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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.

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

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Primal Renaissance: Our Greatest Hope May Be the Flourishing of Culture as We Reintegrate Long-Lost Knowledge and Worldview, Formerly Ridiculed as “Primitive”

happy Nautilus World

Falls from Grace, Epilogue: Are We Entering a Primal Renaissance?

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We live in exciting times.  Information hams it up before us at every turn.  This unparalleled info-glut brings fascination, paralysis, agony, insight, change, renewal, and inspiration.  In some ways it looks like a renaissance — take the incredible proliferation of technology, for example . . . the mind-boggling advances in computers.  But a renaissance of the “primitive,” the “uncivilized” . . . a primal renaissance?  How can that possibly be?

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Paleolithic Consciousness … Out of Eden

For weeks I had been working on several articles, my ardor suspending me above the landscape of a natural consciousness, a hunter-gatherer one.  Called “paleolithic consciousness” by one contemporary theorist, this mindstyle is reputed to exist among our hunter-gatherer progenitors and among some current “primal cultures.”  It is characterized by greater attunement with body and nature, greater relaxation and well-beingness, more loving child-caring, greater sensory and aesthetic appreciation, more expanded psychic openness, fuller emotional and relational capacity, and greater “with-it-ness” (Witness) with reality in general.

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The Earliest Yuppies and The Agrarian Revolution

I was also focusing on how our civilization came to lose that primal expansiveness of soul — a la “ejection from the Garden of Eden.”  An increasing mistrust of nature — and an inexplicable rebellion against an eternally old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy — led to attempts to control Nature, and consequently body as well.  The supposed big “advance” of these earliest yuppies was the domestication of plants and animals.  In history, this first major “upwardly mobile” turning is known as the “agrarian revolution,” and it occurred variously between 10 and 30 thousand years ago.

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Renaissance

All of a piece it came to me that what was going on now, in Western culture, was exactly parallel to what had occurred during the Renaissance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  At that time, you may recall, the Catholic Church’s intellectual hegemony was loosening, which allowed ancient Roman and Greek texts preserved in the monasteries to be released into the collective culture.  There, our formerly repressed and forgotten “classical” heritage combined and cross-fertilized with views prevailing at that time to create the incredible flowering of culture and human potential that the word renaissance now conveys.

The View from the Doorstep of Nuclear and Ecological Annihilation

It occurred to me that night how we, in the consciousness and ecology movements, are becoming ever more aware, once again, in diverse and various ways, of the vast legacy of feeling, perception, human fulfillment, and spiritual awareness and viewpoint that current “child-rearing” practices cause us “normally” to leave behind.  Similarly we come to realize how much our species lost in coming into its much-vaunted “civilization” in its evolutionary history.  The view from the doorstep of nuclear and ecological annihilation allows such perspectives. 

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Yet, through our different ways of healing ourselves, and to extents greater and lesser, we retrieve that lost and repressed legacy.

Multiculturalism

And we are, happily, not alone in that retrieval.  Increasingly it appears that our age is characterized, on a global scale, by an unprecedented multiculturalism wrought of technological advances in telecommunications and transportation.  Consequently, we are pushed to enjoying an ever growing awareness of the legacies of primal cultures, both current and historical.

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Xenophobia Dissolving and “Ego”-Eroding Information

At the same time and not coincidentally we observe our own religious, scientific, and Western-cultural hegemonies collapsing under that same weight of contrary and both xenophobia- and “ego”-eroding information.  Moreover, this collapse is aided by momentous and far-reaching occurrences as diverse as our mistaken engagements in third-world countries — our misadventures in Iraq and Vietnam, for example; the technological crisis of credibility wrought of the global ecological crisis; and the discoveries of the new physics with their concurrent death-blow to the pretensions of common-sense materialism.

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Re-Integration of the Primitive and Primal … Return to Eden

It became clear to me that just as centuries ago we came out from under the thumb of a brand of cultural repression that scapegoated and repressed former cultures — specifically, the Greek and the Roman legacies, calling them “pagan” — we were now coming out from under the thumb of a cultural repression and consequent scapegoating of even longer duration — one extending back ten to thirty-thousand years!  Along with this we were seeing not only the limitations and inadequacies of the Western civilization and technology which so many had sacrificed for, and killed for; we were seeing also the re-integration of long-lost knowledge and worldview — which formerly had been obscured and hidden beneath such pejoratives as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.”

