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*“Civilization and the Travesty of Morals” … Chapter 9 of *Who to Be: Identity, Authenticity, and Crisis* (2020) by Michael Adzema. Free. Downloadable chapter.*

Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Uncivilized “Civilized” Man

“…in taking away all freedoms and rights from Nature and all its planetmates, eventually the rights of any being were no longer seen as of any concern. What another wished, intended, or wanted became increasingly unseen as a consideration, including, eventually, what a woman might want in terms of her body … and what a man might wish to do with his time … or his life. Power became the basis of morality.”

Civilization became about being controlling, narcissistic, baby-like in having insatiable desires and deeming it fine to satisfy them in any way one wished.

9

Civilization and the Travesty of Morals:

Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Uncivilized “Civilized” Man

We show our derelict nature, as hemmed in by civilization, in the major epic story emanating out of early history. It displays exactly how we changed in relation to Nature and how we beat our chests — brazen yet pathetic — about our downfall. Furthermore, it demonstrates how humans changed in their relation to planetmates, to their children, to the others in society, and in the way they thought of themselves and what they considered to be good and true ways to be in life. We see here how the more felicitous aims and the more pleasurable “duties” of life became corrupted so as to produce the sour end product of the modern human — someone who could exterminate millions of people as they were fallen leaves, commit to world wars with uncountable dead, ravage and desecrate their very nest the planet Earth, and ensure the death of all life by radiating the planet for a half million years … a radiation that only tardigrades, microscopic animals, and not even cockroaches have any chance of surviving.

Everything, including who to be, who we were, and what were the proper aims of life changed with civilization. It is something we need to understand in order to correct this major fall from grace, this abomi­nation that we became in Nature. This we must do so as to choose something different and to regain our proper role in relation to Nature and the Divine, in alignment with an actual, a real, not unreal, self, and our unique atmadharma, destiny, and mission in life.

Civilization in the Light of the Natural

The historical period this epic tale depicts is notably after that myth­ologically expressed in Genesis, after Cain and Abel. That story, and the others of Genesis, reflects some prehistoric happenings, occurring over the course of millions of years of evolution. The writer of the narrative in question is now describing, not just our beginnings as farmers and shepherds the way those biblical stories did. At this point we are in cities, we have hierarchy, and we have kings.

The story is The Epic of Gilgamesh. It is said to be the first great literary product, dating back to the time of Babylon. It is astonishing what it contains and how it has never never ever, right up to this day, been seen to be what it is — a depiction of the depraved values and unconsciousness that came about through our supposed “civilization” … perhaps even a hidden critique of civilization and its abominable elites, as we will see. We take that up in this chapter.

It also tells us what became of us in the course of our deeming the world to be non-alive; how we doomed ourselves as well to mortality; how in killing off the alive world we in essence reduced our aliveness. We no longer saw ourselves as the immortal beings we are but reduced our self-perception as well to being mortal beings … pathetic beings relative to who we were.

Nature Versus Civilization

How did this epic show the first point, the travesty of morals? With absolute clarity the story contrasts two humans — one representing civilization, Gilgamesh; the other representing ourselves in Nature, Enkidu.

Now, Gilgamesh is the king, which signifies he is the controlling one and represents the controlling function of the psyche, the Ego. He depicts who we became in becoming more egoistic, more controlling of everything around us, ourselves, other people, and Nature. We became “kings of the jungle,” each of us, dominators of Nature. So Gilgamesh is civilized man.

Enkidu is natural man. He is primal man, for he is said to be “wild.” He lived in the wilderness, actually. Astonishingly, he was discovered through the fact that he, being attuned to and sympathetic of the planetmates still, was on the sly releasing our furry relatives from the traps that the “civilized” humans had been setting for them.

So you see the huge contrast. Now, note also what is said about their behavior. First, there is a conflict between the two setting off a huge fight between them. What starts the brawl is that Gilgamesh is determined to rape this woman and Enkidu blocks his way. You heard that correctly, the “civilized” man is the one who rapes; the “wild” man is the one who protects innocents. Just as he had been protecting the planetmates by, among other things, releasing them from traps, Enkidu was set on protecting other innocent and vulnerable beings … in this instance, women. Here already, we see echoes of modern times in which the sensitive and compassionate are deemed unmanly and termed “bleeding hearts.” Meanwhile, the ruthless and grasping are consecrated as being “real-worldly” and practical, and the power that insensitivity brings to them is admired, even applauded.

Oh, sure, in the context of the story, the non-consensual sex Gilgamesh was after, and partook of heartily in general and on many other occasions, was not labeled “rape.” No, and this is what is so amazing: The rape is considered okay and to be in keeping with morals! Remember what I was saying earlier about the elite determining religious dictates to suit themselves, while christening their desires with the power of divine authority and intent? They say their narcissistic drives are the commandments of the gods. Well, sure enough, the rape was “okay” in the context of the story … not a crime! nope … because it had been … ahem … ordered by the gods. In particular it was the solar god, the patriarchal one, Shamash, who supposedly authorized kingly rape. That is significant, the solar part; keep it in mind, for later.

Civilization’s Overwhelming Onslaught Against Natural Values … and Normal Human Feelings

You see how the easy and natural morality of Nature gets complicated … not to mention confused … once hierarchy and men with desires and power to attain them are brought into the mix? No doubt it takes quite a bit of propaganda and enforcement to so distort entire societies’ views of the obvious … not to mention to get them to dismiss their natural feelings for empathy coming into play during the execution of these “divinely ordained” assaults and wrongs. Certainly, the cries and wishes of the raped woman are to be put out of one’s mind. Which is remi­niscent of the way the wishes of indigenous cultures are trampled as the industrial world exploits their land. Or how the weeping of the mothers for their obliterated children in countries bombed for oil and corporate power cannot be heard, let alone heeded.

Yet this kind of suppression of such a powerful natural part of humans … which we call “our humanity,” in fact — which is to be averse to pain, suffering, and the domination and death of innocent others and to wish to prevent these in others out of a unity of feeling with the suffering other — is achieved in civilized culture.

Apologetics

You think, perhaps, this is of no consequence. You think it an obscure point of little effect on people’s lives. I am here to tell you this travesty of feeling come of civilization — with power and authority the wellspring of right and wrong … with might making right and power making privilege — is embedded deeply in civilizational culture. It is at the core of family life and even the modern psychologies sprung of deliberation of its dynamics. Let me give one example

Of the Oedipal Kind

While Freud’s Oedipus complex is not as much a part of the modern dialogue as it once was, it remains largely unchallenged, hence prevailing in the area it seeks to explain. It has long been subject to criticism as being culturally variable; it is said of it that it is a product primarily of civilized cultures, especially Western cultures. Yet as pertains to such cultures, it is not disputed in intellectual circles.

Well, what if I were to tell you that we can now see, in the light of experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, that such a depic­tion of the family dynamic is a consequence of the patriarchal “ethic” itself. Itself it is a “travesty of morals.” In a way parallel to the way Gilgamesh’s brutality is condoned, lauded even, we to this day have been advancing the idea of Oedipal and Electra conflicts at the heart of the childhood narrative. Freudians claim that a young boy wants to mate with his mother and replace his father; this is the Oedipus complex. Young girls want to mate with their dads and replace their mothers; this is the Electra complex. Both are resolved — it is said, “successfully” — by the child “identifying with the aggressor.” And you would think that depiction — the parent as the “aggressor” — might have given them a clue. For is that any different from the complicity of the oppressed and ruled, during Gilgamesh’s time, in kingly rape?

You don’t see it yet? Okay, to continue.

Well, no, it did not; identification with “the aggressor” fell silently on unillumined minds. For in modern societies and mainstream counsel­ing and psychology it is thought that the successful resolution is had when the child surrenders her and his desires for closeness with the parent of the opposite gender and instead identifies with that parent. Stockholm syndrome, anyone?

But, no. Not understood. For this “resolution” assumes a superfi­cial understanding of the dynamic. When actually this “develop­ment” has two distinctly patriarchal components — a pander­ing and sycophancy regarding authority, along with a condemna­tion of the weak, vulnerable, and needy. That is to say, this explanation exonerates the parent’s role, and the parent’s behavior, in the drama, and places blame on the child. The child is not seen as innocent; the parent is. Self-congratulate much? Scapegoat much?

Whereas from the perspective of primal psychology this Oedipal-Electra dynamic is entirely different: The child, innocent, having natural and fundamental needs for love, attention, respect, and so on, wishes to receive them of both parents, including the one of the opposite gender. Meanwhile that parent, aloof, insensitive, and having been deprived and Oedipalized and Electra-lized him- or herself as a child, wants both to push the loving child away as well as sexualize the child, wishing to get a sexually symbolic substitute from their child of what they were deprived growing up. When this is acted out, and it often is, we have incest. To think that it is the child, innocent of such understandings of sexuality and not confusing sex with simple affection — as the parent does — that is the instigator of either the sexual use-abuse or the Oedipal-Electra desire for intimacy is just another aspect of the authoritarian, patriarchal schema we have had thrown upon our perspectives from the time of the birth of civilization.

Rather, the essence of these dynamics of childhood is best ex­plained in the dynamic of the primal scene, which, according to Janov, occurs around the age of four or five … not coincidentally the same time as these Freudian dynamics. To think that a child of four or five is sexually desiring the parent is not only child abuse, it is typical of the way ordinary and innocent love and feelings of closeness are sexualized in civilized and predominantly patriarchal societies, where such ordinary feelings …. as we see Enkidu had … is disparaged and repressed.

What is actually going on in these dynamics is that the child, in the case of the boy, sees the father’s distinctly patriarchal abuse and disre­spect of the mother — the mother from whom that child came, who nursed that child, who is in a way large or small bonded with that child. You see, the Oedipus complex, if we want to call it that, arises out of a child’s innocent reaction to the misogyny … to the pervasive misogyny displayed in all kinds of ways, subtle and not so, in the culture. So also in the child’s own father. The child, now, with innocent eyes, sees the disrespect … even if others do not … sees the abuse, and wants to come to the mother’s defense. The abuse is bad enough so that the boy imagines saving the mother from the assaults of the father … exactly the way Enkidu wished to block the way of Gilgamesh from raping the bride!

The son, from this perspective, is trying to protect the mother from a dangerous and violent husband. Then when patriarchal apologists, in the guise of psychoanalysts and mainstream counselors, see this dynamic they impugn the purity of the child’s love in sycophantic and society-sanctioning support of the father — both condoning the father’s brutality of the mother and the boy, as well as projecting onto the boy the father’s twisted feelings, himself jealous of the attention his wife gives his son. In this manner, scapegoating the boy, the father covers up the guilt that would otherwise come of acknowledging his own jealousy.

Of the Electra Kind

On the female side, the girl, naturally bonded with the mother as well, wants also to be loved by the father. Why would not a child, or anyone, want to be loved by both important figures in the young one’s life? Yet here again, the father’s twisted, perverted desires to have his daughter sexually is projected onto the child. “It’s not me! She’s the one who is seducing me!” As common as is this thinking in regard to sexual predators and incestual fathers, you would think that psychological theorists somewhere along the way would have seen through this paternal gambit and stopped blaming the daughter for the parent’s erotic leanings. But they did not…. And that is why I bring this up in this chapter on civilization and the travesty of morals. For the Electa and Oedipal complexes are a common, everyday example of how morality got turned on its head with civilization.

I will get into this again later, when I go in more detail into this area of the identification with the aggressor, a concept alone fertile with insight. But for now, do you see how the patriarchy, like the story of Gilgamesh, sanctions the abuse of others and slanders the intentions of those who would defend those innocents out of empathy and feeling for them? Notice here how the cultures of contemporary and patriarchal societies include the same processes of the family dynamic…. Elites, just like fathers, are to be protected and sanctioned in their brutality, whereas the opposition … rebels and sons … are to be slandered and their inten­tions distorted so as to discredit them.

Of the Patriarchal Kind

Though such repression and such a campaign of slander and propa­ganda has always required, and still does, an immense amount of power, military, police and security forces, control of media, clergy, and the professional service class to bring it about. You can see how, from the Oedipus-Electra projections, that would include its mental health professionals. However, this was all done during most of historic time through brute force. By contrast, contemporary societies have gotten ever subtler in the use of propaganda and coercive enforcement of unnatural, but elite-serving, dictums.

For that matter, and equally astounding, is that such propaganda, to this day, is not seen for the ruse it is. In a popular interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the author, Stephen Mitchell (2004), states that “we are told ‘Enkidu’s face went pale with anger,’ but we aren’t told why he is angry.”3 This he writes concerning Enkidu’s reaction to finding out that Gilgamesh will force himself upon the bride and have his way with her after the wedding ceremony. This is a lot like we see in the Abraham and Isaac story. With Abraham and Isaac, a natural response is to think that it is insane to think that a god would tell a person to kill his child. That is the child noticing the emperor has no clothes. It takes “culture” to tell us that there is something religious going on, something to do with God, in a story about a man having a “spiritual” message to kill someone. Similarly, that someone’s rage at someone else’s intention to rape is questionable, as it is for Mitchell, requires quite a bit of cultural propa­ganda to be able to think. Again, that innocent child, able to see an emperor with no clothes, sees nothing strange about a man being enraged by another man’s intention to rape a woman. But not this author, Stephen Mitchell. He writes, “This leaves us with the raw emotion of Enkidu’s anger … unexplained and uninterpretable….”

Yet, Enkidu is not confused, at all! Morality, for the natural person such as Enkidu, is simple: What a person or planetmate wants and chooses is important and to be respected. Taking away that right causes suffering and is wrong, especially if one trounces the other’s desires and wishes with one’s own. No confusion at all with a natural morality in mind. Substituting one’s own wants for another’s amounts to domi­nation … making oneself more important than the other. On a societal level, it is called oppression. Regardless, forcing sex on someone, as occurs in the story, is a clear no-no to an unassuming mind, a clear one … such as Enkidu’s.

Furthermore, that author of the Gilgamesh publication for our times offers a rather jolting apologetic for the patriarchy. He reminds that the rape is okay because it was sanctioned by the gods. Correspond­ingly, he expresses his confusion as to what the to-do about it is. Why is Enkidu enraged, he wonders. “Hasn’t he understood that this is a ritual act sanctioned by the gods?”

Let me stop laughing at that before I continue. Notice both the sanctioning-by-gods part, but also that Mitchell is glossing over the brutality of a rape with the euphemism that it is part of a “ritual.” Which is not part of the story, at all. This is an astounding reflection, however, of the way religion is brought in to sanction the desires of elites and to rule out any nods to common empathy and human feeling.

