Yes, We DID Start the Fire … and Why: Fetal Malnutrition, Latent Worldwide Oxygen Panic, and Why We’re Driven to Polluting the Air We Breathe
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Five: Prenatal Oxygen Hunger and Fire… Why We’re Big on Burning
Oxygen Hunger, the Greenhouse Effect, and Fetal Malnutrition … The Latent Worldwide Oxygen Panic We Don’t Want to Notice
Prenatal Imprints for Air Pollution and the Greenhouse Effect … Fetal Malnutrition, Oxygen Starvation, and the Global Environment
Let us now turn to how we bring this prenatal oxygen struggle, termed fetal malnutrition, into our adult attitudes toward and interactions with our planetary atmosphere and global environment.
Latent Worldwide Oxygen Panic?
The Fetus’s Latent Oxygen Panic
Remember, what the fetus experiences in the late stages of development in the womb is a state of a reduced oxygen, which causes subtle but simmering uncomfortable feelings of suffocation and a feeling of latent oxygen panic. 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, but we need to consider that the unborn child is living 24/7 in this environment. It 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 could go out and get yourself more air at any point if it got too uncomfortable.
Gag Me With Exhaust—The Greenhouse Effect
So, 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. Perhaps these reflections 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; whereas when discussing the planetary situation it is almost always talked about as an increase in the carbon dioxide.
That We Don’t Want to See
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 it is the increased carbon dioxide, mentioned above and analogous to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and air pollution in the cities…this will be dealt with below under the category of “bad blood.” In the planetary it is the reduced oxygen involved that is never brought up; 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.
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. For example, an industrial section of Gary, Indiana, was recorded at levels below that able to sustain human life.
Affecting Bodily Health
This is as reported in the book, O2xygen Therapies by Ed McCabe. Other examples of lowered oxygen levels in various arenas of our lives are given in the book as well, and the book is thoroughly documented. It makes a convincing case for the lowered oxygen levels as they relate to the rising statistics of a number of diseases. [Footnote 1]
Affecting Mental Health
The connection I am making here of this reduced availability of O2 to psychological states and mental screens of perception is my own addition. However, I am informed as well by an understanding of intake of toxins as they relate to mental and psychological states, which I first found detailed in George Watson’s rare and astonishing work, Nutrition and Your Mind. [Footnote 2]
Global Oxygen Hunger
Regardless of these blatant situations of oxygen insufficiency—related to particularly adverse environments as in the Gary, Indiana, example—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.
Ocean Oxygen—Dead Zones and Overall Depletion
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. In these huge areas, some of them hundreds of 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 in oxygen in oceans with the destruction of the oxygen-producing plankton and the other environmental pressures to lower 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, 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—caused by our uniquely human compulsion to burn carbon-based fossil fuels—which though minute, is both increasing and has subtler but more pervasive and so more dire implications.
Globally, Beginning to Gasp for Air
The results of one study were released not long ago by the Scripps Institute. The Scripps study monitored the oxygen in our atmosphere on the whole over a twenty-year period. It found a .1% decrease in global oxygen by 2005 since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the late 19th century. [Footnote 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 Already Dying Because of Oxygen Deprivation … Global Oxygen Loss Has Dire Significance Physically AND Psychologically
Reductions in Global Oxygen, While Calculated as Small, Are Already Taking a Toll in Deaths and Physical and Mental Suffering
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, which is 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. 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:
People Are Dying, Yes
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.
How Big a Deal Is a Minute Change in Atmospheric Oxygen
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?
The Greenhouse Effect Shows Us Small Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Are No Small Matter
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. We exist in a delicate ecosystem, finely tuned to operate perfectly but only within very narrow parameters. You go outside those finely drawn lines and you have major complications and developments, with minor changes here having major consequences there.
In the Lab, Tiny Changes in Oxygen/ Carbon Dioxide Determine the Rise and Fall of Bacterial “Civilizations”
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.
We Are Losing Three Molecules of Oxygen for Each Increase of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
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? The book I mentioned by McCabe—O2xygen Therapies—goes into great detail explaining how we are seeing increases in cancer, viral and bacterial, and fungal infections — all of which do better in high carbon dioxide/ lowered oxygen levels. And 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. Remember, as the Scripps Institute study discussed in the previous section detailed, for every increase of one molecule of CO2, we are getting a loss of almost three molecules of O2.
We’ve Already Lost a Fifth of the Amount of Atmospheric Oxygen That Would Knock Us All Out
But I am adding the psychological effects of this oxygen loss to the already considerable statistically verifiable harm being registered to us physically. What decrease in oxygen stimulates prenatal memories of oxygen near-panic? Well, consider that a reduction of oxygen of only .5% is enough to cause unconsciousness and sometimes even kill a person—from 20% which is optimal down to 19.5% which is dire. 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…when there exists “outside” air that is different? It can’t be all that much, right? Not if a .5% reduction would darken our lights.