Shamans, Vision Quests, Sweat Lodges, and Drums

Some of us were learning this only too well, as it seemed necessary to search out the earliest or least “civilized” cultures possible for the only pertinent tips we could find on sane and healthy child-caring techniques. 

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But the rest of our culture is catching on too, and in a big way!  Shamanistic practices, rites of passage, and indigenous rituals are enjoying great popularity.  Workshops on everything from vision quests, fire-walking, and Native American sweat lodges . . . to nature treks, drumming, and “sacred arrow” ceremonies have begun popping up.  And currently we are even recognizing our Western patriarchal culture’s evil hand in the extermination of society upon society of indigenous peoples; we are re-writing the history books on the legacy of Columbus even as we passed the five-hundredth anniversary of his landing in America.

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A Flourishing of Culture?

What’s more, in a manner analogous to the cross-fertilization of ideas that led to the medieval Renaissance, our culture is expanding and becoming richer through the inclusion of these alternate perspectives.  Those of us on the healing edge are uniquely able to sense the potential of this inclusion as we experience the effects that this kind of appreciation of the feeling, the affectionate, the intuitive, the natural, the body, and the senses has had upon our individual lives.  Why would we not think that this kind of cross-fertilization of repressed heritage would lead to a flourishing of our culture in the same way that it is has led to a blossoming in our lives?

The Brightest Light on Our Cultural Horizon

Indeed, many of us do feel that a “primal renaissance” is occurring on our planet.  Furthermore, many of us believe that this occurrence may be, in truth, the brightest hope on what otherwise can appear globally to be a rather bleak social and cultural horizon.

So let us not lose this opportunity to midwife the emergence of this primal renaissance, and, germinal as it may appear at this time, to nurture it to its fullest flowering.  We cannot change the past, of course.  But our efforts will work — one small measure at least — for righting the many wrongs of those who have come before us toward those earlier primal societies, and the deeply felt ideas and cultural ways they held dear.

slider-SWEATPablo_Amaringo-Beings_of_the_Vegetation1pyADFAFDAFAgmyvision-quest-iii-patricia-allingham-carlsonHope Rwanda, Village of Hope Project,

Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

Return to 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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Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

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

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

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

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.

Inauthenticity Rising and Why Women Came Under Attack: The Controller-Conformer Alliance Won Out Over More Authentic Humans, Say Planetmates in the 18th Prasad

Nature, Misogyny, and How Women Got Blamed for Everything: The More Twisted of You Beat Out More Authentic Humans, Resulting in the Environmental Crisis Today

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The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Eighteenth Prasad: Inauthenticity Rising

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Planetmates Release The Eighteenth Prasad

The Controller/Conformer alliance dominated in the struggle humans created.

Giraffe is First Consciousness at The Eighteenth Prasad.

[T]he twisted behaviors and minds that define your species began the final evolution to...you today and creates this rare, nearly unprecedented possibility of planet death in a relatively instantaneous future.

The Eighteenth Prasad – Inauthenticity Rising

So, Controllers and Conformers had survival advantages over more authentic and less conniving humans. The traits that characterized them, therefore, were to increase in humans as they would pass these traits to their offspring through both example and heredity, and these offspring would be both greater in number and have survival advantages themselves over those more authentic humans. Thus, the twisted behaviors and minds that define your species began the final evolution to the most inauthentic and unwholesome beingness that characterizes you today and creates this rare, nearly unprecedented possibility of planet death in a relatively instantaneous future.

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Paraphrase/Elaboration of The Eighteenth Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema

One extremely important facet of this Controller-Conformer-Authentic dynamic concerns your females. Remember that at this point of your separation from Divinity through excessive controlling activity and ego-aggrandizement you, having focused on conquering and controlling everything about you in Nature, were beginning to dominate and control each other in the same way. You focused on Small Accumulators, especially the Authentics among them, but a huge part of that group were your females. So your women became targets for all aspects of this controlling mania — domination, denigration of character, diminution of personhood, coercion, attack, corralling, enslavement, abuse, murder, and so on.

