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Primal Peoples Had a Nobleness We Don’t Know: Civilization, Culture, and the History of Our Falls from Grace in Nature … Return to Grace, Part One — Can It Be Otherwise?

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Yes, We Can Improve the Human Condition … and We Have: The Necessary Wound … We Should Make It Better

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History of Falls from Grace

In two other works, The Great Reveal and Primal Return, I have delineated what I believe are some of the factors in creating the present state of consciousness as described as being the endpoint of the process of devolution in the last chapter. I trace it back millions of years to bipedal locomotion, an increasing skull size, greater pain in childbirth, increased psychological repression, changes in pelvic size in the female, the forces of natural selection on the length of gestation, comparative prematurity of human newborns, secondary altriciality, increased pain in infancy and birth for humans, increased repression, increased neocortical capacities, the beginnings of culture, and increased skull size again. I also trace this current patriarchal pathology back thousands of years to the “agrarian revolution” and the rejection of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Civilization, Culture, and the Falls

So obviously I do not believe that this condition was always the case for us. However, it goes back rather far in our line to the beginnings of our hominid existence. And its more extreme form seems only to have come into existence within the last 10,000 years, and only then for part of the population. It follows also, since I have claimed that it is more characteristic of “civilized” cultures, that I don’t believe that its extreme form is as prevalent in “simpler” cultures, specifically, hunter-gatherer ones. And I should mention that even among hunter-gatherers there is quite a bit of variety in the degree of severity of this expulsion from paradise.

The reason for the disparities between cultures, as can be derived from the model I have constructed, has to do with the fact that we all, by virtue of being human, are in a separated state relative to the Divine. We have all come into form, to put it bluntly. Beyond that, we all have some amount of trauma from birth. If nothing else, the separation from the mother represents enough trauma for a secondary duality to occur there; but there is almost always much more than that occurring in the womb or around birth to create a further separated, further removed condition.

So by reason of these species-specific factors, all peoples and all cultures attempt to work out their situation “in darkness” as to the real causes of things, oblivious of the motives behind at least some of their actions, and, in sum, liable to error. Hence, any culture, any people is capable of creating cultural and social constructions that increase, or decrease, the amount of repression and fearfulness that already exists as part of the human condition.

Primal People

Thus, we can only say that in general hunter-gatherers are less repressed, less anxious, less “devolved,” and so on, than are people from agrarian or industrial cultures. Cultures have taken somewhat different paths, even hunter-gatherer ones (cf. Gregor, 1985; and Turnbull, 1972). But generalities have their uses, and the evidence appears overwhelming that simpler lifestyles are correlated with radically different, more humane attitudes and behaviors toward children, toward other human beings, and toward Nature in general—characterizing a less split-off state. (cf. Bird-David, 1992; French, 1985; Lawlor, 1991; Liedloff, 1977; Sahlins, 1972; Turnbull, 1961; and van der Post, 1986).

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The Necessary Wound?

Also, this analysis does not take into account any metaphysical or theological perspectives on the opportunities or, dare I say, “benefits” of a separated state, a more dismal and painful human condition. There are those who claim that this “wounding” is a necessary prerequisite to truly human compassion and empathy. Muller (1992) has said that the painful and traumatic human condition … and he is speaking particularly of that produced in childhood … represents our unique opportunity … he even uses the term advantage.

Still, hunter-gatherers don’t seem to be any the less compassionate or empathetic; indeed, the opposite of that is most often asserted about them. So one must conclude that there is no reason to go back to the poisonous pedagogical traditions which enjoined that sparing the rod would spoil the child, or to Christian, especially Catholic, ones that routed the roadways to heaven through valleys of torture (to which I can personally attest).

We Should Make It Better

It would seem, to the extent we are able, that we should do all in our power to minimize this devolutional pull on consciousness, to do all in our power to minimize the separation from the source of our true identity, our knowing, our power and joy; to do all in our power to maximize the chances for future generations, as well as ourselves, to live in the nobleness, strength, at-home-ness, and glow of divinity that characterizes our species at its best. I am sure, given that, that there would still be enough “darkness” hereabouts—within our still-separated state—to go around, providing more than enough “opportunities” and “advantages” for any other ends God might have in mind for us.

Can We Make It Better?

