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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

Out-of-the-Garden unnatural-birth

Human Nature, Culture, Pelvic Size, and Plato’s Cave: Needs Which We as Newborns Ache to Fulfill Are Satisfied by Other Species Perfectly adam_and_eve

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pelvic Size

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.

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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.

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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.

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Human Nature

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).

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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.

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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.

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And in that reflection they seek to discern God’s will. In those shadows they seek to understand Truth.

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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

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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.

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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.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3

Planetmates: The Great Reveal is also available in print and e-book format. at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

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

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

Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture … Out of Eden, Part Three: Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”

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Bipedalism Caused Painful Births, Which Caused Bigger Brains, Which Caused “Intelligence,” Which Caused Culture: Birth Trauma Makes Us Humans … and Mistrustful of Everything

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The more civilized the people, the more the pain of labor appears to become intensified. – Grantly Dick-Read, M.D. Childbirth Without Fear.

Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head. – Unknown

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” – Genesis 3:16

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Basic Trust, Basic Mistrust, and Birth

As I have said the worldview of our hominid and hunter-gatherer existences was trusting of Nature. The world is felt to be good, not antagonistic, so dependence on it is not seen as a problem and makes life overall easier than what we know beginning with the agrarian revolution and the rise of “civilization.” Our primal forebears had a “basic trust” in regards to Nature.

Mbuti Pygmies at a forest hunting camp.

But the agrarian revolution and all “advances” after that imply a “basic mistrust.” What happened to make us more fearful, more anxious about our human condition?

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These differences of basic trust versus basic mistrust are fascinating considering their possible relation to birth trauma.

Our Experience of Birth Determines Ever Afterward Our View of the World

Erik Erikson proposes that the earliest relation of the infant with the mother sets the foundation of the later attitude toward the world. A caring, sensitive, and responsive environmental and caretaker response, in particular, the mother’s, can be the basis for an attitude of basic trust toward the world … a fundamental faith in its goodness. While a harsh and insensitive early experience — wherein the child begins to feel it cannot get its needs met — becomes the basis for a feeling of unshakeable mistrust toward the world.

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However, with our understanding of the influence of our first experiences of the world — that is, postnatally, usually in a delivery room and hospital nursery — on our basic attitudes toward it, we realize that these fundamental orientations are formed much earlier. Importantly, birth is a huge influence on that primary stance of trust or mistrust. First impressions are hard to overcome, as they say. Sure enough, if the first encounter with the world outside the womb … immediately after birth … is painful, and characterized by harshness, insensitivity, and unresponsiveness to one’s needs, then the infant comes to view the world mistrustfully and feels it to be a hostile place. [See Leboyer, Birth Without Violence, 1975].

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What also of the pain of birth itself in setting up an attitude of trust toward the world or mistrust of it? The cold, hard fact is that our experience of our birth — that is, the amount of pain and discomfort we experience in the process of delivery as well as those first crucial moments and hours of our “introductory” experience of the world outside the womb — determine ever afterward in our lives the degree of positivity or negativity with which we will view the world and other people. [See, also, Janov, Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience , 1984]

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And this is where it gets interesting in seeing how we became humans and different from all other species.

Skull Size, Pelvic Size, and Birth Pain

In this regard, it is interesting to note biological anthropologist Jim Moore’s (1987) comments in a talk given at the University of California, San Diego, concerning pelvic size, birth, and secondary altriciality. Jim Moore pointed out that the paleontological evidence from the bone records of our hominid line show several fascinating developments occurring simultaneously and over the course of millions of years. We are going back as long as six to seven millions here. One is an increase in skull size. Another is a decrease in the size of pelvic bones, which occurs alongside and is a consequence of our gradual evolution to bipedalism from being, like our primate relatives, quadrupeds. [Footnote 1]

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Most folks know about the increase of skull size that occurred over the course of our evolution. However, what is only rarely considered is what effect this increase has on the process of birth. Nor has this been laid alongside the other factor of reduced pelvic size. But doing so leads to some fascinating conclusions.

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To begin, it is reasonable to suppose that this increased skull, and brain, size in hominids contributed greatly to birth pain, for both mother and infant. This is so for the obvious reason that the size of the head is the determining factor in the size of the vaginal opening required for delivery. That is, because skull bone is mostly unyielding when pressured from outside, its diameter must be less than or equal to the maximum diameter of the vaginal opening through which it must pass at birth. If the skull is too big for the opening, the child simply cannot get out. And the factor that most determines the maximum diameter of the vaginal opening is the configuration of the bones, especially pelvic bones, that are involved.