Okay, in so doing the author impresses his own inability to see the obvious onto his reader. He passes along the confusion about morals that adhere once elites begin inserting their desires into public morality. Mitchell writes, “One thing it [this supposedly “not knowing” of the reason for Enkidu’s rage] means is that we don’t take sides. Yes, Gilgamesh is a tyrant but he is also magnificent. Yes, he mates with the lawful wife, but this apparent sexual predation may be in the divine order of things, and to oppose it is not necessarily virtuous.” And, if he believes that, well, I have some fine and wonderful preemptive wars and soldierly massacres of civilians he can next explain to us … along with the lies and harmful decrees of an American president beholden only to his inner demons for council.

Am I the only one cringing at this author’s twisted words of syco­phancy? Not that this man is sycophantic to Gilgamesh, of course, but clearly the author, raised in a patriarchy and schooled in its elitist and traditionally patriarchal, hallowed halls has not a clue of the obvious in the story. The obvious which is that — rules of the elite and the privi­leges of the elite be damned — a rape is a rape and is a horror, to any innocent and honorable person. Clearly it is that way in the story itself, as we see in Enkidu’s reaction. This is the case however much you might have the law, or the supposed approval of the gods (the ones enlisted in support of the divine order of kings … and that should be a hint), to support it. As you will soon see, I do not believe even the ancient author (or authors) of The Epic of Gilgamesh are as confused … or sycophantically blind … as is this modern-day author.

How can I not simply hear Kellyanne Conway, Spencer Spicer, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders trying to explain Donald Trump’s many inconsistencies and lies in these remarks. Such are the perils of syco­phancy. Once one has given over one’s perception of the obvious to patriarchs and authorities, one is left having to spout inane rationaliza­tions … and to struggle to believe them oneself. One might even think that there are “alternative facts” to justify the inane pronounce­ments and behaviors of “kings” and tyrants … and unjustly installed American presidents.

The “Morality” of Power

This pattern in civilized and demented … devolved … societies of rewriting the obvious about existence to suit their elites is seen many other places. Indeed, as I said we see it in the Abraham and Isaac story. In both cases, the atrocity — the rape or the killing of a child — is rationalized. For the abomination is attributed to a patriarch — in partic­ular, one aligned with a patriarchal god. And readers and interpreters for millennia afterward, therefore and right up to today, fail to notice the obvious wrong and brutality involved. The masses of humanity having been programmed in alignment with patriarchal cultures to deny their feelings, along with their own perceptions and their own obvious interpretations of events, most folks are to this day utterly confused about the meaning of a natural morality that arises out of empathy and feelings.

Morality Explained, Confused

This is so prevalent that I came across it most recently in a meeting a few of us had on the issue of ethics. We were preparing for a panel discussion on ethics in an era of Trumpism, incidentally. This issue came up as to what might be a common ground of morality for all cultures and peoples of the world. In the ensuing discussion, I offered that a common denominator of all beings is a natural morality — in line with ordinary human feelings and empathy — which is that life is good, death is bad; that suffering and pain inflicted on others is bad; that help, kindness, love, and anything positive offered others is good. Simple, right? Christ summed it up, “love your neighbor as yourself.” There could not be a better, more concise expression of the unity with and empathy for other people being the basis of morality than that. Christ is saying, another’s suffering is as much to be avoided as one’s own, another’s happiness is as much to be desired as one’s own.

I also offered, as a corollary for it follows from the first, that this morality could be summed up in the non-directive directive, “You can do anything you want, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” Well, imme­diately, the reaction was, “Well, you’re going to have a hell of a lot of people having a problem with that!” Clearly, for most all of us, by this time in history, the idea of good and bad has gotten mixed up with dictums of do’s and don’ts of behavior — handed down and instilled in us from some outside authority or others — which are split from any feelings and in which empathy is irrelevant. Often these pronounce­ments are attributed to random inclinations of some transcendent god or other.

For example, that recreational drug use, including the kind that is overtly mind-expanding (psychedelic) or wholeness-directing (holo­tropic) or facing toward God (entheogenic); that any kind of consensual sex, including homosexuality, sodomy, masturbation, consen­sual non-monogamy; that “swearing” and “profanity” or “taking God’s name in vain”; and so on … many other examples could be given and they vary widely by culture and religion … are in themselves hurtful to anyone is clearly not true. On the other hand, that these are individualistic impulses which are contrary to having a uniformly alike mass of people, easily managed and manipulated to the ends and profits of an elite, is certainly true. The only things such free and uninhibited behavior hurt are the profits of the powerful and the desires of the elite for the populace to be constrained, obedient, unexpressive, and thereby manageable. And this, for their profits, but also as preemptive action against the rising up of the populace, which such expression if not smothered, naturally results in.

Despite this, the masses of folks, throughout civilizational history, have gotten it into their heads that there is a god or some gods somewhere who want us to abide by such kind of inane directives, regardless how little sense they contain or import they have on human happiness. And the masses are willing to kill, torture, and war … i.e., do all kinds of evil things … in allegiance to such nonsensical “command­ments” and directed against all others not abiding by them.

Again, just like in Eden and as we will see, in Abraham and Isaac, morality does not have to make sense. It can be random, capricious, nonsensical, even. The Abraham story in particular imposes that misper­ception: Obey, regardless! It does not have to make sense to one’s own sense of morality, one’s own feelings of right and wrong.

Follow the Money, Follow the Power, Follow the Ego

You can see how convenient having such a populace believing such a thing would be for the purposes of warring on others; but notice also how it works toward the masses obeying in all matters emanating in profit to the elite, or to their ego-aggrandizement (notice how often the truly nonsensical word “glory” is used in patriarchal tomes, including this one regarding Gilgamesh), or to the Controllers’ desire-satisfaction, regardless how perverted. It takes a truly repressed, non-individualistic, unexpressive, and unfree people to satisfy the predilections of the narcissistic elites of all civilized societies.

Yet a closer look reveals that such injunctions trace conveniently upon the predilections of the elites of society, then and now. Just as the patriarchal god Shamash’s permission of rape for the king could not be more self-serving to Gilgamesh. Despite this, the fact that people are hypnotized into believing that morality does not have to make sense, that obedience to nonsensicals is a good thing, shows how successful patriarchy has been in confusing morality for people in general in order to mask their desire to do whatever they want for themselves and to punish whatever they want, however ridiculous, in their subjects.

Conversely, patriarchy’s overwhelming success in deluding folks into adhering to the ridiculous in order to suit the elite’s desires is shown in how the idea that there is a good part of a person, an empathy or feelings, that would naturally, as in a natural morality, stand in the way of harming and causing suffering, is completely eliminated from the imagined possibilities of humans. And this depiction of human nature as inherently vile and deranged, therefore needing reining in, punishment, control, and so on … well, can you see how that plays directly into the hands of the patriarchal elite? For if humans are naturally “wild” and uncontrolled, then do not they require these elites and their self-serving dictums, authorized by their concocted and inherently capricious and not-understandable “gods,” to keep them in line, to “keep the peace,” to provide religion, police, psychiatrists, jails, pharmaceuticals, punishments — however self-serving to the elites, yet in this way justified to an oppressed and mind-controlled populace?

In any case, observing all this, I see how radical and necessary our generational injunction to “question authority” was, and still is, for the righting of our ethical boat. Clearly this contemporary author of the Gilgamesh interpretation did not get that memo.

The Travesty of Morals

Back to the story, Enkidu’s protecting the woman is not an incidental happening, either. We see it is part of a pattern where the values and ethics one would expect … where goodness is equated with life values such as life over death, and less suffering over more suffering, and more respect for other’s rights and feelings over less respect or brutality over other’s rights and feelings, and harmony with one’s environment over aggressive and destructive acts regarding one’s environment … are com­pletely overturned. They get reversed in each and every instance.

Civilization, Elites … Might, and Materialism, Makes Right

Somehow we see the wonders of the rising up of cities — and in these days the miraculous products of material civilization, such as our electronic devices and the other amazing products displayed in our markets — as more civilized than goodness or morality … or the reduction of anyone’s pain and suffering or the limitation of deaths. Regardless what we tell ourselves, we feel that being good at making “things” is more “good,” more moral, than simple things like kindness, respect for lives, or reducing the inevitable suffering of other living beings. Indeed, it is not coincidental that in “civilized” societies, material things — especially that produced by the hands and by their extensions in industry — are deemed “goods.”

Why do you suppose so many in modern times — conservative types — give such a wide berth to the actions of the titans of industry? Those who we deem to be creators of the material world around us we allow all kinds of atrocities — murders, wars, despoliation of the environ­ment. We say it is because they are job creators or “wealth” creators, when neither of those are true. See my Culture War, Class War (2013) on that, specifically.

In fact, all those rationalizations of the super-worthiness of the elite are evidence, merely, of our feelings that they are more powerful than us, they feel threatening to us, and we feel safer being sycophantic regarding them. Hence we will grant rich folks free rein in the moral sphere, along with forgiveness of their horrible crimes, rather than acknowledge the obvious. Notice, as a perfect example of this, how George W. Bush and his cadre of well-to-do war profiteers in modern times were allowed to walk away from their many crimes. Consider how the bulls of Wall Street were actually rewarded with payoffs for their actions that brought so much death and hardship to world citizens at the time of the global economic collapse of 2008. Meanwhile, ordinary folks — especially in America, African-American males — are prosecuted for petty infractions or attacked, even killed, for nothing at all.

For our purposes in this book, simply notice how we in modern civilization, in actual fact, are not much different from the slaves and subjects in ancient Egypt. For we glorify our “pharaohs” as well, and we allow all kinds of cruelties and atrocities of those who are good at making “things” … the bigger the better — skyscrapers, pyramids. Remember, the rich and powerful Donald Trump — sexual predator, liar, racist, cheater of workers, misogynist and user and disrespecter of women, and tax-dodger — was allowed to be installed as a president not long ago. Morality does not apply to the ones we deem so much higher above us in being able to wield power and to make and do things we could not imagine ourselves pulling off.

The point is that morals become a surreal travesty with civilization, and we see that represented in that Enkidu, the “wild” man, steps in to block the “civilized” man from attacking a woman. What of Gilgamesh and his intentions? Well, he deems it his right to rape any woman in his kingdom that he wishes. See in that how much civilization became about being controlling and being narcissistic and baby-like in having insatiable desires and deeming it fine to satisfy them in any way one wishes, irrespective of their effects on anyone else. Uh, Trump reference again, perhaps? Remember, as he himself put it, he’s a celebrity so he can get away with anything … and all manner of “pussy grabbing” and the like is within his purview, without consequence.

Beyond that, Gilgamesh considers it his right to dominate and control his male “subjects,” removing from them their free will, as well.  Yes, he is described as oppressing his “subjects,” along with raping at will, the women. After all, he is king, isn’t that his prerogative? You see how odd it is in all these millennia that it never occurred to anyone to question the “civility” of that? At least in relation to Enkidu’s “wildness” in setting planetmates free from traps? What does that say about us? About the human blinders, the blinders of civilization, that block our awareness of the obvious?

Not to mention, what it says about which stratum of societies determines what ideas will be promulgated therein; what will be pro­fessed, by scholars; who will be appointed to teach at institutions of higher learning; or whose books, up till only a few decades ago with the digital revolution, will see the light of day.

Civilization and the Rape of Nature and the Divine

In any case, raping women and oppressing his “subjects” as he goes, Gilgamesh adds additional crimes. He shows how our diminished awareness as humans separated from Nature gets acted out on Nature … and even the Divine!

Gilgamesh proceeds to a forest, the Cedar Forest, and he cuts down all its sacred wood. He kills, also, the “monster” protecting this arboreal stand from abuse, as easily as modern corporations roll over and kill off indigenous cultures also trying to save their environments. Throughout history this has happened, by the way. Regardless, we see how this attack on the Cedar Forest and its guardian is an aggression and controlling of the sacred Flora Kingdom.

Subsequently, Gilgamesh kills, also, the Bull of Heaven, which is clearly symbolic of taking the life and soul of the Fauna Kingdom. Significantly, it is a bull. After all, cattle — cows and the like — were among the first designs of humans for “domestication” and control. Notice also that it is “of heaven.” Indeed, in one of the more legitimate instances in the story of divine intent, the bull was sent from on high as punishment to Gilgamesh for his crime against Nature.

Furthermore, this killing of the Bull of Heaven indicates how we descended into patriarchal religion, from Earth religions … how we suppressed matriarchal, goddess, “lunar” religions in favor of “sky” or “solar” religions, patriarchal ones, when we “advanced” to increasing dependence on farming and “civilization” in the creation of urban centers and its increasing separation from Nature.

In any case, Gilgamesh takes the Bull of Heaven and kills it. In taking the lives of the forest and that of heaven, we see here a humanity, specifically a “man”kind, a civilized patriarchy, at war with both Earth and heaven … with both Nature and the Divine.

Civilization, its Seductions and Regrets

Gilgamesh enlists Enkidu’s help, by the way. You see how this is symbolic of how our “civilized” self, our unreal self, took over and suppressed the values of our natural self, our real self? Indeed, that is exactly what the epic portrays. It says that a harlot seduces Enkidu and then entices him into drinking alcohol and eating bread. Notice here how becoming civilized is being equated with the eating of food produced, not by Nature, but by farming. By grain … the bread.

It is also associated with another product of grains, beer, which significantly is intoxicating. So, the ecstatic ceremonies of the “wild” folks — the gatherer-hunters, in actual history — which often employed hallucinogenic and specifically entheogenic (entheogen means “toward God”) plants and substances, get supplanted by “recreational” pastimes in which are used drugs that do not open one to God but instead cover up the conscience that is in forever alarm at what civilized humanity does. Opiates that conceal the atrocities of the higher ups, along with one’s own, are desired by all concerned in a civilized, demented, degenerate, elite-controlled society, of course.

In fact, the story reveals that Enkidu, the first “wild” man seduced into civilization, has a burning conscience, causing him regret. He bemoans everything that has been wrought of his “descent” into civilization.

The Gods Do Not Approve

For one thing, remember that Enkidu was saving his fellow planetmates from their traps. Subsequently, the “gods” enlist Enkidu to “rein in” Gilgamesh. Notice that here in this epic, almost despite itself, it is giving note that the Divine does not approve of the behavior emanating from humans as a result of their “civilization.”

In fact nowhere did the “gods” in ancient times approve of our descents; whether it was the crimes of Prometheus, Adam and Eve, Cain, or Gilgamesh. It took more modern times, Christianity, and Western culture to begin having a God approving of our lives as abominations in Nature.

We see the epitome of that today where fundamentalist religion in the West — especially as depicted by Tea-Party-type folks in America — is equated with Western civilization and its materialism more than anything at all transcendent or sacred. Capitalism has become equated with Divinity in America in modern times. You can hear that equation in any religious pronouncements from Republicans today. It is civilization, and especially its modern material consumer-obsessed form, that is considered holy. And nationalism, which defends, with all manner of military methods, that material culture, is deemed as sacred, or more so, than God. Look for yourself at the worship around the American flag. Notice for yourself how in churches the American flag will be displayed upon the altars along with all the religious iconography.