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Now, why your females would be singled out might not be apparent initially. You would think that they would be as likely to be Controllers as your males. Some, indeed, were Controllers, though not many. For there is something that sets women apart in this entire dynamic, making them less likely to become Controllers, more likely to be Authentic, and to be special targets for attack and controlling by the Controller-Conformers.

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What sets women apart is their special connection with Nature and birth. Keep in mind that all of this controlling has its roots in birth trauma and infancy deprivation. Keep in mind also that all of this is about controlling all aspects of the natural world. Quite simply, because your females figured so prominently in both the birth trauma as well as the infancy trauma, they would unconsciously be blamed for it all. In attacking women, both women and men would act out their early pain. They would transfer their intensive efforts to beat back the residues, inside themselves, of their painful pasts, onto the outside and would beat back the symbol of that pain — women.

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Humans are the only misogynistic species, because humans are the only species with excessive birth and infancy trauma. Among all of Nature, the female of the species prevails — that is to say, is central, more important, and usually dominates, if there is any inequality of genders. However, in humans, at birth, you experience a struggle with the female body to be born, more so than any other species. You would continue that struggle with, beating back at, and attack upon the female body later in life. After birth and in early infancy, you were left wanting in having your needs sufficiently satisfied. In particular, you craved nursing, feeding, and attentiveness from your mothers. Since you could not help be at least somewhat dissatisfied with what you received — even the best mothers cannot respond perfectly, like Nature and biology can — you would for the rest of your life first think of your females as being the source of your dissatisfaction. Women would be scapegoated for all human ills.

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It was not women’s fault, of course, that they would be associated with these traumas. You would call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Indeed, if justice and reason ruled emotions, women would have been rewarded and appreciated for their roles in taking on these difficult times and tasks in your life. They, after all, suffered severely during birth, just as you did as a neonate. They, though not perfectly, worked hard to fill your needs after birth. So, they are like the doctor who might get blamed for the disease, the hospital that might be targeted as being the cause of death since so much of it occurs there, the fireman who might get blamed for the fire … heck, there’s always one when he’s around, coincidence? … or the police officer responding to the crime who might get accused of it — because he was there. Simply through association, and quite unfairly, women would be targeted as the source of all your ills. You would associate women with eating an apple that would end the earthly paradise, with a jar which when opened released all evil into the world. Amazingly, but understandably, you would create images of the female vagina as ringed with voracious teeth — a perfect depiction of the pain you felt when you first came through that doorway into the world.

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So, women, first and foremost, after Nature itself, would be attacked and corralled in your controlling mania as it began being directed now even at yourselves.

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But there was another reason why women would come under attack. Being associated with those times of pain was the driving force behind your targeting women for enslavement and abuse. But also, those very fundamental aspects of being female — giving birth and nurturing infants — are the very connections with Nature that you can never deny. You can and did try to separate yourself from all aspects of Nature, to set yourself apart and above. But in the activities of birth, sex, and infancy, you are most clearly part of Nature — down here on Earth with the rest of us planetmates. You may not acknowledge it, but you cannot but know it.

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So, females, in being primary participants in birth and infancy, have a connection with Nature that is harder for them to deny; and it is a connection that your males would be aware of as well. In being connected to Nature, your females would be more likely to be like those Authentics — that is, more interested in emotional, relational, and spiritual, rather than in power and controlling pursuits. Burdened with giving birth and having a greater role in parenting, they would be more likely to be Small Accumulators, too. So, they would be singled out for excessive coercion and demands for conformity by Controllers for those reasons — that is, being more akin to Authentics and more likely a Small Accumulator.

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But in the fact that men would know that women have a special connection to Nature, your females would be lumped in with Nature as another thing to control. Indeed, since sex is the major aspect of adult life that men experience as being related to Nature and to be unable to be controlled — at least, not with a lot of difficulty, for the sex act requires loss of control, as does loving in any form — and men would associate sex with women, that would be another reason women would be controlled. For in controlling women, men could, again, work to deny their connection with and dependence on Nature.