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Keep in mind that this kind of birth pain would not have occurred when the skull was smaller. A smaller head would pass, in general, with considerably more ease for infant and mother. In support of this we note that this is exactly the case for all our primate relatives, all of whom have proportionately smaller skulls. Note they also have larger, wider pelvises, proportionally, than us, and thus pelvic openings at birth time. Correspondingly, they do show observably much less difficulty and pain in birth, for both mother and newborn. So, along with this trend to increasing skull size in humans and reduced pelvic size we can surmise a corresponding trend to increasing birth pain, birth difficulties, and, consequently, increasing birth trauma for hominid newborns. [See Footnote 2]

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The Vicious Cycle of Skull Size and Birth Pain

Brain Size and Primal Pain: Brain Size Related to Degree of Unconscious Pain Needing to Be Repressed

About this factor of birth trauma, keep in mind that it is demonstrated neurophysiologically (Janov, 1971) that much of the increased brain size in humans is tied up with processing unconscious pain. That is to say, that we require the expanded capabilities inherent in neocortical expansion and larger brains to keep traumatic experiences repressed. A bigger brain is needed to keep our primal pain from overwhelming us.

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Bipedalism –> Narrower Pelvic Opening –> Birth Pain –> Increased Brain Size –> Increased Skull Size –> Birth Pain

What I am saying is that increased brain size and painful birth become, then, phylogenetically linked in a vicious cycle — one producing the other. Said another way, over the course of millions of years skull size and birth pain increased each other: Greater pain in birth requires, later on, greater repression of pain in order to survive, which leads to the development of greater neocortical capacities for processing and keeping that pain repressed. This leads to actual physical neocortical expansion, which results in greater skull size. Then, that bigger head causes greater pain in childbirth for both mother and infant. This increased birth pain causes greater birth trauma in neonates. And finally, this birth trauma leads to greater repression of pain, then, to expanded brain size, then, increased birth pain, birth trauma, a need for more repression … round and round and round again. And this goes on imperceptibly over an extremely long time in the course of our evolution.

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But keep in mind, also, that this is a chicken-and-the-egg correlation. There is no way of knowing what came first. Whether changes in skull size and expanded neocortical capacity (as for example, in the development of tool use), or greater repression of feelings and pain (possible as a consequence of increased social behavior, requiring increased repression/ control of individual behaviors), or increased birth trauma (either on its own, for some unknown reason, or more likely because of skeletal changes occurring through increasing bipedal locomotion and upright posture) came first is irrelevant. These are mutually arising causative factors. It is enough that we notice their interrelationship.

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Birth Pain Makes Us Humans

Birth Pain Caused the Feverish Minds of Humans, Which We Call Intelligence

To continue, remember that what is universally acknowledged to distinguish humans from other species is our intelligence and the elaboration of culture that comes from that. But with the understanding of skull size, birth, and repression described above, we see these much-touted distinctions and claims to superiority to be merely the byproduct of our neocortical attempts to deal with unconscious pain, specifically, that of birth trauma.

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Birth pain caused the feverish minds of humans, which we call our intelligence. “We ain’t born typical,” as The Kills phrased it. And those spinning excess wheels of mental fibrillation, driven by human birth trauma, are the gears in the machine of our manic material culture.

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Continue with Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and What It Has to Do With Being Born Helpless: Out of Eden, Part Four — Secondary Altriciality and the Origins of Culture

Return to We Once Had the Run of the Forest and the “Original Affluent Society”: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth Rationalizing Our Descent Into Civilization

Footnotes

1. On bipedalism and pelvic bone changes, at “Wanna Be an Anthropologist“:

Bipedal Adaptations in the Hominid Pelvis

INTRODUCTION

Two major features are unique to humans among all the living primates: A very large brain, and moving about upright on two legs exclusively. One of these, bipedalism, appeared long before the other. Many anatomical features of Australopithecus afarensis anatomy demonstrate habitual bipedal locomotion, and the 3.6 million-year-old footprints discovered by Paul Abell at Laetoli in 1978 confirm it unequivocally (White, 1980). Not until the appearance of Homo erectus, some 1.7 million years later, could hominids be considered on their way to being large-brained (Stanford, et al., 2006).