Back to the Gilgamesh story, it is the wild man Enkidu who is moral. And whereas we presume civilization to have higher morality than humans in the wild, as does the epic on the face of it, it cannot help but reveal that the gods don’t think this at all! For Enkidu represents a “natural morality,” one that emanates from all humans at their base — before the priests and “theologies” come in to muck it up. A natural morality which is that what is good is what is related to life, not death; and is what is related to less suffering, not more suffering. And it is this “natural conscience” of humans, represented by Enkidu, that the gods seek to enlist to rein in “civilized” man, Gilgamesh.

Notice how at odds that is with the story, which has Gilgamesh, according to the laws and rules of “man,” with the right to rape women and oppress men. Gilgamesh in raping women did not do “wrong” according to the morality of the day. Indeed, in the epic, it is said that the gods have given Gilgamesh this lurid “right,” which all patriarchal religions have done — undergirding the power and privilege of the elites everywhere, as long as there have been hierarchical societies. Consider how in taking away all freedoms and rights from Nature and all its planetmates, eventually the rights of any being, even human, were no longer seen as of any concern. What another wished, intended, or wanted became increasingly invisible as a consideration, including, eventually, what a woman might want in terms of her body … and what a man might wish to do with his time … or his life. Power became the basis of morality. But the gods — and they knew Enkidu, the natural man, would feel the same — did not see it that way. The gods did not see morality according to “man’s” rules, regardless what men would claim regarding them.

We see this in Genesis where Yahweh, the God of the Jews, prefers the offering of Abel, the sheepherder, and not Cain, the farmer. Remember, as herders we still retained a bond with planetmates; we conscribed their wanderings, but we also cared for them. We killed them eventually, but we also allowed them to grow to full maturity. We did not allow them to roam freely, yet they were able to roam.

Whereas the farmer has no such connection or bond with the planetmates. The farmer exhibits a greater separation from Nature and the Divine and a more extreme objectification of the alive Universe around him, including its planetmates. He shows this in the way he enlists the efforts of planetmates toward the tilling of the soil; the way a farmer holds a cow in place, imprisons it, in order to steal from it daily its milk meant for its offspring. In the way the farmer does the same imprisoning of fowl for the purpose of daily removing their offspring to be eaten by humans. So the farmer, to do that, cannot have the same kind of sensitivities toward planetmates as herders; and earth-tillers must necessarily suppress their natural feelings — their “natural” morality — just like we did earlier in order to allow our ability to murder planet­mates — in other words, to hunt.

The point here is that — despite the literature of man basically being construed in ways so as to bolster the elite and to orchestrate the “civilized” members of society along the lines of the powerful — our literary creations cannot but help reveal the Divine displeasure at said “civilization” and separation from Nature. The Unapproved and Hidden Freudian-slips out into the world through the doorway of the story­tellers’ creative fervor.

In fact, in reading the epic one can justly consider the writer or writers might actually have been trying to express their own disapproval and complaint about such a status quo, however in the only way one could at such a time, with patriarchs everywhere in power and control­ling everything, including any literary productions. Such a literary product might have been reproduced, promulgated, and eventually come to light, only because its criticism — clear as a bell to any with the sensitivity and sanity to see it — is so overlaid and hidden with the usual glorification of power and the powerful, which it also provides.

Perhaps even the author’s original writing was edited by the powers-that-be of the time prior to its inscription in stone — much as any of our media-produced books today must bow to the prevailing academic and political gods in order to see the light of day. Perhaps it was infused with all this glorification of kingship and the right and behavior of kings by the elite themselves, much as one might, as Donald Trump did recently, edit another’s tweet so as to make it fit with his prejudices and desires. Regardless, hidden inside a shell of the required sycophancy is why this pearl of insight and complaint into the injustices of early hierarchies was allowed to survive. Just as the spiritual aspects of alchemy, during the Middle Ages, are said to have been covered up in scientific metaphor to hide them from the light of an otherwise direly disapproving Catholic hegemony, so also we might see here during the time of ancient Mesopotamia such a ruse to safeguard the writer.

All that understood, next in this part let us look more closely at some of what amounts to the mythology around the primal scene and the Oedipal conflict. Naturally, we start with the ancient story of Oedipus.

— this is an excerpt from  *Who to Be: Identity, Authenticity, & Crisis* by Michael Adzema. It has just been released for publication as of March, 20th, 2020. Click to order print or digital copies and go to Michael Adzema’s Author’s Page at Amazon for other books, info, and updates.

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The Idea of a Shamanistic, Stormy Spiritual Path Is Too at Odds with Our Religious Anti-Body Culture to Be Easily Accepted: Is the Supernatural Terrifying?

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Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … The Stormy Path to Self, Part One — The Way Forward Is Down: The Divine Is Mistaken for “the Devil” Until One Is Surrendered Enough

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Implications of Falls from Grace, The Devolutional Model of Development

From looking at the possibility of a more benign, less tragic human trajectory, as we did in the last chapter, I would now like to delve into the implications of this devolutional model of development—these Falls from Grace—as concerns psychotherapy, human growth, or “healing.” For, once the falls have happened to a person, once the patriarchal pathology has occurred, we need to look at what to do about it. We need to turn from prevention, as in the previous chapter, to correction or remediation.

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The Way Forward Is Down

I said at the outset of Part Two that a metaphorical analysis such as this one can uncover underlying meanings: It can provide understanding of inner and outer behavior as well as guidance for such. At this point it can be stated that the implications of an analysis such as I have been presenting are for no less than the direction of growth, the direction of mystical experience, the concept of regression, and the evaluation of current ego psychotherapies, among others.

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Is a “Fully Functioning Ego” a Prerequisite to Higher Consciousness?

Specifically, this perspective puts in question the psychotherapeutic maxim that ego strength precedes higher consciousness. I confess that many years ago I myself made exactly that claim in a work titled The Dangers of Mysticism for Modern Youth (Adzema, 1970). As I concluded, “Cosmic consciousness is dependent upon self-actualization.” By this I meant, following a Jungian line, that ego-actualization leading to a solidified ego and ego strength was necessary before one could hope to face the overwhelming and terrifying Unconscious Self—the repressed inner Divinity. And again following Jung, I proposed that this usually could not occur until the second half of life, or after the mid-life crisis.

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Is the Supernatural Terrifying?

Subsequently, however, I encountered the new experiential psychotherapeutic techniques which — it has been my own experience — allow one to deal with and integrate the repressed “negative” energies that lie along the path (as this book’s analysis demonstrates) to mystical experience of Energy, Mind, Absolute Subjectivity, and God. Thus, I declined to publish that earlier work.

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Ego Does Not Precede Illumination, It Prohibits It

Schneider (1987), to give an example, claims that the kind of mystical consciousness of which Wilber speaks is not possible because, for one thing, it would be terrifying and overwhelming.

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Indeed, that was a good part of my position in The Dangers of Mysticism for Modern Youth (Adzema, 1970). But as I say, I eventually came to understand there to be a big difference between access to and integration of these realities. For, as both Jung and Campbell have pointed out, a God is often seen as a devil until one is wholly enough … I would say surrendered enough … to approach him.

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Some People Are Sick for Healthy Reasons

At any rate, those subsequent experiences of mine with the experiential psychotherapies led to a reformulation of my understanding which led to works titled, descriptively enough, “The Way Forward Is Down” and The Centered Path Through Hell. The proposition arising from this later work is that low self-esteem, low ego strength, is a precondition for “higher” (“lower”) growth in a mystical direction.

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As Maslow (1968) put it (and contrary to Wilber [1970]), some people are sick for sick reasons and some people are sick for healthy reasons. Therefore, especially in an avowed “insane” (see Fromm, 1955) culture, we might want to think twice about doing people the big favor of “helping” them in the direction of increased ego defenses … and societal adjustment and social functioning.

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In fact, those people with inadequate defenses against what is in essence more real are not only closer to being truly sane than the majority of folks but also might be better helped by leading them in the direction of dismantling what remains of the barriers between themselves and pure Energy, pure Consciousness, and helping them instead to integrate with and grow to encompass the expanded awareness that results.

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The Stormy Path to Self

Now, I realize that this proposition is not absolutely new. For one thing it seems to make sense of some of the extreme and bizarre behavior, the seemingly manifest neurotic behavior, of some of the saints and mystics on their way to expanded awareness (see for example James, 1899/1982, especially Henry Suso, pp. 306-310; and Saint John of the Cross, 1959).

But in this secular age, it seems such allowance for “aberrant” behavior is rare. Keep in mind that in many cultures there are institutions—like medieval monasteries—or roles, like shamans, through and in which such distortions of personality can be worked out in socially sanctioned ways.GrofChristStan_StormySearchicon Contrast this with the modern attitude which seems to be that if they can’t be talked into picking themselves up and/or behaving themselves like everyone else they are to be drugged or electroshocked into compliance.

Nevertheless, there are those in this day also who do speak out in favor of the direction of growth that this book is presenting. R. D. Laing, Arthur Janov, and Stanislav Grof are not the least of these. Indeed, Stanislav and Christina Grof’s (1990) book, The Stormy Search for the Self, is a near-exact affirmation of the proposition I have just stated.

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Our Religious, Anti-Body Culture Makes Folks Terrified of the Shamanistic, Stormy Path

Still, this idea of a “stormy” spiritual path—despite the fact that it was distinctively presented and described over a century ago in William James’s classic (1899/1982) work, The Varieties of Religious Experience, (1899/1982)—in my opinion, goes too much against our hard won “rationality” … which we see is essentially our cultural rationalization. This notion is too much an affront to our culturally embedded “pragmatism” … which it is clear now is our cop-out to consensual constructs, especially fear-rooted economic ones. And it is in direct opposition to our pervasive Judeo-Christian anti-body cultural bias. So this idea of a stormy spiritual path, a path in which progress involves regress … in which the way forward is down, is anything but easily accepted.

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Continue with “Crazy” and Transcendent Are Not Opposite as Ego Psychologists Conveniently Proclaim: Have Western Puritanical Beliefs Infected Transpersonal Psychology?

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

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

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Complete Book Chapters with Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On the other hand, though we will need many noble souls to reverse our current downslide into oblivion, it is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world. I hope, for the sake of us all, that you are one of those heroes.

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Chapter One: Strange Days

Chapter Two: “We Ain’t Born Typical””

Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media

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

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Chapter Five: Birth Wars, World Woes

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

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

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Chapter Eight: Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society

Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions

Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

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

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

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Continue with Book Five: Wounded Deer and Centaurs

Return to Apocalypse Emergency – Book 3

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

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Whence Kitty-Drowners and Butterfly-Mashers: How We Lose Our Selves at Adolescence and Why Conformers and Conservatives in Every Society Hate and Suppress the Rebellious

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Resistance Is Futile — The Fourth Fall From Grace

Wilber (1977) relates the fourth duality to the rise of the philosophic bands: “[I]n many cases the philosophic bands are instrumental in the generation of the quaternary dualism-repression-projection, and in all cases they are instrumental in its maintenance” (p. 150). Concerning these bands, he quotes Erich Fromm (1970):

[I]n addition to the social taboos there are individual elaborations of these taboos which differ from family to family; a child, afraid of being “abandoned” by his parents because he is aware of experiences which to them individually are taboo, will, in addition to the socially normal repression [of the Biosocial Band], also repress those feelings which are prevented from coming to awareness by the individual aspect of the filter. (Wilber, 1977, p. 150)

Rites of Passage, Becoming “Adult”

The end-result of this fear of parental abandonment that pushes the philosophic bands is what Freud calls the resolution of the oedipal conflict. This splitting and consequent repression/projection corresponds to the rites of passage of puberty and adolescence.

How We Lose Our Souls

At this point, the child no longer identifies with God (pre-conception), with mother (pre-birth), with body (pre- primal scene), or even with his or her best idea (one’s philosophic ideal); but identifies instead with the same-sex parent, the representative of the social order. Thus he or she becomes totally Other: totally separated from his or her own mind (pre- puberty rite); from his or her body (pre- primal scene); from his or her destiny, karma, dharma, duty, and purposiveness (pre-birth); and from God (pre-conception).

Every Parent’s “Atman Project”

This pattern—this doomed and illusory “atman project” wherein the parent seeks to immortalize him- or herself and to redeem his or her life—is of course obvious in the situation of the son “following in his father’s footsteps” in taking over the family business and in the daughter’s emulation of her mother, traditionally, in the role of wife and mother. But there are many subtler versions of this “identification,” and it happens even in situations where it seems it most definitely does not.

For example, Keniston’s (1968) study of young radicals of the sixties—the epitome of rebellious youth, you say—were found to be very much in agreement with their parents’ values. In fact, their rebellion was essentially in seeking to put into practice and actually live out what they saw as unlived values and philosophies (hence the charge of “hypocrite”) in compromised and compromising parents. Note again the theme of living out the unlived dreams of the previous generation—here, even in spite of the conscious stance of those youth.

Little of Self in the Decision of Who to Be

Cross-culturally and traditionally, however, we see this pattern in perhaps its most rudimentary and clearest form. In a great many cultures, the rites of passage into adulthood embrace the function of bestowing upon and initiating the recipient into the social roles and functions as decided by the tribe and family. For most, then, there is little of self in the decision of who to be; it is decided outside of oneself. Corresponding with this, in relation to the marital role, in many cultures the choice of spouse is also decided by others.

One Continues “Their” Dream … One’s Divine Uniqueness Fades

One doesn’t have one’s own mind. One takes up the “mind” of the parents, and of society. One continues their dream, society’s dream. One’s divine uniqueness fades into insignificance in the pattern of the social consensual reality.

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Self Is Split Again … Becoming “Borg” … Serving the Collective

At any rate, the upshot of all this is that at the quaternary dualism, the self is split again. It is required to give up even “its own mind,” its own concept of itself. Originally one’s divinity was given up; then one’s deepest transpersonal directives and organismic unitary awareness; then one’s biological rhythms, one’s sense of flowingness and inner-directed purposiveness; then one’s feelings about self and other; and finally one is required even to give up the best possible ideas one can have about oneself and one’s relationship to and actions in the world. One represses one’s own decisions, initiatives, evaluations, and self-images in conformance to other-directed wants and needs, the result of others’ unfulfilled ambitions—which are presented to one by one’s parents but represent by extension the other-directed wants and needs of the collective, of the prevailing fear-pushed and desire-pulled economic constraints . . . of the socially-constructed reality in general.

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A “Darkness” Develops

Raheem (1991) describes the result:

When the soul becomes so covered over by conditioning that it cannot shine through, when personality completely dominates, a “darkness” develops within the person, characterized by mental or emotional dullness, physical deterioration, accidents, depression, or “bad luck.” Such a person seems asleep or unconscious while walking around; she has gotten off her own soul path. (p. 31)

Kitty-Drowners and Butterfly-Mashers

And what happens to these repressed dreams, aspirations, initiatives, and values is that, as at previous levels, they are repressed, then projected outside of oneself. Thenceforth they are seen in the world as the “Shadow.” Unfortunately, to the extent that we disown and fight these potentials in ourselves, we fight and hate them when we see them outside ourselves.

