The Eighteenth Descent — Culture: The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture:
The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
— which is Chapter 26 of *Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man* by Michael Adzema
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture:
The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
“Such a fury we unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep us from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of our horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside us.”
The expulsion from Paradise that came with sedentary ways demanded increasingly complex, however vapid, entrancements — ritual and mores — of culture as compensation, however empty, for the loss.
In becoming increasingly dominating, sycophantic, and emotionless, we created an emptiness within. To compensate, we created outside us in our social environment a maze-like, fantastical panorama — likened most recently to a matrix.
In this chapter I disclose the horror we do not want to know about ourselves and our beliefs.
Wrong-Gettedness … Culture
So the advantage to the survival of the individual newborn — however rooted, as it was, in the twisted motivations of the adults tending to them — of learning to be obsequious, inauthentically pleasing, and repressive of one’s needs and expression became also the backbone of what humans call culture. For the lack of direct inner knowledge — the lack of connection to instinct, for example — that characterizes humans and was increasingly selected for with the predominance of controlling-conforming-appealing-nonexpression traits in humans, led to the ever-expanding overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence. Humankind grew ever more fanciful and unnecessary traits, needs, desires, behaviors, wants, obsessions, compulsions, beliefs, visions, and thoughts — all subsumed under Ego — out of this separation from natural ways, this split from Nature, this estrangement from the Divine, this “expulsion from Paradise.”
On the societal level, the cumulative result, or manifestation, of all individual egos — with all their infinite, however twisted, complexity — is what we term culture. Culture is the human substitute for the instinct we would otherwise have, just as Ego is the substitute for Self — Self meaning identity with Divinity. Being a separation from Divinity and Nature, culture is a separation from Truth as well. The Unapproved and Hidden — the Truth of humans not contained in any culture and whose essence is revealed in this book — is Truth that we do not know … cannot and will not know. Culture is what we erect in its stead: It is the overt representation of wrong-gettedness.
Is Culture Untrue?
“Is culture all untrue?” you are thinking. Well, no. It is true in a limited way. It is true in the same way the world is known to be flat. That is, within certain limitations it has its truth and hence its usefulness. Yet it is set in a context that is not true … not at all. And that context skews the results of all the contents of culture, making them of dubious worth.
At this point you should have a pretty clear understanding of what I mean by that, as I have given many examples. For instance, that life is hard and a struggle is true for virtually all civilized folk of all time. Yet it is given a different light when it is known that it does not have to be, is not in Nature, and was not even for us for most — in fact, for ninety-nine percent — of our existence as a species. That life is a struggle is not true in the larger context of what is possible and natural for humans and what is true for virtually all life of all times, except for humans in the few thousand years of civilization.
Language Helps and Hinders
Similarly, language is an aid in communication, yes. But from the larger perspective of the Unapproved and Hidden, it is a flawed substitute, a symbolic and roundabout way, of conveying messages: Not only does it confuse and obscure as much as it reveals and conveys, but the psychic, direct transmission of information that is its alternate in Nature is far easier and far more accurate.
Not only the mind-sharing of Nature is superior, but human mental confusion keeps us from another of our planetmates’ advantages. For planetmates do not need language for they know more clearly what is going on without it being needed to be communicated. They can pick up instantly from the body language, the scent, and the facial and muscular expressions of others, together with the positioning of every element in any scene, more than could ever be communicated, by one to another, in language about what is going on in that scene.
For one thing planetmates can deduce far more accurately what is going on, since it is not being skewed or spun through the personality or agendas of any other. Added to this, they have far more information being conveyed to their senses, other than what could come from language. We can see this in the way canines are able to discern many thousands of times — up to a million times! some researchers report — more information from scent. Still, that is only one sense of many used by planetmates. We say animals can “smell fear.” That is a trite example of the fact that planetmates are sensing far more of what is going on than humans are and they cannot be dissembled to … unlike humans with their language abilities who are so easily able to be fooled. So what would need to be communicated if it is already known? And known more accurately than one would get it as once removed, communicated to one through another?
Thus, human language is an aid in communication in the smaller context of human relationships and in that of being able to be written down and “stored” for use at a later time and to be disseminated to others, sometimes many others, without direct contact. However it is perhaps not an advantage, more likely it is a hindrance, in relation to the one-on-one communication that is possible otherwise for beings on Earth.
Culture Substitutes Itself for Natural Morality
Another instance: Remember I was saying, using the example of Abraham and Isaac, how if we had not been convinced otherwise by our pedagogy we would naturally see an example in that story of a murder being espoused by a supposed “god” and a sacrifice that would not be one for Abraham, predominantly, but for Isaac, who would lose his life? A grade-schooler hearing this story for the first time does not see in this any kind of interaction with a Divine being, rather one of murdering impulses within a person in a way that later the term psychotic could be applied. That is, until culture comes along to “teach” the child otherwise.
Like planetmates, children have a natural morality — where suffering, pain, and death are bad, and pleasure, freedom, and happiness are good — until forced to think otherwise … until “enculturated.” For, within the domains of culture, no one questions Abraham’s behavior as being holy or righteous; nor the interaction with the “supernatural” as being anything but with a “god.” However, in the larger context of feeling — the natural morality built upon innate empathy, love, and caring — which any planetmate or child would apply here, it is viewed as nothing less than insanity.
Similar things could be said for our understandings of love, our conceptualization of God, our feelings about extending kindness, and what it means to be a good person: All are what we think them to be, but only within a particular context. Beyond that, they are seen to be false, twisted, and corrupted.
The “Good” Person
Let us take one of those and using it as an example make it clearer what I mean. Let us look at what, in the context of culture, we proclaim to be a good person: The “good” people of our cultures put a lot of effort into doing the “right” actions and thinking the “right” thoughts. They engage in endless hours of religious nodding, bowing, and mumbling — what we call ritual and prayer — to “please” these Phantom gods of ours. Very few people would not attribute qualities of “holiness,” goodness, and even saintliness to such people. But are they good?
“Good” people will also work, uncomplainingly, at the tasks assigned to them by controlling others, whether that be higher ups in the society — the Large Accumulators, the Controllers — or in the family, where that role is taken by husband and father in his dealings with his “good” housewife and his “good” and obedient children. Very few people would consider such compliant people to be other than the “salt of the earth,” good housewives, well-behaved boys and girls, “hard-working, god-fearing, real” Americans … Germans … (insert your nationality here).
And Sycophancy, Thought Control, Obedience, and Self-Control
However, from what I have been telling you, it should be clear that the deferential and obedient of us, in the context I am presenting, can be seen as fearful sycophants who are confusing childhood admonitions — backed by terrorizing threats — to “be good little boys and girls and behave” with adult nobility and spirituality. Yet one might ask, what is wrong with that? Are they not “good little male and female adults”?
Well, yes and no. Here is where something is true within a certain limited area, within a narrow context, but is not true when viewed against the totality of Truth. For these people will seek to wrestle with their very thoughts so they will not have “bad” ones. They will repress any urges to complain, in adherence to a cultural value system that embodies obedience and control.
We say that their control of themselves — inside and out — their discipline, their conformity make them wholesome, “holy,” or “good citizens.” But, for starters, how can a person have only good thoughts and not bad ones? In actuality, we have no control over our thoughts at all. We have only some control over our actions; we can act or not act upon our thoughts. Hence anyone telling us they have control over their thoughts is really saying they are liars — to themselves, as well as the rest of the world — about what goes on inside them.
One cannot unthink a thought. What happens is, some thought occurs to us, which we, according to the morals instilled in us, deem “not good.” It has happened, the thought; one cannot unthink it. But these sorts of people will then have a fearfulness, however un-acknowledged and blocked from their awareness, that arises in them directly after that thought. That fearfulness comes from those forces I have been describing: It is a fear about pleasing more powerful others, and it has its roots in childhood, going all the way back to infancy, and even before. It is a fear of being punished or deprived of things for what one simply is … in this case, just having a thought that arises unintended — “naturally.” And one cannot help having this fear of the Other. It might even be said such fear is “natural” for humans, considering what all we have become as a result of our hellish womb experiences, traumatic births, and deprived infancies.
On Sewage and Flowers
So we have a random but natural “bad” thought and an unfortunate but natural fear arising in us. But what does this “holy” and “good” person do? This holy person tries to force the mind to go onto another thought that is not a “bad” one. It is like the first thought, using an analogy, would be “sewage.” The next thought would be “oh, no!” The next thought, the concocted or replacement thought, would then be “flowers.” But here is where the lie is. For the person keeps telling themselves they are thinking “flowers,” however they are lying about the fact that they are really thinking “flowers not sewage,” “flowers not sewage,” “flowers not sewage,” over and over again, trying to push the first thought out of their mind, and along with all that having a feeling of fear and trepidation.
Clearly, this upstanding citizen, this self-sacrificing mensch, this “good” father, this “good” mother, this “holy” thinker, this “positive thinker,” is really not whole or positive at all. This person is a fearful sycophant, acting fearfully out of early experiences which they will never, ever remember, spending so much time thinking, “I will not think sewage, I will think flowers,” that they will never, ever find out what the thought after “sewage” might have been, if they had not fought it so much. And, yes, on its own, it just might have actually been “flowers.” And I can tell you, sooner or later it would have been … and sooner than comes of fighting it.
This person is a narcissist, therefore, caught up in a focus only on themselves and how they might be coming across to others; is a sycophant trying to please imaginary others by conforming their behavior to them; and is a liar, not telling the truth about their experience inside of themselves to either themselves or anyone else. In the next chapter on soul murder, we will look at how this can even extend into sociopathy.
Oh, you think good people and sociopaths are on the opposite ends of a continuum? You have probably also been confused as to how sociopathic killers — the Ted Bundys, Jeffrey Dahmers, John Wayne Gacys, and their ilk — can come across as such well-behaved and “nice” citizens. You probably are not either seeing how some politicians and CEOs are getting their power by seeming to be so upstanding but are at the same time working behind the scenes to take all they can at anyone’s expense and regardless who or how many die of it. More in the next chapter.
For now, the saddest part of all this is that this person, in holding back “sewage,” becomes full of “sewage” … all the while she or he is thinking they smell like and are full of “flowers.” The people around them know they are full of sewage. But those others, being often sycophantic also, are busy telling themselves the swill they see is really flowers.
Here we have an example of how wrong-getted we are able to become and how it spreads. We can see how culture aids and reinforces our wrong-gettedness and separation from the Truth of us. By this I mean that cultural values — concurrent with civilization and not with nomadic and presedentary ones — have become construed along lines to honor and reward the sycophantic, inauthentic, lying, and manipulative; and to punish the noble, authentic, the honest, and the guileless.
“Good People” Games … “Good” Actions and Hypocrisy
However, not just thoughts are controlled by “good” people. The same is true for such a person’s “holy” and “upstanding” acts. Such a person might put out their hand to another, but on some level they are thinking, “I will be nice to you, so that I do not hit you.” Yes, these people are what we call hypocrites.
You might be thinking, they are holy and good people and are not having the thought, “I want to hit you.” Still, this is what happens when the “sewage” gets backed up. A stored-up reservoir of unapproved thoughts ever pushes for release by any means, for attention from consciousness at all costs, even if they have to come out in a distorted form — an impulse/thought to hit another. On the macro scale, this is what we as a species have done in creating and then acting out the Unapproved and Hidden, which belongs to us, collectively. This end result — the Unapproved and Hidden — is the product of the billions of unallowed thoughts, lies, and denials of all the “good” people of our culture.
The example of the hateful urge to hit, rather than lovingly help, is only a crude example, of course. It does have roots deep in our unconscious, though, and extending back thousands of years. We put out our hand to shake another’s, for example. What this is really saying is, “My hand is not a fist. I will not hit you.” “My hand is open to you — in giving and receiving mode, sharing mode — and not in a competitive or aggressive mode.” “In putting out my hand I will connect with you, and not use it to fight you.” Lastly, and most recently, “My hand does not contain a weapon.” Now, why, unless a part of us knows that deep inside we would as soon hit another as anything else, would we go through all this social ritual of hand-shaking and its variants? All of its variants say similar things.
On another note, why, unless a part of us knows deep inside that we are as likely to be attacked by Other as friended by it, do we feel such relief upon the offering of said gestures? This goes to the inherent defensiveness of “normal” and “good” people that other “good” people know they had better appease by offering their hand … for reasons not much different than a primate would offer its behind to an aggressor.
By the way, that unusual defensiveness of humans arises from those early human experiences of feeling attacked by Other through the traumas prenatally and perinatally, which are then reinforced in infancy, childhood, then again in cultural rites of passage. Note that this human defensiveness is unusual in its occurrence, happening much more frequently than in planetmates. For it arises in all social situations, all, even one-on-one interactions and not just in situations of actual potential aggression, as in primates.
In any case, it is that in real life those deeper messages of wanting to hit and fearing one will be hit are inaccessible to us. What we might be aware of that goes on in us — but rarely are — is less obviously hostile. It is more subtle, is most often unconscious, and becomes increasingly more unconscious over time, in the course of one’s life … hence more likely to direct our actions in spite of us. The “negative” thought — “I want to hit you” — might arise in the form of irritation, repulsion, or dislike … or a simmering anger. We can actually feel that, but we will rarely admit those feelings occur in us … forcing ourselves, instead, to “think flowers,” again. You know what I mean.