While certain adaptations seen in the knee (e.g. the valgus angle), in the foot (such as a fully adducted hallux), and to a lesser extent in the cranium (a fully inferior foramen magnum) are all strong indicators for bipedalism (Lewin and Foley, 2004), the most interesting evolutionary changes necessary for upright posture occurred in the hominid pelvis. All of these adaptations are present not only in the pelves of modern humans, but also in all members of the Genus Homo, and in the earliest known hominids, the Australopithecines.

PELVIC ADAPTATIONS FOR BIPEDALISM

The hominid pelvis displays many unique features (when compared to that of quadrupedal primates) that support bipedalism. The major adaptations are seen in the sacrum and the ilia, as well as in the overall configuration and orientation of the pelvic bones….

2. On brain size and secondary altriciality in humans at Human Development:

Human babies enter the birth canal from the womb in the same way a chimp does but just before the actual birth the skull rotates 90 degrees in order to exit the rounded birth canal that humans have evolved. In Homo Sapiens, evolution reached a compromise that favored even bigger brains at a further cost to birthing and efficient walking. The Homo Erectus pelvis was very narrow. Humans are unique among mammals in the extent to which the brain keeps growing well after birth. The scientific terms for this is secondary altriciality. It involves accelerating the birthing process and arresting the development until after birth. Monkeys and apes are born with brains half as heavy as they will ever be. A chimpanzee brain, for example, will weigh perhaps 7 ounces at birth and about 14 ounces as an adult. Human brains are about a third of their final size in newborns; they more than double in size in the first year after birth. On average, human babies are born with a brain that weighs 14 ounces but reaches 35 ounces in one year. It will continue to grow until it reaches about 45 ounces in size (at age 6 or 7).

Gestation in humans should be about 21 months rather than the normal 9 we think in terms of. This is the process of accelerating the birthing process to enable the enlarged brain to escape the birth canal. Development of the brain then continues external to the womb for well over the first several years. What this intense development means is that a human infant is born relatively helpless. A baby can neither stand up or in any way fend for itself for a long time. Stephen Jay Gould has written our sexual maturation comes almost absurdly late in a Darwinian world supposedly regulated by a constant struggle to secure reproductive success and pass more genes along to future generations….slower development must provide some power advantage to evolve, in the face of its obvious drawbacks. In fact, must of what makes us human in the end may stem from this unnaturally long period of helplessness in the very early part of our lives.

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http://web.mesacc.edu/dept/d10/asb/origins/development.html

3. On prolonged postnatal brain growth at Unique to Humans

This is one of the most dramatic distinction between humans and other mammals (including primates). In all precocial mammals other than humans, at around the time of birth there is distinct slowing down in brain growth relative to body growth. In altricial mammals, the switch to diminished brain growth occurs at a developmental stage comparable to birth in precocial mammals. In humans, substantial brain growth relative to body growth continues for approximately a year after birth before a marked slow-down occurs. Because of this human neonates are unusually dependent on parental care in comparison with other primates for the first year of postnatal life, and sometimes labeled as “secondary altricial”.
Martin RD. The evolution of human reproduction: a primatological perspective.
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007;Suppl 45:59-84.

And on postnatal brain growth at The Rise of Homo sapiens: The Evolution of Modern Thinking:

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altricial

http://books.google.com/books?id=pZHtlD7Ife8C&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=secondary+altriciality&source=bl&ots=v9JqxVagV5&sig=lYR3itn84ezye8erarirpRRv5YA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zFosUqnXEcn9iwLvsIDoCg&ved=0CGoQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=secondary%20altriciality&f=false

Continue with Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and What It Has to Do With Being Born Helpless: Out of Eden, Part Four — Secondary Altriciality and the Origins of Culture

Return to We Once Had the Run of the Forest and the “Original Affluent Society”: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth Rationalizing Our Descent Into Civilization

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.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3

Planetmates: The Great Reveal is also available in print and e-book format. at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

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A Grand Synthesis of Natural and Technological Consciousness Is Possible … But the Ego Fights to the End: Beware of Skinhead Spirituality

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The Primal Renaissance

So what I am saying is that our advanced technology, itself a product of an unhealthy dissociated ego state that is called Western consciousness, seems, simply fortuitously … or through the grace of God … to be having the effect of intense consciousness change—yes! . . . but essentially back in the direction of what has been normal for our species for at least sixty thousand and possibly millions of years but, this time, while retaining … if we are lucky … the boons of technology.

