*Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, & the Prenatal Roots of Humanicide* by Michael Adzema (2018) Complete book. Free. Downloadable.

Complete and Downloadable, with my compliments. *Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, & The Prenatal Roots of Humanicide* (2018) by Michael Adzema, Book 11 in the Return to Grace Series.

Psychology of Apocalypse cover picture for blog post 2, rszd

It is not that there is no basis for establishing what is sane. What is sanity then? Continuing from concepts first brought out in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, this work shows just what sanity looks like in our current situation. It requires we look at the deepest roots of our personality created out of the experiences we have in common during our womb and birth experiences — our prenatal and perinatal templates.

Beyond that, the only sane response to an emergency is activism … and the sanest response is heroism. Not sainthood. Not enlightenment. Not social status. Not corporate success. Not any kind of material achievement. No. the only sane response to a situation where we stand in front of a house on fire is to pick up a bucket. Anything else is numb, unfeeling, quite dissociated, and selfish.

And when one is inside that house, the only response is to get out the fire extinguisher, seek to help the ones inside to get free from the flames, to minimize the suffering of others and to save others and oneself, regardless if one succeeds or not. The only sane response is thus heroism.

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PSYCHOLOGY OF APOCALYPSE

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.Also by Michael Adzema

From the Return to Grace Series:

Culture War, Class War: Occupy Generations and the Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths.” Volume 1. (2013)

Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call. Volume 3. (2013)

Apocalypse NO: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious.Volume 4. (2013)

Wounded Deer and Centaurs: The Necessary Hero and the Prenatal Matrix of Human Events. Volume 5. (2016)

Planetmates: The Great Reveal. Volume 6. (2014)

Funny God: The Tao of Funny God and the Mind’s True Liberation. Volume 7. (2015)

Experience Is Divinity: Matter As Metaphor. Volume 8. (2013)

Volume 9. (2014)

Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man. Volume 10. (2016)

Back to the Garden: The Psychology and Spirituality of Humanicide and the Necessary Future. Volume 12. (scheduled 2022)

The Necessary Revolution. Volume 2. (forthcoming)

Primal Return: Renaissance and Grace. Volume 13. (forthcoming)

Primal Renaissance. Volume 14. (forthcoming)

From The Path of Ecstasy Series:

The Secret Life of Stones: Matter, Divinity, and the Path of Ecstasy. Volume 1. (2016)

Dance of the Seven Veils I … Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self … Adult to Toddler. Volume 2. (2017)

Dance of the Seven Veils II … Prenatal/Perinatal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Divine Self … Infant to Prenate. Volume 3. (scheduled 2022)

Dance of the Seven Veils III…Periconceptional/Transpersonal Psychology, Mythology, and Your Original Face…Cellular to Soulular. Volume 4. (scheduled 20)

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Psychology of
Apocalypse

Ecopsychology, Activism, and
the Prenatal Roots of Humanicide

Return to Grace, Volume 11

MICHAEL ADZEMA

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Gonzo Sage Media: Eugene, Oregon: sillymickel@gmail.com

Copyright © 2018 Michael Adzema

All rights reserved.

ISBN-13: 978-1544657134

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For all environmental activists, breathworkers, and primalers.

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION:  On Sanity, Insanity, and Ecopsychology 1
PART ONE:  APOCALYPSE AND INSANITY 5
1 Humanicidal Times:These Are Strange Days … If You’re Not Alarmed, You’re Not Paying Attention 7
2 Activism, Nuclear, and Insanity:Success, Failure, and Deliberate Stupidity 16
3 Crisis Without End:The Ticking Time Bombs of Fukushima and Hanford … Nuclear Radiation, Nuclear Waste, and the End of All Life on Earth 25
4 Humans Want to Die:On Humanicide, Thanatos, the Shadow, and Our Compulsion to Kill Ourselves 32
5 People Are Fucking Nuts!People Want to Die; People Want to “Blow Everything Up,” Even at the Cost of Their Children’s Lives 46
6 The Descents of Man:Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up 60
PART TWO:  PRENATAL MATRIX OF HUMANICIDE 83
7 Perinatal Matrices of Experience:How Our Experience of Birth Configures Everything We Experience and Know, for the Rest of Our Lives 87
8 Perinatal Heaven, BPM I:Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix I … Lloyd deMause’s Societal Period of Prosperity and Progress 95
9 Perinatal Hell, BPM II:Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix II … Lloyd deMause’s Societal Entrapment and “Poisonous Placenta” Preceding Wars 105
10 Perinatal Struggle, BPM III:Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix III … in Lloyd deMause’s Schema, Actual War 112
11 Perinatal Freedom, BPM IV:And Punishment … Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix IV … in deMause’s Schema, the Ending of a War 120
12 Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil:Prenatal Suffering Is the Root of Virtually All Human Atrocity — Greed, War, Torture, Rape, Racism, Murder, Massacre, Bigotry, Pollution, Apocalypse 135
13 Prenatal Crowdedness Become War and Violence, PME 1:Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 1 … Claustrophobia, Compression, Hemmed In, Oppressed, Enslavement, Imprisonment, Straitjackets … “Back Off!” 146

14 Prenatal Suffocation Become Greed and Class War, PME 2:Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 … Gasping, Suffocation, Drowning, Being “Cut Off” Become Greed, Oppression, Conformity … “They’re Sucking the Very ‘Life Blood’ Out of Us!” 155
15 Prenatal Oxygen Hunger Become Bigotry and Racism, PME 2:Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 … Deprivation Become Jealousy, Anti-Semitism,  Xenophobia, Blood Libel, Anti-Immigration, Vampire Symbolism, Capitalism … “Please, Mother, Might I Have Some More?” 166
16 Prenatal “Poisoning” Become Paranoia and Intolerance, PME 3:Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 3 … “Bad Blood,” Disgust, Nauseated, Sickening Become Homophobia, Smoking, Sadism-Masochism, Addictions, Money Fetish, Air and Food Pollution, Propaganda … “Don’t Feed Me That Bullcrap!” 174
17 Prenatal Revulsion Become Phobias and Sexual Abuse, PME 4:  Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 … Burning, Irritation, Itchiness, Creepiness, “Makes Skin Crawl,” Dirtiness, OCD, “Ewww,” Rape, Insect Phobia … “Don’t Bug Me!” 188
18 Prenatal Irritation Become Bigotry and Body Adornment, PME 4: Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 … Revulsion, Itchiness Become Racism, Tattoos, Tea-Party Politics, Hippie-Bashing, Genocide … Loss of the “Golden Age” 198
19 Our “Prenatal” Air:Prenatal “Pollution” Become Toxic Environment, Worldwide Oxygen Insufficiencies … People Are Dying from Oxygen Deprivation 210
20 Prenatal Earth, Life in Gaia’s Womb:Pollution as a Psychedelic? Will We Be Born? Can You Look Your Belly in the Face? 222
21 Gaia’s Weeping:Toxic Womb ~ Toxic Earth. How We Re-Create Human Prenatal Irritation-Burning in a Polluted Planet; Earth Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Prospects 231
PART THREE:  HEALING CRISIS AND REGRESSION IN THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY 243
22 Healing Crisis:Prenatal-Perinatal Awareness, Being Weller but Appearing Sicker, Trancing Versus Suffering, and We Shall Overcome 245
23 Prenatal Politics, Generationally Speaking:Panicky Electorate, Biting the Feeding Hand, Perinatally Oblivious Right-Wing “Hate Groups,” the Tea Party, and the Fifties Generation … Perinatal Access of Millennials 256
24 A Hierarchy of Healing:Different Levels, Different Defenses; Flaunting One’s Sickness Beats Hiding It; Progress Is Necessarily “Messy,” yet Suffering Beats Dying 267
25 Gaia’s Cure and Eden Arise:Through Gaia’s Eyes, Nature Balances HerSelf … Aided by Gaia We Rediscover Our Natural Self 284
26 Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth:Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence … What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Children? 297
27 Spiral Dancing and Messy Healing:Driven to Rebirthing Rituals and Regressions in the Service of Society … Where There is Real Hope 316
28 Perinatal Generations:Millennials Are Sixty-ish, Gen Xers Are Fifty-ish; Generations – Their Drugs and Politics 334
29 A Drive to Healing:Millennial Promise and Prospects of Collective Regression … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits 345
30 Enter the Centaur:Chiron Return and Open the Jar, Pandora … Wherein Lies Real Hope … Return to the Centaur 357
31 Wounded Deer and Centaurs:For People Bordering Sanity … Wounded Deer and Centaurs Within a Suffering Promethean World 365
32 Generation of Centaurs:We Wanted to Make a Better World; We Looked Within 374
33 The Inner and Activist Imperatives: How Crazy Is Insanity? How Deadly Is Dead? … Don’t Be a Brain-Sucker 382
34 Angels and “Demons”: The Horror Revealed, Death as an Ally, Crisis and Opportunity … The Beotter Angels of Our Nature Are Being Summoned 392
35 Opportunity and Awakening: Wounded Deer, Centaurs, and the Necessary Hero — The Solution to Misery and the Way to Happiness 406
36 The Sins of the Father:We Were Once Noble Humans; Our Point of Departure Is a Psychotic Culture; Sure, It’s Hard, but For Earth’s Sake, Get Real! 415
PART FOUR:  THE NEW HERO’S CYCLE 431
37 Rites of Passage and the Hero’s Cycle:Jesus, Joe, the Mbuti, the Millennial Generation, and the Tao of Funny God …
of Heroes, Patriarchal and Other
433
38 The Old Hero, the Patriarchal Hero:The World Divided, Origins of Monsters, the Third Fall from Grace, and Patriarchal Fantasy of the Feminine … The Way of Perseus 446
39 Patriarchal “Tools”:Pawn on a Mission, Arsenals of the Patriarchy, and Rites of Passage into Neurosis in Patriarchal Societies — The Slaying of Dragons 460
40 What to Do with Dragons:Solar and Lunar Theologies, The Creation of Dragons in the Patriarchy … Experiential Immersion Versus Trying to “Figure It Out” 477
41 Heaven Leads Through Hell:For Dreaming Out Loud! … Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions … Oh, What to Do When There’s “Nothing but Trouble” 492
42 The Tao of Funny Joe:The New Hero’s Cycle; You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano … Flipping the Script … A New Understanding of Heroism and Cowardice … To Move the World 508
43 The New Hero’s Cycle:The Means Are Everything — The Necessary Hero’s Volcano, Many Moons, Risking It All, and the Crooked Path to Self 518
44 Lightening Up:“Away from the Things of Man” … A Beneficent Universe Aids a True and Dharmic Heart … Silliness Is Next to Godliness 528
45 Darkening Down:Matriarchy in a Cage and the Perinatal Matrix of Civilization as Seen in Brazil … Perpetual Ritual Act-Outs Are Only Mollification for Our Unhappy Life Decisions 538

46 Our Deepest Self is “Feminine”:The Rise of the Goddess; Heroines, not Damsels; the Anima in Men, in Women; and “No” Is the Answer to “A Question of Balance” 546
47 The Common Madness of Civilization … and Its Cure:Perinatal Futility and Dancing with the “Devil” … in a Context of Cartoonish-Like Idiocy, a New Paradigm Patterned Upon Conception, Not Birth, Arises 553
48 The Necessary Hero:Revolutions Can Be Funny … Living Authentically in the Illusion of Life, Playing Cards with Your Dragons 565
PART FIVE:  SANITY AND ACTIVISM 577
49 Hopeful Things:Fortuitous Developments — Psychedelics and the Worldwide Mind … the Profound Significance of Knowing and Experiencing Alternatives … for the First Time in History 579
50 Helpful Things:Catalysts — Sitcom Socialization and Talk-Show Soul-Searching … Television and a “Quantum Leap” in Parenting … the Cultural Evolution Curmudgeons Cannot See 594
51 Things to Do:Resources and Trends — Things to Foster or Embrace. How Do We Pull Off the Necessary Change in Human Nature Within a Matter of Mere Decades? 606
52 Movements, To Foster:Jump on the Bandwagon and Lend a Hand … Occupy, the Women’s Movement, and Democratic Socialism 618
53 Attitudes, Inanities, and the Obvious Unspoken:Clearing the Mental Decks for Activism and an Activism “Tune-up” … What I Offer Is Not What You Normally Get, However Clearly Seen … Countering Some Attitudes 633
54 To Move the World:Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth, the Evidence for Change Occurring, the Media and Governmental Coverup, and a Race Against Time 644
55 Take One Action:Despair and Hope … Being Lifted Up into Something Beyond Oneself … One at First Sees an Angel as a Demon 652
56 The Proper Response to Insanity:Ethics in an Era of Trumpism and the Difficult, but Profoundly Fruitful, Task of Loving Your Dragons 658
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 673
NOTES  675
REFERENCES 712
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 718

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.INTRODUCTION

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On Sanity, Insanity, and Ecopsychology

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“The most important revelation of this new ecopsychology made possible by the twin factors of a collapsing environment and an advanced form of child-caring, in the last fifty years, creating the sanest generations to date is that the opposite of insanity is not normality … at all! The only sane response in an apocalypse emergency — a situation analogous to one’s house on fire — is activism!”

“The only sane response to an emergency is activism … and the sanest response is heroism.”

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Theodore Roszak, in his seminal work, The Voice of the Earth, introduced the civilized world to the term ecopsychology.

Ecopsychology

Clearly combining the meanings of the words ecology and psychology, he asked us to question the sanity of a world that would bring humanity to the brink of destruction. Clearly, our ideas of humanity and normality were estranged from the natural world in which we lived. How else could we think to destroy our own nest? He did an overview of psychology and philosophy in Western culture and showed how none of them gave us a conceptualization of humanity within Nature. All showed humans as divorced and separate, often urban, as intellectuals tend to be. Yet this is what we call “normal.” This is what we call sane. This is what our psychologies and psychologists wish to help us “adjust” to. And this is all rather questionable in light of where it has led us.

Roszak called for a psychology that would start with humans as rooted in Nature, belonging to Gaia, as it were. With all due modesty, this is that book. This work, and my other pertinent works, in particular Planetmates and Prodigal Human, indeed provide such a psychology. It is an ecopsychology where we see humans within the context of the natural world, as another planetmate within Nature.

Insanity

In addressing such an ecopsychology which sees humans within Nature, we see that normality and sanity, as viewed from within the domains of psychology as given to us down through the ages, are instead quite insane.  From a context of what would be sane for humans, in contrast to it, we evaluate where we are psychologically as humans, how we got to where we are, what it is about us that is wrong, what it has led to inevitably and why, and what insights it brings us about what now to do. How do we become sane in an insane human world — a world that is at war with its own home, that is burning down its own house, even as it barricades itself on the couch, watching television and eating chips from plastic bags that will not decompose, and so simply adding more fuel to the inferno already raging all around.

Sanity

Yet it is not that there is no basis for establishing what is sane. What this book does, in particular, even more so than Planetmates and Prodigal Human, is show what is meant by that. Following from concepts first brought out in my work Wounded Deer and Centaurs, this work shows just what sanity looks like in our current situation.

“What does sanity look like? This is what sanity looks like!”

Amazingly, in the context of a vision of humanity set within Nature, as one planetmate among all the others — as I explained in my Planetmates (2014) and clearly having gone through a devolution from Nature, not an arrogant transcendence above Nature, allowing us dominion over it … as I showed in Prodigal Human (2016) … we are seen to be quite insane. What is sanity then? This book shows that.

What we find out is that the opposite of insanity is not normality at all! Clearly, our normal sanity is just another version of insanity … a kind of group insanity, an insanity of the herd … like an entire population with the same disease. We call it “human nature,” though it is not. We do not recognize the sickness.

And we wouldn’t still, save that there are, for reasons of evolved child-caring — parenting techniques finally come back to humans — now people coming into the civilized world who provide the contrast necessary to see that.

The most important revelation of this new ecopsychology made possible by the twin factors of a collapsing environment and an advanced form of child-caring in the last fifty years, creating the sanest generations to date, is that the opposite of insanity is not normality … at all! The only sane response in an apocalypse emergency — a situation analogous to one’s house on fire — is activism! The only sane response to an emergency is to deal with it. Anything else, even normality, contributes to the death that is coming and assists that death in including more in its jaws.

The only sane response to an emergency is activism … and the sanest response is heroism. Not sainthood. Not enlightenment. Not social status. Not corporate success. Not any kind of material achievement. No. the only sane response to a situation where we stand in front of a house on fire is to pick up a bucket. Anything else is numb, unfeeling, quite dissociated, and selfish. And when one is inside that house, the only sane response is to get out the fire extinguisher, seek to help the ones inside to get free from the flames, to minimize the suffering of others and to save others and oneself, regardless if one succeeds or not. The only sane response is thus heroism.

So it is that in a time like this many things need to be re-evaluated. For not only the definition of sanity but even our understanding of heroism requires reconsideration. We have a legacy where, amazingly, heroism is associated with killers, with warriors. Well, the ones on the other side of this societally proclaimed “hero” as destroyer of life do not think this person so “heroic” now, do they? So this also must be revised. In a multicultural world, where not only the environment needs addressing but war needs revising, we see that there are no humans worth killing for the sake of anyone’s government. All are innocent. And warriors are not heroes, they are murderers. Sanctioned murderers, rewarded murderers, heralded murderers, yet murderers nonetheless.

So what this leads us to is a new definition of the hero’s cycle. This new hero’s cycle, in its turn, reveals another revision needing to be made. Which is that of the Oedipal and Electra complexes. This book shows why that is so, as well.

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PART ONE

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Apocalypse and Insanity

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“…this possibility of the actual end of days … hangs over us and affects us in ways unique and fantastic.”

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Humanicidal Times:

These Are Strange Days … If You’re Not
Alarmed, You’re Not Paying Attention
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“…when we look foursquare into the face of the global crisis and its accompanying denial, we find that these unprecedented global factors contribute to a unique and unprecedented human condition and psychology.”

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We are the product of all that has come before us. We consider ourselves to be some kind of peak to which all of history and prehistory has been leading. Aware now, we must certainly be, of the fact that that “peak” — one in which we claim to have “dominion” over Nature — must be quite insane for us to be engaged in killing ourselves … humanicide. Even worse, even more insane, and at this point murderously psychopathic, we are killing, along with ourselves, all other species … apocalypse.

These Humanicidal Times

So this is where we are today. We are the product, the end result of all we have done. And we live our days acting out not just the pushes and pulls of unconscious traumatic memories, and engraved imprints wrought of forgotten events — as I and other psychologists emphasize — but also we find our actions channeled along lines, ways of behaving and things to do and ways to think, going back thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of years. We think of that as a wonderful thing, like we are the top of some heap built up by our forebears for us to enjoy the fruits of their actions. However, we reap the consequences of all their mistakes as well.

So it is that we live in unprecedented times. These are days in which the possibility of ending our species in our lifetime, humanicide, even eliminating all life on this planet — ecocide or apocalypse— are very real possibilities. No other time has been like this. And the effect of this possibility of the actual end of days, so to speak — while so horrifying that we are in denial of it and hardly speak it — hangs over us and affects us in ways unique and fantastic.

We will either heroically, somehow, save our species and our planet, which will require a change of our human nature unlike anything that has been asked of our species ever before, or we will be witnesses to the elimination of life on this planet in some way that we cannot imagine but can only be horrific in the extreme.

So this book is hardly for those who would prefer to keep their heads in the sand and to sleepwalk through life. Certainly, that is part of the reason we could get to this pass. However, it is doubtful that such people, in such deep denial of the signs around them, would be able to hear what I will be bringing into the open here, anyway. Nonetheless, I urge you, if to the contrary you are of the type who would wish to look fiercely at the truth, no matter how horrifying it might be, and to truly witness and be awake in these most fantastic of times, then listen up.

There is much here to see, much you have never been told. A great deal of it the mainstream media will never touch for fear of creating a panic. Still, to survive our species must face our problems, not look away. And there is a nobility in doing that, which is unlike any kind of nobility or heroism that has been asked of our species before. I hope, for the sake of us all, that you are one of those heroes. For we will need many noble souls to reverse our current downslide into oblivion.

Strange Days

“Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” So sang the group Buffalo Springfield during our turbulent times in the Sixties. At the same time, Jim Morrison of the The Doors was singing, “Break on through to the other side.”

A decade later John Lennon intoned “Strange days, indeed … most peculiar, mama!” That was in the late Seventies. In the Nineties, the group R.E.M. enjoyed enormous success singing, “It’s the end of the world, as we know it”; then, “and I feel fine.”

My point is there is something happening here … something unprecedented in the entire history of this planet, as far as we are able to know. There are powerful factors and influences at work in our world now that have the capacity to change us and our world in radical ways … for good or ill. My point also, which I will get into, in the part following this one on “Prenatal Matrix of Humanicide,” is that this unprecedented situation, like the “break on through to the other side” lyric indicates, has something to do with birth and prenatal feelings, womb and birth traumas — an emerging prenatal and perinatal unconscious.

These are “strange days indeed.” They are without doubt an unraveling of “the world as we know it.” You will see that in the midst of this, we might perceive it all as an unfolding, not unraveling, an apocalypse in the old-fashioned, archaic meaning of the term as revelation or a breaking down of the old strictures on perception and an opening to an actual cosmic overstanding of ourselves and our place in the Nature and the Divine. Hence, at the end of this, against all expectation, you might just “feel fine” … or much better than that.

No, you will not see everything as rosy after reading this. You will not have learned we have been mistaken about the cataclysmic character of current events. In fact, you will be even more aware of the enormity of the events transpiring and how they have direct bearing on you, your life, and especially the lives of your loved ones. I will hardly help you in your denial and avoidance. Nope. Not any of it. Rather, like finding the eye of the storm, you just might discover your place within these apocalyptic winds. You might have revealed to you your place of stability, surety, and confidence amidst the whirling all about you … and us.

For most people, I would assume I am not saying anything new in pointing out that our times are unique. All times are unique, true. Still, what no other time has seen is the actual — not imaginedpossibility, even likelihood, of the “end of the world.” We are facing the end of our species and perhaps all life on this planet along with us. Considering just one scenario, we have the capacity, with only a minuscule amount of our nuclear weapons, to wipe out everything living on this planet. We all know this.

I used the phrase, just now, “end of the world,” deliberately. For I expect that it will evoke in some a reaction that what I am going to say from here on will be a drawn-out verbal version of a familiar cartoon, depicting a bearded and bedraggled man on a street corner, carrying a sign or wearing a clapboard proclaiming, “The end is near!” and that what I will say will have just about as much credibility as that man’s would.

I take that chance to make my first point … which is: The fact that we can so easily dismiss, ridicule, and smugly deride such ideas of apocalypse points to our complacency with these strangest and most precarious of days. In fact, we have lived with this unprecedented situation — dangling on a thread, as it were, above the abyss of nuclear annihilation, to name just one of the possible forces of extinction … we’ve lived with it for so long as for it to seem commonplace, as part of the normal and familiar furniture of our daily lives.

It has become so much a part of our daily lives, in fact, that we hardly give it any thought anymore. When it is brought to our attention, some of us are likely to snicker at its incongruence with our normal fare of information. Others will smugly deride our messengers of it, intimating that these sensitivities are part of another age, long since gone beyond; that they are quaint or are anachronisms from the Fifties and Sixties, compared to which they assume they are so much more enlightened.

If You’re Not Alarmed, You’re Not
Paying Attention

Regardless, these things are even more pressing and catastrophic than when they were first brought to light. The ridiculously horrendous dangers of The Bomb, rallied about in the Fifties, are immensely magnified since then. We have four times more weapons today than 1955, at the heyday of the Ban the Bomb movement. And they are eighty to four-thousand times stronger than the bombs dropped at the end of World War Two, whose continued production was terrorizing the awake folks back then.1 As concerns the environment, it is not just heading toward collapse, as it was when the ones with vision brought it to our attention in the Sixties. Now we are in out-and-out free fall. I know you do not know that. But we are.

Until you see how we are, as you continue to read in this book, at this point, for one moment, just imagine a person from a previous time in history being somehow transported into this time and being made to understand the impending forces: environmental collapse, species extinction, nuclear threat, population explosion, potential virulent epidemics on a worldwide scale far more deadly than the Black Death of the Middle Ages, human-caused earthquakes and thus tsunamis, planet poisoning, and so on.

Unless this person was Nostradamus, we can imagine this person would be hugely alarmed, to say the least. This person might well wonder at our nonchalance, or should we say apathy, in the face of such likely, not just potential, apocalypse.

You see, my purposes here are not to list and dwell on the statistics proving the premise that the current trends we are following are apocalyptic. Quite a few others are doing that right now. I, being a psychologist, am more concerned with why what they are saying is being avoided, and denied. Or why their warnings and projections are not being heeded. Why we are not doing anything like what would be a rational response to what they tell us is coming, is in fact at this moment going on, though we look away. I am also taken up by why we humans, of all species, would do this to ourselves.

So, although in upcoming chapters I will bring out some of the scientific facts and findings pertaining to the collapse of the environment and the dying off of life, this book is primarily about how we deal with the obvious. We already know much of this, but we are trying to not know it and to block it out with inanities and trivialities. We need simply to look to our daily headlines. Need I remind of the dangers from catastrophes like Fukushima and the Gulf Oil Spill?

We have radiation mixing into the world ecosystem as I write. Fukushima alone is spreading radiation that is off the charts into food, air, and oceans. We also know that the plutonium that is a significant part of our nuclear waste needs to be guarded for twenty-five-thousand years because of its toxicity … it is still deadly for five-hundred-thousand years. Other ingredients in our nuclear effluvia have half-lives of millions of years.

Do people ever stop to think of what a thousand years is? Remember, a thousand years ago, Europe was in feudalism still; the Black Death had not yet occurred even. Imagine twenty-five times that amount of time that somehow the governments of the world will cooperate to guard the massive amounts of nuclear waste we have created and are continuing to create. Surely you see how ludicrous that is. Now imagine five hundred times that amount of time that humans will still have to sidestep this waste or die.

Yet we continue to excrete massive amounts of it into our globe and even after the Fukushima meltdowns to push for building more plants.

We have watched baby dolphins by the hundreds washing up on Gulf and European coasts and the creation of hundreds of dead zones — some as large as a hundred miles across — in our seas. British Petroleum (BP), the perpetrator of the Gulf Oil spill, engaged in further criminal activity afterward by using toxic chemicals to disperse the oil rather than to collect it. The dispersants themselves are toxic. But the much bigger crime was to make sure the even more toxic oil — which depletes the oxygen in the water and thus creates the dead zones — would be spread far and wide throughout the global water. Good for BP shares looking like they could fix it; bad for survival of oxygen-breathers on Earth.

Thus, BP’s egregiously criminal move was the equivalent of sweeping dirt under the rug to make it go away. Unfortunately, there is no “away” in which it can “go.” Therefore we have, in this incident alone, precipitated greatly the dying off of the life of the oceans — the oxygen-producing plankton — and, hence, the basis of all life on this planet.

To this ravaging of the lungs of the planet add worldwide runaway deforestation, already in full swing. I am practically choking as I think how we then stink up the air with industrial emissions and auto exhausts. To the dangers bringing on our demise we need to add globally increasing air pollution.

Environmentally also, we have the greenhouse effect — global climate change or warming — the depletion of the ozone layer, and so on.

Meanwhile lots of folks think we have solved the ozone layer problem. We banned fluorocarbons, and we don’t hear much about this problem anymore in the media.

Environmental nay-sayers are arguing that we “fixed” this problem, as part of their stance that we need not worry about what we are doing to the planet. But that is not true. One report, on CNN, had it that the ozone had been depleted by forty percent in the previous two months alone! The reporter announcing it seemed shaken. It was like watching someone be suddenly made aware that developments were unfolding, behind the smoke screen of media denial, that was going to have life-and-death pertinency to the lives of herself and her loved ones. Certainly, this is not the kind of thing normally put on her desk to announce on air.

Sure enough, we were not to hear anything more about it. That, along with so much else we never are told about that is directly looming over us.

Nor need I elaborate on the nuclear threat — whether precipitated by terrorists, rogue nations, or accident. We know, but do not want to, of the possibility of any one or more of these mad actors employing weapons of mass destruction, possibly leading to ever-mounting rounds of retaliation with eventually no one left standing. Relatedly we push out of our minds the threat of other kinds of weapons — such as biological weapons — getting out of control and creating a worldwide epidemic or holocaust.

Need I mention the continuing explosion of the world’s population leading to likely famine, wars, diseases, and so on? We have twice as many people alive now as the combined total of all humans who have ever lived! Yet right-wingers are perennially on the attack against Planned Parenthood, here in the United States. We are no different from bacteria who overrun their petri dish only to die off. We certainly aren’t showing ourselves to be any smarter than that.

How about the possibility of virulent epidemic that cannot be cured? Strains of micro-organisms are evolving that are immune to our much-touted antibiotics.

But why go on? If you are not aware of these things, you are from some other planet. If you are dismissing these facts, you are in actual psychological denial of your dire situation. If you are not paying attention, you are spending your life desperately running away.

No, I will not dwell on the measurements and technical data to drive home my points. If for no other reason, that is where most folks stop listening. The evidence and statistics are there for all to see, crying out for attention, put out, published, and promulgated by the best scientists of our time, mixed in with the more mundane messages of our daily newspapers and nightly newscasts, though we mostly turn our ears from them. Still, you are aware of them, else you would not have this book in your hands right now.

There are other types of folks, however, the ones who will never see a book like this. There will always be those that will have their heads in the sand and will be cast about like flotsam upon the waters by the events swirling around them — impotent in the face of them and dependent upon other’s actions for the result. If you are one, know we’re trying to save you, too.

Assuming you are not one of them — a good bet, if you are reading this — there is much to say about the current apocalyptic trends.

But even those of us aware of this crisis hardly think of it. Of course it is our normal psychic defenses that operate to keep this huge awareness out of our daily minds. We must do this in order to be able to function. But perhaps, for some of us, our defenses work too well — so much so that we unthinkingly participate in and contribute to our own demise. This is classic neurotic self-sabotaging, self-destruction on a macro scale.

However, scientists and the educated public are not supposed to be like that. It is our job to be looking squarely into the face of these forces of denial and potential apocalypse and to be seeking to understand the human condition and human psychology in light of them. It is our duty then to inform the rest of us about what we see so that we might have a chance of reversing our self-destructive tendencies.

Whether the educated public and the multitude of scholars actually are fulfilling their mission in these times is debatable.

Regardless, my thesis is that when we do this, when we look foursquare into the face of the global crisis and its accompanying denial, we find that these unprecedented global factors contribute to a unique and unprecedented human condition and psychology. I have seen a bumper sticker proclaiming, “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention!” It could as easily say, however, “If you’re not alarmed,” fearful, anxious, depressed … you name it, “You’re not paying attention!”

Let’s Pay Attention

So then let us pay attention. This first part of Psychology of Apocalypse is about facing bravely into the fantastic circumstances and the situation in which we find ourselves, watching, like a photograph emerging in solution, as the face of these times slowly comes into view, and then waking up to the meaning of the message, perhaps the warning, it brings us, so that we might live most fully and take up our roles consciously amid these unprecedented unfoldings. What is required of us now, then, having turned to receive the message, is to look deep into the features of our age.

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Activism, Nuclear, and Insanity:

Success, Failure, and Deliberate Stupidity

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“I watched in a kind of stunned horror, knowing what I knew about an extinction-level event that had occurred, and it brought me to tears thinking how little folks knew.”

“Even when realizing their lives and those of their families were at stake, their response was they wished to not know and to live their lives blissfully ignorant until it should actually be at hand…. Is it any wonder the media does not address it?”

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.You might ask what it is that I bring to this issue that has not already been said. What is it you will get by reading my take and hearing my input on this?

Well, one thing pertains to the nuclear issue. The other, to the question of why is this all happening. That is, what are the psychological components of a situation where a species can actually and without a second thought bring down the entire ecosphere — which is called ecocide — along with themselves, their own species…. This suicide by the human race is something I have termed, humanicide….

But the second topic — the psychology of apocalypse — brings me around to the first again, the nuclear issue.

Activism

Let me back up a second. I am an author, now, but for most of my life I was a psychotherapist who specialized in primal therapy and holotropic breathwork. As well, I am a prenatal and perinatal psychologist, and a philosopher. Most recently, I have been advancing theory in the field of ecopsychology in a number of works.1 However, I am also an activist.

For a year and a half, from the fall of 1981 to the spring of 1983, I worked for an organization called Oregon Fair Share. I worked as a canvasser out of the Springfield, Oregon, office. The organization was an attempt to work on any issue that the community deemed it wanted addressed, kind of like a public, non-work-related union … gathering folks together collectively to have strength in numbers to go up against the large entities in our world determining things for us … government, corporations, you know what I mean….

Oregon Fair Share worked on the issue of fair utility rates, and it won a major victory in restructuring electricity rates around the state so that they no longer favored larger consumers of power and instead benefitted ordinary folks, smaller consumers.

This example is instructive for how our unthinking ways of doing things — evolved out of a time vastly different from today — are mechanically undermining our lives; how they could be changed to benefit us given a little thought to the matter; and finally, how citizens can use their strength in numbers to take action to effect such necessary change. So let me elaborate a little on this victory of Oregon Fair Share.

These utility rates proposed by Oregon Fair Share — “lifeline rates,” as they are called — are still in effect. Notice, their intent was simple — to effect an environmental advantage for us, while making things better for ordinary folks. And how? By taking away the unfair advantage given almost routinely to the big and the powerful. For the utility rate structure had been set up previously so that the more electricity you used, the lower the rate per kilowatt hour you would pay. Kind of like the way you pay less per item when you, say, go to Costco and buy in bulk.

It makes sense, you would think, I know, to pay less when you buy more. Yet we are in an environmental crisis where use of electricity should be cut back as much as possible, not encouraged. And, yes, we were well aware of all these environmental issues we talk about today back then in the Eighties … and even Seventies…. Which shocks me, by the way, to realize how little things have changed in all this time. It is as if the issue just started up recently, the way some folks think. Even worse are climate-change deniers. How silly to think that the government is orchestrating a problem that we have known about for thirty years and which was discovered nearly two hundred years ago.2

Anyway, the way things are normally done, in an economic model geared toward profit, is someone who buys more of something gets a lower price to encourage them to buy even more, and then a lower price at that point to buy even more. This is how businesses maximize their return on investment and how consuming people are pushed into the mindset of consumerism … to buy buy buy as the goal and purpose of life.

Yet these ways of doing things are put on their head in an environmental crisis. What do you do when the best thing, the only sane thing, is actually to encourage folks to consume less? Also, this was a public utility, keep in mind. We needed to ask folks, why in hell does a public utility, a monopoly, need to maximize profits? Why not just enough to cover operating expenses and wages? And here we came up against another common notion of a capitalistic society: Which is that the other goal, outside of buying as much as one could, is to make as much as one can … of money. So greed and consumption are the two and only goals in this capitalist model.

What Oregon Fair Share had to do was to get the utility to see things differently and change its rates. But first they had to get the community out of its mindset. Believe me, most folks, regardless of the benefit to themselves in having lower rates, simply could not see the issue outside of the box in which they were trained to think: That is, that consuming more should reap a reward, which would encourage more consumption.

Think about the environmental consequences of this. If you were able to pay less per gallon of gas the more you drove your car … so that at the end of the month, you could be paying fifty cents a gallon, say … would you not then drive your car a lot more and waste a lot more gas? On the other hand, if at the end of the month you were paying six bucks a gallon wouldn’t you have significant motivation to restrain yourself?

Well this is how it worked out in the early Eighties with lifeline rates and Oregon Fair Share. It was a small, but important and long-standing, victory. We were able to cut back the size of the utility bill folks would pay — and it is still a modest amount, even today, I can tell you — while doing something to help the environment by restraining the overconsumption of electricity. I can guarantee you the big operators, who had had it good with cheap electricity, found all kinds of ways to conserve and use less, once they had to pay their fair share.

Nuclear

When I was canvassing for Oregon Fair Share, we canvassed on that issue, utility rates, lifeline rates, using it as an example, to the folks we’d talk to at the door, of the benefits of strength in numbers … and how that worked in tackling the large issues. However, the major issue we were working on was the nuclear one. I don’t need to lay out the dangers of nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, and such to you, I know. Yet keep in mind, nuclear weapons could hardly be tackled as a local issue. Oh, sure, folks could get a stop sign erected at a dangerous intersection in their neighborhood through the power of Oregon Fair Share. People could also change the rate structure on their electric bill to benefit themselves and the environment. But how does one deal with the problem of burgeoning nuclear waste that is poisoning the globe and nuclear proliferation that threatens our existence at any particular moment.

There was a way to go at the problem, however. It had to do with the issue of the cost of nuclear energy.

At that time, the nuclear power plants that were being built, in Washington State, were the WPPSS plants (Washington Public Power Supply System). They were facetiously called “whoops” plants, because they were way, way, way over-budget, over-cost. So much so that it was an increasing financial debacle to continue building them. They were so over-budget they were going to end up costing the people in the Northwest part of the country roughly twelve-thousand dollars per household, over time, of course, through increases in their utility bills.3

That price tag was just to mothball the plants; that is, to put the construction done on them at that point under wraps for a time when the construction might be able to be completed. Keep in mind, this cost to the residents of the Northwest would not get them any power for their money. We would be paying to cover the costs of the bad decisions made by those investors and municipal and regional officials who had decided on building them. So, twelve-thousand dollars per household to cover up a huge mistake of investors and officials, and all without getting a kilowatt hour of power out of it.

Well, we created an uprising in the early Eighties, in Springfield and Eugene as well as around the state, which resulted in the city of Springfield, in 1983, refusing to shoulder those costs and instead taking the loss in their bond rating that resulted. Specifically, our community activism triggered public outcries, marching in the streets, and eventually precipitated a lawsuit, which, winning, caused the city of Springfield to default on the bonds issued to fund the plants. The lawsuit hinged on a piece of information dug up by the research arm of Oregon Fair Share: The City Charter of Springfield stipulated that its citizens could not be indebted above a specified amount without a vote of the people. The cost overruns at the WPPSS plants were such an exorbitant indebtedness, way above what the City Charter allowed. Since there had been no vote in Springfield, default on the bonds was the only legal course. Once Springfield defaulted, all other municipalities in the Northwest United States followed suit. The investors had to swallow the consequences of their bad investment.

Remember, the entire Northwest of the United States had contracted to build these nuclear plants in Washington State, the WPPSS plants. So, when Springfield defaulted on the bonds, and the rest of the Northwest U.S. followed, it effectively ended nuclear plant construction in the United States. This action, extending its grasp to cover the nation, broke the arms of the nuclear industry No more applications until 2012 were submitted in the United States to build a nuclear power plant. Construction on one hundred plants that were being built at the time was abandoned. Even the applications in 2012 pertained to nuclear sites that already had nuclear reactors in operation. No new ground for nuclear plants has been broken in the United States since our action in Springfield, Oregon, in 1983.

Summing up, these two items, lifeline utility rates and the default on WPPSS nuclear plants, show the success that can come of activism.

Insanity

Now what does
all this have to do with imminent extinction of humans — the greenhouse effect and
all the rest that are bringing about the end of humanity.

For starters, folks like to address the issue of climate
change. Heck, it is visible, and feelable. As the oceans rise, days are hotter
and increasingly erratic weather and powerful storms ravage the planet and kill
folks. However, I often point out in my books, often as a starting premise, that
we are bringing about the end of life on this planet. And I am constantly challenged
on that. Constantly. It is so tiring. No one believes all life is at risk.
So I have to explain. And this is what I wish to bring to bear now: an understanding
of the immensity of the issue of extinction, when we bring the nuclear issue into
consideration.

For we are talking about not just the end of half the
species alive now within twenty to fifty years, which is happening and is plenty
dire in and of itself. We are not talking either about the end of the human race,
humanicide, and I would guess you think that’s pretty bad, right? No. We are talking
about the end of virtually all life on this planet, save a few microscopic animals,
like the tardigrades, also known as water bears, who are able to live inside the
radiation at the mouths of volcanoes. No. There is virtually no life other than
that — looking to field, ocean, forest, or city — that lives in a climate of radioactivity.
We’re on the road to Earth pretty much looking like Mars.

Bet that made your day, huh?

I’m not even talking about just nuclear weapons or nuclear
war. Factor that in, nuclear weapons, this all might be happening quite soon. And
likely it is, as well. I mean we’ve got folks like American President Donald Trump
in the most powerful position in the world who thinks there’s no problem in using
nukes to deal with problems. He has appointed as the person to head the agency overseeing
our nukes, the Department of Energy, a person, Rick Perry, who did not even know
the DOE existed until appointed. I don’t even want to think about nukes in the hands
of Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea and other similar leaders in the world
— the Putins and Assads of the world, the third world dictatorships, the terrorist
organizations. Personally, I think nuclear war is inevitable and the radiation of
the planet and the end of life that way is likely.

And by the way, no, the Earth will not be green again
after radiation, or in twenty or even a hundred years, as you see on television.
That is part of the problem. The consequences are so huge, no one, I mean no
one has accurately depicted it. We’ve got folks like Thomas K. Jones
the man
Ronald Reagan had appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering,
Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces
saying
we can survive nuclear attack. He said, “If there are enough shovels to go around,
everybody’s going to make it…. It’s the dirt that does it.”

Relatedly, we have TV shows like Jericho depicting
folks having a picnic a day after a nuclear attack, with fallout having just descended
the day before, because … guess what? … the rain washed it away!! Even the documentaries
that have portrayed nuclear war and nuclear winter have watered it down so as to
make it palatable to be viewed on television.

You think climate deniers are bad? Hell, you have no
idea how much denial there is about the nuclear issue, even in progressive circles,
even in environmental groups.

Yet nuclear war is not even the most pressing concern.
How often are you told by the media that an extinction-level event has already occurred?
That’s right, it was called, Fukushima. Surely you’ve heard of it. They did report
about it at the time. Though how much have you heard lately? You see, Fukushima
is still leaking radiation into the oceans and the Earth, is still in danger of
a total meltdown on the order of the China syndrome. No, we’re not hearing anything
about it. What I’ve heard from friends when they talk about the issue is they’re
glad that was taken care of and that it’s good the worst didn’t happen. Wow. They
have no idea.

Other friends, when made aware of the facts of the situation,
have argued that since there is nothing one can do about it, they do not want to
know about it. Even when realizing their lives and those of their families are at
stake, their response was they wished to not know and to live their lives blissfully
ignorant until it should actually be at hand.

This appears to be a prevalent attitude … even among
our top governmental officials and politicians, unfortunately. Is it any wonder
the media does not address it? Not only does cover-up and denial benefit the powerful
corporations influencing events who want to continue raping the Earth and reaping
the world’s wealth, but people do not want to know about this. Of course, the media
will follow suit!

Then there is the attitude of those who would ignore
what they know, weighing the value of the life of all the world including all the
planetmates, their very own children, and all possible generations to come against
their own immediate comfort and have it come up short. One person told me, gleefully,
and with a bit of bravado, “Hey, I figure, let’s drive it till the wheels fall off.”
We were talking about the planet and it had been triggered by his purchase of a
gas-guzzling Humvee. Another middle-aged conference member, obviously an educated
man, spoke, as reported by Helen Caldicott, “Look, my attitude is that if you are
on the Titanic, you may as well have the best berth.”3

After Fukushima, when I began learning the magnitude
of the problem, I would have days where I was just shaken, looking at the world
in this painful way. In a movie about the economic crash of 2007-2008, there is
a scene where one of the significant characters in bringing about the crash is in
a car looking out at people walking the streets and muses on the oddness of them
going about their lives, normally, not realizing that the “end of the world” … in
his mind … was going on — that is, the crash that would become known to everyone
within days and change everyone’s lives forever.

Well, that is how I was feeling. I watched in a kind
of stunned horror, knowing what I knew about an extinction-level event that had
occurred, and it brought me to tears thinking how oblivious folks were to the monster
around them. America was shaken after the Twin Towers came down. Little did folks
know that something of literally the magnitude of two hundred and thirty thousand-plus
times more dire was going on. That is, the number of people who died in the Twin
Towers versus the number of people who will die in the world when the radioactivity
of the globe, rising as I speak, begins having people expire in droves.

So that should give you an idea of what I will be addressing
as we continue in this book: How it is that all life on this planet is in danger
of being snuffed out
and for a minimum of five-hundred-thousand
years, so in human terms, virtually forever
and what
the hell is wrong with folks that we idly go about our lives while we are bringing
this about. As well, considering my background in activism, how it is important
to take action, regardless how futile it might seem, if only for the benefit of
the relief it brings to you when you do something, any action, no matter how small,
on an issue that feels overwhelming.

So yes, I’ll be revealing the results of my forty-plus
years of experience of looking for the answers as to why humanity might be capable
of doing what it is doing in killing itself and all other life. I’ll also be discussing
here what we can do about that … how regardless if we fail or succeed, we might
retain some passion for life, some fulfillment of our lives, in the process. I have
a lot to say on that, on solutions … or at least on “sane” responses to an insane
situation.

 

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Crisis Without End:

The Ticking Time Bombs of Fukushima and Hanford … Nuclear Radiation, Nuclear Waste, and the End of All Life on Earth

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“…there must be something awry in humanity to have brought about the end of life on Earth…. And for us to be blithely going about our days as if nothing is going on.”

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I wish now to advance just one aspect of our problem. You’ll see what I mean. This one alone ends our species, brings down life on this planet…. It is one, only, of several other extinction-level events that have already occurred. This has to do with the increasing nuclear radioactivity of the Earth.

Nuclear Radiation, Nuclear Power, and Humanicide

If you have a problem with the notion that it is all life that is at risk, as most people do and do not want to know otherwise, remember that, first off, virtually no life can live in an environment of radiation. As I pointed out, the tardigrades, those microscopic “water bears,” are the only known biological beings who are able to survive radioactive habitats. They not only survive inside the radiation of volcanos but can live in the cold and irradiated vacuum of space. No doubt this was the stimulus for the recent (2016) episode of Star Trek: Discovery which had one particularly large, cow-sized tardigrade surviving while floating in space.

With tardigrades’ unique resiliency, they might actually be the forebears of any life forms who survive the apocalypse we are bringing down on all other life on Earth. Being as how they can survive space, it might be some evolved version of them, not us, who makes it to explore the stars. I have this amazing vision of tardigrade descendants moving and maneuvering in space like we do in water. As bizarre as that sounds, an episode of the television show Vice dealt with tardigrades being extraterrestrial. The point is that it is only such a unique and rare, possibly extraterrestrial type of organism that could survive what we are bringing down upon ourselves. As for the rest of life on Earth, no dice.

Second, Fukushima alone — being so dire, so catastrophic that neither nations nor news reports are brave enough to face the issue — is an extinction-level event, continuing to radiate the planet even now. Helen Caldicott (2014) reports it is not over and will not end for many millennia. The radioactive fallout from the catastrophe covers huge areas of Japan already, and they will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years, according to experts.

Fukushima cannot be “cleaned up” … it will continue to contaminate humans, food, and planetmates. The three Fukushima reactors that experienced total meltdowns, according to Caldicott, will never be able to be disassembled or decommissioned. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which is the owner and operator of nuclear power plants in Japan, including Fukushima, says such an undertaking would take them a minimum of thirty to forty years. So it is unlikely they will ever be able to do it. Meanwhile, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reports it will be more than forty years before any progress can be made because of the high levels of dangerous radiation at these sites.

Caldicott, who is a physician as well as a world-renowned nuclear and environmental activist and an author on the subject who has been active on the issue for forty years now, says Fukushima will have medical implications like Chernobyl, which contaminated forty percent of Europe. And which has directly resulted in the deaths of over one million people, according to the New York Academy of Scientists. Similarly, Caldicott says, Fukushima will induce an epidemic of cancer.

Now, Fukushima is in addition to the four hundred and forty-four nuclear power plants still operating in the world. Note also that at this time there are sixty-three more under construction and they operate in thirty countries.

I mentioned how the activism we undertook in Springfield and Eugene, Oregon, in 1983 virtually ended nuclear power plant construction in the United States after that. Because of the lawsuit we brought, which created the bond default in Springfield, which spread throughout all the other communities in the Northwest United States, investors have shied away from considering nuclear energy for economic reasons. More than one hundred orders for nuclear power reactors, many already under construction, were cancelled, bankrupting some companies. Oh, and please, only the tiniest of violins on that one.

Summarizing: Until 2012, there were no more applications to build a plant in the United States. Five are only now under construction, and even they are at sites where other reactors already are. No new ground has been broken for reactors since our action, and thirty-three reactors have been permanently shut down.

This is an environmental success story I’m sure you’ve never heard. For in whose corporate interest would it be to announce how the nuclear industry was taken out at the knees by a ragtag bunch of activists in the hippie haven of Eugene, Oregon? Who would be inspired by such a story? Well certainly not anyone corporations would want to inspire. But, I’ll tell you about it.

Nevertheless, however stunning and effective our result, our action did not shut down all the plants in operation in the United States. There are still one hundred and three continually pumping out exorbitant amounts of radiation and nuclear waste in the U.S. as you read this. The U.S. is the largest nuclear energy producer, generating thirty-three percent of all that is produced in the world. Our one hundred and three plants continue to leak radiation — for all reactors leak some radiation all the time — and they pose threats of catastrophic meltdowns at any time. Many are constructed in dangerous areas, along ocean shores, just like Fukushima was — Diablo Canyon and San Onofre in California, for example — as well as along fault lines. Diablo Canyon Power Plant near San Luis Obispo, California, qualifies on that count as well.

While San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been decommissioned and was permanently shut down after Fukushima and because of safety issues of its own that were discovered at that time, highly radioactive nuclear waste is still stored there — near fault lines and along the ocean shore — and there are no plans at this time to do anything about that problem. The four thousand tons of nuclear waste, presently in “wet storage” for cooling — cooling which will take five years — are to be stored in “more permanent” canisters right next to the Pacific Ocean. These monoliths with five-eighth inch thick steel walls inside, lining the concrete exteriors, are acknowledged to be susceptible to corrosion, admittedly cannot be inspected for cracks, and even if cracks could be detected, experts concede there would be no way to fix them.1 Insanity, no? Well, hopefully we have those “meek” tardigrades inheriting the Earth.

With the possibilities of earthquakes and tidal waves rising, because of the other brutalities we are committing against the Earth — climate change, fracking, and so on — none of these current one hundred and three plants in the U.S. are safe, and they never completely were. This is even without mentioning the already certain rise in sea levels due to climate change, which will affect the reactors built upon our shores.

Crisis Without End

Furthermore, all of these nuclear plants — these four hundred and forty-four in the world — emanate at least some radiation, and all are in danger of even greater leaks and meltdowns, and all have no way of disposing of their nuclear waste, which amounts to two thousand to two thousand three hundred metric tons per year, with each individual plant contributing approximately twenty metric tons a year. Of this waste, one of its fission products, Tc-99, has a half-life of two-hundred and twenty thousand years and another one, I-29, has a half-life of 15.7 million years. That’s right, I said million.

Let’s take the more commonly explored component of that waste, plutonium. It has a half-life of twenty-five-thousand years or more, and needs to be guarded that entire time. Plutonium, in fact, is still deadly for five-hundred-thousand years or more. To further make your day, plutonium is so deadly that less than one kilogram of it distributed to everyone in the world would kill everyone. According to Helen Caldicott, one-millionth of a gram of it will induce cancer if inhaled into the lungs. It combines with the iron-transferring protein, transferrin, and causes leukemia, bone cancer, liver cancer, and multiple myeloma. It also concentrates in the ovaries and testicles and that way results in genetic diseases and cancer in any generations after us.

However, you don’t have to wait for these glorious occurrences. For radioactivity gets into the developing fetus you or your partner perhaps is carrying right now and causes congenital abnormalities because it is teratogenic. This is not future horror. From Chernobyl alone there are medical facilities brimming with children with previously unseen deformities, according to Caldicott. And it will not go away. From nuclear power plants alone, radioactive elements have been released and will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia, and genetic disease for hundreds and thousands of years, if there are any humans left at that point.

Ralph Nader called plutonium “the most toxic substance known to mankind.” However, since then, 1995, the Japanese have claimed to have created an even more toxic substance. Put that in your #thanksalot folder, won’t you?

According to the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, “Each one-thousand megawatt nuclear power reactor annually produces about five-hundred pounds of plutonium, and about thirty metric tons of high-level waste in the form of irradiated fuel. After several years, when removed from the reactor core, the fuel is about one million times more radioactive than when it was loaded. This irradiated fuel is currently stored at the reactor sites.”2

So, each of the four hundred and forty-four reactors produces five hundred pounds of plutonium a year and only about two pounds of it is enough to end humanity. Some two hundred and twenty-two thousand pounds of plutonium per year is created in the nuclear waste of reactors and a mere two of those pounds is enough to kill us all off. If you are still giddy with optimism after that, keep in mind that there have been many nuclear waste leaks over the years, into the environment, never reclaimed, bound to make it into the ecosystem in due course.

The American Fukushima They Hide from You, Coming to You

One alone, which happened at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State, a half century ago, involved a leakage of over four-hundred thousands of gallons. It went on for a long time before it was even discovered to have happened. But there have been many other leaks at Hanford. Helen Caldicott (2009) writes, “The DOE calculates that 450 billion gallons … of radioactive waste has been ‘released’ into the ground, some of which is approaching or has entered the Columbia River.”3 From there it will be distributed to the rest of the world, in due course.

Not bad enough, there has been a tendency for those in the know to cover these matters up and to delete documents related to it. In one instance alone, the General Accounting Office undertook an investigation in 1991 of the “mysterious disappearance” of key documents that calculated the leaks from the radioactive waste tanks.

More recently, in 2016, there was another major leak at Hanford, of three thousand to three thousand five-hundred gallons. It was discovered and reported in April of that year. It was described as a “catastrophic” event. Hanford is the site where folks were making the plutonium for nuclear bombs. Oh, you want more? Wow, you’re a tough one….

Okay, well, Hanford has been called an American Fukushima and Physicians for Social Responsibility call it “the most contaminated nuclear site in the world.”

Now, how much did they tell you about these developments on the nightly news amid their incisive reports on new innovations in education or the like. Oh, I must tell you that my local news reported several times a few nights ago, with actual interviews, several-minute reports on a young man’s apartment having been ransacked and his friend’s ashes having been spilled from its urn. Yes, we have time on our airwaves for all the “pressing” and important developments of our day. *sarcasm*

So, there must be something awry in humanity to have brought about the end of life on Earth, which includes our own — for us to be committing humanicide. And for us to be blithely going about our days as if nothing is going on. Let us next look at what it might be that might make us want to die.

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Humans Want to Die:

On Humanicide, Thanatos, the Shadow, and Our Compulsion to Kill Ourselves

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“…while we watched with paralyzed hand on one side, on the other our lesser selves are presently taking us on a path that leads inevitably, to … total life extinction on this planet, and possibly even to planetary annihilation — the destruction of this planet itself.”

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In our look at the irrational responses and reactions humans are currently having to the end of all time, let us first consider the obvious: Denial. Inner denial and its outward companion, false bravado.

The Zombie Apocalypse

People put up fronts of false bravado — “tough guy”-ness — to defend against their apocalyptic fears. But to do so they need to deaden themselves to the facts. They are not just “compartmentalizing,” which many of us do. For it is virtually impossible to function while taking in the full implications of our situation, as I have described it in the last few chapters. For compartmentalizing implies access if wanted.

No, these other folks are actively blocking out the information that might counter their denial. Trump and his supporters could not be better examples of this current tendency to want to block out facts and substitute “alternative facts” — i.e., lies — to aid one in one’s denial.

We have climate deniers now, who are going around saying we have no problem with global warming. No, they say, that is all a story by some bad folks who just want to control us. Donald Trump has currently become the epitome of this twisted thinking.

To which I think, seriously, how convenient. How convenient to proclaim there is not a problem when the dilemma if faced would seem hopeless. How easy, then, to scratch away, rummaging for snippets, misconstructions of facts, words taken out of context, and the delusionary fabrications of others doing the same to concoct a conspiracy that would get oneself, and one’s conscience, off the hook. More than that, which would rationalize our current tendencies, wrought of our flawed upbringings, to brutalize and rape the Earth, extracting all we can for our own benefit, consequences be damned. Is it not obvious these folks are engaging in desperate wish fulfillment?

Also, look around you in the cities or on the internet. The people you see have no concern, let alone awareness, of their dire predicament … no urgency or apocalypse emergency. It is the veritable zombie apocalypse before us. It is no wonder that folks are enamored of this revolting image of walking dead people everywhere, which we see on the silver screen and which pervades our current cultural consciousness.

Indeed, what we see surrounding us in the numbed and deadened responses to our apocalypse emergency is the most disturbing of any evidence I have seen supporting what Sigmund Freud called the death instinct, and others following him have dubbed Thanatos, and the Will to Die. More on that, coming up.

EnRaptured Reaction

Nonetheless, false bravado and zombification are the most insane responses to our situation with one glaring exception: That is, what we hear as being a euphoric longing for the end of it all in evangelical groups who think of it as the Rapture — a kind of being freed from what is seen as an onerous Earth existence and the reward of the true life one thinks one deserves of ease, love, and happiness in heaven.

Now, is that not the most extreme form of reaction formation you have ever heard? These folks have developed an elaborate, comforting fantasy to escape the facts of their lives, which are, comparatively, not very happy.

Gotta Love ‘im! He’s the … Monster!

These “enraptured” people are usually the ones come of the brutal parenting we are, generally speaking, trying to rise above in our society. Yet these folks, “for their own good,”1 were not “spared the rod.” Consequently, they were beaten into fawning upon the unreal wishes of their authoritarian parents — parents who themselves were sad religious delusionals whose lived world was an imaginary one of hellishness and a stern bearded father god who makes you say, even think, that he is loving, despite being the most horrendously mean and more-than-murderous mythical figure ever concocted.

For this father “god” will not just punish by merely ending your life but will persecute you in what has to be the most extreme kind of torture ever to be imagined — being forced to live forever but every moment of it being in extreme pain and suffering.

And these folks have to somehow twist their brains into thinking this “god,” this monster, is actually loving rather than the obvious. Imagine the cognitive dissonance in that! Think, then, how motivated they are to rationalize their realities, regardless the warped facts and illusory perspectives come of that.

En-Raptured’s Apocalyptic Death Wish

The parents were forced to buy into that horrific view of the ultimate reality of it all when they were young. Then their kids slavishly followed them in this insanity. Is it any wonder then that their wish is to be dead!?

So the reaction formation is that of creating the kind of life where, unlike their own childhood, they would be loved, cherished, seen, made to feel special, and so on. That’s your “heaven,” there, and the place to which they want to get through this Rapture thing. Most of all they want to be freed from the fear of torment of the most extreme form imaginable.

Leave it to humans to be so cut off from the reality of a loving God as to wish to be dead instead. For they have managed, with their imagination running loose and totally without even one lifeline to anything loving or nice — either in their own life’s experiences or in the mythology of reality they have been forced to accept — to come up with the most unimaginably horrifying view of their lives, and its prospects.

“Alternative Facts”

So these sad bedeviled know deep inside how miserable they are. But they find a way to stave off the realization of that truth and of its horrific roots in their suffering in childhood, through denying their unhappiness. Fake smiles, “put on a happy face,” perfect grooming, spiffed up attire for church or persnickety duds for the office, to bely to oneself as well as others what they are really feeling, are habits after a while. Self-loathing and the tragedy of their lives is nipped in the bud with precise cuts and fastidious attention to the placement of every hair on their heads; perfumes and colognes cover any residual, however potentially liberating, discontent. They take up arms against their misery and engage in an endless battle trying desperately to believe … and unfortunately for us, assert … that the opposite is true: That is, that their experience is happy. They will call themselves “blessed,” instead.

No problem there. It’s their life, right? However, this sad insanity they impose on all and everyone. Of the actual pathetic nature of their lives they know intuitively but without letting themselves think it. That is not unlike the way they handle any of the other uncomfortable truths and “inconvenient” facts of their lives, by the way. They will similarly know intuitively the climate is going to shit, that Trump is a liar. Yet they’ll concoct another fantasy — they do it “instinctively” by now — like they have already done about their monster god and their lives come of their religious upbringings, that will affirm the opposite of the truth. “Alternative facts,” again. As psychohistorians would say it, they live in a “trance state.” There is no way really to get through to them.

They also know in their muscles that saying the lie out, and loudly, can help in reinforcing their precious untruths. For these dear fabrications, when heard coming from the outside — even if it is simply one’s own voice that one is hearing echoed back — have greater weight and credibility to them. When experienced existing in the outside world, they can be felt to be more real than when heard in one’s private thoughts alone. So it is that when a demagogue like Donald Trump gives word to their unrealities, their delusions, they are giddy with joy. For here is the chance to have their cooked-up mythologies confirmed, their defenses against the obvious redeemed, and for them to be justified for all the grief they cannot help but feel for having gone against the facts their whole lives.

This is another reason they need to enlist other people in their untruths and have the media, in addition to Donald Trump, echo it: It adds to the reality of these lies … the Big Lie repeated becomes more true … and boosts their defense against, and attacks on, the truth of their reality which asserts itself over and over — “truth will out” — during their life and increasingly more as they get older. This also explains their behavior’s increasing rigidity with time and its downright obdurate nature when these folks become curmudgeons, so typical of the elderly.

Sympathy for the Bedeviled

Simply look at the lives of these people and imagine those multitudes and the incredible pain, utter lovelessness, utterly miserable and confused minds they carry as adults.

Then think beyond them to the many-fold more of the masses who have similar but lesser versions of lives and experiences as the “enraptured.”

Add to that the incredible power of fear … not only fear; but fear that has, well, demonically, been projected into the biggest expanse existing in the universe — that of the imagination and that of the Unknown, combined.

If you can get a sense of that fear, even a small part, you will realize the utter terror that awakens them, that is there in the middle of the night as they approach consciousness, and which, like a squirming frog, inhabits, nay, becomes the daytime brain and thoughts of these people, and motivates them to do anything, anything at all, that might promise a snippet of relief.

You will see that they believe in hell because they in fact live lives that are the closest things in existence to actual hells. This is made that much worse, indeed, multiplied many times over, by the idea implanted with it, which is that to acknowledge that truth will actually result in the imagined hell becoming reality … and that the only way they can save themselves from that hell is to, somehow, not be aware of their own reality as it is. So they must struggle mightily to not know what they indeed do know.

Now, try that burden on for size. And just be glad that you are not them. They exist within that nightmare reality; they see it portrayed before and all around them. They are convinced we are living in it, too. So they have not even the respite, like watching a horror film, of ever walking out of the theater and thinking, “Well, I’m glad that was only a movie.”

Hence, it is no coincidence that these sorry sorts are attracted to fantasies of denial, such as denying climate change, denying the Holocaust, denying the atrocities committed by religions or their own governments. In striving to be shiny, happy people they create inner hells and outer monsters. Not only hell do they create, but many of the hellacious things on Earth are the offspring of these lives. For many suffer and die as a consequence of their fear-driven supreme efforts to bring their horrible reality into the actual world — the one we live in. Look to the wars and atrocities of all time, and you will see how much of it was perpetrated by people completely possessed by such horribly insane convictions.

With these atrocities we can now include the creation of the ultimate evil that can be committed while in flesh — the killing of the planet and of all life on it. For their denial of it and support of the forces working against us do more than hobble our efforts. From their centers of darkness they do all they can, unconsciously, to try to satisfy that death wish — that Rapture — they long for. As one of them, James Watts, the Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan once put it, addressing the Congress, protecting the environment did not matter since Jesus Christ was soon coming. This was public testimony. He said that “after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”2 No, this was not a joke. Such folks believe the world as we know it is not real, that the real world is an invisible one soon to be known, and that The Bible is literally true. Remember, this is a man who was in charge of protecting America’s wilderness and here he was looking forward to the last of all trees laid to waste.

I ask again, how can such insanity be ignored when it has the power to bring such horrible unrealities into the real world we live in, into our lives … our deaths….

Eros Versus Thanatos

In the struggle between the current powers of life and death, it is helpful to remember Freud’s paradigm-shifting observations about the human psyche regarding Eros and Thanatos, what he called the death drive. Freud showed how all human lives are drawn out against the background of each person’s inner struggle between the opposing forces of life and death … Eros and Thanatos. Freud advanced an understanding that made his insights revolutionary, specifically, that each of us carry within us a Will to Die.

“Sometimes the Lights Are Shining on Me.”

Freud observed that we act out a will to live and to be in the sun and to have fun and to love and to like goodness and health and truth. That’s Eros. We share it with all of Nature.

“Other Times I Can Barely See.”

