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

Out-of-the-Garden unnatural-birth

Human Nature, Culture, Pelvic Size, and Plato’s Cave: Needs Which We as Newborns Ache to Fulfill Are Satisfied by Other Species Perfectly adam_and_eve

Secondary Altriciality and Culture

Let us now add another factor to this development of supposed intelligence and culture. Let us talk about the consequences of secondary altriciality.  As I said, altricial means humans are born helpless. We would die if not cared for. Secondary altriciality of humans, and only humans, means our brains and consequent functioning are even less advanced than other species at birth. We are, in essence, born premature relative to other species.

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So, the consequence of secondary altriciality is that the newborn requires a period after birth of getting its needs satisfied in the same complete way as it did prior to that in the womb. This is a characteristic of Homo sapiens. It is another one of those very few things that definitively distinguishes us from all other species known. That is, the human infant is in a more dependent state, when born, than any other species, when its young is born. The human infant at birth in terms of its degree of development, is at a level corresponding to that at which, in every other mammal, it would still be in the womb.  In other words, we are born, comparatively, “premature.”

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By comparison, all other mammals, when born, are more able to provide for themselves, are further along in their development toward independence when born, are more capable of bringing about or at least initiating the satisfaction of their needs . . . hence they are less dependent, and vulnerable, than are human infants.

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Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Secondary altriciality in human infants means that there is a greater need for care, for “mothering” — because of the newborn’s greater helplessness, greater dependence, greater vulnerability — than that of all other mammals postnatally. But even the best mothering cannot be as perfect in satisfying the infant’s biological needs as was the situation for it in the womb. Hence, there is going to be a gap between need and fulfillment inherent in this prematurity, an inherent frustration of need to at least some extent, and, hence, inherently an increase of at least some amount, in the degree of pain suffered by the newborn and infant in the nonsatisfaction or incomplete satisfaction of its biological needs.

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But secondary altriciality is important in another respect.  Since this phase represents a dependent phase that corresponds to phases that occur to other species en utero — this leaves Homo sapiens vulnerable to neurosis and mental illness (its roots in the pain of unmet biological need) to an extent unprecedented, in any other species . . . hence also contributing to increased brain size, increased secondary altriciality, and so forth in the way discussed above for birth. Thus, we have another vicious cycle, again with “fevered” brains and culture the byproduct.

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Pelvic Size

In this light it is interesting to point out that Moore (1987) presented evidence of the significantly larger pelvic size in our ancestral line of hominids which would have either (1) allowed for a gestation period of up to twelve months or (2) allowed for an exceptionally easy birth — the increased brain size being much more readily passed through a larger opening.  Either of these propositions, or a combination, is provocative in light of the above.

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In other words, we can speculate that either (1) increased pelvic size in females was naturally selected for as brain size became larger, so as to minimize the deleterious effects of painful birth (as in creating neurosis in the adult, hence reduced reproductive fitness) or (2) gestation period was prolonged, with increasing brain size, to minimize the deleterious effects of imperfectly met biological needs which are a consequence of secondary altriciality.

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In this second instance, the disadvantages of secondary altriciality are lack of precociousness in the infant, requiring an increase in maternal care after birth and reducing the economic potential of the female during that period.  But it logically follows that there is a limit to which gestation can be prolonged without itself becoming an economic disadvantage to the female — certainly the proposed gestation period of two years, twenty-one months to be exact, for full precociousness at the level we see in nonhuman primates would be a substantial economic hardship on the female. Thus it would be selected against, in evolutionary terms.

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Human Nature

Therefore, we may speculate that a combination of these factors resulted in a compensatory system where the fact of increasing brain size is eventually resolved, to date, by a comparatively reduced gestation period accompanied by increased need for child care after birth, increased need for economic dependency overall (both during and after gestation) by the female, increased need for male parental investment in providing for both female and child, and increased birth pain correlating with increased cultural development to offset or mitigate the effects of birth pain (See Fromm, 1955, on culture as providing the neurosis as well as the “opiates” to deal with such).

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The net effect is a species with prolonged child care, increased tendency toward single-family units, increased brain size, greater cultural elaboration, increased birth pain for the neonate, increased “intelligence,” and increased neurotic and psychotic behavior (thus idiosyncratic and variable behavior) which requires further cultural accommodation, hence cultural elaboration — all evolving simultaneously, interrelating and mutually reinforcing each other.  All in all, with these considerations, we have the basic factors which outline our distinctive human nature — that is, which constitute (for good or ill) our fundamental distinctions from other species.

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The Result: Plato’s Cave

At any rate, the point is that viewing it either psychologically or historically, it can be said that the Fall from Grace in Eden is such that ever afterwards humans are indirectly related to God and Nature. By this I mean they are indirectly related to the processes of reality of either the physical or metaphysical (including their own inner life, their subjectivity) sort.  They have turned their back on the beneficence of God, or Nature, and seek to go it on their own, to control Nature, to focus on survival. In that they are focused now on the world, they can see only a reflection of the Divine. They are confusing the map and the territory.

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And in that reflection they seek to discern God’s will. In those shadows they seek to understand Truth.

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To Be Continued with Primal Return, Chapter Two: Isaac’s Eyes

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

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Chapter One, Out of Eden, References

Adzema, Michael. (1985). A primal perspective on spirituality. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116.

Baba, Sathya Sai. (1984). Sathya Sai Speaks: Volume IV. Tustin, CA: Sathya Sai Book Center of America.

Baba, Sathya Sai. (1991). Sanatha Sarathi, November, 295.

Bird-David, Nurit. (1992). Beyond “the original affluent society”: A culturalist reformulation. Current Anthropology, 33(1), 25-47.

Buck, Sharon. (2011). The evolutionary history of the modern birth. Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology, 19(Iss. 1, Art 7), 80-92. Available at: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/totem/vol19/iss1/7

Chamberlain, David. (1988). Children Remember Birth. New York: Ballantine.

Farrant, Graham. (1987). Cellular consciousness. Aesthema: The Journal of the International Primal Association, No.7, 28-39.

French, Marilyn. (1985). Beyond Power: On Women, Men, and Morals. New York: Ballantine Books.

Fromm, Erich. (1955). The Sane Society. Greenwich, CN: Fawcett.

Grof, Stanislav. (1976). Realms of the Human Unconscious. New York: Dutton.

Grof, Stanislav. (1985). Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: SUNY.

Grof, Stanislav. (1988). The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and Mew Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: SUNY.

Hannig, Paul. (1982). Feeling People: A Revolutionary Concept in Therapy, Lifestyle and Human Contact. Winter Park, FL: Anna Publishing Inc.

Janov, Arthur. (1971). The Anatomy of Mental Illness. Berkeley: Medallion.

Janov, Arthur. (1983). Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience. New York: Coward-McCann.

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Kuhn, Thomas S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lake, Frank. (1981). Tight Corners in Pastoral Counseling. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.

Mahler, Margaret S.; Pine, Fred; & Bergman, Anni. (1975). The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant. New York: Basic Books.

Moore, James. (1987). Colloquium presentation, 16 November 1987. Department of Anthropology, University of California/ San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

Peoples, Karen M. and Parlee, Bert. (1991). The ego revisited: Understanding and transcending narcissism. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 31(4), 32-52.

Sahlins, Marshall. (1972). Stone Age Economics. London: Tavistock.

Skibbins, David W. (1991). Letter to the editor. The Quest, 4(3), 5.

Sroufe, L. Alan; Cooper Robert G.; & DeHart, Ganie B. (1992). Child Development: Its Nature and Course. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Turnbull, Colin M. (1961). The Forest People: A Study of the Pygmies of the Congo. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Verny, Thomas, and Kelly, John. (1981). The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. New York: Dell.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. (1946). Autobiography of a Yogi. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship.

To Be Continued with Primal Return, Chapter Two: Isaac’s Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

and at Amazon at

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

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

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

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture … Out of Eden, Part Three: Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”

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

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The more civilized the people, the more the pain of labor appears to become intensified. – Grantly Dick-Read, M.D. Childbirth Without Fear.

Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head. – Unknown

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” – Genesis 3:16

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Basic Trust, Basic Mistrust, and Birth

As I have said the worldview of our hominid and hunter-gatherer existences was trusting of Nature. The world is felt to be good, not antagonistic, so dependence on it is not seen as a problem and makes life overall easier than what we know beginning with the agrarian revolution and the rise of “civilization.” Our primal forebears had a “basic trust” in regards to Nature.

Mbuti Pygmies at a forest hunting camp.

But the agrarian revolution and all “advances” after that imply a “basic mistrust.” What happened to make us more fearful, more anxious about our human condition?

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These differences of basic trust versus basic mistrust are fascinating considering their possible relation to birth trauma.