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Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky

Some people think that the only way our consciousness will return to normal is with the loss of technology and the re-creation of the primal state. Thus they picture “Planet of the Apes” and post-nuclear “Thunderdome” scenarios.

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But I believe that we may just be lucky enough … God may be merciful enough … to allow us to keep the fruits of the extended Western aberration of consciousness; we may just be allowed to keep some of the toys we acquired from our prodigal days.

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There is nothing written in stone, after all, that says that people cannot enjoy the benefits of things produced from “unholy” vessels. Indeed, in the perfect universe that we are beginning to finally re-apprehend, it is clear that all things are useful and to some good end in God’s universe.

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For example, the legacy and benefits of democracy that we enjoy are not lost or neutralized by our realization that our founding American fathers were chauvinists and slave-owners.

So basically I am saying that I disagree that we are evolving into a new, advanced species, a Homo noeticus. For one thing, it has been pointed out that brain size has actually declined slightly over the past 100,000 years (Winkelman, 1990, p. 28).

The Primal Return

No. What I believe is that in fact consciousness change is happening … especially in Western culture … but in the direction of a return to a more truly human and natural state—one that characterized our species for millions of years.

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I am asserting that our Western mental illness, our cultural aberration of consciousness is reversing and healing. However we may be keeping with us, along with our natural self, some fruits of that extended aberration. And these boons we may only fortuitously or through God’s grace … and not through any particular heroics or “super”man virtue … be allowed to keep.

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Now, that combination of a healthy consciousness and advanced technology may be truly new on this planet. And even of that we cannot be sure. For certainly—and White would agree—likely it has occurred in other places of the universe many times—so that there is no need for species-ego-aggrandizement here, by any means.

A Grand Synthesis of Which We Should Only Be Grateful

Still certainly this possibility of a grand synthesis of natural consciousness and scientific-technological acumen is reason for excitement and rejoicing. It is without doubt something we should seek. But there is no need to march in the streets or “we’re number 1!” about it. If this is our fortuitous outcome, we have just been lucky. We can only be grateful to the Universe for conspiring to correct our transgressions before we, indeed, “killed us all off”!

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In Light of the Pre- and Perinatal, Spirituality Re-Visioned

In closing, I wish to say I hope I have conveyed why I believe that the exclusion of the prenatal and perinatal information from Wilber’s otherwise comprehensive and laudable schema of transpersonal development leaves it lacking and flawed. I feel that this entire area of integration between the two—the prenatal/perinatal and the transpersonal/spiritual—is considerably more complex and important than has been assumed … certainly that it should not be dismissed, or ignored. Indeed, I feel that the inclusion of pre- and perinatal evidence is crucial for any map of consciousness that purports to be a guide to spiritual evolution.

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Cosmic consciousness is not aided by a “fully functioning ego” or by ego-actualization. The age-old admonitions against the lures and enticements, the devices and strategies of ego are as apt in this day as they’ve always been.

The Ego Fights to the End

220px-Ken_Wilber_10The ego does not surrender easily. It sends out its emissaries of diversion and disruption, of fear and insecurity, to trip up the gullible and the arrogant. Yet surrender is what is required. The tendency to try to control and to ritualize our native experience is what is to be resisted. Banners such as “Homo noeticus” and “fully functioning ego” may bring temporary relief from the difficult task of ego resistance, dismantling of ego defenses, and confrontation with the painful aspects of the unconscious, the Shadow, in the ego-inflation inherent in such standards.

Beware of Skinhead Spirituality

skinhead-spiritualitySaint-Spock-2But it is as wise to align oneself with these tokens to fend off one’s necessary insecurity (see Watts, 1951) as it is a good idea to join up with the KKK or the skinheads as a way of dealing with the same kind of insecurities of changing … and growing … sociopolitical, cultural, and economic events. In fact the responses are much alike. And they should be equally resisted.

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THE END

Continue with The Earliest Yuppies, 25,000 Years Ago, Cast Us Out of the Garden. We Are Returning … Now: Out of Eden—Agrarian Revolution … Return to Eden—Primal Renaissance

Return to It’s Pure Egoism to Think We’re Evolving to a New Consciousness. If We’re Lucky We’ll Regain the One We’ve Lost

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace
Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness, by Michael Adzema, will be published and available in print and e-book format in May, 2014

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Forgotten childhood, hope and real transformation, parenting and the unconscious…. latest from the Planetmates: “The child is marinated in the unconscious of the parent.”