Freud also saw that we have at other times an opposite drive or instinct that we wish to die. That feeling causes us to want to live in the dark; to not be around people; to shy away from life and the light and being seen and recognized and even to wanting to be lonely. This self-sabotaging compulsion causes us to not care about fun, to hate and be angry, indeed to hate everyone and even to want to lash out at them for no reason other than what might be self-labeled as “spite.”

This downward pull makes us want to despise goodness, calling such things “kumbaya moments”; or saying something is “schmaltzy” or “gay”; or to be saying that all that good stuff is just “drama.” This part of our disposition causes us to be jealous of others who are more giving and to hate them for that, to call people “do-gooders,” “goody two-shoes” and to impugn their motives as being they are trying to show they are better than us. It has us putting out terms like “bleeding heart” liberals and to say the positive change being striven for in the world by activists is come of “narcissists” who somehow — in caring about the world and those around them more than themselves — are “thinking too much of themselves.”

This self-defeating tendency moves us to beat up on our bodies and abuse them with all kinds of substances and behaviors. As well as to avoid doing the things we know would make us healthier and feel better, wanting somehow to fall into the easy misery of dis-ease. It makes us charge straight into toxic environments and situations, with an attitude of invincibility, defying the “gods” to take us down, the environmental poisons to affect us.

Tchaikovsky, the renowned Russian composer died of such an attitude. At only fifty-three, while in a public restaurant, reputedly he defiantly downed a drink of unboiled water he knew contained cholera; some say it was suicide. What a perfect metaphor for such an attitude. A Will to Die, a death wish. How clearly it shows it should not be downplayed — it has consequences beyond dire, they’re deadly.

It makes us reckless, courting death, engaging in dangerous activities for no reason but the thrill of it — the sense it gives that we are actually alive and not dead the way mostly we feel. And there’s a hint for you.

It results, also, in a disposition where we don’t care about the truth. So we fall into saying things instead to hurt, get revenge, to get back at, regardless the facts, the unfairness, the injustice. It motivates us to say untruths to get advantage, to disable our competitors, as we see so blatantly with Trump. Yet in all of us it drives a tendency to hide from the evils we commit, which only enslaves us further in the hiding of them.

It makes us jealous of those who find happiness or pleasure in their lives and impels us to lash out at them and make them suffer the way we, on the inside, know that we do. All this it does, and so much more.

Thanatos is why there are always Republicans or something like them — Pharisees, Puritans, Inquisitors. Our death drive is the reason there are times in which these annihilating and sabotaging folks hold sway — stifling, life- and creativity-averse, stagnant and little-changing times: the Middle Ages, for example. The time in America since 1980, when America — confronted with so much change and pushed to grow personally more than it ever had, and regardless of the obvious gains in having better lives that came of that struggle — out of that death wish wanted to return to the Fifties, and still does. Going back and forth in the decades since then, we find ourselves, between progress (Eros) and this image of a golden age of the Fifties (Thanatos), painted by Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and now Trump.

So Freud took it beyond our inner struggles and talked about how the events of the world, the actions and movements of history, and the dramas of all the ages are in fact the products of this inner struggle.

At this very moment, our lesser, self-destructive selves are taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to cataclysmic species extinction, including us. But not just that, being the “overachieving” species we are, we are bringing total life extinction to this planet — the death of virtually all life on this Earth — and possibly even planetary annihilation.

The point is that humans, along with a Will to Life that is undeniable, also have a Will to Death.

How many times have you woken up, thought about all the pressures and obligations, or complexities, responsibilities … thought about all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles or challenges that you are facing …  thought about all the things that just have to get done; yet you feel that you could not possibly have the time to do all of them? How many times have you woken up and felt overwhelmed with what life has become and not wished to just curl up, go back to sleep, and never wake up again? How many times have you taken to drugs or intoxicants in full knowledge of their negative and even dire concomitants and simply thought to yourself, “Aw, what the hell. If I were to die, so what? What’s so great about life anyway?” Or, with less clarity, simply said, “Well nobody lives forever!”

Do they sound like the pronouncements of a species that has a tremendous will to live? No, in fact, alongside our Will to Live, we have not only a Will to Die but even a will to self-destruction.

Right about now, it might be occurring to you how this makes sense of so much, seemingly insane, human behavior we’ve seen of late. This Will to Die explains why we continue nonchalantly our march to armageddon. It shines light on how we can suck up air in cities that gives us raging allergies, clogs our lungs as bad as chronic smoking would, and will kill off the children we raise there long before their times. It reveals how we could drink poisoned water; blithely go about our business as the globe fills up with nuclear radiation and makes its way into our food supplies and as our government refuses even to test for it; and turn our backs as the oceans die, and killer tornadoes, floods, firestorms, hurricanes, “ice bombs,” earthquakes, mudslides, and tsunamis chalk up thousands in the kill column.

It explains why people allow themselves to be enslaved and controlled by others — allowing fascism in established democracies — unconcernedly voting for rabid folk who would take away their rights and security and bring down their freedoms, health, and even lives. Meanwhile they watch those living under totalitarian systems risk their lives for such freedom and rights and democracy. So much more, it sheds light upon.

Suicidal Ape

Now, the intention here is not to repeat all that Freud and psychologists have said in showing how this works. Besides, just look at the evidence around you of addiction, chronic accidentalism, unhealthy behavior habits without number, and of course the ultimate evidence: suicide.

If we have such a strong Will to Live, superior to all other species — as literature and orators pander endlessly to us — then explain why it is so that we are the only species that has suicide? And we’re supposed to be the conscious ones? How is humanity’s supposed superior drive to thrive not more anthropocentrism, more self-congratulation, rationalizing our actual fall from Nature into such misery.

What Freud pointed out has tremendous explanatory power, especially now in our current worldwide financial upheaval, depression-recession, expanding global fascism, nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, environmental near-collapse, wars and terrorism, nuclear armaments of planetary annihilation, and tendency to pollute body as well as environment. And even to do it thoughtlessly, in full knowledge of the consequences.

However there is another aspect to this. For self-destructive behavior, in this twisted kind of way, actually helps the deadened species we have become to feel more alive! There is a pattern in a type of neurotic who will, for much the same reason, take a knife and cut into their flesh, so as to, as they say, “feel something, anything, even if it is pain.” Not much differently, we also want to stir up the pot, blow things up, throw caution to the wind, drive headlong into a tornado, or over a cliff. It is the reason we fear standing upon the edge of a building, or a ravine. We know there is a part of us that just wants to end it. So we fear, if only for a second, it will win. When we don’t give in to such self-destruction, still we act it out vicariously thousands of times a year, in our movie scripts depicting such explosions, cataclysms, and collapsing of cities.

Why? Well, it’s a panicky reaction, a pathetic attempt to do something about the stagnation … those lives of “quiet desperation” Freud talked about. For feeling pain … disruption, chaos, the “shit hitting the fan” … proves there is life in us. For numbness is associated with death.  So in this way, like someone crying out for help with all and any kinds of self-destructive and risky behaviors, our death drive is our way of striving desperately to live. When our lives feel futile, boring, dead, unalive — and after all the descents from Nature, they invariably will feel that way, relative to what we know we want — we will opt for, we will bring to ourselves, any change, any change at all, rather than the ongoing sameness.

Of course, by now, some of you might recall I have a different take on the roots of this drive to want to “blow things up.” Yet it is compatible with this way of looking at it, and it helps to have this understanding, too. You will see where I think this all ultimately comes from as we go along.

Okay, so these huge world events, then, Freud laid at the feet of the individual struggle. Basically, the world becomes an arena of the acting out of the Will to Life against the Will to Death, of Eros versus Thanatos. Of the forces to progress versus the ones to want to let it all go to hell. Of Vishnu the sustainer versus Shiva the destroyer, if you are of a mystical bent.

So, while we watch with paralyzed hand on one side, on the other our lesser selves are presently taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to total species extinction. And not just that alone, but in fact to total life extinction on this planet, and possibly even to planetary annihilation — the destruction of this planet itself.

The Shadow

Carl Jung had another take on the same kind of thing. He proposed that we have a Shadow, which is a part of ourselves containing all that we do not approve about ourselves. All that we cannot and do not want to know is inside and affecting us nonetheless. And it is from this bucket of “deplorables” about ourselves that we can dip, if we were ever to reverse our normal tendency and instead bring up that which leads eventually to personal growth.

Yet until we do so, the Shadow is like Al Capp’s character — Joe Btfsplk, dark cloud always over his head, can’t do anything right, everything he tries is counterproductive — who comes in to throw the monkey wrench into all our works. He is also Mister Mxyztplk who torments Superman in comic books, Rumpelstiltskin from fairy tales, Puck according to Shakespeare, Bugs Bunny from the cartoon world, and Bart Simpson, that lovable prankster from television’s The Simpsons.

And in the last American presidential election, of 2016, it was Donald Trump’s supporters, in a way, each of them caring not at all about throwing a spanner into the works. As Michael Moore put it, Trump, for them, was the “the human Molotov cocktail that they get to toss into the system … and blow it up, send a message … the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for, the human hand grenade” … and the biggest “fuck you,” of all, a giant middle finger salute to the powers-that-be.

On a deeper level, again it is a desire to grow that does this. Just like Capp’s character from his Li’l Abner comic series would sometimes be used as a deus ex machina to bring about miraculous rescues and magical turns of fate. For by slowing us down in the path we are normally on, often characterized by routine and monotony, and productive of emotional numbness, it is trying to get us to reconsider, to look again at what we are leaving out of our mind. In this aspect it is a lot like the Trickster archetype or Cosmic Prankster we find in cultural narratives throughout the world.

This Shadow arises on the collective level as well. Nations, societies, even groups have it. Species have it as well, as I have been stressing in pointing out the existence of the Unapproved and Hidden.3

So it is, also, that a planetary Shadow — Gaia’s Joe Btfsplk, let’s say — we have created out of all our denial and avoidance and repression of all we are doing to the Earth. Even our compartmentalizing, which causes in us a tendency to attend to other less important matters than this one which is all important and has the most urgent life-and-deathness about it (on a scale of one to ten of things that are important because of being life threatening, this one is a hundred) … even our compartmentalizing contributes to the Shadow. For the Shadow is all that we look away from, too.

And it is into this planetary Shadow we will descend and from it scoop out what is necessary — unwittingly, driven by our overriding desire to live, masked as a will to die. We will end up taking from it in the attempt — futile though it will probably be at that point — to bring about the planetary growth, the growth in awareness, that is compatible with planetary life … such personal and planetary intelligence being quite the opposite of what we have now.

And when such Earth Shadow manifests fully in a global, an environmental, sense, it will be in the tragedies, the hurricanes and floods, the loss of thousands of lives, the uncontrollable and ongoing firestorms, the rising of the oceans, the hundreds of thousands dying of heat stroke and oxygen deprivation, the nuclear bombs or blasts killing millions instantly, the nuclear meltdowns killing millions and perhaps billions with a slow and agonizing death by cancer, the rampant flus and worldwide epidemics resulting from the increasing carbon dioxide and decreasing oxygen levels, the methane released in the Arctic and Antarctic raising temperatures and acidifying the oceans so they no longer support the phytoplankton that is the ultimate sustainer of the Earth’s oxygen levels, and the oil spills also sapping the oxygen out of the water and inevitably, our lives. All of which we will have brought to ourselves for refusing to look at what we are doing to our planet.

It is not my idea, let alone wish, that such a “hitting bottom” be required for the waking up needed; it is just the way it is. I daresay it is what we have collectively decided on. I hardly even think that the realizations coming will be in time. But no one can know, and we must operate on the assumption that it will not be for naught. That, just like the Cosmic Prankster brings renewal via unattended-to avenues and often by suffering and death, so also there will be a rebirth of some kind on the other side of this horrible face of death as well. Indeed, in coming chapters, we will see just how these unfoldings — good and bad — might now be coming about.

The Prenatal, Perinatal, and Infancy Traumas

Now, having said all that on the Freudian and Jungian views of the death drive and our evil, and while I acknowledge there is something exactly like that in us, which leads to all those same things, you have probably surmised by this point in the book that I have a different interpretation of the same things.

For, of course there are deeper roots to this Thanatos. It did not fall down from heaven or out of nowhere. The Death Wish is not some kind of built-in part of human nature. Freud was majorly wrong about that. It is not genetic, no way! We evolved out of Nature, and nowhere in Nature is there any such thing as this, which we see in humans.

So something happened between our time in Nature and now when we have a secret wish to die. Things that happened to us as a species to make us so different. Things that occurred to us in our lives that result in us wanting to sabotage ourselves and self-destruct.

I explain this in detail in Chapter 6, on the “descents of man.” It has to do with the birth trauma that was created when we became bipedal. So just know that in this chapter we are talking about that characteristic of humans as given. In the part after this one, Part Two, “Prenatal Matrix of Humanicide,” we will deal with it in much greater depth. We will see why we have this tendency. And we will have the fortuitous discovery that it is a product of events in our lives — however early they occurred — so it is not inevitable, it is not our actual, our deeper human nature. In all amazing truth, humans do not need to have a death wish, a Thanatos. We could also do far better in not acting out destructively of our Shadow.

That said, for now, there is no other conclusion to be made: People are simply fucking nuts. Let me show you what I mean.

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5

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People Are Fucking Nuts!

People Want to Die; People Want to “Blow Everything Up,” Even at the Cost of Their Children’s Lives

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“…those feelings of wanting to blow things up and let the shit hit the fan are actually just part of something that happened to us long ago…. We do not want to act them out. For the sake of our children, if not for ourselves, it is a good thing to fight for life.”

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I know you are hearing a lot of data and developments that measure and record the state of our world as it descends into climatic chaos. I thank everyone for bringing all this to our attention. Where I come in, as a psychologist, is at the point where we ask ourselves why there is not popular attention and action being brought about around these events. It certainly seems that people are quite crazy to go around in their lives, blocking all this out, denying it, and living their lives as normal, while the lives of their children … assuming they don’t even care about their own … are at stake. It almost seems people don’t merely not care about their lives, but they appear to actually want to die.

Yes, It’s True

It is here where I, as a prenatal and perinatal psychologist who has spent decades looking into this and who has written a number of books exploring this, come in to assure you that,

yes.

It is true. People are fucking nuts. We need an entirely new category in the psychiatrists’ manual, the DSM, for this new type of mental disorder. So I am proposing the clinical term, “fucking nuts.” The only problem with it is that a good thirty-five to forty-nine percent of the population would qualify. Yes, what we very often consider to be “normal” is actually … fucking nuts!

Funniness aside, the problem is not that people’s minds are not evolving at the rate of our technology, or some such. That is not the real reason folks are not attending to what they should right now. For, no, you look at human history, and you will see it peppered with atrocities and genocides and wars of incredible brutality and murder, unlike anything we see in the rest of Nature. So, no, this is not a new development. People are fucking nuts and have been since the dawn of civilization. This current apocalyptic trend in humanity is only employing much more powerful technology, this time. So this time it is all the life on Earth that is the target of human insanity. Including ourselves.

Second, yes, people do want to die. They want to commit a kind of suicide. I call it humanicide as it is being acted out on a worldwide, species-wide scale. Freud called it the death drive; others, Thanatos. It is a kind of instinct to die. Freud saw it when contemplating the atrocities of the two world wars. He noticed humans have a death wish. Where I have added to our understanding of that is I have traced that death wish back to our time at birth and just prior to that, in the last three months of gestation, when we, as fetuses, are not getting enough oxygen because of compressed arteries that feed into the placenta and because of the crowdedness in the womb. At that time, which is related to what Stanislav Grof calls BPM II, we surely want to die to end our suffering.

Let me back up.

The Roots of Our Desire to Die

There are folks asking how we could possibly be going about the end of life on this planet, with nuclear radiation filling the globe, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases filling the air, oxygen levels declining worldwide even as we decimate the rainforests and kill off the oxygen-providing plankton. They say there is not merely a problem with greed, which there is of course, or with morality or awareness and all that. Of course that is true, as well. They say this is at base a crisis of spirituality; that it is a spiritual problem. Well, that is where I come in.

I am a prenatal and perinatal psychologist and a transpersonal psychologist, as well as being a psychological anthropologist. And I have been looking into the roots of our desire to kill ourselves off, not caring about our lives or our planet.

What I have discovered is that we have a peculiar psychology that actually causes us, all in all and on average, to want to die. That’s right, the human race wants to kill itself, to commit humanicide. I can tell you why, and I have, at length, in my books.

It comes down to this:

You see there is a reason why folks would even consider Trump as a candidate for president, let alone be one for whom to vote. Here is a man who has no problem with the idea of using nuclear weapons, thinks it is just fine if countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and North Kora become nuclear powers, and thinks climate change is a hoax.

There are two reasons why he is popular. One has to do with a basic misogyny that exists in humans. You see, we are all born in birth pain, and throughout life we have an underlying urge to fight back at and to hate the feminine. This accounts for the subjugation of women throughout history. It fully explains the irrationality of the hatred that was projected at Hillary Clinton in the American election of 2016. These folks are not sane, you see.

Second, there is this death wish folks have. Folks are supremely unhappy, partly because of the imprint of birth trauma that we have from the horrible and unnatural way we come into the world, but also because of what we have become in devolving to be “civilized.” We are much more unhappy living in hierarchical societies where the majority of the time we spend doing things that are the directives of higher ups. This is not the way we were for hundreds of thousands of years and only have been for the last one percent of the time we have been human, beginning with the adoption of farming and the domestication of planetmates at the time of the agrarian revolution. A part of us knows what it is like to be natural and to have a natural life, where we are directors of our daily activities, deciding things that satisfy our ends, that fulfill us. Remember, we were this way for hundreds of thousands or millions of years. This thing, civilization, with its hierarchy and the invention of work — meaning you do what another, someone more powerful than you, wants, in order to have them take care of you, is completely new and is against what we want. So a part of us is always unhappy, wants to die, and wants to lash out at the injustice of all this.

Third, folks have this underlying feeling of oppression and suffocation that emanates from a time when we were all trapped in the womb, prior to birth, so we wish, ever after, to “blow things up” … regardless the consequences….

Now, what good does it do to know all this?

For starters, it helps us to understand how these times can be so dire. Second it shows that our reactions to these times — of depression and despair at the magnitude of the problem — are normal. Third, if nothing else, it says that we will benefit by going against these underlying tendencies we have; that regardless how we feel unconsciously, it is not a good idea to want to die. That we do not really want that. That those feelings of wanting to blow things up and let the shit hit the fan are actually just part of something that happened to us long ago. And that we do not really want to act them out.

For the sake of your children, if not for yourself, it is a good thing to fight for life … not to yearn for it in some kind of romantic way out of desperation at the state of the world right now. Or even to wish to bring it to you out of your frustration at the current situation, your inability to do anything about it, and perhaps the ways it has cobbled or infected your life in ways you feel hopeless about. Why? For it is not just about you, it is about the innocents, too … the planetmates and the children. And I can guarantee you they sure as hell do want the opportunity to have a full life, like you did.

Certainly it should not be the basis of some kind of bravado. “Bring it on!” is the way one of my friends on social media responded to it. While that might provide some relief in moving oneself to a position of invincibility — oh, how tough you are, a real super-hero — it is a defense and does no one any good. For all your toughness now, you will be weeping with the rest of us when you see your daughter die of cancer, when you cannot bring food to your family because of the shortages, when your air conditioner does not work in searing hot temperatures for the electrical system is down, when your neighbors and now your sister who lives with you comes down with the fatal disease that is an epidemic decimating the world population like the swing of a machete, when your son is coughing from emphysema, when your toddler has asthma … and, most likely of all … when you see the fallout coming, the skies go dark, there is nowhere to run or hide from an invisible enemy of a radiation stalking you, or … if you are lucky … you are simply gone in a flash and kicking yourself in the butt in the afterlife for having been so “brave,” yet cowardly, in life.

So, what will you say then, tough guy!? And thanks a lot for all the help you did not give us because you were bunkered within your juvenile walls of bravado beforehand.

Now, to you “soft guys,” the point is that all these tendencies and feelings are wrong. They are harmful and hurtful to oneself, one’s family, and to all life on this planet. We would know that if we weren’t so fucking nuts because of the way we were born and the unnatural societies we live in where we feel we need to suck up to higher ups just to live.

Knowing that we are actually fucking nuts helps us to know that we should not give into our complacency and our feelings of wanting to die. It is, after all, just us being nuts again.

So what happens when you realize this? You face the depression you are also pushing away with these fantasies of having some kind of cataclysmic end to your suffering, like we all experienced happened to us at birth. The realization of the reality of our situation causes a darkness to descend upon us.

People inside are actually feeling stressed and fearful about these developments, even as they deny them. Denial, complacency, and avoidance are psychological defense mechanisms people are using to block out what they know to be true. Why do you think climate deniers are so vehement in their denial? They know they are spitting into the wind, but underneath they are fearful and fighting back against what they know to be true. Hence, the insanity in what they say.

In America currently, they, like children, are clinging to a daddy-figure who is telling them things are just fine, as far as the planet, and that there are just, as Trump puts it, “horrible, horrible” people who, for no apparent reason, want to scare them. And he misdirects their angst at scapegoats. The world is going to shit, terrorists are coming over the borders, our most recent leaders were criminals and made it all happen. Believe it or not, these are comfortable things for Trumpsters to hear, compared to what they know to be true. Hell, Trump could blame Hurricane Harvey on these “terrible, terrible” people (his words again) and he would be believed by these desperate folk.

Misogynistic, Too 

Something in particular has been bugging me lately about this same thing. I am astounded at the level of misogyny and women-hating that was coming out in the U.S., accompanying our 2016 presidential election, where, for the first time ever, we had a woman, Hillary Clinton, on the ballot.

Why Women Come Under Attack and What It Has to Do with the War on Nature

This brought out all kinds of ugliness. The attacks being leveled at her were so unhinged and overblown that they revealed their psychological origins. As I, being a prenatal and perinatal psychologist, have shown and continue to assert in my works and broadcasts, this kind of insanity goes all the way back to our times at birth and in the womb. We are predisposed by traumatic early events to fight the feminine, to hate the feminine: this, in the form of Nature, our Earthly mother of all, as well as all human women; as we’ve shown down through the ages with the control of women, the witch-burnings, the oppression of women, and the patriarchy.

As I said above, the reason we are killing ourselves off on this planet and the reason we actually, deep inside, want to die can be summed up in the clinical characterization that, quite simply, “People are fucking nuts.” And I explained how that is true, because of our origins … our birth and womb experiences.

Now I want to go further to explain how people are also fucking nuts in a particular way: We don’t just want to die, we want to blame women for it all and to war against Nature…. And we have….

Human’s have a basic misogyny and women-hating — exhibited by both men and women, surprisingly — built into them from our early experience of birth.

Let me back up. Our increasing depravity and separation from Nature is what accounts for human’s being capable of the current environmental crisis and with creating the possibility of planet death — as the result of human endeavor and “ingenuity” — at any moment.

But at its beginning….

One extremely important facet of this Controller-Conformer-Authentic dynamic — as I describe in detail in the next chapter on the descents of man — concerns women in our societies. At this point of our separation from Nature through excessive controlling activity and ego-aggrandizement we, having focused on conquering and controlling everything about us in wilderness, were beginning to dominate and control each other in the same way. We focused on Small Accumulators, especially the Authentics among them, but a huge part of that group were female. So women became targets for all aspects of this controlling mania — domination, denigration of character, diminution of personhood, coercion, attack, corralling, enslavement, abuse, murder, and so on.

Now, why human females would be singled out might not be apparent initially. We would think that they would be as likely to be Controllers as males. Some women, indeed, were Controllers, though not many. For there is something that sets women apart in this entire dynamic, making them less likely to become Controllers, more likely to be Authentic, and to be special targets for attack and controlling by the Controller-Conformers.

Nature, Birth, Misogyny, and Why Women Got Scapegoated for Everything

What sets women apart is their special connection with Nature and birth. Keep in mind that all this controlling has its roots in birth trauma and infancy deprivation. Remember also that all of this is about controlling all aspects of the natural world. Quite simply, because our females figured so prominently in both the birth trauma as well as the infancy trauma, they would unconsciously be blamed for it all. In attacking women, both women and men would act out their early pain. They would transfer their intensive efforts to beat back the residues, inside themselves, of their painful pasts, onto the outside and would beat back the symbol of that pain — women.

Misogyny

Humans are the only misogynistic species, because humans are the only species with excessive birth and infancy trauma. Among all of Nature, the female of the species prevails — that is to say, is central, more important, and usually dominates, if there is any inequality of genders.

Relation to Birth and Infancy

However, in humans, at birth, we experience a struggle with the female body to be born, more so than any other species. We would continue that struggle with, beating back at, and attack upon the female body later in life — both men and women would feel this push to do so. This explains, by the way, why women have never been able — until modern times, that is — to unite and fight back against the injustices perpetrated on them.

In any case, after birth and in early infancy, we were left wanting in having our needs sufficiently satisfied. In particular, we craved nursing, feeding, and attentiveness from our mothers. Since we could not help be at least somewhat dissatisfied with what we received — even the best mothers cannot respond perfectly, like Nature and biology can — we would for the rest of our lives first think of society’s females as being the source of our dissatisfaction. Women would be scapegoated for all human ills.

It was not women’s fault, of course, that they would be associated with these traumas. We would call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Indeed, if justice and reason ruled emotions, women would have been rewarded and appreciated for their roles in taking on these difficult times and tasks in our lives. Women, after all, suffer severely during birth, just as we do as neonates. They, though not perfectly, work hard to fill our needs after birth. Essentially, they are like the doctor who might get blamed for the disease, the hospital that might be targeted as being the cause of death since so much of it occurs there, the fireman who might get blamed for the fire … heck, there’s always one when he’s around, coincidence? … or the good Samaritan responding to the crime who might get accused of it — because she was there.

Simply through association, and quite unfairly, women would be targeted as the source of all our problems. We would associate women with eating an apple that would end the Earthly paradise; with a jar, or box, which when opened released all evil into the world. Amazingly, but understandably, we would create images everywhere in the world of the female vagina as ringed with voracious teeth. It is called a vagina dentata. It is a perfect depiction of the pain we felt when we first came through that doorway into the world.

So, women, first and foremost, after Nature itself, would be attacked and corralled in our controlling mania as it began being directed now even at ourselves.

Relation to Nature

There was another reason why women would come under attack. Being associated with those times of pain was the driving force behind our targeting women for enslavement and abuse. But also, those very fundamental aspects of being female — giving birth and nurturing infants — are the very connections with Nature that we can never deny. We can and did try to separate ourselves from all aspects of Nature, to set ourselves apart and above. However, in the activities of birth, sex, and the care of infants, we are most clearly part of Nature — down here on Earth with the rest of our planetmates. We may not acknowledge it, but we cannot but know it.

Thus women, in being primary participants in birth and infancy, have a connection with Nature that is harder for them to deny; and it is a connection that our males would be aware of as well. In being connected to Nature, human females would be more likely to be like those Authentics — that is, more interested in emotional, relational, and spiritual, rather than in power and controlling, pursuits.

Burdened with giving birth and having a greater role in parenting, they would be more likely to be Small Accumulators, too. So, they would be singled out for excessive coercion and demands for conformity by Controllers for those reasons — that is, women being more akin to Authentics and more likely a Small Accumulator.

But in the fact that men would know that women have a special connection to Nature, our females would be lumped in with Nature as another thing to control. Indeed, since sex is the major aspect of adult life that men experience as being related to Nature and to be unable to be controlled — at least, not without a lot of difficulty, for the sex act requires loss of control, as does loving in any form — and men would associate sex with women, that would be another reason women would be controlled. For in controlling women, men could, again, work to deny their connection with and dependence on Nature.

Other Reasons Women Are More Likely Authentic

Women were less likely to be Controllers for another reason. This has its roots also in the factor of women giving birth and being the more likely care-givers -— being mothers, that is.

Bonding

It has to do with bonding. And the differences around bonding, from earlier in our history to now, especially as regard the controlling proclivities of women are telling: Women give birth, and naturally have a period after birth of connection with their child that involves bonding and the establishment of a deep connection with their baby. It is a deep emotional-biological pattern, supported by all kinds of hormones and other bodily responses.

Quite simply, mothers who do not have this bonding with their children feel more estranged from their children throughout life, less empathetic toward them; and their children feel more alienated from their mothers. On the other hand, mothers who have this period of bonding have supremely better feelings of empathy and connection with their children, throughout the child’s life … and keep in mind this was virtually always the case up till more modern times when the birth process became dominated by medical-technological devices and procedures.

Breast-Feeding

This is further reinforced by breast-feeding, which is another natural process disrupted by the hubris of modern medicine and the vanity of modern lifestyles.

In these ways, women are biologically primed to be giving and loving care-givers. They are aligned with their feelings that — simply and quite frankly — care how their child feels … what their child’s experience of life is like. Hence, poor parenting — which would involve treating the child like a thing, managing it, dehumanizing it, and controlling it — are less likely, for the mother would be much aware of the fact that is hurtful to the child, causes pain to the child, and so would not do it. Mothers, with bonding and breast-feeding, are much more likely to be nurturing, caring, permissive of their child’s behavior, allowing of their child’s errant acts, and accepting of their children in general … as they say, more likely to be “unconditionally loving.”

Not so, in the situation of mothers and children who are not allowed the bonding after birth and who do not have the experience of breast-feeding in common. These children are much more likely to receive the kind of “poisoned parenting” — characterized by controlling and thingification of the child.

For now, the point is that up till modern times, the natural, biological processes of bonding and breast-feeding are things that kept women in the domain of being more likely to be authentic and less likely to be Controllers. For with their children, if nowhere else, if there was bonding and breast-feeding, women would be reinforced in humans’ natural feelings of empathy, which discourages the devitalization of the Other required for controlling and domination. Women would be taught in ways of nurturing, caring, emotional responsiveness, relationship, and many of the other characteristics of authenticity. None of these, nor either the ability to be aware of another’s suffering, is conducive to controlling other living things. Women made poor Controllers, overall; and they had less desire, much less, to want to be that way.

However notice also that these — bonding and breastfeeding — are aspects of Nature; these are bodily processes and functions. So they become also reasons women would be seen as closer to Nature, less “transcendent”-analytical-rational-detached than men; and they would become more reasons to hate women. And, oh, by the way, to be hated, especially, by men who did not receive such nurturing. As for there being a link between lack of bonding, breast-feeding in societies and the likelihood of misogyny, I will leave that for you to judge. I think there is evidence in some societies that there is such a correlation.

Recapitulating, I simply wish to point out that we humans have a particular birth, which is traumatic and for which we blame women unconsciously; we underwent a particular prenatal experience, in which we suffocated, felt poisoned and trapped, and for which we unconsciously forever after blamed women; and we suffered through a particular time after birth where we are unlikely to have had our needs for closeness and bonding sufficiently met, for which we ever after unconsciously blame women. And this accounts for why we have split off from and tried to control Nature down through history, why we have brutalized, oppressed and controlled women beginning with civilization, why we rape and destroy Nature even as it will kill us, too, and why Americans recently were going absolutely nutz in coming up with the most insane and trivial things to slander and attack Hillary Clinton, even as she was the only candidate who was willing to and had a chance to do something about saving our lives and those of our children as our planet implodes in the near future.

This being said, we need to resist our self-destructive and women-hating tendencies, and recognize we are not being sane when we feel them.

Desperate People

I have been pointing out how all of this makes sense; all of this is expected. I explained in my book, Culture War, Class War, that we are witnessing … “an unacknowledged but desperate battle in the culture war that has been going on since the Sixties — despite these attacks not being framed or talked about this way — between the World War Two and the Sixties Generations. The World War Two Generation, especially after the elections of November 1998, learned that it was way off in some of its assumptions, that their analysis of what had been happening in this country was woefully miscalculated. They were like the deluded schizophrenic who believed passionately in the world he himself created coming up against some of the hard, harsh, and indisputable facts of existence which undermine his world. The World-War-Two-Generation–minded — whatever the individual’s age, and especially now, their underlings of the Fifties Generation — have been fighting back, since the Nineties, with all the firepower they can muster against realizing the harsh realities around them of their waning ideals. They have been in total and absolute denial of the direction of the American, indeed the world, consciousness; and they have been flinging all their wealth into the mix to try to repress the emerging truths.”1

Furthermore, when I first published on this topic in 1998, I wrote, “But we shouldn’t be surprised if we see some of those in their ranks — wealthy and facing their inevitable demise — merely increasing the ferocity of their war waging … humiliating themselves and seeming ever more pitiful in the minds of the majority of observers, who increasingly, as time continues to decimate their WWII ranks, are younger than they and thus do not share their delusions.”2 

I am sorry to say I was more correct than I could ever have dreamed as we have faced, since the change of the millennium, neo-con wars built on lies and confused tea-baggers railing against their own interests. And most recently of all we observe a pathetic forty-some percent of the American population glorying in the words of a pussy grabber, and descending into the muck with him, rather than face the obvious mistake they made in aligning with him.

Furthermore, I wrote back then, that: “With their gains in stealing from all classes of society below them in their last dying clingings of a dying old guard, a king who simply won’t die, they are heavy with gold. They have the means to buy much more influence than their numbers.

“The multitudes are growing in size against them, but with their wealth and with the technology and science available now multiplying further their abilities, their capacity to control the minds of much of the population is magnified beyond anything previously and beyond anyone’s abilities to calculate or foresee.

“So despite the trends toward a natural evolution like we have seen in the past, we might witness a strange aberration — a ‘zombie apocalypse’ created out of the thinking of a time long gone comprised of sick ghostly fantasies of a black-and-white golden age that never was. Such things have happened before; cultures have indeed stagnated for hundreds and even thousands of years. The Middle Ages is one such example of stagnation beneath an oppressive deathly authority that would never renew.”3 

I stand on those words even more now than ever, as I watch the unraveling of a democracy in America, the dismantling of our freedoms and excellences, and most importantly the rolling back of environmental protections at a time they have become more critical. Instead of reversing our previous good efforts, as these strangely oblivious leaders are currently doing, in order to live what we would need is an all-out effort, far greater than that even when gearing up for a war. We require such a massive refocusing of global effort to avoid, if not the end — if it is at this point locked in, inevitable, as many in the scientific community are currently saying — at least some of the horror that will ensue. Human sensibility requires we seek to minimize the suffering and dial down the devastation that will come of our demise. For this geriatric mind-set, this curmudgeonly response to impending calamity — containing all the denial, avoidance, false bravado, and misdirection of the Fifties, Gen X, and WWII Generations — has now taken over the power positions in the world, particularly in America with a President Donald Trump.

Yet this is not where it began. People are fucking nuts in a way that has its origins long long ago, millions of years in fact. Let us now take a look at those earliest of all origins of humans’ prodigality from Nature and put our psychology of apocalypse in the widest possible context. You will see how doing so brings insights easily to mind and how a vast and useful overstanding of our predicament ensues.

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The Descents of Man:

Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up

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“We remain … one of the few species whose bodies have adaptations suited to water as well as land.”
 
“…bipedalism is rare in Nature. As bipedal humans, we were beginning a whole new adventure for life on planet Earth.”

 “Civilization describes the whole sum of the achievements and the regulations which distinguish our lives from those of our animal ancestors and which serve two purposes — namely to protect men against nature and to adjust their mutual relations.” — Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

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Having established how we are different from all other species and have become human, let us now look at contemporary humans’ distinction from the natural world of planetmates. For we find that our fall from grace in Nature began when we were still apes — prehomonids is the usual way of saying it — and still living harmoniously with the rest of the world.1

Descents from Grace, Human Devolution

After that Edenal time there was a step-by-step descent from that state of grace till we arrive at our situation of industrial civilization today. There were developments that increased our split from Nature. It happened over time, gradually, imperceptibly. This supposed evolution, actually a devolution, is related to birth pain … indeed, they are all direct results of birth trauma. For that trauma results in fear and insecurity. And the response to fear and insecurity is a drive to control. That drive to control is another way humans are different from all other species. It is also a way humans in the modern era are different from prototypical humans, from primal humans.

Let me explain.

The First Descent — Bipedalism

A long long time ago … we’re talking millions of years, double digits millions … our ancestors lived in trees in a region of the Earth now called Africa.

Humanity’s First Home Was the Trees

Our primate forbears were arboreal, scurrying along tree limbs and with a small amount of ability to brachiate, that is, to swing below the limbs and branches, like some primates do today. We slept in branches, and we took nourishment from the trees. We were primarily fruitarian, augmenting our diet with insects, caterpillars, and the like. We did not hunt or eat meat. Foraging was the way to go and was eminently sufficient during normal times. Life was good; but as happens, it did not last forever.

A change came upon the Earth. It was a global warming during the Miocene Era. The Miocene Era lasted from 23 to 5.3 million years ago and included periods of both warming and cooling of the Earth’s climate, though overall it was warmer than the preceding Oligocene Era and the following Pliocene. Before sharp drops in temperature at around fourteen million years ago and again at eight million years ago, the Earth had experienced a particularly torrid time. This warming began at around twenty-one million years ago and receded only about fourteen mya. Life was no longer so good. The days were hot and discomforting. Rising temperatures meant tree lines receded, leaving open space in Africa for savannah and desert. Vegetation was harder to come by. Very many, most actually, of our would-be progenitors died off. That would have been the end, and we would not be around today, except for….

Water.

Our Second Residence Was Waterfront Property

Luckily for us, some of our ancestors did live near oceans, streams, marshes, rivers, and lakes. And what a relief it was to have water to cool off with on those hot scorching days.

Furthermore, this was the best possible place to forage. Vegetation still grew prodigiously near water sources. Sure, we had to share those waterholes with other planetmates, which included lions and other carnivores; and that was occasionally fatal.

Yet the water was also the best place — and oftentimes, along the seashores, the only place — to escape from predators. So in addition to our former way of seeking refuge in the trees, around water we could make our way out into it as well to escape. Most carnivores looking at us as lunch were averse to water. Their loss, our gain.

Even better, there were other … different and more varied … food sources that came with water. Shorelines, marshlands, and lakesides provided both welcome relief from the increased temperatures as well as served up succulent new foods such as fish, crab, kelp, snails, and items comparable to what we know of as oyster, lobster, and mussels, today. This was in addition to the lush vegetation that grew near water.

Whereas most of our species at that time died off, those who had waterfront property thrived.

Which, strangely enough, is exactly the opposite of what will happen in the near future with climate change and the sea and ocean levels rising today. There’s a cruel karmic justice for ya.

But back then, it was an advantage to be by the sea. We were still planetmates and Earth Citizens, of course, and we belonged in Nature. We retained our planetmate nobility and took our honored spot in the ecosystem of Gaia. We were still in Eden, so to speak.

Then a fateful development ensued.

Our First Split with Nature Began When We Stood Up

You see, in the water there is a huge advantage in foraging to be able to raise oneself up on one’s hind legs. One could go out further in the water, much further. Naturally, those that did increased their success in acquiring food. They survived; they reproduced. They won out in the process of natural selection.

There was an even greater advantage attached to water in terms of safety from predators. Again, wading out as far as possible brought the greatest security.

For both reasons, over time our primate ancestors found it increasingly advantageous to stand up. And not just to stand up, but to stay up! And for long periods of time. Considering the reasons — food acquisition and safety from predators, which both involve survival and with one of them being extra motivating to endure long periods of uprightness so as to avoid a ghastly and brutal end — there was huge incentive to stay out in the water for extensive lengths of time, standing. And to avoid being eaten as well as to get the best things for eating, oftentimes it was the most benefit to be standing as far out in the water as could be, with only one’s head above the surface.

At first we were practicing our new skill of keeping our “chins up” (old chum) only in water. Eventually, for other reasons we found it helpful to be bipedal on land as well. These included keeping one’s hands and arms available for carrying an infant, for with our loss of hair … oh, did I fail to mention that? … yes, we lost our hair like all other mammals who go out to sea … and I assure you, we were not the first. Anyway, with our loss of hair, infants could no longer hold onto fur, as our primate relatives do. Furthermore, with humans being born more helpless than our cousins and staying that way for a longer period of time after birth, our very young ones were not developed enough to cling anyway. We’ll get into that shortly, with prematurity of birth and secondary altriciality.

The Naked and Aquatic Ape

Now, over the course of millions of years, because of our semi-marine lifestyle, our bodies changed in myriad ways. We lost our hair, as I said: It was helpful, when in water and especially when swimming, to not be encumbered with fur. Yet the hair on our heads remained and grew longer. For in water, a toddler could grasp its mother’s hair, while she was foraging, so as to stay in proximity with her and avoid the dangers of being separated and possibly even drowning.

Our fingers became more sensitive and more useful, for that was a great help in finding and acquiring food items beneath the water.

Our eyesight was already pretty good. Having been tree-dwellers, it was hugely important to be able to distinguish shapes and patterns and for our vision to have keen three-dimensionality and binocular perspective to be able to judge limbs and distances well to keep from falling and possibly dying. Well, in the water, super-duper vision was nice to have, too; but we developed it even more. For looking through the water to find food was aided considerably by better eyesight.

What was not that important anymore was the sense of smell. Whereas our primate sisters and many mammalian cousins have a keen ability to make out odors and scents, we began losing ours. In the water, there were nowhere near the complex odors and scents as on verdant land with its intricate, multi-aspected vegetation, infinitely complex dirt and ground cover, and varied beings … all emitting different, intense, and “highly informative” smells.

There, in the forest, it was a huge advantage to have super smell. Not so much in the water, surrounded by bland smelling ocean or sea water, with little complexity or variation to it. Even worse, the chemical substances eliciting smell, so abundant in the woods, would be washed away while in water. Or they would drift off on the breeze and not linger as long, like they did when there was vegetation and trees all around.

Additionally, while foraging in water, it was an advantage to communicate with others of our own. Smell was a good way for land-dwellers to convey emotion and messages. The scents of the forest and other planetmates, particularly our own kind, were rich and revealing. The water, much less so.

So for informational purposes, we developed two of our abilities exceedingly — the ability to make meaningful sounds to communicate and a refined capability to convey emotion, thought, and intent through facial expression. The first would lead to language, over a very long time. The second grew out of the fact that in water, at times, it was only or primarily our heads that were visible.

It was quite an advantage in acquiring food to be able to communicate with our own, so being able to send and receive signals by way of facial expressions was a huge boon. We could not use our body language as much in water. Being often up to our heads in it, sometimes we could not wave our arms to signal alarm. It was difficult to indicate displeasure or irritation with one’s body posture alone. Signals for happiness, pleasure, and direction were similarly muted. As mentioned, using smell for communication, as many in our extended family did to achieve the same ends, was no longer possible.

Hence, we became ever more adept at portraying messages through our faces, culminating in tiny but finely tuned movements in facial muscles and the ever more refined changes in facial expression that would make possible. On the other side of that, we became skilled readers of each other’s facial expressions. To this day, we might not be very good at reading body language, but if you look at actors and the way they can convey so much information with a slight change of lip, eyebrow, head movement, or such — sometimes movements of muscles in the face practically imperceptible, yet we get the message — you will see how profoundly good we got at understanding each other’s feelings, emotions, and even thoughts that way. We can tell a lot by “the look on his (her) face.”

These are only a few of the many ways our bodies changed, and in these kinds of changes we were not all that unusual in Nature. Other species had been land-dwelling and had actually made a complete change of residence to the sea. Among these are the seals, dolphins, whales, walruses, and dugong, also known as sea cows. They had all once lived on land. The whale was once a land dwelling quadruped, like any other of the furry animals we see around us today. And the manatee evolved from a creature that had similarities to both an elephant and a rabbit. Imagine that.

The changes in their bodies were huge … as were the changes in their sizes, by the way. Limbs that were important on land became rather useless in the water, and flippers and fins and the like were better things to bring to water. In water, removing the limitations of gravity, as it did, meant that size, shape, and weight were not constrained. Sea mammals became big and blubbery. Which is something that we only now, with our corporate control of food pushing nutritionless starchy, sugary, and salty foods to the near elimination of all else, are pulling off with our increased weight and heft.

World-Straddlers … Return to the Interior

However, we never made that complete transition to water like they did. We remain to this day one of the few species whose bodies have adaptations suited to water as well as land. Our cohorts in that regard are pigs and elephants, interestingly enough. Nevertheless, with a status midway between primates and dolphins, this was the first of many instances where humans found themselves on the borders of erstwhile hard and fast categories. Not only would it not be the last, but it is one of the things that ended up defining us. We were world-straddlers, like it not, for good or ill. And oftentimes it was for the worst.

Part of the reason we never became fully aquatic was also due to climate changes. Days were getting cooler again, and those of us who lived along the seas would begin making our way increasingly toward the interior of the continent and begin spending more of our time on land.

Perhaps it was that those who were inland thrived more, but it is also possible that those ancestors of ours with oceanfront property worked their way up the rivers back to Africa central. Or both of those factors contributed. For one thing, now that the Earth was cooling again, it was not as crucial to be in water. It was not as comfortable either. How our desire to go swimming changes on cool and cloudy days, eh?

There might also have been more disincentives to forage in waters in the interior than there were down by the sea. If it had been the case that our direct ancestors first evolved along the ocean, then when it got cooler, they might actually have wanted to follow the rivers and streams inland for more comfortable, warmer weather. However, along the ocean there would be relatively few dangers in the water. Sharks were rather uncommon and only occasionally fatal. Other dangers, such as sting rays, could be survived. Whereas inland there would be more dangers to survival in the water. There were crocodiles and alligators and their like; there were poisonous water snakes in more abundance than by the sea. These, along with the fact that the land surrounding began giving up more in the way of groceries, were incentives to stay on the land more and to seek food there more often.

Indeed, while our ancestors came from the interior of Africa and were marsh, swamp, stream, and lake likers, we eventually had less and less need to go into the water; and we found more and more reasons to be on land. Our bipedalism at least made that an interesting change from those we saw around us who were loping about on four legs.

For certainly, bipedalism is rare in Nature. As bipedal humans, we were beginning a whole new adventure for life on planet Earth.

To summarize, we began as apes and as tree-dwellers. However, a change in climate around twenty million years ago caused our forebears to congregate around water supplies — lakes, oceans, streams, and swamps. Water afforded relief from the heat as well as provided abundant food sources which were becoming scarcer in the interior of Africa. Foraging in waters made standing upright to be an advantage in natural selection, for one could go out into deeper waters and expand one’s possibilities for success. Retreating to water was also a way to protect against some kinds of predators who were averse to water. Standing for long periods of time in water made bipedalism increasingly advantageous; it was favored in natural selection.

Second Descent — Birth Trauma 

So, along the line of our early evolution, prehumans stood up and became bipedal. However, this resulted in a different structuring of our bones, of course.2 Most significantly, standing up achieved a different configuration of our pelvic bones. The different alignment made it so the pelvic ring, through which babies needed to be born, became smaller. The prenate’s head was larger, along every dimension, than the widest opening of the pelvic ring, and we only were able to be born by adaptations involving a softer bone in the skull, which could be molded to allow birth, and the evolution of hormones to relax and lubricate the female in areas around the birth canal during delivery. Regardless, humans began being unique in Nature in having the first ever occurrence of routine birth trauma, with difficult and longer deliveries, and excessive pain to both the mother and the neonate. These things are all relative, of course. It is in comparison to the rest of Nature and to what our evolutionary line experienced earlier that we have birth trauma, difficult deliveries, and greater pain for both participants.

Brains

The resulting birth pain gave prehumans bigger brains to deal with that trauma and keep it from affecting their ability to survive. As Janov and Holden (1975) have pointed out, the majority of our big brains is employed in keeping pain repressed … keeping out information, not raising our intellect. Thus humans have bigger brains in order to process bigger traumas at our beginnings. Again, this is relative to the rest of Nature, in particular our nearest relatives among planetmates, monkeys and apes.

Third Descent — Prematurity

Now, the big brains required a longer gestation for their development. However, the gestation required of twenty-one months for the level of maturation at birth comparable to our nearest planetmate relatives did not fit with natural selection. Evolutionary pressures, such as those involving a mother’s ability to forage and not be incapacitated with pregnancy, came into play, putting limits on the length of gestation. Our evolutionary response was to be born sooner — prematurity — and to finish the second half of our brain’s maturation after birth. This is called secondary altriciality.

Secondary Altriciality

In very many species the young are born helpless and needing assistance to survive. This characteristic of helplessness at the beginnings of life is termed altricial. We are the only species, however, who have an additional time of helplessness requiring attentive care; we are said to have secondary altriciality. Because we were premature relative to our primate relatives in Nature, we had to have that period of twelve months, which in primates would be in the womb, outside in the world of society. That is to say, with people, basically the parents.

Now, this meant that we were experiencing pain at the beginnings of life through birth trauma, then also through the fact that parents could not possibly take care of the needs of an infant as well as Nature could, as is the case with our primate relatives who experience their comparable brain development in utero.

Fourth Descent — Fetal Malnutrition

Another development that came with bipedalism is that in the late stages of gestation, the prenate would be so large that it would press against the blood vessels in the surrounding environment and inhibit the blood flow to the extent that nutrients and oxygen were not supplied sufficiently. A big part of that reduction of blood flow came out of the fact that standing up magnified that constriction of blood vessels. By contrast, the fetuses of our four-legged primate cousins hang loosely below the mother, not impeding the blood flow.

resized fetal malnutrition , contrast cropped ... this is the one

Because of this reduction in the supply of nutrients to the fetus, the arc of growth, at the end of gestation, flattens out and does not catch up and begin retracing the curve established earlier in gestation until after birth. The prenate’s growth, measured by its weight, as well as body length, slows significantly beginning in the third trimester and especially during the last four weeks of gestation and resumes its spurt only when it is no longer in the womb. By comparison, our ape relatives, not to mention other planetmates, do not have that prenatal arrest of development.

fetal malnutrition graph, length

Thus, we were beginning to have fetal malnutrition, because of our upright gait, which was another source of hellacious pain for us as neonates having vast consequences for human psychology. We stood up, and our soon-to-be-born children got really crowded in the womb. They were suffocating and starving in there, too.

Fifth Descent—Ego

Big brains were one way of dealing with this ever-mounting pain and trauma at our beginnings. However, concomitant to that was the creation of an Ego. In order to keep our early pain repressed as well as to seek the satisfaction of needs — now dependent on society for them — in a haphazard world, with no real certainty those needs would be met, we evolved an adaptation of consciousness that was split from Nature and removed from our experience of life. This Ego, being separate from experience, sought to act as a director or controller of the items of our consciousness as well as of our immediate environment.

fetus in womb, worked

Our egos were modeled upon our parents, of course. So we would have all the shortcomings they had. Or we would have others in response or in reaction to theirs. This is called human personality.

Sixth Descent — Mistrust 

Both traumas — birth trauma and fetal malnutrition — contributed to the growth of that Ego and affected our personalities in many and varied ways. Part of this was the way it made imperfect humans even more lacking in caring for their infants. Thus we “acquired” even more primal pain because of insufficient satisfaction of needs.

Mistrust of Nature Led to Control Compulsion

Altogether we learned, early in our lives, that the world around us could not be relied on. Consequently, we began an ever-increasing mistrust of the world, which manifested, critically, in our relation to Nature and our feelings about how well we could have our needs met in it. Since we mistrusted, we began controlling. Control came in to fill the gap of mistrust that lay between need and satisfaction.

Seventh Descent — Hunting

While in Nature, our needs were taken care of, but with this increasing mistrust and out of the fear that it engendered, we began thinking we needed to augment our vegetarian diet. We began killing planetmates, which we call hunting.

Eighth Descent — Murder

Killing planetmates, who are so much like us, and with the repression of conscience required, or, one might say the insensitivity, that came of that, we were able to kill each other. Cain killed Abel is the way The Bible expresses that, metaphorically.

Ninth Descent — Farming 

This increased our anxiety and mistrust and the consequent compulsion to control … out of fear of lack of resources … and the next part of Nature that compulsion was directed to was the plant kingdom. We began growing our food — horticulture — to augment our gathering and hunting. This led to farming, to the agrarian revolution, and to agriculture, in time.

Tenth Descent — Husbandry

Controlling now our food sources through planetmate flesh (meat) and the plant kingdom, the next step was naturally to begin growing those planetmates in place, just as we had their distant sister plants. This is called domestication of animals or animal husbandry.

Eleventh Descent — Sedentary Life and Storage

Now, all this sedentary living, required for farming and husbandry, made it that we could store more things, which we were not wont to do when we were nomadic and would have had to lug it with us. Hence, we were “settled” in place, and we stored things.

Twelfth Descent — Accumulation

The ability to store meant that some people would store more than others. Those who accumulated more would have influence, and eventually control, over those who stored less. Ten thousand years ago, the rich began calling the tune to which all society would need to dance. We have, with this, the beginning of civilization. As I heard it put recently, civilization is “they lock up the food.”

Thirteenth Descent — Hierarchy

Folks who accumulated more — let us call them Large Accumulators, the earliest of what today we call the wealthy — could dominate and control, now, beyond the things of Nature, also their fellow humans. Levels of power arose, with those above dominating those below and those lower on the societal ladder needing to conform and abide by the wishes of those above, for security and sustenance reasons. This is hierarchy, and it comes into play with sedentary living and the rise of centralized living — that is, villages, then cities, then states. All are characterized by a hierarchy of power where those above could call the tune … domination; and the ones below would need to dance to the tune of another and could no longer pursue ends of their own, which is submission.

Naturally, this inequality of wealth evolved into a hierarchical arrangement of dominance and submission. Each level would control those below while being conforming and sycophantic to all those above. We have an incipient class war and an overt culture war going back to this time. For those at the top would wish to hide the injustice in this setup through social constructions, such as law, mores, and religion, which would divide the classes and keep them pitted against each other, rather than focusing their blame on the ones in control.

Losing our relatively noble status as when we lived in the egalitarian cultures characteristic of gather-hunters, we began living in societies where controlling others or being controlled colored all our social interactions, and an incipient class war festered beneath the surface.

Fourteenth Descent — Misogyny

Since men were being controlled by higher ups outside the family, they began taking that model of authoritarian control into the family, as well. This was first applied to children, but at this point it began being directed at women. Wives were required to submit to their mates in a manner similar to the way men were being required to submit outside the family. This soothed men’s humiliation born of submission to other men by having it balanced in the family with being able to experience domination of women, particularly wives. Again, we have Ego stepping in to keep our pain repressed, regardless who around us it might hurt.

The root of all our problems is our obsession to control and its resulting domination of everything around us. For humans, Ego became the prime motivation in life, towering over everything else and any other impulse.

Nature did just fine for billions of years before us, but we began the rationalization — continuing right up to today — that it now needed us to manage it … to have dominion over it … for it was essentially just a soulless machine. People lived and loved and enjoyed life for millions of years, but our strong men and patriarchs would concoct the idea that our Small Accumulators, women, and children would be utterly lost without their telling them what to do. For — as men told themselves — these underlings were less “divine” and were closer to that dreaded and scapegoated “animal” state — defined as that which is “out of control” and “wild.”

Fifteenth Descent — Child Use

With all this extra work required to grow food and raise it as planetmates, it was deemed helpful to engage children into the mix by making them assist in the work at younger and younger ages. Thus, we began controlling our children, like everything else, and with that came not just child labor but also child abuse.

Child Abuse and Human Tool Use — Humans Become Abominations in Nature

Separation from the Divine meant separation from all else, all others, even one’s own offspring, along with increasing isolation, and increasing reinforcement of the alien, backwards, consciousness construct, Ego. Humans began secretly to think, “There’s nothing really alive but me.”

Consequently, newborns were seen in exactly the same way as other beings being controlled — as just as worthy an investment, and little more, as raising kidnapped Earth Citizens and just as acceptable for coercion, for forced enlistment, in the survival schemes of the now rootless, directionless sedentary humans

All these controlling tendencies of all-seen-as-not-ego were alike in their estimation and implementation: control of life ways; all Earth Citizens — fauna and flora; other humans; and dependent newborns. They were all seen increasingly as “things” to be manipulated and used for Ego survival. They were all gradually deprived of their status as being conscious, of having consciousness, as being akin to self and one’s consciousness.

Sixteenth Descent — Work

A major development came in with hierarchy and its patterns of dominance and submission which was a monumental change in the experience of life of humans. With dominant folks directing affairs, lesser people were brought into line to work toward the satisfaction of the needs of those above and would have little time left over to attend to their own. We created work when we began buying other’s time, and selling our own, in exchange for survival. This created an onerous existence for humanity which was vastly different from the rich experiences of life that our ancestors, previous to that, had enjoyed.

Seventeenth Descent — Religion

This controlling not being enough, the elite added still more tools to their arsenals of domination. We have the individualistic spirituality of the gatherer-hunters called shamanism — in which everyone could work out their relation to the Divine — being deformed into religion. Religion put other people in as mediators with the Divine — priests — and religion was slanted along the lines of the desires and wishes of the higher ups, the elite. Consequently, obedience to higher power, rather than individualistic and creative relation to the Divine, took over as the ethic.

Gods and Patriarchality

Controlled and increasingly living in fear, people imagined gods, then concocted them, who were amalgamations of the authoritarian figures of the society and culture — the fathers-husbands and the wealthy Controllers. Religion became infused with a morality, a patriarchal one, that was only superficially covered up for what it really was — a mechanism to keep the family members, in particular the wives and children, as well as the masses in line. This increase of control represented a gradual loss of self, or soul, from all these factors; and the process continued, with religion and the elites of society directing the populace of society along ends specifically suited to themselves.

Thought and Emotion Control

After all this controlling of everything and everyone about and now with religion added as a tool, the inner thoughts and emotions of the masses were next to be conquered and wrangled into submission.

Inner life was targeted for control to serve toward two ends: For the masters, it was more effective than external control to keep the masses from noticing their enslavement and, in the throes of righteous injustice, rising up against their oppressors.

For the oppressed masses it served in their attempts to defend … even more defensiveness was required now … against the Pain building up in them from all the assaults on their felicity to date. To function in such a deprived and unhappy state, folks needed to put out of their minds and to repress — with all their might and using all the devices at their disposal, including religion — the pains emanating from prenatal malnutrition, birth, guilty consciences from killing, huge workloads to survive, abuse as children, domination by a wealthy elite and/or by males, and finally religion itself.

Sexual and Pleasure Repression

Hugely important amid the thought-and-emotion control was that of sexual behavior. Religion and the Controllers embraced the notion that even sexuality was a source of uninhibited expression of emotion, outside the control of the elite, so sexuality became demonized … at least for the lowly. Sexuality was both a reminder of our erstwhile belongingness in Nature as well as it was a powerful source of potential defiance, thus requiring repression.

The quality of life of the dominated, including love, was more than just not important to the Controllers, which was true. On a level so fundamental it could not even be seen, the personal feelings, motivations, and individual ends of those lower in status got in the way of the ends the Controllers had in mind. Human feeling, intention, and choice were thought to be arenas designated only for them. Those who controlled deemed themselves risen to the heavens, at times thinking they were gods, at times demanding they be thought of that way.

In this scheme, the subdued and the server classes were viewed as no more than props in the dramas the elite would concoct. They were not more important, often even less so, than the planetmates who had earlier been enslaved, similarly to be used at will by humanity. And sexuality for the underlings, like it was for planetmates, was an unpredictable variable, arising from “messy” biology and human feeling, which was inconvenient to the Controllers in the attainment of their ends. It would not at all benefit the Controllers for their underlings to be happy or satisfied. In fact, messy emotion would work against the higher ups’ desire to have those below attend to their needs, not their own. It was an element of life that would be out of their control

So, pleasure in general, sexual pleasure in particular, was increasingly devalued, downplayed, moralized against, even demonized, and therefore suppressed, using religion as the tool, in favor of values that benefited those at the top — values which were centered upon hard-work and obedience. This repression of sexuality, love relationship, and tender human feeling was added to the piles of hurt that humans carried, which needed to be suppressed so that ordinary folks could even function … and most definitely so they could act in the productive manners beneficial to and demanded by their dominators. We were on the road to soul murder.

Repression of Individuality

The extent to which overlords wished to drive all individuality and feeling out of their underlings is exemplified in a sight we see everywhere in all patriarchal societies, and pretty much only in patriarchal cultures. That sight is of the soldier, guard, attendant standing at attention and unmoving, often near at hand to the Controller — the king, royalty, military or political personage, or tyrant. What better way to indicate that person in attendance is not a person or alive but is only a tool to be used at the overlord’s whim.

Notice how no amount of movement is allowed. For any such action arising out of the volition of the underling would indicate an individuality, separate from the Controllers, that was wanted to be beaten out and removed from the personality of the soldier or guard. The message is clear: “Your life is not your own. It is mine. Don’t even think of having an idea of your own, let alone an independent action. No. Your body is mine to direct and manipulate. Keep it in the corner, quiet and unmoving, until I tell you what to do with it.” The thinking  here is no different from that of storing one’s guns in a locker, keeping one’s car in the driveway.

This practice continues right up to modern times where we see, as some kind of goal or achievement, the control and orchestration of individuals and groups and their every tiny movement, every action, to be in “lock step” with others, with absolutely no individuality or non-conformity at all. Clearly we see this in boot camps, where they march in formation, stand at attention, frozen, only moving in a way that is in complete synchrony with the others in the group. In ways like this we are told we are nothing … we are on the level of a tool, or a thing. It has its beginnings even with the marching to and from class in grade school … to and from lunch … to and from the lavatory…. Do not get out of line! We are told our lives only have value as determined and put into action by higher ups.

For only with such complete conformity, such machine-like regimentation, did Controllers feel that they could be safe from insurrection. Only with it could they feel that they could elicit actions from their subordinates in which the underlings would put their lives at risk for the ends of the elite. Or do any other thing, however disagreeable, that the Controller would not want to do. Look to any parade, any military ceremony, half-time at any high school football game to see how this kind of total non-individuality is put out as the ideal, as the paragon of total repression of self, which is desired in a patriarchy. All so its elites can wield control and power maximally.

Propaganda, Positive Thinking, and Pharmaceuticals

Hence, methods of mind control developed, ever modified and perfected. It took the form of things similar to the positive thinking and the pharmaceutical suppression we see in modern times. For both serve to aid one in running away from the trauma and pain within and to delude oneself that everything is different than it really is. Such a delusional trance of fake happiness … “just put on a happy face,” “smile, though you feel like crying, smile, what’s the use of sighing” … was needed to avoid the huge loss of self-esteem, and thus effectiveness (“use”), that would come with a knowledge of all that one was enduring … and all unfairly … if one compared oneself with Nature.

Indeed, one did keenly feel an unfairness in one’s life. Though it would not do for it to be acknowledged; it was another “inconvenient” feeling requiring repression. For we retained, in our needs and desires at least, a knowledge of what we really wanted. And what we longed for desperately were the same things we had been having while in Nature, over the course of millions of years, which were now being denied, supremely, over the course of the last five-to-ten-thousand-some years.

Eighteenth Descent — Culture

The amalgamation of all these Ego tendencies — which included controlling traits, conforming and sycophancy tendencies, and separation from the Divine and Nature and the loss of connection to feeling or to a life lived with “felt experience” — is culture. Culture developed, in civilizations, in concert with the loss of Divine connection. It created a mesmerizing maze in which to get lost and to hide from oneself one’s lost experience of life. Culture is a weed without roots; it is the fury we create to block out our emptiness. Ignorance of the Divine made for some pretty a-mazing untruths and empty rituals.

Nineteenth Descent — Soul Murder

Thus, with the assistance of mind control that was imposed — things akin to morality, propaganda, and religion; augmented by mind control that was self-administered, which would include things like thought control, positive thinking, “creating one’s reality,” “channeling” of one’s drives for fulfillment, and sublimating of one’s desires; along with trivial distractions from one’s experience of self through mindless entertainment, mind-numbing work, and such; and finally with the boost provided by the modern pharmaceuticals serving to put blinders on one’s thoughts and to restrict one’s feelings and emotions and channel them along those “appropriate” lines helpful to the higher ups … with all of these together we had the ability to achieve a pretty good murder of the conscience, of the soul.

Sociopathy

And with this we have the achievement of the heights of “civilization” — the sociopath. All human “evolution,” characterized as it is by increasing control of everything and anyone around, reaches its fruition in the creation of a personality without the ability to empathize, which enables a human to kill, steal, manipulate, bully, destroy the environment, kill off species, and dominate without conscience or remorse — all in the service of narcissistic desires and greed. The sociopath is the logical and inevitable omega point of man’s descent from Nature. Commiserations to Teilhard de Chardin for having gotten it backward, regarding his Omega Point, under the nearly unbreakable spell of the overweening anthropocentrism which arose in tandem to such sociopathy, sharing many of its qualities.

Indeed, while this evolutionary “advance” — sociopathy — came into play with civilization, especially among elites and Controllers, these tendencies can be seen to characterize and be at play in the majority of human personalities at this time in history. While mostly recognizing these traits in their most extreme form, most humans will fail to see the reflections of them in their own selves. Unfeeling, insensitive, greedy, narcissistic, anthropocentric, and self-centered people will not know they are that way. And seeing everyone around them as much the same, they will hardly know it can be any different.