Every Society’s Culture War

This accounts for the fury with which people will attack and seek to suppress certain individuals and groups who may represent, for example, disowned artistic or creative potentials, disowned aliveness and “charisma,” disowned sexuality, disowned intellectual or bohemian dreams, simple disowned “feeling” in general, and anything that smacks of an idealism or freedom or joie de vivre that needed especially to be slain in the self in order to make the identification with another’s dreams.

Creating in this way the kitty-drowners and butterfly-mashers of the world, the quaternary dualism is complete and, with it, a fourth fall from grace.

Selling One’s Soul

At this point, then, there is very little Self left. In discharging the life that remains—so totally other-directed and other-programmed—one may as well have commissioned an android. Thus we have the endpoint of the spectrum’s “evolution”—from divinity to machinery, from pure-Bliss-Consciousness to cybernetic control.

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

Return to Having Become “Them,” We Are Left Forever Asking “Who Am I?” The Third Fall From Grace, The Primal Scene, Part Two — The Philosophic Bands

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

Return to Having Become “Them,” We Are Left Forever Asking “Who Am I?” The Third Fall From Grace, The Primal Scene, Part Two — The Philosophic Bands

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

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

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

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

More Nestling Up With the Implicate, Or

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

This is a holotropic session of this day:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An Afterthought

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnote

1. Cellular/ Transpersonal Experiences

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

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

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

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

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When Everything Appears to Be Conspiring Against You, You Might Want to Stop Fighting Rebirth: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions and a Different Hero’s Journey

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How Can You Be Borne Up, If You Won’t Let Go? Spiritual Experience Is Distorted by One’s Birth Trauma … The Necessary Hero Descends Into the Perinatal Below

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

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The Necessary Hero and Descent Into the Underground–When There’s “Nothing But Trouble,” You Know You’re in The Perinatal Below

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A Different Kind of Hero’s Journey for Our Times Is Depicted in the Cult Classic, “Nothing But Trouble”

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A Perinatal Flick

A film of postmodern times that is bold with revelation for us is the cult classic, “Nothing but Trouble,” which was released in 1991.clip_image002 It is an especially potent example of the rising pre- and perinatal influence in the media we’ve been discussing as well as the different heroic response required in these strangest of days because of it. It is all this, plus a twist: As a comedy it represents an unlikely approach to such material and themes. More about that later.

It was produced and written by Peter and Dan Aykroyd and stars Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, and John Candy.clip_image008Its reception by modern audiences mirrors exactly the perception in general, to date, that has been had of the perinatal material it depicts so well. For despite the movie’s star power and the popularity of its co-creator, Dan Aykroyd, it was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews and received six Razzie nominations, garnering one. I fully expect that until we know better I can expect much the same kind of reaction to this book, because of the perinatal perspective it is revealing of the dark underside of everyday pleasantries and sugar-coated media realities. Yet there is hope for all that we will integrate this hard-to-face yet redemptive material in the fact that the movie does have a strong following among some in our population, just as at present there are some who are not in denial of the bittersweet perinatal vision being revealed.

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The Lure Into the Underworld and Call to Adventure

clip_image004The perinatal adventure of “Nothing but Trouble” begins innocuously with the main characters “leaving the beaten path” on a rather ordinary trip out of the city. Interestingly, the Brazilian couple who have forced themselves on the main characters of Chevy Chase and Demi Moore in making the trip act as impish other-worldly instruments in the change of route.

Joseph Campbell pointed out that the “call to adventure,” which marks the beginning of the descent into the transformative nether regions, may be instigated by the merest chance or blunder. [Footnote 1]

Campbell also writes that the heralds of such a rite of spiritual passage are often loathly and underestimated characters. The Brazilian couple—as gaudy, overbearing, quirky, and from “down under”—perform just this function of luring into the underworld. Thus, they remind us that it is the quirky yet underestimated element in our familiar daily experience that opens us up to the process whose ramifications are huge by comparison.

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The Merest Blunder, The Adventure Begins

Sure enough, this innocent-appearing outing is soon disturbed. The merest blunder of map reading results in an ominous tour of an eerie town and its somber and menacing-looking inhabitants. This is followed by a high-speed car chase as the police attempt to pull the innocents over for a bogus traffic violation.

In the tour of the town, it is as if the ego is shown getting a preview or having a precognition of what lies ahead and attempts to flee back into its safe familiar environs. But of course, this emerging piece of unconscious material will not be denied and is able to capture the fleeing ego that we see safely ensconced in its trappings of status and power—symbolized by the BMW with car phone. At this point the main characters, representing the ego, are led, under guard, into the bizarre town of Valkenvania—the encounter with unconscious perinatal begins.

Perinatal Elements

The Junkyard of the Psyche

Campbell says that in the unconscious deep, to which one is beckoned, “are hoarded all the rejected, unadmitted, unrecognized, unknown, or undeveloped factors, laws, and elements of existence.” [Footnote 2]

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Likewise, the set in “Nothing But Trouble” is replete with refuse. Bits of history—of rusted and broken refrigerators, automobiles, kitchen appliances, assorted junk, and pieces and parts of all the preceding…the wreckage of the past—are strewn about as well as heaped in clusters to construct the architecture and delineate the outlines of the drama. The correlation with subconscious remnants of forgotten memories and past emotional experiences is obvious.

Thus the drama evolves in the dumping ground and junkyard of the psyche—where all the rejected tidbits of experience have been relegated.

Stripped of Ego, Perinatal Begins

After being separated from the automobile—that is to say, the ego stripped of defensive trappings of status and worldly position—the characters are rather quickly shuttled into encounters with a myriad of perinatal elements. A few of the obvious ones are as follows:

  • Mr. Bonestripper, which is a roller-coaster type ride whose entrance is a large vagina dentate mouth that swallows, chews up, and kills. Notice the roller-coaster ride aspect of Mr. Bonestripper, which reflects the emotional extremes and changingness of perinatal, specifically Basic Perinatal Matrix III (BPM III), events. [Footnote 3]

  • The chutes inside the house and of Mr. Bonestripper indicate birth canal symbolism.
  • clip_image013Sexual elements, indicating BPM III influence, are manifest in the scantily clad heroine and the penis-nose of the judge.
  • The dark foundry symbolizes the foundation work of the psyche as well as the ominous and eerie aspects of perinatal experience.
  • The slave labor surroundings represent similar feelings in the enforced and helpless character of doings just prior to and at the time of birth.

  • Notice that the body—the car, the “Beamer”—gets trimmed down, the excess removed, symbolic of the cutting away of past attachments and concerns of a worldly nature, one’s “status” reduced.clip_image015
  • Chevy Chase as the main character is at one point forced into a marriage with a huge woman, who is tellingly androgynous in that she is played by John Candy. In her threatening and suffocating embraces we see symbolism of the crushing womb.
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  • The entire site of these doings is surrounded by a watery trench. This obviously reflects the amniotic surround in the womb.

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  • Police and guns point to the authoritative character of perinatal doings—in other words, do, or else!

  • Death/rebirth symbolism of the perinatal exists in the form of skeletons and huge piles of skulls and bones.

  • clip_image021Scatological, that is to say, fecal symbolism is seen in the “bat-room,” which contains an enormous pile of wet bat-shit…excuse the wording, but it really is shit and not feces.
  • The arbitrary nature of justice in the courtroom speaks to that perinatal feeling that one tiny thing, event, or action, has huge and horrifying ramifications.

Big Babies

The most obviously perinatal element, however, is the gargantuan and grotesquely flabby infant twins in diapers. Perinatal feelings are indicated in their extreme crying neediness. Their freshly newborn quality is evident in their fleshiness, which reminds one of the overweight appearance of some newborns, which is usually lost a little later on in infancy. The glossy, waxy sheen on their bodies is reminiscent of the skin of a newborn, which, fresh out of the womb, is wet and slippery, covered in amniotic fluid and cervical mucosa.

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A Spiritual Interface

An interesting aspect that indicates the transpersonal, or spiritual, interface with the perinatal is an attic room—a higher mind of memory, kind of like an Akashic record—where all past IDs—identifications—and reports of them—newspaper clippings—are displayed.

Though, interestingly enough, in true perinatal fashion, a macabre lens is used to view these lives—only the reports of their tragic disappearances are seen. I believe that this is a wonderful depiction of how transpersonal information is distorted by perinatal material—the implications of which are far reaching for the pronouncements of so-called spiritual, or psychological, authorities who have not dealt with their perinatal undersides.

Trusting Higher Forces: Say “Good Night,” John Wayne, and How Can You Be Borne Up If You Won’t Let Go? When All Seems Lost…. You Might Want to Stop Fighting Rebirth

When It Appears the Whole World Has Been Conspiring Against You, You Might Want to Let Yourself Be Blessed

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Multilevel Feelings

Just When You Thought….

10-emergence-440_thumbHowever an important element in this movie, “Nothing But Trouble,” which is different from artistic representations that deal with only the personal or psychodynamic, is the way the ending opens up under it to a new level, a whole new arena, of issues. Those of us in experiential therapies or breathwork are only too aware of how the perinatal opens up to one, revealing a greater expanse and pervasiveness of dis-ease, at a certain point after dealing with the personal and the psychodynamic.

clip_image003The_Crusades_WallpaperThis layered, or multilevel quality of the movie is shown when the main characters, having heroically escaped through personal effort, find themselves returning to the perinatal realm. Thinking that they have the forces of authority and light on their side, they expect this time to be able to put the evil away once and for all.

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But When All Seems Lost….

To their immense surprise, it appears that the whole world has been conspiring against them—a telling perinatal feeling. The evil is discovered to be pervasive, as if infiltrating every corner of the universe—another perinatal feeling. Even the thoroughly trusted elements of light clip_image004turn out to be on the side of the darker forces—a vantage point that is part of the hopelessness that characterizes the classic no-exit BPM II scenario. And just like in the womb, then, when all seems lost, something new happens, an explosion or eruption of sorts, which brings down the old world and its structures in a violent conflagration.

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Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions

557920_426192764089005_1036145378_nclip_image006This hopeless and futile aspect of the perinatal realms — as opposed to the merely personal or psychodynamic ones—lends itself to its distinctive response—which is surrender, not resistance. Unlike the hero of Campbell’s hero’s cycle whose task is to slay the dragon using the sword of analytical or cognitive powers, the correct solution here at the perinatal is to let go of all designs, manipulations, and attempts at control and to put oneself into the hands of the seemingly irrational and chaotic Universe, come what may.

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How Can You Be Borne Up, If You Won’t Let Go?

tumblr_m2dsa5cmDR1r46foao1_400clip_image007The Universe’s response in the movie — the upsurge of fire from below the earth that brings down the evil structures—demonstrates the theme of being saved by higher forces when one finally is able to surrender. In the same way, in our perinatal experiences, we find ourselves “borne up” and elevated when we once are able to submit to the upsurge of fear-evoking perinatal emotion.

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Indeed, when Chevy Chase is seen rolling and setting fire to barrels of oil in a superhuman nick-of-time rescue attempt—in typical “hero’s journey” style—I had an odd disjointed sense that we had switched modes. The element seemed incongruous.

Say “Good Night,” John Wayne

But, then again, not so. For the movie shows that the successful escape performed through one’s own effort is, in actuality, futile.clip_image008 In perinatal terms, such heroics are illusory “atman projects” that ultimately fail against the onslaught of perinatal material, which must be surrendered to, not heroically resisted or conquered.

Interestingly, the eventual surrender solution is echoed earlier on when Chevy Chase is about to go through the chomping jaws of Mr. Bonestripper, the devouring womb. His response, at the prospect of his imminent failure, is to pray—to call on higher forces.

Trusting in Higher Forces

clip_image010Amazingly, the machine breaks at that moment, signaling the response of such “external” or higher forces. He alone, of all the others who have faced that fate, goes through the machine unscathed. Notice also that he says “Thank you, Lord” afterwards.

Thus it is not on one’s own powers that one makes it through 390550_139027469542957_2115340135_nperinatal material, rather it is by the relinquishing of such attempts at control and clip_image011the relying and trusting in higher forces. We are reminded that Dante required the angelic Beatrice to show the way through purgatorio and inferno to paradisio.

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The Message

In the next chapter, we will use another postmodern film to expand on these themes. This will allow us to fill out an emerging pattern, as we then compare it with “Nothing But Trouble” and other perinatal evidence.

So let us watch, now, as the pattern, like a photo emerging in solution, reveals to us its features, thus delivering to us the message it has come to bring.

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Footnotes

1. Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968, p. 51.

2. Ibid., p. 52.

3. As a reminder, BPM III events (Basic Perinatal Matrix III events), using the typology set forth by Stanislav Grof in his many works, are the events surrounding the actual birth struggle of the infant during delivery. These parts on the perinatal in film make mention also of BPM II, which is related to the time of severe compression and constriction of the fetus in the latter stages of pregnancy and prior to the actual onset of delivery—which are characterized by feelings of “no-exit”; of BPM IV, which is concerned with the feelings of release, triumph, being saved, and whatever else occurs immediately after delivery; and of BPM I, which is related to the state of the fetus earlier in pregnancy—prior to compression—which is often conceived to have “oceanic” and “blissful” qualities, though not always.

Continue with You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano: The Necessary Hero Uses Surrender, not Struggle … For Why Would You Not Be Borne Up by a Universe That Is You

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Will We Survive? Putting Our Society “On the Couch”: Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life … The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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The Journey to Light Leads Through Perinatal Darkness: Correcting the Arrogant Modern Ego … Religions Are About Control … Spirituality, Surrender

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming

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Are the Changes Needed to Avoid Apocalypse Occurring? The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind, Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

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Is there any evidence that the changes that need to happen for us to stave off apocalypse and save our world are actually occurring?

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The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind

I have mentioned there are studies of the psychology of generations, beginning with the Baby-Boomers or Sixties Generation, child.centered.parentingthat show both an increased access to the perinatal as well as a tendency to act out perinatal influences in less harmful…though more blatant…ways than generations prior. We have seen that this tendency goes hand in hand with actual engagement in activities to counter the negative perinatal act-outs that exist in our environment, moviesfor example, campaigning against war, pollution, racism, violence, and so on.

But in “Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media,” I introduced the common anthropological tenet that the projective systems of a culture—that is, its art and artifacts—can be analyzed to get a glimpse into the worldview of a particular society. For our purposes, I pointed out how our movies are especially potent glimpses into our collective consciousness as well as our collective unconscious. You might say that our cinema is the “royal road” to our collective unconscious.