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“…No one ever thinks, and certainly never expresses, what this fairy tale is really saying about you: That in your treatment of your young, it is you, not “animals,” not planetmates, who, being conflicted, are often cruel. 

“No, childhood, especially infancy, is that unseen, unknown land that you, becoming older, seek to put behind you and push below you … happy just that you managed to get through it. You cannot remember much of your childhood, and almost nothing before the age of five. Why? Because you do not want to. You do not remember it, but a part of you is aware that it was difficult. That part pushes your mind to cover up those years, placing them behind and under a thick cloak of confabulation, heart shapes and unicorns, revision, and rationalization. 

“On the individual level, your childhood is a perfect Pandora’s Jar — something you fear, something that a part of you knows contains all the troubles of your life, were you to open it. You sabotage yourself this way: fleeing from the past only to manifest it, ever and again, as fate. 

“You have forgotten that this myth advises you on a more fruitful attitude toward this time. One which we are helping you to see, by means of these revelations: That is, that in opening the jar, or box, the troubles of the world — your world — come forth, yes. But in the myth, the last thing to come out, the thing lying at the bottom, is hope. The myth is telling you that it is futile to fear and repress your history, your actual one — not the fanciful, sugar-coated version you have come up with in order to push out of your mind the truth. It is telling you that real change and progress can only come about through opening the jar and freeing the darkened impulses, thus bringing them into the light of day, of consciousness, where they can be seen and let go of. And that in doing this process, eventually … not immediately or even soon for anyone … real hope and real transformation can arise. 

“Getting back to the nature of your parenting, it is important to realize that however far from ideal nurturing and what is possible in Nature, such care-giving was sufficient, barely, for your species’ survival. On the other hand, such a corruption of nurturing served to infuse and mold the personalities of your children in unnatural ways. And not just unnatural ways, more and more, this corrupted parenting pushed toward characteristics in the child that mirrored the darker impulses of your adults. 

“You are probably asking, why would a parent’s attempts to mold a child to make of them something positive and good in the world — however much it might be like oneself — end up manifesting one’s own undesirable self? This question shows how this entire process is not quite being understood. For we have been saying how the parent seeks to make the child into a) something not bothersome or burdensome, b) something engaging and appealing, and c) something that is like what one wanted from one’s own parents, that is to say, someone loving, attentive, and focused on oneself. None of these are about helping the child acquire workable tools for later in life; they are not even about making the child to be like oneself. The fact is that though you tell yourselves that you are trying to make the child into the best person he or she can be in the world — with yourself as the only good model of that — you are actually trying to turn them into something helpful to your psychological woundedness, not themselves. So to a, b, and c, we must add a d, which is related to the ways children are shaped and twisted unconsciously by your adult caregivers and in ways you do not wish, but cannot help. 

“Here it is good to remember your saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This saying expresses the idea that you wish your children to be something better than you. However, it is meant to be an ironic expression, because it points to the actual fact that children end up being taught just as much, if not more, from example as from direction. The fact is that children end up picking up both desirable and undesirable, effective as well as counterproductive, ways from the parent. 

“And the undesirable and counterproductive ways that are found in the adult are exactly reflective of that adult’s early unmet needs and corrupted desires. That is to say, all that self-centeredness and emotional thirst in the adult, which infects their parenting, comes out as negative and undesirable actions vis-à-vis the child or are displayed in the child’s vicinity and are observed by the child. For the adult does not acknowledge his or her selfish or needy intentions regarding the child. No, they are always unconscious, hidden, and unapproved. 

“That is why we know you are so resistant to hearing what we are saying right now. For your fragile egos are dependent on this idea that you are unconditionally loving; it is built upon this notion that your giving is pure and magnanimous. You are not aware of how you display and act out your early deprivations in your actions toward your children, so these are unconscious tendencies in you; indeed, they configure your unconscious. And this unconscious is not seen by you, but it is has a huge effect on your child: It is most definitely seen and picked up by them, both consciously and unconsciously. 

“So, as it is said, “the child is marinated in the unconscious of the parent.” That is to say, the child becomes, not just what you want it to become, but exactly that which you deny in yourself and so, naturally, do not want it to become as well. You are needy, and this lack of need satisfaction has made you, for one thing, insensitive. And while you wish to raise a child who attends to you and behaves loving toward you, you do it in an insensitive way, for you cannot be other than yourself. Try as you might to yourselves be like your ideal parent, if you do not have it in you, you cannot possibly give it. So, does the child end up being what you want … loving, attentive, and need fulfilling? Or does the child become like you … insensitive, aloof, and numbed down? Well, you know the answer. For the parent cannot teach love when the parent does not know real love….”