Meanwhile, the negative thought or feeling, “you are going to attack (are attacking) me!” is not felt either. Rather, it comes out elsewhere, too. It is channeled unconsciously into all kinds of behaviors of introversion as well as defensive communications and passive-aggressive behaviors. Essentially, folks retreat from others and society, holed up in themselves; and/or they get revenge sneakily — without their even being aware they are doing it; and/or they react to all kinds of things said to them, even communications that are quite matter-of-fact or innocuous and perhaps not even pertaining to, let alone directed at them, with responses that are variations of “Well, that doesn’t apply to me! I’ll tell you a thing or two. How dare you say that! Let me explain how you’re wrong. And I’m smart! (You’re not.)” And the like. Check out the tweets of Donald Trump, and you’ll have clarity and even better examples of this.
In any case, such things in people are examples of the kinds of hidden hostility and aggression, and defensiveness, that are buried within “good” people and covered up assiduously by all kinds of cultural means. While you think this is far-fetched, perhaps, think honestly about and explain to me how our kind, at the hands of all our “good” people, have been able to participate in lynch mobs; the rounding up of Jews for genocide at the time of Nazi Germany; the piling up of Jews like firewood to be burned during medieval times with its pogroms; or during The Burning Times, the torture and immolating at the stake of women who had some “free” thoughts — in other words, not controlled and then lied about thoughts, as the “good” people setting fire to them have and do. This unacknowledged and hidden hostility explains all the horrific, yet otherwise unexplainable, actions of “normal” humans including bigotry and racism, child battering and sexual abuse, anti-immigration sentiments, genocides, police brutality and murder of people of color, wife-beating, and … (insert your “favorite” human abomination here).
So now, are these “holy” and wholesome people, these “good citizens” and “patriots” and “salt of the earth” — who are properly fearful and sycophantic, on the inside as well as the outside — really “good” and “wholly”?
For the more they tell themselves they think and feel one thing while actually thinking and feeling something else the more split down the middle they become. Till after a while, they have no clue who they are. They are liars to themselves and to all the world.
Self-Defeating Beliefs and Defenses
They cannot even become good people over time. Their disease, at all costs, fights against its cure. Indeed, it is like cancer, in that way. For to become a good person, one would have to know where one is being or has been a bad person and then change that. Such a person, however, is ever fighting to convince themselves they are full of “flowers,” so how can they possibly do anything about the “sewage” that is actually in them?
Of such “good” people, the religious of them say that such thoughts about where they are being “bad” in their seemingly “good” actions and thoughts are instances of “doubt” and “lack of faith.” So, rather than inform and do service towards becoming a greater “good,” these inconvenient thoughts are done battle with as being demons, devils, and even the product of a Satan. So, no, in battling ceaselessly against the “bad” within themselves, they cannot actually become good. For they truly do not understand the nature of their bad enough to change it. Battling it, they keep it ever at a distance, giving it a status of devil, demon, Satan, and never acknowledging that these are simply — mostly innocuous and often innocent — parts of oneself that have been made “bad” by culture, then later, oneself.
What has been said about the effort to control thoughts — “positive thinking” — can be applied analogously to the many ritualistic behaviors “good” people engage in — secular as well as religious. A part of them knows they have sewage within themselves, so they are led to ever “purify” themselves … and the world by extension.
Yes, they will participate in repetitive confessionals; sacrifices of themselves and others; ritual purifications; self-flagellation; self-destructive behaviors to unconsciously punish themselves; obsessive-compulsive grooming and bathing, maybe even hand-washing; obsessive neatness of person and surroundings; perfectness of dress, outfit, adornment, and perfume; obsessive cleaning of their homes and cars; the persnickety grooming of their lawns, intensive control of all the things and of the nature on their grounds, including the shaping of any foliage there; and the obsessive organizing and cataloging of their items and the recording of their actions and intentions, i.e., obsessive planning. Nothing of their lives can be out of their control lest they be reminded of their “inner sewage” or it be revealed to others. They will be mortified if a spot, a stain, or dirt appears on their clothing, unconsciously feeling they have been “found out.”
“Cleaning Up the Streets”
But yes, they will also see the world through this veil of “sewage” and so direct their efforts in ways to remove the “impurities” of others. Indeed, think again about those atrocities of humans, mentioned above, and you will see that almost always the people perpetrating the acts have rationalized to themselves their actions by claiming they are “cleaning up” or helping to “purify,” or “save,” the world.
If you think this only happened in previous times — Nazi Germany, The Burning Times in the Middle Ages, the times of slavery in America and elsewhere — consider how all of the “good” humans throughout the world today support the efforts to “clean up the streets,” to “keep out the riff raff,” and to “keep out the unwashed” without ever, in any instance, considering the people affected and how their efforts might be burdening and in some cases ending the lives of those poor souls — those ones simply more unlucky than oneself. These efforts are not far removed in quality — if not in quantity — from those of former times to maintain “purity” in the ranks, to suppress “heresy,” to “crack down” on some group or other of society, or to “eliminate” the “undesirables”; and even in current times, the term ethnic cleansing expresses it and demonstrates its ongoingness. Need I mention Donald Trump, his bigoted proposals, and the surprisingly large number of Americans subscribing to them? Probably not. Yet keep in mind from many quarters these sorts of citizens are deemed the “good people” of contemporary society.
Denial Activities — How “Good” People Keep Realization from Happening
Yet these good citizens — as deemed by our cultures — also spend a great amount of time involved with activities of denial: They might spend hours sitting quietly at meaningless church ceremonies … telling themselves it is really “flowers” they are seeing — you catching my drift? Or they might work themselves to death in a job.
They might fill up their time with chores around the house which are for the most part unnecessary and insignificant. Or they might immerse themselves in empty but culturally approved and applaudable activities such as repeating to themselves and others truly insignificant sports statistics; keeping up with the details of current fashion or the latest minutiae of celebrity lore; filling their minds and communications with the intricacies of auto mechanics, vehicle specifics and terminology; or showing they know what is new in financial and corporate trivia. These are all ways they can prove to themselves that they are okay and “regular” people — not the way they thought of themselves in infancy — and that others like and approve of them, not the way they felt others thought about them in infancy.
Whether they are trying to assure themselves they are “a regular guy,” “salt of the earth,” a loving and self-sacrificing mom, a “hard worker,” a patriot, good citizen, or “god-fearing” person, it is all the same: They are trying to beat back that nagging feeling that they are full of “sewage” and trying to keep others from knowing that about them. These cultural activities are the way we lie, essentially.
Pathos and “Civility”
“Good” people are to be pitied for the degree of fear and sycophancy within them; that is true. It is sad how much life they have wasted striving to abide by the unjust dictates of a culture geared to higher ups, only. Yet they are hardly to be thought of as examples of integrity, wholesomeness, wholeness, or saintliness. They only appear that way for being so afraid to be otherwise and for imposing an amount of control upon themselves equal to that fear.
Certainly, whatever wrong they do is not “obvious” wrong, most of the time. They distinguish themselves from out-and-out “bad” people, like criminals. Though, the line between the two is most often blurred and many actions are in fact criminal. They get away with them, however, occurring as they do within the context of an appearance of outward “civility,” which they take great pains to maintain. So compared to criminals, are they “good”? Or are they just better, slicker, in hiding or covering up their “bad”?
Indeed, these good and holy adults are actually pathetic — trying to be “good little boys and girls” in obedience to invisible others. They are narcissistic, being unable, like Abraham, to see the others around them and their needs, and only seeing their own “needs” … their sycophantic, fearful ones. They are liars and hypocrites; and they are anything but wholly or having integrity, they are split and deceptive.
“Good, God-fearing, Law-Abiding, Hard-Working”
Thus, within the definitions of culture, such folks are considered good people. That “good” is often followed by “law-abiding, God-fearing, hard-working” (people). However, along the measure of real Truth, this is only true in relation to other, more obvious, “bad” people. Hence, being a good person often just means being the best possible sycophant. We would be “good little boys and girls” and behave and do whatever we are told (whether it is actually good or bad), as adults, rather than be noble and authentic, and have integrity; real, empathetic love; true giving (without thought of reward); and be truly good adults.
Such “good” people of culture and society have been the good Nazis, in the past. They are the good soldiers mowing down villagers. Which is another great example of how “culture” operates to skew reality so as to cause you to do things you would not do if you were seeing reality directly, not through it. As well, they are the good citizens of society, imposing the most severe penalties upon all who stray over any lines, no matter how inconsequential, simply because people with wealth, and thus power, have drawn those lines. These are our, so-called, “good” people in our societies.
So culture proclaims, and it lies.
What Is Culture?
What is culture, then? Culture is the external manifestation of multitudes of egos; it is the accumulation of their actions. Culture substitutes for the “instinct” — the natural in us we have lost. In inserting itself into all aspects of our lives it pushes away the possibility we will ever feel that instinct arising in us, or find our body and mind becoming whole, natural, healed. Culture provides the opiate for the dis-ease of humanness, as well as it covers up the dis-ease and precludes any cure.
Culture is also the amalgamation of all that one has been told is real and true over against what one can see, discern, or would be obvious otherwise. Here’s a good way to see it. You know that in reading this book it has come up against practically everything you believed to be true. Yet if you are honest, you know this makes much more sense, and it probably even corresponds to what you sensed to be true, but could not let yourself believe, let alone assert to others … could not “say out loud.”
It’s simple, culture is that whole, that composite of all that has been put inside you for you to use in your understanding of all outside you, which is in complete contrast to what you are learning in this book or would see on your own without those inserted prejudices. That’s a good way to see it, right at hand. And that is why you have felt so uncomfortable hearing so much of this.
Essentially culture, like I said earlier, is the matrix. For it is all the ways we have been taught to see and interpret things, over against what we would on our own. And remember why and how there is such a disparity. Not only have we been separated from authentic apprehension of reality, but we have been encouraged and reinforced in that by outside interests with intentions to have us see and interpret things along ends to suit themselves … i.e., the wealthy, the elite.
Here is an example of that. Culture tells us the wealthy are wealth creators. If we saw clearly we would see that they are wealth takers, actually. It would be obvious to us, sans “culture,” that it is the small operator who is more motivated to maximize her or his investment and thus create jobs, and “wealth,” not someone who has so much that each dollar created is not seen as another addition in one’s efforts to be wealthy but simply one, along with so many others, which can sit there, for all one cares, and does not need to be reinvested. Culture, also, is what tells Trump supporters that a billionaire like him can be on the side of the “little guy,” and take on “the establishment,” and right the injustices set up by a society favoring the rich. Astonishing, eh? This power of culture?
It is that planetmates do not have culture, by the way, that is another reason they do not need language so much. For what is conveyed through language is filtered through the intentions and agendas of others, the composite of which is slanted, then, away from seeing reality as it is. With no culture, planetmates do not need language as much for they are not seeing reality so unclearly that they would need the communication of language to interpret it.
Furthermore why would any planetmate want the confusion of others’ interpretations about what one is able to see clearly? When that is offered to us humans, we say it is “bullshit,” you see. Yet if we do not see it as nonsense, it still contributes only to our endless confusion about reality and who we are. Theologies relentlessly have engaged in the actions that have caused folks such confusion about their feelings and perceptions, being as how they concoct interpretations that are only consonant within realities that are imaginary, often having psychotic roots. Similarly, endless reams of philosophy have emanated from this pattern of folks — and religions, and culture — telling other folks that what they are seeing and experiencing is other than what it obviously is.
Outside the Matrix –> The Unapproved and Hidden
By contrast to culture is The Unapproved and Hidden, which is the truth of reality outside the matrix. It is the way reality is seen with culture — all that accumulated product of slanted intentions and skewed agendas of others — removed. It is what is left when looking at all those same realities without such agendas or motives of others. Or oneself, for that matter — this is where the pre- and perinatal and infancy pain contributes its part, by the way, in skewing our interpretations and distorting our realities. Planetmates, remember, do not have that, either, further adding to their clarity about the reality they perceive.
So, yes, again, this book is an opening on The Unapproved and Hidden. I understand you do not know how lacking in agenda I am, how I get nothing for doing this, how I am not influenced by anyone higher up, or any of that; though I am unusual in being in a position in which that is all true. You do not know how my deepest rooted yet most accessible motivations are caring and love for others, concern and heartache over the unnecessary and self-imposed suffering I see; and with all that an irrepressible desire to step in, where no one else is doing it and so it is direly needed, and to do and say what only I, of all who I know, can say and do … and only that. You do not know that my only reward, now or expected, is the feeling of knowing I have helped, done the part that only I could do, and the hope it helps relieve someone’s suffering or misery now, in the future, or after I am dead. And that’s all.
You do not know all that about me, but at least notice this: That in contrast to this, to all I am writing, you can discern in what you have been by culture indoctrinated to believe quite a bit of agenda, self-serving beliefs, and “convenient” truths. If you want you can easily see that quality in all those commonly held assumptions — the superiority of man over other planetmates being the deepest but only one of them — that my writing in this book addresses and comes up against, conflicts with. If you cannot discern my lack of guile, at least notice the agendas of those who concocted and orchestrated your beliefs and your actions that came of them. Take at least that, for certain, from your own apprehensions and interpretations of your direct experience here.