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Movies As Collective Dreaming

movies.as.collective.dreamingOur flicks perform admirably well as collective dreams in that, unlike the other products of our collective consciousness such as other art and artifacts, they are multimedia stories, much like dreams are. But more than that, they are shared by more of the populace than any other art form. I am not including TV separately as an art form, since I put it in the same category as films, especially when many films are broadcast on TV and much else on TV also has the same character of being multimedia stories.

Finally, the strength of a particular element of the collective consciousness can be easily determined by the popularity of a particular movie that represents it or by that element’s increasing inclusion in a number of films. For example, in “The Perinatal Media,” I discussed the emerging new elements of faces coming out of walls and forceful oral insertion.

Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

All together, these mean that, just as a psychotherapist might analyze a client’s dreams to get an idea of his or her unconscious workings and contents, one can interpret mainstream movies to get an idea of the workings and contents of our society’s “collective mind”—both conscious and unconscious.

we.are.attracted.by.art.thats.inside.usThis is no more complex than saying that when we see things in movies that people rush to see, they are drawn to it because those things are also in their own minds. And the more they flock—the greater the success of a movie—the more pervasive in a society are those themes, elements, and contents. Certain aspects—themes or elements in films—are said to really “resonate” with people and therefore people make the movies that contain them popular and successful.

When this is said, it only means that people are consciously or unconsciously drawn to things that exist within themselves. Conversely, no existence inside? No interest.

lets.analyze.filmSo in this and upcoming chapters I will use films as the dreaming out loud of our collective mind. Put less esoterically, I will be analyzing a few examples of mainstream movies for their content, and I will be assuming the content I find there exists as well in the society that has watched it…has dreamt it.

I will also be assuming that movies that are mainstream, by which I mean can be found readily for sale as DVDs on-line or in retail stores and have become part of the popular conversation are indicative of pervasive elements in our collective consciousness and unconscious. brazil.faces.from.wallsThey can be looked at for the unacknowledged workings of our society as a whole.

I will not deal with the actual numbers of people who have attended particular movies. For I will assume out of the tens of thousands of movies that are produced each year—by small and large producers—those that have made it into the theaters of virtually all the communities of our society, and from there onto the DVD lists and the shelves of stores of all those communities, have by those facts alone demonstrated their resonance with the collective social mind. Otherwise, we would get into the maelstrom of analyzing critic’s opinions of these movies; and with that, to modify a saying, opinions are like asses: everyone has a different one.

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Something’s Happening Here … Again

masks-are_-like_-faces_-from_-walls_thumbOne final point about the heuristic value of the analysis of films for the workings of the collective mind: Elements and themes in movies change over time. I have shown how new elements may be evidence of new elements of our collective unconscious minds coming into consciousness in detailing how the faces-in-the-wall element has developed. (See “All in All It’s Just Another Face in the Wall.”)

But when old, familiar plots have different outcomes, this is important as well. When elements change or evolve over time, this speaks of something going on. This points to changes or evolutions in our collective consciousness. And when elements and themes and plots change or evolve rapidly, we can accurately faces.from.walls.everywheresay that the changes in consciousness are equally swift.

These are some of the tools we will be using in this and upcoming chapters as we take a look at a few examples of mainstream films and what they might be reflecting back to us about our own society’s changes in consciousness. But first let me say something about what may turn out to be the most important of the thematic evolutions or changes in film elements that we have been seeing.

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Information Avalanche and Pre- and Perinatal Themes

In the last half century we have been hearing a great deal about the need to expand consciousness to balance the negative effects of the extremes of technological advance. Fortunately this change of consciousness is to some extent inevitable—or at least greatly aided—by certain side effects of the technological explosion…specifically in the area of telecommunications.

Ego-Eroding Information Deluge

As cultural boundaries are eroded by a multicultural information avalanche, people are forced to lower their inner defenses and ego boundaries. Confronted by such incoming information people will either take some of it in, learn, and thereby grow beyond their former selves or they will need to expend themselves in an all-out effort to shore them up.

A potent example of the first, currently, is the way people worldwide are opening to and learning from each other using social media via the internet; the revolutionary potential of this creation of an open global consciousness is already showing itself in uprising for democracies and economic justice virtually everywhere on Earth. A clear example of the second—where folks are putting everything into blocking out information and beating back the personal growth that would result—is in the backlashes to these liberal forces, which are also occurring throughout the world—as a Tea Party in the United States and as the fortification of authoritarian regimes from China to Syria and Turkey, from Iran to Israel.

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We have seen that the first response—where folks allow the discomfort inherent in personal growth—is typical of a more advanced form of child-caring that is centered on the needs of the child. We know also that the latter reaction goes with child-caring centered on the needs of the care-givers, or parents…and not the child. In this latter instance of parenting, it is understandably called child-rearing or raising a child as opposed to child-caring. We have noticed that the first response goes along with increased self-analysis and introspection and the latter one with acting out, aggression, and culture war.

Information Tsunami Pushes Consciousness Revolution

tidal.wave.of.informationSo, this tsunami of information in all areas, where previously we could smugly hold forth ego-satisfying views, pushes both toward an overthrow of those narrower perspectives and the establishment of broader, more encompassing ones as well as toward an ever increasing irrationality in fending off this information, at any and all costs.

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I discussed at length in a previous section how this informational upswelling has led to a need to process it all in new social formats and the rituals of the talk and reality shows.

“Consciousness Raising” As “Shoveling It”

new.information.some.just.pile.it.onFor the most part, this growth or expansion of consciousness, when it happens, is seen as a linear increase and correspondingly is labeled a “raising” of consciousness. This is true whether we are talking about societal or individual progress.

Ken Wilber’s transpersonal theory is the most popular version of such a ladder-style path. In it the process of growth is analogous to that of climbing a mountain or shoveling compost into a pickup truck—one simply moves upward or piles it on. [Footnote 1]

But there are those who think otherwise.

Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Religions Are About Control; Spirituality, Surrender. Let Go, Let God to Correct an Arrogant Modern Ego

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The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

Those in the know about the pervasive pre- and perinatal influence on personality and behavior, and especially those of us actively engaged in working through the effects of such early traumas, are fully aware, like Dante, that the path to heaven leads through hell. We have found that the path to the transpersonal light leads through the psychodynamic and perinatal darkness, that the path up and the path down are parts of the same path outward. [Footnote 2]

A Dark and Hideous Shadow World

Our experience has been that the information avalanche and multicultural onslaught have eroded our personal boundaries to an influx, not only of transpersonal bliss-love-compassion, but equally—and very often, initially—to a dark and hideous shadow world, a backwards bizarro world, of pernicious and insidious disorganized feelings comprised of elements ancient, infantile, pathological, biological, scatological, and perinatal. These are some of the forms spiritual emergence can take, especially initially. And they are the ones most likely to be seen as spiritual emergencies.

Pre- and Perinatal Themes in Cinema

Therefore, it is interesting to see these views confirmed by the bubbling up of psychodynamic and perinatal themes in our collective consciousness as evidenced by current films, books, and music. I have mentioned the pre- and perinatal themes and symbolism in films and explained why, along with other elements of postmodern times, they are evidence of something significant occurring in the consciousness of our age—an emerging perinatal unconscious.

But there is another element evolving in current films which has to do with a changing or evolving collective attitude toward these perinatal elements. And along with a changing attitude, there is evidence pointing to an evolving collective response to it.

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Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life

“Control Spiritualities” and Patriarchal Cultures

Specifically, a different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, can be said to characterize the postmodern movies replete with perinatal symbolism. Most striking of all, this different kind of heroic response corresponds to a different kind of spirituality than what is commonly portrayed in this society, or at least has been the norm up until now.

control_room11For basically there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting. “Control spiritualities” are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

“Surrender Spiritualities” and God As Being Good

But there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared—as in the control spirituality—but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to psychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches—those in which the “demon” of the id is postulated.

The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant mode of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

“Hero’s Journey” As “Control” Psychotherapy

the.control.attitudeSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will…over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the Universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

Since the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet—Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East—or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn.

Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy, and it is much more common in traditional cultures and in the East.

A Shift to “Surrender” As a Corrective to a Western Overweening Ego?

All of this may be changing in recent times in the West, as once again the humanistic attitude and the new spiritual perspectives, as well as the experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, make us increasingly aware of the ultimate beneficence of the body, and of the Universe beyond even that, and of the importance of surrender and letting go as a corrective to the overweening control and defensiveness of the diminutive Western ego.

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Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Footnote

1. See especially Ken Wilber, The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.

2. See, for example, Michael Adzema, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116. Reprinted online at the Primal Spirit site at “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality.”

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

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

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

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Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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

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

Societal Self-Analysis

Culture War Replaced Cold War

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

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

Talk Show Soul-Searching

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

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

Sitcom Socialization

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

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

A Modern “Priesthood”

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

Keeping the People Down

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

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

Therapy for the Masses

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

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

Rebirth Denied

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

American Rehab

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

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

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

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

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

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight

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

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

America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price

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

What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?

It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?

Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation

Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.

We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!

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Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations

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“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?

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Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation

clip_image0033So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most Painted Glass Ball Illusion“advanced” mode of butterfly-transformationchild-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.

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Grof_AdventureSelf-Discoveryiconclip_image0053Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]

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“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation

clip_image007_thumbNo doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. 181264_233235313453542_936852846_nThey sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]

These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.

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clip_image0091These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”

Let the Buck Stop Here!

CD_0094MillionProtestersDisappearNonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.

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If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

baker_conceptioniconwe.said.let.the.buck.stop.hereWhat virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.

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We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.

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While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”

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While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. rainbowThey called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.

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candle.666655jpgSo our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.

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What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .

Wall Street Protest

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Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise

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A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

A Drive to Healing

We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!

Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]

clip_image002These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events clip_image004that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.

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What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?

Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

clip_image008In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.

clip_image009To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.

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So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.

What Might We Expect?

Millennial Promise

clip_image011What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.

“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”

clip_image012For, as Janov has pointed out, closer to one’s Pain—one’s unconscious—is closer to being real. And this closeness holds out the possibility both of healing…and of self-destruction.

From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.

Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming

Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.

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Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly clip_image016widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.

We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.

Footnote

1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.

2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”

3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

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Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth … What Can Be Done: Changing the Patterns of Millennia Requires Learning That Feeling Good Is Not Bad

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Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? And Can You Handle Happiness?

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Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

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Men Would Rather Be Manly Than Alive and What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?

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Why We Invite War, Allow Fascism, and Pollute: Our Coming Into the World Makes Us Want to Leave It

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The question posed at the end of the last chapter was whether we had opened the door to an unimaginable armageddon or were experiencing the birth pangs of a massive consciousness transformation and subsequent Earth rebirth. Are we going to self-destruct, bringing death to the entire planet along with us, or will we become good citizens of this planet and our species continue on?

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What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

Most folks would think there would be only one answer to that question desired by virtually all humans. But in previous chapters, especially Apocalypse Emergency, Chapter Five: Death Wish – Thanatos Walking, I showed how, and why, that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: We saw how there is a huge percentage of our human Earth citizens, and a part of all of us, that wants to “throw in the towel.” This has always been true of humans, but it is of critical importance only now.

But I will assume anyone reading this will at least consciously be wanting our vital question to be answered in the affirmative. You know as well as I that the folks on the other side of this question are doing vastly different things right now than us and are nowhere to be found around here.

How Do We “Like” Life?

So the next thing to be addressed is how we might change our fortunes and live. Since continuing on is not just of matter of deciding it—voting “like” on it or checking its box—as we saw in Chapter Five: Death Wish, how can we get around this part of ourselves and our population that wants to do us all in? We need to know how to derail our perpetual cycles of war and violence. We need know how to quit bringing pollution and suffering on us. We have to know how we can stop our secret desire to take comfort in failure, how to “unlike” self-sabotage on our inner “profile.”

How Do We “Unlike” Fascism?

I have written a great deal on this question, including an entire book in 2011 on the way we act out this masochistic tendency politically and culturally by taking comfort in totalitarianism and embracing fascism. [Footnote 1]

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For our purposes presently I will focus on the element of it all that is critical to answering our question. So we first need to look into the place from which emanates our dilemma. I showed that this bugaboo is our Will to Death.

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Our Coming Into This World Makes Us Want to Leave It

Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. As we have seen this Will to Death arises from human’s unique-among-all-species primal pain rooted in our singular way of coming into the world, our unique human birth.

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We Need Look Deeper

We need to look deeper into the elements of that part of ourselves that would have us take us all down. We need inquire into that tendency of ours to choose pollution over health, tyranny over freedom, war over peace, enslavement over autonomy, violence over pacifism, oppression over liberty, misery over happiness. We must derail the cycles of war, violence, and fascism. We must know how to “like” happiness.

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We Need Know Where Exactly to Focus Our Efforts to Be Successful

To do so, we must separate the skeins of this inner entanglement and shed light into this darkness within. We need to know specifically, precisely where to place the lever of effort we will apply to truly move the world, to derail it from its current acceleration into oblivion.

So we look now into the elements of that perinatal unconscious manifesting currently as a will to die on the grandest scale imaginable.

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Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

We find there are two researchers who are particularly relevant to our understanding of the elements of the perinatal unconscious in a way as to avert collective, worldwide disaster. These are Stanislav Grof and Lloyd DeMause. [Footnote 2]

Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than…Alive…

DeMause writes,

[T]he group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars “pollutes” the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men “soft” and feminine”—a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification. [Footnote 2]

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Men are more terrified of appearing “feminine” than of losing their lives. Why we invite war.

DeMause is saying we go forever into war because after a while peace makes men feel guilty, “sinful.” Men have uncomfortable, even shameful…homophobic…feelings of being “soft” or “feminine” when their lives are good. So men choose the “purifying,” masculinizing ritual of war to fight off these feelings. Nothing distracts one from looking inward better than a “good, old-fashioned” life-or-death struggle, and war is the most all-encompassing of them.

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Men are more terrified of appearing “soft” than having the boot of totalitarianism on their neck. Why we allow fascism.

What DeMause says about bringing war upon us can be said also about allowing fascism, inviting totalitarianism. For whether we are fighting enemies of another nation or struggling to survive against oppression at home, we are involved in a daily struggle. Secret to us, we feel better being engaged in a dramatic battle, though it brings us suffering and misery.

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We simply can’t hack peace for very long. We feel guilty, for some reason, lolling on the beach. You ever notice how at the end of your vacation time, you are anxious for it to be over and to get back to work? That feeling—that one where we feel…guilty?…uncomfortable…tense?…unfulfilled?…(you tell me)—that’s it. That’s the one I’m talking about.

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It happens the same way collectively after we have experienced a “vacation” of national peace—for example, in the Nineties when we were prosperous and mostly peaceful under Clinton. At the end of it, with Bush, we ended up getting the misery and struggle many in America were driven to want, though no one would ever admit that.

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A quick aside. The fact that the majority of Americans actually didn’t vote for Bush and so tried to choose happiness over struggle is a source of hope for us in all this. That’s a hint of what’s coming.