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[Pt 2 of 24rd prasad — Family “Investment”

 

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/ … Planetmates: The Great Reveal is also scheduled for print and e-book publication in mid-March, 2014 ]

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

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The Planetmates on real love, the “love contract,” adorability in infants, parental “love”: “Love” is often just a swirl of ritualistic craving and trickling satisfaction set in motion by keenly felt but supremely denied hurt.”

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“…the more you re-member yourself, the freer you can be. That is the true “transcendence”: It is one rooted in a re-feeling of and re-membering of the hurts and pains in one’s body that is left over from the past and not a separating away from and a denying of that stored pain … as if one is above body and Nature … and confusing that self-congratulation and ego aggrandizement with enlightenment. 

“To reprise then, your differences from other planetmates, stemming from your relation with your mothers and caregivers as infants, have to do largely with survival value being attached to non-expression of needs. For certainly if it was the excessive neediness of your young that disinclined adults to want them, then if a baby had less of those qualities or seemed to have less they would be less likely to be shunned or abandoned, thus more likely to survive. A dependent young one suppressing its needs would manifest in it crying as little as possible, being as “unfussy” as could be.

“But it was not just seeming to be not a burden that was advantageous. For your adults’ psyche being so much founded on not getting early needs met, you would crave anything holding out hope, however futile, of getting anything resembling that kind of satisfaction in the present. So babies who had other qualities appealing to the adult — such as “cuteness,” smiling more, or anything in the category of “adorability” or being “entertaining” or otherwise attractive to an adult or reminiscent of the satisfaction of those early deprivations — would make that young one more likely to thrive. If a baby was more engaging with you (as your own caregiver had not been with you), if it was happier and more noticing of you (as your parent failed to do), and of course to the extent that it would be as little a burden on you, it would increase the overall amount of vital care it would receive from you, from your fully growns, in general. So, any traits in infants that for the adult caregiver held out the prospect, however dimly, of the fulfillment, through the newborn, of their own early deprivations were to increase in humans through the process of natural selection.

“Since many of those early lacks had to do with being cared for, nurtured — what is commonly called “love” — it was any qualities of the newborn that seemed to hold the prospect of easing those cravings that were desired and thus were to be selected for and become more prevalent over time. So if a child displayed behavior that was at all resembling what a truly nurturing parent would be like, he or she would attract more of that kind of attention in return. If fully growns could see a dim hope, from their own newborns, of getting the nurturing that they did not get from their own parents, they would feel more inclined to extend caring to such of their children and increase their survivability over their children who did not hold out such a hope.

 “This was the unspoken “love contract” that developed between dependent young ones and fully grown attendants: If a child would act less like it had needs and more like it could satisfy needs it was more likely to actually receive some attention to its needs, however inauthentic and agenda-oriented that attention would be. And what you call love is at its inception simply the desperate hope that your infants will eventually grow up to become the parents that you wished you had had, instead of the ones you had, who did not love you sufficiently when you were small.

“So the origins of what you call your unusually strong parental “love” is in this never-acknowledged “love” exchange. This “care contract” explains how your children managed to survive, with everything going against them. However, on your evolution to a purer love—one of Nature and built once again upon feelings of unity with Other and truly feeling along with another, not just in hopes of receiving in return—you would do well to look deeply into the inauthentic nature of what passes for love for you.

“You are, like all of us, capable of true and unconditional loving. Indeed, you have it in you to have that feeling toward all of Nature, toward all of Reality, even. But you cannot achieve that while caught up in and blind to the hidden agendas and self-seeking desperation which mars your love and while braying to the world about your supposed superior capacity for and the supreme purity of your love. What you need to acknowledge, to start, is how what you place on high, use to boost your estimation of yourself over all other living beings, and attribute to divine origins even … how this supposed “love” … is most often just a swirl of ritualistic craving and trickling satisfaction set in motion by keenly felt but supremely denied hurt….”

[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/ … Planetmates: The Great Reveal is also scheduled for print and e-book publication in mid-March, 2014

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

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

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

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Complete Book Chapters with Links

This book is being offered in its entirety online, free of charge and with complete graphics and audio-visual media, at this time. This policy may need to change when it is published separately and offered for sale in the very near future.

