Blog Archives

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”

dali-feverish-brains

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

basic-mistrust

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

Screenshot-236

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?

warriorgoddess

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.

faces-koren_-birth_

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].

birth-pain-fadafamilton_blake1

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]

human-birth-different-the-scar

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]

brainsize_bw

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.

index

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.

uprightbirthposture071212-pregnancy-tips_big_thumb

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]

birth3

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.

jhdjrjhdujety

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.

Huxley_-_Mans_Place_in_Nature..smweek38

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.

lucysworld-detail

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.

pepper spray charles frith

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.

gears-manic-culture

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.

nariok 1

anriok- 2

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:

secondary-altriciality

secondary-altriciality-2

secondary-altriciality-3

secondary-altriciality-4

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

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

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

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

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

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

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

and at Amazon at

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

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

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

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

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

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

vision_quest__99529_zoom1

Out of Eden, Part Two — Agrarian Revolution … or Devolution? The Adoption of Agriculture Brought Drudgery for Humans … And So We Cast Ourselves Out of the Garden

civilization-conformity-repression

A Fall from Grace?

The Switch from Hunter-Gatherer to Horticultural Lifeways

Turning now from the individual, the microcosm, to that of society, the macrocosm, the obvious historical corollary to the Fall from Grace in Eden is the switch from the hunter-gatherer way of life to the horticultural. For most of our time on this planet, our species has lived as hunter-gatherers. But the switch to the harnessing of Nature and the less mobile agricultural way of life brought with it a correspondingly different worldview.

Thomas_Cole_The_Garden_of_Eden_de

We Once Had the Run of the Forest

There were specific economic factors that came into play here.  The hunter-gatherer culture has been called “the original affluent society” — with the amount of daily work required for survival being estimated at only four hours (Sahlins, 1972; Bird-David, 1992). 

sunleth_waterscape_400af_time_gate_0

With the run of the forest, so to speak, and so much spare time for personal, creative, or playful pursuits, it is easy to imagine hunter-gatherers having more congenial attitudes toward each other.

pyADFAFDAFAgmy

The Agrarian Revolution Brought Drudgery for Humans

With the beginnings of agriculture and the domestication of animals, the so-called “agrarian revolution,” repression and oppression begin to rear their ugly heads. (See The Great Reveal)

Being truly a “fall from grace,” agriculture, along with the seeming advantage of control of Nature, brings with it a significant increase in work time required — especially at certain seasonal times.

And Large Families, Child Labor

So here we have also the beginnings of large families (free labor) and child labor. Children are born into families where they feel themselves invisible and unspecial and are forced into drudgery at an early age. This is, of course, contrary to an individual child’s needs and desires; so authoritarian controls and a system of sanctions and punishments are required.

A painting by artist Michel Angelo Pacet

And Hierarchy in Society … a Master/Slave Pattern … Elites, Law, Punishment, and Out-Laws

This master/slave pattern is reflected also in the larger culture. With the onset of horticulture we have the beginnings of settled communities.  Whereas in nomadic groups it does not pay to own very much and hence an egalitarianism is the rule, in settled groups we have the gradual accumulation of wealth and property into the hands of a few. This brings in a hierarchical society and an elitism which, reflecting the situation of the family, requires control of the populace for the ends of the elite. Thus a system of dire sanctions and punishments is instituted. We have the beginnings of law . . . and hence of “out-laws” — that is, those who refuse or cannot abide by the wishes of the dominant group.

2349077637

And Conformity and Repression of the Self: Authoritarian Cultures Create Authoritarian Personalities. We Have the Beginnings of Religion.

The agrarian culture is, generally speaking, much less tolerant of individual differences, viewing them as potential threats to essentially ill-gotten wealth and power. Its economic system “requires” conformity and repression of individualistic impulses of all kinds. This cultural and familial situation is reflected in the psyches of those who pass for “normal” in that society.  Authoritarian cultures create authoritarian personalities. The members themselves are as equally repressive of their own “individualistic” impulses as the larger society is oppressive of such corresponding individuals and groups.

the-fall-of-man

We have the beginnings of religion. Whereas primal cultures look to personal experience of the numinous as a basis for establishing a relation to any Larger Reality beyond the self, hierarchical societies extend the effort to control the populace for the benefit of the elites into the private realm. Clerical authorities now mediate with the supernatural. Conformity and suppression of impulses is sought even in directing the very thoughts and consciousness of societal members.