Our Experience of Birth Determines Ever Afterward Our View of the World

Erik Erikson proposes that the earliest relation of the infant with the mother sets the foundation of the later attitude toward the world. A caring, sensitive, and responsive environmental and caretaker response, in particular, the mother’s, can be the basis for an attitude of basic trust toward the world … a fundamental faith in its goodness. While a harsh and insensitive early experience — wherein the child begins to feel it cannot get its needs met — becomes the basis for a feeling of unshakeable mistrust toward the world.

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However, with our understanding of the influence of our first experiences of the world — that is, postnatally, usually in a delivery room and hospital nursery — on our basic attitudes toward it, we realize that these fundamental orientations are formed much earlier. Importantly, birth is a huge influence on that primary stance of trust or mistrust. First impressions are hard to overcome, as they say. Sure enough, if the first encounter with the world outside the womb … immediately after birth … is painful, and characterized by harshness, insensitivity, and unresponsiveness to one’s needs, then the infant comes to view the world mistrustfully and feels it to be a hostile place. [See Leboyer, Birth Without Violence, 1975].

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What also of the pain of birth itself in setting up an attitude of trust toward the world or mistrust of it? The cold, hard fact is that our experience of our birth — that is, the amount of pain and discomfort we experience in the process of delivery as well as those first crucial moments and hours of our “introductory” experience of the world outside the womb — determine ever afterward in our lives the degree of positivity or negativity with which we will view the world and other people. [See, also, Janov, Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience , 1984]

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And this is where it gets interesting in seeing how we became humans and different from all other species.

Skull Size, Pelvic Size, and Birth Pain

In this regard, it is interesting to note biological anthropologist Jim Moore’s (1987) comments in a talk given at the University of California, San Diego, concerning pelvic size, birth, and secondary altriciality. Jim Moore pointed out that the paleontological evidence from the bone records of our hominid line show several fascinating developments occurring simultaneously and over the course of millions of years. We are going back as long as six to seven millions here. One is an increase in skull size. Another is a decrease in the size of pelvic bones, which occurs alongside and is a consequence of our gradual evolution to bipedalism from being, like our primate relatives, quadrupeds. [Footnote 1]

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Most folks know about the increase of skull size that occurred over the course of our evolution. However, what is only rarely considered is what effect this increase has on the process of birth. Nor has this been laid alongside the other factor of reduced pelvic size. But doing so leads to some fascinating conclusions.

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To begin, it is reasonable to suppose that this increased skull, and brain, size in hominids contributed greatly to birth pain, for both mother and infant. This is so for the obvious reason that the size of the head is the determining factor in the size of the vaginal opening required for delivery. That is, because skull bone is mostly unyielding when pressured from outside, its diameter must be less than or equal to the maximum diameter of the vaginal opening through which it must pass at birth. If the skull is too big for the opening, the child simply cannot get out. And the factor that most determines the maximum diameter of the vaginal opening is the configuration of the bones, especially pelvic bones, that are involved.

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Keep in mind that this kind of birth pain would not have occurred when the skull was smaller. A smaller head would pass, in general, with considerably more ease for infant and mother. In support of this we note that this is exactly the case for all our primate relatives, all of whom have proportionately smaller skulls. Note they also have larger, wider pelvises, proportionally, than us, and thus pelvic openings at birth time. Correspondingly, they do show observably much less difficulty and pain in birth, for both mother and newborn. So, along with this trend to increasing skull size in humans and reduced pelvic size we can surmise a corresponding trend to increasing birth pain, birth difficulties, and, consequently, increasing birth trauma for hominid newborns. [See Footnote 2]

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The Vicious Cycle of Skull Size and Birth Pain

Brain Size and Primal Pain: Brain Size Related to Degree of Unconscious Pain Needing to Be Repressed

About this factor of birth trauma, keep in mind that it is demonstrated neurophysiologically (Janov, 1971) that much of the increased brain size in humans is tied up with processing unconscious pain. That is to say, that we require the expanded capabilities inherent in neocortical expansion and larger brains to keep traumatic experiences repressed. A bigger brain is needed to keep our primal pain from overwhelming us.

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Bipedalism –> Narrower Pelvic Opening –> Birth Pain –> Increased Brain Size –> Increased Skull Size –> Birth Pain

What I am saying is that increased brain size and painful birth become, then, phylogenetically linked in a vicious cycle — one producing the other. Said another way, over the course of millions of years skull size and birth pain increased each other: Greater pain in birth requires, later on, greater repression of pain in order to survive, which leads to the development of greater neocortical capacities for processing and keeping that pain repressed. This leads to actual physical neocortical expansion, which results in greater skull size. Then, that bigger head causes greater pain in childbirth for both mother and infant. This increased birth pain causes greater birth trauma in neonates. And finally, this birth trauma leads to greater repression of pain, then, to expanded brain size, then, increased birth pain, birth trauma, a need for more repression … round and round and round again. And this goes on imperceptibly over an extremely long time in the course of our evolution.

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But keep in mind, also, that this is a chicken-and-the-egg correlation. There is no way of knowing what came first. Whether changes in skull size and expanded neocortical capacity (as for example, in the development of tool use), or greater repression of feelings and pain (possible as a consequence of increased social behavior, requiring increased repression/ control of individual behaviors), or increased birth trauma (either on its own, for some unknown reason, or more likely because of skeletal changes occurring through increasing bipedal locomotion and upright posture) came first is irrelevant. These are mutually arising causative factors. It is enough that we notice their interrelationship.

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Birth Pain Makes Us Humans

Birth Pain Caused the Feverish Minds of Humans, Which We Call Intelligence

To continue, remember that what is universally acknowledged to distinguish humans from other species is our intelligence and the elaboration of culture that comes from that. But with the understanding of skull size, birth, and repression described above, we see these much-touted distinctions and claims to superiority to be merely the byproduct of our neocortical attempts to deal with unconscious pain, specifically, that of birth trauma.

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Birth pain caused the feverish minds of humans, which we call our intelligence. “We ain’t born typical,” as The Kills phrased it. And those spinning excess wheels of mental fibrillation, driven by human birth trauma, are the gears in the machine of our manic material culture.

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

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

Footnotes

1. On bipedalism and pelvic bone changes, at “Wanna Be an Anthropologist“:

Bipedal Adaptations in the Hominid Pelvis

INTRODUCTION

Two major features are unique to humans among all the living primates: A very large brain, and moving about upright on two legs exclusively. One of these, bipedalism, appeared long before the other. Many anatomical features of Australopithecus afarensis anatomy demonstrate habitual bipedal locomotion, and the 3.6 million-year-old footprints discovered by Paul Abell at Laetoli in 1978 confirm it unequivocally (White, 1980). Not until the appearance of Homo erectus, some 1.7 million years later, could hominids be considered on their way to being large-brained (Stanford, et al., 2006).

While certain adaptations seen in the knee (e.g. the valgus angle), in the foot (such as a fully adducted hallux), and to a lesser extent in the cranium (a fully inferior foramen magnum) are all strong indicators for bipedalism (Lewin and Foley, 2004), the most interesting evolutionary changes necessary for upright posture occurred in the hominid pelvis. All of these adaptations are present not only in the pelves of modern humans, but also in all members of the Genus Homo, and in the earliest known hominids, the Australopithecines.

PELVIC ADAPTATIONS FOR BIPEDALISM

The hominid pelvis displays many unique features (when compared to that of quadrupedal primates) that support bipedalism. The major adaptations are seen in the sacrum and the ilia, as well as in the overall configuration and orientation of the pelvic bones….

2. On brain size and secondary altriciality in humans at Human Development:

Human babies enter the birth canal from the womb in the same way a chimp does but just before the actual birth the skull rotates 90 degrees in order to exit the rounded birth canal that humans have evolved. In Homo Sapiens, evolution reached a compromise that favored even bigger brains at a further cost to birthing and efficient walking. The Homo Erectus pelvis was very narrow. Humans are unique among mammals in the extent to which the brain keeps growing well after birth. The scientific terms for this is secondary altriciality. It involves accelerating the birthing process and arresting the development until after birth. Monkeys and apes are born with brains half as heavy as they will ever be. A chimpanzee brain, for example, will weigh perhaps 7 ounces at birth and about 14 ounces as an adult. Human brains are about a third of their final size in newborns; they more than double in size in the first year after birth. On average, human babies are born with a brain that weighs 14 ounces but reaches 35 ounces in one year. It will continue to grow until it reaches about 45 ounces in size (at age 6 or 7).

Gestation in humans should be about 21 months rather than the normal 9 we think in terms of. This is the process of accelerating the birthing process to enable the enlarged brain to escape the birth canal. Development of the brain then continues external to the womb for well over the first several years. What this intense development means is that a human infant is born relatively helpless. A baby can neither stand up or in any way fend for itself for a long time. Stephen Jay Gould has written our sexual maturation comes almost absurdly late in a Darwinian world supposedly regulated by a constant struggle to secure reproductive success and pass more genes along to future generations….slower development must provide some power advantage to evolve, in the face of its obvious drawbacks. In fact, must of what makes us human in the end may stem from this unnaturally long period of helplessness in the very early part of our lives.