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War … The Four “Colors” of the Perinatal Veils and Why Women Fear Fatness and Men Fear Femininity

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Four Kinds of Early Experience Color Our Adult Experience in Four Distinct Ways … Cycles of Birth and War

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Four Kinds of Experiences in Our First Nine Months Imprint Us for Four Feeling “Flavors” as Adults

Images_Gallery_05_14But for now, let us get back to this opening provided us. We can make better use of deMause’s insight on the birth feelings that take us into war using Stanislav Grof’s delineation of this birth unconscious of ours. Let us review as described earlier and further stipulate on them: Grof explains we are moved as adults by four specific kinds of drives emanating from our earliest experiences. These specific tendencies in us relate to four different times in the birth process which involve four radically different kinds of experiences.

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Grof uses the term, basic perinatal matrices (BPMs), to refer to these four aspects of our inner urges. I will describe them here and refer to them along with DeMause’s cycles of social-historical violence and war to pull apart the roots of our current apocalyptic dilemma. [Footnote 3]

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Our Tendency to Always Screw Up a Good Thing, BPM I

The first of Grof’s aspects of our unconscious he terms Basic Perinatal Matrix I, BPM I for short.

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Prosperity and Progress Equal Feeling “Soft” and “Feminine”

clip_image002reunionGrof’s BPM I is sometimes described as “oceanic bliss” and involves the experiences and feelings related to the relatively undisturbed prenatal period. On the social, macrocosmic level, it is the period described in the quote by deMause above in which there is a period of “prosperity and progress” and feelings of being “soft” and “feminine.”

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522936_184846674968481_100003294484517_288967_526358242_nkumbayaThe strong connection between individual experience (personal psychology) and collective realities (social-historical events and elements) is patent here since in BPM I experience the individual is still in the mother’s womb and to some extent shares her identity, which is of course feminine. Being unborn and not having gone through the “toughening” experiences of birth and later trauma, which predominantly create one’s defenses, the individual is also “soft,” in other words, undefended.

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“No Pain, No Gain,” Hell, Satan, and Poisonous Placenta; BPM II

“No-Exit” Claustrophobia

placenta-22005-RachelStone-PrometheusTo further review Grof’s schema and its relation to deMause’s cycles of war, I want to remind you that BPM II is related on the individual level to the time near the end of pregnancy when the fetus is no longer rocking blissfully on the waves of oceanic bliss but is trapped in an ever more confining womb. As the fetus grows in size, the suffering becomes greater; no doubt this is the source of the common-sense belief that growing has to involve suffering, for example, “No pain, no gain.” At any rate, the feelings are those of claustrophobia and “no exit.”

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more-suffering-less-dyingdesertheartThere is heavy non-agitated depression here, since there appears to be no hope, no change in the situation that would indicate a way out of the suffering. Indeed, this period continues practically right up to the time of birth, ending only when the cervix becomes dilated and, experientially speaking, there appears suddenly to be a “light at the end of the tunnel” and therefore hope.

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Where the Hell We Get the Idea of Hell

bpm2411862143_smallHowever, up until that time there are feelings of being totally unempowered, completely in the hands of an entity—the womb—that imposes a horrifying reality that appears to be unending and eternal. Herein we have the psychological roots of notions of hell and Satan. Feelings associated with this state include despair, victimization, blame, and guilt.

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“You’ll Wallow in Your Shit, and You’ll Think You’re Happy.” – Kurt Cobain, from the Song, “Sad”

peoplearealreadydyingclip_image005As birth comes nearer, “fetal malnutrition” increases, since the neonate’s increasing size and weight press down on and constrict the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the placenta, when the mother is standing. The decreased blood supply means a reduction of life-giving oxygen as well as the buildup of toxins that would otherwise be taken away by a normal blood flow. So feelings of suffocation as well as skin irritation and other feelings of wallowing in waste matter—deemed poisonous placenta by deMause—increase. [Footnote 4]

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“You’re Really in a Laundry Room.” – Kurt Cobain, from the Song, “Sad”

As I have said previously, deMause has found that these feelings exist to an extraordinary degree in a society and its leaders prior to its engaging in a war. Similarly, they precede, and obviously can be held to be accountable for, individual acts of violence—including everything from murder and rape to unfortunately all-too-common and ordinary spousal and child abuse in the household, and of course everything in between.

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Bloody War, Bloody Birth — BPM III

Crusades181264_233235313453542_936852846_nBPM III is birth. Its social analogue is war or violent assault. Feelings that accompany this state on both the individual and societal level include rage and intense aggressiveness, all-encompassing struggle, and sexual excess.

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Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

BPM IV relates to the time of actually coming out of the womb and the post-natal period. On the societal level it is the ending of a war.

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“Busting Out All Over”

clip_image006imagjuyhgioloiues (2)Feelings of expansiveness, release, exultation, coming finally out into the light and/or being “on top” of things, and victory are feelings associated with this matrix, whether in the individual birth or the collective war cycle.

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Peace Sign V-Fingers dreamstime_3940931s0073As I said the societal analogue to BPM IV, or actually being born, is a war’s end. It is no coincidence that in triumph or peace, the two-finger peace symbol is used. What better way to signal we have come from constriction into openness, specifically through the vise of a mother’s cervix, out from between two legs. As John Lennon so aptly put it, using the peace sign frequently, “War is over (if we want it).”

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Mission Accomplished … Not!

clip_image008533225_1976819996975_1737376259_944265_47690847_nInterestingly, just as in recent times harsh modern obstetrical practices and the removal of the baby from the mother can leave lifetime feelings of success not bringing with it the expected rewards and thus a post-accomplishment sort of depression, so also the ending of successful wars sometimes also leaves a society with a sort of letdown. For example, the euphoria following George H. W. Bush’s Gulf War—which catapulted his approval ratings into the ninety percent range in 1991—was followed, only a year later, by the increasing agony of a recession and Bush’s defeat at the polls.

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Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War

6207242_f260snowwhitelamentof7wpAll of this is to say that in society, as in the womb, a period of uninterrupted and relatively undisturbed feelings of growth leads to feelings of depression—being too “soft” and “feminine,” but also “too fat” in the womb and, therefore, extremely constricted and compressed.

Why Women Fear Becoming Fat and Men Fear Appearing “Feminine”

bizarre-beauty-placentaclip_image009Another way of saying this: feelings of expansion are followed by a fear of entrapment. And I agree wholeheartedly with deMause in saying that it happens this way in a nation’s cycle of feelings because it happened that way to us prior to and during our births. We have these patterns of feelings as collective groups of individuals because our first experience of expansion was followed by extreme depression, guilt, despair, and then struggle and something bloodily akin to war—our actual births.

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What to Do to Stop War and Violence: Changing the Patterns of Millennia Requires Learning That Feeling Good Is Not Bad

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To Derail War and Violence, Replace Self-Sabotaging With Self-Actualizing … We Can No Longer Afford Our Delusional Ways

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What Can Be Done?

Accession480px6a00d8341bf7f753ef010536d1eee6970c-800wiSo knowing this, how can we use it? In previous chapters, I explained how and why we see the dynamics of this perinatal unconscious, not coincidentally right now, on the ascendance, just at the time when it is crucial we deal with it to survive. I called this an emerging perinatal unconscious, and I went into detail about why it is happening now, what it means, and how we should take advantage of the opportunity it brings that could aid us in our current dilemma.

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For now, I need only remind that is imperative we face these unconscious forces instead of turning away from and thereby insuring our continued ignorance of them and helpless acting out of them.

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So, how do we consciously participate in these drives, not merely be driven by them?

IG_MotherBabyPack1-bigLloyd DeMause, in his article, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence,” printed in the spring 1996 issue of The Journal of Psychohistory, called for kinder and gentler birthing and child-caring practices to mitigate the ferocity of these forces within humans and help us avoid an otherwise inevitable planetary disaster. He was restating what other pre- and perinatal psychologists…I am clip_image003one, by the way…including Thomas Verny and Stanislav Grof assert. [Footnote 5]

However, I believe we need to go further than that. I, along with Grof, call for a larger awareness of and efforts in the direction of healing these perinatal elements in the consciousness and unconscious of those already alive right now. For unless we act to heal the people currently inhabiting this planet, we might not leave a planet that babies can be born into!…let alone people to conceive and give birth to them. Healing the perinatal traumas can be accomplished through, at this point, thoroughly tested and effective techniques of experiential regression and emotional release.

But it is impossible for everyone to take advantage of these techniques, especially in the short time we have to make the changes. But something short of that ideal may be sufficient to stave off otherwise inevitable doom.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Finding the Weakest Spot

Of course only time will tell what will be the result of this emerging perinatal unconscious for our species.

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Real, not blindly delusional, action is required.

But to get an idea of what we might hope for, given a readiness to actually do something about this, I offer a perspective. This understanding requires we remember some critical aspects of the cartography of the psyche described above. Looking into them we might begin to see where are the openings allowing for realistic action to be taken to bring about true, not just blindly delusional, change for our species.

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We can no longer afford otherwise.

Obama Health Caredc05bFor our purposes here, the most important part of the cycle is BPM I. Societies, according to deMause, go through these cycles of war and peace and have been doing so for as long as we know. But we can no longer afford these wars, as World War I and World War II have shown—with each one being an increase in our ability to destroy and to commit atrocities. We cannot afford to have a World War III as that most likely would end life on our planet.

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Indeed, as I’ve been pointing out, we cannot even afford the less extreme forms of acting out of perinatal trauma that we have been doing in our poisoning of the earth and air, global overpopulation, and the ongoing regional wars to give just a few of many examples I could have used. These things, along with many other current quite insane tendencies of ours, have the capacity to end our species and possibly all life on this planet.

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Feeling Good Is Not Bad

reunionkumbayaSo the cycle of societal perinatal acting out must be stopped. And the most obvious place to derail the insidious cycle is at the point of societal prosperity and progress. Feeling soft, undefended, and feminine are, rationally speaking, not things to be alarmed about.

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Kid Centaurs Playing dreamstime_12338563kittenboot.compassion.stray-kitten (2)Quite to the contrary, it is rational that prosperity should make people feel good. It is rational that feeling soft should be a source of contentment, sensitivity, and intimacy with others. It makes sense that men should have no shame about feeling feminine because that only means that they have access to sensitive and nurturing feelings that are a source of joy, “color,” and fulfillment in life.

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Changing the Patterns of Millennia

Male-doctor-spanking-a-newborn-baby-12383229-0imagkyghljlbesBut how do we do this? How do we convince people that feeling good is not bad? For these unconscious forces, these cycles of violence, have been pulling our strings for at least tens of thousands of years. How can we change such an engrained pattern?

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Chasing the Mirages of the Future

Well, again, we get our leads from the experiences of individuals undergoing experiential psychotherapy.

“It’s never enough.”

For individuals also, if they are to heal themselves, have to learn how to appreciate success and to stop sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways they do. Individuals act out their mini-cycles of “war” in their struggles to achieve. And people are driven to struggle to achieve because they cannot be pleased with what they have.

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first_peopleclip_image007Relating back to deMause’s societal schema, people cannot simply enjoy their “prosperity.” People cannot stop to smell the roses occasionally. We cannot count our blessings and feel contented with what we have. Nor can we enjoy the natural pleasure of being alive in the moment.

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“Wrong…It IS enough.”

No, instead what characterizes we humans—for the most part because of our having birth trauma—is a persistent drive to always have more than we do. We find that every accomplishment or success is short lived, with inexplicable depression following it. For each new attainment does not bring the expected (unconscious) rewards and leads us almost immediately to a new struggle, a new accomplishment to be sought.

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Humans are driven to chasing mirages of better times somewhere off in the future, and we fail to live in the present. We feel unsatisfied with what we have and are continually deluded that some new possession, accomplishment, or love “conquest” will bring with it the missing happiness.

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Becoming Self-Actualizing Instead of Self-Sabotaging

clip_image008When people are aware of the way they unconsciously sabotage their happiness, they sometimes seek help. And if they seek help in the experiential psychotherapies, they are enabled to work through their birth trauma so that they are no longer driven out of the moment, with its pleasure and pain, into an imagined but never attainable pleasureful and happy future.

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Learning that it is enough

Enjoying the sunSo people derail their cycles of drivenness and their tendencies to sabotage their successes by learning to enjoy their “prosperity,” even if it is the simple pleasure of being alive. And when they act to add to that pleasantness, they do so, not out of drivenness, but out of feelings of flow and the simple joys of acting and actualizing one’s tendencies, talents, and desires. They become self-actualizing instead of self-sabotaging.

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Can You Handle Happiness? What to Do – We Get By With a Little Help, from Our Nature … Stand in the Place Where You Are

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A Hierarchy of Healing … Becoming Human Beings (Not Doings): Removing the Hood from Homophobes, A Hard Rain, and Stand

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OK, knowing this, one might ask if I am suggesting that to save our species everyone needs to get into experiential therapy. While that would be nice, it is not practical.

But I believe it is not necessary either. There is an element of that societal period of prosperity that can be used and focused on in order to make the societal change of pattern, the societal derailing of the tendency to self-sabotage through war-making.

Getting By, With a Little Help From Our Nature

clip_image002Fairy_Tree_by_NiroloAnd that element is this: During times of prosperity, when one is less engaged in a struggle to survive, we find that one’s body will naturally try to heal itself of unresolved and somatically imprinted trauma by bringing into consciousness the repressed traumatic memories needing resolution.

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Hierarchy of Healing

This occurs in a manner similar to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, one’s needs to “grow emotionally”…i.e., clear away the unresolved trauma…can only come to the fore when one’s physical survival needs are relatively taken care of. And arise they unerringly do, given any opportunity to do so.

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“Don’t just do something, STAND there!”

541041_4115243720203_1028962858_n167117_145303942191698_100001362782419_222213_3793925_nHowever, when these traumatic memories come up seeking resolution, they, also unerringly, bring with them the associated feelings of depression, unease, and pain. But because these feelings are anything but pleasant, to their detriment most people seek to avoid these feelings through addictions and other forms of “acting-out” behavior. So addictions and acting-out behavior emerge after periods of relative stability precisely because that stability allows unresolved feelings an opening for emergence and a possibility of resolution and healing.

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Allowing Our Society to Be Honestly, Blatantly “Sick”

absinthedrinkericarus-dota-dotaSo there you have it; that is the crux. The period of societal prosperity can be maintained and added to if that society refuses to run away from the negative feelings that come up with success. As I have said, one needs to get “sicker” in order to get really well.

“Stand in the Place Where You Are … Just Stand.”

clip_image003 422701_410548268971538_166854740007560_88147643_830390629_nSocietally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, “sicknesses,” negativities, and the pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them. [Footnote 6]

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Are We Doing This?

But can societies do this? Are they doing this?

Apparently Not

It does not seem so at the moment. For we have extreme acting out going on from Tea Party type elements. The homophobia that characterizes them is an indicator of the degree to which they are fearful of that feeling of being “soft” and “feminine,” I mentioned.