Greek Orthodox ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew blesses believers during a Christmas mass in Aya Yorgi (St. George) church at Fener Greek orthodox patriarchate in Istanbul

There Was No War: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth … Hiding Our True History, Our True Human Nature as It Rationalizes Civilization and Its Enforced Enslavement as a Boon

In support of this, I quote:

The entire period under discussion, from 3.5 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago, was a peaceful period.  There are no remains of weapons used by humans against humans, no signs of groups of human beings being slaughtered. pigmeos-Mbuti-300x170 Thus the early forms of humanity, far from being savagely aggressive and cruel, were probably a gentle, humorous, peaceable folk, like many tribes living to this day in gentle climates. The picture previously offered of early societies — that of a patrilocal band of related males who exchanged women and treated them as commodities — is a patriarchal construct; such societies probably never existed. Most likely, early gatherer/hunters lived in fluid, flexible egalitarian groups. This is not to say that these people lacked aggressiveness and did not experience conflict. But they developed social skills for dealing with negative interaction; their education focused on personal relations, cooperation, their part in a larger whole.

madadfasfasbuti

RdBirthFly_copyA group life centered on child care and sharing could not survive in a highly aggressive environment.  Intense aggressiveness would have destroyed the species. And among present-day gatherer/hunters, whose customs vary from extreme male dominance to more or less equal but segregated male/female to integrated egalitarian societies, one factor is universal: all live by sharing. A degree of aggressiveness is culturally induced: where it is not valued, it is not strong. This “advance” was left to Homo sapiens and that glory, civilization.  (French, 1985, p. 39)

gfgffgsfgsgsdfgsdfg

Upon which Skibbins (1991) elaborates,

As [Marilyn] French documents in her book Beyond Power, the first three and a half million years of our existence on this planet as hominids and the first 85,000 years walking on this planet as homo sapiens, we lived without war. There are no cave paintings of war. Replace that inaccurate bear killing bundle of testosterone which Wilber paints, with the images of the tribe in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy.  Research in anthropology and paleontology reveal that we were a gentle, nomadic, primarily vegetarian people. For 95 percent of our lives on our planet both genders shared their love of children, their loyalty to hearth and tribe, and their deep sense of connection with each other and with the earth mother who gave them life.

2238140366_adfafa2217c975f3

Aggression, domination, subjugation, isolation, depersonalization, sowing wild oats and clinging to powerful others are the products of the last 5,000 years.  They reflect the gradual domination of a worldview obsessed with an addiction to power and control.  This pollution has so warped our capacity to love that we believe the differences Wilber describes to be inherent.  Actually they are a symptom of a recent aberration in our history, a disease which we may be nearing the end of. . . .  (Skibbins, 1991)

Civilization-a-disease-hopefully-nearing-the-end-of

So at a certain point some of us began the agricultural attempt to harness the natural order for our benefit. The hunter-gatherer and the agricultural lifestyles correspondingly reflect two radically divergent ways of viewing oneself and the world — two separate attitudes, two different consciousnesses, if you will.

Salvador-Dali-adkg;gkjgasdg

The Original Affluent Society

In the agricultural worldview, people are separated from nature and seek to control it. By contrast, the hunter-gatherer sees in nature a great provider who asks only that one relate harmoniously to it and act in harmony with it. Marshall Sahlins (1972), in the famous anthropological essay titled “The Original Affluent Society,” first published in 1968, which did a lot to expose Western ethnocentric biases in evaluating these early cultures, wrote “a pristine affluence colors their economic arrangements, a trust in the abundance of nature’s resources rather than despair at the inadequacy of human means” (p. 29). But see, also, Colin Turnbull’s (1961) classic, The Forest People, for further help in freeing oneself from the burden of our limiting Western heritage concerning the basic “darkness” of human nature.

Mbuti boys wear grass skirts during their circumcision ceremony.

Basic Trust Versus Basic Mistrust in Relation to the Natural World

From these newer perspectives it is easier to see how, since Nature is seen as beneficent, this dependence on it is not viewed as a problem. Still, it does imply a strong element of basic trust; whereas the agrarian culture seeks to control the natural and economic forces upon which it is dependent and implies basic mistrust.