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http://web.mesacc.edu/dept/d10/asb/origins/development.html

3. On prolonged postnatal brain growth at Unique to Humans

This is one of the most dramatic distinction between humans and other mammals (including primates). In all precocial mammals other than humans, at around the time of birth there is distinct slowing down in brain growth relative to body growth. In altricial mammals, the switch to diminished brain growth occurs at a developmental stage comparable to birth in precocial mammals. In humans, substantial brain growth relative to body growth continues for approximately a year after birth before a marked slow-down occurs. Because of this human neonates are unusually dependent on parental care in comparison with other primates for the first year of postnatal life, and sometimes labeled as “secondary altricial”.
Martin RD. The evolution of human reproduction: a primatological perspective.
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007;Suppl 45:59-84.

And on postnatal brain growth at The Rise of Homo sapiens: The Evolution of Modern Thinking:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and at Amazon at

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

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

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

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

“You are looking in the wrong direction. You should be looking not outward into the world of symbols and reflections, but inward into the pleasure, pains, urges, and feelings of the body.”

“felt connection” with the Divine, meaning of Minotaur and labyrinth, impulses “getting out of control,” meaninglessness and the Abyss, the unreal demons, the process of becoming real again. What the Planetmates say, today 


You stand amazed by the profound and intricate sight of your magnificent unreality. It is hard — as hard as it is to leave the “matrix” — to question the foundations of your beliefs, while your eyes sparkle in reflection of the fascinating electronic array … and your every thought supports itself on the jetsam of stupefied minds.


“For this culture and this edifice of supposed knowledge and understanding built on these wrong and dangerous assumptions serves to feed those who seek understanding with a tasteless substitute for true awareness. Standing within Ego, as always, your comprehension and mastery of the details of the absurd and empty provides mental, fabricated satisfactions, and spurious feelings of finesse and accomplishment. You can convince yourself you are on your way to mighty understandings as you pile up endless nonsensicals. You do not see the abyss that all these untruths end in, if taken truly through to all their conclusions or if you were to honestly analyze them.

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“Granted, there are a few of you who have ventured down that path. Some of your better thinkers have, in fact, peered deeply into the underpinnings of your Reality — among them, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre. They, like your Marxists, are to be commended for making the effort, however woefully they fell short.

“For in looking beyond the glitter and the stupefication, in seeing beneath the words and all that they convey, but also conceal, in the attempt to peer into Reality itself, they have seen the Abyss. They tottered upon a brink, not knowing their hideous vision was of the ravine you created between you and Nature … between you and feeling … between you and your body.


“So going only that far — only as far as intellect and analysis alone could take them — they claimed that, indeed, life is truly meaningless and that all that exists is the Abyss. They have proclaimed Reality absurd and random.

“This is what you end up with when you have no felt connection to Existence and only mental phantasms reflecting it. So much is this true, that most of you hearing this have no idea at all what we mean by a “felt connection.”


“This is what comes from your attempts to stand outside It — Existence and Nature — and “capture” It … as always to understand only for the purpose of controlling. For certainly in your seeking of power and control — here even in the realms of the mind and the philosophical — you are doomed to failure.


“We have said we have a felt connection with the Divine; we have said we feel it in our muscles … that is to say, it is part of our Experience; we have said you call this “instinct.” Well, this is a kind of knowing that you find impossible to remember. You have it in the womb and at birth, but everything about you and about your culture is geared toward having you forget it; and you get better and better at that forgetting as you get older.


“Over time you lose yourselves in your mental labyrinth, with its resident Minotaur — symbolizing, at once, Ego, your brutal overlords, the caregivers of infancy, and the distorted figure that your soul and its connection with Nature has become.

“We have said that your symbolic thought and culture are what you substitute for that knowing, that awareness, that deep seeing and understanding.

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“So, in looking deeply into that symbolic skeletonized reflection of life — separated as it is from Reality — and the culture that is the collective embodiment of it, how can you see anything beyond it? You are looking in the wrong direction. You should be looking not outward into the world of symbols and reflections, but inward into the pleasure, pains, urges, and feelings of the body. You are afraid to do that, for, being wrong-getted, you have been taught that is dangerous.


“Therein lie your “impulses,” you think. You think these “impulses” will get “out of control” (starting to see a pattern, perhaps?), that you will become something other than yourself, might become dangerous, hurtful … “animalistic”.… Has it not occurred to you yet how out of control you already are? Do you really think by expanding your understanding and Experience of Reality back into the wisdom of the body you will become more stupid than you already are? More deranged? How is that possible?


“It is not that comprehension of the Abyss is of no worth. To the contrary, it is only after you know it that you are at all inclined to, or brave enough to, or desperate enough to look in the direction of the feelings in your body. Your mind must crash itself upon the rocks of meaninglessness. You must watch your mental skyline of religion, ritual, cultural niceties, substitute pursuits, and egoic achievements collapse upon itself. It is only in the wreckage of those cherished illusions and false hopes that you can look down in despair and notice the body that has taken you there, that has always been there, with its feelings, its own patterns of thought — which you call intuition — with its own inspiration, its breathing, its inhalation of goodness and exhalation of compassion and creativity. It is only then, turning downward your eyes in the face of the darkness and the seeming “end of times,” that you can even notice your soul, your emotion, your connection with all and Everything, your true happiness, your actual heart expansion and love.





“ And in order to realize and reconnect again with your Self, you must surrender your frantic “trying to figure it out.” You must stop believing in the demons that you have used to help explain that which you cannot, because you have refused to see it. Rather, it is more important that you stop trying to understand and to control. You must allow, at least for that moment, that you might actually learn something, that you might be taught. You must let go, at least for that moment, of your sense of self-importance, and any thoughts about how you might be appearing to anyone outside of you. At least for that moment … give yourself at least that … you must “give up”….”

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[Pt 3 of 28th Prasad — Family. More coming…  

To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirds updated), go to  http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …

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

and at Amazon at

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

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

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

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

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

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Like reading a letter from a wise, old friend….

By M.E.W. on February 5, 2014

I’ve recently finished reading Experience Is Divinity, by Michael Adzema.

If you ever have one of those days (weeks, months?) where it just doesn’t want to fit together, you really can use this.

Find a quiet space, fix a nice big mug of tea, and grab “Experience Is Divinity”.

You almost don’t need to use your brain. You just sort of let it absorb. Every once in a while, you find yourself thinking, ” Why wasn’t that simple thing already in my brain?”

None of Adzema books will lecture you; no heavy handed persuasion. You simply get a sense of his quiet confidence that he has something meaningful and he wants to share it with you. You won’t find psychobabble or cult like preaching; just a sort of, “This is what I think makes a lot of sense”, attitude.

The books sort of distill the most profound realities. You lay the book down, having a sense of simplicity and clarity and the chaos just sort of begins to fit. Nothing is different; it’s more that it’s OK that things are as they are.

More info and to orderExperience Is Divinity: Matter As Metaphor. Return to Grace, Volume 8

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492932213/ref=dra_a_rv_ff_fx_it_P2000_1000?tag=dradisplay-20

Final Exp Div

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

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A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality: Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

we-are-then-simple-awarenessHigh Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant: Stormy Path to Self, Part Three

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Ego-Weak Mystics and Shamans

In a more recent work, John White (1990) continues Ken Wilber’s mistake in not realizing that the sharp distinction between the sacred and the profane that we observe today is a product of recent history.

The “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Not Fare Well in Front of a Psychiatrist

While White refers to early mystics in making his case for what a unitive state of consciousness entails, he does not seem to notice that these people, in terms of his proposition of developing a fully functioning ego as a necessary prerequisite to transpersonal realms, would not only fail in this regard but that by his criteria the kind of odd and extremely eccentric behavior of holy people in the past would be considered insane.

My point is that in neither White’s nor Wilber’s limited Western viewpoint is there any allowance for that kind of “regressive” behavior on the spiritual path. I quote Feuerstein (1991) as an antidote to this omission:

It is true that when we look at crazy adepts like Drukpa Kunley or Nityananda, we see phenomenal feats of renunciation. But we also see behavior that, certainly in the eyes of a psychiatrist, at times borders on the neurotic, if not psychotic. Some of these holy fools have in fact wondered about their own sanity. The saintly Ramakrishna, teacher of the world-famous Vivekananda, is a case in point. For a period of time he ceremonially worshipped his own genitals, and on other occasions he installed himself on the altar of the temple where he served as head priest.