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But Then Again…

Tea-Party-coming-look-out-kid-feel-the-HATEMoveOn_candlelightHowever there is a pattern in change that things can not really change until the negative slide has “hit bottom.” These negative forces cannot be gone beyond until they have wasted themselves in desperate acts. At this time also, positive forces are strengthening in the wings, burnishing their skills, tempering their character and nobility, fully capable when the time comes to take over. There are so many examples of this in social and individual histories, but not to get bogged down, I will mention one powerful one—Nelson Mandela. You can take it from there.

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The more common thing to mention about change is that prior to a major paradigm shift, the forces on the decline always wage a fierce, desperate battle…a bloody retreat, a burning of the fields, near suicidal and totally reckless forays.

The 99% of the 1%

We see people do this, too, just before they are about to change. We see people who self-destruct being the ones whose last desperate battle before awareness can dawn being something that takes their life and perhaps others with them.

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gaddafi02We currently can point to Gaddafi, Assad, and other tyrants. We can observe reckless tea-baggers willing, as in the debt ceiling clash, to bring down the country for ideals that, however rationalized and spun, are at their roots as simple and crude as jealousy—of those smarter and more capable; hatred—of minorities, the poor, the “dirty,” the “slobs,” the “lazy”…basically all the scapegoats society allows them to vent the rage of their inner fears and hurt on; and homophobia—that fear of being “soft,” feminine, unmasculine, and being willing to kill or be killed rather than to let oneself be seen that way.

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Homophobes Don’t Fear Homosexuals … They Fear What’s Inside Themselves

clip_image004Before continuing, one big misconception around that last point needs clearing up: homophobia is at base not fear/hatred of homosexuals, it is terror/hatred of the “feminine” and “softness” inside of the man himself who is homophobic. And this is the result of tens of thousands of years of “civilization,” still continuing, in which men are threatened with disapproval, ostracism, ridicule, attack, or worse for not repressing their softer sides down to the level of the norm of their group.

Boys Learn They Must Be Less Alive to Survive

Boys learn they must constrict their potentials and diminish themselves to that which coincides with—and does not threaten—the older males in their group or face severe punishment. Boys learn the consequences for not becoming less than they could be are severe, often from their own fathers.

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Girls Learn They Must Feel Less Pleasure to Be Liked

And by the way, something similar goes on with young girls and the reduction of their potentials. We see a blatant example of this in the practice of cliterectomy—also called female genital mutilation—in some cultures. In this practice the older women—mother and aunts usually—are responsible for this brutal and extremely painful and bloody attack. It tells little girls they will have no pleasure more than that which was allowed the older women, themselves, in that patriarchal world. So girls must diminish themselves in order to not be hated and ostracized by the women of the group, who, already having been diminished, would be jealous of someone being allowed to have what they have not. This is an exact mirror image of the process that goes on in the diminution of the personalities—the potentials—of young boys.

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

Now to continue: So seeing so much of this pathos, hate, and bitter fear and anger is hopeful for us to be near the end of the cycle. Certainly it could get worse. But I personally don’t see how we could go much further on this path to oblivion without going past the point of no return. Perhaps we are not meant to succeed. Perhaps we are doomed. But I know in my own life, and that is the only true basis anyone can have for knowing how things really work, that, without fail, every seeming “loss of ground” was a prelude to an even bigger “advance.”

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As Jung said, we need to take two steps backward to make a big leap forward. That is the way individuals are. And societies and populations are just collections of individuals. As the Tao symbol depicts, the seed of light is in the depths of darkness. So we can hold on to that, for one thing.

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So Let Us See. A Scenery of Healing?

With these considerations in mind, the next chapter will evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. In Rebirthing Rituals – The Sometimes Messy Scenery of Healingwe will look for any indications that this standing firm in the face of the rising up of the repressed social Shadow—allowing the pain of it and facing it foursquare, hashing it out—is to be found in the current social arena.

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If we can find this being done, we may allow ourselves at least the hope for a change in consciousness radical enough to save us from extinction. On the contrary, if we find little or no evidence for this kind of auspicious, fruitful healing activity, we might as well consider ourselves doomed.

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Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

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Return to Apocalypse No, Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

Wall Street Protest Denver

Footnotes

1. The book mentioned was posted online in two places in August, 2011: Culture War and Culture War, Class War.

2. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site.

Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

3. I explain this in more detail in Chapter Seven: We Ain’t Born Typical under the heading “Elements of Birth Experience.”

4. “You’ll wallow in the shit and you’ll think you’re happy” and “You’re really in a laundry room” from, and with appreciation to, Kurt Cobain. These are lyrics in his song, “Sad.” The video and lyrics are reproduced again here for your convenience:

Nirvana – “Sad” (also “Sappy” and “Verse Chorus Verse”) – Lyrics

And if you save yourself You will make him happy He’ll keep you in a jar And you’ll think you’re happy He’ll give you breathing holes Then you’ll think you’re happy He’ll cover you with grass And you’ll think you’re happy Now You’re really in a laundry room, You’re really in a laundry room Conclusion came to you, oh And if you cut yourself You will think you’re happy He’ll keep you in a jar Then you’ll make him happy He’ll give you breathing holes Then you’ll think you’re happy He’ll cover you with grass Then you’ll think you’re happy Now You’re really in a laundry room, You’re really in a laundry room Conclusion came to you, oh (x2) And if you fool yourself You will make him happy He’ll keep you in a jar And you’ll think you’re happy He’ll give you breathing holes Then you will seem happy You’ll wallow in your shit Then you’ll think you’re happy Now You’re really in a laundry room (x3) Conclusion came to you, oh Alternate lyrics: And if you kill yourself You will make him happy

5. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site.

Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

6. “Stand in the place where you are…just stand” from and with appreciation to R.E.M. While it seems no one understood the group’s huge initial release, “Stand,” it is quite meaningful in the current context. A video and lyrics are included here for your consideration:

R.E.M. – “Stand” … lyrics

Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before
If you are confused check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
[repeat 1st verse]
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Season is calling
[repeat 1st verse]
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Reason is calling
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
So Stand (stand)
Now face North
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand (stand)
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t
[repeat 1st verse]
Stand in the place where you are (Now face North)
Stand in the place where you are (Now face West)
Your feet are going to be on the ground (Stand in the place where you are)
Your head is there to move you around, so stand.

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence – Audiocasts

“Part 1; What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=pffbztrfkv

“Part 2; Can You Handle Happiness (And the Pain That Comes With It)?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=syglfhsvld

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

Return to Apocalypse No, Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

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The Heart of the Problem, Gaia’s Cure, and Back to the Drawing Board for Humans: It’s a Consciousness Revolution as We Rediscover Our Natural Self

Through Gaia’s Eyes, Eden Arise: Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created, We Are Forced Inward to Rediscover Our Deeper, More Cooperative Human Nature

Apocalypse No! Chapter Seven: Nature Balances HerSelf

We Discovered the Heart of the Problem in the Heart of America: Our First-Hand Look Into “Tinkle-Down” Economics, Reagan-Style, and Where It Would Lead

Lest We Forget and Things Never Before Seen: A View Into Reagan’s America — A Place We Never Left, Its Dire Prophecy Still Unfolding

“Tinkle-Down” Economics

“This land is your land,” they sing. Taking them at their word, my wife and I spent a year, in the early Nineties criss-crossing our land in a twenty-three-foot Prowler travel trailer, pulled by an old but ambitious Oldsmobile with way too little horsepower. Our idea was to attend conventions and trainings in our field before we had to be in Northern California, by September 1992, where I had accepted admission into a graduate program. [Footnote 1]

So West and East, North and South we went—there was much to see…all too much to be alarmed about. This was, after all, in 1991-1992, the final year of the Reagan-Bush era when Reagan’s voodoo economics had played its course in distributing the wealth upward to the wealthy where it could be squandered on luxury items like yachts and overpriced objects of art and the trickle-down theory had shown itself to be a piss on the poor or, let us say, “tinkle-down” reality.

Correspondingly, the 1980s “party” was over. It left little money for government to do its job properly, though. The National Debt, after all, had nearly been quadrupled in this Reagan-Bush give-away to the rich. Budget cutbacks at all levels of government were in effect…and these cutbacks were grossly evident in what we saw.

“Neutron-Bomb Turf

Similarly, the suckers…or coke-heads, or both…who had bought into the false prosperity promised by the Robin-Hood-in-reverse fiscal policies of the Eighties were now waking up from their mania with the hangover of ill-conceived schemes in ruins surrounding them. This was apparent in the places we traveled as well. All over Florida and Georgia, for example, we saw shopping centers looking half like ghost towns—evidence of recent bankruptcies or, my wife wondered, is it possible those spaces were never leased?

The only thing comparable in my experience I could think of was Springfield, Oregon, during the recession of the early Eighties. I remember well, while doing door-to-door anti-nuclear canvassing, how up to half the houses in a given neighborhood would be empty and unoccupied…the continual frustration of nobody answering doorbells leaves an imprint, I suppose…. We used to call it “neutron bomb turf”; and it almost—but not quite—served as an excuse for not making “quota.”

In Springfield, where the lumber industry was taking a beating because of the lack of new housing starts caused by the recession, people had moved out of town to look for work where it still existed.

But in the South in the early Nineties it was somehow different. My wife and I wondered if this plethora of vacancies had something to do with the S&L scandal: all those boondoggles…all those poorly conceived investment projects gone belly up, leaving only haunted shells as evidence of that mania.

Budget Cutbacks

Rest Areas

Throughout the South, evidence of the cutbacks in services was everywhere. Too often we found rest areas along the highways so overcrowded we had to drive on for lack of parking. We saw tractor-trailers forced to park along exit routes, or side roads—anywhere there was space. Some rest areas had “two hour limit” signs—something else I had never come across—and others were closed down completely…”for cleaning,” allegedly.

I half expected to see truck wrecks littering the roadsides as I envisioned the plight of truckers pushing on in bleary-eyed exhaustion for lack of some place to pull over; or raising themselves up from a dead sleep, in a fog, with an alarm clock set to abide by the two-hour limit. I myself was rather dangerously dazed several times when, in the wee hours, we were forced to continue past eagerly anticipated rest areas that turned out to be barricaded or otherwise unavailable.

These imaginings of sleep-driving truckers barreling, obliviously, across medians and into oncoming traffic it turns out were premonitions, as a few years later they were proven to be horrifyingly correct. In 1998 to be exact, this problem became big enough to finally become a story in the mainstream media. Highway deaths, caused by a lack of places for sleepy truckers to park, were piling up in numbers too large to ignore any longer.

Of course, the media provided an alternative to fully acknowledging this truth—as they are wont to do—by laying alongside the actual facts a concocted theory that some trucking companies were at fault, for pressuring truckers to meet unreasonable deadlines for delivery. Regardless, scores of cars and other trucks have been involved in some of these accidents, including head-on collisions, with people dead and many injured.

But in ’91-’92, these realities had not been statistically blatant enough to make the evening news and went unnoticed. However our U.S. Congress was not completely oblivious to such effects of its cutbacks. “America can no longer afford to maintain its infrastructure,” they said in 1993 when they had the chance to appropriate money for ordinary maintenance. To get themselves off the hook, they dared to call these highway and infrastructure funds “pork barrel.” And instead they wrote laws to crack down on the truck drivers and their employers for overtime driving…now that’s gonna find ‘em a place to pull over!

Roads

In our travels we also found that roads were often bumpy and wavy—“these are supposed to be freeways,” I mused,” not side roads.” The “deteriorating infrastructure of America,” they called it.

Signs

Related to this, we found many roadways were not clearly marked and signs were out of date. In trustingly following them, we got lost a number of times. It seemed nobody cared out there; nobody was paying attention. I lost count of the number of side journeys and turnarounds we were forced to make. I don’t remember ever—in my fifteen or so transcontinental adventures over twenty-three years—having so much trouble with signs.

Often we were forced to return to the point of departure from the true course, and I’d examine the sign that led us astray. “Yes, dammit, the sign does indicate to turn here for that route.” I wondered if perhaps that was once the correct way but had since been changed without the sign being corrected.

Some Joke

And then I imagined all the other cars, of all those others who didn’t just so happen to live in the area and be aware of this anomaly, traveling up that side road and turning back around again…almost as if that were part of the route—to make that kind of loop before proceeding.

I pictured a local watching these cars, one by one, turning around in the course of a day. “Check it out, Mabel,” he’d chuckle. “We got another one.” Or, “Strangers in town! Strangers in town!” It is something to behold…smacks of human futility and ridiculousness.

Some Loss

I thought of the gallons of gas wasted in this way…of the jobs in maintaining these services—to keep things in working order and correct—that no doubt were lost.

I thought also of the huge sums of money now gone that could have been spent this way—money which was wasted instead for weapons to fend off a Red Menace that turned out to be a straw man. I recalled with anger how the warhawks tried to take credit for the downfall of Communism by claiming it a victory for their weapons-production policies, how I never heard it pointed out that the fact that Communism collapsed from within indicates a tremendous waste of money and poor policy to think that we needed to prepare to fight it from without.

But the Pentagon was not the only “bottomless well” in the Eighties. I thought of all the money funneled into the coffers of the wealthy in the orgy of extravagance that we taxpayers got the bill for as the S&L scandal. I thought how that money could have been used not only for signs, for roads, for rest areas…but also for all the pressing needs of our people, so neglected in the Reagan-Bush years.

So much for being the “wealthiest nation in the world.”

State Parks

And then there was the situation in the state parks. More than once we were prevented from camping for a night. We arrived too late at a park and were unable to enter—an iron gate barring the driveway.

We found other evidence of cutbacks: a cutback in employees; areas roped off and blockaded, not to be used. My mind liked to break into a “This Land Is Your Land” melody when encountering such barriers and fences; the overall effect would be altogether depressing.

Overpopulation

All this of course in addition to the other signs of deterioration: pollution of the countryside, over-industrialization, wilderness areas turned stinking and worn by commercial interests.

On one occasion while hiking in a Florida park, once more due to a lack of signs we lost our way. During the inadvertent nine-mile hike back to our campsite, we saw signs…at least there was money for these…indicating how the dunes should not be walked on because the sea oats would be worn down and killed—resulting in sand drifting, blowing around, killing trees, and destroying campgrounds.

And indeed everywhere we walked it appeared as if thousands of people had stamped beneath the trees, so that even the space between them looked like trails. I began to speculate on just how many people there are on the planet. Clearly the basic problem was there were too damn many of us here!

Gaia Heals HerSelf: So Far Astray and With Global Cabin Fever, We Are Forced to Look Inward and Go Back to the Drawing Board

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Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created, It’s Back to the Drawing Board for Humans: Nature Balances HerSelf

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How Far Astray

269227_317556784996674_816559956_nI began to consider how far we’ve gone astray from any meaningful or sustainable path for our species on this planet. clip_image001I reflected on how the effects of the changes we’ve made—for example, the reduction of oxygen in the atmosphere that goes with the increase of carbon dioxide, known commonly as the greenhouse effect—how it’s been discovered that these effects keep people close to their unconscious pain, closer to their unconscious in general.