Strutting and Fretting
In sum, the Divine is Ultimate Truth. Whereas, culture is the societal embodiment of the separation from the Divine. Hence, culture contains some pretty a-mazing untruths and empty rituals. They are amazing because they are fantastical — colorful psychotic fabrications, if you will. They are a-mazing also because they are manifestations of our confused and twisted consciousness and bring us ever back to the maze — in an endless trudge through labyrinthine passages of a journey that is ultimately futile, guaranteed for failure — which is our life.
Culture Is a Weed Without Roots, the Fury We Create to Block Out Our Emptiness
You see, our gradual changes from natural life involved two things, basically: A growing ability to survive biologically, physically at whatever cost to our happiness, along with a separation from our natural inclinations and felt Divine guidance. And our ever-widening separation from the Divine meant a constant hole in the felt meaning of our existence.
Lacking roots in Nature or the Divine, we were like a weed without roots, growing madly above ground, reaching out vainly in all directions for sustenance because of the lack of direct connection to our deeper truth. This expanding outward desperately in all directions creates our culture — which is the artificial substitute and the dim empty reflection of existence.
Culture — our “matrix” — is the “much ado about nothing” and the “strutting and fretting upon the stages of life” and “sound and fury signifying nothing” of which Shakespeare wrote. Culture is a magnification of our overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence, and it is the overblown array of our defenses to keep at bay our realization, our “enlightenment.” Culture brings meaning to our lives, but it is a false one. It provides us motives, and it supports and sustains our efforts; but they are vain and empty goals and futile and meaningless rituals, only.
So, after the fall into sedentary-agrarian ways which multiplied the branches of culture a-mazingly, providing the opiate for our feelings of loss and the substitute for more natural ways, more of our newborns would live. As I have said, they would be given economic value — as a commodity — within that trance life or matrix we have erected. Our children would be allowed to live, but what was distributed among them was this watered-down offering, of a life drained of meaning and “juice” but mostly lacking the “colors” or “flavors” of experience we enjoyed as humans in Nature and containing instead the apprehension of the outlines of living not the immersion in its profound and lush plenitude.
This tendency for our lives to be bleached of real appreciation yet multiplied maniacally grew steadily over time coinciding with the aforementioned rise in the predominance of the traits of controlling, conforming, sycophantic and desperate striving to please and to be appealing, and nonexpression of needs become repression of personality and cobbling of ability to participate in existence’s Divine creative stream. We built increasingly a false matrix in which to dwell, substituting it for the richness of experience of our Edenal existences.
Ignorance of the Divine Makes for Some Pretty A-Mazing Untruths and Empty Rituals
All in all, driven by this inner abyss of unknowing, our outer behavior expanded in spurious and fanciful activity and productions of all kind. With time, our vapid nature would spin out unnecessary personality traits, hollow and unsatisfiable needs, fetid desires, furious but vain behaviors, insubstantial wants, blind obsessions, uncontrollable compulsions, fantastical beliefs, painfully burning visions, and tortured thoughts … of all kinds and all of it magnified, then multiplied, then repressed and fought, then struggled with … and all this in grandiose dramas that are further multiplied, exaggerated, over-dramatized, and so on round again.
Such an overcomplication of life’s simple existence and beingness we create to keep from knowing the horror of us. Such a fury we unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep us from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of our horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside us.
In all of these, we journeyed ever further from our roots in Nature and the Divine and made Edenal existence the most distant memory and the most certain component of everyone’s Unapproved and Hidden.
Inevitably, all these ways came back to oneself. As we faded from natural and felt existence and — driven by pain, fear, and the resulting controlling mania — succumbed to ever more entrancing substitutes, we ourselves faded from existence, in a sense. This increasingly ghostly existence amounted to soul murder, then. It is to it, we now turn.
— of *Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man* by Michael Adzema, now available in print and e-book formats.
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— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
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“Humans, in their evolution from planetmates, for survival advantages became crazier. And this is when we became more human…. It was a tradeoff….”
“Humans, in their evolution from planetmates, for survival advantages became crazier. And this is when we became more human…. It was a tradeoff. We became pretty good at surviving … we managed to overpopulate this planet. But we’re crazed mother-fuckers … and we’re going to eliminate this planet and all the life on it” say planetmates in the Eighth Prasad.
what defines us as being human. how we became separate from all other Earth Citizens…. in the Eighth Prasad from the Planetmates
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Out of Eden, Part Four — Secondary Altriciality and the Origins of Culture: Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and What It Has to Do With Being Born Helpless
Human Nature, Culture, Pelvic Size, and Plato’s Cave: Needs Which We as Newborns Ache to Fulfill Are Satisfied by Other Species Perfectly
Secondary Altriciality and Culture
Let us now add another factor to this development of supposed intelligence and culture. Let us talk about the consequences of secondary altriciality. As I said, altricial means humans are born helpless. We would die if not cared for. Secondary altriciality of humans, and only humans, means our brains and consequent functioning are even less advanced than other species at birth. We are, in essence, born premature relative to other species.
So, the consequence of secondary altriciality is that the newborn requires a period after birth of getting its needs satisfied in the same complete way as it did prior to that in the womb. This is a characteristic of Homo sapiens. It is another one of those very few things that definitively distinguishes us from all other species known. That is, the human infant is in a more dependent state, when born, than any other species, when its young is born. The human infant at birth in terms of its degree of development, is at a level corresponding to that at which, in every other mammal, it would still be in the womb. In other words, we are born, comparatively, “premature.”
By comparison, all other mammals, when born, are more able to provide for themselves, are further along in their development toward independence when born, are more capable of bringing about or at least initiating the satisfaction of their needs . . . hence they are less dependent, and vulnerable, than are human infants.
Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Secondary altriciality in human infants means that there is a greater need for care, for “mothering” — because of the newborn’s greater helplessness, greater dependence, greater vulnerability — than that of all other mammals postnatally. But even the best mothering cannot be as perfect in satisfying the infant’s biological needs as was the situation for it in the womb. Hence, there is going to be a gap between need and fulfillment inherent in this prematurity, an inherent frustration of need to at least some extent, and, hence, inherently an increase of at least some amount, in the degree of pain suffered by the newborn and infant in the nonsatisfaction or incomplete satisfaction of its biological needs.
But secondary altriciality is important in another respect. Since this phase represents a dependent phase that corresponds to phases that occur to other species en utero — this leaves Homo sapiens vulnerable to neurosis and mental illness (its roots in the pain of unmet biological need) to an extent unprecedented, in any other species . . . hence also contributing to increased brain size, increased secondary altriciality, and so forth in the way discussed above for birth. Thus, we have another vicious cycle, again with “fevered” brains and culture the byproduct.
In this light it is interesting to point out that Moore (1987) presented evidence of the significantly larger pelvic size in our ancestral line of hominids which would have either (1) allowed for a gestation period of up to twelve months or (2) allowed for an exceptionally easy birth — the increased brain size being much more readily passed through a larger opening. Either of these propositions, or a combination, is provocative in light of the above.
In other words, we can speculate that either (1) increased pelvic size in females was naturally selected for as brain size became larger, so as to minimize the deleterious effects of painful birth (as in creating neurosis in the adult, hence reduced reproductive fitness) or (2) gestation period was prolonged, with increasing brain size, to minimize the deleterious effects of imperfectly met biological needs which are a consequence of secondary altriciality.
In this second instance, the disadvantages of secondary altriciality are lack of precociousness in the infant, requiring an increase in maternal care after birth and reducing the economic potential of the female during that period. But it logically follows that there is a limit to which gestation can be prolonged without itself becoming an economic disadvantage to the female — certainly the proposed gestation period of two years, twenty-one months to be exact, for full precociousness at the level we see in nonhuman primates would be a substantial economic hardship on the female. Thus it would be selected against, in evolutionary terms.
Therefore, we may speculate that a combination of these factors resulted in a compensatory system where the fact of increasing brain size is eventually resolved, to date, by a comparatively reduced gestation period accompanied by increased need for child care after birth, increased need for economic dependency overall (both during and after gestation) by the female, increased need for male parental investment in providing for both female and child, and increased birth pain correlating with increased cultural development to offset or mitigate the effects of birth pain (See Fromm, 1955, on culture as providing the neurosis as well as the “opiates” to deal with such).
The net effect is a species with prolonged child care, increased tendency toward single-family units, increased brain size, greater cultural elaboration, increased birth pain for the neonate, increased “intelligence,” and increased neurotic and psychotic behavior (thus idiosyncratic and variable behavior) which requires further cultural accommodation, hence cultural elaboration — all evolving simultaneously, interrelating and mutually reinforcing each other. All in all, with these considerations, we have the basic factors which outline our distinctive human nature — that is, which constitute (for good or ill) our fundamental distinctions from other species.
The Result: Plato’s Cave
At any rate, the point is that viewing it either psychologically or historically, it can be said that the Fall from Grace in Eden is such that ever afterwards humans are indirectly related to God and Nature. By this I mean they are indirectly related to the processes of reality of either the physical or metaphysical (including their own inner life, their subjectivity) sort. They have turned their back on the beneficence of God, or Nature, and seek to go it on their own, to control Nature, to focus on survival. In that they are focused now on the world, they can see only a reflection of the Divine. They are confusing the map and the territory.
And in that reflection they seek to discern God’s will. In those shadows they seek to understand Truth.
To Be Continued with Primal Return, Chapter Two: Isaac’s Eyes
Return to Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”: Out of Eden, Part Three — Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture
Chapter One, Out of Eden, References
Adzema, Michael. (1985). A primal perspective on spirituality. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116.
Baba, Sathya Sai. (1984). Sathya Sai Speaks: Volume IV. Tustin, CA: Sathya Sai Book Center of America.
Baba, Sathya Sai. (1991). Sanatha Sarathi, November, 295.
Bird-David, Nurit. (1992). Beyond “the original affluent society”: A culturalist reformulation. Current Anthropology, 33(1), 25-47.
Buck, Sharon. (2011). The evolutionary history of the modern birth. Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology, 19(Iss. 1, Art 7), 80-92. Available at: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/totem/vol19/iss1/7
Chamberlain, David. (1988). Children Remember Birth. New York: Ballantine.
Farrant, Graham. (1987). Cellular consciousness. Aesthema: The Journal of the International Primal Association, No.7, 28-39.
French, Marilyn. (1985). Beyond Power: On Women, Men, and Morals. New York: Ballantine Books.
Fromm, Erich. (1955). The Sane Society. Greenwich, CN: Fawcett.
Grof, Stanislav. (1976). Realms of the Human Unconscious. New York: Dutton.
Grof, Stanislav. (1985). Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: SUNY.
Grof, Stanislav. (1988). The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and Mew Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: SUNY.
Hannig, Paul. (1982). Feeling People: A Revolutionary Concept in Therapy, Lifestyle and Human Contact. Winter Park, FL: Anna Publishing Inc.
Janov, Arthur. (1971). The Anatomy of Mental Illness. Berkeley: Medallion.
Janov, Arthur. (1983). Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience. New York: Coward-McCann.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lake, Frank. (1981). Tight Corners in Pastoral Counseling. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
Mahler, Margaret S.; Pine, Fred; & Bergman, Anni. (1975). The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant. New York: Basic Books.
Moore, James. (1987). Colloquium presentation, 16 November 1987. Department of Anthropology, University of California/ San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Peoples, Karen M. and Parlee, Bert. (1991). The ego revisited: Understanding and transcending narcissism. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 31(4), 32-52.
Sahlins, Marshall. (1972). Stone Age Economics. London: Tavistock.
Skibbins, David W. (1991). Letter to the editor. The Quest, 4(3), 5.
Sroufe, L. Alan; Cooper Robert G.; & DeHart, Ganie B. (1992). Child Development: Its Nature and Course. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Turnbull, Colin M. (1961). The Forest People: A Study of the Pygmies of the Congo. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Verny, Thomas, and Kelly, John. (1981). The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. New York: Dell.
Yogananda, Paramahansa. (1946). Autobiography of a Yogi. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship.
To Be Continued with Primal Return, Chapter Two: Isaac’s Eyes
Return to Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”: Out of Eden, Part Three — Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture
For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man
Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness – Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.
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“We do not pray … for what reason would we wish to appeal to a higher order of knowing which already has our overall goodness in mind?”
The Planetmates reveal on obsession and the evolution of “man”; on ritual, prayer, worship, your Phantoms….
“You see that your so-called evolution in consciousness has been largely to do with an expanding obsession to bring everything under control of your Ego. You display an ever-increasing fever to dominate and determine all aspects of your reality.
“Previous prasads have dwelled, one-by-one, on these different spheres of your mania for management. We have also explained how this obsession brings with it an ever-increasing amount of effort. We have shown how you brought work into the experience of life for you — work being actions one does out of no inclination from inside oneself and only out of coercion from the outside. And we have discussed the ways these controlling obsessions have interacted with each other in terms of a push as well to bring other beings — adult and young — into the effort of the adult Ego to manage and manipulate all things that can be influenced.
