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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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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 Michael’s books, email the author at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

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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More Nestling Up With the Implicate Order, Or Before and After the Western Fall (Split): Tribes and Wonder Versus Civilization and Suffering

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The Priests in the Church Were Keeping Out All the Screaming People, Forcibly Repressing, Refusing to Acknowledge It: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Seven

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(continued from The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review [Footnote 1])

More Nestling Up With the Implicate, Or

Before and After the Western Fall (Split) (June 19, 1992)

This is a holotropic session of this day:

It started out when the music was very rhythmic, and the hands were doing a lot of fertilized-egg kinds of movements and embryonic kind of stuff. And sometimes I was having images of Prague and of inside the city—especially Old Town Square and the towers. [Prague is where the holotropic workshop was being held.]

And I kept having pictures of people who had lived here, and all the suffering that had gone on here, and the striving. I kept picturing the people who had lived and written books and everything, plays and philosophies, inside their little rooms—all the different kinds of lives that people had here [Prague].

I kept picturing Swami [Sathya Sai Baba] and kept saying: “Oh Swami,” as if I were feeling and acknowledging what had gone on here: the feelings and desires, the struggles and the yearnings, and all those human things and feelings that had passed through this place. And I felt sad for all these people, the hardship they had gone through and all the feelings. And then I got up and went to the bathroom.

And when I came back it was just very peaceful. The drumming and everything was just something that was there. And I enjoyed parts of it: There were African parts, and they would have drumming and I would understand what it would be like to be an African person in a tribe.

At one point, however, the African tribe music sounded different or not good. And I had the feeling that this was singing from another tribe, not my own, an enemy tribe or something; I didn’t like it.

And then as it went off into different phases of music I would often feel very good—very interesting and beautiful in a certain way. And then it went into Native American chanting; and I thought that was incredible, that I must have been an indigenous American at one time … just wonderfully beautiful.

And it was either just before or just after that there was this Gregorian-type Church music. And one of the things that I kept having—scenes from Prague going through my head the entire time—and one of the scenes was the inside of a church.

And when the Gregorian music came on, I pictured the inside of that church again. And one of the interesting things was I realized at a certain point that people in the room around me were screaming [they actually were, in reality]—and there was a lot of that going on—and I had this feeling as if—when the Gregorian music was on—that the people in the church, the priests that is, that they had this reality going on in which they were keeping out all the screaming people, they were keeping them all outside the church, trying to repress that, trying to deny the reality of that. And so I felt like I was tuning into the reality of this place: That they [the priests and ecclesiasts] would forcibly try to repress this other element and keep it out of their consciousness, would refuse to acknowledge, let alone deal with it.

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An Afterthought

As many as 30 million women were murdered horribly over a period of 300 years during the middle ages for having any trace of free-mindedness. This was done under the direction of the Catholic Church. They were often burned at the stake.

It is no coincidence that what followed for next four hundred years of Western “civilization” was a pall of Stepford wifery unparalleled among the cultures of humans, which we are only with great difficulty over the last hundred years awakening from.

Yet these forces of repression and murder continue with us today wishing to take us back to such middle age benighted views. They exist in the anti-abortion movement, even among mainstream Republicans, again with women as the direct target. And they exist in the tea party and conspiracy circles, even among some progressives, where feminism and progressive-liberal ideas are called “illuminati” — showing again that free-thinking women and enlightened views will not be tolerated … and will be scapegoated for all the horrors of the 1% and the powers that be, just as they were in the times of Catholic tyranny.

By the way, I’ve been misunderstood if anyone thinks this is just an attack on the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was the primary evil then. I mentioned Western civilization. There are many more evil perpetrators today. It is not about blaming any institution. This is a product of our “civilization” and its anti-body, anti-sexual, anti-Nature insanity and the inherent evil of hierarchical societies in general.

Continue with Biology as Metaphor and Mythology, Part One: “The Map Is Not the Territory” and Biological Phases As Levels of Consciousness

Return to The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review

Footnote

1. Cellular/ Transpersonal Experiences

Having established the legitimacy of transpersonal aspects of prenatal, and especially cellular, re-experience, it remains to be seen what light this new perspective throws upon traditional formulations. I suggest to you that this perspective is a catalyst to a radical reformulation of traditional concepts of consciousness and development. My understanding is that it supports a view compatible with Eastern, Platonic, and “primitive” philosophical renderings—which can be characterized as Emanationist —and completely undermines the dominant Western evolutionary paradigm. I delineate such a perspective, which I call the Falls from Grace Theory, beginning in the next chapter.

