The Cycle of All Events, the Evolution of Parenting, and Auspicious Collective Regressions: Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One
What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide and the Necessary Mess of Transformation: Hard to Believe, But We’re Getting Saner
Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing
There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope
The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope
Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals
In turning toward these feelings we embrace, feel, and if we go deeply enough into that, we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.
If we face these inner forces—we call that feeling them…in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth—we integrate them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.
Or the individual and society can avoid this going within—as depicted in the peace symbol—and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down—the Satan symbol, the pentagram.
In acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. One tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can take over one’s soul.
So in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out…the greatest struggle.
Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process. It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth. The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill. [Footnote 1]
For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.
A “Spiral Dance”
These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain—this birth trauma—in an unending cycle of feelings having these components
- Periods of feelings of expansion
- Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war…the struggle, the battle…is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression…akin to a kind of “limbo”…before life can begin anew. A reconception is necessary.
The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives
The reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this reconceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength—akin to the expansion that follows winning. Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battle truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.
Where There Is Real Hope
It would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. But progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior or we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.
We are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways of dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way—and some ways are better than others for doing this—so that we can have some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.
Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy
Railing Against the Darkness, The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, and Social Progress Requires Regression
The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”
What we absolutely don’t have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability—through will or reason alone—to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and hence of positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them. Trying to reason with and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as trying to reason with a lizard and convince it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a gila monster.
What We Call “Reason” Is Largely Just Rationalization
This impotence of intellectual understanding in the face of these patterns of self-destruction occurs because these schemas are rooted in memories existing in an emotional and entirely dissociated part of the brain, which is hardly touched by neocortical admonishing of any kind. As deMause correctly points out,
[The fetus’s] “early experiences have been found to be recorded in a separate early neural network—a dissociated emotional memory system centering in the amygdala, quite distinct from the declarative memory system centering in the hippocampus that is established in later childhood.” [Footnote 2]
Disclaiming these cycles, which inevitably pass through darkness, and reliance on “will-power” to change one’s patterns, which includes self-sabotage, has been exposed in its impotence in modern times. We see as evidence the growing acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness and, indeed, counter-effectiveness of psychoanalysis. [Footnote 3]
Railing Against the Darkness
So the question begging to be asked is “What do we do about it?” What do we do about these pernicious cycles?
And when these elements erupt in society in harmless, possibly healing ways, how do we view them? Do we, as Mayr and Boelderl do in their article, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe,” decry the regression…as if by disclaiming it we could somehow keep the cycle from happening? [Footnote 4]
Mayr and Boelderl write, for example, that the situation of collective regression in Europe “strikes us as being high-explosive [sic] and bitter enough.” [Footnote 5]
In another place they exclaim, “What is horrible about this insight [about the increasing collective regression in Europe] is the additional observation that regression is becoming still more radical.” [Footnote 6]
This response of railing against the “Darkness” is a Freudian response. Yet it is not even a neo-Freudian one, since regression in the service of the ego—which began to be seen as ever more important by neo-Freudians—is not acknowledged, let alone considered.
Social Progress Requires Regression
That regression in the service of the ego is not considered is confirmed by Mayr and Boelderl in their statement that “[R]egression by definition is a process of repression and a defense mechanism.” [Footnote 7]
These are surprising words, in light of the concept of regression in the service of the ego and awareness of the clinically based evolution of psychotherapeutic theory since Freud’s original postulations, over a half-century ago.
They are even more awry if one considers the universal, cross-cultural, implementation by societies of rebirthing rituals to handle the same kinds of forces we are confronted with. The anthropological literature is rife with these accounts.
Further, Grof has meticulously shown that regularly going into altered states of consciousness where one confronts this material is a prime function of cultures, and it occurs nearly universally although it is woefully lacking in Western culture for the most part.
Moreover, these words by Mayr and Boelderl indicate a conflict with or ignorance of the fact that deMause’s theory of evolution of historical change requires regression on the part of parents, while parenting their children, as the primary “engine” of sociopsychological progress.
For deMause writes,
“[T]he ultimate source of all historical change is psychogenesis, the lawful change in childrearing modes occurring through generational pressure…. Psychogenesis depends upon the ability of parents and surrogates to regress to the psychic age of their children and work through the anxieties of that age better the second time than in their own childhood.” (op. cit., 1982, p. 135, emphasis mine.)
But this mistake by these two social scientists would not be all that important if it was not the perfect example of the kind of uninformed attitude we have, generally speaking, in Western societies about these forces. This attitude is reinforced by a Judeo-Christian tradition of specialness and scapegoating in the West. It is a pervasive feeling about these things; specifically it, itself, is the actual defense. While this is a widespread reaction to our inner realities it is far from science, and even further from the truth or reality about these things.
“Stop It!” … Yeah, That’s Gonna Work
At any rate, if we adopt this Western, Judeo-Christian, Freudian tactic of decrying the darkness, we are as effective in derailing the cycle of violence and war as Freudians are in what amounts to admonishing their clients to “stop it!” when it comes to their neurotic self-sabotaging.