We Opted for “The Struggle” Over Easy Living

And So We Cast Ourselves Out of the Garden

The relationship for the agricultural society, thus, is one of fear, struggle, attempt to control nature, and to propitiate and appease God — in a word, separation, analogous to the physical separation at birth of the newborn from the mother.

separation-from-god

Notice that at the outset, in The Bible, immediately after being thrown out of Eden, people are agricultural:

And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.  And she again bare his brother Abel.  And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  (Genesis, 4:1-2)

We Ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil = We Split Life Into a Duality of Pleasure and Pain, Seeking to Possess One and Avoid the Other … at Great Cost, for We Turned Life Into Great Effort

We, of course, did not really start out keeping sheep and tilling the ground.  So in Genesis the entire period of a hundred-thousand years … or three-million years, if you include our hominid existence … of hunter-gatherer culture is subsumed under the time in Eden. But then, speaking metaphorically, we ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We no longer trusted “God” … Nature, Divine Providence, the All That Is … and instead attempted ourselves to gain power over nature by the separation of life into a duality of good and evil and pleasure and pain — struggling to avoid one and possess the other.

ben_goossens_18-600x420

In doing this we began our agricultural lifestyle, and so we were thrust out of The Garden.

Since this did not happen for that 95 to 99 percent of our previous existence, what changed? What was that “apple”?

the-apple-was-separation-from-Nature-at-birth

I contend it was birth pain. And this is what we address next.

neo-wakes-up-within-the-matrix1

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

Return to Is Birth the Beginning of Consciousness, as We Assume, or Is It the Forgetting of Innate Divine Awareness: Out of Eden, Part One, Birth — An Awakening or a Forgetting?

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness – Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

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

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

and at Amazon at

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

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

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

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

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

The Second Retreat from the Natural Self — Patriarchal Culture: One Gains the World in Exact Proportion to Which a Man Has Relinquished his Soul

Ritual Is the Attempt to Control Something Symbolically, Indirectly That One Has Split Off from and Is a Poor Substitute for the Real Potential of At-one-ment with Reality

It is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that is the basis of ritual…. Ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality…. The tragedy is that the indirect attempt pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.

Ritual and matriarchal religion are thus the “act-outs” of our repressed identification with Nature and not a reattunement with Nature as the Goddess-religion advocates would have it. From this perspective, then, ritual is not a way of tapping into a deeper relationship with feeling and Nature, it is an avoidance of real feeling, a running away from Nature, from one’s natural self, from the real, the authentic, the genuine self, from genuine action, from spontaneous and ever-creative being-in-the-world.

The Second Retreat: Patriarchal Culture

Now, patriarchal cultures, along with their patriarchal religions, follow a parallel but different pattern from the matriarchal ones, as discussed. Whereas matriarchal cultures are associated with agricultural lifeways and thus tied to the Earth and to sedentary living, Patriarchal cultures are said to be associated originally with nomadic lifestyles. I say nomadic, but I do not wish to confuse it with the nomadic ways of the forager and hunter-gatherer cultures. Early lifeways were nomadic in the sense of following the food source. They were not nomadic by choice.

However, the nomadic cultures, and the great patriarchies, evolved on the vast plains of Eurasia where the disconnection from the land involved in animal husbandry, in particular sheep herding, gave rise to nomadic warrior lifestyles and a conquering mentality. But there are other reasons why this sort of consciousness arose.

Parallel to the matriarchal cultures splitting off from true connection with Nature as Mother—that is, adopting agriculture and thus controlling, and alternately appeasing, the Nature which they at one time followed, patriarchal cultures entail a splitting off from oneself as Father, as Spirit, and a consequent need to act out and appease those energies. To understand this better, let us back up a little bit.

In hunter-gatherer cultures, we tend to have shamans as religious practitioners. These shamans can often journey in altered states of consciousness, can journey in the cosmos so to speak. Thus, although such people, as all of us, are ordinarily limited in time and space, they have a freedom of spirit — a spiritual freedom — quite unlike anything we know.

Corresponding to this, it is true that some hunter-gatherer societies focus a great deal more on their inner states and on altered realities — their much noted concern with dreams and their dream life is an example. The notable example of this is the Australian aboriginal culture. And this involves a democratization, if you will, of shamanic experience. Everyone dreams, many go on walkabouts, or as in the case of Native American cultures, on vision quests. Many other examples of profound spiritual journeying—often involving hallucinogens—could be given that are available to most if not all members of indigenous cultures.