Such behavior is certainly not “normal.” Nor is sitting on garbage heaps or sexually fondling women and girls, as has been reported of several contemporary Hindu adepts. (p. 21)

The “Fully Functioning Ego”

Thus, I re-iterate, as White (1990) himself points out (p. xxiv, he says “I elaborate on this central point throughout the book”), central to White’s argument that we are evolving into a new species of human at this time in history is that the characteristic Western ego “development”—one could as easily say (and some have said)—”ego-dissociation”—is a necessary prerequisite to higher consciousness. Thus he marshals in, to support his proposal, the concept of the “fully functioning ego” which Wilber has unfortunately popularized.

A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Most “Sanitized” Modern Spiritual Pursuits

What these transpersonal theorists are claiming then, in deference to mainstream psychology which is dominated by ego psychologists, is that a fully functioning ego is necessary to develop before one can go on to transpersonal pursuits. My research and experience, confirmed by that of Stanislav Grof and supported by the theory of Michael Washburn (1988) and others, tells me they are wrong in this espousal and that in fact what they are talking about developing is merely a supremely defended ego. It seems that what they would wish to develop is high self-esteem as a prerequisite for higher consciousness.

But the Idea of Necessary Defenses Is a Relic of Antiquated Freudian Thinking

Yet my research indicates that this is a legacy from Freudian thought which claimed that defenses are necessary. To the contrary, what we have learned from primal therapy and the other experiential, feeling psychotherapies is that defenses are not necessary.

Self Esteem Versus Self Regard

Furthermore, research by Gergen and Marlowe (1968) points out that there’s a difference between high self-esteem and high self-regard.

High Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant

Essentially, high self-esteem involves the use of defenses that deny and avoid aspects of reality, whereas high self-regard is based on an openness to and acceptance of those same kinds of unpleasant aspects of reality. Self-esteem and the fully functioning ego is based on distortion of reality and falseness relative to the Self; high self-regard is rooted in painful and not necessarily so functional acceptance of reality in its dark and light, pleasant and unpleasant facets.

Attunement with the Higher Self Involves a Diminution of the Ego, a Reduction of Ego Defenses

Similarly, there is a difference between what is often called ego strength and what is meant by the fully functioning ego. For ego strength, as Erikson (1968, 1985) uses it for example, is really a consequence of being in tune with the higher self, which is in fact not ego strength at all. On the contrary, this kind of attunement with the higher self (or Self) represents a diminution of the ego, a reduction of ego defenses.

Madness and Genius … Madness and Mysticism

Going back historically, what is noticeable about mystical adepts (not always their followers, interestingly—see Hesse [1930/1968], for example) is their lack of ego, often from a very early age, and how they are closer to their mystical promptings because of this. This pattern also relates to creative people and the process of creativity. For creative people from all times quite often exhibit this poorly functioning ego that has often been associated with mystics. Because of this, people are familiar with the connection between madness and genius as well as the one between madness and mysticism. (See Erikson, 1962.)

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“Fully Functioning Ego” Actually Precludes, Rather Than Precipitates, the Mystical

The point is that in neither of these cases is there the development of this recent prescription: “the fully functioning ego.” In fact, a fully functioning ego is the last thing a person with mystical promptings would want to develop.

An Anal-Compulsive Control of Inner Life

One begins to suspect that what these transpersonal theorists and their legions of followers are really saying is that they really do not want to surrender to mystical promptings or to surrender to the Divine.

Affirmations, Ritual, and the Like Are Capitulation to the Controlling Ego and a Flight from True Spiritual-Mystical Surrender

What this kind of thinking says about these erstwhile spiritual adepts is that they want to continue to do their controlling; they want to continue to do their affirmations; they want to control their inner life. Certainly there are fear reasons why one would want to avoid the path of spiritual surrender and would wish to carry one’s controlling and defensive ego over with one into the transpersonal realms. And the devolutional model helps us to see the very deep roots of that fear and makes this entire transpersonal gambit quite understandable.

Worst of All, These Beliefs Have Roots in Racism and Western Supremacism

Still, the dictates of truth, and of real spirituality, require that these fearful prescriptions and their illusion-weaving proselytizers be spotlighted for what they are. For it is bad enough when one is self-deluded. It is purely unacceptable when one seeks to foist one’s ego defensiveness onto the spiritual pursuits of others. It is worse still when institutions, such as the psychiatric and psychological, are reinforced in their antiquated and soul-destroying methods by such efforts and beliefs. And it is worst of all when these beliefs support the kind of unconscious racism and denigration of other-than-Western-cultures that has caused so much suffering historically.

Continue with A Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Spiritual Thinking: Whereas Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem

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

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

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The Linear Fallacy and Ken Wilber’s Fall from Grace: Spiritual Growth Is Hardly Linear … You Can’t Put “Enlightenment” on Your To-Do List

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The Linear Fallacy

Cybernetic Dreaming

asfadfa220px-Trappist_praying_2007-08-20_dtiEven in the field of transpersonal psychology, for example, there seems an inability to accept such a visceral, energetic, cathartic, “Dionysian,” spiritual path—a “surrendered” one … a shamanistic one. Instead we see a tendency to opt for “Appollonian” head trips, mere relaxation and visualizations, cybernetic ego programming and affirmations, and rational-intellectual metaphoristics—a “controlling” path (cf., Berman, 1986, “Cybernetic Dream”).

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We hear that one must have an ego before one can lose one … as if we all, from birth, don’t have some kind of ego! We hear that there are “healthy” ego defenses to have … as if all defenses are not in some way the avoidance or distortion of truth.

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Ken Wilber’s Mistake

Interestingly, Ken Wilber—who, along with Stanislav Grof, is considered a fountainhead of modern transpersonal psychology—has been, at different times, on both sides of this development. His change of position from The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977) to The Atman Project (1980) is, in my opinion, regrettable. Obviously, from the analysis presented in this book, Falls from Grace, it is clear that I believe that his stance at the outset, in The Spectrum of Consciousness, is closer to the truth.

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The Prepersonal and the Transpersonal Are Not Separate

hippiesFurther, I agree with Washburn (1990) that Wilber’s espousal of a prepersonal/transpersonal distinction (Wilber, 1982)—which predicates his change of position—”assumes a major point at issue,” specifically, that “‘pre’ and ‘trans’ states are totally unrelated, and are in fact opposites,” and that Wilber does not establish this position empirically (p. 94). lunch-21_thumbSimilarly, while I regret the use to which Schneider (1987) puts this information, I concur with him that “a careful reading of the case evidence does not—as Wilber . . . would have it—clearly differentiate (prepersonal) psychotics from truly (transpersonal) visionaries” (p. 202).

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Ken Wilber’s Pre/Trans Distinction—Does Not Fit with the Evidence

In sum, the operative factor in Wilber’s change of position, which is also a basic building block of all of his later theory—that is to say, the pre/trans distinction—does not fit with the evidence from the spiritual or psychiatric literatures. It certainly does not fit with the evidence of experiential psychotherapy and pre- and perinatal psychology. Finally, as Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 140) pointed out, neither does his hypothesis appear to fit with the evidence of meditation research.

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One Returns to the Beginning, Again and Again

As Grof (1985) said concerning Wilber’s pre/trans distinction:

My own observations suggest that, as consciousness evolution proceeds from the centauric to the subtle realms and beyond, it does not follow a linear trajectory, but in a sense enfolds into itself.

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In this process, the individual returns to earlier stages of development, but evaluates them from the point of view of a mature adult. At the same time, he or she becomes consciously aware of certain aspects and qualities of these stages that were implicit, but unrecognized when confronted in the context of linear evolution.

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Thus, the distinction between pre- and trans- has a paradoxical nature; they are neither identical, nor are they completely different from each other. (p. 137)

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Ken Wilber’s Fall from Grace

Indeed why Wilber, while acknowledging Grof at least, would choose not to incorporate the findings of prenatal and perinatal psychology and would opt instead for a Piaget-based theory of development that begins (1) at birth (1980, p. 6) and (2) with the self identified with matter that is defined as lowest consciousness (1980, p. x and p. 7)—a Piaget-based theory that is radically altered by prenatal and perinatal psychology and consciousness research in general (see Grof; Pearce, 1980)—is a mystery in itself. emotionless_spock_by_elfqueen1969-d2yx7rp The Alpha and the Omega Meet By that I mean that (1) Wilber ignores the first nine months of an individual’s life, as if those experiences—which others, and myself in this book, have shown to be all-important—are not only not influential but non-existent!

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By that I also mean that (2) Wilber (1980) claims that at birth the self is identified with matter (p. x and p. 7), which he calls the pleroma and which he states is a gnostic term for the virgo mater or materia prima (p. 20). First of all, my reading of gnosticism does not tell me that the pleroma is a primal matter but rather a primal spiritual source from which all else—specifically, matter—devolves.