“So, everything that was not seen as Ego was targeted for control. You changed your stature to upright and this led eventually to a change in the way you would be born that was more painful and a prematurity of birth that led to an extraordinarily long period of dependency in which you would be at the mercy of capricious caregivers and thus feel deprivation in infancy. Your abnormal life entry and infancy deprivation led to an apprehension of mind and a mistrust toward the All That Is. Out of such fear you chose to add planetmate flesh to your diet and so learned how to kill. You next sought to control your other food source, which was vegetation — the Flora Empire; and you instituted horticulture and farming. This led to your extending your net of control over the Fauna Empire — members of which you corralled, began using as a food source, and deemed yourself superior enough to, to make life and death decisions regarding; you began kidnapping planetmates, which you called “raising animals” or husbandry.
“Following this, you were able to bring yourself to making life-and-death determinations about even other humans of you. You developed a hierarchy of humans centered around strong men, with ever lower levels of rings of conforming, sycophantic underlings spreading out from that. For the men of you, your humiliation wrought of conformity to higher ups pushed you to seek a compensating domination, of the same sort as you experienced, over your women. From there, pushed both by cravings for control and accumulation as well as the burgeoning work load that came with that, you extended your reach of resource revaluation and control to include your young as well.
“Finally, you even attempted to control things that could not be influenced. We planetmates have a lived spirituality, in that we do not feel separate from the All or each other. So we do not pray. For what reason would we wish to control, cajole, or even appeal to a higher order of knowing, which already has our overall goodness in mind … is as you say, God, or good itself?
“But as a consequence of your separation from All, you began using ritual, instead of your felt experience, to attempt to connect with the Divine. At first it was simply to seek to discern the Divine Will, which you had made distant from you in all the other ways mentioned, so that you might act in accordance with it.
Later it was to seek to control — again that thing of you — the will of the Divine, including all of its manifestations as in the forces of Nature, the weather, fate, destiny, luck, and providence for oneself and the extension of one’s Ego — the family. Your prayer — the spoken or linguistic form of ritual — was employed for the same purpose: To sway the Divine to itself bend along the outlines of one’s (perverted) will … actually, one’s predilections.
“And what is the form of this ritual and prayer? As damaged and sycophantic adults — no one of you having received adequate nurturing and caring as infants and children and instead having been taught that some satisfaction of those needs could be had by pleasing and appeasing one’s adult caregivers — you would act out that training in seeking to gain boons from the Divine. Indeed, you would deem this Divine to be blown-up versions of your child and infant caregivers — mothers and fathers become Mother and Father. And you would seek to garner boons and satisfaction of desires from these early figures projected onto the Unknown in the same way you learned you could elicit them from the early entities: through meaningless or distantly removed (symbolic) behaviors, repeated maniacally.
“Your adult caregivers trained you as children to be conforming underlings, so you might be enlisted in their overblown schemes and phantom struggles; and now you would demonstrate to the creations you project onto the Universal screen that indeed you are a sycophantic underling — as sycophantic as can be.
You seek to receive “compensation” from the Unknown for demonstrating those things that worked as children with caregivers: You express undying devotion, love, and allegiance to this Universal Phantom Mother/Father. Just as you needed to ally with the caregivers — your actual mothers and fathers — in their schemes against all others, so also you think you can garner good will by demonstrating your alliance with this Phantom against the Phantoms of all others.
“So, you think that you “please” this Phantom — which you mistakenly call “God” but who is not (for it is not Good) — by taking up arms against the Phantoms of others and their allies. You have projected your early family drama as a child onto the heavens. And you seek to use Conforming Underling behavior — sycophantic, mindlessly obedient, repetitive, most often nonsensical (to you), expressive of “love,” devotion … what you call “worship” … and alliance against all others … which you mistakenly link with faith, as in “keeping the faith” and “defending the faith” — to procure “boons” to alleviate the anxieties you have created for yourself about this life as well as to relieve your overblown fear of death and an afterlife. You seek relief from the misery you have created for yourselves — unique to all planetmates — from this Phantom in this life as well as afterward. This is the real meaning of your ritual and prayer.
[Pt 1 of 26th prasad — Arrogance. More coming….
To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirds updated), go to the blog page at http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …
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With the Apocalypse Looming as a Result of Your “Evolution,” It Must Be Blatantly Obvious — Oh, “Crown of Creation” — of the Lie of Your Illusion, Say Planetmates in the 19th Prasad: Lucifer Is Us
The Perfectly Unnatural Ego: “Twin Aberrations of Controlling and Conforming Marked the Ultimate Break with the Divine and the Ultimate Opposite Construct of Self”
The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Nineteenth Prasad. Over-Accumulation, Ego, and Attaining Ultimate Unnaturalness … Lucifer Is Us
Planetmates Release The Nineteenth Prasad
Polar Bear is First Consciousness at The Nineteenth Prasad.
This marked...the ultimate in a break with the Divine and the construction of an opposite construct of being and of consciousness....as you are now finally seeing in the most stark and blatant forms, against the survival of your own selves, both individually and as a species.
The Nineteenth Prasad – The Ultimate Opposite
The twin aberrations of conforming one’s behavior to suit another or others instead of one’s own inner divine visions, directions, and flow and obsessive controlling of others to further one’s unnatural ends of staving off the hardships, struggles, and obstacles that are part of divine guidance are born of this ability to over-accumulate, which sedentary lifeways make possible. This marked, then, the ultimate in a break with the Divine and the construction of an opposite construct of being and of consciousness. It was the ultimate evolution of Ego to be a thing opposite to and arrayed against the Divine, against the natural, against Nature, against the ways of all other Planetmates and other non-Earth beings and entities, and ultimately, as you are now finally seeing in the most stark and blatant forms, against the survival of your own selves, both individually and as a species.
Paraphrase/ Elaboration of The Nineteenth Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema
Your separation from Nature and defiance of the Divine left you, thus, with two abnormalities relative to that Nature. The first unnatural development in you, having to do with your separation from the Divine, is conformity. You would change your behavior along lines to fit with what you thought others would wish.
The second perverse development is domination. On the flip side of conformity, you sought to have other people behave in ways which matched your wishes and pleased and satisfied you, not them.
Conformity is a split with the Divine, for in doing it, you must separate yourself from and even deny … you must ignore … your own inner, Divine visions, directions, and flow.
Whereas, through domination you defied the Divine assistance that comes to all planetmates through fate or the exigencies of life and fortune. We feel Divinity in and around us. But being in form, we cannot be fully knowledgeable all the time. Our existences here are for the purpose of bringing us to be aware of more of the grandeur and designs of the Divine. And the connection we have to the Divine, the stopgap one, which comes into play in those areas where we are still learning and growing, is through fate. It is through life’s events, brought seemingly randomly and unexpectedly into our lives, that we are made greater, instructed, and ultimately are led, guided, back to Divinity from which we all come. Struggles and obstacles — the exigencies of life — are, to us, the promptings of the Divine as it leads in the mutual dance of Life.
In dominating others and Nature, however, you seek to keep those uncertainties of life, and the wisdom which comes from them, at a minimum. You turn your back on a dance with God; and you snub the Divine’s offer to teach you beyond what you already know. No planetmates want hardship. Indeed, we go out of our way to avoid it as well. But in your making control of events the major thing of your life — eliminating the adventure, fullness of experience, satisfaction, passion, intimacy, love, and enjoyment of life … or at least forgoing them when they conflict, as they very often will, with control of events — you show your ingratitude and you defy the Divine. In these instances, you choose to be driven by fear rather than expand into love. You choose hardship over enjoyment.
This you do in all your controlling activities, so also in your obsessive seeking to control other humans. By coercing others into submission to your will and your desires, you are seeking to reduce your dissatisfaction at their expense. Whether those others are those lower in the hierarchy, your women, people of other groups, people who you have made into slaves, or people who are physically different from you, you sacrifice their independence and soul upon the altar of your self-indulgence and fear.
So, in dominating, you sought to increase that split with the Divine by avoiding even the divine guidance that would bring you back into line — Divine guidance that occurs through the hardships, obstacles, and struggles of life.
The immediate cause of these aberrations-abnormalities of conformity and domination, what makes them possible, what allows their existence, is the over-accumulation of things.
And, as we have been saying, this over-accumulation was itself only made possible … it requires … sedentary living.
So sedentary living involved the triumph of control over adventure, and it was your ultimate break with the Divine. Another way of saying this is that your controlling/conforming behaviors represented a final break with Divine Consciousness.
Indeed, it can be said that these two behaviors or tendencies of consciousness — that is to say, out of fear, to see others as people to be placated or manipulated — define human Ego. So you can see how human Ego, far from being the tool or asset toward greater intelligence you think it is, is actually the substitute for the natural consciousness, the greater awareness, and the Divine nature, which you have turned your backs upon.
Essentially, these behaviors of sycophancy and domination, conformity and control, delineated the outlines of the consciousness you created instead of your Divine nature of Being, Awareness, and Bliss. So Ego is an opposite construct of consciousness to the Natural and stands against both the Divine and Nature.
In your “evolution” — we would say devolution — along this path of increasing control, then, and increasing Ego, you have at this point reached a point of having created the ultimate opposite to Nature and God. This complete opposite construct of being, called Ego, is the antipode to the natural and the ways of all Planetmates as well as other non-Earth beings and entities.
Whereas we search for and embrace inner directives and we do not shy from the meanings and promptings of outer events, human Ego fights these. Ego is afraid of inner directives, Divine ones. It fights off and sees as alien the natural promptings and inner impulses coming from within you. You say planetmates have “instinct.” We say, where is yours? You are like a ship having cut away its anchor, wondering why it drifts—why your mind is restless and finds no home or solace. Even more, you are like that same ship, having scuttled its sails, wondering how it is that it cannot get anywhere by manipulating its rudder—your so-called “reason”—alone.
Ego is not just separate from God and fighting the Divine, Ego is pitted against Nature. Ego does not just fight off the direction that comes with interconnectedness with All, it wages war with it. Ego, to all extents and purposes, is arrayed against all else in Creation.
You do not know this. You have been thinking the opposite. You have been thinking you are, through Ego, uniquely able to have dominion over all Nature. Your Ego has you thinking you are the crown of creation as well as the pinnacle of evolution. And, you not only consider yourselves above Nature, you deem yourselves to be the engine of re-creating Nature. Again, putting your Ego in the seat reserved for the Divine, you — not seeing yourselves as imperfect — flatter yourselves that you can improve upon Nature, seeing It as imperfect and needing your attention. In your better moments of this mania of grandiosity, you assign yourselves as the shepherd of Creation. But who would shepherd you? You see yourselves as the caretakers of Nature, though you are crippled from you own lack of caregiving in your early lives … more than any of us in Nature.
How can this ultimate opposite of the truth not be seen you? If it has never been possible before, surely it must be blatantly obvious — because of the ecocidal and humanicidal brink we are on, with the veritable apocalypse looming as a result of your “evolution” … oh, “pinnacle” … oh, “crown of creation” — of the flaw in your thinking, the lie of your illusion.
Remember that, alongside your tendency to store and control more than you need are the ideas of ownership and possession — which are also unique fevers of human consciousness. The sense of possession, of power over something means, to you, that you can use and abuse it to any extent. It also is central to the armageddon you are bringing about. For you have grown in such a way as to think the entire world, except yourself, has no Consciousness, thus, no feelings, thus, no rights. Thus it can be owned. You practice this individually with small items, on a personal scale. However, the cumulative result of all these single actions, whether by individual actors or by group or corporate actors, based upon the idea of ownership, is that you have no restraint whatsoever from abusing the planet as if it is owned as well. So your mistaken idea of possession has allowed you without conscience to speed headlong into the destruction of all and everyone.
You seek to destroy yourselves because you wish to punish yourselves. You wish to punish yourselves because it is the way you came into the world. And in re-creating that punishment, now, you somehow think you will get the love you needed then, but did not get.
That is why some of you — so many of you, whether religious or not — have been interpreting this abominable thing of the end of all life on Earth as some kind of opening of the heavens or rising up to the heavens, returning to God. Oh, you are going to return to God all right. But you are deluded in thinking that the All That Is is at all pleased at your ultimate sacrifice of yourselves in an insane effort to get the things and satisfactions you were denied in your early life. For your self-centeredness and alienation from Nature has you thinking you are the only actors here, the only things alive. How felicitous or pleased would a Divine be, seeing, not only that you have thrown away the gift of life given you by that Divine and committed a suicide, but also that you have, without even a twinge of conscience, brought down all other life that Divinity has wrought on this planet and committed a mass murder on a scale never known?
And do you think you will be all that self-congratulatory and proud when, in returning to the Divine after death and realizing once again the nature of Reality as being life and Consciousness, you realize that you failed to see that in life? Indeed, how delighted in yourself do you suppose you will be in your eventual awakening state knowing that, in this blindness to the aliveness in everything about you, you had set yourself against it? Do you suppose you will be proud knowing that your major achievement of your most recent spiritual adventure in form was to bring down, in its entirety, the magnificent and exquisite edifice of Earthly life — the product of Divine workings over many billions of years?