This is where we are today and why we need to return to our primal personalities, in tune with Nature and the Divine.

The Descents of Man

In sum, these descents, in relative order of their appearance in time or, if they occurred concurrently, their priority as being causative were as so,

  • First Descent — Bipedalism
  • Second Descent — Birth Trauma
  • Third Descent — Prematurity
  • Fourth Descent — Fetal Malnutrition
  • Fifth Descent — Ego
  • Sixth Descent — Mistrust
  • Seventh Descent — Hunting
  • Eighth Descent — Murder
  • Ninth Descent — Farming
  • Tenth Descent — Husbandry
  • Eleventh Descent — Sedentary Life and Storage
  • Twelfth Descent — Accumulation
  • Thirteenth Descent — Hierarchy … control of others, inequality, domination and submission, class war
  • Fourteenth Descent — Misogyny … domination of women, domination and submission brought into the family
  • Fifteenth Descent — Child Use…. and Abuse … domination and control of offspring, mistreatment and exploitation of children, family “armies” and work groups
  • Sixteenth Descent — Work
  • Seventeenth Descent — Religion … instead of spirituality, beginnings of impersonal and ritualized practice in relation to Divinity and authority, sycophantic worship instead of connection with Divinity, phantom and transcendent gods
  • Eighteenth Descent — Culture
  • Nineteenth Descent — Soul Murder … control of thoughts and self, avoidance-denial of pain, ultimate loss of empathy and conscience (the sociopaths of today and of history) and, thus, the ability to engage in war, hate crimes, burning of Jews and witches, genocides, ecocide, and to murder from afar and upon command.

So we arrive at our situation today, separated from Nature and about to bring down the whole shebang out of our pure contrariness. Oh, what to do. Well, at this point we are thoroughly removed from Eden; we have cast aside natural ways. “By the sweat of our face we will eat our bread.” We have learned to work hard, to forgo pleasure. And we never look back, lest we be confronted by that burning pain of birth pain. Let us now bring that aspect of it deeper into focus.

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PART TWO

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Prenatal Matrix of Humanicide

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“…the events of these strange days are being sculpted by an emerging pre- and perinatal unconscious — an unconscious that was created out of the trauma of our entering into this world, our birth trauma.”

“Just what is it about us that could allow us to so violate our home as to make the death of us all possible? …that is what we will look at here.”

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Having brought to our attention in the last part the unbelievable environmental perils we currently face, hopefully I have reawakened you to the unique character of our times.

An Emerging Pre- and Perinatal Unconscious

Now, in this part I have in mind to persuade you that this unprecedented era in history is rife with the prenatal and perinatal; that is, with things having to do with the time around our births and before. Along the way I hope to pull back the veil on what this might mean personally, for you, in your own life, right now … in your own lives over all your soulular history, as well.

This contemporary age is permeated by prenatal and perinatal symbolism, elements, evidence, behavior, rituals, and situations. In other words, I expect to show that the events of these strange days are being sculpted by an emerging pre- and perinatal unconscious — an unconscious that was created out of the trauma of our entering into this world, our birth trauma. The Kills, with their release in 2008, sang it, most aptly, “We ain’t born typical.” And they included the refrain, “We are a fever.” Both true.

Well, that’s what I’m talking about.

I intend for my readers to get three things from this part of Psychology of Apocalypse, pertaining to the “Prenatal Matrix of Humanicide”: 1) an understanding of why we humans would do such a thing as to foul and destroy our own nest and thereby bring about our deaths; 2) inspiration and hope about doing something about our situation; and 3) an understanding of where to apply the lever of effort in order to bring about this most difficult of all reversal of a human trajectory, which is heading towards extinction for us and for all life on Earth.

Here we look at why humans are denying, not facing, the uniquely dire character of our times. This part deals with finding out what our blind and strange insistence on self-immolation says about us and what it demands of us instead.

In any other situation where there would be a problem, folks would address it. But not this one. We seem determined to end our species, to end our own lives, even. That is the meaning of humanicide, in fact. I have coined the word humanicide to refer to the suicidal ending of humans … our species hara-kiri. Indeed, while we have a word for murder of our ecosystem, our environment — ecocide — we are so much in denial of the fact that we are killing ourselves … that we are committing a suicide on our own species in the process of killing off all other life … that there was no term for it previously.

This part also addresses the question of what it is about our species that we — of all the other species on this dear planet Earth — are the ones, the only ones, who would bring about such a possibility.  Just what is it about us that could allow us to so violate our home as to make the death of us all possible? This is something somebody should be addressing, don’t you think? And that is what we will look at here.

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Perinatal Matrices of Experience:

How Our Experience of Birth Configures Everything We Experience and Know, for the Rest of Our Lives

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“At birth and before, we experience pain unparalleled in the world of Nature and other species. This vast difference is metaphorically represented by the story in Genesis, wherein we are cast out of the Garden … no longer to enjoy and benefit from the harmonious synergy that exists in Nature. Yes, we are different.”

“We are different; and what we find out is how that difference is what creates all our “advances” of “civilization” … but also is resulting in an ecocidal, humanicidal plunge at the moment that will end all life on this planet within decades.”

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Now it is time to go even deeper in our analysis. The way forward is down; our search leads us to go even further back in time and more profoundly into our unconscious and earliest memories. I want to introduce you to the roots of evil and of apocalypse. What’s coming is something you have never heard before. You may be surprised to find out why we humans are destroying ourselves, committing humanicide.

The Way Forward Is Down

I will begin being specific about the roots of evil and humanicide in humans and what we can do about them. In my research and my life’s work, I discovered that our current humanicidal tendencies have their origins in a particular birth that characterizes humans. Elsewhere I detailed how we humans, among all species, have come to be unique in this manner. That was in Planetmates: The Great Reveal, published in 2014. I continued that exposition in Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man, which was brought to print in December, 2016. In another book — Apocalypse NO, released in 2013, which is number four in the Return to Grace seriesI laid out how and why these unconscious traumas from our birth are rising up in us and in our societies more than ever before. And I asked if this emerging perinatal unconscious — perinatal means “surrounding birth” — would work toward our detriment, perhaps even nail the coffin of our demise, or might serve in some uncanny method of healing, perhaps liberation. As the subtitle of Apocalypse NO says it: Apocalypse? or Earth Rebirth? and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious.

In subsequent books, I went deeper, further back in our history to before birth, to the prenatal influences on our lives — those occurring before birth. This in particular, I did in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, also 2016. Doing so, we see patterns even more profound; we see possibilities even more promising.

In fact, the implications from including the prenatal perspective are vast — revolutionary, even. This new information calls for an overthrow, or a reversal, of the dominant paradigms in child-caring, child development, psychotherapy, and spiritual growth and practice. Most important for us here, these findings and insights have direct bearing on our current ecocidal and humanicidal plunge to oblivion. So, this vision is the most important one for understanding why we are doing what we are doing and then how we might do something to actually reverse our course.

For the effects of perinatal experience on life, history, and personality and behavior … as well as the creation of evil … a great deal of insight and knowledge has been advanced by three researchers in particular: These are Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Lloyd deMause.

 What I add about the prenatal was stimulated by deMause’s work on the poisonous placenta, as he calls it. This refers to the experiences in the late stages of pregnancy when the blood supply to the fetus is less and is not as nutrient rich and has an increasing buildup of toxins. Thus the placenta, the source of all nutrients for the fetus, is poisonous, in a sense.

In constructing his theory, deMause followed Briend’s (1979) theory of fetal malnutrition, which has it that late in gestation, because of the fetus weighing heavily upon the mother’s arteries as the fetus is getting larger, the blood supply to the prenate is reduced and is lacking in the optimal amount of nutrients the fetus would wish, and truly needs. Because of this, the prenate’s growth markedly slows down. (See page 70.)

However, the major nutrient for a fetus — who does not breathe air yet and gets its oxygen through the blood it receives — is oxygen. Thus, oxygen insufficiency, hypoxia, or oxygen “malnutrition,” for the prenate, or “fetus” is also inherent in Briend’s findings. One would think a reduced oxygen intake would have an even greater impact on birth then merely the decrease in nutrients. Regardless, it is the hypoxia that deMause focuses on. And going beyond the data of fetal malnutrition, which occurs in the last month of gestation, he brought forth evidence for severe hypoxia occurring to the prenate in the last three months, the third trimester. He described ultrasound studies of prenates that revealed frantic, panicky behavior of the fetus related to instances of hypoxia.

You may recall that I have touched upon this aspect of our development — fetal malnutrition and hypoxia — several times in this text, already. You will see how, soon, we go more deeply into those ideas.

We all experience both a lack of oxygen before we are born, we feel suffocated; as well, we go through a time where the environment we live in has a buildup of toxins — a pollution — because the byproducts of food conversion are not being removed as efficiently by the blood. So, prior to birth we experience suffocation and a polluted environment. Are you beginning to see the connection with our environmental crisis today? These experiences are hellacious because there is no escape from the sensations and in the womb the time seems to be unending, even eternal. These horrific experiences are stamped upon our psyches and they affect how we see the world and how we act throughout our lives.

Elsewhere I pointed out, bringing in research from anthropology and related fields, how this fetal malnutrition is a product of our standing upright — becoming bipedal — for that affected the configuration of our pelvic bones; thus it affected a mother’s ability to give birth. This I did in my works, Planetmates: The Great Reveal, and Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness, both released in 2014. More recently, I detail this in my book, Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man (2016). I presented the highlights of that theory in this work in the last chapter, titled “The Descents of Man.” I explain in these places how this fetal distress, the result of bipedalism, is the major difference between humans and all other planetmates. Humans are the ones who suffer. Homo sapiens is the traumatized species … the one with birth pain. Thus, it is the neurotic one. Are you beginning to see how we might also be the suicidal one?

At birth and before, we experience pain unparalleled in the world of Nature and other species. This vast difference is metaphorically represented by the story in Genesis, wherein we are cast out of the Garden … no longer to enjoy and benefit from the harmonious synergy that exists in Nature. Yes, we are different.

Humans are different; and what we find out is how that difference is what creates all our “advances” of “civilization” … but also is resulting in an ecocidal, humanicidal plunge at the moment that will end all life on this planet within decades at the most.

In Wounded Deer and Centaurs (2016), I went deeply into the specific experiences that commonly occur in the late stages of gestation. I showed how they have created the “matrix of human events.” I made clear just exactly why we have engaged in holocausts; wars; witch burnings; bigotry; greed and the creation of a dominant, moneyed elite; and environmental destruction.

This perspective and these findings of that work, continued here in this one, I believe are the missing element and the key to understanding the ills of the world and the human condition and to finally doing something about them.

The Perinatal Unconscious

However, we need start with birth and its effects on shaping our current global crises. What I have found is that these humanicidal times, with its unprecedented global crisis, are driven by what I call an emerging perinatal unconscious.

These perinatal elements have come to our understanding through the efforts of both the inner explorations of experiential pioneers into the perinatal, as well as the hard, empirical work of pre- and perinatal researchers. I might also point out that I, myself, have over forty years of experiential exploration into these perinatal elements, in addition to my scholarly work and research in this field. My experiences confirm, in my own mind, their absolute validity, as well as validating for myself the theoretical constructs put forth by others to describe and explain them.

These elements are near universally accepted among perinatal psychologists as unconscious forces, factors, matrices that exist in us all as a result of a human birth that is unique, by comparison to all other species, in its degree of trauma and hence of its impact or imprint on what we might call our “human nature.”

Since there is a good chance you are probably hearing about this research only now, keep in mind that entire new fields of prenatal and perinatal psychology, primal psychology, and to some extent, transpersonal psychology and psychohistory have grown up around the existence of these perinatal factors. Entire modalities of healing tap in to and are based on the existence of this perinatal unconscious, including primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, and rebirthing, naming just the few that I employed in my psychotherapeutic practice, prior to my retirement. These unconscious perinatal elements have been confirmed by thousands of researchers and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of experiential voyagers into the perinatal unconscious.

So let us look at some of the elements characterizing this perinatal unconscious. As the first person in the United States to teach pre- and perinatal psychology at the university level, which I did in the early Nineties; as an editor of a professional journal concerned with perinatal psychology (Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology); as a psychohistorian, employing prenatal and perinatal dynamics to reveal hidden meanings and tendencies behind historical and current events; and finally, as a psychotherapist who has facilitated others in journeying into these realms, as well as having been guided myself to explore them, I feel I have a perspective on these experiences worth sharing.

The Basic Perinatal Matrices

The basic perinatal matrices are the conceptual offspring of Stanislav Grof. He, an M.D. as well as a psychiatrist, derived them out of the four thousand or so sessions of psycholytic therapy he personally facilitated. Psycholytic therapy involved LSD as a means to access and integrate experiences from the deep subconscious as well as the profound oversoul or collective unconscious. It is something he — while living in Prague — and a few others in the world were engaged in beginning with the discovery of LSD in the 1950s.

He refined these theoretical constructs over the course of the years. In the United States, his second home, Grof developed a non-drug modality to accomplish the same thing — the same access and the same healing. This technique, which involves the use of connected circular breathing, evocative music, artistic expression in the form of mandalas, and group sharing afterward, he called holotropic breathwork. Holotropic is the word he coined to describe the direction of the therapy, which is “turning toward” (tropikos) “wholeness” (holos).

So it was that in the states, as a scholar-in-residence at Esalen Institute and then afterwards, he refined his spiritual-therapeutic modality, facilitating or overseeing tens of thousands more of such experiential journeys into these realms. The basic perinatal matrices framework is the “map” of the unconscious that was distilled from the experiential reports, you see, of tens of thousands of experiencers over the course of decades. This map represents an understanding of the contours of the underlying patterns supporting and molding our consciousness out of which we act — constituting how we feel and forming the way we think … about everything. These are grids of distortion or like stained-glass windows through which we see and interpret everything in the world ever after, and in terms of which all our feelings and thoughts are patterned and painted.

So it is that the basic perinatal matrices are more than just therapeutically relevant. They provide a heuristic for the understanding of the mind and motives of humans — our psychology — surpassing anything known before and rivaled only by the theoretical constructs of Arthur Janov, pertaining to the personal, not transpersonal, aspects of that same territory; and Lloyd deMause, focusing on the psychohistorical — the political, societal, and historical — implications of that terrain. In my own writing you will see how I weave all three of these revelatory viewpoints on our lived reality with other findings of my own, and bring to light clear patterns and overstandings incorporating their discoveries and conceptualizations yet feeding back into and adding to their understandings. Then I use all that to go further still into a paradigm, which I advance and hold out for inspection, incorporating it all.

In any case, Grof derived these basic perinatal matrices, BPMs for short. These are typical experiential constellations related to our births. They are complexes or patterns of feelings that as adults we carry with us, which are imprinted on us at the time of our births, which determine how we see the world and what we do in reaction to what we see. These happen to be congruent with deMause’s perinatal schema, which he uses to describe configurations of societal and historical events and the sequence in which they unfold.

However, these two theories, of Grof and deMause, were derived separately and employed vastly different tools of research. The one put forth by Stanislav Grof arose from actual experiential reports of folks who had “journeyed” into these profound places. And the other, Lloyd deMause’s, were discovered in the patterns of historical evidence — especially of the kind involving the words of historical personages, the reports from media and historical documents, and other evidence of what people were thinking about and how they were seeing the events of their times as they acted within them. So Grof gives us what comes from direct experience and deMause weaves his framework from the objective evidence of historical happenings. The fact that such subjective and objective perspectives align in their contours is thus highly significant.

Also, the fact that they came at these views on the human psyche from different approaches reveals that they are applicable in the realms of both individual lives with our feelings and experiences, as well as that of collective historical events, including our current events and the movements of groups — nations and other large social entities. For that reason Grof’s map has more value for assisting in the individual quest, whereas deMause’s has unparalleled power for forecasting the events of human groups through the flows of historical time. Indeed, through his lens and looking at the patterns of present events, deMause has been able to predict, substantially ahead of time, significant events that occurred in our recent history.

My intent, of course, is to combine all these applications and understandings to accomplish the same kinds of things and more. Because all these perspectives — including Janov’s now as well — correspond with each other, they potentiate each other’s capacity to explain even more and to provide more expansive overstandings of our times and its events and what might come of them.

However, to do that we need first to look at each of them and understand them to see how they can together open a window of profound understanding into the events of our times and our individual actions within them, as well as our own lives. Our focus will be Grof’s basic perinatal matrices, and I will bring in deMause’s ideas as they illuminate.

Next stop, then, heaven … which relates to basic perinatal matrix I in the womb and deMause’s societal period of prosperity and progress.

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.Perinatal Heaven, BPM I:

Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix I … Lloyd deMause’s Societal Period of Prosperity and Progress

 

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.“…we do not forget this time of contentment and magical expansion of the world. And we try to return to it through many of the actions of our lives: swimming, meditation….  We seek out experiences of floating and weightlessness and freedom of movement to counter the feelings of entrapment that came of the next stage.”

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Grof outlines four of these complexes or matrices of experience … four different ways we view our lives and our world and react to it. They relate to four different times during our births, which are tied up with four different sets of feelings.

Basic Perinatal Matrix I

To begin with, Grof’s basic perinatal matrix I, or BPM I, involves the experiences and feelings related to the sometimes, or at least relatively, undisturbed prenatal period. The prenatal period is that time in the womb sometimes characterized by feelings of peace, complete relaxation, and a feeling of all needs met, or “oceanic bliss.”

BPM I corresponds to deMause’s societal periods of “prosperity and progress,” which he claims are accompanied by feelings and fears of being “soft” and “feminine” — understandably here, for in BPM I, that is, prenatally, the fetus is largely identified with his or her mother and is very much “soft,” that is to say, undefended.

This time in the womb may also be disturbed by toxic substances that the mother ingests — drugs, chemical additives, and so on — as well as by disturbing emotions that the mother experiences, which release stress hormones into the mother’s bloodstream, which then cross the placental barrier and affect the fetus. For these reasons, BPM I is also sometimes characterized as feelings of being surrounded by a polluted environment and being forced to ingest noxious substances, toxins, and poisons, which sickens the fetus.

However, if that does not happen, or to the extent that does not happen, this time in our lives creates in our deepest memories a knowledge of a state of “heaven.” It is harmony, peace, bliss, unity with the mother.

My own research has added that it is a time when we retain a connection with Divinity or a higher reality than what we will know ever afterward. Which goes to explain the fact we have awareness of our past lives at this time.

Furthermore, my own experience, added to research of other prenatal researchers — Frank Lake, in particular — reveals there are specific milestones in this state.

For example, the time of connection with the uterine wall, as a blastocyst, a bundle of cells, is a particularly euphoric time. The period of growth in general — from zygote through the embryonic state — is likely to be experienced as a bedrock of innate competence, confidence, and mastery. We participate in the bodies we are growing at that time, if not through will, more like through our immersion in the biological processes themselves … for we are anything but split off from our bodies at this point. We are not cut off from deep awareness of it, its experience, its movements and changes right down to the very cells that are multiplying. “People have stated in regression that they can feel the multiplication of cells; others describe the growth of the embryo in great detail.”1

I’m trying to think of how to explain that feeling and what comes to my mind is the feeling of accomplishment and success a person into fitness or body-building feels. As one continues thriving, reaching and surpassing one’s goals, one is likely to feel almost superhumanly confident that one can achieve anything in that respect, through one’s own actions, and that there is virtually no end or limit to what one is becoming.

Another particularly blissful time is our experience as the egg cell, the ova, after it has left the “sisterhood” of the mother’s ovarian sac. Descent down the fallopian tube is often ecstatic at the time and creates a foundation for experiencing life as euphoric new beginnings with endless possibilities. This is significant, for later experience will have the majority of people feeling fearful of new beginnings. We will see that in the way they are traumatized at birth, so not wanting to achieve again; and in the way after the period of blissful expanse in the womb, in the later stages, it becomes claustrophobic and hellacious, leaving an imprint that growth is dangerous. These are just examples; there are other experiences leading one astray as well.

Whereas if one is lucky or has cleared away enough of the residual primal pain and trauma from one’s beginnings, one can stand upon a more blissful foundation. These are aspects of what I call the “joy grids,” which underlie one’s Pain and create our deeper human nature. In this case, one experiences new beginnings as ecstatic. I liken it to my experience of leaving “the nest” and going off to college — which began as one of the happiest and most magical times of my life.

A therapist described a hypnotic regression she gave one of her clients: “I suggested that she go to the time of conception. She immediately reported that she was having fun rolling down the fallopian tube. Suddenly she saw little swimmers coming up toward her and then swimming all around her. She laughed and described the spermatozoa all bumping into her and felt one get really strong and attach itself and then enter through the skin of the egg. She began to multiply, feeling joyous and happy….”2

We see examples of this constellation coming out in films. The movie, Avatar, is set on another planet, whose environment is a near perfect depiction of a BPM I state. Remember, this state during early womb life is one of uninterrupted and oceanic bliss, contentment, harmony, which is interrupted in the later stages of pregnancy and, again, when forced to endure a mechanized-technological birth. Everything is there in the movie just as in the womb state: There is a perfect harmony with Nature, including the existence of a world tree symbolizing the life-giving placenta … meaning harmony with the Mother, who is the World Mother, a Goddess.

However, BPM I heaven ends. Much like in Avatar where paradise is spoiled by attacking forces, we also in the womb grow bigger and eventually get to the point where we no longer have a sense of free-floating bliss; we feel more and more hemmed in. We feel attacked by an outside world — our mother’s body in the womb and later a mechanized birth … equating to the military forces and the automatic weapons in Avatar. Eventually we feel claustrophobic and no-exit feelings which ends the time of bliss. I will discuss that in the next chapter.

In Human Events

However, we do not forget this time of contentment, euphoria, and magical expansion of the world. And we try to return to it through many of the actions of our lives: swimming, meditation, and such. We seek out experiences of floating and weightlessness and freedom of movement to counter the feelings of entrapment that came of the stage of suffering in the womb — described in the next chapter, “Hell” — that comes at the end of gestation. At that time we feel confined in flesh, claustrophobic, with no-exit.

Remember that in the early stages of our womb lives, described as BPM I states, we are surrounded by flesh as well, but it is not constricting. It is blissful and euphoric. No doubt we create our parties and festivals out of our desires to re-experience such wonderful, comforting feelings. In these situations and events, one moves freely, with people (flesh) at a comfortable distance. Ideally one wishes to be the “life of the party” — in other words, the reason everyone else is there and the person around whom everything else revolves. For such is the case in the early stages of life inside one’s mother, in general. Everything that was going on at that time, around one’s embryonal and fetal selves, biologically speaking for sure, was about oneself; but more: It was about one’s overall happiness and well-being. As they say, it doesn’t get any better than this.

It is understandable that we would create birthdays and bring people to gather around us at birthday parties. Certainly our births were fraught with discomfort and trauma. But we did make it out. And birthdays and their parties are ways we try to remind ourselves that life is not always the discomfort and struggle of birth (BPM III) or the aloneness, separateness immediately after birth — BPM IV, that’s coming up, also — but can be the blissful love surround of unity with one’s mother as was the case in the early womb state. We try to cover over the struggles and alienation of life — which we are pushed to unconsciously manifest in our lives because of traumas around the process of coming into the world — with reminders of the most pleasurable time of our lives, our early womb existence, which we intentionally wish to bring about again.

People go to dance halls to surround themselves with writhing flesh in a way that they themselves can still move freely and, well, even acrobatically they would like to think. We want the freedom of blissful, perfect movement. Perfection and precise movement is sought, along with bliss, for our experience was of a process of biological perfection; precise and perfect beyond anything we would later experience.

Indeed, that kind of precise and perfect unity with others is what dancers seek and re-create in the choreographed dance routines they do with others. Perfectly synchronized marching routines, as band or military members train to do, fit also into this category. These are all, at base, attempted re-creations of that perfect synergy of one’s actions with a mother’s biological processes and emotional states, which characterizes some of the best of our times in the womb.

It is even better if these actions defy gravity, as our experience in the womb seemed to. Gymnastics and break-dancing are perfect re-creations of blissful womb experience. We can move euphorically in three-dimensional space, overcoming the constraints of gravity. This was exactly our experience in early womb life. We both do these activities and are fascinated by others performing them because of early memories of perfection and weightlessness.

Plus, we skydive. And if we do not, we view with awe and appreciation via the media the videos of the most acrobatic and gravity-defying stunts performed in descent by skydivers. We have created machines where we on the ground can force air up strongly enough so we can experience floating in the air above it similar to skydiving.

So, activities such as gymnastics, flying, and skydiving are reactions to these uncomfortable feelings. They are attempts to run away from the discomfort of entrapment and no-exit, which superseded and overlaid the earlier bliss state, as we continue to re-experience it as adults. We re-create and re-stimulate those blissful feelings in us through adult experiences of weightlessness, swimming, dancing, surfing, hot tubbing. I need to add loving sexuality to that — particularly in its re-stimulating blissful memories of re-union with an Other who is all-accepting, all-embracing, and eminently kind. I need to add to that the seduction of the experience of being religiously reborn.3 

I cannot leave the topic of floating without pointing to the most obvious and frequent activity of humans to re-create the weightless experience of BPM I — swimming. Being in water simulates the gravity-free state of our earliest life. It is one of the commonest activities of humans.

Even our depictions of release from the constraints of physical existence are viewed through this BPM I veil of blissful weightlessness — whether it is the evangelical Christian idea of “the rapture,” where people are imagined rising in the air, as if floating up, or my own depiction of transcendence via a Jacob’s Ladder style of transformation of human consciousness. I describe a metaphorical “coming together of heaven and earth” in our near future, using the analogy of people and angels rising to and returning from the sky.4

In Media

That our early life is felt as weightless is also the reason we are enamored of the gravityless experience in space. Not only does our media replay depictions of space walks and astronauts in floating zero-gravity environments, but we are attracted to and seek to re-experience this. I remember a reality show where the participants were rewarded with a weightless experience caused by an aircraft descending from high in the stratosphere at such a speed as to create it.

I am aware that the movie, Gravity, received the Academy Award for best picture in 2013. It was a huge hit that year, capturing our collective imagination for quite a while. Practically the entire movie is set in space in such a gravityless environment. The movie plays on the element of weightlessness. It even provides a pivotal scene where Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, is seen floating peacefully in fetal position, slowly turning within bright light, surrounded by a circle. The scene was acknowledged to be a nod to the scene in Stanley Kubrick’s 20001, by the way, of the fetal new star floating in space, so that’s significant. Some of the floating scenes in Gravity were filmed underwater, to achieve that effect of complete weightlessness, peace, and balance.

 Everywhere you look in film and art, you see the prenatal and perinatal matrices. Just tonight I was watching, again, the 2009 movie with Nicholas Cage, Knowing. In it, our world comes to an end, in a cataclysm that kills everything and everyone. That is not the significant part. What is, is that two children, a boy and girl, are saved and taken to another planet to begin human life again. And what is that planet like? Well, it is beautiful, bright, and perfect … completely natural with golden fields of grass …  and in the center of it, what the children are shown running toward at the end of the movie, is this magnificent, solitary, silvery shiny tree, another World Tree, much like the one in Avatar. Placenta again, you see.

So new beginnings often have this kind of BPM I imagery. There is the famous ending of the movie, 2001, just mentioned, of the bright fetus within a silvery sphere floating in the perfect peace of space. Bowman, the astronaut, is alone in space at the end of a long journey that gradually got out of control, helped along by a computer, called Hal, which had gone rogue and become sinister. So, that plot development represents humans at the finale of our trajectory of technological progress, having gone as far as we can with machines alone. However, where death should come, instead Bowman transforms into a giant fetus, surrounded by a transparent orb of light, looking like a new-born star. It is a fetus appearing as the contented and aware one of a BPM I state — wide-eyed, receptive, and glowing and obviously at peace with its state in the Universe … with unknown yet magnificent new beingness before him.

Along the lines of us having greater awareness during our fetal state, there was a very interesting episode of the Moonlighting series in the late Eighties which — coincidentally employing an article and book title of mine, “A Womb With a View” — showed Bruce Willis in a womb-like enclosure as a fetus viewing, with the help of a higher spiritual ally, the upcoming events of his life. This plot idea was also an amazing, perhaps synchronistic, mirror image of a short story I wrote in 1979 titled “Birthing, Forgetting,”5

Incidentally, because the short story presents the information of this part of the book in a literary form, I reproduce it in the Notes of this book. The reader can get a vision of all these elements working together and a better sense of the experiences we undergo in the womb.6

In any case, I point out the personal synchronicities because they speak of a “morphic resonance” phenomenon indicating ideas whose time has come. For, we can look to art to see what is coming next in our cultural evolution. Be that as it may, the episode of Moonlighting is further proof of the growing belief in womb consciousness and interest in perinatal events.

“There’s No Place Like Home.”

Many are the movies and artistic creations that point to this time in the womb — this magical world, bringing with it its possibilities for some noxious elements and unpleasant experiences. You have this memory of another life — where we lived in a completely different state, the womb — showing itself every time there is some kind of crossing of a barrier into another realm. We see how going through a membrane into another dimension can take one into another place where one has adventures and rediscovers important understandings or is transformed or matured in some way. Remember, in the womb, we existed in liquid, not air, and we received oxygen through an umbilical cord, much like a deep-sea diver, not through breathing. Our umbilical cord was part of us, like another limb, and through it we were attached to a placenta, which was also felt to be a part of us, as well as felt to be an interface with the Benevolent Mother, the Goddess. So, our womb state was most definitely a different realm, and the closest thing to another dimension we ever experience in life … with some very rare exceptions only.

In this category of film and literature we have Alice going through a looking glass to enter Wonderland; Dorothy and Toto in The Wizard of Oz being transported — in their house, naturally, for all enclosures are womb symbols — to another realm, the Emerald City; and the back of the wardrobe opening up into the other land of Narnia in the classic children’s series by C. S. Lewis titled, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In Howl’s Moving Castle, a floating, traveling house takes the occupants to different places and into various adventures and scenes, like some kind of animated version of Sliders.

Through the Looking Glass

And of course this is only the tip of the iceberg of works of literature, film, and TV that could be given: the magic mirror, often an antique one (of course), which opens up to another horrible or wonderful place or to a time in the past; or the secret passageway in a wall that opens, by means of some magical or technical maneuver and takes one into secret places — both wondrous and hideous.

The hearth that spins around is particularly telling in that the hearth may be considered the “heart” or center of the maternal in the house, the prime source of heat and nourishment — as when in previous times it was the place in which the food was actually cooked. There are many other examples.

The movie Jumanji with Robin Williams employed this idea laboriously and dramatically, with people going through walls into other times and places. The movie also included perinatal elements such as stampedes of gigantic jungle animals and even floods. So the movie depicts that going back into the womb can be quite negative, as we will see in the next two chapters. In Jumanji we see beasts that can devour or crush one, but also enveloping waters; these are all womb and birth symbols. In fact, when the flooding waters came through the wall, to accompany this element there was even the “mandatory” fight with a toothy beast!

We have, also, the Stargate series of movies and TV programs. They all depict a round membrane portal through which one goes to another faraway world where dangers are faced and adventures are to be had. In the initial Stargate movie, one plot element that stands out is the trepidation and dread that the journeyers express about going through the portal for the first time. Much is made of this in the film. For there is no way of knowing what exactly lies beyond the portal. It is a complete unknown and one could easily be walking into death … into a place in outer space, the center of a burning sun, or inside of a lake or deep under the ocean where the lack of air would kill one. Alongside this, consider the feeling state of the prenate, about to be born. Would it not be much the same?

Fear and Freedom … Only a Membrane Away

Be that as it may, this recent development in perinatal imagery involving a membrane barrier between us and the perinatal realm is closer to our actual perinatal reality than any of the symbols put out in earlier times which showed a hard-and-fast barrier between us and the perinatal. So this membrane depiction of the perinatal suggests an increasing closeness to the perinatal unconscious occurring during our times.

Perinatal Spamming

We have progressed in our collective consciousness beyond hard walls or mirrors separating us from our perinatal memories (and horror), now they are just a membrane away. They are only a thin, elastic membrane away. And from the other side this part of ourselves calls out to us, pushing its face through — like the computer push technology, with all its annoying pop-up consoles and screens that won’t go away. Our births and prenatal experiences come spamming through to tell us what we need and to call us back to a realization of the truths we must hear to save ourselves.

9
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.Perinatal Hell, BPM II:

Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix II … Lloyd deMause’s Societal Entrapment and “Poisonous Placenta” Preceding Wars

 

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.“In the later stages of our womb lives, we are increasingly compressed with flesh all around. It is a time of ever more compression, constriction, restriction of movement, suppression of freedom, and suffering, which seems unending. However uncomfortable, we are compelled to manifest similar situations in our later adult lives, as in creating our crowded cities. We then find ourselves triggered into feelings like the ones we had back then.”

 “…we unconsciously create situations in life that make us feel like we once did but could not deal with at the time. And these feelings of course are uncomfortable … why else could we not deal with them originally? This does not mean that by bringing suffering to us we solve it and accept it. We would not be bringing it repeatedly to us if we successfully got beyond it.”

“…the appearance of symbols of machines, robots, androids, and such with womb symbols— increasingly prevalent in modern and postmodern times — is easily attributable to the fact of our ever-increasing mechanization of birth … in which humans are ‘thingified’ and turned into ‘human robots.’”

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BPM I is followed by BPM II — that is, basic perinatal matrix II — which are experiences and feelings related to the time of “no exit” in the womb and claustrophobic-like feelings occurring to nearly all humans at the end of gestation, just before the onset of labor, when the cervix is not yet dilated.

Basic Perinatal Matrix II

Since there does not seem to be any “light at the end of the tunnel,” it is marked by feelings of depression, guilt, despair, and blame, and a characterization of oneself as “the victim.”

This is very much like deMause’s period of collective feelings of entrapment, strangulation, suffocation, and poisonous placenta, which he found exists in nations immediately preceding the actual outbreak of war or other violence.1

This is the matrix — from late gestation — that I unveil in great and revelatory detail in my works dealing with the events and experiences around fetal malnutrition. However, my explanation differs slightly from Grof’s in that he sees this period of entrapment to be happening only at the time just before birth when the mother’s contractions start yet there is nowhere to move. Whereas I, following Briend and deMause, see it occurring for the entire last month of gestation, for certain, and very often for all or much of the third trimester. It might even occur earlier, some parts of it, such as the poisoning, as Grof acknowledges can occur during the otherwise blissful BPM I state.

So mine is a view — a complex and intricate one — never explored the way I bring it to light. In doing so, we see the reflection of virtually all human evils and atrocities. We look into the face of horror here, yet in doing this we remove its power over us. That’s coming up, when we look at the prenatal matrices of human evil.

However, in this chapter, we look at the way that time of no-exit and despair — BPM II — is depicted by Grof.

In Events

Reports of Satanic cult abuse graphically depict BPM II perinatal elements. We hear of children and others being immobilized, tied up, and otherwise disempowered. Oftentimes they relate being forced to spend extensive periods of time trapped in tight places and/or symbolically or literally buried under ground.

We have no-exit, claustrophobic BPM II elements manifesting in the crushing populations in major cities throughout the world.

In the later stages of our womb lives, we are increasingly compressed with flesh all around. It is a time of ever more compression, constriction, restriction of movement, suppression of freedom, and suffering, which seems unending. However uncomfortable, we are compelled to manifest similar situations in our later adult lives, as in creating our crowded cities. We then find ourselves triggered into feelings like the ones we had back then.

Though it is irrational to draw suffering to oneself, it makes psychic sense in that consciousness seeks to integrate that which was overwhelming at the time. Think of this as a memory of a dire threat to one’s life that a part of ourselves remembers and tries to remove as a threat to our well-being by drawing it to ourselves repeatedly in life until we have managed to accept it — that is to say, managed to deal with it, to perceive it differently than being a threat — so that we can go beyond it.

For the psyche’s main goal is to grow and heal itself. We see this intention of consciousness manifest in observing the body that Consciousness creates and which we see, which does exactly that growing and healing throughout life. Consciousness seeks, always, greater consciousness. Consciousness seeks unity.

So we unconsciously create situations in life that make us feel like we once did but could not deal with at the time. And these feelings of course are uncomfortable … why else could we not deal with them originally? This does not mean that by bringing suffering to us we solve it and accept these repressed feelings. We would not be bringing it repeatedly to us if we successfully got beyond them.

No, we create suffering such as overpopulation because we are not dealing with, accepting, resolving, facing the memories that are making us continually manifest situations that should remind us … but do not. The fact that some people are facing these issues or are on the verge of doing so — those “wounded deer and centaurs” I describe later in this book and, especially, in my book by that name — is a hopeful message. For this trend is auspicious for solving the biggest problems of all on Earth — those huge environmental and geopolitical woes which are threatening to do us all in. But I digress. Stay tuned, though.

In Media

In the school sequences in the movie, The Wall, there are other perinatal elements potentiating some of the scenes. We have anonymity in the form of plain, nondescript masks, of being all the same, indicating not being seen in the womb; fetal faces, which are evident in the masks as well; tortuous “development” and passage from one state to another, especially as in the movie it shows children being shoved through a meat grinder; and faces coming out of walls or having an appearance similar to that, much like the features of prenates that seem faintly to want to show themselves through the mother’s skin when the fetus is the largest.

Rock groups and their lyrics themselves are often blatantly perinatal. The most obvious example of this was the group, Nirvana, who came out with a CD titled In Utero. The fact that the leader of the group, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide is a strong indication of his closeness and access to his perinatal trauma. Considering the horrific and painful elements of the prenatal BPM II state, just before birth — that time of “hell,” as I am describing it — I think you might have an idea how closeness to it could result in a suicide.

One lengthy explanation of this kind of birth symbolism as it is connected with “the Mother” is in the classic work by the Jungian, Erich Neumann, titled, The Origins and History of Consciousness, which he himself based on other even earlier analyses of mother symbolism and its association with enclosing and enveloping sorts of thing.2 

Among all these enclosing, surrounding things, the house is probably the most popular symbol today. It would seem to be used more in the visual media as a womb symbol than any other, currently. With the increased interest in science fiction, the spaceship is perhaps coming in second, but even that distantly.

Being spaceships, UFOs are obviously womb symbols. Carl Jung once speculated in writing that the upsurge of UFO sightings, because of the circular shape of the crafts, indicated a rising urge for psychic unity in humans. Lloyd deMause related UFOs to the placenta, our BFF for most of our time in the womb.3 While these might be true on their levels, on a deeper level, UFOs are symbols of reintegration with our repressed traumatic womb experiences. Space travel is transition from one world to another, in general. And the vehicle of passage is a UFO or spaceship … in which one’s needs are taken care of and one is involved in passage or transition. It is not surprising that often in the course of this transition, i.e., space travel, the space voyagers of the silver screen encounter odd and horrifying developments, just like we did when going from our world in the womb to the one outside.

Notice how we say “mother ship.” UFO-type spaceships are so often depicted as round or spherical. Indeed, we have elaborate developments of these themes in the Death Star depiction of Star Wars — a round enclosed place and habitat associated with dread and death.

The variations on this are themselves telling. We have one instance of a cubical habitat in space … a square, not round, spaceship. What better way to show how terrifyingly different the inhabitants are from natural, biological beings. For womb equals round, flowing lines as in Nature, products of a physical or biological world, one of life and dealing with living and animate things. Whereas to indicate that these beings are mechanical, unnatural, robotic … products of a mental world only, one of death and dealing with inanimate, non-living things … machines … straight lines are employed, implying the worlds of engineering, mathematics, geometry … of the mind only, not of the physical or biological worlds or the worlds of feeling and experience. Implying a world of non-feeling and non-experience is horrifyingly akin to implying a death-like existence.

Star Trek aficionados will have picked up I am referring to the Borg and to their cubical spaceships/habitats. We have to make the connection that the appearance of symbols of machines, robots, androids, and such with womb symbols — increasingly prevalent in modern and postmodern times — is easily attributable to the fact of our ever-increasing mechanization of birth … in which humans are “thingified” and turned into “human robots.” And, yes, these are horrifying and death-like experiences which we undergo at our beginnings and to which we subject our incoming members.

I remember watching an old movie from the Amityville series. As most people are aware, in any of these movies it is the evil house that is the source of the horror. The idea of a haunted house is one of the more perfect symbols of our BPM II time in the womb — no-exit and scary, from an invisible, however feelable, threat.

This, as a plot element, goes back at least to 1960 and the movie of Edgar Allen Poe’s The House of Usher. Yet this plot idea of an evil house, which must, in the end, come crashing down in flames — indicating the explosive and fiery birth, BPM III, which signals the release from the evil forces — was boringly evident in films of the Twentieth Century.

Related to this theme of house-like enclosures that are womb symbols and taking it back in time is the ideas of dungeons or castles … with mad scientists, no less — obstetricians, perhaps? If the threatening element, upon going into another realm or a house, is a witch, it is the mother, seen through the lens of BPM II hell. This came out in The Wizard of Oz and is seen clearly in Hansel and Gretel — a fairy tale rife with bad womb, BPM II symbolism. The house is attractive, a “gingerbread house,” which is a pretty good depiction of our longed-for BPM I state. But upon entering it, the children are lured by the witch who dwells within to go into an oven, the bad womb symbol.

Though not as relevant here to point out, I do not want to mention Hansel and Gretel without pointing out the element of the breadcrumbs they leave for themselves in order to escape. For they represent the “breadcrumbs from ourselves as Divinity” that we place for ourselves to discover in life to make possible our return to Divinity, akin to that BPM I state. More about that in my work The Secret Life of Stones (2016), if you wish.

The haunted house, as horrifying womb, becomes even more perinatal in some depictions. One movie I saw had the house, like the oven in Hansel and Gretel, becoming something that “gobbles” one up. In this rendition, we have the bringing together of two of the most predominant birth elements in film — an evil house and a devouring beast, indicating, thusly, BPM II (no-exit horror) and BPM III (struggle against an overwhelming and frightening, powerful opponent). That fact of a doubling of perinatal elements alone is indicative of a plot saturated with perinatal influence. The way this was depicted in the movie had faces pushing out of the suddenly elastic walls; the features of the face are seen, but they never come out. This idea of something coming through the walls, membrane walls, is both fascinating and telling in the extreme. It speaks to other perinatal elements and feelings, and I will bring it up again shortly.

I might start by pointing out the element of there being another realm into which people go and from which people are rescued (with luck). There is a barrier between the two realms — a permeable, elastic barrier. Anytime you have this other realm you are talking about either birth or death or both. Oftentimes it is both, for it is felt that to go back to the time of being in the womb (“regression”) is akin to death.

Of course we get this idea that birth is death, for one thing, because of the fact that at that time — in the late stages of pregnancy with fetal malnutrition, lack of sufficient oxygen, suffocation, and so on — there was a sense of impending death, and oftentimes actual vital life threat to the fetus. We see our beginnings as dire, for another thing, because the actual time of being born is analogous to a dying to one state in order to be born into another. Actual birth, BPM III, has most often been related to feelings of death/rebirth.

So of course, for these reasons, anything having to do with going across or back into that other realm is going to be associated with death.

Getting back to the membrane symbol itself, the perinatal elements of this new depiction are rife. Obviously, the late stages of pregnancy have one in an enclosed elastic, membrane container — the womb — from which one cannot escape. Also, the fetus’s features in the latest stages are somewhat evident, can be seen and felt, on the surface of the mother’s belly, something like faces pushing out of elastic walls. And one struggles agonizingly during birth and endures intense suffocation through a great deal of it, just like those in movies who are surrounded by elastic sheets who cannot get out.

10
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.Perinatal Struggle, BPM III:

Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix III … in Lloyd deMause’s Schema, Actual War

 

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.“Of the physical world, our mother’s body was all we knew of it. Her body was World. And in its seemingly blocking or resisting our dire need to move forward, to free ourselves from our entrapment in the womb, it creates in us an imprint that the outside world is against us and we need to push back.”

 

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Basic Perinatal Matrix III

Then, in Grof’s schema, BPM II is, of course, followed by BPM III (basic perinatal matrix III), which involves feelings and experiences of all-encompassing struggle and is related to the time of one’s actual birth. Characterized also by intense feelings of sexual excess and aggression — in the position, now, of “the aggressor” — it is related directly, in deMause’s schema, to a time of actual war.

This matrix is the template for all our struggles in life. It gives us our enticement to fight, to defend, to feel opposed, to revolt, to free ourselves. It is the foundation of me-versus-them thinking and all that arises of that. For in this situation, it was us against the “world” — which was the superimposing reality of our mother’s body.

Of the physical world, our mother’s body was all we knew of it. Her body was World. And in its seemingly blocking or resisting our dire need to move forward, to free ourselves from our entrapment in the womb, it creates in us an imprint that the outside world is against us and we need to push back. It is also then the root of the defensiveness we find in our personalities as well as all our passion to achieve and overcome. It is the reason we strive in life, climb ladders to success, fend off opponents, argue endlessly with our family members and mates, disagree and dispute unnecessarily, and so much more.

Under its influence we march into battles of all kinds, feeling there is a life-or-death urgency in their enactment. For indeed, at the time during the birth struggle, there was. Whereas the previous matrix, BPM II, is categorized by depression and helplessness in the face of overwhelming opposition, in the position of the victim, with nothing that can be done about it but suffer. Here, in BPM III, after the cervix has been dilated and there is a figurative “light at the end of the tunnel,” our response is aggression, not despair. For hope, however desperate, is involved in our fight. There is movement in our lives, though fraught with turmoil, effort, and difficulty.

In Events

Our BPM III feelings and the need to explore and re-experience them come out in other ways in our culture. We simulate, and stimulate, them in the loud music, fireworks, and flashing and bright explosions of light at rock concerts. These are perinatally-related events in that they re-create the assault of sensation that occurs to the newly emerged fetus — an assault which in one’s mind is like unto a bomb exploding.

Mosh Wombs

Alvin Lawson pointed out perinatal elements that are parts of rock concerts.1 Keep in mind that rock music popularity and concert rituals are worldwide phenomena. Youth from nearly all countries are involved in rock culture. Among other things, Lawson, in his article, refers to placental guitars, umbilical mikes, and youths jumping into mosh pits. Mosh pits suggest birth feelings in that they simulate the crushing in the womb.

At birth our consciousness is filled with the feeling of flesh all around. The world is crushing, heaving, rollicking, bouncing flesh everywhere. During a non-cesarean birth one struggles and moves through this flesh to reach space, air, light … freedom. We re-create this pattern of struggle in order to reach the light, or freedom and space, throughout life.

In benign, even beneficial ways, we sometimes bring out these feelings and engage them. At the rock concerts of our current age, the young have evolved a ritual of bodily slamming in what are called mosh pits. The collision of writhing bodies, dancing next to each other and smashing into each other, caught up in the frenzy of the music, is a blatant act-out of our birth struggle, BPM III.

Significantly, crowd surfing — where a person is lifted by many hands above the crowd and moved along — is sometimes involved in the mosh pits. Crowd-surfing is an example of an unconscious attempt to repattern the birth trauma to something more positive, for when a person is lifted by many hands above a crowd, the euphoria of release is patent. Being lifted above — ascending from — the mass of writhing flesh at the rock event re-enacts the most positive outcome in being born — sudden expansive release, from one’s mother’s body while caught up in the birth struggle. Clearly, mosh pits are attractive, appealing places to re-create the danger of birth alongside the hope of being “held up,” uplifted, and reborn.

In addition to this sort of mosh pit “rebirthing,” we seek resolution of these uncomfortable feelings through another cultural creation of recent history — warm water “rebirthing.” It is no coincidence that for a time in the Seventies and Eighties it was popular to try to re-create birth and perinatal experiences by doing warm water “rebirthing” in hot tubs. The water was often made to be body temperature. And, by the way, it did stimulate these early memories in a powerful — though perhaps not optimal — way.

We see perinatal BPM III elements in the scenery of our everyday lives evident in the rising incidence of violence by children at ever younger ages. BPM III elements in cult abuse include the sexual excess/abuse and bloodletting or blood use as in its being poured or used in “anointing.”

In Media

This struggle to be born, BPM III, with its all-encompassing engagement, fight, conflict, sex, explosive rage, defensiveness and offensiveness, is the most frequent perinatal image found in art — especially our movie and television dramas — and in the events of history and those stories of our times highlighted for us in our news broadcasts and other media.

One can hardly turn on the tube without finding some movie or TV show that is depicting a serial killer, rapist, or some type of horrifying murderer. I do not need to belabor the fact of the flooding of news programs with the same kind of material. However, the number of reports relative to victims and harm involved is far less than victims and suffering involved with other horrific events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear radiation, ozone loss, or flood catastrophes, which have less or no perinatal charge about them. This preoccupation with serial violence, torture, bloody murder, and rape indicates BPM III elements of struggle, violence, sexual perversion and excess, as well as the death and torture aspects of being born.

Simply the amount of violence on television and in movies is a perinatal indicator. These depictions simulate, and stimulate, perinatal feelings in plot elements which are repeated to death. We see clichéd regurgitations of being in life-and-death situations from which one is saved in the “nick of time.” This is exactly how it seemed when one was “miraculously” born, suddenly, after what seemed an endless time of suffering in which death was felt to be the only possible outcome.

You do not seem to be able to see a story that does not have explosions galore. Such “fireworks” are examples of extreme compression suddenly becoming immense expansiveness and thus symbolize the sudden perinatal change of state from compression inside the womb to previously unknown expansiveness outside the womb, as well as the sudden release of tension and stress upon being born. Explosions also symbolize the immediate assault of sensation upon coming out of the sensorally “muffled” womb.

In films there is plenty of violence and, of course, sex. Such extreme degrees of sexual explicitness and especially sexual perversity point to strong BPM III influences.

Recurring themes of monsters that eat one — for example, The Alien movie series — indicate the feelings of fear of death in the mother’s womb, trying to be born. This death threat involved in struggling through the birth canal is often portrayed as a huge, threatening mouth surrounded by teeth and, sometimes, hair. This is a symbol found throughout the world. Social scientists refer to it as a vagina dentata “mouth.”

One most obvious portrayal of this was Steven King’s 1995 miniseries, The Longoliers. The monsters, shown at the end, turned out to be flying, ball-shaped vagina dentatas, complete with hair covering, as in pubic hair. Though Steven King meant this to be frightening, from the perinatal perspective these flying, attacking vaginas are absolutely hilarious. Still they say a lot about the way we felt at that time; as well they tell us more about Stephen King himself than I think he ever wanted us to know. It makes one wonder if this is a window into the kinds of fantasies and psychodynamics operating deep in the psyches of misogynists, too. It would certainly explain some of their behavior.

Interestingly, the appearance of the Longoliers is caused by the characters going back in time. Though King has them going back only fifteen minutes, and not age regressing to birth, I thought the fact of time regression was telling in the extreme. That is to say, when they went back in time they discovered attacking vaginas. I am serious, but yes, it is okay to laugh here.

Time travel in general is indicative of the need to go back and fix the trauma of these early events. The Back to the Future series is merely one example. We all know many others. Currently, we have the television series, Travelers, Timeless, and D. C. Legends of Tomorrow, which are based on time travel or employ it considerably. Doctor Who is a series with a cult-like status that employed time travel extensively. It centered around a “time lord,” Doctor Who, who travels in a time machine that on the outside appears to be a vintage British phone booth. Womb symbol, again. The fact that on the inside it was magically spacious, like the inside of a space ship, reflects the fact that when we were in the womb, it was an entire world to us … it was our vehicle before coming to Earth, in which myriad strange, dangerous, ebullient, exotic, magical, and even supernatural adventures were had. Yet to all outward appearances, it was merely a mother’s belly.

There are movies depicting time travel too endless to name.

The perinatal roots of some cinema are indicated in other ways; for example, the baby alien, in Alien, being “born” out of the abdomen. While a “baby” emerging from a person’s midsection is obviously indicative of birth, the fact that it comes bursting out of the belly, rather than the vagina, might also relate to the ever-increasing use of cesarean section as a means of birthing in this century.

This “Dark” Unknown

In the movie, Jumanji, as in too many others, the “other side” is depicted as a dangerous and often deathly place. This points to the vital life threat that we go through at the times of our births, leaving an imprint of fear of it for a lifetime.

This depiction of it and the fear of it are both understandable and unfortunate. For, as I alluded to earlier, this idea of birth trauma has been vigorously resisted in our culture ever since it was first presented by Otto Rank. And we can attribute that resistance to accepting its reality to the fact that it triggers so much fear in people to even consider these perinatal influences.

To put it another way, considering, as we now are, how imbued with death, fear, and pain is this time of our life, we are capable of seeing that there are good reasons why otherwise logical people would at all cost resist the idea of birth trauma and perinatal influences, the evidence be damned. We are fascinated by this time of our life. We play it out endlessly in our imaginations, our collective dreams, and in our everyday lives. But we are utterly terrified of it. Indeed it is, as Janov once put it, the only time for most people that in life we come so close to death, other than our actual demise.

To Hell With It.…

So to acknowledge birth is to face death and an inner memory of horror and a hell-like experience. These aspects of it are not going to lend to its being readily accepted among our intellectual currency.

In fact, clients in the therapy rooms only face their perinatal memories when all other interpretations, memories, and early experiences have been made and integrated. The perinatal is the last and most gruesome of truths to re-member. It is come upon only when all other options are gone and the truth alone will do.

In the same way — since it is not easy truth — its acceptance into the arena of our common knowledge has awaited its necessity to be known and acknowledged. It has required our species survival being at stake for us to consider the deepest roots of our problems.2 

Face Me, or You’re Mine!

So, however much we want not to have to look at these traumas around our birth, we need to face our ultimate and horrible truths if we are to save ourselves. Amazingly, a trend in this direction is going on.3

Right on schedule for saving the planet and bringing in a new paradigm, different kinds of generations are coming into the world, better able to deal with and reverse the traumas of the ages — however much they are thwarted by those unlike them who, being aligned with the world as it is, confront them with all the power of that world that needs changing. My book, Wounded Deer and Centaurs focused on this development of newer generations — the products of advanced and humane methods of parenting. My Culture War, Class War laid out in detail how and why these generations have for decades been under attack for wanting to change things and make life better.

As I explained in Wounded Deer and Centaurs, wounded deer are those people who suffer from closeness to these perinatal truths. Centaurs are those wounded ones who have accepted these difficult-to-face realities of life and our true beginnings, through having made something positive out of the difficulties and pain these early events have created in their lives. They have accepted the fact that fundamentally they, as all of us, are wounded. And in embracing it this way they become healers for those who cannot face their truth or who are struggling with doing so. Others, as activists, transform the suffering and injustices of their lives into action to keep the same from happening to others.

For not only are we closer to our perinatal unconscious these days, we are — because of the precarious nature of our times, which our ignorance and denial of the perinatal heretofore has set up for us — required to face the perinatal “monster” or we are doomed. It is now the time to uncover the truth, to get to the root of the problem; or there will simply, eventually, be no problem, because there will be no people to have a problem or to recognize a truth or root of a problem.

11
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.Perinatal Freedom, BPM IV:

And Punishment … Stanislav Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrix IV … in deMause’s Schema, the Ending of a War

 

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.“…this template has you feeling triumphant, capable, confident in your ability. It is a new leaf, everything is in the past and behind one. One is going forward with optimism, knowing one can struggle, overcome, and hence achieve. Nothing blocks one, now.”

“[As newborns] we are not sleeping so much as trying not to be alive, so much, in a place where it is clear that such aliveness, freedom, and individual initiative is punished with such inhumane brutality and ostracism. And ever after, the suckling we needed after birth to prevent that numbness, we will imagine as a kiss of life — in fairy tales, for example — as the kiss of a beloved saving us from a deadened state.”

 

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Basic perinatal matrix IV (BPM IV) follows the events of birth itself, BPM III.

Basic Perinatal Matrix IV

It corresponds to the time of emergence from the womb during the birth process and is characterized by feelings of victory, release, exultation. This experience of actual emergence or birth coincides, societally, with deMause’s period of the ending of a war.

Yippee!

This template has qualities you can easily surmise. It is something you are familiar with every time you make it out of a tough situation, feel free and happy and euphoric. When you feel you have overcome and all will be smooth sailing from then on. Life is “busting out all over.” Indeed, “the future’s so bright you have to wear shades.” Which song lyric is more pregnant with meaning than on the surface it seems; which symbolism may become apparent to you as we go along. (Hint: Consider “shades” as a metaphor.)

Anyway, this template has you feeling triumphant, capable, confident in your ability. It is a new leaf, everything is in the past and behind one. One is going forward with optimism, knowing one can struggle, overcome, and hence achieve. Nothing blocks one, now.

Uh Oh.

However sometimes, at birth that actual initial relief from the birth struggle is followed by depression. For one thing, there is hidden amid all that jubilation a snippet of guilt that one’s success was had at the cost of pain to one’s mother … and remember she is the whole world for oneself at the time in the womb. We as prenates and neonates have stronger feelings of empathy and unity with the world, then, than ever after. After all we were connected directly to “It”, in the form of the mother; we were one with her. And further back, in the early womb, and the time before and around conception, we were actually united with the All, which we experienced as the Divine. For we were once one with that as well. That is where we came from in coming into Form.

So, one experiences remorse, yes. One does not want anyone to suffer. Far from the narcissism and self-centeredness that is attributed traditionally to infants, we are deeply feeling and caring. Much much more so, we are, than the adults judging us this way. Where we came from was once felt to be us, remember. There could not be a better basis for the feeling that one should “love one’s neighbor as oneself,” than our time in the womb. Therefore, when we need to fight our “world” — our mother’s body — in order to live, to be born, we have a regret about it. As sorry we are as the husband who, having shared a few drinks with his colleagues after work to celebrate another lucrative account, returns home only to find his wife fuming and sad, for he having forgotten their anniversary that day.

All is not rosy in this version of paradise for another reason. There is the triumph, the giddy elation, and the nagging and unwanted awareness that it came at a cost to another who one loves as much as oneself. Then this happens. It happens routinely in modern cultures, in fact:

Too often, the struggle of birth does not bring the expected rewards of reuniting with the mother and the comfort of nursing. Instead, during modern obstetrical births, the neonate is harshly treated and then taken away from the mother, disallowing the bonding which should occur, naturally, immediately after birth. This is disastrous for many reasons. For one thing, that streak of guilt, which attended our euphoria, would naturally have been resolved; that is to say, if one were given over to the mother as Nature intended directly after birth, where cuddling and nursing could have happened. In which case, reconciliation achieved, mother is okay, all is right with the world. In fact this is an incredible, wonderful and loving world to have arrived in! But such is not the way it happens in most cultures since civilization, where we diverged from natural birthing practices to the ultimate of brutality and inhuman mechanization we have today.

In my own experience, the exultation and relief of release was replaced suddenly by feelings of being assaulted by the attendants at my birth … which of course they thought of as “attending” to me … as they went about roughly removing mucous from my mouth; prematurely cutting my umbilical cord to leave me struggling for breath; scrubbing, weighing, measuring, and otherwise probing me; and rolling me up like a burrito, tightly in a blanket, and taking me away from all I had previously known … that is to say, my mother. This felt like ritual abuse to me, and I have often likened it, after the intense period of compression and crushing before birth, to a situation of “going from the frying pan into the fire.”

So our triumph is often short-lived. Like many of our accomplishments in life, we experience a hollowness in the victory — it does not bring the expected rewards. This is reinforced even more when most of the time we are taken away from our mothers without even a howdy-do of a hug, let alone a suckle, which would be nice, thank you very much. And we are floated over to another place, noisy, bright, uncomfortable, devoid of anything soft and human, just hardness. And there, trapped again, we are, as we were just recently in the womb. This time being swaddled tightly, much as Snow White was by her mother in her bodice. More on that, soon.

And we suffer a fate similar to Snow White after her being tightly bound; we, too, die a little in response. We numb ourselves so as to retreat from the pain. If and when we are taken back to our mother’s arms, we are now, perhaps, seeming to be asleep. However, we are numbed, stunned, and nearly comatose, much like Snow White was in the fairy tale. We are not sleeping; rather trying not to be alive, so much, in a place where it is clear that such aliveness, freedom, and individual initiative is punished with such inhumane brutality and ostracism. And ever after, the suckling we needed after birth to prevent that numbness, we will imagine as a kiss of life — in fairy tales, for example — as the kiss of a beloved saving us from a deadened state, much as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White were brought to life with the kiss of a prince.

Cult Abuse

Cult abuse in real life, as well as in film, especially depict BPM IV elements: Cutting, hurting, torturing, sexually and ritually abusing and “sacrificing” are all very much like an infant’s perception/feelings of its experience of its being “attended” to after birth. The fact that cult rituals often involve a number of other people focusing on an individual who is strapped or held down — the immobilization prior to birth, as well as the helplessness and swaddling after birth — on something raised, like an altar or table, and then “worked upon” in some way or other is a particularly graphic depiction of a neonate’s experience of being on a medical table after birth, watched by a number of others and worked on.

The ritualists’ use of robes and costumes, especially if they involve covering the face or the wearing of masks, is also not much different from the way a baby in modern times perceives its welcoming into the world among masked and robed medical personnel. In general, many of those who have gone back, in therapy, to this time report having overwhelming feelings of being dealt with mechanically and without respect. It is common for folks to have feelings of “not being seen” at that time, which they carry through life. Indeed, this is the source, mostly, of the very common dream of being invisible.

Ungentle Mouth-Cleaning

The practice of ungentle mouth clearing — performed by hurried or insensitive, and uninformed, medical personnel, unaware of the consciousness and keen feeling awareness of the neonate — for one thing, can leave one with lifelong feelings of being treated like a “thing.” People can have body memories, their entire lives, of having their mouths stretched wide. These feelings, while they may be reinforced by later life events, oftentimes have roots that go back to a time immediately after birth. At this time, too frequently, the jaw is pulled down for the insertion of fingers and suction devices. It is done in a manner that is excruciatingly painful for a being that has spent his or her entire life — nine months — previous to that in a relatively placid environment with its mouth closed for the great majority of that time.

This ungentle procedure is also felt as an assault in that it occurs, usually, as the first event a baby is confronted with upon release from the womb. Its tiny mouth — never before fully opened — is often the first focus of attention, as large fingers (relatively) reach in, stretching the previously unopened and unstretched (virgin) mouth … breaking the metaphorical oral hymen of the neonate in a way that is felt by the infant to be comparable in pattern and violation to oral sexual assault.

Did you ever wonder why so many folks have such terror of seeing a dentist? Did you ever wonder what is the fascination with water-boarding and torture in recent years? Is it possible that some popular oral sexual practices, which might be particularly rough, as well as oral rape of some kinds, might have at least some of their origins in this way that we treat the mouths of our neonates at birth?

By the way, I might mention that while genuine sexual assault and child sexual abuse is a reality that has long been with us and is only now really being brought to light (thankfully), the similarity of this early perinatal experience of ungentle mouth clearing to sexual assault may have something to do with the epidemic of reports of infant sexual abuse that are coming out of counselor’s therapy rooms. Confused interpretations of these reports can happen because most counselors and psychotherapists are ignorant of birth and perinatal trauma and yet more and more of them are allowing bits and pieces of regressive techniques into their standard professional arsenals.

In addition, they throw in these techniques, most often, without qualifications or experience with these techniques, and oftentimes out of knowledge gained solely from books or second-handedly … not to mention rarely, because of professional arrogance, having experienced or undergone these regressions themselves.

Combine this inexperienced dredging up of perinatal material with the fact that people these days are closer to their perinatal unconscious, to their birth trauma. One can see how it can easily happen that when feelings of being orally assaulted after birth begin arising within the counseling rooms, they can be interpreted, by therapist or client or both, as early sexual assault — that being the interpretation du jour, so to speak — and because, of course, both client and facilitator are ignorant of the fact of birth trauma … the effects of birth on personality and psychopathology having been resisted and systematically purged from mainstream professional and lay common knowledge, beginning with Freud’s rejection of Otto Rank’s discovery of it, right down to the present.

Regardless, the ungentle mouth cleaning is felt not just as a physical assault, it is an outrage to the infant’s tender psyche as well — leaving a lifelong and fundamental imprint undergirding and helping to sculpt all later experience — in that it is the first “welcome” to this world. That is to say, the birth struggle ends, there is release … finally! … then, “Welcome, baby” — yank! stretch, feel manipulated and used, treated like an object and with no sense that one is a living aware being.

With this in mind — that this “Hello–fuck you!” experience can be the primal (first) experience of this world, of other people, of society — it might be easier to understand the profound fear and anxiety toward other people that resides inside many of us. For example, as in the book title: I’d Rather Die Than Give a Speech! If nothing else, some folks will think long and hard, with much trepidation, before opening their mouths again.