However, patriarchal cultures tend to be hierarchical and specialized. This means that spiritual journeying is relegated to a select few, a specialized sect of priests. The vast majority of individuals in patriarchal cultures live onerous and oppressive lives that do not allow much in the way of spiritual journeying.

Is it any wonder then that these cultures are nomadic? The usual pattern is that when some inner potential is split off from and repressed—when one disidentifies with it—that one begins acting it out in the external world. So we find that the inner potential for spiritual journeying and growing is acted out in patriarchal cultures in the form of nomadic wandering. The direct relationship with Spirit, with Father, which characterizes the hunter-gatherer, is repressed in patriarchal cultures; and Spirit and Father are projected outside of oneself where one must now seek to enter into a relationship with It.

In later centuries, nomadic wandering became nomadic invading and conquering, and ultimately imperialism. In all of these an inner journey into the self is replaced by a desire to extend one’s ego boundaries outward over greater and greater expanses of territory. The amount of territory gathered outside is equivalent to the amount relinquished inside, for what one doesn’t know inside one fears. And what one fears, one wishes to control and subjugate. So the fears of inner forces motivate the expansion outward; one projects one’s inner “unknowns” onto the vast unknown outside oneself, in the physical world of land and people, of geography and society. “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?” is instead: One gains the world in the exact proportion to that which a man has relinquished his soul. (See Enlightenment Lobotomies – White Color Slavery… in Culture War, Class War)

Thus, in patriarchal cultures there are religions which seek to relate to and appease gods which represent their forgotten and repressed inner potentials of fate, destiny, spiritual growth, and adventure—their inner “fire.” The fire or light that one has dimmed within is sought without; one cannot help but do so. Since one cuts oneself off from one’s core creative and authentic decision-making center one feels oneself in the hands of a whimsical fate that is outside of oneself . . . and that is called Father and God, and is that which one must seek to appease.

Summary, Ritual as Symbolic Obfuscation and Addiction to Control

So the pattern is the same in both matriarchal and patriarchal cultures. It is the same pattern of disidentifying with some inner potential, repressing it, being forced to act it out symbolically in the outside world, projecting it outside of oneself as an external force or power, and then seeking to enter into a symbolic relationship with it wherein one can hope to have some indirect control over it since one has lost one’s direct relationship with it. And the reason for doing all this, in either case, is the same: It is fear, mistrust of the Universe, in either the Universe’s maternal or paternal aspects … or, of course, both.

The patriarchal person is fearful of the spiritual forces within him- or herself. Hence she or he disidentifies with them and projects them outside of him- or herself where they must be related to symbolically. The matriarchal person mistrusts the Natural world and disidentifies with It, and with the physical body which is a part of It, in an attempt to control It. In doing so, these natural forces are projected outside of oneself where they can then only be related to symbolically.

In either case, it is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that is the basis of ritual. In both cases ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality. And in each instance, the tragedy is that the indirect attempt pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.

Continue with Ritual As Shadow, Part Four: Ritual Is Hardly Transformation … In Actuality, We “Die” to Our Real Self and Are Remade Into Something Society Can Use

Return to Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

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

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

The First Retreat from the Natural Self Was Matriarchal Consciousness; It Should Hardly Be Our Goal: You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

ritual-as-shadow

Matriarchy Is Not an Answer to Patriarchy: Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

TheGardenOfEden

A Golden Age

The question that naturally arises from the preceding chapter’s conclusions on the current state of affairs and their unfortunately intractable response is, What can be done about the present crisis in consciousness? But in order to do anything about our situation, we must delve a little deeper into understanding this state of consciousness and into how it has come to be that way. A more thorough exposition of exactly that endeavor can be found in several other works of mine (The Great Reveal, Apocalypse Emergency, Apocalypse—No!, 21st Century and Its Discontents, and Adzema, 1993a, 1993b).

From Ancient Greece?

images20120115-195400For our purposes here, I would like to point out that similar conclusions to what we have arrived at about our crisis have been coming forth from many quarters of our culture in modern times. Examples are Rupert Sheldrake’s The Rebirth of Nature, Marilyn French’s Beyond Power, Theodore Roszak’s  The Voice of the Earth, Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind, John White’s The Meeting of Science and Spirit, and Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden. Nevertheless, what almost all of these perspectives lack is a well-grounded anthropological perspective (Beyond Power being the notable exception). Their analysis of the historical process that has brought us to this pass is often heavily conditioned by a Western bias towards history which sees humanity as beginning in ancient Greece during a matriarchal “Golden Age.”