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Now, these special characteristics of women and the extra coercion that would be brought to bear upon them because of those characteristics would split women along two lines of behavior. These would be sets of behaviors, but also, and for the most part, they would be ways that both women and men would come to see women. One set of behaviors and perceptions of women would be the Conforming ones. In these behaviors and attitudes women would succumb to the coercions and become obedient. They would become as sycophantic as can be. They would adopt the perceptions of themselves as being less than human because of their association with Nature. They would go along with what was being demanded of them and would become docile, subservient, “domesticated” — just like the “animals” that were owned. Indeed they would go along with being viewed as possessions and things and would become self-hating and obsequious to the values of power, control, and masculinity.

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The other set of behaviors and perceptions are what might be called Authentic. In this choice, women would not concede personhood. They would not want men or others controlling their freedom, bodies, sexuality, relationships. They might, for the sake of their relations with their children, ape all the mannerisms of conformity and submission when necessary, but they would resent it. They really were still closer to their natural selves and to Nature and could not or would not deny it, regardless the pressures to conform and the punishments for non-conformance. Women would know their power, however secretively. On the other hand, men would perceive this assertion of the natural in women as the gravest offence and affront to all their efforts at controlling and dominating. So men’s view of these women had them being lumped in with all their other distorted views of Nature: by men, women were, like Nature, seen as wild, uncontrollable, bestial, animalistic, uncontrolled. They were associated with those forces in Nature that resisted domination and murder, too, as, like Nature’s planetmates who did so, they were considered vicious and unforgiving — furious and Furies.

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Thus, there was a polarity evident in women’s feelings and in the perception of them in society: One matches up with the Conformers and was the pull of obedience, for the women, and the perception of their docility, by others. The other was in resonance with the Authentics — and all the natural and beneficent forces of the Divine — and resulted in women’s desire to be free, noble, and self-determining, like humans in general once were. And this was perceived, especially by men, as rebellion, license, viciousness, and evil (the opposite of live) — which is exactly the opposite of what it was, for the Authentic urge was life-affirming and felicitous, loving as well as free.

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This is how your females became the most important and obvious expression of the Controller-Conformer-Authentic dynamic. In it you can see all the elements of persuasion, coercion, obedience, sycophancy, rebellion, jealousy, and humiliation that were at play in all of your, human’s, efforts at extending your controlling insanity into the realms of humans, too, beginning with the most natural of you.

All of these pressures toward conformity and sycophancy in humans could not help but make for the dominance of Controller-Conformer numbers, and thus traits, in your populations. Remember, that conformity and controlling behaviors were aligned not only in their ends but within the person. For every conformer is a wannabe controller. And every conformer would be rewarded for their obedience by getting to be controlling in some other area of their life. In fact, the pressure on women to be conforming was so great because it was the place where conforming men, if nowhere else in society, were given free rein as controllers. Just as in the societal hierarchies that developed out of this Controller-Conformer dynamic it would have those on one level sucking up to those above while being rewarded with sycophantic behavior from those below them, so also conforming behavior for all men would be rewarded with sycophantic behavior by women, who would be everywhere at the bottom of all hierarchies.

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Of course, women would seek reward for their conformity, too. People or planetmates lower on the totem pole could always be invented. Women could participate vicariously in their husband’s rewards of obedience from those below him; they could derive it from other women, under certain circumstances; they could wield it in their relations with their children, and often did, which is a whole other issue important enough to be discussed on its own (See The 22nd Prasad); and if nothing else there were always the planetmates and Nature that would be bent into service to satisfy these unwholly, unnatural “needs” (actually, desires) to be deferred to and to scapegoat others for one’s own circumstances.

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If human females chose to accept none of these outlets for their resentment and they insisted on being Authentic and living along the lines of Nature, they suffered. And many of your women did just that.

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In being connected to Nature through birth and nurturing, through parenting and family relationships, they would be ever reminded of those values of Nature and of their natural ways. Values of intimacy, love, full experience of life, and felicity would make those of power and domination seem pale by comparison.