This also sheds light on the seemingly “mindless” violence and rage that is directed back against anonymous people and society in general by certain types of criminals. They can be seen to be acting out their “fuck you” welcome into the world by attacking back and outwardly, rather than this early rage energy being channeled into some of the other, more healing or at least not harmful, responses possible to early assault.

Of course, all kinds of antisocial and belligerent behavior displayed by adults and children of all kinds might very well have at least some input from the leftover stored energy from this kind of early assault.

In Media

These potent early patterns of abuse show up in our artistic and literary creations, too. Very interestingly, an addition to this complex of being ritually or otherwise abused has something being forced aggressively down the throat of the victim. I have noticed an increasing frequency of this version of suffocation in the visual media ever since I first remember seeing it in a scene from the movie, Alien, where a rolled-up magazine is used as a murder weapon by being forced into the victim’s mouth. It seems it became a writer/director’s fad, as increasingly creative ways were devised to play it out in scripts.

An interesting development occurred in alien-face images in the “shoved down the throat” category. We see it in the movie Jacob’s Ladder, where a kind of vegetable comes thrusting out of Jezzie’s … played by Elizabeth Peña … mouth in the dance hall scene. This depiction, as well as the insertion scene of the magazine in the movie, Alien, were popularized greatly in promoting the films. Which indicates their psychic resonance from our perinatal experiences.

In this increasingly common variation in films, where the suffocating item comes out of the person’s mouth, oftentimes the victim is “infected” with some kind of alien spore which grows inside of him or her and comes thrusting up from inside of the person’s body and out of the mouth, lodging itself there. Often this alien extrusion looks something like a huge asparagus emerging. The “perverse” sexual aspect of the image also has roots in perinatal, specifically, BPM III experience, in that BPM III energies are interwoven with sexual energies and imagery.

This “vegetable” eruption always happens suddenly and climactically, and almost always it results in death. In addition to Jacob’s Ladder, scenes like this I have observed several times on the The X Files, and in many, many other shows.

I have online in one of my blogs a sequence of pics showing exactly this kind of mouth extrusion, which I got from an episode of The Outer Limits.1 The pics posted there are a rather good depiction of this phenomenon. Notice in the sequence of photos that at the point the object emerging from the mouth is most visible it takes on the form of a vagina dentata. This links the images with birth and indicates the aggressive character of the feelings being depicted; that is, we have repressed anger feelings left over inside us from what was done to us.

It is also more than just coincidence that the person to whom this is happening is in a hospital room and is dressed in a hospital gown; the plot is about this woman carrying a baby and this scene happens just after the birth. This is significant for the reason of insensitive mouth-cleaning. It certainly appears that that this image has its roots in that event that also happened right after birth.

However, this version of suffocation probably has even deeper roots in the force-feeding of toxic elements to the fetus in the womb through the umbilical cord. That is something we will look at in upcoming chapters. The fact of having even deeper imprints of it would contribute to its potency in our personalities and imaginations. Still, the image itself is mostly constructed and more definitely related to the ungentle clearing of fluids from the neonate’s mouth by the attendants immediately after birth. The symbol is probably an amalgamation of both feelings — the prenatal and the perinatal.

As I said, this latter connection — the ungentle mouth cleaning of birth fluids — I can personally validate from my own primal experiences. Yet I was not alone, apparently, in being treated this way as a newborn in the 1940s and 1950s in America, which would account for the popularity of such images in the media of recent decades. And remember, in those decades the prevailing wisdom, especially in the medical and scientific worlds, was that babies do not feel anything. This was a time when a neonate’s bottom would be slapped to induce breathing. So there was hardly any thought given to doing the mouth-clearing, or any of the procedures, in any sensitive and gentle way or to treating the newborn as anything but a thing, an object to be processed.

Medical Aliens … or Masked Obstetricians

Another perinatal element is dramatized in the movie, Fire in the Sky, which is the story of one man’s alien abduction. In one scene the struggling abductee, covered in an elastic membrane sheet, is lying on an alien’s medical table. In the same way a baby, right after birth, endures the struggle for breath, caused by premature umbilical cutting, as it lies on the medical table and receives “processing” by medical personnel who to the fetus are alien-looking — that is, they have prominent eyes and lower face not pronounced because covered with surgical mask.

As a neonate we cannot see the mouths of the masked attendants at our birth. In a traumatic situation, whatever is hidden is more feared than what can be seen. As in anything else, onto the unknown we can project the most magnified versions of our fears. When these images arise in us, then, it makes sense that if the mouth is shown it might be even more frightening than that visible portion of the face above the mouth.

So in modern times, for the first time in history, we see something going on where these feelings are symbolized as a ferocious mouth coming out of the mouth. This is exactly what we see in the movie, Alien, in fact. That is precisely the way the mouth of the creature in that film is depicted when it is closest and about to strike. The fact that the part emerging appears also like something that would gag reveals that this image contains elements of the trauma around ungentle mouth suctioning or clearing as well as the reveal of what might be under the mask of the seeming attacker, the obstetrician. Add lots of teeth, as these images do, and you have the perinatal vagina dentata as well, symbolizing the trauma occurring at birth, when actually emerging from the mother.

Baby Abductees

Alien abduction stories, while a relatively recent addition to our cultural landscape, are unusual in the rapidity with which they have gained cultural currency and are telling in the extreme fascination the public has with them. They have catapulted more than one show — The X Files being the prime example, of course — to cult-like status.

Yet Alvin Lawson has pointed out how alien abduction stories are replete with perinatal elements: passing through walls; umbilical beams of connection to the “mother ship,” i.e., the placenta; either fetal-looking aliens or extraterrestrials whose eyes are most prominent and the lower parts of their faces undistinguished — similar to the way a newborn might see an obstetrician wearing a medical mask. Then of course in abduction accounts there are the elements of being medically probed, measured, samples taken from one, and being swooshed from one place to another with no say on one’s part — all remarkably like the experience of a newborn, right out of the womb.2

While I do not think that the “alien abduction” phenomenon is just derivative of birth, as Lawson does, I do believe that we perceive these events through a veil of birth trauma, the likes of which the world has never known. My position is explained in the article, “Alien Abductors: Angelic Midwives or Hounds from Hell?” which is available online and easily available via search.

All this postnatal abuse in the birthing room is then, in Western civilization, compounded directly after that with tight swaddling. The newborn, curiously, is wrapped like a sandwich in a blanket and in a way that he or she cannot move freely. So, rather than remember the earlier womb experience of blissful freedom and euphoria, the neonate has its most recent hellish experience of the late stages of gestation and birth reinforced. There is no doubt that we are letting our newest members know they will not be able to move freely in life, have freedom, or express themselves uninhibitedly. It is no wonder that depressive anxiety is a pandemic in modern society and antidepressants are sprinkled over the masses like holy water.

Birthing into Film

Just so you know, the point of bringing out the occurrence of these media images is that the projective systems of our culture — our art — are reflecting our collective changes in consciousness: Specifically, they are tracing the evolution of our consciousness as it is confronted by this unconscious pre- and perinatal material … or, as some psychohistorians would have it — though I could not disagree more strongly — the “collapsing” of our “ego strength” as we are “threatened” by these “dangerous” perinatal elements.

Indeed, in these strange days, movies, TV shows, and books are rife with perinatal themes. From the famous ending image of the movie 2001, where the fetus is pictured against the blackness of space as a newborn star, to some of the most popular and lucrative movies of all time: Jaws, for example, with its huge vagina dentata shark mouth lurking in the depths of the unconscious (the ocean) — signifying the trauma we have around the mother’s vagina, i.e., the mouth ringed with teeth … the ferocious looking teeth symbolizing the pain and death elements of birth experience.

Other examples of perinatal imagery in the media include those in the movie Brazil — the main character being haunted by hordes of infant/fetal faces in particular. Also, The Abyss; Jacob’s Ladder, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind — large-headed fetal-looking aliens again.

Psychodynamic as well as perinatal sequences are displayed in The Wall and Brainstorm. There is the fascinating womb and fetal symbolism in UFO movies like Cocoon; Cocoon: The Return!; Arrival; and E.T. — with the fetal-looking alien wanting to “phone home.” And of course, we have seen obvious perinatal symbolism in Independence Day, Fire in the Sky, Jacob’s Ladder, Joe Versus the Volcano, Nothing but Trouble; and repeatedly in many television series. The X Files, Star Trek, Heroes, and The 4400 come to mind. There are many others.3

In the Narnia series of books, the children find a “secret” doorway at the back of a wardrobe (womb symbol) and go from their normal realm into another magical realm. In this — as in many other depictions, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Matrix, and The Wizard of Oz — we can see both a re-creation of the birth sequence but also the message … from our unconscious selves … that one needs to go back through and re-experience that sequence, as it was left incomplete. This magical realm is thus the womb. And in it lie many of the spiritual truths that we forgot when we came into the world and became overloaded with the pain of birth, which pushed our connection with Nature and the Universe into unconscious memory.

There is a plethora of popular films rife with perinatal elements: Notable are the Matrix series, Total Recall, the Star Wars series, Dark City, The Lathe of Heaven, the Alien series, The Tree of Life, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, the Batman series, the Hannibal Lector series, Suckerpunch, and the Star Trek series. There are too many more to mention.

Even more than its prevalence in science fiction movies, birth elements are replete in the symbolism of horror movies. Since birth was traumatic, it fits it would configure so many, virtually all, of our plots of terror and alarm. When you understand this symbolism, you find it saturates the silver screen, popular television, music video and imagery, and the electronic media and arts. Clearly our media is telling us that the part of ourselves walled off from consciousness, which is the instigation of most of our creative productions, brims with the perinatal trauma we are otherwise avoiding.

Other movies indicating the interest emerging around pre- and perinatal themes are Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking, Too, which demonstrate a belief in sperm and egg, womb, and infantile consciousness far beyond what mainstream psychology is to date willing to consider. You see, future knowledge comes to us at first in our art: The unconscious throws it up before it can be understood or interpreted. The arts are way ahead of science that way.

Also, there is the hilarious sperm sequence in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex in which he and a gaggle of others are dressed as individual sperm and dialogue about their upcoming great adventure. This idea that sperm and ovum have consciousness can also be heard occasionally in comedic monologues on television and elsewhere.

Whether these images in the media are indicative of a healing crisis or are the opening of a Pandora’s box — that is to say, whether they will lead to the armageddon that many are predicting or to a consciousness evolution and a new Earth — is something we will be considering in upcoming chapters.

The Way Forward Is All the Way In

All the basic perinatal matrices put together, then, we have euphoric, oceanic, blissful feelings, sometimes feelings of being poisoned or being in a toxic or polluted environment … these are BPM I. This is followed by crushing, no-exit, depression, claustrophobia, compression, strangulation, suffocation, and being force-fed by a poisonous placenta … BPM II. Then there is struggle, violence, war scenarios, birth/death fantasies, and sexual excess … BPM III. Finally we experienced release, triumph, feeling of renewal or rebirth and a new golden age … but also possibly of being abandoned, tortured, ritually sacrificed, probed medically, and assaulted by sensations … which is BPM IV.

Interestingly also, as these patterns play out in the events of our lives, they occur in the sequence just described, which happened perinatally. That is to say, most events in our lives are characterized by blissful beginnings; followed by getting stuck or having an unexpected difficulty; then pushing through eventually; and eventually achieving, while feeling a hollowness about it, perhaps downright depression. Indeed, postpartum depression is linked to the fact that the mother went through this cycle, just as her baby, during pregnancy. It was her achievement, at the end, as much as the baby’s. However, because the mother had horrible happenings in her experience as a baby herself, on our birthing tables and in our hospital nurseries, the depression of that part of her life will, upon giving birth, now, be triggered within her.

So these cycles are enacted in events that might cover months, years, parts of one’s life, in fact. They will also structure the mini-events of one’s life. You will see this if you look for it, in your own patterns of events. Indeed, with some therapeutic insight you might notice that the phases of the cycle will have qualities that typified your personal experience of those stages. For example, I was a delayed birth, by ten days. Ever after in life my achievements would be delayed, even as I was about to complete them. I left college with one semester to go … for good professional reasons. Nevertheless, it was the way I did it; and I only completed my degree, needing to do three semesters instead of one, seven years later. I want to point out that my feeling through the experiences surrounding my delayed birth resulted in my being better able to discontinue that pattern of delaying completion. That’s the way it works, you see. That’s the benefit of doing the inner work.

Interestingly, often what follows BPM IV in the cycle is, after a time, another emergence of BPM I feelings, which sets off the entire cycle again. This occurs macrocosmically when a society or nation, with time, after a war, regains the prosperity it threw away in the most recent war, only to have that fullness and peace be spoiled by the rising anxiety that comes of good times. On the level of the individual, we see where every achievement in our lives and every new experience of love is spoiled at some point, for similar reasons, and we, like nations, set it off again.

Indeed, much of our lives we can see through the heuristic of this model. We find ourselves going through endless rebirthing cycles in the patterns of our lives. If we are lucky, these cycles trace our personal growth through childhood and adulthood and result in increasingly significant achievements and the kind of life experience that results in greater wisdom and maturity as we age. However, it is just as likely, perhaps more so, that we — just like nations who act out these cycles in patterns of war and peace that accomplish nothing — are driven to move through and participate in these cycles merely in futile patterns of self-sabotage, in which we learn nothing, in which we are stuck.

At any rate and in summary: We begin in bliss, in early womb and periconceptional experience and assumedly the No-Form State before life. We find that happy, sometimes euphoric period overtaken by constriction and no-exit despair and suffering prior to birth. Then, at the initiation of our births, we have a ray of hope appearing suddenly in the darkness of our despair (BPM II) in the womb … “always darkest before the dawn” and all that. Which is followed by a life-or-death struggle (BPM III). Then there are feelings of euphoric achievement and a godly sense of confidence in one’s ability, tinged with remorse (BPM IV). Only to be slapped down brutally for one’s having thought so much of oneself, for having succeeded in that particular accomplishment, leaving one questioning the value of trying again. After all, not only will it result in other’s suffering, we will be cast into hell for it, too. It is no wonder that we are left longing for that time in the womb before all the pain and trauma began happening.

Folks wish to “return to the womb,” no doubt about it. As I said in the chapter on BPM I, we engage in all kinds of activities to return to this state — gymnastics, break-dancing, swimming, birthday parties. We also seek it out in meditation.

And while returning to the womb has traditionally been framed as regressive and pathological by psychotherapists, which it can be, it is actually a very common thing which we engage in daily in healthy and beneficial ways. When we wake in the morning, there is the pleasantly warm cup that we cradle in our hands, the elixir inside that will wake our consciousness out of the stupor that the subsequent traumas brought about in us … remember Snow White’s fainting? Then every evening we retreat to the drink or beer after work, bringing that comforting relaxation of BPM I as well as an enhanced unity with those around us; the big comfortable chair or couch upon which we take up residence, feeling comforted in its softness; the sumptuous meal, feeding us fully and to satiety, like in our early womb life, not the later part; then there is the evening nightcap. Some others will light one up and catch a buzz — that feeling from marijuana of one’s bodily boundaries being indistinct — which is reminiscent of our time in the womb.

One might liken even our television rituals, and in our earliest times our fire sitting and watching routines, as being re-enactments of our time of being passive, receptive, open, both entertained and learning, by the larger expanse of Experience, which is the true nature of the Universe. Which Universe of all Experience, and its Divine nature, we knew more about in the womb, before the difficulties and traumas which instigated our phases of shutting down of consciousness, of lowering the blinds of our awareness.

And Further In

So, these are the feelings that characterize the experience of the perinatal unconscious. These are the patterns of knowledge of the world we come into, imprinted deeply into our consciousness through intensely scarring experiences of a traumatic sort. This experiential template is the foundation, our first knowledge of the world, within whose framework of understanding we will try to understand our experience in every moment of the rest of our lives. With a few exceptions, that is, which we will get to in upcoming chapters.

Additionally, beginning with the next chapter we will see how these perinatal patterns — these basic perinatal matrices — are themselves built upon earlier patterns of traumatic, and not so bad, experience. It will become clear how these even earlier experiential patterns themselves created templates within which we initially framed our understanding of the events of our births, in their turn, as well.

Hence, these last five chapters, on the perinatal influences and elements acting upon and shaping our current era and ourselves, is now followed by our deepest journey of all — that is, in to the prenatal. Which is, first, into the late gestation “hell” that virtually all of us endure in the womb, and out of which and in reaction to which we, as adults, have created the atrocities of all times … as well as the unparalleled apocalypse emergency of our current moment.

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.Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil:

Prenatal Suffering Is the Root of Virtually All Human Atrocity — Greed, War, Torture, Rape, Racism, Murder, Massacre, Bigotry, Pollution, Apocalypse

 

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.“These imprints of experience — …being compressed and hemmed in, gasping and unable to get our breath as if we’re drowning, feeling poisoned and revolted or disgusted by what comes into us, and feeling dirty or irritated and burning on the surface of one’s body — are molds for what we call ‘human nature.’”

“…evil, as I mean it, is not of a theological or religious origin or intent. Quite simply, evil … e, v, i, l … is the opposite of live … l, i, v, e. Evil is live spelled backward…. There are many things we do on both large and small scales that are anti-life. They lead to death, to unhappiness, to unnecessary suffering, and to all the other things we have attributed to evil…. Evil is an empirical category … closely associated with self-destructive, destructive, and self-sabotaging tendencies in humans.”

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Over the last five chapters, I disclosed the imprints from our experience of birth which are driving us to kill ourselves. For our birth is unique in Nature in both the amount of trauma attending it and the prematurity of its occurrence. I pointed out that we have experiences in the womb of oceanic bliss, then no-exit claustrophobic feelings, then feelings of struggle and warlike aggression, which is rooted in our actual birth struggle. And finally we have feelings of release and exultation, which is related to our experience of actually being born.

I explained that we act out these early imprints in all kinds of ways. War is a particularly salient one; as in going to war we are re-creating our imprint of the birth struggle and the desire to achieve release and rebirth. We are the only species who has the kind of birth that we do, that is, traumatic; and that has everything to do with the fact that we are the only species to go to war.

The Perinatal Pushes on Human Nature

But let’s back up a bit and put this in context. Because humans stand upright — are bipedal — in the latest stages of gestation/pregnancy the weight of the fetus, now nearly at its largest, presses upon the arteries feeding the placenta and bringing oxygen to the unborn child. Bipedalism causes fetal malnutrition in addition to birth trauma, you see. Of course, this is most pronounced when the mother is standing, as the fetus weighs down upon arteries between itself and the bones of the pelvis. Reduced blood and delivery of vital resources mean the fetus is not getting as much oxygen, or nutrients for that matter, as it wants and could use. The prenate cannot gasp for breath but one can imagine it having a similar feeling … recall the sensation of holding one’s breath under water.

This is an uncomfortable situation for the fetus which goes on for a long time and gives rise to many of our adult feelings of claustrophobia and entrapment, depression, no-exit hopelessness. This is one of those specific birth traumas we humans have acquired because of becoming bipedal that other species, our planetmates, do not have. So birth pain makes humans out of planetmates, essentially. It makes us different and sets us apart from all other species in ways that are not often positive or beneficial, however human. It is something that is crucial to the understandings I bring forth in my books, Planetmates: The Great Reveal (2014) and Prodigal Human (2016).1 

Prenatal Matrices

Looking more closely at it, there are four major feeling constellations involved in this late-gestation discomfort. You might say, four blueprints of human consciousness are written in the womb. They, along with other imprints from our prenatal and perinatal experiences, are integral parts of the foundation of our humanness — that part which is normally called “human nature” and is considered to have a basis that is genetic only.

It is a joke to think that just because a trait exists in humans at the time of birth that it is rooted in our DNA alone. That thinking is as archaic as flat-earth theories became after the heliocentric revolution. For there are a full nine months of individual experience prior to birth that, being the earliest influences on all experiences and perceptions after them, are far more important in determining who we become and how we act later on than anything that happens to us after birth, even if it also occurs to us early on, as in infancy or childhood. It is wholesale naïve and rather quaint that esteemed scientists and intelligent lay folk would subscribe to the idea that just because one cannot see something happening with one’s eyes, it does not have observable consequences. By that reasoning, we would never attribute causation to molecular events and would have no science of chemistry.

So, no, there are profound imprints on the way we think; view and interpret our experience; view the world; and act in relation to ourselves, others, and the world which are stamped upon our psyche by our earliest experiences. For now, let us look at the provocative and profound influences from our experiences in the late stages of our womb life. They are especially deep and far-reaching molds for all later experience because they are, in general, the most painful, uncomfortable, and overwhelming experiences we have in the entire first nine months of our physical existence.

Four Blueprints of “Human Nature”

These imprints on our psyche caused by uncomfortable experiences in late gestation that are molds for and roots of a great deal of the later experience and behavior of humans can be put in four categories — crowded, suffocated, disgusted, and irritated. These imprints of experience — let us say, being compressed and hemmed in, gasping and unable to get our breath as if we’re drowning, feeling poisoned and revolted or disgusted by what comes into us, and feeling dirty or irritated and burning on the surface of one’s body — are molds for what we call “human nature.”

Let me explain. There are four important qualities of pain involved in late-stage gestation:

  1. The first has to do with being crowded and unable to move freely. The other three come under the category of fetal malnutrition:
  2. You get less oxygen because of the reduced blood flow in late pregnancy; you experience lack of abundance and feelings of deprivation, impoverishment, “starvation.”
  3. With the reduction of blood, you get a reduction in nutrients and insufficient removal of toxins so that the blood coming into and flowing through you is not felt to be as “pure”; you experience being poisoned, “infected” … prenatal “disgust.”
  4. Finally, you experience a buildup of toxins in your placental environment as the reduced blood flow does not remove toxins as efficiently as it previously did; you feel irritated, bugged, “dirty” … prenatally imposed upon by the outside world.

Roots of War, Bigotry, Pollution….

These feeling complexes sculpted by our early, uniquely human, prenatal discomfort and pain mold our politics, shape our wars and conflicts, determine how we treat the environment, and color how we see and treat each other. They are the roots of violence, bigotry, and pollution.

We will now, and in the coming chapters, deal with each of these in turn and discuss the way we act them out as adults politically, environmentally, and interpersonally. To aid us in this inquiry, I thought it a good idea to categorize these different constellations, similarly to the way Grof and deMause have of their patterns of experiences and events in their theories. They separately came up with categories that overlap, with Grof’s describing the birth process from womb to postnatal experience. And deMause contrived categories for stages in a nation’s cycles of peace and war. Keeping in mind that war is the birth struggle projected macrocosmically, we see that the categories line up neatly. Doing this, provides fascinating insight that they both, Grof and deMause, for ideological reasons that separated them, refused to get into themselves.

Perhaps by laying out their categories side-by-side you might see that better yourself.

Lloyd deMause, in his seminal work, The Foundations of Psychohistory, himself encapsulated Grof’s matrices. I point this out because he clearly was aware of them, yet he failed to see the overlap. Let’s look at his words. In describing the basic perinatal matrices, deMause writes that they are,

BPM 1 (Primal Union with Mother): In the womb, fantasies of Paradise, unity with God or Nature, sacredness, “oceanic” ecstasy, etc.

BPM 2 (Antagonism With Mother): Derived from the onset of labor, when the cervix is still closed, feelings of being trapped, of futility, of crushing head pressures and cardiac distress, of unbearable suffering and hellish horrors, of being sucked into a whirlpool or swallowed by a terrifying monster, dragon, octopus, python, etc.

BPM 3 (Synergism With Mother): When the cervix opens and propulsion through the birth canal occurs, fantasies of titanic fights, of sadomasochistic orgies, of explosive discharges of atom bombs and volcanoes and of brutal rapes and suicidal self-destruction, all part of an overwhelmingly violent death-rebirth struggle.

BPM 4 (Separation From Mother): Upon the termination of the birth struggle, after the first breath, feelings of liberation, salvation, love and forgiveness, along with fantasies of having been cleansed, unburdened and purged.2

Then deMause sums up his own stages of the process of groups’ and nations’ events, which he calls the fetal stages as,

FS1-STRONG: During the leader’s first year, media fantasy language and cartoon body-images are full of group-fantasies of the great strength of the nation, and of the leader as grandiose, ruthless in defense of the group, and vitally necessary to its national life-blood…. The group in this “strong” stage is felt to be safe in a “strong” womb-surround, so any external disorders which might occur are not seen as threatening enough to require a violent response.3

This “strong” period is clearly a societal equivalent of Grof’s BPM I. Peace and prosperity and strength in the nation aligns with oceanic peace, vibrant growth, and bliss in the womb.

FS2-CRACKING: The deification of the leader begins to fail, with an increase in scapegoating to deflect hostility from the leader. The group’s boundaries are felt to be “cracking,” with images of leaking water and crumbling walls predominating. The leader is seen as weakening and unable to control events. Complaints of being crowded, hungry and breathless multiply, and worries are increasingly voiced that collapse is imminent….4

This is clearly equivalent, on the individual level, to Grof’s BPM II where growth is stymied, depression and no-exit hopelessness set in. The words “crowded, hungry and breathless,” which deMause is applying to a social context could as easily describe the fetal situation of BPM II.

FS3-COLLAPSE: The group during this stage experiences extreme anxieties about its collapse of self-image and growing rage toward the leader, who now seems impotent in ending the group’s feeling of pollution, sinfulness and starvation. Group-fantasies of choking, falling, abandonment, disintegration, death and explosiveness proliferate in the media…. Free-floating paranoid fantasies of unnamed poisonous enemies multiply, as the group attempts to project its own rage outward…. The “collapse” stage ends only after a “search for a humiliating other” — an enemy who, in a moment of “group-psychotic insight,” is identified as the concrete source of the group’s distress….5 

Clearly this is describing another aspect of BPM II, the no-exit prior to birth. It would align with the time in the womb leading up to when the birth struggle will begin. It is here and the previous category, FS 2 and FS 3, where deMause breaks down Grof’s one stage of BPM II into two. That increasing distinction of this time by deMause was a stepping-off point for my own theories, where I found four distinct constellations of feelings within BPM II, not just two. We’ll get to that soon, but continuing with deMause, we have

FS4-UPHEAVAL: The “group-psychotic insight” which identifies the delusional poisoner of the group can take one of several forms:

(1) Regicidal Solution-.

(2) Martial Solution — If an external enemy can be located who will co-operate by humiliating the group, it then enters into a trance-like state of sadomasochistic enthrallment towards the enemy, whose totally evil nature makes every rage seem justified and every sacrifice noble. 

(3) Suicidal Solution — Suicidal individuals often resolve internal ambivalences through a fantasy of a “Hidden Executioner” who helps them in their suicidal effort in killing the bad, polluted part of themselves so that the good purified part can be loved again….6

Clearly this stage describing a war or a substitute violent event in the nation’s inner dynamics corresponds to the time of birth, described by Grof.

Finally, deMause, without categorizing it, refers frequently to the time at the end of the war — the time of triumph, or defeat, and the aftermath — as having its own constellation of feelings and events. And it corresponds exactly to Grof’s BPM IV — which is the time of release from the womb, in birth, and right afterward.

Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil

However, another aspect of our unique human birth that is instructive to understanding our current drive to extinction and apocalypse is the time before birth, at the end of gestation. Here, where we do not get enough oxygen because of our weight as a fetus having become such that we constrict the blood vessels around us, we experience a suffocation but also a buildup of toxins, as the blood supply being reduced does not remove our waste matter, particularly carbon dioxide, sufficiently.

As I said above, this period is delimited, roughly, in Grof’s BPM II; but it has two components in deMause’s schema as it manifests in the cycles of national events. As I also said, I see there are four. Beyond that, I see that expanding the category to reveal these four components adds immensely to our understanding of human events through history and currently, particularly as it pertains to the events that demand we call them evil. 

Furthermore, employing this fourfold breakdown of BPM II, and the expansion of deMause’s FS2 and FS3, reveals things overlooked in those theories. In my framework, we see clearly that the poisoning in the womb that Grof describes as going on during BPM I and only for some people is in fact routine and occurs during the last trimester and most excruciatingly during the final month. While I do not deny that some feelings of the influx of noxious elements can occur earlier, during the BPM I period, especially if the mother smokes, drinks, or uses drugs, it clearly — adding the research of deMause and my own — is an aspect of everyone’s experience, as you will see….

Also, Grof’s schema calls for scatological feelings as occurring after birth. Whereas with the addition of deMause’s research and insights along with my own, it is clear these feelings of wallowing in feces are actually an aspect of the prenatal immersion in toxins. While I believe it is possible that some people are born into feces, as the mother’s bowels release upon birth, as Grof explains it. Still, the fact that mothers routinely receive a pre-birth enema, yet experiencers feel this constellation of feelings about being surrounded by dirt and feces, is not explained. Not, that is, unless one employs the revised categories of BPM II that I am proposing.

In any case, these categories I am calling the prenatal matrix of human evil. 

Evil Defined

I should probably mention that evil, as I mean it, is not of a theological or religious origin or intent. Quite simply, evil … e, v, i, l … is the opposite of live … l, i, v, e. Evil is live spelled backward. That is to say that there are many things we do on both large and small scales that are anti-life. They lead to death, to unhappiness, to unnecessary suffering, and to all the other things we have attributed to evil. Thus, evil is an empirical category; it is one closely associated with self-destructive, destructive, and self-sabotaging tendencies in humans. In no way is my definition a derivative of any “revealed” or authoritarian laws or commandments. No. Evil is what causes unnecessary suffering and death. And great evil is what leads to unnecessary suffering and to death on a massive scale. There is no way to quibble about the suitability of my using the term evil for the events and occurrences I have been and will continue to be pointing to.

Putting it in the context of the categories brought out in the chapter on Thanatos — the death wish, the Will to Die — you might say that this prenatal matrix of evil specifies exactly what that death wish is, where it comes from, and does so much more in elaborating on its aspects, revealing its features. The prenatal matrix of human evil is Thanatos explained. It is the reason we are self-destructive and the ways in which we harm ourselves and others.

It is not a death instinct, however. It is the way we end up after going through some very hellish experiences in the womb in the last trimester. If we did not go through these experiences, we would not have these tendencies to sabotage ourselves and to harm others. In that light, you can see how the death “instinct” or drive becomes simply an aspect of neurosis. Certainly, it is a neurosis that is fundamental and common, nearly universal, but it has roots in experience, not DNA. We know that because by mitigating these early traumas, as we very well are able to, we create people with less of that tendency to want to undermine themselves.

Furthermore, we know this is not genetic because those experiencers who feel through, resolve, and integrate these early traumas have considerably less to none of those tendencies. I know. For I did re-experience these traumas in a thorough and comprehensive way over the course of a number of years. And whereas starting out I had my share, more than some actually, of self-sabotaging tendencies, after doing my inner work I no longer do. Rather than being unconsciously self-defeating, I am now — in a sense unconsciously … or at least effortlessly — self-actualizing. Completing and publishing twelve books in the last four-and-a-half years might be taken as testament to that.

The PMEs

In any case, let me explain these prenatal matrices of human evil. I break them down into four categories:

Prenatal matrix of human evil 1 (PME 1) is the time of compression and crowdedness in the womb that begins in the third trimester and is especially difficult in the last month.

Prenatal matrix of human evil 2 (PME 2) is the hypoxia that comes to the fetus as the placenta ages, becomes more fibrous, has increasing calcification, gets increasingly less efficient, resulting in reduced oxygen and feelings of suffocation, gasping, prenatal starvation and oxygen deprivation, and prenatal panic. This is augmented in the last month by the fetal malnutrition come of bipedalism and which is increased by the mother’s standing, rather than lying down, at the end of pregnancy. This also begins in the last three months but is extremely traumatizing in the last month.

Prenatal matrix of human evil 3 (PME 3) is the constellation of feelings during those last three months, especially severe in the last one, where because of the aging placenta’s deficiencies, the byproducts of food conversion, carbon dioxide in particular, are not removed as efficiently. So this toxic waste matter gets “backed up” and recirculated into the fetus. The prenate experiences feelings of being poisoned, of nausea, of being force-fed noxious substances, and of disgust-sickening.

Finally, prenatal matrix of human evil 4 (PME 4) comes about because the fetus is not merely taking in those toxins but is immersed in them. The environment in the amniotic sac, for the fetus, gets increasingly polluted; and this is experienced on the prenate’s skin as a kind of itch that cannot be scratched, an irritation, a burning. It results in feelings of revulsion, creepiness, dirtiness.

As I repeatedly say, war can be considered an act-out of our birth struggle and the desire to be born. However, on a deeper level war is a direct outgrowth of PME 1, for such crowdedness cries out for expansion in an explosive way, like a war.

Now, pertaining to PME 2, PME 3, and PME 4, I’ll give you a look ahead. For this time at the end of gestation, where we feel suffocated and living in a toxic environment, is the root of our unconscious desire to manifest and live with pollution, as well as of a global warming with its buildup of carbon dioxide and global oxygen reduction, which goes hand-in-hand with the increase of carbon dioxide. Much more of the things we have created which are threatening life on this planet, including nuclear radiation, are act-outs of the prenatal trauma built into our beginnings

Our PTSD from the Womb We Confuse as Human Nature

At any rate, the reason we do these self-destructive, indeed, suicidal things is that our psyche tries to heal itself from that birth and prebirth trauma by having us unconsciously re-create that which we could not integrate or face at the time, which left us thereafter damaged and in need of healing. The psyche does this in its unconscious attempt to somehow resolve or heal these traumas by having us continually re-create that which might remind us … at least it re-stimulates this in us … the things inside we need to resolve still. You might think of this mechanism as a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which virtually all of us experience, from our births, yes, but at a deeper level, from even before — during the hell of prenatal trauma.

This undergirding of our personalities with a prenatal horror is so prevalent, in fact, that we actually call it our “human nature” — a human nature we say is characterized by aggression, competitiveness, selfishness, and greed. But which my research and that of others in my field has shown to be a product of our birth and prenatal traumatic experiences. And which my research has shown is underlain with a deeper human nature, before that and in synchrony with the rest of Nature, which existed in us before that, before our trauma, which actually is genetic … a true human nature. Another hint of what’s coming: The good news is that we have such a harmonious and cooperative human nature which we can access and so avert our ecocidal plunge.

All this being said, let us now take the prenatal matrices in turn, beginning next chapter with PME 1. Which is the constellation of feelings around being crowded, hemmed in, and experiencing a fetal claustrophobia.

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.Prenatal Crowdedness Become War and Violence, PME 1:

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 1 … Claustrophobia, Compression, Hemmed In, Oppressed, Enslavement, Imprisonment, Straitjackets … “Back Off!”

 

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.“The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We would like the whole world, which for us is the womb, to ‘back off!’ It presses in on us, imposes itself on us, oppresses us. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to bear down on us, to ‘prosecute’ us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It ‘won’t let us do what we want to do.’ It is ‘out to get us.’”

“…the invention and use of straitjackets shows our preoccupation with the prenatal, especially as concerns our mental health or well-being. For the message there is that if you ‘get out of control’ you will be put back in a place where you will be forced to comply and will have to learn to deal, as all the rest of us do, with the ‘existential fact’ of needing to conform to the dictates of an overwhelming, dominating, and pervasive outer world.”

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First, we experience crowded, restricted conditions in the womb as we get larger and no longer enjoy the blissful uninhibited freedom of the previous time of our short lives. This, for the sake of clarity, I have dubbed prenatal matrix of human evil 1, or PME 1.

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 1

The primary thing fetuses experience in the final stages of gestation is compression, crowdedness. We would like the whole world, which for us is the womb, to “back off!” It presses in on us, imposes itself on us, oppresses us. We can no longer move in an uninhibited way. As we get increasingly larger, the womb seems to bear down on us, to “prosecute” us, as prenates, from all sides, restricting our movements, suppressing our freedom. It “won’t let us do what we want to do.” It is “out to get us.”

This is quite a contrast, ever more stark and blatant as we get closer to actual birth, to the earlier euphoric feelings of all the rest of our lives at that point —  that is to say, the previous six-eight months of our lives since conception. This oppression from an overwhelming and pervasive Other is shockingly different from the unrestrained movement of the not long ago, with its gravity-free ecstasy, and blissful unity with an Everything, which was not at all threatening but just the opposite: supremely helpful, nurturing, and kind in the most perfect way. We remember the previous “golden age” and its easy, “heavenly” existence. This new existence feels like we have been driven out of Eden, cast out of heaven, and now must struggle and earn survival through the “sweat of one’s brow.”

Politically, as adults we feel we need to push back “lines” of the enemy, to fight off “oppression” (compression), to go to war. We act this out as nations through wars of “expansion” and through “conquering” of new territories … through imperialism. We are always pushing back lines of encroachment from some “enemy” … creating and then railing against the opposition on these “front lines.”

We re-create the switch we experienced in the womb from easy existence to struggle and discomfort by “spoiling” our peace and going to war. No, it is not smart; but it is what we are driven to do because of these patterns from our earliest experience.

The point of knowing all this … the reason I am writing this and sharing this information … is because knowledge of these irrational tendencies is the most important and necessary step in discontinuing them. We can only have hope for our children in going beyond these tendencies in us of tens of thousands of years and longer through actually facing and coming to terms with the absurdity of our “normal human” pursuits … like war.

We act out these same feelings just as illogically and self-destructively in our behavior in regards to the environment. I mentioned how we manifest this crowdedness through overpopulation and that we react to or run away from these feelings through activities like swimming and dancing. Environmentally, we feel the need to push back and pave over Nature all we can.

Remember that, as prenates, the “environment” then was felt to be encroaching and blocking our easy movement. So, with these feelings now deeply ingrained in us as something we call “human nature” we hack back at actual Nature and push it all away to “make room” … excessive room … for ourselves. While conversely, we make sure we will continue to re-stimulate these feelings through overpopulation, city life, dense and crowded neighborhoods, and traffic jams.1

We put ourselves in human zoos, which we call cities, and we struggle with our neighbors over “boundary lines” and where fences should actually be placed. We gather on freeways with their traffic jams and experience “road rage” at the same time as fighting back against the feelings these situations create through inane environmental undertakings: We remove and destroy all trees to make an empty space, though we add trees after the fact. Does that not strike you as a bit queer?

Environmentally, we destroy forests, we pave over Nature so that we can have huge houses and lawns — the bigger, the better … we want more “womb.” And we cut off others in traffic and feel trapped (encroached upon, constrained or suppressed) by drivers that cut us off and don’t let us “in” (they block us from moving freely) … thus road rage.

Conversely, we take solace in speeding (though we risk tickets). We speed around (the faster and more nimbly, the better) uninhibitedly in our cars (auto-mobile … free moving self … part of self capable of moving freely). Driving in one’s car is a perfect example of re-creating the experience of being in the womb — the car is an enclosed and protective vessel, like the womb — yet being able to move freely. When that free movement is blocked, as in a traffic pileup, it is a re-creation and a triggering of the time in the womb where, after our time of blissful free movement, we were blocked as we got larger and our space, more crowded.

So when we are not re-creating our womb freedom through driving, we take pleasure in watching racing and race car drivers and stunt drivers; also airplane and jet stunts and air shows and fighter pilots and jets, for the reason of experiencing those feelings of free movement vicariously.

In Media

As indicative of PME 1, I would like to refer to a prenatal indicator in the visual media, which has been capturing my attention … seeming to be coming out of the very walls at me! This is — what appears to me to be — a recent and new sort of prenatal symbolism, at least in Western culture.

We have had, over and over again, the image of the “evil fetus” erupting from the abdomen, as in the classic scene from Alien, as well as that of it emerging from the mouth — as examples, the “Firewalker,” 1994, episode of The X Files, and the dance hall scene in Jacob’s Ladder — indicating fetal emergence mixed with ungentle neonatal mouth clearing, as discussed previously. However, this new variation of “fetal emergence” has human faces pushing through membrane-like elastic walls!

Ventura Out of the Womb

A good example of this occurs in the movie, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, When Nature Calls. In the Ace Ventura movie, Jim Carrey emerges from inside a mechanical rhino with virtually all birth elements evident. He is holed up in a hot and suffocating “womb” — that is, he is inside the rhino.

He becomes engaged in a desperate need to get out. Interestingly, the fan — the source of comfort in the rhino (womb) — stops working after a while. This is exactly analogous to the way, when we are fetuses, the nurturing elements of the mother’s womb “turn off,” in the last stage of gestation, making the womb quite an uncomfortable place indeed.

We see Carrey pushing his face against the elastic, membrane surface of the rhino’s posterior in a way graphically suggesting prenatal compression and discomfort as well as perinatal emergence. The tourists watching this explicitly state that they see it as the rhino giving birth.

We witness the actual “birth”: Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura) struggles to make the opening larger and to come out. Finally, he falls, naked wet and curled up, fetal- or baby-like, to the ground. The hilarious — and outrageous to the tourists — part is this image of a rhino giving birth to a full-grown naked adult human “baby.”

Couldn’t Fight Your Way Out of a Plastic Bag!

Other examples in media of the PME 1 trauma of crowdedness — with its concomitant that body parts and the face would push against the surface — has individuals completely covered, wrapped head to toe, and suffocated in membrane-like elastic sheets or their equivalent from which they cannot escape and in which they appear agonized and struggling.

Modern movies showing such scenes — or devices or procedures to a similar effect of claustrophobic-like assault — are indicative of these prenatal elements coming to the surface, obviously. One example is The Man in the Iron Mask.

I saw a most potent portrayal of this new prenatal element of faces and body parts pushing through walls in the 1996 movie by Peter Jackson, with Michael J. Fox, The Frighteners. Naturally, what was coming out of the walls was threatening, attacking. It tried to capture and compress its victim, too; just like it might be expected to be feeling itself. Lloyd deMause would call this an example of the evil fetus. It is symbology that arises out of that time of suffering in the womb, showing the pent-up, repressed feelings of anger and revenge that emanate from such a time of persecution in our lives.

This House Will Eat You Alive!

The plot of another movie involved a house being somewhat alive and gobbling people up into the walls. The ingested people would try to emerge from the house’s walls. The walls being like elastic when they would do this, the features of their faces could be seen pushing through to the point even of the individuals being identifiable.2

These swallowed people could not get out of the walls. And they would be the next ones trying to lure their loved ones and friends into being gobbled up by the house — the same having been done to them, which had resulted in their being taken into the walls initially. Sounds like a modern, very perinatal variation on the Pied Piper theme.

But the former victims who, once pulled into the walls, themselves become perpetrators also is a powerful metaphor of the way primal trauma and child abuse of all kinds — including genital mutilation — is passed from one generation to the next. Vampirism has this telling quality as well: Once you are bitten, you are compelled to do it to others. In the same way, all child abusers were abused themselves as children, as any psychologist will tell you.

Womb Symbology — House, Cave, Squids

Anyway, this portrayal of a house that gobbles up its victims, bizarre as it sounds and as it looked, can only be explained by looking into our prenatal imprints; and it is rife with such elements.

To start with, a house — being an enclosure in which humans protect, nurture, and take care of themselves once born into the world — is perhaps the most prevalent womb symbol that exists. It is right up there in importance with caves, oceans, swallowing beasts — especially beasts of the ocean like whales (Jonah), sharks (Jaws), and octopi or giant squids.

There was a movie of this squid variation, which I saw not long ago. Its plot development was of the Jaws genre. But in adding tentacles, it added elements of pubic hair and umbilical strangulation to the normal aspects of womb torture such as simple compression and suffocation.

House; cave; water; devouring dragon, as in Harry Potter; whale or shark; automobile, especially buses or motorhomes; boats, especially submarines; indeed, all vehicles of transition, nonmechanical as well as mechanical as in trains and airplanes; the deep forest, as in Avatar — anything in fact with elements of being surrounding and engulfing of one and as nurturing or threatening one, or both, are womb symbols, as we have known for a long time.

Womb Symbology — Prison, Jail Cell, Schoolroom

In the category of womb symbols that are places that enclose or “house” one that are uncomfortable, constricting, limiting of one’s ability to move around, and in which one is made to suffer, even be tortured; we need to add prisons, dungeons, jail cells, and schoolrooms. Breaking out of prisons, being rescued from tight, enclosing places or situations in which one is not free — that is, cannot “move freely” — are specific portrayals of the birth process itself. Contemporary film is flooded with plots and scenes depicting such escapes and/or rescues.

Any constricting surround is a womb symbol, including oppressive social and political conditions from which one cannot escape and under which one is not able to move freely, to enjoy “freedom”; especially regimented ones under which one is tortured, processed, and treated anonymously and in an unfeeling, insensitive manner.

Schools and schoolrooms are especially strong womb symbols for they are places in which a person is supposedly nurtured and helped along in one’s development, exactly as was the purpose and situation in the womb. When they depict being constricted or made to suffer, it becomes even more obvious, depicting as that does the later stages in the womb which are uncomfortable and often hellacious. Libraries are the benign version of womb-like “schooling” in that the element of volition or choice in the matter exists.

In Events

Even the invention and use of straitjackets shows our preoccupation with the prenatal, especially as concerns our mental health or well-being. For the message there is that if you “get out of control” you will be put back in a place where you will be forced to comply and will have to learn to deal, as all the rest of us do, with the “existential fact” of needing to conform to the dictates of an overwhelming, dominating, and pervasive outer world.

Existential fact is in quotes to point out that this is not an essential fact of existence; rather they seem to be facts to humans because of the experience we share of being in constricting wombs which become uncomfortable and suffocating increasingly near the end. This is an example of what I have termed elsewhere, biologically constituted realities.3 

Of course, a similar thing — forcible “re-education” — could be said for the use of jail cells, solitary confinement, and enclosures like “The Hole” during incarceration. Simply the fact that we have a much greater percentage of our population in prisons than any time previously points to our mania for trying to control this aspect of our feelings from our origins … and of an emerging prenatal-perinatal unconscious triggering the reaction.

In a similar respect, I have already mentioned our current preoccupation with water-boarding style torture. In employing suffocation — a PME 2 element, coming up next chapter — as well as maintaining immovability by being tied down (PME 1), it is an effective yet brutally inhuman way of stimulating people’s prenatal pain, just as straitjackets and jail cells are intended to.

In former times, torture apparatus often employed elements of compression, suffocation, constriction … of the entire body or just the head … and frequently added the element of prenatal discomfort by adding torture while so enclosed. The Iron Maiden is such a contraption. It is a torture device used during medieval times. Note the feminine being employed in the name itself. Could that be any clearer that it is meant to be a painful, tortuous re-creation of being inside one’s mother? How else are maidens conceived of as being “iron,” let alone enclosing?

Indeed, it was, too. For it was a coffin-like enclosure, with spikes on its interior walls, pointing in. The coffin was shaped, and sized down, so someone would be rather tightly enclosed in it. And when it was shut, the spikes would stab you all around. You don’t want to know how accurately that describes some of our experiences prenatally.

Aw, to Breathe Free

We will continue looking at the ways we act out our early imprints and how we can actually stop continuing this self-destruction which has now reached an apocalyptic peak. Now, though, let us turn to another terrifying feeling we carry over in us from that hellish time as prenates, which we act out, politically and environmentally, in disastrous ways.

Our aggressions against others are of course connected to the long period of difficult immovability in the womb, but we can already see it is related to the reduction of oxygen at that time as well. Looking into the feelings of latent oxygen panic rooted in fetal oxygen hunger, PME 2, we see it has many more political implications, even, than war and aggressions toward others over space … over lines and perimeters and rooted in the feelings of being hemmed in — that constellation of “crowded” feelings I have in this chapter teased out.

We look now at the horrifying feelings of prenatal matrix of human evil 2, of oxygen starvation — gasping, suffocating, and feeling stifled — and the crazy things we do to “breathe free” again.

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.Prenatal Suffocation Become Greed and Class War, PME 2:

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 … Gasping, Suffocation, Drowning, Being “Cut Off” Become Greed, Oppression, Conformity … “They’re Sucking the Very ‘Life Blood’ Out of Us!”

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.The timelessness of prenatal experience at this point — when not getting enough air — feels horrific, an unending nightmare. This part contributes to human ideas of places of forever, endless suffering, for example, hell.” 

“The feeling we carry with us, below the surface in life, is of not being able to breathe, to get enough air … like the discomfort we feel holding our breath under water. We have a simmering panic of ‘drowning’ … of our oxygen supply being ‘cut off’ … which is kept constantly in check.”

“…the vast majority of us live our lives with a barely-kept-in-check panic that we will at some point be cut off from something that we need to survive — food, water, air, other people … and their concomitants — land, transportation, money, family….”

“We spend much of our lives struggling to ‘breathe freely,’ to ‘get on top of things,’ to ‘get out from under,’ to ‘be ahead of the pack,’ because of this time in late gestation when we felt stifled and in danger of dying lest our oxygen/blood supply be completely ‘dried up.’ We cannot enjoy the blessings of the moment, for we are forever looking forward, fending off and steeling ourselves for possible unpleasantness in the future.” 

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I mentioned how our human tendency to warring has its roots in the uncomfortable crowdedness we experience in the late stages of gestation, specifically PME 1. This matrix of crowdedness describes a trauma that stays with us for life and drives us to act it out in trying to push back lines and make more room (womb) for ourselves in many areas of our lives, including politically.

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2

I also said our psychological state preceding wars, in line with deMause’s work in this area, is akin to feeling stifled and wanting to “breathe free.” This arises of the second prenatal matrix, PME 2, which is related to early-rooted feelings of suffocation … of drowning. In the “gasping” or oxygen-deprivation trauma of late-stage gestation, beginning usually in the third trimester, we cannot get enough oxygen. The placenta is aging and is not as efficient in providing for our needs.1 We feel suffocated … suppressed, stifled, repressed, oppressed.

Lloyd deMause does a pretty good job of describing this development. For that reason, and to respond to those of my readers wondering “just where the hell am I coming up with this shit,” lol, let me lean on him to give you a flavor of what is going on at this point. I quote,

“Although most of these studies have been generally ignored by medicine and psychology alike, some obstetricians have recently begun to draw the same conclusions as I have drawn regarding the womb as a place full of pain as well as tranquility. Albert Liley, while filming with x-rays what he termed ‘frantic’ movements of the fetus during uterine contractions, concluded that they ‘were characteristic of a human being in severe pain, as the fetus threw its arms and legs about and appeared to actively resist each contraction with various contortions of its body.’ If the uterus were not filled with fluid, says obstetrician Robert Goodlin, and if there were air in the womb, the fetus would be heard ‘crying in utero’ much of the time. ln fact, he says, for ‘obstetricians using air amniograms, it is often necessary to caution the mother to assume the sitting or upright position (post air amniogram) for several hours after the amniogram so that the air will be kept away from the fetal larynx; otherwise, the annoyance for the [mother] of hearing her unborn fetus cry. It therefore seems not unreasonable to assume that fetuses are often as uncomfortable (enough to cry) in utero as extra utero [for] it is the intrapartum, not the newborn period, which is filled with pain and stress for the infant.’

“The distress of the fetus is increasingly felt during its third trimester in the womb. As the fetus during this period increases its length from 13 to 20 inches and nearly triples its weight, it is more crowded, more affected by stress including hypoxia, moves less and dreams more, and begins to exhibit a definite ‘personality’ which the mother can now recognize as its own, as it gets upset and vigorously kicks her in response to certain of her actions or positions — for instance, if she is sleeping in a position uncomfortable to the fetus. The crucial problems for the fetus in this new cramped womb lies in its outgrowing the ability of its placenta to feed it, provide it with oxygen, and clean its blood of carbon dioxide and wastes. The placenta not only stops growing during this period, it regresses in its efficiency, becoming tough and fibrous rather than spongy, as its cells and blood vessels degenerate and it becomes full of blood clots and calcified areas. As this happens, the effect on the fetus is to make it even more susceptible to hypoxia than previously.

“Ever since the early research in the 1930s by Anselmino, Haselhorst, Bartels and others, medical research has been puzzled by the low oxygen pressure of fetal blood, which continuously has such low oxygen levels that adults would black out in comparable conditions. This normal condition of low oxygen pressure was termed ‘Mt. Everest in utero,’ with the suggestion that fetal development during the last trimester is analogous to a mountaineer climbing Mt. Everest and experiencing slowly decreasing oxygen levels as the fetus grew bigger and the placenta became less efficient. Although the discovery that this very low oxygen level is somewhat offset by an oxygen affinity of fetal red blood cells that is somewhat higher than adults, even so, it is now recognized by many researchers that this one factor is not enough to completely offset the growing insufficiency of oxygen supply to the brain cells. In fact, the late-term fetus is often extremely hypoxic by adult standards.’ As one obstetrical researcher puts it, ‘the foetus in utero may be subject to great O2 and CO2 pressure changes’ which produce frequent hypoxia, ‘the most frequent cause of brain damage in the perinatal period.’

“Recent medical literature is full of admissions of ignorance and calls for more research as to what is termed the ‘puzzling’ ability of the fetus to live with such low oxygen levels and with such an ‘inefficient’ placenta — the oxygen transfer efficiency of which Bartels calls the ‘worst’ of all mammals. Since ‘the asphyxiated fetus has no cerebral regulatory mechanism giving priority to the blood flow of the brain,’ and since the human fetal brain is many times the comparable size of other mammals of equal body weight, ‘the margin of safety of the fetal brain against hypoxia is probably smaller in man’ than in other animals, so any reduction at all of the already very low oxygen level late in fetal life is felt as extremely stressful.

“Therefore, as the third trimester proceeds and birth approaches, as the placenta becomes less efficient and fetal needs much greater for oxygen, nutrition and the cleansing of its blood of carbon dioxide and wastes, the blood becomes more polluted, and every stress becomes magnified and is more painful to the fetus. At this low level of oxygen, even normal contractions (‘practice’ contractions), which produce an increase in uterine pressure and a decrease in oxygen levels of up to 25%, are painful to the fetus — as though the womb were giving it an hourly ‘squeeze’ to get it used to the more violent contractions to come…. [T]wo weeks prior to birth, the fetal oxygen level drops much further, and the fetus’s need for oxygen becomes … critical….

“During labor itself, oxygenation is decreased even further below critical levels, and carbon dioxide in the blood rises. Saling found a level of oxygen in fetal scalp blood at the onset of labor of 23% and just before delivery of 12% (in adults, the central nervous system fails below 63%, findings which have led even the most cautious of obstetricians to conclude that ‘hypoxia of a certain degree and duration is a normal phenomenon in every delivery.’) The effects on the fetus of this severe hypoxia are dramatic: normal fetal breathing stops, fetal heart rate accelerates, then decelerates, the fetus often thrashes about frantically in reaction to the pain of the contractions and the hypoxia, and soon the fetus enters into its life-and-death struggle to liberate itself from its terrifying condition.”2

Suffocation

In addition to the hypoxia come of an aging placenta, near the end of gestation, the mother, when standing, constricts blood vessels to the fetus. This reduces the blood supply to the fetus and thus less oxygen is received. It is what I addressed earlier as fetal malnutrition. The result is that prior to birth we humans experience suffocation and claustrophobic feelings — we “can’t get enough air”! — which seem deadly and unending.

The timelessness of prenatal experience at this point — when not getting enough air — feels horrific, an unending nightmare. This part contributes to human ideas of places of forever, endless suffering; for example, hell.

The feeling we carry with us, below the surface in life, is of not being able to breathe, to get enough air … as I have said it is like the discomfort we feel holding our breath under water. We have a simmering panic of “drowning” … of our oxygen supply being “cut off” … which is kept constantly in check.

As adults our experience is colored through with that feeling in ways so subtle we can no longer tease it out even if we wanted to. Still, the vast majority of us live our lives with a barely-kept-in-check panic that we will at some point be cut off from something that we need to survive — food, water, air, other people … and their concomitants — land, transportation, money, family, and so on.

We act out these fears through excessive control of all these resources and through controlling and sycophantic behavior toward others in order to try to ensure a steady supply of vital resources. Additionally, we unconsciously re-create that situation of panicky suffocation in our environment, in particular with the air we breathe.

Important prenatal influences, specifically of PME 2, are evident in media and film in the frequency of scenes of death by suffocation, in water or otherwise. Remember, we are immersed in water before birth, amniotic fluid.

PME 2 in Human Events and Humanicide

With this overview of the prenatal matrix of human evil 2 in mind, following now in this chapter and the next we will look into some of the psychological dynamics of human events, particularly regarding our air. While we are at it we will uncover rich veins of understanding and possible solutions for certain political and social dilemmas, which we will find are operating dialectically with these dynamics. There are provocative and profound influences from our experiences in the late stages of our womb life on the kaleidoscope of our current postmodern lives.

However, our act-outs of our PME 2 feelings have the most significant effect on our humanicide through their effects in pushing us to create the environment we have. That is a topic so important I will save it for a few chapters, for the ones on “prenatal Earth,” Chapters 19 through 21. We will look, there, at how our experiences from this time of our lives is implicated in our insane behavior regarding our environment; as well as how an understanding of PME 2, specifically, is crucial to reversing any of our self-sabotaging tendencies there and possible solutions for our current environmental problems.

On Greed and Oxygen

So there’s crowdedness in the late stages of womb life increasing up to the time of actual birth, which is PME 1. Yet also there’s the experience directly related to the fetal malnutrition — the increased pressure on arteries to the placenta, which reduces blood flow, hence the amount of oxygen the prenate receives — that occurs at that time; which is PME 2. One feels “pressured” and “overwhelmed” as one becomes larger in the womb; however one also experiences not getting enough oxygen — the simmering panic of near drowning.

“Can’t Breathe”

There is the state of not moving and crowdedness; but there is also suffocation of sorts. They are related but very different experiential constellations, both of which profoundly affect how humans will see their lives ever after. Both experiences skew our ability to ever see reality accurately — clearly and “unfiltered.” Due to the distinctly different experiences humans have coming into the world — caused by our uprightness, our bipedalism — we are, unlike any other species, riddled with bouts of feeling “pressured” by events, “overwhelmed” by circumstances, and panicked by thoughts of suffocating for lack of vital resources — food, air, land, water, touch, interpersonal contact, tribal/societal belongingness.

We spend a great deal of our lives struggling to “breathe freely,” to “get on top of things,” to “get out from under,” to “be ahead of the pack,” because of this time in late gestation when we felt stifled and in danger of dying lest our oxygen/blood supply be completely “dried up.” We cannot enjoy the blessings of the moment, for we are forever looking forward, fending off and steeling ourselves for possible unpleasantness in the future.

“They’re Sucking the Very ‘Life Blood’ Out of Us!”

Second, because of pressure on arteries we experience a reduced blood flow and get less oxygen, therefore we experience “stuffiness,” suffocating feelings, feelings of need, want, and lack … and deprivation.

Later in life as individuals we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need — greed. As nations we are compelled to exploit resources from those conquered territories we “expanded” into — colonialism and imperialism. It is fascinating how we act this out on both sides of class war and revolution also.

Oxygen and Oppression

It is out of these feelings carried over and restimulated again and again as adults that we create class wars, revolution, and culture wars. For we feel there to be an oppressive force inhibiting our self-expression, keeping us from “breathing freely.”

But more: On the other side of those panicky feelings of suffocation we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need — greed. We experienced oxygen poverty in the womb, so poverty and reductions in finances feel stifling and suffocating. It is less desirable to not have money, of course. My point is that this prospect drives us to overreact and build our lives around major act-outs of it, as so:

Suppression, Oppression, “Sucking” From

(1) Being politically oppressed, we feel we can’t move freely, which is the crowded feeling, or PME 1. However, interestingly, we feel we can’t “breathe freely.” We act this out on both sides of class war and revolution: One side always feels this lack because it has roots in the unconscious and cannot be satisfied and so overcompensates and in doing so “sucks” up all possible resources (oxygen) from those lower on the totem pole: It “suppresses” the “masses”; it “sucks from” the masses.

Liberals’ hearts may “bleed” but not conservatives.’ For releasing blood is losing oxygen and conservatives have a prenatal “knowing” that you need every smidgen you can get to survive. You may even go so far as to try to “squeeze blood from a stone,” i.e., the aging placenta.

Sycophancy, Conformity, “Sucking Up”

(2) From another side of this discomfort we have a prenatal sycophancy showing itself. Conforming Underlings, in a country’s economic array, act out their prenatal oxygen panic by investing all their energy in “sucking up” to those above them … seeking to ensure a steady supply of resources (money, oxygen) by sucking from the rich stream (blood stream) of money “circulating” among those on rungs above them on the economic ladder.

Suffocation, Starvation, Being “Sucked From”

(3) And the other component in this political triangle — those poor and working class directly opposed to the greedy forces “sucking up” from the masses — feels this suppression as suffocation, starvation, and stifling unto death. So it wants to “overthrow” or “throw off” the forces weighing down upon and suppressing/suffocating them.

Basically, if you’re not “sucking” resources (oxygen) from below, you are either “sucking up” to those above you or being “sucked from” and wanting to “overthrow” them to “breathe more freely.”

Revolution, Freedom, and Breathing

This does not mean that revolutionary forces are necessarily act outs of early trauma and not real. Although that is possible. It does not mean that oppression does not actually exist; it does not mean that struggles for economic justice are overcompensations.

Injustice, Inequity, Struggle Throwing Off

No. It is no more true that these are unreal than that struggles to save the environment are act-outs. For we must remember that the prenatal forces inside us drive us to actually manifest conditions that re-create our womb states. And just as we are driven to despoil our air and waters as act-outs of our fetal malnutrition, so also our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary, greedy acts creating gross economic injustice. These are the actions of the Controllers, the wealthy. And these greedy forces are aided in their suppression by their sycophantic underlings, driven by their underlying panic of resource loss. These are the Conforming Underlings. Between the two, our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary greedy acts creating gross economic injustice.

Free Speech Stifled, Inspire, Expire, Express … to Breathe Free

Interesting aspects of this oppression-revolution dynamic rooted in the fetal dynamic is the focus on free speech: The one side wants to suppress expression (expiration — release of air) of inspiration (to inspire — to take in air), thus directly slowing down the masses’ political equivalent of breathing, “stifling” its expression (its ability to “breathe out”).

The revolutionary side of this wants the opposite: Folks want freedom of speech. They want to be able to speak freely (breathe freely), to be inspired (take in air or spirit), and to express this uninhibitedly (expire, let air out). These same dynamics apply to freedom of religion as well.

The oppressed masses feel they are deprived, cannot get enough of what they need (oxygen), want to “breathe freely,” and so need to assert self-expression, to express (expire) one’s inspiration freely as part of that “struggle.”

Sycophancy and Conservatism

Nevertheless, the basic dynamic is about resources: One side out of oxygen panic wants to suck up resources from everywhere around and wants to keep those resources from others. The other side, the revolutionaries, wants to take theirs back. That third part, the Conforming Underlings, is the fetus hoping to get more resources from “above” … to “suck up” … by not moving too much, by “conforming.”

We all know how movement in a delicate situation might just “make things worse.” That is the basis of why we hold our breaths when we first experience stress. The response of Conforming Underlings to the oppression that pervades societies since civilization is patterned upon that. Their strategy for survival is to stay compliant with outside forces, not be too obvious or “stand out,” and if moving to do so only in ways remembered as safe … strictly prescribed, ritualistic ways.

For our prenatal memory tells us that doing so is the way of getting a little more in the way of resources (oxygen). We experienced that by not struggling, by not moving around too much … and further complicating and constricting the blood flow through the arteries to the placenta (the bank) … more oxygen (money) seemed to flow. Also, by not moving too much, by “conserving” our energy, “holding our breath” as it were, we might be able to survive … that being too “radical” and free risked death.

Culture War — Oppressors Orchestrate a Panicked Population for Their Profits

An aspect of this prenatal dynamic as acted out politically is the culture war that comes of it:

The greedy forces manipulate the latent panic of the masses in order to suck more resources by telling each segment of the masses that another sector of the population is actually the part that is sucking all their resources, stealing all their benefits and money (oxygen). So we have the creation of minorities and scapegoats out of this interplay.

Nonetheless, the reason it happens unerringly in societies is because it works so well. And it works so well because the forces of manipulation are orchestrating powerful drives and forces within the masses — tendencies of people born of the desperation and panic of catastrophic suffocation, which have their roots in the earliest months of one’s individual existence.

Now let us look more deeply into this manipulation of the masses, this scapegoating of minorities. We see how racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are themselves constructed out of prenatal cravings and fears. In continuing to direct our attention here, to PME 2, we find out why we look at others the way we do, so that our errant ideas can be further used against us by the greedy ones. And we stumble upon the underpinnings of some of the most curious of human concoctions of thought — as in the ideas of vampires and blood libel.

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.Prenatal Oxygen Hunger Become Bigotry and Racism, PME 2:

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 … Deprivation Become Jealousy, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia, Blood Libel, Anti-Immigration, Vampire Symbolism, Capitalism … “Please, Mother, Might I Have Some More?”