For people cannot will themselves to merely stop their cycles of neurotic self-sabotage and self-destruction, which are the individual manifestations/ acting out of their birth traumas. As mentioned these directors of action operate out of a different part of the psyche, and brain, than one’s conscious willing part. They are simply not accessible, so hardly amenable, to rational or willful input. And changing one’s thoughts to affect them is about as helpful as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.
People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”
Regression in the Service of the Ego
With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.
These schools/strategies include the psychiatric—the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the ego in a higher Self (a spiritual center) beyond or transcending the cycles. [Footnote 8]
Other approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these.
Finally, these newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy, which includes primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of (experiential) meditation (Vipassana meditation, for example), Reichian and bioenergetic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy—experiential ones—ones that involve reliving traumas—and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology.
The point is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives—and all of those that acknowledge the importance of regression in the service of the ego—and from the perspective of the entire field of experiential psychotherapy, the answer to the cycles of violence, war, and death-rebirth is to stop the acting out, not by simply intellectually decrying it—as if one can actually talk oneself out of one’s inner fears and one’s Darkness/Shadow—but by reliving those cycles of violence at their origins…their primal roots. In the case of perinatal forces, those forces from “the dark side,” this is accomplished by reliving the violence of birth, a perinatal trauma that is thoroughly and masterfully delineated by Grof and deMause. [Footnote 9]
Auspicious Collective Regressions
But from this perspective of experiential psychotherapy—one completely congruent with and grateful of deMause’s contributions in psychohistory as well—regression, in Europe, or elsewhere, is not seen as something to decry, disclaim, be horrified of, or be seen as dangerous but is seen as an opportunity. Regression is certainly not seen as a form of defense but as the opposite of that. Regression is part of a process of diminishing one’s defenses against one’s internal reality of pain and trauma.
Thus, examples of blatant collective regression as in Europe—more so to the extent they are relived, released, and integrated—are entirely auspicious for the eventual elimination of war as a collective device of acting out—defending against—the painful feelings coming from one’s personal history which one carries around, all unknowingly, and which pervade, in one way or another, in forms subtle and not so subtle, every moment of one’s consciousness in the present.
From this experiential psychotherapeutic perspective, we have a different feeling about developments like those that Mayr and Boelderl describe as collective regression in Europe and Lawson describes as occurring at rock concerts. [Footnote 10]
From a more enlightened viewpoint these cultural phenomena should have us, if not dancing in the streets, at least hopeful of a gradual decrease in the use of war and violence. Why? It is because the youth who display this “regression” so blatantly were brought up by an “advanced” form of child-rearing than that of previous generations, that they have fewer defenses, fewer layers of obfuscation covering up their unconscious psychodynamics; consequently the regression is seen more clearly in their behavior. [Footnote 11]
Unflinching Belief Related to Total Dissociation
Why is this important? DeMause points out that people do go to war, and that prior to it their perinatal dynamics come to the fore, as evidenced by perinatal-laden words and images in the media and in leaders’ speeches used to describe the situation and its dynamics. Thus, our leaders take us into war, they act out their perinatal dynamics…and we in following them act out ours…in such gruesomely overt ways because these dynamics are so hidden, repressed, and overlaid with defenses that the conscious mind has absolutely no access to, and hence insight into, them as being part of one’s unconscious dynamics.
Consequently the conscious mind is completely able to convince itself that those dynamics are actual, real, and doubtless parts of the situation and therefore require an actual, real, and extreme response. The amount of resolve required to act out war can only be wrought of an unflinching belief in the rightness, the absolute correctness of one’s perspective of the situation and therefore of that extreme course of response. And that can only be brought about by a total dissociation from one’s perinatal traumas, and a complete and utter projection of it on the outside—the enemy, to be specific.
Blatant “Sickness” Related to Being Real
The contrary is also true: When there does not exist that total and complete dissociation of the perinatal trauma—when it is, as in Europe and rock concerts currently, closer to the surface, less defended against, less repressed and, hence, more blatant—it is more accessible to consciousness and less likely to be acted out in the extreme as in war. Instead it is more likely to be acted out in less extreme forms, such as jumping into mosh pits, carrying pacifiers, listening to baby tunes about the, very real, difficulties of being a baby, and so on.
Finally, it is more likely to be actually allowed to emerge in consciousness and be relived, and thereby “healed”…and gone beyond, to be replaced by something more benign and more socially constructive, and thus to be removed forever as a motivation to war or violence. This is the auspicious view of the developments described by Mayr and Boelderl. [Footnote 12]
Janov was the first to point out that a permanent resolution of underlying trauma initially entailed an aggravation of symptoms and symbolic acting out. That is to say, the underlying dynamics become more blatant and apparent in behavior. [Footnote 13]
Janov was also the first to note that the acting-out and overt neurotic was closer to being “real,” and therefore really sane, than his or her highly functioning and “normal,” but repressed, rigidly defended, and unfeeling neighbor. [Footnote 14]
The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History: I Know It’s Hard to Believe But We’ve Been Getting Saner
Thanks to You We’re Getting Saner: The Most Evolved Parenting … Boomers and Millennials … and The Cyclical Nature of History
Evolution of Parenting – We’ve Been Getting Saner
Finally, the correctness of the view that being “crazy” in an insane world might be more sane has been borne out in recent history. DeMause describes an evolution of parenting from ancient times to the present which involved ever decreasing psychosis and violence and increasing caring and consciousness of the needs of children. He connects this decrease in violent child caring to ever decreasing violence and psychotic acting out in societies.