At any rate, we are here now communicating to you for the time is ripe for you to finally see your wrong-gettedness, manifested now in the most stark and blatant ways, in the foul world you have created around you. Your ways and your delusions of grandeur have caused you to immerse yourselves in poison and to create of this Earth, which is set to sustain us, a dire and deadly habitat. Regardless of the harm you have perpetrated on Earth and all its planetmates in your doings, you can now see that it is you, ultimately, that you oppose. In opposing, in the most extreme manner, Nature, you have set your lance against your own survival. For however much you deny it, you are part of Nature, you are inextricably linked with Nature. What you do to all, you do to yourselves.
So Ego, in the final analysis, is pitted against your personal survival; it is arrayed against each and every one of you. Human survival is at stake; Ego’s ultimate victim is the entirety of humanity itself.
Continue with The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Twentieth Prasad: Obsessive Control – Controlling Your Young
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Inauthenticity Rising and Why Women Came Under Attack: The Controller-Conformer Alliance Won Out Over More Authentic Humans, Say Planetmates in the 18th Prasad
Nature, Misogyny, and How Women Got Blamed for Everything: The More Twisted of You Beat Out More Authentic Humans, Resulting in the Environmental Crisis Today
The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Eighteenth Prasad: Inauthenticity Rising
Planetmates Release The Eighteenth Prasad
Giraffe is First Consciousness at The Eighteenth Prasad.
[T]he twisted behaviors and minds that define your species began the final evolution to...you today and creates this rare, nearly unprecedented possibility of planet death in a relatively instantaneous future.
The Eighteenth Prasad – Inauthenticity Rising
So, Controllers and Conformers had survival advantages over more authentic and less conniving humans. The traits that characterized them, therefore, were to increase in humans as they would pass these traits to their offspring through both example and heredity, and these offspring would be both greater in number and have survival advantages themselves over those more authentic humans. Thus, the twisted behaviors and minds that define your species began the final evolution to the most inauthentic and unwholesome beingness that characterizes you today and creates this rare, nearly unprecedented possibility of planet death in a relatively instantaneous future.
Paraphrase/Elaboration of The Eighteenth Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema
One extremely important facet of this Controller-Conformer-Authentic dynamic concerns your females. Remember that at this point of your separation from Divinity through excessive controlling activity and ego-aggrandizement you, having focused on conquering and controlling everything about you in Nature, were beginning to dominate and control each other in the same way. You focused on Small Accumulators, especially the Authentics among them, but a huge part of that group were your females. So your women became targets for all aspects of this controlling mania — domination, denigration of character, diminution of personhood, coercion, attack, corralling, enslavement, abuse, murder, and so on.
Now, why your females would be singled out might not be apparent initially. You would think that they would be as likely to be Controllers as your males. Some, indeed, were Controllers, though not many. For there is something that sets women apart in this entire dynamic, making them less likely to become Controllers, more likely to be Authentic, and to be special targets for attack and controlling by the Controller-Conformers.
What sets women apart is their special connection with Nature and birth. Keep in mind that all of this controlling has its roots in birth trauma and infancy deprivation. Keep in mind also that all of this is about controlling all aspects of the natural world. Quite simply, because your females figured so prominently in both the birth trauma as well as the infancy trauma, they would unconsciously be blamed for it all. In attacking women, both women and men would act out their early pain. They would transfer their intensive efforts to beat back the residues, inside themselves, of their painful pasts, onto the outside and would beat back the symbol of that pain — women.
Humans are the only misogynistic species, because humans are the only species with excessive birth and infancy trauma. Among all of Nature, the female of the species prevails — that is to say, is central, more important, and usually dominates, if there is any inequality of genders. However, in humans, at birth, you experience a struggle with the female body to be born, more so than any other species. You would continue that struggle with, beating back at, and attack upon the female body later in life. After birth and in early infancy, you were left wanting in having your needs sufficiently satisfied. In particular, you craved nursing, feeding, and attentiveness from your mothers. Since you could not help be at least somewhat dissatisfied with what you received — even the best mothers cannot respond perfectly, like Nature and biology can — you would for the rest of your life first think of your females as being the source of your dissatisfaction. Women would be scapegoated for all human ills.
It was not women’s fault, of course, that they would be associated with these traumas. You would call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Indeed, if justice and reason ruled emotions, women would have been rewarded and appreciated for their roles in taking on these difficult times and tasks in your life. They, after all, suffered severely during birth, just as you did as a neonate. They, though not perfectly, worked hard to fill your needs after birth. So, they are like the doctor who might get blamed for the disease, the hospital that might be targeted as being the cause of death since so much of it occurs there, the fireman who might get blamed for the fire … heck, there’s always one when he’s around, coincidence? … or the police officer responding to the crime who might get accused of it — because he was there. Simply through association, and quite unfairly, women would be targeted as the source of all your ills. You would associate women with eating an apple that would end the earthly paradise, with a jar which when opened released all evil into the world. Amazingly, but understandably, you would create images of the female vagina as ringed with voracious teeth — a perfect depiction of the pain you felt when you first came through that doorway into the world.
So, women, first and foremost, after Nature itself, would be attacked and corralled in your controlling mania as it began being directed now even at yourselves.
But there was another reason why women would come under attack. Being associated with those times of pain was the driving force behind your targeting women for enslavement and abuse. But also, those very fundamental aspects of being female — giving birth and nurturing infants — are the very connections with Nature that you can never deny. You can and did try to separate yourself from all aspects of Nature, to set yourself apart and above. But in the activities of birth, sex, and infancy, you are most clearly part of Nature — down here on Earth with the rest of us planetmates. You may not acknowledge it, but you cannot but know it.
So, females, in being primary participants in birth and infancy, have a connection with Nature that is harder for them to deny; and it is a connection that your males would be aware of as well. In being connected to Nature, your females would be more likely to be like those Authentics — that is, more interested in emotional, relational, and spiritual, rather than in power and controlling pursuits. Burdened with giving birth and having a greater role in parenting, they would be more likely to be Small Accumulators, too. So, they would be singled out for excessive coercion and demands for conformity by Controllers for those reasons — that is, being more akin to Authentics and more likely a Small Accumulator.
But in the fact that men would know that women have a special connection to Nature, your females would be lumped in with Nature as another thing to control. Indeed, since sex is the major aspect of adult life that men experience as being related to Nature and to be unable to be controlled — at least, not with a lot of difficulty, for the sex act requires loss of control, as does loving in any form — and men would associate sex with women, that would be another reason women would be controlled. For in controlling women, men could, again, work to deny their connection with and dependence on Nature.
Now, these special characteristics of women and the extra coercion that would be brought to bear upon them because of those characteristics would split women along two lines of behavior. These would be sets of behaviors, but also, and for the most part, they would be ways that both women and men would come to see women. One set of behaviors and perceptions of women would be the Conforming ones. In these behaviors and attitudes women would succumb to the coercions and become obedient. They would become as sycophantic as can be. They would adopt the perceptions of themselves as being less than human because of their association with Nature. They would go along with what was being demanded of them and would become docile, subservient, “domesticated” — just like the “animals” that were owned. Indeed they would go along with being viewed as possessions and things and would become self-hating and obsequious to the values of power, control, and masculinity.
The other set of behaviors and perceptions are what might be called Authentic. In this choice, women would not concede personhood. They would not want men or others controlling their freedom, bodies, sexuality, relationships. They might, for the sake of their relations with their children, ape all the mannerisms of conformity and submission when necessary, but they would resent it. They really were still closer to their natural selves and to Nature and could not or would not deny it, regardless the pressures to conform and the punishments for non-conformance. Women would know their power, however secretively. On the other hand, men would perceive this assertion of the natural in women as the gravest offence and affront to all their efforts at controlling and dominating. So men’s view of these women had them being lumped in with all their other distorted views of Nature: by men, women were, like Nature, seen as wild, uncontrollable, bestial, animalistic, uncontrolled. They were associated with those forces in Nature that resisted domination and murder, too, as, like Nature’s planetmates who did so, they were considered vicious and unforgiving — furious and Furies.
Thus, there was a polarity evident in women’s feelings and in the perception of them in society: One matches up with the Conformers and was the pull of obedience, for the women, and the perception of their docility, by others. The other was in resonance with the Authentics — and all the natural and beneficent forces of the Divine — and resulted in women’s desire to be free, noble, and self-determining, like humans in general once were. And this was perceived, especially by men, as rebellion, license, viciousness, and evil (the opposite of live) — which is exactly the opposite of what it was, for the Authentic urge was life-affirming and felicitous, loving as well as free.
This is how your females became the most important and obvious expression of the Controller-Conformer-Authentic dynamic. In it you can see all the elements of persuasion, coercion, obedience, sycophancy, rebellion, jealousy, and humiliation that were at play in all of your, human’s, efforts at extending your controlling insanity into the realms of humans, too, beginning with the most natural of you.
All of these pressures toward conformity and sycophancy in humans could not help but make for the dominance of Controller-Conformer numbers, and thus traits, in your populations. Remember, that conformity and controlling behaviors were aligned not only in their ends but within the person. For every conformer is a wannabe controller. And every conformer would be rewarded for their obedience by getting to be controlling in some other area of their life. In fact, the pressure on women to be conforming was so great because it was the place where conforming men, if nowhere else in society, were given free rein as controllers. Just as in the societal hierarchies that developed out of this Controller-Conformer dynamic it would have those on one level sucking up to those above while being rewarded with sycophantic behavior from those below them, so also conforming behavior for all men would be rewarded with sycophantic behavior by women, who would be everywhere at the bottom of all hierarchies.
Of course, women would seek reward for their conformity, too. People or planetmates lower on the totem pole could always be invented. Women could participate vicariously in their husband’s rewards of obedience from those below him; they could derive it from other women, under certain circumstances; they could wield it in their relations with their children, and often did, which is a whole other issue important enough to be discussed on its own (See The 22nd Prasad); and if nothing else there were always the planetmates and Nature that would be bent into service to satisfy these unwholly, unnatural “needs” (actually, desires) to be deferred to and to scapegoat others for one’s own circumstances.
If human females chose to accept none of these outlets for their resentment and they insisted on being Authentic and living along the lines of Nature, they suffered. And many of your women did just that.
In being connected to Nature through birth and nurturing, through parenting and family relationships, they would be ever reminded of those values of Nature and of their natural ways. Values of intimacy, love, full experience of life, and felicity would make those of power and domination seem pale by comparison.
So, just like compassionate planetmates who took on lives of service to suffering humanity, a great many of your women did, too. They suffered for being Authentic. Because of this, your females are always and everywhere more likely to suffer from unhappiness, depression, anxiety. Indeed, women actually are more like planetmates, they are more like “animals”; but this is meant in the most salutary way: that your females are closer to Divinity, to natural life, and more likely to take on suffering rather than participate in the power and punishment games.
Still, though slumbering in the hearts of many women and some unusual men — the Authentics — natural and authentic traits would wane as being characteristics of humans. For, of course, those of you who accumulated more and controlled others allied with their conforming, sycophantic underlings would be able to win out in the struggle over resources over those more authentic and less conniving of you. For these traits of unnaturalness do provide a temporary edge in the competition you created for yourselves. You created unreal struggles, and imaginary achievements and defeats, out of your crazed and fearful brains; and the ones who went along most with those unnatural pursuits and forged personalities to fit it could not help but dominate in those contests. Essentially, because of these ruthless traits the more twisted of you would be able to win out more often in the struggle for survival over more authentic humans.
These ways succeeding, controlling and conformity traits would ascend as traits in your population. For, not only would these dominating and subservient traits be passed along to your children through heredity, but also through nurture and example. Your children could not help but be lured from their pulls toward natural ways, which they, by Nature, experience more strongly as they are younger and more recently removed from Divinity. Your offspring with such traits would end up being great in number and your population would increasingly see and produce such inauthentic, more twisted humans.
In this way, your evolution to the depths of depraved Nature that we observe in you today was brought about. This was the final fall in your devolution from wholesome beingness to the twisted and inauthentic state you find yourselves in today — a state so unwholesome as actually to be capable of bringing down all life on this planet, along with your own, in as short a time as just an instant.
Continue with The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Nineteenth Prasad: Over-Accumulation, Ego, and Attaining Ultimate Unnaturalness
Return to The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Seventeenth Prasad: Nascent Class War … 20,000 BC
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A Smaller Number of Us Can Make All the Difference in the World, Literally, by Tipping Our Course One Way as Opposed to Another: Moving the World – A Race Against Time
Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? A Smaller Number of Us — Standing in the Right Place and With a Lever Big Enough — Might Be All That Is Needed to Move the World
Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen:
To Move the World – A Race Against Time
Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth?
The Evidence for Change Occurring
Finally it is time to answer the question posed by this book: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth? Knowing apocalypse, we can now declare a hearty No! to apocalypse.
Our answer begins by pointing out that we have discovered, in this book, that there are things that can be done to prevent our extinction and, on the contrary, bring in a new dawn of harmonious cooperation with the forces of Nature. In the last five chapters we have seen that there is evidence of a collective change in consciousness occurring. A radical change in our attitudes to war, racism, the environment, and even spirituality—and thus to the very way we live our lives—is manifesting in our culture, the youth of the world, our children, and is even popping up in our collective dreams.