 

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.“…in ‘evolved’ economic systems, we make certain we will not feel relief from the threat of lack (oxygen starvation/ fetal malnutrition): For we insist on a ‘dog eat dog’ competitive system like capitalism, with its underlying Dickensian threat of an Oliver Twist state of deprivation: We get enough to survive, but it is not free and easy and leaves us always a little starved, wanting ‘some more.’”

“…if we had less of these feelings, we would less often create situations that mirrored them. We would more often create our lives out of our earlier joy grids — rooted in earlier times in the womb, which were blissful and proximate to Divinity….”

“These joy-prints would be (and can be) our foundation, our template, for living. However, almost invariably we grow our lives and actions out of the soil of our pain grids, the pain templates, if you will, which are created out of these traumatic prenatal experiences.

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The driving force of this adult behavioral complex of PME 2 is the oxygen deprivation we experienced as prenates during late gestation. This lack involved feelings of desperate suffocation … oxygen starvation … panic … fear of imminent death. Our lives were dependent on getting enough rich blood — blood that was full of oxygen and nutrients … “rich” and “pure.”

Human Rights, Racism, and Oxygen-Rich Blood

Since we needed “fresh” blood to say alive, to breathe, we wished to suck blood from the placenta, like vampires do to live. Since that oxygen was lacking, it opens the possibility that others are sucking the blood we need. For we got it earlier in the womb … what happened? We suspect others are sucking our blood, that which we deserve, are “entitled” to, and is meant for us. This is the basis for our jealousy, bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism. That is why fairness is a notion never appearing in the motives of bigots.

Hence, there are two parts to this complex — wanting more for ourselves and fearing that others will take that which we have. Just above I discussed how we act out both sides of that politically and in the framework of class war, with one side wanting — indeed, needing — more (deprivation) and the other side “sucking” up all available resources out of fear of the other getting any of what they are hoarding (greed, causing deprivation in others, class war). Let us now see how those same dynamics play into human tendencies to racism, bigotry, anti-immigration sentiments, and anti-Semitism; and how they are revealed in our strange notions regarding vampirism, marital fidelity, the “sanctity” of the family, the purity of hereditary bloodlines, and blood libel.

Vampirism

Due to fetal hypoxia, humans feel they are lacking in air and room and are starving for oxygen and they desire “fresh blood.” More than that, we feel that this desire is connected with our survival. For it was: We needed “pure blood” … or blood with at least the minimal amount of oxygen … to stay alive as fetuses.

Because as prenates we are starved for oxygen and experience the blood we receive to be deficient in providing it, we crave “rich” blood — blood that is full with oxygen and nutrients.

Ideas of vampires and werewolves — beings that need to “suck” on the blood of others in order to live … who “crave” rich blood — come of such unconscious memories of deprivation.

Vampires and Dracula “suck” others’ blood and in doing so make the victims just like themselves — needing to feed on the blood of others forevermore. In this idea, are we not saying that we wish to suck the blood of the Other … the Mother … so that we might live? And even that we will live forever if we continue to do so, as no doubt the fetus feels it needs oxygen-rich blood to live … without which it will die … getting which it will continue living on … “forever,” as far as a fetus feels/knows.

Notice other aspects of this vampirism symbology: Count Dracula lives in a coffin (womb symbol) and always in the dark, as was the case in the womb. Consider also that the vampire/Dracula will die if exposed to the light. Does not the fetus die to the womb state at the time of exposure to light … in other words, at birth? This shows how we remember our time of oxygen (blood) desperation coming to an end at birth: It is the end of living a hellish existence where one is fed by blood in the dark. Birth is a state where one lives in the light and breathes air in an environment where one can move freely, thus the other state is left behind or “dies” upon exposure to the light.

Vampires and werewolves will decompose and die if exposed to light, that is, if they are caught out in daylight: Backing up to political aspects of this, think of the greedy ones of society and their fear that if they are exposed … to the media … they will die. So they must suppress the media, at all costs; and they must keep the “light of day” from ever detecting them … the media “shining” its “light” on them. So, the greed in them has them “sucking others dry,” but they fear that if they do it “in broad daylight,” they will be caught “red-handed” (more blood), and it will be “curtains” for them.

Anti-Immigration Beliefs

This feared Other, who might be taking our desperately needed fetal oxygen, comes out later in life as immigrants. “They’re leeches. They’re sapping our life blood,” we say. This dynamic comes out in the belief that “foreigners” are stealing our jobs, benefits, and resources — “oxygen” — which we need ourselves … for “real” Americans, Germans, whatever … in other words, “pure blooded” ones. We say immigrants are taking all the jobs (we have no money or fuel … nutrients to a fetus … to live, move freely), using up all our resources (oxygen and nutrients for the fetus), being a “burden” (pushing down on the arteries to the placenta which feed the fetus) on the system (cardiovascular one bringing oxygen to fetus). The Germans had similar feelings about Jews.

Bigotry

  • We fear others will “suck us dry.”
  • We feel we “must destroy those undeserving ones feeding off our hard-earned money!” (blood).

We are forever feeling we cannot get enough resources (money) and that the lack of it means we are suffocated, cannot move freely, cannot breathe freely. We act out this fear in doing all we can to keep other folks from stealing or getting ours — our money … our “pure blood,” our pure children. We express our fear of failing in this with the words that others will “suck us dry.”

Racism

  • Children are our “blood line.” We fear we must protect it and keep it “pure.”

We see our children as extensions of our blood (line), so some of us fear that others might want to use them to “feed” on: whether they be “communists,” “hollywood,” social agencies, or schools. We fear they will “suck” the goodness out of our otherwise “pure” children … our blood (lines).

Our children are also aspects of our social surround, our family. This is analogous to our placenta in the womb. This is another reason why we fear our children will have the blood sucked out of them by others.

  • For men, wives and family are the placental surround, which we feel must be kept “pure” at any and all costs.

If we are men, our wives are also part of that placental family entity; and we fear other men might take their purity, their innocence, and such, through “impure” acts, “unclean” ones. We symbolize this sometimes with the fear of a vampire “sucking” on such a “pure” woman’s blood … after which they would be “tainted” and “impure” … a placenta lacking in pure blood.

The idea that this attack on our placenta/wife/social-surround would come from another “blood line”/race abounds. Minds on fire with such fears will go to no end of murder and torture against the targets of such furious projections and deem it all justified in light of some higher honor and purity. It inspires the activities of the Ku Klux Klan (the KKK). Their seminal artistic production — the film, The Birth of a Nation — is a robust and thoroughgoing depiction of such “heroic” depravity by white “knights,” carried out within a crazed light of such “honor” and “nobility,” against the concocted threat of a different “blood,” i.e., Blacks, contaminating the “purity” of White womanhood through intercourse — perceived as a pollution of the “superior” blood line.

Anti-Semitism, Blood Libel

And this is an obvious reason that through history we have ideas of blood libel popping up … and being acted on in horrific ways. Blood libel is the idea Christians had that Jews wanted to abduct Christian children to be used as an ingredient in one of their foods … matzos, specifically. The idea was that Jews wanted the “purity” of Christian children to feast on, especially during one of their main holidays, Passover, for they had no pure blood within them. “Bad placenta!”

When I first heard about this, I thought this a rather insignificant, isolated phenomenon until I found out how Jews had historically been put on trial and executed … or simply rounded up and murdered … based on this spurious … this insane … accusation.

Blood libel displays to us how we have this idea that some demonized Other needs to take our “pure blood” — our jobs, benefits … nutrients, oxygen — and will do it in some hideous way. And for this reason these sorts need to be destroyed. Remember, we, as “vampires,” need to suck up all resources around us out of our prenatal oxygen hunger (deprivation). However, in this aspect of that feeling constellation, we want to fight off any and all who might be capable of or thought to be capable of stopping, slowing down, or reducing our resources (blood supply). We act the first out of lack or deprivation, the second out of panic and fear.

Scary Sarah … an Aside

We should not leave this issue without pointing out what this says of Sarah Palin’s use of the term blood libel to defend herself from attacks, which came out in the presidential campaign of 2008, when she was the Republican vice-presidential candidate. She accused those in the media assessing her qualifications for office, in particular her intelligence, of engaging in “blood libel.” She was saying, then, that she is a martyr with pure blood — a “real” American! And that the rest of the country and the media want to feed on her purity for they lack such. Aside from the lurid impertinence of her saying that, it is chilling that this idea is popping up again, considering what it led to historically.

Our Earliest Economics and Capitalism

Yet even as we wrap up so much of our time and energy in these pursuits of greed, oppression-control, and bigotry, we make sure we will feel no relief from their underlying uncomfortable feelings. As in every other of these uncomfortable early feelings, we both seek relief from them and at the same time create the circumstances that give rise to them.

Let me explain how that plays out in the economic systems we choose to meet our needs. In early economic systems — such as a “strong man” economy and feudalism — there is a simplified framework of control-conformity, dominance-sycophancy. All benefit flows from the top … or not. Compare the “trickle-down economics” of Republicans in the U.S. since the 1980s, by the way.

However, in “evolved” economic systems, as well, we make certain we will not feel relief from the threat of lack (oxygen starvation/ fetal malnutrition): For we insist on a “dog eat dog” competitive system like capitalism, with its underlying Dickensian threat of an Oliver Twist state of deprivation: We get enough to survive, but it is not free and easy and leaves us always a little starved, wanting “some more.” We form all kinds of rationalizations for not adopting a more prosperous, more egalitarian, more cooperative, less competitive, and less stressful economic style as exemplified by socialism, for example.

Fetal Malnutrition and Politics

That barely kept in check feeling of being cut off from something we need to survive causes us to insist on economies where the vast majority of people operating in it would feel that they are, for example, only one paycheck away from living on the streets. So, not only do we insist on inflicting this kind of pressure and pain on others — by insisting on a capitalism that keeps the majority in want and by voting for Republicans and their kind in other nations, who represent the interests of the wealthy and who insist on dismantling any societal safety net. But also we unconsciously want to live in such a society for it feels right and familiar that one should be under such threat at all times. Nope. Not rational. But then humans are not.

As for, why socialism? That is because in our natural state in Nature, the forest or other surrounding environment was the safety net. By taking us away from Nature and by denying us access to it, we make it just and right that society should provide that safety net, that sense of ultimately being able to take care of oneself. Yet in current industrialized societies, we not only threaten people with being out on the streets, once they are out there we punish them for being there by preventing their lingering in any public places, from sleeping in view of others, and so on.

Of course, there are societies who have done this historically, that is, have provided the social safety net we need. Many indigenous cultures operate harmoniously this way; and there are societies and cultures that are attempting to create such a workable harmonious system today. Nonetheless, there are reasons why we refrain from wholesale adoption of such easier existences and why we insist on our economic struggles not being alleviated. For to adopt a cooperative socialist framework for meeting our actual needs would be akin to re-creating the earlier style of existence in the womb that was easy and free … the one that was Edenal … in harmony with Reality and Nature. The BPM I state.

That would be smart, of course. Yet as always we insist on our miseries. We are forever doomed to creating situations that confront us with their reality unless or until we actually face and resolve them. So, while we are capable of living in more enlightened styles, we are for the most part going to ensure our existence in a state of struggle. We are the ones who put the angels to guard the gates of Eden.

Why Know This … In Case You’re Wondering

The lesson to be taken from all this is not that our early life mirrors our adult, “real” lives. Something more important is being said: Having our lives suffused with these distorted feelings is not necessary, and the perceptions and deductions one makes from them are not instructive. They are wrong interpretations of what is going on. They are “unreal” … when we once again experience them as adults. They are very early components of what becomes, later, our unreal self.1

These feelings are rooted in forgotten memories, imprints we carry from early experience, and they are not rooted in actual circumstances. Certainly, we create a reality that matches these feelings, but the feelings are there first. And if we had less of these feelings, we would less often create situations that mirrored them. More often, instead, we would create our lives out of our earlier joy grids — rooted in earlier times in the womb, which were blissful and proximate to Divinity; in our cellular existence, which was at times euphoric; and/or in that state of No-Formity and Divinity before even coming into Form. These joy-prints would be … and can be … our foundation, our template, for living. However, almost invariably we grow our lives and actions out of the soil of our pain grids — the pain templates, if you will — which are created out of these traumatic prenatal experiences.

Next let us consider the third constellation of prenatal feelings, which imprints us for life, under the category of poisoned and disgusted.

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.Prenatal “Poisoning” Become Paranoia and Intolerance, PME 3:

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 3 … “Bad Blood,” Disgust, Nauseated, Sickening Become Homophobia, Smoking, Sadism-Masochism, Addictions, Money Fetish, Air and Food Pollution, Propaganda … “Don’t Feed Me That Bullcrap!”

 

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.We’re getting some blood, but is it bad blood? How it manifests in our thinking, in psychosis — food, aliens, and tin foil. “Bad blood” aspects of fetal oxygen hunger

Prenatal malnutrition and politics. Prenatal roots of war. In collective dreams. How “bad blood” manifests in our doing

“With all rationality set aside, we are compelled to poison, infect ourselves again and again with bad air (bad blood). Again, of such depth is the grooves of the imprint created in our prenatal times and along whose lines we make our self-destructive decisions.”

 

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Outside of PME 1, crowdedness, there are three parts remaining and all three of these are related to the factor of the aging placenta, the hypoxia; in general, to prenatal malnutrition. This pain in the last trimester defines us as humans and creates what we think of as “human nature” and most often as being genetic, but it is not. We have been dealing with the first part of fetal malnutrition — deprivation. That is PME 2, suffocation. We fear there is not enough oxygen/resources coming to us to keep us alive. Another part of this complex of trauma has to do with the toxic quality of the environment we experience surrounding us — which is burning, is irritating. It is something we will get to in the next chapter.

However, the one I want to deal with now is the second aspect of oxygen starvation in the late stages of gestation. It has to do with our prenatal assessment of the quality of the “air” — the oxygen and nutrients — we do get. Not that there is not enough of it.

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 3

As just discussed, we carry an underlying panic that our supply will end at any moment. Yet we are getting some oxygen from the blood that comes to us, however reduced its flow. It is the contrast from what we knew that is alarming. Imagine blood that is free- and easy-flowing, rich and bright red with oxygen. Think of it as a bubbling, churning stream … sparkling, clear, pure, healthy.

Now, imagine blood that is more trickling than gushing, more depleted of resources — oxygen and nutrients — tainted, darker, barely able to sustain one’s life…. A stagnant pool, now; a polluted slow-moving river or stream … dank, smelly, unhealthy. The first was our experience of earlier womb life; the second, the way it gradually began being perceived.

To be clear, we cannot actually see our blood flow as a fetus, of course. This is meant to be an analogy giving you an idea of the difference in the feeling experience of the fetus in this changing situation. The metaphor must be close enough to what it actually was like, since out of it we form images and symbols in later life with these differing characteristics, as I will continue to show.

“Don’t Feed Me That Bullcrap!”

So we began feeling poisoned, polluted, decrepit, diseased. Our situation in the womb had portents of death and seemed a dire threat if it were to continue. We received blood sufficient to keep us alive, obviously, but it was felt to be degraded, to be “bad blood.” This has to do with our feelings about the blood we do get: It is tainted, not pure. We began feeling that what we were getting was deficient, even poisoned. The blood that comes is not only barely sufficient to keep oneself as a fetus alive … or certainly it feels that way. But it is tainted, impure … or certainly it feels that way. And one feels not just deprived but attacked.

An interesting aside and look forward into what is coming up is that it is because the Nazis in particular were so caught up in this kind of “bad blood” matrix of feelings in the policies they carried out that they even created the manner of death for Jews that they did — gas chambers. In other words, because they felt the “blood” (money) they were receiving was “poisoned” (tainted, manipulated) by the Jews, it made the most perfect sense then, on an unconscious level, to fight back against these sources of “tainted blood” (Jews) by forcing “tainted blood” into them also, until they died (gas chambers). 

Incidentally, it would be interesting to find out what in particular was the cause of such inordinate fixation by Nazis on this aspect of early prenatal pain involving tainted and poisoned blood. For example, did Germans have more of this kind of pain as fetuses because German women did much more standing. It is known, after all, that German women, like the men, were hard-workers and tough-minded, not bothering to let up even when pregnant. That is the nature of the Aryan psyche that was promoted with the Nazi philosophy.

Likely it is, then, that German women would be spending much of the time of their pregnancies on their feet, even in the final trimester. This would only augment the usual prenatal malnutrition for the fetus. In this we have a hint as to why Nazis may have been inordinately caught up in fantasies and delusions emanating from this bad-blood matrix.

And if women doing standing work right up to the time of birth correlates with excessive fetal malnutrition, what of women in primitive agrarian cultures working — in the fields or similar places — until practically the time of birth? Does this have anything to do with the increase in war and conflicts we observe in agrarian cultures over nomadic ones? Is there a corresponding increase in psychosis, ritual, and superstition … scapegoating and sacrifice … as, for example, with the Mayan and pre-Colombian New World cultures? No doubt there are many factors involved in these things, yet are these prenatal contributing factors some important overlooked ones? If so, how important?

Finally, what of the tendency of women today to want to work right up until the time of birth? These are the kinds of things that can make such differences. These are the unexplored aspects of our understandings of why peoples do what they do that are different from other cultures. These are the kinds of considerations which could have us altering our cultural practices around pregnancy and birth in a way that could literally create a world where such horrific doings would no longer ravage us.

Disgusted … Poisoned….

Regardless, in PME 3, the blood we receive is not as good as it was, we feel what we get is “poisonous” … deficient, unhealthy, harmful … even deadly and threatening, as in the feeling we might be being poisoned to death. It is “bad blood.”

This second aspect of fetal malnutrition and the third of prenatal discomfort is the feeling of being force-fed something noxious and deadly. We feel we are being poisoned or infected by what we take in through our breathing or eating. What is coming into us is sour and unhealthy. Think, stuck in a traffic jam and breathing in the exhausts of all the vehicles around. Any wonder road rage?

This is of course related to the previous feeling constellation discussed, wherein we fear we are not going to get enough oxygen and so want “pure” blood.

This sounds like the deprivation/gasping feelings, but though it is related it has a different quality: The difference is between gasping for breath, as in being held under water and feeling one will die for lack of oxygen, versus being in a gas chamber and feeling that the air we breathe is foul, unhealthy, smelly … and is deadly because of its toxicity. They are considerably different in that in one we feel we will die for lack of resources — the outside is withholding something we need. In the other, the outside very much is impinging on us but in a bad way. It is forcing itself on us, and it is felt as an assault.

Fractals, Abuse, Sadism/Masochism

This crops up later … these feelings have fractals at all levels … as the difference between a child being hurt because he or she is ignored, abandoned, unloved, or left alone; versus a child getting “attention” but in the form of assault, abuse, violence, sexual assault. The first is a lack of something; the other is an unwanted getting of the opposite of what one wants/needs. It is the difference between being “starved” for knowledge and being “fed” propaganda, not the “pure” truth.

In the one you cannot get something you need, you are deprived (panic). Indeed, this imprint from PME 2 may be the deepest roots of the panic attacks with which some people are afflicted. In the other — this one of PME 3 poisoning — you get something but it seems intentionally polluted to harm you. Indeed, this may be the deepest roots of the paranoia that pervades the thinking of many folks.

Briefly, the way these matrices manifest in difficult emotions and psychopathology are

PME 1 🡪 aggression, violence, “beating back”

PME 2 🡪 panic

PME 3 🡪 paranoia

To explain the distinction between PME 2 deprivation and PME 3 poisoning-molestation, you can compare it to the difference between being starved for affection as a child versus receiving unwanted attention as in being sexually or physically abused. The reason this can be seen so clearly at a later time of life is because these feeling constellations are fractals of each other: They occur in the same pattern again and again at different times of our lives exactly because of our tendency to re-create, unerringly, the discomfort we could not face originally (primally). The original formulation of this pattern in the womb sets up that we will act out on both sides of tendencies to deprive others of affection, as well as to subtly and unconsciously push others away. And because of the other aspect of it, we will also force unwanted attention on others and will assault them, as well as being unable to avoid such attacks. Traditionally, this last has been discussed under the headings of sadism and masochism.

Having dealt with the deprivation/greed aspect of this in previous chapters, in this chapter we will look at the poisoned and infected feelings and their sadistic/masochistic outgrowths. Unraveling this complex at its primal roots in the womb, we expose some fascinating revelations.

“Bad Blood” and Paranoia

Though not the most common, I must start with the most obvious adult manifestation of this — the curious notion among paranoid psychotics and some obsessive-compulsives that they are being or are in danger of being poisoned. Certainly, through the food they eat, but this also manifests as the idea that “alien” thoughts are being inserted into their minds/brains. I have seen walking neurotics (borderline psychotics) strolling around with wire pyramid or tinfoil hats to prevent this infection from above.

Along these same lines it has come out in the press, just recently, that Donald Trump is exceedingly fearful of being poisoned. It has been reported that Trump — employing the metaphorical equivalent of a wire-pyramid hat with the help of his entourage — protects himself accordingly. This goes along with the fact that he is prone to conspiracy theories and believes all reporting of facts in the media to be “fake news” — probably he feels the reporting to be “infecting” him, certainly he experiences it as “assaulting” him. We see him defending the slightest such incursion upon his psychic domain with his compulsive tweets. While he himself is the largest perpetrator of such “poison” and lies — such “fake news” — into the “bloodstream,” mainstream, of the public at large. Which demonstrates the psychodynamic that that which we do not acknowledge in ourselves we project and inflict upon others.

We have to wonder how much of conspiracy theory is itself skewed by this constellation. It most definitely drove Nazi conspiracy thinking about Jews. I would say you can see elements of it in Trump’s conspiracy theories about Mexican and Muslim immigrants, currently. Indeed, the fact of Trump’s food-poisoning paranoia along with his anti-immigration stance — built as it is upon an idea that “bad hombres,” rapists, and murderers are invading us from the outside — adds further weight to my contention that poisoning fears are related to PME 3, prenatal bad blood, with its paranoia and anti-immigration, ethnophobia. Unfortunately, with Trump’s stolen position as the leader of the United States, his fear of being infected from the outside will have all Americans paying to build a wall on the southern U.S. border … a wall he wishes, unconsciously, he had in the womb to protect him from the bad blood. Amazingly, an entire nation is likely to be involved in the construction of a billions-of-dollars big and metaphorical tin-foil hat on its border because of what its leader experienced in his earliest months of existence.

However, even more blatantly, in some quite popular conspiracy circles of recent years we observe a concoction of the existence of forces that spy on us and influence our actions from behind the moon (behind the placenta) or some other unseen place. The person putting this out is David Icke. This is what happens when big thoughts are channeled through sorry states of mind. What is more significant is that so many folks buy into his insanity, which says everything about their own prenatal traumas. I should mention that Trump supporters embracing his particular brand of psychotic thinking reveals the same thing about them.

In Media — Myth and Fairy Tale

 We express these ideas arisen of our PME 3 template in our myths and fairy tales, as well. For they are the collective “dreams” we share to which our unconscious dynamics give rise.

Snow White and the Evil Queen

A salient example is the children’s story, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” Consider her name, and remember the part about the purity of blood and children, which was felt to be our earlier situation in the womb.

In the same consideration of blissful BPM I experiences occurring prior to late stage, BPM II, discomforts, notice that Snow White enjoys an earlier, idyllic time living in communion with planetmates in the forest. She was supposed to be killed (aborted) by the huntsman (god figure); but he falls in love with her and lets her go, telling her to hide. She finds a tiny cottage (blissful womb), where she is aided by and lives in harmony with seven dwarves. The dwarves, as well as the planetmates, represent the forces of Nature aiding exquisitely perfect growth in the early stages of gestation in the womb.

Then, however, BPM II style — specifically in the manners of PME 1, PME 2, and PME 3 — her wicked stepmother wants to crush and poison her, but even notice how.

First the “evil queen” (mother symbol) wants to kill her by crushing her. Think, PME 1, compression, hemmed in, claustrophobia. She ties her tightly in a bodice with stay-laces. Remember that being compressed and crowded was the very first and most obvious aspect of late-stage gestation discomfort.

This compression might result in actual death through her being unable to breathe. Think PME 2, suffocation, gasping. Indeed, the effect of being tied tightly in the bodice is that she faints, just like one might expect to if one were not getting enough oxygen.

And then begin the poisoning attempts: The evil queen tries to kill Snow White by brushing her hair with a poisoned comb. So, what does this mean? Well, our hair comprises thousands of tiny filaments that emanate out from our bodies, just as in the womb we have tiny filaments extending from our bodies — arteries and veins — which connect us to our mothers (evil queen). The wicked stepmother poisoning her by combing her hair is saying she is being poisoned through these filaments of arteries extending from her and to her mother, through the placenta.

Next, the evil queen wishes to get the girl to eat a poisoned apple. Apple is as the penultimate symbol of food, nutrition in Western culture. It was an apple that was eaten in Eden, for example.

Now, why? Remember that a red apple is the same color as blood. So a poisoned apple represents the bad blood in the womb with its poor or “poisoned” nutrients … being given to one by one’s mother. Significantly, there is a white half and a red half to this apple, and the farmer’s wife eats the white half, which is like saying that the mother gets the blood fresh with oxygen. While Snow White eats the red half, which is like saying the child in the womb gets the poisoned blood.

The Mother Proxy

Notice that here as in many fairy tales it is a stepmother … in others it might be a wicked aunt or witch … who does the bad stuff. It has to be a stepmother or aunt, for we wish to preserve the idea that a “good mother” still exists. So we separate out an idea of a bad part of her, just as we come up with the idea of a bad god … a Satan … who is responsible for all the evil things that we cannot abide that a good God would be … thus preserving the idea of a good God/ good daddy here.

But there’s more. Snow White fainted when she was tightly laced, and she collapsed again after being brushed with the poisoned comb. Yet finally, being poisoned with the apple, she falls into a stupor and appears dead.

Obviously, Snow White represents a prenate struggling with the “groggy” and lethargic feelings associated with being trapped, stifled, and poisoned/drugged. And in modern times, sometimes having ingested actual drugs or toxins from smoking or alcohol through the placenta … poisoned through those tiny “hairs” of arteries.

Appearing dead, she is placed in a glass coffin. Womb symbol, anyone? I have a lot more to say on the meaning of the Snow White tale pertaining to the Electra complex and the primal scene coming up in the next book in this Return to Grace Series. In Volume 12, titled Back to the Garden — as well as in Dance of the Seven Veils I, which is Volume 2 in The Path of Ecstasy Series — we explore that under the title of “The Assault of the Mother.”

In Events

Having looked at how this early experience of blood degradation is manifest in our thoughts, madness, and creative product, let us look into some really important, major act-outs of this prenatal mental framework for construing things. This brings us to the ways we act out these crazy ideas, emanating from early experiences, in major ways as cultures, as societies, and even as nations. We address now the psychotic acting out of these thoughts and feelings — rooted in unconscious discomforts and repressed memory patterns — by insane societies.

War

In this aspect of fetal discomfort, a reduced blood flow to the placenta is experienced as a buildup of carbon dioxide and toxins, since they are not removed as efficiently as they were before. Lloyd deMause explains how this womb situation is universally expressed among humans as a fear of being “poisoned” by “bad blood.” He has found that feelings of being trapped (PME 1, in my categories) and at the same time “infused” with bad blood or toxic energies (PME 3, as I’ve termed it) of some sort precede the outbreak of all wars.

For these wars are the unconscious way humans try to “break free” from these uncomfortable feelings, which are for the most part just early unresolved memories from our beginnings in life. We see “bad blood” as coming from the enemy. We see the enemy as an attacking many-headed monster “encroaching” on the “home”land (PME 1) … a threatening multi-veined placenta, aging and filled with toxins, “filth.” So we wish to attack and destroy the enemy — this placental “monster” — so we can “breathe free” again (PME 2) and escape their “poisonous filth” (PME 3).

Xenophobia

These feelings of being “sickened” at the end of our womb existence are the root of all xenophobia with its creation always of a toxic Other which cannot be allowed to infect the virtue and purity of people of “our blood.”

The perfect example is the German xenophobia that resulted in the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews around the time of World War II. I have already pointed out how these walking psychotics injected poisonous gas into Jews in gas chambers out of these prenatal feelings, which they framed in adult thoughts of being themselves infected with tainted money from these Jews. Let us now look at other act outs of this.

Racism, Intolerance

This matrix is the basis of racism. Blacks are pollutants, as are Jews, is what is thought. Most recently, in America, it is Muslims who we feel defile us. They want to take away our purity — our pure children … blood libel; our women’s pure virtue. And so we need to dress in white (the Ku Klux Klan), indicating “pure” blood, to defend against these incursions (of “bad blood”).

This fetal malnutrition gives rise to bigoted ideas of keeping racial lines “pure.” It insists upon no mixing of the races … or ethnicities … for fear of affecting the gene “pool” (pool of blood), but it is always described in terms of “blood” that will be mixed, tainted, polluted, made impure, or degraded. Can you see how these are all instances of fear of encroachment by another from which one senses a threat of pollution and in conjunction with which one feels suffocated, made helpless, unable to move freely?

Homophobia

We see it in intolerance of all kinds of others. Several years ago, on 12 May 2012, a Baptist preacher from the South made headlines everywhere by announcing from the pulpit that all gays and lesbians should be “rounded up,” placed in an “enclosure,” surrounded by an “electrified fence.” He imagined they could have food air-dropped to them until they died — obviously of an insufficient, oxygen starvation (PME 2) amount … or of a poisoned, bad blood (PME 3) quality. At this point, I do not believe I need to unravel the prenatal qualities of the morass his mind was wading in.

And why all this? His exact words are, because “It makes me pukin’ sick!” what homosexuals do.

Sick, nausea, poisoned. Need I say more?

Yesterday, Donald Trump let the world know he thought of Black and Latino folks from Haiti, El Salvador, and African Countries coming into the country as being from “shithole countries.” In this he shows how he sees his White world as being surrounded by filthy others. Again, I mention how this fake president of the United States is peppered by fears of being poisoned. It is all connected. I daresay, the fact that Donald Trump provides an at-hand example in full view of everyone of my theory of the prenatal matrices of human evil, especially PME 3, is perhaps the one good thing come to my mind regarding his having stolen the American presidency.

Classism

This thinking is found in classism as well. Here, royalty call themselves “bluebloods” and only allow marriage between others of their class — from their own nation or another, interestingly, as long as they are of the same class of royalty. Such elites will not allow their “blood” to be mixed with the polluted blood of the masses and “riff raff.”

Elitism

University intellectuals have a more “refined” take on this primal disgust: They set up barriers to academic entrance in order to “keep out the unwashed.” They do so, without a clue they are coming across like scared fetuses inside a virtual womb (academia) trying to protect their continuing flow of blood (money).

Blood Letting

For a long time in Western culture, it was thought that when one got sick that one had “bad blood” coursing through one’s system. The idea was that by bleeding a person one would rid their body of some of this impure blood and the person would get better. This bloodletting was employed for hundreds of years in the face of the evidence to the contrary wherein folks got paler and sicker from this “treatment.” Such is the power of these sorry thoughts rooted in unconscious dynamics.

Smoking

Another thing we do out of this “bad blood” complex is we re-create the atmospheric imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the womb — which is what is meant by the reduced oxygen and buildup of toxic waste matter, primarily carbon dioxide, occurrent to fetal malnutrition — through burning stuff, through creating air pollution. Again, I will have lots more to add on that in Chapter 20, especially, regarding “Prenatal Earth, Life in Gaia’s Womb.”

However, in a similar way the smoking of tobacco and other vegetation can also be likened to our pushes and pulls to re-create the bad “air” of the womb. In ingesting this smoke into one’s lungs, we have a most perfect example of the drive to re-create the uncomfortable feeling of ingestion of “bad blood” — in this case, inhaling, bad air. With all rationality set aside, we are compelled to poison, infect ourselves again and again with bad air (bad blood). Again, of such depth are the grooves of the imprint created in our prenatal times and along whose lines we make our self-destructive decisions.

How We Make It Worse; How We Re-Create It in Our Environment and Bodies

So we act out this “bad blood” of PME 3 in all kinds of harmful ways, including war and bigotry. It manifests in our paranoia and sadism; and we express it in our creative productions. But more: We re-create it, we make it worse, we manifest it in our lives. Smoking is only one example.

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

How we add to this today, how we make it worse? Well we do it when drinking and taking drugs, as well. These could not be clearer examples of how we pollute our blood by ingesting poisons. Indeed, we have to wonder how much of alcoholism and addiction is motivated by this complex. For certainly, if you’ve ever had a hangover, you have a taste of what that kind of “bad blood” poisoning in the womb feels like. This is only one of the many experiences we do not like, that we outright hate; yet which we cannot keep from bringing to ourselves, repeatedly, because of the existence of these repressed early traumas.

Medications and Food Pollution

Beyond that, we create and imbibe toxins in our food, our air … and through the medications we use. The whole idea behind “medicine” is that a toxin (all drugs are) administered in a tiny amount will alter our blood constitution in just the exact way to affect some currently felt experience of our blood being bad (sickness).

And in doing these things we reinforce the bad-blood experience of fetal malnutrition that the fetus will experience out of its being human. We insure we will pass along our bad-blood experience to the next generation … we will multiply it even. For the mother’s ingestion of these compounds into her system — smoke, drugs, food additives, air toxins, water pollutants — are felt by the fetus as receiving bad blood, even worse than it would be otherwise just from pressure on the arteries restricting blood flow and dampening the removal of waste. Again, we create that which we need to resolve. Only this time, it is the unborn child who will be “infected” with the bad blood and who will need to face these feelings later in life, again and again.

Genetic Engineering and Propaganda

I cannot leave this without pointing out that, as in environmental pollution and in political oppression, it is not all just a figment of a past memory. There are those of us acting-out this feeling complex by coming up with such odd creations that end up polluting the food of others … as in the tainted food coming out of corporations like Monsanto, with its Frankensteinian concoctions.

There are those, also, who seek to inject alien ideas in others to make us do things we would ordinarily not do — whether that is to buy some unnecessary thing to fatten the wallets of these others (advertising) or to surrender one’s self interest or hand over one’s power and rationality of thought to these others for their political ends — as, for example, in propaganda. In America, this would be Fox News and, most recently, anything coming out of the Trump administration.

These things in mind, now, in the next chapter we will look into the fourth aspect of the prenatal matrix of human evil — PME 4, which has to do with prenatal irritation-burning-revulsion.

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.Prenatal Revulsion Become Phobias and Sexual Abuse, PME 4:

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 … Burning, Irritation, Itchiness, Creepiness, “Makes Skin Crawl,” Dirtiness, OCD, “Ewww,” Rape, Insect Phobia … “Don’t Bug Me!”

 

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.Irritated … dirty … “eeew!” Touch, sex, preadolescent “creepiness” and early roots of rape and sexual abuse

“…in this aspect of late-gestation experience, what you perceive around you is a poisonous environment that you feel wants to diminish your purity of self, your integrity, and ultimately would lead to your death. This threatening environment has a characteristic of filling up increasingly with toxins, bad blood…. We have around us something that is building up which is polluting (sinful) and will drag us down (put us in hell), take away our ‘morality,’ our ‘purity,’ our ‘innocence.’”

“The reason this happens is that the reduced blood flow in the womb means there is a buildup — slight, but noticeable to a fetus — of toxins. They are not taken away as efficiently through the veins. There is also the factor of an aging placenta. There is a feeling of skin irritation and/or slight burning. There is a sense, for the fetus, of its world not being as vibrant and alive as earlier. Systems are no longer accelerating or peaking, as was the case for the entirety of one’s life previous to that — earlier womb life — but are leveling off. And if one is a delayed birth … one can sense a breaking down of the systems … an entropy that is frightening.”

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The fourth part of late-gestation formative experiences, which I am calling the prenatal matrices of human evil, and the third part of fetal malnutrition is about irritation-burning. It is about a toxic environment in the womb that surrounds the fetus and is experienced on the skin. To review, back then, inside our mothers,

  1. It was tight — “crowded,” oppression — which is PME 1.
  2. We felt we were not getting enough air — suffocation, oxygen hunger, deprivation — which is PME 2.
  3. We felt what we got was poisonous — “bad blood,” disgust — which is PME 3

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4

Now in this fourth part, prenatal matrix of evil 4, or PME 4, we feel the environment around us is toxic. It is about ickiness, irritation, feeling dirty, burning, uncleanness, yuckiness, filthiness … as teens like to say, “creepy,” and “ewww!” It is all about the surface of the body in this complex, not about what we are taking inside us (which is bad blood, disgust, PME 3) or not getting to take inside (which is deprivation, PME 2). And it is not about being pressed in from the outside … crowdedness, PME 1 … but is about irritation and burning on the surface of the skin.

PME 4 refers to feelings caused by the fact that the decreased blood flow — a result of pressure on the arteries providing blood to the placenta and of an aging, less efficient placenta — means that there will be reduced ability of the placenta to remove the byproducts of oxygen combustion by the fetus. These are waste products or toxins of the biochemical process of food conversion into energy that are normally removed by the blood through the veins … to be expelled eventually one way or another back into the environment.

So there will be a backlog caused by the reduced blood flow, and the fetus experiences a buildup of toxins. The prenate feels increased “yuckiness” in its environment that is greater than anything experienced previously. Oh, the garbage man still comes to take out the trash … but think of it as the garbage man coming less often and one still puts out the trash just as frequently. Imagine how one feels watching from one’s window as it piles up on the sidewalk. Perhaps you lived in New York City in 1968 during the huge garbage strike; you would have an even better idea.

So, finally, there is the pain and discomfort of being surrounded by these toxins, forced to live in an environment that is felt to be dirty, “creepy,” toxic, threatening, filthy, slimy … “yucky.” Ugly, as well; that is why we create dystopian societies to live in. Our environments being manifested this way is another example of our re-creating that which we repress, keep out of mind. And again PME 4 is related to the previous feeling complex but is different. For one can be forced to take in something noxious, PME 3, or one can be immersed in something that is painful or uncomfortable like a bath that is too hot, as in this one, PME 4. In other words, this pain is on the surface of the body not of something being forced inside, like PME 3.

How this noxious environment feels to the fetus can be that of irritation, uncomfortable heat, burning, and feelings of threat to one’s survival — thus alarm and panic — which those outside “impositions” bring up in a fetus. Historically this has been acted out on Jews and supposed witches: Jews were placed like firewood in heaps and burned to ashes to get rid of them as the threat they were felt to be. Witches were often immolated at the stake. As in the gas chamber example mentioned last chapter — where Jews were poisoned because of the Nazis’ prenatal “poisoning” — these “ordinary” citizens perpetrated on their Jewish, female, and heretical victims the sort of suffering the murderers felt was actually coming at them. In incidents of burning people to death, the act-out of PME 4, prenatal burning-irritation, is patent.

“Witches” — most often just women a little different, perhaps a tad more free-thinking — heretics, and Jews were felt to pose a threat of burning for the perpetrators. If nothing else in that they could be responsible — in influencing Catholics away from their tortuous beliefs by thinking a little differently — for the murderers themselves burning forever in hell. So they thought, the poor bastards — the conforming and fearful, the religiously bedeviled. The prospect of an unthinkable horror, a hell, projected onto the metaphysical of the grandest scope, i.e., forever — which beliefs were firmly rooted in the seemingly endless prenatal suffering they experienced … the crushing, the suffocating, the sickening, the burning — rationalized, indeed compelled, some of the most hideous of human atrocities committed on Earth.

The unfortunates during the Medieval Burning Times and Inquisitions acted it out on others as well as themselves. They engaged in self-flagellation of the skin, mimicking their prenatal pain of burning-irritation. They starved themselves (PME 2) through fasting; and others, through fostering widespread poverty and deprivation. As mentioned, they were among the ones who sickened themselves through blood-letting (PME 3). They not only created tortuous crushing, mutilating, and skin-piercing devices (PME 1 and 4) — the Iron Maiden being one — which they inflicted on others. Many of them gathered in dystopian cities, with streets and alleyways running with human sewage (PME 1 and 4). And more.

Incidentally, the fact that Nazis burned their victims, as well as poisoned them, is another indicator of the unusual prenatal trauma of the Germans of their time.

Yet the extreme acting out of PME 4 suffering was not limited merely to folks of former times. No. We have our own ways.

Parts of this PME 4 complex later on can be those of annoyance, yuckiness, being continually distracted by sensations (ADHD), creepiness, dirtiness.

We feel bugged, irritated. We overkill pests and overclean our houses, using an abundance of toxic “product” which only adds to the overall toxicity of our environment. This is the prenatal underpinning of what Freud called anal compulsion. It actually leads to us employing strict toilet-training, if you think about it. Indeed, it manifests especially in draconian punishing of all kinds and in all times. The slightest perceived defect of anyone around is felt as a threat to one’s purity of self and as warranting severe, unthinking, and brutal repression.

We feel surrounded by “dirty” hippies … Jews … Blacks …  immigrants…. You name it. We feel “imposed on” by others, especially “visitors” who come to our “house” … i.e., toxins who fill up in our womb environment. We know how we feel about guests who overstay their welcome. We call them bums. Our children return home to live with us, and we call them freeloaders. This is toxic womb language.

In psychosis it comes out, not as paranoia as in PME 3, but in feelings and hallucinations of bugs everywhere and crawling on one’s body. It is no coincidence that folks withdrawing from addictions, in which essentially they were poisoning themselves, might find themselves wanting to climb the walls because of the skin itchiness-discomfort and the hallucinations of creepy-crawly things over their body. Often, in times of panic, including times like this of detox, folks will have so much PME 3 skin irritation-burning, often combined with PME 1 crowded trauma, that they will remark they want to “jump out of their own skin.”

In Media

Returning to ancient mythology, we have a pretty good description of this prenatal matrix in a Norse myth — the one about Loki — which is said to be one parallel to the Prometheus myth. In this one, “The god Loki (often associated with fire) was bound to a rock. Above him is a large serpent which drips toxic venom upon him. His wife collects the poison in a bowl, but must empty it every time it gets full. As she is in the process of doing this, the snake proceeds to cover Loki in poison. Just as Prometheus gets his liver eaten only to have it grow back again, Loki is temporarily saved from venom only to have it drip on him once more.”1

So in this aspect of late-gestation experience, what you perceive around you is a poisonous environment that you feel wants to diminish your purity of self, your integrity, and ultimately would lead to your death. This threatening environment has a characteristic of filling up increasingly with toxins, bad blood. As deMause points out, a serpent represents the poisonous placenta, the “bad womb.”2 So it makes sense it would be a snake which drips the toxic venom on Loki. Also, in the Loki myth, the wife (the mother, the good placenta, good womb) collects the poison (waste matter not efficiently removed) in a bowl (womb, placental surround) but must empty it every time it gets full (waste material removed).

Similar feelings arise in religious folk who see society as being something toxic around them that is building up and which is polluting (sinful); will take away their “morality,” their “purity,” their “innocence”; and will drag them down … will put them in hell, that place of eternal burning.

The reason these images come to us is that the reduced blood-flow in the womb means there is a buildup — slight, but noticeable to a fetus — of toxins. They are not taken away as efficiently through the veins. There is also the factor of an aging placenta. There is a feeling of skin irritation and/or slight burning. There is a sense, for the fetus, of its world not being as vibrant and alive as earlier. Systems are no longer accelerating or peaking, as was the case for the entirety of one’s life previous to that — earlier womb life — but are leveling off. And if one is a delayed birth, as I was, one can sense a breaking down of the systems … an entropy that is frightening.

In Personality

This sort of early experience focused on the skin surface should be compared with the skin trauma and deprivation which Ashley Montagu (1971) has written about in great detail.

Skin Deprivation, Skin Irritation

Montagu argues that skin trauma is related to a deprivation of contact after birth. He has shown how we have as much need for contact and touch as we do for any of our other biological needs, and it is certainly more fundamental than sex.

However, not that his point is not also correct, I would add that the trauma I am talking about is very similar but is an earlier fractal. Just as before we saw how there is trauma from not getting enough resources (oxygen deprivation, emotional deprivation, PME 2) but also from getting plenty but of the wrong kind (bad blood, child abuse, PME 3), so also the skin trauma Montagu is mostly talking about is deprivation of contact. Whereas what I am referring to is about trauma from stimulation of the skin in an unpleasant way.

Sugar and Spice … Snips and Snails

A later fractal of this early skin trauma would be the skin being touched but in an unpleasant or revolting way. As they say, “Ewww.… Don’t touch me with that. That’s gross! That’s creepy.” Pre-adolescent boys get a lot of amusement out of provoking and playing with these feelings in young girls … as at the same time they are working out their own similar feelings but in a counterphobic way.

This common, perhaps universal, behavior is a way that societies have evolved of dealing with these feelings so as to be able to propagate the species. For obviously, if we acted out of these feelings as adults no one would want to have sex or pretty much have anything but ungloved contact with the physicality or biology of others. We would have no doctors or biologists!

Rape, Sexual Abuse

When this fractal goes beyond unpleasant (“creepy”) contact to touch that is administered in an aggressive or assaultive way, we have rape and sexual abuse. These kinds of assaults and abuse have roots in this early experience of the prenate. They can occur out of the fact that an individual’s experience of this aspect of gestation was traumatic … along with other contributing factors, of course.

Excuse that I do not mention Donald Trump again. You can notice how all of it is part of the same complex of prenatal trauma, resulting from prenatal malnutrition, and draw your own conclusions.

We Are at War with Our Personal Environment

How, in our daily lives, we act out this feeling from the womb of being surrounded by toxins, first and foremost, is in how we feel about our environment on all levels. These poisons threaten us in our homes and communities. That not enough, we re-create such toxicity in our planetary environment.

Obsessive-compulsive cleanliness … severe tidiness.

The environment around us in our homes — for some, more so than others — is always felt to be dirty, polluted. We cannot seem to ever get it clean enough. Any dirt or untidiness reminiscent of our time of built-up toxins in the womb sends us into a flurry of activity to fight it off, lest we ever feel that way again.

We use chemical cleaners and anti-bacterial agents to battle away imaginary threats, which we call viral and bacterial. Yet in doing so we ensure we will actually live in a toxic chemical environment.

We will tolerate pollutants in the air we breathe and the water we drink — after all that merely re-creates the “bad blood” we once experienced — but we will not abide litter or dirty streets. In fact, we see these pollutants of our womb life projected on the people in our cities, so we want to “clean up the streets” … meaning get rid of the homeless and undergroomed.

“Don’t bug me, man!”

We felt “bugged” in the womb, for we were irritated. We cannot abide any creepy-crawly bug-like things around us for they remind us of those “itches we cannot scratch” — that prenatal skin irritation. We over-eliminate spiders and insects from our environments in a way so far beyond what is necessary. We are blind to how they are part of our essential ecosystem.

I don’t like mosquitoes any more than the next person, but I can see that alongside an all-out war on all creepy crawlies we have seen a disappearance of bees, essential for our food production … maybe related, probably not.3 

We will not be “bugged.”

My point is that the vast majority of insects are harmless to us and not even bothersome. Yet, let some tiny insect into a suburban home, and you would think it had been invaded by a SWAT team. This is hilarious from the perspective of someone who has done primal work and so is not so “bugged” by the appearance of an insect, or of being a part of its roadway to wherever, or by noticing how some have used our bar-b-que items for temporary landing places or short-lived insect airports. Notice the reaction of some people when an ant or some other insect is observed kiting across a picnic table if you think I am exaggerating.

We are at war with anything that reminds us of those irritating times; we do not want to be “bugged.” And if we are “imposed” on that way, it can send some of us into a fury … or a terror. I have one friend who was once invaded by fleas. She is now terrified of them. I have had similar experiences with fleas. Don’t get me wrong; I do bomb them, when they get to a certain point where they might get out of control. However, I have been in the same environments with this person, as has my wife, and this person’s terror is extraordinary for the situation.

I believe these kinds of phobias — and there are many examples of this fear of insects that could be used — are rooted in this trauma of being irritated in the womb. For it is an uncomfortable situation that went on for an incredibly long time for an extremely young human (a fetus) who had little, if any, sense of time and so of the possible ending of discomfort. Indeed, it was like having unscratched itches, unending, and you know how we cannot abide that as adults.

An extension of that bugged feeling is the way we feel about “messy” Nature and “messy” biology in general. Because of this complex, we will be inclined to war against Nature — seeing it as uncivilized, unclean, and needing our management and “order.” And we will do the same with the Nature in our own persons — our bodies and their natural, bodily functions — sex, waste elimination, bodily sounds and excretions. Farts, burps, masturbation, “bathroom functions,” and more will be seen through this eeewy veil. And we will extend that war on Nature and body to women, who are felt to be inextricably wedded to Nature.

So humans will war on women … and be especially freaked out and horrified by their unique bodily excretions — menses — and their unique biological capacities … i.e., birth and nursing … which will also be seen as “messy.” I mean, “eeeeww.” (lol)

Next — The Itches We Cannot Scratch

So we know what it is … this irritation-creepiness complex. To review, in the womb,

  1. We are marinated in toxins and our skin “crawls,” feels irritated, itchy, burning.
  2. The toxins surround us and are felt to be dangerous. They are everywhere. They threaten us … our lives, our “purity.” They “irritate” us, emotionally. They “bug” us.
  3. We cannot eliminate wastes as efficiently, and we experience a buildup of poisons, akin to a prenatal environmental pollution.

Now let us look at the ways we act out these traumas and the kinds of thoughts and behaviors arising from these imprints in the womb. In the next chapter we look at number one, above, and we see how we respond to this imprint of itchy and burning skin with some uniquely human cultural behaviors — tattooing, body piercing and adornments, and sun bathing.

Following that, we unravel how we act out these imprints of the threatening and dangerous quality of our surroundings in dire and major ways in relation to our social environment. In looking at this second aspect of it, number two above, we see how we manifest our prenatal discomfort in our homes, communities, and societies — that is, in our attitudes and actions in interaction with other people. This has to do with intolerance. It is how we act it out politically, too.

Finally, in the two chapters after the next, we go deeply into number three above, the buildup of poisons around us in our environment. Being as how this is the most important aspect of PME 4 in relation to the topic of the “psychology of apocalypse,” I devote all of Chapters 19, “Our Prenatal Air”; 20, “Prenatal Earth, Life in Gaia’s Womb”; and 21, “Gaia’s Cries,” to it. We delve into how we manifest a prenatal environmental pollution in our creating a toxic environment in which to live. This quality of PME 4, pertaining to the excess waste around us prenatally, relates to how we act this out with our general — our planetary — not social environment … i.e., with environmental pollution. In creating a toxic, sometimes burning, world, we act out our PME 4 trauma of irritation-burning.

Let us take them, now, in turn.

18
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.Prenatal Irritation Become Bigotry and Body Adornment, PME 4

Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 … Revulsion, Itchiness Become Racism, Tattoos, Tea-Party Politics, Hippie-Bashing, Genocide … Loss of the “Golden Age”

 

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.“We create culture wars and put those other people on the other side — they are hippies, immigrants, minorities — always they are described as ‘filthy’ and ‘dirty,’ which indicates we are seeing them through a veil of perinatal irritation-revulsion.”

“…we fight back against this toxic encroachment like little supermen fighting for some version of the pristine past … for ‘truth, justice … and the American way!’”

“…because of these prenatal formative experiences, we place some folks ‘outside our circle’ and see them as irritating, even revolting. They are ‘disgusting’ (poisonous) abominations of bloodlines … criminals and rapists and ‘bad hombres’ … whether they are Jews (not like the pure Aryans) or Blacks (filthy, lazy, dirty, immoral, it is thought), or Mexicans (dangerous, threatening, violent, encroaching, it is said) who want our fresh pure blood (blood libel), our resources.”

“They are everywhere! We cannot get away from them. They surround us! And they are taking over. They are ‘poisoning’ our way of life. So this is how these early imprints have us seeing others and our society in ways conducive to horrible intolerances and anti-immigration sentiments.”

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First, “We are marinated in toxins and our skin ‘crawls,’ feels irritated, itchy, burning.”

In Culture

Some common ways we behave out of these early imprints from prenatal irritation-burning have to do with obsessions for sun-bathing and tattooing. Body ornamentation, in particular, is one of the cultural universals of humans, which is lacking in our planetmate societies. We will get to the other, more important, cultural manifestations of this early experience shortly; when we discuss intolerance, obsessive-compulsiveness, and scapegoating and persecution of minorities in societies and the horrid ways we act them out.

Tattoos and Body Adornments

This complex of feelings includes irritation. Think of it as like an itch that one cannot scratch. Pretty unnerving, right? We are focused on our skin in this manner, though we are not aware of these feelings in a conscious way after a while. Imagine an itch that is there all the time, like from a mosquito bite. As they say, if you don’t scratch it, it goes away. Well it is not that the feeling is not there, it is that virtually all feelings fade with time … one gets distracted from them … one “wearies” of the whole thing.

Still, that does not mean it is not influencing our actions on a subconscious level. So, we get tattoos and do all kinds of strange things to the surface of our skins and to the outsides of our bodies which only make sense if you look at such people as acting out an ongoing itch that cannot be scratched. Unknown in other species, these rituals of skin mutilation, depilation, and adornment are one of our unique human characteristics.

Gen X and Millennial Generation.

When you have sudden eruptions of this kind of behavior in a society, it would be illuminating to look at what changed in that culture’s practices around pregnancy and prenatal care when those adults were in their mothers’ wombs.

A prominent example of this is the fascination and addictiveness that Gen X and the Millennial Generation have with tattooing. This is a distinct contrast with the previous generation, the Boomers, and with generations prior to that. I do not think it is coincidence that these Gen X and Millennial spent their womb-time during a period of a Western avalanche of prescription drug use of all types that was for a long time — and to some extent still is — thought to be inconsequential to the fetus.

Fetal drug irritation … that itch that won’t go away.

When the medical establishment did discuss pharmaceutical use and the fetus, it was talked about in terms of whether the particular compound passed through the “placental barrier.” Unfortunately, the “placental barrier” turned out to not be the major protection to fetuses that Western society wanted it to be in order to continue with this explosive intake of all kinds of medications.1 

And all this intake is quite a bit different from the moderate and minimal medication usage by mothers in all previous generations. These drugs simply did not exist in any earlier time in the abundance they do now.

Extreme examples of this — pathologies rooted in such late-gestation trauma — can manifest as a desire to cut oneself. People who are compulsive cutters say they are trying to feel something, that they feel dead or numb. Well, yes, this is how it feels when one scratches an itch … one has the sense that one does not really feel it, or release it,  until one scratches it. And until then, like bug bites, one does a psychological numbing of the area until one can get to it.

Sun-Bathing

Another way this is felt is as a kind of a burning on the surface of the skin, what we might feel being immersed in mildly acidic water. As always, we re-create these discomforts in an unconscious attempt to try to resolve them.

So we have this curious ritual in some cultures of lying out in the open on sunny days and allowing our skin to be heated and burned. We think this is all about cosmetics, personal appearance, or health, but it is not. Those ideas are rationalizations after the fact. For we even allow the feeling of sunburn, a painful experience, as if it is some kind of fortifying experience. Medically, we now know, these rituals are not healthy at all … contributing to skin cancers and such. A sidenote: One needs to ask if the skin trauma in the womb causes the skin cancer and the sun-bathing is just another act out, but not causative of skin cancer.

And you think this a minor thing? Well for many, yes. Remember, though, that some people revolve their lives around these experiences. George Hamilton comes to mind. They might center their lives on surfing … or being “beach bums.”

I know of one person who has made the major decisions of his life around such rituals and behaviors. He kept finding ways to live near the beach, the ocean, so he could sun-bathe … “take in the rays.” He had his marriage ceremony on the beach; though he was not a beach bum. I also know this person has major skin trauma in his life: He had chicken pox as a baby. It was so itchy, and he so wanted to scratch himself, they actually tied him down so he could not. It makes perfect sense that such preeminent skin trauma has the kinds of deep roots I am talking about here. So this is how such early trauma can be no small matter.

Having looked briefly at the human cultural behaviors that arise from these early perceptions and feelings, let us now delve into some of the bigger and more dire act outs — ones that are more relevant to the apocalyptic topic of this book. Let us see how we act these things out in society in our group behaviors — culture wars — and how we act them out in our interactions with the world of Nature and our environment. We now turn to the issues of scapegoating, immigration, intolerance, racism, culture wars, abortion and contraception, overpopulation, slavery and fascism and genocide. After that, next chapter, we will look at environmental contamination and the depletion of the ozone layer.

In Events

To continue, (2) “The toxins surround us and are felt to be dangerous. They are everywhere. They threaten us … our lives, our ‘purity.’ They ‘irritate’ us, emotionally. They ‘bug’ us.”

“Dirty” Hippies and Other “Irritating People”

It is not just bugs that bug us. We project this primal irritation on others. They bother us, are irritating. Sometimes they are; but sometimes simply the sight of them stimulates our unconscious irritations.

We see them sometimes as “unwashed” and thus irritating. Some folks say other folks are “scum” or “vermin”; or they use similar terms indicating a revolting dirtiness — vile, immoral.

 We hate anyone and anything that seems to be on the other side of this war against ickiness. We create culture wars and put those other people on the other side — they are hippies, immigrants, minorities — always they are described as “filthy” and “dirty,” which indicates we are seeing them through a veil of prenatal irritation-revulsion. We are at culture war with elements in society that remind us of this distressing time in the womb.

Creeped Out in the Womb.…

This feeling constellation is about the surface of the skin and the revulsion about skin contact. However it is very often augmented by the disgust and poisoning feelings going on (PME 3), which is also a response to a toxic environment. Irritation can be focused just on the skin, however add the disgust come of those same toxins being taken internally and you have the basis of so much of the hatred and violence perpetrated on innocent others.

Nonetheless, the surface of the skin, the irritation, is the primary sense being stimulated to set off the entire feeling complex of being creeped out in the womb, revolted, and disgusted by others enough to want to lash out at them. Add crowdedness (PME 1), which makes us want to push them away, and deprivation (PME 2), which has us thinking they are responsible for us not getting enough, and you have a sadly solid foundation for the atrocities of the ages.

In saying that, I do not want to discount the sense of dis-ease or sickness the fetus experiences in general, for there is the feeling awareness that this situation is different from, is a deterioration of, the “golden age” of well-being and exquisite functioning of systems that was experienced earlier in (womb) life.

Politically — These Poisons Surround Us

There are these poisonous elements — immigrants, communists, socialists, hollywood ideas, teachers, educators, union organizers, activists, “hippies,” beatniks, unemployed, riff raff — who are destroying our “pure” way of life (way of life = blood stream with lots of bright oxygenated blood), and “these influences” are all about us and surrounding us. And we fight back against this toxic encroachment like little supermen fighting for some version of the pristine past … for “truth, justice … and the American way!” 

Prenatal Irritation and Loss of the “Golden Age”

Politically, we scapegoat minorities, gays, immigrants, Jews, Hispanics, hippies, gypsies, witches, as being pollutants to our purity of race, blood. We look out at others as being those “unwashed masses,” who are imposing on our happiness … our “cleanliness.”

But there was a “golden age” before them.

This implies we have a time of purity from the past … the Fifties in America, for example … when only our pure blood existed and life was easy and not filled up with irritating outside elements. And we want to get back to it. In late-gestation discomfort, most of us as prenates actually do have a memory of an earlier time of pristine perfection, harmony, and bliss — BPM I — early womb life.

Yet now, in adult life, these impure things insert themselves into our lives and disgust us … bad blood. They also surround us … with their filth. In actuality, however, we are merely acting out a time of increasing carbon dioxide, chemical, and waste matter buildup in the late stages of gestation. It is this incursion we are endlessly and futilely fighting off.

Racism, Bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Immigration

 So, because of these prenatal formative experiences, we place some folks “outside our circle” and see them as irritating, even revolting. They are “disgusting” — poisonous — abominations of bloodlines … criminals and rapists and “bad hombres.” Whether they are Jews … not like the pure Aryans. Or Blacks … filthy, lazy, dirty, immoral, it is thought. Or Mexicans … dangerous, threatening, violent, encroaching, it is said. Who want our fresh pure blood — blood libel — our resources.

Notice how this is a veil across how we will see all else outside of our community and nation as well. All these “foreigners” — well, they are just downright irritating! I mean, why don’t they speak the language? And dirty … dirty foreigners we say, dirty French, dirty Jew. Their cultural practices are irritating. I mean, why do they have to wear that thing on their head, dress that way, bow down that way and so many times a day? Best not go into their bathrooms — god only knows what they do there. Seriously, I have a few relatives who tell a story — to them hilarious, to me, just sad — of how they needed to use a bathroom in a part of a city that was predominantly Black … how they ran into the service station rest room, did their business quick as a wink and were out, running to the car, and laughing like they’d made some kind of escape. Why? S’like they thought they would “catch” something.

“Pathetic.”

I know, right?

By contrast to these “dirty foreigners,” we are the “real” Americans. “They,” on the other hand, want to take all that is good … about America, for example … and destroy it; “they” are dragging us down. And they keep coming across our “borders” (placental barrier) and “overrunning” the country (surrounded by toxins in the womb). We think of immigrants as dirty, polluted, and, damn it, they just keep filling up all the space around us. You know, “they’re taking over California, and soon it will be just Northern Mexico!” (And that would be horrible, why exactly?) In the past these same feelings were had by folks in relation to the Irish immigrants, the Polish immigrants, the Jewish immigrants, the Italians….

They are everywhere! We cannot get away from them. They surround us! And they are taking over. They are “poisoning” our way of life. So this is how these early imprints have us seeing others and our society in ways conducive to horrible intolerances and anti-immigration sentiments.

In truth, though, we create our situation in life out of our prenatal matrices and then engage in the drama of acting out against these others by wanting to punish them in a way that mimics how they are making us feel. We experienced our environment as yucky and irritating back then in the womb. So some of us humans, in American times of slavery and Reconstruction, concocted the idea of tarring and feathering these “unclean” others.

The Nazi mind was riddled with this prenatal trauma. They rounded up Jews, ethnic others, and the “undesirables” of their society. They stuffed them (crowded womb) into cattle cars, where many were forced to stand uncomfortably and where they could only defecate on themselves and wallow in their own waste matter (buildup of waste matter in the womb).

I recall seeing a movie — Sarah’s Key, based on an actual event during World War II — where 13,152 Parisian Jews were gathered up and placed in the Vélodrome d’hiver, a sports stadium, for eight days without sanitary facilities until they were processed into even more dire “facilities” at Auschwitz … and murdered.

About the conditions at the stadium, it is written, “The dark glass roof, combined with windows screwed shut for security, raised the temperature inside the structure. The 13,152 people held there had no lavatories; of the ten available, five were sealed because their windows offered a way out, and the others were blocked. The arrested Jews were kept there for eight days with only water and food brought by Quakers, the Red Cross, and the few doctors and nurses allowed to enter.”2

They had no recourse but to fill their own surroundings with waste matter; it was said the stench outside in the surrounding neighborhood was unbearable, quite foul. We see manifest here a pathological imposition of prenatal pushes about being crowded, given very little in the way of resources (oxygen deprivation), in a hot environment (prenatal stuffiness and irritation/burning), and forced to wallow in waste matter (toxic womb).

I have already mentioned the way many Jews were eventually shunted into gas chambers where they were forced to inhale poisonous fumes as a re-creation of prenatal poisoning trauma, PME 3.

At any rate, we feel we need to eliminate these others for “they” want our resources (oxygen). We feel they will use up everything and leave us wanting (deprivation), and left with nothing (oxygen starvation, death). Never mind that in going after them we are looking away from those in society who are actually causing us to struggle for the necessities and to feel deprived. But this has nothing to do with rationality.

The Prenatal Narrative

This prenatal mind has us seeing everything through the fetal narrative: Once upon a time, there was harmony, bliss, perfection. Everyone was happy; we were strong (BPM I). But then came change in our lives. Our surroundings became increasingly filled with strange and alien others at the same time as we felt less free and more unhappy (PME 1, crowdedness), our strength waning, and that times had gotten tough: There was less money and we felt unfairly deprived (PME 2, oxygen deprivation).

We felt that these alien others were infecting our purity of life by imposing upon and inserting themselves into our lives (PME 3, bad blood). Everything around us seemed dirtier and more foul, and they were around us in increasing numbers (amounts of toxins building up), so it was their fault; and their continued presence would eventually kill us (PME 4, poisonous placenta, prenatal irritation-burning). It was they who were responsible for the loss of our pristine way of life. So to do anything about it, it was thought necessary to fight back against this incursion, defend our way of life, family, and the innocents from this “filth,” and shore up the goodness (good blood) and resources (oxygen) we still had. Ultimately, we want to eliminate them, seeing them as the obstacles to returning to that “golden age.” Again, we have another aspect of these matrices coming boldly to light with America’s Trump.