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However, let us first take a look at a sampling of the kinds of experiences and perspectives that are possible at this cellular and prenatal level of re-experience before attempting to see deeper into the structure of consciousness and development, presented immediately afterwards, which contains and makes sense of them. The current chapter—A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness—contains transcripts of cellular/transpersonal experiences I had through the modality of holotropic breathwork. In order to retain the flavor and potency of the raw experience itself, these transcripts are only slightly edited and are from the descriptions of my experiences I recorded immediately after having them.

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Continue with Biology as Metaphor and Mythology, Part One: “The Map Is Not the Territory” and Biological Phases As Levels of Consciousness

Return to The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review

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Pot, LSD, the Illuminati, and the Real Revolution

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Other then what is generally known about the effects of marijuana, pot does something else psychologically – it “bends” defenses and takes people into places that are, initially, hard to deal with but ultimately beneficial. I have been talking for a long time about how we need to access the perinatal. Well, pot takes one in that direction.

Many folks are too defended to get the experience of mind expansion into the recollective-analytic from pot that we know can occur. For them it stays on the sensory level only. Enhanced sensory appreciation is all they get.

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But pot can eventually open one up to self-analysis and self-awareness.

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But this first comes up in the form of paranoia, when folks project the uncomfortable feelings coming up onto the world. They begin to see what is actually within them as being outside of them. They see one’s inner darkness as being an outer darkness.

When one defends against going into this deeper level … and begins doing things like covering up the uncomfortable feelings arising with booze or other substances like speed … then the person gets stuck in the paranoia. Because this happens, the ruling rich folks can see this as a substance aiding their agenda of keeping the people confused and stupid and tilting after illuminati windmills instead of going after them.

However, what they don’t know is that for some people, or for these folks above, later on, this is seen as a step in the right direction. For when one integrates this inner darkness, one can go on to both the symbolic-existential levels and the integral levels, which take one into archetypal and spiritual dimensions of the self.

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Now, the reason I make the distinction with LSD, is because LSD speeds up the entire process. It does not just “bend” psychic defenses against inner truth, it “blasts them away”! In so doing, there is less chance of folks getting stuck in the darkness of recollective-analytic confusion and projecting it onto the outside world in the form of imaginary demons, illuminati, or reptiles. No, one is “forced” to go through the inner transformation … for the inner realities cannot be denied. It brings about the inner transformation that authorities truly fear. Hence it is the drug that will absolutely never be legalized as long as these filthy rich can control things for their profits.

So, pot can be useful to the ruling class in their agenda of instilling fear into the masses, keeping them divided against each other, ignorant of their self-sabotage … for example, feeding people with the idea that in not voting and ceding power to the ones who have it makes folks somehow “awakened” and superior (btw, lol) … and keeping the masses tilting at imaginary “illuminati” demons while the 1% picks their pockets.

Whereas, LSD can never be useful to the ruling class. It, and the other psychedelics, are direct affronts to their matrix of misunderstanding. It is why they attacked the 60s generation and their drugs and to this day even promote the idea that the new age and the hippies, the products of this psychedelic mind expansion, are “illuminati.”

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In this way, they cover up, in the minds of the uninformed, the abuses they are committing by scapegoating the real threats to their power: That is, those who would be psychedelically, or otherwise, like the new-agers and the hippies of that bygone era, enlightened to the feelings beyond the paranoia—those of unity with and compassion for All That Is.

For more – Culture War, Class War Chapter Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Opposing Worlds

And – Culture War, Class War Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds

Of course I’m for legalizing marijuana. But it will be the first new recreational drug legalized for a reason: It facilitates paranoid thinking in folks. Hence it creates a whole new fertile field of fearful minds for the right-wing and the 1% to plant with illuminati and reptile nonsense to take attention away from themselves.

Now, if LSD were legalized we’d have a *real* fucking revolution!

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

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

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Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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

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

Societal Self-Analysis

Culture War Replaced Cold War

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

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

Talk Show Soul-Searching

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

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

Sitcom Socialization

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

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

A Modern “Priesthood”

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

Keeping the People Down

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

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

Therapy for the Masses

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

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

Rebirth Denied

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

American Rehab

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

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

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

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

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

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight

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

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

America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price

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

What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?