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These are the strangest of days. We live in a time in which ending our species in our lifetime, even eliminating all life on this planet, are very real possibilities. The awareness of this acceleration toward an “end of days” — while so horrifying that we are in denial of it and hardly speak it — hangs over us and affects us in ways singular and fantastic.

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This book — Apocalypse No, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious — awakens us to the unique character of our times. There are powerful factors and unconscious influences erupting into our world now which are changing the Earth and us in radical ways … for good and ill. This unprecedented era in history is rife with the perinatal, that is, with repressed memories locked into us arising from our experiences of birth. We see that our impending apocalypse has to do with birth feelings, birth trauma — an emerging perinatal unconscious.

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Herein is revealed the underbelly of our modern world and life and the impetus behind our self-destruction. We see primal forces arising and exposed. We begin to understand how and why this is happening now. Knowing this gives us the power to do something about our dire situation. Finally, we can direct our attention to the roots of our drive to apocalypse and reverse it.

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More than that, this awakening provides a way of transformation for ourselves. For we see that in the heart of this darkness we are bringing down upon us lies the most incredible opportunity for taking a leap beyond what we think of as human nature. This time calls for a new hero’s cycle — one that leaves behind the thuggishness of the old one. We are lifted beyond ourselves in a higher calling and a transcendent yet deeply rooted spirituality.

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We realize that the necessary answer to the dilemma of apocalypse or Earth rebirth lies, not only in the resurrection of a new Earth, but in the dawning of a new self as well.

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We will either heroically, somehow, save our species and our planet, which will require a change of our human nature unlike anything that has been asked of our species ever before, or we will be witnesses to the elimination of life on this planet in some way that we cannot imagine but can only be horrific in the extreme. This book is about facing, not denying, the uniquely dire character of our times and finding out what it says about us and requires of us.

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There is much here to see, and so much of it the mainstream would never touch for fear of creating a panic. Still, to survive our species must face our problems, not look away. And there is a nobility in doing that, which is unlike any kind of nobility or heroism that has been asked of our species before.

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However, this time brings with it an advantage and opportunity also unprecedented: Never before has it been more clear what is right and what is wrong, what is worthwhile and what is not, what is life … what, death, and what is noble and what evil. At no other time has a higher calling or a path of true nobility of soul been more visible. To align oneself with this cause lifts one out of oneself and one’s petty concerns into a heady and invigorating life purpose. We might die in our efforts. There is every likelihood that we will be unable to reverse our dire trajectory. Still, should that occur, those who face and take up this challenge will not suffer the agony of regretting that one could have done something but did not.

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On the other hand, though we will need many noble souls to reverse our current downslide into oblivion, 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. I hope, for the sake of us all, that you are one of those heroes.

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Chapter One: Strange Days

Chapter Two: “We Ain’t Born Typical””

Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media

Chapter Four: Twenty-First Century Life – Table of DisContents

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Chapter Five: Birth Wars, World Woes

Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

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Chapter Eight: Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society

Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions

Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

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Chapter Fourteen: To Move the World – A Race Against Time

Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary

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Continue with Book Five: Wounded Deer and Centaurs

Return to Apocalypse Emergency – Book 3

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

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Building the Better Human … We Do Not Need to Traumatize Our Babies: Return to Grace, Part Two — Doing Better About Birth

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Let us look at some of the evidence for a more fortunate and favorable human condition and some of the factors correlated with it.

So Much About Smiling

We can start with the example of “social smiling.” Mainstream psychology and child development claim that “social smiling” does not occur in the infant until about four or five months, that even “true” pleasure smiling does not develop until around ten weeks, attributing any smiling that occurs before that either to “spontaneous discharge in lower brain regions” or “to gas.” (Sroufe et al, 1992, especially pp. 196-201).

Yet, Leboyer (1975) reported that babies who had entered the world in the humane manner of delivery he developed smile frequently and often from the day of birth. These babies also show physical and emotional advantages way above average. At any rate, it is hard to believe that newborns with the physical and emotional advantages of such a loving and beautiful welcome as is described and attested to for Leboyer babies are having all that much more gas than babies given the normal, harsh hospital welcome.