In general, in America this narrative is played out by the right-wing and Tea Party folks: Essentially, they see the world as having gone downhill since a 1950s-style “golden age” when everyone was serene, happy, and prosperous. Never mind that the wealthy at that time paid their fair share of taxes to contribute to a general prosperity and that these conservatives seek to return to it by having the wealthy pay little to no taxes now. Never mind either that it never really existed the way they think they remember it and that what they want to reinstate is a pasted-together collage of childhood hurts and hopes, bad TV and movies, even worse advertisements and commercials conveying an image of the way Americans really had it (but did not), prenatal imprints, and wudda cudda shudda beens. They see liberals, “bleeding hearts,” hippies, immigrants, and minorities as responsible for preventing a return to that truly mythical golden age. So, these elements are scapegoated for the crimes of the 1%.

 In Germany, the same narrative was played out, but their golden age was before World War I. Hitler attained power by promising a return to that time of prosperity, and he scapegoated Jews and other minorities for the German “fall from grace” by pointing to them as blocking a return to national strength and purity.

Thus, sometimes how humans dealt with these threatening incursions of “poisonous” others was with all-out attack … and destruction. Those others were seen to be in the way, so it followed they would need to be eliminated. Yet in the process those “filthy” others would be made to feel the kinds of feelings that their presence was stimulating in the pure ones — the real Germans … nowadays the real Americans.

Remember, these others irritate us and just “burn” us (prenatal irritation/burning). Some say, “It just burns me to look at them!” And folks will act out horribly by killing these others by fire: by burning witches, Jews, enemies in general.

 It continues to this day. In the previous chapter I mentioned the Baptist preacher — the one who got “pukin’ sick” at the thought of gays and lesbians — who wanted to surround them with an electrified fence! Not exactly like burning witches, but close enough.

And ultimately … the “Ultimate Solution” … we wish to remove them altogether by burning them up in fires or ovens (prenatal burning/ irritation). This we do either by concentration camps, pogroms, or by the highest tech means of raining fire down upon the undesirables in third world countries.

In modern times, we have rained fire down upon them from aircraft. We have used napalm — liquid fire — and Agent Orange … one of the most toxic compounds created … on these others, who we have called “gooks” and other derisive terms. Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people, burning away the skin of children. This example, from the war in Syria. These atrocities and prenatal dynamics are hardly limited to the West.

How We Re-Create It in Our Decisions, Ensuring We Will Continue to Feel This Way

These feelings are irrational and not based in fact, of course. We show this in that at the same time as we hate and fight off this incursion into our surroundings, we create overpopulation and a buildup of people who cannot be cared for … who will therefore be the “unwashed,” surrounding us. We fight abortion policies and contraception and so create overpopulation and thus increasing toxicity in our environment.

While we expend our energy fighting reflections of our pain, in the form of other people we create to hate, we bring about the conditions that will keep us feeling the way we do. We create pollution in our environment. We even wish to keep our scapegoats downtrodden and filthy, even though around us and “polluting” us. Our desire is to keep them “dirty,” to keep them as “slaves” and riff-raff. We act to keep them poor, to drive them into the “dirt,” and to keep them from being able to rise above the “squalor.” All so we can continue acting out our prenatal dynamics without being bothered with the raised awareness and personal growth that would come of not scapegoating them … of looking inside for the roots of our discomforts … our irritations, hates, revulsions, and burning angers … our disgusts about what we get, and our panics of not getting/having enough … our feelings of being trapped, hemmed in, and pushed around by the presence of others.

To Summarize

Basically, it comes down to the world being divided into filthy and disgusting things who want our resources (oxygen), and our pearly white threatened selves. Substitute corresponding contrasts for cultures other than American. This is bottom line our feelings of fetal malnutrition and hypoxia creating our prenatal matrix of human evil. It is unfortunately for us projected onto the outside world so strongly we cannot know what is really going on behind that prenatal veil.

Now let us turn to how these prenatal and perinatal screens, the PMEs and the BPMs, have us twisting the reality we see, have us defiling our own homes and aiding our own self-destruction. For toxic womb has been re-created as toxic planet.

19
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.Our “Prenatal” Air:

Prenatal “Pollution” Become Toxic Environment, Worldwide Oxygen Insufficiencies … People Are Dying from Oxygen Deprivation

 

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.“…there are reasons, deeply rooted in our psyche, that would make us the penultimate Prometheans on Earth.”

 “…the prenatal situation is analogous to our current environmental one. In both of them there is an increase in carbon dioxide — called the greenhouse effect when referring to the atmosphere.”

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Having looked at the most obvious prenatal and perinatal propensities of the postmodern person in the chapters just completed, at this point let us go deeper.

The Human Nature That Is Not

We look, now, at how imprints from our early life in the womb affect us in many of the currently dire activities we are engaged in: for example, environmental destruction, war, capitalism, and imperialism. We discover that there are prenatal imprints for all these activities, which we normally ascribe to being rooted in our human nature — depicted as one of insatiable acquisition, violence and competitiveness, and desire to control and dominate.

The fact that we find that these traits are in fact not part of our nature but are instead products of some personality-forming experiences — however early those experiential events may be — is auspicious in the extreme. In looking at the prenatal blueprints for our self-destructive “human nature,” we learn why we do the things we do and we realize we are not doomed to continue to do them.

Dangling Above a Prenatal Abyss

Beyond the entertainment media, as brought out in earlier chapters, it seems prenatal and perinatal themes and elements are showing up everywhere else in our surrounding environment and culture. The scenery of our everyday reality consists of pollution of our air, water, and food; threat of death “at any moment,” caused by the knowledge of the power of nuclear weapons; fantasies of apocalypse of all kinds, magnified, perhaps, by the passing of one millennium and the end of the Mayan calendar … including fundamentalist Christian imaginings of a climax of human civilization in an apocalyptic “rapture”; New Age fantasies of ecological, spiritual, and social utopias; and so on.

First, let us consider a few of the most blatantly birth-related of the events around us.

Our Prenatal Atmosphere

The connections between the environmental and physical conditions we live in and the cultural symbols we are manifesting currently, as discussed in previous chapters, and the prenatal-perinatal unconscious should be obvious and may have already to some extent been spelled out. But let me finish connecting the dots, so to speak:

As Stanislav Grof put it, “We have exteriorized in the modern world many of the essential themes of the perinatal processes that a person involved in deep personal transformation has to face and come to terms with internally. The same elements that we would encounter in the process of psychological death and rebirth in our visionary experiences make today our evening news. This is particularly true in regard to the phenomena that characterize what I call BPM III.

“We certainly see the enormous unleashing of the aggressive impulse in the many wars and revolutionary upheavals in the world, in the rising criminality, terrorism, and racial riots. Sexual experiences and behaviors are taking unprecedented forms, as manifested in sexual freedom of youngsters, promiscuity, open marriages, overtly sexual books, plays, and movies, gay liberation, sadomasochistic experimentation, and many others. The demonic element is also becoming increasingly manifest in the modern world.

“A renaissance of satanic cults and witchcraft, the popularity of books and horror movies with occult themes, and crimes with satanic motivations attest to that fact. The scatological dimension is evident in the progressive industrial pollution, accumulation of waste products on a global scale, and rapidly deteriorating hygienic conditions in large cities.”1

Grof is saying, then, that we have manifested an external modern world that mirrors and re-creates some of the hellacious circumstances surrounding our traumatic human births. And that includes global warming and climate change, and the increasing radiation of the planet, and more, which we will get into.

PME 1 and No-Exit Car Jams, People Clusters

In addition to the myriad of ways that Grof has detailed … and there are many more he could have mentioned … I would like to add a few obvious commonplace ways we manifest our birth and prebirth traumas. And I think you will see how we do this in quite a bit of our human activity.

For one thing, we re-create on a daily basis in major cities the no-exit frustration-depression-rage prior to birth in the traffic jams and gridlock of commuter traffic.

Another one: the population explosion. Simple overpopulation of the globe sets up scenarios exactly analogous to the negative conditions that existed toward the end of pregnancy when we grew/expanded too much to be any longer comfortable in the womb. The way this global overpopulation impacts us: the overpopulation, stress, and frenzy of a big city, manifesting the situation of a crushing womb.

PME 2 and Air Pollution

One overlooked, but hugely pervasive perinatal element of our humanicidal times is connected to the increasing carbon-dioxide concentration in our atmosphere called the greenhouse effect, which occurs alongside the curiously overlooked yet necessarily corresponding decreases in oxygen levels. There is increasingly less oxygen as we use it up burning carbon-based fossil fuels and making carbon dioxide.

This obvious though insistently overlooked fact has scientific support, of course. From “Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Fall as Carbon Dioxide Rises,” I quote: “According to a study conducted by scientists from the Scripps Institute there is less oxygen in the atmosphere today than there used to be. The ongoing study, which accumulated and interpreted data from NOAA monitoring stations all over the world, has been running from 1989 to the present. It monitored both the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decline in oxygen. The conclusion of that twenty-year study is that, as carbon dioxide (produced primarily by burning fossil fuels) accumulates in the atmosphere, available oxygen is decreasing.

“Carbon dioxide seems to be almost the total focus of attention in the climate change model as it exists today. After reviewing the results of this study and talking with Dr. Ralph Keeling (one of the lead scientists on the study), it seemed to me that the consequences of atmospheric oxygen depletion should be included in any discussion of atmospheric change….”

“We are losing nearly three O2 molecules for each CO2 molecule that accumulates in the air….2

Having less oxygen in our atmosphere has huge implications, little explored. I will tease out a few of these other, ignored repercussions of the greenhouse effect as we go.

Increased carbon dioxide, but also decreased oxygen.

We have more carbon dioxide for the reason of the burning of fossil fuels but also because we are stupidly destroying the Earth’s mechanisms for turning that carbon dioxide back into oxygen … forests and ocean plankton, for example. While this greenhouse effect has been looked at from the perspective of it creating global warming and climate change, there are even stronger corporate (profit-motivated) as well as personal psychological reasons why we do not look at its most immediate effect on humans — the amount of oxygen we get from the air we breathe.

For the increased carbon dioxide and reduced oxygen of the globe is analogous to the situation of fetal malnutrition, described by Briend (1979) and deMause, that occurs prior to birth, and which is the basis for deMause’s explanation of poisonous placenta symbolism. Keep in mind in particular that we experience this reduction in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide in the form of air pollution, which is most pronounced in larger cities.

Worldwide Oxygen Insufficiencies

Let me now focus on one important characteristic of those prenatal dynamics. I will deal more closely with how we re-create our early pain in one specific area that has dire significance today, for it concerns what we are doing to our atmosphere. We are driven to want to suffocate ourselves, and we will see how this is rooted in our particular human beginnings, making us the one and only species on the entire planet that is so enamored of making fire. For from the earliest campfires to the nuclear power plants of today, humans are seen to like to burn things. What we discover is there are reasons, deeply rooted in our psyche, that would make us the penultimate Prometheans on Earth.

Mimics Prenatal Oxygen Insufficiencies

We bring this prenatal oxygen struggle, this fetal malnutrition manifesting as hypoxia, into our adult attitudes toward and interactions with our planetary atmosphere and global environment. Remember, what the fetus experiences in the late stages of development in the womb is a state of reduced oxygen, which causes subtle but simmering uncomfortable feelings of suffocation and a feeling of latent oxygen panic. Many more of us than overtly have asthma have a prenatal foundation conducive to being asthmatic; even more feel this imprint in the form of panic attacks. Keep in mind also that this lessening of oxygen intake correlates necessarily with an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the prenate’s blood supply.

These changes from the optimal might seem minuscule to us as adults, yet we need to consider that the unborn child is living 24/7 in this environment. Its experience might be thought of as comparable to being stuck in a cramped room in which the air has become stuffy and gets increasingly so … and one is not even able to open a window occasionally for some relief. Think about that situation and especially how it keeps getting worse, and you may already sense the beginnings of a panic. That is what I am talking about. And remember that you as a prenate had no way of knowing that you were not, in fact, dying. You could not either, as you can now, console yourself with the thought that you can go out and get yourself more air at any point if it gets too uncomfortable.

So, the prenatal situation is analogous to our current environmental one. In both, there is an increase in carbon dioxide — which is the greenhouse effect when referring to the atmosphere. Perhaps these correlations between the prenatal and the planetary are not made often enough because in each case there is a tendency to focus on different halves of the equation: In terms of the prenatal situation, it is more common to think about the oxygen reduction, the hypoxia. Whereas when discussing the planetary situation, it is almost always talked about as an increase in the carbon dioxide.

In each case this seeing with blinders on seems unconsciously calculated to avoid another and perhaps harder to face unpleasantness involved. In the prenatal situation, this would be the increased carbon dioxide, which is analogous to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and air pollution in the cities. This I dealt with under the category of “bad blood,” PME 3. In the planetary context, this overlooked aspect is the reduced oxygen involved. I have never heard it mentioned in any of the scientific or environmental circles within which I circulate. This is the part that is directly analogous to the fetal malnutrition as it is normally thought of, that is, as just a deficiency of oxygen (PME 2).

At any rate, by this atmospheric rearrangement I mean that, while we reputedly have, and need, an oxygen concentration of twenty percent in our atmosphere, concentrations of oxygen these days, especially in heavily industrial areas, have been measured at much lower levels, much lower even than what is required for life, which indeed would cause death if one were trapped in it. Measurements as low as five percent — which was in Gary, Indiana, at a particular time — have been monitored. Furthermore, lowered oxygen levels are connected to the increasing incidences of many diseases we see currently going on. This is an easier and commoner connection to make. It is not just the increased toxicity of the air, with its heavy metal poisoning, in severely polluted areas like the Los Angeles basin that is responsible for the higher cancer and other disease rates. It is also the lowered oxygen that folks are getting. For oxygen is our natural antibiotic.

Results in Diseases and Epidemics

In the winter of 2017-2018 in America we are witnessing a flu epidemic, the worst in a long time. Fit and active adults and normally healthy children, full of life, have had their lives taken from them in a matter of days. Everyone, as the media portrays it, is at a loss as to why this is happening. Yet the media barely mentioned global warming when faced in America in 2017 with hurricane after hurricane and one “four-hundred-year flood” after another; firestorms caused by droughts, attributable to climate change; and mudslides resulting from the fires caused by the changing climate. With the medical and scientific establishments in bed with corporations and their focus on profits, not health, it is no wonder the link between the greenhouse effect resulting in lowered oxygen and the increase in disease is not mentioned at all.

Yet, the fact is that oxygen is our first order of defense against toxicity and diseases of all kinds — including bacterial, viral, fungal, and cancerous — for oxygen kills them all. It is the oxygen from the air getting mixed into running streams, as they surge over boulders and rocks, that makes the water so pure. Oxygen acts similarly in our bloodstream and cells.

And minute changes in oxygen/carbon-dioxide ratios have immense effects. These effects show up substantially, of course, in relation to the total number of people in any large population. A miniscule effect of only one-thousandth of a percent of the population — in America alone with its three-hundred and fifty million people — would have  an effect on three-thousand-five-hundred people. That amount of diseases over the normal number in a season would certainly result in alarm, be splashed across our newscasts. One hundredth of one percent of an effect would add to the normally ill amount thirty-five thousand people! So this is significant. Let’s face it; when it comes to things that we don’t want to know, scientists and medical professionals are as averse to doing the numbers as any of the rest of us timid humans.

Is Manifest Globally, as Well as Locally

Regardless the blatant examples of oxygen insufficiency — related to particularly adverse environments as in Gary, Indiana; in Los Angeles, California; in Beijing; in Bangalore and Delhi, India — and their effects on the bodily health of humans; there is an overall global decrease in oxygen, which, while not as extreme, is so pervasive and inescapable that it has profound consequences for all life on this planet.

To get an idea of the distinction I am making, let us compare this atmospheric oxygen distribution with what we know of what is happening in the planet’s water supply, its oceans. The first instance of inordinate oxygen deficiency in particular locales on Earth might be likened to the “dead zones” we know to exist in the seas — over four hundred of them, and still climbing. In these huge areas, some of them over a hundred miles in length, no life exists for there is no oxygen in the water. The second instance of overall global oxygen insufficiency might be likened to the overall reduction of oxygen in oceans with the destruction of the oxygen-producing plankton and the other environmental factors involved in lowering the oxygen levels of the oceans worldwide. So there are wide variances of oxygen concentration in our oceans inside of a lowering of its oxygen level overall.

Similarly, there has to be wide variance in oxygen levels in air. Simply think of the differences we are aware of from indoors to outdoors, from one room — say, one with an oxygen-consuming fire blazing in the hearth and sealed to contain heat — to another, say, with its windows wide open. So while there are wide variances in oxygen levels from location to location — some so deficient as to sicken, cause unconsciousness, and in extreme situations kill people — there is also the reduced oxygen levels, on average, throughout the globe, which is caused by our uniquely human compulsion to burn carbon-based fossil fuels. These reduced oxygen levels, though minute, are increasing but even more importantly they have subtler but more pervasive and so more dire implications.

Is Measurable, as Well as Deadly

The results of one study were released by the Scripps Institute. The Scripps study monitored the oxygen in our atmosphere on the whole over a twenty-year period. It found a one-tenth of a percent decrease in global oxygen by 2005 since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the late Nineteenth Century.3

So let us deal with each of these points in turn: that people are dying because of our insistence on burning stuff; that the overall global decrease though minute is serious and is having noticeable worldwide effects even as I write; and that this compulsion to burn stuff is uniquely human and what are the implications of that.

People Are Dying from Oxygen Deprivation

In the previous section I discussed the worldwide increases of carbon dioxide and the consequent decreases in global oxygen levels, and I pointed out how they mirror the fetus’s environment in the womb in late gestation, known as fetal malnutrition. At the end, I made note of the facts that, first, people are actually dying as a result of dips in the oxygen content of their immediate environment, resulting from the intentional burning of fuels. It is not only second-hand smoke that is deadly.

Second, I said that even the minute changes in our global atmosphere on the whole are having pervasive and dire consequences. Third, I queried why we of all species are the only ones to engage in burning things outside our bodies so as to increase carbon dioxide and reduce oxygen in our environments. Let us look more closely at each of these statements in turn:

First, people do die for lack of oxygen and conversely carbon-monoxide, carbon-dioxide buildup in their cars, homes, and in cities … sometimes intentionally, most often not. If it is not the sole cause of death, it is a contributing factor, as in the widespread and mounting deaths from restricted oxygen intake caused in cities worldwide — especially noticeable on severely air-polluted days. We do not generally consider these deaths to be directly related to air pollution or reduced oxygen, for they are listed as caused by increased heart attacks and other fatal concomitants of bad air.

We also avoid the harsh truth by not wanting to look into how dips in air-quality/oxygen-concentration affect our overall health in terms of greater rates of emphysema, allergies, and stresses to the heart — among effects too numerous to mention — which have effects on our longevity. Translation: Bad air kills folks sooner than they would die otherwise. So, people are dying, yes.

Now let us consider how important this tendency of ours is for us. How greatly does this reduction in oxygen affect us when the levels of overall effect are small enough to be usually considered insignificant?

First, remember that when we consider the other half of this equation, the carbon-dioxide levels, minute changes of their levels are having major changes on our planet. Tenths of a percent increase in carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented extremes of weather — hurricanes, droughts, firestorms, tornadoes, mudslides, floods, and so on. The reason is that we exist in a delicate ecosystem, finely tuned to operate perfectly but only within very narrow parameters. You go outside those delicate lines and you have major complications and developments, with minor changes here having major consequences there.

As an example, specifically as regards the oxygen–carbon-dioxide ratios, remember that we are composed of cells … cells that take in oxygen and give back carbon dioxide. Bacteria also are cells. Many of them do better with increases of carbon dioxide and die when there is more oxygen. These bacterial organisms suck up carbon dioxide and spit out oxygen. So we find that if we create a Petri dish colony of bacterial cells and carefully monitor its oxygen/carbon-dioxide ratios, minute increases in carbon dioxide have major effects on the colony: It will explode in growth and quite soon overgrow its Petri dish environment. Meanwhile if the reverse situation is created and the oxygen level is raised, the millions of bacterial cells will die off in short order, as if infected with the plague to end all plagues.

Now, remember that we are a collection of many cells as well. What do you suppose is happening with minute changes in the overall level of oxygen we get? Or conversely the increased carbon dioxide?

Well, we are seeing increases in cancer, as well as viral, bacterial, and fungal infections — all of which do better in high carbon dioxide/ lowered oxygen environments. This year’s flu epidemic in America is so unusually strong partly because the sickness is not blocked by the flu vaccines in use, with an efficiency ratio of approximately seventeen percent. With the virus’s effects, including unusual deaths in otherwise hale and hearty individuals, we must conclude that not only are more varieties of flu virus proliferating and extant, but also that they are profusely multiplying, therefore are strong and more dire in the winter of 2017-2018. The slight changes in the oxygen/carbon-dioxide ratios would explain that. But don’t expect to hear that other than here. Even with the previous year’s historically severe hurricanes, firestorms, and mudslides — reluctant as they are to make the connection even of them to global warming — “experts” fail to see the connection of the flu severity to the increasing carbon-dioxide.

I have also noticed, in my city of Eugene, Oregon, that foods are unusually more likely to develop mold, even with all the preservatives in them. That is not a scientific observation, but it is clear and observable and shows itself as quite a bit stronger than only a few years ago. I attribute it to the fact that I moved into the center of town, where it is undoubtedly more polluted, at that time. I do not believe it is a stretch to expect there to be higher carbon-dioxide levels in the city centers than on the outskirts or in the country. Else, what is meant be going out to the country and forest to “breathe some fresh air”?

Similarly, like fungal, viral, and bacterial proliferation we are noticing booming algae growth in areas of our oceans and are expecting flourishing vegetative growth on our lands because of the increases in carbon dioxide in each of them. Why would we not be experiencing effects on the other side of the equation — the loss of oxygen. Keep in mind, as the Scripps Institute study mentioned, for every increase of one molecule of CO2, we are getting a loss of almost three molecules of O2.

But don’t just take my word on this. From the same report on the Scripps study, above, I quote: “Since the beginning of the industrial revolution we have removed .095% of the oxygen in our atmosphere. True, that is only a tenth of one percent of the total supply, but oxygen makes up only twenty percent of the atmosphere. I looked up safety rules regarding oxygen concentrations and according to OSHA rules on atmospheres in closed environments, ‘if the oxygen level in such an environment falls below 19.5% it is oxygen deficient, putting occupants of the confined space at risk of losing consciousness and death.’ What happens if the world’s atmospheric levels of oxygen fall to 19.5% or lower? Are we all going to have to carry little blue oxygen tanks with us to survive? Not a pleasant possibility….

“Plants and certain bacteria take in carbon dioxide, combine it with water to form glucose and produce oxygen as a byproduct in the photosynthesis reaction. The current increase in carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere indicates that this cycle is no longer in balance. It shows that we have reached the point where the biosphere of the planet can no longer process all of the carbon dioxide that we are producing….

“We currently make estimates of how many years we have left before excess carbon dioxide becomes a bigger problem than it already is but we aren’t really sure of their accuracy. However, to the best of my knowledge, we don’t have estimates of how long it might be, if oxygen continues to be depleted at its current rate, until it might become a problem. After all, while most of us may be willing to wait out the effects of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for a time just to see if we really do get warmer weather and more abundant crops out of the deal; how many of us want to wait and see how little oxygen we can survive on”4

Manifests as Mental Illness

However, my forte is not biology, it is psychology. And the connection I wish to make here is of this reduced availability of O2 to psychological states and mental screens of perception. I am informed as well by an understanding of intake of toxins as they relate to mental and psychological states.5 

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.Prenatal Earth, Life in Gaia’s Womb:

Pollution as a Psychedelic? Will We Be Born? Can You Look Your Belly in the Face?

 

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.“We continually re-create the discomforts we have not faced. There is no escape from the things we have ‘put out of our mind.’ That is the closest thing to hell that exists, though there is redemption in it.”

“…we want oxygen, but we keep removing oxygen from our environment to put us back in that state in the womb when we needed air (oxygen) but did not get enough leaving us asking, ‘Please, mother, might I have some more’?”

 “…increased carbon dioxide and decreased oxygen naturally stimulate perinatal feelings. Lucky us, as we continue to turn the entire atmosphere of the Earth into such a ‘therapeutic’ carbon-dioxide chamber.”

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As a psychotherapist, I am adding the psychological effects of this oxygen loss to the already considerable statistically verifiable harm being registered to us physically.

Minute Changes in Atmosphere Have Psychological Impact 

What decrease in oxygen stimulates prenatal memories of oxygen near-panic? Well, consider that a reduction of oxygen of only one half a percent is enough to cause unconsciousness and sometimes even kill a person — from twenty percent, which is optimal, down to 19.5% which is dire.1 So how much of a reduction is merely noticeable and uncomfortable? How much of a change means we will experience “stuffiness” … assuming we have a point of comparison, i.e., when there exists “outside” air that is different? It can’t be all that much, right? Not if a half percent reduction would darken our lights. But there is more to it.

Now ask yourself how you consciously know you are experiencing stuffiness or suffocation when there is no basis of comparison. If you experience reduced oxygen every instant of your life, do you consciously know it? I think not.

So “stuffiness” that is our ordinary situation does not register to us as being stuffy. It cannot. But that does not mean our bodies are not registering a change and that we are not unconsciously being stimulated into psychological states, like I have been mentioning. And would these psychological states then also — with no basis of comparison now either because of it being an ongoing situation — not themselves be thought of as normal? Although they would be somewhat altered from the way humans may have felt on our planet in earlier centuries … or decades?

So, environmentally — with oxygen starvation and air pollution — I submit we act out our unconscious memories of PME 2 fetal suffocation by burning up fossil fuels, further reducing oxygen in the environment, destroying forests which release oxygen, moving to cities that have little in the way of trees or Nature, and allowing cities to bulldoze all Nature away and create suffocating sterility. We continually re-create the discomforts we have not faced. There is no escape from the things we have “put out of our mind.” That is the closest thing to hell that exists, though there is redemption in it.

Sure, we want oxygen, but we keep removing oxygen from our environment to stimulate us back in that state in the womb when we needed air (oxygen) but did not get enough leaving us asking, “Please, mother, might I have some more”?

Why Humans Are Enamored of Fire 

Humans did not always do things to adversely affect the air they breathe, however. We were not always fire burners or food cookers. It is common knowledge that at a certain point in our evolution we began harnessing fire for warmth, for cooking, and for other purposes, including entertainment. Consider that fact for a second … why are we the only species to do this? (And we are.) Now consider the aspect of our uniquely human fetal malnutrition as neonates and prenates we have been looking into. No other species needs to burn carbon-based fuels for survival; we only need a tiny amount of air to stoke our “inner fires” when converting food to energy. Yet we have added that incredible weight of setting things ablaze and burning fuels to our burden on the planetary resources and the environment ever since we began using fire.

Consider if the prenatal-malnutrition/oxygen-starvation we created for ourselves as unborns by standing upright might be manifesting itself as the need to burn stuff and thereby decrease the oxygen in our immediate environment, and increase the toxins there. Is it possible that fetal malnutrition, which is the result of bipedalism, contributed later to our use of fire? For, as I continually point out, we are triggered into our unfaced early pain, at the same time as we seek to run from it, while we unconsciously act to bring it about, so we might at some point face it and heal ourselves (though we rarely do).

You think it a strange idea that we might be unconsciously wanting to re-create the “stuffiness” in the womb by burning stuff and creating air around us that mimics that state? Really?  Do you think it normal for someone to create tiny “fire sticks” and “suck” the bad air they produce? Do you not wonder why we are the only ones to burn tobacco and other vegetation so we might inhale the exhaust from it, the smoke from the fire we create? If we came across a culture where they built fires and stood around sticking their faces in the smoke to inhale it, how would we view that? How is cigarette smoking different? Yes, we are the only species that has that invention of cigarettes (cigars, pipes, hookahs … and so many more). And you think my hypothesis odd?

Is it any wonder we portray hell as one of eternal fire? Not only does it coincide with the prenatal feelings of burning on the surface of the skin, which I explored under PME 4. But in that human beings are the ones being referred to when we speak of the myth of Lucifer, it makes sense that Lucifer’s home after being cast from heaven would be one of fire. Satan is always pictured in a cave of sorts — another womb symbol — with fires all around him. Humans compulsively create environments in which they are surrounded by fire. Just look around you … automobiles, heaters, electrical energy created by combustion…. We also have myths that tell us alternately that use of fire is the great break with Nature that makes us humans, as well as myths saying that our being too reckless and getting too close to fire is what causes our downfall. When you think of it, am I not saying both of those?

Many ethnographies tell of Creation Myths that include a hero that brings fire, therein getting things started for those peoples as a distinct culture.2

Pollution as a Psychedelic

I mentioned how we have an oxygen insufficiency, a hypoxia, in the weeks and months before birth. Together with the reduced intake of nutrients it is called fetal malnutrition by scientists. It actually shows up as a slowing down of growth of the fetus, just before birth, which is made up for after birth. I pointed out how this is analogous, in our adult world, to our situation of oxygen reduction and carbon-dioxide buildup, which is what constitutes our global warming.

However, there is an interesting sidelight to this. For both Arthur Janov and Stanislav Grof, at one time early on, experimented with a technique of carbon-dioxide ingestion for getting people into primal and perinatal states. In fact, at the time — in the late Sixties, early Seventies — though not on a large scale, a number of professionals were experimenting with this procedure and even offering it as a means of “expanding consciousness.”

Global “Therapeutic” Carbon-Dioxide Chamber

To make this absolutely clear, what I am saying is that a tweak of our breathable air towards greater carbon-dioxide, lower oxygen correlates with all of these — greater access to and influx of prenatal and perinatal pain-trauma, increased ability to experience non-ordinary states of consciousness, and heightened spirituality. Whereas some folks might question how greater perinatal turbulence and neuroticism come of it in adult consciousness is connected with spirituality, I respond that the only reason that is confusing is for having confused spirituality with the elimination of negative emotions and the repression of unconscious dynamics.

Whereas true spirituality involves the facing and accepting of repressed memories. As Jung wisely put it, “One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light but by embracing the darkness.” It follows that those who live in an environment that tips one, no matter how slightly, toward a tendency for non-ordinary states would also, through more regular access, increase the likelihood that some folks would resolve them and would grow spiritually out of these encounters with their usually unfaced underbellies.

Furthermore, we will address that again in future chapters where we talk about how the emerging perinatal unconscious is related to certain personality dynamics arising in our times which have a direct bearing on our prospects for environmental and societal healing.

However, in terms of the immediate effect, the point is that increased carbon dioxide and decreased oxygen naturally stimulate perinatal feelings. Lucky us, as we continue to turn the entire atmosphere of the Earth into such a “therapeutic” carbon-dioxide chamber. For initially, let me be clear, such rising perinatal feelings will manifest as more overt mental illness and neurosis in folks. People will be pressed to integrate these rising repressed memories, yet until they do, things will be turbulent and difficult for them. This manifests, on the scale of society, as more tumultuous and dangerous times for us all.

And if you still do not believe that a perinatal unconscious is emerging at this time in history, I ask you how else to explain how the simple act of being “cut off” in traffic can trigger so much perinatal “no exit” frustration as to enrage an “otherwise normal” person to pull out a gun and blow another’s life away. I also ask you how to account for the every-year increasing incidence of gun violence, mass shootings, killings of schoolchildren and other innocents, in America. The fact that folks are so terrified they need to defend themselves with guns is by itself an indicator or perinatal feelings. Thus these unconscious pressures on us contribute to both increases of gun violence as well as of gun purchases and of rabid support of the Second Amendment and the NRA in the United States in 2018.

Prenatal Earth

The upshot of it all is that somehow or other we have managed to create a world situation that mirrors in a way unlike any other time in history our prenatal imprints. We have manifested our worst nightmare, a prenatal Earth. With that prenatal time being the closest we have experienced to hell, yes, indeed, we are bringing about a hell on Earth. Having turned in horror from our inner pain, we construct it in the world around us, as if the outside is trying to get us to look back inside. If a sufficient number of us do that, we have the potential to turn our “hell on Earth” to a “heaven on Earth.” We can experience the rebirth that lies on the other side of seeming death.

Yet in the meantime, like persistent children who want to be attended to, when we are wanting simply some peace, our repressed pain bugs us until we turn to it. So it is that our increasingly prenatal Earth — with its re-creation of our toxic, cramped, nauseated, and irritating womb experience — triggers the emergence of this prenatal and perinatal unconscious and those repressed memories of suffering.

Or, you might reverse that and say that an emerging pre- and perinatal unconscious — brought about by other factors, improved “child-caring” methods perhaps … more about that later — has resulted in our creating a world situation manifesting or acting out those unconscious perinatal elements, which are having increasing influence on our consciousness and on our behavior.

I suspect both of these processes are occurring — each one augmenting the other.

Noticing Our Underbellies

Let me make this latter scenario clearer. What I am saying is that we all have birth trauma and we must distance ourselves from this birth pain so we can function. Yet, if the birth trauma is extreme, or if subsequent child-caring is abusive and neglectful3 — as is the case in any of the “less enlightened” of deMause’s psychogenic modes of child-rearing4 — or both, then complete splitting, repression of the perinatal, and dissociation from the perinatal occurs. Thus a person can project his or her pre- and perinatal unconscious onto the world and be completely unaware that it has anything to do with him- or herself.

Can you look your belly in the face? 

However, with more humane child-caring modes — deMause’s latest psychogenic mode, for example — less repression, and less defenses, are necessary and total dissociation does not occur. In this situation, the pre- and perinatal is not completely projected onto the outside world. We have more access to it. Hence we act it out and manifest it in lesser ways, which reflect back to us, for the times when we are able to see them, our prenatal underbellies.

On the one hand, the world is becoming increasingly pre- and perinatal and thus is stimulating more of the perinatal unconscious than previously. On the other hand, we have more access to and are closer to our pre- and perinatal unconscious so that we exhibit it more blatantly in our behavior and cultural creations and thus stimulate, again, in ourselves and others, the underlying pre- and perinatal matrices.

This is a chicken-and-the-egg process. And I suspect, in the same way, that these processes are going on simultaneously and hence augment each other.

Life or Death Matters 

In Chapter 1, “Humanicidal Times,” we entertained the notion that the reason things seem so much different nowadays than anytime we can imagine from the past is because they are different. We have looked at how the character and events of our age are remarkably like the feelings and events surrounding our births and prenatal existences. And unfortunately: traumatic wombs, traumatic times! Lastly, we have considered a few reasons … more coming … as to why these times and our Earth might be uniquely imbued with our perinatal events.

Still, the biggest questions lie begging: What does this all mean for us? Is it the “end of the world,” really, like some are claiming? Are we seeing the “dawning of a new age,” an age of harmony and understanding, an Age of Aquarius, as we once thought? Is it hopeless? Or is there at least a vision which can guide us in surviving, perhaps even thriving? Will our “hell on Earth” be akin to a purgatory; and we, like Dante, traversing it realize something more like a heaven and Earth coming together?

These are not unimportant questions. And they have all the implications of life or death, again indicative of the perinatal, about them. Will we live? Will we survive? Or are we doomed? And if it is within our power to decide our fate, well, just what the hell are we going to do about it? What can be done about our situation? What can each of us — you … me — do?

What It Is That’s Happening Here

We will begin addressing these questions now. There are some processes of change in these times — processes of change unlike any that we normally encounter — that will weigh heavily on the outcome of the current emerging prenatal-perinatal unconscious. These include not only the concepts and processes of the healing crisis — as stipulated in the chapter after next,  Chapter 22 — but also that of macrocosmic processes beyond our human scope, some of which we look at next chapter, “Gaia’s Cries.”

Others of these factors at play I take up in subsequent chapters. They include changes in child-caring and personality development that are fortuitously aligned with the crises we are meeting. This I explain in the chapters pertaining to “wounded deer and centaurs,” coming up, beginning with Chapter 30, “Enter the Centaur.” Also, there are planetary factors, like the prenatal-perinatal access come of pollution, which might, completely unintended, redound to our benefit in largely invisible and incalculable ways.

The Necessary Future

Finally, having considered the prenatal and perinatal nature of our times in Part Two on “Prenatal Matrix of Humanicide,” as well as the corresponding unique processes at work in these times in Part One, “Apocalypse and Insanity,” we can look at some directions forward for our species that actually have us continuing to live. In Part Three coming, titled, “Healing Crisis and Regression in the Service of Humanity,” we will look deeper. What we will see revealed emerging out of the black morass or our current futility and hopelessness is the vision of our necessary future and the necessary hero.  Finally, in Parts Four and Five, “The New Hero’s Cycle” and “Sanity and Activism,” I will detail the personalities and actions corresponding to such a future and such individuals. These parts tell us what to do and how to go about doing it.

21
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.Gaia’s Weeping:

Toxic Womb ~ Toxic Earth. How We Re-Create Human Prenatal Irritation-Burning in a Polluted Planet; Earth Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Prospects

 

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.“…we re-create that which we need to experience. We stood upright; and now, unless something radical happens, it will lead to the end of life for ourselves and possibly everything else on this planet in short order.”

“We have done such a good job of creating the ‘toxic womb’ in our planetary environment, you have to marvel at the perfection of its replication.” 

 “…one needs to deal with something before one can stop oneself from reminding oneself that one needs to deal with that something.” 

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The Earth might “die screaming,” as Tom Waits phrased it. Till then, we can hear its weeping; we can feel its wrath.

However, let us take one more look back at from whence we have come. Tracing the trajectory of our species might provide some ideas about where we are heading and our necessary future.

Deepest Roots of Apocalypse — We Stood Up!

Basically, it warmed up pretty good in the interior of Africa millions of years ago, so our forebears headed “to the beach” — to the ocean shores, swamps, and lakes — where it was more bearable. We foraged for food in the shallow waters and found it beneficial to stand upright. For it allowed us to go into deeper waters and gather more, and for longer periods. Naturally, over time, bipedalism traits were the ones that won out through natural selection.

When we became a standing species, though, it added birth trauma and premature birth to our “species set.” For with this rearrangement of our posture, we created a narrower pelvic opening and our prenates no longer hung loosely below us but pressed down upon the arteries below them to create the fetal malnutrition and hypoxia, which I have been discussing in this book. The prematurity of birth was caused by the narrower pelvic opening, as the baby needed to leave the womb earlier than other species in order to make it out. This meant that we would do a great deal of our early life’s learning and development — much more than any other species — outside of the womb and in the context of society, not Nature. This is called secondary altriciality, which is something unique about humans.

With all these developments — prenatal malnutrition and hypoxia, premature birth, and secondary altriciality — we had greater pain and trauma at the beginning of our lives than any other species. We needed to grow a bigger brain — with an additional brain structure, vastly multiplied neural pathways, and a split brain — to deal with this pain in order to survive. The larger skull added further to birth trauma. It was even more difficult to get through the pelvic opening. So it required even more prematurity of birth.

All this development outside the womb and increased brain size resulted in language and culture, with all its complexities. Split off from horrible early pains and discomforts, our minds created substitute reflections of our early memories in our cultural products. We created an artificial consciousness construct — an Ego — as an intermediary between the impulses from our insides, emanating from early discomforts, and the stimulus and information coming to us from our outside reality in the present.

Thus, its egoic product — that is, what we end up thinking is real — would be the distorted amalgamation of the past and the present. Our reality would not be real so much as it would be a construct of our early pain, and the learning built on such early discomforts, woven together with our present-time situational reality, including the twisted cultural products within and without. So what the Ego came up with would not be true, for its purpose would be to allow us to survive, regardless of bothersome early imprints.

We’ve Created Our Own “Monsters”

We called the accumulation of cultural product, come of all this Ego activity acting over the course of millions of years, the “advance of man.” And we patted ourselves on the back for our Promethean achievements, deeming ourselves superior to Nature. To congratulate ourselves, we needed to ignore all the evidence of savagery on a scale not seen in the rest of our world, which we perpetrated on each other and on the world of Nature. This entire process — aquatic ape to patriarchal civilization — I explain in my book, Planetmates: The Great Reveal (2014), and with even more detail in the more recently published, Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man (2016).

In all this abominable acting out, we were manifesting aspects of our early pain about which we were clueless. Completely without awareness of what we were doing, we created a mirror image of our early experience and its horrific pain and trauma in Reality itself. So it is that all our early trauma has led us to unthinkingly plod to the edge of oblivion, as we re-create war, fascism, class war, racism and bigotry, environmental pollution, nuclear radiation, loss of ozone layer, threat of nuclear war, and all the rest of the dire threats I have been discussing as being act-outs of our early prenatal discomforts — crowdedness, deprivation-suffocation, poisoning-disgust, and irritation-burning-revulsion.

We stood upright. And now, unless something radical happens, it will lead to the end of life for ourselves and possibly everything else on this planet in short order.

What can we do about it? Strangely, many of us are determined to just die. But if you are one of those who would prefer not to, well, going up against all the others, don’t think it will be easy.

Nevertheless, if you wish to fight to live, here is the starting point for effective change. For this knowledge of the real roots of our current crisis — like a Pandora’s Jar with hope tucked away at the bottom of it — has a chance, the only chance, to actually save our lives and those of future generations. For the first time, effective ways of healing people and planet can arise, based as they will be on this understanding of the early psychological roots of our otherwise apocalyptic propulsion.

Environmentally, We Act Out Prenatal Toxicity in a Polluted Planet

Recall that the third aspect of prenatal malnutrition is that we cannot get rid of poisons that build up in the womb environment around us … sort of like a prenatal environmental pollution. We cannot eliminate wastes as efficiently, so we exist in a toxic womb, as described by PME 4, prenatal irritation-burning.

Toxic Womb ~ Toxic World

I talked earlier about how we act out the deprivation part of late gestation experience, PME 2, in global suffocation — the greenhouse effect — by focusing on the reductions of oxygen. Yet remember that there are slight increases of carbon dioxide with the reduced blood flow for the prenate: These are a big part of the increase in waste matter, consequent upon a reduced efficiency of eliminating toxins. Obviously this is analogous to the way we have created such an increase in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere called the greenhouse effect. We have done a good job of manifesting this … not easy to do. And we should be congratulated if it were actually a good thing and not another way we have become good at self-destruction.

We re-create the “bad blood” aspects of fetal malnutrition — PME 3, related to toxins we take into ourselves, that we “breathe in” — in our global environment with air pollution. I can tell you from much personal experience in Southern California that indeed it re-creates the sensations of sickness at times — those feelings of poisoning, sickening, nausea, characteristic of PME 3. And this is when it is obvious to me. Here I am asserting that it is stimulating unconscious memories of discomfort even when we are not aware of being sickened, consciously.

Many folks, who live in polluted environments like Southern California, coming home at night after a day at work in the city; they have this really shitty, dirty feeling. They know it. They often go straight for an after-work drink, some booze to take the edge off their discomfort. Most of them would attribute these crappy, grubby feelings to stress, from their job and from interactions with people or on the freeways. Some might be more aware it is connected to the toxic atmosphere they have been forced to take in during the day. I am claiming that much of that feeling is probably due to memories buried deep inside us, however; which are easily triggered and accessible to consciousness in the form of bodily symptoms mimicking that time.

So in those last two examples we have deprivation, the suffocation of PME 2; and bad blood, the poisoning of PME 3; both of which we re-create in our environment. Of course the other aspect of late gestation is crowdedness, PME 1, which I have also dealt with earlier at length. With overpopulation and crowded urban environments we re-create that.

Prenatal Burning

Now, let us just look at some of the ways we re-create, specifically, those irritating, burning sensations in our environment — the fourth aspect of late gestation discomfort, PME 4, and the third of prenatal malnutrition.

I mentioned earlier how we sit out in the sun and endure discomfort — sun bathing — in some odd re-creation of fetal irritation. However, the most obvious environmental correspondence with PME 4, burning-irritation, is the way we have thinned out our protection from the sun, so now we can better be harmed by UV rays. With the huge reductions in our ozone layer, we are ensuring an increased burning of our skin and epidemics of skin cancer — not very comfortable I would imagine. Also, catastrophic. As the ozone layer has allowed life to evolve on this planet. Like a shield, it has protected organisms. And without it, for one thing, the phytoplankton in the ocean would die off, completely. Phytoplankton creates our oxygen, more so even than our forests do. As well, they are at the bottom of the food change. With the ozone layer gone, life cannot continue on Earth. We can look forward to that cheery prospect come of human activity, as well.

Similarly, we have managed to surround ourselves with the prospect of burning up in a fiery inferno at any moment because of nuclear weapons, which we have created out of the suicidal deliriums of some of us. That would be the prenatal burning of PME 4 acted out to the infinite power.

Prenatal Irritation

Some of this is the most obvious of all: Toxic Womb Environment leads to Toxic Environment. Again, good job, humans! If it were some kind of achievement. We have created a worldwide toxic womb, with a fractal equivalent of the situation in the womb — a buildup of poisons that cannot be eliminated anywhere: There is no longer any “away” to remove it to, exactly as what was felt to be the case in the womb.

We have air pollution, water pollution, food pollution, radiation pollution. We are polluting the genetic codes of biological organisms on Earth. We are polluting our land by fracking, so water sent through it will poison us and catch fire. If there is anything else, well, I am sure we are polluting it, too.

Just how long can you not “step in it” — a half million years?

We have become the filthiest of species, essentially pooping in our own nests. We have landfills that overflow and encroach on residences. This very evening, the nightly news reported that a mountain of trash in Ethiopia collapsed, killing sixty-two people. This was at a massive garbage dump, the Koshe Garbage Landfill, on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa. The mountain gave way, like a scene out of the movie, Idiocracy, and the landslide swamped huts burying people alive. The victims were mostly women and children. The landfill has served as a garbage dump for the capital for over fifty years, and it is the final destination for most of the nearly three-hundred-thousand tons of waste trucked from Addis Ababa, yearly.

This came after a similar garbage dump collapse that occurred in July of 2000, at the Payatas dump near Manila, in the Philippines. In this one, 221 people were buried and burned alive as a mountain of rain-loosened garbage collapsed and covered a shanty town built there, then burst into flames.

Horrible and tragic, for sure. Yet metaphorically astounding! What a ghastly metaphor for what we are doing to ourselves, reflecting also the situation in the womb: We are piling up so much waste around us it is swamping us, threatening to kill us … even catching fire!

Another example: We have created ticking time bombs of nuclear waste matter that have to be guarded for twenty-five-thousand years and are still deadly for five-hundred-thousand years. That’s a long time to have to avoid “stepping in it,” wouldn’t you say? And we are polluting and killing our oceans, creating the closest thing of all to a toxic, poisonous placenta, as from it, ultimately, we suck our necessary O2 and H2O.

Compartmentalizing our doom.

I could go on but you get the point. We have done a great job of re-creating the discomfort of the toxic womb. And, as I said, yes we are sickened, whether we acknowledge it or not. What I have observed is that even the most intelligent of us is trying like crazy to not acknowledge it, using all manner of denials and defensive maneuvers of consciousness. If nothing else, about our discomfort and its causes, we are “compartmentalizing” so we can go on with our lives.

Nature Balances HerSelf

We have done such a good job of creating the “toxic womb” in our planetary environment you have to marvel at the perfection of its replication. And with such perfection, there are reasons. 

As I have been saying, we re-create that which we need to experience. So, as we do this, we are creating the exact situation that we need to face in our earliest lives in order to heal it … and in this lies the hope. In fact, looking ahead, I will be telling you that this is the key to a solution for us. As I say, Nature balances HerSelf, and we are part of her. We may or may not make it as a species, but certainly it looks like we are in the process of something that is perfectly set up to wake us into consciousness of what we need to heal, if we heed it.

We Need to Face the Monsters of Our Creation

For we always create around us a reflection of the kinds of issues we need to deal with “on our insides.” Our outsides will always reflect our insides, for good or ill. As a species, we have always done this.

They can be the like the wake-up knock from a master.

Yet we have added stimulus for these feelings today; we have greater prods to our waking up than ever before in our history. These will either be knocks on the head to get us to “pay attention” — as a Zen master might give to one of his students — or they will be the blow that will end our existence. It is up to us.

For as always, we both re-create and resist that which we have unresolved. In terms of oxygen “starvation” prior to birth, we both create and are made uncomfortable by air pollution … toxic air. Much like creating crushing populations in re-creating PME 1 compression pain, we create suffocating global air pollution for us to continually be triggered into uncomfortable unresolved feelings from our early lives, of the manner of PME 2, suffocation; PME 3, poisoning; and PME 4, irritation-burning. So, it is not like we are not being reminded of what we need to do — on both our “insides” as well as our “outsides.” We will never need a to-do list for this.

Gaia calling: Earth to humans — wake the f#$% up!

Many ignore the warning blows, however, no matter how severely they are felt. There is huge denial about climate change, the invisible death upon us from Hanford and Fukushima, and just about all the things I have been bringing up as important to look at, regardless how many deaths from hurricanes, firestorms, mudslides, and the rest. And from some quarters this refusal to see is deep, batshit crazy, and thoroughly intractable.

But now it is at least understandable. And as with everything else, knowing the nature of something gives us an edge.

The Tea Party and anti-abortion type response.

At least, at this point can you see why the “worst” of us — the sickest in terms of being pushed around by such early pain — would not want to do anything about these environmental problems? Can you see why the most afflicted of us are fixated on the abortion issue … here pointing exactly to the source of their discomfort … that is, in their lives as fetuses? We would think theirs to be an honest concern for prenates driven purely by compassion were it not for the fact that these same people have little sympathy — in fact, the opposite! — for the folks already born, around them, who are visibly suffering.

How Can You “Let It Go” if You Won’t Pick It Up?

One must have less of this fetal pain originally or have resolved more of it by facing, feeling, standing and dealing with it — not running away from it — and working through these uncomfortable unresolved feelings which arise inside oneself for one to have any kind of distance from their pushes and pulls, their sway … for one to tackle these problems and not wish to keep bringing them about and keep making oneself suffer. That is, one needs to deal with something before one can stop oneself from reminding oneself that one needs to deal with that something. Why would one think one can “go beyond” something by simply ignoring it, “letting it go,” or imagining, “meditating,” or even praying it away? It just doesn’t work like that.

For that simple but, for so many, strangely incomprehensible concept, let me provide a trite analogy. The other night I woke in the middle of the night, feeling annoyed that I had not gotten a good night’s sleep. I felt irritated, and my mind went on about how this lack of sleep was going to affect my work, was going to stress my heart and contribute to other health complications, and would generally be a drag on my well-being and happiness, as I needed to catch up on some sleep I hadn’t gotten lately.

Eventually, my mind came around to how I felt. I noticed I was perspiring a little: I was warm. That had made me feel uncomfortable. I also realized I was uncomfortable on the bed as I had allowed the bedclothes to get all bunched up beneath me in a way that didn’t feel good. I had unwittingly created some “prenatal discomfort” for myself. And by the way, notice how such bodily discomforts can affect you even unconsciously, as indeed, it woke me up.

While I didn’t feel like I could do anything to get back to sleep, I did attend to removing some layers of blankets, so as to be cooler, and to straightening out my bed so it would be flatter and more comfortable. And you know what? I fell asleep for an additional five hours and caught up on my sleep.

I know, this sounds like a trivial example. But if you understand as I do the roots of our apocalypse and the utter self-destructive stupidity of humans’ behavior and the mind-blowing absurdity of the reality we have constructed in order to keep from seeing our problems, you cannot help but be struck with how simple and obvious and everywhere about is both evidence of the dire state we are in but also the obvious solutions. So, I’ve allowed myself to be facetious, to make this point:

In order to solve a problem, you need to face it.

We will continue creating air pollution and suffering from it until we face our unresolved inner problems. Just as we will have an increasingly toxic Earth until we face it and deal with it in some concrete ways. The idea that we can make problems go away by ignoring them and acting as if they do not exist is nonsensical and an insanity in us. Yet it abounds! It is an irrationality borne of desperation, which we act upon but mostly deny that we do. It is that part of ourselves that continues to bring suffering upon ourselves and others.

This aspect, this thing about what can be done about our situation, is the theme I elaborate on in the final parts of this book. All of it is based upon the simple idea that we need to look at problems we want to solve and the most dire problems are the most important to look at.

That is the most important reason we would want to know all this about the psychology underlying our drive to apocalypse — that is, so we have some power or say in it … so we can do something about it.

Therefore, in the parts of this work that follow now, I deal with this in great detail, and I show where there is hope and where there are positive developments. I also indicate what we are doing wrong so as to continue manifesting that which we do not want. That is, I show where we are self-destructive, basically where we are shooting ourselves in the foot without knowing it … as well as what we can do differently.

Let us leave it at this for now and continue the diagnosis of our condition. For if we do not understand it, how can we do anything about it? I will be pointing out at the end that the biggest part of our continued self-destruction is our brain-dead refusal to understand our actions and face their consequences.

To that end, next we need to consider how in order to save ourselves we need to bring to the surface all the rotten ugliness of pre- and perinatal trauma that for millennia our species has been keeping inside. Let us now look at the evidence for a worldwide “healing crisis,” which is apparently going on right now.

PART THREE
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.Healing Crisis and Regression in the Service of Humanity

 

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.“We have this legacy where we think the opposite of insanity is sanity, usually conflated with ‘normality’ and conformity. These insane times, with the fate of the world in the balance, are the first time we are able to see that the opposite of insanity is not normality. It is heroism. Heroism is the only sane response to an insane situation where lives are at stake … the only sane response.”

 

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.22
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.Healing Crisis:

Prenatal-Perinatal Awareness, Being Weller but Appearing Sicker, Trancing Versus Suffering, and We Shall Overcome

 

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.“This difference between trancing and suffering may be likened to the difference between being a fish in water and totally oblivious to that fact versus living out of water and experiencing a downpour. When one is in less of a trance state, one is aware of alternative ways of being; in the example, that would be being dry. Consequently, one suffers and struggles amidst these forces and options … and one has at least some ability to choose one’s actions.”

“Those of the Baby-Boomer — or Sixties — generation also indicate their closeness to their prenatal and perinatal in their campaigns against some of the act-outs of the pre- and perinatal…. These include actions against pollution; a rejection of city life, with its gridlocks, pollution, and crowding, and a return to the country, in communes or otherwise; an awareness and rejection of polluted foods and creation of a natural and organic foods movement; and actions against global overpopulation including support for birth control, a pro-choice stance on abortion, and delaying of baby-making on their own parts along with a reduction in the size of their families.”

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What does this all mean? What does this portend? What might be the outcome of this emerging prenatal-perinatal unconscious both causing as well as made stronger by the environmental apocalypse brewing? Is it the end, and the planet will see millions of years of a Mars-like state of virtual deadness? Or will the future necessary for the continued survival of life sprout among us?

Healing Crisis 

To answer what an emerging prenatal-perinatal unconscious might mean on a macrocosmic or societal-global scale, it is helpful to look at what an emerging pre- and perinatal unconscious portends on the individual or microcosmic level. What we have learned from the experiential modalities — holotropic breathwork, primal therapy, entheogens, rebirthing, shamanism, gestalt, and others like them — is that unerringly people need to get “sicker” before they can get well. This should not be news to psychoanalysts or any of the other mainstream psychotherapists or counselors either.

Basically, the underlying repressed material must come to the “surface,” must become more conscious … and obviously when it becomes more conscious its accompanying symptoms are exacerbated. This can be called a healing crisis in that the symptoms get worse, more obvious, more blatant; and there is a period of acting them out before integration and resolution happens. There is an acute part of this process that can occur, which is termed a spiritual emergency.

When Grof talks about birth/death scenarios in the perinatal unconscious, he is including these sorts of healings, where one must “die” to one’s sickness before one can be “reborn” into another way of being, without those sick patterns or symptoms.

Degrees of Disease

Applying this on the societal level, we see evidence of a drawn-out healing crisis going on for humanity over the better part of the last century. There has been a progression in human events and human personality, which has been most clearly evident in generational differences, changes in parenting modes, and a generational progression.

It’s YOU! YOU’re the f&^$#r! 

This evolution began with complete dissociation from the prenatal-perinatal unconscious by those of the Fifties, the World-War-Two, and previous generations — hence complete projection of it on The Other.

Then, for many reaons, which we will get in to, this changed to lesser dissociations from the prenatal-perinatal unconscious by the generations since, Baby-Boomer and afterward. These latter involve more awareness of these unconscious dynamics as being a part of oneself, hence there is less projection of it on The Other.

Wounded deer. 

In this latter instance, there is more suffering from it and more individual acting-out of it, so that in a sense one appears “sicker” — the pre- and perinatal is more obvious in one’s behavior, taking more individual forms, and it is more easily recognized and seen to be a personal problem … a “sickness.” I describe this consciousness as being the way of the centaur, for it reflects Chiron, in ancient mythology, having an ongoing wound but eventually becoming a teacher and healer.

To understand the ways the perinatal manifests depending upon one’s “closeness” to it, let us contrast the two extremes of being totally split off from it and being relatively close to it.

Sick, But Denying It — WWII Generation, Nazis, KKK, Right Wing, Tea Party 

First, let us take a look at what the perinatal appears like when it is completely split off from one’s conscious personality. This total lack of interaction between the aware consciousness and the unconscious prenatal and perinatal entails a total repression and denial of it.

Can’t Know That You Don’t Know

Consequently, one has absolutely no access to it; thus, one is in total ignorance of the underlying motivations of one’s actions. One unconsciously acts out pre- and perinatal elements and traumas and manifests them in one’s behavior, rationalizing all the while that one has really good — non-perinatal, “real world” — reasons for why one is doing the things one is doing. More important still, what is “in the dark” inside of oneself appears in the outside world. It is projected on the people and events there and determines how one sees, interprets, and acts within it.

What’s in your head, zombie? 

Psychohistorians deem this state to be such an oblivious one that they use the term trance-state for it, fully intending all the implications and connotations that term engenders. That is, they are saying that people who are this repressed and split off do their acting zombie-like and out of motivations completely hidden to themselves.1

Birth Woes ~ World Wars

In such total ignorance, and of course being totally ignorant that one is in ignorance, people in the past one-hundred years have been able to act out their perinatal underbellies in ways to make such hideous and all-encompassing wars as World War I and World War II possible.

Leaving aside for a moment the myriad ways the perinatal has unconsciously been acted out in this Twenty-First Century in creating the current situation in which we are on the brink of extinction — which can be considered the most serious consequences of this splitting off imaginable — simply focusing on last century’s major wars as evidence of perinatal acting-out alone is instructive.

The Nazis, in particular, were extreme in their dissociation from their perinatal, in their projection of it onto the Jews, and their consequent ability, operating within a trance state, to act it out in horrific ways on Jews and others. Alice Miller and Lloyd deMause have each detailed the psychodynamics of this projection of primal pain — both perinatal and childhood — in the creation of the people that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis became in their adulthood.2 

The Nazis present us with the patterns of these processes of dissociation and projection in blatant and bold relief. The way Nazis, especially in concentration camps, acted out perinatal trauma on their prisoners has been described in great detail by Grof as well.3

Being “Weller,” But Appearing Sicker — Generations Since

As I said, contrasted with being completely split off — dissociated — from one’s perinatal unconscious, as the Fifties and WWII Generation are predominantly, is being less cut off from it and having some access to its energies. This means that rather than being totally and blindly driven by these forces, which are acting on one indirectly, one actually feels them somewhat: One has a sense of their being a part of one’s experience as opposed to living within them so thoroughly that one has not a clue of their existence.

This means that one has more options than to act them out. It also means they make one aware of one’s perinatal sickness. One feels them, suffers from them, struggles with them.

On the other hand, one does not suffer or struggle from unconscious energies that one is compliant with and that are completely manifest and supported in one’s social and cultural environments — for example, the worlds of the WWII and previous generations — however destructive that makes one’s actions.

Trancing Versus Suffering

This difference between trancing and suffering may be likened to the difference between being a fish in water and totally oblivious to that fact versus living out of water and experiencing a downpour. When one is in less of a trance state, one is aware of alternative ways of being; in the example, that would be being dry. Consequently, one suffers and struggles amidst these forces and options … and one has at least some ability to choose one’s actions.

Whereas a fish immersed in water has no idea what the hell these folks are talking about, telling him that there is some other world, some other way of seeing things. He considers these folks insane. These more aware folks might even become the screen upon which the deluded one will project his dark and twisted unseen insides, unknowingly. Cue Donald Trump and his band of unhappy followers. This person might even attack or war upon these others and be certain he is operating in a way that is fully justified. Ahem. Though a look at matters with such curtains pulled to the side sees everything in a completely new and more positive light.

I do not believe it is simply coincidence that we are currently going from the Piscean Age — symbolized by fish in water — to the Aquarian Age — symbolized by a water bearer. This change was a big part of the consciousness during the Sixties, and I think we are beginning to see why: Going from a state where one is oblivious to the forces around one to a state where one can see the things one is dealing with (carrying the water) is no small thing.

We are doing this with the perinatal unconscious as it arises in our lives, feelings, and social and physical environments. We will see how other elements of our postmodern times — such as our multiculturalism, our most advanced state of knowledge in our social sciences, and our internet with its worldwide mind — provide that same quality to our times: We exist in a world, unlike any other time, where the factors and forces affecting us are visible, or easily revealed. Hence for the first time we have the choice to act unconsciously, pushed by the cultural forces we were born into, or to struggle amid the mental dissonance of diverse, contrary, and often conflicting ways of looking at the same things.

It seems everything about evolution in humans has something to do with being between two mediums and the advance, the added perspective that comes with that, going all the way back to being the only ape to take to the water so much as to become partly aquatic — placing our species between water and land, halfway between a dolphin and a chimpanzee. I think we are heading toward being like the fairies and angels we imagine — halfway between land and air, earth and heaven, most accurately, between this world of Form and the No-Form State — but that is a whole other publication of mine.4

Another analogy I have heard of this difference between the two modes of being either completely oblivious or being somewhat aware of one’s unconscious is that between living full-time in an Arctic environment where one has to wear a heavy coat versus living in a milder climate. In the warmer climes, one is both aware of what it is like to not have a coat … one has capacity to feel better ways of being … as well as knowing how bulky, obstructing, and uncomfortable it is to have the coat on — so, suffering more from it, suffering from one’s pre- and perinatal underbellies.

Finally, one is better able to decide when to have it on and not; one has more options. In the terms of primal psychology, one still has one’s defenses, just like before; but one can decide when to use them and when not to. Going through what we all experience at our life’s beginnings, it is impossible to not have a defensive structure constituting our egos. However, we have come a long way in our personal evolution when we can orchestrate those defenses as needed, while setting them to the side for the most part. Like having the choice when to put on the coat: In cold weather — the psychological equivalent would be when in a truly hostile social environment — one might just want to wrap it round oneself, i.e., ones’ defenses, employed consciously, regardless it hampers one’s free movement.

One analogy I find especially provocative for this difference between unconscious, oblivious trancing and freer, more aware suffering is the difference between watching a movie and being fully engrossed in it so that one does not know it is a movie, which is equivalent to acting out unconsciously from one’s early imprints. Compare that to watching the same flick with equal interest, but being aware that one is in a theater. You can see where in the second instance one would feel there are more options; and one would feel that one could step back prior to finding oneself caught up in horrific actions.

Wounded Deer and Centaurs

However, being aware of one’s discomfort, i.e., having “more access” to the perinatal, one suffers like the wounded deer — the innocent who feels things and so struggles with society’s sickness that many others are unconsciously perpetrating. Nonetheless, with time and success in handling this pain, one can become the wounded healer — the Centaur.5

Now, why and how would this occur? As I have said, some access to the perinatal and more blatant and direct acting it out is exhibited by many of the Baby-Boomer generation. This is in large part due to their having been raised in a way that required less in the way of ego defenses to keep their primal pain suppressed. Psychohistorians such as Glen Davis (1976) and Lloyd deMause have detailed a slow advance of child-caring techniques, with generations since the WWII Generation being raised with more attention to their needs and less harshness and cruelty … increasingly more love.

“What the World Needs Now, Is.…”

Before anyone begins thinking “permissive” or “spare the rod, spoil the child,” let me point out that I will be continually stressing how this development is not only a good thing … why wouldn’t love be good? … but is one of the few sources of hope for our future we really do have.

For less childhood pain and trauma means one is stronger and more able to face the even deeper perinatal pain.

Choosing lesser evils.

At any rate, the extreme acting-out and total dissociation from the pre- and perinatal exhibited by the World-War-Two Generation was followed, in the generations coming after, by less relative dissociation and less horrific forms of acting it out. Quite simply, generations on an average had better ability to refrain from the more blatantly evil act-outs — wholesale murders and world wars, pogroms and genocide, inquisitions and witch-burning, racism and slavery. They were more able to choose seemingly milder forms of suffering and self-destruction — polluting the atmosphere, water, and food; population explosions and crowding of cities; and traffic jams.