DeMause labels the most common modern parenting mode the socializing mode. Short of the quite recent helping mode—which only really rose to prominence in the last three decades—the socializing mode is the most advanced and most humane.
Lest there be any confusion, I wish to point out that my own theoretical understanding differs from deMause’s in one important respect. While I agree with his evolution of child-rearing over the course of civilization and within recorded time, I believe he is wrong about prehistory and what primal peoples were like and the kind of child-caring they engaged in. He depicts prehistoric societies as psychotically oblivious of the needs of children, engaging in, first, infanticidal; then, second, abandoning; then, third, ambivalent modes of child-rearing. Whereas it seems to me the overwhelming evidence and increasing numbers of anthropologists point to a natural “organic” child-caring being employed in the the mists of the past quite a bit more “advanced” than even many modes employed today.
I believe the change from the loving parenting we see in many primal peoples and in Nature among many of our planetmates to the infanticidal, abandoning, and ambivalent modes he has described for early historic cultures is a product of that ever increasing control of Nature that went into full gear with the agrarian revolution, some ten to twenty-five thousand years ago. So, I am saying that brutal parenting was a consequence of “civilization” and was at its worst at the beginnings of recorded time.
But I agree we have been gradually evolving to better modes of child-caring over the history of civilization to the most sane and psychologically beneficial modes employed in recent decades, which, you might want to note, are very much like the modes of the earliest humans. I describe why and how we lost our connection with Nature and loving ways of parenting—how we left “Eden”—in my book and blog “The Great Reveal.”
The Cycles of Time
I believe my understanding shows once again how much of what modern folks thought of “development”—including it being linear and increasing from “darkness” to “light” with ourselves always at the top (conveniently)—is wrong and merely part of an anthropocentric bias and an ethnocentric heritage. For more and more, as we lay down those blinders to reality, we notice the evidence of the cyclical nature of everything—from our lives (ashes to ashes) to the physical Universe’s expansion and contraction, to the vibrations at the subatomic level, the waves in the sea, the turning of the Earth and the revolutions of the solar systems, and I contend now also, the so-called “history” of our species on Earth. This is the thoroughly postmodern idea that human time is also cyclical, with over and again peoples returning to earlier halcyon times only to “fall” away from them.
The Worst of Times Quality of Current Events
This idea of time as cyclical not linear is in keeping with Eastern philosophies, as well as indigenous ones. Hindu thinking currently has us at the depths of the Kali Yuga, the worst part of the cycle right now, with matters to be reversed very soon and the best of times just ahead. And, as I have been describing in my books Falls from Grace and Primal Renaissance and will be directly pointing out in my upcoming book, Primal Return, we are currently seeing a most necessary return to a more harmonious way of being and a more natural self. And with it, requiring it, to some extent preceding it, we are evolving to the most advanced mode of loving parenting.
The “Best of Times” Nature of Our Parenting
Psychohistorian Glenn Davis, following deMause, analyzed the most advanced form of child-caring short of the most recent helping mode—the psychogenic parenting mode deMause termed socializing—and found that it comprised four submodes. In order, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century and each one a more “evolved” and humane one than the previous one, they are the submodes of psychic control, aggressive training, vigorous guidance, and delegated release. [Footnote 15]
Oh, Be-HAVE. WWII Generation … Received Aggressive-Training and Vigorous-Guidance Parenting
Davis concluded that in America the Vietnam War was perpetrated by individuals belonging almost entirely to the aggressive-training and vigorous-guidance psychoclasses. [Footnote 16]
Questioning Authority and Oneself Is Good. Boomers … Received Delegated Release Parenting
Yet the Vietnam War was brought to an end largely as a result of the efforts of an antiwar movement whose largest component was a Sixties youth brought up under a more advanced delegated-release child-caring mode. [Footnote 17]
The delegated release mode, which resulted in the phenomenon of Sixties youth and the counterculture, is the most “advanced” mode short of the helping mode.
“Let’s Collaborate” – Millennials. Received the Most Advanced Parenting – Helping … “We Just Want You to Be Happy.”
The helping mode is the child-caring mode employed widely by the Sixties generation for their children, the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y. So, a helping mode of parenting was enjoyed by the children of a delegated-release psychoclass, the Boomers. Sixties youth are seen, psychologically, to have the most the most “advanced” ego structures short of their children taught within a helping mode. [Footnote 18]
Ending War and Humanicide—Peace Is Worth its Price of Suffering: Better “Emotionally Disturbed” Than “Healthily” Fighting in War
Walking In Another’s Moccasins
It is obvious that these Sixties youth did not have the same unflinching and unqualified belief in the absolute rightness of their country’s position in Vietnam as did many of their parents. This is obviously the case in a psychoclass of youth chanting a generational mantra, “Question authority!” and whose more extreme members would at times even go over to the perspective of seeing the war from the eyes of the “enemy,” the Other.