Completely overlooking, in this way, the full 99% of our specie’s history that occurred prior to that time — when we truly did live in harmony with Nature, as foragers and then hunter-gatherers — these theorists naturally come to the conclusion that our problems in consciousness arose when we switched over from a matriarchal mode of existence to a patriarchal one: That is, with the advance of nomadic patriarchal conquerors over the pastoral and agricultural “matriarchal” cultures of the Hellenic period of ancient Greece.

Matriarchal Is Not an Answer to Patriarchal

This is unfortunate because to seek to find a Golden Age in the matriarchal period has required of such writers that they completely overlook many of the obvious shortcomings of the matriarchal view. This is not to say that the matriarchal cultures may not have been more harmonious with Nature … and with their inner natures … than their patriarchal successors. That they were less violent is also true. Therefore, that matriarchal cultures were less “fallen from grace” than patriarchal ones is not something I would dispute.

What I think is crucial to make known, however, is that the matriarchal cultures themselves were also “fallen from grace”: from a previous, even more “golden” state — one which was even less violent and more harmonious with Nature. [Footnote 1]

282021_10151047916457681_1441414004_n

Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

But the writers in this area are apparently unaware of the true conditions of cultures outside of or prior to the Western “royal” line. Evidently, they are still to some extent influenced by the Western conditioning which has us scapegoat and denigrate such cultures and viewpoints as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.” Thus they have us begin our history with a supposed “Greek miracle,” where we are said to have just “awakened” from a prior collective addiction to superstition, magic, and violence.

Lawlor_iconRobert Lawlor, in his book, Voices of the First Day, is one theorist who has not made such a mistake. In fact, Lawlor’s depiction of the aboriginal Australian world view demonstrate exactly the kind of “unfallenness,” “higher consciousness,” and harmony with Reality that most “matriarchal” theorists think they are espousing. It is one that is more truly in line with what might actually be our Reality — as the cutting edges of our sciences are finally telling us … despite themselves. It is interesting how we have come full circle in this way.

The First Retreat: Matriarchal Consciousness

Nevertheless, in response to the popular “return to the matriarchy” view, it is important to point out that it is not necessarily a good thing to go to matriarchal consciousness as a way of correcting patriarchal consciousness, even if it does represent a marginally better state of affairs.  For one does not correct the problems inherent in a duality by swinging to the other end in that same duality.

You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

That approach simply reinforces that particular split, that particular duality. After all, one would not think it a good idea to go from a period of totalitarian fascism to one of complete anarchy, for example. That would only put in play the forces to create another extreme crackdown. Neither would one consider it wise to swing from an extreme of hedonistic behavior to one of anal-compulsive repression; nor would one wish to order up a period of flood to counter one of drought!

“Balancing” Opposites Is an Impossible Struggle. Only a “Conjunction of Opposites” Brings Transcendence.

Though this pendulum-swinging tendency is often observed, it is hardly a desirable thing.  So, as it turns out, neither is it an ideal solution to go from patriarchality to matriarchality — just to “balance the opposites” . . . as some matriarchal advocates espouse. For doing either of these extremes sets up and reinforces the forces at the opposite extreme, readying them for the next wild swing in the other direction! No, one can only correct a duality by transcending that duality. And transcending, by the way, involves a synthesis — that is, either a going beyond, or a going before, to a state where both elements are not opposed — to a state where there is a “conjunction of opposites,” not their continued opposition.

Primal Consciousness

Hunter-gatherer consciousness — termed paleolithic consciousness by one researcher — and especially the even earlier forager consciousness was characterized by just such a, relatively, non-dualistic acceptance of That Which Is … for the most part. Its way of life, corresponding, has been called the “original affluent society,” in that it is estimated that only four hours a day were needed for attending to survival concerns.

But a mistrust set in.  Fearfulness and intractability in the face of change followed; and hence there arose the desire to attempt to control Nature, rather than to follow Her and conform to Her rhythms.

Continued with Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

Footnote

1.  See also Matriarchy: a real solution to the shift in consciousness?

Continue with Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

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

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

%d bloggers like this: