderl, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe.” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (1993): 143-156.

5. Ibid., p. 144.

6. Ibid., p. 148, emphasis mine.

7. Ibid., pp. 149-150.

8. Regarding the “experiential,” I should make clear that this approach is, from the perspective of the experiential psychotherapeutic approach I will be describing shortly, actually the superficial symbolic acting out of these underlying and powerful cycles in a way that is only a little less impotent than the Freudians.

9. DeMause, op. cit., 1995.

10. Alvin H. Lawson, “Placental Guitars, Umbilical Mikes, and the Maternal Rock-Beat: Birth Fantasies and Rock Music Videos.” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (1994): 335-353.

11. Mayr and Boelderl claim quite wrongly and quite strangely—as if to make the facts not conflict with DeMause’s psychogenic theory, or as if to cover up some hole in their analysis—that those caught up in the pacifier craze were raised under the intrusive and socializing parenting modes (op. cit., 1993, p. 145) and yet, in 1992, were between the ages of 15 and 30 (Ibid., p. 143). This is hard to understand because these youth would have been born between the years 1962 and 1977 in advanced Western countries of mostly Western Europe—Italy, Germany, Austria, all of Europe, and even the U.S. (Ibid.).

However, the intrusive and socializing modes are associated, by DeMause, with the eighteenth century and the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, respectively, in the Western world (DeMause, op. cit., 1982, p. 62). On the other hand, the helping mode begins mid-twentieth century in the Western world (Ibid., p. 63).

The conclusion from this is that these youth, described by Mayr and Boelderl, would have been greatly influenced by the helping mode. They would be expected, at least, to have received the most advanced methods of child-caring overall in the world at this time—considering DeMause’s theory—since they are the most recent progeny of the Western world!

Indeed, if these cannot be considered products of the helping mode, who can be? In order for Mayr and Boelderl to dispute this and claim they were exceptions to the rule and were raised under intrusive and socializing modes, they would have had to do a study demonstrating this, or at least cite one done. And this they do not do.

12. Michael D. Adzema, “Reunion With the Positive (Self), Part 1: The Other Half of ‘The Cure.’” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 1(2): 72-85. Reprinted on the Primal Spirit site.

13. Arthur Janov, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis. New York: Dell, 1970.

14. Ibid.

15. Glenn Davis, Childhood and History in America. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1976.

16. Ibid., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and the Youth Revolt,” and p. 240.

17. Ibid.

18.Ibid., p. 241.

19. Kenneth Keniston, The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society. New York: Dell, 1965; Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968.

20.While these aspects of youth are laid out by Keniston, a fuller delineation of these dynamics are to be seen in my work-in-progress, tentatively titled The Once and Current Generation: “Regression,” Mysticism, and “My Generation.” [Stay tuned.]

Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

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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.

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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.

Denial and Incest Taboo

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

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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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Back to the Drawing Board for Our Species and a Call to Centaurs: You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting for … This Is Our Time … And the Time Is NOW

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Eden Arise and a Message to All Wounded Deer and Centaurs: It’s a Consciousness Revolution, Aided by Gaia We Are Rediscovering Our Natural Self

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Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Fifteen: Eden Arise and a Call to Centaurs

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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

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Through Gaia’s Eyes, Eden Arise: Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created, We Are Forced Inward to Rediscover Our Deeper, More Cooperative Human Nature

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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_nIn doing the research for this book, 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! I 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.

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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

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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 1]

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.

“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?

A Call to Centaurs

Obviously it is too soon to tell. But all things considered—an emerging perinatal unconscious, the wounded deers and return of the centaurs, a consciousness transformation in generations, and Gaia aiding us by keeping us unable to look away from our problems—there is reason to hope.

Most important, this book shows that some of the things we have thought were problems and indicative of a disintegration of culture and personality are just the opposite: There is a healing crisis going on, and people are becoming weller, not sicker. If nothing else my hope is that those wounded deer and centaurs reading this will realize they need no longer despair about the suffering inherent in who they are and their lots in life. Certainly, you are different, but this does not make you less than others. Indeed, you are part of the change happening. You are the ones you have been waiting for. Your inner turmoil is not a sign of imminent collapse and is not dangerous. It is more likely leading to a break through, not a break down.

As Hesse expressed long ago, a bird in being born out of its shell needs to destroy a world before one can be born. We also are being born; we are part of the world’s renewal, the Earth’s rebirth. So above all, do not lose heart. Instead embrace your role in this transformation. We do not know whether we will succeed or not. But we do know that we are in tune with and participating in the most incredible transformation this planet has ever seen. We have the opportunity to be lifted up in the most righteous and magnificent of causes.

And in so doing we can step out of our individual sufferings by dedicating ourselves to an effort on behalf of all others. In so doing we can cease the endless pain and woundedness of the melancholy deer. We can, like Chiron, embrace our wound and transcend it by seeking the healing of all. We can ultimately lay our suffering down in sacrifice to save our Promethean world. It cannot do it. It is doomed without us. It is up to us. We are the Centaurs, my friends.

Continue with next book: The Great Reveal by SillyMickel and the Planetmates

Return to Psychology of Generations —The Changing of the Generational Guard: Why There Is Less Violence but More Depression…. And What’s Good About That

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