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Gnostic writings tell that, in fact, the creation of matter and the world occurs later, much later in the course of devolution than the “spiritual” pleroma. They tell also that the material universe comes in only with the creation of the inferior god, the Demiurge (the ego); and that it is a flawed creation—one might say it is one that no longer adequately reflects spirit and that it has fallen from grace. (See Robinson, 1988, The Nag Hammadi Library in English)

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“God Is All There Is.”

This may seem a minor point; however, its implications are huge for Wilber’s theory and it indicates exactly where we differ. What I am saying is that, from a particular perspective—one might say a gnostic one—matter is from spirit (or Consciousness), is of the same stuff as spirit (except that it is flawed). That really and truly what we see “out there” is spirit and is no different from what we experience “in here” save that our sensory experience is an imperfect—one might say, reflected or indirect—experience . . . but of the same thing! This is indeed the implication of the new physics and the new psychology. As one song sums it up: “God is all. God is all there is.”

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Now, Wilber knew this in The Spectrum of Consciousness; he espoused this perspective in that book. That he later turned from this radical spiritual perspective on matter; this mystical, Eastern, “new physics,” psychedelic, and Platonic perspective on the material world and sensory experience . . . well, one might say he “fell from grace.” imadgfhfjgjklges_thumb1_thumb75340_461952720518732_919352686_n0012-1468910684_21627a3681_o The Stormy Path to Self As Grof (1985) has exclaimed concerning Wilber:

It is . . . somewhat surprising that he has not taken into consideration a vast amount of data from both ancient and modern sources—data suggesting the paramount psychological significance of prenatal experiences and the trauma of birth. (pp. 135-136)

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Further, concerning Wilber’s theoretical system:

The complexity of embryonic development and of the consecutive stages of biological birth receives no attention in this sophisticated system, which is elaborated in meticulous detail in all other areas. (p. 136)

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You Can’t “Program” Your Way Into Transcendence

It seems that Wilber (1980, 1982), however—as one of the chief proponents of the ego-quest-as-precondition-to-spiritual-quest school of transpersonal thought—has made the mistake of constructing his transpersonal argument within the gravitational field of the Western ego psychologists. Thus it ends up helplessly skewed in that direction. He completely ignores the evidence cross-culturally for the ego weakness that most often characterizes mystical adherents and religious practitioners.

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Ken Wilber’s Cop-Out

Hence, Wilber’s overall position is muddied in contradiction. See, for example, A Sociable God. Here Wilber says adolescence includes previous structures:

As the adolescent mind emerges, it destroys the exclusive identity with the body but does not destroy the body itself; it subsumes the body in its own larger mental identity. (1983, p. 104)

homepageNow, compare that with The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977) in which he contends that each stage splits off from and represses previously “owned” realities making them unconscious. There are no two ways to interpret this: In the earlier work, he saw a reduction, or devolution, in consciousness with each subsequent stage in consciousness—exactly the position I espouse in this book. Whereas by the latter work, A Sociable God, he himself has become more conforming with societal beliefs, more “sociable,” and becomes an apologist for the status quo. He begins rationalizing—as people tend to do as they get older and more split off from their real feelings—that it was not “all that” repressed after all when one 0044-legiondefygod300full-2went from one stage to the other of the spectrum. This is the transpersonal psychology equivalent of the older person, tired of the emotional baggage carried from a traumatic childhood, resigning herself to saying that, well, Daddy (or Mommy) actually did love her “in his own way.” The point is this is not about truth anymore. It is about giving up the struggle for truth and conforming to whatever beliefs make life easier … or in Wilber’s case, facilitate one on the career “ladder.”

Transcendent States Require Pre-Egoic Integration

0003-imasgfsgsgsgfsgesAt any rate, I think the integration of Wilber’s work with that of Grof, primal psychology, Masters and Houston, and the new prenatal and perinatal information from various sources helps to clarify some of the confusion resulting from his change of position. [Note 1] My hope also is that my work in this book in integrating all of the above, including Wilber’s schema, goes at least some part of the way toward correcting the misunderstanding that arises from his omissions.

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Note

1. The new prenatal and perinatal information is referenced many times in this book—see especially Chapter One—as well as in publications and conferences of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH); the writings of Thomas Verny (1981, 1987); the evidence from primal therapy, rebirthing, holotropic breathwork, and psychedelic research—published in places too numerous to mention; and so on.

Continue with Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

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

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

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

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

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What the planetmates really think of us, the latest: On human “evolution,” control, conformity, birth…”controlling your young”

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The Twentieth Prasad — Controlling Your Young

Humans are defined by the fact of your prematurity and the consequent long period of dependence on fully growns for survival. In the light of your continued descent into ever more controlling of all aspects of your surround — as we’ve seen, your ways of having your survival needs met, your lifeways (nomadic to sedentary), the Fauna Empire of planetmates around you, the Flora Empire of planetmates, others of your own species, and even your own selves, your own otherwise authentic beingness — all coming under control over time, and over time increasing control of all these — it is not surprising, however sad, that this obsessive control would be applied to your offspring in their dependent state as well. Remember, your newborns, prematurely born, helpless, and thrown out of Nature’s divine blueprint for perfect nurturing would die out of pure despair if not for the creation of the alien construct of Ego. And the delivery system of this Ego is predominantly the fully growns who are attendant upon the needs of the helpless prematures.

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Paraphrase/ Elaboration of Twentieth Prasad by Michael Adzema:

Keep in mind that it is the mania to control your lives excessively that separates you from Nature and makes of you a consciousness opposed to the natural. For you set yourselves apart and above Nature to control Her. The core of that drive to dominate and what distinguishes you as humans and separates you from the other planetmates, as we have been saying, is your aberration of premature births—relative to the rest of us planetmates—with its result that newborns are dependent on adult caretakers for, relatively, an exceedingly long time. It is how we define you, in fact: Humans are the planetmates who experience a brutal birth, far before they are ready, which sets off a crazed overcompensation of mental activity to defend against the pain of it. Additionally, humans are the planetmates who have an excessively long infancy, where their needs are only partially met, which results in extreme controlling behavior applied to every aspect of life and all other beings in their world afterwards, in adult life.

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Now, a special example of your increasing controlling-dominating behaviors involves the way you see your children. Controlling and dominating your young is special because, remember, it is because of the characteristics of your infancy and birth that this devolution of yours away from Nature began. Your prematurity and dependency as infants causes the feeling of lack, of insufficiency, that in life pushes you to mistrust and control:

Your earliest learning of this world was that you did not get what you needed when you needed it (as an infant) and that you were left all alone to stew in that misery. So you fear, forever after, that you will not get what you need, again, and that you will die of that. Without really deciding it, driven by fear, you focus nearly all your energy and thought upon making sure those terrorizing feelings of hunger and abandonment will never happen again, in any possible future, by controlling all you possibly can that is happening around you in the present. Your intent in dominating all aspects of your surround is to wage war against a feared scarcity or shortage of life-sustaining resources, which you once experienced and—rightfully so—felt to be the gravest inequity and deadliest injustice.

But that urge to control—having its roots in your infancies—you turn around and direct back at your own infants, in their turn. For all kinds of reasons arising from that early experience of intense craving and longing—which we will elaborate upon shortly—you further hinder your children’s satisfaction of their early needs from what it would be for them otherwise. Thus you increase their drive to control everything around them when they become adults … in a vicious circle.

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So, sure enough, in your “progress of man,” your own infants became the next category of beings to come under your maddened gaze as targets for your controlling. They were convenient candidates for domination, being, as they are, completely dependent upon your fully growns for survival for that long period in infancy; and being that, to a lesser extent, for their entire childhood, they are very little able to fend for themselves without the assistance of adults.

To backtrack, your “evolution” … actually your fall from Nature … amounts to an increasing controlling fetish. We have been detailing how it began—pushed by that overheated brain and feelings of inadequateness of needs met in infancy—with a drive to control your food resources as adults. Mistrusting Nature to provide for your sustenance—as it had done for you in the past and as it does for all other planetmates—you began expanding the area of your control over food gathering by including planetmate flesh in your diet. You began hunting fauna and killing the animate planetmates for your pleasure and to beat back those dreaded uncertainty feelings.

The next stage of your taking over the details of the ways in which you would sustain yourselves involved your dominating the Flora Empire. You invented horticulture, and through farming you were able to control the lives of plant beings and suit them to your increasingly unnatural tastes and to add to your food resources.

Your descent into ever more controlling of all aspects of your environment next involved corralling planetmates. With husbandry, you took away their freedom and saw them as little different from the plants you grew and consumed. Plucked from their habitats in Nature, Fauna planetmates were, as it were, “grown” in your circumscribed habitats to be used as slave labor and/or to be parted out as food and other objects for your use.

Notice how each of these steps involves an increasing inability to view other life as sentient and deserving of respect or consideration. Under the self-centeredness of Ego consciousness, you were seeing all about you as having their reason for existence as being you.