As I mentioned earlier, among the Sixties Generation we saw Jane Fonda’s journey to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags by protesters, and the carrying of little red books on the sayings of Chairman Mao. These are obvious indicators that the generation as a whole was open to seeing the war from the North Vietnamese perspective: That is, as a conflict perpetrated by a foreign nation that was hypocritical in its espousal of democracy in that it prevented democratic elections that would have without doubt elected Ho Chi Minh and instead it installed a puppet-ruler in the South, making Vietnam a virtual colony of the United States. From this perspective, the Vietnam War was for the Vietnamese as much a war for independence as the American Revolution was for the U.S.
This is just an example of how there are two sides to every issue and how an attempt at empathy or “walking in The Other’s moccasins”—made possible by a closeness to a perinatal unconscious that is also an opposite perspective than that of the conscious mind—can lead, at the minimum, to the reluctance necessary to prevent engaging in at least the most blatant and horrific forms of violence…against others, but consider also, against Nature.
The Perinatal Generation
At any rate, is there evidence that this undermining of the self-righteous position necessary for the instigation and carrying out of war and ecocide—this ability to see at least somewhat from The Other’s perspective and not just one’s own—is in truth correlated with a closeness to perinatal dynamics, a closeness to the unconscious for that generation of youth, those of the Sixties? The answer: Absolutely yes!
As mentioned in a previous part, sociologist Kenneth Keniston did psychological studies of members of the Sixties Generation.
He was inspired to do so through his noticing that he was seeing something really unusual and radically different in these youth than what he had ever seen. This led to his fascination with discovering what made them so different. And he documented his findings in two books—The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society and Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. Roughly speaking he chose to study the unconscious dynamics of both the “alienated-hippie” and the “activist” sectors, respectively, of that generation. [Footnote 19]
At the risk of repeating myself, I wish to remind the reader that a reading of his books—keeping in mind that Keniston knew nothing of perinatal dynamics at that time, and few people did, for that matter—reveals a degree of perinatal imagery, fantasy, and acting out—especially among “the uncommitted”—enough to make a troll-handling, pacifier-wearing, mosh-pit jumping youth of today to blush! [Footnote 20]
Self-Analysis and Psychological-Mindedness
Because of this peculiar perinatal access, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that Keniston also found an unusual amount of inner reflection—questioning oneself—alongside the more well known questioning authority. This he labeled “overexamined life” for the alienated sector and “psychological mindedness” for the activists.
Better Emotionally Disturbed Than “Healthily” Engaging in War
So, being close to one’s perinatal imprints, being less defended against one’s inner unconscious painful memories, leads to one being able to question not just oneself—and therefore to be a catalyst to personal growth and a quest for truth—but also the actions of one’s society. It is a counterbalance to our tendency to act out in violence to others as in war and to Nature as in ecocide. It means people will suffer more inner turmoil and pain, will feel more psychologically “disturbed,” and will be less likely to take it out on others, will be less likely to make others or the environment “pay” for what happened to them.
Let us contrast that with its opposite. DeMause writes,
Hitler’s projection of his fears…into Jews and foreigners helped him avoid a psychotic breakdown and enabled him to function during his later life, as long as others shared his delusion of poisonous enemies.
Therefore acting out collectively, as in war, can prevent a psychotic breakdown in certain individuals.
Better Psychotic Than Waging War
But when the consequences of acting out one’s birth trauma, collectively, is millions of people—including oneself—dead, not to mention the uncountably large loss of material and personal resources, it is clear that by comparison a psychotic breakdown is a more benign alternative for either the individual or the society in which that or those individuals act.
Similarly, not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual…oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a “rite of passage”…would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.
Some folks might even be motivationally paralyzed—receiving information from the unconscious that contradicts and undermines the stance and beliefs of their conscious ego. But when that egoistic stance is slanted, commonly, towards war, violence, selfishness and greed and corresponding environmental apathy, then better one would be indecisive, overwhelmed, and doing nothing.
The Price of Emotional Pain Is Minuscule Compared to That of War
Yet it is true that this neurotic breakdown, of at least a small amount, on the scale of society would result in the kind of collective regressions that Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson describe. That is, the cause of peace, of the saving of human lives, requires that people pay the price of encountering their primal pain.
By all measures, this peace price is minuscule. It is even more worth it when you take into account the fact that many people, after initially “breaking down” for lack of a collective…and highly destructive…act-out like war/aggression, will actually succeed in reconstructing a self more in line with reality, through the dynamics and means categorized under the term regression in the service of the ego, desccribed above. Regardless of professional help…which would be nice but is not always available or practical…some people just find a way.
Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
1. A. Briend, “Fetal Malnutrition: The Price of Upright Posture?” British Medical Journal 2 (1979): 317-319.
2. DeMause, op. cit., 1995, p. 12, emphasis in original.
3. See, for example, Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, trans. by Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, especially “Vantage Point 1990,” pp. vii-ix.