In addition we are aided by some fundamental processes of natural and cosmic law. In preceding chapters I have pointed out how both our nature inside and Nature outside seem to be conspiring to force us into the changes necessary. From this perspective we are in the hands of natural law, and its homeostatic mechanisms may bring us into line in ways unimaginable, beyond even the speculations I put forth in our attempt to see “through Gaia’s’ eyes” in Chapter Seven.
Visible and Invisible Allies
Furthermore we may be aided by unseen forces and entities of which we know not and may be incapable of knowing. Though I think it foolhardy to sit on our hands and hope that some intergalactic or spiritual cavalry will arrive to save the day at the last moment. Still it is eminently reasonable, considering the minuscule knowledge we have in relation to the immensity of All That Is, to put aside our familiar hubris and at least consider the possibility of aid from higher forces or entities.
Perhaps it is because our interconnectedness with Everything requires that we not fail, for it would have detrimental effects on things of which we do not know. I must confess that I myself have received knowledge of such help being given us. [Footnote 1]
Similarly there are others who believe that God will not allow His/Her creation to be destroyed and did indeed come in the flesh to ensure its success. [Footnote 2]
And there may even be cosmic laws at work. “Truth has its own momentum,” said one of our workshop participants. My wife and I conducted workshops in what we call primal breathwork, which is based on the Holotropic Breathwork™ of Stanislav Grof. In these workshops, which involve access to all aspects of the unconscious, including the spiritual/transpersonal, the biographical-psychodynamic, and the sensory, as well as the perinatal, it is not unusual for us to witness people being motivated, because of their profound transformative experiences, to commit themselves with all their being, talents, and resources, to aid in the processes of renewal on this planet.
But Is It Enough?
Don’t Expect to See It on Cable News
But some might argue that there are not enough people changing. You might easily get that impression if your prime source of information is the mainstream media of the cultures of the world. For it is in the interest of the dominant media of all lands to support the status quo—for economic, as well as political reasons. They are not likely to report the new and controversial.
In fact, the proof of this is that when truth is truly democratized and shared freely, as on the Internet, the information that comes out is drastically different from the sanctioned news sources. Indeed, we have seen the social media and the Internet leading in many areas, from Wikileaks to Mideast revolt, everywhere and anywhere. Like a tail wagging a dog, the Internet has been the first to expose information that the controlled media, who knew of it but repressed the information, only afterwards were forced to present.
So don’t expect the paid-for media to give you an accurate portrayal of what is truly new and breaking or for them to accurately reflect cultural changes as they occur. And don’t either expect for them to present the news of positive developments occurring—especially when those positive developments threaten an entrenched status quo. No, the official information sources of the status quo are the last to report such changes, and they do so only when they absolutely have to.
The Peace Symbol—Moratorium—Reversed
Meanwhile, from my vantage point, I would answer the query that there are not enough people changing by reiterating that, in fact, there are many of us who are integrating this emergent material, who are regaining our truth and the truths of this Earth and the Universe, who are expanding our consciousness to include this information, and who are carrying that information forward into positive action to heal ourselves, the people around us, humanity at large, and the planet.
This response of constructive action is exquisitely expressed when the peace symbol is reversed and symbolizes a human figure with arms upstretched—meaning the expression into the external world of what was discovered within.
Putting Out Our Hand By Creating Healthy Alternatives
An answer to the question of what will happen is that we can hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and reaction in the face of this influx of material, for one thing. In addition, those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier for others less fortunate to face and deal positively with their environmentally enforced psychological transitions.
Those of us who can should put out our hand to our struggling sisters and brothers. If we can set up and provide accessible alternatives to the ones of reaction and acting out that now exist, we’re going to make it more likely that those more prone to reaction and avoidance will instead also grow in response to these eco-apocalyptic, bio-noetic changes.
Facing the Monster Is Always Better, Often Beautiful
For, contrary to what many believe, the evidence from the experiential modalities involving the perinatal, and my own experience, concludes that the dangers of not accessing the perinatal unconscious are much greater than the ones of attempting to access them. For our residual birth issues influence us one way or the other. If we deny them, we can be deluded into acting them out, completely unconsciously, without an insight or a clue, in a “fetal trance state,” in the form of war, social violence, spouse abuse, sexual promiscuity resulting in the contraction of AIDS, and a myriad of other destructive and self-destructive ways.
Whereas if we turn to face this supposed “monster,” with only a tad of insight into these forces that direct our life, we are at least able to avoid the most horrific of the destructive acts that keeping it unconscious can cause us to participate in.
And then, on the more positive side, fully working through these seemingly hellish inner traumas can result in a transformation of the person and a lightness, peace, beauty, and fulfillment of life unlike anything that can be imagined beforehand.
A Race Against Time
Regardless of whether we succeed, we must try. As Stanislav Grof put it in his conclusion to an article on this global crisis: For our very survival,
We seem to be involved in a race for time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are extremely destructive and self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will survive. However if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of deep inner transformation; we might reach a level of consciousness evolution that will bring us to the point of deserving the name given to our species, Home sapiens, i.e., wise humans.
“The Leaven In the Dough”
Of course, I do not expect that the sort of application of experiential techniques Grof hopes for above can occur on the massive scale that would seem to be necessary to avoid apocalypse in the short period of time that we have left. Yet it might be that we would be lucky enough for that not to be necessary.
It is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world.
Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
1. See “Some Cosmic Encouragement: I Was Told “Once There Lived ‘Noble’ Beings” and Now Is the Time for a Regeneration of Peoples to Regain What We Lost,” which is the prologue of the book that follows in line from this one. Wounded Deer and Centaurs expands and elaborates on some of the central concepts introduced here.
3. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 25. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site.
Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
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Play Cards with Your Dragons: The New Hero’s Cycle Involves Surrender Not Struggle, Sacrifice Not Slaying, Compassion Not “Toughness,” and Silliness Not Stoicism
Loving Warriors and Silly Heroes: The Necessary Hero Dances Above Dissonance, Lightens Up in the Face of Stress, and Sees Divinity Not Demons Behind It All
Apocalypse – No! Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes
You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano: The Necessary Hero Uses Surrender, not Struggle … For Why Would You Not Be Borne Up by a Universe That Is You
We Need Compassionate Warriors, Not Fighters: It’s Not Enough Just to Slay Dragons, We Need to Jump Into Volcanoes
Volcano-Jumping: A Different Heroic Response
This different kind of heroic response—which characterizes the perinatal arena and is sorely needed at this time in history—is exemplified in another contemporary movie of cult status. We will deal with it in some detail to bring out the elements of the kind of hero that is now required to stop the cycles of destruction that have currently driven us to the abyss…to the very edge of a “volcano.”
In “Joe Versus the Volcano,” the main character, played by Tom Hanks, is given a heroic task. But unlike a typical hero’s cycle task which stereotypically involves the slaying of a fire-spewing dragon, Joe is asked to give up his life by jumping into a fire-erupting volcano.
The connection between volcano and dragon is that at the second-line or psychodynamic level the fire-spewing aspects of the perinatal, which might be compared to a volcano, can be seen as “embodied” or reduced in the form of a dragon. In the same way, the volcanic energy of perinatal feelings is initially embodied in easier-to-face and “dragonized” psychodynamic, second-line, or childhood traumas and feelings.
You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano
But what may seem to work at the second-line or psychodynamic level—the conquering or slaying of negative feelings…and notice that I said “seem”—has no place at all at the perinatal. For here the pain energy is overwhelming and pervasive. Thus the difference is analogous to that between facing the energy of a dragon and facing that of a volcano.
The Heroes We Need – The New Hero’s Cycle
First Anima, Then Community
Keep in mind that this movie shows Joe, earlier on, going through all the major stages of the hero’s cycle—the retreat from mundane reality, the sailing off into a new and exotic realm of existence and adventure.
It even depicts a typical “dragon slaying”—the hero’s conquering of inner fears and risking of one’s life for another that results in the uniting with anima energy–the saving of the damsel. So earlier on there is a dealing with psychodynamic energy, just as in “Nothing but Trouble” Chevy Chase deals with psychodynamic material and enacts a dragon slaying by risking his life to rescue Demi Moore from a giant chopping machine. But, also similarly, this results in the opening up of another level, requiring a completely different—indeed, opposite—response. Thus, in “Joe Vs. the Volcano,” Joe is asked to give up his life to save an entire community, not merely to risk his life to rescue his anima, his feeling self.
Risking It All
The ensuing plot has interesting elements as it shows Joe having to decide whether to sacrifice his newly won relationship with his anima ally for the benefit of an entire—but anonymous—community. This demonstrates that at a progressed level of the spiritual process—that having to do with one’s inter-connection with the larger community of living things, not just one’s personal unconscious—one must risk even one’s newly regained creativity, inner child playfulness, and personal feelings, i.e., one’s anima.
But in telling fashion, in order to make the higher “community” sacrifice the anima elements that have been let go of, symbolized by Meg Ryan as the anima damsel, end up going with Joe to his chosen fate and are borne up, renewed, along with him.
Borne Up by a Beneficent Universe
On Joe’s part, the climax shows the same quality of a beneficent Universe aiding a true and dharmic heart. Joe (with his anima) face what they think is death. Instead they find themselves “borne up” by the volcano, not consumed; and they are deposited (reborn) in a typical perinatal watery surround—the ocean, symbolizing therefore a spiritual birth. This is a perfect depiction of how surrender, not “heroic” resistance, is done and why it needs to be done currently, as I have been pointing out.
“Away From the Things of Man”
In the end, the main characters are floating in the middle of a wide open sea—signifying the immensity of potentiality that is now open, and facing a gigantic moon on the horizon—symbolizing the beneficent nature of the Universe to which they are opening, that is, it is beautiful and lit with possibilities.
They are seen sitting on only their luggage—symbolizing the “stripped down” nature of the self, that is, stripped of ego trappings of status, vainglory, defenses, and so on. Their final comment at the very end of the film is that they do not know where they’ll end up but only that it will be “away from the things of man”—indicating their desire to never go back to the drama of ego and its puerile catacomb pathways of darkened experience.
The Universe Is You
We see then that in this movie, like “Nothing but Trouble,” the heroic response required is surrender, not resistance or control, and that the response from the Universe is cooperative and helpful, and hardly antagonistic as was feared, especially at earlier levels.
This is in keeping with the discovery at the perinatal, which borders it on the transpersonal, that in fact the Universe, not only is not antagonistic, not only is beneficent and helpful, but in fact is no different from oneself, indeed is oneself…and one begins to wonder why one would ever expect not to be borne up by a Universe that is now seen as inextricably united with one’s Self.
While the interpretation of Joe Versus the Volcano presented in the video below – Joe vs. the Volcano: Losing my Soul, Part One – is annoyingly suffused with theological terminology – hell, devil – and suffers from the paranoia that happens lacking a perinatal or even a Jungian understanding, it does succeed on a more superficial level of basic insight. It does get the highly metaphorical and philosophical import of the film and picks up on major themes of the movie. It strikes me as having the problem of just understanding religion while knowing nothing about psychology. And it suffers, as I’ve put it elsewhere, from the problem of projecting one’s perinatal underbelly onto the Universe or of funneling revelation through the filter of personal pain.
Silly Heroes and Evolution in Attitudes to the Perinatal: The Necessary Hero Jives with the Monsters, Dances Above the Dissonance, and Is Ever Aware of Divinity Everywhere
What the World Needs Now … Is Loving Warriors and Silly Heroes: Jiving with Your Monsters, Dancing Above the Dissonance, and The Universality of Divinity Remembered
Responses to the Perinatal
Returning now to “Nothing But Trouble,” an aspect of it that has significance for dealing with perinatal issues is the way different characters are shown responding to the embodiment of arbitrary justice, the judge. In the wonderfully Kafkaesque courtroom scenes, we see several different types of people—representing different responses to unconscious material—hauled before the judge. The musicians, signifying artists, creative people; the hedonistic criminals; and the main characters, representing average people, each present distinct attitudes, which are responded to differently by the representative of the unconscious, the judge.
Jiving With Your Monsters
The musicians are able to create rhythm and flow. Therefore they are able to get through the experience unharmed. Indeed, they are even able to elicit a response from the judge—getting him to join in. In this way we see how creative people can actually use perinatal material and get it to cooperate for desired ends. We might consider how this relates to the writing of “Nothing but Trouble” itself.
Peter and Dan Aykroyd, in creating this movie, are, like the musicians in the movie, getting the unconscious to “play along,” to create something beyond what either the writer or the unconscious could accomplish separately. Much of what is interesting in art is done this way: The deeper fear-evoking material is allowed to come in and enrich, enliven, freshen with new ideas and perspectives, stimulate, and invigorate the creative production.
Beware the Tar Baby
Notice also that the really contentious ones—the alcoholic drug-using criminal hedonists—are completely lost. Thus the two extremes, as well as the average person are depicted.
But the truly striking element that indicates an advanced way of dealing with the perinatal material is shown in the genre of the movie itself. As a comedy, it shows a non-attached and transcendent approach. Chevy Chase and Demi Moore, especially Chevy Chase, show an aloofness and silly playfulness in the face of horror and death that has spiritual implications. Like a Tibetan mystic, Chase refuses to get sucked in to the involved drama confronting him. Like a Christian saint about to be martyred, he jokes, teases, and gets silly with the instruments of horror and evil. Similarly, Demi Moore humors and plays cards with her would-be monsters.