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These developments required a sedentary mode of living, for you could not continue your natural nomadic ways while seeking to grow in place planetmates of either the vegetative or the warm-blooded variety. And this switch to a fixed domicile allowed you to act out, through excessive storage and over-accumulation, your paranoid fears of excruciating want.

Sedentary living also allowed you full sway of your defensive mania of creating substitute projects for the real adventures of life, which, now being sedentary, you could say you owned … for you had a place to put them and they did not have to be carried. So, you could go wild in your frenzies to possess and to build edifices and contraptions, equal in magnitude to your fears, that could serve in staving off that feared future of insufficiency and the dreaded pain of want. You became big on creating implements to expand your powers of control and to aid you in your outer defensiveness against your inner fears. You built structures, furnishings, tools, and devices—while sedentary—in the hopes of avoiding that sense of extreme, life-or-death need while being totally helpless to do anything about it, which you experienced in infancy. You owned, built, controlled, invented, and dominated all about you out of your terror of an imagined helplessness in the face of possible death.

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Again, Ego’s demands were to fortify itself against any and all threats to survival—imagined or real. This time, excessive accumulation and manic struggle in the creation and possession of items that might serve as insurance against future discomfort was the manner of your waging war with uncertainty. Though this lifeway satisfied these irrational desires and lusts to have and to control, it was unnatural for you, relative to what you truly wanted and needed; and it required a further diminishment of your experience of life. Specifically, sedentary living took the joy of play and adventure out of your lives and substituted sameness and drudgery—all under the promise of avoiding a lack or insufficiency of resources that was almost entirely imaginary.

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So, with increasing accumulation—allowed through sedentary living and control and domination of food sources—your next “advance” of control could manifest: You began to seek power over and to determine the behavior of other humans. The hunger games gave way to controlling-conforming ones. Status and hierarchy became the symbolic representations of your unease and insecurity—your nagging sense of lacking something you needed. And women were the ultimate targets for domination in these games, for all men could put themselves above at least these, as their reward for conformity to others.

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The methods of your control over other humans extended into cruelty, torture, and killing, in order to extract obedience. Again, your conscience allowed this through your continued removal of the idea of aliveness to all in your environs but yourself … but your Ego. In seeing all life around you as unfeeling, as not conscious or not having a soul, you had no tether on your, now thoroughly, insane and twisted proclivities for manipulation, use, and abuse.

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All of this led, in time, to your seeing even those aspects of yourselves that were outside of your Ego as being a threat. You were at odds with the natural in you—that is, that which could not come easily under control or domination. Your natural self—your real self—includes everything involving your biology … sex, for example … and the parts of your mind that naturally rebel at your sycophancy and domination in relation to others … your errant or “negative” thoughts and your doubts, for example. You could not as easily deny consciousness or aliveness to parts of yourself in order to make them “deserving” of control, so you did the next best thing and saw them as being not you and as alien. If you had to acknowledge their status as conscious and intentional, you would put yourself above them by thinking of them as subhuman or bestial … and eventually you amplified that to their being evil and demonic entities … thus further increasing your imagined distance from them. So if you were to grant their existence as being real and as in you, you saw them to not be part of you, really; you labeled yourself “possessed” and gave these parts of you a separate identity of devil.

The result is that you deemed aspects of your personhood to be targets for control and domination, too: You sought to control your sexuality, your biological functions, and your thoughts, as aspects of your controlling-conformity. Putting them outside of what you told yourself was you, they also could be put below you, as you had your women. Very similar to women also, you ascribed them a status as parts of the natural world, which you felt had ejected you (at one time) and now, as retribution, would come under your thumb. In seeking to control yourselves this way, you were rewarded also by the fact that the feeling of dominating and bullying your own body compensated for your submissive and humiliating behaviors toward those above you in status who dominated and controlled you.

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All told, you sought to align your minds, even, with “transcendent”—but actually unnatural, sterile, and unalive—principles beyond your body, which actually were unconscious alignments with controllers above you. Thus, you sought to control your thoughts, your sexuality, and your bodies—along now with your external behavior—in your excessive sycophancy and burgeoning inauthenticity.

Let us explain that last part in more detail: You had a tendency to conform to the wishes of those who had power over you, especially those who wielded that power through excessive accumulation—those who were “richer” than you. You controlled your external behavior to match what they wanted. But in doing so, you caused a split within you. Part of you did not want to be inauthentic—the part of you that was natural. So there was conflict within you; one part of you put out complaints at what you were doing. It wanted to rebel, and it sent out disturbances in your mind as its way of undermining your efforts at subservience and inauthenticity. Basically, being a suck up was disagreeable to the real part of you.

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So, to continue your conforming behavior and to have any semblance of peace with yourself you needed to find a way to deny that part of you that was real. You needed to repress its complaints. You did this by rationalizing your sycophancy as being a value and your rebellion as an evil. You created what you call “sin.”

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You see how the outer dynamic of controlling-conforming was being brought inside you and you were beginning to reflect inside you the hierarchical arrangement outside? Inside yourself, you created your own representation of a controller who demanded conformity and obedience of those below “it”—that is to say, the unacceptable, rebellious, and natural parts of you.

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But it did not stop there. For naturally the dictates you would give yourselves on the inside would be personal introjections of the demands of your superiors. What came under scrutiny were the parts of you that were unacceptable or simply not advantageous in your dealings with your higher ups. Importantly, however, these items of your personhood not advantageous to those you depended upon for survival began to include more than simply behaviors they did not like, but indeed, anything natural or biological. It was “inconvenient” to them that you might have needs; in their minds you were not quite alive, after all … you were relegated to the realm of “things” to be used as was your females and all planetmates. They would enslave you, like you were doing with planetmates, if they could. And they often did. They would provide for you and allow you to have only the bare minimum as was needed for physical survival … also as was done with kept planetmates … and all too often, kept women. Any more was too much a bother, and, after all, would reduce what they had. And their greed was as uncontainable as the fear that fueled it.

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So, your real needs were an inconvenience to those above you intent on satisfaction of their needs: You could not be loud, sexual, obtrusive, angry, too noticeable … you could not be too alive. You could not be emotional—becoming sad or tearful, after all, would be a way of saying you had needs, too … and they did not want to be reminded of that. To the contrary, only they would be allowed to feel life, you would be told to “control yourself,” “be a man (woman),” “be brave,” be strong,” “not be such a baby.” To such an extent was emotion beaten out of you that, amazingly, becoming a human adult became equal to the extent to which one could keep one’s face from moving. Having a “stone face” and being unemotional were considered by you, “mature.” Meanwhile laughter, frivolity, expressiveness, happiness, upset, and tears—all strongly evident in facial features—were to become considered childish and infantile. Indeed, those were considered bad things, which when you think of it, they need not necessarily be.

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But then, we are talking here about the way you added controlling your young, your children, to your list of domination “accomplishments.” So, being child-like—while we would see that as vivacious, fresh, and creative, in our young and not-so-young, and often, even, envied; or being creative, expressive, and/or emotion-full—while we would see that as indicating deep experience of life and passion—were instead, among you, put down severely. Being deemed childish was made as much to be mortifying for you as was being seen as feminine, for a man, was … and for exactly the same reasons: Child-like and feminine traits were both reminiscent of the Nature in you … the biological and “inconvenient.”

So, these predilections of the higher ups to wish for others to be less alive was for the purpose of making it so you could be more manageable (and usable) to them. Also, they did not want to see in you reminders that you were actually alive and feeling, for they wished to control you even to the extent of wanting you to act in a way as to not remind their consciences of their atrocious behavior. This would be reflected by you in your dealings with your young, when inflicting corporal punishment, as “Don’t you dare cry; I’ll give you something to cry about” … as “This hurts me more than it hurts you” … and simply “Don’t cry.” In essence, the parent as controller insists that child not be so inconvenient as to do anything that would trigger a conscience or awareness in the adult … a knowledge that one is, as you say, “being a dick.”

This wanting for you to not be “inconvenient” and for you to be more usable and manageable in this very day arises in the effort to make people more machine-like or robot-like. Certainly this was wanted of you in recent times for the purpose of you being usable cogs in the industrial machinery. But in this time, amazingly, you are so estranged and have become so complicit in your abject subservience that you are trying to link yourselves, your minds and your senses, to machines, computers and the like … you fantasize becoming computers, in a sense, even, calling it transhumanism and thinking you would have more power that way … again, more power meaning being even more controlling in your behavior. It is trans-human, yes, but only in the critical and disapproving way we have been describing you as humans. In yearning to be machines, and thus the ultimate in unalive and non-feeling, to such an extent have you forgotten your natural selves and succumbed to sycophancy in the service of your overlords.