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So, just like compassionate planetmates who took on lives of service to suffering humanity, a great many of your women did, too. They suffered for being Authentic. Because of this, your females are always and everywhere more likely to suffer from unhappiness, depression, anxiety. Indeed, women actually are more like planetmates, they are more like “animals”; but this is meant in the most salutary way: that your females are closer to Divinity, to natural life, and more likely to take on suffering rather than participate in the power and punishment games.

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inauthenticity-inauthStill, though slumbering in the hearts of many women and some unusual men — the Authentics — natural and authentic traits would wane as being characteristics of humans. For, of course, those of you who accumulated more and controlled others allied with their conforming, sycophantic underlings would be able to win out in the struggle over resources over those more authentic and less conniving of you. authenticallyinauthentic.imagesFor these traits of unnaturalness do provide a temporary edge in the competition you created for yourselves. You created unreal struggles, and imaginary achievements and defeats, out of your crazed and fearful brains; and the ones who went along most with those unnatural pursuits and forged personalities to fit it could not help but dominate in those contests. Essentially, because of these ruthless traits the more twisted of you would be able to win out more often in the struggle for survival over more authentic humans.

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These ways succeeding, controlling and conformity traits would ascend as traits in your population. For, not only would these dominating and subservient traits be passed along to your children through heredity, but also through nurture and example. Your children could not help but be lured from their pulls toward natural ways, which they, by Nature, experience more strongly as they are younger and more recently removed from Divinity. Your offspring with such traits would end up being great in number and your population would increasingly see and produce such inauthentic, more twisted humans.

In this way, your evolution to the depths of depraved Nature that we observe in you today was brought about. This was the final fall in your devolution from wholesome beingness to the twisted and inauthentic state you find yourselves in today — a state so unwholesome as actually to be capable of bringing down all life on this planet, along with your own, in as short a time as just an instant.

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What Does the Natural Self Look Like? The State of Not Losing the Soul Is Emotional Openness and Joy, Being Equally Free in Tears and Laughter

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Integrated with The Way, One Becomes “Lighter” Through Life … Expansive Soul Energy Dances Through the Person: Return to Grace, Part Five — The Natural Self

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Return to Grace

What can be the result of making these kinds of changes? Once again I look cross-culturally to give examples. But looking at the extraordinary childhoods of particular people provides contrast and insight also.

The Natural Self

First, let us hear how Turnbull (1961) describes the results of the more trusting, more respectful childhood of the Mbuti. He describes the emotional openness and joy that characterizes the Pygmy adult:

When Pygmies laugh it is hard not to be affected; they hold onto one another as if for support, slap their sides, snap their fingers, and go through all manner of physical contortions. If something strikes them as particularly funny they will even roll on the ground. . . . (p. 44)

They clapped one another on the back and held onto one another for support as they laughed, inventing all sorts of things they would do and say to any girl who answered them in such a way. The Pygmy is not in the least self-conscious about showing his emotions; he likes to laugh until tears come to his eyes and he is too weak to stand. He then sits down or lies on the ground and laughs still louder. (p. 56)

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Equally Open to Grief and to Laughter

But this is not to mean that they do not feel sorrow. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. They seem to be equally as open to grief as to laughter, able to go into either deeply and fully. Considering all we are being taught by counseling psychologists on the need to fully have a period of grief when confronted by loss, it may be that we need to look to the Pygmy temperament as an example of that ideal. Turnbull (1961) relates,

But when someone really dies, for ever, there is among the Pygmies a burst of uncontrollable grief, not only from the relatives, but from friends. Even men will weep if they have been close to the dead person. It is a very different sound, and a terrible one. . . . (p. 42)

The Way

Raheem (1991) describes her understanding of the state of not losing the soul, which apparently happens in some unusual people.

On the other hand, the person who follows her own soul and uses the vehicle of personality to execute its purpose, will become “lighter” through life. There will be a sense of flowing easily from one moment to the next, as though she were in a beautifully choreographed dance which she had thoroughly mastered.