Standing within the Witness higher self, they are able to take the entire situation lightly—acting and reacting in the moment to each unique situation as it presents itself. One moment Chevy Chase is confronting his own demise, the next moment he is in a love scene. He alternates a frightful encounter with relaxing and smoking a cigar.
If we want to know what real and transcended behavior is, we might do well to get our hints in the depictions of unattached playfulness — as presented by modern Western actors like Bill Murray, Demi Moore, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, and Jim Carey—rather than in the repressively calmed not-with-it-ness—not-witness—that is sometimes mistaken for spiritual attainment.
Incidentally, this element of humor shows an entirely different way of dealing with the perinatal than most other movies that deal with this kind of material. The movie, “Brazil,” is a good example of this difference. Not only is “Brazil” cast in an eerie, somber, and tragically hopeless and futile air—indicating that one’s response here is to “believe in” the reality of such material—but the only escape in this movie is in a purely conceptual, fantasy way.
The main character cannot face the horror ultimately. He flips out into a reassuring dream sequence brimming with BPM I and BPM IV imagery. Interestingly, reflecting the pattern of progression of our expressions in feeling therapies, the dream includes a BPM III scenario to get him to those later bucolic realms.
But in “Brazil” these are only daydreams. This fact shows a refusal to face this perinatal material or to surrender to it. Rather, in fantasy, one overcomes the horror. It is as if one continues using familiar ego techniques—hero’s journey methods, dragon-slaying methods—for dealing with material on a deeper level where they no longer work—where they are in fact counterproductive.
Thus, these techniques can only succeed in dreaming. Terry Gilliam, the creator of “Brazil,” shows us that the hero, in reality, is doomed.
However, one might interpret the main character’s escape into fantasy as a victory over evil forces. That the ending lends itself so readily to such an interpretation is a telling indictment of the state of progress of some of us in dealing with perinatal material. Apparently, there are those so lost that the only success possible seems to be in insanity or death.
Evolution In Attitudes to the Perinatal?
However, in “Nothing but Trouble,” the main characters do face and deal with all the material. Sometimes they fight it; sometimes run from it; sometimes play with it; sometimes joke, tease, spar, or get silly with it; sometimes are swallowed by it and carried along…but always they are creatively facing and dealing with it. This different air about and attitude towards the perinatal material can be said to be an advance from the earlier movie, “Brazil,” representing perhaps a progression of our collective consciousness in our attitudes and manner of dealing with the perinatal.
Dancing Above the Dissonance
Such a prospect is, indeed, the auspicious legacy of such a creative project. Though it is doubtful they did so consciously, the Aykroyd brothers and the producers of “Nothing But Trouble” deserve our gratitude for their efforts in lighting forward our collective reality endeavor.
Beyond that, we can take hope in the possibility that Western culture may be rising itself, however minimally at first, above the dramas of light and darkness that have plagued it for so long. The Manichean tendency can lead only to ever-spiraling cycles of resistance and assault. Yet we are seeing currently, not only an erosion of defiantly uni-dimensional ego perspectives, not only a movement toward facing and dealing with our inner darkness, but an integration of opposing forces, a dancing above the leela—the play—of light and dark.
The Universality of Divinity Remembered
The perennial understanding of the universality of divinity, both within and without us, in the lowest as well as the highest of places, is the bright at the center of the perinatal bedlam about us. We are guided as well by this gleaming, a rising moon of promise and possibilities.
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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
Where There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.
Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace
Culture War Replaced Cold War
We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.
This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.
Talk Show Soul-Searching
For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.
We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.
To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. Yet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.
This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.
A Modern “Priesthood”
This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.
Keeping the People Down
Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.
Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.
Therapy for the Masses
At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.
We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.
My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.
Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.
If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.
Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.
Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.
As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight
The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.
For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?
America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price
The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.
What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?
It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?
Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation
Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.
Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations
“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?
Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation
So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most “advanced” mode of child-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.
Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]
“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation
No doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. They sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]
These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.
These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”
Let the Buck Stop Here!
Nonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.
If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?
What virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.
We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.
While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”
While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. They called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.
So our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.
What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise
A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
A Drive to Healing
We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!
Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]
These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.
What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.
To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.
So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.
What Might We Expect?
What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.
“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”
From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.
Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming
Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.
Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.
We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.
1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.
2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”
3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.
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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
What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide and the Necessary Mess of Transformation: Hard to Believe, But We’re Getting Saner
Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing
There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope
The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope
Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals
In turning toward these feelings we embrace, feel, and if we go deeply enough into that, we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.
If we face these inner forces—we call that feeling them…in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth—we integrate them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.
Or the individual and society can avoid this going within—as depicted in the peace symbol—and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down—the Satan symbol, the pentagram.
In acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. One tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can take over one’s soul.
So in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out…the greatest struggle.
Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process. It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth. The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill. [Footnote 1]
For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.
A “Spiral Dance”
These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain—this birth trauma—in an unending cycle of feelings having these components
- Periods of feelings of expansion
- Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war…the struggle, the battle…is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression…akin to a kind of “limbo”…before life can begin anew. A reconception is necessary.
The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives
The reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this reconceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength—akin to the expansion that follows winning. Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battle truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.
Where There Is Real Hope
It would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. But progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior or we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.
We are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways of dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way—and some ways are better than others for doing this—so that we can have some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.
Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy
Railing Against the Darkness, The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, and Social Progress Requires Regression
The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”
What we absolutely don’t have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability—through will or reason alone—to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and hence of positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them. Trying to reason with and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as trying to reason with a lizard and convince it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a gila monster.
What We Call “Reason” Is Largely Just Rationalization
This impotence of intellectual understanding in the face of these patterns of self-destruction occurs because these schemas are rooted in memories existing in an emotional and entirely dissociated part of the brain, which is hardly touched by neocortical admonishing of any kind. As deMause correctly points out,
[The fetus’s] “early experiences have been found to be recorded in a separate early neural network—a dissociated emotional memory system centering in the amygdala, quite distinct from the declarative memory system centering in the hippocampus that is established in later childhood.” [Footnote 2]
Disclaiming these cycles, which inevitably pass through darkness, and reliance on “will-power” to change one’s patterns, which includes self-sabotage, has been exposed in its impotence in modern times. We see as evidence the growing acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness and, indeed, counter-effectiveness of psychoanalysis. [Footnote 3]
Railing Against the Darkness
So the question begging to be asked is “What do we do about it?” What do we do about these pernicious cycles?
And when these elements erupt in society in harmless, possibly healing ways, how do we view them? Do we, as Mayr and Boelderl do in their article, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe,” decry the regression…as if by disclaiming it we could somehow keep the cycle from happening? [Footnote 4]
Mayr and Boelderl write, for example, that the situation of collective regression in Europe “strikes us as being high-explosive [sic] and bitter enough.” [Footnote 5]
In another place they exclaim, “What is horrible about this insight [about the increasing collective regression in Europe] is the additional observation that regression is becoming still more radical.” [Footnote 6]
This response of railing against the “Darkness” is a Freudian response. Yet it is not even a neo-Freudian one, since regression in the service of the ego—which began to be seen as ever more important by neo-Freudians—is not acknowledged, let alone considered.
Social Progress Requires Regression
That regression in the service of the ego is not considered is confirmed by Mayr and Boelderl in their statement that “[R]egression by definition is a process of repression and a defense mechanism.” [Footnote 7]
These are surprising words, in light of the concept of regression in the service of the ego and awareness of the clinically based evolution of psychotherapeutic theory since Freud’s original postulations, over a half-century ago.
They are even more awry if one considers the universal, cross-cultural, implementation by societies of rebirthing rituals to handle the same kinds of forces we are confronted with. The anthropological literature is rife with these accounts.
Further, Grof has meticulously shown that regularly going into altered states of consciousness where one confronts this material is a prime function of cultures, and it occurs nearly universally although it is woefully lacking in Western culture for the most part.
Moreover, these words by Mayr and Boelderl indicate a conflict with or ignorance of the fact that deMause’s theory of evolution of historical change requires regression on the part of parents, while parenting their children, as the primary “engine” of sociopsychological progress.
For deMause writes,
“[T]he ultimate source of all historical change is psychogenesis, the lawful change in childrearing modes occurring through generational pressure…. Psychogenesis depends upon the ability of parents and surrogates to regress to the psychic age of their children and work through the anxieties of that age better the second time than in their own childhood.” (op. cit., 1982, p. 135, emphasis mine.)
But this mistake by these two social scientists would not be all that important if it was not the perfect example of the kind of uninformed attitude we have, generally speaking, in Western societies about these forces. This attitude is reinforced by a Judeo-Christian tradition of specialness and scapegoating in the West. It is a pervasive feeling about these things; specifically it, itself, is the actual defense. While this is a widespread reaction to our inner realities it is far from science, and even further from the truth or reality about these things.
“Stop It!” … Yeah, That’s Gonna Work
At any rate, if we adopt this Western, Judeo-Christian, Freudian tactic of decrying the darkness, we are as effective in derailing the cycle of violence and war as Freudians are in what amounts to admonishing their clients to “stop it!” when it comes to their neurotic self-sabotaging.
For people cannot will themselves to merely stop their cycles of neurotic self-sabotage and self-destruction, which are the individual manifestations/ acting out of their birth traumas. As mentioned these directors of action operate out of a different part of the psyche, and brain, than one’s conscious willing part. They are simply not accessible, so hardly amenable, to rational or willful input. And changing one’s thoughts to affect them is about as helpful as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.
People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”
Regression in the Service of the Ego
With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.
These schools/strategies include the psychiatric—the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the ego in a higher Self (a spiritual center) beyond or transcending the cycles. [Footnote 8]
Other approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these.
Finally, these newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy, which includes primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of (experiential) meditation (Vipassana meditation, for example), Reichian and bioenergetic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy—experiential ones—ones that involve reliving traumas—and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology.
The point is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives—and all of those that acknowledge the importance of regression in the service of the ego—and from the perspective of the entire field of experiential psychotherapy, the answer to the cycles of violence, war, and death-rebirth is to stop the acting out, not by simply intellectually decrying it—as if one can actually talk oneself out of one’s inner fears and one’s Darkness/Shadow—but by reliving those cycles of violence at their origins…their primal roots. In the case of perinatal forces, those forces from “the dark side,” this is accomplished by reliving the violence of birth, a perinatal trauma that is thoroughly and masterfully delineated by Grof and deMause. [Footnote 9]
Auspicious Collective Regressions
But from this perspective of experiential psychotherapy—one completely congruent with and grateful of deMause’s contributions in psychohistory as well—regression, in Europe, or elsewhere, is not seen as something to decry, disclaim, be horrified of, or be seen as dangerous but is seen as an opportunity. Regression is certainly not seen as a form of defense but as the opposite of that. Regression is part of a process of diminishing one’s defenses against one’s internal reality of pain and trauma.
Thus, examples of blatant collective regression as in Europe—more so to the extent they are relived, released, and integrated—are entirely auspicious for the eventual elimination of war as a collective device of acting out—defending against—the painful feelings coming from one’s personal history which one carries around, all unknowingly, and which pervade, in one way or another, in forms subtle and not so subtle, every moment of one’s consciousness in the present.
From this experiential psychotherapeutic perspective, we have a different feeling about developments like those that Mayr and Boelderl describe as collective regression in Europe and Lawson describes as occurring at rock concerts. [Footnote 10]
From a more enlightened viewpoint these cultural phenomena should have us, if not dancing in the streets, at least hopeful of a gradual decrease in the use of war and violence. Why? It is because the youth who display this “regression” so blatantly were brought up by an “advanced” form of child-rearing than that of previous generations, that they have fewer defenses, fewer layers of obfuscation covering up their unconscious psychodynamics; consequently the regression is seen more clearly in their behavior. [Footnote 11]
Unflinching Belief Related to Total Dissociation
Why is this important? DeMause points out that people do go to war, and that prior to it their perinatal dynamics come to the fore, as evidenced by perinatal-laden words and images in the media and in leaders’ speeches used to describe the situation and its dynamics. Thus, our leaders take us into war, they act out their perinatal dynamics…and we in following them act out ours…in such gruesomely overt ways because these dynamics are so hidden, repressed, and overlaid with defenses that the conscious mind has absolutely no access to, and hence insight into, them as being part of one’s unconscious dynamics.
Consequently the conscious mind is completely able to convince itself that those dynamics are actual, real, and doubtless parts of the situation and therefore require an actual, real, and extreme response. The amount of resolve required to act out war can only be wrought of an unflinching belief in the rightness, the absolute correctness of one’s perspective of the situation and therefore of that extreme course of response. And that can only be brought about by a total dissociation from one’s perinatal traumas, and a complete and utter projection of it on the outside—the enemy, to be specific.
Blatant “Sickness” Related to Being Real
The contrary is also true: When there does not exist that total and complete dissociation of the perinatal trauma—when it is, as in Europe and rock concerts currently, closer to the surface, less defended against, less repressed and, hence, more blatant—it is more accessible to consciousness and less likely to be acted out in the extreme as in war. Instead it is more likely to be acted out in less extreme forms, such as jumping into mosh pits, carrying pacifiers, listening to baby tunes about the, very real, difficulties of being a baby, and so on.