4. Daniela F. Mayr & Artur R. Boelderl, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe.” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (1993): 143-156.
5. Ibid., p. 144.
6. Ibid., p. 148, emphasis mine.
7. Ibid., pp. 149-150.
8. Regarding the “experiential,” I should make clear that this approach is, from the perspective of the experiential psychotherapeutic approach I will be describing shortly, actually the superficial symbolic acting out of these underlying and powerful cycles in a way that is only a little less impotent than the Freudians.
9. DeMause, op. cit., 1995.
11. Mayr and Boelderl claim quite wrongly and quite strangely—as if to make the facts not conflict with DeMause’s psychogenic theory, or as if to cover up some hole in their analysis—that those caught up in the pacifier craze were raised under the intrusive and socializing parenting modes (op. cit., 1993, p. 145) and yet, in 1992, were between the ages of 15 and 30 (Ibid., p. 143). This is hard to understand because these youth would have been born between the years 1962 and 1977 in advanced Western countries of mostly Western Europe—Italy, Germany, Austria, all of Europe, and even the U.S. (Ibid.).
However, the intrusive and socializing modes are associated, by DeMause, with the eighteenth century and the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, respectively, in the Western world (DeMause, op. cit., 1982, p. 62). On the other hand, the helping mode begins mid-twentieth century in the Western world (Ibid., p. 63).
The conclusion from this is that these youth, described by Mayr and Boelderl, would have been greatly influenced by the helping mode. They would be expected, at least, to have received the most advanced methods of child-caring overall in the world at this time—considering DeMause’s theory—since they are the most recent progeny of the Western world!
Indeed, if these cannot be considered products of the helping mode, who can be? In order for Mayr and Boelderl to dispute this and claim they were exceptions to the rule and were raised under intrusive and socializing modes, they would have had to do a study demonstrating this, or at least cite one done. And this they do not do.
12. Michael D. Adzema, “Reunion With the Positive (Self), Part 1: The Other Half of ‘The Cure.’” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 1(2): 72-85. Reprinted on the Primal Spirit site.
15. Glenn Davis, Childhood and History in America. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1976.
19. Kenneth Keniston, The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society. New York: Dell, 1965; Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968.
20.While these aspects of youth are laid out by Keniston, a fuller delineation of these dynamics are to be seen in my work-in-progress, tentatively titled The Once and Current Generation: “Regression,” Mysticism, and “My Generation.” [Stay tuned.]
Continue with Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
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How End Times Can Be Seen as Beginning Times: Science As Myth, Part Six — Emanationism and the Cyclical Nature of Time and Change
Further Implications of the New Paradigm: On Yugas and the Shift, Emanationism, Panentheism, and Child “Development” as Spiritual Devolution
Emanationism and the Cyclical Nature of Time and Change
Emanationism is another important non-Western perspective that comes out of the new consciousness research, the new physics, and quantum theory. Like the Lamarckian view of evolution and the subjectivity-as-primary postulate of Reality, it, also, is ridiculed and pooh-poohed by the many self-ordained “rational” men of science. But like the others, it, too, is given new credibility and life through some of those same “inconvenient” findings of science which overturn common-sense materialism and neo-Darwinism.
Emanationism is a view of our changes over time that suggests that we devolve from an original pure state to increasingly diffracted, diffused, and more impure states of being. It asserts that, rather than evolving to higher forms, we descend from a highest form to lower and lower forms as we get farther from an original source. On Emanationism, Wikipedia says,
Emanationism is an idea in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems. Emanation, from the Latin emanare meaning “to flow from” or “to pour forth or out of”, is the mode by which all things are derived from the First Reality, or Principle. All things are derived from the first reality or perfect God by steps of degradation to lesser degrees of the first reality or God, and at every step the emanating beings are less pure, less perfect, less divine. Emanationism is a transcendent principle from which everything is derived, and is opposed to both Creationism (wherein the universe is created by a sentient God who is separate from creation) and materialism (which posits no underlying subjective and/or ontological nature behind phenomena being immanent).
The importance of such a distinction in the views of the nature and direction of Reality might not be obvious. But it is supremely relevant to just about everything we think of as advance or development: In spirituality or spiritual growth, it determines whether or not one can pile up spiritual “accomplishments,” ladder-style, step-by-step and analogous to the way one acquires credits toward a scholastic degree, or whether one needs to let go and stop trying to control one’s development and instead place the source of one’s plan for eternity outside of the ego. It has much to say about the so-called “advances” of civilization and points to an idea that these accomplishments take a much higher toll than they provide benefits; the net result being that we continually retreat, not advance, with technological and cultural elaboration.
It has something to say about our development in life and whether we lose more than we gain as we get older, alongside the measure of perhaps the most important things of life. It might say something to a physicist pondering the Big Bang and its aftermath as well about where one might look for the more optimal state of the Universe — something we approach, an Omega Point, or something we left behind, an Origin or Source. For the traditional Western view in each case sees all growth and development as linear; whereas the Emanationist view in each case sees Reality more like the ways indigenous folks and our progenitors saw it: Reality as a cycle, with times of decline followed eventually, and fortuitously, by eternal returns to states of renewed vitality.