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It is as if we as part of Nature are also regulated by Nature, that the very effects of our overpopulation and our straying from a cooperative ecological niche for our species result in consequences that are inevitably going to bring us back into line …one way or the other!

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Going Inward

Knowing as I do that environmental pollution and lowered oxygen levels promote diseases, general illnesses, hay fevers, epidemics of allergies, and a general weakening of our immune system–all of which, since the Reagan Eighties, we are seeing in abundance—I realized that people are more and more being forced to go inward because they are less and less able to go outward in a healthy manner.

forced-to-go-inward

Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created

black-swan-intcrpdAnother factor in this is that the deteriorating quality of air and the increasing levels of toxins that we ingest are also attacks on ego defenses, which has important yet previously unexplored implications.

clip_image003As I said previously, both Stanislav Grof and Arthur Janov—and others as well, I am told—at one time used carbon dioxide to take people into a nonordinary state of consciousness where people would be more open to their repressed traumas, to their unconscious mind. They did this to help these people heal these traumas.

They found that slight increases in carbon dioxide inhalation invariably brought up primal pain and birth-trauma feelings—that is, repressed painful feelings from our experiences of birth and infancy that our ego defenses normally keep “safely” tucked away in our subconscious.

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clip_image005Consider for a moment what that means for those trapped in the pollution-ridden cities! Though keep in mind that increased carbon dioxide is an atmospheric problem that affects everyone on this globe. I recall a TV report when I lived in the air-chunk-city of Denver, Colorado, in 1978. At the time, Denver’s air was rated as being the second worst in the country,more-easily-irritated behind Los Angeles, partly because the high altitude made for thinner air and thus higher percentages of toxins relative to normal air. Anyway, the TV report proclaimed how the number of hospital admissions for spouse abuse, child abuse, alcoholism, and related violence would soar on days when the air pollution index was high.

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Air Pollution as a Psychedelic

Apparently, the reduction of oxygen in these situations acts similarly to a reduction of blood sugar or glucose to the brain, which results in an inhibition of the ego’s defensive ability to keep out unwanted information. Coincidentally, research has shown that this same kind of reduction of glucose to the brain is instrumental in producing the effects of certain psychedelics, including mescaline and marijuana.

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clip_image008But this reduction in defenses is not experienced or understandable only by those who have experimented with psychedelics. In fact, in at least minor ways we have all experienced it.

The workings here are similar to those in the common experience of being more cranky; irritable; irrationally emotional; more prone to depression, anger, and tears; unwanted-informationmore excitable; and in general, closer to one’s “shit,” when one is tired, overworked, or just gotten up from a sound sleep. In these situations as well the brain is inhibited—here because of fatigue—from being able to effectively fend off unwanted information, impulses, and emotions.

The evidence concerning heavy metal toxicity indicates that it, also, can have a similar effect at times on one’s mental and emotional state.

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Global Cabin Fever

Also, there is the experience of “cabin fever,” which many people are familiar with. We like to think that simply the fact of being cooped up for a long period of time psychologically leads to wanting to break out and be free, to be irrational and highly prone to emotional outbreaks, and in the extreme to result in delusions and hallucinations. But obviously this is not the case or else these symptoms would be rampant in other situations where one is contained for a long period of time, and they are not. It turns out that there are biochemical reasons—not simply the fact of being cooped up—which account for cabin fever symptoms.

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clip_image013Consider that cabin fever describes a situation, most often, in which one lives in an environment that is insulated against cold winter weather—thus keeping out fresh air. And in which very often oxygen is further depleted by the burning of oxygen-consuming wood fires in fireplaces or woodstoves, or oxygen-consuming coal fires…whatever. With this in mind one can easily understand that that environment is going to be increasingly deficient in its oxygen level as time goes on. Add what we now know about lowered oxygen levels leading to lowered defenses and eruption of unconscious content, and we can see how such environments can lead to the symptoms that, combined, we call cabin fever.

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When you consider that on a smaller scale, with the greenhouse effect, we are globally setting up the same conditions as that of cabin fever, we can see why there would be an emerging perinatal unconscious occurring.

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clip_image015With the entire world suffering a low-level cabin fever, it becomes even more understandable why there is the current fascination with escaping the Earth and setting up colonies on other planets and in other solar systems. This idea we see in science fiction scenarios of all kinds—consider the popularity of the Star Trek programs and movies. But I’ve also heard it coming out of the mouths of NASA spokespersons.

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clip_image017escaping-the-earthAt NASA, they have considered building colonies on Mars! A multibillion dollar project—talk about high-cost housing! But this fascination and irrationality is understandable when you think of it as a symptom of a global cabin fever. Apparently, we not only wish to be break out and be free in traffic jams, we have magnified it to wanting to break free of our planet itself—as if Gaia, Mother Earth, were some confining, stifling Mother-womb that we needed to bust out of or die!

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Of course, the other symptoms of cabin fever—being highly emotional, irrational, delusional, and prone to hallucinations—we have already discussed as being part of the furniture of our current global reality, so we need not go into them here.

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Back to the Drawing Board for Our Species

medusa-promo_288x288back-to-drawing-boardBut the consequences of all these factors taken together are inescapable: As we edge our way, in a myriad of ways, toward global destruction, we increasingly “sicken” ourselves both 555320_10151084223043185_1223314488_nphysically and clip_image020emotionally/ mentally in the process. And this “sickening” is one of an eruption of unconscious material that causes us to psychologically “return to the drawing board” and seek solutions—both inner and outer—to our misery.

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Eden Arise: Consciousness Revolution as We Rediscover Our Natural Self — A Deeper, More Cooperative Nature

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Moratorium and Death as an Ally: Apocalypse Is the Teacher to Wake Us and Return Us to Eden, Our Natural Self

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Down Can Be Up

Specifically, I am saying that inhibited brain functioning—whether through oxygen depletion, heavy metal toxicity, or other environmental anomalies—has the effect of heightened “mind” functioning…in the sense, at least, of lowered ego and defensive functioning. Thus, in the same way that psychedelic substances can open us to repressed perspectives by inhibiting “brain” activity, these environmental changes can be helpful in the sense of opening us up to suppressed individual…and global/universal…truth.

clip_image004Therefore this “sickening,” this seeming decline or going down, can really be an “up”—in other words, it can be viewed as part of a necessary “negative” retreat for the purpose of bringing in new information and re-evaluation. And we may then create anew our more harmonious ecological role based upon this more accurate information.

Now, I am not espousing environmental poisoning as a technique of higher consciousness. But I am saying that apparently Nature…and we are part of Her…has ways of balancing HerSelf.

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Death As An Ally

death-as-an-allyIn this respect I might note that our co-habitation with the bomb and with environmental destruction is a spur to our growth of consciousness in a way akin to the traditional spiritual paths that speak of the catalyzing power of “having death as an ally.” That is, that the realization of the imminent possibility of death, which is in truth our existential condition, has been known to act as a spur to taking life seriously, and spiritually, and to “waking up” in general.

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“Pay Attention!”

The power of this spiritual attitude can be imagined by considering how one would live one’s life if one constantly asked oneself: “If I knew I was going to die tomorrow…or in an hour, or next minute, et cetera...how would I live this day…hour, minute…before me?”

Indeed, a lot of the transformative power of near-death experiences is known to come from their ability to jog one into awakening to the fact of one’s mortality—the precariousness of one’s biological existence. In this light, we might view environmental damage on a global scale, then, as analogous to the bonk on the head from the stick of a Zen meditation teacher, telling us to “pay attention!”

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The upshot of all this is that with this degradation of the external environment we are forced to go inward, to go back to the drawing board, so to speak, whether we want to or not. Illness in general and lowered oxygen levels in particular lead to a rising up of people’s repressed emotional pain, and they force us to confront the roots of our motivations and patterns of cultural engagement as well as our social and relational styles.

Moratorium

clip_image009This “turning inward” is the essential meaning of the “peace” symbol, when you think of it. The upside-down cross pointing downward in a circle has rightly been used to symbolize “moratorium” — in other words, a period of halting of action in the world because nothing worthwhile can result from the ways we are currently doing things, and a turning away from the external world and looking inside to reevaluate. clip_image011It is as if Nature, completely unbeknownst to us, balances us, pushes us down to our deepest programming and back to our earliest “grids,” individual by individual, and that this forces us to reassess our lives and causes us to create more meaningful lifestyles, more synergistic patterns.

So in a sense Nature’s reaction to our misconduct is to cause us—by means of the psychological effects induced by the biochemical alterations that are the result of environmental changes—to create new social and cultural forms. We cannot help but do this. And collectively, cumulatively, it cannot help but result in massive cultural changes of one form or another.

Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances Herself: Eve of Destruction or Global Healing Crisis

Through Gaia’s Eyes — Nature Balances Herself: Eve of Destruction or Global Healing Crisis

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Eden Arise — The More Natural Self

Many have proclaimed, in these strange days, that it is our Western estrangement from Mother Nature—our particular need to control—that is at the core of the threats to the end of life on this planet. In such a case, one needs to regain harmony with Nature and acquire a consciousness of cooperation, not control.

It’s Cooperative Not Controlling

clip_image013As Grof has claimed—and my personal experience attests—such a cooperative human nature is indeed our most fundamental human nature. In contrast to the “me versus them,” aggressive, and competitive imprint that is derived from our traumatic and premature human births, this more fundamental human nature is the result of a more fundamental imprint of symbiosis with the Other, as was the case in the womb surround during the relatively blissful prenatal period. The relation of the fetus to the mother at that time is one of cooperation, all needs met, flow in <——> flow out, and synergy of intents.

And when, as an adult, we reconnect with this more fundamental human nature, this more fundamental imprint, it manifests in us as a tendency toward that same kind of reciprocal relationship—cooperative, synergistic, and mutually beneficial. Only, as an adult, the Other with which this reciprocal relationship is had is Society and Nature. For these bear the same characteristics and relation to the adult as the womb did to the fetus.

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Our More Fundamental Human Nature—Back to Eden

Furthermore, as Grof and I and many others have discovered, such a more positive human nature occurs naturally in a person when they have faced, reexperienced, and integrated their perinatal unconscious…as opposed to what is usually done, which is, completely denying it, projecting it on a scapegoat or enemy and engaging in wars and social violence.

So it is the recovery of this sort of more fundamental human nature—one in which we are in cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Nature, all life on this planet, and other humans—that would remove us from the brink of extinction.

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Looking Through Gaia’s Eyes

When you think of it, when you consider that all of Nature—the whole planet, Gaia—is threatened by the actions of our species, and that that Nature would want to avoid this by balancing the elements that are currently skewed, it may be just the kind of global situation we see now around us that Nature would need to create in order to save “HerSelf.” It’s simple: We either change or die. Hey, why the long face!? If Gaia doesn’t look out for HerSelf, who will?

Acting Out

clip_image002Granted, some people are not dealing in a healthy or positive way with the material that is arising. Instead of re-doing their basic programming, these people “act out.” Thus we have increased crime, aggression, hostility, one person against another.

And this fact is glaringly apparent in our big cities, where many who are not integrating this emerging information from outside their ego boundaries—from the unconscious—sadly are instead venting the energy of their pain—which our degenerating environment is opening up to them or giving them access to—in violent, destructive, wasteful, self-destructive, and pathetic ways.

clip_image004One can also look to the grasping at racism, nationalism, and fundamentalism, which are not primarily urban phenomena by any means. These conduits of hatefulness are also a response that people are using to the feelings of pain, uncertainty, insecurity, and doubt that rise up, especially initially, in conjunction with these emerging truths.

Similarly, a great majority of people in general in our society are using drugs of one form or other to gloss over and obscure this emerging material rather than facing and integrating it. All in all these kinds of responses add up to a tragedy. And it is something that, if these reactions end up prevailing, could actually do every one of us in. [Footnote 2]

Helping Out

But about these others, what can we do—those of us who are changing our programming and creating new cultural patterns? It may be practical and advisable much of the time to just get out of their way if the ones acting out choose to kill each other off.

But we are often not able to “get out of the way” of those who are trapped in negativity. In addition, since we are all interconnected, we are bound to at least be indirectly affected by their actions.

clip_image006And most importantly, since we are One and these others are actually ourselves in different garb, to the extent we are able to show compassion and be of assistance, we should not always want to step aside. I begin taking this up in the next chapter, “Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence.” I discuss more fully how exactly we can be helpful to these others, in both small and large ways.

“Eve of Destruction” or Scenery of Healing?

clip_image008To put the current chapter’s theme another way: If we were to concoct a world situation in which we would be forced to take a quantum step in consciousness evolution by healing the nefarious elements of our perinatal unconscious, would not that world situation look something like what we see around us today? Would it not be a world rife with obvious perinatal elements…and influences…with some people resolving and thus being healed of them? While others would act them out and self-destruct because of them…not to mention contributing to our collective global self-destruction, as mentioned earlier?

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clip_image010In other words, the situation today, as it looks, could as easily be seen as a prologue to an apocalypse and just as easily be seen as a healing crisis preceding a massive consciousness transformation. Put another way, this same situation can be seen by one person as the “eve of destruction” and another as the “scenery of healing on the pathway to peace.” So which will it be?

In the next and final chapters of this book we will take a look at what are the most likely possibilities for ourselves and our planet, considering all that has been said so far. We will bring together all that we now know to conjecture: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth?

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

Footnotes

1. “This Land Is Your Land” is most often used as a form of feel good jingoism and heart-swelling expression of love of the homeland.

But this defense of the Fatherland is also, rather pathetically, a feel good denial and a counter to the reality of what we are doing to our land and our country in the US. The lyrics, as Woody Guthrie wrote them, are indeed anything but jingoistic.

The same thing has happened with Bruce Springstein’s “Born In the USA,” by the way, where a critique of the Fatherland has become a patriotic anthem by ignoring most of the lyrics except the ironic chorus. It has been harder to distort the meaning of John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses,” thankfully.

Anyway, here is the unsanitized version of Woody Guthrie’s sarcastic “anthem.”

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.

Woody Guthrie has a variant:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.
“But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

It also has a verse:

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

From Wikipedia, “This Land Is Your Land

Coromandel_B.jpg-550x0

2. I wish to draw your attention to something I posted in the last year bringing together these aspects of rising prescription drug use and rising social, political hatred-idiocy. It was in response to an article announcing evidence that antidepressants, specifically, Paxil, make one more “normal.”

“Is Paxil creating more people who aren’t self-reflective? More “Conservatives Without a Conscience”? Happy Idiots?”

3. See also “Are Some ‘Sick’ People More Healthy Than Normals?” on the Primal Spirit site.

Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Eight:
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

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