Finally, it is more likely to be actually allowed to emerge in consciousness and be relived, and thereby “healed”…and gone beyond, to be replaced by something more benign and more socially constructive, and thus to be removed forever as a motivation to war or violence. This is the auspicious view of the developments described by Mayr and Boelderl. [Footnote 12]
Janov was the first to point out that a permanent resolution of underlying trauma initially entailed an aggravation of symptoms and symbolic acting out. That is to say, the underlying dynamics become more blatant and apparent in behavior. [Footnote 13]
Janov was also the first to note that the acting-out and overt neurotic was closer to being “real,” and therefore really sane, than his or her highly functioning and “normal,” but repressed, rigidly defended, and unfeeling neighbor. [Footnote 14]
The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History: I Know It’s Hard to Believe But We’ve Been Getting Saner
Thanks to You We’re Getting Saner: The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History
Evolution of Parenting – We’ve Been Getting Saner
Finally, the correctness of the view that being “crazy” in an insane world might be more sane has been borne out in recent history. DeMause describes an evolution of parenting from ancient times to the present which involved ever decreasing psychosis and violence and increasing caring and consciousness of the needs of children. He connects this decrease in violent child caring to ever decreasing violence and psychotic acting out in societies.
DeMause labels the most common modern parenting mode the socializing mode. Short of the quite recent helping mode—which only really rose to prominence in the last three decades—the socializing mode is the most advanced and most humane.
Lest there be any confusion, I wish to point out that my own theoretical understanding differs from deMause’s in one important respect. While I agree with his evolution of child-rearing over the course of civilization and within recorded time, I believe he is wrong about prehistory and what primal peoples were like and the kind of child-caring they engaged in. He depicts prehistoric societies as psychotically oblivious of the needs of children, engaging in, first, infanticidal; then, second, abandoning; then, third, ambivalent modes of child-rearing. Whereas it seems to me the overwhelming evidence and increasing numbers of anthropologists point to a natural “organic” child-caring being employed in the the mists of the past quite a bit more “advanced” than even many modes employed today.
I believe the change from the loving parenting we see in many primal peoples and in Nature among many of our planetmates to the infanticidal, abandoning, and ambivalent modes he has described for early historic cultures is a product of that ever increasing control of Nature that went into full gear with the agrarian revolution, some ten to twenty-five thousand years ago. So, I am saying that brutal parenting was a consequence of “civilization” and was at its worst at the beginnings of recorded time.
But I agree we have been gradually evolving to better modes of child-caring over the history of civilization to the most sane and psychologically beneficial modes employed in recent decades, which, you might want to note, are very much like the modes of the earliest humans. I describe why and how we lost our connection with Nature and loving ways of parenting—how we left “Eden”—in my book and blog “The Great Reveal.”
The Cycles of Time
I believe my understanding shows once again how much of what modern folks thought of “development”—including it being linear and increasing from “darkness” to “light” with ourselves always at the top (conveniently)—is wrong and merely part of an anthropocentric bias and an ethnocentric heritage. For more and more, as we lay down those blinders to reality, we notice the evidence of the cyclical nature of everything—from our lives (ashes to ashes) to the physical Universe’s expansion and contraction, to the vibrations at the subatomic level, the waves in the sea, the turning of the Earth and the revolutions of the solar systems, and I contend now also, the so-called “history” of our species on Earth. This is the thoroughly postmodern idea that human time is also cyclical, with over and again peoples returning to earlier halcyon times only to “fall” away from them.
The Worst of Times Quality of Current Events
This idea of time as cyclical not linear is in keeping with Eastern philosophies, as well as indigenous ones. Hindu thinking currently has us at the depths of the Kali Yuga, the worst part of the cycle right now, with matters to be reversed very soon and the best of times just ahead. And, as I have been describing in my books Falls from Grace and Primal Renaissance and will be directly pointing out in my upcoming book, Primal Return, we are currently seeing a most necessary return to a more harmonious way of being and a more natural self. And with it, requiring it, to some extent preceding it, we are evolving to the most advanced mode of loving parenting.
The “Best of Times” Nature of Our Parenting
Psychohistorian Glenn Davis, following deMause, analyzed the most advanced form of child-caring short of the most recent helping mode—the psychogenic parenting mode deMause termed socializing—and found that it comprised four submodes. In order, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century and each one a more “evolved” and humane one than the previous one, they are the submodes of psychic control, aggressive training, vigorous guidance, and delegated release. [Footnote 15]
Oh, Be-HAVE. WWII Generation … Received Aggressive-Training and Vigorous-Guidance Parenting
Davis concluded that in America the Vietnam War was perpetrated by individuals belonging almost entirely to the aggressive-training and vigorous-guidance psychoclasses. [Footnote 16]
Questioning Authority and Oneself Is Good. Boomers … Received Delegated Release Parenting
Yet the Vietnam War was brought to an end largely as a result of the efforts of an antiwar movement whose largest component was a Sixties youth brought up under a more advanced delegated-release child-caring mode. [Footnote 17]
The delegated release mode, which resulted in the phenomenon of Sixties youth and the counterculture, is the most “advanced” mode short of the helping mode.
“Let’s Collaborate” – Millennials. Received the Most Advanced Parenting – Helping … “We Just Want You to Be Happy.”
The helping mode is the child-caring mode employed widely by the Sixties generation for their children, the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y. So, a helping mode of parenting was enjoyed by the children of a delegated-release psychoclass, the Boomers. Sixties youth are seen, psychologically, to have the most the most “advanced” ego structures short of their children taught within a helping mode. [Footnote 18]
Ending War and Humanicide—Peace Is Worth its Price of Suffering: Better “Emotionally Disturbed” Than “Healthily” Fighting in War
Walking In Another’s Moccasins
It is obvious that these Sixties youth did not have the same unflinching and unqualified belief in the absolute rightness of their country’s position in Vietnam as did many of their parents. This is obviously the case in a psychoclass of youth chanting a generational mantra, “Question authority!” and whose more extreme members would at times even go over to the perspective of seeing the war from the eyes of the “enemy,” the Other.
As I mentioned earlier, among the Sixties Generation we saw Jane Fonda’s journey to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags by protesters, and the carrying of little red books on the sayings of Chairman Mao. These are obvious indicators that the generation as a whole was open to seeing the war from the North Vietnamese perspective: That is, as a conflict perpetrated by a foreign nation that was hypocritical in its espousal of democracy in that it prevented democratic elections that would have without doubt elected Ho Chi Minh and instead it installed a puppet-ruler in the South, making Vietnam a virtual colony of the United States. From this perspective, the Vietnam War was for the Vietnamese as much a war for independence as the American Revolution was for the U.S.
This is just an example of how there are two sides to every issue and how an attempt at empathy or “walking in The Other’s moccasins”—made possible by a closeness to a perinatal unconscious that is also an opposite perspective than that of the conscious mind—can lead, at the minimum, to the reluctance necessary to prevent engaging in at least the most blatant and horrific forms of violence…against others, but consider also, against Nature.
The Perinatal Generation
At any rate, is there evidence that this undermining of the self-righteous position necessary for the instigation and carrying out of war and ecocide—this ability to see at least somewhat from The Other’s perspective and not just one’s own—is in truth correlated with a closeness to perinatal dynamics, a closeness to the unconscious for that generation of youth, those of the Sixties? The answer: Absolutely yes!
As mentioned in a previous part, sociologist Kenneth Keniston did psychological studies of members of the Sixties Generation.
He was inspired to do so through his noticing that he was seeing something really unusual and radically different in these youth than what he had ever seen. This led to his fascination with discovering what made them so different. And he documented his findings in two books—The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society and Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. Roughly speaking he chose to study the unconscious dynamics of both the “alienated-hippie” and the “activist” sectors, respectively, of that generation. [Footnote 19]
At the risk of repeating myself, I wish to remind the reader that a reading of his books—keeping in mind that Keniston knew nothing of perinatal dynamics at that time, and few people did, for that matter—reveals a degree of perinatal imagery, fantasy, and acting out—especially among “the uncommitted”—enough to make a troll-handling, pacifier-wearing, mosh-pit jumping youth of today to blush! [Footnote 20]
Self-Analysis and Psychological-Mindedness
Because of this peculiar perinatal access, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that Keniston also found an unusual amount of inner reflection—questioning oneself—alongside the more well known questioning authority. This he labeled “overexamined life” for the alienated sector and “psychological mindedness” for the activists.
Better Emotionally Disturbed Than “Healthily” Engaging in War
So, being close to one’s perinatal imprints, being less defended against one’s inner unconscious painful memories, leads to one being able to question not just oneself—and therefore to be a catalyst to personal growth and a quest for truth—but also the actions of one’s society. It is a counterbalance to our tendency to act out in violence to others as in war and to Nature as in ecocide. It means people will suffer more inner turmoil and pain, will feel more psychologically “disturbed,” and will be less likely to take it out on others, will be less likely to make others or the environment “pay” for what happened to them.
Let us contrast that with its opposite. DeMause writes,
Hitler’s projection of his fears…into Jews and foreigners helped him avoid a psychotic breakdown and enabled him to function during his later life, as long as others shared his delusion of poisonous enemies.
Therefore acting out collectively, as in war, can prevent a psychotic breakdown in certain individuals.
Better Psychotic Than Waging War
But when the consequences of acting out one’s birth trauma, collectively, is millions of people—including oneself—dead, not to mention the uncountably large loss of material and personal resources, it is clear that by comparison a psychotic breakdown is a more benign alternative for either the individual or the society in which that or those individuals act.
Similarly, not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual…oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a “rite of passage”…would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.
Some folks might even be motivationally paralyzed—receiving information from the unconscious that contradicts and undermines the stance and beliefs of their conscious ego. But when that egoistic stance is slanted, commonly, towards war, violence, selfishness and greed and corresponding environmental apathy, then better one would be indecisive, overwhelmed, and doing nothing.
The Price of Emotional Pain Is Minuscule Compared to That of War
Yet it is true that this neurotic breakdown, of at least a small amount, on the scale of society would result in the kind of collective regressions that Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson describe. That is, the cause of peace, of the saving of human lives, requires that people pay the price of encountering their primal pain.
By all measures, this peace price is minuscule. It is even more worth it when you take into account the fact that many people, after initially “breaking down” for lack of a collective…and highly destructive…act-out like war/aggression, will actually succeed in reconstructing a self more in line with reality, through the dynamics and means categorized under the term regression in the service of the ego, desccribed above. Regardless of professional help…which would be nice but is not always available or practical…some people just find a way.
Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
1. A. Briend, “Fetal Malnutrition: The Price of Upright Posture?” British Medical Journal 2 (1979): 317-319.
2. DeMause, op. cit., 1995, p. 12, emphasis in original.
3. See, for example, Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, trans. by Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, especially “Vantage Point 1990,” pp. vii-ix.
4. Daniela F. Mayr & Artur R. Boelderl, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe.” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (1993): 143-156.
5. Ibid., p. 144.
6. Ibid., p. 148, emphasis mine.
7. Ibid., pp. 149-150.
8. Regarding the “experiential,” I should make clear that this approach is, from the perspective of the experiential psychotherapeutic approach I will be describing shortly, actually the superficial symbolic acting out of these underlying and powerful cycles in a way that is only a little less impotent than the Freudians.
9. DeMause, op. cit., 1995.
11. Mayr and Boelderl claim quite wrongly and quite strangely—as if to make the facts not conflict with DeMause’s psychogenic theory, or as if to cover up some hole in their analysis—that those caught up in the pacifier craze were raised under the intrusive and socializing parenting modes (op. cit., 1993, p. 145) and yet, in 1992, were between the ages of 15 and 30 (Ibid., p. 143). This is hard to understand because these youth would have been born between the years 1962 and 1977 in advanced Western countries of mostly Western Europe—Italy, Germany, Austria, all of Europe, and even the U.S. (Ibid.).
However, the intrusive and socializing modes are associated, by DeMause, with the eighteenth century and the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, respectively, in the Western world (DeMause, op. cit., 1982, p. 62). On the other hand, the helping mode begins mid-twentieth century in the Western world (Ibid., p. 63).
The conclusion from this is that these youth, described by Mayr and Boelderl, would have been greatly influenced by the helping mode. They would be expected, at least, to have received the most advanced methods of child-caring overall in the world at this time—considering DeMause’s theory—since they are the most recent progeny of the Western world!
Indeed, if these cannot be considered products of the helping mode, who can be? In order for Mayr and Boelderl to dispute this and claim they were exceptions to the rule and were raised under intrusive and socializing modes, they would have had to do a study demonstrating this, or at least cite one done. And this they do not do.
12. Michael D. Adzema, “Reunion With the Positive (Self), Part 1: The Other Half of ‘The Cure.’” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 1(2): 72-85. Reprinted on the Primal Spirit site.
15. Glenn Davis, Childhood and History in America. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1976.
19. Kenneth Keniston, The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society. New York: Dell, 1965; Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968.
20.While these aspects of youth are laid out by Keniston, a fuller delineation of these dynamics are to be seen in my work-in-progress, tentatively titled The Once and Current Generation: “Regression,” Mysticism, and “My Generation.” [Stay tuned.]
Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
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