If this sounds strange, keep in mind that this is the central idea in the concepts of being “born again,” of rebirthing, and of renewal of any sort that is sought in any endeavor, spiritual/psychological or secular. Keep in mind that Emanationism is in line with right-brain or “organic” thinking, which sees progress as growing outward in all directions at the same time from a Source which is also then the End Point.
Whereas a traditional view of progress has it being linear and in line with left brain thinking which posits everything in cause and effect relation from a dim, unforeseeable beginning to an incomprehensible Omega Point at the opposite end of Infinity … which is a mathematical impossibility, by the way, so even it, though linear, is not logical.
So while such an idea as Emanationism might sound strange these days … thus reinforcing my argument for the overweening success of the theory of evolution … yet it was one that was common among ancient philosophers. It was and is a common “primitive” — a better word is primal — depiction of the way things work. It is a cornerstone of ancient Gnostic teachings. A good deal of ancient Greek philosophy is presented this way — for example, the writings or Plotinus and Proclus. It is the perception of Hindu cosmology, even up to this day, with the belief in a system of yugas or ages — each one being a decline from the previous one. Strangest of all, it appears in a physical form (almost as if it had to come out somewhere, even if only “reflected”) in the theory of cosmic origins put forth by the scientific community called the “big bang” theory. People this very day have this conception in mind in thinking there might be some renewal on the horizon at the end of the Mayan calendar or coinciding with some other celestial or macrocosmic shift.
However, generally speaking, in this philosophical conception, the Universe is seen as “running down” over time — that is, in a spiritual or moral sense, not a physical one like the scientists’ refracted formulation. Consequently, the current age, which we think of as the height of evolution is, in Hindu cosmology, the Kali yuga, the lowest level of decline, of degenerate morals, habit, and custom that is possible before the starting up of the cycle all over again from the “top” … which, keep in mind, is also the beginning or “bottom.”
Karl Christian Friedrich Krause and Panentheism
And this viewpoint is expressed magnificently as recently as the early nineteenth century by philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause with such import and power that it led to an entire movement outside of Krause’s Germany in the country of Spain during the mid-nineteenth century and after his death.
Of Krause, Encyclopedia Brittanica reports,
Karl Christian Friedrich Krause, (born May 6, 1781, Eisenberg, Rhenish Palatinate [Germany]—died Sept. 27, 1832, Munich, Bavaria), German philosopher who attracted a considerable following, especially in Spain, where his disciples, known as krausistas, greatly influenced the direction of Spanish education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Krause’s system of philosophy, which he called “panentheism” (essentially an attempt to reconcile pantheism and theism), asserts that God is an essence that contains the entire universe within itself but is not exhausted by it. He put particular emphasis on the development of the individual as an integral part of the life of the whole.
Among his major works are Entwurf des Systems der Philosophie (1804; “Sketch of the System of Philosophy”), Vorlesungen über das System der Philosophie (1828; “Lectures on the System of Philosophy”), and Vorlesungen über die Grundwahrheiten der Wissenschaft (1829; “Lectures on the Fundamentals of Knowledge”).
Ostracizing Emanationism In Our Intellectually “Open” Society
Yet this viewpoint is decried and suppressed these days. Sure of our beliefs in evolution which, conveniently enough, puts us at the top of the ladder of creation, we relegate the idea of Emanationism and the philosophy of Krause, for example, to the trash heap of history. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say about Emanationism as regards its contrast with the theory of evolution: “In modern times, evolutionism has obliterated the emanationist philosophy” (Merlan, 1966, p. 473).
And sure enough, in my computer search of the seven million titles in the entire University of California library system I found not one title at all related to the topic of Emanationism. Similarly, of the forty-six titles listed on Krause, only two were in English and both of those were concerned, not at all with Krause’s philosophy, but rather with his other major interest — his political views on world peace, and the other title an analysis of the sociological movement that followed from his ideas in Spain. Therefore there wasn’t one title in English on this philosophy, this viewpoint!
We may congratulate ourselves on having an open intellectual society, a freedom of expression and viewpoint. However, inquiry like the one above forces us to acknowledge the existence of certain forces in our world — be they psychological, political, economic, sociological, or all of these — that severely circumscribe the range of ideas available for consideration by our supposedly “open” minds in this supposedly “open” society.
But I do not wish to make the case for Emanationism just yet. That will be the task of the book which follows this one, Falls from Grace. In it I present exactly that proposition: that in the process of coming into the world, in an individual’s life, the individual’s consciousness proceeds from a state of high awareness and spiritual expansion to lower and more constricted levels of such awareness.
This would be ontogenetic emanationism or what I refer to as devolution. In the work previous to this one, The Great Reveal, I lay out the manner of this emanationism as it has occurred for our species. This phylogenetic or cultural emanationism or devolution is the idea that in the process of eons of time we have existed on Earth our species has gone from a state of grand awareness and spiritual fullness to increasingly lesser states of such.