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The free, expansive soul energy can dance through the whole person, bringing creativity, spontaneity and vitality throughout mind, body and emotions. And since such a person is on course, integrated with her own Tao, she can experience strength, tranquility and certainty from within herself. (p. 31)

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Notes

1. Related information about the Mbuti is brought out in this article by James R. Coffey. In The Mbuti of Central Africa: The Only Known Egalitarian Society (with Rare Video), he writes,

…the Mbuti have no rulers, no political structure, and except for a religion that essentially ties them functionally and ritually to the forest, they have no cohesive social structure. Most significantly, every man, woman, and child has equal access to resources–which is the very definition of egalitarian.

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Men and women have equal power, decisions are made by group consensus, and minor disputes are usually dealt with by ridicule, gossip, or shunning….

…the fact that their social structure promotes gendered equality does not prevent individuals from attempting to promote hierarchy; they are simply ignored and considered insane.

…one point of particular distinction in Mbuti society is that children have what could be considered an irrational amount of power in ritual situations–believed to be most closely connected to the primal spirits of the forest.

…most Mbuti villages (which are usually comprised of only a few essential huts), are laid out to represent a human female womb in shape and design. This is so that when entering and exiting the village (and each hut), you are symbolically reborn–of your mother and of the forest.

…the village and physical use of space is thought of as male (in concept), while the exact layout, shape of the huts, and actual utilization of the space is thought of as female. Thus, it is a constant representation of sexual interaction, reflecting both human physical intercourse as well as symbolic birth by way of the forest….

2. Also see, on the site Peaceful Societies: Alternatives to Violence and War, the post titled “Encyclopedia of Selected Peaceful Societies: Mbuti.” Quoting from the article,

Beliefs that Foster Peacefulness. The Mbuti view their forest as a sacred, peaceful place to live—they constantly refer to it with not only reverence but adoration. They sing songs to it, in appreciation for the care and goodness they feel they get from it. If something goes wrong in their camp at night, such as an invasion of army ants, the problem is that the forest is sleeping, so they sing to awaken it. Their songs of rejoicing, devotion, and praise serve to make the forest happy. They do not believe in evil spirits or sorcery from the forest as the nearby villagers do–their forest world is kinder than that.

Avoiding and Resolving Conflict. Normally the Mbuti settle conflicts with quick actions. One of their major strategies is laughter, jokes, and ridicule. The camp clown, an individual who assumes the responsibility of trying to end conflicts through ridicule, uses mime and antics to re-focus the conflict on himself, to get everyone laughing and ridiculing, in order to divert attention from the issue of the moment. The Mbuti have no formal methods for resolving disputes or crimes, and no individual would pass a sentence on another. But if one person is clearly in the wrong, an entire camp can react by punishing, perhaps even thrashing, an offender. Sometimes parties to a dispute might settle it through arguments or mild fighting. Ostracism is always a possibility, but it is rare.

Gender Relations. Mbuti men who still live in the Ituri Forest organize and control the net hunting, though the women help them. The women gather vegetable foods in the forests, such as mushrooms (see photo), but the men will help out. The women freely join discussions with men, though tensions between the sexes do arise. One strategy they use to diffuse gender tensions is to have a “tug of war,” the men and boys opposite the women and girls. If the males begin to win, a man will leave his side and join the women, mockingly encouraging them in a falsetto voice. When that group begins to win, a woman drops off her side and joins the men, encouraging them in a deep bass voice to greater efforts. The fun and ridicule grow as the contest continues, until everyone dissolves into hysterical laughter. The effect is to ridicule aggression, competitiveness, and conflict itself. Both sexes will do whatever they can to survive and support their families in the refugee camps.

PF001E005Raising Children. A Mbuti mother develops a special lullaby that she starts singing to her baby while the infant is still in the womb. She reassures the child about the world into which he or she will soon be born, with descriptions of the goodness of the forest and the supportiveness of the human environment. As they grow older, children learn to play non-competitive games that emphasize cooperative activities. Sometimes children are spanked and slapped by their parents….

