“Hellacious Birth Traumas Making Headlines Worldwide!” Film at Eleven: Birth Wars, World Woes, Part 1
We Interrupt This Book for a Breaking News Bulletin: “Hellacious Birth Traumas Making Headlines Worldwide!” Film at Eleven.
The connections between the physical conditions and symbols discussed in previous chapters and the perinatal unconscious should be obvious and may have already to some extent been spelled out. But let me finish connecting the dots, so to speak:
As Stanislav Grof put it,
[W]e have exteriorized in the modern world many of the essential themes of the perinatal processes that a person involved in deep personal transformation has to face and come to terms with internally. The same elements that we would encounter in the process of psychological death and rebirth in our visionary experiences make today our evening news. This is particularly true in regard to the phenomena that characterize what I call BPM III.
We certainly see the enormous unleashing of the aggressive impulse in the many wars and revolutionary upheavals in the world, in the rising criminality, terrorism, and racial riots. Sexual experiences and behaviors are taking unprecedented forms, as manifested in sexual freedom of youngsters, promiscuity, open marriages, overtly sexual books, plays, and movies, gay liberation, sadomasochistic experimentation, and many others. The demonic element is also becoming increasingly manifest in the modern world.
A renaissance of satanic cults and witchcraft, the popularity of books and horror movies with occult themes, and crimes with satanic motivations attest to that fact. The scatological dimension is evident in the progressive industrial pollution, accumulation of waste products on a global scale, and rapidly deteriorating hygienic conditions in large cities [Footnote 1]
No-exit Car Jams and People Clusters
In addition to the myriad of ways that Grof has detailed…and there are many more he could have mentioned…I would like to add a few obvious commonplace examples.
Another one: the population explosion. Simple overpopulation of the globe sets up scenarios exactly analogous to the negative conditions that existed toward the end of pregnancy when we grew/expanded too much to be any longer comfortable in the womb. The way this global overpopulation impacts us: the overpopulation and frenzy in a big city, manifesting the situation of a crushing womb.
Global “Therapeutic” Carbon-Dioxide Chamber
However, there is an interesting sidelight to this. For both Arthur Janov and Stanislav Grof, at one time early on, experimented with a technique of carbon dioxide ingestion for getting people into primal and perinatal states. In fact, at the time—in the late Sixties, early Seventies—though not on a large scale, a number of professionals were experimenting with this procedure and even offering it as a means of “expanding consciousness.”
The point is that increased carbon dioxide and decreased oxygen naturally stimulate perinatal feelings. Lucky us, as we continue to turn the entire atmosphere of the Earth into such a “therapeutic” carbon-dioxide chamber.
“Don’t Cut Me OFF, Man!”
After all this, if you still do not believe that a perinatal unconscious is emerging at this time in history, I ask you how else to explain how the simple act of being “cut off” in traffic can trigger so much perinatal “no exit” frustration as to enrage an “otherwise normal” person to pull out a gun and blow another’s life away. Incidentally, I myself had a shotgun pulled on me in such a situation and only escaped through a high-speed car chase.
Birth Wars ~ World Woes
The upshot of it all is that somehow or other we have managed to create a world situation that mirrors in a way unlike any other time in history our perinatal imprints and thus triggers the emergence of this perinatal unconscious.
Or, you might reverse that and say that an emerging perinatal unconscious—brought about by other factors, improved “child-caring” methods perhaps…more about that later—has resulted in our creating a world situation manifesting or acting out those unconscious perinatal elements, which are having increasing influence on our consciousness and on our behavior.
I suspect both of these processes are occurring—each one augmenting the other.
1. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 23. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site. [return to text]
Return to Tune Inward, Turn Back, Drop Down – Psychedelics, Depression, and Those Nasty Birth Feelings: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 30
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Wars, Imperialism, and Why We Live in “Human Zoos”: The “Crowded” Feelings of Late Gestation—BPM II—and Their Political and Environmental Expressions: Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Six
Imprinted in the Womb for Wars of Expansion, Deforestation, Cities, Imperialism, and Road Rage—Crowded—”Back Off!”: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 6
Crowdedness, Packed Together “Like Sardines”
Can’t Move Freely – “Back Off!”…Cast Out of Heaven, Driven Out of Eden
The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to press in us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It “won’t let us do what we want to do.” I discussed this in a previous section and how we manifest it through overpopulation.
This is quite a contrast, ever more stark and blatant as we get closer to actual birth, to the earlier euphoric feelings of all the rest of our lives at that point—that is to say, the previous seven-eight months of our lives since conception. This oppression from an an overwhelming and pervasive Other is shockingly different from the unrestrained movement of the not long ago, with its gravity-free ecstasy, and blissful unity with an Everything which was not at all threatening but just the opposite: supremely helpful, nurturing, and kind in the most perfect way. We remember the previous “golden age” and its easy, “heavenly” existence. This new existence feels like we have been driven out of Eden, cast out of heaven, and now must struggle and earn survival through the “sweat of one’s brow.”
Reactions – Swimming, Dancing, Mosh Pits, Religious Fantasy
I mentioned previously how our activities like gymnastics, flying, and skydiving are reactions to these uncomfortable feelings; they are attempts to run away from this discomfort as we continue to re-experience it as adults. I explored how we re-create and re-stimulate those blissful feelings in us through adult experiences of weightlessness, swimming, dancing, surfing, hot tubbing. I need to add loving sexuality to that—particularly in its re-stimulating blissful memories of re-union with an Other who is all-accepting, all-embracing, and eminently kind. I have explored how we seek resolution of these uncomfortable feelings through mosh pit “rebirthing” and warm water “rebirthing.” I need to add to that the seduction of the experience of being religiously “reborn.” [Footnote 1]
I wish to add now, since it becomes especially relevant to what follows from here on, the specifically environmental and especially political aspects and act outs of these early uncomfortable feelings.
Politically, As Nations – Wars of “Expansion”
Politically, as adults we feel we need to push back “lines” of the enemy, to fight off “oppression” (compression), to go to war. We act this out as nations through wars of “expansion” and through “conquering” of new territories…through imperialism. We are always pushing back lines of encroachment from some “enemy”…creating and then railing against the opposition on these “front lines.”
We re-create the switch we experienced in the womb from easy existence to struggle and discomfort by “spoiling” our peace and going to war. No, it is not smart; but it is what we are driven to do because of these patterns from our earliest experience.
The point of knowing all this…the reason why I am writing this and sharing this information…is because knowledge of these irrational tendencies is the most important and necessary step in discontinuing them. We can only have hope for our children in going beyond these tendencies in us of tens of thousands of years and longer through actually facing and coming to terms with the absurdity of our “normal human” pursuits…like war.
Environmentally – “We Paved Paradise; Put Up a Parking Lot”
We act out these same feelings just as illogically and self-destructively in our behavior in regards to the environment. Remember that, as prenates, the “environment” then was felt to be encroaching and blocking our easy movement. So, with these feelings now deeply ingrained in us as something we call “human nature” we hack back at actual Nature and push it all away to “make room”…excessive room…for ourselves…while conversely we make sure we will continue to re-stimulate these feelings through overpopulation, city life, dense and crowded neighborhoods, and traffic jams. [Footnote 2]
We put ourselves in human zoos and struggle with our neighbors over “boundary lines” and where fences should actually be placed…we gather on freeways with their traffic jams and experience “road rage” at the same time as fighting back against the feelings these situations create through inane environmental undertakings: We remove and destroy all trees to make an empty space, though we add trees after the fact. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit queer?
Environmentally, we destroy forests, we pave over Nature so that we can have huge houses and lawns (the bigger the better…we want more “womb”) and speed around (the faster and more nimbly the better) uninhibitedly in our cars (auto-mobile…free moving self…part of self capable of moving