So, then, the question still remaining is, can it be otherwise? Can we make it better? Can we improve the human condition? Looking cross-culturally, the answer would appear to be absolutely in the affirmative (Lyn-Piluso & Lyn-Piluso, 1994). From the perspective of the new experiential psychotherapies, ditto. From the viewpoint of conscious and responsible conception (Baker, 1986) and loving and welcoming gestation (Verny, 1981), without a doubt. And from that of humane and natural birthing procedures (Leboyer, 1975); sensitive, physical, and loving infant care (Liedloff, 1977); and flexible, attentive, and accepting child care-giving (Mahler et al, 1975; Sroufe et al, 1992); a resounding yes!

So let us look now at some of the evidence for a more fortunate and favorable human condition and some of the factors correlated with it. With those in mind, we can envision the more natural self.

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

Return to Resistance Is Futile … One Doesn’t Have One’s Own Mind … One Takes Up the “Mind” of the “Collective”: The Fourth Fall From Grace — Rites of Passage, Becoming “Adult”

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

Return to Resistance Is Futile … One Doesn’t Have One’s Own Mind … One Takes Up the “Mind” of the “Collective”: The Fourth Fall From Grace — Rites of Passage, Becoming “Adult”

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

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The Creation of Loneliness and the Expulsion from Paradise at Birth: The Why and Way of Mind, or Ego, Separating from Universal Consciousness

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Ejection from “Eden” Happens to Everyone at Birth: The Second Fall From Grace, Birth, Part Three — Suffering Builds a Character

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Shoham (1990) provides additional light on this second phase of separation. As mentioned previously, he relates the second phase of separation to that between early and later orality during the toddler stage of development (approximately age two to three). And I repeat here again that his second phase appears instead to fit more perfectly with the phase of separation at birth.

Shoham notes, first of all, that the second phase of separation involves being ejected from “pantheistic togetherness” and that it is related to the mythical “expulsion from paradise” (p. 36). Considering what has been said so far and what is known about the experience of being in the womb and of being born (i.e., BPM I, followed by BPM II and BPM III—in Grof’s [1976, 1980, 1985] terminology), it should be clear how the experiential and mythical components Shoham cites relate to the experience of birth.

Furthermore, he writes that this expulsion from paradise “sees God condemning man to a cursed land in which he will live in sorrow all his temporal life” (p. 36). This statement expresses, indeed, the consequences of birth pain on a person’s life. However, his statement that “the pantheistic neonate learns through deprivational interaction . . . that he is not with everything but against everything” (pp. 36-37) is not quite true. It is not through deprivational interaction (not yet, anyway) but through confrontational interaction with the uterus in the manner previously described that the neonate first learns such a hard lesson. But, surely enough, as Shoham then points out, this event “gives way to the loneliness and encapsulated existence of the human individualized separatum ” (p. 37).

The upshot is that we become separated at birth; at birth a second duality arises in us. “This separation,” like the earlier separation in the creation of sperm and ovum, “is also perceived by the organism as a catastrophe” (Shoham, 1990, p. 37). It is coupled with a transition from grace in the womb “to the harshness of temporal stern judgment” (Shoham, 1990, p. 37). For stern judgment , read birth.

Why is birth “stern judgment”? It is so because something happens in the womb that is with us for the rest of our life. This coming up against the uterine wall is seen as a judgment by the fetus. I will explain why in a little bit.

First, let me point out Shoham’s statement “the light of Infinity was boundless, eternal, imperceptible, and nondifferentiated” before creation (p. 37). Furthermore: “The motivation of the emanating Infinity in forming separate entities was to be able to confer grace on them” (p. 37). This makes sense, “because within the unity of Infinity there can be no giving and no receiving” (p. 37).

Therefore, one has to have an Other in order to have the joy of flowing in and flowing out. There was no flow-in, flow-out prior to the time of the creation of form.

However, Shoham claims that “the differentiation of the emanant is effected by its swallowing of harsh Dinim (stern judgments)” (p. 37). So originally, after the creation of sperm and egg, after the creation of form, the “differentiation,” i.e., the continued elaboration of form, of the individual, is brought about by the encounter with stern judgments. On the adult level, we would say “suffering builds character.”