Further New-Paradigm Implications: Child “Development” as Spiritual Devolution
Whatever the weight of the assault I am making on the scientific bias, it must at least be acknowledged concerning scientific theories that theoretical positions that ignore the very foundations upon which they are based — that is, the subjectivity of the observer — are going to be the weaker for that.
Yet, acknowledging even that, one could argue that there is no clear idea of how to go about applying these new perspectives. How could they be used? How could they be relevant? What implications might they have?
It is in answer to these questions that I have offered the analysis in the work following this. In Falls from Grace, I detail how these new-paradigm perspectives, specifically emanationism, can be used in the understanding of child “development” and personal growth or spirituality. I propose just such an emanationist or devolutional model — one that is rooted in Wilber’s (1977) “spectrum of consciousness” theory.
It is more than just speculative, however, for it is based also on the findings of the new-paradigm experiential psychotherapies — that is, the ones that place primacy upon experience over concept, “territory” over “map,” and percept over object.
The implications of this approach, I show, are for no less than the validity of the current direction of child-caring, the effectiveness of mainstream psychiatric approaches, and the direction of psychological and spiritual growth. It is my belief that such implications are far from irrelevant or unimportant.
The Transpersonal Perspective Explained
But first, in this work Experience Is Divinity, I wish to provide a more comprehensive philosophical viewpoint that arises from the modern consciousness research. In the Transpersonal Perspective, I will lay out what I believe can be known about Reality. For it is the basis upon which any true knowledge can exist.
Continue with The Consciousness of Stones: Transpersonal Perspective, Part One — Affirming Idealism, Debunking Materialism, and Rationalism as Egoistic Self-Abuse
Return to Science Has Demonstrated That Psychological, Subjective Changes Affect the Rest of Reality: Everything We Think and Do Affects All of Consciousness
Science as Myth Footnote
1. Experiments testing the theory of morphogenetic fields have been reported in a number of places, including New Sense Bulletin, Noetic Sciences Bulletin, and of course Sheldrake’s own works and presentations.
Science As Myth References
Jones, Roger S. (1982). Physics as Metaphor. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota.
Lawlor, Robert. (1991). Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International.
Merlan, Philip. (1967). Emanationism. In Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 473-474.
New Sense Bulletin. (1991). Contest-winning studies support Sheldrake theory. New Sense Bulletin, 17(1) [October 1991], 8.
Institute for Noetic Sciences. (1991). Noetic Sciences Bulletin.
Sheldrake, Rupert. (1981). A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher.
Sheldrake, Rupert. (1991). The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God. New York: Bantam.
Sheldrake, Rupert. (1991). Is nature alive? Human Potential, 16-21, 33-39.
Sheldrake, Rupert. (1995). Nature as alive: Morphic resonance and collective memory. Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology, 1(1), 65-78.
Wilber, Ken. (1980). The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House.
Wilber, Ken. (1981). Up from Eden. New York: Anchor Books.
Wilber, Ken. (1982). The pre/trans fallacy. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 22(2), 5-43.
Wilber, Ken. (1983). A Sociable God. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publishing.
Continue with The Consciousness of Stones: Transpersonal Perspective, Part One — Affirming Idealism, Debunking Materialism, and Rationalism as Egoistic Self-Abuse
Return to Science Has Demonstrated That Psychological, Subjective Changes Affect the Rest of Reality: Everything We Think and Do Affects All of Consciousness
To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Experience Is Divinity
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Posted in Anthropology, authenticity, being yourself, Birth, Consciousness, Environmentalism, Evolution, God, individualism, life, meaning, Metaphysics, Mystical, nonconform, Philosophy, Politics, Primal Spirit, Primal Spirituality, Psychology, Religion, Spirituality
Tags: apocalypse, climate, Consciousness, CULTURE, cycles, devolution, earth, emanationism, Environment, evolution, extinction, Falls from Grace, fractals, God, humans, Karl Christian Friedrich Krause, life, matrix, Nature, panentheism, perinatal, philosophy, planet, politics, prenatal, psychology, religion, science, society, species, theology, time, truth, unconscious
To Our Amazement, Charlie Brown Connected, Lucy Apologized, a Man Who Said “Yes We Can,” Would: Anything Is Possible … Means Everything Is Possible
Wonderful Can Happen: With Dumbness at the Top and Media as the New Opiate of the Masses, Still, “Yes, We Can” Proved We Could.
Culture War, Class War, Chapter 23: Something Wonderful Can Happen
There Are Good Reasons Why Our Financial and Environmental Fortunes Careen Wildly About: Dumbness Rises to the Top
Blinded by Their Greed, They Overlook the Obvious: Why Our National Misfortunes Are Greeted with Such Surprise by Authorities and Pundits
Voices Never Heard
What I’ve been trying to say here is, there are perspectives that are relevant and are never heard. And I’m talking about perspectives that are right outside the doors of power ready to talk and be heard; often having been perspectives that had been embraced not long ago, but suddenly, not having any credibility at all…so that our democracy of many voices—now with the filthy rich and their Republican lackeys and their paid-for media in collusion to mine only one avenue of discourse—begins to echo the Soviet Union of old with its one voice, Pravda.