If ALL the Time You’re Getting Less Oxygen, How Would You Know? Wouldn’t You Think It Normal?
Ok, but there’s 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 can’t. 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,” though they would be somewhat altered from the way humans may have felt on our planet in earlier centuries?
Fetal Oxygen Hunger Compels Creation of Our Oliver Twist Atmosphere…Where We’re Always Wanting “Some More”
So, environmentally — with oxygen starvation and air pollution — I submit we act out our unconscious memories of 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 put us back in that state in the womb when we needed air (oxygen) but didn’t get enough leaving us asking, “Please, mother, might I have some more”?
Sorry, Billy Joel, But We Did Start the Fire: Why Humans Are So Big on Burning…And Its Apocalyptic Prognosis For Us Today
Of Cigarettes, Lucifer, Prometheus, and Icarus—Why Humans Are Addicted to Burning Things…And Its Dire Prognosis
Why Humans Are So Big on Burning
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’ve 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 fetal 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?
Yes, Billy Joel, We DID Start the Fire
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’ll soon explore in more depth. 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”—another womb symbol—of sorts 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?
In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire for humans from the gods and was punished by being tied to a rock and forced to endure eagles picking away at his entrails for eternity… Maybe it is true that cooking food was not a great health step forward as many nutritionists schooled in naturopathy and wholistic health and enjoining about the benefits of raw foods have been pointing out. [Footnote 5]
As I’ve said, meat was the apple in the Garden of Eden and killing of planetmates was the first step in our downward slide into savagery. Since the primary difference that the use of fire made to the life ways of humans was allowing the cooking of meat—which helped preserve it and made it more storable, perhaps this myth of Prometheus is also referring to that negative turn in our diet … and nutritionists will tell you that meat eating is the primary cause of all the gut ailments we have—colon cancer and the rest—and that a diet high in it correlates with a sharp reduction in the intake of roughage and fiber, with all their health benefits.
And sure enough, we find that the nomadic, foraging early humans left waste material high in roughage—of indigestible cellulose and vegetative matter. Indigenous societies even today have strikingly different diets than more “civilized” ones. Medical anthropologists long ago determined they eat so much more non-meat foods that the average time it takes for food to pass completely through their body is 24 hours, whereas it takes the average Westerner 72 hours for food to be eliminated. They view this difference as the main reason indigenous cultures have so much less colonic ill health than modern societies in which gut ailments are rampant. Perhaps the Prometheus myth is detailing where we took that wrong turn and the health consequences we were punished with thereafter.
And then there are the myths of being reckless regarding fire. One example, in a Greek myth, Icarus was given wings to fly, pasted on with wax. He did fly. But in getting too close to the sun…that big fire in the sky…the wax that held his wings melted, he lost his wings, and plunged to Earth and to his end. Might this not be a metaphor for so-called human “evolution”? Might it not be predicting the apocalyptic end we see before us, because of our misuse of fire of all kinds—the manic firing up of fossil fuels, the insane powering up of the atom for doomsday bombs and nuclear plants, and so on? In the next chapter we look into these questions and ferret out their implications.
Continue with Will “Progress of Man” Be Humanity’s Epitaph? Apocalyptic Foretellings Hidden in Myth and a Re-Visioning of “Civilization” in Light of Impending Ecocide
Continue with Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Seven: Civilization and Apocalypse … Deep Thoughts on The Fall
3. As reported in the article, Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Fall As Carbon Dioxide Rises at http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/atmospheric-oxygen-levels-fall-as-carbon/. It reads partly as follows:
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 20 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….
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 20% 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. On the theft of fire and the beginnings of culture in world mythology:
- According to the Rig Veda (3:9.5), the hero Mātariśvan recovered fire, which had been hidden from mankind.
- In Cherokee myth, after Possum and Buzzard had failed to steal fire, Grandmother Spider used her web to sneak into the land of light. She stole fire, hiding it in a clay pot.
- Among various Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest and First Nations, fire was stolen and given to humans by Coyote, Beaver or Dog.
- According to some Yukon First Nations people, Crow stole fire from a volcano in the middle of the water.
- According to the Creek Native Americans, Rabbit stole fire from the Weasels.
- In Algonquin myth, Rabbit stole fire from an old man and his two daughters.
- In Ojibwa myth, Nanabozho the hare stole fire and gave it to humans.
- In Polynesian myth, Māui stole fire from the Mudhens.
- In the Book of Enoch, the fallen angels and Azazel teach early mankind to use tools and fire.
5. Promethean parallels in other mythologies include
- In Georgian mythology Amirani challenged the chief god and for that was chained on Caucasian mountains where birds would eat his organs.
- In Norse mythology, 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.
Regarding the the Norse myth, remember what was said in the previous chapter about one of the feeling complexes in late gestation being the discomfort of being in a toxic womb environment. I will discuss this feeling constellation in more detail in an upcoming chapter, where this myth will be even more illustrative.
Continue with Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Seven: Civilization and Apocalypse … Deep Thoughts on The Fall
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