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Strategies for Avoiding Warfare and Violence. Different groups of Pygmies try to avoid warfare with one another. One incident that occurred during the honey-gathering season indicates this tendency. With everyone spread out through the forest in small groups to gather the honey, the Mbuti suddenly realized that a foreign Pygmy group had invaded their territory and were stealing honey from their trees. One man became excited and tried to summon everyone to make war on the invaders. But another man explained that they invade each other’s territories every year, and no harm is done as long as the different groups don’t encounter one another. If they do have a chance encounter, the invaders simply flee back to their own territory, leaving behind everything they have stolen.

PF001E0153. In other places the Mbuti have been put forth as a possible model for exemplary parenting and care of children.

4. Also see, on the site, Peaceful Societies: Alternatives to Violence and War, the post of May 9, 2013 titled “Mbuti Cherish the Forest—Does Anyone Care?” Quoting,

This 5:44 minute video, just released to Vimeo last week, was clearly prepared as a way of celebrating with viewers the traditional skills and lives of the Mbuti, and, just as importantly, of raising awareness about the stresses and traumas those people are enduring….

“Everyone is important in the hunt,” he tells us, with a fetching image of a Mbuti woman and a baby on her back on the screen. He describes how the hunters stretch their nets through the forest, and how the women and children make enough noise to drive animals into the nets for the men to kill. Then, he says, “we divide the meat into small pieces so that everyone in the group can have some.” Their forest tradition clearly includes fond memories of the custom of sharing.

Another man, identified as Chief Mangubo, takes over and tells us about the importance of the ancestors, and of music, to the Mbuti. The people play, dance, and sing every day as a way of communicating with their ancestors, he says. They welcome a new baby into the community through the performance of a special dance. They sing to insure the success of the honey collection season, they sing to celebrate marriages, to accompany their initiation rituals, and sometimes just to show their happiness. If problems come up, they hope their songs will elicit assistance from the ancestors….

…the closing credits indicate that armed guerillas attacked the Okapi Wildlife Reserve headquarters in June 2012 in retaliation for the efforts of the park guards to cut down on the poaching, which is decimating the wildlife. The fighters raped dozens of women, killed six people, and took over 50 hostages. They looted and burned the buildings. People that could, fled into the forest. The Mbuti featured in the video, people who lived near the park headquarters, have disappeared, and their whereabouts are still unknown.

Mbuti: Children of the Forest from JH Wildlife Film Festival on Vimeo.

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

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“Civilization” Brings Brutal Rites of Passage and Fear of the Supernatural: The People of Nature Just Laugh at the Townsfolk Living in Such Terror and Valuing Cruelty

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Finally, let us investigate the fourth fall from grace, the time around puberty when the ego is consolidated around a specific identity, task, role that marks her or him for life. Can this be otherwise?

Forest and Village Worldviews are Directly at Odds

Once again, Turnbull’s (1961) report on the Mbuti provides a fitting example. This example is especially illuminating in that he was able to observe and note differences between the hunter-gatherer Mbuti and nearby villagers with whom they had occasional contact. Since the villagers have to be considered post-agrarian and definitely not hunter-gatherers, we are able to study any differences between these two lifestyles and possible differences in worldview, side-by-side.

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With “Civilization” Comes Brutal Rites of Adulthood and Excessive “Masculinity”

Indeed, Turnbull shows that these differences do exist, and we see one distinctly in connection to the rites of passage that are undergone respectively in each culture.

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The rite of passage is called the nkumbi and is conducted by the villagers. The Pygmies undergo it, at a certain age, in order to enjoy certain respect and privileges in their dealings with villagers, as they must often have for various reasons. Of their own, the Mbuti have no such rite of passage, certainly nothing severe and harsh like that of the villagers. Turnbull (1961) describes the villagers’ nkumbi:

The physical ordeals sometimes start out as games but develop into cruel tests of physical endurance. A crouching dance that might be fun for a few minutes becomes agony after half an hour. A mild switching on the underside of the arm with light sticks is of no concern until, after several days, the skin becomes raw. And then the villagers notch the sticks so that they fold over and pinch the skin sharply, often drawing blood. When the boys have become used to being beaten with leafy branches, thorny bushes are substituted. (p. 225)

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Dominant Societies Try to Instill Fear of the Supernatural to Control Their Underlings

He also explains the villagers beliefs concerning this rite of passage and its effect and purpose:

The villagers believed that the initiate, Pygmy or otherwise, is everlastingly bound thereafter by all the laws of the tribe, sacred and secular. He is put into direct relationship with the supernatural, whose representatives on earth are the villagers themselves. If any Pygmy initiate offends a villager, therefore, he is also offending the supernatural—the ancestors—and will be duly punished by them. The villagers live in such fear of the supernatural, with its power to bring down on an offender the curses of leprosy, yaws, dysentery and other diseases or to cause him to be injured by a falling tree, that they cannot conceive of any initiates daring to offend the ancestors. (p. 224)

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But Primal Folks Laugh at the Fears of “Domesticated” Humans and Delight in Flaunting Their Customs

But offend the ancestors they do, these Pygmies, and with apparent relish. They do not share the villagers fearful view of the world. They cannot imagine any good reason to inflict these tortures on each other and laugh, secretly, behind the villagers’ backs, at them. Turnbull (1961) writes,

Both the boys and their fathers enjoyed the chance to make fun, in a friendly way, of the villagers, but that was not their sole reason for deliberately breaking all the taboos. They behaved as they did because to them the restrictions were not only meaningless but belonged to a hostile world. The villagers hoped that the nkumbi would place the Pygmies directly under the supernatural authority of the village tribal ancestors; the Pygmies naturally took good care that nothing of the sort should happen, proving it to themselves by this conscious flaunting of custom. (p. 224)

Ituri Forest Pygmies

Ituri Forest Pygmies

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Building the Better Human – Entry Into Adulthood

To the Pygmies this all seems harsh and unnecessary, and as far as their own children are concerned they keep a strict watch over them to see that the villagers do not go to the length that they sometimes do with village children, even if this brings them into some contempt. But to the villager this toughening-up process is essential and does not come naturally in the course of village life. The child has to be fitted for adult life, and this is what the nkumbi sets out to achieve. In a few months a boy becomes a man, tough and strong, physically and mentally. The process is not a pleasant one, but it is the only way in which, under tribal conditions, the goal can be achieved.

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The Pygmy can understand and appreciate this, but the very nature of his own nomadic hunting and gathering existence provides all the toughening up and education that are needed. Children begin climbing trees sometimes before they can walk. Their muscles develop, and they overcome fear in a number of daring tree games. Adult activities are learned from an early age by observation and imitation, for the Pygmies live an open life.

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Their life is as open inside their tiny one-room leaf huts as it is in the middle of a forest clearing, and so the children have no need of the sex instruction which forms so large a part of the teaching given to village boys during the nkumbi. (pp. 225-226)

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Far from illustrating the dependence of the Pygmies upon the villagers, the nkumbi illustrates better than anything else the complete opposition of the forest to the village. The Pygmies in the forest consciously and energetically reject all village values. When they are in the village they temporarily adopt its values and customs, not wanting to desecrate their sacred forest values by bringing them into the village. That is why they never sing their sacred songs in the village the way they do in the forest, and why they refuse to consecrate the nkumbi with special music, although every other event of importance in their lives is marked in this way. There is an unbridgeable gulf between the two worlds of the two peoples.

The Pygmies have their own way of growing naturally into adulthood. A boy proves himself capable of supporting a family when he kills his first real game, and proves himself a man when he participates in the elima. (p. 227)

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By Adolescence in “Civilized” Societies Most Children Have Had the “Still Small Voice” Programmed Out, Whereas in Primal Cultures It is Valued

Aminah Raheem (1991) gives a final example of how this stage can be different in other cultures:

By the onset of adolescence, most children are intricately programmed into the cultural complex of their time and place. The “still small voice” of the soul is rarely heard and, when it is, it is usually discarded as fantasy or nonsense. For example, when I worked with late adolescents, I found that they often received deep soul promptings through dreams of visionary experiences. These numinous events seemed to contain valuable guidance for direction in their lives, but usually they were discounted by the dreamers and their peers as fantasy. By contrast, in American Indian culture such experiences are valued as clear messages of life purpose, especially when they appear during puberty. (p. 29)

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People of Programming … “Civilized” Ways

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People of Nature … “Primal” Ways

Ituri Forest Pygmies