Of course, they are only seemingly milder because, though their dire effects are hidden from us — which is a problem in that the natural empathy that would be triggered in us that would move us to do something about them does not come into play — they are ultimately far more dire. The fact that there is such a gap between what we do and the consequences of them upon ourselves and our loved ones is probably the biggest hindrance to our being motivated to act.

As an example of the way we act-out in lesser ways than war, though, the common everyday traffic jam is especially instructive. Gridlock and traffic congestion re-create prenatal and perinatal dynamics as they replicate asphalt birth tunnels where one not only breathes exhaust fumes from trucks and other autos — fetal malnutrition, PME 3, poisoning — but also they can become gridlock at any moment, thus re-creating the intense frustration and no-exit hopelessness, and rage, of BPM II, especially that part of it related to PME 1, crowdedness, prenatal claustrophobia.

Baby-Boomer Perinatal Awareness

Other examples of the scenery of modern times where the perinatal is manifesting but is less projected onto another:

We Know That We Don’t Know … We Could Be Wrong

Many Baby-Boomers had enough access to their perinatal underbellies to question the absolute rightness of the Vietnam War and so they campaigned against it. This is indicative of closeness to the perinatal because it shows an ability to doubt one’s egocentric defenses — as given by society and family of origin — and to look at situations from the eyes of the Other.

So much was this evident in Boomers that some were even able to see the Vietnam War through the eyes of the enemy — exemplified by Jane Fonda’s trip to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags at demonstrations, and the carrying of little red books of the sayings of Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

But it’s clear you’re wrong. 

Those of the Baby-Boomer — or Sixties — generation also indicate their closeness to their perinatal in their campaigns against some of the act-outs of the pre- and perinatal mentioned above: These include actions against pollution; a rejection of city life, with its gridlocks, pollution, and crowding, and a return to the country, in communes or otherwise; an awareness and rejection of polluted foods and creation of a natural and organic foods movement; and actions against global overpopulation including support for birth control, a pro-choice stance on abortion, and delaying of baby-making on their own parts along with a reduction in the size of their families.

The sexual excess that is characteristic of the perinatal, specifically BPM III, was evident in Boomers’ “free love” ideal and promiscuous sexual behavior.

Many more examples could be given. However, the proof of their closeness to their unconscious dynamics lies not only in their actions — as mentioned above, in their more blatant acting them out or in their actual actions against the blatant acting out, both of which indicate closer access — but also in the study of their unconscious dynamics. Kenneth Keniston (1965), in his classic work, found in his study of the psychodynamics of the Sixties generation when they were in their youth an unusual amount of perinatal symbolism and self-analysis.

Among other traits, Keniston found these youth to be characterized by fantasies of a “rage to reenter” the womb; and a “fantasy of fusion” with the mother, which took pre- and perinatal forms of all kinds including stories of wishing to dig one’s way back into the earth; a fascination with and wish to return to the past, the long forgotten, and the under ground; and a desire to find oblivion in some enveloping medium … even at the price of self-destruction! Some of the other noticeably perinatal elements of Sixties youth were existential angst, being enamored of death and dying, and a refusal of “normal” adulthood.

Boomer Rage, Perinatally So

We also see perinatal feelings in the focus of the Baby-Boomers on empowerment. This word appears to come up in every area of their lives.

We shall overcome.

Empowerment can be seen as the natural focus of a generation that feels itself inside to be a helpless fetus facing an overpowering obstruction of a womb.

Hence Baby-Boomers are of course also closer to the frustration, rebellion, and yes, rage, that is part of the perinatal complex. We saw it exhibited by them in their anger at authority in the Sixties, their rebellion against the Vietnam War.

“Get the &%$ OFF me!” 

Keep in mind that a huge aspect of the perinatal is feelings of restriction, thus frustration, and, consequently rage against large entities of obstruction — like the womb was in relation to the small and helpless fetus. Aware of that, we see that the reason for their rage is simple and understandable.

Baby-Boomers, characterized as being closer to their unconscious, especially the perinatal, have more access to their anger: This means they feel their anger and are less likely to act it out in more hidden, disguised, and dire ways such as war-making, racism, and anti-Semitism.

This does not mean their rage would not be troublesome. The perinatal lets no one get off scot free. We see lots of pre- and perinatal anger coming out in the last few decades in the phenomenon of the “angry electorate.” The huge political and cultural divisions in America and around the world are themselves a measure of how deeply our global culture and its events are imbued with, pushed, and shaped by prenatal and perinatal dynamics which are now, in a way unique to theses times, coming to the surface. Let me show you what I mean.

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Prenatal Politics, Generationally Speaking:

Panicky Electorate, Biting the Feeding Hand, Perinatally Oblivious Right-Wing “Hate Groups,” the Tea Party, and the Fifties Generation … Perinatal Access of Millennials

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“Can anyone at this point still maintain that the politics of the last few decades had anything at all to do with ideology or issues?” 

“…without exception right-wingers’ reasons for rising up against the government — representing the overwhelming womb — has to do with frustrations, like the trapped fetus feels, in regard to ‘oppressive’ taxes, governmental red tape, laws, and other regulations that they feel restrict their freedom … to move freely, as one wanted to but couldn’t, in the womb.”

“We experience compression (oppression), and frustration at our attempts to go forward, and what feels like hopeless unfairness and injustice, when in the throes of BPM II birth trauma. To see these facets of the fates of minorities, as in racism, or gender or sexual bias, points to this Millennial Generation’s closeness to their own perinatal oppression; hence their ability to empathize with oppressed minorities.”

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More recently these Baby-Boomers came into the triumphant phase of their lives. They make up the largest sector of the electorate, and their influence is reflected more as they have assumed positions of power in the media and elsewhere.

The Angry Electorate and Boomers

Yet their influence has been diffused and confused because of the anger of some of them. Their irrational rage — combined with the reactionary consciousness of the Fifties Generation, many of the Fifties Gen children of Yuppies-Gen Xers, and the remaining WWII folks — has most often skewed election results against the Boomers interests and their true desires. Although not the majority of Boomers, enough of them expressed their rage in an irrational way to swing election results in favor of the other side.

We saw that in the presidential election of 2016 in a clear way, for even some progressives and liberals aided the installation of Donald Trump. They did that by staying home from voting, out of anger at a perceived unfairness by the Clinton campaign against the Sanders campaign during the primaries; and, perhaps even more damning for progressives, because of a massive internet avalanche of fake news that many of them fell for. They were fooled into believing lies — some as made up and nonsensical as what you see from National Enquirer and Star in the checkout line — many of them originating from Russia and placed into the social media by the most savvy and surreptitious propaganda campaign ever.

For at this time in history, the misinformation campaign was assisted by the full backing of half a century and more behavioral science, refined to perfection through application in commercial advertising. Also, plenty of help with propaganda emanated from private corporate and national security research into population management. Thus, the big lie … as well as thousands of little lies which go undetected and so combine to form outright near hallucinatory fantasies in the population … slid in below the population’s normal bullshit detectors. The blatant untruths, woven together to create a paranoid narrative urging a reactionary response, was embedded into America’s reality, with most citizens completely unawares.

One way this was done: The sinister opposition cloaked spurious or nonsensical accusations in wording that progressives and liberals were accustomed to hearing from their side alone. By appealing to progressive sympathies, the vast right-wing conspiracy was able to turn the champion for children’s rights, Hillary Clinton, into a child abuser, and even some sort of pedophiliac or slave trader. In another instance, such a tactic would cause outrage at the “rights” of someone to collect water on their own property being taken away, because it would be taken out of the context of the larger regional water and environmental problems. This sinister ruse of the Right could have racists and gun-toters looking like progressive protesters, with stand-offs with the police, and such. Again, this was accomplished by ignoring the larger context — as for example that the land those protesters were standing firm on actually belonged to the local Native American tribes. This is how the Left was cleverly convinced to take sides against their own issues and values, all unknowingly.

This fake news, masquerading as a progressive look behind the scenes, allowed wolf-like deceptions and agendas, surreptitiously advancing right-wing issues and values, advancing among liberals due to their clever sheep-like packaging as legitimate progressive muckraking and whistle-blowing. The feelings of anger and outrage of progressives and liberals were orchestrated this way by the most clever use of devious means to manipulate minds and actions ever to come out of the Right. Prodded into such a fever by fake news from Russia and the American Right, with its filthy rich supporters, these liberals and progressives also failed to vote.

1992 — “Mad as Hell”

Nonetheless, this unfortunate pattern of “shooting oneself in the foot” out of rage arose, initially, decades ago. Beginning with the 1992 and 1994 national elections in America, Baby-Boomers exhibited their perinatal influences in contributing to the totally unexpected phenomenon of the “angry electorate.”

At the time, pundits and media analysts were at a total loss to explain the fury of the voting public that was affecting the polling results. In 1992, talking heads were dumbstruck by the showing of three men in particular — Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, and Ross Perot — who seemed to have one thing in common: the angry tones and rebelliousness that characterized their speeches, as compared to others.

The demeanor of these candidates was at such odds with the other candidates that when Bill Clinton one night responded angrily to a comment by Jerry Brown about Hillary, Clinton’s wife, it was that part of the debate — of Clinton being angry, all issues aside — that made the news that night!

Though the rage of the electorate in 1992 caused the Brown, Perot, and Buchanan phenomena, it was split among them, so Clinton ended up winning. This of course was also okay with the Baby-Boomers in that (1) Clinton and Gore were Baby-Boomers like themselves and (2) in the race against H. W. Bush, Clinton was the challenger, and thus the rebel; and Bush was the “bum to be thrown out.”

However, this rage did not go away after the election, which highlights its having perinatal origins. In fact, after the shortest “honeymoon period” in history, by some accounts, it became directed at the most likely target/center — the president, Bill Clinton, himself. We all know how despite the successes and progress of Clinton’s first year, he was especially singled out for ridicule and denigration by the media. He could not seem to do anything right, and the most incredibly outrageous behaviors were attributed to him.

1994 — “Throw the Bums Out … Again.”

This rage spilled over into the next year and, sure enough, during the midterm election — the issues be damned — the angry electorate was in a mood to “throw the bums out” again. It did not matter the party…. I do not claim that all those of my generation are always as politically astute as they are angry.

The Republicans called it a “revolution.” It was simply the acting out of an electorate in the throes of perinatal feelings — that is, feelings of frustration, being “tied up” by red tape, an inability to go forward … that is, up the economic ladder. Come to think of it, those times were a nearly exact reflection of the mood of Americans in this last election of 2016 … where the result was even more disastrous and counter-productive. Similarly, in 1992, wages had been stagnating since the early Eighties, precipitated by Reagan’s inexpert management of the country’s finances. And people as well felt they were being overcontrolled and pushed around by regulations. Big government was experienced by them as the big mother womb keeping the fetus locked in and unable to move. So, out of all this came the anger and rage.

1996 and 1998 — “To Hell with You!”

In any case, succeeding elections bear out this analysis of an angry, a pre- and perinatally-pushed electorate. In 1996, despite the much ballyhooed “Republican Revolution,” sure enough, the electorate was spoiling to “throw the bums out” again — only this time it was the Republican Congress. So there were Democratic gains at the time.

And in 1998, when everything pointed to a huge Republican landslide because of the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal, the electorate again showed their rebellion and anger toward both the pundits and the Republicans who had been lambasting them with details of the scandal for nearly a year by giving the Democrats gains again!

2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 — Panicky Electorate

In 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014, it was an angry electorate reeling against oppression; and in the case of 2010, 2012, and 2014, doing it mindlessly, against their own interests. If there were not pre- and perinatal charge to all this, Americans would not be so irrational about their choices.

2016 — Shooting Oneself in the Foot

This was particularly true of the American presidential election of 2016. It is difficult to read from an election that was skewed so much by the actions of people at the top — by Gen Xer FBI Director, Coumey, for example — and from another nation, Russia. We will never know the actual election results that would have occurred in an unmanipulated, unrigged election. For Director Coumey leaked a letter to Congress, days before the election, containing a substance-less message about Hillary Clinton, which Coumey knew would have some folks — critical voters — concluding something “fishy” must be going on, that where there is smoke, there must be fire. In simply bringing up the subject, it had people wondering about the timing of it, in a way that harmed Hillary’s candidacy, mere days before the election. There is little doubt Clinton would have won if not for Coumey’s action. There is also little doubt that Coumey’s action was intentional and put in motion to achieve the very effect that it did.

As for Russia, Putin and his minions not only hacked Democrat computers and selectively leaked documents harmful to Hillary Clinton, they engaged in a massive misinformation campaign on the internet of fake news, aided by their willing or unwitting allies in right-wing America. For all we know they may have hacked electronic voting machines to perfectly and barely create the electoral win that would have, without such precise tweaking, given the more popular Hillary Clinton the electoral as well as popular-vote victory.

Furthermore, from the evidence coming out, it is clear that the Trump campaign and Russia had ongoing contact during the election. And let us not be so naïve as to pretend to not know what that was about. Finally, Trump has both financial involvement and a dossier of his embarrassing behavior, held by the Kremlin, both of which would have motivated him to betray the U.S. to Russia.

So we will never know what the presidential election of 2016 was going to reveal about the American consciousness. Using politics as a barometer of the consciousness of a nation, the results were tainted … so not usable.

The election of 2016, more than any other, should have been an example of the Boomers, with their Millennial Generation allies, continuing the progress made in the previous decade. Having achieved the first presidency by an African-American, in 2008, it is likely, without active and massive manipulation of minds and machines, 2016 would have resulted in the first election of a woman president, and most definitely a liberal, a progressive woman, Hillary.

Still, the Russians and the Trump campaign had help in that there was a good forty or so percent of the population that supported a Trump presidency. And why? Fed misinformation, fake news, “alternative facts,” and faux news programs like Fox, they were outraged. The social and political situation created the clearest example yet of a prenate, against all reason, railing against its no-exit situation, and being willing to bring down everything in a BPM III inferno, if need be, to see some change, any change at all. So, 2016 was characterized by self-sabotage; it abounded with actions that amounted to “shooting oneself in the foot.”

Perinatal Rage

People have had good reasons to feel oppressed since the Eighties when Reagan began the giveaways to the rich and the budget cutbacks, continuing to this day, that have caused the masses to feel constricted and oppressed.

Yet, if this did not result in their being perinatally overloaded so that they cannot reason, they would not have been able to be led to fight their own interests as they were in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 and in an ongoing way as exemplified by the Tea Party and the success of right-wing agendas and Fox “News.”

Reacting, too angry and confused to think.

Another aspect of this irrationality on both sides of the political spectrum has to do with this idea that there is no difference between the two major parties. Feeling oppressed perinatally is characterized by a pressure from all sides simultaneously. There is an inability to distinguish or discriminate between forces that are helpful and those that are dire, as any and all developments seem threatening in situations of crisis. In a context of overwhelm, further, there is an inability to think clearly. One just fights back, explodes, reacts. It is no coincidence that Righties are called reactionaries.

Biting the feeding hand.

The upshot is an inability, under the pressure of perinatal feelings, provoked endlessly by actual oppression economically, environmentally, socially, and culturally, to rail against any authority, to bite the hand that feeds one. This is exactly like the panicked swimmer who in danger of drowning fights off his or her rescuer.

Can anyone at this point still maintain that the politics of the last few decades had anything at all to do with ideology or issues?

Millennials and Their Opposites

One might also note the rise of “hate groups” occurring at the same time as the phenomenon of the angry electorate over the last several decades and reaching a peak in 2016, invigorated by Trump’s rhetoric of intolerance, bigotry, and misogyny. Hate groups fill their ranks from folks on the extreme Right and their actions are exemplified in the Oklahoma bombing tragedy and more recently in the Tea Party.

Perinatally Clueless — Right-Wing “Hate Groups,” the Tea Party, and the Fifties Generation

But notice again then that these hate groups are always on the extreme conservative end of the political spectrum and thus exemplify a World-War-Two mindset in relation to their perinatal unconscious: Specifically, the mindset is one of being completely cut off from one’s below-the-surface dynamics and being in total denial of unconscious motivations. In this state, one can have the complete certitude — lacking any access to the unconscious which would give rise to doubts — that makes violent actions possible.

However the reason for bringing up the hate groups is to show how much their actions as well are dominated by perinatal dynamics, which in their case are totally unconscious to them. For without exception their reasons for rising up against the government — representing the overwhelming womb — has to do with frustrations, like the trapped fetus feels, in regards to “oppressive” taxes, governmental red tape, laws, and other regulations that they feel restrict their freedom … to move freely, as one wanted to but couldn’t, in the womb.

Tea Party and hate-group ranks are filled with Fifties Generation folks. These members of the Eisenhower Generation — after the WWII Gen and before Boomers — were born just before or during WWII. They are mired in prenatal fears coming from the fact that they were inside their mothers when their parents were living through such distressing times as WWII and the Great Depression. Fifties Gen folks were “marinated” in the womb with fear and insecurity. They also were not brought up with the societal advance in parenting the next generation of Boomers, and those afterward, would be granted. So it is understandable they would be both cut off from perinatal access yet full of perinatal pushes and pulls to act out in confused and self-destructive ways.

Perinatal Access of Millennials

Now, on the other end of this perinatal spectrum we have the most recent generational cohort to be making a mark. The Millennial, or Baby-Boomer Echo generation, show the same inner access as their Boomer parents.

Being Boomer kids, wouldn’t you kind of expect that?

They demonstrate as well their parents’ consequent refusal to act it out on a larger scale: It has been said that the greatest concerns of those in this generation, now in their twenties and thirties, are the environment and racism-bigotry.

Activist, Progressive

Millennials show the progressive bent of their parents, also, in their having a lot to do with giving America its first African-American president. And to the environment and minority rights, we need to add classism, economic fairness, and human rights because of their phenomenal outpouring of support in 2011 for Occupy Wall Street and for union rights in Wisconsin and other states at around that time. The Millennial Generation is showing global strength in opposing fascism, economic injustice, political oppression, and human rights abuses in Occupy and Arab Spring movements. They’ve filled massive demonstrations against the draconian economic policies of Republicans in Wisconsin.

They, more recently, showed their strength in the surprising popularity of Bernie Sanders, the first Democratic Socialist to run for president in the United States. And they, around the world, are showing their strength and their progressive acumen in resistance to the agendas of Trump and the other fascist outcroppings in the world.

This was exemplified the day after the Trump installation with the really quite massive Women’s March on Washington that was supported by similar massive outpourings of demonstrators in cities throughout the world — 673 nations in fact, on all seven continents, including Antarctica! Altogether it is estimated five millions of women and men supporting women’s rights, as well as resisting the creeping global fascism arising, as seen in the Trump ascendancy, participated. All were calling for action against the reactionary policies of Trump and other right-wingers, and their crowds were filled with Millennials and their Boomer parents, predominantly.

Climate change and the environment.

We know how pollution and action against pollution indicates a closeness to one’s perinatal. To put it another way, it is clear that only a total denial and disconnect between one’s consciousness and one’s unconscious perinatal dynamics would allow one to act it out unconsciously in the creation of pollution and in the denial of it as a problem or a mindless neglect of it. So the fact that these Baby-Boomer children, the Millennials, are so cognizant, concerned, and active in relation to global pollution and climate change shows their lack of denial of this perinatal act-out.

Multicultural, resisting racism and oppression.

And what of actions against racism and bigotry? How are they an indication of a closeness to the perinatal. There are several ways in which this is so. As mentioned, a closeness to the perinatal allows one to doubt one’s given defenses and to glimpse alternate perspectives — in particular to look at things from the eyes of The Other.

In this way, those of the Baby-Boomer Echo generation are able to see oppression, injustice, and unfairness as it is played out in the lives of minorities who don’t share their (predominantly) middle-class advantages. They simply don’t “get” racism, sexism, or bigotry of any kind; it is incomprehensible to them. They strongly oppose imperialism, colonialism, or oppression. Relatedly, they support animal rights and oppose animal abuse and cruelty. They do not understand torture and violence against fellow planetmates.

Naturally, they were helped in that awareness by the gains of previous decades, beginning in the Sixties, which had them growing up with diversity of racial and ethnic heritages — seeing things multiculturally, not narrowly — in their schools and in the omnipresent media. They grew up with the environmental awareness that was set in motion in the Sixties; they do not know of a world before recycling and energy conservation. Activism, demonstrations, and political action have been a part of their lives since they were born, unlike the several generations that preceded them, including their Boomer parents who suffered their childhoods in a politically castrated Fifties.

Misogyny, #metoo, and Black lives mattering … oppression in general.

Also beginning in January of 2016, with results showing soon after — in the 2017 elections and in the #metoo movement — Millennials, with their Boomer parents, have been flexing their muscles on the issue of misogyny, sexual abuse, and women’s rights. Why would this indicate closeness to one’s prenatal and perinatal dynamics, you ask? Well, as I explained earlier in the book, misogyny arises out of misplaced blame on mothers for the traumas we experience during our womb and perinatal days. And again, having access to the feelings that arise from that primal pain allows one to doubt the legitimacy of one’s hatred of the feminine that we see acted out in all areas of the patriarchy — from our separation from Mother Nature and the environment to misogyny and homophobia.

However, there is another, stronger element to this as well as the other injustices to which Millennials are empathetic. This is the factor of oppression and unfairness itself. We experience compression (oppression), and frustration at our attempts to go forward, and what feels like hopeless unfairness and injustice, when in the throes of BPM II birth trauma. To see these facets of the fates of minorities, as in racism, or gender or sexual bias, points to this Millennial Generation’s closeness to their own perinatal oppression; hence their ability to empathize with oppressed minorities. Again, we have current evidence of this quality of theirs in their participation in uprisings such as Ferguson, Missouri, and in general with their support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

This ability to realistically sense and respond to oppression is also the reason they would throw themselves in heartily in defense of unions, an increasingly oppressed middle class, and public-sector employees. Which they did in Wisconsin in 2011.

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A Hierarchy of Healing:

Different Levels, Different Defenses; Flaunting One’s Sickness Beats Hiding It; Progress Is Necessarily “Messy,” yet Suffering Beats Dying

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“…we have suffered less lethal damage from culture and class wars, increased incarceration, creeping fascism, and struggles for economic justice. Overall then, less death, more suffering. Less killing in wars, more suicides. Less large-scale atrocities, more depression. On a collective level, we are taking our conflicts increasingly inward.”

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This idea that those close to their unconscious conflicts are more likely to act them out blatantly goes completely against one of deMause’s tenets, by the way. He wrote, “The higher the psychogenic mode of the psychoclass, the less it is necessary for it to act out its conflicts.”1

A Hierarchy of Healing?

However, this is exactly the crux of my difference with his theory and is a central point I am making. For, from my perspective, the higher the mode of child-caring equals the less the defenses. Hence, the more it is likely that that generation’s conflicts will be close to the surface, seeking resolution. This is similar to Abraham Maslow’s (1962) hierarchy of needs theory. Through Maslow’s lens, we see that people progress in their personal growth toward higher values by attending to lower values and motivations, first. Thus physical and emotional needs, and ones for belongingness and such, are focused on prior to expending efforts toward spiritual, creative, and other higher order aspirations. Similarly, I am proposing that as one heals in areas closest to practicality and societal norms, and when they are integrated sufficiently, more difficult to re-member and incorporate parts of the personality and deeper issues arise for consideration and eventual healing. Hence, we might call my conceptualization a hierarchy of healing theory.

In other words, our observing the supposed “acting out” of an underlying trauma does not mean that the group or person in question is actually or, at least completely, “acting it out” and defending against it. It could be that that group is resolving, healing, or integrating it — taking it inward rather than acting it out … in the world, on others — whether to a small or great extent. Using the analogy of Pandora’s Jar, described earlier, they are opening the jar, at least a little. And I disagree with deMause in that I wish to stress that it is healthier by far to do that. Let me explain:

The difference between acting out and resolving is whether the actions are done in total dissociation from the unconscious dynamics — that is to say, in a trance state, as explained earlier in regard to the World War Two Generation and the Tea Party — or whether there is at least a modicum of insight into it occurring as a result of things inside of oneself, not completely projected onto the outside.

The attitude that leads to total dissociation and acting out was expressed in the 2012 military movie, Act of Valor, which depicted Navy Seals engaged in anti-terrorism activity. At the end, the manner of dealing with pain recommended for these American soldiers and “men of valor” was to “Put your pain in a box. Lock it down.” Saying “we are men made of boxes,” the younger man is instructed, about his pain, to “use it as fuel, as ammunition.” What the younger one is not told is that made invisible this way, his unconscious pain will do the determining of when and upon whom it will be released, dumped, acted out.

However, in non-acting-out — “acting inward” or taking back the projection — there is a tad of insight, as, for example, in the “overexamined life” of the “uncommitted” and the “self-analysis” of the young radicals of the Sixties generation. Similarly, the rock concert revivification of all current generations except the Fifties and WWII ones, as I have mentioned, is about personal experience and growth, and it is not about acting out on another. Whereas an example of the extreme other end of that would be engaging, trance-like, in a mass killing against a perceived political enemy — as Jared Loughner did in Arizona against Gabrielle Giffords and her entourage in 2011, and as we do as nations in wars.

Another example of complete dissociation involves the anti-abortion folks, who are primarily of the Fifties Generation and their Gen X children. They do not have a clue of the connection between their own unconscious prenatal pain and the feelings they have about unborn others. They are not wrestling with their feelings of pain from back then and trying to integrate them. They are trying to change the world to conform to their defenses around those feelings. That is, they want to burden the world with the lives of all fetuses — projecting their own prenatal suffering and struggle onto all other prenates — based on ridiculous metaphysical notions. And this, at a time when doing so would ensure the later deaths of those fetuses, their own deaths, and those of all other planetmates. We are nearly four times beyond the carrying limit for this planet of two billion people. So to seek to bring more humans into the world — unhappy and unwanted — is insane and counterproductive.

Their notions are ridiculous in that — while certainly there is consciousness, memory, and feeling in the prenate — there is no place where there is not conscious awareness. At the level of the cellular — the sperm and ovum — there is consciousness and awareness greater than our own as adults. My works explain that. Yet, their reasoning would have us attempting to bring to term the three-hundred-million sperm in every ejaculation of every man in the world! Not to mention each ovum in every woman’s ovarian sac. Indeed, there is consciousness and keen feeling awareness in all vegetative, animalian, and even all material realms. See my The Secret Life of Stones (2016) on that last one. Hence there is no sanity or even rationality in their proposals, which blindness is what happens in folks when they are acting purely out of unconscious dynamics and not perceiving the actual world and its reality around them. Trance-state, again.

Further proof that their beliefs and actions are acting-out of underlying feelings and are not actions emanating from rational concern and human empathy is that they are all about changing others’ behavior and they involve imposing one’s inner pain on others forcefully and aggressively. This we see in its extreme form with the murders of physicians committed by anti-abortionists. This bespeaks a total lack of empathy and a trance-like acting-out behavior instead. As well, these folks are characterized by additional beliefs which include outright cruel and callous policies toward people after they have been born. That’s “nuts.” It shows their empathy has nothing to do, really, with others but is misdirected from the care and attention they themselves wanted but did not get when they were unborn.

Flaunting One’s Sickness Beats Hiding It — Generation X

Their blindness to their unconscious dynamics is the opposite of the self-analysis shown to predominate among the Sixties Generation. And other generations?

Flaunting It — Goths

The Boomer generation was followed by a different mode of struggling with perinatal pain by Generation X, which continues in abated form with the Millennial Generation. It manifest rather strikingly with the Goth phenomenon and the vampire fascination that began in the Eighties, coincident with Gen X’s coming of age. Goth and vampirism show blatant perinatal dynamics which are not unfelt and completely repressed as in dissociation — characterized by its trance-state aggression against others.

An example of Gen X perinatal acting-out of these dynamics in total dissociation and trance state was given above in the anti-abortionists. Yes, Gen X partakes of the dissociation of their Fifties Gen parents, as well as the rising perinatal consciousness they saw around them growing up as brought forth by the Sixties Generation. For, Goth and vampire cultures show folks feeling and immersed consciously in these pushes and pulls and wrestling with them, trying to work them out as opposed to act them out. Yet they do it in a way that indicates its confrontation with their dissociated Fifties Generation parents.

This is rather clearly shown in a “regression” in Europe, reported by Mayr and Boelderl (1993), which occurred in the late Eighties and Nineties. This behavior showed a bit of insight … and resolution happening … in that a baby song being hummed, which the authors saw as evidence of a dangerous “regression,” was about the very real hardships of being a baby. Therefore, an actual truth about their own lives was being faced there by those singing along with it. The song was not being used to deny or defend against those traumas, which those unlike them, no doubt including the authors of the criticism, are more likely to do.

One might suspect that same process of facing perinatal, and infancy, dynamics as well in the young Europeans’ carrying around of such blatant examples of regression as pacifiers and troll-like dolls. These were other pieces of evidence Mayr and Boelderl brought forth to come to their erroneous conclusions. For someone in a more defended mode would be highly threatened by such obvious indications that they are at some level inside just like needy children. Folks employing greater repression and with more levels of defenses protecting their frightened inner selves would be terrified such overt and revealing behavior would make them look wussy or sissified. That is, would expose them to be those vulnerable, frightened babies they really feel themselves to be but are doing their damnedest to hide from everyone. Imagine how those Navy Seals described above would feel walking around sucking on a pacifier, hugging a doll, for example.

Hiding It — Gen X

Concerning the other side of that Gen X dynamic — those excessively repressing their Pain and therefore acting-out like their Fifties Gen parents — it is no coincidence that the words wuss, wimp, and wussy were coined and came into vogue during the Eighties, when Gen X was coming to age. For they, like their parents, who came to age in the castrated yet highly-defended Fifties, perceived any sort of “looking inside” to be weak. Any sensitive feelings or concern, self-contemplation or overt compassion, were portrayed as being timid and narcissistic.

These Gen Xers sought to be “tough,” like their World War II Gen and Fifties Gen mentors. Seeking their mentors’ approval, they, like them, ridiculed the values of the Sixties Gen. In the same way, they deplored the self-analysis and visionary qualities of the Sixties Gen folks around them. “Shove (or chuck) me into shallow waters, before I get too deep,” sang Gen X icon, Edie Brickell, in 1988 in what became a kind of Gen X anthem and justification for being shallow as well as permission for ridiculing the values of their “elders” of the previous generation. In it, she displays Gen X’s disdain for “heavy” talk, or thinking. She adds that “philosophy is the talk on a cereal box” and that “religion is a smile on a dog.” Basking in her ignorance of her real self — in complete opposition to the values earlier of the Sixties Gen — she sang, “I’m not aware of too many things” and “what I am is what I am.” Adding disdainfully “are you what you are or what?”2 

And Gen X adored the anti-activism and self-absorption of a Billy Joel — also coming into icon status at the time of the Gen X coming of age — who intoned, in 1989, in another pervasive Gen X anthem, another poke-in-the-eye to compassion and activism: “We didn’t start the fire.” As if it mattered. Never noticing the defensiveness and denial evident in that, the song expresses that all the problems of the world, which might be cause for concern, have been going on from time immemorial. He intones “It was always burning, since the world’s been turning.” The implication is both defensive — i.e., we didn’t do it — as well as apathetic. That is to say, it’s a part of our reality forever, so there’s nothing anyone can do about it.3

Mister Joel also includes a defeatist: “No, we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it.” Which does express the futility of the times after Sixties Gen idealism was roundly denounced, reversed, and ridiculed by a resurgent WWII and Fifties Generation segment in the population exemplified in the personage of America’s president during the 1980s, Ronald Reagan. “The Gipper,” Reagan, was not only of the WWII Generation but also abounded on television during the 1950s: in General Electric Theater, for example, which ran from 1953 to 1962. And on the movie screens during the late Thirties, the Forties, and the Fifties, he starred in such notables as Knute Rockne, All American; King’s Row; and Bedtime for Bonzo. Again, the Fifties was the time when the Fifties Generation was coming of age.

Incidentally, supporting evidence for this analysis abides in that Mister “Piano Man,” Billy Joel was noted for walking on stage with a drink in his hand. Taking cues, thereby, from WWII Gen icon Dean Martin, another acclaimed imbiber, this shows in the persona of Billy Joel the return to and glorification of feelings-repressing alcohol from the mind-expanding drugs of the Sixties.

Hey, It Was Tough!

Still, on the other side of Gen X — those who were facing their underlying dynamics and were continuing the evolution begun by the generation before — there was anything but that kind of denial and defensiveness. In the example of the Gen Xers who carried around a pacifier and displayed other aspects of a “regression” (according to Mayr and Boelderl), these youth were not only displaying an insight into their feelings of sometimes being needy babies, on the inside, they were actually flaunting this awareness, as if to shame, or slap the face of, or be “in the face” of their parents who did not see their needs when they were babies — however effortfully and obviously they sought to demonstrate them as infants. Thus the symbols, during their youth, needed to become more and more shocking and obvious.

On one side of Gen X, they denied, in keeping with their parents and the powers-that-be. On the other side, they flaunted, defying those same segments, and in doing so showed a desire to deal with and work out what their other cohorts were keeping below their awareness and under covers.

Look at what you did to me! 

This attempted shaming of parents by flaunting their inner dynamics is shown even more blatantly by the Gen X Goth and vampire aficionados in regard to their, predominantly, Fifties Generation parents. For example: the jeans with requisite holes around the knees which abounded at that time was screaming out, “You didn’t take care of me; you made me feel like a poor, orphaned, ragamuffin child.”

The piercing of mouths, nose, ears, and even tongues shouted,

I am in pain, dammit! Can’t you see that when you stick needles in me as a little baby that I hurt? How can you be so insensitive? Can’t you see that when you refuse to breastfeed and thus nurture me orally that I am forever damaged there, ever painful there? What does it take, my sticking pins — safety pins make the point even more that it was when I was in diapers — in myself to make you see that I hurt there? 

And, of course, the black clothes, the hideous macabre makeup, and depressed, sullen expressions were exclaiming,

Look, you might think we’re a wonderful family and everything is hunky-dory here; but I wish I were dead! I’ve felt so much pain, from in the womb, at birth, and right after birth, that I wish I’d never been born.

Also, somehow in courting death, I have the feeling that I might somehow be reborn again into a good life, not like this place of torture and tears, right from the beginning, where my welcome into the world consisted of being drugged, handled like an object or piece of meat, blasted by bright lights, scrubbed by rough cloths, having needles and suctions stuck in me, blasted with noise, made to lie on cold stainless steel surfaces, and then bundled like a tamale so that I could not move … making me feel again like I was back in the hellish womb where in the later stages, for a time that felt like an eternity, I felt unable to move and was suffocating for lack of sufficient oxygen … and the only action that was possible was for me to scream my bloody head off for long periods of time or go into a stupor — which is what I did, alternating between them. 

Can’t you see that I’d rather be dead than live in such a world of insensitive zombies like you? Hell, in fact, to further drive the point home, I’ll even look and act like a zombie, I’ll try to appear as unfeeling and morose as you all seemed to me, especially at my birth. And I’ll go a step further and mirror yourselves back to you by becoming enamored of vampires…. 

Can’t you see that you sucked my very life force, my blood, and turned me into an unfeeling vampire like you, by suffocating me in the womb, poisoning me with your toxic blood which you both sucked from me and then forced down my throat!

Different Levels, Different Defenses

It is instructive at this time to note that Arthur Janov once compared the defenses that characterized the youth of the time — the late Sixties, early Seventies — with those of their parents and older people in general and came up with findings that amplify my own assertions here.

“Mind’s Made Up, Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts!”

Specifically, Janov found that older people — clients of his as well as others of whom he was aware — were characteristically more repressed, more split off, more prone to dissociation, more defended and, most importantly for our uses here, tended to use defenses of denial and obfuscation against inner information and impulses. Correspondingly, they tended to use drugs that repressed and blotted out reality, such as alcohol and nicotine; and they tended to be sexually repressed. They tended to suppress their tension and hold it in for all their worth. They were also more compulsive; they acted out their inner dynamics unconsciously, with little awareness of their origins within themselves.

“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

Truth was greatly feared by these older folks — who would have been of the WWII and Fifties Generations — and all attempts were made to fend off incoming information that might threaten the delusional reality set of the conscious mind. This left them open to the characterization: “My mind’s made up! Don’t confuse me with the facts!” which was leveled at them by anti–Vietnam-War protesters. In more recent years, as Tea Partiers, Republican conservatives, and Trumpsters, it is no wonder they have engaged in a war against education and against “hollywood,” as really they are at war with new information.

Consequently, Janov found that the dominant mode of reaction, when threatened, was to act out aggressively against the supposed “oppressor.” Like prenates up against an overpowering womb, they are in constant war with overwhelm.

“Peace, Out”

On the other hand, Janov found that his youthful clients — under thirty — tended to use defenses of excess, release, and addiction, or to be unusually lacking in defense mechanisms. They were more impulsive. They tended to have weak barriers to incoming information, to be open to negative unconscious content, even at the expense of their self-esteem, and to be tension expressers. They were therefore more likely to be sexually promiscuous than repressed, and they tended to use drugs that opened them to information and unconscious knowledge — such as marijuana and LSD.

Consequently, they were less split off from their unconscious truth … though it made them uncomfortable … were less repressed, and, if anything, used defenses of masochism, self-denial, and self-inflicted aggression or depression. Truth was more important to them than emotional comfort. They tended to go out of their way to dig up negative information about themselves, and they accepted the low self-esteem and sense of self-worth that came with that kind of openness to truth.

Their delusional reality set — if it could be called that — entailed taking on the worries and cares of the world as their own, since their openness to their own cares and worries allowed them to empathize with others in obviously similar situations. When triggered into their Pain, their dominant reaction was to take it inward and beat themselves up with it causing depression. In doing so, they showed they would rather hurt themselves than hurt another.

Generation Gaps … Again

I don’t believe you need to be a rocket scientist to see that Janov was discovering an historical — one might say millennial — “changing of the guard” as regards access to the unconscious, openness to personal truth, and lessening of the tendency to act-out early trauma in violent or belligerent ways. The older generation had more tendencies to blame others, to find scapegoats for their ills, and to act-out violently on such targets.

The younger generation had more tendencies to look inward and to blame and punish themselves … and to prefer to hurt themselves before hurting another. They would more likely cut themselves than cut another; they would more likely commit suicide than kill. The youthful generation might also become alcoholic, addicted to drugs, or do something else to injure themselves … rather than act it out on another.

And again, Gen X presented themselves on both sides of this dynamic. Most of them, as youth, returned to mind-numbing and insight-eliminating alcohol, like their parents. Which resulted in the increase among youth of booze which was noted to occur during the late Seventies and early Eighties. Whereas the opposite side of Gen Xers who were similar to the Goth and vampire folks — and who aligned with the Sixties Gen values that still lingered — took to the mind-expansion drug, ecstasy; and they began the phenomenon of the rave, which is a partying dancing get-together that tapped into said use of ecstasy.

Less Wars, More Suicides

In any case, this “acting in” of the open-minded sector of Gen X and of the children of the Sixties Generation, the Millennials — as opposed to the acting-out of most of Gen X and the Fifties Generation — is indicated as well in the rise of teen suicides in recent decades. So you might say that the tradeoff we are currently getting is a reduction in the use of wars and racism to solve problems — that is, a reduction in the tendency to act-out one’s Pain on others and to scapegoat. However, since the perinatal trauma is still there, and one is even more conscious of it, we have increased suicides.

We have not had a world war or dropped a nuclear weapon on people since World War II; yet we suffer unceasingly from relatively less loss of life in regional conflicts and the self-inflicted harm of air, water, and food contamination and from radiation poisoning from nuclear power plants. We have not had millions killed in genocides or purges since World War II, but we have suffered lesser loss of life in uprisings for democracy in China, Iran, Syria, Southeast Asia, and the Arab world. We have not had lynchings, and racial riots have ceased; though we have suffered less lethal damage from culture and class wars, increased incarceration, creeping fascism, police brutalities and murders of Blacks, and struggles for economic justice.

Overall then, less death, more suffering. Less killing in wars, more suicides. Less large-scale atrocities, more depression. On a collective level, we are taking our conflicts increasingly inward.

Still, as deMause pointed out, “Those considered ‘neurotic’ in each age may often be a higher psychogenic mode than those considered ‘normal,’ only they must stand the anxiety of not sharing the group-fantasies of the age.4

The Conflict of Psychoclasses

However, beyond merely anxiety of not getting the benefit of being supported within the dominant neurosis, those who, like Sixties youth, advance past the normal illusions are actively targeted. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman is killed,” is how I have phrased it. We see this at work in the Seventies and Eighties in America, where, after the murders of protesters at Jackson State and Kent State, the wealthy American orchestrators on the Right instituted a “conservative backlash.” Part of that included pervasive ridicule and misrepresentation of the youthful activists and “hippies,” who had dominated the worldwide consciousness of the previous decade of the Sixties.

On the other side of that, those who are threatened by the rise of consciousness suffer, as well. DeMause puts it that, “each historical period robs their less advanced psychoclasses of group defenses, and drives into ‘insanity’ people who previously were considered ‘normal’ because they could use group defenses to prevent regression.”5 This is something provocative to ponder. In obvious examples of this, we see that racists, smokers and misogynists, even sexual abusers, for that matter, are having a tougher time of it today. When only a half century or so ago, they would be part of the supported, even heralded, “normal.” Excuse me if my sympathy goes predominantly toward those who are targeted for reasons of being more noble in their leanings … e.g., the activists and hippies … and not so much to those who are being left behind for good reasons and in the cause of a better society and less suffering to the innocent.

DeMause expounds on this idea using an example of how this played out earlier in history. He writes, “This same principle of psychoclass conflict is the cause of the much-discussed abrupt rise and fall of witch-hunting in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The accusations against witches were actually identical to the fetal fears about the Poisonous Placenta…. For witches only did exactly what all monstrous goddesses and menstruating women always did; as the infamous 1488 Bull of Pope Innocent VIII states, they ‘have slain infants yet in the mother’s womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the earth, the grapes of the vine, the fruits of trees [and] hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving.’ That Satan, whom witches were accused of consorting with, was also the Poisonous Placenta can be seen from his beastial horns, red color and serpentine umbilical tail.”6 

His point is that the witches and witch-murderers were opposed to each other along prenatal lines, with the one, the murderers, acting out the prenatal horrors of what I call the PMEs of late gestation hell. Which is what deMause phrases as related to the “poisonous placenta,” which is projected out as a Satan operating in the world. Whereas those not projecting these prenatal dynamics — the “witches” or those like them, and thus being part of the advancing psychogenic class which led to us today — were alternately oppressed and murdered and later became part of the norm, giving rise to much “anxiety” on the part of the witch-murderers. The response of these suddenly-made-uncomfortable witch-murderers, by the way, was to concoct another evil to explain their discomfort — an Illuminati, portrayed as related to a supposedly all-powerful, Jewish Rothschilds family. And under this banner — projected onto the Jews, later on — these less-evolved folks perpetrated more atrocities through actions of the Nazis during the Holocaust.

DeMause elaborates, “And that Christianity, like every group-fantasy, was engaged in a never-ending struggle against the placental Satan was hardly new to these centuries. What was new in the Reformation was advances in childrearing among a minority which produced a psychoclass conflict powerful enough to ‘turn the world upside down and strip the European psyche of many of its most basic defensive group-fantasies and rituals. This collapse of the Christian group-fantasy in the sixteenth century by a more advanced psychoclass plunged the less advanced psychoclasses into terrible anxieties about repressed wishes previously bound by medieval Christian beliefs and rituals.”7

So, this is like the youth of the Sixties, four centuries later, threatening the previous generations. For the WWII and Fifties Generations sense their time is over, just like the frightened medieval Catholics. These outmoded generations are, relatively, “insane,” then, in comparison to the advance of consciousness related to more advanced child-caring. And it causes the older group, then and now, “tremendous anxiety.” In those times it was projected onto “witches” and heretics and the otherwise eccentric. In the Sixties it was projected onto the hippies, the activists, and the Boomer generation in general. That it is, and was, always ludicrous is readily apparent. We saw that recently as the representatives of the previous psychoclass took to the streets and campus grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11th and 12th, 2017. As the Nazis and White supremacists chanted there, “Jew will not replace us!” As if, seriously, Jews, or anyone really, was going around trying to oust them. Don’t know whether to laugh or cringe here.

DeMause continues, “As psychohistorian William Saffady puts it: ‘The abandonment of religious ceremonies … would produce, they implied, a danger in personality of a Christian man, transforming him into a beast’ who might even break out into a mass incestual and patricidal acts once traditional ritual was dropped or changed.”8

We will see later how this idea that actual and helpful truth erupting in the midst of mass insanity is often feared as being congruent with an end of everything and of all horror busting out is the norm in changing times. This is especially brought out in “The Secret of Men” sections and chapters of my Dance of the Seven Veils I and the soon to be released, Back to the Garden. In these I demonstrate how patriarchies equate truths that are a threat to their privileged status with the most extreme kind of dire consequences and how any infractions along those lines are punished brutally. Perhaps you remember when, in 1989, Salmon Rushdie had a fatwa — a call for his assassination — issued against him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran, after the publication of his, to Muslims, “heretical,” The Satanic Verses. Whereas I give one major example in my works mentioned of where the lies of the patriarchy being revealed led to a transformation of culture along progressive lines. Many other examples are currently extant, if one thinks to look around in these changing times. The #metoo movement, currently ongoing in America, is one come to my mind immediately as demonstrating this transformation that comes with the exposure of patriarchal falsehoods and coverups of elites. My personal hope is that the current exposure of Republican lies and chicanery — brought to awareness by the corruption of Donald Trump — will have a similar effect in moving America forward.

Concerning deMause’s example, however, he states, “For instance, once transubstantiation (the concrete reality of the eating of Christ’s body and drinking of his blood during the Eucharist) began to be questioned, the oral cannibalistic desires released from this group-fantasy then had to be projected into the ‘cannibalistic’ witch, who was believed to eat babies at nocturnal meetings which parodied the Eucharist.”9

Along with this we had the arising of group insanities like the blood libel I wrote about earlier. Which was related to the attacks on and murder of Jews.

“So, too, many group-fantasy defenses — against fetal, oral, anal, or phallic material — which were removed from Christian ritual and belief by the minority, then led to terrible anxieties and regressive behavior in the majority.”10

DeMause, in this last, is saying that when ritual was denied, well, “all truth was liable to break out!”

To complete this idea, deMause writes, “Thus what Trevor-Roper calls ‘the general crisis of the seventeenth century,’ from its religious and political wars to its persecution of witches, is the result of severe psychoclass conflict. New childrearing modes by a minority produced modern personality types which changed traditional group-fantasies, threatening the majority of less-advanced psychoclasses with being overwhelmed by fears and wishes which could now only be projected into heretics, revolutionaries and witches. It was not until the invention of a new group-fantasy, ‘national sovereignty’ — a new ‘womb-surround’ which could bind the conflicts of the personality — that the religious wars and witch-hunts of the early modern period could be ended.”11

The point is that we are better off uncomfortable than engaging in wars and holocausts. Taking back projections might lead to overt neurosis in the majority and in insanity, psychosis, even, as we see erupting in America today with the rise of Trumpsters and racists. However, better an overt psychosis than one hidden and deemed “normal” from which slavery, pogroms, witch-burnings, genocides, and the like, arise and are perpetrated. And to those, updated to this day and age, we need add, nuclear wars; environmental rape; uncontrollable planetmate extinctions; world wars; fascist takeovers leading to dystopian societies; genocides and massacres as occurred in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia; murder of protesters; random police murders of Black men, the mentally ill, and homeless people; school shootings as happened at Sandy Hook and in Parkhurst, Florida, and mass killings, like we saw in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada; ISIS-like beheadings and wars; and Assad-like murders of innocents, women, and children on the scale of hundreds of thousands, including the use of weapons of mass destruction like chemical weapons; and other such modern atrocities.

Away from Hubris: Nature Balances HerSelf

In this part on healing crisis, we have seen how perinatal acting-out can be of two kinds: totally unconscious and trance-like, or semi-conscious with at least some access. We have looked at how a progression to more access to one’s perinatal underbellies has led to more acting in than acting out. We have seen how it has led to less violence and more depression.

Suffering Beats Dying

At this point, one could make the point that the tradeoff is worth it: That individuals suffering more emotional pain and trauma is preferable to the horrors of world war and nuclear or genocidal holocaust … put bluntly, suffering beats dying.

Nevertheless, we are still looking at the situation from the microcosmic scale. We are talking and acting here like we are the only ones on Earth that matter.

This is natural of course, in that this is always the way we have thought of things — that is to say, as if all things were to be considered around the concerns of humans. This is called anthropocentrism — a form of species-centrism — in which Homo sapiens is considered the reason for the existence of the rest of the Universe.

With the Universe as awesomely and unimaginably large as it is, one might wonder at our hubris in considering things in only this way — that is, from our perspective.

Likewise, with a mind-boggling number of species living or having lived on this planet alone — species numbering in the tens of millions, some say up to a trillion — again one might question the validity of choosing the perspective of our species alone in making our analyses.

How ‘Bout We Step Outside?

Yet this is the way we have always done it. And this is the way I have been slanting my perspective so far in this book.

Now, however, let us do something radically different. Let us walk out of ourselves — figuratively speaking — and seek to stand upon that Archimedean point from which we might view the events currently transpiring.

From such an attempted non-species-centric viewpoint let us view this emerging pre- and perinatal unconscious as it is currently manifesting in humans. However tenuous our attempt, let us at least try such a new-paradigm viewpoint. For certainly all old-paradigm ones — containing all the hubris of anthropocentrism that they do — have failed in their attempts to save our species and indeed have contributed to such a likelihood.

Let us attempt to see through the eyes of Gaia, now — from the viewpoint of Earth itself — as we look at how the current human predicament may in fact be an example of Nature balancing HerSelf. With both perspectives in mind, we can have a complete picture. We will return then to look at where there is cause for hope, what we are doing wrong as well as where there are positive trends and forces at work, and how we might let go of the self-defeating and instead apply ourselves to fostering the forces of good, which are going on in global consciousness and the globe itself.

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Gaia’s Cure and Eden Arise:

Through Gaia’s Eyes, Nature Balances HerSelf … Aided by Gaia We Rediscover Our Natural Self

 

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“…we as part of Nature are also regulated by Nature….”

“As we edge our way, in a myriad of ways, toward global destruction, we increasingly ‘sicken’ ourselves both physically and emotionally, mentally in the process. And this ‘sickening’ is one of an eruption of unconscious material that causes us to psychologically ‘return to the drawing board’ and seek solutions — both inner and outer — to our misery.”

“…this ‘sickening,’ this seeming decline or going ‘down,’ can really be an ‘up’ … it can be viewed as part of a necessary ‘negative’ retreat for the purpose of bringing in new information and re-evaluation.”

“…this more fundamental human nature is the result of a more fundamental imprint of symbiosis with the Other, as was the case in the womb surround during the relatively blissful prenatal period.”

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

“…the situation today … could easily be seen as a prologue to an apocalypse and just as readily be perceived as a healing crisis preceding a massive consciousness transformation.”

“…some of the things we have thought were problems and indicative of a disintegration of culture and personality are just the opposite: There is a healing crisis going on, and people are becoming weller, not sicker.”

“Certainly, you are different, but this does not make you less than others. Indeed, you are part of the change happening. You are the ones you have been waiting for.”

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In doing the research for this book, I began to speculate on just how many people there are on the planet. Clearly the basic problem is there are too damn many of us here! I began to consider how far we have gone astray from any meaningful or sustainable path for our species on this planet. 

Gaia’s Cure

I then reflected on the effects of the changes we have made on our personalities, on our consciousness in general. As I have said, our situation today affects us daily in ways that are unique and fantastic. However, I noticed some direct and physical effects on us from our environment.

For one, I considered the effects on consciousness of the reduction of oxygen in the atmosphere, which goes with the increase of carbon dioxide known commonly as the greenhouse effect. I considered the discovery that an environment of lowered oxygen and increased carbon dioxide keeps people closer to their repressed pain, closer to their unconscious in general.

For another, I looked at the effects of such changed atmosphere on our physical health and how that might reflect back upon us psychologically. For environmental pollution and lowered oxygen levels each, and even more so together, promotes diseases, general illnesses, hay fevers, epidemics of allergies, and a general weakening of our immune system. All of these, since the Reagan Eighties, we are seeing in abundance. Indeed, as I write this book, in January of 2018, news broadcasts are reporting flu epidemics across America, the likes of which have never been seen, and one wave after another. I realized that people are more and more being forced to go inward — directly as a result of the air we breathe or secondarily out of the fact we are physically sicker — because they are less and less able to go outward in a healthy manner.

One way or another, it appears we are being turned to look inside ourselves, to take a journey inward. It is as if we as part of Nature are also regulated by Nature. It seems our overpopulation and our straying from a cooperative ecological niche for our species is resulting in consequences that are inevitably going to bring us back into line … one way or the other!

Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created

Another physical factor in these effects on our consciousness and feelings is that the deteriorating quality of air and the increasing levels of toxins we ingest are also attacks on ego defenses. This has important yet previously unexplored implications.

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

They found that slight increases in carbon dioxide inhalation invariably brought up primal pain and birth-trauma feelings. That is, it facilitated access to repressed painful feelings from our experiences of birth and infancy, which our ego defenses normally keep “safely” tucked away in our subconscious. Consider for a moment what that means for those trapped in the pollution-ridden cities!

However, keep in mind that increased carbon dioxide is an atmospheric problem that affects everyone on this globe. I recall a TV report when I lived in Denver, Colorado, in 1978. At the time, Denver’s air was rated as being the second worst in the country, behind Los Angeles, partly because the high altitude made for thinner air and thus higher percentages of toxins relative to normal air. The television report proclaimed how the number of hospital admissions for spouse abuse, child abuse, alcoholism, and related violence would soar on days when the air pollution index was high. Think about that, for a minute.

Air Pollution as a Psychedelic

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

However, this reduction in mental barriers to unconscious pain is not experienced or understandable only by those who have experimented with psychedelics. In fact, in at least minor ways we have all experienced it. For one thing, consider how much better one feels in a high oxygen environment. Experimentally, this can be demonstrated, but think yourself how much more confident and optimistic you feel at the seashore, in the forest. Oxygen is invigorating. Well, it works in the opposite direction, as well.

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

The evidence concerning heavy metal toxicity indicates that it can have a similar effect on one’s mental and emotional state.1

Global Cabin Fever

Also, there is the experience of “cabin fever,” with which many people are familiar. We commonly think that simply the fact of being cooped up for a long period of time psychologically leads to wanting to break out and be free, to be irrational and highly prone to emotional outbreaks, and in the extreme to result in delusions and hallucinations. Obviously, this is not the case or else these symptoms would prevail in other situations where one is contained for a long period of time, and they do not. Inmates do not experience it. Oh, they want to be free, all right, but it is not the symptoms of cabin fever they report. Astronauts, the same; keep in mind they are assured of getting optimal oxygen in what they breathe. It turns out there are biochemical reasons — not simply the fact of being cooped up — which account for cabin fever symptoms.

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

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

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

At NASA, they have considered building colonies on Mars! A multibillion dollar project — talk about high-cost housing! Not long ago, the Trump administration announced it wants to go back to the moon. This fascination and irrationality is understandable when you think of it as a symptom of a global cabin fever. Apparently, we not only wish to break out and be free in traffic jams, we have magnified it to wanting to break free of our planet itself — as if Gaia, Mother Earth, were some confining, stifling Mother-womb from which we needed to bust out or die!

Of course, the other symptoms of cabin fever — being highly emotional, irrational, delusional, and prone to hallucinations — we have already discussed as being part of the furniture of our current global reality. I would add the exploding interest in conspiracy theories as one aspect of that. When you have large numbers of people thinking that people in government are reptiles in disguise; that massive sexual predation emanates from the basement of a pizza parlor, which, by the way, has no basement; that the Earth is actually flat and that our belief in its roundness is the result of a massive hundreds-of-years-old conspiracy to have us believe that; that human tragedies and atrocities such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the murder of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, did not happen and were staged events; that aliens have a base on the other side of the moon, watch us from there, and send signals into our brains from it; and that our trips to the moon were events produced on movie sets, how can you not sense an America that is having some kind of “bad trip.”

With others around the globe engaging in massive machete murdering of millions of neighbors in Rwanda; spiraling fundamentalism, women-hating, beheadings, and war in Muslim countries; legislation for death-penalties for homosexuality in African countries; and large-scale murders of addicts and dealers engaged in drug-taking in the Philippines so that an estimated two thousand are already dead, how can we not think that some of that prenatal pain — those PMEs pushing bigotry, paranoia, war, misogyny — is blooming worldwide? Many would agree with me that the world is “freaking out” right now. I believe I am providing some understanding of why that might be happening and, more importantly, what it has to do with our environmental collapse.

Back to the Drawing Board

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

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

Therefore, this “sickening,” this seeming decline or going “down,” can really be an “up” — in other words, it can be viewed as part of a necessary “negative” retreat for the purpose of bringing in new information and re-evaluation. Jung famously wrote that we sometimes need to take two steps backward in order to make a great leap forward, and this may be akin to that. In which case, we might then create anew our more harmonious ecological role based upon this more accurate information.

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

Death as an Ally

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

“Pay attention!”

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

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

The upshot of all this is that with this degradation of the external environment we are forced to go inward, to go back to the drawing board, so to speak, whether we want to or not. Illness on its own often precipitates major life re-evaluations in people, triggering both breakdowns and breakthroughs in them. However, sickness in general and lowered oxygen levels in particular lead to a rising up of people’s repressed emotional pain. They force us to confront the roots of our motivations and patterns of cultural engagement as well as our social and relational styles.

This may be one of the contributing factors as to why folks living in urban environments are so much more politically and environmentally aware than rural folks, as we see most blatantly in the United States as evidenced by its election results. We have “red states” and blue states”; the red states are predominantly more rural ones. Notice also that this divide increases with each election, which is exactly what we would expect as the effects of environmental pollution add to their “benefits” in transforming personalities over time. Excuse me that the irony in all this has me wanting to laugh, here. You know, the idea of pollution having “benefits” … lol. However, no doubt there are many other reasons folks in urban environments would be more aware politically and environmentally — greater access to cultural and intellectual resources and simply the fact of having more knowledge about pollution for having to experience it, being some obvious ones.peace symbol 600 pix

Moratorium

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

So in a sense, Nature’s reaction to our misconduct is to cause us — by means of the psychological effects induced by the biochemical alterations that are the result of environmental changes — to create new social and cultural forms. We cannot help but do this. And collectively, cumulatively, it cannot help but result in massive cultural changes of one form or another. We see its power in the uncontested installation of a President Trump in the United States. I contend it has equal power to foster the positive, as we can see from the massive worldwide resistance to this event. 

Eden Arise — The More Natural Self

However, what is that “deepest programming” and would it not be even worse than its “civilized” overlay? Well, many have proclaimed, in these strange days, that it is our Western estrangement from Mother Nature — our particular need to control — that is at the core of the threats to the end of life on this planet. In such a case, one needs to regain harmony with Nature and acquire a consciousness of cooperation … not control.

It Is Cooperative not Controlling

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

And when, as an adult, we reconnect with this more fundamental human nature, this more fundamental imprint, it manifests in us as a tendency toward that same kind of reciprocal relationship — cooperative, synergistic, and mutually beneficial. Only, as an adult, the Other with which this reciprocal relationship is had is society and Nature. For these bear the same characteristics and relation to the adult as the womb did to the fetus. So would that deeper human nature be worse? Absolutely not. The opposite is true.

Our more fundamental human nature — back to Eden.

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

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

Looking Through Gaia’s Eyes

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

Yet, do not forget that this deeper human nature is inseparable from the joy grids I unveiled in the previous part of this book. Need I mention that this action by Gaia, ideally, makes us all happier?

Acting out.

Granted, some people are not dealing in a healthy or positive way with the material that is arising. Instead of re-doing their basic programming, these people “act out.” Thus we have increased crime, aggression, hostility, one person against another; the installation of political demagogues, the rise of militias, alienated survivalists, and gun fetishism; and blatant racism and misogyny.

This fact of increased aggression is glaringly apparent in our big cities. Many there are not integrating this emerging information from outside their ego boundaries, from the unconscious. Sadly, they are instead venting the energy of their Pain — to which our degenerating environment is opening them or giving them access — in violent, destructive, wasteful, self-destructive, and pathetic ways.

However, one can also look to the grasping at racism, bigotry, religious intolerance, misogyny, nationalism, and fundamentalism, which are not primarily urban phenomena by any means. These conduits of hatefulness are just as much a response that people are using to the feelings of Pain, uncertainty, insecurity, and doubt that rise up, especially initially, in conjunction with these emerging truths.

Similarly, a great majority of people in general in our society are using drugs of one form or other to gloss over and obscure this emerging material rather than facing and integrating it. The current opiod epidemic is merely one more to lay alongside that of increased crack and heroin abuse. If nothing else, it shows how this response — formerly confined mostly to the urban, the poor, and minorities — is now spreading to the suburbs and afflicting America’s White population. All in all, these kinds of responses add up to a tragedy. And it is something that, if these reactions end up prevailing, could actually do every one of us in.

Helping out.

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

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

Most importantly, since we are One and these others are actually ourselves in different garb, to the extent we are able to show compassion and be of assistance, we should not always want to step aside.

Beyond this, it is incumbent on those of us who are able to do what we can to aid these others. In Chapters 49 through 52 — concerning hopeful and helpful things, catalysts and resources — we look at the ways those of us who are able might want to apply ourselves to helping in general and the ways we might put ourselves in positions to affect those others of us who need help. In those chapters, we will look at possible solutions to our problems which have not yet been considered.

In general, we are all helped by becoming more aware of our problems and by doing what we can to raise consciousness in others, by whatever means of protest, of confrontation with powers-that-be, or of communication and education. There are also specific things that can be done to catalyze changes in the larger community and world. We will look at them in upcoming chapters, and they will be more directly focused on in Books Twelve and Thirteen of the Return to Grace Series, which will be titled Back to the Garden and Primal Return.

“Eve of Destruction” or Scenery of Healing?

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

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

A Call to Centaurs

Obviously it is too soon to tell. Yet all things considered — an emerging prenatal and perinatal unconscious, the wounded deer and return of the centaurs, a consciousness transformation in generations, and Gaia aiding us by keeping us unable to look away from our problems — there is reason to hope. 

Most important, this book shows that some of the things we have thought were problems and indicative of a disintegration of culture and personality are just the opposite: There is a healing crisis going on, and people are becoming weller, not sicker. If nothing else my hope is that those wounded deer and centaurs reading this will realize they need no longer despair about the suffering inherent in who they are and their lots in life. Certainly, you are different, but this does not make you less than others. Indeed, you are part of the change happening. You are the ones you have been waiting for. Your inner turmoil — wrought of a pre- and perinatal unconscious seeking resolution within you — is not a sign of imminent collapse and is not dangerous. It is more likely leading to a break through, not a break down. You are merely part of Gaia’s, and the Universe’s, continual efforts to become whole again; this time through you.

As Hesse expressed long ago, a bird in being born out of its shell needs to destroy a world before one can be born. We also are being born; we are part of the world’s renewal, the Earth’s rebirth. So above all, do not lose heart. Instead embrace your role in this transformation. We do not know whether we will succeed or not. Nonetheless we do know that we are in tune with and participating in the most incredible transformation this planet has ever seen. We have the opportunity to be lifted up in the most righteous and magnificent of causes.

And in so doing, we can step out of our individual sufferings by dedicating ourselves to an effort on behalf of all others. We can cease the endless pain and woundedness of the melancholy deer. We can, like Chiron, embrace our wound and transcend it by seeking the healing of all. We can ultimately lay our suffering down in sacrifice to save our Promethean world. It cannot do it. It is doomed without us. It is up to us. We are the centaurs, my friends.

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Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence … What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Children?

 

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“Societally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, ‘sicknesses,’ negativities, and the Pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them.

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

What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Children?

Most folks would think to that question there would be only one answer desired by virtually all humans. However, as I showed earlier in the chapters on how humans want to die — “Humans Want to Die” and “People Are Fucking Nuts!” — that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: We saw how there is a huge percentage of our human Earth citizens, and a part of all of us, who want to “throw in the towel.” This has always been true of humans, yet it is of critical importance only now.

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

How Do We “Like” Life?

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

How do we “unlike” fascism?

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

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

Our coming into this world makes us want to leave it.

Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. As we have seen, this Will to Death arises from human’s unique-among-all-species primal pain rooted in our singular way of coming into the world — our unusually traumatic human birth. I showed, in Part Two, how our wanting to die emanated from our particularly traumatic time in the womb and at birth.

We need look deeper.

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

We need know where exactly to focus our efforts to be successful. 

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

So we look now into the elements of that pre- and perinatal unconscious manifesting currently as a Will to Die on the grandest scale imaginable.

Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

We need refer to the work of the two researchers who are particularly relevant to our understanding of the elements of the perinatal unconscious in a way as to avert collective, worldwide disaster. Again, these are Stanislav Grof and Lloyd deMause.2

Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than … Alive …

DeMause writes, “The group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars ‘pollutes’ the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men ‘soft’ and ‘feminine’ — a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification.”3 

Why we invite war.

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

Why we allow fascism.

Similar to the reason men go to war is why men allow fascism. Men are more terrified of appearing “soft” than having the boot of totalitarianism on their neck. In addition, what deMause says about bringing war upon us can be said also about allowing fascism, inviting totalitarianism. For whether we are fighting enemies of another nation or struggling to survive against oppression at home, we are involved in a daily struggle. Secret to us, we feel better being engaged in a dramatic battle, though it brings us suffering and misery.

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

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

A quick aside. The fact that the majority of Americans actually didn’t vote for Bush and so tried to choose happiness over struggle is a source of hope for us in all this. The same thing with Hillary in 2016. Even an election result tweaked by hackers and massive misinformation could not hide a three-million plurality in votes; we’ll never know what the margin would have been in favor of Hillary. Regardless, that positive trend is a hint of what is coming up, in this book.

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

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

Grof’s basic perinatal matrices, his BPMs, describe these four aspects of our inner urges. I will reiterate them here and refer to them along with deMause’s cycles of social-historical violence and war to pull apart the roots of our current apocalyptic dilemma. However this time, we will look deeper into their configuration for any clues as to how we might make practical … and beneficial for people, peace, and planet … use of them.

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

The first of Grof’s aspects of our unconscious is basic perinatal matrix I, BPM I for short.

Prosperity and progress equal feeling “soft” and “feminine.”

Grof’s BPM I is sometimes described as “oceanic bliss.” It relates to the time of peace and sometimes euphoria most of us had prenatally. This is an experience that predominates especially in the first six months of gestation, although Grof believes it continues directly up till the time just before birth when the contractions begin. I elaborated on this discrepancy between my and deMause’s view, and Grof’s view earlier. The difference does not change the dynamics here being described. The feelings are of a time in the womb when one was mostly undisturbed.

On the social, macrocosmic level, it is the period described in the quote by deMause above when there is a period of national “prosperity and progress” and feelings of being “soft” and “feminine.”

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

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

To further review Grof’s schema and its relation to deMause’s cycles of war, I want to remind you that BPM II is related on the individual level to the time near the end of pregnancy when the fetus is no longer rocking blissfully on the waves of oceanic bliss but is trapped in an ever more confining womb.

“No-exit” claustrophobia. 

As the fetus grows in size, the suffering becomes greater; no doubt this is the source of the common-sense belief that growing has to involve suffering, for example, “No pain, no gain.” At any rate, the feelings are those of claustrophobia and “no exit.”

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

Where the hell we get the idea of hell. 

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

As birth comes nearer, prenatal malnutrition with its accompanying hypoxia increases, since the neonate’s increasing size and weight press down on and constrict the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the placenta, when the mother is standing. The decreased blood supply means a reduction of life-giving oxygen as well as the buildup of toxins that would otherwise be taken away by a normal blood flow. So feelings of suffocation as well as skin irritation and other feelings of wallowing in waste matter — deemed poisonous placenta by deMause — increase. This is the period I discussed under the headings of the prenatal matrix of events, the PMEs, in previous chapters.

Kurt Cobain, from the rock group Nirvana, obviously tapping into this matrix, in his song, “Sad,” sang, “You’ll wallow in your shit, and you’ll think you’re happy.” And then, “You’re really in a laundry room.” A version of the song was released on a reissue of their album, In Utero, in 2013.4 Note the title.

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

Bloody War, Bloody Birth — BPM III

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

Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

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

“Busting out all over.” 

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

As I said, the societal analogue to BPM IV, or actually being born, is a war’s end. It is no coincidence that in triumph or peace, the two-finger peace symbol is used. What better way to signal we have come from constriction into openness, specifically through the vise of a mother’s cervix, out from between two legs. As John Lennon so aptly put it, while flashing the peace sign frequently, “War is over … if we want it.”5

Mission accomplished … not!

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

Cycles and Their Solutions

All of this is to say that in society, as in the womb, a period of uninterrupted and relatively undisturbed feelings of growth leads to feelings of depression — being too “soft” and “feminine,” but also “too fat” in the womb and, therefore, extremely constricted and compressed. These are the roots of men’s fears of appearing feminine and women’s fears of becoming fat.

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

What Can Be Done?

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

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

However, you might ask, how do we consciously participate in these drives, not merely be driven by them?

Lloyd DeMause, in his article, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence” (1995), called for kinder and gentler birthing and child-caring practices to mitigate the ferocity of these forces within humans and to help us avoid an otherwise inevitable planetary disaster. He was restating what others in my field of prenatal and perinatal psychologist assert, which includes myself, Thomas Verny, and Stanislav Grof.

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

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

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Finding the Weakest Spot

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

Real, not blindly delusional, action is required.

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

We can no longer afford otherwise.

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

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

Feeling Good Is Not Bad

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

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

To this extent, we would do better to turn our backs on the patriarchal world, the values of which center on power. As Marilyn French (1985) expressed in the title of her classic work on women’s history, we need to go Beyond Power. What we need to go to are feminine values, which once prevailed — they abounded for millions of years of prehistory actually. These values center on happiness; full experience of life; wholesome, supportive relationships; harmonious family life; and work that is joyful, shared, and chosen by those who participate in it. So if we want to know where we could go that we might actually be successful, we need to look to the way we were for ninety-nine percent of the time our species has been around. And to that end, we need to look to women. We need to learn that felicity is a good thing, not an inferior thing.

The hippies were right.

If you do not see how radical this is, let me remind you — or tell you, if you were younger — how vilified were, and still are, the hippies of Western societies. And what is it that they are most reviled about? Basically, “hard-working,” miserable, jealous folks, forced into lives of bleak conformity resented like hell what hippies demonstrated: Which is that happiness is a good direction to go in life — in all the ways feminine ethics would extol — family, relationships, fullness of life experience, adventure, and pleasurable, creative work.

If you look at any of the many criticisms directed at hippies, you will notice three things: (1) Who directs these attacks are mostly men; (2) the central target of their attack is the happiness that “hippies” apparently have and the consequent charge that they did not have to “work hard” to get it; and (3) the intense anger they arouse has often to do with a femininity their critics see in them. In this, you can see clearly that the attacks on hippies are a version of a patriarchal misogyny that societies have been afflicted with since the beginnings of civilization. The ferocity of that women-hating comes out, now, against hippies and gay folks, for the same reasons.

As insane as this feminine-hating is, still, it provides a clue, in keeping with our prenatal and perinatal dynamics. In it, we can discern a place we can first look to derail the vicious cycles of the ages.

Changing the Patterns of Millennia

However, many of you are still asking, how? How do we derail violence? How do we convince people that feeling good is not bad? For these unconscious forces, these cycles of aggression, have been pulling our strings for at least four thousand and in many places as long as ten thousand years. How can we change such an engrained pattern?

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

Chasing the mirages of the future …  “It’s never enough.” 

For individuals also, if they are to heal themselves, have to learn how to appreciate success and to stop sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways they do. They must learn to appreciate the softer, more “feminine” side of themselves … the one that is okay with peace and that lives in the present. For folks, like nations, act out cycles of war and peace. Most individuals re-create their birth struggle persistently, throughout their lives, in mini-cycles of “war,” which are their struggles to achieve. And people are driven to struggle to achieve because they cannot be pleased with what they have.

Relating back to deMause’s societal schema, people cannot simply enjoy their “prosperity.” People cannot stop to smell the roses occasionally. We cannot count our blessings and feel contented with what we have. Nor can we enjoy the natural pleasure of being alive in the moment. Not that achievement is wrong, in itself. Yet achievement as the focus of one’s life as a defense against feeling one’s Pain, which is trying to arise in order to be healed, most certainly keeps one emotionally infantile.

“Wrong … it IS enough.” 

Indeed, instead of peace and serenity what characterizes us humans — for the most part because of our having birth trauma — is a persistent drive to always have more than we do. We find that every accomplishment or success is short lived, with inexplicable depression following it. For each new attainment does not bring the expected (unconscious) rewards and leads us almost immediately to a new struggle, a new accomplishment to be sought.

Humans are driven to chasing mirages of better times somewhere off in the future, and we fail to live in the present. We feel unsatisfied with what we have and are continually deluded that some new possession, accomplishment, or love “conquest” will bring with it the missing happiness. To counter this, we need to allow in ourselves the feeling that what we have is enough and to appreciate what we already have — notice it, maximize it, use it, relish it. In the olden days of the 1950s, folks were advised to “count their blessings.” That is part of what I am talking about.

Becoming self-actualizing instead of self-sabotaging.

When people are aware of the way they unconsciously sabotage their happiness, they sometimes seek help. And if they seek help in the experiential psychotherapies, they are enabled to work through their birth trauma so that they are no longer driven out of the moment, with its pleasure and pain, into an imagined but never attainable pleasure-full and happy future. They can become self-actualizing rather than continuously and compulsively self-sabotaging.

Learning that it is enough.

So people derail their cycles of drivenness and their tendencies to sabotage their successes by learning to enjoy their “prosperity,” even if it is the simple pleasure of being alive. And when they act to add to that pleasantness, they do so, not out of drivenness, but out of feelings of flow and the simple joys of acting and actualizing one’s tendencies, talents, and desires. They become self-actualizing instead of self-sabotaging. Yes, primal people achieve. Yet such natural folks do it as an expression of their core self, not in avoidance of it.

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

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

Getting by, with a little help from our nature. 

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

Hierarchy of Healing 

As I pointed out earlier, this occurs in a manner similar to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I am terming it a hierarchy of healing. We saw in Chapters 23 and 24 how this has played out historically, let us now look at how it can be employed in any particular individuals’ life, relative to their personal growth. The basis of the theory for this application is that one’s needs to “grow emotionally” … that is to say, to clear away one’s unresolved trauma … come to the fore when one’s physical survival needs are relatively taken care of. And arise they unerringly do, given any opportunity to do so.

“Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!”

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

Allowing our society to be honestly, blatantly “sick.” 

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

“Stand in the place where you are … just stand.”6

Societally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, “sicknesses,” negativities, and the Pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them. Individually, we need to stop running away into activity. We need to stop and smell the roses, and feel the thorn pricks of issues arising with that to be resolved. We must learn to be human beings, not merely human doings.

Are We Doing This?

But can societies do this? Are they doing this?

Apparently not. 

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

But then again …  

However, there is a pattern in change that things cannot really change until the negative slide has “hit bottom.” These negative forces cannot be gone beyond until they have wasted themselves in desperate acts. This could not better describe our current situation, both in America, with Trump and the rise of racism and the right, and globally, with the increases in violence and bigotry.

Yet, at this time, also, unbeknownst to most, positive forces are strengthening in the wings, burnishing their skills, tempering their character and nobility, fully capable when the time comes to take over. There are so many examples of how this works in both social and individual histories. One powerful example of this is Nelson Mandela. His nearly thirty years in prison he used to make himself more capable, and worthy, for when his society was ready for the change he represented.

As well, currently, the Millennial Generation is readying itself in the wings. Coming out again and again — with the election of America’s first Black president in 2008, in the form of its Occupy movement in 2011, “feeling the Bern” in America’s 2016 presidential election, and most recently in the worldwide Women’s March of January 2017 and the consequent victories of women candidates in state elections in November 2017 — they are showing their strength, aptitude, and political acumen.

Perspectives like the one I am advancing are blossoming outside the mainstream, honing themselves to provide excellent direction at the time our societies are fed up and experienced enough to take one.

Women are perhaps the best example of those readying themselves, waiting on the sidelines. For over fifty years, since the “women’s liberation” of the Sixties, and for over one hundred if you consider its origins in the suffragette movement at, and prior to, the turn of the century, women have plodded and pushed, determined to right the wrongs of the patriarchy, to assert their self-esteem and worth, and to realign societal values more humanely, more in line with those “feminine” values I have been mentioning.

Nonetheless, the disturbing, and more visible, thing to mention about change is that prior to a major paradigm shift, the forces on the decline always wage a fierce, desperate battle … a bloody retreat, a burning of the fields, and nearly suicidal and totally reckless forays. That also we see currently with the rise of reactionary and fascist governments throughout the world.

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

We currently can point to Assad, willing for upwards of half a million to die so that he can retain power. And other tyrants. Perhaps Trump, we are beginning to see. It certainly seemed that desperation was brewing beneath the surface in the Trump administration after only a couple months at the helm. Subsequent developments and an ongoing investigation into his campaign’s collusion with Russia in the 2016 election has him increasingly cornered. He famously characterized a photo-op event with his military leaders on 6 October 2017 as “the calm before the storm.” Asked by reporters, at the time, what he meant by that, he responded, “You’ll find out.” Without a doubt, then, we are rightfully alarmed at what Trump might do to try to distract us from his predicament.

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

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

Before continuing, one big misconception around that last point needs clearing up: Homophobia is at base not fear/hatred of homosexuals, it is terror/hatred of the “feminine” and “softness” inside of the man himself who is homophobic. This feminine within men, repressed inside, is projected outside onto homosexuals. What is beaten down inside is similarly attacked in the outside world. And this fear of the feminine — with psychological roots in the potency of the perinatal struggle against the mother’s body — is sociologically the result of thousands of years of “civilization,” still continuing, in which men are threatened with disapproval, ostracism, ridicule, attack, or worse for not repressing their softer sides down to the level of the norm of their group.

Boys learn they must be less alive to survive.

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

Girls learn they must feel less pleasure to be liked.

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

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

The point I make is that seeing so much of this pathos, hate, and bitter fear and anger in our modern societies is hopeful, in one sense, for it means we are near the end of the cycle. Certainly, it could get worse. But I personally do not see how we could go much further on this path to oblivion without going past the point of no return. Perhaps we are not meant to succeed. Perhaps we are doomed. Perhaps we are already past that point.

However, I know in my own life — and that is the only true basis anyone can have for knowing how things really work — that, without fail, every seeming “loss of ground” was a prelude to an even bigger “advance.” And prior to that, in the center of that darkness of unknowing, it seems to be as utterly no-exit hopeless as a prenate’s experience just before the birth process begins. So, if something positive is coming, we won’t know it from here.

We must go backwards a few steps to make a big leap forward. That is the way individuals are. And societies and populations are just collections of individuals. As the Tao symbol, pictured here, depicts, the seed of light is in the depths of darkness. More commonly, “it is always darkest before the dawn.” We can hold on to that, for one thing.

So Let Us See. A Scenery of Healing?

With these considerations in mind, the next chapter will evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. In “Spiral Dancing and Messy Healing: Driven to Rebirthing Rituals and Regressions in the Service of Society … Where There Is Real Hope,” we will look for any indications that this standing firm in the face of the rising up of the repressed social Shadow — allowing the pain of it and facing it foursquare, hashing it out — is to be found in the current social arena.

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

27

 

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.Spiral Dancing and Messy Healing:

Driven to Rebirthing Rituals and Regressions in the Service of Society … Where There is Real Hope

 

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.“Trauma demands repetition.”  — Selma Fraiberg

“…not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual … oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a ‘rite of passage’ … would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.”

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At the point when the pre- and perinatal unconscious arises, individuals — and collectively, society — have the choice to face toward the emergence of these feelings or to turn away from them.

In turning toward these feelings, we embrace, feel, and — if we go deeply enough into that — we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.

In turning away from them we shun them, act them out, and are enslaved by them … thus we act unconsciously, trance-like, zombie-like.

If we face these inner forces — we call that feeling them … in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth — we re-member, or integrate, them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.

Driven to Rebirthing Rituals

Or the individual and society can avoid this going within — which is depicted in the peace symbol (shown on the right) — and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down; it is the Satan symbol, the pentagram (on the left). Which satanic symbol is, for reasons that are important in this context, if you think about it, remarkably like the symbol of the Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo daVinci (on the left). Which symbol came to signify science, but also transcendence of Nature and anthropocentrism.  

In any case, in acting out the pre- and perinatal unconscious, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. One tries to “be strong” in the face of feelings, yet one is actually driven and directed by them — they “take over one’s mind.” This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can possess one’s soul.

So, in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course, war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out … the greatest struggle.

Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process. It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth.1 The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill.

For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.

A “Spiral Dance”

These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain — this birth trauma — in an unending cycle of feelings having these components:

  • Periods of feelings of expansion
  • Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
  • Aggression
  • Release

Then back around again. This is basically the basic perinatal matrices. In order, the above describes BPM I, II, III, then IV.

In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war … the struggle, the battle … is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression … akin to a kind of “limbo” … before life can begin anew. A “re-conception” is necessary.

The pattern of our first nine months imprints us for our entire human lives.

The reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this re-conceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength — akin to the expansion that follows winning. Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.

Can’t get no satisfaction.

And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor. (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battles truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.

Where There Is Real Hope

It would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. However, progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior. Or we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.

We are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or find ways of dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way. While some ways are better than others for processing this underlying perinatal dynamic, any are helpful that provide some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.

However, do not confuse that to mean that dealing with these inner determiners is about “controlling oneself.” It is anything but! Processing these predilections and pulls is about noticing that we have a self that is different from these things brewing inside and pushing us around. It is a realization that we have a deeper, a better, a harmonious caring and loving self that wishes not to participate in them, especially not to do the things that harm others or oneself that these dynamics impel us to do. You see, responding positively to them is not about a Freudian superego demanding one be good little boys and girls — humble, unassuming, obedient to authority, fearful, and inhibited — so as to deflect the anger of our introjected parents. Rather, it is about turning toward and acting from a deeper, compassionate, an empathetic self who feels unity with others, feels their pain as one’s own, and so does not want to harm — indeed, wants to help and love — them.

Why There Has Been Futility

What we absolutely do not have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability — through will or reason alone — to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and thus with positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them.

The Vanity of Will, the Impotence of “Reason”

Trying to reason with our traumatically-driven compulsions and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as making a logical case to a lizard to persuade it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a Gila monster.

What we call “reason” is largely just rationalization.

This impotence of intellectual understanding in the face of these patterns of self-destruction occurs because these schemas are rooted in memories existing in an emotional and entirely dissociated part of the brain, which is hardly touched by neocortical admonishing of any kind. As deMause correctly points out, “[The fetus’s] early experiences have been found to be recorded in a separate early neural network — a dissociated emotional memory system centering in the amygdala, quite distinct from the declarative memory system centering in the hippocampus that is established in later childhood.”2 

Disclaiming these cycles — which inevitably pass through “darkness” — and reliance on “will-power” to change one’s patterns, which includes self-sabotage, has been exposed in its impotence in modern times. We see as evidence the growing acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness and, indeed, counter-effectiveness of psychoanalysis.3 

Railing Against the Darkness

So the question begging to be asked is, What then do we do about it? How do we deal with these pernicious cycles?

And when these elements erupt in society in harmless, possibly healing, ways how do we view them? Do we, as Mayr and Boelderl do in their article, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe,” decry the regression … as if by disclaiming it we could somehow keep the cycle from happening?4

Fuddy-duddy patriarchal scholars perceive collective regression as dangerous.

In this article, which was published in The Journal of Psychohistory in 1993, Mayr and Boelderl described some — what to them were — “alarming” developments going on among European youth. These instances, some of which we dealt with in a previous chapter, were depicted as forms of regression — a regression that was viewed by Mayr and Boelderl as anything but safe, let alone positive.

Now, at the risk of making them sound, not like scholars, but like a couple of old fuddy-duddies doing what curmudgeons have done down through the ages — which is be “alarmed” at the state of youth today! — I continue. For though that seems like the case, it might just come across that way because they were operating out of rather outdated notions of psychoanalysis. As I will show also in an upcoming chapter where I deal with the Oedipus complex, the Freudian viewpoint is not only riddled with patriarchy. As well, psychoanalysis presents a secretive form of male domination, indistinguishable from the patriarchal culture that spawned it, and woven through additionally with the anal-retentive thinking of some rather stuffy, and morose, old guys … past and present.

Relatedly, one might argue what is the point of speaking to some errors, even if that is what they are, by some relatively unknown scholars. It is not as though their views were influential or widely disseminated. The answer to that is that they exemplify a common Freudian, psychoanalytical viewpoint on this material and these events we are observing in society. It is that attitude I wish to address, through them. Also, their views were actually published in the journal devoted to psychohistory; they were approved by the editor who is also the founder of the field of psychohistory, Lloyd deMause. And I can tell you from my own participation in the field, the psychoanalytic views of Mayr and Boelderl are ones that predominate there, excluding virtually all others … even by deMause himself! And this, despite the fact that these views are in direct conflict with some of deMause’s, in my opinion, more astute theoretical offerings. You’ll see what I mean as I continue.

Furthermore, this unchallenged, this “primitive” psychoanalytic view is one that is common in society and throughout the social sciences. As much as social sciences claim to be separate from Freudian thinking — or from any psychological viewpoints, for that matter — they fall prey to these sloppy habits of thought. However, claiming to be distinct from psychology, sociologists like everyone else take as true what has gone undisputed in their cultural beliefs. Hence, without a different explanation of these events, their responses, as well, tend to flow through the same fuddy-duddy channels, engrained in our cultural beliefs for millennia. It is at times like these I see revealed to my eyes the patriarchal hold on academia that has persisted for hundreds of years, since the patriarchal days at the beginning of science. Sadly, the feminist and indigenous perspectives come to light in recent decades make hardly a dent in the engrained fallacies of generations of scholars.

My point is that if I am to assert something different we need to look at that with which what I am saying contrasts, at what is out there that usually is used to interpret these things which can provide a point of comparison. And Mayr and Boelderl, unluckily for them, provide a perfect example of the wrong thinking that is woven seamlessly through mainstream social and scientific commentary.

Be that as it may, Mayr and Boelderl describe this supposed “regression” in Europe, saying the form it takes includes the surprising popularity of a pop song, sung by a very young child, expressing the difficulties of being a baby; the wearing of baby pacifiers as ornaments as a powerful fashion fad; and being enamored of troll-like dolls, which according to the authors indicate a “regression to the womb.”

I would say a progression to the womb, by the way … I will soon explain why.

Mayr and Boelderl write, for example, that the situation of collective regression in Europe “strikes us as being high-explosive [sic] and bitter enough.”5 In another place they exclaim, “What is horrible about this insight [about the increasing collective regression in Europe] is the additional observation that regression is becoming still more radical.”6

This response of railing against the “Darkness” is a Freudian response. Yet it is not even a neo-Freudian one, since regression in the service of the ego — which began to be seen as ever more important by neo-Freudians — is not acknowledged, let alone considered.

Social Progress Requires Regression

That regression in the service of the ego is not considered is confirmed by Mayr and Boelderl in their statement that “Regression by definition is a process of repression and a defense mechanism.”7

These are surprising words, in light of the concept of regression in the service of the ego and awareness of the clinically based evolution of psychotherapeutic theory since Freud’s original postulations, nearly a century ago. They are even more awry if one considers the universal, cross-cultural, implementation by societies of rebirthing rituals to handle the same kinds of forces with which we are confronted. The anthropological literature is rife with these accounts.

Most of all, the authors are ignorant of a storefront full of regressive techniques that have arisen in psychotherapy over the last fifty years. All such methods acknowledge the benefits of going back in time to the roots of one’s present day difficulties and resolving them there … and coming back then to the present and integrating them. Hardly a “defense mechanism” and “repression,” this is quite the opposite. For these techniques require the lowering or elimination of defense mechanisms so as to allow repressed material to arise in consciousness to be resolved.

Further, Grof has meticulously shown that regularly going into altered states of consciousness where one confronts this material — altered states that he scrupulously calls “nonordinary states of consciousness” so as to avoid any unwanted connotations — is a prime function of cultures. It is a cultural function which occurs nearly universally, although it is woefully lacking in Western culture for the most part.

Moreover, these words by Mayr and Boelderl indicate a conflict with or ignorance of some of the tenets of psychohistory, as laid out by Lloyd deMause. Considering that deMause is both the editor of The Journal of Psychohistory as well as the founder of the field of psychohistory, this apparent ignorance is more “alarming” than the actions of those “wild and crazy kids these days” in Europe. For deMause’s theory of evolution of historical change requires regression on the part of parents, while parenting their children, as the primary “engine” of sociopsychological progress.

DeMause writes, “The ultimate source of all historical change is psychogenesis, the lawful change in childrearing modes occurring through generational pressure…. Psychogenesis depends upon the ability of parents and surrogates to regress to the psychic age of their children and work through the anxieties of that age better the second time than in their own childhood.”8 If that is not regression in the service of the Ego … I would say in the service of the Self, however … nothing is.

Nevertheless, this mistake by these two social scientists would not be all that important if it were not that they present the perfect example of the kind of uninformed attitude we have, generally speaking, in Western societies about these forces … these supposedly “regressive” forces. This attitude is reinforced by a Judeo-Christian tradition of specialness and scapegoating in the West. This attitude is a pervasive feeling about these things; specifically it, itself, is the actual defense. While this is a widespread reaction to our inner realities, it is far from science. It is even further from the truth or reality about these things.

“Stop It!” … Yeah, That’s Gonna Work *sarcasm*

At any rate, if we adopt this Western, Judeo-Christian, Freudian tactic of decrying the darkness, we are as effective in derailing the cycles of violence and war as Freudians are in what amounts to admonishing their clients to “stop it!” when it comes to their neurotic self-sabotaging.9 

For people cannot will themselves to merely stop their cycles of neurotic self-sabotage and self-destruction, which are the individual manifestations, the acting-out of their birth traumas. As mentioned, these directors of action operate out of a different part of the psyche, and brain, than one’s conscious willing part. They are simply not accessible, so hardly amenable, to rational or willful input. And changing one’s thoughts to affect them is about as helpful as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic to keep it from sinking.

Regression in the Service of Society 

With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.

These schools/strategies include the psychiatric, involving the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians, who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the Ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the Ego in a higher Self, a spiritual center, beyond or transcending the cycles.10

Other approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths, which predominate in popular culture, basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these. They have their origins in the “mental culture” programs dating back to the late Nineteenth Century and the Christian Science movement arising in the Twentieth Century. They are all variations on the “Stop it!” modalities employed by Freudians, however with a metaphysical bent to them.

Finally, the newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy. These include primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of meditation — experiential ones, Vipassana meditation, for example — Reichian and bioenergetic approaches, many of the other breathwork approaches, and the gestalt therapies. Also included in this category would be certain shamanistic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy — experiential ones, ones that involve reliving traumas — and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives, called “regressive” techniques, that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology. Of course, some of these methods are far more on point in processing this material than others.

The view I advance, however, is that from a good number of these other-than-Freudian perspectives — and all of those that acknowledge the importance of regression in the service of the Ego — and from the perspective of the entire field of experiential psychotherapy, the answer to the cycles of violence, war, and death-rebirth is to stop the acting out, not by simply intellectually decrying it — as if one can actually talk oneself out of one’s inner fears and one’s Darkness/Shadow — but by reliving those cycles of violence at their origins … their primal roots. In the case of perinatal forces — those forces from “the dark side” — this is accomplished by reliving the violence of birth, a perinatal trauma that is thoroughly and masterfully delineated by Grof and deMause.11 And even better, by reliving — through primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, or methods like them — the excruciating prenatal experiences of crowdedness, suffocation, poisoning, and irritation-burning that we experienced in the last trimester of our time in the womb.

Auspicious Collective Regressions

However, from this perspective of experiential psychotherapy — one completely congruent with and grateful of deMause’s contributions in psychohistory as well — regression, in Europe, or elsewhere, is not seen as something to decry, disclaim, be horrified of, or be seen as dangerous but is seen as an opportunity. Regression is certainly not seen as a form of defense but as the opposite of that. Regression is part of a process of diminishing one’s defenses against one’s internal reality of Pain and trauma.

At base, the reason regression is not a defense is that we were less defended when we were younger. Certainly we were less adept and refined in our defenses when we were younger, and that accounts for the confusion and the mistake in saying they are “by definition” repression. However, we were also less defended overall. Employing less sophisticated defense strategies does not mean one is becoming more repressed, however much these cruder defensive strategies appear inappropriate in an adult. Rather, going back to a time earlier amounts to retreating from later defensive strategies, which are invariably more defended and more repressed, to lesser repressed ones.

Another reason psychoanalysts and I see this in two opposite ways has to do with the fact they see folks getting more mature and sane as they get older … so going back means to them going back to a lesser state. Incidentally, for those familiar with other of my work, this is the same as the way of normal thinking around evolution, which I call devolution. Whereas I see going back in time to be going back to a more open, more Divine, more spiritual, a healthier psychological state … and similarly, I see our primal state, as gatherer-hunters, to be a more evolved and spiritual state than what we became after “civilization.”

Indeed, if you want to know the true dangers of these underlying repressed traumas, it comes from the kind of total repression, dissociation, and projection that we saw exhibited in all those — certainly not “regressed” but instead rather “tough” — folks who acted out in WWII in a way that tens of millions would die; who perpetrated Vietnam and Iraq which resulted in millions more being murdered; and who head the corporations today whose policies kill millions on an ongoing basis — currently on course to raise that to billions — through environmentally ignorant and socially reprehensible policies.

Now, these folks are not “regressed.” No. With them? “Regression” would never happen … “god forbid” it should! In their minds. But I’m sorry, it is not pacifier-sucking adolescents who cost me sleep at night. Rather, it is these “normal,” successful, “tough-minded” men and women — not to mention those “stable geniuses” like Donald Trump — who scare the bejeesus out of me! In fact, Donald Trump is a wonderful example of how culturally “normal” and highly functioning individuals are not only projecting wildly and thereby acting out insanely and dangerously — as in Trump’s views on race, gender, nuclear war and North Korea, and the environment — but are covering up really sordid, secretive, and twisted inner psychopathologies. We see this in Trump’s urine fetishism, his fears of being poisoned — which from the perspective of the PME’s discussed earlier is highly suggestive, and dangerous — and his sexual predation … the pussy-grabbing and all that. No, “normality” and being highly functioning are not equivalent to sanity, let alone being an evolved individual.

The upshot of my proposed way of looking at things is that examples such as the “blatant collective regression” in Europe — more so to the extent they are relived, released, and integrated — are entirely auspicious for the eventual elimination of war as a collective device of acting out. For it is far less likely aggression will be used by such “regressed” individuals as a way of defending against the painful feelings coming from one’s personal history. Which Pain each of us, to some degree or other, carry around, all unknowingly, and which pervade, in one way or another, in forms subtle and not so subtle, every moment of one’s consciousness in the present.

From this experiential psychotherapeutic perspective that I am presenting, we have a different feeling about developments like those that Mayr and Boelderl describe as collective regression in Europe and that Lawson describes as occurring at rock concerts.12 

From a more enlightened viewpoint these cultural phenomena should have us, if not giddy about the future, at least hopeful of a gradual decrease in the use of war and violence. Why? It is because the youth who display this “regression” so blatantly were brought up by a more advanced form of child-rearing than that of previous generations, so they have fewer defenses, fewer layers of obfuscation covering up their unconscious psychodynamics. Consequently, the regression is seen more clearly in their behavior.13 

Unflinching belief related to total dissociation. 

Why is this important? DeMause points out that people do go to war, and that prior to it their perinatal dynamics come to the fore, as evidenced by perinatal-laden words and images in the media and in leaders’ speeches used to describe the situation and its dynamics. Thus, our leaders take us into war, they act out their perinatal dynamics … and we in following them act out ours … in such gruesomely overt ways exactly because these dynamics are so hidden, repressed, and overlaid with defenses that the conscious mind has absolutely no access to, and hence insight into, them as being part of one’s unconscious dynamics.

Consequently, the conscious mind is completely able to convince itself that those dynamics are actual, real, and doubtless parts of the situation and therefore require an actual, real, and extreme response. The amount of resolve required to act-out war can only be wrought of an unflinching belief in the rightness, the absolute correctness of one’s perspective of the situation and therefore of that extreme course of response. And that can only be brought about by a total dissociation from one’s perinatal traumas, and a complete and utter projection of it on the outside — the enemy, to be specific. Just as well, it takes quite of bit of defenses and obfuscation of reality to block out the empathy we naturally feel for others’ suffering, which precludes our ability, otherwise, to kill them in war.

Blatant “sickness” related to being real. 

The contrary is also true: When there does not exist that total and complete dissociation of the perinatal trauma — when it is, as in Europe and rock concerts currently, closer to the surface, less defended against, less repressed and, hence, more blatant — it is more accessible to consciousness and less likely to be acted out in the extreme as in war. Instead it is more likely to be acted out in less extreme forms, such as jumping into mosh pits, carrying pacifiers, listening to baby tunes about the, very real, difficulties of being a baby, and so on.

Finally, it is more likely to be actually allowed to emerge in consciousness and be relived, and thereby “healed” … and gone beyond, to be replaced by something more benign and more socially constructive, and thus to be removed forever as a motivation to war or violence.14 This is the auspicious view of the developments described by Mayr and Boelderl, as well as many others along those lines of “regression” occurring in our postmodern times.

Janov, in describing the processes of the healing of neurosis that occurred through his modality, pointed out that a permanent resolution of underlying trauma initially entailed an aggravation of symptoms and a symbolic acting out. That is to say, the underlying dynamics become more blatant and apparent in behavior on the path to healing.15 

Beyond that, Janov was the first to note that the acting-out and overt neurotic was closer to being “real,” and therefore really sane, than his or her highly functioning and “normal,” but repressed, rigidly defended, and unfeeling neighbor.16 That is important to keep in mind in looking at all that is going on. For one thing, it tells us in which direction to look for help, as well as from whose influences and advice we need turn away.

Evolution of Parenting — We’ve Been Getting Saner

Finally, the correctness of the view that being “crazy” in an insane world might be more sane has been borne out in recent history. DeMause describes an evolution of parenting from ancient times to the present which involved ever-decreasing psychosis and violence, and increasing caring and consciousness of the needs of children. He connects this decrease in violent child-caring to ever-decreasing violence and lesser occurrences of psychotic acting-out in societies.

DeMause labels the most common modern parenting mode the socializing mode. Short of the quite recent helping mode — which only really rose to prominence in the last three decades, with the Millennial Generation — the socializing mode is the most advanced and most humane.

Lest there be any confusion, I wish to point out that my own theoretical understanding differs from deMause’s in one important respect. While I agree with his evolution of child-rearing over the course of civilization and within recorded time, I believe he is wrong about prehistory and what primal peoples were like and the kind of child-caring in which they engaged. He depicts prehistoric societies as psychotically oblivious of the needs of children, engaging in, first, infanticidal; then, second, abandoning; then, third, ambivalent modes of child-rearing. Whereas it seems to me the overwhelming evidence and increasing numbers of anthropologists point to a natural “organic” child-caring being employed in the mists of the past quite a bit more advanced than even many modes employed today.

I believe the change from the loving parenting we see in many primal peoples and in Nature among many of our planetmates to the infanticidal, abandoning, and ambivalent modes he has described for early historic cultures is a product of that ever-increasing control of Nature that went into full gear with the agrarian revolution, some five to ten thousand years ago. So, I am saying that brutal parenting was a consequence of “civilization” and was at its worst at the beginnings of recorded time.

However, I agree with deMause that we have been gradually evolving to better modes of child-caring over the history of civilization to the most sane and psychologically beneficial methods employed in recent decades. Which, you might want to note, are very much like the modes of the earliest humans. I describe why and how we lost our connection with Nature and our loving ways of parenting — how we left “Eden” — in my books, Planetmates: The Great Reveal (2014), Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man (2016), and Back to the Garden (scheduled for publication in the summer of 2019). A substantial part of Back to the Garden, in fact, concerns itself with exactly this pattern of a return to our primal heritage at this time of history and the precipitating arc of devolution from Grace that occurred with civilization.

The Cycles of Time

I believe my understanding shows once again the way in which much of what modern folks thought of “development” — including it being linear and increasing from “darkness” to “light” with ourselves always at the top, conveniently — is wrong and merely part of an anthropocentric bias and an ethnocentric heritage. For more and more, as we put aside those blinders to reality, we notice the evidence of the cyclical nature of everything — from our lives (ashes to ashes), to the physical Universe’s expansion and contraction, to the vibrations at the subatomic level, the waves in the sea, the turning of the Earth, and the revolutions of the solar systems. And I contend now also, the so-called “history” of our species on Earth. This is the thoroughly postmodern idea that human time is also cyclical, with over and again peoples returning to earlier halcyon times only to “fall” away from them.

The worst of times quality of current events.

This idea of time as cyclical not linear is in keeping with Eastern philosophies, as well as indigenous ones. Hindu thinking currently has us at the depths of the Kali Yuga, the worst part of the cycle right now, with matters to be reversed very soon and the best of times just ahead. And, as I have been describing in my works Falls from Grace and Primal Renaissance: The Emerging Millennial Return (1995) and will be directly pointing out in my upcoming book, Primal Return, we are currently seeing a most necessary return to a more harmonious way of being and a more natural self. And with it, requiring it, to some extent preceding it, we are evolving to the most advanced mode of loving parenting.

The “best of times” nature of our parenting.

Psychohistorian Glenn Davis, following deMause, analyzed the most advanced form of child-caring short of the most recent helping mode — the psychogenic parenting mode deMause termed socializing — and found that it comprised four submodes. In order, beginning in the mid-Nineteenth Century to the mid-Twentieth Century and each one a more “evolved” and humane one than the previous one, they are the submodes of psychic control, aggressive training, vigorous guidance, and delegated release.17

Oh, be-have. WWII Generation received aggressive-training and vigorous-guidance parenting.

Davis concluded that in America the Vietnam War was perpetrated by individuals belonging almost entirely to the aggressive-training and vigorous-guidance psychoclasses.18 

Questioning authority and oneself is good. Boomers received delegated-release parenting.

Yet the Vietnam War was brought to an end largely as a result of the efforts of an antiwar movement whose largest component was a Sixties youth brought up under a more advanced delegated-release child-caring mode.19 

The delegated-release mode, which resulted in the phenomenon of Sixties youth and the counterculture, is the most “advanced” mode short of the helping mode.

“Let’s collaborate.” Millennials received the most advanced parenting — the helping mode … “We just want you to be happy.”

The helping mode is the child-caring mode employed widely by the Sixties Generation for their children, the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y. So, a helping mode of parenting was enjoyed by the children of a delegated-release psychoclass, the Boomers. Sixties youth are seen, psychologically, to have the most the most “advanced” Ego structures short of their children taught within a helping mode.20 

Walking in Another’s Moccasins

It is obvious that these Sixties youth did not have the same unflinching and unqualified belief in the absolute rightness of their country’s position in Vietnam as did many of their parents. This is obviously the case in a psychoclass of youth chanting a generational mantra, “Question authority!” and whose more extreme members would at times even go over to the perspective of seeing the war from the eyes of the “enemy,” the Other.

As I mentioned earlier, among the Sixties Generation we saw Jane Fonda’s journey to Hanoi, the waving of North Vietnamese flags by protesters, and the carrying of little red books on the sayings of Chairman Mao. These are obvious indicators that the generation as a whole was open to seeing the war from the North Vietnamese perspective: That is, as a conflict perpetrated by a foreign nation that was hypocritical in its espousal of democracy in that it prevented democratic elections, which would have without doubt elected Ho Chi Minh. Instead the U.S. installed a puppet-ruler in the South, making Vietnam a virtual colony of the United States. From this perspective, the Vietnam War was for the Vietnamese as much a war for independence as the American Revolution was for the U.S.

This is just an example of how there are two sides to every issue and how an attempt at empathy or “walking in The Other’s moccasins” — made possible by a closeness to a perinatal unconscious that is also an opposite perspective than that of the conscious mind — can lead, at the minimum, to the reluctance necessary to prevent engaging in at least the most blatant and horrific forms of violence … against others, but consider also, against Nature.

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.Perinatal Generations:

Millennials Are Sixty-ish, Gen Xers Are Fifty-ish; Generations – Their Drugs and Politics

 

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.“…this was a time [1968] before experiential therapies abounded and when personality ‘adjustment’ — an emphasis on social normalcy and conformity — was the yardstick for sanity. It took fifty years of experiential therapies and an awareness of our imminent self-destruction to fully get the point that adjustment to an insane society might not be all that great, or sane, a thing.” 

“This latest cohort of the Millennial Generation also has seen increases in idealism, activism, and volunteerism. It is no coincidence that we have finally seen a rising up of activism again in the Occupy Wall Street movement; the Ferguson and ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement; the movement to support the protesters at Standing Rock; the Bernie Sanders campaign; and the ‘not my president’ protests and resistance to Donald Trump, as exemplified in the worldwide Women’s March of 22 January 2017 — all of which involved Millennials taking the lead and supported, taught, and inspired by their Sixties cohort parents.”

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At any rate, is there evidence that this undermining of the self-righteous position necessary for the instigation and carrying out of war and ecocide — this ability to see at least somewhat from The Other’s perspective and not just one’s own — is in truth correlated with a closeness to perinatal dynamics, a closeness to the unconscious for that generation of youth, those of the Sixties? The answer: Absolutely yes!

The Perinatal Generation

As mentioned in a previous part, sociologist Kenneth Keniston did psychological studies of members of the Sixties Generation.

He was inspired to do so through his noticing that he was seeing something really unusual and radically different in these youth than what had ever been seen or noted before. This led to his fascination with discovering what made them so different. He documented his findings in two books — The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society and Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth. Roughly speaking he chose to study the unconscious dynamics of both the “alienated-hippie” and the “activist” sectors, respectively, of that generation.1

What he discovered was a generation with striking perinatal access and personality traits. While he did not attribute this to closeness to the perinatal unconscious — very little about perinatal psychology was known at that time — the perinatal influence in these youth could not be more evident in his descriptions.

He described an increasingly prevalent, unusually influential, and relatively newly emerging personality type — which he discovered in his sociopsychological study of youthful college students — with … ahem … “alarming” indicators of perinatal infusion. “Alarming,” that is, if you are a Freudian psychoanalyst or a social scientist of the same ilk as Mayr and Boelderl. Indeed, this was fifty years ago, and they were actually considered to be alarming, even as Keniston himself indicates in his usage of the term alienated to describe them. Remember, this was a time before experiential therapies abounded and when personality “adjustment” — an emphasis on social normalcy and conformity — was the yardstick for sanity. It took fifty years of experiential therapies and an awareness of our imminent self-destruction to fully get the point that adjustment to an insane society might not be all that great, or sane, a thing.

Raging to Reenter, Digging Under Ground, Fantasy of Fusion

In any case, among other traits, Keniston found these youths to be characterized by fantasies of a “rage to reenter” the womb and a “fantasy of fusion” with the mother. This took all kinds of perinatal forms including stories of wishing to dig one’s way back into the earth; a fascination with and wish to return to the past, the long forgotten, and the underground; and a desire to find oblivion in some enveloping medium … even at the price of self-destruction!

Existential Angst, Death and Dying, Peter Pan

Some of the other noticeably perinatal elements of Sixties youth were existential angst, being enamored of death and dying, and a refusal of “normal” adulthood. (See BPM I, BPM II, and BPM III.) And think about it. Are these descriptions also not a lot like what we have heard of the generation that followed Sixties youth … the so-called Generation X?

Perinatal Arising in Generations Since

For Generation X, black clothes, white painted faces, and black lipstick were the fashion statement of the Eighties and Nineties.

Vampire Apocalypse … It’s All So Black and White

And what was this statement of that sector of Gen X youth — a statement that began in the Seventies among what was then called the “punk” movement, which includes now the fad of vampirism — except the same fascination with death as Sixties “alienated” youth had. This mental set is an obvious reflection of the death-rebirth aspects of the perinatal I have been discussing. The “perinatal veil” through which youth saw things was becoming even more blatant in the generation after the Sixties Generation.

Being Gratefully Dead

But this trend began with the Boomer Generation. Need I remind of this same theme of being dead and then reborn coming from the Sixties as in being “gratefully dead”? It seems that this trend toward easier access to and higher awareness of perinatal influences has been going on for a while now.

A Perinatal Printout Is Indicated by Drug Use

There are other perinatal similarities between the youth of the Sixties and the generations to follow — this time specifically with the Millennial Generation, the one that followed Gen X and who are predominantly the sons and daughters of Boomer parents. Millennials were born after the mid-Seventies; they are a different cohort from those born 1960 till roughly 1974 — Gen X; and those born 1945 to 1959 — the Boomers.

Drug usage rising since the Nineties shows perinatal attraction.

Illegal drug use among youth, beginning in the Nineties, began going up again. This coincides with the coming into young adulthood of the Millennial Generation. Unlike drug usage of the legal and mind-debilitating kind (booze and tobacco), drug usage of the illegal and mind-facilitating kind (pot, LSD, speed, ecstasy) is an indication of an emerging perinatal unconscious. Drugs are intimately woven with perinatal influences in a number of ways. Not only can some drugs bring up birth feelings, as Grof’s work has shown, but the mother being drugged while giving birth to her child can result in drug abuse by that child later in life.

Generations – Their Drugs and Politics

Millennials Are Sixty-ish

There is another overlooked factor or aspect of this rise in drug use in the Nineties by Millennials: These youngsters were the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation who, in their own youth, as we all know too well, engaged in drug experimentation. In fact, this younger generation of drug users has sometimes been called the Baby-Boomer “echo” generation.

Gen Xers Are Fifty-ish

Millennials are quite a bit different from the previous “echo” generation — Gen X. The generation that came to age during the Eighties — Yuppies and Xers — had parents who were born during the Great Depression and World War Two, who had their young adult formative years during the Eisenhower–Joe McCarthy–Presley Fifties. So Gen X was influenced by their parents to conservatism, career-mindedness, and, for drug-of-choice, alcohol.

But this “echo” generation of Millennials has parents whose young adulthood was forged in the rebellion, drug and sex experimentation, activism, liberal-radicalism, and idealism of the Sixties, not the Fifties.2

Forget what you’ve heard about generation gap.

Who the parents are is significant. For, generationally speaking, children do not predominantly rebel to the opposite of their parents’ values. That is a common misunderstanding, a myth disseminated for political, essentially profit, motives. Whereas, Kenneth Keniston (1968), for one, made it clear — referring to studies — that children are paramountly influenced by the values and attitudes … conscious and unconscious … of their parents.

So this most recent cohort of youth, the Millennial Generation, was of course going to be more liberal in their attitude to drug use than Gen X; even if their Sixties Gen parents, in their coming into adulthood, overtly decry or are against the use of drugs. Keep in mind also that many of the Baby-Boomers have retained, not reversed, their acceptance of drug experimentation, and many still believe in and use drugs; many still considering the occasional use of certain types — especially the psychedelics, and to some extent, pot — to be an aid to self-development and/or spiritual awareness.

Family lies not “Family Ties.”

The myth that youth rebel against their parents’ values was expressed and propagandized by the TV show Family Ties. It aired, probably not coincidentally, during the Reagan era in America … from 1982 through 1989 … and it expressed what corporate America wanted us to believe: Which was that Sixties values were arbitrary, not substantial, and were merely the result of youthful rebellion against parents. Which, according to Family Ties, happens in each generation. Hence, it follows that Sixties parents would have Reagan-loving yuppie children like Alex Keaton … portrayed by Michael J. Fox.

This is what the program displayed, regardless there was virtually no evidence of that dynamic in society … at all! Yet it was a fantasy that was planted, and then thrived, in American minds, fertilized with corresponding culture war bullshit and lies, also concocted for their ends. In fact, however, Yuppies and Gen Xers were the children of Fifties Gen parents. Just do the math. I mean for a twenty-year old Alex Keaton to be born to a Boomer, say one, like myself, born in the middle of that generation, 1950, I would have had to have been a father at the age of twelve. Currently, the average age of having a first baby is 26.1 years old. However, the most important statistic is that the average age for having a baby back then was twenty-seven and now is up to twenty-eight. It is an average of 26.1 for the first baby but is twenty-eight-years old as the average age of becoming a mother when including birthing second, third, and so on, children.

Regardless, the most likely age of anyone’s mother at their birth was twenty-seven in the Seventies. That means that an Alex Keaton of about twenty in the year 1982, born 1962, would have, on average, been born to someone who was herself born an average of twenty-seven years before 1962 — which is 1935. The Fifties Generation, come of age in the 1950s, were born during the years 1930 to 1945. It is their offspring who became the yuppies and Gen Xers.3

In any case, Family Ties was an oh-so-convenient portrayal — benefiting the forces of the powers-that-be who wanted to turn back the clock to their materialistic values — of Sixties youth as they came into parenthood. It contributed to the pervasive scapegoating of the Sixties Generation by the Fifties Generation — the Eisenhower–Joe McCarthy–Presley generation — who came into their triumphant phase in the Eighties, that is, took over the reins of society as mature adults. It was part of the war on the Sixties Generation that was exemplified in the Trilateral Commission of 1973, whose conclusion was the Sixties were a consequence of “too much democracy.” So a return to more restrictive, more authoritarian times was called for as the antidote.

As I explain in my Culture War, Class War (2013), this effort by the conservative elites to turn back the clock on cultural evolution was a comprehensive effort, beginning especially in 1971 and marked by the Kent State and Jackson State massacres of peacefully protesting college students on their own campuses. They called it a “conservative backlash” at the time. When in truth it was a movement in society decided on, orchestrated, and propagandized by the wealthy conservative elite. This was the beginnings of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton gave a name to in the 1990s.

Rebellion in youth amounts to being uncompromising about parents’ values not defying them.

In any case, this Family Ties kind of rebellion, however inaccurate, seems to be credible largely as a result of the observation that youth do rebel against their parents. Still, it ignores the fact that when they do — and they do not always — they revolt or rebel, as in the Sixties youth, most often in the direction of being more insistent on actually living the values of their parents, not simply voicing them. Put simply, younger folks are less likely to compromise on their values than older people, who, coming up against the resistances of society over the years, often have made concessions. And thank god for that! Why should youth accept the constraints and inhibitions of any earlier age? Progress would not be possible if they did.

Sure enough, as Keniston (1968) found out — for example, as he described in his follow-up to The Uncommitted in the book, Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth — radical youth had liberal … hardly conservative! … parents. These were acknowledged to be parents from the World War II Generation. Notice that Sixties youth were not portrayed as having Fifties Generation parents, though somehow when it came to depicting the parents of Gen X youth, they forgot how to do their math and claimed that generation was given birth to by folks born approximately ten years before them, not an average of twenty-seven.

When Sixties youth were angry at their parents, it was out of their perception of their parents as compromising and not living out their own expressed ideals, as laid out to their children in raising them. Therefore, Sixties rage against adults came out of their disgust at their parents for “not walking their talk.” As we may recollect, there was the oft-repeated charge of “hypocrite” directed by some of these youth toward their parental generation.

Millennials and Their Sixties Parents

In this regard notice also that this latest crop of young — the Millennials — has also seen increases in voting for liberal or Democratic candidates. They were born mid-Seventies through roughly 2000 (their parents, the Boomers, had children over a longer expanse of time than generations previous and since, for reasons I have dealt with in other places4) and are now in their twenties and thirties. They are the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation.

Their turnout for Clinton in 1992 was the first time since the Seventies that the youth vote went Democratic. Their support of Obama was widely given as the reason for his success. More recently, 2016, they were on the bandwagon of proclaimed Democratic Socialist, Bernie Sanders, as well as of liberals Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama. Now, in 2018, they are supporting a number of liberal personages for political office — notably women — including Oprah Winfrey and Senator Kamala Harris of California. They have also figured prominently in the #metoo movement, which began in late 2017 and continues strongly in 2018.

Occupy Wall Street … Sixties Gen liberals, Millennial revolutionaries?

In the Nineties we saw, despite the AIDS scare, an end to the fledgling “youth celibacy movement” of the Eighties — which had been a movement of Yuppie/Gen Xers encouraged by their Fifties Generation parents. Indeed, the Millennials, echoing again their parents and this time the sexual revolution, were noted for early and/or increased sexual experimentation. 

This latest cohort of youth and early adults — the Millennials are  at this time, in 2018, between eighteen and forty-three years old — also has seen increases in idealism, activism, and volunteerism. It is no coincidence that we have finally seen a rising up of activism again in the Occupy Wall Street movement; the Ferguson and “Black Lives Matter” movement; the movement to support the protesters at Standing Rock; the Bernie Sanders campaign; the “not my president” protests and resistance to Donald Trump, as exemplified in the worldwide Women’s March of 22 January 2017, and the aforementioned #metoo movement — all of which involved Millennials taking the lead and supported, taught, and inspired by their Sixties cohort parents.5

Perinatal Propensities in LSD Use

Lucy in the Sewer with Depression

Other connections between drug use and perinatal influence: Perinatal feelings are very often of the depressive, no-exit type, and some drugs are temporarily effective antidotes for that. Depression itself is epidemic nowadays, indicating the rise of BPM II feelings. There is widespread use of antidepressants in America currently.

No-exit wombs.

Based upon the tens of thousands of sessions of exploration into the perinatal unconscious that he has personally facilitated or overseen, Stanislav Grof has claimed that the roots of endogenous — that is to say, deep rooted and engrained, not just situational — depression lie in the no-exit BPM II experience in the womb prior to birth. Furthermore, my personal experience with depression earlier in my life and my primal re-experiencing of prenatal, womb feelings, as well as birth, confirms his statement.

Psychedelics and Birth: Tune Inward, Turn Back, Drop Down

Finally, psychedelic drugs — LSD, peyote, mescalin, and others … though more discreetly used these days and so less obviously evident — has made a comeback. Various psychedelics and hallucinogens are used at postmodern raves, among many other places. And there is burgeoning interest in DMT — the so-called, “spirit molecule” — as well as ayahuasca, peyote, magic mushrooms, and the like.

The increased use of these entheogens — meaning “toward God,” formerly referred to as psychedelic, “mind-expanding” — points also to perinatal influences in that such psychedelics and entheogens, LSD in particular, can help people to access and to some extent resolve perinatal trauma, when taken for purposes of personal growth.

Corrective on LSD Misinformation

For those who have cynically adopted the line that either psychedelics are another drug that blots out one’s Pain or that they are only used for recreational or sensual/hedonistic purposes or that the kinds of birth experiences that Grof describes as occurring on LSD only occur in supervised and guided sessions, like the ones he offered … for those who have dismissed psychedelics and LSD in any of these ways … let me say the following:

LSD is hardly escapist.

First, psychedelics, especially LSD and to some extent, even marijuana, are known to act in the brain in a way almost exactly the opposite of the drugs used to escape from reality — such as, for example, alcohol, nicotine, or heroin — though this news flies in the face of the myth put out by the all-encompassing anti-drug propaganda machine, which puts all recreational drugs in the same category. This is common knowledge among researchers and scientists who study these things. For elaboration, see my Culture War, Class War (2013), Chapter 3, “Drugs and Generations — Opposing Worlds.” See especially the part on “Drugs and Consciousness,” as well as subsequent chapters of that book.

Drugs — not just for fun anymore.

Second, that mind-expanding drugs are only used for recreational purposes is patently false. Though the vast majority of drug use is recreational, there are in print many examples, and the admissions of many authors, of the use of LSD by individuals and groups for purposes of personal growth. And in my own limited exploration, personal growth was my motivation. In fact, many people are afraid to take the drug LSD, knowing full well that its effects are not always pleasurable or recreational. So why would folks accept that risk if they did not have some other intent, like personal growth, for experimenting on themselves with it?

LSD and birth reliving.

Finally, back in 1970, before I had ever heard of such a possibility of reliving one’s birth, let alone heard of Grof, or Janov for that matter, I learned that at least one person at my university on LSD found himself feeling like a fetus and then going through a process of struggling through a birth canal, and so on. Such events — occurring as they do with no foreknowledge of it being possible, let alone expectation of it — do not have to be induced, staged, or ritually initiated. This underscores the essential nature in our consciousness and personalities of these rebirth processes of healing.

“Most Peculiar, Mama!”

In this book so far, we have considered the apocalyptic quality of our times and the elements of the perinatal and prenatal unconscious. We have included with that a look at the predominant underlying fantasies and myths of our times — our contemporary collective dreams as projected onto the silver screen, boob tube, and printed page, with a perinatal rock heartbeat of a soundtrack — as well as manifesting in current human events and fashioning the very cultural furniture amidst which we weave our lives.

We are watching the prenatal and perinatal influences as they arise on our nightly news programs, outside our windows, and often inside the relational dynamics of our families. To that end, we have taken a look at the anomalous elements of our everyday reality — those confusing and bizarre, newly emerging images that march across our computer screens and reveal themselves in our magazines and newspapers — along with those totally unprecedented cultural, environmental, and social factors that weave the backdrops of our lives.

Going Forward, Explore Our Hells and Heavens

Let us now go deeper. Let us make the connections. Let us explore the way we have reflected our innermost intimate hells and heavens into the fabric of our times. And back again, let us uncover the way the warp and woof of these strangest of days has affected each of us, in our most superficial of behaviors to the most intimate and deepest of our minds. The way forward is down.

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.A Drive to Healing:

Millennial Promise and Prospects of Collective Regression Better Hitler Had Jumped into Mosh Pits

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“…not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual … oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a ‘rite of passage’ … would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.”

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Suffering Beats Dying

Few people knew anything about perinatal dynamics when Kenneth Keniston wrote his seminal work on the “alienated” of the Sixties Generation in 1965. Keniston was clearly no different.

Blushing Troll-Handlers

Yet, and at the risk of repeating myself, I wish to remind the reader that a reading of Kenneth Keniston’s books reveals a degree of perinatal imagery, fantasy, and acting out, especially among “the uncommitted,” enough to make a troll-handling, pacifier-wearing, mosh-pit jumping youth of today to blush!1 

Self-Analysis and Psychological-Mindedness

Because of this peculiar perinatal access, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that Keniston also found an unusual amount of inner reflection — questioning oneself — alongside the more well-known questioning of authority. This he labeled “overexamined life” for the alienated sector and “psychological mindedness” for the activists.

Better emotionally disturbed than “healthily” engaging in war.

So, being close to one’s perinatal imprints, being less defended against one’s inner unconscious painful memories, leads to one being able to question not just oneself — and therefore to be a catalyst to personal growth and a quest for truth — but also the actions of one’s society. It is a counterbalance to our tendency to act out in violence against others as in war, and to Nature as in ecocide. It means people will suffer more inner turmoil and pain, will feel more psychologically “disturbed”; yet they will be less likely to take it out on others, will be less likely to make others or the environment “pay” for what happened to them.

It is still not widely known that psychological disturbances and personality maladjustment in our current insane society and that less defensiveness, not more, are all characteristics of greater mental health, not less. Nor is it readily acknowledged that normal child development calling for adjustment to a patriarchal norm is actually what is not only neurotic but is the vortex of so many of our current societal problems. These facts speak volumes about the conservative nature of psychological thinking and its institutionalization as a branch of medicine, a psychiatry, which is itself an arm of social management and cultural repression.

Indeed, since the time that some of these incorrect yet current ideas of sanity, mental health, and parenting were framed, which was nearly a hundred years ago, we have had several evolutions of child-caring — aggressive-training to delegated-release to helping modes. In addition we have witnessed a cultural revolution, a culture and society cracking under the weight of its obsolescence in rapidly changing times, internet and technological revolutions, the invention of weapons of mass destruction and their buildup to an apocalyptic precipice. Add to that the despoliation of the planet and the extinction of species so widespread, so great, and so increasing in speed that we are looking toward the end of all life in our lifetimes and perhaps — as some are currently saying — the extinction of humanity in a matter of months or years only.2

Nonetheless, regardless the lack of awareness of these facts regarding a better understanding of child development, normality, and sanity, our experiential therapies and improving child-caring practices have demonstrated that greater access to one’s unconscious dynamics, not less, is healthy. Now, let us contrast that with its opposite — wherein unconscious dynamics are wholesale repressed. DeMause writes, “Hitler’s projection of his fears … into Jews and foreigners helped him avoid a psychotic breakdown and enabled him to function during his later life, as long as others shared his delusion of poisonous enemies.3 

Therefore acting out collectively, as in war, can prevent a psychotic breakdown in certain individuals. The corollary to this is that total dissociation from one’s personal dynamics — complete repression of one’s unconscious prenatal and perinatal pain — results in projection on the Other. And it manifests in acting-out behavior such as war, violence, hatred, and such.

Better Psychotic Than Waging War

However, when the consequences of acting out one’s birth trauma, collectively, is millions of people — including oneself — dead in a war, not to mention the uncountably large loss of material and personal resources, it is clear that by comparison a psychotic breakdown is a more benign alternative for either the individual or the society in which that or those individuals act.

Similarly, not providing the outlet of war as a collective birth ritual … oftentimes, for the soldier involved, euphemistically called a “rite of passage” … would allow the genuine neurotic breakdowns, the collapse of people’s defenses, and their opening up to their underlying perinatal dynamics. Thus accessed, they can be healed, or in the least they would prevent the kind of unflinching belief or self-righteousness required for war and violence.

Some folks might even be motivationally paralyzed — receiving information from the unconscious that contradicts and undermines the stance and beliefs of their conscious ego. Nonetheless, when that egoistic stance is slanted, as it commonly is, towards war, violence, selfishness and greed and corresponding environmental apathy, then better one would be indecisive, overwhelmed, and doing nothing.

The Price of Emotional Pain Is Minuscule Compared to That of War

Yet it is true that this neurotic breakdown, of at least a small amount, on the scale of society would result in the kind of collective regressions that Mayr and Boelderl, and Alvin Lawson describe. That is, the cause of peace, of the saving of human lives, requires that people pay the price of encountering their primal pain.

By all measures, this peace price is minuscule. It is even more worth it when you take into account the fact that many people, after initially “breaking down” for lack of a collective … and highly destructive … act-out like war/aggression, will actually succeed in reconstructing a self that is more in line with reality, through the dynamics and means categorized under the term regression in the service of the ego, described above. Regardless of professional help … which would be nice but is not always available or practical … some people just find a way.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight

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

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

America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price

The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as suppression of feelings is of an individual’s growth.

Unfortunately, we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima, and about our environmental collapse in general, such as the increasing and deadly loss of the ozone layer and the worldwide radiation poisoning going on since World War Two, that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss. However, these issues are blacklisted from being broadcast. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about. There have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans are not being told about. There have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on TV and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.

What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?

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

Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation

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

“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?

So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process — however messy that might seem to be — the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times … both the profound and the mundane.

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

Of that, it should be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most “advanced” mode of child-caring — the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic. 

Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.”4

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

No doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties Generation is now in its triumphant phase — the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the Right to rail against the collective processing that is happening, which they do in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. They sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life — woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era.5

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

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

Let the Buck Stop Here!

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

If not us, who? If not now, when?

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

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

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

While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. They called us “narcissistic” for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient, entrenched ways. They thought we were making ourselves important or “special” that way … putting on airs, even.

Actually, however, we were shouldering responsibilities we did not want. We yearned, rather, for a simpler, less serious time, as one can see in our clothes that harkened back to a time of our grandparents and even before that — “granny glasses”; flower-print full-length dresses for women; garb reminiscent of mediaeval, Renaissance times and of archaic gypsy, vaudeville, and circus culture. As one can see in our desire to return to the country; to grow our own food, as once was done; to live on farms and in planned communities like hundreds of years ago, even tens of thousands of years ago, these communal experiments evidenced our desire for true community as we had in our tribal times. This we can also see in our movement for natural foods, grown in composted soil, as was had prior to modern times.

No, we did not want the responsibility, or the spotlight, for that matter. However, we accepted what followed of our actions, which by contrast to the mainstream culture was a counter-culture, thus distinct, standing out, and attracting attention … and discussion, and criticism, and ultimately rebuke and massive suppression. We accepted such unwanted roles — becoming, thereby, the objects of a kind of cultural voyeurism as well as the targets of its reactionary forces — for the sake of all those who would come after us, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself — the only thing that did not crumble under examination — and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.

Thus, our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love … for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn. In truth, only the truly narcissistic and selfish cannot see the selflessness we displayed in our actions to stop a war and change a world to what would be a healthy, happy, and sustainable one.

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

A Drive to Healing

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

Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that — for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe — are not the indications of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed.6

These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing — a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. Just as my generation sought a “regression” to former simpler, but healthier, times, as a foundation upon which to stand to make the next giant cultural leap forward. So, no, this drive to regression, seen in the cultural events of current times, is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.

What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?

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

Better Hitler had jumped into mosh pits.

To put it another way, I would have preferred Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wallowing in the mud at a Woodstock, wearing a pacifier, experimenting with psychedelics, playing guitar in a grunge band … or even engaging in sexual orgies … than the way he did. Wouldn’t you?

So these postmodern signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the U.S., or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healin