Horrors Far Worse
Back in 2000, I also had written,
“I believe we are in grave danger of losing things far worse than those horrors. I believe we are in danger of losing all hope of maintaining, let alone progressing, in the freedoms and privileges that we take for granted.”
I believe our friend speaks eloquently about some of those far greater horrors, and indicates they are there right now on our doorstep. We had a surplus and a will to tackle them a decade ago. Sadly we have wasted the last ten years reversing those environmental policies whose intent it was to help. And we have reversed our financial situation, which could have helped. In addition, we have reversed the restrictions on corporations and other policies that would have helped and at least slowed down this ominous impending doom.
So we are a decade further along in environmental collapse, and it is has increased its acceleration toward us. Meanwhile we have slashed away at our financial and other resources for dealing with it and chopped back the time in which to work. The way I phrased it a decade ago.
So is this election important? I believe it is. For me it is especially important, for I feel that if the Republicans take over, they will do so much to damage to the dreams of my generation that even if the Democrats were to be reelected to all branches of government in 4 or 8 years, they will do so much damage (the example of Reagan-Bush nearly QUADRUPLING the National Debt in their mere 12 years being the perfect example) that My Generation will have to clean up their mess afterwards, taking more years. And only then will we be in a position to progress in this country and world and bring it more in line with the ideals of peace, love, community, and harmony we envisioned in the Sixties.
So what I mean is that if we fail in the next 80 days, I can envision no more time of real hope again, for this country or the world, until I am in my Sixties, Seventies, or older. And then, even then, there will be no real hope. For as it is said of the poor, these forces of regression, Cowboy shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot, cynicism, and – let us call it what it really is: evil – will always be with us.
Dumbness Rises to the Top
And sure enough, as we all know…and what these people could not even imagine, as that trader put it, well, it is happening. One wonders what these buffoons who could not foresee such things will do in terms of fixing them; having acknowledged their extreme lack of foresight (and we’ve added, their extreme inability to look anywhere farther than their tight knit group of true believers for answers.) This should be something to see.
As for Wall Street and the economy, let’s take another look at how the media has dealt with other perspectives to flesh out my claims above of these perspectives not being far off.
On CNBC, a couple of years before the economic downturn, they used to have as a commentator, Robert Reich, who was President Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury and the mastermind of the great economic turnaround of the Nineties.
But he was talked over, laughed at, and was routinely talked to as if he was a child or suffered sadly from some kind of bleeding heart brain cloud. Well, as his words began to be the ones that should have been listened to, he was no longer to be seen on CNBC. And then afterward we have such a comment like, “Well, nobody could have seen it coming.”
Well how could they, if they were no longer put on the show?
No, apparently there was such an insular crowd on Wall Street, the White House, and, most unfortunate, among the very media whose job it was neither to make news as prognosticators or economic experts, nor was it to be part of a partisan “anti-plunge patrol.” Their lack of even-handedness and their alliance with particular theories created just the kind of apparent reality that the trader bemoaned. No, it wasn’t that nobody was seeing it coming–as you see below, I was seeing it as inevitable from the shared experience of a mere decade or so ago. And I mention one figure who was silenced. So to the mystified trader who knew no one who saw anything but, as one particularly wrong-headed man phrased it, “a goldilocks economy.”
So, blinded by their greed, they missed what the people I knew were all seeing—danger ahead, and the unsustainability of a rally that had risen on so much manipulation, misinformation, and constant drum blows of obviously wrong economic talking points hammered over and over across our airwaves and drowning out every sound of warning or opposition, so that surprise and misinformation informed the trading decisions of the great bull traders.
So many people were hurt by this partisan power play. But that was the way of just about everything during those 8 years of, as one recent writer dubbed it, dictatorship.
If you’re still reading, you will see I have reasons for pointing these things out, providing this background, for it is this context of a kind of dumbness rising to the top which, even now, makes for the strangest of comments on TV talk shows, and the most asinine and foot-shooting policies and stances of the remaining Republicans.
Media Feel-Good Talk Does Not Equal Reality … and Why We’re Helpless to Prevent the Future Fukushimas and Killer Hurricanes.
Media Is the New “Opiate of the Masses,” with Pundits a New Priestly Caste Between Modern Pharoahs and the New Enslaved.
Media Mollifies Masses
All this being said, now, perhaps for you the Message in a Bottle provides, as it did to me, a provocative window into the workings of cause and effect. More than that I hope it sheds light on the huge efforts of deception that are ever needed to advance false partisan ideas which, though proven wrong, will by greed be raised anew and banner-like be carried forth to beat back the voices of common sense in favor of a reality that must be forced to be made to be true only because its rich adherents would wish it to be so.
Media Feel-Good Talk Does Not Equal Reality
Another advantage of having the time capsule is what we can learn about such warnings. Will the media tell you of impending doom, so that we might avert it?
No, they will, for the sake of ratings (profits), be a “feel good” media. They will spin out “comfort truth” — junk food for the mind — insubstantial and inconsequential and hardly soul-satisfying. But it will soothe the stresses brought to listeners through their otherwise participation in the capitalist matrix. As empty of truth as junk food is empty of nutrition it