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Your kin and family relations would also be seen as inconvenient … for what was wanted was that you satisfy the needs of someone else, not yourself … so any distractions from that were not wanted … were not allowed … and to the extent they could be … were stomped down and eliminated in you.

At any rate, transgressions of the overlord’s demands for you to be undemanding and unneedy … unalive … were handled by them with a degree of humiliation and, often, cruelty, equal in size to their fear of “losing control” of you.

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Tragedy enough, that was. But worse, the parts of you that were unacceptable to higher ups outside of you thus became unacceptable to you inside of you, too. You sought to align your inner reality with your outer one. Keep in mind that everyone else in Nature seeks to align their outer reality with their inner one. Quite simply, beings in Nature seek to manifest a world that is conducive to the fulfillment of their needs and the expression of their inspirations. You did the opposite: You sought to deny your needs and to stifle any expression of yourself … indeed, you sought to not be inspired and certainly to not appear to be inspired … for that also would be inconvenient to your higher ups.

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You evolved certain cultural mechanisms to help you in estrangement from yourself. Chief among these is what you call, “religion.” Through religion you could erect an edifice outside yourself to support your inner struggle to keep from being too real, too inconvenient.

With religion, you could create a transcendent ideal—that is, an ideal separate from your biology or your personhood … something detached from reality, actually. You could strive to achieve a separation of yourself from yourself, in particular the natural parts of you, and rationalize it as being better and superior. On the other side of this, you would diminish, repress, control, and subjugate all the “less transcendent” aspects of yourself. You would do to yourself on the inside what you were allowing to be done to you by higher ups on the outside, as well as what you were doing to those below you in status and, if you were a man, to the women in your life.

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But therein you see the illusion and wrong-gettedness of your thinking. For indeed this transcendent ideal—furiously upheld by your religions—was nothing other than the introjected desires and demands of the controllers above you. You were telling yourselves that you were obedient to God and “properly” fearful of God, but it was only your sycophancy and your conformity behavior in regards to the Large Accumulators that you were justifying.

It is understandable, then, how so much of your religious dictates … “commandments,” for example … were thinly veiled expressions of the desires of Large Accumulators. You were told “not to covet your neighbor’s goods,” and in this way the Large Accumulators would have their riches protected and have you feeling guilty about your desires to rebel at this inequality of ownership. We will tell you more about that later.

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The upshot of all this was that you sought absolute determination and control over your lives through an insular, defended Ego. You sought control over everything outside of it, whether that was in your environments and whether they were things or people, or whether they were inside of you and they were desires, inspirations, emotions, biological needs, or even just “negative thoughts — which is to say, thoughts that at their root where inconvenient to your higher ups and would work to your disadvantage with them if they were ever discovered. In doing all this, then, you obliterated the last of any possible authentic beingness for you.

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And with each fall from grace and over time you enlarged your capacity for and appetite to control.

Keeping these deleterious developments in mind—with all things coming under control over time, and over time there being increasing control of them—it was sadly inevitable that this obsession would reach into that dominion you have over your young ones in their dependent state at the beginnings of their lives. The repression, control, domination, and denigration that you brought to bear on all of Nature, on those below you in status, on women, you now brought to bear upon the most vulnerable of you … the easiest and most easily manipulated of targets … the weakest and most dependent of the beings so far being put “under management.”

So, however sad, it is not surprising that your obsessive controlling would be applied to your offspring in their dependent state. Keep in mind that your newborns, unlike any others of us—planetmates who have not split from Nature’s perfect ways—require careful nurturing by caregivers. Your newborns cannot cling to their mother’s fur after birth, as your nearest relative’s newborns can. Nor can they search for and acquire nourishment from their mothers’ breasts, as can other planetmates.

Yet your newborns’ requirements are even more excessive, since you are burdened, in infancy as well as throughout your life, with a residue of trauma from birth. You say some of you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of traumatic and inordinately painful and psychologically unmanageable events that happen to some of you in adulthood. How little you realize that your entire species is exactly so traumatized at that very time of your life, birth, when you are least able to integrate a shock to your systems.

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Hence your newborns require even more of comfort and bonding with caregivers and mothers, and even more attention to their needs, and nurturing, than the rest of us; yet you receive less.

Being prematurely thrown out of the womb, your newborns are abjectly helpless. And then they have to confront a processing at birth that one of your fully growns would label torture, if they had to undergo it. Not only are they subjected, while still naked, to a much colder environment than the ninety-eight degrees they are used to in in the womb, they are sometimes hit or slapped. Many of your cultures have this idea of “toughening” the newborn by immersing it immediately after birth in freezing cold water or subjecting it to some other mind obliteratingly painful experience.

Newborns are almost always confronted with blazing lights and thunderous and assaultive sounds. Remember this is all comparative to what they experienced in the womb. Don’t your eyes smart and burn when coming into a bright sunlight from a dark place? A tiny example, that is, but try keeping that in mind and applying that in trying to understand your neonates’ first experiences of life in the world, after a full nine months of total darkness and relative quiet.

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Then, your neonates have fingers and instruments roughly inserted into their mouths, stretching the mouth wide as if to rip off the jaw, to remove mucus. To a neonate who had nothing in the womb even close to that experience, it is felt as an oral assault … as rape.

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The cord is cut early leaving them gasping for breath. They are separated ruthlessly from the entire world they had known for nine months and with no substitute connection yet in the world outside … an experience of sterile and cutting aloneness which wounds as deeply as the knife itself. Yet when they scream in horror, your fully growns laugh and smile and applaud themselves on having a healthy baby with “good lungs.” Do you have any idea, or memory, of how you feel when confronted with such insane human behavior—so insensitive, so unseeing of you—as your first experiences with humans and your future caregivers, your parents? Do you really think that you could maintain after that, if you even had it before, the trust that any of your other needs will be cared for by what seems to you to be residents of an insane asylum?

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You are taken from your mother—the whole world to you up till that very moment—and immersed into, often cold, water, to “bathe” you. You are prodded with needles and have things stuck up your bum. You are rubbed with harsh cloths or something similar right away, too. Do you think you might at this point be wondering what the hell is wrong with you the way you are? Do you suppose you might be getting a feeling that you are not acceptable in the world of the living unless you are cleaned up and careful of your appearance? Or that there is something different about you … and “inappropriate” … that you must hide or cover up?

You, as newborns, are often, at some point, placed on a cold metal scale and/or other hard surfaces for additional “processing.” Do you suppose that being handled like a thing, right at the beginning, might impress in you the idea that maybe you are of that little worth? And at a time when your natural self is aching, intensely, for bonding, for the feeling of warm and accepting flesh against your ravaged body, and for the comfort of suckling, so as to provide a connection to aliveness in this outside world to compensate for the one brutally taken away, you instead find yourself predominantly in contact with things and an inanimate world. Add to this the fact that your experiences so far with the “living” world has been seeming like a violent assault, and do you suppose you might be having stamped upon your tender psyche an imprint of bonding with things … the material world … a feeling that that is the place, the only place, of support and comfort in life?

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Eventually, you might be wrapped tightly in blankets or other cloths, which take away the one advantage you did manage to get in coming out of the womb—your feeling of free movement. Do you suppose you are really thinking that life and humans are at all on your side?

Very often you are then even taken away from your mother. You might be left somewhere, totally alone, tightly wrapped, with unfamiliar and loud noises and bright lights around you at all times, for a time that seems interminable. You moan and complain when you are separated from a loved one as an adult … even more so when you lose that loved one to another. How do you suppose you felt when everything in the world you knew—your mother—was taken from you … who was also your sole source of comfort and nourishment and connection to life and warmth for the entirety of your life, up to that point? Do you have any remembrance of the total abject terror you experienced? Can you at least imagine?

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Usually you numb yourself at this point, as a newborn, wanting to die. You begin, at the start of your life, to try to kill yourself to escape from this world of horror you have fallen into … this apparent hell. They think you are sleeping comfortably. They do not know you are trying to die.

And in subsequent days … days which seem an eternity … as they are interspersed with bright light/darkness; coldness/warmth; being tightly wrapped, then allowed to move; being fed, then starving; and moved roughly around and manipulated, then left totally alone … you come to know the terror that death, and even worse, torture, is at hand at any corner or with any change in life. Do you have an inkling of how that felt or how it might feel? Do you think you would be open to a life of change and adventure after that? Do you suppose you might, as we have been saying, be determined for the rest of your life to never, ever, ever let anything be out of your control again … not anything? And that to the extent you needed to control all and everything about you to insure that, you would? And would you not feel sure that you would need to insure everything? For do you really suppose, after all the above, you could expect anything good to happen without actually making it happen? Would you not cling fanatically to a determination that you will always and forevermore do whatever you need to do … collateral damage be damned … fully focused on your desperation to never fall again into that pit of excruciating darkness, pain, and aloneness … and not even noticing those around you that your self-obsessed mania might be hurting or stomping upon.