Our Arrogant Inability to Impute Consciousness to Beings Other Than Us

In addition, the research used to support this idea that infant smiling is not indicative of pleasure has to do with the fact that this smiling occurs regularly for the infant upon going to sleep and that “If their smiles are a sign of pleasure, why don’t they occur when infants are wide awake as well?” (Sroufe et al, 1992, p. 197).

This statement is laughable considering only what I have said so far. For we know that babies do smile when awake, in fact a lot of the time, viz, Leboyer babies. But beyond that, the reasoning involved in it clearly displays some of the problems with the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm I mentioned previously. It seems we find it extremely hard to impute consciousness and awareness to beings other than ourselves . . . and that the furthest from our normal state another conscious state is, the more likely we are to deny its existence.

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Feeling That We Have Been Forced to Give Up Our Awareness, We Want to Deny Awareness in Others.

The reasons for this refusal to acknowledge awareness should be apparent from the devolutional model, where we see, for example, that with each additional splitting of consciousness, at each, so called, “stage of development,” the individual is further reduced in awareness until, as Huxley (1954) put it, “all that remains is the measly trickle of awareness necessary for survival on this planet.” So it makes sense, feeling that we’ve been forced to give up our awareness, we will want to deny awareness to others. And, of course, we can get away with this all the more with those most unlike us, where we can expect community support in this kind of mutual illusory neurosis and scapegoating.

But keep in mind that we are attempting here to maintain the new-paradigm insistence on the prior reality of consciousness. So let us not stray from that and let us see just what is implied by this statement from the mainstream that babies don’t feel pleasure because it happens regularly when they are falling off to sleep. To put it bluntly, if I smile every time I have an orgasm, with strict conformity to certain specific neurophysiological characteristics each and every time, does that mean my orgasms are not pleasurable?

Don’t We Have a Say in How We Feel?

Well, if I were a mainstream psychologist I might have to say, yes, it means that they are not pleasurable. Looking at me from the outside, and not including the factor of my subjectivity—which would cause them to ask me whether or not it was pleasure, to grant me that much respect—they would have to conclude in the negative. However, I would have to disagree with them. And I feel the newborn would probably disagree with them also, if she or he could but speak.

Since he or she cannot, I submit that we should at least leave the question open, rather, that we should assume it is not all that much different from our own experience of smiling and pleasure rather than to err in the direction of concocting bizarre explanations whose main benefit can only be to prop up crumbling and outdated paradigms.

Building the Better Human — Birth and Infancy

But to continue, on this same issue of smiling, we get support cross-culturally that the human condition, as I have described it above, mostly for Westerners, can be different. Pearce (1980) writes concerning the supposed lack of intelligence and lack of social smiling in the Western newborn:

No less than Jerome Bruner of Harvard’s Center for Cognitive Studies, surely one of our more brilliant researchers developed this idea. The assumption is terribly wrong, but the academic rationale growing around it began to include more contradictions blithely ignored because once an idea is accepted into the body of knowledge, everyone “knows” and no one questions it. Everyone “knew” that no smiling occurs for some ten to twelve weeks because infants are born prematurely and have no intelligence during that time. If a mother reported smiling before that acceptable date, the cryptic diagnosis was “gas pains.” (p. 42)

Can it be otherwise? Looking cross-culturally, it appears to be so. Pearce (1980) writes further,

[I]n 1956, Marcelle Geber . . . made a momentous discovery. She found the most precocious, brilliant, and advanced infants and children observed anywhere. These infants had smiled, continuously and rapturously, from, at the latest, their fourth day of life. Blood analyses showed that all the adrenal steroids connected with birth stress were totally absent by that fourth day after birth. Sensorimotor learning and general development were phenomenal, indeed miraculous. These Ugandan infants were months ahead of American or European children. A superior intellectual development held for the first four years of life. . . .

These infants were born in the home, generally delivered by the mother herself. The child was never separated from the mother, who massaged, caressed, sang to, and fondled her infant continually. She slept with her infant. The infant fed continuously, according to its own schedule. These infants were awake a surprising amount of time—alert, watchful, happy, calm. They virtually never cried. Their mothers were bonded to them . . . and sensed their every need before that need had to be expressed by crying. The mother responded to the infant’s every gesture and assisted the child in any and every move that was undertaken, so that every move initiated by the child ended in immediate success. At two days of age (forty-eight hours) these infants sat bolt upright, held only by the forearms, with a beautifully straight back and perfect head balance, their finely focused eyes staring intently, intelligently at their mothers. And they smiled and smiled. (pp. 42-43)

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

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

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