But on the prenatal level, this means that after the original duality there is the continued possibility, not only for there to be giving and receiving (flowing in, flowing out), but for there to be differences in intention between the self and the Other. And it is through the successive encounters with these differences or frictions of intention that the organism is stimulated to differentiate. In other words, the prenatal organism must grow in order to survive (see Adzema, 1994b).

More and more the fetus comes up against “harsh reality” and this causes it to become more and more differentiated, to become more and more complex and less and less unitary. The prenatal penultimate of this occurs, as mentioned, in the final stages of gestation in the fetus’s coming up against the resistance of the womb, which results in a major differentiation or complexity—the creation of another duality. But all along, as well, there have been the “swallowings” of harsh Dinims that have resulted in differentiation and increased complexity: the incompleteness and inferiority feelings of the sperm and egg (they have only half the number of chromosomes, after all) leading to the need to unite, the “survivor guilt” of the fertilized egg leading to cell multiplication, and the foundationlessness of the blastocyst leading to the need to implant in the uterine wall (see Adzema, 1994b).

Yet for this entire time in the womb, while there are obstacles, there are also ways around them, not to mention the experience of grace all about (being synchronistically nurtured by the womb). It is akin to a stream flowing downhill, over and around rocks and debris; no stopping it. As a fetus, one’s intention is to grow and grow and grow. So you’re expanding, you’re becoming blissful—you’re “blasting, billowing, bursting forth with the power of ten-billion butterfly sneezes.” Then all of a sudden: Boom! You hit a wall. Now there is no bubbling blissfully over it, no courseway around it; no exit.

It is felt as a stern judgment: “What did I do wrong?” And this causes one to differentiate more. You no longer say: “Wow, I’m the whole universe.” Now you have to say: “I’m not what I thought I was.” This is the incipient ego talking. In a way, there’s fear: there’s this “aggressor” (the womb); you have to “defend” in a way. And the beginnings of defenses is most accurately the beginnings of ego and of ego boundary.

To Summarize

To summarize, “The breaking of the vessels generated vileness in divinity and then vicariously in creation” (Shoham, 1990, p. 40). That is, the creation of sperm and egg created the possibility of corruption, of difference in intention from that of the divine. That is the beginning of evil. Then, “the expulsion of man from pantheistic paradise, resulted in the creation of the first human polar archetypes” (p. 40). So with birth there is the creation of the first polar archetypes—the creation of past and future, space and time, and birth and death.

In such manner, then, are the patterns of ego and “mind” separated and severed from underlying and forgotten (but not unfelt) patterns of archetypal, karmic, psychic, and universal self existing as body. [Footnote 1]

The newly emergent conceptual bank is ripe for the impressions of society and culture, hence, the emergence of the biosocial bands.

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

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Footnote

1. This statement is in direct contradiction to Wilber’s later formulations of his theory (1980 and on) because he claims that matter, existing as body, is a lowest form of consciousness. I point this out because this discrepancy demonstrates clearly how he has unconsciously accepted the primacy-of-the-physical-universe postulate of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm. The resulting epiphenomenalism is evident in his statements that “the great chain of being . . . can be listed as matter to body to soul to spirit” and that “you are born with a material body, but eventually a fully developed mind emerges . . . [later] when the soul emerges . . . [later] when the spirit emerges” (1989, p. 463).

Thus, it seems that, despite the impressively presented new-paradigm vision he brings to us in The Spectrum of Consciousness, Wilber’s later formulations crumple under the weight of old-paradigm developmental theorists (see Wilber, 1980) whose theories are based on the idea that mind evolves out of matter, that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of brain activity and not the reverse.

Swayed in this way by the kind of thinking that seeks to understand body (and mind) from the outside—as separate object—the new-paradigm understanding that matter and body are metaphorical reflections of Consciousness fades in its influence on his formulations. Furthermore, swayed by developmentalists that, in typical Western linear style, assume a progression through time; the new-paradigm viewing point of the Eternal Moment, of the illusory nature of time and, consequently, of the controversial character of cause and effect is also lost in Wilber’s writings.

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

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

Return to Becoming Separated from Our Bodies at Birth, We Are Separated from Archetypal and Karmic Patterns, from Our Spiritual Selves: An Angel of Death Guards the Gates of Heaven

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

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

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

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