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So, all in all, with despair and misery at hand on a constant basis, in those earliest moments of your time on Earth, you forge a resolve, out of fear, that you will fight back whoever and whatever you need to, forever! … lest you are put “under the knife” once again. And this resolve is the beginnings of your Ego … this resolve to control, to have power over, to conquer, to push all and everyone else to the side … for your survival.

You do that. Or you do die. The pain is too overwhelming or for some reason you cannot muster the resolve, and you just succumb to death, out of your utter despair and misery. And they tally you up as a crib death.

So Ego saves your life … but at great cost. For to erect the construct of Ego you need to split off from all that is good, natural, and easy in you, and loving; and instead focus around a drive to live at whatever cost. For at your youngest you are closest to Nature, your real self, and the Divine. Except for harsh experience and the trainings and teachings of those in your societies who in later life reinforce the split, you would, like us, know it, be it … you would be the Divine, you would be one with Nature. Indeed, to the extent that you can refrain from losing that child-likeness of soul and spirit, you will be closer to Divinity throughout your life.

But as a newborn even you will contribute to your ejection from that Edenal realm. It is you who will place the angels of death at the gates to Paradise. Forever after, the knowledge of that blessed experience before birth and the Divine Awareness you had of the Larger Reality of Beauty, Bliss, and pure Love, will lie on the other side of the deathly terror, the mind-numbing fright, of your experiences of birth and the time immediately afterward. So you will never look in that direction again. You will block out of your memory, even, that such a thing ever existed, having had imprinted in your flesh though not allowed into your conscious mind that that time is associated with the most excruciating and hellacious events you have ever experienced—your time in birth and as a newborn.

Your newborns would, thus, out of despair even die off if not for splitting off from their misery through your construct of Ego.

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And how will you construct such an Ego? The only thing you know of in your world at this point are your attendants—your caregivers and parents, in particular your mother. So what you learn from them is the only thing you even have available from which to build your new and unreal self. So, at the beginning only just from example, they and their behavior are your guides. Indeed, since you are so dependent upon them for life, the first thing you learn is who to be in order to get your needs at least met enough to keep you alive.

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This is the beginning of that controlling-conformity behavior that follows you throughout your life: Your resolve is to control; your deepest drive and motivation is to dominate and have power over all the factors that influence your life so that you will live and never experience that terrifying helplessness and fear ever again. But in order to live, to just simply live, to get the basic minimum for survival—of food, warmth, comfort, rest … and all the rest of that—you need to conform. You need to carefully observe and monitor what it is that will result in your receiving something life supporting and what it is that you do that results in something harsh and painful. Like a pigeon pushing a lever to get a pellet, you learn quickly and well. And you build your entire modus operandi for life out of these early lessons.

Thus, in your early lives, dependent on adult caretakers, it is those fully growns attending you that guide you. They, with all their insanity and their inability to truly take in or really notice much in the world outside of their Egos, must now attend to you. And, being as they are the sole models for the Ego of the child at that time, they also will be the delivery systems for that unusual human construction of Ego. Your adults, in particular the parents, will be the major instruments in creating this strange and abominable thing of consciousness, this Ego.

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***

You may have wondered how we could be so forgiving of you after all you humans do to us planetmates. Maybe now, with your seeing how much we see of you and how much we realize the unusual and horrific things you go through, you might begin to understand. For none of us would wish your lot on any of us. We get it; we get exactly why you have become the savage species you are. Indeed, we have a feeling in looking upon you very much the same as the way you view some of the most unfortunate of your own: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

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To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time, of which this is an excerpt … Go to The Great Reveal from The Planetmates

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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

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

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

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Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

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Excerpt from Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man … a work-in-progress

Suffering Ape

So here again is something that makes us distinct from those beings still in Nature, those not prodigal, not “fallen.” We are, as I have been saying, different from those in Nature in our having created a birth that is more painful than any other in Nature and that leaves us born more premature than any others. We have seen how this prematurity leads to even more pain likely in our lives because in our earliest time of development we are not assisted by a near-perfect Nature, but must rely on damaged adults—who because of these things are even more damaged than if they had been adult planetmates in Nature. I have detailed how this has led to a split from Nature, the development of unnecessary spoken and thought symbols of Nature—language—which actually hide Nature more than it reveals it; so therefore also we have this overcomplication of Existence. It became clear how this separation has led to a fear that has caused us to forego Natural blessings and to believe that we are independent actors capable of creating our own blessings.

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But we saw how in attempting to do this, we needed to control everything and everyone around us. We saw how this perversion—something we do about all other of the flaws which distinguish us humans from Nature—we spin as being some honor, achievement, or proof of superiority. It became clear how we call that perversion to control, “free will”; thus making of ourselves separate gods to make up for the loss of the knowledge that we are God, yes, but inseparable from Nature or each other—One God. It is clear then how and why we rationalize this delusion of “free will” into a “crown” proving our superiority, thus enabling us in even greater and more harmful controlling. I described how this greater controlling leads us to ever more complications of existence and separation from it … and then around again, in a vicious cycle. And finally, we see how, all in all, this has resulted in our creating the most miserable lives among all planetmates on Earth.

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So this is another thing that distinguishes us as humans. We can be said to be those planetmates who have created the most painful lives. We have blown up the acceptable and necessary “darkness” of life into something that can often be horrifying in the degree of its pain….

Why would beings want to do this? For what reason would any being desire such darkness as humans have managed to manifest in reality out of their tortured mentality?

But we humans have done this. And in keeping with the Divine perfection in which we exist but which we deny and mentally separate ourselves from, this seeming flaw in our perception, this magnification of pain into horror, making darkness darker, is that which, perfectly so, through Divine Providence, provides our actual salvation from all we have wrought. Our very survival … indeed our redemption … lies in this unique and strange capacity of ours to make darkness darker, but then also it makes possible that light can be brighter, that the experience of life can be even more wonderful than it is, in essence….

Redemption

It should be clear we need redemption. For we have created horror here in Reality, to match our imaginings, that is of a nearly perfect wrongness. This is the blackest of nights that we have brought down upon ourselves, but it is made that much worse in that we would, in our insanity, pull all of Creation, all living things, as well into this hell we have created … this utter darkness.

So we need to redeem ourselves by reconciling with that Creation, which we so arrogantly threaten. It is arrogant, because we give nary a thought to that which we do. We have this claim of high morality—another vanity we have blessed upon ourselves in rationalizing our inferiority and wrong-gettedness. Yet where is our morality as concerns the most basic fundamental thing about life: whether it goes on or ceases? We have laws that say, “Though shalt not kill.”

Once again, it is clear we tell ourselves these things and put them on high to rein ourselves in from doing that which we in particular are inclined to do. For, in our fallenness from Nature, we have become not just suffering ape, but also killing ape. We would bring down our entire species—committing a most unprecedented humanicide—but participate in the ending of all other species as well—commit an ecocide.

So, how exactly does such a killing species reconcile with a Creation in which everything in it has become its enemy, including itself?…”

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Welcome Home

So, do you not see the Divine Providence you have turned your back on, resisted, even defied appearing here and now to welcome you home? Do you not see that, like the Prodigal Son, you are being invited back into Eden in all this? If Reality were of a malevolent character, would it not spite you rather than enlighten you? Would it not strike you down for defiance instead of lift you up into illumination? Would it not let you stew in confusion and misery rather than raise you above the trials and travails you continually create for yourself?

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It is for you alone to decide, then. Not we as a species, for we are only many you’s and I’s acting individually out of the inspiration we each receive from within, sometimes stimulated and risen to awareness, only, by our interactions and communications with each other. It is for you to decide whether you, yourself, in this very moment, will allow yourself to be welcomed back into the Divine fold: Will you continue your delusion—your human separation from Nature and All That Is—to an ungodly end for you and us all? Or will you accept the warm embrace of Benevolence that is being offered you? You must choose….

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If a sufficient number of us do not choose to take up alliance once again, like we did long ago and for much of our time as a species on Earth, with all of Nature and act to nurture and defend the exquisite Creation on this planet, that indecision, that refusal to become transformed, will become known to all of us very soon in the events that will come increasingly into our lives, disturbing us, inconveniencing us, making us suffer, and causing for us a miserable, agonized end. With global climate change, worldwide pollution of air, water, and land, and the likely detonation of our nuclear arsenals at some point, we may well look on the days of Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and Fukushima as the glory days … the halcyon days of yore.

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However, what we can do instead is to stop running away and start “standing” and “facing” what we are manifesting—having the faith that not only will we be able to do this, but that it will teach us, lift us up, inspire us into right action as regards these unprecedented unfoldings, ennoble us, guide us, and, greatest of all, sanctify and fulfill our lives bringing them once again into perfect resonance with the Good of All, the All That Is….

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[excerpts from “Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man” … a work in progress]

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

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